Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Snow Day!

Actually, more like "icy rain/snow mix day" - but hey, who's complaining?  And even luckier - the school district where I teach and the school districts where my kids attend school were ALL cancelled so we all get an unexpected day off.  So welcome this time of year!  I am hoping to finish the book I am reading, grade a bunch of essays, knit a bit, and make some soup and bread.  Items one, three, and four sound much more appealing than item number two.  I must be disciplined!
Anybody Out There by Marian Keyes
I am just finishing Anybody Out There? by Marian Keyes.  I have read a couple of her other books - Sushi for Beginners, and Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married.  Funny and serious at the same time, and usually with some kind of an unexpected twist.  Okay... if I grade one essay, then I can keep reading. Deal.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

On the Needles

Here it is Saturday again.  I had hoped to post again last Sunday, but the cold took a serious turn for the worse.  I snuffled and coughed my way through the entire weekend, finally ending up awake in the middle of the night Sunday night with serious ice-pick-to-the-cheekbone style pain in my sinuses.  Finally at 4:30 in the morning I got up, went online, requested a substitute teacher for the day, and typed up lesson plans to send in.  I hate missing school, but there was no way I could make it through the day in the state I was in.  I stayed home on Monday, talked to my doctor, and started on a serious regime of steroid nasal spray to reduce the swelling in my nasal passages, mucous thinners, and neti pot.  (If you have sinus issues and have never tried the neti pot, you must go out to the health food store and buy one immediately!  It really works!) I was skeptical.  I thought I would need antibiotics for sure, but the doctor said to give it 48 hours of the above treatment and then to call back if there was no improvement. I went back to work on Tuesday, still suffering. Well, sure enough, by Wednesday I was starting to improve.  Thursday was a little better. Friday a lot better. And now, here it is Saturday, and I am much improved.  I am still blowing my nose and coughing a bit, but I feel I am on the mend. So - that is my testimonial about using methods other than antibiotics to cure a sinus infection. I am a believer.

On to more creative topics - knitting!  Here is a picture of my first FO of 2011.  (Is it cheating to call it an FO when there is a pair and I only have one of the two completed?  Hmmm....)
This the first of a pair of legwarmers that I am knitting for my Tiny Dancer.  My 13-year old daughter has been dancing on and off since she was three years old, and dancing quite seriously now for the past four years.  She takes classes in ballet, tap, and hip hop, and also does competition tap dancing with a team and participates in her local dance company's production of The Nutcracker each year.  The dance studio is called the Dance Asylum and is where I also take tap, ballet, and jazz classes (though I am nowhere near as good as Tiny Dancer!)  The people at the Dance Asylum are absolutely amazing - really the best part of it all, if you ask me. The pattern for these legwarmers is from one of my favorite blogs, The Purl Bee.  I also ordered the yarn from The Purl Bee, and it is everything they promised it would be.  Easy to work with, soft and cozy, and beautifully hand dyed.  Love it!

I finished the first legwarmer (they are very long!) last Saturday night.  On Sunday morning I wound the second ball of yarn and got started on the second of the pair. 
I didn't have much time to knit on this during the week between work, grading papers, and being completely exhausted from being sick.  Here is what it looks like today:
I had to put it on the floor right next to the back door which opens onto our deck - east facing - to get a shot that wasn't completely dark.  It is January-grey here, with a few snow flakes in the air.  I wish it would REALLY snow - much more exciting that what it is doing right now, which is next to nothing.

Hopefully later today I will do some cooking.  I have been craving chicken and dumplings for the past three days and I have a dill bread recipe I am itching to try.

Saturday, January 8, 2011


Hello! I have been wanting to start a blog for over a year now but kept putting it off for one reason or another.  I planned to start it January 1st of 2010 - something about starting a new blog on the first day of a new year appealed to me. I even took pictures of what I was doing that day to chronicle the event.  But then I didn't do it... and knowing how way leads on to way... I found myself at the beginning of another new year and still no blog.  I thought about doing it again on January 1st of 2011, but again - something got in the way. (Probably college football, knitting, and my intense desire to stay on the couch all day under a blanket, doing very little, and not thinking about going back to work on Monday.)  So now it is the weekend AFTER the first of the new year.  I have been back to work for a week, have a terrible cold, tons of papers to grade (I am a high school English teacher) and suddenly decided that I would not put off the blog creation any longer.  So, here I am.  My hopes for this blog are the following:
* it will inspire me to write more
* it will be a place to showcase the things I love to do in the very little free time I have: knitting, sewing, reading, and cooking
* it will be a place where I can record the funny things that happen around me that at the time I think I will never forget, but I most certainly have forgotten by now

I need to be realistic about my blogging.  It will probably happen only on the weekends during the school year.  I think my fear of not posting regularly enough was one of the things that kept me from starting. But now that I have noticed that many of my favorite bloggers have gaps and take breaks once in awhile, I am over that fear. So here goes... I am excited, a little nervous, and looking forward to a new project in a new year.

Here is what I was working on last year on New Year's Day 2010.  This is one of the last strips of knitting that was rolled into a flower, felted, and then sewn onto a purse that had also been felted.  This project took a lot longer than I anticipated.  For one, when you knit something to be felted it has to be MUCH bigger than the finished project turns out to be.  And second, these roses (24 in all) were more knitting than I thought.  Overall, I was happy with the way the purse turned out.  I felted it, sewed on all of the roses, attached some cute plastic handles, and lined it with fabric from Anna Maria Horner.  I would post a picture, but after I started using it this holiday season, some of the roses started to pull off the purse and so it needs a little first aid before I can show it to the world.

This is what I was reading last New Year's Day 2010.  I read the first four of the Harry Potter series out loud to my son beginning when he was five years old. (He is 16 now!)  After that, he could read himself and I stopped reading the series.  A year ago, I decided to finish and I read the fifth and sixth books. This Christmas break from school I read the seventh in the series at my daughter's urging. (She is now 13 years old.)  I was a little nervous to read it, because I didn't know how the series was going to end and I was afraid I would be disappointed.  J.K. Rowling did not disappoint and I loved it.  Someday I will have to read the whole series over again - perhaps when I am retired and sailing around the Caribbean.  Sigh.

Besides having a terrible cold, it is a beautiful winter day.  It snowed all night last night, and we woke up to a fresh blanket of snow and the sun just hitting the tops of the trees to the west.  Here is the view out my kitchen window of my backyard.  I am obsessed with the birds, and I have been extrememly disappointed that there have been so few over the past few weeks. (The snow melted over New Year's, and I guess they could find food elsewhere.)  Today, with its fresh blanket of snow, cold temperatures (it was 8 degrees when I got up, and is now up to only 16 at nearly noon and with bright sunlight) they are back! These little things make me so happy.

The view out my kitchen window.

The birds are back!

Well, I think that is enough for my first post.  I am so excited to finally be blogging, I don't want to stop!  I hope you enjoy a lovely Saturday.  Maybe later I will be feeling well enough to go out cross-country skiing.  Fingers crossed.