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.