Tuesday Things

Fall temperatures have started just as we are finishing up the last official week of summer vacation which is perfect for fall sport practices. Violet decided against another year of cross country and is trying tennis despite my many, many attempts to bribe sway her. Abram (and I) are starting soccer. (His team didn’t have an assistant coach, so even though I know next to nothing about soccer, I offered to be a “second adult”).

This summer has been a hard one for me. I feel like I keep saying that. This month has been hard. This year has been hard. I haven’t written because things have been hard. And they have. But they also…haven’t been. Things are hard because I’m a walking ball of rage that really, really misses being fun.

I used to love talking politics. For hours. How to best allocate resources to shape the future is an absolutely fascinating conversation – especially with someone you passionately disagree. (I get that not everyone agrees with me that this good conversation material, but their loss.) Today political conversations can be boiled down to one {not fun} central question: are you a decent human being who is paying attention and heartbroken/pissed off, are you a kinda questionable human willing to trade decency for money/political advantage, or are you a straight up garbage person. That’s it. There are zero other categories.

We’ve absolutely devastated the earth in the last 100 years – fully aware of the poor choices we were making for the last 50 – because…consumerism, laziness, and a willingness to turn a blind eye. Now drastic action is necessary but taking drastic action is HARD and will get you labeled a crack pot because lazy, blind-eyed, consumers don’t want to feel guilty and/or inconvenienced. (P.S. I’m totally a lazy, blind eyed consumer too.)

We have two Supreme Court justices who at the very least behaved horribly toward women and a president who has a whole list of sexist, racist, idiotic, maniacal, heartbreaking, concerning issues.

And as the cherry on top, our government locks kids in cages and ignores their medical, nutritional, educational, pick an -al needs. (If I need to explain why this behavior is a really horrible thing, you need to find another blog to read.)

Still there are people who want to pretend:

1) It’s just politics as usual, folks. Nothing to see here.
2) There is not a thing that can be done about it. (AKA do NOT expect me to call, write, march, whatever.)
3) The reduction in taxes is worth the dystopian novel level cost in human decency.

I miss being fun but just beneath the surface of my genuine concern for how your weekend went is my sincere fear that we’d be better off just unplugging the whole human experiment and starting over from the point at which people lived in caves. (Seriously, doomsday preppers do not seem crazy to me. At all. They seem like people with…foresight.)

And while I wish I could just turn a blind eye to all of this because I know I’m not going to be able to fix it all, I also have this idealistic heart that believes just maybe if I call and write my representatives, and vote, and march, and explain to you why I feel and think the way I feel and think and inspire you to do the same – we could make things so much better. Or at least elect a president who comprehends the institution of government. Then I could go back to thinking doomsday preppers need to find a more useful hobby and…being fun.

As for the not hard? Pretty much everything else. Except screen battling. That shit does not stop.

My Tuesday Things post got a little derailed.

Knitting: a pair of pretty yellow socks that I think will end up going in the gift pile but yellow is my favorite color so…maybe not. I’ve *almost* finished with the second one of the pair. I bought the yarn from junkyarn ages ago and have lost the band so I can’t tell you anything more about it. I’m meshing my usual vanilla sock pattern with a modified eye of partridge heel and I really like how the three garter stitches work on the edges of the heel. I wonder if that would work with just a standard heel flap? (I realize that means nothing to non-sock knitters. Sorry.)

Reading: I just finished The Whisper Man by Alex North (★★★★★) The five stars comes with caveats. It gave me goosebumps and squeamies and was not great literary fiction. It is dark and creepy and an absolutely perfect quick and spooky story for curling up with on an (almost) fall night. I also read The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan (★★★★☆). Are not spooky ghost stories a literary thing right now? I feel like I keep bumping into them (I’m thinking A Clockmaker’s Daughter). Anyway, I picked this up and read the first quarter than put it down for awhile and then finished the remainder over two nights. It took me awhile to really get into the rhythm of the story, but when I finished I thought it was lovely and full. I love using Goodreads to keep track of my reads (and my TBR pile) throughout the year. Come find me if it suits you!

Watching: I rewatched the whole Twilight movie series. Violet’s been DEVOURING the books. She told me today that she thinks the books are so fun but that Bella is stupid and clingy. (This made me laugh and so proud.) FYI: I am and always will be Team Jacob. I need to start rewatching Downton to prepare for the movie. (Mom, we’re going.) Speaking of favorite characters: the Dowager Countess, of course.

Making: Random art things in my sketchbook. It’s been helping me with a “embrace imperfection” thing. When I sit down to play in the morning, Abram will usually join me without any prompting. I’m wondering if he’ll be interested when he heads back to school. Maybe I’ll play with the schedule and see about having art time in the mornings or as something to do before bed. Back to school season means I’m also (finally) in the kitchen more often. Beans and rice, sweet potato quesadillas, egg roll in a bowl, and a frittata this week.

So that’s me. What are you reading, watching, making? And if you’re angry like me, what are you doing to keep it from poisoning your every day?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

  • Oh Kate. Am I allowed to say this post made me laugh? Relief does that to me—God, yes, I’m angry too, and I cannot understand the people who are NOT angry—plus I have to confess to having an outsized appreciation for snark and swearing.

    I wish I had some advice for not letting the anger poison your every day. If I’m thinking, I’m angry, so the only thing I can do is escape my thoughts, and this usually entails watching Netflix or reading.

    Spooky stories actually sound good right about now—I’m going to have to check out your selection. I’m nearly done The Overstory by Richard Powers. I’ve enjoyed it (in an angry, underlining, YES why can’t EVERYONE see that this is a problem kind of way). (Speaking of devastating the earth because of consumerism, laziness, and a willingness to turn a blind eye…)

    I’ve never felt like I knew enough to intelligently discuss politics, but despite that I somehow agreed to take on quite a major role in a local candidate’s campaign in our upcoming federal election. (Gulp. The good thing is that I don’t actually have to TALK to anyone outside the team!) As hard—and divisive—as politics currently are (although they’re currently not quite as bad here as they are in the U.S.), I do think it’s important for the decent and/or idealistic people to keep talking. I don’t think you should “let it go” and I think you should keep calling and writing your representatives.

    On a lighter note: Good for you for stepping up to be Adult #2 for Abram’s soccer team! I hope it goes well—I did the same for my youngest several years ago, despite knowing nothing about the game.

    And—I’m also a big fan of the three garter stitches on the side of the heel flap, and I don’t see why it wouldn’t work for a standard heel, although I’ve only ever used it with the partridge heel. (Speaking of knitting, I knit nearly an entire sock for my daughter’s BF using the wrong size needles. “Why is this so tight?” I asked myself repeatedly as I knit all the way to just before the toe decreases…SMH.)

    And Team Jacob—me too 🙂 . Aaaaannndd…I’ve told my 14-year-old son that he is accompanying me to the Downton movie. We’ll see…

    • Yes, yes, thank you, I’m so glad my post made you laugh. I know it’s snarky and snark is NOT high level comedy, but it makes me feel better to know that you get it and that you’re laughing at the absurdity of it too.

      I absolutely LOVE that you signed on to work for a campaign!! I hope you’ll tell me more about that either in a comment or email! It’s inspiring!!

      Finally, boo to the BF socks!! I too have knit almost a whole sock before finally admitting to myself it just wouldn’t work!! So frustrating!!

      Oh, I would just love if we lived near enough to go to Downton together and have a good long chat with knitting after! I am so grateful we found each other on the web! Your comments make my day.

  • “There are zero other categories.” Yes, I agree with you. I’ve been saying that there are moral people [who know right from wrong and do right], there are immoral people [who know right from wrong and do wrong], and then there are amoral people [who don’t know there is right or wrong]. In my opinion it’s this last group of people who have worn out their welcome and need to be phased out of government and news media. Forget political party affiliations, let’s just find any functioning adult [as the buttons and bumperstickers urge] to run things. We’ll refine principles and policy, based on morality, as we go along.

    • Yes!!!! And thank you. I appreciate your three categories. They say what I was trying to get across!! I get that there are differing opinions on HOW to go about doing right (small vs large federal government argument goes here) and that’s cool, but this isn’t that.

  • I’m angry and sad, too. I think everyone who has a functioning brain is. I think we all know that things are really, really bad. Every day I read about some other assault on who we are (today it’s that military children born in other countries will not automatically be US citizens) and I feel powerless. Which, I’m sure, is the point. It’s not that there’s never any joy. There’s some joy in every day. But it rests on a foundation of grief.

    Today my school district had its convocation, which began with the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by a rendition of The Star Spangled Banner. And it felt like a hostile act to me, which felt shitty, and then I felt shitty for feeling like that was a hostile act. And then I felt shitty and sad and angry that nothing feels normal. I mean, so much is “normal.” This was the 29th convocation I’ve attended, and nothing much has changed in them over the years. But nothing *feels* normal. It’s a foundation of grief and a feeling of no foundation at all. I’m grieving the loss of foundation.

    I particularly appreciate your definition of the three political positions currently available to us. Spot on, my friend.

    I’ve probably said this already, but I’ve been listening to audiobooks because I can’t even listen to NPR in the radio anymore and because I’ve been doing painting projects and applying paint is only a hair less tedious than watching it dry. Just finished Tommy Orange’s There, There–which is phenomenal, but I wish I’d read it. I think it would be better in print. Too hard to track all the characters without being able to flip pages back. Just started Searching for Sylvie Lee. Really like it so far.

    As for print books, I’ve been reading older books published before the world became unrecognizable. Not super older. Maybe early 2000s. Pre-smart phone, pre-Trump, pre-social media. I miss those days. I miss worrying about the things I used to worry about. I don’t feel like writing any more, either. I know we’re all supposed to Make Art to Fight Facism and enduring human spirit and blahblahblah, but I just can’t help feeling that I don’t have much to say that matters.

    I really appreciate you writing this, though. Nice to feel less alone in the shitshow. (Profanity just seems to be OK everywhere now, doesn’t it?)

    • I had a hard time keeping characters straight reading There, There so I can see why it would be difficult listening to it!

      So when you discuss having a foundation of grief or no foundation at all, I relate. In fact, I commented on a broken/lost foundation at my therapy session last week. So many things I *knew* to be true, just don’t feel true any more. It’s discombobulating. So much doesn’t feel normal to me anymore and when things DO feel normal I feel as if I shouldn’t be feeling that way because so much ISN’T normal? I see so many people who have just smoothly kept going and adjusted and I don’t know whether I’m jealous or angry about that. I don’t want to be someone who is oblivious, but I don’t think anything gets done just because I’m feeling out of sorts and tetchy all the time.

      Also your “Make Art of Fight Facism and enduring human spirit and blahblahblah” made me laugh. It’s such a noble goal. But it’s hard to be noble when you’re exhausted.

      Thanks for your commiseration, Rita. It means so much to know I’m not alone.

      • Chiming in to say me too.
        “I see so many people who have just smoothly kept going and adjusted and I don’t know whether I’m jealous or angry about that. I don’t want to be someone who is oblivious, but I don’t think anything gets done just because I’m feeling out of sorts and tetchy all the time.”
        My 23-year-old daughter and I have had this exact conversation. I often think “it must be nice” to be oblivious (or, as my SIL once put it—”complacent”), but that’s not actually something I wish for. I would rather be tetchy than oblivious, because I can no longer believe people CAN be oblivious—I think we’re now talking willful ignorance, and I have no patience for that. As for the foundations: I think they were rotten to start with, and we just didn’t know it 🙁 .

        • Hi Marion and Rita, Many of the people that I talk with say that they choose to stay focus on their inner circle of family and focus on their jobs. Even a lifetime, well educated, global traveler, friend of mine chooses to talk, read and pay attention to only the positive topics.

          It’s rare when I find a person willing to talk in depth about the broader world or deeper personal topics or real issues. I personally search for depth and intriguing conversation. But I think a lot of people find easy topics assists them with feeling in their own comfort zone where they feel safe. So, I think you’re correct some sort of willful ignorance or oblivion state of being seems to do well for a lot of people.

  • I clicked on your link to Goodreads, but I’m not a subscriber. And I also clicked on your links of books here, but I’m not an online shopper. I’m a minimalist on screens and shop in person supporting local community vendors. I truly want to see a world where humans connect with humans in person. Mostly I use my cell phone as a tool for research information and guidance to enhance and navigate life and to feel less alone.

    READING: Pete Buttigieg, Beto O’Rourke, Bernie Sanders, Joe Walsh on Twitter clicking to learn about each possibility. Attended Beto local rally in person, an education indeed.

    WATCHING: National Hurricane Center as Dorian hits landfall and tracking its travel and Ginger Zee Twitter. ABC with David Muir World news Twitter and local via Twitter. A lot of info quickly: time saving to leave the rest of life focus on what’s most important to me.

    Movies at the local cinema: Racing in the Rain ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ + half a box of tissues; Toy Story 4 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️creativity maximum and millions of laughs; Once Upon a Time In Hollywood ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ outstanding cast, great creative minds of what could have been.

    So Keep Writing to Your Political Representatives! In the 1960-70’s, my mother typed on an old fashion typewriter as she calmly chatted to the neighbors “Write your congressman!” And mom volunteered for polling and elections. She did not want her daughter to be limited as her was her life generation. Some challenges better; We can write to our CongressWoman and our CongressMan. There’s no perfect as everything is in constant change and each generation will have new challenges as well as new possibilities. Keep the conversations going!

    MAKING: Nature observations walking in the warm gulf waters and new 2 legged and 4 legged new acquaintances while walking with my Yorkie on the sea wall at the beach 3 times a week and in front of our patio home the other mornings.

    What is that tree? Is it possibly a maple that will change into four seasons?

    I absolutely love the personal art book and play time with creating art and innovation!

    Your knitting stitches are wonderful and my Yorkie would love a yellow cotton stretchable sweater (no Velcro or Buttons). That yarn is fabulous!!

    • Hi, TD!! Thank you for the movie recommendations. All three of them are currently on my wishlist.

      I think it’s great that you’re a minimalist when it comes to screens. Spending time in a more analog way is a constant/recurring goal of mine. I haven’t been using mine much for news lately so I’m behind on the platforms of the candidates and the hurricane. Hope you are safe where you are!!

      Thank you for support in the writing our representatives department. And good for you mother!!

      The tree is actually a crab apple. It had beautiful blooms this year, but very little in the way of fruit. Our backyard variety faired better. Thinking about it, we have quite a few trees in our yard – and many of them are one form of maple or another. Most leaves haven’t started to turn just yet, but with cool evening temperatures, I’m guessing we’ll be seeing some color in the next couple of weeks. (I love the seasons here; it’s one of my favorite things about living where I do.)

      • Oh, a crabapple tree! Maple trees have wonderful autumn colors!! I will have the pumpkins and mums for fall colors here.

        I am prepared for hurricanes as it is peak of the season. It’s important (where I live ) to keep awareness because the paths can change quickly.

        I’m a INFP with social anxiety; so it’s a challenge for me to do people in person time. I noticed that you listed yourself as a INFJ.

  • Hi Kate!
    It’s been 15 months without the TV screen. During my deep cleaning and rearranging my furniture, I moved my large screen TV into my morning room. And decided to turn on the service! I signed up for basic channels plus TIVO to record, no extras to keep cost to minimal. So now I will have 2 screens tomorrow; TV and cell phone.

    I intended to go see the movie Downtown Abbey today as it is opening as you recommended. But was busy with other priorities. So I have now placed that one on my Monday $5 senior daytime out hours!

    Will definitely need to find a good book before the late fall and the winter short dark days set in…