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Archive for February 13th, 2007

Valentines Day at Altu’s Ethiopian Cuisine!

Tuesday, February 13th, 2007

For those looking for a pleasant evening on Wednesday, Brian and I are playing as The Fabulous Heftones, at Altus.

The reason for a mid-week performance is Valentines Day. We will croon to you alone, with a sweetie, or with a table of friends. (For the single folks in the crowd, Brian will surely do a rendition of “I Love Me” in your honor.)

The food is as good as it gets in Lansing. The menu ranges from vegetarian to meat, spicy to mild, beef stew on a bed of rice to spicy lamb to mild garlic lentils, on either rice or traditional spongy sourdough Ethiopian flatbread. Yum.

The restaurant is as far west as you can go on Michigan Avenue and still be in East Lansing, Michigan. It’s right next door to the Silver Dollar Saloon. Visit Altu’s website for maps and menu and more..

The show is 6:30-8:30pm. We would love to have you join us.

Kids are Knitting in Lansing!

Tuesday, February 13th, 2007

citykidzfeltedpouchfeb07.jpgFor a while I have taken on an extra couple of kids’ knitting programs. I’m at Dwight Rich Middle School (Lansing Public Schools, in a joint project with Lansing Parks & Recreation) for the after-school program on Tuesdays (until June 1, which citykidz011907handwarmers.jpgdelights me… real time to develop these young folks into knitters).

Wednesdays and Thursdays I am still working with CityKidz Knit! at Foster Community Center (City of Lansing Parks and Recreation). Fridays for 4 out of 5 weeks in a row, I’m at an elementary school, also in the Lansing Public Schools.

I still do not know how I ended up the kids’ knitting specialist, but we are not really in charge of our destiny, are we? It is working out just great. One of the girls at Dwight Rich today asked me to thank Mr. Johnson for teaching me to knit (in 1969). How sweet is that?

citykidzpencilholderfeb07.jpgI will never catch up with all the photos I missed posting during the month I felt crummy, but I’m going to overload this post, with the first effort in catch-up.

These three photos are projects by the same young lady. I believe she is in 5th grade, age 11, and she has been knitting since late summer. She is sharp as a tack and loves to knit even when I am not around. Kids who knit at home develop into knitters… practice and dedication make for good projects, no matter what other abilities are brought into the equation.

The kids I work with learn about fibers and where they come from. We talk about how acrylic is essentially a plastic, and how wool is essentially hair. We talk about how we can dye wool with powdered drink mix but not acrylic… we talk about how some wool will shrink/felt making a stronger but less stretchy fabric. The first project here is a set of handwarmers. Notice their size… this made sure they would be completed before the “boring” factor set in. Also notice that they are not matching in color. They are both wool/acrylic blends, washable without shrinking. A good choice, I’d say.

The other two of her projects were knit with feltable/shrinkable wool yarn, and then shrunk. This young lady has adults in her life who value her knitting and who bought her some good yarn at Rae’s shop (very close to their home and to my classroom as well) for Christmas. She has really enjoyed the Noro Kureyon you see here… the colors change so it is harder to be bored while knitting a project using it. She made up both of the pouch and pencil-holder projects herself. She is proud of herself… and I allow myself to be proud of her as well.

Going on a Date

Tuesday, February 13th, 2007

Brian and I had planned to get away to Florida this coming weekend. Well, then his band switched months to play the local contra dance, on Saturday, right in the middle of our getaway weekend.

Our getaway had to be this week because that is when there is a Monday holiday (Presidents’ Day). Because of the holiday I will not be teaching next Monday. I’d cleaned off my calendar from Thursday night through Wednesday afternoon. I have to plan months ahead to make things like this work. Of course, it all filled up in record time the minute I knew I was not going south.

We then considered going to Chicago or Toronto for an overnight, Sunday/Monday and maybe Tuesday. But then I saw that Ladysmith Black Mambazo (the tour dates on their site are from 2003 but the information page is excellent) was scheduled to sing at Wharton Center/MSU on Sunday. Well, if I had missed that I would have been almost more sad than missing Florida. These guys are really important to my inner self, though it’s hard to explain. Later for Chicago!

I remember the first time I heard this group sing. I was in the sad part of my adult life, but I was alone at home one Sunday and listening to WKAR, our local PBS affiliate. They had a series of folk-related shows that would play on Sundays. I remember how we had the furniture arranged, exactly how things were set up in that room at the time. I believe it was Bob Blackman’s Folk Tradition show (Bob is now a friend), that I had playing. This was right at the time Paul Simon’s Graceland album came out, in 1986.

I was doing housework or something… and the song “Homeless” came on. I was awestruck. I stopped everything, sat right there in the middle of the living room floor and drank in every note. I did not want it to end. I had never heard vocals anything like that before… and voice is my favorite instrument. It changed me forever.

Now I listen to other African musicians as well, but they were the first I heard and I still typically listen to them at least once a week. I even keep one of their CDs in my classroom at Foster Center. There is nothing that can “ground” me more than listening to these men sing.

Brian bought tickets online last night. We are going. I am full of emotion. It’s OK to stay in Michigan this year, though I’ll miss seeing my Mom. Wharton, here we come!