Max and Hannah have been taking piano lessons since May. I know I’m their mom, but I’m just blown away by how much they’ve accomplished. I never played the piano, so I don’t really have a clear idea of how hard different things are (as with so many skills, I’m sure that parts that seem hard are easy, and vice versa…)

But they’re making MUSIC – they feel so empowered to just play around on the piano and make up stuff – to rephrase their lessons and create new feelings with tunes they’re mastering. It makes my heart so proud – and it’s a gift I’d longed to give them for years.

We found a digital keyboard on ebay at half the price it was at Costco (already a bargain) and it was the best purchase we made this year. Our piano teacher says it’s a good one – a Yamaha with weighted keys – and the kids love it.

I’m of so many different minds and emotional states these days – listening to the kids play piano is one of my pure, undiluted joys this Fall. Like the gorgeous leaves that are green rimmed with gold and edged with red, every sensation seems to have many contrasting echoes.

Max has discovered the difference that phrasing can make in a tune. It’s exciting to hear him learn a song, memorize the notes, then slowly make it his own as he changes the phrasing. When he got back from his piano lesson on Tuesday evening he rushed right over to the piano to practice new phrasing his teacher had shown him – she’s a wonderful teacher. She has a knack for picking tunes for the kids that really excite them, that make them want to strive!

I think she and I have the same philosophy about encouraging students. I hate seeing new knitters work the same scarf pattern over and over again – it’s so sad (unless they love it!) If a new knitter has the passion and desire to make a sweater, then they SHOULD make a sweater! I love that she has the kids start right out with tunes, with music, with JOY! If anyone in St. Paul wants her info, I’ll be happy to pass it along. We just love her.

Speaking of knitting scarves, I’ve been asked to donate a scarf to a fundraiser for the Peoria Contemporary Arts Center. If you’re in the area, I hope you’ll consider going by and making a bid on one of the items in the auction! I have to get to work on this scarf – I think I’ll use some beautiful Americo that Amy Singer gave me last year (I love it, but I’m allergic to it so I can’t wear it…)

I have never missed anyone as I miss Jan right now. It’s odd, because as close as we were, we didn’t talk on the phone that much. But we were very close. And the fact that she was such a strong thread, the last tie, to my childhood/adolescent/adult memories makes the severing so complete. I feel weightless, rootless, unsettled right now.

I’ve been riding my bike a lot, the weather here is amazing (60’s and sunny) and the bike is the second best purchase we made this year. Yesterday I rode down to my pulmonary specialist for a good visit and we discussed the fact that my asthma just doesn’t seem to be getting better.

I said I felt greedy for wanting so much – good lungs – when I already have so much. I’m riding my bike, something I couldn’t easily do last Spring (I couldn’t even ride to Max’s school without walking my bike part of the way…) But I want more.

He commiserated with me about the fact the prednisone, which is what is allowing me this respite from my asthma crazed lungs, also packs on the pounds and makes me look like a potato with stick arms and legs.

My legs are thinner and more muscular, my arms are thinner and stronger, I think I’m in not-bad-shape as far as exercising goes. But my middle section is thick and thicker. When Gerry videotaped me last weekend I watched part of it and spiraled into a funk at the hunched-back, round, potato body specter I saw on the screen. I cannot STAND to see myself in photos or videos these days.

My doc said that I’m not the only one who has this reaction to the steroids – Gerry had the same reaction to his dexemethesone last year – and he was very impressed that I’d ridden the St. Paul Classic. He – very kindly – told me he didn’t think I was fat. Have I mentioned how much I love this doc? He’s also amazingly handsome, so that doesn’t hurt…

Last week when Gerry was getting his chemo there was a very round young woman, bald, getting her chemo in the chair next to Ger. Her reaction to her meds had made her balloon up. Her lack of hair created the perfect Buddah-esque silhouette, she was really quite lovely. She probably hated how she looked as much as I hate my own appearance right now, but she seemed peaceful and lovely.

Jan was big, our whole family was large. When I’d stand with my family they’d make me look thin, so maybe I’m missing that, too…

Sometimes I think about how much of my life has been wasted on fretting over size, how much mental stress and depression has surrounded my inability to fit into a commercially sanctioned “beauty” I’d like to get that time back – I’d like to have the strength not to waste another minute on it again.

Every second of life is so precious, and can contain so much joy, it’s sad to toss them away in useless worry.

My camera stopped working, but it’s still under warrantee (Actually, just past, but the camera store was SO human! Thank you National Camera Exchange! They really do treat you the way they’d like to be treated!)

My Canon’s been sent back to the factory for a fix up, and with any luck I’ll have it by Christmas. Seriously, that’s what the guy said. So I’ll be photo-free for a bit, I’ll borrow Hannah’s camera (my old one) when I travel to Boston next week to take photos of New England in Autumn. I can upload sounds, though – here’s Gerry making a funny noise.

I’ve been contacted by a local audio recording studio which would like to put Knit With Courage out in audio book format. It’s definitely worth speaking with them – it’s something that’s been on my mind for a while. Gerry loves my voice and has said that I should do voice overs, but he’s biased and kindly overlooks my aspirated T’s and other vocal hiccoughs.
It’s become a tremendous source of solace for me, the fact that so many folks who read the book really LIKE the book – they quote the book to me – which kind of blows me away. I meant to give a copy to my doctor yesterday, maybe I’ll ride past his office and drop one off. I did mention that he’s tall, dark and handsome, n’est ce pas?

I think today I’ll ride my bike down to the Minnesota Historical Center and see the Vatican exhibit. We’re members – we love the center – and I could use a day of beauty and introspection. And a good
bike ride.

I’ll take my current project, a beach wrap worked in entrelac for Interweave Knits. It can be worn as an around-the-shoulder poncho type thing, or pulled down so it sits over the hips as a skirt. I mean for it to be worn with a bathing suit, and the entrelac (done in lace – entrelace! I’m not ashamed to say that I’ve been wanting to do something along these lines since seeing the Forest Path Shawl in IK years ago…) is a lot of fun to do.

My challenge is finding a good, visual way to explain the concept (I have been playing around with charting entrelac) so that more people feel able to really throw themselves into this wonderful technique.

I have been threading the stitches in finished sections onto waste yarn so it’s easier to stretch the whole thing out and see how the lace is falling, and easier to block it as I go.

I think I’ll add this as a tip in the pattern. It’s so hard to really visualize how this thing is turning out if you can’t spread it out, and blocking it makes it look nicer, which makes it more fun and easier to work on. D

amn, I wish I had some photos to show you what I mean…

See, don’t you miss my camera, too?

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