Friday, September 24, 2010

You are Here.

Here's where I am- The potato chip bag lovingly included in the photo can be used to gauge size. (It's a regular size bag)

Here's why it's good for me-

When you knit this EZ Adult Surprise Jacket, you have to follow directions. You have to read the directions. Over and Over until as you continue to ponder how it will really work, you begin to understand rather than just SpeedyGonzales guess.

As one who fails to catch the details of directions, this has been a very good thing for me. There are no extra words in the directions for this. If I choose to ignore the words that are there thinking "yea, yea, I get it," knitting will come to a standstill.

It hasn't come to a standstill yet and just when I think I won't know what to do next, I read the directions for the millionth time and finally notice it says something like "put these stitches on some wool" and I had been ignoring it and now I get it.

Suck at following directions? Knit EZ for practice.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Fraternal twins from different mothers.

I'm not sure I'm going to be able to convince anyone that his is actually a "pair" of socks but my need to convince anyone of such things has long since disappeared.

Hey knit-night friends- I'll be back- I just can't do that drive alone after school for fear of falling asleep and Mr. Sophanne has been disinclined to travel to his normal destination on Tuesdays. I'll leave it to you to figure out why. heh heh.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Sometimes they come back

Maybe you know already that I've had many student teachers under my guidance. If you hear about them on the blog, they don't know about the blog. If you don't, they do.

Sometimes they are a source of frustration and aggravation but every now and then, the good ones come back.

Today at school had unpleasant exchanges with a rude elementary aged student. I don't mind so much when they're rude to me. This one was rude to another student for 40 minutes. Various attempts including a phone call home and a trip to the office (where he at first refused to go and walked away from me) yielded no results and a big old pile of WTF?

Today a student teacher emailed with similar distress and asked for Sophanne Wisdom- HA! That cracks me up! After giving him some advice that I needed to take myself, he wrote back saying it was occasionally it was good to check with "Yoda" because he forgets to use "the force."

There is a former student teacher now teaching at an International School in Latvia. She's started her first job after a 7 year stint as a performer and sailor. We've been corresponding in an effort to help her regain her "teaching legs." I also sent a care package full of peanut butter,bags of dried black beans, and ripped cd's. Hey friends- she lives in LATVIA! and she knows I knit- this is what I found in the mail when I got home today.

Knitted Latvian finger puppets (a chicken, a mouse a dog and a cat) and a not-puppet pig! Made with real wool from and in Latvia. I feel so cool. Also included in this fabulous package was some Latvian honey and a tote bag which cracked me up. In case you can't see the words too clearly it says Latvija, Nice place Love it.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Fluke.

Past experience should have warned me that the one perfect cake of summer was a fluke.

I should have caught a clue when I burned the second one.

Instead of listening to the voices in my head, I listened to my friend The Claw who said "A Boston Cream Pie type of cake would be great for my 60th birthday."

This morning I got up to make said cake. I saw in the recipes that it was possible to add 2 squares of chocolate to make it a chocolate cake. The Claw is not opposed to chocolate. I thought to myself- "how cool would that be! A boston cream pie like cake with CHOCOLATE instead of yellow cake."

In the words of Simon, "off I went."

In my self-confidence and ease (I've done this before) I combined flour, double acting soda, and salt. I combined sugar and butter and melted chocolate. I added egg yolks. I patiently alternated adding the dry ingredients and the milk. It was beautiful. A sight to behold. So proud was I. I thought "I should blog this." and then thought "no, it's just a cake- this is really not news for you."

Pans are greased, oven is preheated. Batter goes in. Cakes-to-be enter oven. Call the mom to chat while waiting for the cooking. Talking to the mom-"oops- this recipe calls for 2 tsp of pure vanilla" Rationalized that by adding the chocolate it would be o.k. Maybe even better- a more subtle cake rather than sweet.

At the end of the allotted time, I removed said cakes from the oven. I did the obligatory toothpick test. Hmm., that has a little bit of "stuff" on it. I'll just test it over here on the edge of the cake. Oh good. Clean toothpick. Light brown spots on top of the cake indicating a near-miss burning-saying to self "oh, remember that burned last cake? you got this out just in time. You are so good."

I let the cakes sit. I put them in the refrigerator to cool. When I went to retrieve them, the had collapsed a little. I forgot that maybe I should have taken them out of the pan before letting the official "cooling" begin. Still, surely I'll have a nice flat side to frost when I take them out. Not so much.

Behold my new invention- chocolate crater cake with no vanilla.

And so it goes. Happy 60th Birthday to The Claw. I'll bring over a GiantEagle Boston Cream Pie the next time in town. Delusions of Sophanne the Baker adequately in check.

it tastes pretty o.k.- the parts that are done- it won't go to waste but all the Claw got for his birthday from me were good intentions.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

No star spangling

My life is so uneventful that things that don't happen become a blog post.

Tonight the local music teachers were scheduled to sing the Star Spangled Banner at the local Band Spectacular. Conflicts and daily life brought the number of singers,which started at about 20, down to 3. While one in attendance was more than willing to do it herself (there's always one in the crowd, yes?) I try to make it a rule never to sing in crowds less than 5.

We would have been singing here with big microphones and everything.

On the way home I saw this bumper sticker- it says "Who rescued Who?" on a pawprint.

I didn't get it right away until I came home and saw this-

Now I get it.

In years past I would have stayed for some spectacular bands, watched kids and parents proud of themselves and each other and gone out for a couple of cocktails afterwards. Now with a Mr. Sophanne, a Liza Jane and some knitting, there's no place like home.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


While I've tried to do this pattern once, I think my color choices the first time were way boring and caused me to lose interest. So here goes another attempt at EZ's adult surprise jacket- The colors are much more vibrant than they appear. I am imagining wearing this in the coming winter so that I will be easy to spot in drifts of white snow.

This gourd makes me wish I weren't such a chicken when it comes to the watercolors I have housed a mere inches away from it. I think it would make a fabulous subject but fear of failure prevails and for now I will content myself with admiring the colors, texture and beauty of the original object instead of trying to reproduce it.

Rules at House of Sophanne

That last post and a reminder from a friend gave me pause for thought on how it is that Mr. Sophanne and I manage the stresses of life without collapsing into knock down drag out marital distress. Thus I present today House of Sophanne's spoken and unspoken rules of marital disputes.

#1 No one is allowed to leave or threaten to leave. EVER. This came up while we were dating and however uncomfortable it made either of us, we've stuck to it because we both know that in spite of whatever momentary differences there may be, giving up is not an option.

#2 No telling the other person how they should think, should act or should feel- as well as no telling them how they do think, do act or feel. The closest we come to this is by saying "when you say x it makes me feel y."

#3 Taking a time out and going to separate corners is o.k. (kind of like boxing in rounds) but usually rule #2 sets someone up for an apology of some kind (even if it's "I'm sorry you feel that way.") and that person usually knows it's his/her turn to come to the middle.

#4 No picking on or baiting one another. When this occurs, the other can say "that felt like you're picking on me."

#5 The only way to resolve these kinds of fights is to step back from the emotion and try to rationally discuss.

#6 Both of us recognize that we bring baggage from the past into every argument. We're not always arguing with each other but instead yelling at the baggage from our past. We try to pay attention to that.

Most of our disputes have come from high stress levels, lack of communication, or fear of one thing or another. More than once I am sure the neighbors got quite an earful. Especially in those first two years. Lately (knock on wood) because we know how things eventually resolve, we skip the whole emotionally charged yelling and go straight for the "what's going on here" scenario.

We haven't yet gone to bed angry but when we both get up in the morning at the same time, we have left for work angry and that is no good.

Sometimes it's good to ask the other if "now is a good time to talk about...."

When we were on vacation, I was mired in the stress of making sure it was all good for all of his family that was there. He was mired in that stress as well but recognized mine, stepped back and gave me space for it. In return, I recognized that I was crazy bitchy and after a snappy remark would immediately acknowledge that it was stress-related, apologize, and try to reign it in.

We rarely argue about money because we have a working budget that meets our needs. When we have to talk about the budget (for an update or to change it) we both say "talking about money is stressful- look at us both getting stressed." and we give ourselves some big high fives when we make it through that conversation.

These rules-most of them a matter of habit rather than spoken or acknowledged in any way- take some giving in from both of us. Being willing to be wrong and being gracious when right is the key for us. As is acknowledging and being sensitive to each others fears and insecurities.

It makes me wonder what other people do.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Sleep much?

So I didn't really have insomnia. I was cruising YouTube videos waiting to make sure Mr. Sophanne's tongue swelling didn't eventually block his airway. (stupid blood pressure medicine)- which it didn't and he's fine now. But you can imagine my emotional reaction when I watched this. (and really- I'm not a random video poster so you can trust me on the loading time on this one.) It's an animation of an interview done by Storycorps.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Summer revisted

It seems as though given a weekend and an extra day I can get a little vacation mojo back.

I had hoped for a live action shot but maybe later. Mr. Sophanne is dissembling a dead tree with the chain saw- not a good time to interrupt and Liza Jane hasn't learned to use the camera yet.

Behold Tiger's Eye Jane Goodall by Jordynn Jack. I used some handspun by Barbara Campbell- (a local spinner- who has no internet links) I am moderately pleased with the outcome. The yarn is a little rough in a way that I can't exactly explain.

I am picturing a black collarless shell underneath with 3/4 length sleeves and of course the tiger eye ring which was the whole point of the sweater.`

There's banana bread in the oven, the grocery shopping is finished and now I'm going to wind some yarn.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

so I'm in the kitchen

and suddenly I feel like Luke Skywalker

Luke, I am your Father.

or maybe just a coffee pot.

Maybe I can't divide 52 by 2 but I can crack me up. Cracking me up even more was that I HAD to post this discovery tonight after I had already gone to bed. It would not wait until morning.