Hard

Some days are just hard. Or maybe it’s the years too. I’m not sure. Let’s start with the days. Like today.

Everything just kept coming. Without stopping. Without any sort of slow down or let up. I’m supposed to be working on my portfolio to turn in for my yearly evaluation…don’t worry, it’s only my first year back and I’m not overwhelmed or anything. I find tons of time to do all the things I need and WANT to do. No, I’m not complaining…

When I started this blogging adventure, I wasn’t teaching. I was just married and moved to a brand new city, coaching some volleyball and taking orders at Starbucks…after I’d been on my own, teaching for two years. The transition felt like a backslide professionally, but a huge leap in the right direction for me personally. That backslide really puts things into perspective for me now.

So no, I’m not complaining. Maybe engaging in a little self-pity…a little “Oh poor me” moment…I know I just need to buckle down and get it finished, but I’m at a stand still.

My brain won’t go any further. I’m stuck on today and that it was hard.

I’m only 1.5 days away from a much needed “spring break.” I’d like to get this portfolio finished before then. It would have been nice to have the break to work on it. I think I’ve written the hard part. Now I just need to pick apart the “responsibilities of the educator’s position”, the “communication and interpersonal relationships” and “professional responsibilities and professional development” portions of my packet and decide how I’ve done those things this year. I’m sure I have, but man, my brain is having a hard time finding it all right now.

It’s awfully mushy up there.

As the school year winds down, I know I need to make this final push and start planning for the summer. And the next school year. I’ve been offered my contract again. Yay! I’m excited for some continuity…it’s amazing that it’s been since 2013 since I’ve had something constant in my life other than my husband and my cats…and maybe my knitting.

I’d like to pick up the needles again, but until the portfolio is done, I feel it would be irresponsible…just as writing on here is…but maybe this is a brain break 🙂


Jenna

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A Day to Knit

I am so grateful today is Saturday. This was such a long, short week. Our school was on a “mini spring break” last Friday and Monday and the two four-day weeks have been tortuously long. I would rather have the whole five days or no days…this partial week stuff is exhausting! It takes the kids an extra day to get focused and before you know it the week is over…throw in a few field trips and schedule changes and a mass that runs long and a partner teacher who is out and you have a crazy “short” week.

Enough of that. I’ve been knitting a little bit each evening despite lacking the brain space for it. I thought if I could just knit 1 or 2 rows, maybe my brain would relax. It did, at least while I was knitting…then I would head to bed and school dreams would happen. Those are terrible because there is no way to end them or control them. And they haunt me for the next day…

As for the knitting, I’ve been working on my Decemberist shawl by Melanie Berg. It’s so luscious. I love it! I finished the lace chart and decided to add another couple of rows since I had the yarn and I love a big shawl…I just wanted to extend the chart another couple rows…which was a little more challenging than I thought it would be. These designers work hard and I think it is definitely worth the money paid for the pattern 🙂

Anyway, I’m sure you’d love a look at the shawl.

Everything was going just wonderful until last night when I had a few too many beers and thought I’d try to knit…then I got off somewhere, decreasing when I shouldn’t have. I’ve located the hot spot of error, marked it with a shiny stitch marker and am going back to fix it…just a little tinking.

I’m hoping to have this thing off the needles today! I’m going to meet up with my friend Korey to knit for a while and I can’t wait! I’m going to pack more projects than I can ever really knit and there may even be a trip to Knitorious if we are lucky…

I hope you all have a wonderful Saturday…I’m hoping mine will be just what I need!

When Things Don’t Feel Quite Right

Seems to happen when I feel like I’m being stretched too thing…ironically, I’m the one who does the stretching! No one else…

I was talking with my husband last night about it…my brain just seems full all the time. But it’s full of things that coming and going. I can really only focus on the task at hand. I can’t seem to spend any time outside of the present focusing on what is going on in the present.

I know that I need to spend more time planning for school…how do you think I know that? I’m dreaming about lesson plans and things going right but mostly wrong in my classes. I’m starting the panic again that I’m not doing enough or good enough. That kids aren’t learning. That we’re getting behind.

But when I leave school I just can’t seem to find my way back in my mental state. When I leave school, I also seem to leave my school thoughts there. When I left my friends this weekend, I feel like I left my friend thoughts there. Thankfully they were prolonged a touch by my friend, Brenna, who drove back with me…but I can’t seem to spend any time thinking about them otherwise. When I talk to my mom in the mornings, my thoughts are there, but I can’t spend any other brain power outside to mull over other things.

I’m perpetually stuck in the present.

This also comes up with knitting. I can’t seem to think about other knitting except for when I’m actually knitting. I’m having a hard time making the time to do that. I’m coaching and teaching and trying to be a good wife, daughter, and friend.

I’m not sure my brain could handle both the knit stitches and all the other perpetually present thoughts. I may short out a circuit or something.

So the knitting right now is the Decemberist by Melanie Berg. I’m using Cascade Eco Duo in the most beautiful gray and tan…it’s heavenly soft and I can’t wait to wear it…except that it’s warming up here…but maybe not for long. It can’t seem to make up it’s mind. I think I’m ready for spring though. At least some flip flops.

Onward

Remember when I said I’d be back?

Months ago?

It feels like eons.

I feel like these last 5 months have moved at light-speed and at a snail’s pace. I look up and weeks have flown by. Then I get back to my classroom on a Tuesday at 11:53 and my day has moved maybe a centimeter.

I spent time this weekend standing by one of my best friend’s while she married her new best friend. That’s the way it is supposed to go. This is the second time in the last 4 months that this has happened. Once to a friend in November, and now only a short 72 hours ago to another. My group of friends from college (6 of us), the ones you can drop off and pick up with in an instant, are moving through this transition. I started the ball rolling in 2013 when my husband and I made it official…another friend the following year, then a break…these next three are all happening in less than a year’s time.

With each one I’m so excited and happy that they are starting the next chapter of their lives with the people who are now their biggest support and best friend. But I’m also a little sad that our group is changing…my  marriage didn’t seem like such a big change…my husband had been around since 6 months after I met these girls…it just feels like the end of an era.

But for the best. I know we all have to grow up. And it may be the best thing in the entire world to see the people you love the most the happiest they’ve ever been…at least since I’ve known them.

Being around them reminds me of what friendship is supposed to feel like. It also reminds me of how rare it is to find these types of friends in life…I’m also faced with the challenge of trying to cultivate friendships with new people…people who are geographically close to me…so I don’t become a hermit who lives their life on the phone or through tests or the internet…but with real people. In real life. At real coffee dates or knitting dates or volleyball games or on patios or at secret family dinners…

Just thoughts. Maybe being 30 has lead to some insights and good changes beyond feeling like my body is aging and my clock is ticking and time is just marching on. Where does it leave me? How do I keep time?

How do I make the most of my time here?

Sounds like a new challenge and a new thing to focus on…besides all the amazing people I need to befriend and the new people that I need to let in…stop holding at an arms length for fear of being hurt or being found out or disappointing…hoping that when they do know me they are happy they know me, and I them. These moments of being vulnerable and wanting to connect. Not letting them pass me by but taking advantage and trying my best.

Woah! Sappy and cliche.

Maybe tomorrow I can share some knitting…I won’t ask you to hold your breath but maybe you should just go to instagram… @hardknitlife

7:00pm…

And I’m ready for bed! How is it so? I’m months from 30, I don’t have any children of my own to wear me out…but I do spend my days with almost 100 students entering and exiting my classroom throughout the day. I’ve been working hard to plan and be prepared for my classes…but some days are better than others. I think that’s just the nature of working with students! They are the variable and so much depends on them…if they are having a good day, what time it is, how close are we to lunch or snack or the end of the day, what happened in the class before, what’s happening after school…if the calculator looks like a cell phone 🙂

All of these are distractions and factor into how things go each day in my classroom. I can only try to be constant myself, being prepared and happy to see them. I was reminded today how much I do love my kiddos…I’ve only known them for about a month, maybe 7 weeks…so almost 2, but I think we are starting to understand each other. It’s hard to remember that I have to get to know these people at a new place…they don’t know me and I don’t know them from a prior life, we have to find our groove…I think we are on our way. This doesn’t make any of this less hard.

It doesn’t change the fact that I’m seriously considering hitting publish and then going to bed.

My knitting has been pretty monogamous…just the baby blanket. Like I said before, Baby Joe is here and the weather is starting to change…I need to get this thing off the needles! I’ll try to get a picture tomorrow in the daylight and upload it…maybe Instagram. It’s coming along. I find comfort in the stockinette and the springy yarn. It’s nice to turn my brain off for a while but keep my hands productive.

Just a thought 🙂


Jenna

Saturday Already?

I don’t know how I got here when I was just here a week ago…the days seem to fly by in hyper speed! This week was tough. My students took the ITBS test last week and finished up the last day of testing on Monday. Then the schedule and such was supposed to go back to normal…except throw in a Liturgy schedule Tuesday for all school Mass, then activity schedule for electives on Wednesday, and then Mass ran late on Thursday…Friday was the first “normal” day we’ve had! The last two weeks have been crazy and the kids were definitely feeling it by Friday. As were the teachers. Normally, we need to stay on campus until 3:30, but Friday afternoon our principal was walking down the halls at 3:15 telling us to leave! Go home! Rest!

So I did. I’ll have to go back up there on Sunday to grade the tests I gave Friday and get everything set for the week. You know the old adage…”Failure to plan is a plan for failure.” Never were truer words said, especially for a teacher.

Enough of that. Let me tell you about my knitting. I bound off the Autumnal Equinox Blanket! I just need to soak it and let it dry and take some pictures. All the ends are woven in!

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I also finished up my Strie socks…those toe up ones! The ones that I knit the heels on at least 3 times…the ones that were my first experiment in the toe-up department…the ones that I’ve been carting around in my purse for probably a year…

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Just in time for cooler weather! Growing that sock drawer!

I’ve also been trying to put in some serious work on Baby Joe’s Striped Blanket. Did I mention that beautiful boy is here? And he’s home and growing…already a pound heavier than his birth weight! Full head of hair…I’ll have to get a good picture of him 🙂

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Anyway, I’ve finished two of the triangles of the blanket and picked up stitches for the third triangle. I’m minorly worried about having enough of the gray yarn…I have this tiny bit left after the first two sections and I’ve got one more ball for the rest of the blanket. I should be ok since I’m not planning to use the gray in the border. We shall see. I am still loving the Cascade 220 Superwash…so springy!

That’s all I’m working on…I’ve got a few other things I’m trying to resist, like my Bootstrap socks and Nora’s Harvest Cardigan…I think I’ll tackle her sweater when I’ve finished Baby Joe’s Blanket.

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Hopefully I’ll see you guys again this week!

Jenna

Saturday…After Friday.

So Friday, my school was empty of children. We headed over to a local Catholic high school for a day of Professional Development. The school brought in Kim Bearden from the Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta. She was inspiring. Refreshing. Beautiful. She spoke to us for about 5 hours and I left feeling renewed in my classroom commitment. But I also looked around the tables at the event more than once and wondered if anyone else was drinking the KoolAid. I’m not so sure. Maybe that makes me a little naive…I would like to think it makes me hopeful. Hopeful that I can make a difference and change a few things, especially with my 8th graders.

During the 5 hours we were sitting and listening, there really wasn’t much to take notes on. Don’t get me wrong, Kim had some really wonderful ideas and engaging stories. She spoke to my heart, but not in the way were I needed to take notes. So I knit on some socks. I took 2 pairs because I thought I could work on those very inconspicuously with my hands near table height. I did not need my principal or anyone else thinking I was distracted. The irony is that by keeping my hands busy I can listen more intently. I will admit that when people are speaking I can spend time doodling and totally get lost in my own head. But if I’m knitting, I can just keep my hands busy, a productive fidget, while my mind stays with the presentation.

I worked on my First Crazy Toe-Up Socks…I’m near the end here…I’ve got maybe another inch of ribbing then a stretchy cast off. Just in time for fall to arrive. I’m hoping the weather will change soon and I can wear them!!

I also got in some rows on my Bootstrap socks. If you remember, I was ready to start the heel on my second sock. So Thursday night I sat down with the intention of getting the heel worked and the gusset stitches picked up so I would have some stockinette for Friday. I stared at the cuff. I counted the stitches 4 times. Yes, I had cast on 64 stitches. I re-read the directions. I only have placed one marker…I was supposed to place two. The two garter stripes should have fit onto 1 half of the stitches with 2 stitches on each side…I hadn’t done that. So I ripped back to the ribbing. And began again. I got in about 2 inches yesterday during the conference. I forgot how much I loved knitting on little DPNs.

In other news, I am dying to cast on about 87 other things. But I’m holding off because the baby blanket knitting needs to happen…I’ve got two blankets to knit for December…a friend is having twins. And then another friend is having a boy in January and another friend is having a boy in February…I’m sure by the time I finish all of these someone else will be pregnant too 🙂 More baby blankets…all the time!!

Anyway, I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend. The Strange Folk Festival is happening this weekend in St. Louis. I’m hoping to make it over there on Sunday…only time will tell if I break the yarn diet.


Jenna