Wednesday, January 28, 2009

When I feel cool

I generally think of myself as kind of dorking along. I run sort of cloddily, I run into things, I wave my hands around a lot when I talk, and I just kind of blunder my way through many things I do.

Take beekeeping. I can't keep my smoker lit, not to save my life. So I do the bees, but I'm not great at them. A lot of the time I open a hive, and think, "What is this?"

But I did something very cool today. After watching them zoom in just loaded with pollen (the eucalypts are blooming in the hills), I wondered how the hives were doing since the look-see I did the other day. Generally, I suit up completely when I play beekeeper. But I just wanted a little peek.

Soooooo, I just tiptoed over behind the first hive, and lifted the top up barehanded about 2-3 inches. Just enough to see the girls on the top of the frames. Not enough bees to put a super on top -- they're just starting to move up there -- but they're in both boxes. Next hive didn't look so fantastic, so I will go in more fully in a week or so to evaluate. But no stings, no fuss. I felt kinda like a rock star.

And the kids and I started our Trails Challenge today, with a short lakeside hike, which also was pretty cool. We'll see if my enthusiasm holds all year 'long.
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Monday, January 26, 2009

Partial this, partial that

Nothing's really done. (Yes I could go on to a "meaningful" post about What It All Means and how patience and growth go hand in hand, but I'm cranky and sore. So there.)

I can't even finish a run -- I'm walking easily a third of each one, and plodding in between. I don't know why I bother, except if I keep doing it, I assume that "running" will return to my running.

Oh -- one thing that wasn't done is that the killer hens, here pictured (don't they look innocent?)

did not get a chance to off their sister chicken. They managed to de-flesh the back of her neck pretty horrifically, but just before I was deciding that I couldn't keep her in the isolation coop and was going to have to move her on to the crock pot, a friend told me about someone who wanted a pet chicken to hang with their solo hen. Yippee! One less death at my hands, and one less old hen to feed. Hooray for kind hearted folks.

I'm growing the world's smallest broccoli. In order to redeem these vegetables, I'm going to have to eat the leaves in stir fry and cut the stems up and use them to eat dip, or something. Too bad I haven't much of an appetite these days.

Except for kale, the one vegetable that is making me smile. I made a kale soufflé the other day, even though when I was trolling around the internet for recipes the only reference to "kale soufflé recipe" I saw suggested that it would taste foul and therefore no one would wish for such a thing. Well, for a first time ever making one of these puffy marvels, it tasted great. But I love me some Lacinato kale.

Something's been digging in my unfinished garden. I just figured out what to do about it tonight, but I'll do it tomorrow, after another round of digging, no doubt. It may be too late to save the six cabbage transplants.

And instead of finishing any knitted project, I just have four in various stages of completion, being ripped out and redone, or languishing. This doesn't, of course, count any projects half done packed away (you know who you are, cotton throw and sock pairs).

Blue thing is a walking hat, oatmeal and red disappearing into the couch is a top down raglan for Thing 3, the Kauni is awaiting a day I feel strong enough to rip out three rows to redo -- I may never finish the neckline, never, I tell you, and the thing masquerading as a roll of toilet paper is the secret so far design that I have to consult with my buddy about tomorrow.

Humph. I'd like to finish something but that would mean, you know, knitting.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Glad I ran today

I'm sitting on the porch, grading papers while I'm watching the rain come down. We so need the rain (actually, we need snow in the snowpack for next summer), and it means I don't have to get out and water the vegetables.

This morning, I considered staying in bed and not running. I'm not happy about my return to the streets -- feels like I'm carrying bags of rocks and I'm feeling old-lady and out of shape. But in a move of mind over emotion, I figure that running is probably a better choice than not running. So out I go. Even when I have to stop and walk, I'm making forward progress, mostly.

I'm trying new routes -- the beach, the street, the main business drag -- and the route isn't the problem! The months of illness were much more of a setback than I knew apparently. I long for the feeling of running when it felt good, when I was happy in my body and light in my soul, feet slapping along. At least I'm not coughing now.

But anyhow, I don't have to decide whether or not to run tomorrow in heavy rain, since I listened to my "go run" self this morning and did it in light. Tomorrow I guess it's situps and pushups.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Words mean a lot to me


I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we've come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we've come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the "unalienable Rights" of "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note, insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds."

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so, we've come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.

We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. And those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. And there will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice: In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.

The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.

We cannot walk alone.

And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead.

We cannot turn back.

There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their self-hood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating: "For Whites Only." We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until "justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream."

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. And some of you have come from areas where your quest -- quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive. Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed.

Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.

And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of "interposition" and "nullification" -- one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; "and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together."

This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with.

With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

And this will be the day -- this will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with new meaning:

My country 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.

Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim's pride,

From every mountainside, let freedom ring!

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.

And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.

Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.

Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.

But not only that:

Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi.

From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:

Free at last! Free at last!

Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!<

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Nothin' to say

I just haven't felt chatty lately.

I have been knitting a lot, though. Well, a lot for me. What that really means is that I've been starting a lot of things.

Up to the neck steek on the Kauni Cardigan, but I'm aware that the sleeves are going to feel like something of a slog. Maybe I'll finish the bands first, just to have them out of the way. Or not.

Standard top-down raglan for Thing 3. Warm, soft alpaca, and I'm planning colorwork on the body and sleeves.

A last-minute gift, with lovely fancy soap. Good to have organic cotton in the stash.

And my very first design, for my friend's yarn store. I think it will be pretty and I'll post a link to the store when the pattern is all done (rather than mostly in my head). I'm enjoying the Silky Wool a lot, both in terms of texture and weight. Nice yarn. My friend says they're selling a lot of patterns and I can add "designer" to all of my labels. Snort.

Leaving Wednesday for a week at the in-laws. Except for the gift, which has to be done by the time we arrive, the rest will probably go along for entertainment for me. Maybe I'll actually finish some things.