Friday, September 27, 2013

farewell September

What's New?
Transitions are always hard for me. September brings the start of the school year, and a big shift from summer life to autumn life. I get up earlier (sort of), get out the door earlier, and spend most of my day away from home. Both of us have long commutes, and long days, so simple things like food preparation sometimes become huge challenges. I'm pretty good at doing food prep on the weekend, but I still have those days when I realize on the ride home that I have no idea what's for dinner.

We've also been struggling with keeping the house tidy, and since our "house" is a pretty small apartment, that becomes a huge deal very quickly. So I looked at what the problems seemed to be, and realized that for many of the things that ended up scattered around the living room, they simply did not have a designated place to be. So I started looking around and ended up finding an IKEA shelf combo on Craigslist for less than half of what it would cost new. Now our commute bags & lunch boxes have permanent homes (not just somewhere on the couch, or near the couch on the floor, or wherever we drop them when we walk in the door). Ahem.

Currently Reading (36 books so far this year - I just might make it to 50)
  • Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson - I sped through this book in two days. It's YA, and should be required reading for all middle schoolers/high schoolers, in my opinion. Not an easy subject to read about, but so terribly important.
  • The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan - I finished this book and have already added the sequel to my library queue
  • Casing Spells by Barbara Bretton - I had to call it quits. I was attracted to knitting + fantasy, but this is clearly a romance, and a predictable one too, and the author throws in so many quick details about the fifty billion different fantasy characters that live in this world that I feel like she's just sprinkling glitter onto her manuscript (and don't get me started on the fantasy character that actually sprinkles glitter wherever she goes). I'd prefer one or two fantasy characters that are fleshed out completely, rather than a hodge-podge of superficial characters.
  • The Movement of Stars by Amy Brill - just picked this one up, and so far I'm enjoying the story.

On the Needles
I finally picked a project for the single skein of Malabrigo Rios I picked up this summer. I couldn't decide if I wanted to make another infinity scarf, a hat, or new fingerless gloves. I settled on new fingerless gloves, to replace the tattered pair I knit nearly five years ago. It's been slow-going, and I've already frogged it once, but I really like the pattern so far, and I LOVE the subtle color variations in the yarn.

Looking Forward To:
  1. celebrating Joe's 30th birthday

Friday, September 20, 2013

autumn 2013

In the spirit of this post, I've made a list of things I hope to do during the upcoming season.

* finish Mason's quilt - 10/12/13 making progress
* finish Leaflet sweater
* make wax leaves
* make a winter car kit
* make a winter storm kit for the house
* make applesauce

* visit a pumpkin patch
* pick apples
* plant garlic
* prep my garden for winter
* bonfire at the beach with s'mores - 10/12/13
* go on a hike in the Cascades

* pumpkin soup - 10/18/13
* butternut squash soup - 10/05/13
* pumpkin spice latte
* chili & cornbread

Some of these will be harder to accomplish than others. I will most definitely make and eat soup this autumn, and I've already started some of these projects (winter kits, quilt, sweater). Eating s'mores at the beach requires some pre-planning, not to mention a rain free evening combined with an available fire pit. Joe and I almost always visit a pumpkin patch and go north to pick apples, so those shouldn't be a problem. The wax leaves is a new project I saw here.

Some past autumn posts:

Saturday, September 14, 2013

noticing the view

What's New?
I survived the second week of school (the first full week). Every day except for this Monday I rode the bus (Monday I had an errand to run after work). There are definitely advantages and disadvantages to riding the bus. The pictures above are one of the advantages. That's the bus stop where I catch the first of two buses home.

Riding the bus has allowed me to notice things that I normally would not see. In the morning I get to stare out the window at Elliott Bay, Mt Rainier, the Duwamish River, and downtown Seattle as I ride my first bus. On my second bus I get to notice the wide variety of shops and storefronts in the U-District, and the HUGE P-Patch garden off of Ravenna. Once I get off my second bus I have a short 3-block walk down the hill where I get to hear the birds sing their morning songs.

Anyone who has ridden a city bus can imagine the disadvantages. I'm sure they are pretty universal: unreliable timetables, obnoxious passengers, and long ride-times. Everything has it's less-desirable facets. Even driving my car does. But I prefer to focus on the positive, and enjoy the aspects that I can.

Currently Reading
  • Looking for Alaska by John Green - riding the bus helped me whiz through this touching novel
  • Casting Spells by Barbara Bretton - this is my Kindle read, and so far it's entertaining

On the Needles
This week has been around 80* outside, and almost 90* inside my classroom (one downside to a huge wall of south-facing windows and poor air circulation), so I haven't touched my needles all week.

Looking Forward To:
  1. seeing the new Riddick movie with friends

Saturday, September 7, 2013

first week back

What's New?
This week was the first week of school. I went back to work Tuesday after the long weekend, and the kids started Wednesday. The photo above is my view most mornings as I walk the few blocks from my bus stop at the top of the hill towards my school.

This week I also started commuting by bus. I live on the other side of the city from my new school, so with traffic it takes about an hour to travel the distance (22 minutes w/o traffic). I've opted to travel by bus - it's cheaper than gas, allows me to do other things (read, knit, etc), and most of the time it's less stressful. So far mornings are faster (an hour versus hour and a half), and people are much more subdued. The evenings take longer, and tend to be when the more colorful passengers show up. It's also much more environmentally friendly. With both of us commuting by bus, our car is going to see fewer miles and burn less gas.

As far as my students go... we're still trying to balance the schedule, so my class lists will change sometime next week. I have too few kids in my 6th grade classes, while my neighbor has too many. I have all of the 8th graders, so while some might change from 1st period to 5th period, I will still have the same kids. I'm starting to learn names, but I have many more to go before I know them all.

Currently Reading
  • I started reading If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things by Jon McGregor, because it is written in a similar style to Mink River, but I think I'm going to put it down. It's interesting, but not compelling enough to make me pick it up.
  • I also started The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau. I've seen the movie, so I know the story, but I'm enjoying the read.
  • Since my husband still has my Kindle captive (and The City of Ember is on the Kindle), I've brought Looking for Alaska by John Green with me on the bus. 

On the Needles
I need to figure out what I can take with me to knit on the bus. I have three projects in process: a dishcloth that's about halfway done; a striped Idlewood sweater that just needs sleeves finished; and my Leaflet cardigan that needs to be blocked first before I can pick up stitches and knit the collar. Decisions, decisions...

Looking Forward To:
  1. taking some "me-time" to recharge