Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Snow Day!

A week from spring and here in RI we get hit with a nor'easter. As I sat here today, 5$3 shades on my enormous loft windows raised high so Annabelle and I could watch the snow and wind,  I remembered the April in 1997 when my father late dying in the hospital. In my memory it snowed a lot those first weeks of April. I remember getting those dreaded calls from the hospital telling me I had to get there fast if I wanted to say goodbye. I remember driving through the snowy streets  desperate to reach him in time. I remember the day snow fell big and hard like today and I couldn't get out of my driveway fast enough. Two teenage boys were walking down the street with shovels and I grabbed them and desperately sad please please do me first I have to get to the hospital. They did  and once again I raced down snowy streets only to find my father sitting up in bed asking what the fuss was about. Those two weeks or so fragile. I knew the only way they would end was when he died. and he did, on April 14, after making sure we had the usual Italian Easter feast that I've had every Easter of my life.  So yesterday as I sat under a quilt on the couch I remembered those early April to his 20 years ago, and how hard it snowed. And how hard I 12 to see my dad. And the joy I felt all the times I walked in and the crisis had passed, even though I knew it was inevitable that soon, soon, the crisis would not pass. I think of my dad every day and I miss him every day.

 So this is what a snow day I can do, return you to something you had forgotten or buried. Thankfully the snow day was not fraud at all. In fact it was quite the opposite: quiet and calm and lovely. My knitting buddy and I have signEd  up for a year of new techniques through Mason Dixon knitting. Our first lesson began this month and I have to admit I was a little lazy about it. When the Yarn arrived I dutifully rolled it into two balls as instructed. And I watched the tutorial video. Which looked very hard and confusing.  So I returned to knitting my hats with the gorgeous alpaca yarn from Yarnia in Nacogdoches Texas.  But then my knitting Buddy texted me a picture of her progress on the weird way to stripe, which is our lesson this month. And it was beautiful. So last night I watched the tutorial again and picked up my double pointed needles. It has been a long time  since I've met with size 2 double pointed needles. So I had to watch a few YouTube videos to remind myself how to cast on and join in the round with them. Well that's about as far as I got last night because I messed it up. So I took it all out put it in a Ziploc bag and vowed to get back to it today.  Which I did, with great determination. For the first few rows of ribbing I felt about as awkward as a knitter can feel.  But soon enough I got the hang of it, managing all those needles and all that yarn and all that knitting and purling.  Then I got to the striping into my great surprise and delight it was easy and beautiful! Honestly I didn't want to stop knitting. My friend and I texted back-and-forth a bit about how amazing this technique was. When it was time to make dinner for Annabelle and me I talk to my needles and yarn  into that Ziploc bag and then, after dinner while Annabelle was doing your homework I decided I could sneak in a few more rows. To my horror two of the needles had lost all their stitches. And so I spent the next 45 minutes picking up 48 dropped stitches and size 2 needles. But you know, that is  One of the lovely things about knitting, you can fix your mistakes I'm like life itself. That can sometimes be harder.

 I didn't just sit and watch snow, think about that snowy April long ago, and today. I also got in four hours of writing while Annabelle worked on her own writing. I can't describe how wonderful it was to sit in silence, each of us in our world of imagination and story.  I have never been a fan of a lot of noise, perhaps because I grew up in a very noisy large loving Italian family? Silence with a very special thing. And many days I don't put on music, television, any noise at all. Instead I live in the world of my dreams, and today Annabelle and I shared that wonderful experience.

 All in all the blizzard was kind of a basket in the end. At some point while  annabelle and I sat writing our stories the snow turned to sleet and then to rain. Most of the snow is actually gone now and to Annabel's great disappointment there is no snow day tomorrow.   But there will be tortellini soup, which I make every week the day after Annabelle and I have our chicken dinner like we did tonight. Are used to have the chicken remains simmer away all day the next day on the stove top with some carrots and leaks and a Bayleaf thrown in.  But my sweetheart it's taught me a better track, which is to put all the same stuff in a pot with water and stick it in a 180° oven overnight. When you wake up your stock is ready and the house smells delicious. I also  started a nice loaf of bread today, which is rising as we speak and then I'll bake tomorrow.  Is there anything better than homemade soup with homemade stock and freshly baked bread?

And now I am curled up in bed with the biography of Shirley Jackson called a rather wanted life, written by Ruth Franklin. I so adore reading author biographies, and this one is my favorite kind. It almost reads like a novel and Jackson's life is so interesting once I start reading I can't put it down.

 Despite the cold I have that will not go away and decided to turn into more than a cold, forcing me into bed for a couple days, again, I've had some terrific experiences in the past week. The first was to speak in the author series at the Gainesville library in Gainesville Florida.  The second was to interview the writer Meredith Maran about her new memoir my old new life, which is about starting life over at the age of 60, something I can certainly relate to. The interview was for parade magazine and is online there now. I'm having trouble copying the link for some reason, but I hope you have better luck and can find it. And I hope to that you read the book, which is pretty damn good.

 I have a few more things coming up this week and I'm grateful that the snow day gave me one more day of rest so that by the end of the week I will hopefully be in tiptop shape for them. The first is on Saturday at school one in Providence, goat Hill's workshop-palooza begins at 9:30 on March 18.  it is an opportunity to take two workshops in one day and have a wonderful lunch in between. The workshops are taught by professional writers and this year we have food writing, travel writing, writing about spirituality, poetry, flash fiction, hip hop, crime, and more. If you are interested and have been signed up they were still a few spots left. You can reserve a spot on the goat Hill website www.goathillwriters.com

Then on Monday I am off for a week of events in Florida. Please check my website for details, but if you live in the Orlando or Daytona area there is an event near you next week!