Thursday, April 27

two hogs are better than one

Zach still needs to sew on eyes and a nose, stuff, sew the seam and blog about his new pet. I think I will knit him a friend.

Sunday, April 23

Random adventures with yarn

Last month I joined my first knit-along, since it coincided with my desire to make this scarf anyway. Mountain Stream, designed by Susan Lawrence. I am slightly more than halfway done. The picture does not do the pattern or the yarn justice, but it does show some progress.

I had hoped to work on the lace knitting while the menfolk were off on a boy scout weekend, but I spent the last couple days fighting headaches, so needed something less challenging. Last night I rewatched the first three episodes of Lost and worked on the log cabin.

One would think that I could get more than 7 inches square of garter stitch done in an evening, but the picking up and knitting takes time. And although you can't see the back, most of the ends are already sewn in. Plus, Lost is still exciting the second time around. I purchased 35 ounces of yarn. The above square weighs approximately one ounce. Therefore I can make a throw about 3 ft by 4 ft. Or I can buy more yarn for a good sized blanket. Haven't decided what the final design will be, but that's part of the whole knitting a quilt thing, I don't have to plan ahead too far. Just relax and knit.

Another lacy project I have been working on is Cozy, a shawl, lap blanket sort of thing. She's a quarter the way done. The yarn is Elizabeth Lavold's Silky Wool and I really like the feel and drape of it. I made some swatches in different stitch patterns and decided it would make a great sweater, which is why I purchased some in a dark blue at the yarn sale.

Just to reinforce that there will be sock knitting in the future for The Nerd and me, I joined a hand-dyed sock yarn swap. After reading Dave's color adventures, I was dyeing to try it myself.

Saturday, April 22

Off and on the needles

One sweater down:

Learning Curve Sweater complete!
Design: well, I made it up as I went along. A top-down raglan, knit in the round using a garter/slip stitch pattern. Top down design from Unpatterns, Slip stitch garter pattern from Sally Melville, but I take full responsibility for the dysfunctional marriage of the two.
Yarn: Cascade Sierra (80% pima cotton - 20% wool)
Photographer: me. can't you tell? family is out, camera remote has dead battery, can't figure out if camera has a timer.

I learned a LOT about knitting from the time I started this project last December to when I finished it yesterday. I even learned some things from the making of this sweater. Will I wear it? Yes, in the house, or perhaps in the yard, the back yard, where no one can see me. I would use the yarn again, I would make another top-down raglan, I would not use this particular stitch pattern again in anything but a washrag.

One blanket to begin:

One of the dangers of teaching your kid to knit and blog is that you lose some control over your private life. Like, does anyone really need to know we purchased a lot of yarn at the LYS yarn sale? Does my husband really need to know the word "stash"? Yes, The Nerd and I went shopping. Yes, we bought a lot of sock yarn, yes I bought some silky wool for a sweater (design to be determined). Most of the yarn purchased was Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece (80% cotton, 20% Merino, similar to but a little thinner than the Cascade Sierra) not egregiously expensive even when it isn't 20% off. The goal: a log cabin style blanket ala Mason Dixon. I swatched already and will wash it, just to make sure the colors don't bleed, before putting in all the effort on a full sized blanket.

The Nerd was the only male in the crowded store. Possibly the only customer too young to drink the complementary wine. Definitely the only customer wearing a hand-knit wool hat (It's April already, sunshine, flowers, etc). He enjoyed all the attention he got for the hat, proudly admitted that he knit it himself, and got as excited as anyone there over sock yarn.

Thursday, April 20

ranting about a comic strip--my life must be dull

So what is it with the Phantom anyway? Are we supposed to think he is such a great parent?

See, a while ago he saved a couple teenagers' butts when they started to follow their father's footsteps into criminality. Remorseful, incarcerated father had asked the Phantom to do this for him. Said father then sighed about how it was all his fault, he should have spent more time with his kids. Phantom then slaps his forehead and remembers that he has a couple kids himself.

So he goes back to the Jungle where the kids live and decides to give them a crash course in survival, training them to be the next Phantom. Yeah, so dad shows up out of the blue and just announces that they are going to spend a lot of time together, starting now, get your shoes on we are going to hike all night long. Hey kids, I ignored you too long, but the world revolves around me, so you get to drop everything and do as I say.

Now, I can deal with the above part. So dad is a little autocratic. After all he is a superhero saving lives all over the world. And one of these whiny brats will become the next Phantom, so they do need some training. But here's where I get annoyed. These kids are being raised in the Jungle. While dad is off saving the world and mom is off having meetings at the UN, kids stay in the Jungle with those native jungle type folks. So why are both kids so fraidy cat of the dark and so unprepared for anything. They don't even know which fruits are safe or poisonous!

The bigger thing that gets me though is that dad is a superhero not because he has superhuman strength or bulletproof skin, he is very agile, very keen witted and perceptive. All parents would like their kids to grow up smart and perceptive, don't we? But his kids are going to need to use their senses wisely even more than most kids will. So what does good old dad do? Well he takes them on a hike, just the three of them, in the dark. But to keep it safe for the little darlings, he has whole hoard of tribal warrior types shadow them. So when the kids show actual talent at being perceptive, and tell their dad that they think something or someone is out there, he just says "nonsense. you are imagining it." Way to go dad, that's really teaching them how to trust their senses.

Monday, April 17

some knitting -- no clever title

It was a quiet weekend in Madorville, lots of knitting accomplished. We had intended to go to the Seattle Riot exhibition game on Saturday, but the weather was really really awful. Sorry, Shannon.I worked on the Mountain Stream Scarf. This photo was taken about a quarter way into the fourth pattern repeat. I now have five repeats done. I am getting faster, but have a ways to go to get to a decent sized scarf. The recommended length is 14 pattern repeats. I am really liking the pattern. It is very well written and the size is just right for a first lace project as it is easy to notice and correct mistakes within the row. Someone very familiar with the pattern would be able to tell that there's a mistake in my scarf. The short rows near the bottom are too loose. Well, they are also symmetric, so they could be a design element.

I made 1.2 dishcloths. The second one I cast on and knit while watching House of Flying Daggers. While there are subtitles, the plot isn't heavy on the verbal, so I was able to knit a bit. There is a mistake in a slip stitch early on though. You can sorta see it from the photo. Heck, this is a dischcloth; I am so not going to worry about it.

This Dulaan hat was finished a while ago. It was made using a strand of Melinda's homespun and a strand of Lambs Pride Worsted. It will fit a child with a head circumference about 16-18 inches. Toddler or preschooler?

I also finished the first sleeve of my red sweater, no picture though. I tried it on and modeled if for Zach. (Franz wasn't home at the time). Zach' s only question was "would you actually wear it?" Well, sure I will, and proudly. But not in public or anything. I am too close to finishing to give up or frog it. I will wear it around the house, maybe to garden in. I want to finish so that I can throw it in the washer and see how the fabric (cotton wool blend) holds up. See if some of the unevenness will be less noticable. I really like the feel of the cotton wool blend (Cascade Sierra) and want to finish the sweater mostly so I can determine if I like the yarn well enough to make another sweater out of it. I am thinking of making a log cabin blanket out of it also. This is a top down raglan designed on the fly. Since I hadn't touched it in months, it will take some calculations to get the second sleeve to look like the first.

This is our asparagus patch! I just get a kick out of having asparagus growing in the yard. Please note that there are two stalks, and that they are starting to flower. Yes, this is the extent of the patch. Franz bought the house from a little old lady who lived here for over 25 years and spent all her time gardening. The asparagus has survived the past 19 years of complete neglect. In fact, until a couple years ago, exactly one stalk grew each year. A male stalk. It grows over five feet tall and is really ferny, pretty when it flowers. I don't know what we did to merit a second stalk. Right up against the south facing wall of the house was probably a wise place for it at the time. But look how hard the sun damages the paint. The ground near the house, especially under the windowsill, is full of paint chips, very likely lead filled paint chips from before our time. Even if we had a healthy crop of asparagus, I don't think I would eat it given where it grows.

Franz cooked asparagus last night and it was yummy. He got it free at the store. Shopping late afternoon on Easter, the selection was picked over. In fact, it was the very last bunch and the produce guy was dubious about it so told Franz he could have it for free. Looked fine to me, and it tasted great.

Saturday, April 15

Doing the math?

I am knitting my first sock on Koigu painter's palette premium merino. 50g = 175 yds

Knitting on the Road has two patterns using Koigu.
New England Socks use Koigu merino 50g = 175 yd
Travelers Stockings use Koigu premium merino 50g = 176 yd <-- note the extra yard The following gauges are based on circular stockinette:

New England Travelers My first sock
needle size 2mm 2mm 2.25mm
stitches per 2 inches 18 st 18 st 18 st
rounds per 2 inches 24 28 27

Why the difference in row gauge from the two patterns in the book? I checked for errata. There are a few small corrections to the New England socks, but nothing about the gauge being wrong. No corrections posted on the Travelers Stocking.

Are Koigu Merino and Koigu Premium Merino different yarns? If I wanted to knit either of these patterns, should I stick to my 2.25mms?

Friday, April 14


Expected Company

I've made this chocolate chip oatmeal cookie recipe dozens of times and it's always seemed foolproof. Well, I guess it's not completely foolproof. I don't know what I did wrong, perhaps too much brown sugar or not enough flour. The stress from earlier in the week still hasn't gotten out of my system and I was distracted while measuring. With Melinda coming over to knit and lend us some sock books, I really wanted the cookies to look as good as they tasted. Oh well, at least they tasted like chocolate chip cookies.

Melinda worked on her second sparkly sock and had the finished one with her too, so I got to examine what a handknit heel looks like close up. First one I have seen in person. (Well, except for the ones Elaine was wearing at the Dulaan knitting thing, but I didn't know her well enough at the time to get down on the floor and examine her feet.) Zach fixed his pom-pom, then was looking for something to knit. He finished his warshrag last night and hasn't yet embraced the multiple WIP life. (Isn't that a beautiful warshrag? You can't tell from the photo, but it is wet, from having been used to clean the counters. It was hard for me to put it into service. In fact, I scrubbed out the sink with an old washrag first, so the new one wouldn't have to work too hard.)

While he will probably start socks soon, we don't have the materials yet, so I convinced him to start the hedgehog. This well designed pattern will give him experience in shaping, similar techniques used in socks. Melinda got to see our typical mother son knitting experience of me trying to overexplain new things ("Mom! I Get It!").

Unexpected Company

Well not too unexpected, because I called to ask them to come, just without the same level of cheeriness surrounding Melinda's arrival. Roto-Rooter was however a necessary visitor today.

Is it a coincidence that just this morning our large IRS refund had shown up at the bank. (and yes, I know we ought to arrange not to have a large refund, but trust me, our situation is complicated.) Half is destined for Zach's GET college fund and the other half is to finish paying of the home equity loan. So... to have our old and cranky sewer line flare up today of all days, the very day we can finish paying for past house repair/remodel, just 5.5 months since the last time we had the pleasure of Roto-Rooter... if it had to happen again so soon, it's better that is was 5.5 months while it was still under a 6 month waranty, but does this mean we are finally in for the big dig?

complete non-sequitur happy thought:
Just so as not to leave with having to think about digging up sewer lines here's a photo from last summer's camping trip. Franz was the photographer. We had fun.

Wednesday, April 12


This is one of those non-knitting posts, a rant that I am not even sure I will post. If you want an knitting post, go see this new blogger.

I am a volunteer board member of a Local Organization. I am, in fact, the chair of this board. And LO is more officially defined as a public corporation but we are really small. Supposedly serving on this board is a no-brainer nice thing to do for an organization that doesn't accomplish very much (it was formed for a Big Purpose --- which has been finished). We even have a manager, an Executive Director, who is a small business owner specializing in this sort of thing. We are just one of many of her clients, and we are very small potatoes for her. Although the title ED sounds grand, she really does all our clerical work, paying bills, filing forms, coordinating the communication we have with the city. 5 to 10 hours per month work.

What do we do? Well LO has an annual income source and each year we've given a little more than half of it to a Good Cause. We have a few expenses to pay. The rest we've saved for a rainy day. We are either obligated to save or we are not, I have heard both opinions from the ED over the 2.5 years I have been attending meetings. A couple years ago, our annual income dropped by about 50%, an expected change. We haven't changed the amount of our contribution to the Good Cause, nor have our expenses changed. When I realised that, I was concerned, confused. I was told (by the ED) that we could continue like this for 60 years before we ran out of money. So we should consider that as a positive scenario before doing anything drastic such as even thinking about reducing our contribution to the Good Cause.

Well, I am not the kind of person who can just sit back and let nature take its course that way, I have been pushing for some dialogue, soul searching within the board. If we are going to continue on this 60 year road (and what assumptions have been used to get that figure?) I want it to be a conscious decision. So already, I am stirring up trouble. folks are alternately glad that I am willing and able to ask questions and push for real thinking and really annoyed at me for causing them such grief. Especially because I am kinda blunt, not diplomatic. I have been called caring, perceptive, empathetic, nurturing, but I have never been called the most tactful person there is. Definitely one of those "doesn't suffer fools" kinda people.

The Good Cause (which is related to us, but not directly, they have their own board, etc) is in a financial crisis. We board members were told of that from our ED who forwarded to us an email explaining what had happened at GC along with the comment that our ED had already met with their board chair. Wait a minute. Our ED met with the chair of GC? An almost immediate occurence after GC realised they were in trouble? Why? Perhaps just because ED has a lot of experience with non-profits, but that was not clear.

Me, being the blunt and ugly board chair that I am, responded (cc'ing all) by asking for clarification. Why would our ED have been asked to such a meeting? Was she called as a representative of LO? What kind of meeting? Does this mean ED has another role with A Good Cause? Would that mean there is a conflict of interest? And by the way, this brings up my confusion overall as to the role of the ED with our LO. Could she please send us a copy of her agreement with our board so we would know exactly what the roles and responsibilities were?

Evidently I hit a nerve with my questions because ED responded really really pissed off that I could accuse her of a conflict of interest and no, she did Not Have a contract or any written agreement with our board and how dare I cc a former board member who is not a member anymore --- the only reason she could think why I could have done that was an attempt to besmirch ED's integrity even further. (recall, I just replied to all, evidently she had added this former board member to the list herself) Frankly the way I keep attacking her integrity, she was thinking that she didn't want to be our ED anymore. I did the only thing that was smart for me at that point, I sat on my hands and waited a couple days before sending any email. Someone else, a reasonable board member, added to the email discussion that perhaps we all should work on our process, defining our roles and responsibilities and that he was surprised (not judgemental, just surprised) that we didn't have a written agreement with the ED. Almost immediately after that email, ED announced her termination of services effective in three months.

So now we just had our monthly board meeting. and I got chewed out. there are three (perhaps four) members who are really pissed at me; my obnoxious behavior has caused ED to want to terminate services and they really need her. They really want her. They don't want to ask any questions of her that insinuate we don't trust her completely. Yes, Good Cause is in significant financial trouble because they trusted their director and did not do their oversight. But NO, this situation is of course completely different. We DO trust our ED and she would never do anything wrong, so how dare I say things that smack of not trusting ED.

Quite an emotional reaction I must say. Reasonable board member pointed out that we are a volunteer board, and that one of the duties of the professional manager is to deal with volunteers, teaching them if needed how to be more professional, but that in this case, my questions were met with way more of an emotional reaction than was called for.

One of my favorite parts of this awful morning though was when one of the angry guys was blasting me about this, and made the more general statement that I have repeatedly caused problems for the board. I asked for clarification. What other problems have I caused? "Well..., none," he said. (note, not "well I can't think about them right now but I know they are there", just "none")

I could go on, but that's the gist of it. I knew I was going to get chewed out today, and that most of it would be emotional and not justified, that some of it would be justified because I've made mistakes in the process. But I didn't know how it would turn out til afterwards, and that made me very nervous. I didn't throw up, I didn't cry, I looked at everyone eye to eye and let them rant, I argued my points a bit but also figured for some of them "why bother" and the meeting was finally adjorned. Life moves on. I am still chair. We still have hassles to deal with. But for me, the worst is over. My stomach still hurts, not as much as earlier. It will hurt even less tomorrow. I will either remain chair for my term (calendar year) or I will resign. Reasonable board member called me afterwards to ask me not to resign (even though he didn't back me up in public as much as he promised he would).

time to go watch tv with some dulaan knitting.

Saturday, April 8

Mason-Dixon Rules

Mason-Dixon Rule Number 83:
Teach a child to knit, and you get to buy yarn more often.
--- Mason-Dixon Knitting

Dear Ann & Kay,

I got your book yesterday and I love it! I've already read every word. Well, perhaps not every single word, but enough to find 3 errata. Don't freak, though, anyone who doesn't realise you mean BO instead of CO on page 133 is someone one shouldn't trust with needles anyway. My 12yo son started reading it too. Now he longs to make a log-cabin blanket. and dishcloths. and a bathmat. And a peignoir. (just kidding about the last one). Well, he needs a new project or two and I can always use more yarn. When Zach wanted to make a ch'ullu in six colors, I was happy to purchase 6 skeins of Lamb's Pride Worsted, at 4 ounces each. The finished hat weighs 3 ounces. I did the math. The friendly clerk at the LYS suggested a felted bag. Just what I had been coveting. In fact, I had already downloaded the instructions for your buttonhole bag, reading through them often, while I was concienciously finishing some WIPs, not starting anything new. But just in case, when I took a rare weekend away from the husband and son, I divied up the skeins, leaving plenty in Seattle for Zach's hat, taking plenty to start a bag with. What I did not take along was the instructions. The beauty of your Mason-Dixon knitting philosphy is that I didn't need the instructions. I almost had them memorised anyway, but they were really a guideline. I could let nature take its course as I knit along. Most of the weekend though, I worked on my first sock, from Wendy's Toe-Up formula. Koigu on size US1 needles gets 14 rows per inch. A lot of stitches for a sock. The perfect knitting however for hours of girl-talk. At the airport on the way home, I had the opportunity to get bumped, getting a free ticket in exchange for waiting a few more hours before getting home. I found a quiet place in a sunny window and pulled out the Lamb's Pride. Your instructions call for two strands of Bulky on US15 needles. I used two strands of Worsted on US 10s. And, well, I think you said to use stockinette, I wanted the bumpy goodness of garter. I made an oval bottom in a shape and size that seemed pleasing, and got several inches of the sides completed before getting on the plane. (found out that the day before, a flight from SLC to SEA had been cancelled; some of these folks had been trying to get home for more than 24 hours. made me extra glad I gave up my seat on the earlier flight.) Later however, when I was starting to think this was getting to be the size I wanted, the bag started talking to me. It decided it didn't want buttonhole handles. No, it really wanted a flap and a strap. What could I do?

I love my new bag. Thanks for the inspiration.

We'll be collecting some cotton yarn for some dishcloths real soon now, and swatching for a blanket or two. LYS has a sale in two weeks, that ought to give us plenty of motivation to decide on blanket materials before then.

Now that Zach had such success with his ch'ullu, (which he made completely on his own, instructions from me but no help with the knitting) in addition to the ideas from your book, he wants to make Fair Isle socks. I said you mean with a band of Fair Isle around the top and he said, well, the Yarn Harlot has socks with Fair Isle all the way down. What's he thinking? We've only been knitting a few months. His response was to quote your book:

Remember: no project is too ambitious if you crave the result enough.

I guess we will be looking at sock patterns soon, too.

Friday, April 7


Zach's head is 22 inches around. Mini-basketball is 22 inches around. Finally that Mini-Hawks daycamp pays off. Once it is dry I will teach him how to do the crochet edging (I was able to figure it out!).

Thursday, April 6

Let the Sun Shine

Since getting solar panels on our roof two months ago, we have generated an average of 6.5 KwH a day. Our consumption from the grid has been 8 KwH a day. Therefore our total electricity consumption has been 14.5 KwH per day. Now, wait a minute, before we went solar, we were using an average of 18 KwH a day in the winter. What's the deal? Partly we can explain the reduced consumption because we've been moving into Spring --- two weeks of the two months of the calculations have been post-equinox. Another reason is the installation of this.

Yes folks, spending $13K on solar panels to help the environment is what finally prompted me to spend $40 on a couple of outdoor retractable clothelines. Let's hear it for using pure unadulterated solar energy to dry our clothes.

Up til the remodel three years ago, we didn't even own a dryer. Everything was hung on lines. About 7 years ago the outdoor clothesline was removed along with the dead trees holding it up, but we still had about a hundred linear feet of clotheline in the (mostly) unfinished basement. There is a different rhythm to life without a dryer. One simply accepted jeans would take 24 hours to dry. My little secret was that I didn't have to fold, sort and put laundry away. With so much hanging space, we just browsed the lines for something clean to wear each day. I was slightly embarrassed that we didn't do laundry the American way and stack clothing into drawers between the wearing/washing cycle. After admitting that to a friend and having her tell me I was nuts --- there's nothing wrong with my efficient system, I eased up on myself.

Then we remodeled, turning the basement into two bedrooms, bathroom, family room, darkroom/storage/furnace room, and much smaller laundry room. We became true blue middle class Americans with an electric dryer. Jeans washed and ready to wear in 2 hours. And piles of laundry to fold, sort and put away. Yup, that dryer is not a Time Saving Appliance. But it was a space saver and that was important. I just always kept it in the back of my mind that someday I would replace the outside clothesline. Paying more attention to energy use once the solar panels went up finally pushed me out of equilibrium into action.

Reality is that this is Seattle and it rains a lot. This outdoor drying system has so far accomplished about 15 to 20 percent of our laundry drying needs. Summer I expect it to fulfill 80% of our laundry needs. Although I really like sheets dried in the sun, I do prefer towels fluffy from the dryer. Plus, you know what happens to to your laundry -- especially a towel -- when you leave it unsupervised out of doors? This will hide in the folds. Constant vigilance, shaking the clothes well before bringing them inside will remove most of them, but somehow they always cling hidden to the towels. And stay there waiting for you to take a shower. And there is nothing ickier than that. Nothing.

Monday, April 3

Developing Talent: or, a post for the mother-in-law, an artist who is proud of her talented grandson

Zach is my son, age 12, whom I partially homeschool. We started this part-time homeschool experiment in the Fall as an alternative to full-time middle school. After all, does anyone want to be in middle school all day long? Kids these days tend to be rushed, stressed and sleep-deprived. How in the world does one juggle school, homework, music lessons, art lessons, sports, friends, boy scouts, and family? Many experts claim that it is normal for adolescents to withdraw from their family, to spend less time talking with and learning from their parents and other family members as they navigate the larger waters of society. Sure, teens desire and need more independence and privacy. And if the rest of the list is considered sacrosanct, then something's got to give --- therefore family ties get shortchanged just when a child becomes a teenager and could benefit from strong family support. However, if one decides that school --- that time-wasting, bureaucratic, autocratic, mind-numbing, peer-pressuring concentration of hormone challenged adolescents --- does not have to be an all day obligation (nor perhaps an obligation at all) then kids can have the benefit of art, music, scouts, sports, while developing friendships, autonomy, independence without sacrificing their family life completely.

At least, that's the hope. Zach is only 12. So far he is growing in independence and still likes his parents. Time will tell, but I think we are on the right track. Of course I worry about the decision. Do we do enough academics? Does he get enough socializing? Do we continue this or send him back to school full time? What about high school? All parenting decisions are stressful, how do we know we are doing the right thing? Are we doing the "optimal" thing? Is there even such a thing as optimal? Most of the time I relax, but sometimes, I worry.

Academics? Yes, they are important. Does full time regular school develop a person's passions for academic progress or does school put artificial burdens on a child that numbs his desire to learn? School has been great for Band and Lab Science. He's already ahead in mathematics. At home, we are working our way through an Algebra text (9th grade work while he is only in 6th grade) and he is doing very well in an on-line high school honors level course in Logic. We are dabbling around with Latin, probably ignoring social studies (although we have the time to read and discuss the newspaper, especially the editorial section, over lunch and he enjoys reading or listening to history books). He still reads for pleasure, will write without too much of a battle, has improved his essay writing skills. I want him to write more, though. That's to be my focus for the spring. Not to slack on the writing.

Art was a concern, a reason for considering homeschooling in the first place. Zach has always been motivated to draw. He described things visually in detail using a sophisticated color vocabulary from very early on. (Sally Melville has this ridiculous theory that kids at first can only see primary colors, gradually their brains allow them to distinguish secondary colors and then tertiary by the time they are 8 or 9!)

He does have talent, but talent is just a piece of the picture. Without hard work and instruction, all that talent ain't gonna do him a lick of good. So, should art lessons be just one more of the add-ons in addition to school and homework? Or should significant art classes replace some of the tedious monotony of regular school? Well, I've already answered that. These are some of the results. The three charcoal drawings Zach made in his real, honest-to-goodness, not available in middle school, studio art class. The watercolor is from an impromptu lesson from a friend of the family, an artist and art instructor.

What with art class, boy scouts, piano & french horn lessons and practice, ski lessons, Ultimate Frisbee, knitting, learning to cook, playing video games with friends, learning computer programming from his dad, building a DDR pad, adequate sleep... who has time for school?