Saturday, October 18, 2014

project 52: week 6

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.

On the shore of Lake Crescent near Port Angeles.

The stretch of the Elwha just across the road from our campsite.

This used to be a lake.

That tree was cut down over 100 years ago before the dam was built.

At the mouth of the Elwha looking out towards the western tip of Washington State.

What's New?
I made it back from my week-long excursion into the Olympic Peninsula with my 8th grade students in one piece! It rained, but not too much. There were some bumps in the plan, but not too many. My students had the opportunity to study the Elwha river up close, including areas that were previously under water due to the dams. They visited an area that used to be a lake, and followed the river to the mouth at the Strait of Juan de Fuca. They also experienced tent camping, pit toilets, and (for some) using the "facilitrees." The whole trip was definitely a life-learning event.

Currently Reading
  • The Fifth Sacred Thing by Starhawk
  • Rare Encounters with Ordinary Birds by Lyanda Lynn Haupt
  • The Witching Hour by Anne Rice

On the Needles
I've put my Wood Hollow vest on hold, at least until I have the energy to take out a few rows. I missed a cable and didn't realize for awhile. Sometimes when I make a mistake I let it go, but often it bugs me enough that I have to go back and fix it. This is definitely the latter.

So instead, I picked up my Hue Shift Afghan that I started back in November of last year. It consists of four panels that later get seamed together and then a boarder is knit around the whole thing. I have one panel complete, and I'm 80% done with the second panel. It's a good TV knit, but not a good bus knit (too big of a project).

Looking Forward To
  1. getting back into my routine

Saturday, October 11, 2014

project 52: week 5

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.

Sunshine & kitties
What's New?
Well, I didn't make it to the Northwest Tea Festival. But I did find time to read this article about tea & science. My favorite part:
As an aside, having been to America and sampling the weak tea made there, it must be stressed that the teabag should either be in a pot or the mug itself; it is not sufficient just for it to be in the same room.
It's all about whether or not you should add milk first, or last. According to the article, not adding milk is not an option.

I'm heading into the Olympic Peninsula next week for outdoor school with my 8th graders, and I've already packed many bags of tea. It's going to be rainy and cold, for sure, as autumn has finally arrived to Western Washington. So this weekend I'm heading to Goodwill to see what kind of warm clothing I can find for cheap.

Currently Reading
I finished The Midwife's Tale and The Origin of Satan late last week, and I've been spending most of my reading time in The Fifth Sacred Thing. I imagine that next week while I'm in the woods I'll lean more towards Rare Encounters with Ordinary Birds.

  • The Fifth Sacred Thing by Starhawk
  • Rare Encounters with Ordinary Birds by Lyanda Lynn Haupt

On the Needles
I finished my legwarmers! Last night they came off the needles. I still need to weave in ends before I pack them in my bag for this week's outdoor adventure. They fit perfectly from my ankles to my knees, so I anticipate having warm legs (at least the lower portion).

Looking Forward To
  1. spending time outdoors next week with 3 awesome teachers and a whole bunch of 8th graders
  2. coming home to my warm comfy bed at the end of the above-mentioned adventure

Saturday, October 4, 2014

project 52: week 4

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.
 
Sit-spot at Green Lake.
Friday morning's sunrise. Sometimes running late has it's pleasures.
What's New?
Last weekend was rather similar to the one before, in that it entailed spending tons of quality time in the kitchen. I picked up eleventy-billion pounds of apples (granny smith and honeycrisp) from my favorite farmer for super cheap since they were 'seconds,' I turned them into a batch of applesauce, a batch of apple butter, and some apple pectin stock for next year's jams. I also made baked potato soup. Monday morning, as I dragged myself into the kitchen to make breakfast, I found myself admiring how well I cleaned up the kitchen after all that mess.

Work this past week, however, was quite opposite. There were many extra meeting this week, both before school and after school. Our evening parent night was this week, which always makes for a super long day for teachers. There were multiple interruptions and schedule changes. It was hectic and stressful, to say the least. The bright spot of my work-week was taking my two 6th grade classes outside on a short walking field trip to nearby Green Lake for a sit-spot. Thursday and Friday were beautiful days and the kids really enjoyed being outside, noticing nature as they made observations in their notebooks.

Currently Reading
  • The Fifth Sacred Thing by Starhawk
  • The Midwife's Tale by Sam Thomas
  • Rare Encounters with Ordinary Birds by Lyanda Lynn Haupt
  • The Origin of Satan: How Christians Demonized Jews, Pagans and Heretics by Elaine Pagels

On the Needles
Realizing that in 2 weeks I'll spend a week at camp with my students (including two nights of actual camping in tents), I quickly cast on for some simple legwarmers. I set aside my Wood Hollow Vest and learned how to use the magic loop method to knit both legwarmers at once. The pattern is designed to use every last scrap of a skein of Cascade 220, so knitting them at once seemed wise. I've only knit about 5 inches so far (they'll be about 14 inches long when finished), but I'm making steady progress.

Looking Forward To
  1. the Northwest Tea Festival
  2. Joe's birthday brunch at Endolyne Joe's

Saturday, September 27, 2014

project 52: week 3

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.

Looking through my classroom window at the signs of autumn.
The final harvest of tomatoes from my garden.
 What's New?
This past weekend I was super productive at home, mainly in the kitchen. I picked all the remaining tomatoes off of my plants, roasted them, and then made tomato sauce. I ended up with two 16 oz freezer containers full. I cut back and composted my tomato plants, as well as much of the rest of my garden, because it has suffered from a white fly invasion this summer. I made boozy applesauce cake, breakfast muffins, chicken stock, butternut squash soup, washed all the dishes, then washed all the dishes again (funny how that works). I also put my clean clothes away (what!?!). Shocking, I know.

I try to do so much on the weekends because I'm basically useless during the week. I come home from teaching, eat dinner, take a shower, and then relax in my pjs in front of the TV with my knitting. Sometimes I cook dinner, but if I can get away with it I just eat leftovers. That's one of the beautiful things about cooking a recipe meant for 4-6 people when there are only 2 people living in your house.

Currently Reading
Yes, I am reading 4 books at once. What that really means is that I've started all four books, and I trade off which one I'm reading. Sometimes I read one consistently for many days in a row, and sometimes I read a different book each day. My mother (and many others) often seem confused by this approach, but I find it fulfilling. Think of it like watching a different show each night. You are still "caught up" on the story from each show. You never confuse Walking Dead with Orphan Black (those are completely different stories, of course). Likewise, I don't confuse the different books I'm reading.
  • The Fifth Sacred Thing by Starhawk
  • The Midwife's Tale by Sam Thomas
  • Rare Encounters with Ordinary Birds by Lyanda Lynn Haupt
  • The Origin of Satan: How Christians Demonized Jews, Pagans and Heretics by Elaine Pagels

On the Needles
Progress on the Wood Hollow Vest is slow, for sure. I haven't knit very much since my last post (thanks to a sharp kitchen knife, a stubborn package of sausage, and my fingertip). But I have been making progress - one stitch, one row, at a time. Slowly, very slowly, I am turning yarn into a vest.

Looking Forward To
  1. attending a Town Hall Event about climate change
  2. picking up eleventy-billion pounds of apples for sauce and pie

Saturday, September 20, 2014

project 52: week 2

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.

My small haul two weeks ago. This weekend I'll have three times as many, or more!
What's New?
I just got back from a whirlwind trip down to sunny California for my uncle's funeral. While the occasion wasn't very happy, it was immensely wonderful seeing family again. I got to meet some new people and see some faces I haven't seen in far too long. There were many hugs, laughs, and tears. There were children playing, asking questions, and telling strange stories as children do.

Currently Reading
I'm slowly working my way through these three books. It's slow-going not because I don't like them, but because I haven't had much time since school just started up.


  • The Secret Life of Trees by Colin Tudge
  • Adulting: How to Become a Grown-up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps by Kelly Williams Brown
  • The Origin of Satan: How Christians Demonized Jews, Pagans and Heretics by Elaine Pagels

  • On the Needles
    Still working on my Wood Hollow Vest in the round. Lots of cables, and lots to remember, but going well so far.

    Looking Forward To
    1. roasting tomatoes from my garden
    2. this autumn's first batch of butternut soup

    Saturday, September 13, 2014

    project 52: week 1

    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.

    This crate has helped me stay organized so far. Each class has its own clipboard for seating charts, its own notebook, and a place for collected papers. I think this system is going to be one that I'll repeat every year.
     
    While waiting for my second bus in the downtown tunnel, I spied this Link light rail train sporting an add for my college!
    What's New?
    I've just completed my first full week of the school year. So far I've ridden the bus 6 out of 8 days. My goal is to ride the bus as many days as possible. Partly for the environment, and partly for my afternoon sanity. While the morning commute is much faster by car, the evening commute is slow and aggravating. I've been able to listen to music, knit, and read blog posts on my phone. Next week I'll remember to bring my e-reader so I can finish a book. Last fall I read so many books thanks to the bus.

    Currently Reading
    • The Secret Life of Trees by Colin Tudge
    • Adulting: How to Become a Grown-up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps by Kelly Williams Brown
    • The Origin of Satan: How Christians Demonized Jews, Pagans and Heretics by Elaine Pagels

    On the Needles
    I've restarted my Wood Hollow Vest so that I could knit it in the round. I also wanted to fix the honeycomb cable part (I was using a short-cut to avoid the cable needle, but it didn't look great). It's always sad to rip out a project (I was 6" into the front piece when I decided to start over), but fixing mistakes and starting fresh is always worth it in my opinion.

    Looking Forward To
    1. going to the fair
    2. celebrating Kristi's birthday
    3. hugging Valerie

    ready for autumn

    The tree outside my classroom window is also ready for autumn.
    I'm ready for autumn.

    Summer is great. It really is. I'm a teacher and that means that summer is my time to garden, explore, and most importantly - to breathe.

    But I'm not a summer person. I don't enjoy heat - I like rain and cool air. I don't know how to cook summer food - I'm a pro at soup and comfort food. And I don't know what to do with myself when I have no schedule. I know, cry me a river. There are worse problems to have. All I'm saying is that I eagerly welcome crisp air, rain, sweaters, hot soup, candles, watching the leaves turn, and everything else that speaks of autumn.

    Of course, being a teacher, autumn also means the beginning of school. And while much of that is awesome (new beginnings, eager faces), I also struggle sometimes with the amount of stress that comes along with it.

    So I'm going to take a page from my summer book and breathe. Just breathe.