Devine site

A little bit about my day, my family, and my knitting.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

A Free(?) night

I love Tuesdays...Gerry plays pool and I have a free night...yeah, sure!
Work was really decent today. The kids were pretty good, my "difficult" child was absent, and all was well. At the end of the day I hosted our weekly team meeting, which is a friendly bitch session. It's nice to know that the rest of the teachers on my team are as frustrated as I am by our students' lack of knowledge of basic concepts. Really - I was doing very simple math and MANY of my students could not count up to 5 or tell a 4 from a 2. Don't let me get started....I could go on and on about it. After the meeting, three of us drove (further south) to see Shawn. He is 26 years old and in his second year of teaching. He is a great guy and a really good teacher, an integral part of our team. Unfortunately, he was in a severe motorcycle accident October 24th. He is just home from the hospital less than a week. He was very badly injured and will be recovering for the rest of the school year. We had not seen him before this as he was in a hospital in Orlando, 3 hours north of me. It was great to finally see him. He looks terrific, just has lots of discomfort, talks very softly cause his lungs are injured, and on and on. His dad was there and is really nice, as is Michelle, Shawn's fiance. I was happy to hear that their wedding will take place as planned, next May 1. We visited for about an hour.

After Shawn's I made the drive back north, toward home. Stopping on the way, I went to Bed, Bath and Beyond for a GC for one of our staff members getting married Saturday, Whole Foods Market for vitamins (love that store), and to Costco. I bought Gerry 2 of his Xmas presents - TIVO and an electric shaver that he wanted. I also want to get him a casual jacket to wear when we do out, so he doesn't have to wear his tweed sports jacket that DOESN'T GO with his slacks and Hawaiian shirts! Then home, dinner, a little bill paying, and here I am. Free night? Not for relaxing, that's for sure!

Sunday, November 28, 2004

What a great weekend!

This weekend has been so much fun. Thanksgiving with my family (but really missed Alison and Michael); had the dogs groomed (they were so mangy looking); had dinner with my family and friends Friday night; movie on Saturday - we saw National Treasure with Nicholas Cage. It was really very good - good dialogue, intrigue, humor - never a dull moment. After the movie we (Gerry, Mom, my brother Jon and niece Gianna and I) went to downtown Delray, which is about 9 blocks from my house. It was the 12th annual Tree Lighting Ceremony. There were tons of people, a great band playing, food being sold....a really good time. We stood for about an hour listening to the band, and then Santa arrived and they turned on the tree lights. The tree is 100 ft. high and beautiful. A little incongruous in the middle of palm trees, but hey, still 'tis the season! We then headed down the Avenue to Rotelli's, an Italian restaurant that we like. The wait wasn't that bad....30 minutes, so we sat on a bench and waited. We were given a table outside. The weather was perfect, not too cool, full moon too.
Today Jon, Mom and Gianna came over and we took a minute to take pictures of Gerry and I with our three dogs. Now that is no easy feat, and I have very little patience for other people taking pictures that are important to me (it is for our holiday card). I am not blaming my brother Jon, for I handed him a camera that he has never used and said, "Shoot!" I did my best to be patient. He took three shots and said that he thought he got a good one in there, Gerry was eager to get on with his work - putting up the holiday lights on the house - so, that was that! I reviewed the pix (thank goodness for digital) and we can use one. No, it's not perfect, I don't look my best and Gerry has sunglasses on, but the dogs look pretty good. Isn't that what counts?
Then Mom, Jon, Gianna and I drove up to the beach to a restaurant called Bostons. It's a well known restaurant down here. We went to meet Sarina, my new friend and massage therapist. I met her in Publix, discussing how to marinate steak, and we hit it off. She's also a GREAT massager. I now go to her once a month for massage, but...that's another story. She was waiting at Bostons with her beautiful white labrador named Emma, and her friends Brian and Heather. We sat at the next table, had a nice little lunch and fun conversation. Then we drove to the other side of the Avenue to walk through the Art Festival on Pineapple Grove. It was a beautiful day for walking. Lots of people were out. I didn't feel compelled to buy anything, which is always a good thing. So many people were there with their dogs, all very well behaved. I got a little jealous, since I have three beautiful dogs of my own. So what did I do? I left the others, took Jon with me and we walked the 7 blocks to my house to get two of my dogs. We took Tiemann, my little maltese, and Cocktail, my shepard/chow. I would have loved to take my daschund Rusty but he gets a little testy with other dogs and sometimes people as well. So Rusty stayed home with Gerry, watched some football and shared some turkey. When we got back to the street fair I could have popped my buttons (if I had had any on). EVERYONE was asking what kind of dog is Cocktail, exclaiming over his pretty face. I have to admit that he is a beautiful dog, very different looking with his red mane, white snout and black eyes. It was so much fun! We then walked up to the Avenue and sat outside a biker bar/restaurant (no bikers were there at the time) called Elwoods. More people passed, stopping to exclaim over Cocktail. When it was time to go the others walked to the car, about 5 blocks east of where we were. I had to walk all the way home, because there was no way Cocktail could fit into Mom's car with the rest of us. Poor Cocktail is now so exhausted from all that walking and fresh air that he had conked out.
We ordered a pizza, used paper plates and then Mom, Jon and Gianna said good-night. I will see Jon and Gianna in a few weeks, when they come down for Xmas. I am so tired but had such a wonderful weekend.
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Thursday, November 25, 2004

Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving Day is here. Time to give thanks. So - what am I thankful for?
I am thankful for my children - yes, even the wicked son. I am thankful that he is well, working, and staying out of trouble. I am thankful for my girls. They make me so proud. They are hard working, creative, ask for nothing (good thing - I'm not wealthy, ya know), and loving. I am thankful for my son-in-laws because they put up with my daughters. Mike and Phil are also hard working young men who are excellent partners for Alison and Becca. They love them, share their lives with them, and work with them to make their lives good. I am thankful for my other daughter, Suzzette. She is a wonderful young woman. Also a good worker, strives to have a nice home, is very loving to me. And Brian, her husband is a talented carpenter. You should see the work he does for us!
I am thankful for still having my mom and dad. Many of my friends lost their parents years ago. I did lose one dad, but thankfully have the other. My parents are wonderful people. I have learned a lot from them over the years.
I am thankful for my wonderful brother Jon - no one could have a better brother. He's also a great father, son, brother-in-law and uncle. And his beautiful daughter, Gianna, is the best!
Most of all I am thankful for my terrific husband, Gerry. We have a lot of fun together. He likes to torment and tease me - it's one of the perks, he says - but I know there is a lot of love behind it. We have a nice life - who could want more?

Today I got to cook Thanksgiving dinner. Jon, Gianna, Mom, Bex, Phil, Suzzette, Brian and our three tenents will be here for dinner. I rarely get a chance to cook for so many and it was fun, especially the baking part. I don't usually bake because Gerry and I would eat it and we would be huge! I can't believe that I have everything just about ready, organized and I can even sit and enjoy my company for a bit. I wish that Bex and Phil didn't have to leave tonight but she has to work tomorrow. And I really wish that Alison and Mike could be with us. Having the family spread apart like this stinks! I heard in Alison's voice on the phone last night that she wishes she were here too.

Time to make the green bean casserole. SO signing off for now!

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Busy, crazy, but still having fun

What a week it was. After a wonderful weekend in AZ with Alison and Michael, I returned to work to get stressed. Every week it's something different. This week we were told that our rooms are too full of "stuff." We are working on making the classrooms more suitable for "brain-centered learning" and so have to have plants on each table (done), water bottles for each student, which I fill at the end of each day (done), a lovely quiet area with lamp, photos of the kids and family (done), soft colors - no more reds, deep yellows and oranges, but use of earth tones (sort of done). New charts to be made - enlarged, colored and laminated; change some room set-ups; and now, revamp our lesson plans - NO WAY!!! My team does it their way, and still includes all necessary ingredients. I took all art supplies and blocks out of my room. Yes, we are a kindergarten, but who has time to indulge in that kind of "play." I know I am ranting and raving a little but I am constantly frustrated that I work with children who don't have the advantage of early childhood practices and so have no home experience with crayons, scissors, fingerpaints, clay, stories read to them, etc. They need to have the "old" kindergarten where children cut and paste all the time, paint on easels, get a chance to be creative, role play. That's why I was thrilled with Alison's Kidstown Playcenter, where children can role play. Of course, the children I have seen there are very different from my students. I am sure Alison's clientele have parents who talk to them and allow them to have various experiences in their lives.

So ANYWAY - we also have two new teachers on my team - one is subbing till June for Shawn, who was in a major motorcycle accident in Orlando. It will be quite some time before he is able to return to work, probably not till next year - we miss him so much. On a good note, Shawn was transported down to Hollywood, Fl and we will be able to start making short visits to him soon. Another teacher was let go and her replacement starts Monday. Not an easy task, taking over a classroom mid-year. But she seems very competent and I am sure she will be an asset to our team. We will all do our best to assist her.

With all this going on I have been staying at work most nights until 5 or 5:30 - so much for teacher's hours (leaving at 3).

Wednesday my little maltese Tiemann went to the dr. for dental work. His teeth were so horrible, and many were loose, so the dr. ended up taking out 27 out of his 34 teeth. Thank goodness they left in his canine teeth in front so his tongue stays in his mouth. Our friend/tenent Steve ADORES Tiemann and was so worried about him. He even sent his t-shirt in with T. so when he woke in the kennel he could smell something familiar. Gerry told Steve, however, that Tiemann is a non-smoked (everything Steve has smells of his cigarette smoking). Gerry spoke to the nurse later in the day and she said that T. was the most popular dog in S. Florida - Steve called a few times, Gerry once and me once. Steve ended up picking T. up after the procedure, bought and hand fed him soft chicken, and fretted over him like a mother hen. T. was pretty drugged but seemed ok when we saw him later that night, and the next morning he was himself. However, Gerry bought really soft dog food for him and T. couldn't eat it from his dish - guess his jaws hurt, so Gerry hand fed him. When I come back in my next life, I want to be one of my dogs!!

Wednesday night Gerry and I went to dinner and a show. We have a subscription to the Kravis Performing Arts Center. This week we saw The King and I with Sandy Duncan. It was great (although we both agreed that nothing is like the Yul Brenner/Debra Kerr team). We enjoyed it better than Oklahoma, seen last month. The K&I was more spectacle, engaging....I don't know, just more of what we enjoy.

This weekend we are in Tavernier Florida (right below Key Largo) with John and Melinda. We have a 2 bedroom/2 bath condo, and are here to attend the last NASCAR race of the season. They guys went to the Busch race today, a smaller race than tomorrow. Two races in a row are too boring for me. So Melinda and I will sit by the pool, do some talking, some reading, and for me - some knitting. Tonight we will all go to our favorite seafood buffet and Gerry and I will go to Holiday Isle for a little dancing, if the band is good.

Speaking of knitting. I was working hard on the Tunisian Knit sweater and doing fine, but suddenly my stitches look different...not bad, just different. Maybe I was knitting a little looser, I am not sure. I have ripped and redone it twice and still the same, so I ripped again. Later on I will try again. Meanwhile, I will work on completing the second sock to the first one I made.

Looking forward to this week. My brother Jon and niece Gianna come down Wed night for the holiday weekend. I always love to have them here. They will stay with Mom. My daughter Becca and son-in-law Phil come Wed night too, just till Thurs night. Bex wants to bake with me so Wed night we will make apple pie together. We have not had THanksgiving dinner together since 1998, and not with my brother and niece since 1994. Also joining us are mom, Suzzette and Brian, and Steve (Tiemann's buddy). I am looking forward to watching the parade with Becca too. Then Saturday night we will go to see the tree lighting in Delray. We have a 100 foot holiday tree in Old School Square, with festivities going on too.

Time to head to the pool where Melinda awaits. It's GREAT to live where you can sit by an outdoor pool in November!!!!

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Taking on the challenge

I took a deep breath and started to work on the sweater that I am making for the Southwest Trading Company, the distributer of some really neat yarns. I am working with Bamboo. It calls for Tunisian Knit, which is a variation on the afghan stitch, which I have not done in about 25 years. I followed the instructions to make two rows but it didn't look right so I held my breath and ripped back to the chain, then started again. The yarn was great...didn't fray, pull or make me crazy. Before I worked on it again I took out some acrylic yarn and worked up a piece, practicing the stitch. When I made two rows using the Bamboo it looked great. I know I will get more confidant and faster, but for now I am being super careful since I am making this for a COMPANY and they supplied the yarn (which is too pricey for me...I like good but not very costly yarn).

I had a really busy day today. Besides the usual reading and writing done in my classroom, we had visitors. I asked the Broward County Humane Society to come to our classrooms to show the kindergarten children how to behave around dogs. They came with TWO Rottweilers....Rocky and Tyson. The dogs were sweethearts. I combined my class with my co-worker's class...43 students in all. The kids were pretty good but some were so afraid. Only two showed extreme fear and after coaxing them, we didn't force them to go near the dog. I hate to see kids so afraid. I am a BIG dog lover.

Tomorrow my little maltese has to go to the dr. to have his teeth cleaned. Many of his teeth are only held in by plaque so with the cleaning he will lose a lot of them. Poor baby. He will have to gum his food to death. Our friend/tenent Steve loves Tiemann so much. He is going to pick T up from the dr at the end of the day and watch him when Gerry and I go to dinner and to see The King and I at the Kravis Center (we have a subscription). I treated last time so dear Gerry said that he is treating and I get to pick the restaurant. Not sure where I want to go....maybe Mark's at City Place in W. Palm Beach. I have a coupon so it makes sense to go there, and the food is really good, too.

Well, time for bed. Long, long day tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Home from Arizona

Had such a wonderful time with Alison and Michael. After spending the entire day Saturday at Kidstown (I just knitted or checked my e-mail. Poor Alison had to host a party for two little boys and their families) we went to a Turkish restaurant called Efee's. Alison and I sat on long cushions on the floor while Michael sat on a pretty stool. Our table consisted of a large silver tray. The food was so good. We started with warm pita bread and two dips - one was a yogurt dip. Then we shared a combination entree that had beef, lamb, chicken, chopped lamb and chopped chicken, with delicious rice and sort of a cabbage slaw. It was so enjoyable. After dinner we went back to the house and Alison taught me how to make a sock, using 4 double-pointed needles. I actually finished it on the flight home, and started a second sock.

Sunday morning we went to brunch at Mimi's Cafe. The french toast was excellent, and the portion so large that I shared with Alison. She then took me to JoAnn's Fabric Store, which is five times as large as the one here. I was able to get some more yarn for socks. Then it was off to the airport. The flights home were good. I arrived at midnight to find my "ride" waiting. It was great to be in AZ but even greater to be home. Until I had to wake up and go to work, that is!!

Tonight I started the sweater using Bamboo yarn. It is easy to work with but I had to rip and start over after the first 4 lines, until I got the hang of the stitch. It's called Tunisian Knit, and is similar to the afghan stitch. I practiced on regular yarn till I perfected it. Now I am off and.....walking!!! Don't want to hurry too much...might ruin it!

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Having a ball in Arizona

I am here in Chandler, AZ with my daughter Alison and son-in-law Michael. Got in late Wed night. Good flights, slept on the second all the way. I love being with Alison. I came out to help them move/unpack in their new home, but the deal fell through for the house so I kept the pans and flew here just because! Alison and I have been busy...spending time at her business Kidstown Playcenter, running errands, knitting. Alison has become an addicted knitter. It consumes every bit of her very limited free time. She would knit in the shower if she could find a way to turn plastic bags into yarn. Today we went to a yarn distributor. Alison was organizing her knitting group's holiday party, to be held there. We spent a lot of time there talking about yarns and patterns. I had no idea that yarn could be made from soy silk, from bamboo, and other "exotic" fibers. By the end of the visit, both Alison and I had volunteered to knit samples for the company. Alison's is a test piece, a poncho with a rhinestone zipper. Mine is a sample, a sweater that is made with an afghan hook with a crocheted border. Once the piece is done and sent back, we will then receive duplicate yarn, free, to make the item for ourselves. We both feel this will give us the chance to experience using new and different yarns and patterns.

We went to her Stitch and Bitch knitting group tonight. It was so nice. Women of all ages and backgrounds sitting around knitting various items, and being available to give help and advice to those who need it. I am making a sweater for my niece's daughter and was having trouble with the collar. The "expert's" tried to help figure out the pattern, which is a very old one. Well, we put our heads together and finally decided to do it as it seemed to be. I don't really think the collar will be perfect, but at least the sweater will finally get finished. Then I can put it away until I get buttonholes made for it. I will start on a sock tomorrow, using double pointed needles, with Alison guiding me. SHe said it's easy. Well, we'll see about that!

Friday, November 05, 2004

This is my first posting to my new blog. Alison, my daughter, has a fabulous blog. I don't expect mine to be nearly as good as hers, but I will have fun with it.

Life is great, just busy (what else is new?). For some reason, I am at work all the time. I stay most days until around 5 PM. Who would have thought that a kindergarten teacher would be so busy. I am either doing lesson plans, reorganizing the room, helping a team member, preparing for the next day. It's always something. Lucky for me my life is just as busy at home. Gerry and I like to go, go,go and do, do, do. This weekend my in-laws from my previous life are coming to spend the weekend. We really enjoy their company and look forward to seeing them. Next Wednesday I am flying to Arizona to spend a long weekend with Alison and Michael. Alison and I plan to get a lot of knitting time in. She is wonderful at it...I taught her to cast on, knit and purl, and she took off. She's buying yarns and making projects as if she had been knitting for years.

This is a trial post so I will end now and see if it "took." Bye for now.