Monday, August 30, 2010

I knit

It feels a little silly to me to post socks. When I knit them it's all about product- I want socks this winter. To me it feels like posting about making the bed. My friends at knit night really liked these. The yarn was a gift from 5elementkntr many moons ago- I forget the kind. The pattern is my standard r.1 k2p2- r.2 k

But as long as I'm photographing socks- here's the next pair. That Noro sock yarn is crazy pretty. I removed the gusset and heel turn last night after realizing that 21 was NOT half of 52 and am proceeding cautiously.

The Jane Goodall cardigan knitted in the tiger's eye color is soaking for a honking wet block. Note to self. Take more pictures in the basement sink.

The dog is wacky stupid because the deer love this tree. She's just a big old load of "Get Off My Property." They are shaped like cherries but they remain yellow. Quince maybe? I'm making that up.

Time to go flatten some wet wool.

For the record it feels like I'm walking around in the world with 5 or 6 ellipses between thoughts and the world is happening with none or one. That makes for a whole lot of "huh?'s" in my neck of the universe.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

thanks for the help and other stuff

Many thanks to those of you with suggestions regarding the talking situation. It is actually a teacher lounge/lunchroom event and not a knitting event. Your words gave me other options- including time and space to sit and think about it. All of you commented before Beth did and her words were really insightful

....Marshall Rosenberg's book Nonviolent Communication; he has a wonderful chapter section about using empathy to revive a lifeless conversation. He says "it is more considerate to interrupt people than to pretend to listen. All of us want our words to enrich others, not burden them."

I'm trying not to attach myself to the way lunch "was" and instead looking to see what it "is" or "will be." One of the more clever and socially agile members of the group jumped in and had some success at slowing down the steamroller. If nothing else it will be an opportunity to notice how the world works and how my mind works in certain situations. (and let me tell you- it ain't always pretty.)

Moving on...

I am a flibberty-gibbet.

I am a lemming.

I am looking for the next thing to intrigue and fascinate me.

After finding such things and living them, I discard them and wait for the next thing.

For example-

10 shawls in 2010. I finished number 9 and didn't even post it. Gave it to catfeedingneighborlady without a second thought. I have no interest in the ta-da moment. I was more interested in whether it was something I could do. Now that I see it is- meh.

The plants growing in my space. With school daze in my head space, I don't have room for plants. We got some roma tomatoes. They were kind of mushy. If Mr. Sophanne hadn't spent so much time putting that "hardware cloth" fence around them, I'd be happy to feed the rest to the bunnies and the deer. They grew. I was amazed. I'll try it again. For now it's done.

Jello and cooking in general. What? Why was that interesting to me? That's what I'm wondering right now. I know it will be interesting to me again. Probably around June next year but for now, I repeat, meh.

Any given shawl or sweater knitted in the last 3 months. Oh yes, the knitting is done. The blocking? Who cares? Why bother.

On the other hand, I didn't knit nearly as much as I could have this summer- I spent more time doing other stuff. Now it is my place of transition and refuge after a busy day. I'm working on some socks for the winter and it feels good. There is yarn in my stash that I'm looking forward to using. I'm making plans in my head.

I'm also looking forward to the next thing that makes me say "cool" and puts a real smile on my face. Something new to obsess over and share with the circles in my life. Fortunately it always comes.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Please can you help me?

So I've got this situation.

There is a group of people who I gather with-because we all happen to be there- not by any invitation or disinvitation- that has acquired a new member.

This group used to function smoothly and with large laughs. We would pause in silence and conversation would be creative when it happened and not mundane or gossipy.

This new member has no knowledge of the previous dynamics and has steamrolled in with constant jabber about irrelevant situations that in no way relate to the interests of anyone else in the group. S/he dominates the conversation to the point that once creative laughing people shut down and are silent. If a side conversation takes place during a particularly long irrelevant story, s/he will stop the story and take over the side conversation.

We've started having an unspoken contest to see who will maintain eye contact with him/her the longest and be forced to hear the whole story while others try to get their requisite laughs in on the side.

It's thrown a wrench in my works. I need my laughs and not gossip. I don't know what to do. I am very inclined to bluntly say "you talk too much." but know that doing so will end a relatively decent relationship with this person who otherwise is kind and friendly.

What to do? Probably nothing but I thought I'd toss it out there for assistance.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


If the next 350 weeks of my teaching career have stories like this, I may just make it. It's a little long but it cracked me up like nobody's business.

Today is first grade. I am reviewing the "school rules" which are to "be safe, be responsible and be respectful." I know that these kids get these rules drilled into them all over the place so I am trying to make it a little more interesting while letting them know what the consequences are for not following the rules.

Enter Imaginary Ethel. (it used to be Imaginary Fred but when Mr. Sophanne's brother, Fred, died, I felt like that was the wrong thing to do.)

Today Imaginary Ethel was poking Wolfgang (who also happens to be someone who might poke someone else on another occasion.) When I tell Wolfgang this, his eyes light up and he is quite ready to poke her back. I suggest that poking back is really not an option, imaginary or not, and instead he looks at me with disdain and points to Ethel with a look of "being poked" distress.

Ethel is poking. Wolfgang is making faces at her and me and I am explaining to all of the kids that Imaginary Ethel needs to be reminded (by me) of the school rules. I also explain that if she requires three reminders in the same class period that I will be calling "the person who takes care of Imaginary Ethel" after school to let them know of Ethel's difficulties.

Ethel continues to poke, receives her warnings and I pick up my imaginary phone and call "the person who takes care of Imaginary Ethel." I say "Hello, this is Mrs. Sophanne, I'm calling about Ethel. She has been poking another student today and I wonder if you could talk to her about following the rules in music class."

Wolfgang interrupts this phone call and says "TELL HER IT'S ME! TELL HER IT'S ME THAT SHE'S POKING!!!!!!"

I put the imaginary receiver against my chest and say (so that kids get a little knowledge about confidentiality in the schools) "Actually Wolfgang, I can't really tell her who Ethel is poking. I'm not allowed to."

I finish my phone call and proceed to explain what's in store for Imaginary Ethel if she continues to poke Wolfgang. (an official note home and a visit to the principal's office.) As I am explaining this, Wolfgang picks up HIS imaginary phone and calls "the person who takes care of Ethel" to tell her it was HIM she was poking.

I immediately stop what I'm doing, look at Wolfgang and tell him that he is NOT allowed to make phone calls in music class and he must tell her he'll call her back later and that he has to go now, which he immediately does.

added for clarity- Wolfgang is not his real name but he has a really cool name like Wolfgang so it might as well be. Ethel is imaginary. A year ago in kindergarten, if I had told Wolfgang that I was not going to reveal his identity, he would have thrown a fit and would require an aide to "passively restrain" him. Sometimes when I write the words "might as well be" I really want to just type "Marcus Welby."

Friday, August 20, 2010


Warshboard is complete.

Classroom is currently an exercise in minimalism. Warshboard is the centerpiece.

This whole back-to-work thing gets in the way of thinking blogful thoughts.

Do any of you know and remember the GRE questions about Biff wearing green, Julie and Louise owning an SUV and Lenny needing a hair cut and how can you get them all to meet in the shortest time possible in France?

I've been solving similar problems related to elementary school scheduling.

I. Rock.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Warshrag? No Way! WarshBOARD!

Pretty soon this pile of stuff is going to be really really cool thanks to The Claw

He's going to add a tin cup and a wood block to it and is played with 4 thimbles and someday I want to be able to play it like David Holt in this video-

Also part of the great day was a visit to the Babybabies, their big brother and their awesome mama and papa. And we got some plans made for the first few days of school. You think your brain is dead and then something clicks. It must have been the fresh garden tomato sandwiches for lunch. yum.

I swear I saw their Babybaby brains growing today.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Knitting in Hibernation and comments on comments

All is not lost when stuck in the one room with air in the house.

This handspun (not by me) yarn is a little darker than it appears and I like to call it "tiger eye." I think it will match few rings that I have and that is about as matchy matchy as I like to be.

When it grows up, it's going to be Jane Goodall by Jordynn Jack (rav link) I've been taking a break from the Queen's Lace. This, if all goes as planned, should be a delightful autumn sweater. At the moment I'm in the black hole for another 10 or so inches. Then the fun will begin.

I am so grateful for comments on my blog- sometimes if I have the address, I'll write back directly. More often than not, I'm always sure to comment on that person's blog as a way of saying "thanks and I was here."

Sometimes I am remiss or I want to comment on comments and don't have the addresses I need or am too lazy to figure it all out. So what follows is a special comment on comments for those who I haven't reached lately.

@kmkat- thanks for pointing out the comment difficulties. I'm glad it's all working again. The Silky Wool arrived safely as did an errant ball of boucle. That cracks me up. Re: rhythm and brews- I didn't make it up- it's the name of a nearby pub. Actually- that's probably enough info to warrant an email but I didn't want you to feel left out.

@lisa- you should come to the yarn destash too- you might save Gina some grief. Also if you feel like it leave your email address (or click on mine and send me a note) so that I can write back to you. We're friends now- even if you don't have a blog. And now that I realize who you are when you comment, I will trust your recommendation for the Cooks Illustrated How to Cook library for your Kindle. Because before that I thought you were a spammer.

@yarnhog- you would keep your children before you'd keep your books- I know you better than that- oh. wait. I am talking to the woman with no less than 10! sewing machines.

@everyone wondering about the aunt. She's better. All things must pass. And she was really touched by your kind and thoughtful words on the Uncle Dick post.

@MountainMama- the books have already found their way to the used bookstore. Be glad- you would have just accumulated unnecessary clutter. I kept the good ones.

@ Sharon- "stitchjones" mymommadethis- I was TOTALLY thinking log cabin for that delicious yarn and actually bought the first Mason-Dixon knitting book to help me out when I bought the yarn. Can you believe I didn't have that already?

@Roxie- re the whole "nature abhors a vacuum" business. Come to find that I have so much extra "stuff" (someone please tell me how ONE successful jello mold turned into about 25 different jello mold pans) that the space that I'm making through culling is promptly filled with the "stuff" that was strewn about everywhere. And knitting in the dark was more better than the thought of connubial relations when it's 90 degrees.


In January 2007, I posted a picture of my knitting corner here.

These pictures*

also give a slight indication as to my skills as a de-clutterer/organizer. I am proud to say that (at least for the last 3 days) my knitting corner looks like this:

The projects I'm working on are in the drawers. Babette The Two is on the floor because it's too big for the drawers. The nails lasted a month. We'll see how long this last!

*For those of you traumatized by clutter- it's not nearly that bad around here anymore.

hot hot hot

That's what it is here. Too hot and humid for anything other than reptile like movement. I always like the unconscious mutterings that people post so I'm jumping on the wagon. It's the first time I've gotten to see the mutterings without the answers already there.

  1. Rhythm :: and brews

  2. Baby :: babies

  3. Sanctimonious :: holier than thou

  4. I like ::my ukulele

  5. Constipated :: aunt

  6. Sleep late :: without exception

  7. Over easy :: summer

  8. Erratic :: erotic

  9. Umbrella ::phant

  10. You don’t ::own me.

Friday, August 13, 2010


Cull tr.v., culled, cull·ing, culls.
To pick out from others; select.
To gather; collect.
To remove rejected members or parts from (a herd, for example).

I am culling yarn and books. Without much effort I've been able to remove 5 sizable boxes of books from my shelves and 2 large bags of yarn.

I head to the used book store with the books. The yarn will go with me to knit night- free for the taking. (so friend and colleague of Gina's-tell her she can't miss on Tuesday.)

This was inspired by Mr. Sophanne's daughter and the The Minimalist Knitter. And I'm o.k. with it. And I might have room on the shelves for the cookbooks and yarn I've recently acquired. And then some. And it may just free my mind a little.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Lee Richard (Dick) Hayman

I am at Aunt of Sophanne's today. I planned on coming to help with a few things and while I was driving here, older brother of recently deceased uncle passed away from complications related to Alzheimer's. And I already knew it was so because I saw that Monarch Butterfly as I headed toward the exit.

This is his obituary-

Long time Salinas, California resident and teacher, Lee Richard "Dick" Hayman died August 9, 2010 in Weirton, West Virginia at the age of 87. He was born in Indianapolis, Indiana. He taught at Salinas High School, Hartnell College,Monterey Peninsula College, San Jose State University and the University of the Americas in Mexico City, as well as conducting workshops for Salinas Elder Hostel programs. He was a lifelong literature instructor. He was one of the organizers of Steinbeck Interest groups in Salinas and helped found the national Steinbeck Center. A published writer, Hayman saw many of his poems and light verses appear in a variety of magazines, newspapers and books over the years.

He received honors from the national Steinbeck Center and the Robinson Jeffers Foundation of Carmel. They received his extensive collections of the author’s works and memorabilia, including valuable first editions. In April 2007, the Steinbeck Studies Center at San Jose university library unveiled his massive donation which will be used for research by scholars worldwide. It is recognized as unique and invaluable to the understanding of John Steinbeck, his home town, and his successful novels. Hayman will be remembered by thousands of his students for his wit and quick smile as well as his challenging assignments.

If you click on the link there is a picture of him just below Bruce Springsteen.

Here's the thing. He was awesome. One time (when the world was younger)I went to Lowe's with Uncle and Dick and seriously- my brain could not keep up with the punny humor, the quick wit, and the Marx-brothers-like shenanigans.

One time I was driving to work listening to NPR do a story on something John Steinbeck related and suddenly there was "Uncle Dick" (we called him that even though he wasn't "really" an uncle) talking through the speakers in the car. It blew my mind!

He occasionally sent me clippings of his poetry and thought it was hysterical that there was a British pop star that had the same name as I did.

Aunt talks about how he got to do everything he wanted to in life. The hardest part was the mental prison that caught him in the end.

The only immediate family members remaining are Aunt and Cousin of Sophanne. We will probably have an informal sort of memorial with family at the next holiday gathering- just to look at pictures, pay tribute, and collect memories. There's just not very many nearby left to immediately mourn his loss. And I knew I could count on my blog friends.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Radio Noir

ETA come to find when it's radio and detectives it's not Radio Noir but "Hardboiled Radio."

I've mentioned here before that I like to listen to Relic Radio podcasts. Last night I listened to
Pat Novak-Detective for Hire starring Jack Webb. I bet it was a blast being a writer on these shows. I jotted down a few of my favorites for to make-a-you laugh. All lines should be said in a Joe Friday monotone

And everything sounds all right but sometimes it isn’t- like saying Happy New Year to a lifer.

The veins stood out on his face as if he slept on an alligator bag instead of a pillow

You get bloodshot eyes just looking at her. She can make a quart of gin disappear while anybody else looks for the cork screw

She opened the door with a nice easy motion- like a cat getting ready to eat it’s young.

Why’d you marry him?
I don’t know. I suppose I confused a hangover with love.
Sounds exciting.
About as lively as a dishrag in a steambath.

I rolled over once and then I stretched out on the floor as hard as a piece of chewing gum on a theater seat.

I tried to get up once or twice but I couldn’t get the boxcar off my chest and the phone kept ringing like a piece of crystal in a hailstorm.

The guy that opened the door had a face like three pounds of warm putty. It was moist and pink and you got the idea they put the color in with a spray gun and if his heart was made of the same stuff, they drained the oil out first.

I told her if her husband didn’t square, I’d turn him into hamburger. She offered to bring the buns.

When I walked out of there, I felt like a voice teacher with adenoids.

That’s a lot of blonde hair to keep indoors. Good blondes run like salmon.

His mouth hung open like a broken screen door.

She had a vacant look on her face as if her brains had checked out without letting her know.

He’s not a season pass- we don’t have to hang on to him.

The winds of change are blowing in the wind.

That title? I don't really get it but it makes me laugh.

There is a certain desperation that comes when the vacation time is ticking down. A grasping for "new" while there is still time.

It's the only way I can explain the jello, the yarn, and now this-

I am the proud owner of a ukulele.

Last week Wendy at KnitandTonic showed a picture of Girlfriend playing the ukulele and had previously talked about Girlfriend's surprise at not being able to play it immediately.

Fast forward one week. The Claw (featured here) shared a video

of his good friend Kyler playing the ukulele. (If you sing Country Roads really slowly, it fits.

Then there was this-

Glen is a former student teacher and music educator extraordinaire. I trust his judgement when it come to new things. I'm also grasping at anything to help me look forward to a new school year. The serendipity of the ukulele could not be ignored. And it's so much lighter than a guitar.

Friday, August 06, 2010

On a brighter note-

This morning's post was a bit of a let-down for me. I had such high hopes for that coffee jello.

The trip to Natural Stitches was fabulous. And I mean it. It's lucky for me that finding that place on my own would be next to impossible given my disdain for city driving. (note that i said "next to" impossible.)

After purchasing the colors that spoke to me, I can only reach the conclusion that I have a "Sharpie" mentality in color hue and saturation.

There is a Sharpie in that purple color at the end- I've just left it laying around somewhere.

There are 12 skeins total (2 of each) and i imagine them creating a spectacular something someday.

A work in progress

Imagine a Starbuck's Frappuccino Mocha Coffee Drink made into jello and that's what we've got going on here.

It's not so pleasant to look at, as there are unmelted chocolate bits at the top as well as some of the liquid that melted during "unmolding." It tastes "adequate" and will likely improve texturally with the addition of some cool whip.

I think if I had gone with a clear coffee jello instead of adding the sweetened milk and the chocolate I might have liked it better. I possibly could have used less gelatin as the original recipe called for it to be cut into squares ala finger food rather than in a mold.

I may have to try this once more with those adjustments.

I'm off to Natural Stitches today. I really hope I stick with a plan and don't just buy random skeins of pretty colors. I wouldn't take bets on that one.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Ten Things

There's been a lot of "Ten Things" posts going around out there. In the spirit of that, I give you "Ten things to do at House of Sophanne when the power goes out for 14 hours."

1-Call the power company multiple times.

2-Sit in front of a darkened television waiting for it to come back on.

3-Decide that it's time to get onto that fancy "city water" instead of using a well so there's water when the power goes out.

4-Drive around the neighborhood and see who else's power is out.

5-Go out to dinner because your husband is having a little post-traumatic freak-out from the last time the power went out (The Snow Storm of 2010)

6-Go to the grocery store and buy candles. Insist on emergency candles rather than tapered unscented candles because it means searching around the grocery store a little longer and not having to go home.

7-Confuse the dog by paying a ton of attention to her.

8-Sit in front of candles (tapered unscented) and pretend it's a television

9-In lieu of watching a movie, act out "The Godfather" (which apparently every man knows some dialogue to) while Sophanne hums the music.

10-Make a Benadryl and Xanax cocktail and call it a night.

p.s. The Food Librarian has a recipe for Coffee Jello going on today- I am SO all over that- I'm thinking of adding a little melted chocolate to the mix. Yowsa!

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

knit night

KnitnightJustine brought this book to my attention yesterday

Plato and a Platypus Walk Into a Bar-Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes"

This is the ultimate read for a brain like mine. A couple of not exact quotes to give you an idea-

Two cows are standing in a field. The first cow says "What do you think of this mad cow disease?" The second cow says "I don't know- I'm a helicopter."

The favorite bit that I read last night involved the use (misuse) of metaphor- some high school contest sponsored by some newspaper-

The boat floated gently across the lake just like a bowling ball wouldn't.

The one that sealed the deal is the first page I turned to when previewing the book- again- not exactly quoted- just the gist.

Cows standing in the field again.

Cow 1: You know even though pi is often represented in 5 digits, it actually goes on to infinity.
Cow 2: Moo.


Sadly KnitnightJustine must return to Philly for year 2 of medical school. Happily, there's a person on the planet that really gets what makes me laugh.

Before we left for vacation, KnitnightJudy offered her Big City Driving Skills up for a trip to Natural Stitches and the famous wall of Cascade. I've never been there and will be looking for some colors to make an afghan from the book Comfort Knitting and Crochet Afghans (rav link).

I've been knitting that Queen Anne's Lace it's big and takes a long time. Right now it looks a little bit like a Jellyfish. A sort of dried up jellyfish with some yarn-overs.

Just to end with a bad metaphor- feel free to make up your own in the comments-

I'm looking forward to the new school year the way most teachers who have counted the years until they can retire look forward to the new school year.

Monday, August 02, 2010

blog-a-day while I can

My days are numbered.

My free days are numbered.

Soon I will have to attend to things.

In the mean time my favorite thing to do (if I can manage to do it without feeling guilty about grass/laundry/dinner) is listen to Relic Radio episodes on the itouch and knit.

Vincent Price as The Saint was on the list this afternoon. Only in the best of film/radio noir fashion can Vincent Price get away with saying

"Don't sneeze in the breeze."

Cracks Me Up

p.s. the nails are gone- they lasted exactly one month. They were making my fingers claustrophobic.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Hooray For the Watering Neighbor

We planted roma tomatoes. Roma tomatoes grew. To me, that is flipping amazing.