Monday, November 19, 2007


Thanks for all the comments on my first post about "Snowflower and the Secret Fan", which I read for my book club discussion last week.

At bookclub, I brought up my thoughts on comparing the current U.S. cultural practice of circumcising baby boys, to the footbinding of girls in China and a lively discussion ensued. Most were shocked at the comparison, except the one other mother who hasn't had her son circumcised. Her only comment was "I knew you were going to bring that up". She obviously saw the comparison too.

I wanted to clarify why I think of the two as similar. They are/were both performed on children and those children are/were given no choice in the matter. Baby boys are strapped to a table to stop them moving while they are circumcised. In S&TSF, "Third Sister" who had tried to escape the footbinding, was subsequently strapped to a chair while having her feet bound. Footbinding was NOT performed to stop women fleeing their husband's household, although of course it is true that they physically could not do that anyway.

There is no medical reason to perform either 'operation'. Footbinding was done for aesthetic and financial reasons - small feet were seen as a sign of beauty, the smaller your feet, the more beautiful you were seen as. And no man would marry a "big footed" woman, only the most poorest women did not have their feet bound - they needed full use of them, so they could work. I understand that circumcision was performed in days gone by for health reasons - the instance of UTIs and Penile Cancer were greater in uncircumcised men. However, simple good hygiene (daily washing) gives the same result as circumcision. And we all take a daily bath or shower, right?

Both operations cause great pain to one degree or another. It goes without saying that having your feet bound so that they fold over in half causes great pain. And that operation goes on for two whole years. Ew. But did you know that the majority of circumcisions performed in the US are done without sufficient, or any anaestesia at all? And it's not a small majority like 51 or 52%. It's something like 80 or 85%. How much pain do you think a newborn, straight out of your birth canal, suffers while part of his most sensitive areas are cut off? And you didn't want to pay for him to be anaesthetised? Think about it next time you have an ingrown toe-nail taken off with no pain meds.

So.... what is my point? I can't remember, I lost track.

Oh yes. Cultural traditions. I think that circumcision was started for health reasons. They don't exist anymore - we all live in houses with running water and can wash ourselves everyday. But it has gotten so ingrained in U.S. culture, that people still do it. Even after bringing up all the points above (and more) at bookclub discussion, people still said they'd do it again. Just because.

Is that sufficient reason to do anything? Just because.

I'm actually pretty open-minded about the whole subject. When we had our first son, I told my American husband that we could have him circumcised if he could give me one GOOD reason to do it. He still hasn't come up with that reason. And no-one else I've ever talked to about it since has either.

So, cyberspace. Can you do it? I am honestly not on a crusade, I look at it more as a quest for understanding.

Although if I were to make it a crusade, I'd ask that each and every circumcision in the future is performed with medication, I mean what year is this? 1907? If you can't afford the meds, please email me....

And so to conclude my post, I'll tell you where I got all my "facts" from. If you can call them that. Google "chinese footbinding". I read most of the posts in the first 2 pages of results. Do it even if you're not interested in my subject matter above. It is fascinating. A magazine I read at the pediatrician's office (the one that always made me wait at least an hour - so I had time to read the magazines). My cousin-in-law's recount of her own son's circumcision. A bookclub member's account of seeing many circumcisions when she was a nurse (she paid for pain meds for her own son, who apparently didn't make a peep). My in-laws account of why my husband is circumcised. A discussion with my new pediatrician (the one who only makes me wait 20 mins) and factsheets she gave me on the subject - don't ask me to resurrect them, go search the Fort Myers landfill if you like.

OK, that's it, I think I got it all out. Now please, don't bash me too hard.......

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Snowflower & The Secret Fan Post No. II

I only just got back from book club, so excuse me if I "hic" a couple of times.

Maybe I'll leave it til tomorrow.

hic, hic.

Yes, definitely

at least I survived :-)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Not, actual FO?!

Yes, an actual FO. On my knitting blog. If that's not controversial, I don't know what is.

Here it is, in all its glory. And quite clearly good for its intended purpose too. The Log Cabin Blanket from Mason Dixon Knitting. As modelled by Teddy. It was made with Crystal Palace Cotton Chenille, a pale green colour. Then finished off with just a row of a brown/ginger colour, to match the piping on the sofa.

Matthew couldn't see Teddy have his picture taken without him, so here he is too.

The knittyboard blog stalking subject a week or so ago was "What's for Breakfast". Well it's taken me a week or so to post, but this was mine and the boys' breakfast on said day. The boys had Weetabix with bananas cut up in it. And I had Kashi 7Grain Honey Puffs, with my banana on the side :-) Yum.

This week's subject is another easy one: "your junk drawer".

Or in my case, drawers.....

I have been ramping up my fitness schedule this last month or so, trying out the "Couch to 5K" program. It gets new runners from zero to 5k in only 2 months. The program, for me, has been so achievable. The whole of last week I didn't go to the gym, afraid of my next run which would be a full 20 mins with no breaks.

Well, yesterday, I got myself to the local YMCA where I workout and actually did it. I have to admit being very proud of myself. I have never been a runner, the longest I've ever run before was 15 mins. So this is pretty major for me.

After the run, I went to Publix for some groceries, then to school to pick up Matt. I got there with a few mins to spare so reached for my knitting in my handbag. Which wasn't there!!! I dashed back to Publix and in my haste to get to the store, tripped over their ridiculous kerbs that separate the parking spaces (why do they have those and not just paint lines?). This is the result.....

One very icky knee. On top of that, a cold came on yesterday afternoon, and I'm aching from the run too. AND I can't bend the icky knee as it breaks open the 'wound'. Eew.

At least they had my handbag.

Tomorrow is a better day. Book Club, discussing Snowflower. Can't wait :-) :-)

Monday, November 5, 2007

Charlotte & Yarns

Last night, I got back from a great weekend, hanging out with my SIL and her family in Charlotte, NC. What a beautiful city, a green and pleasant land indeed. They have a new baby, and, oh boy, is he cute with a capital Q. And he cried only once, the whole 2 days we were there. Almost made me want another, but he cried just before we left, and DH said to me "Remember what it's like now?!" So, maybe not.

While there, I visited Charlotte Yarn and got to meet the wonderful Turtlegirl. Anyone visiting that part of the world should go look her up. As one of only a few blogs I read regularly, she's like my yarnharlot, so it was quite a thrill to meet her. Maybe that makes Bezzie my Crazy Aunt Purl :-) I'd be able to tell better, if I read either of those other blogs!!!

Anyway, some yarn was purchased......

Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Solids in Loden - my 1st CTH
Misty Mountain Farm, Blue Ridge Yarn - another new yarn to me

Mountain Colours Bearfoot in Olive and Chocolate

I have been squishing them since purchase, trying to decide which I like best. The thing is, they all have something about them. They are ALL soft. They are all beautiful colours.

But the Bearfoot wins. It has a cool feel to it, along with its softness. I better buy some sock pattern books to do justice to all these gorgeous yarns.

Or maybe I could just look through the books I already have. There has to be a sock pattern in there SOMEWHERE!

Hope Monday has treated everyone well.

Next post: more controversy (with a smile) :-)

Holy Canoli Batman!!! I almost forgot to post the one photo I took while I was in Charlotte. Here is the window display in the Anthropologie Store in the SouthSide(?) Mall. Yes, it really is balls of yarn. It was all I could do to hold myself back from jumping right on top of it all.

I wonder who'll get THAT stash in January?!!!

Sunday, November 4, 2007


A couple of pics of my cute halloweenies......
They both insisted on monster tattoos on their foreheads....

And Matt insisted on wearing my new "Candy Corn Felted Bag" as a hat.....

I swear that's chocolate in his mouth. His teeth aren't rotten. Give that a couple more halloweens, right?!

The bag is totally cute and I'll use it next Halloween for sure :-)

That most awesome of halloween baggies came from my very own knitty halloweenie, Criosa. She sent me a hallowicious package to celebrate this most spooky of holidays. Thanks Criosa for all the goodies, of course, esp. the English goodness.

And look at this gorgeous yarn she sent too.....

I'm in love with this gorgeous baby blue yarn, which looks and feels JUST like malabrigo. Hello!

Thanks Criosa:-) :-) :-) from me AND the boys :-) :-) :-)