Monday, September 29, 2008

Happy Birthday Plus, Alex!

Left one major fun happenstance out - Alex celebrated the one month anniversary of being 5. We were away when he actually turned 5, so I wasn't about to let it pass without a party. And I think I may make this an annual happening, because he's got a late August birthday; having the party in September assures that his buddies will be back from vacation and ready to party.
Long Time, No Blog...

Well, there's been a lot of craziness going on with Clan Kiladitis, but I'll try to give a quick update. The good news is that it's official - I'm a grad student! I was accepted into the San Jose State University Master's program for Library & Information Science! It's an online program and I will be a Spring 2009 frosh. I'm terrified, excited, and just want to start things off already. I'm going to speak to an advisor to get a basic idea of a plan down, but for the first semester, I'll just take one or two of the pre-req courses to start the show. My 'school store' will be through Amazon, so I'm wondering about the whole selling the textbooks back business - have to look that up. And I'm hoping that I'll be able to utilize the public libraries for some of the books, too.

I'll be a freshman again at the age of 38. Wow. Actually, it's kind of cool. I've put this off for so long now that to actually have it happen feels almost unreal. Talk to me around midterms, and I'm sure it won't feel that unreal after all.

Work has drained me beyond belief. Our company was bought by another megacorp - no surprise, the rumor mill has been alive for months - and I'm not really sure where my position will be in the grand scheme of things, or even if I'll have a position. On the one hand, I'm okay with that. I haven't been thrilled with this place for a while, but on the other, with the economy tanking and jobs going away by the thousand, I'm concerned - especially with my dream of grad school in hand now - that this is the only gig in town. So I'm trying to take things day by day and just see where things go. Not a great feeling to have hanging over my head, but that's what life is giving me right now so I have to go with it.

I started teaching last week, too. I'm teaching Catholic religious ed once a week for an hour to second-year kids (mostly second graders). Holy Moses. The first class hit me like a ton of bricks. The struggle to keep control overrode everything else, including the lesson plan I'd prepared. I got through the first unit, essentially having the kids read the pages out loud (they love that stuff) and I emphasized a few points ("God made the world, He made us to take care of it") and actually used one point of interest out of the 20 or 30 I was originally going to use. I was freaked out and not even sure I could go back for another class, but Mike and my Mom both reminded me that this is something so far out of my comfort zone that it was to be expected.

My sister-in-law, herself a second-grade teacher in the public school system, really put things in perspective when she told me, "You didn't give birth to them, you don't have to love them. It's important they like you." Believe it or not, that liberated me - I was so concerned with wondering how I was going to love these kids from day one, and being frustrated with them upset me because I was giving myself the Bad Mother treatment - for kids that aren't mine! Giving myself permission to NOT be the good mom, to be the teacher, I think will help me this week.

Much knitting happening, which is keeping my tenuous grip on sanity firm. I finished scarves for Ron's daughters' Christmas gifts, and I've gotten one sock done for Mike's grandmother. I cast the other one on this morning on the train - if you saw a woman in teal furiously knitting in a circle at the stairway on 42nd Street at Bryant Park, that was me. I hate when I get to my stop before my round is done.

I've got the knitted portion of baby gifts for this weekend's shower for Mike's cousin Jen all done - the Helena sweater is done and is absolutely adorable; the two hats are in, and I'm debating on a pair of booties. I started a pair of Saartje's Booties, but I have to seam them up and I'm concerned, after finishing one, about the seam running at the base of the foot and whether or not that will irritate the baby's delicate new tootsies. I'm not going to frog the one I've done already; I may just make another one, fill them with tulle and use them as a gift wrap accent.

Sorry for the lack of pictures in this post, but I just wanted to get caught up with everyone since I've been away for a while. More soon!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Sock Meme

I was kind of tagged by TheKnittingPatch, so here goes:

When did you first learn to knit socks?
I knit my first pair earlier this year; found a dubiously named "Easy" pattern and went for it. It aged me prematurely, but I finished them and I loved them.

What’s the first sock you ever knit?
The Easy Aran Sock by Karen Konop. It called for a worsted weight yarn, so I thought it would be a good start. Turning the heel gave me a little agita, but I finished! I knit them up on Plymouth Encore, ran out with half a foot left to go on the second sock, finished it up with Caron Simply Soft in white - hell, I just wanted to finish it! Besides, that part of the foot will be in a shoe.

Favorite Sock Pattern?
I loved the Kimono Socks. I've blogged about them before.

Favorite needle method?
I'm all about the dpns, but one of these days want to learn the two circs method.

Favorite sock needles?
I love my little Tatumi bamboo needles.

Who do you knit socks for?
It's split right now between my mom and me.

How many pairs have you knitted to date?
6 1/2 - I knit up one Horcrux sock for Alex, but didn't measure out the foot right.

What is on your sock knitting to-do list?
Oh my lord, what isn't? Okay, anything that is in Fall Knitty and Twist Collective. WendyKnits' Nanners. Countless others.

What kind of socks to you like to knit?
I LOVE cables. Lace is fun, too. I like 'em all, basically, but I favor cables.

Striped? Haven't tried yet, but sure, I'm game.

Colorwork? On my to-learn list.

Plain Stockinette? Why not?

Cabled? Without question.

Lace? Yup.

Anklets? Sure.

Knee Socks? Did one pair; have to get elastic to sew in (Snowflake Lace Socks) because the cotton doesn't have the elasticity of wool and they fall down.

Solid colors? Yup.

Bright and crazy? This is me we're talking about, so the answer is yes.

Faux Fair Isle (the yarn doing all of the work)? Sure thing.

Tag a few sock knitters here:
Oh, consider yourself tagged if you like knitting socks.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Not much else to say today.

Monday, September 08, 2008

See? Productive!

Helena sweater from Knitty. Mike's cousin is due in December with a little girl, so I've been knitting away on baby shower goodies. Her mom has done three blankets so far, so I'm not going to contribute a blanket this time, but I will be making the Umbilical Cord Cap using this yarn and I found a cute pair of booties to whip up. I love how sweet this little jacket looks, and the beauty of it? Sleeves are knit into the body - no seaming! I just finished the second sleeve this morning, so I just have to finish the details.

Sock Hop socks from Creative Knitting. Oh, Cynical Knitting Gal, how I love you for this yarn. Are these not the perfect Fall socks? Now I have even more reason to wish for the cool weather.

Kimono socks, baby! I think I need to make myself another pair of these in another color, because they were so much fun. After all the baby showers and Christmas gifts are out of the way...

Twisty Hat! Yup, it's the same yarn I used on the kimono socks; I had enough left over to make this hat for Mike's cousin. I like baby hats, and having done this pattern once before for Baby Boyd, I thought I'd revisit it. The seemingly endless ribbing gets a little tedious, but it's perfect for television watching.

Don't remember if I posted an earlier picture of the Celtic Cable neckwarmer, so here you go. Baby Alpaca. Ahhhh... now I just have to get off my keester, head down to MJ Trimming, and get three lousy buttons. I think I may do a little single crochet around the edges too, just to give it a more finished look.

See? I can be productive... just not at work...

After an extended blogging vacation, I am back! Fear not!

I know before I left, I was just a mess, running to catch up everywhere. Having had the last week off to get the kids ready for their first week of school, I've managed to discover my inner whirlwind of productivity. Being back at work, however, I don't know how long that momentum will be sustained... but we shall see.

In short - Florida was great fun. We had a side trip to the Everglades where the boys (and me, shanghaied by Alex) got to hold snakes and alligators; we sampled a key lime milkshake from this awesome fruit stand called Robert is Here. My dad shocked the living daylights out of me by pulling out all the stops and throwing Alex a full-on birthday party at Dave & Buster's. I even got to joke around with my stepmother, which is nothing short of amazing. It's taken almost 20 years, but I think we've finally gotten to a point where we actually feel comfortable around one another, rather than just making nice. It's a good feeling.

We came back to Labor Day weekend and the start of school the next day. I think I was more nervous about Alex starting Kindergarten than he was. Let's take a look:

See Will's eyebrow? Yes, he is ready to pull a Sonny Corleone and break my camera.

Alex pronounces Kindergarten "Awesome"!

So yes, my boys handled separation anxiety far better than their mother. As usual. Today is my first day back at work, and I've been fretting and fussing about how Alex will handle afterschool. I know he'll be fine. I know Will is going to be fine. But it doesn't matter. Mother Guilt - never goes away, does it?

So, what else is shaking? I was a torrent of activity last week; I was able to get a start on Parents' Association goodness, I practiced my lesson plan for my upcoming Catechist duties, I knit an incredible amount and made soap. Can I just, you know, stay home and collect my regular salary? Pretty please?

Knitting. There has been much. I began a pair of yummy socks while I was on vacation - my stepmother was fascinated by the sock knitting process - and finished them shortly after arriving home. It's the Sock Hop pattern from the July 2006 issue of Creative Knitting magazine and I knit it up with the greatest yarn, received from my buddy (Not So) Cynical Knitting Gal during our Hot Sauce Swap. Wait 'til I post a picture; they are the perfect Fall socks. I thought it was just a pretty variegated yarn until I started working with it, and then I realized that it's a self-patterning yarn! It's awesome!

I also finished those Kimono Socks that I was going on and on about a few entries back. Love.

I'm working on some baby shower gifts again, but since the recipient isn't reading this blog, I can share. I'll post pictures next.

Ah, Fall. Back to school for the kids, but I still feel, after all these years, that it's a beginning for me, too. Maybe it's the promise of cooler weather coming. Maybe it is that feeling, ingrained from childhood, that it's the beginning of... something. But I do love Fall. Maybe things will really take off now.

Happy Fall, everyone!