Monday, December 31, 2007

Yarny Goodness

My knitting friend and I took a jaunt down to WEBS on Saturday. Their End of the Year sale is going on and we wanted to take advantage of it. It was a great day -- especially because for the first time in over a month, I actually felt good. (The wonders of antibiotics!) The place was humming - lots of shoppers, 5 cashiers, lots of help on the floor, and of course all the yarn you could wish for. I bought some Valley Yarns Northampton in fawn, some Berkshire in cream, some Ritratto, color 64, and a cone of 2/14 Alpaca silk in Pacific. Except for the Ritratto, all of the yarn I purchased was for specific projects. I lusted after the Franklin sock yarn, but resisted ---- I only have about 10 skeins of sock yarn in my stash, plus 3 or 4 skeins of hand-dyed lace weight. So I restrained myself.

I want to make "Cable Vision" from Family Circle Easy Plus Size Knits using the Northampton, but I'm having an impossible time deciphering the instructions. If anyone has made this sweater, I could use some help. My knitting friend and I think that there is a publishing error!

I'm using the Berkshire for the Seville Jacket from Oat Couture, and the Alpaca Silk for a Valley Yarns pattern called Vintage Vest. The vest pattern is also in 101 Designer One Skein Wonders book under Three Season Vest. I will probably make a simple trinity stitch stole from the Ritratto.

So, those projects are all currently in my queue ---- I swatched for the Cable Vision, but can't figure out the cable pattern yet, so I think I'll work on the Seville jacket as my next option. I need a break from lace at the moment. My blocking wires arrived today, so I'm borrowing my knitting friend's blocking board tonight, and tomorrow I'll block the Swan Lake stole!

I hope everyone has a happy, healthy, knitterly 2008!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Knitting and Health Updates

I finished it at last --- the Swan Lake Mystery Stole #3. It only took me 5 months! I loved knitting it even when I was cursing all the mistakes I made. I think I actually knit parts of it four and five times. I don't have pictures yet. I still have to block it. I ordered blocking wires from what I though was a reputable company that seems to be very popular with its new interchangeable needles. I got an email on Dec. 7 saying that the wires had been shipped. I still have not received them, and after several phone calls to some very snippy customer service people, decided to ask for my money back. I was told by one representative that the wires had indeed been shipped and I would definitely receive them by Dec. 2st. On Dec. 22nd I was told that they had no record of my order and even though I had a tracking number, they had no way to track the package. Both customer service people were snippy and rude. So I asked for a refund which caused no end of conniption fits but I finally got it. I have since found the same item on Ebay and hope to receive it shortly... So, I have also asked this company to remove my name from their mailing list. Once I get the wires, I will block my stole, and take pictures.

On to some new knitting projects -- I have a pair of Waving Lace socks going and I have ideas for 2 sweaters. I just need to get to WEBS to find the yarn! I also got 101 Designer One Skein Wonders as a Christmas present from #1 Son so I can do a stash raid if I get desperate!

On the health front --- I'm back on a third course of antibiotics. I'd gone to the doctor for my regular 6 month check up. Apparently, my pneumonia is not clearing up the way it should altho' I am improving. I honestly had no idea how debilitating and dangerous pneumonia can be --- as the doctor said, "Deb, you're a generally healty person - imagine if you were 20 years older!" I understand why so many older folks die from this. I'm hoping that by the time I have to go back to work on Wed, I will have finally gotten rid of the yucky cough~

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A Different Kind of Christmas


This was definitely an odd Christmas this year. Being out of commission for the month before put a big crimp in my preparations. Our tree was finally purchased and put up on Dec. 22nd, but it never got decorated. Our adult sons put a string of lights on it on Christmas Eve, but that was it. All of my shopping was done via the internet, and I forgot some major things. I never got cards out, nor did my creche get unpacked, and I didn't get to one church service the entire month of December. Even my Christmas baking suffered and our traditional "Best Buttermilk Pound Cake" flopped as did our traditional "Mrs. Greenhill's Shortbread." These are two of the easiest recipes that I can make in my sleep, but both failed this year. Regardless, it was a lovely day, with both our sons home. We enjoyed a good meal, as well as each other's company. For the first time in my adult memory I didn't make it to church on Christmas Eve. Instead we watched "The Nativity Story" on satellite TV. A different kind of Christmas.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Enough is Enough!

I have been sick now since November 27th. I went home from work with fever and chills on Nov. 27, a Tuesday, and called in sick on Wed. On Thursday I called in sick again, and also called the dr since I suspected I had the flu. The doctor instead diagnosed pneumonia which a chest xray confirmed. I started in on antibiotics and by Sunday, was starting to feel better in that the fever and chills were gone, although sheer exhaustion remained. I was blessed with a snow day on Dec. 3rd which gave me another day of rest, and then on Tuesday I went back to work. It was a half-day for teacher workshops, and the principal excused me from the workshops. On Wed. I had to take a sick day because at the time of the xray, they saw something suspicious and wanted a CT scan on Dec. 5th. That afternoon I got call from the dr that my lungs were okay (tho' still pneumonia present) but now they saw something weird with my vena cava and on Friday I had to have a more detailed CT scan. Healthwise, I was still feeling lousy and exhausted. I had the 2nd scan on Friday, and they decided everything was fine. Friday night I started coughing. I hadn't been coughing up to this point. By Sunday morning my coughing had kept me up for 2 nights, so I called the dr who prescribed a heavy duty cough suppressant. Monday I went back to work. I have classes from 7:30-12:30 without a break, and then the kids go to their Unified Arts classes and I have prep time and meetings. My principal has been very supportive, and has allowed me to leave early if I need to. Monday was fine, except for the coughing. Tues. was a repeat of Monday. Wed. I called the dr again -- the coughing was getting worse, and I started running a low grade fever. When I went for my appt, I still had a low grade fever and the dr was treated to first hand observation of my coughing performance. He prescribed new cough medications, and gave me a new antibiotic script but asked me not to fill it til Sat, if I wasn't feeling better, or if my fever spiked over 100°. He said there was no reason I couldn't continue working, but to take it easy as much as possible. The new cough prescriptions seemed to help Wed.night, and I had a good night's sleep for the first time in almost a week. Thursday we got sent home from school early due to a fast moving snow storm. Thursday night I decided to start the antibiotics because I felt worse than ever, and although my fever hadn't spiked over 100°, it was 99.9°. I know that's not a terribly high fever, but my normal temp when I'm well is 97.4°. So I took the first pill at bedtime. When I woke up Friday, I felt human for the first time in several weeks. The coughing persists - and it's really yucky and exhausting. But it's Sat. morning, and although I have zero energy, and I'm still coughing, I feel better. And my temp is down to between 97.9-98.4°. I'm glad I trusted my body over my doctor's advice at this point.

But I am SICK of being SICK. It's 10 days before Christmas. I have done no shopping, no decorating, no cards, no baking. I don't have my tree purchased yet. I go to work, come home by 3, nap til 6, have dinner, and go to bed again. This is NUTS! I haven't been to church once in Advent yet, and due to tomorrow's huge predicted storm, probably won't make it tomorrow. I want to go to my team's holiday party tonight, but know the only that will happen is if I stay home and rest all day. We have 5 more days of school til our break and my sons will be home next weekend for the holidays. Do I sound slightly panicked? I'm taking that as a positive sign that I'm feeling well enough again to care!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Ravelry Tea and Yarn Swap

A few days ago, in the midst of my bout with illness, this arrived in the mail for me.

tea goodies

What a terrific gift to receive! I've tried all of the teas and especially like Blend 103 from the Tea Emporium

And what yummy yarn! There's Koigu KPPPM in the purply-pink tones, and some Atacama hand dyed alpaca.

I've really been enjoying my Ravelry experiences. If you're still waiting for an invite, don't despair. If you're on it already, my id is dswgr6. The group that organized the swap - and another one is being organize right now,-- is Cup o' Tea.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Back to Lucidity

I have been sick. Majorly sick in a way I've never been sick before. Fever, chills, fever, chills, in rotation for almost 4 days straight. I thought I had the flu. I went to the doctor who promptly said, "It's not flu, it's pneumonia." So I've been sick with pneumonia for more than a week, but am finally coming back to what passes for normal. Except that I have the stamina of a wet noodle. I went to school today, and spent most of the day sitting. At my desk. This is not at all normal. I came home early and took a nap. Now it's almost 4 pm and I'm trying to do some catch up.

I did absolutely no knitting or reading --- the needles were too heavy, and the book took too much brain power. I mostly reclined on the couch, the bed, the loveseat, and back again the other way. I did lose 5 lbs! Not eating makes that happen.

Something that other teachers will surely understand: When the doctor told me last Tuesday that I couldn't go to work the rest of the week, I broke down in her office sobbing. "What's the matter?" asked the dr. "Sub plans!" I cried. "Why is that a problem? Just let the sub teach." "That's not how it works --- I have to leave step by step instructions for the sub --- 3days worth!" I don't think the doctor got it. So I did 3 days of sub plans in between shivers and shakes. Then on Monday, a blessing --- a snow day! I got one more day of recuperation. I went in on Tuesday because it was an early release day - and there were special activities for the kids, so I didn't have to plan anything. Wed. I was out again due to some tests the doctor wanted because the chest xray I'd had earlier showed some funky things. Then today, I went to school. But I'm out again tomorrow because while the tests I had yesterday ruled out the funky things they were worried about, they found another funky thing they need to check out immediately. No rest for the weary.

I did receive a wonderful swap package from my Ravelry tea swap partner. I will post pictures soon --- but I'm going to go drink a cup of orange rooibus right now, and take another nap.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Friday Five - Post Thanksgiving Edition

From RevGalBlogPals:
Ah, the day after Thanksgiving--groan! Fortunately, I love Thanksgiving leftovers.

Thanksgiving is the American holiday when the greatest number of people travel somewhere else to celebrate. I am posting this from my son’s home in Minnesota where we are recovering from the food shopping and the preparations and the meal and the clean up. It is difficult to think of anything requiring much energy today, and I am enjoying my sweet baby granddaughter, so I will keep it simple. For those of you not in the USA, I apologize for the nationalistic tone of this Friday Five!

1. Did you go elsewhere for the day, or did you have visitors at your place instead? How was it?

We were home. Our oldest son drove up from Providence so it was just 3 of us. It was good to have him home, but I grew up with lots of family around for Thanksgiving. It doesn't seem quite holiday-ish enough with only 3 around the table. I didn't even get out the good china and all the accoutrements, and we ate in the kitchen instead of at the dining room table that seats 10-12.

2. Main course: If it was the turkey, the whole turkey, and nothing but the turkey, was it prepared in an unusual way? Or did you throw tradition to the winds and do something different?

The only meat course was turkey --- a beautiful fresh 20 lbs gobbler. It was prepared in our traditional way -- roasted under foil for 6.5 hrs in a 325° oven. We had "in the bird" stuffing and "out of the bird" dressing made from a bag of Pepperidge Farm Countrystyle stuffing mix. Of course I add my own touches - celery, onion, bay leaf, capers. And we had mashed potatoes, mashed butternut squash, mashed turnips, steamed pearl onions, gravy, cranberry sauce, and apple, pecan, pumpkin, and mince pie. (Just for the record, we thought our son's housemates were coming with him. We also made extra so he could have leftovers too!)

3. Other than the meal, do you have any Thanksgiving customs that you observe every year?

Pie-picking! Leaving the pies out for the evening so anyone who needs just a little nosh can help themselves. And of course, the quintessential turkey sandwich -- spongy white bread, mayo, turkey, and iceberg lettuce.

4. The day after Thanksgiving is considered a major Christmas shopping day by most US retailers. Do you go out bargain hunting and shop ‘till you drop, or do you stay indoors with the blinds closed? Or something in between?

NO! NO! NO! NO! I NEVER SHOP THE DAY AFTER. Actually today I got up early and went to the Wellness Center for "Turkey Burner" water classes. I did 30 minutes of muscle toning, 45 minutes of water aerobics, and 40 minutes of water relaxation.

5. Let the HOLIDAY SEASON commence! When will your Christmas decorations go up?

My Christmas decorations go up the first weekend in Advent which isn't til next weekend. They stay up until Epiphany. I abhor the present practice of starting the holiday shopping season in October and have gone out of my way to verbally complain about the music and decorations to customer service departments in places like Penneys and Sears and Walmart.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Not much happening in this corner of the world

For a short, easy school week, it felt quite long. It started with a 4 day weekend - Nov 9 was a "comp" day to make up for all the hours we put in for parent conferences and Monday was Veterans' Day. On Tuesday we had a regular school day and then held parent conferences until 7 pm. Wed-Friday we took our 6th graders to a terrific outdoor educational school - Boston University's Sargent Center --- for 3 days of great outdoor experiences. Unfortunately for the kids, Thursday was a day of torrential rain. Friday was sunny but wintery --- temps in the high 30's. They had a blast despite being soaked on Thursday and chilly on Friday!

Today was a chore day at home - it doesn't look like we did a lot, but much of it was "behind the scenes". In other words, we went through some storage areas and threw out a ton of stuff that we'd accumulated over 30 years. I also got several loads of laundry done, went to a Weight Watchers' meeting (I lost over 6 pounds!!!), and completed some paperwork that needed attention.

Tomorrow is our Thanksgiving service at church, church council meeting, and then in the evening is our community's Interfaith Thanksgiving service. That's a tradition that goes back about 30 years and rotates between 3 churches. Tomorrow night's service is hosted by my church. The service is well-attended and is led by our local UCC churches, our local Catholic church, our local Jewish leader, an Islamic leader, and the local Friends' meeting. Last year, in the absence of a pastor from our church, I was part of the leadership. This year all I have to do is provide the Spanish translations for the benediction. . . .

El Senor te bendiga y te guarde
May the Lord bless you and keep you.

El Senor te mire con agrado y te extienda su amor
May the Lord make his countenance shine upon you and be gracious to you

El Senor te muestre su favor y te conceda la paz.
May the Lord turn his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Friday, November 9, 2007

The Friday Five - Unbusyness

Sally at RevGalBlogPals writes this:

I am writing in my official capacity of grump!!! No seriously, with the shops and stores around us filling with Christmas gifts and decorations, the holiday season moving up on us quickly for many the time from Thanksgiving onwards will be spent in a headlong rush towards Christmas with hardly a time to breathe.... I am looking at the possibility of finding little gaps in the day or the week to spend in extravagant unbusyness ( a wonderful phrase coined by a fellow revgal)...
So given those little gaps, name 5 things you would do to; care for your body

I just joined Weight Watchers to get additional support for my weight loss battle. I also recommitted myself to getting at least 100 minutes of aerobic exercise every Monday-Friday, and to get back to strength training twice a week.
2. to care for your spirit

I knit. It's a very centering activity for me. I also have recommitted to regular lectio divina reading of the weekly lectionary. And I am trying to consciously stop whatever I'm doing when I see beauty - and give thanks for it.
3. to care for your mind

Hmmm....this one's a little tougher. I guess this one's more job related right now. I am trying to learn some new job skills -- or at least trying to more consciously develop some new ways to deliver instruction using differentiated instruction. I have been good at teaching kids using the multiple intelligences, but now I want to try to figure out how to teach more kids at their individual levels, rather than the one-size-fits-all model we've tended to use. That's not to say I haven't every modified instruction by any means. But my lesson modifications have tended to be "downwards". I want to learn how to modify "upwards" for those kids who need more challenge.
4. to bring a sparkle to your eye

Yarn shopping!!! And planning a few "play dates" with friends - whatever the form of play might be -- dinner out (or in), a weekend away, a theater excursion, etc.

5. to place a spring in your step

Getting my house cleaned (not necessarily by me!) And hiring a personal chef to make all the healthy meals we need -- keeping me out of the meal preparation routine completely.

Enjoy the time to indulge and dream.... and then for a bonus which one on the list are you determined to put into action?

I've already started a few of these ---- even #5. My neighbor is looking for a way to earn some extra cash, and she has offered to come in for an hour or two every week to clean bathrooms, and the kitchen. How can I refuse!!!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Feelin' Glum

Glum describes a depressed, spiritless condition or manner, usually temporary rather than habitual:

That's how I'm feeling today. I'm not exactly sure why. It might be that I joined Weight Watchers and wasn't pleased with my starting weight. I've been working hard for most of the year on losing weight, and had managed to lose 35 lbs. Since school started however, some of those pounds have been found again, and I'm tired of all the planning ahead I have to do in order to eat. I joined WW because my work place offered a 17 week program and I decided I needed the support of others. But when I went today I looked around and realized that of the 15 or so of us there, most probably only need to lose 5-10 lbs, not 150 lbs. It made me feel worse than I already do about where I am right now in the weight battle. I left the meeting and did 30 minutes of intense aerobic exercise at my fitness center. Usually that gets the endorphins going. But I came home tired, and feeling like I will never succeed. I need some positive self talk but haven't got the energy tonight to do it.

I shouldn't be glum - I have a 4 day weekend ahead. I plan to do some shopping with a friend, and lots of knitting. And of course some grading papers. There's a church supper on Sat. night, and big events on Sunday at church. Next week will be an easy week at school too--- classes on Tuesday, and then 3 days at a local outdoor education center. But somehow all that just makes me tired.

I even had fun with my kids at school today --- something that's happening a lot this year. I'm really falling in love with my job again.

But tonight, I'm glum.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

More Warm and Cuddly

Iro Mitts
Originally uploaded by dswgr6
I made these cozy mittens out of left over yarn from my ruana. They were quick and easy. I made one in the car on a short trip and the other the next evening. You can link to the pattern Iro Mitts in my notebook on Ravelry My ID is dswgr6.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Friday Five

Mother Laura writes:
Songbird just had an interview for a "vague and interesting" possibility, and More Cows than People is doing campus visits for doctoral programs. There always seem to be a few RevGals applying for new positions, and I just got my first call for this year's preliminary interviews for college teaching jobs at the American Academy of Religion meeting in San Diego coming up in a few weeks. It's for my dream job among this year's offerings, and I am flipflopping between excitement and nervousness. So please keep your fingers crossed and say a little prayer for everyone facing such conversations, and share your thoughts on the wonderful world of interviews:

1. What was the most memorable interview you ever had?

I haven't had a lot of interviews, but the one I remember was when the town selectmen interviewed for the position of tax collector. I was in my late 20's and I was pregnant with my first child (who is now 27) I remember the head selectman asking me how I would care for my child if I got the job. I was quite incensed that the question should even be asked! I replied, "I don't think that's really any of your business. How do you care for your children?" Needless to say, I didn't get the job!

2. Have you ever been the interviewer rather than the interviewee? If so, are you a tiger, a creampuff, or somewhere in between?

I have been on several interview teams - as part of pastoral search teams, part of interview teams for teachers, guidance counselors, and even principals. I'm somewhere in between ---- I have to admit that when I was last on a pastoral search team, I didn't even want to interview one of the candidates. His profile didn't impress me at all. However, I was in the minority and we interviewed him. I was blown away in the interview! We ended up calling him and he served our church well for over 10 years. He was an excellent pastor, a wonderful mentor and spiritual director. I shared the story with him several years into his ministry with us.

3. Do phone interviews make you more or less nervous than in-person ones?

I don't find phone interviews particularly helpful. I need to see faces. I have done a couple of phone interviews as the interviewer, but have never been the interviewee.

4. What was the best advice you ever got to prepare for an interview? How about the worst?

Best advice? Be yourself. Worst advice? Tell them what they want to hear.

5. Do you have any pre-interview rituals that give you confidence?

It's been so long since I've been on an interview - the last one was in 1995 when I interviewed for my present teaching job. I don't remember any special rituals other than practicing.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Careers: I Guess I Chose Wisely!

You Should Be a Teacher

You are patient, optimistic, and good at explaining things.
You work well with all types of people, and you are a good role model.
Success and positive outcomes are extremely important to you.
You are both a good leader and instructor. People look up to and depend on you.

You do best when you:

- Can see the results of your work
- Are able to teach someone a new skill

You would also be a good nurse or non fiction writer.

Warm and Cuddly

Originally uploaded by dswgr6
I finished my ruana this week. It's a design by Sandi Rosner, published by Ann Norling. I knit it from Noro Iro, colorway 43 on size 10.5 needles. It was easy and quick, and now it's warm and cuddly for the more seasonable weather we're having. I'm still working on a pair of socks, the Bluebell Rib, that are almost done.

I'm also still slogging through the Swan Lake stole. I am lost in clue 4 and abandoned it temporarily to do some easy knitting for a change. I'm not sure what my next project is going to be - perhaps the Green River tunic from Valley Yarns. I have a bunch of the Noro left so I'll probably do some mittens or fingerless mitt from it, and I have lots of sock yarn to transform. So many choices!

Friday, October 26, 2007

The Friday Five

From RevGalBlog

1.How did you celebrate this time of year when you were a child?
We carved pumpkins, dressed up and went trick or treating. I loved Halloween as a child! My favorite Halloweens were when I lived in Bridgewater, NJ back in the mid 1960's when it was a just a tiny township. We lived on in brand new neighborhood on a street that was about a mile long. The whole neighborhood seemed to participate in trick-or-treating. We visited nearly every house and filled pillowcases with treats! One Halloween when I was older, maybe 14 or so, I was in charge of my younger siblings. My older college age cousin was visiting and we took my siblings out trick or treating. We decided that since we were too old to get candy, we would play some tricks. Our dastardly deed??? We put the flags up on all the mailboxes at the foot of every driveway! We were petrified that we'd get arrested for playing with "government property."

2. Do you and/or your family “celebrate” Halloween? Why or why not? And if you do, has it changed from what you used to do?

My children are adults on their own now, so our Halloween celebrations are limited to treating any children that come to our door. I love having them come. Unfortunately over the past few years, fewer and fewer children come. Part of it is the changing demographic of my neighborhood, but more of it, I think, comes from the fact that fewer parents deem it safe for kids to trick or treat. That saddens me. Kids who do come to our door are lucky. My husband buys full size candy bars, usually Hershey bars, or Snickers. None of the snack size bars, thank you very much!
2. Candy apples: Do you prefer red cinnamon or caramel covered? Or something else?

I don't really have a preference. I like either, but don't go searching for them. The question however sparked a sudden desire for a SUGAR DADDY!! I haven't even seen them in stores in years. This was always one of my favorite treats.

3. Pumpkins: Do you make Jack O’ Lanterns? Any ideas of what else to do with them?
Not any more. I do have some pumpkins on my steps however. We carve pumpkins in school for the annual Pumpkinfest in a neighboring community. This is a huge event, drawing 80,000 folks to our region, as the town tries reclaim its Guiness World record. Considering that the event takes place in a town of about 20,000, they've done well. This year they had about 25,000 pumpkins. So what if Boston beat them. We have them beat on per capita basis!

4. Do you decorate your home for fall or Halloween? If so, what do you do? Bonus points for pictures.

Not really. I used to when my kids were little. I just don't have time anymore.

5. Do you like pretending to be something different? Does a costume bring our an alternate personality?

I have a love/hate relationship with costumes. I enjoy dressing up, but I can never think of anything to wear, so I hate trying to come up with an idea. If someone came up with the idea, and then supplied me with the costume, I'd have a much better time! I'm still me though, whether I look like myself or not!

Bonus: Share your favorite recipe for an autumn food, particularly apple or pumpkin ones

My favorite fall treat is an apple crisp. No special recipe - just good apples, sprinkled with brown sugar, cinnamon, maybe some ginger and lemon juice, a dash of allspice. Then a topping of about equal parts of brown sugar and butter creamed together, with about a 1/2 cup of flour and maybe some oats and chopped walnuts. Oh and more cinnamon. Cover apples with topping and bake until done at 350░ - maybe 40 minutes or so.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

I Wish I Could Paint

Deep inside is the hunger to be able to paint and to make music. I've certainly experimented with art, mostly with unsatisfactory results. I longed for piano lessons and finally had the opportunity to start during high school. I loved those lessons, even the handcramping finger drills! College intervened and then job and marriage and family. For a year or two I tried taking lessons again when my sons were little, but as so often happens, we set aside our individual desires for the priorities of other roles we also desire to fulfill. So now I mostly satisfy that hunger for music making by listening to others make music. But I wish I could paint, especially in the fall with the breath-taking beauty of brilliant foliage against deep blue skies, punctuated by the chocolate-silver of the emptying branches.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

A Reading Description

What Kind of Reader Are You?
Your Result: Dedicated Reader

You are always trying to find the time to get back to your book. You are convinced that the world would be a much better place if only everyone read more.

Obsessive-Compulsive Bookworm
Literate Good Citizen
Book Snob
Fad Reader
What Kind of Reader Are You?
Create Your Own Quiz

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Stopped in your tracks

Monday afternoon started normally. I left school about 4 pm, met my husband and we headed up to The Wellness Center, a health and fitness center connected to our local hospital. I went to water aerobics while husband went to work out on the treadmill since recent cataract surgery prevents him from being in the pool. I left class about 10 minutes early because I had an early evening meeting and wanted to have supper between exercising my body and exercising my brain. As I headed out to our meeting place, one of the fitness trainers greeted me with the news that my husband was headed to the emergency room. Apparently while he was exercising he felt faint and queasy. When they checked his blood pressure it was through the roof and he complained of weight on his shoulders. I ran to the emergency room and found him undergoing preliminary tests, all hooked up to electrodes, IV's and oxygen. He was feeling fine, but was very anxious and his blood pressure was 187/132. We feared the worst - that he had had a 2nd heart attack. (He had a heart attack in 2000, and has a stent.) Blood work was inconclusive, and after 5 hours in the ER he was admitted to the ICU for observation and more tests. I got home about midnight, wrote sub plans for Tuesday, and called the sub coordinator hot line. Tuesday I was up in ICU at 6:30 am and he was feeling fine. His blood pressure was lower, but still not where it should be. After many more tests, it was determined that he did NOT have a 2nd heart attack and by 4 pm Tuesday he was released. We still don't know exactly what caused his extremely high blood pressure. Wed. he was back at work, and we were back at the Wellness Center exercising. He has an appt with his cardiologist in two weeks, so perhaps we'll learn more.

Being stopped in your tracks, putting everything on hold even for 23 hours opens your eyes to what is important. And it's not meetings, or jobs, or meals.

The Friday Five

Quoting from RevGalPalBlog:

"Does everyone remember the old Sunday School song?
The B-I-B-L-E,
Oh, that's the book for me.
I take my stand on the Word of God,
The B-I-B-L-E.

I have been working on an expansive language version of the Psalms and the Liturgy of the Hours/Divine Office/Breviary. (For you non-liturgical gals and pals, that's a set of prayers for morning, noon, evening, etc., mostly consisting of Psalms and other biblical texts).So I have been thinking a lot about the Bible recently, and how we encounter it as God's Word--or don't--in our lives, prayer, and ministry. (Great minds think somewhat alike this week, as yesterday's Ask The Matriarch post dealt with ways to help as many people in a community as possible engage with a scriptural text in preparation for Sunday worship).So, in that spirit, I offer my first Friday Five. I'm looking forward to hearing everyone's experience and reflection on these B-I-B-L-E questions:"

1. What is your earliest memory of encountering a biblical text?
I started going to Sunday school as an infant because my mom and aunt taught the nursery and kindergarden classes, so I know I heard Bible stories from the start. Three stories that I remember from early childhood are of the loaves and fishes feeding the multitudes, the sick man being lowered through the roof of the house, and of course the entry into in Jerusalem. I think these stick because we either acted them out or made models of them. (I also remember building Succoth booths in Sunday school in the fall). A couple of Psalms too --- Psalm 51:verses 10-12, and Psalm 100, are stuck indelibly in early memory.

I do remember the pride and great joy I felt as a second grader, receiving my very own Bible.

2. What is your favorite biblical translation, and why? (You might have a few for different purposes).
My favorite translation is the NRSV for its clarity, and for the wonderful footnotes and context info my 2 NRSV translations provide. (The New Oxford Annotated Bible, and the New Interpreters Study Bible). My original RSV Bible is the one by my bedside however, for comfort and familiarity.
3. What is your favorite book of the Bible? Your favorite verse/passage?

I can't claim a favorite book of the Bible, though there are books I gravitate to. I am drawn to Mark's gospel, I think, because it's so spare and unadorned. I've always loved verses 16-18 from I Thessalonians, Ch 5: Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing, give thanks in all cirmcumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. The Psalms are also well-read, and well-prayed.
4. Which book of the Bible do you consider, in Luther's famous words about James, to be "an epistle of straw?" Which verse(s) make you want to scream?

I can't say there's one book that fits this description. Some of Paul's comments in general make me crazy, but once I consider context, I'm less bothered.

5. Inclusive language in biblical translation and liturgical proclamation: for, against, or neutral?

Although the traditional language never bothered me, I am for inclusive language, in biblical translation, hymns, and service. Although avoiding the use of gender pronouns sometimes makes passages awkward, I find this awkwardness to be what we teachers call a "teachable moment." God is not male or female, and when I struggle to find gender-neutral words, it reminds me that I can't define God in human image -- that I'm made in God's image, not the other way around. With that being said, it is hard to sing some of the traditional hymns "by heart" and I like how my church handles this. We use the New Century Hymnal most often, but still also use the Pilgrim Hymnal. We place a note in our bulletin that says something to the effect that we recognize that although sometimes our language fails to be inclusive, the meaning is meant to include all.
Bonus: Back to the Psalms--which one best speaks the prayer of your heart?

This can change. The ones that I return to most often are Psalm 121, Psalm 63, Psalm 100, verses 10-12 of Psalm 51, and Psalm 139.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

We had a wonderful holiday weekend! Imagine spending a glorious fall afternoon in an Andirondack chair overlooking this -

Knitting Friend and her husband accompanied us to Ogunquit, Maine. Saturday afternoon we decided to sit on the lawn of our hotel (the Anchorage) and relax. Knitting Friend and I knit and the 4 of us talked and relaxed. I finished the first half of a pair of socks - Bluebell Rib from Sensational Knitted Socks. It fits perfectly.
Knitting Friend's husband casually looked at his watch and FOUR HOURS had passed! I can't remember the last time I sat for four hours straight and enjoyed myself. (Airplane flights to Los Angeles and England don't count. Operative word here is enjoyed).

Our school district had Friday off, but we had teachers' workshops on Monday, so our 3 day weekend got an early start and an early finish. Friday we spent shopping in Kittery at the outlets, and Friday night we spontaneously bought tickets to The Full Monty at the Ogunquit Playhouse. The play was hysterical! I don't think I've laughed so much in ages.

We meandered home slowly on Sunday, first heading up to Kennebunkport and doing some shopping there, and then finding a great craft fair at Wells Elementary School. Knitting Friend and I bought some beautiful seaglass and sterling earrings from a vendor, Heather Alexander.

I was sorry I missed World Communion Sunday at church, ( a very special service was planned) but I truly felt touched by the Spirit this weekend. The ocean always brings me close to God. Add to that true relaxation with my husband and good friends.

A wonderful weekend - and I guess the recharging of physical and spiritual batteries helped me cope with a very scary Monday and Tuesday. A post for later . . . .

Sunday, September 30, 2007

What I Did Saturday Afternoon

After a trip to our local Agway, I planted 3 spirea bushes, 20 tulips and 16 narcissus (narcissi?) in the new bed beside our new brick walk. It was beautiful fall afternoon, perfect for planting. I also planted a new PJM rhododendon on the other side of the granite steps, but didn't focus on getting into the photo. A neighbor built us the brick walk and the wall for the garden bed -it's really beautiful!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

I love Saturday morning

I really like Saturday mornings. I'm generally up around 7 am which might sound early to some folks but is actually sleeping in for me. Weekdays that alarm goes off at 4:45. I get to relax with a pot of coffee, and read the paper, read my favorite blogs and email, and have time to blog. Even when I have a ton of stuff to do, there seems to be a wide avenue of time available. Of course once the day gets going, that window of time seems to squeeze shut pretty rapidly. . .

This weekend isn't too chockful of have-to's. I have to do the billing for my husband's company, and I have a bit of school work to do. And we're trying to turn our former TV/family room into an office for the business, and turning our "company" living room into the family room. We're also trying revamp our "flown from the nest" sons' bedrooms into a library/craft room and a real guest bedroom.

We've joined the 21st century with the purchase of this:

It's a 37 inch flat screen HD TV. It replaces a 1987 TV and doubles the number of TV's in our home. My 6th graders couldn't believe that I've never had more than 1 TV in my house my whole life.

On the knitting front, I'm still working on the SWAN LAKE stole, formerly known as MS3 and a pair of socks. I also started working on this:

It's a ruana designed by Sandi Rosner, for the Ann Norling line. It's going to be this:

I'm using Noro Iro color 43, and it's knitting up fast. It's a treat to knit on it when I need a break from the stole.

Well, the window of time is about ready to start shutting . . . . sounds like the rest of the household is up.

Sunday, September 23, 2007


It's gorgeous today -- sunny, brilliant blue sky, gentle breeze, warm but with a little nip. A perfect day to walk in the woods, or clean up the yard, or get together with a knitting friend! I've got an afternoon planned of winding skeins and knitting. I'm winding my Noro Iro (color 43) for a ruana I'm going to start soon. I have an Ann Norling pattern for a ruana designed by Sandi Rosner. I haven't been able to find a link for this pattern. I purchased it at yarn store in Norton, MA on my way back from Nantucket last spring. I bought the yarn at the WEBs tent sale last spring too. I'm still working on my Swan Lake stole (up to clue 4)
but need something a little less challenging for those nights I'm too tire to work on it.

On the challenging note, today we had a "supply" pastor preach. She's in the ordination process - all done with school, finishing up her ordination papers, and is someone who grew up in our church. It is always a delight to have her lead worship and preach. She speaks with such maturity, I forget she's the same age as my son (under 30!) . I love hearing her preach because her sermons require the listener to wrestle with scripture. Today's lectionary texts all dealt with wealth (Amos' warning to the rich, Luke's dishonest manager) and her sermon asked us to consider how to live in the tension created when we try to make decisions that involve economics and justice. Do you buy the cheap coffee or the fair trade coffee? Do you support he building of a factory that will bring much needed jobs to a community despite the environmental cost? Do you buy the cheap imported clothing at the local big box store, or the more expensive USA made (if you can find it) clothing? Do you buy a conventional gas car or a more expensive hybrid?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

I Could Have . . . .

I could have accomplished a lot today . . . but I didn't.

I could have cleaned any one of a dozen cluttered and messy spots in my house.

I could have caught up on bill paying.

I could have spent an hour exercising.

I could have changed the sheets.

I should have been at work.

Instead . . . .

I took my husband up to the hospital for cataract surgery and spent the morning waiting with him and for him. I finished a book (Earlene Fowler's Steps To the Altar) and continued knitting on socks while he was in surgery. My knitting is also my praying at times.

Once we got home, I've been "babying" him --- he deserves it. I made him one of his favorite meals (corned beef and cabbage) and a pear crisp with pears from our overladen tree. I dropped drops into his eye every 4 hours. I napped in the sunlight on the porch. I read another Earlene Fowler, Sunshine and Shadow. I did a load of laundry. I didn't do anything I should have done. But I did what I needed to do --- to minister to my husband, and to take some sabbath time for myself. I only thought once about my classroom . I was where I needed to be today.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

My Invite at last!

Hip hip hooray! I'm in Ravelry at last! I wasn't sure what all the fuss was about, but signed up anyway. It's been about 3 months, and I was thinking I'd still have another month to go. And lo and behold, I found my invitation this morning. I've already added a few projects and some of my stash. It's really easy, and addicting. I have to load photos to Flickr - I had to set up an account first.

My husband and some friends and I participated in the NH Memory Walk this morning. Our exercise class decided to combine exercise with community service and 5 of us raised nearly $1000 for Alzheimer's research. It was pouring, but we had fun anyway.

I have some school work to do this weekend, and bookkeeping for my husband's business. Plus a busy day at church tomorrow. It's church council meeting day, so I won't be home til 1 or 1:30. We're appointing a search committee for a new settled pastor, and we have some other issues to deal with, so it will most likely be an animated (friendly!!!) meeting. I love the way we operate --- not always efficiently, but always with Spirit.

I'm into clue 3 of the mystery stole which isn't really a mystery anymore. I still knit 5-6 rows without problem, and then knit, tink, reknit 3-4 rows. But it's still addictive.

Monday, September 10, 2007

This and That - No Particular Order

I finally finished clue 2 of the MysteryStole 3. At this rate, I'll still be knitting it in January. I am enjoying it a lot, although I spend as much time frogging and tinking as I do knitting.

School is in full swing. I really like my kids this year! They are kind, cooperative, and seem to be enthusiastic about school, and they even follow directions!! Every few years you get a class like this - and they make up for the ones that are really difficult. I've got 38 sixth graders that I share with another teacher. He teaches math and science, and I teach social studies and reading/language arts. So far, so good. Tomorrow night is Open House, which is REALLY early this year.

We've been having a time trying to get a new TV installed. I purchased a flat screen HD TV on August 13th and since then have been trying to get it set up. We've been customers of one satellite company for many years but decided to switch companies in order to take advantage of a $300 discount on the TV. The installer has cancelled twice on us and we spent 2.5 hours on the phone Sat. trying to find out why no one had shown up as scheduled on try #3. When we finally got through to someone, we were told that the installer had had an illness, and we were being rescheduled again, for another couple of weeks hence. We decided to take everything back to the store and start again. (We were worried that if the TV didn't work right, we wouldn't be able to return things since the 30 day money back guarantee deadline was looming). To make a long story a little shorter, we returned everything but the TV, were able to keep the $300 discount, and we're staying with our original satellite provider. Of course, now we have to wait and see how long it takes them to get out to us!!

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Prayers Needed

Finally made it back to church this morning. I realized that it had been a whole month since I'd been in my own church during the communion service which we have on the first Sunday of each month. I am usually a VERY regular worshipper but we have been away often this summer and I haven't been in town. I've also been taking a vacation from church this summer, partly on purpose. Our church is in a state of transition. A long-time pastor left a year ago last August, and for almost 6 months my ministry team (Nurture) provided a variety of worship leadership: Lay leadership, supply pastors, and joint services with a neighboring UCC church. Then we hired a very part-time interim pastor who started in January. Along with this, we have been experimenting with different organizational structures for almost 2 years, going from a very committee/board heavy hierarchy to ministry teams. So we have been struggling with lots of things ---new structure, new pastor, new ways. As one of the church leaders, I've been involved with trying to keep things going smoothly. When summer came, I realized I needed a break and decided to take one! It's been good. I'm praying about what I need to do and what I need to let go of. I ask you to pray for me -- that I will stay open to listening to God's voice, that I will be able to discern the path I need to take. Pray too for my wonderful church. We soon will be appointing a search team to find a settled pastor, and we need to make some big decisions about the type of leadership we need and can support financially.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Back on the Treadmill - Full Force

School started . . . . . if you're a teacher, I probably don't need to say any more!

We had a terrific trip to LA and returned late Sunday night. 7 am Monday found me in my classroom and it's been nonstop since then. I got home Monday night at 9 pm (after a full day of organizing my room, meetings, etc., we offer a "Get Acquainted" sundae party on Monday evening for all our incoming 6th graders and their families. Tuesday was another round of preparation, meetings, scheduling, etc. and then yesterday was the day the students came. Other than the heat and humidity, the construction complications with resulting traffic snarls, and a few other "unusual" obstacles, the first 2 days have gone quite smoothly. I share 37 students with one other teacher, and they seem really sweet. Hope they continue that way!

Los Angeles was wonderful. We ate a lot of great food - Japanese, Italian, Indian, and Mexican, visited several small wineries in Santa Ynez, saw some great art at the Getty Center, saw some "cool" cars at the Petersen Automotive Museum, and got to enjoy "Wicked" at the Pantages Theater! As you can see we did a lot in 4 days!

Now it's back to the treadmill --- literally too, since I have to get back into my regular exercise routines. Water aerobics twice a week, strength training twice a week, and at least another 40 minutes of concentrated aerobic exercise. So far I've lost 35 pounds since late January. It's been tough this summer to lose more due to all the traveling I've done, but other than a couple of minor fluctuations, I've stayed pretty stable. Now that school has started it will actually be easier for me to eat right!

I did a little knitting on the airplane --- 3/4 of a sock. Since I got home, though, I haven't even touched a needle. This is actually the first day I've been home before 5 pm all week, so I hope to do some knitting tonight. And maybe get some pictures off the camera . . . .

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Off To LA

We're heading off to Los Angeles today to visit our younger son. He works as a talent agent in Beverly Hills! It sounds more glamorous than it apparently is. He works really hard, does have some fun, but doesn't make a lot of money. He shares an apartment with 2 other people and drives a "mature" Honda Accord. He's been out in LA for 3 years, since graduating from Emerson College, in Boston. He loves it out there and still will call when he meets an "A" list celebrity. My knitting buddy was out in LA a couple of weeks ago and visited a knit shop or 2, but I don't think I'll have time to do that. We're planning on some wine tasting expeditions with our son instead.

I'm taking along a new sock project -- from Sensational Knitted Socks. I'm using Brown Sheep Wildfoote in Rhapsody. I probably will do the Bluebell Rib pattern with it. I do my socks on 2 circular needles so it's a great plane ride project. I also find socks pretty easy to do now, and it will be a "restful" break from the Swan Lake. I am stuck at the beginning of clue 2 -- I've tinked rows 101-105 about 6 times already. Time for a break.

The countdown is beginning for the start of school next week. My room is not ready but I'm trying not to be stressed about that. Our building is undergoing major renovation so we've been banned from the building all summer. The projects won't be done til the end of next summer, so it's going to be an interesting year to say the least!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Clue One done at last

I finally completed Clue 1 of the Mystery Stole 3 which has been revealed to be Swan Lake. I started this about 2 weeks ago and the last clue was revealed last Friday, so I am way behind. It's been quite a challenge! This is the first time I've tried lace with lace weight yarn and I've never beaded before. I've discovered that I love knitting lace, and I've fallen in love with adding beads to my knitting.

I'm using Valley Yarns 2/14 Alpaca Silk from Webs. It's called Storm Cloud. I have transparent black lined beads that really sparkle and catch the light.

This project will take me a long time, especially since school starts for me on 8/27. I can only do a few rows at night once school starts, and it takes a great deal of concentration! I've learned to count my stitches frequently -- I count when I reach the center point, at the end of the row, and then again as I purl back on the wrong side.

We're going to Los Angeles on Tuesday for a visit with our younger son, and a last minute vacation finale. He's a talent agent in Hollywood. It's quite a different world out there, from rural NH. He loves it. I guess at almost 26, the hustle, bustle, and glitz is appealing! We do have fun with him when we visit. And I'm always amazed and awed by what a great young man he's become!

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Friday, August 17, 2007

Busy Busy Busy

So it has been a busy week!

We're going to Los Angeles next week to visit our younger son. It's my last week before it's back to the classroom, and of course, I'm trying to accomplish everything I meant to accomplish this summer and haven't.

I bought a new TV - a 37inch flat screen HD -- and we're going to put in our living room because we're turning our TV/family room into an office. So, I had to rearrange furniture in the living room. Then, we're putting the old 1987 Sears special TV into what we call the "middle bedroom" which has served as our attic. So I had to clear that out. Now we can start work on transforming the family room into an office. In between, I spent a very hot day in my classroom, trying to get it organized. Usually I go into school once a week or so to work on "pretty-fying" the room, rearranging furniture, going through files, etc. and to work on lesson plans. However, this summer our rooms have been off limits due to a major renovation/construction project. We were given permission to go in on Tuesday -- so I did! We had to watch for construction vehicles, falling bricks, tile removal and replacement, window replacement --- you name it! I also was trying to get some general cleaning done - good thing, since we're having family come visit. I'm really looking forward to seeing them - it's been a long time!

I haven't gotten much knitting done. I'm working on the Mystery Stole 3 and had gotten up to row 77. I noticed a major flaw down around row 63 and by the time I got there, I'd dropped a bunch of stitches so had to reknit from row 49. But now I'm up to row 72 -- and it looks great. Sorry, no pictures this time!

Friday, August 10, 2007

So What's on the Needles

First of all, I finally finished this baby blanket. I've done this one before.

It's done in Leader, an acrylic yarn with a great feel. It's in lavendar on size 8 needles. The pattern is Baby Blocks, by Debbie Macomber.
The color doesn't come through very well.

Now on the needles is the Mystery Stole 3. I've never done anything like this, and I had a terrible time swatching! I think it was the change from big yarn and big needles, (relatively speaking) to lace weight!! I'm using Valley Yarns 2/14 Hand dyed Alpaca Silk in stormcloud.

Yesterday my knitting buddy and I traveled a couple hours north to Patternworks. We enjoyed the shops, found some great sale items - yarn and books. I got a skein of Helen's Lace in Mixed Berries for only $25.99! We also visited the Elegant Ewe in Concord, another great shop. Finally we visited The Wool Room in Antrim, NH. That was a fun place too- a small shop in a private home. In other words, we had a great yarn crawling day!
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Monday, August 6, 2007

Back to Regularly Scheduled Programming

So, it's been a while. I've been away - to England, Scotland, and Wales! We had a wonderful, awesome trip - our first off this continent. I took 287 pictures which have taken me an entire week to upload to my Picasa album. We went on the British Landscapes tour sponsored by Collette Vacations. I highly recommend their company, if you're into escorted tours. Not only was the itinerary wonderful, but our tour guide was terrific. The hotels were 4 and 5 star rated, and the included meals were great. I can't decided which part of the UK I liked better. Every place we went I said "I want to come back here!" Certainly at the top of our list of favorite places we visited was Edinborough. We also loved the Lake District and York. Each part was beautiful and I really want to go back!!

What really surprised me though were the sheep.

Everywhere there is open space (and believe me, the UK has LOTS of open pasture lands) there are sheep - 30 million of them in fact. One sheep for every 2 people. At least that's the statistic we were given. And yet - I only saw ONE yarn shop!

It's hard to come back from vacation. Aside from the time changes, the meal changes, and the sleep changes, it's hard to come back to housework,cooking, laundry, and especially hard to look at the calendar and realize that school for me starts in 3 weeks. Don't get me wrong, I love teaching, but I hate the schedule I have to follow --- the alarm at 4:45am and the nonstop pace til 8 pm and then a brief break before bed and start all over again. Although I'm busy with a variety of things in the summer, including lesson planning and study, it's much more relaxed, with no outside-imposed time table.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Trying to Ignore the Rumbling Stomach

I am on a clear liquids only diet today due to an upcoming medical procedure tomorrow - the dreaded colonoscopy. It's a routine-ish screening. I had a perfectly clear screening 6 years ago, but due to the fact that my mom died 2 years ago from colon cancer, it's not quite as routine a procedure as it might be for some folks. I think the worst part of the whole procedure is the preparation for it --- particularly the special beverage that you have to drink. At least this time I only have to force down a total of 3 oz instead of a whole jug, but still . . . It's funny all last week I had no problem ignoring breakfast. I'd be up by 7 and rarely had anything but coffee til about 9:30. Today, my stomach's been rumbling since 6 am!! I realize our meal schedule yesterday was interrupted by a 6 hour power outage but this is further proof that appetite is often a mental state too!

Anyway. We leave Thursday for our big vacation - a trip to England. We've been to Mexico, Canada, and the Caribbean, but this is the first time off the continent. I'm excited to say the least. I finished knitting my 2nd Bistro Shirt yesterday, and it's being blocked as I type. I'm hoping to wear it on the trip, so I hope it dries in time! I used Goshen again, from Valley Yarns, in sage this time. I made some minor modifications - a couple of garter stitch rows at the bottom to prevent rolling, a bit longer, and I knitted it a size smaller than my first Bistro.

I wore my lace stole to a wedding on Saturday, and to church yesterday. I received LOTS of compliments on it. Here's a close up of the lace pattern. Isn't it pretty?

I started work on a baby blanket - Debbie Macomber's Baby Blocks. I'm using Plymouth Leader, in lavendar. It's an acrylic yarn with a nice feel to it. This will be a present. I've got 2 more major projects in line - as soon as my yarn order arrives. I ordered some 2/14 Hand dyed Alpaca Silk in Storm Cloud from WEBS for the Mystery Stole 3 KAL and some more Goshen, this time in red, for the Valley Yarns Green River Tunic.

And I still have LOADS of sock yarn!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Stoles and Luggage

My stole is finished and blocked and it's beautiful! I will get a pic up soon, I hope! I'm working on my 2nd Bistro shirt and hope to have it done this weekend so I can wear it on our England trip next week! I also ordered yarn for the MS3 knit along, and for WEBS Valley Yarn Green River Tunic. So many projects . . . too little time. I entered the 1-2-3-4-5 Contest too.

Have you been luggage shopping lately? It's confusing! There are so many choices. I have to mention a wonderfully helpful JC Penney associate name Ally in the Keene, NH store. She spent almost an hour with me, reviewing the plusses and minuses of the various lines. I finally decided on the pieces I wanted, only to discover that I couldn't get all of them in the color. She searched the stock room twice to be sure there wasn't one more blue case in back. I ended up changing color which meant another trip to the stock room. I purchased 2 black bags. I wrote up a commendation for her for her supervisor because she really was helpful and friendly. This morning I got a call from her from the store. A new delivery of luggage had been made, and there were now 2 blue cases, if I wanted to exchange. Since we had to back to that area anyway, (a bit of trek, but not terrible) we went in this afternoon, exchanged black for blue, and bought 2 more blue pieces!!

Saturday, July 7, 2007


I'm finished at last with the knitting of the Lace Stole. I borrowed a blocking board from a friend to block the stole. What a great tool! It's so much easier to use the board than a towel on the table and the measuring tape! I knitted the stole a bit longer than the pattern suggested, and it came out a bit wider. This despite getting gauge on my swatch and a couple of gauge checks as I knitted. It doesn't really matter for this project thought so I'm fine. The fabric is doubled for the blocking so it will fit on the board. It will be 72 inches in length and 16 inches wide. It's 100% bamboo - Plymouth Royal Bamboo. I'm really pleased with the way it turned out!

Saturday, June 30, 2007

The First Week of "Vacation"

School has been out just a week. I'm always amazed at how difficult the transition can be. I've been pretty busy with all kinds of appointments: eye doctor, regular doctor, lab work, dentist, etc. and I treated myself to a massage. It's been crazy around the house too -- my husband's business involves a great deal of vehicle maintenance, and it's been time to get the oil and other fluides changed in 17 vehicles, get them all washed and cleaned, and all the other things that need doing when all of those vehicles are off their routes and on vacation also. Most of this maintenance occurs in our yard, so it's been a busy place! It's also hard to sleep in when you're used to getting up at 4:45 am for half the year, and right now it's really light at that time anyway. BUT ......... and it's a big one . .. . . . the PRESSURE is off! It doesn't matter that we got home from exercise class at 7 pm and haven't had dinner yet. So what if I didn't get to bed til 11 pm - I don' t have to be anywhere at 6:30 in the morning. I don't have to be energized and upbeat all day, trying to motivate 12 year olds all day. It's VACATION!! It's really hard to describe the weightlessness of not being in school. The intense pressure I feel all year to be moving on to the next thing, the relentlessness of my daily schedule is gone. I feel almost giddy with freedom!

Of course, there are a ton of things I want to accomplish this summer --- like clean my house. We are pack rats and not very well-organized ones either. I've already accomplished one organization task. I turned my piles of yarn stash into 2 organized see-through plastic tubs of yarn, and I actually know what I have now. I also went through my tub of needles and things, and organzed those. I spent a day catching up on bookkeeping tasks and balanced 2 months of personal checking and the usual monthly business bookkeeping. Not bad for a week's vacation. This coming week my husband and I want to turn our TV/family room into an office we both can use, and turn our basically unused living room into the TV/family room. He's not quite convinced we should do this, but my take on it, is why not. It sure beats using the dining room as his office. We are blessed with a large house; we may as well use it efficiently!!

I have been reading up a storm this week too --- lots of very light, easy fun fiction. I requested a bunch of books from the library and 3 of them came in already waiting on the kitchen table. I can recommend a couple of good reads: Barbara Delinsky Looking for Peyton Place, and Maeve Binchy Whitethorn Woods. I have a bunch of Earlene Fowler to read too.

And finally, the knitting goes on. The Lace Shawl/Stole is still on the needles and is driving me nuts. I have knitted about 50 inches - about 10 more to go. And I still find myself with too many stitches, not enough stitches or on the wrong row. I seem to have a pattern of knitting about 5 inches without a hitch, and then the next 2 inches are hell. I'm looking ahead to the next projects -- a baby blanket, another summer Bistro Shirt and perhaps some unravelling of a couple of previous winter sweaters that are way too big for me now --- down 33 lbs since January, and still going.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Lace Stole

So this is what I've been working on since June 9th. It's from the magazine, KnitSimple, and I'm using Plymouth Royal Bamboo. I've managed to knit about 30 inches so far. It's not a difficult pattern to remember, only 4 rows, and 2 of the rows are the purl back rows. The tricky part for me is keeping track of whether I'm on row 2 or 4 since row 2 starts with knit 3, yo, and ends with knit 1, and row 4 starts with knit 2, yo, and ends with knit 2. I do use a row counter but every so often I end up with too many or 2 few stitches at the end of the row I think I'm on. I also get mixed up sometimes because the stitch pattern which is a multiple of 9 starts with a yo and ends with a yo, knit 1. That puts a yo, knit 1, yo together. As I'm knitting along the row, my brain keeps putting the yo, knit 1, yo together, rather than seeing them as end of stitch pattern and beginning of next one. So, I will be merrily knitting along and realize I've goofed somewhere, and I have go back and figure out where I messed up. I find myself knitting 2 or 3 inches without problems, then have an inch of mistakes to rip out and then I'm usually all set again. However, 2 nights ago I ripped out a row and reknit it at least 7 times before I decided check that I had the correct # of stitches in the row to begin with. Of course not. I had 69 stitches and was only supposed to have 67. I had to go back a couple of rows to discover where my extra yarn overs were that caused the disruption. . . . But with all that said, I am loving the way this is turning out. The bamboo is a bit splitty, but has a lovely sheen and drape. I am hoping to have this done to be ready to wear to a wedding on July 14th.

I didn't get any knitting done yesterday. I went on an adventure with 7 others from my church to the UCC General Synod in Hartford, Ct. We left on a coach bus from our church at 5:30 am and arrived in time for opening worship at 8:15. What a full and busy day we had. We heard an amazing sermon/keynote from Bill Moyer to start the morning. We attended a variety of workshops, musical performances, and listened to some outstanding theologians, activists, and committed, faithful members of the United Church of Christ. I was extremely impressed by Barack Obama's address. He is "one of us" - a member of a Chigaco UCC congregation, and he spoke passionately on how his personal faith informs his personal and public life. Being a committed Christian is more than sitting in church and praying, a person of faith, must take action. A person of faith must live his or her beliefs, not just talk about them. I think what impressed me the most was how difficult it must have been to speak before this large crowd of over 10,000 without turning the speech into a campaign speech. And I believe he was successful. On a lighter note, I listened to a large youth handbell choir from Long Beach, CA play both sacred and secular selections in a beautiful 375 year old Congregational church and to a mariachi band outside in Bushnell Park. I even danced (very briefly!) with clowns in the park! We never got back to our town til 12:15 am, exhausted but Spirit-filled. And ALL of us were in church this morning to share some of the Spirit with the rest of the congregation.
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Friday, June 15, 2007

It's Almost Over

Only 2.5 days more! The last week or so of school just drags by. Today was especially long. Our students went to climb Mt. Monadnock, one of our town's claims to fame. I didn't go though. I stayed back at school to supervise the handful of students who weren't able to go on the trip, mostly because of disciplinary issues. I put the kiddoes to work, cleaning, and packing up classrooms, but it was a long day nonetheless. The rest of the kids had a great time on the mountain, and the weather was perfect for the trek.

Last night was Parent Info Night for the parents of next year's sixth graders, and the kids themselves came to visit during the day. Monday is Field Day, Tuesday is "Keep 'Em Busy" day, and Wed. is Awards and the final school wide assembly. Dismissal is at 11 am. I can't wait!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Bistro Shirt

Here's the latest finished project - the Bistro Shirt by Oat Couture. I used Goshen by Valley Yarns in periwinkle on size 8 and 9 needles. It took me about 10 days (in between working full time). I wore it today for the first time and it was really comfortable. The really neat thing is that I made it 2 sizes smaller than I've been knitting and it fits well. It's nice to see what losing 33 lbs can do for one's knitting! I'm ready to order more Goshen for more summer tops. It's really soft and drapes really nicely. It's 48% cotton, 46% modal and 6% silk.

I also finished the Homespun prayer shawl and took it church for our prayer shawl ministry. Next up on the needles is another baby afghan, this time from some Leader acrylic I bought at the WEBS tent sale. I'm using another Debbie Macomber pattern, Baby Cables.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Tough Day in the Trenches

You can tell we're almost at the end of the school year. Minds are wandering so far from the classroom that you sometimes wonder if you've accomplished anything. Today was a tough day. It started with my wearing my CSI hat, investigating a trail of evidence to determine which student did what to whom when. That consumed about 20 minutes of first period - fortunately my class was working in groups on their ancient Rome power points, so I was able to do some investigating. Later in the morning I had to confiscate a forbidden PS2 from a couple of young men who thought their game was more interesting than their assignments. A few more run of the mill issues to deal with came my way -- I'm in charge of student discipline for my grade level team. At lunch time I supervised a roomful of young folks who had chosen to disrupt their morning classes in some way or another, and I had to consult with our guidance counselor about another student who ended up getting suspended for some very poor choices ---- All in a day's work, I guess, but I am getting very, very tired.

We have 14 days of school left, budgets to finish, end of year awards, 4th quarter grades, orientation for the incoming 6th graders (who come from 2 different elementary schools), placements, and end of year activities - a field trip, a field day, and assorted other events.

Oh well. My knitting looks really good tonight!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Fir Cone Finale


I finished this shell today finally. I started it last fall, and then it languished until today. All I had left to do was sew it together and do the trim around the neck and armholes. I was waiting til I found a camisole to wear underneath since it's pretty holey --- and I found one that matched perfectly at Eddie Bauer. So today I pulled this out of my basket and finished it up.

It's the Fir Cone Lace Shell by Vermont Fiber Designs. I used Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece in Provincial Rose and my trusty Denise size 6 needles.
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Just for fun

In honor of the 30th Anniversary of STAR WARS!

Your results:
You are Yoda

Obi-Wan Kenobi
Luke Skywalker
Princess Leia
Han Solo
Qui-Gon Jinn
An Ewok
Wise and all knowing you are…yes.
Tall, dark, and handsome?
Not so much I'd say.

(This list displays the top 10 results out of a possible 21 characters)

Click here to take the Star Wars Personality Quiz

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Yarn Addict's Delight

My fellow yarn addict and I ventured forth in pouring rain to the WEBS Tent Sale in Northampton, MA - about 2 hours from where we live in southwestern NH. We arrived just at opening time, and were lucky to find a parking place!

It was amazing! Kind of like being in heaven, I expect. We scooped up some great deals - 10 skeins of Noro IRO for $85, 10 skeins of Kona Pima Cotton for $20.00, 4 bags (10 skeins each) of Phildar Leader acrylic for $45.00 - baby blankets and Warm Up America squares here we come! I also found some beautiful Valley Yarn Goshen in periwinkle for a summer top.

We spent 2 glorious hours there -- would have spent more time, but I had to be back in NH for a party at 3. It was wall-to-wall yarn AND wall-to-wall people. I can't wait til next year's sale!

If you're in driving range of WEBS I wholeheartedly recommend a trip there. They have a huge inventory and variety of knitting and weaving supplies, and a VERY helpful staff. We usually head there a couple of times a year. So much yarn! So little time to knit!!

I came home and started swatching the Goshen for the Oat Couture Bistro Shirt. I love the feel of the yarn and the fabric is soft and drapy.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Finished at last

So this is what I've been up to recently. In between working on a prayer shawl for church, and all the normal school and exercise tasks, I finished these socks. They're from Regia Bamboo and were knitted on size 2 circulars. I like the feel of the bamboo yarn a lot and look forward to wearing them! I used the Twin Rib pattern from Charlene Schurch, Sensational Knitted Socks. I love this book!

Next up on my agenda - get the prayer shawl finished. One more skein of Lion Brand Homespun. I'm not enjoying this yarn as much as I would like to -- I really like the natural fiber feel better. But the shawl is pretty and should be finished in plenty of time for the dedication service on June 17th. Then I need to finish up a shell that I knit over the winter and laid aside because it was too cold to wear. Just have to sew together and do the neck and armhole edgings and block.

For Mother's Day I talked my husband into going up to the NH Sheep and Wool Festival for the afternoon. It was a gorgeous spring day - just perfect for attending a fair. I drooled over yarn! I only bought a pattern and some needles, but I had a wonderful time.

School isn't out til June 20th but it's a toss-up as to who's more anxious to finish, the kids or the teachers!
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Sunday, May 6, 2007

This and That

Since I last posted I celebrated birthday #53, finished a pair of socks, knit 1/2 of a pair of socks, knit 2/3 of a prayer shawl for church, traveled to Nantucket and back, assembled a gas grill, read and graded 39 myth projects, and headed back to school for the last 7 weeks.

The past week was pretty busy with a couple of late nights in a row. Thursday night was the monthly Nurture meeting at church and I didn't get home til almost 10. The next night I went to an Indigo Girls concert and got home at midnight. (A GREAT concert, by the way!). Two nights in row with fewer than 6 hours of sleep does not make me an easy person to live with. Yesterday was a church leadership retreat/long-range planning session. I'm using today as a "recovery" day. I slept in, had a leisurely extra cup of coffee and then actually got a few pressing chores accomplished. You know I'm in trouble when cleaning the toilet makes my day!!

I also managed to get to the gym 4 days this week! I've lost 30 lbs now since the end of January and feel like I'm getting a handle on how to eat well most of the time, and yet enjoy treats occasionally. I must admit that I was bummed out at not having ANY birthday cake this year. My husband had to work that evening, so I ended up celebrating my birthday with a can of soup! But we'd enjoyed a lot of good food earlier in the week on our mini-vacation to the Cape and Nantucket so I really didn't want to consume the extra calories. I'm finding that if I think of food in 100 calories increments I can make better choices. I allow myself 200 calories/day for "snacks". It's usually 1/4 cup of almonds but if I know I'm going out, it might be a beer or glass of wine instead. It seems to be working.

Here are a few of my Nantucket pictures:

Saturday, April 21, 2007

So . . . it's been awhile

It's been a longer break from writing than I expected. The last 2 weeks have been crazy - school, home, and weather!

Our town managed to emerge relatively unscathed from the huge storm that pounded the Northeast this past week, but many folks in nearby towns weren't so lucky. Many flooded basements, yards, houses turned into islands, etc. And the road damage is pretty incredible. Sections of a major highway have been closed since Monday due to landslide, washouts, and bridge damage. Several local school districts have been closed much of the week. The sun finally came out yesterday, and the next few days are supposed to sunny and warm and late April-ish!

I also went to VA Beach over Easter weekend to attend my brother's Navy retirement ceremony and party. Cold, unseasonable weather there that weekend, even snow! But we had fun too!

I have been knitting pretty feverishly on a baby blanket --Debbie Macomber's "Baby Blocks"

I used an acrylic yarn - Caron Le Soft.

Close up of the blocks:

They alternate between garter and purl and look interwoven.

I'm almost done with the 2nd "Town Meeting" sock. Then it's time to decide what new major project to tackle. I have lots of sock yarn for the in between project times, and a shawl to do, and a summer shell to finish. But the new project -- hmm, I'm thinking a summery top or cardigan.

It's vacation week for me. We're taking a mini-trip to Nantucket. I've never been there, so I'm looking forward to exploring a new place. We're only going to be away 2 days, but even a mini-trip is great! The rest of the week will be devoted to grading 39 myth projects, and planning out the rest of the year for social studies and reading/language arts -- Rome, and poetry, and another novel. At least I don't have to get up at 4:45 am!