Mary Oliver

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?"

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

After the Turkey

Steve and I did a little shopping over the weekend, although only in the thrift stores, and not on Black Friday. No retail for me. Unfortunately I bought more stuff for me than for gifting, although this red snowflake sweater is for my mom, since it's too small for me. I'm not going to wait until Christmas to give it to her though. Buying stuff for myself is not exactly the direction I need to be going, although I did score some excellent sweaters, like this zip up cardigan.This grey one has some cashmere in it.And this green one is a men's L. L. Bean that I thoroughly enjoyed wearing. This one is more navy than it looks and it's a little large, but I couldn't resist it!
Melissa left at o'dark thirty Friday morning so she could work all weekend, Stef left Sunday morning, and Steve went Christmas shopping with Lindsay while I met a friend for lunch.

I am so tired this evening. I went to bed pretty early Sunday night, but had too much caffeine yesterday and couldn't go to bed before midnight last night, and I'm feeling it now. I tried to take a nap after work, but my mind is in overdrive so, no luck. Besides, it probably would have messed up my sleep tonight.

Weight Watchers made some pretty big changes to their program on Monday and I feel like I'm just starting over, having to recalculate everything. Although common sense tells me that I wouldn't go wrong eating the way I have been eating the past three months, my perfectionism compells me to stick to the new plan. Which is a long intro into the quandry I'm in of not knowing what to fix for dinner. I stuck a chicken in the oven tonight as soon as I got home, along with a sweet potato and some butternut squash. Even if the chicken is done too late for dinner tonight, it'll help me out with lunches and dinner this week, which have seemed so boring after Thanksgiving.

I really hope to make these for my friends at work. Or maybe these. Of course, now that the sweater for my mom is going to be finished by December 1 (or not, but either way, it'll be finished way before Christmas), I'm now thinking that I may actually knit a few things for Christmas gifting after all. A couple of hats, a couple of pair of arm warmers, or these. Or I could go back and finish the seconds of the mittens and hand warmers I started this past summer in my grand plan to have a "not a sock club" club. Which was a fail. Unless I finish them now, then it'll totally be a win, right?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

NaKniSweMo Update

With only four days left in November (what? where did it go?), I feel pretty good about the sweater progress. I'm over half way through the first sleeve and the neckline is done already. I chose the lacey ribbed option; I think it's so pretty. I'm debating about whether to reknit it on smaller needles, since it seemed a little floppy when Melissa tried it on for me, but I haven't made up my mind about it yet.

Can you see how it puffs out from the stockinette section? I am stressing like a crazy woman over this sweater, probably because it's for my mom. She keeps telling me to relax, but I'm genetically unable to do so.

Speaking of stress, I had a little bit of anxiety attack going into Thursday, but everything went fairly smoothly. Why do I continue to worry about the behavior of others when I know I have no control over them? Or is it the lack of control that sets me off? Anyway, I'm back to semi-normal and plan to knit most of the weekend. Oh, and do some coursework so I don't freak out right before the deadline. Ha.

I also have to get back on the Weight Watcher's wagon, since I gained 2.5 pounds this week. The thing that concerns me is that this is the exact time the wheels came off (extending the metaphor) last year. The good news is that I have walked on the beach the past two days and plan to do so a few more times before Monday, so that should help. Plus, I'm giving or throwing away all the leftover goodies today, so I don't continue to eat them. Macaroni and cheese, I'm talking to you!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Happy Thanksgiving Eve to all!

I know I repeat this scene often, but it's always changing. Just look at the afternoon light on the dune grasses. Amazing.

We had early release today, which meant I got out of work two hours early. I did one last stop at the grocery (for wine mainly, but bought other stuff once I was there), came home, unloaded the car (no one else was home, those social creatures), made two pumpkin pies, and remembered to take a walk on the beach. So grateful that I did. The light was beautiful, the air crisp, and I found another piece of wood for my nature table.

Now I am letting the baked sweet potatoes cool before I turn them into pies, and I'm cooking rice for a broccoli-rice-cheese casserole. That, plus leftover vegetable soup and yeast rolls (store-bought) will be our dinner tonight. I'm going to go sit down and knit for a bit, so I can finish the neckline of the sweater. I chose the lace-ribbed edging and I really like it. It adds a little femininity to a basic pullover. That will leave just the sleeves, which means I may finish a bit ahead of schedule!! I can't believe it.

Now to relate to the title of this post, the gifted class I'm taking requires me to write a number of papers, which was no surprise. I also have to turn in a portfolio that includes a variety of things like journal entries, chapter notes, class reflections, and strategies we may find while doing our research. What I'm excited about is that the instructor is also requiring us to create something and relate it to gifted education. From the beginning, I knew I wanted to use yarn and/or knitting for my "something" and this past weekend I decided on the project. I am knitting this basket. I'm using colors at random and will felt it afterward I'm done. I'm going to relate all the different colors and yarn types to students and their gifts and differences, and the knitting and felting process to what goes on in the classroom. I plan to relate the usefulness of the basket to the idea of social capital, or how all of the components are able to contribute to society. Just throwing this out there, thinking out loud as it were. If you have anything to add or suggest, please let me know so I can incorporate it into my paper. Thanks!

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Happy Monday

As it was a gorgeous weekend, I took some time Sunday afternoon to sit on the beach and knit. Although it was a little chilly, the sunlight and air felt wonderful. I am finishing up the hem of the sweater now, and only have sleeves and the neckline to do.

This sweater has really surprised me. I had no idea I could actually knit one in one month! Thanks go out to the internet knitting community for the inspiration, and my family for the encouragement. This changes everything!
Have a happy Monday!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Saturday Morning Musings

I had a great week at school; we had two field trips and a team day, but all three were enjoyable and low stress. I had my other three classes make leaves also but I had them tape them to the windows and now my class looks even prettier! I'm lucky to have an entire wall of windows and even though the glass is not transparent, it allows a lot of natural light in, which is so important to me.

Still thinking a lot about creativity. I saw a colorful banner in a store downtown Thursday afternoon and remembered that PurlBee had this great tutorial awhile back. I think I'd like to do something similar for my classroom. Or this idea would be cool too. I wonder if I could use thrifted fabric and get the same vibrant result? Or maybe I should just use construction paper for a similar look? Even better, I'll get the kids to make it!

Melissa got home last night, finished a paper, and dashed back out again. Such is the way of the college student.

Really making good progress on the sweater, thanks to the above mentioned field trips and team day knitting. I think I may go ahead and do both sleeves before finishing the length of the body so I know I have enough yarn. My mom has really long arms and never gets the sleeves of things to fit well, so I want to be sure to have them long enough for her. (or not, as I still have six hundred yards left. I can't imagine a sleeve being more than two hundred yards apiece, right?)

I was up at five a.m. this morning working on an assignment for the class I have today. Now that I'm done and it's only 6:30 a.m., I think I'll treat myself to a little knitting.

Oh, I had my first weight gain this week, but it was only .2 lbs. My total weight loss from August 9 is 34.6 lbs, so I'm happy. Guess those curly fries and cookie last weekend caught up with me. But that's okay.

Friday, November 19, 2010

TGIF: For Stef

This one's for Stef!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


I'm making good progress on the sweater. I think I'm about half way through, based on the number of balls I've used. And with some time off next week for Thanksgiving, I may actually finish this by November 30, in keeping with the NaKniSweMo KAL! And even if I don't, it means I'm on track to finish by Christmas, which is my true goal anyway.

On another topic, maybe it's this time of year, maybe it's the gifted class I'm taking, or maybe it was the vist to see Melissa, but I'm hearing a little voice inside telling me to nurture my creativity. And working feels like it's getting in the way, but obviously that's not changing anytime soon. So how to make sure I'm feeding my soul, if you will?

For instance, I think this gifted class has really been a good experience for me, but it is also seriously encroaching on my "free" time. Not only is it the actual time spent in class, but it's also the amount of time I spend working outside of class, including the time I spend just thinking about what assignments I need to complete. And yet, I really feel as if I've gained a lot of insight from it.

Today, as a direct result of the last class session, I did a different sort of review activity with my honors students. After showing them a couple of different leaves I had picked up outside, I gave them construction paper and told them to cut out a leaf shape of their own design, and had them use it to create a review of the material we've been studying. There were very few rules, other than a time limit. I hung up their leaves in the hallway for a seasonal look, but it's much more than just decorational, it is instructional! Here are some of the results, and I couldn't have been more pleased.
So many different ways to demonstrate the content, plus it allowed them some time to be creative. It was so much fun to watch their facial expressions as they worked. I love it when things come together like this!

I've also told the girls (Mere, Melissa, and Stef) that I plan on having "art camp" when they are all here at Christmas. We're going to craft and create to our heart's content! Doesn't it sound like fun?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Weekend Update

I had a fabulous and relaxing weekend, despite all the driving I did. On Friday night, we went to J's graduation from the police academy and had two wonderful surprises. First, he finished first in his class, which garnered him a number of awards, and secondly, he proposed to L!
They are officially engaged now! Such a sweet moment. Steve's happy, although he looks a little stunned here.

I left Saturday morning and drove out to Blacksburg for a lovely visit with Melissa. We went to an art show featuring one of her friend's art work, ate out, went to a craft show where I bought a few Christmas gifts, went shopping, ate some more, watched a movie, made pumpkin pies and homemade macaroni and cheese, unclogged a sink, and enjoyed the gorgeous weather. Oh, and I knit a lot throughout most of that. The pictures never seem to show how rich the colors are but trust me, they were breathtaking.

I left Monday morning after breakfast at Gillies, a Blacksburg landmark, and meandered my way home. I stopped at the Mud House in Crozet for what is now my traditional rest stop for a lovely latte and cranberry cookie (my lunch) and a little knitting.
I love that place. The leaves were so beautiful that I decided to take Route 250 from Crozet to Charlottesville, driving past the UVA campus. Such a pretty place. I wish I had stopped but it'll have to wait until another time.

I arrived in Richmond about an hour before Stef got out of class, so I waited at an interesting coffee shop she had told me about. We ate dinner at a place called Sticky Rice, then did a little food shopping, before I headed out.

All in all, a lovely weekend. Hope yours was too.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Stream of Consciousness

My mind is going in a million directions at once. Thinking about the work I need to do today at school (teacher workday), the work I need to do for my gifted class, knitting projects I want to start and finish, stuff I want to do around the house to prepare for the holiday season, the trip I'm taking tomorrow, the way I want my life to be more authentic, more conscious, more aware.

What's going on in your mind?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Rambling Sort of Day

Morning post:

It's a gorgeous day today and I'm off work due to Veteran's Day! I'm planning to use some of the free time to work on my UVA course work. Plus some laundry. Plus knitting. Plus finish Mockingjay, the last book in the Hunger Games trilogy. Another one of my professional goals this year was to get back into reading young adult fiction, so as to promote reading amongst my students. When my daughters were little, and when I taught English, I read young adult lit constantly, but since I've been teaching science for so long, I've really drifted away from it. Anyway, I've thoroughly enjoyed the series and have done a couple of booktalks with my students about it, which is always fun.

I'm also getting myself together to head out on another trip, this time to visit Melissa for the weekend, and a quick visit with Stef on my way back home. Looking forward to seeing both of them for some girls-only time!

**Later in the day

I'm not surprised I managed to procrastinate enough that I didn't do any of my course work today after all, and unfortunately, not much knitting, unless you count the hour from 1:30 a.m. to 2:30 a.m. before I officially got up for the day. I did however do a lot of laundry, read some, did the daily crossword puzzle, cleaned some floors, met a friend for lunch, met my husband for a mini-shopping run, did some grocery shopping of my own, talked to my mother, sister, and two of the four girls, and fixed dinner. So not too bad of a day, right?

Oh, and don't forget the blog cruising, where I found these little snippets:

I love Sufjan Stevens, and it turns out he's a knitter too! (You have to read through the second page for it.)

Free knitting patterns are always nice, especially as the holidays approach. I'm doing it differently this year in that I'm knitting my mom a sweater and therefore, I'm probably not going to make lots of other gift knits. Although Steve does get a new hat; I've already decided on the yarn, Rowan felted tweed in a lovely charcoal grey/blue color. Still mulling over which pattern to use though.

Tomorrow is Friday! Have a happy one!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Happy Anniversary To Us!

Steve and I celebrated our fourth anniversary today on the beach in the windy, cold, and gorgeous sunshine. You can't see all of the handknits I had on, but there are two scarves and a hat in that photo. I also had on a pair of fingerless mitts and my Mondo Cable sweater. I need to make a hat for myself now. I don't love hats, but if I plan to spend anytime on the beach this winter, I need one.
We lasted about thirty minutes before I caved and headed back home. I did get a little knitting done on mom's sweater.

And here's the box of yarn for the sweater. It was really a new experience buying a sweater's worth at one time.
Happy day to you too!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Sweater Yarn!

Let the games begin! The yarn for my mom's sweater arrived Tuesday night and I cast on. I wasn't sure I loved the yarn or color, but it's looking better to me now. I stopped by KnitWits Thursday on the way home from work to buy a longer circular, but rechecked my gauge (with a little help) and found out I needed to go up a needle size. Knitting at work makes my knitting a little tighter for some reason.

This has been a tiring week. As much as I'm enjoying this school year, I feel like I'm working really hard just to keep up right now. Add the course work for the gifted class I'm taking, and I'm looking at a one day weekend. Tonight after having four bells of science lab, I worked at school until 6 p.m., then came home and spent two hours going over material for tomorrow's class. I'm ready to do a little knitting, but I'll probably fall asleep soon after I begin.

Hope you have a fun weekend planned. (Wow, what a whiny blogger I am.)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Where Did October Go?

These candles were burning while the trick-or-treaters came and went last night. The gleam on the far right is a cute little witch with a Nightmare Before Christmas look, but I couldn't get a good photo of it.

I finally decided on a pattern and yarn for my mother's Christmas gift. I am making the Basic Chic Pulli with the lacy ribbed border option and I ordered Andean Silk Yarn in the Blue Ribbon colorway from Knitpicks. It should arrive this week so I can get started on it. I've even joined NaKniSweMo, despite being unable to cast on today and despite the unlikely event of me finishing a sweater in a month while I'm taking a graduate level course and working full time, BUT, reach for the stars is my motto. I must say, I'm looking forward to the project. I knew I wanted to use another ChicKnits pattern and I think my mom will like this one. Meanwhile I'll continue working on some of the projects I've already got on the needles and try to resist casting on for anything new!

Random link:
What a great idea this is! And this one too! I hope I do this one soon to help declutter my earring and jewelry bowls.