Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Zombie Knitpocalypse 2015

If you are wondering what the Zombie Knitpocalypse is, it is a knitting retreat. Last week I attended the Zombie Knitpocalyse and it is the first knitting retreat I’ve ever been to so you can click here to see the pictures I took.

When we left Chicago, we headed to the Mall of America (Bloomington, MN) a couple of days before the retreat started. We stayed at a Hampton Inn close to the mall and used our reward points (30,000) for a free night. There was a free shuttle to and from the mall so we went to the mall and spent a few hours there. We walked on all four flours and then the amusement park. I was pooped by the time we got back to the room.

We headed towards Rochester and stopped at an antique store in Oronoco, MN. Don spent 3 ½ hours shopping there while I knit and visited with the people running the store. We used more reward points for a free night at the Hampton Inn in North Rochester. There was a free shuttle to and from downtown so we went downtown. The driver dropped us off at Rochesterfest at Soldier Field but it was the middle of the day so nothing was really happening. We walked 4 blocks into town and found our hotel where we will be staying during the retreat (Kahler Grand Hotel). Then we walked around town and even in the Skyways and Subways (pedestrian walkways). Around 6pm, we went to the Peace Plaza and I met up with some knitters who also came in early. We were back to the hotel by 7:30.

We left the hotel and went to an antique store for a couple of hours. Then we saw a ear of corn water tower. By then it was lunch time so we stopped at Denny’s. Since we still had plenty of time, we went to Walmart to buy some groceries. I also offered to bring another knitter some things she needed. Around 2pm we checked in to the Kahler Grand Hotel.. It wasn’t that great of a hotel and my bedside lamp wasn’t plugged in. I called at 2pm and 6pm to ask them to send someone. At 3pm I registered for the retreat and knit with a room full of people until dinnertime. I went out to dinner at Mac’s with Jennifer and Denise.  At 8:30, I went to the front desk to talk to the manager. David, the general manager, ended up coming to the room, moving the bed and  plugging in the lamp for me.  

Don was sick with a cold all night and didn’t want to go to breakfast so I went to Pannekoken without him. I had a nice breakfast and met some other knitters there. I had a class on double knitting and it was fun but I keep messing up. I went to lunch with another knitter (Jackie) and we ate at the food court. At 1:30 was the designer showcase and then 3:30 was the podcaster panel. For dinner a group of 5 of us went to The Loop, which was nice. We bought 5 appetizers and split them 5 ways. Then I went back to the ballroom and gave out my mini hearts that I made.

Don felt better today so he went out to breakfast with me. Then at 8:30 we had the 5K and I finished it in 48 minutes 46 seconds, which is my best time. I estimated 55 minutes so I didn’t win any prize because the person who was closest to their time won. At 11am we had the mini-skein swap which was a lot of fun. You gave your name and the number of mini-skeins you were entering. Then when your name was randomly drawn, you had 45 seconds to pick out that number of skeins from the giant pile. I got a lot of great looking colors. For lunch Don went with me to the pizza place but he didn’t eat anything. In the afternoon I had a class on Short Row Shenanigans taught by Josh Ryks and it was wonderful. I think I really want to use the German short row technique. At 5:30 we had the general gathering where door prizes were given out and then we had a group picture. Then Don and I had a gelato for dinner before I returned for the Runway Show. I wore my Summer’s Shadow shawl in the runway show.

It was the last day of the knitting retreat. We found out that there really isn’t anything open for breakfast. After breakfast, I got in line for the marketplace. This involved knitting with new and old friends, which was wonderful. When the marketplace opened, I spent an hour spending all of my cash. Then Don and I went for lunch at Potbelly. I rested a little for the afternoon until my 3:30 class where I learned how to “fix” sweaters I knit that doesn’t fit exactly right. At 5:30 we had a general meeting where I won a bag as a door prize. For dinner we ate at Mac’s and listened to a live band while watching them set up the blow-up movie screen. Then I went to the reception and said goodbye to all my knitting friends.

Things I Learned:

  • The Mall of America is about .57 miles around each floor.
  • They say they are adding on to the mall and it will be 2.5 times bigger next year.
  • Rides at the mall were about $7 per person per ride.
  • I had to talk to the manager to get a problem resolved.
  • I really enjoyed this knitting reatreat.
  • I stretched my wings and got out of my comfort zone at the retreat. It is good to do this.
  • Making new friends is a good thing even if it is hard to take the first step. It is scary but worth it. 
  • There are many different ways to do short rows so don't give up if you don't like one technique. 
  • German short rows are cool! 
  • I learned how to do double knitting. 
  • Keep on knitting sweaters to find the best fit.
  • The food court in the mall (except for the pizza place) is closed on the weekend. 
  • The stores in the "subway" are closed on the weekend. 
  • Starbucks in the Kahler is closed on the weekend. 
  • I don’t like the Kahler Grand Hotel and wouldn’t stay here again. Next time I would try the Marriott. 

Monday, June 29, 2015

Please Give Me Another Chance

In Second Chances from Actualization, Walter shares,

“People deserve lots of second chances. Where would you be today without all of the second chances you have been afforded in life? Second chances are the pathway for all students to be college, career, and citizenship ready. As educators, we should all be the champions of second chances for young people everywhere.”

This is a really hard concept for me. I want everyone to get it right the first time but yet, I want everyone else to give me another chance.

My problem is that I wonder where do I draw the line? How many second chances do I give? At what point do I say enough is enough? When I give second chances I feel used and taken for granted.

When I ask for something and someone agrees to do it, then they should do it. They should do it right the first time. Yet, if I’m in the same position, I want others to understand if I make mistakes. Why do I feel as if I am entitled to second chances, yet find it so hard for me to do the same for others? I need to remember that when I ask for another chance, I am making others feel the same way that I do.

I need to remember all the second chances that I’ve had up until now. No one is perfect. I remember making mistakes and a teacher telling me that it was okay and that is why pencils have erasers.

I want my students to feel that an error is not a terror. I don’t want my students to feel like it is the end of the world if they make a mistake. I want my students to feel safe with me and use me as a safety net. Without this net, they won’t be willing to take risks or even want to try new things. I need to remember the saying, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, again.”

I need to be more comfortable with giving second chances or even third chances. There is nothing wrong with giving another chance.

How do you feel about giving others another chance? Please share.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 6/26/15

Here are some interesting sites that I’ve found this week, thanks to my PLN. As a teacher, I feel we have to keep up to date concerning research in our field and current issues in the education system. I hope some of these inspire you, inform you, and even have you asking questions. Thank you for coming by and visiting!
Note: Each resource is labeled with a level and subject area to make it easier to use.

Levels:  E: Elementary; M: Middle; H: High; G: General, all levels; SN: Special Needs; T: Teachers

Subject Areas: LA: Language Arts, English, Reading, Writing; M: Math; S: Science; Health; SS: Social Studies, Current Events; FA: Fine Arts; Music, Art, Drama; FL: Foreign Language; PE: Physical Ed; C: Career; A: All

NYPL Biblion: World's Fair – the wonders of the 1939 – 1940 World’s Fair. (L:G; SA:SS)

Learn Chemistry – “Learn Chemistry is our home for chemistry education. Educators and students at all levels from primary school to university can access thousands of free resources.” (L:G; SA:S)

Newswordy – “These ‘news words’ are accepted by audiences for their implied meaning. But often loaded words are misused or used out of context. The actual definitions can be different than what is implied. Newswordy is a growing collection of these words, updated every weekday. Along with each word is a definition, a quote with its use (or misuse) in the media, and a news and Twitter feed on the subject. (L:M,H; SA:LA)

DIY Sun Science – free iPad and iPhone app; “DIY Sun Science, funded by NASA, allows families and educators to investigate and learn about the Sun at home, at school, or anywhere you go! Developed by UC Berkeley’s The Lawrence Hall of Science.”

Online Summarize Tool – a summary generator (L:G; SA:A)

Original photo by Pat Hensley

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Happy 33 Years!

Tomorrow my husband and I will celebrate our 33rd wedding anniversary! I’m so lucky to marry the man of my dreams! He is my best friend and real other half of my heart. I can’t imagine life without him. He keeps me grounded and safe from my wild ideas. Thank you my love! I hope we have more than another 33 years to go! As Winnie the Pooh once said,

“If you live to be 100, I hope I live to be 100 minus 1 day, so I never have to live without you.”

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Chicago Adventure

For pictures of our adventure in Chicago, click HERE.

We got to our hotel by 4pm and did some laundry. Then we took the shuttle to the airport hoping to find food but all the food was behind security so we went back to the hotel and had beer, chips and cookies for dinner.

We had a blast today in Chicago. We got on the shuttle at 8:09am and got to the airport around 8:50. Then we took the Blue Line into downtown and got off at the Lake station where we switched to the red line to Quincy. We went to the Skydeck and I walked on the ledge! Then we walked to Ginos East (2 miles + 1 mile where I got us lost and went in the wrong direction). After that we walked to the Navy Pier and bought Garretts popcorn there. By then we had walked almost 10 miles (according to my fitbit) so we headed back to our hotel where we finished the popcorn for dinner.

We had another great day in Chicago. We got on the shuttle at 7:30 and headed to the Field Museum. We got off at the Jackson station and switched to the red line. We got off at Roosevelt and had to get on a bus. We got on bus #146 but found out we were going the wrong way so we got off and went to the right bus station to get it going the other way. Meanwhile, it poured down rain on us. Thank goodness we had rain gear. We spent all day at the Field Museum and even at lunch there (Beef barley soup). We left there around 3:30 (it was no longer raining) and took the train to Chinatown. We ordered dinner and then realized they closed at 5pm so we left at 4:55. We got back to our hotel about 6:30. We had a fun day even if it rained.

We left the hotel at 7am and there was a ton of people heading to downtown for the Blackhawks rally because they won the Stanley Cup. We got off the train around 8:15 and went into Target to do some shopping. While we were there it started to rain so we went to the little café to sit and have something to drink. When we were ready to leave it had stopped raining. We headed to Millenium Park so I could take pictures of The Bean. Then we asked police how to get to the Art Institute because we wanted to be there before the big parade started. We got in line at the Art Institute around 9:15 and it didn’t open until 10:30. I couldn’t believe how many people were packed for the parade. It reminded me of Times Square on New Years Eve. We walked around the museum and found the perfect window in a stairwell/escalator place where we could look out the full glass windows to see the parade. It was like having a front row seat! Then we spent the rest of the day at the Art Institute. For dinner we went to Chinatown again and then returned to the hotel.

We headed to the Museum of Science and Industry today. I was a little anxious about getting there since it involved trains and buses but we got there without any problems (Red line to Green line: Garfield Sta. Then cross the street and took the #55 bus right to the door of the museum). The museum was an interactive museum a lot like Discovery Place in Charlotte, NC. The building was actually the Fine Arts Building for the World Exposition of 1893! We also had a tour of an actual U-boat captured during WWII and the only one in existence. There was also a 727 airplane, a train (the Zephyr), stagecoaches, and a huge model train layout. There was a great exhibit on the human body that was had real life parts of a body (dead body given to science). We ate lunch there and left about 3:30. We had dinner in Chinatown again.

We had an awesome day in Lincoln Park and the Lincoln Park Zoo. We even went to a Farmer’s Market before the zoo. Had lunch at Gino’s East again. The deep-dish pizza was $24 when during the week you can get a lunch special for $6.25. Then we went to Union Station and then remembered that Route 66 started in Chicago. So, we hunted for the beginning of Route 66. Finally came back to the hotel to do some laundry.

We went to the Shedd Aquarium and I’m so glad we got there early. It got crowded as the day went on and when we left at 1:30, the line to enter was down the steps going towards the street. We went to the live show for $2 extra and we also went to the 4D Sea Monsters show. My favorite exhibit was the Wild Reef. After we left there we went to Max’s on Adams St. for a Chicago dog (the special was a Chicago dog, fries, and a drink for $5.79) and it was so good! Then we walked around Millenium Park before heading back to the hotel and packing up our car.

I think Chicago is a wonderful place to visit and the CityPass is definitely well worth the value. Also, getting the 7 day CTA pass was well worth the money also. The smartest thing we did was find a hotel near the airport that gives free shuttles to and from the airport and the CTA runs from the airport to downtown and all the museums. The free Lincoln Park Zoo is a must-see also. Glad we found the small treasure of the beginning of Route 66 too.

Things I’ve Learned:
  • Go to the Skydeck and look at Chicago when it is a sunny clear day.
  • The CityPass is well worth the money.
  • The 7 day CTA pass is worth the money for unlimited train and bus rides.
  • Weather can change in an hour in Chicago.
  • Bring a rain poncho, just in case.
  • There have been 6 mass extinctions in the past 4 billion years since life began.
  • People should be more respectful to law enforcement.
  • There are a LOT of Blackhawk fans!
  • Target was very people friendly.
  • Buses aren’t that hard to ride once you figure out the system.
  • Chinatown is a great place to eat because you get a lot of food at reasonable prices.
  • Route 66 began in Chicago.
  • The Lincoln Park Zoo was awesome and it was free so it was extremely worth visiting. It ranks right up there with the National Zoo.
  • A couple of museum buildings had a lot of history attached to them such as the Shedd Aquarium (Worlds Fair 1933) and the Museum of Science and Industry (World Exposition 1893).

Original Photo by Pat Hensley