My blog about knitting, teaching, and being a mother to two energetic young boys.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Monkeys Have Landed...

Well - Monkey-Sock-Swap 3 is officially over for me. I received my package from my pal, Courtney, this afternoon. What a great package - Thank you Courtney!! The monkey socks are so cool & fit like a glove. They'll be much appreciated during the cold winter! Let's see - what were all of the goodies in the box?

  1. Hot Apple Cider Sachet - created the yummy aroma that greeted me when I opened the box. My socks smell yummy too!
  2. Victoria's Secret Hand/Body Lotion - Yum!
  3. Cute Monkey Kleenex
  4. Cute Monkey pins
  5. Cute Monkey Pad of paper & pen
  6. Heart Shaped post-it note -as a teacher, I certainly go through a lot of those!
  7. A cool fabric bag w/lady bugs & a lady bug liner. A great place for sock projects!
  8. 2 Cookie-A patterns & Lang Jawoll yarn to knit them up.
  9. Great Monkey Socks
Thank-You, Thank-You, Thank-You Courtney - You Rock!!!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Happy Mole Day!

Damn, I'm tired! Why - you ask? Well - today is National Mole Day. We chemistry teachers bill it as the most important day in Chemistry, and East Anchorage H.S., we go all out. Mole day was started by some teachers in Wisconsin to celebrate Avogadro's Number: 6.02 x 10^23 (can't figure out how to make an exponent). A mole is essentially a counting unit analogous to a dozen. If I say I have 1 dozen skeins of yarn, everyone (even non-knitters) know I have 12 skeins of yarn. A dozen always refers to a quantity of 12. The same can be said for a mole, except it refers to a quantity much larger - 6.02 x 10^23 (602,000,000,000,000,000,000,000) So - if I had a mole of skeins of yarn - that would infer I have 6.02 x 10^23 skeins of yarn. Holy Cow!

So - to celebrate, we invite our chemistry students to arrive at school at 6:02 am on October 23. We meet at the front flag pole where we light candles and sing silly songs about Mole Day (Happy Mole Day to You, and We've Got The Whole Mole in Our Hands). After the outside festivities conclude, we move into the warmth of the building (it was 33°F this morning with a light dusting of snow) to enjoy juice, doughnuts, and participate in the Mol-ympics.

We had close to 200 chemistry students arrive at school this morning prior to 6:02. What's our secret (besides the fact they all just love chemistry?) = EXTRA CREDIT! Yup -kids will do just about anything for extra credit points - even wake up before God & come to school. It's a pretty amazing sight to behold. In addition to arriving so early, students also had to create a stuffed mole & enter it in the annual Mole Fashion show. Below you are some of the entries:

Dr. Seuss Moles - One Chem. Teacher is a Dr. Seuss Fan

The "Incredimoles" - This took 1st Place Overall (and I'm proud to say they were created by a student of mine who also dressed the part of the little designer - "No Capes!")

There were some 'punny' moles - like the S'Mole (again - another student of mine!) Isn't this clever?

Moles supporting a good cause were on scene!

Even the "king" was present for Mole Day! (See photo at beginning of blog) I even had a student submit a mole wearing a tiny knit sweater - complete with cables. Too bad I forgot to take a picture of that!

School does not begin here until 7:30. So - we have a bit of time to fill and keep students supervised, thus the creation of the "Mol-ympics". Events included:

"Molesical Chairs"

"6.02 Avocado Relay" - One entry made Guacamole :0)

We launched moles with the "Mole-A-Put"
We also had the "Mole Legged" Race upstairs on the track. Too bad I wasn't there to capture the exciting competition.

In a nutshell - "East High is the place to Mole Things Over". A great time was had by all & I doubt students will ever forget Avogadro's number!

Oh yeah - we start the indoctrination about Mole Day at a very young age. Here are the boys sporting their Mole Day T-Shits. Too bad I forgot to take the camera off of the night scene shooting mode - made for a blurry pic. That's what I get when I get up at 4:30 am.

Ciao - nap time!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Sock Wars...

Where have I been, you ask? Well - in the heat of battle! As I mentioned last time, I am participating in Sock Wars 2007. What a crazy ride! On Friday afternoon, I received this email:

Hardy warrior, today is the day. You, Arctic Knitter, must do your utmost to rid this world of the dirty fighter that is, Bethro. The instructions with which to assemble your weapon are below.

Once completed you must mail your socks to your target.

Crazy! So - I've been knitting like a mad woman trying to complete a pair of socks and 'launch' them to my target in California, before I receive a pair of completed socks that will 'kill' me. Surprisingly, it's more stressful than I thought it would be, but fun too. I'm almost 'scared' to come home afraid of what might be awaiting me. How ironic is that? Who wouldn't love a hand knit pair of socks that someone made just for them. The fact the socks were made in the name of destruction is totally beside the point. Here's where I am so far...

Only two repeats and a toe to knit. Since I didn't 'die' on Monday (several poor souls have already met their demise), I wasn't too overly stressed. I think Wade was more stressed than I. When he came home last night after soccer practice, he was concerned that I hadn't knit while he was gone. I used the time to hang out and play with our youngest son. Our conversation went something like this:

Wade: "Hi - Oh, the dishes haven't been done yet."
Me: "Hi - yeah, I've been playing Goblet and drawing pictures with Iain. I'll do them soon."
Wade: "What? Why aren't you knitting? You could have finished those socks by now!"
Me: "I know, but the mailman won't arrive in the middle of the night, so I'm not worried. I'll go up & do the dishes."
Wade: "No - do you want to get killed? I'll do the dishes! Get knitting!"

I love that man!

So - I arrive home again today to find no socks of doom on my door step. I'm beginning to feel a little cocky - plenty of time to finish the two repeats & knit the toe right? I even posted a "na na na na na" message to the group about how I'm still alive, yadda yadda yadda. Oops - doesn't pride cometh before the fall (or something like that?) Because, then, I go and check out the data base, and find that my status has changed to dying! Ahhh!!

So - why am I on this blasted computer! I need to knit and FAST!! Ahhhhh


Pattern: Scar by Julie Gardner
Yarn: Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted Weight, Jeans Colorway
Needles: Addi Turbo US #2, Magic Loop
Target Gauge: 6.25" / inch

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Monkeys off my back...

Yes! They're done! These socks were knit for my Monkey Swap Pal for MSS3. I figured I'd have finished these long before, but of course - life gets in the way.

Pattern: Cookie A. "Monkey Sock" - What a dream pattern. Fun, easy to memorize, creates a cool sock.

Size: & For a size 10 foot. This presented a bit of a problem, as my feet are a smidge smaller. I think I reknit the toe on one sock 3 different times. In order to accommodate the larger size, I added an extra pattern repeat. With the added repeat & the toe - the sock looked like it could fit a clown. I'd hate to send of a pair of socks to someone who'd end up hating them. Like a tell my students - the work you submit is a reflection of you, so following my own advice, I froggedreknit so as to send off my best work.

Yarn: Ugh. Plymouth Sockotta. Cotton blends are not for me. At least not this blend. The yarn wasn't very soft to work with. I have to admit I fell in love with the color, and kept reminding myself that my Monkey Pal, who lives down South, will appreciate the cotton in the warm temperatures.

Modifications: Again - avoided the kitchner by working a Star Toe on the socks. I just love the look, how it fits, and - I don't have to sew. I kept with the pattern on the 1st sock & kitchnered, but when I decided to rip back the toe & one pattern repeat, I went with the star toe. Just love it...
Next up... Sock Wars! Bring it on.... Feeds right into my competitive nature. Dossiers are released on Saturday & then you'll be able to smell the smoke from my needles. Of course - I have to finish a pair of socks before I receive a pair of socks from my assigned assassin. It should be interesting. I'm not planning on lasting long. I'm in it for the socks...

Tomorrow - the first gathering of the EastHigh Knitwits at a local coffee shop. A great time to knit, visit w/colleagues you normally don't get to see during the school day, and of course - indulge in caffeinated pleasures. I'm looking forward to it!!

I leave you with a picture that 'warms my heart':
DH with my 5-year old. Certainly no question of the paternity, huh?

Ciao ~

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Coffee Swap Questionnaire

1. Whole bean or ground? Whole Bean
2. Fully-loaded or decaf? Fully-Loaded
3. Regular or flavored? Regular
4. How do you drink your coffee? With my mouth. JK - Cream & Sugar
5. Favorite coffee ever? French Roast
6. Are you fussy about your coffee or will any old bean do? Pretty picky, but open to new caffeinated experiences
7. Favorite treats to have with your coffee? Scones, Quiet Time
8. Anything else about your coffee preferences? If I go to Starbucks, I like caramel machiatos.
9. Yarn/fiber you love? Wool Blends, Socks That Rock, Regia silk, Dream in Color
10. Yarn/fiber you hate? Fun fur, scratchy yarn
11. What's on your needles? Lots! - A pair of broadripples, Finishing a pair of monkeys, Minimalist Cardigan
12. Favorite colors? Blues, Purples, Reds, Greens
13. Allergies? Nope - other than pain
14. Anything you really love, really don't like, or just need to get off your chest? I love my family, soccer, travel. I really don't understand mean people.

Yeah for Coffee! :0)

Sunday, October 7, 2007

It's Official...

Winter has arrived in Alaska! I awoke this morning with plans to ride my bike downtown for breakfast with friends. My plans were quickly brought to a halt when I opened our front door and was greeted with a fresh blanket of snow. Yup - as Holly Jo mentioned, winter would not wait until after Halloween. We'd better choose costumes very carefully this year.

So.. for fear the bike trails would be too icy, I opted to car pool with my friend & bike next spring. It turns out that our side of town was really the only area to receive some of the fluffy stuff. As I approached my friend's house, who lives only 10 minutes away, it was like driving from one season into another. No snow was in her yard. Weird how weather patterns can be so different within the same city.

New snow also means searching the crawl space for boots, mittens, snowsuits and praying they'll last another season. Fortunately - it looks as if last years' duds will work for now. I have a sneaking suspicion I'll have to restock mid-winter, but if we're set for now, that's all I'm concerned about.
Gotta love being able to make the first snow angels of the season on October 7th! You can see the snow isn't that deep & with the sun peeking out as I type, I doubt this first snow fall will last for very long. Wow - the temp has soared to 35.2°F! Break out the shorts!
The onset of winter provides great incentive to knit, knit, knit. I'm almost finished with my monkey socks for MSS3. I'm using Sockotta yarn - a cotton/wool/nylon blend. I'm not too crazy about it, but hope my pal likes the socks as she lives in warmer climes. The colors are fabulous, but the feel while knitting leaves me a bit luke warm. I'm also working on a pair of socks with the Penllyn pattern for Maggie. I'm a sucker for a good cause. Hopefully the socks will bring her much needed healing powers. I've also joined the Knitters' Coffee Swap 3 - another great combo for cool Alaskan winters. If you love the combination of coffee & knitting - pop on over, I think there are a few spots left in the swap. I love getting up in the morning, having a fresh cup of coffee while lounging around and knitting. I think I enjoy it so much since the rest of the mornings during the week is spent getting ready for and thinking about school. It's great to have the mental break.

Well - knitting (and laundry, and grading) are calling.