Monday, November 03, 2008

Back on track, blog-wise.

I had a lovely time with my sister and her husband – the last chance we’ll have to talk before their son Theo’s wedding next summer, and that’s not likely to be an occasion for much reflective conversation even if I succeed in getting there. It was good, this time, to talk on and on about the election. My husband’s heart is in the right place, but he’s not that interested in minute dissection.

We agreed that it was rather like the Sickbed Chapter in a Victorian novel – we’ve done all we can, and now we must just try to make the patient comfortable and wait for the fever to break. It’s tough.

(It was Obama who removed the thermometer from my sidebar.)

I’m uneasy about Early Voting, and very uneasy about these four-hour queues. In Britain, almost no-one lives further than a brisk walk from the polling station, and voting is close to instantaneous. (It’s done by putting a paper ballot in a metal box. The boxes are carried to a central point for each constituency, for counting. Polls open early, 8 a.m. I think, and close at 10 p.m.) I have often taken my husband to a polling station. If he hadn’t reappeared in 15 minutes I’d have raised the alarm.

Schools all have the day off on election day. They are used as polling stations. There are other stations as well.


My sister says that the sleeves of Theo’s Barack-electing gansey are too wide. She wondered if some clever soul could steek them somehow. I don’t think so. I think the only hope is to re-knit the sleeves. They’re a bit too long, anyway. I’ll get the gansey brought back after the wedding, if I can’t get hold of it before then. A passage of ribbing at the top of the sleeve during which some stitch reduction was carried out, would look pleasantly nautical.

Meanwhile, not much. I have wound two skeins of Araucania ready to swatch for Ketki’s jumper, but wasn’t possessed of enough mental energy to choose stitch pattern and needle size. So I went on Princess-ing. I’m now doing row 12 of the 10th repeat. I’ll leave it after row 13, with the first motif finished and a plain-knit row to follow.

Rosesmama, thank you for the tip about WAMU and “White Heat”. I’m listening to it as I write. And for the one about freezing the Princess. I had thought of doing that -- I’ve never tried it – you’ve persuaded me. I’ll have to find some end-protectors.


  1. There is satisfaction in marking a ballot with a pencil and seeing that nice black "X." That's the way we do it in Canada. High tech voting in the US seems to result in nothing but trouble election after election. Makes you wonder when they will get the message. I have never stood in line except for maybe 5 minutes tops in 40+ years of voting. After the fiasco with the Gore/Bush election I am on pins and needles with this election. What ever happens in the US has a profound effect on Canada's economy.
    Jean, I have to say I read your blog every morning and have come to enjoy our morning sided though they have been. Stop by and say hello.

  2. I always lose end protectors, so I just use rubber bands. I love the victorian sick bed analogy - I am acting as an election judge tomorrow, it keeps me busy all day and less anxious. I hope tomorrow's post is, well, I won't even say it.

  3. A friend of mine works for the elections office of one of the counties here in Oregon. She expects Tuesday to be insane. We have mail in ballots so we no longer have polling stations, but if the little circles aren't marked correctly the ballot still has to be handled by hand. That on top of sorting and verifying the signatures on the ballot. It's going to be a wild week.

  4. Not all schools close - my own was opposite the village hall, so we could watch the voters come and go and sulk about not getting the day off.

    British polling stations open at 7 in the morning - one of the reasons why I have never volunteered to for election duty (I work for a local council) - you have to do the whole day, 7 to 10 at night, without any breaks.

  5. exactly like in denmark.

    you will need to get yourself a pair of knitpicks needles. great pointy needles, lovely end protectors and long wires. even very long...

    i wonder where they have been all my life.

    we are all holding our breath for tomorrow.

  6. Anonymous6:02 PM

    Here in Missouri, and I think the rest of the U.S., the polls open at 6 a.m. and stay open until 7 p.m. Anyone in line at 7 p.m. gets to vote, regardless of how long it takes. I work as an election judge and at our poll, we have one touch-screen voting machine and little voting stations where people can mark a paper ballot (more like card stock) with a pen if they choose to vote that way. Those ballots are read by an optical scan machine. Once the last voter has cast his/her vote, we have to count all unused ballots (machines have counted the others), close out the scanner and the touch screen machine, and balance all the numbers. This takes at least an hour after the last voter leaves. It's a long, long day since we get to the poll at 5 a.m. to ready things. In fact, we have to go tonight to get part of the set-up completed to make sure we're ready when that first voter steps through the door at 6 a.m. Usually, voters start lining up by 5:45 at the latest because they want to vote on their way to work.

  7. Vivienne is remembering the polling arrangements when we lived in Hampshire - when we moved to Surrey. my younger daughter got the day off school since her school was the polling station, but we had to go to a nearby village, since there was something seriously odd about the way the parish boundaries had been drawn.

  8. They still don't always close, or the office would be wholly empty as all the parents would have to take the day off to look after their children. As it is it's half empty because so many people are doing polling station duty.