Saturday, January 24, 2015

project 52: week 20

What is Project 52? It's a little like Project 365, but instead of the goal of posting a photo each day, I'll post a photo or two each week along with a short update. Really I just need a little push to post something every week. Since I like to keep this space positive, posting every week forces me to look back and find something shiny to talk about (ten points if you get that reference). Some weeks that's a piece of cake. Other weeks it's more of a challenge, and those weeks give this task true meaning.

I took my 6th graders to Green Lake for a sit-spot this week. It was a beautiful day.
From my walk last weekend - vibrant moss along the bridge near my house.
What's New?
Not a whole lot. Joe and I cleaned all the things last weekend, played trivia with friends (our team won!), and I failed to take the bus even once this week. I think I'm stressed out over this ProCert re-submission, which is almost complete.

Currently Reading
I finally finished Lasher, and I think I'll wait to read the third book, if at all. While I enjoyed the story, I think I need to read something else for awhile. I picked up The Fifth Sacred Thing again, after putting it down for awhile. I'm having a hard time with some of the aspects of the world*, but I still find the general story interesting, so I'm going to see if I can let go of my doubt enough to enjoy the book.

*So, there's plenty of science (this is the future after all), but there's also magic, and this takes place in San Francisco, not some made-up place on a made-up world. Also, everyone seems to be bisexual and in open relationships, with no perceivable issues (jealousy, fights, confusion, hurt feelings). I don't have a problem with either of those two things, but I don't believe for a second that everyone in this society would embrace both. I just don't think it's realistic.

On the Needles
I haven't picked up a single project all week. I think once February starts (and my ProCert has been submitted) there will be a flurry of knitting!

Looking Forward To
  1. knitting group at the coffeehouse - but what will I work on?!?

Saturday, January 17, 2015

project 52: week 19

What is Project 52? It's a little like Project 365, but instead of the goal of posting a photo each day, I'll post a photo or two each week along with a short update. Really I just need a little push to post something every week. Since I like to keep this space positive, posting every week forces me to look back and find something shiny to talk about (ten points if you get that reference). Some weeks that's a piece of cake. Other weeks it's more of a challenge, and those weeks give this task true meaning.

These ducks were making the most amusing sounds!

Green Lake at sunset.
What's New?
Not much new here. I'm on the home stretch for my ProCert submission, which is due at the end of the month. I have many things I'd like to do, but I'm putting them off until the ProCert is complete. A few things I'm looking forward to having time to do:

:: fix the fingerless gloves I'm knitting for Joe
:: play around with the iPad and figure out how to use the Plickers app
:: clear off my sewing/craft desk so I can work on creative things
:: bake cookies (seriously, sometimes it's the little things)

Currently Reading
  • Lasher by Anne Rice
  • On Bicycles by Amy Walker - a collection of essays about bike culture organized into four parts: reasons for biking, a how-to involving the different types of gear, bicycle community, and working toward creating a more bike-friendly culture.
  • The Rain by Virginia Bergin - a YA novel that my school's librarian recommended for me. This has been my bus read this month, and I'm definitely enjoying it so far (although it is a dystopia that involves a killer disease transported by the rain, and I live in Seattle...)

On the Needles
I've started a hat for Joe that is a version of the ear-flap garter stitch hat I knit for the kids. The version I knit for the kids has a somewhat pointy top with a small pom. Joe wanted a more 'normal' round top, so I'm improvising. This is a rather mindless knit that's perfect for bus rides.

Looking Forward To
  1. being finished with my ProCert entry - this has been one very long process!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

project 52: week 18

What is Project 52? It's a little like Project 365, but instead of the goal of posting a photo each day, I'll post a photo or two each week along with a short update. Really I just need a little push to post something every week. Since I like to keep this space positive, posting every week forces me to look back and find something shiny to talk about (ten points if you get that reference). Some weeks that's a piece of cake. Other weeks it's more of a challenge, and those weeks give this task true meaning.

One of these books is not like the other...
Books gathered from three libraries and a handful of teachers.
What's New?
I survived the first week back from winter break, and what a full week it was!

Monday started with the laptops not working. Tuesday was a fabulous science literacy workshop. Wednesday felt like Monday again, due to being out on Tuesday. Thursday morning included a meeting, along with a frantic rush to pull together a completely new lesson inspired by the Tuesday workshop. And Friday started with a morning meeting as well. On top of all of that, I attempted to grade all 150 notebooks this week. In reality I only got through 3 out of 5 classes, which isn't bad. I also rushed around to two public libraries, along with consulting our school librarian and a few teachers in the building to pull together a respectable book collection for our astronomy preview. It was a full week.

Currently Reading
  • Lasher by Anne Rice
  • On Bicycles by Amy Walker

On the Needles
I did indeed frog my pedestrian cowl and made the Purl Bee's bandana cowl instead. I think it's a better pattern for this particular yarn. I have some leftover yarn and I'm tempted to make another one, but this time I'd like to widen the base and do all the decreases at the top (I was worried it wouldn't fit over my head - I needn't have worried).

Looking Forward To
  1. spending time with Joe

Saturday, January 3, 2015

project 52: week 17

What is Project 52? It's a little like Project 365, but instead of the goal of posting a photo each day, I'll post a photo or two each week along with a short update. Really I just need a little push to post something every week. Since I like to keep this space positive, posting every week forces me to look back and find something shiny to talk about (ten points if you get that reference). Some weeks that's a piece of cake. Other weeks it's more of a challenge, and those weeks give this task true meaning.

I'm a sucker for a view that involves water, a ferry or two, and the mountains
Someone made a Christmas tree out of sand dollars.
Whenever I see two crows together, I always think Huginn & Muninn.


What's New?
Kristi and I revived our weekly walks over break. By my calendar, it's been since September since we last walked. Yikes! Once school starts, and the weather changes, it becomes easier and easier to say "not this weekend" or "I'm too busy." But every time I go on a walk with her, it's both physically and mentally invigorating.

I've been furiously checking things off the to-do list in anticipation of going back to work and having no time again. So far...

:: thank-you cards addressed, stamped, and ready for thoughtful notes
:: house cleaned up and put together as much as possible
:: new batch of library books picked up
:: next week's dinners planned, groceries procured, food prepped
:: bus card re-loaded, alarms re-set

Currently Reading
  • A Field Guide to Now by Christina Rosalie - finished last night!
  • Lasher by Anne Rice

On the Needles
I have two projects on the needles: geology shawl and pedestrian cowl. Although I love the yarn for the pedestrian cowl, I don't like how the colors pool with that pattern. I think I'm going to frog it and make something else instead - maybe Purl Soho's bandana cowl.

I rearranged furniture over break, which included moving some shelves into the office next to my desk so that I can better organize my stuff. Turns out that since I didn't have a good place to put things I ended up squirreling things away in various nooks and crannies. I discovered many half-finished projects that I had completely forgotten about, or had simply not known their current whereabouts. I'm going to work on finishing those projects during the month of January so that in February I can make new plans.

Looking Forward To
  1. Skyping with family
  2. Seeing the kids try on their knitted winter hats

Thursday, January 1, 2015

hello 2015


West Seattle sunset, December 30th 2014

With every new year comes reflection, goal-setting, and intention. It's a natural thing to do, even when those intentions get waylaid throughout the year. My hopes for 2015 are almost identical to my hopes for 2014, which makes perfect sense. It often takes more than a year to work on something personal, especially when it involves changing habits. Here are my hopes and intentions for 2015:

Simplify Inside
  • purge!
  • organize craft supplies
I started this over winter break, and every time I get something out of the house (either to the recycling bin, or to Goodwill) it feels liberating. I have a natural tendency to be a pack-rat, but I find that when I have fewer things I feel better. Freer, almost.


Finish Some Projects
  • fingerless gloves for Joe
  • wallpaper the bookcase done!
  • winter bunting
  • spring/summer photos in the living room frames
  • felt double-point needle cases
I have so many projects around the house in various states of completeness. This year I want to corral them all into one location so I don't lose track of them, and either finish them or donate the supplies.


Go Outside
  • weekly walks with Kristi, even when it's cold
A year ago, I bought a deck of cards called 50 City Walks Seattle with the intention of using them to motivate me to walk and to explore my city. So far they've sat on my shelf unused. I'm challenging myself to use them in 2015 - let's see how many I can do before the year's out.

Write
  • in my journal
  • to my mother, nephew, aunt, etc
I love getting real mail, but of course that doesn't happen much these days. I keep telling myself that instead of sending an email, I'll write a card or a letter. And then I get bogged down and let it slip by. I've bought myself some new notecards in the hopes that it'll help motivate me to write more to those I care about.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

best books of 2014

This year I read 30 books. That's about 20 fewer than last year. And while that bothered me at first, when I look back at my year I'm really okay with it. Here's some of what I read:

Really, really long fiction (600 pages or more):
A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin (~800 pages)
A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin (~800 pages)
A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin (~1200 pages)
A Feast for Crows by George R. R. Martin (~900 pages)
A Dance with Dragons by George R. R. Martin (~1100 pages)
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss (~600 pages)
The Passion of Mary Magdalen by Elizabeth Cunningham (~600 pages)
The Fifth Sacred Thing by Starhawk (~600 pages)
The Witching Hour by Anne Rice (~1200 pages)

Shorter fiction:
The Brothers Lionheart by Astrid Lindgren
The Midwife's Tale by Sam Thomas
Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

Nonfiction:
How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming by Mike Brown
The Secret Life of Trees by Colin Tudge

Cookbooks:
Whole-Grain Mornings by Megan Gordon
The Oh She Glows Cookbook by Angela Liddon

Children's books:
Our Family Tree: An Evolution Story by Lisa Westberg Peters
Older than the Stars by Karen C. Fox
Flotsam by David Wiesner

Most of these books (all of the really long fiction, most of the shorter fiction, and some of the non-fiction) were read on my Kindle, which is why I didn't realize at first how long some of these books are. Some of them were re-reads (all the Game of Thrones books). Some of them were duds. But all in all I think it was a good year. I enjoyed immensely re-reading GoT, especially on the Kindle. Not only did I get to avoid lugging around such huge books, but it was very easy and efficient to highlight passages and add notations.

Reading Goals for 2015:
  • 52 books - I can do it!
  • finish the Divergent series
  • read the Lord of the Rings trilogy (I can get past Tom Bombadil, I know I can!)


Saturday, December 27, 2014

project 52: week 16

What is Project 52? It's a little like Project 365, but instead of the goal of posting a photo each day, I'll post a photo or two each week along with a short update. Really I just need a little push to post something every week. Since I like to keep this space positive, posting every week forces me to look back and find something shiny to talk about (ten points if you get that reference). Some weeks that's a piece of cake. Other weeks it's more of a challenge, and those weeks give this task true meaning.

Putting together one of my presents!
Cookies and candy - mostly homemade, some from the store, all yummy and good.
Our newest decoration - a darling little crocheted tree!
What's New?
We celebrated the holidays very quietly around here. The decorations stayed pretty much in their box, there was minimal baking, and I didn't listen to too much Christmas music. Amidst all that there wasn't, I must admit that there was still happiness. I didn't, it turns out, ruin Christmas.

It's okay that we didn't make cut-out cookies - our friends Tony & Alex sent us some of theirs (and that adorable crocheted tree!).

It's okay that I didn't decorate our wreath with ornaments - Joe's Aunt Marya and Uncle Alex sent us a new one that we can put up next year.

It's okay that I didn't get the kids' presents in the mail on time - it turns out that they won't be all together until January after all.

It's okay that we didn't light candles.

It's okay that we didn't drive around and look at lights.

It's okay.

Sometimes I need to step back and remind myself that no one is keeping score.

Currently Reading
  • A Field Guide to Now by Christina Rosalie
  • Lasher by Anne Rice

On the Needles
Recently off the needles is a Habitat hat for my friend. This is the first hand-knit I've ever made her, and I can't wait to see her reaction. And on the needles is the third of my three fingering-weight shawls for this year. This last one is called geology and is knit up in brown. It works up to look like rock layers.

Looking Forward To
  1. soaking up one last week of break!
  2. Skyping with the kids