Saturday, March 19, 2005

Beaded shawl in Turkish mohair. Unfortunately, it's hard to see the beads in the photo. Posted by Hello

I thought it was time for some knitting-related content, since this is supposedly a knitting blog. And yes, that's snow in the background. Still. (sigh)

In joint knitting-and-politics content, Leslie of NakeidKnits (one of my favorite blogs), has started a KnitIn in protest of the outrageous Senate vote to allow drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (I can still barely type this because my blood boils whenever I think of it!). Leslie has an inspired, brilliant idea to knit with qiviut to show our solidarity with the residents of the Arctic. Read the details on her blog.

Yes, luxury yarn can be used to save the world. Absolutely. Why didn't I think of making the qiviut-ANWR link? Well, I'm grateful to Leslie and eager to order a skein or two from Folknits.

March Madness Update

After Round 1, the ACC is 5-0. Yep. And the Big East? Not so good.

Go, go Vermont Catamounts! Thanks for taking out Syracuse, who was supposed to offer Duke its toughest battle for the Final Four. Catamounts, I wish I could have seen your game, or more than the last .4 seconds, but unfortunately, I live in the Midwest, where CBS apparently believed viewers were more interested in time-outs and conversations at the scorers' table in the Wisconsin-Northern Iowa game. Boo, CBS. But yay, Catamounts. I hope you beat Michigan State tomorrow so you can get one more win before falling to Duke next weekend.

That last sentence will likely get me run out of northern Michigan. After 13 years in Michigan, I have yet to warm up to any of the local sports teams. Maybe that's because it's hard to warm up at all here!! (And it could be because I've only recently started paying attention.) I was surprised yesterday to see the Carolina game on TV because I assumed its opponent, Oakland, was from California. Nope, it's a Detroit-area school. I had never heard of it! I think Michigan State is the only other Michigan school in the tournament. North Carolina, my native state, has five teams, three with a very good chance to get in the Final Four.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Wilderness -- Who Needs It?

So the Senate voted yesterday to allow oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. I do not have sufficient words to express my contempt for those 51 senators. I hope that all across the land today, people who live in the states of those 51 senators are recruiting and funding serious opponents for them in their next election and that they will all lose their jobs because of this. My senators, I'm happy to say, were not part of the dark side.

I tried, but could not find through googling, a letter Michael Moore had written during the 2000 presidential campaign in which he assured Nader supporters that bad things would not happen if they voted for Nader and Bush got elected instead of Gore. The letter was primarily about Roe v. Wade and how Moore would not be lured into voting for Gore because of dire predictions about Bush getting Roe v. Wade overturned. Moore assured his readers that such a thing could never happen. He listed several dire predictions about a Bush win and called them "scare tactics." I can't remember if he mentioned ANWR. As it seems that the Bush administration is successfully dismantling many of the things we cherish, I'd love to find that letter from 2000 and make a scorecard from it.

Oops! It might sound like I'm blaming Michael Moore for this. Not at all. Well, not much. There are a lot of people who deserve more blame than Moore and Nader. I suggest we all look in the mirror to see who to blame. Anyone who uses oil has a share of the blame. Why don't we all resolve, in addition to calling our senators and imploring them to stop this crime at the next step of the legislative process, to reduce our fossil fuel use, even fractionally.

Those who are willing to make a big, bold move might consider getting rid of their cars. Others might try converting one trip a week from car to bike or other alternative. Still too much? How about this -- when driving to the mall, park at the first open space you encounter. That will save the gas required to drive another 50 ft. for a closer space, plus you will get a little exercise.

One of my pet peeves is seeing vehicles -- usually large, gas-guzzling SUVs -- idling for minutes in a parking lot in wait for a closer space that someone is vacating when an open space is not more than 20 ft. away! It is absolutely senseless. Another pet peeve is parked vehicles with engines running. I see this every day when I'm walking my kids to school. Sometimes cars will be parked outside a house for many minutes (15 from the time I first pass to the return pass) with engines running, presumably so the driver will not have to get in a cold vehicle. Then around the school in the afternoon, almost every parent waiting for pickup has the engine running, even if they are 10 minutes early. Rule of thumb: if more than one minute will lapse before you will move the car, then turn the engine off! Do this and you might save one of the last pristine wildernesses on the planet!

March Madness

It's time to return to my winning horse. Duke's opener is tomorrow night. In my new role as obsessed fan, I've made a bracket and plan to be closely following all the action for the next three weeks. I have Duke beating Louisville in the national championship game, which will be karmic payback for Louisville beating Duke in the same game my senior year, thus denying the best basketball class ever (Mark Alarie, Johnny Dawkins, Jay Bilas, David Henderson, Weldon Williams) a deserved national championship. I doubt anyone else has Duke and Louisville playing for the national championship this year, but as I said, I'm in a time warp, so there you have it.

Happy St. Patrick's Day! The leprechauns visited our house last night and left the kids little chocolate coins wrapped in gold. My 8-year-old was delighted.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Yep, life really is like a roller coaster ride

I will start this blog entry on a happy note because I must end it with sad news.

Sometime last week, my usual bout with Seasonal Affective Disorder took a turn from the February hide-in-bed-watching-movies-and-knitting-with-a-2lb.-box-of-SeesCandies-at-my-side stage to the coming-out-of-it-with-manic-energy stage. That is good news. I've been singing and dancing and otherwise jamming to spend all of this pent-up winter blues energy. (My favorite new song on my iTunes lineup is Chely Wright's energetic rockabilly remake of "You Never Can Tell.")

But the good news doesn't stop there. Back in January, still reeling from the November elections when my side got its butt emphatically kicked to the curb, and then learning of the school board's nefarious plan to shut down my daughter's elementary school, I decided I had had enough of always being on the losing side of everything. It was time to find a winning horse. What could it be? The answer came one day when I observed my hubby listening to yet another sporting event on the internet radio. Hmm. I seemed to remember that my alma mater had a pretty good basketball team. "Hey honey, do you know what's up with Duke this year?" "Oh, the usual. They're loaded as always, in the top 10, of course." A winning horse.

So I decided to become a fan. I googled the Duke basketball schedule and nearly every game would be televised, most on ESPN. I started watching. It was hard at first because I didn't really have a clue what was going on. I was a typical Cameron Crazy during my student years, but that was two decades ago. Since then, I have been worried about other things, such as trying to get people to stop driving so much (another losing horse). I didn't know the name of a single Duke player. But thanks to ESPN, I got up to speed in the past two months.

One thing I immediately noticed when tuning in was that Duke, despite its top 10 ranking, seemed to be the underdog in almost every game, according to the sportscasters. Even Dick Vitale (why is he at every Duke game?), who had previously given the impression of liking the Blue Devils, was very uncomplimentary about this year's team, except for J.J. Redick, who he keeps calling "the best shooter who has ever lived!" So I wondered if I had picked the wrong year to become a fan.

My doubts were answered this past weekend when I got to cheer as my team beat my hubby's team in the ACC Tourney semi-finals and then hung on to cut the nets down the next afternoon as ACC champion. Woo woo woo woo woo!!! As for the incredible J.J., everytime he makes one of those impossible 3-pointers, I want to start humming, "hey, hey look at me, I'm Mrs. Robinson." What a hottie!

So now my team has a surprise number one berth in the big show. Even if the Devils don't make it all the way, it feels great to be along for the ride as long as it lasts.

I have recently discovered another surprising aspect to this. Apparently, in the years in which I was completely ignoring sports, Duke turned into Carolina. How did that happen? Back in my day, Carolina was the most hated team in the world. It was ABC. Duke was loved! Now it's ABD. Apparently, the only place in which the Devils are cheered now is Cameron. Well, I may in a time warp, but I still remember how to hate Carolina. May they go down in Round 1!!!

Devastatingly Sad News

Even since I've been doing this blog, I've had a link to my friend's blog, The Cornered Curmudgeon. If you click that link, you'll see that there will be no more brilliant insights from the curmudgeon, now revealed as Bob Conn. Bob's death is a deep, personal and grievous loss to those of us who were blessed to know him personally, but it is also a loss for humanity. He was an uncommonly wise man. Our world was richer with his presence and it will be poorer with his absence. But I am resolved to do as a friend suggested at last night's memorial service -- that those of us who knew him live the rest of our lives as a tribute to him. It will be no easy task.