Sunday, March 22, 2009

Special Julies

I have two special "Julies" in blogdom. The first "Julie's" blog is JewelTomes. I discovered her one time when I was just browsing, and she had this funny post about teenagers. I can't really remember the exact content, but I think it had a picture of a crushed bumper and a caveat to parents of girls that the drivers who are usually responsible for doing this to cars are teenage boys. We have an almost unbelieveable connection, beyond the knitting. We both love literature. Julie has a Master's degree in Humanities, just like I do. She's one of about five people, including the three professors on my review committee, who have read my thesis. We've both run long distances although I think that Julie may have run a marathon, and I've "only" run in half-marathons. We both spend a lot of time with our kids and are known to knit at our kids' swim meets. We're about the same age, so Julie is always making great musical and movie allusions from the 70s and 80s. She seems to be a little more even-tempered than I am, but we're both somewhat feisty but enjoy a good joke, even if it's on us. Oh,,, and we both have been married for a long time, and still like our husbands, but don't mention them in our blogs very often (LOL)

A couple of weeks ago, Julie sent me two books. I have to admit that I havent started them yet because I've been kind overwhelmed by school work and I had to finish my book club's book for our meeting next week. I'm planning to start Eggs in Purgatory this afternoon if I get all of my grading done though. It's not a knitting novel, but has another theme Julie knows I love--food.. Anyway, I enjoy Julie's friendship, and I hope we can meet in real life someday.

I don't know the other Julie other than what I read on her blog. She's incredibly creative and produces beautiful handknit toys.. She blogs at Little Cotton Rabbits, and I've practically been obsessed with her little knitted bunnies,shamelessly trying to copy them. I 've pretty much given on on ever purchasing one of her toys because they sell out in seconds when they come up for sale. I am not exaggerating. She's recently, however, made several of her patterns available. I bought her egg cozy pattern last night and had to give it a try right away. It was only $3.50, but I would have happily spend twice that to get my hands on this pattern. What did I discover when I finished? What I already knew...that she's an artist, and I'm not. It's a cute enough bunny, but it looks like the ones I already have been knitting on my own. There's just something that she does to hers that raises the cute factor. Oh well, I'll try again.

In other knitting news, I've knit a felted bowl. I used the pattern from Knit Noel. I'm planning to fill it with Mrs. Meyer's baby products and some handknit washclothes. You would think that I'd be doing this in anticipation of a baby coming, Actually, the anticipation is over. My sister had a baby last week. For some reason, I thought her due date was in April. I guess that's what happens when you don't talk to each other very often. Anyway, she had a little boy, and we're excited to get to cuddle a little baby this summer when we see them. For those of you who know my sister, yes, she is forty-two and that does make five, and yes, I do think five is a bit superfluous. (LOL) We're happy for them long as the economy doesn't get so bad that her husband loses his job and they all have to move in with us. Just kidding, they'd be welcome.

Friday, March 20, 2009

All Day Cookies

When I first graduated from college almost twenty-five years ago, I thought I wanted to be a librarian. I was accepted into San Jose State's graduate program in "Information Science" shortly before Russ and I got married. We arrived in San Jose with no jobs and no idea where we were going to live. After having spent four years within the shelter of a small, liberal arts college in a town of around 15,000 people, the entire big university/big city experience was daunting. Russ soon found a job drywalling, but we still had no money to speak of. We had no furniture in our studio apartment and slept on a mattress from the inside of a discarded sleeper sofa we found near a trash can outside of our apartment. I hated it there, despite its close proximity to many beautiful areas. I lasted one semester and that was only because Russ kept encouraging me to at least finish up the semester, so it wouldn't be a total waste.

I do have some pleasant memories of our San Jose experience though. Most of them are memories of time spent with our friends, Bob and Colene. They were old friends of my parents from when we had lived in Fresno years before, but they quickly became our friends. We loved them. They pretty much adopted us for the six months we lived there, not that they had that much choice because we probably made nuisances of ourselves coming over so often. I remember sitting in their living room having pleasant conversations with Bob about anything under the sun, I remember sitting with Colene in their kitchen that smelled just like my grandma's, and I remember eating tons of Colene's "All Day Cookes." Colene gave me the recipe for them ages ago, but a year or so ago, I misplaced it. I emailed Colene to ask if she could send me the recipe, and true to form, she did more than that. About a week later, a box came in the mail...with a couple dozen All Day Cookies in it, along with the recipe. I asked special permission to share this recipe because I felt that it was practically sacred. Colene agreed that these cookies are close to being sacred in her family, but sharing is allowed. I feel special being trusted with it:)

All Day Cookies

1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tps. vanilla
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 1/3 cups oatmeal
2 tsp. soda
12 oz. chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups raisins
1 1/2 cups peanuts

Mix and drop by teaspoons full of cookie sheet.
Bake at 300 degrees until done. Has to bake at
fairly low temperature or will burn. I baked at
325 degrees for about 12 minutes.

I also have to share what Colene wrote at the bottom of the recipe card, showing that even though we haven't seen each other in years that she still knows Russ: "Makes a ton--or one evenings worth for Russ!"

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Paige Went Forth

So, here's a picture of the taconic sweater modeled by its recipient. I told Paige that she didn't have to keep it if she didn't like it, but she said that she did like it; she just didn't think it was very flattering. I know what she means. It's pretty yarn, but it and the sweater are a bit heavy. Why is Paige smiling so happily then. ..Because she's going camping at Pismo Beach tonight. The kids (not the teachers, boo hoo) have tomorrow off. iI's one of Paige's best friend's birthday, and one of her friend's mom's is taking (and staying with) a crew of six of them. They have the crazy idea that they'll be swimming, but unless it's a lot warmer over there than here, they'll barely feel like even having their suits on.

I have an English project that I assign every year to my juniors. I have them emulate Walt Whitman's poem A Child Went Forth. I'm not a huge "Uncle Walt" fan, but I do I love this poem. I have the kids replace his important language with their own, and they come up with their own unique and often beautiful poem. I've had some tearjerkers over the years because the kids often go all out for this project, and they're at that perfet age where they remember all of the kid stuff, but are teeterering on adulthood. They have to create webpages about their lives to go with the poem, and then we present them in the class. I've been meaning to share Paige's poem for quite a while mainly just to show off, and because any time I feel like she's an ungrateful, frustrating kid who hasn't appreciated her parents' near-obsession with making her life great, I read this, and I think that maybe we've done OK.

Most kids just give it the title "A Child Went Forth," but Paige called hers

THERE was a child went forth every day;
And the first object she look'd upon, that object she became;
And that object became part of her for the day, or a certain part of the day, or for many years, or stretching cycles of years.

The smell of the early coffee beans became part of this child,
And cinnamon apples, and cilantro and shrimp pesto pasta, and black and white cats, and the classical songs to help her fall asleep,
And the sixth-month Nebraska visits, and the yearly Humbolt County Fairs, and the trips to the coast and farmer's markets, and the Sundays in Bakersfield eating at Chipoltle's after church.
And the noisy barks of Beagles from outside her door, the voices of joggers outside her window.
And the fish from her friend who moved to Kansas suspending themselves to the top of their fish bowl after living for three years,
And the See Canyon apples with their delicious sweet fruit became part of her.

The hot weather of the fifth month and almost every month became part of her;
camomile tea, and those of the candy corn bag every Halloween, and the pink or purple flowers of the garden,
And the apricot, plum, and peach-trees cover'd with blossoms, and the fruit afterward, and oranges and Kumquats,
and the prettiest poppies by the fence;
And the Parkview kids skipping home from school, whence she had once attended,
And the two and a half high school years that had already pass'd so quickly,
And the volleyball seasons that pass'd-and the basketball and swimming seasons,
And the straight hair, Hollister dressed girls-and the Ugg boots on every boy and girl,
And all the changes of Taft and Bakersfeild and desert, wherever she went.

Her own parents, He that had father'd her, and she that had conceiv'd her in her womb, and birth'd her,
They gave this child more of themselves than that;
They gave her afterward every day-they became part of her.
The mother at school and home, helpful, observative, loving, short-tempered, beautiful; also becoming one of her best friends, sometimes verbal competitor, or at school the distinctive jingle of her keys when she walks down the hall;
The mother with made-up words describing everything she likes by dropping the last few letters of the word but keeping the s(such as "Beags") or making up new laws to life, such as " shared candy bars do NOT count", a chuckle coming out of her
The father, friendly, caring, annoying, joking, concerned;
The blog, the quick run, the late night reading, the tan meals,
The family traditions, the language, the vacations, the candles-the growing and appreciative heart,

Affection that will not be faded-the sense of the future-the thought if, after all, it should prove amiss,
The doubts of school-time and the doubts during athletics,
the curious why and what, why it is how it is, or what is the answer, is it all memories and hopes?
Men and women disappointed and pleased, what is their purpose?
The mud pies, the friends moved away, the birthday dinner, the favorite non-matching outfit, the one stolen candy from the store,
the books read aloud, the golden retriever long gone, playing trucks with her brother, visits from Black Bart,
the forgotten fights between best friends, the SSL Volleyball Championship freshman year,
the cell phones new, broken, then dropped in the pool, broken, lost, broken, dropped on the floor, broken,
the parties Friday night at the Kopp household, the first lost grandparent, finding another best friend,
the trip to the Getty and Medieval Times, the trip to Hearst Castle, the anticipation of getting the first im-perfect report card, first love, where to go to college, who will you meet, who will you loose, what will you look like, what will you accomplish, what will happen to your kids, when will you die?;

These became part of that child who went forth every day, and who now goes, and will always go forth every day.

It's so full of familial allusions that it may not be an interesting poem to non-family members (so that means I put it here for you to read, Ann, since you're my only faithful family reader) but I love it, so I shared it.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Hoping for a Long Spring

In keeping with my belief that it's important to buy knitting-related items if you're not actaully producing them, I bought a cup from Jenny the Potter this month. I'm using it to show off some Manos yarn, which I also bought recently, for right now, but it's a perfect cup for drinking coffee too. There's nothing like the feel of handthrown pottery. Russ used to "throw pots" when he was in high school and college. Before I went up to the studio with him to see him throw, I had this image of people throwing clay against the wall or something like that when I heard the term "throw pots." Anyway, I love pottery. Maybe I'll have to buy another one, so I can have one for show and one for function. Jenny also included two cute, little stitch markers, which I thought was the perfect touch. The only thing is that when I use stitch markers, it seems like I need several of them. Mmmmm, that's a thought to ponder.

I jokingly wrote last month that I thought I'd finish Paige's Taconic v-neck sweater around the time it hit 80 degrees outside. I just read on the weather channel that the forecast was for 79 degrees on Monday and Tuesday next week...and I finished sewing the seams of her sweater last night. (LOL) She tried it on but didn't seem overly excited about it, which wasn't unexpected. She doesn't want to look bulky, and it is kind of a bulky sweater. Kitty, on the other hand, thinks it's wonderful. I've shooed her off of it numerable times, but she just looks annoyed and hops back on it. It was a fun pattern to knit although I think I'd change a few things if I were to knit it again. It calls for you to hem the bottom and the sleeves, but I'd do a provincial cast-on. It's easier than hemming, and I think it looks nicer.

One of the reasons I haven't blogged in a month is that I've been teaching an offline college class, which means my students email me their assignments, and I've been preparing for a late-start online class, which means my students complete all of their work on the computer. Now, I'm teaching both classes. I enjoy it, but I'm a slow grader, so most of my evenings have been swallowed up by taking care of those classes. The other time-consumer is that swimming season has begun. The kids have had two swim meets so far, and we've been mildy chilly, bordering on miserable, sitting in the stands. We're heading off for another swim meet this morning, but I think we'll be happy. It's nice and sunny, and we know there's a Starbucks close by where we can go to warm up if needed. Paige and Kai are both swimming this year, so it's wonderful only having to go to one event instead of being torn between two. I love knitting at swim meets when it's still cool outside, which it is today. I'm just hoping that we can postpone the hot temps for a month or two!