Tuesday, October 31, 2006

make hay while the sun shines

Here's the newest flower in our yard. I've no idea what it is called, but I'm in love with its huge waxy blooms.

Today, I immersed myself in Pumpkin Math, at Kindergarten, and was pleased to find myself less stressed than usual considering the impending Huge Freakin' Orgy of Sugar that tomorrow promises to deliver. Maybe it's kind of a 'make hay while the sun shines' philosophy, ie, teach math while the little buggers have some attention span? Ahhhh, October, going out with a bang! We weighed, measured the circumference, estimated and counted the number of seeds, counted the lines, and in general, analyzed the dickens out of 3 pumpkins in the classroom. I am reminded, fondly, of a child (child of a Salvadorean Pentecostal Evangelical family) who came into my classroom a few years back, who announced to me that "Teacher, my mother told me to tell you that in our house, we worship God, not pumpkins!"

Alas, no pumpkin pix for you today. Wouldn't want to steal their souls by photographing them.

No knitting today, save for a few cursory stitches on my Trekking socks, living at school, for lunch hour amusement only. No illusions about Socktoberfest here on this blog, no siree!! I'm feeling a little compulsion to play with yarn, though not to knit, so I might go roll some skeins into balls in anticipation of the future blinding progress on Rosedale.

Monday, October 30, 2006

ribbed, for your pleasure

The corrugated ribbing, she's done! I have to admit, this colorway is a bit of a circus. I am a woman who normally dresses in blacks, greys, greens or browns. I like being invisible in a crowd, and I'm afraid this sweater will blow my cover. But the Kureyon is fun to knit, and it is impossible to be in a funk with such sunny colors on the needles. The ribbing, worked using 2 different balls of yarn, was not hard, once I learned to keep everything untangled. It made my wrists hurt, though, and I could only do a couple of rows at a sitting.

Today, I hiked the ledge trail at St Louis Heights' Wailae Ridge Recreation area. Very nice, high above Manoa valley, with clouds blowing in and all around. The trail is mostly shaded by casurina trees, with many twists and turns, and lovely places to sit and dream along the way. Alas, it was such a nice day that all of Honolulu was out hiking it today, so it wasn't the most peaceful hike. A kid gave Cricket a spam musubi, which he liked very much. Hey, who can blame him?

Later, I went in to school and worked off my to-do list, and was actually successful, completing everything on it except for the odious task of weeding out the kids' folders, which, really, is better done with them there to help me.

I am cheered by the encouragement from readers that I may be able to actually do this post-a-day thing. Right now, I've no idea what I'll talk about for 30 days straight, but hopefully it'll break beyond the exhaustive to-do list that some of my entries in the days of yore have sounded like.

I am off to bed. It's coming up on hell week at Kindergarten, what with Halloween and all. You know, for a pagan, I really don't like Halloween that much. I love Samhain, with its darkness, the idea of the thinned veil between the material and spiritual world, the focus on communion with the ancestral spirits, the earth's slide into winter, the understanding that Death and Life are inextricably intertwined. I think, as a teacher, who always spends Halloween throwing a party, managing children's costumes, eating way too much sugar and being a disciplinarian, all the while, wearing a costume and carving a jack-o-lantern, I'm too fried to actually celebrate Samhain properly. Fortunately, I tend to regard it as a season, rather than one day, and generally try to do it justice sometime within the 10 day span in which it occurs.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

can i do it?


Can I post once a day for the entire month of November? I have actually participated, though not finished NaNoWriMo, and written nothing I was very proud of, though in the process, I wrote more fiction than I've ever done on my own speed before. That fic shall remain closeted and cherished, in my warchest for the time being. But blogging, well, I don't think I've ever posted daily in my journal, for 30 days straight. Still, I regard and celebrate Samhain as the Witchly New Year, and as such, I see November as the time for all good resolutions to play themselves out. So this may fly.

I had set this post up to show you my progress on the corrugated ribbing of Rosedale. But Blogger's determined to keep me from posting my photos this afternoon, so I leave the gaudy Kureyon circus for a later day. After all, there's 30 of them, coming up. And Rosedale is a big project that I hope to have wrapped up by New Year's. The mundane New Year, not the witches' New Year. Heh. That would be Tuesday, right?

Dog obedience is kicking my ass. That's all I'll say. I make some progress (better recalls in life-or-death situations) and backslide (crooked sits in the ring, earning my instructor's ranty ire), thus contributing to my pattern of bipolar dog training. ugh. Cricket remains bipolar, though an enthusiastic participant in the training effort. I keep hearing "you've got a nice working poodle, now all you have to do is keep him that way". Nothing like pressure, eh? What's a working poodle? I think it's one that's being trained to compete in performance rather than conformation venues, but I'm not sure. I don't have a conformation type dog, and since I have no interest in grooming, and since both my dogs are now de-sexed (hooray for neutering!) it's the working ring for me. Today was good-ish, in that he didn't have a tantrum in class, worked willingly for me, and simply doesn't hold a heel position w/o food or enticements. So it's not engrained. Our test is coming up in 2 weeks. In my mind, we're already repeating the class, especially as there are some STUNNING dogs in the class and we are merely mediocre at this point. He is a wreck at 8 months, full of yips and lunges at any opportunity to play with classmates. I only have to look at the now-steady off-leash-obedient Ella and trust that the process will work for the crazy Cricket, as well. I don't know...

So stay tuned. I'll try to write.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Rosedale's beginnings and saving my sanity

Enjoying a gorgeous Saturday, and dealing with my horrible, chaotic mess of school supplies and teaching materials, purging, organizing and trying to figure out what should go to school, w/o loading down the already messy classroom. I finished my Parent-Teacher conferences, and was very pleased to entertain many parental complaints about how Kindergarten is working out for their children. These conferences would have slain me, had I been a new teacher, but in my current position, that of very experienced teacher, stepping into a program I have my own doubts and questions about, I was okay. I listened to their concerns, brought up a few of my own and will make some changes in the classroom and schedule to meet the needs of these kids. But damn, last week was intense, made worse by the occasional foray into insomnia-land. I haven't been trying very hard to sleep, and so suddenly, being sleep-deprived sneaked up on me. I think I'll sleep better, next week. I feel okay about work, these days, surprisingly. There are some people I need to avoid, and I'm seriously considering divorcing the teacher's lounge for a few weeks, just to clear my head and listen to something besides the incessant nattering of one or two particular teachers, whose negativity threatens my sanity. I've also made a few friends at work, one of whom reminded me that I needed to remember that I had this whole other life going on, and of the importance of not obsessing over work. So I'll take her advice, and enjoy the other side of my days on the other side of the Pali.

There's been some knitting going on. Pink Clapotette is waiting to be finished, with just a few more rounds to go. I finished another washcloth, and am trying to decide whether to keep it or give it to Marie, who is in need of a cheering up. Perhaps I should go with the karmic goodness of continuing to give away some of my FO's, yeah?

And I cast on for Rosedale in this candy colorway. It's Kureyon #131, stashed away for awhile. This color reminds me of the sunset, but also Hawaii in general, it's so pinky-orangy-happy-happy-happy. Rosedale's corrugated ribbing is a challenge. I started doing it with my knitsters on Thursday night, and their good nature and amusing commentary helped buoy my spirits immensely. I worked some more on it today, and am actually making progress. I have to plow through 3 inches of this knitting k2p1 ribbing with 2 different balls of yarn (you knit with one ball and purl with the other) by my drop-dead date of November 3, which is when the Aloha Knitters are planning their night of cocktailing and frolic. I can't be knitting complicated stuff while consuming alcohol, so I've gotta be on the stockinette part of the sweater by then. Intarsia looks easy enough, so I think I can manage through the martinis on that, anyway. No pix of my progress, as I've done so little. I'll get a shot of it after I make some more headway on the ribbing. I'm kinda pleased with myself, knitting from stash, and actually stopped myself from ordering yarn the other day.

Flying back from DC, the other week, the airline offered me, in lieu of a bad movie, 3 back-to-back episodes of the medical drama "House". I watched it, and have become addicted. I came home, looked for it on tv, and it's not on, til the new season starts on October 31. I'm itchy and fretting to take this quirky show on, and marvel that I didn't really watch it last year. Is Hugh Laurie my new media boyfriend? I watch relatively little tv, so I don't begrudge myself the occasional obsession with a show.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

shake, rattle and roll

Sunday morning, I woke up at 5am with a reprise of my brutal headache of last week. I was due on the tracking field at 7, but a hard rain was pouring, and so I got up, drank a half-liter of water and took some Excedrin and went back to bed. At 6am, I turned off my cell phone alarm, and announced my intent to ditch tracking and sleep in. "mmmffff" came from P's side of the bed, and the tracking dog in question, Ella, lodged between us in the bed, flipped over on her back and sighed. Around 7am, the radio came on, and P and I were just waking up, mumbling about how much nothing we planned to do that day. Suddenly, the house started to shake, and continued for what seemed like an excessively long time for it to be a big truck on the street below. My first thought was "BOULDER!" Nuuanu, our neighborhood, is known to be kind of geologically unstable; I live on a street which is best known as the street that the boulder rolled onto, several years ago, killing a resident in her bed. We love our quiet forested abode, but "BOULDER!" is never far from our minds, especially in hard rainstorms.

All this thinking must've taken about 5 seconds, because then P and I established that oh yeah, it's an earthquake, and uh, duh, we should go stand in a doorway. So we got up, stood in the office and bedroom doorways, while the house shook, and the windows rattled, and everything felt like it was going to break apart. Ella tucked her tail and ran cowering into the living room, and Cricket had a barking fit, running wildly around. We tried to calm him down, while sweating the possibility of a boulder, or the old part of the house (the one we just moved heaven and earth to make level, last year) cracking off and falling down the hill. Shaking stopped. "Wow. Man. An earthquake. Dude." Hey, our 15 years in California gave us cool heads in such times...

Breathing easy, I left the doorway, noted that the power was out, and then the shaking started again. This time it seemed like it was harder, and I waited for it to get worse. I found my doorway again, wondered aloud if I shouldn't be in the newer part of the house, and P muttered something unintelligible about the damn rock walls around us. It felt as if the shaking was coming from under our feet. It stopped, and we sighed. Cricket calmed down, and we tried to find a radio station for information. No dice. After some milling around, I called my dad on my cell phone, back in Virginia. He reported that we'd had a 6.5 magnitude quake and some mudslides had happened.

We spent about an hour, waiting for boulders and mud to come down on us, in the pouring rain, then got bored and decided to conserve some water. So we filled up all our water bottles, and pots and pans. Then we decided that we'd better use the hot water before it cooled down. Our water heater is electric. So we took a hot bath, and made tea, and later, oatmeal with skillet toast and butter. Hooray for the gas stove!

The rest of the day, a rainy, dark, gray day, was marked by frequent trips up to the car to listen to breaking news on the radio, some house cleaning and reading and the eating of all our possibly perishable food, like sliced turkey, brie, salad greens, etc. We felt it was a shame to waste our ice supply, so we made some mango margaritas on the rocks, with some mango puree, and limes we had hanging around. Our liquor cabinet is healthy enough to sustain such a disaster, it would seem. I dusted some shelves and took the dogs for a walk. P walked downtown to see if he could buy some batteries for our flashlights. No dice, there. Fortunately, a pagan household is rarely without a healthy supply of candles, so we didn't curse the darkness, too much. I knitted on Pink Clapotette til eyestrain got to be too much. More brie, red grapes, steamed green beans and the rest of the salad.

I went to bed with Diana Gabaldon's "Voyager", and read til around 10pm. Slept well in the amazing quiet darkness, and was awakened at some unknown time by all our power coming on, including the damn streetlight that always shines in my eyes in the bedroom.

It turns out, Hawaii got through this with minimal damage. The epicenter of the quake was somewheres north of the Big Island, and overall, we did really well. We weren't as prepared, with batteries and such, as we probably should have been, but we were okay for food and the like. It was the biggest earthquake I've ever felt, though the Loma Prieta quake, in the Bay Area, in 1988, was bigger and did more damage, but I was living in Davis at the time, and we were minimally affected.

Some recent pix...
Our gardenia is blooming furiously. This bloom is a bit past its prime, but smells heavenly.

And because Cricket is featured disproportionately in this blog, I leave you with a pix of Ella, the tracking dog, the wonder dog, the perfect dog, coming down the steps to the house. Not pictured are the lava rock walls and scary steep hill. But there are 31 steps that lead down to our house, so you can get a feel for how steep the pitch of the property is.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

consumption and resolution and indecision, oh my!

I had just about finished my recap of my trip back East, when, due to my careless bouncing around on the internets scaring up fun links, I lost the whole damn post. Now all you get is a bunch of images. Enjoy!

My friend Lucy's car broke down on the GW Parkway. Fortunately, we had a great view to enjoy for the 2 hours we waited for the AAA tow truck!

I've recently finished some things (Airy Scarf, a felted purse) abandoned some things (freakin' Purple Koigu socks, which neither fit, nor please me) and made major progress on Pink Clapotette.

I bought some things:

Trekking XXL inspired by the October skies.
1/2 lb of Corriedale Roving and a top whorl spindle.
Some autumnal Spirit Trail Fiberworks sock yarn, because, well, in spite of the fact that I suck at socks, this was all I could afford of their gorgeous yarns.

Now I really am stuck in stash, because stash is too big for me to store from the ever-marauding Cricket,
who does like to steal and re-purpose yarn, and because there is simply no more money for yarny stuff.

I have a plan to have a go at socks again, complete with experimentation with 2 circular needles and some fresh new patterns. I'm also dithering about whether to knit Rosedale, bpt or
Lady Eleanor next. I've got yarns in stash for all three, in the form of Kureyon, Silk Garden and Paton's Classic Merino, so all are possible. Now's your chance to weigh in and influence me!

Now I must go and listen to some Richard Buckner and see about some dinner.

Monday, October 09, 2006

be it ever so humble...

Something about flying nonstop Newark-Honolulu today has taken the starch right out of me, and left me unable to breathe through my nose. I'm dosing on Airborne and enjoying the clean sheets of my own at-home bed. More later.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

a cursory update...

...is all I'm good for, right now. I'm in the Olde Country, that is, Southwestern Virginia, enjoying spectacular fall weather, the last gasp of Indian Summer, really. My time here is too short; punctuated by intense visits with my nears and dears, and interspersed with extreme downtime at my parents' rural place, knitting and watching reruns on tv with my dad, while eating my mom's home cooking and the last gasp of garden produce. Blue skies, the smell of fresh-cut grass and a hazy lull cover everything. mmmmmmmmm....aaaahhhhhh....

Today, I'm dashing out of my sis' place in Roanoke, going to Target (because I've gone over a year w/o shopping at Target!!) and an astonishing bakery and tea house. Tonight, my mom's homemade lasagne and coconut cake. Tomorrow, more knitting and hanging out with the 'rents. Saturday, a long crawl up the Shenandoah Valley, to the Virginia Fall Fiber Festival, to admire all the wooly goodness, pet the sheepies, and possibly, just possibly, to find the perfect drop spindle and fleecy raw material for such a fleecy raw beginner as myself. Now I wasn't gonna touch the handspinning realm, but all this rurality, plus the reports from acornbud on her spinning adventures has made me brave. So wee shall see.

Meanwhile, it's all good. I am actually even looking forward, a wee bit, to returning to my life in Hawaii, which will happen with a big leap on Sunday morning. More on the other side...