Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Finished Socks

Pattern: Waterfall Rib from Sensational Socks by Charlotte Schurch
Yarn: Austermann Step, color 6
Needles: 2 circulars, size 2
I enjoyed knitting these. I hope they fit the recipient, my sister. The colors are gorgeous in person.

Next up: a sweater tunic from Saturday Sweaters, I think. Of course there are 8 more skeins of sock yarn calling, and a shawl. And those are just the projects for which I have definite yarns and patterns.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Work in Progress

I'm finally working on the pair of socks I promised my sister. I love the way they are turning out. I'm using Austermann Step Yarn and a "recipe" from Sensational Socks by Charlotte Schurch. I chose the Waterfall Rib pattern and I really am enjoying knitting it. The colors are much more vibrant than I could capture. I haven't figured out yet how to capture the rib detail either.

One more week til winter break! It's Spirit Week at my middle school. Since the kids are wildish any way the week before vacation, it seems like a good idea to tap into the energy. Monday is PJ Day - not my favorite day since some of the girls like to push the limits of appropriateness. My favorite day is Crazy Hair Day --- it doesn't matter how my hair looks for a change! Because of all the extra nuttiness this week, I don't expect a lot of focused attention in social studies, especially. So I postponed my hands-on simulation from last week to this week since I think that will keep them more on task. They will be creating all sorts of artifacts for a "museum" on Ancient China. They've done the "boring" work of research and now can share the fruits of their research by creating their artifacts. Crafty!! (pun intended)

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Snow Day!

Yippee! A snow day! Our first big snowstorm of the winter and boy it is shaping up to be a humdinger. A great day to knit - after I get to a few chores that I have been putting off and really need to get to.

Last night I finished the 2nd fingerless glove. Pattern is "Knucks" from Knitty Summer 2006. I used 1 entire skein of Cleckheaton Country Silk and size 3 dpn. There's about 6 inches of the skein left. Next up is a pair of socks using Austermann Step and a pattern from Sensational Socks by Charlene Schurch.
I love snow days! I consider them a real gift, and try to treasure them as such. While there are always a few chores that I manage to do, I mostly try to do enjoyable things I don't usually get to do, and I enjoy them without guilt! This huge storm has been predicted for days, it seems, so when I left school yesterday, I purposely did not bring home any extra work than I normally bring home. I do 99% of my grading and planning on the weekends so I didn't bring that home with me. Today is a present to enjoy!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Almost Finished

I finished the knitting and seaming of the Swing Vest. I need to do some minor blocking to help the neck and hem edges lie flatter, and to lengthen it a bit. I'm not sure I'm happy with it yet. I had to reknit the left shoulder after I blundered by forgetting to slip off 19 stitches onto a holder before attempting the 3 needle bindoff. When I bound off I realized I had way too many stitches, and it puckered. In the process of undoing the bindoff I lost about 2 inches of shoulder and reknit it.

I started some fingerless gloves last night out of Cleckheaton Country Silk in a gorgeous garnety tweed. I've never tried gloves before. I guess they're not really fingerless either - the fingers stop at the knuckles!

Tonight is the church supper I'm coordinating. I had to bake 3 pans of cherry squares and what an adventure that was! I accidentally dropped a whole egg, shell and all into the bowl as the mixer was doing its thing --- had to dump the whole batch out and start again. Of course that meant I had to go out and buy more eggs and butter since each batch took 2 sticks of butter and 4 eggs. And of course I only had a dozen eggs and 6 sticks of butter. Let's hope that's the worst that happens. We usually serve about 100 people at our monthly suppers, and the income from the suppers is an important part of our budget!! Meat loaf, mashed potatoes, and gravy any one?

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Stressed Out or What?

So, I speed grade about 30 spelling papers, figure out who didn't turn in their essays, and fire off a couple of emails to parents about their angels' less than angelic behaviors. I leave school early (relatively speaking) and head 10 miles out to my physical therapy appt. I'm running late and of course, am behind someone doing 30-35 mph on a 50 mph roadway for about 7 of those miles. I get to my appointment and discover they have no record of it. Never mind that I have a slip from Tuesday saying I have one, the computer and the appt book don't have it and the PT isn't even in. GRRR!!

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

O Where O Where can my knitting bag be?

I can't believe I left my knitting at school. I got home late last night and realized that I needed to actually cook something because I'd forgotten to plug the crockpot in. After a later than usual dinner, I finally collapsed into my chair and reached down to pick up the vest I really want to finish - only about 2 inches left to knit. And WHERE WAS IT!!!!! I distinctly remember putting my knitting bag on my desk chair to remember to bring it home. I searched the kitchen where I dump my stuff, and even put my coat on over my pjs to trudge out in subzero wind to the garage to see if I had left it there. Nope, no knitting. I finally gave up and started a pair of socks for my sister. Of course my knitting bag had the vest, and a 2nd project I'd started - some fingerless gloves. Today when I got to my classroom, lo and behold, there was my bag sitting right where I'd left it.

I have it tonight, so plan on getting some vest work done before bed time.

Monday, February 5, 2007

Feelin' Good

I am feeling pretty good this morning about how I managed to eat sensibly at the Super Bowl party I went to last night.

Before the party, I'd eaten well -- 270 calories for breakfast, 200 for lunch, and then at the party, I confined myself to 1 chicken wing, 2 shrimp, 3 slices of deli turkey, 1 slice of cheese, 1 bread, and LOTS of raw veggies. Oh, and 1 small piece of the cake I'd made and 2 glasses of wine. So for the day, I was definitely in my total range.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Snow and Projects and some Venting

We received our first measurable snow fall Friday night --- about 2 inches of perfect snow. This has been the weirdest weather. It's February no less, and we get our first snow on Groundhog's Day. It's supposed to get seasonably cold for the week, and people are acting as though that's unusual. I guess for this winter it is. I had daffodils pushing their tips through the ground right before December. Since this is New Hampshire, that is scary! We're supposed to have 6-12 inches of snow on the ground from Nov to March! Not green grass and daffodils.

Almost finished with Swing Vest from Oat Couture. I'm using Noro Silk Garden in colorway #88. It's an easy pattern once you get the lace pattern into your head -- sometimes not a quick process for me! I must have ripped out the back about 30 times! ( A good example of hyperbole -- which I'm teaching right at the moment in my language arts classes). I did rip out some rows 3 and 4 times because I goofed with the yarn overs or ssk's.

I tend to knit just one project at a time but I have a bunch of projects lined up and ready to go. It's hard deciding what to work on next. I have yarn for about 10 pair of socks, and I promised my sister a pair, plus I want to knit some more for me. It took me 3 pairs of socks before I got the perfect fit --- I didn't think that was too bad. I wear all 4, but pair 4 from XXL Trekking and the Slipped Rib stitch in Charlotte Schurch's Sensational Socks are perfect. I also want to knit myself a pair of fingerless gloves. I found a gorgeous silk wool blend in a garnet red that's just screaming at me to transform into the gloves, but I'm still looking for a pattern. I also have a Fiddlesticks Knitting shawl to do, and a gorgeous purple merino to knit up into a tunic. Too little time!!

Once I get home from church this morning, I have to do the billing for my husband's company, and then finish up some schoolwork. I got all my grading done yesterday (3 hours worth!) but I still have to write a quiz, work on some seating charts, and finish my planning for the week. It's school budget vote time and the town is voting on a new teacher's contract. Of course all the rhetoric is flying about teachers and how little/much they work (depending on your view, of course.) Having been both in the business world and now in teaching, I can say that while I spent many a long week working long hours in the business world, it's vastly different in the public school world. Yes, we do get those 8 weeks in the summer where we're not "in school", but don't let anyone persuade you that we're not working. We may not be in a classroom, but we are working. Last summer I revamped my entire social studies curriculum because for the first time in 10 years I had a textbook. I read through the text, aligned units with our state and local grade level expectations (GLE's), gathered resources, created a number of hands-on activities, and tried to find intersections with my language arts curriculum. I also spent time working with colleagues on grouping children, interviewing candidates for open positions, and met several times with the new principal about my new assignment as grade level dean. Most weekends I spend at least an afternoon doing schoolwork. When I worked in the business world, when I came home, I was home mentally and emotionally. The work stayed in my office - no parents calling me, or me calling parents, for example. When I was sick I took a sick day and stayed home. As a teacher, I have to write extremely detailed minute by minute lesson plans for a substitute who may never have been in my school before. Usually these plans don't follow what I'm already doing, because it's unreasonable to expect a stranger to jump into the middle of a simulation or role play or hands-on project without knowing the kids. Believe me, it's usually easier to go in sick than to try to write coherent sub plans when you've got a migraine.

Enough venting.

I'll end the day at a Super Bowl party, knitting. None of us is particularly interested in the game since the Patriots aren't in it. And I'm not much of a sports fan anyway, so even if "our" team was in it, I wouldn't be too involved in the game. It's fun thought to get together with friends, no matter what the reason!

Saturday, February 3, 2007

New beginnings

As you can tell I am not a frequent poster. Life gets too busy! I have been trying to re-vision my life and only do what's important, and I've been trying to eliminate those things that get in the way. I'm not sure that I'm as successful at that as I'd like to be.

I teach sixth grade full-time, and I am a super-active, involved lay leader in my church. Both those "jobs" are vital to my well-being in all senses of the word!

Knitting is one way I cope with the daily stress. It centers me and provides a soothing end to my too-busy days. Knitting relaxes me, and empties my mind of the incessant chatter. As I concentrate on the repetitive motion of knitting and purling, I drop into a meditative state. I make it a point to try to knit at least a few rows every night. Of course, there are many nights when I just sit in front of the TV and knit to some of my favorite shows! Right now, I get a lot of knitting done on Thursday evenings --- Ugly Betty and Gray's Anatomy and knitting!

I also started a knitting club at school. It's very informal. Every Monday afternoon knitters are welcome to join me in my classroom for 45 minutes of knit and chat. I have a core group of 3-5 6-8 graders who come religiously, but we're joined by several others on a regular basis. Sometimes other teachers drop in too. Not much knitting gets done -- one 6th grader with Asperger's comes and grabs needles and yarn out of my classroom stash and knits 2-3 rows, pulls it out at the end of the meeting, and starts again the next time she comes. But it's a wonderful way to bond with kids in a non-academic way and I love it!

My big challenge for now is that I am seriously trying to lose a substantial amount of weight. I successfully lost over 100 lbs and I kept it off for almost 5 years, but I started gaining some of it back after my mom died a year and a half ago. I am ready to re-lose about 20 lbs and keep going for another 50 lbs beyond that. I'm just at the beginning ---the stage where all you can think about is what you just ate, when you can next eat, what you eat, when all you can think about is food! It's also the irritable stage - your body knows it's getting less calories and it's definitely affecting your moods!

The good thing is that I exercise regularly and that hasn't changed. I belong to what's called The Wellness Center,(TWC) run by our community hospital. The hospital's physical therapy and cardiac rehab programs are run there, but it's also a community health club with all sorts of aerobic exercise classes, pool classes, yoga, pilates, and a full gym. My husband and I have been taking water aerobics classes there for 5 years, and I also do weight training. What I've done to help jumpstart the weight loss program is to add one more day of exercise to my usual 3 -days/ week routine. This is a tough move (no pun intended). As it is, I leave my house at 6:15 am and head to school. I leave school most days between 4-4:30 and head to TWC 3 days a week for exercise class. On those days we get home 6:30-6:45 and have dinner, do chores, etc, and I collapse into my knitting chair about 8:30 for an hour, and then to bed, only to do it all over again the next day! Some nights I have meetings (teacher negotiations most of the fall, and church meetings). So adding another day of exercise is one more night of late dinners and long days. TWC is 20-25 minutes away from home one way. But I'm doing it!