Monday, December 1, 2014
and I always marvel that, no matter how many years pass (it's been fourteen years since I wrote my last final exam), it feels exactly the same... even from this side of the room :)
I hope they do well... they were a really fun bunch to teach, and it was a great way to get back into instructing. Now here's hoping that I get something next semester too!
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Tuesday, October 7, 2014
I love teaching intro science classes so damn much :)
Luckily we have a break for Thanksgiving week... I'm hoping to take some of it to organize, and some of it to start/finish/work on some sort of knitting or sewing. I have no idea what it'll be, or whether my chaotic house will preempt crafty time, but I'm hopeful...
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Sunday, August 31, 2014
I don't know how I can possibly say it's been insane, but it has. Between unpacking, purging extra things, visiting my family, keeping N. busy... it's been nuts. But, we've survived the summer, and are heading into September with a great deal of optimism (and crossed fingers).
N. starts school this week, and luckily for us, it's a block away from Hubby's building. Hubby spent last winter semester watching kids play out his window during lunch hour, and now N. will be on that same playground. It's convenient, to say the least, and everyone we've spoken to says the school is a good one.
The other nice thing is that it's a block away from my building ;)
I've managed to secure a lab instructor position, albeit just for one semester right now, teaching undergrad biology labs. 125 students, in five lab sections. I'm SO EXCITED, it's a little crazy :) I taught core bio courses during grad school, as well as serving as senior course admin and instructor when the usual senior instructor was on sabbatical. I love teaching labs, and I can't wait to get back at it.
So, it's been busy, it's going to be busy, but so far, so good!
Thursday, July 24, 2014
What an interesting experience, putting your things on a truck and hoping for the best. If I'm being honest, I can't say that everything made it - the manifest turned up two missing numbers (the items were all coded as they were put on the truck), but six extra boxes with no labels showed up, so either everything is here and four boxes didn't end up getting labelled before being loaded on the truck, or something has gone the way of the dodo.
Either way, I can sleep on my bed, shower in my clean and bright bathroom, cook in my kitchen, and watch TV when I have a little bit of time.
I'm finding myself needing to purge a lot of stuff, and it's not something I'm used to. In the past I had an unreasonable attachment to objects, and it turns out that I have more objects than can fit in our little two bedroom, main-floor-of-a-bungalow. I've already thrown out things that were broken or at the end of their useful lifespan, old ratty blankets that had no hope of rescue, dish towels that I loved but were turning into rags, plasticware from Ikea that looked to be about a million years old... and I've two large bins of things that are destined for either Kijiji or Salvation Army. I'm still not done, though; the crafting supplies are going to require a week of sorting and organizing on their own.
But this too shall pass... we're all happy and healthy (with the exception of some pretty nasty pterodactyl-sized-mosquito bites that are pretty angry), and we're TOGETHER.
The rest will fall into place.
Thursday, July 3, 2014
I thought I was going to have a huge problem with sending everything away.... but as the van rode down the street, I was surprisingly peaceful. As I was going through all the boxes again, relabeling and resealing and putting destination rooms on them, I had an epiphany (which I hope won't come back to bite me in the ass) - if any of those boxes went missing (which I hope they won't *knock wood*), I wouldn't be crushed... if any of the breakables got broken, I would be a little sad, but not devastated. After living apart from Hubby, and doing this thing called life, I realized that things are just things. They make up the solid, inanimate part of life that surrounds me, but if I lost any single one of them I would survive. If I lost them all, it would suck, but I could recover.
Unless it was the yarn.........
Wednesday, July 2, 2014
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Saturday, June 14, 2014
Thursday, May 29, 2014
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
I spent four months apart from Hubby, including the majority of N.'s first month at school. The end of the year meant he was home, applying for positions and working on papers, and then this contract for a sabbatical replacement came. I embraced wholeheartedly my role as stay at home mother while he went out west on a very short term contract, keeping N. happy and reassured that Daddy will be coming home. Nightly Skype, cards and letters, and sending his very special stuffed animals to keep Daddy company helped, but some days are more than tough.
N. would often ask when Daddy was coming, wanting a countdown... in an effort to distract, we came up with countless things to do together - we even worked together on his first sewing project, choosing fabric of his own to make a big stuffed pig that he called the "Daddy-Pig". When he missed Daddy he could hug Daddy-Pig, and many bedtime snuggles ended with a sad-faced boy squeezing that toy for all it was worth. Things got even harder for me as time went on, when N. stopped pestering every day for an answer to "When's Daddy coming home?", and seemed to accept our lot for the time being. Hubby also missed a host of family birthdays, including mine and N.'s, but we've done our best to keep our heads up and spirits high.
And, a reprieve of sorts has come through.
The person Hubby replaced this semester decided fairly last-minute that he wouldn't be returning. Which means for the time being, Hubby has a 14-month extension; proper job posting requires procedure and time, neither of which they had to nail things down for the 2014/15 year. It means more courses to teach, more committees to sit on, and more responsibilities. And hopefully a chance to prove beyond a doubt that he's a huge asset to the department and that he should stay permanently.
What does this mean for us?
Operation Bug-Out 2014.
So many good things. So many bad things. So. Many. Feels. GAH.
My goal in coming here was to keep N. in *one* school for the year, which we did. He's happy and thriving, but the play-date ethos around here is different. Aside from the occasional birthday party or school function, there's not much to do evenings and weekends; the boys in the neighborhood are older, and clique-ish, and N. doesn't seem to have any interest in breaking through. But, N.'s happy and well adjusted, loves visiting my brother and SIL, loves when his cousins come for the weekend, and doesn't seem to be wanting for anything, except Daddy.
This new contract means a full school year in a GREAT city, with Daddy to have breakfast waffles with, and to read bedtime stories with and help with homework. My aunt is two hours away, which is amazing - she moved out west 40 years ago, and we see her so seldom. My cousins are both in the area, and one has two little ones, a boy very close to N.'s age and a little girl two years younger. It's a chance to spend some time with them and get to know them better (my aunt is a kindred crafting spirit, but that's for another post).
I'm ready, I think; in terms of the move, it's just details at this point. Most of our things from last year are in storage, and 80% of the prep is just re-sealing boxes that we fished through for our base needs. A little bit of new clothing, books, and toys need to be organized, along with some fabric and yarn that found its way to me (of course), but the rest is there. We're not crossing the border, health coverage transfers seamlessly between provinces, and the move comes at the end of the school year rather than the middle. Easy-peasy.
It also means leaving behind the people we love for the next adventure. I don't think I'll ever be ready for that. The amazing blessing of having N. live with and truly get to know his family here for an extended time means it'll be orders of magnitude more difficult to leave. But, I'd much rather have the kind of family and friends that it hurts to leave behind. The year has been hard for me, leaving behind so many people in the US, and now I leave another chunk behind here.
I said to some friends that I had gained a great deal of sympathy for Voldemort in the past few years, with my soul split into pieces and scattered across miles. I also know that it's nearly impossible to gather every piece into one place and stick them back together again.... I'm looking forward to at least getting the nucleus back in the same space, and I'll figure the rest out...
Monday, April 14, 2014
Anyone who's paying attention knows that this winter has an attitude. Up here in Eastern Canada, it's obnoxious.
Snowstorm followed by ice pellets and freezing rain, followed by another blizzard. We'd been getting better, after a total of fifteen snow days... and this morning I took N. to the bus stop in freezing rain and spiky daggery ice pellet-y nastiness.
Don't get me wrong, I do love winter. I can't imagine living in a place without seasons. This year has been an extreme example of winter, though, and it's getting me down.
I think part of it comes from being car-free and so far away from hubby while going through it. Past winters like this meant curling up together after N. is in bed, with tea and knitting, working on papers. Long walks in the snow in pedestrian-friendly cities are replaced with days housebound here on the top of the hill, unable to explain to N. why the weather is too awful to go outside.
Our March break trip helped break up the monotony, but had its own issues... and life goes on long after the vacation ends.
But, no matter what George R. R. Martin might think, winter can't last forever, and April can't help but be cheerful. Easter is coming, along with my niece's first birthday. Then a week later, N. & I share a birthday weekend, and my SIL's is a few days after that. I also have reason to think things are looking up, because there's talk of Hubs being extended... the uncertainty still gives me anxiety, but it looks like things are going in the right direction.
Now if I can trade my snow shovel long term for needles (of any sort), I'll be fine.
Friday, March 21, 2014
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
A long post is coming but for now here's a little project... (RL - if you're reading, just walk on away) :)
Thursday, March 6, 2014
All is moving along in the nutter household. I finished a second knitted bunny for my younger niece's birthday next month, and will have an extra dress for each of them. Productivity comes in fits and starts, though; we've been battling sickness for a while and it's been an energy suck. Bad colds, flu like symptoms, and one bout of rotavirus for the kiddo resulting in a day off school have all made me just want to sleep for days.
As we head into March Break, I'm trying to decide whether to take kiddo on a small road trip. Our finances won't allow us to fly to see Hubby, but a morning's worth of a bus ride will bring us to my bestie from high school... and at about 15% of the cost, it's completely affordable right now. I'm still on the fence, but being without a car limits our options, and my friend has museum passes burning holes in her pockets, so it's very tempting. Not sure how I feel about a bus ride for hours without an iPad or a place to plug in the miniDVD player, but still... very tempting...
Monday, February 3, 2014
Now, I consider myself to be a fairly competent knitter, and I rarely have trouble following pattern instructions, but sometimes construction is so fiddly on things like this that I just give up. This time, I found myself back in that space where you just want to knit one more row, complete one more part, just sew up the back before dinner, etc. This project had mojo to spare, and I think it was the quality of the pattern writing. There are progress photos for every step that's even remotely unusual, and the written directions are detailed enough that you can get past the "trust the pattern and just go forward" to "I can see what's happening before it happens!" It was so enjoyable that I didn't notice my hands protesting at the tight gauge, or that I had dozens of ends to weave in ;)
I had an epiphany a few years ago when I became good friends with Stacey at FreshStitches. Until that point, I don't think I'd purchased a pattern pdf for anything, knit or crochet. I had a couple of books, but in my mind, they were worth purchasing because of the solid, substantial *thing* you get to hold in your hand, the extensive photography, and how pretty they looked on my bookshelf. I thought, why would I pay for a pattern downloaded off the internet? Isn't the internet free? (I know, I know, nothing's free ;) ) There's no additional effort on the designers' parts if I click download one more time. And oh, how wrong I was...
I was able to watch her process (I was fortunate enough to spend some time as a pattern tester for her, which I am so thankful for in my financial situation), and I learned what goes into producing a well-written, clearly laid out, and esthetically pleasing pattern. The hours that go into designs are real, and designers' time is worth fair compensation. Stacey's patterns allowed a novice crocheter like me to make gifts for friends and family that look polished and professional, and didn't take hours and hours. I could apply my time efficiently because she'd put in the time and energy to produce a great pattern. The same thing happened with Abby Glassenberg's sewing patterns - several of which I've tried in the last year... my limited budget goes to pattern purchasing, and I sew from stash and end up with lovely things like owls for my younger niece, or the most perfect soft fleece bunnies that are just begging to be given to newborns. And this week I've found same thing applies to these wonderful knitted bunnies. If I'm being honest, knitting is my first love, and it's so rewarding to be able to use my knitting skills to make something so precious.
I believe it's so important to support designers who give us products and patterns we love... I also know that when you find a pattern, free or otherwise, you often get what you pay for (the only exception to this is when some of my beloved designers release free patterns as part of yarn collections or promotions - a good designer won't sacrifice quality when releasing a freebie). So support your favourite designers if you can. It's an investment in the quality of your own creations, and in future patterns for things you'll love.
And since this already sounds so much like a paid advertisement, which it isn't... here gathered in a list are my favourite designers and the patterns that I love :)
FreshStitches has my favourite dinosaur for little boys, and owl for little girls (although you could make either for either ;)) and her new book Modern Baby Crochet is brilliant - the funky argyle afghan is to die for...
Abby Glassenberg at While She Naps has two patterns (1 and 2) for a total of eight soft fleece loveys, and the adorable owl and baby
Little Cotton Rabbits has the bunny girl, her extra dress wardrobe, and my next purchase may be the fox boy (assuming my little boy doesn't grow up too fast and would still appreciate one of these!)
Sunday, February 2, 2014
Saturday, February 1, 2014
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
This is the second pattern I've made of hers (the first has been used for at least four bunny loveys), and they are fantastic. I've been sewing for nearly thirty years, mostly self taught, and Abby's tips are great. Using a shorter stitch length to navigate curves? So logical, but I never thought of it :-) Her patterns are so well laid out that they're a joy to sew.
And just so I can sound like a total infomercial...
If I haven't said it before, Abby's patterns will give you great mileage. Makes me want to pressure friends and family to have babies so I can make gifts for everyone.
Can't wait til next month to visit my nieces!