Hello, Nice People

December 3, 2009

I’m here! Can’t promise that I’ll get myself back on any regular blogging schedule. (Isn’t there something I can take for that? Something to make me regular? Oh . . . never mind. Different problem.)

Not a whole lot of knitting to share, but I just needed another place to be able to say THANK YOU A MILLION TIMES OVER for supporting me during the tough time I’m going through. In the past, I’ve written a little bit about my experience with breast cancer and unfortunately I’m about to write a little bit about it again.

Recurrence. A much-hated word among all cancer butt-kickers.  I’ve had to add it to my vocabulary.  My back-to-yearly routine mammogram caught a new cancer. Early. DCIS – meaning cancer in the duct and not in the breast tissue. Best possible bad news to get. Because cancer showed up again in the same breast after only 4 years, because I had atypical cells in the other breast that had to come out and because I have a wonderful life filled with people I love and want to be with for a long, long time, I chose a bilateral mastectomy with expander reconstruction.  Not a choice I really wanted to have to make, but definitely the right one – no doubt.  I had the surgery on November 24th and I’m feeling better every day.  It’s going to be a long process and I have to get used to the fact that I can’t do all that I want to do right now, but I have an angel of a son, loving parents and sisters who have taken such good care of me and would do anything for me, tons of amazing friends who are all about feeding me and making me feel loved, and the very happy bonus of having a wonderful man who I love to pieces and who loves me back and has been by my side throughout all of this. I truly believe I’m the luckiest person on the planet right now.

So . . . to any of you who are reading this:  Thank you for every card, email, phone call, gift, visit, good thoughts, and prayers you’ve sent my way.  Thank you for giving me my medicines, rubbing my back, feeding me, propping up my pillows, putting snuggy socks on my feet, driving my boy to visit me in the hospital and driving him to school, changing my bandages, helping get dressed into my fancypants pajamas, washing my hair, feeding my kitty, and entertaining me.  If there’s anything I’ve failed to mention, thank you for that, too.

I know there are tons and tons of good people in the world, but right now I think most of them are gathered around me.  I’m willing to share, though.

To any of you who are reading this and don’t know me in real life, please just let me say this: If you have boobs, get your mammograms on time and encourage anyone you know who has boobs to do the same.  Both of my cancers were caught early with mammography – the first at age 39 and this one at age 43.  No family history. No risk factors. Nothing but regular old boobs. That’s all I needed to have cancer.  Take care of yourselves and take care of your loved ones.

I’m looking forward to putting this all behind me and to having new, perky boobs.  Here’s to chucking all my old bras! And as a friend wrote to me last night, here’s to eternal perkiness!

One Down

August 20, 2009

One skein, that is.  I’ve knit up my first skein of Malabrigo. Eight and a half inches of beautiful blue goodness.

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I keep trying it on to be sure it still fits – and it does.

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It even fits in other places.

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Hmmmm . . . Tube top?

Yes. Yes, It Will.

August 14, 2009

Fit.

It will fit.

Kim, do you hear me? 

It.

Will.

Fit.

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I will not look like a sausage stuffed into a blue casing.

I will not require surgery in order to wear it.

I will not have to avoid wearing it to school because it will make little boys stare at my boobs.

It will fit.

I feel better now.

Knit Two, Purl Two, Knit Two, Purl Two, Kn . . .

August 12, 2009

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Rounds and rounds and rounds of knit two purl two knit two purl two have netted me a whopping one and a half inches of ribbing. Granted, it’s ribbing that’s made of beautiful Malabrigo-ey goodness, but it’s reminded me of why I avoid stuff like this.  Knitting the ribbing on the cuff of a sock is painful, but it ends after a few inches.  This entire sweater is knit in ribbing.

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I’m hoping to get into a good rhythm and enable myself to knit this mindlessly – without even looking.  I’ve tested myself a few times, knitting for a stretch without looking.  I just can’t trust myself to really knit the knits and purl the purls. I have to keep checking.  My speed is building on bringing the yarn forward and back, but I’m no CostumeChick or Anphoe – that’s for sure.  Those girls fly through projects. They can knit in the dark while hanging upside down with their hands tied behind their backs. Really. I’ve seen them do it. I’m a fumbler. The one time I tried to knit in the dark I had to hold the yarn and needles so close to my face that I almost put an eye out.

The bright, sunny spot of this project is the yarn. Malabrigo is my all-time favorite yarn and the Continental Blue color is so beautiful. It’s a little more on the teal side than the photos show. I have 5 skeins of it – a Christmas gift from my parents – and I’ve been waiting for a project worthy of such gorgeous yarn.  I think this is it.

I truly believe that if I can stick to this project and finish it, someone somewhere should give me a trophy. Or a medal.  A plaque.  A certificate.  Something.

Give me some encouragement, people.

Just one request.  No comments about how it’s ribbed – for my pleasure.  I beat you to it.

Hello?

August 11, 2009

Anybody home?  Hello?  Contrary to what you might have thought, I didn’t run out for a loaf of bread and keep going.  Just went through a busy period that didn’t leave much time for anything other than what was required of me. I’ve just started to settle in to some newly found free time and I realized that I didn’t want to let this blog fizzle out and die. My poor mother (Hi, Mom!) checks nearly every day to see if I’ve written a post.  I can’t continue to disappoint her!

Over the course of the last few months, I’ve managed to sneak in a little bit of knitting, so it’s time for a Show and Tell.

These booties were knit as a shower gift for a friend of mine who is expecting her first shmoopie at the end of September.

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The pattern is Ruth’s Perfect Baby Booties and they are pretty perfect. I used Lion Brand Cotton-East in Lime. So stinkin’ cute – I want to hang them from my rearview mirror.

I knit this little bag in June to give as a gift to my Room Mother.

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It’s the Bangle Wristlet Purse knit with Cascade Pastaza in a really pretty teal color.  Like so many things I’ve knit, I wanted to keep it.  It was so hard to give away but its new owner was very happy with it.  I started to knit one for myself in a periwinkle color, modifying the pattern to knit it in the round. Right now, it’s sitting on the pile of unfinished projects because I wanted to move on to this:

This is my Shmoopie Blanket, knit for the same baby who will be wearing the booties.

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This pattern, the Baby Chalice Blanket, was knitted by a friend from my knitting group and I loved it.  I used Bernat Softee Chunky in New Denim Heather. I don’t necessarily love this yarn, but it will be new-mom friendly.

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Still thinking about babies, I knit a few of these:

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The pattern is Baby Ball Rattle by Jessica Gutoski.  So cute.  There’s a cat toy inside the stuffing to make the rattling noise. I think it’s such a smart thing because baby’s always hit themselves in the face with their rattles – and then they scream.  This rattle won’t hurt!

Since we all know I’m a copycat, once I saw another friend’s version of this hat, I needed to make one, too.  It’s Propellor from Woolly Wormhead (Wouldn’t you love to be called Woolly Wormhead?), available in a collection of baby hat patterns called Wee Woolly Toppers.  Here it is during blocking on a big plastic-wrapped ball of wool:

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And here it is in its natural state. Adorable.

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That hat hooked me on baby hats, so I knit this one yesterday:

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It’s the Baby Tri-Peak hat, a free pattern that also came from Woolly Wormhead. I’m not positive on which yarn I used. It was a ball from my stash that had once been something else and was frogged – could be Cotton Tots.

I’m proud to report that everything I’ve shown you was knit with yarn from my stash! No new purchases were made in the creation of these objects. So happy about that. My stash is much bigger than it should be, so my plan is to keep whittling away at it. So . . .

For my next trick . . . I’m going to knit a sweater with the beautiful blue Malabrigo that’s been waiting patiently on the shelf.

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After hemming and hawing over patterns, I settled on Tempting from Knitty. I found modifications on Ravelry that I’ll use to change the neckline – eliminating the eyelets and ribbons and instead adding cables. It won’t be off-the-shoulder, either. Not on me. Nope. I’m sure I’ll bore myself to death with non-stop K2P2 rib, but after looking at all of the beautiful versions on Ravelry, I know it’ll be worth it.

Only a few more weeks until the start of school, and then we’ll be back in action with good kid stories. Can’t wait. Kind of.  As I’m laying here on the couch with my laptop, my knitting, my lemonade, and my television, I think I can wait.

Fun with Kids

May 17, 2009

Kids are so cute when you dress them up.

Every year, third graders read the biography of Helen Keller and then we follow it up with several other biographies. In the past, we’ve had each child choose a biography of a special person, read it, write a short report about the person, and then dress up as their person for Biography Day.  This year, my grade partner and I decided to change it up by borrowing an idea from another teacher.

People Posters.  Instead of having the kids dress up, we gave each child a large sheet of poster board and instructions:  Cut out a hole for your face and two smaller holes for your arms to go through.  Decorate the poster to show the famous person.  Some suggestions: color the clothes and create a background, add yarn for hair, glue on buttons, etc.

Take a peek . . .

Mike Piazza from the New York Mets:

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Mark Twain:Mark Twain

And Cleopatra.

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So much fun.

Here’s another bit of fun.  This one, I must admit, is not written by one of my students.  This boy is in the 3rd grade class across the hall.  His task:  Complete an organizer to note information about a very special person.  His person?  His dad.  Sweet.  He had to fill in details about his dad’s physical traits and personality traits, as well as a special way his dad has helped him and a special way he’s helped others.

Now, when you think about physical traits, what comes to mind?  Height? Size? Eye and hair color?  Sure.  Those are the things that most kids would write about – they’d describe what the person looks like.

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Not this boy.  Take a close look at the physical traits.

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Snort. Remind me to call my dad and find out if his blood pressure is normal.

I’ll sneak in a little knitting now.  I’ve been working on my Midori scarf.  Slow and steady progress.  Such pretty yarn.

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Take a closer look:

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Emmie loves it.

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And I’ll leave you with more kid fun.  One of my hotshots wanted to make a card for his nana, who is recuperating from surgery.  Nana is a huge Mets fan.

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And the meat goes on.

What a Difference a Day Makes

May 5, 2009

After more than a week of knit-free days, I needed to get some needles and yarn working again.  I kept sneaking peeks at the Koigu KPPPM I bought a few weeks ago and I needed to find something pretty to knit with it.  After searching Ravelry, I found the Midori scarf from spillyjane knits.  Instant love.

Here’s what I had completed as of last night:

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Did I mention love? It’ll be even better when it’s been blocked.

Today I endured a long day of sitting at a workshop – a workshop at which I was a presenter. Still, I had a lot of time on my hands – and on my butt.  So I brought my knitting.  Look how it grew!

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Now I want to call in sick tomorrow so I can keep going.  But I won’t.  Really.  But I want to.

Seriously?

April 27, 2009

Another journal prompt:  If you had to choose one, would you rather eat a chocolate-covered worm or a chocolate-covered beetle? I know – I was asking for it. It wasn’t my idea, though.  My grade partner did it with her class last week and they had fun with it, so I wanted to see what I’d get from my kids.

This first piece was written by a very matter-of-fact little girl:

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I love that she said she’d be ‘pucking’ at the end of the day. I hate pucking.

Another girl wrote this next piece.  She had quite a way with words.

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“. . . slither down my through (throat) like I was throwing up backwards.”  What a thought.

My favorite, though, is this one.  It was written by one of my funny boys (the “going to juvie” kid).  He’s a light printer, so it’s kind of hard to read in this photo.  I’ve written it out for you below the picture.

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If I was forced to eat a chocolate covered beetle or a chocolate covered worm, I would choose a chocolate covered worm because it would be just like eating a gummy worm. It would be like having a dirt cup at school, soft, slimy and GULP!  Down the throat it goes.  As for beetles it would be hard, crunchy and get stuck in your teeth. I mean seriously. What kind of journal entry is this? A try to make you explode with grossness test or what?!

That kid made me snort.  Loudly.  In front of the whole class.  I snorted.  Seriously.

Boys are . . .

April 22, 2009

chewing me out – or grossing me out.  Let’s start with the chewing.  We’ll get to the grossing later.

My own boy is more of a grown-up than I am.  He chewed me out for snapping photos of a fellow passenger on our recent train ride to Grand Central Station in NYC.  He said I was obnoxious and rude.  My argument?  I saw something out in public view that I found . . . well . . . intriguing.  I didn’t make a big show of it. I discreetly pulled my camera out of my bag, turned it on, turned the flash off, pointed, and clicked.

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I couldn’t help it.  I was intrigued by this woman’s black leather, bow-front half-shirt. I didn’t understand it. I wanted to know more about it. I wanted to remember it. And of course, I wanted to show it to you.

What I didn’t realize until I zoomed in on the photo as I checked it on the playback was that this woman was looking right at the lens when I snapped the picture.  I’ve behaved responsibly and cropped her face out of the shot to protect her identity.  Hopefully, no one will be able to recognize her from the back.

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So that’s that. Just wanted to share. Nothing else to say about it.  I won’t do it again.

Before we get to the grossing, I’ll tell you about what we did after the train ride.  My sisters, my niece, my boy, and I went to the city on Saturday to poke around.

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It was a beautiful day and we thought it would be a great time to walk around – and check out some yarn stores.  First, we went to School Products on Broadway.  Not so great.  The man who ran the store tried to be helpful and was friendly – until he realized we weren’t going to buy anything.  Then he was done with us.  No photos.

We walked (and walked and walked and walked) and came to Macy’s in Herald Square – the largest store in the world.  (At least that’s what the sign says.)  Their annual flower show was on, so we went inside to look.

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My boy and I rode the escalators up and down to quickly check out every floor. Seven? Eight?  I think we lost count.  Floors and floors of stuff.  A serious shopper could get lost in there for days.  The cool thing?  The old, wooden escalators.

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Later, we made it to Purl Soho on Sullivan Street.  Tiny, but beautiful store.

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I bought this:

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Koigo KPPPM. Such pretty colors.  No idea what it’ll be when it grows up, but it will be lovely.

Next, we continued to The Point on Bedford Street, which was only a few blocks from Purl.  At The Point, you can eat, knit, and be happy – just like the sign says.  It’s a knitting cafe and it’s adorable.  I wish they had one in my town.  I think I’d be there every day.

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After walking 80 bajillion miles, we all slept until noon the next day – which was a good thing because my vacation had reached its end and it was time to head back to school.  I was a little down-in-the-dumps about going back, but I knew I’d be entertained by the kids.

And entertained I was.  And grossed out, too.

I gave the kids the job of choosing two animals that they could combine to create a new and different animal.  For example, a puppy and a raccoon could become a pupcoon. They would then have to write a description of this animal and tell me where it lives, what it eats, and so on.  Then, they would draw a picture of the animal in its habitat.

One of my little . . . angels decided to combine a snake and a cow.  A snow (rhymes with how).  Hmmm.  Okay.  A snow.

Here’s the illustration:

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You might notice that over on the left side of the paper there’s another snow that was drawn first and then erased.  The artist thought it should be bigger.

Ahem.

Finally Finished!

April 12, 2009

Tonight I finally finished the baby blanket I’ve been knitting for a soon-to-arrive baby boy.  I don’t know why, but this beautiful piece of handknit goodness was an honest to goodness thorn in my side.  It seemed to take forever and every time I measured it to see if it was a true square yet, I swear it was getting smaller.  It played tricks on me.  At least it’s finally done, although it continues to taunt me by refusing to allow its actual color to be photographed.  It’s not as bright a blue as in this first photo . . .

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. . . but it’s not as dull as in this next one.  Whatever.  The yarn is a very pretty blue – Little Boy Blue and knit double-stranded, it created a very thick, cushy blanket that’ll be great to set down on the floor for baby to lay on.

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Now I can get on with my life and decide what I’m going to knit next.  My April vacation has begun and beyond some appointments, get-togethers with friends, and garage cleaning (ha!), I should have lots of knitting time.  I also might work on third marking period report cards, but maybe not.  Reading kids work as I decide their grades can be . . . um . . . alarming.

Take a peek at a response written by one of my 3rd grade girls to a question about a book she’d been reading independently.  Since I may not read each and every word of each and every book read by my 21 students, I count on them to write lots of details to explain their thoughts.  If you’re like me, you’ll quickly find that one word in her writing JUMPS OUT at you.

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See it?

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Wrapped.  He wrapped himself up in toilet paper.  She thinks that’s funny.

After getting past my initial slam-the-notebook-closed-and-sit-on-it reaction, I think it’s funny, too.  Gulp.

Oh – wrap was a spelling word a few weeks ago.


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