Thursday, April 28, 2005

Hot legs

Did anyone else notice that the woman in the Your Inner European is Irish picture has hot muscular legs? It must be all the step-dancing. I just love the line that forms between the two muscles on the outside of a woman's thigh. Any woman. Did anyone else notice that, or is it just me? Just curious...

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Knitting Extravaganza!

Last night was a festival of indulgence. I held my own personal Mardi Gras at one of my LYS (Wolcott and Co.) last night. I bought and bought and bought, with no regard for my minimal bank account balance and my responsibilites to feed and clothe one small boy.

I needed some Cascasde 220 for the two Nantasket Baskets, as well as some new Addis to make the project truly dreamy. And boy do I love the sock yarn that LocalEgg is knitting up right now, so I had to get some of that, on the off chance that I'd never see it again. It'll be knit into a pair of socks for a secret, much-deserved gift (shh!). And then I found the perfect yarn for my 2005/06 winter hat and mitten set. I've been on a quest for a couple years to find yarn that will match this incredible scarf that I bought in Ireland that gets wrapped around my neck in October and doesn't come off until April. I found a great alpaca/wool yarn called Reynolds Alpaca Regal in color #50 (a beautiful blue/purple), and it was on sale. How could I resist?

So I putting down the Branching Out scarf temporarily to focus all knitting attention on the two Mother's Day gifts that need to arrive at the US Postal Service no later than next Thursday. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Progress & New Loves

I have officially made progress on Branching Out. Pictures will be posted once I get off my lazy ass and take them. Branching Out is my first lacy project. My humbling little bitch. The pride of my week. My commuting companion. She's a tough lady. And after 22 repeats, I'm still making mistakes here and there. As the Yarn Harlot says, just when you start to get confident, the goddesses of knitting reach out and smack some sense into you. Well, she didn't say that exactly, but something along those lines.

Speaking of ... I bought At Knit's End this weekend, and I'm laughing my way through it. She's a funny woman, that Harlot. I shared her most recent hilarious diatribe with my Mom and wife. Mom claimed that she could've written it. And she's right. I was a pain in the ass as a teenager. And Yes, I am still always late. Always. Everyone knows it. They talk about it. And yes, there is a victims association (aka my entire clan).

In other knitting news, after weeks of agonizing over Mother's Day, I am newly in love with this Nantasket Basket pattern. I plan to make one for Mom and one for Gram within the next few days and get them in the mail in time for a Mother's Day arrival. Think I have enough time? eeekkk. I'd better run (not walk) to my LYS today and procure my wool. This is also an excuse to enhance my collection of Addis.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Civil Unions in CT

Bittersweet it is, but Connecticut is about to accept gay couples declarations of love and commitment in the form of civil unions. They didn't fully support marriage, but passed civil unions as a compromise measure. I am of two minds on this issue. I'm psyched that CT adopted civil unions, but I'm pissed that they rejected marriage. Isn't it nice to have second-class status? Well ... sometimes. Yes... No... I mean, yes!... no!... ?? Should I drive down to CT on October 1st and add Connecticut to the list of 'states we can live in'? Or should I await a decision in the GLAD court case, and hold out for full marriage rights? I envision the certificate from our Vermont civil union hanging on the living room wall next to the Massachusetts marriage license next to the Connecticut civil union certificate, and it makes me happy to be a part of history. But ... second-class status is still uncomfortable. Why should I have to frame each additional legal state and decide where I can live based on marriage rights, when all heteros can easily move from place to place with no legal impact? It would be nice to know that my basic civil rights are consistent across this fine nation.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Oh geez...I've been tagged for the Book Meme

My favorite blogger, Pinko Feminist Hellcat, deserves a swift kick in the arse for tagging me (with all due love, of course).

You're stuck inside Fahrenheit 451. Which book do you want to be?
Like the Singing Coming Off the Drums by Sonia Sanchez. Her poems are so musical, lyrical and beautiful when spoken, that I would happily memorize them for the benefit of future generations.

Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?
LOTS.
Scully on the X-Files.
Jordan on Crossing Jordan.
Nan King in Tipping the Velvet.
CJ on the West Wing.
Queen Maeve of Irish mythology.
Most of the characters in The L Word (except Jenny).
I'm such a dyke.

The last book you bought is?
Elmo's Big Lift-and-Look Book for my son. He LOVES it, and since it kept him busy for long stretches of a recent 6-hour car ride, I love it too.

What are you currently reading?
I just finished Work, by Louisa May Alcott. I have always poo-poohed her writing because I only think of Little Women. But she wrote Work for an adult audience and it's actually a very politically charged book. I'm so glad I gave her a chance. After all, my wife said it was a life-changing book for her, so how could I deny that pitch? She was right, as usual.

Five books you would take to a deserted island:
In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez
Stitch and Bitch by Debbie Stoller
a boxed set of Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling
Hallucinating Foucault by Patricia Duncker
a boxed set of The Bean Trees, Homeland, Animal Dreams and Pigs in Heaven by Barbara Kingsolver

Who are you going to pass this stick to (3 persons) and why?
I am not sure who is actually reading my blog, but if you're reading, I would like to hear from:
The Writer Who Never Writes
MamaCate
PippiKneeSocks

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

I'm Irish

Oh, I am so happy about this! Ireland is in my blood and my blog. tee-hee.





Your Inner European is Irish!









Sprited and boisterous!

You drink everyone under the table.





Thanks to Pinko Feminist Hellcat for the fun link.

Branching Out


Branching Out
Originally uploaded by The Feminist Mafia.
Yes, yes. I am branching out into the foreign land of lacy knits. After spending some time watching videos on the ever-fabulous Knitting Help.com, I was able to figure out all the crazy stitches that this pattern requires. And of course I've made a few mistakes. What handknit project is ever truly perfect? If it were perfect, it would lose it's charm. Overall, this is a great pattern. Very well written. Easy to follow. The pattern repeat is every 10 rows, so you see the results pretty quickly. And it really keeps you on your toes. This is not TV knitting, and I catch my breath every time my son comes within 10 feet of my little WIP. I'm using some random pale pink stash yarn. I have no idea what it is, but I have 3 balls of it in my house. It's knitting up fairly well, but if I make another for my Mom (shhh! don't tell her), I would go shopping for the perfect yarn.

Finished Gray Socks


Finished Gray Socks
Originally uploaded by The Feminist Mafia.
Here is the promised picture of my super sexy legs. Wow-zah!

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Gray Socks & Branching Out

I am officially done with my boring gray knee-high socks. I'll post a picture within a couple days. Both socks have holes at the heels 'cuz I'm wicked bad at short rows. The cast off on one sock is a little tight and requires carefully wiggling said sock over my not-big calf muscles. The cast off on the other sock is fabulously loose for pulling it over my calf, but slides down while walking. So ... does anyone have a good suggestion for my next pair? Please don't say that I should frog and reknit these. I've been so bored by them that there's no way in hell that I'm putting them back on the needles. They shall remain a flawed project, like virtually everything else I knit. But for my next pair, which could be started soon, I would like to hear some suggestions.

In other news, today I will officially start the Branching Out scarf from the new Spring 05 Knitty. Perhaps I'm a boring knitter, but overall, I was not impressed with this Knitty. In every other issue, I downloaded at least 3 or 4 patterns that I loved. But in this issue, well ... there were a lot of weird patterns. Or perhaps I'm not a spring/summer knitter. Maybe I'm an old-school heavy wool cable trekking through the snow piles of New England girl. But I do love the Branching Out scarf. And perhaps once the temperature is regularly above 50 in Boston, I'll be ready for those slinky little tanks.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

TV cameras and the Stitch & Bitch

With knitting wooing young people far and wide, our illustrious news media has taken notice. Robin Hamilton, from the local UPN 38 Morning Show is taping a segment at the MIT Stitch and Bitch group tomorrow. Not surprisingly, most people in the group have no interest in being on camera, myself included. Even though I helped the producer connect with the group, I'm not terribly excited about the story. I imagine it will go something like this:

Young women everywhere are picking up needles and proving that knitting isn't just for Gramma. We are here today with the MIT Stitch and Bitch, a group of MIT students and emloyees who gather to share knitting secrets and chat about their bosses. With clicking noises all around, these young women rely on each other for social support, swapping stories of inconsiderate husbands and testy toddlers. We are joined by Little Missy, who says she's been knitting for just over a year.

Little Missy, can you tell us who taught you to knit?

-Well, my boyfriend, actually.-

Fascinating. What is it about knitting that interests you?

-I'm a creative person, which I express in my knitting. And I am very proud of my ability to create a beautiful piece of wearable art from yarn and a couple of sticks.-

Hmmm, yes. That does sound delightful. I'd bet that your boyfriend loves getting handmade sweaters from you.

-Actually, he usually makes sweaters for me.-

Ok...are the MIT Stitch and Bitch girls working on a double-helix scarf?

-Ummm, no. Actually most people are knitting socks right now.-

Well, thank you Little Missy for sharing your experience with us. Good luck with your double-helix scarf.


I guess we'll see how it turns out. Stay tuned...

Sad

This makes me cry.

Holy Shit !?!


050102
Originally uploaded by The Feminist Mafia.
In travelling through links upon links upon links, happily sharing life with other humans-behind-computers, I came across the website for the Westboro Baptist Church. And wow - wow - wow. I am shocked at the hate-mongering going on there. Check out this flyer!

It's hard to shock me, but this entire website has really opened my eyes to the scary people that exist outside of my (thankfully) insulated little world.

Viva la Massachusetts!

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Finally...the Times obit for Andrea Dworkin

April 12, 2005

Andrea Dworkin, Writer and Crusading Feminist, Dies
By MARGALIT FOX

Andrea Dworkin, the feminist writer and antipornography campaigner whose work was a lightning rod for the debate on pornography and censorship that raged through the United States in the 1980's, died on Saturday at her home in Washington. She was 58.

Ms. Dworkin died in her sleep, said her husband, John Stoltenberg. The cause of death had not been determined last night, but Mr. Stoltenberg said that Ms. Dworkin had suffered from several chronic illnesses in recent years.

With her unruly dark curls and denim overalls, Ms. Dworkin was for decades a visible presence on the lecture circuit, at antipornography rallies and "take back the night" marches. In speeches and in her many books, she returned vocally, passionately and seldom without controversy to the subjects of sex, sexuality and violence against women, themes that to her were inextricably and painfully linked.

Among her best-known books are "Pornography: Men Possessing Women" (Putnam/Perigee, 1981), "Intercourse" (Free Press, 1987) and "Heartbreak: The Political Memoir of a Feminist Militant" (Basic Books, 2002).

Reviewing "Heartbreak" in The New York Times Book Review, Laura Miller wrote: "Dworkin is one of the few remaining specimens of pure countercultural Romanticism: fierce, melodramatic and utterly convinced that all truth can be found in her own roiling, untempered emotions."

With her first book, "Woman Hating" (Dutton, 1974), Ms. Dworkin drew the lines in what she saw as a pitched battle against men's historical domination of women. She opposed all forms of pornography, which she believed incited violence against women. She was also critical of consensual sex between women and men, which she saw as an act of everyday subjugation in which women were accomplices.

"One of the differences between marriage and prostitution is that in marriage you only have to make a deal with one man," Ms. Dworkin wrote in "Letters From a War Zone" (Dutton, 1989). Marriage, she added, "is a legal license to rape."

Andrea Rita Dworkin was born on Sept. 26, 1946, in Camden, N.J., and earned a bachelor's degree in literature from Bennington College in 1968. She later moved to Europe, where she married a Dutch political radical. The marriage was abusive, Ms. Dworkin said later, and she was divorced after three years.

"I was a battered wife," she told The New York Times in 1985, "and pornography entered into it. Both of us read it, and it helped give me the wrong idea of what a woman was supposed to be for a man."

To Ms. Dworkin, it did not matter that some critics condemned her sweeping antipornography stance as a form of censorship. With the feminist lawyer Catharine A. MacKinnon, she wrote a municipal ordinance, briefly adopted by several cities in the 1980's, that defined pornography as a form of sex discrimination. (In 1986, the United States Supreme Court affirmed a lower court's ruling overturning the ordinance in Indianapolis.)

If Ms. Dworkin's work was unabashedly polemical, her life was full of nuanced contradictions. She publicly identified herself as a lesbian, speaking movingly about "this love of women" as "the soil in which my life is rooted," and her work was a touchstone for many gay men and women. But in 1998, she married Mr. Stoltenberg, her companion of many years. A writer, editor and a founder of Men Against Pornography who also identifies himself as gay, Mr. Stoltenberg is her only immediate survivor.

Ms. Dworkin's other books include "Scapegoat: The Jews, Israel and Women's Liberation" (Free Press, 2000), "Right-Wing Women" (Coward, McCann & Geoghegan, 1983) and, with Ms. MacKinnon, "Pornography and Civil Rights: A New Day for Women's Equality" (Organizing Against Pornography, 1988). Ms. Dworkin also wrote two novels, "Mercy" (Four Walls Eight Windows, 1991), about serial rape, and "Ice and Fire" (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1987), about prostitution.

Though some critics dismissed her work as unreasoned diatribe, Ms. Dworkin remained an outspoken champion of the causes in which she believed.

"I am not afraid of confrontation or risk," she wrote in "Letters From a War Zone," "also not of arrogance or error."

Monday, April 11, 2005

Peace for Andrea Dworkin

Brought to my attention by Pinko Feminist Hellcat, I am sad to report the passing of one of the most feared feminists of our time. Although I disagree with her stance on pornography, her passing is significant and certainly deserves the attention of our news media. The New York Times has printed nothing. The Guardian is the first to report her death (about an hour ago). I wrote to the New York Times today, and complained about their lack of coverage. No matter how you feel about Andrea Dworkin, I would encourage you to let the Times know that her life deserves a proper obituary. Write to Scott H. Heekin-Canedy, President, General Manager
of the Times at this email address: president@nytimes.com. And most of all, with all the physical and emotional hell she's been through, Andrea Dworkin deserves a peaceful hereafter. If there's a God out there, may She reserve the highest place of honor for those fearless feminists that paved the way for us younger folks. My wish for Andrea Dworkin - a heaven filled with scantily clad friends, daily massages, pedicures, miles of gardens, piles of books, happiness, freedom, and justice.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Moment of Joy

Nina,
If you agree to do this with me, I could be happy again. Wee!
Nasty readers ... get your minds out of my pants.

Woe

Woe is my knitting life right now. I have no projects on the sticks, little ambition to begin another one, and not a creative bone in my body. For the last couple weeks I've been skipping my weekly Stitch & Bitch groups for fear of being ejected from the KnittingNation. Grump. Grr. Hrumpf.

Life has been hard, fraught with emotional struggles and draining every ounce of my being. I know this sounds uber-dramatic, but without regaling the blogging universe with tales of torment, suffice it to say that I'm struggling. Of course, my nearly 2 year old son is picking up on Mommy's sadness, and acting out accordingly. Day care reported hitting and biting a couple days ago. I know this is partly due to the fact that he's nearly 2 years old, but he's never done it before. He's usually skipping and jumping and dancing around day care with all his little friends. The teachers love him. They think he's mellow and joyous. So ... what has happened to my little man? He's turned into a sulky toddler. After hearing about the hitting and biting, I spent an entire night with him on my lap -- snuggling, kissing, talking love talk, reading books, assuring, and holding him. In the midst of this tension, I want my little guy to feel stable and loved and protected.

Friday, April 01, 2005

For the love of laughter

I have returned from jury duty with great respect for the court system and the people who run it. We issued a just and fair verdict and I met some great people. Perhaps I'll write more about it someday.

Life has been very very tough this week. But thankfully I've been meeting sweet people all over the place. Feeling so vulnerable in my skin has forced me to engage in conversations with strangers on public transportation. Usually I'm stuck in my music and my book and my knitting. I usually loath these meaningless conversations with my fellow commuters. But this week -- this week of holy-holy-hellyist-holy-hell -- I've been chatting with people. It passes the time. I encounter new ideas and new perspectives. Some people make me laugh. This is a very valuable skill right now. The ability to make me laugh. Laughter. Lightheartedness. Distraction. Release.

A man previously referred to as Mr. Flirt made me laugh this morning. His wife's birthday was last night. He bought her a 22" rolly suitcase, and had her wedding ring refurbished. He spotted my rolly bag and made conversation. Before you know it, we were swapping stories of airports, baggage claim, and the crowded overhead compartments. Moments later, three other commuters joined in. It was a party. And I laughed. A lot. It was divine.