Friday, November 28, 2008

What's going in India?

I'm trying to understand what's going on in India with all the bombings and hostage taking. Everyone is trying to understand what's going on.

Based so far on what I've learned from CNN and the New York Times, I'm thinking it's a group connected to Al-Qaeda aimed at driving out Westerners from "their" part of the world.

On the otherhand, India is majority Hindu, only 13% Muslim, with huge socioeconomic discrepancies between the two. Perhaps it's a way of demanding change for more equality. However, where's the list of demands?

Off to read the BBC and Economist. With the close historical ties between the UK and India, perhaps there will be more info there.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Knitting update November 2008

Again, I reorganized my yarn stash. The first time was documented here. A friend of mine, her mother passed away 4 years ago, and she gave me her yarn. Because we are working on finding a condo to move to (closing date Dec 12!), we've been trying to cull out stuff. Husband knew about my friend's mother's stash and told me: Do not take her stash!
So I waited until he was out of town for a boys' football weekend, to get the yarn :) Spent a lovely afternoon with my friend and her neighbor and now I have a new friend! And doubled my stash.

I stuffed them all into those vacuum seal bags and other zip top bags to make it fit in the Ikea bookcase where I keep my yarn stash. The top half of the bookcase looked like this:
Not the best solution. I went to get some yarn and had to pull out each bag to find the yarn I needed. Then to get the yarn I wanted, I had to pull out all the yarn, and then restuff. It also didn't help that I was not quite familiar with the new yarn. Whenever I buy yarn, I think about it pretty carefully. It's not unusual for me to spend an hour in a yarn shop before buying, even if it's a big box craft store. If it's yarn I order online, it takes even longer, over days of clicking around and comparing prices.
Yesterday, I got some clear plastic storage boxes from Target and now the stash looks like this:It looks better but somehow not as space efficient because I had to put one of those vacuum seal bags in the bottom drawer. Now I have to figure out what to do with the stuff that used to be in that bottom drawer. Ah well. At least I got a bit better acquainted with the new yarn. Lots of wool and mohair in neutrals. That'll come in handy when making gifts for people who are not as fond a bright primary colors as I am.

In other knitting news, here are some finished objects:

First, the vest for my Dad for his birthday. I spoke to him last night and he was so happy to get it. And my mom got all choked up talking about it too. Well, I'm glad that he likes it!
This one is a sweater I made for me, using the yarn I dyed here inspired by the orange pantsuit Hilary Clinton wore at the Democratic National Convention. So psyched that she's going to be Secretary of State. Anyway, the cardigan is based on the Long Chevron Coat in Fitted Knits, and the shawl collar by Emerald from Knitty. It's triple stranded wool and very, very warm.On the needles, I have a shawl for my mother, the Wool Peddler Shawl (Ravelry link) from Folk Shawls. It's in the Ivy Kettle-dyed yarn from KnitPicks. There'll be a lace border along the bottom.
Her birthday is Dec 23, so I need to keep cranking on this. Brother One and I will be driving up to DC to spend Thanksgiving with Sister and Brother Two, so that will be prime knitting time.

The fact that my mom was so touched by my gift to my dad gives me more incentive to make sure this is done right and in time. That took a bit of the sting out of the fact that I had to rip back about 5 rows if not more to fix a mistake. Each row is over 100 stitches! But something happened and the yarn overs going down the middle got misaligned. It's a pretty obvious mistake so I had to rip back. There goes a week's worth of knitting.

But just imagine what my mom's reaction will be when she gets it!

And also, because it's impossible for me to practice project monogamy, I started a beret for my sister-in-law. I made this sweater for her husband so I thought I should make her something too.
But my mom's shawl will have to come first. It takes 10 days for a package to get to Taiwan from the US so I'm working towards a Dec 12 deadline. It takes much less time to get a package from Georgia to Wisconsin, so SIL's beret will just have to wait.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Only knitting, now

Yesterday I went to the pottery studio to pick up pieces that were fired. It was kind of sad, because now that I'm moving, I won't be back at the Mable House to do pottery.

Actually, since all our pennies will be going towards the condo, the repairs (it was a foreclosure property, so the former tenants weren't too careful in removing things), a new refrigerator, stove, and washer/dryer. So no more pottery for a long while.

That leaves knitting and reading as my only hobbies for the foreseeable future. This is when having a stash comes in really handy.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Moving on up....

The bid Husband and I put in for a condo in downtown Atlanta was accepted! Woo Hoo!

This means no more trips, not even to Wisconsin for winter holidays, because all our money is going into the new place. We want to put as much down as possible.

Believe me, I am not crying about staying in Atlanta for winter. It's getting colder and snowier in Wisconsin, and I'm quite happy to stay in Georgia to work on the new place!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

'We' are finally part of `We the People'

I have a feeling that I will be crying all day. The Sunday paper is full of articles discussing this momentous election.

This one by Leonard Pitts really got me going, especially the words that I have bolded (by the way, I don't know why the bolding is in 2 different colors, but I didn't mean to do that. There's no significance to the colors):

'We' are finally part of `We the People'

''For the first time in my adult lifetime I am really proud of my country. And not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change.'' -- Michelle Obama, Feb. 18, 2008

I always thought I understood what Michelle Obama was trying to say. You are familiar, of course, with what she actually did say, which is quoted above. It provided weeks of red meat for her husband's opponents, who took to making ostentatious proclamations of their own unwavering pride in country.

But again, I think I know what the lady meant to say. Namely, that with her husband, this brown-skinned guy with the funny name, making a credible run for the highest office in the land, she could believe, for the first time, that ''we the people'' included her.

It is, for African Americans, an intoxicating thought almost too wonderful for thinking. Yet, there it is. And here we are, waking up this morning to find Barack Obama president-elect of these United States. In a sense, it is unfair -- to him, to us -- to make Tuesday's election about race.

Whatever appeal Obama may have had to African Americans and white liberals eager to vote for a black candidate, is, I believe, dwarfed by his appeal to Americans of all stripes who have simply had enough of the politics of addition by division as practiced by Karl Rove and his disciples, enough of the free floating anger, the holiday from accountability, the nastiness masquerading as righteousness, the sheer intellectual dishonesty, that have characterized the era of American politics that ends here.

But in the end, after all that, there still is race.

And it would be a sin against our history, a sin against John Lewis and Viola Liuzzo, against James Reeb and Lyndon Johnson, against Fannie Lou Hamer and Martin Luther King, against all those everyday heroes who marched, bled and died 40 years ago to secure black people's right to vote, not to pause on this pinnacle and savor what it means. It would be a sin against our generations, against slaves and freedmen, against housemen and washerwomen, against porters and domestics, against charred bodies hanging in southern trees, not to be still and acknowledge that something has happened here and it is sacred and profound.

For most of the years of the American experiment, ''we the people'' did not include African Americans. We were not included in ''we.'' We were not even included in ``people.''

What made it galling was all the flowery words to the contrary, all the perfumed lies about equality and opportunity. This was, people kept saying, a nation where any boy might grow up and become president. Which was only true, we knew, as long as it was indeed a boy and as long as the boy was white.

But as of today, we don't know that anymore. What this election tells us is that the nation has changed in ways that would have been unthinkable, unimaginable, flat out preposterous, just 40 years ago. And that we, black, white and otherwise, better recalibrate our sense of the possible.

There was something bittersweet in watching Michelle Obama lectured on American pride this year, in seeing African Americans asked to prove their Americanness when our ancestors were in this country before this country was. There was something in it that was hard to take, knowing that we have loved America when America did not love us, defended America when it would not defend us, believed in American ideals that were larger than skies, yet never large enough to include us.

We did this. For years unto centuries, we did this. Because our love for this country is deep and profound. And complicated and contradictory. And cynical and hard.

Now it has delivered us to this singular moment. Barack Obama is president-elect of the United States.

And we the people should be proud.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Tough times ahead

Yes, I am very happy that Obama was elected president and I am still teary-eyed whenever I read or hear or think the words "President (-elect) Obama."

However, I wonder why anyone would want to run for president now. The US faces humongous challenges. We have 2 wars going on that I don't really support because I am anti-violence. The economy is incredibly awful. There's a huge gap between rich and everyone else, and you know things are bad when politicians say we need to do things for the middle class, not only the poor.

On a related note, my local representative to state legislature is shown in this article

The tough times have not magically disappeared. But things are looking up.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

President Obama

We did it! And by an amazing landslide.

We turned Congress blue too. The president will need to work with Congress to get things done. They're supposed to be partners in running the country.

I also appreciated the sober tone he took in his acceptance speech. He is taking on huge, huge, huge responsibilities with 2 wars and a global recession, and everyone domestically and internationally will want a piece of him.

And I worry about the haters and the possibility of assassination attempts. That would be such an absolute tragedy and throw us all into more trouble.

Election day wishes

Today is a historic election day in the USA. I did early voting and stood in line for three hours.

Last week, I heard Naomi Tutu speak at the Atlanta Women's Foundation luncheon and she said that she and many others stood in line for days to vote in South Africa's first election. So waiting a few hours is nothing to complain about.

I voted for Obama because I am a community organizer. I am concerned about the growing divide between rich and poor. I am concerned about what the US has done to the world and our standing in the world.

I voted for Obama because I want a leader who will bring people together and understand what the view looks like from the bottom. I want a leader who's thoughtful and a bridge builder. I want a leader who will make room for voices and people who have been shut out or vilified. I want a leader who leads from a place of hope, not fear.

It's an absolutely historic election. It makes me so proud to be an American that our country has come so far that some one who is not white has the chance to become president! We still have far to go but it gives me so much hope.

So here are my wishes for this election day, which I posted on a friend's blog who is volunteering as a pollworker today:

May every single registered voter come out to vote.
May there be no problems with the machines or ballots.
May every vote be counted.
May the electoral college hear our voices.
May we have Obama for president!
May we have a new country!

And don't forget the other races. The president is not a dictator, but balanced by Congress and the Courts. And our everyday lives are impacted much more by the local races.

But still, it's a historic election and an important election because of the wars and economy, so get out and vote!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Made a bid

Over the weekend, Husband and I went to look at condos in downtown Atlanta and this morning he put in an offer for a condo on the 23rd floor in Museum Tower, overlooking Centennial Olympic Park, the World of Coca-Cola, and the Georgia Aquarium.

So. Excited.

Because of the down economy, the asking price is ridiculously low. I mean, in good times, the asking price would have been at least half a million dollars if not more (totally guessing here). But now it's nowhere near that amount.

Now we wait to see what the sellers say. And no more new trips for us, not even to Wisconsin for Christmas and especially not to Taiwan for Chinese New Year.