Mary Oliver

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?"

Sunday, January 30, 2011

If It's Sunday....

it must be Masterpiece Theatre night! Sad to see the last episode of Downton Abbey, but glad they're filming a second season!!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Sunny Saturday

It's a beautiful morning; there was fog off the Bay when I first got up, but it's cleared off and now the sun is shining, despite the cold temperatures.

I was reminded by Make It Do's post on laundry to look for joy and simplicity in the everyday-ness of our lives, so I slowed down when I did the dishes this morning, and took time to enjoy the experience of washing my thrifted plates with my handknit dishcloth. Which led to deciding that I needed to knit a new one, in a cheerful, spring-like color. I picked a cerise green out of my cotton yarn basket.

Also on my list is a baby boy sweater for my friend at work whose baby is due the first of May. I am going to use some Knit Picks cotton yarn I bought awhile back; I have one skein of cream and one of light brown/tan, so I'm going to make a striped cardigan from the More Last Minute Knitted Gifts book.

In addition, I have some secret knitting for the girls' Valentine gifts, but since they read my blog, I'll have to wait to share those projects.

I'm not doing well on my diet; I've gained since Christmas and can't seem to get back on the wagon for more than a day or two at a time. This is especially frustrating because my stepdaughter's wedding is in March and I'd hoped to look really trim and fit. What's my problem? I wish I knew.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Oh Happy Day!

We had a teacher workday today and thanks to putting in some extra hours after school a couple of day this week, I was able to leave just after noon. Driving home in the daylight made a nice change of pace. Plus it means I was able to take some photos in natural light for a change.

Thanks to Leslie's blog post on hearts, I bought this book:

I thought I owned it already, but when I realized I didn't, I decided to gift myself with it.

And thanks to barefoot rooster, I'm thinking about making this lasagna this weekend.

I finished up the pink scarf. Don't you just love the effect of the kidsilk haze?

And for some reason, I hadn't taken a photo of the Thermis Cowl I made using Quince & Co.'s Lark yarn. I only had one skein of it, so I reduced the number of ribbing rows; kind of wish I had made it smaller diameter-wise instead, because it's a little too big and a little too short this way. But it is certainly nice and soft. The color isn't true, as this is actually much closer to a navy blue.

Now I have a weighty decision to make: nap or knit? Which one first?

Have a happy weekend!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I must be butter.....

. . .cause I'm on a roll. That's a lame line my sister says that always makes me laugh.

After visiting the endodontist Monday after work, I think the problems I've been having with my teeth are nearly fixed. My mouth is starting to feel normal after a month of aggravation. A few more trips to the dentist should finish it all up. Oddly enough, I feel like my worst fears about my teeth have been realized with all of this, so now there's nothing left to worry about, dental-wise.

Thanks to all the rest I had this past weekend, I've been crazy productive at work this week; cleaning out the storage room that's part of my classroom, enrolling for the second course for my gifted education endorsement, applying for the Virginia Department of Education's Standards Committee, giving midterm exams, wrapping up the end of term grading, and planning an inservice presentation. Tomorrow is an early release day for the students, who then get a four day weekend, while I have a workday on Friday and an inservice day on Monday. No matter, the end of a grading period is always a good time to plan a fresh start and I'm making the best of it.

As for knitting, I'm at 50 inches on the scarf for my mom's birthday gift, which is a full week and a half away, so that's a done deal. I've frogged a project or two and put the yarn back in the stash, and I'm working on another pair of socks that I started awhile back. I have a couple of project ideas simmering in my mind, but I'm almost at an overload point, so I think I need to put them all down on paper (or on the blog) so I can prioritize. I even went to a knit night last night at my local yarn store. The women were really nice but I couldn't help but wonder why I was sitting on a folding chair knitting instead of in my pajamas on my couch. How about you? What's your take on knitting groups?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Weekend Edition

In addition to spending a lot of time in my pajamas, sleeping late, taking naps, and knitting, I tried something new this weekend. I used my Fast Vegetarian Feasts cookbook to make up a few soups for the upcoming week. I made a batch of split pea and rice soup and garlic and celery soup, and now I have three quarts of each ready to heat up for dinners this week. Plus I still have leftovers from the dish I made for Saturday night's dinner, a potato and eggplant casserole (sounds weird but tasted good).

I watched the third episode of Downton Abbey tonight; still enjoying it. I saw the first episode, but missed the second one due to the Golden Globes. I love Masterpiece Theatre.

Now it's off to bed. After knitting a few more rows of the birthday scarf.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Yarny Goodness

So far the weekend is going quite well. I went out this morning and bought some yarn to make a scarf for my mom's birthday. I made her two scarves about three or four years ago but since she never wore them, I hadn't made her anymore. The cold snap we've had since December however, has finally turned her into a scarf wearer, so I want to make her a cheery pink one. This is two skeins of Cascade Yarns Pastaza and one skein of Kidsilk Haze that I plan to make into a k1, p1 scarf with a ruffle at both ends. The best part is I had filled up one of those frequent customer cards, so I had a $10 credit! I think she'll like it, although she'll probably also tell me not to make any more for her. Cause that's my mom.

I had to check in with the endodontist again this past Wednesday, which gave me the afternoon off. I'd been wanting to go through my yarn baskets and tidy up for quite some time and Wednesday turned out to be the perfect day to do it.

I gathered all of my yarn and started sorting, taking breaks every so often to think about how I wanted to organize it all. It was a bit daunting to see all the yarn that way, but it was nice to find some skeins I had forgotten about.

I ended up with most of it sorted by color, just like my last big organizing spree. The funniest part was when Stephen came home, saw the floor still covered with yarn, and laughingly told me that it looked like a kid's toys strewn all over. Which it was; the yarn definitely qualifies as my toys!
Here's my latest thrift store basket, filled with lots of jewel tone yarns that just look good together.This one is obviously the baby yarns, destined for lots of newborn caps.
My Lantern Moon Seagrass Basket Tower; still one of my most favorite gifts from Stephen. (As soon as I typed that I thought of ten more gifts he's given me that I love. He's a really great gift-giver.)And here's the top basket of my thrift store basket tower, filled with yarn still in the skein. (See that skein of Shelter yarn? Saving it for something special, but not sure what just yet.)

I've been reading knitting books in bed since then, and thinking about knitting a lot, even more than usual. And I've finished a few more small projects, like a Noro scarf, color numbers unknown, and the sweetest little baby cap from One Skein, also from an unknown skein of yarn.

Now I have a pot of Split Pea and Brown Rice Soup, from Fast Vegetarian Feasts, simmering on the stove, and I'm headed for the couch to finish up a sock for Stephen. Did I mention I'm back in my jammies? Loving this weekend.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Weekend Plans

It's Friday night and I've already taken my bath and gotten in my pajamas. I don't have anything I have to do this weekend, so I've decided to play with yarn. I'll let you know how it goes.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

At Sixes and Sevens

Where does that phrase come from? Is it a British saying? Regardless of the origin, it describes my feelings about this week. Missing my friend, the girls back at school, more teeth trouble, going through the days in a kind of fog that has matched the grey weather we're having. I know I'll be back to normal soon, but for now, I'm just kind of trudging through the days. I must have started half a dozen posts that seemed pointless. Even this one is fairly incoherent I think.


Knitting has helped. Making lots of little baby hats for gifting, reorganizing the yarn baskets and clearing out a few skeins was therapeutic.

Talking to my daughters has helped. My students' hugs and humor have helped.

By the way, Twist Collective's February Finish Fest sounds like a good idea, especially since I've already started finishing some long neglected projects. Hopefully the weather will be nice enough to take some photographs this weekend.

Sunday, January 16, 2011


My friend, Brenda, died Friday afternoon.

She was my mentor throughout so many changes, both good and bad, in my life and was loved by so many people.

She battled lung cancer for just over a year, and will be greatly missed.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Knitting & Other Things

I can't believe I forgot to show this finished object as soon as Christmas was over! It's the Brea Bag, by Berroco, and I made it for Melissa. I actually started this four or five years ago when Melissa picked the pattern out. A year went by before we bought the yarn and another before I started it. I'm not positive, but it may have been my first attempt at cabling; I do remember it seemed like the most challenging pattern I'd ever seen, let alone attempted. I could have finished it a long time ago, but it took my brain awhile to recognize that I actually did possess the necessary skills to complete this project. Now we're on the hunt for either a thrift store bag with a great shoulder strap we can use, or a really classy leather belt we can re-purpose. So I guess it's still not technically finished, but at least the knitting and sewing up part is done!

I did a "lab" with my students on Monday, that was a carryover from my Lab Friday. It's really more of an activity but we call them labs. They had to use beads and clue cards to form compound models.

And who are these big kids in the back of the room? Why, they're Stef and Melissa, my college girls home from break. I had invited them to come in and hang out with my AVID students and I got them participating in the lab together. Cute, huh?

They also did a little ten minute question and answer period with the kids about college life, which was very nice of them. My students really enjoyed it, and of course, so did I.
As for the continuing saga of my dental adventures, I had a temporary filling put in and as far as I know, my next appointment with doom is a week from Monday. Fingers crossed.

I Didn't Mean It

When I said I had reached the acceptance stage, I didn't mean I wanted more problems. But apparently I have really pissed off the universe.

First thing this morning, a chunk of molar on the right side of my mouth broke off. It's back to the dentist as soon as they can fit me in. I'll probably get some kind of plaque for this. (ha, ha, get it?)

But 2011?
I don't think we're going to be friends.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Okay, so apparently 2011 is going to be the Year of the Teeth for me. I went for my second root canal yesterday, having had the first one done the week before Christmas. He found a cracked filling in the third tooth in that area, so I'm going to the dentist today to have that repaired. The endodontist said that may take care of the problem and I might not need the third root canal done after all, but the way my luck is going, I'm not wildly hopeful. As a matter of fact, I realize I've actually reached the stage of acceptance. The bottom line is that I'm lucky to be able to afford to have my teeth fixed. (Not that I have the money, per se, but I do have the income to pay the money back, which is close enough.)

Anyway, I also seem to have made the transition into accepting the myriad of my other pesky health ailments; these, too, shall pass.

On to knitting! And writing my journal pages! The writing does seem to free up some psychological space; when I got to work yesterday, I took care of lots of little loose ends, which made me feel much more organized and in control.

I finished Laura's first sock, which was a rather quick knit. Knitting for a small foot is very different than what I'm used to doing. If you look closely, you can see a line of stockinette in the middle of the foot portion. Should have ripped it back, but I'm holding off until she tries it on. I saw on Ravelry that some people switch to stockinette for the bottom of the foot, and some don't. Can you tell I couldn't make up my mind? Let's call it a design element, shall we?

I also finished up the knitting portion of the PDA case; it doesn't look like much but a picture's a picture. At least it shows off the Noro colorations. Now for seaming and felting. And embellishing!

Off to the dentist for me! And more knitting. Have a happy day!

Monday, January 10, 2011

New Day

Despite continued (continual?) minor but aggravating health issues (once my immune system gets compromised, the problems usually multiply exponentially), I have a more positive attitude this morning. I have written my daily pages, per Julia Cameron, two days in a row now, which I'm counting as success. And the lovely, encouraging comments were helpful as well, thank you!

I also am making good progress on the UVA sock, using PurlBee's Fishnet Anklets pattern and finding it interesting and quick. Not sure if the lace pattern will be comfortable on the bottom of the foot, but when I tried stockinette, it looked too small. Not sweating it though; I can always rip back!
In addition, I've started a PDA case from AlterKnits, one of my favorite browsing books; it's like a coffee table knitting book in my opinion, with gorgeous photos of artistic looking people and projects, with creativity exercises throughout the pages. I may even try my hand at needle felting or at the very least, embellishing it in some way!
Back to the root canal doctor this afternoon. Hope your day is a good one!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Intentions, Part Two

Feeling like a failure this week, which makes me cranky and oh, so much fun to be around! I wanted to start my creativity intention by following Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way, but didn't. I was supposed to get back on Weight Watcher's to both lose the seven pounds I put back on, and finish losing the rest of the weight I set as my goal. Didn't. I was supposed to focus on being kinder. Didn't. Now it's Saturday and I am beating myself up, not the best way to improve one's mood.

But I did spend a little time this morning at my favorite coffee shop thinking about this essay again, which led me to think some more about what I want to accomplish this year. And reading this post led me to this post, which led to adding another intention to my list. In addition to being kinder and focusing more on my creativity, I want to walk more, eat less, spend less, and have fewer possessions. I'm thinking they are all related somehow.

And we got a brief snow shower this afternoon, so I took a couple of videos of it. Unfortunately, I forgot that my camera records sound, so you can hear my voice as I'm talking on the phone to my mom.

You can tell by my fascination with the snow that we don't usually get a lot of it around here. But this winter? Pretty cool.

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Longest Week

The first week back at school after Christmas break is always tough, but this felt like the longest week of my life. Two fights in the cafeteria didn't help much. Thank goodness the week is over though. I ended up taking a sick day on Wednesday and spent much of it sleeping; I'm still not completely over the virus, but it is on its way out. The root canal tooth is aching a little again, but the endodontist appointment is Monday, so hopefully that will finish it up.

Anyway, this week has kicked my intentions out the window for now. I've been less than kind and as for the creativity, not so much going on there either. The bright spot was Jane's post that linked to this and this, both of which are exactly what I needed to read today! Thank you, Jane!

Monday, January 3, 2011


A nasty cold-type virus was not the way I planned to start 2011, but that's the way it goes sometimes. It hit me on New Year's Eve and pinned me to the couch. I got well enough to go back to work today, so at least it was a short term thing. The other upside was that Steve rented the fourth season of Bones for me, so to repay him, I knit him a pair of socks, per his request. (He had asked for them right before I got sick.) This was the fastest pair of socks I ever knit! He's pretty happy about them.

As for my New Year's intentions, I had planned to write a very thoughtful post outlining and explaining my plans for this year, but since the cold muddled my brain and my schedule, here's the gist of it: I want to be kinder and I want to increase my creativity. I hope to expand on these two intentions soon, but in the interest of time, I thought I'd go on and put them out there now.

Happy New Year, only three days late!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year

Happy New Year! I got up before sunrise this morning, saw the beautiful sliver of moon and the planet (Venus?) just above it.

Thinking about intentions, but this cold virus has slammed me, so I'm not thinking too clearly, and will have to write more about those later.

Missing my girls, wishing they still lived here.

Hoping 2011 is a very good year.