Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Building a Sewing Table

I was inspired by the documentary “We the Tiny House People.”
After seeing the creative things people did with very little space, I realize I have plenty of space. I just need to utilize it better. Below is the before picture, but not entirely. This is after I tossed out some things, bought rolling carts, and stuffed the rest of the sewing projects into the rolling carts.

I went off to hardware land (Home Depot and Lowes elbow to elbow). I was in search of something to use as a table top. At Lowes I found “laminated project panels.” I went off to look for table legs when I spied pine 1x2s—light bulb. I’d make the legs out of 1x2s. I jotted notes and skipped home to draw up plans.

I’m using scrap wood from the garage to try out how it will go together. I’m quite pleased that I’ve cleared off my drafting table. And I’m finding that the roll of brown paper which I’ve been using for sewing patterns is just the right size. I just unroll more when I need it.

Then off to hardware land again to buy the materials. Sorry no pictures. While there I realized I might as well make two tables, so I bought 14 8’ lengths of pine 1x2s, 2 6’ lengths, and two project panels. While headed out I noticed a young man laying out pieces of wood. He was designing a pirate’s treasure chest to use with kids at his church, such fun.

I’m checking the height of the table for sewing. I’ve got the table top on the rolling chest and propped up with 2x4s. You can’t see the 2x4s, because I’ve clamped the lip of the table in place. I’m making sure I’ve got enough clearance underneath.
Back to the drawing board.

I changed the dimensions and so had to redraw the layout. Notice the paper weights. These are cans from Michael’s crafts filled with my rock collection. When I bought the cans I didn’t know they would make such excellent paper weights.
I had to stop here because high winds were forecast. I had to get the apples off my tree before the wind did the job for me. I also need to process blueberries and raspberries before mold beat me to it.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Antigone and The Hunger Games

My niece and nephew have been acting in plays put on by TBA Theater. As a good aunt I buy tickets and attend the shows, usually wonderful productions which showcase the talents of young actors and actresses. On Friday watched Antigone, a TBA show which my young relatives weren't in. They sat next to me. Wow! What a powerful show. I was particularly impressed by the portrayal of Creon, the leader of Thebes. Antigone was originally written by Euripides, a contemporary of Socrates, back in the fifth century BC. That play has been mostly lost but Sophocles wrote another version also in the fifth century BC. The Antigone put on by TBA was based on a play written by Jean Anouilh in the 1940s.

Earlier this week on Tuesday I watched the movie The Hunger Games, also an excellent show. As I stood in line to get in every teenager I spoke with had already seen the movie and was going back to watch it again. Teenagers love this movie.

It occurred to me that The Hunger Games and Antigone have nearly the same plots. They both occur in the aftermath of a rebellion. To put down the rebellion and intimidate the populace, civil authorities decide to stage an intimidating spectacle. In Antigone, this spectacle is a man's body left to rot out in the town square. In The Hunger Games it's the televised sacrifice of young people from outlying provinces. Along comes the heroine who in both dramas lives with her sister after the death of their father. The heroine, for personal reasons, defies the edict with the full expectation that she will die for doing so. In the interest of maintaining public order, civil authorities can't or won't relent. Antigone is condemned to being buried alive. Katniss, heroine of The Hunger Games, is condemned to . . .well you'll have to see the movie. Then Antigone takes her own life and the man who loves her takes his own life as well. In the play by Euripides , this double suicide is miraculously averted, making the ending of both dramas nearly the same. Both dramas are tragedies with lots of dead bodies.

I view the ancient Greeks as the originators of speculative fiction, what is sometimes called social science fiction, or dystopian science fiction or, as Margaret Atwood labels it, ustopia. Those who write such fiction follow in the footsteps of Plato in designing an imaginary society and using it to examine the relationship between the state and the individual, but most of all to tell a good story. Sir Thomas Moore continued this tradition in 1516 with his Utopia. And now here is Collins with The Hunger Games once again getting young people thinking, asking questions, and talking just as Socrates did back in the fifth century BC.  With the TBA production of Antigone, we have young people not engaging in Socratic thinking, but doing powerful interpretations of Greek tragedy. I am delighted that young people are interested in such dramas and in such discourse. It gives me much hope for the millennial generation and for the future.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Neighborhood Enclaves

During my morning walk, I strolled into a cul-de-sac of duplex houses. Following a footpath worn in the grass of a backyard, I discovered a break in a fence and a trailer court which I'd never explored before. The trailer court has a chain link fence all the way around the perimeter. This fence certainly hadn't kept me out. Judging from the path worn in the grass, I suspect that the break is used primarily by trailer court residents walking to the grocery store.

Outside the fence were both the duplexes and a row of those breeder-box snout houses, the kind with small yards, gray T1-11 siding and, in the front, a garage--not all that different from my house actually.

I was thinking that the fence was an example of how people of different socio-economic strata isolate themselves in their own neighborhood enclaves, snout-house residents and duplex residents, not associating with trailer-court residents. Then I noticed the barbwire atop the fence angled outward. So, it seems the trailer court residents were keeping out the snout-house and duplex riff-raff. In most places the fence crossed the snout-house backyards keeping out only the children who might be playing there. Odd. Then it must be the owner of the trailer court who put up this barbwire-topped fence in some mistaken idea of safety. I think management of the trailer court should remove the barbwire. It's offensive, doesn’t actually do anything, and might have some value as scrap. Let's hear it for recycling.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

submission and Dominance

I've been told that inequality in sexual relationship is unhealthy and even evil. Despite this I still find submission appealing, and situations of dominance and submission seem to appear in much of my fiction. Judging from literature, imagery, and cinema, many people, maybe even most people find submission to be erotic. It's not rational preference but an emotional and physical reaction to the idea of submission, pain, and suffering. These images and ideas include the passion and crucifixion of Christ.

I find I'm attracted to submission but not to sadism. For me, the ability to relieve pain and suffering is far more powerful emotionally than the ability to cause pain. I was married for seven years to a man I dearly loved and who died of a painful hereditary disorder. He spent the last three years of his life in constant unbearable pain. I allowed him to take the dominant role in sexual play and this delighted me. I could give him for a brief time the ability to control pain, something which medical personnel and religious practitioners couldn't do as much as they tried.
For me, my love for my husband was, and still is, a powerful emotional cocktail made of faith, sorrow, compassion, pain, and eroticism. It still brings tears to my eyes. I cry nearly every time I receive the holy Eucharist or follow the Stations of the Cross.

For me willing sacrifice in order to relieve suffering is sacramental. It is also erotic and so is the biblical teaching to submit to one's spouse. I'm not sure where my attitude puts me in relationship to feminism and to traditional Christianity. It may put me as blasphemous to both.