Thursday, July 25, 2013

How the big guy rolls

Mr. Sophanne stopped working in February.  Early disability retirement (a knee) was granted and it seems that this is the way it will be.  As it turns out, if he earns more than $1/4x (one fourth of his retirement) in any given month, he loses all benefits for that month. 

He's been talking about what he might do since February.  It really can't involve extended standing, walking etc.  He does have an undergraduate degree in mathematics education and a masters in computer science (albeit the 1995 version of computer science which is somewhat dated.)

In pure Mr. Sophanne fashion, he stopped in at the local private college (Waynesburg University) and visited the math department offering his services, looking for a salary of $1/4x or possibly tuition credits.  Two days later, the chair calls and says "we need someone to teach college algebra for 1/4x."

That's just how it rolls for him.  It will be quite a different experience from the railroad.  3 days a week, an hour a day in the morning.  This morning he woke up and said

"Do I really want to do this?  What if there's something I want to do that day?"  to which I replied,

"WTF????  Youve been talking about this since February and it has fallen in your lap.  I think you can work around 3 hours a week plus a few office hours!"  to which he replied

"What if I don't have anything to wear?"

"We'll figure it out." 

He's taught college level courses before (CS5 and CS15 as well as statistics).  It's just been a while.  He starts every class with "Hello, my name is Mr. Sophanne and I have a speech impediment.  I was born in Brooklyn."  I am certain when asked by friends how it's going, he will start every conversation with the same anecdote.  It makes me laugh and I love that I know him so well.

I'm also excited about the idea of him having to interact with people.  Firstly, they will love him.  Secondly, he will come closer to realizing why I need a nap every afternoon.

What makes me laugh is the following.

He is a mathematician.  He understands statistics up and down.  He knows that the dealer (or slot machine as it were) always wins in the long run, but the most exciting thing for him about a little extra income on the side (accrued by teaching mathematics) is that it will fuel his Tuesday Knit Night casino nights!  That's how he rolls and he cracks me up

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

We Are Grownups

The porch, the chairs, the table, the wagon, the dog, the blanket, the breeze.




The car cover used as a patio furniture cover.


All in a day's work.


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Two sure signs that summer has settled into my brain


1. There is nail polish on my fingers. At some point every summer I believe that I can maintain decent looking nail polish. In fact, I convince myself that applying it and waiting for it to dry is the ultimate act of mindfulness and meditation. I even thought that as I whipped it on this afternoon.

2. I voluntarily cut the grass without Mr. Sophanne even mentioning that it needs to be cut. I have enough pause for thought to notice that it's long and that cutting it would be pleasant exercise.

It's been an odd summer. The cruise was great fun but the logistics of travel and talking to all of those people every day sucks all of the stored energy out of this introvert.

The two weeks after the cruise I found myself recovering from a mighty concussion after slamming my head into the Dairy Queen parking lot while chasing after the dog. Recovery time might have been less had it not been such a severe bounce. After I got up I immediately said "good thing I didn't get a concussion" and believed that for the first week. All the while suffering from sleepiness, dizziness, headaches and naseau. After a full seven days I realized that those symptoms suggested otherwise and I spent several days in non-stimulated isolation (except for those two staff development days) and then went for a CT scan when things didn't straighten up after about 10 days. No one has called to say there's a leak in my brain and the symptoms have stopped so I think it's all good. I think maybe what I should have said when I got up was, "glad I didn't crack my head open."


So anyway after all that excitement, things have finally settled down. My lower chakras are waking and reaching for the ground, I've declared this summer the "summer of massage" and have had two per week for the past two weeks. Who knew that hump that felt like a giant tumor on my back was actually a big pile of tension and anxiety. I can now poke at it for the blubber that it is rather than using it to crack nuts.

I had two goals for the summer, look for teaching videos on the YouTube and walk the dog daily. I've ignored the first and by the time I was ready for the second, there were heat advisories telling me to stay inside. We're now at two days in a row which makes me happy.

All has not been lost. I did finish the red and black color affection that I started in June. I also finished the dragon that I intend to perch on the shoulder of said wrap (using an i-cord to wrap around it and keep it on-we'll see, we'll just see.) Its blocking at knitnighttara's house. Pictures forthcoming.

I am not ready to jump into "bigger on the inside" or Jared Flood's Rock Island Shawl. I think the Alaskan serial killer sweater took all concentration out of me. So I'm making a Noro stripe scarf and looking at some hat patterns.


I did manage to make this video on the site GoAnimate. It cracks me up but I think it will probably be a little too pointed to share with the teachers at school. Particularly the ones who sound like the second half.

Summer is settling. All is well


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

This is... Addendum

Why I think my massage therapist must be a great mom....

  • When the littlest one asks to have a Popsicle, she immediately answers "yes" and then thinks how much time will this buy me....
  • When the older one complained of being bored this summer she answered, Bored! How can you be bored? I made a whole other person so you would have someone to play with!

Let's play "this is"

This is...


the porch that Mr. Sophanne has been working on for two weeks, power washing and painting. Yes, it looks fabulous. Yes, it was a whole lotta work. However, I'm not sure how much time has to pass before I can quit saying so every 20 minutes. Please, if you have any inclination to comment, don't bother commenting on what follows, just write that porch looks must have been a lot of work! Because maybe instead of time passing, what he really needs is that said x number of times.

These are...


Two of the six chairs we assembled yesterday evening as part of a newly purchased on-sale patio set. Also purchased that day was a standard car cover that Mr. Sophanne proposes to use at a giant patio furniture cover. He was a little disappointed to discover that it wasn't weather resistant. Never a dull moment.

This is...


A finished Color Affection done in Madeline Tosh. While I did do the Yarn Harlot's suggested yo modification to loosen the short row edging of the third section, I wish I had been more mindful of how tight the yarn carries were going up. (Think Brooklyn Tweed Noro scarf.) It's hard to know if blocking will help.

This is...


A bag of unassembled miniature dragon parts done with leftover yarn from color affection.. The plan is to attach the dragon to the left shoulder, and have some sort of i-cord claspy thing to wrap around him to keep the garment on. We'll see, we'll just see. Mostly I think it would be great fun to spend the day with a dragon on my shoulder.

This is...


My newly tidied yarn corner. Who knew a corner could collect so much stuff that had to be removed to the yarn room which will be attended to on another day.

This is..

A lovely textured scarf that I'm working on until...


This yarn (named and dyed whovian blue none other than the fabulous Stitchjones) comes and I can start working on this...


The pattern is called Bigger on the Inside by Kate Atherley's and the photo belongs to Amy Singer and if either of them would like me to remove it, I will gladly do so.

This is...

Th end of this post!


Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Why making pasta is my new favorite thing

1. No measuring.

2.No bowl to wash.


I found some semolina at a co-op in a nearby city. I am getting good at this. It will be added to the list of things to do when Mr. sophanne's grandkids come.

Here is the list.

  1. Visit family in upstate New York
  2. Teach them how to bet on the dogs during the long drive across Pennsylvania
  3. Show them where their mama grew up.
  4. Take them to the races and practice their newly acquired knowledge. (No actual gambling with minors, of course)
  5. Make pasta. Go to the movies.
  6. Come back from the movies to find house decorated in the House of Sophanne birthday fashion since we never see them on their actual birthdays.
  7. Visit and make art at the Andy Warhol museum.
  8. Enjoy a Pirates game from behind home plate.
  9. Paint rocks and birdhouses.

Good times ahead.


Thursday, July 04, 2013

My Brain during the Summer

Reading has been winning over knitting this summer. Very possibly because of the gigantic project I just finished. For the last 2 weeks I've been reading Wally Lamb's book I Know This Much is True.

I loved this book but will not review it here. You can look at the site and decide if its for you or not.

There is a bit of Italian culture and history in the telling of the story. One of the characters is forced to work making pasta in Italy.

Because I am me, I had to know what this looked like so I watched this video.


Her hands are a dance. She was so seamlessly skilled, she made me believe I could do it to. The way that egg and flour magically makes dough amazes me. The sound and perceived texture of the fork beating the egg is irresistible to me.

Weekend-during-the-school-year-brain would have had good intentions but would have accepted the fact that it would be a rushed half-assed effort with Monday morning looming so close.

Summer-brain went to the grocery store around three p.m. I didn't worry about my inability to find semolina. I got distracted for a while at home and then went through the whole process at a relaxed pace from about 5:30-7:30 p.m. I added some olive oil and a bit of Parmesan/garlic bread dipping spices and it was dinner.


It tasted like pasta. It felt like I had written a hands on lesson plan for myself with this book. Had my own private book club of sorts. I may do it again. I'd like to try it exactly the way she did it. I'd like to practice rolling it a little thinner. Or maybe I won't, it doesn't matter much.

While I was able to imitate the mixing of ingredients, I Know this Much is True...