We've got a nice, sunny, clear day with a nice Canadian air mass sitting right on us, so conditions are right for some outdoor picture taking.
Here the Bug models my new Malabrigo scarf! Yes, I have an ubersoft scarf for winter now. I actually have at least three scarves I've made myself, but I love them so! This one is so soft I can't describe it, but if you've ever had the good fortune to fondle a skein of Malabrigo, you know what I'm talking about. You can see that Bobo is finding it soft as well.
Here's a closeup shot of the scarf. The stitch I used is called the "feather faggot" stitch from BW's treasury that is never far from me. It's your basic faggoting stitch with a garter stitch column in between the loops. It's open and airy, but warm and soft at the same time. I love it so. I can't wait for it to be cold enough to wear it! Soon, soon...
Since it was sunny, I thought you'd like to see what color that skein of homespun really is. It's neither purple, nor cranberry. I call it "crangrape". Between that and the ruby red homespun bag I expect to get a letter from Ocean Spray's lawyers any day now.
Here's a closeup of my latest bag. This one is for me. The body of the bag is done, now I have to wait for my Joanns coupon so I can pick a lining for it, and some handles.
Wait a minute: what do you mean "This one is for me?" Who is the Ruby bag for? Are you going to sell it? Is it in your etsy shop and I didn't see it?
It's a gift. It's in a box ready to go out this afternoon as a surprise gift RAK kind of thing. I'll not say more until it's been gifted, lest the surprise be ruined.
And I got addresses for five more RAK's so I'm going to get on those as soon as I can make a path to my craft closet.
Speaking of etsy, I sold three pair of mittens this morning. Which rocks. Which also means that I now have some money burning a hole in my Paypal account.
I should resist. I mean, I've got plenty of roving to keep me busy for awhile. And I just got some Noro Kureyon in the mail to make a couple of bags. (For all of you wondering if I was going to offer a shaped and lined Noro bag in the shop...stay tuned.)
At any rate, school starts tomorrow. And it couldn't happen a day sooner, if you ask me. I'm ready for the Bug to get back to the book learnin', that's for sure. And Bobo is going to start Potty School at the same time. I'm sick of changing diapers and while I know she's probably not quite ready and I'm setting both of us up for failure, I'm getting impatient. If only she'd show a modicum of interest in it. The best we've managed so far is for her to tell me "I'm poopy." Great. Now tell me before you're poopy and we're getting somewhere. Still, I suppose some progress is better than no progress at all.
She'll be shitting her pants in the first grade at this rate.
Sorry, it's been a bit of frustrating kind of morning. I'm not sure why.
We had a great weekend, though. Saturday morning I had a workshop at church called Protecting God's Children. It's required of anyone in the parish that works directly with children, such as religious ed instructors, youth ministers, etc. So I did it, and it was informative. And I left a bit more informed and a bit more paranoid about who has contact with my kids. But I refuse to let it make me lest trusting, of either other people or my own instincts. I have good instincts. I can tell when something isn't stirring the KoolAid, or when I should grab my kids and run the other way. It's actually one of the most powerful and useful skills I possess in my arsenal. And when I get the feeling from Bug that she doesn't want to do something or seems a bit off in her behavior towards other people, I respect that and follow her lead. She might not know she has instincts yet, but she does. I think teaching kids to follow their gut reaction to people, places, and situations is the most important thing we can teach them.
And how to poop on the potty.
But I digress. The workshop was Saturday morning, and as soon as I got home, Mr. Poops told me that my friend Polly had called and invited us to her family's camp on Lake Winnisquam for some swimming. You didn't have to ask me twice. It was about 98 degrees and as humid as it could possibly get without actually raining by noontime. Before you could say "Bob's your uncle" we had the suits and cooler packed and we were off.
What a difference that made! It was at least 10 degrees cooler by the water, and there's nothing like a dip to bring that core body temp down. We wound up going out for a bit to grab some supper late in the afternoon, and then going back after we ate for another swim.
Here's where it gets fun. We got back and Polly had called my friend (and lifelong crush) Steve to see if he wanted to bring his family down for a swim too. Which he did. Well, we got in for our post dinner swim and you could watch the thunderclouds forming over the lake. We stayed in until we heard thunder, then we got out. Personally, I'd have stayed in until the wind picked up, but hey, her camp, her rules.
Of course Steve arrived as the thunderstorm moved in. We actually sat on the deck and watched the lightning strike on the other side of the lake. It was amazing to see. Then the wind came and the rain. Naturally, we decided it was a good time to go for ice cream.
We all loaded into the cars and went for an ice cream at this place, Jordan's, which is really just down the street from my house. We stood outside and ate our yummies and watched the storm move away.
At this point, it was already close to 8 and I had the feeling we should just go home and put the kids to bed, but dash it all, it was still hot and muggy. And Steve assured us that he had 4 air conditioners going at his house and it was probably 41 degrees in there. Say no more.
The kids played and watched DVD's and the grownups sat in the kitchen in front of the AC and had cool, refreshing beverages. Until after 11.
At one point Steve went in to check on the kids. Bug and his son Matt are the same age and in the same grade at the same school, albeit in different classes. And they have the best time playing together. Matt said to Steve, "I just love this so much." We all agreed that Matt was so right. We took pictures of them all playing together. We figure that thirty years from now when they're having their twenty year reunion, those pictures will be priceless. Maybe their kids will be playing together then too. Who knows? I hope so, 'cause that would be so great.
We slept in Sunday morning. I didn't have to cantor so we hit the 10:30 mass for a change. And I sat with the family. It was nice. Better yet, later in the afternoon Mr. Poops and Bobo took a nap upstairs in the big bed watching the Red Sox game and I nodded off on the couch while Bug played games on the computer. Isn't that what Sundays are made for, really?
And finally, last night we had Chinese food at Tanta and Baboos. We were going to have a cookout, but I decided it was entirely too sticky to grill. And I'd rather have Chinese any day. I'd eat it every day if I could. I can only imagine how swollen my fingers and toes would get from the sodium. I'd have arteries like copper tubing.
I stayed up way too late again watching God's Warriors on CNN. Have you seen this? Christiane Amanpour did a report on religious fundamentalists and extremists from the Christian, Jewish, and Muslim point of view. It wasn't at all what I expected. Usually religious extremism is (in my experience anyway) a bad thing. But she talked to people of all faiths and didn't paint them with the same "these people are all clearly insane" paintbrush that most documentary/news programs use. I think she really got to the heart of their faith and took pains to find out what they believe, why, and how they live that faith in their daily lives.
I actually thought that "God's Warriors" was a bad title. Because while some of the show did focus on holy war and those that are out there to either save the world or destroy it, much of it dealt with ordinary people of extraordinary faith who lived their convictions to the fullest. I found parts of it uplifting, and parts of it very sad.
I think moral extremism is great when it's turned inward and you use it to better yourself and your life, but when it's turned outward and you take what you believe and try to force it on others, that's when it turns ugly and sad.
But how do you explain that to someone who believes--and fervently--in "convert or die"?
It's hard. On the one hand we're told every Sunday at mass to "go forth and spread the Good News", but how do you do that and remain respectful of those beliefs so deeply held by others, especially if they're different from yours? For me it is the ultimate sin to think that I have all the answers and that I alone hold the keys to the kingdom of heaven. How could that be? Why on earth would God let me and me alone in on the absolute truth that I hold in my heart, while the rest of his creations walk around in their own blissful ignorance. What if I'm wrong, even though I can feel quite tangibly when I feel that God is pleased with me for getting something "right"?
And what about all the rest of his children, also utterly convinced in their heart that they get the message, have seen the light--that they follow his laws, obey his commandments, and have been Saved? Can we all be wrong? And right at the same time?
Case in point: I had a lovely lady, a Jehovah's Witness who came to my door one day. She's just out spreading the Good News and witnessing to her faith, and who am I to be rude to her? But after her third or fourth visit, and after looking through her literature, I came to realize that truly while we both pray to the same God and follow the same Christ, her take on salvation and mine were just not compatible, and I had to tell her so. And she hasn't been back since.
Maybe it's just easier to preach to the choir, you know?
And maybe we all have been given different truths because they are all the way to heaven. In which case, getting there might be easier than we've been led to imagine. Wouldn't that be cool?
I mention all of this because, first off, if you've not seen this series, it's really good. Very insightful no matter what position of faith you come from, or lack thereof. And second because the first topic I'm covering with my 9th grade Confirmation I class is "Faith" and I was somewhat disappointed with the way the textbook presents it.
I checked with Fr. Albert and with Kathy, the head of religious instruction, and they told me that as long as I covered the material that they could care less how I presented it. They said that if I could find a way to make it interesting and engaging for 14 year olds that I could knit mittens with them if that's what got it done.
I'm intrigued! Mitten knitting as a path to enlightenment?
So now I'm thinking of different takes on faith in general and coming up with way better questions for discussion than those in the book. After all, one thing I hated about CCD when I was a student was that I thought the books were pedestrian and boring and that the discussions were less about sharing ideas than they were about being fed ideas and forced to swallow them whole. Kathy said I'm to be a Christian witness and a faith sharer.
That sounds more like it.
Now that I know that the book is a guideline and I'm under no obligation to teach a word of it as it's written if I don't want to, I'm very excited to start this. It's certainly been eye-opening for me. There's nothing like being called to share your faith to make you step up and figure out what it is you actually believe. And why. And how you live what you believe in your own life.
I guess I've gone on long enough. Thanks for humoring me with this. I bore the crap out of my family when I start talking about this stuff. At least if you're feigning interest, you're polite about it. I appreciate it.
And to think, this all started because I wanted to show you a scarf. Kind of turned into a bait and switch there, didn't it?