Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Female Circumcision deemed Un-Islamic

I don't know about you, but I think this is fantastic news and tremendous progress.

CAIRO, Egypt: A conference of Muslim scholars from around the world declared female circumcision to be contrary to Islam and an attack on women, and called Thursday for those who practice it to be punished.
For those of you who are knew to the idea of "female circumcision," it involves cutting off a young woman's clitoris. Not making it less penis like, but fully detaching it from the surrounding genital area on a young woman.

But it doesn't always stop there. There are some villages who believe in sewing up a young woman's vagina entirely, leaving a small hole for urine to pass through. This often results in infections, not to mention intense pain. The only time a young woman is allowed to be "unsewn" is on her wedding night and then she typically has to endure the pain from her new husband who is the only one allowed to rip the skin back in order for his penis to enter her very sore vagina. Hardly do the woman undergo another "operation" to bring the skin back in a less painful manner.

There are long lasting effects from this "operation", one of them being life long pain and infections are common and come frequently.
The Muslim scholars said female circumcision was an aggression against women and should be stopped.

The scholars stressed that Islam forbid people from inflicting harm on others, explaining that those who circumcise their daughters were doing exactly that.
Because of the above, I am estactic with this decision and the urgance of countries to enforce their laws which forbid female genital mutilation. As they said, Islam gives no justification for it but does say individuals should not bring harm on another person and, of course, having a group of men performing these operations on women and demanding it be done is indeed inflicting harm on an entire group of people: women.

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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Wanna see where I live?

I finally took pictures although they show mostly a still messy house (which I have been told is not messy but by my standards, it's messy).

Things have been going okay inside the house, however, not so well with the neighbors that will hopefully be getting evicted sometime in the near (very very very near) future. Of course that would only mean they get to inflict their chaos on someone else but now the Department of Social Services is involved so they can only do but so much before they realize how it's affecting their kids. Hopefully.

Peanut's room is above, or half of it anyway. It's much tidier now since about 2 weekends ago I made him work on it with me because the clutter was driving me nuts. Now he keeps it tidy because he knows he'll have to suffer the wrath of an almost OCD mom and that is not something anyone wants to endure.

As you notice, Ms. Kitty is keeping him company; she sleeps with him always, no matter what. There are times I have checked on him and Ms. Kitty has been sleeping on his back. How odd for an old cat I think.

This is the hallway that leads to both mine and Peanut's room. There used to be boxes lining the wall but they have gone. Yay! Down those stairs is our front door which I don't use much since I park in back. I only use the front door to get our mail and to take the dog on walks when it's raining since the back turns into a swamp.

This is the larger section of my bedroom. Preventing the door from opening are printer and Party Lite candle holder boxes. If you could see all the way into the room on that side, you would take note of a large cedar chest holding a 27" TV with a PS2 and VCR on top. That's it for that wall. I like things balanced so too much clutter gets on my nerves and gives me bad vibes. Call it my version of Feng Shui if you will.

What I do love about this room is the alcove that proved perfect for a desk and computer. What you can't fully see is the awkward space at the bottom left hand corner. It's a weird space no wider than 1' but at least 2.5' long. What I finally decided to do is install shelving which would in turn hold my yarn. (Yes, I have that much yarn so hush.) The shelving would also come in handy for anyone else who would live here after me and, being the space saver I am, make excellent use of someone else's not so excellent idea. (The closets were added much later when the house was "updated" so, instead of extending the closet all the way, they left that awkward spot.)

My room is at the front of the house and faces east so it gets full sun most of the day. Having full sun is actually a good thing because it makes the room very bright, therefore beating out my worries of a dark and depressing apartment.

And this is my living room. The ceilings are actually much higher than I'm giving them credit, at least in this picture anyway. They aren't quite vaulted ceilings, but they are high enough to require a stool or standing on the bed in order to replace light bulbs. Though I will admit to needing a step ladder in order to reach the smoke alarm that wasn't operational when I moved in. It took me 2 months to realize it's not working because it either needs a new battery or it didn't have one in the first place.

Along the left side of the first picture, you catch a slight glimpse of my books. 3 bookcases full and, if I get more books anytime soon, I'll need a 4th.

And that's my first apartment folks! I do have a kitchen and bathroom though I didn't take pictures of them. Why I'm not sure. Perhaps I wanted you to feel sorry for me so you would send yarn, hehehe.


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Monday, November 27, 2006

Hello new socks!

Yes, this knitting thing has quickly devolved into an obsession. However, there are some of you who think this is cool therefore placing you in my good graces. : )

So, without further ado, I bring to you my first pair of socks in a deliciously easy self-patterning yarn. This will definitely not be my last especially since Peanut has requested his own very colorful version. (He loves rainbows, what's up with that?)

Yes, I took a picture of these Monday morning (11/20) while at work before I shipped them off to my friend for her birthday, which was Tuesday (11/21). Better late than never eh?

Yarn: Marks & Kattens Clown which is 45% bomull/cotton, 40% superwash ull and 15% nylon
Needles: size US2 DPN's
Pattern: I got it from the 2006 Knitting a Pattern-a-Day Calendar
Notes: I actually had a lot of fun knitting these and realized fairly early why socks are great on-the-go projects (so are hats, especially infant ones). I plan on knitting up a pair of flag socks for my dad as a xmas present, though I have to figure out how to connect the pattern so as not to leave any gaps, which I will do this weekend. Next I need to learn how to knit on 1 or 2 circular needles so I won't panic when I loose one of the four DPN's I tend to work with.

I think a lot of the fun came from knowing it was my bestest friend in the whole wide world who was going to be the proud recipient of said socks since she exclaimed to me one day in passing how there was nothing better than hand knit socks. That's all the inspiration I needed to tackle the seemingly daunting task of managing several DPN's at one time!


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Monday, November 13, 2006

Knitting and Politics, Who'd a Thunk?

I can even knit while watching election returns and not skip a beat. :)

Below is what I call a Triangle Scarf but really it's got something like varsity in the title. It is supposed to resemble the many flags and somethingphones that people scream into, but I like to refer to them simply as triangles as it makes the most sense.

Needles: US 7/4.5mm
Yarn: Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool
Pattern: Winning Pennants from the Spring 2006 Knitting Universe magazine
Notes: This knit up very easy and will make a great holiday present for someone, of who I'm not sure at this time.

Next is a rectangular shawl I knit for Peanut in colors he half picked out, half whatever'd, but loves the end product so much he often uses it as a "blanket" when sleeping.

The day after I finished weaving in the loose ends, he dragged it on the ground a bit. When I told him to pick it up, he responded, "But mom, we can just throw it in the washer." I said, "But you still need to take care of it if you want it to last." A big, "Ohhhhhh," could be heard. Needles: US 8/5mm
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino which can be machine washed cold on gentle and dried flat
Flying Geese and I got it from the back of my mom's Vogue Knitting book
Notes: I'm trying to stay away from washing it altogether, but Peanut is 7 so I'm not holding my breath. I needed a pattern that looked cool but left no holes (read: weaknesses) because I was worried Peanut would snag the openings on something. I got bored with this about halfway through, but forced myself to finish since fall/winter was quickly approaching.

I am currently working on the Lady Eleanor in Noro Silk Garden and my first pair of socks. I've got some gorgeous off-white Alpaca I'm dying to knit up using the Beaudelaire sock pattern and a friend of mine is going through a rough time so I'm going to knit her a prayer shawl my way (it's typically the Trinity Stitch which is K3, P3 but I find that boring) out of some gorgeous multi-hued Koigu I purchased online a few weeks ago.


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Friday, November 10, 2006

Friday Dog Blogging: "Meet Dooley!" edition

Meet the latest edition to our family: Droopey, Drooley, Dooley! She's a chocolate lab who is deaf so she spends a lot of time in her own world.

She follows me around everywhere and stays close, even when I'm just brushing my teeth. Dooley eventually lays down on the bathroom carpet during that sleepy time ritual but, as I found out yesterday, does not prefer to be closed in the bathroom while I take a shower, choosing instead to lounge on the sofa. She sleeps hard, snoring rather loudly, and startles awake so I try not to rouse her, prefering instead she wake on her own. (Which Peanut doesn't seem to understand. I've warned him one of these days she's going to bite him for it and I don't want to hear any complaining.)

When I took this picture and the other below, I literally stopped walking and turned around. That's all. She's been a great comfort to us and having a deaf dog has forced us to relate/communicate with her in other, more creative ways.

She got in a little tiff with yet another pit bull the other day; she now has a scratch on her nose to prove her stupidity. (Hey, she may be a skinny 70lbs, but she's no match for a pit. At all. Yet she has started something with every single one we've met thus far.)

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Thursday, November 09, 2006

It was you who wanted a mandate

And now you've got one. The Democrat's regained control of Congress then, because he knows he will now be investigated intensely, Rumsfeld stepped down from his position of High Secretary of Defense.

Sure Virginia and Montana barely won, but we did nonetheless. (I am so glad Virginia went half blue again, even if 58% who showed up to vote said Yes to a state ban on same-sex marriage.)

To top it off, Nancy Pelosi became the first woman Speaker of the House. Hah! Her title is Madame Speaker, isn't it great? (If you ever get a chance to watch Senate/House arguments as they are televised on CNN or CSPAN, they refer to each other as "gentleman" and "gentlewoman". It's kinda funny.)

As soon as I saw the announcement about Rumsfeld, I ran into my co-workers office and exclaimed rather excitedly yet somewhat restrained, "Did you see the news!?" She had of course so we shared in our jubilee and, honestly, I wanted to dance around singing, "Ding dong the wicked witch, the wicked witch, the wicked witch, ding dong the wicked witch is dead!"

I think we're going to start getting some answers now and hopefully have a real beginning to an end of the quagmire the Republican's have been calling the War on Terror.

This is starting to make up for the shitty results of the 2004 election.


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Monday, November 06, 2006

Foley as hypocrite

I loved (!) seeing this opinion column directly underneath the one about Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and in a primarily conservative newspaper no less.

Sure it was still buried for the most part, but it still makes an excellent point nonetheless.

On the day after former congressman Mark Foley entered an alcohol rehab program, his beleaguered staff received a package.

With reporters watching, they unpacked a framed copy of one of his most famous pieces of legislation--a bill requiring a crackdown on sexual predators, including those who exploit minors online.

And all the people said: "Hypocrite!"

I just love it when the "Holier than Thou" types are proven, um, notsomuch.


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Guess where I was Saturday?

At the Investiture ceremony for now Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and it was a fantastic experience indeed. She is the first woman to ever be elected to such a position in the 400years+ Anglicans have been around.

I spent the night at my parents house as I knew my mom and I would be leaving at 7am, meeting our assistant priest and another priest friend at the church in Fredericksburg, then driving to DC from there, which was about an hours drive. We reached the Cathedral at about 9:15 then stood in line (it was 25degrees outside) until they opened the doors at 10am. Then 3500 of us flocked inside to get a good seat and that would have been accomplished on our part had other people not been so tall and had there been plasma TV's on the wings as well as the length of the church.

While we sat and waiting for the ceremony to begin, an African Gospel Choir sang to us and wow was the music excellent and celebratory. It definitely got the place jumpin'. They stayed in the choral section for the entirety of the service as they got to be the choir for the church that day which I was extremely happy to learn and have as a part of the experience (Episcopal music, on the whole, can be rather dry and sedentary).

At 11am sharp the ceremony began with Native American drummers and smudgers, acolytes waving large streamers and a procession of Bishops in all their regalia. It gave me goose bumps, chills and a variety of other emotions that I wasn't expecting.

Her tenure is 10years and who knows, a woman being elected this time around might have been only the beginning of great changes and I'm so glad I got to be a part of this great history making event.

Below are some articles/links about Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and the varying opinions held about this momentous occasion:

Some images from the service.

An excerpt from her sermon.

Pat Robertson knocked off his rocker. Again.

Washington Post titles their article, "Leading an embattled church."

The Free-Lance Star titles the same article, "First woman leader of Episcopal Church a risk-taker."

The LA Times, always the one for liberal news and general acceptance, has a different spin, "First woman takes helm of Episcopal Church."

From CNN an interesting article yet they felt the need to put "She's for ordination of gays, but won't impose view" and "Some conservative dioceses have rejected her" as section headings.

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Thursday, November 02, 2006

It matters who you're married to I guess

So there has been an American Reserve Soldier taken hostage recently and hey, what better way to get it some attention than to make a headline that reads: "U.S. confirms soldier married an Iraqi."

When you read further, one quickly learns the soldier is an Iraqi-American reservist who works as a translator and secretly married an Iraqi woman 1 year ago.

Why who the kidnapped man is married to makes a difference is beyond me, but I hope the "negotiators" don't let it hinder their job of bargaining for his release since, after all, Ahmed Qusai al-Taayie is still an American citizen. And we the Republic are big on supporting our troops.

What should matter is if his new wife is at least over the age of 18, but the military tends to ignore those kind of issues.


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