Tuesday, January 31, 2006

That Girl's A Runner!

The Sheep has a history of doing, shall we say, "poorly" in relationships. I start off well...I really do. Each time, I say to myself, "Self, you will focus this time, you will not let the little things get to you, you will work through the hard times and not start thinking that there is something better out there." It doesn't work. At present, the most stable and long-term relationship in my life is with my dentist. And I'm ready to bolt on that one too.

So when I somehow managed to lose that tiny snippet of code that allowed me to view my blog in a manner pleasing to my Sheepie eyes, I really did try to stay with it. I wanted to work out our issues in an adult manner and make what we once had beautiful again. Better even.

I tried...I really did. I couldn't do it. My wayward ways got the better of me and I began to think, "I can do better...this is too hard...I need to get away...I need to run away!!!!" I can't breathe, I'm suffocating, it's not you, it's me!!!!"

So, here's my new template. I've managed to put back most of the sidebar "blingage" and will fiddle with it more over the weekend. I feel renewed. This time it will work. The last one just wasn't "the one." I've learned and grown and will make more of an effort to commit this time. I'll be more careful to consider the needs and wants of another. It will be perfect...angels will sing...others will hold us up as the standard of relationships.

Well, at least until it gets uppity on me...

Monday, January 30, 2006

The Sublime And The Ridiculous...You Decide Which Is Which!

Well, the day was all I feared it would be and more. It was like Armageddon, a Metallica Concert and A Trip To The Dentist all rolled into one. When the last little one unable to board the bus safely was retrieved by his mother ("Honestly, Ms. Sheep, I don't understand why you don't just drink all the time!!!" quoth she) I fled the scene and rushed home to peace and quiet only a single gal's home can provide. A package awaited. But first:
Fingerless Glove #1 completed during Gray's Anatomy last night!!! I cast on for the second, but made a bit of a boo-boo in the ribbing due to the lateness of the hour. I opted to rip it out and start over rather than try to correct it. I was only a few rows in, anyway. I'm feeling pretty optimistic regarding my chances of finishing these before my next appointment with Amy!
Regarding my soggy package sitting out in the rain awaiting The Sheep's arrival: This was the first of the Knit Annie challenge purchases! I was anxious to take a peek, but made myself complete the Monday workout with the bike and weights first. The Sheep ain't nothing if not committed. Then I opened up the box and took a look at my new stuff! For those who don't recall the sequence of events, it went something like this: Horrific Week, Numerous Grumpy Posts, KA challenging The Sheep to go out over the weekend and be wild and spontaneous, Sheep choosing to purchase impractical shoes as a means for meeting said challenge. This is a bad shot but:

Now, please remember, I live alone! Trying to take a picture of oneself is challenging enough without also needing to crop one's head due to bad-day-at-school-hair!!! Most of my neighbors are males and I fear that if I approached one of them and asked, "hey would you mind taking a picture of me in my new f**k-me pumps that I bought 'cause some woman in England told me to" it might, perchance, give the wrong impression. Men are weird. The sweater is an off-the-shoulder number and the shoes are maryjanes with a heel from hell:

And I mean that in a good way!

I actually can remember the last time I wore a 4" heel: it was Karen M's wedding back in 1990! These are a little bit big as they didn't have my exact size, but I'm pretty sure that my hooves will swell up like blowfish in these bad boys so the fit should be perfect after the first hour or so. Now I just have to figure out where I'm going to wear these things. I'm not sure if they will be a good choice for grocery shopping day. Perhaps I can convince camadsmom to pick up a pair of hooker heels and head out on the town with me. mrichme can watch the little ones...it will give him a blog topic!

Tonight's plan is to rest up, make a bit more progress on glove #2 and maybe even practice walking in my new, girly shoes!


Sunday, January 29, 2006

Come Swim In My Stream Of Consciousness!

A post just chock-full of random-y goodness today! First, some of you may be experiencing the same difficulty as The Sheep viewing the sidebar of this blog. Mozilla and Firefox folk are OK, I guess. But we of the IE persuasion need to scroll waaaaaaay down to see the usual run of blog bling. Dunno what happened here...I didn't do it. I just woke up from a nice nap yesterday, logged on to check comments and discovered the mayhem. Can't fix it, would probably only screw it up so I'm leaving it. The main content seems fine.

Next up: One Final Dentist Story! I'd forgotten about this part until I was chatting with camadsmom last night ( a marathon phone call, if there ever was one!) and just needed to share it. I promise to give all and sundry a break with the dentist-drama after this.

I was feeling pretty sore on Friday after having been bounced around during the previous day's TCI training. I'd thought that my hindquarters might be hurting since that was the part of me that hit the mat so often, but, to my surprise, it was actually my upper back and shoulders that were stiff and achy. I'd spent much of the afternoon held in the classic "I love me" pose with both arms immobilized from behind in a sort of straight-jacket wrap. Once I got to the dentist and was settled in the chair of doom, Dr. DeSade realized that he was missing a vital piece of his torture paraphanalia. He reached behind the chair, whipped open a drawer, lost control of the drawer in his enthusiasm for abusing me, and smashed it right into the back of the chair, just behind my head. The resulting "cringe" on my part led to a super-nova cramp in the shoulders. I looked at him with my most withering "teacher" face and said, "OW!" He thought that was quite amusing. He did not know about the TCI training. I hate him.

I had planned to get the oil changed in the truck today, but ended up just hiding in the house with lots of chocolate and self-pity. I'm only about 1000 miles past due...it can wait. While indulging in my self-imposed exile I managed to get past the cast off for the thumb hole and am now in the home stretch for fingerless glove #1:

I have reworked the pattern for the Reflecting Hearts rug several times. I also managed to inadvertently center the rug incorrectly and place a hooked portion over the gripper strips. This resulted in several pulled loops once I attempted to reposition the rug. It was easily fixed but, since I've already blown my shot at the pearly gates with the language used on the SOS sweater, I figured I might as well let rip with some good old cuss words just for the heck of it. So therapeutic! Once that was fixed, I was able to hook along without difficulty:

I'm pretty pleased with it thus far. I think it will come together well. I had a basic design in my head when I started: sort of a Pennsylvania Dutch thing, I guess. It's still heading in that general direction, but I do enjoy fiddling with stuff as I go along so it'll probably go all Picasso on me before I'm done. That's just part of the fun!

We've got a couple weather situations coming our way. Tonight looks like it will be pretty icy and tomorrow morning could get dicey. Tuesday's not looking so hot either. I haven't really been keeping up with the forecasts since my "no-school-predictor-vibe" has been so off the mark lately. I'm thinking that we might miss at least part of a day, but we'll have to see.

I'm hoping for a nice, quiet evening as I prepare for the week ahead. I have not been in my classroom since last Wednesday so I'm sure that there will be some heavy-duty damage to repair. We've had some "issues" with the newer students even when I'm there to supervise and, since little ones tend to stress out a bit when things are changed, I can only imagine how it went in my absence! I'll just do my Deep-Sheep breathing and hope for the best!

Wish me luck!


Saturday, January 28, 2006

And Now Who's Getting Kicked Off The Island?

Today's post contains several "blog-specific" references. As I have a couple of new readers, I thought that a helpful guide to the various terms and characters might prove useful. Here's what you need to know:

Amy The Scary Stylist: Tiny, little Asian woman whose "take no prisoners" approach to hair dressing has cowed both The Sheep and her locks into submission. She takes one look, shakes her head, ignores my suggestions and proceeds. This is an "I kid because I love" situation. I adore her. She is a genius!

Dr. DeSade, DMD: The dentist who is currently making my life a living nightmare. His office/house of horrors just happens to be located in the same plaza as Amy, The Scary Stylist. This is not an "I kid because I love" situation. I loathe, I fear, I tremble.

ADD: This is a condition whereby an individual demonstrates difficulty maintaining attention or the ability to reduce impulses and body movements. The Sheep has it and is under physician's care. Not the jokey kind...I don't just misplace my car keys here. I take medication and, while they don't make me suddenly want to do my taxes, they do make long, boring tasks more bearable.

SOS: Stupid Old Sweater, Sweater Of Shame, S*&%t On Stix, choose your monniker. This project, begun just after X-mas, has plagued me for a month. I have set it aside before I start setting fire to things.

Son Of Skinny Scarf: A work in progress inspired by a scarf knit for Amy The SS (I don't want to use the abbreviation A.S.S. here, people) characterized by it's loooong, skinny, fringy goodness.

Curly-Whirly: An admittedly tacky, but weirdly satisfying scarf that sort of corkscrews around like an apple peel.

There! Everyone caught up? Good! Let us proceed.

I mentioned earlier that I was feeling the need to sort through some of my current projects and make the hard-core decisions one must sometimes make. Not everything is destined for completion. Some stuff is working, others just never will. The Sheep, easily distracted by pretty gee-gaws and bright colors, is quick to take on new patterns and fibers. It is not uncommon for there to be a pile of well-intentioned WIPs lying about. When said pile begins to threaten the safety of the condo's inhabitants due it's sheer size and lack of structural integrity, it is time to do something. In addition, Amy The Scary Stylist has requested a pair of Mama E's No-Fingers Hot Tamale Gloves. Since Amy is in charge of calling my mother should any of my appointments with Dr. DeSade degenerate into a situation involving me on the roof with hostages whilst the negotiators frantically try to talk me down, I feel it is in my best interest to comply. (I didn't ask her to do this...she actually volunteered!) Besides, she is also in charge of my highlights. That's my highlights, people! The only thing standing between me and noticeably gray hair!!!

Amy wants it, Amy gets it. No questions asked.

Ignoring those projects begun "pre-blog," (those just disappeared Hoffa-style...it's best not to ask questions) I focused on the following as candidates for dismissal: The SOS, Son Of Skinny Scarf, The Curly-Whirly: part deux and The Arches And Columns Scarf. Son of Skinny Scarf was an easy fix. I simply finished it:

Son of Skinny Scarf as modeled by my skein-winder

The second Curly-whirly scarf, which was planned as a longer and wider version of the original, was killing me. The needles I chose were too small and I really needed a longer cable on the circular needle to accommodate the number of stitches. It was an easy decision: bye-bye!!

The Arches And Columns project was really just a test knit to see if the patterns was one my often wandering brain could follow. It is. Test complete. Don't love the color or the yarn choice, though. Take a walk, dude! See you in the funny papers!!!

Now, for my arch nemesis: The SOS. I have readjusted this thing about a million times. I have inadvertently released stitches from the holder and found myself hunting, chasing and retrieving them like some sort of acrylic-sniffing bloodhound, and have used language that has taken away any chance I may once have had at getting into heaven. It was sorely tempting to consign this thing to the Knitting Knetherworld. And, yet, I didn't. This is one of those challenges that I think I need to see through. I've always believed that we learn as much from our mistakes as we do from our successes. When I'm finished with this project, I will be leaving this blog behind to pursue my career with MENSA. 'Cuz I'll be a genius...you know...with all the mistakes...get it? Whatever. The SOS remains on the needles. Some may be shocked by this. I kind of was.

So that's it. Projects narrowed down, new yarn purchased, new thoughts swimming through my Sheepie little brain...it's time to start all over. We'll probably all get to repeat this exercise in a couple of months. Rest up!


Friday, January 27, 2006


I was going back over some earlier posts just to see how I'd grown as a blogger over the past couple of months and made an interesting discovery: spam comments. Yes, I knew I had some; that's why I went to "word verification." It was the senders that sort of surprised me: Dentists!!!!! Or dentist-related companies. Or sick, sad people who get off on the whole dental thing. Whatever. It made me wonder if, just maybe, I was a bit obsessed with the whole dental nightmare that's been going on in my life since November. This was supposed to be a "Fiber-Related" blog. How did we get to dentistry??????? Because this has been bad, people. Really bad. If I'm obsessing, sorry. The cats have lost any interest in the topic, my co-workers are so sick of hearing about it that they invent family emergencies and break their own fingers in futile attempts to find any excuse to not have to listen to me any more and my parents have moved to their Florida home for the winter. It's all you. Sorry, sorry, sorry.

Today's appointment was not quite as bad as others. Dr. DeSade (not his real name; it's my pet name for him derived from the famous Marquis) was very busy and was doubling and tripling up on appointments. Ironically, this is when he is at his best. He doesn't have time to "chat" (read here: pontificate on his view of the world) and is actually a tad more nurturing. I know...shocking. I'm not saying he's warm and fuzzy or anything, but he's a bit better. It's when he has the time to really focus on his patient that he he gets unpleasant. That or he is beginning to recognize the homicidal look in my eyes. Either way, he almost gave me enough novacaine and even apologized for any discomfort. He even patted my shoulder once!!!

Still, when the session was over (five fillings, thank you very much!) I was up and out of the chair before he could even finish putting it in the full and upright position. He was still saying his "toodle-oos" as I was fleeing towards reception, but I did hear the words, "next time it will only be two." Yeah...about that...no. I opted not to make the next appointment and said I would call. (note: I didn't say that directly to him, I said it to the receptionist. I'm not that stupid!) I think that the doc and I need to go on "a break." He's free to see other people, reflect on our relationship, decide what he really wants...whatever. I'm out for a while. I will go back, I just need a period of time in my life, however short, where I don't have an impending dentist appointment. I don't sleep for a week prior, I obsess, and I end up with dental spam. It's not good.

On the happier (sort of) side of things, I returned to my soon-to-be-no-more LYS and dropped (gulp) $160.00 buying out anything that I thought I might need at 60% off! Knowing it was all waiting for me in the car helped me to feel a bit better during my hour of torture:

It's a bountiful wonderland of yarn!!!!

This will give me something to work with for a while!!! Of course the Lopi wasn't on sale. But I needed some for the rug project and it was right there so I figured, "what the heck?" This will probably be my last trip unless I decide to go again over the weekend. Monday is the last day they will be open and I have this whole "job thing" to go to. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted. Maybe the new store will also be a yarn store...maybe they will have spinning supplies...and foot massages...and cake! Who am I kidding? It's probably gonna be a comic book store.


Thursday, January 26, 2006

I'm Not As Young As I Used To Be!

I'm fine with the aging process...for the most part. I mean, it's not like I really have a choice. Unless I figure out a way to reconfigure the time/space continuum then it is safe to say that the clock will continue to move forward. Besides, do I really want to go back to my 80's stretch pants and high hair? Probably not. I was all that and a bag of chips if I do say so myself...and I probably am the only one saying it. But it's not a look that I want to revisit.

At any rate, I can live with the fact that I am in the "middle aged" category. I'm young at heart and, quite frankly, in the best shape of my life at this juncture. It's all good. Except that, every once in a while, The Sheep gets a bit of a wake up call. That's "wake up call" not "booty call." Remember: Middle Aged?

Today at TCI training we got into more of the physical aspects of behavior managment. For those of you not in the field, this refers to the act of physically restraining a young person who has decided to harm self, property or their hapless teacher. As this happens to me once or twice a week, it is good information to have. Of course, if we want to do this safely, we need to practice. On people. The class broke into two groups and my trainer made the decision to have the two smallest people act as the children and have the others practice such classic moves as "The Small Child Hold," "The Takedown," and "The Two Man Restraint." Not everyone in the group was , shall we say, physically adept. In fact there was one lovely woman who, despite her bad knee, insisted on proceeding with the training. This Old Sheep was repeatedly dropped on her keister or contorted into odd positions by people as they learned the various moves. Once learned and performed correctly, these strategies really do keep kids safe while they are in crisis and I am grateful that we had the opportunity to learn them in such a well-supervised setting, however I am beginning to realize that I am not quite as spry as I once was. Someone from the other group approached me at one point and said, "Gee, we kept hearing this thudding sound and would look over and see you bouncing off the mat. I'll bet that hurt!" Uh, yeah!!!! I'm not what you would call a gal with "junk in the trunk" and each take-down resulted in me landing butt first then doing a bounce. This would result in a second shot to the tuchus.

On the positive side of things, the repeated jolts really jarred my sinuses and they were draining nicely. Of course this was while I was being held immobile by three classmates and I couldn't exactly wipe my nose, but this was a small matter. In addition, the large bruises on my a** will probably distract me from tomorrow's ordeal.

That's right: we all get to hear about me going back to the dentist. I'm not quite as stressed as I was before the last appointment. I have resigned myself to the fact that this will not go well. Once you let go and accept your lot in life things seem to go much better. Here's what will happen: Dr. DeSade, finally realizing that novacaine does not work well on me, will inject me repeatedly and painfully with the stuff. He will get that cocky, self-assured look he gets when he thinks he has acheived his goal of total numbness. He will then begin to drill with wild abandon, only noticing my agony when the chair starts to shake due to my death grip upon it. He will ask a stupid question regarding my "discomfort" and I will try to keep the sarcasm out of my voice when I answer. He will then attempt to distract me with stupid observations about kids today and the state of education and what he would do to make it better. His latest kick is that kids with disabilities should have to pay to go to public school. I mean, really, the idea that we offer a free and appropriate public education to all...what nonsense. Only the average should attend school. Perhaps we could even only allow the pretty ones...that would be so much easier on the eyes. I will sigh alot and refuse to engage with him and he will become defensive and frustrated. The hygenist will display obvious discomfort and the whole event will become emotionally and physically painful beyond my wildest dreams. Really, I'm OK with all this...I accept it.

In terms of knitting, all projects have been suspended until Son of Skinny Scarf and The Scary Stylist's fingerless gloves are complete. I worked on the gloves today during the workshop and will post some pix when I get a bit further along. As I'll be home with a frozen face tomorrow, maybe I can make some progress!


Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Weather...whaddaya gonna do?

I am so helpful. I not only predict incoming storms, but I make sure that you don't accidentally sleep through it.

OK, this Sheep is ready to either buy a Hummer or move! This morning's little weather event made for quite the hairy commute to work. Over the years, I have had a number of different jobs and most have involved a commute of at least 30 minutes, generally more like an hour. I've seen my share of rough driving. This morning ranked right up there among the worst. None of the schools in the southern portion of the state really needed to cancel; it was going to be ending early in the day and none of the forecasts looked like it was going to be that big a drama. (More on that in a tick) However, the roads were like ice rinks and accidents were plentiful. I had to take a pretty significant detour just before my school due to a nasty wreck, thus making me later than I was already. Buses were running behind, teachers were stressed, parents were anxious...such a fun way to start the day.

The whole thing was made worse by The Sheep's self-proclaimed "weather vibe." I'm usually pretty good at predicting cancellations. Once I'm familiar with a school district, I can generally extrapolate the outcome after a few checks on the forecast. I did really badly on this one. Early forecasts looked promising for a day at home. I know, I know, never count on these things, always pack a lunch, do your homework, I had a mother, I heard it all. But there's a big difference between the "logic" part of your brain and the "I'm really just a 9 year old who wants to stay home and watch cartoons" part. In addition, Mommy's little "weather pixie" gets awfully excited prior to any kind of low pressure system. Persephone made sure that I was aware of the incoming precipitation by howling incessantly and making long-jumps from the floor to my stomach while I attempted to ignore my snow-day excitement and actually try to sleep. I gave up around 1:00 or so and took a peek at Ye Olde Weather Channel. It was then that I realized that the forecast had changed somewhat and that there was no way I was going to get a day off.

Sigh! I had hoped for a WIP organization day! I need to take a look at what I have going right now and make some decisions regarding what qualifies as a "must do NOW," what could be called a "back burner for the time being," and what needs to be relegated to the "oh for God's sake, give up already" category. Perhaps I'll get to that on Friday after I visit with good old Dr. DeSade, DMD for my next round of torture. It's not like I'll be able to leave the house with 37 gallons of ineffective novacaine in my face. (ineffective due to it's ability to numb my lips and cheeks, but not the nerves in the actual teeth)

Well, I'm off to do the reading for day three of my training tomorrow. I'm just tired enough that some of this might actually make some sense. Hopefully, I'll incorporate all of it and still have some room left in my brain for the synapses to process the correct turn to get to the training site. I've missed it twice now!!!!!


Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Sometimes It Just Hits You Square In The Face.

The Sheep had a bit of an epiphany tonight. I was knitting merrily away on Son Of Skinny Scarf, that o-so-simple, super-satisfying project and imagining the joy of winding it around my Sheepy little neck. I then decided to take a close up shot of the product. When I viewed the image, it hit me like a b*&ch slap in a bar fight: I am not a classy girl. I lack culture. I prefer frozen pizza over filet mignon, cartoons over documentaries, Hip Hop over NPR. I will never stroll the Louvre and "get it," I shall never be overheard saying something like, "this is a perky little vintage from the South of France." It will just never happen.

Said revelation-inducing accessory is made from StyleCraft Amore and is in a deep purply shade with lots of little fluffy nubbins poking out at various intervals. These nubbins are in varying shades of hot pink and "other purple." I simply love it. It's fun, it's kicky...and it sure ain't Rowan!!!

And to top it all off: my flannel "sheep in track shoes" PJs. Yup, I'm ready for dinner at the White House!!!

I'm really OK with who I be. If I ever wanted to be a more cultured lady, I can't recall the day. I'm a simple Sheep, living my simple life and knitting with yarn that makes me smile. Take that, Vogue!!!

Here's to doing what makes you happy!


Monday, January 23, 2006

Never What You Think It's Going To Be...

So they predict a minor weather event and it ends up being a travel nightmare which results in the early closing of school! I commute roughly 40 minutes to work each way and it's always amazing to me how the "plow ethics" vary from community to community. In one town, you can virtually hear the Public Works Elves saying, "C'mon, Chester! Let's get out there and make the roads safer for our fellow travelers!" In another you sense only the subtle rustlings of Playboy Magazines and Lucky Strike wrappers while the Plow Boys silently agree that they should wait until a more significant amount builds up...say two or three feet. One trip out seems to make more sense, right?

Anyway, I was out the door in the hopes that I might make it home at a reasonable hour and get some knitting time in. Not so. The driving was slow going until I got a bit further north and I needed to make a run to the doctor's office to beg a refill on my meds since I'd forgotten to take care of that back when I had the time to deal with this. It's really not pretty when I don't have them...seriously. Can you say, "scattered?" By the time all that was said and done, I really didn't make it home until 3:30 or so.

I then planned to skip the old work-out, given that I only participate in this abusive ritual on days designated as "normal." (this means a day that I get up, go to work, stay there for a pre-arranged amount of time, then go home.) An Early Release day at school does not qualify as normal. Freebie!!! Little gifts to myself like this have actually kept me on the straight and narrow for the better part of a year and a half now. Don't ask me why...it just works. At any rate, the guilt got the better of me and I ended up just giving in and doing it.

So my regular commute ended up being far more complicated than predicted, my half-day of freedom wasn't really anywhere near that and I still got stuck pedaling my way to nowhere for 45 minutes. Just goes to show ya! :)

I'm still feeling much better about my life this week. The payroll checks have been deposited, the kids were bearable for the 4 short hours we spent together today and I will remain medicated. All is right with the world. And, to top it all off, Knit Annie approved of my wild and crazy endeavors this weekend. That's a load off! I was really quite stunned to see how low I'd sunk on the old "excitement" scale. I remember when...

And now, for your viewing pleasure:

Son of Skinny Scarf: Now a WIP, Soon to be an FO!

Bobbins, meet your new baby brothers: Bobbin and Bobbin.

That's it for The Sheep! Enjoy the day!


Sunday, January 22, 2006

The Challenge:

Knit Annie, upon reading about my horrid week, challenged me to do something wild and crazy this weekend in order to blow off some steam and make it all better. This, in and of itself, was a bit of a challenge for middle-aged moi! The Sheep partakes of neither grape nor grain so that kind of eliminated any torrid barroom encounters and illicit Vegas weddings. It also ruled out such things as skydiving and bungee-jumping since I'd have to be pretty hammered to even consider that. After discussing it with my staff whilst we waited out a tantruming child, it was agreed that my best bet would involve impulse shopping. I'm really good at that.

The first attempt ended in utter failure due to the demise of my favorite yarn haunt. The cashmere I'd been eying for a while then putting back due to the expense is no longer on the shelves and will, of course, not be replaced since there will be no store in which to house it. I ended up purchasing quite a bit, but, at 50% off, it didn't really seem to be the big splurge required to call this a wild and crazy shopping trip. It all seemed quite practical and responsible, even taking into consideration the question of available funds following the direct deposit debacle on Friday. Saturday was a wash on the challenge.

The next suggestion from my savvy staff involved shoe shopping. I'm a girl (ok, "mature woman"...whatever) and should be better at the shoe thing. Despite my love of shopping, I really do tend to be quite practical when it comes to clothing and keeping myself shod. If I can't wear it to work, I generally won't buy it. The shoe thing has always just escaped me. I was determine, however, to find something today (Sunday) that was highly impractical and girly. Well, I woke up with a case of the sniffles this morning. Everyone else I know who has come down with this cold has ended up becoming quite ill, so I decided to stay home. Undeterred, I hit the Net. I did, in fact find a very cute pair of high-heeled Mary Janes that were almost my size and even a rather risque sweater to go with them. I hemmed, I hawed, I entered the credit card number. They are on their way. I will own a pair of heels. This was such a rush that The Sheep is even looking at a second pair of wicked grown up sexy-lady heels on Ebay. I still have a few hours to consider that. My pulse rate is up and I'm feeling slightly flushed! This is therapy!!!

Probably wasn't what you had in mind, KA but thanks for the push. It had it's ups and down, but was fun!

In more mundane news, I spent some time reworking my rug pattern to account for the fact that I wasn't able to find more of the raspberry-colored Lopi to finish the hearts in the center. I think this will work:

This will look much better when finished, I promise!
I also slapped the final coat of Tung oil on the bobbins and they should be dry for next weekend's planned spinning push. I've been putting off the spinning a bit lately and really should see if I can't get more of this Lincoln blend taken care of. I still have 4-plus pound of Jacob wool to get carded up.
Son of Skinny Scarf should also be done this week. I was able to snag another skein of the required yarn yesterday. I probably won't be able to knit as much at the workshops this week as it's going to be more physical training from this point out. However, I have taken Friday off to deal with a "Dentist Drama," so I should have some time in the afternoon to get that finished up. This is going to be one loooooooong scarf! I want something that will wrap several times around the neck and still leave the ends a-flutterin' in the breeze.
Lunches have been made, the ironing is done and I'm ready to settle in with some Nyquil and cartoons for the afternoon. I see a nap in my future! (and perhaps another trip to the world of Ebay to deal with my new shoe addiction :)
Enjoy your day!

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Sick Of Me Yet?

I know, I know, three posts in one day...it's overkill. But I got tagged so it's not my fault. Blame missemilysmom!!! Here we go:

4 Jobs You Have Had in Your Life:
1. Selling short cruises to Nova Scotia, Canada
2. Special Educator
3. Counselor
4. Social Services Provider

4 Movies You Could Watch Over & Over:
1. Any "Nightmare On Elm Street"
2. "The Sixth Sense"
3. "When Harry Met Sally" (but don't tell anyone that!!!)
4. "The Matrix"

4 Places You Have Lived:
1. Westbrook, ME
2. Augusta, ME
3. Biddeford, ME
4. Old Orchard Beach, ME

4 TV Shows You Love to Watch:
1. Gilmore Girls
2. Scrubs
3. The Grim Adventures Of Billy And Mandy
4. Monk

4 Places You Have Been on Vacation:
1. San Francisco
2. Florida
3. Virginia
4. Utah

4 of Your favorite Foods:
1. Pizza!!!!!
2. Chocolate
3. Tuna subs
4. My Dad's barbecued ribs

4 Bloggers I Am Tagging:
Ok, since I don't have a ton of readers here, this is how I'm going to handle it: camadsmom is formally tagged since she needs to reflect. This is what one does when one enters a new decade in life. Everyone else is by choice. If ya wanna be tagged, y'all are tagged. If ya don't, then take the night off.

Last post of the day assuming there are no further dramas in my life or tags!


Good Grief!!!!!

All this for $38.00? There is a disturbance in The Force, I fear!!!

OK, so I go to see Amy The Scary Stylist (who did her usual amazing job, all without input from The Sheep, I might add) and then head out to treat myself to shopping at my LYS. After this week, I felt I was due. This trip was made all the more urgent due to the fact that Amy fell in love with my fingerless gloves (thank you Mama E!) and I needed to get some sock yarn to complete a pair per her request. I was fairly a-quiver when I pulled into the parking lot!!! I was a bit distracted, I guess you could say.

You know it's a bad sign when you hit the yarn room and note that the pickings seem a bit slimmer than usual. The radar starts going off when the salesperson comes over to inform you that pretty much everything in the store is 50% off. The Sheep is good at denial and was able to squelch the feeling of doom that was rapidly overtaking her. There was no getting around it, though. I was informed at the register that the store is, in fact, closing. (a little tidbit of which I would have been aware had I taken the time to notice the rather large sign in the window)

The plan, at this juncture, is to make many repeat trips to get as much as I can before D-Day. Of course, I don't know when that is as I neglected to ask given my level of distress. We'll figure it out.

This week needs to end. It really does. There is not enough chocolate in the state to get me through much more.

I'll just be off gazing wistfully at my purchases and wondering what I did in a past life to have earned this week of Killer Karma!


I Like It With Lots Of Tung.

Despite the somewhat evocative post title, this entry may not be as interesting to the average fiber enthusiast as others, but it truly does apply. I promise!

It's a short lecture-of-sorts on the art of wood finishing! Sorry if you surfed here expecting something else. I'm sure Google can redirect you to what you were looking for speedily.

I am the daughter of a former Industrial Arts teacher who later went on to become the Director of two of Maine's largest Vocational/Technical Centers. Thus, I was raised in an environment rife with car repair, woodworking and electrical wiring. Dad wasn't necessarily the enlightened type who believed that a girl would benefit from doing any of this stuff, but, to be fair, I really never expressed any interest. However, it would be impossible not to absorb some skills when this is the stuff of life in your home.

One of the things that I picked up along the way is a love of quality wood finishes. Tung Oil, particularly when applied to cherry wood, is a favorite of mine. This is a penetrating oil derived from the nut of the tung tree and is not one of the more common finishes seen these days. However, it's super easy to apply and gives a beautiful finish. As an added bonus, it does not seal the wood, allowing it to darken and age naturally. It can be reapplied whenever the mood strikes without harming the wood or can be used with other finishes or sealers. And the fumes...oh baby! One minute I'm a middle-aged woman sitting in the middle of my kitchen with a rag in hand polishing a bobbin, the next it's 1985 and I'm back at the University of Maine with the gang swearing that, after graduation, we'll all buy a house and live together forever being wicked cool and never getting old. Fumey goodness, I'm tellin' ya!

So, for those of you who use wooden tools in your fiber crafts (and who doesn't?) this is a great way to finish them yourself. I've been working on the new bobbins that came a couple of weeks ago. For those who missed that scintillating post, here's where we started:

They were dusted off to remove any debris and the first coat was applied using a soft, clean rag. Following that, they were lightly buffed after five minutes or so. 24 hours later, I lightly sanded with extra fine steel wool and applied the second coat. 24 hours later, the process was repeated. Now, we have this:

I'll probably hit them with one more coat just to get the finish a bit darker, but they are looking just the way I wanted: the natural grain and markings in the wood are enhanced and they have this kind of light glow that the camera isn't going to pick up to my satisfaction. They smell to high heaven and the cats are beyond horrified, but I that just keeps them away from the good wood. Really, it's a benefit!

While those dry, I'm off to see my Scary Stylist for a trim and to hit the good old LYS to get some more yarn for Son of Skinny Scarf and the new rug project. I don't care that I don't have any money in my checking account courtesy of the failed direct deposit yesterday. I'm going to go on as if things had all just worked out this week. Denial is a beautiful thing.

Enjoy Your Day And Ignore The Stupid Stuff!


Friday, January 20, 2006

Seriously...Come On...Are You Kidding Me?

And to cap off this ridiculous week, all staff who took advantage of the district's new direct payroll deposit system were urged to come to the office to read an important notice. It seems that none of our checks made it to their designated accounts in the usual "timely" fashion. With any luck they will leave the nether world of cyberspace and magically appear around midnight tonight, but it seems more reasonable to assume that they will land sometime on Monday. 'Cuz we're teachers and we all make so much darn money that one paycheck that's lost it's way won't really matter.

Here's how I'm handling it:

If you need me, I'll be huddled in the corner, rocking semi-rhythmically and smeared in the sweet stuff. Approach at your own risk.


Looooooooooong Day!!!

OK, this was my Thursday:
Left the house at 6:45 am to head down to Rochester NH for day two of my TCI Training. (that's Therapeutic Crisis Intervention for those of you who live normal lives and don't get kicked in the shins on a semi-regular basis);

Missed the same damn turn that I missed last week once in Rochester and got to take the same tour of the lovely little town all over again...nothing had changed;

Sat through 5 1/2 hours of lecture, then another hour of physical intervention training;

Knit alot;

Checked messages at my office for job 2 in the futile hope that tonight's supervised visit was cancelled...it was not...more on that in a minute;

Drove from Rochester, NH to Portland, ME only to find that the family was not at home;

Sat in the cold waiting;

Family finally arrived and I supervised the visit until 7:00 pm;

Drove back to my own little neck of the woods about 30 minutes away from the visit and hit the grocery store to purchase supplies for tomorrow's cooking class with the little darlings;

Wondered why I was so ding-dong dizzy and realized that I had neglected to eat anything other than cherry tomatoes and cheese today;

Purchased a sandwich;

Arrived home at 8:00 pm, put on my pretty pink pj's that I got on clearance at Victoria's Secret last week (relax, people...they're flannel for crying out loud), scarfed down my sandwich, fed the cats and proceeded to slip into a coma

Thank God for TV...

Suffice it to say, there will be no knitting or spinning tonight. I can't seem to recall my own name at this point. I shudder to think what might happen to anything requiring anything other than autonomic brain functions. (inhaling, exhaling, pulse, etc.)

Next week will be better. I work for a small agency just outside of Portland and we generally do the work that other agencies contracted with the Department of Health and Human Services can't take on at the moment. We also do some private-pay work with families in crisis. However, there has been some contract restructuring and most of our families are being transferred to the predominant agency in this area. This, I learned today, includes my Thursday night family. I view this with mixed feelings. On one hand, I like my work and we really do make connections with families. However, I have been feeling a bit squeezed for time of late and have been wanting to have one night per week that doesn't either involve rushing home to complete the dreaded workout or rushing off to various locales in the state to earn a little extra Ebay money. Next Thursday, I will have that night. I will still have to go to day three of the training, but after that, it's a night off for The Sheep. Of course, I have a dentist appointment the next day so I'll have to pencil in a nervous break-down at some point, but I'm sure that I'll have plenty of time.

So, that's it for tonight. I'm plumb tuckered, needin' to prepare myself for tomorrow's reconstruction of the classroom after my day away from the student's and I'm gonna watch some CSI. I like the fact that there are people on that show who have had way worse days than mine...cuz they're dead 'n all...



Wednesday, January 18, 2006

And The Beat Goes On...

The Sheep survived her morning commute without incident. It was much ado about nothing as they say; just a lot of rain. No catastrophic car crash. So I wore the "good" underwear for nothing. Waste of a perfectly good thong...hey if I want to marry for money and retire while I still have the will to live I might want to try snagging a doctor.

The school day was really just a repeat of yesterday except that, today, we got to do it in the dark. The power went out just after noon. Try keeping twelve behaviorally and attentionally challenged children between the ages of 6 and 10 focused during a three hour black-out...I dare you. Try keeping three tired and frustrated staff members focused during the same black-out...I double-dog-dare you. I'm a sheep, not a mother hen, for crying out loud!!!!

Tomorrow is another 7 hour workshop so I'm rushing to get the increases done on the new curly whirly so that I can just garter stitch my way through the mind-numbing hours ahead. Of course, I managed to drop a stitch somewhere along the line and there are so many of the damn things on the needle that it was a booger trying to find and coax it back into place. I was chatting with missemilysmom yesterday and commented that, prior to posting such things on these internets, I never seemed to have these problems! There is something about putting it out there for the world to see that must bring out some weird sort of performance anxiety in me. Sheesh...I mean, really, I've been doing this for years! Now, the stitches are jumping ship or purling when they should be knitting and I'm thinking that it's a plot. Either way, I found the wayward little devil in this project and all seems to be well. I win. It was nice to win one thing today!!!!!

The other prep work I need to do for this workshop is more on the mundane side: pages and pages of homework. Reading mostly...I'll be skimming. It's boring. Really boring. I probably should go do that now...right now...yup...here....I...go...any...minute...now...


Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Mama Said There'd Be Days Like This!

Urk...being a teacher in a Day Treatment Program is always enough to keep a Sheep on her toes. Today, however, was the equivalent of a 7 hour ballet. My toes hurt. As does every other part of my middle aged body. I was kicked, hit, bitten and scratched every hour on the hour. I am getting too old for this...I'm thinking of marrying for money. How hard can it be?

In lighter news, I made it home, rode my little exercise bike for 40 minutes, grabbed myself a Lean Pocket and cast on for yet another Curly Whirly. I wore the one from last week's workshop and it was a big hit at the bruise factory...I mean school. This is a super mindless project and, despite being slightly tacky, one that looks like it took greater effort than it actually required. This one is in a boucle and will be a bit longer. We'll see how that works up when we return to the next workshop session on Thursday.

I also spent some quality time inhaling Tung Oil fumes in order that I might get another coat on the new bobbins. They are looking good and Dear Old Dad has given his approval. (I am emailing him regularly with my progress on these little beauties...if I'm really careful, I can make a small mistake that won't ruin the finish and yet will give him a chance to "help." Dad likes to help.)

And that, Ladies and Gentleman, is the end of my "thinking" activities for this evening. I am wiped out!!! Tomorrow promises to be a truly crappy commute with ice and sleet and all the things that make me want to point the car south and just keep going. Gonna need my rest for that exercise in terror. Note to self: wear the good underwear tomorrow in the event of catastrophic crash.

I'm going to get some chocolate now!

Monday, January 16, 2006

An Extra Day...Now What To Do?

Well, it's a three day weekend and I get a whole extra day to do whatever floats my sheepie little boat! I'm finding, however, that I'm a tad overwhelmed by the possibilities. There's the need for some extra yarn, the tung oil run, the lack of pizza in my home...where to start? Thus, The Sheep is sitting on her couch, still in her pretty pink PJ's trying to narrow down the "out of the house" errands so that there will still be time to work on some projects for the remainder of the day. It's exhausting being me!!!

I recovered from my trip in the frozen outdoors yesterday and worked on several projects well-suited to the weather:

Started a new rug!

Another bobbin of Lincoln/Metallic...I'm starting to get sick of this stuff!!!

Desdemona Says, "No, you can't work on your scarf...I need to warm up the pattern."

Well, I did get a bit further on the scarf...I just had to carefully time it to coincide with litter box and food trips. It's easier than arguing.

It's a rousing 9 degrees outside today and I know that I need to pick an errand or two if only to start the car and let it warm up. My best guess at this point is that I'll deal with the pizza and Tung oil issue and leave the yarn for next weekend. It's always better to plan yarn trips around one's pay schedule rather than by impulse.

I'm off to start this happy, happy day!!!!


Sunday, January 15, 2006

On Being A Sheep In Maine:

First off: let's just say that today's weather is beyond crappy. Yesterday's decision to stay in and avoid the scary raindrops seemed somewhat ill-advised this morning as I realized that I was out of Coffee Mate and other weekend supplies. I needed to go out, but we are in the midst of a mega temp. decrease. The rain drops are now ice drops. This Sheep can't survive without her coffee, so out she went. The car was frozen shut and almost took my arm out at the shoulder on the first yank. After warming up the car, an attempt to rescue my mail was abandoned once it became apparent that the mailboxes in my happy little condo village were also frozen shut. I just know my last Ebay win is trapped in there wondering why I don't rescue it from the frozen conditions. Thanks to four wheel drive I made the emergency supplies run and am now home, safe and sound, but it was a trial.

Suffice it to say, I will not be yarn shopping today. However, I did start a new project last night so I will be occupied as I huddle inside. Here's the thing: I have a tendency to knit items that are straightforward and useful. I think that's the "Maine-ah" in me. For example, last winter, I needed warm socks. So I whipped up these using a two needle pattern and some left-over singles of a targhee/silk blend spun up the previous summer:

Sheesh, I almost killed myself contorting into a position for the photo that didn't show my messy house in the background!
Simple, useful, and purposeful. I have a matching hat, as well. But lately I've been seeing some really cool lacy patterns being posted on various blogs and I'm getting the itch to do something girly. A couple of summers ago, I went on a silk-spinning binge and have skeins of the stuff lying about. I thought that would make for a nice scarf, however I thought it might make more sense to test out a pattern before consigning my purty hand-dyed silk to what might be an unmitigated disaster. Fortunately, I found an unused skein of Caron Simply Soft that was left over from a shrug I knit for a co-worker and thought that this might work nicely for a test run. I'm working up a pattern from Crystal Palace called "Arches And Columns" originally designed for their Soiree yarn. (soon to be discontinued, I'm told) After fiddling around with the gauge for what seemed like hours, I settled on a size 8 needle rather than the 11 recommended and have come up with this:

What looks like a mistake in the middle there is really just a need for blocking. I swear it!!!

It seems to be coming along well and I like it. I'll finish this up, and then start digging through the silk stash to see if I have something suitable. Otherwise, I guess I'll just have to go shopping...sigh!

Hopefully, tomorrow will look a bit better weather-wise and The Sheep can stumble out into the world to get some errands run. I still need Tung Oil for the bobbins and yarn for Son Of Skinny Scarf!!! MLK Day couldn't have come at a better time!

Enjoy your day, whatever the weather may be!!


Saturday, January 14, 2006

It's Curly, But Is It Whirly?

All sorts of goodies came for The Sheep in the mail this week. Several Ebay purchases came through (purchased sweaters, if you can imagine...what, you're thinking I'm going to finish one any time soon???) And:

New bobbins to help fill the lazy kate!!!
Normally, Sheepie's Daddy buys her spinning wheel accessories. As a former Industrial Arts teacher, he enjoys the assembly, sanding, finishing and all the other woodcraft-related stuff that goes with that. It's his little way of involving himself in his daughter's hobby. He's not what you'd call the "crafty" type. However, as Daddy is now comfortably ensconced in his Florida home he is less available to take care of these things for me. Don't tell him, but I sort of enjoy that stuff myself and will be hitting the hardware store for Tung Oil over the weekend to put a finish on these to match the wheel.
My first day of training was a true snore. However, the Curly Whirly scarf is complete!

Yup, she's curly and whirly!

Here's the deal: I knit it on size 9 circulars using Classic Elite La Gran Mohair. BTW: when purchasing what you think is "black," try taking a stroll past a window or an Ott lamp. It's probably "purple." Whatever...I like it. As stated earlier, I can't recall the blog from whence this came and am super sorry to the original author. I'm posting the pattern anyway:

Cast on 120 stitches

Row1: Knit

Row 2: K1, inc 1 stitch to last, K1

Rows 3 and 4: Repeat 1 and 2

Rows 5- at least 8. (more if so desired) knit

A couple of notes: I probably would have made this wider given that I prefer that in a scarf, however I only had two skeins of this particular yarn. It worked quite well for a thinner scarf. Also, the sheer number of stitches on the needle can lead to fairly tight stitches. (even for The Sheep who knits very loosely) Thus, I kept little to no tension on the yarn to prevent everything from becoming tighter than a failed dieter's grip on a cupcake. Otherwise, this was a fun and quick project. I might resort to this one during the next holiday knitting push. A longer version would make a great stole...

The Sheep had big plans to get out today to purchase more yarn for Son of Skinny Scarf, however a quick peek out the window put a stop to that in short order. The wind is a-howlin' and the rain is a-pourin' and this Sheep is dry clean only. We'll wait on this little errand.

Stay Warm, Stay Dry, Stay In And Eat Chocolate!


"But I Don't Like Spam!!!!"

Monty Python fans will get the title...the rest can just see it as a Internet reference.

Anyhoo...The Sheep got her first comment spam. As flattered as I am to think that those in "Cheap Shot Marketing Land" think that using this blog as a means for reaching the masses is a good plan, I am attempting to crush them like the bugs and parasites that they be. In that vein, Blogger's "Word Verification" is now ON!! Will this thwart them? Probably not. Cockroaches always seem to find a way to survive. Sorry for the inconvenience to all 4 of you out there who comment on my ramblings. You'll just have to sacrifice two seconds of your time to continue being a part of the phenomenon that is "Sheepish Annie."

Fiber -related content to follow in a later post!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

OK, We Have A Plan!

After casting on several scarfy-type projects to take with me to tomorrow's workshop, I think I've got a winner. None of the lacy-shmacy ones were going to work as they simply required too much attention to detail. With the February break coming up, that may be a challenge to undertake when I have endless hours to do nothing but knit. I have apparently decided to buy my dentist a boat...or his daughter a semester of college. There will be no tropical vacations this year, I fear. But gosh 'n golly my teeth will be all fixed.

This workshop (which encompasses three more weekly sessions) will begin with a good old "Curly-Whirly." You know, the scarf that twists up on itself like when Jessie James is shearing some wicked metal on "Monster Garage?" I can do the basic shaping tonight at home then it will be just straight-up garter stitch for the remainder of the pattern. As a bonus, it is knit side to side rather that up 'n down so I can do it on circulars. This means that I won't forget to bring the other needle. Yes, I have done that on several occasions. It's disconcerting to those around me to listen to the bad, bad words coming from the mean lady.

The pattern is one I found on a long-since-forgotten blog. I'll knit it up, make sure that it works, then post with profound apologies to whomever I have pilfered it from.

The long weekend awaits...I just have to get through this workshop, then a 2 and a half hour parenting education session for job #2 and it's all cartoons and naps till Tuesday!

Smile, tomorrow is Friday!!!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Sheepie's P.P

Everyone has a favorite P.P. (Portable Project) Many knitters out there favor the sock or the mitten. For me, it's the scarf. Portables are generally those things that I knit during workshops and conferences and I need to be able to focus on the speaker, participate when needed and, in general, be all professional and stuff. Multi-tasking is not a strength for The Sheep so scarves are the perfect project provided they aren't too complicated. And, lucky moi, I happen to have a scarf-in-progress:

Son Of Skinny Scarf: Humming along nicely!

Oh, but wait...we have a problem. I need more yarn. Not a crisis, except that I have a workshop on Friday and no time whatsoever to hit the LYS to get more. This means I need to cast on for another project so I don't lose my mind whilst sitting at said workshop listening, participating and looking all professional. The Sheep sometimes gets antsy when asked to sit for long periods. Meds help, but not for the hours that I envision in this instance.

Fortunately, I have some super pretty Classic Elite Mohair just waiting to be strung up into somethin' purty. Of course, it is not the color I thought (purple instead of black) but I still can't wait to make it into the scarf of my dreams. Now I'm bumping up against problem #2. The scarf I want to make with this is a lace pattern. A simple lace pattern, granted, but I'm not sure if it translates well into a P.P. It is only a four row repeat, and I know that, once I get it burned into my synapses, it will go well. I'm just not sure if said burning will occur within the next 48 hours or so. If not, we'll have to go with something simpler. Or take along the pattern, a package of Post Its and my very loud, clicky stitch counter. And Duct Tape to put across my mouth to contain the barrage of inevitable cursing. That could take away from the whole professional demeanor thing.

We'll see how it goes tonight! Glad that sleep has returned and that I can process things a bit better. Not so well that I'm willing to take the cursed SOS to the workshop, though. That stupid thing will not see the light of day until it is seamed, blocked and there is an eclipse to dim the view.

Happy WIPs and PPs to all!


Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Things Are Looking Up...

7, count 'em 7, full hours of glorious sleep were visited upon The Sheep last night!!!! I've been approached by many friends who read this blog (out of pity, one can assume) who just wanted to let me know that they feel my pain. Ironically, they are all parents of small children. There is no real comparison here, people. While "awake" is "awake" your being up at all hours has purpose...meaning, if you will. When you get old, there will be someone there to make sure that you don't die on the toilet or wander out of the house wearing nothing but bedroom slippers and a Red Sox cap.

The Sheep, on the other hand, must hope that her retirement plan is such that she can afford one of the good elder-care facilities. One that does not hire Bob the disillusioned orderly who has given up on ever finding true meaning in his life and takes out his aggressions by force feeding me vegetables and putting out his cigarettes on my forehead. One that believes in the dignity and wisdom that comes with age, rather than guessing how many elders can be fit into one room without a significant loss of oxygen.

I have discussed this with the cats and am fearful that they do not fully appreciate the gravity of this situation. As my only children, I have lavished upon them the finest of kitty treats and my very best sweaters for napping in the futile hope that they will take over the caregiving when I need it. This is not going to happen. They have the attention span of gnats. They will forget to feed me. I'm on my own, here.

My apologies to all the 'rents out there who are not sleeping. I know that you suffer. I know that your job is waaaaaay harder than mine. I appreciate your thinking of me. Talk to me in 40 years. You will be happily ensconced in your now-adult child's back bedroom watching the cable on their dime. I will be standing outside your window wearing bedroom slippers and a Red Sox cap. Call someone...I will need help at that point.

See You Then!

Monday, January 09, 2006

Sleepy Sheepie.

The title of the post speaks for itself, but I shall elaborate anyway as this is my little corner of the 'net and I can whine if I want to. But first, Knit Annie asked where I got the pattern for the SOS. (note: said garment is on the back burner for the moment...I couldn't seem to count with my full faculties intact. I think that the current state of my brain is not quite up to this challenge.) Anyhoo...the pattern is from the Winter 2003/04 issue of Vogue Knitting International. In addition to being a sleepy sheepie, I am also a cheapie sheepie and don't have a scanner. The pix I took of the mag don't look so hot; thus, I'm afraid I can't show you what it is supposed to look like. I'll keep working on it!

About the sleep thing. I was feeling pretty frisky on Saturday as I'd knocked back some z's. Sunday was another matter having spent another night just a tossin' and a turnin'. "No problem," bleated The Sheep. "That just means I'll be so darned tuckered out that I'll sleep tonight like a wee little lambie." Yeah, right. Today, I got to start the workweek on a total of three hours of dream-time. I'm starting to hallucinate. I see dancing elephants and Brad Pitt...ladies, you know what I mean: the vision where he swears to forsake Jen, Angelina, "fill in the blank with the paramour of the moment" as he has never seen a vision so lovely as The Sheep. While this is an entertaining way to spend the day, it is not exactly conducive to productivity in the workplace. Here's hoping tonight goes better!

On a happier note: As I was attempting to enter my classroom at the end of the school day today and pack up my stuff I found myself blocked by two co-workers. They were attempting to program a pedometer prior to what I guessed was an indoor walk. I excused myself, got into the room, then remembered something I needed on the lower level. Upon returning to the main floor, I found myself behind these ladies midwalk. They were cranking along at quite a clip, might I add. I did have to wait for them on the the stairs, though. As we were navigating around each other one of them turned and said, "Please tell me you're not trying to lose weight, too. Cause if you are, I'm just gonna cry." I was flattered. I also explained that I had recently lost 60 or so pounds and understood the pain of the process. Appropriate Kudos were received and The Sheep felt a little better about such things in life as The SOS, Fuzzy-No-Sleep-Brain, and the state of the union.

Here's to the little pleasures!

Sunday, January 08, 2006

The Need For Self-Esteem.

The struggles with the SOS have left me feeling a bit on the "less than competent" side. To compensate, The Sheep will now share her mad blending skills and give her sad little ego a boost! Please note, though, that I am not a good student. Thus, I have taken neither classes nor advice on the subject of fiber related pursuits. I tend more towards just figgerin' it out as I go along. (nice attitude for a professional teacher, huh?) Thus, it is entirely possible that, at this moment, there is a spinning diva out there clutching her bosom in the throes of an incipient attack of the vapors as she reviews my methods. I apologize to said diva, but this is the strategy that works for The Sheep. Here goes:

I blend my fibers on my Louet Jr. drum carder using a top-loading method. Here we have a carded and dyed batt of Lincoln Long wool:

I pull off small amounts and lay it across the large drum and hold tightly. This puts quite a bit of tension on the fiber and untangles the "matting" that often occurs during the dying process.

Once I've laid down a thin base of the main fiber, I take a small amount of the metallic (copper, in this case) and crank that through. I alternate fiber and metallic until the drum is full.

I then remove the batt and separate it. Next, I pull small amounts from each batt at random and run that through the carder, again using the top loading method.

You can repeat this process as often as you like to achieve the desired effect, however twice through seemed enough for this Sheepie's attention span:

I use this method for blending most fibers. I find it works quite well with silk/wool blends as well. I know that other fiber-artists out there have their own methods of blending, but I like the speed at which I can work by using the drum carder. Besides...I wanted a drum carder. I needed to justify a drum carder. A drum carder can blend. Problem solved. I chose the Louet primarily for the price at the time, however it has proven to be a good choice. It's compact (being the Jr. and all) and speeds through fiber quite handily.

There, The Sheep now feels like she has shared a triumph as opposed to a trial for once in this blog! Back to your regularly scheduled tirades on naughty kitties, lack of sleep and SOS torture tomorrow!!!!!


Saturday, January 07, 2006



mrichme pointed out that it was actually knitannie that came up with the oh-so-fitting name for the SOS and the Sheep is all about giving credit where credit is due. Remember...I am sleep deprived and old.

Feeling somewhat human again!

Got a solid 8 hours of sack time last night and threw in a lengthy nap today just for good measure! I'm up to 80% brain power which is more than I started with by my humble calculations! Yay!!! I was so pleased with myself that I put the plan to torture the cats for their part in the "Sleep Deprivation '06" fiasco on the back burner for the time being. This can be re-instituted should their behavior continue next week.

I spent some time with the SOS and think that I may have resolved some of the shaping issues. It's still going to require some blocking in order to resemble the finished product the good people at Vogue had in mind, but I'm feeling a little better about the whole thing. Let's face it...I was never going to look like that 14 year old waif model staring at me with glazed eyes from some New York locale that they featured in the mag. I'm a "mature" woman living in rural Maine. I do kinda have the glazed eyes, though.

As of 10:00 this morning; Both sides are finished now and sort of even match!

In other knitting knews, Son of Skinny Scarf also got some needle time today and is coming along. No rush on it, it's just a nice distraction from the SOS. (mrichme suggested that this could mean "s&*t on sticks...I like that one) I did a gauge swatch to see if the Classic Elite Mohair might work for a certain special project (it won't) and ordered some new bobbins and rug backing from The Woolery. Tonight, I'm going to get behind the wheel (cuz I'm off the painkillers now and can do this legally) and get back to work on the Lincoln/metallic blend. I had hoped to get the drum carder out for more blending and see if I couldn't get some of that out of the way, but the day is only so long. Maybe tomorrow.

All in all, I managed to successfully avoid most of the housework that piled up during the course of the week and to not write the report due for the agency that provides my second income. Not too shabby if I do say so myself. I'd say this Sheep has earned a pot of coffee and a few of the chocolates that were saved from the New Year's "as god is my witness, I will not eat this crap and will live on vegetables so that I can be healthy and undo 40 years of bad habits" purge. Yee-Haw!!!

Enjoy your weekend!


Little Progress Here In Wakey-Wakey Land.

Thanks to the not-so-gentle ministrations of Dr. DeSade ,DMD, (not his real name for those who haven't been keeping up, just my little "pet" name for him), The Sheep has been on and off various pain killers for the last month or so. As has happened in the past, they have worked their magic and allowed for agony-free days and sweet, sweet sleep. The downside is, of course, that you can't take them forever. I tend to develop rapid relationships with these little beauties and often have difficulty when the time comes to stop taking them. I miss sleep. It is a wonderful time for me...you're not dead, but you're not conscious. That is so cool. I miss sleep.

Since school started on Tuesday, I haven't really slept through a full night and last night was the worst. Like many others with Attention Deficit Disorder, I can sometimes fiddle around with caffeine and ingest the right amount to put me out, but this isn't always an exact science. So now we have a tired Sheep standing before the coffee maker at three a.m. (please note that I leave for work at seven a.m.) playing mad scientist and trying to create a beverage that will induce the "paradoxical effect" and induce sleep. This pattern wasn't a problem while I was home on break, I just made up the hours during the day. This is frowned upon in the public education system. There is an expectation that the teacher will remain awake during school hours and provide the little darlings with various types of instruction and nurturing. You see why this has been a challenge.

Here is the other part of the problem:

Who, us?
Yes, my darlings, you. The children seem to be having difficulties with the transition back to the daily grind and have decided to punish Mommy by having late-night wrestling matches, howling from various, un-findable locales in the condo and leaping upon her tummy just when she is about to drop off.
As a result, there has been little progress on any fiber projects here at Casa de Sheepie. One side of the SOS is bound off and the second is in progress. The one good part of sleep deprivation is that you care less about the little things, matching sweater fronts for example. Let's just cross our fingers that I can make the same adjustments to the left as for the right and that the mistakes will look enough alike to pass for "that's what I meant to do." Thank heaven for Son of Skinny Scarf...that project is simple enough to do in my sleep. Not that I sleep, but you get the idea.
My plan for the weekend is to try and make up for some Z's and see if I can't get a bit further along on the SOS. I also shall be locating any and all sleeping cats in the household and making sure that they are awakened in the most jarring way possible. There will be hell to pay for this, but I don't care. Revenge is sweet!!!!!
And now to sleep, to sleep perchance to dream!!!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

A Little Perspective.

Feeling like the powers that be have it out for you? Wondering what you may have done in a past life to warrant the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune? Here's a suggestion: Wander on over to Knitting And Such to see how missemilysmom started her day. (Here's a hint, it is a "child" story) It will provide you with a little perspective. My struggles with the SOS seem tamer than they did yesterday.

Note to all the other childless spinsters out there: Hug your cats, turn on your nice, dry computer, eat some ice cream for dinner and be thankful for your barren-ness!!!!! :)


Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Now And For All Time:

For the last week or so I have been referring to my latest WIP as either "The Sweater of Shame" or "The Not-So-Fringed-Collar-Sweater." A decision has been made and we will now all refer to this as the "SOS." This can still stand for "Sweater of Shame" or it can just mean, "help." It can also mean, "Sweater of Swearing," or Stupid Old Sweater." On good days it can be the "Sweater of Success" but I'm not seeing this as a reality at the moment. I can continue to blame the pattern as is my wont, but I suspect that I just got distracted. Either way, we have had decrease issues. Many, many decrease issues. The stitch count continues to be way off.

Soooo, I adjusted...and adjusted...and...well you get the idea. Last night I wrapped this sucker around me in front of the bathroom mirror to see if said adjustments were as visible to the casual observer as they are to me and POP! There went the stitch holder for the center. I think I rescued all the dropped stitches. They were fleeing towards the bottom ribbing like Prada-wearing socialites in acid rain. Many bad, bad words were said.

Tonight, I am going to spend some quality time with the Son of Skinny Scarf. This little number never causes me such angst. It is all that is good and kind in this world. It treats me like a lady. God love the garter stitch.

May all your WIPS be kind to you,

Monday, January 02, 2006

Back to work...sigh!

The last day of vacation is always a weird one. You're still on "break" but you're in "work mode." The whole day is spent thinking in terms of "this time tomorrow I'll be..." and you rush about like a hamster on crack trying to get everything done so you don't have to try and do it while you stumble back into the work force.

This was a pleasant holiday vacation, though. And productive too, I must say. The X-mas knitting was finished well in time for gift-giving and I started some nice little projects for my most favoritest person: moi! The Sweater of Shame has been worked to the point where I can separate for the fronts and back:

I had hoped to work on it more last night, but whenever the urge overtook me there was a cat napping right on the magazine containing the pattern. The punishment for disturbing them is far worse than having to wait on knitting so I turned my thoughts toward other projects:

One skein of the lincoln/metallic spun and ready for the swift! I'm finding that I have more slubs and burbles in this than I would have liked, but I finally decided that there is a time to let the wool do what it wants. Once I remembered that this will be combined with two other yarns for the project I have in mind, I realized that inconsistencies won't really matter all that much and will add to the texture. At least that is what I am telling myself...

I also spent some time working on the Son of Skinny Scarf. I found some cool wooden beads that I want to try on the fringies. They may be a bit too heavy, but I'm gonna give it a shot! Persephone, not content with just sabotaging work on the sweater, took time out of her busy napping-on-the-pattern schedule to investigate the photo shoot.

Now it's off to get the lunches made, clothing ironed, and socks located so that I can trundle into school tomorrow ready to mold the minds of America's future! I'm tired already...


Sunday, January 01, 2006

New Year's Eve...Sheep Style!

Crazy Aunt Purl often writes of her life at Chez Spinster, but I can't help note that she certainly seems to have more of a life than I. Famous houseguests, wild and wacky scenes from Stitch 'N Bitch captured forever in Blogdom... I submit that she is, perhaps, not exactly the spinsterish chick she thinks she is. I mean really, just look at her in the pix! She's freakin' adorable!!!!!

This, ladies and gentlemen, is how a true spinster rings in the New Year:

Scene: New Years Eve, in Anytown Near the Beach, Maine. It is 3:00 in the afternoon and a groggy sheep is just awakening from her two hour nap. Here is her account of what happens next.

3:05- Realize it's New Year's Eve. Wonder if that weird "nap-taste" in her mouth will last into '06.

4:00- Knit.

5:00- Realize that there is a Law And Order: Criminal Intent Marathon on today!!! Remainder of this scenario must be read with the understanding that this is the background music.

7:00- Eat over half a box of Banquet Frozen Fried Chicken.

7:15- Feel slightly sick. Put on bright pink Kitty Kat pajamas.

7:30- Feeling better. Polish off the remainder of a box of holiday chocolates.

8:00- Feed Cats. Tell them that this is the last time you will feed them this year. Laugh maniacally. They don't get it.

8:26- Clip pink Ipod to pink pj's and dance around the living room. Pretend said living room is an exclusive club. Become disturbed when Billy Idol's "Dancing With Myself" comes up on the playlist. Abandon this activity.

8:45- Put ginger ale in a champagne glass. Realize that a champagne glass doesn't hold very much. Go back to drinking ginger ale out of chipped glass.

9:00- Begin plying the Lincoln using the new tensioned Lazy Kate...AWESOME!!!

9:30- Play Chuzzle on the computer. Discover that Verizon Games on Demand now has Magic Ball. Lose all sense of time.

10:30- Sit the cats down for a heart to heart regarding their usefulness in the upcoming year. Explain that they must start pulling their own weight.

10:32-Cats wander off.

10:33- Return to computer games.

12:02- The opening theme music to L&O:CI leads to the startling realization that the transition to 'o6 has been missed. Make a hasty resolution to throw away all the holiday chocolates on Monday. Well, except the dark chocolate...that has anitioxidents and we need those.

12:06- Begin consuming the limited edition Chocolate/Mint Hershey's Kisses. 'Twould be a shame to waste those in the upcoming chocolate purge.

1:00- Tire of computer games, shut down and head for bed. It is a new start to a whole new year!!!

Dear Aunt Purl, I know that I shall never have your wit and ability to entertain with the written word. And I certainly will never be a cute blonde. But the spinster thing...that I got goin' on!! Anyone who reads Laurie's blog knows that this hasn't been her best year; here's hoping that '06 treats you better, girl. Your faithful readers wish you well!