Sunday, November 25, 2007
I know...it's been a LONG time! Well the reason is at least a good one. I've been trying to get used to a full time job and the schedule that goes along with it. The good news is that I'm finally feeling really comfortable with the day to day of it all and the paperwork is FINALLY starting to make sense.
As for the job.... I LOVE IT ! I can only hope this affection lasts for a very long time because I also love some of the new things in my life that go along with it. (more on that later). The biggest thing to get used to hasn't really been the early mornings (that worked out in about a week) or the 5 days a week lost to my knitting (I'll never get used to that) but the PAPERWORK! I thought hospital nursing had some overwhelming paperwork. HA! Every hour that I spend generates a minimum of 5 PAGES of notes and that doesn't take into consideration if I consult a doc, therapist or even another nurse. Those all generate their own collaboration notes. If I actually have to DO something like put the patient on a higher level of care that costs me no fewer than 10 extra forms. Holy rain forests Batman! that's a lot of paper. The powers that be know what an advantage computers would be and they keep teasing us with "maybe next year". Yeah, right.
In addition to the paperwork I generate, they expect us to carry around reference books. I weighted them - 25 POUNDS of reference books! That's in addition to the huge traveling-nurse bag with our equipment. I don't think so. I took those matters into my OWN hands and bought this. It's a Motorola Q PDA/Smartphone. Now all my reference materials either reside on the pda or I can look them up online. Yup, online goes with me. I can also use it as an MP3 player for those days in the office doing more paperwork. I could also justify it's use by taking photographs of wounds or videos of behaviors if my bosses would actually get our charting ON COMPUTER for gawd's sake. The other major advantage is the bluetooth. Our company cell phones - think umbilicus to the mother ship - don't have bluetooth. Now, consider this; we are 100% mobile...we (nurses) travel in our cars constantly to get from one patient to the other...our patients by definition are terminally ill and expected to die anytime...the whole point of the phones at all is to be able to respond immediately... and we are expected to hold a phone in one hand, DRIVE with the other and take notes with what? Our toes?! COME ON. It's only months before they make talking on a cell while driving illegal in this state. Must I risk my life and that of other drivers? Nope. Hence...bluetooth.
Oh, and about all that driving... my 10+ year old Stratus that survived teaching 3 teenage boys to drive, untold rabbit shows, a house fire and 3 or 4 multi state moves just couldn't cut it anymore. The last boy-child was all it could take. I found myself putting in as much tranny fluid as gas and the oil was getting a bit worrisome again too. So my most extravagant purchase was this...
(no, that's not MY actual car, mine needs a bath at the moment) It's a 2008 Toyota Matrix and I LOVE IT. This thing was made just for me, I'm convinced. It thinks it's a small SUV but it's "me" sized. The seats fold down flat in every conceivable way, even the front passenger seat folds into a desk! It's heavy enough on the road to be extremely stable. It's built on the old Corolla frame so has many many years of bug eliminating behind it and gets some of the highest reliability ratings from all the car-geek magazines. It even has a power inverter BUILT IN and household type outlets on the dash! Very cool for a traveling 'puter geek. Of course it comes with a hefty monthly reminder of just how cool it is, so that's why I hope I love this job just as much for the next 60 months.
Remember when this was a bunny and knitting blog? Well, both activities have suffered while I became acclimated to my new life. I actually did get 2 SA does bred and they get boxes today. I acquired two of the most gorgeous Thriantas from a top breeder out in the northwest - with generous assistance from a very good friend (hugs Eric!) and I've managed to start my herd thinning a bit with more tough decisions to come.
As for knitting...not so much. Every so often I get a stitch or three on a sock but that's about all I've managed. My mental knitting is going like crazy though. In my head I have all sorts of amazing projects planned. The advent of these... (yes, they are clear sneakers) has made sock knitting even more exciting! They are the Nike Airforce 1 clear sneaks and they would make some killer work shoes. I bought just exactly the right sock yarn for work socks too (back at Rhinebeck). So as soon as I get my hands on these in a size 7, look out!
So there's my life lately in a rather large nutshell. Other little diddies include I can't leave for any of the holidays like I'd hoped but I will be able to work the Farm show (nobody else asked for those days off), I am actually on call Christmas Day and the weekend before and Thanksgiving was way too quiet. I miss Miranda horribly. And JJ is out of school before graduating. That's extremely disappointing but he has to have the chance to work it out on his own. It's not the fun part of parenting, but it's one of the parts. Good with the bad and all that.
Until next time....
Monday, October 22, 2007
The job is awesome, I can't believe that I have the opportunity to work for a company that actually provides the compassionate care that every person deserves. The goal of patient care is the patient's un-questionable satisfaction, comfort and quality of life. Amazing. The staff work together and actually LIKE each other! Incredible. The company puts patient care and comfort ahead of profit and ends up profitable anyway. Un-freaking-believable.
Rhinebeck was a blast. It's funny. I read tons of blogs from people I know who were there and I didn't run into a single one. I went to lengths to avoid the Ravelry, Blogger Bingo and celebrity entourages. So I had a great time with much smaller crowds. I'm just not into all that stuff. I was there with a very real friend and a brand new and excited knitter. That's what a fiber festival is about for me. Oh, there was buying involved. :)
Convention apparently went just fine without me and 2 beautiful Thriantas came home from Michigan to my barn (thanks to another very dear friend who went out of his way to help me with this transaction), one of which is the BOS Sr Doe. Both bring with them the fur and color qualities I need in my own herd and I look forward to breedings this winter.
It's been a very busy month for me...but very satisfying and I'm very happy.
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
Friday, September 28, 2007
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
I have been hired by Yup, I'll be a hospice nurse. Now, I'm not going to go into an exposition explaining and justifying why anyone would choose to spend their time with those at the end of their lives except to say that it is the job that I've always said 'If I ever had the opportunity to do whatever nursing I wanted....' Everyone has something like that, right? It's not explainable. If you don't 'get it' then it's best just to accept it. I find end of life nursing to be incredibly interesting, challenging and most of all fullfilling. The patients I remember most vividly in my career were those to whom I attended on their journey home. Therein lies my apprehension. It is scary enough to start something new...but to actually get what you wish for? I've always had a whole list of excuses why I couldn't take a job with hospice and this place shot them all down. So now I have the job I have always said I wanted and on my own terms. Whoa. Is it getting hot in here? I've never been so nervous about a new job.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
I can't do it better so I prefer to do it justice. From my nephew's blog:
Following the attacks which occurred on September 11th, 2001, I pulled my site
from the web and replace it with a memorial page. This page grew into a site
containing artwork, poetry, and other writings from me and my friends. In
remembrance of that horrific day, I am making the site available from now
through Friday. You can access the site by clicking the image above.
May We Never Forget
As for my own reflections: Note: this is a frank telling of what I experienced first hand. It is not a complimentary veiw of the 'Plain People' so if you want to preserve your Norman Rockwell image of the Amish and Mennonites then you don't want to read this one. This is probably the first time I've spoken so openly about 'what happened' to me that made me leave the church.
The morning of Sept 11, '01 I was still in the conservative Mennonite church (Eastern Mennonite Conference) but having grave doubts and concerns. The thought has materialized that I might need to leave but it was a frightening thought. Then the world I knew and trusted came tumbling down around me. I was at a large, busy farmer's market when the news of the Towers came across the televisions. The entire place was like a hornet's nest that had been shaken. No one moved a lot but they moved in groups humming and buzzing away. The facial expressions were more of confusion yet than anger. Shock but not yet horror. Out of an odd sort of fear of the crowd (or was it my reaction to the crowd?) more than the event itself, I left to go home. Mennonites ignore such public displays and 'rise above' mob mentality and I was having a very hard time doing that. On the way home I cheated and listened to the radio for the news. By the time I got home, the other two shoes had fallen; The Pentagon had been attacked and a plane had gone down in PA not an hour from me. My thoughts came fast and furious but the prevailing always was "How will the Mennonites respond to this?" I would soon have my answer.
NYC..Mennonites: well, that was a target waiting to happen and all "real" Christians know how sinful that place is. God just smote Soddam and Gommorah again. They deserved it. Me, as a nurse: So many potential patients! The hospitals will be overwhelmed! My VA license is still active maybe I could help somehow? My horror was later realized when there were almost NO PATIENTS to treat. This is the ultimate worst case scenario for any nurse to endure.
The Pentagon.... Mennonites: it's the seat of war and arrogant human resistance against each other. It was bound to fall sometime and God chose to make it an example. Me as a child of a proud Navy retiree and native of Norfolk/Va Beach: The Pentagon is the epitome of the strength and superiority of our fighting men and women. A home of honor and courage but most of all, it is impregnable. How can this icon of military strength be compromised?! I realized how devoted my heart is to those brave souls who stand between me and tyranny. The military is order, civility, courage, strength, HONOR and I was mortally offended that it would be compromised.
Shanksville... Mennonites: well had the passengers been non-resistant the blame would have been on the hijackers and the others would have died in the hands of God but now they have ruined perfectly good farmland and died in a sinful state of aggression. Well, none were "real" Christians anyway so I just pray they found God somehow before their death. Me as a resident of a foreign state, culture, and environment: Am I not safe even here? I moved here to be rid of the things that tempt me, to immerse myself in Mennonites so I'd blend in better, I'm not safe, I don't blend in and I can't feel contempt for people who don't sit next to me in church.
I actually prayed at one point that my reserve unit would be activated and I'd be forced to choose my allegiance. The more time went on and I witnessed the lack of concern - TOTAL lack of appreciation! - for the results of this cowardly act of terrorism by the Mennonite community, the farther I felt from them. As far as they were concerned it was just another typical over-reaction by a society obsessed with violence and emotion. They are not 'citizens' of this world so it doesn't concern them.
Need I say that it was a defining event in my disassociation from the Mennonites and the birth of my own self examination. I can tolerate lack of compassion sometimes, I can tolerate ignorance...but arrogance and emotional vindictiveness in the name of "christianity" is not within my ability to tolerate. The terrorists didn't destroy a part of my life, they gave birth to a renewed patriot and advocate.
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Monday, August 27, 2007
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
Shetland sheep are thrifty. They are primitive enough to be efficient foragers only needing supplementation when kept in small lots and over winter and even then require significantly less feed and water than other breeds.
- fine enough to be soft,
- dense enough to keep out the dirt and vegetation and
- has a light lanolin that is pleasant to spin raw or easy to wash out.
Shetland wool/sheep comes in an amazing array of natural colors. I have never learned to really enjoy dying. I do know how, I even know some cool tricks to make great yarns. I even teach a class in coordinating fabric colors and patterns for quilts...but I don't enjoy dying wool and yarn. I discovered a long time ago that natural colors NEVER clash. There is no such thing as natural colors that don't work together. Natural colors don't bleed, fade or rub off. There are 11 main colors with many modified varieties and many more patterns! Shetland knitting is known for it's color work. Most of that wasn't even done with dyes! You can achieve everything from the blackest black to orange-red to sparkling white and every shade in between with just the natural colors of Shetland wool. What's not to love about that?
Shetland sheep also come in a variety of color patterns. Now, from a handspinner's point of view, a patterned animal can be amusing. I didn't say great, I said amusing. The different color areas are very often of distinctly different textures. That can be good...or not. White areas are often much more soft and fine than dark. If I plan to blend or use the fleece together, this might cause quite an issue. Patterned animals in a commercial venture are almost useless. Since there is no consistency of color, the patterned fleece can only be used to overdye black or navy. Remember what I said about limiting my choices? there ya go. For my own handspinning uses, I do enjoy the black variety badger-faced fleeces. In Shetlands this is known as Katmoget. They have a soft range of color from very dark to lightest silver and I enjoy playing with those colors. Aesthetically, patterned animals are pleasing to many people and let's face it, if you look at the critter every day, you might as well enjoy it.
So there is my treatise on why I love Shetland sheep and fleece. If you have interest in working with or learning about these amazing little critters, please do check out the site I mentioned. It includes everything from wool qualities, history, husbandry and breed standards.
Shetland Wool, taking all its properties together, is perhaps the completest
article of the kind in the universe, possessing at the same time, the gloss and
softness of silk, the strength of cotton, the whiteness of linen, and the warmth
Sir John Sinclair
September 22, 1790
Sunday, July 29, 2007
Cathy Patrick was not a personal friend of mine. We didn't go to dinner after shows, we didn't sit and chat between classes, I never bought a rabbit from her nor did she specifically mentor me. I expect she would recognize my name because I'm active in the hobby, in shows and on public discussion groups, but I doubt she would come up and address me by name at a show. So why would Cathy's life and presence mean so much to me? Because I'm one of the many people she touched (as we all do) as she went about doing what she loved, judging and working at rabbit shows. Cathy was a tough as nails judge and an outstanding teacher to those with the fortitude to listen. For the breeders and rabbits deserving of her praise, she was equally generous of her support and admiration. Cathy taught me some very valuable lessons about raising and breeding rabbits. Some of those are:
-Never compromise. If the rabbit is not what it should be, go breed a better one.
-Don't accept mediocrity just because you can. Don't keep anything just because it is a rare color or you feel sorry for it. BREED BETTER.
-Listen to critique. Don't show your rabbit just to hear how 'pretty' it is. The judge has the opportunity to tell you what you NEED to hear, not just what you want to hear.
-Listen to EVERY judge. Even a judge who knows little about your breed can offer information that you can use to improve your breeding program.
-Listen to judging on any breed you can. Same concept. You WILL learn something that will help in your own program but only if you are LISTENING.
-Follow the rules. Cheating and cutting corners never bred a better rabbit. Ribbons and trophies and sweeps points are worth NOTHING if they are not earned honestly.
- WORK your program. Plan, Learn, Critique, Cull and keep working.
These are the reasons why this BOB award is so meaningful to me. I won this with a Thrianta of my own breeding in a program that I'm working hard on. The competition was worthy and challenging and the showmanship of all our breeders was excellent. I believe Cathy would have truly approved of the work and diligence I put into it. That work is my tribute to Cathy and that hat my reward.
Regarding Cathy Patrick herself. I really rale at the statement I hear so often "..she lost her battle with Cancer..." Cathy Patrick lost NOTHING. Cathy's life ended at the appointed time established by her creator and God. Only He knows the number of our days on this Earth. At the time of Cathy's death, she was valiantly fighting a disease that sought to destroy her body. The only way that Cancer would have been victorious is if Cathy had ever chosen to sacrifice the days given to her, curl up in a ball in the corner and stop living while her body still breathed. SHE NEVER DID THAT! Therefore it is Cathy Patrick who won and not Cancer! Cathy lived every single day of her life. She didn't allow Cancer to steal any of those days away.
Cathy Patrick fought valiantly and victoriously against Cancer and now rests free from pain and sorrow in the arms of her God.
Another lesson I'll accept from her gladly. That pink hat is not a memorial to Cathy's death, it's a testament to the life she lived and a hope that I could live as well. Thank You Cathy.
This weekend was the Cathy Patrick Memorial Rabbit Show in Millersburg OH.
Many of you might ask "Who was Cathy Patrick?" Well, if you were a rabbit exhibitor, you might already know that she was a well respected Judge, District Director, friend and mentor. If you don't raise rabbits, you may not have heard of her, but you would have appreciated her...maybe or not liked her, but appreciated her. Let's suffice it to say that her life was such that a whole lot of people felt compelled to travel at no small expense to money, time or trouble to gather in her honor and do exactly what she liked most to do - Show RABBITS.
Total entries around 1600 for the show! In addition to the entry fees being donated to Cathy's family, the food was all donated, the raffle was all donated, the sanctions and even awards were donated! So much love and respect for such a great lady.
Bill Patrick (Cathy's husband) visiting with show friends outside.
Eric, smiling and ready for a day of judging.
Eric, later in the day after about 2 zillion Netherland Dorks (oops, Dwarfs. LOL)
WHAT a great raffle table!!! There were many special donations such as the customized nestbox (which Eric won) and the lovely stepstool. I won a beautiful fleece throw with an angel and bunnies on a pink background. The card with it said it that it was to represent Cathy's love of rabbits and the pink represented her valiant fight against breast cancer. I consider it a special treasure.
The Thrianta showing was FANTASTIC! There were 40 entries total with 17 (SEVENTEEN!) junior does!
The best part of the show of course - Look at all those smiles! T breeders really are just the BEST. The writters started off commenting that they'd never even heard of the breed. Half way into judging and just look at those faces. New interest maybe? ;)
Honorable Judge was Howard Keller who did a great job with this new breed.
BOB - SrB (8 shown / 5 exhibitors)
Ear # MAN (CCR's Mannetjevos) Owned and bred by Elaine Harvey
BOS - SrD (4 shown / 4 exhibitors)
Ear # DG3 (CCR's Sunshine) Owned by Kim Kroak, Bred by Elaine Harvey
1st Place Jr B (11 shown / 7 exhibitors)
Ear #ORV Owned by Leanne Kelly
1st Place Jr D (17 shown! / 8 exhibitors)
Ear #THR (CCR's Thrintjes) Owned and Bred by Elaine Harvey
HUGE Thanks to the show committee for putting together this event where so many could gather and celebrate the life and work of our friend, mentor and favorite protagonist.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
I'm still learning my way around the fine tuning aspects of that site but it's working really well so far!
The official GRAND OPENING will be Saturday July 28 so for the next few days you can enjoy a sneak preview especially for my loyal customers who are checking this blog and my email lists.
There is also a YARN GIVE AWAY! Register your name in the entry by creating an account. Specific contest details to follow*. All information is used ONLY for site promotions and newsletters. Yup, newsletters. In the future there will be periodic newsletters with news of upcoming sales, articles, projects, patterns and photos from our customers!
Keep checking back to the store. I have tons more adding to do including yarn (if you have a specific color request, please let me know, I bet I have it.), spinning batts, angora fleeces, knitting needles and patterns.
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
I will be featuring handspun specialty skeins in wool, alpaca, ANGORA(of course). Soon there will be custom stitch markers, needle cases and counting tools, hand spindles. Look for commercially prepared luxury rovings and angora wool for spinning.
There will also be notices of classes and events in the central PA area. Payment is accepted via PayPal and can be made in the form ofcash transfer, checking account and all major credit cards.
Set your RSS aggregator to catch all the updates as products will be added every day or two and you don't want to miss anything. In factjust today there will be a few updates just to get things rolling.Check back often and don't miss a thing!
Friday, May 25, 2007
Please...do yourself a favor...SEE THE MOVIE! Your deserve it. This is a 2 3/4 hour vacation for your mind, body and soul. Brush up on your marine lore first though. This movie is not only the best action feature I've ever seen (and my dad is a movie buff) but it will keep you thinking throughout the entire movie. It truly exercises every part of your brain and takes you on a ride. Compared to the other 2 movies in the trilogy which were so fantastic in themselves, this movie completes the character development and you find out that there are no shrinking violets, no predictable goody-goodies, and the bad guys are really have heart and reason and they use all of it. Every single character was hero-worthy and not just Jack! Fascinating!
Friday, May 11, 2007
Newborns in Need, Inc. (NIN) is a 501(c)3 charity organized to take care of sick and needy babies and their families; and in cases of crisis, to help where help is needed.I was a member and BOD officer of a chapter in Norfolk until my home was destroyed by fire and we moved. I can honestly say I never worked for a more rewarding cause. At first it sounds morbid to enjoy making clothes for very ill babies or babies who die early in their short lives but imagine the compassion of saving that child's mother from having to go to a TOY STORE to shop for a special garment for her precious child. No grieving parent should ever suffer such indignity. You can be the person to share this mercy with another.
Newborns in Need, Inc. is founded upon Christian principles and provides essential items without charge to those in need. We have been serving God's tiniest children since 1992.
Now I am trying to organize a chapter here in Myerstown and I need your help. There is only one other chapter in PA about 3.5 hours drive northwest of Harrisburg. Our area of PA is devoid of active guilds, clubs or casual meetings for knitters, spinners and sewers. Let's correct that omission and be a blessing to others too. I am proposing an organizational meeting in Myerstown on Thursday May 25. There will be day and evening meetings. Decisions to be made will be location, days and times of meetings, choosing a Board of Directors for our chapter and a format for our meetings.
A typical chapter meeting includes brief business updates, planning events, the occasional speaker or short program and lots of time for working together or individually on projects. Oh...and food. :) The business part of this first meeting will include filling out the application for chapter recognition from the national group and discussion of the duties of the officers. Oh...and food. :) Not a knitter or sewer you say? We'll teach you! Do you have a pattern to share? let's do it! Can you cook? Did I mention that knitters and sewers like to eat? :) An important part of meetings is socializing. Making new friends, enjoying 'old' friends, welcoming those who needed help into a circle of those who are helpers. Oh...and food. :)
So if you think you could join us for meetings once a month, day or evening, then please contact me at CCRfuzzy@gmail.com for directions to the first meeting. If you know others who would be interested in attending, please pass this info on to them.
Friday, May 04, 2007
2. DIAMONDS OR PEARLS?
Pearls...surrounded by diamonds.
3. WHAT WAS THE LAST FILM YOU SAW AT THE CINEMA?
Night At the Museum
4. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE T.V. SHOW?
5. WHAT DO YOU USUALLY HAVE FOR BREAKFAST
Coffee and plain yogurt with fresh fruit
6. FAVORITE CUISINE?
7. WHAT IS YOUR MIDDLE NAME?
Elaine (If you know the first name you've been entrusted with a State secret, don't make me kill you for exposing it.)
8. WHAT FOOD DO YOU DISLIKE ?
9. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CD AT THE MOMENT?
Movie soundtrack of Pirates of the Caribean or Sting Songs from the Labyrinth
10. WHAT KIND OF TRUCK/CARS DO YOU DRIVE?
11. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SANDWICH?
Toasted smoked ham and swiss on rye
12. WHAT CHARACTERISTICS DO YOU DESPISE?
13. FAVORITE ITEM OF CLOTHING?
a fancy flowing nightgown
14. IF YOU COULD GO ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD ON VACATION, WHERE WOULD IT BE?
Tibet, Ireland/Scotland, Egypt
15. WHAT COLOR IS YOUR BATHROOM?
Old white with gold metalic 'marbeling', preppy green and blue plaid curtains (NOT MY CHOICE!!!)
16. WHERE WOULD YOU RETIRE?
17. WHAT WAS YOUR MOST RECENT MEMORABLE BIRTHDAY?
30 was traumatic but not particularly recent (which is also traumatic).
18. FAVORITE SPORT TO WATCH?
19.FARTHEST PLACE YOU ARE SENDING THIS?
20. WHO DO YOU LEAST EXPECT TO SEND THIS BACK TO YOU?
Anyone with good sense
21. PERSON YOU EXPECT TO SEND IT FIRST?
Those who read the blog.
22. COKE OR PEPSI?
Coke for full sugar, Pepsi if diet.
23. WHEN IS YOUR BIRTHDAY?
24. ARE YOU A MORNING OR NIGHT PERSON?
25. HOW MANY PETS?
Oh dear.... 3 that live in the house. ;)
26. ANY NEW OR EXCITING NEWS YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH US?
28. WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU WERE LITTLE?
29. HOW ARE YOU TODAY
Excited to leave for MDSW TOMORROW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
30. What is your favorite candy?
Valrhonna Dark chocolate
31. FAVORITE FLOWER?
32. WHAT DAY ON THE CALENDAR ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO?
May 5 and 6 which is MDSW TOMORROW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
33. SAY ONE NICE THING ABOUT THE PERSON WHO SENT THIS TO YOU.
Tina is one of only a very very small group of people I can spend an entire LONG week at Farm Show with and never tire of her company.
Thursday, May 03, 2007
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
Dobbs: A peculiar day for immigration rallies
POSTED: 8:52 a.m. EDT, May 2, 2007
By Lou DobbsCNN
Editor's Note: Lou Dobbs' commentary appears weekly on CNN.com.
NEW YORK (CNN) -- What a spectacle, what a mess. What a day for thousands and thousands of illegal aliens and their supporters to march through the streets of many of our biggest cities demanding amnesty for illegally entering the country.
Tuesday was given over to illegal aliens and their supporters to demand forgiveness for using fraudulent documents and assisting others in entering this country illegally. What a day for illegal aliens and their supporters to demand not only amnesty but also the end to immigration raids and an end to deportations.
May Day was a peculiar choice for those demonstrations, a day in many countries in which international socialism is celebrated and a reminder of those old Soviet Union military parades.
It was also an unfortunate and ironic choice on the part of the organizers of the demonstrations. May 1 in the United States is actually Law Day, a day first established by President Eisenhower in 1958 and ultimately codified into law in 1961 at the beginning of John F. Kennedy's administration. The purpose of Law Day is to give all Americans an opportunity to reflect on our legal heritage, and by statute, encourages "the cultivation of the respect for law that is so vital to the democratic way of life."
I'll bet you know about the illegal alien amnesty marches, but I don't know of a single news organization, electronic or print that pointed out that May 1 is America's Law Day. The cable news networks gave almost wall-to-wall coverage to the illegal alien demonstrations, but they apparently couldn't find any American celebrating Law Day.
And no one seems to want to take note that we are first a nation of laws, and that without those laws and their enforcement, the foundation of our great republic turns to sand. What a spectacle on Law Day for demonstrators to demand amnesty for those who broke the law to enter our country, many of whom also broke the law with fraudulent documents.
And what a mess when the president of the United States and the U.S. Congress are pandering to a group of people who are not citizens and refuse to demand enforcement of our immigration laws, our criminal laws, and fails to secure our borders and ports.
I couldn't help but wonder as I watched monitors bringing images of the marches and demonstrations from all across the country, who should really be protesting on May Day. What about the millions of legal residents who followed the long, drawn-out process to secure a visa to enter the United States lawfully? Maybe they should be protesting. What about the seven-figure backlog at the Citizenship and Immigration Services agency of people who are following the rules. Should they demonstrate?
What about all of our fellow Americans who are being marginalized by the massive importation of illegal, low-cost and mostly uneducated labor into this country? Perhaps those citizens should take to the streets. And what about the more than 250 million Americans who make up our middle class and those who aspire to it whose wages have stagnated and who are paying for the social, medical and economic costs of illegal immigration? That's a big march.
If yesterday's demonstrators and their supporters in Congress and corporate America are serious about their deep desire for American citizenship, why don't we hear any of them clearly say they're willing to give up dual citizenship? Or that they're willing to learn English and surrender demands of bilingual education? Or declare they embrace English as our official national language? Or demand that illegal employers of illegal aliens pay for the social, educational and medical costs now borne by the taxpayers?
Yesterday was Law Day. I hope that we celebrate Law Day with a great national enthusiasm next May 1. I guarantee you I'll march in that demonstration.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the writer.
Friday, April 20, 2007
Monday, April 16, 2007
Saturday, April 07, 2007
Sunday, April 01, 2007
Basically, each sample needs to be evaluated for it's actual PERFORMANCE in the hands of a spinner. The resulting yarn quality will be evaluated in the final step.
Tools of the trade: The spinning wheel. Now, any wheel can work, but this is my preference. I use an Ashford Elizabeth 2 Saxony style wheel set on single drive with Scotch tension. The reason I like this wheel in particular is that it has so many possible variations. It can be used double drive, single drive with Scotch tension (pictured), or direct drive. I choose SD with Scotch tension for this application because it allows me to fine tune and fine FEEL what is happening in the fiber. It also allows me to very quickly remove the tension completely so that I can wind the skeins.
Other tools: A small niddy noddy to wind the 4-5 yard lengths into a practical skein for evaluation. Pencil and score sheet obviously. The "flicker brush" is ESSENTIAL to this process. 10 points is assigned to 'preparation of fiber'.
Some people have used a mechanical drum carder to prepare the samples for Spin Off. The first problem here is that it takes at least an ounce of fiber to properly card on a drum carder. I don't NEED to actually work that much fiber in order to judge it adequately so anything over a handful processed is wasted. As far as I'm concerned, the person sending the sample deserves the assumption that their fiber is valuable and should not be treated wastefully. I am not going to spin a full ounce of fiber just because I already carded it and it is plain out WRONG to waste that fiber. The second problem is that you simply cannot compare how one fiber drum cards to how another drum cards. The drum is intended to make ALL fiber easier to work. There simply is no judgement to the process. Alpaca is known for needing minimal processing for use and that means flicking.
The last tool in the photo might be my hand but in reality, it's what is ON my hand; namely the bracelet. I find it essential to my process but that is better shown than explained.
Flicking. The flicker - yes, it is a cheap cat slicker brush and it's served me well for the $3.50 I spent on it 4 or 5 years ago - is bounced, not dragged, over the ends of the fiber. This serves to simply open up the fibers. On really long staples like the suri pictured it takes a patient effort to work from the end to the middle of the staple without breaking and losing the fiber. Fiber that is brittle or tender won't stand the process and ends up wasted. How well the fiber opens up and the amount of loss contribute to the score. I give every staple 3 taps per end. More than that and the points start decreasing. Extremely long fiber may well lose points here, but may gain them right back in the spinning and as a fine yarn later.
Drafting is an important part of how the fiber is scored for spinning. The best fiber is one that is not so slippery as to resist twist but no so tacky as to resist drafting. A great fiber lends itself to any type of draft I choose; short draw, long draw, spinning from the fold or novelties like slub or boucle. Huacaya fiber almost always drafts evenly from the cut or tip end but suri often spins well only from the tip. Basically, the more the fiber allows me to do, the better it is and the higher the score.
This is an example of what you do NOT want your fiber to do! This fiber was so covered in a black (?!) substance that my hands were covered after spinning just a small handful. The fiber was very sticky and required a lot of work to keep it reasonably smooth and even. This fleece would require washing before any preparation could be done. It's unpleasant and un-versatile. That equals a very poor impression on the customer and a very poor score for the fiber.
And here is my personal secret to success. After the fiber is spun into a single strand, the tension is released completely and the strand is drawn back out through the orifice. I catch the end of the strand under my bracelet (if I lose that end, I'm skunked!) and then wind the strand around my hand into an Andean bracelet.
Once I reach the far end of the strand, I release the bracelet, meet the near and far ends of the strand (effectively folding the strand in half) and then ply the two ends together into a 2 ply yarn. The strand never leaves the bobbin.
The plied yarn is wound on a Niddy to make one large loop of yarn.
The plied yarn skein can be evaluated for it's performance right off the niddy. Does it balance easily and allow it to lay (lie?) relaxed? Does the fiber resist twist causing slubs and excessive barbing of the fiber?
The next step will be to wash the skeins and then evaluate the finished yarns. The photos of that might take a few days since I can't for the life of me find my battery charger. It's here someplace.