“No” means no.

Blaming a woman for being raped is like blaming a man for being mugged.

  • Why were you out at night by yourself? Where was your spouse or parent?
  • You were asking for it, dressed like that, carrying your wallet in your back pocket.
  • You weren’t injured. You must not have fought very hard, so you must have wanted to be mugged.
  • You were drinking?! Well, no wonder.
  • You were too drunk to recall the details? Well, then, how do you know you didn’t +give+ the mugger your wallet?

Rape is assault. Rape is a crime. Anyone can be raped, just as anyone can be mugged.

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Delridge Skate Park Construction Contract: Re-bid so disqualified contractor is qualified?

Here is the text of an email I sent today in reaction the notice Matt Johnston posted about the construction contract for the Delridge Skate Park.

The email was sent to Kevin Stoops (kevin.stoops@seattle.gov).

Dear Mr. Stoops,

This email references the information summarized by Matt Johnston in this http://seattleskateparks.org/?p=1128 post.

I am a neighbor to the skate park site. I’m not a skater, nor do I have children who are. I’m writing you because I’m concerned that the selection of the construction contractor seems to be headed toward selecting an unsatisfactory construction contractor.

The Delridge neighborhood has been supportive, even active, in helping to move this park forward. Part of our concern has been that the park should be designed and built to be a long-lasting, excellent city feature so that skaters will take pride in it and help maintain it, and so it’s not an eyesore for the neighbors and other park users. The design is excellent and reflects the broadest spectrum of community consensus I believe you’ve had in any skate project. The public meetings were without rancor and the process has been smooth—at least with regard to the community.

Part of our willingness to support the project was based on the Parks Department assurance that the specifications for the construction contract would ^be written to solicit reasonable submissions from well-qualified contractors—not just cheap. That only contractors with extensive experience and good reputations building skate parks would be considered.

I was dismayed at first that a contractor with a poor reputation for quality work had been selected. Now that he has been disqualified, I am given to understand that instead of awarding it to the next best proposal, you are considering rewriting the RFQ with lesser standards.

If the specifications are changed in mid-stream to include the disqualified contract, then I’m dumbfounded. How is this different from simply awarding it to a contractor without going to bid? How is that fair to the other respondents? How would that satisfy the promise the Parks Department made to us to build the best skate park possible?

I urge you to reconsider. I’m sure you have only the best interest of the budget in mind, but a contract that seems cheap up front can end up costing far more in the long run. This will be a major city feature for many years. I will have to leave live across the street from it. Let’s make it something that we’re all proud of. I don’t want to regret encouraging my neighbors to support the park and process.

Regards,
Nancy Folsom
Member of the North Delridge Neighborhood Council

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When does uncluttering become sterilization?

The point is different for each of us where uncluttering becomes a end in itself. My goal is to unclutter my life so that I may better experience what is meaningful. It isn’t to remove all complications, messes, untidiness, or frustration. Most days I enjoy the Unclutterer blog because it points out changes I can make as I strive toward my goal. However, there are days when it turns me contrary and makes me want to save old newspapers and string, pile unread books on the living room floor, strew clothes around the house, and leave dirty dishes on the counter. Yesterday was one such day.

A reader wrote to complain about the newspaper clippings her mother sends her via mail. The reader feels the clippings are clutter and would like her mother to send links via email. She also worries about the environmental impact of the mailings. Balderdash. An envelope with clippings is no worse than a letter. Perhaps we should do away with physical mail altogether, but electronic media also has an environmental cost. The clippings are clutter only in the way the daughter deals with them, and that is in her control.

I don’t know either the reader or her mother. Perhaps her mother sends clippings about getting a breast enhancement surgery or the dangers of obesity, but I think that is not the case. Nor is there any hint the mother is a compulsive hoarder. Barring any psychological problems, and assuming the daughter doesn’t want to tell her mother outright to stop sending clippings, this seems a case where changing one’s outlook is the best solution.

My mom was once a big letter writer. She was the glue that held friendships together by making sure communication happened. She still has close friends from her childhood, high school, and college. Now, at 83, she is less able to write letters for a number of reasons. Now, instead, she clips articles (and my horoscope!) and sends them in the mail. It is her way of staying in touch, letting me know she’s thinking of me. The horoscopes say she hopes for success and happiness for me (she doesn’t send bad or boring ones). I don’t always read every one, nor do I save them. (Except the horoscopes. For some reason I find it charming and have a perfect place to save them where they’re out of the way.)

Aside from the emotional connection to family, it is still a grace and pleasure to receive mail that has tangibly traveled from here to there. So, keep sending the articles, Mom. I love you, too.

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Gearing up for the Tour de Fleece

Okay, so you think I’ve gone a little overboard with fiber? Nah, I’m a comparative light weight, so I’m amused I signed up for two Tour de Fleece teams. The Tour de Fleece is a venerable, two-year-old tradition. Maybe it’s three-years-old. Anyway. Old.

Basically spinners choose a personal goal and then spin every day during the Tour de France. Funny, it’s one of the few sports I actually like watching on TV. Bicycling, not spinning.

It’s a great way to discipline myself to spin ever day which should improve my yarn a lot.

Here’s is my first roving, a bit more than 1/2 finished:

Pencil Roving from Fiber Denn

Fiber Denn roving, Ashford top whorl drop spindle

My goal is to finish this roving, ply it, and the spin two miscellaneous samples of wool, and then, at the end some silk fiber. I’d like to be able to spin fingering weight by the end and ply-on-the-fly.

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Facebook and other social diseases…er…media

Random musing…

Facebook has stolen what little discipline I had for writing blog posts. The ability to post stream-of-consciousness notes to a group of friends is seductive. It undermines my resolve to use a blog to practice regular writing that’s a bit more formal than blathering with friends.

Interesting how FB insinuated itself into my life. I had an account for a couple of years that was unused. I’d made it when trying to get in touch with my nephew, who was changing his social identities at the slightest whim. I finally sold my soul when a critical mass of VL acquaintiances started using it, and now more RL friends are connecting up.

I’m still skeptical at what it…what social media… provides. It’s so fractured, scattered, and…well, flighty, that I’m not sure it’s benefits are as revolutionary as touted.

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Essay on the unappealing nature of plumbing

Plumbing is unlovely. It is unlovely in all aspects except, perhaps for the appearance of external feature such as an elegant turn of a faucet or bend of nozzle. “Nozzle.” Even the words of plumbing are ugly.

Plumbing is just ugly

Parts are surprising non-standard and change over time. Basic parts. Like the bits that go inside the wall. But how many choices do we need to turn water on and off and keep it from leaking? And plumbing parts are ugly. Clunky, badly textured, and awkward to manipulate. As are the tools.

Well, there goes that turkey baster

Not only do most plumbing jobs require nearly every basic tool, but they often need a kitchen utensil or two. Like a turkey baster or skewer.

Also awkward are the spaces the plumbing is in. Once one is wedged into the cabinet or next to the toilet to reach a nut, it may be impossible to gain enough leverage to actually turn the damned thing. Once wedged, it’s nearly guaranteed something vital will be out of reach: a tool, a locking nut that has to be held, one’s sanity.

After several hours, an unplanned wet and messy eruption or two, and at least two trips to the hardware store, one doesn’t even really have the satisfaction of a finished job, because if everything was done correctly? It will look exactly the same as before.

Finished

Yep. New filler valve and flapper. Oh, joy.

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Did Mrs. Gutenberg ever say “you just don’t understand?”

I wrote a bit more about communicating here. On a more personal note, whenever I think of this subject, I think of You Just Don’t Understand: Men and Women in Conversation by Deborah Tannen. I read this book toward the end of my marriage, and I found it insightful. Tannen doesn’t judge communication styles. She discusses how they are different and how differences lead to misunderstanding. Sadly, my husband refused to read it when I asked him, although I doubt it would have changed the outcome. Some time after we’d divorced he did borrow the book from a friend who’d borrowed it from me. He commented to her that, yes, indeed, it was very interesting and noted that the author wasn’t judgmental.

I offer this not to gloat but because just my asking him to read it and his refusing was itself a conversation straight out of the book. I won’t try to duplicate Tannen’s thesis, but, briefly, I was asking a favor, and my husband heard a command. Communication goes haywire when one person assumes the another understands meaning in one way and fails to credit that they may not.  People fail to understand for all sorts of reasons. They can be bored, hungry, or just a jerk. Or they may have a different set of assumptions about communication rules. Or they can understand but not agree. (And doesn’t that sting!)

Anyway, communication was frustrating there at the end of my marriage. For both of us. I didn’t know how frustrated I was until one day driving in rush hour traffic. When a car suddenly changed into my lane, I screamed at the top of my lungs “All you had to do was ASK! Would it have killed you to COMMUNICATE?” It probably wouldn’t really help if humans came with turn signals, would it?

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