Thursday, June 24, 2010

So When Does Vacation Start?

I neglected to mention in my previous post that I'm not exactly  on vacation yet. We've had a really expensive year, so I decided that I should just bite the bullet and teach summer school to help ourselves climb out of the red. I probably neglected mentioning it because I really don't like thinking about it too much. It's not terrible; 7:00 A.M. until 1:00 P.M. four days a week for three weeks.  I'd just so much rather be home being creative...or at least mindlessly knitting. I really shouldn't complain though because I have had a lot more time to knit than during the regular school year.

I'm pretty much finished with the Drops jacket. I really enjoyed this pattern. The only negative about it was the sleeves. They're done in reverse stockinette, and since the sleeves are done in the round, I had to purl every row. I don't like purling that much. On the other hand, when I was finished with the sweater, I was finished. There are two little seams under the arms and that's it. Now I just need to find some buttons and add a picot edge to the sleeves.

Russ hasn't been on vacation exactly either. We decided that since we have felt a little behind with expenses that we shouldn't fly to Nebraska this summer as we almost always do and usually come close to shelling out $3,000 with plane tickets, car rental, and eating out a lot. So, logically, we decided to spend close to $2,000 remodeling our bathroom. I know that's pretty cheap as far as remodels go, but the irony of us spending so much money to do it right now wasn't lost on me.

Our house was built in the early 80s, by a builder who is well known in our town. He's done some really nice homes, but the majority of them are tract homes with next to no originality. I've seen some of the light fixtures we've now replaced at Lowe's for like $6, so quality wasn't a high priority either. My goal since we moved in twelve years ago has been to try to make our house, which looks like at least five other houses in our neighborhood, more original. Russ has painted endlessly, added wainscoting, installed Pergo floors, and changed every light fixture  and ceiling fan in the place, but we haven't touched the biggest eyesore in the house, the kids' bathroom. The bathroom reflected the builder's dismissal of quality. It wasn't horrible exactly, but it was kind of embarrassing. So....Russ gutted it, everything except the bathtub, which was in OK condition and doesn't look much different from the tubs we could have afforded to replace it with anyway.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day

Russ hasn't managed to relax much today even though it's Father's Day since he's in the middle of remodeling our kids' bathroom and is anxious to get finished, but I guess you could say we celebrated yesterday.

We left around 7:30 for Shell Beach to eat breakfast at Zorro's. Mmmm.. Ranchero Suissas and Chilachiles! The only thing better than Mexican food for dinner is Mexican food for breakfast! Then, time for a hike. My friend Janet introduced me to a new hike last weekend while we were on our annual "Oceano Beach House" weekend. The hike is to a beach that is just a little south of Avila.  Actually, I have been to the beach before. It's called Pirate's Cove, and when I was a teenager we used to go there because it was rumored to be a nude beach. We never saw anything exciting though, ha, ha, but it felt so daring to go there. The hike we went on is definitely new. There are  amazing views of the ocean on one side of the trail and incredible views of some ginormous mansions on the other.  Except for one, which looked like an enormous dentist's office, all of the houses were pretty much unbelievable. I think you'd call much of it Mediterranean architecture. I've decided that I need a light pink bougainvillea, so my yard can look just like Arnold Schwartzenegger's, which is one of at least twelve mansions we saw along the way....all we need to do will be to add another 12,000 square feet to our 1500 square foot house and we should be set!

We had plans to go to Morro Bay and just sit on the beach (me knitting and Russ reading) for a while and then head to the farmer's market, which begins at 2:30, but we got a little sidetracked picking up some raspberry swirl bread at the House of Bread in San Luis Obispo and browsing through a few book stores, so my knitting for limited to the ride over and back.

For someone who bragged that she had her knitting mojo back, I've haven't gotten too far on any knitting projects.
I 'm moving pretty fast with this little project though. It's a little jacket for a friend, who's having a baby the end of this summer. It's a Drops Design pattern. I'm using some Jaeger Extra Fine Merino that I bought at a sale at Wildfiber's in Santa Monica a couple of summers ago. It's so luscious feeling, perfect for a little baby. Now if it gets cold before December this year, so she doesn't outgrow it before it gets cold !

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Knitting Mojo Regained

My goal this year was to post at least one more time each month than I did last year, not a very challenging goal considering my 2009 record. Since I only posted once last May, I wasn't a bit concerned about meeting my May goal this year, but I failed. I tried repeated times in the last month to get enthused about a project, but I just couldn't.
I've wanted to knit Knotty gloves from Laris Designs for a long time, and I did finally knit one. I was kind of happy with the result, but not enough to knit a mate. I think it's the yarn. Dare I say's just too pink! Then I thought I'd finally try to use up the twelve skeins of Debbie Bliss Silk Aran yarn I bought at least ten years ago, by knitting a set of placemats. I've knit this pattern before, and I  like it, but I don't like the yarn at all. I've read that other people don't like it either. It just doesn't feel good. So, I'm done trying to find a use for it. I'm giving to to a friend who will hopefully be more successful with it.

School has been out for only three days, and I'm already starting to feel creative again. Things have been so fast and furious for the last month or so that when I did have a little time to relax, I ended up falling asleep on the couch most of the time. It seems like the hectic pace of the entire year finally caught up with me. All year, I've been poignantly aware of all of the "high school lasts" that Paige was enjoying to the hilt.
I don't know if other schools make such a big deal of powderpuff football, but at our school, it's almost as important, to the girls at least, as the Homecoming game itself. I remember thinking when we took this picture that the year was going to zoom by, and I was right.
By the time prom came around,  Paige had decided to go to our community college for a year instead of to a university, which kind of helped me be a little less nostalgic. I would have been happy if she had chosen to go to Davis or Cal Poly right away, but I have to admit that I'm relieved to put off paying close to $30,000 a year for school, and I'm also glad that she isn't quite ready to leave home. Her brother is a little disappointed, but her dad and I are happy. Most of Paige's friends made the same choice, even her best friend who was the valedictorian of their class.

 I went to graduation equipped with a wad of kleenex, but was surprised to find that I was pretty much dry-eyed  and thoroughly  enjoyed every minute, with just a few exceptions. Paige and I walked up to the meeting area for teachers and students, and her friends said, You're wearing shorts??? You can't wear shorts!" I walked on ahead of her, hoping that security would give her a break, since they know her and her ditziness. I had to go in a different line, but I was happy to see her come up to me later as I gossiped with some of friends, only to discover that she was holding one of her sandasl in her hand. It was broken. Yikes! I took it into the gym office and attempted to staple iti back together. No luck. Fortunately, one of my friends who lives about five blocks from our school called home and had a pair delivered to us in the nick of time. Did Paige panic, you might ask. Not a bit. She said that she figured that she could always just go out there barefoot.

Paige graduated fifth in her class, which  would be good any year, but her class, besides being full of wonderful kids, has been the most academically inclined class I've seen in twenty-plus years of teaching. There was something like twenty kids who graduated with highest honors.  I have accused the boy in this picture with me of intentionally getting a B last year, so that he wouldn't have to risk giving a speech as valedictorian. I'm not entirely sure that I was wrong! Oh, and he didn't come to this country until he was in the third grade. Don't come to me if you want an unbiased discussion about immigration. At least half of my best students are immigrants or the children of immigrants. Their faces are what I see when people start discussing the evils of immigration. I just have to be content to love the students I have and to hope that we as a nation can quit being hysterical and create real solutions, instead of defaulting to being haters.

Sooo, after getting through graduation and grad night at Disneyland, I'm really ready to start being a knitter again. I've knit two bowls, which aren't works of art, but I like them. Paige went on a field trip to the beach with her A.P Statistics class a couple of weeks ago and brought me back a bunch of shells. I love shells and rocks, but I usually end up throwing them away because I mean how many grocery bags of shells can you have? Now I have a pretty way of displaying them.

I know that there are lots of felted bowl patterns out there, but I really liked how simple this one from Alice Thelma is. It's can also be adjusted with next to no thinking, which is very good for me.
So, my success with these cute, little bowls has gotten me excited about other projects. Kitty should be very happy. As soon, as I began knitting again, she positioned herself in her old spot right on top of my yarn. Everything is as it should be!