Friday, February 26, 2016

Time to make some changes

I've decided I need to move. I have lived in rural town for almost 3 yrs & it has not been a good move for my mental health/depression issues. So it's time to do something to make myself happier. And that means moving back to a location closer to my friends & family.

The commute will suck, since it will double my drive time. But I think it will be worth it to have my social life back again. It will be worth it to not feel so isolated & alone.

When I moved to my current location, I had a car payment that ate up a big chunk of money. I paid my car off last year, so I don't have that expense anymore & that means I can afford more for rent. So that frees me to move.

I found a place I'm interested in. There aren't any open units right now, but it sounds like there will be in the future. And that will give me time to pack, etc.

Having a plan to move makes me feel less trapped by my life. It makes me feel like there's a light at the end of the tunnel. And eventually I.hope to get a job near the metro, too. But until then, I can at least live somewhere that makes me happy.

Also I finished my couch! Here's the final result:

Monday, February 15, 2016

The biggest project I've ever done!

So I have had my couch for about 10 yrs & it looks like it. The cats have torn the sides & arms up, so the foam is coming out. I want a new couch, but I don't have the money & I don't want the cats to rip up a new one. So, I decided I should just re-upholster the couch. I've never re-upholstered a single thing in my whole life, so of course why not start with a super big piece of furniture & the only piece in my living room?? Sounds reasonable!!

To the internet I went, in order to find out what it takes to redo a couch. New fabric. Some stuffing to redo the spots that the cats have torn out. Thread. Ability to sew. Staple gun. Really the only thing I didn't have was a staple gun.

But whoa, the amount of fabric needed for the project was huge & upholstery fabric isn't cheap. I could just buy a new couch for the cost of the fabric. After a little more internet searching, I found out that canvas painter's drop cloths are a cheap way to get a lot of fabric! Who knew?? Canvas isn't the softest but for a couch I figured it would be fine.

However, the canvas comes in beige & I'd decided I wanted a robin's egg blue couch. Which meant I needed to dye the drop cloths. This is not a small task. I used 12 bottles of Rit dye & 3 packages of powdered dye. I had to go to 4 different stores to get enough dye. Then I had to dye all the fabric in my bathtub since I needed a container big enough to hold 36 gallons of water. And then I had to make sure the fabric was constantly in motion, so it didn't get streaks or dye unevenly. It was a weird night, me with a big ass wooden dowel, standing over a bathtub full of water that is so dark it's almost black, stirring away for like 45 minutes. But, it was worth it! The color came out exactly the way I wanted it to & looked great!

I next tore off the fabric from the couch cushions & seats & used the old fabric as the pattern for the new fabric. I took the brown piping from the old fabric & recycled it on the new fabric bc I thought the blue & brown would go great together. So I did the cushions & the seats.

I don't want the cats to tear up the new fabric, so I did some additional research & found out that they sell vinyl sheeting that you can attach to your couch so the cats can't scratch the fabric. Good idea, except it looks really obvious that you have plastic on your couch. I love my cats, but I'm not ready to clearly announce that I'm a crazy cat lady to everyone that comes into my apt. I mean, I'd like to date someone again, so... I had to come up with an idea.

Which became taking the vinyl sheeting, sewing it to a contrasting piece of fabric on the back, & then spraying the front with a clear coat that takes away some of the shine. Those pieces then get attached w/ brass furniture tacks like you see in fancy leather furniture. That way, the vinyl sheeting looks more like it actually belongs on the couch, rather than something I added on.

I'm almost done with the couch. But I need a staple gun to complete the project. And I don't want to spend money to buy one so I can use it for one project.  So, I asked Guy if I could borrow one from him. (Yes, Guy & I still talk. Story for another day.) I just wanted to borrow the gun, so I offered to pick it up & bring it back if he could loan me one. He asked why I needed one, I told him my plan, & he offered to come help me. I told him he didn't have to, but he said he wanted to & he'd bring 2 staple guns so we could get it done really quick. So next Saturday, he's coming over to help me finish it up.

I've got the cushions & seats done & the vinyl pieces are ready to be attached once it's time. I'm super excited about the way it's looking so far & really excited about how it will look when it's all done. It's going to look so awesome! And so much more affordable than buying a new couch.

Pictures of the project so far are included. I'll post a picture of the final project when it's all done!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Scalia was a strange character

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died yesterday. He's been an outspoken force on the Court for as long as I've been interested in the law (late high school/early college) and most everyone who is somehow in the legal world has an opinion of him. Many people not in the legal world do, too.

Scalia was an interesting character in the Court. Oftentimes, I found myself frustrated & disgusted with things he said or wrote. He was a phenomenal writer, even when I wanted to scream bc I disagreed with him so strongly. But I was often at odds with his position on issues & I never counted him among my favorite justices (yes, I have favorites...RBG, I'm looking at you). His social views were appalling to me & I found much of his opinions lacking in any sense of empathy or feeling.

That being said, I cannot deny that some of the most important decisions in the realm of criminal law have been from Scalia. Before Scalia, the Confrontation Clause was essentially meaningless. The Confrontation Clause is the part of the Constitution that says if you're accused of a crime, you have the right to face your accusers in court & make them answer questions. In the past, it was permissible for hearsay statements to come in as evidence against a defendant if the judge determined the statements were reliable. No live testimony needed, just a submission of the statements. Scalia wrote the Crawford decision, which ended that practice. If someone is accusing you, you have the right to make them do so under oath & subject to cross-exam. The importance of Crawford can't be overstated. It changed the way trials & courts operated in a major way.

Scalia is also the reason that an actual scientist/lab person now has to come into court & testify about their results, rather than just submitting a report & calling it good.

Scalia was also a staunch supporter of the 4th Amendment & had a hearty distrust of the State as an actor bc the Founders had that same distrust. He often reminded the judiciary that judges are part of the State & that's why a jury is so important, bc they are NOT agents of the government. He wrote a brilliant dissent in Maryland v. King about the collection of DNA samples from people arrested for crimes but not convicted, in which he skewered the majority for trusting that the government would keep its word & limit the use of such DNA.

Scalia was a justice that I often felt was lacking in compassion & mercy, that was too hard-lined for my taste, and whose social views I absolutely hated. But I cannot completely vilify the man bc he also was a champion of the 4th Amendment & the Confrontation Clause, which are extremely significant legal areas.

I hope that whoever replaces him upholds the good things Scalia brought to the Court while also doing better in areas that Scalia was lacking.