November 8, 2016

. . . . was a truly awful day.

One of my favorite people told me that each person in her three-person family voted for a different candidate.  Her husband voted for the Human Stain.  She excused him by telling me that he did so because  he was hoping for a better future for small businesses, and that while it is true the Human Stain denigrated various segments of the population, he personally was voting for the economy and not for anything else the Human Stain may represent.

Jamelle Bouie, political reporter at Slate:  There is No Such Thing as a Good Trump Voter.”  His point:

Whether Trump’s election reveals an “inherent malice” in his voters is irrelevant.  What is relevant are the practical outcomes of a Trump presidency.  Trump campaigned on state repression of disfavored minorities . . . .  If you voted for Trump, you voted for this, regardless of what you believe about the groups in question.  That you have black friends or Latino colleagues, that you think yourself to be tolerant and decent, doesn’t change the fact that you voted for racist policy that may affect, change, or harm their lives.  And on that score, your frustration at being labeled a racist doesn’t justify or mitigate the moral weight of your political choice . . . .  To insist Trump’s backers are good people is to treat their inner lives with more weight than the actual lives on the line under a Trump administration.  At best, it’s myopic and solipsistic.  At worst, it’s morally grotesque.

Well, I guess I don’t have anything else to add to this.  Thank you, Mr. Bouie, for your superbly intelligent and sharp articulation of how I feel about those 59 million people.

A Maker

Just recently, a couple of weeks in fact, I became aware of the term “maker” as applied to crafters/artisans/diyers . . . .  I like it.  I am a maker of things useful and otherwise, interesting and otherwise, beautiful and otherwise.  I make.

Cavy On
A Floor Mat for the Guinea Pigs!

Pattern:  The letters are from the Moda “Spell it with Fabric” blog hop, reduced to 3/4 size.

Fabric:  The blue background fabrics are from Amy Butler’s “Daisy Chain” collection; other fabrics are stash scraps.

The Cavies (aka guinea pigs Tula and Chia) live in the basement in the summer; their house is at the bottom of the staircase.  I made this floor quilt for the landing in front of the cage, partly for The College Kid’s amusement, but mostly because I have never made fabric letters.  The backing fabrics are Joel Dewberry home decor weight scraps, the batting is also made up of scraps from other projects, and the binding is made from one of Mom’s nightgowns.  This was a fun project, and the letters were addictive to make.  I also sewed a whole set of letters at full size for one of Emily Dickinson’s pithy poems . . . .  that one is a “someday” quilt.

Oars

From Anne of Green Gables (the Kevin Sullivan production of 1985):

Marilla to Matthew, while discussing Anne’s invitation to the Christmas ball: “Remember, in the beginning, I told you not to put your oar in.”

I should have remembered about the oars — and the fact that oars can propel one forward, or backward:

Woman_in_a_rowing_boat_(2780164539)
Image courtesy of National Media Museum, UK

I thought I would have a chat with the Bride-of-the-Century about being kinder to her mother.  This is the mother who went into debt to give her daughter the Wedding of the Century and then could not understand why said daughter ignored her on the wedding day.  This is also the same mother who routinely got the cold shoulder for inexplicable reasons, along with the “dumb as shit” eye-roll treatment when she and BOC got into (usually pointless) arguments.  Anyway, I didn’t get very far.  BOC went running to Mom to complain that I was “freaking her out” by wanting to have this talk, and furthermore, this future conversation was ruining her upcoming spring vacation.  Mom of Diva told me in no uncertain terms that really, I had no business trying to have a conversation with her daughter, and that she would never do this sort of thing with my daughter without clearing it with me first.  BOC is TWENTY-EIGHT years old this year, gainfully employed, a wife, a mother (unfortunately to budding Diva #2, but that’s another post). Who knew I could “freak out” both mother and daughter?   I genuinely thought I had been in BOC’s life long enough — watched her grow up and all that — that I could offer some minor words of wisdom.  I thought I could help.

I could not, of course.

BOC’s life is one of drama, and where there is none, she manufactures it.  We are all expected to be spectators, and I should have known all that based on her wedding production.  It did not occur to me that Mom was not only willing, but was in fact an absolutely essential participant.  I used to rag on BOC’s Dad for his seeming unwillingness to rein her in; I now realize that it truly was more than his life was worth to even attempt to interfere in the incredibly entwined mother-daughter relationship.  It is a dysfunctional relationship, but one that both need in their lives.

I regret all the times I told The College Kid that she had to babysit Diva #2, had to go have dinner, had to participate in some event or other . . . .  not because those things were not important, but because I should have let her to manage her own relationships.  I hope she would have done all those things anyway because she loves her godmother, but nevertheless I should have trusted her judgment, young as she was.

Now I sit in the back row, or perhaps I am actually up in the gods, but I am at least much more removed than I used to be.  The view from here is just fine, and of course too far to toss an oar.

Lunar New Year

IMG_3595

New Year Monkeys!  The year 4600-something, but who’s counting?

Yes, they are wearing orange and blue instead of red ribbons, but that’s because those ribbons came off a potted rosemary plant that someone gave The College Student.   And the Broncos did win Superbowl 50 yesterday . . . .  Not that the pigs cared one way or the other.

Knitting for the Winter: Miss Marple

The television Miss Marple is my style icon; in particular, I love Geraldine McEwan’s version.  Her Miss Marple is just slightly off-kilter, with that bit of a mad gleam in her eyes.  And of course I love her goofy hats, and her genteel but well-worn 1930s clothes.  This knitted coat is one of my favorites, and I found the free pattern for it  here, courtesy of Bex at Subversive Femme.

Miss Marple.2

Pattern:  Swagger Coat by Corticelli, mid-1930s

Yarn:  Worsted weight merino/mohair blend yarn from Beaverslide Dry Goods, in the color chokecherry (I think).  I recyled this yarn from a pullover I knitted about 10 years ago.

Modifications:  This is actually the second version; I got through the entire first coat and realized I couldn’t live with the fit through the shoulders.  So …  I reknitted the whole thing with the following modifications:  I changed the 7-1 pattern repeat to 6-1 so the vertical “stripes” became thinner, which also compensated for the fatter yarn I used; I did some shaping to give the coat a slight A-line; I don’t like garter bands, so I used double seed stitch instead;  I also did not like the way the patch pockets looked, so I placed them lower and just knitted them on in the same direction as the body pattern.

Thoughts:  This was a very simple knit, and as such, the directions were very simple.  I just know that if this sweater were designed today, the directions would take up five pages instead of one and be excruciatingly detailed for no good reason, and the coat would have a stupid name attached to it.   There were errors in the original pattern, which did not surprise me, but the errors were really obvious so were easy to spot and easy to correct.

I think this is a very stylish coat.  I love the crossover tab closure, I love the big buttons, I love the functional pockets.  And of course, Miss Marple would instantly recognize this even if it is not quite the 1930s colour palette.

 

A Glimpse of John Donne

The National Portrait Gallery in London has a wonderful portrait of John Donne, painted around 1595 when he was in his early twenties.  I had always imagined Donne as someone without a sense of humor, but this image of him is almost Byronic, as romantic as an Elizabethan painting can get.

I was confronted by John Donne this morning, outside a grocery store.  He shambled sideways across the road, calling to me.

“Excuse me, excuse me, can I talk to you?”

He wasn’t drunk … yet;  it was only 10 in the morning.

“It’s just that I’m homeless, and somebody stole my backpack  –”

“Are you asking me for money?”

He seemed surprised by my question.  Perhaps I should have listened to his spiel —  it was, after all,  a game of sorts.

“Umm, yes,” he said, hesitantly.

In the silence, life continued: traffic, a bird twittering somewhere overhead, the rise and fall of voices around the corner.

No man is an Iland, intire of itselfe; every man

is a peece of the Continent, a part of the maine;

if a Clod bee washed away by the Sea, Europe

is the lesse, as well as if a Promontorie were, as

well as if a Manor of thy friends or of thine

owne were; any mans death diminishes me,

because I am involved in Mankinde;

And therefore never send to know for whom

the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.

I reached into my purse.

“Is this OK with you?  Is this OK?”  He edged away from me, staring at the bill in his hand.

I heard John Donne this morning; was this what he meant?