Mary Oliver

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?"

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


I'm going to go to a paint your own pottery place for a friend's birthday party today. Fifty year old women like to play too, right?

I re-started the lace cashmere scarf from my October visit to the Lion Brand Yarn Studio in New York. I think this is the fourth re-start, but as I mentioned the other day, it's become my personal challenge. It's only an eight row repeat, but for me, the challenge seems to be keeping track of where I am, as I usually do most of my knitting while talking to friends and/or family. So I'm marking it off row by row, and only working on it at home. This shows two repeats.

And this is the dog sweater pattern I'm using for a sweater for my mom's dog. I'm using some Mission Falls 1824 wool for it (stash yarn!). She wanted red and this is pretty close, although the color doesn't show so well here.
I spent a lot of time on the couch yesterday, watching Foyle's War and working on it. What am I going to do when the series ends? I think I only have three DVDs left to rent. Steve has finally started to enjoy it.

While blog surfing, I found this great idea about purging excess items. Having a limit may help me actually do it, instead of feeling like I have a huge project on my hands.

Also found this thoughtful post. It's got me thinking about what word I would choose. I know this past Thanksgiving I focused on the mantra, "Joy, Gratitude, and Compassion", so I'm thinking about using one of those. Or maybe all three. I truly believe I have joy and gratitude most of the time, but compassion may be a good one. Or patience. Kindness? Should it be a verb or an adjective?

Randomness on a Tuesday

This is a photo of the place we ate lunch yesterday; it's more bar than restaurant (which was kind of weird for my mom) but the pizza is awesome. You can choose a spicy sauce if you like and it is quite tasty.

It doesn't look so bad in this photo but we may have been the only women in the place, other than the waitresses. There are lots of science fiction style murals on the wall, much of it very weird looking. It's a great place to go when you can eat on the patio outside, but M#1 wanted to eat there before she went back home, so of course we went.

She left this morning; she was supposed to fly out at 7:15 a.m. but her plane was delayed until 9, and I just received a text from her telling me she's on a broken down train, so no telling how much longer it'll be until she gets home. At least it seems there were no problems with the bus she had to take from LaGuardia to the train station. Poor baby, she should have been home by noon and now who knows? Guess that's travel on the holidays. At least she didn't have much trouble at the airport.

We're having a quiet day at home. S went back to bed as soon as we got home from the airport, and M#2 and I went to the urgent care for her UTI (finally). The doctor told her it looks like she's getting over it but he gave her an antibiotic anyway. She's not sure she'll get the prescription filled though, unless she feels worse. She and I both went back to bed afterwards and she's actually still sleeping.

I've finally started a Kurt Wallander mystery that I checked out of the library a few weeks ago. Now that there is no Christmas knitting to do, I've got the time. It was such a great PBS series last summer that I decided to read the books. I'm not sure how many there are; quite a few I think.

As for knitting, I ripped out the cashmere lace scarf I had started on my October visit to New York and restarted it. It's an eight row lace pattern and this time I'm going to pay closer attention and NOT mess it up! I know I can do this, for heaven's sake. Now it's personal!

I also need to make a dog sweater for my mom's dog as soon as possible. Will probably start on that today while watching a Foyle's War episode. Isn't it lovely to have so many choices?

Monday, December 28, 2009

What Day is It?

Why do I love thrift store finds so much? They make me so much happier than retail buys do. One of these days I'm going to photograph everything I have that was bought used. It'll take quite a lot of space. This is a Land's End Christmas throw that I bought a couple of years ago from a thrift store, probably paid $5 for it. Even though it said dry clean only, it's 100% cotton so it gets washed. I love it.

I bought four of these Crate & Barrel dessert plates at a thrift store this year; they may have been $1 each. So clean and crisp looking.

This set of Christmas plates were bought at a yard sale (I think) at least five years ago and I have no idea what they cost. I love the bright colors on them. I don't always pull them out but I did this year since we had the feast of St. Stephen!

We went to the thrift store up the street yesterday and I bought a J. Crew field coat for $9.98. I've been wanting a field coat for quite some time, but couldn't quite bring myself to spend the money. Although this one is kind of big for me, I couldn't pass it up.

The girls found silk scarves and some jewelry and a few other odds and ends. Steve even bought two sports coats. He and I have promised ourselves to take some time this week to unload some stuff from the garage, before we accumulate much more.

On the knitting front, I've pulled out the cabled scarf that I was supposed to have finished for one of Steve's Christmas gifts. Guess it got buried under some other knitting in my storage trunk (also a thrift find). And I'm finishing up a pair of Toasty warmers for M#1 before she leaves tomorrow. She's the only child I didn't knit for this year, mainly because she's such an awesome knitter herself, much better than me. But I did sew her pajamas, using some vintage fabric cause she loves that kind of stuff. Still, I felt a little guilty, so Toasty to the rescue.

And I think I just may frog my Farmer's Market Cardigan. I'm thinking of using the yarn to make this cardigan from ChicKnits instead. What do you think? (oops, just realized that pattern calls for a different weight; guess I'll have to buy another pattern from her, darn it :) Maybe this one?

The girls and I met my mom for lunch today at this skeezy looking place we love for it's pizza. My mom is a good sport but she did note that the art work was a little odd.
Thank goodness she didn't go to the bathroom there, it's got some really creepy art. But good pizza and a fabulous beer selection, which pleased M#1 and me.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

St. Stephen's Feast

We had the kids over last night for food and presents. We called it the feast of St. Stephen, since it was the 26th of December, and it's my husband's name, which made it seem even more appropriate.

It may very well be our new tradition. With blended families, the kids all feel a little stretched, what with trying to visit everybody as it is, so we thought doing our Christmas the day after would help them out. With the exception of the leftover ham my mom brought over for us, the meal was vegetarian. That's a tofurkey in the upper left hand corner that Steve baked.

It turned out very well. Steve and I cooked all day, the kids showed up around five, and we ate, opened gifts, (no idea what was so funny), modeled knitwear, and played a rousing game of Yahtzee, (J loved his Turn a Square hat in Eagle's colors), which Steve won. Here he is in his fresh-off-the-needles hat, contemplating his next move.M2 in her Boho Beret, slouching it up.

Now I have a fridge full of food, so the kids who are staying over can forage to their college student heart's content!

And now, I have to figure out what to knit next! Now that the Christmas knitting is over, I'm at a bit of a loss. The final Christmas knitting count was nine hats and nine pairs of handwarmers/mittens. (The bout of bronchitis was partly the reason my numbers were so high, I think.) I know I could work on the cardigan (remember that?), but I'm not feeling it just yet. Time to pull out the pattern books and think.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Evening

I'm sitting on the couch listening to the Sujan Stevens' Christmas CD my husband gave me. I'm in my pajamas, of course. We had dinner last night at my parents' house and then S went with MB, my parents and I to church. We all met back over there for brunch this morning and exchanged gifts with my sister and her family. Now all the kids are at their respective other parent's house, so it's kind of quiet. I've been knitting and napping and sipping some Tia Maria. Tomorrow we have all the kids back for more Christmas-ing.

Meanwhile, a little photo catching up. Here are some of the Christmas presents my girls made for their grandparents and aunts. M#1 and I went to the thrift store to buy these plates and then she and her sister made cookies. These are the jam-filled tarts; they also made truffles. I particularly liked the two rectangular ones; you wouldn't believe how heavy they were. I thought it was a great idea to use thrifted glass instead of plastic Gladware.

MB and I took a walk around our neighborhood Christmas Eve. It was clear and brisk (40 degrees), just the way I think Christmas weather should be. This house looks like the quintessential beach cottage to me. I really like it.

And here's the Christmas pelican. Quite the nautical feel at this one.

But this one.
The girls said it should be titled Christmas: The Final Armageddon, or maybe Snowmen vs. Santa: The Final Battle. Apparently this family likes a symmetrical theme. See the line of sheep facing the camels?

And I think this is Disney vs. Penguins.

To each his own.
I hope you had a very Merry Christmas.

Merry, Merry Christmas

Wishing everyone a wonderful, joyful, and peaceful Christmas!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas Eve!

I think the best thing for me this Christmas is having both my daughters home at the same time. That seems to be rarer, since oldest moved north. And to hear the two of them with my youngest stepdaughter is joyous indeed.

Baking, crafting, wrapping, talking, knitting, eating. Like a pajama party or a dormitory.

I think MB is feeling a little out of place amongst all this estrogen.

Merry Christmas Eve to all!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Eve Eve Part Two

I am in the enviable position of sitting on the comfy couch in the sunroom while my girls are in the kitchen making gifts. M#1 is making pickled things, like beets, cucumbers, onions, and apricots. She also made flavored vodka by adding vanilla bean and peach slices and decanted it into thrifted bottles. M#2 is making jam-filled tarts. I'm listening to the Christmas Pops station on the radio and talking with them while I knit. So, so lucky to have these girls.

Christmas Eve Eve

Just a quick post with photos to show some finished and some almost finished gifts.

First is yet another Turn A Square hat, made out of a solid color Galway Highland Heather and striped with a slightly varigated green Galway. For some reason the main color feels a lot scratchier than the green. I'm whipping up a couple more striped hats for the various men in the family, so I'm not really sure whose hat this one is yet.

And this is the vintage fabric I bought this summer at the Brooklyn Flea. I'm finally sewing up the pajamas I planned for this. These are for M#1 and I think she'll love them. This is the first time I've ever used vintage fabric; it was kind of daunting to me to cut it up, since it's been so long since I've sewn anything, but I like it. It feels great and it reminds me of the trip we took.

I'm so grateful that I have the ability to create gifts for my loved ones. I think at least half of the gifts this year have been handmade by me and that makes me happy.

Merry Christmas Eve Eve!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


The girls are here! My mom picked my oldest up from the airport this afternoon, so when I got home from work, both my girls were here. It was so lovely just hanging out with them both, talking, eating, listening, and watching them wrap a few presents.

Now they've gone to their dad's house, but I'll see them again tomorrow. So nice.

Oh yes, and it seems my dad does have shingles, which doesn't really surprise me as I have a cold sore outbreak as well. He got a shot and some medicine that should help alleviate the symptons, plus the preventive shot he received a month or two ago is supposed to help reduce the severity. Here's hoping.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sunday Snow

Well, it hasn't actually been a stress free weekend, what with the college girls having to come back through the snow storm, but they did make it safe and sound.

I woke up this morning to a dusting of snow on the ground, just enough to be pretty, but the roads were fine.

This is our back yard,

and this is the view from our front porch.

I thought I'd sit on the couch and enjoy the quiet, but instead, I had a phone message from my mom that she and my dad were at the emergency room, so I headed out to sit with them. My dad had severe back pain and after five or six hours and a number of tests, the verdict is it's either a bladder issue, the arthritis in his spine flaring up, or the onset of shingles. After giving him some pain meds, then anti-nausea meds, they sent him home. He's slept most of the day and now feels fine. Oddly enough, I wasn't that stressed; I was glad to sit with them both. I can't imagine how people do that without knitting. I made another pair of handwarmers while I was there, so it wasn't all that different from what I had planned for the morning after all.
MB and I went for a late brunch and then I met a friend for tea and conversation this afternoon. Now I'm home, ready for my pj's and the next Foyle's War episode.

Random notes:

One year, I swear, I'm doing these.

And aren't these cute? My daughter loves owls, so maybe she'll make these when she's home from school. Tutorial and photo credit found here.
And this is freakin' adorable.
Find the tutorial and photo credit here. My husband thinks the expression looks just like Mr. Bill. Remember him?

Saturday, December 19, 2009


My husband and S made it home last night about 11 p.m., safe, sound, and happy.

My daughter, M2, left B-burg this morning at 4 a.m. and made it to her dad's house around 1 p.m.

That will be good enough for right now.

Thanks so much Rudee and Stephanie for your kind words and thoughts. It really means a lot to me. Now I'm going to go take a nap, for I was out in the shopping madness for a couple of hours and I'm all tuckered out.

Oh and the snow? We are the only area in the state without snow. Bay effect.

Friday, December 18, 2009


Today was a day of highs and lows. We had a holiday assembly this morning which was lovely, but it made the rest of the day very tough. The kids were shocked we were actually teaching the rest of the day. They were expected to work. We had a number of student issues that resulted in in-school and out-of-school suspensions. We had tears and drama. By the end of the day I was whipped. Then my friend who has lung cancer gave me my Christmas gift and I could barely make it to my other friend's room before dissolving in tears. I am so afraid of losing this wonderful woman to cancer. She has been my mentor and friend throughout my teaching career and I'm so afraid.

My friend L and I went to dinner for our Christmas exchange and had a lovely, relaxing time. We split a bottle of red wine and talked and ate and then we came back to my house to talk some more. She loved the Bella mittens I made her and the brown Fetching mitts, and I love my large bottle of Tia Maria, something I love but never buy for myself.

Meanwhile my poor husband is driving S home through bad weather and bad traffic. They've been on the road since 3, should have been here by 6, and although it's nearly 10, he said it'll be another hour at least.

My daughter in Blacksburg is snowed in with a bladder infection she was too busy to take care of this week, after spending six hours in the car getting nowhere due to the snow. So now she's back in her apartment with her father and her roommate, not sure when she'll get home. And I'm hoping she doesn't have a lot of pain from the infection she should have already gotten medication for.

If this all sounds incoherent, it's because I am. Incoherent. Stressed. It will be better tomorrow. Right?

Thursday, December 17, 2009


I haven't had the most imaginative blog titles lately, not sure why. Usually I'm such a fan of alliteration but I'm not feeling it for some reason.

I'm really glad the weekend is near; only two school days next week and then the break will be here. Although it'll be a whirlwind with the girls home, it'll still be nice to sleep in and lounge around in my pajamas. Speaking of pajamas, I am loving the pair I bought last month at the Gap Outlet. They were a spur of the moment buy, but what a good one. Soft, stretchy, and comfortable, and I think they look nice too. Of course, I'm sure my husband is tired of seeing them, as I've usually got them on by the time he gets home. I think they are a good substitute for my lack of beach time. I know that sounds odd, but I was thinking about how long it's been since I walked down to the beach, what with the time change and all. I never get home before dark these days, and it seems like it's raining on the weekends. I'm hoping to take a walk this weekend so I can take some photographs of some of the kitschy holiday decorations in our neighborhood. They have to be seen to be appreciated, believe me.

I made this last night after reading about it on Make It Do. It really smells nice, although mine doesn't look as pretty since I used ground cloves instead of whole ones. Oh, and I just realized I forgot to put whip up on my blog list, so I'm way behind on it. Like this and this and this! Gotta go catch up!

Oh, and I just saw these over at PurlBee. So pretty. I do love their project ideas. This one looks like a nice keep-in-the-car project, and it'll help me use some yarn I bought from KnitPicks that I've had no idea how to use. Until now.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Today was one of those great teaching days. I did a Philosophical Chair activity in my AVID class; it was the first time I'd tried it and it went really well. The kids handled it wonderfully and we all enjoyed it. I had that good feeling that reminds me of why I love what I do.

The rest of the day went well also; lots of differentiating between classes, trying to meet the needs of all the students. It's something I'm supposed to do every day (and I try) but you can imagine some days go better than others. Today was one of the better ones.

This is a tree made out of construction paper loops; the kids wrote science facts on them last week and I put them up in the hall in the shape of a Christmas tree. You'd be amazed at how 8th graders still love to see their work on display; they stop and point out their loop to their friends. They try and act so cool, but they're still kids at heart, underneath the bravado.

My husband and I went out to dinner tonight to celebrate the 3rd anniversary of our wedding. He and I have been missing connections with each other lately, due in part to my catching up from being sick a week, part due to holiday stress I'm sure. So it was nice to sit down and focus on each other. No matter how strained we sometimes feel with each other, I still am grateful to have found and married this man.

Monday, December 14, 2009


It was really foggy here this morning. Surprisingly, the drive to work wasn't bad, even though it stayed foggy the entire way. Maybe running a little later than normal paid off?

Despite feeling cranky, I had a good day at work. We had shortened bells (again!) but the lesson I had planned was easy enough to accommodate the change in plans. Pep rally in the afternoon and then a short faculty meeting, but I was home in time to wrap MB's Christmas gifts before he came home.

I'm not sure why I'm feeling so edgy; probably still a little tired from the bronchitis. Poor MB has had to bear the brunt of the crankiness.

And speaking of cranky, is it just me or is this just a little over the top? I love the scarf, hell, I love everything they put on their website, but I calculated that it would cost $90 to make and I call that pretty pricey. That doesn't qualify as a last minute gift for me, what about you? Or am I just being cranky?

Now it's off to the couch to knit some more! I'm really flying through some of the handwarmer gifts. No pressure though, whatever gets done, gets done. I've made no promises to anyone, so they'll all be truly surprise gifts. Although I would like to do an easy dog sweater for my mother's dog. . . . .

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Our Tree is Up

MB & I put the lights on the tree; it was fairly painless. I put the strings in separate ziploc bags when I store them, so that cuts down on tangling. We arranged the gifts around the bottom and as far as I'm concerned, we're done. I'll probably put a few ornaments on later, but not many. I have some starched snowflakes that I like, but really, the lights are good enough for me.

Oh, and I bought this flag at the thrift store last week.
Isn't it absolutely perfect for a beach Christmas? Driftwood arms, beach towel greetings, and starfish for the eyes and buttons. Best part? Only $1.


It's a cloudy Sunday here in Ocean View. It's warmer than yesterday but really, I prefer the cold this time of year.

I got to wear my Thermis cowl yesterday which was so nice and warm. When I went to the knit store, the ladies oohed and ahhed which made me feel nice. I even gave out my ravelry name so they could find the pattern. I had gone there to meet a non-knitting friend who wanted to buy yarn and needles as a Christmas gift for her niece who wants to learn to knit. Of course I picked up a couple of skeins of yarn, JellyBeenz, for a baby girl hat I need to make. Hoping I can knock that out today, as my knitting production has slowed due to that pesky job of mine.

We did get our tree in the stand and in the house yesterday, but that was it. We didn't put lights on it yet because we wanted to let the branches fall a little. It looks like a good size and shape. Once we do that, I can put the tree skirt and gifts underneath and maybe clean up a little around here. Right now, the gifts are all piled up in a chair.

But hey, at least they're wrapped, right?

Saturday, December 12, 2009

A New Start

Welcome to my new blog. Thank you for joining me.

It's a cold, clear Saturday here in Ocean View. MB and I are planning to put up the Christmas tree today. I'll put lights on it and the presents under it, and that may be the extent of it. It's the lights and the tree smell that I love so much.

I had a great week at school. I can't remember the last time I worked a full week. Between getting sick, Thanksgiving, and the Nor'easter storm days, it's been awhile. I really enjoyed being back though. Did some creative writing things with the kids that I'm proud of.

Speaking of being proud, I received a letter and certificate from the Praxis people about the certification test I took last month. Not only did I pass it, I scored in the top 15%, which entitled me to a special certificate and a high proficiency rating.

Hope you have a great weekend! Knitting photos coming up soon!