Mary Oliver

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?"

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Happy Anniversary!

May 30, 1958

And still together, after all those years.


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Happy Birthday!

Happy birthday to my darling daughter, Meredith, who greets the world with her arms wide open.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Cooking, Sort Of

I made Swiss chard for dinner last night using this recipe, and it was amazingly good. I took barefoot rooster's idea and added two over easy eggs and oh my, it was delicious.

I'm also trying this recipe for iced coffee. I'll let you know how it tastes.

I just read my previous post and it seems like I was planning on cleaning this weekend. Oh well, that didn't happen. I did a lot of reading instead, which is okay too. I also made a homemade strawberry cake with filling for my parent's anniversary lunch. I used my old Betty Crocker cookbook, the one I got in 1978, for the recipes (cake, filling, and frosting), and it was delicious.


Other than going to the beach and getting a sunburn (I only get burned once a decade), that's about all I did. Oh, and I started a baby kimono (Mason Dixon Knitting) for a new baby boy.

Hope you had a relaxing weekend. I sure did.


Sunday, May 27, 2012



It is an absolutely beautiful day this morning. The windows are open, the sun is shining, birds are singing, and the breeze is blowing the curtains in that way that means spring to me.


I still haven't decided what my next real knitting project is going to be, but in the interim, I decided to knit another one of my Knit Through The Stash projects.

This is the Big Lace Scarf from More Last Minute Knitted Gifts, using a skein of Quince & Co. Bulky on size 17 needles. Not so easy on the hands, but it is a quick knit. I think this one will go in the gift box. I used to love knitting with bulky yarn, but now, not so much. Funny how one's taste changes.


I plan on doing a lot of decluttering and cleaning around the house this weekend. Oddly enough, I didn't remember it was a three day weekend until Thursday! I think I'm in denial about the fact that there is only three more weeks of school left.


I saw The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (simply wonderful!) yesterday with my mom and Melissa. Afterwards, the three of us went to the coffee shop next door, and I took this photo. I love it.

Isn't this chair wonderful? Mosaic is still on my to-do list; maybe this will be the summer for it.

Now I'm off to the beach. Hope you have a lovely day ahead.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Cooking and Crafting

Thank you to everyone who commented about my consignment question. I appreciate your thoughtful responses, and will have to rethink what I want to sell, as all of my knitting is indeed from patterns. So. Back to the drawing board, so to speak.

I had a lovely day Monday, at least until a headache knocked the stuffing out of me. I had pulled my May issues of Everyday Food off the shelf and took them to work so I could plan a meal or two. I decided on chicken breasts stuffed with mozzarella cheese, basil, and sundried tomatoes, (May 2006), and lemony smashed potatoes (May 2009). Plus a microwave bag of Brussels sprouts. As I was enjoying the shopping and then the cooking, the headache hit and I spent the rest of the evening with very low energy, just trying to prevent it from worsening. I took a bath, sat on the deck, drank a lot of water, took some meds, and it still hung on.


I have just started reading The Eyre Affair, by Jaspar Fforde, a series I had not heard of until recently. It's pretty interesting so far. Quirky, like the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy books. Oh, and I finished the Hitchhiker shawl, although I did indeed run out of yarn before forty two teeth. No matter, it's still a lovely piece, if I say so myself. Now I'm knitting another Honey Cowl, using some Madelinetosh Vintage I bought at WEBS, in a lovely green-gray color, while I think about my next "real" project.


I have read the blog whip up for quite some time and the past week or so they have been hosting a series on creativity, which led me to this article. It really relates to the gifted classes I just completed and is making me think about some of the ways I can encourage creativity in my classroom. Speaking of my classroom, I got the results back for the SOL test and 95% of my students passed. Oddly, I'm slightly disappointed that four failed, especially since three of them were within one question of a passing score. I know it's bad to focus on the failures instead of the seventy two students who passed, but that's how I work.

Speaking of teaching, this is the time of year after the test, so the pressure is off of me, but I still have a good three weeks of valuable instructional time before the end of the year. So, what does this picture have to do with teaching?

Well, these are the tools of my craft this week, as my students are using them to calculate experimental probability in a variety of ways, using activities from the fabulous Activities Intergrating Math and Science (AIMS) series. I love the activities in these books and use them a lot throughout the year, but now I can just pick the ones that look the most fun. And while they are indeed fun activities, they must be tiring me out, because I went to bed at 6:45 p.m. last night!

Hope you have an enjoyable long weekend!


Sunday, May 20, 2012


Stephanie went back to school yesterday morning, as she is doing a summer intensive for her program. It's similar to an internship, which means she has a very busy two months ahead of her. We tried to do her favorite things during her ten day vacation, but I ran out of steam by the end of it and got a bit cranky. I hope she remembers the fun stuff instead of the crankiness.

My niece went to her senior prom last night and I went over to take photos. Isn't she beautiful? You can tell I'm proud of her, because my eyes have disappeared!


The weather was beautiful yesterday, so I puttered around outside for a bit, repotting a peace lily, and planting some hostas, as well as refilling the bird feeders. I love how our side yard has turned into a small bird area.

Today, it is misty, grey and windy, a perfect day for relaxing. Steve and I did make it to the Stockley Garden Art Show, despite the misting rain.

I bought a really interesting pair of earrings, made from pieces of an old tin globe. I always try to buy my earrings from artists, so I can support artisans and because I can always find unique pieces that way.





Speaking of handmade, there is a new shop nearby that sells on consignment, and I am thinking of applying to sell a few things, mostly baby hats and sweaters, and accessories like cowls, scarves, and handwarmers. There is a lot of discussion on the Ravelry forums about whether it is ethical to do so. What is your opinion on the subject? And if you agree I can sell on a small scale, what about pricing?


We also walked down to the beach, for the first time since March. It's almost criminal that I haven't been down in so long.

See how windy it is? That flag is a good indicator.

Happy Sunday!

Thursday, May 17, 2012


I was pretty excited about my mom's Mother's Day gift this year. I called it a beach/spa basket, and I started collecting things for it over spring break. Meredith and I went to a Home Goods store, and I bought a pair of fluffy pink slipper socks, a candle with a seashell trinket, and some good smelling soap. I added two Coastal Living magazines and a thrifted seashell tote bag. I was going to put everything into the canvas bag, but on my Saturday thrift shop visit I found this basket decorated with shells, so I put everything in it instead. Cute, huh?  It even came with the bow!

Random food photo: the macaroni and cheese I made the other night, mostly using this recipe, from Pioneer Woman's blog.  I sliced and pan fried a beef sausage for the non-vegetarians to add to it, but sadly for them, I ate the whole thing myself.  Decadent but delicious!

I have a knitting dilemma. I made this manta ray shawl about six months ago and I dislike it. I mean I really, really dislike it. It's an odd shape that doesn't work; I like the yarn but it's not like I need to keep it.  Should I donate it or frog it?

I know this post is even more disjointed than usual, but I'm in a state of anxiety for a couple of reasons. First, I didn't get to sleep until about 1:00 a.m. this morning due to an unfortunate decision to indulge in an iced mocha around 6:00p.m. last night, and secondly, my high stakes end of course standardized state test is being administered to my students tomorrow. I will be so glad when it is over.

**I'm not sure what happened to my last post....the photo-less one. Hmmm.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Double Day

Stephanie and I went to the movies Friday night; we saw Audrey Tautou in her latest film, Delicacy. It was a bittersweet love story and I loved it, although the reviewer I linked to did not. I believe she is even more beautiful than she was in Amelie.

This morning, a neighbor's cat scared the bejesus out of me. I heard his bell and went to the door to look for him, when all of a sudden I realized he was right by my head! He had climbed up on the laundry room roof! Of course, I grabbed my camera.

I went grocery shopping this morning and on the way home, decided to get a mango-pineapple smoothie from the McDonald's drive thru. (they are my latest addiction). I just want to commend the service person taking orders, as she had what seemed to me to be an infinite amount of patience. The woman in front of me must have changed her order a dozen times and had the nerve to get snippy when she was asked to clarify. When I drove up to the window, I told the cashier how impressed I was with her patience and she said, "no sense feeding a fire you can't win. I don't have to take no one home with me.". Pretty sage advice, wouldn't you agree?

Not only is today Mother's Day, it's my dad's 75th birthday. Instead of making him a cake, I made two lemon meringue pies, because that's his favorite.



Thanks to my KitchenAid mixer, the meringue is amazing. It makes a huge amount with very little effort.


I hope everyone has a sweet Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Books and Memories

I love reading Amanda Soule's blog, and I like looking at the companies she supports. They remind me of Chinaberry, a company that started out just about the time I had my first daughter, way back in 1984. This company was instrumental to me when I was a young mom, helping me locate quality books for my daughters. And even though my girls are all grown up, it is still a wonderful resource to me, especially this section. I miss the days of sprawling out on the couch with one or both girls and the baskets of books we brought home from the library. We would spend hours reading books together, either silently or together, depending on the age and interests of the three of us. I am so grateful that I was able to stay home with them when they were little. I have such wonderful memories of those days.

Yesterday was a rainy, grey day, just perfect for hanging around, but this morning, the sun was shining and the dew was glittering.


I'm still in the process of moving things around, trying to decide what belongs where, but the big stuff is done. I even dumped out my various knitting baskets in order to consolidate projects that are 99% done so I can finish them up. Last night I finished two washcloths, and wove in the ends on two other projects that were done but still hanging around the workbasket. And I frogged two other projects that I didn't even remember what they were supposed to be! Funny how we think that we'll remember something months down the road, isn't it?

Tonight, I met my youngest daughter at our local Greek Fest for dinner as her Mother's Day gift to me. The festival starts today and runs through Sunday, but since she is going out of town tomorrow for a friend's college graduation, we met tonight. Mother's Day can be celebrated any day, can't it?


I can't believe tomorrow is Friday already! Happy weekend!


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Changes in the Sunroom

I wanted to share the changes we made to the sunroom. With the large armoire gone, I had room to move the second bookcase into the room, which helps with the knitting and craft books. Plus, I think it gives it bi of a built in look.

This is the view from the couch; it feels a lot more open to me now.

Can you see the roses through the window? Steve has planted so many around our yard and they are all gorgeous. He planted only heirlooms and most of them are really fragrant.

Hope you have a lovely and fragrant week!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Decisions and Changes

Wow. Apparently, I am addicted to baby sweaters. Despite finishing two and having two more to finish up, I am very interested in knitting this one as my next project. Or this one. Or maybe even this one. Or maybe I should try a sweater for me? No, I don't think so, unless it's a lightweight cardigan, maybe with 3/4 sleeves.

Steve and I spent the weekend moving furniture around in our house. We bought a bookcase for the living room/library and a small, white cabinet to use in the sunroom for our television. These two purchases caused us to have to move something in and out of just about every room in the house! But that's okay, I like mixing things up every now and then anyway, don't you? It gives a different energy to the same old stuff. Not that I mind old stuff, on the contrary, they are usually my favorite things. I absolutely love old dishes and linens for some reason. Steve thinks it's because I long for a simpler time, but who really knows. I also was able to sell our old entertainment armoire by putting it out on the curb with a $25 for sale sign.

Because of all this moving stuff into new places, we both have had to rearrange some of our books, which is a lot of fun for us. I find books I've forgotten about and come up with new reading priorities. I even offloaded some knitting books by using a Ravelry de-stash forum after all the reshelving. Right now I'm reading the book, The Dirty Life, which is a memoir about living the rural, farming life. It's good in that she doesn't gloss over the difficulties. I also read Mennonite in a Little Black Dress this weekend and was surprised by how thoughtful it was. Both of these books were part of my Friday afternoon thrift store haul. Between moving stuff and the reading, about the only knitting time I had was at my niece's college graduation and the time watching Sherlock on Masterpiece Theatre, but it was better than nothing. What did you do this weekend?



Saturday, May 5, 2012


I did a little thrift store shopping yesterday afternoon, before I went to my niece's graduation, and I really found some good buys. The reason I went was to find a cheap book and/or magazines to read while I was waiting, but I found much more than that.


This Kate Spade bag was $6. I'm not one to buy name brands, but made an exception for this one.

I couldn't resist the color of this vintage Pyrex dish.
This bag is heavy duty and worked really well as a book carrier (yes, I did buy books).

But the best find was this cabinet. We have been on the lookout for something like this so we could replace our monstrosity of an entertainment armoire. This one is much more suited to the scale of our sunroom. Now we have to rearrange and clean, which is a good thing.

But just now, Steve has gone to hit tennis balls and I'm going to relax on the couch and read. Happy Saturday!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Finally Finished

I finally finished sewing on the buttons. I think the button band was a little looser than it should be, which means it'll probably stretch too much, but really, it probably won't get that much wear, so it should be just fine.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

That Time of Year

The graduation announcements have started coming.  I get to attend my niece's college graduation tomorrow night, and my other niece's high school graduation next month. So nice.  So proud of them.

I gave the blue and brown baby sweater a bath last night and it is almost dry.  I've found that Yarn Harlot's advice about treating it as gently as you would the actual baby is the easiest knitting advice ever to remember.  Sewing on the buttons tonight (hopefully), then in the mail it goes.  I was digging around in my project basket and found I had another sweater done, also just waiting on buttons, plus two more that are nearly finished.  I don't remember why I cast so many on at the same time, but it will be nice to have so many finished all at once.  One of them is for a specific baby, but the other two will be held in reserve.  I think it's time to cast on for a couple of new projects, but should I cast on for the projects I've already earmarked, or should I use some of my newest yarn?  I love these types of quandries, don't you?

I am going to visit my former father-in-law in the hospital tonight, as he is having some health issues.  Melissa and I are going to go together, after getting dinner.  Steve is playing tennis; he just joined a local league and is loving it.  I wish I could still play, but all these feet issues make it impractical, if not unwise, for me to try.

School is still going great.  So great in fact, that I'm actually kind of dreading the end of the year.  Maybe it's because I may be making a change, but I think it has something to do with the kids too, as they are really a nice group.  It may also be related to the fact that we have a smaller than average number of kids this year, which allows us to really get to know them well.  Anyway, I have started clearing out my back storage room and file cabinet, so I don't have such a massive job to do in June. 

I've figured out one reason why I haven't been to the beach much:  spring flowers.  Our garden has so many lovely blooms that I've been enjoying sitting on our deck and haven't felt the need to get to the beach.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Food and Books

Must be lasagna week. I made a meatless Mexican "lasagna" Sunday night for our dinner, and last night we had vegetable lasagna. I get into a rut so quickly sometimes, but it's been quite cool lately and oven baked food sounded so good. It's supposed to warm up this week so I'll soon switch to stove top dinners and salads.

I'm not making noticable progress on knitting, although I am getting in a couple of rows done on the Hitchhiker every day. Tonight I am definitely going to finish the baby sweater so I can block it and mail it off to my cousin. I listened to Stash and Burn's latest podcast on Sunday; they are so fun to listen to and it's really interesting to me to hear them discuss some of the same issues I have about knitting and stashing yarn. Steve said it feels like we're eavesdropping on them, which is probably a compliment, don't you think?

I really need to get myself down to the beach with my chair soon, as it's been a ridiculously long time since I've made the effort. I know once I get down there, I'll kick myself for having taken so long.

I've been reading a bit too, which contributes to the reduced knitting time. I read a young adult book over the weekend, The Green Glass Sea, which is about Los Alamos and the Manhattan Project. It is going to be used in our gifted curriculum next year and I definitely enjoyed it. There are lots of ways to integrate the book with the science and historical context.

I also picked up a book of short stories, Pulse, by Julian Barnes, an author I've never read before. I enjoyed most of the stories, with the exception of a few near the end of the collection. Oh, and I read Anne Tyler's latest too, The Beginner's Goodbye, and of course loved it, as I always do. I was even lucky enough to get a signed copy from my local independent bookseller. Before knitting, I used to read voraciously, but I have really slowed down, and I'd like to get back into it before I lose what is left of my attention span. What are you reading these days?