Monday, December 09, 2013

Be careful what you wish for............

One should be very careful about what one wishes for. Our snow arrived yesterday. Riley was disappointed to find out that this snow, as beautiful as it was, was not good packing snow. Winter Wonderland snow but not snow fort snow.
It didn't snow a lot in southern New Jersey, where I grew up. Snowpants were practical, brown, ugly affairs. We stuffed our dresses down into them (remember little girls HAD to wear dresses to school back then) so we had a thick layer of bunched up padding around our bellies and butts. I'm going to take a guess that my winter coat wasn't that pretty either. Warm but certainly not pretty. Practical but not pretty.
Riley goes out into the snow with bright pink snowpants and a blue and lime green jacket with a Miss Kitty hat on her head.
I wonder why it took so long for fashion people to design fun, bright colors for kids. 
I remember once seeing a black and white picture of the hill near our apartment, covered with little kids sledding. Everybody was in dark, practical, ugly winter clothes. Now, when I go by a sledding hill and see all the bright colors zipping down the hill I want to paint a picture. It just looks fun.
I have to say, though, probably the bright spots of our winter clothing were the hats and mittens. Most of the mother's knit and took pride in their colorful patterns.
My mother claims she knitted things. I don't honestly remember anything. I certainly never saw a picture with me as a child, wearing anything that she knit. My grandmother knit but again the only thing I remember seeing her knit was Barbie clothes for my cousin, Susan.
My Great Aunt Elvie crocheted and bless her heart she did make me a beautiful pull over sweater, when I was in college. 
I don't knit.  It's not that I haven't tried. I had to teach myself, from a book and I never could quite get the hang of how to hold the knitting needles. I would end up propping the end of one knitting needle against my chest while I tried to wrap yarn around the other needle.
It looked as awkward as it sounds.
I did teach myself to crochet. My second job, when we arrived in Wisconsin was still at the University but a step up in title and salary.
I had taken the mandatory upgrade test and got myself on the Administrative Assistant list. Glorified name for secretary or clerk back then. My job was to take registrations and set up for Business School outreach classes. Business men from all over the state would sign up for these classes. The job wasn't stressful and certainly didn't require two of us, in the office with two part time helpers. But, that was back in the day when the University seemed to have money to burn.
I often had empty time on my hand. Oh to have the tech toys we have now. I had to look busy all the time. My fellow office partner and I arranged our desks so that when the bosses assistant would pop in to "see how we were doing", we would always be typing. 
I don't know what Eileen was typing. She was always a quiet, reserve person who didn't share much about herself. Considering we shared a small office space for a good three years, I knew practically nothing about her.
I spend my time typing recipes on large Index cards.  The same size cards that we typed the registrations on. Since I was newly married, working and still responsible for cooking meals while my husband
worked hard at studying in graduate school. We had no money so to occupy my type I found recipes for 100s of different ways to prepare ground beef. Forty-five years later I still have that file box with cards. Don't ask me why. I probably made ten dishes from the hundreds in there. It was an exercise in busyness.
Anyway, getting back to crochet lessons. Once our nosey manager had "checked up on her girls" I could stop typing and open my desk drawer and take out my crocheting. Eileen gave me the yarn. I never saw her knit or crochet but she certainly had some beautiful winter scarves that she wore with her wool coat. She explained what the terms meant in the directions and gave me a heads up when the manager was making the rounds again.
I crocheted baby afghans for all of Justin's kids when they were born.
Then my fingers started to get a little stiff. My thumb joint a little painful when holding yarn around it. You don't think about getting older and not being able to continue to do something that seemed so easy to do. I haven't crocheted for a couple of years now. 
I do know that both knitting and crocheting are relaxing activities to do. Soothing for men or women, perhaps more soothing then texting or scrolling up and down your iPad or iPhone. At least you would have something to show for your time.
Well, I've certainly meandered all over the place today. I think the reason might be since I decided to use this blog for just art topics from the studio and this might be the end of passing on some memories for my grandchildren, the memories have started to crowd into my mind.
Sorry, memories, not everybody gets put down on the page. 
So, I'm off to the gym now. The sun it up, the snow is glistening. I'm down 43 pounds and holding which is great. To lose two more before the first of the year would be icing on the, well let's not use that analogy. It was be really nice though. So, I will huff and puff my way up those treadmill hills.

"We create stories and stories create us.  It is a rondo."
Chinua Achebe


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