P.S. None of these names are of people I know- I made them up.
Sunday, May 30, 2010
P.S. None of these names are of people I know- I made them up.
Friday, May 28, 2010
After a year of watching me knit, many of the students I work with wanted to learn themselves. I wanted to be able to give them everything they'd need to keep, so I decided to teach them to finger knit instead of knitting with needles (I have a lot of needles, but not enough to give them away). I asked my knitting group for any yarn they didn't want, and them spent several nights with my Mom's help winding Red Heart Super Saver (aka, the yarn no one wanted) into balls for the students to use.
The first step of finger knitting is to make a slip knit, and I quickly realized that teaching a large group of students how to tie a slipknot is rather difficult. So I just had them tie the yarn on their index finger. It took most students two or three tries to get the hang of the technique, but once they got going, they didn't want to stop. Several were able to finish a scarf during their class period, and many of those who didn't finish in class did so during lunch.
One great thing was that it wasn't just the girls that were interested in learning. At least one boy in each class joined out impromptu knitting circle. Other students, who initially felt they were too cool to knit, slowly made their way over throughout the period, and eventually decided that maybe knitting wasn't so bad after all.
But perhaps the best thing was the pride the students took in their work. Every single student who finished a scarf wore it the rest of the day. And those who didn't proudly showed off the progress they had made to their classmates.
I'm not really sure how to bring this post to a conclusion. I don't think learning how to knit is going to drastically change anyone's life. But then again, knitting is what led me to meet my best friends in college, and what kept me going this summer. So maybe, somewhere along the line, these students' lives will be different. Because they know how to knit.
|What did you think?|
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Monday, May 24, 2010
The last couple of years have been a resurgence of that old Magic team I remember, and it has been exciting to share the games with my friends and family. I love watching my Mom cheer the players on from our living room, and my Dad and brother yell at the ref. Even I join in on jumping up and shouting for a good play.
This year has been especially fun, as my family found ways to make sure we never missed a Magic game- even in Seattle and Canada. Our first night in Seattle, we hunted down a sports bar to watch the second game of round two of the playoffs. When we went back in the afternoon for game 3, the same waitress who had seated us the first time was there. "Magic playing again?" she asked, then set us up at a table with a clear view of the TV showing the game.
Game 4 happened to fall on the same day as our trip to Canada, and we had come to grips with the fact that we were going to miss it (a hard fact for my Dad and brother), when lo and behold, what do I see as we walk into Victoria, but a sports bar attached to a hotel.
We went in, but thought our luck may have run out when we saw that a hockey game was on, and Canada was playing. But, figuring we had nothing to lose, my brother went up to the bar to explain the situation (and thus proved that Orlando Magic fans can in fact be as loyal as Canadian hockey fans), and they agreed to put the game on one little TV in the back.
So, here we are, in game four of the final round of playoffs, Orlando vs. Boston. The record is 3-0, Boston. I'm not going to make any claims, or predictions (I'm superstitious in two areas of life- theatre, and sports), but I will say it would be great to see one last game in the Amway Arena (I remember when it was the Orlando Arena). And, though I may well be eating these words, I admit that I still believe in the Magic, and I also believe that just because something has never been done, it doesn't mean it can't be. And if you don't get what I mean by that last sentence, I'm not explaining. Superstition, you know.
Saturday, May 22, 2010
Last night I was untangling things, both literally and metaphorically. Nothing particularly bad happened yesterday, but a lot of little things that have been building up for a while reached the tipping point, and I just couldn't handle it any more.
Normally, when I'm upset, I turn to knitting, but I'd just finished a project, and really didn't have the motivation to start another one.
I remembered the the giant tangle I had made when trying to wind my own yarn, and while normally untangling yarn just makes me frustrated, for someone reason, the idea appealed to me.
So I pulled the tangle into my lap, and bagin to pick at it, gently teasing out strands, and following loops to their starting points. And the strange thing was, while I was working out the yarn tangles with my hands, my other tangles were being worked out in my mind.
There is still a knot in the yarn. It's much smaller than the one I started with, but is also more complicated to figure out how to undo. The tangle in my mind is much the same way. I've gotten the little knots out of the way, and am now face to face with the real issues. But now that I can see them, I know I can untangle them too.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
I've worked hard to make myself a life here this past year, and the thought of leaving it is a little saddening, especially when it comes to leaving the students I've been blessed to work with. Whenever I'd previously talked about how I like to teach, I'd say that I'd be willing to work with any age group- except middle school. So, of course, when I went job hunting after college, the only teaching opportunity that presented itself was at a middle school- the very same one I'd gone to.
Since then, twice a week, I've worked as a middle school tutor and made a surprising discovery. I love it. And I love my students. The age group- confused and overwhelmed as they are- is wonderful. While the drama the students make their lives out to be can get old, I've learned to just smile at it, and appreciate the potential I see in them.
So, why the title of the post? It's a line from a "The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost, a poem referenced several times in my conversation with my friend. We discussed decisions, and what it meant to have free will, and if choices are always either right or wrong. If, when faced with a decision, one choice is always God's plan, and the other not. And what I realized is that perhaps what it means to have free will is that sometimes we have decisions where both choices are right.
Going to graduate school is no more a "right choice" for me than staying here and getting my teaching certificate is. But it is the choice I've made. "And that," to quote Frost, "Has made all the difference".
And since it's Wednesday, I owe you a bit of creative writing. The following is a poem I wrote in college in response to "The Road Not Taken".
Monday, May 17, 2010
1. Woodland Park Zoo- My brother is a fan of Animal Planet's Meerkat Manor, so when we saw that the Seattle Zoo had a new Meerkat exhibit, we knew we had to go. It was a great zoo, and had more the feeling of a nature walk than an exhibition of animals in cages. The best part, though, was watching my brother. He wanted to see everything! We'd expected to make a quick hour trip of it, but stayed nearly three hours. My favourite animal was the Siamang, a monkey that mates for life and sings duets with its mate. We were fortunate to run into a student who was studying the zoo's Siamang pair, and told us the story behind them.
2. Seattle Aquarium- Beautiful is one of the words that comes to mind. The Seattle Aquarium showcased some of the most gorgeous sea-life I've ever seen- and a lot of it was native to the Seattle area. Like many of the places we visited, the aquarium was also very eco-friendly.
3. Underground Tour- Seattle is a city with two layers- one in top, and one underneath. This joke and pun ladened tour took us through the underground part of the city while giving a brief history of Seattle. It was hard to follow sometimes, but very cool, and entertaining. Rated PG for mild language.
4. Victoria, B.C.- We took the Victoria Clipper over to this beautiful island. I enjoyed just walking around and seeing everything, but my favourite thing was a wonderful yarn store called Knotty by Nature. They were very friendly, and let me try out a one of their spinning wheels! First time spinning on a wheel, and I have to admit, it was harder than I thought. I bought so local fibre there, and I think I'm going to save it till I have a wheel of my own. The highlight of our visit, however, was finding a sports grill and convincing the manager to turn off hockey on a tiny TV in the back and put on the Magic game.
5. Pike Market- pretty much the must-do tourist thing in Seattle, the abundance of unique shops still made this a worthwhile visit. And, of course, we bought a fish.
6. The Original Starbucks- We're not a big Starbucks family, but the original Starbucks was just down the street from our hotel, and the only coffee place that opened early enough to meet my family's early morning caffine fix. Every morning of the trip my Mom and Dad enjoyed a Cafe latte, my brother had a Carmel Macchiato, and I savoured a Chai latte.
7. Shopping- Besides the actual market, there is some excellent shopping in Seattle- and I don't like shopping. We found a wonderful antique store, where my Dad and I both bought hats.
8. Pensione Nichols- Modled after an Euroupean Bed and Breakfast, this is where we stayed. We'd only planned to stay there one night, but ended up staying the whole trip in the family sized suite (the one bathroom was a bit challegeing). It was noisy at night, but worth it for the location- literally around the corner from Pike Place Market. And the information and help we received from the manager (I think) Rich, was alone worth it.
9. Cooking in- Our last night in Seattle, we decided to take advantage of our kitchen. My Mom and I had a wonderful time sampling wares in the Market, and putting together a meal of fresh produce and even fresh garlic noodles.
10. No computer- I have to admit- this social media butterfly enjoyed being disconnected for a while. I admit to checking Twitter a few times, and to using my parents' iPhone to look up yarn stores, but it was nice to take a break from the hectic pace of the online world I work in.
Sorry for typos. I'm too tired and lazy too proofread right now.
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
While reading Thomas Thorspecken's blog about a month ago, I saw a sketch he'd made at a writing workshop. The thought of attending such a workshop appealed to me, so I followed his link to MAD about Words, and saw registration was open for a workshop in Flash Fiction. Not sure what that was, I googled it and discovered that flash fiction is fiction in 1,000 words or less- which is about 80% of what I write anyways. It seemed like a perfect fit for me, so I signed up.
I really enjoyed the workshop, and the opportunity to be with other people who took their writing seriously. As part of the workshop we were asked to write on separate slips of paper a word, an emotion, and a frame for a story (post-it notes, a letter, sitting at a diner, etc.). Then we mixed them up and picked one for each category. I drew "invasion", "judgmental", and "the song you never heard". Then we were told that the word was the title of the story, the emotion the tone, and we had to write within the given framework. We had just under an hour to write a piece of flash fiction.
At first, my frame gave me some trouble. Should I write song lyrics? But then it would be that a song that was heard. In the end, I came up with the following. Enjoy! (203 words, by the way)
She finally relaxed, letting the music wash over her, taking comfort in the empty a seat to her left and the torn up ticket on the sidewalk.
Now she could breathe again. There was no guilt, just peace. The concert had been her idea anyway, and now she could enjoy it. Could enjoy everything.
She closed her eyes as the music built up, louder and louder, taking her heart with it. Then, with a final crash, it faded into silence, into peace. And so did she.