Sunday, October 31, 2010

It was a beautiful and warm evening...

In the Peanuts comic strip by Charles Schulz, Snoopy often began his stories with "It was a dark and stormy night..." People think that a good Halloween story must include that setting. Mine, however, is just the opposite...

When we built our house fifteen years ago, we chose the location because it is out in the country and surrounded by nature. Beautiful sunrises and sunsets, a view that allows you to see forty miles to the north, and animals everywhere.

A few miles to the east is the Crow Indian Reservation and forty miles further is Little Bighorn Battlefield. The moment I set foot on the property I felt a presence. I envisioned a young Indian brave sitting on the edge of the ridge keeping watch over the valley, perhaps patiently waiting for another tribe, a group of warriors or a wagon train to come into view and move slowly westward along the Yellowstone River.

 Although the house has central air conditioning I enjoy the clean fresh air. I quickly discovered that if I opened the bathroom window in the southern part of the house and the dining room window in the northern part of the house it creates a wonderful breeze throughout. I also found that just before sunset my young brave would come to visit and begin his song. Now, you may think that it was just the wind blowing through the house at a certain time and speed, and I was able to believe that MOST of the time.

These visitations went on for several seasons. Sometimes I enjoyed his music but sometimes it bordered on scaring me. One evening when I was alone and the haunting melody became more than I could bear, I decided to have a heart to heart with the young brave, "Please understand, I know that this was your land before I arrived. Your people walked upon this land for centuries before we came. We will not disturb the land further. I love it just as much as you and promise to care for it as you did. Now leave in peace."

His lonesome chant has not been heard again.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Happy Halloween

Halloween was a major event when I was little. Absolutely NO store bought costumes for us!
1960 Halloween, Judy, Steve and Mike      
I ran across this photo recently and even though it is in black and white I remember the clown costume my brother Mike had on was in orange and black and the flowers in my Hawaiian outfit were rose colored. The muu-muu at one time had been curtains, Mom had the ability to take a few snips in the fabric and sew a few stitches, making even a set of curtains into something else.
When we lived in Seattle we would Trick or Treat the houses on our block and the one block below us. Often the treats were full size candy bars. But when we moved to Butte we were astonished to find out  teenagers were allowed to knock on doors, the use of pillowcases was standard, and entire sections of town was acceptable territory for Trick or Treating.  The first year we lived in Butte I remember Dad going to the grocery store for emergency candy.

Sadie Lou Who sent me a letter this week. On the front is a lovely Halloween scene and on the back Sadie wrote a very nice letter, she wished she could go Trick or Treating at our house. I had to laugh, really she doesn't want to Trick or Treat our neighborhood - in the 15 years we have lived here, we have never had Trick or Treater! We truly live at the end of the road! We used to prepare for visitors but now we might bring home a favorite candy bar or two knowing that they will be eaten by us.
Letter written by Sadie 2010.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Kids say the darndest things

Over the last few weeks the kiddos at school have come up with some interesting comments.

This year I have the last of four little Holidays. Five years ago I had the oldest in the family, the next year the second sibling. We skipped a year then last year the third arrived at my door, and finally the last Holiday arrived this fall. Recently the youngest Holiday came to school with bright red marker all over her face, hands, arms and even in her hair. I asked what her parents had said. She looked up at me with her big blue eyes and replied, "They said that Mrs. G. sure wasn't going to be happy when she saw me." Evidently, I must be the force to be reckoned with in that family!

I had a Professional Development meeting one morning and so I was out in the hall when a fifth grader I had taught a couple of years ago was walking slowly down the hall. When I saw this young man moving so slowly I put my arm around him and said, "Let's hurry to your classroom so you won't be late." I was trying to physically get him to move without forcefully -  hmmm, pushing him. Resistant, he began moving even slower, in both manner and voice he reminded me of Eeyore. He answered, "That's what my Mom said. So, I'm hurrying as slowly as I can."

This year I have a special needs student that we want to interact more with his fellow students. One morning I discovered he is interested in Math Bingo. Sometimes he signs the B, I, N, G, O; sometimes he'll say the answer instead of the equation.

We are working at making him "Bingo Master". I was trying to prepare the other students in the classroom before the second game and asked that they not laugh if our friend said the entire equation, or turned his back on them when he called out the fact because it might fluster him and we wanted him to be comfortable with us.

One of my sweetest students raised his hand and with a stern voice looked me straight in the eye and asked, "What was that "F" word you just said about  _____?"

What a great kid! His mom and dad should be proud their hardwork is paying off. He was standing up to someone he thought was a bully - ME.

As for me, I'm grateful he raised his hand and didn't quietly go home, telling his parents that I called a kiddo in the class the "F" word!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

A ten hour drive to watch a Griz game yesterday did a lot for my knitting! I finished a Christmas sweater that has been hanging around my neck like a noose for a month. I don't usually put anything on the needles without finishing within a couple of weeks. The gals at the yarn shop had asked about my progress several times. I finally fessed up, this is not my finest project! How embarrassing to realize halfway through the sweater that you forgot the first three rows in the center cable pattern! (It was at the bottom of the first column of the page and I overlooked it - oh man!) I thought that it was a misprint and so reworked the beginning of the cable - having to rethink it every time I got to that point. When I realized what I had done the front was completed and I was on the back of the sweater and didn’t want to retrace my steps. But I like things perfect, down to every last stitch! I decided that the sweater was a lesson in acceptance, I assured myself that no one would know that the cable was not the one printed in the pattern (over and over again I said this to myself as I knit). It was difficult not to rip out and just start over but now that the sweater is done I do have to say, it turned out fine.
Pattern: Patons Aran Knits for the Family
Yarn: Plymouth Encore Knitting Worsted
Colorway: Ecru
Needles: US Size 5, and 8

With this sweater done I moved on to Christmas sweater number five!
Pattern: Patons Aran Knits for the Family
Yarn: Plymouth Encore Knitting Worsted
Colorway: Ecru
Needles: US Size 5, and 8

While at Charity knitting the gals mentioned that one of our own, Amanda Muscha, had a pattern published in Knitty this fall! It's a hat pattern and to be honest my family just doesn't have heads that can wear hats. We kiddingly say we have melon heads - very large melons! I did check out the hat and love it though.

I continued looking at the many patterns in the issue and found an item that I will love to wear on my long stem of a neck in the chill of winter, a lace cowl! It's absolutely beautiful and a fun knit!
 Pattern: Eleanor
Yarn: Happy Feet
Colorway: Burgandy
Needles: US Size 7, 5, 4

Oh! Griz won their game Saturday, NAU made a touchdown and pulled ahead the last two minutes of the game, then Griz headed down the field and made a touchdown winning 24-21.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Oh baby, I LOVE these booties!

For the last week and a half I've been playing with this bootie pattern. I think that a little babe would have difficulty kicking them off their feet and they just look so warm! The booties would be a great little baby shower gift or charity knit, not to mention an outstanding stash buster.
Oh, Baby! Baby Booties
Oh, Baby! Baby Booties

Sizes: Newborn, 3 months, 6 months
Materials: size 5 US needles (31/2 mm)
DK weight yarn, or 4 ply worsted for bigger booties

Monday, October 11, 2010

I'm putting this project to bed.

These socks were started almost a year ago. I put them on the back burner for several months but the weather is getting cooler and I'll be needing a few new pair of socks soon. I did some off road knitting on the first sock - not following the directions for the heel but improvising a short row heel. It was tough to get back on track after so many months. I love this yarn and I'm glad to have these socks done. I'm turning out the lights and putting this project to bed!
Pattern: Jaywalker
Yarn: Knit One Crochet Too, Ty-Dy Socks
Colorway: Grape
Needle size: US 3

Thursday, October 7, 2010

When I arrived home this afternoon, Momma and the triplets had stopped by for a photo op. They must think we're a pretty great place to visit because the next time I looked out the window, the whole "fam-damnly" were visiting and a few of their feathered friends as well.
Can you find the seven deer and three turkeys in the picture?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Deja vu

This week I was visiting on the phone with my youngest brother. My poor nephew, Sammy, had just come home from the hospital with four stitches on his elbow. There had been a very tough game of kickball on the playground! I asked how he was otherwise, how the school year was going. My brother, Scott, told me that it had been a rough start to first grade but things were going well now.

After we said our goodbyes, I began thinking about my trip out to see the family a couple of years ago. I had been surprised that many interactions with Sammy had caused flashbacks to when Scott was little. I'm thirteen years older that my youngest brother and I was very active his upbringing. As a little guy, my brother often had temper tantrum when things didn't go his way and during my visit, I saw this happening with our little Sammy. At one point I said, "Sammy, you just need to tell us what you want, we will do anything to make you happy." It was like a kick in the seat of the pants - that is exactly what Mom and I would say to Scott everytime things began to fall apart for him!

One evening we were all sitting in the living room visiting, when I glanced over to see our Sammy sitting on his momma's lap with his arm around her neck and his little fingers tugging on her earlobe! This had been one of my brother's favorite things to do for comfort - to the point that I remember my mother saying once that she was afraid her earlobe would be down to her navel by the time my brother was raised!

I hadn't asked my brother to go into details about Sammy's start in first grade, but I can't help think that Sammy's "rough start" to first grade went something like this...
When my brother started first grade I was beginning my second year of college. My mother had been battling Scott about going to school for several weeks. We lived a block and a half from school and so he walked to school each morning and also came home for lunch. This particular day I was home at lunchtime and the three of us had a very nice lunch. However, Mom couldn't face trying to get my brother back to school and so he asked if I'd mind attempting the task. No problem!

The two of us walked to school, I stopped at the edge of the playground, asked him if he could get to class okay and then left him and walked back to the house alone.

Mom was pleasantly surprised! She quizzed me on what had happened, what I had said to him, what he'd said, how I had bribed him. "I didn't do anything. We walked to the edge of the playground, I said goodbye and left. No problem!" I was quite pleased with myself, I'd accomplished in one go what my mother had been attempting to do twice a day for two weeks!

We had about five minutes of quiet before the front stormdoor slammed and my brother stood there with his hands on his hips shouting, "I'M NOT GOING BACK AND YOU CAN'T MAKE ME!!"

I can still envision the two of them marching down the middle of the street, Scott about two feet in front of Mom with the wooden spoon in her hand!

Just like Sammy, things are now going well for Scott. He goes to school every day under his own steam. He's the principal of a middle school!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Babies! Oh, Babies!

Next weekend I will be attending a double baby shower for two sisters. When Julie and Trish were little they lived next door, and I'm also Trish's Godmother. Trish and her hubby know that the baby will be a boy so I've made this little top down sweater and brown bunny. I added a hat to the bunny because he will be living in Colorado and needs to be warm!
Pattern: Norse Pullover by McCall Pattern Company
Size: 3
Yarn: Cascade 220 Wool
Colorway:Turquoise, Beige, Navy
Needle size: US 9
Pattern: One Skein Bunny by Deb Richey
Yarn: Red Heart Plush
Colorway: Chocolate
Needle Size: G

If I were to make this little bunny again, I would double this yarn. I can see the stuffing in some places but I do like the soft, nubby texture.

I love making little baby things and now that I've started it seems I'm having difficulty stopping. I found this pattern for booties and had to try them. There are several variations of this pattern and I like a combination of them all. There is one variation that has three sizes - a real bonus - add the one piece variation - not cutting the yarn and then having to work them in later- and this pattern is a real winner!
I’ve used bits and pieces of wool yarn that I have in my stash and prefer the variegated colorways! There is an unfinished bootie in the front ready to be seamed to show just how truly silly they look!
Pattern: Oh, Baby! Baby Booties
Yarn: Paton Classic Wool
Colorway: Rosewood, Forest
Yarn: Dale of Norway/ Delgarn Heilo
Colorway: Tartan Green
Needle Size: US 5