Mary Oliver

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?"









Saturday, March 28, 2015

March Madness

Life is going fairly well right now, probably because I'm writing this on a Saturday, after I slept in and then took a three hour nap. Feeling rested does wonders for my attitude. This past week was a particularly disheartening one, as some of the adults in my building behaved quite badly and at first, I let it get under my skin. But thankfully, work is not all I have in my life, and I had some very restorative evenings to offset my less than wonderful days.

On Monday night, Steve and I went to an ODU basketball playoff game; my alma mater is in the NIT and the game was an exciting buzzer win for us.

My friend, Lori, and her boyfriend went with us; she's my coworker, knitting buddy, and the friend I hang out with most. We always have a great time, no matter what we get up to.

 

Wednesday night, Melissa and I met for dinner and then saw the documentary, She's Beautiful When She's Angry, a retrospective look at the Women's Movement. Although I usually wish for the time when my daughters were young, this was one of those times I enjoyed so much more because she's 25, and we can share a common enthusiasm together. It was a great night, and if you have a chance to see the film, do it! Thursday night was knit night, and last night was a fondue birthday party for a friend and the chance to relax with a group of my friends with whom I worked for the first fifteen years of my career. Some of them are retired now and it was great to hang out together, discussing all the things women discuss when they have a chance to just focus on each other. Doing this much during the work week was probably the reason I needed a nap today!

 

Speaking of work, I had my Honors class do a banned book research project this month, and because I mentioned how much I like John Green's books, two girls brought in their copies of his books so I could borrow them, isn't that sweet? I plan to read them over spring break, hopefully while sitting on the beach.

I also got a gift from Stephanie, a lovely note and a pair of earrings in the shape of Togo, the African country where she is stationed. Miss that girl so much.

Steve and I were able to fit in a quick walk on the beach this afternoon, and while it was awfully brisk, it was also incredibly beautiful.

I just got back from a knitting pajama party that was held at the knit store where we have our weekly stitch and bitch group. Although the chairs aren't very comfortable, the people are nice and the owner does a great job with it. We all bring a dish to share and she provides drinks and a door prize for everyone.

Tomorrow I'll spend some time with family at my parents' house, and hopefully take another walk on the beach, before beginning the last week before spring break. Pretty sure I can make it, hope you can too!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

A Saturday in Spring

This week was a long one; the foreshadowing of it came early Tuesday morning when the alarm went off and I could have sworn it was Saturday morning. But the week eventually ended, on a rainy, grey Friday, that was filled with practice tests and seat work. Boring for the students but necessary for me for a change of pace that fit the weather. I went to bed at 9 p.m. and slept for twelve hours.

Today was cool but beautifully sunny, and I I spent most of it with my daughter, Melissa, wandering around an area of Norfolk that I love, leisurely drinking coffee and talking with each other. Although I miss the years my girls were little and lived with me, it's a wonderful gift to be adult friends with one another. We spent part of our time at the phone store, upgrading our phones and lowering my phone bill, an errand that was long overdue.

I was able to knit some as well, turning this gorgeous yarn into a shawlette,

although this is as far as I've gotten.

But I love the yarn; the color is called Tuscany, and I can see the purple and green of the Tuscan vineyards in it, can't you?

 

And thankfully, the spring bulbs are blooming, even though the flower beds need some cleaning up, as the winter has left them looking brown and bedraggled.

I also finished the latest Anne Lamott book, Small Victories. I love all of her essays; they are so accessible and yet so profound that I always feel the need to read them at least twice. I own most of her books and although I borrowed this one from the library, I will probably end up buying a copy, so I can read it again later on. She seems to get better and better.

Hope your area is feeling spring-like!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Knitting Retreat

I went to my first knitting retreat last weekend and I loved it! I was unsure as to what my registration fee would cover, but I received more than my money's worth! There was a goodie bag upon arrival that included a number of sweet notions and a gorgeous hank of yarn, door prizes, four meals, yummy snacks, and a knitting swap, where I acquired more yarn and a brand new circular needle case that was at least a $50 value all by itself. Add to all that, the fact that it was essentially a pajama party with knitting at a hotel in the Outer Banks and it just couldn't get any better.

The only blot on the weekend was a fainting spell the first night that left me with a bruised and bloody nose and knee, but at least nothing was broken and the ensuing headache didn't prevent me from enjoying any of the events, including the morning yoga session and walks on the beach.

I can't wait to do it again next year, although preferably without an injury.

 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

March! We Made It!

My snow holidays are coming to a close and I'm not sure how I'm going to go back to working five days in a row, but I guess I'll adjust. I have truly enjoyed the time off, using it to relax, get a few things done, and knit, but mostly I've been reading. I can't remember the last time I've read this much purely for the pleasure of losing myself in the story. It reminds me of when I was a teenager and used to spend every spare minute reading whatever I could get my hands on. I'm sure when I'm back in the thick of it, I'll regret not getting more done around the house, but for now, I don't regret a thing. The most recent book I finished was Jane Smiley's newest one, Some Luck, the first in a trilogy. Although it is a thick one, I read it in a day, mainly because it was all I did, but also because it was so interesting, I couldn't put it down.

I'm still plugging along on the Edie sweater in the hopes of finishing it by next weekend, but knitting on so much grey stockinette makes it slow going. I just read somewhere that knitting grey or brown in February is a no-no, since that's the only color you see outside, and I can see why that's a good rule.

Cats love boxes, don't they? I got this box out to pack up some yarn I sold on Ravelry, and as soon as I turned around, gracie was in it! Such a cutie.

 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Cooking with Gas

I got motivated to make some recipes out of the Smitten Kitchen cookbook I bought some time ago. I love to cook, but since I rarely get home before 5:30 and I don't own a dishwasher, we tend to either eat out or just throw quick things together, which get the job done but aren't very interesting. You know, cereal, popcorn, or salad. I used to cook pasta a lot because it's so quick, but since I've been on my 1200 calorie a day regimen, I haven't eaten that for awhile.

Before I went to the grocery on Wednesday, I picked out three recipes that looked good and bought the ingredients for them. Wild Rice Gratin with Kale, Caramelized Onions, and Baby Swiss; Harvest Roast Chicken, with Grapes, Olives, and Rosemary; and Pork Chops with Cider, Horseradish, and Dill. I made the rice casserole and the chicken today, and will make the pork chops tomorrow. Since Steve was working from home, we ate at one o'clock; he was pretty happy to enjoy the results of my efforts!

I didn't do much of anything else, other than read and take pictures of birds at the feeder, like this beautiful cardinal.

I really need to knit tomorrow, if I want to finish my sweater, and since we have yet another snow day, I'll definitely have the opportunity!

 

The Snow Days Continue

I took advantage of the snow day on Wednesday to meet some teacher friends for lunch. Since teachers never get to leave the building for lunch, it seems to be the first thing we all want to do whenever we have the chance. Afterwards, I went to the grocery store, along with almost every other area resident, to stock up on the essentials, like microwave popcorn and seltzer water. You know, the basics.

When I got home, I decided to take advantage of the sunshine to take a walk on the beach, in case we were snowbound for three or four days. Hard to believe it when looking at the blue skies.

 

This is what was predicted for our region,

and this is what we got:

 

Not only have we gotten at least six inches, it's still snowing big, fat flakes, so I guess the weather folks got it right. I'm home again today and will be tomorrow as well, so I'll cook some of the food I bought, read, knit, and grade some papers, so that when we do make it back to school, I'll be ready to roll.

 

I'm going on my first knitting retreat next weekend, assuming we aren't snowed out, and I'm hoping to finish my Edie sweater in time to wear it. I am at the point of joining the front and back in order to shape the shoulders and neck, and then I have two short sleeves to knit and attach. I know it's still quite a bit, but I have four days in front of me and if I focus, I can get it done. If I focus. Hmmm. Send good thoughts!

 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Snow Week

We are having an interesting month, weather-wise. We came home from New York on President's Day to falling snow, and as a result of the snow and below freezing temperatures, the schools in my area were closed until yesterday! The roads had become icy and as we don't normally have snow and ice issues, our cities do not have the resources to make traveling safe. People living north of us think it's funny we close for what seems like very little snow, but we just aren't equipped for it down here. So, we returned to school yesterday, refreshed by our surprise winter break, and got back to our curriculum.

It started snowing again this afternoon and although the weather folks were only calling for a dusting, it hasn't stopped yet, and the schools have already announced that we are closed again tomorrow. Not only that, but we are supposed to get another 6-10 inches of snow tomorrow night, which would close us down for the rest of the week. I love snow days, but it's going to get crazy trying to make up the time from this point on.

 

Here are a few photos from last week's snow. The biggest problem was that the snow had a frozen top layer, which froze everything in place. In order to open my front gate, I had to break up the ice/snow in tile-like chunks, rather than simply shoveling it out of the way.

 

 

See the sheen? This is solid ice that I had to break this up in order to move it off the car. Luckily, I didn't damage any of the paint.

And the footprints you see, stayed that way because the snow was ice instead of powder.

The view behind the fence is the road; difficult to see where the curbs are, isn't it?

 

Of course, we still don't have a lot of snow compared to New England; here is a photo of my daughter, Meredith, that she took on Saturday. New Yorkers keep on going when they have snow.

 

Regardless of what tomorrow brings us, I'm going to enjoy another snow day while I have the opportunity. Hoping to stay nice and cozy and get a little work done and even more knitting done!