Thursday, September 25, 2008

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch

It is a dark and dreary day today. There's a tropical something moving up the coast that's supposed to bring us a lot of rain and wind, starting this afternoon. The afternoon tennis lesson is in jeopardy, as is Mr. T's flight home from Boston. On the other hand, it would be nice to have a day without running around, a day when we can stay home, do homework, and relax. We don't get many of those.

I have finished the primary knitting on the Back to School Vest. The shoulders have been joined; all I have to do now is keep knitting the cable that will go across the back neck, and do the ribbing around the armholes. Here are some photos of the back of the vest, where you can see how the main cable looks on a larger panel:

I love the sinuous lines of this cable. I tried to pick a cable for the outer bands that would echo the sinuousness (sinuousity? sinuetude?) without copying it exactly.

Last night was Back to School Night at the middle school, so it was my first chance to see Sr. Jr.'s teachers and see what his day is like. I was very impressed. All of his teachers seem engaged, enthusiastic, and energetic. I'm also very impressed with their focus on teaching the kids organizational skills and study skills. We were never taught that as kids. We were just expected to make it up as we went along. Some kids are naturals at it, others are not. Some kids were bright enough that they could overcome a lack of organizational skills, and again, others were not. Teaching and emphasizing organization now means the kids will be so much better off in high school and college. While I remember having some very good teachers in middle school, I don't remember school being as varied and fun as it seems now. The projects seem more creative, and more geared towards active, rather than passive, learning.

The current economic situation scares me. I'll freely admit that I'm not an economic expert, but I know I was afraid of the ramifications of that housing bubble for a long time. I didn't realize just how deep its implications were for the overall economy, however. I'm also scared of this rush to "fix" things. I get that our situation is precarious, but I'd really prefer that some serious thought go into whatever action comes out of it. It seems like we're throwing a lot of money at the problem without addressing what the root causes are. Panic breeds panic. We're already NOT paying for the war that we're stuck with. How are we going to pay for this, too? Where's the money going to go? Who will benefit? Will the CEOs of the companies who took ever-more daring and risky investments still get their millions? What will happen to the people who lost their homes? Will people not only lose the bulk of their investments and retirement savings, but also have to pay for this bailout mess?

This clearly has huge implications for us as a country. We can't continue the way we've been going. What do the candidates think about this? How will they deal with it? What will they do to attempt to get our debt under control? John McCain wants to suspend campaigning, postpone the debate, and go back to Washington to help work on a bailout plan. Gee, sounds good, but no thanks. I'd like to see a debate now, more than ever. Now is when I want to hear from the candidates. Perhaps because this is not McCain's strong point (and, in fact, recent polls showed Obama leading him by a 2 to 1 margin on economic issues), he wants to avoid being put on the spot and look like he's doing something. Moreover, I'm not sure that having the candidates there will be effective. It may just make the situation even more difficult to solve, as partisan politics gets injected into the situation. Besides, they both have advisors and allies who are presenting their views. Right now, I'd rather leave the hard work to Congress and the experts.


kippi said...

beautiful work AGAIN! really lovely vest.

this country will never get a handle on the economic situation until people start telling themselves no. It amazes me that we are bailing out companies for the sole purpose of getting more people into debt (extending credit). It is more than a housing bubble, it has been a lifestyle bubble.

I wish both candidates would stop for a minute and participate in what is going on because one of them is going to inherit this mess. why can't they do both?--participate AND debate?

Congress and 'the experts' more than helped to get us into this mess. They passed the Sarbanes Oxley Act. They are the ones who encouraged (with the help of Mr. Clinton) people to get into financial messes by extending credit and encouraging getting in over their head financially.

we laughed here and said six months ago 'next they will bail out the automakers who are STILL manufacturing and designing crap cars'. We said it jokingly but guess what? now we are going to bail out automakers who should be left to fail. if allowed, a free market economy works and works well. Unfortch, not many Americans have the stomach for it....and it is exactly what we need.

that's just my five cents.

Sharon said...

Unfortunately, if all these banks continue to collapse around us because of bad investments (mostly mortgages), they start to siphon off the insurance funds that supposedly protect our deposits. Backed by the full faith and credit of the United States, yes, but with the U.S. so in debt, and with the current liquidity crisis, well, it's 1929 again before we know it. I am someone who pays my credit cards on time, in full every month. My only debt at this point is for car payments and my mortgage, both of which are within my family's ability to pay, based on monthly income coming in. Besides indulgences like mostly organic food and yarn, we live pretty simply and unmaterialistically. I am angry at the individuals and the big companies/banks/quasi-government entities who overextended themselves in the need to acquire McMansions (the former) and pay their executives a gazillion dollars of compensation (the latter), as well work the books so that it appeared that their businesses were, in turn making hundreds of gazillions of dollars (how do you like them accounting terms!!). But this is a scary, IMMINENT crisis, folks, and while I think there should be significant oversight of Treasury and the Fed, and what they intend to do here, something extreme is needed. I worked at Treasury for 12 years as an attorney, and currently work for another federal financial regulator. This is not a partisan ruse. Sorry to run off like that.

The vest is beautiful. I am finishing the third of three very time intensive thread crochet dresser scarves for my sister (special order). They look very vintage and are beautiful, but I'm itching to start working with some WOOL again (well, I did just finish a shawl made out of Colinette Prism (haven't posted on Ravelry yet), that I wore all day yesterday, so I'm not totally depriving myself.

We had back to school night on Wed. for middle school also. Kenmore seems like such a perfect fit for Sam; she is just flourishing. Yesterday she started private oboe lessons (in Annandale, ugh, but the teacher is great), so that's another day of "extra" driving. I think Band is a good activity for her though, especially because it's one where she doesn't have to compete with her big brother.

Cheers to you both (Loren and Kippi).

Loren T said...


I'm glad you weighed in here, because I know you have a lot of experience in this area. I'd love to hear anything more you can add, because this is an area I really don't know too much about.

You're right, something imminent is needed. I'd just like that something imminent NOT to be tainted by electioneering. Unfortunately, that's exactly what has happened. All the news sources this morning say that McCain's the one who derailed the process yesterday. One person involved with the process even called it the "Bailout John McCain" plan (and this the Post, NOT a blatantly partisan source like DailyKos or HuffPo).

Just let the work be done.

Your dresser scarves sound beautiful! I hope you post pictures of them on Ravelry, too. Annandale, huh? I suppose it could be worse :) As long as she's happy and learning, good for her. Does Jacob play an instrument?

I'm supposed to go wandering about Clarendon today with a friend, but given the cold and rain, and the cold I'm working on, I really don't want to go.

The vest is so close to finished, too. I have the ribbing on one armhole left to complete, and then all I have to do is block it and sew down the cable going across the back neck.

Scott had a preliminary injunction hearing yesterday, at which the judge just decided to go ahead and set a trial date -- for Wednesday. They haven't done any depositions yet. So, fun weekend for us :)


Sharon said...

Is Scott a federal attorney? Ugh, depositions. I'm so glad I don't litigate any longer. I pretty much stopped that when I started having kids. I wasn't willing to work long hours or travel (in fact, I worked part time for ten years).

Yeah, yesterday I was feeling like a cold was coming on, but luckily it was a stay at home day, so except for getting the kids to the bus stop in the morning and then the oboe lesson at 4:30, I was cozy and in my sweats all day. I'm itching to get a run in today, though, so I'm hoping it clears a bit.

No, Jacob does not play an instrument, which is good! He excels in everything he does, so it's tough being his younger sibling. He is gone again for 1/2 the weekend at a cross country meet, so I won't even see him again until about 6:00 tomorrow night. I have a funeral in hte morning for a co-worker's 23 year old daughter--one of a set of twin girls--who died in a car accident last weekend. Just tragic. It's been weighing heavily on me all week, even though I never met the young woman.

Loren T said...

That's terribly sad about your co-worker's daughter.

No, Scott's in private practice. I was the fed. I enjoyed litigation quite a bit, or rather, the stuff that led up to settlements, because we rarely litigated anything at the FTC. I had one case that went to trial (Doan's), but I gave birth a month before it started, so I missed it. When I got back from maternity leave, I was suddenly mommy tracked into rule writing, which I HATED.

Do you find it's easier for your kids to differentiate themselves since they're of different genders? Since I have two boys, I think about comparison issues a lot. So far, the age spread has minimized comparisons, but it definitely comes up.

Sharon said...

Somewhat. Samantha is very smart and makes mostly A's, but she works for it. She's just not the intellectual giant he is (he had read all of Herodotus by the end of 7th grade.) Plus, he's a superb athlete, while she would really prefer to stay home. She plays soccer in the fall and Lacrosse in the spring, but half the time she doesn't even want to play. The girls love him and pursue him, so Samantha sees that too. Luckily, she's been too young to compare herself to him in romantic sphere! So, it's tough. She's already getting, "Oh, you're Jacob Z's sister," at Kenmore, as she got at Ashlawn. It's difficult as a Mom. I feel so much more protective of her. Six months before I conceived her, I had twin girls who were stillborn. Then, Sam was a bit premature, after a difficult pregnancy, so I have always fretted over her in a way that I just don't with Jacob. It's complicated. Okay, as my kids would say, tmi. Ciao.

Loren T said...


I don't think you've seen it yet, but I pm'd you on Ravelry this afternoon.