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Jan. 23rd, 2008

me resting

Not knitting

I need to do something about my lack of creativity around journal entry titles. In the past two months, there are no fewer than six entries all (or mostly) about knitting. Fine, I'm in a place. But, really, I need to be more original about the titles.

In non-knitting news, I am going to go to bed early tonight. So that I can catch up on sleep that I somehow keep missing out on. Two more days of getting up at 6:30, and then my schedule changes! Promotion or no, changed job, or no, I will not be getting up at the crack of dawn until at least September. Except for some possible surfing days in the summer, and that's totally different and acceptable. Woo hoo!

Jan. 22nd, 2008

knitting, costumes, mermaid parade, body paint, sewing

Look what I made!

I did it! I finally took pictures of my forays into pattern modifying/writing. Complete with pictures and instructions. Forgive my ignorance of knitting notation; I'm still working on that. Right now, I'm focusing on the concrete; the abstract will come later. Look, look!

Feather and Fan Gauntlets

That's a close up so you can see the pretty pattern.

That's my left arm.

That's my right arm.

I tried to do some of both arms, but somehow the pictures kind of became all about my breasts, and that's not what I'm focusing on, here.

Cabled Fingerless Gloves

If you look closely, you can see where I lost count. But I think it looks okay, anyway.

Anyway, here are the instructions, if you feel like replicating them. They're hopefully clear, but since I wrote them for myself, they may not be. The feather and fan gauntlets were done on size 9 needles, with wool; 4-5 stitches/inch. The cabled fingerless gloves were done on size 11 needles with doubled yarn. I used a lovely washable Australian merino, the same stuff I've been using for all my niece's hats: it's not terribly expensive, it's washable, and it's really nice to knit with. For any pattern, I've discovered that doing a swatch is totally worth it. As is measuring myself, even if I think I know.

Anyway, have fun!Collapse )
me, party

Double Glouster with chives

is the secret. It's the secret to good cheese to serve at knitting nights. It's also the secret to kick-ass macaroni & cheese. I made some tonight. It's awesome. It's delicious. It's scrum-diddly-umptious. I am so pleased. Double Glouster with chives. Yet another thing I've learned while doing food processing at the Park Slope Food Co-op. (Note to the world: you are paying too much for spices. Way too much. Possibly orders of magnitude too much. Other important thing learned.)

I used to think the secret to amazing mac & cheese was mustard powder. That's the second secret. But Double Glouster with chives...mmmm. I made a pound of elbows, and lots of cheese sauce (from milk, eggs, butter, flour, powdered mustard, extra sharp white cheddar and the aforementioned Double Glouster) and threw it in my newly-working oven, and it turned out delicious. I didn't even have to chop onions, which are the third secret to tasty mac & cheese because the cheese already has chives in it. Hooray! Now I have lunch for the next two weeks! Which is really what things like macaroni & cheese and lasagna are for, when you're a single person. Or a not-so-single person whose partner is vegan. I stopped making them for a while, because it's kind of silly to make a single serving of lasagna, or mac & cheese. But if you make a whole batch, you can refrigerate it for a while, and even freeze it if you need to, and then you've got lunch! And, as I've discovered, it is way cheaper to make lunch and bring it than to go out for lunch.

So I'm feeling accomplished.

I'm also being pushed for a promotion at work. The blogging job hasn't written me back yet, but my director is dying to promote me to "Educational Director." That means I'd be in charge of curriculum and helping teachers plan and implement (what a resume word) lessons, and would probably get to choose some good workshops for folks. Love and Logic, here we come! It would look good on my resume, and most of the assistant teachers and teachers' aides come to me for advice/help/whatever already, so this would kind of just formalize it. However, I do have an obligation to my kids, and I like them, and I've got a pretty sweet schedule worked out (I start working 10-6 next week), so there are reasons not to do it. I think I've decided that if they're willing to pay me a lot of money, then I'll do it. If not, I won't. That'll make it easier to decide, I think.

In other "feeling accomplished" news, I had another great knitting night last night. At the first one, I learned how to cable and showed someone how to knit. Last night I finished a pair of fingerless gloves and taught someone how to cast on and bind off. It's been super fun. It's really good for me to have a designated time to knit, although I've been making time for it a lot lately. And I really like the idea of knitting as a public activity. There are things that are really hard to learn from books, and things that people don't necessarily think to put in books, and being part of a community that shares knowledge is actually really empowering and exciting. I'm very excited about regular craft/knitting nights. Particularly because I've discovered the secret of large needles and doubled yarn. badlysocialized was teasing me the other day, saying, "You're going to have to grow some extra arms, just to wear all the armies you're making." I, of course, have outsmarted him; I'm going to make armies for my friends. In fact, just a few hours after he said this, I got my first order from a college roommate, and also got the go-ahead to make hats for another college roommate's baby. (Aside: crazy that I have a college roommate with a baby. Only one, so far, but it's still crazy.) So between baby hats and friends and the ability to wear different armies on different days, I don't think I need any extra appendages yet. Which is good, as I don't want any, thanks. Because if I grew two extra arms, they'd probably knit, too, and then I'd end up with even more...you get the picture.
Tags: , ,

Jan. 19th, 2008

laughing, isles des saints


Again. Yes, I'm a little obsessed. I made my boy stripe-y gauntlets (but I call them armies), and they turned out well, even though I miscalculated the amount of time it would take to make them. (I had promised they'd be finished in time for his birthday party, and, in fact, spent the first half hour of the party finishing them.)

Then, I took that pattern, modified from a fingerless gloves pattern from Stitch Therapy, and added a modification on Feather and Fan that I figured out from a baby blanket pattern, and, Wow! Fantastic armies that are so cozy warm and cute! I'm so proud! Converting flat patterns to in the round patterns isn't too terribly hard, now that I've got the hang of it. And now I just need to learn proper knitting notation, so I can write down these gems.

I have also learned how to do basic cable stitch and am very proud of myself. My lovely friend showed me how at knitting night, I practiced a bit, and then whipped up a pattern for cabled fingerless gloves. I went a little crazy with the cabling, because I had this feeling of, Now that I can cable, I shall cable everything! Ha ha ha ha! (evil laugh). But I remembered that the secret is to use doubled yarn and big needles, so that they go fast. And fast they went: one is finished, and the other is begun. Not bad for three days' work. I've decided that as I get better at this, I'm going to post my patterns, so as to share the love. And also because I'm sure people will point out flaws in my notations and stuff, so I can fix it. Mostly, it's so I can remember things for next time, but I would be super pleased if anyone wanted to make something I made.

Hooray for Knitting for Anarchists. Really, I'm thinking about knitting in a whole new, creative, much more fun way. The next step is to do pictures. I think making those patterns will be like cross-stitch/needlepoint, which I'm really comfortable with, so I'm looking forward to it. I'm thinking of making a cozy for my brand new Ipod Nano, except it's so small, I don't know if a picture would fit. We'll have to see.

Jan. 16th, 2008


Bubble baths!

Huzzah! I'm going to take a bubble bath! With yummy bubble things from Lush! It's going to be so nice...

Dec. 13th, 2007

laughing, isles des saints

No knitting in freezing rain, thanks

So, tonight's knitting is canceled, as it is disgusting and possibly dangerous outside. Blech. Plus, Rosefox was kind enough to show me how to do polls, so I'm going to play with this. Double plus, this way folks have more than two nights' notice, which I realize was silly of me, but I was feeling impetuous. Please note that next Wednesday and Thursday are out, specifically, because my roommate is having her sister and her sister's boyfriend come stay, and their shit will be all over my living room.

I'm thinking every other week, as I'm into low commitment. I'm also open to the possibility of having rotating days, so that I can get to see a variety of lovely people. Anyway, if you don't mind, fill out the form sometime in the next few days, and I'll let you know what's been decided. Wow, there was some crazy passive voice right there, as though someone very high up would be deciding. No, I'm going to take responsibility for deciding, being as it's my house, and I have to be there to let you in.

Poll #1105688 Knitting at Laleña's!

So, what days are good for you, generally?


What days are good for you, specifically?

Monday, December 17
Tuesday, December 18
Wednesday, December **26**

Nov. 30th, 2007

laughing, isles des saints

knitting group

So, really, I have to say that checking mail today warmed the cockles of my heart; so many crafty people wanting to hang out with me! I have such lovely friends! Hooray! So, there's been a vote for Mondays, and a nay on Mondays and Tuesdays. Wednesdays are also good for me. I'm thinking bi-weekly, so there's no need to totally schedule around it, and it'll be all low-key and shit. And, of course, one need not knit to come 'round. Quilting's been mentioned, and just sitting and shooting the shit is also welcome. So, I'm putting this out there: Do Wednesdays or maybe Thursdays work for folks? I'm also sending queries 'round to my non-LJ friends, and will then tally results.

I'm really excited about this. I kind of want to start next week, but realize it's going to be crazy for me, as there's a big party next weekend that I'm committed to helping out with. So am aiming for the week after. Unless we choose Monday, as I have a Co-op shift. But it'll all work out, you'll see.


PS. I realize that Live Journal has this nifty voting thing, but I don't know how to work it, and currently don't have time, as I need to go buy groceries for dinner. But now I see exactly how awesome and useful it would be, and will, in the near future, teach myself how to use it.

Nov. 26th, 2007

knitting, costumes, mermaid parade, body paint, sewing

I like my job

It's still early. I haven't had a full week yet. I don't like the commute. But several times today, I caught myself being happy. At work. It's kind of crazy, but I like it. I don't know yet how long I want to stay there: the lack of a summer vacation might get to me. We'll see. But it is so good to be at work and catch myself thinking, "Hey, I'm having a good time. This is fun."

Quitting my job was scary and stressful. But it was such a good decision and I am so proud of myself. Forgive the self-congratulatory-ness, please; I know it's a little over the top. But, goddamn, I made a good choice. And in a time where one has been uncertain that one is able to make good choices, that's a really important thing.
Tags: ,
me resting

Reason #4357 to have a communal house

When you're grumpy and cranky and kind of want to lie on your bed crying, but you drag your ass downstairs for some comfort food in the form of leftovers because you're hungry and know that if you don't get your ass out of bed you will be even more miserable...

You come downstairs to find your wonderful roommate and another wonderful person making dinner, and they offer you some, and let you crash their dinner, and talk to you, and cheer you up, and offer good companionship and cheer.

So then you are able to have some perspective and like your life again and realize that things really are okay.

Clearly, it is time and more than time to form an intentional community. Really. Even if it's in a rented house. Gods, I hopewishhope my accidental roommates move out in May. Please, dear gods, let them move out. I want to live with my people.

Nov. 19th, 2007

laughing, isles des saints


That's right, I'm done with my shitty, emotionally abusive, stupid job. I quit last Wednesday. It was just as exhilarating and satisfying as I had hoped, although it was much messier than I had planned (but, thanks to some good friends, I was ready).

I took Tuesday off to go into my new job up in Harlem and set up my classroom a bit. (I had already put in for the day off, as I was supposed to go to an interview.) On Wednesday, I came in early to finish packing up, wiping my computer, and to print out my resignation letters (one to the parents, one to the principal, and one to egomaniac man, also known as the executive director, the one who told me I needed to think long and hard about if I wanted to stay.) My assistant was wonderful, as always. I printed out the letters, signed them, and sat my kids down to tell them the news.

That was hard; I almost cried. They were sweet, and asked good questions, and nobody burst into tears. They mostly acted as I had expected; it takes a while for things to sink into five-year-old brains, and I think they're probably understanding that I'm not coming back right about now.

So after I told them, and we had a discussion about it, the day went on as usual. I emailed the principal saying I needed to talk to her asap. Finally, as lunch was almost over, she came down, and I told her. She took it very well, and was very professional. She asked if I could finish out the week (in my letter, I said I'd be leaving after school Thursday), and I told her I couldn't. She asked me why, and I gave her some of the answers. I also told her what I had been told about thinking hard about if I wanted to stay, and how I had felt really threatened and uncomfortable, and that that was really the big reason why it had to happen now. She didn't try to talk me out of it, but she was friendly, and said I could come back and visit, and see my kids perform at the Winter Dinner and all. She asked if I had packed, and I said I had, and then that was mostly that. It was a little sad; she has this terrible trick of acting as though, if only I had told her my concerns, everything would have been all right. Clearly, not so, as I had told her all these things before, as had others, but it almost made me second-guess myself.

Good thing Mr. Boss Man is crazy, so all second-guessing ended abruptly. I emailed the Human Resources person, so that I could deal with paychecks and health insurance and all that. The HR person shares an office with Mr. Boss Man, but when I went up, he was on the phone. So I sat down to talk to her, and she was helpful, although she said, "You know you're supposed to give us like a month's notice." I said I knew, and that I would have, if it had seemed like an option (and I would have, except I knew that as soon as I resigned, I would have been fired, and then I would have been stuck with no income and no health insurance for some unspecified time, and I wasn't interested in letting them screw me over).

So then Mr. Boss Man comes over. He's clearly furious. He says, "You don't have to come in tomorrow. In fact, you're not invited to come in tomorrow." Which is kind of what I had expected, and what folks had warned me might happen. Then he asks how I'm getting my things home. I tell him I'm having a friend come pick me up and he says, "Then you need to go to your classroom and stay there until 4:20. Mr. Security Man is on his way, and he'll escort you downstairs. Don't make a scene."


WTF? I was a little surprised, not at being escorted to my classroom, since I had also been warned about that, but that, as I'm sitting quietly in an office, I'm being told to not make a scene. I wish I had asked what kind of scene he imagined I would make, as I'm sure it would have been entertaining, but I was a little dumbfounded. So I just said, very quietly, "I don't think I'm making a scene."

"Well, you've just handled this so unprofessionally...Telling the students, sending a letter home to the parents...I just don't...Just so unprofessional...Just don't..." and well, he couldn't finish. Really? I should just not show up one day, because that would be professional. However, seeing Mr. Boss Man basically apoplectic was pretty satisfying. And clued me in to the new meaning of "unprofessional": honest It used to mean, "not agreeing with me" but apparently its definition has been expanded. I was honest with the children about why I left; although I put it in kid-friendly language, I told them that I didn't want to be in meetings instead of teaching them, because what I love to do is teach kids. That is utterly true.

The letter to the parents was also honest, although I knew it would make the folks in charge lose their shit. Basically, my old school, like many charter schools, is founded on the idea that kids need "more instructional time." The school spends lots of time saying things like, "Your children receive x% more instructional time than children in public schools." Okay, fine. But when my students lose an hour of "instructional time" a day because their teacher is in meetings, then they're not getting that time. And that fact had not been communicated to parents. Nor was the fact that, although the school brags about having qualified teachers in every classroom, the qualified teacher in my room (me) had been asked to leave the classroom to go tutor an older child. These are things that are true. These are things that would make parents upset. These are things the administration would rather the parents not know. But, ultimately, these things are true, and the parents have a right to know how their children's day is being spent. And if the school says, "We believe your children will learn to read and write because our kindergarteners in the past have learned to read and write," it's important to mention that, in the past, kids had an extra hour a day to practice said skills. So I told these things to the parents of my kids, and drove my boss crazy.

So I go down to my classroom, escorted by security. My colleague from across the hall called out and asked me to come see what she had done, and I went, although I didn't really have permission. The security guard tailed me; I guess it seemed silly to say I couldn't go across the hall. So I explain that I've got a babysitter, and my colleague is speechless. Finally she gets out, "Are you kidding?!?" Nope. So she comes to sit with me while I finish packing up. I send out a quick email to the first grade teachers and a few others I want to keep in touch with:

Just so you know, today is my last day. I had planned for it to be tomorrow, but it's not. Here's my email and phone number so we can keep in touch.

In five minutes, the two first grade teachers whose opinions I most value come storming into my room. "What's going on?" they demand.

I tell them, point out the security guard, and let them know I'm not supposed to "make a scene." Their view is that I'm already leaving, why shouldn't I make a scene? It was actually really great; I respect both of them as teachers, and they were super supportive. Since I had been all hush-hush about leaving, I hadn't really gotten a chance to receive support from my colleagues, although the school counselor had said, "Good for you!" when I told her, which was nice. So then the other kindergarten teacher comes by, and they're all talking about what bullshit this whole thing is, and how they hope this is a wake-up call to the administration, and how they're not going to let "leadership" spread rumors about why I left: they'll make sure everyone knows it was my choice and I have another job, and it was actually the nicest send-off I could have hoped for. Really, by throwing me out, Mr. Boss Man made himself the asshole and me the victim, which I couldn't have done as well.

So they help me pack up, and at 4:20, they help me carry all my stuff downstairs, and wait with me for my ride. It was actually not nearly as bad as it could have been.


My assistant called me on Friday. Apparently, Mr. Boss Man came storming into the classroom Thursday morning, and began rifling through my kids' homework folders, looking for the letter I sent home. My assistant told me that she basically played dumb, and that he hung around for a while, becoming increasingly agitated, and demanding that she find a copy of this letter. "Don't you have any students whose parents don't go through their folders?" he asked.
"Not really," she replied. "We've talked a lot to them about how important it is that they look through their child's folder every night, because important letters go home."
"Don't you have any who don't care?"
My assistant told me she was a little surprised that he would say such a thing; clearly, we're working with parents to help them care and stay involved.

Finally, he left, and, eventually, a kid came in whose parent had left the letter in her bag. The principal swoops down upon it (don't they have a school to run, I wonder), and the cat's out of the bag. Which, of course, I knew it would be. Clearly, the parents had read the letter, and some had read it early enough to have called about it before I left; I certainly didn't tell Mr. Boss Man I'd sent a letter home.

The image of my boss rummaging through my kids' folders has brought me many smiles; it's definitely the most gratifying (in a mean way) part of this story.

The other nice part is that I've gotten very sweet emails from parents. They all wish me luck and say that, though they're sad I left (apparently I'm a big role model this year), they understand that sometimes politics get ugly.

I miss my kids; I had a good class. But I was so miserable, and angry, and generally outraged, that I wasn't the teacher I should have been.

The new job started today. It'll have problems and issues, and maybe some great things about it. Maybe I'll love it. Maybe it won't be for me. But it's absolutely the right choice for right now, and it got me out, which is its most important purpose. I'll reassess in a while. No matter what, as far as my old school is concerned, I'm glad I'm done.

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