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.