To Sotomayor or not to Sotomayor…

Wow.

Just wow.

January 20th was truly a day of incredible change for America. Finally, we have a leader whose face is a true representation of the face of America – the WASP image fading and in its place; a richer, more vibrant tapestry was slowly taking shape.

America is a vivid and diverse tapestry, but our leaders have not been a true reflection of that diversity. President Obama has been working on revealing the lush image in an amazingly and incredibly intelligent way. At long last, we have a Hispanic selection for the nation’s highest court, one that Mr. Obama described as a candidate with empathy for “people’s hopes and struggles.”

Wow.

Empathy in a justice, what a novel idea.

I am more than impressed with her and him!

I would say that the naysayers would have a tough time taking her down.

I have a feeling she well knows how to rise above the fray, with her eyes fixed on the prize nothing could get in her way.

Let the Republicans cry foul, I think you more than measure up, Sonia Sotomayor!

So, Gentle Reader – I Sotomayor, do you?

On a side note, I have done some remodeling here at Casa Del KatKnits; there may be more so stay tuned!

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Excuse me, but have you seen my snark?

The past several weeks I have felt decidedly lacking in a plethora of areas in my life. I have not been able to put my finger on just one thing that seems to have me “off my game” but rather a flurry of things seems to have put me off track. It appears that my usual snarky self has gone into hibernation to some far off place and is refusing to return until I get my proverbial “poop in a group.”

In an attempt to woo my quick witted, cunningly cutting Mistress of Sarcasm back I thought a bit of cathartic writing ala Elizabeth Edward’s might do the trick.

It seems that the past few weeks have been all too anticlimactic since Erin left; there was all this hype building up to our meeting, and the time we spent together seemed idyllic in a Camelot kind of way. Now, do not get me wrong, things have not tanked between us, but it is somehow not the same talking on the phone or emailing each other. However, I have honestly felt that something is missing since she left – namely her!

Yes, I know that I need to be more removed than that, but somehow that is no longer possible and when I remind my selfish self that I need to remember my place – not surprisingly, Miss It’s All About Me showed up in full force when my snark checked out.

Now, Gentle Reader, for those of you who are mothers clearly understand that when you become a mother it is no longer ever all about you, but rather all about someone else – namely your children. I know this well, having raised three of them and in the few instances that I somehow foolishly forgot that fact; they rapidly reminded me!

I feel a bit like a Mother-in-law and transporting myself back to a lovely frank conversation I had with my soon to be Mother-in-law – she said she did 2 things well; wearing beige and keeping her mouth shut! My friends, I can only tell you that I do not wear beige well, nor am I well versed in keeping my mouth shut – so it seems a Herculean task to bite my tongue and let Erin direct our course. It reminds me of the patience of Penelope keeping hearth, home, and entertaining the enemy all with a cool aplomb while Odysseus was off on one grand adventure! I just need to find some of that patience and cool aplomb!

The school year has also been winding down and it brings the end of my Heidi’s high school career, which I am having a decidedly difficult time with. We have had a semester of “lasts,” which I have to confess make my usually unfailingly cheerful self decidedly blue. A friend even asked me if I needed a “hormonal tune-up” when I had a mini-break down when talking with them. I wonder if there is such a thing as a 50,000-mile tune up for the hormonally challenged. Yes, well, I will add a call to Barb to my ever-growing list of things to complete once Heidi’s graduation is over! I think it will fall in to slot 273,456,988 – that means I should be able to get that appointment scheduled sometime after the year 2012 arrives!

As for Heidi, she is doing her part all too well in “Operation Move Out From Home Soon” – and I alluded to in my last blog post, I vacillate between a melancholy mother yearning for that little girl that I could draw into my lap to cuddle and the Joan Crawford rendition of Mommy Dearest. I begin, at times, to have an inkling of understanding on why animals eat their young! Suffice it to say that, yes, I am indeed the most unintelligent person on earth – unless it happens to be a day when Bank of Mom is needed! I am thankful that she has managed to find work at our local Payless Shoe Store, however I am just warning you all that I have a budding Imelda Marcos in the making here – someone want to alert the Philippines, please??? Do you all see the correlation in the increase in attempted withdrawals from Bank of Mom? Yeah, I know I do. When she smiles and turns on the charm, I just want to have one tenth of Ebenezer’s Scrooginess!

For years, I have muttered under my breath – “thank goodness for Sam” foolishly believing that he was the “easy” child. I was so looking forward to him being around all summer long, however I did not consider the challenged job market in West Michigan and his trying to add to his college fund and the only job he has been able to find thus far is up north. This news almost did me in, truly. So, practically overnight I will go from a Nester to an empty Nester! This was not good news at all until I realized that I would need to increase my daily fiber requirement once I fall into that category – and with that, visions of Masham, Polwarth, and Wensleydale began to dance in my head!

I guess I will have to work on finding a cottage-like place up north to rent for a week and bring Bria along so we can get our “Sammy Fix.” There could be worse things, right?

Can I get a protest, please?

Who is excited besides me that there our President gave the commencement speech at Notre Dame last week?

Well, I am off the charts excited for a number of reasons!

No, I have not become a closet Notre Dame fan – but, I am utterly enamored of our President and the calm confidence that emanates from him and surrounds him like an aura.

There in the audience were protesters – yes, in the audience.

Protesters.

Speaking freely.

Protesting.

No government officials had relegated them to a “sanctioned site” some dozen blocks away.

They were there, in the building.

Moreover, our President handled them with gracious confidence.

Democracy in action… just a few miles south of my house.

It almost makes me giddy!

Last week was a banner week – not only were there protesters, our President actually mentioned Sri Lanka and the Tamil Tigers. In a sentence that actually made sense! In the 8 years of the Bush Presidency, I do not believe I heard him mention the civil unrest there once.

It is refreshing to have someone in office that cares about what is going on in the world around him.

Very refreshing.

Adding to all this excitement are what have been a month of “lasts” for my household – as in Heidi’s last classes, Heidi’s last concert, and Heidi’s last day of school – a momentous week to be sure. I have been unexpectedly melancholy about her graduating. I have shed a tear or two, vacillating between wanting to wring her neck and wishing she was just starting high school. Fortunately, the feelings of wishing she was just starting high school have been winning – so she will live to graduate on June 1st!

In addition, there was knitting…in case you were all wondering. FLS is off the needles and on the body and I love it! Pictures coming soon, I promise! I would knit this again! It is the perfect sweater!

This just might become the Summer of Sweaters – I am breezing along with my other summer sweater. Sleeves soon to be cast on…

Also, just to keep things interesting, I have cast on Indigo Ripples II – I have about 3 inches and knitting! Last time, silky wool, this time a little denim-y number!

All this in a week with overtime! Okay – So just, do not expect a well dusted home… seriously.

Anyway, I am off to bed – have a good holiday weekend all!

Springtime in Holland…

I have had several quite startling conversations with people recently about some topics that on the surface seem to have nothing to do with each other, however it could be that they are indeed, more closely linked than one would imagine.

Therefore, I ask you, Gentle Reader, where you fall in the following topics. I am seriously interested in your responses.

Why? Because, someone told that I represent a minority in my beliefs and I find that incomprehensible. Not from the standpoint that my belief is in the minority, because seriously – I often find myself in the minority. Rather because it seems to me there is an obvious right and wrong.

It all began over breakfast with a friend a couple of weeks ago, when she mentioned the termination of Rick Wagoner and included the word Dictatorship in the same sentence. Curious phrasing, to be sure, and I tried to joke that I did not believe that we woke up in Cuba. She did not laugh.

She went on to express her extreme dislike with what President Obama is proposing with his national health care plan. She went on to lament that any form of a nationalized health care plan would equate itself to no care, like our poor neighbors in the world for whom the government controls health care.

At this point, for me the conversation became heated.

I pulled out my soapbox, climbed to the top, and shared with her my thoughts on health care…

What we have is not working.

At least it is not working for the majority of us.

I have been saddened to see more “self-pay” patients who are coming to the hospital much sicker, requiring hospitalization and treatments that are more rigorous. This has become such a problem, at least for the hospital that I work for that they recently started a new initiative just to encompass the people who find themselves without any health care at all. I am not sure how many other hospitals are doing this, but I can tell you that I am proud to work for an organization that is taking steps to help the people who live in West Michigan! If you are interested in reading about the details of MetroCare, you can find the link here.

Lastly, on the Torture Debate that seems to be everywhere you go. I heard this report on NPR. When I brought it up to discuss with a friend, he shocked me with his statement that my beliefs were in the minority and that a majority of my fellow Americans think there is nothing wrong with torturing another human being. Yeah, if that does not depress you, I do not know what does.

I guess you can just call me a dictator-loving socialist who would not hurt a flea, much less another person!

I am just looking for a kinder gentler world, really…much kinder and miles gentler.

On a lighter note, I took a weaving class from the amazing and incredible Jane Patrick of Schacht Spindle Co. fame… she is a great teacher and add to that the opportunity to spend the weekend at Beth’s shop and you have the ingredients for a most remarkable weekend. I learned volumes. All I have to say is that what happens in Mecca stays in Mecca… however; the look on Lousmith’s face when I paid him a dollar was worth the price of admission!

Spring has been quietly arriving here in West Michigan and it is more than welcome. I leave you with a shot from the Crab Apple tree in my front yard!

Do not forget to share your thoughts on health care and torture; I am eagerly awaiting your input to this ongoing debate!

Spring '09 by you.

Have a great weekend!

The spoils of failure?

I have been closely following the taxpayer bailout of A.I.G, as you all have more than likely been doing also, and I have been stunned with each new turn of events.

Okay, truth be told, I have been more than stunned – outraged might be a better word.

Being a hard working, taxpaying citizen, who with my fellow Americans has become an unwilling co-owner in A.I.G. ; the recent news has me more than a bit confused with the idea that there is a reward for failure!

I do not know about you all, but in any review of my work performance, not once have I been rewarded for failure, and most certainly would never expect to receive compensation for putting my company in financial jeopardy, nor would anyone with an ounce of common sense! Yet, it seems that this is exactly what is happening. Moreover, beyond that, a clamor has gone up that there is a contract to pay, so pay we must, it seems.

Yes, that is right, there are, evidently, contracts that state bonuses are due even if the employee looses billions of dollars and pushes their employer over the edge of financial responsibility, causing a federal bailout to keep them afloat.

Excuse me?

I mean really, do they expect us to believe that?

What I would really like to know is why these people are still employed and are still drawing salaries, much less getting bonuses – some of which were in the neighborhood of $3 million dollars! I do not know about you, but from my perspective $165M is a hell of a lot of money and that is what A.I.G. paid out thanks to the taxpayer. Although, a reporter from the New York Times pointed out on the Today Show this morning that the majority of the payouts did not exceed $1,000.00.

I suppose that to someone earning upwards of $500K, a thousand dollars is chump change.

Maybe that is chump change for some, but I would hazard a guess that for the majority of American’s a thousand dollars would indeed be a windfall.

It appears to me that there is such a vast divide between the “haves and the have not’s” today that they have put themselves in a bubble and have been floating around in something that does not even resemble reality and frankly is more like Peter Pan’s Never, Never Land.

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo wants to shame these wastrel’s into giving the funds back and President Obama is up in arms and wants the contracts torn up – okay, good ideas, but it is a bit like closing the barn door after all the horses have gotten out. There is clamoring from the legislature to put a new law on the books to prevent this from happening, another idea with some merit but it seems a day late and several billion dollars short, if you ask me!

I do not know about you, but it seems to be that if one looks at this from a moral and ethical standpoint no bonus payout ever would have happened. Yet how do you get a group of people who obviously do not have morals or ethics to give them back or even to admit that they are the least deserving of any bonus compensation? A group of people who have obviously not given one thought at all about a contract that probably required them to be fiscally responsible for their employer or the shareholders, so tearing up a contract that has no value at all is likewise meaningless. Similarly, the legislature of morality and ethical behavior seems futile.

Once again, with the taxpayer held over a barrel in a damned if we do, damned if we don’t predicament it appears we have few choices.

It seems to me that when one is dealing with someone for whom reality does not exist would be t0 approach the situation from his or her level. In that vein, we should consider asking Tinkerbell to transport them all from Never, Never Land for a visit with Alice in Wonderland where I will gladly play role of the Queen of Heart’s and bring back the guillotine where off with their heads will be the agenda for the day!

In addition, if A.I.G. is concerned about how to replace the casualties they need look no farther than the ranks of the unemployed  which I believe contains a multitude of worthy candidates!

…the promise of things hoped for.

Twenty-seven years ago, I made a very difficult decision – one that forever changed my life in a million different ways. As it often is with difficult decisions, it was ultimately the right decision to make, and here is the beautiful part of this decision – it was not only the right decision for me, it was the right decision for one very small child and one family for whom this child was born.

Today, the thing that I hoped for, longed for, dreamed about but never, ever expected to see come to fruition on this side of eternity happened.

But, the day was not just spent in anticipation of this pending visit, you see I had lovely distraction this morning. I took a drive south to Kalamazoo to have breakfast and while I was there, I was even fortunate enough to get the 25 cent tour of that fine city, one that I thought should have cost much, much more. It seems that even in this economy if one looks very carefully that which is practically perfect is right there waiting for you! Yes, my visit south seemed to be just what the Dr. ordered for a day such as this.

But, I digress…if I told you that I remembered clearly the last day I saw this child, you might not believe me – but remember I do in vivid detail – Technicolor, for those of you beyond a certain age!

Yet, I am sitting here right now and there are no words to express exactly what I felt when I saw her in person standing in front of me. Add to that mix the incredible woman whose job it was to raise her, change her diapers, kiss her scrapes, and sit up with her when she was sick all night, and put up with her teenage moodiness – she had the hard job. Yes, it was quite miraculous to be in a room with women as gracious and giving as my daughter’s mother and Godmother are. That they are here to share her with me humbles me to my innermost being.

To see my children embrace their sister, to see eerie similarities in their faces and mannerisms was like nothing I ever imagined, and it filled me with indescribable joy.

Moreover, tomorrow is a brand new day and I have faith that it will be so much more than what I hope for.

T-minus 36 hours and counting…

Some twenty-seven odd years ago, my life changed drastically and this weekend the Object of that Change is arriving to visit.

The past weeks have almost had a surreal quality and I truly cannot quite believe that the very thing that I always hoped for, but never believed would happen is coming to fruition this weekend.

I have vacillated between moments of incredible joy to tear filled fear as the day has drawn closer.

What is this monumental occasion that has my world turned upside down, you ask? Gentle reader, the daughter I released for adoption just over 27 years ago is coming for a visit.

In person.

On my doorstep.

To say I am a wreck would be a huge understatement.

She is bringing her mother and her godmother with her for this visit.

Now, the question – who do I hug first?

My father…the Yenta?

One should always be suspicious of early morning phone calls from one’s parent requesting an “impromptu lunch” but apparently, when said child stays up late and wakes with only her partial wits about her, one gives a yes answer without stopping to ponder the deeper meaning for such a phone call.

However, I did not giving this phone call one more minute of thought, rather I rose and seeing such an incredibly lovely day greeting me I rapidly filled the morning with other things – like walking the dogs, sipping coffee, listening to NPR, and yes – knitting.

Now knitting generally causes me to think and think I did this morning, and not once in all my thinking did the reason for my father’s spontaneous lunch request occur to me. A pre-occupied mind can be a thing of beauty – but ignorance is not always bliss. Yes, I was soon to learn that my bliss-filled state was about to get a shake up!

For once in my life, I can honestly say that I am thrilled that lunch with my father is not something that I find to be an occasion requiring make up and perfectly coiffed hair – yes that is right, and keep that in mind as this luncheon unfolds.

Upon my arrival at his office, I find everything strangely quiet but a burger from Bud’s is always tasty – even if the conversations there are not. Yes, my dad is a Raving Lunatic when it comes to politics and he is as far to the right as I am to the left. Polar opposites, as it were. I have learned over the years to bite my tongue and remain silent – it is always a good exercise in self-control. What should have really set off the warning bells was the inane chatter that filled the drive over to Bud’s – not one mention of Rush Limbaugh or any of his cronies, but rather the weather and other such trivial things filled the drive.

What happened next is really quite hilarious, especially after telling someone just last night that I loved surprises. When we arrived at the diner for lunch there was a guest joining us – yes, my dad in his infinite wisdom has determined that since I cannot procure a date for myself he will step up to the plate and procure one for me! Yes, you read that right – my father apparently thinks he is now a matchmaker, oy vey!

Gentle Reader, I do not often lose my temper but I could feel my blood pressure increase 100 fold as I sat down at the table. My father was grinning from ear to ear, the poor dolt whom my father had told God only knows what about me actually looked like he wished he was elsewhere but sat there gamely as my father introduced us. I somehow managed to be stunningly silent during lunch, I know – even I was amazed by this feat! I was even so rude as to send off several SMS messages off to a friend during said lunch – imagine that! Lunch proved to have epic fail qualities and then some!

The satisfaction I felt on the return trip to his office was well worth the scolding I got for my poor behavior.

I am especially thankful for makeup free, bad hair days particularly when your clothing selection that morning included baggy jeans and a ratty old sweatshirt.

Divine intervention to be sure…

When Mo Rocca learns a lesson from knitters or When life is practically perfect in every way…

Good Day, Gentle Readers from the thawing Great White North!

The world around me is finally thawing with signs of spring! It has seemed to be a long couple of weeks here in West Michigan. Winter has been fighting a valiant battle and his icy breath continues to cover the land, although the sun has melted most of the snow – but yesterday when I was letting, the dogs out I heard the familiar call of a Robin and when I looked around, I spied him hopping jauntily in my back yard! There is nothing like seeing the first Robin of the season. In addition, today we have warmed up to a whopping 56°F and you could find me outside enjoying the day – even sans sunshine, it is a glorious day outside! It seems unreal that on Monday morning when I was leaving work it was a frigid 7°F and when you factored in the wind chill it was well below zero!

While I was outside, I spied another sign of spring with a Wooly Caterpillar who was enjoying the warmth of the day as well! Can butterflies and flowers be far behind?

Last night I was fortunate to see Frost/Nixon and thoroughly enjoyed it for a number of reasons, one of which was the memories of remembering watching the Nixon Senate hearings when I was in High School. Every day when I would get home, it was all the rage over the airwaves and truly was what set me on the path for my interest in all things political. Frost/Nixon was a great movie with even better company!

While my social life is on the upswing in the most wonderful of ways, my knitting has been less than productive… my Clapotis is still languishing on the needles. FLS is growing in stature, but each row is L-O-N-G and this is not an easy to “take along” project. I have cast on a sock, but I am past the point of mindless stockinette and in the midst of cables – rending this project useless as an “easy knit.” I am restless and searching but I managed to find some shiny objects at The Twist Collective that ended up in my queue. It seems that my Cast-on-itis is flaring up again.

Finally, I stumbled upon the most hilarious of events… Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me proved an unwitting accomplice to Mo Rocca and his knitting faux pas a couple of weeks ago. Mo’s comments brought a barrage of comments worthy of mention on the following weeks show and Mr. Rocca constructed a well worded, if albeit misguided, apology in which he blamed Alpacas for his dislike of hand knit items. This prompted me to write in to offer my meager assistance to Mr. Rocca, which led to some hilarity for my week – and being short on blog fodder and in my promise to another, more special person, I am offering this up to my readership as a blog bone for the dry season.

My letter to the Wait, Wait Staff:

Dear Wait, Wait… Don’t Tell Me Staff,

I am a knitter, spinner, and weaver and I felt it imperative that I help you with Mr. Rocca’s Alpaca blunder on this week’s show… Alpaca is one of the softest and non-scratchy of fibers and a sweater knit from that would be truly a thing that the other members of your panel would be most envious of.

Mr. Rocca should count himself fortunate to have had such a warm and affectionate bed companion whilst he was overseas!

I thought I should give you a heads up before Ravelry or the Society for the Prevention of Cheap Comic Humor of Alpaca’s started their email barrage!

I would be happy to send you some socks knit with Alpaca for Mr. Rocca – however he would find himself in such a blissful state that he might prove useless to you as a Panel Member in the future.

Regards,

AsKatKnits

To which they replied:

Hello Kathy–

We apologize for Mo’s ignorance of livestock, weaving, and the whole knitting world.  I can assure you that Mo means well and is doing his best to win the knitting community over.

Thanks for listening to the show and writing in!  We love learning more about alpacas and knitting.

Best–

WaitWait

With that, Gentle Reader, I bid you adieu and go to spread Knitterly Love with the world around me and in the words of the Divine Brenda Dayne, ‘if you are cold, put on a sweater!’ Yes, life is practically perfect in every way.