June 29, 2013

Everything's Coming Up Mitts

As I packed away my woollies for summer, I tried to evaluate what I needed for the next onslaught of cool weather.  I decided I needed more mitts and cowls.  The mitts mission is almost accomplished!

This fabulous yarn is dyed to stripe in the colors of the London Underground lines. A dear and generous member of my knitting posse gifted it, and I used our trip to South Dakota to whip up some mitts.  I love them!

With all the colors, these will go with everything!  My other new pair of mitts features my favorite grey, so they will go with lots of outfits too!

I love the movie A River Runs Through It, so I couldn't resist these mitts!  I love the river cable, and this yarn is soft and sturdy.

As soon as the temperature dips, my hands will be delightfully warm!

June 26, 2013

The Attraction of Mt. Rushmore

We ended up in South Dakota for the second time in a year, and I was able to visit Mt. Rushmore for the fourth time in my life.  I love Rushmore.  It was fun last year to see it on a clear fall day with my boys:
This time I was able to observe it in three different moods.  When we arrived it had just finished raining:

The sun came back out just in time for sunset:

And then, just like my first visit, we stayed for the lighting ceremony:

And as usual, I loved it.  I adore Mt. Rushmore, even when my age and education and nature should have jaded me.  Every time, though, that first view, whether from the road, or by the lane of state flags catches my breath.  The sheer audacity and vigorous hope and faith in America evidenced by blasting out statues of our heroes into a mountain amazes me--something that truly seems American.  I've been to London, full of statues, and Washington, D.C., equally awash in monuments.  But here in the west we did something arrogant, environmentally unfriendly, and wild.  And for me, it works.  Maybe next time I can see it in the winter.  Or on the 4th of July.

June 13, 2013

A month ago, we were in Alaska

We were at a Downton Abbey-level house party celebrating my youngest cousin's high school graduation and birthday.  It was pretty amazing and a wonderfully relaxing trip.  I did take a few pictures.

Settling in for his first flight--he slept like a champ and loved the takeoff.

The Alaska Zoo was one of our first stops--and one of the best zoos ever.  All the animals were active, Alaska-friendly, and the layout was beautiful and wooded.

A moose pancake was just one of the many moose sightings of our trip--we saw over 15, including two in my aunt and uncle's yard!  We also saw tundra swans and a sea otter out in the wild.

For the first part if our trip, it was pretty cloudy and rainy--and even snowy!  The sun eventually came out, and we ventured out to Palmer to tour a musk ox farm.  We were awed by the mountains.

Lincoln also had his first beach/ocean encounter--he may demand a warm and white sandy one someday.

On our last day the sun shone beautifully as we drove to Bird Point on the way to Seward.

Mr. Cool and I love unique road signs--and Alaska came through.

We loved Alaska--Lincoln asks to go back all the time!

June 03, 2013

One Year

"Several times that day, the name or thought of Papa had come up.  And each time, Francie had felt a flash of tenderness instead of the old stab of pain.  'Am I forgetting him?' she thought. 'In time to come will it be hard to remember anything about him?  I guess it's like Gramma Mary Rommely says:  "With time, passes all." The first year was hard because we could say last 'lection he voted.  Last Thanksgiving he ate with us.  But next year it will be two years ago that he . . . and as time passes it will be harder and harder to remember and keep track.'"
~A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Betty Smith*

It is easier almost a year later.  I can talk about my mom--to some people, in some ways--and I can hear my son reference Grammie Joy without crying.  Some days pass when I don't miss her.  Some days it's the only thing I really do.  I can talk about things she did, or liked, or memories I made with her, but I can't talk about how I miss her--what 4 o'clock in the afternoon is like when I can't call her on the phone--what it is like to have a segment of my soul locked up and unable to be expressed to anyone, because it was a part I shared only with my mom.

I think maybe soon only tenderness will remain-- with fewer stabs.  I know that this is only a brief interlude before I see her again--my hope and faith remain.  I know that soon I will be able to meet new people--or respond to a how are you--without pushing back my initial thought of "My mom is dead."  I know my first mental image of her will dissolve back into a beautiful and lively one, and not the last one.  I have faith, but this is still a hard road.  Just like parenting, the days are long, but the years are short.

*soon after mom died, this book was cheap on my nook, and a part of my brain dinged:  mom had liked this book.  I bought it, and as I read, I became convinced she had-- the protagonist loved libraries, just like my mom--she even had the same birthday--and then when her adored father died, it felt like reading the book was a gift from my mom--to have hope--to process--to imagine her reading it as a young girl.