Stir Crazy

After the long weekend I had hoped that maybe, just maybe, I would get to go to work again today. Alas, here I sit at home on snow day number 9 as they are now predicting ice and freezing rain to go with all the snow that is still sitting on the ground. You would think that they would have cleared at least some of the roads since Wednesday, but apparently the city of Portland has settled on a policy of “wait for it to melt”. All this is to say…I’m bored.

I churned out a Father Cables hat for Nate in record time yesterday. It went extra fast because, in addition to being painfully bored, I was terrified of running out of yarn from the start. The pattern calls for 220 yards of worsted, which is pretty standard for most single skeins. The yarn I had intended for the pattern is a lovely hand-painted beauty from Rainwater Fibers that I bought when I was in Washington for a training. I bought two skeins, one for Nate in the colorway Iron-y (a greyish/tannish/mushroomy sort of color), and one for me in Inherited the Family Jewels (a greyish/purplish/blackish sort of color). The catch? Each skein only has 190 yards, 30 yards short of what my pattern recommends.

When dealing with a potential yarn shortage, the only course of action is to keep knitting as fast as possible. And so I did. I measured and only left a few inches of tail after the cast on, and I skimped a bit on the ribbing. I knit frantically through the main body of the hat, swearing every time I glanced at my ever-dwindling skein. As I started the decreases, the ball was smaller than my palm.

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I was optimistic I could make it, but I knew it would be close. And close it was, though not as close as I thought. After closing up the top and weaving in ends I have just a few yards left, probably enough for a stripe or two in another project. I LOVE how it turned out, and I’m looking forward to a much more relaxing time knitting a matching one for myself now that I know I have just enough yarn.

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Oh, and I made zucchini bread last night. Did I mention I was bored?

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Snowed in

Before this week we had already had 4 snow days this year. School was cancelled Monday because of ice, but classes were in session Tuesday. The weather report was predicting 1-3″ of snow on Wednesday morning, but I was sure they wouldn’t cancel again for just a dusting. On Tuesday night it snowed 3″ in one hour. Four days later there is still nearly a foot of snow on the ground. In Portland, Oregon. This is madness.

For me, all this snow has meant putting off lesson plans in favor of lots and lots of knitting. In my last post I mentioned the Pussyhat Project. At the last knit night I was able to attend before the snow I picked up some pink yarn and knit up my first one. I went stash diving for pink and made a second, but by Friday I was done with the second hat and all out of pink yarn. I hiked through the snow yesterday for a restock, wound up all the pink yarn in the house, and cranked out another.

These first three pussyhats will be sent out this week: two destined for family attending the Women’s March in Washington D.C., and one for my dad who wanted a way to show his support. Currently, I’m itching for something a bit more challenging, so I plan to cast on this hat for Nate before I knit one more pussyhat for myself.

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Here’s hoping there is school again on Tuesday!

Year of the Activist

Alright, get ready for the cliched New Year’s post! I have always loved the sense of renewal that a new year brings, and this year is no exception. It was delightful to wake up with 2016 behind me and the proverbial clean slate stretching out ahead waiting to be etched with new and better things. However, this year has also got me in a more reflective state, looking back over the year that passed.

It feels strange to realize that while I personally accomplished so much in 2016 (have I mentioned how great it is to be able to say that I am a TEACHER?!?!), I am also very much in tune with my generations’ current tone of abjection, objection, and dejection after the year that passed. In general I am pragmatic and optimistic and easily roll on after setbacks, or at least manage to stay sane and above the fray while others cluck about the sky crashing down. My ability to stay practical and positive is something I consider a strength, but the last few months especially have tested my easy-going mettle.

My sense of pragmatism has kept me on the political sidelines for most of my adult life. I believe in the value of working within a system to create change, and have never really felt the need to do much more than stay informed and keep doing what I feel is the right thing. I thought that I was okay with things after the recent election cycle. I didn’t cry or recluse or anything like that. I moved forward, like I always do. But now, sitting here on the edge of 2017 some of my inner lefty feminist steam is starting to build pressure and crack my pragmatic shell, and I think that is a good thing. I have been practical to a point of being very nearly aloof and apolitical for too long. I thought I was okay with things, but I’m really not. I am damned disappointed with the current social, political, and global outlook. It’s fucking frustrating.

Some things I’m feeling right now…

As a woman, the results of the 2016 US election are upsetting. I am a feminist, to my core. My feminism is something I don’t often articulate publicly, but 2017 is the time. Mostly, I believe in a woman’s right to choose. Women should have the right to choose to have a career, or not. Women should have the right to choose if, when, and how they would like to have children. Women should have the right to choose their parking spot, running path, seat on public transit, or other means of taking up space without fear of harassment or assault. Women should have the right to choose how they present themselves (clothing, make-up, etc) in those public spaces, without fear of harassment or assault, and without risking being blamed for any harassment or assault that might happen to coincide with those choices. Women should have the right to choose their romantic, marital, and sexual partners. Women should have the right to choose how many or how few romantic, marital, or sexual partners they have without fear of ridicule.

As a teacher of students in poverty, immigrant students, and students of color, the results of the 2016 US election are incredibly threatening. The youth I teach had no real voice in this election, and we failed them. My students are incredibly bright, resilient, strong young people, but I wonder daily how much the ignorance and hatred they are confronted with drags on their spirits. I wonder how they will cope with coming of age during the next administration. I wonder if there is anything I can do about it.

With all this and more weighing on my mind as 2016 came to a close, I decided that 2017 is the year to do something about it. I worked as a youth soccer coach the last couple of years, and the company I worked for always had a title for each new year, the Year of Fun, or the Year of the Coach, for example. It was a simple way to drive home the focus for the year, and to keep things constantly moving forward. Well, at least for me, 2017 is going to be the Year of the Activist. I’m going to put my money and, more importantly, time where my mouth is, get out there, and DO SOMETHING to support the causes that mean something to me.

First up, I plan to go to the Women’s March on Portland in solidarity with the Women’s March on Washington. Tomorrow at my knitting group I will start a hat for the Pussy Hat Project. I hope to have time to knit at least one to send to D.C. and one to wear as I march. Wish this baby activist luck and quick pussy knitting!