Thursday, March 30, 2006

Damn It, Jim. I'm A Knitter Not A Family Practitioner!

Here's a health tip: keep fresh batteries in your thermometer. Had I done that I might have known sooner that I was running a bit of a temperature yesterday. 102 to be exact. As The Sheep normally sports something like 78 degrees and change this is something of an increase.

Here's another tip: Over the counter remedies like Advil will make said temperature go back down and one will be less likely to spend the day whimpering with the yuckies and publishing blog posts extolling the virtues of ginger ale.

We're feeling much better now. I took today off as I was still a tad feverish this morning, but am heading back towards "normal" just in time for the weekend. Fearing that this might be my last few hours on earth, however, I broke my vow to avoid the siren song of the sock yarn. I cast on for a pair of "Slouch Socks" from the new book that landed in my house last weekend.

The ribbing is in sort of a "spiraly" pattern. Most cool!
Other than my newly discovered medical knowledge, this represents the bulk of what was accomplished today. I'll head back into the classroom/Petri dish tomorrow to see what, if anything, is left standing. I'm pretty sure that I'll be able to make it to job #2 after that and then settle in for the weekend. And this is one weekend where there will be no guilt associated with just staying in like a hermity recluse!
Even the memory of these last few days is enough to make me feel too grossy-grossout to be seen in public!!!!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Shoulda' Known Better

The Sheep is not stupid. She has a Master's Degree. Honest... She is, however, sometimes a bit slow on the uptake. And there have been those who have noted that she can sometimes be a tad reckless. Devil-may-care, if you will.

I knew last night when I hit "publish post" that I was tempting the fates. I mean really...joking about the stomach flu. That takes, for lack of a better word, "guts." It's like spitting into the wind or asking Tom Cruise about Scientology: you're just asking for trouble and time out of your life you will never get back.

Suffice it to say, I got it. I made it to work, was able to attend my 10:00 Pupil Evaluation Team Meeting and meet the needs of a few kiddos who were having a tough morning, but I didn't last past noon. The staff, in a fit of compassion (and perhaps alarm at my utter grossness) put their collective feet down and sent me on my way. I loaded up on Pepto Bismol and hit the road. 40 tension-filled minutes later I made it home and have been on the couch making pathetic little groaning noises ever since. Persephone hung in there for a while, but even she, helpful kitty that she is, couldn't take the shameful display Mommy was putting on and headed for parts unknown.

I attempted to salvage the day with some knitting on the shawl, but it just made me woozy. Spinning seemed like a sure-fire way to create unfettered nausea so that was out. TV...only if I didn't look directly at the screen. Everything save sitting perfectly still and thinking stable thoughts is making me feel like the earth's rotation has increased tenfold. In short, I am a sad excuse for a Sheep. Ginger ale is my new best friend. I'm thinking of marrying it and changing my name formally to Mrs. Ale. We'll move to the country and raise little ales...Oh My God...I'm rambling.

Better go back to sitting perfectly still on the couch. That's my new hobby for the time being.


Tuesday, March 28, 2006

I'll Miss Those Slippers.

Look away...I'm so ashamed.
Tuesday was a bit better than Monday. I was only down one staff person and the kiddies, while still on the grumpy side, held it together for yet another day. However, a plague has been visited upon our little corner of the educational world and I fear that we are in the midst of an "and then there were none" sort of situation. Today child #3 was stricken with the dreaded flu. It's the bad kind. The one that sits deep in your digestive system and leads one in a rousing rendition of the crabapple two-step. They're dropping like flies. It's only a matter of time. I can feel these little microbial thingies settling in. And this is a virus, people. Nonliving and immune to antibacterial hand-wash. I will be making many, many promises to whatever powers that be in order to avoid being stricken with this.
The Sheep was feeling some gratitude upon being able to vacate the plague room and return to the safety of hearth and home. A present awaited. I didn't discover it until after the nightly workout and was getting ready to slip into my comfy jammies and cozy slippers. A certain, special someone had apparently experienced some gastrointestinal difficulties today and opted to purge herself on my slippers. I have mentioned in other posts that this little darling has some digestive problems and often needs to purge the old tum-tum. But my slippers? I mean, really. This seems a bit more personal. I'm seeking out a good therapist...she clearly has mother issues. Or kitty bulimia. Either way, we need help here.
Tonight, however, we shall put this matter aside and spend more time with the never-ending rug project.

It's coming along. I think I can have it finished in time for my 102nd birthday party. Maybe.

Returning to the quilting hoop was truly the way to go. As I hook with yarn vs. wool strips, the gripper thingies on the other frame were just tearing out anything they touched. If I'd just stuck with the smaller design, all would have been well. But I got ambitious. This doesn't happen all that often so I'm going with it. Note: "real" rug-hookers out there are just shaking their heads at this point and going, "remember when we were that innocent and stupid?" I'm good with that, too. Someday, I hope to be experienced enough at this to look at the novices and harken back to the days when I embarked all willy-nilly on projects outside my skill level. Until then, I shall carry on with this little number and work that learning curve!

You'd think said learning curve would have kicked in with regard to where I keep my slippers. I've been replacing them with some degree of regularity for years now.


Monday, March 27, 2006

Mondays...Whaddaya Gonna Do?

Yeah, yeah...The Sheep complains alot on Mondays. Really. She does. Go check the archives. I'll wait right here.

You can see it, right? I'm aware of the whining and fussing. I just can't seem to stop. And today is not going to be anything remotely resembling an exception. "Cuz I really thought I had this one licked.

I fought the urge to stay up for Grey's Anatomy. It was the one where the two people were impaled together by a metal pole and only one could be saved. I found this one particularly gut-wrenching the first time through and, knowing what was going to happen made it easy to put my sleepy little self to bed at a more reasonable hour. The lunch was made, clothes were chosen, I even had the coffee ready to go.

I figured out that I had enough gas for the commute and headed out, determined to be right on time and with an outlook sunny enough to lure retirees right out of Florida. Yup, I hads me a plan. It was gonna be a good day if it killed me.

Well, it almost killed me, but it was not that good. I got the first message upon arrival: Staff person #1 had called in sick. No problem. Staff person #2 was there and #3 was on her way. Except she wasn't. She'd left a message on the machine and was at home with the yuckies. Inwardly chanting some nonsense about being in my happy place, I joked with staff person #2 about our predicament and how we might be challenged on this day.

"Well, you will be. I have to leave at noon today, remember?"

Uh, no. I'd actually forgotten that. Change of plans. It's going to be a bad day. Period. I know, I know: teachers teach alone every single day of the week the world around. But this is a Day Treatment Program. These kids get cases of the grumpies that sometimes require self-defense moves. And there is a range from grades first through fourth. This was going to be tricky to say the very least. Thankfully, that's why the good Lord invented VCRs. Educational Videos Rock!!!!!!!!

I survived the day with only a couple of bruises to the shins and mild dehydration. (no bathroom breaks when it's All Sheep, All The Time Education, liquids rationed accordingly)I managed to slog through the Monday workout routine and feed the cats. I've rehydrated and started to put some time in on the Reflecting Hearts Rug. There has been great progress on this and I'd dearly love to show you a picture but, alas, Blogger is having it's weekly "Thwart The Sheep" tantrum and isn't gonna let that happen. Ah, well. You can wait.

I'm guessing that this will be an early night given the day's stresses and whatnot. But first, there will be a few Dove Dark Chocolates to ease the pain.

I work to support my habit (s). I'm not ashamed of it.


Sunday, March 26, 2006

You're A Dirty, Dirty Sheep

No, not me...sheesh. I'm not dirty. I'm as pure as the driven snow. Well, driven over snow. In March. When it's sort of on the gray side. Whatever. I'm not talking about my issues here. I'm referring to Jacob. I spent some time carding and spinning this fleece today and am finding more and more VM as the process lingers on. I started out diligently picking out each and every fragment, but I fear that it is getting the best of me. As we may have all surmised by now, The Sheep is not exactly "detail oriented." Quite a bit of it is coming out through the processing and as it's being spun, but I'm still feeling grateful for my foresight in keeping a pair of tweezers near the wheel. I'm still going to end up with a bit of the old flora and fauna in the final product. Oh well. This was an eBay win and reasonably priced for the quality. And it was washed. I'm good with it. Of course, I've had to vacuum three times over the last day and a half. And that's not exactly something The Sheep is known for either!

I've also spent more time playing with the Make It Fun Bead/Crochet gizmo. As stated in the previous post, I think that the "fun" aspect of this item was somewhat exaggerated. For one thing, the beads that came with the kit, being itsy, bitsy, little seed beads, were no way going to fit over the provided cord. This necessitated a trip to the local WalMart for a thinner beading elastic. (I actually have some here somewhere, but finding it was another story) Once at the store, it seemed logical to purchase more beads as they were right there and all. I tried to use some restraint, but the whole thing ended up costing more than the original kit. Oh, well. I did get some genuine amusement out of the experience (and a new watch as I was at WalMart anyway...) so I consider the experiment a success.

Stunning little wrist adornments, wouldn't ya say?
So there you have it: The Sheep's wild weekend. Please try to contain your envy. Not everyone can maintain this lifestyle. It takes a commitment to one's inner animal and massive doses of vit. B12.
Consult your physician prior to starting any exciting lifestyle program.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

I Am Weak.

I have yarn and fiber coming out of my ears. I have committed myself to a series of projects designed to decrease the amount of fluffy stuff currently closing in on me and sworn that I shall buy no more until this is accomplished. I am flirting with the idea of quitting my job as I simply don't see the situation improving anytime soon. I owe thousands of dollars courtesy of my friendly neighborhood dentist. Saving is not my forte.

It, therefore, seemed perfectly logical that I do a KnitPicks order. I sort of wanted to blame each and every one of you who has recently posted a sock picture as I suddenly have this deep-seated itch to create foot coverings all the live long day. But that would be unfair. I simply couldn't fight the urge. I recently received an unexpected "windfall" courtesy of Maine Academic Decathalon (they paid me for my volunteer scoring duties...I have no idea why) and just had to keep the cash from burning a hole in my checking account.

There will be socks 'n such I tells ya!
I did manage to stop fondling it after the first hour or so and force myself to put this stuff out of sight in the spare bedroom. Hopefully I can fight the sock urge long enough to complete at least one of the WIPs currently on the needles. At the moment, I am back to work on The Great Shawl Experiment. Folks who see this in "real time" all seem impressed. Yet I can't seem to get a decent photo of the thing. I'm going to wait until completion for the unveiling on this one blogolistically speaking. I can tell you that it is very soft and drapey and, while I have absolutely no idea where in this world I might have need of a shawl, it will be a mighty purty, if unworn, garment.
In "Make It Fun" news: it appears that the promised "fun" may have been something of an exaggeration. I'm still fiddlin' with it, but it does work and is moderately amusing. I guess that you get the fun you pay for. Let this be a lesson to you all. The cats have been giving me "I told you so" looks all day.

You have completely and utterly lost your mind. I will be parked in your unmade bed and shedding on your pillow until you come to your senses. Good luck with that.

Feline logic is cruel. And correct.


Thursday, March 23, 2006

Fun...For The Right Price.

Fellow Maine-ahs will recognize the name, "Reny's." This is a local chain which claims to be part of "the Maine experience." Ignore the rockbound coast, majestic pines and spunky lobsters sprinting for their lives from butter wielding tourists...go to Reny's!!! In essence, its a place where merchandise goes to die. And be purchased by cheap Sheep who like to think that they are getting a bargain on anything from crackers to sweaters. Gotta love it!

Today, I made quite the find! It's a crochet thingie that will allow me to make beaded bracelets and necklaces with which to adorn my wattle-y neck. 'Cuz that's just where I want all attention drawn. Oh, yeah. Basically, it seems to be along the lines of the old "Knitting Nancy" spool doo-hickey that appears to be making something of a comeback:

...and the colors! Far out, man!
But the best part is the name: Make It Fun! It is promising me fun!!! I need fun. I crave fun. I'm too lazy to go out and look for fun. I only had to pay $4.99 for fun. That works.
As tomorrow represents the last day of toil for the week, I am putting this little gadget aside to fiddle with during the 48 hours in which I can forget that I have a job and all. I'm thinking that I can figure this thing out in a relatively short time as it is actually manufactured for use by children. There will be a short learning curve (followed by swearing, weeping and self-recrimination) and I can't wait. Perhaps by Sunday I can post a picture of The Sheep draped in stunning beaded adornments. Perhaps this will also detract readers from the fact that I have several WIPs that just don't seem to be going anywhere fast.
Let's get this party started!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

It Would Have Been Quite Charming.

The Sheep had quite the cute little post planned for tonight. Pictures of the cats welcoming Mommy home after parent/teacher conferences, my feet in comfy slippers, a few Dove dark chocolates...all to show my happiness at finally arriving at the homestead after this very, very long day. It would have been oh so witty.

Except that Blogger is not cooperating with me. No photos and I suspect I will be lucky to even get this up on them Internets at all. It is what it is...

mrichme expressed concern regarding my two day absence in his last post. All is well, I've just been a bit busy with school-related stuff. There has been little in the way of knitting and spinning, just alot of paperwork and cat comforting. The babies do not do well with changes in routine. And they may still be just a wee bit hung over after their three day catnip bender. I swear to God I heard Desdemona drunk-dialing Cat Fancy magazine and offering to be the April centerfold. I asked about it, but she just looked embarrassed and slunk away.

It has been a super-long day and I'm ready to say a hearty, "nighty night to all!" I am too wiped to even care that my clever blog posting has been thwarted and that I have been forced to resort to cat jokes in order to have something to share. Perhaps tomorrow I'll do a bit better...

I'm off to count...well...sheep, I guess!

Monday, March 20, 2006

Judgment Error.

The kitties were awfully good while Mommy was recovering this weekend. They deserved a special little treat. So she bought them a new "Super Scratcher" complete with catnip infusion:

It started out well...

...but soon degenerated into something of a stand-off.

Eventually, they worked it out and were able to figure out a complicated schedule of usage that allowed for individual enjoyment. It makes a mother so proud.

Until she realizes that this means that, at all times, at least one cat is tweaked out of her ever-lovin' mind on the great green herb. There was great unrest in the Sheep household. That was fine. It was actually quite entertaining. Until bedtime.

Kitty Krack combined with the Sheep's natural tendency towards Sandman resistance on a Sunday night did not slumber make, I'm afraid. I normally don't doze off anywhere near my usual bed time on the last night of the weekend, but I can generally manage to get in 6 hours or so. Not last night. Between those two little druggies, I got about 2 hours. Maybe 2 and a half. This is not good. Not good at all. The poor little kiddies in my class were subjected to random schedule changes throughout the day as I couldn't seem to tell time. My staff heard the same stories over and over...(and over) as I couldn't remember which pearls of wisdom I had already shared. I lost one of the little buggers for almost thirty minutes and almost freaked out until I remembered that I had sent him to the nurse's office for a cootie check. Yeesh! I did survive the day with the same number of children with which I started (more or less...) and was able to drive home on auto-pilot without incident. I even got in the usual work-out although I must admit that it was less vigorous than it should have been. I suspect that I will be tucked into my little bed quite early tonight. There will be little in the way of daily fiber therapy.

And I'm hiding that damn Super Scratcher!!!!!


Sunday, March 19, 2006

Napping, Noshing, Knitting And A Clarification.

First, the clarification:

The Stoned Knitter, after reading my last post, is contemplating canceling her upcoming dentist appointment for the weight loss benefits. Let me be clear. Prior to beginning this saga, my teeth were pain-free and I could have eaten rocks should the urge hit me. (this could have been part of the problem...) It was only after going to the sadist, I mean dentist, that I had to cut back on little things like eating solid food. Weight loss followed. There is nothing to be gained (so to speak) through ignoring your dental health, Mia. So sorry. Just go. Trust me on this...

With that out of the way, here's how I spent the weekend:

There was some work on the next Stashbuster project. This is, at the moment, destined to be a sweater. However, should something go terribly awry, I do have a back-up plan. I love the color combo so very much that I'm willing to salvage it no matter what the cost to my mental health.

This will consist of roughly one of every skein in the house!
A tiny bit of spinning occurred early in the day, but I didn't stick with it for long. I'm hoping to get in a bit more wheel time tonight during prime time TV viewing: looks exactly the same as the last time I posted a picture of the Jacob.

Mostly, though, I did this:

Laying around on the couch with a cat...this is the life! Dontcha just love the "nap hair?"

I did venture to the kitchen periodically to snag some Girl Scout cookies. I don't care if there is pain in the choppers. I've worked my way down to the primo, bestest of the bunch, super favorite Thin Mints and I'm eating them whether the dental work says I can or not!!! Sometimes a Sheep just has to stick to her principles.

And that's all she wrote. It's back to work tomorrow for this old Sheep. We're in countdown mode to April Vacation and then it's a short hop to the summer break. Alot of work needs to get done between now and then, but the promise of sun and fiber sustains me.

We'll just pretend that I don't also have a dentist appointment in July. That should be time enough for my mouth to heal before we start this again.


Saturday, March 18, 2006

The Sheep Is Moving On!

Dental work: complete!!! This will be the final "Dr. DeSade" post for a while. Let freedom ring!!!!

Now, The Sheep considers herself something of a "wordsmith." I enjoy both written and verbal forms of language and like to think that I express myself well. Thus, I truly believed that in this, my final appointment-to-fix-everything-that-I-had-let-go-to-hell, I could clearly and articulately let the good dentist know just what has been going on in my much-abused mouth over the last few months. I pictured it something like this:

Him: Well, good morning to you, oh wonderful patient. And how are you today, you little gift to dentists everywhere?

Me: Well, Doc, here's the thing. I'm running out of places in my mouth where I can actually chew solid food. The last fillings you did are horribly sensitive and I've had to go back to chewing on the right side. And, as you well know, the crown you installed is really just holding on by some cement and a prayer so it gets kind of irritated easily. Sometimes it itches. I've developed this weird drooling habit and I'm thinking that this is not a good look for me. As a result of all this oral restoration, I have lost another 15 pounds since November. Now, you'd think this would be a good thing, but it has set off a chain reaction of blood work and consultations to explore malnutrition, anemia and the like. In addition, my skin no longer fits and I have a crumply tummy thing going on which can only be addressed through plastic surgery.

So, here's what I'm saying: I really need your "A-Game" today. This is my last unsullied tooth and it has to work. I cannot subsist on lukewarm soup and room temperature applesauce for the rest of my life. I'm rootin' for you here. I believe in you. Put on your game face and make this work. Don't over-focus on the pain-killers. We've established that they don't work all that well. Don't keep trying to distract me through inane conversation. I need to focus in order that I don't just bite your finger off. Drill 'n Fill like you never have before. God Speed to you good sir!

I carefully crafted this speech and rehearsed it diligently for an entire week. I was ready. Alas, by the time I got to the appointment, I was a tad tweaked. Nerves had completely taken over and the power of speech simply drained from my body in a flood of drool. It ended up going something like this:

Him: How ya doin'? (Not looking at me, simply lovingly arranging sharp, pointy tools on his little dentist tray)

Me: (barely audible) umm.....good. You?

End of conversation.

Oh, well. It's over and I don't have to go back until July. It's probably for the best. I often find that conversations I have in my head tend to go far better than in real life. On a positive note, I did get to wear my new belt:

Whoo, Sheepie! Take it off!!! Um, no wait...middle-aged, crumply tummy. Put it on! For the love of God, put it on!!!!!!
Yeah, I know...I'm not really the belt type. But I bought the damn thing and, by golly I was going to wear it at least once!
In between impulse belt-buying, speech rehearsals and dental nightmares, there has been a wee bit of knitting. The second stashbuster project seemed "off" to me. Something wasn't quite right with the sleeves and I'm still not sure if it was a pattern error or a Sheep miscalculation. (probably the latter, I fear) As I was never really sure if this one was going to work it was an easy fix: I went all Kermit on it's hienie and you can call it "frogged." I've started another project which is interesting in it's own right and will, hopefully, have better news to report on that once I get a bit further with it.
Otherwise, this Sheep is just enjoying her weekend, secure in the knowledge that Dr. DeSade will be torturing some other poor soul for a while.
Do you think he'll miss me?

Friday, March 17, 2006

This Morning's Guest Blogger:

It's me!
Desdemona here. Just wanted to pop online and let everyone know that Mommy is now home from her dentist appointment. Persephone wanted to do this post, but I informed her that I am older and, quite frankly, smarter. She can't spell. It's true. It simply makes more sense for me to take care of this little piece of business. Mommy needs some recovery time before she attempts to share this experience. I made this decision after listening to her mumble several choice comments through her numb, mushy mouth regarding her appointment. I have done the research and anything she might have to say at this point will put us all in the middle of a large libel suit. She just needs to get some Advil into her system and settle down a bit. She'll be fine.
As near as I could tell (and translating her rantings was quite the challenge, I must say) this was a somewhat painful appointment given the location of the fillings and the inability of the novacaine to fully penetrate the bone mass in her jaw. Trouper that she is, she refused further pain killers and urged the good doctor to soldier on. Significant pressure was placed on the same area of the jaw that took a bit of a beating during the crown application a couple of months ago and this has also caused her some discomfort. Otherwise, everything went according to plan and Mommy is officially finished with the dental repair.
Having completed my on-line obligations, I shall now retire to my favorite chair for a well-deserved four hour nap. I will leave the nurturing and caregiving aspects of the day to my adopted (under my strenuous objections) sister as this is more within her skill set. Spelling and grammar are not required in this endeavor.
Best Wishes To All,

Lyer. I can too spel. I was just bizzy checking out this patern!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Preparing For Appointment #6

OK. (breathing deeply) I'm just about ready.

I have called Dr. DeSade DMD's office and explained to them that they need not panic about my having exceeded my insurance for the year and there is no reason to cancel the appointment. I will pay them my appointment...which is tomorrow...which negates the need for them to keep calling me for the money.

I have transferred my meagre amount of cash, license, the checks which draw upon the line of credit which is paying for this nightmare and my insurance card to my mini wallet. Thus, when my appointment is over there will be no fumbling for a purse and I can just run from the presence of the scary dentist without encumbrances.

I have purchased new underwear. Not because I fear death or a heart attack in the office or anything. I'm just worried that I might have some sort of knee-jerk reaction to the pain and do something that will cause me to be led away in handcuffs. I want to have something purty to wear when I am changing into my orange jumpsuit.

I have flossed every day for a solid week. When the good doctor asks if I have been doing so regularly I can look him right in his flaming, soulless eyes and say, "why, yes."

I have contacted the kindly people responsible for my line of credit and been reassured that they are still on speaking terms with me. They will cover this.

The school secretary (and Amy, my scary stylist who works next door to the dentist's office) will be monitoring the news for any reports of middle aged women freaking out and taking hostages in the southern area of the state. Both have agreed to call my mother or race over bearing doughnuts with which to lure me from the roof.

I think I am ready. Tomorrow morning at 8:00 a.m. I will be seated, clenched and saying over and over in my head, "do not antagonize the dentist, do not antagonize the dentist..."

I'm sure it will be fine. If you don't hear from me, feel free to assume that this was the appointment where I just lost it completely. Letters, cards and bills can be sent to the local center for the criminally insane.

But could someone come over and feed the cats?


Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Over Charging And Why I Won't Be Seen On Friday.

missemilysmom commented in my last post that she would see me on Friday when she gets back from her conference. And I just put $100.00 on my Visa. I shouldn't be charging anything right now and missemilysmom is not going to see me on Friday. Nor is anyone else near and dear to my heart.

The only one who will see me is my old friend, Dr. DeSade, DMD (not his real name, dontcha know...). Bright and early Friday morning I will be clenching the arms of the chair of doom whilst the good doctor continues his painful and pricey correction of The Sheep's choppers. Dr. DeSade is not near and dear to my heart.

And thus we come to the charging. It all hit me today as I was heading home and running my usual Thursday school errands a day early. I panicked. I needed to drop some cash...and fast. It's the only form of indulgence I have left. I pulled the truck into a hard right and headed to my local Kohl's to rummage through the clearance racks and try to bring some solace and peace to my shattered soul. In my panic, I somehow managed to purchase thongs and belts. I know. I'm confused by this, too. There is little logic associated with these purchases. I'm not logical right now. Sue me.

Speaking of blood from a stone, Dr. D's office left a message for me today claiming that they don't have a correct address through which to bill The Sheep. Could I call to correct this little matter right away? Why certainly. It's at the top of my "to do" list. Right after huddling in the corner in the fetal position and trying to find something with which I might conceivable wear a belt. (I sort of don't really have a waist...)

At the heart of this panic attack is a rather horrid realization. This whole dental process has been a nightmare. One which friends and coworkers have patiently tolerated throughout the gibbering and moaning to which they have been subjected. I have written enough blog entries to warrant spam from various and sundry dental sites. I have laid all the blame firmly and squarely at the feet of my dentist. But here's the thing:

Deep, deep down where the floss gets stuck between my too-close-together teeth I know the truth. This mess is really all my own fault.

There. It's said. For a variety of reasons, some good, some not, I put off getting the old ivories checked out as regularly as I should. While I admit, Dr. DeSade and I are never going to be mani/pedi buddies, he's probably just doing his job and is, in fact, not actually the antichrist. The vote is still out on whether he was hugged enough as a child, but that doesn't necessarily make him evil incarnate.

I'm sure he's just some dude who mows his lawn and signs his kids report cards like everyone else. It is highly unlikely that he devours the souls of small children for breakfast and strategizes ways to make my appointments as painful as humanly possible.

It is not his fault that I am one of the small majority for whom traditional pain blockers are less effective. He probably has poor hearing in the ear that was closest to me when I mentioned that in the first appointment. Since the root canal from hell, he has actually tried to inject enough of the sweet stuff into my hapless jaws. Give the man some credit. It's not his fault. It's mine. And it is highly unlikely that any dentist could be doing this level of work without causing a wee bit of discomfort. He makes it easy to blame him. That's probably a good thing, because hating a super sweet dentist who agrees with all my opinions and thoughts on world matters would probably give me a case of the guilts that Freud himself couldn't work through.

I still think he owes me the hundred bucks, though. I only spent it out of dental stress. Who do I call about that?


Tuesday, March 14, 2006

When Did Drinking Water Become A Physical Challenge?

Since the holiday break from school, The Sheep has noted some "slackage" in her commitment to good health habits. We've managed to reestablish the workout routine and are back to salads and fruit while at school during the day, but can't seem to break out of the Mountain Dew deluge. I do so love the stuff...even the diet kind.

However, with my next session in the dental chair of doom coming up, it seems prudent to go back to the H2O guzzling. I know that a week of going the healthier route isn't going to fool the good doctor...he did go to school for this and all. But I'll feel better lying to him about my sterling dental health habits if I have at least made a token effort. Besides, my real doctor noted a wee tad bit of dehydration during the last visit so I probably should be thinking more about watering the aging cells.

But here's the thing: I don't like water. When I drink it, I tend to get an upset little tummy. Flavored water, though, seems to settle a bit better so I lean towards that. And, as an added bonus, all those chemicals and preservatives will keep my corpse looking fresh as a daisy for decades to come once I shuffle off this mortal coil. Mediocre knitters the world around can create a shrine for me and make offerings of scarves and lopsided hats. I will be an icon, I tells ya!

At the store the other day, I found this little item. Bonus! Water and vitamins...and pomegranate!!! Ooooooo...antioxidents! Whoopie! I'll live forever...tear up the blueprints for the shrine. I am immortal!

Life Water...that's "life" with a capital "L"
This little plan all went to heck in a handbasket, though. It seems that this little item comes with a Sheep-Proof cap. It was sealed shut tighter than my Dad's grip on the remote control. I worked on this sucker for three full days. Tools were involved. Curse words that will forever leave my cats in need of therapy were uttered. Loudly. There was a little temper tantrum right around the end of day two. Finally, I was able to achieve separation and the elixir of life was imbibed.
It was moderately tasty, but I don't think that I'll be living forever. Immortality is not worth the price of a broken nail and a ruined relationship with the cats.
The whole thing just took time away from knitting and eating chocolate. And if I don't have that, I don't want to live forever anyway.

Monday, March 13, 2006

And That's Why Your Ipod Should Always Be Charged.

The Sheep arrived home to a darkened condo this evening. "Hmmmm...," quoth she, "something seems to be amiss here!

Given my work hours, I keep lights on a timer. Thus I never have to arrive home to a darkened condo. In theory. At first, I thought it was a simple matter of a burnt-out bulb, but there were several clues to indicate that things might be a tad more complicated. There was a chill in the air and a noticeable absence of sound. Well, there was the frantic scrambling of cat claws on the kitchen floor as they scampered about in apparent distress. I'm no rocket scientist, but I do know a power outage when I sees one!

So, The Sheep performed her Monday salute to fitness in the dark. She pedaled away to nowhere and listened to a tiny AM/FM radio by flashlight. There is a book tucked safely away in the Ipod that would have been delightful listening, but I somehow forgot to charge the thing so that was not an option. As I am somewhat entrenched in my usual routine of TV viewing while working out, the chore seemed even more drudgey than usual. Fortunately the power returned in time for me to catch the last few minutes of "That's Clever" on HGTV and all of "Code Lyoko" on Cartoon Network. (and if you have never seen that little animated gem, I do heartily recommend'll be going, "whaaaaaa???" for days!)

And I did a bit 'o knittin' by flashlight! I've cast on for yet another Stashbuster project. This one is an effort to rid myself of some Peaches and Creme cotton that I've had lying about for literally ten years. Gotta say, this one will be a purely "process" project. The yarn is wrong for the pattern and I just know in my Sheepie little bones that it is not going to be a "product" sort of endeavor. I've just wanted to knit this pattern since I saw it last spring and decided to let her rip! If it works, well whoopie for me. If it doesn't, oh well.

I shall now retire to check on the charging status of my little pink Ipod. I will not be caught unprepared again!!!


Sunday, March 12, 2006

A Mini Stashbuster.

The Sheep had a wee bit of the "rhymes with bed-fart" yarn left after completed the ribby vest as well as a strong desire to use these wicked cool new Brittany cable needles:

Purchased at the demise of my LYS (RIP)
She also found a smidgen of Caron Feathers lying about. Yeah, that's right. I bought Caron Feathers. And I knit a poncho with it. Ya wanna make somethin of it? At any rate, in true stashbustin' fashion, I cobbled together a simple pattern and whipped up a cute little headband:

What Fun!

Simple Recipe: With worsted weight yarn and size 8 needles, cast on 18 stitches. On the right side, knit across. On the wrong side, knit 6, purl 6, knit 6. Since I already had kind of a "six" thing going, I opted to place the cables every 6th row. (OK, the first one was on the fifth cuz that's where the right side was at the time. Whatever...) Continue until the band is long enough to fit comfortably, but snugly, around the head. Allow a bit more for the seaming strategy of your choice. Cast off. With a suitably fluffy-floofy contrasting yarn and an appropriately sized hook (I used a K) Single crochet one row along each long side. Seam and feel like you've successfully busted a bit of stash.

I may actually stockpile a few of these for quickie holiday gifts. It only took me a day to complete and very little yarn.

On the Cookie Front, I have successfully stuck to my plan of attack and have eaten the Caramel Delights into submission. I'm a bit nauseas at this point, so I might need to rest before the organized onslaught of the "Thanks-Alot" crunchy, fudge-coated treats, but I'm thinking that I can make a dent before the Monday-Friday commitment to healthy eating kicks in.

mmmm...Girl Scout Cookies and Stash-busting. What a delightful weekend!


Saturday, March 11, 2006

Some Sheep Are Hermits By Nature

It's a beautiful day here in my neck 'o the woods. The thermometer is registering an unseasonable 55 degrees, the sun is shining, a light breeze is blowing and it is the perfect day for The Sheep to head out and complete the 98,234 errands she has assigned herself for the weekend.

Thus, logic dictated that she promptly put on her most comfortable sweats, ignore usual bathing and grooming rituals, crack a window for some fresh air and refuse to leave the house. What can I say? It was one of those "homebody" days. In my defense, it has been a long week. Monday through Friday encompassed third and fourth grade MEA testing (a challenging feat for any special ed. teacher) as well as the usual maintenance of the first and second graders schedules. In addition, I worked at my second job last night. My In-Home Parenting Education session ran longer than usual and it was 8:30 by the time I stumbled back into the homestead with groceries in hand. I'm tuckered out!

A day at home was a welcome treat. I can't say that it was the most productive I've ever spent, but I did get a start on the Jacob that I've been itching to get spun:

This is the darker portion that I separated out. There's still some white awaiting the carder!
This is the stuff that was destined for a woolen prep. Not gonna lie to ya: I'm not the queen of the long draw. At best we can call this a "semi-woolen," and it's probably not going to be the most consistently spun yarn I've even cranked out. But it's so ding-dong soft and squishy that I don't think I will care in the long run. I'm also managing a fairly finely spun single so I'm thinking of trying a three or four ply yarn. Since the arrival of the new Lazy Kate courtesy of Santa all things are possible. Of course given my skills, fewer things are likely, but we're just going to bask in the glow of hope and high expectations this early in the game.
And, in better news: a certain, special something arrived in the classroom yesterday! A student arrived really early, escorted by his loving father. My staff and I were prepared to be indignant at this invasion of teacher prep time until we realized the purpose of their untimely decent upon the classroom. They were there to deliver the his sister's Girl Scout Cookies!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Those of you outside the elementary ed. profession perhaps are unaware of how easy it is to find a pusher when you get a jones on for the GS high. In fact, you sometimes have to strategize and figure out how many boxes you can buy per cute little scout in order to not go into bankruptcy and have nine million of the things lying around the house. It's a perk of the job. At any rate, The Sheep used extreme restraint and only purchased three boxes. The lengthy wait for their arrival was almost more that I could bear and my staff and I spent many a day longingly discussing how wonderful "Cookie Day" would be. It was all we'd hoped for and more!
My strategy is as follows: I am starting with the Caramel Delights. I sort of ordered those by accident, meaning to get Peanut Butter Patties. Oh, well. They are a delight, as promised and I'm happy with them. Following that, I shall begin work on the Thanks Alot fudge dipped cookies. Lastly, the Thin Mints (my personal favorite) will be released from their confinement in the freezer and consumed in 1-2 sittings.
Having a plan is important. It's all part of the ritual.
Otherwise, it's just a Sheep in sweats refusing to leave the house.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Stashbuster #1...Finito!!!!

Still a few ends to weave, but it's done! The Sheep's ongoing quest to find uses for those odds, ends and questionable purchases has resulted in a heavily ribbed, super-duper vest:

And it only took four attempts to get a photo that didn't include curious cats!

The yarn? Well, here's the thing: The Sheep is often "gifted" with yarns she doesn't ordinarily use. Or she buys a lesser expensive brand with the intention of "test knitting" a pattern before investing in something pricier for the project. And who are we kidding here? When have I ever tested something????? At any rate, I had me some embarrassingly cheap yarn that I figured I could use up for this. Won't divulge the name, but let's just say it rhymes with "bed fart."

Still and all, it actually came out kind of cute. It fits pretty well and I'm seeing it with jeans and a men's white oxford. Doesn't in any way shape or form suddenly turn The Sheep into the model from Vogue Knitting International (winter 04-05) but if I close my eyes and think waif-y thoughts, perhaps I can at least fool my own little self!

So we're off to weave in a few ends and bask in the afterglow of the FO high. Tomorrow is Friday and I'm planning a marathon search for a new Bubba Keg coffee mug with cord to replace my dearly departed. Sadly, my local Walmart was unable to accommodate my needs today and I must go on something of a mythical quest in order to satisfy my yearning for heated coffee in the comfort of my vehicle.

Onward, ho!!


Wednesday, March 08, 2006

More Conversations With The Sheep:

10:15 a.m.

Cute Little First Grader: Ms. Sheep, are you ever gonna get married?

Sheepish Annie: Probably not. Are you?

CLFG: Um, well...I'm only six.

SA: I'll bet no one has ever asked you that. And do you know why?

CLFG: 'Cuz I'm six?

SA: Well, yeah, that...and you're a male. No one cares if the male of the species gets married. But women? Oh, we're expected to be all settled down by the time we're thirty. It's still a patriarchal society, I tell ya!

CLFG: .....

SA: Of course, I am officially "middle-aged" at this point. I probably should be thinking about my future and all. I mean, what if I fall and break a hip or something? Who's going to bring me my Mountain Dew and Cosmo?

CLFG: Can I go play now?

SA: I suppose I could marry for money. And insurance. Insurance is very important. I'm simply amazed at how quickly things seem to fall apart once you reach a certain age. Yeah, I'd definitely consider getting married for a good health plan.

Note: At this point, The Sheep is really just muttering to herself in the middle of the classroom as The Cute Little First Grader has wandered off to the Lego area.

Poor little guy. I guess they all need to learn that there are certain loaded questions out there that are best left alone. Someday he'll thank me, I'm sure.

Despite the forced self-examination, The Sheep was grateful to come home to a quiet house with nothing but kitty cats to get in the way of the routine. Having returned several phone calls to parents after the kiddies trundled home put a bit of a crimp in the usual sequence of events. Ever willing to multi-task, I opted to sew the shoulder seams of my now-repaired stashbuster project while pedaling away to nowhere on the exercise bike. This was probably not the best way to get this done, but it saved me some time and took my mind off the monotony of "better living through fitness."

I'm hoping to have this first project completed by the weekend so that I can forge ahead with project #2. We'll see...I'm sure it would be nice to actually show a completed knitting project in this, my knitting blog!

'Cause otherwise it's continued blather about dead power cords and curious first graders!


Monday, March 06, 2006

A Moment Of Silence...

It is a tragedy of epic proportions. The Sheep is draped from head to hoof in black and weeping copiously into a lace hanky. Well, she's actually draped in pink flannel jammies and snorting into a "store brand" tissue, but you get the idea. This is the worst thing to happen to me since the coffee mate shortage of '92. I don't know if I'm going to make it through this one.

The cord that plugs my Bubba Keg gi-normous coffee mug into the not-a-lighter-plug-thingie in my truck has died. That's right: died. It will not work. It will not make coffee stay hot. It will not maintain the temperature of the only beverage that makes life bearable. It is dead.

Did this have to happen on a Monday? Did it have to happen on day one of Maine Educational Assessment testing? Did it have to happen on the day I have to somehow convince a group of challenged third and fourth graders to suck it up and take an hours long paper and pencil test which focuses on all their weaknesses?

Apparently, yes. It did have to happen.

I tried to make the best of it. I moved the CD changer to slot 2 and belted out The Sheep's best rendition of "My Humps" at full volume. (I envision many readers silently raising their eyes heavenward and thanking whatever higher power to whom they relate that they missed that little show on the morning commute)

I repeatedly told myself that the cooler temperature of the coffee would help to make the caffeine rush through my veins and central nervous system at a much faster rate.

I thought warm thoughts.

It didn't work. It's just not the same. I was thinking of taking a bereavement day from school, but a quick review of my contract convinced me that this probably wouldn't work. So until I can hit the local WalMart for a replacement it looks like The Sheep will be drinking her coffee without the warm, electricky goodness only a Ford battery can provide.

I will miss you, old friend. Now, go into the light.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

When Life Gives You Lemons...

Here's me thinking that pretty much everyone must be sick and tired of hearing about my knitting errors. That's fair. I'm sick of making them. This is what I get when I try to rush through the end of a project when I'm tired or distracted. My latest "stash-buster"project looked fine until I cast off and started putting her together. The error is fixable, but will require some intensive stitch-pickin'. We've put that aside for a moment as it seemed that The Sheep was entertaining thoughts of yarnicide. If you get busted for that it's solitary confinement with access only to plastic needles and patterns for toilet tissue cozies. And the jumpsuits...*shudder*

It could have been a lost day productivity-wise, however The Sheep took the high road and a page from Knit Annie's book as she undertakes her Domestic Goddess challenge. KA is working her way through a series of recipes in order to achieve this lofty title and will not veer from her course even when her online cohorts give her permission to change the rules. Thus, The Sheep returned to her old buddy, Lincoln.

Yes, it is finally plied. Persephone is showing her usual level of enthusiasm.
Two skeins shown, another blocking and a mere few remnants remaining on the bobbins. satisfying. The last little bits can either be plied or saved as singles for my mini weaving projects or as sock yarn. Or I could ply them up. Whatever. The bulk of it is done and I can finally begin to look to the next spinning adventure. Those rolags of springy, squishy Jacob are just calling my name. Yes, inanimate objects in my home speak to me...what of it?
I even got some laundry done, emptied the dishwasher, vacuumed and wiped one layer of grime off the kitchen cabinets. Domestic Goddess? No. Satisfied for the moment? Yup.
I do believe I have earned a wee bit of chocolate!

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Amazing, I Tell Ya!

It's 6:30 on a Saturday night as I peck away at this post and I am simply amazed. This makes absolutely no sense unless you are aware of the event held today in Maine known as "Academic Decathalon."

I have been associated with this nationwide organization for 7 or so's a bit of a blur. I am only called to active duty once per year and that "once" usually makes for a veeeeeery long day. While students labor over academic challenges, coaches chew their nails awaiting scores and the media anxiously observes from the sidelines (well, sort of) The Sheep and a merry crew of busy elves are typically running their tails off collecting tests, scoring, answering questions of the relevant sort, answering questions of the downright stupid sort and calming the nerves of the various participants. This has been my once yearly experience for many, many a competition.

This year was a pleasant break. The former State Director of the event (and personal friend) retired last year in order to be more of a family sort of guy. He was called back into service to do the scoring and asked if The Sheep could assist. My dance card is rarely full so there was little to get in the way of my saying, "Okey-Dokey."

And, may I say, that we set a new record for scoring the various tests and speaking evaluations! Everything was done, printed and ready for the awards ceremony well before the usual time and we were packed and outta there! Normally, it is at least 7:00 before we could even begin to think about packing up and wandering out the door. So you can see why it is so downright flabbergasting to find myself home, fed and in my jammies by 6:30!!! Credit for this really all goes to my partner in scanning and scoring...I was more of a cheerleader.

And, with fewer responsibilities, there was an inordinate amount of time on hand to knit! I had several projects in the running as "busy work" for the day. The Great Shawl Experiment won out as it is such a simple pattern repeat and could be easily set aside when there was work to be done. Despite the internet vote on this project (which was on the negative side) I have continued to work on it. While it photographed badly, it has gotten rave reviews from people in the "real" world so I think this is actually going to be a decent looking thingamabobbie when all is said and done. If not, then I will say it was stolen or burned in a tragic fire or that I used it to staunch the bleeding of a random gunshot victim. I can fabricate with the best of 'em.

Tomorrow will be a day of rest for The Sheep and devoted to a couple of my latest "stashbuster" projects. I am determined to forgo the buying of yarn and such until I have found a use for what I have here...well most of what I have here. Since alot of this is stuff that's been lying around for a while now, I am attempting some things that are really not in my usual genre. We'll see how they work out and decide if they are worth further blogging when the final ends are woven!!!


Thursday, March 02, 2006

Because My Pain Seems To Bring You Pleasure:

Ah, do we all remember the halcyon days of the "dental posts?" The whimpering? The whining? The obsessing about how horrible the next appointment was going to be? And who among us could forget the post appointment wrap-up? You know, where The Sheep goes on and on about how badly she was treated and how she regrets that she ever grew teeth?

Well, by popular demand: Appointment #6!!!!!

Yes, that's right. On March 17, The Sheep will be dragging her wooly little hindquarters back to Dr. DeSade, DMD for yet another session in the chair of doom. Those of you new to this little dramady known as my blog may want to wander over to the archives to see just how often I have posted on this subject. I'm obsessed...seriously.

I know, I know. I said that Dr. DeSade and I were "on a break," free to see other people, reflect on our time together, think about what we really want from this relationship, yada, yada, yada. But I've been having some technical difficulty with the last round of fillings. As they were on the left side of my mouth, I have had to resort to chewing on the right side in order to partake of nourishment. Oh, but wait! Something seems to be going horribly awry with the crown that I had put in lo those many months ago. Basically, everything is fine unless I attempt the following: consuming hot food or liquid; consuming cold food or liquid; going outside in the winter weather; inhaling; exhaling. Any of these activities will result in my now super-sensitive teeth singing out in their discomfort at a level heretofore unbeknownst to me.

So, I sucked it up (gently to avoid any air passing over my teeth) and called Dr. Desade's office. I made the appointment for the next round of torture. That was a month ago. (give or take) I was told not to worry about the sensitivity as I probably just needed to have one of the fillings "taken down a bit." That's's only basic life functions that seem to give me trouble. I'm sure I'll be fine. Don't worry about me...wait, you weren't? Oh, well then we're fine, I guess. See you on the 17th. I'm off to go get all that blood work done because I may be anemic from the lack of nourishment since November. (BTW: those tests came back today and I'm fine...yay!)

To take my mind off the whole upcoming drilling, I decided to go ahead and enter Jay's Blogoversity Challenge. While I actually do have a few of the technical skills required to compete at this level, I fear that my inability to focus on any one project for any length of time and willingness to live with certain errors in basic math will not exactly put me in the running for first place here. Competent and conscientious knitters should rush to sign up. If I'm your competition, you are certain to do well, trust me! Hey, tis all in fun and will maybe help The Sheep to complete an FO that is, for once, not just a scarf!!!!


Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Painful, I Tell You!

Let's just take a minute to review:

As The Sheep approached her fourth decade on this planet she began to make some changes in her life. Well, first she had a major freak-out/temper tantrum then she began to make some changes.

Food that gave her joy and a reason to live were removed from the diet and replaced with green, leafy stuff.

Beer became taboo. That's beer, people. The Sheep liked beer...alot. Beer made being middle-aged bearable.

Thrice weekly, a routine involving the lifting and putting down of heavy objects and pedaling obsessively to nowhere became a regular thing in the Sheep household.

A Scary Stylist was added to the speed dial in order that the advancing gray could be chemically held in check.

I fought it. I fought it hard.

Today one of my first graders became upset when some older students called him a "little kid." In an effort to put it in perspective, Ms. Sheep pointed out to him that to her, they were also little kids. The first grader's response?

"That's must be what...60?"


Let me say it again. Ow.

Quick...let's change the subject before I become too depressed to function and end up curled up on the couch for 6 or 7 months wearing a tin foil hat and talking to imaginary gnomes.

Given this weekend's upcoming Academic Decathalon and the extra knitting time, I am swatching for a new project. I'm thinking of trying something with color blocks as I've never done that before. If it's a simple enough chart, I'm thinking I might be able to pull it off. If not, then I'll just knit another scarf and pretend that was what I meant to do in the first place.

After memory isn't what it was at 40.