Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Well... yes... yes indeed.

Still here... when I started this blog I had really grand aspirations. I totally thought that I would post at least once a day, maybe more like 5 million times a day or whatever Perez's number is. It appears however, that my upper limit right now is one post a week. I'm hoping that once school is out (24 days. 24 DAYS!!!! Not that I'm counting or anything), I'll have a bit more time to post... and write... and clean... and all of those other things that people do with their lives when they're not teachers. :)

Anyway... it's been a bit of a chaotic week. One of my best friends' mother died, rather suddenly. It was about a month from diagnosis to death. Way too quick. She was quite young too, only 54. That's Erin, my beautiful friend at the left, at my wedding last July. I felt terrible for her; it was a difficult end for her mom. So, Saturday was spent at the funeral and wake. It was surprisingly hard for me. My own mother passed away about five and a half years ago. (That's her in the picture below, with me at a ski meet my senior year in high school. Back when I was quite skinny :) ) I didn't quite think that the funeral would effect me as much as it did, but it was very hard. I was glad to be there for Erin though. I know how hard it is to lose a mother and how difficult it is to feel like anyone understands what you are going through. So, it was a long day. I was really glad to have all of my friends around though, both for me and for Erin. It's nice to have so many people who love and care about you. I love my family and am very close with all of them, but my friends are definitely family too, sometimes more so.

Anyway... so the weekend was pretty much shot. Friday Jenny, John, Andrew and I went to go see Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay. It was really dumb, but completely hilarious. I totally laughed out loud multiple times. : )

Saturday was funeral and then afterwards was my cousin Juliana's first communion. We made it in time for a bit of the reception and then went home. We were both totally wiped out. Sunday was spent cleaning. I did get a bit of knitting done and like half a page of writing.
Yesterday was work... boo! And a TON of grading. I'm actually taking tomorrow off, but I think I'll have to grade most of the day to try to get caught up for the end of the year... maybe I'll take some time off to blog though. : ) I need to get some pictures up of the latest squares finished on Nicole's baby blanket. So it goes. Anyway, I'm off to my writing group, though I have no writing, and to pick up the baskets of grading that I forgot at school. I think someone is trying to tell me something... but it does need to get graded. :) Toodles...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The weekend...

Well, It's again been a while since my last post, but I do have a good excuse this time. Last Wednesday-Friday I was up in Estes Park with all of the little monsters for our annual Outdoor Lab field trip. It snowed like crazy on Wednesday, but otherwise it was a lot of fun. The kids were good, and I think they had a great time. I was wiped out when I got back, but managed to make it through watching a movie and getting some knitting done. I'll post those pictures later, as I am currently too lazy to go downstairs and get my knitting and the camera. :)
We ended up watching The Lake House, which was all right. It has Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock. It was a cute idea, but not well acted (surprise Keanu Reeves... duh) and the writing left a little to be desired. But, overall it was entertaining.

I went out Saturday and got a pedicure with Jenny. We then went shopping and met up with the boys for lunch. It was a good time. I was in definite need of a pedicure and it was very relaxing. We ended up going back over to Jenny and John's house so Andrew could help with some alumni band website nonsense, and then we all met Matt and Nicole for dinner. Also quite fun. Nicole looks great, she's getting a little round belly and says the baby has been kicking recently. Matt just got a new job and is really excited about it. I'm really happy for him; he's had a hard time being excited about work for the last few years.

Sunday was church, a ministry leader meeting and lunch with Andrew's family. All relatively fun. : )

Monday I took the day off and went with Andrew and Google to go do a project for Earth Day. We went out with Americorp and the Volunteers for Colorado to plant Cottonwood trees out at some ponds east of Boulder. It was a lot of fun, though I wasn't ecstatic about contributing to the population of cottonwoods. I'm quite allergic to the dumb things when they loose their cotton. That evening we met the church Young Adult Group for dinner at the Sink... it was a crazy busy day.

Since then I've just been at work, trying desperately to catch up on my grading. I've been relatively successful, but it hasn't slowed down much. This has also been hampered by the fact that I think I am currently allergic to everything. I hate this rotation I go through. I never had allergies as a child or a younger adult. About three or four years ago, I started noticing symptoms. First year, no biggie...didn't have to take anything. Second year, took Claritin. It worked great. Third year, tried Claritin, it did nothing. Went to my doctor and got Zyrtec. It worked great. This year, tried Zyrtec, it sucks. I want to claw my eyes out. It doesn't help either that I just got all of my tear ducts plugged to keep my eyes moist, so I have giant sized eye boogers and my eyes are just watery all the time. So irritating. I don't particularly want to go get new drugs though either... so this Friday I'm off to the acupuncturist. I've never been before. We'll see how it goes. I've talked to a couple of people who swear that it has completely cured their allergies, so I'm optimistic. We'll see. I'm also hoping to get some help with a variety of other mild problems that my regular dr doesn't seem to care much about. I'll have to keep you all (or one, or whoever actually reads this) posted. Anyway... off to make dinner, do laundry and clean. :) Fun times...

Monday, April 14, 2008

And finally....

At last the finished drawer. I still have a long way to go on the rest of the desk, but it does look nice doesn't it? I do love organization and all things that help to organize too.

And something non-desk related. I finished another square. The middle is a little wonky, but I think it turned out nicely. I had a heck of a time grafting the edges of the border, but finally made it. It was defitnitely one of the more difficult squares.

Here's a close up of the corner. I thought they looked like hearts. :)

Also... after posting the last two posts, I saw a ton of typos... pardon those. I'm in a hurry as I should have left the house for a meeting about 15 minutes ago, but wanted to get this done. :) See you all later!
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Addict Part 2

Well, I really need to figure out how to get Picasa to post more pictures at once... a project for another day. For those of you that thought that really wasn't that many cards and I'm not addicted. Here is the rest of my card stock. These were just the ones in nice boxes. : )

And my collection of note pads. I don't really write notes. I keep some lists, but those are all on the four note pads that are on the fridge downstairs. I have no reason for having all of these... but again, do love them and most were only one dollar!

A small collection of my notebooks... another weakness of mine. I have about six more in various stages of use next to my bedside table and a bunch more in a drawer at school. So cute though, so cute and a writer can't write without notebooks can she?

My final addiction... puch penl Or pop-a-points as I call them. I love these! It is such a feeling of accomplishment to finish a point. Life finishing a pen, but in a much shorter time frame. Some of these even have scented erasers. How can you beat that?

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I'm an addict.

It's true. I am fully 100% addicted to all things office supply related. Below is a picture of my desk to proove it. : ) I took today off of work, partically because I just really need to use up my days before the end of the year, and partially because I had an eye appointment. I got my second set of punctal plugs* put in and my eyes feel great! So I came home this afternoon and decided to clean my desk. I spent a majority of yesterdya cleaning out my filing cabinet and the files in the bottom of my desk. Ridiculous the amount of crap that I have collected. I had kep so many articles and lessons and other nonsense that I totally thought I would use daily before I started teaching. I haven't looked at any of it since it was put in the cabinet. So anyway, I had a great little schedding party. Today I tackled my other drawers and realized that I am compoletely addicted to notecards, note pads, sticky notes and push pencils... it is a little ridiculous.
So... here's the desk with one of the drawers emptied. It's completely covered in various paper products. (and my pretty new monitor that Andrew bought me to support my writing. I love it!)

Here is the box, yes entire box, of blank envelopes. Not blank envelops that have card to go in them, just random extra blank envelopes. All of varying sizes, colors, weights. I really have no idea what I will ever do with all of these, but it seems like they had the potential to be useful someday so I didn't get rid of them. I did however shred any envelop that dared be too big to fit in the box. I have no use for nonconformist envelopes.

The box of little cards. Random love, inspiration, friend, whatever cards. I think I got all of these from a fundraiser the kids did a few years ago. I really don't remember. I think I've used about three of them. But they are just so cute! And if I ever actually thought about it, they would be wonderful to slip into friends' purses, Andrew's wallet, whatever... but I don't actually think about it. Sigh... maybe someday I'll be all super Martha Stewart like that. And when I am... I'll be prepared darn it. Armed with ridiculous amounts of tiny cards.

The rest of the cards. I really do have a problem. I don't know what it is, but I just can't pass up cute notescards. Stupid Michael's and Target always have awesome ones for like a dollar too. Who can pass that up? Really? One Dollar?? SO... I have massive amounts of Thank You Notes, blank notes, inspicational notes, friend notes... whatever. Keep in mind as well that these are all separate from the giant box of birthday cards that I have in my basement as well as my stock of about 100 tiny gift cards for wedding, birthday, graduation, baby... whatever. Do I write many notes? No, no I do note. I never write to long lost friends, teachers I should thank, my family. Well.. I take that last part back, I do occasionally write to my Great Aunt Dodie, but otherwise... no notes. So really, I have absolutely no reason to have so many friggin' cards, but I really do enjoy them a lot. : )

*Punctal plugs are little silicone things that plug your tear ducts so your eyes stay more moist. Fan-freakin-tastic for super dry Westerners like me. :)
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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Since I'm on a posting role today...

And I just got this through my Google Reader, which if you don't have you definitely need. It's one of my favorite things. Took this quiz... interesting. Usually the political quizzes point me toward Hillary. I'm a full-fledged Obama supporter. I agree with Hillary in theory, and loved her husband in office, but I don't want a Clinton/Bush dynasty. Try it out for yourself! It has quizzes for Democrats, Republicans and Independents.

Who should you vote for?
Barack Obama48
Mike Gravel45
Hillary Clinton-1
You expected: Barack Obama
Your recommendation: Barack Obama

Party: Democratic

Born: 1961, Honolulu, Hawaii

Family: wife and two daughters

Career: Business International Corporation; NYPIRG; attorney and constitutional law lecturer

Political career: Member of the Illinois State Senate from the 13th district, 1997-2004. Incumbent Junior Senator from Illinois since 2005

Hot topic: Universal healthcare

Did you know? He is the only African American currently serving in the US Senate

Supported by: Oprah Winfrey, Eddie Murphy, Will Smith, George Clooney, Halle Berry, Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman, Michael Jordan, Jamie Foxx, Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Ed Norton, Jennifer Aniston, Zach Braff, John Cleese, Leonard Nimoy and Brooke Shields

Okay.... last pictures of the day, I promise. :)
Another pair of socks for the church. This is some self-striping yarn that I bought about a million years ago and has been sitting in my stash for too long. It was okay to knit with... not my favorite thing, and the colors were a little weird, but for charity? They'll be just fine. :)

Another church project... prayer shawl in progress. It's much more orangy in person, the yearn is soft and has an intersting nylon thread running through it in other colors. Overall... it's okay.

A picture from the Wedding Ring Quilt project. This is hopefully what that mass of squares will look like in the end, which will hopefully be before August. :)
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And some more knitting.... these are various works in progress:
Here is one corner of another square for the Aran Afghan. It's an interesting pattern. You knit the outter ring then pick up the stiches in the middle on double pointed needles and knit in to the center. It's been fun so far, quite hard to put down actually. Going around the first corner was a little difficult. I'd never knit with short row wraps before, and it took some Googling to figure out what exactly the pattern was asking for... but I figuered it out. It's going rather quickly now.

This is one of the center squares for the Wedding Ring Quilt that I'm knitting for Andrew's sister. It's sort of a daunting task. It's knit entirely in garter stitch, so it's not super exciting, but there is a lot of shaping, so I still have to pay attention. I haven't worked on it a lot recently, but I need to get back on it. The wedding is in August, and I have long way to go. I'm not particularly looking forward to the finishing... but... it is a labor of love.

Here's the stack of squares that I've finished so far. There are 16 (!) of them to knit. I think I only have 3 or 4 left to knit the triangles onto... Just need to get up the motivation.
And finally some socks in progress... yes they are huge! They're actually for the soup kitchen at our church. Many of the homeless that come in are looking for warm socks, so I'm making a few pairs...
More pictures later... or when I finish something. :)
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Well... so much for me keeping up on blogging. :) I do have some excuses, really, I do. Andrew and I went to D.C. for Spring Break. It was a lot of fun. I'll post pictures some time later. We of course, couldn't get through all of the sights that we wanted to see, so we'll have to go back soon. It was beautiful though! The cherry blossoms were out in full force and they really are glorious. We went to a few different museums and made it down to some of the wineries and a battlefield. It was a great trip, but definitely too short. I feel like I could live there for years and still never see all that the city has to offer. It did spark my desire to live in a city again. We'll have to see how life works out, but I do think it would be fun to live in a little apartment or brownstone in Manhattan or D.C. Just to be in a small neighborhood, ride the subways around, be in the middle of a major cultural scene, I think it would be a lot of fun.
After getting back from D.C., I went to the RMC-SCBWI Spring conference the next day. It was a ton of fun! I was really inspired by all of the authors and aspiring authors there. Though I am still struggling with my children's book ideas, I do feel like I have more direction. I'm thinking that my picture book may be better suited for a middle grade novel, but we shall have to see how it turns out. I think I'm just going to write it and see where it goes for right now. Also on the writing front, I've started going to a writing group. I went the first time right before we left for D.C. On Tuesday, I went again and actually took some writing. I was absolutely petrified! However, everyone was extremely kind and had a lot of works of encouragement. I was so excited after listening to all of their comments. It made me SO happy. I just can't even explain how much I want to keep writing. I hope that I'll make it as a writer. I do think that I'm a good writer (not that this blog is necessarily a good example of my writing prowess) and I just need to get my work out there.
Well... on to slightly more exciting things. I've got a bunch of pictures of my knitting and various works in progress.
Here are some of the finished squares for my Great American Aran Afghan.

Only a slight mess up on this one. Hopefully no one who doesn't knit regularly will notice. :) I really struggled with this pattern at first, I had to tear it out and start again, but eventually got going on it and it turned out nicely.
This pattern was really interesting. It was knit in strips-- which is sort of hard to explain. You knit the bottom garter stitch rows, the place most of the stiches on a holder and knit the far right cable pattern all the way to the top, then pick up down the left side of the knitted piece, add a few stitches from the holders and knit up the side again, purling stitches together at the end of wrong side rows to join it to the existing knitting. It's quite hard to explain. I really should have taken pictures as I went, but alas... here we are. I'm not exactly sure why the patter was written that way, it didn't seem to do much visually... but whatever. :) Here it is. Only 9 more squares to go!
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