Mary Oliver

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?"

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Best Laid Plans

Weekends don't always turn out like you plan, do they? This was a good weekend in many ways: both of the youngers (Stef & Melissa) came home for a quick visit, and we had Lindsay and Jonathan over Saturday night to celebrate her birthday with make-your-own pizza night and cupcakes. And Stef fixed my camera settings and took a few shots with it. Cool view of the UVA scarf, isn't it?

But Steve and I are at odds, which created an atmosphere of tension all weekend, I didn't see enough of Melissa (she was only here from 11:30 p.m. to 7:00 a.m., mostly sleeping), and I had to go to the hospital this morning right after she left to sit with my mom and dad, because he was having chest pain.

The good news is that his heart seems fine, they discharged him, and he'll see his cardiologist for a follow-up stress test tomorrow, but he's still having some pain, so something is going on. Steve and I will figure things out, and life will be good. I'll see Melissa again soon (but not soon enough).

I made homemade macaroni and cheese for Stef before she left and packed the leftovers for her to eat later, along with the remaining cupcakes. And she took some autumn cheer back to Richmond with her, in the form of two pumpkins and the pumpkin hat I made her a few years ago.

She also modeled the UVA scarf for me, since I'm tired of the couch photos.

I took a walk on the beach right after Steve left to take her back to Richmond. It's a gray, misty day, with some whitecaps brightening up the view. And now that I'm back home, I hear some rolling thunder.

How do these birds stand on one leg in the wind for so long?

Here's a shore bird getting some dinner in the spray.

Do you ever wonder about the stories behind the detritus you find on a beach? Like the story behind this discarded rose?

And this yellow feather? It seems too large for anything but a gull, but the yellow? I don't recognize it at all. Maybe someone's pet tropical bird escaped?

What do you think? What stories do you see?

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Good Grief

Good grief, where did the week go? I am enjoying school so much this year that the days are flying by. I feel like all I do is go to work, come home for a few hours, go to bed, and then get up and do it again. At least I'm enjoying it though.

I have made a little progress on my Mondo Cable Pullover this week, knitting for no more than twenty minutes a night. I think I've made a mistake counting rows between decreases though, as I'm almost finished with the length and I'm still needing to decrease. I think I'm going to have a baggy arm sweater, cause I'll have to be consistent on the other arm or it'll look really weird. I don't care how it looks, I'm still wearing it to Rhinebeck in three weeks (unless it's unseasonably warm).

I'm also finishing up the UVA scarf and continuing to knit a row here and there on the Hokie scarf. If you know anything about Virginia college football, it's a little odd to carry both of those projects around in the same bag.

The weather has been really warm here this week, even though we had such cool weather last weekend. I don't think I'll be opening the windows anytime soon.

I've lost a total of 19.6 lbs in seven weeks; this prompted the Weight Watcher computer voice to tell me to slow down. While I know this is sound advice, I seriously doubt that I will deliberately try to slow my weight loss. I have 30 more pounds to lose and I know it'll slow down soon enough.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sunny Sunday

A gorgeous weekend here in OV. Clear, sunny, with temperatures peaking right around 80 degrees and cooling off to 70 degrees at night. (Side note: why did computer keyboards eliminate the degree symbol that typewriters used to have?) Steve and I sat on the beach this morning for an hour or so after breakfast (I had a fabulous Florentine Panini) and watched the dolphins playing in the water, while I graded some papers. A friend of mine came over later and she and I sat on the beach for a couple of hours, soaking up the sunshine. The windows have been open all weekend, letting the cooler breezes flutter the curtains. I love fall, and fall at the beach is even better. Yesterday was filled with errands, so I feel virtuous enough to enjoy the relaxed pace of today. And I graded half of the notebooks last night when I was unable to sleep; I'll do the rest tonight while watching Masterpiece Theater.

I really want to work on the sleeves of my Mondo Cable pullover, but I won't until the notebooks are done. I need/want to finish the sweater in time to wear it to Rhinebeck this year, so that'll be my motivation. I worked on the Hokie scarf project (that used to be a cowl project) while sitting on the beach today. I had tried two different cowl patterns but kept messing up the one I liked and I didn't like my substitution plan, so I started a scarf using this pattern. I like it much better and I won't have to worry about whether the recipient can get it over her head or not. Or if she even likes cowls. Not everyone does, or so I'm told, though I don't understand the concept, do you?

Looking forward to school tomorrow, as I have what may turn out to be the best group of students I've ever had!! Crazy, huh?

I've lost a total of 17.4 lbs in the six weeks I've been on Weight Watchers, which makes me very happy. Even got to wear a skirt today that I've been wanting to wear for awhile!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Wow! It's Friday?

I just got home from a baby shower and thanks in part to some good red wine, I'm feeling so content. I almost always feel that way after hanging out with a group of smart women; my tribe, in a way. I had a lovely week (even though I was sick part of the time) overall, I'm LOVING my students and my work, and things are going well with my girls. What's not to love?

The baby shower was for a girl I work with (she's 29, so not actually a "girl") whom I think is just the cutest thing. She's the recipient of the baby blanket I worked on all summer and boy, am I glad to pass that on to her. It's funny, as I was washing and packing it up, I couldn't believe how I kept finding fault with the way I arranged the squares. What is my problem?

Anyway, after working until 9 p.m. last night (Middle School Open House), I'm very happy that it's Friday night and I don't have too much on the agenda for the weekend. All I've got is the library book sale, brunch with my husband, and a long overdue haircut appointment. And grading fifty science notebooks. If the weather is good this weekend, I'll be hitting the beach for a spell as well. Hope you have some good times planned too!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Ginger Ale & Crackers

That's what my diet has consisted of since yesterdayMonday night. Apparently I caught a virus that's going around; one of the joys of being a teacher. Other than that though, the year has been great. The kids seem so sweet and eager to please, not always the norm for 8th graders, but good work when you can get it! I think it must be due to my new slogan:
Although it isn't quite as cute as Keep Calm and Have a Cupcake, it is more in keeping with my life right now.

Steve and I had a lovely getaway this past weekend. He had been given two tickets to the ECU football game, so we packed a tailgate lunch and drove to Greenville, NC. Those Pirates really know how to party!

After we left the game, we drove east to the Outer Banks, taking our time along the way. We spent Sunday driving all the way down Hatteras Island to the Ocracoke Ferry, since Steve had never been down that far. We even found a bookstore along the way and walked on the beach when the rain let up. Isn't this picture of sea oats and storm clouds pretty?

This photo makes it look like it was cold but it was actually warm and humid.

We met Steve's brother and sister-in-law for fish tacos at Mama Kwan's before driving home. Wish we could have spent more time with them, but we had to come back and go to work. Such is life.

Friday, September 10, 2010

First Week

It's been a great first week of school. I feel calmer and more organized than I ever have and I really don't know what is different. But I like it. Getting "first day" flowers from Steve was icing on the cake!

I haven't had much time to spend reading blogs the past two weeks and I tried to catch up tonight. While reading and skipping around the ether-net, I found this cool tutorial for making dryer balls. I don't like the heavy fragrance of dryer sheets and it's been getting harder to find the scent-free ones, so I'm going to try this and see how it works. Heaven knows I have enough yarn lying around my house!

I haven't had much time for knitting either, but I did finally finish reading Wolf Hall. I thought it was a really interesting book, and I'm not normally a huge fan of historical fiction.

I also went to see a talk given by Sonia Sanchez and Nikki Giovanni on Tuesday night that was a great experience. Awesome women; makes me want to read more poetry, so I've reserved six of their books at the library!

I have to send this link for friendship necklaces and/or belts to my girls; I think they'd really like them. And I'm pretty sure Stef will love this pom pom garland!

Monday, September 6, 2010


Changed our plans a bit yesterday and drove up to Richmond to visit Stef. Her birthday is on Wednesday and our original plan was to spend the day with her next weekend, but I'm so glad we went yesterday instead, as the weather was just lovely. We spent the first part of the day at the Short Pump Mall so she could spend some birthday bucks. Normally, four hours at a mall would be my version of hell on earth, but this mall was different. The center court areas are outdoors, so I didn't get that stale air, cramped up feeling. We ate lunch at Tara Thai and generally wandered around enjoying the beautiful day. We drove to the Fan district for dinner and ate at a really cute restaurant on W. Main called 3 Monkeys. It had an open air porch that was really nice and the food was fabulous. Unfortunately I left my camera at home, but I'm hoping Stef sends me some photos since she took a few hundred throughout the day!

I'm in limbo today, waiting for school to start tomorrow. It's funny that teachers, as well as students, go through a similar form of the jitters just before the first day of school, trying to decide which outfit to wear for the all-important first impression, wondering which ice-breaker will be the best one for this year's group of students. I usually don't sleep so well the night before either, a million small but important details running through my mind.

So to counteract the fact that I've really nothing left to do to prepare for tomorrow, I decided to reorganize my knitting patterns. You know, all the ones that I printed off Ravelry or knitty and then shoved onto my bookcase in no particular order. First I categorized them into piles and now I'm going through each pile and setting aside the duplicate copies to send to Meredith or Stef. Why are there duplicates? Because they weren't organized of course! Do you ever do that? Print multiple copies of patterns you like?

Saturday, September 4, 2010

A Sunny Saturday

It's a gorgeous day here, sunny blue skies, and wispy white clouds. I spent a couple of hours this morning running errands and messing up the kitchen (made bulgur and red lentil salad), and then took myself down to the beach for a couple of hours. I fear I may have ruined my cell phone though; it got a little wet and now it's acting funny. Maybe it'll be okay after a little resting time or maybe that little beach trip just cost me $100. I should know better. Only time will tell if I get lucky.

I'm sure I'm jinxing myself here but I feel like I'm more prepared for the first day of school than I've ever been. I'll find out for sure on Tuesday when the kids show up. I'm sure it helped that I went in early to set up my room; we had so many meetings this week that if I had waited until this week to do it, I definitely would have been stressed.

I'm still working on my hap blanket and the UVA scarf, as well as my red meeting scarf (the one I knit on during meetings, when I can get away with it). Since it's still in the upper eighties around here, I don't feel much of an urgency to finish these quickly. Yet.

I lost another 1.6 pounds, bringing the total to 13.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Goodbye Earl!

Well, we got lucky again. Earl was a little further offshore than originally feared, so we just got some wind gusts and very little rain. So glad.

My first week back to work has gone relatively well. I seem to be calmer than usual, so much so that a few coworkers have made comments to me about the difference. Not sure exactly what caused the change, although I'm sure that doing a little therapy this summer didn't hurt any. Plus, being on Weight Watchers always gives me a sense of control and well being and that is always good.

One of my friends just became a grandma last week, and so I gave her two baby hats to give to her daughter-in-law (who also just happens to be my hair stylist). I finally bought ribbon for the feather and fan bonnet, then used the extra ribbon to bundle it with another knit cap in white.

This white cap has little flecks of pink and blue. I thought the two together made a cute gift.

And just for fun, Goodbye Earl!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


I am not happy tonight. I haven't had time to read blogs this week because by the time I get home, I collapse on the couch until it's time for bed. Except for the soak in the tub between couch and bed. So I miss my blogger friends. Just wanted you to know.

I'll have a chance to catch up some this weekend, unless I'm cleaning up after Earl. You've heard of Earl, haven't you? I sure hope he doesn't come to visit us.

We're in the orange zone right between two red zones. I'll keep you posted!