Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Good news, bad news

Today is Minnesota's primary election. The Minnesota State Fair starts next week. School starts again a week later. And yesterday I happened to notice a few fallen leaves in our yard.

The bad news is that all of this points to the end of summer.

For many Minnesotans, this is a disappointment.  Summertimes here are especially cherished with lake activities, escapes to the cabin, fishing, softball games, picnics, camping, small town festivals, Fourth of July parades, swimming at the pool.

The advent of autumn, though particularly beautiful here with the fall leaf colors of orange and gold, signals what's ahead for us: the long months of winter.

But it's all good news for two little girls (my granddaughters) who can hardly wait to start Kindergarten. One is headed to a magnet school; the other to a Spanish immersion school.

On Sunday, we had a family day, shopping for new school clothes and shoes. In and out of crowded dressing rooms, waiting in long lines, it was obviously a prime shopping day for other back-to-schoolers as well.

School supplies were purchased some weeks back. In my day, one just knew what we were supposed to have: notebooks and pencils mostly. Something to carry them in. If per chance we needed anything special, like a protractor or compass in our later grades, we were just told at the time by the teacher.

But not now. The girls, for kindergarten, had a mile-long list. Not just a list, but a very particular list. Must have this, but not that. Certain color crayons only. Certain brands. Raincoat and rain boots. Two pair of tennis shoes. Kleenex and snacks. Seriously?

A  backpack. $50 bucks. Anything much less wouldn't last through the year. How in the world do parents do it?

After our clothes shopping spree, we went to the fairgrounds which happens to be close to the shopping mall. It was the first day one could bring their entries for judging and display in the Creative Activities building.

This is always a good news day for me as I look forward to entering my counted thread embroidery from the past year.  I have two entries this year. If you follow this blog, you will have seen these already in previous posts.

This is Southwestern Pots, stitched for our home in Arizona. It features the typical southwestern earth tones and turquoise. Most pots originate in Mexico and are clay.

Native American and Southwestern design elements are full of history and beauty. They are featured throughout the southwest. These patterns attempt to capture some of the traditional designs and colors.

Although I could have stitched it on one piece of fabric, I chose to do them separately so I could decide on the spacing in the frame later. These were done on 16-count Fiddler's cloth (which tends to be my favorite fabric if the design lends itself to an earthy textured cloth). 

The second entry is African Drummer. The pattern is actually called "Don" as it is designed after a real-life drummer and teacher named Don. I stitched this as a gift for my church in honor of our African ministry, a partnership with the Iringa Diocese in Tanzania. When I collect it at the close of the fair, it will hang in our church library.

The State Fair itself is something to look forward to, even though most folks know it as bittersweet, coming at the end of summer vacation.

So maybe it is our reward here in Minnesota. A special treat to enjoy, a kick-off to autumn and a wind-down from the summer months.

That's life in Minnesota: good news, bad news. I like to think it's mostly good!