Mary Oliver

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?"

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Busy, Busy

Wow. I spent an awesome week at George Mason University as part of the Virginia Center for Excellence in Teaching and then I went on vacation with my husband. I have lots of pictures and things to tell you, but first I have to finish my VCET project, so it'll be a few more days before I can post about it all. For now, here are a few peeks at our vacation:

Melissa and me:

Meredith and me:

A beautiful baby and me:

Stephen and me:
Fourteen different cakes, all made by Meredith's father-in-law and all delicious:

And Gracie, happy I finally made it home. We slept in this morning, which made her a very happy kitty. Don't you love those little paws?


Friday, July 4, 2014

Summer Food

I invited my parents for dinner on Thursday afternoon (they like to eat early), and I used Alicia's recipe for shrimp-rice-corn-bean bowls. But since my dad isn't an adventurous eater, I followed the DALS deconstructed dinner concept and let everyone choose what to add and how much to mix. It was such a pretty dinner, especially with the gorgeous and colorful fresh vegetables I bought from the farmer's market. And with all the recent information about seafood safety, I made sure to buy local, wild caught shrimp, which of course meant it tasted wonderful. I had picked up my mom before lunch and we spent the day running errands together, so she helped me cut up all the vegetables I had bought. It was such a nice way to spend the day, which is another reason I love summer: time for days like that.



Gracie, after dinner, and although she isn't supposed to be on the table, she doesn't appear too concerned.

Can't remember if I posted the bookcase after I put everything back on it, but I love how it turned out!

Hurricane Arthur skimmed our area last night but other than some rain and wind during the night, there wasn't much to it. As a matter of fact, we could have used more rain than we got, but I'll count us as lucky regardless. I thought I'd have a rainy day to work inside the house for a change, but by noon, it was another gorgeous beach day, so of course, that's where I went! I worked on a baby blanket while I sat there, using one of the Purl Bee baby blanket patterns as a rough guide. I have a stash of Mission falls 1824 cotton that I reluctantly decided to use; I say reluctantly, because it's been discontinued for awhile and I love it so. I have four balls of 403 medium blue, one ball of 404 dark blue, one ball of a sage green number unknown, and a ball and a half of white. I'm knitting wide stripes of each ball with four rows of white between each color change and I think it will look nice. Progress so far:

The waves were quite choppy due to the after effect of the storm, but the breeze felt wonderful.

This is another one of my yard projects. Steve put these pavers in last year and the weeds keep popping up between them, so I decided to put shells down to help control them and to add a bit of flair. My neighbors seemed to think I was crazy, but I think it looks cute, don't you? And it didn't cost anything, so no loss either way.


I really like how our house is becoming more reflective of us than it used to be. Obviously there is always something that could/should be done, but my goal is to feel happy when I come home, and these little pops of color make me happy.

Gracie seems a bit skeptical, just like my neighbors.

Hope your holiday was a good one!



Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Summer Making

I really can't believe how gorgeous the summer has been so far. Being on the beach every day and working in the yard has really contributed to a sense of peace and bliss that I haven't felt in quite awhile, and I think being outside is the key factor.



It's just amazing how different the bay looks every day, and even on the same day. I love it.


I forgot to share my photos from last Saturday, when Melissa and I went to the Hermitage Museum and their Fiber Arts Studio.






This is me trying the loom; I am definitely taking a weaving class with them in the fall, when it's offered.

Melissa took this picture, and I love it. I love that my hands are maker hands.


Monday, June 30, 2014

FO: Trillian

I love Martina Behm's patterns and here is one I just finished.



I used this yarn, which is sadly discontinued, in the Greta Garbo color way.


Friday, June 27, 2014

A Perfect Summer Week

This week has been exactly the way I envision summer being during the long months prior to June. I've been to the beach at all different times of the day every day this week to sit in the sun with friends, and alone, to collect shells, read, and knit. I've been making it a habit of slipping down around about an hour before sundown, to just relax and watch the water.

I've also been working steadily in our yard, and really like how it's looking. This birdbath was made by a friend and I just moved it to this location last month. Steve edged it with reclaimed rocks from the abandoned house down the street and it all seems to come together somehow.

My patio tomato plants are loaded.

Same flower bed area as the birdbath, just some different flowers.

Close up of the coneflowers with the weathered fence.

This is one of the hay bales I used last year; Steve had placed it along the fence to prevent some soil erosion that was happening, and I decided to make use of it by planting one zucchini plant in it.

It grew like crazy and I need to pick some tomorrow. I figured one plant would be enough for the two of us.

I decided to repaint the kitchen shelf again, as I just didn't think the yellow had enough of a pop. So I went back to white and picked a key lime green for the baskets, and I love it! It's exactly the look I wanted.

A dill plant that had outgrew it's little pot, along another section of our fence.

Cherry tomatoes coming along.

My perfect summer week also includes thrift store shopping; I found these beauties at a consignment shop for a total of $13 and I love them. I'm giving a spoon each to my girls, and keeping the scoop and bowl for my homemade bath salts.

At another thrift store, I found this beautiful piece for fifty cents; thanks to recently browsing my copy of Wisecraft, I'm going to use it to make a small pillow for my craft room bed.

I also spent some time in a bookstore just browsing craft books and magazines, met my parents for lunch, had an eye exam, picked up food at the farmer's market, popped into my favorite local knit store, and taught five hours a day, Monday through Thursday. And even though it sounds like it was packed, it was a nice balance of busy and calm. I feel so lucky.



Tuesday, June 24, 2014

First Week in Review

It hit me that I have adjusted to summer break quite quickly this year. Usually I seem to struggle with either doing too much and feeling out of control, or too little and feeling mildly depressed, but today I realized that I feel great about how I managed the first week. Knowing that I'm working for six days eases the financial concerns of taking our trip next month and it adds some structure to the next two weeks, which is beneficial to me in many ways, especially since the workday ends at one o'clock. If only regular school days had those hours!

I plan on repainting the little bookshelf this week. I've decided to paint the shelf white (the original color, only it will be clean and new again) and the baskets a bright tropical green. I'm also watering the plants, tomatoes, herbs, zinnias, two new butterfly bushes and one transplanted one, and just generally keeping up and trying to plan some crafting.

School has gone well the first two days; my assignment is the easiest one really, as I don't have to grade anything. It's just a quick review before the students retake the state test. Most of them seem motivated but a few are acting silly; somehow it's surprising at their age, 17 and 18, and yet it probably shouldn't be. It is summer, after all. Anyway, it's good for me in that it gives me a chance to review some of the lessons and activities I've used or thought about using, as well as motivating me to dig into the curriculum a bit more. This is especially helpful since I found out that my classes in the fall will require three separate preps, as I'm slated to teach Transition English 10, Honors English 10, and Honors English 11. And an Honors English 12 in the spring semester! Lots of new readings and lesson planning for me.

I walked on the beach to celebrate Summer Solstice; so lovely.

The next evening was just as pretty, although the light was very different.

Love where I live! Garden photos next time.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Errand Day

Today was my errand day: met my niece for breakfast, went to my school for instructional materials, went to summer school location to prepare for Monday, scheduled hair and eye exam appointments, picked up medications from the pharmacy, made a car payment, went to the post office for international stamps, and met my parents and Melissa for an early dinner at Fellini's, one of our favorite restaurants. I was gone from 9:00 to 4:30, almost like a work day, but I did everything I needed to do.

Tomorrow is beach day, when friends come over and hang out with me on the beach. I'm looking forward to catching up with them and just relaxing. I've been doing Beach Friday ever since I moved here in 2008 and it's a great way to keep in touch during the summer. Teachers love the beach as a rule, at least around here!

As for getting set up for school on Monday, I was asked to teach a SOL quick review class for students who passed English 11, but failed the state test (SOL). It shouldn't be too difficult since it's only six days and I don't have to worry about grading. I chose ten current event articles that I think the students will be interested in so we can review vocabulary and text structure. I'm assuming these are students who are somewhat motivated, but time will tell. At any rate, the money I earn will cover the travel cost of the trip Steve and I are taking next month. We are going to a reception/party that Meredith's in-laws are hosting in their hometown of Oswego, NY, and then Steve and I are spending a few days in Montreal, a night in Portland, Maine, and visiting friends in Massachusetts, and his brother in Maryland, before coming home. It's been quite awhile since Steve and I took a trip longer than three days, so I'm looking forward to it.

Knitting has been sparse around here, due to the focus in yard work, but I have been reading quite a bit, so I'm okay with that. If you're interested in what I'm reading, ask me for my Goodreads account name.

Oh, and we finally got some rain this evening! Looks like the rain chain worked just fine, so I'll install another one this weekend.



Rain storm from Rose Horton on Vimeo.