August 29, 2008


My feminist heart is over the moon--my whole presidential decision up in the air!

McCain Picks Palin!

August 27, 2008

Ready for Hogwarts!

Mr. Cool received a special birthday gift--his very own Hogwarts scarf, in Ravenclaw-ish colors. I had to knit like the wind the week before his birthday, but I finished! He was totally surprised, as he hadn't seen me work on it in weeks.

Ready for those cool morning motorcycle rides!

A warmth close-up.

Pattern: House Scarf, Year 1-2 by Lauren Kent, in Charmed Knits
Yarn: Cascade 200 in Charcoal & Blue Velvet, 2 skeins each
Modifications: I used the large width, but the small length, and I left off the fringe, as Mr. Cool deemed it not very Mr. Cool-ish.
Mr. Cool's Reaction: "Awesome! It connects the of two houses of Hogwarts--the cunning and ambition of Slytherin and the raw intelligence of Ravenclaw."

August 25, 2008


The Olympics are over. Wow--seventeen days went by quickly. I don't even know what I'll watch tonight, without the Olympic games. I just hope I can make to February 2010 in Vancouver!

I now present my favorite moments of the 2008 Olympic Games.
1. All the big, rich NBA athletes stringing their Olympic gold medals around the neck of my favorite coach, Duke's Coach K. Coach, if I can swing it, I will name my firstborn son Krzyzewski in honor of you.
2. Michael Phelps's mom, an elementary school principal, in get-ups I recognized from fellow teachers.
3. The pure excitement of the kayaker from Togo who won his country's first medal, a bronze.
4. All 4 ft. 9 in. of Shawn Johnson marching in the closing ceremonies.
5. Thirty-something Laura Wilkinson, 2000 gold medalist, cheering on all of her fellow divers. You are a class act.
6. Forty-one year old Dara Torres royally ticked that she lost the gold medal. Competitive spirit has no age limit!

I could go on and on--what were your highlights?

August 23, 2008

A Few Laughs

Mr. Cool's bash was fun, and he received a rockin' knitted object for his birthday I'll blog about tomorrow. But for today, as I worked on ordering transcripts and squaring away fun stuff like that, I was led by some online pals to some hysterical youtube videos. So, here you go. There is a bit of a mature audience warning, but it's all pretty mild.

Eddie Izzard + Legos: James Bond
Death Star Canteen
Do You Have a Flag?

Joe Cocker, Subtitled

August 22, 2008

And Many More!

Happy Birthday Mr. Cool! Here's to many more years of using logic, complaining, seeking perfection, sketching targets, researching weaponry, reading Tom Clancy, eating everything I cook, armchair quarterbacking, winking, supporting me, cleaning your shop, and planning vacations. I love you!

August 21, 2008

Lumpy Luke

Whew. My first two days are over, so I've met all the kids in my six classes. I am beat. I can barely move my fingers over the keyboard.

A highlight: Last year, a class I took gave me a great idea for meeting all the kids and remembering their names--we play a game, where each kid comes up with an alliterative adjective for their name (like amazing Amanda), and then we toss a ball around sharing our names and adjectives. The catch? You have to state everyone else who has gone before you. I always go last, and have to remember every kid. It works like a charm, and goes a long way toward helping me remember their names, and for the kids to learn what alliteration is. I always have some classics, including the title, and this year's best were: Cuckoo-for-cocoa-puffs Kyle, Nocturnal Nate, Mouthy Melinda (uh-oh!), Zesty Zach, Shocking Shawn, Shy Chy, and Royal Randy. Disclaimer: the kids seriously all chose those adjectives themselves!

What alliterative adjective would you have connected with your name?

August 19, 2008


Tomorrow is the first day of school with students.
Pressure as always: am I prepared?
have I met the administrivia?
can I learn all the new names?

August 17, 2008


This video, masquerading as a Nike ad, but so much more, is going to be my theme for this year. It features the song, "All the Things That I Have Done," by the Killers, a band on my all-time favorite list. Please watch this, and wait for the end--I usually have chills or tears, and I hope you do to.

Currently Watching: Men's 100 M Dash Final--fastest man on earth time. Published while at church! (Miracles of technology!)

August 16, 2008

Running the Race Before Me

The 2004 Athens Olympics marked the 20th anniversary of the Women’s Marathon in the Olympics. I was blessed (and I say that in a true way, not in a snarky way) to see a reply of Joan Benoit’s gold medal race in the 1984 LA Olympics. I have a picture, framed, of Joan Benoit, that I used to have by my treadmill to serve as inspiration. If you call yourself a feminist, she has to be one of your heroes. For years, the men in charge of the games thought that women would be unable to handle the marathon. They believed our bodies would collapse. Current studies and races are leading to the possibility of women being better at the marathon than men.

I then was able to see (in 2004) the complete men’s and women’s marathons. I sat on the floor, glued to the TV, weeping throughout both races. Watching these men and women complete this grueling task caused more emotion than any other sporting event I’ve witnessed. I wept when Paula Radcliffe had to drop out, and sobbed openly when Deena Kastor won the bronze medal. I found the men’s race just as impacting. I kept thinking of Paul, running the race before him. There is no more apt metaphor for life than the marathon.

Currently Watching: The 2008 Beijing Olympics Women’s Marathon—please join me if you can. They will replay it late tonight—I only hope they will play it in its entirety. Oh, no! Deena Kastor just dropped out of the race—holding her foot! No! Tragedy already.

August 15, 2008

Eat like a gold medalist

Michael Phelps says he eats 8,000-10,000 calories a day. Yeah, I'm jealous too. WebMD breaks it down, for anyone else wanting to try the Olympic Diet. Caution: May result in obesity, or winning multiple gold medals in world record beating time.

I will be back with more news from the first in-service days of the year, and more, tomorrow.

Currently Watching: My own taped all-around gymnastics from last night. Don't tell me how it ends! (I already know. Yay, USA! USA!)

August 11, 2008

My Own Olympics

Lest you think I'm just sitting on my duff watching the Olympics, I've started my first sock. Now, I can finally join the ranks of knitbloggers who photograph their socks everywhere.

My socks cheered on the 4x100 relay with Michael Phelps.

And finally, my sock closed out the night with Bob Costas.

Currently Watching: Just finished men's synchronized diving--now onto Women's Beach Volleyball (USA! USA! vs. Cuba)

August 10, 2008

A Global View

Dinking around on Google News, I thought I'd pass along a few articles giving a bit of perspective on how other countries are writing about the Olympics.

Michael Phelps and Cricket compared

Apparently, they are REALLY friendly with China

Vancouver questions the economic aspects

New Zealand
Oh, no! An equestrian disaster

Currently Watching: Women's Gymnastics qualifying--looking forward to more swimming!

Blowing My Nose with a Pancake

One of my favorite Simpson's episodes involves Bart and Lisa working for Kids News. Lisa desperately wants to be a real news anchor, but Bart steals the show by doing puffy human interest stories. Lisa decides to try the same idea, saying, "I'll pump them so full of sap they'll have to blow their nose with a pancake."

Every Olympic year, I get pumped full of sap. Today, I got teary at a commercial celebrating the Fosbury Flop (one man changed an entire sport!), a Nike ad featuring a favorite Killers' song (I got soul, but I'm not a soldier), another repeat of the darling little earthquake survivor from the opening ceremonies (he was the hall monitor!), the 33-year-old weightlifter from the US with an autistic son (she was taking him the Panda weightlifting toy!), the Thai woman who won the weightlifting event . . .

I could go on and on--of all the things that move me, the intensity of Olympic competition never fails to bring me to chills and tears and celebration. The focus, the dedication, the sacrifice, the patriotism--excuse me, I need another pancake.

Currently Watching: Men's Beach Volleyball (USA! USA! vs. Netherlands)--prior to that, I was able to catch some Water Polo, where USA! USA! defeated China.

August 09, 2008

If You Saw the Opening Ceremonies . . .

. . . please go read the Craigslist Beijing post on one of my favorite knitting sites. Hysterical!

Currently Watching: Boxing (I don't get MSNBC or Oxygen, so I could be missing something good. )

Looking Forward to: Men's swimming and gymnastics (the discerning lady's answer to Playboy)--Go Phelps!

For the Love of Bob

When I was in high school, I had a board in my room, like most kids, where I pinned up things that meant a lot to me. After the 1992 Olympics, that included a picture of Bob Costas. I recognize that this is not the normal guy teenage girls have a crush on. I was not a normal teenage girl.

I love his wit, his intelligence, his sports knowledge--I have always loved tracking Bob's sarcasm as the games go on--and Mr. Cool has always known that if Bob Costas showed up, I would probably go. He is the one celebrity crush of mine where I have never looked up his marital status. If I knew Bob was married, it would affect me in some weird way. If you know, don't tell me.

As I listened to Bob and Matt Lauer do a lovely job of obscure nation fact one-upping last night, I was reminded of all the reasons I love him. Call me, Bob, and I'll knit you a scarf for Vancouver.

Currently Watching: Women's Volleyball--Beach (Aussies vs. Russkies) and Indoor (Japan vs. USA! USA!)

August 08, 2008

A Package from the Faroe Islands

My last swap, undertaken with childhood pal Abby, who is currently residing in the Faroe Islands, involved me begging for some yarn from that delightful place, which shows up in many knitting books. Abby was friendly enough to agree, and this week I found another delightful package on my doorstep.

Within, much knitterly goodness--a fabulous pattern kit to construct beautiful brown gloves with wooden buttons--I can hardly wait to start deciphering the Faroese and cast on, gorgeous bluey/greeney Lopi yarn from Iceland which I think is longing to join my hat collection, and, for Mr. Cool, a great Faroes/puffin patch for his patch collection. I have sent a bit of a package her way, and so ends my swapping for a bit!

August 06, 2008

A Package from Germany

On Ravelry, one of my favorite groups is the Teachers Who Knit group. This summer, while most of us were on vacation, we decided to do a swap. Last week, my package arrived from Germany!

Inside was a "Start Socks Already Kit," beautiful "Summer Lavender" sock yarn for when I get good, a sheep-shaped soap, loads of yummy-smelling German tea, and the type of pens and pencils German students use. It was so fun to see the Deutsch version of an "English" parts of speech pencil. Oh, I also received a chocolate face mask, which I am going to save until the perfect time, and really fun and lovely stitch markers.

I think my swapping time is over for a while (I do have one more swap to share tomorrow), but it has been a wonderful way to share with people all over the world fun knitting things and ideas. It is truly a way to see how much you can have in common if you start with knitting.

August 05, 2008

Hearts & Nuts: A Call for Unity

I've been thinking about this post for a few days, and I hope I can manage to communicate what I'm thinking. I've had the opportunity (blessing?) to be around both ends of the political spectrum in the last few days. I've heard the impassioned words of both right wing nut jobs and bleeding heart liberals. I find myself in between--a moderate, even a bit of a libertarian/strict Constitutionalist. I can get annoyed by both sides, yet understand both points of view.

On Sunday, Mr. Cool and I saw Swing Vote, in which two desperate presidential candidates find themselves pandering to one voter. This leads to a Democratic candidate coming out as pro-life, and a Republican candidate declaring he will lead the charge for gay marriage. It's funny, because it rings a little true. These are issues in which each candidate has a clear stance, one connected to his party platform, but to win votes he changes his stance completely. As I've watched both McCain and Obama flip-flop around certain issues, I've wanted to yell at each one, "Pick something and stand for it!" Yes, the immortal words of Aaron Tippin have sounded in my head, "You've got to stand for something or you'll fall for anything."

The other aspect of my political thoughts recently has involved my latest book, The Preacher and the Presidents, which covers Billy Graham's involvement with each president since Truman. I'm only up to the start of the Kennedy administration, but I've really been struck by the book so far. Billy Graham cared about and loved and prayed for each president, even though he typically found himself closer to the Republican presidents. He is currently (in the book) very close to Richard Nixon, but we know that's not going to end well. What has really struck me, is that before each election, he would pray that God's will would be done, and after the new president was elected, he would believe and honor that man's election as God's will, and do what he could to serve and pray for the president.

I like that idea--if every person in America could accept that on some level, I believe we would see the end of so much of the bitter partisanship. After all, a good president needs both the heart to care for the people of America, and the nuts to stand up for what is right around the world.

August 03, 2008

The Knitting Scouts

Mr. Cool and I were talking about Boy Scouts last night, and how great an Eagle Scout I might have been, as I am easily motivated by rewards and badges, and am quite disciplined. So, Mr. Cool suggested, how about Knitting Scouts? We began to brainstorm the badges you could collect in the Knitting Scouts. Here are our current ideas:

*Project Completion Badges: Obviously, there would have to be badges for the various main knitting garments--one for hats, sweaters, scarves, socks (only awarded after the completion of a pair), shawls, wraps, cozies, dishcloths and so on.

*Public Knitting Badges: We would also award knitting badges for successful knitting in various venues. Stitch 'n Pitch (knitting at a baseball game) and other sporting venues would be recognized, along with knitting in modes of transportation (subways, cars, school buses). Special badges would be awarded for airplane knitting, involving getting your knitting past security and successfully knitting on the airplane without having your needles taken away.

*Yarn Badges: Spinners and dyers could earn badges for creating their own yarn, and the rest of us could earn badges for using different types of yarn successfully. (I'm picturing a sheep badge, an alpaca badge, and so on.) Maybe combining colors could even come into play on this.

*Yarn Store Badges: Badges would be awarded for the number of yarn stores visited during a yarn crawl, exceptional restraint (or exceptional bargain hunting) at a sale, or even managing to visit all the yarn stores in a single state.

I'm not sure where else to go with this idea, I don't know that I'll start the knitting scouts, or make badges, but it would sure be fun! Anyone else have badge ideas?

August 02, 2008

Up With Hats

What to do on an incredibly hot summer day at the ranch? Why, finish a lovely wool beret and take pictures out in the yard! Yes, I am on a hat roll--three in two months! (Okay, not quite a roll, but fun nonetheless.)
The green stripe might look familiar--it's the same tweedy green Cascade 220 as my owl hat, but paired with a lovely hot pink tweedy Cascade 220. As you might notice, I have a bit of a thing for Cascade 220.
Pattern: House Beret from Charmed Knits by Alison Hansel
Yarn: Cascade 220 in green and hot pink tweed
Needles: Ribbing on 7s and rest of hat on 8s

I just can't wait until it gets hot enough to wear my new hats! The beauty of this hat is that it fits over an updo--my owl hat is a bit of a beanie. Anyway, more hats will surely come, but my goal before my one-year knitting anniversary is to start a sock.

August 01, 2008

Caption Hold 'Em

I have so much to post on: finished hats, packages from Germany, trips to the ranch, tearing up carpet, new books, starting socks, the knitting scouts, starting school, and so much more. I'm too tired/busy/hot tonight to get started, so I'll leave you with this picture. Please provide a caption, and try to keep it clean.