Monday, May 25, 2009

Jon Stewart does it again!

Living in the DC area, one gets inundated with national news. This week we were flooded with analysis of the Obama and Cheney national security speeches. Count on Jon Stewart to make the most astute analysis!

The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
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Is it June yet?

There's not a teacher in American who isn't asking that question! I've been feeling that way since February. I burned out earlier this year--probably because the current economic situation has vastly affected my job. Secondly, because the school system I work for is terribly misguided in many ways. That's another lengthy post for another day.

Now it is time to catch up! Hockey playoff season kept me busy--at least through the second round of playoffs when my beloved Washington Capitals were eliminated by the reviled Pittsburgh Penguins in game 7. I guess it just wasn't meant to be this year--but I would have preferred any team to the Pens. And now it looks like the Pens may win the Eastern Conference Championship which means I will actually have to cheer for the Western Conference in the Stanley Cup finals! That will be a first. DH says that you cheer for your conference. This is true unless my conference is being represented by the Pens! The DC area has some long lived rivalries. In football--it's Redskins vs. Cowboys. In baseball--it's the Orioles vs. Yankees. In hockey--it's the Caps vs. the Pens --with the Flyers being a close second! I will say that I was impressed with the class that the Caps fans showed in game 7 which was a home game. The final score was 6 - 2. All the other games had been close but this one was a total blowout. Still during the last minute of the game, the fans were on their feet cheering "Let's Go Caps!" They then gave their team a standing ovation at the end of the game. This is quite a contrast to the New York fan who threw trash on the ice when the Rangers lost a game. The Caps gave us a great ride this year! It can only get better!

I did very little knitting during the last few weeks. I have to finish my 2nd Musica mitt then I have a summer project that I hope to start:

I knew the minute I saw the cover of the newest Vogue Knitting magazine that I had to make that! I am also working on Sylvi which will be a very long term project --at least until I get to the back. All that seed stitch blows!

I also participated in a sewing swap! It was a pincushion swap where you were to make a pincushion and include some other goodies for your swapee! I chose to make a theme--gardening--specifically bees! I made these pincushions:

The beehive is made out of felted wool and the flower pincushion is made from a bottle cap and craft felt. The bee pins were done with a craft punch and shrink plastic. I also made a little bee bag:
This was adapted from a pattern in the book Omiyage. The original design was a cicada so I made a few changes! I also made some bee stitch markers and included some wildflower seeds and other goodies! I also received a lovely package from my swap partner:

I love the pincushion she made! It has a center compartment with all the little necessities--seam ripper, scissors, needles, and measuring tape. I decided to keep it on the end table in the family room which is where I do most of my mending.

I've been planning some summer sewing projects. I have a great piece of vintage fabric that I unearthed at my Mom's house when I was cleaning it out:

The fabric screams to be made into a 50's style halter dress. I had a pattern like that but decided that I wanted something I could wear to school. I will make the bottom right view but I will change the skirt. The pattern has a pleated skirt which doesn't work with this fabric in my opinion. I will do gathers and probably make it a little fuller. I will also fully line the dress.

The next project is another dress:

I will be making the bottom right view. The dress will be made with the black fabric. The little modesty panel and the skirt lining will be in the gingham.

The last dress I have planned is this:

I love this pattern and I have a similar vintage dress which doesn't fit. I fell in love with the Beatles fabric! I will probably add black piping to the bodice seams to bring out the details.

I need to get out in the garden. I've done nothing in that department. I hope to put some flowers in my front urns and get the hanging planters and deck planters done in the next week or so. My spring concert is this week so that will be keeping me extra busy!

That's about it for now!

Kitty Cam: This one is from Ems--Chelsea sits still long enough for a picture:

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Bad Blogger!

I've been really bad! Funny how life just gets in the way sometimes. The last time I wrote anything was the day before my birthday! As I mentioned in that post, DH took me to a Caps game the weekend before for my birthday. On my real birthday we went to Timbuktu's for some famous Maryland Crab Cakes. He also gave me these:

Believe it or not, this was all I really wanted for my birthday! I mean, what do I need? For some reason, lately I've become really sensitive to onions, which I happen to cook with a lot! I only buy Vidalia onions, which in the past never bothered me. Now, my eyes burn and water and I end up looking like a raccoon with eye make up smudged all over my face. These suckers really work!

Friday of spring break, my friend Cat and I went to Annapolis where we walked around and browsed in all the neat little shops. We ate lunch at the 1747 Tavern on Church Circle. It is a tea room and it is quite lovely.

Easter weekend we ended up visiting the kids in the Burgh. Saturday evening we checked into the hotel then headed off to the Sharp Edge Creekhouse for dinner. Bird was working the bar and he waited on us. Unfortunately, we were missing the Caps game and we had to watch the Pens instead, relying on the updates during the intermissions. After dinner, we headed off to Sonny'swhere Ems was bar tending. She now has the Saturday night bar tending shift there. Sunday morning we went to mass at the Duquesne University Chapel with the kids and Joan. We met up at Bird's house where I was able to at least get a shot of Ems and Joan:

Note the college boy decor on the mantel! We then went to the Double Wide Grill in the Southside, one of our favorite places, for brunch. We headed home after spending a little more time with the kids.

Tuesday it was back to the old grind. I am totally burnt out this school year. The burnout comes earlier and earlier these days. There is so much pressure to improve test scores that nothing else matters. Kids are not getting a well rounded education anymore and when you teach poor kids, with limited life experiences to begin with, you really deprive them of some of the most valuable learning experiences. With the current economy, we have given up raises for next school year and we have been given a lot more work to do in the same amount of time. I've decided that I am going to more or less work to the rule next year. This means that I'm not staying late anymore. I will bring some things home, but I'm not working hours and hours of unpaid overtime. It galls me that that teachers are actually expected to do that.

Things are getting interesting around here. DH was laid off last week which is a major bummer. He will get 4 weeks of pay after which, we will find ourselves exhausting our savings. I'm just hoping that we won't have to go into our retirement accounts which have already lost about 40%. Needless to say, I didn't attend MD Sheep and Wool Festival this year!'

The high point for us has been the Caps! Not only are they in the playoffs, but they are now in Round 2! It is ironic that they are playing the Pens in round 2. They've never beat the Pens in any playoff round. Game 1 was yesterday and the Caps won! This series is really being hyped up. If you are a hockey fan, then you've read about the Ovechkin vs. Crosby rivalry. To that, I say this:

Kitty Cam: Mikey is on the Caps bandwagon!