Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Gems from the music room, part three.

Next door to me is a special education class. The kiddos in there are severely developmentally delayed and a few of them are medically fragile as well. I love them. I love them hard. Every gain in there is cause for celebration; one little one (who isn't so little...she's eight years old) has begun babbling like your average early toddler. There's hope for her to say "mommy" and her own name some day.

A new little guy has joined the class. He's pretty far down the autistic spectrum. His receptive language (what goes in) seems to be pretty good; he can follow directions and has a good grip on his surroundings. His expressive language, not so much. There's plenty of sound coming from him, some of it meaningful and some not. But he's engaged.

I like to drop in when I can; the printer I'm networked to is in there, but I like to come in for a "visit" too. So today, as I wandered in, this little guy had some free time and was on the carpet playing with marbles. He motioned for me to join him, and I did. One of the things we're always doing is talking AT these guys; encouraging and modeling for them proper social greetings, using names, expressing yes or no, and so on. So, knowing that he has words to use (he's probably the only one with functional speech in there, though one other kiddo expresses herself with an adaptive communication device), I said to him, "Say, 'Hi, Kish.' " (That's my surname, and we don't bother with titles in there.)

How did he respond?

He leaned over, said, "Hi," and then kissed my arm.

Kish? Kiss? Doesn't matter to me.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Three Months to the Day

Precisely three months after my bathroom ceased to be a functioning room in my house, on Friday, I came home to this:

And this:

Imagine, a sink, a toilet, and a bathtub, all on the same floor, in the same room, with no danger of them falling into the room below. Now, not only do I have a real bathroom, but I can also finally put to the bed the other two rooms affected by this whole mess. I can unpack the remaining boxes, hang some more pictures, choose some more paint colors. Let's face it, I'm a girl who likes some structure, and for the last seven months the state of where I would lay my head at night has been in some sort of turmoil. This gets me one step closer to a manageable amount of chaos in my home. I don't expect everything to be buttoned up neat and tidy in the next 24 hours, but I least I can wash up now as I get there.

Next: post-Rhinebeck! Only a week late!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Oh. Em. Gee.

It looks more and more like a bathroom everyday. It's hard to tell in my magnificent photography, but the tub surround is white subway tile. I luff it. There is a very good chance that this project will wrap up next week.

Beyond that, this weekend is Rhinebeck and I WILL REMEMBER MY CAMERA this year. There's fun stuff ahead!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

No Clever Title This Time

Just a check-in and of course, some bathroom updates. I mean, haven't you noticed a certain emptiness in your lives since the last time I told you about my plumbing? We can't have that.

Fred came by today and installed the little Corian bench in the recessed spot of the surround. There's the seat, and an apron attached to the front of it to eliminate as many water entry points as possible. The tile guys are coming on Tuesday to install, and should come back the next day to grout. Fred and the guys will then put the last part of the subfloor down, and then the vinyl can go in. After that, I could almost finish the work-installing the toilet and sink. OK, not really, but that's all that's left. By the time it's all finished, it'll be almost three months to the day that this began.

At some point this weekend, I need to paint the wainscot trim that rings the room. Being a bathroom, it's not acres and acres, and it certainly will be easier to paint a wall without a toilet in the way. I just need to get a little more motivated...just a little...

On other fronts, we've determined that the SAD (that I think almost every Northeasterner has a least a touch of) has invaded enough to make a little more medication necessary. I've made friends with the Wellbutrin, and I think it's helping already (about two weeks in). I don't feel as brittle, or that I'm faking it to get through my day, and when I joke and tease with my students, it feels genuine again. This may be the first time in three years that I actually feel like I enjoy my job. I think I've been functioning with low-level depression for that long, and am just at the point where I can't keep up with it on my own. There's still dissatisfactions in my life, and questions to be answered, and irritations to be dealt with, but it's not all so overwhelming. I feel like I just might have the energy to start dealing with them, instead of using that energy to just get through the day, and then feeling bad because I couldn't seem to dig myself out of that hole.

Rhinebeck is this coming weekend! It kind of snuck up on me, believe it or not. But now that I remember, I'm really looking forward to it. I need to pick up some special wine for a certain someone who raises goats *coughmindycough* and will get to meet her in person, and I'll see two other out-of-state friends then too. Perhaps because I've been spending money like I have a printing press in the basement, I'm not feeling the need to PURCHASE (!!!) this year, but I'm thinking about yarn to make Eris (I've had the pattern forEVer) and I'm sure there'll be spinning fleece too. Maybe not a whole fleece...but we'll see. If a nice CormoX winks at me just right, I may fall for it.

Speaking of spinning fiber, I decided I wanted to finally spin purposefully, instead of "let's see what the fleece says." To be honest, I feel like that's a cop-out once you're past the really-beginner stage. Perhaps if I were more of a designer, if I could "see" the potential in what I spun, it wouldn't seem like so flaky. But instead, it feels like a lack of discipline and leads to a Rubbermaid tote full of four ounces of this and four ounces of that which never get used. And I don't spin to collect. I spin to use.

So I have a two-pound lump of Ashland Bay merino that I acquired just after I bought my wheel two years ago. I always knew I wanted to make a sweater out of it eventually, and I thought I had the pattern until the latest Twist Collective came out. Ysolda's Vine Yoke cardigan changed my mind. If I'm going to make something that resembles her design, I need to spin a yarn similar to what she used (which happens to be Lorna's Laces Green Line worsted). It's a 10-ply yarn. Hah. I do have my limits. I'm going with 3-ply instead, so that I have a nice round yarn. If I could spin my singles finer, I would consider doing 4-ply...but I'd also like to wear this garment before I retire. So 3-ply it is.

To make a long story short, it worked! I spun up three strips of the top onto separate bobbins, plied them, set the twist, and swatched...and I got gauge on the first try! I am more than happy to claim beginner's luck here, but like the first pair of socks I made from my own measurements (and Priscilla Gibson-Roberts' guidance), now I know for sure that I can make ANYTHING I want, as long as I take the time to prepare. So far, it's a very satisfying process, and I like not feeling the urge to get online and buy the yarn given in the pattern. I'm sure I still will in the future (see above, "Eris"), but I'm not tied to it.

Now, if I could only convince the zoning folks that two Shetland sheep really would not be a problem in my yard...