Helpless...?

In the face of large corporations' greed, governments' minimal ability to discipline the very corporations they created, and the vast, mind-numbing hugeness of this ecological disaster, I bow my head and wonder what one person can do. I've watched several videos available online, revealing the plight of the animals in the heart of the mess created by the Deepwater Horizon disaster. Please, do not get me wrong; I'm saddened for the families who lost loved ones. But I recognize the choice all humans make in their chosen profession: I will accept the dangers and work on this job.

Who asked the wildlife? I sometimes wonder if mankind has become so embroiled in the hubris of its own accomplishment that we have forgotten we are the stewards of this tiny blue marble. Look around people -- you cry every time NASA is given any money at all, so clean up after yourselves! This is the only damn marble you've got!

BP may be the most visible culprit -- and they certainly have their people out there making it look like they are trying really hard -- but why aren't we seeing or hearing about Halliburton and Transocean making any efforts? Is the media simply focusing on BP's lame efforts? The closest I've come to seeing an equal share of the blame being apportioned to Transocean and Halliburton is the CBS 60 Minutes interview, conducted by Scott Pelley.

If the Kemp's Ridley turtles (see video with Captain Mike Ellis below) become exinct due to this fiasco, how does one go about sueing a company for the willful extinction of an already endangered species? What is the US government going to do -- shut them down in the US? How can they, when we are sucking so much oil every day? Cutting supply like that will simply jack the prices we see at the pump -- punishing each and every one of us (perhaps as we should be?) for the disaster created by Transocean, Halliburton and BP.

I won't pretend the United States is solely to blame in the creation of these mega-corporations -- other countries have chosen to recognize them and even snuggle up to them for their own reasons. So, when I say "government" throughout this post, I'm not just referring to the United States government.

Keep in mind -- if it hasn't already been hammered in by other sources -- that this "spill" is an ongoing problem. It's not "just" the oil in a single tanker -- or even a fleet of tankers. This is pouring out into the ocean from the very source of all oils and it will not stop until one of two things happens: someone (!) fixes it or the oil source runs out.

Since "cutting costs" are at the heart of BP's actions (see the fisher's wife's speech linked below), we can bet they aren't looking to cap the source and require a new well to be drilled. I wonder if there's solutions BP has passed up because it would cost them more?

I've spent a lot of time gathering all this together. During the process, I came to a realization. Let me lay it out, one piece at a time.

1. It's tornado season for the Great Plains

2. It's hurricane season for the Gulf Coast and East Coast.

3. It's forest fire season for the southwest.

(I've not mentioned earthquakes because they have no season.)

What is going to happen to the average American who lives in any of the areas besieged by the disasters their area is prone to? When Hurricane Katrina happened, the nation turned and focused on New Orleans (and to a lesser extent, the other areas ravaged by the hurricane). When forest fires flare up, fire fighters come from all the areas that have personnel trained in fighting this type of fire. What's going to happen when all of these things hit the nation at the same time?

We're not ready. We're not prepared, each of us individually, or our States/Counties/local governments, to handle the kind of problems we'll be facing. Instead, we'll look to the Federal government to dig us out of yet another problem -- a problem there's no money to solve, a problem there's no common interest to fix, and a problem that's too distant for most of those suits to really care about fixing. When (ha!) there's a little more free money in my family's purse, I hope to donate to a wildlife clean-up crew -- hopefully a turtle rescue, if I can. But that seems so small in the face of all of this. And it doesn't address the problems brewing under the surface.

So, I will borrow from Queen Amidala:

She says, "It is clear to me now that the Republic no longer functions. I pray that you will bring humanity and compassion back to the Senate."

How much more will Americans endure -- or rather, how much longer will our bread (fast food joints with their 99 cent menus) and circuses (cable tv, professional sports) last/work -- before we snap? As an infrequent partaker of the "bread" and a non-subscriber of the circuses (but I will admit to burying my head in video games, so maybe I should have included that one?), I am amazed the nation hasn't snapped yet. It struggles under its own weight. Americans on the West Coast are obviously out of touch with Americans on the East Coast -- and Americans from less distant cities already are challenged to understand the variations of each other's English. What does it matter to a Montanan or an Idahoan (?) if New Orleans is underwater? What does it matter to a New Yorker that Arizona or California is burning?

Sometimes, I'm tempted to sit down with a map of the United States (just a B&W outlines map) and draw boundaries as I think things will break apart. I wonder if there's an online map thingamajig that'll let us share our predictions with each other. If not, why not just write a comment and tell me what you think the boundaries will be, when our Republic falls.

Moving.... Again.

Hey! Look at that. We're packing. Again. headpalm

Yeah, we decided to pass on purchasing the delete...delete...delete house we're renting. We've begun a full-out search for a house to purchase, but the one we are planning on making an offer on is a short-sale. In the local market at least, that means 4-6 months to see if our offer is accepted and get to closing. sigh

So, we're moving to an apartment for the time being. That's cool. Two pools -- one heated in the winter -- no landscape hassles OR pool maintenance, less rent (!)... these are all good things. Right?

Then there's the other side of the coin. We're moving from about 2400 square feet to a "whopping" 1133 square feet. Oh dear gods, how are we going to manage that? I (we, really) have a plan.

First, we secured a climate-controlled storage unit yesterday. 10x15x10. The washer, dryer and fridge are going in there -- that's not even a question! All of Randy's tools will likely go in there as well. At least 5 of the tall Billy Bookcases (4 have glass doors) are going in there. We're putting most (if not all) of our remaining hardback and non-fiction books in storage. The extra dining table is going into storage. My (beautiful) 120 gallon aquarium and stand and Nick's 45 gallon acrylic aquarium and wood stand are both going to storage. I think Rowan has a 15 gallon set-up for a reptile that he's going to store as well. When we're farther along in the packing, I'm going to have Randy disassemble my desk and come up with a smaller configuration for both of our desks for the new place. Rowan is planning on putting his desk in his room, which will help a lot.

The plan is still "in progress" -- so many things haven't been considered yet. But the one thing I've made sure of is that ALL my yarn, and Simon (my spinning wheel) will be going to the apartment. I think my 3 sewing machines will be going to storage -- since it's climate controlled, that makes that decision easy.

I plan to go through my fiction hardbacks today to look for any that can either (a) go to Bookman's for trade-in credit or (b) that I want to keep out so I can read them finally. Then I'll look through the metric tonne of mass market paperbacks for books which we don't want to trade in, but could possibly go to storage. The plan here is to keep one of the Billy bookcases (one without doors) out and put all the books on them. I may try to change that and have us install the shelves over the desks or something like that, since the square footage is going to be tight.

In the midst of this packing madness, I'm still working on the Lattice Lace shawl I want to wear at Marcey's wedding in August.

I'm still hoping to create a pair of stockings to wear with the gown -- but that's moving more and more into the realm of "wish", instead of "reality". If I had a pattern that worked with laceweight yarn for a sock (!), giving me good stitch counts to work from, I'd feel more confident that I could pull it off. As it is, I'll cast these on after the next project I have planned.

And that project... is another Baby Bobbi Bear for someone special. This one is going to be very unique as I'm planning a "patchwork" kind of bear. She reads here, so I don't want to ruin all my surprises. I promise to reveal the final product, once this bear's new owner has it.

So, can I pack this place in 3 weeks and still finish the Lattice Lace Shawl before July 1st? Can I fit all of us and an abbreviated list of our belongings into 1133 square feet? Can I abbreviate my belongings?

Stay tuned to this same knit channel, this same knit time, to find out!

RIP Gabriel

We knew it was coming. We've been telling ourselves this for a while now.

"You know, he's an old boy."

"Eight's up there for a ferret."

"The day is coming..."

Gabriel

Last night was that day. I think Gabriel had a seizure -- maybe a stroke? It left him really "not there" and his body just twitching away.

He'd been sick about a week ago, doing some similar things. I thought maybe we were seeing insulinoma and began doing Karo syrup cotton-swab rubs on his gums when he looked "dazed" or "spacey". I spent about a full day with him, when he was not doing well last time. I gave him sub-cutaneous fluids as the veteranarian's people taught me. Randy has said those fluids probably saved Gabriel's life.

I say I just did what I had to do. I try not to think about the process too much -- it squicks me out. The actual doing doesn't -- maybe because you only do it when you must and that means a ferret's in trouble and there's no time for the squicks?

So, back to last night. Similar signs of not doing well. I had Nick haul out the bag of fluids and the container of sharps. We warmed the fluid in my heating pad -- that's one "home appliance" which has been really busy lately (more on that in a later post). Once it was warm enough, I gave him enough to create a lump about the size of a medium gumball, right between his shoulder blades.

Meanwhile, he just deteriorated as the night progressed. I spend so much more time with the furbabies that I think I come to The Decision more readily -- I 'd say it's perhaps because I hate to see them in pain, but that has reverse implications I don't agree with. I knew, watching him in Randy's arms, what we'd be doing on Saturday. But I waited for Randy to speak first; I just hate sounding so "blood-thirsty" and ready to "kill".

"Parents" of furbabies understand what questions and doubts go through the mind when The Decision must be made. It's easy to fool myself and think, "Oh, a little longer and he'll snap out of this."

I sat up with Gabriel all night. Randy took turns cradling him as he could, but he's been through a lot this week too -- and not had as much opportunity to sleep as I have, so I let him sleep when he did. I should have slept. A smarter person would have -- there was nothing I could do.

Except keep him from being alone. And that was what I did. I knit and listened to an audiobook. I read from the paper version of the same book, when I was cradling him. When I thought he might slip towards sleep, I laid him in our "quarantine cage" and went to spend a little time with Rowan and Nick. When I returned, he was just as I'd left him and I cradled him to me again.

I watched the clock. The vet opened at 8am. At 7:30am, I asked Randy if he wanted me to go in alone or to go with me. We arrived at the vet's at 8:04am. Dr. Funk remembered Gabriel -- he's the one who neutered our big boy when we adopted him in 2008. Dr. Funk agreed it sounded like a seizure. He saw the continued signs of how it had ravaged our furbaby's body and agreed Gabriel has had a good and full life. Why put him through more? I adore Dr. Funk for being so kind-hearted and caring so much about what's best for the animals -- sometimes aggressive treatment isn't the best answer.

Gabriel slipped into peace and across the Rainbow Bridge this morning, in my arms. We brought him home for the remaining five to say good-bye to. We also gave the cats a chance to recognize a change in "the roster" -- and for the humans to come to terms with the new loss.

We'll have his ashes back in a week or so and then I'll have nine little ferret urns on my desk.

goes away to cry a little more

Ramblings of a Woman in Pain

First, before I forget: Sam is home safe and sound. Once again, the amazing people of our neighborhood came to the rescue. I messaged the woman who handles our neighborhood "mailing list" and she sent the message out early Wednesday morning. By about 5pm, we hadn't heard anything, so we printed off a poster and were in the car to go to Kinko's, when my phone rang. A neighbor's kids said there was a "weasel" in their yard and she remembered the email she'd just read. It was a long shot, but she called us.

Their dog had scared Sam behind some large sheds and other things. We got to him and I finally coaxed him out far enough to scruff and drag out. One of the children was kind enough to bring him a small cup of water. It was so sweet watching him hold this cup steady as Sam drank and drank and drank from it. They were all very excited to have been part of this rescue. I'm very thankful for them. I don't know if they might stop by here, but if they do: You guys are a gift and a blessing -- you took a really crappy day and gave it a bright spot we really, really needed. Thank you.


Pain. If it's not the pain in my heart from losing Horatio, it's the pain in my "sacroilliac joint". Monday's injection seems so far away right now -- and yet, it also seems really scary. I'm going to be on an x-ray table and they will use a dye contrast to make sure the needle is in the right place. Once it is, they will inject some anesthetic/numbing "stuff" (like my technical medical terms?) and some cortisone/steroid. I may be in some increased pain for a little while after -- oh fun! -- and then hopefully things will improve. It looks like I'll have a journal/log to fill in and take back to my doctor at my next visit, to reference how much better things are (or not).

In the meantime, I'm trying to do the exercises the physical therapist gave me to do, but it sure feels like things are hurting more and more. Is it because of the exercises? I'm trying not to think of that and just keep doing them.


Where's all the money going? Does it seem to you like there's just never enough money to go around any more? Of course, in my case, it could be the almost-constant stream of co-pays for doctors and physical therapy and such. I've got great healthcare insurance through Randy's work, but these co-pays are just nickel-and-diming us to death! I'm pretty sure that my physical therapy after the car accident had no co-pay...and now it's up to $15 a visit.


Knitting. sigh Did you just sigh with me? Hehehe. I swear, sitting down with a complex lace pattern and an audiobook is my sanctuary and my sanity right now. I'd really like to squirrel away a little money to hit the thrift shops and find an easy chair and ottoman or footstool to put in my bedroom. I need a cozy corner to curl up in, when the rest of the house is just too much for me to deal with. I want a light coming over the chair from behind and a little table beside me to put my drink on. I want a little "arm rest table" for my pattern to lay on, in a read-able position. A foot-rest for my feet and a spot for my yarn to sit quietly while I knit. Oh, and a place to plug in my iPod, if it needs juice while I'm listening.

Do you think Randy would geek my imaginary easy chair out with speakers right by my ears, so I didn't have to wear headphones? *grin*

Hey look, it's 1:45am. I managed a whole hour and a half past the dosing time for my vicodin. I'm going to celebrate by taking a shower. If I'm hurting then, I'll take it and head to bed.

(I heard that laugh.)

RIP Horatio Sheridan

Gods, I'm so tired of writing these good-byes. Yes, another sweet ferret of ours crossed the Rainbow Bridge sometime Tuesday evening. Horatio has been acting oddly since we lost Sebastian. We weren't expecting him to be the ferret we needed to cradle and cuddle through Seb's death.

Horatio has been stumbling and wobbly, tired and lethargic. Some advice has suggested he was having a glucose problem, but I just wasn't sure. I've snuggled him extra, loved on him and watched him play with Samuel and Raphael (though not as much as he used to).

During a late round-up, Nick came to us with the news that Horatio was dead. I hate that he keeps finding the babies like this. Horatio was cold and stiff, gone maybe 6-8 hours we're guessing. I don't know why he died, I just know I've got another hole in my heart... and soon, another urn on my desk.

Horatio "shares" with me

We did an abbreviated version of our usual wake, bringing the babies out one at a time to sniff their cage mate and brother and recognize he's gone. After just updating a profile tonight to say we're down to seven ferrets, suddenly it's only six.

And then the double whammy hit. We can't find Samuel. Randy remembers seeing him at the door when he came home late tonight. He remembers "toeing" Sam away from the door... but we can't find where he's hiding since then. I only hope we can find him in time to let him say good-bye to Horatio.

I hate to say this, but I've realized that as much as I love my ferrets, I can't adopt any more. This just hurts too damn much, coming one on top of the other like this. I'm going to love the ones I've got, to the very last one. But right now, I don't see me adopting any more.

Horatio, love, you've broken my heart again. I hope you're at least happy over the Bridge, my sweetling.

Sinister am I!

Okay, prepare for a rant, y'all.

I've been knitting for... hmm, I honestly don't remember when I picked it up again. Was it 2003? Later? I don't remember. But let's use 2003 as a point to begin. So, that makes it seven years now. In that time, I've knit teddy bears, socks, shawls, blankets, a sweater, several dice bags... Seeing a problem here yet? Me neither.

Oh...wait. I know. I forgot to mention that I'm left-handed. Now, in order to keep the level of (c)rudeness on my blog to a minimum, let me preface with a simple statement: I do everything left-handed.

"What about...?"

Yep.

"Even...?"

Uh-huh, that too. And many other things you should be thanking me for not referencing or linking to information about! *wink*

I am left-handed.

That statement should have zero impact on me saying I knit. Yet among knitters who are right-handed, you would be surprised at how many incorrectly assume (yes, assume, meaning "without any actual data to support their ideas"!) that left-handers must learn to knit right-handed.

They have a couple often used excuses. So, let's take them one at a time and blow them to smithereens for once and for all, shall we?

Knitting is a two-handed task, so it shouldn't matter whether you're left or right handed.

Fair enough. So why don't you knit our way?

Knitting is two-handed. But, one hand does most of the work. A baseball player positions his hands on the bat and faces the pitcher from a specific side of home plate. A knitter approaches her(*) knitting in the same way. She usually puts the yarn in her dominant hand. I say usually because we're all different and some of us have been forced or taught in ways not necessarily natural to us. The dominant hand moves the needle into the stitch to knit. (Usually) the dominant hand wraps the yarn around the needle. The dominant hand then removes the needle (with the wrap of yarn) from the stitch being knit into.

If you knit "lefty", you'll have to make all kinds of edits to patterns.

There's been a lot of discussion about this one. I've met some lefty knitters who never once changed a single stitch. The only "oddity" (if you want to call it that) is that left is right and right is left. See my results on Soren's Baby Kimonothe original Baby Kimono. See what I mean?

I've learned in lace work to read the charts the way I knit: left to right. It is so much easier than trying to read them the way everyone else knits! Yes, I have run into some troubles for patterns which assume the direction of knitting. Perhaps if I were a little more accomplished, I might have still achieved the end result I want...just backwards. I'm still experimenting with my increases and decreases to see if it really matters whether I switch them around or not.

The key word in that sentence is "experimenting". Why are right-handed knitters so intimidated by us lefty knitters doing what works for us? Why the campaign to make us all march to their drum? Do we make you all uncomfortable? Do we invalidate your work when we make beautiful things with our left-handed ways?

The most frustrating thing about being a left-handed knitter is that my knitting can't just be picked up by any knitter and examined or fixed. I'm "backwards", so I've had to be my own best help. I've asked for clarifications about where a needle should go in to pick up a stitch, but in the end, I do what works for me.

So, to all you righties out there who think you are "helping" us when you tell us to knit your way: Shut the hell up and leave us to knit in peace. You don't know it all or you'd see that the Sinister way works for some of us quite well, thank you very much.

Yes, I feel very strongly about this. I've read too many stories about a right-handed person pushing a left-handed person to knit the "right way". Frankly, I think it's because it's too damn hard for most righties to handle the challenge. You just go back to your rocking chair and leave us Lefties to handle it. We can. We're used to working twice as hard to be accepted in a right-dominant world.

I'll close with two images of my proudest pieces of work. And, one last time, I'll remind the reader: I knit Sinister -- don't mess with me!

huck_lace_shawl6

Spring Mystery shawl

(*) I use "her" and "she" here, but of course I'm inclusive of all male, transgendered, FTM, MTF and any other knitters out there!

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