Friday, April 30, 2010

Neutral Ground

Earlier this month, I went to DFW Fiber Fest. (Like a gun show, but with yarn.) One of the classes I took was on Dyeing Yarn and Roving, taught by my spinning instructor. We worked in the little convention center's kitchen- it's a water-heavy process. She instructed us to choose three colors from her collection of dyes and illustrated various ways that we could apply them to our fibers.

Those of us who were dyeing roving (unspun wool) had to consider how our combinations would look when spun into single strands and then plied together into yarn. Leef told us about a process that would, if we liked, prevent the 'barber pole' effect of two distinct colors twined together. You divide your fibers into two equal batches, as usual. You spin one as is, preserving your distinct colors. The second you comb, with carders, into one muted color called a 'neutral ground'. When you ply these together, they balance each other- the original colors retain their individuality, which is actually strengthened by being offset by a shade that combines them all.

I think, here in America, we have lost our 'neutral ground'. The commonality of our culture has been splintered into so many warring social, ethnic, racial, religious and even economic factions that there's not a lot holding us together. Now, this is not to say that there's ever been a time when things were perfect- we are a nation of fallen human beings- but we had a vision that actually worked. But the bases of our 'neutral ground'- the ideas of the Founding Fathers, a shared and common Judeo-Christian morality and a unique American consensus of who we were existed to ground our individualities and allow them to flourish.

Monday, April 26, 2010


Ture confession: how long has it been since I cleaned out the corner cabinet over the drainboard? Let's just say that I found an envelope containing five quarters, which had "Sarah's Lunch Money" written on the outside. And since Sarah wasn't doled out lunch money since the end of middle school, I'm dating this relic around 2003. Yikes.

The Yarbs went to Alabama for Easter to visit Jas's grandmother and his mom, who was staying there with her. Sweet Granny Richards was worried that her advanced age might scare the babies, but Sis was all "Oh, please- they hang out all the time with my grandmother and she's eighty-four!" The highlights of their trip were a family reunion where Bubs, once he got used to the crowd, was the Mayor of Everything, meetin' and greetin' every table and a trip to an uncle's farm. There O surprised everyone by being a fishing fool- though Bubs was the only one to actually catch anything.
We watched the dog for them, which meant that someone went over every four hours to visit with him and let him out for a while- he pines while they're gone and needs the company. And we're soft enough to giiive it to him.

My 'REPEAL" sign has faded in the wonderful rain we've been having, so I need to re-do it with proper white and black paint on a piece of plywood. I will put my handy husband to work on that.

Sarah's new play, a Steel Magnolias-esque estrogenfest about a college swim team, features a director she's never worked with who is a pleasant enough woman, but one of those people who has no unexpressed thoughts. None. Brain to tongue- no stops in between.
One of the cast members, who has worked with this gal, asked Ro if this was her first stage managing job. Ro shared her c.v. with her, who then asked: "Have you ever worked with X (the director)?"
"Hmmm- do you drink?"

We celebrated V's 60th birthday with a little bar-b-que and cake at home. He got a travel watch for his summer trip and Sis gave him a collage of bluebonnet pictures of the kids. For non-Texans: a bluebonnet photo is a pic of your kids or dog or whoever in a patch of the state flower.
Chi-chi foo-foo photos involve white and pale blue dress-up clothes, classic shots use denim and white. Bandanas may be involved.
Her particular clump of bluebonnets were somewhat damp, which was why she had a hard time getting a good shot of M.J. the Fussy.
'Seriously," she said,"do they make Xanax for babies? You should hear her at night when she can't find her pacifier in bed: 'BINK-EH?! BINK-EH?!? WHERE YOU, BINK-EH?!' We tried the holder attachment, but that just made her freak out: 'BINK-EH STUCK! ARGHHH!'"
"I know it's hard- but just think how proud you'll be of her in twenty years when she graduates Summa Cum Laude from college like her Fan Target."

The electrician came out to replace the entry hall light fixture. We now have a nice bronze and frosted glass chandelier instead of the gold curlique and crystal pendants one that graced us for the last quarter-century. At this rate, we'll have a whole new house, eventually. He also moved the switches for the driveway light and the garage light into the house by the back door- something else we've been thinking about for, oh, the last 25 years.

Speaking of quarter centuries- today is the 25th anniversary of my entry into the Church. Too big a topic to do justice to- let's just say that my gratitude outweighs any struggles and disappointments.

And speaking of the Church, locally; for about 10 years, I attended the local Traditional Indult Mass here. It was graciously hosted for nearly twenty years by the Discalced Carmelites in their chapel in Oak Cliff, though daily Masses were held in several different parishes during that time.
Now, a monastery chapel is not very big and even with two Sunday Masses, folks were crammed in like cordwood. And while I liked the Trad Mass very much, I hadn't any problem with the Mass of Paul VI, especially when it was not celebrated with silly hoo-hah. But back in the beleagured days before Benedict XVI declared that any priest at any time could celebrate the Traditional Mass, if you weren't in a constant state of indignation, you could feel out of place.
So, for a combination of reasons, I stopped going there for several years, except for the odd visit.

But now, after twenty years of prayer and sacrifice and obedience to the bishops, the community has been declared a parish and has bought a former Korean Baptist church, with a rectory, that they are in the process of renovating. And from December to April, their numbers have doubled. Which just proves what we always suspected: many more people would have come, had there just been room for them.
And after several visits and some concentrated prayer, I have decided to move my parish membership there. Being relieved of the constant fight for recognized status had cooled a lot of people off and released that energy for more positive pursuits, which I would like to be a part of.
So we shall see...