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09:59 pm: another post

Yesterday I had my first sewing lesson.  That's if you don't count the lessons I had about 40 years ago from my mother, which resulted in my vowing never to use a needle w/ a hole in it.  Not only did the thread always get tangled up in the works when I was attempting to sew something, it reached the point that if my mother was sewing and I walked into the room the threads would get all tangled up.  Some young women have poltergeists.  I had the SMG (Sewing Machine Gremlin).

Oh, and there was the period, early in our life in the Fartland, when I attempted to make clothes for my beloved kiddies... and sewed the legs of a pair of shorts intended for Cabell.  Sewed them together, that is.  Diana Lilly still periodically brings this up.  I probably wouldn't even remember it if she didn't.  It was a very brief period.

But I digress.  I took my 2nd hand Viking sewing machine to Sally Blankenship's house, where we went over the manual & the parts of the machine and did a couple of little things to begin to familiarize myself with the machine.  Today I washed some fabric that I've had for years and tomorrow morning I hope to clear a space in Hannah's room to be my Sewing Corner.  If I succeed with enough time to spare I will attempt to Lay Out a Pattern and pin it.  A very simple pattern.  2 pieces, 3 max.  I went to Hancocks today and bought pins and tailor's marking pencils, so I'm good to go.  All I need is air conditioning.  Maybe I could have a permanent Sewing Corner at Sally's house.

I also bought mitten clips.  This is an exciting purchase for me, and not because I wear mittens (I don't, and I especially don't in June).  However, because I am not quite as immodest as some of my family members, I won't go into great detail in explaining how I plan to use them.  Suffice it to say that:

A)   I have a very small butt, no hips to speak of, rather more tummy than I would prefer and thus no waist.
B)  I have also lost about 15 pounds in the last 6 months or so.
C) Part B exacerbates a problem resulting from Part A,  i.e. that sometimes my pants/skirts fall down w/o warning.
D) Suspenders, while effective, don't really give me the look I want.

Tomorrow afternoon I will have lesson #2.  This is after I meet w/ the Grant Guru about the  fall TPRS workshopat the HS for a noon session.

Yesterday, after my sewing lesson, I went to the HS and took part in the VP interviews before heading to the public library for an evening meeting of the Climate Change Initiative group.  Peggy Hill, Carol Draper and I went representing UU with the thought of pairing up w/ the Community Resource Center.  CRC is a small grant-funded organization that works out of the most impoverished section of Cape Girardeau.  Denise Lincoln is the white, middle-class director of the CRC, and no one sees the irony better than she of her position trying to organize/help families in this almost exclusively African-American neighborhood.  In the 2 1/2 years she's been director she has actively solicited being replaced by an African-American.  There have been no applicants.

I am interested, both for general reasons and also because I have some students from this area.  I am also leary, as I do not function at all well when I have too much on my plate, and during the school year even making it to UU every week can be a burden.  I don't manage time particularly well under the best of circumstances, and when I have commitments that I am not totally gung ho about I first procrastinate, then become depressed and then  dysfunctional, which makes me more depressed.   I'm already experiencing this cycle over the TPRS workshop, and it's a cloud over my summer vacation.  If more people at UU don't step forward to help w/ the CRC I will back out.  Peggy and Carol are great, but we should not be the only representatives of the Fellowship to undertake the project. 

I didn't get home last night until around 9:00.  Allen had not let Tallulah loose, so I did, but she did not come back when I called a couple of hours later.  I was beat, after my long day and not having slept well the night before.  (Actually, once I drank some wine and knit awhile I slept quite well, but I hadn't gone to sleep until about 3 am and got up at 8:30. )  So I went to bed, figuring I would wake up in a couple of hours and call her again, which is what usually happens when she's too busy hunting to come home for dinner.  However, I didn't wake up until 8am.  She came right up when I called, and her muzzle and paws were quite dirty.  I only hope she was digging on our property and not in someone's garden.  At least we have not received any irate phone calls.

Tuesday night was the 2nd in a row of not sleeping well.  Monday I went down to the kitchen to get some wine and there wasn't an open bottle.  So I opened up the fancy corkscrew that I gave Allen for Christmas, and after trying to  figure out how to use it for about 10 minutes gave up and got a caffeine-free Coke.  Then I read for 2 hours.  I finished Black Swan Green, really a very good rite of passage novel, if not the most profound piece of literature ever written.  Then last night I started Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver.  I offered to lead a discussion group about the book for UU in early July.  I like Kingsolver's fiction, for the most part, especially Animal Dreams, which features the dog Allen and I gave Barbara and her first husband back in Tucson, lo these many years ago.  She writes with humor, but can have a bit of a heavy hand when dealing w/ social issues.  She believes that all art is political.  I agree, but I think we define political differently.  She appears to mean, in her fiction at least,  that art must be topical.  That only works for me if the topicality is used to explore the universal.  Which I think her work does, but there tends to be kind of a preachy aftertaste.

AVM is different from the other things I've read by Kingsolver in that it is non-fiction and because it was co-written by her husband (who writes informative little side-bars from the perspective of a biologist) and her daughter, who contributed recipes and narrative, I guess (I'm not far enough into it to have read any of Camille's material.)  I keep telling myself I have not read much so far and to give it a chance,  but so far I am not entrhalled.  The subject matter is generally how we in this country have created a culture in which food costs us so much in terms of fossil fuels and the destruction/elimination of  small farmers that we are setting ourselves up for disaster.  Specifically, it deals with Kingsolver's move w/ her family from the AZ desert back to Appalachia and a small farm, and their determination to see if they could live on food produced strictly within their own area.

Obviously, these are Liberals we're talking about.  I consider myself a liberal, and I think I agree with most, or at least many, of Kingsolver's social views.  I have no quarrel with her family's experiment or her decision to write about it.   I admire her integrity.   Nevertheless, the little bit I've read so far is irritating me and I am not sure why.  

For one thing, I can't decide who her audience is.  If she is genuinely trying to persuade people who are ignorant of the issues involved in food production & distribution, then, frankly, I think she's being a tad condescending.  I freely admit that I am unfamiliar with a lot of the information presented in her husband's sidebars, but I am married to a biologist myself, so I am not wholly unaware of things.   And I still find her attitude annoying.  In addition,  I recognize that we, the Gathkinsons, are far more wasteful than necessary, and I live with a certain guilt-load resulting from that.  Maybe if I lived as pure a life-style as Kingsolver I could feel like I was in on the joke and be more comfortable with her narrative.    But if I, who largely agree with her, am irritated, what about the potential readers who are less liberal, less informed?  Is she going to convert them?

I think the book would be more effective if she concentrated more on describing what she and her family DO rather than what they think.  I suppose that statistics appeal to a lot of people and might tip the balance for those who can't decide whether or not to buy food from local producers.  But for me, it is more convincing to show me what you've done rather than lecture me on what we all should do.

Gee, I guess this book is annoying me more than I thought!   I am really only in the introductory part, so perhaps as I get more into it the book will prove more descriptive and less didactic.  I should get back to it and then go to bed so that I get enough sleep to lay out my pattern tomorrow.  I wonder if Tallulah will come in.

Interesting:  It says on my page "Autosaved at 11:22 pm" which is about right.  But check out the time it puts down for my actual post.


Current Location: at my computer (duh)
Current Mood: hot
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[User Picture]
Date:June 15th, 2007 06:11 pm (UTC)
In all these years, Cabell has never told me that your family knows Barbara Kingsolver. She's been holding out on me.
[User Picture]
Date:June 17th, 2007 02:40 am (UTC)
That's not true! I know I told you that she wrote about aardvark_gumbo's three-legged dog.
[User Picture]
Date:June 17th, 2007 02:55 am (UTC)
Yeah, but I didn't remember so that's like not being told. :-)
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