Sunday, May 30, 2010


As of 9:45 a.m. yesterday, I am officially retired! Now I should have some more time to do things I want to do--fibery pursuits of different sorts, reading, and children and grandchildren!

As a retirement bonus for myself, I have ordered a Kindle 2. I received an unexpected retirement-related check for almost the exact amount this week, so I decided to go ahead. I am still going to try to use the public library here whenever possible. We have a very nice one for such a small town, but some books are not available there, of course, and it is miles and miles to a bookstore. Pictures will follow.

I also have a list of things that I have been putting off until this point that I want to do to the house, etc. None of these are are very big, but there are a lot of them, mostly to do with rearranging for efficiency or decluttering. Number one on my list is changing out the shower head to the new one that I have stashed! I am determined to finish that little project this weekend! It appears that my darling husband installed it while I was asleep. It works great, and I may stay in the shower forever. Can you knit in there?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Power of Coincidence

Have I mentioned that I'm retiring from teaching this year? And when I say "this year," I mean in 4 days. Yes, just final exams and the end-of-year faculty meeting, and then I turn in the keys and I'm gone. I am also in the enviable position of having 4 days of personal leave and 1/2 comp day left, as well as having two of my classes already dismissed for the semester.

Last night, I woke up a little after midnight, checked the computer, and discovered that my daughter and her family were under repeated tornado warnings. They have a shelter, but I worried anyway because that's what moms do, after all. I was up for a couple of hours. Of course, I indulged in the middle-of-the-night thinking that one does under those circumstances. One of the things that I thought about was that despite the numerous tuck-and-cover drills I had participated in as a child and a teacher, I had never had to do one for real. And thank heavens that we never had to do one of those nuclear under the desk drills for real either. I have been in more than one situation in which a tornado has actually hit town, but never during school hours.

Today, I came home for lunch, watched an episode of McLeod's Daughters with my husband and slowly drove back to school to run off some final exams. He tried to talk me out of going back since I have the leave time, but I went anyway, used the copy machine, and did a few tasks in my classroom. When the final bell rang, I walked a couple of doors down the hallway to talk to a fellow teacher. All of a sudden, we heard hail. Students were already outside, buses were loading, and parents were driving up in the parking lot out front. The student parking lot was already clearing. About the time the hail stopped, the sirens began. We ended up with a motley collection of sweaty athletes, who were working out in the gym, damp students who were herded back into the building, a few parents who did not speak English, and the students from the buses, all tucked or sitting in the interior hallway for what seemed like a considerable length of time before we got the all clear. Anyway, I suppose my "real" tornado--never actually confirmed on radar--squeezed in at the last minute. I'm trying very hard to think positive thoughts tonight.

Tomorrow after school, there is a little social event at the admin building for those of us who are retiring this year, and then we have some personal furniture items to move out of my classroom. That will leave me with a desk chair, a multi-outlet, and some personal papers to move out on Friday afternoon. Then it will be over. I am alternating between sentimentality and regret and absolute glee. Beneath it all, however, I know that it is time; the decision feels right.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

No Knitting, but Lots of Fun!--and a crochet pattern

I just spent a long--Thursday through Sunday--weekend with my two granddaughters, ages 3 and 7, while my DD and DSIL went to a homeschooling convention in Arlington. This marked the first time that the little one has ever been away from mom and dad overnight. Her older sister was away a night at a time while little sister was born, but there were frequent visits. I was a little bit worried, but we had a really good time. The only downside was the weather. We had lovely warm spring weather on Thursday, but the rest of the weekend was unseasonably cold--50s and 60s, with strong winds part of the time, which made things even colder. They played in the sandbox, did crafts, made Mother's Day cards for mama, watched too many movies. (Edit that: watched the same movies too many times. Can you say "backpack"? At least I know why that student in my 5th period class has looked familiar to me all year--he looks just like Diego.)

The little sister was endlessly amusing--3 is a wonderful age. Both children refer to my DH as "Grandpa Oreo." I probably don't need to explain that. The movie they were watching features a bad octopus who is dumping garbage in the ocean. She said she was scared of the octopus. I said that we had been to a new restaurant a couple of weeks ago and Grandpa had eaten an octopus. She frowned, wrinkled her brow, and whispered, "Was it an Oreo octopus?"

Once big sister figured out that her mom had left written directions to cover almost everything, she followed me around at critical points of the day saying, "Here's your list, Grandma, so you will know what to do." We made it just fine; however, when mom and dad walked in the door today, there was much clinging and sobbing.

In short, the sock never got out of the car! I'm back home now, but it's still in there.

I did take time to decipher a crocheted afghan pattern, I think.

The afghan appears to be made in strips, but it isn't. It consists of 15 "panels," 10 stitches wide, of half double crochet (American). Each panel is separated from the others by 10 chain stitches.

So a row would be:

10 HDC, *chain 10, 10 HDC* 14 times. Then you would have to chain howevermany stitches to make the turn (2?) and repeat the row, picking up only the back loop of each stitch. Continue until the blanket is the length you want. Then use a larger hook to crochet down the ladder made by the chain stitches. This gives a raised effect. A cluster of fringe goes in each ladder end. Someone gave this to my children as a wedding present, but I just had not had time to really look at it. It is a sturdy attractive textured pattern. Sorry I don't have a picture for you. If anyone knows the name of the pattern, I'd like to know it.