Sunday, August 19, 2007


Well, it's raining again here in northern Indiana. Our area wasn't too badly hit this last week. However, Gary to the northwest and Kouts to the southeast were. Large areas lost electricity. Three days later tens of thousands were still without service. We had a dry hot spring and now that the dry period is here we are getting the rain. Go figure.

I am about two weeks away from finishing my sister-in-laws quilt. The anniversary was celebrated two weeks ago. I just told her that her quilt needed a bit more work. At least they could enjoy the sheets and pillowcases on which mom put a crocheted edging.

We have both been grousing lately about not being able to find what we want in our local stores. We have wonderful shopping generally; but, more and more when we go looking for something particular we have a hard time finding it. When she looked for the sheet/pillowcase set to edge (and when she looked for earlier sets for a couple of my other siblings) what she found did not satisfy her at all. She couldn't find the colors she wanted and had to settle for something other than what she wanted. The hems were shoddily done and the pillowcases had mismatched seams. These would once have been sold at a cut rate as seconds but not any more. Then she couldn't find the color of crochet thread she wanted and again had to settle for something else.

I tried to find an afghan hook in a smaller size than I had on hand. The Hancock Fabrics we once had has closed and Walmart is getting out of the needlecraft and fabric business. Target and K-mart did that a long time ago. That leaves Michaels as the only chain store for needlework but they have reduced their crochet thread and shifted their stocks of yarn to emphasize the new 'funky' yarns (you know--the eyelash, and fur lines) that I really don't like to crochet with. The only afghan hood available was in a set of hooks for beginning crocheters and was the same size as the ones I already have. Once some many years ago I stopped shopping at Michaels because they shifted to a fad needlework I didn't like. I guess I will have to stop shopping there again. Luckily we have a local yarn shop, Sheep's Clothing, that did carry what I needed. I love their yarns but they are pricey.

Many, many years ago I read economists who thought that the trends toward automation and computerization would create a commercial world in which anyone could easily get anything almost custom made for them. What a crock. What has happened is we have an economy dominated by chain stores in which only those items which will sell zillions of units are carried. A recent guest poster on the Time Goes By blog noted the difficulty finding shampoo for her gray hair. She finally found one brand on the bottom shelf and bought both of the bottles that were left. Anyone who colors her hair or is blond, brunette, or red-headed can find all kinds of products. But not someone who refuses to buy into the youth orientation which demands that the gray haired cover the gray and pretend the years haven't passed.

What we have is an economy that serves the young and has no interest in anyone else. TV is dominated by the 18 to 34 crowd. We have complained for sometime about how uninteresting the offerings are. We either saw it and don't want to see it again, never wanted to see it in the first place, or liked it so well we can watch our own copy without commercial interruption. And we have been doing a lot of that last option lately.

I guess I am really very tired of an economy which doesn't meet my needs, doesn't see any profit in meeting my needs and doesn't even provide suitable alternatives. I don't want to settle for what those overpaid bastards in the corporate offices offer and be grateful for it. I am not in the least grateful. Most of the time I am pretty damn pissed.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

I can't believe it has been two weeks since my last post. Last month was incredibly frustrating. I felt as though I couldn't do anything right. What I learned about my job seemed to get lost in the doing. I realize that have to be faster and more accurate than I have been ever before and that I am dealing with a complex computer system that makes mistakes almost inevitable. But so many mistakes???? I wonder too if I am putting too much pressure on myself. I know I am a would be perfectionist. "Would be?" you ask. Well I am a perfectionist who knows the futility of that on an intellectual level but I still get angry and frustrated with myself when I am not perfect. The problem is how to strive for perfection without beating myself up emotionally when I am not. In my needlework I often joke that I have never needed a 'humility block' because I have made plenty of inadvertent mistakes. The difference is that my mistakes at work are noticed while those in the needlework will rarely, if ever, be noticed.

Well, yesterday was a good day even if it was slow. Only one small and easily correctable mistake and everything was on an even keel at the end.

My brother's and sister-in-law's 30th anniversary was last weekend. I did not get her quilt done in time. I need another three weeks to finish. I told my mother we would invite her out to lunch and give her the quilt then. Then I really must finish the little embroidered figures for Mom's jacket. I have only been working on them, in between other things, for two years.

Of course, everyone needs a break now and then. Mine consisted of reading the last Harry Potter and watching 300 and The Fountain. The last was strange. I don't know what to make of it and it certainly was not what I expected. I will have to see it again sometime and try to get a handle on it. The photography was wonderful as were the effects in 300. And, as a sometime student of history, I found a good deal to quibble with regarding 300. First, the Spartans didn't start the war with Persia. That was started a generation before by the Athenians when they sent aid to the Greek city states on the Anatolian (present day Turkey) coast and islands when they rebelled against their Persian masters. The Persian Emperor Darias was not pleased and decided the Athenians needed to be taught a lesson. Unfortunately for him, he lost the battle at Marathon and died before he could try a second time and his son, Xerxes, was left with the task of disciplining the Greeks.

I find the words put into the characters' mouths about freedom somewhat ironic. After all, the Spartan economy was based on slave labor. How else could the Spartan men be dedicated soldiers? The film showed the young Leonidas killing a wolf as a rite of passage to manhood. But it failed to mention that another such rite of passage was the deliberate murder of a Helot, as the state owned serfs (slaves) were called, in hand-to-hand combat without being caught in the act. But then I have become disenchanted with our semi-religious cant on the theme of freedom. I often have to ask: freedom for what? Freedom from what? Freedom for whom? I suspect that those of our leaders who use the word most frequently would rather those questions not be asked or answered.

I have other quibbles concerning the film. And in spite of them, I rather liked it.