Thursday, May 29, 2014

Casting Off

If things are going untowardly one month, they are sure to mend the next.  
                                                                                       -Jane Austen

I just finished this summer shawl, which I knit for my mother using Sanibel yarn by Classic
Elite.  Click here to see my project on Ravelry.  

Stress levels and tempers were high at my school last week.  We had three days of final exams:  English on Tuesday, science on Wednesday, and math and social studies on Friday.  There was a computer glitch on Monday, so a whole slew of students were sent outside from their assigned testing rooms to wait for technology troubleshooters to solve the problem and make their online English exam work properly.  Teachers in North Carolina are assessed based on their students’ performance on exams.  This evaluation is even tied into computation of our future salary, so the other two English teachers at my school and I were obviously a bit distressed that our students played volleyball or frolicked merrily out in the sweltering sun for over an hour and then ate lunch before once again attempting to begin their English exams.  Then there was a whole muddled late afternoon, where timing miscalculations caused students who were not done taking the tests to be interrupted by all sorts of noise and opening and shutting of doors. 

This general confusion caused perhaps a bit more angst for me than it might have at another time of year.  Ironically, while my yearning for summer break is painfully palpable—especially around mid-March—I always experience a bit of an emotional letdown at the end of the school year.  Even without testing snafus, the onset of break marks change—students graduating and personnel shuffling—and the awareness of this change is always coupled with exhaustion from 180 long days instructing teenagers.  Friends and colleagues are moving on to better and brighter things:  the witty and bright young co-worker who is returning to his birthplace out West—for a higher salary and a closer proximity to his children’s grandmother.  The best friend who retired and moved to her home in upstate New York, many hours away.  The vivacious buddy with whom I spent evenings going out on the town in Charlotte who moved to Europe years ago with her Belgian husband.  The principal and two co-workers at my school who are retiring after teaching careers of 30-plus years. 


Here is another view of the shawl.  I finished knitting this a few days before the end of the school year.  

While I stand still, life flows onward and away.  My son, Jonathan, will be a senior next school year and the following year will be off to college.   My younger boy, James, will be entering high school this fall—so I am anticipating an emotion-fraught eighth-grade-graduation ceremony, where I will contemplate the passage of time and the slipping away of childhood. 

Despite these alterations I will stay put for a while—slowly plugging away, not tearing up and reinventing myself when it isn’t practical to do so.  And, rather than engaging in maudlin contemplation about where my life is going during the next two months off from school, I can get busy.  I can work on my TKCG Masters Knitting Program this summer and finish up some works in progress (lots of them!).  There is always the promise of future projects, which beckon with creative possibility, and future visits to distant yarn shops yet unexplored. I've also finally  signed up for a subscription to Rowan Yarns magazine.  I can't wait to see their fall designs. . . .



This Chenille Cowl is for a former co-worker who moved to New York State.  I love the rich Blue Heron
chenille yarn.  I hope to travel to see her this summer.  


     Funny how knitting, like the school year, provides constant variety, but, typically, not the kind tinged with melancholy or loss (save for a few unfortunate frogged projects).  Rather each new knitting endeavor, whether undertaken or merely contemplated, provides anticipation, enjoyment, and escape.   We had a farewell party for my co-workers this afternoon and my summer break just started today.  I think I’ll pull out some yarn I dyed two years ago and cast on a woolly sweater—just the thing to wear to school next year.

  



The end of the school year is filled with celebrations.  I made these cupcakes (along with some chocolate ones) for a co-worker's fiftieth birthday celebration.  

I also made Dawn (the birthday girl) a frilly apron.  Dawn is a talented
artist and brings an aesthetic eye not only to her artwork but also to her
culinary creations.  

The batch of chocolate cupcakes required six ounces of  unsweetened chocolate in the batter and more than
a pound of butter in the batter and icing!  I splurged on some gourmet dark chocolate.




1 comment:

  1. I sympathise with last week's stress - so frustrating when things like this happen. And I'm with you too in the poignancy of the ending of the academic year. Quite difficult. Glad you've had some happy creative stuff going on too though - very anchoring. Thank you so much for your email - I'll reply properly very soon. Thinking of you and the family. E x

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