Thursday, June 29, 2006

Challenge 3: Disharmony

Sublime and Peachy have been feeling a bit neglected. Some very good books, some plans with friends, some tiredness, and the lack of good television, have meant my knitting pace has slowed. They knew going in that I was fickle, but I guess my great progress with Kiwi had led them to believe things would be different. And to be fair, I thought I'd be a little further along by this point too. So, Sublime and Peachy (with their various supports: resin circs, woodens circ and a stitch counter) have decided that they needed their own compositions to demonstrate their feelings. (Even though I think their themes are similar enough that they could share, but I'm trying to be supportive here.)

So, Peachy has decided to re-craft the lyrics of Genesis' "Easy Lover" into:
"Easy Knitter"
Easy Knitter
She'll tangle you up believe it
Make you bitter
Before you know it you're unraveling
She's an easy knitter
She'll start your skein but then just leave it
She's just a flitter
She's not devoted to finishing

She's the kind of girl you dream of
Dream will knit you u-up
You'd better forget it
You'll never get it
She will knit a bit and leave you
Knit you and then peeve you
Better forget it
Oh you'll regret it

No you'll never change her, so leave it, leave it
Hide your stash cause seeing is believing
It's the only way
You'll ever know

Easy knitter
She'll tangle you up believe it
Make you bitter
Before you know it you're unraveling
She's an easy knitter
She'll start your skein but then just leave it
She's just a flitter
She's not devoted to finishing

You want her to hold on to you
Knit you and to purl you
You'd better forget it
You'll never get it
For she'll say that there's no more
Till she finds a yarn store
Better forget it
Oh you'll regret it

And don't try to change her, just leave it, leave it
You're not the only skein, ooh seeing is believing
It's the only way
You'll ever know, oh(Repeat)

She's an easy knitter (she's a easy knitter)
She'll tangle you up believe it (tangle you up)
Make you bitter
Before you know it you're unraveling (you're unraveling)
She's an easy knitter
She'll start your skein but then just leave it (just leave it)
She's just a flitter
And I'm just trying to make you see (trying to make you see)

And for Sublime's piece:

She found me and she seemed so nice
She promised a good knit along
I thought we'd be together
But I guess that I was wrong

I saw no reason to worry
I ignored the rumors I had heard
She was so attentive at first
I thought they were jealous words

She talked me into making changes
She said that at the beach
I would not blend in well
I should let her dye me peach

That was when I should have guessed
That's how I should have known
My color turned out less
Like a peach, more a traffic cone

And then she started knitting others
But promised I was still the one
Said we needed to act like a team
And that variety could be fun

I spend more time in her purse
Than out being purled and knit
I have bonded with her keys and cell
Her gum has quite the wit

And even when we're knitting
She barely even looks
Can't remember what row we're on
Tries to knit and read a book

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Things People Should Know #4

Dear Dancing People,

If one has decided to use the name Hijack for one's dance troupe, then you should expect that you need to be particularly careful in airports. Understandably - the word hijack does not have happy or even dance-oriented associations for most in the air industries. So, it would follow that if you are traveling (by plane) about the country, and one or your props is a fake bomb, that perhaps some care is called for. As anyone who has had anything questioned or confiscated at an airport knows, the defense that your item made it without incidents the last time(s) you traveled is a weak one. There are many stories people could tell you about nail cutters, safety pins and the like that were found unsuitable for plane travel. Air security is still a tense issue in this country and amidst all of the potentially dangerous items (such as those above), I think we can all agree that air security is most assuredly not supposed to allow bombs. Yes, this one was fake - but wouldn't anyone try that excuse. And in fact - the Philadelphia air security did their job and disposed of it. So, on behalf of the lovely folks who had their travel plans delayed while the airport was evacuated, and future travelers whose paths you will cross, please consider not traveling with your fake bomb.

Someone with air travel plans this month

The Amazing Lace Non-Update

Hello! I know you haven't heard much from me (or Sublime, or Peachy) about the Amazing Lace recently. Peachy and Sublime are very excited about the latest challenge and have been busily crafting away their entries. (They say if I knitted them more, they wouldn't have so much time, but that's a long story.) So, the upshot is, we should have something shortly.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Not A Button Whore

But they are so pretty! Yes, I have added myself to the Yarn Addicts list. Trust me I may be soomewhat new to this hobby, but it is already taking up a over the door shoe rack, and three baskets.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Someone Else's News: Changing How You See

I heard this story on my way in to work this morning: Going Binocular. You may be familiar with Oliver Sacks, having read his books (The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat) or seen movies adapted from his books ("Awakenings", "At First Sight"). Well he has a tangential role in this story of a woman born cross-eyed who had spent much of her life seeing monocularly (rather than binocularly, as most of us do).
I don't want to recap the whole story for you (after, NPR did a really nice job already), but I just want to touch on some things. (So, go read/listen to the story and then come back, how about). Anyone who has taken a psychology or neuroscience course has probably heard the story of the cross-eyed kittens (kittens born cross-eyed, are unable to see binocularly even after surgery). It is one of those things that is fascinating from a nature/nurture perspective.
But the story of Susan Barry is also interesting from a perspective of adaptability. She spent fifty years seeing monocularly, and until she hit college she had no idea she was seeing differently than other people. Barry drove, worked as a professor, and did all these things with no apparent difficulty.
And then of course, she met a wonderful doctor who didn't say - no, it's too late to help you. Or why would you want to try to change it now. But, sure let's try this. worked! And Barry discovered that things really do look different in stereo. (Remember that thing they would have you do as a kid where you stuck your thumb in front of you and then looked at with both eyes, and then each eye separately. To over-simplify, Barry was looking at the thumb with one eye at a time.)
So, I started my day today with great thoughts about adapting, coping, perceptions, our ability to change, and the beauty of seeing a snowfall with both eyes at the same time.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

In Defense of MySpace and the Rest of the Internet

I have teenage cousins, I work with teenagers, I live in the US in the aughts, so I hear a lot about MySpace and other networking sites where people frequent. At one family dinner relatives states that a teenager was risking her life by being on MySpace. I responded that certainly not all of the tens of thousands of people on MySpace are - you know - dead. And I don't mean to be flip. (Well, I do a little). But we are - to a certain extent - blaming the internet for something that existed long before the internet.
Back in the day there were books, and TV movies-of-the-week, and news horror stories about people killed by people they met through newspaper personals. Before that I'm sure that there were other methods that people were blaming for bringing people in contact with killers, rapists and pedophiles. I don't want to beat this point too much here, but killers, rapists and pedophiles are not new. They have always existed and sadly probably always will. I'm not saying that people who become victims if such people bring it on themselves or that we shouldn't try to stop, assist and prevent such behavior. We absolutely should. And certainly changing technology necessitates that we change the ways that we protect ourselves and others.
Parents used to (and hopefully still do) warn their children about talking to strangers. Well, people on the internet are often strangers. So, we need to help our children make good decisions. Decide who it's okay to talk to. How to draw lines about people you talk to but don't meet. And how to take precautions if and when you do decide to meet people you have met on the internet.
Reading this story about a teenager suing MySpace because she was assaulted by a person she had met through MySpace reminded me of that. This 14 year-old is upset that the 19 year-old she met on MySpace was not truthful about himself on MySpace and assaulted her. (I assume these two things are not related.) They are charging that MySpace did not do a good job of protecting her.
But what were they supposed to do? Clearly she had decided on a public (rather than private) profile, or this guy would not have been able to contact her. Then she decided - based on information provided by the guy (not MySpace) - that he was trustworthy and she should give him her phone number. I don't see what MySpace - based on this information - could have done. And MySpace's response is in a similar vein. They take web safety seriously, but in the end, people make their own choices. MySpace is a networking site. Most people join it to meet other people. (I know MySpace's origins had a slightly different mission, but this is where we are today). One of the things you learn - whether you meet people at school, at a party, at Starbucks or on the net, is people aren't always truthful about themselves. And sadly, people aren't always trustworthy. It wouldn't make sense for me to sue Starbucks if I gave a person I met there my phone number and things turned out badly. I would have to blame the person who attacked me.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Things People Should Know #3

You have likely by now heard of the woman who decided to go "streaking" across the pitch during the Ireland vs. New Zealand rugby match. Lisa Lewis, 25, has said streaking was on her list of things to do before she died. She then put the bikini she wore for the act up for auction - she says to help defray her legal costs. The plot thickens as an ex-boyfriend has turned up stating that he purchased both her breast enlargements and the bikini in question and so Lewis should either be prevented from selling the bikini, or should have to giv the proceeds to him.

Oh there are so many things here. First, I understand wanting to do some crazy things before you die (one imagines Lewis is not expecting to kick if anytime soon, but I appreciate her wanting to get a good start on the list).

* Streaking is defined as running naked in public, so technically she has failed. But I'll allow that she may have had her own definition for what she felt she needed to accomplish.
*If you choose things that are illegal, particularly things that involve internationally televised events, be prepared for being caught. And paying. So, the idea that she wants to sell the bikini because the fines and such would be more than she could afford - well, hey, maybe streak somewhere not so heavily guarded and televised. (As it turns out, the fine was relatively low, and the auction - assuming it goes through - has been very successful, but both of those were things that were outside her control).
* On to the boyfriend. As far as the breast enhancement - there is no such thing as breast support or breast alimony. You may have helped pay for her breast enhancement (I don't know that his claims have been confirmed), but the joy of such things is that you don't get to decide what she does with them. Even if any of her choices are illegal. Or televised.
* And the same goes for the bikini. Is it tacky to sell something someone else gave you? Yes. Miss Manners has actually covered this and stated that certainly one cannot be expected to hold on to every thing every person has ever given you, but you should make a good faith effort to make sure the person who gave it to you is not aware of your disposal of the item. Now one could argue that Lewis had no idea her story would get such attention (although if it didn't, how would enough people have known about the auction?), but even if she is in the wrong etiquette-wise, it does not change the ownership of the bikini. If it was given to her, it is hers to do with what she wants. If he wants to go through life, including contracts for appropriate use with all his gifts, he can do that. But until then, it's hers. And so should the money be.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Heads Prevail

Dear Mr. Roethelisberger:
I want to thank you for your recent actions. While I do not currently have a loved one waiting on an organ list, I appreciate that you tried to help out some of those people. Most athletes, even in the off-season demonstrate caution. They work to protect their various body parts, one imagines out of a concern for the length of their career. But you, Mr. Roethelisberger demonstrated a heretofore unknown desire to share those various body parts with more of the world. And while it looks like the valiant efforts of the various medical personal, and some very good luck will keep you from doing that his time I want to thank you for the thought.
I also want to thank you on behalf of parents with children. One hears stories of children believing they are invincible and getting into arguments with their parents over the necessity of wearing protective gear. And one would think that someone who wears protective gear to work would understand its purpose. But instead you have sacrificed your head (especially your jaw) to assist parents. Perhaps you would be willing to share photos from the scene that parents could hang next to their children's skates, blades, bicycles and scooters.
So, for your twofold action, I thank you.
PS. Thank god you have health insurance!

Things Passed Down

I've been thinking a bit about inheritance(s). Now, the word calls to mind families such as the Hiltons where some family members seem able to make ridiculous choices knowing that they are cushioned by an inheritance of money or at least a successful company. Myself, I have no expectations that my mother will leave me millions of dollars and she does not own a business. Which is not to say that I have never received financial support from my family - I have, and I appreciate that I am very fortunate in that respect. But there's all sorts of other things that we get, or feel we can expect to get or hope to get.
There are of course genes. The very stuff of our existence handled down equally from each parent. Many of these I am thankful for. Okay, I am thankful for being here, which then makes me thankful for all of them. But hey, wouldn't we all like the chance to make a few upgrades or exchanges. For example, my brother is wasting the thick curls he got - I got partially curly hair - curlier in the back than it is in front. Wouldn't it be nice if we could swap? And my mother has whatever thingamybob it is makes mosquitoes not notice her - I'd trade that for the mosquitoes travel miles to get me through my clothes thing that I have now.
And then there are the less physical things. The stuff that might be some combinations of genes and family environment. I got procrastination from both my parents. The ability to argue stuff into the ground came from my dad. I have the family ability to compartmentalize to the point of repression. Both my parents were avid readers, although my mother feels I have taken this ability to a new level. Creativity and craftiness are all over my family tree. There is also alcoholism - which so far I seem to have personally escaped, although I am hyper-aware of that history.
And then there are things outside of myself. Furniture and other pieces that I always expected would be there. My parents lived in the same house throughout my whole childhood. I understood that this was unusual, that I couldn't expect that they would always be there in that same place. And actually, they talked for years about moving - to another house, to another state. So when my mother finally did, it was not surprising. But it was (and is) weird to go visit her in a place that I have no attachment to. To see pieces I recognize mixed in with pieces I don't.
And I understand that - corny though it is - I will always have my memories. That the stuff if just the reminder, and also that I don't have any place to put much of this stuff anyway - should it be offered to me. (I've collected my own detritus quite well, thank you). But it's strange. And it makes me a bit nostalgic, although, goodness knows I don't want to move back home or any of that nonsense.

But as my family goes through another property consolidation, it's interesting to discover that I am getting more caught up in the stuff than I had expected to. Don't get me wrong - there are no fights, no tears. Everything has been handled for the most part well. But I had expected to be almost disinterested, and that's not what's happening for me. As with so many things, you think you are above such attachments, until it hits something that gets you going. It's just interesting - that's all.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

The Amazing Lace Update #4

Yes, I promised pictures of Sublime - so here we go.

Progress has slowed to what might be considered a more normal pace for someone who works full time (I knit on conference calls though, ssshhh) and still reads a lot.
I have also been taken in by the siren call of Spring Fling. Sublime has so far been okay with this splitting of my attentions. For Spring Fling I am using the TLC Cotton Plus yarn that was such a steady companion for the first project. This yarn started off as white but agreed to be the guinea pig in my yarn dying so, with the help of some so-called peach dye, is now a mix of whites, peaches and orange.

So far is has been knitting up beautifully. Further satisfying my knitting rebel spirit (who knew knitting would make me so adventurous?) I have tweaked the Spring Fling pattern a bit, using the Waterfall lace pattern, rather than the original ribbing.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Books: One That Made me Happy

Since I keep kvetching about the things that annoy me, I thought I would share one that made me happy. (Disclaimer: I actually do read more books that make me happy than don't, but some seem to call out for further discussion more than others). I started and finished Suzanne Brockmann's The Admiral's Bride yesterday. It's a Silhouette re-release, so it's a fairly quick read. (Especially if you stay up to finish it). I discovered Suzanne Brockmann through her Troubleshooters series and have been backtracking to the Tall, Dark and Dangerous series as they get re-released (or I find them on Paperback Swap). I don't want to spoil the plot too much for anyone so I will stick to the basics.

First - this is a combined mission - hence the heroine's entree, since women can't be SEAL's. (Sorry - there's a SEAL team also - forgot to mention that). One of the plot points is that many of the team members are concerned that one team member isn't really up to the task. The twist (if you will) is that it is not the girl they are all worried about. It's the titular Admiral. He's been behind a desk, he's too old, technology has changed (how they think he keeps getting promoted if he doesn't understand the technology no one really answers) and so on. And yes it's another broad cultural stereotype. But it's so nice to read a book where other than the brief, "You're who they sent?" moment - no one questions the female member's competence. (In fact she at one point is given credit for a little too much dedication, but that's far into the storyline).

Second, there is an age difference between our hero and heroine. Apparently Suzanne Brockmann got some pushback on this when it was first released (way back in 1999) because of this. Because the guy is 50 and we all know 50 is old and not heroic. (I present exhibit A - Mark Harmon. Brockmann said she imagined a Mel Gibson character. One reviewer suggested Harrison Ford.) And the heroine is not 50. She is 29.

And here's the thing. I may have an "Oh!" moment when I see a couple with a clear age difference (I'm working on it). But in the end, I know couples with age difference and they are wonderful together. As with so many things, just reading the stat one might think - ew - but in reality when you see it, it often makes sense. I know really immature people who are my chronological age who I wouldn't consider dating because they're too young. The story and the age difference are beautifully handled.

Note: For this third bit - I'm not spoiling major plot points, but I am going a little farther into the character development, so you may want to stop now.

Third, the hero in question had a long term relationship with a wonderful woman who died. And one of the things he struggles with is the fact that - while she died three years ago - she was the love of his life. So, how could he even be selfish enough to expect that he would ever fall in love again? Which I found a fascinating question. In our one true love society - when so many people are trying to find their first great love, is it fair for someone to expect that they could be two people's great love?

And then there is the question - can you fall in love again when you're still in love with the deceased partner? One of my favorite episodes of "Designing Women" was when Charlene was first dating Bill. His wife had died of cancer and he felt it wasn't fair for him to date other people because he was still in love with his wife. And Julia, who was a widow, invited him over for tea. She told him that when she had started dating Reese, he had said to her, "You just go right on loving [your husband], because I wouldn't have any respect for woman who stopped loving a man just because he was dead."

And this is all very timely since I had a conversation with someone over the weekend about this. There are people in my life who have died. And whether you believe they are angels in heaven or ghosts walking around or they have disappeared into the ether - I'm not ready to give them up. I still feel them in my life. I'm not letting them (or anyone living for that matter) hold me back. I have gotten to a place where I am no longer ruled by the grief their loss caused me. But I'm not giving them up. I am accepting that the way they are present for me has changed, and that's it. And really, that's plenty.

So, back to the book. As I stated, I thought this progression was very interesting, and - as with the rest - really wonderfully handled. So - I highly recommend this one.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The Amazing Lace Update #3

In the end the news is good. Last week Kiwi and I had a snag. I'm underplaying it a bit - it was more like a huge tangle where there had been a lovely skein. I blame myself. Kiwi says I shouldn't, but this has happened to me before. I try to be loving and gentle with my team members. I try to support them and make sure they feel appreciated. And then something happens. I'm not sure if it was because I was spending too much time with the mitered square blanket (I just needed a change of pace - we had already made such great progress on the tank). Or it could be when I took Kiwi to a dinner event. We traveled by metro which was new for Kiwi. But once at the event, Kiwi had to go into the purse. I may have given Kiwi false expectations about how much time we would be able to spend together at the event. I may not have provided proper accommodations in my purse. But regardless, this is what happened.

So Kiwi and I had a long talk and we decided to make some changes. Kiwi promised to let me know sooner when there were problems we needed to address, and I promised to try harder to avoid such problems. And so a skein switch was done and we were off again. Kiwi came to work with me (sssh). Kiwi and I spent evenings together. We went to Starbucks on Saturday, for Knit in Public Day.

And - with blocking and weaving in yet to be done - here we are!

We are both very excited! We feel we both grew from our experiences together and learned how to be better teammates. Kiwi had been an excellent companion.

My next teammate is Knit One Purl Two's Sublime. We are working on a very simple (hee) leaf panel stitch one skein scarf. Pictures soon.

You Don't Have to be Creative...Not the Way You Think

I often hear people say, "I wish I were creative" or "I wish I were crafty". (Crafty is meant here in the arts and crafts sense rather than the trickster sense). And here's the thing - you don't have to be. Certainly having an artistic ability or an artistic eye can be infinitely useful. I have great respect for people who are able to take some paint or some clay and turn it into something fascinating.

But I rarely hear people bemoaning their lack of creativity while standing in an art gallery. (I'm sure there are many people thinking it, but I digress again). Typically the lack of creativity and craftiness follows looking at something that someone else has created - be it a hand knitted scarf, a quilt or a well-decorated pie.

Don't get me wrong there are people who can look in a kitchen cabinet or a pile of material and see greatness. But there are many of us who primarily follow directions well. I'm not saying there's not art to some of my cooking or knitting or beading. But a lot of it is following directions. And certainly there are times when I adjust, tweak or altogether abandon the directions. And you could choose to view that as artistic or you could choose to view that as risky.

So what I'm getting at here is the semantics surrounding creative pursuits often make people who feel they are right-brained feel they cannot really be creative. You may have more options if you are able to think outside the box - or in this case the pattern - but it is not required.

One of the bold statements I made when I took up knitting was that I just wanted something relaxing to do that I didn't have to think about. (Can you hear the knitters laughing at me?) I wasn't going to make hard stuff - like clothes (look below to see how long that lasted). I just wanted something mindless. (I'll pause to let the knitters out there recover from that one).

I didn't know that knitting - much like cooking - required math skills. There are stitch counts and repeats and gauge counts. Especially if, as I often do, you don't buy the yarn they have helpfully suggested on the pattern. I didn't realize that if I wanted to do anything with a pattern (which I quickly did) I needed to count rows. That I needed to make choices (much like I do in work) - did I want it done fast or done right. There was a fabulous article in Knitty (which I will hopefully be able to find and link directly to) about how the way you knit reflects your personality. And it does. So knitting (and other crafts - scrapbooking, cooking, jewelry making, etc) can be done by analytical people, perfectionist people, math-y people, and all other kinds of people.

Now of course you may not have any unfulfilled desire to be crafty, or craftier than you are right now. But - if you do - then go for it. Don't let your right-brain-ness hold you back (in fact, as I said, its really not holding you back, so go for it!)

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Challenge 2: X-treme Knitting

Kiwi and I have learned enough about each other to know that we are both open for adventure. We ignore basic instructions (such as parts of the pattern) choosing to (accidentally or otherwise) forge our own path. Kiwi has faced fears by not cringing in the presence of my cat. And I - well - I signed up for this challenge.

So, what did we select for our extreme knitting? Our choice involves sharp objects, blunt objects, speed and really determined competitors. And those were just the folks on screen! Kiwi knows I like to multi-task. Knitting by itself can be a lot of fun. But knitting while reading or while watching television is even better.

The danger is of course that I get so wrapped up in the pattern, that I miss what is going on on the screen. For assistance with that problem we are eternally grateful to Mr. Tivo, who has been a great help to us. The other danger is that I get so wrapped up in the action on screen (Stanley Cup Finals, people!) that I keep knitting - missing yo's, dropping stitches, knitting where I should have purled. Leading to what we have been hoping to avoid - frogging (the TAL equivalent of a yield).

But Kiwi was up to the challenge. Fortunately our early progress meant that the front and back have now been joined, so I am knitting in the round. Although the potential exists for me to do seven knit rows instead of four, at least it will look a little better.

So - for game one Monday night - we took the plunge. And it was a success. Our progress was not a swift as it might have been, but we opted for correct progress over fast progress (which is probably growth for me).

So - tada! And - go Canes!

Books: Forgiveness and other concerns

I recently read a mediocre novel of the romance genre. (Someday I do promise to talk about books I enjoy). It is written by an author who is now published as mainstream fiction - where I first discovered her work. I have read others of her work when she was sold strictly as romance, and enjoyed them. This one - not so much.

Problem #1
The storyline is told in third person, primarily from the viewpoint of the lead female. There is a serial killer on the loose and so we are getting snippets from him and also some perspective from the lead male. But the lead male perspective is intentionally hinting at secrets and soullessness, in order to try to convince me that he could be the serial killer. Yeah, cause that'll happen in a romance novel. (I say this not to denigrate romance at all - I adore the romance/women's fiction genre, but one of the things that I like about the romance genre is the fact that as many horrible things happen, the two leads always end up together.)

Problem #2
I don't have kids. But there is a scene where she sees her child talking to a man her child has never met on the front lawn. She chides her child for talking to strangers, and her child explains that this man told her it was okay. And the man in question is (supposedly - she never calls to check) an FBI agent so she invites him in. I'm not sure what the right solution is here. I know one of the biggest obstacles to teaching children to be careful about strangers is that children think that nice people don't count as the people they are supposed to be careful around. And I know we're talking about a fictional child, but if you're going to make a point in the book that this agent was questioning a young child without a parent present (which I feel certain is not allowed) and also trying to undo your parenting by telling your child that he's a special kind of stranger (much like a pedophile might say), then don't turn around and invite the guy into your house.

Problem #3
When the lead male confesses to the lead female that he's done lots of bad things he has to atone for and therefore doesn't deserve her (which by the way - yuck - people are not prizes), she answers that when he's ready to tell her what she's done, she'll be ready to forgive him. And here is the one that just annoyed the crap out of me. First, of all, she doesn't know what he's done. Now, I know this is emotional manipulation of the reader, because I'm supposed to worry that he's the killer and now she's gone and forgiven him. The scene would have been just as powerful if she had said she'd be ready to listen.

And let me rant for a little longer on the subject of forgiveness. I think we tend to take the idea of forgiveness a little lightly. First, since we don't yet know what the guy did, how do we know if requires forgiveness? And how do we know she's in a position to forgive him. If, for example, he killed fourteen women, she can forgive him all she wants, but it's not really up to her. He didn't do anything to her - she's not the one that he would need forgiveness from.

Forgiveness is one of those areas where I agree with Dr. Laura - we feel like good people if we grant forgiveness. It allows us to feel like a bigger person. There's all these people on talks shows and such telling you to let go of stuff you've been holding on to, to forgive people for things you think they did to hurt you. And all of that is true. But forgiveness and letting go are not one and the same. And forgiveness should have two things - first - it should be about something that was done to you. I can forgive my neighbors for letting their dog attack my other neighbor's child (just an example) - but it's not up to me. And second - forgiveness should accompany someone actually indicating some remorse for what hey did, and hopefully a behavioral change.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The Amazing Lace Update #2

Well, Kiwi and I are learning more and more about each other. Kiwi has also gotten to know the silent partner in this endeavor - aka my cat. They seem to be getting along, although Kiwi is a little tired of having the occasional *cough* fur knitted in. But I say it only enhances the pattern. Kiwi is unconvinced.

Kiwi and I had quite the busy weekend. We started Saturday by heading downtown to participate in the Walk for the Cure. (Kiwi and I are in agreement that running is not any more or less supportive and there was no need for us to drain ourselves by running when walking was a perfectly acceptable alternative.)
Kiwi fared a little better than I. I wore shoes that had been broken in on warmer days, so ended up being just a smidge big on the rather cool day that we ended up with. Kiwi suggested I wear different shoes - flip flops even, but I didn't listen. Or at least not right away. So we ended up making a visit to the lovely CVS for flip flops and band aids.

Then, after a brief rest, we hopped into the car and headed up to Warrington, PA. Very pretty.
And then we headed back again, Sunday. Kiwi and I were quite tired, but proud of our progress. Stay tuned!

Someone Else's Article: More Author Annoyance

Just to show that other people experience severe reader frustration (perhaps we should name it and apply for APA status?) - here is the wonderful Jon Carroll with a lovely parody of how he thinks Dean Koontz might have described John Wilkes Booth right before he assasinated Lincoln.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Stuck in a Tower

The joy of feminism and female empowerment is that females can be whoever they want to be. Which means if you choose to be a wimpy, buffeted by the wind kind of girl - that is your right. However, if I am going to read about your fictional self - you (or perhaps more correctly your author) need own up to it.

I am reading Andrea Kane's I'll Be Watching You. And Taylor - our "heroine" - waivers back and forth enough to suggest one of two things. Either she is not as strong as Ms. Kane is trying to make me believe she is. Or Ms. Kane can't have her be strong, because that would interfere with the plot.

Now I have read others of Ms. Kane's contemporary romantic suspense, and enjoyed them. They tend not to be brilliantly plotted mysteries but this is the first one where by page 60 I was tired of the lead. A synopsis: Taylor, teen psychologist who works at an exclusive New York high school and also has a teen talk show, shared an apartment with her actress cousin. Her cousin dated an idiot, who one day, when the cousin wasn't home, assaulted Taylor. The cousin buzzed from downstairs, thereby interrupting the assault before it developed into rape. Dude left her unconscious and handcuffed to the bed. That same night the boat cousin and idiot were on blew up. Dun, dun, dun, dun! But wait, he has a twin.

I recognize that to be a therapist or guidance counselor or radio star, one doesn't have to be any good at running their own life. She apparently has no friends. She's an only child and doesn't talk to her parents. What do we have here? We have a woman in dire need of rescue! It's the chick-in-the-tower story. I'm so lost. I'm so alone. Whatever will I do?

Now, Taylor does start therapy herself and she does decide to move out of the apartment where she was assaulted (and apparently has enough money that she has not had to get a roommate to replace the dead cousin). But she's still lonely. And afraid. Especially when she starts getting emails, and senses she's being followed, and gets weird phone calls. But of course the police brush her off (in their defense she only called them about the emails, and they assumed they had been pre-set to be sent by dead idiot). So, what will she do?

Oh, hey - it turns out there is a sexy, masculine (ugh), complex (UGH), lawyer who happens to work with the twin idiots so he crosses paths with her due to some fraudulent investment dead idiot had set up with dead cousin. And so he offers to give her self defense lessons. Which she agrees to in exchange for stories of his big, warm, happy family. (Any guesses what will happen?)

And so it's wonderful when he starts showing up everywhere. And makes plans for them without asking her. (Which is a whole other rant, I know). In fact, she thanks him for not having sex with her after she falls asleep. Thanks him! And if this was part of the pathology of her having been assaulted, that would be one thing. But no - this is to show me that he's such a great guy and she's so lucky to have him. Imagine, a guy who waits until you're awake to have sex with you. What a catch!

And she's like this with everything. She confronts parents of a student who is making inappropriate sexual advances and tells them they need to have a talk with their son. But when his behavior continues, does she talk to them again? No - she avoids the student! When twin idiot shows up at the school on a trumped up reason and asks her out, does she just say, "No thanks" and move on. No, she stays to justify her decision. (Remember - she's a psychologist). And look, I'm not trying to say she's bringing this stalking on herself. Or that these various people would suddenly get it if she just took the right approach.

(I skimmed and finally made it to the end - and while it wasn't all totally predictable - it still was bad. And actually it was predictable, she just merged two over-used plots.)

So - everyone can be whatever and whoever they want to be - including the chick in the tower. But don't try to tell me that there is complexity and strength to sitting there and hoping things get better. But then, at the end (which I won't spoil) she suddenly has all this strength. But it's not her strength - no - it's because Mr. Complex Lawyer taught it to her.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

The Amazing Lace Update

Well, Kiwi and I have learned a lot about each other. Our pace together has been swift - and we are hoping to maintain that pace. Kiwi has learned that while I am very good about reading directions, I don't always follow them. Right off the bat, I knit and purled the first four rows, instead of just knitting. We both agreed we liked the effect and have continued with it. Hopefully, this won't prove problematic for us in the challenges to come.

Kiwi and I also suspect that they used white yarn in the pattern picture to make it difficult to see how much bra was really showing through. Since neither Kiwi or I really like sewing, this may become a garment that is worn as a top layer, rather than just a top. We shall see.

Hello, I am a Book Addict

Okay, I don't actually consider this a bad thing. For some reason, while my mother loves that I read she does not enjoy the fact that I read quickly or that I hang on to many of them. The quickly thing is less of an issue now, but used to drive her crazy after she would take me and my sister to the library, let us choose two books, and then I'd be done with mine that evening. (Keep in mind these books were about a hundred pages, it takes me a little longer these days depending on what I'm reading). My mother was confronted with that parental paradox, in that I had done just what she wanted, only faster than she had planned. So now I was back bugging her again. This often led to me reading my sister's books, which would still be waiting on the stairs. So, I also annoyed my sister by reading her books before she did. I was such a lovely child.

Anyway these days, I buy a lot of my books. I also borrow from friends. And so I own a lot of books. And while a sell, swap and donate a lot of books each year, I still have a lot. My mother is always surprised that I feel the need to go to a bookstore since I already have so many books. As I often point out, I have read them (Okay most of them, there's a couple that are "in progress" because I got stuck or distracted). And most of the ones I have saved I re-read. But there are so many books out there. And while I have no plans to attempt to read them all - there's a lot I want a crack at.

So, I have recently discovered Paperback Swap. Oh and this has fed my addiction. I post books I am willing to part with, mail them out, and earn credits that I can use to get other books. Currently, membership is completely free (although it does cost if you choose to become a boxer.) I have come across books I have been meaning to read, that are hard to find in my local store, or that I just wasn't sure if I wanted to pay full price for. With the closing of some of the nearby used books stores, this is a great substitute! And their selection is pretty impressive. In the short month or so that I have been a member, I have completed 24 transactions. Oh - it's so much fun.

But of course there are some books you can't trade. Or they're not quite in trading shape. Or you just feel a burning desire to release it immediately into the wild. Well, there is Book Crossing! Again membership is free, although you do purchase the supplies to designate your book. You can leave your book on a park bench, in a coffee-tea shop, in the laundromat, on the bus or wherever you are inspired to do so. Much like the money and camera tracking websites, people who pick up your can log in and let you know where they encountered your book. So you can follow your book's journey. (Hopefully, right now they say about 25 percent of books released get followed up on, but still - how fun!)

Happy reading!