Friday, December 31, 2010

the last day of 2010

This year has been marked with disease, family strife, financial woes, and a few new beginnings.
Let's focus on the good stuff, shall we?
  • The hubs and I moved into our own place. 
  • My sister moved to Chicago. 
  • I am teaching again in a classroom of my very own at a school that I actually kind of like and might even see myself working at until I'm old. 
  • I reconnected with an old but still very dear and important friend. 
  • The monkey started preschool. 
  • The hubs went back to school. 
  • The hubs just started a new job.
Not too bad, right? I think the good might actually outweigh all the bad this year has brought. I am SO glad we are hours away from this year being over. I am almost positive that 2011 is going to be less drama-filled (at least that's what I'm hoping!) and maybe even less of a financial nightmare too.

In terms of knitting, I completed 33 projects this year and ten of them were shawls!!

There were only two pairs of socks, one face mask, six hats, four cowls, two pairs of ear warmers, four scarves, one pair of mittens, and two pairs of fingerless mitts.
For 2011, I'd like to get back into a few more socks. I think I might finally cast on for that vest for the hubs. I might even finally cast on for an audrey in unst for myself (good thing I waited..it would've been a tad big on me and I'd have to gift it to my sister!). I also want to cast on for some endpaper mitts. Got the yarn all ready (it's been sitting out on the floor for weeks now!). Before I set my sights so high, I still have to finish the pair of socks I began for my sister, the hat I should be working on right now, and possibly the OMG mittens (but I'm still on the fence about my yarn choice!).

In terms of reading, I didn't fare as well as I had hoped. I guess that's what happens when you're easily distracted by your job as a teacher. :P I was only able to complete 25 novels. Tori Spelling was quite popular with me this year. lol. Amidst my 25 reads, there were some really good ones. I think my favorites for the year would be (in no particular order): My Life in France, Eat, Pray Love, and The Help. The last two have been key in my journey through 2010.

Resolutions for the new year? I haven't taken the time to think of any yet. When I do, I'll let you know. I can tell you that I went through this apartment and did a much needed cleaning/de-cluttering which says to me that I don't like entering a new year "dirty."  I vacuumed, most of the trash is out (still need to take the rest of the recycling down!), the laundry is done, and my bedroom floor is clear once again. Clean room, clean conscience, right?

With that, I am off to work on more narratives. I've got about 4 done and I had challenged myself to get 3 done today (and it's after 6!!).

May you all have a fantastic new year!

in recovery

Christmas came and went and seemed to swallow me up whole. It didn't end when I realized (days later!) that I was suffering a horrible bladder infection the day after Christmas. I spent the entire day in bed-unable to move and fearful of the next time I was going to cough or sneeze or what have you. This was my first time having a bladder infection and I don't wish it upon anyone (so I say now!).
During my bed rest, I was afraid to close my eyes during all the tv movies I was watching for fear that I wouldn't wake up! We didn't go to the ER or even to see a doctor because the next day, I was actually feeling better.
I am guessing since I was doing such a horrible job of taking care of myself these last few weeks, that eventually something was going to catch up with me--something bad! I had lost my voice earlier in the month, then I had a dry cough which sort of lingered. You'd think that I would've increased my liquid intake but I did no such thing. Then the DAY before Christmas, I had a cold and couldn't taste anything and I still had a cough which had sort of worsened. My body was seeking revenge against me and therefore, late Christmas night what I thought was just too much crap was possibly the onset of my bladder infection. It wasn't until Wednesday that I sort of started feeling like myself again.
So while I have been gone, there have been a couple of finishes, another trip to Christmas in the Park, and lots of baking!
I finished the beret for my SIL. I ended up frogging the one for my sister. When I went back to work on it, I noticed all the errors I had made with the cables and I just kept picturing her wearing it and it wasn't flattering. I have since cast on for a new hat using the same yarn.
I finished the hub's face mask which is super duper warm. I finally gave it to him yesterday!
My sister and I went up to San Jose to go pick up my friend who was flying in from Portland. Before we left, I had suggested that we go check out Christmas in the Park (but only if my friend was going to be okay with it!). We ended up taking the monkey and my SIL with us so it was inevitable that we were going to end up at Christmas in the Park!
Even though you don't get to see all the Christmas lights during the daytime, there are SO many things to see like this countdown clock! In all the times I had been, I had yet to notice it!
There was less people and we were better able to take pictures of things. Not to mention the lighting was SO much better during the daytime!
I liked the ornaments on this particular tree. I took a pic so that next year, my assistant and I can try to make these cork reindeer with our kids!
Me as a tree!
The monkey sneaking on Santa's sleigh..
And my goofy sister as a snowman.
And now for the few baking shots I have..
 Here are the strawberry poinsettia cookies I attempted to make.
The still unfrosted butter cookies I made..and I didn't manage to get a shot of the spice cookies I made. My sister came over LATE on Christmas Eve and the girl baked until about 2:30 in the morning. I don't know how she did it! 
Christmas was nice. We ended up just staying in. We had waffles for our first Christmas in our apartment. This Christmas was one where new traditions can begin. I think butter cookies will be a continued tradition as will the waffles. We ended up opening our Christmas gifts later in the day too so that just might be another new tradition..we'll just have to see.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Happy Birthday!

Today was the hub's birthday. Luckily, we had most of the necessary ingredients for me to make him some homemade cupcakes with homemade frosting!
Yet another quiet evening at home. Since returning to "normal," I have been hard at work on my narratives (aka progress reports) which are due the week we get back from vacation. I'm a bit of a primadonna when it comes to composing my reports though. I have to be sitting at a desk (as far away as possible from a tv!!!!!!). I must have earphones on too so I can listen to pandora or something else. I also noticed that I don't really start to get to work until about 3 in the afternoon! That must be why I can only get about two done a day.. I completed my first one yesterday and emailed it to our director for some feedback and she said it was pretty good for being my first one at our school ever. :) Now I just need to  git 'em done (which is much easier said than done!). Narratives are much more difficult and thought provoking than a check list and a comment section. Though I wouldn't trade them for anything in the world. They provide a unique snapshot of each individual child. I'm sure the parents appreciate them too.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Last minute holiday startitis

In all the years that I have been a knitter, this is the first year where I will be giving more than one handmade gifts. With our cash flow running into the toilet, I didn't want to NOT give gifts. I also didn't like having to tell certain people that their Christmas gift from us was going to be late. Why I decided to start Christmas gift knitting THIS week I couldn't tell you. I cast on for a slouchy for my sister.
She hates them but I'm trying to make her more versatile. lol. I kept saying if she would wear WHATEVER kind of hat I made for her and she said yes. She started to figure out what I was talking about. It has been slow goings. I need to focus!!
I want to cast on for these too. They are SO her. She keeps telling me she doesn't want mittens because you have to take them off to do stuff..well, the person that designed these is a genius if you ask me!
Yesterday, I decided I needed to cast on for something for my SIL. I decided on something called cuckoo.
It is actually a fast knit. I am already at the last repeat for the hat body and soon I'll be working on crown decreases. I stayed up VERY late last night knitting and watching tv. I hope she likes it. She has a lacy pink one that she picked up at a shop and she wears it all the time. I figured this color would go with anything.
I have also been working on this.
I am a few inches away from completion but I'm sure I'm going to run out of yarn. I haven't decided yet what I am going to do. I have some paton's merino wool in a similar shade but I also have some more debbie bliss in a contrasting shade as well. Decisions, decisions. I better decide quick!
Oh, I also managed to cast on for my sister's first pair of handmade socks!
I gave her a pair before she moved to Chicago which she wears every night!
I gave her another pair the other day.
I'm pretty sure I won't finish the socks in time to give to her as a Christmas gift but they'll be finished before she goes back to Chicago.
Back to the knitting!!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

gingerbread

This week, I sent home a family homework assignment. It was to decorate a paper gingerbread. The only rules were that it had to be done as a family and that they were welcome to use whatever they wanted. I've done this at most of the schools I worked at. I wasn't expecting to get many back because the last time I did this project at a charter school. I only got a handful back. Boy was I surprised yesterday morning!
Fifteen of my children remembered to do the activity. Two of them made more than one gingerbread. I will try to get better shots of them on Monday. They did a really good job and I made sure to tell them! I am hoping to get more on Monday especially since one of my students was out and was really bummed that he wasn't going to get to turn it on yesterday.
Last night was also my first work Christmas party at my boss's house. I dragged my sister along. The major selling point was free food and free liquor. lol. It was an interesting event. Many parents (particularly on the board!) still don't know who I am which isn't a big deal to me. I kind of like my anonymity.
I finished my mitts that I started earlier this week so I will try to post a finished pic soon!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

more busy

It feels like forever since I last posted! I had intended to post over the weekend but didn't get around to it. Then I intended when to catch up on my sick day that I took this past Tuesday but time just got away from me.
On Saturday, my boss had given the hubs and I tickets to see the symphony.  Wow. Hard to believe those kids are basically half my age. Such talent!
This was my favorite sight at the venue..aside from watching the harpist!
After the symphony, we went to hang out with my BFF and her daughter. We went to Christmas in the Park but since I forgot my camera (and didn't want to rely on cell phone pics!) I figured maybe I'd try to visit her again this coming Saturday and we could go during the daytime (especially since her lil one fell ASLEEP as soon as we got there-we woke her up though!). SO should I follow through and go like I intend to, I will have my camera in tow and will be able to take some pictures of my own. It's a really cool display.
I lost my voice, had a horrible annoying cough, and got very little sleep Monday night so I stayed home on Tuesday. I got lots of knitting done. I had sort of thought I'd go on a knitting hiatus at least until next Friday (last day of school) but that didn't happen! I started and completed two calorimetries.
Both of which are for my sister She mentioned wanting to buy ear warmers and I said I could just make her some.
I finally took a blocked picture of my daybreak.
 The picture doesn't really do it that much justice. Thank goodness my sister is in town again so I can take modeled shots of all my latest finished shawls. :)
I cast on for some mitts for myself.

These are the lovisa armwarmers. I'm nearly finished with the second one. I'm on the fence about blocking them since they're knit in alpaca. I may finally cast on for a pair of endpaper mitts while I'm on break too. :) I'm in the mood to do some stranded knitting. :D There will also be a fresh new pair of socks in my knitting agenda. My sister actually requested some! I gave her a pair of socks I had made for myself and she wears them to sleep. I told her the next pair will be made specifically for her. I wanted to cast on for some mittens but then she told me she can't do much with mittens. Then I mentioned I was going to just make her some fingerless mitts with a muffin top. We'll see. She has lots of patterns to go through while she's here--in between working and all!
Only one more week of school. This week has been the slowest one yet-and I was out sick for a day. You'd think that would make time speed up. HA.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Woman on a Mission

I have been knitting like mad to get my daybreak completed so that I can take a break from knitting and get caught up on some letter writing. I'm caught up on nearly everything else but that! Never mind all the upcoming holiday stuff like cards/presents. lol. Not quite sure what we're doing for those but I do need to scrounge up some money for postage for cards at least!
I am up to the border on my daybreak but the following pictures don't show that. I think I was up to about 13 stripes for each color when I took these pictures yesterday.
Here's a close-up of the striping.
A better shot of one of the 'wings.'
Just another close-up!
I got to the border very late last night (I even screwed up the start of the second row of it and had to rip back!) while I was watching a movie called Lovely, Still which was really good but also very sad. All the while I have been trying to come up with a clever name for my daybreak but nothing is fitting. The blue reminds me of denim and the pink sort of makes me think of bubble gum so for a bit I thought bazooka might've been a good name. Still on the fence. She might make it to the end without a special name at all. Oh well. Life will go on still.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Aftermath

My first Thanksgiving was wonderful! I used to claim to be someone who didn't partake in typical Thanksgiving fare but I actually went the whole nine yards..from turkey with gravy and mashed potatoes (I like them but won't eat them all the time),  all the way down to stuffing (and I really am not a fan of that stuff)! The company was great as well and we ended up staying really really late. We were supposed to meet up with my best friend and her family at some point but we totally lost track of time. My boss grew up in LA and the hubs having been born and raised there was sort of doing a stroll down memory lane with her. It didn't help that she had one of those huge coffee table books of Los Angeles. He had to look through the whole thing!
Everyone had great stories to share about their childhood, their parents, or even their grandparents except for me. Isn't that sad? I told the hubs (once we got home) that I don't have great stories to tell from when I was a kid. I didn't have cool adventures or get to spend much time with extended family so I was a little sad. My childhood felt very different compared to the stories I was hearing from my boss, her husband, and my husband and I couldn't relate.
Aside from that, I was just glad to be with people who enjoy Thanksgiving and even like having company over!
My sister had a great time in NY and also got to partake in a typical Thanksgiving. Maybe this is part of what was missing from our lives growing up? She also got to see the sights of the city. Though she didn't make it to the Thanksgiving Day Parade! Oh well. Maybe next year. 

Thursday, November 25, 2010

My First Thanksgiving

Can you believe this will be my first 'real' Thanksgiving in my 35 years of life?
Growing up, we had food on Thanksgiving but it wasn't what I'd see on tv-big families getting together, having turkey, mashed potatoes, candied yams, really appreciating being with the people they were with and actually having a good time. Our Thanksgivings always fell short when it came down to the true meaning of the day-being grateful for all that one has. Maybe it was unspoken but it surely wasn't taught and it definitely wasn't ever expressed. Isn't that sad?
All my Thanksgivings up until now have been spent with the people that I lived with. As I grew older, it sort of became an obligation to have to spend Thanksgiving with them. Last year, I was actually happy to be spending Thanksgiving there because we were allowed a more active role in the meal preparation. Were they grateful for the new dishes we were trying to incorporate as future traditions? No. They didn't even try the new dishes. My sister, my husband, my SIL, my brother, and I all slaved on various dishes but were they appreciated by the elders of the house? No. In fact, we had to eat our own leftovers.  In fact, all we heard was complaining. Guess where that has left them? To spend the holiday alone this year. Instead of a full house, it will just be the three of them this year and probably from now on. Do I feel bad about that? Not in the least.
In fact, I'm quite excited to get to experience my first 'real' Thanksgiving. We will be spending it with people whose company we genuinely enjoy that inspire us on a daily basis. They have gone out of their way to welcome us into the school community as well as into their everyday lives. I am grateful for both of them on a daily basis. We might even get to see my best friend and her family for a bit as well if time permits.
I am happy to say that on this turkey day of 2010, I am chock full of happiness and gratitude.  We are in a good place (aside from all the outside forces) finally and life can only get better.
I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving (if you're in the States). I am grateful to have you all a part of my life.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

whole lotta knitting goin' on

Please forgive the utter silence that has been my blog over the last couple of weeks. I have been busy preparing for the Harvest Feast which came and went last Friday and then I needed to get my butt in gear and finish both girly and lil' bit o' everythang because once I finish those two, I will be one shawl away from 10 completed shawls in 2010. Talk about a major accomplishment for me. I didn't set out trying to meet this goal but in the back of my mind, I did want to be able to say at the end of the year that I made 10 shawls this year. :)
I unfortunately have no snapshots to share from the Harvest Feast. I brought my camera but the hubs noticed it wouldn't turn on! Then I remembered I had charged the batter but had yet to pop the sucker back in. Oh well. It was beyond adorable. I partnered up with another teacher whose Harvest theme was trees (and mine was leaves!) and we just had the kids sing two songs. One song about apples on a tree (we shortened it to a mere 5 apples rather than the standard 10) and then we sang a song about autumn leaves to the tune of "London Bridge." The cute part was one of the movements the kids were doing! I at least have a mental picture of one of my lil ones doing the motions for 'roll around.' lol. 
Next year, I will hold onto all the art that the kids created (rather than just send it home) because I didn't know we were supposed to display stuff! Oh well. Rookie mistake. So all I have to show are these leaves, I had the kids make. We had gone on a leaf walk and when we came back, they crushed the leaves with their hands and glued them onto these paper leaves. We waited until they dried before they cut them out.
Please excuse the busy background. We had just returned from the Harvest Feast and my bed was the first place I thought of to take these pictures!
Now for the knitting shots you're waiting for. I present to you, girly (who if you ask me is absolutely stunning). She cleans up quite nicely!
I honestly didn't think she'd turn out this well. I can't wait to show her off!! I will work on getting a modeled shot during this long weekend. If I can't pull it off, you all will have to wait until my sister gets back in town which will be in December!
And now, here is lil bit o' everythang.
And here is the newbie, the grand finale of 2010, daybreak.

I've got a bit of a ways to go but I think I should be finished with it before the year is up. Then I have knitting to do for others..mittens, hats, etc.
I have also completed two books while I've been away! I finished Heart of the Matter which I ended up liking once I got past the first 300 pages (I had the large type version which had 538 pages total!). The other night I finished The Carrie Diaries which I also ended up liking once I got more into it. The ending left me wanting more! So I'm hoping the author is working on another book to follow up this one. Late last night I began reading This Must be The Place but fell asleep so I didn't read much of it.
Tomorrow, the hubs and I will be feasting with my boss and her husband (who I teach with). We have been given the job of making hors d'ouevres (since the hubs insists on bringing something edible) so who knows what we will end up making.
We are back in the throes of medical/financial issues. Let's just say we paid what we owed when we first began dealing with this garbage last month and then they decided to bill us again (for the same amount we already paid) so we're out $221. Not sure if we'll be able to go take care of this today (I always forget the hubs has class on Wednesday afternoons!) so hopefully on Friday we can get this resolved. Sigh.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

rainy sunday

I've been knitting like mad to get my andrea's shawl finished. I started the striping the other night and found myself rather unhappy with the contrasting color I had pre-selected.
Isn't she pretty??
As I continued to knit, I thought how I should've used the contrasting color as the main color instead but I did not want to have to rip back ALL that work (remember all the suffering I had to endure just to get this far??)
It was late at night so I had to use flash which totally washed out the sundara making it darker than it really was. The contrasting color is more of a yellowy green. So back to the drawing board I went late Friday night. I decided that the contrasting color needed to be a warmer shade and the one I was working with was too cool. I took a look into my leftover yarn bin and hit the jackpot. Here's how my andrea began to look yesterday morning after some stash diving. :)
The yellow stripes are actual a sample of cashprose from Perfect Day Yarns that Sarah sent eons ago. I don't know what the colorway is but after I did these two stripes, I really wished that I had had some more.
The next set of stripes (brown) are from some leftover sundara sock in sand castles which I used for the hubs' breaker break socks.
The pièce de résistance of striping is from my leftover chuckanut drive from HazelKnits. I am absolutely loving how this leftover skein looks against the main color. :) I was sort of doing a mathematical increase but I just couldn't stop with the chuckanut. Not sure what I'm going to use next after I use it all up. It's going to be a toss-up between my leftover sweet potato
or my leftover rhubarb
Decisions, decisions.
I knitted a teeny bit on my girly last night.
I have a feeling I may wrap up my andrea shawl-which I'm now calling a lil bit o' everythang because I'm decreasing with every right side row while with girly, I'm increasing. We'll see.
I talked to my sister last night and found out that she is in dire need of some hats, mittens/gloves, etc. I've got a little box of stuff that I've been meaning to send her way but I just haven't taken the time to get it all set. Yesterday, the hubs and I went through some more stuff and I think I'm going to mail her out my super cupcake set and I'm going to try to whip up some mittens. Oh, and I get to make her a ski mask!!!! lol. I also learned that the knitted socks I gave to her some time ago (cos they were fitting me too big) are getting a lot of usage because she uses them to sleep in. :) I'm going to have to whip up her own pair of socks while she's here. I'm thinking come next winter, she's going to be a bit more discriminatory about what she wears in regards to hats/mittens/etc. so I have it easy right now.
I have a short week of school this week. We have Thursday and Friday off! :) I'm going to spend both days catching up on reading/letters/knitting/tidying up around here! Oh, and I'm going to be sleeping!!