Thursday, September 29, 2016

Done and Done!

Yesterday I got my background check. You will be happy to know that this blogger has no criminal history!

About five minutes ago I submitted my online application to sub.

Later today I will finalize my application by dropping off my "Substitute Packet".  I will also ask how I can be considered for some of the positions that are listed as still open that I'm interested in.

I enjoyed subbing for the two years before getting my own classroom.  I do admit, I went home twice in tears--kindergarteners and me do NOT make a good match!

It is a totally different form of classroom management.

I'll have to research again what may work and pull from my brain some of the methods I used.

Generally, I bribed offered incentives.  YOUR teacher wants us to do this work, if WE work together, I'm sure we can shave time off each lesson, by the end of the day we could have 30 minutes to do........ 


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Stuck Inside

It is BEAUTIFUL outside today.

I am stuck inside.

Before March 1, 2017, I have to notify my district of my decision to return to the classroom,
or not.

I am not sure I will be able to work full-time and continue to assist my mom with doctor's appointments and the like.

I could return half-time, but have been toying with the idea of substitute teaching.

I've been told a good sub can work almost every day.  I subbed for two years before I was hired full-time.  It is a completely different classroom management style, but I enjoyed it, followed lesson plans, graded paperwork, and left notes about how our day went.  I was kept busy until I was hired.

Subbing would allow me an income and begin paying back the savings I've used up while on my Leave of Absence.  No medical, but I get that from my husband.

Daily pay is approximately half of what I would get full-time;
maybe I should just go back 0.5 FTE.

I am in the process of applying to substitute teach with a different school district than I am on leave from.  It is pretty much the same process as applying for a regular classroom teaching position!

This morning I sent out emails requesting Letters of Reference from 10 teachers, supervisors, and parents today.
Apparently, the teachers and supervisors are working as I'm awaiting their replies .
The parents stated they would LOVE to share how wonderful I was as their child's teacher!

Things didn't go well between the principal and me.
Short story is:
I was told to do something against our contract
I had to call union in to protect my rights
principal retaliated by providing me with my first poor evaluation in 21 years of teaching.

The union has stated I shouldn't bring it up while discussing future positions and if someone asks about it, I'm to simply state, "We had a difference of opinions."

I do not know what type of reference the principal gave me.
(union said he can't bash me, but he can share facts---his facts are different than my facts)
I am attempting to get as many letters of reference as I can to counteract any negative he may have stated.

I am  now at the point where I have to type replies to various questions.

Defining diversity.

How I encourage others to honor the uniqueness of individuals.

How I challenge stereotypes and promote sensitivity and inclusion.

And it is BEAUTIFUL outside.

My front porch is calling me..........

Monday, September 26, 2016

Anchorage to Fairbanks

Every trip from the Anchorage area to Fairbanks reminds me of all the other trips on this road.
For some reason, I always forget how horrible this drive can be!
It is a very long trip.
Once outside of Wasilla, the road becomes a narrow winding two-lane road.
Fost heaves cause frequent rolling bumps. 

I attempted to knit on the road, but the incessant bumps and turns left me a little car sick!

I did manage to knit at the hotel in the evenings and in the mornings
and was able to turn this...

LazyKaty Shawl - pre-trip
into this:
LazyKaty Shawl - post trip

Tourist Season is May 15 to September 15.
That means that all the little tourist stops are closed September 15- May 15.
It was hard for us to find a spot to stop for meals.  

I wasn't able to take a lot of pictures because I had a seat in the middle of the 12 passenger van.

We stayed at the Super 8 that may very well be the dirtiest hotel I've ever stayed in.
The sign out front should have been our first clue:

"Hiring Hosekeepers"
other side said
"ring hoekeepers"
Thursday we headed out to North Pole, Alaska
A cute little town that has taken the belief that Santa lives at The North Pole to heart.
The little town is decorated in Christmas year round.
The street lights are shaped and painted like candy canes
(sorry, sitting in the middle of the van does not make for good photos!).

There is a very strong Russian influence in Alaska.
I love Russian Nesting dolls, and like those that have different dolls inside.
The one I coveted was $69.95 -- maybe next trip
After North Pole we drove to Chena Hot Spring Resort - another long, narrow, rolling road!

My advice, if you should ever get up there, is to go inside the Ice House before the Hot Springs!
My camera is not waterproof, so no pictures in the Hot Spring Pool.
It was heaven and in spots the water was HOT.
I can't wait to bring my husband with me next time!

A "sculpture" made with moose antlers.
The "ice skating pond" that never freezes over because of the hot springs.
One of the massage cabins.
After Chena Hot Springs we had dinner at the Pagoda Restaurant that was featured on  Drive'Ins and Diners.  The meal was WONDERFUL!

Friday morning we drove home. Back down the long, narrow, winding, bumpy "highway".
I layed in the hot springs and allowed water in my ears.
I road home not feeling well and realized I had acquired an ear infection.

We stopped in the town of Nenana where, every spring, they have the "Nenana Ice Classic".

One can purchase a ticket for a couple bucks and guess the time the tripod will move.
Those that guess the date and time win the pot.

We also stopped by the general store, where you could get just about anything!  Even Beaver Pelts!

It snowed on our way home.

Yep, this from my seat!

Hurrican Gulch - a quick pit stop and picture taking.
Further south than the snow, rain was coming down pretty hard.
We had lunch at Trapper Creek Trading post.
I enjoyed our trip, but am glad to be home.

I am nursing my ear infection (thankfully I happened to have the back-up antibiotics my doctor gave me for a possible ear infection when we went on our Carribean Cruise last year!).

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

And I'm off....

Falling Leaves Lace Shawl - Kit from Darn Good Yarns
I will be leaving Falling Leaves Lace Shawl at home.  UPDATE: I contacted the pattern designer and she has sent me the updated version of the pattern!!!  Next week I may (or may not) be frogging to reknit the lace pattern correctly.  Still waiting any reply from Darn Good Yarns (but it's a mute point now that I have the updated pattern)!

LazyKaty Shawl
I will be bringing LazyKaty Shawl with me on the road trip to Chena Hot Springs and North Pole, Alaska.  Six hours one way, so I could get 12 hours of knitting completed!!!!

Although I am not bringing the KOIm here Fishy Fishy yarn with me, I was able to find a pattern, Tip Down Mittens that are knit, as stated, from the tip, and are knit to size (I'm really at a loss as to the weight of this yarn).  They will be my reward when I finish the Falling Leaves Shawl!

See you all next week!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Must. Step. Away.

My attempt at charting Falling Leaves Lace Shawl with Stitch Fiddle
LOVE Stitch Fiddle!
Sometimes perfectionism and knitting are evil partners!

I attempted charting the pattern for Falling Leaves Lace Shawl (which is causing me great difficulty - as shared in this post) on graph paper with no success.

I googled "charting knitting patterns" and found Stitch Fiddle where you can create knitting charts.

I have continued to fiddle with this pattern.

Fiddle & fiddle & fiddle & fiddle.

I have a million and one things to do before I leave with the Senior Center tomorrow on a three-day trip to Chena Hot Springs and North Pole, Alaska.

Important things.

Paying Bills.

Making Appointments.

Working on freelance projects that will net me actual income.

Important items to be snail-mailed.

Getting the house "guest presentable"
(we have friends that will be arriving from out of state before I get home Friday)!

Pack clothes -- which reminds me, I need to wash some clothes!

Yet, here I sit, fiddling with this #&@* pattern and sharing the pain with you!

Yep, sometimes being a perfectionist and a knitter is pure hell and NOT a good mix!

Damn that OCD!

The shawl mocks me from my coffee table every time I walk through our living room.

The add for this particular kit from Darn Good Yarns keeps popping up!

Anyone have a clue how to chart a shift of pattern 5 stitches?????

Additional Notes:

I contacted the designer, who stated I should be able to get the correct copy from whom every I purchased the pattern from, but she would send me the most recent version of  the pattern.

I sent an email to Darn Good Yarns - awaiting a reply from them.

Monday, September 19, 2016

UGH!!! Darn Good (Frustration Inducing) Yarn and Shawl

Last week I was ten rows further than the picture on my Darn Good Falling Leaves Lace Shawl.  I picked it up, started knitting stupidly happily away and the lace pattern shift was NOT working out.

I tinked (un-knit) a row or two.

Wasn't working.

Gave up tinking and frogged rows.

Before I knew it, I'd frogged back 27 or so rows.

Picked up stitches.

Counted stitches.

Checked pattern.

I had picked up 307 stitches.  Pattern stated I would need 303 stitches; 51 before marker, center stitch, and 51 after.

I frogged another three rows to have the correct number of stitches. Attempted lace pattern and it was not working out!  There weren't enough stitches.

Counted lace pattern stitches, and realized first error on the pattern. Then I noticed the pink number "53" written (note to self:  write better notes to self on patterns!)  I would need 307 stitches; 53 before marker, center stitch, and 53 after.

Knit the additional three rows and was able to begin lace pattern.

I have spent so much time on attempting to figure out this "simple" lace pattern.

I can NOT figure out the shift.  The pattern has you adding stitches where there shouldn't be yarn overs.  When I follow the pattern, the shift doesn't line up correctly.  I'm pulling my hair out!!!

The endless hours I've spent attempting to figure this out.

I have decided I'm I'm just going to fake it until this is done.  There is no errata.  I have emailed the designer - I haven't received a reply yet.

Here is where am I now, after a week and untold hours knitting, tinking, frogging, counting, frogging, picking up, knitting?

Seven more rows and I'll be where I was before all this tinking and frogging began! Oh, and isn't that special, you can see how different the two skeins colors are.  I gave Darn Good Yarn a try.  Between the pattern errors, the two skeins not being the same color, I don't think I'll be ordering from them again.

I'm on row 22 now.

On a positive note, when hanging the shawl over a chair while I frogged it, I learned it does have a wonderful drape!

I wish I'd found the pattern and comments before purchasing.  Of the 28 listed (one being mine), there are three (four counting me) that mentioned issues with the pattern.  Many negative comments about the yarn.

Oh well, live and learn.

This week I'll be heading up to Fairbanks, Alaska, on a trip with the Senior Center and my mom.  I usually end up helping with some of the senior ladies and they always claim they feel sorry for me because I end up taking care of three or four "mom's".  After 21 years of going on field trips with behavior disordered kiddos, the senior trips are a dream! I can have a glass of wine with dinner/lunch, and sometimes they buy my alcoholic beverages!

I'll be bringing LazyKaty Shawl.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Don't Forget to be Awesome!

I love Grant Proposal Writing. I love the research that goes with it. I love playing with words. Persuading people to fund projects of the nonprofits I work with.

We (husband and I) decided that if I can't make at least what I earn working half-time as a teacher, I'll go back to the classroom.  It has become apparent that it will be a long time before I get to that point with my business, so I will be returning to the classroom next school year.

I live in a different district than I work, so have decided I'll simply "put my name on the sub list" to sub at some of the schools near my home and avoid the 30+ minute drive to "my district."


The two districts have very different methods of hiring a sub.  I am applying for a teaching position, that just happens to be to substitute teach!

I'm digging out transcripts, requesting letters of references, writing out my philosophy of teaching, my stand on diversity, the list goes on!

I'm having "back to school" nightmares dreams.

This morning, I am enjoying my morning tea in my "Don't Forget to be Awesome" cup and my new matching teapot, and maybe avoiding the whole application process!

Now if I could only find my student teaching information from 100 years ago!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Ready for Winter

Our summer kitchen garden
July 2016
Saturday the weather was beautiful! Taking advantage of the break in the rain, we took down our garden and put our deck furniture in storage for winter.  While some friends in the lower 48 are "planting our fall and winter crops" (is there such a thing?), we are battening down the hatches for winter.

The rains returned with a vengeance along with high winds with gusts in some areas up to 100 mph Sunday, forcing us inside for movies and knitting!

During the week, I dug projects out of my knitting bag.

Darn Good Shawl - yarn  & pattern from Darn Good Yarn as a kit. The yarn is recycled silk, two skeins that didn't really match.  I had knit a large section before noticing the difference in color.  I was going to just switch skeins randomly as shown in the above picture but didn't like how you could see the different yarns so I frogged and restarted.

I have been knitting every two rows switching skeins (carrying yarn not knitting).  

I am so close to finish.  So close.  The two skeins are tiny little brown silk balls.  I hope I have enough!

LazyKaty Shawl is another one that's been on the sticks for far too long!  I bought the yarn at a little yarn shop, Flyin Skein, in Seward, Alaska, while on a trip with my mom and the local Senior Center. I brought the project with me on our cruise during December last winter.  The body is a very easy quick knit that is very rememberable.

When I got to the lace border I was thinking really was too small.  Additionally, I was still on my first skein and I couldn't see the lace border using up 200 yards of yarn!  Despite the size and the large amount of extra yarn, I continued to knit.  The small size continued to bother me, and this week, I looked at the pattern very closely, and I stopped reading when it said size 5mm needles and didn't look further where it states size 8-9 needle!  How did I miss that?!  Too much sun from the cruise?

So the previous LazyKaty Shawl was frogged to a ball!

Here we go again.  My only complaint about the pattern is there isn't a gauge listed, and I'm now second guessing myself with the size 8 needles!  I had to make stitch markers as I didn't have enough for this pattern (I am placing a marker every 10 stitches so I can quickly count stitches to make sure I'm on track).  Okay, I could have used what I had, but........

I'm going on another trip with Mom and the Senior Center next week.  We are driving to Chena Hot Springs (not sure if we're staying at the resort or not) and North Pole, Alaska. LazyKaty Shawl will go with me.  

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Alaska Road Trip: Chugiak to Valdez

Our 600+ mile weekend road trip.
For Labor Day Weekend, my husband and I decided to take the RV on a road trip to Valdez, Alaska. Generally, when we take the RV out, we park it and stay for the weekend.  This weekend found us parked at a new site every evening.  The weather was BEAUTIFUL!

Setting sun lights up the yellows of the trees across the Little Nilchina Creek
Our first evening we camped free on the edge of Little Nelchina River.  It is an old campground that is no longer maintained, so it was free!

Our home for the evening.
Another beautiful view across the river.
Morning fly fishing as the sun lights up the trees upstream.
Over morning coffee in bed, we looked through our Alaska Camping Book and Mile Post to plan our day on the road.

A view of Tazlina Glacier.
While fishing in Little Nelchina Creek we realized we didn't have the fishing regulations for this area, so stopped at a nearby tourist shop.  While discussing our plans for the weekend, it the store owner recommended we should drive up Lake Louise Road to for the best view of Tazlina Glacier, followed by a stop at Willow Lake to see the Wrangle Mountains.

Willow Lake and the Wrangle Mountains.
We had planned to eat lunch at Willow Lake, but it was nothing more than a pull off, with a lot of people stopping for the view.  We traveled up the road and decided  to pull off on a gravel road and see what we could find.  We were not disappointed!

Our lunch stop - in a BEAUTIFUL peaceful valley.
I'll let the pictures do the talking. 
After driving through a short treed area, it opened up to flat gravel with short trees.
Just the three of us and our RV.

We made it to Valdez and decided there wasn't must to see or do. It's a fishing town and the end of the Pipeline.  This really wasn't about the destination, but about the drive. The waterfalls in Keystone Cannon are a MUST stop!

Bridal Veil Falls
Horsetail Falls
We camped at Blueberry Lake Campground - the bugs were so bad, we cooked and ate dinner inside the RV.  After dinner, we dawned Mosquito Nets and attempted to explore.
Quite the fashion statement!
A trail lead us to a beautiful overlook and a patch of Blueberries - which we picked for pancakes the following morning.
Early morning walk before breakfast at Blueberry Lake Campground.
We attempted to catch some of the many Rainbow Trout the lake held.
They kept jumping 10-15 feet beyond our casting range!

We hit the road after pancakes with those wonderful blueberries
our first stop was Worthington Glacier.
Worthington Glacier

Up close and personal with Worthington Glacier.
 While we were here, people were going inside the glacier for picture opportunities. 
This is NOT something I recommend as one never knows when a piece will pop off and fall!

Looking down the valley from Worthington Glacier.
Our last night on the road was spent at Tolsona Wilderness Campground.

The sun shining through a pine tree across the creek.
Bugs were hovering around the pine tree.
They glowed and appeared to be little fairies. 
It was the first time we've had hookups (electric and water).
We arrived ready to just sit by a campfire and relax after three days on the road.

I have to admit, it sure was nice to be able to wake up to the smell of coffee brewing!
Normal mornings involve waiting for "quiet time" to arrive (usually 6 am) so we can crank up the generator and start the coffee pot.

For our liking, there were too many people making too much noise late.
People pulled into the site next to ours around 8 pm, then their dogs barked late into the night.

Others arrived back at camp after 11pm and were loud.

Breakfast was followed by showers and we hit the road for home.

Beautiful fall colors

We put well over 600 miles on the RV.
It was a great end of the summer trip for us!