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Before I rant, please watch this video. Try hard to watch the whole thing. If you can’t, I understand and think that you will agree with me for the most part. If you think it’s right on, then maybe you should stop reading now if  you can’t handle another opinion.

Video Royce Mann, Age 14

Are you back? OK, my reaction. Go to your “safe space” if you need to.

I’m sorry, kid. I am sorry that a bunch of adults have taught you not to value anything you accomplish in life through the sweat of your brow and work of your own creativity and intellect because you were born a white male.

You didn’t choose to be a white, middle class kid. Just like I didn’t choose to be a white, middle class woman. I don’t feel guilty about something that was an accident of fate (or destiny, whatever you want to call it).

Is there inequality in the world? Yes

Do people get judged because of their age/skin color/looks/speech pattern etc? Yes

Are people who form an opinion of you based solely on something you have nothing to do with complete idiots? Yes

Ignore them. EVERYONE face some form of discrimination at some point. One day, when you are a white, middle class young man with a shiny new degree, you will go on job interviews. And somewhere, a company is going to make a decision to hire a minority because they have a quota. You will be discriminated against.

What do you do about it? Fight it, if you can. Move on, if you can’t. Fight injustice where you find it. When you see an idiot treating your black friend badly, speak up. When you see a college frat boy treating a women like an object, or worse, speak up. If he is attempting to rape her, punch him below the belt.

Take your position of “privilege” and give a hand up, donate money to a scholarship, hire and train people, become a teacher.

Don’t feel that the degrees and creations you brought into the world are only there because you had white privilege. Don’t buy into what Obama said, you DID build that. With your mind and your will and your reason.

And about those women you are apologizing to because they spend “an hour putting on make up to meet other people’s standards”? You don’t tell them to do that, they choose to do that. And you aren’t responsible for them. When you meet a girl you like, tell her that you like her for what she is inside, not her hair and makeup. Women like to be treated like real people because that’s what they are.

Did you know that white people can be born at the bottom of the ladder, and find it just as hard to climb as any minority?

And yes, you still have a dirty mouth, I’ve heard every color of person use that word and it always sounds ignorant.

So, I’m sorry that you are starting out your teen years feeling guilty for something you have no control over. And maybe one day, when you find that the quotas won’t let you get hired or the salary in your company is capped because you just make too much money, you’ll realize that you’ve been fed a pack of lies. But it will be too late, because your paycheck will be going to pay for free college tuition for other people.

Don’t life your life for other people, give a hand up and fight injustice. But don’t do it out of guilt.

 

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We all live in our own little world and sometimes it takes a trip abroad to see that a thing that the media is obsessed about is not even mentioned in another country.

I was in England recently while the third leg of the Triple Crown was run. When American Pharoah won the race, becoming the first horse to win all three legs since Secretariat in 1978 it didn’t even make the news in Britain. They were talking about the FIFA controversy and who won the soccer games. Mostly it was about FIFA.

While America was all in a tizzy about the NAACP leader in Washington being black or white, that never got reported in the UK at all. BTW, that is a whole blog in itself. The big concern over there had to deal with Muslims and how Sharia law interacted with British law and women’s rights issues.

The Chicago Blackhawks weren’t even considered worth mentioning, which did not surprise me.

I was surprised the Triple Crown didn’t even get a mention, it’s a fairly difficult accomplishment. I spoke to someone who was and is involved in the world of horse racing and he was at a track that day. They were all watching the Belmont stakes and cared about it.

American Pharoah.jpg

There was only one brief mention of Joe Biden’s son who died, and another about yet another case of white cop vs black teenager.

It’s almost as if they don’t care what happens to us in the good ole US of A.

Some shows are the same, they have the cheerful morning shows, which look almost exactly like ours. The usual segments are there, cooking, cute kids, funny stories. They even did that annoying thing where they read the headlines in all the big newspapers. That’s like reporting on other people’s reporting. Let someone else do the heavy work and you just read their work, almost like letting the smart kid write your paper for you.

There was a show with the English equivalent of Barbara Walters who asked “tough questions”. The best one was when she was interviewing a woman who had been acquitted twice of killing her roommate’s boyfriend after he had repeatedly attacked, beaten, raped and threatened both of them. When he attacked her, having already beaten the friend, she killed him by stabbing him 18 times. I may have mis-remembered some details there, but the gist is the same. She stabbed him numerous times.

So the tough questions was along the lines of why did you have to stab him so many times? Really? She was a slight, petite woman going up against a guy who had already demonstrated his intent, and probably outweighed her by 50 pounds at least. Maybe it took that many stabs to make sure he stayed down. I’m guessing this talk show host had never been in that situation. I am fortunate enough never to have been there, but I can imagine pure instinct to survive was driving the poor woman.

I also saw a few silly game shows which I’m sure will make it over here eventually. There was a lot of those. So the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Stay tuned for more comparisons!

Crossed Flags American and Union Jack Vinyl Decal

Image from: http://www.steadfastcycles.com/cart/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=444

I’m just busy. The month of May is full of many amazing events.

First, my teenager is graduating 8th grade. Soon I will have a High School Boy. I think that deserves capital letters. So that means we have field trips and projects and events at school.

Most of these events are just there to remind parents of two things. Your kid is growing up and you are getting older. And they make you cry. But I cry way too easily anyway so I’m a basket case before all this starts.

One really beautiful event (filled with much crying from all sides) is May Crowning. May is the month dedicated to the Virgin Mary so every year the outgoing 8th graders hold a Mass to honor her and present flowers. They all wear their graduation gowns and they all present gifts to their moms who are weeping in the audience.

Then we go have a nice brunch and talk about how wonderful our children are, forgetting all the sleepless nights, medical emergencies, tantrums over times tables and the chaos that is life. It makes me thankful I only have one child.

Compared to Mary herself, our work seems very minor of course. I’ll take my troubles over hers any day.

Then there is a graduation ceremony and a dance where they do the slide show of the last 8 years of your life. It’s like “This is your life!” as a group presentation.

Of course, all the other events are happening also like work, school, appointments and laundry.

So, there was stitching. I went to Ohio.
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I went to a stitching retreat dedicated to Mirabilia, I do a lot of her designs. We got to meet the lady herself. I told her that Roses of Provence reminded me of an Arthur Rackham drawing and learned that she loves his work too, he inspired some of her fairy tale pieces. So cool! We chatted, ate, shopped, compared fabric and stichy gadgets. I learned some great hints to help with my QSnaps. And we stitched a little too.

I’m already ready to go next year, where my Rosie will be up on the wall. (fingers crossed)

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That piece over my shoulder is Rosie, stitched by someone else. Mine is still a WIP.

IMG_0944Here are more finished pieces.

IMG_0951 IMG_0952And we saw these things on the drive.

Have you ever seen John Christopher’s Tripods? These things are totally like Tripods about to invade us.

So that is my month of May. I will post more pictures of my stitching progress next time. I am waiting for some sunshine to grace us with it’s presence.

You could compare the format of this book to an interview with sound bites giving answers to some pretty heavy questions. But unlike the 30 seconds of answers, you get a concise and well thought out response.
Jorge Mario Bergoglio became Pope in 2013, this book was written and published in 2010. You can see in retrospect how these views have shaped his tenure as Pope. He is liberal in some of his views, but liberal in a Catholic sense. After reading about what he thinks on issues such as fundamentalism, divorce, same-sex marriage and politics, I can see a good future for the Church.
I was surprised by some answers in the book. When they were discussing faith and atheism, both men had respect for them, and neither took the stance that some fundamentalists do condemning them forever. Skorka even mentioned that believers have doubts and doubts about the existence of God are natural. Pope Francis has a very humble response to non-believers.
I learned a lot about the Jewish faith and where they stand on the same issues. While I am familiar with some aspects of Judaism from friends and studying it in Religious Education, I didn’t know where they stood on these issues. Abraham Skorka also mentions some differences within the spectrum of Jewish faith, from Orthodox to Reformed.
This is not a heavily theological book, though Doctors of the Church and other sources are mentioned and cited. I think that both men could have said volumes on each subject but they wanted to give a more direct answer. In some cases I wish that both of them had said more.
If you are curious about the new Pope or want to understand the relationship between Judaism and Catholicism, this is a good source. I enjoyed reading this and would recommend it to anyone in Catechism class..
I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

That classic line from Monty Python recently came into my life and made me think back to that Medieval History class in college many years ago. The professor assigned an essay question which was very simple:

Describe the economic impact of the black plague on Europe.

I no longer have that essay, if I did it would be stored on a 5 1/4 floppy disk. And I don’t have a drive that can read that format anymore.

But I do remember the skit from MP, which is not so far off. People who weren’t necessarily dying or dead of the plague did end up in that cart. Say I wanted my neighbors farm and most of his family was dead, but that old codger seemed to be immune. Darn him! No prob, hit him over the head and off he goes. The guys pulling the carts weren’t exactly medics.

There were several plagues, but the last major one was in 1665. It was one in a string of outbreaks going all the way back to the 14th century. Bubonic plague is still out there, but it is easily treated with antibiotics and less communicable then other diseases like the flu, measles or chicken pox.

It’s a morbid subject, but virologists have said that a plague hits us every 100 years or so. The last pandemic was the flu after World War I. Ebola looked like it was going somewhere, but it’s too deadly.

Maybe it will the measles. Then what will the anti-vaccination folks say?

I hope you are all feeling well contemplating the economic impact of the bubonic plague.

Just to prove that I do actually finish projects, here’s one I just finished. I plan to make it into a pillow, so I can cry into it every time I rewatch Firefly and think about all those possible story lines we will never see onscreen.

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I understand why Joss Whedon won’t go back to the show 10 years later. The actors have moved on, the time has passed. There are some very good graphic novels exploring the lives of the characters. I always though Shepard Book must have had a very interesting past.

Until then, we will enjoy what we have. And we’ll watch Red Dwarf for a while.

I am debating if I should stitch Wolverine, or the Nazgul next. They both look very cool.

What’s a TUSAL?

It’s a large quadraped which looks a little like a llama, but it has nasty teeth instead of a beak for eating honey.

Llamas

No, it’s not that.

It’s a Totally Useless Stitch Along, this other blog explains it well.

http://www.itsdaffycat.blogspot.com/2013/12/the-totally-useless-stitch-long-2014.html

So essentially, you start with an empty jar and fill it up with all your bits from stitching. For no reason. This goes well with my current plan to start all the projects I have kitted out and put them into the rotation. That should give me a lot of things to work on this year.

I don’t know how many finishes that will give me but I can see a couple that that are close. Meanwhile I will save my ORTS, and take pictures. I missed the new moon on Jan 1, but I can pretend.

Yes, it’s that time to set goals for the new year. I will exercise more! I will lose that last 10 pounds! I will clean the basement and get rid of stuff I don’t need! I will read James Joyce’s Ulysses!

Ulysses

OK, now we’re getting silly, there is no way I am reading Uylsses. I really tried, twice but unless I am getting a grade on that book, there is no way I’m reading it. No matter how many Top 100 lists it ends up on.

It is part of this list, along with Don Quixote and 100 Years of Solitude. I hear those are tough as well.

This year, I am going to read some of those books, and also work on the Science Fiction version.which is here. I have read many of them, but there are many I’ve never heard of. If you only read a few, you should read Ender’s Game and Canticle for Liebowitz. Don’t watch the movie of Ender’s Game, it misses the whole point.

I will try to read Game of Thrones this year, I thought the show was awful, maybe the book is better.

When I am not reading and doing all the other things in life which are far too boring to write about, there is stitching. I am going to have 15 WIPs this year, because it’s 2015. I can tell you already that I will have more than that before the year is out because that’s how I roll. And I’m sure to have a few finishes in there too. I can see one or two which are close enough that a couple rotations should finish them.

I am going to add a couple crochet WIPs in there and I am thinking of another baby blanket, just because they are easy. I could also sell them to buy more craft supplies. Anyone have a new baby on the way in the New Year?

I also have some job-related goals, but that is still in the works and the subject of another blog.

Happy New Year, I hope it brings you many good books and a few finishes of your own.

Most stitchers, based on my unscientific survey of various Facebook crochet and cross stitch boards, have multiple projects.

In my case, I have ADHD when it comes to these things. I love the look of the complicated patterns. Those Heaven and Earth Designs are fantastic and gorgeous. But they are so huge. It’s a commitment. Like marriage or a car payment. You can’t see the end of it, so you plug away going through 30 pounds of floss by the time you are done.

As I said, it’s a work of art which you are glad to hang on your wall and gaze at. But at some point on the process of stitching, I need a finish. It keeps my motivated. So in between the Big Ass Project (BAP) you have a Portable Project.

My current PPs are an afghan I have been crocheting for 3 Winters now and the Christmas ornaments. The ornaments are the 12 Days of Christmas, I started at 12 and am working backwards. Right now I am on 8 Maids a Milking.

The afghan is a log cabin pattern. I don’t do a lot of crochet in the summer because it’s just too hot. All that yarn on your lap is not fun. But it’s fairly portable at this point. Soon it will be a non-portable project because it’s just too large. Then I guess I need to find another, maybe a prayer shawl. They are very portable.

My problem is that I have too many stitching friends on FB who post gorgeous pictures of what they are working on. And, since we have similar tastes, the same pattern is often in my stash. So i have a moment of weakness and there is another project started. I would like to blame those friends but I’m sure that when I post my projects, other people have similar reactions. I apologize in advance.

MCDFINE EC033

So what is the solution? To paraphrase Dory in Finding Nemo, just keep stitching!

Just a note to my followers to wish you all a happy day, no matter how you celebrate it.

I hope the new year brings many joyful experiences, many starts and finishes for all the stitchers and much success.

But not too much success, adversity builds character.

ayn rand