Sunday, February 23, 2014

Winter's Tale


     A little over a week ago the South was shut down by a snow storm.  The school where I teach was closed for three-and-a-half days, time which I spent blissfully engaged in domestic and creative endeavors.  I made homemade strawberry jam (with six pounds of berries I found because I actually had time to remember that I have a freezer in my garage), finished "Ginny's Cardigan" (shown below), worked diligently on knitting another top-down sweater, baked a variety of items that included a buttery cinnamon crumb cake and homemade biscuits (to eat with strawberry jam), cooked all sorts of other food (the best of these was perhaps some creamy risotto served with baked cod), sorted my yarn stash, and gave much of the house a thorough cleaning.  But now it’s back to the crunch.





People often suffer from the misapprehension that teachers have lots of time on our hands.  In reality, the blocks of weeks of the school year are so stuffed full of activities that there is little time to breathe.  Another reality is that there is actually too much work to complete well, so people in my profession have to make choices that border on insubordination, in order to provide the best instruction for their students and not work round the clock.  I told a friend a couple of years ago, “I am two people.  One is the harried teacher-woman and two is the summer-mom, the person who is kinder and who doesn’t view her children’s needs as annoying conflicts to be worked out on her daily planner.” My friend is a teacher, too, and is in a much more difficult situation than I am as she is also raising two children on her own.  She had to concur.  



This sweater should have a closer fit--with less ease--than the green version
 I highlighted a couple of weeks ago.  

     I know my woes are not unique to me.  Working parents have it tough.  I also am aware that it isn’t healthy to complain or to dwell on problems that are beyond my control.  I suppose that fact is why I’ve never been able to sit down and watch Mr. Holland’s Opus all the way through.  It is a movie about a high school music teacher who naively takes a high school teaching job, believing that his post will afford him time to compose music.  Obviously, his life’s great achievement does not end up being a great opus but, rather, the gifts he has given to his students.  While this movie, when viewed in its entirety, must be uplifting, it raises unsettling issues that are too close to home for me.  Maybe I’ll watch it when I retire. 

After a day spent sorting my stash, I realized that it's time for another Lenten yarn fast.  This is part of my collection of worsted-weight yarn, most of it left over from bigger projects.  


On my snow days, after cleaning the house, I moved some furniture around and 
placed this  chair in front of my bedroom window.  I though it would be a cozy
 place to sit.  Streaky seems to agree.The crocheted bowl and book with Liberty
 print cover were gifts to me made by my blogger  friend, 
 Mrs. Thomasina Tittlemouse.  My friend, Cindy, quilted the piece on the
 back  of the  chair.


     For now, I’ll choose to avoid this film and continue on with my work in my classroom, still holding onto my castle in the air that I can somehow find the time to simultaneously pursue a career related to knitwear design.  Of course, I am not naive enough to believe that if my hobby ever does transmute into my profession that it will be stress free.  But maybe, unlike in my current job, I won’t have to spend hours and hours documenting and proving what I do.  Nor will I have to live the overwhelming and ever-present guilt that comes with failing to live up to the expectation that every student will achieve at a high level.  I can just hold up the tangible evidence of a sweater and a knitting pattern and say, “Look what I did!”




Eight days ago the ground was covered with snow.  Today the daffodils are almost
ready to bloom. 
These vines recently reared their heads, too.  Maybe summer break isn't too far away.  

Had to include a picture of one of my jars of strawberry jam, along with some vintage knick-knacks.  

1 comment:

  1. I am envious of your snow & dare I say it?, your snow days! There is something lovely about the unexpected gift of a snow day and the permission it gives to do all the kinds of things you rightly took the opportunity to do! I feel for you re the working / juggling routine thing (as you know) - there are, I fear no easy answers, but I increasingly feel the grit of the humdrum is not necessarily a brake on creativity but rather the reverse. Of course it can get out of synch but a bit of opposition or push-back can often trigger better artistic results than an apparently desirable unimpeded road. You may disagree of course but I've been feeling it increasingly in my own situation. Your cardigan is absolutely gorgeous! Well done you! And the strawberry jam too - mmmm! Hope this week goes well even if there are no more snow days! E xx
    Ps I'll be touch re the English garden question you emailed about shortly!

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