Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Last Class

We had our very last class of the year last night: the entrance examination for the Confirmation prep program.   And now it is truly all over but for some grading and mailing of results.  The summer schedule starts today.  Yippee!!    The summer workload is lighter, the Monday-Thursday, 9am-5pm, is a much saner routine ... and I can draw a breath and take things at a more reasonable pace.

My husband likes this time of year, too.  I cook more creatively now that I have the time.  Generally people gain weight in the winter and loss in the summer.  For us, it is the reverse.  But I will be going down to town hall to get our town pool passes soon.  This will be the first year I am entitled to a free pass now that I am officially a senior citizen [over 62, for the purposes of this township].  So, I hope to work off some calories in the pool.

Maybe, I'll even find the time to stitch again.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


Okay, no more trying to fool myself or psyche myself up with new stash.  I have lost it, at least temporarily.  The "it" being my stitching momentum.  Five weeks of barely lifting a needle has done it.  It's the law of inertia, I suppose: Bodies in motion tend to remain in motion, bodies at rest tend to remain at rest.  I am clearly at rest, if not actually comatose.  I am currently reading a series of thrillers by Kay Hooper involving psychics aiding law enforcement ... and that has replaced the more active leisure activity of stitching.

The last time this happened, it lasted two months.  We shall see what happens this time.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Gardening as Salvation

I am looking for a small spot of calm in the eye of the storm and actually feel ashamed to use that metaphor when the folks in Oklahoma have been dealing with the reality.  Nevertheless, it is true.  I need to decompress, de-stress and defuse.  What I'd really love is a spa day complete with a calorically correct and beautifully presented luncheon plate, a facial, a full body massage, a haircut, a manicure and a pedicure.  I can just see myself, swathed in pristine white terry cloth, delicately sipping cucumber water.  A foolish dream since I can afford neither the time nor the cash for such an idyll.

When stressed, I tend to eat all the wrong things and consequently, really have messed with my glucose numbers.  Type II diabetics need to be careful and careful is precisely what I have not been for the past five weeks.  Now I have to restore a proper balance ... happily, it is summer and fresh produce will help.  All the lovely fruits and vegetables currently available will go a long way toward correcting the over-indulgence in bagels, Dunkin' donuts and quick meals dependent on pasta or processed foods.

Soon, I'll even be able to harvest some lovelies from my own garden: fresh peas, mesclun lettuce mix, baby spinach and radishes.  The zucchini, pattypan squash, green beans, carrots, and tomatoes will come a bit later on.  But there is nothing better than vegetables still warm from the sun ... I go out to my garden every morning, literally willing my plants to grow and ripen.  I talk to them, surround them with good thoughts and positive vibrations.  It's become a morning ritual ... before you know it I'll start planting according to the phases of the moon and strategically placing crystals round about my garden.  I don't know what it is about gardening that brings out my inner pagan ... perhaps it is my Celtic heritage that leaves me particularly sensitive to the pull of Mother Earth.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Stash Enhancement Brightens the Doldrums

Towards the end of the lost fallow month of May, I received some lovely new stash that lifted my spirits and made my fingers itch to pick up needle and floss.  Not enough, mind you, to actually do so.  I feared that, in my exhausted state, I would make a muck of things.

Stitchery Row in Endicott, NY did their usual rapid turn around and I received my order within 48 hours of placing it.  Pictured below are the booklets for DebBee's Designs counted canvas designs, Rice Pudding and A Bump in the Rhodes, as well as all the perle cottons required for Rice Pudding which I plan to start this month.

I love the colors in this piece.  It's a bit hard to see but the Sullivan perles, the shorter skeins on top, are varigated.  The whole thing is such a joyful blend of autumn colors that I know I shall be delighted with the finished piece ... probably a throw pillow for my bedroom.

The Rhodes stitch, in all its variations, is another of my favorites.  I've never done a needlepoint canvas where some of the canvas is exposed for a lacy effect.  I'll be interested to see how that looks.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

June Bugs Me

May was tough but the beginning of June promises to be more trying and emotionally draining.

Being slammed at work is one thing, but having a full professional-social calendar is far worse.  I am, by nature, an introvert and, by choice, a hermit.  I'd rather chaperone 60 8th graders on a  two day retreat than spend two hours at the end of year parish team dinner making small talk.   June is the month for all of the end-of-year celebrations which I tend to consider worse than work, listed here in order from least onerous to most deadly:  on June 9, the parish's afternoon reception for volunteers [command performance as one of the "hosts"], on June 4, the parish team end-of-year dinner [command performance as one of the members],  and, on June 6, the archdiocesan Communion Breakfast [another command performance as one of the hundreds of honorees].  

The last mentioned event is the positive worst.  It is run by nuns and only those who have worked closely with nuns can know what this means.  Nuns build community and affirm the members of said community.  Normally, this is a good thing.  But when the community is the catechetical leadership of damn near all the parishes of the NY Archdiocese plus the regional and diocesan staffs ... well, you're talking about a very large, diverse and unwieldy community.  This community runs the gamut from urban sophisticates to "black dirt" onion farmers, from third generation white flight suburbanites to poverty stricken ghetto dwellers, with a few genuine hillbillies and native American Mohawks  thrown in for good measure.  You will find at least a dozen languages spoken by members of this group.  Indeed, sometimes it seems as though the only things making us a community are a shared faith and some artificial boundary lines separating us from the Albany diocese to the north and west and the Brooklyn diocese to the south and east..

Anyway, the Mass that begins the day [and, yes, a Communion Breakfast takes nearly a full workday] is the best part.  From there on,  it is all downhill.  The Mass is usually followed by a breakfast that has nothing to do with breakfast, or even brunch, foods.  It is the considered opinion of myself and a few close friends in the ministry that the food served is whatever was left over from the previous weekend's weddings catered by the venue ... a rather cheesy catering hall in Westchester that owes its main claim to fame and its name to a marvelous Hudson River view.  There is invariably a keynote speech, followed by recognition of 5 year, 10 year, 15 year, 20 year anniversaries of service; followed by recognition of 25 and 50 year jubilees of all the nuns in the audience celebrating those landmarks; followed by farewells to all those retiring from the ministry complete with curriculum vita noting every detail of their accomplishments in ministry.  And then come the awards for extraordinary service.  A Communion Breakfast that ends by 2:00pm is a rarity.  And then there is the hour long commute back to the office on the other side of the Hudson.  And when I say that this is a command performance, I do mean command.  Attendance at a certain number of archdiocesan events like the annual Communion Breakfast is one of the requirements for re-certification every five years.  "Yes, Sister, I will be happy to attend!"

I console myself that the remainder of June and all of July will be relatively peaceful and almost solitary.  Just the occasional parent dropping in to register or former student dropping by to say hello and maybe a few visits from publisher's reps trying to sell me something.  I'll be able to spend the bulk of my time closing out one school year and prepping for the new one in September.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Assessing May Goals, Setting June Goals

You've heard of the Lost Weekend, this was the lost month.    Sadly, I have not been away due to a wild bacchanalia of a month, that at least would have been more fun.  Rather, I was slammed at work.  More details to follow when I begin posting again more regularly next week.   This weekend is just for recuperation.

2013 BAPs: continue work on TW Woodland Angel Christmas Stocking.  No.
2013 Challenge: WIPs and UFOs:  resume work on The English Band Sampler.  No.
2013 Class Projects Challenge: continue work on Mystic Smalls, this month's project will be the tuffet.  No.
Town Square SAL:  finish The Fiber Shop and stitch The Frame Shop.  No.
Sewing and Assembly Finishes: Complete three.  No.

2013 BAPs: continue work on TW Woodland Angel Christmas Stocking.
2013 Challenge: WIPs and UFOs:  resume work on The English Band Sampler.
2013 Class Projects Challenge: continue work on Mystic Smalls.
New Start 2013: Continue work on Stitch Bitch's Plum Street Sampler's Be True Challenge.
Town Square SAL:  finish The Fiber Shop and stitch The Frame Shop.
Sewing and Assembly Finishes: Complete three.