Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Still Knitting

Now that summer is here and I've packed up my classroom, my brain is free to concentrate on other things besides report cards and grading math homework - things like knitting!  Since we're going to Cape Cod soon, I decided I'd better finish the socks I started with the yarn I bought there last year (thus making the case that I definitely need more yarn when we go back).  Here they are (complete with Big Trouble's foot, which he felt was a crucial part of the photo):

They came together nicely, and passed the itchy test - I had no idea I had such delicate feet until I started knitting socks.  There are so many that have ended up with my Mom because after wearing them for about 5 minutes I want to rip my feet off.

The sock yarn blanket continues to make slow progress - in heat of the summer I am somewhat loathe to drape myself in wool as I work on it, but it's growing:

 I like working on it, because you can get a small square done in under 1/2 an hour - there's definitely something more gratifying about finishing one and cutting off the yarn than just going round and round on something that looks slightly bigger than when you started, but you can't tell for sure how much you've done.  Instant gratification is definitely not over-rated!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Father Time

As all of us are, I am getting older.  It doesn't bother me, and I'm not really doing anything to counteract it.  My hair has lots of white in it, which I don't dye.  I claim it's because I want to grow old gracefully, but it's really that I'm both lazy and cheap - I only get my hair cut once or twice a year - can you imagine the fabulousness of my roots if I dyed it?  I actually had a woman compliment me on my "highlights" and ask me if they were natural.   Ummm, yeah!  I thought she was joking, but she was looking at me rather earnestly with her 20-year old face, so I simply said they were.  Once when I was substituting in a 1st grade class, a little boy walked up to me and said, "You know, your hair is really different - some is brown and some is white."  The other 1st graders decided this was worth a look, and I was the object of wonder for several minutes - where I live you don't see much gray hair (you also see a lot of fake body parts, but that's a different post).

That all being said, I went into Fairway last week, and along with my groceries I bought a six-pack of beer.  As part of the cheapness thing mentioned earlier, I keep track of our spending, so a few days later I was typing the info from the receipt into Quicken.  And I noticed something odd on the receipt - where the beer purchase was listed, it had a birthday keyed in.  Apparently in this store you need to ask the patron their birthday and key it in when they make an alcohol purchase.  I don't expect to get carded, as I have long ago passed the age where anyone would think I am below the drinking age.  However, I am not a fan when the cashier simply picks an arbitrary birthday for me and punches it in to the register.

Especially when the birthday is 2 years too early. It's enough to make your hair go white...

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Summer summer summer summer summer summer

Yes, it is indeed summer!  My last days of school were this week, and my classroom has been packed up and cleared out.  My job ended, but as it was a leave replacement for the year, I wasn't exactly blindsided by that fact.  I was, however, really sad to leave.  It was such a wonderful place to work, and the people I worked with were fabulous.  I loved working there, and it was really hard to drive away for the last time.

The good news is I have a new job.  The bad news is that it's another leave replacement for a year.  But, with education tanking left and right, I'm thrilled to have a job at all.  It's in a great district, the school is beautiful, and the people I'm working with seem terrific.  All in all, a good start.

The kids are home from school and enjoying the beginning of summer.  It's not too hot out, so we can all enjoy the nice weather without melting in our little apartment.  Not a bad way to begin (except, of course, for the piles of junk I dragged home from my classroom and haven't yet dug through...).

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Sleeping Under the Stars

Well, the pretend stars.  Last night Big Trouble and The Professor had their very own version of Night at the Museum.  Big Trouble's Boy Scout Troop (and apparently every other little boy in America) had a sleepover at the Museum of Natural History in NYC.  The Professor is Big Trouble's adult for all things Boy Scout (you have to have a background check now, and as they only check one guardian, said guardian is the one who goes on all the activities), so he accompanied.

Apparently, a lovely time was had by all, although apparently not a lot of sleeping was done.  Big Trouble usually drops off by 8:30 at the latest, and lights out was 11:45 last night, with the museum staff issuing a firm wake-up call at 7:00 am.  Needless to say this has made for a bleary-eyed Big Trouble today, who has not been able to muster up the energy for much trouble at all.

They got to walk around the exhibits at night after the museum closed, saw a raptor show, had a late-night IMAX movie, saw Fossils by Flashlight, and got to sleep in the Hall of Planet Earth.  This was part of Big Trouble's Christmas present (sleepovers at the museum don't come cheap, I'm afraid....), and he seemed to be truly excited.  I could tell, because he was voluntarily trying to carry their items out to the car, rather than claiming that he was having to do it "against his will."  (Big Trouble claims he has to do a lot of things against his will.  I tell him my whole life is against my will, but he doesn't seem to grasp this....)

Miss Serious and I stayed home and enjoyed a dinner out and a movie in (and got to sleep in our own beds).   Merry Christmas, Big Trouble!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Neither Rain, Nor Sleet...

Add these to some of the many reasons I'm not a mail carrier.  Today I woke up to the odd pitter-patter of freezing rain flinging into my windows.  I was then greeted by the more pleasant sound of the phone ringing to tell me we had a snow day. 

I like snow days.  I think the teachers like them more than the kids.  I was thrilled to not have to brave what would have been a slippery and (as I am surrounded by giant SUVs who think they are invincible) scary ride.  And since we live in a co-op, we don't have to shovel.  (The Professor does dig out my car, for which I am eternally grateful.)

Unfortunately, since this winter has decided to get all out of control, this is our third snow day.  We have three snow days in our calendar.  It is only mid-January.  So, while I enjoy a day off as much as the next gal, this doesn't bode well for vacations, which start getting pulled the next time all that freezy stuff decides to fall from the sky.

I do need to remember to thank my mail carrier the next time I run into her, though...

Sunday, January 16, 2011


Though it may be very natural for some people, it is extremely hard for me to write about my life when it is sad.  I had planned to write this blog more often this year, but I usually try to keep a humorous outlook on my life and family. I guess if all someone wrote about in a journal were the happy stories, you would never get a true picture of their life.  When Miss Serious was very young, my parents took her picture as she was pitching a fit in her high chair – she was shocked at the ensuing image of herself.  Previously she had only seen a cute, smiling Miss Serious, and this was not the picture she had in her mind of what she looked like.

On Monday, my mother called with the news that my grandmother had passed away.  We knew she was ill, and she was 87 – by all accounts that is a very long time to live.  But her mother lived to be 100, and as my grandmother was always healthy and a rather sassy broad, we expected nothing but the same from her.  Her decline was fast and of a speed that was unexpected. She had family around her at all times, and was at peace at the end.  We all knew she would not have wanted to linger and be in pain. 

But I’ve discovered that all those things don’t make it any less sad.  When I got to work on Monday, a colleague asked me how my weekend was.  I was still so thrown by the news that I just blurted out that my grandmother died this morning.  He asked me how old she was, and when I told him 87, he responded, “Well, that was a really long life.  Good for her.”  He is a kind, well-meaning person.  I know words much like those have come out of my mouth again and again.  They were not what I wanted to hear. 

I’ve realized that it doesn’t matter that you’re old, or that you had been given a diagnosis and those around you knew it was terminal.  It doesn’t make the people who love you feel anything other than sad.  And it doesn’t make them miss you any less.  And I know that I won’t use those words to anyone ever again.

We love you Grandma, and will miss you.  You were outspoken and opinionated and funny.  You could squeeze a nickel until it screamed and knit beautiful blankets for my babies.  You helped teach me to drive and to make perfect French Toast.  I still sleep under the lovely bedspread you embroidered for us when we got married.  We looked through all your old pictures and celebrated your life.  And we were happy and sad, and will be for a long time.  It was a long life, but now I know it will never be long enough.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

But It's Sooooo Dark....

One would have thought the first day back would have been the hardest.  One would have been wrong.  When my alarm clock went off at 5:00 am yesterday, it was sort of novel.  Today, however, the crushing realization occurred that this was NOT a novelty, this was the way things are.  And it is very dark at 5:00 in the morning, my friends.  And cold.  And did I mention dark?

Luckily I love my job, and my room is toasty warm.  Very toasty - apparently my heater is malfunctioning, so my room was 82.2 degrees when I walked in yesterday.  Rather tropical. Unfortunately I was not sporting beachware, but instead a turtleneck cashmere sweater.  And every fifth grader that entered my room (and there were 96 of them) felt the need to ask, "Wow, do you know how hot it is in here?"  Because, you know, it's not like I've actually been in that room all day.

At least now I do know that I am definitely smarter than a fifth grader.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Missed the Possum Drop

The new year is here, and we celebrated pretty much the same way we have for 15 years - at home with Chinese food, wine, and general good cheer.  When I was young and thought you were supposed to, I used to go out on New Year's Eve.  The night always had a whiff of desperation about it - everyone trying to have a good time, because, hey - it was New Year's Eve!!!!  After many years of overcrowded restaurants, dangerous drivers, and realizing it wasn't actually that much fun, I learned to embrace the quieter, happier entrance to the New Year.

I also used to make resolutions, but as they never got me very far, I've become a bit more philosophical about the whole thing, and just have general thoughts for the new year.  Who knows if it works better, but at least it doesn't make me feel like a failure when I invariably do something on Jan. 3rd that I've vowed not to do do and decide that the whole thing's off....

I also no longer try to stay up until midnight - I'm not a late night person, and I never quite got the whole dropping the ball thing, so giving it a miss is a relief.  I would however, if only the misguided folks in the media would cover it, stay up for the possum drop in  Brasstown, NC.

Happy New Year!  (The possum is released at the end - I wonder if they release the ball into Times Square?).