frogging-knitting

The Emotional Value of Frogging

Frogging, in the knitting world, means to completely unravel a piece of knitted work.

emotional-value-of-frogging
See the little frog? Yup. That means it’s been frogged.

Remember my beautiful Rolling Rock sweater I completed a few months ago? It no longer exists in sweater form. It has been frogged.

“Jane!” you exclaim, “That’s terrible! Why? After all your hard work!”

You’d be right there. It was a lot of hard work. But it turned out to be simply too fitted. And I figure, if I’m going to be making clothes for myself, I want them to fit correctly. And so, I frogged it.

How to Frog

I always find inspiration on YouTube from Stacey Perry of VeryPink Knits. Her video about reusing yarn is super helpful.

I would just make one note: I did NOT take the ball off the ball winder once I had finished unraveling. I kept it on there and wound the yarn around the swift, and put it back into hank form from there. It just seemed a little easier than dealing with the cake of yarn rolling all over the place.

How I Got to This Point

You might think that this must be the world’s most frustrating thing to do. After spending hours on a project, having to rip it out and start over again must be maddening.

You wouldn’t be wrong.

In my case, I wasn’t so frustrated, because I did see it coming. I tried on my sweater periodically, and I knew it was more fitted than I had wanted. But I kept telling myself I would be sure to like it when it was done.

But when I had finally finished it, I had to be completely honest.

I was never going to wear this sweater.

It was going to be one of those things that sat in my closet and I never put on because it clung a bit too unforgivingly to my curves. *Sigh* I simply had to frog it.

Where is the Emotional Value in Frogging?

Frogging does have its value. It is a rather cathartic exercise. It’s fun to see how quickly you can unravel something that took HOURS to make (did I say “fun”? I guess I’m masochistic).

But of more value still is the thought process that leads to frogging as a conclusion.

We want everything we do to be successful and beautiful, but that’s not always going to happen. Some things simply don’t turn out well.

And that is okay!

It’s okay to fail at things, and recognize that we have failed. Especially when failure is so relatively unimportant, as in the case of an ill-fitting sweater.

Frogging allows us to acknowledge our failure, embrace it, learn from it, and try again (or move on).

Try, Try Again

I plan to make this sweater again. An indication that something was wrong should have been that I had an entire skein of yarn leftover. Seeing as I had an over abundance, I will make the sweater again in a larger size.

No one likes to have to admit that we need a larger size, but hey. That’s life. It’s hard not to slowly expand as the years go by and the baby weight never totally comes off (SOMEONE PLEASE TELL ME I’M NOT ALONE ON THIS).

At the very least, I will have a beautiful, nicely fitting sweater that will flatter my new figure.

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moving-on-after-presidential-election

Moving On

Before the November 8th US presidential election, I wrote an article about why it’s important to vote, and why I had voted for Hillary Clinton.

As you have probably heard, Donald Trump won the election.

Where do I go from here?

Nowhere, really.

Living in Europe, Trump’s victory has very little impact on my day to day life. Other than hearing about it incessantly in social media and on the radio, that is.

It’s interesting to hear the media issuing mea culpa after mea culpa, and asking themselves how they were so completely blindsided by Trump’s election.

The answer is pretty easy: the media is biased. We are all biased. We live in our echo chambers and hear what we want to hear. We’ve become so polarized that we can’t stand to hear opinions that differ from ours.

Trump said sexist, racist, and horrifying things. And we liberals wanted to make those the main campaign issues. The cultural issues, the media is calling them.

But for a huge part of the country, the economy was their main issue. This article from the Harvard Business Review is an extremely informative and interesting read.

I find it hard to separate the man from his despicable behavior, ideas and remarks, but a lot of Americans didn’t.

Americans wanted change, but did we get it?

So we voted for change. (Actually, most of us voted for Hillary, but don’t get me started on the Electoral College). But will we get it?

Trump has said he will drain the swamp. I’m pretty sure Obama wanted to do that, too. So far, Trump hasn’t gotten off to a roaring start. He’s hired lobbyists (and fired some), and he’s scaled back on some of his campaign promises already.

So it remains to be seen if the Trump presidency will be the big change factor lots of Americans hoped it would be. I am not optimistic.

Unless, of course, we mean change for the worse for large portions of the American population.

How can we make it better?

With Thanksgiving coming up in just one week, many of us may be dreading the family get-together. Maybe you’re the only cousin who voted for Trump. Or you voted for Hillary and the rest of your family went for Trump.

Either way, it’s going to be awkward.

The only way to make it better is to listen to each other. And I mean, really listen.

That means, listen to what a person is saying without thinking of your comeback, put-down or counter-argument. Just listen. If you can, let that person talk your ear off, then take some time to digest what you’ve heard. Formulate questions on things you haven’t understood, and come back and ask them respectfully and non-combatively. Listen. And then listen some more.

Hopefully, if we listen enough, we may understand. And others may pay us the respect of listening to us in return.

Another way to make it better…

If you see something, say something.

I don’t mean suspicious activity in an airport or a public place. I mean, if you see lawmakers moving to enact unethical laws, then write. Write to your congressperson. Make noise.

Don’t let us wake up in a few years and wonder how on earth we got to where we are. Let’s fight Trump’s (and anyone’s, for that matter) bigoted policies.

I have faith that our system and our institutions will not allow Trump to become what others have predicted he will. But that faith counts on the attention, the engagement, and the willingness to speak up of the American people.

Let’s pay attention. Let’s stay engaged.

Let’s keep listening.

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Election 2016: Get Out and Vote!

November 8th isn’t really Election 2016 Day; it’s the Election Deadline.

Something like 37 States have allowed early voting, and NPR analysts estimate that up to one third of votes will be cast before November 8th.

It also feels like the final submission date for all the crazy that has been this election cycle. I listen to NPR out of Boston (WGBH) for my US news, and it seems like the insanity has been building up to a fever pitch. As a result, I’m convinced that Election 2016 Fatigue Syndrome is a thing.

Fighting Election 2016 Fatigue Syndrome

Here is my handy-dandy guide to fighting Election 2016 Fatigue Syndrome. It’s super simple. There’s just one step:

vote

If you can’t stand the tension, and you’re sick of the coverage, get it all over with early and vote now.

If you’re registered to vote, and you can vote early, do it.

If you’re registered to vote, but you can’t vote early, get out and do it on Tuesday November 8th.

If you can’t stand the sight of Hillary or Donald, and you’re sick to death of their bickering, get out and vote to shut at least one of them up.

If you can’t bring yourself to vote for either one of the major party candidates, vote anyway. Vote for someone else. Write someone in if you can. But vote.

Vote.

VOTE.

VOTE!!!!

 

You No Vote? You No Kvetch.

Voting is a privilege and a responsibility.

We are privileged to be able to vote. It is our responsibility to get off our lazy butts and do it. There are people elsewhere in the world quite literally dying for the right to vote. Don’t take it for granted.

It doesn’t matter if you don’t like the major party candidates. You still have a responsibility to vote, either along party lines, or according to your conscience.

If you don’t get out and vote, you have no right to complain about who wins. I don’t buy the, “I didn’t vote out of protest” line. That’s (pardon me) bull cookies. Protest by voting. Rebel by voting.

Just vote.

Why Is It So Important to Vote in 2016?

It’s always important to vote. Not just for president, but midterm elections are important, too.

It seems particularly important in 2016, because one of the major party candidates is an immature, bat-shit crazy, racist, sexist, unhinged, Twitter-trigger happy, wall-building, conspiracy-theorist, repugnant demagogue.

We need to keep this man out of the White House, and prevent hate and fear from taking over our country.

For a great anti-Trump propaganda project, check out @trumplemonde on Instagram, and download the DIY kit for printing up posters and stickers here on DropBox.

Why #ImWithHer

I’ve never been a big Hillary Clinton fan. I don’t like the dynastic trend of recent presidencies (Bush Sr. & Bush Jr., now potentially Mr. Clinton & Mrs. Clinton). I don’t like her economic neoliberal ideas. Historically, she has been much friendlier to big businesses than to working Americans. I lean much more towards Bernie Sanders’ socialistic ideimwithheras. Having grown up and lived most of my life in Europe, it’s only natural.

But Hillary Clinton has experience. She knows her stuff. On social issues, she reflects my values. She has worked successfully across the aisle. I don’t know if she’ll be able to break the deadlock that is polarized American politics, but I firmly believe she has a better shot than any other candidate.

Gary Johnson is, by his own admission, not ready to be president. Admittedly I don’t know much about Jill Stein, except that she is an anti-vaccine physician. That gives me enough pause right there to keep me from voting for her.

I Voted. Please Do the Same.

I sent in my Massachusetts absentee ballot weeks ago. Please join me and vote, too.

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