Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Summer Milestones

Even though I teach ten days through June and July, summer bring a slower pace and days to spend with those I love. This summer feels like it has been a season of change.

My sister taught me how to paddle a kyack. One quiet July morning, J took me out on a beautiful Minnesota lake. I learned to steer, stayed upright, and am looking forward to another visit when we can paddle around the lake on our own steam.

Throughout the summer, I have spent some days taking care of E., my 10 month old grandson. When this little guy is awake, he is curious about everything. He crawls very fast and pops up and down into standing with great ease. Although he sleeps in a crib, eats in a high chair, rides in a five point harness in his stroller and car seat, he is free to move and explore the rest of his waking moments. He is healthy and fortunate to have parents (my daughter and son-in-law) with resources which allow him this freedom. When caring for him, I scoot around the wood floor on my rear end trying to keep him safe while giving him room to play. We shake paper, toot into a toilet paper tube, and roll an oatmeal box. He uses his whole body to shake noisemakers. The other day we took turns blowing raspberries, that is we stuck our tongues out between our lips and blew breath out. In between turns, we laughed from our bellies. One day I played a game of kissing/tickling his neck. When I stopped to see what he would do next, he reversed the roles in the game. When we were finished, he planted his first sloppy open mouth kiss on my cheek, a very sweet moment. When E. got tired, we sat in the rocker while I read a very short story. We rocked while I savored the sleepy little boy on my chest.

Tomorrow when I close my father's estate, my work on his behalf will be finished. Serving as the personal representative of his estate was quite a journey.

My fall semester begins on August 9 but summer is not over yet. This afternoon I'm spending some time with friends and tomorrow I'm taking my son out to lunch. I'm looking forward to hearing about his adventures as a trainer of adults. Neither one of us ever thought he would become an educator but I am so proud of the way he meets and enjoys this challenge. Friday I'm going to take care of E. all day. If the next week is quiet, I will spend time revising a piece of writing, knitting the border of a lace shawl, and reading a novel.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Warm Hands

Inspired by my sister's beautiful color work projects, I sent for a Frostrosen Mitten Kit from Nordic Fiber Arts, a shop located in Durham, New Hampshire. In July 2009, I cast on the first mitten using size 1 double pointed needles. Carrying white yarn in the left hand and red in the right, I fumbled through the project and created a rather long, lumpy mitten. At that point I considered hanging the finished mitten with a sprig of holly as holiday decor. The following winter, I cast on the second mitten and promptly deposited it into my knitting hope (as in I hope I finish this some day) chest where it remained until June 2011. Knitting two colors on size 1 DPN's appealed to me about as much as pulling a bucket of bindweed on a hot July evening.

Early this summer I carried the unfinished mitten to the deck and began knitting. I quit worrying about whether or not the mitten was too long or lumpy and enjoyed the symmetry of the pattern. Two weeks later I finished the second mitten and then washed them in Eucalan, a soap designed for hand knits. The lavender bath relaxed the stitches and smoothed most of the lumps. Laying on the table, the mittens still look a little like boxing gloves. However, the long cuffs will tuck up under coat sleeves and the tightly knit double stranded fabric will keep someone's hands very warm. The pattern is well written and the yarn, Rauma Finullgarn is good quality, strong wearing wool.

Now if I could just make peace with the bindweed in my perennial flower garden.