Now What?

I’m finding the stories about the new direction of the Republican party to be interesting. Not in a snarky, schadenfreude way way–though there’s a little of that, too–but the problem of what to do when you think you’re doing exactly the right thing and you believe that things are going your way only to wake up one morning and realize that you’ve been completely wrong is an interesting one, and scary.

And this isn’t an easy problem to solve. In the Washington Post, there’s a story of Beth Cox from Hendersonville (please ignore the fact that the reporter claims to be reporting from Central Tennessee, which is not a place in our universe).

“I will be okay,” she told one caller. “I just don’t think we will be okay.”

Here in the heart of Red America, Cox and many others spent last week grieving not only for themselves and their candidate but also for a country they now believe has gone wildly off track. The days after Barack Obama’s reelection gave birth to a saying in Central Tennessee: Once was a slip, but twice is a sign.

If, as Obama likes to say, the country has decided to “move forward,” it has also decided to move further away from the values and beliefs of a state where Romney won 60 percent of the vote, a county where he won 70 percent, and a town where he won nearly 80.

This is a good illustration of a problem the New York Times identified for the Republican Party. Southern Republicans don’t think the Republican party fucked up. They think their position is the right, moral, and just one, but that the country is abandoning it in a terrifying fashion.

From the Times piece:

Many Southern Republicans said that the lessons of Tuesday could be overlearned, and that the message was not the problem — it was the messengers, or at least the messaging.

“I don’t think for a second Republicans ought to change what we believe and what we stand for,” said Andy Taggart, a lawyer in Madison, Miss., and a former executive director of the state Republican Party. “I do think we could do a more effective job of communicating that.”

Nearly everyone admits that the party will have to broaden its demographic appeal. But for state-level politics across much of the region, there is no reason to be in a hurry. The racial and partisan divide is nearly absolute in the Deep South, with a Democratic Party that is almost entirely black and a Republican Party that is almost entirely white. That electoral math favors the Republicans — for now.

You know, there’s a way in which I sympathize with Taggart here. I mean, I feel like I get up every weekday and say things at Pith that seem ludicrous and contrary to reality to the majority of commenters (if not readers) and yet, I feel pretty certain that I am, for the most part, right. On the other hand, it’s kind of mind-boggling that someone thinks there’s some way to dress up “white men retain control of everything; Evangelical Christianity is the state religion; and everything we decide is immoral is against the law,” that would make everyone in the country happy to go along with it. On the other hand, when you have that kind of surety, when you can’t begin to imagine the validity of thinking about these things in other ways, it seems plausible that, if this message is attractive to you, there must be some way to say it that would be convincing to others.

And yet, the truth of the matter seems to be sinking in to some. Ron Ramsey, for instance, is talking about the necessity of roping Hispanics in to voting Republican. He thinks this can be solved by immigration reform of some sort. But we’ll see. The true test of whether Hispanics in Tennessee begin to vote Republican in large numbers will be if Republicans are willing to run Hispanic candidates.

That will be interesting to see.

Vitamin D: The Undeficiencying

Oh, I forgot to tell you that yesterday was the first day of my three-month-long weekly regimen. I tried to decide if I felt any different, if I could sense some general feeling of better-being, like I did when the metformin first started to work, but the truth is: no. I already did not have any sexy pirates in my life, so I could measure no lessening of pirates as my chances of becoming one decreased. I didn’t feel particularly in danger of all of my bones breaking and me being reduced to a pile of jello, so I don’t feel any less gelatinous today.

I would kind of like a banana, but I always would kind of like a banana, so I can’t tell if that’s a side effect or not.

The pills, however, are beautiful, these kind of translucent, soft diamonds. I was stunned. I wonder if pharmacists are ever tempted to bring home their beautiful gel containers and make them into jewelry. Because these pills would make gorgeous earrings.

In Non-Afghan Related Weekend News

I started a short story. It’s in epistle-style, which I am finding I really enjoy as a way of building tension. You’re really locked into the head of one person and literally discovering information only at the point that the person is reflecting upon it.

But now I’m to the point where something must happen–the climax of the piece–and I’m not sure how to convey the urgency of the situation from a letter to a person I fully intend is there at the climax.

And I swept my bedroom, because I couldn’t stand it, and I was feeling so proud of myself and also a little silly, because, surely, if I can sweep my bedroom, my knee is not so fucked as I keep saying, and I stepped out into the hall and my left ankle just went “blergh” which is the noise of it having a pain like a giant cramp. It wasn’t a twist or anything. It was, weirdly, almost like a charlie horse. It clenched up in all disconcerting ways, was sore for about fifteen minutes, and then was fine.

But I took it as a sign not to forget that the limping I do to make it easy on the right half of my body has consequences for the left side.

I feel like I am, in general, a lazy person. But this is asking me to be lazy beyond my tolerance. I fantasize about walking the dog. I take the long way home from places. Motherfuckers, I even swept my room!

How do people who are cooped up in hospitals for months, like how Patsy Cline was after her car accident, not go stir-crazy?

The Garden Patch Afghan

I have some thoughts. Could you do this? If you’re a relatively experienced crocheter, absolutely. Hell, it would suck if you were a beginner crocheter, but you would know a lot about crocheting and afghan construction by the end of it. I guess what I mean is that, if you were looking to level up big time in your crocheting skills, this would be the afghan for it. I feel like I learned some things and I pass a lot of time in the winters crocheting.

If you aren’t that good at crocheting yet, I would recommend following the color pattern of the afghan exactly and following the advice of the commenters about making your small squares with three links at the corners, not five.

So, the nice things about this afghan are as follows: Like any good granny square afghan, it’d be great for using up leftovers. This pattern especially lends itself to that, because it actually looks better the more colors you use. The square, once you learn it, is pretty easy to execute. It actually works up into a nice sized afghan. And, if you can keep everything straight, it works up pretty easily.

The drawbacks. Keeping everything straight is a bear–almost at the limit of my abilities, not just as a crocheter, but as a person. There’s a ton of squares to keep track of. When you’re putting the squares together, it’s a constant battle to make sure that you’re sewing blocks together how they should go and, once you are piecing the blocks together, making sure that they’re facing the directions the pattern calls for, since there’s quite a bit of flipping things around.

I have five long table runners draped over a chair and I am just about as nervous about getting those four seems done as I have been any other part of the process.

Plus, I think this is a hugely time consuming project. It just turned out that, with my bum knee, I’ve had a lot of time to consume lately. I’m going to have this done in a couple of months, but, under normal circumstances, I’d expect it to be a three, three-and-a-half month project. You’re not just going to whoop one of these up in a weekend for someone.

I’ve only made two other afghans for myself. One got felted in the wash–let’s not think about that–and one is sitting in my room in need of mending–which I guess I should do now that I’m thinking about it.

But this is going to be a beautiful addition to the house.

And then I can get started on one like it, but with more blues and greens, for Rachel. Hopefully, that will take more time.