Mary Oliver

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?"

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Sweet Melissa

Happy Birthday to my youngest daughter, Melissa. I can't believe it was twenty-two years ago that you were born. Where did the time go?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Science Strategy

So I had to use some new strategies in my science class for my gifted class project, and I loved this one! It's called a Bloom's Ball because you assign tasks using the Bloom's Taxonomy verbs to guide students to higher level thinking. Each student had to create four panels, then work in groups of three to assemble their balls and present them to the class. They loved it!! Here are some of the results.

Aren't they cool looking?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Bonnets! Baby Bonnets!

Woot again!! I won a bonnet ebook from the talented and generous Larissa over at stitchmarker!! I love her feather and fan bonnet. If you've never made it, you should. It's the sweetest little bonnet ever. I have just one teensy problem: I accidently deleted it from my email without opening it, thinking it was spam!! I'm keeping my fingers crossed she forgives me and emails it again. Here's the first feather and fan bonnet I did; it's so pretty, even before I added the white ribbon (which apparently I never took a photo of).

Please forgive me Larissa!

Edited to add: Turns out I flipped out too fast; I hadn't deleted the ebook after all!! It's safely downloaded, and let me tell you, it's gorgeous!!!! Thanks again, Larissa! Now I get to make some more beautiful designs. I'll write more about this lovely book soon! Meanwhile, want one of your very own?? Check out this blog and giveaway!!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

VCU French Film Festival

I turned in my project and spent nine hours in class yesterday and as soon as I got out I felt free!! And I am, at least until April 30 when my final project is due. I had planned to spend today home in my pajamas, resting up for the week, but instead, Steve and I drove up to Richmond first thing this morning to attend the French Film Festival. It was sleeting when we left and snowing on the way, but thankfully it stopped by the time we arrived. We had to wait in line for about thirty minutes, but at least we were here, (Steve's under the striped awning) and not around the corner and down the street. It was cold, but we were toasty in our handknits.
Cary Street was lined with French flags and all the storefronts had a French theme going.

After the film, Pieds nus sur les limaces, by Fabienne Berthaud, which was very good, Steve went to Chop Suey, a funky little bookstore, while I walked down half a block to The Yarn Lounge and had a sit and knit time with the lovely women who work and knit there. They are so nice and friendly.

Of course our main reason for going up there was Stef: she was an intern for the festival. We only got to see her for twenty minutes or so but I think she was glad to see us.

Steve and I had some wine and cheese at a little wine bar and then we headed home. And I'm finally in my pajamas! Woot!

Thursday, March 24, 2011


I just noticed that my last post was number 300. What that signifies, I have no idea. What I do know is that I've been drowning in work this week. Not 8th grade teaching work, but the work I had to do for my gifted class. My job has been pretty easy this week, thanks to benchmark testing, (which uses up entirely too much instructional time, by the way), but I've had to race home every day and hunker down at the computer writing up strategy lessons. You'd think I'd be good at writing lesson plans, but the truth is I've been blessed with principals who put more stock in the actual teaching one does than in the ability to write beautiful lesson plans. Very often my best teaching moments come from last minute ideas and decisions to try something new. It's not that I teach by the seat of my pants, it's that I've been teaching long enough to have a lot of practical knowledge about what kinds of activities work with middle school students. At the risk of offending someone, I think teachers who have binders of beautiful lessons often teach in a vacuum, without reacting to the needs of their students. While it may be easier to teach from the same lesson plans year after year, I have different students every year who come with different needs and what worked fabulously last year may fall flat this year. Add to that the fact that I'm continually learning about what I do and that my attention span is pretty short and you get someone who tries new things all the time. I think that's what keeps this vocation of mine fresh and new and exciting and I hope that excitement is conveyed to my students as well.

If I sound like I love what I do, it's because I do. Love what I do. I feel that teaching is my calling and even though I know I probably should get paid more for what I do, I feel awfully lucky that I even get paid at all. Doing what I love, even with all of the frustrations and paperwork that come with it, is such a gift. Spending five days a week getting to know so many wonderful young people is my great good fortune.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Show & Tell

Steve and I walked on the beach Sunday afternoon with Andrew and his girlfriend, Mae.
It was a little chilly, but so nice to be out in the fresh air.
Steve wore his Seaman's Cap; it's a pattern he picked out and it's knit in the scratchy Galway Highland Heather he loves. I bought at least four skeins of it when an area knitshop closed down, and I still have two full skeins of it. Come to think of it, I must have bought more than that because I've made a pair of socks for him out of, plus I've used it in some plain hats.

This is a pot of tulips left over from Lindsay's wedding. I can't believe how well they are holding up.

I have another pot in the kitchen in my blue bowl. We're going to plant the bulbs in the hope they will come up again next year. I seem to remember that some tulips don't bloom more than once, but it's worth a shot.

Speaking of flowers in the yard, these are so pretty, even though they are pretty close to weeds, I think.

They've popped up all over the yard. Weed or not, I like them, don't you?

Now I need to get back to work. I have a project due Saturday for my gifted class and I'm starting to stress about it!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Spring and Science

This is the view I have as I leave in the morning. The forsythia is back lit by the morning sun; so bright and cheerful looking, don't you think?

I had a fabulous teaching day today, but then I usually do on Fridays, as it is my self imposed Lab Day. The kids look forward to it as much as I do. Today we focused on Newton's 1st Law, using washers, pennies, a clothespin, a sand filled container, and some string. They had a blast! I even video recorded a group or two, but I can't post it because some faces show.

Next week we'll have labs investigating Newton's 2nd and 3rd Laws. The joys of teaching science!!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

More Wedding Photos

I love the difference between these two photos. This one all posed and serious, and this one taken immediately after, with everyone more relaxed. It's of Steve, Lindsay's mom, Lindsay and Jonathan, and Lindsay's sister and brother, Stef and Andrew.

Melissa and Stef look like more like sisters than stepsisters, don't they?

Mere and her young man, Ryan.

And me and my girls. I am so proud to be their mom.

Thanks for all the kind words about the wedding photos I posted yesterday; it truly was a lovely wedding and I think everyone enjoyed it. Lindsay planned it herself and she did a fabulous job without overspending. She and her husband (!) are now in France for their short but sweet honeymoon. I hope they have a wonderful time.

It was great seeing some out of town family and friends too (we're looking at you, B). There was a girls only get together Friday night, a rehearsal party Saturday, then the wedding on Sunday, so there was a lot of family time. In addition, I had to fit in three hours of class on Friday night and five hours on Saturday, so needless to say, I was exhausted by Sunday night. I had to drag myself through the day on Monday, but I'm back to normal now.

Speaking of class, I wish I could attend, have the conversations about teaching that we have, and learn the new strategies, without having to do all the outside projects! In short, I'd love to audit these classes, but unfortunately, that's not happening. So I keep stressing about the work that is hanging over me like the Sword of Damocles, while I sit on the couch and knit while watching Law & Order UK!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Wedding Weekend

My oldest stepdaughter was married on Sunday. It was a gorgeous wedding, and I'll post more later but I wanted to get a few photos up right away.
Steve walking her down the aisle.
The bride and groom, right after the ceremony.Cutting the cake.Stef, Steve, and Lindsay, looking happy and relaxed. I think this is a great photo.And my two girls; they miss each other lots and are always happy to see each other. I love this photo and can't wait to print it.

More details and probably more photos next time; it was a busy, busy weekend and I'm still running behind on all my stuff right now, but I wanted to share these right away.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Yellow & Brown

The daffodils are blooming! So cheery against the brown, decaying leaves. And the forsythia is blooming as well. It looks much brighter than this picture shows.

Although it looks like spring outside, it's still a little chilly. Steve often wears a hat indoors so we can keep the heat turned a little lower.

And this pair of handknit socks keep his feet warm as well.

Hope you're keeping warm too!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


International Women's Day.

Any questions? Read about it here.

I have nothing to add; she said it all.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Sock Knitting

Socks almost done! The trip to the Outer Banks yesterday was quality sock knitting time, thanks to Steve doing all the driving. It's funny how sometimes all I want to do is knit on a sock. It's sort of like a palate cleanser between projects, something to knit on that doesn't require any decisions to be made. Although, if you look at my project page, I've got plenty of WIPs to choose from. Still, it's nice to knit on a sock, isn't it? Maybe because of this idea. Or maybe just because.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Knitting and a Rainy Sunday

This past week was a little odd for me; Steve was gone from Sunday morning to Thursday night on a business trip. The oddest part was how much I stayed home. Usually when he's out of town I do a lot of eating out with friends, but this time I ate in every night. My entertainment was watching Elizabeth Gaskell dvds and knitting. Oh, and going to the dentist twice. Despite the quietness of the week, I was so tired by Friday night that I went to bed at 9 p.m. and slept for twelve hours. Then took a Saturday afternoon nap! I think I've caught up on my sleep now, and am ready for a busy week.

Today was a rainy, gray Sunday, but Steve and I had a lovely drive to and from the Outer Banks to visit my parents, who are spending the week down there. We spent a couple of hours sitting in a sunroom with a view of the ocean, with a short walk on the beach during a break in the rain. I got a lot of knitting done on my second Noro sock, and we all enjoyed the relaxing day.

I was going through my photo files after we got home, most of which have the label "knitting", and I found a couple I never got around to posting. This is a heart washcloth that I wasn't thrilled with, but should use anyway. And here is the heart on the package I gave my mom for her birthday. I meant for this heart to be used as a jacket pin, but I didn't get around to adding the pin, so. . . .

I also finished the baby blanket on Wednesday. It should have lots of good thoughts knitted in because I was watching the Cranford series for the second half of the blanket. So sweet.

I made it car seat/stroller size, but it should work in a crib too. It's made from Encore Worsted, which is machine washable, and has little flecks of blue and yellow throughout the white.

And finally, I made Steve another hat, to replace the too small one he received from me at Christmas. I think that makes me one hat behind in my plan to give him a new hat each year. I can only count four and we've just had our fifth Christmas together.

I used Galway Highland Heather, which is a rustic yarn he loves, but either I had a bad batch, or I've had it long enough that moths got to it, because the yarn had lots of broken parts in it, which was Highly annoying! Oh well, it's done now. By the way, he has a pair of matching socks in the same yarn. Told you he loves it!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

March is Here

March came in like a lion around here; the last day of February was sunny and warm but with gale force gusts of wind, which blew in the rain clouds. The rain poured down all night, but I was snug inside, knitting away on the baby blanket. I think I'm ready to do the garter portion and bind it off. Maybe just one more repeat of the pattern, now that I finally memorized it.

I've finished watching Cranford and am waiting for Return to Cranford to be available at the video store. It's such a comforting show; it reminds me of the series of books by Miss Read. I reread them every few years and I always feel so calm when I do, and apparently I'm not the only one. I don't remember how I found them, but they're quite enjoyable. I also used to reread the Anne of Green Gables books periodically for the same reason. I wonder if I'd enjoy reading the Cranford books now that I've seen the adaptation? Between school, the class I'm taking, and knitting, I haven't been reading very much at all lately, other than blogs, which is unusual for me.

A random thought: I had such luck making body scrubs at Christmas, that I think I'm going to try and make some lotion soon too. Maybe while I'm on spring break?