Monday, May 30, 2011
this pattern. The combination of garter-stitched stripes of color, edged with braided tassels results in such a joyful baby blanket. I have admired Mission Falls yarns and patterns ever since I chanced upon them online, and I always knew when the opportunity arose, I would knit at least one of these baby blankets. I just finished it this week--seven different colors of yarn and more braiding of tassels than I ever imagined. Someday soon, I hope to see a little head resting on this blanket and little fingers playing with those tassels.
Thursday, May 26, 2011
The past several days before I leave for the day, I have been cleaning out the bookcases, drawers, files, and closets in my teaching space. I make three choices--pitch (almost daily, I have filled all three waste baskets in our room, as well as respectfully recycling), pass it on (and what fun that is..gifting a book I think someone will use or an artifact/memory I have shared with someone), or bring it home, for my summer project of organizing my study to reconcile my teacher life with whatever comes next.
p.s. The first two pictures were taken by students of mine when we did a mini unit on seeing...both in our world and the world of reading.
Saturday, May 21, 2011
Yesterday, was such a day.
It is the tradition of our English Seminar (a class I have now team taught for six years) to hold an end of the year picnic as a celebration of who we are and what we do. The "who we are" part is that we are a class of struggling high school readers and writers. The "what we do" part is that we strive to create a classroom community that seeks to methodically strengthen skills and build confidence in kids for whom school is not place where success comes easily. After a lot of pushing, pulling, nagging, encouraging, repeating, and reteaching, growth really does inevitably occur. The purpose of our celebration is to name that growth and celebrate it together.
Saturday, May 14, 2011
Tomorrow I head off to a bridal shower, one of those wonderful rituals women have created to usher their daughters into new passages in life. My friend Karen is gathering friends and family to shower her daughter with practical household items and a collection of women's wisdom to go with them. On a 3 X 5 card, we are asked to pass along hints and advice. Here is mine:
Advice from my mother: "Always clean up as you go along."
Hints for cleaning kitchen appliances: to rid yellowing from white appliances try this: Mix together 1/2 cup of bleach, 1/4 cup baking soda and 4 cups warm water. Apply with sponge and let set for 10 minutes. Rinse and dry thoroughly.
I have been married for almost 40 years, yet I must confess that only within the past 10 years have I heeded and thus come to appreciate my mother's rationale--it makes cooking and cleaning up afterward more efficient and much easier.
Note: these traditional ball band dishcloths still remain as my favorite pattern to knit and certainly, the most durable and hardy washing and wiping cloth to use (my husband told me so, totally unsolicited a few weeks ago!).
On the flip side of the card, I pay homage to my grandma, Mildred Bame Herman. One of my most vivid memories of her is going "calling" one sunny, summer afternoon. We carried split-wood baskets of vegetables picked that morning from grandpa’s garden and flowers cut fresh from hers, the most beautiful, abundant, and varied flower gardens I still have ever seen. Had I only appreciated and applauded her and the beauty of her art when it was so vividly before me every summer...
What my grandmother showed me by her example:
"I learned from my mother how to love
the living, to have plenty of vases on hand
in case you have to rush to the hospital
with peonies cut from the lawn...
...To every house you enter, you must offer
healing; a chocolate cake you baked yourself,
the blessing of your voice, your chase touch."
"What I Learned from My Mother"