Tuesday, April 28, 2009

4/28: Sweet Air

What a difference a few days make! I am reveling in a tad of post-school free time, as BH is upstairs sleeping off a cold, both sons are doing athleticy things, and I am home in the den with the windows open, fresh, warm air wafting in, and happy dog Zeus lying on the floor. I've discovered that simple knitting makes blog-browsing much less pointless, and am enjoying a session with my Feb. Lady sweater, and am, amazingly, also trying to figure out if I should shoot outside to take down the laundry before. . . a thunderstorm comes through???? How summery can we get?! What a nice, tranquil time.

Off to get that laundry!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

4/25: Last Really Free Day of Vacation. . .

Funny to think of how quickly a day can change. And why. April 25, last Saturday of vacation. Managed to get myself a little squirrelly thinking about that, and thinking about what I should DO and what had I accomplished and all. that. stuff. Nice weather continues so I felt the urge to be outside and not ‘waste it’, but I still have things On The List that I haven’t done yet. . . . and Elder and Swimmer both needed some detail work/delivery places, etc, and Younger and Gameboy, Younger’s overnight guest, deserved some of the same. . . . and what would I do for exercise? Thought I’d check out the mini-tri bike route, but didn’t know it well enough to be confident, and wasn’t sure when I’d head out, and then it got windy, and I don’t like biking in the wind.. . . Can you tell how pissy and restless I was becoming? And it went on!

Took Younger and Gameboy to the beach, which was fun, (there they are having fun)

tho it got very windy and I was cold. However, instead of letting them play--and they were having a terrific and NON-electronic time and could’ve stayed another hour or so--while I warmed up in the car and knitted (yes, I’d brought my knitting), I decided we should go back home--where I was sleepy and somewhat grumpy and lay on the futon in my study and felt bored and restless. And unproductive, and flat. And did I mention grumpy?

So. Finally decided to drive the mini-tri route, and had the unexpected joy of BH coming with me--and driving the wrong route--a MUCH longer one, but with BH we figured it out, drove the right one, and had a very nice time. Upon our return, Gameboy, Younger and I rode bikes to Gameboy’s house, dropped him off, then I took off for a good 5 - 6 mile bike ride, full of hills, and topped it off with a 3/4 mile run and a shower. My new Interweave Knits mag came, so I settled down with it and a snack and then Younger and I decided to make super gingery ginger cookies with mini chocolate chips, which we did, and in the middle of that we ate BH’s lovely grilled salmon dinner. . . . Finishing up, I did a terrific job cleaning the kitchen while Younger rolled the cookies and put them on sheets. Much fun. Now BH is sleeping in his chair prior to getting Elder from a b’day party at (gulp) 12, Younger is asleep on the couch, to be taken upstairs when I go, and I have spent a lovely relaxing evening knitting on BH’s funky brown’n’green socks and reading the new Twist Collective online edition. Same stuff I could’ve done this afternoon, but now it feels much much better!

I am hoping tomorrow will feature a good swim, church, then a lot of tying up of loose ends that didn’t get dealt with earlier. But, I plan to, in the immortal words of a dear student’s mother, “do. . . don’t stew!”

So off to bed I go. What made the change? Exercise? Family? Direction? Simply the act of making a frickin’ decision? Who knows? I’m just glad it happened.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

4/21: Rain, Rain, Stay Here. . .

It's 9:45 am and has been raining pretty hard since about 6:30 am (so BH tells me; I was asleep!). I'm in the den listening to the wind and the rain on the skylight and planning how to spend my "down day". I don't need to work out unless I want to, dinner is already made, I'm off the hook for any of my other "hats", and I am loving it.

Elder and Swimmer are asleep upstairs (the weather dampens the noise from the school construction next door so later sleep is possible) and Younger is at a friend's house overnight and probably won't surface for a few more hours. BH is doing his school work for the week, and he already snuck in a dump trip before the rain got heavy. I plan to go get my February Lady sweater (last set of buttonholes to do!) and the dvd of "Frost" that Mom sent me, and just settle in. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Rainy day on vacation. Gotta love it. Hope you have a day that's as satisfying, whatever shape it takes.

Monday, April 20, 2009

4/20: Dropping a Book

Part of my plans for this vacation include lots of reading, even though that conflicts a bit with my plan for lots of knitting, since my knitting at the moment is not very reading-friendly. HOWEVER, I am further mired in conTROVersy because I can't decide if I want to drop a series of books I've started or not.

My mom gave me three paperback mysteries by Antonia Fraser featuring Jemima Shore. I just read/skimmed the first one, Quiet as a Nun. It was fairly interesting, but the writing didn't enthrall me, and in some places seemed almost like pieces of the story had been cut out: she'd suddenly talk about what her lover was doing as he read the postcard that she hadn't yet written. Odd. There are two others that Mom gave me as well, and I'm torn: I like reading series (why? Maybe a sense of accomplishment?) and the second is set in Scotland, which is a recommendation to me. I think I'll try it. However, I'm not completely committed to finishing the third, and I think I'll give the second four chapters to capture me, and then donate them to the lib. booksale if I'm not hooked. I have a stack of alluring books from our most recent library trip already, so the decision to read or not to read feels big. Perhaps what I'll do is start a new pair of socks so I can knit and read for sure, and then give Tartan Tragedy a whirl. If I'm not hooked by chapter 4, I'll cast it aside and move onto Mockingbird.

Sounds like a plan. . . though I'd really like to watch more "No 1 Ladies Detective Agency" episodes, but I can't find them anywhere, not even to buy. Shoot!

Friday, April 17, 2009

4/17: Friday Before Vacation!

Well. I am home, waiting for Swimmer, friend of Elder who is staying with us over vacation, to come home, and reveling in the sense of vacation about to unfold. We had knitting today at school, and I finished the grown up booties I made as a barter with a student--picture follows!--and knitted a good deal on my February Lady sweater. So far the size seems okay, and I have made two of the four (? I think) buttonholes, and I just changed the way I marked the stitches which should make it faster to knit. I do love the garter stitch part, and I still love the Cricket yarn. A trifle splitty, but really soft and a lovely color--more blue than the pic makes it look.

As I ponder the vacation before me, I have a lot of good stuff to do in my head. . . knitting, reading, sleeping. . . some running (new running shoes!), biking and swimming to help make a final decision about the mini-tri at the Y. . . . some basic gardening here and at the church. . . a quick trip to Auburn for a visit with Mom and Dad and possibly a movie on the big screen (whoo!). . . maybe a new summer blouse with my favorite material to date. . . did I mention sleeping? I have a list of things that also includes some yard work/tree trimming and a possible burn day if we get some rain. I'd also like to get the screens down (somehow that didn't happen this past Fall) preparatory to washing both them and the windows! And of course breakfast out at least once!

So. Lots of good stuff, and having Swimmer with us will be fine--too bad his plans to go on vacation with a friend fell through, but we're glad we could help!

And, in closing, pic of the Mama Booties and their smaller inspiration!

Friday, April 10, 2009

4/10: Open Water!

I think the ice is gone! I'm on my way to bed, but today I. . .
did food shopping for the breakfast on Sunday
got Elder's Easter present lined up at school
got new pieces of Elder's remaining Easter present (I drew his name)
stopped at libe to sign form for Board
picked up Younger's sax as requested (and reminded!)
took down and folded two DRY loads of laundry from the line!
made experimental breakfast casserole
took Elder and Friend to get food
made stollen for Easter b'fast
cleaned up kitchen twice (once prior to working in it, once after!)
finished Ladies' No 1 episode #4
tired myself right out so that I am going to bed, feeling pretty darn content!

4/10: Ice Out?

Image by Jeff Swanson, www.downeast.com
Incredibly enough, some of the smaller lakes and ponds in Hancock County are still ice bound, or were at the beginning of the week. I feel a little of the same stagnancy myself when it comes to really becoming active. Here's my voice channeling the energy and frustration of Maine lake water in April:
•I can't get myself organized to tackle the buttonholes on my new sweater, though after I do one set I have 2.5" of garter stitch increasing that I could cruise through.
•I can't seem to find a new book to read, though, as I mentioned, I am thrilled to have two on the vacation pile.
•I can't get organized to clean off the mare's nests that have accumulated on my bureau, my bedside table, in side my bureau drawers, on our kitchen desk, elsewhere!
•I can't seem to rouse myself to write a letter, though I feel a passionate need to revolt against the layers of facile twittering and posting in our lives today to really respond to some important people in my life. . . .
I think it's a little pre-pre-vacation exhaustion (since we still have another week to go yet!), a little lingering lowness from that insidious cold of a few weeks ago, and a little lingering iciness left from this long winter. Ice out hasn't happened yet for me, at any rate--but I'm hoping it will happen soon!

(Whew. Just a tad whiny. Sorry. Am waiting for the break through!)

Edited to add: what IS it with the posting time? I wrote this at 7:23 am. NOTHING like 4:07 am, no matter what time zone we're in. The squirrels that manage blogger must be off today!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

4/9: Thursday, and Random Happiness

It seems that third quarter is really over, and, amazingly, fourth quarter is truly taking shape before me, and that things are good.

Some happiness items:
Easter approaches! I have managed to keep Saturday quite clear and can do the baking for the Early Service Breakfast, and I think it'll be quite straightforward this time, and the day itself is always fun and communal and celebratory. Tonight is Maundy Thursday, and I'm looking forward to that centering, powerful service. As a family, we decided to have each member of our family draw another member's name and have $25 to do his/her basket, so that has been fun and completely non-stressful. As far as Easter dinner goes. . . I have no clue, but I've also learned that if it's important to the whole family, it will happen, and if it's important just to me, I should make it happen, so. . . . mac'n'cheese? Panini?

I am also hoping to do more knitting: student's slippers and my sweater. I got two more balls of yarn just in case, since I realized I want to lengthen the sleeves to full length, and I would hate to mess this up by poor planning. If I don't need it, that yarn is so lovely that a cowl would be great, so I'm set either way.

The sun is out! We've had rain but not days and days of it, and my bulbs are bravely and slowly erupting. The snow is 98.2% gone, and today the sun rose around 6:35. Bring it on!

I now have two books "stored" for vacation reading: having Heather hand me one and say, "Read it over vacation!" is so hopeful that it's almost better than having the time to read it now! Book of Lost Things (not usually to my taste, but highly recommended) and then Mockingbird, universally raved about. Yum! Vacation is pretty close!

And, Elder continues on a happy, pleasant, active, focused stretch. He's been much more academically focused, and he seems to be reaping those benefits: he's proud of his work, he's engaged in his classes, and the painstaking work of trying to pretend preparation and knowledge isn't necessary. It's both moving and frustrating to see that cycle illustrated again and again, when I've known it so well myself. Younger is loving his one week off between activities, and BH's tough academic year seems to be improving.

So. Also: I had a piece of spectacularly good banana bread at the Starbuck's inside the Bangor Target--served by a very pleasant woman--and that was a little piece of happiness too.

Good stuff!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

4/5: Reading (but no pictures)

I meant to do pictures--of the still brown but snow-free lawn, of my little stubborn green shoots of bulbs sticking up, of my lovely new Cricket yarn, soft grey blue, for my February Lady sweater, of my great new fabric for try three of the Summer blouse. . . but no. I feel curiously overwhelmed and underachieving. Probably hormonal, but also end of marking period and grey of weather, two weeks before vacation, and a VERY busy start of week. . . .

So I will post that I finished reading the fourth book in a series I like despite my best efforts, Lauren Willig's Pink Carnation series. This one is The Temptations of the Night Jasmine, and I'd give it a 7.5 out of 10. A few plot lines were completely dropped, a few anachronisms were too glaring for even my fond eye to overlook, and the protagonists weren't as compelling as they often are, but. . . . I enjoyed it. I found it at the library on a stop-on-a-whim on Tuesday, in the rain, and I finished it yesterday while swatching for my FL sweater. Quite a nice way to get that done!

So though it is raining slowly but rawly, though the grass is not yet burgeoning and green, though I wish I were a lot more together in my grading and tomorrow was not such a madhouse. . . I feel pretty Springy, and I'll even try to hunt up a picture of the very pretty cover to share that feeling!

Friday, April 3, 2009

April 3: Looking Back at March, and Forward at April!

Well--that's both a sigh of relief and an exclamation. March is always a super busy month at school, with various meetings that require changes in schedule and evening hours and such the like. As a result, I end up working full time for part time pay, which is really tough as I already put in far more time than "is required." Doing the job right--when the job is teaching high school English--just takes a lot of time. So. Unfortunately the next two weeks IN APRIL are also peppered with extensions of my hours: detention duty, two parent meetings, an advisor day. . . . so I need to speak to my ass't principal about it. We'll see how it goes. At least it will cut down on the "woe is me" bog of over-worked self pity I tumbled into about the end of March: I had a nasty, lingering, wipe out all energy cold as well, so that didn't help.

BUT: in March I did practice my banjo a LOT. Not every day, but I'd say 5 times/week. And I liked that a lot, and I have a plan, and I hope to keep practicing maybe at least three times/week? We'll see. I do love it when my fingers get calloused again!

And I finished Jesse's sweater, which he loves. LOVES. And that's great. And it's done. It's been weird not to have anything pressing on the needles, and therefore, tomorrow I plan to go buy yarn for the February lady sweater! I may regret this (especially since I want to make it in dk weight, not in worsted) but I've longed to do it for so long that I think I really should at this point of time. So. Off to make decisions and spend money: two things I am spectacularly bad at, especially when they are connected. Wish me luck! I might also buy 2.25 more yards of cotton, this time very light colored, to try another summer blouse. I am determined to get this right, and I feel like I'm getting close. Since it's due to rain all weekend, hard, and since Younger is off to Holton for show choir and Elder is probably lounging all weekend, it's a perfect activity. I need some pictures here soon. Maybe of my yarn!