Monday, June 11, 2012

I'll Have Another

I was disappointed to learn last Friday that I'll Have Another was scratched from Saturday's Belmont Stakes.

Why would I even care? I've never been to a horse race. My experience with horses is mostly limited to books - the Black Stallion series when I was young, the Dick Francis mysteries as an adult - and movies, a favorite being Sea Biscuit.

(I did take a handful of riding lessons, when I was working in Pittsburgh. We even did some jumping, which resulted in a spectacular fall (and subsequent black eye), when my horse jumped the second hurdle before I was quite ready...)

But my mother was from Kentucky ("where they have fast women and beautiful horses"), and used to talk about the Kentucky Derby. Through osmosis, perhaps, this event became important to me.

I don't know if my mother ever even attended the Derby, but we used to watch it on TV - or at least the most important two minutes! One year, the network we were watching put together a video of horses, accompanied by Dan Fogelberg's Run for the Roses. This is a similar clip, and does as good a job as anything at capturing the the beauty and magnificence of the horses, along with a nostalgia and longing for something I've never even experienced.

I still try, every May, to watch the Kentucky Derby on TV - not all the hoopla that precedes it, just the race itself.

And then I pay attention to who wins the Preakness. If the Derby winner goes on to win the Preakness, then I start hoping for another Triple Crown winner. In my lifetime, there have been just three, all in the 70's - the wonderful Secretariat; Seattle Slew; and Affirmed, the most recent, back in 1978.

This year, I'll Have Another won the Derby, and then went on to win the Preakness. Jim and I were eating at a restaurant, and saw the clip on TV showing the results of the Preakness - the diners around us broke into excited cheering and clapping.

As the Belmont Stakes approached, he was favored to win, and I dared to hope. But - no. I'll Have Another was diagnosed with tendinitis, and was scratched from the Belmont Stakes. (Do check out that link; there's a wonderful photo of I'll Have Another.)

So: another year with no Triple Crown winner. Horses are beautiful, magnificent creatures. When they race, they are spectacular, and the horse that goes on to win the Triple Crown becomes legendary. It's been a long time between legends; maybe next year...

Meanwhile, I can celebrate a small accomplishment, for some small child in Afghanistan.

Mittens for afghans for Afghans

Monday, June 4, 2012

It's Good to Be Flexible

I know I have numerous knitting projects in the works.

I know I said I wasn't going to start anything new until I'd finished at least one or two of my current projects.

But it is good to be flexible in these matters.

Last night I cast on for a pair of mittens, using  Elizabeth Durand's pattern for Children's Mittens.

I've been planning to knit a pair of mittens for afghans for Afghans, and it occurred to me that since they have a deadline sometime in July, I ought not to put it off much longer. Mittens are small (especially children's mittens), and quick to knit, so this should be a short detour in my knitting progress.

And it will be nice to actually finish something - which doesn't seem likely to happen soon with any of my other projects!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

A Milestone Trip to the Temple

Gary, Tanya, Rachelle, Caitlin, Paul, Robin, Dave

Yesterday, I was able to attend a session at the Detroit Temple. Dave drove to Kalamazoo from Chicago, and together we drove to Paul's home in Plymouth, and then headed to the temple.

The driving force behind all this (aside from normal desires to attend the temple) was Caitlin's decision to serve a mission. She's been attending BYU, studying theater, and decided to set that work aside for the time being. She submitted her request, and subsequently received her assignment to the New York New York North Mission, Mandarin speaking. (My brother Paul - Caitlin's father - blogged about her decision and her call here and here.)

Our temples today are places for prayer and worship and contemplation. We also make sacred covenants and commitments there, and that act (part of what we call the endowment) is a milestone in our spiritual journey. Yesterday was Caitlin's opportunity, before beginning her mission, to enter the temple and make those covenants. I was delighted to be able to share that with her and her family.