I can barely express how wonderful yesterday went at the middle school. I was a bit nervous that though I used to like middle schoolers, I wouldn’t be as enamored with them. It’s been a few years, you know. Well, there are some middle schoolers in the program when I tutor on Mondays, but mostly they stay separate, and they’re absolutely crazy and there’s no structure. Anyway. The only disappointment I experienced yesterday was in remembering that I will be student teaching in a high school, not a middle school. Heartbroken about that.
I’ll try to keep this part short. The teacher I’m working with put me to work right away. I recorded assignments, separated them out for grading, recorded oral interviews with at least 12 students who struggle with writing, paired up with some students for partner work, and generally enjoyed myself thoroughly. I wish I was there today. When I was leaving the building, I thought to myself, “This is what I was meant to do.” I haven’t had a moment of clarity like that about teaching. I really felt called to youth ministry, and when I decided to change careers, I made the choice of teaching rather rationally. I knew I’d be good at it, and I knew I’d enjoy it. But yesterday, it was … more certain. “This is where I should be. This is what I should be doing.”
Bonus: It was light out when I left the house, and light out when I returned home. So very awesome to see sunlight. Plus, I took pictures for you! I think I’ll save many of them for Friday – there are only so many hours in the day and not nearly enough time to get everything done. Here’s how sunny it was: I barely had to do anything to these photos other than crop them. Awesome! (I promise that’s true for the other pictures, but the ones I have to share today are blurry, because I was taking them myself, in my bathroom, of… myself. Not the best recipe for pictures, but I was way too lazy to get out the tripod.)
Today, you just get to see a knitting project I finished. I completed it within 3 days, actually, which is always fun. This yarn was sitting near the top of the giant Ziploc bag of yarn to give away, so it doesn’t exactly put a dent in what I have stashed away, but that’s OK. I have destashed a significant amount of yarn recently, so I’ll give myself a pass on this.
I had originally made myself a hat out of this yarn (which had no tags and I never recorded what it was, so it’s officially mystery yarn – I assume it’s a blend of partial acrylic and something else, as it was part of my attempt to find yarn that doesn’t make me itch). It was a lovely winter hat – double-stranded for extra warmth, cables (that you couldn’t see because it was black), it fit well…. The problem was, it was itchy. Like, really itchy. Red forehead itchy. So, I gave it to , who seemed more than happy with it.
So, what do I decide to do with this yarn that makes me itch? Make a cowl, of course! I know, wrong decision. But I only had a little bit of it (somewhere around one skein). And the pattern looked so… comfy and fun and easy (Ravelry link to the pattern called Marian). It was a nice, fast knit. Seed stitch is the same as doing 1×1 rib, just with an odd number of stitches instead of even. It’s boring, but with the big needles and fluffy yarn, the texture is really nice. And it’s really squishy.
I couldn’t make gauge with the circular needles I had, so we did some math and I cast on extra stitches, and then a few more to compensate for people’s complaints that theirs were too small. I decided to just knit until I ran out of yarn. Well, that I did. In fact, I had seven stitches left to bind off and was left with three inches of yarn. Oops. Ripped it back one row, re-did the bind-off, wove in the two ends, and it was done!
Unfortunately, I think I over-compensated, or ended up knitting looser than my gauge swatch (probably the latter). And, um, it’s still itchy (duh). Can one wear a cowl with a turtleneck? That seems… redundant. This may need to be gifted away to someone with less sensitive skin. I really want to make another cowl, in something that won’t make me itch, but I’m not sure it’s actually an article of clothing I can pull off. It just seemed… awkward. Any thoughts?
On Friday, I’ll share pictures of the Christmas sewing I’ve completed recently!
It was probably closer to 5, but whatever. Yesterday after lunch I went over to JoAnn to buy the zipper that had me stalled on the Amazing Fit Pants (Simplicity 0569). The pattern includes a lot of couture tips, which means that the pants are turning out really well, but they’re taking forever to complete. As of last night, I have the front partially sewn together, front pockets sewn in, and the zipper installed. Let me tell you about that zipper. It’s a fly-front (like jeans or many dress pants), which means there are about a zillion additional steps to follow, as if installing a zipper isn’t hard enough. And, to state the obvious, the fly is right there in the front for everyone to see, so every single little mistake is clearly visible.
This led to the ripping out of the left side of the zipper about 6 times (I don’t exaggerate here). The right side went in fine, but that left side, man oh man. It is now installed, as well as the flap that sits behind it (to protect your delicate skin from those mean zipper teeth), and it looks good. Darn good. And I’m sure that if I were to make these pants a second time (I’m really hoping they turn out well so that I can), it won’t take me nearly as long. But gee whiz! Several episodes of Stargate SG-1 (currently on Hulu) kept me entertained (and from losing my sanity).
The next step in the pattern was to start in with the back side, so instead of getting consumed by that (it was now 7:30), I went downstairs to watch football and attempt to knit. I haven’t knit in… many months, but I’m feeling the desire to start back up (I think it’s fall – it has that affect on many people). I have to be cautious, because knitting aggravates my tendinitis, which is no fun. I was trying to find a wip (work in progress) to complete, but the one I was looking for was nowhere to be found, so I settled on a infant hat that I started for ‘s daughter (who is now 2 1/2 – clearly the hat is no longer for her). Much to my surprise, I finished the hat last night! It was about half done, and baby hats are a fairly quick knit. It’s like the tomato hat I knit for , but I made it in purple instead of red, so it’s an eggplant hat. Quite cute. The next baby born is getting it. (I hope to take pictures soon – I have no pictures of the tomato hat, and it was kind of ruined by a growing boy and his love for his hat.)
So that was Sunday. Saturday was spent making Cinnamon Rolls with (or for her, actually), napping, and then going out to a birthday celebration for a friend of ‘s. Busy weekend, but nice, and made possible by fall break, which is now over, and I have to start doing homework again. Boo.
I finally remembered to bring the bag of Wintergreen Lifesavers I had bought to work, and now I’m minty fresh. Better than snacking on chocolate-caramel-peanut Turtles, right?
I worked on two of my papers this weekend and got all the research, quotes, and Works Cited parts done. Now I just have to write them. Also, since I have the wrong version of the textbook for my online class, the readings I had left for it (Chapter 16) are not in my book, and so I don’t have any reading left. Yay!
and I went shopping for a washer and dryer Friday night – I know, aren’t we exciting? We picked out a nice set (didn’t buy them, though… more on that in a bit), only to come home and find out that it was an HE (High Efficiency) washer, which means special laundry detergent. Well, I’m quite attached to my laundry detergent (All Free & Clear, recommended by my dermatologist), as it doesn’t make me itch (and we know how unhappy I am when I itch), and it was my one requirement for a washer (other than please no almond or black units). But, we looked it up, and my detergent does come in an HE variety, so we were happy with that. Now we just have to measure the spot at the new house, call an electrician to install an outlet, call a plumber to install the correct hookups, and then install the washer/dryer. Thankfully, it will totally be worth the effort when it’s done. (Who wants the washer/dryer in the kitchen? Not us. Apparently a lot of people love having the washer/dryer on the main level, but we are not those people.)
More boxes were packed and taken to storage, as well as a lot of stuff from the garage. We’re running out of things to pack that won’t disrupt our lives, which is good, because if you check the countdown timer over there –> you’ll see there are 11 days until we move. 11! It’s good that’s a small number, because we’d really like to be there now and have this all done. And then we can start mowing the lawn. Ah, the joys of home ownership (when you don’t live in a planned community or one with an association that takes care of all the exterior stuff for you).
Baby sent us a nice card this weekend announcing his birth. 🙂
Class on Wednesday night was canceled. Originally it was supposed to be a library research night, and I was going to take advantage of that and skip class (and write the paper), since I have perfect attendance otherwise. (Perfect attendance, perfect GPA… teachers love me!) The professor decided to change plans and have us come in to class and give presentations instead (there was great complaining about this, since most people have a huge fear of public speaking), on an informal basis and not for a grade, but required nonetheless. This morning he canceled class for this week, since he will be out of town attending a funeral. So… plan A (skipping class to write the paper) is back on, kind of.
I’m not going to know what to do with myself when I run out of homework. Conveniently, there will be a house with lots of work to be done and many, many, many boxes to unpack, right after classes end. Knitting (tendinitis) and embroidery (finger callouses) and sewing (back pain) can only take up so many hours of the day before my body refuses to cooperate anymore.
Lastly, I finished the log cabin quilt for the Mini Quilt in a Bag swap, getting the last of the binding taken care of last night. And, I think I’m nearing the end of the first panel of the baby blanket I started out knitting for ‘s baby (you know, the one who was born right around the time we got married). So, I’m almost 1/3 of the way done with that. Have I mentioned they just announced they’re pregnant again? Clearly I’ve got some issues with completing baby blankets (though, in my defense, I did have tendinitis issues for quite some time that prevented me from knitting, and I’ve only recently taken it back up again).
I was so creative, and didn’t do any homework. I felt so productive, though!
I finally finished the black and white quilt in the spare bedroom. I had completed the top and hand-tying last June (10 months ago!), but never got around to putting the binding on (something that, at the time, I didn’t know how to do, nor did I have the right equipment for my machine). When I finally got to it last week, the binding that I’d cut (and ironed and coiled up so perfectly) had faded so much on the exposed edge I had to throw it away and start again. I added some stripes to make it more visually appealing, and then finally put the binding on. Yay! (On Flickr you can see more detailed photos, and there’s a link to what it looked like before.)
Before Spring Break started, I finished knitting two hats (I think I mentioned this).
Since knitting had gone so well on the hats (and only slightly aggravated my tendinitis), I decided to start a new project. I’d originally bought this bamboo-blend yarn to make another spring hat, but thought better of it. picked out a bolero pattern (I had about four options and couldn’t decide), so I cast on the Ribbed Lace Bolero. By Sunday night, I was at 12″ (of 18.5), so I have hope that it might get finished this spring (though there is a time for every craft: embroidery on the bus, knitting while watching television, and sewing when I have energy and time to commit to it).
Did you think that was all I did? Nope, there’s more! I made a pair of pajama pants for (finished up last night), and started a dress for myself. Go to the Flickr page to see my dilemma about it, and then give me some feedback!
is on Spring Break this week, and I’m sure she’s loving it. is on permanent Spring Break, lucky her. And, I just got a call that is being induced tomorrow, so she’s done teaching for the rest of the school year.
Last night, I finished ‘s Christmas present. I just have to wrap it. Of course, her birthday present hasn’t been started yet, but the list of outstanding gifts is definitely shrinking. I also made more progress on ‘s scarf, and brought it with me today so I can knit on the bus ride home. I’m hoping I don’t have much more left on it. That leaves the fleece jacket I gave him for Christmas (well, I gave him the pattern, and we went and picked out the fabric together). That’s it – the rest is all done!
Swap-wise I’m on-track too, though I had somehow forgotten completely about a recipe swap that was due the day after Christmas. It’s fixed now, though. I think it’s time to start working on Tom’s [link removed] quilt for the Mini Quilt-in-a-bag swap, which means deciding on one of the three ideas I had. I think I might be able to get that cut out tonight though. The other “big” project is figuring out what to do for the My Favorite Things swap. The idea is to pick one of the “favorite things” from the Sound of Music song and make it in any way we desire. The person I’m creating this for has her profile filled out and I’ve perused her Flickr stream and her blog and still don’t have any inspiration. I will figure something out – the problem is that it has to be done by January 9th, which doesn’t give me too much time, and all the good ideas I’ve had so far would take much more time than I have.
We did have our last Christmas celebration over the weekend, with , , and , the latter of which loves his new “big boy bed” and was a hoot. He only had one present to open, since had given him money (or given his parents money, I should say), but it was an awesome gift. If you can’t tell from the picture, the screw driver is battery powered and really works, and you get all you need to make a car (two pieces of car “body” and five screws/bolts). got right to work assembling it, and was completely enamored, staying busy while the rest of us opened gifts. gave me exactly what I asked for – a black satin robe and some new canisters for the kitchen. did too – a sweater and some long-sleeved shirts. I was very happy. At some point, all the excitement became too much for , who had been up until midnight the night before, traveling back from Iowa, and he started running around the room yelling something only he could understand. He was very excited. We made our exit at that point (it was nearly 9:30) and left his parents to bathe him and put him to bed.
Sunday we attempted to stimulate the economy by participating in after-Christmas sales, but had absolutely no luck. was trying to find new jeans, but Lucky was out of his size, as usual (though he did determine that he can just order them online and save the shopping trip). I was looking for some casual work pants (preferably cords) and after half a dozen stores and pairs, we left the mall altogether, empty-handed. The pairs I tried on at Old Navy made me look like I was 5 feet tall (instead of 5′ 8″) and unflatteringly curvy, and the pairs I tried on at JCrew, who only had skinny-legged ones, made me look like my hips were transplanted from a very large person. It was very, very bad. As usual, Express has their store set up to make me want to flee the scene without shopping, and Limited, while calm and subdued, has even fewer casual clothes than they used to, which is unfortunate since one of the pairs of cords I’m getting rid of is from them (a Black Friday purchase five years ago that I didn’t even try on).
I will confess that in the midst of yesterday’s productivity, I completely failed to go to the gym. I thought about it at about 9 pm and decided it wasn’t worth it. I also did not eat what I should have. Full disclosure is good, right? Also, my skin no longer likes the lotion I’m using, as I am itchy again, but that’s OK because I am almost out anyways, and needed to buy a new bottle. I’ll just pick something different out – I did make it all the way through two bottles of what I had, which is pretty good for me.
It’s freezing at work (again, though I’m better prepared today), and I’m going to go take my break and get some decaf chai. That means my two visits for the week will be all used up, but Tuesday is double-stamp day, so it’s worth it. I’m not sure how I’m going to keep warm tomorrow though. I have some bags of tea in my desk drawer and there’s hot water in the break room. Doesn’t sound very exciting, but I bet it’ll work.
I am regretting taking this knitting class now. If I hadn’t signed up, I could take off an hour early tonight, and be on my way to the bus right now, with the promise of bed not too far off. But, since it’s only a 3-week class and I will probably have to miss half or all of next week’s class, I have to go. I have been getting steadily sicker all day. I came down from my Alka-Seltzer high, and when I took my next dosage I only took half, but now I just feel like crap. And my legs are jumpy.
I’m bringing the black lacy stole I knit to the “clinic” tonight that meets before class. There’s a spot that has come undone, and I need help fixing it, and that’s what they’re there for. I also brought my fingerless gloves that bow out instead of clinging to my hands, hoping that the instructor of my class will be able to help me come up with a solution. And I picked out a pattern to knit for which I can purchase supplies at the Yarnery and use my 10% off coupon. So, you see, I have to go.
If I don’t go crazy (from the jumpy legs) or fall asleep first. It’s a toss-up.