Monday, May 26, 2008

What I've been doing, part 2

- Kicking back now that the trade show is behind us!

- Last weekend, Bryan and I headed down to Clear Lake for haircuts. (He can get his done anywhere...but I'm really particular.) So this put us about halfway to Galveston. A quick call to Amy and we were off on a slacker adventure.

Our day on the island included lunch at Fisherman's Wharf (SO tasty), a trip to a local used bookstore, lots of hanging out at a coffee shop, and a wrap-up with green apple sour belts.

And between the bookstore and the hanging, there was this:
The remains of my chocolate soda (with ice cream) in the foreground...the restored historic Star Drugstore in the background. There are marble counters and real, honest-to-God soda fountain equipment. And the server was really nice to us. :)

- Looking out for my honey post-minor-surgery. Bryan had a small bit of hernia repair done last Monday and spent the rest of the week at home. He's been pretty well but still can't do much bending or lifting. I have a new appreciation for his cat-box-cleaning, garbage-taking-out ways, since it's been left up to me. :)

- Working on a secret project, about which I am very, very jazzed: more lace of love, more Sea Silk. The Ravelers among you can see the beginnings here. (The recipient might be a reader, but is definitely not a knitter. :) )

- Signing up for a sewing class! I'll be taking the basics at Sew Crafty on June 7 (and probably more classes later). I've run a machine before, but not very well, and I particularly want to expand my gifty repertoire.

Meredith says she'll be doing some Sew Crafty classes as well. We're not the only ones to catch the sewing bug...some days it looks like it's turning into a different kind of Stitch 'n' Bitch!

- And finally...planning a VACATION in advance of my 35th BIRTHDAY!

This will be the first time I've taken a whole (paid) week off for the sole purpose of personal enjoyment in...a really, really long time. The only traveling will probably be to Fort Worth for a weekend, but there will be plenty of time to chill and enjoy good company and probably shop and definitely knit.

The only thing I know for sure I won't be doing? GOING TO WORK. I love my job, I really do, but huzzah!

In other news: big congratulations to Jenny, who graduates from med school (and very quickly thereafter heads to Jersey for her residency) this coming weekend. Another Central Houston knitter no longer local...sigh. I'm going to start tying bells to y'all so I can hunt you down!

But, thankfully, more hoorayness for a short week. See you soon!

Monday, May 19, 2008

What I've been doing, part 1

(Warning: pic heavy! Can you believe it?)

- Working, as usual. For the last few weeks, on the second-biggest annual trade show* we do - this one in Europe.

- Adding new family members.
This is six-year-old Snoopy. Before she came to our house, her fetch-playing, counter-jumping, tee-tiny self spent a few years at my pal Cindy's (who rescued her as a kitten off the side of 610!). She and Fuzz are still getting used to each other...but it feels better to have two cats around again.
This is Corey, a youngster Schnauzer/poodle mix. My parents have been without a dog for about six years, which was far too long by about 90%. At long last they picked out this little guy, who fits the bill beautifully - funny, playful, tv-watching, a bit incorrigible.

- Knitting on this.
That's the Ribbons Scarf by Heatherly. Not too fab a photo, but you get the gist. I heart YO SKP.

- "Helping" Amy move back to Galveston, again.
I didn't share this here, but Amy added color commentary (not family-friendly! but funny!) to my boxes when I moved back in November. I had to return the favor. A couple of them were like this one: punch lines to silly jokes. See flickr for the rest (and a whole lot of other stuff).

- Almost buying crazy stuff at Target.
Do not adjust your screen...that *is* a bacon-and-eggs face on a red-and-pink gingham tote. I'm still thinking about going back for it. (Only $10 for that much obnoxious awesomeness...why not?)

- Knitting something semi-secret, in a color I usually would not use. In the serendipity department, I found myself working away on it as I sat waiting in the vet's office. Then, I got to looking at the wall border. Then at my work. Then at Bryan, my work, the wall...why?
Look closer:
The *exact color of yarn* I was using, right next to a cat that looked very much like Snoopy. I laughed so hard I couldn't knit anymore.

- Plus a couple of other things. Stay tuned for part 2!

* I may not have been clear about this before: I work in the creative (marketing) services department at a mid-sized corporation as a senior-level writer/editor. We do web, print, booth graphics, and and and, both for trade shows and standard marketing initiatives.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Do you hear what I hear?

A post for Blogging Against Disablism Day...started on time, posted a little late. If you happened to jump over here from elsewhere, welcome. I'm an able-bodied, able-minded creative blogger who doesn't often do serious business, but my family and friends mean too much to me to let this one slide.

This post leans heavily to discrimination against physically disabled people only because I have little close personal experience with mentally disabled people, and I admit my language may be out of step, and my understanding
is not complete. So, with all that said...

I hadn't heard of this event before today, and I'm not entirely sure why. Probably because I cut my teeth on the knit-blogosphere and it took me a while to ripple out into other subjects.

But today, Blogging Against Disablism came at me loud and clear, and there was no way for me to skip it...even though I wasn't entirely sure which direction to go. What I was sure of is how important a role disabled people have played in my life - and how much disablism has affected them.

There are too many stories to tell. Like the ones about my Granny (my mother's mother), who had a severe heart condition well before she had to rely on a wheelchair. My cousin M, whose rare genetic disorder folds her more in half - and makes the back pain ever more excruciating - with every passing year. TechieBK's cousin T, who spent her short 26 years in and out of hospitals, frequently unable to breathe, never able to live normally despite her liver transplant. Even my beloved faces a specter of his own, one that requires he never be too far from a bathroom, that leaves him at drastically higher risk for colon cancer and could result in a colostomy late in his life.

My stepdad C has had a greater, closer impact on me and my feelings about disablism. A genetic disorder caused a high cleft palate, leaving him hearing-impaired since birth. And at five, he took ill with polio, which wasted his right leg severely.
He both speaks and signs, has residual hearing and reads lips, lives in a hearing family but is in most ways culturally Deaf.

With C-Dad, the factor is raised a notch because he often doesn't hear these things, either. For some reason, this gives the worst offenders the idea that it's even more OK to be asinine. To talk to him like a small child, though he's almost 60 years old; to not look at him when they speak; to mumble on purpose.

All these well-loved people have had to deal with the usual:

- Staring. (Lesson for disablists: learn some effing manners.)
- Some (not all) getting harassed for having disabled hangtags - and using spaces - because they didn't "look handicapped." (Lesson: you never, ever know.)
- Eye-rolling and heavy sighing. (Lesson: what if it was your grandmother, your dad, your sister?)
- Snickering, commenting, or straight-out mouthing off. (Lesson: learn some effing manners before I deck you.)
- More things too lengthy, too hurtful, too nasty, too illegal to stand.

To overstate the obvious, disablists suffer from a lack of understanding of one crucial point that escapes all bigots (which has been said better by many - check here and look for May 1 to see more) - disability does not make a person less human, or less worthy of respect by their humanity alone. I've read a lot of blogging lately that focuses on our understanding of privilege, our blindness to our own prejudices, our lack of willingness to step up and speak for members of any group to which we belong...or even one to which we don't. For every person that would knowingly hurt someone for their differences, I truly believe that there's another 2, 3, 10 who would never even dream of it.

And most of them would never say a word if they saw it happening. I get this: it's hard to go out on a limb. I try, and I know others who do too; sometimes we succeed, often we fail. And yes, sometimes it's painful or dangerous to do so. And no, we can't win every battle single-handedly.

Even so, we have to try harder at it. Pick your battles if you must...but pick them and fight them. Write to Congress or to the blogosphere. Learn some patience. Learn some sign language. Tell people why words like "retard" or "spaz" are offensive, and quit using them yourself. Widen your public bathroom and its door. Let people use it if they ask urgently, no matter what company policy says. Don't pet the dog without asking, and don't be an ass if the answer is "no" when you do. Don't park in reserved spaces. Don't patronize businesses that find ways not to do equal business with disabled people. Stop staring...but look at people when you talk to them.

Never be afraid to tell the world that prejudice and abuse are wrong. Never dehumanize another human being, whether you love or hate them, evil or saintly, perfect or imperfect.

Here's one hint: we're all imperfect. Fighting disablism (or any other ism) is one good way to be a little less so.