Saturday, April 30, 2011

Cleaning Up, Moving In

Photo04300704 by emmsteroni
Photo04300704, a photo by emmsteroni on Flickr.
A morning gift from Chase.

This morning  I was woken up early by Chase's cat who was desperately trying to find where I had hidden my yarn stash. As I groggily sat at my lap top and sipped at a cup of coffee, Chase took Koda outside for me. I figured he actually went outside with her because he's quite curious about the fairy door that appeared on our tree recently. When he and Koda came back inside, he happily presented these little flowers to me. It made my day.

For the past two days I have been busy with spring cleaning and also unpacking. We moved into our home Thanksgiving of 2009, but I haven't completely unpacked still. At that time I was in school full time, working full time, and trying to settle our family in enough between two major holidays. Pictures didn't get hung. A lot of books (six totes worth) haven't been unpacked. Not to mention little things still needing a proper home. So I decided that while I was spring cleaning, I would also hang photos and finally settle everything. I'm tired of my front hall closet being full of totes of items that need a proper home.

Also with the spring cleaning comes sorting winter clothes, packing away that can still be worn and preparing a donation pile. We're also pulling out more of our spring/summer clothing so we need to sort everything. I have piles of washed laundry everywhere right now. I really need those empty totes to start storing some of these things!

The weather was quite nice today. A bit cool, but the sun was out for a good portion of the day and it made me want to be outside digging in the dirt. We might work in our yard tomorrow if I can get everything inside done. I'm looking forward to when the weather stays consistently warm so things can be planted and the front porch replaced.

For now I am going to spend time with Steve (who just returned from two days out of town and will be heading out again this coming week.)

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Finishing the Semester

"As Rachel Lynde used to say, the sun will go on rising and setting whether I fail in Geometry or not." - Letter from Anne to Marilla from Anne of Green Gables

A few weeks ago I remembered this line from Anne of Green Gables and found it fitting for my current feeling on Statistics. It was the day I realized that as hard as I kept studying and getting help, I more than likely was not going to pass my class. I was coming to terms with this, and I have accepted it and am okay. Although the quote goes on to say she'd rather not live if she doesn't pass, I don't quite share that feeling with Anne. 

I enjoy math, I truly do, but this was an interesting class. Instead of it being mostly face time, it was mostly online. When it comes to math, I want to be in person when it is taught. I want to be able to ask questions at that moment, not send them in an email or wait until "lab" day. So I am going to continue enjoying the sun rising and move on with my education. 

Today I have two more exams and then this semester is officially done. Overall it's been an enjoyable semester and I am just a smidge closer to graduating. I'll be taking two classes this summer (a math class in person for seven weeks, and an online class that is the entire summer).  At least I have determination! 

The weather held on Tuesday and I was able to raku fire. I am pleased with my pieces and will take pictures of them later and post them. I always find it amusing that I tend to hunt the house for the best natural light (hard to come by since it has been so gloomy lately) for a photo shoot for various objects (yarn and books for example). But with raku, you want the light to hit each piece just right to capture the variance in colors.  

Chase is going on a field trip today that involves a lot of outdoor time (they're going to a local farm). I hope the weather clears a bit for the field trip so they don't spend all day dodging puddles and rain drops. 

I also have close friends in Alabama who I am praying for. I have not heard from them since early yesterday evening (both power and cell service were spotty at best) so I hope they are safe. 

Hug your loved ones.


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wednesday Yarn Along

Today is Wednesday and this is the day we dedicate to knitting projects and reading! I was introduced to the Wednesday Yarn Along by a wonderful woman, Ginny, and am excited to be a part of this. So Wednesdays I will post a picture of what I am reading and working on knitting wise.

Photo04270711_1 by emmsteroni 

Photo04270711_1, a photo by emmsteroni on Flickr.
With this being finals week, I am spending my reading time re-reading some things from the past semester (especially statistics). I have finished the front panels to my mother's sweater and am now finally working on the sleeves.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Remaining Optimistic

It's supposed to rain today. Actually, it's supposed to storm. Lately around here it rains (or snows) for a handful of days then we get one or two days of really beautiful weather. I call it teasing weather. It reminds you that spring is here and the weather is going to be wonderful. Then the rain and the cool air creep back in and saturates your bones. I know that rain comes with Spring; I don't need to be reminded of April showers bringing May flowers. But what if you can't even get those flowers in the ground because it just won't stop raining long enough to do anything outdoors?

My biggest concern with the rain today is that we were going to fire the raku kiln tonight in class. The raku kiln is an outdoor kiln and really should be fired in good weather (however, I have raku fired in the snow before, and actually, last spring we did it in the rain, too). I was hoping the storms they were predicting for today would have rolled through by now (they predicted they would, but they haven't) and then leave a window from 5pm to 10pm clear. So far we've had sun, some wind, but no rain. I am desperately trying to remain optimistic that the rain will hold off until 9. Please. Please. Please.

This morning Steve and I had blood work done together. Nothing spices up a relationship more than going and having someone draw a couple of vials out of you. It was no big deal for me, but Steve had some issues with his veins locking and ended up having both arms stuck. Why the blood work? I'll go into that in a separate post in the future.

I am remaining cautiously optimistic that I will finish the sweater I am knitting for my mother for her birthday before she arrives next Tuesday night. I may still be putting the finishing rows together while sitting in the train station parking lot, but by golly, I am going to try my best to get it done in time. I finished up the front panels last night and just have the sleeves to do. If I could dedicate all of my free time over the next week to knitting, I know I would be done with it. Sadly, this is also finals week and because that isn't enough to worry about, I am also in the middle of spring cleaning (again, mom is arriving in a week and my best friend and her family later that week).

Tomorrow I am dedicating to taking care of one major exam and also wrapping up another. Then I only have my in person exams to take on Thursday and I can wash my hands of this semester. After my exams tomorrow I'll work on cleaning more. A little at a time, right? And hey, if I accomplish what I set forth to do tomorrow during the day, I can lose myself in my skeins of yarn in the evening.

We'll see.

At some point I'll probably spruce up this blog and will also start to try and add pictures to my posts. I'm not the greatest photographer, but it would be nice to look back and see what is going on.

For now this will do.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Celebrating Easter

Since late Friday evening my time has been filled with Easter related activities. As Chase was getting ready for bed, I decided the Easter basket he has used for years was no longer sufficient for him. It's one of those cute fabric ones, shaped like a firetruck, bought for him when he was three because his world was firetrucks and fire fighters. Now that he is a young man of almost ten, I realized that the basket no longer served his purpose of not only hunting eggs, but also hunting a basket that possibly holds a small present or two.

So I decided to weave a new basket for him.

I should have waited until Saturday morning to begin working on his basket. I felt that I had too much to do on Saturday to give the proper time to the basket so it was better to start late at night. Chase went to bed shortly after I finished weaving the bottom and started the sides and I continued working for almost two more hours. I knew when I went to bed, with only trimming left to do, that something was not quite right with the basket. I realized Saturday morning that I used the wrong handle and it was causing the basket to be a bit lop-sided. I stared at the basket while sipping my morning cup of coffee and contemplated making another, better shaped basket.

It doesn't matter how it looked, however. Chase loves his basket. He didn't even comment on the lopsidedness of it, just that it would be able to hold lots of plastic eggs. I love that little guy.

I baked challah bread yesterday, but not just any challah bread. These rolls were shaped like bunnies (based on a suggestion from my dad). Chase didn't like the regular bodies on these bunny rolls so we braided the bread instead and turned them into little rolls. He says if gives the appearance of fluff. I also baked oatmeal cookies, but not just any oatmeal cookies (are you starting to notice a pattern here?) These I got from the Food Network magazine and have white chocolate chips and chopped peaches. We took some to my mother-in-law who is recovering from surgery and munched on them around the house. Needless to say, there were only four left last night before bed. I made another batch this morning.

I sometimes wonder if I aim too hard for perfection and then overshoot it. I don't want to be the best at everything, just possibly at one thing. I enjoy cooking, but I know I have a lot to learn still. I enjoy knitting, but am still treading water as a beginner. I love throwing pottery, sitting at a wheel and molding the clay to my liking, but I am a novice potter.

I was once told I should focus on one thing, learn to do it well, then move on. It's an interesting theory, a good one, but I fear I'll miss out if I focus on just one thing. So for now I will do a handful of different things well and work toward perfecting them all.

As for Easter... the ham is out of the oven, the potatoes are in roasting, and soon the green bean casserole will go in. It's just our little family today and I'm okay with that. Between the baking and cooking I have been knitting on the sweater for my mother and finishing up one of my final exams online. Tonight I plan on sitting back and putting something on TV for background noise and working more on the sweater while eating one of those delicious cookies (or two..maybe three) and sipping a good cup of coffee.

Happy Easter!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Starting My Blog

This isn't the first blog I have had, and honestly, I doubt it will be the last. Before blogging, I kept a personal paper and pencil journal, but those seemed to get lost or not updated frequently. 

Keeping a journal is an interesting, personal habit. If you publish a journal, or blog, online does it mean you want your life to be open to others? If you keep a journal in a notebook that you store on your nightstand, does it mean you want your journal to be private? 

My mother, for example, has been writing in journals since before I was born. She has hauled storage boxes of these books all over the country. One day she'll allow myself and my brother to read them, but for now they are private to her. I, on the other hand, have decided to start my blog online again. Not because I want an audience, but because I am trying extremely hard to be more open about my life. If it's out there, it's out there. And if I don't want to publish it, I don't have to. 

So now that this little introduction is out of the way, I can smile and say Hello. 

Today is Good Friday. My family is not particularly religious. Religion left an extremely bad taste in my mouth when I was married the first time (the emphesis with my ex-husband's church was the more money you brought in, the better your spot in Heaven would be).  Steve has not been to church on a regular basis probably since University. We have discussed going back, even composed a small list of which churches in our area we would feel comfortable visiting. It's just getting our feet in the door.

I don't think returning to church on a holiday is a smart idea. I'm sure others will disagree, but hear me out. There are some people (and I have seen this in action) that only go to church on the two big holidays: Easter and Christmas. I have even heard the phrase "Guaranteeing my spot in Heaven" if you at least show up on these two holidays. I don't want to be one of those people, and I don't want my family to be those people. I want church to be an enjoyable experience for everyone, not a dreaded way to spend a Sunday morning. So we are toying with the idea of going and one Sunday, hopefully soon, we'll go.

Today it is raining, like it has been for the past week (yesterday was the exception to the rule). I suppose rain is better than snow, but I am really wanting to start the garden and re-build our front porch. I am tired of spending the past five months indoors and am ready to go out and play. For now I will entertain myself by watching the rain dribble on the window beside me and possibly lose myself in some knitting.