Mary Oliver

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?"









Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Grateful

I'm not sure if I accurately conveyed the seriousness of the slump I was in since March, but I'm so very thankful that I'm on the other side of it. Apparently, all I needed was a change in medication to feel like myself again. I have renewed respect for people who struggle with depression, something I so very rarely have to deal with, and the fact that mine is easily managed with the proper medication makes me grateful beyond words. I have been on an anti-depressant for the last ten years as a way to deal with anxiety, but recently the other side of the coin reared its head and made every work day feel like I was serving a prison sentence. I spent at least three weekends in a row sleeping 12-14 hours a day, only to return to work just as exhausted as when I left. Thankfully I have a good doctor who was willing to prescribe a new medication for me and it improved things almost immediately. The reason I'm sharing this here is the same reason I'm so open about it at work: mental health care is nothing to be ashamed of. If you need help, get it.

 

More spring flowers.

 

More Gracie.

Yarn bombing.

 

This photo looks like Gracie is trying to read a knitting pattern in order to help me correct my error.

Finally, a lovely photo of a group of women friends who call ourselves the Beaches, taken this past weekend at one of the women's wedding. So much fun and so much love.

Hope you have love in your life.

 

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Thursday

Saw a funny meme on Facebook today: "Today is Thursday, or as I like to call it, the 4th day of the hostage situation." Kind of indicative of my last few weeks.

So, without further ado, here are some images of the things that are helping me cope:

The beach, my happiest of places, with a new beach bag.

 

Spring flowers blooming in my yard. Lilacs, both purple and white.

 

Candytuft.

Roses, white and coral.

And knitting. This is my finished, pre-blocked Diagonal Lace Scarf, from Churchmouse, in a lovely silver color. Can't wait to wear this one, it will go with so much of my work clothing (think lots of black).

Hope your week has been a good one. Ciao!

 

Monday, April 11, 2016

Teaching

The past two weeks have been extra stressful, mainly due to being sick the past two weekends, I think. The grading period for this term ends on Wednesday and we are supposed to have grades in by 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, which is crazy. I brought a ton of papers home for the past two weekends but didn't grade anything; I tried to stay after a few days to catch up but still never made it through them all and meanwhile they just kept piling up. I had two migraines last week and even though I felt like I was working as hard as I could, I couldn't fall asleep last night because of worrying about how I would get everything done on time. After midnight, I finally decided to put in for a substitute for 3rd and 4th block today so I could devote a significant block of time to grading. Yes, I actually took leave from work in order to work. Crazy, right? So I left school at noon, and went to a coffee shop to grade. It took me over three hours, and then I drove to the library so I could enter the grades into the computer. I finished at 4:00 p.m., and I feel as if a weight has been lifted off my chest.

The challenge I now have is to figure out how to prevent this situation from happening again. I need to make some changes so that I can complete the year with significantly less stress. I know one thing I need to do is to reduce the number of assignments I grade. I also think it will help me to plan out the rest of the year, in terms of making more detailed lessons. I tend to plan as I go, i.e., in response to what I think the students need, but with three separate preps, this is adding stress to me that I can no longer afford to bear. I love the freedom I have to choose what I want to teach, but I think it's become necessary to narrow it down a bit more. I'm not sure if it's the difference between teaching English versus science, or if it's because of the three preps, but I need to make things a little easier on myself. Using my leave to work is not an acceptable practice, and I don't want to do it again.

Boring post, but here is a photo of the beautiful library I visited; it's only a year old and they did a fabulous job incorporating the old with the new and reflecting our city.

Not too shabby, is it? And the inside is as beautiful as the outside. I had some photos from the grand opening last April, but couldn't find them, so next time I visit, I'll take some more. As a native of Norfolk, I'm pretty proud of it. Thanks for reading.

 

Sunday, April 10, 2016

National Siblings Day

I haven't heard of this day before, and wonder if it's a Facebook phenomenon, but it inspired my sister to post this old photo of us. She looks about three which would make me six and it's clear that I wholeheartedly believed in Santa Claus. Even though this Santa looks suspect to me now.

This picture of my girls warms my heart; they so clearly love each other. It was taken at my stepdaughter's wedding, four or five years ago. I just love it.

Still finishing off projects; this is the Shawl Collared Cowl, made out of Misty Alpaca Tonal. I haven't decided on the buttons, so opinions welcomed. These are pink, which add some color.

But these are a bit more classic looking to me, although metal buttons can be awfully cold on skin.

I ripped out and started over on a Churchmouse pattern, Diagonal Lace Scarf. I had cast on for the wrap size, but messed up and stuck it away. I decided I'd rather do the scarf and so I started over. Reading the chart is so much easier than the written directions, I can't think why I didn't do that the first time around.

Last time I posted that I hadn't entered the pattern or yarn for this cowl into Ravelry, but it turns out I had. It's the Woven Cowl and I used Madelinetosh yarn, which explains the lovely, rich color.

I have spent most of the weekend in bed with general malaise, which started with an allergy induced migraine on Friday afternoon. I finally got up off the couch today to make a potato and vegetable casserole with lots of cheese. Comfort food, wouldn't you say? It made the house smell good and it was a homey type of Sunday dish. Celery, carrots, spring onions, and a little bit of spinach, to jazz up the potatoes. I'd meant to add asparagus from our garden but forgot. Made a white sauce and added sour cream and cheddar cheese. Bubbly and rich. I think I craved it after reading The Red House, a book that had a lot of food making in it. Does that ever happen to you?

Have a happy week, and thank you for your kind comments about Gracie and my car.

 

 

 

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Productivity

Lists of things to do plague me.

I know it's important to rest and to recharge, and yet I hear this voice in my head telling me I need to be more productive. I blame my mom, but really, I have to accept responsibility too. My mom is a super active 76 year old woman whose productivity puts me to shame. She worked until she was 72 at a very physically demanding job, and now that she has finally retired, after much coercion from me, she is just as busy keeping her house and large yard up to her exacting standards. I know she thinks I'm a slob and could do a much better job at keeping my small yard and house in better shape than I do, but I love to do other things like reading, knitting, and hanging out with friends. My mom's motto is "work before play", but I prefer it the other way around, even though I know she disapproves.

I finished up a few projects this week, such as sewing buttons on a basket weave cowl I finished a long time ago. I hadn't put it in Ravelry, so I don't remember the pattern or the yarn. The buttons were in my button jar, but I think they were from Hancock Fabrics (did you hear they are going out of business?)

 

Also sewed buttons on a False Creek cowl I made last year. I used Quince & Co. Puffin, but not sure about the buttons, other than they were in the jar as well.

And I finished another Hitchhiker shawlette using stash Linsey yarn; I even wore it this week when it was cold in the morning, and I liked it better than I thought I would.

If you want an engaging yet light read, try this book. I thoroughly enjoyed it, even though it was predictable.

Gracie has been enjoying the sunlight, now that we can leave the door open more often; she's such a sweetie.

Yesterday, after I had worked late to catch up on grading papers, I came outside to find that someone had hit my car in the faculty parking lot without leaving a note. Nice, huh?

 

And today, I took the car in for a warranty repair, only to find that I need about $1500 worth of maintenance done. Not sure when that's going to happen. I had a little bit done today, and I have until October (inspection) to finish the rest. But I have to take it back tomorrow because a warning light is blinking that wasn't a problem beforehand. I'm hoping it's just a button or switch they forgot to reset. Fingers crossed, because I can't afford anything else just now.

Thank goodness tomorrow is Friday!

 

Friday, April 1, 2016

Spring Break

It occurred to me today that there are three distinct stages of spring break. The first stage is pre-spring break, wherein I make lists of all the projects I am going to do, friends (including my children) I am going to meet up with, and books I'm going to read.

The second stage is the actual week of spring break; days spent drifting from project to project, making more of a mess than I thought possible, time on the couch, and time not actually doing anything from the list.

And finally, the post-spring break stage, where I chide myself for not accomplishing much of anything and planning for summer break.

I did make it to the beach this week, and spent some time reading, knitting, and soaking up the sun, so that's a win.

Saturday was gorgeous so I worked in the yard for at least four hours, while Steve sorted through some stuff in the garage. We took a load to the thrift store, then another load to a friend who just moved and needs some odds and ends. The yard looks lots better, but the garage still has a ways to go. Actually, the yard has a ways to go too.

I'm borrowing from Deborah's blog, and sharing what I'm reading. I finally checked out and read Kate Atkinson's books, Life After Life, and A God Among Ruins, and loved them both. I love reading about WWII from the British perspective, and these books were wonderful. It took a bit of trust to accept the premise of Life After Life, but it was worth it. I feel as if it's rare for me to get lost in a book anymore, so I'm always grateful when I do and I definitely felt like that with these two. So, so good.

I'm in a weird place with my knitting right now. I can't seem to fall in love with any of my projects, even when I try and start a new one. I've ripped out three different beginnings with a yellow silk yarn and finally put it back into the stash, and I keep picking up and putting down my unfinished projects, too dissatisfied to complete them but too far along to want to rip out. I finally started another Hitchhiker shawl using some Berocco Linsey yarn that was in my stash and it seems to be working out. It's a discontinued yarn that's a blend of cotton and linen, so it should be a nice warm weather shawl. But I'm not sure why I chose this yarn when I have so many gorgeous yarns in my stash. And a summer shawl? Who am I kidding? I'm so hot natured I'll never wear it and unless it improves a lot with blocking, I won't give it away either. Right now it looks like an asymmetrical rag.

Melissa's 27th birthday was yesterday; used a collage app to post some of my favorite pictures of her on Facebook.

We went to lunch with my parents and stepdaughter, and spent some time just hanging outside and enjoying the beautiful spring weather.

 

We also visited the Botanical Gardens at night, as they were having a special event called Lantern Asia, that she wanted to see. A perfect way to wrap up her birthday celebration, especially as the weather was so mild.

 

 

 

I can't believe it's already Friday and my break is almost over, but I should be rested when I return to work in Monday, so I'll be grateful for that. And I'll probably start the countdown to summer.

 

Friday, March 25, 2016

Finally

I made it to spring break! It's such a wonderful feeling, knowing I have nine days ahead of me to do whatever I want! I kicked it off by doing some yard work as soon as I got home. I think this is the earliest I've ever started, so I hope that means I'll have more time to do some of the cool ideas I've been pinning on Pinterest all winter.

I finally finished and blocked the wrap I started three years ago: Shades of Truth, a pattern by Laura Ayler, using Madelinetosh and Dragonfly. I would have finished it on my Rhinebeck trip but the border color had so much breakage due to moth damage that I lost heart and put it in the freezer for a month or two. I took it with me to the yarn retreat so I could try again, and this time I was successful. I do love the colors I chose, but I'm not sure how often I'll actually use it.

I made a pair of handwarmers using some colorful chunky yarn I won at the retreat. Actually, one of my friends won it but she didn't want it so she gave it to me. They were too small for me, so I gifted them to another lady who knits with our group on Thursday nights.

And speaking of our knitting group, our LYS held its annual pajama party last weekend, so our matching pjs made yet another public appearance. Needless to say, we won the prize for cutest pjs! My stepdaughter took this "action" photo of us. And yes, that is wine in our little plastic cups.

Last Saturday was an eventful one, as it started out early thanks to Gravie peeing in the bed right beside me! Not the best way to wake up. I took her to the vet to see if she had a URI, but after a few tests and a $400 vet bill, it turns out she was just acting out. Possibly due to stress.

She looks adorable here, but I'm hoping she doesn't repeat the behavior. I'm relieved she isn't sick but I really have no idea what prompted the incident. I'm hoping the memory of going to the vet and being locked out of the bedroom for a day made enough of an impression on her to deter any more inappropriate peeing.

I'll probably post a few times during my vacation, depending on what projects I end up doing. But let me just say, I hope I never repeat a week like I just had. The full moon coinciding with the week before spring break made it quite challenging to say the least. I'm hoping nine days will be enough.