Wednesday, January 31, 2007
I find it interesting that through all of yesterday's blather, people picked up on my squirrel comment. This makes me think that I should take a picture of my gnawed window frame before the contractors remove it. (The next batch of windows has finally arrived so I should have a nice, weather tight window in my office before the end of next week. Woo Hoo!)
Now that some of the scaffolding is down I can see what a nice job the workmen are doing on the school. This whole construction experience has been very educational. I even learned what a "load test" is as our guys were commenting on the construction going on across the street. Yes, not only is my own school under construction but they are building a mall across the street. Many of my days are worked to the counterpoint of a pile driver. No wonder the squirrels are taking shelter.
No real knitting progress to report -- a few more rows on the hat and bag and the pile of rejected "Dave sock" is still sitting in a corner waiting to be rescued by the Lucy Neatby socks book, due to arrive later today.
Enjoy the day!
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
On the personal knitting front, I am booking on Sis's hat and am still on target to finish it by the weekend. The sock has been ripped and restarted twice and will be ripped and restarted again once I get the book I ordered today. The yarn is screaming to be made in to Mermaid socks but I first had to buy the book with the pattern in it. In the meantime I have started a Booga Bag with the Noro Kureyon that my Sock-ret pal gave me.
So much for my pledge of keeping new projects to a minimum.
Sunday, January 28, 2007
The Muppet Fur hat is finished.Squidette's scarf is ready for wearing. (My own handspun done in Mistake Rib, one of my fave scarf stitches even before Cookie made it hip.)
and the school blanket is now in 5 panels instead of lots of little blocks.
Little Sis's hat is now on the needles and a new pair of socks has also been started using my lone skein of Cabin Cove for the Dave-along.
And, my nails are once again pink. Last week I went for prudent over pretty and left them au natural. Exam week wrecks havoc on my hands. Broken nails abound as do paper cuts. My poor hands get washed every hour or so since the tests and the vault are just dirty! With the tests, I think it is partially ink rubbing off as I repackage them right before test time.
My crafting goals this week include finishing Sis's hat and finishing the blanket assembly. I have no delusions regarding the socks.
Thanks to Anne K. for this link. It is way cool and if I used Mike's I-Pod I might have to make it. Hmmm ... maybe for Squidette's Zire?
Time to knit on that hat ... have a great week!
Friday, January 26, 2007
I have finally finished my sister's mittens. Now to pack them up and send them off.
This weekend is all about finishing. Finishing Squidette's scarf. Finishing my third muppet fur hat. Finishing putting the school blanket panels together. Finishing some stuff for work. Finishing the camp search process for Little Squid.
I also hope to start Kid Sister's hat (to match the mittens) and my Shut Up and Knit Your Cabin Cove project.
Today Squidette auditioned for a spot in a free music camp. If she gets in then we have to find 5 weeks worth of camp for Little Squid. We already decided that he will not go back to the same place they have gone the last few summers. They really have no interest in gymnastics or sports so other then the convenience factor (and that is HUGE) there is really no attachment for it. I admit that for several years we have used camp as a way to make sure that the kids spend at least some of the summer interacting with other kids. It was also a way to give mom and dad two weeks of a few hours a day to just be adults and be with each other. The decision is now that if Squidette does not get in to this camp, then we are dispensing with camp for the summer all together. They will spend some time with my folks and we will do some more extensive camping. Last summer they actually made some friends while camping so the "being with other kids" thing is there.
On the Squirrel front ... he sat on my desk again today and then broke in to my next-door-colleague's office. I think Cookie is right and he wants a job. Hey, he should be an inexpensive addition to payroll. After all, he'll work for peanuts.
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
The events in this Act occur on the Monday following the previous Act. Said previous act occurred on a Friday so the squirrel, if it was there to begin with, had my office to himself for the entire weekend.
As I approached my office I wondered. Was my office in a shambles? Did the squirrel eat my box of hot chocolate? Was the squirrel even there? And what about Naomi?
At the door to my office I paused and peered through the lace curtains on the outer door. All seemed clear so I unlocked the door and ventured in. I heard nothing and all seemed fine in my secretary's area so I peered into my own office. I glanced under the desk and noticed that the trap had been triggered but, at first glance I did not see an animal. I figure the custodian had probably kicked it when he cleaned and caused it to snap closed. Then I noticed the furry thing moving within. Yes!
I grabbed the trap, took it outside and released the furry invader. That squirrel took off like a shot! He ran south as fast as his legs could carry him. Hopefully he was smart enough not to run on to the highway.
And so ends the Saga of the Squirrel ... for now.
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
And the needles? Half gone by the end of the day. The Boss and I were trying to figure out the tremendous interest in it this year and the best I can come up with is the two-year almost hiatus and the "Breck" factor. Remember the old commercial? "I told two friends, and they told two friends, and so on and so on and so on ..." That's what it is like! Thank you so much, KnittyOtter!!!
In other news, I have joined the Cabin Cove Knit along and will finally knit the lone skein that I have. Come join us and show off how nicely your Cabin Cove yarn knits up.
While I am plugging bloggers who sell things ... my cousin is now blogging as well as selling vintage sewing patterns. Go say hi and tell her Mama Squid sent you. (Yes, I have a lot of family members who blog. Cousin Elana does a business blog, Cousin Robert does a medical blog, kid brother Josh blogs for the NCAA and now this. It is only a matter of time before my wonderfully wordy father gets in to the business.)
And to prove that this is still a knitting blog ...for my kid sister. They are actually almost done, just the thumb is left on the left mitten. If I stop blogging I should be able to finish it tonight, block them tomorrow (to get rid of the horrid squishyness) and pop them in the mail this weekend. The hat will follow a week or so later. First I have to finish Squidette's scarf now that winter is actually here.
Sunday, January 21, 2007
When we last encountered our squirrel it had been sighted in my office and was not witnessed leaving. I spent the entire day working in the office with no sense that I was being watched ...
Saga of the Squirrel: Act 4
Even though I left work at a normal hour that night, I did not go straight home and hence was not there when the phone rang with the fateful message. "The squirrel is still in your office.”
I listened to the message and concluded that my somewhat timid colleague saw the fuzzy little creature and panicked, slamming my doors closed and trapping the poor guy. I was not a happy camper.
The next morning I came in to a closed, dark office. The window was open. I went into my colleague’s office and discussed the situation.
Apparently when my colleague entered my office to make a copy, he had encountered a jumping, spitting, furious squirrel and had paged for the custodian-on-duty but the
C.O.D had not appeared by the time my colleague had to leave. My office was left closed up over night. In the a.m., my colleague, the head Custodian and one of his assistants had carefully examined my office without uncovering the squirrel. They opened the window and left the office closed up.
I decided to leave it alone for a while -- after all, the squired had holed up for 6
hours the day before -- and patrolled the building for a while. After an hour or so I
returned to my office to find everything was the same. One of the custodial
staff was there and he carefully examined everything again and said to call him
if we saw or heard it.
For the remainder of the day I worked in my office, with the 12 degree breeze blowing across my keyboard -- tempered by the 90 degree radiations from my radiator so it
wasn't too bad. Muddy footprints were all over the office and I periodically discovered some hidden squirrel poop on my papers and window sill. The furry intruder did not show his face leaving most to conclude that he had departed. Not being quite as confident, I once again left the baited trap under my desk and, at the end of the day, left for the weekend.
For those non-believers, this photo was snapped from my desk this Friday.
Friday, January 19, 2007
Is there anyplace in NYC you want to see from a Squidly perspective? Somewhere you really want to go, virtually? Leave a comment and we will try to accommodate. Note that Manhattan locales will probably get covered more quickly then those in the outer boroughs but everything is fair game as long as it is legal.
Already in the planning and research stages (yes, I am actually starting to research this stuff):
Tin Pan Alley
Chelsea Market and
The High Line
Drop a line and let us know where you want to go!
What we saw out the back window as we left the building this morning. Huh?! The kids went out by the back door while we stayed in and walked the first block indoors. The expression on Squidette's face when she saw the lack of snow was priceless.
We found some snow to frolic in for a few minutes.
??? It sure looks like snow to me.This device cuts open streets. Check out the warning sign pasted to it.
And for your amusement I give you:Big Mommy, Little Mommy. (Said in a sing-song voice)
Thursday, January 18, 2007
The first blanket stayed in my office for two weeks longer than I anticipated but it turned out to be a good thing. I was able to refer to the various blocks when describing techniques to the kids. It will be going to its new home, a home bound senior, tomorrow.
The club will officially be on hiatus for the next two weeks during the Regents and Reorganization periods but I cannot wait for the new term to begin. This has been the most exciting year with regards to the knitters!
Anyone wanting to donate materials to our cause can send them to:
MCSM Knitters / Devorah Zamansky
Manhattan Center for Science and Mathematics High School
280 Pleasant Avenue
New York, NY 10029
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Today I published my 23rd Regents Exam proctoring schedule. With the schedule comes three immutable laws:
The first law of proctoring schedules states that five minutes after the schedule is printed a teacher will approach me with a special request that causes me to change it. (I am far to nice to refuse a polite request.)
The second law states that very few people will read the memo on the other side of their schedule resulting in no end of questions about where they are supposed to be and how they are supposed to behave. (I will rarely point this out unless I am at the end of my rope.)
The third law states that no matter how hard you try, you can never please everyone. (This does not stop me from trying.)
This leads to a very important lesson -- watch what you say while in labor. 11.5 years ago I uttered the fatal words to my supervisor as she drove me home. (I was, at the time, in labor and was obtuse enough to not realize it.) "I hear the Test Coordinator position is opening up. I want to apply." That was it. When I returned in September I was given the position and have done it ever since. Beware of what you wish for ... you may get it!
That said ... I am so protective of the job that I have tried to give it up and can't. I cannot bear to see someone else go through the hard fought learning curve.
Monday, January 15, 2007
I know that it is Martin Luther King Jr. day but yesterday we did a spot of geocaching and discovered the Ghandi statue in Union Square Park. Both King and Ghandi used the same principles of passive resistance to make the world a better place. I honestly believe that words are much more powerful then guns and actions speak louder then words.
As we walked through Manhattan today I reflected on how children become miniatures of their parents as the mimic our actions. If we always cross with the light then they will do so. If we jaywalk then they will think it is just fine to jaywalk. They cannot learn everything, however, by passive absorption. Sometimes we need to step in and explain why things are done and how they affect our world. This weekend involved Ghandi, robot building and pillow top piecing. Without explicit instruction in all three, our kids would not understand any of it. The instruction may have come via books, in the case of the piecing, or through one on one instruction as in the robot making. Sometimes a profound discussion must occur as in the case of Ghandi. When I discussed him with Little Squid he understood and made the connection to King. Raising kids is a tricky business. You always hope you catch the holes in their education and provide them with necessary and valuable information. Today was one of those days when we saw some holes and plugged them.
Chelsea Market which used to house NBC. Nope, not that NBC but rather the NBC that later became NaBisCo -- the National Biscuit Company. Yes, this was where Oreos were made. One day I'll take you inside and show you the railway spur on the second story of the building. It is a part of the High Line and I hope they open it to the public when the High Line is opened as a park.
and the White Horse Tavern. White Horse is best known as the place where Dylan Thomas collapsed after drinking far too much. He died shortly afterwards just a few blocks further uptown at St. Vincent's Hospital. The White Horse was known for the literary types that it attracted during the 50s, including Norman Mailer and Jack Kerouac.
Sunday, January 14, 2007
And proof that she can no longer be used as a tool for getting cans off the top shelf with our risk of concussion. Papa Squid may have to start using the step ladder.
New on the needles ... mittens for the youngest sibling and another fun fur hat.
Saturday, January 13, 2007
Working in a high school can either numb you to the presence of a certain group of words (all starting with F) or get you angry that these kids can't be more creative. Why not, instead of calling someone a "bad" name, use a variation on those great ethnic curses. "So and So isn't fit to clean up after my camel!" "That piece of lace looks like it was used as a washrag for my pet walrus."
Can we start a movement here? If you stumble on a post where "common" language is used, leave an affirmative comment such as "you are so right, that son of a turtle herder isn't fit to clean your cookie jar." Or "I bet with some blocking that sweater will no longer look like the bottom of an orangutan."
Anyone with me?
Thursday, January 11, 2007
When a lone squirrel on the window ledge was brought to my attention I scoffed at it and went back to work. After all, the squirrels are quite capable of climbing the brickwork of our school. Surely it could find its way down.
Half an hour later I was roused from my work by cries of alarm from next door. Somehow, the squirrel had entered the office through the closed windows and was prowling around the office looking for a way out. It jumped to the floor, wandered under my friends desk and conference table and looked like it wanted to cross to my office and the yarn stash. Gasp!
I took action, stepping in to the infested office, garbage can in hand. I closed the door behind me while the window was opened by another occupant of the room. As I slowly moved in the direction of the squirrel it thought better of its actions and found the exit. Phew!
Personally, I think it was looking for some cardboard on which to build the house it is designing with the wood taken from my window frame and the glue that was subsequently snatched. Yesterday, it, or one of its brethren, entered the Main Office and poked around for a bit before leaving, empty pawed.
Tomorrow should be interesting. When I left work, the contractors were hard at work removing my old, wood-framed window from its opening. When I return in the morning, I will find a brand new, metal framed window in its place. No more staring at squirrel gnawed wood. What are the poor squirrels going to do for amusement? What am I going to do with no squirrels to watch? Oh wait, I know! Work!
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
The squirrel was seen to enter my office and scamper across my desk. As my secretary made to close the doors so that he would not get in to the rest of the building, she saw him ignore the bag of M&Ms, pick up the glue stick, turn around and leave the same way he came in. He was then seen, outside on the scaffolding, using his mouth to try to get the cover off of the glue stick.
My secretary swears this is true and has another staff member as a witness. She was surprised that he did not even mess up my papers. If you have ever seen my desk you would know that this was a kind of odd comment. How would anyone know if he messed up my papers given the state that they are usually in? We all have our moments.
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
Thanks to Pooch for the box of yarn and needles that arrived today! You guys are great!
I started preparing a rant on how these exams are used but I may never post it. Simply put, as both a parent and an educator I understand why the exams are given, I just object to how long it takes to get the results (9 months for last year's exams) and how the results are used (middle and high school admissions over a year later in the case of the 4th and 7th grade exams). Using results that are over a year old for the purpose of deciding where a kid can go to school seems very wrong to me.
Off to stick a little something extra in Little Squid's lunch box ...
Sunday, January 07, 2007
This morning a memorial ride started in Queens and in the Bronx, stopping at every one of the accident sites. At 3:45 they reached 29th Street and 9th Avenue and that is where the Squidlings and I joined them. I thought it would be a Good thing to do and I think I was right.
We rode with the others to 38th Street and the Hudson River Greenway where an Angel Bike (at least that's what I'm calling it) was hung over the Ghost Bike. The names of all 16 fatalities were read and a few words spoken by the widow of the victim killed at this site. Riders then raised their bikes in a silent tribute to the fallen.(The Angel Bike is hanging from the crossing signal in the center of the photo. It is a lousy cell phone picture -- Mike will try to get a better one later this week.)
The ride continued to 12th and West Street where a pedestrian was run down by an 18-wheeler. More words from those close to the fallen and another silent, lifted bike tribute.
Continuing down the Greenway the ride stopped at Clarkson Street where a cyclist was hit and killed by a drunk driver who decided that the Greenway was Highway. I do not know if an Angel Bike was hung here but we saw the Ghost bike during our ride yesterday.
We left the ride at this point as it was now dark and the kids do not have lights and blinkers on their bikes -- nor do they have any experience riding after dark. The ride continued on to the Memorial for Unnamed Cyclists (scroll to the bottom).
As we rode carefully back home, mostly on the Greenway, we talked about the meaning of the tributes, why we raised our bikes and what a memorial was all about. Both kids really seem to understand and were glad to have done it. They did, by the way, raise or attempt to raise their bikes in tribute. Squidette got hers up to her shoulders and Little Squid got his a few inches off the ground. I am very proud of them for understanding the importance and meaning of it all.
(While the three of us only clocked 5 miles this evening, Little Squid and Papa rode home from religious school (7 miles) and Papa and I rode another 7 miles earlier in the day. Squidette is being credited 7 miles with the understanding that she will make it up later in the year.)
Saturday, January 06, 2007
Stuyvesant High School is an august institution in New York City and as such earned itself a new building in 1992. The building pictured above once housed Stuyvesant and is where Papa and Mama Squid met many, many years ago. It is not, alas, where they fell in love. That happened on the Brooklyn Bridge, a few years later. But you've seen pictures of the Bridge of Love so I do not have to show it again right now.
Continuing west, still on foot, we passed the Friends Meeting House, circa 1860. I have always admired this building and had it permanently ingrained on my brain during my years in high school. It speaks plainly and simply and gives a feeling of solidness and stability. It is still used by the Friends (Quakers) as a meeting house.
We finished our ride with a quick stop at the Union Square Greenmarket for locally grown apples and then headed back home. Total milage: 11.1 -- see the new list in the side bar.
Yes, I have switched to the new Blogger and am working on tweaking my new template. In the process I lost some stuff including a button or two but I will try to get those back soon. I also lost last years ride stats. Oh well. I guess I can mostly reconstruct them from the archives but it is probably not worth the effort.
Friday, January 05, 2007
The asparagus question came up as the squidlings played with quick-dry modeling clay making ... asparagus. The answer to why the squirrel needed to chew on my window came from Susan. The knitting boy is the newest member of our club. The rice krispies verse comes from the Simpsons, an episode which also features the famous line "Farfalle! Farfalle vendetta!" A phrase which evoked tears from Little Squid when the rest of us insisted on saying "Vendetta farfalle!" No messing around with this kid.
The watch is a by product of the red shorts episode on Wednesday. When I ordered the shorts I also ordered a new watch for Squidette ... the lovely Tinkerbell watch that I brought from Disney World has a charm on it that tinkles whenever she does her Hermione imitation in school ... something she does frequently as she is a smart Squid and knows not to hide it. While searching for a watch for my darling daughter (I'm not mad anymore) I looked for an inexpensive watch for myself and found a nice gold-tone one with the price cut way down. I am still looking for a really nice dress watch for myself but this will do in the interim.
The shorts and watches arrived today, not even 48 hours after they were ordered. Squidette is thrilled with her watch and shorts and I am so happy with my own watch that I went to the Timex site to see if they made an even nicer watch. Nope. It is tempting to just buy a whole bunch of nice Timex watches and call it done but I will probably continue my search for a dainty dress watch with a gold band through the summer.
And there you are, all caught up. Tomorrow it is supposed to be very warm and I am thinking very seriously about the first bike ride of 2007.
Isn't there enough food in the park for him?
Isn't there enough food just lying around the perimeter of the school for him?
Is he getting one last taste in before they finish replacing the windows?
Does he realize that the third floor windows are now framed in ungnawable metal?
Does he just want to drive me nuts?!
Inquiring minds want to know.
Wednesday, January 03, 2007
Little Squid is driving us a bit nuts with his inconsistency in test prep and, taking the advice of a good friend, we have shelved it in an effort to not make him any crazier then he already is. Don't want to give the poor kid a complex. I will be very happy when the NCLB required test is over at the end of next week. One of these days I will prepare a nice long rant on standardized testing -- whether I will post it or not is another question. On a nicer front, Little Squid adopted an onion, named it George, and is tracking its growth through photos and a written long. Guess what you have to look forward to in a few weeks!
Squid Knits has been successfully migrated to the new Blogger and I will play with it over the next few days and see what this new platform can do.
Tuesday, January 02, 2007
All I can say is WOW! All this and the post office was not even open today. Yes, the answer is actually pretty obvious -- the mail was delivered during the break. That does not always happen so it was a really cool surprise. The first two packages were in my office when I came in and then I found three more in the main office and almost started crying. There were packages from Elizabeth, Ann, Paul, Anne and Susan and I brought in a bag of supplies (not pictured) from Mary.
14 young ladies came by over the course of the day and signed the card we are sending with the blanket and grabbed supplies. Anne sent cute bags that the girls plopped their projects in to and Paul sent munchies so they were well fueled with sugar while knitting this afternoon. 7 more blocks were collected and many more were pledged. The girls loved how it all came together and they were really proud of themselves.
We are leaving the blanket on display until after lunch on Friday when another staff member and I will walk it and some coats that came in after the coat drive ended over to a local organization. They will make sure that it goes to someone who needs it.
Thank you all for your help and support in this project. We really could not do it without you!
Monday, January 01, 2007
A baby blanket for a colleague.
Socks for Little Squid.
Then I started Monkey for Squidette and am almost done with the first repeat. The first sock was cast on by the light of my computer while I waited for midnight. I find it useless to try to go to sleep on New Year's eve because the sounds of the revelers uptown inevitably wakes me up and startles me into several hours of wakefulness. If I stay up I can then be in bed by 12:03 and actually asleep a few minutes later. This year, Little Squid and Squidette joined me for the last 15 minutes of 2006 and the first 2 minutes of 2007. We watched the ball drop, heard the cheers drifting downtown from Times Square and went back to sleep. Yea, we are real party animals! (Papa Squid woke up as I came back to bed, rolled over and went back to sleep.)
Happy New Year to You and Your Family!