Yesterday, I did the baking,


the laundry,




some knitting, and some sewing.

(These pictures are for universehall, whom I can assure that people asked why I was photographing the laundry.)

No gardening. No building. My house continues to be a mess. The grass is knee high in places, but that is not my job. I also had a little discussion with #1 son, who chose to watch The Simpsons instead of starting the essay he has due today. He explained that this was because we don’t reward him for good grades the way his friends’ parents do, so he is “not motivated.” No work on the mystery contest, either. And, in spite of our being told to think of the Supremes while singing the anthem, the entire choir rejected the excellent choreography I suggested. One of the basses went so far as to threaten to push me out of the choir loft if there was “so much as one boogie.”

While knitting, I read Reading Lolita in Tehran. I value my book club, because it leads me to read books I otherwise would not choose to read. In fact, this particular book is one that I particularly didn’t want to read.

For one thing, it is about being an English teacher, which I have done, with Iranian women for students, which I have also done, so I figured there might be a “been there, done that” aspect to it. For another, it is set in Iran, a country which is high on my list of Places I Would Never Choose to Visit.

To top it all off, the book begins with an “author’s note” saying, in part, that the names have been changed to protect people from “those who read such narratives to discover who’s who and who did what to whom, thriving on and filling their own emptiness with others’ secrets.” And then she tells us how she “teasingly” asked her students which of them would betray her. You find very quickly that the word “teasingly” usually introduces some bit of petty sadism on her part.

So this is not just any Iranian teacher of English Lit, but a paranoid creepy one. Such fun!

However, reading this book is the culmination of a long project in my book club. We have read, or in most cases re-read all the books discussed at length in Reading Lolita. Now, having refreshed our memories over a period of many months, we are reading this book.

This might qualify as a Loony project in some circles, I realize.

And, while it is not exactly a romp of a book, it is quite interesting. Nafisi’s comments on the books are insightful, and it is intriguing to note the differences that one’s own experience create in literary insight.

The perspective on Iran is interesting, too. These women had lived in a modern country and suddenly found themselves returned to Medieval regulations, and a Medieval level of barbarism in enforcing those regulations.

All the rebellions the girls in this book come up with are things like wearing lipstick, but who knows what we would do in a similar case? They are punished pretty severely all through the book for things that were never even intended as rebellions. Among the current dystopian visions making the rounds is one in which the extreme right wing succeeds in putting an extreme fundamentalist in the White House, where the new Imperial Presidency allows him to impose a theocracy on the United States. This was essentially the experience of these Iranian women. I hope we will never find out how we would behave in such circumstances.

Speaking of looney projects (or not), I am deeply impressed by these seamstresses. While KaliMama and I and the rest of the Sew?IKnit gang are sewing one thing a month, these ladies spent just four months making a carefully-planned wardrobe (at least 11 garments, according to their sewalong rules). Their impetus is an Australian magazine that advocates “sewing with a plan.”

I’m particularly impressed because, as you know, knitters don’t make plans like this. If you visit the knitting blogs, you will find that people have chosen to knit something because

* someone else made it and it looked cool
* it has a cute name
* they bought yarn on an impulse and need to find a reason for it
* their friends are doing a KAL

This is why knitters end up with things like a snazzy toy nautilus, not a well-planned wardrobe.

To each her own.