I haven’t given up

I just wanted you to know —

whoever YOU are —

that I haven’t given up.

That I’m just stuck.

Riding the crazy train.

Early Morning Irrational Anger

Early Morning Irrational Anger.

That’s what I’m going to call it. That’s what it is. Not being much of a “morning person”, I get sucked into a lot. But today dun did took the cake.

I just don’t think I’m going to listen to Hudson and Scotty B’s Bizarro Morning Show anymore. And here’s why:

Listen, I don’t know a lot about radio shows, or how they are produced, or what goes into making one, or how hosts are (or aren’t) held accountable for what is said on air, so all of this is just my own opinion, said for my benefit (otherwise, I’ll just be bottled up and pissy all day, and that is not a pretty picture) and hopefully for your entertainment (my friends tell me I’m funny – I’m certain they’re just being nice). If anything that follows pisses you off, go write your own blog.

That being said, I think that before an individual of a certain authority (and let’s face it, even radio hosts have some sway) deigns to present something to the general public as a bonafide – or even as a supposed – fact, there ought to be a little thought, a little research, or hell, failing any of that, a little bit of human compassion to deployed to modulate it. Call me a softy, but I don’t think you should just get up there on your soapbox and start barking at passer-by, preaching as if it were the Gospel, oblivious (or uncaring) of who you might injure with your message.

Besides, I think these guys have cornered that market.
Besides, I think these guys have cornered that market.

So, I hop into the car at seven this morning and I don’t quite catch the beginning of what they’re talking about, but I quickly get the gist: the iPhone 6 has just been officially announced and people are all in a tizzy. Hudson and Scotty B are actually discussing people’s tendency to go so over-the-top-apeshit over these new devices that they will willingly drive themselves into debt in order to possess one, and how ridiculous the “buy-more-get-more” mentality has become in our culture. I’m nodding along as I drive, because I agree – I don’t really see the point in having the new “IT” device as soon as it is debuted. Truth be known, I swore off the iPhone for years and years thinking it an over-priced, over-blown piece of fluff technology. Now that I finally have one, I like it quite a lot, though I expect that I’m going to keep it for at least another five years, considering how much I paid for it.

That aside, the more the radio hosts talked, it came around to the subject of welfare or food stamp abuse – they started to discuss those folks who show up to the welfare office in a Mercedes or whom you see in the line at the grocery store using food stamps, dressed to the nines, hair done, nails manicured, with the newest iPhone or Android device, and how it just ain’t right that these people, who are living on tax payer dollars mind you, possess any kind of luxury. They even had a caller, formerly from Virginia, whose wife had worked in a state office passing out the checks – and don’t know it? She saw at least ten or fifteen of these blatant welfare abusers everyday!

And that was when the (internal) fight started.

You see, that whole mentality just pisses me off. Who the fuck are you to judge these people? I said to my radio. You don’t know the first thing about who they are, where they have come from, or what they have lived through.

Tell me how your long-distance observations have justified the extent of your knowledge regarding what turn of event put them in a position to be in the welfare office collecting benefits? You don’t know if they were recently working for a very profitable and successful business that suddenly crashed and had to close its doors, and they lost their six-figure job. Now they, along with their five kids, are living in Grandma’s basement trying to make ends meet on just that one welfare check. Not only might they be adjusting to living on a quarter of the income, but consider this: if you lost your livelihood, how willing are you to immediately abandon your very way of life in that time of insecurity? Few people are going to go ahead and give up on the ways of life and the things that they did before immediately following such a disruption, and crippling, lose-your-home-your-savings-your-will-to-live debt can come upon a person very quickly.

Frankly, if I lost my job tomorrow, I would not sell my nice, reliable car nor my fancy smart phone in order to make ends meet. I would be using that car and that phone every day to try and land another job to support my family. I would also (since I’m a sign language professional) spend the money to get or perform on myself a damn good manicure, thank you very much. It’s called a professional persona, and that is how you differentiate yourself from hundreds of other qualified applicants in an overly saturated job market. I would then do my hair, put on whatever I had in my closet that looked the best, go down to the welfare office, pick up my check, and go back to job hunting, you stuck up, judgmental turd!

The presumption by laypersons that individuals who receive benefits are somehow taking advantage of the system is not only cynical, it is downright diabolical. Rather than making flash judgments and immediately putting each other down, shouldn’t we be empowering one another and lifting each other up? Here’s a thought: instead of, “Oh, I bet she uses her welfare money to buy booze and cigarettes…” change it up to a more compassionate, “Hm, I bet she came on real hard times real fast to end up here. She must be trying hard to get back.” A little bit of compassion will go a long way, and trust me, it will save your soul.

Because, honestly, how dare you? I don’t mean to say that there aren’t people that take advantage of the system – certainly, there are. But you know whose job it is to weed those folks out? The case workers and government employees that accept and approve applications for assistance. Period. End of discussion. It is not up to you or me or Joe Blow in the supermarket to pass judgment on another human being that we have never even spoken a passing word to. If you tend to look at a person who receives benefits and assume that they have an ulterior motive or are misusing tax payer money in someway, that says a great deal more about you than it does about the people in the system.

For me, this issue hits close to home. My family doesn’t receive any kind of assistance – though it would be helpful, I won’t lie. My husband and I work four jobs just to keep up with the cost of living in the state of Hawaii. I wasn’t raised on welfare either, but my four older siblings were (that’s them in the featured photo, I’m the shiny forehead with fringe). Our mother was only able to go back to school and get her nursing license because of the welfare program in the state of California – a program that, at the time, many people wanted to have limited to just one year, when the nursing program took two to complete. I probably would have had a very different life if things had turned out differently, and for that I’m grateful.

Anyway, I think I’ll start listening to a different morning radio station, to be perfectly honest. Hudson and Scotty B are cool, and most of the time, they really made me laugh. In this instance, they said that they weren’t trying to be “preachy”. But if that was the case, guys, (I hate to say it, but): Epic. Fail.

Next time on “Irrational Anger” see “Evening News Irrational Anger” when we talk about the “Homeless Problem” and how increasing numbers of metropolitan areas try to solve the “Homeless Problem” by making the condition of being homeless illegal.

Life is crazy.

Shit has been so blindingly real recently that I’ve been swept away on a current of this-must-be-done-now, this-needed-to-get-done-yesterday, and oh-shit-the-baby-has-poop-crawling-up-her-back. In addition to bouncing between tasks like a gormless rabbit with ADHD, my car was towed on Saturday morning, ultimately robbing me of the precious time I had set aside to sit down and write for my poor, neglected blog.

Poor, poor blog. I’m sowwy.

This guy was especially disappointed.
This guy was especially disappointed.

So, what have I been doing to keep myself so exorbitantly busy, aside from overtime, being a momma, and the usual run around? I’m SO GLAD YOU ASKED!

Well, I found this cross-stitch pattern online while searching for more Totoro-themed things to add to the munchkin’s nursery:

Yeah, he's cute, but does he look a little... I don't know... stoned, to you?
Yeah, he’s cute, but does he look a little… I don’t know… stoned, to you?

Now, I know how to cross-stitch, and I’m actually pretty good at it, if I do say-so myself. The problem, however, is that for cross-stitch to be a useful craft, if kind of requires that you also be handy with a sewing machine, too, or else you just end up with a lot of framed cross-stitched patterns on your walls and that’s not a decor theme that I’m willing to submit to.

No bueno.
Good for some, but it ain’t my style.

So I looked at the pattern, and the general dimensions and I thought, “Well, I crochet. The pattern is in squares. Granny squares!” I opened up an Excel sheet and came up with this:

D'AWWW
D’AWWW

Next came planning the structure and build of the afghan. This pattern hadn’t been intended for crochet, so I needed to know how many squares in each color, how large the squares would measure, how large the afghan would measure once assembled, etc. etc. I really need to go back and make up with all of my various teachers from primary school through high school because this stuff was MATH.

So. Much. Math.
So. Much. Math.

In the end, I figured out that motif squares, measuring about 2 inches square, will give me a blanket of about 85″x97.5″ for a grand total of 1,155 squares, not including some decorative notions like stars in the night sky and flowers and leaves on the grass by Totoro’s feet. I’m super-stoked about this blanket, but it’s definitely the most ambitious thing I have ever attempted. Prayers and words of encouragement would be welcome.

By the by, if any of you would like to use this pattern, you are most welcome to do so. I’ll include the specifics in another post once it’s all done, but below is the pattern for the motif squares. Contact me if you want the Excel spreadsheet of the Totoro image.

Since I will likely continue to be on hiatus for long stretches of time this month, I invite you to come find me on Instagram, showing you #HawaiiIRL, or on Twitter and tumblr, where I share daily words of (mostly other people’s) wisdom, art, and advice. And fandom. Oooh, do I get into the fandoms…

Just keepin' it real, y'all.
Just keepin’ it real, y’all.

Crochet pattern for itty-bitty granny squares, otherwise known by the less-adorable name “motif” squares.

As far as I’m aware, these can be done with any size hook. I am currently working with a size H hook, which makes a square that is about 2 inches wide and across.

Round one: make a magic ring, chain two, work 11 dc into magic ring.

Round two: 1 dc into 1st stitch, 5 dc in 2nd stitch to make the first corner. Make 1 dc in the next two stitches, followed by 5 dc in the next stitch (2nd corner). Repeat twice more for corners 3 and 4.

Slip stitch into the top of the beginning of the chains to tie off.

Ta-da!
Ta-da!