Mary Oliver

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?"

Sunday, September 25, 2011

False Fall

Stephen took these gorgeous photos of some caterpillars feasting on our rue plants. I think it's interesting that they have inverse (reverse?) coloration. I have no idea what kind they are, but it's one of the benefits on no pesticide gardening, something my husband is passionate about.

It may look like fall here, but it doesn't feel like it. It's muggy and warm. I think we've had rain for the past two weeks, maybe longer. Everything is damp, inside and out, and lichens are even growing on our roof, just as if we lived in the Pacific Northwest.

But my fall cleaning continues, one weekend at a time. I've cleared out the main food cabinet, wiped it down, and it's drying out. Now it's back to the kitchen I go to put everything back. I did a quick written inventory of what we have, and plan on flipping through my cookbooks for recipes. I am so out of the habit of meal planning and cooking, that I am having trouble getting started. A friend of mine plans her meals by the month, building in a day of leftovers every week. I don't know if I can do that just yet, but I'd really love to get in the habit of planning a week ahead and doing some of the prep work on the weekend. Any suggestions?

Weekend Wrap Up

I finally finished my mom's "summer" sweater! I did the majority of it in June, then stopped working on it until the end of August. After making a list of my unfinished projects, I pulled it back out and now it's done! Even though it's a cotton sweater, I think she'll get a lot of use out of it, since I modified the pattern and made long sleeves. Now it's getting a wash, and tomorrow I'll take photos of it. (Edited to add photo. I pinned it closed, but still need to add a button loop.)

Last weekend, despite staying in my pajamas most of the time, Steve and I did a fair amount of fall cleaning; it made for a great start to the work week. This weekend, we had planned to go out of town, but things came up and we stayed home instead. Even though I had looked forward to the trip, it was probably better for my healing foot that we didn't go. So I got a lot of errands run, ate out, and saw the movie, Sarah's Key, with a friend. I thought it was a really good movie and I'm glad I saw it. That sounds like a weak recommendation, but it's a hard one for me to describe for some reason.

My plan for tomorrow is to go through our kitchen cabinets and make a menu for the week to use what we already have on hand. We got in a really bad (but fun) habit this past week and ate out almost every night. It was good timing, since it was my first full week back at work after my surgery, but it's too expensive to keep up and it's not the most healthy diet plan. But it was fun and very sweet of Stephen to be such a good sport about it.

My school year is going just great; I have another group of wonderful students, which makes life so much more enjoyable. Plus, this year I'm teaching a class of gifted students for one bell of enrichment. We're doing some really interesting things. I'll write more about that later. For now I'm going to try and go to sleep, even though my after-the-movie cup of coffee is keeping me awake. Either that or menopause, take your pick.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A Back to School Giveaway

I had fun with my little giveaway, but caffeinegirlknits is having an even bigger one. Check it out for a chance to win some really nice stuff.

I made it through my first week back at school, although I did take off Wednesday. I did a lab with my students on Thursday and Friday, and stupidly invited my administration team in to observe. Unfortunately my new principal showed up during my difficult bell and followed up with an email telling me I need to get a few of them under control. Believe me, they won't be the difficult bell for long, but it was just hubristic to invite anyone in to observe me on my fourth day of class. I'm just so used to having solid classroom management that I forgot it does take a little time to get there with new students. One positive thing that will come out of this is that when the principal does return, he will definitely see a major improvement in the students' behavior. Trust me on this.

Anyway, I spent most of yesterday in my pajamas and am hoping to do the same today. The weather is certainly cooperating, as it is in the low sixties and drizzly. Definitely a hint of fall here. And I'm almost done with my mom's "summer" sweater. Better late than never, eh?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Fun Stuff

Have you ever felt like you were spending more time thinking or reading about creativity than actually being creative?

I was browsing Brooklyn Tweed's Fall Collection of patterns and oh my, quite a few caught my eye. I love the Acadia Cardigan, the Levenwick Cardigan, the Sullivan Cardigan, and the Quinnipiac Cowl. I mean, really I love them all, but these are the three I can actually see myself making. The Perry Cardigan is great too, but I don't think it would be flattering in my current size.

I also found some pretty (and free!) patterns from Blue Sky Alpaca, like the Java Cloche, One-Cable Mitts, and the Zig-Zag Mittens and Hat.

And PurlBee never ceases to amaze me with their beautiful projects, like this baby blanket.

What patterns are making you swoon?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I Am A Seeker

I am a seeker of balance, joy, and contentment. For as long as I can remember, I have tried to find joy in everyday moments. Obviously there are days when I fail miserably, but I always keep striving.

My first guidebook to this consciousness was the Anne of Green Gables series of books. Sounds odd, but it is true. Anne, through L. M. Montgomery's writing, was an amazing influence on me.

La Leche League was another powerful resource. It was so much more than breastfeeding advice, it was a community of women. A community of women before there was the Internet. Three mantras I attribute to that wonderful organization are: "people before things, always", "take what you need, leave the rest", and "good enough is enough". Whenever I feel overwhelmed, these three concepts remind me of my priorities.

Sarah Ban Breathnach's book Simple Abundance was another amazing resource for me as well. Her book gave me concrete ways to practice gratitude at a difficult time in my life.

And now the internet has opened up even more places for me to find inspiration: SouleMama, Slow Love Life, habit, Letter to a Long Lost Friend, The Gift of an Ordinary Day; these are all blogs that remind me of what is important, that how I choose to live my life matters.

I know you have your own sources; I'd love to hear about them.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Finally, A Start

I had my first day with students today and surprisingly, I had a bad case of butterflies right before I got to school. That hasn't happened since I first started teaching, but as soon as the kids got there, all was well. They seem like a great group and I'm looking forward to getting into the rhythm of teaching again. Although my foot hurts, it's not too bad, but I'm pretty sure I'm going to take off Wednesday to make sure I don't overdo it this first week back. It's just so hard for me to stay seated; it's not my style of teaching, but I'm going to have to do it or else miss even more time, so seated it will have to be.

I did finish the baby sweater this weekend, and although the color is washed out in this photo, I'm quite pleased with how this project turned out. I felt like I took some design chances on this one by my placement of color. (I'd describe the green as celery green).
Turns out my idea of posting the multiple projects I had in my queue was actually a good motivation for me this time. So far I have finished the baby sweater, unraveled the Saroyan and Stripe Study shawls, put the thumbs in the Cane Sugar Mitts (forgot to even include them, they were so close to done), and I'm now knitting the sleeves on the sweater for my mom. (She just told me she'd prefer long sleeves, so it'll take just a bit longer, which is what I get for waiting until September to finish a sweater that was started in June!) That will leave me the purple shawl and then I plan on casting on for this or this, using some Knit Picks Tweed that I bought while on pain meds. (That's my story and I'm sticking to it!)

I'm pretty sure my posting is going to slow down a bit, now that I'm back to work. My knitting too, although I'll try and keep at it. I'd really love to get in a new routine of going to bed and getting up a bit earlier so I can knit for a bit in the morning, to see how that affects my day. Anyone do that as a meditative practice before work?

Enjoy your week!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Playing "Grandmama"

I had a lovely time yesterday at one of my favorite coffeeshop, visiting with a friend and her almost one year old son, and playing "pretend" Grandmama. That's my laughter you hear in the background of the video.

We had a lovely time playing peek-a-boo with one of the handknits I've decided to unravel, although I may change my mind and just give it to Corbin to play with instead.

Instead of knitting while I was there, I took the opportunity to unknit the Saroyan shawl and the Stripe Study Shawl. It was a good decision.

It was my first time out on my own since the surgery a week ago, and I thought it was a good time to do a trial run, since I am returning to work on Monday. It made me quite tired, which probably shouldn't have been as big of a surprise as it was, but then I often overestimate my energy level. I still think I'm in my early thirties, instead of my actual age of 51. WTH? At any rate, if I get too tired next week, I can always take a day or two off instead of working the full week. I'll just play it by ear.

Gift tag giveaway update: If the four women who participated can email me your addresses, I will get the tags in the mail. Thank you for playing, and even more importantly, thank you for reading my blog and wishing me well. Just another reason I consider myself to be a grateful and contented woman.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Contest Winners' Dilemma

I have a proposition for the four women who participated in my gift tag giveaway.

I can draw two winners as I said I would.

Or I can divide up the gift tags so that each of the four of you get three tags, instead of two of you getting six.

All have to agree or I stick to the original plan of two winners.

I hope this option doesn't offend anyone or violate blog giveaway rules.

Let me know your decision please. It's your call.

Thank you!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Island of Misfit Toys

Or The Cottage of Unfinished Knitting? Although you've been down this road before, we're going down it again, if only to help me figure out which ones are keepers and which ones are headed for the frog pond. Ready? Here we go!

This is the sweater for my mom that only needs sleeves (short ones!) and the button bands. It has sat idle for two months! Ridiculous, must finish now!

This is the Stripe Study Shawl that I started in June, planning to take it with me on my train trip adventure. Alas, I forgot the trick to the directions and am going to rip it out and start over, since I found the skein of blue yarn that I really wanted to use with the green in the first place. So my plan is to rip out and start over.

A generic malabrigo scarf. Knitting it wider than normal for me, feel like it may be shorter than I like, but I will finish it and use it as is. Probably keep it for me, but who knows? This is a mindless knit, but I'm tired of it just sitting there, so my plan is to finish and move on.Remember my Slice of Summer? Also known as Citron? And this would be last summer, by the way. I'm going to take the advice of someone and stop stressing about stitch counts. The plan is to plow through and call it a winner. Later.A completed Manta Ray shawl using some beautiful Malabrigo sock yarn. Don't like the look of this at all; apparently didn't pay attention to the finished project page on Ravelry and just blindly kept at it. Will rip this one out so I can use the lovely yarn on something else. I don't know why I didn't remember I had bought two skeins of yarn for this but panicked and made one end unequal to the other end. I had planned to just rip back to the center, but I think I'm going to redo it completely using larger needles. Love the pattern, love the yarn, but want more of a relaxed drape, like my first Saroyan. A baby hat for the gift stash. Don't know why I don't love it, will probably rip out and plan on doing something else with the yarn. Maybe use with some brown to make it less boring. Probably won't use it for a hat either.I thought this would be a really good color combo for a Turn A Square hat, a design that works really well on Steve's head. But I don't have enough of either yarn and there's something about the solid oatmeal color that I'm not happy with so this is a rip it out plan.
This is a go to washcloth that I made and left in the UFO bag by mistake. I made it with Lion Brand Cotton leftovers from the rug I made this summer. It's a broken rib pattern and extra large, so it'll go in the gift stash for a certain someone.
Another washcloth on the needles, in Peaches N Creme orange. This is a grab and go project I keep on hand when I have nothing else to work on and I'm running out the door.

Almost forgot the shawl from Laid-Back Knitters. I'm at the halfway point and this should be my grab and go project but I've left it for awhile and don't have the decrease portion memorized yet. Need to get this one going again.

And since I'm obviously short on yarn and projects, I'm dreaming about this. Wishful thinking, this year anyway. Better to stay home and finish what I've got, don't you think?

Sadly, there are a few more projects stashed about the house, but they've been ignored for so long they may never see the light of day again.

Have a great weekend and don't forget about the giveaway!!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Sharing the Joy: A Giveaway!

I'd like to do a small giveaway, as a way of passing on some of the gratitude I've felt over the past week or so. Blog friends who have wished me well, as well as friends and family who have been to see me or called or sent me a card, have really filled me with a sense of well being, and I'd like to share some of that with you.

I have two sets of Kniterella's Humor gift tags that I'd love to give away, six tags per set. Just leave a comment requesting to be entered in the drawing by noon on Friday, September 9, and I will draw two names and mail them out to the winners by Saturday.

Specify whether you prefer Set 1,

or Set 2.

Happy Wednesday!!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Feeling Lucky!

While I was down, but not out, I won a beautiful print from Lene, over at The Seated View! Pretty cool, huh?

I forgot that knitting while taking pain meds is not usually a good idea; consequently, the start I made on a baby sweater ended up being ripped back. Not a big loss, really, as I hadn't gotten very far. Now instead of striping the sweater, I've decided to do a sort of color block thing. Mere titled it Greensleeves, and as soon as I make enough progress on it, I'll post a photo. Another thing that's kind of cool is how quickly a six month size knits up. Then I promise myself that I'm going to finish something from the unfinished projects bag. Anything. That shouldn't be a hard task, but as I've already had some clarity problems, I'm a little hesitant to mess anything else up.

Today is the first day of school, in that the students show up today. It's going to be so weird to be out of the loop the first week of school, but I'm sure I'll feel a part of it all quickly enough. One of the things I'm going to try next week with my gifted SOL Prep class is going to be the Six-Word Memoir project. I think the students will find those interesting. I'll have to try one of my own too, to make it a more authentic assignment, but I'll have to wait until my brain unfogs itself. Or maybe do one fogged/drugged and one unfogged? Want to bet which one will be funnier?

I go back to the doctor today for my post op appointment and my first look at the incision. I think I'm doing really well, just feeling a little pain. I'm hoping to enjoy the remainder of this week, resting up, reading, and knitting. And thinking about how I'll look back on this in a couple of weeks, wishing I was back on the couch with no responsibilities and . . . . . .

Sunday, September 4, 2011


I am so grateful to my family and friends, but also for kind people that are everywhere, if only we take the time to notice.

My foot is doing quite well; I had to call the doctor this morning to get permission to cut a too tight bandage, but other than that, things are going very smoothly. I've begun cutting back on the dosage of pain medicine just a bit, and as a result, my mind is a little less muddled. I slept better last night than the night before, and I'm sure that's helping also.

My mom and dad have been spoiling me, bringing food over and hanging out with me to help pass the time. Even my sister and niece came over last night to dote on me. I may have withdrawal pains from all the attention I'm currently getting, haha.

I have lots of knitting projects that need finished up, and by finished up, I mean some of them need unraveling and reknitting. So of course that means I started something new. A baby sweater for a friend's soon-to-arrive grandson. I'm using some blue and green Mission Falls 136 superwash marino that I bought awhile back with just this project in mind.

The odd blue tint to the photo comes from having the sunroom curtains closed.

Now I'm off for little nap. Thanks for all your good wishes and thoughts! I am truly grateful.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Quick Check In

I came through the surgery wonderfully. The doctor said everything was perfect, small incision, only one screw needed, best scenario. Steve is waiting on me hand and foot (pun intended) and I'm feeling really well. Thank you to everyone who checked on me and/or helped me out yesterday and today.