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

Saturday, October 25, 2008

A Letter To Mom

Dear Mom,

It's me Winston - I've included a photo to help jog your memory. Where did you go? One minute Daddy was bringing me to day care (where I did very well, by the way - thanks for asking) and the next, some crazy lady who looked like she was about to fall asleep any minute, was picking me up. My friends at DayCare said I had to go with her. Really now - I just don't understand you humans sometimes. If you're tired, you don't operative those 4-wheeled things that go zoom; lie down and take a nap!

Luckily, we made it safely to her house, Chez Roach. Quite the digs I must say - nice big yard to do my business if you know what I mean. They even have another Dog!!! How cool is that - if memory serves, she stayed with us this summer. Her name is Joulee and she's been very nice. I asked if I could call her Grandma, but she said no ( I hope she wasn't offended). She's magical!!! We run downstairs & she can jump through doors!! It's just crazy - one minute she's there, the next she's not. I haven't quite figured out how she does it. I did notice in the morning when the humans were leaving, doggie biscuits magically appeared through the door. I think I could learn to like this place! I mean this is a trick you and Daddy need to learn!

Guess what else???? There is another critter that lives here - I think it's called a cat. I haven't been able to get too close, because it stays on top of the freezer in the garage. Take a look -

It's a cat, right? She is soooo cute. I think she's magical too. She can change sizes!! When I first saw her, she looked rather small. Then, when I tried to get closer, she jumped on top of the 4-wheeled thing that goes zoom & got really big!!! Her fur must have been 10 feet tall at the least!! Quite terrifying I must say! I just want to say hello & play a bit. Maybe she's just shy.

Can we talk about the food situation for a bit? I swear the cup you use at home is WAY BIGGER than the one they have here. The crazy lady swears its the same and that you left her some sort of lesson plan of how much to feed me. She says she's a teacher and that she's very good at following lesson plans. Come on Mom, I'm so hungry!!! I think my bowl is smaller too - are you sure you wrote out the correct instructions? I tried to tell the crazy lady that I normally get as much as I want, but she said no, I can only have 2 cups. No wonder Joulee is so skinny! Fortunately, Joulee is kind of messy & drops little bits on the floor which I gobble up before the crazy lady can pick them up. You gotta be fast around here or you may starve!!! I can happily report they have roast beef here - just like at home!! At least she got that part right.

We went on an expedition yesterday afternoon. The crazy lady wouldn't fill my cup before we left - I got some roast beef as a snack & then off we went. It was pretty cool - we ran up hills and walked around a lake. There were some birds, but I wasn't allowed to look at them up close.

The crazy lady wouldn't let me run free. She kept me tied to the leash. She let Joulee run without a leash - so unfair!! What's up with that? The crazy lady said she was afraid I would run off - now really; I couldn't possibly leave without my cup and my cow. Perhaps next time I'll bring them along, just in case the crazy lady has a lapse of judgment & turns me loose.

Look at me!! I'm standing on solid water!!

Yeah - here I am getting pulled back. I just wanted to see the moving water and take a drink. The crazy lady said no (she has a very limited vocabulary, I've decided). I'm a retriever for pete's sake - we're supposed to like the water. Geez

Well, I hope you are having a good time. Do you miss me? Are you coming back? When??? I really miss sleeping in a nice big comfy bed. Seems the man in this place is adverse to dogs sleeping in the bed. What's the big deal? The crazy lady didn't really seem to mind. I think she was just too darned tired during night #1 that if a rabid tiger jumped in the bed she wouldn't have done anything about it.

I love you and Daddy - can't wait to see you. Are you bringing me a present? (oh - crazy lady said that's impolite to ask such a question. Dang - there are so many rules around here)

Love and Slobbery Kisses,


(aka by the crazy lady "Wiggly Butt")

Friday, October 24, 2008


OMG! (That's what I'm reduced to after spending considerable time with teenagers). I've finally done it - I've gone and cut through my knitting. Yes, indeedy - I am no longer a steek virgin.

Last night was my 3rd (of 4) Icelandic sweater class. All major knitting was complete - all was left to do was turn a tube of intertwined loops into a cardigan.

The first order of business was to knit a few short rows to raise the back a smidgy bit. This went well. Next on the road to steek-dom was to baste in some stitches using a contrasting thread. They are to help guide me while I sew the knitting.

Next up was to sew reinforcement stitches so the knitting won't unravel when it's cut. There's some crazy talk out there that these stitches are unnecessary, but I don't think I'd leave it to chance. Our instructor brought along her Husqvarna sewing machine - boy is it slick! At a touch of a button, the machine cuts its own thread. How nifty is that?? It almost makes me want to do more sewing just so I can have a machine that cuts its own thread.

Below you'll see the reinforcement stitches in white thread. The nifty sewing machine has a knit function, so it does a tiny zig-zag w/a straight stitch. This allows for a bit of stretch. Nope - my old machine doesn't do that either. Hmmm - sounding more & more like I need one of these fandangled machines. Turns out I just used the left hand knit stitch as a guide - the red thread wasn't really needed. Perhaps it was just there as a security blanket to make me feel better. Tricksy teacher.

Here I am - doing the deed. Scissors in hand and a deep breath - snip, snip, snip.

And all that without a glass of wine or a shot of whiskey. Brave (or blissfully ignorant?)

Next - knitting button & neck bands. I'll sure to report back when I'm all done.


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Mole Day!!

**Warning - This Post Contains NO Knitting Content**

Greetings fellow nerds!

Today is National Mole Day! A day to celebrate Avogadro's Number 6.02 x 10^23 - a way to relate quantity of atoms to masses of atoms. At East High School, we celebrate by arriving at school by 6:02 am. We gather with our students around the school's flag pole to sing mole songs ("Happy Mole Day to You" and "We've Got The Whole Mole, In Our Hands") at 6:02 am. After singing, we enter the school to enjoy juice, doughnuts, and East High's version of the "Mole-ympics". (Aren't we clever...) Students participate in the "Mole-legged" Race, "Mole-sical" Chairs, "Mole-a-Put", and the Avocado Relay.

Why do we do this? To show students that chemistry is fun and learning can be silly. I'll tell you - my students never forget Avogadro's number. Now, they may forget how to do math/chemistry equations, but they never forget the actual number. I suppose it is worth getting up so darned early. Of course - a little extra credit thrown in works as an excellent incentive to get teenagers to drag their bums out of bed & show up to school an hour and a half before 1st period.In addition to getting up 'before God', to receive the full extra credit points, students were required to make a mole & dress it up. Moles were entered in the East High Next Top Mole contest. The mole above is an "Eskimole" - aren't our students so clever? Of course, being as tired as I was (my eyelids feel as if there are 100 lb weights attached to them), I forgot to take pictures of the other entries.

My boys have grown up with Mole Day. I remember when they were itty-bitty, scooping them out of their crib & carting them off in their car seat in the wee morning hours. Orion even made it on the local news during the 2001 Mole Day.

There is a bit of a lag between the end of the morning Mole Day festivities and when I drive them to school, so how do my boys pass the time? Check it out:

"Mole Vader & Mole" (Although it looks like a strange mole mating ritual)

Good vs Evil

Not a flying pizza, but a "Mole Destroyer"

I'm sure George Lucas really meant "Mole Star" instead of "Death Star" - must have been some crazy 1970's typo.

Yes - the Brain Washing has begun....

Just need to prop toothpicks under my eyelids & then I'm off to knitting class to perform major surgery. I'm STEEKING my Icelandic sweater tonight. Wish me luck....

I leave you with our house guest for the weekend....
Hi Mom!! (in case you're reading blogs this weekend....)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Whoa - it's been almost 3 weeks since my last post?!? I'm such a slacker... Rest assured dear reader(s) that I while I've sadly neglected my blog, knitting has been fast & furious. Let me fill you in on the past three weeks:

1) Elka - my Icelandic sweater. I *think* I mentioned I was taking an Icelandic sweater class. It's been fabulous - we've met twice thus far. At class #1 I learned to swatch in the round by knitting back & forth & not joining in the round. Weird, but accurate. Gauge was close enough to use size 10.5" needles for the Lopi yarn. Yes - size 10.5" + bulky Lopi = fast, fast knitting. Our instructor wanted us to finish the body of the sweater (knit in the round w/steek stitches added in) by class #2. Being the type A, overachiever that everyone accuses me of (okay - guilty as charged), I finished the body & sleeves by class #2. At class #2 I learned how to attach the sleeves to the body so I can knit the yoke. Slick as roads at 32°F. So - after some tricky math (how embarrassing since I taught Advanced Algebra for years) & help from another knitting teacher, I finished the decreases & am ready for tomorrow's class #3 and STEEKING!!! Ahh - I'm going to actually cut through my knitting. You know that's worthy blog fodder. Here's what it looks like so far:

It might be a bit snug on me (I kept thinking I was knitting the medium when I looked at the pattern in the wrong spot & ended up knitting the small size) so, I might be able to cross off another Christmas gift from 'the list'.

2) The Central Park Hoodie from the 2006 Fall edition of Knit Scene. I've had yarn in the stash for this project for months. So - cast on a couple of weeks ago & as of this evening, I've finished the back, learned how to add short rows to the back rather than binding off, knit the left front w/short rows at the shoulder, three needle bind off left front to back, and cast on & knit about 8 inches for right front. Not too bad... I'm trying to get all pieces knit & blocked (this will take some serious 'Frankenblocking' since the cables pull in a lot) before my next finishing class (November 3). I'm hoping my finishing class teacher can show me the correct way to sew in sleeves - I kind of winged my way through the last two sweaters. Here's the evidence so far:

3) October is time for Socktoberfest which means I felt the need to try to knit a pair of socks. I've really fallen off the sock bandwagon lately. I still have about an inch left of the RSC Cleopatra socks to finish - I just haven't found the impetus to pick it up & finish. Luckily, those clever knitters over on Ravelry kicked off a Socktoberfest KAL. Kirsten of Through The Loops wrote a mystery sock pattern. I was hooked! Each Wednesday she posts a new clue for the sock - I started a week late, but was able to catch up w/both socks by today's release of clue #4 (the foot of the sock). It's been a lot of fun - here's where I finished before clue #4.

The yarn is from a purchase I made during our road trip: Dream in Color - Smooshy. The color is Lipstick Lava - fun name. Clue #3 was the heel which turned out to be an Eye of Partridge heel - I've never knit one, and it was pretty cool.

And of course, because three projects (that are getting attention) can't be enough, I told Iain that I would *make* his Halloween costume this year. He and Orion are going to be:

Calvin & Hobbes!! What a sad day it was when Bill Watterson stopped creating this masterpiece of humor. Orion will be Calvin (easy, peasy - red shirt w/black stripes, black shorts - done). Iain will be Hobbes. This costume is not quite so easy - it will involve sewing. Yup - the things I do for my children.

Here's the costume so far:

Yeah - still lots of work to do. It won't be ready for this weekend's school carnival, but should be done by the actual date for Halloween. Wish me luck....

No sewing tonight, as I need to get to bed so I can get up before God so I can be at school tomorrow at 5:45 to kick off our Mole Day celebration. More blog fodder! :0)

So I hope you see why I've been away so long. Shouldn't be such a long hiatus before my next post.

By the way, please go visit OneMoreRow and wish my great blog friend a happy birthday!!