Tuesday, January 30, 2007

first day

Today is the first day of the new job. I suppose I shouldn't be so nervous about a part-time, temporary job, but I am. I'm nervous for a variety of reasons. First, some history: I taught in a public high school in a semi-rural area for three years. I had a hard time; I was only teaching two sections of physics, which is what I went to school for, and three sections of 9th-grade earth science, which I found interesting but I hadn't had a class in earth science since I was in 8th grade. And as a new teacher, I had some fairly tough students. Again, this was a semi-rural area so it's not like there were gangs, or weapons, or things of that nature, but I'm a pretty small, quiet, laid-back sort of person, and I just didn't fare well with 300lb 16-year-olds who tell me they are just in school because their parents won't let them drop out. They quite frankly didn't give a shit about weather patterns, or oceans, or rocks. I have great admiration for those teachers who can inspire even the toughest kids, get into their lives, and show them things about themselves they didn't know were there. I just am not a teacher like that. I have things to offer - my physics classes were really fun and dynamic and the kids came back after taking college physics to show me their exams with A's on them, but I wasn't suited for what I was doing. The last year was especially tough. I was trying unsuccessfully to get pregnant, Little Brother was having difficulty with being in preschool all day, and nobody was really happy. So I left. I took a year and a half off, and I got to be there for my boys when they got out of school, especially Little Brother, who was then in a half-day kindergarten. Also, I was pregnant within one month after I wasn't working. I am a believer in the physical effects of stress!

So now Baby Sister is nearly ten months old, the boys are both in school all day, and this position to teach two physics classes a day at Fancy Private School for the remainder of this year, covering somebody else's maternity leave, kind of falls out of the sky. And it's too perfect to not take it, even though I'm not sure if I want to go back to work yet. After I left the other job, I actually wasn't sure I was suited to being a teacher at all. I always said my ideal position would be to be able to teach just what I went to school for, to kids who want to be there. And so - poof - here it is! It sort of feels like a do-over on a teaching career, a possible gateway into doing this in a way that I can feel like I'm really connecting with kids and teaching them something. Of course, there's also the feeling of if I can't do it this way, I really can't do this at all. So that's one reason it makes me nervous.

There's also the issue of leaving Baby Sister with somebody who isn't me or J. That's not a big worry, because she is going to be with Old Friend, whom I've known forever, who has a son Magic Boy that is just six weeks older than Baby Sister, and that we pretty much see every day anyway. I know she's in great and familiar hands. So that helps . . . a little.

Last but not least on the list of ways I am making myself crazy, I keep wondering how the hell I managed to get hired for this job in the first place. I peeked at the faculty bios on the internet, and there were a lot of Ivy League school listed there. Many of the alumni end up at Ivy League schools, there's an Ivy League school across the street, for pete's sake. I have a pretty good idea that if not for the shortage of science teachers they wouldn't have hired a 20-something with less than five years experience and a degree from a state college. (I'm not slamming state colleges here, I swear, I had a wonderful college experience.) I'm feeling slightly overwhelmed. Is there a such thing as slightly overwhelmed?

Anyway, that's enough about that. I feel I should include some knitting in this post, and there has been some knitting. I did finish the second flame hat by the weekend, actually just in time for the boys to go ice fishing with J and Old Friend's husband DM. They had a great time and a snowball fight that lasted hours. They also caught one fish, which they threw back, but that seemed kind of secondary. In other knitting news, I ended up frogging the calorimetry headband. Not because there was anything wrong with it, but because I chopped off most of my hair and it looks kind of odd without a ponytail coming out the back. I'm using the yarn for a more traditional hat. I'm pretty sure the knitting will slow down a bit now, but that's okay.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

and the FO's just keep on coming!

Sometime in November, the boys asked me for some knitting. At the time, I kind of waved my hand grumpily at them while hunched over a Christmas project from the list that never seemed to get any shorter, sweating, and muttered "grrr . . . after Christmas . . ." Well. Whatever impression that leaves of my parenting skills, I have begun the requested knitting, namely flame hats, flame mittens, flame sweaters, and maybe flame slippers. They basically want to look like I set them on fire. So, okay. What I have to go on is the Jesse's Flames sweater from the Stitch n Bitch Nation book. This is a pattern for a men's sweater with flames on the sleeves. I used the flames chart for the basic idea of how a flame should look, then elaborated a little and voila! The flame hat is born. Here is Little Brother's:

He seems to like it. I knit it out of the same Paton's merino I used for J's mittens, on size 7 straight needles. I think I will make Big Brother's on circulars, and also a little smaller. I aim to get it done before the end of the week, both because it's really not fair that Little Brother has a new hat and Big Brother does not, but because the new job starts Tuesday (gulp). I will post the pattern for the hat after I make the second one and if I can figure out how to get the chart up.

In other knitting-related news, my stash has undergone a sudden bit of expansion. No, I didn't go wacky with the credit card at the new (to me) yarn store I found last weekend. My father-in-law's neighbor is moving out of her house and doesn't want to bring this yarn with her. So here is the new stash, such as it is:

Yeah, this is some old yarn. Lots of acrylic. Lots of stuff that says it's wool but somehow still feels like acrylic. All of it smells pretty musty. I did get a kick out of that vintage pattern book, though. Anyway, I'm not really sure what to do with it all. I mean, it was very nice of her to give it to me, especially since I don't know her all that well. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

a relaxed birthday

Yesterday was J's birthday - happy birthday J! He took the day off from work and we just kind of hung around, played with the baby, relaxed. It was quite nice. We did venture out to a Mexican restaurant where I got the biggest burrito I have ever seen in my life. I swear, the thing was as big as my thigh. And Baby Sister charmed the corporate lunchers at the next table, which is always fun.

Thankfully, I did manage to finish J's mittens on time. I know, mittens are not exactly a huge project, but I am not the quickest of knitters, especially doing magic loop on my circulars with the weirdo twisty cables. If I ever win the lottery I'm spending it all on Addi Turbos. (note to self: Play the lottery.) Here is the FO:

The AFK is an inside joke that would not be all that funny even if I explained it. It amused me at the time. And, incidentally, I came across kind of a dilemma when knitting it: I finished the first row of the design and realized that since I was knitting in the round, I would either have to carry the red yarn all the way around the back of the mitten or cut the yarn and use a different strand for each row of the design. Since it was only five rows, that's what I did, but it left a lot of ends to weave in and made some of the stitches end up a little sloppy. Was there another option I overlooked? Anyway, J liked them and reported that the kept his fingers warm and all one color during his morning jog. And that's really all I was asking for.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

going to Chicago

LITTLE BROTHER: I'm going to go to Chicago so I can marry Cute Little Girl In My Class!
ME: You have to go to Chicago to get married?
LB: Yeah! It's the Windy City. (sighs in disbelief at the stupidity of his mother)
ME: Okay, I don't get what the Windy City has to do with getting married.
LB: Because it's Chicago, Mom. Chicago?
ME: Oh, of course.

Friday, January 19, 2007

There are others out there like me!

Okay, having poked around the blogosphere a while, I knew that, but reading blogs and meeting actual people are two different things. In other words, I really enjoyed my first knitting group experience. I met some really nice people, got to ogle some really nice knitting, and got a good start on my calorimetry headband/hat-thingy. The yarn is Paton's Soy Wool Stripes and it is so soft and pretty. I'm loving the colors - this colorway is called Natural Geranium - and I think the striping looks pretty cool with the short rows. This is what it looked like last night:

This morning I spent Baby Sister's nap knitting (as opposed to cleaning/laundry/dishes/etc. - oh well) and the calorimetry is finished:

And the arty close-up shot:

I liked this pattern a lot; it was quick and it looks cool. Mine came out kind of big, as you can tell in comparing how it fits on my head vs how it fits on the model's head. Either that or I have a tiny, tiny head . . .

Anyway, that was fixed by altering the placement of the button. No problem. I guess that's what I get for substituting yarns without swatching. But all in all I am mighty pleased. Now back to those mittens!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

okay, okay, I'm up

my morning routine
caffeine and ibuprofen
baby didn't sleep

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

so excited

I have been cordially invited to my first ever knitting group! I haven't done too much of the knitting with others yet - I mean, I have one friend who is a knitter, plus my mom and sister, and J gave it the old college try (well, maybe the old kindergarten try, but I digress), but the experience of a group of people, gathered together specifically to knit will be new to me. I'm very excited, and a bit nervous, as my newness to group knitting implies these will all be people I don't know. I don't really have an outgoing and gregarious personality, and I find many social situations awkward. This is something I should work on, though, I know. So I will go on Thursday, and I promise to post about it afterward. Jeez, look at me making promises as if I have huge numbers of readers waiting breathlessly for my next post . . .

In other news, the pretty new monitor that wasn't supposed to come in until Wednesday arrived early! On a holiday even! So between that and some new speakers this feels like a whole new computer, like one from this century even. Plus we got to get rid of the enormous stereo and its 3-foot-tall speakers that J bought in high school. No, I'm not kidding. We hold on to our technology an awfully long time around here. Ask me how old our VCR is! Ask me about our rotary phone!

And I am enjoying a bit more quiet than we had around here yesterday. Don't get me wrong, I love my boys dearly, but wow can they be loud. Is it legal for it to be rainy for virtually all of a three-day weekend? We did a bunch of Mad Libs (excerpt: "Sir, do you realize how fast you were farting?" "No, Officer, was I pooping? I have to get my butt to the hospital. She's about to have a penis!" Yeah.) many excessively violent games involving matchbox cars before I had to finally give in and let them put in some Spongebob. I did get the pleasure of watching them play with Baby Sister, though. After seeing the aforementioned matchbox-car games, you'd think they'd try to strap her to a skateboard and drive her into a wall but they are so sweet and gentle, doing the "5 Little Piggies" over and over, letting her pull their hair, and dancing around because it makes her laugh. We might have many typical sibling issues around here, but jealousy of the baby has never been one of them, and for that, as well as for many other things, I feel very lucky.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

on my needles

I often have a couple of projects going at once, but at the moment, I am unusually focused. I am working on a pair of mittens for my husband, whom I shall call J. He has a steadily worsening case of Raynaud's syndrome, and he needs something warm and woolly for his hands.

The yarn is Paton's merino, fairly inexpensive and widely available. I've made mittens from it before and it is really warm. I chose black because J, like most men, is pretty boring when it comes to color choices.

There isn't really a pattern; I'm just kind of knitting them as I go. Ribbed at the wrist then plain stockinette, they really couldn't get much simpler. Hopefully I'll get to do more interesting things later!

Friday, January 12, 2007

the obligatory introductory post

Hello, internet!

Here I am, throwing a new blog out into the ocean that is the blogosphere. In writing a description, I tried to think of what type of blog I wanted it to be. A knitting blog? Sure. A chronicle of the adorableness of my kids? Of course. A place to vent my worry about a new job and any other chaos that might arise? Yeah, that too. So scattered was the word that came to mind.

Anyway, about me: I'm 28 and a mom to three children. I live in the Ocean State. I currently tutor in science and math, and will soon also be teaching physics part-time. I like to knit. Of course all of this can also be found in my profile and is probably kind of boring, but for some reason it feels like the place to start.

About my kids: I think I will follow in the footsteps of many others and use pseudonyms here. Not that I don't trust you, but you know. I'm not going to attempt to come up with clever names that I'll forget, so I'll call them Big Brother, Little Brother, and Baby Sister. Big Brother and Little Brother are 8 and 6. They are crazy smart, and I'm not the only one who says that, I swear. Baby Sister is 9 months. She is sweet and completely doted upon by her brothers.

I have better pictures of them than the one on the sidebar, it's just not easy to get them all in a picture together. I'll take the liberty of posting some now:

About knitting: I've been knitting for about a year and a half. My mom taught me the basics, and I've picked up other stuff as I go. I am by no means an expert, but I'm really enjoying learning. I'm at the stage where my last few projects were the first time I tried cables, or the first time I tried magic loop, or the first time I did color knitting, etc. I like to knit things that are for the people I love, or teach me something new, or both.

I'm not going to write much about the job yet. I know I'll have more to say as my first day gets closer.

Okay, this is officially long enough, or perhaps way too long. I invite/beg for comments and feedback. Maybe there are already enough blogs out there with cute kids and/or knitting needles, but it just seems like such fun.

What have I done? - a haiku

I've started a blog
Good Lord, I can't believe it
I have things to say?