Wednesday, May 31, 2006

It's Quiet...

Too quiet. The ants have gone into hiding. There have been no sightings of the hair-attacking wasps. While I envision a plague of locusts hovering over their laptops downloading MapQuest directions to my home, none have made an appearance to date. I don't know if the battle is won or if the insects are simply regrouping for their next attack.

Either way, this Sheep is sleeping with one eye open. They think they are so smart. I am smarter... That or deluded from lack of sleep due to my ongoing vigilance. Either way, things here at the front are settled for the moment.

I took advantage of this cease-fire to knock off a couple more rows on the Jaywalkers. Once again, needle #3 is causing problems and has somehow lost a stitch. Dropped? Inadvertently decreased? Eaten by ants? The world may never know. And I'm not going to waste a bunch of time on this issue. If it doesn't turn up in a cursory exam then I'm just going to toss in an increase and move on as if nothing happened. It's been working for me thus far in my Jaywalker journey and I'm of the "if it ain't broke don't fix it" camp.

So, to recap: The Sheep is waging an imaginary war against the insects of the world, is deluded enough to believe she is winning and she has made an error in her knitting. In other words, things are as normal as ever here at Chez Sheep.

It's only a matter of time before I don a tinfoil hat, I just know it.


Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The Battle Continues.

Not much in the way of knitting at this point. I must continue to fight against the insectile menace that is threatening our way of life for all time. I do this for all people of Earth.

Last night The Sheep found herself happily hunched over a carton of ice cream putting spoon to mouth at a rate barely visible to the human eye. Let's face it: the whole "gosh Sheepie you lost so much weight while you were sick and should eat a bit more" thing has gone straight to my head. And my hips. It's out of control. I'm working on it, okay???

Where was I?

Ah, yes...on the couch snarfing ice cream. I seem to recall having heard something hit the back of the couch, but, living in a home with two cats, I often hear things hit the couch. I stayed focused on my delightful dairy treat. After a while, though, it seemed prudent to return the ice cream to the freezer and try to resume normal living. I successfully got the carton to the kitchen and back to it's frozen home then ran a hand through my hair to keep from reaching for it once more. And that's when it happened...

My hand came across something big...and crunchy...and leggy...that bit me!!!

I then did the dance with which we are all so familiar whether we admit it or not. You know the one: it involves slapping one's head repeatedly, spinning in circles and twitching violently all the while making high pitched, girly, squealing noises. It was all so very horrifying.

A few minutes later, I observed the culprit winging it's way across the kitchen. Desdemona and I both sprung into action and began stalking the mighty beast. I got bored after five minutes or so and gave up but my feline defender spent the better part of the evening attempting to track down Mr. Wasp. I actually had better things to do given that I had been stung and needed to tend to my injured thumb. Gotta love hydrocortisone.

No sign of my aerial attacker this evening nor of the ants that have formed the ground troops in this battle to end all battles. I suspect they have fallen back and are awaiting the flea attack that is sure to come soon and weaken me to the point of surrender. It's all just a matter of time. I may need reinforcements here.

I'm calling in the National Guard.


Monday, May 29, 2006

Humidity And Houseguests...

The Sheep is pleased to report that summer has arrived in the Northeast. It's 82 degrees, the fans are up and running and the first of my seasonal houseguests have arrived. They are, as always, uninvited and unwelcome. They don't care that I don't want them here. No amount of sidelong looks, sighs or outright demands to vacate will affect their stay. Only outright carnage will do.

The ants have landed.

Not the cute little ones. (we used to call them "sweet ants." I've no idea why...) These are the big ones. The kind whose faces you can actually discern. And they are smiling at me in a way that I find deeply disturbing. I think they know that I am planning their demise via the purchase of bait traps and the like. If there is ever an ant revolution I suspect that it will start in my kitchen.

I am not a bad housekeeper. It would actually take years of training and practice for me to achieve that status. Thus, it is not really all that shocking that they have chosen my home to erect their bunkers for their attack upon all humanity. When we are all huddled in caves trying to avoid the anty menace, you'll know who to blame. I'll own it. All I ask is that my punishment be cutting remarks and cold coffee. Please don't throw me in a volcano or anything. It was really an honest mistake...

When not squashing the little creatures wandering amongst the cat bowls, I have made a little progress on the Jaywalkers:

We're into the foot!
It's been sort of an "on again off again" undertaking today as my energy level is low and it seems a bit warm to be handling wool. Still, I feel like I've made some headway. There was some confusion when picking up stitches along the heel flap as I may have gotten a bit "enthusiastic" when knitting and added a few more rows than necessary to that little area. It all worked out (after a bit of adjusting) and we are forging ahead as if it was what we meant to do all along. It's just my way...
Since it's back to the grind tomorrow it looks like these will go back to their slow, but steady rate of completion. No pressure, though. The school year is winding down and I won't be working more than one day per week over the summer this year (I hope) so there will be plenty of time to put these in the FO column. Of course, there is much to do between now and then so I'd best not get ahead of myself!
I will, however, enjoy what's left of today's little summer "preview" and get in a few more hobby related activities. I'm posting this then heading over to the wheel to spin up a bit more of the corriedale. (No more pictures, I promise. You've all be quite patient with my overblogging on this subject) Then I suppose that I should look into making a lunch for tomorrow and finding appropriate garments.
A Peaceful And Safe Memorial Day To All. (except the and your kind will fail in your attempt to take over this land!!!!!!!)

Sunday, May 28, 2006

The Sheep Doesn't Do "Change" Very Well!

I like it when things stay the same. Unless they are sucky. Then I want them to change quickly. And in the way that I choose. But when something is working then I like it to remain a constant. If everyone would just get on board with this then my life would be so much more smooth.

This is the weekend that my Mom's side of the family gathers at my parent's home for their annual Memorial Day reunion. It is one of those things that I dreaded in my younger days, but have come to appreciate more with the advancing of the years. But this year I was faced with a trauma of epic proportions. One which will take me years to overcome. If ever. To understand this drama, you must know two things: first, my Mom's side of the family is the side that can cook. And I'm talking really well!!! Any one of these folks can clip a recipe from Family Circle Magazine, tweak it slightly and serve it at the finest of restaurants to rave reviews. Some of the foods are old favorites served for generations, others are new discoveries. Either way, it is nothing short of a gastronomic delight whenever these gatherings occur. Second: the family member in question here is my great aunt. In her seventies, she still works full time, cares for her grandchildren and volunteers regularly. In short, a slow day for her is a day that might kill me. I should be cutting her some slack. I realize this.

Imagine my delight upon seeing that she brought her most amazing cheesecake to the family reunion yesterday. It is by far my favorite of all that she has ever baked and I was quick to get to the dessert table in order that I might get my slice. I huddled in the corner savoring my sweet looking for all the world like a crack addict in a flophouse and didn't care. I was happy. Later, I overheard my Dad telling auntie how much he'd enjoyed her cheesecake. I then heard the words that have rocked my world forevermore. Nothing will ever be the same.

"Oh, that was a cheat...I used a mix."

There isn't enough therapy in the world, people.

But, I must accept that things have changed. The world has moved on and auntie has joined the ranks of the box-buyers. There's nothing I can do. I was, however, momentarily distracted by something my Mom slipped into my bag of "take-home goodies." I've never used this before:

It's several balls of gimp.
And by the looks it has been kicking around for a bit. I'll tuck this into the stash and see if I can come up with a plan for it. Any thoughts???
Since I was traumatized and all I decided to set aside Amy's project for the weekend and work on my Jaywalkers. I felt that I needed to nurture my saddened soul. Actually, I just got bored with the other project and felt like doing something else. I finished up the heel flap:

And am now turning the heel. I'm not sure how long I'll be focused on this for today given that it is a bit warm to be knitting wool socks and all. But it is entertaining me for the moment so we'll see how far I get.

It doesn't quite make up for the shattering of my childhood illusions but it's all I have. Well, that and the lemon squares tucked in the fridge that were brought to the reunion by another aunt. Since I was also provided with the recipe for those suckers I know that they are the real deal!!!

This I can cling to...


Thursday, May 25, 2006

The Cure.

Well, this morning's commute proved to be yet another foray into the wild, wild world of construction-related hell. In an earlier post I referred to a highly strategic right-hand turn that takes me from the world of work to the world of home and rest. Going to work, said right becomes a strategic left. Logical, wouldn't you say? I need that left if I want to earn money and fill my soul with the satisfaction that comes from a job well done and all.

As I and the other commuters approached this magical left, we were faced with a plethora of orange cones placed in what appeared to be a haphazard manner around the roadway. In some cases, they were at least three abreast. Now, The Sheep often has difficulty discerning patterns in this world. Hence, the array of post-its, stitch counters and scrawled notes to self when knitting anything other than a garter stitch scarf. But that is neither here nor there, I suppose. When faced with the Great Cone Scattering of '06, I was simply flummoxed. And judging by the square dance of vehicles prancing about ahead of me I was not the only one. The whole mess was further complicated by our needing to dodge a pickup truck containing some little fellow tossing more cones upon the path just to keep us on our toes. There were a number of helpful sign-holders along the route, each warning us to proceed slowly but offering little in the way of help in finding the appropriate path. We all managed to get through it somehow with our vehicles intact, but our dignity was another story.

I, like so many of my fellow drivers, leave my home around 7:00 in the morning. I am driving along snarfing down my morning coffee and a hastily heated Hot Pocket while trying to find some meaning in my life. Am I really the best person to be challenging with an obstacle course at that point? I say, "nay."

On the more positive side, I have found what I feel may be the cure for the knitting "blahs" that have slithered their way into my fibery world. Nope, it's not a new pattern, technique nor yarn.

It is this.
If I can't find happiness in my creativity then I shall find it elsewhere. And the bottom of a cardboard container is as good as any other spot in my humble opinion.
It's alllllll good!!!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Nuthin' New Goin' On Here!

Finishing that first skein of the corriedale was such a rush!!! Whoo, baby! Now that the high has passed, The Sheep seeks another hit of the old endorphines. And there's none to be had here at Chez Sheepie. Nothing approaching the finish line, nothing new to which I might look forward...just a pair of languishing socks and a "must create for Amy the Scary Stylist or risk bad hair" project. That's it. I'm jonesin' for something to make my heart strings go, "zing!"

As I meander through blogland, however, it appears that I am not alone in this dilemma. Are we all just having difficulty with the transition from season to season? Or is there some sort of knitting virus out there akin to the Bird Flu that has swept through the fiber community and left us all languishing? Or am I simply projecting my own malaise upon you all and ignoring the fact that you are fine and producing mass quantities of hand knitted lace. I say lace because I can't knit that. Well, I suppose I could if I could somehow master the art of counting, but that hasn't seemed to go well for me.

Oh well. I guess I'll just forge ahead with my current WIPs and hope for the best. Perhaps one of them will suddenly reveal itself to be the project that catapults me into greatness. Or something just past average. I'm not picky.

In other news, I called Dr. J's office today to see if my x-ray results might, perchance, be available for my perusal. They were and the report was something of a "good news/bad news" thing. There has been a "significant" clearing of the googlie-mooglies which moved into the old lungs a few weeks ago, but not enough to call me cured. I have to call back once the doc has reviewed the report but there seemed to be more interest in how I'm feeling these days than I really wanted to hear. I shared that it had been a bit of a long road but that this week was one in which I was feeling more like the old "moi" and that the pain had almost completely subsided. I'm still going to have to go back for more of the rays in two to four weeks. Between the Monkey Pox and Dr. DeSade DMD doing all his torture/dental work over the past seven months I have had more x-rays than any human being should ever have. 'Tis truly a good thing this Sheep is not interested in procreating as I'm pretty sure that I'd give birth to something quite "unique" at this point. Sheesh!!!

But lung googlies and knitting malaise aside, this weekend is a long one! And that makes for a happy Sheep no matter what the circumstances!!! There will be a frantic rush of bread baking within the next few days as the Sheep family reunion will occur on Saturday. There will be a great clamor for Cheesy Bread from the relatives and I don't like to disappoint, dontcha know. Time permitting, I'll try to knock out a couple loaves of the whole wheat as well. Time may get the better of me on that one, though.

Then again, it's not like I've got the knitting fever or anything...just left-over Monkey Pox googlies.


Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Orange Cones, Orange Vests, And A Sheep Sees Red!

I fully understand that roads are not immortal beings. They have a limited life span and periodically require maintenance and upkeep. I also am aware of the fact that this may require a bit of inconvenience for the drivers who must travel these roads in order that they might get from point A to point B. I get it. I really do. And I'm generally pretty nonchalant about the whole thing. It is what it is.

But today just about caused me to have some sort of rage induced cerebral event that could have ended in my disassembling a piece of bright yellow construction-type equipment. Or to start flinging orange cones about the roadway with wild abandon while screaming, "I want to go home!!!" over and over.

My commute is a simple one and generally takes about 40 minutes or so. I had a few quick errands to run so I'd factored that in and knew that I could make it back to hearth and home within the usual time frame. This route requires one key right-hand turn that appeared blocked by cones and large pieces of metal. And some power-crazed little man with a flag. Now, it is entirely possible that there was some way around this maze of "stuff," but I certainly couldn't see it. And the mad wavings and gestures of the flag wielder upon seeing my blinker were of no help either. I gave up and went straight, thus, adding another 20 minutes or so to my ride home. I was not happy. Not happy at all. And I shared said unhappiness to an audience of none throughout this detour in a strident tone that echoed tremendously within the confines of my vehicle. I was even a wee bit scared of myself.

Errands were run successfully, though and I did make it home in time to torture myself with the Tuesday workout. That took a bit of the edge off the whole thing. But then there was this:

Skeined and lovely! I am now centered and calm.
I still haven't gotten the true weight of this finished yarn, but I'm pleased with my ability to spin a tad finer. Here's a bit with a penny thrown in for scale:

Even Mr. Lincoln can't seem to look away from the beauty of this yarn!

There is still more left to spin up so I'm afraid that you haven't heard the last of the corriedale. I will try to keep it to a minimum and try to move on to other topics. There are other things in life. I'm sure I can find something else with which to occupy my time and blog space.

I promise. Soon. Honest...


Monday, May 22, 2006

Where Have You Been All My Life?

I promise...I'll stop the corriedale posts soon. Honest. It's just a new affair is all. Once the novelty of it all wears off, I shall return to useless meanderings about the dentist, work and the latest tragedy to befall my work in progress. But to have something go so very right is just something a Sheep must share with the world. It's not completely dry so skeining has yet to occur, but I simply couldn't resist a shot of my super-duper hand-spun:

Are you weak in the knees? Do you require oxygen? It's understandable.
I've been simply giddy since I pried this off the skein-winder last night. It has set and blocked beautifully and appears to have turned out to be close to a fingering weight. We'll get out the sett gauge later and see what we end up with but, for now, I simply want to gaze upon it in wide-eyed wonder and dream of projects to come.
I survived another Monday (probably due to the endorphines released into my system by the joy of my handspun) and made it home to the workout gear. It was something of a struggle, but I pushed through and actually managed to get in the full hour. I even got through the weights without having to stop due to pain in my side and back. It's still there, but much diminished. No results yet on last week's x-rays, but it's nice to know that I can finally get back to doing some of the things that I used to. For anyone keeping score that's Monkey Pox/pneumonia-1, Sheep-2. I win. Take that, Monkey Pox!!!!!
Desdemona has now parked herself at my side and is giving me the not-so-gentle head butts and paw swipes which indicate that the feeding hour is upon us. Mother must go attend to the needs of her children before there is some sort of feline uprising and I am relegated to the station of court jester or something.
Then I shall return to staring at, stroking and cooing to my pretty new yarn. Admit've all done it.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Which Came First: The Chicken Or The Sheep?

Despite not being quite finished with the actual spinning, I have begun plying some of the Corriedale that has been on the wheel and capturing my heart for the last few weeks.

Wouldn't be a Sunday without the obligatory picture of my Corrie, now would it?
Yes, the plan was to attempt a 3 ply yarn with this. And right up to the 11th hour I was committed to this endeavor. But sometimes Sheep turn into chickens...

Yup. It's a 2 ply.

Two factors came into play here. The first is The Sheep's innate lack of patience and desire for instant gratification. I just couldn't wait!!! Secondly, I was nervous about plying three singles with this fiber as I've not done that before and I just didn't want to risk it given how taken I've been with it. Frankly, I'm just as happy with this decision. It's looking great and I can think of about a million things I can do with the finer yarn.

Of course it wouldn't be a Sheepish Annie project without some sort of spanner in the works and this was no exception. I'm still getting used to the tensioned Lazy Kate and had her torqued up pretty tightly. A loosely spun section of a single couldn't take the pressure and snapped causing a spate of language that is best left to the imagination. Although I must admit that even I was stunned by my creativity with the spoken word at that point. At any rate, I managed to achieve something of a half-assed felted join that held the single together long enough to ply it with it's intended and get it on the bobbin. We've loosened things up a bit and all seems to be well at this point. Whether I get this finished up tonight is something of a coin toss, but it's not like the fate of the world depends on it or anything. I mean, what's gonna happen? Plague? Been there. (see Monkey Pox posts) Flood? Old news. (see "I don't have school again today and have had to pee constantly for seven days" posts) Famine? Well, sort of. I kind of ran out of food during the Monkey Pox debacle. Anyway...I think it's safe to tempt the fates, here. There's not much else that can go wrong these days.

Work continues on Amy's project and, while I've stalled out a bit today due to a spinning frenzy, I think that this may actually work. By "work" I mean that I will have a finished object that meets my loosey-goosey standards and will in no way meet Amy's. But it will be a starting point and she can tell me where she'd like to see alterations. And she will. Trust me on this!!! Only for Amy would I go through this...

That's it for today. I simply must return to my much loved Corrie and see how much more can be plied today. I almost dread finishing this...whatever will I blather about on Sundays when I don't have my Corriedale?


Saturday, May 20, 2006

I Live To Serve.

First, let me say that my Jaywalkers have come around to my way of thinking and are moving along. The issues that seemed to keep occurring on needle #3 have been beaten into submission and I had hoped to move forward with great speed and success!

Yay me!!!!
Oh, no...wait. Change of plans. I have been given new marching orders and must set my socks aside in order that I might meet the needs of Amy, my scary but oddly lovable, stylist. Some of you may recall that, in my last appointment, I was asked to produce a pair of handwarmers similar to those I made earlier for her only in black. With gold sparklies. And smaller. And really soft. I am disturbingly meek when it comes to my stylist. She is a tiny little woman who I could probably tuck under my arm and toss into the nearest dumpster should the urge to do so overtake me, but I never will. She has this odd power over me.
Unable to find yarn that would meet her highly specific needs, I made the decision to order the fiber and custom spin it to her desires. I was most gratified to see that it had arrived this morning and headed out for my coincidentally scheduled root touch up session with Amy prepared to share my success and receive her awe and gratitude. It was not to be.
Amy has a new project in mind for me. One to which she is so committed that she has two knitters scrambling to make it happen. It involved the examination of a purchased garment, the taking of photos (thank heavens I purchased a phone with camera-capacity) and the creation of a pattern. While pleased to see the fiber had arrived, she is so gung-ho about project #2 that she would prefer I put the handwarmers aside and get straight to work. Okey-dokey. After she burned my head, attempted to forcefully remove one of my earring with aggressive combing and left a mark on my neck with the plastic bonnet-thingie, I rushed home to begin knitting up a "prototype" of sorts. She and I will head out next weekend to purchase yarn. I will leave the garment and pattern up to the imagination for now. I've learned through bitter experience that I should limit blogging about something until I have some confidence in my ability to pull it off so I'll hold off on the details for now. It's a simple project and one that is well within my skill set, but I've gotten overconfident before. Hopefully I'll have an interesting FO to present within the next couple of weeks!
Sorry, Jaywalkers. We're talking about my stylist here. She makes me look waaaay better than you will. I'll get back to you when I can.
The best part of all this is that, while adept at getting what she wants, Amy is also charming and a dead riot. This whole process is sort of more fun than one might think. Like rollercoasters or bungee jumping. Or catching bullets with your teeth. That's right, The Sheep is addicted to high risk activities. And if you don't think that potentially screwing up a project for the individual who is responsible for the eradication of gray hair isn't high risk, then you are either significantly younger than I or far more confident in your ability to charm through personality.
And just when I thought the whole birthday thing was over and done with, it came back to haunt me on Friday. My staff, upon learning that they had missed the big day due to the fact that they were trapped in their homes by raging floodwaters, decided that they simply must have a celebration. Thus, The Sheep found herself serenaded by a group of first through fourth graders intent upon using the tune of "Happy Birthday" to impress upon their teacher that she not only resembles a primate but "smells like one, too." There was cake, though, and that sort of put a good spin on it. In addition, this card helped to make it a pretty humorous event:

Anyone out there who works with children will see the humor in this tenfold.

So now I must be off to continue working on Project "Save My Highlights." If I fail, please forward my mail to the witness protection program. Seriously...this woman wields power!!!

Wish me luck.


Thursday, May 18, 2006

And So It Begins...

It was all going so well. Jaywalkers. A simple pattern...awesome surprises...two row repeat. And yet, somehow, I have managed to lose a stitch. There was no warning, no "gee something isn't right here." Suddenly there was one less stitch than I needed and a hole where the fabric should be smooth and unsullied.

What is it with The Sheep and socks? I am entranced by them. I have this urge to create them. They call to me. I think about them all the time. I might even dream about them, but I am not one who really remembers my dreams. I knit them despite clicking wrists, sore thumbs and eyestrain.

And something always seems to go horribly awry. These are rookie mistakes. A dropped stitch? C'mon!!!!! If I could pick it up and move on this would be a non-event. But it is eluding me. It may even be taunting me in some yarn language that I do not understand. It's frog-time. I will beat this. Yet it is irritating on so very many levels.

But that will wait. Right now I need to find some chocolate and pretend that all is right in my knitting universe.

Tomorrow I head over to the local institution of healing to have some chest x-rays and get some idea how the pneumonia is coming along. There is still some pain on the right side so I'm guessing that it's maintaining something of a stronghold in there. However, my breathing is improved overall so I'm not overly concerned.

Thanks for the birthday wishes yesterday. I'm honestly not a Grumpy Gus who hates any and all celebratory activities. I like a good whoop-de-doo as much as the next sheep. And I did have a good day...the Lean Pocket followed by cake gave me a fit of irony-inspired giggles! However , this was not a milestone b-day so I felt that a more low-key approach was appropriate. Plus I was tuckered out...

Now it's off to the kitchen to fortify myself with sugar, cocoa and antioxidents in order that I might attack the frogging of Jaywalker with all the gusto and confidence that a one-year-older, pneumatic sheep can muster. Wish me luck!


Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Sheep Is Not A "Celebrant."

Things to factor into this equation:

1. I went back to work after two days of lolling about like a beached whale noshing on doughnut holes.

2. The children all made it back to school safe and sound and with little bus-related difficulty.

3. Half my staff did not make it back to school safe and sound. They are trapped in their homes.
4. I was awake much of the night thinking about how much stuff had piled up in the way of work over the last two days and panicking given that it is impossible to actually finish said stuff.

5. The Sheep is somewhat lazy and often shlumps on the couch with her mouth hanging open and making humming noises. The Sheep enjoys this.

So here's how it's gonna go:

We have the obligatory rose be-decked cake. (chocolate, of course)

We have a fancy-schmancy dinner for one.

The parents have called and sung to me in their endearing off-key style and reminisced about the day that they were gifted with this wonderful child. (My Dad likes to tell about how my nose was shmooshed over to one side and that they had to "coax" it back into something vaguely resembling a human schnozz)

That's it. We're calling it good. Another year on the planet has been acknowledged. Whew!! I'm thinking that I will have to rest up after this one.

I like regular days. The kind that don't involve expectations or people leaping out of nowhere to yell celebratory greetings and ask how old you are. Or elementary school children guessing your age to be somewhere around the century mark. Birthdays are just stressful in so very many ways!

Gonna go eat me some cake. That part I like!


Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Drowning...Send Floaties!

Let me be clear, here: It. Has. To. Stop. Raining. Has to!!! I'm still at home since there is no way to get the little kiddies to school down on the ME/NH border. Many people are still evacuated and roads are closed everywhere. This is not good. Not good at all.

As I'm a bit further north, things here are still pretty safe. I opted to head out to the good old Dept. of Motor Vehicles this morning as my license is due to expire in less than 24 hours and I'm thinking that I might need that. This is not the drama up here in the wilds of Maine as it may be in the more "populated" areas of the country. I was there by 8:25 and out well before 9:00. The biggest issue came when I had to choose between the two possible photos for my license. I simply couldn't understand how two pictures of my mother ended up on the screen rather than The Sheep's youthful visage. Most perplexing. I chose the lesser of two evils and headed back out into the deluge. It didn't seem worth arguing with them about the incorrect pictures. I'll just explain it to the nice State Trooper should I ever get pulled over.

And now I'm back home and working on my Jaywalkers:

The ziggies and zaggies don't show up too well here, but they are there! Such a cool pattern!
Yesterday's dyeing frenzy is almost dry. You can see the streaky effect here pretty clearly:

Remember: we have all agreed that this was done on purpose. Yup, that's my story and I'm sticking to it...

And, as promised, the recipe for The Sheep's Cheesy Bread. Now, I will take no responsibility for any issues around cholesterol and high blood pressure or the like. This is not a lo-cal, healthy, live forever sort of bread. But, if I couldn't eat this stuff, I wouldn't want to live forever anyway:


7-8 cups flour, 1/3 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon salt, 2 tablespoons (or packets) yeast, 2 cups water, 2/3 cups milk, 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese (mild or sharp to taste) and a block of cheddar (8 oz ??? not sure, I just get the small package at the grocery store) cubed.

Combine water and milk in saucepan. Heat on low to 120-130 degrees. In a large bowl, combine 2 1/2 cups flour, sugar, salt and undissolved yeast. Gradually combine this with the milk/water mixture. (you will need an electric mixer, here) Add cheese and 1/2 cup flour. Beat on high for 2 minutes. Add enough flour to make a stiff dough. Knead, adding flour as needed until you have a smooth, elastic dough. Let rise in a greased bowl until doubled in bulk. Punch down, knead briefly then cut into 2 equal portions. To form the loaf, roll a section into a rectangle and then roll up jelly-roll style. (be careful to work out the air bubbles. ) Let rise for 30 minutes or so then bake on the bottom rack for 30-40 mins at 375. Makes two loaves.

I'm pretty sure I've gotten this right. I've fiddled and fussed with this recipe so much over the years and now can do it in my sleep. Oddly, it's tough to remember all the steps when writing it down!

Lastly, I leave you with a picture of my little gift to me. Remember, if my license expires tomorrow then it would seem it is a day upon which I can justify a little something special:

A new pink Razor Phone!!! Makes the aging process less painful.


Monday, May 15, 2006

Rainy Days And Mondays...And States Of Emergency!

Well, it just keeps raining. And raining. Then it rains. This is not good. The Governor is wandering about the southern region of the state muttering dire predictions and promising Federal aid and the residents are wondering if they will ever be able to retrieve their lawn ornaments from the raging waters. Actually, where The Sheep lives, things are pretty good. Go a few miles south and it's kind of a different story. It's a coin flip as to whether the roads will be open tomorrow. I'm leaning towards believing that I will be returning to school, but it wouldn't shock me if we were out one more day. New Hampshire is getting hit even worse than we are and I teach right on the border. Time will tell.

Meanwhile, I opted for the "snuggly day inside" over the "responsible errand running." Last night it was something of a debate in my mind, but the soothing sound of the rushing waters lulled me into a complacent state. (and I had to pee alot) I made it to the grocery store for coffee and dry gas and that was it for me in the outside world.

I had visions of getting some spinning done, but that didn't happen. I ended up casting on for a pair of Jaywalkers. I know, I know...I'm a bit late to the party here. Am I the last person on earth to attempt a pair of these socks? What can I say? I'm always a bit behind the times.

I'm actually much further along at this point. I took this photo pretty early in the day.
I then had a yen for some dyeing. I dug out the last of the tussah silk and hit it with the pretty plum colored dye that I ordered over the April break. Now, The Sheep and kettle dyeing have what you might call a love/hate relationship. It is always something of a "streaky" affair. Rarely do I have the patience to prep. the fiber enough for it to consistently take the color and I always end up with a mottled effect and more white than I really wanted. This used to bother me, but I finally decided to just go with it and call it my "signature style." I generally go back and re-card to blend things a bit better and often end up with something that I rather like.

Lovely silk, simmering away. And the color is pretty much dead-on. It's full of plummy goodness!

And, after a two week hiatus, I finally attempted a gentle work-out. I managed 30 minutes on the bike and 10 minutes with the weights. The weights proved the most challenging and I suspect that I will be a long time training in order to get back to where I was pre-Monkey Pox. Still, it was nice to get back into the routine even if it was something of a pathetic showing. I'm sure I'll be the better for it. Waiting that extra week was a good move. Thanks to the blogging community at-large for pushing that agenda. There is no way this Sheep could have gotten through even the slowest of work-outs last week.

So now, it's just a waiting game. As I said, the rain should be slowing soon and, if the rivers, streams and mighty ocean can settle down and go back where they belong, I can trundle off to work tomorrow. Much as I have enjoyed the extra day, I do believe that we need to get back into the routine, here.

Otherwise, school will be getting out sometime around August 28th this year.

SA (p.s. Per Teri's request, the recipe for the Cheesy Bread will be forthcoming...stay tuned!)

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Um, I Was Just Kidding...

In my last post, I made a little jest regarding the feasibility of knitting an ark. When will I learn? Jokes of late have actually been precursors to disaster.

It has been raining...alot. I live in the Southern part of Maine and, as I have just learned, we are currently under a state of emergency due to flooding. Where I am is fine; soggy, but fine. Just a wee bit south of here, however, it is something of a mess. Roads are trashed, schools are closed, animals are pairing off into groups of two and it's the end of the world as we know it. And that is where I work in my grown-up, non-blogging life.

The upshot of this is: The Sheep gets a day off tomorrow. I just got the call and confirmed it via the all-knowing internet. My school district has cancelled for the day due to the high water levels and lack of roads upon which to drive.

So...what to do? I could get some local errands done. My license is expiring this week and I need a prescription refilled. Or, I could snuggle in at home and play with the spinning wheel. Of the two possible choices, the first would really be the most responsible. The second seems the most likely, though. I'll admit to being a tad on the lazy side at times, but I really do feel like I have an excuse. For Mother's Day today, I assisted with the planting of Mom's new ornamental grass garden. (this was all she wanted in the way of gifting) It felt good to work the old muscles again, but I am a bit tuckered out from the experience. I'm really feeling so much better and am thinking that my x-rays on Friday will reveal lung healing of epic proportions. But I sure do tire easily...

I guess I'll see how I'm feeling tomorrow. Either way, it's a day off. Not loving the circumstances and I hope everybody down in my "work" neck of the woods is doing OK. Let's all cross our fingers and hope for some dry weather soon!

I mean, honestly! This is getting ridiculous!


Saturday, May 13, 2006

Do Sheep Shrink When It Rains?

OK, probably not. But this Sheep decided not to risk it. I stayed in rather than brave the ongoing onslaught of H2O that has been pouring down for the last few days. Mom always said don't play in the rain...wouldn't want to get sick, now, would I? (this said sarcastically as I already have pneumonia...)

Tomorrow being Mother's Day, I had something of an assignment anyway. My brother and I will be heading out to the 'rent's house tomorrow to celebrate the big day as well as all our birthdays in one big "let's just get this over with" blow out. (note: by "blowout" I mean that we will eat cake and watch TV for a few hours. We are not exactly a festive sort of clan) Any family gathering at this point comes with a request from dear old Dad. He's a great Dad who has always loved me as his first born and all, but it is only recently that he has come to see me as a useful gal to have around. You see...I can cook. He didn't know that for a long time. Once he figured it out, I became something of a special guest star at any and all family gatherings. He has two favorites, one of which is The Sheep's most decadent cheesy bread. So, in honor of Mother's Day, I have fulfilled my Father's request:

The one on the right is on the lumpy side, but tasty all the same!
Not to worry! Mom loves this stuff, too. I will wrap it up and bring it to the family dinner and be quite the hero! Dad is contributing his world famous ribs and my brother is supposed to bring something that he will invariably forget and it will be a Sheep family event to remember!
In other news, the cotton sock is no more. I just couldn't stand fighting with the wooden dpns for another minute. I'll wait until I have some metal ones. Today's knitting included a few rows on The Great Shawl Experiment and that was that. The rest of the day was all about the spinning. If you are getting sick and tired of seeing pix of my much-beloved corriedale...well, look away!

Bobbin #2 is almost done! And my love remains constant and true.

I'm still planning on a three ply yarn, but am a-quiver with nerves. I normally do two ply yarns. However, now that I have a tensioned lazy kate, I've been really wanting to try a three or four ply. If anything goes horribly awry with my pretty corrie in this process, I will simply have to fling myself out the window. I only live on the second floor so that probably wouldn't actually be fatal or anything, but I'm sure that it would smart a bit. And it would be a punishment I fully deserved for sullying this fiber. I shall keep my fingers crossed and trust the fiber gods on this one. What could possibly go wrong? (I am not asking for an answer, here...)

Here's hoping that, wherever you may be, that the weather is more accommodating than what we are having here. The flood watches are up. Is it possible to knit an ark?


Thursday, May 11, 2006

We Can Print!

A cable was purchased, software installed, test page tested...we are printing. Life is good again. And Trek will be pleased to know that the first thing I printed after the test page was her Arizona Lace Sock pattern! It looks like a fun one! Not sure when I'll get to it, but it's in the Knitting Knotebook at this point.

The truck is still working just like it never had it's little weather related temper tantrum the other day. My brother is thinking that it's the fuel filter...I have no idea. I just need a vehicle to go from one place to another with as little drama as possible. I don't think this is too much to ask.

I did, in fact, tempt the fates last night and work on the sock for a bit. The world did not come to a crashing, fiery end so I guess it was a safe move. I'm using Brittany wood dpns for these bad boys and am hating the way the cotton clings to them. I'm on the hunt for some metal ones that will allow for some slippin' and slidin'. I run the risk of rogue stitches escaping the confines of the needles, but I'm thinking this will be a fair trade-off. I'm weak from the Monkey Pox for crying out loud. I can't be fighting with yarn that doesn't want to come off a needle. Life is too short.

Otherwise, it was a good day. I slept the whole night through and, while sore upon awaking, was far better able to deal with it having 8 hours of sack time under my belt. My big problem now is yawning. Yawning forces a deep breath. Deep breaths hurt like a mother! I sort of do this weird little gasping, side clutching move whenever a yawn comes upon me. I'm gonna work on this one...

Seriously...have you ever tried to fight a yawn? It's nigh impossible!!!!


Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Bucking Trucks And Pricey Paperweights...

Last night was a rough one for The Sheep. Well, I've had worse of late, but I was up at three o'clock with some back pain and that sort of put the ki-bosh on any further sleep. I was pretty wrecked today. Plus, I was convinced that the truck was just no way gonna start up after the little hissy fit it put on for me yesterday.

But, like so many inanimate objects of late, it acted like nothing had ever happened and made me look like a crazy lady. I swear to you, it was like driving a bucking bronco yesterday...honest!!! Today? Nothing. The engine light never even came on. My truck is mocking me.

Fortunately, today was an early release day for students so the staff could have placement meetings for next year's classes. I didn't have to be in those and most of what I needed to do could be done off-site so I got permission to take my now-healthy vehicle home. Frankly, I was pretty wiped out.

As I was driving home, I realized that this may be par for the course for a while. The more people I talk to who have had pneumonia, the more I realize how long the recovery time could be on this. If I'm going to be working at home, I'd better get me a working printer. So, I stopped off at the printer store on the way home and got myself a phone/fax/copier/printer/scanner thingamabobbie that should cover all my needs. It's stunning. And I can't use it. When I went to connect the USB cable to the computer, it was nowhere to be found. Isn't that something that should have been included??? It's sort of a vital component to the whole printing process...I mean, the whole kit 'n kaboodle needs to be connected, right? Why wouldn't they give me a cable? Do they hate me? Is this yet another inanimate object that is chuckling at my expense?

Or did I lose the cable? I lose stuff...alot. Nope. I refuse to believe that. It's not my fault. "They" didn't give me the cable.

So, I'm now the proud owner of the world's most expensive paperweight. OK, there are probably solid gold paperweights out there with diamond encrusted whosits on them and they are probably more expensive. But this is certainly the most this Sheep has ever paid for something that just sits on a table and does me no good.

Gaze upon does nothing. But it's got alot of cool buttons!
OK, so I'll get a cable tomorrow and all will be well. It's just par for the course right now, I guess. Eventually, stupid things will stop happening to me.
The question now is: should I attempt the sock? We all know what incredibly ridiculous things happen when I knit socks: transformers explode, stitches wander off for parts unknown, math needs to be applied to fix errors of epic proportions, the earth tilts just a fraction on it's axis and weather is altered for all know, stuff like that. I hesitate to tempt the fates here.
But we all know I'm gonna.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

OK, OK!!!!

The Sheep is touched! Thanks to all for your comments and "message received!" I did not attempt to work out today and will take the rest of the week off. We'll review the matter next week. It's just that, once you've managed to take off a significant amount of weight, you tend to be hyper-aware of the "slippery slope" that awaits. Putting it all back takes far less time than taking it off. But, you all are correct: I'm just not ready to start back on the workout routine yet.

I also gave in to the "call of the sock" last night after deciding that knitting should not feel like math homework. It's a hobby, for crying out loud and a Sheep should be knitting whatever she feels like knitting. Hah!!! I did compromise, though. I chose a simple pattern using DK weight yarn that should go quickly. Taking a suggestion from missemilysmom, I am using a shorter dpn's to see if this helps with the wrist clickies. So far, so good...

Desdemona approves!

Persephone is unimpressed and would rather watch the rain...

Speaking of rain, the truck is having yet another hissy fit with regard to the wet. I had successfully managed to quell the shaking and shimmying with a can of dry gas and a few days of sunny weather. Even got the damn engine light to go out. Things were fine today until I decided to gas up. I was down to half a tank and decided that it might be a good idea to keep the tank full given the possibility of water in the works. And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why I am not in the auto repair field. I lack good judgment with regard to mechanical thingies. The engine light is back on, the truck is bucking and coughing and I am fully centered in my denial place. I cannot deal with this right now. As long as the chariot can get me from point A to point B at this juncture I am calling it, "good." The vibrations are spa-like and probably good for my aching back.'s all good. Don't even try to tell me otherwise...I won't listen. La-la-la, I can't hear you, life is good, car is good, all is right with my world.

Yeah...I'll get it looked at. Just let me have this little break from reality. It's so peaceful...


Monday, May 08, 2006

One Week Ago...

There aren't a whole bunch of Mondays that The Sheep can remember as clearly as the one that wandered my way 7 short days ago. Regular readers (and I may even be into double digits now) will recall that I was twitching about on my sofa with a fever of 105 waving to Grammy in the light. It was a bad day.

And yet, how often does good come from the truly ugly? Well...probably not all that often, but I can say that I salvaged something from that horrible morning. Due to my inability to function behind the wheel thanks to the fried brain cells I was able to do my "blog trolling" early in the day. Juno was looking to sell off some her stash and The Sheep was one of the lucky few to stop by early enough to snag some sock yarn. You may have seen the photo on Juno's site, but here it is in it's new home:

3 skeins of Koigu...all for little old me!
The color is a tad's really more on the green side. I'm sure that the good folks at Koigu Wool Designs have their own name for the color, but, to me, it will always be known as "Spike" after the fever surge that led to my procuring it!
So now, I'm fighting the urge to start another pair of socks. I know I said I'd take a break for the sake of the wrists, but I'm not sure I can resist the siren song of the sock. Does anyone else hear it? It's such a sweet, seductive
And I'm weak right now. I made it back into work for another fun-filled day of public education. I'm feeling pretty good; the pain level is low and I almost took one whole deep breath today (that was something of an error in judgment, but still...), but I'm absolutely wiped out. It was pointed out to me that I came back to work a bit sooner than I should have and I know that there was a price to pay for that. I was kind of hoping that I could resume my workouts this week, but I am really tuckered out. It's so nice to know that I shall soon be celebrating my 41st year on this planet in the body of a 90 year old woman. Super...just what I was hoping for. I'm going to take this week off from the exercise routine and try again next week when I have a bit more recovery time under my belt. Of course, this means that I shall have to forgo the healing power of the doughnuts that so sustained me over the weekend...
Maybe I'll try the stationary bike know...just to see how it goes. Them doughnuts was awful good.....

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Corriedale, You Had Me At, "Hello."

Today has been one of my better days. I'm short of breath, but the pain has been minimal and that has made for a much more rosy outlook. I was able to sleep for four hours before having to stagger out of the bed in search of medicine, but I was able to staunch the stabbings with Advil instead of a prescription and then grab another couple of hours on the sofa. Here's hoping that things are getting better. When I think where I was a week ago...

So today has been all about the corriedale:

Look at the pretty stuff in the front, not the leafy Jacob in the back.

And bobbin #2 is coming along!

I did get a wee bit 'o the knitting in, but not so much that it's worth alot of blog time. The truth is, I'd love to be doing another sock, but I need to rest the wrists in between dpn projects in order to calm the clicking and clacking of my aged joints.

Other than that, it's just been fending off nine million calls from my mother making sure that I am all right. I'm very lucky to have my mom in my life and don't think I don't know that. However, she has called me every day since the beginning of the Monkey Pox saga and I am running out of things to say. "Yes, I am sleeping." "Yes, I am eating." "No, I don't need you to come over...really." "Yes, I would love you to send me that article you just read on how pneumonia is the slow killer of women over 40; I wouldn't find that disturbing at all..." It's a "mom-thing." Whaddaya gonna do?

I have also spent this weekend ingesting large amounts of protein and fat (in the form of mini doughnuts...yummy) so we're hoping that I've managed to fill in the hollows to some degree. As my co-workers are quite good about pointing out how I'm looking on any given day I'll be interested to see if my weekend endeavors have made any difference. The consensus as of Friday was that I looked like Hell on a bad day and needed to do something about that. One box of mini doughnuts later, I'm hoping for the best.

A girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do...


Saturday, May 06, 2006

The Sock Of Despair Is No More!

It is now The Sock Of Triumph and has joined it's mate in holy sockimony. A pair forever! It's a beautiful thing!

It was a long and harrowing road...
I finished these up in the wee hours of the morning after a failed attempt to actually sleep one night in my bed. The pain finally got to me and I had to crawl back to the couch for pain meds. While I waited for those to kick in I was able to finish the decreases and graft the toe. Done and done! Never has a project been so fraught with issues... However, The Sheep swore that she would finish them before starting anything else and, for once, followed through. I plan to be buried in these things.
The next project is on the needles and is yet another attempt to make a dent in what I have cluttering up the joint. I'm not sure if I have enough yarn, but what the heck. I'm forging ahead. We'll see what happens. Progress reports will be based on how many stupid errors plague me along the way. I'm learning the way of the blogger: The Sheep who posts too early will spend much time explaining away mistakes best left unrevealed.
I also went ahead and ordered some fiber to start spinning the custom yarn for my stylist's handwarmers. She has given me some very, shall we say "specific" requirements for this pair and I am unable to find the right yarn. One does not mess with one's stylist. I will make these things happen and I will make them happen according to her wishes. Please note: I love Amy dearly, perhaps even more for her bullying ways. She can just make "hair happen" in spite of me and my input.
The Corrie has taken a few turns on the wheel as well. My back is in pretty bad shape today and it's been sort of hard to sit for extended periods so not much progress to report on that front. I'm starting on the second of what I hope will be three bobbins. This should make a pretty cool three ply yarn. Who am I kidding? This stuff is so purty it would make a pretty cool any-ply yarn! I just love it so!
All things considered, I do believe that The Sheep has struck a blow against the dreaded Monkey Pox and it's hold over my life. Despite some pain, I'm seem to be back in the saddle hobby-wise and that's always a good sign!
But let's not crow too loudly...we don't want to jinx it!

Friday, May 05, 2006

Knitting Content Will Resume But...

I have been fortunate in my life to have never really been seriously ill. I've had my share of sinus infections, bronchitis and a couple of flu hits. I've never been hospitalized or even broken a bone. And I'm not so self-centered as to think that this little bout with pneumonia is comparable to what others out there have suffered.

Still and all, this thing has has really hit me hard. I'm back at work, but nowhere near 100%. I can't walk down the hallway without someone stopping me to make sure I'm OK or to point out the drastic weight loss and lack of color in my cheeks. The word "gaunt" was used. It was meant as an expression of concern, but it's sort of an ego-buster if you see my point.

Yesterday, I had to stop and rest at WalMart. You know, like my grandmother used to have to do. I just couldn't seem to catch my breath. Today I needed to grocery shop as I was down to three saltines and six grains of coffee after not being able to get out for seven days. I had a coughing fit that forced me to pull over in the health food aisle (ironic, wouldn't you say) until it passed and I could stand up straight. Once home, I was faced with the task of getting said groceries up to my second floor condo. I could do several "light" trips with rests in between, but that might mean not having the energy to finish the job. I could stand helplessly by the door looking all pathetic until some hunky dude strolled by and, enamored of my gauntness, gallantly offered to assist. I could just load up and do one big trip up the stairs and get it over with. I chose the latter. Once safely ensconced in hearth and home, I needed to lay down for a moment. By this I do not mean that I put the groceries away and settled on the couch. No, I dropped the bags and lay down on the kitchen floor gasping and holding my side. Picture a big, old fish flopping around on the boat was sorta like that. For what it was worth, the cats seemed to find it entertaining and kept coming over to lick my head. They are not as helpful as they think they are.

It all worked out. I have food in the house, it's put away (sort of) and a lovely double dose of tylenol-3 is now coursing through my system attempting to quiet the pains in my back and side. And it's the weekend so I can rest my wheezy self for a couple of days before heading out to try and work a full week.

And this weekend is going to include some of the spinning and knitting that has been so sadly neglected during this trial by virus. I'm told this is going to be a slow recovery and to expect more days like what I've previously described. But I'm just going to smile blithely ('cuz I'm on an ungodly amount of painkillers...) and remember that I'm lucky to be able to recover.

And, as God is my witness, this blog will return to it's regular posts about knitting, spinning and all the stupid mistakes I make whilst engaging in these activities!


Thursday, May 04, 2006

Thursday Is The New Monday...When You Have Monkey Pox!

I'd like to dedicate this post to my new friend from the Rite Aid who may have actually kept me alive for the past few days. It has hydrated me and put valuable sugar into my bloodstream. I'd like to introduce you all to:

Cheap Plastic Drink Dispenser!
The yellow core is a freezer pack that gets screwed into the lid, maintaining optimal drinking temperatures for up to 10 minutes at a time. It's colors are bright, it's size is just perfect for my coffee table and, like most of my favoritest toys, can be purchased at the drug store. Sure, it drips on the carpet and it's not insulated or anything, but it did the trick. It kept the Kool Aid flowing and did not require that I actually leave the divot I have carefully crafted for myself in the couch cushion. It has been my truest of friends.
I wonder if it missed me today while I was back at work? Yes, I did make it back in and some of the damage that results when a teacher is out for an extended period was repaired. My breathing was pretty bad, but moving around much of the day helped somewhat with the pain so I guess it was a trade-off. My understanding is that it will be a couple of weeks before I really start to feel like myself. Meanwhile, it appears that I lost a significant amount of weight in the 7 days I spend dealing with this. Not the kind that makes people go, "Oh my God, you look so freaking hot!!!!" The kind that makes people whisper behind your back and then elect one brave member to approach you and see if they can suss out what in the holy hell happened to you. My ego took alot of hits today. " look awful; what are you even doing here?"
It's good to be home. It feels like Monday, but it's really Thursday and I only need to get through tomorrow. Then I can get back to this:

Mommy loves her corrie...c'mon, give Mommy some kisses...mwah!

It just keeps getting prettier. It spins so smoothly that I can even do it whilst under the influence of King Codeine. And ya gotta trust me and my aching back and sides on this one.

The King will not be leaving the building this weekend.


Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Quick Plan Update: Apparently, I Can Function In Society!

First, though, let's all stand and salute Melissa who single-handedly and without the benefit of medical technology diagnosed my faux Monkey Pox faster than my doctor could. Granted, The Sheep is highly specific in her complaints and will repeat herself several times until she is getting the attention she so craves, but it was still pretty darn impressive if you ask me.

It took the better part of the day to get the doctor's office to return my calls. Despite Dr. Judy not hearing any congestion the pix don't lie: The Sheep has pneumonia. Melissa caught it pretty quick...I mean c'mon! Dr. Judy had a stethamascopie and zappy things. Melissa had the fussy rantings of a feverish sheep. It seems somewhat unfair that my insurance company will be reimbursing Dr. Judy... Either way, I'm still calling it Monkey Pox. I like the sound of that better.

Other plan elements included the wearing of shoes and the exchanging of pj's for clothing. Done. I was able to get my brother over to have a look at the truck and, while the engine light remains aglow, it looks like it's Ok...just soaked wires.

I wish I could say that the fever was fully squelched but we have had a few tweaks of temp. throughout the day. However, I am going to choose to pretend those didn't happen and forge ahead. Tomorrow, I return to the salt mines. The doctor cleared me for all the physical types of stuff that I have to do in a normal day and didn't seem too concerned about the short fever jumps.

Normality: Here I come!!!!

Oh, and I even have a bit of fiber news to report! I got about half a bobbin of the corrie done today and wound off the small amount of jacob that was taking up another. I've been wanting to do this as a 3 ply and see if it might work for a vest similar to the one I completed back when I was trying to reduce the old stash. As far as I'm concerned, that's the final test, here:

When I'm planning spinning and knitting projects, recovery cannot be that far beyond my reach. Hope springs eternal, isn't that what they say?

Take That, Monkey Pox/Pneumonia!

(last post 'o the day, I swear it!)

If I Can Follow A Simple Plan...

All righty. The Sheep is taking control back here. Enough is enough. I have been a slave to my weakened frame for going-on seven days now. If I can do some of life's simpler activities (and a couple of life's required activities) then I see no reason to stay home yet another day. Here's what I'm thinking:

1. Get Dressed. Most people do not stumble through their day in pink kitty pj's. Hugh Hefner is the only adult who has ever garnered any respect for going through his day clad in nightwear and I do not believe that he would be the mogul he is today if he was wearing pink flannel. I am going to wear day clothes until it is dark.

2. Eat solid food. Not just least three times today. I saw some people doing it on T.V. and it didn't look that hard. And it even looked kind of tasty.

3. Call doctor and see if anyone is ever going to share the results of my x-rays. Since a black truck has not screeched up to my condo in the dead of night and whisked me away to a secure lab, I believe it is safe to assume that I am not mutating or showing symptoms of bone fungus. My job has some physical demands and I'm going to need some guidance before striding confidently back into the workplace. I'm going to assume that taking narcotic pain medication during the school day will be discouraged. That's a shame.

4. See if the truck is still pathetically flashing a picture of an engine at me. If so, I will need to center myself fully in my "girly" place and call my brother. He has offered some help and I am going to take it. I am also going to pay him. Winters are his slow time business-wise so I will be acting responsibly and earning sisterly get-into-heaven points.

5. Wear shoes for at least one hour. I haven't done that in days. Shoes are cute...I like shoes.

6. Focus past the painkillers long enough to pay the mortgage and condo. fees. It would be really tragic to recover from the Monkey Pox only to become homeless and have to live in my car...while it shows me engine pictures and sounds sad.

Now If I can pull off these types of things, I do believe that I am ready to rejoin my colleagues in the world of work. I awoke this morning fever free so, unless it jumps up again, I will have the requisite 24 hours under my belt to justify my paycheck.

Thanks again for the kind words and humor. It all came at a much needed time. Hard to believe how quickly one can go from up to down and what it takes to recover. I'm off to get this day moving and see how long I can stay in operational mode!

Stay tuned!


Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Just A Quickie...

Just time for a short one, here. It seems that it takes more time out of my day to not be at my job than it does to actually just go there. I'm going to be missing two meetings tomorrow due to my enforced absence and have to have reports available so that everyone will have my pearls of wisdom upon which to reflect if not my actual oration.

Yesterday could be called a "bad day." We all on board with that? Today, though, the fates saw fit to grant me a slight reprieve. My fever stayed under 100 all day and, a couple of times there, was actually normal. And I mean normal for me, not what the textbooks say. (97.6 or so) Of course, the pain in my side was horrific, my nose is still bleeding and I'm breathing like one of those little snuffy dogs, fever!!!!! I can take the rest.

No word yet from the x-ray people so there's no other information to report health-wise. I'll stay home again tomorrow per doc's orders then head back on Thursday unless the fever fairy returns to leave me another little present.

I actually gave The Sock Of Despair a little bit of time today seeing as I'd had the whole "worst day" thing already happen. I only got about four rows done, but they were decrease rows and that counts for something in the Big Book Of Knitting Good Deeds as I see it. Maybe I will actually get thing thing done. Maybe that will be the sacrifice that goes up to them vengeful knittin' gods in order that I not be smite yet again.

And, just so you don't get all mislead and thinking that I'm just turning it all around here, I did get hit with one more potential whammy today. I scooted out for some vitamin water just before 5:00 tonight after a day of heavy rain. I noticed that the truck was running a bit choppy, but figured that things were soggy and let it go. Any one want to make the call here? Anyone? Yup. Engine light came on and the car is bucking like a mighty bronco. My brother is a good egg and always on call when needed. I described the situation and we are in agreement that I probably just have some wet ignition wires. I'm not going to worry about it for the moment...not that I could what with the painkillers and all. (wheeeeeee!) If it's still an issue tomorrow , he'll come help me out in the afternoon. Or I could just take another sick day...what the heck. Tomorrow will only make 5 in a row. What's one more???

So, again, thanks to those who have been checking in. I'm fine and on the mend. Still very tired and sore, but it looks like The Sheep will live to fight another day. I ate dinner tonight for the first time since last Wednesday.

Pizza! (those who know me know that this is a very good sign)


Monday, May 01, 2006

Can You Bear With Me Through A Long Story?

I'll throw you some gratuitous fiber content at the end, I promise. I still can't really knit or spin, but I did find a way to bring the subject back to the blog. Sorta.

The Sheep woke up bright and early this morning. Not even gonna try and find some cutesy way of describing how I knew something was wrong. It was painful and a tiny bit scary if you want the truth. I was chilled and had started to spasm and shake violently. This was another fever spike and it was a doozy. A doooooooooooozey, I tells ya!

My intentions for today were good, but work wasn't gonna happen. The school secretary responsible for getting subs was in something of a pickle. We have a 15 minute window to call in when we need a substitute for the day. I spent 10 of those minutes listening to a busy signal. This was the sign that she might be on the "flustered" side. And she was. She'd been flooded with enough calls this morning that even my sad tale did not move her.

I got a bit tense. Was I doing the right thing? Was doing a mountain/molehill sort of thing? Yikes!! I decided that I'd better call Dr. Judy's office and have them fax a note over to the school to confirm that I was, indeed, under physician's care. This is usually a good idea when you are on day three of your Monkey Pox vacation anyway. Besides, I knew I had some x-rays scheduled for today but danged if I knew when.

The nurse covering the desk this morning appeared to be having a day similar to that of the school secretary. But she gamely looked up my x-ray info and started to write my "get out of school free" card. Because she was clearly doing me a solid during a bad day, I happened to mention the reason behind today's unscheduled absence.

It took her a second.

I then heard a very loud, "WHAT!!!" and had to pull the phone away from my ear.

My day got kinda busy after that.

See, a fever spike is one thing. A fever spike of 105 is something that gets you status. At first she asked if I'd like to come in and see the doctor. She then said, "wait a minute here, you're coming in...sheesh." There was a lengthy lecture on brain damage, seizures, and the joys of the emergency room.

I was in no position to argue and didn't really have the strength anyway. Dr. Judy put me on antibiotics and switched the painkillers to something with an antihistimine rather than a fever reducer so I can load up on ibuprophen at will. And, before I could do anything about it...faxed note #2 to the school stating that I would be out for the next few days. The other school secretary got it before I could even reach her by phone and she is one for whom I will abide by it. I'm out until at least Thursday.

Next up: chest and rib x-rays. On to the lab! I walked in with a family that included a young teen. She seemed...well...let's just say "upbeat." And lacked boundaries. As I was the first through the door, I made it to the counter first. Said teenager accompanied me to the window and proceed to "hang out" as I gave out highly sensitive medical information. I kept giving the lady at the counter the "eye" hoping she would get the hint and realize that this child was not with me. The girl wandered off for a bit so I strategically placed my body more centrally in the window so she would have less room to intrude. No...she just snuggled right up and stood on my foot. (note: last temp. check had been 103, my mood was sorta foul) I smiled sweetly and said, "I'll really only just be a minute" then did the head-jerk to indicate the seating area. I again turned pleading eyes on the desk ladies. Finally they caught a hint and asked if this young lady was with me. I said that she was most definitely not. She was directed to a seat. Window ladies were thanked and x-rays proceeded without incident from there. Now, I know that there is generally more to any story than what we see on the surface. Especially when you are at the lab. For all I know this charming young lady's mother was there to have her left nostril bored back open after a nasty altercation with a cement mixer...or has cancer... So I try not to assume that everyone is just a jerk or a bad parent. But come on! Telling the light of your life to get the hell away from the grumpy looking lady before she bites your nose off is just basic parenting.

So, I'm home for a couple more days and super hoping that I don't have another fever-related incident any time soon. I'll keep ya posted!

Meanwhile, some promised fiber content:

I was up bright and early attending to my near demise and all so I got to do my blog checks earlier than usual. Now we are normally entertained and enlightened by Enchanting Juno. But today, I felt it was my god-given duty to participate in DeStashing Juno. She is unloading some sock yarn and I was able to score some Koigo. Do I honestly need sock yarn right now? Not so much. But her descriptions of her sock issues were so very similar to mine that it just felt like I was supporting a sister...and I kinda just wanted it. Near death and all...

It was a busy day. I've lost the direction in which I was posting. I am on a disturbing amount of medication right now.