Friday, August 31, 2007

Annie and Bear

This is me, Bear. Me writing the blog for today. My monkey has been very very bad. So he has to be dealt with. So I tackles him and makes him be a good little monkey. He ususally likes to be tackled. I have never heard him complain, and I have very good hearing.
And this is my big sister Annie. She thinks she is all that because she got to go to Bob and Sandy's and drive their golf cart. Me could do that too. Couldn't you see dear little me doing the driving? Poor Mr. Bear.
My skin Mommy says she is going to go back to work next week and that me has to be the house watchdog again.
Me no like it.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

This is it!

Up early this morning (fantastic thunderstorm-not much rain, but an amazing light show-at 4:30 am), and I got to thinking-this is it. Summer is over for me. I had planned to do a bunch of things- as usual, but....... It's been a bit of a strange summer-at the beginning of July, I was so wiped, I could hardly stay upright and making intelligible conversation at the same time (this past school year was the first time, since the early 90's, that I worked full time. Combine that with chronic pain, and well, you get the definition of tired). We put in the pool, the fence, the decks-July was a blur! Sean worked really hard all month-so we kind of held each other up!!! Annie was in that pool just about everyday-so it was kind of nice to just sit and watch. But not very productive for other things I had planned to do! And August was not much better. But you know, it was a good summer. But now it is back to books and kids and regular schedules. I am going to go in to school today to try to get the last of the classroom work done and ready for Tuesday. I have a straight Grade 7 this time-and I am so looking forward to it! Straight grades are pretty much a rarity these days. The reasons for so many split grades are varied, but I think part of the issue has to do with capping the early primary grades. (That means limiting the number of bodies in Grades 1 and 2) So, here's how it works. Only 20 kids in Grade 1 -so an extras go into a Grade 1/2 class. Only 20 kids in Grade 2-so the extra kids (at this point, less than 20 Grade 2 kids in that class, because of the overflow of Grade 1's)go into a Grade 2/3. And on it goes. Combine that with a general belief in school boards that every child should have at least 2 potential spots in a school-to avoid clashes with a particular teacher, or potential "bad mixes" with kids. In order to do that, the splits end up happening. So how did I get a straight grade this year? A matter of numbers. We are not a large school, by any means (a total of under 275 kids in K-8). But the way the numbers turned out, there happened to be a Grade 5/6, a Grade 6, a Grade 7, a Grade 7/8 and a Grade 8. Will it happen again? Not very likely. At any rate, I am going to enjoy it while it lasts.
So now-off to finishup my coffee, run through the shower and get my classroom all finished-before it gets too hot.
So-what are your fall plans???

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Monday, August 27, 2007

Rant coming-be warned

Ahhh-summer is certainly coming to an end around these parts. The air is a bit cooler in the morning, and those "fall winds" are certainly in evidence. Now, that said, the word is that tomorrow will be humid and hot. (I can handle a "dry heat"). But the other indicator that summer is almost over...those damn ads for school supplies ("It's the most wonderful time of the year..........") Gag me. I love my job-I really do. And this year, I will be teaching a straight grade 7 (no splits this time!) But those ads-c'mon now! They have been running them since July (along with the Halloween displays in the stores-Costco even had their Christmas decorations and wrapping paper out in the first week of August). I went in to Staples last week-and Holy Cow! It was like Christmas shopping! The parents and kids were so hyped up about getting the "right" supplies and backpacks. It's craziness! And if you have multiple kids-I don't know how some families do it. But Annie is all set up. And I have a list of things that I need(like a day book-those run about $25)(and we are required to keep an accurate day book-outlining the day's lessons, as well as long term and short term plans, and all marks/evaluation). Teachers also have to have a decent computer-the report cards are on line-only. If you have a slow, dial-up connection, then reports are going to be even more of an onerous task. At one point, earlier in my career, teachers had everything they needed in the stock room. Not so anymore. So the start of a school year can be quite expensive.
Now for the real rant. Like I said, I love my job. I really really do. I have been teaching in this county since 1981. And I have seen many changes over those 26 years. But the one thing that doesn't change, it appears, is the general belief that "teachers have it easy". I had a discussion recently with an acquaintance who informed me that teachers (every last one of them) have 1 hour of planning time (or, as he called it "free time")PER DAY, and that every teacher makes a minimum of $80,000, and that teachers have too many holidays. Hmmm, truth be told-sounds like a dream job. But it isn't so. Yes, we do get prep times-a total of 110 minutes per week (to prepare materials, to photocopy, to make phone calls, etc., etc., etc.) If you are at the top of the salary grid, and are in administration, your income would be in that $80 000 category. But somebody like me-nope. No 80 grand for me. The holidays? Yes, we get a lot of them. And that is a perk of the job. But we work 5 days a week at school. And we drag work home-to mark, to plan, and to totally screw up weekends. Yes, it's a great job, but it is in no way a "free ride" or "easy street". This guy went on with other bits of totally stupid "facts" that he knew about teachers (that just made me mad).
But like the bumper sticker says,"If you can read this, hug a teacher."
Rant over. We will return to the regular programming shortly.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Storm and long haired sheep

As I said earlier, Annie has been at Guide Camp ( a day camp) all this week. Last night was the big celebration-a barbeque, an evening at Queen's Observatory-talking about the stars, and then an overnight camping trip. Rain or shine. So, around 2:00 this morning, I woke up to the loud crash and bang of a thunderstorm at full boil. Holy Cow- what the heck is going on down at the camp??? There is a large house on the campsite, as well, with enough bunk beds to house 24 people. Anyhow, that old reliable "Mommy Brain" took over at 2:30....."Is Annie okay? Is she getting wet? Is she scared? Did the Guide leaders put the kids in the house?" yada yada yada............. Now, I know that they are going to take care of her. But do you think I was ever able to get back to sleep???? Uh no. And do I have a vivid imagination? Oh yeah. Anyhow, we are to go and pick her up at 4:00 this afternoon. I imagine we will have a slightly damp. sort of tired little puppy. We'll see.

onto other things.........................

School is starting-I'm sure you've noticed all those ads ("It's the most wonderful time of the year..........POOF!") And, I swear, I am like one of the kids- I like to have a new school outfit. So off I went, in search of that perfect piece that will make me feel as confident as I look, right? And I found it-the perfect skirt. Glen check plaid-grey and black with a tiny thread of light blue. Looks like a simple, tailored knee length skirt from the front. BUT-the interest is all in the back-sewn down pleats from the waist to just above the knee, with the hem a series of flouncy kick pleats. Way, way cute. And, when I got home, I realized I had the perfect project (yes, another one) to go with the skirt. A while ago (last year? year before?) I stumbled upon a feast-there was a stash of "Sheep Shop Wensleydale Longwool" on ebay for a very low asking bid. So, of course, I jumped on it. And I scored big time-each skein has a whopping 257 yards per 100 gm-and the stash included 8 charcoal grey, 5 light blue (I used some of that for a baby gift), 2 orange, and 1 each of cream, butter yellow, purple and rose. I thought, at the time, of a fair isle tunic sweater or something. This stuff is like pure gold- the sheep are a rare breed-known for their lustrous wool-see the picture? Aren't they sweet?????Hey-don't just take my word for this beautiful yarn- Bonne Marie from Chicknits (http://www.chicknits.com/rambles/) had an entry yesterday about her love song about the Wensleydale Longwool. Anyhow, I have over 2000 yards in the grey (and I have it in the dk weight). I have had a love affair with Arisaig (at knitty.com-a design by a very talented Ysolda S. Teague), wondering what I could wear it with, if I made it. Now- just look at the way it goes with skirt (that big white fluff in the corner of the shot is not a sheep- it is a Bear) It would be lovely! With a little playing with the gauge, it could happen. As well, I might do a little short rowing (yes, in lace) in the boobage area. But obviously, the sweater won't get done for the start of school- but it is just one more thing to put on my "To Do" list- and hope to get it done before the skirt wears out!!!!!
Today is my lazy day- Annie will be back at supper time, and I have to start going in to school next week-so I think it is time for a little "Crossing Jordan" reruns and some knitting therapy.
TA!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Another day of wandering.....

So, Annie was to go to a friend's for supper (to be picked up from the day camp) so I had my day open until 7:00pm! What's a girl to do? Well, it was a toss up between shopping and knitting. Shopping won out-mom and I went to Westport, Ontario -a great place to shop, or hang out, or whatever- go and see the shopping here- http://www.explorewestport.com/Shopping%20In%20Westport.htm It is about, say an hour or so drive up Division Street/Perth Road from Kingston (here). We also took in Kilborn's, in Newboro (http://www.realontario.ca/listings/listing.asp?id=9079 )-another totally amazing place. We wanted to check out yarn stores, but didn't see any. Does anyone know of one in the Westport area? For next time?
Anyhow, it was lots of fun with Mom- we don't get out together as often as I'd like.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Felted Bag

One of my coworkers hosts a golf day/silent auction/fundraising day once a year to support her husband's trust. He died ( 20? 25? years ago) after an accident while on holiday in Mexico. He was also, at the time, at the top of his game in the economics department at Queen's University. So this trust is a way of the family giving back to the community, with scholarships and awards and such like for economics students. So, every year, she asks if I would donate a little something for the silent auction. This year, I decided to design and knit a felted bag- and here it is......






The body of it is knit from Cascade 220 (felts very very well), and the flap- about a ball and a third of Noro Kureyon. I did a little needle felting detail-I won a set of the needles and the foam and a pile of dyed thrum a while back-so I put them to good use. I also had my mom line it (she is good at that).






And if you look closely, you will see that I stiffened up the edges by using attached icord all around the edges (as well as sewing pieces of plastic canvas along the bottom and up the sides-but you can't see that part).
So that will go into the Silent Auction on the weekend.
And Annie is at day camp everyday. And Sean is in Ottawa. And me? Time to knit my hands off. Ba bye!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Knitting...isn't that what this blog is about???

Okay-so, school is starting in a couple of (ever shortening) weeks. Husband needs to go out of town for a few days. Little one is off to a day camp for the week. So, what's a girl to do? Well, get heavily involved into work avoidance and KNIT! Of course!
So, first of all, I needed to finish up the felted bag-and coerce my mom into lining it (My sewing skills are, at best,at about a 7 year old level !) When it is back into my hot little hands, I will take a picture of it. And what else? Oh yes- my trip to Pennsylvania yielded a bit of stash enhancement. I had so many choices-from that great store, Kindred Spirits, in Franklin- I ended up getting, among other things, enough teal coloured Donegal Tweed (Takhi, Colour #809) to make a vest. This one was designed by one of the owners. And it is simple, and sophisticated, and an easy knit. See???? So I could get it done by the start of the school year, right? So why, oh why, did I go looking for trouble? I flipped open "Cheryl Oberle's Folk Vests" and saw that Bookworm vest pattern. So, now, let me tell you, the two patterns saw each other and decided to merge on the spot!!!! So here is what I did-I am knitting the vest in parts (not all in one to the armpits- I like a seam up the sides to stabilize the knitting). I left out the up and down lines-I might put them in later-don't know. And, since I am bigger on top than on the bottom, I started the vest in the smaller size. Then I added stitches at about the band of my bra. I marked the middle stitch, and then increased like this:

Row 1- RS- K to the marker. YO, slip marker, K1, YO, to the end.
Row 2 and all wrong side rows-Purl
Row 3- K to one stitch before marker, YO, K1, slip marker, K2, YO, K to end.
Row 5- K to 2 sts before marker, YO, K2, slip marker, K1, YO, K to end.
Keep increasing in this manner (keeping an odd number of stitches between YOs in this sequence-1, 3, 5, 7, 9.....) until the right number of stitches have been reached (in this case, the number of sts for the next size) So, this way, you get a nice looking detail (which I will pick up somewhere on the front-maybe on a pocket), and the extra you need to avoid the dreaded "GAP-OSIS" on the front button band.
Click for BIG to get a better idea.
The other yarns in the picture are : 1 skein of Cherry Tree Hill Super Sock (in the greens) and a really spectacular skein of Mountain Colors (60% merino, 25% mohair and 15% nylon) I thought I might make a short lacy scarf with that one!!!
And here's one for the dog days of summer- what a funny moose that dog of mine is! (Yes, he's laughing his head off in that one)

Friday, August 17, 2007

That husband of mine.......

He keeps on getting better and better. When we were first married, the first thing we bought together was a dishwasher. I like to cook, and he hates to do dishes. So do I, as a matter of fact. So, we figured this was a good way to avoid spats. So we spent all of $250 on a small portable one. Fast forward to this past week. The dishwasher has been going for over 13 years. It has had some parts replaced, and has been built in to the cupboard. It has also had some serious rusting of the racks, with bits literally falling off into the bottom. And getting rusty marks on some of my dishes. UCK. So-he and I go on a dishwasher hunt. Right now (until November, I think) if you buy appliances with "Energy Star" on them, you will not have to pay provincial sales tax on them. And we looked at all of the offerings, and ended up with a new tall tub dishwasher by Maytag-if you really want to see it, go here- http://www.maytag.com/catalog/product.jsp?cat=3&prod=52&successful_search=MDB6601AWW I can't seem to be able to lift and copy the picture from the website. And he went over and collected it, brought it home, disposed of the old one, and then installed this new baby!!!! Unreal! He is a good guy. I will keep him. And my new super quiet, tall tub dishwasher.

I hope to be able to put up some pictures tomorrow (now have batteries in the camera)-keep fingers crossed-

Thursday, August 16, 2007

New Free Pattern


You know, Annie Modesitt has a real talent. I can't say I love all of her designs, but, anyone must admit, the gal has talent. And she has another winner out there in the "Romantic Knits". And Potter has a free pattern from it- http://www.randomhouse.com/crown/pottercraftnews/aug07/pattern.html Look at it- is it not cute?????? And it goes to a finished 56""!!!! Now that girl has style! There's a transcript from an interview with Annie- here- http://www.randomhouse.com/crown/pottercraftnews/aug07/interview
Now if only I can figure out how to look like that model....hmmmmmmmmmmmmm.
Stay tuned later to get a view of my stash enhamcement from Pennsylvania.

Monday, August 13, 2007

And we're back.....

We spent a few days in Pennsylvania- in a town called Franklin-we have friends there. And there has been a great improvement since we were last there- a terrific yarn store- walking distance from the hotel!!! (more on that and my purchases tomorrow) (oh yeah, there was a little bit of stash acquisition). But before we got there, my husband decided I needed a little something-so he bought me a GPS for my car. You see, truth be told, I have a terrifically poor sense of direction. I can even get lost in the town I have been living in for about 25 years!!!!! So this way, I could go off shopping or sight seeing when we were on holidays, and "Bitchin' Betty" could get me around and then back home again. It is quite interesting- you are driving along, and then "Betty" sings out "Turn left in 500 metres." She seemed to get quite out of sorts if I ignored her and went somewhere else (she would say, "Recalculating....." in that tone of voice) I think the people who make these machines should put a bit of attitude into Betty- for example- if you go over water (like in a ferry), Betty should say something like "Oh, fer the love of all that is mighty, don't let me get wet!", or, if you decide to ignore her, she might say, "Well, you asked ME, ya know!" Hmmmm, all the things she might say................................

Anyhow- more later, I just got back from (finally) seeing the Harry Potter movie- and I want to go and check a couple of things from the book................................... Ta!

Monday, August 06, 2007

Congratulations!

Congrats to all of those businesses out there in Canada who were mentioned in the new Vogue Knitting! But in particular-
Robyn Gallimore, of Red Bird Knits (redbirdknits.com) and
Ruth Stewart of Impulse of Delight (impulse-of-delight.com)
These are both wonderful women with tremendous talent. About time they were recognized!!!!!!
Huzzah!!!!!!!

Eggs and Hat

I finished the hat for Wilton Mill (I talked about it last week-here is the site- http://www.wiltonroad.com/mill/index.html ) (thank you, Rosalie Bear, for the modelling) I used the same Merino and Sea Cell that I knit the little baby bolero in, and let me tell you, LOVING this stuff! I based the hat on 4 squares, then picked up and knit the rest. The hat pattern will be available at the mill in a few days (I have to finish the editing process and get it up there). I zipped up there on the weekend-and you should see all the fibre she has for spinners. As well as some arty felt mats-even the "landscape mats" for the gardeners. And the Sea Cell and Merino- she has it in CHARTREUSE! (Okay, I liberated some of it) Gotta go visit.







Now that I see these pictures-the one of Rosalie Bear on her face looks a little odd-I just wanted to get a pic of the top of the hat. (No- I don't have dreams of abusing little stuffed bears).

On Sunday morning, my daughter (who is 9) decided she wanted a "fancy breakfast". I had my nose in Harry Potter (so far, loving it)-and about 20 minutes later, she appeared with this plate-poached eggs, bacon, toast, home fries. I asked her if Daddy made it for her-she said nope-she had made it herself! And the kitchen wasn't a mess!!!!!! Gotta love that microwave! (We have a microwave egg poacher, microwave ready bacon-so no stove use) I had a fleeting moment that perhaps she had made it for me, but noooooooo. She sat and scarfed it down (called it "Sunday Brunch") My little girl is growing up.
Bear report: It is after 8:00 a.m. and rainy. The big old Mr. Bear is still in bed!!!!!!

Friday, August 03, 2007

The lemming trail

I gotta admit- I am a "joiner"-not so much in social or work situations- but most definitely in the world of knitting. But the lure of a new yarn, a novel technique, something bright and sparkly (oh- did I mention- I am not only part lemming but part crow)-I just cannot get these things out of my head! And so- the next tantalizing bit-the Kauni sweater. Oh my. Oh wow. How cool is that? I got the required amount of the EQ rainbow (gotta have me some serious colour)(from Fun Knits-see the sidebar-she got some more in, and some is still unclaimed!)-but the pattern-hmmmm. What to make? Should I do as the Harlot herself has done? Make the standard steeked cardigan? Or RedBird Knits Robyn-who has a Kauni not -cardigan underway (yeah, fancy way of saying a tunic)? Or should I just go break off on my own? I ventured over here- http://www.kauni.com/?id=a&id2=kat and downloaded their catalogues to look at some mighty fine sweaters. Since I don't have the patterns, I have to decide what I can and cannot accomplish- but I liked the look of the rose motif in this Kauni yarn and the side fastening sweaters (although honestly- how practical are they if you want to leave your sweater open? Especially when you seem to have an internal blast furnace working on overload?)(Yeah, my husband says I am still hot- only now it comes in flashes) (funnneeeeee guy) You will have to go and check out the patterns for yourselves, since I can't seem to figure out how to copy and save them-but it is worth a look! The 2006 I catalogue has a style (T301) that is particularly attractive. Oh what to do, what to do? Maybe a tunic with the rose motif and plain arms? Or use a Dale pattern as a starting point and go from there? Or..? I have also seen a lovely lacy shawl knitted out of this stuff- way gorgeous. If any of you are knitting the Kauni and are not following the cardigan pattern- shown here- http://www.ruths.dk/kauni%20regnbue%20engelsk.pdf -can you let me know how it is going?
Until then............................. I am now working on a baby beret to go with the baby bolero (from the Wilton Mill lovelies)-more later....................

By the way- I am in Kingston, Ontario-
Is it HOT ENOUGH for you?

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Great Free Patterns

I like to go the the Knitting Pattern Central- lots of good patterns-go and see it here- http://www.knittingpatterncentral.com/directory.php Another fave is the Garnstudio freebies- here- http://www.garnstudio.com/lang/en/kategori_oversikt.php And I think Vogue Knitting has the right idea with offering some sweet styles for free--http://www.vogueknitting.com/vkm/?q=node/403
And one cannot forget a local source- here- http://wtkpatterns.blogspot.com/ Oh- and by the way- Anne's got her August newsletter up -you can go here to sign up for it- http://visitor.constantcontact.com/email.jsp?m=1101648092136
Gotta love it!

Added later.............................
Took the Mother Unit out for a spin in the new vehicle. Did she notice?
Nope.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Cars.............

I currently drive a Hyundai Tucson (or, as one of my husband's "reading challenged" students call it- a Toucan). It has been a bit disappointing-strange transmission changes, poor gas mileage-but it is a cute little SRV. We got it in white, (the colour is important for later on in the story) two years ago-and have had some troubles with it. Anyhow-we brought it in for its regular tuneup this week-and saw that the next size up, the Santa Fe, was on for 0% financing. Hmmmmmmmmmm Now, the Santa Fe has been rebuilt since we got the Tucson. We took it out for a drive-very nice. So-we decided to go for it. When we looked at the available colours in our package, they had black or white. So, not wanting a black car, we selected the white again. (although this picture of the Santa Fe is black).

Now here is the question-are people even going to notice we got a new car? yes, it is bigger-but would the average person notice it? So we are putting it to the test.
Here is the set-up-we haven't told my mom about the car purchase. She is notorious for going into a parking lot and standing next to the wrong car (thinking it was mine). So tomorrow, we are going to take her out for ice cream. Will she notice the difference? (and please, if you know Mom, PLEASE don't tip her off)
This might be interesting.