Mary Oliver

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?"

Friday, November 29, 2013


True to my annual Thanksgiving tradition, I was sick again. I went to the doctor on Wednesday, and confirmed my suspicion that I had a kidney infection. This probably explains my exhaustion the previous weekend. He put me on sulfa medication and warned me that hospitalization would be the next option if the sulfa drugs didn't work, but as I am feeling a bit better, I am confident it won't come to that.

I overdid it on Wednesday and Thursday, and paid for it with a bout of weeping last night, but despite being tempted to go to my favorite yarn shop today, I listened to my body and have stayed put all day. Other than a nap that lasted most of the morning, I have been on the couch all day, alternately knitting and reading. Of course, Gracie has been right beside me all day. She is such a snuggle bug!

I went to my parents' house yesterday, as planned, with Stephanie and her friends from Spain,



and all the kids, except for my Meredith, came over to our house last night. The Spanish girls are just lovely and fit right in with our group.


Here are all nine of the kids, playing a game of Yahtzee, something the Spanish girls had never played.

This was taken yesterday, on our way back home, at our beach. I love the lighting in this photo, it makes the girls look even more beautiful, don't you think? This is Stephanie, and her friends from Spain.

I hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful.


Monday, November 25, 2013


Steve and I are changing things around a bit this Thanksgiving. His daughter and son-in-law are both police officers, and therefore have the least flexible schedules, so we decided to host the dinner around them this year. Normally, everyone goes to my parents' house, but as my family has gotten larger and more complicated, it has become a bit too challenging to manage that way. My parents like to eat early, and since there is some tension between my sister and my husband anyway, I finally decided to just accept that everyone will be happier if I stop trying to force a Norman Rockwell style fantasy. I'm looking forward to hosting a Thanksgiving meal for the first time and since I will still be visiting my folks earlier in the day, I'm hoping everyone will be happier this way. When I was married to my first husband, we had two Thanksgiving dinners every year, so this won't exactly be a hardship.

Stephanie and two foreign exchange students are coming home tomorrow, so I am making granola tonight, using Alana's recipe from her book, The Homemade Pantry. I made it a lot last winter, and Steve loves it. This way, the girls will have something good to snack on while we are at work. Despite being grad students, they seem to be a bit helpless when they are home.

I've been knitting some quick projects this past week. I finished a Darkside cowl, made a gorgeous Gaptastic Cowl, (I need to take a picture of me wearing it, so you can see how pretty it turned out) and I'm now working on a hat, using the Declan's Hat pattern and the Dragonfly Fibers yarn I had tried to use first in a cowl pattern. One of the lovely things about knitting is the way you can rip out and start over.

My students just finished a research paper project, and although the results are less than stellar, at least the torture is over, and we are now reading/listening to the Greek play, Antigone. I find I enjoy teaching literature a lot more than teaching writing, but it's all a part of the job, so do it I must. Anyway, the kids seem to enjoy literature more too, although who knows?

On the Gracie front, she finally sat in my lap last night! I adopted her in January, so it only took ten months. Here's a cute shot of the momentous event:

My cutie pie.

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all!


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Christmas Knitting

I got the Christmas knitting bug last week and have been going through the stash, making cowls. I finished the Darkside Cowl,

and immediately started a Wish I Was Weaving This Cowl, using some gorgeous Dragonfly Fiber yarn, but I don't like the way it looks.

I was surprised to notice that I'm on a green kick at the moment, since I rarely use that color!


Don't you hate it when you have a lovely pattern and beautiful yarn but they don't seem to work together well? Even though I'm over two-thirds done, I think I'm going to rip it out. The yarn is simply too pretty to waste on a project that makes it look meh. I think I may make a pair of hand mitts with it instead. Until I decide for sure, I'm putting it on hold. Meanwhile, I'm going to cast on for a Gap-tastic cowl, using some Malabrigo Yarn Chunky that I bought last year to make a Decibella Cowl, but never used. Since I have two colors, I plan on striping the cowl, but I can't decide if I should make two large bands of color or if I should stripe the two in smaller widths. Any opinions?


Speaking of Christmas gifting, I'm really cutting back on the spending this year too. I'm going for the thought, rather than the dollar amount. I've never really felt like I was a big spender anyway, but as my family has grown, it really added up. I've also always leaned toward giving handmade gifts, but this year I'm making sure to keep that my focus. If it's not handmade by me, then I'm trying to buy handmade, with the exception of a book or two, and a few gift cards for my nieces. I bought an ebook last year called the Family Apothecary, and it has some great recipes for bath salts and fizzy bath "bombs" in it. I plan on making a batch or two of those and hope to pair them with knit washcloths for a few people on my list. For the Starbucks gift cards, I think I'll make a couple of cute, knitted card holders as well, but I'm not going to stress about it. (Especially since I can't seem to find the pattern for them right now!)


Meanwhile, I've been enjoying the gorgeous sunrises we've been having. I took this one when I was leaving for work one day last week.

And speaking of work, I finally took some pictures of my classroom. I had to remove anything that had English content in it a few weeks ago due to SOL testing, so when I went to rehang everything, I decided to use motivational posters. This way, even if they use my room again, I don't have to go through the removal process again.

I also hung up some thrifted window toppers, to soften the industrial look, and used the parasol for a punch of color.

The only exception is this "Parts of Speech" wall.

Nothing too exciting really, but I do like to have a record of my classrooms and how they change from year to year. I really enjoy hanging seasonal flags up for a splash of color; one would think sophomores would be too old to appreciate it, but they're not. I'm fifty-three and I definitely enjoy color. And Snoopy.

Finally, a picture of Gracie, doing what she does best: keeping a close eye on me while I knit or read or watch television.

She always looks slightly peeved, doesn't she?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Actual Knitting Content. With Pictures.

School is crazy busy right now, and despite the fact that Steve and I should be finishing up some house repairs, we took a weekend trip with Stephanie to visit some family in Maryland and New Jersey this weekend. It was great fun as always, plus I got another Honey Cowl knitted up!

Steve's brother, Steve, and Jan, a lifelong friend of Steve's mom.

The latest Honey Cowl, knit with MadTosh, in the Spectrum color way.

The Darkside Cowl, using Malabrigo Rios. This is the first sixteen row repeat, very easy to knit, but without being a boring knit. I worked on it on my day off yesterday, while watching back-to-back episodes of The Barefoot Contessa.

While I can't have Ina's sweet life, I can garnish an otherwise boring meal of pigeon peas and rice with a sprinkling of scallions and a wedge of lime. I need to watch her show more often!

By the way, we actually had a few snow flurries this evening! Very exciting for our area! It's stopped now, but the wind is super blustery. Hope it's a harbinger of a snowy winter!


Sunday, November 3, 2013

Tough Times

Gratuitous fall photo:


Stephen has been working on our house, or as he so elegantly puts it, "the f***ing money pit." We need to replace our front door and storm door, but before we do that, he is painting the porch. It's a distressed brown color, as in worn away brown over concrete, and we've planned on doing something to it since we moved in five years ago, but the time got away from us. So of course, he has to prep it and prime it and then the primer has to cure for seven days, and by then it'll probably be Thanksgiving, which was my "deadline" for the door install. I'm really hoping it'll all be done by Christmas, if you want to know the truth. Last week we cleaned all the overgrown weeds and brush between our garage and our next door neighbor's house, at the next door neighbor's not-so-polite request, and now all the debris is piled up in the yard. Our place is beginning to look like what I imagine the famed Duck Dynasty folks homestead must look like, but as I have never seen the show, I'm only guessing. I helped a lot with that project, and coincidentally, my back/neck is thrown out. I started feeling twinges during the first part of the week, and by Friday morning, I couldn't ignore it any longer. I have an appointment with my neck/pain doctor on Monday, and I spent most of Saturday self medicating and trying to relax. Knitting isn't really the best thing to do at this point, so I've been doing some reading and iPad browsing. I need to grade papers but have been procrastinating like a champ.

I swear I love autumn, but it seems like I have some kind of health issue every year about this time.

To lighten the grim tone, here's yet another picture of my sweet cat, Gracie:

To close, I hope you aren't offended by this bicycle I saw outside of the ODU bookstore yesterday, but I thought it was hilarious!