Archives for April 2011
We got this email report from Nora last night about her first sleep over…
We just got back to the hotel from supper. I ate three pancakes, scrambled eggs, bacon and sausage, some of Grandma’s french fries and a big glass of apple juice. Then when we got in the car and I said, “What are we going to have for dinner?”
We bought some hair ties and headbands after that.
Then Grandma and I played beauty shop. We both have new styles and Papa took our picture.
Grandma showed me the breakfast room where we are going to go tomorrow morning and have breakfast at the hotel.
I hope you had a good time at Jake’s. I bet it is a lot like Denny’s.
PS, This is my first sleepover! I’ll see you tomorrow after work.
International sensation Nora Campbell was seen leaving the Betty Crocker Clinic on Sunday. Her agent confirms Ms. Campbell was admitted for an addiction to prescription jelly beans and is complying with her rehabilitation program. She plans on maintaining her aggressive shooting schedule this summer; she’s slated to star in several bio pics directed by her famous mother, writer/director Sue Campbell.
Why Make Things?
I’ve been teaching people at work to knit. I love getting people into knitting. It’s like getting people addicted to something that’s good for them. But some folks have a hard time understanding why you’d take the time to knit something you can easily buy. We were talking about learning how to knit before a meeting started and one woman commented, “I know how to buy socks at the store,” and gave me a look that told me she couldn’t think of anything that could be a bigger waste of time than making your own socks.
My answer to that comment will take a few paragraphs to explain.
With any craft — sewing, knitting, spinning — you have to learn a few new skills. This is good for your brain. You get a feeling of accomplishment and a greater understanding of the way the world works.
Next, you get to shut the rest of the world out for awhile. Knitting and spinning are meditative endeavors. And I’ve almost never come away from a round of knitting without an idea for something to write about. Activities like this have a way of allowing your mind to start composting all the garbage that’s been floating around in there. After an hour or two, you can end up with some pretty good stuff.
Then, there are the longer term benefits. You are surrounded by items that you made. They are exactly what you wanted. They keep you and your loved ones warm. They look impressive to strangers.
Then, there are the very longest term benefits.
The other day, Ben’s parents sent us a package. Inside was a small quilt sewn by Nora’s great grandmother. Mary Safratowich died of cancer more than ten years ago. She was a crafter-extraodinaire. My mother-in-law, Deb, has saved many things she made. Nearly every year, she passes a handmade item down to one her children, or to Nora. A decade later, we are still enjoying things Mary made: quilts, Christmas ornaments, tapestries, hand puppets, you name it.
And these items give us an opportunity to talk about Mary with her great-granddaughter. We tell Nora how Mary was one of the sweetest people we have ever known, and how if she were still alive, she would be doing crafts and baking yummy things with Nora every chance she got.
Shortly after I showed Nora the quilt, Nora said, “When Hoover dies, he can be my great-grandma’s dog and it will sorta be like a farm.” I’m guessing in her little brain, our departed chickens are already in Mary’s care. Nora is able to understand who her great-grandma was when she looks at something she made.
So, naturally, as I sit in a chair in my living room while Nora naps, working on a lace scarf for my mom, I take comfort in knowing that, should I end up in my mom’s shoes one day — with Alzheimer’s — or, of course, just eventually dead and gone, the items I made will remind my family of me. They will have something I took the time to make, not something I casually purchased. And they will remember my love for them.
Nora has a bad habit of yelling across the house for me.
I let this go on longer than I should have, which Ben pointed out to me the other day when we were in the bedroom and Nora was wailing like a banshee from the kitchen.
I went into the kitchen and explained that it hurt my feelings when she yelled for me without saying please and using a nice tone of voice. I pointed out that her teacher would never call for the children like that, and could she please call for me the way Miss Erin calls to the class when she needs them to line up.
So, now, when Nora wants me from the other room, she sings this: “Cherry Blossom Children! Lunch time!”
The Month of the Slug
It’s wet here in Portland. So wet, my favorite gardening book refers to April as the “Month of the Slug.”
This feels very apt. I’ve been fighting a cold for more than a week and it’s finally winning. I have little energy and appear to be leaving a trail of slime in the form of unfinished tasks around my messy house.
I’m longing for sunshine and dry soil in which to plant. This morning I woke to frost on the lawn and a hacking cough.
But, better weather and better health is just around the bend, I’m certain.
Slugs may be slow, but they are determined. They can certainly dissemate my flower beds if they put their primitive little minds to it.
So, if you need me, I’ll be slowing making my way through the house this weekend, methodically working through my to do list and on the look out for beer traps.