Wednesday, May 27, 2009


I know what it means when you find one of these:

But what does it mean when you find one of these:
That's a five leaf clover. FIVE. I found it and two four leaf clovers Sunday morning while taking down the tent at my parents. Here are all three in Bear's shirt pocket:

It was a great weekend. A perfect weekend. Bear's good at making those possible. it's one of the reasons I'm so lucky to have him. As in, five leaf clover lucky.

Friday, May 22, 2009

A Fragmented Friday - with Pictures!

It's Friday, and I'm pissed at my students right now (NOT ONE OF THEM did their homework from last class. not ONE. Damnit!) so I'm blogging instead. Since I didn't plan on blogging today and don't have a post in mind, I thought I'd share some recent pics off of my camera with you.

First, I don't know if you know this about me, but I love, love, love being a contradiction. A straight A student with a tattoo and tongue ring. A teacher who listens to rock and drives fast. A woman who owns a pickup truck. You know... contradictory stuff. That's why when I went running on Wednesday, I wore this shirt:Last year I participated in Gift of Green's Clothesline Challenge. It's a simple challenge, really - dry as much of your laundry outside as you can. I have an enormous clothes line - it comfortably holds about eight loads of laundry. It's empty this morning after bringing in the three loads that were on it, but you can see that it's heavy duty:
You can park a pickup underneath that thing. There are eight lines strung with room for three more if I need them. It's made of awesome. Click to embiggen the picture.

Unfortunately, all that clothes hanging has done a number on my clothespin bag. Look at how sad it is:I really ought to make a new one. I will have to look at my fabric stash and see what I can come up with. This one is ripped, is hanging on by just one side, has a rusty hook... it's hurt.

This time of year is one of the best times to ride the road I do to work each day, as the moose are out in full force. I saw eight in one morning! I see at least a couple of moose each day. I try to take pictures of them if no one's behind me (and there rarely is), but moose are notoriously camera shy:I love seeing the moose each spring, seeing how many of them came through the winter okay, who has new babies and who has gotten bigger. This morning, I saw my first dead moose on the roadside. She made it through the winter, only to be hit and killed by a truck this spring. It's awful. I am consoled a bit by the knowledge that the moose's carcass will feed the pack of coyotes that crossed the road just North of her. I try to remind myself that although humans definitely interfere with nature even on my road, at least nature is making the best of it.

Finally, I spent some time on Tuesday working in my three raised bed gardens. So far I've planted tomato, green pepper, lettuce, and strawberries (I only took a pic of the lettuce):
The chives come up each year on their own, but this is the first year I'll have chive flowers: Last fall I transplanted some tulips I found forgotten in a back corner of the house to my front flower bed with my crocus bulbs, and they made it through the winter and bloomed nicely:

Have a great weekend, everyone. I know I will!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Bear-y Loved

That's a terrible pun (for which I apologize), but I just wanted to share with you the wonderful thing Bear has planned for us Saturday.

Let me back up. Bear and I have been married almost two years and been together three and a half years, and in that time I have come to realize just how lucky I am to have Bear in my life. You see, we don't have a lot of the issues other couples do. We genuinely like each other, for one. We never belittle each other to friends or call each other names. We rarely fight, and if we do it is focused on a behavior, not a personality trait. We have similar views on many things including the importance of working each day and of paying off our debt. Often we think the same thing at the same time (at least every other day one of us says, "I was just thinking that!"). There is a solid foundation of support for each other - he supports my love of fiber, and I encourage him to continue his education. We don't fight about the things other couples fight about, because we don't upset each other. We both understand and value alone time, and there is no jealousy or clingy-ness to our love.

In short, we're great together.

When I first met Bear, I didn't think I wanted to date him. He wasn't my type, for one, and I'd just gotten out of a relationship, for two. But Bear was so sure he wanted me - he never pushed or pressured, but he made me understand that he wanted to be with me and he would do whatever it took to make me feel the same way. He convinced me to fall in love with him, and I've never regretted it.

I think it's that need to convince me that makes him continue to work so hard at making me happy. If I've had a bad day at work, he cuddles me on the couch, and if I'm feeling fat he encourages me to go for a run (even when I whine about it).

Saturday, he's taking me on a picnic.

I have been wishing lately that I could take him up my road to work as the moose are out and I know he loves seeing them as much as I do. When I learned I didn't have to work on Saturday, I considered asking him to take a drive with me in the morning. I should have known better, because I didn't even have to ask. on Monday, Bear asked me if I'd like to leave early Saturday morning and go for a drive in the North Maine Woods to look for moose. "We'll pack a picinic," he said, "with turkey sandwiches and brownies for dessert. We'll drive up the Golden Road and look at all the moose. We'll stop at Dunkin Donuts and get a hot breakfast and coffee. It'll be just you and me, all day, with no hurrying. What do you think?"

What do I think?

I think that sounds perfect.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Inservice Day

Today is a half-day teacher inservice day. I am supposed to be working on my curriculum development. However, since my curriculum is in pretty good shape, I'll be cleaning up the mess that I call my classroom. Normally I wouldn't care about the mess factor of my room until that last week of school, the week when the students refuse to do work and I'm too exhausted to make them, but this week has brought some changes that are causing me re-evaluate my previously apathetic stance.

I'm applying for a new job. Two, actually.

It's not that I'm resigning from this teaching job, because I'm not. But remember this post? I've come to realize that no one here (at least in the administration capacity) is going to bat for me if someone decides that she wants my job. For now it appears that I will be here next year, but I just can't trust that. There are two good teaching positions open in other districts and I have decided that it's a good idea to apply for them. Just in case the ground falls out from under me as it has done twice now already. So I'm going to apply for these two jobs and hope that I get an interview. If I get an interview, I might get an offer. If I get an offer, I can decide if the devil I know is better or worse than the devil I don't.

Here's a comparison of the teaching jobs:

Current Job
1/2 time teacher, 1/2 ed tech
pay decreases during vacation/summer
Sneaky superintendent of Doom
Drive my road each day
Stay in Brownville JCT
Bear close to adult office
Less money/year
Keep second job
Lots of teaching freedom
Tenure (for what it's worth)

New Job(s)
Full time teacher
Pay is same year-round
Superintendent of undetermined Doominess
Different commute (one of them would be longer)
Move this fall (to shorten commute)
Bear close to future Alma Mater
More money/year
Quit second job
Undetermined teaching freedom
Two more years until tenure

Feel free to weigh in on what you think I should do. I've got collect a few more materials before I can send off my applications, including getting a letter of recommendation from the senior English teacher here. The woman is intimidating like nobody's business and scares the crap out of me. I've been trying to screw up the courage to ask her all week. I have to do it today so I can get things mailed out next week some time. These two positions will get a lot of applicants, so I need to have my application in the pile before they start scheduling interviews.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The List

My list is finished. I hope to have it posted on the sidebar to my blog (I may have to fiddle with things to get it there) as well as a countdown. If I begin today, my ending date is February 8, 2012. Feel free to comment on what you think of it. I broke the list into several categories: Relationships, Bear and I, Craft Related, Personal and Professional/Educational. That should help me keep things separate. Also, a few of my items have a 0/# at the end of them - that is how many times out of the total I've completed. I'd like to figure out how to put a strike through over the text of a number as I complete it, but I haven't yet learned how to make that happen. I will. I know this list is incredibly long (you don't have to read it all - I won't be offended), but for those of you who are making lists of your own (like Cheryl) I hope you find some inspiration.

1. Create tradition of weekly correspondence w/ Caitlin, Amy Jean, Alicia, Tara, Daddy and Leigh Anne 0/6
2. Have a summer gathering/cookout
3. Send ten people unexpected gifts 0/10
4. Take friends’ children to water park/animal park/museum/shopping 0/6
5. Improve Zedd’s skin and coat 0/2
6. Snuggle Zedd for fifteen minutes at least once a week 0/143
7. Send Christmas cards to everyone
8. Call friends/family on their birthdays
9. Host a Christmas party
Bear and I
10. Streamline camping gear
11. Help Bear enroll in college
12. Turn wedding vows into art and hang in house
13. Get new copy of marriage certificate and hang in house
14. Buy Bear woodworking tools
15. Move out of Brownville Junction
16. Buy land
17. Build home
18. Take an overnight train ride
19. Write our wills, living wills, and burial wishes
20. Shoot .308 until I’m comfortable with it
21. Hike Gulf Hagas, Pleasant River Walk, a new Bar Harbor trail
22. Teach Bear to ride a bike
23. Get a new digital camera
24. Pay off Capital One loan
25. Watch the stars with Bear
26. Go on a picnic
27. Get married on a tropical sandy beach (the way we wanted to do it originally)
28. Take a ballroom or Latin dancing class
29. Get insurance on house
30. Put up a real Christmas tree
31. Pay off Orchard Bank Mastercard
32. Donate toys for Toys for Tots
33. Get Bear a tattoo
34. Run 5 miles at one time
35. Run three times a week each of summer vacation 0/30
36. Take voice/piano/violin/flute lessons
37. Purge wardrobe of old clothes and donate them
38. Make homemade ice cream
39. Research and have electrolysis on stomach
40. Double regular dinner menu
41. Learn to make five vegetarian meals 0/5
42. Learn to make blueberry wine
43. Get passport
44. Visit a foreign country
45. Get a new tattoo
46. Get rings sized
47. Go SCUBA diving
48. Pay off University debt
49. Hold a contest on both blogs
50. Send a secret to PostSecret
51. Find and use farmer’s market each summer for produce
52. Figure out spleen pain issue
53. Go back to chiropractor each summer 0/3
54. Do ten pushups every day for a month
55. Take an eight week (or longer)yoga class
56. update and complete my address book
57. Get camera repaired/cleaned
58. Locate & organize all big ticket receipts/manuals in file cabinet
59. Locate & organize all pet medical records
60. Adopt a dog
61. Act on a good idea before I can talk myself out of it
62. Compete in five 5k races
63. Grow catnip and sunflowers 0/2
64. Read ten classical literature texts 0/10
65. Grow sufficient produce to impact our grocery bill
66. Overcome fear of basement
67. Put out birdseed in winter and hummingbird food in summer
68. Make and send Plurk friendship packages
Craft Related
69. Knit/sew family cats catnip toys 0/9
70. Make a circular needle storage case
71. Buy knitting needles to create complete sets of dpn & circulars (0-11)
72. Learn to use a sewing pattern correctly
73. Make cat beds for Humane Society
74. Make and use reusable grocery bags 0/6
75. Design and knit a pair of socks
76. Publish sock pattern to Ravelry
77. Knit Icarus shawl for Grammie
78. Knit five things for charity 0/5
79. Finished Cabled Pullover with Hood
80. Learn to dye fiber
81. Organize knit-along for Knit Group
82. Sell hand-dyed/handspun
83. Buy spinning wheel
84. Finish spinning/plying WIP fibers 0/6
85. Knit Caitlin an Elephante
86. Knit Thomas a giraffe
87. Pay it forward
88. Complete all sewing repair projects (including pants buttons)
89. Finish first draft of novel
90. Find a full-time teaching job
91. Do required things for Incomplete grad class
92. Quit second job
93. Attend another Maine Writing Project conference
94. Find and teach an excellent piece of world literature
95. Get a short story/personal essay published
96. Obtain Master’s Degree in Literacy Education
97. Get a new copy of degree; throw water-stained one away
98. Create a display of diploma, degree, and tassels
99. Write and publish a professional article
100. Finish aligning curriculum
101. Post a poem a day during poetry unit next year

Friday, May 08, 2009

101 Update

At the urgings of all of my bloggy friends, I have decided to create a list of 101 things to do in 1,001 days. I'm currently in the process of creating the list now. At the current time I have twenty-four items on my list. It may take me quite some time to come up with the complete list, and I'm not going to post it until I have the entire thing.
What I would like are some suggestions. What should I be doing for the next three years? Big, small - all ideas are welcome. Some of the things I'm thinking about are personal, others professional, still others financial. I've decided to put in things that are for both Bear and I to accomplish; we're a team, so if I do part of it, he'll help with the other part. He's good like that.

So let's here it - what should I be doing?

Friday, May 01, 2009

101 in 1001

This morning I was reading blogs, which I do while I wait for my school day to begin, when I saw something in a sidebar caught my attention. I'd seen it before (it's been on this blog since I started reading it), but for some reason today it called out to me to be examined further. The blogger is a knitter/podcaster/artist/fantastico named Miss Violet and the something was a list called "101 in 1,001." I clicked on it and discovered that it was a list of 101 things Miss Violet hopes to accomplish in 1,001 days. Many of the things had already been completed and crossed off the list, some are partially done, and others have yet to be touched. You can see her list here.

Ms. V's list has some really important things on it. Things like writing her will. And spinning all of her fiber stash. And writing thank you notes instead of thank you emails.
About her list she says:
"... after 101 things, my life will be better, my health will be better, and my relationships should be better."
Who doesn't want all of those things? I certainly do. And I know there are things that I should be doing that I don't, because they aren't easy or because I forget or because I'd rather be plurking with my friends or reading a good book. So I'm thinking more and more about creating my own 101 in 1,001 list. I wonder, though, if I should do one for just me, or if Bear and I should create one together? There are things I want us to accomplish together (moving, writing our wills), and there are things I want to do on my own (run 5 miles, write my grandmother a letter, learn to play the violin). I don't know if we can create a list of 101 things that are for the both of us, but I don't want to list communal tasks as "mine," because I will feel responsible for them. And I can't be the only one responsible for moving or writing a will or fixing the ball bearing in the truck.

Of course I haven't discussed this with Bear yet. I don't even know if it is something he would want to do. The list is a public thing (at least, mine will be); seeing it every day is the only way I will get the items on it accomplished. I'm asking you, dear reader, to weigh in. Go to Miss Violet's website, and look at her list. Look at the home page for 101 in 1,001. Tell me what you think. Is a list that big even doable? What sorts of things should I put on it? Should I add "our" things to "my" things? Is this a bad idea in general? A good idea? Sometimes when I get an idea, I can't look at it from other angles. I just fixate on a single thought (right now that thought is "this looks like a great idea and I want to be a better person, a healthier person, a more complete person. This list might be my ticket there").

So? What about it?