Saturday, November 24, 2007

I started cataloging my yarn onto Ravelry. The first bin down was mainly fun fur and acrylics.

Our dog had to be banned from the room because he kept stealing balls of yarn. Being banned made him very sad but not reformed.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

I can keep moving every day from home to work and back, filling all my hours with actions and thoughts of keeping the family working, alive, fed, schooled, clean. Most nights I can fall into bed so exhausted that I have no thoughts other than the lovely feel of the sheets and the weight of the blanket. But sometimes I stop. There is blank time or a blank mind. Or even worse because I haven't dealt with my feelings and personal thoughts for quite a while they pop out while I'm doing the routine things.

Today was one of those days. In trying to make a quiet thankful place for myself I had to feel. Tomorrow is our wedding anniversary. This is the first time I've ever been away from him on this day. Last year at this time he was home and I had hope. Hope for our relationship, hope for him, hope for our family as a single unit. I don't have that kind of hope today. I have hope that the kids and I can forge something stable. I have no expectations that my husband will ever integrate with us or work with me to co-parent, even from separate homes.

At church they remember our birthdays and baptism or wedding anniversaries in the epistle (announcements and calendar) and with prayer on that day or week. Our anniversary had been removed or forgotten. I didn't ask for that to happen. I'm not sure what I would have done if I had been called on to come to the font for a blessing but I was also shocked and grieved to have it left out. I wasn't happy either way.

Tonight before she went to bed my 15 year old told me she felt alone and it was all I could do not to crumble into a weeping mound. I was able to tell her I understood to some extent and I often feel the same way.

I'm not looking forward to tomorrow. Shoot, I'm not looking forward to the next week or month but tomorrow is a black well.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I heard on the news today (good grief it must have been a slow news day) that Oprah had released her 2007 list of Favorite Things.

Here are my current favorites. Enjoy!

Favorite Facial Cleanser:
Burt's Bees Orange Essence Facial Cleanser This cleanser works for me because my skin is weirdly normal but if I mess with it reacts with excessive oiliness AND dry patches. Back in the day I couldn't wait to be old enough to use Noxema and then it burned several layers off my face and a few hours later oil was dripping off my forehead. With the orange cleanser, I get clean and moisturized without trauma. A couple of years ago I got contact dermatitis on my underarms (ouch) and I found that after I washed my face in the shower if I used the leftovers on my hands for my underarms, the rash got better. YMMV. I have also often used and keep in the house Burt's Bees lip balm and Farmer's Friend (I've used it on hands, feet, face, lips, and baby bottoms).

Favorite National Parks: I have to do two because the National Mall is considered a park. Pisgah National Park is a great place to hike and camp and holds the absolutely exhilarating Sliding Rock. Large sections of DC including the Smithsonian museums, the Arboretum, the Memorials, and the C&O Canal.

Favorite Charity: Heifer International for the practicality of the method and needs met. Plus I just get all happy thinking of people receiving bunnies, sheep, or bees to sustain their families and communities.

Favorite Blog: Making Light is wonderful! I knew almost nothing about publishing when I first started reading ML and now I know a little more, and it is interesting, but really the comments and sidebars and articles are varied and silly and intelligent and ummmm arete.

Favorite Kitchen Appliances: Our KitchenAid Mixer which was an expensive engagment gift but has worked without problems for 18 years. I've used it weekly to knead our bread and pizza dough since I started having problems with my hands. I've made sweet high meringues, sticky marshmallows, cookie doughs of all sorts, and to many sauces to name. My few accessories for it include a dough hook, paddle, whisk, and splash guard. Ok, I own the splash guard but I haven't seen it since last year; it is here somewhere. It wipes down easily and the accessories always come clean in the dishwasher. I also love my OXO can opener; even my kids can open tomato sauce or tunafish cans with it.

Favorite Dancing Around the House Music: It does depend on my mood but lately there is a lot of Michael Franti and Spearhead - catchy music, singable, and good messages. Visiting 3 year olds left singing "All the funky people make the beauty of the world". Also getting a lot of play time are Me First and the GimmeGimmes because what can beat a punk cover of Delta Dawn (lots of their other stuff sui the answer).

Desperation Music: When I'm feeling like a taint bit of wallowing in my despair and grief, Ray Lamontagne keeps me company.

Favorite Fruit: Right now I'm luxuriating in the beauty and flavour of pomegranates. Today I introduced my class to pomegranates and persimmons. There were gasps of awe when I cut the persimmon in half and the internal patterning was revealed. More gasps welcomed the first glimpses of the jewel like pomegranate seeds. I've never followed the advice of the linked website and so my hands are generally stained during this season.

Favorite Longlasting Dog Toy: Our dog LOVES Tuffies and our toy has lasted for more than a month through daily heavy duty play.

Favorite Entertainment Systems: Netflix, Public Libraries, and 96 Crayons with a couple of Bellerophon colouring books.

Favorite Fast Food: Pollo Rico if not this exact one then one like it - a hole in the wall with delicious and fragrant rotisserie chicken sandwiches and yuca fries.

Monday, November 19, 2007

A whirlwind of a weekend. Genetics are funny; all three of my children are extroverts but my husband and I are introverts. We would be happy spending the weekend with one other person or largely alone and visit with friends or family once or twice a month but the kids like to see other people ALL the time, pretty much.

Friday was another tough teaching day. Friday night was our regular pizza and movie (most recent episode of Survivor and Project Runway). Saturday morning we raced out to Kolhl's around 7:30 so the girls could look at and try on some clothes they saw online; nothing was bought. Then we went into town for our parish reconciliation day. IMO, lots of people needing reconciliation did not show up. LOL! but some of us did and we needed it as well. The process was a little vague for me; I really like a set of discrete steps and while the plan was to have three sets of reading interspersed with mediations and then speakingof things we heard or thought of from the reading followed by eucharist the reading/mediation/talking parts got smooshed together. Father M. who ran the day had a stream of consciousness method of reading and explaining the scripture readings and I found it hard to concentrate. I suppose I really wanted more meditation time. HOWEVER, I thought several times throughout themorning how grateful I was to have this open process rather than a leader who would say

It is 9:30, we will do A, B, C and you will have reached reconciliation by 12:30. Hey, it's almost 12, get with the program and reconcile already. there, you are done.

Instead Father M told us that reconciliation is a gift from God and we will each reach it in our own time and way. We must each personally be open and prepared. In each of us guilt and hurt are mingled and we cannot just decide that we will forgive or be forgiven unless we are at the right place and that will take time. The time will be different for different people and we may be ready to forgive before the other people are ready to ask for it or to apologize and that is ok. It is our own process that is important NOT where other people are and how they are doing (other than that we care in a community way and wish to pray for and help others as we can). Reading the scriptures, prayer, and mediation are parts of readying ourselves as is talking in the community.

Anyway, it wasn't what I would have chosen but it worked for me.

We were home for a few hours and then spent the evening with friends talking, laughing, and hugging their children and mine.

On Sunday we went to church where the children sang in the youth choir and they were BEAUTIFUL! They all sang out clearly and with confidence. There was a nice feast prepared by the choir and then we went to a joint merger meeting from 1-3. I managed to stop for groceries on the way home. I was tired when I got home and even more tired when I realized I hadn't made the week's bread, done the laundry, swept or washed the floors, or done any knitting. It took until very late but I got most of the bread made, the laundry done, and I vacuumed the floors.

I also finished the Unoriginal hat (a little small for me but it fits the kids well) and started on a headband. Most of my sisters and both my daughters have long hair so I thought headbands would make nice stocking stuffers for Christmas.

Tomorrow: the Thanksgiving plan.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Don't mind me! Turns out I was using the wrong needles. REALLY wrong needles. I've frogged and will start again on the weekend.

The good news is that I managed to remember that it was Thursday all day long. I got everyone to therapy on time and home again and I made it to the vestry meeting on time. Saturday is my next checkpoint; there is a reconciliation meeting and some shopping has been planned by the kids.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

As a break from the pink hoodie (my eyes are burning and my thumb tendons ache) I cast on for the Unoriginal Hat from Yarn Harlot. Then I frogged it and cast on again on larger needles, twice. It is now on size 10 needles and it still looks tiny. It looks like it would be a lovely cuff for a sweater for me. Well, maybe a little big for a cuff. Also a little out of focus in this shot.
The colour is actually gentler than the photo suggests.
On the substitute teacher front - one of 2nd graders called me Home Skillet. That is so....10 years ago, maybe even older. The same child shared something surprising about himself...he can take down an 18 year old. I suspect he has an 18 year old sibling who indulges him. OTOH, I'm not going to tempt him to take down a 40something; I might not be able to get up.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Ravelry called!

Oh, I could spend hours and hours just grazing and I have.

In other knitting news, I finally finished my I Love Gansey socks. The yarn is Socka 6-fach Color in color 9518 lot # 35341. I like the cables but the hearts don't show up well in this colourway. The yarn split easily and seemed to come unspun as I knitted it. However, the yarn knitted up beautifully and the socks feel wonderful, just slightly huggy not too tight or too loose. It's a 62 stitch pattern after the cuff which is smaller than I usually use. I used about 2.5 skeins at 125 m per skein.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

I'm still knitting. I'm still working on my I Love Gansey socks. (grumble) I do love them! I love the big cables and the small cables. I do not love the yarn (Socka) but it is comfortable. I am not loving the size 2 bamboo needles which are already starting to splinter. I do not love how long these socks are taking and I want to wear them NOW, TODAY, maybe tomorrow. (sigh) I'm on the plain part of the foot heading towards the toes.

The knitting is slow going because I get no time at school to knit. This is not one of those classrooms where the substitute sets out the rules, starts the work plans into motion, and then sits back using her Teacher Gaze pat. pend. to keep the order. No, this is definitely not that kind of class. This is a classroom where the rules are gone over and over and over and consequences are named and carried out but there is need for constant vigilance. I have never seen a Montessori classroom with such misuse of materials and disrespect to peers, materials, and teacher. It does make me feel inadequate, lacking something. I have called in help. I have seen veteran teachers and administrators of 35 years with their mouths agape and their lessons brought to a halt by a series of plucking hands and talking mouths. I'm glad it wasn't just me.

It's not that I planned on knitting during classtime - though it has happened before - it's that during my 30 minute lunch I generally lose 5-10 minutes to dealing with problems in the hallway from my class and the entire planning period is spent checking work plans and dealing with the administrative detail of getting help for those who need supplemental oversight and school authority feedback to students and parents about discipline issues. As a substitute, the county prefers that I not interact too much with parents and that I get school ok for any discipline related actions. Today I Tomato Staked a few kids; I kept them right by my side, in my sight, and within reach the whole day. It helped. The problem is that out of nine 1st graders five need serious educational support.

I was excited this morning because it was Thursday but sometimes before 11am I forgot it was Thursday and I missed 2 meetings and a very inportant Vestry meeting. I was also suppposed to take a dessert for the vestry dinner (I volunteered and was looking forward to it). I'm lucky I remembered to go to family therapy.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Today I had to report for jury duty. This is only the second time I've been called for jury duty in the 27 years since I registered to vote. The last time (also my first ever time) was also in this county and State about 10 years ago. Last time I was in several jury pools and then discarded during voire dire. This time I sat for several hours. I was sorted into a pool of 55 jurors for a criminal trial but we never left the jury pool room and were dismissed in the early afternoon.

I went in cheerfully even though $15 isn't close to my daily wage and I don't get paid if I'm not at work. During our orientation all the jurors watched a movie about the jury and trial process which concluded with effusive comments on the responsibility and importance of juries in our legal system. I almost choked! Last time, I was on the jury for a murder trial. The jury found the defendant innocent (the case was not properly prosecuted) but a few monthes later the prosecutor called me at home to say that our jury had done a terrible job (Good grief!) and the judge had set aside our verdict and sentenced the defendant to hefty prison time. The prosecutor also told me (quite inappropriately) information about the defendant that had not been made known to the jury during the trial. After the prosecutor called, I reported him to the State's Attorney but I never heard anything else about him. It made me think today - Why the heck would I sit on a jury if the judge is allowed to set aside the correctly discerned verdict of a jury of peers for his or her own opinion? Why bother with the constitutional niceties? Nevertheless I stayed and waited my turn. I got a lot of sock knitted; I was hoping to finish it because it matched my ouitfit better than the orange striped socks I threw on in the car. It was chilly this morning!

I finished one Christmas present hat. I have the yarn and pattern for one Christmas present top and I have started on a Christmas present pink hoodie with skull.

Mmmm, dinner smells good! We are having meatloaf, baked sweet potatoes, and salad. The children will have some of their huge Halloween candy stash.