Liralen Li (liralen) wrote,
Liralen Li

Graduation: Or Why We Came

Today was a really simple day.

We got up as we were able, had breakfast in the cottage. The lady renting us the airbnb room had stocked the fridge with eggs from the chickens who woke Jet up last night, fresh whole wheat bread from the local bakery, butter, raspberry jam from the garden, milk and half and half. We'd brought our own milk, too. She had also stocked fresh coffee.

The kitchen came with frying pans and the like, so we fried eggs, toasted bread, and ate.

Then we were off to Paul, Jan, and Marina's.

Most of the day was spent just with family. Talking, visiting, eating whatever was in the fridge for lunch. Then John, Jet, and I went down into Ashland for small adventure. For me, that included going to Web Sters, the knitting, yarn, spinning, and weaving shop down in downtown. I once spent a few hundred dollars there for a yarn winder that I still use today.

This time I spent just shy of a hundred dollars on several yarns that were just too beautiful to pass up. One of them was actually one that Jet picked up for himself, as he wanted to make socks for himself. And it was on about four skeins of speciality yarns. One had a rainbow of colors and was part tencel and bamboo as well as wool, and it was amazingly soft. The Pinchu pattern would be perfect with it.

The other two that were for me were all flame colors. One was a Kauni Effektgarn in the EU colorway, all yellow and oranges going to reds in long color changes. It's an extremely coarse yarn, so I'm probably going to have to either make socks of it, or something felted that will last forever.

The other was a Zauberball by Schoppel in Ocktoberfest colors, all the fire colors of fall. It's gorgeous and soft with a lot of nylon in with the wool, so it's smooth and sleek. It would probably wear quite well, too, if I were going to make socks out of it, but I'm really tempted to try and make it into feathers, too.

I helped the local economy enough that the lady behind the counter was really nice to me when I was checking out. The colors were so beautiful, though, and I had finished three projects in the last months, so I figured I could afford something nice.

From there we headed up Ashland Street and just window shopped, on the most part. We got to see the bakery that made the bread for our toast. We dropped in on an all-natural ice cream shop and had single cones in amazing flavors. I had the Oregon Trail, which was chocolate ice cream, with hazelnuts and blackberry jam all through it. The boys both had a bittersweet chocolate that had chocolate chips as well as dark chocolate ice cream, and John had half his single also be peanut butter cup. They were really good.

We went back to the house and Jet started the socks he wanted to make. I started some arm warmers for Jet out of a yarn he'd dyed in the wool when he was small. He and I had discussed various possibilities for decorations, and I'd ended up just cabling a panel in front. It was fun and easy, and he was fine with just plain stockinette on the underside, so that it would be smooth for his wrists.

Family members came and went, people went to reserve blanket spots, and just before 6, we headed down. John and I dropped Jet and Isabel off with a Camelbak, the knitting bag, and some other things. We had to search hard for parking, because all of Ashland as out for the Ashland High School graduation, and we found a spot just two blocks from the restaurant where we were going to have our dinner after the ceremony. We then walked our way into the park, and met up with the reservers.

The Reason for the Day
And we got there in plenty of time.

We were there from the beginning through to the awarding of the certificates, with all the student speakers and performers, the class president, and the keynote speaker. Lots of other speeches as well. But the keynote speaker was really impressive: Fahad Siadat is now a composer and musical conductor, but he graduated from Ashland High School and was the Homecoming King, back before 9/11. He is Muslim, but he was born and raised in Ashland, an Oregonian at heart.

There were interesting parts of this story that sounded very familiar, but also parts that were not. He went to college in the Deep South, and he felt safest with his friends there when 9/11 happened, because he'd listened to and talked extensively with people he disagreed with politically. His advice, on many levels intrigued me.

One particular bit he said struck home. And it was to do what the world needs you to do, Calls you to do, as your mission in life. And if you pursue the thing that needs you to change the world for a better place, you'll learn to love what you do, rather than just 'doing what you love', which can become self-indulgent. It's something that I've been hung up on recently, and that bit really helped me focus more, too. That along with his urge that everyone listen to someone else, which has rung true for me for quite sometime. That listening can be transformative in essential ways.

So I got a lot out of Marina's graduation, which was good. She had a blast with it as well, with all her family there to support her, and her friends going through it with her. I was really glad we could be there, too, for her and her family to see her on her next steps. I gave her the wing shawl as a "flying out of the nest" gift, too. She's headed to college next fall and it seemed appropriate.

After the ceremony, a number of us walked to the Standing Stone Brewery.

It was a fairly long walk too, through Lithia Park.

A long time ago, Bernd had been walking with George through a park, and George had invited Bernd to go climb a tree with him. The two of them did it when George was 64 years of age, and that had made a huge impression on Bernd. That someone so old would still have the adventure to go and do that. He wanted John and his brothers to climb with him, but the opportunity hadn't really presented itself.

But as we were walking, he asked Jet if he wanted to climb a tree with him, so the two of them studied the trees along the way. The cedars were too tall and too straight, the pines too sticky, and then this tree presented itself on the edge of one of the grassy areas. So they went for it, leaving me with the iPhones and cameras to capture the action. It was fun watching them. Jet was happy and agile, and light. He was able to wedge himself between two branches and just relax and watch the sky for a bit.

Bernd was a little less comfortable, but he enjoyed himself up there for a while, and then made his way carefully down.

Standing Stone Brewery
We ended up at the Standing Stone. We were all seated out on the patio and we had a huge dinner together out there. The food was amazing. Jet had a wood-fired roasted Steelhead with a farro risotto, and shared a bit of it with me. I had a cup of clam chowder that I shared with him, and then I got fig and bacon pizza with blue cheese and caramelized onions and a slice of chocolate cake with whiskey sauce. I also had a ginger ale and Jet had a vanilla soda, both homemade by the restaurant.

People around me got a salmon salad, the fish and chips, and the fish tacos. It was all amazing, and we just sat and talked and enjoyed each other. Marina left at about 10:30 to get to her class' all-night party that was going at a nearby putt putt golf and entertainment park. Bernd, Emma Lee, and Paul were signed up to chaperone from 1 to 3 am. By 11pm, we were all tired out and heading for home, but Bernd and Paul decided to find some clubbing to go out and stay awake until it was their shift.

Emma Lee went back to the house with Isabel, and the three of us headed back to our cottage to sleep our big dinner off. There's going to be a big party at the house tomorrow afternoon and evening, and we'll try our best to help out with that as well.
Tags: adventure, family

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