Sunday, August 30, 2009

Aug. 30: The Last Day

It's a lovely golden day and has been since about 12:30, when the sun fought off the fluffy clouds and the temperature went from about 50 to 65ish. I have written a letter on the deck, hung out two loads of laundry, planted the mums that Swimgirl's mom gave us, filled and hung three birdfeeders, and taken down the hummingbird feeder. I still need to decide what socks I want to make next, since this morning I sewed in all the ends and blocked . . . .

the February Lady Sweater!!!!!!

At this point, I'd call it a modest success--it'll be interesting to see what I think when the buttons are on and I'm wearing it post-blocking. The yarn, Reynolds Cricket, is the tricksiest part: as I was finishing I was thinking I wanted to start it all over in some of the natural Candide I have, and the other half of my brain was thinking that I didn't. ever. want. to. do. another. gull. wing. lace. repeat. again. In reality, I think I'll make a baby version in the rose colored Cashmerino I have in my stash and call that good. Oh: pic with my rinky-dink camera:

It's currently drying in the screenhouse; I'll bring it in tonight and hope that an evening inside will finish it off. We shall see!

Today is such a perfect late summer day: it's really too cold to swim, even! I am in a long-sleeve shirt and jeans on the deck, and I could use a fleece vest (Younger snagged my pullover). I had hot tea after we came home post-food shopping, and it tasted great! Next week is due to be gorgeous, dry, and cool (low 70's), so all the signs are there and pointing toward school. Let it be so!

It's been an interesting summer, for sure: July was hard. I don't know if it was my micro-managing side, my loss-of-school-people-fix withdrawal coupled with sunshine deprivation, or what, but man! It was a tough month. August, on the other hand, has been wonderful--I almost feel that having only August would've been enough for me! My Wabanaki class, my time with Julie, the weather, the family time, running with Younger, working on FLS, doing a little schoolwork each day (at least in theory), then our recent festivities of dinner with Bigfamily, Younger's b'day party/overnight/b'fast, BH's and my elegant anniversary lunch, and Elder's xc dinner, then yesterday's smash hit coupling of terrible weather, triumphant closing run, fun out to lunch, tons of movies, and deliberate knitting, knitting, knitting--WOW. I feel really ready to go back and make the most of it. I guess that's what a vacation is for!

So, in closing. . . a shot of Zeus personifying enjoyment in this green and gold world we're living in:

Saturday, August 29, 2009

August 28: The Comforts of a Muddy Saturday. . .

We've got 'em! I was the first up at 7:50, and Younger the next at 8:50--and we went to bed early, too! Rain started gently but has been hard on and off, and it's been a great day for me to fulfill my sincere hope of finishing sleeve #2 and blocking FLS today! I have flown through the two remaining House of Eliot episodes left on cd #3 and am ready to take a break from them and go for some real movies. While the show is lovely to look at, I feel that the stories have become a little set, and the plot features the kind of problem to which the reader can see the answer long before anyone in the story does. Tilly needs glasses, of course, but she can't afford them! If Bea would be less bossy, Madge would stay! Of course Jack loves Bea! etc. Sooooooooo. . . I'm postponing the rest till I need some good knitting background.

But mostly I want to boast about Younger, by starting off talking about ME. I'm a structure person: I tend to make plans and then try really hard to follow them through. Not everyone enjoys this approach: Elder, for example, and BH only sometimes see the wisdom of my approach. Younger, however, tends to be even a little too fond of structure. . . but when I was thinking about him and his upcoming cross country season, as well as his tendency toward self-doubt and chunkiness (at 13, granted), I thought that a plan might work for both of us, and we decided to run every other day during August. We started at 20 minutes on August 3, and he will have preseason on August 31, so today, August 28, we had our last run: 34.51 minutes, at a good clip, a 2 minute improvement over the same course two days earlier, and in the driving rain. Younger uttered no complaints, and he really pushed in the last half mile. I am so proud of him (and of me. Though I work out five times/week, running every other day, about 3 miles, is not what my 46 year old knees/feet/joints necessarily desire, especially when I spend some of my energy exhorting a less-than-excited 13 year old, so big cheers for me, too)!!! I feel that we've taken a huge step towards life-long fitness, and we've had a good time (ahem: all in all), and we did what we put our minds towards. Ha! We rock! And here we are, being tough, right after our return. Two hot showers, fresh clothes, and a celebratory lunch at Karen's Cafe followed. Yay!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

August 26: From the Porch

A lovely morning after a perfect night for sleeping--breezy, cool, quiet. I was the first one up at 7:30, and Younger appeared next at 8:45! Elder was due for a late night good bye visit with a good friend and role model who's off to college, so he's sleeping in as long as he'd like. Emotional times are wearing, especially for boys, I think--but I'm so glad that Elder and his friends are admitting that and taking the time to say good bye. In any case, it's a quiet house this morning.

Five days left till BH and I go back to school, and we've got plenty planned in those five days. I keep trying to get a hike up Cadillac together, but can't seem to get anyone to go with me, so we'll see what unfolds there. Maybe it'll become a Labor Day/last gasp of summer outing instead. Younger is having his very belated friend b'day gathering here on Thursday night: two movies, cheap pizza, and six boys in our screen house. Friday night we've asked Elder's xc team over for spaghetti after practice, as they have their first meet on Saturday at MDI. Things are cranking up again!

The boys and I are on Artemus Fowl book four, having skipped book 3 since it was "out" at the library listening site (not sure how that works, but that's what it said). I'm hoping we can figure out how to work that site once school starts, since I'll be in the market for books on cd for my commute once again. As it is, I am listening to Artemus while I work on sleeve #2 on my February Lady Sweater (!!) and Elder listens to it while he works on his artwork.

I am thinking of a portable project for the various meeting days upcoming, and I am thinking SOX! I have four options at least, but I"m leaning toward making a pair for me from my Koigu PPM handpainted stuff in pink. I don't want to get distracted from the sweater efforts yet, so perhaps I'll wait till Sunday afternoon to get that decided.

In the mean time, I'm in the balance between getting stuff done and reveling in my lassitude. . .

Monday, August 24, 2009

August 24: The First Day of the Last Week

--Big crisis for me was the LEAKS we had in our NEWLY SHINGLED ROOF when the incredible rain produced by the remnants of Hurricane Bill arrived on Sat. night and last night. As I lay in bed listening to the water dropping into the bucket at the top of the stairs (falling through the light fixture, just for another scary touch), I let myself get all knotted up, feeling that old black wave of "why does this happen to meeeeeeeeeeeeeee?" sweep over me. Coupled with the Ongoing Question of the Stupidly Rigged and Inefficient Heating System and the Mysteriously Triggering (But Only at Night) Fire Alarm System, the Leaks Despite $4000 of New Shingles Roof made me feel like Ma Joad or at least like we owned the Amityville Horror house. Then I snapped out of it: admitted I was pissed but realized that it was NOT the end of the world or even a huge crisis, got up, had a snack, finished the book I was reading, and fell asleep by midnight. Still: we're calling the roofer today.

Dentist today and then a stint weeding the big gardens at the church, which need some TLC. All this rain will make it a pleasant job, I think, as the weeds should slide right out. The last week is always a battle between soaking up some lassitude and doing everything I meant to do but didn't, due to soaking up too much lassitude. May the balance be struck!

Friday, August 21, 2009

August 21: Well We've Got Cooler!

It's also foggy, damp, and still. I think it's tropical moisture from the much-vaunted Hurricane Bill, whose wrath we're supposed to feel (?) on Saturday/Sunday. An interesting sign of the change in air was that the fire alarm system went off TWICE last night, the first time since a week ago Sunday, when our visiting guest dad who thinks about such things was pretty sure it was a malfunctioning unit in my study. Alas, 'tis not, apparently. After explosion #2 I (BH is checking out nursing homes for his dad with his brother these two days) went to the cellar and turned off the fuse. Oy.

Yesterday was a busy busy busy day: curriculum/course planning work from 8:30 - 2:30, tho an accident in Somesville meant most of us sat in our cars for 45 mins to an hour. Once we got to Sue's, the work was good and the food delicious, however! I stopped by school en route home (still thinking, "Hot dog! I'm ahead of the game!") and got my new laptop decorated with all the stuff Anne Computer Whiz had recovered from my old laptop (we teachers are SO LUCKY!), which took a really long time at the end of a day and in the middle of a list of errands. . . . and then I had to shop for Friday dinner with the Big Friend Family, now up to seven with their two new kids and eight with a nephew who's visiting. { I think I made some good calls on that: pulled pork in the slow cooker, coleslaw, and blueberry buckle INSTEAD of pie, with ice cream or whipped cream, and ice cream/chocolate sauce if the kids prefer. Of course, it's now 9;13 am and I haven't stuck it in the cooker yet, nor started The Great Clean. There. The boys and I have just agreed (ahem) to have them start picking up at ten, and then I can start cleaning. It's a running day for Younger and me, so I'll have to fit that in somewhere. . .} THEN I went to the Farmer's Market and picked up the share, and when I got home I had to fit all the stuff into the fridge. . . Believe me, I was ready to collapse into a chair to read the weekly paper with a big glass of water!

Last night we lolled about a bit, then Elder finished his amazingly detailed AP pic of a praying mantis and Younger and I watched two episodes of "Scrubs" (I'm enjoying wasting my nights as soon I won't be able to . . .!) while I worked more on my sleeve. We'll see how it turns out over. Right now I'd say it's better but not ideal. I may need to actually decrease some stitches before the cuff. !!!!

So: soon to my feet, for b'fast and some good hard work. Ta DAAAAAAAA!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

August 19: Hot, hot, hot

It's been about a week of hazy, hot, and humid weather, and (shhhh) I'm getting ready for it to change! It's not so much the days, as we're blessed with the river to swim in and there's usually a breeze somewhere, but the nights aren't much fun! There are rumors that we'll get remnants of various hurricanes up here this weekend, but I'd settle for a nice northern flow and some Septemberish weather, especially as I need to do a (final?) thorough clean on Friday and the floors, skipped when Julie and co. came but used heavily thereafter!!!, need real attention. In this weather if I wash them, they'll stay wet all day!

Sweater news: I don't think I've ever watched so much screen stuff: episodes of "Scrubs," "Columbo," and soon more "House of Elliott" (tho I love that and would watch it regardless!). . . and then I decided to take out the last 12 lace repeats on the first arm,go down one needle size, and aim for a less flowing shape. I'm making the arms full length, and I don't want a LOT Of extra fabric. So: I am now about at the elbow, take #2, sleeve #1, struggling a bit with the flow of the stitches on the round needle after the lace rows, but doing okay. I think I'll have to use double points for the next needle downsize--in about 10 repeats, I think. I was checking Ravelry yesterday to see what people were doing about sleeve changes and again I was amazed by the number of people who can set out to do these in ONE MONTH! I must investigate this!

But I'm also getting a hankering to make socks, remembering that BH would like a hat for C'mas (and I'd like to do it secretly so it's a surprise), considering a commission to make a stocking and a chullo for my patron of last year, and and and school is looming. SO: I knit, I knit, I knit, and hope for a cooling trend. Not bad, not bad at all.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

August 13: Friends. . .

There we all are, just before our CT friends left. What a nice week of activity, visiting, adventure, UNO, and good food we had! The two womenfolk even got to go see "Julia and Julie" yesterday--with no kids! The house is quiet and empty now, with BH off fishing, Elder at Swimgirl's house, and Younger at Gameboy's. I have done and hung up four loads of laundry--humid nights and lots of swimming meant lots of musty wash, so it's up and drying, tho it's a half-sunny, chilly day and not great for drying. Tomorrow, maybe. Though we didn't fit in everything we wanted to do--a meeting surfaced that couldn't be changed, so the Saturday departure became a Thursday departure--we did a lot: I taught Daughter to knit, which she took to with great alacrity; we hiked Pemetic Mountain in Acadia on a GORGEOUS Sunday; we went fishing; we went to Lamoine Beach and did some kayaking/wading/rock skipping/lolling around; we swam in the river a lot; we ate out at Ben and Bill's, Jordan's, Martha's, and Julie and I snuck out to the Riverside too; we had lobster; Younger and I ran every other day, regardless; Elder got his braces off; there was minigolf and a trip to the Fun Park; we played two looooong games of UNO and took many walks. It was a very nice visit!

Starting tomorrow, Elder and I have to be more structured in our time, which will be especially hard for him--I use it/need it to deal with my approaching school anxiety! I have my Wabanaki unit due on the 22nd, and also have several pieces of work due as paid summer work (yay!). . . but I need to DO it, which means I'll need to set up a schedule of some kind. I am thinking that 9 - 11 most mornings will work quite nicely, but we'll see. If I could stick to that, things would get done pretty easily, and I'd be able to work out right after, and then the rest of the day would be mine. Pipe dream? Maybe!

BUT I did want to update my recent spate of lite whodunit reading with an excoriating review of Cordelia Frances Biddle's Deception's Daughter, set in the late 1800's amongst the highest and lowest of Philadelphia's social classes. Apparently the author comes from the former. . . but she is much, much, much too fond of mannered sentences and awkwardly stylized speech for my liking: the whole story is told in present tense, which is a jarring detail, and that's topped off with various grating descriptions of people's burning eyes and passionate gazes. It made me cringe, and I speed-read the last 1/3, but overall, I feel fully qualified to say: Don't bother. I'd read quite good reviews of it (my knowledge of BIddle as a writer came from the Daedalus catalog, warmly recommended), but: beware.

Sweater progress: I have fallen in love with the "House of Elliot" series, and between them and knitting with Daughter I have gotten about 3 inches on one sleeve done. I don't THINK I'll be wearing my FLS on the first day of school, but I am making (some) progress. And that counts! It's certainly a faster round with only (maybe) seven lace repeats and then a knit row vs. maybe 20 repeats and a purl! Again, if I can get my "gotta do" work done in the mornings, then I should have plenty of time for my "wanna dos" in the afternoon and evening!

I am hoping to swim a bit this afternoon, and hoping that will loosen up my shoulder. Mixed progress, but overall I'd say it's better--more a 5 than a 7 in the discomfort level lately. Let's hope the progress down the scale continues!

And, last but not least, on Tuesday, our quietest morning, I painted my toe nails, thus making myself inordinately happy AND saving myself at least $20 at the same time. I have to remember what a return I get on 20 mins of work!

(Color of toes not exactly as shown; I'm too lazy to take and post a current pic so this one's a rerun from a year ago, April!!!)

Saturday, August 8, 2009

August 8: Appreciating Vacation

Well, let's see: August has been a blur so far: We had a very successful yard sale on Saturday the 1st, making over $350 for the Heifer Ark, and then Sunday I tidied up the financial loose ends for THREE church fundraisers, and the boys and I had a lovely quiet time listening to the Artemus Fowl cd (Irish and Younger were right: reading, not skimming, was the key to enjoying the book) up in my study while I cleaned up in readiness for

EPC 251: EMBRACING THE WABANAKI INITIATIVE, which hit like a whirlwind on Monday at 8:30 in Bangor and washed everything else in my week away!

The Wabanaki is the tribal confederacy of Native people in Maine, composed of four tribes, the Penobscot, the Passamoquoddies, the Micmac and the Maliseet. In early 2000, their tribal rep. to the State Senate managed to get an unfunded mandate passed saying that Maine kids should be exposed to Wabanaki culture and history on a regular basis in school. SO: we're supposed to teach it, but most of us teachers know very little about the Wabanaki in that deep way you need to know to be able to be excited and full of resources and able to do a really good. Well, suffice it to say that after four books, 8 guest lecturers, numerous powerpoints and documentaries, a media review, a curriculum review, a visit to Indian Island, and 50 hours of class, I feel like I can do it. I also came home and slept for 2 hours yesterday afternoon!!!!!!

Ironically enough, it was a lovely week of weather. My best friend in the world and family arrive around lunch time today, and today is lovely, so we'll hope the trend continues. But I am newly ready to enjoy the joys of summer! FOR THREE WHOLE WEEKS! YAY!