Aug 25, 2009


Okay. I just spent the last month teaching 100 students pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary, and colloquialisms in the English language. Yesterday, I asked each of them if they had done their homework, and fully HALF of them said, "No teacha, I ause yeseday," (No teacher, I was absent yesterday.)

So, why go to all the trouble to present this stuff, if they are so willing to throw it aside when they have the opportunity to use it in a more authentic way than a contrived dialogue written in their textbooks? Never mind the fact that most of them WERE NOT absent - why NOT add what they learn to their repertoir, rather than stick with the "I ause yeseday"? What better way to personalize and make an authentic conversation than to talk about something real for them?

Today they have their final written exam, tomorrow they have to present a project in spoken and written form, and on Thursday, they have an oral exam in which they have to make use of all the language they have in their lessons. "I ause yeseday" gives me no confidence at all that they have learned or have tried to learn anything. I guess I'll see.

I've been told by the administration that I'm too demanding and that I expect way too much from my students. I wonder if that's bad. I expect them to be motivated and study. I expect them to come to class. I expect them to do their homework. I absolutely expect them to respond in some way, be it a correct answer, an "I don't know," or even "I don't really care." At the end of the cycle, many of them try to wheedle a better grade out of me by whining and tearing up or batting their eyes and flirting with me. Some try to intimidate me into raising their grades. Still others use guilt trips and head games, and one even resorted to the traditional Peruvian way - bribery.

I don't remember school or the few college classes I took being anything remotely like this. Maybe all those years working for the Air Force made my world too sheltered and structured. What ever happened to integrity, responsibility, and impeccability? Actually, I'm not that hard of a person. If I can see some TRY in a student, I'm willing to give him or her the benefit of the doubt. But to spend the cycle piddling around, talking about boyfriends, trying to sleep in class, or just not coming, and THEN try to squeeze extra points out of me? Sorry baby, I'm not that easy.

Aug 20, 2009

New spindle!

Here's my new spindle from ButterflyGirlDesigns. It's beautiful! Now I can get on with spinning the Plum and Ginger batts from ArtemisArtemis!

Aug 18, 2009

a bunch of random late night stuff

1. I'm still working on the knitted roving bag. I think it will felt very nicely, since it seems to be felting right here in my hands.

2. Still spinning Waltzing Matilda. Gads, lambkins can be spun for frickin' EVER and still have a pile of roving left in the bag.

3. Still spinning on Rough Cut Diamonds...less than 2 ounces of the original 6 to go. Hoping for enough to make some nice long socks.

4. Still spinning on ArtemisArtemis Ginger and Plum...kinda held up while waiting for my new Butterfly Girl spindle to come. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it. WHERE IS IT??? I've got the mailman traps baited and set out, but haven't caught anything yet.

5. Have 8 ounces of beautifully rustic rambouillet roving from Fat Cat Knits to spin up into stockings, if I ever get finished with what I've got on the spindles already.

6. Celeste has a beautiful cushy new bed and where does she sleep whenever possible? (Hint: NOT in her own bed.)

7. No Bubys or Butsys in my classes this month. Only 7 Luises, 5 Maricruzes, 4 Jorges, a whopping 15 Joses, but just 1 Miguel. After calling on Jose 1, Jose 2, Jose 3,4,5, and 6, I'd give my eye teeth for just one Livinton or Wasinton. I'd even settle for a Dooby or a Dohboy, just to break up the monotony. (They're one's in someone else's class. Such a pity.)

Aug 12, 2009

Just quickly...

Damn this day job! It interferes so much with my REAL life, my fiber life. Between a correspondence course on line, a presentation and class observation with another instructor, getting evaluated, and a full day of teaching, I'm not getting the proper quality time with my projects. Knitting with the mermaid blue/green/purple roving has become so addicting; just watching those gorgeous colors slip through my finger is mesmerizing. It's been quite an interesting experiment so far. I'm not advancing as fast as I'd like, partially due to a little vegetable matter (VM) that's cropping up as I split the roving and draft it out to the thickness that I want for knitting. And partially due to the fact that I spend a lot of time just staring at the colors and imagining that I'm in a clean, clear river in the mountains.

Septimus Heap is over for now. Wah. It was a fast and fun read, but now I have to wait to get the next volume until I go visiting Barnes & Noble when I go home next month. The SH series is a result of the Harry Potter craze, but these books are a little more gentle and less violent. Not that there's a lack of danger and adventure - there is plenty - but it's handled in a way that's more suited for a younger reader. So it focuses a little more on the fun aspect of the magical imagination than Harry Potter does. Things also take place outside of the walls of the castle, in the forest, in the Marsh, in the Badlands, and in the Ramblings, and things seem a little more verdant and fresh, and not so dark. Plus the characters are kind of different. The story is a little less sophisticated than Harry Potter, and so are the characters. I definitely recommend The Septimus Heap series if you want a fun, quick read! The good thing is that there doesn't seem to be an end to the series looming on the horizon.

And, speaking of going home, I really cannot wait to go! It's been 2 years since I've had a vacation, and I'm ready. It's been 2 years since I've spent much time at all out of the smog and car exhaust. I need a few lungfuls of clean country air, even if it's flavored with eau d' dairy cow, goat, or alpaca. Plus, I need some clothes. My work clothes are getting worn out and I seem to be too big to be able to find affordable clothing and footwear here. My tennis shoes have several holes in them now and the soles are so smooth that I get no traction at all with them.

*Sigh* It's time to get ready for work again. See you later.

Aug 10, 2009

a little progress

I've never been able to stick to just one project at a time. I've been playing with the rovings bag, knitting little here and a little there. I've also been spinning on two sets of batts, and I've got a crochet project in the works, too. Project ho, here. And, I've been reading. I'm in the middle of the second volume of the Septimus Heap series, Flyte. I know, it's a kid's book, but it's also a LOT of fun. And I like fun with no strings attached. A kid's book - just what I need for these gray, damp and fungusy, dreary winter days!

So here are some photos of the experiment of knitting with roving, so far (and a little peek at Flyte.) I like it, but I need to devote a little more time to it. This is how it's going so far:

The mermaid roving.

Aug 3, 2009

knitting with roving

Well, today's my last day of the Independence holiday. As usual, I've been drop-kicked by a bug too small to see. A head cold. Luckily, today is the first day in a week that I've felt half-decent. I've had WAAAY to much caffeine and have too much energy for my own good. I've had a ton of projects bouncing around in my head, but so far, all I've managed to do is get groceries, get some laundry washing, and take the latest spinning project down from the drying rack and bag it up.

So I have some really gorgeous wool roving - mermaidy colors in blues and greens and purples - that I've been working with. There's a LOT of it and I'm kind of spun out on it for the time being. And I've been, of course, reading a lot on Ravelry and getting a hankering to felt something. I want to make a bag with this roving, but I'm so sick of spinning it that I've decided to go with just knitting the roving. I've pulled some down to pencil roving size, more or less, and begun to knit it on US size 11 straight needles. They're the biggest needles I've got for now. It's going surprizingly well! I had some misgivings about it at first, envisioning the roving falling apart, but this fiber still has a little sheep grease in it, I think, and it's kind of sticky. That makes it a little hard to spin, but it's making it fabulous to knit with! So far, no falling apart, and when I was pulling it into smaller sections, if it broke, I just rolled it between my hands a couple of times and PRESTO! it's whole roving again!

The only drawback to this whole process is that there's no hot water plumbed into the laundry room. I'll have to heat water in the teapot to carry to the washer for my felting process. Plus the fact that every time I pull it into pencil roving, I want to grab a spindle! This fiber is just beautiful! I'll have pictures of this experiment later. Right now, I've gotta get my overly-caffinated brain back down to the ground!

Aug 2, 2009

Handspinning Sunday

Superwash merino, 64 ct, Waltzing Matilda colorway, from Enchanted Knoll Farm
Superwash merino and sparkly stuff, Rough Cut Diamonds colorway, from Enchanted Knoll Farm
70% bamboo, 20% firestar sparkles, 10% sari silk. Colorway "Riot", from Butterfly Girl Designs.

The thick and the thin of it all...