A Gloomy Day and Ode to a Necklace


I posted by this necklace Saturday night.  I made this necklace and was proud of my accomplishment after going to three different bead stores to find the components to finish it.  I brought a jump ring to attach to the bail so the crystal leaf pendant would lay flat.  After all this work, I decided to wear the necklace today and managed to lose it on my way to work.  The leaf clasp I used was not the most secure and probably unclasp while I was walking between trains.  It looks like I am off to the bead store again repurchase the beads, pendant, flower spacers and more reliable clasp.  Back to the drawing board.  Ciao for now!

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Spring is in the Air, Tree Pollen, and other Things


Yes I do love Spring, but it does not love me much.  My allergies are in play this year with itchy and watery eyes, itchy and running nose, throat is itchy, and sneezing.  They peak in the mornings and nights, and it is time to make a visit to the doctor’s office because I have a feeling that they are going to be bad this year.

I finally made my spring necklace today.  I purchased some jump rings for the bail component so that the leaf pendent lay front on the necklace.  It does not look like the original project from the Bead Style March issue, but it does have the spirit of spring.

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I made a trip to the post office on Saturday to pick up a couple of packages of products I ordered.  I order a book on knitting design, and a couple of hanks of yarn to knit a pair of stockings.  My yarn stash consist of projects I have in the basket.  Knit Picks has some yarn at reasonable prices and patterns for $1.99 from independent knit and crochet designers.  This is my first ordering from Knit Picks, the yarn costs me around $14.00 and I think the yarn is a nice quality for the price.  It is a merino wool and find the yarn soft as I rubbed on my skin.  Now it is a matter of me getting to working on the project.

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I purchased lemongrass and sage soap and body scrub from Pampered by Adrienne.  I smelled the scent before opening the box and was excited because I found it refreshing.  I loved the packaging and will look forward to using these products.  Just in time for Spring.

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I picked up some mussels and white wine to make mussels in wine sauce and pasta.  I really enjoyed this dish after a day of running errands and my jewelry making class.  I have a couple of books to review, but will write about them in another post tomorrow.  However, Ciao for now!

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Thrifty = Creativity


We going into the third year of a recession and it has been a stressful and traumatic experience for many people.  We had to re-access our priorities and if there is any other time to get creative, this is it.  I mentioned in a previous post about a new book by Erin Bried titled How to Sew a Button: And Other Nifty Things Your Grandmother Knew (I am going to borrow it from the library, remember thrifty) that reminds us what our grandmothers or mothers (if did not have a grandmother) taught us about recycling and recreating.  Hey they were green before it become such trend today.  I know some of you remember our your grandmother or mother saved old grease for later and flavoring it with other foods.  Saving old clothes to use as rags or to do housework (I know I still do that).

My belief is that learning how to things makes you a self-sufficient person.  If I can do it myself, then I take even greater pride in it.  There are many people who do not know how to sew a button, fold a fitted sheet, and unclog a drain with baking soda and vinegar.  I still use newspaper to clean my mirrors and windows with some vinegar and water.  There is nothing else like, in addition you save money on cleaning products and not smell those sometimes toxic vapors.  I remember as a little child when I became interested in crocheting and needle point (I have done needle point since then), the feeling I got to accomplish a goal and doing it without the help of my mother and grandmother (they did not crochet or knit).

One does not think about being thrifty until moments such as this, but I hope it continues after the recession.  There is a sense of value.  There are some clothes that I need to re-fashion and fabric scraps to start a quilt.  Also, as I begin to lose weight, learning how to tailor my clothes is a skill that will come in handy.   Ciao for now.

It’s Only Tuesday, but Still Push On


As I suggested in my title, it is only Tuesday and feel completely and utterly tired.  I am yawning while writing this blog entry and my hope is not to fall asleep with my head hitting the notebook.  It could have been the breakfast I had for dinner or sleepiness just fell upon me.  I am also listening to the latest Craft Sanity podcast where Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood is interviewing Rashida Coleman-Hale of the I Heart Linen blog.  She has a new book entitled I Heart Patchwork that I happened to see at Barnes and Noble this evening.  She made a lovely patchwork Christmas tree over the holidays than having a real Christmas tree.

I have another motive for writing a blog entry today is adding some photos using the features on Windows.  The first photo is of the January issue of Martha Stewart and there is a feature on Windows Liver Writer where you can choose to have it look like an instant photo, but choose the photo paper look.  I plan going grocery shopping this week to pick up ingredients to make the braised red cabbage it looks good.

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Believe are not, I choose to view this photo as medium size but it looks huge to me.  I choose to post this photo because since feeling little sluggish, it would be a good idea to look at something colorful and vibrant.  This gives me something to look forward doing this weekend and possibly put in a better mood.  I still have to do my hair as the winter weather can make hair looks so dry despite the fact I just washed and use the flat iron and hair curlers.  To look at my hair, one would think I just went under a wind tunnel while running a 5K.  However, in the summer, humidity will be the culprit and still look like I went under a wind tunnel while running a 5K.  It is no win-win situation when it comes to hair.  Well I must press on (no pun intended) and iron my hair again while watching part two of This Emotional Life on PBS.  I hope all of you have a less tired day, Ciao.

 

Moment of Geek


After a day of work, I decided to come and watch a couple of shows.  The new season of Antiques Road Show that I find fascinating and fun to watch.  The other show is a three-part series entitled This Emotional Life.  The first part examines the role that relationships play in emotional health and it covers family, friends and lovers.  What affect do you think the role that relationship play in emotional health?  Do we need more than food, clothes, and shelter?

What to Learn in the Coming Year


I got up this morning and started my day by listening to NPR’s Saturday Weekend Edition.  My confession is that I am a bit of the geek and like to know what is going on in the world.  NPR is a lot like oatmeal, it is good for you although there are times you do not fully appreciate it.  It also helps to have a cup of coffee along with listening and savor the moment.  In addition to listening to the happenings in the country and aboard, SWE asked a few people of their thoughts of what the next decade may bring.  It was more of their hope than a predication as no one can really know what the future may bring. 

One commentary was from publisher and style maven, Martha Stewart that she hope that the economy will correct, people safe in their homes and not threatened by foreclosures, and her concerned about the environment in where our meats and vegetables and think about organic and humane ways to cultivate our food.  Her wish is that people stay healthy, be healthy and comfortable.  I say Amen to that sentiment.

Another commentator was Barney’s Creative Director, Simon Doonan on his views about the future of fashion in the next decade.  He mentioned that fashion in the past ten years has been extreme and could use them to predicate what may happen next in fashion.  It has been a self-critical period for women as we have seen shoes ridiculously high and painful, thighs are not long enough, boobs not big enough, and not Botox enough and he hopes that in the next ten years women will stop being self-masochistic becoming more looser and bohemian (except wearing that Christmas or Thanksgiving sweater, lol).

These comments are something to think about learns from as we go into a new decade.  The comments from Simon Doonan really struck a chord with me particularly when have reality shows such as the Real Housewives Orange County, Atlanta, New York, New Jersey and what other town or city that can find women who are willing to make complete fools of themselves on nationally television and perpetuating an unrealistic idea about women who are housewives.  The women I know continue to work either within the home or outside.  Besides raising a family for many of stay at home mom is real job that is not always easy.  I always believe that stay-at-home moms should be paid and health benefits.  I do share Simon’s hope that women will finally become looser and bohemian as if we thought about it, Coco Chanel want to create fashion for women that did not constrict and restrain them and yet we seem to have devolved than evolve that idea of independence and being comfortable in our own skin.  I think the Real Housewives franchise shows gives one a bleak view about this women having considerably unhappy and unfulfilled lives.  There is a crack in their materialistic facades and no amount of Botox and plastic surgery is enough to repair or cover it.

I promise to write my review of the books mentioned in my blog from yesterday evening, but it was important for me to write my reflections of the day. Ciao for now.

The Day After Christmas


I should begin by writing Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone.  I hope everyone had a happy and safe Christmas.  My brother’s birthday was on Christmas and today his daughter is celebrating her 18th birthday.  I had a good Christmas with the exception of my pilot light in my oven going out in the middle of cooking a rib roast and mac & cheese.  My father and I did not know how to relight it and so I went to my cousin’s house and finish cooking the mac and cheese.  All and all, dinner to finally turn out well for the most part.

Here is the exciting part of my day.  I received $300.00 in American Express gift checks from generous co-workers at work, and finally put them to good use by purchasing a new laptop, an HP G60-535Dx.  I love my laptop, but miss my Apple desktop that has not worked in over year because the on button no longer works and I am still deliberating on either replacing the button or recycling the computer.  My decision will be predicated upon the cost of repair.   In any event, I can once again write regular blog postings with great happiness.

It is amazing how much technology has become so integrated into my everyday life, in fact with many people’s lives.  Just ten short years ago, blogging and podcasting did not exist and the Internet had great possibilities.  Today we are blogging, podcasting, purchasing items online, learning how to knit, crochet and sew with thanks the technology of computers and the Internet.  We are also connecting with people living over the country and world.  There are times when technology can be a pain sometimes like people talking on the phone while eating at restaurant or on public transportation. 

I believe am digressing just a tad.  It will be fun checking out the new computer and learning Windows 7.  I just downloaded the home and student version of Microsoft Office 07, the only disappointment is that Outlook is not including meaning purchasing the application.  Well I suppose we cannot have everything in life, but does not hurt to try anyway. 

For the time being, I am going to do some reading of some new books I purchased over the past few weeks and write about them in a blog entry in the near future.  Until that time, Happy first day of Kwanzaa where the first principle Umoja (Unity) is celebrated.

Glorious Day


I wanted to begin by writing thank you for everyone who had some ideas about marketing my business.  It is always good to get input for other people  I am in the process doing my research and reading a book entitled “Craft, Inc.” and find it helpful in reading the stories of individuals have starting a craft business.  I learned that it the right time to start a business does not really occur and have to get over doubts and fears.  I have an idea about packaging, pricing, and copyright as is part of administrative aspect of business.  I want to be able to design my own knit cand crochet patterns, but intend to start of small with knitting accessories and knitwear for infant and children.  I thought about creating hankerchiefs.  It is just a matter of finding my niche with the balance of being creative and making items that people are willing to purchase.  I have to consider the recession and think about people are going to buy what they need and not necessarily what they want.  I want to create products are easy to care for and are durable.

Friday was a beautiful day and I got away with waying a denim jacket and cashmere sweater just in case it was a little windy.  I finally made a trip to the library apply for a new library card.  That is something I love about being in New York City is getting a library card while working in the city (well I do pay city taxes).  I think having a New York Public Library card means that you are really part of the city.  Now I can really do more research about starting a business and take out knitting books without going to bookstore to purchasing them.

Yesterday, I did some knitting and one of the best things about it is that it allows me to come in tune with my thoughts. Knitting does allow me to relaxed and with relaxing the process of mindfulness. I do not forget about my problems, but awareness and clarity helps me while knitting. Ideas also pop into my head while knitting such as creating a label, trademark packaging, and colors for the business. Now I have to take these ideas write them down and incorporate into my goals. However, the goal is to start small and work from there. I should be finished with the foliage felted scraf soon and post photos in a week or two. I am wondering about a foliage hat along with scraf. That’s another idea to mull over.

Counting Down The Days


I am counting down the days until my two-week vacation.  Yes I did have a vacation a few weeks ago, but it was only a week.  However, there is nothing like taking off couple weeks and a only a week does not do anything for me.  I do not have any money to go away anyway, but a stayacation is just as good.  Of course, I have do a major purging of my old magazines.  I have at least six subscriptions and it’s time to let them after reading.  Of course, some dusting and housekeeping chores, but now I have the time to get some knitting and sewing done.  During the summer months, I tend to read novels and it’s time for me begin reading Octavia Bulter’s books.  I typically do not read science fiction, but she was really good writer and it’s important to write a good story no matter the genre.

During my stayacation, I want to go into New York City and visit the museum.  I have not been in a couple of years and it’s a great time to see some exhibits.  While in the city, I will visit the garment district to pick up some fabrics, buttons, and ribbons for a couple of totebag projects.  I also want to start my cardigan sweater project using the pattern from Lionbrand and means purchasing some yarn as well.  No wonder I do not have the money to go away, I spend it on projects

Happenings throughout the Day


Now, one would think that situations you see in in sitcoms only happens on sitcoms.  A few minutes ago, I received the strangest call.  It was from a wireless phone that I did not recognized.  I picked up the phone and the person asked for Jeri Harmon who I happened to know.  I thought what are the odds of receiving the wrong phone number and the person he or she is asking for you you know.  However, as it turns out, Jeri gave the person my telephone number because she does not own home phone number.  Of course, I take down his telephone number to give to Jeri so she can call him.  I have unwittingly become her answering service.

On another note, I stopped by one of my favorite health foods stores in New York City.  There are times when I drink soy milk and use it for smoothies.  There are times when I take a break from drinking milk. Bell Bates is the name of the store, and they have good prices on health food.  I buy a pound of rolled oats for $1.99 and it’s last me at least a month.  I also pick up raw nuts like brazil, pistachios, and walnuts. Flaxseed to put in hot cereals or smoothies, amaranth and quinoa as alternative to rice because I am allergic to rice (and means all rice).  I do not understand why I am allergic to rice, but I know it’s just weird.

I wanted to share a muffin recipe that make a great snack, and a great way to sneak veggies into the kids.  I made it a few years ago, and liked it.  It’s from Better Homes and Garden, do not worry I am not like Cindy McCain and pass off recipes as if there were mine, lol.  I know that the buckwheat might sound too earthy for some, but adding the cinnamon and orange juice will give it a nice balance and taste.  Well, it’s time to turn off the lights and call it a night.  Good night everyone!

Three B  (Buckwheat, Blueberry, and butternut squash)

Ingredients

  •   Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1-1/3  cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4  cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/4  to 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1-1/2  teaspoon baking powder
  • 1  teaspioon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2  teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2  teaspoon salt
  • 2  eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1  cup mashed cooked butternut squash
  • 1/2  cup fat-free milk
  • 2  tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1/2  teaspoon finely shredded orange peel
  • 1/4  cup orange juice
  • 3/4  cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  •   Rolled oats

Directions

1. Spray twelve 2-1/2-inch muffin cups with nonstick spray or line with paper bake cups; set pan aside. Combine the all-purpose flour, buckwheat flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Make a well in the center of flour mixture; set aside.

2. Combine the eggs, squash, milk, oil, orange peel, and orange juice in a separate mixing bowl. Add the egg mixture all at once to the flour mixture. Stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy). Fold in blueberries.

3. Preheat oven to 400 degree F. Spoon batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling each almost full. Sprinkle with oats. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the muffins are light brown. Cool in muffin cups on wire rack for 5 minutes. Remove from muffin cups; serve warm. Makes 12 muffins.

Three-B (Buckwheat, Blueberry, and Butternut) Muffins

The Importance of Voting


Today is super Tuesday with more than 20 states in the country participating in caucus or primaries to decide on candidate to nominate for President in November.  This is an historic election as we have two serious candidates on the democratic side in contention for the office.  I understand that there are some people who apathetic about voting and believe that her or his vote does not count, but the person could not be anymore mistaken.    I listen to BBC News in the mornings, and hear reports of people from other parts of the world struggle to get the opportunity to vote for their political choices.  Sometimes they are met with opposition, physical intimidation, and sometimes death for that previous moment to walk into that booth to vote. 

Yet some people living in the United States with the right and freedom to vote make excuses for not voting thus refusing to participate in the process.  There are times when we take things for granted, but there is a moment when one should understand the importance of voting.  It is the right of everyone who reaches the age of 18 to vote in this country, and we have the responsibility to comprehend and participate in the process.  Now, I certainly cannot tell you who to vote for, but asking you to consider that you are part of the process, and voice your opinion at the polls.  Also, do not forget to write letters to your Congresspersons and Senators, in addition to local politicians to voice your complaints.

Hope and Inspiration


This morning, I had the pleasure of listening to speech given by Barack Obama at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta to commemorate Martin Luther King, Jr. on Sunday. I heard sound bites of the speech on yesterday’s news, but needed to wait for the video to air on the website or You Tube. The speech is entitled The Great Need of the Hour and I find it hopeful and inspiring.  With this hope and inspiration should invoke a passion to change, and no question that with change uncertainty that may cause some people apprehension.  However, there are times in life when you should take a risk and not always stand on the sidelines.  I posted the speech below and with one note, I am hopeful to complete the baby sweater this week.


The Scripture tells us that when Joshua and the Israelites arrived at the gates of Jericho, they could not enter. The walls of the city were too steep for any one person to climb; too strong to be taken down with brute force. And so they sat for days, unable to pass on through.

But God had a plan for his people. He told them to stand together and march together around the city, and on the seventh day he told them that when they heard the sound of the ram’s horn, they should speak with one voice. And at the chosen hour, when the horn sounded and a chorus of voices cried out together, the mighty walls of Jericho came tumbling down.

There are many lessons to take from this passage, just as there are many lessons to take from this day, just as there are many memories that fill the space of this church. As I was thinking about which ones we need to remember at this hour, my mind went back to the very beginning of the modern Civil Rights Era.

Because before Memphis and the mountaintop; before the bridge in Selma and the march on Washington; before Birmingham and the beatings; the fire hoses and the loss of those four little girls; before there was King the icon and his magnificent dream, there was King the young preacher and a people who found themselves suffering under the yoke of oppression.

And on the eve of the bus boycotts in Montgomery, at a time when many were still doubtful about the possibilities of change, a time when those in the black community mistrusted themselves, and at times mistrusted each other, King inspired with words not of anger, but of an urgency that still speaks to us today:

“Unity is the great need of the hour” is what King said. Unity is how we shall overcome.

What Dr. King understood is that if just one person chose to walk instead of ride the bus, those walls of oppression would not be moved. But maybe if a few more walked, the foundation might start to shake. If a few more women were willing to do what Rosa Parks had done, maybe the cracks would start to show. If teenagers took freedom rides from North to South, maybe a few bricks would come loose. Maybe if white folks marched because they had come to understand that their freedom too was at stake in the impending battle, the wall would begin to sway. And if enough Americans were awakened to the injustice; if they joined together, North and South, rich and poor, Christian and Jew, then perhaps that wall would come tumbling down, and justice would flow like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream.

Unity is the great need of the hour – the great need of this hour. Not because it sounds pleasant or because it makes us feel good, but because it’s the only way we can overcome the essential deficit that exists in this country.

I’m not talking about a budget deficit. I’m not talking about a trade deficit. I’m not talking about a deficit of good ideas or new plans.

I’m talking about a moral deficit. I’m talking about an empathy deficit. I’m taking about an inability to recognize ourselves in one another; to understand that we are our brother’s keeper; we are our sister’s keeper; that, in the words of Dr. King, we are all tied together in a single garment of destiny.

We have an empathy deficit when we’re still sending our children down corridors of shame – schools in the forgotten corners of America where the color of your skin still affects the content of your education.

We have a deficit when CEOs are making more in ten minutes than some workers make in ten months; when families lose their homes so that lenders make a profit; when mothers can’t afford a doctor when their children get sick.

We have a deficit in this country when there is Scooter Libby justice for some and Jena justice for others; when our children see nooses hanging from a schoolyard tree today, in the present, in the twenty-first century.

We have a deficit when homeless veterans sleep on the streets of our cities; when innocents are slaughtered in the deserts of Darfur; when young Americans serve tour after tour of duty in a war that should’ve never been authorized and never been waged.

And we have a deficit when it takes a breach in our levees to reveal a breach in our compassion; when it takes a terrible storm to reveal the hungry that God calls on us to feed; the sick He calls on us to care for; the least of these He commands that we treat as our own.

So we have a deficit to close. We have walls – barriers to justice and equality – that must come down. And to do this, we know that unity is the great need of this hour.

Unfortunately, all too often when we talk about unity in this country, we’ve come to believe that it can be purchased on the cheap. We’ve come to believe that racial reconciliation can come easily – that it’s just a matter of a few ignorant people trapped in the prejudices of the past, and that if the demagogues and those who exploit our racial divisions will simply go away, then all our problems would be solved.

All too often, we seek to ignore the profound institutional barriers that stand in the way of ensuring opportunity for all children, or decent jobs for all people, or health care for those who are sick. We long for unity, but are unwilling to pay the price.

But of course, true unity cannot be so easily won. It starts with a change in attitudes – a broadening of our minds, and a broadening of our hearts.

It’s not easy to stand in somebody else’s shoes. It’s not easy to see past our differences. We’ve all encountered this in our own lives. But what makes it even more difficult is that we have a politics in this country that seeks to drive us apart – that puts up walls between us.

We are told that those who differ from us on a few things are different from us on all things; that our problems are the fault of those who don’t think like us or look like us or come from where we do. The welfare queen is taking our tax money. The immigrant is taking our jobs. The believer condemns the non-believer as immoral, and the non-believer chides the believer as intolerant.

For most of this country’s history, we in the African-American community have been at the receiving end of man’s inhumanity to man. And all of us understand intimately the insidious role that race still sometimes plays – on the job, in the schools, in our health care system, and in our criminal justice system.

And yet, if we are honest with ourselves, we must admit that none of our hands are entirely clean. If we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll acknowledge that our own community has not always been true to King’s vision of a beloved community.

We have scorned our gay brothers and sisters instead of embracing them. The scourge of anti-Semitism has, at times, revealed itself in our community. For too long, some of us have seen immigrants as competitors for jobs instead of companions in the fight for opportunity.

Every day, our politics fuels and exploits this kind of division across all races and regions; across gender and party. It is played out on television. It is sensationalized by the media. And last week, it even crept into the campaign for President, with charges and counter-charges that served to obscure the issues instead of illuminating the critical choices we face as a nation.

So let us say that on this day of all days, each of us carries with us the task of changing our hearts and minds. The division, the stereotypes, the scape-goating, the ease with which we blame our plight on others – all of this distracts us from the common challenges we face – war and poverty; injustice and inequality. We can no longer afford to build ourselves up by tearing someone else down. We can no longer afford to traffic in lies or fear or hate. It is the poison that we must purge from our politics; the wall that we must tear down before the hour grows too late.

Because if Dr. King could love his jailor; if he could call on the faithful who once sat where you do to forgive those who set dogs and fire hoses upon them, then surely we can look past what divides us in our time, and bind up our wounds, and erase the empathy deficit that exists in our hearts.

But if changing our hearts and minds is the first critical step, we cannot stop there. It is not enough to bemoan the plight of poor children in this country and remain unwilling to push our elected officials to provide the resources to fix our schools. It is not enough to decry the disparities of health care and yet allow the insurance companies and the drug companies to block much-needed reforms. It is not enough for us to abhor the costs of a misguided war, and yet allow ourselves to be driven by a politics of fear that sees the threat of attack as way to scare up votes instead of a call to come together around a common effort.

The Scripture tells us that we are judged not just by word, but by deed. And if we are to truly bring about the unity that is so crucial in this time, we must find it within ourselves to act on what we know; to understand that living up to this country’s ideals and its possibilities will require great effort and resources; sacrifice and stamina.

And that is what is at stake in the great political debate we are having today. The changes that are needed are not just a matter of tinkering at the edges, and they will not come if politicians simply tell us what we want to hear. All of us will be called upon to make some sacrifice. None of us will be exempt from responsibility. We will have to fight to fix our schools, but we will also have to challenge ourselves to be better parents. We will have to confront the biases in our criminal justice system, but we will also have to acknowledge the deep-seated violence that still resides in our own communities and marshal the will to break its grip.

That is how we will bring about the change we seek. That is how Dr. King led this country through the wilderness. He did it with words – words that he spoke not just to the children of slaves, but the children of slave owners. Words that inspired not just black but also white; not just the Christian but the Jew; not just the Southerner but also the Northerner.

He led with words, but he also led with deeds. He also led by example. He led by marching and going to jail and suffering threats and being away from his family. He led by taking a stand against a war, knowing full well that it would diminish his popularity. He led by challenging our economic structures, understanding that it would cause discomfort. Dr. King understood that unity cannot be won on the cheap; that we would have to earn it through great effort and determination.

That is the unity – the hard-earned unity – that we need right now. It is that effort, and that determination, that can transform blind optimism into hope – the hope to imagine, and work for, and fight for what seemed impossible before.

The stories that give me such hope don’t happen in the spotlight. They don’t happen on the presidential stage. They happen in the quiet corners of our lives. They happen in the moments we least expect. Let me give you an example of one of those stories.

There is a young, twenty-three year old white woman named Ashley Baia who organizes for our campaign in Florence, South Carolina. She’s been working to organize a mostly African-American community since the beginning of this campaign, and the other day she was at a roundtable discussion where everyone went around telling their story and why they were there.

And Ashley said that when she was nine years old, her mother got cancer. And because she had to miss days of work, she was let go and lost her health care. They had to file for bankruptcy, and that’s when Ashley decided that she had to do something to help her mom.

She knew that food was one of their most expensive costs, and so Ashley convinced her mother that what she really liked and really wanted to eat more than anything else was mustard and relish sandwiches. Because that was the cheapest way to eat.

She did this for a year until her mom got better, and she told everyone at the roundtable that the reason she joined our campaign was so that she could help the millions of other children in the country who want and need to help their parents too.

So Ashley finishes her story and then goes around the room and asks everyone else why they’re supporting the campaign. They all have different stories and reasons. Many bring up a specific issue. And finally they come to this elderly black man who’s been sitting there quietly the entire time. And Ashley asks him why he’s there. And he does not bring up a specific issue. He does not say health care or the economy. He does not say education or the war. He does not say that he was there because of Barack Obama. He simply says to everyone in the room, “I am here because of Ashley.”

By itself, that single moment of recognition between that young white girl and that old black man is not enough. It is not enough to give health care to the sick, or jobs to the jobless, or education to our children.

But it is where we begin. It is why the walls in that room began to crack and shake.

And if they can shake in that room, they can shake in Atlanta.

And if they can shake in Atlanta, they can shake in Georgia.

And if they can shake in Georgia, they can shake all across America. And if enough of our voices join together; we can bring those walls tumbling down. The walls of Jericho can finally come tumbling down. That is our hope – but only if we pray together, and work together, and march together.

Brothers and sisters, we cannot walk alone.

In the struggle for peace and justice, we cannot walk alone.

In the struggle for opportunity and equality, we cannot walk alone

In the struggle to heal this nation and repair this world, we cannot walk alone.

So I ask you to walk with me, and march with me, and join your voice with mine, and together we will sing the song that tears down the walls that divide us, and lift up an America that is truly indivisible, with liberty, and justice, for all. May God bless the memory of the great pastor of this church, and may God bless the United States of America.

Only Tuesday


Yesterday, I returned to work after being on vacation for a week and discovered over 60 emails in my box with only a few of them really important such program changes due to covering the Iowa Caucus last Thursday.  Of course that particularly email was no longer a priority since the time has come and gone.  However, one email stood out from all the others.  The radio station is moving to a new location in Soho New York City and dealing with moving more than 250 employees and engineering and studio equipment.  I was designated as the move coordinator for my department and serve as the “conduit of information” between the department and facilities director.  Much to my surprise and chagrin the email stated that was a meeting for Tuesday located at the new space.  I asked myself, why do we need to meet at the new space to discuss the move when it came be done at the current one.  It is a 20 minute commute via subway and sit for a little over an hour discussing the logistics of the move.  That took a two hours of my work day particularly when you have other things on your plate at work.
 
 
Then I came home and find an email from Hot Patterns for the latest patterns to its catalog.  Hot Patterns as two new patterns, a blouse and the Wong-Singh-Jones Kimono dress.  I love the dress pattern for its contrasting fabric in the front and slash.  I so am going to purchase the pattern and find some cotton or silk jersey with a print for the contrasting fabric.  Then again, there is always a black and white print shape-like thin branches with a black solid fabric for the contrast.  There are plenty of ideas, but it is only Tuesday.
 

A New Year on the Horizon


Before writing my thoughts today, I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas holiday and that you did not eat too much as I think we may ourselves taking our measurements finding that we may be inch wider than a few weeks ago.  My holiday was a good one with seeing my family and for the most part a quiet Christmas.  After everyone left, I had an opportunity to think about what the New Year may bring and will I be ready for what possibly may come.  While, thinking about this thought, I was in the process of discerning my resolution for 2008.  Some of us typically have some lofty resolutions of what they would like to change about themselves, and sometimes it is usually some physical change such as losing weight.

Now I do have losing weight on my resolution list along with being more organized.  There is learning a new skill such as learning to speak Spanish, becoming a good sewer, knit that sweater, and watching my spending as I would like to retire with financial security.  I have to say this that marriage does not cross my mind as I had not met that guy that made me say to myself that I want to live with this person for the rest of my life (this I had resolved some years ago). 

With creating resolution, I learned that I should see things how they really are and not what I think how things should be.  It is this idea that I think I can resolve things with more realistic look.  I know that this seems very pragmatic, but it is about taking a more profound look of who I am really am as a person.  The first thing to learn is that I am not a perfect person, and admit that I do have weaknesses and recognize my strengths.  I also have to think about what small changes I make that will have a positive impact.  It comes to accepting and becoming less judging of yourself and others.  So my new year’s resolution for 2008 is to take it easy, become more aware and thoughtful, become a little less of a perfection and being more human.  I believe I will have greater success.

It’s Monday


Yes, another Monday has come once again and can not help but wonder what is in store.  First, I woke up this morning not in a bad mood, but pondered how it would be not to work again in life because I would be wealthy and wherewithal to pay all of bills and travel.  However, reality does set in and I need to get out of bed for work.  Actually, it helps when you have your grandmother’s voice in your head saying to you that you should be lucky that you have a job.  Two things with this thought, one, it is amazing how your parents or grandparents words remain with you long after they are no longer living, and two, although, the statement maybe true, it does not stop a person for feeling differently.  Today is one of those days that I feel differently, so I look forward of what the day as in store for me.

While getting dressed for work, I heard a story on NPR about a man who had an idea to help his son improve his vocabulary for the SATs.  He is a computer programmer who was working on a website about learning about hunger called www.poverty.com, and thought about juxtaposing the two ideas together and created www.freerice.com.  Free rice is a vocabulary game where ontestants are offered four definitions for a word; by clicking on the right definition, a donation of 20 grains of rice is made to the U.N. World Food Programme. The U.N. distributes the rice worldwide.  So you can learn new words and help send food to countries in need.  See you never know what the day may bring. 

Friday and other Happenings


I must admit that I have not done any knitting or sewing this week, but it continues to stay on my mind the list of projects that need to be completed. I have been catching up some reading particular magazine articles from the New Yorker and Harper’s Magazine for have I a need to know what is going on in the country and around the world. I watched a heart-wrenching documentary on HBO about the situation in Darfur entitled “Sand and Sorrow” narrated by George Clooney. What I find so amazing how people can get so involved in politics and concerned who is going to control the land that we lose our sense of humanity in the process. I remember first hearing about Darfur in 2003 on BBC as the United States did not cover the story until some months later. Darfur is a very complex story with many rebel factions and the Sudanese government’s involvement of displacing and killing its own citizens making a distinction from Arabs and non Arabs persons (although both groups practice Islam). It is very unfortunate that we have yet learned from past mistakes and continue the perpetuation of violence of the poorest citizens of the world. It is with great sadness that the powers that be find these citizens dispensable and it is an fortunate truth that I wish one day no longer exist. This really makes the scandal of the use of steroids among baseball players seem trifling in the grander scheme. If anyone is interested in learning more about Darfur Don Cheadle (Actor) and John Prendergest has a written a book entitled Not on Our Watch: The Mission to end Genocide in Darfur and Beyond, you can visit www.enoughproject.org.

Well enough of my preaching, I have no plans of doing anything this weekend which means catching up some cleaning for the holidays. I purchased a magazine yesterday that I have seen many times, but have not brought. The publisher is Somerset Studio which publishes a variety of magazines that include mix media, scrapbooking, and blogging. I brought the paper and mixed media edition which has some very inspirational ideas of holiday cards and ornaments. I think am going to subscribe to Belle Amoire and possibly Artful Blogging magazines (I need to have a more artful look to my blog). Belle Amoire focuses on handmade garments, jewelry, and accessories and I want to learn more about felting fabric. Well that is it for my ramblings today. Happy Friday Everybody!

Holiday Cooking and other things


Can you believe that Christmas is less than twenty days away?  We will be celebrating the holidays this month including attending all those office and private parties, and before it’s all over you weigh ten pounds before the hand strikes welcoming the New Year.  However, it seems worth at the time because you are enjoying the holidays with family and friends and it only once a year.  I will be no different than anyone else.  Tomorrow night, my department will be off to a hotel resort for our annual sales retreat with a cocktail hour and dinner.  The next morning is having breakfast, our meeting (need plenty of coffee for that), and ending the retreat with lunch.

Of course, I am thinking about my menu for Christmas dinner.  When growing up, my grandmother made the same dinner for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  However, I have change that tradition by doing a different dinner for Christmas each year.  I made a goose last year, but want to make a prime rib because it is easy to roast it.  I am thinking about butternut squash and collard greens with onions, but I may change the side dishes.  I need to make something because I have to return to work the next day, so I am thinking about herb popovers, and haven’t decided what dessert to prepare, but may an after dinner drink like chocolate/mint martini.  Let me know what you think.

The Compliment


While leaving for the weekend from my office, I ran into to a guy at work at the elevator. He paid me a compliment on my scarf. He told me it was a nice scarf and asked where I got it. I told him that I made it myself, and he replied yes I figure that you did because it doesn’t look at anything you would buy from the store. He started to ask me what made me get into knitting, and I said I want to learn how to knit from a child so finally learned how a few years ago. He said I bet you knit on the train, and I responded by saying whenever I have elbow room. He mentioned something about knitting and how it seemed a little exhibitionist by saying to the world that you can make your own clothes. And I told it is probably no different than reading on train, and he responded by saying yes telling the world you are reading War and Peace.

That conversation lead me to think about a lot of knitters like to knit on the go, and is there a little truth about what the guy said about being an exhibitionist knitter. I certainly can’t speak for the knitting population, but the reason why I knit on the train is simply to finish my project as quickly as possible. Of course, there is some truth about showing the world that I know how to knit. That sense of independence in saying to the world that I have possess a skill and it gives me power in a sense. There is a certain sense of pride in showing your work. When I am out in public and if I am carrying my knitting, I am going to knit to pass some time, but I do the same time with reading. Reading is a solitary activity because it means that you really do not want to speak to anyone, and want to become involved in the story you are reading at the time. Knitting does not necessarily mean I want to be alone, but want something to do while commuting to and from work.How do you show the world what you can do?

What’s Happening Friday


Friday has finally arrived and the a little cold weather in New Jersey.  We are expecting some rain/sleet/rain on Sunday which means going out on Saturday to run errands and perhaps getting in a movie.  This Christmas is playing in theaters and it’s nice to see one new Christmas movie, although I have to say one of my favorite movies about the holiday is “A Christmas Story with Darren McGavin and Peter Billingsley.  It is one of the funniest stories about a little boy’s repeated requests for a Red Ryder B-B gun, and it’s a story that does not have a perfect Christmas which makes really human.  If you have never seen it, TBS will air the movie all the month of December or just rent it.  I am going to attempt to get some sewing done this weekend and finish up a project, and get some reading in as well. I am currently reading the book Exposed in which 

I mentioned in my blog earlier this week, and probably will finish it as it is not a long book, however, the book is eye-opening.  Of course, I tend to get in some fiction by finishing The Jane Austen Book Club that started over a month ago and haven’t completed it yet.  I haven’t started any knitting projects, but have yarn where I could make a few more scarves.I went the theater last night at Lincoln Theater which is an amazing performance venue to see Phylicia Rashad in Cymbeline.  I though the play was good, but better in the second act whcih happened to be longer than first which is unusual for a play.  However, I am talking about Shakespeare and his plays are generally long. 

Some of you my know, that I am beginner sewer and admit that I do not have a serger just yet.  Hopefully I will able to purchase one in the near future as I want to sew up some knit dresses and pieces to give it a more finished look to the garment.  There are times when I ask myself to serge or not to serge.  Some sewers say you do not need a serger, but others believe it is a necessity and I am still on the fence.  I was thinking about purchasing a used serger, but it is just a mere thought and will make a decision in the next couple of months.  Well Ithink that is what on my mind at the moment.  Have a good weekend everyone!

Out of Thanksgiving Coma


Hello everyone!  I hope everyone’s Thanksgiving was great and that you didn’t eat yourself into coma.  Cooking for Thanksgiving can be ebullient and tiring at the same time.  You do no notice that you are tire while spending a good part of that day cooking and putting finishing touches on your fabulous meal, but it hits you later after washing and putting away that last dish, you sit down and realize how tired you were when it’s all over.  However, you look forward to the next holiday.

This time of year comes with holiday parties and celebrating four holidays with Thanksigving kicking off.  Everyone will be in holiday mode.  In fact, Christmas decorations were on display in several towns before Thanksgiving and some radio station began playing holiday music two weeks before Thanksgiving.  Personally, I can wait to play my Charlie Brown’s Christmas soundtrack next week because I needed to get through Thanksgiving first.  I do not decorate my house for the holidays because I live alone, but I will make the trip to Rockefeller Center to see the Christmas tree and walk down Fifth Avenue as New York City is beautiful this time of year.  I also have this wish that it snows around the holidays because I really have seen snow in a couple of years and it would nice.

Now on the creative front, I have a some projects in the works and need to organize my time to get them done.  I have scarf that is almost completed and need to start another one.  The muslins I created can now become the real project to sew.  Getting things done will be a slow process due to the holidays and preparing meals in between that time.  I may have to edit myself and be realistic about what I do get done in a certain amount of time.  I am still looking for fabric for my dress which I still haven’t seen anything that catches my eye, and reverting to black is not what I want to do.  I want to find a fabric with an expansive array of color, now I probably will end up with making three or four dress that are black, lol.