Thursday, January 19, 2012

GrayC's Story

Fall of 2005, the 21-year-old college student, is gladly looking forward to a trip home for Columbus Day weekend.  A combination of frat parties and skipping classes had led to the departure of her boyfriend and left her living in this North Country town without him for the first time since freshman year.  They had dated through high school and the young woman found being away from home without him would seem impossible if it weren't for her Type-A personality pushing her through just one more year.

Fall of 2005, the gray, tiger-striped kitten, crawls beneath slate tiles stacked in a barn.  The barn stood open to a country road.  The country road that the kitten's mother had been dropped on when her owner discovered her bulging belly.  This barn had been her safe haven and the only home the kitten had known in her short life.  The kitten could see her mother across the dirt floor, behind a child's bicycle.  She wanted to run to her, but the thick-headed tabby lay between them.  His tail twitching in disgust at the number of felines that now inhabited his shelter.

The young woman was glad to be home.  Her bag was resting near the stairs that led to her childhood bedroom.  Her shoes sat by the door that opened to a country road she knew well.  A road that held memories of reaching the high steps of the school bus, learning to ride a bike, and driving her first car.  She could hear her dad calling out to her from the porch to meet him in the barn a few steps from their home.  As she made her way toward the door, sliding on rubber-soled slippers, the girl's mom told her about the kitten her dad wanted her to see.  A barn cat had taken the kitten's siblings and left the smallest one behind.

It had been three days since the little, gray kitten had been comforted by the familiar scent of her mother.  Three days since one of her siblings, a larger version of herself, had pounced and flipped her on her back.  When exactly they had left, she wasn't aware.  She surely would have followed along, if only she had known.  Was it while she rested on the hay used years ago by a brown horse with a raven mane?  Was it while she eyed the last quick flies of fall, before winter left the pests droopy?  She missed the sweet milk of her mother.  The solid, orange bits left by the stomping boots were tough to chew and left her feeling ill.

The young woman's first glimpse of the kitten was truly only a glimpse.  The frightened gray baby darted here and there until she had found refuge behind a pile of crates used for campfires and now, camoflauge.  The mean tabby had, for the moment, turned sweet, while twisting between pairs of ankles, whining for something to eat.  The young woman's father had been distracted by one of his many outdoor chores and was now along the outside of the barn.  She wasn't sure if she felt confident enough to grab the kitten even if it would let her.  She left this task to her mother, who after a few attempts, scooped the kitten up.  Barn cats can sometimes hiss or spit when confronted, but the young woman saw that this little one was quite at ease in her mother's arms.  Seeing the kitten's sweet demeanor gave the young woman an idea. 

Winter of 2012, the gray kitten, now a plump, short-legged cat lay on a mat where a draft of heat pumps from the furnace.  When the warmth fades, she opens her eyes, blinking in the kitchen light.  After a squeaky stretch, the cat pads across the frigid farmhouse floor and settles in a seated position in front of the couch.  Her small head is tilted upward and she stares at the young woman with her large, green, still quite kitten-like eyes.

Winter of 2012, the young woman is settled on the couch under a quilt to curtain the chill drafting through the old farmhouse windows.  Unable to sit with idle hands, she knits while half-listening to a sitcom her husband is watching.  She looks across at the man she's loved since her teens then back to her knitting.  A short cry brings her attention to a pair of kitten eyes looking up at her from the braided carpet below.  "Come on up," she sing songs to the chubby, gray girl.  The cat leaps up to the young woman's knee and kneads at the quilt rested across her legs.  The woman lifts her cat and adjusts her across her lap, leaving room for the half completed baby blanket she is working on.  As she sits here, she thinks of the year she spent away from this man, from her family, from her home.  She remembers the nights spent with the little, gray kitten curled up under her chin as she slept.  Natural gifts were given and received.  The kitten had the comfort of the young woman's steady heartbeat and body heat.  The young woman had her piece of home and saving grace.  A purr from the cat brings the woman back into the present.  She leans down and kisses the cat on the head, whispering, "Love you, GrayC."

The little, gray kitten all grown up.
Christmas Eve 2011

Monday, January 16, 2012

this is my town

Sunday football.  Small town bar.  GGG-MEN!  Belly up.  Buy a square.  Two more hours.  Family and friends.  Day off tomorrow.  Girly convo.  Fans scream.  High fives.  Man Hugs!  Bloody Mary.  Buy a round.  High fives.  Happy husband.  Jen sit down!  Cheese head.  Save my seat.  Sarah smile!  High fives.  Blue solo cups.  TOUCHDOWN!  Plastic shot glasses.  "This doesn't happen in Boston."  Watch my drink.  Wings (triple threat).  HF.  Boys playing pool.  Hair cut bet.  Juke box off.  Wink. Wink.  Man-dancing.  Superstitions.  GIANTS WIN!  "Now you've gotta come next Sunday!" 
<3- Sarah

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Baby = Blanket

My sister's baby is on his way and in our family that means blankets need to be made.  My mom will make one of her beautiful quilts and because I haven't ventured into that craft yet, I'll be knitting my new nephew a baby blanket.  One day I'll learn to quilt.  This will lead to the dawning of even more craft projects, without ever seeing their dusk.   Oh well, crafting seems to go that way...right?  I mean, I can't be the only one with projects laying about the house, waiting to take shape in the hands of the one who brought them to life.  Oh, I hope so.

First hooked rug...needs some finishing touches.
This past weekend, my sister, mom and I went to a yarn shop in Manchester, VT to find the baby hues that will be used in my blanket.  Here is the color combo that made Shannon's "heart jump." :)

It seems when knitting for a baby, you can't really go wrong.  The yarn is soft, the colors are cozy, the ideas are endless.  One of our favorites is Debbie Bliss.  Her baby knitting books have been flipped through at my mom's house whenever a baby is on the way.  My mom, an avid knitter, can create most projects in these books and will attempt any, teaching herself along the way.  I'm not quite there and have stuck mostly to scarves and blankets.  There was one baby hat, which was hard to give away as the gift it was intended to be. It made me so happy to look at! 

Made this one for a friend's baby in mint green.
 After I get the size 7 needles from my mom and a refresher in casting-on (yes, it's been that long since my last knitting project), this blanket will begin.  Stay tuned for updates and look below for the pattern to make this blanket.  The pattern was found on Pinterest.  It is from a blog called JCasa handmade.

use any yarn + needles you wish, although i would recommend you not go above worsted as we don't want little baby fingers or toes getting caught in the stitches.
[the one above was knit with 3 balls of cotton ease on US 7 needles.]
* CO 3 st and K 1st row.
* K1, Kf+b, K to end of row. repeat this until you have 6 st on your needles.
* RS = K1, Kf+b, K to end of row.
* WS = K1, Kf+b, P until 3 st remain, K3.
* repeat the RS + WS sequence - you are making an upside-down triangle working form the tip upwards, so once you have reached your desired width/height, that's when you start to decrease.
* RS = K until 5 st remain, K2tog, K3.
* WS = K3, P until 5 st remain, P2tog, K3.
* repeat the RS + WS sequence until 6 st remain.
* K1, K2tog, K3. (5 st)
* K1, K2tog, K2. (4 st)
* K1, K2tog, K1. (3 st)
* K3tog, cut yarn and pull through the loop.  sew in ends, wash + block and give to baby.

Will a baby be entering your world?  Whether you are a beginner knitter or a pro like my momma, grab your needles and knit with me. <3


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Kisses goodbye and all tucked in

Winter has arrived here in The Creek.  The plastic has gone up on the old farmhouse windows, making the view outside as hazy as the snowfalls that will follow. 

The past two nights our temp has dropped considerably and with no heat upstairs in our home, we pile on the blankets and I sleep in layers.  Socks being one of these layers, which the husband thinks is craziness, but I love. 

Unfortunately, Lincoln had a romp around the farmyard this past weekend when it was quite muddy before the cold crept in.  Larry, the farmer, has been spreading manure on the fields in our backyard and Lincoln just loves him some manure.  It was a messy mess.  Before we could give him a bath, our pup had been on every blanket in the house.  Jumping, napping, giving his hugs and all along spreading his stinky manure scent.  We've lived in this house on the farm for three and a half years now and I grew up with farms in every direction at my parents' house, so I've grown to welcome the sweet, springy smell - OUTSIDE the house.  Bedtime just wasn't so pleasant as Andrew and I climbed into bed, pulled the covers up, and got cozy with the cows.

Cow Kisses
my future brother-in-law

Lincoln got his tubby.  Comforters and quilts were tossed into the wash.  My house lost its farm fumes for now.

 This meant that we had to pile on extra quilts, homemade by my momma, while our big comforter spent the night in the dryer. 
Each morning before my man heads off to the mill, before the early morning light has made an appearance, he leaves me with a kiss goodbye and tucks me in from the cold.  This morning, with his wifey in mind, he warmed up the big comforter and brought it to me in bed.

mmmm....laundry warm from the dryer is one of

my favorite things.  Many a winter's day, before

folding, I can be found sitting on the laundry room

floor covered in a pile of toasty cloth. 

My husband may not always think of the sweetest words to say.  He may not make romantic gestures often. But he knows his wife.  She fancies warm laundry.  So this is what he gave me.  It's simple.  It's love.

Visit her, gentle Sleep! with wings of healing, And may this storm be but a mountain-birth, May all the stars hang bright above her dwelling, Silent as though they watched the sleeping Earth!
-Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Warm winter wishes.
<3- Sarah

Monday, January 2, 2012

Red's Story

Back to work tomorrow for me.  I do sense a bit of jealousy from those around me when I am at the beginning or end of one of my vacations from school.  "You lucky b*, you get the whole week off!"  "Oh, you had the whoooole week off and you have to go back to work on Tuesday. Boo Hoo!"  I know, I know, school vacations are a perk, BUT so
are the comedic happenings in the classroom.  Kids say the darndest things!

To get myself pumped up to head back in tomorrow....I will leave you with a quick post.  A story from my pre-k classroom my second year of teaching.

This story stars one of my students, we will call him Red.  Picture a boy, really one of those ALL-boy kind of boys, with a mop of rust-colored hair on his head and a spray of freckles covering his cheeks and nose.  A friend's mother once said, "A face without freckles, is like a night without stars."  In that case, Red's face was like a country night in the Creek.  He often wore jeans that were faded at the knee and stopped an inch or so above is untied sneakers.

Red, with all his freckles, sat at a round table in the classroom with two other little boys in my class.  They had just arrived at school, so the brains were buzzing, hands were busy, and conversation was high.  It was a spring day and, as the school year came to a close, "the big school" was a favored topic of conversation. 

As I took a seat in a child-sized chair at Red's table, its highest point hitting my knee, I realized the chatter happening between these boys had ventured even futher into the future than "the big school."  One of the boys said with pride, when I graduate I'm gonna go to college."  Another boy nodded his head at this idea and they both looked to me for approval.  I nodded along and continued listening, unlike me, but so glad I did.  This is when Red spoke up.  Red had a different plan in mind.  He was not going to college.

Wide eyes.  Loud voice.  Nose scrunched.  Red-head tilted.
Red said,
"When I graduate, I'm going to Kindergarten!!!"


Sunday, January 1, 2012

Twenty Twelve

We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.
Edith Lovejoy Pierce

January 1, 2012.  I leave 2011 with mixed feelings.  Emotions are running wild and aimlessly in this girl.  Pure joy leads to tears in an instant.  Why?  I have no answer.  A phase, the weather, just a crazy girl thing I suppose. 

In need of repair, but beautiful all the same.  Leaving the past behind, carrying a piece of it with us always.
 A new year looks, to most, like an opportunity for change.  A reason to start again, try a little harder this time, and possibly succeed.  If not, 2013 will soon approach and with it another chance to resolve.  I haven't heard of many people being all too uspet with failing at a resolution in the new year.  These things seem to be set up for failure in most cases.  I don't think I have ever completely followed through with a resolution I've set for myself.  But then again, I don't seem to choose resolutions that are all too pressing.  Exercise, less swearing, the usuals. 

This year I would like to wake up to more weekend mornings craving coffee instead of red Gatorade...if confused see  Settling down.  Staying in.  I'll keep it in mind.  It is something I want. 

She says, "I wanna do right, but not right now."  - Miranda Lambert

Waking up at home.
Realistically, making a life change on January 1st is silly.  A day on the calendar will never decide a person is ready for change.  Looking ahead to an entire year can be overwhelming and seem impossible.  I will take it day by day (or, in my resolution's case, weekend by weekend).  I will choose what's right for me. 
I will change in 2012 and the beauty of it is that I won't always have control over how or when it happens.  I can plan my resolution and I can give it a whirl, but it's what has not yet been planned and is on the way that makes the new year so momentus.  It is why we gather to celebrate.  In hope of happy days ahead.

Right now, GrayC and Annabelle are curled up on me.  This is something I can count on from January to June.  The coldest months bring the kitties close.  Lincoln is stretched out on the couch next to us.  His dog dreams making him twitch.  And so 2012 begins...

<3- Sarah