Friday, July 27, 2007

Woohoo! Class is done...

and now I just have to finish grading the final projects. Whew! They will be plenty of work on their own, but I have seen a lot of improvement in my students. I am very much looking forward to my vacation and being able to work on crochet and read a book if I want.

I'll catch up here after I get back, and should have lots of pictures. See you then!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

A satisfying end...

Well, it's 4 a.m., and I finished the book. I love the way it all wrapped up. Rowling knew what her loyal readers needed, and she delivered it spot on! Yes, I got a few papers graded, but absolutely couldn't put the book down as I got closer to the end. Now I don't have to worry about spoilers, and can read all those blogs out there! And maybe I will actually find some time to pick up my crochet hooks again soon.

Still seriously short on sleep, but ah, well, sometimes things are worth it. Now I can start again with year one, and read the whole series back to back. And the stack of "must reads" is growing considerably as well, so I can branch out and read some of the other books that have been gathering dust.

I shall press onward!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Help! I need a vacation...

And lucky for me I've got one coming up in just a few days. It was an amazingly crazy weekend. I started working at the newspaper on Wednesday, and my regular schedule is Wednesday through Sunday nights. I am still teaching my writing class, and trying to catch up on all the grading (the WORST thing about teaching). The class ends Friday, and I will be happy to be able to get more sleep. My schedule at the newspaper is 4 p.m. to midnight (except Fridays and Sundays, which will be more like 5 p.m. to 1 a.m.). And with Harry Potter out this weekend, plus trying to grade, I haven't picked up a crochet hook in what feels like forever (but it's probably more like 4-5 days).

I graded last night after getting home from the paper, and my reward for each assignment graded was a chapter of Harry. I am about 2/3 of the way through and trying really hard to avoid all spoilers. I stayed up until 5 a.m., and then pretty much just crashed until I had to get up at 8:30 to shower and get to class. After class, I came home and read some more until my eyes just wouldn't stay open. Took a 3-hour nap (about), and now that it is 11 p.m. I need to grade some more papers (and see if I can sneak in a few more chapters!).

And we leave on vacation to South Dakota (the Black Hills, Mt. Rushmore, caverns, camping, etc.) on Friday. I am so excited to be away from home and all the pressure (which has been more than normal for the last couple of weeks). I am packing a couple of great crochet projects and a really comfortable chair. Between that and the pool I think I will be one happy camper! I'll take lots of pictures and share them here. I intend to RELAX. Anyway, papers await, so off I go!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Squares made and joining to come...

Here's the stack of 20 squares for the sampler afghan I have been working on. They are finally finished, and I am working on crocheting around them so they can be joined. They are assorted sizes (they were all supposed to be 12 x 12, but it didn't quite work out that way), and there is no even number of stitches on any side of all the squares. Basically, I am just single crocheting all the way around each square, then I am going to play around with some different stitches to go between the squares. I am going to have to fudge a lot of stitches as I work it up, but I have plenty of experience with that!


You can see that some of the red pieces have a white single crochet around them. When I am really ready to join them, all of them will have a white single crochet around them, then I will use the red, blue and white to do the in between stitching and joining. Yes, it seems like I always work in red, white and blue, but really I sometimes use other colors, too. Remember the black, gold and white rug?

I have a couple of other fun projects ready to go, and just need to get them started.

If anyone has some good ideas on joining and the between stuff for the blocks above, I am open to any and all ideas! And I think I might be ready to take a risk on some more expensive yarn to make a couple of sweaters and tops for myself. So now I have to decide what to use once I've decided what patterns to use. I also have a great granny square bag pattern (actually a couple of them) that I'd like to use some other yarns on. However, my stash is building so I probably better use some of it first!

They are so tall!


Here are my two boys and the two neighbor boys when we went to the zoo. The penguin pictures are a long wall with all the species of penguins pictured and their average size so kids can see how they measure up. Nick and Jonathon are in front of the end where the Emperor is pictures, and the penguins get smaller as you go farther to the right.
Ryan (on the far left) is 13 (he'll be 14 in September), and Kyle is 11 and will be 12 in December. Ryan is far past me, and Kyle has caught me (and I am almost 5'10"). Nick is just a little more than a year younger than Kyle and Jonathon is 6.

The zoo is so much fun!

I finally took the opportunity to take the kids to the zoo and see the new penguin exhibit. We have a terrific zoo, and the exhibit was just completed a few months ago. I love to go to the zoo anyway, and I especially love the jungle house. It's all tropical with lots of plants and animals, and the waterfall makes it sound really great. Now that I am working second shift, I can take advantage of having mornings off and go to the zoo before going to work. It was really a fun, relaxing day.

This is a picture looking through the waterfall in the jungle house back out into the building. The water is so cool looking, and I love the way it smears the colors. The dark horizontal lines are branches of a small tree that hang out over the pond area where the waterfall drops.
This baby giraffe was born only a couple of days earlier. He is really so cute, and more stable on his legs than I would have thought. The rhinos also had a baby a week or so earlier, but I couldn't get a great picture of her. She was pretty darn cute, too though.
And of course, the river otters are always fun to watch. They were all over the place, wrestling in the water, and playing. I just happened to catch this one while he stepped out in the sun for a minute, and just before he dove back in.
It was pretty fun to get up close and personal with the penguins. The exhibit is designed so that viewers can see right into the tank from above and from in front. The glass front makes it easy to see what the birds look like when they swim. These are Humboldt penguins, and are quite a bit smaller than the more recognizable Emperor penguins. They are still pretty darn cute!
And in my mind, no visit to the zoo is complete unless I get to see the flamingos. Last summer we had a couple escape. They eventually got tracked down and returned, but for a while the flamingos were on the lam!

I just had a great time, relaxed (although it was crazy hot), and had fun. The boys also had fun, and with a family pass, we'll get to go several more times I'm sure.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

I can't believe it's been a week!

Wow! It has been so crazy and without Internet access at home (for the meantime) I haven't had much chance to post. We had our last regular swim meet of the season last night, and it didn't rain on us! The clouds were threatening, and we thought it might, but we were able to swim the whole meet without incident. We had just about finished cleaning up the pool area after the meet (taking down the timing system, backstroke flags, computer system, etc.) and we saw the cutest little bunch of ducks walking on the deck. The lifeguards said they come around all the time, and are in the pool swimming every morning before swim practice. The lane lines were still in the pool, and a couple of the ducks had a difficult time climbing over them. The discs would spin as the ducks went over, and the duck would fall back. They looked so cute swimming up and down in the second lane!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Whew!

I had my third day of the writing class I am teaching today, and gave them assignments number 4 and 5. And they had their first current events quiz. I feel like I am knee-deep in grading, and just needed to take a break. Got the quizzes graded and will move on to the next assignment here in a minute after taking a few minutes to do a little surfing.

We had a wet Fourth, but the fireworks were going crazy in the rain and lightning until about midnight. I mean the fireworks were going until about midnight, and there was rain and lightning pretty much all that time as well. Our kids didn't get to shoot their fireworks off until about 11:45 p.m., but they had a lot of fun. And the laws on fireworks here are pretty darn liberal (Roman candles, etc. are legal, and there are a lot of fireworks that shoot up over the rooftops!). We just light little things like those spinning flowers (I love those!) and fountains. We did have a church picnic and kickball game, which was pretty fun. I was just glad to have a day off to relax (except a little grading...). I even took a nap!

The crocheting goes on, and I figured out the pattern fr the next block of the sampler afghan. Those instructions are so wacky and hard to understand. I found a marvelous little book at B&N that has 200 crochet stitches, with instructions, charts and photographs. I found one that sounded like the one I was trying to figure out, and worked it. I love the book because it is spiral bound (so it lies flat). You can see the book here

Well, I probably better get back to grading. But before I go, I feel the need to post a picture of something fun, so here it is:This is a beautiful Venetian glass and marble mural by artist Joan Miro, that hangs on the front of the art museum I used to work at. It is 28 by 52 feet, and contains more than 1 million pieces. This isn't the greatest picture, but it is an amazing piece!

Monday, July 02, 2007

How cute are these?

Aren't the polka dots the best?
The straps sit in a really comfortable position and don't rub at all.
I found these at Target ($20) and because I haven't worn heels in a long time, I thought the kind-of platforms might make these a little easier on the feet. I've worn them and they are actually pretty comfortable to walk in, even for me!

I feel like I live in a swamp!

And doesn't it look like I live in a swamp, too? This is actually a picture of the water that is sitting in my gutter in my front yard. Yes, it's true, I am growing algae because there has been water there for so long. Normally we have a humidity rate of about 50-60% this time of year (and for being from the desert, that is high, but after living is South Carolina, that is low!). This morning we were at 100% humidity, and the weather man was kind enough to remind us that although we will see the sun (at least occasionally), we will not dry out, because the air is so saturated that pretty much no evaporation can take place. At least it has only been in the 70s as opposed to nearly 100 like it usually is by July.

However, that also means that I have not been able to just hang out at the pool with the kids, and with no job right now, that means opportunity lost! Ah, well, I hope there will be time for that later...

But on the bright side, I sure don't have to water my grass, and look how nice and green it is!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

The sun came out..

At least for a little while. So I went outside and took a few pictures to prove it. It's gone now behind the clouds again, but here are some pictures to prove it shined, even just a little bit!See? That's blue sky to the east, along with what has become far too regular a sight, storm clouds.And my tree looks nice and green with some sun (a little) shining through its leaves, and a light breeze blowing, but I felt like I was going to sink up to my ankles in my front lawn!
And a daisy (or three) from the garden is always good to provide a ray of sunshine and a smile!

Here's the new car!


Well, the sun finally came out from between the clouds for a few minutes this afternoon, so i went out and took a few pictures of the new car. It's in great shape and super fun to drive. The color does not translate exactly from the pictures, but the yellow is like a banana yellow, not incredibly dark or bright, and not a pastel.






The interior is black leather, and the front seats are heated, which I'm looking forward to when it is 15 degrees outside this winter. Plus, when the kids get in after swimming when they are all wet they don't leave nasty stains all over the leather like they did the cloth seats in my old bug. The window tinting was completely redone just before we bought it, so it is perfect.







I had to keep my vanity tags! And this license plate frame was just too cute to pass up. I had it for the old car, but it just didn't look right on the blue. However, I hung on to it (I hadn't had it terribly long), and now it's perfect. I had a steering wheel cover that matched it, but the flowers and the ladybugs peeled off it! Now I just have a cushy gray one that feels great on the hands.





And of course I have flowers to put in the vase. These are just one set, and I have several other colors so I can change them when I feel like it. Right now I like the look of the yellow with the yellow exterior. I also have orange, purple, white, and pink. The vase was a necessity, and I actually kept the one out of the wrecked car because I wasn't sure if there was still one in this one. And it's a good thing I kept it, because there wasn't one in the this car. So, I love it, love it, love it!