Thursday, 28 June 2007

Ending a Big Chapter

I am nearing the end of my last days at work before I retire. Things have been extremely busy since my last post but thankfully, I've been able to get everything important done, including enjoying the festivites surrounding my retirement. I have received many wonderful and generous gifts. I realized two days ago that I'm just not going to be able to get my office cleaned out by the end of this week so have accepted that I will just have to come back the 2nd week of July to finish that.

Tonight is Commencement. Thankfully the temperature has dropped and the chiller is still working. In fact, it's working better this year than it has in my 18 years here even though the HVAC system is scheduled for complete replacement.

I finished the sweater for my colleague's daughter and she is pleased with it. I am back to knitting Shingo's Austermann Step socks with the flaw in the yarn striping. Next project will likely be frogging the bathmat and re-knitting it to larger dimensions - 4 16-stitch squares by 6 16-stitch squares. I cleverly misplaced the Cherry Tree Hill yarn I bought in Pennsylvania in May so will have to comb the house for it. I'm also itching to start the Regia Canadiana socks. I may try to knit them continental style. I need to do some practicing first...

Tuesday, 19 June 2007

My Last Teaching Day

Today was our last day of classes. At our school the semester always ends with a whimper. We have two days of in-class exams and then formal exams after that. My guitar students wrote their theory exam yesterday. I finished marking them today when my Gr. 9s were writing their exam. I marked the Gr. 9 exams when the seniors were writing theirs. At the end of my last class, one student hung back to thank me and gave me her usual end-of-the-semester thank you letter. It was at that point I knew I was going to cry. Then after school, another very special student stayed to meet the fellow who will be replacing me. I gave the student (who aspires to be a high school music teacher) my instrumental fingering book - the one we all went out and bought when we were learning how to be instrumental music teachers. Again, I almost started to cry. I have been advised to wear waterproof mascara next Monday at my party.

Skip and I went to the Hungarian pavilion for dinner this evening - goulash and a cabbage roll. We then went to the Acropolis (Greek) pavilion for dessert. Last night I had a galaktoboureko and tonight I had baklava. I even inspired a young man across the table from me to have a baklava.

Tomorrow I'm supervising an exam and then meeting Skip at the German pavilion (Club Lorelei) for a schnitzel lunch.

Sunday, 17 June 2007

Todd's Socks

I got Todd's socks finished and a picture taken of them. Every time I go to do a Kitchener stitch (grafted) toe, I have to look up how to do it (half way down the page in 'Finishing').

If you look carefully, you will see that from the turquoise band at the ankle to the toe, the stripes match perfectly. It's just from the ankle up that they don't match very well. Most people wouldn't notice but it still bugs me that the yarn had so many breaks in it.

I'm almost finished the sweater for my colleague's daughter. I have the neckband done and the buttonhole band finished. I just have to do the button band and weave in about eleventy-three ends of yarn. I'm not going to buy the buttons or put them on it. I'll let the little girl's mother do that. I can probably get the knitting done this evening. It's a chunky, soft acrylic (ugh) so it knits pretty fast, thank goodness.

This evening, Skip and I went to a Polish hall to pick up dinner: shish kebab and pierogies. We would have had cabbage rolls but they were out of them. Next week is Fiesta in Oshawa and we hope to visit a different pavilion each evening for dinner. Tomorrow night we'll be eating Greek food. I'm going to try to get my guitar exams marked tomorrow evening and get my marks done. Then I'll be ready for my Gr.9 and senior theory exams on Tuesday.

My sister is coming next weekend. We'll hit a couple of yarn shops in the east end and up in Markham. Saturday night we'll go to either the Polish pavilion or a Ukrainian pavilion for dinner and to see their dancers perform. Mark is coming on Monday from Minnesota for my retirement party. Former students Chris and Alexa will also be there as well as Lorna and some retirees I haven't seen in a while. I am really looking forward to seeing everyone.

Today's weather was perfect. from 78F - 81F in the shade. I'm really glad we got the gazebo up and have bought the new deck furniture. We're all set for summer now.

Saturday, 16 June 2007


Skip and I got the table this morning at Canadian Tire. It wasn't too hard to assemble. While I was sitting smugly at the table admiring the complete set, I noticed two of the legs of one of the chairs were missing the plastic leveling feet. So back I'll be going to Canadian Tire for a replacement.

I found a couple of photos to add to my PowerPoint presentation. I also have to get started on writing thank you notes to those who contributed to my lovely gifts for my retirement.

Friday, 15 June 2007

Colour Dilemma

I took a picture of the Sockotta socks last weekend and noticed a significant difference in the colour between them. I finally figured out today what happened... I was knitting the second sock two stitches larger and it was skewing the colour pattern completely. So, yep, you guess it, I frogged the sock back to about an inch from the toe and am knitting it again. I will also frog the bathmat and make it bigger as well. It's nice now but it is significantly smaller and I have scads of yarn - certainly plenty enough to make it big enough.

I got the buttons on the two bibs I knit for my colleague and got them to her today, her last day before her maternity leave.

It has been a busy week at work. We interviewed 4 people for my job on Tuesday and another one today. The successful candidate has been contacted and has already been over to the school. I have a lot of purging to do before I leave, that's for sure.

Yesterday, Skip and I bought chairs for the deck/gazebo at Canadian Tire. We still have to get the table. They were out of stock at the store where we bought the chairs so we'll go to a different one tomorrow and get it home.

Father's Day this year we'll break tradition and not attend the Fiesta Parade. We've attended it almost every year as it kicks off Fiesta, the multicultural festival held in Oshawa every year. Skip and I enjoy sampling foods of different nations and seeing the folk dancing at each pavilion. For us, Fiesta is the exciting beginning to our summer. It has always marked the near-ending of school.

And now I have 10 more work days left and only 2 more days with my students. Wow!

Sunday, 10 June 2007

The End of "The Sopranos" Tonight.

It's another lovely day weather-wise. Skip and I put up our gazebo on the deck. There was quite a bit of grunting and heaving but we 'got 'er done'. After lunch Skip and Scooter went golfing. I did some shovelling out of my office, did bills, cleaned up the kitchen, prepared supper.

I took some pictures of Ollie, our 8 year-old cat. He looks particularly handsome and lazy.

I will tackle the sweater for my colleague's daughter this evening.

We'll be tuning into the series finale of "The Sopranos" this evening. Skip and I have really enjoyed watching it over the years. After watching the episodes when they were in Sicily, back in Season 2 or 3, Skip and I turned to each other and said, "We MUST go to Sicily". So we did during the summer of 2003. It was a wonderful bus tour of southern Italy (from Rome down to the 'toe' of the boot) and Sicily. Imagine our surprise near the end of our trip when we tuned into CNN International and we saw our premier (Mike Harris - BOO!! HISS!) and mayor of Toronto talking about the blackout in Toronto and the environs. Wild! It was one of the hottest summers on record - we were also getting extreme highs in Italy.

Skip's mother's parents emigrated from Vita, Sicily in 1915 or thereabouts. We had the opportunity to visit Vita when we had a free day on our tour in Palermo. We hired a driver to take us to Vita. He wanted to take us as he had the same surname as Skip's mother's family. On the way he took us to Segesta and then on to Vita where we were treated like royalty. The tourist bureau officer took us around the town in his car to look at the murals and to an orchard where we sampled beautifully ripe figs. They were plump, yellow and sweet - like eating sunshine.

But I digress...

We won't be answering the phone between 9 and 10 this evening.

Saturday, 9 June 2007

A Very Nice Day

Skip and I picked up Scooter (my 13 year-old step-son) from music camp today. It was a lovely drive and we thoroughly enjoyed hearing his concert. We stopped off for 'real' food (non-camp food) on the way home. Skip took a nap when we got home, Scooter headed for the computer and I knitted - determined to finish two projects today.

First, I finished sewing in the ends of the Mason-Dixon bib. I want to add a little patch for decoration to it an the green one I finished and get decorative buttons.

Then I began to do the last row of triangles on the 'garterlac' bathmat and realized I had MADE IT TOO LONG!!! So I frogged it back to the desired length and finished the last triangles. The skein I had bought had 400 grams. Early on, I had made the bathmat one square wider and frogged it because I didn't think I'd have enough yarn. Well after I finished it this evening, I weighed it and it was only 180 grams. So I have LOTS of yellow cotton yarn left over - but not enough to make another bathmat as I had used some of the yarn from that skein on the baby bib.

I am glad to have those two projects done because I must get back to knitting the sweater for my colleague's daughter. I'm thinking of frogging some of it and fixing a mistake. The pattern calls for me to carry the fuschia yarn behind the white. I decided to knit the fuschia parts with intarsia so need to cut yarn and wind it into balls. Once that is done, the rest of the cardigan should go quickly. I was concerned about knitting the button bands but now that I've done the garterlac bathmat, I have a lot more confidence in my ablility to pick up and knit stitches on the side of the fronts to make the button band.

After that? I hope to finish the two pairs of socks for Todd and Shingo from Japan whom we are going to be visiting after the Kitchener-Waterloo Knitter's Fair in September. Those are the socks where I had 'issues' with the yarn - stripes not matching due to flaws in the yarn.

And my 'quote of the day' (a new feature on my blog): "It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer." --Albert Einstein

Tuesday, 5 June 2007


Well today the temperature has dropped. We got some rain - enough to be annoying. Hopefully it was enough to give everything a good soak.

More progress is being made on the bathmat:

And this is how far I've progressed on the second sock.
It's bizarre, when I took the picture, I now realize how different the second sock is. The first sock has waves of red/yellow and green/blue. The second sock is the exact same yarn but the waves are red/blue and green/yellow.
My basic knowledge of mixing primary colours tells me the first sock is orangeish and aqua and the second sock is more purple and greenish yellow. They really don't look like they match at all. Maybe THAT'S why the yarn was on sale? Ha ha.

I'm trying to work on cleaning up and clearing out my office at work. I want to have everything ready for the new person on June 29 when I walk out of there for the last time.

Monday, 4 June 2007

Monday, Monday

Today was a good day at work. The chiller is keeping things cool even though it could conk out at any time. I did have an on-call (where I look after another colleague's class while they coach a sport, etc.) during half of my prep. period but I took my sock to knit. After school was my last staff meeting.

I stopped into The Source on the way home from work to see if they had any more 'golf' 1GB flash drives. They were out of them but expected to get more in this week. I also had a look at transmitters to play the iPod through the car speakers. I'm going to ask lots of questions and then see what eBay has to offer.

This evening I went to the library to pick up a couple of books on CD to put on my mp3 player. I haven't figured out the best, most efficient way to do it so I'm kind of stabbing in the dark. I did manage to get one of the two disks of 'The Vagina Monologues' on the mp3 player. I also checked out two books, "The Joy of Knitting" by Lisa R. Myers and "The Twisted Sisters Sock Workbook" by Lynne Vogel.

After that I went to Canadian Tire to find screening and spline to replace our front door screen. Whilst (I love using that word) there, I investigated the cost of patio furniture for our deck. Boy, has it come down in price since even last year! Skip and I will go shopping for a table and 4 chairs some evening this week.

I did a little bit of knitting on the bathmat after supper. It is about half done now. Will post a picture tomorrow as I am too tired and it's too late to do it now.

Sunday, 3 June 2007

"Always Look on the Bright Side of Life"

Last night Skip and I went to Roy Thomson Hall to see the oratorio (like an opera without staging and costumes) version of "Monty Python's Life of Brian" called "Not Just the Messiah (he's just a naughty little boy)". Eric Idle is the first cousin of Peter Oundjian, the conductor of the Toronto Symphony and they decided to do a project together. There were 103 musicians and 4 bagpipers on stage for the show. The first part of the program was a mini-pops concert. The TSO performed John Philip Sousa's "Liberty Bell March" the theme song of "Monty Python's Flying Circus", "Nimrod" from Elgar's "Enigma Variations", and the 4th movement of Beethoven's 7th Symphony. What a treat! None of us were expecting that.

This morning we went to see my mother-in-law who is in a chronic care ward in a hospital waiting to get into a nursing home. It was a short visit. She was more intent on watching TV than visiting with us. Skip had been to see her last Wednesday so it was like a bonus visit for her. Still, I think she was glad we came.

I'm still working on the bath mat. I just didn't do a lot of knitting today. I made granola and snoozed on the couch after our excursion.

Skip and I are looking forward to watching the second last episode of "The Sopranos" this evening. It wasn't on last weekend because of the US Memorial Day.

I finished the first Sockotta sock on the GO train on the way to the show last night and started the second one in the food court at the Eaton Centre at dinner. I have about 5" knit on it now.

Saturday, 2 June 2007

My Favourite Day

I headed into Toronto today to spend the last of my music program money for the year. It was my last time doing this task. I was in a bit of a quandry about what to get because the person taking over my job will have different preferences for resources for our students. So I decided to get a bunch of equipment and supplies and only one piece of sheet music - "The Pink Panther", which the students will like.

After that we went to the Tilley store so Skip (my husband) could get a free replacement hat as his 30+ year old one was worn out. Whilst there, I spied a lovely hemp hat which Skip said looked very fetching on me so, of course, I had to buy it. I think it makes me look like Anne of Green Gables minus the red hair. We lunched at Mongolian Grill just around the corner.

On the knitting front, the bath mat is looking quite nice and is about 1/3 done.