Thursday, May 18, 2017

How is Ellie?

I have an Ellie story for her fans. 

Last weekend I was getting dressed, the TV was off, the house was quiet. Sophie was in the bedroom with me.  Suddenly, Ellie started yowling the kind of big, dramatic yowls that cats make when in extreme distress. I had a moment of OH SHIT WHAT HAPPENED DO WE NEED TO MAKE A RUN FOR THE VET? as her distressed yowls continued.  I called, "Ellie? What's wrong?" and the yowling stopped. 

Sophie and I hurried to her side. She stopped yowling, she was fine. She had just looked around and didn't know where we were.  I told her it was okay, and Sophie kissed her on the cheek.  Not kidding.

She's fine when she sees us leave on walks, she's fine when I leave for work, but she had a moment when she wasn't sure where Mommy and her Doggy Sister had gone, and she panicked, and was so very sad and afraid.  We are her family now.

I still can't imagine how this lovely cat landed in a shelter last June, and I have to think her previous owner died, or some other emergency situation arose, where there was no time to rehome her.  She's truly one of the nicest cats I've ever known. I've loved all my cats, no matter how quirky, but this one is fast becoming Best Cat Ever.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Buckle Your Seatbelts

This has been a lively ten days, do you think?  And I'm of course nervous about the immediate future, but feeling really good about this country in general, for the first time in six months.  Because shit's getting real.  And this happened because people made phone calls and showed up and hounded and shamed, and because journalists who were truly asleep at the switch from the primaries through election day are now actually doing journalism. This really is wonderful.

I was 14 years old during Watergate, when my mother had a total breakdown, and my life went off course.  Last weekend was Mother's Day, and I thought a lot about my mother and her mental health issues, and how Watergate was her obsession.  I am reminded of my 14 y.o. self, struggling with being a 14 y.o. girl with braces and glasses and a reputation for being "so smart," and being advised by the nuns that I should consider becoming a nun. I now recognize that as a well-meant recruiting effort, because they were smart women who found an outlet for their skills, in the 70s. At the time was like, "I"m barely a Catholic and I like boys!" "NOOO!" But from decades later, I can respect their advice.  Wasn't going to take it, but I'm not offended now, as an adult looking back decades later. They really were trying to help. But I had an awful, awful adolescence, with a mother with untreated mental illness, a father quietly drinking himself to sleep every evening, and pressure from all sides to be mother to my mother,  support to my father,  start high school, plan my future, and oh yeah, Watergate!!! Good times. I couldn't have friends over, because I never knew, when I got home from school, whether my mother would be up and her functional self or in bed, in a darkened room, crying. Welcome to my teens. So that memory came back to me this Mother's Day, as my mother's mental issues wove into the Watergate saga, which was doled out ever so slowly, in drips and drops from the morning paper and the evening news, until the hearings started, and then they were the sole topic in my house for a year.  I'm not saying Watergate made her crazy, but it sure did give her crazy a place to focus.  She was obsessed, and I lived Watergate when I should have been living my freshman year in a high school I hated, trying to get my parents to pay attention to how hard it all was for me.

So on Mother's Day I found myself wondering how my mother would be dealing with all of this. She was politically aware until she died. She adored Keith Olbermann during the Bush years, and many of our best visits and conversations were about politics, when she was herself.  And I think she'd have been all over Twitter right now, and I'd be exhausted.

And today this really is so much worse than Watergate, but I'm just feeling so much better than I did then. Back in the Watergate era, the gold standard of American political scandals for decades since, the adult voting public (remember, I was 14) were dependent on 3 network channels and a handful of major newspapers. Newspapers actually landed on your doorstep, delivered by a paperboy.  Communication was slower. This shit is moving much faster because media moves faster, and the tools of investigation move faster.  We aren't waiting for Woodward and Bernstein to painstakingly build a story over months, because there are so many sources and faster means of information collection.  Remember, Watergate happened in the time of typewriters, carbon copies, land line phones, and reel-to-reel tapes. (Poor Rosemary Woods.)  The world is much smaller and moves more swiftly now.  Buckle up.  But I'm feeling more secure in the workings of our democracy tonight than I have in weeks. Keep the pressure up. This is moving fast and in a good way.

And I am crocheting that super easy shrug, and taking big breaks from Twitter.   Goddamn, I took a freaking walk the other night for 30 freaking minutes and the Comey paper trail story broke!  I just went for a walk! Give us political junkies a break!!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

So. Yeah.

Right now I think it may be easier to make a list of Republicans who aren't up to their eyeballs in this or hoping to get in on the grift. Seriously, we need that list, because our democracy is actually at stake.  We've gone from "Hmm...did you smell a hint of treason?" to firing the FBI director with a comically bullshit letter, right after grand jury subpoenas were issued, and the following day, a meeting in the Oval Office with the Russian identified as a spy recruiter in the Steele dossier.  Oh, and WH press pool was excluded. Photos were provided by Russian media, who WERE allowed in. And other credible accounts hint that the puppet is starting to lose his shit, and he does look rough in those photos provided via Russian media.  Meanwhile, Fox, now our state media, claims Comey resigned, and the Puppet sent his new favorite lady stooge to friendly faces on Fox to say that we need to just stop talking about this already!

Honestly, you cannot make this shit up; reality is far more sinister than fiction.

Am I allowed to "sound angry" yet? Because goddamn, people, those of us capable of critical thinking were already concerned that this was where it was going, not wanting to believe it. Yet, here we are.

I'm old enough to remember Watergate.  A lot of comparisons are being drawn to Nixon's downfall.

This shit is way worse. That was a fraternity prank compared to the long game infiltration of our government, the mind games played, the social media trolling.  Yet the Congressional Republicans and Fox News still insist "nothing to see here," so that brings me to my original question: is anyone making a list of Republican patriots? Because we need to get those people to fight this shit along with the rest of us. 

Again: Resistbot.  Daily Action.  Even the most introverted can do it. You don't have to make a speech, you can just send a fax, or call with a short, easy, scripted message. Hi, I'm ___ and I live in ___ zipcode, and I want an independent investigation of Russia's involvement with the election. Thank you.  That's all you need to say.   If you are on Twitter, use it. I politely asked Senator Bill Nelson to push for a special prosecutor, and got a bunch of retweets, which is a new experience for me, because I rarely tweet. 

My personal focus will be on Marco Rubio. His office was hacked. He claimed it didn't succeed.

But he's on the record that it happened to him, and how can he now not want further investigation? 

So, yeah.  We are living in interesting times, aren't we? 

I'm going to go walk, and then crochet. Because I need exercise and mindless, meditative making things.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Did I say "Daily" Updates?

I meant more often than once every two weeks.

Unlike many of my friends, I was NOT at Maryland Sheep and Wool this weekend.  I was here, pouting and cleaning the bathroom floor thoroughly, because OMG.

I haven't been able to go to to MDSW in years, which is a VERY good thing for my bank account, really.  I think I still have yarn I haven't used that I purchased on my last visit. But still, I am sad that I missed it.  Next year I must plan in advance, and check in with friends to see who will be there/not working a booth for a vendor the whole time.  It's a long trek for me and I need to plan accordingly.

And it's not like I don't have plenty of projects I really want to complete before I spend another dime on yarn. I have two neglected cotton cardigans in progress for myself, an afghan for myself, and of course Delaney's log cabin afghan is on the home stretch, getting big enough to be a long slog from end to end, and I have a LONG way to go on that mother.  But here's the thing about knitting: you almost have to have a few projects in rotation at any given time. As a practical matter, endless long slogs of knitting long rows of afghan will both melt your brain and exhaust your wrists, so changing gauge and pattern helps both the the wrists and the mind. And changing crafts entirely helps too.

I never did get around to starting any hexagons.  I just wasn't feeling it yet. I have been stockpiling yarn leftovers, and I will get around to it.

But today I started one of those no-brainer TV-watching projects I love so much: Movie Night Cocoon Cardi.

It's really just a huge crocheted granny square, folded in half with added crocheted cuffs, but honestly?  This is the kind of easy and practical thing that I will make and also USE.  I have a load of Cascade Sierra cotton in the stash, in a practical but unexciting chocolate brown, and I already know this is something I'd bring with me to any random overly air-conditioned casual jeans and t-shirt thing, and be glad I did.  When I made my rare trip to our local bargain movie theater to see Beauty and the Beast I was chilly throughout the movie, wishing I'd brought a heavier sweater. I'd have loved to have this big drapey cotton blankie thing to curl up in the theater chill.  I think the name probably got my attention for that reason, and then the design? Oh hell, it's barely a pattern, and good for the designer for sharing it for free. An experienced though lazy crocheter like me just had to glance at it, see what she did, and I'm off and running. 

And the politics thing?  Yeah, thank GOD this crop of Republicans can't even agree with each other on anything. The House passed that godawful ridiculous health care bill and were invited to the White House to drink shitty beer like they'd scored a win!  Um, maybe they all need to be forced to watch Schoolhouse Rock?  Especially Dolt45, who, as "president" should maybe have asked someone how this shit works?  He threw a party like he'd won something YUUGE, when actually it was like just qualifying to move on with it, and it was shut down within hours.  Because the Senate said naah, thanks House, they'll come up with their own bill, and then that'll get kicked back and bickered over in the House, and unless they actually get their shit together, we're in no immediate danger of losing the ACA.

Meanwhile, they've handed the Dems an ad campaign for the midterms like a gift from heaven. This is what happens when people run on the idea that "government is the problem," and get elected by similarly clueless dipshits, and proceed to prove their point. They get to their new offices and have no idea what to do next.  The ones that are there now mostly got there on "STOP THE BLACK GUY!" and now that they have "control," they are as clueless as can be about how to get what they want. 

Keep bitching at them. They're hating their lives, and they should.

Thursday, May 04, 2017

The GOP House: Hold My Beer and Watch This Shit!

And the beer of course was Bud Light. Seriously. These vile mother--excuses for human beings went to a PARTY at Mar a Lago North, formerly the White House and the home of the POTUS, to celebrate the first step to pricing millions and millions of Americans out of health care.

Here's the thing, for you slow to catch up: They are promising "access."  "Access" is not Affordability. Right at this moment I have access to million dollar homes on the market a mile away, and a Lexus dealership within 20 minutes, and an ugly Gucci bag at the mall 35 minutes away, but I CAN'T FUCKING AFFORD ANY OF THOSE THINGS!

So, the House bill that just passed and will, God willing, die quickly in the Senate,  but let's help it along. I've shared links to Resistbot and Daily Action before, but now it's time to rain a hellstorm of paper and calls on the Senate.  I like these two tools because they make it easy to target YOUR representative from your freaking phone. Seriously, you have NO excuse not to politely express your opinion.

I'm not sure how many people really understand that while we might hate Paul Ryan with the white hot heat of a thousand suns for being the smirking Ayn Rand acolyte who never outgrew it that he is, if you don't live in his district, you have to just loathe him from afar.  OTOH,  my own Representative was already tweeting about how this is nonsense, you don't vote on something like this without a CBO score, nobody's had time to analyze the impact, etc.  I just sent her a thank you tweet.  No need to burden her staff. OTOH, Marco Rubio is somehow my Senator (along with the calm and reasonable Democratic Senate fixture, Bill Nelson), I'm going to help light up Little Marco's phone.
Seriously, if he backs up Cheetolini on this, he really is going to look incredibly weak and pathetic to the lukewarm Rs who weren't too sure about him before this. He's young, he has ambitions, let's explain to him how this will move his whiny suckup ass out of the Senate and totally kill his future ambitions if he doesn't REPRESENT HIS CONSTITUENTS.

And you know the funniest thing about all of this? Aside from the oil and gas industry, I'm really not seeing a big embrace of the Trumpkin Retreat from the 21st Century.  Most of those big bad corporations have seen how the tide has turned, and they aren't aching to undo decades of social and environmental progress.  Probably because they are more responsive to their shareholders than dependent on Washington's whims. The social tides have turned and environmental concerns and social equality issues aren't going to vanish because a dimwitted game show host and a team of fascist wannabes are squatting in DC.  I'm really feeling MORE confident now, as so many companies are just gently pushing back with "Nah, we're good, we don't need you," and that, along with the deluge of pissed off constituent contacts, could actually shut this shit down.

Podcast: OMG!! Frangela - The Final Word! OMG, it's weekly therapy! I love Frances and Angela so much! Warning: they swear as much as I do, so NSFW but trust me, you'll laugh and scream and swear with them.

The animals! How are they??

I apologize to the non-crazy dog people who wandered in, but I'm happy to report that we have had Normal Poopies for weeks, thanks to Dr. Mom! I consulted with Dr. Google, and yeah, dogs can develop chicken allergies! And damn, everything she ate had chicken in some form. I got suspicious when I noticed that her farts smelled like walking into a Boston Market. Seriously, her innards were struggling to deal with a chicken-based diet. I switched her to a dry base of limited ingredient anything but chicken, topped it with some ground chuck rinsed to limit the fat, and she's back to pooping like a dog  The vet ( who I love) had suggested various "novel protein" sources, like kangaroo, special diets, but only half-heartedly, because yeah, let's not get crazy. Sophie was healthy and happy and just had runny poo, so I felt free to play with the menu.  Chicken. It's what's NOT for dinner in Sophie's world.