Wednesday, March 24, 2010

On Protests and Free Speech

I was slightly amused today when, on my way between court and lunch, I see a batch of about 15 protesters. Judging by the signs, they appeared to be protesting Communism. I found this amusing. So much so, that I could not stop myself from driving past again in an effort to figure out exactly what message they wished passers-by to receive. Given the totality of the signage, I guessed they were protesting the recently enacted health care legislation.

Now, I am all in favor of the right that we have to peaceably assemble and speak our beliefs. I don't have a problem with these people announcing their views to Main Street, in spite of the fact that my views differ significantly from theirs; and I even commend people for taking advantage of this right, when so few people are active in politics these days.

However, I have a large problem when such a protest is not a debate or commentary on ideas, but rather an excuse for name-calling and racial slurs. Many of the signs I saw had pictures of what I can only describe as Vaudeville-era "black-face." That is, a dark-skinned face, enormous white eyes, and a ridiculous red grinning mouth. This is offensive to me. If you don't like President Obama, I totally respect that. So say, "Down with Obama!" or "Impeach the President!" or whatever you want. I have no respect whatsoever for people who hold up signs with the clear meaning that because the President is black, we should not trust him. Many of these signs also called President Obama a liar. Now, I don't know if he is or not. But he didn't lie about his intention to reform healthcare. In fact, the reforms that were passed were significantly less than those proposed during the debates. e.g., no "public option" or government insurance plan. If you don't like the healthcare legislation, say so! On none of these signs was there the word "healthcare."

If these protesters desired to protest the healthcare legislation, it would make much more sense to hold the rally prior to the time it's actually law. If their desire was to simply Obama-bash, this is fine, too. But they should actually state what their problems with him are, or they won't convince anyone who doesn't already share their beliefs. From what I could tell, they don't like President Obama because he's a Communist, a liar, and/or because he's black. He's clearly not a member of the Communist party, or he couldn't have run on the Democratic ticket. And since it's unclear exactly what they're saying he lied about, this isn't likely to get them very far. And if their dislike of him is based on his skin color, they should take another look at all those American flags they were waving around, and possibly the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution as well.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

My Computer's Unplanned Vacation

So my pretty little computer is back from its unplanned vacation. It needed a sojourn to the Sony workshop because some cable that goes to the left touchpad button either broke somehow or was faulty to begin with. It seems to be all better now. And the warranty covered it. They also seemed to have avoided messing up any of my settings, which is also a plus. (Yes, dad, I did back things up before sending it away...)

So, I was able to download the pics of my stuffed foxes I'm working on. It's so much fun!! They're very fuzzy. Not yet cute, because right now it's just bodies and tails. Plus, they're making me learn all kinds of new stuff.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

On Doggies and Sports

So, I've gotten over my mystery illness, and things have gotten back to normal. Well, at least as normal as my life ever is... My doggies did get a little confused that I went to work every day this week. It never ceases to amaze me how different they are from each other, and yet how well they get along. Betsy's favorite thing to do is play. Play with me or Adagio, play with toys or not, she doesn't care. Adagio likes the playing, but prefers to keep close to me, to get pats, and give kisses, and to sleep on my feet. They even sleep differently! Adagio curls up in a tight ball (complete with nose under tail), and doesn't move or make a sound, even when I accidentally stepped on his tail one time. Betsy sprawls all out (sometimes upsidedown), she's always twitching, and making funny noises, and she'll pop awake to investigate the least sound or movement. I just think it's funny. I keep trying to take a picture of them sleeping together (sometimes they put their heads or paws on eachother), but the sound of the camera turning on wakes Betsy up.

This week I've mostly been knitting my messenger bag and watching the olympics. I like figure skating, hockey, short-track speed skating and half-pipe snowboarding. I can't really get into those sledding events -- luge and skeleton and whatnot. I guess it would make more sense to me if it was more like an actual race, with lots of sleds going at the same time. And the long-distance-type events I just get bored with. (There's some type of cross-country skiing thing going on right know, where they stop periodically to shoot some kind of target with a rifle.) And I just don't understand curling. I suppose if I were raised in Canada I would love it, but I just can't grasp what the goal of the thing is. It's like cricket. Brits seem to think it's the best game ever, but I just can't wrap my brain around it. I don't even understand who's won a match when the nice BBC guy runs down the scores. I mean it's not even a cricket "team." It's a "side." I actually tried to get a Scottish cricketer I worked with to explain it to me, but we both gave up after a while. I guess that although I can converse intelligently about any number of different kinds of sports, there are some which I'm just not meant to understand.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Home Sick (blah!)

So, I've been home sick since Monday, and it's getting really, really old! There are some illnesses that you can have and go to work anyway, and there are some that you can't. This particular stomach problem is one that I can't take to work! My stomach finally has settled down today, I just feel all weak and wobbly. Might have something to do with not being able to eat much all week. Mainly crackers and tortillas. Still not a good idea to drive to work or stand in a courtroom, but better than the last three days. Hopefully, I can get to work tomorrow. My office will be a mess!! And as much fun as it is to play on the computer, watch t.v., and knit all day long, it really is getting old. Even I can't sleep all day!! I did start working on a cool felted bag. And I've spent lots of time cuddling with doggies. But I'm dreading my voicemail. If I were very good, I'd check it from here. But I'm really not in the mood to hear my clients yelling at me for not being there. It's not my fault I have a malfunctioning stomach! I have at least been checking my work email, to make sure nothing catastrophic has occurred in my absence. And I assume someone would call me on the phone if there was an emergency. Anyway, I don't really have anything exciting to say, as you can probably tell, I'm just bored. I do like this high-speed internet! I can actually watch video without waiting a half hour for it to buffer. Now that you're all at least as bored as I am, if you've managed to make it through this post, I'll leave you alone now.

Friday, January 29, 2010

I Return

No, I did not stop knitting. I did not leave the public defenders' office. I did not fall off the face of the earth. The short reason for my long disappearance is that my computer died.

Adagio and Betsy are both great. Betsy is 2 1/2 already, and Adagio's nearly three. I can't believe it! It sure doesn't seem like 2 whole years ago that I could pick up Betsy with one hand! They've both adjusted well to my being Adagio's mommy, and there is no friction in my little family, aside from occasional sibling-esque rivalry. They came with me on Christmas vacation -- Adagio's first ever road trip. They were great in the car (slept the whole way) and no one was car sick. I wasn't worried about Betsy at my mother's house -- she'd been there before. But Adagio was much better than I expected. I thought there might be house-training problems, since Adagio'd never been in a place he couldn't go outside whenever he wanted. No problem --
not one! His only issue was the upstairs hallway. I don't think he'd ever been in an upstairs before, and he seemed to think the floor would drop out somehow and drop him back down to the first floor. Strangely, he handled the stairs themselves better than Betsy did her first time. (She's the more adventurous of the two, by far, and it took her about 3 days before she tried them!) Adagio braved them with only about ten minutes of coaxing, he just didn't like that hallway.

I also haven't been idle with the knitting, either. I knitted everyone striped gloves for Christmas, and I knitted myself a green cable cardigan. I also knitted myself convertible mittens. I don't have pics of everyone's gloves, but here are the convertible mittens and the cardigan.
Now, to figure out my next project. I was thinking maybe felting...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

And a Happy Snow Day to All, and to All a Good Day!

It is our first snow-day of the season! And I'm glad they finally closed things -- I went out to get my paper and promptly fell on my butt. This is definitely not a good day to go anywhere in a car. It's supposed to continue snowing through tomorrow, which is no doubt when they will finally decide to do something about the roads. They usually don't do anything until after it stops snowing.

The puppies are loving it. Betsy still is trying to eat all of the snow. I'm not sure why, but apparently, it's more fun than just drinking water. She eats chunks of ice, too. Oh, and Adagio gets to come live with us after the holidays! Her family is moving, and they can't take him with them. I was going to hold off before getting Betsy another puppy to play with, but I can't let them put Adagio in a shelter. They're such good buds, they'd miss each other a lot if they were separated. Adagio's been staying over the past week in an effort to get them used to living with each other.

It seems to be going fairly well. Betsy's still getting used to the idea that Adagio is now allowed in the house. There haven't been actual fights, but Betsy's making a concerted effort to keep me to herself. If I pay attention to Adagio, especially in the house, she will try to start a game with him to get him outside. She then sneaks back in, while he's outside. This is getting less, though. Adagio doesn't seem to mind this at all. He does whatever Betsy wants him to. He's so easy-going, he'll let Betsy chew on his ears all day, so long as he gets his head patted on occasion! That's a retriever for you! So far, my solution is to call Adagio over to me and give him pats, and if Betsy interferes, both dogs go behind the gate in the kitchen. They come in when both are calm and Betsy's allowed Adagio back through the dog door. If Betsy does not interfere, both dogs get pats. If they are both lying quietly in the same room with me, I periodically give individual pats.

Adagio has also been getting some remedial training. He's surprisingly good in the house, for as much time as he's spent outside. He is house trained, and does not get on furniture, nor does he steal things off counters or tables. His main problem is that he just gets so excited about everything, especially human contact! He knows "sit," so he'll sit at you until you pet him. By this, I mean he sits so close to you that if you're not careful, your knees will buckle. He pushes with his head, and prances all four feet (a strange sight, while he's sitting!). If this fails to get your attention, he jumps up, and actually pushes at you with his forefeet. In an approximately 60-65 pound dog, this is not good. (Yes, he outweighs Betsy by a fair amount, but they're about the same height. Betsy weighs under 50 lbs.) So Adagio and I have been working on the jumping up, and it is getting better. Ignoring him is the easiest way: when calm, he gets pats. When excited, he does not! He's not stupid, he's figuring it out. Anything for attention!

Monday, November 17, 2008

On Liberalism and Knitting

No, there is nothing connecting these topics together, other than I happen to have been thinking about them both a lot lately. Perhaps if I were an English professor, I would be able to come up with something that links these two ideas together. But since I'm not, I won't try.

I've been wondering for a while now, when did the word "liberal" become "bad"? I mean the word "liberal" means open-handed and generous, not literal or strict, according to Merriam-Webster. But all I seem to be hearing about for the past election cycle is how horrible it is to be liberal: how liberals are pro-abortion and even pro-death. Now I've known many, many people in my lifetime who identify themselves as "liberal," politically. But, I know of not one person who thinks abortion is a "good" thing to do. No one recommends everyone have one. And as for "pro-death," isn't it those horrible liberals who oppose the death penalty? Oppose the war in Iraq? Even try to save such things as tree-frogs and spotted owls? All as a result of their dislike of death. It is my opinion that it is myopic, and even mean-spirited to say that anyone is "pro-death," regardless of your opinion of another's view of the death penalty, abortion, or the tree-frog.

Personally, I am opposed to abortion: I believe it to be a sin, immoral, and I believe life begins at conception. However, as I do not run the world (and I have no wish to), I recognize that not everyone will agree with me. Scientists and doctors cannot agree on when life begins! And, as my belief regarding this comes from the Bible, I do not feel that I am in a position to impose my views regarding this upon others. I certainly do not believe it is the place of the government of this country to impose its views on this either, especially not when based primarily on religious philosophy. So, yes, I am anti-abortion and pro-choice. Both.

This country needs liberals. Without liberals, schools could still legally be segregated, the Voting Rights Act would not have been passed, it would be perfectly legal to discriminate against a person because of their race in private establishments, and none but the first ten amendments to the Constitution would be in existence. All were the results of "activism," and flew in the face of strict adherence to the letter of the law, then in existence. However, change for the sake of it is not good in government, either. You can't be changing the Constitution every ten minutes on a whim, and the Court cannot decide to depart from the current law, "just because." It would create the most unstable government in the world!

So, yes, this country needs conservatives, as well, to hold back and say, "Look! This is the Constitution, and this is why these things were put in there in the first place! This is what our country was founded upon." But keeping things the way they always have been, just because "this is the way it's always been" is a danger as well. Nothing makes me more angry about office procedure than the following conversation: "Why do we do this in this way?" "Because it's the way we've always done it." "But wouldn't it be more efficient to do it this other way?" "Sure." "Then, why can't we do it that way, instead?" "Because we've always done it this way." We need both parties in government. Liberal and conservative. We need the liberals trying to move forward and change things all the time, and conservatives trying to hold things the way they are. This way, we never get too far ahead too fast, but yet when change is needed, it can be done.
End of sermon: Now the knitting! These are my July and September socks!

Here's a better view of the green ones, so you can see the pattern, hopefully.

Now, I'm all excited about my winter project: a fisherman's sweater. Cozy and cabley. I got a really light caramel color brown for it. (I only paid around $25 for the yarn!) And, it's the kind of pattern that lets you figure out measurements and shaping and stuff for yourself! I'm thrilled.