Thursday, March 27, 2008

Debbie Bliss Baby jacket with lace edging

I just finished knitting this baby sweater as a gift. It's knit in Rowan Wool Cotton, and it's a Debbie Bliss pattern - Jacket with Lace Edging. The color is Hiss.

The knitting went fast. The finishing was a bear! Too much hand sewing for me. But I'm pleased with the way it turned out. At least I'm able to seam more neatly than I used to. I guess I need to focus on that.

More Snow?!!

Just when we're getting used to the idea that spring might be coming, we're told that we could receive over 6 inches of snow tomorrow. Even my 6th graders groaned in protest when they heard the forecast. Now you know we've had too much winter when 12 year olds protest the possibility of a snow day!

Book #21 is Lizzy Bright and the Buckminster Boy and #22 is The Titan's Curse. Both are middle school novels. Lizzy Bright is historical fiction,set in 1912, and deals with some very serious subject matter. Young Turner Buckminster is the son of the Congregational minister and they've just moved to a small coastal town in May. He doesn't fit in with the others in town, and he makes friends with Lizzy Bright, an African-American girl who lives on a nearby island that is home to a small group of what the town considers the "riff-raff". The town is trying to evict the small island community so that they can convert build a hotel to attract tourists from Boston. He has to deal with being a minister's son, disobeying his strict father, racism, and he has to figure out how to help his new friend. It's a pretty heavy book and it's based on a true story. I'm not sure I would recommend it to any of my 6th graders, but certainly some motivated 8th graders would enjoy it.

I loved The Titan's Curse. This it the 3rd in the series by Rick Riordan. Percy Jackson is a modern teenage boy who discovers he's the son of Poseidon and a mortal. He and some other "halfbloods" are attempting to prevent the end of civilization as we/they know it. It's funny, clever, full of adventure and excitement, and updates Greek mythology. A lot of my students have been reading this series and they love it. It helps that we study Greece and Greek mythology this year so they get the references. I was surprised though, because I thought this was going to be the last book, but apparently it's not. I'm glad, because I've enjoyed them!

On a related note, I'm reading The Odyssey to my 6th graders and they are eating it up! I had them on the edge of their seats today - literally. They can't wait til tomorrow to find out how Odysseus and Telemachus get rid of Penelope's unwanted suitors. I love it!!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Just for fun!

You Are Oregano

You have are charming, funny, witty, and smart.

You love to party - and people love to party with you.

You are always friendly and warm. You are able to help people get along.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Ups and Downs

It has been a weird couple of weeks, with quite a few ups and downs in my life. This has been a long month school-wise. It's the first month that we've had complete weeks of school - no snow days, no weather interruptions, and only one planned early release. So we've actually had 3 full 5 day weeks for the first time since November. With the time change that occurred in that time frame, we all had some major schedule adjusting to do!

We've been dealing with some really stressing things too . One of our students has been fighting against life-threatening pneumonia and its complications. He has been in ICU since our Feb. break and seems finally to be stablized. However, he is on the list now for a lung transplant because of major scarring that has occurred as a result of massive infections. This has affected not just teachers, but a stepbrother and other close relatives who are also among our 6th graders.

We are also moving our classrooms next month as the final phases of construction start. We will move into some temporary rooms for the rest of the year, and then have to move back for the fall into different classrooms. It wouldn't be so bad if we were getting the beautiful new rooms, but we're not. In fact what really has me depressed is that after FINALLY getting a big room 2 years ago, I will most likely be moving into another teeny classroom with NO storage. Plus our team will be split up among 3 floors instead of the current 2 floors we're on. There is a chance that I will get a great room, but if that happens, I will be one of 2 6th grade rooms in a hall otherwise filled with another grade level. That will make things a bit more difficult as far as transitions go, but I'd much rather have that alternative.
I also had had the possibility of moving to another grade level, but that door closed. I was really bummed about that, but it makes the packing easier.

Family life has been rather stressed too --- another sister has had to deal with breast cancer. Fortunately after the bad news of the diagnosis, the rest of the news is positive. This has been difficult for us all.

So what are some ups?? Well, I am back on track as far as exercise and diet. I've managed to get to the gym almost every other day this month, and I've lost almost 4 pounds. I tried the rowing machine the other day and discovered that I didn't mind it. I can't say I love it, but at least I can stand it. So along with the elliptical, there are 2 cardio machines I can tolerate. So between those 2 machines and the twice a week water aerobics classes, I'm back into positive motivation. I hope it lasts!

Another up is that we have a great trip planned for our April break. We are using some travel vouchers we received last summer when we got bumped to go to Cornwall for 5 days. I am looking forward to that!

And finally, my overall mood had changed for the positive - I definitely know that the longer daylight hours is involved.

Sunday, March 9, 2008


I just finished reading Take This Bread by Sarah Miles. Engrossing and challenging! She captured for me the meaning of communion, and what it means to be Christian. This book is the story (up to this point, anyway) of how she allowed herself to be opened up to God, and how she struggles to make sense of God's presence in her life. I like what she says about the journey:
"Conversions isn't after all, a moment: It's a process, and it keeps happening, with cycles of acceptance and resistance, epiphany and doubt. . . . it stayed hard. I began to understand why so many people chose to be "born-again" and follow strict rules that wyould tell them what to do, once and for all. It was tempting to rely on a formual-"accepting Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and savior," for example--that became itself a form of idolatry and kept you from experiencing God in your flesh, in the complicated flesh of others. it was tempting to proclaim yourself "saved" and go back to sleep."

A couple of years ago, the deacons (I was one of them) of my church engaged in a study/prayerful discussion of what communion meant and how we should offer it. We read theology, talked about our own beliefs, and prayed a lot. Ultimately we came up with this statement which appears in our bulletin on communion Sundays. (In our church - the first Sunday of the month)

In October 2004, after much thoughtful discussion and prayer, the Deacons reached the following understanding:
Jesus spoke always about God’s unceasing love for us. Jesus also promised that all who came seeking God’s presence, would find it. Jesus never turned anyone away from him and welcomed all who welcomed him and his message. Jesus invites us to join him at his table. It is Jesus who hosts this table and welcomes all who wish to come to it. Therefore, if you seek the presence of God in your life, if you hunger and thirst and wish to be nourished by God’s boundless love, if you wish to come to the meal, you are welcome.

We opened up Communion to anyone who desired to be fed, and for us, it's no longer an exclusive meal to be shared with those in the club. Children of all ages are welcome at our table too.

Our church is struggling right now -- an aging congregation, strapped finances, burned out leadership. We are in a pastoral search too, and we're working on changing our organizational structure. At the same time, we are a "doing" church -- we hold monthly community suppers, run an emergency shelter, a very busy food pantry, and we host AA groups, and a grief group. We are "Open and Affirming" and work hard for social justice on a number of fronts. Sometimes though we get so busy acting out our faith that we don't nourish it enough, or we become blind to the fact that our actions are how we are experiencing God in our midst. Instead we focus on how hard and exhausting our lives are. It's helpful for me to see how others have struggled -- I'm able to refocus and see things from a different perspective.

And I'm giving myself some time to nourish myself. I have just stepped down from a significant leadership position at church that I've filled for 8 or 9 years. I recognized the burnout signs. It's time to step back, regroup, and let go. For a while anyway!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Done! (except for the zipper)

Cable Vision Cardigan front

My cardigan is done. I did a really nice job knitting this but I'm even more pleased with how well I finished most of the seams. It took me the better part of 5 hours to join the sleeves and then seam everything. I like my sleeve joins better than my side seams, but all in all, it's the best finishing job I've done so far. My only regret? I wish I'd made the larger size! I can wear this, but it's got a little too much negative ease for my preference. But it's okay. . . by next fall I hope to have lost another 20 pounds so it will be fine. I just have to find a 26 inch zipper to put in.

Cable Vision Cardigan back