Sunday, September 30, 2007

How Can It Be?

How can it be that there is both so much and so little going on in my world? I feel like time is flying by - there's never enough time for all the things I want to do, and yet, I've got nothing worthy to report. Just more of the same!

Today was the second Pee-Wee soccer game. Our team lost, but had lots of fun. I think The Boy is turning out to be a pretty good soccer guy, espeically since this is only his 2nd game, and he only really and truly gets to practice on the Wednesday night practices. I might start bringing the soccer ball in the car and stopping by the field on the way home some nights. He needs a lot of practice at stopping the ball from getting by him/blocking. Very valuable skill in soccer!

Yesterday was the National Book Festival. I was most interested to go because Jodi Picoult was going to be there. Turns out, she was a very hard woman to track down. It didn't help that I got a late start getting out of the house, then made the silly mistake of getting in line to buy her latest (not "new" exactly) book before getting in line for her autograph. I only stayed in line for 10 minutes because, well, there was only 15 minutes left until she would be finishing signing, and there was a football field's length of other fans in front of me. Yeah, not gonna get the autograph anyway, so why stand in line. I heard later on, from other Metro passengers that I was correct in my thinking. She signed off with the signing books at 3:00 exactly. Bummer.

So, later I again though I was being pretty smart when I headed over to the tent where she was due to talk about 10 minutes before the man ahead of her on the schedule was due to finish. Turns out, other people were smarter -- they sat through his talk, because after him, not one person got up out of their seats. OY! So, I stood for most of her talk, with the sun beating down on my back because I was at the edge of the tent. Eventually I had so sit down on the lovely, dusty, hard ground. I didn't think it would be too cool to end her talk early because some silly fan passed out in the corner!

But, it was great to hear her speak. She is a very intelligent woman, as evidenced by the number of great books, about real people and real life. Not just fluffy fiction about perfect women who don't exist, happy in love with perfect men who don't exist. I love that about her, and I love her novels. Currently, I'm reading The Tenth Circle and love it. I think I like stories about parent/child relationships a whole lot right now. It's so much more relevant than the standard male/female relationships for me!

In knitting news, I'm still plugging away at the socks for my Hogwarts Sock Swap pal. I was going along really well, until I realized I'd forgotten half the ribbing on the second sock. And, well, since I figured my pal would probably like two socks with the same construction, I had to rip back the leg portion. I grit my teeth and did it, because there was no getting around it, but you know how I hate to rip back! Bubblie - I'm thinking of you!

I'm also getting pretty far on my Red Jacket. Last year at Stitches East, I won a jacket kit during the fashion show. I'm thinking I'll really need it this year in school - it's been really chilly in the building already! I'm finished with the back, but need to teach myself the crochet cast-off since I'm out of the yarn I finished the last stripe with. Either that or tink back the last row, and well, see above for how much I just love the idea of THAT! :O) So, to tide myself over, I've started a sleeve, figuring that I can at least take a sleeve or two to Stitches, what with sleeves being so portable and all!

And, speaking of, Stitches is just around the corner! Yay! Last year, I left work IMMEDIATELY after the students did, and went down the road to Baltimore to make it in time for the Fashion Show and dinner. I made it in plenty of time, but was considering taking the afternoon off for a special treat.

Well, let me just say that this year's class is KICKING MY BUTT!!!! They are a big test of my classroom management skills, and I'm worn out just about every day.

I'm taking all of Friday off, and I'm looking forward to it SO MUCH! I'm also meeting a couple fellow knit bloggers there. Saturday afternoon, Robin has organized a little meetup and is inviting those who would like to meet her and some friends at the DSX restaurant/sports bar - I think it's pretty much across the street from the convention center where Stitches is being held.

I hope to meet other bloggers there. I am attending the fashion show, then high-tailing it to Little Italy for dinner with my mom, aunt, and a friend. Saturday morning, I have a class on spinning (!), and then some lovely, indulgent shopping!!! I figure by the time the others meet up, I'll be ready for a break! Saturday night, my mom and auntie are leaving, but I'm keeping our hotel room, and i'll be enjoying some PEACE AND QUIET!!!! Woohooo! I can't wait!


Sunday, September 23, 2007

SWAG, As Promised

So, yesterday I promised to post pictures of the new yarn acquisitions from my quick trip to Vermont. I will not disappoint. I also will blog more, if it kills me. I am getting behind, and not being a very good blogger these days. Seems like keeping my job and being an "okay" mom are taking the front seat. Heh. Go figure. Here's exhibit A:

This is how one of my socks-in-progress and I spent this afternoon. Pee-wee soccer. Gotta love it. What you can't see here because of the cheering parents' arm is The Boy playing goalie. We can't determine if he liked playing goalie as much as he liked being on the field, but this was his FIRST GAME EVER, so he's got plenty of time to figure it out!

I am very concerned about some of the other parents on the team, though. If they get THIS excited over Pee-wee soccer, what the heck will happen when/if their child ever hits the big time? Let's just say - the level of cheering startled me equally as well here, this afternoon as it did the one time I went to a Redskins game. Now that's some enthusiasm!!!

Okay, on to the promised yarn/knitting/shopping update.

Remember the farm I posted about yesterday? The one where The Boy was allowed to drive the tractor back from the apple fields? Well, I picked up some really great yarn made from Rosie, a sheep they have there at the petting zoo (this is a totally awesome apple farm - you should visit if you're ever in the area!). The name on the label is Yellow Dog Farm, but all I cared about was the link to South Hero (the town where my Grammy lived), and that it was undeyed so I can test out my dyeing skills. Okay, if you believe that, you don't know me very well. I'd probably have bought it even if it were puke yellow, but since it is natural, I plan to try dyeing. Anyone have a good recommendation for method/brands/styles?? Here's the yarn:

I also had a chance to visit a cute lil' yarn shop that, sadly, is going out of business! If I hadn't been pressed for time - so much wool, family members waiting on me! - I'd have taken a picture of the outside of the shop. The name was Knitters Laine, and they have the entire store at 20%off AT LEAST! Some things are more. I took advantage of the situation to do this:

I've been wanting a new knitting bag and couldn't choose between two different ones. I chose this black and red one, then later wished I'd gotten the yellow and green one from the same designer. It was more structured, more like a backpack, and had zippered closures inside. Ah, well, I do love the colors of this one, and it's HUGE, which means lots of yarn can fit inside. That means that same yarn won't be all over my living room, so I'm happy with the one I got after all. But I still wish I had the other one as well.

Also seen is a nice little stash of Silky Wool, which I've been wanting for absolutely ever. I chose a nice dark, tweedy plum color, and I can't decide if it will become the Back-To-School vest or the Textured Tunic, both from the Fitted Knits book, but I've got enough for either pattern (will have leftovers if I do the vest), and I'm in the middle of several projects right now, so I'm sure I have plenty of time to decide.

The other things in the picture are some maple candies I brought back to the other 1st grade teachers I work with, and a comfy sweat-pants and top that I got from the Bass outlet in Burlington.

So, now that I've fulfilled my obligation, I need to go get some work, I mean knitting, no, I really should do some work. . . . arg, I'm outta here!


Saturday, September 22, 2007

Never Enough

As I walked out of my school last night at 5:30, because I HAD to pick my son up by 6, I thought: there's never enough time in the day.

This is very much evidenced by the fact that I have not posted in ages!!! And, because I know I tend to ramble, I will try to quickly summarize the things going on in my life, and give you pictures to fill in the gaps.

I've pulled my back out somehow, and can't get it feeling good no matter what I tried. Helping my son's teacher set up their classroom two weekends ago was the kicker. Thought I had it taken care of, but a week back at work has it all out of sorts again.

In an effort to try to help the back problem, I've decided that probably being in good physical condition would help. So, yesterday I took my first ever yoga class. I've done pilates before, but definitely liked the yoga better. Today I purchased my own yoga mat and strap. Yum.

The Boy has finally started school. His school purchased a new property late last year and began renovations just before the summer. They didn't make their scheduled deadline. Usually his school starts the Tuesday after Labor Day. That week they took 4 different field trips - one each day. The following week school was canceled. Now they are finally up and running, sort of. The older kids still don't have their own buildings, but since that has very little to do with me, and they are at least utilizing space elsewhere on the campus, I'm not all that concerned.

My sister and brother-in-law now live in a different country. Not that my sister and I are extremely close or anything, but we do love each other, and well, with all the stresses that I've been going through (think that has anything at all to do with my back????), I cried the first night she was gone. She and Scott came to stay with us for a few days before they shipped out - between packing and selling their house in NC, and shipping their car overseas as well. I guess I just took for granted that she was still "here" even though she's lived in a different state for the last 3 years, and now, well, it's not like that's a long-weekend kinda visit anymore.

I do plan to visit over the Summer. Bonus of being a teacher, huge planning time for trips! But it seems like a long time away, and we won't have the normal "keep me awake while I drive home from work" conversations each day. She had about an hours' commute for a while in North Carolina, and we did more talking during that time period than we did for probably the previous 5 years.

Last, but most definitely not least, we have finally put Grammy in her eternal resting place next to her late husband. The headstone with her name added is at the top of this post. On September 13th we flew to Vermont for her memorial service. This is the part I'll tell in pictures:

The Boy loves his Grammy. Here he is having a nice conversation with her. One cute/funny note. The day we held the service (not this day, we were just stopping by to drop off flowers and see that everything was ready) a cute little froggy was hanging out here. He stayed the entire service, even when my dad placed her urn in the ground. Odd.

We took a ferry ride. The ferry goes across Lake Champlain, from South Hero/Grand Isle, Vermont to Plattsburgh, New York. It was a gorgeous day.

He got to pick apples with his girlfriend, Sarah. Note that, even though Sarah is actually his COUSIN, she was always referred to as his "sister." This time, though, she's been promoted to "girlfriend." Cute.

He even got to drive the tractor back from the field!!! The owner of the orchard (Allenholm Farm Market) is an old family friend. We did all the island stops the same day as Grammy's memorial service, and The Boy was treated like a king because of it. He got lots of special privileges - like driving the tractor (okay, I was a bit concerned, but Ray assured me it was safe - we were only going 5 mph, after all), and I swear they would have let us walk out without paying for the bag of apples we picked if I hadn't asked about it before we left.

Overall, the town was very kind and generous to us, as usual. Everyone had such wonderful things to say about my Grammy. She was a wonderful woman and did so very much "good" in her lifetime. She is missed.

Even though we went there for such a serious occasion, we also got to enjoy ourselves and remember exactly what it is about Vermont that held Grammy there for so long, and that drew the family there to begin with. The people are so much more polite, charming, and laid back. I plan to take The Boy back more often, and to visit for my own mental health once in a while as well. It is a remarkably beautiful part of our country, and life there feels so very different from our busy, hectic run-around days!

More later, but I thought it was time I posted these pictures. Of course, there were yarn acquisitions, and I'll get that part of the trip up soon.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Pictures, Pictures, Pictures

This morning, I was taking a picture of my current knitting project - a test knit (!) for Glampyre Knits (Stephanie Japel). It's really coming along nice, and knitting up so quickly! I realized I hadn't taken any progress pictures of it yet, and since I'm planning on finishing it this weekend so I can cast on for a new stole, I figured I'd better get hoopin'!

So, without further ado, here's what I've been working on:

I'm using Brown Sheep's Cotton Fleece in Provincial Rose and I'm thinkin' I really need to get more of this yarn for my stash! I's very lovely - drapes beautifully, and seems warm enough without being stifling. Then again, I'm always cold, so we'll have to actually wear it to test out the warmth factor. It is 80% cotton, 20% merino wool.

So, anyway - while I was fiddling with the camera, I realized I had never downloaded and shown the blog the pictures from the summer. What a bad blogger I am!

Without further ado, I bring you - WHAT THE HECK I'VE BEEN UP TO THIS SUMMER!

This is actually The Boy this Spring in Williamsburg, but the picture is so dang cute, I had to (re)post it!

And, the Genius shot is always a winner, in my book. This was the beginning of the Summer, if you recall. If you don't, it's at the Kitty Hawk/Wright Brother's Memorial in Kitty Hawk, NC. This started out our Summer O Fun.

This was also in NC, but further up the beach - at the Currituck Lighthouse. The Boy just so happens to be a pretty good photographer. This is one of several shots he took of the three ladies in his life, waiting outside the lighthouse for our chance to climb the stairs. We all made it safe and sound. That's me on the left, my mom in the middle, and my sister on the right. Forgive us, for we have vacation hair - which means I wash the chlorine out of it, then put gel in it, put on a headband, and forget about it. It usually works better when what you put in is actually HAIR GEL, and not just aloe vera gel. Reading is fundamental. :O)

Here's a shot of The Boy, my cousin Darion (junior Marine), and myself at my brother-in-law's Marine Corps graduation. I would tell you what he was graduating from, but, then I'd have to kill you. Sorry. We are very proud of him, though.

And the Summer was not complete without the book launch party for the last Harry Potter book. The city of Alexandria, Virginia had a nice little shindig all up and down the main drag. They turned it into Diagon Alley, and there was a lot going on. The only thing was, they somehow grossly underestimated the popularity of the idea (what they were smokin' I don't know, I mean, this is only the 7th book to come out. Did they not get it the first six times that the book launches are a HUGE DEAL??? They ran out of most things before we got there. Not a big deal for me, I'm a big girl and all, but there were lots and lots of disappointed little kids who had stayed up late only to be turned away and forced to walk the streets empty handed for several hours waiting for their copy of the book! Sheesh!) It was a nice idea, though. The picture is my sister waiting outside the art gallery that actually carries Mary Grande-Pre prints all the time. They were not sold out. They get the hype. Thank God!

My mother and The Boy outside the 16th Street Baptist Church during our family reunion tour.

My dad inside the church, posing underneath the Wales Window (stained glass window given to the church by the country of Wales after the attack).

This statue was called "Police Dog Attack" and stands in the Civil Rights Memorial Park, right across the street from the church and museum.

My Uncle Butler and Aunt Betty posed in front of the jail statue I told you about - dealt with segregation and stated "I ain't afraid of your jail." and "Segregation is a sin." Amen.

And this is the schoolhouse that was on the site of the picnics and such. This is where my grandmother went to school back in the 1890's. In case you're wondering, my dad is a tad older than my mother, and he was the last child my grandmother had. She had kids for 17 years straight, so that number is correct. 1890's!!!

And last but not least, here's the boy outside the dolphin tank at the Baltimore Aquarium. Notice how close we are? Yeah. Mommy finally got talked into sitting in the splash zone. I managed to talk him into the last row of the splash zone, and we got thoroughly soaked from the knees down. He was very happy.

And I think that about does it for us. Besides many many hours logged in at the pools, etc. I think we had a pretty busy Summer. I hope The Boy had fun!