Friday, August 20, 2010

A busy week

I haven't ever talked on this blog about my job. Well, for a while, that was because I didn't have one. I worked at Michaels (the craft store) until the beginning of July, then decided to leave, for various reasons that I won't get into.

After going for most of the summer fruitlessly searching for a job (and I tell you, it's frustrating that I can spend half an hour filling out a job application, and they can't take half a minute to call me about it. I only ever heard back from two places that I applied to.), earlier this week, I landed a position as an assistant teacher at a Montessori preschool. Unfortunately, it's not the school that's a three-minute walk from my house, but it's a short drive away. There's one lead teacher, a morning assistant who leaves after naptime, and I'll be there from lunch through after-care.

This week, we had three mini-days with the eight new children, three- and four-year-olds, with all three teachers there. The three of us have really been bonding as a team, as well as getting to know the routine and the children. The lead teacher, of course, has met all the children before, but the other assistant is also new, though she got hired about a week before I did. The two of us have also had some opportunities to meet the returning children, which culminated today in a picnic at the lead teacher's house for just the Kindergartners. The other assistant and I helped out, and got to know the four of them who were there (one was unable to make it, as his family is out of town for the weekend).

Monday is the first day with all the children, 17 total right now. That'll be a change, but at least all the returning ones know the routine, even if they'll have to be reminded a little at first.

I was hired the day before the first day that the new children came, so I've had to learn everything very quickly. Now that we've had some good mini-days of practice under our figurative belt, we're all feeling more confident. Not only that, it's been a lot of fun (if hard on my joints with all the sitting on the floor), and it's nice to have a job that I really enjoy going to.

Friday, August 13, 2010

July Yarncraft Recap

Again in July, I was able to do all six classes in the Harry Potter Knitting and Crochet House Cup. First up was DADA, where our assignment was to "create something which represents a way that you banish the Dementors of Depression and the Werewolf of Anger from your life". I made this very peaceful Mother Nature Goddess doll, which is covered in vines and flowers, to be calming.

In Herbology, we explored "the vining properties of plants, as represented by CABLES!" I had seen, in other classes, several of my fellow students making a tea wallet (a pouch in which to carry a few tea bags). I wanted to make one, but the only pattern on Ravelry was for a basketweave pattern. I decided to let cables be the inspiration for my tea wallet, and made this one for my mom. I then wrote up the patten and posted it for sale on Ravelry.

The next class that I completed was History of Magic, where we were supposed to make something to celebrate Harry Potter's birthday, either by creating something for a baby, or create something to celebrate Harry himself. I chose to highlight Harry's ability to love, which is something that sets him apart from Voldemort. I also honored Harry's mother with this, since her love protected him, and I made this I Love You dishcloth for my mother.

In Ancient Runes, we were assigned a letter, which had to be the first letter of the type of item, patten name, yarn name, or colorway name. I was assigned "E", and I chose to make a bag with the pattern name "Exchange Bag". The crochet is done, but I will probably end up lining it and sewing in a zipper.

For Charms, we practiced Wingardium Leviosa, the levitating spell. We had to make something light and airy. I knit a lace shawl, which I also submitted for Ravenclaw's July Bugspray contest, as lace is reminiscent of mosquito netting. This was the first time I'd done a shawl with a knitted-on edging that worked in perpendicular rows rather than just knitted on. I used the same yarn as the shawl that I made for Transfiguration in March, and I still have some of it left.

The sixth class was Potions, where we studied aconite, which is used to create the Draught of Peace, which "calms anxiety and soothes agitation, but that is only in its finished form. Creating the Draught is a process fraught with difficulties, as it is a remarkably difficult potion to stir correctly." We were to create something that was either calming, or beautiful but fiddly. Just last month, I started spinning on a drop spindle, so I used my first skein of handspun as my project. It ended up being approximately 26 yards of double-ply bulky-to-super bulky at 6ish wpi, exactly 50 grams.

August is the month in between the summer and fall terms, so there are no classes, although there are lots of other things going on, at least one of which I'm planning to participate in. Ravenclaw is having a summer reading program, where we make items that are inspired by books that we're reading. I want to write more patterns, so I've been searching for things to make that don't have a lot of patterns for them already. I've already read Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, but there are already a lot of Alice-themed patterns out there, so I'm not sure if I'm going to do anything with that. Next on my reading list is the Chronicles of Narnia (I got a nice collectible edition recently), so maybe I'll have more luck with that.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Here's another photo series, cleverly entitled, "Catnip".

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

In which Han decides that maybe life isn't so bad after all

Here's a series of photos which shows that Han isn't always hiding and running away from us, but is really a hedonist at heart:


Monday, August 9, 2010


As I alluded to earlier, in mid-June we moved into a new apartment. We had been living just out of town (near Elijah's parents, which was nice), but our new place is in town, close to Safeway, PetSmart, our vet, and lots of other places that are handy to have nearby. It also cuts Elijah's drive to work in half, at least.

Besides the location, we love the new place! It's bigger, and in a nice little area. It is an apartment, but townhome-style, so we have two floors (I love having two floors- stairs are nice to have for exercise that you don't even notice, and the cats love them), and the apartment complex has four buildings with four apartments each. We're lucky enough to have a unit on the end of a building, so we have only one direct neighbor. (After living in an apartment last summer with neighbors on all sides and sharing a hallway with everyone else on the floor, it's so much nicer to almost have our own building, with our own front and back doors.) The four buildings are in a square, with a nice little courtyard in the middle, easily accessible through our back door (while we have two dedicated parking spots in front of our front door).

It's a pet-friendly place, so there are always people taking their dogs outside, which the cats love to watch from the wide windowsill of the big window in the living room overlooking the courtyard. The boys, although they are getting better in many ways, still don't like to leave their comfort zone, so they don't like going outside (although sometimes I make them go outside on a leash and in a mesh cat tent, mean mommy that I am).

Leia, on the other hand, loooooves going outside, and will often dash out when I open the door to leave or return home. I take her outside often, and she's good about not straying too far and listening to me when I call her, so I usually don't bother to make her wear her harness and leash. And it turns out that she loves dogs! She's made friends with many of the neighbor dogs (at least, the ones that are good with cats). Our next-door-across-the-walk neighbor has three dogs, and their American Pitbull and Leia are best friends. They get excited when they see each other, and run right up for a greeting sniff. She's also friends with another neighbor's two dachshunds, one of which is bigger than she is, but the other is smaller. They're energetic and jump a little sometimes, but they're very sweet.

When I drag Leia back inside, one of her favorite places is on the couch. Our living room is so large that we have room for two loveseats and the tall cat tower. The small cat tower is upstairs in the computer room, where the cats like to hang out with us. The boys often curl up under my desk, while Leia prefers sitting in the window over the desks.

No pictures of the apartment itself, but I will leave you with these pictures of what can happen when you leave toilet paper on the roll in the bathroom:

"I didn't do it!"

"Am I in trouble?"