14 Dec

#notnormal

Like so many people, I am overwhelmed. There are so many things I see happening that I can’t figure out what action to take, or if it’s even worthwhile to take action. Every day it’s some new outrage. I’m trying to put myself in others’ shoes, to see things through other eyes. Not everyone sees the country the same way I do and that’s fine. So, I want to respect the needs and beliefs of my fellow Americans. But a month after the election I’m having a hard time seeing how this is going to be OK.

“Give him a chance,” people say. “Checks and balances,” they reassure.

  orange“His bluster and “straight talk” on the campaign trail was just that: bluster. He’ll be more Presidential if he wins.” OK, but a month on, he’s lashing out via Twitter at SNL, newspapers, and a union boss for not gushing over him. Businesses and offices can probably handle the backlash, but individual people are not prepared to fend off the consequences of targeted vitriol (see last year’s college student who asked a reasoned question of the candidate and received not only a crude response from him but also a year of online harassment from his followers). I don’t see a move towards either Presidential behavior, nor any effort to bring Americans together as he promised.

“He’s so rich he won’t be corruptible. He doesn’t need to be in this for the money. He’ll work with the average worker in mind.” OK, but before the election there was no evidence of altruism. He still doesn’t show us where his money is or what he does with us. Not long after the election, he said he was working with lawyers to disentangle his conflicts of interest. I actually told my cynical husband that this was movement in the right direction and we should give him the benefit of the doubt. But, a month later, there’s been no discernible effort to distance himself from his money. In fact, it actually looks like he’s putting his ducks (children and business interests) in a row to take advantage of of his and their positions of power to guide policy and decision making for personal financial gain. Oh, and he’s put off until after the electoral college casts their votes, his public explanation of his intentions vis a vis conflicts of interest.

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Heal the divide? Not gonna happen with continued Tweet storms or nominating cabinet members with nihilistic tendencies towards the cabinets they’d head. Don’t like the appearance of Pay to Play? How do his big donor advisory picks and cabinet nominations look?

The backlash (mine included) against him can’t merely be sour grapes. This is not the first time my candidate has lost, but this is the first time I just can’t wrap my head around why the other candidate won. I swear I’m trying to suss out the ways his election will address the issues people say they care about, but I just can’t see it yet.

“Government is corrupt and has done nothing for me. We might as well burn it all down.” Ah, now here’s something I think he can deliver on. Unfortunately, I just can’t bring myself to believe that a scorched earth approach to governance is good for the American people. This is not normal…

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…but I fear that it WILL become normal.

11 Dec

No Electricity Needed

I finally, after three years (way too long), took my “daily driver” sewing machine into the shop last week for servicing. One reason I had put it off so long was that I always seemed to be using it. So now what was I going to do?

I have a 50 year old Husquvarna machine from my mother in law. It’s serviceable and is basically my backup machine. But I also have this…

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A friend purchased this Naumann Kl9 for me when we lived in Germany. I had wanted a treadle base to make a side table, but for the same price, she found me this complete machine with a beautiful inlaid top. I agreed it was too nice to pass up, even though it meant I’d still have to shop for another base (which I did and used it for my modern sewing machine).

 

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The only problem was that the Naumann has a scary looking bobbin case and instructions in German, which intimidated me, even though I actually can read a fair amount of German. Check out the cute little bobbin storage box though! Long story short, I’ve had the sewing machine for almost 15 years and have done basically nothing with it. Time to justify hauling this thing halfway across the globe.

 

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I did get as far as learning how to load the bobbin from my friend Nanette when I stayed with her in NC for the Homefront and Downrange exhibit. But I never sewed more than a quick test because 1: we packed up to move soon after, and 2: I still didn’t know how to wind a bobbin with desired thread. So, with my regular machine in the shop, (and a project that actually lent itself conceptually to a little zombie-apocolypse sewing) I decided to figure this out. Thank the Germans for a well-illustrated manual! Between Figure 7 and a few key words I loaded up a bobbin! It’s not beautiful, but it works.

 

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I marked a quarter inch with some handy blue tape and got to sewing. Check out my Instagram feed for a couple videos of both sewing and bobbin winding.

 

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Ta-da, I sewed a whole bobbin-full. I’ve now re-filled that bobbin three times, and pieced a small quilt top. I can sew forward and backward, adjust the tension, and adjust the presser foot pressure. I’ve oiled the machine a couple times and it’s purring along nicely. I’m ready to pick up my regular machine, but it’s been fun prepping for the apocalypse.

 

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