Sometimes passions are handed down explicitly, like a mother teaching her son or daughter to sew, scrapbook, paint, read, or play the piano.  Technique is detailed, demonstrated, and practiced.  Other times it seems like it just catches.  Like when my niece exclaims, “I love to run!” at the playground, during the months that her mother trains for the marathon she completed this past weekend (congrats, Megan!).

Either way, there is something transcendent about sharing a pursuit or a pastime with someone you love.  Common quests can serve as conduits to a deep understanding of another person’s motivations, struggles, and pleasures, or create mutually edifying competition (i.e. training beyond the call of duty for a triathlon just to avoid your 50-year-old mother from crossing the finish line first/her celebratory screams as she passes me on her souped-up bicycle).  More poignant, they offer a connection to people who are more or less inaccessible.  This is true with my cousin who is an even more avid knitter than me, but who lives 500 miles north of KC.  We can’t get together on Saturdays and knit, but we can comment on each other’s blogs (Draw Four Designs) and collect a basket full of projects to show one another at family reunions.

Knitting Group

My grandmother’s knitting group. She is on the upper left in the red, white, and beige sweater.

Even more distant is my Grandma Jeanne, who passed away when I was fourteen.  I often cover up in the blanket she crocheted me while I spend afternoons in my knitting chair with her old knitting needles.  I think of her and attempt to “catch” whatever lingers of her motivations, struggles, and pleasures.

Assessment Time for USD Ktog

Who is most closely associated with knitting?Exam

A. Hipsters

B. Middle school boys

C. Elderly Women

D. Harley Davidson Bikers

These sample answer items do not stray far from the typical multiple choice questions that my students will soon encounter on their state assessments – one throw away option (D), one distractor (A), and the answer is (predictably) C.  But to every rule there is an exception!

My perceptions were schooled this past semester with the amount of B who have voluntarily associated themselves with knitting.  That’s right – junior high boys showed up… and have stuck around… to my newly inaugurated club – Knit Wits!  Probably most are after some girl who also comes, and I know that some of my students just look for any excuse to stay after school, but the fact remains: they are knitting!  I have seen boys who couldn’t sit still in the classroom if their lives depended on it relax and learn to make a bookmark!  Amazing.  Maybe the calm I experience while knitting is universal.

Stay tuned for more adventures of my little Knit Wits.

Leibster Award

My wonderful friend down at Kansas Gal has awarded me the Liebster Award!  Don’t know what the heck that is?  I didn’t either.  Here’s the low-down:

The Liebster is awardUntitled 2ed to new blogs with less than 200 followers as a way to get the word out.  For me, it is has served as a catalyst for me to get blogging again!  I have had to put almost everything on the back-burner this first year of teaching (yay!).  But I am feeling better about my time management lately and getting faster at general tasks, so hopefully blogging is added to my list of to do’s again soon!

I award some of my favorite blogs and they do the following:
  1. Post 11 random facts about themselves
  2. Answer the questions the tagger has set for you, then create 11 new questions for bloggers you pass the award to
  3. Choose 11 new bloggers (with less than 200 followers) and pass the award (and link) to them in your post.
  4. Go to their page and them them about the award
  5. No tag backs

The blogs that I am awarding are:

Amid Shipps

Forward Motion

My Latest Excuse


Draw Four Designs

Here are my random facts and answers to Kansas Gal’s questions if you’re interested:

My 11 Random Facts:

  • I am a vegetarian and I am not supposed to eat dairy products… I do probably every other week, and I pay for it.  My discipline ebbs and flows when it comes to cheese, but meat never tempts me!
  • I am really good at Ms. Pac Man.  I accept your challenge.
  • The game Settlers of Catan is a part of almost every one of my weekends.
  • I have participated in two triathlons with my mother (who is 51!).
  • I love to swim, bike, and run (is that the same as the previous one, oh well!).
  • I am going to start training for a marathon this summer.
  • I bring up the “deep stuff.”  I really like discussion and debate about important and intriguing topics!
  • Books make the best friends – I had a bookmark that said that when I was little.  I still agree with it.
  • I have really cold toes.  And fingers.  Probably need to get my circulation checked.
  • I have begrudgingly begun to like football.  Ugh.  Thanks a lot, Matt.
  • I have a love/hate relationship with Breaking Bad.  But mostly love.

Bloggers, here are your questions!

What is your favorite movie of all time?

Oh boy, my first instinct is to say Monte Python and the Holy Grail.  It carries some great memories. But, really I would have to say The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.  Never heard of it?  Netflix it now.  It is amazing.   Beautiful music, cinematography, and intriguing characters and story.
What are you most proud of and why?
I guess I am most proud of my profession: I am a special education teacher.  It is a challenging and rewarding job that I would say I am proud of.  The knit I am most proud of is my green hat.  I will post pictures soon.

If you had a whole day without any commitments and could do anything, what would you do or how would you spend your day?

Are you offering this?  Because this sounds beautiful.  🙂  I would go to a coffee shop or set up a comfortable spot in my living room and spend the day reading, writing, and knitting.  Maybe that’s lame, but days without commitments are few and far between, and I relish the time that I can spend time alone doing the things that I love!

If you could time travel, what time period would you visit and where?

I don’t know… that is a hard one.  I really think that it would be neat to travel back in time to meet my grandma when she was my age.
What is your favorite dessert?

Okay!  So, my husband and I went to Target about a month ago to get candy to sneak into the movie theaters (shh), and I picked up this brand called “Unjunked” (no artificial coloring, real sugar, etc) with the sole intention of making fun of it.  “Who sees this and thinks that they’re making a good choice?  Do they think people are that stupid?”  But it was cheaper than the other candies, and I was more curious than I let on, so I bought them.  And, well, they were phenomenal!  They have ones that are similar to Reese’s and M&M’s, but WAY better.  They’re really rich, so you feel like you can’t eat them all (although I did).  So, yeah… they’ve become my favorite.
Would you prefer to spend your spare time with people or by yourself?

By myself. 🙂 I love spending time with family and friends, but that time is almost always secondary to the time that I need to spend by myself.  I am a true introvert and get depressed if I don’t have enough time to myself.

Why did you start blogging?

I have always loved to write, but I struggle not to feel absolutely audacious when I think that anyone would really care to read anything that I have to say.  I would really like to have a blog where I write about other things, but knitting is easy and one of my passions, so this is a sort of “first step.”  A first step that I realize I am neglecting…

Did you make a new years resolution? If so, what was it and why? If not, why?

I did!  I don’t always, but I did this year because after some conversations with my super-informed and intelligent brother, it was impressed upon me that I need to seek a more in-depth understanding of what is going on in the world.  So I set a resolution to read the New York Times everyday… of course not the whole freaking newspaper, but at least a few articles a day.  It has proved to be one of the best resolutions that I have made.  I’ve got it on my Kindle, I download it everyday, and read it during lunch and before bed!

How many blogs do you read regularly?

I have to be honest and say that I do not read any blog regularly.  I catch up with my friends’ blogs every now and again when they pop up on my Facebook feed, but I am not even subscribed to any blogs.  I need to change this.

If you were to design a music festival with only five artists, who would you invite?

Oooooooo!  Fun question!  They wouldn’t fit together very well, I don’t think, but I would like it: Paul Simon (staple of my childhood), Arcade Fire (one of the best live shows I’ve ever seen), The Cults (new jam), Neko Case (I wish I was her), and Alison Krauss (I also wish I was her… and could play the violin).

What is your favorite book and why?

This is a really difficult one to answer – it always has been.  In high school I would have settled on The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas.   In college I would have said A Good Man Is Hard Find by Flannery O’Connor, Les Miserables by Victor Hugo, or Crime and Punishment by Dostoevsky. Now I’d say East of Eden by John Steinbeck, or Too Much Happiness by Alice Munro.  But I really can’t pick one over the others, and could add two or three… or ten… to the list.