Sunday, January 14, 2007

A LARGE Christmas Present

My mom taught herself to knit while in college in the Sixties (no, not THOSE Sixties, but the Iowa Teachers' College's vesion of them). She took a nearly 40-year hiatus from it, but is now back to the needles. She started up again after her husband died a year ago. My father, who died in 1983, did not want her to knit and he was quite vehement about it. My theory is that he was poked by a knitting needle as a small child on the homestead in North Dakota and never quite got over it. He was also greatly annoyed when one of the teachers at the high school where he taught for 25 years would knit during faculty meetings. Just more fodder there for my annoyed-by-knitting theory.

So, as my mom has fired back up on knitting, she's made some really adorable things. Beanies and mittens for my kids, a newborn hat for a San Francisco friend's little sweetpea, four preemie caps for a local set of quadruplets, a couple of vests and great sweaters for the littleFromWyomings. There goes the Fouryearold now wearing one of Grandma's creations...

Mom asked for suggestions for what to give SonInLawFromWyoming for Christmas. I suggested she knit him a cardigan since the one he bought during our belated honeymoon to Ireland ten years ago is quite pill-y and sad. A color was decided on and measurements were taken by me, a Home Economics degree-holder. I think that may have been a crucial mistake.

She began knitting in October. While she worked dilligently, she mentioned a couple of times how heavy the sweater was beginning to feel. We had some running around when we arrived in California for our holiday visit, looking for the right needles to finish the sleeves and cuffs, at the few local knitting supply establishments. It wasn't done by Christmas, but it was finished by the time we returned from our visit to Monterey for a couple of days in the New Year.

The big moment arrived to try it on.

My... that's LARGE. It was washed and dried but it STILL could be wrapped around his midsection like a bathrobe...Can certainly hide a small child in there...Maybe even a housecat or two.Hmmmmm.....

We laughed a lot about it all and a few pictures were taken. I shuffled around the house in it for a few evenings and it was very, very cozy. If we'd brought it on to Wyoming with us, it would have needed its own suitcase. Mom's pulled it all out and is about to begin again. It may be ready for someone's birthday, just shy of St. Patrick's Day.

Maybe, someday, I'll have the focus to learn to knit. I'll probably start small, though. I wouldn't want the cats to disappear in a sweater.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Snopes Is My Friend

Of course, I let the wrong things get my blood boiling.

I was having a tough day today when I found this in the inbox. From a friend. I certainly don't insist that all share my opinions and I do my best to give all who send me this kind of... I'll just say it... RANCID SEWAGE... a wide berth. But today I had to respond:

Boy oh Boy, I wish I had written this one..... Both of them for that matter. Read the whole thing. It heads the old nail right on top.... REAL HARD.
*signed by someone I know

AMEN to the Weather Bulletin as listed below. I received this from a friend of mine. I think we all know people in our lives we should pass this on to. I have.

She passed it on to me

From The Denver Post:
This text is from a county emergency manager out in the central part of Colorado* after the recent snowstorm.
Up here, in the Northern Plains, we just recovered from a Historic
event---may I even say a "Weather Event" of "Biblical Proportions" --- with a historic blizzard of up to 44" inches of snow and winds to 90 MPH that broke trees in half, knocked down utility poles, stranded hundreds of motorists in lethal snow banks, closed ALL roads, isolated scores of communities and cut power to 10's of thousands.
George Bush did not come.
FEMA did nothing.
No one howled for the government.
No one blamed the government.
No one even uttered an expletive on TV.
Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton did not visit.
Our Mayor did not blame Bush or anyone else.
Our Governor did not blame Bush or anyone else, either.
CNN, ABC, CBS, FOX or NBC did not visit - or report on this category 5 snowstorm. Nobody demanded $2,000 debit cards.
No one asked for a FEMA Trailer House.
No one looted.
Nobody - I mean Nobody demanded the government do something.
Nobody expected the government to do anything.
No Larry King.
No Bill O'Reilly.
No Oprah.
No Chris Mathews.
No Geraldo Rivera.
No Shaun Penn.
No Barbara Streisand.
No Hollywood types to be found.

We just melted the snow for water. We sent out caravans of SUV's to pluck people out of snow engulfed cars. The truck drivers pulled people out of snow banks and didn't ask for a penny. Local restaurants made food and the police and fire departments delivered it to the snowbound families. Families took in the stranded people - total strangers. We fired up wood stoves, broke out coal oil lanterns or Coleman lanterns. We put on extra layers of clothes because up here it is "Work or Die". We did not wait for some affirmative action government to get us out of a mess created by being immobilized by a welfare program that trades
votes for 'sittin at home' checks. Even though a Category "5" blizzard of this scale has never fallen this early, we know it can happen and how to deal with it ourselves. "In my many travels, I have noticed that once one gets north of about 48 degrees North Latitude, 90% of the world's social problems evaporate." It does seem that way, at least to me. I hope this gets passed on.
Maybe SOME people will get the message. The world does Not owe YOU a living.
*originally tacked to a newspaper in North Dakota

This part is added by the sender, not credited to The Denver Post.

Now, can we move on to WELFARE and other government aid compensation? Don't you think if all baby manufacturing welfare recipients, recovering drug addicts and just plain losers who get unemployment and welfare were to follow these guidelines it might prevent such abuse of THE SYSTEM?;

1. Recipients are required to perform community service to pay BACK what they BORROW (both by means of performing community service and paying back a portion of their paychecks once they get a job).

2.) Recipients are required to wear a t-shirt, blouse or pants or some type of UNIFORM (easily recognized and identifiable clothing) like PRISONERS do that announces they are presently "receiving".(of course this clothing would be PROVIDED, but the cost recuperated from the recipient in some way.)

3.) Retailers and stores would prohibited from selling cigarettes, alcohol or junk food, OR be allowed to take credit cards or extend credit to recipients. (if caught in violation, retailers would pay a hefty fine.... thus keeping the AGENCY pot fat and happy)

4.) No extended credit would be allowed for cars or anything else that was not a necessity. If credit were NEEDED then it would be obtained through the AGENCY on AGENCY terms.

5.) Any welfare AGENCY recipient who OWNED property would first need to sign said property over to the AGENCY in the form of a revocable QUIT CLAIM (or recipient has to cough up a reliable Co-Signer for credit through the AGENCY) which is then made null and void once AID Services from AGENCY are repaid in FULL.

6.) Education for advancement and job placement is made available through the AGENCY - but community service MUST BE performed in return..... (PAID FOR IN SOME WAY)

7.) Both male and female recipients should be REQUIRED by the AGENCY to follow MANDATORY BIRTH CONTROL. If more than one illegitimate child has been born to any recipient and any abortion performed at the expense of the AGENCY then MANDATORY STERILIZATION should be a REQUIREMENT.
Checks and balances. The world does Not owe YOU a living.
(never has. never will. Got it?)

I couldn't help myself. I had to respond. Here is what I sent to her this afternoon. Think she'll pass it on?

And, fortunately for the Coloradans, they will not have mold eat their homes during 100+ degree days. Their homeowner's insurance will not cancel them over a snowstorm or refuse to pay after a lifetime of paying premiums. When the snow melts, the damage that might be there will be repaired by contractors that didn't flee the storm and would not return. They will still have jobs that were not washed, mold-infected or blown away. They will have been terribly inconvenienced. Don't doubt for a minute that if they are wealthy and their Rocky Mountain home was GONE or unlivable, they would be demanding the personal attention of George W. Bush. Most of the areas affected by the blizzard received disaster designation. As in New Orleans, a disaster of the proportions of Katrina -- if it were to happen in Denver -- the aftermath would still result in not nearly enough body bags, morgues, transportation, rescuers, shelters or emergency preparedness. Thankfully for Denver, all the bodies would freeze instead of fester in the heat. A frozen body can be identified. Try identifying a body that has been in a flooded house for a week, a month, or longer. Many of those that did die in Katrina's aftermath had stayed, protecting what homes and family they had. No one came for them, before or after the storm. That trumps any "work or die" attitude above sea level or a higher latitude. Imagine 100,000 people in Denver without vehicles. Where exactly would they go in freezing temperatures, anyway? Who would help get them out? The cattle on the plains are being treated better, with drops of feed from planes following the blizzards, than most of those individuals and families in the year-plus since Katrina. The middle class and poor of Louisiana and Mississippi would certainly take issue with Denver's superiority complex.

There is simply no comparison.

As for "welfare", I'll share a couple of things with you. Even when my husband was employed full-time in a "professional" job, my children qualified for Medicaid. We couldn't afford to cover them any other way. Do they need to have a special uniform for that? A large "P" stitched to their shirts for "Poor enough to qualify for state assistance"? They receive federally-funded WIC benefits for which I am grateful. My husband is on unemployment, still, as he struggles to find another job. He paid into that Unemployment Insurance fund for nearly 6 years. Should he have signed over my 1992 car? We currently have no health insurance. We can't get sick or injured. Period. If you want to see the face of the sinking middle class, I will send you a current picture of us. When I return to work, I will probably make enough to disqualify the children's health insurance coverage but will not be able to purchase coverage to replace it. Private insurance quotes are between $600 and $800 a month. I do not use drugs. I will never have more children. I have a bachelor's degree. I have seen what is required, in terms of paperwork, for someone to receive public assistance. It is a complete myth that it is easy to receive public assistance. Those on public assistance today are without any other means. Period. A choice has to be made. Do you want to see the poor or not? With the little state assistance there is, you will be seeing more of the poor on the streets. Visit the Montana Women's Shelter, or any other family shelter in any other American city and you will see the cross-section that is truly today's America. Imagine what the $100,000 per second being spent in Iraq could do for solving the poverty problems that plague this country, right now? And, this is a country with clean water. Most of the world is without that and has the joys of all the diseases that accompany unclean water.

This is still, with all its problems, the wealthiest country in the world. I think -- I know, it's holding onto its wealth because it has become fashionable to demonize, chastise, and marginalize the poor. The thing is, the poor now reach into what was the middle. Think of all the money spent in Iraq, that will continue to hemorrhage there and try to place the responsibility for that on the right individuals. You can count on one hand how many members of our administration are on duty, in harm's way, in Iraq. It's the poor and middle class fighting that war, their families at home trying not to sink under their own personal disaster. Fact is, we could all have a list of things printed on our shirts to detail our own individual hells. We are all teetering on the edge and no amount of blame and marginalizing will change that.

What the world does owe us is humanity. Peace. Understanding. No finger pointing. I am sorry, truly sorry, for what that person in Denver wrote, that their lives are so unhappy that their only joy can be in proclaiming their superiority. A person capable of critical thought would realize the vast differences between the two scenarios. Maybe the "County Emergency" alleged-professional should receive a transfer to St. Bernard Parish more than a year after THAT particular storm and see how he would manage. To think that that individual would write something so lacking in compassion is astounding.

Generalization is unacceptable today. Compassion is the only hope for any and all. This has been a wonderful writing and thinking exercise for me today. As down as I might become, as discouraged as I might get, I know there is always someone in a worse situation. But, I know they are not to blame for all the world's woes or my own. I won't get hauled into the finger pointing or the comparisons. One person's documentation of their own ignorance, especially when they are in public employ, will only teach that there is always someone better for their job. Maybe "Mr. Denver Emergency Services Guy" can go into the consultation business with former FEMA director Michael Brown. They can do a "helluva job" together. What does the world "owe" them?

Phew. Glad I got that off my chest. And, thank goodness for Snopes.