Sunday, November 2, 2008

Turning Forty

On November 7th, I turn forty. It feels like the intersection of the first part of my life with the rest, and I'm very excited about the future. I love so many things about my life right now.

I love "log-cabin" knitting, from which this blog gets its name. The above blanket was made over the course of the summer-- on hot afternoons while listening to NPR, poolside, on vacation in Atlanta, at night while watching something on TV that didn't demand my full attention. It is based on the pattern from the Mason-Dixon team in their book Mason-Dixon Knitting: The Curious Knitters Guide (2006). I love the intersections of warm and cool colors as they spiral around the center rectangle in a labyrinth of yarn. My son, Hobson, claimed this blanket and named it his "Rainbow Blanket." The next project is a "Sunflower Blanket" for my daughter, Mary Emerson.

The name for this blog refers to more than my knitting. On this blog, I will start building the next 40 years-- strip by strip, log by log, day by day. Yes, it finally feels like I'm an adult! I'm past the point of saying "yes" to things to which I really want to say "no." I know what I like and what I don't like. I know how I want to spend my time what I would rather not do. It is liberating to be at this point in life. There are limitations, of course. But, a good chunk of time is within my power to design.

I had an amazing Thursday last week. It was a work day at St. Therese Catholic School. I taught 3rd through 6th graders in the morning using a wonderful book called Los Gatos Black on Halloween (2006) by Marisa Montes and illustrated wonderfully by Yuyi Morales. My students made paper-bag puppets for the characters in the story, and we discussed the Mexican celebrations of "Day of the Dead." Then we put on classroom productions of the story with our puppets, sound effects, and musical instruments.

In the afternoon, I made a ballot box for our book character elections for President to be held on November 4th. The entire school, pre-K through 6th grade, has been preparing for this day by holding primaries and caucuses in their classrooms to narrow down the candidate field. My daughter's school, Casey Elementary is also doing this, and her third classroom has chosen Nancy Drew for its nominee. I like Nancy, but I hope another class has chosen Hermione Granger!

That night, I went to see the fifth graders at Casey Elementary perform their version of Shakespeare's Macbeth. The joy on their faces told me that they will remember this experience for a long time-- much longer than any test score. This is the kind of education in which I believe and for which I advocate. I will write about arts integrated education a lot on this blog.

At the end of the day, I worked some on the Sunflower Blanket-- catching up on the election news and getting ready for the next day of Halloween and all of it's festivities. This log-cabin blanket will be completely different than the other. Like log-cabin quilting, there are many variations of how the strips can be put together. As in life, we have so many choices-- so many variations to how we can spend our days.

On that Thursday, at work, at home, with my students and family, I was doing what I wanted to do. I enjoyed the creativity of the day. I felt alive, and this is how it should be.

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