Saturday, March 31, 2007

The Pasture Gate Was Open...

...so I ventured out.

Not really sure just what was going on this morning. I'd been rather dreading the list of to-do's that were facing me after this Two Week Stretch Of Extreme Annoyingness. And yet I had a bit of a spring in my step.

Maybe it was the sunny skies that belied the frigid readings on the thermometer. It kind of looked "Springy" out there. Perhaps it was coming to the realization that my director, despite having come close to his own demise after undoing three weeks of my hard work in mere minutes, isn't really such a bad guy. In fact, he is a decent fellow who meant well and was only trying to help. And, in sending a group email that included amongst its recipients the superintendent of schools which praised the work I'd done on this hiring project, he proved that. Just because I am perfect and never, ever make mistakes doesn't mean that others won't. Taking stock and realizing that certainly lightens one's outlook.

Maybe it is just that it is the weekend and the end of Most Miserable March. Or the fact that I was wearing my spiffy new underpants. Whatever the reason, I was actually looking forward to getting out and about this morning. Those who know me in "real life" may need the smelling salts right about now. But it is true. I could scarcely wait to fire up the truck and get out into the wide world.

I started the day with a quick chat with Mommy and Daddy Sheep from their winter pasture in the sunny south. Everybody wish Mommy Sheep a Happy Birthday, 'kay? I happened to get lucky in the Mom department. In between her kid wrangling duties, she also happened to be an elementary school teacher and is largely responsible for The Sheep's ability to string a word or two together in a coherent fashion.

She also makes the best homemade ice cream...

Following the check-in with the 'rents, I headed out for a visit with Amy, The World's Greatest Stylist for a some time traveling back to the days when The Sheep was a little less gray. After two years, she has finally decided that I have earned the right to have a little input in the tresses and she is in agreement with my letting it grow out a bit. In return, I let her make the decisions with regard to color. There is a bit more of the blonde going on right now, but it fits with my general mood today and I am declaring it a success. There are now plans in the works for a shopping trip and a visit to her new house. These outings generally include a little lunch for Sheepie as Amy does not want me to risk getting too skinny.

She's good that way...

All blondified (and only a little bit scorched at the hairline) I bopped next door for a browse at the used bookstore. I found a few titles and had a nice chat with the owner just like I was a normal person who goes out and interacts with the public on a regular basis. You'd think I'd be all tuckered out at this point and ready for the comfort of my couch.

Not so!

From there, I wandered over to Baby Brother Sheep's house for a visit with Girlfriend Sheep Who We Like and my doggie nephew, Sarge The Scary Teacup Terrier. (he isn't scary at all, but seems to feel better about himself when we discuss him in "larger" terms) Baby Brother Sheep himself actually made an appearance so it was a big occasion. We live twenty minutes apart, but, for some reason, haven't really connected since Christmas. I'm glad I caught him when I did as he is going on the road soon for work and visits will be very far and few between for the foreseeable future.

Was The Sheep ready to call it a day? No she was not!

I decided that, since I was in the neighborhood and didn't know when I would be again, I'd head over to Lois' Natural Market for some "Superiority Shopping" amongst the finer and purer things. I picked up the fixings for some hummus, milk, apples and a little of the most yummy, decadent goat cheese that I probably shouldn't be investing in after getting the truck fixed, but what the heck! I'm out and about and living large today!

OK...by then I was ready to go home. It was closing in on 1:00 and I was getting a bit hungry. Besides, all that activity and fresh air was going to result in the need for a nap and it is generally best to do that at home rather than from behind the wheel. And thus ended the most excellent and sociable morning for This Sheepie. But what a morning it was!

Meanwhile back in the knitting basket...







Something is afoot!
I had a staff meeting at job #2 last night and decided to stop off at Joann's Fabric just for a bit of a lark. (And to soothe my touchy nerves after the week that was.) I have absolutely no idea what possessed me to purchase four balls of crochet thread. Four balls isn't that much. You can't really do anything with it. Certainly not what I wanted to do, anyway. But it was so very pretty, all purply and shiny. And I've been wanting to keep the feather and fan stitch in the mental Rolodex for quick motor memory retrieval. I've been diligently spinning the fiber from Wooly Wonka and am determined that it will be a feather and fan scarf. I just know that this is what it wants to be when it grows up. And it's not like anything else is inspiring me right now...
So I'll knit away with the cotton until it runs out. It can't be a scarf. There isn't enough, given the width for which I've cast on. But it can be a fiddly little doily or dresser scarf thingie and that's OK. Or maybe I will find more of the cotton in this color and can make it longer. Maybe I will, maybe I won't...either way, it is keeping me out of trouble and entertaining me to no end so I'm happy.
And, after this week, I'm going with whatever makes me happy.
(your very blonde and disturbingly perky) SA

Thursday, March 29, 2007

You Would Have Done The Same Thing.

Before I confess, let me give you a little of the "background." There are reasons behind my actions and I think that you will grant me a little leeway once you understand the magnitude of the situation. There are those who would have done worse. I'm sure of it.

I have had a little work-related drama of late. A rather large project that would, under ordinary circumstance, only involve the most basic of input on my part was unceremoniously dumped in my lap three weeks ago. It was one of those tasks that is normally handled by administration. Why they threw up their hands and said, "Why don't we ask The Sheep to do it? Heaven knows she is just the most organized of souls and can certainly tackle this on top of her regular teaching and kid wrangling duties" is beyond me. I know me. I would not have trusted me with this task. I would have asked someone else. Anyone else. One of the fifth graders could have done it more efficiently. But, for whatever the reason, I was handed a large stack of resumes and told to fill three positions.

It was nothing short of insanity. In between teaching and attending meetings and whatnot, I called candidates, argued over the best way to advertise the positions, scheduled interviews, rescheduled interviews after the principal told me he was already committed during that time frame, then held the interviews all by myself when the principal was unable to make the meetings that I set up after the rescheduling. My special education director (whose job it is to do this normally) was not heard from throughout this series of events.

Today, in an unprecedented fit of charity, the director showed up at school and proceeded to conduct interviews on my behalf. This would have been incredibly thoughtful of him and greatly appreciated had it not been for the following:

1. I had already completed all the interviews and called all references

2. One of the candidates he was interviewing today was a gentleman that I had met with just yesterday. Had the gentleman been at home instead of on his way back to school for yet another interview he would have been there to receive my call offering him one of the positions we have available.

3. The position for which the director was interviewing the gentleman is not the one I offered. It is the one I offered to another candidate.

4. All of this information and more was included, in great and loving detail, as part of the two emails that I sent to the director yesterday. More information was included in the email I had to send at 9:00 last night after it became clear to me by his repy that the director was a bit confused.

5. Another email was sent this very morning restating the previous information.



I probably would have handled this whole thing a bit better had the director not found the whole situation so funny. It was not funny. It was the opposite of funny. I will admit that there were a couple of humorous moments involved. There was the principal promising to post bail for The Sheep should she follow through on the course of bloody action that she was considering. The sight of The Sheep waving printed emails about the hallways as she cried out for all to hear, "I am not crazy! Not crazy, I tellya!!!" was probably mildly amusing. And who could not look back on the memory of three teachers all waving various forms of chocolate at their beleaguered colleague in an effort to lure her away from the director without a little chuckle?

But, on the whole, it wasn't all that funny. It was three weeks of work (that I shouldn't have been doing) which almost went down the drain due to a well-past-the-stage-of-helpful intervention.

So when I was out this afternoon purchasing the Friday bribes for the children, the weekly chocolate rations for my staff and a going-away gift for my departing teaching assistant, it really shouldn't have come as a surprise that I needed to indulge in a little of the stress relief. Some people drink, others play the ponies. There are those who get into fights or frequent houses of "ill-repute."

I buy underpants.

Now before you get all judgemental, I know that this is a sickness and I promise to get help at some point. But there was some logic applied to this whole thing. These are string bikinis and I didn't have any of those in my vast collection at the time of purchase. And it entertains me when the extra bits of Sheep at the hip roll over the strings, rendering them invisible. This makes it look like my underwear is being held up by magic. You have your hobbies, I have mine...

Besides, they were on sale. "Clearance", actually. A package of four for $2.97. That is a good deal and rounds out my pantie supply nicely. Since admitting to the new totals would be also be admitting to a few purchases that I haven't told you about, I shall keep the current tally to myself. I can say that I have surpassed the numbers reported before the summer of '06 pantie purge. Entire fields of cotton and whole Spandex forests have been felled in order that my addiction might be fed.

But, I stand by my theory that none of this is really my fault. If the director had simply read my emails in their entirety, I would be able to close my underwear drawer. Well...halfway at least. And I really think that the staff who intervened to save him instead of letting me just pummel him with copies of my emails bear part of the responsibility. They issue your underpants in prison so you don't have to buy them. I would have 7 pairs in my cell and that would be it. And, if I were allowed to have other, more interesting, vices at my age then this also could have been avoided.

Did I mention that they were on sale? And that I didn't kill anyone? And that I also bought things for the children?

::hangs head in shame, realizing that she is rationalizing and that everyone knows it::

SA

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Zoom, Zoom, Zoom!!!

Faster than a speeding bullet point, it is your Wednesday Night Stream Of Consciousness! Keep up if you can!


*Any work week that starts with a Sheep standing in her bathroom, flapping her arms in disgust and saying, "I'm just gonna shut off the water and deal with it later!!!" is probably not going to be a good one. That was a theory on Monday. It has been borne out. The toilet has been fixed, but the kids have been horrible and the teaching staff has been even more horribler. We all need a vacation. Badly.

*To say that I kicked butt and took names on the teacher observation that I turned in for my class last week would be an understatement. I did well. Very well. There was kicking and name-taking all over the darned place. Yes. I am that good. If you ever need someone to observe you just let me know. It will be a delight for you and all concerned.

*The Big, Fluffy Kitty has been having a bout of constipation. Which means that she gets her Maaaaaaagical Pooping Powder. (yes, you have to say it that way. I don't know why...you just do.) This has resulted in an "opposite reaction." Now I have to wash the kitchen floor. She seems happier and lighter on her feet, though so I guess it is the least a Mommy can do. However this doesn't mean I'm not going to make some faces and gag a tiny bit. That little fur ball can produce!!!

*I have lost the will to knit. I'm still plugging away on the sock, but all other projects have bitten the dust. Fortunately, there is still spinning so I'm fully immersed in the fibery goodness. But my hopes of producing a sweater and breaking The Great Blog Sweater Curse remain unfulfilled. And I just can't seem to work up any of the caring right now. Maybe something will strike my fancy in the near future. For now, though, there will be a dearth of FOs in the sidebar.

*It occurred to me this morning as I was attempting to secure the button on my trousers and wondering just how often I would really need to breathe today that I have a doctor's appointment next week. She hasn't weighed me in a while. While I was diligently taking off the Thanksgiving Pie Thighs and the Holiday Ham Hips no one wanted to see me on a scale. Now that I'm back to creative strategies for disguising the muffin top, you can bet that I'll be perched atop the scale in short order. I think I'll name this current expansion the Girl Scout Girth as a salute to their fine, fine cookies.

*I was feeling a bit guilty over not completing the second version of the survey last night. I'd said that I would do one for the teachers (which I did) and one for the administrators (which I totally blew off.) But, it seems that the rest of my group decided that they didn't want one anyway. Had I actually taken the time to complete this task, I might be blogging from the lovely facilities at the jail. There is every possibility that I would have just snapped. But this was successfully avoided thanks to the stellar communication of my work group. Stellar, that is, within their own circle. My not working at the high school has left me very much out of their loop. This was handily addressed by my professor tonight, though. Knowing absolutely nothing of the situation and without my having said a word, she commented that our project was coming along swimmingly but that it seemed that the expertise of people who don't work at the high school might be getting short shrift. She did it skillfully and kindly and we now all love her to the point of idolatry. I'll keep you posted on the new holiday observances and such. I am also writing her an anthem. She knits and has my back. Even when she doesn't know it.


And there you have it: my Wednesday in Review. The Sheep rejoices in the downward slide towards the weekend and the upcoming appointment with Amy The World's Greatest Stylist. With visions of manageable bangs and restored highlights dancing in my head, I bid you all a fond, "nighty-night!"

SA

*

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

There May Be Something To This....

I hate to admit it, but there may have been some validity to Hysterical Mind's frenzied curse-breaking last night. I'm not normally one for the mystical, magical world of wand-waving. I'm something of a pragmatist. Sort of...I've been known to rely on blind luck from time to time. But given that it has proven a reliable method of surviving the trials of life, it seems to me that I can call using luck as a tool of the trade somewhat pragmatic. I guess. If you really stretch the definition and all.

But, I have to admit that the burning of the foot-scented incense and application of the garlic to various items around the house seems to have had an effect. I learned today that the meeting for which I was going to have to prepare was cancelled for the second time. This allows me to spend this evening focusing on the development of the stupid survey that I agreed to do for my night-class work group. I volunteered to do that before HM started on the curse-bustin'. Had I waited just a bit, I probably could have avoided this. But I didn't know that I was cursed at the time so one can hardly blame me for stepping up to the plate and agreeing to do this. I was feeling a bit guilty for not being a remarkably "active" participant in our group project.

That or I nodded off for a minute there and have developed an odd habit of volunteering in my sleep. Whatever...

And so another night will pass without the click of the needles or the whirring of the wheel, I fear. I'm just about finished with the first draft of the teacher survey and then need to come up with something brilliant for the administrator version. I'm not really convinced that I've done what the group wanted since we seem to have a few "communication" issues, but at least I've got something on paper. They all work at the high school so they can have lunch together, whip out the red pens and edit me to their hearts' content. At least I'll have some direction at that point.

Meanwhile, we are a mere two and half weeks away from the spring break. A whole week with nothing to do but...well, whatever I want, really. I suppose I can suck it up until then. A little of the old elbow grease in the here and now will make the upcoming vacation time that much sweeter. Even Rational Mind is all giggly and silly at the thought of it!

That or she's been hitting the NyQuil again.

SA

Monday, March 26, 2007

Hysteria...with a side of rational.

One brain...two minds.

Rational Mind and Hysterical Mind are hard at work processing recent events as only they can. We come upon the two as Rational Mind stares, stunned momentarily beyond words, at the sight of Hysterical Mind, draped in and reeking of garlic and scampering from corner to corner. Perched atop HM's head is a precariously balanced headdress of brightly colored feathers, some of which are dropping off in response to her vigorous movements.

Hysterical Mind: (mumbling) gotta make it safe, gotta make it safe, gotta make it safe, gotta...

Rational Mind: (recovering from her momentary shock) What on earth are you doing?

HM: Cursed!!! We are cursed, I tellya!!! I'm taking measures to oppose the dark forces at work against us. Move over...that lamp needs a hit of the garlic. (carefully drapes garlic over lampshade then heads to the television to perform the same action)

RM: Since when are we cursed? And get that garlic offa me!!!

HM: Are you kidding me? How can you not see this? First, the truck gets the seizures and almost shakes the fillings right out of our head and today the toilet breaks!!!!! This is a pattern!!! There are signs afoot here! Clearly we have been targeted by bad mojo, cursed by powerful forces, or have tampered with some unnatural order. It is only a matter of time before a meteor falls on our head. We can rest easy tonight, though. I'm on the case. Could you just hand me those matches? Thanks.

RM: Anytime. Um...look. I think you may be making a bit much of this. Frankly, it really all seems like more of a coincidence. Let's face it...these things were all on the "to be dealt with" list. They were going to need some attention. Sure, it stinks that it happened all at once. But "cursed" seems to be overstating things somewhat.

HM: You, my friend, are naive. This is a curse. If anyone knows a curse, it's me. I live for this stuff. You just sit back and let ol' HM take care of things. What do you think of this incense? That'll take the wind out of old Mr. Curse's sails!

RM: It smells like feet.

HM: Cool, huh? I got it at the Dollar Store.

RM: Hard to believe. Again, I really think that you are making too much of a simple coincidence. The truck is fixed, although I admit that the cost was a bit staggering. And as far as the toilet goes, it was certainly inconvenient having to turn off the water at 6:00 in the morning. But, the sound of rushing water does make one have to well....you know. And without a working commode that can complicate matters. But we took care of it when we got home this afternoon. It's fixed. You are...wait a minute. Omigod!!! Is that lamb's blood over the door?????????

HM: Well...it was supposed to be. But I got the heebie-jeebies when I really thought about having to touch actual corpuscles so I kind of had to improvise.

RM: I really don't want to ask. And yet I find myself strangely compelled. What, pray tell, have you smeared over our door?

HM: Strawberry jam. I'm pretty sure that it's all about the "intent." I don't think that the dark forces are going to get all picky about the actual chemical make-up of our warding symbols. Speaking of which...check this out! (Spits enthusiastically on the floor whilst making complicated pointing gestures with her fingers) Cool, huh? Some lady at the Dollar Store told me about that one! She virtually guaranteed that it would ward off the evil!

RM: Oh, good. You are sharing your thoughts with others. How nice. I was worried that this was the kind of thing that we might just consider keeping to ourselves. How super that you're bringing the community into our little adventures.

HM: Glad you're seeing it my way. We need all the help we can get. Meanwhile, step aside so I can draw this complicated symbol in salt on the carpet. While you were checking out the plumbing supplies, I met this cool guy who said that he'd come over and show us a neat dance we could do around it that is sure to protect us from incoming meteors. He even said he'd bring his own chicken, although I have no earthly idea why we need a chicken around here. That seems rather silly. But he seemed pretty insistent. Hey, where are you going?

RM: Kitchen. Time for a NyQuil cocktail. Or two.

HM: Hey, make it three if you want. I'm on the curse thing and the toilet is working so we're all set.

As you can see, things are a bit hectic around here right now. In between managing an oddly efficient curse-breaking HM, I now need to wrangle RM, who is happily sipping cold medication and telling anyone who will listen that she no longer cares what anyone does around here. I also need to come up with the survey that I foolishly volunteered to invent for my class on Wednesday then write up a test report for a meeting that may or may not be happening on the same day. And, apparently, I am soon to be visited by a dancing man with a chicken.

Someday, I may knit again...

SA




Sunday, March 25, 2007

Poor Housekeeping

Well, my day of sulking from the depths of the couch cushions over the multitude of things that happened last week and reaching the inevitable conclusion that there are just some things over which one has no control was quite therapeutic. I can't say as I was the most pleasant (or hygienic) of Sheep, but I grumped my way through the doldrums and found the path back to happy after a while.

It didn't do much for my housekeeping, though, or my ability to finish any of the projects that are inching their way most painfully to completion. Frankly, my inclination right now is to putter around, think great thoughts, plan lofty stuff...and then promptly forget about them when an interesting commercial comes on. Or a tasty snack diverts me from my goal. Or napping seems more interesting.

I figured my best bet for having something noteworthy to share for my end-of-the-weekend-post was spinning. I was close to the finish line on the first four ounces of the Spunky Eclectic fiber. An hour behind the wheel and I could maybe give the impression of great productivity.

But there was a bunch of fluffy stuff in my spinning chair...






The dust kitties are just out of control around here!
This development required the doing of laundry. There is nothing like a pile of freshly dried clothes to lure a Big, Fluffy Kitty from the spot where I want to be. Particularly if it happens to be in hues that directly contrast with her fur coloring. It took some doing, but I was able to get a few of my nicest sweaters and such neatly folded and stacked on the bed as if awaiting putting-awaying. Within moments, the BFK was stretching, yawning and stumbling off to the bedroom to rearrange the newly freshened nesting material to her liking and leaving me with a distinctly warmer chair from which to spin.
There are, in fact, ways to get me to do a little of the housework. It just takes a tad longer.
With a bit of the laundry done, the Big, Fluffy Kitty happily ensconced in a pile of clean clothing and a freshly brewed mochachino at my side, I commenced the whirling of the wool. An hour later, a full bobbin was ready for it's internet debut.

Take that, Lethargy!!!!!
With the exception of a few rounds on the sock, a trip to the grocery store and a little of the long-distance chit chat with Mommy and Daddy Sheep, that is pretty much all I managed to get done today. And if you factor in the time it is going to take me to rewash the clothes that are currently sitting under a big pile of drooling cat, it isn't that much.
But spring is springing all over the place and the much anticipated end of March brings with it the promise of the next school vacation. I have a week off in April and hope that this might be a good time to catch up on all those things that I have been letting languish: socks, sweaters, spinning, finding the kitchen floor....stuff like that.
I suppose that I really should be resting up for that. Yeah...that's what I'll call this latest bout of the Lazies. Resting Up For School Vacation.
That could work.
SA

Saturday, March 24, 2007

When Sheep Sulk

A Quick Note To Mommy And Daddy Sheep:

I know you're busy and all and I hate to take time out of your days relaxing in the sunny south for the winter, but you may be getting a call from the school principal some time in the near future. I also suspect that the school custodian may be attempting to track you down right about now. They are both gentlemen of the "Old School" and true respecters of women. They are also the types to worry a bit about a gal on her own in the world despite her having survived to middle age with few scars to show for it.

Neither was particularly impressed with my ability to maintain my vehicle in a working manner this week or my judgement with regard to how far I could actually drive it with a blinking engine light. There was a great deal of head-shaking, finger pointing and voices that came close to being raised. When all was said and done and repairs were complete, there was a somewhat deserved bludgeoning with the "I Told You So's."

I got the distinct impression that they are of the belief that I need to be more closely monitored. I am fearful that they may attempt to get you to revoke my status as a functioning adult. As I do not want to move into the basement or my childhood bedroom any more than you want me to be there demanding PopTarts and laundry services, it may be to both our benefits if you just pretend to not be home when they call.

They are somewhat determined, however, so you may need to change the number a few times or outright lie and tell them that I am grounded. I trust you to come up with some sort of a solution, here. I swear to you on a stack of Girl Scout Cookies that the truck is fixed and that you can lie to them in all good conscience. The tires are at full pressure, all fluids are topped off and anything that should be rotating or pistoning is performing said actions. That which should be secure is held fast. The rear wiper still doesn't work, but that isn't really necessary for forward momentum so I think we can call this a working vehicle. I even promise to get that tire replaced during the April School Vacation. It's all good.

Thanks for your assistance in this matter and I'll chat with you sometime over the weekend!

Love, Your (literally) Sheepish And Fully Mobile Daughter



It has been a long week. There was the ongoing issue with the truck, parent/teacher conferences, interviews for new staff for my classroom, finishing the Maine Educational Assessments, the writing of papers, attending of class and the delayed start to school on Thursday that I somehow missed because the weather was really quite lovely that day and I didn't realize that the roads were so horrid in other areas.

And then there was the $578.03 that I forked over bright and early Friday morning to the Dreamy Mechanic. The fact that I someday hope to call him my first husband did not take the sting out of that bill. And this isn't going to be a marriage of long-standing, anyway. I give it a year. But the first six months should be good ones and I'm betting that I can get a discount at the garage.

I am pouting right now. I don't want to deal with the public on any real level. I want to decompress from the whole week that was. I need a full weekend of recovery from it all and that includes some serious sulking from the depths of the crater I've created to the exact shape of my Sheepie tushie in the couch cushion. And, when all is said and done, there is really no reason why I can't do that.

And so this has been the sum total of my activity for the day:





You'll have to imagine the nap. It is hard to take a picture of yourself taking a nap. 'Cuz....well...you're napping.
This is really a very therapeutic thing for a Sheep who has had the week from heck. It allows for the sulking. It also allows for the coming around to the fact that she knows many people who have had worse times of late and that she should probably be grateful that her problems could be solved with a good book, a good spin, good cookies and a generous line of credit. Tomorrow I may even be able to face the grocery store.
Maybe...
SA

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Conversations I Had Today:

With my truck at 6:15 a.m.

Sheepish Annie: You are stupid and lazy!!! And you are also a gi-normous baby!!! I hate you!!!! Just run like you are supposed to!!! What is your problem? If I have to go to work, then you have to go to work!!! Have I mentioned how much I hate, hate, hate you??!!!!!

Truck: cough...hack...shudder... (translation: I am passive aggressive and will continue with my behavior until my needs are met. You will not win this battle, o sheepish one.)



With myself at 7:15 a.m.

SA: Hmmm...this parking lot sure is empty. I guess everyone is tired from all those parent/teacher conferences and is coming in late. Tee-hee! I'll be first in line at the photocopier!!!



With the school custodian at 7:17 a.m.

School Custodian: I have a surprise for you!!!

SA: Oh, goodie! You were able to find some blinds for the windows in my classroom and now my staff and I will no longer risk seared retinas each day at eleven o'clock!

SC: Nope. The roads are really bad further inland and there is a two hour delay today. You came in for nothing!

SA: .....???? ....!!!!! (insert bad words here)



With the school principal at 9:30 a.m.

Principal: It was announced on the radio and the television. It's a handy way to stay updated on these things.

SA: But I leave at, like, the dawn's early light!!! I don't have time to stop and check the school delays on bright, sunny days!

P: I leave at 6:00.

SA: But, I'm a girl!!!! I take longer in the morning!!! What do you think...this all just happens????

The next twenty minutes of this conversation consisted of the principal chastising The Sheep for driving while her engine light is on and questioning her sanity. He advised her in no uncertain terms to secure the next available appointment for repairs. He did not comment on the length of time it takes a girl to get ready in the morning.



On the phone with the dreamy mechanic from the car-fixy place at 11:00 a.m.

SA: ...and then I gave it dry gas and yelled at it. I've done everything I know how to do here.

Dreamy Mechanic: (laughs uproariously)

SA: You can shoot it if you want.

DM: (still laughing)



On the ride to the garage at 1:30 p.m.

SA: OK, you big baby. You are getting your way. We are going to the garage where you will probably cost me a ga-billion dollars. I hope you are happy, you stupid vehicle.

Truck: cough...hack...wheeze...shudder... (translation: I am a fragile flower who demands that my needs be met.)



At the garage at 2:00 p.m. after the dreamy mechanic has somehow managed to jam the printer, disassemble it, reassemble it and finally require the assistance of another, less dreamy, mechanic to figure out how to turn it back on

SA: Um...you are better at fixing cars, right?

DM: (grinning) No. Why do you ask?

SA: (giggles girlishly...and is promptly ashamed of herself)



In the waiting room at the garage whilst staring at the dreamy mechanic with the soulful eyes and the gentle voice who makes a Sheep wish she'd worn a nicer sweater...and that she was twenty years younger

DM: It's been running a little rough for you, huh?

SA: (with trembling lip and in a little girl voice that she cannot seem to bring back up to the adult range) Uh-huh.

DM: Well, blah, blah, blah, blah, cylinders misfiring, blah, blah, spark plugs, blah, labor, blah, blah, gaskets, blah, blah, blah, blah, coil packs, blah, blah, $500.00, blah, blah....

SA: (who has been lost in the soulful eyes of the dreamy mechanic and the gentle tones of his soothing voice and wondering why he didn't go into medicine, so sweet is his bedside manner) Mmm-hmmm...I see....yes....wait? What??? Could you repeat that number you just said?



While I was walking home alone from the garage at 2:30 p.m.

SA: Well, it wasn't a total loss. At least I had my knitting in my bag from last night's class...



To recap: I went to school in my broken truck two hours earlier than I needed to, left early to get the truck fixed at the insistence of my principal, almost compromised the virtue of a hapless, young mechanic, had to leave the truck at the garage to be fixed and am currently stranded at home with little hope for making it to school on time tomorrow unless I start walking now. But I had my sock with me so it was OK.

And all that fun is only going to cost me $500.00 or so dollars...

SA

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Mind Wandering Wednesday.

I have class on Wednesday...I get home late on Wednesday...My mind doesn't work on Wednesday...You only get bullet points on Wednesday...blah, blah, blah. We all know the drill by now, right? May 9th and the end of this graduate course are fast approaching, but not nearly fast enough for me and my desire to get my Wednesdays back. But it is what it is. So here's your mid-week update in all its meandering lack of cohesion:

*To the dude who was tailgating me on the way home: gosh, it was certainly interesting to have you as a passenger in my truck tonight. As a single gal who is something of a loner, it was a new experience to share my ride with someone for a change. Who knew you could fit your whole car in my backseat? And that maneuver you were doing? The one where you had to hastily jerk your little vehicle onto the shoulder in order to avoid ramming me each time I tapped the brake? Very well executed! I had hoped, however, that your time in the ditch might afford you a view of the traffic in front of me and helped you to understand that I was unable to go any faster than they were, but I guess your attention was devoted to counting the hair follicles on the back of my head at that point. I'm glad you have a hobby. I'm sure that it will come in handy after your horrific car crash when you are in traction for all those months.

*I have noticed that I always seem to have a "flat hair day" just in time for parent/teacher conferences. I don't know if this is coincidence or a clearly connected event. I'm applying for a grant to study the phenomenon. I think this information could be of great use to teachers everywhere as they struggle through a ten hour day.

*The Anti-Knitter in whose class I sit for two or three hours per day in order that I might monitor the behavior of a student, is expecting his second baby in June. I am wondering if it would offend him if I knit a baby sweater. He Who Made The Snide Comments About Knitting Circles in our Wednesday night class is not deserving of my handknit goodness, but I don't see any reason to punish the child. Besides, I think that the giving of the knitwear might counteract his effect on the wee one. I'm still thinking it through...I've got a couple of months to ponder. If nothing else, it will amuse me to think of her wearing a knitted sweater.

*To the commenter who asked if I have more than one wheel or if I am switching between the standard flyer and the WooLee Winder, you got it on the second guess. I have but one bobbin for the WW so I only use it for plying at this point. My love for this handy gadget is inspiring me to save my pennies and buy a billion or so more bobbins for it. 'Tis truly a miracle machine!

*Driving home in full sunlight tonight was weird!!! The effect was made almost surreal by the presence of the snowbanks which have no business coexisting with the summery sunshine at six o'clock in the p.m.

*It is difficult to ponder the wonder of snowbanks in sunlight when one's truck is continuing to have intermittent seizures. Things are slowly improving, but I still have to yell at it every ten miles or so just to make sure it behaves. I'm pretty sure that this is helpful. I feel better, if nothing else.

*I seem to have had some sort of a blackout during class tonight and volunteered to develop a survey of some sort for my group project. This is not like me. I am not one to volunteer for extra work. But when I came to, I was being congratulated for my willingness to step up to the plate and give of my time for the good of all. I may have had some sort of Good Samaritan Seizure, though it is more likely that I dozed off during yet another endless discussion that fails to result in any real progress. But I can't exactly go back on the commitment now...I will be busier this weekend than I had planned.


Those are the highlights, folks. You got your typical Wednesday night Sheep with the buzzing brain and the half-mast eyes who is questioning how she managed to get through another marathon day and looking forward to the weekend. Even a weekend that means the crafting of another paper...

And that is saying something!

SA

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

I Dug Deep.

I delved into all my years of experience as a professional educator. My ever-helpful staff sacrificed and offered themselves up as observational subjects. I broke out my best shovel in order that I might toss the heaps of detritus that were whirling around in my brain a bit higher and a tad further. With the fortification that only a low-cal frozen pizza, a box of Wheat Thins and a tub of homemade hummus can provide, I sat myself before the keyboard and tried to make it sing. The recently plied skeins of handspun sat by my side in a show of loyalty that is unprecedented in the realm of inanimate objects. It offered its inspiration and comfort.

The Big, Fluffy Kitty and her Smaller, Less Fluffy Counterpart totally blew me off. They do not find paper writing to be all that entertaining. They just wanted to be fed on schedule. I understand. I didn't particularly want to be around me either. I was not "pleasant." I said bad words and I sprayed cracker crumbs whilst doing it.

But, in a final burst of creativity and unwillingness to be brought down by my own procrastination, I made it all happen. It is done. I have crafted a paper on the subject of formal teacher observations that is remarkable if only for its having been wrought from least amount of actual observation possible. But it is done.





And the yarn is pleased.
Now I must rest. And rethink the wisdom of eating half a box of Wheat Thins with hummus at this late hour. A finished paper is all well and good...but perhaps not worth the effort it will take to button my pants tomorrow.
SA

Monday, March 19, 2007

There Is No Blogging Quite So Sweet...

as that which is ill-advised. "Forbidden Blogging," I like to say. In light of the fact that I really should be using this time before the keyboard to fling about a little of the poo and craft myself something vaguely resembling a paper for Wednesday night's class, I shall be brief. I probably shouldn't be here at all.

But who am I to resist the sweet call of the on-line chit chat? Besides, I didn't actually do the teacher observation upon which I am supposed to be basing this paper so I'm sort of screwed anyway. But I really should try to get something on paper. Winking at the professor, pointing to my noggin and muttering sagely, "It's all up here, baby" is not likely to impress her. I think she is looking for something a bit more concrete...

So, in light of the time constraints and the need for me to put my brain power towards inventing an observation that will pass for something that happened in the real world, I give you:

A List Of Things I Have:

*A truck that is not working particularly well. It did not like the last bout of weather and is determined to make me understand this. I may have pushed it too far with my "tough love" approach to vehicle maintenance. I think this one is going to cost me more than the value of a bottle of dry gas.

*The ghostly impression of a pair of fellows known as Bob and Larry on the back of my left hand in fluorescent pink marker. I did not want Bob and Larry on my left hand. Nor on my right. Nor anywhere else on my person. But the sixth grade girl who drew them there was nothing if not persistent in her arguments on why I should be open to the idea. I had work to do. It was submit to the artwork or listen to another ten minutes of her wheedling. Now it won't come off.

*The deep and disturbing impression that the principal (who is scarily eagle-eyed) caught me accepting a piece of gum from the same artistic student. Gum is bad. Gum is forbidden. I am not supposed to chew the gum. I am supposed to confiscate it and punish the little smuggler to the fullest extent of the school code of conduct. But I like gum. And I'm a grown-up. I'm pretty sure I can be responsible with it. Well...the last time she gave me gum I put it in my pocket, forgot about it and washed it with my jacket. But I don't see how this affects the principal.

*A list of upcoming meetings as long as my arm. None of which I am really prepared for. Maybe the truck will follow through on its threats and just die on me. That might buy me some time...

*But all of the above mean nothing. Nothing at all. For I, Spinning Sheep Extraordinaire, have this:






And all is right with the world.
I shall keep it by my side tonight for periodic petting and inspiration as I use all my Sheepie wiles to somehow make an observation that never happened a reality. It will stand as silent testimony to that which is possible from my brain and my hands. It will inspire me with its beauty and its very existence. It will speak to that deep, dark part of me that knows I am capable of greatness...
See? Sheep shovel wicked good!
SA

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Good Intentions

Your Faithful Sheep was up with the dawn's early light today with all good intentions. I planned to get the grocery shopping done early in accordance with my new Sunday Mornings Are Good Days To Be At The Grocery Store If You Want To Avoid Contact With The General Public And Decrease The Opportunities For Stupid Grocery Store Mishaps plan. With that task out of the way, I viewed the day ahead as full of possibilities for projects and general satisfaction with myself for a job well-done.

I was a teeny bit off-schedule given that the condo had a distinct chill and getting out of bed was harder than I'd planned. The Big, Fluffy Kitty was also something of a bad influence in this endeavor as she was throwing off some really decent body heat that was enough to keep me under the covers for a bit longer. But, all in all, I wasn't doing too badly.

Until I got outside.

The temperatures remained below the freezing mark and Mother Nature had thoughtfully encased my truck in a protective layer of ice that was impervious to my scraper. Twenty minutes of chipping away put a significant dent in my positive outlook on the day. With the help of the defroster and the trucks reluctant agreement to continue running despite its not exactly loving the whole protective ice coating thing, I was able to clear enough of the viewing surfaces to safely drive on public roadways. My arrival at the grocery store brought with it the realization that we just had a storm. Everyone, along with their extended families, friends and what appeared to be random strangers that they picked up along the way, was at the store to restock.

I realize that it is egocentric and probably indicative of my need for intensive therapy to believe that each and every store patron was out to get me this morning. But one can't help but suspect a plot after having to maneuver around the fifth cart in as many aisles that has been carefully left dead-center and next to a protruding display of whatever is being featured in that particular part of the store. While this allows the cart driver to comparison shop at their leisure, it also manages to successfully block 90% of a Sheep's path. In these situations, I like to employ the Great, Gusty Sigh technique. It requires a deep breath, a look of resigned determination and excessive wrenching of the cart as you work around the offending blockage. It decreases the chances of confrontation and generally guilts the blocker into moving their cart.

I almost hyperventilated today. I can't sigh like I did when I was a young whippersnapper. I need more recovery time. I was dizzy before I even reached frozen foods. And, frankly, the technique wasn't working as well as it usually does.

The rest of the day was spent haphazardly moving from project to project with little to show for the effort, I'm afraid. I managed to vacuum the carpets and make up some hummus for weekday snacks. I even ironed an outfit for tomorrow's return to the workforce. But the knitting just didn't seem to appeal. I have a couple of things going on, but neither was really calling to me. Finally, in the hope of having something to show for this day, I parked myself at the wheel and played with some of the Spunky fibers. That seemed to go a bit better.






I traveled from the Mountains...

...to lovely Winnipeg.


The Rocky Mountain High is plied and drying. It should be ready for viewing tomorrow. Winnipeg is coming along nicely but may take a bit longer as I've got a busy couple of weeks ahead of me. Both are merino/silk blends and have worked up beautifully. I had zero dye in the water after setting the twist and the finished yarn has an amazing feel to it. I think that the fabric it creates will drape nicely. These were my first two purchases at SPA last month and worth every penny!
I'm glad that I was able to make a little progress in the happier pursuits of my life this weekend as the week ahead is looking less than accommodating. It may also be the cause for some spotty blogging. I have a rather large project due for my class on Wednesday...two actually. I've started neither. I also have my first round of parent/teacher conferences. Coincidentally, this will also be happening on Wednesday. And my project group has decided that we need to be meeting earlier than the designated class start time as we are having some difficulties managing our time. It's looking more and more like I will be a busy Sheepie for the next couple of weeks.
So, if you don't hear from me for a day or two, fear not! I have not had an "episode" at the local market and made the acquaintance of the friendly neighborhood constabulary. Nor have I been buried in a snowdrift. I am simply having a quiet episode in the privacy of my own home after having discovered that I am buried in paperwork...
and by my own procrastination.
SA



Saturday, March 17, 2007

Copy "Cat"...Or Would That Be "Sheep?"

I'm really one of those fiercely independent-type Sheep. I go my own way. I care not what the world thinks of me and my likes or dislikes. I'm a trend-setter in my own right. A rebel, really.

Except when I'm not...

Truth be told, I'm easily influenced and it takes very little for me to turn into the world's biggest "wannabe." So when, a while back, The Stoned Knitter posted about getting herself a fancy, schmancy new cappuccino maker it fired up the hero-worshipper in me. It doesn't take much really. There is very little that she does that isn't uber-cool. She knits a muff. I break my steadfast rule about knit-alongs and sign up immediately to craft myself up a muff. It probably shouldn't have come as a shock to me that I became obsessed with the idea of having a cappuccino maker of my own. I resisted for a very long time. It was hard to justify the purchase back when I was living without a paycheck then trying to make up for living without a paycheck and finally adjusting to having something in the checking account after the bill paying was done.

But on Thursday afternoon, I found I could resist no longer. The call of the caffeinated beverage was too strong to resist. And the fact that we were facing yet another winter storm over the weekend made the decision an easy one. I stopped off on the way home to pick up some supplies for school and a new kitchen appliance fairly leaped into my cart. Not much I could do about it at that point.

And Mia is right. There is really nothing better than a freshly made cuppa your very own latte. If I had any doubts about this initially, they were dispelled at 7:30 this morning as I arose and prepared to face the task of digging out the truck from last nights dumping of the white stuff.






Like the jingle says: The Best Part Of Waking Up...
The best cup of coffee I've had in a very long time came today from my very own kitchen. Who would have thought? And Mia has thoughtfully given me her own recipe for cappuccino with more of the sweetness so I'm good to go for the foreseeable future. You should have seen me clearing the snow away from that truck! I was super-charged!!
We will ignore the fact that my middle years have rendered my digestive system somewhat intolerant of the lactose. I don't care. It is worth it.
Once the truck was freed from its icy prison and the plows had cleared away the remaining snow from our parking areas, I was left with some decisions regarding how to spend the rest of my day. Travel was inadvisable given that the sleet portion of the festivities had begun and the roads were on the slick side. The very nature of a snowy day does sort of lend itself to the low-tech types of activities. I broke out the spindle and continued work on the yarn that I hope will become a feather and fan scarf someday. The wheel also got a bit of a workout and I even picked up the needles once or twice.
Of course, one can't simply live like the pioneers all day in this modern world. You have to make cappuccino and visit the Etsy shops just to remind yourself that it is the new millennium and all. Much like the coffee-maker, it seems that Internet purchases will tend to jump into the virtual cart with incredible speed. Wooly Wonka is a dangerous site, indeed. But in a good way. What if I run out of fiber before I have enough for my scarf? The responsible thing was to purchase a bit more of the soft stuff just in case. I'm nothing if not a forward-thinking Sheep. There will be no shortage of this particular blend on my watch!
Like I was saying...I'm easily influenced.
SA

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Say My Name!!!

I need a hobby. Wait...I have a hobby. I have several. That's too bad. Because now I have no real excuse for my inability to keep my mind occupied in a manner that is even loosely associated with "normal."

At the beginning of the week, I stopped in at my local convenience store where I make my daily food/fuel/soda/whatever purchases. The clerk who has, for years, addressed me by a series of rather charming endearments along the lines of "hon," "sweetie," and "dear," decided that we are to now be on a first name basis. I was asked for my name, given hers and our relationship was forever changed. I mourned the loss of my morning dose of the maternal mushiness. And spent days in uncomfortable self-examination over how I became so darned needy.

I haven't seen her since that day. My routine has not accommodated it. Today, though, I needed to make the stop. It was to be Chapter One in the story of our new and improved retail relationship.

I'll admit that I was a bit nervous. I sat in the truck for just a minute wondering if I looked all right and cursing myself for choosing today to cut my own bangs. (a mistake, in case you were wondering, but I missed my last appointment with Amy The World's Greatest Stylist and don't have another until the end of the month) This was not the time to be messing around with my look! Me 'n the store clerk are now cruising along in BFF status, for crying out loud!!! What was I thinking??? I breathed deeply and told myself to just "be cool." No one likes a clingy customer. Behave yourself in a manner befitting a patron who is now elevated to first name status, for heaven's sake!

After my little pep talk, I strode confidently into the market and headed to the counter to make my purchases. I smiled the smile of one who has made it into the inner circle and nodded benevolently at the other poor unfortunates who must continue to live in anonymity.

She greeted me. I got one "hon" and one "sweetie." I waited. That was it.

What happened??? I thought we had moved our relationship to the next level. I thought we had something special! How did we go from having a "moment" to this? Was I about to be plunged into one of those "it's not you it's me; things are just going too fast; maybe you should see other convenience store clerks for a while" kind of conversations?

Then I thought that she might be waiting for me to make the next move. Maybe she expected, after having taken that first step, that it was up to me to close the deal. All I needed to do was use her name...just say, "Hey, D**! How's it going, there?" Or, "What's the haps, D**?" Maybe throw her a little of the, "Gosh, D**, it's a super-riffic kind of day!" Any of those would have worked. I know they don't look so good in print, but I'm pretty sure I could have made them sound less hysterical had I uttered them whilst striking a casual pose of some sort. And I came really close...

But, in the end, I fled. Yes, I did say my thank you's for the service rendered and all, but there was no exchanging of name-tagged pleasantries. We are right back where we started. Which, if you recall, was sort of where I wanted to be in the first place. And yet I feel this nagging sense of having been dumped...

Clearly I am not ready for an exclusive and long term relationship with my convenience store clerk. I need to keep it casual. If the confusion over how to address the purveyor of my Mountain Dew and gasoline is cause for a day of wondering whether I am still desirable as a First Name Buddy, then I probably should keep playing the field for a bit. You know, go to a few other stores, try some different coffee...maybe peruse a few of the name tags and see if any of them strike a chord.

Suddenly, I'm very tired. And very much aware of my tendency to make drama where none ever existed in any way, shape or form.

I'll just be here eating Girl Scout cookies and wondering where it all went so wrong. I hear that's what one does after a break-up...

SA

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Gotta Give The People What They Want...

Well, the University is on vacation this week so I don't have my much-unloved class. And the Pupil Evaluation Team meeting that I was supposed to have tomorrow, complete with testing results that I have yet to compile, was cancelled so I've put that little task off until the last possible second. I could do my assignment for next week's class since it's a big one and I'm going to need all the time I can russle up if I'm going to fake the teacher observation that I have to write up as if I really did it. But who am I to mess with my brilliant system of task avoidance at this late stage of life?

No, I've got all the free time in the world tonight. I could do a coherent post, were I so inclined. But I'm not. I'm pooped. And Cathy wants her Wednesday Bullet Points Post fix. I'm nothing if not accommodating! Any day I don't have to think for a period of time is a good one for me. So here you go, Cathy! My brain at its most random-y goodness:

*The all-points-bulletin for my missing Girl Scout cookies has been lifted. The other two boxes arrived today and the Thin Mints are chilling in the freezer as I type. I no longer have to drive from store to store looking for the card table from which the Scouts are selling the surplus cookies. (yes, I've been doing it since I first realized that there were no Thin Mints in my house...those little girls are quite clever at hiding from me) I am really rather happy now that I did not lash out at the poor Girl Scout who gave me that first box for not fulfilling my order and my dreams. I wasn't crazy...I did, in fact, order three boxes just as I'd thought. I simply ordered them from different Girl Scouts. Teachers do that sometimes...we don't want to scar any of the little darlings for life by our refusal to buy from them. But I forgot. I blame the fact that the cookies are only available for such a short time. I got all hopped up on the adrenaline. A hearty thanks to one and all who offered to help out a poor Sheep in her time of need. (Beth, you rock...seriously!!!!!)

*I stopped off at the convenience store down the street on the way home for my one liter bottle of Mountain Dew. They're the only ones in my neck of the woods that sell that size and I like to treat my Sheepie self every now and again. The woman behind the counter was not the one from the other morning. And she called me, "hon." I almost told her that this was not necessary as I have a posse of blog folk who are more than willing to step up to the plate and throw me a little of the "Luvvie-wuvvie-lumpkins" treatment when I'm feeling needy. Then I remembered that not everyone lives inside my head and that this might not make sense. It might, in fact, be cause for some alarm. Or pressing of silent alarm buttons. I took my soda and my "hon" and went on my way.

*The sweater that I may or may not be knitting and about which I will not blog for that will curse it and I don't think I will survive the demise of another sweater almost has a finished back. I'm concerned about starting the front because I can't remember if I changed needle sizes after the ribbing like I was supposed to. I have a bad feeling about this...

*I'm pretty sure that my downstairs neighbors are concerned right now. You would be too if you heard the high-pitched squeal of your usually quiet neighbor as she cried out, "Oh my goodness, there's a baby in the closet!!!" They probably don't know that I have cats and that one of them got in the closet for a nap. They probably think I keep babies in with the linens. I'm assuming that there will be a visit from some social services people in the near future.

*That's probably a good thing since my inability to provide myself with the most basic of need-meeting continues. After literally years of taking my breakfast with me to eat in the car on the ride to work without incident, I forgot it today. I took it out of the refrigerator. I neatly wrapped it in foil. And I left it on the counter. To make matters worse, it was one of the eight million cheese danish that I bought during some sort of pastry sale induced blackout the other day. I'm probably never going to eat all these things. They are getting harder and staler by the minute.

*There have been no applicants for the position of Keeper of The Sheep. No one wants to be responsible for me and seeing that I am fed at least once a day or that I pay my taxes. I'm disappointed, but not really surprised.


That's it for tonight. I am looking forward to my night of class-free goodness (I'm very classy...I just don't have my class tonight) and some mid-week TV viewing. A pleasant evening to all and to all a good knit!

SA

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Volunteers?

I seriously don't know how I function in this world. I don't know why anyone dares to leave me to my own devices at all. Why there haven't been a phalanx of support staff, caregivers and social services people knocking on my door at all hours is beyond me.

I know by now that I function best within a certain routine. I don't do well with change. I get all flustered and excited. I do stupid things. I don't suddenly find myself married or with vast piles of unexplained cash lying about or anything. I've never had to go before a judge to explain my actions. But it is always a possibility, I suppose.

I need a keeper. I should take out an advertisement in the local paper or wear a sign around my neck. Feel free to send your resumes to: Confused Sheep c/o General Delivery.

Last week, in a well-intentioned attempt to save myself a little time, I went to a different store to do the weekly marketing. It seemed like a good idea at the time. It was a nice big super-dooper store that sells groceries, underpants and auto parts all under one roof. It was brilliant really. But, I think I got a little overwhelmed by all the possibilities. I knew that I needed the weekly groceries (which is really fairly simple since I eat the same thing every day) and a zipper for the bag I had just cast off the needles. Not too challenging. But I somehow found myself completely awestruck by the large display marked, "We Overbaked!!" that held many, many baked goods at ridiculously reduced prices. Why I felt I needed two dozen cheese danish I will never know. I actually could use the dinner rolls...but not nearly the amount that I purchased.

So entranced was I by the thought of freshly baked yummies gracing my cupboards that I completely neglected to purchase the healthier items that comprise my daily lunches. With the recent tightening of the waistband on my jeans, it is really somewhat important that I stick to my daily Fruit-Only routine during the day. Every once in a while, I live it up and have one of those 90 calorie snack bars, but I'm fairly committed to the fruit. Except when I forget to buy it.

It's not like I didn't end up going to my regular store later to get all the other things that I couldn't find in the super-dooper store. I could have easily redeemed myself at that point. But I didn't. I did, however, find a cool new shade of eyeshadow...it is kind of the color of fruit.

And so it was that The Sheep stood in her kitchen this morning with limited choices for her lunchtime fare. The final outcome involved the packing of a withered orange from last week and the last three low-cal cereal bars, the vintage of which is unclear given my track record for cleaning out the larder. It was a tough choice: death by food poisoning or starvation. Hysterical Mind had a field day with this one, I tellya... Hunger won out and I did eat my stale food, but I was nervous and had to fight the urge to have the school nurse check my pulse and temperature on an hourly basis.

I stopped at the store on the way home today and grabbed some bananas and apples to see me through the week. I suppose I can award myself some points for getting it right eventually. But there is going to come a day when I will be unable to care for myself at even this most pathetic of levels. It is simple biology, really. The mind starts to falter after a certain number of birthdays. If I'm living like this now, I shudder to think what is going to be happening during my golden years.

I'm not completely useless at this point, though. I'm doing remarkably well with those activities that have nothing to do with actual survival. I finished the first bobbin of the Merino/Silk blend from Spunky Eclectic and am into the second. I've been spinning a bit thicker these days for reasons I can't explain. But, I'm pleased with the results and think that this is going to make for a stunning worsted weight yarn.






Rocky Mountain High...a colorway I am coming to love!
Assuming that I can remember to actually feed and water myself, I may even have the strength to finish up another bobbin this week. Who knows? I might even manage to get it plied! And if all else fails, I still have all those cheese danish that need to be consumed by the sole occupant of this household before they go stale. That could keep me alive long enough to get this done before my arteries clog up with the cheese and trans fats.
Really...send those resumes, Professional Caregivers. Someone needs to be checking in here.
SA

Monday, March 12, 2007

Revealing

Stumbling out of the house this morning in the darkness brought about by the advent of Daylight Savings Time and the fact that it is really an hour earlier than I am supposed to be up and functioning, I had me a little epiphany. Early morning epiphanies don't always work out. It's early and I don't always catch them. But, they come when they come so a Sheep has to adjust.

This morning I learned that I may not be as crusty and hard-boiled as I thought. I might actually be a little on the mushy side.

The clerk who sells me my coffee, gasoline and breakfast-on-the-fly practically every morning at the little convenience store down the street has decided that it is time for a change in our relationship. She would like us to be on a first-name basis. It only makes sense really...I see her as much as I see anybody else in my life and she is far nicer to me than most people are at 6:30 in the morning. But, for years now, she has called me "dear," "hon" or "sweetie." There was one time where she went to a rather scary place and called me "honey bunny." I'm not normally one for the overuse of endearments, particularly those that come from the people behind the counter.

But she is really quite good at it. She has the knack. She can pull it off. And I sort of like it when she makes with the gushy talk. Sure, she probably does it to everyone. It's not like I'm really her honey bunny or anything. But it was a nice touch so bright and early in the morning. Made a Sheep feel special. Today, though, she asked for my name and introduced herself. Now we are on a first name basis and I will not hear my morning mushiness.

I feel sort of odd knowing that this bothers me...

While you are sitting there digesting this disturbing piece of information and trying to decide whether or not to think less of me for my "endearment neediness," I'll give you a little something to look at. I mentioned yesterday that I was doing a test knit and was waiting for the pattern-mistress to give the go-ahead for posting the picture. She did, I did and here it be:




The Arched Bag With Zipper!
That's right...a zipper! I hand-sewed a zipper all by myself without any help from anybody and only one pin-related injury! This pattern came to me from Annie who is starting up her very own on-line store. I was thrilled to be able to test the pattern and am pleased to report that it is flawless. I took my time with this, knitting here and there whenever I had a minute and still finished it in a week. Real knitters could pull this off, complete with felting, in a weekend. I used Patons Classic Wool in merino and very little of it at that. It was really a pleasure to knit up and I'm just thrilled that Annie let me try this out. I don't just throw around the word, "clever" all willy nilly. But this pattern is just that: clever. Any time you can make your knitting bend, it's going to be a fun day.
That might even be better than being called "honey bunny" by convenience store clerks at 6:30 in the morning. In fact, I'm pretty sure that it is.
SA

Sunday, March 11, 2007

I'm A Producing Sheep

Despite the utter emotional and temporal chaos in which I am living due to the phenomenon we here in our little corner of the world like to call Daylight Savings Time, I have managed to put this day into some sort of perspective and get something done. I generally do OK when we set the clocks back in the fall. But this whole "spring ahead" an hour thing does me in every time. It's a mere sixty minutes, but I feel like I lose a whole day such is my confusion over where I am in those twenty four hours.

Near as I can tell, I just got out of bed an hour ago. Never mind that the clock is telling me that we are nigh on dinner time. Or that I seem to recall having lunch today. And I'm watching Pokemon on TV and that is on at five o'clock in the afternoon so it can't be morning.

I'm a mess. Tomorrow's teaching day should be fun...

Any-hoo...like I was saying: I did actually manage to produce a bit today. I wound off an impressive length of The Shire blend from the spindle and onto a bobbin without incident and began a second lot. I made it past the inch of ribbing on the mate to the sock completed yesterday and am now happily working the mindless stockinette stitch portion of the leg. I wonder if I can finish this sock in something less than the month the first one took.

I also completed the finishing on a test knit that I've been working on and sent the final "beauty shot" picture to the author of the pattern for her perusal. Without permission, I won't post the actual item, but I can give a little teaser of which I think she'd approve.



Yup...it's felt. And pink. Two of my favorite things.
Having completed my obligations to the knitting community, I then perched myself near the wheel and began spinning happily away on a merino/silk blend from Spunky Eclectic that I purchased at SPA. It seems like that was so very long ago...seriously, I'm having wicked time issues here!

Kinda pretty, dontcha think?

This shot was actually taken earlier in the day. In real time (which is also Daylight Savings Time, I guess) I'm almost finished with the first four ounce lot. I may even have it all on the bobbin before I call this weekend finished. I'm still not really seeing what this yarn wants to be when it grows up. Maybe once it's plied it will speak to me more clearly. Meanwhile, I'm just enjoying the play of color and feel of the silk. I'll be sad to see it finished, but there are eight more ounces in a different colorway sitting in the fiber waiting room so there will be more to come.

So with a sock, a felted project, and a full bobbin in the "done" column, I'm feeling like I did pretty well in my quest to finish some of the "to do's" this weekend. The next few weeks are going to be busy ones, but I'm still thinking that I've made a decent dent in the pile for the time being.

That's right...you can take away an hour of my weekend, but you can't keep a good Sheep down.

SA

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Coping Without Cookies

This past week held one March-related event that I actually hold dear. I was informed by a sweet fifth grader that the day for which I wait with the greatest of anticipation had arrived. Said sweet fifth grader is a Girl Scout and the very one who took my cookie order this year. She wanted to let me know that they had arrived and that, within mere days, they would be in my Sheepie little hooves. Three teachers had to close their classroom doors in response to my hallway hi-jinks. There was actual capering and gamboling. I achieved vertical distances that one would not normally expect of middle-aged educators as I leaped about and sang a few rousing choruses of "Hey, Hey, It's Cookie Time, Baby" for all the school to hear.

I was a little excited...

But, things went a bit awry. Instead of the three boxes that I expected to be delivered unto me, I was handed but one. I know I ordered more than this. I know it. Who orders one box of Girl Scout Cookies??????? The sweet little fifth grader will never know how close it really was. There was a brief moment where it was a certainty that The Sheep would begin pummeling her with a box of Peanut Butter Patties while sobbing and babbling incoherently a litany that would later be translated by court-appointed experts as having something to do with her love of Thin Mints and hatred of having to live in an unjust universe.

I held it together, though. I paid for my lone box of cookies and released the sweet little fifth grader back into the wild so she could scamper back to her troop. They are probably eating my Thin Mints and laughing as I type. But I took the high road. What else can you do, really?

It's March. These things happen in March.

I know there are those of you who just love the month of March. But, March is like that boyfriend you dumped with a sigh of relief. Within mere months, he is going to meet that special someone who can appreciate his clever way of cleaning his ears with his car keys. There's someone for everyone. But what works for others doesn't work for me. I'm just glad that somebody takes in recycled boyfriends and unloved calendar pages. Me 'n March? Not marriage material...we can't even stay friends or exchange occasional Christmas cards.

This weekend, I decided to take charge of my March Blahs and see if I couldn't finish one of the projects that has collected around here. My definition of "finished" is loose, but I'm working on finding the happy so that's just how it is going to have to be. And so I give you the first of the weekend's "Git 'er Done" entries:






The Single Sock!!!
Yes, it is but one. But it is finished. Except for that little yarn end that seems to have escaped the weaving in process...I don't recall seeing that until I looked at the picture I'd already uploaded. But, as I so often point out, the parts that are hidden in the shoe don't really count so we can all just pretend it isn't there.
Work with me here.
The second of the pair is on the needles and well underway. That won't be done any time soon, but that's OK. I may have something else finished before the night is over. I'll have to consult with the author of the pattern before I post a picture, but I'm really rather pleased with how this little number is turning out.
I can't change the fact that March is going to hang out here for a while. But I can make the best of it, by golly!
I just can't have Thin Mints.
SA

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Perspective As Weaponry

The March Deep Freeze remains in full effect. The wind chills are brutal and I fear for my very survival as I make the twenty foot trek to my vehicle in the morning. The students are being denied their recesses as we question whether we will have the same numbers after lunch as we do before. I swear to you I heard the plaintive wail of a hungry timber wolf sometime around eleven o'clock. Letting the little darlings outside could result in a definite thinning of the herd...not good for district funding formulas. They sort of expect us to have a better survival rate than they did back in the days of the pioneers.

But, I didn't have to give the Maine Educational Assessment today and the mood in the classroom was much improved. Sure, the students had their regular work with which to contend, but they seemed almost grateful for the chance to put pencil to paper that did not include multiple choices and bubbles that needed filling. I won't go so far as to say that we were ready to break into song at any given moment, but it was certainly a lighter mood than we've had over the past three days.

Of course, I have to do the whole thing again next week...but we are not going to think about that right now. Heck, I didn't even mind having to sit in the class of The AntiKnitter (he who makes derogatory comments about knitting circles) who is also known as Dude With Fire Breathing Dragon Living In His Lower Intestine after the pre-February vacation farting incident. We are now able to look one another in the eye following his windy faux pas, but I still have an almost unbearable urge to recommend a good gastroenterologist. I swear I can see a burn mark on the wall behind his desk. I worry. Good substitute teachers are hard to find. Especially after a faculty member is lost to spontaneous human combustion.

Where was I? Oh, yeah...my perky outlook. Having a quiet, if frigid, day at school is really quite helpful with the overall mood. And the prospect of fifty degree temperatures during the coming weekend has really turned me into quite the Chirpy Sheepie. I took a good, long look at some of the UFOs that are laying around on various surfaces around here that could be better used for the support of cats or chocolate. And I'm actually seeing some things that might be done in the nearest of futures. A sock here, a felting project there, a sweater that might actually work this time...all nearing the finish line. I'm closer than I thought to having something new!

With Friday and the weekend nigh upon me, I have made the decision to not make the appointment with Amy The World's Greatest Stylist that I'd been considering. Instead, I'm going to see if I can't bring one of these bad boys over to the Win Column. Yeah...one of those thingies is a single sock and is really only half the equation, but I'm in the grip of my March Moodiness. I get to call one sock an FO until April rolls around. My house, my rules.

I will win this war against my least favorite month. The first shot has been fired and it is made of merino.

SA

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Oh, Look!

Why, it's Wednesday! Time for the bullet points version of this genre we call, "Blog."


*Best student comment of the day: "Um...Ms. Sheep? Shouldn't you have done your homework at home instead of trying to do it here?"

*Worst teacher response in the history of education: "Well, um...there was this...I meant to do it, but...I had this other thing to do....Oh, leave me alone!!!"

*Speaking of class, I have made a significant judgement error with regard to my choice of groups for the end of the semester project. I thought it might be fun to work with some different people. I ended up with all high school teachers. I've been a high school teacher. I know how to teach high school and I know how to talk to high school teachers. I just don't know how to function within a group of people who have a single mind with regard to how this project should go and the time to spend together to make it happen. I'm waaaaay outside the loop on this one. However, my lack of caring with regard to the overall course and my desire to just get the credits and be done with it are pretty much overruling my issues with the final outcome of this doomed project. I'm just going with the flow.

*Further on the subject of class: I really do love this professor. I forgot my knitting tonight. She was most sympathetic, even to the point of wondering how I could focus on the lecture without the sticks 'n string. She gets me. She really gets me. I want to hang out with her and talk yarn. I want to knit sweaters with her and compare our preferences in needle composition. I just don't want to be in her class.

*I am still giving Maine Educational Assessments. This has led to a great deal of self-reflection. I have learned that I am the type of person who believes that the 6th grade team who decides to change their schedule and administer tests today and give the hapless special ed. teacher who must now test to two grade levels at once less than a days notice to adjust should be lined up at dawn and pelted with rotten fruit. This seems perfectly reasonable to me.

*The 6th grade student who did not know she was testing today and, after two hours, caved under the pressure and called me a flippin' witch was right. I was not full of the sweetness and light at that point. It was a stressful day for all involved. And it should be noted that I am using a great deal of creative editing with regard to the actual wording of her commentary.

*March continues its relentless assault on my Sheepie good humor and is hitting me with wind chills that are beyond reasonable. The boogers freeze in the nose only to liquefy upon hitting warmer air so that I have to run directly to the tissue box before all dignity is lost. Any stray hair that is not perfectly dry upon leaving the house will harden instantly and lock itself into whatever position it happened to be in at the time. This may not necessarily be the look one was going for during the morning mirror time. But there is nothing that one can do. Frozen tresses do not thaw as quickly as boogers...something to do with viscosity or some other science-thing. This means that you have weird hair and a dripping nose for at least the first thirty minutes of the day. Such a pretty Sheepie!

Happy Wednesday, everybody! I'm off to enjoy a nice dietetic frozen pizza and see what the good people who produce quality prime time TV viewing have in store for me this evening. I probably should do my homework while I'm at it.

But I like to give my students something to think about during the day.

SA

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

It's Not Like I Don't Feel Badly About It

I'm having the guilt. I harbor dislike in my Sheepie heart. This dislike is unfair, unwarranted and there is nothing that the recipient can do to rectify it. I feel badly about it. I wish I was a better person.

In the spirit of trying to make amends, I offer up the following reasons why the month of March is not to blame for the qualities it possesses that rankle me to the core:

March had no control over where it ended up on the calendar. It may have shown up late to the meeting when the assignments were being handed out, but I'm sure it had a good reason.

March is not responsible for the fact that I need to do a ridiculous amount of stuff during its reign over the 365 days that make up my year. The end of the grading period, the Maine Educational Assessment, parent conferences...all pure coincidence.

March did not personally target me and force me to take a class that requires homework of me. March would probably have told me to be more proactive with regard to my recertification credits and not find myself short mere months before my teaching license expires. March is not a frivolous month. It is all about the business.

March does not control the weather. It did not wake up this morning and say, "I think we will have a cold snap and force the weather gurus to put up a wind chill advisory. That'll make The Sheep think twice about her attitude towards me."

If March had a choice in the matter, I'm sure that it would have elected to have a three day weekend or a gift-laden holiday somewhere in its time frame. What self-respecting month doesn't want children everywhere all sweaty with the excitement, and awaiting its arrival? March got a raw deal. Come to think of it, that could explain the cold snap...March might be feeling a little bitter about the whole thing.


And I'm sure that there are those folks out there who celebrate various happy things in March. There have to be some birthdays, anniversaries or festivals-of-whatnot going on. But none of them happen to me and, while I revel in the happiness of others, I would be lying if I said that it's not the same as getting a Christmas stocking or a week's vacation. I'm petty that way. I'm not saying that I don't hate that about myself. But it is what it is.

Sometimes you gotta look for the Happy. Happy isn't going to just fall out of March's heinie. You need to make an effort. Sometimes a bit more than you meant to.

A couple of months ago, I found a cool little kit in one of my favorite off-price stores that implied I might be able to find a bit of the fun contained within its cardboard confines. It actually was far less fun than I'd hoped as the fine print on the kit clearly stated that it contained a pattern only and not the tools necessary to make the pattern into something other than parts and pieces. I blame myself, really. If I only had the vision of an eagle and the ability to look past the bold print that assured me the kit had all the makings of a good time and a finished object, I would have been A-OK.

The kit sat in the To-Deal-With Pile for quite a while.

The other night, as I was picking up some yarn for a felting project, I happened to recall the kit that was just hanging around the house doing nothing to earn its keep and wondered if the craft store might also happen to have the missing item. Lo and behold, it did. And it is very sharp and could maybe even poke a large hole in my finger and cause me to bleed all over everything. I like the potential for danger in my crafting.

And so now I've been playing with a punch needle.





Professional Punchers need not fear...it is unlikely that there will be any sort of Sheep cornering of the punch needle art market.
I've actually wasted more of the floss playing with it than anything else. The original pattern has seen little in the way of punching. In fact, I highly doubt that it will ever be completed. But, the overall activity is really rather fun. And fast! In addition to a hint of danger, I also kind of like crafts that go quickly.
No, we are not casting aside the needles and spindles in favor of the floss and frame. But it is a pleasant diversion that might just help me to find a little of the Happy during this most miserable month known as March.
Maybe I'll do a nice little sampler for the month. Something with, "I'm Really Sorry For My Dislike Of You For Things That You Cannot Change Or Control" worked into the pattern.
SA