Sunday, December 31, 2006

I Resolve To Decide On A Resolution...

I'm bad with the resolutions. Yeah...I can make 'em pretty well. I can resolve with the best of them. I can declare them with all the solemnity of a nun taking her final vows. I can remember to put them in writing, tell all my friends and family of my new agenda for better living and create a detailed plan for following through. I can come up with literally pages of resolutions.

I have a lot to work on...

But, within days, I'm pretty much over it. Those flaws that seemed so glaring on December 31st conveniently become "cute little quirks" by January 10th. I dunno. Maybe I'm just too close to the whole thing. I wonder what it might be like if I let the "others" in my life come up with better resolutions for the new year. What, if anything, would they see as areas for improvement?

Helpful Suggestions From The Sheepish Annie Cast Of Characters With Regard To "07 Resolutions:

The World's Greatest Stylist: The Sheep needs to knit more. Specifically, she needs to knit handwarmers. More specifically, she needs to finish the pair that she promised to me. She could also consider more liberal use of conditioner.

The Staff At Dr. Judy's Office: We are in agreement that The Sheep needs to resolve to never, ever, ever call us again ostensibly to double check on the time of her scheduled x-ray then casually mention that she is running a fever of 105. We did not like that. We felt badly about yelling at her like that, but you can see our point. We understand that she had the Monkey Pox and all...but we don't like to be surprised that way. We are also putting in our vote for her remembering to take those calcium supplements that we told her she needed for the osteopenia. Just because she doesn't like having the spine of a 90 year old woman doesn't make it any less true.

Dr. DeSade, DMD: Eh...let her do whatever she wants. Her slacking with the dental care bought me a new boat in '06. And I have a whole new set of shiny, pointy things from Bloodletters R Us that I'd like to try out.

Desdemona and Persephone: We might appreciate it if The Sheep resolved to use our real names every now and again. This business of being called, "The Big, Fluffy Kitty" and "Her Smaller, Less Fluffy Counterpart" is dehumanizing. We feel that, as masters of this household, we deserve more respect. In fact, should this resolution not be taken under advisement, we can promise an increase in the horking up of hairballs and shoe-shredding. We do so hate to resort to threats and blackmail. It is beneath us. But we will do what we have to do...

Rational Mind: We need to get organized around here. I'd like to recommend that we put together a spreadsheet to get an accurate accounting of yarn, fiber and fiber-related items then develop a complicated system for storing the aforementioned. We will then be able to better determine our purchasing needs for '07. I'd also like to suggest that we consider a course of medication to help keep Hysterical Mind occupied. She needs a hobby if we are going to take on this project and a little game of "What Does This Red Pill Do?" might be just the thing...

Hysterical Mind: We need to get organized around here!!!! There are any number of possible threats to life and limb lurking around this very condo! We could trip and impale ourselves on a needle! We might get our feet entangled in that large tuft of Corriedale on the floor over there and land on The Big, Fluffy Kitty!! Does old wool throw off fumes??? I've been feeling a little light-headed lately, you know!!! Should we call in someone to do an air quality test??? Oh, and another thing...I'm thinking that we might want to consider some sort of medication to see if we can't get Rational Mind on board with all this. There's nothing like a rousing round of "What Does This Magenta Pill Do?" to help raise the old paranoia level!

The Friendly Staff At My Local Grocery Store: Please! We beg of you! Resolve to shop less frequently! Whenever you are here, something goes horribly wrong in our generally happy place of business. Doors that worked perfectly mere minutes ago suddenly cease opening! Customers who have never once given us any sort of problem become incapable of moving in the aisles causing a severe back-up in Frozen Foods. We are currently in the process of taking up some sort of collection to hire you a personal shopper. In the meantime, though, would you consider gracing us with your presence only once per week?

The Truck-Fixing Guys: Wouldja puh-leeeez stop ignoring the lights that come on in the dashboard? They are telling you something. Sure, at first we enjoyed your business. Two of us now have kids at Ivy League Schools thanks to your kind donations. But, after a while, we started to feel kinda bad about it. You seem like a nice lady. You never call us names when we hand you the bill and you've done a real nice job keeping this new car cleaner than the last. We hate to see you spending your retirement dollars on repair bills. Just look at the lights. They will tell you what to do!

The Underpants Manufacturing Industry: While we appreciate your ongoing dedication with regard to panty hoarding, we feel that you are cornering the market. We are also having some difficulty keeping up with your underpants purchases. As of this past summer, you noted that you had 57 pairs currently residing in your top drawer. While you may not be blogging about it, our undercover agents have recorded several incidents of lingerie purchasing over the past few months. This is a sickness. You need help. And you need to leave some underpants for the rest of the world's population. We join the multitudes living with tattered unmentionables and drooping waistbands in demanding that your resolution for this new year be to stop buying underwear!!! You are all set! Leave some for the rest of us, for crying out loud!

Hmmm...all very good suggestions. Certainly worthy of consideration tonight as I ring in the New Year from the comfort of my couch and raise my glass of Mountain Dew. More to the point, I think it also covers the more "interesting" blogging topics for the past year. I'll mull them over and get back to you all on this one. I fear, though, that this will be yet another year of failed resolution-keeping. It is just not one of my strengths...

Here's hoping that you all have a wonderful start to the New Year. May all your resolutions come true!


Saturday, December 30, 2006

Santa Sighting.

The Sheep did her grocery shopping yesterday. Not the every-other-day-get-what-I-forgot-and-I-seem-to-have-a-sudden-craving-for-PopTarts-which-must-be-satisfied shopping, but the real kind. The kind that you need to do after a week of vacation so that you can go back to work soon. Big time shopping.

I diligently made a list of all the things that I'd need for next week's return to grown-up living. It was a well-crafted piece of literature wrung from a combing of the cupboards, a stern conversation with self regarding the difference between, "want" and "need," and a review of the budget.

I then proceeded to exit the house and leave this masterpiece on the couch. People think I'm kidding when I say I do this regularly. I kid not...

Thus, I had to rely on the old memory cells for this trip. Which you think I'd be used to. But I'm not. I have to concentrate. I did pretty well until I turned the corner from frozen foods to warmer climates. Then, all was lost. For there, standing before me, big as life and twice as jolly, was Santa Claus.

Big round belly, long white beard...even a pair of tiny, wire-rimmed spectacles perched atop his nose. Now, let's be clear, here. I would have noticed him even if he wasn't so obviously St. Nick. Anyone who is wearing black cotton shorts in thirty seven degree temperatures (that's with an, "F" not a, "C") would have attracted my attention. This was not the best attempt at undercover shopping I've ever seen. Once you notice the shorts in December, you are bound to recognize Santa shortly thereafter. I opted not to point this out. It seemed rude.

Don't believe me? Well, how about this: Santa had a rash on the backs of his calves. That's right...a rash! Clearly Mrs. Claus forgot to put his silk-blend long-johns in the wash on December 23rd and Santa had to wear that scratchy wool suit all night on the 24th without a soft layer to protect his tender flesh from the harsh fabric. It had to be Santa!!!!

Further proof is required? Fine. When I needed to pass Santa to get down the aisle, he moved his cart and said, "excuse me." I ask you: when does this ever happen to me in the grocery store? We all know how it goes!!! No one moves for The Sheep! But Santa did! He got my letter, I tellya!

Yup. I saw Santa at the grocery store. It doesn't even bother me that it happened in the liquor aisle. What Santa does in his off hours is between him and Mrs. Claus. I gave him his space because I think that even celebrities deserve their privacy. But, I smiled at him. And he smiled back.

And we are fervently hoping that he was not just some biker dude trolling for chicks in the grocery store.

When not Santa Stalking at the local market, I've been busy with a few other projects. The WooLee Winder has three coats of finish on it and is looking pretty spiffy. It doesn't exactly match my wheel as that finish has cured to a darker tone. But, I'm liking the look of Mr. W.W. in his current state and can live with any difference in wood finish.

And, as an added bonus, I get to breathe Tung Oil fumes for a couple of days! The colors, man...the colors!
Speaking of colors, the new little sockie is also coming along at a fairly good clip. So good is this clip that I have actual thumb pain from the hours put into this project. But, I can't help it...

I'm addicted!

This is a skein of Socks That Rock that came to me via Trek after I won her Bloglines Subscription contest. Trek picks very, very good prizes. I've never knit with this yarn before. I love this yarn. I love it very, very much. I may be changing my name to Sheep That Rock. I'm probably the last knitter in the free world to discover the joys of STR. This should definitely go on next year's X-mas wish list!

And I'm kinda wishing that I'd mentioned it to Santa yesterday.


Friday, December 29, 2006

Misty Watercolor Memories...

Time, it seems, gives the events of the past a lovely, golden glow. The memories of childhood become romanticized. We start to believe that there was never a better time. Never did we have better friends, we slept the sleep of the just and laughed our way through every ding-dong day. We somehow manage to take that which was, at best, mundane and, at worst, icky-poo-poo, then turn it to perfection.

And so it is with The Easy Bake Oven.

I was never one who was blessed with this childhood toy. Probably for the best given that I was not the most graceful of children. I pretty much left a trail of smoke and shattered glass in my wake. A device that cooks using a lightbulb could be dangerous in my little hands. But I could dream. I envied those lucky girls who found one under the tree on Christmas morn. In my mind's eye, I saw them donning starched white aprons and hosting fabulous parties featuring teeny little cakes and cookies. They were the height of sophistication and style. I seem to recall partaking of one or two of these microscopic baked goods and finding them to be no less delightful than the very nectar of the gods.

I'm just sayin' that it is possible I have one or two false memories from childhood.

Last night I was privileged to dine at Chez CamMad. I gussied myself up and wore my new Bead for Life bracelet. Mom C. took care of the general entertaining and child wrangling while Dad C. whipped up a meal worthy of kings. (individual chicken pot pies...yummy!) The nieces-by-proxy played their roles as "centers of attention" to perfection and Auntie Sheepie felt like the most honored guest to ever cross the threshold. The highlight of this event was to be a dessert baked by niece-by-proxy #1 who, as the eldest, was gifted with the latest version of the Easy Bake Oven and was quite excited by the prospect of baking for company. During the pre-dinner playtime festivities, she frequently had to excuse herself (along with Mom C./baking supervisor) to attend to kitchen duties. This left me to the not-so-tender mercies of niece-by- proxy #2 who, excited by the presence of Auntie Sheepie, showed her affection by launching herself bodily at the aforementioned Auntie at speeds approaching that of light or sound.

After dinner, nbp #1 and Mom cut the cake. It had been agreed earlier that this treat was to be split between baker and guest of honor. As I was assessing the condition of my spleen following a particularly enthusiastic airborne assault from the very happy nbp #2, I heard from the vicinity of the kitchen, "Um, Auntie Annie...would you,, like a cookie to go with your um...cake?" Then: "Hey, know what might be nice? Maybe Auntie would be willing to have a smaller piece so that we can, um...share?"

Even with mild to moderate internal injuries going on, the subtext was fairly easy to catch.

The little cake was divided accordingly and we all partook. It was not exactly what I remembered from my childhood days. It was one of those moments where you dig deep into your reserves of social graces, call upon your love for a child and think about how expensive long term therapy might be for a little girl who really wants you to enjoy her first attempts at baking. You smile. You rub your tummy. You make "yummy" noises. You compliment her on the unique flavor and texture of her cake. In eat it.
Besides a reality check on childhood memories, toddler induced internal bleeding and a renewed appreciation for my so-very-quiet house, I took home some leftovers for lunch and this neat little item:

A "Yarntainer!"

Dad C. is in charge of much of the holiday shopping at the CamMad household and thought this might be a good gift for Auntie Sheepie. Mom C. agreed. The nieces-by-proxy were also impressed and nbp #1 wrote the tag her very own self: To Anny. And I'm here to tellya that it is a truly handy little yarn dispenser.

But the best part, by far, was a quick little conversation that I think went unnoticed by Mom and Dad. I had just presented my feet to the group in order that I might show off my new handknit socks. Little nbp #1/resident baker said, "you made those?" I confirmed that I did, in fact, do just that. She looked again, a bit more closely this time and said:

"Hmm...they look real!"

Seriously. I'd eat a million Easy Bake cakes for that little girl.


Thursday, December 28, 2006

Photographic Evidence!

It has taken several attempts, but we actually have a couple of recent pix for your viewing pleasure today!!!! Woot Woot!!! We'll just start with two today so as not to overload you all with the plethora of images I've collected over the past week.

First up: An actual, honest to goodness FO!!! I know...I needed to sit down for a minute myself. And it's not a scarf. Or another scarf. Or a Christmas gift. This one is destined for me and me alone and is in keeping with my Week Of Selfish Knitting Festivities. Gaze in wide-eyed wonder, dear readers.

Happy Feet!
We are ignoring the fact that these were started two months ago then set aside in a frenzied and highly unsuccessful attempt to finish up the holiday knitting. They are done now and I'm loving them! This yarn came to me courtesy of Susie after a disaster involving a frogged sock of cheap yarn origins. I'm not proud. I'll take the pity yarn. Especially when it comes from someone who is so adept with the dye pot!!! The colorway is called Opening Day and certainly calls to mind the colors of late fall. It is a very fine Kona Merino and knit up beautifully. My only regret is that I chickened out on the length a bit. There was certainly enough yarn to have given myself another inch on the cuff. However, they went right on the tootsies last night after the toes were grafted and the ends were woven and they are just magnificent! Warm and I can't "feel" the stitches on the soles of my tender hooves. This is important. Trust me...I'm a fragile flower. I need the delicate touch of a fine sock yarn.
I've a link to Suzie's Etsy shop in the sidebar for those who are interested and I also encourage you to check out her blog and the auction she is currently hosting to raise funds for a very worthy cause. The yarn is worth the trip. Trust me on this one, people!!!
Next up, a little of the seasonal gifty goodness from my big night out on the knitting circuit Tuesday night. The generous Noolie not only saw fit to get me out of the house and into the fresh air for a bit, but she also gave me a little something to take home to remember the night.

Note: her daughter made the stitch markers!!! Impressive, no?
The button is (hopefully) destined for a sweater I've been eyeing for a while now that has a single closure at the top, leaving the rest of the cardigan to swing free. Such a cute adornment should detract the eye nicely from what is currently happening at my midsection with all the holiday indulgences.
The bracelet will be heading out upon my delicate wrist tonight as I venture out yet again. I have a date with two little cuties over at the CamMad household and this should be a nice little bauble to show off to the little nieces-by-proxy. It's been a while since I've seen the girls so I anticipate a raucous evening of Easy Baked Snacks, Uno and the demonstration of a new scooter which, I'm told, is a pretty cool toy. I hope that this bracelet comes with super powers. I may need a little extra energy...
The one drawback to this plan is the need to take a break from my new sock project. Despite several UFOs to which I'd committed myself for this vacation, the sock called to me. Tough noogies to that which I don't feel like doing. The new sock is the new "favorite thing." But I think our spending a little time apart tonight will be good for our relationship. We were spending all of our time together and we all know how disasterous it can be for a couple when they don't take the time to care for themselves as individuals. I'm pretty sure Dr. Phil said something like that...
Assuming that New,Better Than A Bag Of Rocks Blogger will continue to allow me to post pictures, I will pop up the new WooLee Winder tomorrow. I decided to put a Tung Oil finish on it since I'm lacking in extra bobbins at the moment. Once I have those, it is unlikely that I will be able to wait to use it. Mr. W.W. is looking pretty sharp, if I do say so myself!
And now I must go spend a little bit more time with my sockie before heading out for KidFest '06. Parting will be such sweet sorrow!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

From The Sublime To The "Huh????"

Well, the first part isn't so sublime. It is actually highly annoying. The utterly amazing new version of Blogger is still allergic to my pictures. And I am not one who is patient enough to attempt other means of getting the pictures to you. Will someone please take New Blogger to the specialist for a gi-normous shot in the bummy so it will cease rejecting my uploads? I'd do it, but I'm on vacation and don't feel like moving right now...

OK...where was I? Oh, yeah! The most sublimiest of stuff! Last night I put on my best bib and tucker (I don't know what that means but Grammy Sheep used to say it all the time before heading out on the town and I like it) then headed for points south. My pre-arranged destination was The Yarn Sellar and a little meet 'n greet with the amazing Noolie and other assorted Chicks With Sticks.

Now, please realize, I live amongst the muggles. I am a lone knitter determinedly stitching away in a sea of the unenlightened. I talk about knitting all the time. It is a big part of my life. People listen, for the most part. But they don't really understand. I've sorta gotten used to finding my own fun in my solitary existence. I make up knitting terms. I invent knitting awards and give them to myself. I claim to have skills that don't actually exist in the world of knitting. Who's to know?

But it is lonely. No one understands. When the dye lots don't match, there is no one to hold me and wipe my tears. When a slender, but perfect dpn snaps, I cannot find a compatriot to howl with me at an unforgiving universe. The Sheep stands alone.

But, last night, I found my flock. I sat with others and listened to the click of the needles and sniffed the sweet perfume of the yarn. We chatted of gauge swatches and knitted thongs. We ripped back, we laughed and we admired the stitching of others. I was gifted with a lovely sheep button (for which I have a project in mind), a beaded bracelet and some of the most beautiful stitch markers. The latter were made by Noolie's very own daughter. Talent runs in the family it seems...

If there is a heaven for good little knitters then I'd imagine that it's something like this. The time just flew. I'll definitely be going back.

Today, still rhapsodizing about the joy that is group knitting, I planned a quiet day at home. There is much housework to do here at Casa De Sheepie. And I've a sock that is nearing completion. But first, I needed to make a quick supply run. (flavored water and frozen pizza...) I also made a quick dash to a local store just to see what little sumpthin's they might have. It appears that the establishment was purchased only yesterday and is under new ownership. I happen to know this because the new owners were present and told me this 48 times. I think they might be a wee bit excited about their new toy.

I found a few items that I thought might like to come home with me and proceeded to the register. New Owner #2 was manning this station and was more than happy to ring me up. He expressed a certain amount of distress over the previous management's methods of recording prices, though. He shook his head. He sighed loudly. He declared that, under his watchful eye, this sorry practice would end. Any and all items will, henceforth, display clear price tags for the benefit of his beloved customers. I was invited to return at the earliest opportunity to experience this new commitment to shopping convenience.

He meant well. And this would certainly represent a huge improvement in store policy were it not for one thing:

This is a Dollar Store. Everything is, well...a dollar.

I didn't really know quite what to say so I did what we all do in these situations. I smiled hugely and nodded a lot. I wished him well in his endeavor and left him singing happily behind the counter.

But this whole conversation haunts me. I can't stop thinking about it. I mean...did I miss something???? Or should I have explained to him that he'd just purchased a dollar store? Perhaps he thought it was a "some things are a dollar and some things aren't a dollar" store. For that matter, when you buy a dollar store, do you pay a dollar for it? In theory, that makes some sense. Once purchased, is the proprietor now obligated to continue in the fine dollar store tradition or can he just begin pricing things all willy-nilly? He seemed quite distressed at the idea of selling me a Gap hat/glove/ scarf set for a mere dollar. Will he attempt to raise prices? Will I now have to pay $1.36 for my honest-it-just-fell-off-the-truck scarf set?

You can see how this could take up most of my thinkin' time for the day.


Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Boxing Day Blather.

Having been told twice now that the fabulous new and improved version of Blogger is "unable to complete my request," I am accepting that this will be a pictureless post. Just know that I tried...

Bully Finder Rhymes with:

You would have liked the picture of my new WooLee Winder. On the bright side, though, I can tell you that I have spun four pounds of hand-carded shetland, plied it and skeined it perfectly and you will have to take my word for it. If the reality is that it is still in the box while I debate whether to put a finish on it to match my wheel, you will be none the wiser. What the heck, I can even say I spun straw into gold whilst wearing a thong bikini for a Sports Illustrated swimsuit centerfold. Without photo evidence to the contrary how will you prove I didn't?

I'm thinking of putting in a few hours during this vacation on my next article for job #2 and the monkey on my back known as the "parenting education program" we are developing. The extra cash could go towards a couple of new bobbins for this bad boy. For now, though, Mr. W.W. will be used for plying. Once I'm fully equipped with bobbiny goodness then I'm in business for full-on hook-free spinning! Whoooooo Hooooooo!!!

Knitting Unto Others:

It is over. The fact that I didn't really do all that well knitting for Christmas aside, I am dedicating this week off to selfish knitting. And I am casting on with wild abandon even if there are things awaiting completion. If it tickles me to do it, then that's what I be doing. Today, I pulled out a skein of Socks That Rock that came to me courtesy of trek and started a new little sockling. Yes, I am in the home stretch on the other pair, but I felt like knitting with STR. Now that I don't have to be all nice and good so Santa will bring me a WooLee Winder then my true and selfish nature can come to the fore. (insert picture of Sheep clutching a sock, hoarding chocolate and sticking out her tongue here)

The Sheep Is Now Available For Personal Appearances:

The scheduled events are sparse at this point, but if you take into consideration the fact that The Sheep don't get out much then it's something of a media-worthy event. Tonight, I will be joining Noolie and her band of merry knitters for the joy that is knitting in public. Noolie was kind enough to extend an invitation and patient enough to wait until I had a school vacation that would allow me to stay up late like a grown-up knitter and be a part Chicks With Sticks. In my vast blogging experience (um...that would be a year or so) I've never come across a real, live fellow blogger in the wild. I'm beyond excited! However, my experience with knitting anywhere but my couch is somewhat limited so I've been practicing by sitting in other chairs all day. I've also been trying out new words to use when I make mistakes. My usual "colorful" vocabulary may not work as well in public. Thus far, I'm looking at: Balderdash! Criminy! and Goodness Gracious! as my exclamations of choice. It's a work in progress....

Later this week, The Sheep will be at a private engagement hosted by the CamMad household. It seems that a certain little girl has herself a new Easy Bake Oven and a hankering to bake for company. As I am currently eating my own weight in baked goods per day, this seems like a good fit for me, socially speaking. At least it's a better fit than my jeans at this point. I'm looking forward to an evening with my favorite nieces-by-proxy and a chance to catch up with their parents as well.

And now, I bid you all, "adieu." I must prepare to meet the public. And by that I mean, find a pair of jeans that will forgive me the last couple of days spent frolicking amongst the bon bons. I can't knit standing up and leaving my trousers unbuttoned and unzipped seems socially inappropriate.

Perhaps a picture or two will be allowed tomorrow.


Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas Crash...

In what was probably an ill-advised decision, The Sheep stayed up rather late on Christmas Eve in order that she might follow Santa's progress via NORAD. Can't beat government satellite technology for keeping that holiday feeling all up in the warm and snuggly range...

Thus, I went into this day a bit on the "tuckered out" side. And, quite frankly, the cats were less than impressed by my hourly updates with regard to the big guy's location on the planet. There were a number of dirty looks from various felines after being awoken by high pitched shrieks from Mommy when she just how close Santa was to her house. Bad judgement...they got to sleep in today. I did not.

The Sheep family converged at Mommy and Daddy Sheep's house promptly at 8:00 a.m. for a hearty breakfast followed by frenzied gift opening and stocking attacks. Baby Brother Sheep brought New Girlfriend Sheep Who We Like and Daughter Of New Girlfriend Sheep as well as my new little canine nephew, Sarge The Wonder Dog. Sarge distinguished himself early in the day by leaving a lovely little present of his very own making in Daddy Sheep's office and is forever near and dear to my heart for his courage and valor. Daddy Sheep took it in stride despite the less than mature reaction of a certain Sheep who enjoyed this part of the day far more than she should have.

All in all, a nice day was had by all and it was so much the better for my being back at hearth and home, nap-ready and full to the brim with ham and chocolate, by early afternoon.

There is a new and wonderful fiber-related addition to The Sheep household as a result of the holiday giving, but we will all just have to wait until I have things a bit more organized before the viewing. It's a hum-dinger, say that I am a happy Sheepie would be an understatement. Let's just say that it rhymes with "Bully Finder!" And that I now need to save my pennies to buy a few extra of something that rhymes with, "Robins." Hee-hee!!!

And thus ends another happy holiday for The Sheep. I will leave you all to the remainder of your evening with this little image. Here is the last thing you see before being attacked by four pounds of canine fury:

Pretty intimidating, huh?

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Sheep Tales.

Gather 'round your Auntie Sheepie, my dears. Help yourself to a little, not that bowl! That's the one that Auntie spiked with the NyQuil to get herself through the marathon gift-wrapping session today. The one next to it is the one for my little guests tonight. And please try one of my sugar cookies! I baked them just for you. Hey...I see you making eyes at that box of chocolates! Don't even think about it! I said, "sugar cookies!" There you go, sweetie. Now, let's all snuggle by the fire so that Auntie Sheepie can tell you a little Christmas story. And when I say, "Christmas Story," I mean something that happened on Friday that I forgot to tell you. But, I figure that if I tweak it a bit and add a few festive references I can pull it off. If nothing else, it will be instructional. And we can just call that Auntie's gift to you.

Are we all settled in? we go. Let me tell you the Tale Of The Traveling Sock.

Once upon a time there was a very tired Sheep who returned home on a Friday after somehow making it through a week of teaching. This was no ordinary week. was the week before a school vacation. And there were lots of excited children and many, many parties. But it was all behind her and she was settled in for a relaxing evening with her two favorite kitties and a big glass of Mountain Dew. Suddenly, she heard a sound!

Ever alert, The Sheep looked around her living room to see what, perchance, had made this sound. For you see, this Sheep was afflicted with a paralyzing fear of zombies and was often convinced that the walking dead were finally coming to get her. Ah...had this only been the case. T'would have been preferable to what she saw.

The sound, it seems, was the gentle beating of a size 1 wooden dpn as it "ticked" repeatedly against the treadle of a Jensen Tina II spinning wheel. And this was not where this sock had started the evening. It had been in the sock bag at her feet. What, pray tell, might have happened???

The Sheep looked down at her feet to see a trail of handpainted sock yarn. Her eyes followed this yarn as it snaked across her living room, around the coffee table and to the half-finished sock as it flung itself upon the wheel. It then traveled past the sock to a point in the middle of the room. It ended at the rear right foot of a certain Big, Fluffy Kitty who was laying there looking most perplexed as to how she might have become tethered in such a fashion.

Now, a Sheep's first instinct in this type of situation is to leap up, flap her arms wildly and shout,

Oh, my God, oh, my God!!! Do not move!!! Stay right there!! Santa will not come if you move a single inch from that spot...he is watching, don't you forget it!! You stay there and Mommy will come rescue the, I mean, you! Please, for the love of all that is woolly and good: Just! Dont! Move!!!!!!!!!!!!

Cats, of course, have small, but rather complex brains. They are capable of taking the above statements and instantly translating them into the following:

Run!!!!!! Run like the wind!! Run as you have never run before, Big, Fluffy Kitty! Preferably around several pieces of furniture! And it would also be cool if you could even make it into several different rooms! Fly, furry creature! Fly!!!!!!!!!

The Sheep did see bad things in store for her little sockling. But she was a wise and learned mother of kitties and knew that either of the above statements could be made provided they were said in a soft and sing-songy kind of voice. And if she could manage to turn all "L's" into "W's" then so much the better for the Widdle Sockie. She took a deep breath, ceased her flapping then began her siren song to the flustered kitty.

And, thus, the sock was saved.
The Sheep returned the sock to its sock bag, petted her flustered kitty and took a big slug of Mountain Dew. And from somewhere on high a song was heard. For every time a sock is saved, an angel gets its wings.
The End
Wasn't that a special holiday story, dear ones? I do hope you enjoyed it. Well, it seems that you've somehow managed to clean me out of cookies 'n nog. You must have been hungry little munchkins! I certainly hope that you've saved some appetite for your Christmas dinner. I suppose it is time for you all to go home and ready yourselves for bed as Santa will not come if you aren't asleep at a reasonable hour. Let's get you all into your coats and boots. Don't worry about getting the right mittens. Mommies don't really care. They are used to you having mismatched ones that have someone else's' initials in them. Seriously...let's pick up the pace here. Sheesh!, off you go. Oh, wait! Before you head out into the cold Maine night (which is actually a sweltering 45 degrees and so unseasonable that none of us really know quite how to deal with it) let me leave you with some fibery goodness to give you happy holiday thoughts to carry you through the journey:

Fiber and Felting Needle courtesy of Dudley Spinner.
A wonderful evening to all and Merry Christmas Wishes to those who will be celebrating tomorrow. May your day be filled with family, friends and many, many good things!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Roll Out The Red Carpet!

It's time for the First Not Quite So Annual, Really More Like Something The Sheep Thought Up Because She Has More Time On Her Hands Than Is Good For Her And The Voices Told Her To...Sheepish Annie Awards!!!!!

(insert applause, paparazzi and starlets in precariously arranged gowns here)

Tonight we salute stuff that is relevant to The Sheep and the things she has done over the last couple of days. It's been quite the undertaking this year, I don't mind telling you! There have been so many worthy entries and that is pretty hard to do when the categories are subject to the whims of a middle aged blogger with attentional issues. But the judges have been hard at work determining who will reign supreme in these arbitrary categories and I think you'll agree that the right folks will be taking the bows. (and when I say, "judges" I, of course, mean: The Sheep, Hysterical Mind, Rational Mind, The Big, Fluffy Kitty and Her Smaller, Less Fluffy Counterpart.) Let's get started, shall we?

Most Spectacular Breaking Of A Diet Ever Recorded In The History Of All Mankind:

Winner: Not even a contest this year. It was The Sheep. She arrived at school bright and early yesterday, ate 6 oatmeal cookies for breakfast and that was the closest she came to "healthy" for the remainder of the day. Or today, for that matter. If it didn't move, she ate it. If it didn't move fast enough, she ate it. She made lots of grunting and slurping noises. She went to classroom parties where she wasn't technically "invited."

She was also a bit ill last night. But she is back in form today and has been sucking down Lindt Chocolates at the rate of one per minute.

Most die-hard holiday shopper of the '06 season:

Winner: Christina Cringle of Wrappingville MN! Christina began her shopping on December 26, 2005 and was finished by February 12, 2006. She used the time left to make handmade stockings for her 47 grandchildren and collecting canned goods for the needy. Christina was unable to make it in person to pick up her award as she is currently afraid to leave the house due to the hatred she has garnered from pretty much everyone else who is just coming back from the mall.

Runner Up: Sheepish Annie of Southern Maine! Despite numerous setbacks throughout the shopping season this year, she has persevered! She braved the Maine weather this morning (fifty degrees and raining so it is clearly the end of the world or something because this is just not normal) and arrived at the store for its 8:00 opening. As of 9:30 a.m. she wrote her name on the credit slip and had thus completed her Christmas shopping with a day to spare. She was also unable to make it to the show because she is too busy gloating.

Mother Of The Year:

Winner: Ethel Shumaker of Peach Tree, OK! A single mother of 12, she supports her family with the income she makes decorating Dollar Store tote bags using just her Bedazzler and glitter glue. Ethel's husband Bert went out for diapers and gin shortly after the birth of their triplets and has not been seen since. In true Super Mom fashion, Ethel said, "Can't say as I blame him really...if I'da been the one to find the car keys first then who knows how this mighta turned out?"

Runner Up: Any and all Moms who commented on this blog and noted that they had not been to the bathroom without an audience in (insert number here) years. The judges could not quite get their minds around that and bowed their heads for a moment of silence in gratitude for all mommies and daddies.

Honorable Mention: Sheepish Annie! During a recent trip to the pet store to purchase an outfit for her new doggie nephew, she realized that she was out of cat food. She grabbed a couple cans of the fancy-schmancy vet approved stuff as she was heading to the check-out and just prayed that her feline masters would approve of the change. They did. In fact, a certain Big Fluffy Kitty licked her bowl clean and spent the remainder of the evening pushing it around the kitchen with her nose in a futile attempt to snarfle up the last molecules of stinky goodness. The Sheep, ever the responsible parent, returned to the pet store after her holiday shopping today to purchase more of this canned nectar of the gods despite the wind and rain that was battering her form and flattening her hair. She even snagged a couple of kitty toys for the general amusement of all.

And the award for "How Did She Know?"

Deb of Dudley Spinner! Deb invited her readers to share holiday memories and offered a little surprise for those who did. The Sheep received some lovely hand-dyed wool and a felting needle in the mail for sharing her story. The judges were most impressed by the timing of this gift as The Sheep has recently been complaining about her felting needles being a bit battered by the recent felting on Styrofoam for ornaments. They also insisted that Deb's website go into the sidebar so that others could check out her online shop. Done and done!

Most Stupidest Blogger:

Um, The Sheep...she has a picture of the pretty roving and felting needle and neglected to get it into this post. She will be surrendering her other awards until she can get her act together and put up the picture. This makes The Sheep sad.

And so she will eat chocolate.

Thanks for joining us at the First Not So Annual Sheepish Annie Awards! We'll see you the next time! Drive home safely...


Thursday, December 21, 2006

You Know You're Ready For School Vacation When:

1. You see a sock in progress a metaphor for life. After loftily posting of my triumph in knitting a flap, heel turning and stitch picking, I was struck low last night by the realization that the working yarn was not where it was supposed to be. It was close. But I couldn't for the life of me figure out how to get it where it needed to be for sockage to continue. Apparently, my brain has turned to oatmeal in the past few weeks of holiday knitting and child-ego tending. There was much fiddling, stitch-swapping and swearing. I knew the answer was a simple one. Whatever I did is still something of a mystery, but I put things back where they belonged and gusset decreases are in progress. It wasn't until my drive home from work today that I did the ol' head-slap and cried, "knit to where you're supposed to be, stupid!" The remainder of the day has been spent trying to find a deeper meaning in all this.

2. Your cat of the smaller and less fluffy variety is sitting on the kitchen counter where she is not supposed to be with her unsanitary bum and is howling loudly. I have gotten up several times to see what Her Majesty needs, but she jumps down each time. I am now fully engaged in a battle of wills with this creature and will ignore her despite what is clearly an evil genius plan on her part to drive me insane beyond the point of return.

3. You make the decision to purchase an outfit for your brother's new dog. If I had a dog, I wouldn't dress him up. Dogs deserve better. But I am tired and am purchasing a gift for my canine "nephew" despite not having shopped for some of the humans in my life yet. I am taking it out on the dog. This is unfair and unjust and I am doing it anyway. He is a Teacup Terrier. It's not like he's not going to have to learn some defensive skills in the doggie world. The outfit will just force him to do it sooner. Seriously...I worked this all out in my head at the pet store.

4. You arrive home and loudly announce for all to hear that you are sick of diet food, don't care what anyone thinks and that you will be eating fried chicken for dinner. This might not be such a big deal if I didn't live alone. Or if the cats had been around somewhere. But I was all by my lonesome in the middle of the kitchen. And the pronouncement was made loudly and with grand gestures. It was followed by a pause as if I was awaiting some sort of validation. I'm further disturbed by the fact that none was forthcoming.

5. The principal calls you in the classroom to inform you that the student who has been the beneficiary of your undivided attention and assistance over the last few days in a futile attempt to help him hold it together this week while his classroom teacher is out on sick leave is being sent home with pink eye. I'd like to say that Rational Mind handled this discovery. But she did not. She has been on hiatus for a few days and Hysterical Mind has had to pick up the slack. HM did not take this news well. She is building a bunker and does not want to be near children ever again. She is cancelling Christmas and does not wish to be seen in public in the event that her eyes become puffy and oozy. I have several calls out to RM but she is not picking up. I could use her help right now because HM also seems to have some questions about the chicken we had for dinner tonight.

I have one more day. Just one. Then I can send the children home to their real mommies and daddies. I, their seven hour surrogate, will love them all the more for their absence in my life for a week. Seriously...we need some space.

That will make it all better. I'm sure of it...


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Countdown Begins.

'Twas an unseasonably warm day on the 27th of November in the year of '06. The Sheep roused herself from sleep at a ridiculously early hour, bathed and clad herself in some garment or another. There is no real record of the actual clothing, but you can be assured that it was of the "loose and non-binding" variety. On her way out the door to resume her workday toil after the Thanksgiving Holiday, she took a moment to dump the very last crumbs of the holiday pie in the trash. And then it began: The Sheep's salute to healthy eating.

And I have persevered. I have eaten sensible breakfasts. I have had naught but fruit during the day. And I mean fruit that has a peel and seeds, not the kind that comes in Pop Tarts. Dinner has consisted of Lean Cuisine and snacks have come from the good people at Weight Watchers. I have lived the life, stayed the course, plumbed the depths. Despite the hunger pangs, chocolate envy and disturbing "windiness" from certain locales south, I have maintained the whole ridiculous thing.

And it hasn't been easy. I expressed concern to one of my staff about the potential for a goodie deluge on the school as the holidays drew nigh. This tends to happen to the teachers who work at the primary level. I assumed that something similar occurred to the folks at my new school. I wasn't sure I could resist. He assured me that he'd been working in the building for a couple of years and that this was not the case. We would be treat-free.

Clearly, he has not been paying attention. He claims that this year is just a fluke and that this has never once happened before. But, no sooner had I breathed a sigh of relief, than did the community bring forth the bounty. There have been sugar cookies. There have been things dipped in dark chocolate. name it. I'll admit that it has not been the buffet one sees when one teaches the little guys, but it has been impressive.

Are you kidding me with this? These people don't even know me! Why do they hate me so? What have I ever done to them that they don't want to see me able to button my pants?

But it is almost over. Tomorrow is the final day for Fruit Fest '06. Effective Friday, 7:15 am, The Sheep will arrive at school and there will be a lifting of the ban on that which is yummy. While the actual vacation doesn't start until the close of school, there will be pre-festivities. As God is my witness, there will be no fruit on that most hallowed of days. I will arise in the morning and button my pants as I have not done since before the Thanksgiving Pie Damage. I will then proceed to indulge with wild abandon. Do not get in my way. I may bite you. I am not kidding.

Of course, the whole thing begins anew in January. But we are not thinking that far ahead right now. We are thinking only of the gooey goodness in which we will be partaking in the nearest of futures. I'm just silly in the head with the anticipation at this point!

And, as long as I'm all about meeting my own sad little needs right now, I guess I should mention that I did do some of the knitting last night. I hadn't planned on it...I was plumb tuckered. But, a couple of glances at my little sockie that has been sitting alone and unloved for so very long made me yearn to complete the heel flap. And once you have flappage then heel-turning seems fairly logical. And what does a turned heel need but stitch-picking-uppage? Had not my bedtime arrived, I fully believe that there would have been some mad gussetting. But, a Sheep who is living on fruit and the hope of chocolates yet to come has only so much of the stamina. And what little I have must go towards surviving this school week. The children need me for the educating and conflict resolution.

And I do believe that there is a sugar cookie or two waiting to make my acquaintance...


Tuesday, December 19, 2006


Somebody please answer this: How is it that the very same students who state clearly and loudly that my very presence in their lives is intrusive and overwhelming, that I should leave them alone, that I exist only to make their school day a miserable and work-laden experience, are the exact same students who are standing outside the bathroom door all expectant-like and awaiting the emergence of the hated Ms. Sheep?

Apparently, the time it takes for me to enter the restroom, relieve the pressure that has been building in my middle aged bladder for nigh on three hours and wash my hands in order that the children not be exposed to grown up pee-pee germs is enough to cause severe separation anxiety in the average fifth and sixth grader. I find this to be somewhat "oppressive." It is enough to make a Sheep want to throw up her hands and shout in a voice tinged with shrill hysteria:

I am not your mother!!!

I didn't. I wanted to. But I didn't. I clenched my teeth, smiled benevolently (or maniacally depending on your perspective) and set about meeting their needs.

School vacation can't come fast enough.

I'm all about the kidlets. I'm a giver of knowledge. I nurture the young minds of this great land with all the devotion of a master gardener tending the sweet rosebuds. But, hand to God, I don't know how you Mommies and Daddies do it. When do you make numbers 1 and 2? Do you have to wait until they are asleep? Or until they go to college? No wonder you all look so "strained." Hats off to you, parents. I just couldn't do it...I'll stick to mothering my cats.

No knitting of import will be done this evening in my child-free home. I put in a few hours at job #2 after my teaching day and, despite the cancellation of the parenting education session, there was still a need to put more time into the accursed program I am currently developing for the agency. The draft we finished last week made it up to the board meeting but remains "on the table" as they didn't get much of a chance to look at it. The lower level higher ups (for lack of a better title) are very pleased, though. So it looks like the whole thing will be a "go." And, predictably, there is more work to do on this thing that has begun to consume my life in not such a good way. Word of warning: use care when showing competence. People start to "expect" stuff. Expectations give me the hives...

And interfere with my using the restroom in a timely and unconstrained fashion. The countdown to the holiday vacation has begun in earnest.


Monday, December 18, 2006

Disturbing Signs.

The Scene: A holly-dazed Sheep is driving to another Monday of teaching and trying to work up the gumption to paste a smile to her mug for the little darlings in this, the week before a school vacation. She is behind in the Christmas shopping, still has a number of cards to get into the mail and has given up all hope of finishing the baking in time for gifting unto others. She doesn't even want to think about all those knitted somethings that she isn't going to get done. Casting her eyes heavenward, (but only briefly since she is driving and she knows that having eyes on the road is a good thing even if they are only at half-mast at this hour), she sends up a little shout-out to whatever powers-that-be might be listening.

"I dunno if I'm gonna make it this year. It is all just so overwhelming. I wonder if I should persevere with the holiday preparations or simply let it go and be happy with what I've managed to accomplish. I'm torn...all I need is a sign. Just one little sign! Something to show me what course of action would be best for this frazzled Sheep!"

I drove a bit further and was almost upon the school parking lot. As I passed a house that I drive by five days weekly, I noted a new holiday decoration on the lawn. Could this be the sign for which I'd begged? It was certainly large enough to be given consideration. There, propped up against a tree, was a larger than life Santa complete with red suit, black boots and belt.

And he was headless.

Message received. The day progressed accordingly.

Perhaps this wasn't the sign. It could just be coincidence. It could also be that I'm over-analyzing the sight of Father Christmas lying decapitated in someones yard. Either way, you can't help but think about what it all means...

Despite this, I will make an attempt to get a few more cards out tomorrow. It seems unfair that my lack of organization should be felt by my loved ones. But I'm going to take a little break from any other holiday type activities. Maybe I'm just looking for an excuse, but I didn't happen to see Santa's head anywhere on that lawn. I can't help but think of that scene in The Godfather. You know the one I's head in the bed and all? Yeah, that one.

That'll put you off your eggnog. I shudder to think what signs Arbor Day might bring this year...


Sunday, December 17, 2006

Time Is A Flexible Concept.

I honestly have no idea just where this day went. It could be the fact that the Sci-Fi channel had back to back zombie movies on last night and I just couldn't resist staying up to watch them. A 1:00 bedtime often results in a later wakey-wakey time. In my case, it was 8:00 this morning. I'm normally one of those annoying Sheep who rises with the birdies, all chipper and bright.

Maybe it is the amount of time that had to go into the revisions of my Zombie Invasion Preparedness Planning after viewing six or so hours of walking deadness. That has taken up a rather disturbing amount of time what with all the new data I've managed to collect. Apparently, there is now a chance that I can be infected by Zombie Pox if bitten by a mosquito. You can see where one might need to revisit one's strategy after learning this...

It could be that, following yesterday's post, Rational Mind has ceased speaking to me except to occasionally remind me of how much I am not getting done around here. Hysterical Mind has been chiming in periodically with her thoughts on the new HM Fan Club she is putting together and whom I think might be the best host for her new website. Hoping against hope to lure RM back to the fold to help me get a handle on the holiday mess I have made for myself, I am choosing to ignore HM. She is not taking it well.

Truth be told, though, I suspect that it has more to do with the role models I have here. There has been a high level of laziness within my field of vision today and, thus, I have not finished much of that which was on the to-do list. (I'm starting to hate that list with a passion that would ignite a thousand suns) For example:

I worked on a sock...but didn't get far.

I started a new felted ornament...but soon petered out.

Also in the, "Oh, who even cares anymore?" category we have: the Christmas cards, replacing that stupid string of lights that burned out, the last of the shopping, and cleaning the kitchen. The four loaves of pumpkin bread that were to be finished this weekend are a mere two. And those are just literally out of the oven. There is little hope that I will get up the gumption to pull two more out of my hat tonight.

I did, however, clean the toilet. Those who know me well will understand that this was a major event. It required a nap. Come to think of it, that might help to explain where part of the day went...

And yet, despite all evidence to the contrary, there is an FO for your viewing pleasure! Yet another Harlot Scarf is off the needles and ready for the tree. In my never ending quest to fiddle with this pattern, I have added a little crocheted detail to the ends rather than the fringe that the last version sported.

Kinda fancy!
I actually had some far better pictures of the scarf, but they all reflected what I thought might be my Thanksgiving Pie weight. I told you that stuff sticks to ya like a bad date! You will just have to live with this shot. I think I managed to snap this one on an, "inhale..."
I really have no plan for the upcoming week, project-wise. It is the last week of school before vacation and one that can be tricky what with lots of excited kiddies and lots of vacation-ready staff. We'll see what the week brings. I'd kind of like to just keep working on my sock. After all, I did finish that one last scarf! And that wasn't even on the to-do list for, crying out loud! Do I not deserve a new sock????
Back before RM gave up on me in utter disgust and shuttled off to the recesses of my brain to sulk, she did ask me to pass along her thanks to a few folks who took up the meme challenge. Had these brave souls not stepped forward, I shudder to think of the state HM might be in right now in terms of overall self-esteem. The volunteers are: Mehitabel, Jeanne and Sheila! Keep them in your thoughts and prayers as they bravely sally forth to answer the call of The Sheep's Hysterical Mind. And do check out what they list as their "6 weird things."
And following the lead of an imaginary concept developed to help illustrate internal discord does not count. Admit it...on some level you were all a little tempted!
Have a great week!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

By Popular Demand: Your Two Favorite Guest Bloggers.

The Sheep has lost control of the airways today. This is probably for the best given that she has been trying to "eat healthy" for the past two weeks and is now in something of a fruit-induced coma. She is being force-fed frozen pizza and candy bars in an attempt to get her back to something resembling her usual sunny self. Meanwhile, Rational Mind and Hysterical Mind have been brought out from the recesses of her overly active brain to answer a challenge of sorts.

Hysterical Mind: Hee-Hee!!!

Rational Mind: Stop it.

HM: I can't help it! (begins to giggle uncontrollably)

RM: You are becoming insufferable.

HM: You're just jealous.

RM: Of you? Hardly. Now explain why we are here today.

HM: (still giggling slightly) They like me...they really like me!!

RM: Oh, for crying out loud. You were tagged, OK? You are not being knighted or winning the Nobel Prize. You simply need to follow some basic directions and then we can be done with this.

HM: How do I look?

RM: You look fine. Now let's do this.

HM: Do you realize the importance of this???? I was tagged!! Me!!! Not you. Not The Sheep as a whole and functioning person...Me!!! I'm the popular one! Meeeeeeeeeeee! I'm the belle of the ball, the queen of the prom, the prize in the cereal, the...

RM: Will you get on with it??!!

HM: OK. (smooths hair and adjusts bra) Go ahead.

RM: With what?

HM: (sotto voce) Introduce me!

RM: Are you kidding me with this? No. Just say the six things about you that are weird. This conversation might count as the first item, if you want my opinion.

HM: Oh, sure! When it's what you want we all just have to stop everything and clean the oven. But can you let me have just one little moment of happiness? No. I think you are jealous!! heard me! People like me better than you and you just want to ruin my big moment! I hate you!!! I hate you!!!! I hate you!!!!!!!!

RM: Fine. I'll do the stupid intro. Just please get up off the floor. We vacuumed today. Are you all right?

HM: Yes. I'm fine. You hurt my feelings. We will be discussing this later. Now, stop making a scene.

RM: (through gritted teeth) And now, for your reading pleasure and by popular demand, I give you Hysterical Mind. She will regale you with her rendition of "Six Weird Things About Me."

HM: Thank you!! What a great crowd! I just flew in from The Sheep's right hemisphere and boy are my arms tired! Heh, heh! Thank you! You wanna know what's weird about me? Sure you do! Well, here's a few things to keep you from sleeping well tonight:

1. Most readers know that I am a picky eater who literally consumes frozen pepperoni pizza every night of the week. In addition to this, I must eat all meal components in order from least to most enjoyable. The plate is divided up accordingly and the vegetables go first. Casseroles are something of a problem... It is only in the last few years that I have been able to eat a slice of pizza without first eating the toppings, then the cheese and finally the crust.

2. I watch a lot of cartoons. Not just every so often. Daily. I watch them in place of the news or other adult programming. I am able to intelligently discuss them with the students in my class. Many of them simply assume that I have children of my own and that this is why I watch them. I do not have children.

3. My other TV indulgence is horror movies. I like to watch them late at night and in the dark. I don't really get all that scared and rarely get nightmares. With one exception...

4. I have an inordinate fear of zombies. Those flicks have pretty much ruined me. I leave for work in the dark for much of the year and return home under the same lighting circumstances. I have therefore devised a "Zombie Plan" in the event that the walking dead ever do pay a call. I check for them before exiting my vehicle and am ready to run should they pop out from behind a tree or anything. Note: This plan is hinged upon the workings of the zombies from the sixties and early seventies movies where they were slow-moving. Should they actually be capable of the speed seen in the later films, then I am screwed.

5. I still watch zombie movies whenever I can.

6. Whenever I am super-stressed I have a recurring nightmare. It is not about zombies. It is about a wedding. And it is mine. Weddings freak me out. Especially any wedding that has me in the white dress. I am jittery for days after these dreams.

Tah-Dah!!!! Thank you, thank've been great! Don't forget to tip your server!

RM: Good. Now do the next part.

HM: No. I am done. I need to go change for the wrap party.

RM: No...there are rules to this. You have done your 6 weird things and now you have to do this:

“THE RULES: Each player of this game starts with the ‘6 weird things about you.’ People who get tagged need to write a blog post of their own 6 weird things as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose 6 people to be tagged and list their names. Don’t forget to leave a comment that says ‘you are tagged’ in their comments and tell them to read your blog.”

HM: What??? No one told me this!!!! I can't do this!!! What if I tag someone who has already done it and they think I don't read their blog and hate me forever? What if I pick someone who hates to be tagged and they put a curse on my head? What if I leave someone out who has always wanted to be tagged and they become suicidal over the whole matter? Or homicidal??? My God...I've sent out my school picture to some of these people! They could find me!!! Oh, this is a disaster! Why, oh why can't I read the directions? Why didn't you tell me this before I started? How am I going to choose??? Oh, heavy is the head that wears the mantle of responsibility...

RM: You've been reading again, haven't you. I thought we'd gotten rid of all the heavy lit. around here. Look, this isn't a big deal. Just pick 6 people. They can either do it or not do it.

HM: (in a muffled voice and with head under a couch cushion) I can't. You do it!

RM: You are beyond help. Look. Why don't we do this? We'll just put it out there and see who wants to do it. If they do, they can leave us a comment and we will link to them or something. Maybe someone will do it just to shut you up. Which would be nice from my perspective. Will that work for you?

HM: (Sniffling) m'kay.

RM: Good. Now, that that's done and out of the way. I have an organized list of projects I'd like us to take a look at. We need to come up with a good working plan for the next 8 days of Christmas Prep.

HM: 8 days???? Did you say 8 days? Oh, we are just doomed!!! There is no way...

RM: We have to go now. I need to get busy with the holiday stuff and HM needs a Xanax. And someone needs to wake up The Sheep. She's the one with the paycheck and this whole extravaganza isn't going to pay for itself. Have a great Saturday, Folks.

The Sheep will resume normal operations tomorrow, complete with FO pix and tales of the grocery store. Thank you for your patience.

SA, HM, RM (but mostly HM)

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Healthy Eating Is Killing Me...

Well, as I mentioned in last nights "drive by" post, I think I may have hit on the problem. After noting a slight weight gain over the last few months, I decided to go back to the strategy that helped me in removing a significant number of pounds a few years ago. Way back then, saddled with a few burgeoning health problems that could all be traced back to my girth, I made the decision to try eating more of the healthy foods that were sadly lacking in my daily menu.

The deal was this: A hearty, but reasonable, breakfast; fruit during the day; a sensible dinner and snack when at home. I was strict about it. Annoyingly so. If I could do this, then the weekends were freebies: whatever I wanted as as much as I wanted. After losing a bit of the poundage, I found that I didn't want to eat myself into a coma so much during those weekend days of indulgence.

Now, you have to understand something: if I am not careful, I can easily go for days without consuming a single serving of fresh fruits or vegetables. Thus, the decision to take only these items to work was to help balance the diet out rather than to restrict it. Fruit has more of the natural sugars and is, logically, sweeter. It had more appeal than the veggies. I can't think of a single vegetable that I could just sit down and gorge myself on with wild abandon. I get the chills just thinking about the possibility of broccoli lurking in the fridge... Plus, I read somewhere that fruit was good for you.

Going back to this regiment for a short period to get the old healthy habits up and running again seemed like a good idea. And it probably is. But I've run into a little snag in the system.

I don't like fruit.

I do, however, like chocolate chip cookies.

I have very little in the way of an appetite during the day and often have to be reminded to eat.

If you aren't hungry, it is very easy to forgo the healthy lunch you have packed for yourself.

You can put a top hat on the family dog, but this isn't going to make him your prom date.

And there is no way on God's green earth that you can make an apple into a chocolate chip cookie.

I've taken to giving the fruit to the children in my class. They'll eat it. Kids today...what is the world coming to? Meanwhile, I am seeing pink bunny rabbits and flesh eating zombies crawling out from under my desk by two o'clock. The system is falling apart. I ran a calorie count through my insurance company's Healthy Rewards system site and somehow have managed to only consume 800 calories today even after I'd had dinner.

We're retooling the plan and will come up with something that vaguely resembles living like real people. It appears that watching others consume fruit is not as healthy as eating it myself. I'm going to have to suck it up and actually eat the stupid things. Unless, that is, someone out there knows of some study that supports the vicarious consumption of vitamins. Anyone? Anyone????
In happier news, the word from my boss is that she is pleased with my article on making homework a less painful process and transported the whole program up to the main office this very afternoon. I have my choice of medium for the statue that is to be made of me: bronze or marble. I'm leaning towards the marble. Bronze is nice, but turns that funny color after a while. I'll let you know the final decision. I'd better make it fast as most of the things we've sent up there for review have come back with "suggestions." These pretty much involve hours of work. And I can't pull this off in my current fruit-daze. This will require trans fats...

Hopes for a finished scarf by mid-week were pretty much dashed when Wednesday night needed to be spent working. But I still see it as a potential gift for the holidays. It is better than half done and I see no reason that it can't be finished in time for some lucky recipient. Well...actually there are scads of reasons why this might not happen: lack of motivation, global warming; plague of locusts... But we're thinking positively on the matter.

Tonight I will pack up yet another healthy lunch for tomorrow's consumption. And I vow to eat it. Every ounce. (well...except for the peels. That is just going too far!) I will survive healthy eating whether I like it or not.

And I think we know my preferences and feelings in this matter...


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Drive By...

I am just a gi-normous disappointment tonight. Here's what I got for ya:

1. One unintelligible article on how to help challenged and unique learners with homework was completed and emailed as of five minutes ago. There was a lot of fancy language and use of italics. And it was ten pages long. That's the limit of my knowledge base. I don't actually have children and have never done homework with them. I'm the teacher. I just give it...

2. I think I may have discovered the glitch in my healthy eating plan. It has to do with my hatred of all natural foods. More on this later. For those of you advocating the consumption of protein in the last round of comments, you will be pleased to know that I had turkey for dinner. I sort of feel a little better...

3. I am still tired. I woke up repeatedly between the hours of 2:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. due to an unending nightmare about a class I am taking next semester on Administrative Supervision. For some reason I got it in my head that this class involved a Project Adventure sort of twist that had all of us going up a mountain and living off the land. Everyone else was psyched. I was not. I believe that the great outdoors is best appreciated through the window of a moving vehicle. No one could clearly explain to me how we might attend to "calls of nature." This might also be a reflection of the addition of more fruit to my diet and my hatred thereof... Whatever the cause, it was all very disturbing.

4. I have to make appetizers for the Christmas Party at Job #2 scheduled for Friday night. I am purchasing them. There is no debate on this subject. I do not see myself fighting out of the nice divot I've created in the couch cushions to make anything between now and Friday night. And, for the record, whatever I purchase will be fat laden and crunchy. And greasy. And highly inadvisable for human consumption. And I may just eat it all before I get there.

5. I promise to be a better blogger tomorrow night once I have recovered from all of the above.

The Sheep appreciates your patience. She is now going to consume a low-cal ice cream thingy on a stick and start rethinking that plan she had a while back that involved marrying for money.


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Blog Post From The Edge.

I am very, very, very, very, very, very (you get the idea) tired. It may be all the fruit talking, but the world has taken on something of a shimmery glow and I'm finding all manner of things interesting and worth staring at. Things like chairs, lint, toenails...pretty much anything. The whole "let's diet our way back to where we were last spring by eating healthy" thing combined with an evening at job #2 have taken their toll. I shouldn't be posting. I shouldn't be allowed contact with the human race until I have eaten something of substance that did not grow on a tree or vine and slept for a day or two.

Job #2 has taken on a whole new role in dominating what is left of my free time. I keep finding myself saying, "Okey-dokey, artichokey" to things I have neither the interest nor the time to follow through on. Last week, I agreed to work on Tuesday nights with a parent in order that he could finish his Parenting Education requirements. As I had completed the new program our agency wanted developed, I figured I'd have the time to take this on. Anyone else out there work in the Not For Profit/Social Services realm? You'll know what I mean when I say, "Done is never really done."

I got an email from my boss saying that she had noted some holes in the program that needed some filling. The Sheep is nothing if not accommodating. I'm all over the "whatever makes you happy." It's just that I don't really have the time right now. There is the whole Christmas thing looming. And the teaching job that pays the bills. And the sleeping.

I'm doomed. I know that I say this frequently. I'm doomed a lot. Pretty much daily, I run into a doom-filled situation. I'm like a doom magnet. But this time, I'm actually doomed for reals. Thanks to some extra time tonight that we didn't really expect, I was able to get a little bit done. But I still have to develop a chapter on how to help challenged learners with their homework. And I have to have it done by tomorrow. See where the "doomed" part is coming into all this?

And I fully intend to let the doom bloom. I am not even going to attempt to do this tonight. Any evening where you are weary to the point of finding toenails highly interesting is not a night to be waxing intelligent on the subject of good study habits. I'm going to push the envelope on this little task and send it in tomorrow night.

In theory. In reality, I'll probably be struck by a falling safe. One doesn't hear much about falling safes these days, but I'm pretty sure that, when one is doomed, one can't afford to be lulled into false senses of security simply because the odds are in one's favor.

Someday, maybe I'll knit again. That'll be nice. Maybe after the safe hits me, I'll be excused from active duty for a while and will be able to knit from the convalescence home.

Did I mention the "very tired" part?


Monday, December 11, 2006


First there was the recovery. I had pneumonia and withered away into something resembling very pale beef jerky. I added more protein to my diet to compensate. And doughnuts. Mustn't forget the doughnuts. They were truly the best part of the recovery process.

Then there was the high heat of summer which required a cut-back in the thrice weekly workouts and vast quantities of ice cream. What else is a sweltering Sheep to do under such dire circumstances? It was life or death...maybe not for me, but certainly for anyone who had to deal with me for any length of time. I get a little grumpy when I'm hot.

School started and an attempt was made to get back into the routine. I almost did it. But then Halloween came and with it a dearth of trick or treaters. To not eat all the leftover candy would have been wasteful.

The crowning achievement, though, was Thanksgiving. I ate a lot of pie. A lot of pie. Most of it was consumed whilst swathed in flannel and reclining on the couch. It was shoveled directly from the pan into my gaping maw with a wooden spoon. I never really saw myself as a lover of pie. Seems that I am. Who knew?

After the holiday, it became apparent that things had gotten a little out of control. I'm expanding at a rate that is going to become the subject of a study or something very soon if I don't get a grip on this. Thus, the decision was made to go back to the strategy that took off the pounds in the first place. I like to call it Death By Fruit.

If I just bring fruit to work during the day, then that is what I get to eat. Breakfast is of my choosing in terms of menu. Dinner can be a bit more expansive if common sense is used. But, during the day, it's all fruit all the time. I have been keeping this up for two weeks now. Ask anyone who works with me during the day. They can vouch for me. It is, quite literally, all I speak of anymore.

"This pear isn't ripe!"

"God, I hate fruit!!"

"Why are there all these stupid flies around my desk?"

"God, I hate fruit!!"

"They can land a man on the moon, but they can't make a banana that tastes like chocolate?"
"Have I mentioned today how much I hate fruit?"

People have started to do abrupt about-faces or dive into supply closets when they see me coming. Honestly, I can barely stand myself at this point. Healthy eating is making me very grumpy. Not as grumpy as being overheated, but it is a close second.

And I poot a lot more than I used to. Really...I'm just a delight to be around.

To top it all off, I was still six pounds heavier than I was last spring when the doctor weighed me last week. And I got to look at the numbers twice since I had to be weighed again at the surgeon's office. Stupid fruit.

However, I suspect that it would have been worse numbers-wise had I not been doing the fruit thing for the past couple of weeks. That pie turns out to be something of a "clinger." Pie fat is hard to shed. It lingers. Pie fat knows the meaning of a long-term relationship.

Today's pie-punishment was an apple, an orange and some grapes. I really could not have been less enthused about the whole thing had it come with a tax audit and root canal. But, debts must be paid, after all. And I did really enjoy the pie...

With any luck, I'll shed the weight before too much longer and renew my acquaintance with my fitted trousers. Six pounds really isn't all that much in the grand scheme of things. But, as one who has had difficulties with weight control for much of her adult life, I know a slippery slope when I see one. They've gotta go...

Fortunately there are a few things with which to distract my mind from my rumbling tummy and thoughts of deep fried, chocolate dipped stuff. I've finished yet another of the felted ornaments and really quite like it.

My niddy noddy overfloweth...
There's a third awaiting trimming, but I'm getting low on pins. There is a lot of pinning in these things. More than I anticipated. Gonna have to go to the pin store. We will put that on the to-do list and hope that it is not next to a bakery or anything.
Scarf knitting continues and I'm still thinking that this one will be done in short order. I am working tomorrow night at job #2 (that's a whole other story...) so I won't be doing much in the way of knitting then. But, we're in the home stretch so all is looking bright.
Not as bright as it would had the scarf came with a side of fries...but bright all the same.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Hangin' With The Cool Kids.

Way, way back in The Way Back, there was a little Sheepie with but one goal in life. A mission that would forever ensure her a social position of good standing. She pursued this goal with single-minded doggedness.

I was somewhere between fourth and sixth grade at this point. I don't recall exactly which year because I am old and old people don't remember things so good. We have vast amounts of life experience upon which to draw and access to only about 10% of it. It is a conundrum...

Where was I?

Oh, yeah: my goal. I wanted more than anything on this planet to be able to stay up late enough to watch The Donny And Marie Show. All the cool kids got to do it. They would come in to school the next day full to the brim with critiques of the outfits, the dreaminess level of one Donny Osmond, and whether it would be better to be "a little bit country" or " a little bit rock 'n roll." I, however, was a little lambie who was in need of lots and lots of sleep. Mommy Sheep forbade viewing the show due to the lateness of it's airing. This was going to take some doing...

After what seemed like months of good behavior, promises of future good deeds and displays of well-restedness, the goal was reached. I was able to stay up and watch the show. I, your humble Sheep, was able to stride into school the next day with my head held high and a valid opinion on the subject of purple socks.

Some things never change.

Up until a few days ago, I had never, ever watched a single episode of Knitty Gritty. Not a one. Sure, I could fake it. I could go to the website and read up on the production. I could nod my head sagely and pretend to know what everyone was talking about should the subject present itself. But, it was really just elementary school all over again with me so very out of the loop and hoping against hope that the in-crowd wouldn't catch wind of my lack of exposure to that which is cutting edge.

It wasn't my fault. My cable company didn't carry it. There was nothing I could do except try to find some meaning in my life as it stood. Not cool...not cool at all.

So you can only imagine my delight this past Friday as I was killing time before heading out to my various appointments to see a certain special something gracing my television screen at 11:00. There it was. The show that could propel me into the twenty first century of knitting, take me from being a mere fringe-dweller to the inner circle and solidify my standing with the cool kids was right there on my very own television. There was great rejoicing in The Sheep household that day.

It didn't matter that I couldn't watch it all the way through or that it is on during the week and that I will rarely see it. It was now a possibility in my life and that was good enough.

There will be a discernible swagger in my gait for the foreseeable future. This is to be expected as I am now one of the cool kids and all.

Of course this has done little to affect the actual production of knitted goods in my life, merely my ability to reference cool things about knitting. The scarf is progressing and should be finished by midweek, barring further screaming for attention by the sock. It is continuing to try and lure me back to the dark side of selfish knitting and I am resisting with all my might. Mr. Needy-Sock will remain safely ensconced in his sock bag for the time being. I hope. I've also managed to almost finish a second felted ornament and a third has been started in the event that I decide to follow through with the whole finishing of things habit.

You will note that there has been no mention of the handwarmers promised to The World's Greatest Stylist. We will not speak of this. To do so would put a serious harsh on my mellow, dudes.

That's how the cool kids talk...


Saturday, December 09, 2006

Git Yer Freak On!!!

Your Friendly Neighborhood Sheep has had something of a surge of holiday spirit today. While yesterday was a washout in terms of planned activities, getting in a little of the shopping before I called a time-out to the proceedings gave me hope for Christmas Readiness. The "Done" column is still heavily overshadowed by the "Oh My God, We Must Not Sleep 'Til December 26th" Column, I'll grant you. But having a bit of the Christmas Good Vibes has made it all seem possible. I got my freak on, people. And I'm spending the day on holiday goodness.

Sort of...

My first FO was really pretty unnecessary. Downright foolish when you consider everything else I have to do. But it amused me. And it is something I've had simmering in the soup of ideas in my brain for a while now. I wish I could take full credit for this or, at the very least, remember the magazine where I got the basic idea. But I can't. I just know that I saw something like it. And when Mommy Sheep handed me a bag of crafting supplies at Thanksgiving that included a few Styrofoam balls, I had what I needed to make an ornament happen:

Yep...she's a-hangin' off a niddy noddy...
I took some leftover Lincoln Longwool that I carded and dyed last year in a rather virulent watermelon hue. I gently needle felted it to the Styrofoam ball then embellished with beads and sequins 'cuz it's the holidays and taste has no meaning in this, the season of glitter 'n sparkles. I ran a ribbon through the center, tied it off and...Bob's your uncle! I gots me an ornament. I'm thinking I can use it as a package decoration. This will be nice given that most people won't actually be getting any gifts inside their packages what with my not really having finished the shopping and all. Hopefully, they will be so distracted by my clever ornament that they won't notice...
I also have myself 16 or so inches of scarf completed after a day of fittin' and startin' with the knitting. I like to think that somewhere in the land of our neighbors to the north, The Harlot awoke one night with a start and cried, "Great Skeins of Skacel! A knitter is in need! I must develop a simple, yet clever scarf pattern at once before all hope of a Sheepie Christmas is lost!" While it is highly unlikely that this is how the whole thing played out, it gives me a warm glow to think that it might. The movies that play in my head are pretty much worth the price of admission. Assuming I can tear myself away from them, I might just have another scarf for gifting.
Then, just because I am so very full of the spirit, (well, I'm full of something anyway...) I tossed the Feather And Fan scarf up into the Christmas tree for a few artsy shots. Most were really pretty horrid, frankly. But even a bad shot of a great scarf is something to smile about, in my most humble opinion.

Kinda looks like Santa is giving it the eye, doesn't it?

The plan for tonight is somewhat flexible. It is highly unlikely to happen, but I do have a couple of loaves of pumpkin bread that need to be created. I actually have many loaves of pumpkin bread that need to come into being, but we're taking this holiday freak thing one step at a time. If that doesn't come to pass, then I'll just keep plugging on the scarf. I also pulled out some more of the Lincoln in a caramel color that I think might make another "distract the eye from the lack of real gifts" decoration. The possibilities are many.

Let's hope the holiday spirit remains strong.


Friday, December 08, 2006

The Best Laid Plans...

There was little about this day that went "as planned." It wasn't a bad day. There was frozen pizza and I got to sleep late. I had the time for that extra cup of coffee and a little knitting in the morning. But, I had a plan. And circumstances just weren't going with the program.

Plan #1: Get up bright and early on this, my scheduled day off for mole-removal, and get in a bit 'o the Christmas shopping. Brilliant, really. Do it early while the soccer moms are still feeding the kidlets and no worries about the after work crowd. A good use of the down time before all the doctor's appointments.

What really happened: Snow. A rather disturbing amount of unexpected snow. Schools were delayed, cars were off the roads and we were all being urged to use care if we needed to drive. I stayed home and watched cartoons.

Plan #2: Scoot over to Dr. Judy's office to pick up a refill on my medication. I even called ahead a couple of weeks ago to make sure that I didn't need to make an appointment. Such a planful Sheep I be.

What really happened: I called yesterday to make sure that the doctor would be in to write the scrip. I was told that she would be unable to do so unless I had an office visit. It was time for me to see the doctor in person, according to the office calendar. No amount of negotiation or pointing out the fact that I was being penalized for picking up my last refill during my "other mole removal" would sway The Responsible Receptionist. She did, however, squeeze me in at 11:45 today as a consolation prize so I didn't have to take an extra day off from school.

Plan #3: Go to see the plastic surgeon to have the Mole Of Disturbing Dimensions removed. I did know that there was a chance that they could only use this visit as a consult, but all indications were that I would be MODD free by tonight.

What really happened: Apparently, this procedure is going to take just a bit longer than the surgeon thought and we are rescheduling. This will also give us a chance to test the insurance waters and see how they feel about reimbursing for his work. While I suspect that he knew going in that this was how it was going to play out, I will give him credit for being a decent fellow about it. To be fair, he did a very good job explaining the procedure and what to expect. And he needed to do this in the face of a Sheep who was a bit on edge and who's Hysterical Mind had pretty much taken over all operations at that point. And said Sheep had gone to a somewhat "silly" place in response to the stress. For the record, few doctors can handle such statements as, "Whassa matta? You not man enough for mah mole?" and still maintain their sense of humor.

We like him, though. Upon entering the examination room and seeing me knitting merrily away on a sock he said, "Christmas, huh?"

Here's a dude I could bring home to Mommy Sheep!

So, a gi-normous Thank You to all my well-wishers with regard to this simple procedure that I have somehow managed to make into a mini-drama of epic proportions. We all get to take a little break, then do it all over again in January. Mark your calendars! I'll bring Hysterical Mind and I'll look away so you can roll your eyes every now and again.

The good news was that I still had the time to do a little bit of the holiday shopping on the way home and am feeling like I might just make it in time. Up until today, the plan was to celebrate Christmas sometime around June 30th.

And, after packing up the sock for its field trips today, I found myself looking for a project upon which to knit while I was awaiting departure time. I asked myself, "what was the last thing you knit that you sorta got a kick out of? Perhaps this might be something that will lure you away from that selfish sock for your own little feet and give you the oomph to knit up one more holiday gift before the big day." I had to admit that it was The Harlot Scarf. It was quick, simple and looked pretty good once off the needles. It also didn't take up as much yarn as I'd anticipated so I figured a single skein would be enough to have a working neck swaddler. So I cast on and knocked out five inches of scarfy goodness before I headed out for the day's events. No promises, though. I'm still wanting to finish that sock in the worst possible way.

And I've learned not to think that a "plan" of any sort is ever going to save me.