Saturday, September 19, 2009

Birthday blooms and 'bobs

Yesterday was my birthday, but it was a long, workday, capped with dinner with our small group. Even though we had marvelous soup, chocolate (!) cake and singing, today--a day that is really mine to enjoy-- and tonight's dinner seem more like my birthday. Matthew arrived home with a bouquet of flowers, and Jim is grilling up kabobs, chicken and vegetable, for dinner. Happy Birthday to me!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Shelling lima beans takes me back to a quiet and gentle childhood memory...

Every summer, my brother and I spent a week or two with my grandparents who lived on several acres outside Pittsburgh. Grandma and Grandpa Herman both came from farm families, and so they grew gardens--big, expansive flower and vegetable gardens. My summer memories at their home are filled with mornings of running around the property exploring or afternoons of "going calling" where I carried a basket of flowers and Grandma carried a basket of vegetables, sharing both beauty and bounty with friends. Grandma froze cherries, pears, and applesauce from the fruit trees lining the perimeter of their land. Grandpa disappeared in his garden to pick fresh vegetables or dig potatoes for our dinner each night. They were living locally and off-the- land, even before that way of life was so named.

One summer evening, Grandma traveled off to a meeting, probably at church or her garden club. She left Grandpa, Dick, and me with a a huge pile of lima beans to shell so she could bag and freeze them the next morning. I remember the three of us, seated on an old bench and battered chairs, circled around our task--shelling, talking, laughing, shelling, and shelling and shelling. When Grandma returned home, it was dark, and though we had finished, we were still sitting and talking, the porch light shining into the shadows. I remember the shelling and Grandpa and the astonishment that we could have shelled our way through that mountain of pods. I wonder what Grandpa remembered? But perhaps I know; my sweet Alexander has taught me that.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Lutheran Layette

Just like many of the characters who populate Garrison Keillor's "A Prairie Home Companion," I am a Lutheran. Denomination didn't used to matter so much to me, but as of late, I have thought a lot about what it means to be a Lutheran. My father's family, on the Herman side, has a long tradition rooted in the church Martin Luther began during the Reformation. There is turmoil in my church right now. A few short weeks ago at the national assembly of the ELCA, a social statement was approved that allows gay clergy to serve while in a committed relationship. The ripples from this action have been far and wide, rocking many boats, even in our local congregation. We were at a Labor Day picnic where heated discussion was held. I have a hard time expressing my differing thoughts and beliefs when I am in places with family or friends, people I really care about. On this issue, I just don't know what all the fuss is about. I don't believe any of us really know what Jesus thinks about this, and I prefer to believe that His model of love really is our yardstick.

So my own statement on this is to knit a sweater for a layette that Lutheran World Relief will distribute to mothers in refugee camps, hospitals, and villages throughout the world. I guess what I am saying with my yarn is that the important work of the church must go on in the name of love....

Friday, September 4, 2009

Happy Birthday to you

Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday, dear Alexis,
Happy Birthday to you!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Baby Gifts

A new life has entered the world of my friend Kaylene and a baby gift is in order. Babies and new moms are so much fun to knit for. Working on little things for little ones is quickly satisfying. For little Brummett, I tried a new baby cap pattern from The Shetland Trader (appropriately labeled Little Love). I used Lion Brand's Cotton Ease for the cap, and then knit up some remaining yarn into City Mouse, a Lion Brand toy pattern. I'll wrap them up and send them off this weekend.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

School starts...

...tomorrow for my students, the constituency that really matters; it started Monday for me and my faculty colleagues. My teaching spaces are ready, my plans and planning finalized, my mind wrapped around the notion of a new year, and my heart primed to welcome a new cast of teenagers to the unfolding part of my life-play that is school.