Friday, November 9, 2018

Shakespeare, Exotic Beasts, and a Big Knife: A Week of Distractions

Husband's job search is ongoing. An offer from another branch of his present company is on hold and awaiting judgement at the Vice President level over whether or not the company allows distant workers. Four paychecks until layoffs. Needless to say, our creeping panic-attack continues and I need multiple distractions to avoid my default position of sleeping until things get better.

Not the kids I saw performing, but age and attitude are good.
The Shakespearean distraction was bitter-sweet--the first time I could really say I missed teaching.

I left my job feeling bitter. I  gave 24 years of love, energy, and creativity to the school district, and they were unwilling to accommodate me when that energy was spent. We were mutually finished with each other.

Last night I watched my nephew perform scenes from Shakespeare with his middle school drama class. Despite years of work in speech therapy he has embraced drama full-heartedly. Nephew performed bravely and well.

 I often catch this nephew smirking at the same jokes I do. We share a sense of humor. Apparently part of his enjoyment of drama this year is that he get's Shakespeare's jokes and finds the passages they are performing hilarious. I do too.
Appropriately, Nephew performed the sonnet about stages of life from "As you Like  It."

Hilarious and heartwarming. What I liked best about teaching was watching adolescents grow. Seeing kids build courage and explore their talents was the privilege that made my job worthwhile. This wasn't my school. Except for my nephew, these weren't my kids, but I felt like they were.
The diversity made me homesick too. This school shares a similar population to mine, so families come from all over the world.

Even the very white families are quite, um, "diverse." The family behind us consisted of a heavy man with a beard and a top hat, a heavy woman with tattoos, a tank top, and a blonde buzz cut. Their children ran amok throughout the production. It reminded me of parent-teacher conferences.

In contrast, the exotic beasts are tamer than advertised because I am only dealing with their outer edges. I found two bags of alpaca hair in my cupboard. I am carding it in preparation for spinning and eventually dyeing.

I also ordered undyed cashmere yarn from Renaissance Yarns. I hand painted it, which means I soaked it in water and vinegar, placed in on a cookie sheet, dripped color all over it, then baked it for an hour. After rinsing and drying, it looks like this.

My first plan was to knit something lacy, but I quickly realized that without silk for strength or wool for stretch, cashmere is pretty fragile, so I am knitting a more solid scarf that is deliciously soft and will eventually end up in my shop.

The big knife was used to butcher a pumpkin. My second batch of pies are baking as we speak. Making pumpkin pie from scratch is a multiple day process for me because chopping up and baking a pumpkin is enough to kill me for one day . Running it all through the blender wipes out a second. Turning it into pies is the easy part after that. Especially since I use ready-made frozen pie crusts.

Whether the $16 I saved by using my own pumpkin is worth my labor was debatable back when my labor was worth something, but now that we are trying to save money, it probably is. My parents swear to the superiority of winter squash in pumpkin dishes, so I may well butcher one of those next week.

THE PODCAST is about reading. I had to skip over a couple of decent love poems because they are focused on an unknown, ideal person and annoy me. Love in the abstract isn't the real thing. But Emily knows about reading, especially reading old books, so I shared her poem called, "A precious—mouldering pleasure—’tis—." (Even though  she had not planned to publish, Dickinson could have made life better for future readers by creating titles.)

THE KNITTING has been quite productive. I've finished knitting two scarves, but still need to do the proper finishing work before taking good pictures and posting them in my shop.


  1. I went to a High School class read through of Macbeth a few years ago. I loved it and they loved the audience of one. It was a good time all around.

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