Monday, April 6, 2009

Transitions

We wound up our madcap month of guests this past Sunday with the departure of my dear friend, Susan, and her family.

Susan has been one of my best friends for round about 28 years. Wow... 28 years. That almost doesn't seem possible, but I'm so very glad it is.
She and her family arrived on Friday night and then headed up to Disney for a week of fun on Sunday afternoon. I was up at 6:45 Sunday morning to prepare for an Easter cantata at the church I used to attend. We sang for both services. At the end of it all - the two half-hour choir concerts spread out over 3 hours and the guests heading out down the road - I really could barely keep my eyes open. My sweetie pie, Paul, treated me to an awesome foot massage Sunday afternoon and I did, indeed, fall asleep briefly... only to wake up and have him still massaging my foot! Now that's a wonderful way to wake up! :)

So, now I find myself in a smaller season of transition. The long-awaited guests have come and gone and all the anticipation builiding up to their arrivals with them. Snow-bird friends have returned to the north for their spring and summer seasons with family and friends there. We have about 7 weeks of school left here and then we look ahead to the long, hot summer before us.
I look ahead with a mixture of pleasure and some dread as well. The summers here have been notoriously lonely for me. Families vacation or their children take part in summer camps. We can't afford to do either this year and so it is a challenge in some ways. Many of our friends tend to dissappear until the school year begins again. I am hoping it will be different this year. We have had some changes with some friends moving much closer in proximity to our home, so perhaps there will be a few more get-togethers than there have been in the past. Paul has evening work hours now and so it will be different summer with him available to us in the mornings. It is a wait-and-see game.
The pleasure I look forward to is both my brother and his twin boys coming for their annual visit as well as time for summer art and craft pursuits. I have some ideas for paintings I'd like to try. I also hope to try out dyeing yarn this summer. I think that would be a fun thing to try out in the backyard with my girls and any friends who would like to join us. I know that you can use kool-aide for dyeing (a much better purpose for it than drinking the stuff IMHO) as well as Easter egg dye. I bought two extra kits at the store this week, so we'll have those on hand. I plan to pick up some white or off-white sweaters at Goodwill and give it a try.

Sorry about the tilted picture here and the not-so-great lighting. I don't know why the picture posted like this; I've rotated it and saved it that way on my computer and for some reason Blogger wants it like this, so there you go.
As you can see, I finished crocheting my colorful and bright Granny Square blanket and I just love it! The photo doesn't do the colors justice. The pink is a really pretty raspberry and it is in the border - you can't even really see it in the photo here. Oh, well. I finished weaving in the ends Friday night just before our friends arrived.
All of the yarn is Vanna's Choice yarn by Lion Brand. I find it to be a nice, soft, springy acrylic and am so pleased with the results. Yarn snobs may stick their noses up at the acrylic, but I prefer knowing that no sheep were ultimately killed (sometimes after being forced to march many miles and then being crowded onto ships, taken to the Middle East, marched many more miles before their throats are cut - a typical Australian/New Zeland sheep story. Most merino wool comes from these countries and this is how the animals are disposed of when they are no longer wanted for their wool). As much as I enjoy and appreciate the qualities of wool - and believe me - as a knitter, I DO - my conscience and compassion lead me to continue to purchase and/or recycle man-made or plant-based fibers for my pastime.
I do not believe that this kind of torture to the animals justified simply for my human pleasure. There is more in regard to wool - and merino wool in particular - that is unsavory to say the least and I will share it here in the future, but not today. But suffice it to say that I just cannot live - or knit - in denial of the the things that happen to the animals every single day for my craft - or my tastebuds for that matter.
With this in mind, I am continuing work on my sweater made with recycled yarn. I have finished the cabled arm and waist bands and will block them tonight. Then I will finally, finally get to pick up stitches for the body of the sleeves and the sweater! Hooray!!
Recently, I also purchased another lovely, soft, blue, heathered sweater that I plan to make into my February Lady's Sweater. I had completed a good deal of this sweater with a yarn that was gifted to me, but realized when I was close to being done with the body, that I was not going to have enough yarn. This new (used) sweater is a women's size large with a cowl neck - plenty for what I want to do. These projects will be my main ones that, if they don't carry me through the summer, will at least get me off to a good start.

I am not rushing things, though. The older my children get, the more I cherish remaining in the present. We'll have standardized testing to get through at the end of this month, as required by our state homeschooling laws (we can choose testing or evaluations by a certified teacher each year - I do testing every few years and go with evaluations the rest of the time). After that will be the final month of school and the fun, as well as bittersweet moments of wrapping up another school year. So, I'll take my transitions slowly and enjoy them, too, for what they are: a turning of the page, chapter by chapter in the story of our lives.
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