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Sadness to JoyJuly 28, 2005

The rage doesn't get me often. In the face of all the world's sadnesses and atrocities and wars and genocides and stupid politicians making permanent black marks on the soul of the planet, I listen and wish and hope for the best. I'm political in my own quiet way: here, on this blog, with friends, in public when it's necessary.

But the state execution of the two gay teenagers in Iran has me seriously shaken. It happened a week ago today, and I bet you didn't even know about it, did you? It had me so upset that I tried to put it out of my mind, which I can't, and shouldn't.

Two teenagers, Mahmoud Asgari, 16, and Ayaz Marhoni, 18, were held in prison for fourteen months (fourteen MONTHS), and were lashed 228 times. They were accused of having sex with each other and of raping another 13 year old boy. They did admit to having consensual sex with each other, but human rights groups believes they were coerced into these admissions, and there is speculation that the rape charge was fraudulent, an attempt to avoid international censure.

Iran's Sharia law calls for the death penalty for gay sex, and girls can be killed at age nine, boys at age fifteen. Unimaginable.

They were hanged, publicly, a week ago today. Babies, both of them. Their mothers watching. The whole country watching. Ten percent of Iran's population knowing that the same could happen to them if they ever admitted to their illegal predilection.

Ali Asgari, in a quote to the Iran Focus, said, "These individuals were corrupt. Their sentence was carried out with the approval of the judiciary and it served them right."

I saw still photos of them, being led out to the execution, crying. There aren't words for the horror of it.

And here, in much lesser but still shaking news, two days ago California approved a ballot initiative aiming  to add an amendment banning same-sex marriage. Attorney General Bill Lockyer reworded the title of it from "The Voters' Right to Protect Marriage Act" to "Marriage. Elimination of Domestic Partnership Rights." That's right, Bill. Call it what it is.

The measure would void and restrict registered domestic partner rights from things like hospital visits. Adoption. Insurance benefits. Little unimportant things like these.

According to Seth Kilbourn, VP of HRC's Marriage Project, it would "strip away more rights from more families that any other proposal we have seen in any other state." It would permanently ban all legal protections. And two similar ballot measures are expected to get initial approval this week, also.

Lala and I had a conversation about this a while back. We knew that no matter what, no matter how we felt about it, we'd end up being political.

See, we're getting married.

Yup.

Some of you already knew -- it's not like it's been a big secret, but we took our time telling family and friends, so I've taken my time blogging it. (It was decidedly delicious, those first few weeks, when no one knew, not even family. Such a lovely secret to carry around. And then I had the ring, the sweet gold antique ring from the 1880s, and just glancing at it gave me such a thrill. Still does.)

It's early, see, but we've known for a long time, since maybe month two or three, even though neither of us admitted as much to each other until month six. (No, we won't go into the proposal. It was mutual. She may have said the word first, but I was hot on her heels. Then we were terrified. In the good way.)

I never saw this coming. I never planned to be married. Wasn't important to me. Then suddenly, it was.

She's the one for me. She's smart, funny, and one of the kindest people I've ever been lucky enough to meet. She's hot. She makes me want to be a better person. I don't have to babysit her in a crowd. She knits. She's a kick-ass musician. And just sitting on the couch doing nothing with her is the best place in the whole world to be.

No one can tell me that's wrong. No one can tell me God thinks it's wrong, because He doesn't. A small-minded, bigoted person's small-minded lesser deity might think it's immoral, but who cares? I don't care about your tiny, wrathful god.

But let's fight for love, shall we? Isn't it good, finding it where we can? Who would stop happiness? Only someone terrified of what was in their own heart. But that's not us, is it?

Instead, we cross our fingers and look at stars and wish for forgiveness and acceptance in Iran, and we wish for the United States to realize that this is really about civil rights. We won't allow America to demote us to second-class citizens. We won't be pushed to the back of the bus. You'll help, right? You'll donate money to the right places, to the wheels that turn the cogs in the right places, and you'll speak out loud, even if you're scared?

Lala and I, who want to be together, to live our lives together, as a family, thank you.

Oh, and I'm knitting the wedding dress.

Engaged
    Engaged.

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Comments

Rachel, this post brought tears to my eyes! Not the first part, which is rage inducing, but your engagement announcement, which had me crying tears of joy for you.

I wish you and Lala many happy years of marital bliss!

Woohoo!!! Two lucky grrl you are. May you have a long, happy and fulfilled life together.

OMG congratulations you two wonderful ladies! I'm weeping tears of joy for your happiness and tears for the two lives lost far too young, for no good reason.

Your dress will be incredible I'm sure, though I don't know if I could be patient enough to wait that long!

When people love each other and want to commit their lives to one and other...how could that be wrong?

"Love sweet love...it's the only thing that there's just too little of..." (oh and yarn too!) ;)

Best Wishes and would love to see the ring! Can't wait for the wedding pics either! :D

Diana

Beautiful post, beautiful person!

"...we'll look at them together then we'll take them apart adding up the total of a love that's true multiply life by the power of two..."

I've been reading you for awhile, only commented once or twice, supported your run last year...I'm incredibly happy for you and La. I just had to say that. :)

I'm just horrified over what goes on in other parts of this world but I'm so happy for you two, and now can say CONGRATULATIONS publicly and wish you both all the joy and happiness you can eek out of this lifetime. Mwah.

It is such a wonderful thing to congratulate another couple on their engagement, the promise of two souls. The world can surprise us once in a while with something good and pure. Sometimes it is the only thing to focus on in a world gone mad.

Are you coming on up here to Canada to do the vows?

Let love be.

bravo! Are you coming to Canada for it?...say yes!

YAY!! I'm so happy for you. You deserve all the happiness in the world, both of you.

(And you get to be mommy to Miss Idaho!!)

YAY!!! CONGRATS!!!!!!

(and yes i am fighting the good fight, in whatever little way i can.... only wish it were more!)

that was the best post ever.

Congratulations!

Are you knitting a veil/shawl as well? What colour will the dress be? I love epic crafting projects!

Don't forget that Canada lets in a quarter of a million immigrants a year. If you're looking for a nice gay-friendly place to raise a brood of tiny Lalas and Rachels, Vancouver is beautiful! (I may or may not live there, and this may or may not be completely biasing this argument.)

Sweetie(s), there are no words to convey how beautiful and awe-inspiring this post is.

Mazel tov and all the love to you both.

Hooray! Hooray!

You go girls!!!

Seriously HUGE CONGRATULATIONS!! Oh, what a joy to find The One and to know that The One thinks you are The One too! You have many blessings ahead, and much joy and tenderness and love (marriage is so lovely and wonderful, shouldn't straight people who sanctify marriage want everyone to have the joy of it? I dont' understand the desire to keep it all for themselves. I've been married for two years now, and my hubster and I love each other more today than we ever thought possible on the day we got engaged - somehow, yes, it grows). Congrats and many blessings on you and Lala and those who love you.

Congratulations- what fabulous news!!!!

Congratulations! (that's all)

You know, the world is going to hell, and yet there are such bright spots of ineffable wonder that make me glad to be alive. All at the same time.

Congratulations and best wishes. And hugs. So glad to know you.

Yay! Now that everyone knows, I can be thrilled for you in public! Congrats again! I love you, and I love you with Lala. I can't imagine a more perfect woman for you, doll.

Love you!

(engaged in public now!) MWAH!

Congratulations, Rachael. May you have a long and happy life together with all the legal rights and responsibilities that go with marriage. I'm so happy for you. Mwah! And a hug!

Congrat's to you and Lala! That is wonderful news.

I agree... the more love the better, why should it be restricted or descriminated against. Ugh.

That story about the boys makes me cry. As do all the others...

Wow, it must be so great to have this many people support you and Lala, myself included! Congratulations! And just as much as the world is full of the insane and the horrible, it's also full of the wonderful and beautiful!
Congratulations again, I'm so happy for you both!

Awww you guys are so cute together!
Congrats! Hopw all the planning goes well for the two of you.
You know of course we have all kinds of "Gay Wedding" tourist packages in Ontario, Canada.
If you decided to get married in Ontario you must let me know!
You guys are just too cute together.
MWAH!
If you send me your snail mail addy I'd love to send you a card for the big day.

I am so very happy for you and Lala. Congratulations!

Teresa in Chicago

So sad - so cool - so happy - all in one post. Congratulations to you both!
And, you tell me who to donate money to and I'll do it.

OMG, you made me cry. That's beautiful. Congratulations to you and Lala!!!

Congrats!!!!!!!

ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL! CONGRATULATIONS!
WOO HOO!

Well, look at that. I don't even know you all, and you've got me tearing up.
All the best. For real.

I'm crying at work again, tears of sadness and tears of joy.

Congratulations!

It may be a tough battle, but it won't be one you'll fight alone - I can promise you that.

wiping the tears sitting at work they all think i'm nuts but damn girl, best post ever, best news ever, saddest story ever, and no, you're not alone, there are many many people standing with both of you, with all of the people of the world who choose to love. we will all keep fighting against hatred, and we have to win sometime. love conquers, after all! congratulations to you both!

Congratulations! Come move up here to Toronto - we think same-sex marriage is da'bomb! Let me know if you want to come up, I can help you with the planning. :)

All the best to you and Lala

Congradulations!!!!! I wish you both a lifetime of joy and happiness.

I've never commented on your website before, but I've been reading for a few years (oh my goodness, that long!) and I nearly started crying at work while reading your post (like others apparently before me). I wish you and Lala the best - much love. Let's hope people will stop hating one day and learn to accept. CONGRATULATIONS! :)

Yay for the two of you! Here's hoping that everything you two wish for will be granted. BTW, only knowing each other a short time before getting married can work! My folks only knew each other a month before they got married and are celebrating 40 years together this weekend!

Congratulations!!!!!

Hang on to that happiness and hopefully we'll keep setting a good example up North - 1 lucky Canadian.

Damn, I thought I had cried all the tears there were to be cried. Congratulations to the two of you. May your knits be knit and your purls be purled forever and ever. A-women!

Congratulations on the great news - to many happy years together!

Rachael and Lala! Getting married! YAY! Congratulations to you guys, much love and here's to many happy years!

BTW, knitting your wedding dress? OMG I can't wait to see it. And picture this. Wedding pictures...handknit wedding dress...making the "Hot Rachael" face from that one picture a few posts back.

Hi there, I'm a *brand* new reader, like from last week, and also a *gasp* born again Christian who loves Jesus. I just want to say, **CONGRATULATIONS!** on your engagement! I feel like I should mention my religion so you know that the tide is shifting, slowly, amongst us Jesus-freaks. Keep up the fight, ladies, and I will be praying for you two and the cause. I hope you have a long and happy marriage. -And do keep us updated on the progress of the dress. :)

A big blog congratulations (since I already gave you both one in person).

Honey if I can help you make your country get it's head straight, just tell me how.

Of course, you could just get married in Toronto.

Congratulations. Creepy, what's happening in California. Unfortunately, I don't vote there. I do, however, vote in Canada, and you know what we've made here. If CA won't love you, come on up. And in the meantime, please tell us more about the dress and all the other good stuff.

I'm somewhat late - I only just got in from Colorado - but many, many congratulations to both of you.

May your marriage be a Big Deal - a celebration, a party, a rejoicing in love. (Terry and I both did the white dress thing, and had 180 people there, who all signed our wedding certificate. It was even more affirming than we could have dreamed of.) If you want more info, or good resources we used, feel free to email.

In a world so hate-filled, love is well worth celebrating.

Damn, being the 146th person to leave a comment definitely feels cheap, but here it is.
I can remember back when Lala was just the "banjo girl."
I couldn't be happier for you. And I'd vote for you anyday. You definitely give L's a good name. =)

CONGRATULATIONS! That's just SO AWESOME!

I was already a proud Bostonian but was absolutely at bursting when the Supreme Court ruled in favor of gay marriage. And Maryland, where I live now, is gearing up for court fight. We only have to get rid of our respective terrible governors.

But enough about that... CONGRATULATIONS!!! I was just married to my longtime love in April (a man, if that makes any difference). Being married is great.

You both are just so darned cute!

I wish you both many happy years together.

Congratulations! You are perfect for each other and I wish you a lifetime of bliss.

CONGRATULATIONS!!!

i warmly welcome more love into this world that so desperately needs it!

Congrats! I've never read an engagement story that went into so little detail while so immensely tugging at the heart strings. What a great story! I wish you both all the best. It's nice to know that while there are horrible things happening in this world there are also amazing happy and joyful things happening . . . hopefully these bright and shining moments will someday outnumber the dark and brooding ones. Congrats a million times over, and may you have a long and happy life together!

(I all too well remember the feeling of sneaking secret glances at a ring. What a wonderful feeling that little stomach jump of happiness!)

YAY! Kudos and congrads!

Congratulations to you! I am glad to see that you are happy and want to share your joy with everyone. I am new to reading your blog and I really get a kick out of your posts, keep on smiling!

CONGRATULATIONS!!!! I'm all teary over you two! I am just thrilled for you - and for what it's worth - I think God is too. :)

Congratulations to both of you!

Congratulations! May you both find happiness, peace and comfort with each now and always.

*smile* Love is a wonderful thing and I'm happy for you too that you've found it! Enjoy each other!

Wow - I really did not know all of that stuff - the current events - sad, shocking... and WOW - congratulations to both of you. Wishing you much happiness always!! :)

What a conflicted heart I have now - one part so very sad for the boys in Iran and one sooooo extremely happy for you and your girl. I wish you both much joy and happiness. Congratulations!!!!

What a beautiful, perfect post. Never commented on your blog before, but I have to say - congratulations!

Wow, I'm comment No. 163...Congrats from the heart to you and Lala! I really mean it. You'll love being married - it kinda feels like a secret club. May life bring you all the happiness you deserve!

Oh my! As if I wasn't having enough trouble keeping myself together with all these postpartum hormones dashing about....then this!!! I am so very happy for both you & Lala and so pleased you are taking the plunge. It's a shame there is so much opposition to any union outside the norm...I say go for it where you can find it! And if you need back up I'm sure there are plenty of folks from across the country willing to jump in with both feet...heh heh heh.

Congrats!! Pam

I'm so incredibly HAPPY for you both! Congratulations on your happy engagement and even happier marriage! Your post bought many tears (for many reason) to my eyes and moved me to make my first comment here. =)

Love to you both, N.

I'm very new to the whole world of knitbloggers, so this is the first time I've come across yours. And I'm so happy I found you today so I could add my CONGRATULATIONS on your wonderful news! That's fantastic! Love and committment are wonderful things that should be celebrated, shared and honoured. Thank you for allowing me to feel part of your happiness today. It's a very special and awesome thing. And thank you for reminding us that there's still so much work to be done to make sure everyone feels they have the right, and the safety, to share their love and committment with the world.

And if you DO choose to come to Toronto - beautiful city, beautiful spots for weddings - it would be my absolute pleasure to work with the other Torontonians and Ontarians who've posted to throw you a yarn shower!

Big congrats to you both. Drive over the bridge - maybe ol' Gavin will do the honors?! May you have a wonderful life ahead.

I too have been a reader since before Lala and so much happiness entered your life. I truly do not understand why this is such an impossible issue for people. You are right - let's fight for love. There are obsessions/love issues out there that are SO wrong...but "legally" correct. I hadn't thought of it that way before, but (again) you're right - this IS a civil rights issue. We (women) have come so far - and still have so far left to go. In some areas of the world, people have too little "right to chose" and too much dictated to them.

I am saddened by the misery that lawmakers around the world have foisted upon us.

And I feel a bit lighter in my heart because of the choices that you and Lala have made.

Best of luck to you both.

Congratulations, ladies!

Believe in the power of love. Believe that humanity truly is good. Believe that one day the laws will catch up to what is in out hearts and minds.

But for now, love is an amazing thing. Revel in it.

I was misty after I read your post this morning - both for the boys, who I had read about last week, and for you and Lala. The story about the boys is terrible, and my heart goes out to the people who loved them.

On a happier note, congrats to you two! Best wishes to the both of you!

Love one another and you will be happy. It's as simple and as difficult as that...Congratulations to the both of you...:-)

I wish you much much love and happiness. Congratulations, both o' ya!
Congratulations and joy!

Weeeooo, I'm #172! Soooo many congratulations, felicitations, salutations, exaltations... that ring is your secret superhero armor against all the hate and evil in the world, dontcha know. (I 'spect you do!)

Squeee! I'm late to the party, but let me add my congratulations! And as someone who just became Domestically Partnered in the eyes of the State of California, I know the feeling of being made political. The proposed amendments make my blood run cold. But no matter what they say, no matter what they do, they cannot change what K and I have. May you and Lala have a lifetime of happiness together!

I have to delurk to say CONGRATULATIONS! I've been reading you for a while now, and you and Lala are just...one of those really cute couples that seem like they belong together. And apparently you do! And it's great! So know that some random person is very happy and excited for you. :)

I did see the image of the boys before they were hung, sad beyond words.

AND...congratulations on your marriage! Don't let anyone tell you that you have not been together long enough to make that decision. Hogwash! My DH and I were together for 3 months before engagement, 9 months before marriage. We are celebrating our 10th anniversary next month (that's why we'll be in the Bay)! You are a fabulous and beautiful couple!

I'm very happy for you both - may you have a long & happy life together.

I've read of so many horrible things that happen in Islamic countries - sometimes they even bring it with them when they emigrate. A certain story of "honor killing" from a year or two ago happened in the US, even. I can still hear the audio they played on tv of the incident. *shudder*

First I was horrified. And then I cried, both with sadness and joy.

I shall start saving for a salad spinner.

Congratulations to you both.

OH MY GOD.

I started this post off feeling the usual rage-boiling-quietly-beneath-my-skin feeling that I get when I'm reading about the many things in this world that make me OH SO MAD I could just spit and scream and cry and break things. But I don't. (Instead I just blog about them.)

And then. And then!! Then I continued reading...and now I'm crying. I am so, so, so utterly happy for you both, and I've been hoping that this'd happen, and now it is and *squee!*

I'm still outraged. But I'm overjoyed, too. It's an interesting cocktail, and since I'm about to go to bed for the night now, I'm sure it'll lead to some very unusual dreams over the next few hours.

Congratulations, to you two wonderful, wonderful women! As my engagement gift to you, I promise to stay outraged and keep fighting against the people who'd declare a love like yours somehow less true, less pure, less real, less worthy of rights and recognition. Consider yourself thoroughly hugged from over here in New Hampshire. :)

Love is love no matter what!! Congratulations and blessings to you both. I too remember when you decided you weren't "looking for a girlfriend" and at the time I told you "there were no accidents. Everything happens for a reason!"

I'm so glad you found yours, Rachel!!

Huge congratulations to you and Lala. Delurking the revel in the joy I read in your words.

big hugs and lots of congratulations. much happiness to you both!

A big congratulations to you and Lala! That is very exciting :)

Beautiful post, you were so eloquent. I wish you and Lala all the best. When you have love in your life, it is like a head start to joy. Congratulations to you both. Planning is so much fun and the big day will be so full of emotion and the makings of amazing memories.
Thank you for sharing your love in your posts!

We've had equal marriage for a while now, and despite the very, very deep concerns that marriage would be corrupted and God would be pissed, it turns out that nothing bad happened. (We were all poised for the apocolypse you understand....recognising human rights, well. You never know if this is the thing that will shift the planet off its axis and send us all hurtling through space, screaming as the oxygen is stripped from our atmosphere)
The exact same number of straight people are entering into (and out of) marriage, families still walk by the lake and little kids are not pelted by fire and brimstone on their way to the park.

Which makes my next point. Now, I'm not a religious person, but I've read the books, and it seems to me that God has a pretty good track record for meting out punishments and setting humans straight (no pun intended). Pillars of salt, great floods, smitings....locusts. If God has an issue, he does not hesitate to act swiftly and viciously to punish those who are impure.

He has done nothing. Not one loving same sex couple has been hit by lightning. The united church downtown that's been marrying folks up right, left and centre has not had so much as a broken water pipe, never mind a flood. No hail, no salt, no nothing. From this, I can only surmise that God has no problem with this. I'm sure he sends his congratulations for managing to find each other...as do I.

As for Iran, it's the same issue. These aren't gay rights. They are human rights.

Peace out.

Long time lurker, first time poster and what a time to post! This made me so happy to read! Congratulations to you both!!!!!

I can't address the horror right now, because I want to revel in the joy I feel for you and Lala

Wow! How exciting! If you ever get to this message - send me a pic of your hand wearing the ring girlfriend...I wanna SEE.

You are going to be the most beautiful bride. Dang, I'm already crying and the wedding hasn't started yet. I know, I'm pathetic. Sniff.

I wish you both a lifetime of happiness together. I'm sorry you have to be political too. You should be able to just feel the joy and excitement any couple on the verge of marriage is feeling with no dark cloud of oppression.

Lala, dear one I don't know you well but I know you are special because Rachael loves you and anyone smart enough to see what a gem Rachael is, is top on my list. Congratulations!

OMG! Our Rachael is getting MARRIED! She's knitting her wedding dress!

Longtime lurker delurking to say congratulations, but I'm not surprised in the least. Having read your posts, your feelings for each other shine out in a most obvious and beautifuil fashion. I wish you both much happiness.

Also, I wouldn't believe the whole I-knew-this-person-was-IT-after-a-couple-months thing if it hadn't happened to me 8 yrs ago. Was always a skeptic prior to that.

Looking forward to the day when bigoted people everywhere quit being so afraid to admit that a loving commited relationship between two people of any gender in no way threatens their own loving commited relationship. I believe it can and will happen. I just hope it's sooner rather than later.

OH, RACHAEL! SO HAPPY FOR YOU BOTH. Cannot wait to one day meet the wonderful Lala.

Congratulations! That is most excellent news. May you and Lala have a long and happy life together.

Delurking to say Congratulations! You guys are the cutest couple. I wish you many years happiness together.

ugh Rachel i wrote a long and wonderful note and then crashed my internet connection.. weird.. anyway lots of love and luck to you and your sweet love! i'm so happy for you and also wish bad things on the stupid politians that have no clue! hugs love karola

What a tragic story, followed by simply amazing news. I wish you all the best life has to offer, and I truly hope that someday this is not an issue. At all. That said, I'll take the fight to the streets for you this fall when Maine votes on whether or not to repeal the Gay Rights Law. I refuse to turn a blind eye to discrimination. Congratulations!

the perfect blog title..."from sadness to joy"

Congratulations! I'm so happy for you...

Congratulations! I'm just so happy for you both...gotta say, just from reading your blog, it was no surprise.

My heartfelt congratulations to you and Lala. I'm so grateful that we live in an area where people can be open about who they love. It's a beautiful thing in a world that doesn't always make sense.

Oh, and please don't forget to show us your plans for the dress - are you designing it yourself?

I actually started to tear from reading this post. First out of uncontrollable anger about the two 16 year old boys in Iran and then in joy at the announcement of your engagement.

I know it's so weird, but I started out reading knitting blogs as a way to bring a little light into my work day--a nice break and a way to find inspiration in other people's work.

But your smart writing and jolly attitude and are quite addictive and full of charm and love.

Thank you for sharing such lovely bits of your life with the Web.

- Leslie

I'm a long time stalker, first time poster on your blog and just had to say congrats to you and Lala!

Call me naive, but it shocks me how closed minded this country is. I'm all for legalizing homosexual marriage. Maybe you guys can get it right since the heteorsexuals have screwed it up. (Myself included.)

Can't wait to see pics of your dress.

I've been following your blog for some time now, although I've never commented. I'm SO STOKED for my first comment to be about this entry.
CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!
On more than one occasion, I have gotten goosebumps reading about your love for Lala, I wish you both all the happiness in the world!!

Wonderful news! Best of luck to you both! Please please PLEASE show dress details! :)

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Rachael loves it when book clubs read her work! She's happy to attend book clubs that read her books either in person or via Skype. Contact her at [email protected] to make arrangements.

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