Saturday, September 25, 2010

High Tech/Low Tech

My husband bought me a Kindle for my birthday last weekend. Yes, I confess, it was in response to a rather pointed suggestion on my part: "Wow, only $139 on Amazon! A nice birthday gift don't you think?"

Now, I simply must to learn to use it, adjusting to a dramatically new leisure reading medium. It is small, slim, light--easy to pack for a plane trip to North Carolina or a week at the beach (gone are the days of cramming a tote full of my reading material into an already packed car!). Ah, but I do so love the look and the feel of books, the perusing of the cover, the leafing through the pages, the glancing ahead (yes, I am an inveterate reader of the end before I get there--really my only "cheating" moments).

A survey of some Kindle-reading friends uncovered that they all do both--read books printed on paper and books appearing on screen. I intend to learn that juggling act. However, my Kindle still sits in its box, awaiting the end of Mockingjay, the third book in Suzanne Collins' Hunger Game's trilogy. But after that...Little Bee is ready to go, already loaded onto my little gray reading machine.

I am knitting this cute little cosy to cover my Kindle. I find the juxtaposition of an old craft covering a new technology rather delightful.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


Once as I rued the crushed composure of a long, periwinkle blue linen skirt, my mother told me to cherish those "rich wrinkles." Now, I most certainly do.

I am convinced my love of knitting began as an attraction to many things textile, so as soon as my mother thus uniquely described linen, a special fondness for that fabric ensued.

Linen, labor intensive to manufacture, is one of the oldest textiles existing. Fragments have been found in prehistoric caves. Egyptian mummies were wrapped in linen, seen to this ancient civilization as a symbol of light and purity (as well as a display of wealth).

Two weeks ago, my copy of Joelle Hoverson's More Last-Minute Knitted Gifts arrived, and the first pattern to catch my eye was the Linen-Stitch Bookmark. Little needles + fine yarn and more time than one would think = a lovely little bookmark. I am making a yarn version of mark a book. How charming. How perfect.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Best Part of Me

My Arms

I have never really liked
my arms, so similar to my grandmother’s–Germanic, stocky, hardworking, thick; born of
farm work, school rooms,
and gardens of flowers.

A bit too fleshy too droopy
these unsung limbs of mine
have climbed trees, ladders, and rocks; they have carried books to school and from the library
to a grandson awaiting
a bedtime story.
They have held a ballet pirouette,
swung a hockey stick,
embraced my sweet husband,
and lifted my children from their cribs. They have been ushered down aisles and
they have cradled my dying parents.

Tanned and just mildly toned, they have been pocked with poison ivy, marred by Florida mosquitoes,
scratched by cats and holly bushes,
bruised by unintended collisions,
and jostled in crowed school hallways.

These same arms grabbed in joy by friends,
jangle my mother’s silver bangles
pilot my bike into the woods,
raise the telephone to my ear
stir pots of summer tomato sauce,
feed the fur folk of our home
serve as sleeve holders for sweater warmth and comfort
and swing wide in story telling, punctuating a tale.

Yet while I lament their aging,
noting spots, flab, and folds,
they serve me faithfully:
sturdy, solid, and strong,
propelling me (boldly!) into my future.

--Mrs. Campbell

( I wrote this in response to my students' getting-to-know-you assignment, our first piece of writing of the school year. Our inspiration? This book.)

Monday, September 6, 2010

Happy Labor Day

“We need the tonic of wildness, to wade sometimes in marshes where the bittern and the meadow-hen lurk, and hear the booming of the snipe; to smell the whispering sedge where only some wilder and more solitary fowl builds her nest, and the mink crawls with its belly close to the ground.” -Henry David Thoreau

May today bring rest from labor, relaxation for the body, and renewal for the soul.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

September Starts

Last week my 5 year old grandson started kindergarten, a huge event for him, his parents, and for his Nana. In the end, he resolutely climbed those bus steps, stood tall, and waved goodbye. I am so proud of him. Earlier the same week, his mother and dad both returned to their university classrooms, and just days ago, son Rob and I headed back to our high schools, to be with our high school students. School is back in session.

This blog, billed as a knitting blog, has become a place for me to write about just about everything, From cooking to family history (and history in the making) to pets and friends and animals and the seasons, I try to capture snippets of life by wrapping them in words and images.

I haven't really used this space much to dream or project, but I think I might be remiss (and perhaps dishonest) if I didn't confess that I entered my classroom this year with thoughts that this could well be my last first day of school. I may be retiring in June if all goes according to plan. I have thought a lot about what retiring might bring and what it might mean. I have an ever expanding list on my computer of retirement ideas, and my husband and I often speculate on what we will be doing "this time next year" when I (most likely) will be retired (perhaps you can see I am not totally and utterly committed to declaring this yet!).

Summer began for me sitting in a park in Harrisburg watching Gamut Theatre's amazing production of William Shakespeare's As You Like It. Jacques' most famous soliloquy was never more brilliantly delivered to my ear nor resounded in my heart as on that crisp, clear June evening:

"All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts"

While making my entrance into this school year, I cannot help but consider when to take the proper exit. You see, I believe it may well be my time to consider playing another part...