Mary Oliver

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?"

Friday, September 30, 2016

Finding My Way Again

My week at school was going fairly well until Thursday; I had to attend a meeting about teacher observations and for some reason, I found myself having a panic attack about it. Now, understand that I'm in my 20th year of teaching and have been observed countless times, and other than my first year of nervousness, I've handled observations just fine. In fact, I have always welcomed and often invited administrators into my classroom over the years, but for some reason this year I'm dreading it. I'm sure the fact that I'm going through a divorce isn't helping, but it still took me by surprise. By Thursday evening, when I met my knit group, I was in tears, so I decided that I needed some mental health time on Friday. I love my first block, and my second block is my planning time, so I put in for a half day, to avoid my difficult blocks for a day. Most of my third block was coming in as I was leaving, and oddly enough, they seemed disappointed that I wouldn't be there.

It was a great decision. I went to the library and browsed, then went to a coffee shop for tea, graded a set of papers, and did some long range lesson planning. I was able to meet up with Melissa at another coffee shop after she got off work to chat and knit, then came home and cleared out some trash from the garage. The rest of this evening has been spent sitting on the couch and reading. I feel so relaxed and am looking forward to doing some work in my house this weekend. My parents are coming over tomorrow for some homemade apple pie and I'm also hoping to take a walk on the beach. I guess my point is that I'm taking care of myself.

My shawl is coming along nicely. I've stopped following the pattern and am just switching between lace and garter whenever I feel like it.


Oh, and I did manage to get to BaaBaa Sheep, my local yarn shop, on Tuesday afternoon for an Anzula trunk show, and used a gift certificate to buy a beautiful skein of worsted weight yarn. The color is called Persimmon, a perfect autumnal name. I'm thinking a pair of hand mitts would be wonderful with this, what do you think?

I caught Gracie looking out of the kitchen window one morning as I was getting ready for work. She looked very intent on something.

This photo looks like she's winking, but it's because her eye gets weepy sometimes, especially early in the morning.

I swear she looks like she's smiling in this picture.

This last one was taken just now, in her favorite location: right beside my pajama-clad knee, on the arm of the couch, while I was reading.

She's such a love bug. Hope you all have a lovely weekend. And do something nice for yourself. You deserve it.


Sunday, September 25, 2016

A Fine Saturday

I first heard about the Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival last year, but wasn't able to go, so I decided I would attend this year, if at all possible. Well, my life changed a bit this summer, and I wasn't sure whether I'd go or not, as no one was able to make the four hour trip with me. I was still waffling about it Friday night, but when I woke up at 6:00 a.m. Saturday morning after a great night's sleep, I took the leap and hit the road. And I'm so glad I did. I didn't buy a single thing, mainly because I'll be in Rhinebeck in three weeks, but it was lovely wandering through all of the booths by myself.

I love this license plate; one of the cool things at fiber fests is the collection of knitting/spinning related personal plates. I really should spend more time in the parking lot photographing them all.

The festival was held in the small town of Berryville, way out in the northwest corner of the state. I spent a little time walking on Main Street, but didn't take as many photos as I usually do.

I passed through a lot of small towns on Route 17 as I headed home, and I stopped at a few that caught my eye, like this old mill in the town appropriately named Millwood.

I also stopped at a pick-your-own apple orchard, as this area of the state is a big apple producer.


I only picked one peck, but it's a variety of Winesap, Honey Crisp, Red and Yellow Delicious, and Gala. I plan to make a pie or two, eat some plain, and maybe a cobbler.

I also stopped in Warrenton to have tea, knit, and walk around a bit, just enjoying the moment and the hint of fall in the air.

The main reason I needed to take this trip was to remind myself that I can do these types of things on my own. It's not like I've never done things alone, because I have, but somehow it's a bit different when there's no one to come home to. The last couple of Sundays have been difficult for me, and I think it's because I've stayed at home by myself too much lately. My eyes needed to see new places and I am so pleased with how I spent my day. I spent time and energy taking care of myself and I feel so much better for having done so.

Although I do have Gracie, don't I? Sweet Grace.


Thursday, September 22, 2016


My 5th year teaching high school started off a bit rocky, but given that my personal life is in a state of flux, I guess I shouldn't have been surprised. I hope things settle down soon; I've spent a couple of afternoons making parent calls, both positive and negative, and that usually helps.

Meanwhile, I've cleared out some clutter and dropped a load off at the thrift store after work on Monday, last week. I need to gather up another load or two. I really want to finish setting up my yarn room, but every time I try, I get overwhelmed and wander off. I did get the newly painted bookcase in there though, so I am making progress.



I'm almost finished with my Antartik shawl, knit mostly while watching all of the Father Brown series, followed by the HBO mini-series, John Adams. I'm glad I watched it but I almost gave up as it went on and on and on.

I've actually started a second Antartik shawl, using a gorgeous skein of Periwinkle Sheep yarn called A Crack in the Sidewalk. Not sure why I started the second one since I have so many projects already in progress, like the beautiful Guernsey Wrap, but there you go. Such is the knitting life.

We have had some crazy rain and flooding this week, so much so that the area schools shut down yesterday!


I'd like to say I accomplished a lot with my free day, but in truth, all I did was take a nap, and then spend the remainder of the day reading. Lovely. I think I needed the rest, since I spent the entire weekend doing some major cleaning. I like how it's coming together.




Anyway, I'm doing so much better as time goes on, despite a hiccup here and there. Time heals, just like we always say. And of course, Gracie is helping.


Saturday, September 10, 2016

Week One

The sky was so beautiful Thursday night, I took a picture from the grocery store parking lot.

I spent Labor Day at a beach club in Hampton with some friends, before starting school on Tuesday.



I finally started painting the bookcase I had planned to do all summer. I saw something similar on Pinterest and loved it, and so far, it's going well. I think I'm going to use it in one of my craft rooms, but I may change my mind and put it in the kitchen if it turns out well enough.


Gracie is doing her usual routine of sleeping and looking pretty.

Her eyes look beautiful in this photo.


My first week was awfully tough, unusually so, but the good news is that it will have to improve, right? Fingers crossed.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Weekend Plans

I am so glad it's the weekend; I think I worked at least 15 hours "overtime" this week in order to make up for the15 hours of time spent in meetings. I finally left at 7:30 Friday night, but be assured, I brought some work home to make sure I'm well prepared for Tuesday. I forgot to take pictures of my room, so I'll have to wait until Tuesday to do it. Normally, the building would be opened for 4-6 hours on Labor Day weekend, to allow teachers to finish up whatever they needed, but not this year. Our building is a designated emergency shelter and the city decided the expected flooding from Tropical Storm Hermine warranted putting it to use. I would have thought that would have allowed us more access, but apparently not. Just as well though, because this meant I had to wrap it up today and I'll be forced to stay in my pajamas, while knitting and watching some British tv instead. As I'm writing this, I can hear the wind and rain lashing against the windows.

If I feel the urge to be productive this weekend, I'll have plenty to keep me busy. I haven't touched either of my spare rooms for over a week, and they are a disaster. But at least the living room is in decent shape. I need a lampshade for the lamp on the table, but either it's an unusual size or else I have no talent for choosing the correct shade. I've bought at least two a couple of years ago before I gave up; I saved the lamp because I love the colors, so I'll have to try again soon.

The china cabinet has never looked so neat. I tried to be thoughtful about my arrangement and I'm pretty pleased.

I need something in this corner, perhaps a large plant? Maybe colorful curtains? Not sure just yet.

The large bookcase needs some decluttering, especially the top, but again, not my most pressing priority. The stuff on the floor is destined for the thrift store, but I'm waiting until the rain stops before schlepping it out.


As you can see, Gracie is exhausted from all this activity. I took this picture of her on Friday morning, as I was getting ready to go to work. Apparently, she needed a little more snooze time. Lucky girl. But that will be me this weekend, so lucky me as well!

Edited to add: You may need to click on the photos to see the entire image; they are cropped on my iPad so not sure what you're seeing.