Mary Oliver

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?"









Sunday, June 26, 2016

Self Care Summer

This week has been stressful even though it seems as if everything turned out okay; my mom had an "episode" on Tuesday wherein she lost the vision in one eye for about ten minutes. Despite my being available due to summer break, she didn't feel the need to tell me anything about it until Tuesday evening, after she had already been to a couple of doctors. This meant I only got partial information, as she can't always hear everything and my dad can't remember everything. And neither of them write anything down. She had a CT scan on Wednesday as well as an artery ultrasound, and both of those were favorable. I am going with her to see her GP on Monday and the ophthalmologist on Tuesday, so hopefully will get caught up as to what's going on. I did talk to a nurse friend who said it's entirely possible this was a very small clot that has already broken up and won't happen again, so that's what I'm hoping. My mom, despite being 76 years old, has low blood pressure and isn't on any medication other than thyroid, which she's been on since her twenties. She is as healthy as the proverbial horse, and still exercises regularly.

 

I've decided to take it easy and have been treating myself generously and with great care. I've been to the beach on lovely days, spent some time at the library, which has led to lots of reading, and saw Love and Friendship at the Naro with a friend. I wound this gorgeous skein of Yowza from Miss Babs that I bought at Rhinebeck in 2014, and cast on for Brickless.

 

I ate a frozen yogurt by myself on the sidewalk outside of the movie theater.

I also ate a fabulous sweet potato biscuit loaded with peanut butter and fresh strawberry jam from a place called Handsome Biscuit, again by myself. Why is it that eating out alone feels decadent?

I treated myself to a mani-pedi and chose sparkly purple polish.


And as always, there is Gracie.

 

 

 


Sweet, sweet girl. Have a lovely week.

 

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Summer Plans

Graduation is my favorite thing about teaching high school; it's so wonderful to see my students mature from 9th grade to graduation. It also means summer is here!!

 

I don't actually have many plans for this summer, other than a week in Brooklyn to visit my daughter for a few days and to pet sit for a few days while she and her husband take a short vacation. Normally I have lots of ideas for the house and yard, and while I know I need to get a lot of things done around here, I haven't written anything down yet. I think I'm going to try and take each day as it comes this summer.

One positive thing I've done to try to increase my productivity is to delete the games on my iPad. I know I waste so much time on them when I'd really rather be knitting or reading, so to help me make better choices, into the virtual trash can they went. Also, my iPad is over four years old, which is ancient in the Apple world, so maybe it will last longer if I only use it for blog reading and writing.

Yesterday was World Wide Knit in Public Day, and my local yarn shop co-hosted an event with the Chrysler Museum. The weather was amazing, which contributed to the large turnout.

 

 

I supported her effort by purchasing this gorgeous skein of Malabrigo. Apparently I'm hooked on these colors right now.
I also bought a bag by a local maker but this is a gift for my oldest daughter. She used to knit, but sews more often now, hence the fabric pattern. Hopefully she can use it for something.

As the weather was so nice, I decided to wander around downtown, sort of like a tourist in my own city. This is the Slover Library, the main branch of the Norfolk Library system. I love going there, it's beautiful inside and out.

Mermaids are the city mascot and can be found all over. I'll take more photos of them this summer.

There is a little half street park with a long fountain area between the library and the MacArthur Memorial. It would be a nice place to knit and cool off.

I also stopped in Kitsch, a little shop I frequent, to see what was new. I love these Pom Pom flowers!

Gracie is enjoying the rug and the open windows. I love her expression, sort of a, "what now?" look.

And here she's snuggled up on the couch near me, as she is so often.

Hello, summer!

 

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Teacher Tired

There's no tired like teacher tired at the end of the school year, as the saying goes, and I am feeling it this year. I have two more "teaching" days, then two days of exams, and an early release day followed by a graduation ceremony, and then two work days before my ten weeks of unemployment begins. It is a challenge making these last days worthwhile, especially when so many students are pulled out for state testing, but I keep trying. I've been using the Teaching Tolerance videos again, which usually lead to some great class discussions. I have used them for the past three years and I think I may start the semester with them next time. Truly, I could easily teach an entire semester with them, they are that good. This semester I also found another great resource, the Densho Project, a website devoted to the Japanese Internment during WWII. Add in all the resources available on the Holocaust, and my social justice focus is pretty clear.

Gracie looks exhausted too. Or maybe she's just commiserating with me?

I was able to snag a copy of the new magazine, Making, and it is well worth the price. I forget how many knitting patterns are in it, but there are a lot and a wonderful variety too. This photo was taken on the bathmat while I was taking my bath.

I have a couple of bookcases in the garage I want to glam up and I think I'm going to try this look:

 

Oh, and I bought a painting last week from the consignment store I frequent; I'm pretty sure I'm going to hang it somewhere else but it's hanging here for now. I love looking at it. And soon I'll be on the actual beach every day that the weather allows!

 

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Home Stretch

I only have 10 more days with my students and as always, it's a bittersweet time. For the most part, we have a wonderful rhythm going, the environment feels safe to us, and yet it's time to move on. Having said that, I'm looking forward to lots of beach time.

I had my first real beach day last Saturday and I made the most of it, staying outside until dark, just like when I was a kid, and it felt marvelous.

 

I'm still working on my Pebble Beach Shawl, since it seems like I knit 4 rows only to rip back 3. A lot. Oh well, it'll be pretty when I'm finally finished.

Saw this tableau while walking and it struck my fancy.

The light was gorgeous.

 

I also got the outdoor table covered for the summer; this is the table I found on the curb last summer and hauled home. I bought a yard and a half of waterproof tablecloth fabric to protect it from the rain and it worked great. I stored it in the garage over the winter and recovered it with new fabric for this summer when I brought it back out. It's a great place to knit and eat, as it only gets the morning sun.

My parents celebrated their 57th anniversary on Memorial Day; I can't even imagine being married that long. They are so adorable on their wedding day, aren't they?

I caught Gracie in a pensive mood; or maybe she was only taking a catnap. Either way, she is a contented cat.

 

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Week's End

With the daylight lasting longer, I've been able to get down to the beach after work for a walk a couple of days this week. Needless to say, it's a great way to relax.

I see lots of dogs on the beach, but very few cats. This is as close as I was able to get to this one.

Also saw this shore bird; a friend tells me it is a yellow-crowned night heron, hunting crabs for dinner. I've never seen one before.

Whereas the seagulls are regulars.

 

 

These flowers were free bulbs I dug up from a neighbor who was re-landscaping; I love them! The border is scavenged driftwood.

To kick off a unit on how our perspective shapes our writing, I had my students create a personal coat of arms, based on their definition of values, customs, national identity, and heritage. I felt like they did a nice job on them, so while it doesn't make a lot of sense to hang student work up this late in the year, it seemed a shame not to.

Gracie looks like she had a rough day, doesn't she?

 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Mostly Knitting

Steve and I went to Baltimore over the weekend to visit his brother and sister-in-law and to attend a house party of a friend. The friend lives in a historic row house in the Federal Hill section of the city and she and her husband are the artsy, free spirited type of people that I enjoy being around, so it was a lot of fun.

My sister-in-law, Diane, started knitting ten years ago, right after she met me, so now we love to share our projects, pattern finds, and yarn stories. This trip, she and I went to her local yarn store, the whimsically named, Woolstock. I loved these mugs, but took pictures instead of buying them.

This common saying, "yarn is cheaper than therapy", is a bold faced lie, but it's cute nonetheless. Having experienced both, I know yarn is way more expensive, but it's still worth it for the joy it brings me.

This wreath was also at the shop; I've seen yarn wreaths before but the floppiness of this one really appealed to me. The subdued colors are lovely too, don't you think?

As Baltimore is about 4-5 hours each way, depending upon traffic, I was able to knit quite a lot. This is the almost completed Puerperium Cardigan, done in DK weight mercerized cotton. Sherbet colors.

I bought 2 skeins of Sunseeker, a cotton yarn with just a little sparkle in it, while at Woolstock, and cast on for the Pebble Beach Shawlette, a lightweight shawl that is totally unnecessary but will be beautiful in this summery color way.

Oh, right, another just-begun project. This is the fish pillow pattern from KnitPicks that I think will look wonderful in my sunroom, especially in these tropical colors. I took this photo in Friday afternoon, while waiting to meet Melissa for a quick coffee. This shop is just around the corner from her apartment and I was able to snag the only outside table. The cobblestone street reminds me of my time in England somehow. I cannot believe it has been almost twenty years since I was there. I really want to go back to Great Britain.

Finally, a picture of the blown tulips in my classroom, also taken on Friday; my students think I'm crazy for buying flowers "that will die", but I tell them they're good for our souls.

The monsoon season finally stopped today; hope you are looking forward to a wonderful week.