Sunday, August 30, 2009

A Great Start to the Year!

Well, none of my pessimistic fears materialized. The school year has begun very smoothly. Of course there were schedule conflicts and changes and a few other glitches, but they were handled quickly and efficiently. I am very pleased with my classes and the balance in student numbers as far as class enrollment goes. Because of such a smooth start, we are already "cooking" as far as course content goes. I know that some of the education experts recommend spending the first week getting acquainted and having the students play games getting acquainted with each other. I have found, however, that by 12th grade in a very small town, being acquainted is not usually a problem. In fact, students tend to be know almost too much about each other, mostly because they were all there when it happened. I know a little about this because for 16 years or so, my DH and I not only worked together but shared an office. Sometimes we ran out of conversation at the end of the day, and it was very hard at times not to take work home with us or not to make a work problem personal.

I also had some other good news. The Loopy Ewe, one of my favorite on-line stores, celebrated their third anniversary. I entered the contest on Sheri's blog, and I won one of the prizes. Perhaps I should say I was BLESSED with one of the prizes because this selection of yarns is fantastic.

Yarns, left to right:
  • bellamoden, noel, 1/16 tincture, superwash merino sport
  • Rohrspatz & Wollmeise 100% merino superwash sock yarn in Vroni
  • ATH Yarns, merino/bamboo/nylon in Shades of Rose

Other goodies:

  • a little red notebook full of different sizes of very small post-its
  • a genuine pin from The Loopy Ewe
  • a bar of Green Tea Hand Repair Soap from the Blue Ridge Soap Shed
  • a nice note from Sheri

May I also add how pleased I have been in the past with everything I've bought from The Loopy Ewe, both the merchandise and the prompt service.

I've already searched Ravelry for just the right patterns for these three yarns. I can barely wait to get started.

Thanks, Sheri!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Trying Very Hard not to Be "Half-Empty"

Right now I'm in a position that has been unusual for a few years. In fact, some things are better than I've ever seen them in the entire time I've been teaching. I'm nervous. My normally somewhat cynical self is looking for things to go wrong. Here's an account of what went right for the week:

In Texas, teachers go back to school a week before the students. In fact, students of the younger children tend to be there much earlier decorating rooms and such. I did a little work in the room back in July, and I've done a lot of paperwork tasks over the summer on computer and sent them to myself at my school address, but I wasn't really on-site until this past week. Then the good things started happening:
  • The opening general faculty meeting for the district--breakfast, a little social chitchat, and then the new superintendent covered everything that applied to all campuses so that we wouldn't have to do it in our buildings. We managed all the required legal trainings in record time. He even edited PowerPoints and films so that we only had to watch the parts that we needed to see. Therefore, we could go back to our buildings and work the rest of the allotted time. I got my computers and Elmo set up--it's a projector, not a muppet--a day or two before I expected to do so.
  • In the building faculty meetings were brief and to the point. We had one required training with speakers who came in from the Service Center. The training was good, but they were a little late and then had to do their set up, which wasted my time. If we are going to training at their site, we travel the same highway and leave early enough to get there on time. I would appreciate the same courtesy. That, however, was the only blot on the meetings.
  • We had time included for departmental meetings instead of having to squeeze in planning during our lunches or before or after school.
  • We have our class rolls and our schedules, and our rooms are ready because we had the time between meetings and two other entire workdays to work in our rooms. We have a reasonable plan for taking care of all the student paperwork legalities and a way to keep track of it.
  • My class sizes are reasonably balanced, not too big, not too small, and not grossly uneven.
  • Above all, we have a positive attitude because the emphasis has been on what we are doing right and how we can improve it, what our students are doing right and how to minimize the problems that do occur.

If you're a teacher, perhaps this sort of start is routine for you, but we had a four year period in which we lived with constant criticism, much of it unwarranted and sometimes unnecessarily rude and personal. I just want to hug someone or burst into tears. Please understand that my joy is just not for the teachers, but for the students, coupled with regret for the less-than-what-it-should-have-been that our students received during those years.

Now if I could just find where I stashed those two instruction folders that I always keep beside my computer. . . .

My Review of Eve Walker

Late in the day, put on the Eve Walker by Propet and go for a quick stroll. A therapeutic closed-back sandal designed for easy customization, the Eve Walker has a hook and loop secured closure system and extra-volume construction for a generous fit. Product features include: Full grain leather and/...

Excellent buy!

The Knitter Texas Panhandle 8/22/2009


5 5

Sizing: Feels true to size

Width: Feels true to width

Pros: Breathes Well, Comfortable, Versatile, Durable

Cons: Needs longer strap

Best Uses: Casual Wear, Work

Describe Yourself: Comfort Driven

I love these shoes! I wish the straps were slightly longer with a little more velcro overlap, but otherwise they are great. I did have to modify the heel width slightly, but I have very narrow heels with very wide feet, so that is routine for me. I like them better the longer I wear them. I am buying a second pair of PedEX shoes in a different style, but I also plan to buy an additional pair of Eve Walkers in another color soon. For one thing, my handknitted socks are visible.


Monday, August 17, 2009

Random Act of Unkindness

We were in a nearby town yesterday, and my DH decided he wanted to go to the grocery store. It was not my week to have a list prepared, and I know I have to go next weekend, so I stayed in the car while he went in for "sandwich" things, since I'm going back to school this week and he won't be getting home-cooked lunches. (9 bags of chips?)

I'm sitting in the car in the parking lot in the warm sunshine. By the way, this supermarket will still take your purchases to your car for you.
Here comes a well-dressed lady rolling her own cart out with four or five bags of groceries in it. She pulls up to the back of her late-model SUV (not a judgement--I drive an SUV), unloads the groceries, and then she doesn't return the cart to the ltttle cart slot. OK, I've seen people do that before. I've perhaps even done it myself once or twice. However, she doesn't push it into an empty parking space or up into the space in front so that cars can still pull in, or even just leave it sitting. Instead, she deliberately pushes it up in front of her front door, lifts the rear end of the cart, and turns it sideways, running it into the front quarter panel of the car beside her. This sideways arrangement has to be very inconvenient for her own backing out, and it is just in the position where the driver of the other car probably won't see it until that scraping noise makes him wonder what he has hit. I was watching to see what happened, and I would have removed the cart if necessary before we left the lot, but a grocery employee beat me to it.

I just had to wonder why someone went the extra step to be so deliberately unkind. I can understand someone being in a rush or just too lazy to return the cart although being too lazy is hardly an excuse at a store that will take the groceries to your car. Was this an enemy? Was it someone who didn't think the paint job on the rather modest older vehicle mattered to its owner?

English teachers, I know I mixed verb tenses, but it's the first day of school and I d0n't have time to fix it right now.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Verification Word

shulske--Method of transportation to educational institution used in snowy, mountainous countries.

adready--a program prepared for broadcast with time slots left open for commercials

Thursday, August 13, 2009

School Supplies

Even teachers need some school supplies. Here's my new lunch tote. I suppose I should have made one myself, but I saw this one by Handy Helpers on Etsy, and the fabric looked just right. It is very nicely made, fully quilted, and lined with a nifty fabric. Also, it will be completely washable, unlike many of the manufactured ones that you find at Wallyworld or Target. I think my containers will slip right into it, and the strap will be helpful when struggling to the building with a load of papers and books.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Another Beginning

The beginning of a scarf for the Red Scarf Project. The pattern is The Corrugator, a very simple garter and slip stitch pattern that makes a very squishy, soft scarf. Yarn is Lion Brand Wool Ease in Cranberry. Needles are Knit Picks Harmony, size 8.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Warm and Cozy

The Bearfoot socks are finished and blocking. I gave them a vinegar soak to help avoid fading. That's what it says to do on the yarn label. I love the way the garter rib turned out. I think these will be extremely comfy! Although there are many colors, the socks are dark enough to go with almost anything, which is a plus.

There is also a yarn drawing from Denise for some yarn and Lavender Lemongrass Soap. Take a look at the beautiful shawls she makes. I'm quite envious of her lace-knitting skill.

I have finished another audio book or so, and I'll have reviews posted on the Shelfari shelf in my sidebar.

This week, I'm keeping two of my grandchildren. They're actually being a big help since I have convinced them to do the things that my own grandmother used to refer to as "closer to the ground." As in, "You're closer to the ground than I am, so would you ______?"

This morning we also went to the office to take care of all the employment insurance tasks that need to be done for my cafeteria plan before school starts. They were very sweet, coloring on a whiteboard while I talked with the agent and got my business completed.

tersiv--tur-siv--style of handwriting suited to very brief comments

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Anyone as Weird as I Am?

Are you ever tempted by the word-like combinations that computers create for word verification so that you can post a comment? At first, I only tried to pronounce them. Lately, I've been tempted not only to pronounce them, but to define them and use them in a sentence.
For example:

thooket--a tool for crocheting with exceptionally thick yarn. When the size 35 crochet needle kept slipping, she was forced to buy a thooket to finish the anchor rope for the yacht.

Any suggestions for this one? CLEAN suggestions.


Any interesting non-words of your own?

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Thoughts about Harry Potter

My daughter and I watched Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (hyphen?) a couple of weekends ago. I have been trying to formulate a coherent opinion that explains my reaction to the movie.

First of all, I thoroughly enjoyed the way the increasing maturity of the main characters was addressed. After Harry's teenage angst in Phoenix, seeing some of the funnier moments about being a teenager and falling in love and having really good friends was a welcomed focus in this film.

Like others, I did think the Tom Riddle story was slighted somewhat. I also thought the evil sisters were much too Adams Family/Munster like.

Of course, I loved the scene with Dumbledore and the knitting book, and I thought the cave scene was done well. I did think that the horcrux issue needed a little more clarification, however.

What did I not like? As far as I am concerned, one of the real wonders of this series of books and movies is that it has created such a believeable world. If I were to go to London, I would half-expect to visit Dragon Alley. Sending an owl seems like a reasonably efficient way to communicate. Words and characters have passed into the language. For example, even people who have neither read the books nor seen the movies have something of an idea of the meanings of words such as "muggles."

Therein lies the problem with the latest film: when I left the theater, I had not been at Hogwarts. It was labeled as such. The outline appeared the same. However, the wonderful depth of detail was not there. The staircases did not move. The paintings did not interact. Were the house ghosts present? The scene in the greenhouse absolutely cried out for a few mandrake screams. Even the Room of Requirement lacked mystery.

I hope the last two films will return not only to the compelling nature of the plot but to the wonder of the settings that have created such a magical world.

Monday, August 03, 2009


Just to prove I have been knitting and not wasting my time cleaning up clutter or dusting:

One sock:

Mountain Colors Bearfoot, Gray Wolf colorway

Garter Rib from Sensational Knitted Socks, modified by the Yarn Harlot's Sock Rules

64 stitches, Magic Loop, on Knit Picks classics, the larger size 1, which I suppose is a 1 1/2. Cable cast on.

These socks began as Black Rose, but the yarn just didn't want to be a lace pattern. The features I love about Bearfoot, besides the beautiful colors, are the smoothness when knitting and the cushiness when wearing. The garter rib makes a cushier top. Now to cast on for number 2.

Also this afternoon a friend brought by a large sack of acrylic yarn in full skeins of very bright colors, almost all of which will be suitable for the blankets I've been knitting for Victory Junction. I'm temporarily taking a break from the blankets to work on some other charity projects and some items for myself, but with these colors added to some I already have in stash, I should be all ready to go when the green flag drops at Daytona in February. Thanks, K & A.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Something New, Something Blue

I'm working on acquiring a new craft. After checking out triloom weaving on the smaller loom I posted about the other day, I was fortunate to acquire a Spriggs Adjustable Loom from Carol Leigh through a destash sale on Ravelry. I have begun my first weaving on it. I'm using some yarn that was in my stash--Paton's Classic in Wedgewood. This is one corner, obviously. What is exciting about triloom weaving is that the other corner is woven in the same process as the warp goes across the loom. It's rather hard to explain, but there are several sites on-line, a group or two on yahoo, and some good books.

This is the loom itself. I do not have a wall to hang it on since my craft room is mostly windows. I tried an easel, but I did not like it. I didn't like having the legs to worry about, and besides, the easel I had (not the Carol Leigh one) collapsed. My wonderful husband figured out a way to use some metal telescoping tubing and make a hanger that lets me use one of the support posts in the craft room. It works great! (The loom could not go directly on the post because there is a step in front of it. The hanger extends the loom out to the edge of the step.) I am not working very fast, and I've had a lot of interruptions this afternoon, but I think I'm getting the hang of the process. I hope I am judging my tension correctly. If I err, I'll have either a really loose shawl or a much smaller shawl when it contracts. That's why I'm using stash at first.

Still knitting--Garter Rib Socks from Mountain Colors Bearfoot
Listening--Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell; The Defector by David Silva