Monthly Archives: September 2011

back to the knitting

my knit picks order came today. Such delight! To a new knitter, the prices might seem too high to pay (for example, $10 for a ball that makes a pair of socks with a little to spare), but the value is quite commendable. I am delighted to have some sock yarn, some lace yarn, and some cotton. Plenty to get started on!

Going on a run and cleaning like crazy last night went a long way to improve my mood. I found my sleep to be much better. Though I didn’t fight the wind (crazy advisory today) this evening, I think my teaching schedule today has me tired enough to sleep deeply again. And I’ll probably be knitting quite a bit, too.  Hehe.

I’ll post pix when I take them. I’m trying Hermione’s Everyday Socks (a Ravelry pattern). There are aggravating inconsistencies in the writing of the pattern (sometimes the pattern abbreviates words like knit and stitches, sometimes it doesn’t…who knows where the rhyme or reason is)…but hopefully it will knit up ok. Not a very interesting pattern from the looks of it, but it should work well with the way the variegated yarn is “pooling” (how the different colors line up).

Also, on the spiritual side of things, we talked about the spiritual song we’re doing in fifth grade chorus. It’s got a delightful “rock tempo” section with fun piano. The kids are hooked, for sure. It’s about Daniel (and being cautious not to overstep my teacher bounds)…”didn’t my lord deliver daniel, then why not every man.” I decided we should probably have the gist of Daniel to understand the purpose of the song. My students knew the story of Daniel and his three friends later on who were thrown into the fiery furnace and there was a 4th man and that was God.

um, I didn’t know that until a couple years ago. AWESOME!! I was so proud of the gal who told us about the lion’s den story. She was very clear and concise.

Dinnertime :). Enjoy some grooveshark:


tinkering in the kitchen

In order to celebrate national coffee week in finest style, I decided to settle down with a nice latte tonight. I made the syrup (a burnt-sugar, vanilla number that allowed me to melt sugar for the first time ever…I felt like a chemist, though I was probably too nervous to be a very believable chemist), got the espresso maker all put together (even grinding some espresso roast coffee that’s already open), steamed the milk and switched it over to “brew.” And nothing happened. It sounded like it was building pressure (I walked a couple steps backward like any cautious chemist) and steam was kind of coming out, but that was it.

By the sounds of some online forums I might have some crud to decalcify, but step #1 in all of these lovely “how to’s” is to run a cycle of water through first, then run a vinegar/water cycle. Umm, it’s not coming out at all, so not sure what that would accomplish. Another forum said to remove the “brew grid head and machine”…I assume that’s where the water comes out into the coffee area? Maybe?

Not sure. But I wasn’t really feeling the steamer I ended up with. I attempted to salvage the heated/steamed coffee grounds by doing my own version of a “drip method” coffee (first time ever)…more or less I put them in a tea-strainer and poured water over slowly. It looks…not good. I haven’t tried it yet.

Besides that, today was really warm. It surprised me when I went out for bus duty because it looked pretty chilly. There were a lot of gnats. Which reminds me. Last night I had a very vivid dream in which some of the events of yesterday were strung together…killing bugs was a recurrent theme. I saw one of the very bugs in my dream at school today. YUCK. Luckily some brave third graders killed it (and then told me all about it. I tried to conceal my opinion that they have achieved hero status…but they have). I know for all rational purposes that I am bigger than the bug and I can kill them without much pain, effort, or exuberance, but yeesh. I do not like them. Part of God’s creation that I am too blind to appreciate (though they are exquisitely put together…I’ll give you that. I’d rather look at their pictures than the creatures).

Now for some reading and maybe a refill of just plain tea. 🙂


I realize finite is a word. I was hoping for the Spanish pronunciation (fin-eat-ay!) to proclaim that I have finished two projects in one night!

The first, pics to come, is a scarf that I began knitting in England…yep, more than 2 years ago. It’s a Noro scarf (not silk garden…the wool/acrylic sock yarn), so the colorway is gradual, and somehow symmetrical (almost). It’s purples, greens, and grays. I didn’t realize there was black and gray in the colorway until I started knitting and it showed up (but purple and green were kind of my colors at the time, following RLBC’s Kingdom Come theme and staff shirts).

I also cast on and finished a coaster (wool) while watching a sermon. From start to finish (with a quick refreshment break) it was a 75 minute project. It’s probably not quite big enough to felt, so I’ll go with hefty mug rug. Pattern:

Worsted weight wool (or go for the gold with cotton…or whatevs. Go with something worsted for absorbency. Sport or doubled fingering/sock might work, too).

Size 5 (? not sure. 4mm) needles of any variety.

Cast on 50 stitches.
Rows 1 and 2: knit 23, ssk, knit to end
Rows 3 and 4: knit 22, ssk, knit to end
Rows 5 and 6: knit 21, ssk, knit to end

and so on, until you end up with 2 stitches.

I especially enjoy slipping the first stitch of any garter-stitch work because it greatly improves the quality of the edge. You could stripe it up or solid color. I did a border with yarn I am almost out of and then just did a block of gray for the rest. Go wild.

I received word that a yarn order I made is on its way, so I have additional motivation to free up some needles.

Happy almost Tuesday!

story time

I went to a workshop today that got me thinking some more about story telling. I won’t pretend like I’m smart enough to analyze the condition of story telling in our young people, but in hearing from a Montessorian drama/music and Orff teacher, I was struck by the empowering of students to tell stories with artistry. Orff is like Kodaly, in that it’s a method for music education, but they have rather hilarious points of contrast (Orff encourages a lot of making up stuff, Kodaly is fairly anti-making up stuff…folksong loyalists). In any case, the rhythmic and instrumental applications of Orff are enviable and would surely go farther to make me an MVP with my students :).

Last night I watched Tangled and tonight I watched Little Women with my roommate. I find myself really enjoying the story in each case and feeling for the characters in their roles (I suppose they were both romances…but try to refrain from judgment, as I think my tastes in stories is diverse to the extent of extending beyond the genre!). Beth has a fairly poignant scene (on her deathbed) that had me weeping…as well as some rough spots for Jo, Lorry, and even Frederich Baehr.

I think I’ll do some more reading in my classroom this week :). I love a good story!


I find out more and more that elementary music teachers are adored. Particularly by experience.

Besides the celebrity-reaction I get in the halls and at recess (much to the dismay of the line-basics police) and compliments (i.e. I like your shirt, I like your hair, I like your shoes, I like everything about you…and the like), I am spoiled to have kids running from their homes to greet me with a hug. I’m sure that’s a side effect of walking home, but it’s kind of a fun one. I suppose I could get a puffed ego from all the attention. But I think it pretty-well balances some of the more humbling aspects of my position…

I celebrated the adoration of today a little tonight by making some chicken pot pie and apple crisp. My friend H gave me the best pie crust recipe ever (so I’ve never even attempted another) and my only not-from-scratch ingredients frozen mixed veggies. I even made the chicken stock for the gravy. It was a little bland this time, so a bit more creativity with thyme, pepper, and other ingredients next time. The crust sure was flaky :).

[before you get too annoyed, this is the first time I’ve cooked all week…so I went all out].

I’m going to spend the last half hour or so of wakefulness reading. But let me sincerely wish some elementary-school adoration for you…it’s pretty sweet. 🙂


I am trying a new knitting pattern, courtesy of the Hennepin County Library and my sister who is a resident there. It’s Elizabeth Zimmerman’s “Baby Surprise Jacket”. After casting on 160 stitches and knitting 3.5 rows, I’ve paused to write. I’m debating whether or not to just save myself the heartache of frogging it later…I picked wool. Brown wool. Because I know I have enough (I’ve got to) of that kind. It’s knitting into a bit of a tweed (it’s flecked fisherman wool by Lion Brand)…but it’s not suitable for a baby. Part of me says, eh, knit away. The other part of me says it’s a waste of time…hmm. Maybe I’ll go finish another project and think about it.

Today has been a long day. The hours at school went pretty fast, too fast. Before I knew it it was 5:45 and my lesson plans weren’t quite finished. After doing some thinking (though I promised to not work at home tonight) tonight, I’ve got to fix some of the ones that were already done. Now that it’s almost 9:00, it continues to feel like a long day, but worse than that an unproductive one. Since getting home I’ve made dinner (a massive salad with wilting lettuce and going-rotten pearl tomatoes, homemade pita chips on top, and turkey), eaten it, and kind of sat with restlessness. I could read (theological or fiction…more Anne of Green Gables), I could write, I could knit. I really just want to get some exercise and make myself physically tired.

A handful of kids really warmed my heart today, despite the weight of the day’s work. My favorite was probably some boys at recess who asked me to watch them kick various recess balls over the backstop. They made sure I was watching (calling my name along with “Watch THIS one!!”). Some of them had quite the leg. Maybe I should let Coach Ferentz know…hehe.

On a slightly humorous note to close, today I broke a nail. Umm, why do you mention that Patty? Because…it’s never happened to me before! About 2 weeks ago (3?) I stopped biting my nails. I’ve never really tried long nails for long (they are fairly inconvenient for piano and guitar, which is probably how mine broke today), so it’s never been an issue before. It might have been from the book I was reading in which the subject told a little girl that she was biting the hands Jesus gave her. That is a pretty serious spin on what I used to consider a nervous, albeit gross, habit. I don’t think that’s really what inspired me totally, but it’s true just the same…so we’ll go with it.

The quiet of tonight has been good, despite the restlessness. There’s something about stillness and quiet that restores peace to my heart. That and the cup of tea I am about to enjoy. mmm. Peace!

comeback kids, squirrel tails, and socks.

These socks are finished...minus weaving in and blocking...oops.

Today was an enjoyed Saturday. I’m stretching it out by writing now…it’s probably bed time, but I’m wide awake.

I began the day with coffee and reading a TK:  Generous Justice. I forgot I had it (I’ll be done soon, K), and so after finishing mystery book was glad to pick up something a little lighter than Systematic Theology first thing in the morning. You know…weak muscles and all that :). It’s heavy, too, as it would turn out, so with cup #2 of coffee I began my knitting frenzy of the day. I took a break for a puffy old fashioned egg pancake (shout out to KJ) with apples, cinnamon, and sugar on top. It was delicious and started the day well. Too bad it’s a mess or I’d make it more often. 3 eggs, 1/3 cup flour, 1/3 cup milk, some salt. Delicious. Bake for 20 minutes in a greased pie plate.

Sock #2 was knit on some more during the Iowa Game. Let me tell you, that was some disinterested listening. Yikes, they stunk for 2 and 1/2 quarters. But somewhere the fuse was lit and the Hawkeyes scored 3 touch downs in the fourth quarter alone. They came back from a 21-3 lead to win 31-24. Are you kidding me? I was pretty excited. After the game I played Chinese Checkers (for some reason I was about to abbreviate that…I’m in an abbreviation mood) with G and learned a new way to play (perhaps an authentic way to play, as G learned from her Chinese roommate in India). Ask me about it, and perhaps I’ll be able to play against you. It was way more fun than the usual method of one space or jumping movement. It involves mirroring.

After that I headed to WalMart with G and later Walgreens to get a redbox movie. I picked up things for my classroom…1000 craft sticks, 240 ziploc bags, fun fur, and an impulsive knitting book. I got home and got right to work with putting those sticks into “kits” of 12 or 18 sticks in ziploc bags. These will be used for rhythm dictation purposes. The fun fur is being made into “squirrel tail” necklaces for a rousing rendition of “Let Us Chase the Squirrel”, the short but beloved folksong that previously had NO game whatsoever. Now it’s a fun game, but it will be even better with the squirrel necklaces, believe you me. If you are reading this because you too want to make squirrel tail necklaces out of fun fur, note that I chain-stitched it into roughly 3′ chains and tied them into hopefully strongly knotted necklaces (about lei size for easy removal). If I were especially patient I would have chain-stitched actual tails extending further than the loop of the necklace. I’m not, evidently.

Then I got to work putting cookies together. Molasses cookies, a favorite from childhood. They’re more or less not-snappy ginger snaps (1 t. of ginger in them). The secret to their appearance and texture (a chewy, delicate consistency) is a drop of water on top of each ball right before going in the oven. They are great. My dad would probably love them.

Then after baking those I watched Jane Eyre with G. I’ll give you a heads up that it’s not a cheery story and that the book was far more understandable than the movie…or at least I felt that some of the details were hard to discern from the film (for example, we didn’t really find out that she stayed on at her awful school as a teacher until she became a governess). The Focus Films production of Pride and Prejudice had its flaws, too, but it was a more cohesive portrayal of the story. This one was a little jostled. [i had no idea that word had a “t” in it].

Now some knitting and thinking. I have been invited to another knitting fellowship opportunity. I wonder if God’s purpose for knitting in my life is bigger than I ever imagined. That’s kind of a big thing to think about. So I’ll knit some more. Interesting that when we’re close with someone it’s “close-knit” friendship. Not a coincidence, I think.

And so to it. Go Hawks, and good night!

refreshment, jitters, teatime, socks.

Refreshment: today. For the first time, professional development was encouraging. Last year I had no idea what was going on, so felt even worse about it when I was with people who did. This year, I am not in much better standing in the knowing what is going on scheme, but I know something and I found encouragement in and among my peers. Woohoo! Not to mention some chill time tonight that has helped my 2nd cold to calm down. 2 colds in 2 weeks is not my friend. Rest is.

Tomorrow is picture day. Why does a teacher feel the jitters the night before? I don’t know. You tell me. I don’t think this is outright anxiety (no fasting and praying about this), but as I’ve been doing my hair this week and picking clothes for work, I’ve been kind of leading up to tomorrow, saving the right outfit and hair style so as not to repeat (repeat within the weak and repeat last year’s…I no longer have growth and new outfits to mark the new year’s picture as I did in school 🙂 ).

Teatime: chai. This weather has been SOOOO nice. I love it. I love the crisp air, the quality of light, the smells. It’s not quite leaf-changing weather, but it’s pretty close. Love that!

I’ve been knitting sock #2 like crazy since Saturday. Part of that was inspired by a staff member approaching me about teaching some knitting lessons. It’s like they got into my head and pulled out my concealed longing and posed it as a question. I consented before I found out the details like when and what and for whom. I love to teach knitting. It’s glorious. I have a month and a half to get a plan. Hooray!

I really need to get my head in the game for my upcoming program. I’m thinking Move Over Rover and My Many Colored Days (books that have elements which change in them…Rover encounters (I think) other animals…Many Colored Days depicts moods and emotions through colors and animals…more song and movement opportunities. I think I’ll take a patriotic twist for the upper grades in April. We shall see.

On the first early out of the year (late at night), this is Patty, over and out.

wait for it

I tried sock #2 again yesterday and got pretty far!

The first sock. Finished in MayI tried sock #2 again yesterday and got pretty far!

Today and yesterday were pretty stellar, weather wise, and not bad time-wise. I appreciated the ability to listen to the game, despite the outcome (one likes to be confident in her team’s ability to play…and not being able to see it didn’t help the ending in triple overtime). While listening I worked on the sock (the incomplete one pictured) you see here. Got a lot done. Capped the night with a reunion of sorts with someone returning from an abroad venture and the connection groupies (and comrades) who made my time in Ames so sweet. That time was really sweet…so thankful for the refreshment!

But today I was not in Ames. I was at church in Waukee, I was shopping a little bit, and I was bumming around in my apartment. Today I questioned God yet again…why am I here? I don’t even feel like it’s remotely home on days like today. Is that even worth sharing? Probably not…I do because I have had my pitiful soul reassured that God’s plan is worth delighting in because He is worth delighting in. Putting down roots is hard, painful, work. I’m sure there is really damp, growable soil (sorry, made that one up) in this county, but it’s decidedly not under me yet and so I strain and toil and forget to trust God with the aspect of fellowship and encouragement. G has been a big encourager, even sensing some of my strife today and praying with me…but I find myself frustrated that I repeatedly need a pep talk to turn to the one who offers supreme comfort and satisfaction. Why am I ever-so prone to wallow?

It’s definitely a growing season, and I’m looking forward to the harvest. Forgive me if this is a broken record.

Isn’t the quilt backdrop in the picture nice? That’s the quilt auction find of 2011…working as the booklet typer had its advantages. I became well acquainted with all of the quilts and set my heart on this one…I love it :). A big shout out to Pastor Karen in Marshalltown who made this with great skill and care!

Time for some cookie making, knitting, and podcasts.