Wednesday, August 30, 2006


Okay, so maybe this won't be as exciting as the BIG REVEAL portion of Trading Spaces, but it is time for me to tell my secret pal who I am (if she didn't secretly figure it out already - I have the sinking suspicion that I actually posted to her blog "anonymously" one day and actually signed my name, but she's not fessin' up!!) :O)

So, Lacy - this is me! Like I said in my note/card - I have enjoyed getting to know you over these past three months. At first I thought we'd have nothing in common (well, besides knitting), and worse, that I wouldn't be able to find anything that you would like. I am so thrilled that I have (hopefully) picked things you have liked. I was honored and pleased to see that you nominated me for the best secret pal award. Must mean I've done something right, anyway!

This last package is full of things that I really hope you'll like. The yarn is a personal favorite of mine. I am IN LOVE with Koigu. Koigu will be my next husband. There's no reason to consider anyone else! I love the colors that the Painter's Pallette contains. I have used this particular colorway in a shawl that I knit (am knitting) for my mother for Christmas. Sssh - don't tell! I imagine that the amount I sent you should make a great hat or scarf, and would be great combined with a solid color and used for a sweater or other garment. I just think the colors in this particular dye lot of Koigu are outstanding - a rainbow, literally - and I hope you agree.

The cute mermaid magnet was the result of a shopping trip dedicated to find SOMETHING mermaid that you would like. It comes from an artist local to the Maryland/D.C./Virginia area - her studio is in The Torpedo Factory in Alexandria, VA - you should visit if you get a chance, it's a great place! And, the best part is, the magnet is actually a "print" of a full-sized artwork. She shrinks them down with photoshop and mounts them in the bottle cap, attaches a magnet, and PRESTO - instant artwork! I picked up a few for my classroom while I was there, but the mermaid I knew was for you! I hope you like it.

The beads are hopefully something you will enjoy as well. While on vacation this summer in Kill Devil Hills, NC (LOVE the Outer Banks) I stumbled upon a bead shop (and - get this - it was attached to a coffee shop, and had a paint-your-own pottery store connected to it! Talk about bliss!!). I picked up a few beads there - they seemed pretty reasonable, and this blue strand struck me as something you might like. Maybe a nice necklace? Earrings, your own stitch markers this time? Either way - enjoy.

The other little goodies are things that made me think of you - the blue silicone is actually a baking pan - make your own personal cake next time you bake for the family! And the knitting journal should be a good place for you to take notes on your pattern changes/alterations/discoveries. It should come in handy.

Again, Lacy - it's been great getting to know you. I hope you've had as much fun opening surprises as I've had creating them!

Sunday, August 27, 2006


The sweater I am working on currently is part of the SKC's
latest Knit-Along. It's a really beatiful sweater that is right in style for Fall. When I went to see The Devil Wears Prada with my friend Courtney, I was so amazed to see the lead character wearing an off-the-shoulder black sweater with a white, collared shirt underneath it. Apparently, layering is in this year. Great - because I was thinkin' it was going to take some new undergarments to wear this sweater properly. Me and The Girls need a bit of support, ya know?? Hee hee. I plan to wear the sweater as a layered ensemble most of the time.

But the pattern on this sweater is an all-over rib, and it really killed my hands. This may be the sweater that took me over the edge and actually gave me carpal tunnel! I've been sleeping with my mother's CT brace on my arm at night, and last weekend when I was cutting out nametags for my classroom - two of my fingers fell asleep and stayed that way all day. Uh oh. I can't wait until this sweater is finished to let my wrists rest! Maybe I'm doing something wrong? Tons of other folks are finishing - just check them out!

But, without further ado, here is how far I have gotten:

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Finished Room

Okay, so the room is finished, I've done three whole days as a First Grade teacher, and I'm thinkin' I like it. The first day there was, basically, NO actual content taught. We basically did the "this is how I expect you to do X" thing. And ran around like chickens with our heads cut off! Fun! But things are beginning to calm down.

My students are pretty amazing. My thing now will to be to remember that they actually are only 6, even though they read like they're 8. I would love to follow this class through a couple grades to see the massive, honking books they're gonna read, and read the massive, honking papers they're gonna write. Most of my kids are pretty amazing. Flat out. They're smart. And then, there's the ones that ACT like they're three, but even then, they read like an 8-year-old. Amazing. I think it's a good thing to have this "high" group, because then I'll expect this from all my students from now on, right? I think that's the plan, anyway!

So, enough of the chatting, here's the finished room:

Here are the computers. Mind you, they ain't hooked up to anything - not even electricity, but soon they will be. Apparently, the First Grade has inherited the most amazing room parent - he's a TECHIE!! And he's going around hooking up all the computers in the rooms - supplying his own cables and stuff, too! I love it! I was going to try to plug them in this week, but he claims that by next week he'll have them hooked up, so EVEN BETTER! I do think I'll actually plug them up and turn them on, tomorrow, though. Since Back To School night is next Wednesday, I don't want to take any chances!

This is the front of the room. Looks very much like the last picture, but better. Trust me.

And here is the side reading table and the Word Wall. The blue papers on the table are a Math creation that was drying. They glued down groups of objects when I wrote the number in words on the board. That was interesting, and it really showed me who knew their number words.

I was going to take a picture of the library as well, but it pretty much looks the same, but better. Maybe next time. . .


Friday, August 18, 2006


Okay, the classroom is ready. The teacher - I have no idea about. She's wiped. Again. But the room looks great. I'll have to take the camera in on Monday morning and take a picture really quickly - forgot it today! UGH!

I did get a lot accomplished, moved a few more things, got the books ready for the students, and figured out that I have the VIP class. Apparently, I got the "high" class - you know how teachers compare notes and give out helpful hints at the beginning of the year. I'm not sayin' it's right, but they do it. The important thing is to take everything with a grain of salt, treat every child as if they were the brightest, and press on from there. But, like I said, I apparently have very few worries. Most of the class is reading way above their level - about where 2nd graders would be expected to read. That's great. What worries me is that they all have connections to someone I know or have to report to. I guess I should be used to it from having the Vice-Principal's son in my class when I did my student teaching at this same school.

So, to take "roll" here's who's in my class:

the guidance counselor's son
the PTA President's daughter
two grandchildren of staff members or former staff members
the daughter of a patient at my mom's work
the little girl who lives down the street and frequently winds up in my backyard, playing with my own son.

There's also the sister to a really sweet, smart girl from the class I worked in last year, but I'm sure she will be no problem. I may have one more neighbor (actually, I most likely will, since the kids in my 'hood go to this school), but I think I may know this little guy. His mother and I went to school together.

Why, oh, why do I feel like I'll be teaching the whole world, not just my group of first graders listed on my class list? OY! I'm glad I got the "high" group, but again, OY!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Growing Classroom

I decided to post photo proof of all the hard work that's been going on in my classroom. I have been completely WIPED OUT each evening, spent one more hour at school each night of the week for the first three days, have not managed to make it to the gym, yet managed to lose two pounds anyway. I wonder how???

Okay, to give you a guide - the only things in the room besides student desks, one filing cabinet, a teacher desk turned up on its' side, the honking double sided bookcase in the library, and the round reading group table, was the bulletin board paper that was, thankfully, left by the previous teacher. Only the long coat closet fronts had to be replaced since they were done in red which, sadly, fades the fastest. So, with that said, I think I've accomplished a whole heck of a lot. These pictures are from Wednesday evening before I left (at 8:00 pm), and I got a lot accomplished today. I will put the finishing touches on tomorrow in order to be ready for the kiddos on Monday. Just look at what fun I've been having (I don't know if I'm being sarcastic or exstatic right now - I'm too tired to tell):

This is facing the "front" of the classroom. But, since there are two blackboards in the room, and the overhead/projector screen is on the other board, it could be the side . . .

And here is the side/back of the room - the classroom library is over there, and the semi-circular table for small reading groups. What the kids won't know yet is that I got a cool blow-up recliner for the library. When they are very, very good, they may be able to go there during their independent/center time to chill out and read . . . that's the plan, anyway. I didn't want it to be up for the first day causing problems, so it's still tucked away in a drawer.

And here is what the computer/math area looks like.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Busy Bee!

It's been a long time since my last post, but things here have been pretty busy. Monday was the first day back for teachers at school, and today I managed to even leave one hour LATER than Monday, which I said I was not going to do. I had forgotten how much work it took to turn a bare classroom into a pleasant learning environment. Oy! I'm bone-tired - exhausted even, but yet I woke up at 1:30 this morning with this thought: "No, that bookcase can't go there, it will block my view of the students!" And try as I might, I could not yell at myself loud enough, apparently, to stop the thoughts of my classroom running through my head! I wound up having to crack open a book and read (only about a page, mind you) myself back to sleep. And then I was good until 5:30 this morning. Seems I also always wake up 15 minutes before my alarm clock. I see sleeping pills in my future . . .


Sunday, August 06, 2006

Double Duty

This post is going to serve two purposes - to officially blog about our trip to the National Aquarium in Baltimore this past week, and to serve as my entry for Challenge #5 in The Amazing Lace.

Last weekend, The Boy and I went out and got a desktop (read "small") aquarium for our room. He had mentioned one day that he wished we had a fish (he has some at his dad's), so I jumped right on that! We set it up and let it sit for a few days, then went out and got a fish on Tuesday. Meet the newest member of the family, "Fred."

Fred is a Japanese Fighting Fish, also known as a "Beta." The Boy is very happy that Fred is around, and loves to give him his food. There is still a bit of settling to go on with the tank, though - see the foaming at the top? Apparently this is from the brand-new gravel we used to set the tank up, and will subside soon. I sure hope the guide book ain't lyin', cause that stuff bubbling up in the middle of the night is a bit strange to listen to!

By the way, do you see the lace in the picture above? It's supposed to be hidden/not the focus of the picture. Did I pass the test? We shall see . . .

Then, in other fish-related news, our visit to the National Aquarium
was great. The Boy was torn between wanting to see the animals and wanting to ride the escalators. Once he saw an escalator in a room, he wanted on it! Who cares about the stinkin' fish already? UGH. It really stressed my mother out, but I'm kinda used to it by now. What we should have done was let him go through the entire building - up and down escalators and elevators and through revolving doors, and THEN started all over with the animals. He'd have been done with the gadgets and ready to settle down and look at things. Things like this: This was taken in the tank of Seahorses. Those specks? Well, some are the brine shrimp that the seahorses eat, but most are !BABY SEAHORSES! OMG, you never saw anything so cute in your life! Amazing!!

And this was a tree frog. I thought he was kind of amazing because his whole body kinda oozes onto the leaf he's sitting on. Almost like his whole body was suction. Had I had the time to read the placard sitting next to this guy, I would know why he does that, probably. Like I said - next time!!

Live Music, Good Food, Great Company

So, a friend of mine has been noticing that he hasn't gotten a "mention" lately on my blog. He took me out Friday night to a really great spot for food and live music. I think maybe he just wanted to make sure to give me ammo for interesting things to post here.

Well, it worked. We went here
. We started with drinks (my head tells me that they make a really strong margarita. I had two, and my head hurt the whole next day), then had dinner - cajun style seafood for me (yum) and HOT wings for Courtney. He was having problems with his sinuses and they cleared his breathing right out!! At about 10:00, the music began. This group plays each Friday night, and they did a nice variety - jazz, old favorites, etc. The only thing I didn't like was that they started a Prince tune and quit halfway through. Big no-no in my book!

I'd never been to Adams Morgan before. Seems like a place with lots of promise. And the company wasn't bad either. Maybe he'll take me back . . . I'd definitely say yes!


Saturday, August 05, 2006

Crack. House.

Thanks to two little old ladies, my house is being turned into a crack house. Well, if you're a pasta-lover, that is. These pictures are scenes from my life each and every weekend for the past two weekends, to continue indefinitely - until the tomatoes at the garden run out:

The tomatoes come in in droves - my dad (Farmer Mac) runs the garden. Then, my mom and aunt (who comes to visit each weekend to help Mom work the kitchen) get busy. They roast the tomatoes in olive oil, then set about making pasta sauce that smells so good, I come very close to dying and going to heaven several times each day - when they put the fixins in the stock pot and start the sauce, the garlic makes me crazy. Kinda like (I imagine) crack would. I could smell this stuff all day - probably the same feeling an addict might get.

I'm just sayin'.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Thanks, SP!!!

I got a package in the mail yesterday!!! Thank you, SP!!!!!!! It was filled with lovelies - you'll have to trust me for now. For some reason I can't upload pictures right now, but they're coming!

In the package was a notions bag - great for all the DPNs and circular needles I have, and in my most favorite colors right now - chocolate (brown) and that baby-turquoise-y blue that's everywhere right these days. I just bought some new running shoes that had that color on them. I LOVE that color - yum! Thanks, SP - how'd you know????

Also in the package was a sweet card, The Action Heroine's Handbook that my pal got at the Spy Museum downtown, and some home-made stitch markers. Markers made with seed beads. OMG I can't even begin to THINK of the patience needed for working with seed beads. It's probably similar to the amount needed to do lacework with laceweight yarn. As in - something I don't have!!. It's really funny that she was in "my town" the weekend that she went to the Spy Museum, but since it wasn't time to reveal, plus she and I were both crazy busy that weekend, so we didn't meet up. That would have been fun. I really can't wait to see who my pal is. I have the feeling that she is probably a blogger that I "visit" frequently, but haven't put all the pieces together yet! How funny will that be?!?

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Things, Things, Things!!!

Oh my - there's a lot going on right now. This is my "last week" with The Boy for the summer. I'm off to work beginning next Wednesday. He's off to camp all next week as well. He loves it there. I'm so glad he's "into" school. Occasionally, during the school year, he needs/requests a break, but basically, he's all about going to school. Claims he misses "all of them" - as in his friends, his teacher, etc. Great! Keep up the good attitude!

We also just finished with The Boy's first ever swimming lessons. Such a dork for a mother, though, I forgot to bring a camera to either of the lessons that I was allowed to watch (only the first and the last were able to be witnessed by parents). He did great, though. I don't know how much stock I place on astrology, but he's definitely a water sign (Pisces, the fish by most calendars) because he is the first one in the water and absolutely fearless once in there. He actually tried to argue with the teacher on the first lesson about where to stand to jump in the pool! He wanted to jump from back on the deck/bricks, but she insisted he step down on to the filter/grates, which is closer to the water. UGH. I think I'm glad I couldn't watch all the practices! I don't need gray hairs yet! And after all that, he was one of the ones that was "passed" on to the next level - Floaters since he's not afraid of the water at all and has basic swimming skills. He can go underwater, float with assistance (although he loves to "swim" - yes SWIM back to the steps to wait his turn when the teacher is finished with him), retrieve an object (ring) off the bottom of the pool, etc. He's amazing. He'll be swimming by Christmas, because we are signing him up again for this next round!

I'm also trying my best to keep up with my eDiets group in the Summer of Success challenge. I signed up to be captain of my team (actually, I'm acting as co-captain with another member), but that requires even more computer savviness than needed for blogging (think really, really having to know HTML!), so I'm not quite where I should be. I think eDiets is very motivating - just the kick in the pants I needed to get my butt back in gear. So far I've lost a bit over 20 pounds (my official weigh-in isn't until Monday, but the scale dipped below my 20 pound mark this afternoon, so I'm very optimistic that I've finally reached this first goal. Now just 20 more to go!! I feel so much better already, and I know I'm healthier because of it, so i'm really happy where I am right now (but I'm still going for those next 20!!!!).

And of course, there's also trying to get control of my knitting ADD!!!! I've been turned on to knitting dishcloths - very addicting. I made three this past weekend. One for the kitchen sink for all to use, one with a big heart on it, at The Boy's request, for The Boy's baths, and one for myself. Fun! Practically instant gratification! Can't beat that. Meanwhile, though, there's still my Tempting II sweater. The 1x1 ribbing was really bothering my hands. I think carpal tunnel was looming near. But I cut way back and only did two or so rows each day, and finally made it through the 15(+) rows that I needed to fit me. I've also done one sleeve so far. I've altered the pattern slightly, and chose to make the sleeves long enough to reach my elbows - more like the sweater in The Devil Wears Prada - looks so much like Tempting II, and worn with a white collared shirt underneath, it will give me more wear out of the design. So now one more sleeve - 6 3/4 inches long (!) and I can begin the final stages - attaching sleeves and knitting the band to go around the off-the-shoulder neckline! Woo hoo! Maybe I'll get taken out to dinner or something and I can wear it in style!

Then, I also want to knit:

Sizzle (from Wendy/Knit N Tonic)
Clapotis for my cousin (already started when I needed a break from Tempting)
Red Hat socks for my former MIL
Convertible for mom (actually, almost finished - worked on a lot during The Boy's swimming lessons, which I wasn't allowed to actually watch - lots of knitting done then!)

I have more I'd like to start, but only so much time to start them. Then there's the dishcloths that I actually joined a KAL group for. I belong to a similar sock group, which just posted their new sock pattern, and it's one I really want to try. AND - as if that isn't enough, I signed up for SockWars
. I will probably get picked off in the first week, but I can't resist, especially when it comes to socks!! Sign me up!!! What about you?