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Taking It Personally – Standing up for Planned Parenthood, and Myself

19 Feb

I have been known to have debates in restaurants about politics. When they end, I am crying at the table while my opponent sits smugly. “Why are you taking it so personally?” they ask.

Why aren’t you?, I wonder.

The passionate turn politics has taken brings to the fore beliefs, ideas and leanings that were once kept behind closed doors. I could be friends with someone for years before knowing how they felt about abortion, Newt Gingrich and gun laws. But with Facebook and Twitter, I know more about my friends by their newsfeed than if I were having meals with them on a weekly basis.

In many respects, this new form of socializing has made me better at debate; however, it has also made me cautious about my opinions. I know I can express them, but I am still passionate about them. Sometimes, I still feel like crying, but mostly I make typos instead. I still take them personally.

This is what typically happens: I post an action report, calling for signatures to stop, start or fight whatever cause I think deserves attention. Somebody who disagrees chimes in with their opinion. I respond and am temporarily proud of my ability to be calm and clear, while also being decisive and strong. But inevitably, my responses become emotionally charged. It is apparent that my mind cannot be swayed because I believe in this cause. And then comes the next comment: “You’re obviously taking this personally.”

Shouldn’t we all believe passionately and strongly in the causes for which we are fighting? It makes me wonder: if you don’t take it personally, then why are you engaging in something that will change the lives of people who do care about it? Or is it that you care, but you don’t care that much?

My husband is a philosopher and will often engage me in debate (what he diplomatically calls “discourse”). He typically plays the role of devil’s advocate. After some back and forth, my blood pressure rises and I’m becoming more and more upset. My husband cannot understand my reaction. I finally have to point out that if he doesn’t care about the issue and is only engaging me for the exercise of dialogue, he has to stop, because I do care. Why will I continue to pursue a topic about which I am passionate when the person to whom I’m speaking is not?

It is unfair and impractical to say what’s coming next, but I’ll do it anyway: I sometimes wish that the issues that affect other people’s lives could be decided by the people who truly care about the issue. I don’t like voters who instigate change without caring or understanding the issue. But that is what our country allows, and rightly so, of course. It only means that for those issues I take personally… I have to speak more often, more clearly and with even more passion.

With all that being said, my current cause is Planned Parenthood.

Stand for Planned Parenthood. Yes, some locations perform abortions. But ALL locations provide cancer screening, breast exams and self-exam instruction, pap smears, sex education, condoms, proper birth planning and contraception use – for women AND for men.

Having grown up in ten foster homes, I lacked the comfort and relationships required to be properly educated in menstruation, puberty, vaginal exams, tests and infections, and – of course – sex. I needed a place I could afford, both while in foster homes and after aging out (when I had NO INSURANCE nor the education on how to get it) to attend to my own reproductive health. I needed to know how to perform a breast exam, how to use a vaginal cream, how to use condoms, how to protect myself against venereal disease, what to do if I feel pain in my uterus, what to do if I thought I felt a lump in my breast, what to do if I continually got UTIs or yeast infections, get tested for diseases, and get my boyfriend tested for diseases.

Planned Parenthood is more than an institution that provides women with abortions (which they are legally allowed to do as abortions are a woman’s legal right – that law isn’t changing soon), but they are also an affordable haven for women to focus on their health without judgment. Without affordable woman’s health, what would happen? Where will we go? Who can we turn to? Without this option, what other option will you provide?

Stand up. Fight for what you believe in and for what you need. And damn it all – TAKE IT PERSONALLY! Sign the letter.

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10 on Tuesday and a WiP!

21 Sep

Hey there, gang! Today is Tuesday, which means it’s time for a 10 on Tuesday, lead by the wonderful Carole of caroleknits. The topic is 10 Ways to have a Happy Birthday.

1) I didn’t know this before my husband did it for me this year, but one great way is to get dressed up and go get a makeover. And make sure you get someone to get you a gift certificate so you buy some great stuff after you get it. Ha! So selfish and all-about-you, and yeah, you could feel guilty about it if you met the Dalai Lama on the street and you’re all like, “I hate that I look this good right now. How embarrassing!” but whatev… His Gracefulness will totally understand. I bet he gives himself a mask every now and then too. 🙂

2) Indulge! Eat cake, have soda, gorge yourself on beer and pasta salad! This is a day that reminds us we’re alive! So live it up!

3) Take a bath or a long shower. You were born naked. Reconnect.

4) Rejoice! Remember all the great things you’ve done, the people you’ve seen, the loves you’ve had. If you answer any of these orders with “I’ve done so little,” you’re so full of crap. Nobody sits in a room doing nothing. Even monks meditate. You might not remember every moment, but the next time you smell something and you recognize – realize you’ve smelled it before. And THAT is something. Cherish it.

5) Hug people. In this day and age, we’re all about small smiles and calling before we come over. But today is about you, and you’re allowed to break the barriers. Hug people. When you see them and they say, “Happy birthday!” Say, aww, thank you, and go for it. Be THAT GIRL or THAT GUY and invade their personal space! Hugs feel good. Nobody doesn’t like a hug (even Temple Grandin, a famous autistic who developed humane kill zones for slaughterhouse animals, admits she doesn’t like being hugged by people – but she does like being hugged. So she invented for herself  the same machine used to comfort animals. A hugging machine. She controls the closeness, and she uses it to refocus and get calm).

6) Watch a movie that reminds you of growing up – something you watched then that you haven’t seen for a while. For me, it might be something like Dirty Dancing or The Gummi Bears or maybe Little Monsters with Fred Savage.

7) Write yourself a letter. Say “Hi! How are you? I’m doing pretty good. Today is my birthday! And if you don’t mind my saying, since we’re so close and all… I am lookin’ GOOD!”

8) Fantasize about the upcoming year. Put yourself in new clothes, different nail polish and hey – imagine you’re a millionaire.

9) Listen to music with friends and see if you can get them to dance a little

10) Be proud of yourself. Be proud of your life. Be happy. You’re here!

My husband threw me a surprise birthday party this summer, shipping me off to Ulta in a dress for a makeover and a $100 gift certificate. I came home to a yard full of friends and good times! My friend Sara made me this great knit-inspired birthday cake. It was great! I turned 33. In the previous two years, I had become a mom, a wife, and a new resident of PA. Lots of changes!

Happy birthday, to all you!

As for the WiP – I am making “Karma” from Wendy Bernard’s Custom Knits. It’s going well! So far, I am using a different weight yarn, different size needles, and added two more repeats to the bottom before starting waist shaping.

That’s all folks! (Sorry for the crap picture; it’s with my phone camera in a yellow-lit room at night… )

Yarn & Writing (to bloggers and more)

20 Sep

I’m trucking along on the emma peel for my niece. I’m halfway up the upper body of the front piece. Part of me wanted to knit this in the round, but the other part of me knows that seams will hold the cotton drape a little better since it does tend to sag. In my last post, I said I was using a size 4 needle but that was a mistake; I’m using a 3. I think this is actually a better needle for it, but again, as always, I’m nervous about the size and if it will fit her. Pattern says to knit the size 6 to a 17″ length before starting the armholes, but I think I’m going to do 18″ as my niece is a tall girl. I’m okay with this. For those who want to see what emma peel is, here’s a link to the book on KnitPicks (all books are 40% off right now!), and the patterns link has a photo of a purple emma peel. Cute, non?

I read a lot of blogs out there (and should make sure my blogroll is updated). I always want to leave comments and say hello, and I often do – except my phone or iPod loses the damn things and I get so frustrated futzing with a small browser screen that I just forget the whole thing. I wish I could read blogs on the laptop at my leisure. You all would be hearing a lot more from me, I swear! I might try bookmarking, or sending myself the links for blogs I want to comment on, and then when I get to something more reliable, leave them then. But it seems like such an overworked process. WordPress blogs can be easy. I can’t be as wordy, as trying to fix all my typos on the small screens, etc., is also frustrating. But I do my best. Anywho, one blog I read is Caffeine Girl. She’s fun. I like her down to earth-ness about knitting and the trips and trials of getting something beautiful off a needle. And she just seems like someone you’d want to chat with next door, standing in the shade on your street or something. She’s currently working on the Shalom Cardigan. I was looking through In Style magazine, and came across this photo of Sienna Miller:

Doesn’t it look similar, except with a collar and bell sleeves? I really love it! It looks like it may be a swing-Shalom. What I love most about this whole thing is that I saw that photo, sitting on my couch, minding my own business, and suddenly thought of a woman whose blog I read (don’t think I’ve ever left a comment, but I’m not sure), hundreds of miles away… me and Caffeine Girl, brought together by Sienna Miller and In Style magazine. We are two very fashion forward ladies. Ha!

Another blog I love to read is Turtle Girl’s Bloggy Thing. I think she’s beautiful and I really do love everything she knits. I also like her shoe choices. *smile* She has made four sockhead hats from bohoknits, and I wanted one as soon as I saw them. So I finally chose the yarn to use: last year at Knitter’s Day Out here in my neck of the woods in Central PA, I bought a skein of Altobish (last time I checked, there weren’t many projects on Ravelry with this yarn. In fact, I think there was maybe one? It’s 60% superwash wool, 30% bamboo, and 10% nylon. I wanted to make a shawl with it but don’t think there’s enough – 400 yards). It’s beautiful. The dyer was inspired by various passages in Jane Austen novels. This one spoke to me especially:

I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun. I cannot fix on the hour, or the look, or the words, which laid the foundation.  –Pride and Prejudice

Awesome, right? For two reasons: most notably for me, I feel the exact same way about writing. Start in the middle. That’s where the story is. The rest will follow. (NaNoWriMo is almost here!) and two, which honestly only just occurred to me, it’s how I feel (and I’m sure other knitters) when I first lay eyes on a yarn that I just want. Already, before you even realize you want it, you see a sweater, a sock, a hat, a tea cozy, a freakin’ tea cozy! You just want it. And you know it’s already something. Just like that.

I decided this sockhead hat will be my writing hat. This NaNoWriMo hat is going to be the best one yet. I’m putting all my heart into this one. It will be above and beyond. I might even cry. I was so proud when I finished last year, staying up until my eyes were closing as I typed, nursing my little guy when he woke up and I was midsentence, so exhausted during the day taking care of my baby that I had no idea what I was going to do next when I opened the laptop after he was tucked into bed. But it happened. It worked. The book was written. Well… 50,000 words of it. The story is still unfinished, but I’m proud as dickens of what I was doing. …Should ‘dickens’ be capitalized there?

And did you see this?

A proof copy of my NaNoWriMo accomplishment. LOVE.

So… a writing hat. I think it’s a good idea. In fact, I love the idea. Some writers toke on cigarettes and cigars. Some sip from cognac glasses and clink ice cubes. Some tap pencils and bite their nails. I’ll wear a hat. And know I have my thinking cap on. Hehehehe…

That really does tickle me.

crobinator

16 Sep

Oh. I just don’t know. … I have decided to grow up in internet land. Every place I go “out there,” I leave a bit of myself behind in the form of a username and password. The username is usually always crobinator. When a friend offered to host a website for me, I used cmr, and have thought, for years, that I should take charge and own up to my name – be tough, bite the bullet, and buy a domain. Live out there! Take a stand! Owning your own domain is, in my mind, like buying a billboard and staking it on your front lawn. It says you have stuff to say, to do, that you want others in on the action. I’ve been blogging/online journaling for over ten years, but there is no one home. Here and there for a year, two years, three years, then I pick up and move again – so strange how like real life my nomadic internet moves are. So I’ll take root. Right here. At crobinator.com.

You are my first house guests.

I know. Looks a lot like my last place, doesn’t it?

Now I think I need to hire a decorator. I have always done my own design – using old school HTML, with a spattering of CSS thrown in. But I had no choice. There were themes out there. Diaryland and Blogger were the most fun because you were given the codes specific to each necessary part of a page, but the space outside those codes was all yours to color in. It seems WordPress, at least thus far, does not offer the same ease of coloring as I had hoped. And all the fees and charges! Buy more to do more! Can’t it all be in one nice package?

So WordPress bloggers… what do you do? What is your system? I like using themes, sure, but I want my touch there. I want a big interface. I want a home page, a glimpse into the other rooms of my house from the central hallway or parlor. I don’t want you to be surprised about what room you’re entering next… I want you to crane your neck and see a part of it! At my old home, hosted by the beautiful webdiosa (see cmr.webdiosa), it was close. I wanted a running blog beside it and never got to it. Or three windows showing excerpts from the latest posts in my reading blog, knitting blog, and “check this out!” blog. Now I mainly want knitting and reading and my pseudo-political I-need-to-look-this-up blog, though the knitting portion will most likely, as most knitting blogs I read tend to do, include life. Because really, who are we all kidding?, knitting is so woven into our lives, we can’t separate them. At least, in my observation and experience, the ones who really feel that knitting has embraced them somehow, through all sorts of trials, tribulations and tour-de-forces, include life! What were we knitting during “that time of my life”?

I have lots to say. Many ways to say it (should I tell you my son is nursing while I type this with one hand?) And I need a solid, rooted place in which to do it. Should I move, irl, you can now do it with me — without all the stress.

Tell me how you live your blogging life, after you’ve purchased your domain. And where do you hang your crown?

10 on Tues./WiP Weds./iPod Death

17 Jun

Let’s start backwards: iPod Death.

My son  has finally done it. He dunked and dunked and dunked, and the iPod cum donut is toast. I’m terribly sad. I did so much on that thing. Contacts, calendars, reminders, photos, Facebook, emails, books, audiobooks, videos for the little guy during long car rides, music, podcasts, games for brainless “help me through the day” moments, NaNoWriMo, text messages, skype alerts, googling, maps, zen gardens, wikipedia, KnitMinder, HuffingtonPost, my newsfeeds and blog feeds.

It took me forever and a day to catch up with the blogs I’d missed when I first got my iPod. I do not have time to read blogs on the laptop with my little one. It’s just not going to happen. I fear my husband does not understand exactly what that iPod has done for me since he’s very hesitant to purchase a replacement – not another iPod (another $300 is asking too much – but it is what I really want), but perhaps a Droid Hero for $80 after a rebate? I guess it can be a hard sell because he already bought me a replacement iPod when my son dunked it the first time, but that was before we called Apple and found it could be replaced (the liquid indicator strip had not been activated since it wasn’t actually donut-ized), but this time, it will not be covered because they don’t cover water damage and it is most definitely and obviously water damaged.

This sucks. No more WordPress app.

I’m sad.

WiP Wednesday, as today is Thursday, that seems most appropriate:

First up, the Double V Cardigan in the Spring issue of Interweave Knits (I’d like to know why I haven’t yet received my Summer edition… hello, IK? Where is it?). I’m using KnitPicks CotLin in Island Coral. I’m using needles two sizes smaller (called for 6 and 4; I’m using 4 and 3). And because my swatch was so big, I’m making the small size rather than the medium. I think it will still have some positive ease when I’m done. That errate is primo importanto! That one little stitch change makes all the difference. My first gauge swatch was awful.

I really like the comfortable look of this sweater. It can be dressed up or down, and it just looks so darned... cozy! And sweet! And if fitted, vintage-sexy.

The CotLin feels very soft and I hope it hangs well.

Love the stitch pattern. I see it with gray, white, black, blue undershirts.

I still have to block the next project, a sweater vest made by SweaterBabe, but published in Knitty called Talia. I had some trouble at first, and my stitch count was off two times by two stitches, so I just added them in where I saw appropriate. But I misjudged my gauge. I made the small size and it’s definitely more fitted than I’d like, but I still haven’t blocked it and as you know: “Don’t Knock It Till You Block It!”

I probably could have picked up more stitches around the neck and arms, but alas, I did not. I love the scalloped, dragon scale lace motif around the edges. I think a heavier yarn and a bigger size would make this more flattering on me. I’ll have FO pics soon. I’ll be in Vermont next weekend and my sister in law is a tiny pretty lady so this should look nice on her.

I used KnitPicks Wool of the Andes in Iris Heather, left over from the Jane sweater when it really was meant for the Cabled Pullover from Vogue Knitting in the winter. Plans change. 🙂

And finally, my last WiP for now, a Tomten jacket for my son:

He likes to wear his dad's hat and look totally awesomely cool.

I think it will fit him perfectly come Fall/Winter. Or close to, at least. For this, I’m using Patons Classic Wool in a brown Tweed, rose and cream (the cream is left over from the Hermione Eyelet and Cable hat I made for my cousin).

And this week’s 10 on Tuesday is 10 reasons to do the Ten on Tuesday. Oh! And there’s a new icon to use for it as well.

1. A weekly blog post guaranteed (unless you’re me; then it’s not so guaranteed. Especially with the demise of my iPod).

2. The topics force me to think about myself and what I might like in those categories. Like one week there was a 10 favorite musicals. I didn’t do it. Mostly because I just couldn’t find the chance, but I did think about it – and I couldn’t come up with many musicals because I rarely watch them. So now I think I should watch some! See how that works?

3. It’s nice to know I’m sharing a piece of the internets with other like-minded folks who are thinking about the same thing I am.

4. It’s like a pleasant homework assignment – something that forces me to take a few minutes to think about myself. Is that the same at 2?

5. It makes me wonder what I would want to know about other people if I were coming up with the topics.

6. Makes my blog more personal, so stalkers can find me an easy prey.

7. Reminds me that I know how to count to ten. Which is AWESOME!

8. I know at least one other person is reading my blog because I’m on that list (are you? I’m kinda guessing/hoping).

9. I can’t just rush through the post like I usually do because I have to actually think and though that can be irritating in one way because I want to do so much while I have a few precious moments on the laptop, I’m kind of glad for the forceful sit-down.

10. Why not? I used to do a Friday Five thing too… that was fun.

Peace out, homies. Nod your head to my wonderful iPod, still sitting in rice because I’m desperate and dumb and don’t want to give up, and if you have it in your powers, find a way to persuade my husband to graciously allow me another gadget that assists me in my sanity. I need it. Truly.

Because I said I would

28 Feb

I have no pictures yet (must find that battery charger), but I am close to finishing Jane, by Wendy Bernard in her book Custom Knits. Two or so more rows before I bind off the body and then I have only sleeves and the collar. For the tie, I’m debating two options: knit a thin seed-stitch or double moss stitch belt using fingering weight yarn, and using either a button or hook-and-eye closure; or, search for a simple leather strap with a sleek closure. For ease, I may go with option one. For some reason, a ribbon does not appeal to me.

I have a sick child in my arms. He is teething a molar and now also fighting a cold. Thank goodness we are nursing or else I fear the poor kid would starve. He isn’t very interested in food. We went ice skating today (I met a knitter and spinner!), and so he missed his nap. And I feel the pain. (It is 12:45 am, after all).

I hope I can finish Jane by Wednesday for knit night. And tomorrow, I may cave and buy a new battery charger for my camera. I really don’t think it will make an appearance. So, pictures soon (we hope). In the meantime, here’s a random photo for you:

Ch-ch-ch-changes…

25 Feb

I gotta make some changes. In brain dump form:

1. I need to take more care with knitting. I don’t want to rush; to think about the next thing. I want to enjoy each stitch and put love and care into my knitting. I want to feel, when knitting, the way I feel when I read the Dances With Wool blog.

2. I want to knit more for my husband and son. I want to see them wearing something I made with them in mind. It would make me feel full and happy. And my husband would love it. I am also tickled at the thought of Lil Guy growing up having something I’ve knit him in many of his memories. I want to be “one of those moms” when he goes off to college.

3. I want to take a walk every day, even if it must be a five minute trip around the block. My head is struggling through a thick, wet piece of nylon and I’m starting to feel suffocated. I blame a lot of this on number 4.

4. I MUST change how I have been eating as of late. I believe strongly in food as fuel and the better the quality, the better the performance. I got on a Swiss Roll craving, but it is – seriously – like heroine or cigarettes or roller coaster rides. I am easily addicted to sugar and it must stop!! I feel as if I am constantly on the down side of a sugar crash. NOT GOOD.

5. I will make smart yarn purchases, buying yarn I love and care for. Not what is cheap, on sale, and “will do.” this will help with number 1.

Finally, 6. I will post to the blog every two or three days, if only to say hello or make up a loony sentence. I read so many blogs and would love to reach out and make online knitting friends like many of the women whose lives I have read about the last two years.

Before I change a diaper, the garter stitch earflap hat from last minute knitted gifts for my 5 year old niece: