Thursday, July 03, 2014

I'm Back!! And Happy to Be Here!

Wow, can't even remember when I last checked in. It was before the Zonta International Convention, that's for sure. I've been busy as heck. I was a delegate at the convention and had spent 5 days in Orlando, Florida.

Now. Lest you think I was sunning my days away, let me assure you: it was work. We had before us a proposal to massively, and I mean MASSIVELY revamp our by-laws. That got interesting, to say the least. Check out our club's Facebook page to see how it all shook out. And follow us! We want 100 followers at least. 

Zonta is an international organization dedicated to advancing the status of women. We work with the UN (we're a NGO - non-governmental organization), in particular with projects which help women in under-developed countries. Locally the club I belong to gives away a lot of money in terms of scholarships. They're not only academically based; the young women have to be involved in their community as well.

Anyway, one of our sessions went from 7:30 a.m. till about 7:30 p.m. This is what I did to help me stay focused.

Yep, the Fluro sock. And the bag is from Chicken Soup Designs. Check her work out because it's fantastic. I got a lot of compliments on the bag. 

And the sock!

Anyway, not much time to knit during the conference because we were so busy working. I did manage some pretty cool pictures, and I did manage to get some sunrises and sunsets. But all in all, we are tired and happy to be home.

The picture here is a sunset over a pavilion at the hotel. It was with the camera phone. And it was a lovely night. 
Orlando Sunset

We ended up trying to take walks at night just because we sat so much during the day. I'm sorry - having us get up and move every hour or so wasn't cutting it!

And the food. We ate at restaurants; the one draw-back is that no meals are provided, but in other ways, that's probably good. 

My issue was that they were always feeding us, and you do get into a "herd mentality" where if it's in front of you, you will invariably eat it. 

So it's back to Atkins or something for me, because it's wayyyyyyyy too easy to get out of control. Quickly.
Native costumes

So the convention was host to almost 1,200 women from all over the world. The first day, we have a "dress parade" where you can wear a native costume if you have one. This picture is a candid of some lovely women in various native outfits. It's a stirring ceremony and it makes you realize what you are doing when you're involved with a group that celebrates the advances women have made. 

For example, one big project we voted on was to continue to fund the Campaign to Eliminate Obstetric Fistula in Libya. Here's the deal. You've probably never heard of Obstetric Fistula. Well, that's because it's virtually unheard of here. 

The Waldorf-Astoria Hotel was originally the last hospital to do obstetric fistula repair. Just in case you think I'm kidding, go here.

Obstetric fistula is what happens to little girls, and I do mean little girls, who are sold to husbands. Sold at the age of ohhhh - 12 or so. And they get pregnant. And for the most part, they're undernourished as it is, and physically perhaps able to get pregnant, but also, physically stressed by the pregnancy.

And then top that off with no prenatal care, and a hospital that is maybe 8 hours away (if they're lucky) or several days away. And in labor, these girls walk to the hospital, since there's no ambulance. Well, you can imagine what that does to their bodies. If they survive, they have issues with eliminating waste. It just happens. They're shunned by their families, their husbands usually toss them out and they're societal outcasts.

We have been funding this project for many years - and this year, we voted almost unanimously to fund this for a little over $600,000. 

For this, we can be proud.


For THAT? Not so much... The "Store That Shall Not Be Named" has won a victory, thanks to a bunch of judges who have no ovaries. So let's put this in perspective.

Corporations are people, apparently.

Corporations have the right to speak. 

Corporations have religious beliefs.

Sooooooooooooooo - howz-about they pay taxes???? Like, well, you know --- PEOPLE.

The STSNBN does cover birth control. Just not the ones they think "cause abortions." Science. Seriously. Most freshmen in high school know that birth control pills PREVENT the egg from implanting. Oh, and they cover Viagra. Of course. 

Because apparently, women get pregnant in a vacuum. 

So The STSNBN gets to pick how their employees spend the money they pay them. I mean, let's think about this. Most times, you get a paycheck + benefits. The benefits are PART OF YOUR SALARY. So you get those in exchange for work. The employer gives them to you. So you get to decide what to do with those benefits. 

Except, not. 

And SCOTUS has said that this is a "very narrow" ruling. But already the nut-whacks are lining up. Now, they'll petition to be able to discriminate in hiring, because, you know, we can't hire "the gay" or "the brown" or whatever else they choose to discriminate on in regard to hiring. 

Because, you know, corporations have religious beliefs. And those religious beliefs must be imposed upon the rest of us. 

Because apparently, CORPORATE religious freedom is more important than the freedom from religion we have in this country. So INDIVIDUAL beliefs are not as important as CORPORATE religious beliefs. Says SCOTUS.

I'm disgusted. I haven't shopped at The STSNBN, and I won't. They've purchased their belief at the expense of a lot of customers. 

We're sliding fast down that slippery slope predicted by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. And it's quite unlikely that we'll be able to climb back to the nation that we were. 

You know - the one "of the people, for the people, and by the people." 

Where did that go?


So nothing else on the needles yet. I'm at the heel of the first Fluro sock, and it will be interesting because I cast on 72 stitches. We'll see how this fits. It'll be a slightly longer heel, so we can see how that works with my foot. 

I have a nice stash of sock yarn, so after the Fluro socks, I think I'll go after finishing the baby sweater; and then just rotate the socks in between projects. I should have a healthy stash of socks soon. 

Kid #2 is moving out soon. He'll get his afghan for Christmas, I suppose. I don't want that on my lap during the summer. 


The atrial ablation is scheduled for July 24. My pre-op tests are the week of the 14th. And we have a problem. I'm allergic to the IVP dye. As in "I stop breathing." And they need a CAT scan of my heart. Here's the scoop on this kind of allergy. Thing is, they can't test for it. 

They found it when I had a CT scan as a kid and stopped breathing. Not cool. So it's emblazoned across my MedicAlert bracelet and every medical record I talk about. But we're not sure how we're going to handle this. Seriously, I refuse to take this stuff. I can't tell you how it petrifies me to think that the reaction will happen. 

So I'm calling the doc on Monday to discuss this.

And... I had a bad week at the convention. I've gained a lot of weight, so this coming week, we're back on a strict program. I need to get this off, and keep it off. I did it before and I can do it again. And since I've been back on the bike, it should be easier this time. Anyway, we have an ally in the fight to be fit. 

So. To fix that, we have:

The Garden...

Topping 7 feet
Here it is. In all its glory. I just gave 2 bags of lettuce to my friends. I've eaten as much as I can, and we'll just keep eating it. We have a tiny cucumber, and a half-dozen tomatoes. 

We've re-done the radishes so we have another batch. Yum!!!

Here's a picture from this morning, with Hubby standing by for scale. 

The herbs are also going quite nicely. I have to weed the chives. 

So Friday, between knitting the sock, hitting the bike trail and weeding... I'll be keeping dogs calm and trying to have a decently calm 4th of July.

I might be able to get in a batch of basil jelly. Heaven knows we have a ton. Maybe a straight-up "herb" jelly because I have several that are ready to go. 

It depends on how humid it gets. I don't want to warm up the house like crazy, but I do need to use up the greens. We've developed a system of plucking them, and then Hubby constructs "bags" with our vacuum sealer - dividing a bag into quarters so that we can just cut one off and use it as we need to.

The flowers are fading a bit, but we knew that would happen. No more hummingbirds to speak of, and that's kind of disappointing. We got a new pump for the one bird bath, and put the other 2 in the bird bath that's more in the sun. We'll see if we need to move them around a bit. 
Happy 4th of July!

Random Picture...

And speaking of the 4th of July. Here's Tippi. Luckily, we got this before dusk, because the morons are shooting off their rockets.

I wish they'd consider others. Like, what if there was a vet on our block with PTSD?? The count is thus: Raisa is oblivious. Tippi is upside down and sort of passed out by my chair as I type this. When the boom-booms go off, she surfaces enough to growl like she wants to rip someone's liver out. 

If it wouldn't ruin her career as a therapy dog? I might just help her do that!

Quinn is huddled under Hubby's desk. It's gonna be a long night. 

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