Monday, December 19, 2011

Cards, wrapping, and Assorted Craziness

"the world in solemn stillness lay, to hear the angels sing...."

Sign me up for this kind of Christmas! It's been a hectic couple of weeks as I busily go about checking things off of to-do lists and wondering where I will find more time in the days to get things wrapped, posted, and so forth. 

I have always said I wished Christmad were more like Thanksgiving... A true holiday without too much excess busy-ness. Unfortunately, I have never managed to scale back my Christmas "have-to's" in order to achieve this. And every year at almost exactly this time, I ask myself "why not"? Part of me almost wishes I would be keeping the day on some in some faraway land that lacks a strong Judeo-Chrisitian cultural backdrop, say like Nepal, where no one would expect December to be filled with all this running about like a crazy chicken. That would be the essence of peace on earth to me. 

This year I keep saying to myself that what doesn't get done before Christmas will just have to get done after it. We shall see..... 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Knitting Update

I've had busy needles since my last post and as of today have sold 5 headbands and 4 wine totes! I've also managed to make headbands for both granddaughters and am working on more. It's been so much fun to see people excited about my work. I love how happy they are when they get excited to wear it!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Such A KnitWit

I have an addiction... yep...

My name is Claudia and I'm a knit-aholic. Can't walk past a yarn shop or craft store without sneaking down an aisle where I can put the squeeze on a few skeins of wooly stuff. Have two Rubbermaid bins FULL of the stuff at home too. My daughters pray that before I die I use it all up - but they have NO idea the extent to which I love to look at yarn. I bring it home with me from wherever I get to travel, I read magazines devoted to the hobby, and I am an active member of which is like Facebook for knitters/crocheters (yeah, I do that too, just not as much!)

This past week, I finally opened my very first Etsy site and whether I ever sell anything or not, I love putting my stuff up there to showcase and hopefully attract a customer or two. I have several secrets dreams that go with this addiction... so this might be a good place to put them out there for real....

First, just like Ed has his winery... I dream about owning a yarn shop. Actually, a combination bookstore and yarn shop. I think reading, talking about books, and knitting go together quite nicely and it would be endlessly fun to own a shop.

My second dream is more bizarre than my first. If I couldn't own an actual shop, I would LOVE to own a few sheep and at least ONE alpaca so that I could learn how to spin my own yarn from my OWN wool source! Now this one would be pretty do-able if we ever were to build a house out at our vineyard.... I could easily keep a couple of sheep and an alpaca on the space we have.

Now that you know what a knitwit I am, I'll quietly go back to working on the hat I am making. Just had to post this out there... cos' today has been a perfect knitting day out at the vineyard. I have been sitting in the sun, knitting away to my heart's content, and yes, - RELAXING. I challenge any of you, dear readers, to pick up a pair of needles, grab a glass of wine or mug of coffee, and join me!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Back in the Saddle Again

We have been back to school since August 10th and what a wild ride it has been. If any of you have peeked at my classroom blog, you know we have embarked on a grand adventure at Lutheran High this year! We are doing a 4x4 intensive block schedule and are using 1:1 iPad2 technology as a tool in our classrooms. This has been QUITE an interesting 2 weeks! Kids are holding up well and so are the teachers. It's been rather fun to see all the collaboration that goes on when one or two people in a room need help. (esp. if one of them is the teacher!) While I can't say I am completely comfortable in my "new format" yet, I am definitely enjoying the ride! I like the way my students are tackling the new things alongside of the old, and it has reinvigorated my teaching... so as of right now, it's a thumbs up from this old teacher!

Summer seemed to slip away all too quickly this year, but it is STILL hot and the pool is still open and now that my left foot is pretty much all healed up, I am trying to enjoy every minute of it that I can.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Here I Go Again - Summer Surgeries Part Two!

Yesterday, I had my second encounter with a surgeon this summer. Had been putting off dealing with my left foot when it began acting like my right one had back in 2008. However, once I was involved in my May surgery, it seemed logical to do the other while the deductible for the year was satisfied. 

So yesterday, Dr. Kranzusch, my friendly podiatrist rebuilt and redesigned my left big toe. Not going to drag you through the gory details here, but I am excited about soon being able to wear any shoes I want without pain as the price! 

The upshot is that for the next few days I will be doing as little walking as possible and only with crutches. Then I move into "das boot" - for about 3 weeks. It will look like this.

Monday, June 27, 2011

It's Rumbley Outside AGAIN!

We have been enduring several days of unsettled stormy weather. It's been particularly bad at night. We go to sleep with one eye on the weather and severe storm warnings and tornado watches scrolling across the screen. Saturday night was horrible! The rain came down in deluges and we ended up scrambling into the basement at one in the morning to deal with a waterfall coming into our cellar from an overflowing window well. What a mess! We worked until 3 and then slept til 7. Then we spent all Sunday cleaning up and reorganizing the basement to be able to cope if it happened again. On the up side, it caused us to finally replace our long gone dehumidifier which should make for a drier basement longterm. On the downside- our pool has taken on so much rainwater that I don't know when we'll have it clear again!! I am grateful that we were spared some of the more severe results of this weather. There are folks in town who lost trees and have FULLY flooded basements. A little rainwater seems insignificant compared to that.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Wandering About Makes Home Even Sweeter

Ed and I have been Globe-trotting during the first couple weeks of the summer. We escorted a merry band of 20 students and 6 adults all around Italy. It was Ed's 2nd trip to that country and my 3rd. We started in Venice on June 5th and traveled all the way south to the "tip of the boot" in Capri by June 15th.

It was a great adventure and we made some wonderful memories, particularly because our daughter Gretchen was also able to travel with us. Seeing others experience a place for the very first time is a delightful thing. I will never forget watching my students' jaws drop at their first sight of the Duomo in Florence or the Coliseum in Rome!

In addition, I was able to see a couple of new things that I'd never seen as well. We got to stop on the island of Murano and see the master glass blowers at work and at Pompeii we got to see the amphitheater which is in amazingly well-preserved condition. I also stayed in a seaside town called Meta, just outside Sorrento, which made me a forever fan of the southern Italian Almalfi Coast region.

Now that I am home there are things that I find myself appreciating about life here as well. For example: our public toilets come with seats attached and you can find them easily and most come free of charge. Also, while not all American coffee is as good as cappuccino or expresso, it is FAR better than what Italians make when you request a "cafe Americano"!

Things about Italy I will miss include: lemon granita, gelato, canoli, prices that don't require the use of pennies, and the beautiful lilt of spoken Italian (complete with its often hilarious gestures!.
It is great to be home!

Friday, May 13, 2011

So Long, Farewell, Auf-whatchama-callit, Good-bye - and good Riddance!

Nine days ago, I posted a little note about my gall bladder, and I am relieved to report that the time bomb has been defused and REMOVED from my person. Went in for surgery yesterday morning and by 5pm I was home and recuperating. Amazing how what once was a six-week recovery type major surgery is now done on an outpatient basis!!!

I had the nicest nurse yesterday. Her name was Nancy and she helped me through the process all the way. Ed was there too, but Nancy kept us both calm and assured us that everything was going fine. I had a little trouble with the woozy urpy feelings as I came out from under anesthesia, but Nancy was right there being SO supportive.

Spent today quietly at home. Trying to move about a bit more as evening comes on. It's been a long day. The only downside of this... losing a gall bladder didn't cost me a single ounce on the scale! How unfair is that? LOL  Guess that's the way it goes.. you win some, you lose some... and this was one little green balloon I was HAPPY to lose!

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Tick, tick, tick

The human body is a funny thing... and sometimes not so funny. This morning my particular model decided to wake me up rudely as it did 2 years (almost to the day) to a gall bladder attack! Now many of you have shared your stories with me about how this funky little organ has been the bane of your medical existence... and I quite agree. However, I wanted to keep mine as long as it was basically behaving itself. I am torn on this as I anticipate touring Italy this summer and don't want to spend any part of that tour visiting with Italian surgeons and their medical systems. So the question is, to remove or not to remove the ol' gb? I am leaning strongly toward parting with my kranky one. If it can't be nice, then it doesn't deserve to stay with me, right? So tomorrow I go see the folks in ultrasound to get the verdict... keep it or jettison it... time will tell. Feels a bit like I have a wonky little time bomb waiting to pop when I least expect it.

Monday, March 07, 2011

In Need of Spring

Today the sun came out, for a little while at least. I am finding I REALLY need spring to come soon! I am super tired of cloudy days and relying on caffeine to get me through the day. My students seem the same way... restless, draggy, bored with themselves and me. I am going to have to do something to shake-up the status quo... but that's a whole other post.

Missouri is a tough place to live in between the seasons. It's warm one day and very damp and chilly the next. I shouldn't be complaining, I know. At least we HAVE seasons, unlike those in the South and we don't have eternal winter, like those in the far North. But I LONG for spring. I need to go outside and dig in the dirt and see the flowers come up.

Maybe soon?

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Bye-bye Big Box.... Hello Curry!

        Tonight we had an adventure... we found a really good new Thai restaurant IN ST. CHARLES COUNTY! There is a reason for the capital letters here. Generally speaking, St. Charles is NOT known for its diversity of eating establishments. If you want something beyond the standard Italian, Mexican, or Chinese assortments of eateries, you generally have to hop in your car and drive into St. Louis City to find that sort of eating adventure. But tonight... ta-da... we happened upon the Thai Kitchen at the Cave Springs exit in St. Peters and I had some of the best food EVER! All I was really craving was a good Spring Roll... but then I decided to try the Curry! Oh MY! This little international gem of a dining spot is going to become a new favorite, I am certain. Very nice decor, small, wonderful wait staff... and all around GOOD food! I think my taste buds will find many things to entertain them here on future visits.

Now to the bye-bye part of the post. As most of you know, Borders Books is in Chapter 11 and restructuring in hopes of avoiding a total bankruptcy. Well, our local Borders is one of the stores being liquidated. We popped in there tonight and the place looked as if it had been looted! It made me incredibly sad to wander around the shelves where I used to spend hours browsing and see things scattered here and there but most everything gone. Then I started to feel the irony of it all... Remember when Borders or its brother Barnes moved into YOUR neighborhood? Think back... it's been awhile since they became the big boys on the block. They pushed out almost all the little indy-booksellers and edged out all the competition as soon as they rolled into town with their flashy storefronts, cozy chairs, and delectable coffees and goodies. We all ran to them like crazy and the little guys were left behind. Isn't it incredible that the big box boys are being marginalized by something that comes in a little box? Welcome to the next era of books... and small booksellers. Now that we can get anything (practically) that we want on an e-reader; we may find ourselves having to go back to the little bookshops that are left when we want to buy an ACTUAL book! Now, THAT, my friends is irony! Excuse me now, I have a new book on my Kindle that I am dying to get started!

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Over the Hills and back Again...

March is coming in as I write this in the wee hours of the new month. I am wishing I could snatch back some of the wasted minutes from the past two months and make them into something more substantial, but that is not the way life goes.

We have been VERY preoccupied of late, so much is going on in the world, in our school, in our family, and in ourselves! Let's see.... where to start...

Well, the world is in an uproar. Clamor and calls for democracy and self-determination are roiling through the Arab world as I write this. Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, and currently Libya are all experiencing change brought about by young, disenfranchised youth in those places who are all interconnected via technology and crying for change. They will get it, and we are all left wondering what the world will feel like once it all shakes out. My students are mostly fretting about whether gas will hit $5 a gallon as a result. Typical American response, sadly. History is happening and we're fretting about our gasoline and whether our favorite Cardinal baseball player has signed his contract agreement... duh!

As far as school goes; big changes are on the horizon there too. We are switching to the intensive 4x4 block schedule next year. For those of you who may not know what that is, our students will take 4 classes per day for 80 minutes per day for an entire semester. Then in the second semester they will take a whole new set of classes. Should be a great way to learn, to be able to focus on something deeply and to have the luxury of TIME to think and process what you are learning. I must admit I am pretty stoked about it. On top of that, we are working toward funding (and recently were awarded a grant that will match those funds) to become a 1to1 school. That will enable us to put an iPad into the hands of every student in our school.... and to substantially change the way we do school in a HUGE way! The future seems to be arriving for us at LHS, and it's really exciting to be there to teach in it!

On the family front... big doings there too. Our family patriarch, Uncle Carl, is recovering from an ordeal with a sinus infection that had everyone believing he may have had a stroke! Honestly! It was a scary week or so til the doctors figured out what was going on. What a blessing Ed's sister and Kate's crew were to him through these days of recuperating! He's on the mend and we hope to see him playing in his vineyard again really soon. Ed turned 57 this past month... on Feb 21st... and Kate hit the big 32! That second event made me feel oddly old this year. Not sure why, but it did.

Perhaps that last thing is the "ourselves" part of this post. I am feeling as if I am approaching a personal crossroads in my life right now. Nothing certain about it yet, just that inner inkling that things are about to shift. A sense of a groundswell coming in life and it is making me vaguely uneasy. I am sure it will all come clear in the weeks ahead, but I know it's out there.

Then again, with spring trying to raise its head, perhaps that's the feeling entirely. The end of winter, or at least the wish for it, always makes me edgey with anticipation....there's no getting around it. I feel the need to slip away from the routine and do something different. What will that be? I haven't a clue and, perhaps, that's the adventure of it all.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Where Crazy Busy Bloggers Go....

I came up for air tonight... just after grading a whole mountain of papers and celebrating the fact that the Green Bay Packers are headed for the 2011 Super Bowl. When I flipped over to my blog, I was shocked to discover that I hadn't posted since the end of November! What!?! 2 MONTHS ago?? That's crazy!!
But there's no getting around it, I have been running myself in crazy circles all through the holidays.

The best news of all is that our kitchen is totally all mended and it looks lovely! For those of you who are connected on Facebook to me, you can see the photos there and I won't bore you with them all over again. Suffice it to say that Ed and I still walk through the kitchen with a sense of wonder and can't quite bring ourselves to believe that we've been blessed so splendidly by a bad piece of pipe! Ed was right, it was worth the wait and the mess and the inconvenience. We love it and we love puttering around in it together. Today, Sydney and I baked cookies in the new kitchen and had a great time doing it.

The Christmas holidays were WONDERFUL. We were all together.... both girls and their families, Ed's sister, all of us. It was REALLY fun and really relaxing! We did a lot of fun things together like sledding and bowling. We ate and laughed and just had a blast!

And now the second semester has begun and we've yet to have had a full week of classes. Why? SNOW! Last week we got a record snowfall of about 10'' the likes of which we haven't seen since 1982. We've used 2 of our 3 snow days already and each week has been shortened by a day here and a day there every time we turn around. Makes it a little hard to get the gang all focused on the new classes... we are constantly adjusting for "just in case" we have snow. I keep telling myself I will find time to breathe here in the new year. But I will have over a hundred essays in my brief case as of Thursday.... yikes!

Time to take a deep breath.... a deep.... calming... breath. Oh yeah, and Happy New Year! :-)