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Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Dead Computers & the Value of Private Religious Schooling

I will not be able to post photos for a little while, because my computer went crackle, crackle pop! The monitor will no longer display and the power source has a short. It looks like the stuff is still on my hard drive, though, we just need to replace/fix the power source so we can get it off the hard drive. I have a temporary computer up, so I am still receiving e-mail, but it only lets me send when it is feeling especially kind. Using this PC reinforces my opinion that Windows takes all the things you can do with a Mac and makes them more convoluted, difficult and illogical.

Pray that we can get the information off the hard drive, though, there were lots of pictures on there of the family that had never been mailed or posted anywhere, and aren't on disk. Also, please be in prayer for Rich, as he has an opportunity at work that could benefit us a great deal and provide far more security than we have now.

As the end of the school year draws nearer and nearer, I am getting a little weepy. My little boys are growing up. Every now and then I look at them and see what they will look like in college, or when they are fathers, and it is so sweet and touching and so sad because it makes me miss them already.

Anyway, this is Dominic's last full week of school. He did a Spring program last night that was so wonderful! Two years ago, he was too shy to sing in front of a group of mothers at a ladies' Bible study for Mother's Day. Last night, he was singing and doing sign language and dancing, all up front. Next week is his graduation, then it's on to kindergarten.

Alexander finishes a week after Dominic does, and because even in private Christian schooling, every single, stinking stage of life gets a graduation ceremony or award or something, he also has graduation to look forward to, complete with caps and gowns. I kid you not.

However, there is still a value to private religious education that I didn't even pay much attention to as we were discerning where to put our children: They not only don't call children's services on you when you try to teach your children consequences and responsibility, they are happy to help support you in your efforts.

Example: A few weeks ago, Alexander, while doing his normal morning dawdle, decided to add outright disobedience to the routine. He knows what to do to prepare for school in the morning, and each morning we give him little reminders anyway. We get to his school, late, and he tells me he doesn't have his backpack (which contains his homework, snacks and lunch). I told him I would try to get it to him, but that this added an extra trip for me, when I don't have time for that, couldn't be combined with taking his brother to school, because lunch is earlier than the drop off time by a significant amount, and it would also be an added gas expense (I didn't tell him that part) because it added a 25 mile roundtrip to the car. We make three of those trips four times a week, two once a week, without counting any extra driving, church, Bible study, family excursions, etc. You can see why I combine trips and errands to coincide with school drop offs or pick ups.

Anyway, I came home irritated, and fuming a bit and talked to Rich. I really wanted to leave Alexander in the lurch. This was not the first time he had forgotten his backpack because of misbehavior, but it was usually detected before we got far from home, so I'd turn around and get it. After talking it over with Rich, we decided that we didn't really want him to go hungry, but that he did need to learn a lesson. So, I dropped off his backpack in the office, rather than his classroom, and told the office manager that I would like him to miss snack, so please not to give the backpack back before lunch. She and I discussed what had happened briefly, and she said "Good for you for sticking to it!" she wrote a note on the bag, made sure it was in the lunch room for his lunch and did not give it to him earlier. He suffered nothing but the consequences of his own behavior and has not forgotten his backpack (even on accident) since.

That's all for now folks. Thank you Amanda for your compliments, I was pleased with how the shawl turned out as well. As soon as my Zonta wires arrive, I will be able to block it and get it ready for giving away.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Presents & Projects & Prints, Oh My!

Be prepared for probably the most photograph laden post yet.

I will start from the oldest and move to the present.

Ladies' Retreat in CA:

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This verse was displayed on the landing in Star's house, it seemed to be her life verse.

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This cutout was in the house before she moved in. It seems appropriate. There was also a moon cutout, and a few others. Her house had been an HGTV house, so they had done all sorts of foufy things to it.

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Here is the statue outside of St. Michael's Cathedral I mentioned before.

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This is the prayer of St. Michael.

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This is in the floor of the narthex.

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This is the baptismal font. I was struck with how beautiful it was. I don't believe I've ever seen one which depicts the baptism of Jesus before this one.

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This altar was made, I think handmade, in the Phillipines and sent to St. Michael's. The stained glass behind the altar is another image of St. Michael casting the devil out of heaven.

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This is the pulpit. I have a picture of the lectern, but I don't think it turned out very well. It is an eagle draped with a liturgical stole. If I can brighten it a little, I will post it later.

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And here we all are after our long drive down Beach Blvd to meet some people for lunch. Please do not comment on my appearance unless it is to tell me how cute I am.

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These are the books my not so secret pal sent me from my wishlist! I almost bought Junior Knits while we were down in California, but decided to wait a little bit. Boy, am I glad I did! Thank you Shannon!

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This is a picture of our marine friend whose letter I posted some time ago, Ryan, with his girlfriend, Tamber, me and Rich. We were teaching salsa on Cinco de Mayo, and they were our only students at the restaurant! This is a much better picture of me than the previous one, don't you think?

Moving on to my knitting projects, here is a photo of the Fir Cone Scarf:
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And Lara!
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I finally finished the knitting on the Flower Basket Shawl!
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This is it without the benefit of blocking.

This is the detail on the Flower Basket Shawl, again, not blocked.
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Well, I finally came through with the photos. I'll see if I can't update my progress, reading and the other stuff in my sidebar soon.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Russian Join

After joining a new ball of yarn to my Flower Basket shawl some time ago, and realizing I would now have to figure out how to hide those ends in the lace, I determined that at the next join I would finally learn the Russian join, so I wouldn't have to deal with that again. Well, it worked! I have a lovely, invisible join with no ends to weave in, and I am nearly finished with the knitting on the shawl. I added two repeats to the pattern, so I'm thinking mine will be 60-65 inches, rather than the skimpy 54 inches of the pattern. I have 13 rows to do before casting off! Hurray! This is my Think Pink Along project as well as my Flower Basket Redux project, so I'll be finishing two knit-a-longs when I get this finished, and a full month ahead of deadline. Whee!

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Knit Camp Northwest

I have several people who are interested in pursuing this seriously. I'm starting to get really excited about it. When I have some solid information, I will post it.

I have decided to move my foodie talk (or the bulk of it anyway) to: Tales from the Kitchen. I will mention that we are hosting our second annual Tongues of Flame Barbecue at our house and have about 20 pounds of meat marinating in our fridge.

Yes, we have no new photos. I'm slow and not very good at posting them now. I also don't have a whole lot more progress to report on any knitting, but I did get some cool, cheapo Lion Brand stuff at our grocery store, since they had coupons for buy two skeins get one free. I bought three of the Trellis in the blue shades, because $13 is the most I will spend on frou-frou yarn like that, and I'd rather get the cheapo stuff of the novelty yarns anyway. I also bought three skeins of Lion Cotton, in the Candy Colors variegated. I am going to make a little sundress for Amira out of it. I know it will fade with time, but does anyone know if it will shrink? Should I treat it like denim yarn, and assume it will be shorter after I wash it?

Oh, Amira took six steps today! That is her record so far, without holding on to the wall or anything. She still is more interested in crawling, as it is faster, but is liking the walking thing, too.

I don't think I ever mentioned the Mother's Day Tea at Dominic's pre-school, he made me a fan with glittery stars on it, and a choker on pink organza ribbon with his picture on it, like a cameo, we also got matching beaded bracelets. His teachers served us and it was so much fun. A friend of mine watched Elijah and Amira for me so I could go, and it was a treat to have that special time just with me and Dominic. By the actual Mother's Day, though, he wanted to know what the big deal was, we'd already had tea for crying out loud.

Rich cheated, and surprised me with a gift, even though we had said that my trip, the stuff I bought myself and my massage were going to be my Mother's Day gift. He bought me this beautiful glass, footed pedestal with gold leaf on it and an etched design of a feather around part of it. We are trying to decide what to gracefully arrange on it for tomorrow. It is also useful for home defense, as we can reflect bright lights into intruders eyes to blind them and then knock them on the head.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Fir Cone Scarf Given

I gave the scarf to...Kelly last night. It was a late graduation gift, she just finished her Master's degree. She was so surprised, especially because she had seen me working on it and did not know it was for her, and she seemed delighted. I was glad to brighten her day.

It is somewhat misleading to say that it was my design, it was stitch pattern from a stitch dictionary with a seed stitch border all around all knit on really big needles. Anyway, it is no longer a secret project.

I have just over one repeat to do on the Flower Basket Shawl before I start the edging. This goes so quickly, if only I had more time to put on it, I would have had it done in a couple three weeks. Ah well, it still looks like I can have it finished in time. Rich has found some welding rods that I will be able to use as blocking wires (much cheaper than the blocking wires), so that should speed up finishing time, too.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Finally FO!

I have two finished objects today! I wove in the ends on the Fir Cone Scarf, and it is washed and blocking on my bed as I type.

I also finished all the seaming on Lara. It looks like I won't be able to wear this pinned, because of my children-enhanced bust, but Rich likes it better open anyway. I finished the side seams at my group reunion last night, and attached the neck while Rich worked on fixing the gas grill when I got home.

Lara was an easy pattern to follow. I think I changed which row I started on for the final cuff, so I'd have exactly the same number of rows, but other than that, I just blindly followed. This would be an easy pattern to modify, though, and I am going to help my friend Kelly do just that with her lovely purple yarn that she bought at Velona.

Camp News:

I have put out feelers for some instructors, have a place in mind and am working out the rest. The earliest this would happen is late next summer, but more likely the summer of 2007.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Someday My Prints Will Come

Sorry folks about the photos. One day. The ladies are still waiting for recipes from me also.

I have decided that since I cannot afford the knitting camps I know of, on top of paying for a plane ticket to get there, and I really want to go to knitting camp, that I should try to get a mini-camp organized. I will keep you posted. Perhaps in a year or two this might be a reality.

The fir cone scarf is off the needles, I need to weave in two ends, wash and block it and it will be ready to give away. Now back to my regularly scheduled Flower Basket Shawl.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Needlework Novels

What is the deal with throwing in man bashing, women are the victims of everyone, religious people are out to get you, but they're bumbling idiots, but they rule the world (diabolical idiots?), and everything you could possibly want to do or think is okay, as long as we agree with it, so we support everything (even when they contradict) junk being inserted in random places in needlework novels? They don't even help the plot, or have anything to do with it, do not enhance the characters and are just plain poor writing. Otherwise well written books are ruined by this plug in the political pap that has become increasingly common. I may have to start writing my own knitting fiction.

I still have some fiddling to do with the retreat photos, and have been swamped at home, so haven't had much time to do so. I also picked up that new project, but haven't finished it yet. I wanted to have it done last weekend. So, this weekend is the new goal. I haven't been very good about finishing things this year.

St. Martha's Guild isn't meeting this month, between holidays, schedule conflicts and illness, it just didn't work. We have the church campout the first weekend in June, so we're moving the guild meeting and the men's breakfast to the second Saturday in June. I have been so busy with other things outside the home and not meeting with my Cursillo group as often, that I haven't had a whole lot of knitting time since I came back from California. I hope to remedy that soon.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

St. Joseph the Worker

I did well at not beginning any new projects on the road trip. I didn't even buy yarn for a project (well, I bought one ball for trim)! I only brought the Flower Basket Shawl with me to knit on, and brought finishing work. Lara is almost completely sewn up, I have the right side seam and the collar to sew up. I didn't get finishing work done on either of my languishing projects. Cross Your Heart can wait, because I'll be roughly the same size next winter, but Little Boy Green should be a priority, because Elijah won't be! Cross Your Heart may have to go into my UFO stack, just so it isn't on my radar for a while.

Marthie and Kelly both bought yarn for sweaters at Velona. Marthie got the superbulky Brown Sheep yarn for the Winter Vogue cover sweater and Kelly got some royal purple Cascade 220 for a Lara like mine. We all got to wear our matching hats at the retreat and impress the heck out of everyone there.

The men were glad to have us back at church this Sunday. Almost all the women were gone last week! Of the families who didn't send ladies to the retreat with us, one was out of town, so there were only three women at church and four girls, including Amira. They said our voices were missed during the worship, especially.

My secret pal revealed herself to me (that sounds odd, doesn't it?) yesterday. Shannon has been spoiling me rotten and I have another package coming, she says! I promise I will write you back, Shannon, there was a lot to talk to you about in your e-mail. Needless to say, thank you is part of my response. This has been a lot of fun!

I can also reveal to whom I was secret pal: Gwen! I really enjoyed brightening her days, and reading about her excitement when she received a package. I have to say, I was a little worried that she would think the things I sent were lame, so it was a great relief to me that she enjoyed them.

As for photos, both of projects and trip, I have uploaded some, and I am busy cropping and resizing them. They should appear within a few days.

Two more things:

I forgot to mention that I was able to bring the photo book that Shannon sent me on my trip so I could show off my beautiful family. While I was waiting for my turn at the massage, I had it out to look at them and pray for them as I knit on the Flower Basket. I'm also working on a surprise, shhhh! That brings my WIPs up to SIX! I don't think I've had that many projects going in a long time, but there you go. It's a lace scarf using the fir cones pattern on size 10 needles, Elspeth Lavold's silky wool in an indigo blue. I am also going to use some leftover douceur et soie to make a lacy scarf for Alexander's teacher using the Ostrich Plume pattern, cream colored.

Happy May Day! This is also the feast day of St. Joseph the Worker, which is a commemoration of the foster father of Jesus in the aspect of his work and provision for his family. It was also a little snub to the communists made by Pope Pius the X or XI, as they made May 1 the celebration of workers, who of course couldn't provide for their families. Not to mention how the communists weren't all that keen on saints, Christianity, succeeding in work, you know.


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