The Joy of Knitting (and Harping)

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Let me begin by saying, I truly enjoy knitting. If you read my Twitter timeline you’ve probably noticed that I tweet about knitting often. So, I’d like to share a few thoughts about my knitting hobby.

I’ll start with the reason(s) I started knitting. I took up knitting as a hobby three years ago after my mother died. I needed something productive to do during the throes of grief and for some reason I decided to knit. Not sure how I picked knitting to occupy my mind, but I did. It is a relaxing, peaceful hobby and knitters are very kind people. Also, my mother did knitting, crocheting and needle point. So there’s probably an element of this that brings me thoughts of my mother.

My mother and I shared one main hobby – Harp playing. As in the musical instrument.  We began by taking lessons together and after we became somewhat proficient we began playing in public (along with our instructor) at churches and special events.  Unfortunately, I’ve had no desire to play my harp since my mother died, so I needed something productive to do to replace my Harp playing – enter learning to knit.

I began by taking classes because that’s the quickest way for me to learn. I started with a beginner’s knitting class at a local yarn shop to learn the basics of knitting. Another reason for attending classes was to learn to read knitting patterns. Knitters, just like harpists, are generally very nice people and are a pleasure to be around.

In the first knitting class we learned the basics of knitting and we made what was called a ‘sampler scarf.’ Sampler indicated each section had a different pattern. This was a great first project because it gave me the opportunity to work a number of different stitches within one pattern; plus it was challenging.

Since that first knitting class I’ve probably take at least 10 different knitting classes to learn to make scarves, shawls, hats, totes and sweaters. I’ve given away 75 percent of the projects I’ve knitted. However, I am learning to not give away my knitted projects to people who don’t have an appreciation for the labor involved in knitting these items. Plus, good yarn is very expensive!

A dear friend of mine pointed out that my hobbies are always activities that are good for the spirit. I had never thought about it that way, but she’s right. Harp playing has been proven to bring calm to both the player and the listeners. When a harpist plays the harp it actually rests against your shoulder and when you strum the strings the vibrations reverberate through your body. They have created vibration tables that are used for Harp therapy. A harp is attached to the table and the vibrations from the harp playing are felt by the person laying on the table. It’s an interesting concept. Harp playing has also been used in hospitals during surgeries and in patient’s rooms. It’s the actual harp music vibrations that can make the difference; it’s not simply listening to harp music, however that is very relaxing as well. Choice of music makes a difference as well. A Harp Therapist will always ask if there are any songs that the recipient does not want to hear. The wrong song can have the opposite effect and cause a person discomfort instead of healing and relaxation. (If you’re interested here’s a link for some information on Harp Therapy: http://www.bedsideharp.com

Anyway, back to the topic of knitting. Ultimately I would like to teach knitting classes and to also write knitting patterns. My goal is to write my first pattern during 2014 and to actually get it published. I’ll let you know when I’ve sold my first pattern.

If you’re wondering if I’ll ever play my harp again, the answer is yes. Lately I’m beginning to think about playing my harp instead of just periodically tuning it.

Hope you enjoyed my notes about knitting and harping. Stop back again soon.

 

Illegal Immigration Reform

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During the past few years four of my close friends have lost their jobs. Most of them lost their jobs due to downsizing and one due to a medical condition. All of them are college educated and had professional careers. In the past if they were ever unemployed it was through their choice; pregnancies, career/job change or grad school. They are now, through no choice of their own, called the long term unemployed.

They have all found ‘work’ now but none of them are working within their previous profession. They are all working jobs that we would have worked while in high school, college or in our early twenties. Only one is working a full-time job and that job pays her one-half of what she used to earn. For the most part, these are not jobs that enable them to support themselves or their families. One has a full-time job and the other three have part-time jobs. The full-timer works at the post office sorting mail. It’s a very physical job and fortunately she is in good physical shape, but the job pays her less than half the salary she earned as a manager at an insurance company. The other three friends work part-time jobs at grocery stores and day care centers. These three used to work as information technology (IT) developers and managers.

IT has been hit especially hard because a lot of companies prefer to outsource offshore or they hire people from companies that will supply contracted ‘H-1B’ IT personnel at a much lower (below market) rate.  (I work in IT and I see this trend of hiring everyone except Americans. If you’re not in the IT industry you would be amazed.)

The reported unemployment rate today is 7.2 percent. Of course this rate is a false number because it doesn’t include the people who have stopped looking or my friends who are underemployed. Depending on who you ask the unemployment rate is 14 percent. The unemployment rate in the Black community is ‘reported’ to be 13 percent but is probably at least 25 percent.  (It’s hard to find real numbers on Black unemployment. The only consistent numbers I can find on Black unemployment is on teen unemployment which is supposedly between 43 and 33 percent.)

I suppose you’re wondering by now how this relates to immigration. Well here it is. There’s a lot of talk about immigration reform that will include a path to US citizenship. My question is why include the reward of US citizenship? Any logical person would conclude that this legislation will make the unemployment rate among Americans increase. Why are our politicians aiming to make things worse for us than they are currently? I would prefer that our elected officials, whose salaries we pay, work on first improving the lives of tax paying Americans.

Allowing people citizenship who have entered the US illegally is probably not a good idea.  Also, I am concerned that if this legislation passes that will increase the likelihood of people coming to this country illegally.  With the US $17 trillion in debt we cannot afford to do this.  This report contains Information on ‘The Fiscal and Economic Impact of Immigration on the United States‘ here: http://www.cis.org/node/4573

My opinion is we should not allow people who have entered the US illegally citizenship. To establish a precedent of rewarding people who have broken our laws is completely ridiculous.

I am sure someone will ask ‘Should we send them all back?’ Well, I think it is similar to seat belt laws. Law enforcement, in most States, can’t stop you to simply determine whether or not you’re wearing a seat belt, however if they stop you for a different infraction and find you not wearing your seat belt you can be fined. The same should apply to people here illegally. We won’t come looking for you however, if you get caught here illegally you get sent back from whence you came.

Bottom line. I am first and foremost concerned about the welfare of US citizens. Allowing people citizenship who have broken the law is putting their concerns ahead of my under-employed friends and that is why I cannot support this immigration legislation.

My Review of CPAC 2013

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Senator Ted Cruz

Senator Ted Cruz

In March 2013 I attended my first Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, DC at the Gaylord National Hotel in National Harbor, MD. While this was my first CPAC event it was their 40th anniversary. Other than a political rally, this is the first time I’ve attended a political event of this size and magnitude. This event is huge!  There were hundreds of people at CPAC 2013.

In the weeks leading up to CPAC there was a lot of discussion on Twitter among Conservatives as to whether or not they would attend based on who should and would  be invited to speak. I didn’t engage in these discussions because I felt there was going to be enough variety in speakers and activities at the conference that I wasn’t swayed by who did and didn’t get invited.

I met a number of people at the conference who I have only known through interactions on Twitter. It was exciting to meet people in the flesh and have face-to-face discussions with them. It was surreal to see so many politicians in one place; on stage, in the hallways and up-close and personal to interview.

Because I registered as a micro ‘blogger’ I was granted media credentials and that was a nice advantage because it gave me access to people and places that I otherwise would not have had. CPAC set-up a media section that was equipped to allow you a space to write and there was also easy access to the floor to take pictures. Sitting in the media section was interesting because I could hear comments the print reporters were voicing in reaction to the speakers and panels. When there were major players speaking (Mitt Romney, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul) the media section would be overflowing with reporters. However, if the discussion was about Benghazi, the media section would be half empty. Having media credentials also garnered me an invite to Blog Bash! Blog Bash is an awards ceremony for bloggers. It was fun! Also while at Blog Bash I had the unexpected pleasure of meeting Senator Ted Cruz who dropped in to say a few words.

One of the more exciting things about CPAC is that I met a number of Black Conservatives. Being in the presence of mostly Conservatives was exhilarating and then to also meet Black Conservatives was a double pleasure. Half of the Black Conservatives I met at CPAC have been there before and the other half were first timers like me. The veteran Black CPACers told me that this was the most diverse year of attendance that they have ever seen. That was good news. Is there room for growth on the diversity front? Yes indeed but I believe the ACU is on the right track.

When I walked the hallways I was often approached by news people (who didn’t realize I was ‘media’) to be interviewed. Not sure if this was happening because I’m tall and noticeable or some other reason. Anyway, on any given day each press person would ask the SAME questions. It’s as if they had a MSM meeting each morning and decided on the questions to ask CPAC attendees. It was pitiful!  Sometimes I would answer their questions but often I had no comment because the questions seemed to be designed to illicit a stupid response.

What pleasantly surprised me was the large numbers of young people at CPAC. By young I mean people under the age of thirty. They were everywhere! I’ve read a few posts where some of the younger Conservatives (teens and early 20s) were not satisfied with the mix of speakers. I agree that there could have been more young speakers to represent the youth. However, there will always be a need for the old-timers because they are the main reason people buy tickets to attend CPAC. I’m sure the youth will clearly and loudly voice their opinion to the American Conservative Union.

CPAC definitely has something that all Conservatives would be interested in hearing, seeing or attending. Unfortunately, I only had time to participate in about thirty percent of what I wanted to see. There was simply too much to do! (This is not a complaint!)

Overall I think CPAC was a great event. I also think they are going in the right direction in terms of their outreach, speakers, panels and discussions. Will I attend again next year? Most definitely!  Hope to see you there!

More to come! Stay Tuned.

My First CPAC

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This is my first post to my newly created Blog – WorkinDayAndNight.wordpress.com. I decided to write about what is uppermost on my mind and that is attending CPAC2013 next week.

What is CPAC you ask? The Conservative Political Action Conference. It’s a gathering in Washington DC of Conservatives and Libertarians from around the country. Both Politicians and lay-people will be gathered together to discuss the future of Conservative thought and actions.  It should be exciting!

There are activities beginning at 8:30am through to midnight for three days – March 14 -16. There will be speeches, round-table discussions, dinners, gatherings, movies, award ceremonies, parties and much, much more. I’ll need a couple of days rest when I return home!

What I am most interested in hearing are the political Conservative plans for the future. This past election showed Conservatives need to give a lot of thought to the direction of the movement futuristically. Who will be involved in the movement, their roles and what will be the all important message.

I have also been granted ‘Media Credentials’ so I’ll have the opportunity to talk to and/or interview a lot of the CPAC participants. Because of the non-stop action at CPAC I will mostly post to Twitter while there (@sbroadie) and post the extensive write-ups to my blog when I return home.

Stay tuned.