I went to a Christmas party Saturday night and the host and hostess kept asking why I looked “so tired.” They didn't get it. Only people who deal with young people each day can understand the kind of exhaustion that overwhelms teachers at the end of each semester. I know things are bad when I say to my high school students, “Okay, look at the assignment in front of you. Think about it. Do not ask me any questions for ten minutes,” and then attempt to retreat to my desk to sort through emails or enter grades. Of course, someone always approaches the desk and asks for some item for which I inevitably have to hunt. “Do you have a red Sharpie?” or “Are there anymore tissues?” are typical queries, as are, “Can you tell me how many absences I have?” or "Do you have a screwdriver?" (I'm not making these up.) Hope always waxes eternal in me when I issue the “no questions” directive, but I’m a sucker and, as a parent and a teacher, consistency where discipline is concerned hasn’t always been my forte. Needless to say in these moments where I feel like a wrung out dish rag, I often find myself on my hands and knees digging through a storage box for some desperately-needed item for a student or reading that first sentence that the student proudly presented to me along with the question, “Is this okay?”
In addition to the kind of student overload I experience this time of year, I’m always busy, not only buying food to contribute to various holiday events (such as my school’s swanky holiday-pot-luck-and-white-elephant-gift-exchange luncheon) but I’ve also been shopping, trying to get my two enormous boys equipped with clothing so that they can be ushers at my niece’s wedding on Wednesday. For folks who don’t have to run around to dig for clothing at eerily lit cavernous discount stores and Goodwill, this task might not seem a formidable one. But going on a quest for neckties, shoes, jackets, pants, belts, etc. after working all day almost vanquished me. I don’t think there is a cheap pair of dress shoes available on the planet in men’s size 9 4E for my eleven-year-old (yes, eleven), so it’s black sneakers for him. Altering his suit pants, a task that not only involved shortening them, but adding a gusset to the rear, also added to my outfitting challenge. (Of course, I did have an opportunity to hone my gusset-making skill, an ability which will come in handy if I plan to wear pants to the rehearsal dinner.)
Yes, a romantic Christmas wedding at the Biltmore House—four days before Christmas and, yes, I’m supposed to coordinate marching down the aisle and seating and I’ve never done this task before and I’ve yet to read about what I’m supposed to do, but I’ll be fine . . . really. I spent three weeks in November and December sick, so I can’t entirely blame myself for this lapse, but I’ll get to work, after I knit.
Of course, it makes perfect sense that rather than get a manicure or take walks or read Emily Post's suggestions for wedding etiquette, I’ve been filling in my spare "me time" hours by taking a stab at designing knitting patterns. I found a great site that provides a how-to for using Excel to make knitting patterns , so after five hours creating a flower design, a design I based on a swatch of Swedish fabric and another few hours designing some boot cuffs, I’m ready to start sharing. You can find a link to my “Double-Duty” boot cuffs here or on the “Free” page. I just cast on my flowered pillow, so I won’t be posting that pattern yet.
Well, it’s time to finish that scarf for my mother-in-law. It’s supposed to be 81 inches long, and it’s lace, so maybe the tree will get some ornaments on it tomorrow, or maybe I’ll just knit some. I can get a few done by Christmas.
|Toerage the Tube Mouse from Stich London, once a possible|
tree ornament became Mauri the Metro Mole (he's blind, and
earless, for that matter) and, like my other tree decorations in
years past, a source of entertainment for Streaky.
It was nearly 70 degrees when I finished this on Wednesday,but it's ready
for some lucky recipient who will be prepared if cold weather hits.