Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Rondelay Redux - Off to a Good Start


I hate swatching!  Until recently, I've always been spot on with knitting to gauge when using recommended yarn and needle size.

My first Rondelay, I didn't swatch.

The pattern said:   Gauge: 18 st and 36 rows/4” in garter stitch, after blocking. Gauge is not critical for this project, however a different gauge may result in a smaller or larger finished shawl, and different yardage requirements. 

So I didn't check my gauge.  I WAS using the yarn suggested for the project, so I cast on!

First Rondelay with suggested yarn and needles (size 6):  26/44

So, I checked my gauge with a swatch which I blocked!

With size 7 needles I got 20/40.  Closer

I tried size 8 needles, but the fabric was far too loose (really needed a 7.5 needle, but do they even make that size?).

So here she is:

She is knitting bigger, compared to my finished and blocked first Rondelay.

Friday, January 16, 2015

And Meanwhile.....


My husband and I went to the island of Maui over Christmas Winter Break.

It was lovely!  We went last year; we snorkeled.  I got both ear and sinus infections, and felt awful the last three or four days of our stay in Maui LAST year.

This year?  I kept my head out of the ocean and it was perfect!  I came home infection free, and got to enjoy ALL of our stay!

We did so much I don't know where to begin, so I will start with why I started this blog -- KNITTING!

A very good friend of mine gifted me a project bag with a skein of Malabrigo Sock yarn.

Being a coworker, she knows the stresses I've had at work and knows how much I love Malabrigo Sock yarn.

I knit these lovely socks last year, but found Malabrigo Sock Yarn doesn't hold up well as socks in my house.


So, the weekend before we flew out of Alaska, I found Rondalay pattern made for Malabrigo sock yarn.

It is made out of three 1/2 circles.  I should have swatched, as my finished scarf is turning about to be about the size of only two of the half circles.  If it isn't big enough to act as a scarf I might have to reknit..... :-(

First half circle of Rondalay and super cute "pretty cheap project bag"

Not only is it is a pattern made for this yarn, it is touted as a quick knit.  I knit that far on our flight from Anchorage to Maui.

I continued knitting in the mornings in our rented condo, (the first day it rained very hard, we watched a movie and I got to knit!).

Staying in a one bedroom condo was wonderful.  Far better than a hotel room where the kitchen, living room, and bedroom are one room!  It was nice sitting on a couch watching a movie while knitting and enjoying tropical drinks, even if it was raining cats and dogs outside!


Our flight home found me on the third half circle.  The flight out was in the afternoon, I was tired, and I ended up doing more sleeping than knitting.

Based on the fact I knit the first 3rd on our flight, I would say one could knit this in 15-20 hours.  Other than the YO rows, it is mindless knit stitch.

I am binding off, so pictures soon of completed project.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

and it keeps marching on .....


God keeps giving me answers that say "it's time to try crazy new shit"!

This morning, I heard back from our district's EEO who investigated my claim of a "hostile work environment." After interviewing me, the principal, and the Director of Special Education, he determined their actions were not to be in violation of any EEO laws.

I am okay with that.

When the stress was so high I had an anxiety attack that left me unable to breathe, I prayed that God help me see the path he wanted me to go on.

I know that for me to leave my job of 21 years that I love, I was going to have to get answers I didn't want.  I was going to have to feel that administration was not going to support me.  I was going to have to reach a "F*** IT ALL" point!

I am okay with that.

Monday, I had our districts Behavior Health Professional come into my classroom to assist me with a child I am having great difficulty.  Reminder - I am a Behavior Support Program teacher, or Emotional/Behavioral Disorders Special Educator - if I'm having difficulty with a child, the child is VERY difficult!

After sending her data on this child, anecdotal notes/records, my Classroom Management Plan, and then sitting down talking with her about how I run the classroom.  She basically said that I'm doing everything correctly and as expected by the district in their Behavior Support Program classrooms.  That I modify as needed for individual needs of my students.  That when one thing doesn't work, I try something else.  There is nothing about my classroom management she would recommend I change.  NOTHING!  There are things she is going to recommend for THIS child, but had to go back to the office to come up with something - I am still waiting for suggestions.

So?

  • I am doing my job correctly (she even said my room was an example of what to do in a Behavior Support Program classroom!);
  • I am told repeatedly that I have one of the hardest jobs in the districts;
  • I have a position that is hard to fill (one of my admin's joked  that she will hunt me down and drag me back if I ever quit...).
And yet?
  • "they" throw me to the wolves in a witch hunt and blame game when a parent makes false claims about me on a day I wasn't even in the classroom;
  • suggest I change positions mid year;
  • and continue to allow this parent to bad-mouth me.

I am okay with that.

I believe they think I 'need' my job and am a slave to it, and will do what ever they tell me to do to keep it!

I'm okay with that!

God knows that for me to leave I job I have had for 21 years, one that I am very successful at, and for the most part enjoy immensely, he's got to show me how crazy that job is.  He has to show me that when the rubber hits the pavement, administration will do everything to protect themselves and throw teachers to the wolves.

Sad, but true.

Now?  Do I attempt to apply for a Leave of Absence next year, or just resign?


Monday, January 12, 2015

Fork in the Road - Do I go Left or Right?


Yes, I know, it's been "forever" since I posted something.

The road of life has been rather bumpy recently.

Last summer, my mother was diagnosed to be in the beginning stages of Alzheimer's.  I have had a very stressful year at work, being assigned rather tough students in my Behavior Support Program classroom.   Because I am successful with these type of children, I am getting some harder cases in the district. November we learned my dad had passed away.

As if the road of life wasn't bumpy enough, I was handed a huge pot hole when a fear I had at work became a reality.

A parent of one my students has some issues and will often take my words, twist them out of context then repeat them to a supervisor.  It was always "yeah, ______ told me you said _____. I am sure there is more to the story..." and we'd talk about what actually happened.  We know this parent doesn't have a good grasp of reality and would report things that weren't entirely based on facts.  I always feared one day this parent would twist my words/actions out of context, report to one of my supervisors and I would end up with some type of repercussion over this difficulty of the truth.

In November, this fear became a reality and what has happened during the last 2 1/2 months has been a nightmare.  I had an anxiety attack so bad over this issue that I thought I may need a trip to the Emergency Room!

After jumping through several hoops, I have been cleared of claims, but the issue still marches on.

Union and EEOC have been involved.  The district has offered to "allow" me to apply for a transfer mid-year.  An empty offer because there are no other positions open at this point in time.  Further, why would I leave eight children who have problems with trust, just so I wouldn't have to deal with this ONE parent?!  Why would the district even think that was an okay solution?  Harm eight students to protect one?

I am not a church-goer but I do believe in God, and that he often has plans that we don't understand. I have prayed for understanding in what it is He wants me to do, as well as acceptance.

I have always had a dream of working with children AND horses, but have always felt this was a pipe dream.  Something that would never be a possibility until I was retired.

When sharing the issues I am having at work with a friend who is the Director at a local Equine Assisted Therapy Center, she told me that I could have a paid position at the center, but it wouldn't be full-time, and they can't offer me health insurance.


So, do I continue with the Same Old Shit, or try Crazy New Shit?

While discussing what's been happening with my Acupuncturist, she stated that it is like I am on a trapeze.  I can swing back and forth and be happy with the swing I am on, but I now have this opportunity to try something new (another swing).  I can grab that swing (the equine position), but will never know what it's like until I let go of the old swing (my current teaching position).

Each time I do some research on the equine position, I am learning more and more positives with it.  I was told by the director of the center, "You will have control over your hours and who you spend your days with.  This will be like owning your own business."

I can apply for grants for my salary (I have received 90% of the grants I have requested as a Special Education teacher in Minnesota).  It will be much like "my own business" as I will have to find clients for the center, but with my connections with the schools, that shouldn't be that difficult.

So, fork in the road, Crazy New Shit?  Here I come!!!


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Just a Little Behind


I have cast on again (more times than I care to admit), my March socks.

I am only a little behind in my 12 Pairs in 2014 attempt.


February  - Husbands socks - still on the needles, they are for my husband and he has HUGE feet!!!  I am on the home stretch, doing a 2x2 rib for the leg.  Will stop when I run out of yarn!  And did I tell you, his feet are HUGE!


April - yarn (here and here) picked out.  Thinking of random stripes of semi-matched for my niece.

May - nope, but May isn't here, yet!

I have until the END of may.  Although it is almost the 5th month of the year, and I've only gotten one pair of socks completed, I'm really not that far behind.  Am I?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

I Can Only Hope

Last week I saw a doctor that specializes in hormone balancing.
At my first meeting, the doctor informed me it sounded like I was suffering from Estrogen Dominance.

Every concern I have, since BEFORE my hysterectomy, is on the list.

Foggy thinking?  Uh, ya think?!  There have been days it has taken me HOURS, and untold trips up our stairs, just to put on socks (that day, my FitBit recorded 25 flights of stairs!).  I will go upstairs to our bedroom to get an item, see something amiss, like a messy bed, fix it, and go down stairs, only to realize, sometimes hours later, I didn't get missing item.  I have gone to work without make-up!

Fatigue/lack of motivation?  WOW!  I have never been so far behind in my Special Education paperwork.  I work 10 hour days, go in on weekends and, between the mental fog, and lack of motivation, I will "work" for hours, and get nothing done. I come home, eat dinner and off to bed I go.  I have slept more than 9 hours a night. 

The combination of mental fog and lack of motivation have caused me to have periods of time where I am not sitting doing nothing, not taking a nap, but NOTHING gets done.  I used to get more done before I leave in the morning for work, than some people do all day.  A couple loads of laundry, dishwasher unloaded, school work completed, lunches made, dinner planned.  I have no clue where my time goes. 

Today I will get results of blood work and further information on treatment.  She prescribed progesterone cream, which I began Saturday.  I am already feeling the mental fog lift. 

Yesterday, at work, despite no prep time, I still got a lot of  "behind the scenes" things done.  After students left, I was able to clear my desk, straighten the classroom, prepare for the next day, pack up work to take home, and leave, in under an hour (a task that has taken me up to two hours, and I return in the morning to a messy classroom).  Last night, for the first time I can remember this year, I was able to sit at my dining room table after dinner, and work on an Individualized Education Plan (IEP).  This morning I finished the IEP, and it is ready.  The IEP meeting is scheduled for Thursday - I don't recall a time this school year I've been ready for an IEP meeting so far in advance!

I am so hopeful that the old me is back!  I can only hope!  I am going to take my shower early, and see if I can read the paperwork on a new student before I leave for work!

Monday, April 7, 2014

A Day of Appointments and Knitting (a look at WIP)

I took today off from school/work.

Mom has had her driving privileges revoked due to a medical issue.  She has several appointments this week and was able to arrange most of them for today.  Tomorrow, my brother gets to play taxi.

I am not one who carries a knitting project with me at all times, today, I am wondering what I should bring as I'm seeing some down time between appointments.

I was am attempting to knit 12 pairs of socks in 2014.  I had visions of catching up on my socks during Spring Break, but dug out my wheel after acquiring a box of roving from a friend.

I think I should re-cast on my March socks.  They were frogged when I noticed an error in the lace pattern.  They were being knit two at a time.  I see them being completed on dpn's.

2014 - March Hawaiian Snow Daze
While envisioning getting back to my March socks, I realized I never finished my February socks.  They are worsted weight, toe up, heel has been turned, working on the gusset decrease.
2014 -  February - Dennis' green boot socks

There is always the Birch Leaf Shawl, which was started July 2012, or not!

Birch Leaf Shawl
 And then I have only the sleeves to finish on Lucy Cardigan.  It is far too large the haul around.......

Lucy
Can't drag my wheel with me, so spinning is out.

I think the winner is my February socks, but the yarn from the March socks is so yummy and reminds me of our honeymoon in Hawaii.