The Beginning of Beginning Again

So, there is a new year on the horizons and all those things we resolve to do. I don’t make new years resolutions anymore because I don’t see them through and that somehow makes it worse.

No, or i'd be a rail by nowI did not have what I consider to be a successful year in the shops and I determined to do it better in 2015. I’ve already begun by working on Valentine’s Day items.

But I do want to get back to the fun side of knitting and I am going to rely on the blog for that. There is always something so much fun in knitting. (OK crochet, too..geez, purists.)

I am working on something yarn related but not knitting: I am making pom-pom flowers. I have my little stems and will take photos if I can make it work, It seems simple: which is why I question if I can pull it off.

I do like making pom-poms. They are fun to make and fun to trim and now I get to stick them on little spikes and make them into a bouquet. I’m already getting ahead of myself. I need to see if I can make just one.

I just finished the first one and it works fine. I used wire stems and I cut away the paper from the wire so I could get it into the pom-pom. I am going to make some more. I am starting out with medium gray. I am envisioning a great many flowers but it won’t happen. I only bought three packages of stems.

 

Knitsville Christmas

9mmIt doesn’t seem like Christmas to me. I am doing some orders – nothing like a few years ago and I am not complaining about that – but I didn’t get a lot of the frantic messages from people to feel stressed out over their orders and it’s been cold but not terribly cold and there have been some flurries but no real snow.

But the big things is my neighbor, Giovanni, did not put out his big Christmas display. It usually goes up the day after Thanksgiving but it wasn’t there and Mr. Honey and I even talked about it. We saw Giovanni, he wasn’t ill. His wife made her rare appearance but nothing…and then one day avemaria

 

There it was. It’s a little different this year – there’s a lot more going on in the windows and the animals seem a little scarce. I’ve always wondered about the snowman being there at the birth. There were times when Santa was there as well but now he hands on the other side of the stairs – being respectful of the family time.

I thought about putting up one of our trees. Believe me, the thought is the closest I’ve come to doing it in years so I take it as a sign my Christmas spirit may be coming back. Mr. Honey and I decided last year to forego the giving of presents and to save that money instead for a vacation trip and we decided to do that again for the coming year. We already have our two destinations in mind: one road trip and one air trip. You know what that means – two yarn shops.

The ‘I gotta have this for Christmas’ orders are all out and I am still a few days ahead of my shipping schedule. Christmas is over as far as I’m concerned and I am now on to Valentine’s Day. I have made a couple dozen hearts and I am making pom-poms for pom-pom flowers. I am determined to do this right.

I hope you all have a beautiful Christmas or Hanukkah and as Kwanzaa approaches, I wish everyone a prosperous and more aware new year.

The Myth of ‘All Lives Matter’

Black Lives Matter Solidarity March
Black Lives Matter Solidarity March

The pastor sent out a message asking the church to wear black on Sunday and to walk, if one was interested, in the Black Lives Matter Solidarity walk last Sunday in Oak Park.

I was at a dinner Friday night and one of the women very caustically stated they saw the email and deleted. “I’m not gonna walk or wear black. All lives matter.”

Well, duh.

I think it might be easier to say ‘all lives matter’ if you have no skin in the game (forgive the pun) or if you think that by saying ‘black lives matter’ you’re saying the lives of policemen don’t or the lives of whites don’t. Or if you think that mystical, magical land of post racial is with us now.

But no one said that.

I was on the planning committee for that march and the story I shared about why this march mattered to me was this:

When I moved into my house, I moved into Mr. Honey’s house and his house is right next door to the house he grew up in. He has lived on this block his entire life. This street is the only street he’s known.

When I would be in the front yard or the back yard, I began to notice this car and the man inside it would just stare at me. First I thought I was imagining it but nope. Same car; same guy. I pointed it out to Mr. Honey who told me the guy lived four houses down from us but he thought I must have been imagining it, too.

Until the guy started driving down and staring even when Mr. Honey was with me. We were out front doing lawn work when the guy came down and stopped the car. Mr. H. put down his rake and started walking towards the car and the guy drove off – but just to the corner – and continued to stare until we started walking there as well and he drove away.

Now, I can easily dismiss this guy. In fact, I told Mr. Honey I thought it was a waste of gas for him to drive down and I would just go and stand in front of his house so he can stare at me from the comfort of his home. I could label him a sad, poor soul and go on about my business.

Except…

This guy went around the neighborhood telling his neighbors they had to get me out of the neighborhood. They couldn’t allow me to stay. They couldn’t allow a black person in the neighborhood.

Staring at me from a car is one thing and I was never intimidated by that but when he put words to that action and took action by trying to rally the neighborhood, he moved into an entirely new sphere. When was just staring, he was prejudice. The moment he spoke up and moved to garner support, he became a racist.

This wasn’t a moment when all lives mattered because this was, to this guy, about a black life – my black life. Maybe if I stood in front of his house with a sign that says: All Lives Matter…

You can tell me that guy is a jerk; a racist jerk even but the one you can’t tell me is that I had nothing to fear. If this guy had gotten encouragement from even one of the neighbors – this guy was a Chicago Firefighter – and we have policemen who live on the block – if he had a thumbs up from anyone – he could have been George Zimmerman before George Zimmerman was cool.

The scary guy in the room isn’t the one who says: ‘We have to run her out of here.” The scary guy is the other guy who says, “We can make that work.” Followed very closely by the third guy who says nothing.

People are lucky when they have neighbors who keep the music down, will loan them a lawnmower or who will take in their mail when they are on vacation .No one should be lucky to have neighbors that won’t run you out of the neighborhood.

Of course all lives matter but once in a while society allows itself to lose sight of that and a specific aspect becomes detached, not totally on its own. At those times, the rest of society needs to stop and say: “You matter.”

The rest of us need to stop and declare their worth not just for the benefit of the part but for the benefit of the whole. We have to know that equality isn’t the same as justice so saying ‘all lives matter’ may give the idea that everyone is the same but it dismisses the fact that everyone isn’t treated the same and it lets us off the hook when we value certain lives less.

Black lives matter because we need to know they do.

By the way, the guy never changed his mind about me; he died.

Still Burning a hole in my Pocket

No, or i'd be a rail by now
No, or i’d be a rail by now

I still have my $1.40. In my travels yesterday, I didn’t see anyone on the street and I didn’t stop anywhere there was a bell ringer.

Did I mention last weekend at the craft show, a woman paid me for a scarf with ten gold dollars? They will be used to pay this tithe as well as tips when we go to restaurants.

But there is more to my plan than just tithing. I get (as I am sure you do) calls and letters from a bunch of people who want just a little bit of my time to ask for a little bit of my money.

There are many worthy organizations – worthy being a completely subjective thing – not just charities but my university needs some assistance (so they say – though when I left it was Aurora College and the week after I paid off my student loan, they became Aurora University – not a coincidence, I think,)

How does one decide? How do you decide what organizations to give to?  Which ones are worthy of your treasure?

I’d like to know. Maybe we can give a shout out to some places others haven’t heard of.

 

Knitsville is still buzzing with work to do – even though today I took the day off to give the hands a rest. It’s the chance of getting some writing in though mostly it’s been the chance to be a bit lazy. I did get some writing done but not nearly what I should be doing. So I am about to get back to it. I look forward to the rare day when my calendar gives me a complete day off: no knitting, writing or walking. A veg day.

But it’s not this day…so with this bit of writing done, I am on to the next one – I’ll be happy to be back to my sticks and hooks, too. It is my life after all.

 

$1.40

The reading I do about tithing says the wealth should go back to the Lord or to God, I don’t see where it says it has to go the church. And the two are quite different.

I decided to go back to the beginning of my business and start the tithe thing – giving 10% of what I make back to God on a month to month basis. The first month – well, Dec 21 to Dec 31 way back in 2008 – I didn’t make anything.

But January of 2009 saw me with my firstil_570xN.53467693 Etsy sale.  sold a grocery or tote bag for $14.00.

That mean I have to give away $1.40. This isn’t as easy as it looks. I don’t want to save it and attach it somewhere else, I really want this to go out.

Do I place it in church as part of the loose offering? Do I place it in church with an envelope that has my name on it?

Do I give it so someone on the street or place it in the donation bin at McDonald’s for the Ronald McDonald house? Do I take the time to write and a check and send it off? (Hey, Alyssa Milano, here’s $1.40. Almost three days worth of bed nets.)

It’s not easy deciding where your giving goes when there’s not a lot to be given. I want to make an impact and I want to believe that the dollar amount doesn’t have to be grand in order to make a difference.

I’ve decided to give it to someone on the street or drop it into the Salvation Army kettle – whichever one I come across first.

In knitting news, I have about 20 orders going and though I was hoping for a little more, I am content that it will all work out the way it’s supposed to. Things are looking quite positive.

I am headed back downstairs to finish a hat and get the packages out the door for the day. Choir rehearsal this evening will eat into some of the work day and tomorrow I have th day off so I have to make the most of the next five hours or so.

$1.40 – who know?