Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The winter darkness seems to have come down awfully suddenly this year.

I’ve finished the first triangle of the Wingspan. I am working in my head on an essay about monotonous knitting – which much of it is, much of the time – as distinct? from boring knitting, which is relatively rare. But I haven’t got there yet.

So, thots, again.

Knitting-related ones:

I learned from Liz Lovick’s blog about the Yarn & Cake shop in Glasgow. It is clearly very near the premises once occupied by K1 Yarns. I believe the owner has given that one up to concentrate on Edinburgh (to which I link). Maybe Yarn & Cake took over.

And Liz’ pictures of Scotland, taken from the train as she travelled home from Glasgow to Orkney, are worth looking at, too.


Thanks, Kristie. It is exactly as you say. If I had access to a polling booth, I’d vote for Obama, sort of sadly. I will lie awake that night listening to the radio in an unusual state of mind, terribly interested in what is happening but not cheering wildly for either side. (It’s not the Calcutta Cup, in other words.)

I am struck increasingly these days with the way Americans refer to each other as “Democrat” or “Republican” in tones that seem to imply that the labels refer to something permanent and inbred.  (“Goodness, he can’t marry her – she’s a Republican”, sort of thing). The number of voters who actually might change sides in any given election must be very small. Which, of course, is why the parties work so hard to get their partisans to turn out on the day.

I’m terribly in favour of voting. I remember once when Alexander was in a plague-on-both-your-houses state of mind about a British General Election. I urged him strongly to go along and spoil his ballot paper rather than stay at home. But I’m also old and tired – struggling with Monmouth County is too much for me, this time.

Angel, it’s great to know you’re still reading (even if not blogging). I remember so vividly your blog post? comment here? about Town and Gown dancing together in the streets of Oberlin when Obama won four years ago. It’s different this time, undoubtedly.

And I agree with you that great racehorses probably love to run. And, surely, they must also in some sense enjoy cooperating with the man who has taught them to lie in fourth place until the moment comes to move forward. As a sheepdog patently loves to boss the silly sheep around, using the technique the man has taught him. And even more patently enjoys being of serious assistance to his beloved master.

But I also agree, Woolly Bits, that it’s hard to imagine that anyone enjoys dressage, horse, rider, or audience.


  1. Dawn in NL10:19 AM

    Hello Jean,
    I am impressed that you have made such an effort to vote in USA over such a long period.

    It is 25 years since I lived in Scotland. When the postal vote became available, I decided not to avail of it. I feel I dont know the issues because I dont follow the UK news and I am not really affected by the outcome.

    In Ireland I had the vote for everything except referenda and the presidential election. Here in NL I can only vote in local elections and EU elections. This irks me a lot as I have worked here for 14 years paying tax and no say in how the money is spent. I would far rather have the vote here than in UK. (I could get the vote by taking Dutch nationality but I cant bring myself to do that.)

    I am of the opinion that if you have the vote you should exercise it, and always argue against people who say that their vote doesnt make a difference.

    Just my 2 cents worth :)

  2. Anonymous1:58 PM

    Hi Jean-

    I'm voting absentee in Monmouth County this year, and it is pretty easy. A link to the application is here: http://www.state.nj.us/state/elections/form_pdf/vote-mail-ballot-012712-mon.pdf

    One reason I encourage you to do this is that there is now an option to have ballots mailed to you automatically for every election. No fighting required, after the first one.

    Beverly in NJ

  3. Donna in VA2:17 PM

    I have to respectfully disagree with your comment about dressage. It is one I might have agreed with prior to my daughter taking up dressage at 12 years old. I've learned through her experience that dressage is amazing teamwork between horse and rider. The horse knows what move to make based upon the slightest movement of the rider - a touch with a left knee, a slight lean one direction or the other, etc. I've seen dressage horses light up when their rider comes into view. I fully understand why the general public doesn't understand dressage since I didn't 18 years ago. But it really is amazing if you have the opportunity to learn about it in depth and dressage horses like race horses love what they do and are a real team with their rider. My daughter has always participated in the lower ranks of dressage - we are very middle-class people without the $$$ to do anything else - but she speaks of her horse as her best friend who taught her so many life lessons.

  4. Yes- I remember that post and I remember that night vividly. I had never seen anything like the Oberlin professors and students dancing in the streets that night. It was beautiful and it felt like a transformative moment.

    I think what is hard for so many Americans is that it all feels like a slog these days. So many people out of work (I have friends with PhDs who cannot buy a job!) mired in war, everything just creeping along, and no real vision for the future... thus disenchantment. This will be a different election and I no longer vote in a swing state, but now in a red state (I live in the bluest part of said red state and there are some important congressional elections to sweat over, but its not as exciting as voting in a state like Ohio, where you really felt that you mattered.)and you should see some of the ads in Texas. Just nasty, underhanded stuff.

    Oh and I am always reading the blog. Mostly lurking these days. I do need to revive my blog though- now that I am rolling into mid-career, I find I have so little time for doing the things I love (and instead I am sucked into an endless stream of grading, and committee work.)

  5. =Tamar6:50 PM

    I imagine dressage is much like a marching band, where the audience appreciates the hard work, skill, and partnership of the participants.

  6. Anonymous9:46 PM

    Changing the subject somewhat, I ordered sock yarn studio from Amazon, and it's on its way. Looking forward to the arrival with great anticipation.Liz Philips

  7. Talking with my son in the US last night,he said it scares him that he knows people who intend to vote republican - but at least he is now qualified to cancel out one of those votes!