Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes

My daughter and son-in-law are expecting a new baby in September. We are excited to meet this new little person. This couple chooses to be old-fashioned either not learning the gender or keeping it under their hats until the baby is born. As we say, a healthy baby and Mom is more important than the gender. I knit accordingly to be prepared. Last year about this time of year I finished a little bright little pullover sweater and matching hat. Earlier this Spring I knit a feminine lavender cardigan. Ravelry notes are here and here.

I have given away all previously knitted little girl sweaters to other darling babies as we have four grandsons. I knit this little hat as my husband and I visited cemeteries for Memorial Day weekend. I didn't plan to knit a baby hat on this trip but just grabbed it on the way out the door because it was a good portable project. Then as we left the peaceful rural cemetery where my husband's mother and grandparents are buried and drove north to the cemetery of my parents' graves, I thought how wonderful that this new little soul is connected to the old ones gone before. Besides loving these kids to pieces, grandparents are able to tell family stories from the past. As grandparents, aunts, uncles, and parents, we re-member family, linking the past and future of our children.

Since I am linking with Kat and the Unravelers, I'll mention two books. Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox was one of Micah's favorite books. It is a sweet little story welcoming babies all around the world, pointing out similarities rather than differences. We still read it together. I am currently reading a paper copy of my book club's June selection, Still Life by Louise Penny.  Last February I listened to the audio and enjoyed hearing the pronunciation of the French words. Rereading this mystery/novel I am now alert to all the clues Penny inserted into the story. I don't know that I will both listen and read the entire series but I am enjoying this version knowing what is coming to the characters in future novels. And of course, visiting Three Pines complete with Myrna's bookstore and the bistro with croissants and cafe au lait, is a pleasure.

I am back to my routine and happy to be here. But oh May - where did you go?

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Home Again

I love to travel to see my family and then I am happy to be home safely. A week after the Texas trip we took off for Connecticut. We visited our daughter and her family and had a wonderful time. What's not to love about spending Mother's Day with family? We had so much fun with our three grandsons. Of course, they are growing like weeds. We took a photo to see how their height compares to mine. We will see them again in the autumn and check heights again. By then there will be another little babe and that is exciting too.

We read to all three and walked the two older ones to and from school and preschool. We played and played. My daughter and I took the youngest to the beach one morning and another afternoon we took the preschooler for a short walk in a wooded area. She said this was the first week when the woods were truly green. "Pops", my son-in-law, and the two older boys went into New York City to a Yankees baseball game. They stayed through a rain delay to watch a good share of the game. French fries carried them through the afternoon. We also watched the two older boys' baseball games, t-ball and coach pitch. Something tells me all three boys will play lots of baseball in the future.

My husband and I took a short side trip to Concord, Mass. On a beautiful Spring day we visited the Minute-Man National Park and walked the path of Paul Revere's ride. We crossed the north bridge where the colonists fired "the shot heard round the world" and tried to take a selfie with the iconic Minute Man statue. Another day we visited Old Manse, an Emerson family home, and Orchard House, home of Louisa May Alcott. My grandmother read Little Women to my sister and I when we were girls so Orchard House has long been on my list of places to see. The guide was excellent and personable. Many of the furnishings and artifacts belonged to the Alcott family. We had two full days in Concord, another would have allowed us to see more but we wanted the days with our kids. Perhaps another time.

I am reading Marmee and Louisa, a book written by an Alcott descendent and recommended by the guide. Louisa's mother was not exactly the syrupy sweet mother of Little Women. She descended from the May family of New England and yearned for the Harvard education available to her brother. Later she championed Louisa's desire to write. Alcott's paternal grandmother never had an education and so her son, Bronson Alcott firmly believed that women should be educated. Both of Louisa's parents did their best to educate their daughters. The Alcott family sheltered and aided two African Americans on their way to freedom when Louisa was a girl. Her father supported innovative methods for education. They were an interesting family.  

While I appreciate American colonial history, I would also like to know more about the Native Americans of the area. It was hard to find more than a few sentences about them. Perhaps the Concord Museum would offer information. We didn't tour the museum because we went in search of a late lunch and The Concord Bookshop. Don't miss this independent bookstore if you visit.  

Now it is time to plant my garden. Our local farmer's market will be open tomorrow and I imagine some venders will have bedding plants. Then I will fill in from the local garden centers. Before traveling, I cleaned out the perennial and herb beds. My husband helped me with compost and we spread three wheelbarrows of the "black gold" dirt/compost over the vegetable patch and around the beds. The bleeding heart I was given last year is blooming and the iris are just unfolding their blooms. Today I hope to dodge the rain drops to see what is coming up and how many weeds have sprung back into place while we were away. Have a good weekend. Knitting notes coming on Wednesday.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Warm Texas Welcome

After being home all winter, we hit the road last week to visit our son Aaron and family who live in Fort Worth, Texas. Our grandson is growing into quite a wonderful young man. We also enjoyed getting to know the foreign exchange student living with them. That adventurous young man is from Brazil. We had a good safe road trip. The Texas crew as well as the weather gave us a warm welcome, sunny with highs over the weekend in the mid-80's. Pretty wildflowers, a pink primrose and some type of orange flower, bloomed along southern Oklahoma and northern Texas roadsides. I was so happy to have the sun on my back and face. On Sunday afternoon, we went on a walking tour/ urban scavenger hunt in and around Sundance Square. By following clues on Jacque's phone, we learned a little about Fort Worth while seeing beautiful old buildings/architecture, city parks, and sculptures. At each stop, the tour provided a puzzle to solve and pointed us toward the next stop. My husband and I had never heard of such a thing so I pass this information for anyone else who might be slightly out of touch with new fangled technology. Groupon coupons apply.

I knit a sock during the 1250 miles we drove south and north. I spelled my husband, driving a little on the way down and back but since he prefers to drive, I happily knit. I arrived home with a few inches on the second sock but ripped that out last night. I wondered if the free pattern had some errors. I checked notes on Ravelery last night and discovered my intuition was correct. (Notes on my project page.) I bought this yarn in the Fort Worth yarn store, West 7th Wool, on a previous trip so it seemed fitting to knit with it on this trip.

I am reading No Time To Spare: Thinking about what Matters by the late Ursula K. Le Guin. I am not a fantasy/science fiction reader so I haven't read her fiction. However these short essays and blog posts are thought provoking, quirky, and witty. The subjects range from her ideas about literature and publishing to events between 2010 and 2016. The essay about old age "No Time to Spare," pulled me right into the book. Animal lovers will enjoy the pieces about Pard, her cat. I bought the book at Watermark, an independent bookstore in Wichita, Kansas. When we drive to Texas, we stay in Wichita on the way down so we don't arrive in Fort Worth during late afternoon traffic. This is a good way to spend time browsing Watermark. The Fort Worth traffic part didn't work so well for us this time as we ran into road construction on I-35 but all was well. I was glad to be knitting as we sat still on the highway. Monday we left Fort Worth before sunrise to drive home in one day. Today I am happy to be home where the rhubarb is up and spring thunderstorms are rolling across the prairie. Rain and warm Spring days are welcome. What are you knitting and/or reading these first few days in May?

Linking with Kat and the Unravelers.