Wednesday, February 28, 2007

An All-American Romance

The picture above is of my boyfriend and I, not of the people in the following story.

My boss (let's call him "Jack" for the sack of this post) is your average, All-American kind of guy. Having a predominately Irish and German background, Jack is very tall and has greenish-blue eyes with dark hair. Jack is always telling us about his childhood, having been 1 of 8 children (I think), and growing up on a farm in Northern Indiana (Yes, he's a Hoosier through and through). Jack, who is about 35 years-old, married, and has 3 children, met his wife when he was a kid. Apparently, she was the girl next door and so he remembers playing with her and becoming very close friends with her. However, romantic feelings were never able to truly develop because when Jack was old enough, he enlisted into the United States Army.

During his time in the service, he had dated many women, but he never forgot about the girl next door. Finally, when he finally got out of the military, Jack returned to his hometown to look for work. Fortunately, his childhood friend was still there, almost as if she was waiting for him all those years. Eventually they began talking and then dating, and finally they got married.

My boyfriend (who works with me as well) told me this story and my reaction was, "Wow! Jack and his wife are like the typical All-American couple!" In which my boyfriend replied, "Yeah, except she's black!"

When my significant other said that statement it made me think. Was he trying to say that it wasn't American to marry someone black if you are white? After careful comtemplation, I had to agree with my boyfriend. It's not American to marry someone of another race. It's more American to be not necessarily a racist, but someone who believes strongly in segregation (wheter it be legalized or not). A typical 21st century segregationist would say something like "I'll be friends with them but I won't date them." WHAT DA FUCK IS THAT SHIT ALL ABOUT!!! People who belive wholeheartedly in the not so currently fabricated "race" sytem and terminology of the United States believe that blacks and whites are as different as say, whales and cockroaches. Obviosly a man from Spain can impregnate a native Hawaiian woman because they are both essentially human, but a cockroach would never impregnate a whale. NEVER!!!

Which brings me to my final point. Just to state the obvious, many of us have mixed heritage (some of you guys have shared your backgrounds with me and I'm very thankful for that). Even if your ancestry is purely European or Native American, there are different types of Europeans (German, Irish, Italian) and Native Americans (Sioux, Cherokee, Iroquois) that have inhabited this part of the world for centuries. At some point in our family tree, someone did the "Un-American thing" and married someone of another race. As a result of all this activity, the country was able to simplify it's racial categories into the present day categories of "black" "white", "hispanic" or "asian." And don't dare claim that your "white" if you have one drop of black blood in you because those who call themselves "white" would not claim you as their own.

So this being the last day of African-American History month in the United States of America, I would like to open the floor for discussion. Have you ever done the "Un-American" thing and dated someone of another race? How did your family feel about it? Did you ever reject dating someone because they were ethnically different from you? Why? Have you ever wished you had the opportunity to do the "Un-American" thing if you've never done it before? Please let me know?

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

A Lot to Say

Back Tracking

So last post I talked about the need for us knitters to be fiscally responsible now so that we can save for a rainy day or retirement later. I was happy to see some disagreement with what I had to say in the comments over the past couple days. Meg felt that life was too short and we got to enjoy it as much as we can now. I agree with that, to an extent. However, I think Valerie hit the nail on the head when she summed up my "financial seminar" post. Pragmatic. We can't deprive ourselves of essential things like food, water, and happiness. However, we don't have to max out our credit cards to get those feelings of satisfaction we all need. In other words, there is a delicate balance between splurging and self-denial of things that make us happy. Life should be enjoyable and responsible. And I am glad for that. I'm also glad that some of you are doing the responsible act of saving for retirement as well.

Other News

Yesterday, I got to work 30 minutes late, the first time I've ever been late at this job (I've been working there since June 2006). I'm only mentioning this to you guys because on Saturday night I had a dream that I was going to be late for work and loose my job. The following night I had a 5 page book review due so I decided to stay up all night and do that. Needless to say that all Monday I was dead tired. After class got out at 3 pm, I went to bed and made sure I had set my alarm for 4:20, so that I would reach work for 5 pm. When I woke up at 4:59, I wondered why my alarm had not rung. The alarm (which is army in time) said 14:20 (2:20) instead of 16:20 (4:20). DAMN IT!!!! So the whole time I'm driving to work, I'm praying that I won't get fired because even though I hate working there, this job is perfect for my life right now and I don't have the time to look for another one.


Enough with the drama. I've been working on 2 socks this week. I mentioned these last week and here are some progress pictures:

The top one is for me and I'm using this pattern. The bottom sock is for one of my friends and it is this pattern. I love this chick's patterns and because I'm burning through stash, it's all good!

Also, I went to Barnes and Nobles this past Saturday and picked up these. The new IK and this new book by a woman named Stephanie Japel aka the Glampyre. It's odd that I'm buying this woman's book because for the most part, I think that many of her patterns are ugly (or rather not for me). This book erases whatever errors she has done in the past. I want to knit almost the entire book! It's all sweaters or tops for ladies and the garments look very professional, which excites me because I could basically knit my whole wardrobe from this book for when I become a professional in an office someday.

Having read her blog from time to time, it fascinates me how many bloggers are beginning professional careers in knitting, whether it be dying or spinning or opening yarn stores or becoming influential designers. It's definetely inspiring to young knitters like myself because it's nice to know that if I work hard enough I too one day can do something like that with my life.

So that's it for today. Tomorrow is the end of African-American history month and I have a special post for that so come back and see!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Views on Stash

As of late, many knit bloggers have jumped on the band wagon of this woman and have agreed to only knit from their stash from January 1 to September 30, 2007 (if you would like to join this KAL, or just would like to know more about it, click here). I think what these knitters are doing is a noble thing. Acquiring some of the stashes that I have seen reported all over the blogasphere requires lots of money and time (two things that I don't have much of right now). The only problem that I have is this: Why does it take a more prominent knit blogger to move the masses in the right direction? Why does it take a KAL like this one to get everyone to do something different? I guess like any society, there are leaders and there are followers, and then you have the people like me I call observers. What type of knit blogger are you? Why do you think of yourself in that way? Please let me know.

I have brought this topic up because lately I've been trying to be fiscally responsible. A week ago I opened up a savings account that will be my emergency cash fund. Once the amount in that account reaches over 6 months worth of living expenses, I'm going to start aggresively paying off my credit card debt (it's not much, but I don't like having that over my head). After that, I'm canceling all but 3 of my credit cards. Two are Gap and Banana Republic cards that my mom loves to use (she has cards of her own, the accounts are just in my name and of course she pays for what she buys) and the other is a major credit card for emergencies ONLY!!! Then I'm going to put them away in my house so that the only cash I have available to me is my debit card. Once my debt is paid, then I can start saving for retirement.

Why did I just tell you guys all that? Because many of us are spending astronomical sums of money on yarn that we may never knit with. Why not use that money you would use to make a purchase for yarn you don't need and put that into a savings account or a retirement fund? You know that if you save only $14,000 from the age of 18 to 26, with an interest of 8% you'd have a million dollars in the bank by the time you retire? And by then, you can have all the yarn you want and then some!

I'm not saying that I don't love yarn. It's exciting to go to my LYS to shop for new yarn and projects, but I'm not going to let something that I do for fun make me end up in the poor house (which seems to be the case with many knit bloggers). Don't be like this podcaster who has to work at her LYS on weekends just to support her yarn habit. I love her show, but her bugeting skills aren't so hot. And did I mention that she's a lawyer? Not to say that all lawyers make madd money, but typically they do bring home some chedda (sorry, "madd" means "a lot" and "chedda" means "money")! I believe that we knitters are guilty of being too indulgent, too easily influenced, and too reckless with what we spend our money on.

Therefore this year, I encourage you guys to knit from you stash, and if you need the support of a community, join this KAL. As for me, I don't need to join this KAL because my motivation is knowing the amount of money I could save for retirement or for more important things like food and shelter.

PS: Though I'm going thru this "yarn diet", I'm still allowing myself to buy books and magazines (I'm no superwoman). And oh yes, sock yarn does count people!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Every Ending Has A Beginning

So I had an incredible weekend. I went to church on Saturday morning (I'm Seventh-day Adventist), which is something that I have not done in over 2 months now. It was nice to see some old people and friends.

On Saturday night, my boyfriend and I went over a friend's house to celebrate his birthday. We had to leave early because we were expecting guest at our apartment, but again, I saw some people that I used to hang out with on a regular. It was nice seeing them too.

Later on that evening, we returned home to receive our guests. They were knitting buddies! I had my first knitting party. I helped my friend make her first pair of gloves (which is great because up till that point all she did were scarves). Even my boyfriend worked on a beautiful hat for his aunt in Canada (a province that starts with an "S"). I'll take a picture of his hat when it is done.

As from pics of the party, sorry I don't have any. My friends don't know I have this blog and I'm not sure if they want their government blown up like that (that's New York slang for "their business all over the place"). I did have alot of fun and we're planning on doing it again this weekend with even more knitters.

Finished Objects

I finally finished my vest:

I love the stripe sequence I've chosen. I plan on wearing this baby in about 2 weeks for a presentation. On March 6, 2007, I'm reading my research paper at a Departmental Assembly for the HIstory department of my school. My research was about the Riots in Benton Harbor, Michigan of 1966. I would link to my paper (which is 18 pages long) but I don't know how to make web pages that can connect to my blog that aren't of blogger (plus I'm not sure if you guys would be interested in reading a paper that long). Still, I'm very excited to share what I learned last semester and I hope that my audience will like what I have to say.

I also finished these gloves:

Very warm and pretty but I'm not sure if I should block them. It's an alpaca and angora blend and I heard that these materials don't have much memory so they'll stretch out and be misshappened. However, I still don't like how they don't lay flat whenever they aren't on my hands. What should I do?

So now I'm starting some socks:

The yarn on the left is going to be some socks for myself (I only have 2 pairs of hand knit socks! I should be ashamed of myself, intermediate level knitter and all). The yarn on the right is for a friend of mine that demanded socks after she had seen the socks I made for another friend. I don't mind. It's all apart of my plan to get rid of some of my yarn, which we'll discuss at a later date.

That's all for now. I procrastinated a lot this weekend so I have 3 papers, tons to read, and a lot of shit to do in just 4 days. I wish I didn't have to work. Just school is a full time job as it is!

Friday, February 16, 2007

I Won!

That's right kids! I won some yarn! There is a new podcast over at iTunes called Stash & Burn and they had a little contest that consisted of simply leaving a comment at their website and a drawing of those individuals was later conducted. Out of all the people that entered, I won. I never expected to actually win anything but let me tell you that podcasts, especially those about knitting, are very good things. Not only are they entertaining, you win stuff too!

No I'm not telling you guys what the yarn is until I have it in my hands. I'll say one thing though--it's sock yarn!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day!

See what my wonderful boyfriend got me? A bouquet of red roses! They are so gorgeous and were a complete surprise. He left for work and the FedEx man rang the door of our apartment literally 30 seconds after he had left. What a pleasant surprise! I haven't been romanced alot in my life so I definetely appreciate that my boyfriend remembers the important holidays.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The History of Black History

This post brought to you in part by and

Last week when I had my rant, a reader in the comments suggested that Black History month was created by white people who felt sorry for past and present mistakes. This got me thinking about how did this time of year come about. So this is my history side coming out.

Dr. Carter G. Woodson, a son of former slaves, graduated from high school at the age of 22, after spending just two years there. Later on, he enrolled at Harvard University where he earned his Ph D. (most likely in history). Disturbed by the fact that many of the historical text books he read had little to no information about the stories of black Americans, Woodson set out to change all that. In 1915 he created the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (now called the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History). A year later, this organization began to publish the scholarly journal entitled Journal of Negro History.

Then on February 12, 1926, Dr. Woodson did something radical by dedicating a week in February to Black History. Woodson chose this week out of the year because he wanted to honor the birthdays of two men who he felt were important to the advancement of black Americans (Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglas). It was called Negro History Week and was created to give national attention to this particular minority group at the time (I hate the word "minority", seeing that collectively, minorities outnumber the "majority". Plus it gives an idea of inferiority past the superficiality of numbers, but I digress).

The story ends when in 1976 the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History instituted the month-long celebration of black history.

So whenever someone tells you, "Why do we have a month just for black history?" You can tell them to read this blog post.

Something Related

I don't want to bore you guys with my history complaints. This is a knitting blog after all. However, I have to respond to a comment that Deborah left from my rant last week. She had some interesting things to say. Basically she said that not only are we segregated as a people but even our study of people is segregated. This is true not only for African-Americans, but for all kinds of other groups in the United States. College campuses all across the country have courses that focus on all kinds of people from Spanish speakers to women. However, the stories of these individuals are still largely excluded from mainstream textbooks (this is my interpretation of what Deborah said). I would suggest that maybe if we integrated our histories into one textbook more often, then integrating ourselves wouldn't be so hard? Maybe I'm being too idealistic? What do you think about what Deborah said?


I know that this post is long, but I didn't want to have a whole week of Black History rants and have not much knitting content. I'm still working on my vest pattern. I'm finding that it's somewhat big for me, but maybe when I block, it will shrink a bit. In terms of me pattern writing, this book has helped me out alot and I honestly feel that I'm not copying someone else's work. So I'll keep you posted on that.

Friday, February 09, 2007

No Title

I would just like to thank you guys for the discussion. Just by reading your comments, I learned so much about you guys. For example, I didn't know that you guys had ancestry in Lithuania, or a Turkish background, or an Asian mom (I have not linked to your blogs because I'm not sure if you would like that info to be shared with other people). It just goes to show that if we just dig a bit deeper, we can learn so much more about who we are as people and come out smarter than before. Saying "I'm white" or "I'm Native American" is not enough for me. I want to know that you're Cherokee, or part Jewish with a bit of Italian. I love how mixed up I am (African, British, Dutch, Portuguese, Carib and Arawak Indian) and I'm sure you guys appreciate your past as well. For those of us that are ashamed of that, don't be. Rejoice in the diversity that is the United States, no matter how much the media tries and tell you that immigrants are taking over this country. Immigrants have been doing that since the British (the first set of immigrants) establish Jamestown (a colony in Virginia) in 1607!

Back to the Knitting

So my wonderful boyfriend got me a subscription to this wonderful publication. Isn't he sweet? I'm also hard at work on the vest that unfortunately I dont' think I could make a pattern out of for publishing here. It is mainly because one of the yarns I'm using is scrap from Argentina, and they don't have ball bands on their stuff so I'm not even sure what fiber content there is or how many yards I have of it. Also, I just can't wrap my mind around pattern writing while making the math work out for me. I wish there was some kind of class at my LYS that teaches how to write patterns. Maybe there's resources online, but I would prefer to be with a real person teacher. Maybe clothes is too complicated for me and I should start with something smaller. I don't consider myself to be a fashion designer (hell, I haven't gone shopping in like 6 months now). Still, I would love to one day write a pattern up, even if it is a simple one, for you guys to knit. Besides, patterns get your name out there. Ever heard of Saunshine? She just came out with this little number too.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Black History Rant


This month is February and so that means it's African-American History Month in the United States. I have many things to say about this time of year and I figured why not tell you guys.

For the past 500 years, the history of the Western Hemisphere has been a clash of different peoples from different places. Some from Europe (by curiosity, or for more riches, or to spread the word of God), some from Africa (most likely by force), and some that were already here (Indians, or as I like to call them, Indigenous people). Years later, as a result of these clashes, countries were formed and more different people started to come. Some from China and Japan (they went to places like Cuba and Brazil). Some from India (most of them went to Jamaica and Guyana), and even more Europeans (like Italians and Germans that went to Argentina and the United States).

Presently, we live in a world in which race is paramount to describing not only how you look, but who you are as a person. This bothers me to no end because even if the assumption of me is a positive one, it's just an assumption, not a fact. Basing the personality or characteristics of a person on their physical features is poor judgement and leaves the observer less knowledgeable of that individual than before they even saw them.

Recently, the head coach for the Indianapolis Colts, Tony Dungy, became the first African-American to lead his team to the Super Bowl and win the big game. This is great and all, however, when does Tony Dungy stop being African and start being called just "American"? When does someone stop being Chinese-American and can be simply called "American". Not to be cynical, but why do those that identify themselves as "white" are the only ones allowed to be non-hyphenated "Americans".

What we need is a re-evaluation of who we are as a people and how we all got here (Americans) so that we can properly name ourselves. Though I was born in America, the culture I grew up in was Guyanese, yet in some applcations, the only option I have is to be "black" or "African-American". The reality is that my skin is not black, I've never been to Africa, and the only thing American about me is my birth. It's not enough to say "I'm Black" because it is vague. There are "black" (I call them, "people of African descent") people in Columbia, Haiti, and Brazil. And though they do share a common ancestor, "black" people from these countries do not share the same culture. They don't even speak the same language!

So where am I going with this? What am I trying to say? I think it's important to know where you come from. I also believe that it is necessary to look at the past objectively, and not blame present-day descendants of people who have done bad things to your ancestors in the past. Let's all not allow diversity to be a dividing factor, but a means to mutual respect, genuine interest in each other's cultures, and a learning experience for all involved.

So, what do you guys think? I would really like to know. And don't be afraid to not agree with me on this one. I figured that this blog was the perfect place to get my message out there.

Monday, February 05, 2007

My Weekend


Did I mention that if I wasn't dating Nathan, I'd be dating Bob Sanders (man kissing trophy) in a heartbeat (just kidding sweetie!) Just had to get that out of my system. Now for the weekend report.

It still looks like this:

It got so bad Saturday morning that the power kept flickering on and off. Fortunately I got baked this:

A chocolate cake with chocolate frosting for my boyfriend's brother (it was his 23rd birthday)

I finished one side of the alpaca gloves:

Got tired of knitting this:

Ripped it out and began this:

A stripey vest (or if I have enough yarn, a 3/4 sleeve sweater). I'm hoping that if this pattern goes well, I'll publish it as a freeby.

Now there is school to go to. Though there is still alot of snow on the ground, the roads are clear, and I must go.