Tuesday, February 20, 2007

13 Down, 16 to Go!

I spent the morning grading some of those evil Science Fair papers. It's so much easier to do once you're on a roll. It also helps to have a sugar-high and a great cup of coffee to keep you company while you're working.

Time for lunch and a quick knit before I head back up to school for my weekly math homework help!

Sentence Starters

In the middle school English classes at our school, our students are encouraged to use a variety of sentence starters to make their writing assignments more interesting. This is not a novel (tee-hee) concept, as I noticed over on Carol's blog.

The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest 2006 Results from San Jose State University have been announced. Each year since 1982, the school has parodied the memory of Victorian novelist Edward George Earl Bulwer-Lytton who penned the immortal words so beloved by Snoopy--"It was a dark and stormy night." The contest accepts entries for the bad opening sentences of fictional novels. There a multitude of categories, and I think my favorite by far is Vile Puns. Of course, it helps that the runner-up's entry appeals to my mathematical nature:

Herr Professor Doktor Weiss' reputation was made when he conclusively proved the fraudulency of the Mayan codex that claimed to show that that ancient people knew the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter to an exactitude unknown until modern times, in his article, "Bye, Bye, Mesoamerican Pi."

John L. Drost
Barboursville, WV

Not only does it include references to geometry, it highlights a great American song. I think I'll be humming all day now.

Be sure to stop by the web site to read some more!

Monday, February 19, 2007

What Science Fair Papers?

Oh, you mean the stack of 28 folders gathering dust on the dining room table. Yeah, well I'll get to those...tomorrow...yeah, tomorrow! I do have a deadline approaching--I need to get them all graded in time for the end of second trimester. I have figured out I can do 3 or 4 a day and finish in enough time. The grading madness will begin tomorrow during my work day. Sigh.

I have spent the weekend decompressing and knitting. I'm still working on the skinny scarf, but at 500 stitches a row, it moves rather slowly. I finished the first Mardi Gras sock, started a Monkey sock in another Miss Violet original--her Joy sock yarn, and spent the weekend wishing for some brainless knitting. (A couple of bad headaches that prevent adequate concentration have contributed to this desire.)

It led to another moment of which Kermit would be proud. I frogged the never-finished, never-seen, and never-worn chunky sweater. In the last month or so, I have spent a lot of time figuring out exactly what should have been done better to make it "hand-crafted" vice "homemade". I should not have decreased exactly at the edge of the sweater, and I should not have been so quick to seam the sweater. Both problems contributed to some really fat seams that would never have been flat. Since I knew it would never be worn, I got out my new ballwinder and swift and spent an hour adding all that yarn back into my meager stash.

The yummy yarn will now be reborn as a monster Clapotis. I've been wanting to make a new one for a while, and this is my opportunity! The chunky yarn, big needles, and plethora of skeins will allow me to make a near blanket-sized version for wrapping up in during these last days of winter. It is the perfect rainy day project for the last relaxing day of my weekend.

No, thank you, I do not want my red pen. Give me back my needles--I have to knit now.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Knitting in Silence

I feel like that's what I've been doing. What's actually happened is that I've been super-busy with the whole teaching thing. As the Science teacher in charge of the Science fair, you can imagine things were pretty hectic until last week. I just haven't wanted to blog, because I've wanted to have every spare moment available for my knitting.

I also don't have anything to show off, which of course, means I have little to blog about. I did finish a Shedir chemo cap for our school bookkeeper who has been diagnosed with cancer and is undergoing treatment. I'll be handing it off today to another lady at school who visits her regularly. Most of us who work in classrooms are staying away so we don't expose her to the kids' germs. It's hard, because we miss her lots! In the meantime, our part will be to keep on praying for God to heal her.

I've been fighting with two pairs of socks and a scarf for the past month. One pair of socks is in the Lisa Souza Mardi Gras colorway, and I could not, could not, could not find a pattern that worked with it. Then I bought those U.S. size 0 needles. Now, I'm almost to the toe on the first one, but it's taking forever! I am starting to wonder how people work on anything smaller. I also fought a battle (and won) with a skein of Socks That Rock Rooster Rock. They were pooling terribly until I found Sockbug's River Rapids pattern. They're all finished now, and I actually wore them Monday. The scarf is a handspun wool and tencel blend in Bruised Raspberries by our own Miss Violet. I've tried four or five different variations on the scarf before I finally settled on the long skinny scarf in woven stitch I saw on Knitty Gritty. It's destined to be a gift for someone, so there won't be any pictures until it's mailed off.

For now, it's time to head off to work. I have to have some way to support my yarn habit...

I Am Adored

Valentine's Day Rocks!

My students at school love me. I got a Starbucks mug and card, some chocolate covered espresso beans, cookies, homemade English toffee, and a copy of the teacher's prayer. I also received some assorted valentines, and one of them was from a student in another class! They must not know me very well! Tee hee!

My children love me. They made me homemade Valentines, and they used up the extras from their Valentines for school and gave them to the DCA and me.

And most importantly, the DCA adores me. I, the poorly organized one, bought gifts online and NONE of them arrived in time for Valentine's Day. Two will arrive on Feb. 15, and the other two will arrive in a week or two. (No cookie for this bad Valentine!) I stopped at the store on the way home to buy cards and some chocolate-covered strawberries to expiate my lack of planning. As I was unloading my school stuff from the car, the DCA met me in the driveway with dinner from Buca di Beppo, and a bag of surprises. It was the coolest Valentine's Day ever!

Dinner was the chopped antipasta salad, rigatoni positano, and tiramisu. The kids were at church for the mid-week children's program, so we got to eat alone at the dining room table with jazz playing in the background. It was the best! We also shared a bottle of wine, and it's been ages since we've done that. After dinner, I was presented with some personalized M&Ms which followed yesterday's two dozen roses (so I can enjoy them longer). Then, I got to open my bag of surprises.

I'm not sure they were really meant for Valentine's Day, or maybe they were, but they oh-so-conveniently arrived at the yarn store this afternoon. The DCA went in the store--by himself!--a couple of weeks ago, and he ordered me--wait for it--my very own ballwinder and swift. He knew how tired I was of winding my own balls of yarn by hand, and bought me the best presents ever! You can keep your diamond jewelry, because my new toys rock!

So, I spent my Valentine's evening in the way every knitter should--I wound every hank of yarn in the house that I could find. It was a dream come true! (We'll just forget that whole part where I had to fight with a skein that wouldn't fit the swift and it got tangled and wouldn't play nice with the ball winder.) Now I need to find an appropriate way to thank the DCA--I'm sure I'll think of something!

Friday, February 02, 2007

Silent Poetry Reading

This one's for the DCA...

Sonnet XIV

If thou must love me, let it be for nought
Except for love's sake only. Do not say
I love her for her smile--her look--her way
Of speaking gently,--for a trick of thought
That falls in well with mine, and certes brought
A sense of ease on such a day--

For these things in themselves, Belov├Ęd, may
Be changed, or change for thee,--and love, so wrought,
May be unwrought so. Neither love me for
Thine own dear pity's wiping my cheek dry,--
A creature might forget to weep, who bore
Thy comfort long, and lose thy love thereby!
But love me for love's sake, that evermore
Thou may'st love on, through love's eternity.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Go check out some more poetry over at Cara's and Lee Ann's blogs.