Monthly Archives: October 2011

pita chips, coffee shops, and halloween thoughts

Today I was headed home from a lunch/coffee date with my friend B (who drove all the way from Ames to hang with me!) and I saw a mail carrier dressed up for Halloween. It wasn’t a little costume accessory, it was full face paint and costume, scary Alice in Wonderland Mad Hatter costume. EEK. I am not an unHalloween person (I can understand why some are), but I am not a big fan of the scary costumes and the adults who wear scary costumes in public. If you want to wear that costume at a party, Mr. Postman, go for it. Delivering mail? Get outta town. Thankfully I am not a postal customer in his territory.

Listening to the Hawkeye game has not been very fun up to this point. I guess they just scored, but yeesh. I’ve been sitting here comatose in the living room listening because it’s been so dull and then decided to make some pita chips. Very good. I cut up some oldish pitas in the fridge (from Trader Joe’s), and then brushed them with olive oil (that I stirred basil, pepper, salt, and garlic powder into) and baked them for 10ish minutes at 400F. Quite tasty, though could probably go a little longer for more crispy.

This weekend has been a monsoon for coffee shop visiting. I went to one yesterday, one today, and have a plan for tomorrow as well. I might need a break from coffee pretty soon :). We’ll see.

This being my last Saturday at home for a while I am very very thankful for the quietness of it. I still need to clean up the apartment for a knitting lesson happening tomorrow, but no pressure. Woohoo. Gearing up for conferences week as well. And a program. And my first sub-day of the year (all state conference). And THANKSGIVING!!! Can’t wait!

Better go back to those pita chips. So good.

Taking the morning

Next week is our conference week. I don’t get a lot of visitors then, so it’s a good time to do projects (perhaps I’ll get really handy with a paper-cutter and the laminator before then so I can spend hours upon hours cutting out laminated cards for Turkey Poker…), get ahead, and practice piano.

Today I was given the morning off on one of those conference days (not a morning off from teaching, but from an inservice we have scheduled) to accommodate my 80% hours. I didn’t initially want to take it because I enjoy the time collaborating with my colleagues so much (with us being in separate buildings, it doesn’t happen too often), but I’m warming up to it. An extra cuppa coffee that day, I think!


Pardon me while I gush a bit about NEW HEIGHTS Church that is a-comin’ to town. We had a meeting this week to learn the story of the plant and pray for the community and the church, and it was sweet…even if I was a little tired (I more or less fell asleep sitting up on the best couch of all time and then came home and crashed right away). Connection groups start in January, which isn’t all that far away. I mean, November’s not even here and it’s basically spoken for. Crazy. I’ll be in Ames for 2 full weekends, Iowa City for 2 more, and MPLS for one in the middle. Then December is hectic…it’s like the second quarter is over before it started.

Today I asked some freshly acquainted with “tiri-tiri” third graders (or tikka tikka, if you know that…sixteenth notes) what a rhythm with four sounds that gets one beat is called and a lot of them did great! I have great aspirations for second quarter being learning-packed. Woohoo!

As for now, I need to defy the clock and have one more cuppa tea before bed. It’s cool outside, so it feels right…though it was 80 degrees in here when I got home from school today…I think 2nd floor will be about like 3rd floor was last year :).

Mmk, good night!

the day the world stopped…er…

When I was in high school, this was the big day. In fact, it was the measure of time itself (days until this day….days since this day, and the like). All State Audition Day. I can’t tell you how weird (and how neat) it is to be involved with all state on the other end…working in one of the 6 audition sites across the state of Iowa. Though a certifiably long day (much more so on the working end timewise, though I am sure the auditioning doesn’t feel any shorter with as much stress and anxiety as it can foster), it’s a good day with reunions, memories, and familiar names.

I don’t miss high school, don’t wish I could audition for all state again (earning a performance degree holds plenty more opportunities for nervous auditions with longer lasting results than one weekend of tooth-shifting rehearsals), but I do miss the clarinet playing. I do. Going to have to do something about that. I know, how many times can I say it before it happens and sticks…but for real.

I am wiped and should think about bedtime.


a spark of innovation

Don’t mind me…I’ve just “discovered” a trick that bakers have likely been using as long as butter has been sold in waxed paper wrappers.

My pound cake recipe called for 2 sticks of butter plus some to butter the pan. I was on my way to opening to door to the fridge for stick #3 when I spied an empty wrapper on the counter with some butter still in it, discarded in haste when combining ingredients. It was perfect for spreading butter on the cake pan (already softened, of course).

If you’ve been doing that for a long time, I wonder why you didn’t mention it sooner. 🙂 No worries, though. You can make it up to me by sharing every bit of kitchen knowledge you’ve accumulated in your life. Ready, go.

join the club

There’s nothing like being at school early to work on lesson plans and having a club started. Not even joking. I had approached some students who were knitting with me during their recess last year about starting a knitting club and they came back this morning saying “did you forget? why didn’t we make a club?” [i figured they had forgotten]. I don’t know if we’ll take off the ground with this, but there was so much interest today. That means I am knitting with staff and students. And friends. And family. Crazy. Can’t wait!!

I got a special request to teach “Acorn Brown” today. I had to dig through last year’s plans and search for a resource with it. I am not sure where it ended up originating, but I have a lone copy in a folder in my desk. It’s way cute, so I’ll put the words here. You’ll have to google search for the tune. Just a warning though: hearing this sung by five and six year olds pretty much melts your heart…so be prepared.

I’m a little acorn brown
Lying on the cold, cold ground.
Everybody steps on me
That is why I’m cracked, you see.
I’m a nut (click click), in a rut (click, click)
I’m a nut, in a rut (click, click)

Finally a use for tongue clicks besides the usual “repeat after me” attention getters. Can’t wait till tomorrow when it hits the lineup for the very first time this fall.

I went on a run tonight to improve my state of lethargy. I’ve been unshakeably tired…even going to bed a little earlier I haven’t been catching up. Caffeine is not the answer…probably just need to sleep more. Who has time for that? 🙂

I’ve got some tracks to make knitting-wise. All the yarn I ordered is sitting on the shelf beckoning. I hear you, yarn! I’m coming!


This week is off to an encouraging start. My Sunday was spent with loved ones and at Westwind. Can I just gush that the church I am joining has an encouraging perspective? I realize that it’s age means there is a lot of hard work to see some of its greatest ideas through (and even more so once New Heights is planted), but I am so excited. Moved even to tears by the way that God has answered my pleading for a church home without compromising a lot (teaching, doctrine, body especially). Am  I totally wise and discerning? Not at all except for the wisdom and discernment which God has given me. But he’s given it alongside great joy.

Today at work I was tired…not an encouraging start, but a sluggish one. I did manage to get a lot of laminating done (perhaps why I felt so sluggish…cutting lamination doesn’t seem to be productive because it takes so long to catch up with 562 3″x3″ cards I had cut out and numbered. I have all but about 100 cut out at this point (I brought a bunch home too) and have called it a cuttin’ night. I have some laundry to fold, some ST to read, and some knitting to ENJOY.

God is to be trusted for the future and the present, but I find myself wondering “How Long, O Lord?”…are my roots here meant to last? I know that regardless of knowing that I should go for it (what have I to lose if my time here is richer with people)…but I’m thinking also of deeper roots. Would I settle here for a longer season? The honeymoon is kind of over, you know? I haven’t done a lot of loving on this town, but as much as it isn’t necessarily my top pick for location…I do live here. Shouldn’t it begin to feel home and less foreign at some juncture? I hope so.

I made carmel corn tonight. Whoa. Lock that stuff away from me. I can’t stop. I added cashews so as to make it like poppycock. A very good and very bad idea all at the same time. It’s even MORE enticing now. Writing about it isn’t helping me to “just say no” for the evening after having my fill of a very delectable piece of salmon with some couscous and a salad. It’s not that hard to make, though it is a bit of an endeavor with its multiple steps.

Looking forward to some twin time this weekend. Get this: Twindianola. Genius, right? Especially after “Twinneapolis, Twinnesota” was coined by my twin during one of my initial visits.

Love. It. And that’s a wrap.


I went to the world food festival last night. Very neat, especially to have my choice of ethnic cuisine (I opted for Ethiopian Wot and Tibs…served over rice…and some baklava from the Turkish stand) in the company of some new pals and the rest of Des Moines. There wasn’t much to do besides buy and eat food though. The band playing wasn’t much of an attraction…but it was good to mill around the streets of down town.

Today I have been in the kitchen a lot. I made 2 chicken pot pies and an apple crisp. I feel like there was something else, but maybe I’m thinking of the mess I didn’t finish cleaning up. It was kind of massive, so I left what remained between sinks of water. It’s not a very good day for baking and for eating pot pie…because it’s hot! I think I heard it’s close to 80 degrees. In October. Wild.

Now I’m working on knitting. “Kitchener” comes from a knitting technique to close up socks. I always have to dig out the directions.  My question: at what point will it become as old hat as knit and purl?

I’ll be sure to mention when I know. Happy fall!

turning the corner

My big sock blunder (…needle #2…) is yesterday’s news. Tonight I settled down (after taking care of the essentials, which included cleaning the bathroom and putting away laundry) to fix my sock mistake. I am not a historically conscientious knitter…I have knowingly left errors in projects past. Un-knitting (or tink-ing (which is knit backwards) or frogging (because you “rip-it, rip-it”) is not a favorite skill of mine within the needlecraft. Probably because it erases evidence of time spent, all the while costing more time. Do I knit to show time? No, but the progress I make is measured somewhat by time. For example, I had one Christmas break to knit an entire afghan for a gift once. I made it happen. My most afghan (for my dad) took 2+ years to complete…mostly because I was lazy in finishing it, but hey. Time was marked.

Anyway, I tink-ed, frogged, whatever you like, got my heel flap put on the correct needle (#2) and turned the heel. I’ve put it down for now because I’ve reached a limit for the evening, but the gusset (the foot part) is the homestretch. We’re talking mindless, fast knitting. Thinking ahead to sock #2 and the project after that knitting. 🙂

I will note that I have not given this pattern much credit. It’s written with some typographical inconsistencies that are annoying for a shorthand-pattern-copy-er (that confused me enough to put the heel on the wrong needle the first time; not bitter, but hoping to remember for next time), BUT it has the most adorable heel ever. In fact, for all of my complaining about the texture of the rest of the sock being dull, the heel is so great. All sock patterns I have ever seen have a fairly reinforced, thick heel. Not the part that you walk on (which is always the first to wear out in socks that I wear), but the part of the sock that cradles your Achilles. Often the reinforcement looks like ribbing and is ugly. In this pattern, the slipping pattern is offset (no ridges that way) and bordered by garter stitch. Those garter stitches are beautifully picked up using a technique shown here for the Mason Dixon log-cabin blanket. It’s unique. It’s perfect.

I think Tuesdays could easily become knit-nights for me. Not necessarily an organized one (with snacks, people, and knitting materials for borrow/purchase), but an intentional one, just the same. It’s good for this week, anyway.

I better head to bed and greet the Day 2 that follows this night. 🙂 Peace to you!


Today was a Monday, and a good one. I’m not a usual Monday-hater, so saying that today was a great Monday isn’t out of the norm, but it was a Day 6 which coincided with Monday…day 6 is probably my toughest day (with day 3 close behind)…and it was awesome. For the sake of professional discretion, I won’t go into detail, but it was a great day. Plus a 2nd grader told me I’m pretty much their BFF. It was very dear, though somewhat an exaggeration. But I appreciate the sentiment just the same.

My sock has reached a point of setback. The heel flap was knitted on the wrong needle, so it’s inside out. ARGH. I thought the inside looked more beautiful than the outside…for good reason. I think it should be a straightforward fix, but it will erase a good 2 hours worth of knitting…definitely not a big-scheme loss, but enough to tip the scales of motivation.

I didn’t have a proper supper tonight, so my stomach is in cahoots, too. I should remedy that. I went on a walk and then to a small bible study gathering and definitely didn’t plan very well in my time between school and that. At least I got out. It was beautiful today/tonight, and the leaves are gorgeous.

I’ve started assembling my sub folder. I think my plot/plan/whatever is to hit hard a couple games in class and then reserve them for subs only. Kindergarten has the longest list of “things they can do on their own with little prompting” because we’ve been doing lots of repetition with quick nursery-rhyme-ish songs in our 6 weeks so far. Way cute, I promise. Seeing their faces for Naughty Kitty Cat…well, you should try to do that sometime. I tell them to be very stern. Wouldn’t that be a joy to encounter as a sub? Especially a non-musical one? A class that can basically run itself? I know. Regardless of my pause for lofty dreams, it’s a big undertaking and requires xerox copies and summarizing/instructional notes for each piece…work, work, work.

There’s a delay in some of the church planting developments…connection groups will start in January. This information makes me glad that I didn’t wait too long to get going with the WDM group I’m in, but if I said I wasn’t disappointed, I’d be fibbing. I am. I had expectations for sooner than that. Am I mad? Upset? No. Not at all. My heart is longing for roots and purpose in this place (still). G read me a verse from Colossians 2 that talked about putting our roots right in God Himself. Those are the kinds of roots I should be concerned about, clearly. For tonight I’ll be sad, but I know in the big scheme waiting until January to start over once more isn’t that long or that daunting. I’ll cross that bridge when I get there.

But I better see about that dinner… 🙂