Thursday 29 October 2009

Delinquent blogger

If I had me in my iGoogle blog feed, I would have moved me into the right-hand delinquent bloggers column by now, for non-posting. You see? I drop the whole Tuesday Ten/Fave Friday crutches and go dead silent. I think I should pick these up again.

Truthfully, since visiting Sib Hand last week in his new Shepherds Bush pied a terre, I have been shamed into keeping my computer switched off most of the time, which is very green but it takes so long to boot I find I can't be bothered putting it on; and blogging just doesn't feel right from Mr Z's SuperMacBook. Even now, I am blogging from his computer (and in the dark) and I can tell, yknow, this post won't be long. I just don't feel right about it.

Mr Z has been pricing up new PCs for me. I think the time has come to finally part with the dinosaur, especially since I fear it is not long for this world when you consider how much dust there is everywhere else in the study - I figure a large portion must also be inside the PC.

I have had a very lazy and enjoyable half term. I have been having an afternoon nap if I fancy one, and I have watched a LOT of TV which perhaps I didn't need to see, but which provided excellent background to the knitting I've been doing. Finishing October hasn't been a complete success...I mean, I haven't begun anything new, but I haven't actually finished anything except the tea cosy. However, the grey cardigan is in its final stages and the lace scarf is only 5 repeats away from the border.

I confidently predict that if I do no work and all knitting between now and Monday, I will
a) have at least one weekend FO to show
b) have a minor nervous breakdown when I get back to work
c) have a stinking first week back because I'm trying to do all my holiday work and teach a full timetable at the same time

Hmm. It somehow does not seem worth it.

Perhaps I will clear my desk and do a little work now. Just a little. The untidy desk is quite offputting, so just tidying it might help me tomorrow. And Saturday is Fibre Group day, and we're going to do batik, so I will have all day to work on projects then.

I had the weirdest dream last night. I dreamt it was December, and we were away on the KS4 enrichment weekend I ran last year, and it was 12.45pm on the Saturday, and activities were due to start at 1pm. And then I realised - I hadn't planned anything. Nothing was done! The kids had paid their money for the weekend and we had nothing - no resources, no activities, no games or anything. I was running around in a panic and the other teachers were trying to tell me it would be OK. And then, in my dream, I became all relaxed, and I turned to Nic (who is a science teacher) and said, "Nic, it's OK! I don't know why I'm so worried - this is just a dream! I'm dreaming this - of course I would never run an event without preparing it!" and she was all like, "Oh that's great, thank goodness!"


I've added planning for that weekend to my to-do list.

Friday 16 October 2009

What, that was a whole week that went by then?

So, what happened then, time?

I thought you and me had a deal. I thought we agreed you were going to pass at the regimented, usual speed. We had this discussion, didn't we, where I told you, "Hey time, I totally hate it when I wish my life away and I realise a week has gone by without me noticing," and I think I remember you saying, "OK Sal, point taken, I'll stop messing with you."

And then you do THIS.

How can it be Friday already? I mean, what were you thinking?

There now follows a whinge about my job. I try not to be too specific in my job-related whinging, but this, I feel, bears dwelling on momentarily.

Today, I pulled all year 11 gifted students out for a day of study skills - revision and memory techniques, aimed at helping them get better results at GCSE. It was costly, but worth it. I calendared it. I cleared it with SLT. I put it in the staff bulletin a month ago asking anybody to see me if it was an issue (nobody did). I put it in the bulletin last week. I announced it in briefing yesterday. And then the head of English came and told me he wouldn't be releasing students from his subject - to which, I replied, he most definitely would.

And then after lunch, the second in English came and said the same thing, shaking his finger at me and telling me it must never happen again - and when I told him they would definitely not be in his lesson, he actually PUT HIS HAND UP IN MY FACE AND WALKED AWAY.

This, I think, would not have happened had I been older/more experienced/longer standing in the school/a man (possibly). And it's the second time the head of English has done this. And, since we're dwelling on this, let's also point out that they are both men of size - both far greater in height than me. And they both said, when I pointed out my announcements in the bulletin, "Oh, I don't read that," as though that's MY fault.

Srsly. I was so angry I wanted to be throwing things around. The fury lasted until 7pm. The fury caused me to cry in my classroom for 10 minutes before school started (this, I assure you, was pure white anger, which always makes me cry). The fury led me to gently and woebegonely talk to every member of SLT I could find, until at the end of the day, the Head told me, "Don't worry about that little problem with J - I'll sort it out."

Were there any stuents missing from today's course? Why no, I believe there were not.

Sal: 1. People who don't read their bulletin: 0.

(I sort of have to gloat here. I try quite hard to be professional and not gloat at work, and that extends to not updating my Facebook status to the above, which I am ITCHING to do, because I have a lot of colleagues friending on Facebook.)

Luckily, the best thing about my job came into its own yesterday - the kids. Every class lifted me higher, with a rousing finale from my year 7s, who got so excited about their half term homework project that they actually jumped up and down, and I had to spend 15 minutes answering their questions about it. And my year 12s and I enjoyed discovering that one of Mussolini's hardest squadres named themselves "Cherry Brandy" after their favourite drink, and they totally get what we did yesterday which is amazing. And year 8 nailed Holbein. YEY.

Oh, and totday's session was superfun. Really funny presenter, made the whole day a laugh from start to finish, and lots of good sciencey learning things about neurons. Did you know, the brain can remember a quadrillion things? Q quadrillion is so many that it would take 300 million years to count that high. Or 30 million. I don't know - I wrote it down somewhere.

Fave Friday will return....but probably not next Friday, since I'll be in the Smoke with Kerrie Marie and Stu, old friends who used to feature prominently in my blog before I went West. And after next Friday....well, I should probably start thinking about blog celebrations, because the Friday after, will be my blog's 10th birthday.

Thursday 15 October 2009

A Horror Story

Well...this is supposed to be Bunnyland. What on earth is this all about?!

Friday 9 October 2009

Fave Friday

Five Favourite Songs of the Moment

1. Billy Joel - Vienna. I think I like it so much partly because of the story that goes with it.

2. Calvin Harris - Ready for the Weekend. Very bouncy, and mentions shoes. I'd also like to be one of those happy posing girls in the video. I can totally flcik my hair just as good as they can.

3. Elton John - Tiny Dancer. I finally watched Almost Famous a couple of weeks ago and it made me go and find the song and listen to it, since I'd only heard the recent remix. I like to go, "Uh, yeah!" at random points to it and then snigger to myself about how I'm being Ironik, in more ways than one. It's probably only a joke that would make me laugh.

4. Empire of the Sun - Walking on a Dream. Just very chilled and relaxie.

5. Beyonce - Single Ladies. In large part because hearing it makes me remember one of my favourite Big Brother clips ever (another thing which is probably only amusing to a select few, but David really goes for it). There's also this funny SNL/Justin Timberlake effort. I think if Mizzy T ever does another school concert, she'll be doing this song.

Car's Henry again. The clutch is going. That damn garage! They jinx me every time! Last time I took it in was February when they said the suspension would need doing next service - and it went a week later. This week they told me my clutch was starting to smell a bit and might be on its way out. TWO FRIGGIN' DAYS later and it's bunny hopping through first and second. I just had an extremely tense drive home, over-revving and sticking to third gear + as much as possible, and think I've discovered what all that lovely remark money (which was supposed to be for sparkly kitchen tiles, a new coat and other fripperies) is going to be spent on.

Le sigh.

Oh well, c'est la vie. I always said I would keep Henry for six years and then trade him in, and it's six years this month, so I only have myself to blame.

....although, since writing the above, Mr Z has come home and declared it to be a problem with the exhaust. Since that sounds cheaper than a new clutch, I am hoping he is right - and it could be explained by that funny noise I heard on the way home Wednesday night, which I thought was a stick being thrown up by the wheel and striking the underside of the car.

Oh, the drama! I know, I know, you must be on tenterhooks....I'll keep you posted, don't worry.

Thursday 8 October 2009


When I made October finishing month, I forgot I had a piece of Geology homework to do, which I intended to knit. So yesterday I spent the evening knitting a couple of igneous rock formations. Since this was a fairly unique case, I am going to let myself off - just this once.

Here are the rocks -

The brief was to "model" the formation of igneous rocks. Intrusive igneous rocks form underground in hot conditions and have large crystals, because they can grow quite big before the rock cools and sets. Extrusive igneous rocks have fine crystals, because they cool over ground in cooler conditions. Here is my finished model -

...except I have just realised it is wrong, because I wrote coarse-GRAINED instead of crystals, and that is a term usually applied to sedimentary rocks. Hopefully I will have time to fix it before I have to turn it in tomorrow.

Evidently this modelling gig is something they set fairly often in Science because the kids had no trouble working out what to do and I heard of some outlandish ideas. I hear we are expecting a model in cake. Now you can see why I had to break out the knitting skills. Mine will certainly be longer lasting than a cake - especially around me.

Have been doing quite well with everything on my to-do list - car's fixed (no longer Henry, then, since he's only a person when he's broken), jabs done (painless - and tetanus only comes with polio and diptheria now, hence the multijab), both hair and beauty appointments made, eaten less, parents met with....I have a meeting with the relevant kids tomorrow.

Which leaves the knitting (one repeat down, four to go) and the beetroot (I can't face having my hands dyed right at this moment). Not bad at all.

Tuesday 6 October 2009

Tuesday Ten

Ten Things I Have To Do This Week

1. Give a presentation to all the AG&T parents tomorrow. Eek. I hate speaking to large groups of people.
2. Get travel shots for Malaysia. I thought I needed Typhoid, Hep-A and Tetanus. The nurse has added Polio and Diphtheria and wants to talk about Malaria. Yikes.
3. Get to bed before 10.30pm one night. I'm being attacked by a cold, I will not give in. If I can think of seven more things quickly, that night will be tonight.
4. Meet with the AG&T year 11s and ask them what they want to do for their weekend away this year. One of them caught me in the playground to ask me if it was happening and when I said yes, she and her friend actually jumped for joy. I love it when the kids are geeks.
5. Do something with that beetroot I cooked on Sunday and haven't done anything with.
6. ...but generally, eat less. I ate too much today. By-product of being tired and under attack from germs.
7. Add five repeats to Jo's scarf by the end of Friday.
8. Take my car into the garage. Henry's knocking on the side where the suspension broke in February. He's also getting a little rusty, the cradle for the spare is broken, he needs a new rear wiper blade, and the clock has started randomly going backwards on occasion.
There goes the extra money from the payrise this month...
9. Book an appointment with the beautician for Saturday.
10. And maybe the hairdresser. I will decide that when I get the bill for my car.

Also, I totally finished the tea cosy tonight:

Pattern: Debbie Bliss 24 Tea Cosy/Mug cosies
Needle: 4mm bamboo straights
Yarn: Cascade 220

Took a week. It might have been less, but I have a lot of other projects OTNs, in case you hadn't noticed.

One WIP down, six to go. Oh yeah. I am going to be all fresh and ready for brand new projects in November, you mark my words!

Monday 5 October 2009

October's For Finishing

I made October a finishing month.

I did set myself up carefully, though, by starting a small project on the last day of September - I am so over big projects at the moment and wanted something easily finishable, so I cast on for the tea cosy.

Tonight, I gathered up all my WIPs - healthy and delinquent - and photographed them. Here's my wishlist for October (in the reverse order they were cast on) -

1. Tea Cosy

This would have been finished tonight, but I am very tired and was only in the mood for staring blankly, until I had a shower, which re-energised me enough to make this post.
I intend to finish it tomorrow. Much knitting during the lunch break and then some more in the evening ought to do it. But, I want to line it with a bit of purple fleece I have lying around to make it snugger, so it might take a few days to actually finish after it's OTNs.
Chances of finishing in October:
Very high

2. Stripey Candy cardigan

I put a few more rows on at the weekend. I need to start the sleeves, really, which count as little projects (sort of) and so will be cast on after the tes cosy is finished.
Chances of finishing in October:

3. Jo's lace scarf

I added two more pattern repeats at the weekend. I intended to be very, very strict with myself and add a pattern repeat a day, plus a few extra at weekends - at which pace, I'd be ready to add the border in the half term. I haven't added anything to it yet, though.
Chances of finishing in October:
I want to say High, but I think I should say Medium-high.

4. Endpaper Mitts

Good to have hanging around when I need something quick, but not an urgent knit.
Chances of finishing in October: Low Medium

5. Bamboo top

When I hauled this out I remembered that I messed up the folded edging but couldn't rip, because the yarn looks nubby after ripping. I need to get over this. I think it will even out in blocking - and even if it doesn't, it's at the back. I'm highly motivated to complete this ready for Malaysia in November.
Chances of finishing in October: Medium High - as long as I can talk myself out of hating my shoddy folded edging.

6. Red cardigan

I am going to knit the fronts of this a needle size down from the back, and hope I can fudge the back together with the fronts without having to rip the whole thing.
Chances of finishing in October:
Medium high, as long as the back will fit with the rest of the pieces (which will be at correct gauge).

Otherwise, slim to none. Will become plane knitting.

7. Breeze on a sea air cardi

I love it so much. It was such a labour of love. I'm so worried it's going to be massively too big. It's so complicated, and I haven't put a stitch on it in over a year, and didn't mark the pattern when I stopped.
Chances of finishing in October: Slim to none. I might even have lost my incredibly complex colour-coded home made chart. But, with an extra year's experience under my belt, I bet it's not as complicated as I remember.

Gratuitous extra picture. This post took 10 minutes to write, and 25 to populate with pictures. Bloody Blogger. Bloody internet connection. Bloody something!

I'm nothing, if not optimistic.

Note to self: Today, I needed my coat (which I didn't take) and I wanted to put the heating on. I managed to get the heater on in my room, because I can't bear the incessant whining, but have resisted at home.

Friday 2 October 2009

Fave Friday

Other people's favourites this week...

My Five Most Favourited Projects on Ravelry

1. Silk Corset, 19 faves

This one actually got to 21 for a while and then some people unfaved it. So it has been stuck at 19 for ages!
I don't wear this very often on its own, like this, but I wear it to school over a white blouse quite regularly. It's a PITA to wash, though, and loses its shape quite quickly after washing. I am plucking up the courage to try it on a handwash cycle in the machine.

2. Saartje's baby bootees, 19 faves

3. Hemp Lelah top, 18 faves

I'm the only person who has knitted this out of hemp, so that might have something to do with it. In the end with this project, I folded the bust, hemmed it and added elastic because, even though I made straps, I liked them not. That has worked fine, except I keep splitting the stitches and having to rehem bits of it, which is ANNOYING!

4. Cotton Tantric Puzzle Top, 16 faves

I never blogged about this because it was finished too close to my holiday. It's meant to be worn tightly wrapped but I like it this way, so I didn't knit the wraparound straps for it.

(I also drank several martinis before taking pictures)

I haven't worn it much, because it still has no closures on the front, and it keeps riding backwards because it's heavy. I need to put a stitch in at the back to keep the crossover centred, and then add hooks and eyes to the front. This will be done...sometime. I want to wear it in Malaysia, so sometime this month, no doubt.

5. Cherry Blossom Bag, 14 faves

A complete labour of love! And going to be featured in a knitting magazine out this month!! My knitting group is featured and I managed to get this project through the selection process - only five projects were picked in the end, so I am pretty pleased with myself.

I find it disheartening, sometimes, that my own favourite projects (like the watermelon bag, my latest garish slipover creation, and my blue tank) are not among the most popular, but I guess I can't complain, since I didn't knit them for anybody except me :)