Pictoblog by one-handed LRH. Ron plays racquetball one time too many. My "glove" wardrobe grows. Roxie visits. Ortho surgery: him, not me. Yes, "good" wrist needs help. Full moon last week; spring, this.
Saturday, March 17, a sunny morning brought out an overflow crowd to the first session of "High Tea in Lace," freeclassat thepopular HARLEM KNITTING CIRCLE.
Lisa Daehlin, left, knitter/opera singer, famous for lacy designs in Vogue and Interweave magazines (check out the knit wire bracelets on her left arm), and HKCregular, had High Tea notion.
Njoya, right, dynamo who began HKC a few years ago, thought it would work--but was amazed by the crowd--59 women, one man. Like Lisa, she is full of ideas for stretching fibers' boundaries. The week before, Njoya arranged HKC participation in an environmental crochet extraganza to raise awareness about endangered coral reefs... article HERE in New York Times.
Click on images below for overview beginning with a knitter who has shared expertise with me in the past and is pleased with her lace skills, Adeline from Big Apple Knit Guild, token male...
Mysteries of symbols used on charted knit patterns, guy answering crocheter's question, books to browse...
Did I mention that New York's new Governor, David Paterson, is from Harlem? Get acquainted...come to uptown Manhattan and knit or crochet with Njoya's friendly group (Saturdays weekly around the corner from me at the George Bruce branch of the New York Public Library, West 125th). Session IIof "High Tea in Lace" is March 29. Please bring a little food to share...and plan a visit to the Harlem Studio Museum a few blocks east on 125th Street.
My symbol for post written one-handed. Fell down a short flight stairs just before High Tea. Took photos, then visited the local ER. Left hand awaits verdict of orthopedic surgeon on March 19....same day is 5th anniversary of invasion of Iraq. Met a woman at High Tea who said she will knit at protest by Grandmothers Against the War.
"Would it fit Roxie?" My daughter-in-law's question. I was talking about the small collection of my own baby clothes--one dress, two overalls, a slip, a hat--that I'd recently washed. Should I photograph them, transform them into an artful statement?
Her question was unexpected, more personal. Roxie was now too grown for the blue lawn dress. After 70 years, it's too worn for my vibrant granddaugher. I would try my baby hat.
In January, she'd allow the hat to entertain her on her grandfather's head, on a doll. It was a few weeks past her first birthday. Roxie's primary focus was steps between closely placed pieces of furniture.
By this month, she has moved ahead to walking, even running.
As a lark, I put on this little black hat as Ron held her. She did not take it off! Where would this lead? A game perhaps. I offered her Grandma's hat.
Here was an idea that literally had legs; she hurried to the full length mirror in the next room to observe herself. Roxie had moved to the next level of consciousness: fashion by hat, a delightful game for the three of us.
Latest sweater made for her, hen of course. Charming pattern from Amy Bahrt's book, "Creature Comforts", could have been easier to follow. Classic Elite's "Bazic" wool, very nice to work with on #7 needles. Yes, highly impractical to make a white sweater for a one-year-old. I get carried away (link to lyrics from 1944 musical, "On the Town").
Hat tip to Eduardo Porter who writing in today's New York Times about the huge sums that will be needed to arrest global warming :
"People often sacrifice the future to the present. We may love our children and grandchildren. But since they can't vote, we stiff them in the public sphere...The best case for bold action now is that it provides insurance against the chance of an unfathomably grim future...Averting that...is worth quite a lot of investment today."
[The room is dark. Black and white 1940s snapshot on a screen up front. I write.]
I loved him that summer. Afterwards too but the time we met at camp when everything was secret... it's very hard to describe. Years later I found this photo when it was too late to ask him why this one. You cannot see my excitement in being close to him. I'm surprised I could fall asleep when we were together.
He'd let the boat drift into the middle of the lake. He didn't know what a bad swimmer I was. And I'd lied when he asked if I'd be okay if we went out to the middle.
But it turned out that he had lied in a much deeper way to me.
This was the second of six photos shown in "Word and Image," a new continuing education class at Cooper Union. Susan Landry, writer and cofounder of "Lifeboat: A Journal of Memoir" and Stacy Morrison, photographer and photo artist, who met in a another Cooper class, designed the six-week class for those who want to integrate photography and text. Among the images we viewed and wrote about were famous, found, and personal photos.
This photo belongs to Susan's family. Through my lens it became a scene from a play, an exchange years later between the boy and girl. What would you write?
March, once again, is Women's History Month. The link goes to the "official" place. Mine is personal and the personal is always political. Ron Bloom, spinning spouse, and I stayed up a bit too late Tuesday night to watch Hillary Clinton make another unexpected return from what many thought might be defeat. He knits a hat from his spun yarn, or spins.
What kicks off latelife creativity in men? Observing women is my modest theory. He thinks, "She seems to do this so easily. Is there something here for me, something more in tune with things from an earlier life, when I tinkered with machines?" The wheel. He began to spin.
Enjoyed that till woman suggests he needs an end product: using the wool he has spun. Here was the creative struggle: learning to knit. After he'd tried, stopped, something clicked. Made a scarf and hat for his grandson. We went to a Maine knitting retreat and he fell under the spell of Bill Huntington of Hope Spinnery. And Bill's "Button Hat" which he's adapted to his own yarn, topped with vintage buttons from my own obsessive collecting in Baltimore. Lately he mixes in an ounce or two of yarn from my stash. The beat goes on.
Always documenting, I try to take photos as he gives them away. This is our neighbor, Lee; the two of them are co-chairs of our apartment building.
Marian, clay artist who runs the pottery studio here, lives in another of the six buildings at Morningside Gardens.
Mike McMahon, General Manager, of the Gardens who is in awe of Ron's knitting--as one should be!
Pearl Chin of Knitty City,** like Marian, was asked to choose between two of his most recent permutations on the original.
When we traveled to Portland, Oregon last December, Ron carried HATS for friends there--Lee, Olivia, Carl, hat-maker with closed eyes, and Moira.
With this group, we had conversation that added to my thoughts about a woman running for President. But that's another post. Hats off to my spouse of 42 years, a guy comfortable knitting in public. Here's to the spirit of Mary Wollstonecraft who believed in living one's theories..
Yes, she did. On February 29, she placed a little red henon her list of blogs awarded the big E for excellence. She does some serious writing over there at The Crone Speaks about national and local politics in Tennessee, so this was a particular honor. Thanks, Crone.
Part of my responsibility as an awardee is to select ten other Excellent blogs, who then select 10 others. Most are on my blogroll.
Birmingham Blues CBreaux Speaks First 50 Words
Gooseflesh Blogging in Paris Xtreme English Our Bodies Our Blog
Busha Full of Grace Sistah Craft
This kind of made up for not winning a spot among the top five in Mason-Dixon Knitting's Teeny Project Runway Contest. The idea was to fix up a knitted animal with a knit outfit. I was up against some heavy competition.
"A Little Red Hen Goes Out on the Town" was my offering--simple necklace-style Condom Amulet. No match for my own favorite entry, "Babs the Sock Monkey," entirely knit by a serious competitor--monkey, dress, hat, accessories, and shoes! Go look; it's an experience not to be missed.
Kay in NYC and Ann in Nashville are Mason-Dixon. They have the best time and some very clever followers. Their contest led me to adorn and photograph little redwith allthe amulets still around the apartment. Most are on the mannequins and walls at Knitty City.
It's not every day that I take time out to simply play. Something to think about. Do you?
Reading of Barbara's death on Wednesday at Women's Voices for Change, was personally unsettling. We had not connected for a while. So many years away from our 1952 encounter in the stacks of the Oberlin College library. "Naomi? Joe Glass [a Socialist lawyer friend of my father] told me to look you up. I'm Barbara Rosner." My memory holds the image of an intense, very-Manhattan girl whose collegiate crowd was literary and sophisticated. She was a serious poet; my interests were more social--with some social justice mixed in.
And her voice. We lost touch when I left New York in the 1960s. Four years ago, back in the City, I waited for a Vivian Gornick lecture to begin, I recognized her odd, gravelly voice. I turned around and saw again the Barbara I'd known as a college student: her piercing gaze, dark circles around her eyes. As we became re-aquainted, I also recalled her sweetness and her strong opinions about right and wrong.
Her judgmental nature led to her being, in her own words, "a muckracker," a term she preferred to "medical journalist." In picture at left Barbara holds aloft a birth-control cervical cap at a 1980 news conference. Photo by Bettye Lane.
I was back in Oberlin as a faculty wife, when Barbara's best known book appeared in 1969, "The Doctor's Case Against the Pill." An explosive indictment of doctors and drug companies, its impact led to Senate hearings. Barbara herself describes HERE how her convictions were fueled by her own life experiences. It was the loss of an aunt who'd been taking estrogen for many years and conflict with doctors when her first child became very sick that led to her "...obsession with informed consent."
The Barbara who admonished me our first year out of college, "... you must use your god-given talent to do more work in theatre, " a reaction to my saying that earning a living was more pressing, the same woman who forty years later was impatient when I declined going to a book party to meet Steinem and talk to her about my condom amulet project ( a cold and icy evening), she was too young to die at 72--two years younger than me.
In tributes to Barbara on feminist blogs, she had pushed herself as she was dying of lung cancer to complete two more books. In the years ahead she would have given us more to consider, to question about conventional thinking on women's health care. And mentor others; she was a great connecter. Jennifer Baumgardner writes at Feministingabout her generous mentoring to young women like herself. Other mentees like Leora Tanebaum at The Huffington Post have written of her true feminist spirit in taking time for others starting out in the women's health field.
But her generosity reached out to all in her sphere like the young male scholar she invited to the preview of the 2004 movie about abortion, Vera Drake. Once more Barbara, who'd arranged our invitations, made sure we were introduced to well known feminists and Imelda Staunton, the remarkable star of the film.
The photo above was featured in a respectful obit in Friday's Washington Post. How unregarded significant women like her continue to be is apparent in Saturday's New York Times obituary. First, I'd have expected that it would have been written by someone who knew her work, not someone from the obit staff. Most of the week after Barbara's death had been taken up in the Times with paens to the conservative writer, William Buckley who charmed many in the media. Barbara did not charm. Was this the reason the Times focused on details of her personal life rather than her contining role as a muckraker, still writing about the dangers of estrogen all these years later.
At Wikipedia there's an unsourced comment reflecting her sense of humor, an important aspect of Barbara that rarely came through in her public appearances.
"Condoms should be marketed in 3 sizes, jumbo, colossal, and super colossal, so that men do not have to go ask for the small."
In homage to the many sides of Barbara Seaman, I offer my latest Condom Amulet, "Rubber for a Rubber," crocheted rubber cord, Chinese beads, plastic cord, and condom. She would have laughed in her gaspy way--and instructed, "Write it up, send it to MS magazine--tell them I told you to."
UPDATE: InWomensENews, HistorianLouise Berkinow's tribute describes Barbara's continued commitment to the women's health movement as she worked "in a frenzy" in her final days to complete her new book about menopause.