Mary Oliver

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?"









Thursday, July 2, 2015

Relaxing

I've been spending a lot of time at the beach and in the yard during the past week. Both activities are relaxing, albeit in very different ways. While at the beach, I sit under the umbrella and knit, talk, and nap, with frequent trips to the water to cool off. When I work in the yard, I sweat profusely and get filthy, ripping up crab grass and digging up the nasty sand burr grass that makes up a large percentage of the grassy areas that border our sidewalks. And yet, the satisfaction I feel while doing this is relaxing in a different way. I can see how much progress I'm making and as I think I've mentioned before, it's very therapeutic to rip out the weeds with my hands!

I've continued work on my cowl; it's the 3 Color Cashmere pattern, only I'm using a multi-colored yarn called Crazy, so I'm ignoring the 3 color requirement.

No photos of Gracie this time, but I did take a picture of a random cat that lives in my daughter's apartment building:

Cats love windows, don't they?

 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Field Trip

I had a lovely day today; Melissa and I went to lunch, the library, and the Chrysler Museum. Can you tell how happy being with her makes me?

This is one of the sculptures we saw; there was a whole series of them, showing the brain inside each one as well as the heart in this one. Interesting.

Gracie is enjoying her summer too; she gets up when I do, then promptly settles in for a nap.

She has the cutest face!

My hollyhock finally bloomed; I wish I had planted a few more, instead of just this one, but I was trying a few different plants out to see which ones did well enough to keep. I'd say this one is a winner, except Steve doesn't like it for some reason.

I took this picture on Monday from underneath my beach umbrella. This is the first summer I'm actually sitting under it and I quite enjoy it. I think I'm getting old.

I am walking 40 minutes every day, which was my summer goal, and today I walked for an hour in the morning and another 30 minutes after dinner. The temperature didn't go over 85 degrees today, probably because we had a big thunderstorm last night, so I opened all our windows and gave our AC unit a break. It's back on now though, partly because our neighborhood is so noisy at night and partly because I find it hard to sleep while sweating. Plus the temperature will be back in the nineties for the foreseeable future, which is too hot for me.

Can I just say how very much I love these lazy summer days?

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Summer Solstice

Summer break is in full swing and I've been busy having fun. I tore up the craft room, but haven't put it back together again just yet. I broke down the single bed that was in there, so that changes the whole space. Not sure how I want it all to look, so I'm mulling it over. I've looked at lots of craft room organization boards on Pinterest, but they all seem too matchy-matchy for me. I've decided I'm tired of knitting washcloths for now and want a new project, despite having so very many already started. But knitting is supposed to be a treat, not a chore, so a new project it is. I've cast on a 3 Color Cowl using Stonehedge Fibers in Crazy, which is mill ends yarn, so the color changes are in the yarn and all I have to do is keep on knitting! The yarn is DK instead of fingering but I don't think it'll matter that much. At some point, I plan on figuring out my mistake on the Diagonal Lace Wrap so I can pick that back up. (I can't believe Gracie let me put the knitting on her; she was super sleepy.)

 

I've also done lots of yard work, mostly weeding and watering. Many of the perennials that Steve planted two or three years ago are real filling in now, and I love the way they look against the picket fence. Coneflowers, Black-eyed Susans, and a few other types that I can't remember. He has a good eye for it, I think.

The sunflowers came up without planting; the seeds that were dropped last summer, so they are a nice surprise. We even have a few in the front yard from the bird feeder seeds!

 

I took Fern back to Melissa last weekend, and I miss her terribly, but Gracie seems quite content being the only cat in the house again. Here is Fern enjoying the view on the car ride over. She is such a funny cat! No way would Gracie do this well in a car, nor would I try it.

 

I took this picture on one of my walks last week; isn't it beautiful?

I made a cake last week for a knitting group friend who broke her foot; I was supposed to use a bundt pan but I had given mine away, so I used this one for the first time. My cousin gave it to me a few Christmases ago and I had never used it. I like how it came out and plan on using it agin. This was before I put a glaze on it. I've never seen a pan like this before, have you?

I took my dad out for lunch yesterday as his Father's Day gift, and then my sister and I went to church with him this morning, so I think he was content. Plus, I made a strawberry-blueberry pie for him. I'm done buying gifts for him, as he's the kind of guy who never really likes them. Both he and my mom get whatever they want when they see it, so my new tradition is to take them out one-on-one. I think they like this much better. I know I enjoy it too.

This week my plans are more beach time, knitting, and working on the craft room makeover. Have I mentioned how much I love summer break?

 

Saturday, June 13, 2015

School's Out for Summer!

Thursday was my last day with students and for some reason, we were expected to grade two classes worth of exams, and do all the reports for the end of the year in 2 hours. Thankfully, my teaching partner had finished her stuff early and was kind enough to stay with our last class while I caught up. Thanks to her, I was able to meet the deadline, and so on Friday, all I did was spend a couple of hours packing up what was left of my room, and then it was Beach Day!

Although it was crazy hot, it was beautiful and relaxing.

My silly Honors class spent time decorating and saying goodbye; one of my students had taken to calling me by my first name the last week of class, which is why you see it.

 

Graduation was Wednesday night, and I had a bit of a hangover, so I had this for breakfast Thursday morning. I don't drink anymore, but for some reason I thought a margarita was a good idea at the pre-graduation dinner and boy, did I pay for that decision. Fun on Wednesday, not so fun on Thursday.


Last Sunday, Steve and I drove up to Yorktown to see the French ship, The Hermione, and while crowded, it was a beautiful day to be outside. The temperature was in the low seventies, with the breeze off the river making it even better.

We also saw a bald eagle, which was pretty cool.

We bought food at a grocery store and had an impromptu picnic at a nearby park, just so we could stay outside longer.

I've been knitting dishcloths out of this old book I found at a thrift store; they scream old lady knitter to me, but they are a nice change from my old standby patterns.

 

Fern is still with us and she continues to be a joy to have around, if you overlook her occasional peeing on the beds! Bad kitty.

And my sweet Grace continues to be her sweet self, napping by my side as often as she can. We think she'll be happy when Fern goes back to Melissa, but I know I'll miss her, even with the peeing issue.

And now, time to start on my summer list!! Happy, happy days!

 

Thursday, June 4, 2015

These Are The Days

Wrapping up the school year is always such a crazy time, and now that I'm teaching high school, it seems even crazier. When I taught middle school, I knew the kids were leaving our building, but I think because I knew they were still going to be in school, it didn't seem that huge of a transition. With three years of high school under my belt, the number of students I know personally has grown, and the ones who were freshmen my first year here, will be seniors in the fall. Somehow, this has made me more sentimental than I used to be. Many of the kids are off the chain, although the ones in my class seem to be behaving, even the transition students, which leads me to believe that they are wondering about their summer without the structure of school, although obviously not in those terms. Since low income is prevalent, some of these kids will not have as much food over the summer, without the benefit of free/reduced breakfast and lunch, and growing teens need lots of food. I hear many of them talking about a summer job, so that's encouraging, but I still worry about the loss of ground some of them will have without school (me!) making them read or write.

Having to take down all the room decorations and posters a week before school is out is a policy that I strongly disagree with, yet have to follow. We, as an institution, get angry when our students act as if school is already out, but why shouldn't they think this if we are stripping the walls bare this early?

Knowing that I get stressed during this time, I decided to treat myself to breakfast out twice this week. Once by myself, at my favorite coffee shop, and once with my friend, Lori, at a cafe we both enjoy. Both days were good days, so I call it a win.

I went to knit night tonight, but it wasn't as relaxing as it should have been; there was a yarn rep talking with the owner and manager, and for some reason, he irritated me. As the evening went on, I realized I was just having too much sensory overload, with so many voices talking at the same time in a small space. So, I've been sitting up late, reading and knitting, and I'm still not relaxed enough to go to bed yet. Plus, my poison ivy rash is still bothering me, so there's that.

I'm knitting washcloths for a few upcoming birthdays, using a pattern book I picked up at the thrift store a year or two ago. They're pretty old-fashioned looking, lots of open lace, which makes me think of little old lady knits, but I wanted to try some new designs. I'm choosing yarn color solely based on the balls of yarn Fern, Melissa's cat, drags out of my basket. Kind of fun that way.

No pictures this time, but maybe this weekend, after the much needed, week long rain stops. My formerly thirsty plants will probably look a lot better by Saturday!

***Saturday morning, edit: one plant and the amazing green-ness, after a full week of the rain. Sunny skies today!

 

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Sunday Night Reflections

I don't really have anything as serious as the title sounds, but it's the best I've got. Poison ivy, or something similar, got me again last weekend so I went to the Urgent Care on Monday morning. Unfortunately for me, the doctor I saw wanted to treat it conservatively since it hadn't spread, and I wasn't assertive enough to insist on my usual treatment of a shot followed by a course of prednisone, so after a week of no healing and the rash spreading, I ended up going back to see her this morning. She gave me the shot and thankfully, it's looking better already, but I'm irritated at myself for not being more assertive on Monday. The up side is that I've been loaded with energy all day, although I think I annoy Steve when I'm like this.

I went to the farmer's market, treated myself to brunch, came home and made a couple of salads and a strawberry pie, then went to the beach with my friend, Lori. Afterwards, I took the pie over to my parents' house, ran a few errands, made myself a dinner of bacon and eggs over a bed of Swiss chard, and took an evening walk on the beach.

The pie was a gift for my parents' 56th wedding anniversary; it was actually yesterday, but my mom and I were in Fredericksburg all day Saturday, supporting my cousin as she did an indoor Ironman Triathalon. Roseann is two years younger than me, but she has a chronic illness that causes her to have pain on a daily basis, and she lost her vision while in her early twenties due to a hereditary disease that destroyed her retinas. She has always set challenges for herself and she said that doing this is a way to have some control over her life. She is simply amazing and as you can probably tell in this photo, she has an incredible circle of friends who love and support her. While this speaks well of them, it also speaks volumes about her.

 

This photo was taken as she was nearing the 112th mile on the bike, which was the goal of the second event. Everyone was clapping and cheering for her as she finished the last mile. The first event was swimming, and she finished up the day by walking 26.2 miles on a treadmill. I can't even imagine the level of perseverance and determination she exhibited by completing her goal. I talked with her today and while exhausted, she was exuberant, and rightfully so.

 

The breeze was wonderful today and the clouds looked like cotton candy.

 

I came home to find Gracie stretched out on the couch, catnapping. As she does.

It's a sweet life.

 

Monday, May 25, 2015

The Home Stretch

As I typed the title I was thinking about school, but I realize it could also refer to all the work Steve and I did around home this weekend. I love double meanings. We had gorgeous weather all three days of our long weekend, so most of our time was spent outside, working on the yard. I didn't take many pictures, but here are the few I did manage to get:

This is one of the beds off of the back deck. The bird bath used to have a copper painted pan, but it rusted out, so I used a glass platter/plate I had in my thrift store collection, and I actually like it better.

This is an odd section that was supposed to be grass, but since it was all weeds, I've planted some ground cover and daylilies. I probably should move the dividing stones, but I'll see how the plants do first.

I also used the great weather to wash and dry my woolens for storing; they always smell so good from the wool wash and the fresh air, plus it's good for protecting them from the you-know-whats:

Steve and I walked down to the beach last night in time to see the sunset.

Today Melissa and I went down for an hour or two before she went to work; it was nice catching up with her. She's always so busy but she's so good about making time for her mama.

 

Her cat, Fern, has been with us since December, as she was between places for awhile and is still settling into her new place. Steve and I are going to hate to see her go, as she is a very affectionate cat. I've never seen her sitting here before, but who knows what she does when we're at work!

And my sweet Gracie, enjoying a nap. I think the warmer weather suits her just fine.

I'm back to work tomorrow for the remaining two and a half weeks. I must be getting wistful about my students already, because I bought a bunch of freezer pops as a treat for them. I'll try and save them for exam week, but I may feel like treating them early. They are a good bunch of teenagers. Hope you have a good week and maybe someone will give you a treat too!