Monday, April 30, 2007

Freshening Up

My intentions were good, really. My furry roommates and I all have to live together here in this rather small space and I think we all deserve a nice, fresh environment.

Winter was slow in coming this season. Back in December, I was convinced that the earth had undergone some loss of equilibrium and had wobbled us off course to the point where we were now located in a more tropical zone. But it did finally hit and we have all been trapped in here with one another for the duration. I thought that, with the advent of spring being somewhat slow in coming and the windows needing to be closed against the unseasonal snows, I might speed things up just a bit. It really seemed like a good idea at the time.

I found a handly little gadget that houses a mini-version of spray-on fresh air. Once the wee, little can is safely ensconced in its casing, you simply set the timer for the interval best suited to your freshening needs, close it all up and, Bob's your uncle! You get chemically freshened air without all that bothersome nozzle pushing. I set that bad boy for 9 minutes of down time between freshenings and did a little happy dance.

That is,until I realized that I hadn't really thought the whole thing through and didn't know where I was going to put it. And the directions were rather specific and bold-faced about the dangers of having this thing pointed anywhere near your face once the timer had been activated. I spent two freshening cycles frantically wandering around the condo attempting to find the appropriate spot for what had now become the equivalent of a repeating time bomb clasped gingerly in my hand and at arm's length from my face.

I finally managed to locate a safe spot for the scary air freshener: atop the refrigerator. This allows the device to disperse the fresh scent in the needed areas while decreasing the chances of my being on the receiving end of a surprise face-spraying attack. All in all, I thought I was pretty clever. And by the time the can ran dry we'd be well into Open Window Season for good.

But.....

I hadn't anticipated the loudness of the spritzing. Every nine minutes the thing hisses like a snake on the offensive and, for the first day, I found myself checking my ankles compulsively for fang marks. I got over it, though. Mind you, I'm not enjoying the whole thing as much as I'd hoped. But I've stopped jumping out of my skin every nine minutes.

Desdemona, however, has not. Every time the thing releases a burst of the freshness, the poor kitty leaps up, legs akimbo and eyes bursting from her kitty head, fully engaged in "fight or flight" mode. The Smaller, Less Fluffy Counterpart to The Big, Fluffy Kitty is not a young cat. I know from bitter, personal experience that being startled after a certain age is a risky prospect.

I really need to shut this thing off.

But, it is against a wall. And, if you recall my dilemma from waaaaay back when I started telling this ungodly long story, I'm scared of it and its potential for spraying me with willful and malicious intent right in my face. I need to confront the plastic air freshener head to head in order to shut it off. And this will require some strategy. I must wait for the "phhsshhht" sound that indicates the release of the freshening chemicals. I must then spring into action and grasp the plastic housing, release the catch, open the case and hit the red button. I must do this in under nine minutes. You wouldn't think this would be all that hard given that nine minutes is a really long time, but I am prone to panic when asked to do things under time constraints and there is really no guarantee that I will make it. I can't even begin to contemplate this course of action until I've checked on my insurance coverage and purchased some sort of face mask.

Then there's the fact that I am easily distracted. I'm usually about half-way across a sock round when the thing goes off and the cat rockets skyward so I end up deciding to finish the round before I go into Mission Impossible mode. By then, the cat is settled back down and I'm probably all dizzy from the chemicals because I forget what I was going to do and am only reminded by the sight of a brown cat clinging briefly to the ceiling after about nine minutes.




I haven't slept in three days. There will be pay-back for this. Big time...
All I can do is wait it out. The packaging tells me that this thing may be good for up to sixty days. I don't know if we can last that long.
If you don't hear from me for a few days, please come get me. I have either been blinded by my air freshener or my cat has put a hit out on me.
SA

Sunday, April 29, 2007

I Have Good News And Bad News.

To all those who expressed deep interest in how the heck a Sheep might ply using that space alien contraption shown in last night's post, I bring you glad tidings! I'll be happy to show you!! That's the good news! Let's all dance!!!

But, um....OK. Here's the thing: that was an older picture. I've already plied that stuff. The bad news is that it might be a while before I have enough on the spindle to wind off onto one bobbin, let alone two. You will have to exercise a little patience, I'm afraid.

Sorry about that. I'm spinning as fast as my little Sheepie hooves can go and will make every effort to have something ready for a demo in a timely fashion. But, my definition of a "timely fashion" and that of the general public might be a bit different...

Meanwhile, there is little to show today in the fiber category. I did play with the spindle for a bit and even knit on two different projects, but nothing is really near completion. Nor is anything of such great interest that I think anyone might want to see a WIP photo at this juncture. What can I say? "Tis a busy time of the year here at the House Of Sleepy Sheepies.

Spring always is, what with the end of the school year drawing nigh. And I've only two more night classes to go before I can call "The Class I Do Not Care For, But I Need The Credits For My Teacher Recertification So I Forge Ahead" done. This is a good thing, but I still have several assignments to finish and a rather important presentation to fake my way through on Wednesday so that has kept me hopping. Add to that my decision to pick up a few more hours at Job #2 in order to make some attempt at off-setting the recent vehicle repair expenses, and I'm not getting much done in the way of knitting or spinning.

Tellya what! How about I show you some butter? That'll be fun, right? Yesterday, in anticipation of today's jaunt over to see Mommy and Daddy Sheep, I baked up some whole wheat bread with almonds, sunflower seeds and a wee bit of the milled flax just to make sure that we were all getting our Omega 3 whatchamacallits. It needed a little something to "go with" so I made a batch of the sundried tomato/basil flavored butter that Daddy Sheep enjoys. I like to make flavored butters and this one was one of those little experiments that one performs when one thinks something might work but aren't totally sure that it will go as planned.





It did! And then some!!!

And it's easy-peasy. If you've ever made flavored butter, you know what I mean. For this one you'll need:

4 or 5 sundried tomatoes that have been "plumped" in simmering water . Make sure to blot off as much of the excess water as possible afterwards

Between 1/4 and 1/2 tsp. of dried basil (Use as much or as little as you wish. It's all "to taste," really)

1 stick of butter softened to room temperature

Cracked black pepper to taste

Then you need to:

Chop the sundried tomatoes relatively finely

Dump everything into a bowl

Mix, mix, mix

Put into a pretty container and wipe the excess from the sides because this is sort of messy

Refrigerate until set

Eat

It is also fun to put the butter into a mold and turn it out before serving. This is for those fancy-schmancy occasions where you want people to think that you've spent hours on their entertainment. And you aren't limited to the flavorings in this recipe. I've made honey butters with and without cinnamon, saffron butter and garlic butter. All were quite tasty!

Now, I must bid you all a pleasant evening while I return to my labors on behalf of Job #2. I have, once again, been called into service to create a promotional mailing. Those of you who were reading last summer will recall that this has not gone particularly well for me in the past.

And my track record seems to be staying true. Please pass the bread and butter. I'm going to need the carbs...

SA

Saturday, April 28, 2007

It Happens Slowly...

I had something of an epiphany yesterday during my lunch "break." (I put "break" in "quotes" because it was one of those rare days when there were no students in the classroom for twenty minutes) I've been aware of a new behavior in my repertoire for some time now, but was really quite clueless as to how far the whole thing had progressed.

There I was, perched atop a table (like I tell the students they should never, ever do), happily indulging in a little "pastime" while my staff enjoyed their hearty, satisfying lunches. I, on the other hand had already consumed my stupid apple and had some time to kill. (curse you, Dr. Judy and your scale of truth!!!!!) That's when it hit me. I had become one of "them." I never thought it could happen to one such as I: limited skills and an even limiteder attention span. But there it was. A truth that could be denied no longer:

I am a spindler.

That's right. I spin everywhere now. For the record, I accept no blame for this. It is all her fault, really. If that lovely drop spindle hadn't been sitting there in the display when I went to SPA Knit and Spin, I never would have seen it, picked it up, looked at it, put it down, picked it up, put it down, stroked it, picked it back up and, finally, purchased it. And it's not like I ever thought I could spin on the danged thing. I just thought I'd put it somewhere around the house and call it, "fiber art." Who knew? Now I've got a portable means of whirling the wool and there is no end to where this stuff goes.

I keep a little of the fluffy stuff in a plastic baggie so that I can pack it up efficiently if needed. I have carried the spindle to school at least once weekly. It has gone with me to family functions, Chicks With Sticks Night and kept me company while I was performing my duties as the Mistress of Scoring for The Maine Academic Decathlon.



Have Spindle, Will Spin For Cash...or not. I'll spin for free. Or I'll pay for the privilege. Whatever...
My home is now the base for two spinning projects at any given time: that of the wheel and that of the spindle. I have devised a new and disturbingly efficient "plying station" that defies all attempts at description.

It makes even less sense in real life. But, so help me, it works!

Yup. I've got it bad. But getting it bad doesn't mean it's all bad. It kept my mind off the fact that all I had for lunch yesterday was an apple. And you wouldn't believe how quiet a classroom can become once the students are all hypnotized by the spinning thing-a-ma-bobbie. Days that Ms. Sheep decides to bring her spindle are unusually peaceful in the classroom. It is also a deterrent to people who may be coming in to ask me to do something work-related or to blame me for something that has gone horribly awry with one of my charges. Kickin' it old school with a drop spindle can make even the most determined of work-makers forget why they came in to bother me.

Nope. Not so bad, really. And when you're done you have yarn so it all works out for the best.

And now for something completely different...a Relay For Life update! Just a couple of things to keep everyone in the loop and all:

*I am darned close to the half-way mark in meeting my sponsorship goal! Thank you so very, very much for your support!!!!!

*And in a wonderful turn of events, I will have a second prize in the offering for those who enter the drawing by sponsoring my loooong walk. The talented Mouse has generously donated a set of stitch markers to the cause. And if you've ever had a chance to see what Mouse is capable of creating, you will know that this is a prize worth donating for! Thanks, Mouse! You rock!

*I am still beating Baby Brother Sheep in donations. Not that this is why I am participating in the Relay. It is just something I happened to notice is all...

*Let's face it. I run a pretty lighthearted little blog here. I rant about my truck, I sing the praises of a good shoe shopping bargain and gloat over my current status in the sibling rivalry arena. And I like to think I do it with a bit of the humor. But, I was really quite overwhelmed to see how many of you have made your pledges to my Relay site in memory or in honor of someone who has experienced the devastating effects of cancer. It is a pretty powerful statement to see all those names scrolling by and I will do my best to keep each one of them in mind while I walk the laps.

Enjoy the weekend! I will be traveling over to Mommy and Daddy Sheep's house tomorrow for lunch and a visit with Baby Brother Sheep who has been out of town on business for a while. I promise not to gloat too much over donations. He really has been rather busy so it probably wouldn't be fair to tease. Much.

But I can promise with more certainty that I'm bringing my drop spindle.

SA


Thursday, April 26, 2007

Sheep Shod

Life's funny, really. A person can weather great tragedy with grace and decorum but be reduced to a helpless puddle of boogery weeping by a piece of burnt toast. Conversely, it is sometimes the little things that can make a girl pretty darned giddy.

As is my wont, I had a little blog blather ready for tonight that centered on the fact that I seem to have become rather dangerously electrified of late and am leaving a flashing trail of sparks in my wake whenever I happen to brush up against anything metal. Yesterday I managed to shock myself so forcefully exiting my truck that I feared I might have actually stopped my heart. There were several rather amusing anecdotes associated with the whole phenomenon that probably would have made for a fun little post.

But sometimes life hands you something better and you just gotta share.

I was able to leave school a bit earlier today thanks to my having hired a disturbingly competent new staff person who is willing to work the later shift. To work a mere 8 hours in a day was something of a treat and I decided to celebrate by visiting my local purveyor of footwear to see if I couldn't add something to my shoe collection. The pickings were not exactly what I was looking for, but I did find a rather cute pair of athletic shoes (for $40.00 on clearance which was not really the bargain I'd hoped for) and a pair of darling metallic sandals with just a wee bit of heel that, after the 50% reduction, were a mere $5.00. Not my best "savvy shopping," but not too bad.

After my purchases were rung up, the hip young thing at the register paused in her bagging duties for a moment and appeared to be sizing me up. Your faithful Sheep was not exactly in her most professional garb today, I fear. What stood before her was a middle aged gal in a pair of boot cut jeans (that may or may not have been a bit too far on the "hip slung" side given my recent romance with the Girl Scout Cookies) and a limited edition, 100th anniversary Harley Davidson denim jacket that I am proud to say was claimed after what can only be described as a "pitched" battle of bidding on Ebay. Like I said...not really my best teacher-outfit.

And, yet, the hip, young thing seemed to approve. She said, somewhat hesitantly, "Do you like Doc Martens?"

I responded in the affirmative, certain that I was now going to be on the receiving end of a story about how her mom really likes them, too. Or worse...her grandmother. Not so. Her next words were spoken softly while she leaned in conspiratorially:

"You wanna see a pair of Doc boots for five bucks?"

My heart did that fluttering thing that women have experienced throughout the ages when confronted with an impossibly good shoe tease. My eyelids twitched slightly and I had to remind myself to breathe. It was all I could do to whisper:

"Y-y-yessssss!"

She proceeded to leave the counter, craftily hiding my shoe purchases from the general public, and began to lead me across the store. Another employee, also a rather hip, young thing, took note of this little parade and became wide-eyed.

"You're showing her the boots!" she cried and followed us part-way to our destination. She did not go all the way, though. She knew that this was a time to keep a respectful distance.

We reached the clearance rack and the boots were set before me. They were brown, lace-up ankle height examples of leather perfection. I tried one on. With a thin sock not designed for a heavy boot, there was ample wiggle room. I knew that a heavy boot sock, perhaps one knit by my own hand, would render them perfect. A little sigh of contentment issued from my lips.

"They fit...my god, they fit." (I personally heard a chorus of angels at that point, but it may have just been the in-store Muzak)

The hip, young thing led me back to the register where my five dollar boots (which retail for at least one hundred dollars) were rung up and added to my bag. She said that she was so happy that someone could have these. She'd tried them on and they were just a bit small for her. She'd been checking shoe sizes all day to find the Cinderella who was destined to take these babies home. It was fate. It is a shoe marriage made in heaven and was brokered by a hip, young thing who has my undying gratitude for her willingness to match the perfect shoe to its intended.

Lord, it doesn't get any better than this. You can just take me now if that's what's fated to be.




Just make sure that they bury me in these boots.

SA


Wednesday, April 25, 2007

When All You Can See Is The Faint Light At The End Of The Tunnel...

...then you'd better just do the Bullet Post! It is really a good thing that this night class is coming to an end soon. I'm running out of clever titles for my Wednesday Night Shorthand Version of blogging. (some might argue that I ran out a looooong time ago) Oh,well. Here they be:

*Thanks again to those who have donated to my Relay For Life endeavor! I am so very grateful for your support. And the fact that Baby Brother Sheep is also on my team and that I will never live it down if he raises more than I has nothing whatsoever to do with it. We are adults in what could best be described as our "middle years." Sibling rivalry is unseemly after a certain age. But, if I were able to smoke him right out of the water with donations that would also be sort of cool. I wouldn't lord it over him or anything....

*I had the weirdest experience when I took the trash out to the dumpster this morning. Something about it just wasn't "right." I stood and pondered the hulking metal receptacle for what seemed an age trying to pinpoint just what was "off" about it. I checked its overall placement, looked inside for hidden zombies (they like to hide in dumpsters) and examined the serial number to see if it was, perhaps, a new dumpster. (this was really not all that effective as an investigative tool as I didn't have a clue what the number was in the first place). I finally figured it out. There is no snow on or around the dumpster! It is a Spring Dumpster! I should really take the trash out more often...

*I turned in my second Formal Observation paper for my class tonight and the professor assessed it while we were all working on group projects. Considering that this paper was written at school while five hundred or so needy children all clamored for my attention in order that I might settle such lofty debates as "Who Is The Rightful Owner Of The Only Pencil With An Eraser Left In The Classroom," I did rather well. Very well, in fact! Only one more observation paper, a final draft of my philosophy paper and an executive summary of my group project left to go! This is doable. Well...it would be more doable if I knew what the heck an "executive summary" is, but that is a minor detail, really. I'm sure I can come up with something pithy for this last pesky assignment.

*I have no idea where Desdemona, The Smaller, Less Fluffy Kitty is right now. But she must be close. I can hear her snoring. Over the television, the sound of my rumbling tummy, and the hum of the refrigerator, I can hear her snoring. She would probably be just mortified if she knew I was telling everyone that she snores. I can't imagine price I would have to pay if I told you all that she drools, too.

*I am so very grateful that I had my sweet, striped sock with me tonight and could knit upon it furiously while I was working with my group on our project for class. This little gem of a presentation is to be performed next week and we did not use our work time well. Not well at all. For the record, I pointed this out in gentle and non-threatening tones on several occasions early on in the process. Now everyone is scrambling like mad and just a bit grumpy. I am knitting a sock and muttering, "I told you so" in tones that are less than gentle and just a bit threatening. Since they did not allow me to really participate on too many levels, instead preferring to work together at times and places where I could not be given my teaching schedule, I was able to complete the small tasks they shoved my way rather easily. Any further suggestions I have made with regard to this project have been duly noted then cast aside. So I knit. And I mutter. And the other person in the group who has been left out of much of the process is now very sick and wasn't in class. So I was muttering to myself for an hour and a half. That is not nearly so much fun as muttering to someone else.

*Hey, I'm curious...do you guys think I should keep doing the Wednesday Night Bullet Posts after the class is finished? I really only started doing it because I was so brain-dead on Wednesday nights. But I kind of like the mindless rambling...it's just the witty titles I'm having difficulty with.


*I have decided that, as of today, I hate all my shoes. There is not a single pair that I consider fit to wear outside of the house. I need my income tax refund to come soon. If not, I will be forced to take a leave of absence from work. I also hate all my jeans, but that may be a result of the Girl Scout Cookie Girth I seem to be experiencing since those delightful discs of sugary goodness were delivered.


Well, that's all I have for tonight, loyal WNBP readers! Hope that your midweek experiences were all that you hoped and dreamed!

SA

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Good, The Bad And The Better!

First off, a huge Sheepie Shout-out to all of you who made those first donations to my Relay For Life Endeavor! Thank you so very much and you are all noted in the Sheepie Book of gratitude, not to mention in the running for the Goose Pond gift certificate.

There were about 1000 things that went wrong as I tried to get last night's post up on these here internets and, of those, one was of my own doing. The rest (which included the eating, digesting and belching of my entire first post by Blogger and a couple of broken links) were all handed down to me courtesy of Karma who is apparently still attempting to fix me in the cross hairs. For those of you who would like to contribute to my little walk to benefit The American Cancer Society, this link should work a bit better. Or, at least that's what I am told... Heaven only knows who Karma has recruited as part of their ongoing plot to bring me to my knees! But, I stand for the moment and should still be upright when it is time to participate in the Relay For Life so please feel free to keep those sponsorship dollars coming!

Meanwhile, it is hard to be blue when the Maine weather has finally decided to slap us upside our heads with a full-on dose of Spring! Did I say Spring? Heck, this is Summer! Exactly one week after watching my neighbors floating away in a freakish storm that brought every form of precipitation known to man to our doorsteps, we suddenly found ourselves breaking records for high temperatures yesterday. And today, while slightly cooler, was still quite warm and sunny. We might just have rounded the corner! I even slept with the windows open last night as it would have been too warm to keep them shut. My system is still in shock over this whole turn of events and it is taking some thought in the mornings to find appropriate clothing. I seem to be reaching for the turtlenecks and wool socks as if on autopilot...

Speaking of socks, let's all take a gander at a little gift that arrived in my mailbox yesterday!






It's a brand new sock kit! Moosies for Sheepie!!
This one comes to me via the wonderful Geraldine who thought I might enjoy it. I think she might be right! I have been considering another attempt at some colorwork now that I've improved my skills somewhat. The last try was probably ill-advised. It was one of those moments where you are really in over your head, but refuse to admit it until there is a tangle of yarn hanging from the back of a half-knit sweater and the empty wrappers from about forty Reeses Peanut Butter Cups crinkling at your feet. But, I've progressed to the point where I know what I did wrong on that doomed project and think that socks will be the perfect canvas upon which to show off my new-found knowledge. Look for these to go on the needles sometime soon because every Maine girl needs a pair of Moose socks! Thank you again, Geraldine! We miss your regular posts and hope that you get settled into your new digs soon so that you can fire up the computer. In lieu of your on-line presence, however, I did make up a batch of your amazing cheddar cheese muffins (from the Not Just For Vegetarians cookbook) to take with me to Mommy and Daddy Sheep's house last weekend. Sooooo good!
So, despite some technical glitches there are donations coming into my Relay For Life site, the weather is finally in agreement with the calendar and I've got a cool new sock kit with which to fiddle. All in all, The Sheep is firmly entrenched in the "win" column. On the not-so-winning side of things, tomorrow is class night so I will be spending my evening sitting at The Professional Development Center feigning approval of all that my project group has decided without me because they will be using it in our presentation next week whether I express dissension or not. Frankly, I've reached the conclusion that it is far better to just let them do all the heavy lifting and stop fighting the process. We all get the same graduate credits for the course and if they want to earn mine for me...well, that just gives me more time to work on my cool striped sock, now doesn't it? It is hard to believe that this class is actually winding down and will be over as of May 9th.
That's another good thing, now isn't it?
SA

Monday, April 23, 2007

We're Not Really "Professional" Fundraisers...

Tonight's post opens with a view of those popular bloggers, Hysterical Mind and Rational Mind. RM is fussily adjusting HM's collar and trying to tame an errant cowlick that is besting all her attempts at coif corralling. HM is looking a little green.

Hysterical Mind: I don't see why I have to do this! I'm not good at these things. I don't do well with people! You know this isn't my strength! Can't I just sit in the back and point out all the things that can go wrong with this? That is what I do!!!

Rational Mind: We're going with the odds, here. For whatever the reason, people seem to like you. You get fan mail, for crying out loud. While it defies all logic, you are best-suited to this little task. You'll be fine.

HM: I won't!!! I'll mess it up!!! It'll be a trainwreck that will be the talk of the blogosphere for years to come!!

RM: (
is now resorting to the spit 'n smooth method known to moms the world over in order to wrestle HM's fly-away hair into submission) No it won't. I promise. These are your friends. They won't hurt you. Now, take a deep breath and just do it like we practiced.

HM: OK. But if it all goes down in flames, it'll be on your head! (
takes a deep, shuddering breath)

RM: Go ahead...

HM: Um...hi. My name is Hysterical Mind. My Friend Rational Mind and I would just like to take a minute of your time. (
looks to RM for support. RM nods encouragingly) So, um, we're doing this thing on the 15th and 16th of June and we'd like to ask for your support. We are going to be participating in The American Cancer Society's Relay for Life and...well, it's not really a "we" thing. It's The Sheep who is doing it. I'm not, you know, "real." I'm actually just a contrived character designed to personify the dichotomy one sees in the average person's thought processes...

RM: You're getting a little off-track there, buddy. Let's just stick to the script.

HM: Oh, yeah. Right! Anyway, The Sheep is going to be walking around in a circle for a while to help raise funds to aid in cancer research. And cancer is bad! We hate cancer!! Cancer is very, very bad!! It is a...a, well it's a cancer on the face of society!! So The Sheep will be walking to fight the bad cancer which we hate for all its badness and...

RM: You might want to take it down a notch.

HM (
clearly on a roll at this point) And the walking! All that walking!!! The Sheep will be walking in a circle in the hot, blazing sun! Or worse, it might rain! Then you've got a wet Sheep walking around in a circle fighting cancer (which is bad) and risking pneumonia! And felting!!! Or, and this could totally happen what with all the weird weather we've been having, it might snow! That's right! The soaking, wet, felted Sheep will be walking endlessly in a circle, singlehandedly fighting cancer!!! In the snow!!! And the fierce snows of June can be deadly...not like the cancer, but bad in their own right!!!!!

RM: O-kaaaay. That was "good." Maybe I'll just take it from here.

HM: I'm a little dizzy now...

RM: Understandable. Why don't you go get yourself a nice juicebox? Maybe sit down for a little bit...see if you can't get that purple color to drain out of your face.

HM: Okey-dokey. (
walks unsteadily to the kitchen in search of a cranapple juice box)

RM: I'll just sum up. That might help clarify things a bit. The Sheep is going to be participating in the Relay For Life to raise funds to help in the fight against cancer. We would greatly appreciate any support you might be able to offer her in this endeavor. You can donate by simply following
the link in the sidebar. We have set a very reasonable fundraising goal and, in an effort to encourage donations, are holding a drawing for a gift certificate to one of our favorite local stores, Goose Pond, as an incentive to those who might like to participate. Online shopping is as smooth as silk for those of you "from away" and, even if you aren't tempted by the offerings in The Elegant Knitter portion of the store, you will be completely seduced by the beautiful jewelry produced by the talented Susan! Regardless of fundraising totals, a $25.00 gift certificate will be offered up as a prize to one lucky supporter. Should we meet or exceed our goal, The Sheep has authorized us to increase the amount to $50.00. We understand completely that folks have other obligations so there is certainly no pressure to participate!

We know that many people use online handles to socialize on the internets. Please feel free to leave us a comment and let us know of your intention to donate so that The Sheep can link appropriately to the winner of the gift certificate. We will draw a name in some appropriately random manner from those who made donations and make the announcement sometime shortly after the relay.

The Sheep, Hysterical Mind and I thank you so very much for your time, attention and any support you may be able to offer.

HM: And we hate cancer. Don't forget about the part where we hate the cancer!

RM: Yes, we certainly do hate cancer. Now drink your juice. It has the antioxidants.


Regular, knitting-related, non fundraising blogging to resume tomorrow!

SA

Sunday, April 22, 2007

And......

...it's over. Another school vacation has come to an end here in Sheepland and tomorrow I trundle back to work until the summer vacation rolls around. I'm not complaining. I know I'm fortunate to have a career that allows for ample breaks. But, this stretch between the "now" and the "then" is always a long one and includes an almost impossible amount of work that needs to be finished on a strict deadline. And this must all be done whilst placating students who are already on vacation in their minds and hold me personally responsible for the fact that the law requires my continuing to educate them for another couple of months.

I dread it.

But, I've done it for nigh on twenty years or so and I suspect that I can pull it off again. And it's worth it, really. Walking out of school on that last student day knowing that I have finished all that needs finishing is a nice thing. There have been many years where I have had to return to school for two weeks to try and get it all done.

Meanwhile, I need to wrap up this school vacation. Truth be told, I thought I'd get more done. I had visions of a clean house, piles of finished handspun and knitted items and perhaps some thoughts on ending world hunger or something lofty like that.

Didn't happen...

To be fair, there was this whole "natural disaster" thing with which to contend. And who knew that the truck was going to have yet another meltdown while I was aspiring to greatness? There were obstacles here!!!! I did manage to finish two skeins of merino/silk blend, however. A sock was born while I was stuck at home waiting for the flood waters to recede and another was conceived. There was a good effort made at blending the lamb and silk combo but that little project seemed to get the better of me. I bore easily and hours spent at the drum carder was just not something I felt like doing once the sunny weather returned. I certainly made a dent, though. Enough so that I actually managed to get one bobbin spun up before the vacation clock ran out:






Looks kinda lonely, though. It needs another bobbin-full as a playmate.
This particular yarn is really very pretty. And yet it is merely pretty boring to look at on a computer screen, I fear. The subtle orchid shade of the silk shows in just the right light and recedes in less sunny locales. I think the yarn will ultimately be quite nice. I'd had some sort of reaction to it a couple of days ago that resulted in what I thought might be a hive or two. But yesterday produced none of the blotchies so I may be OK with this one. Or not...we'll see!
So that's all she wrote. Tomorrow marks the start of those last few laps in the race that is the school year as well as the nearing of due dates for many of the projects that I need to turn into my professor for class. I will transform from a laid back sheep to a busy bee for a while here.
Oh, and the "clean house"? Never got to it. At all. Things look worse now than they did before vacation started. Meh...
SA

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Let Me Give You My Card...or not

When: Friday, April 20; 8:30 a.m.

Where: The Grocery Store...not the usual grocery store. The other one.

Why: With the sun finally making an appearance and the truck deciding to run for a while following its latest round of repairs, The Sheep looked forward to a trip over to her favorite discount store for some low-priced retail therapy. However, the store doesn't seem to open until 9:00 so there was time to kill. The Sheep decided to go to The Grocery Store Where She Usually Doesn't Shop to pick up the weekly groceries while she waited. She doesn't really care for this store because they require a special "rewards" card to qualify for any kind of sale pricing and, while she is usually a big fan of sales gimmicks, she figures that the cost of producing these cards may be impacting the overall price of goods in the store. (And probably wiping out one or two natural resources in the process.) But good intentions are only as good as The Sheep's motivational level and she was really too lazy to travel to two shopping centers in one morning.

We pick up the story just as The Sheep has finished off-loading her cart and is getting ready to pay for her purchases:

Soon To Be Perplexed Cashier: I'll just need to see your Rewards Card, ma'am.

Sheepish Annie: I don't have one.

Now Perplexed Cashier: Pardon?

SA: I don't have one.

NPC: Oh...well, that's OK! I'm sure we have it on file. Let me just have your name...

SA: No. I don't have one.

NPC: Did you lose it?

SA: I don't have one.

NPC: Um...er...do you want one? You can apply right here! (now beginning to make some sense of a world that has been momentarily turned upside down) You can start saving immediately! Just let me get you a form...

SA: No, that's OK. I really don't want one.

(the two are now joined by the store manager who is assisting with bagging for the morning)

NPC: She doesn't have a card!

Bagging Manager: That's OK. Just get her name. We have it on file.

SA: I don't have one.

BM: (speaking slowly and a bit more loudly) That is OK, Ma'am! We can help you with that!

SA: I've never had one. But, that's OK. I'm all set. Really.

BM: (spluttering just a bit) Well...um...we can....it's really a simple thing to get one for you...

SA: No, that's OK.

NPC: (quietly, to the store manager) I just thought you should know about this. You know...how she doesn't have a card?

BM: ...doesn't have a card?! Well, I guess you just ring her through.

NPC: Without a card?

SA: It doesn't make me a bad person! I'm still a good person! I just don't have a card, is all!

BM: Oh, no, that's not it at all! It's just that the cashier is new and...well, frankly this doesn't happen very often.

SA: I can see that.


Sheesh. I almost applied for the card just to make everyone feel better. I have this image in my head of the poor cashier in therapy trying to find some meaning in her life after learning that there are people in the world who do not bear the Card Of Dubious Savings. I came to my senses, though, and made my way to my favorite discount store before I did anything crazy.

The knitting and spinning portions of my existence have progressed slowly and there is really little to show at this point. I blended a bit more of the lamb and silk and have almost spun up a full bobbin of it. There needs to be frequent rest breaks in this little project since there is something about little lambikins that gives me the occasional hive. Nothing major and I suspect that the problem will be remedied once the little wispies have been spun under control If not, then whatever it grows up to be will end up as a gift to someone less fragile and delicate than myself.

The striped sock hasn't really grown all that much since last we met. No worries there, though. I have class next week so there will be some knitting accomplished there in an attempt to fend off the boredom that comes from working with a project group that doesn't really want your input or anything. Heck, I can probably finish that sock and a Fair Isle sweater to boot. Well...if I could actually knit something in Fair Isle, that is. I was just trying to demonstrate how much time I have to kill in the class is all. Don't be looking for me to crank out a complicated sweater with more that one color involved anytime in the near future, for crying out loud.

I've also played with the drop spindle off and on in an attempt to finish up more of The Shire Blend. Pretty, but slow going. And you've already seen it so I'll wait until I have more on the spindle before I force anyone to sit through the "Hey, Look! The Sheep Can Spin On A Drop Spindle Show" again.

All in all, it's been a pretty nice way to spend the last gasp of my spring vacation. The sun is shining, the temperatures are mild and I found some delightfully low-priced t-shirts with three-quarter sleeves at the discount store. It's all good!

Unless you ask for my card. Then we have a problem.

SA

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Same Old Song And Dance...

We've been here before.

This morning marked another fun-filled visit to the dealership service center to deal with the ailing truck. For those of you having trouble keeping track (and who wouldn't at this point???), here are the vital stats:

Week #1: Truck is acting up. Visit my dear friend the Dreamy Mechanic and drop almost six hundred dollars for repair.

Week #2: All is well

Week #3: Truck breaks down on Maine Turnpike. Truck is towed to Dreamy Mechanic who thinks he knows what is wrong. He doesn't. Truck begins to fall apart shortly after leaving DM. DM, who is nothing if not an honest soul, has told me to take the truck to the dealership if I have any further problems because he admits that things will be beyond his ken at that point. Sheep takes truck to dealership, is given a tiny, toy car rental and doesn't see her truck again for a week. The cost is staggering.

Week #4: The battery light is on.

Week #5: The truck begins to have more seizures and returns to the dealership where there is no Dreamy Mechanic and the coffee is bad. The bill is less staggering but, when added to the total cost of repairs, is enough to give a Sheep the hives.


And there you have it. It has been a trying day. And, to top matters off, Hysterical Mind has decided that she has had it with dealing with vehicle repair and has determined that we need a husband. She seems to have gone online without Rational Mind's knowledge and registered us with some sort of Mail Order Bride outfit. Rational Mind has spent the better part of the day fending off cyber-suitors with ever-dwindling patience. The situation is worsened by Hysterical Mind's questionable judgement with regard to our profile. It seems that she may have given the impression that we are a bit more "nubile" than we actually be. And where she came up with the idea that we should be Swedish, I'll never know. Rational Mind is considering putting a v-chip on the television to restrict her viewing options.

It's a trainwreck...

Why don't we look at a few things that saw fit to go right today? Remember when I said that I thought I might have managed to duplicate the stripe pattern on my second Lana Grossa sock? Take a look at this!




Yeah, baby! Sheepie's got the eye!!!
There was actually a little bit of sunshine here in the great state of Maine today. After getting over my fear of the unfamiliar fire in the sky, I thought I might try to get a shot of the fiber that I've been spinning. I blended lamb laps with tussah silk in a lovely orchid tone and really love the subtle hint of purple that I can see in the carbon-colored lambswool:

Too bad it doesn't really show on camera though...you'll just have to trust me on this one.

It continues to spin up quite nicely and I look forward to the finished yarn. Sadly, though, this may not be happening any time soon. April vacation is spiraling down and tomorrow marks the end of my down-time. To say that this was not exactly the vacation that I had in mind would be an understatement of epic proportions. I don't recall ordering a flood with a side of snowfall. And the truck deciding to go all Needy McWhinerson on me was not part of the vision either. But, I did manage to get a bit finished fiber-wise and that is not such a bad thing, really.

Besides, April vacation marks the countdown to a little something I like to call Summer Vacation. And that, my friends, is a thing worth waiting for!

SA

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

WNBP

This evening's Wednesday Night Bullet Posting brought to you courtesy of my waterlogged noggin which is producing little save a subtle "swishing" sound. If anyone out there knows anything about brain surgery and would like to open up my cranium, remove the sponge that is my brain and wring it out like an old dishrag, that would be greatly appreciated. Meanwhile, here's your bullets for midweek:

*I could seriously use a bit of the sunshine. I normally don't mind a nice, rainy day for the napping and such. But this is getting ridiculous! Hysterical Mind has been looking up the symptoms of Rickets all day...

*Since prancing around in my bikini was not advisable today (for more reasons than the weather, I'm sad to say) I opted to spend a little more time with the super lamb laps and tussah silk blending.

*Since I am apparently now at an age where even the most sedate of activities like breathing and cranking a drum carder are capable of producing injury, the time spent with the aforementioned fiber was of the spinning variety rather than continued blending. My wrist was just a clickin' and a throbbin'. It's just a matter of time before I need a helper monkey, I'm sure of it.

*It's been a long time since I've done any challenging spinning. I've been working with some nice, well-prepared rovings with cooperatively long staple lengths. This blend is actually rather fun in that I really have to pay attention. The wispy lamb combined with with floaty tussah silk is sort of like spinning air and clouds. I have to really be watching to make sure I even have any left in my drafting hand! But, I have to admit, it is fun!




Lighter than air, I tellya!!!
*I made a little progress on the mate to my latest sock and even managed to match up the stripe pattern...I think. It is packed up for now, though, since it is going on a little field trip tomorrow. I need to run an "errand."
*Things are a bit hectic over at the dealership service center. One mechanic is on vacation and another is stuck in a flooded house. They are running a bit behind. Can you guess how I know what is going on at the dealership service center? C'mon...I'll bet you can! Just think about it for a minute.
Yeah. You got it. And I am not happy. Not happy at all. If you hear any loud bleating from the Saco, Maine area tomorrow morning that sounds suspiciously like a Sheep having a temper tantrum of epic proportions followed by the sound of mechanics making placating noises...well that'll be me.
Frankly, I'd just avoid the whole area if I were you.
SA

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Spring Break: Day Two

Before I do anything else here, I want to make sure and give a big Sheepie Shout-out to the folks who have been going above and beyond the call of duty for the last couple of stormy, windy and rather dangerous days we've had going on around here. In no particular order, let's hear it for:

Law Enforcement
Fire Fighters and First Responders
Emergency and Health Care Workers
Local Emergency Management
Road Repair Crews
Central Maine Power
Local Media

You and many others that I have probably neglected to mention were out there yesterday so that I didn't have to be and you are still on the job for the foreseeable future. You have my deepest admiration and thanks for all that you do to make us safer. I'd like to present you all with handknit sweaters, but that wouldn't be practical, really. And I've sort of had this Sweater Curse going on for the past year so anything I gave you would just result in one of those awkward moments where you have to act all grateful for something that was meant well, but is really rather hideous. Trust me...we're better off with my just saying, "thank you."

Things are slowly returning to normal in my area, although the power outages are still rampant and won't be resolved for at least another day. Flooding is still a major concern but, with the rains subsiding somewhat, I think that we may actually be heading towards the light at the end of the tunnel.

And how, you may ask, is the Sheep spending the rainy hours these days? Is she lamenting the vacation time spent waiting for the ocean to come knocking at her door? Is she marinating in a vat of chocolate as a means of wish fulfillment in this, the end of days?

Nah. I've been playing with the fiber. I spent a good chunk of the morning doing more of the silk/lamb blending and have enough to actually start a bit of the spinning. When I tired of standing over the drum carder risking some sort of repetitive motion injury, I wandered over to the knitting and finished a sock:





Stripey goodness!!!
And, as if this weren't enough, the Merino/Silk blend that was plied last night finished drying in full defiance of the rain-soaked air:

Ooooohhh! Ahhhhh!
This is another lovely fiber from Spunky Eclectic that I picked up at SPA back in February. I sort of stalled out on the spinning several weeks ago but, with time to kill yesterday, I managed to get the last of it spun and plied. The colors are muted and blend together perfectly. The silk adds a touch of decadence to the finished yarn and I'm most pleased with the final results. It is the kind of yarn that you desperately want to knit and, at the same time, want to never knit and just keep it near you for all time. I'm probably going to go with the knitting, though...
Sock #2 is in its infancy, but there is plenty of time for that this week. The lamb and silk blend awaits the wheel and there is some planned spindling action as well. All in all, I think I should be able to stay out of trouble during my spring break.
Let's face it: Emergency Services have enough to do right now without a bored Sheep wandering around looking for trouble.
SA


Monday, April 16, 2007

Glub!

Lucky Sheepie managed to hang onto the sweet, sweet electricity today despite what is something of a weather trainwreck. The flooding is widespread and there are a number of homes in the town next to mine that are not going to be there tomorrow once high tide hits tonight. I happened to see some footage from Mommy and Daddy Sheep's neck of the woods on the news not too long ago and the waters are swirling pretty impressively there as well.

It's not over yet, but it's looking like we've gotten between five and six inches of rain since yesterday and it has just run out of convenient places to land. I'd held out hope that the ocean might swing by and take my stupid truck along with it, but I don't seem to be on its travel itinerary today. Probably for the best...with my luck someone would find the thing and return it to me.

I know that I told everyone that I was going to be laying low over the school break and didn't really have plans to go anywhere. But this wasn't what I had in mind. "Relaxing at home" is not quite the same as "trapped at home." I'm just saying...

But, it was time well-spent in some respects. No...I didn't clean the toilets or paint the living room. But, I did start blending the lamb that I picked up at SPA back in February with the tussah silk that I dyed last spring. In an ironic twist, the silk was the stuff I dyed during our last round of flooding. There will be a "theme" to this yarn when it is finished, methinks.

I also parked myself behind the wheel for a bit and finished the second bobbin of merino/silk blend that has been languishing for weeks.



Plying was also begun, but I needed a nap so you will have to wait to see anything in the way of actual "yarn."
We here at Casa de Sheepie are keeping our respective fingers and paws crossed for continued lights and television this evening. The governor tells us that any outages will be long term and Sheepie gets grumpy when she can't have her cartoons. But weather is weather and you know what they say...
April Showers Bring May Insurance Claims

SA

Sunday, April 15, 2007

HM Demands A Field Trip

That fun little half of my brain that I like to call, "Hysterical Mind" is a tricky monkey to manage. 9 times out of 10 she is making mountains out of molehills and propelling me towards panic where a cool head would solve the minor problem quickly. Rational Mind wins out more than her counterpart, but there are many, many occasions where she is completely overruled by HM's high pitched keening.

And yet, on that 10th try, HM can make a few good points. It is hard to trust her, though. She is so often The Brain Hemisphere That Cried Wolf, after all. I ignore her as best I can most of the time, really. But, for the past couple of days she has been in overdrive. She was on a tangent and not going to tolerate being set aside in favor of a cooler head.

Yesterday, she drove me out the door bright and early to buy batteries and peanut butter. She was satisfied with that for a while, but began clamoring again last night for some attention. It seems that she wanted me to go out again this morning. And she wanted this to happen sometime around 7:00 in the a.m. I'd made a grievous error. I knew it, but there was no going back.

I'd let her see the weather report.

Hysterical Mind loves the weather report. She watches it avidly for signs of natural disaster and the opportunity to put her emergency preparedness plans into action. She had her chance a couple of weeks ago during what was being called, "The Big Storm Of The Season" and I'd hoped this would be enough to keep her happy until next winter. Not so. She got a gander at today's and tomorrow's planned assault from Mother Nature and immediately dug out her hard hat and official safety officer badge. She has been directing operations ever since.

Unbeknownst to Hysterical Mind, though, I did a quick consultation with Rational Mind to make sure that my staggering out the door and making another grocery store run at such an early hour was somewhat within reason. Surprisingly, RM was in agreement with this. The prospect of fighting the hordes of panicked shoppers as they prepared for the deluge is enough to make even my more rational side do the unthinkable.

So, off we went in search of double A batteries (we forgot those yesterday), self-heating coffee containers, extra candles and kitty litter. The store was quite empty of other shoppers and the deed was done in short order. Now it is just a waiting game, really. The rain began at noon or so. The heavy, wet, tree-bustin' snow began to mix in around 2:00. If all goes according to plan then we will soon be experiencing high winds with destructive gusts and what the nice people at the weather service are calling "astronomical" tides. At least we won't be getting the foot (and then some) of snow that they are getting in other areas. But they tell me it is highly likely that I will be losing the power sometime tonight and that the beach-dwellers will have to be evacuated. (I live far enough away from the actual shore that I can avoid that...I hope) Hysterical Mind is pleased with our level of preparedness for this weather event and seems calmer than she has been in days. So much so that I was even able to enjoy a little nap this afternoon. As if I had a choice...I was shopping at 7:30 in the morning for cryin' out loud!!!

I'm all set. I've got the edibles, the potables and the combustibles. And, if that isn't enough...






I've a sock in progress. That should help kill a few hours.
SA

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Life's Little Surprises

Surprises come in two forms. The first is the "Yippeeeeee" kind. When that happens to you, you do all sorts of fun little dances, make joyful squealing noises and maybe even need to excuse yourself to wipe a tear or two from your eye. They are happy tears that come from the overflowing of the joy as opposed to the "just stubbed your toe and are trying not to swear in front of the children" kind.

Then there are the "Booooooooo" surprises. I've had my share of those over the last few weeks. It was quite the surprise to find myself stranded on the side of the Maine Turnpike when I thought I was going to work. I was a bit shocked to find out that my Dreamy Mechanic made something of a judgement error with regard to what was wrong with my truck and that this error was going to end up costing me thousands of dollars. Imagine what surprises lay in store for me should I ever follow through on the plan to make DM my first husband. I shudder to think what our grocery bill will amount to. I'll send the little feller out for milk and he'll come home with magic beans or something...

I think I prefer the Happy Surprises. Like, oh, I dunno....perhaps learning that you might just have a wee bit of skill with a drop spindle? This is bound to come as a surprise when you have already attempted this feat and had little success. But, with the aid of a new spindle that was clearly made with just this Sheep in mind and the perfect fiber, it seems that the spindling was within my grasp all along.






I know, right??? Shocking!!!!
This is not what you would call "speed spinning" by any stretch of the imagination nor is is perfect on any scale of measurement. But, by golly, even I have to step back and admit that it is pretty darned good. Especially if you consider that it is the second thing that I have spun on a drop spindle in well over five years. The fiber is a decadent blend from Wooly Wonka and is comprised of a huggable alpaca, a snuggly angora bunny and a generous donation from a few silk worms who knew their job. I will admit to having a weak moment where I considered plying it on the wheel just for the sake of speed. (and there was a little of the fear involved...what if it turned out that I was an absolute dunderhead at plying with the spindle???) But, in the end, I decided to follow through with the original plan and complete the whole process in the manner it was begun. As a result, I think that you will be forced to suffer through "Progress On The Shire Blend" updates on a regular basis for an annoyingly long time. I'll just apologize in advance for that...
Many will be pleasantly surprised to learn that I have actually finished my taxes. I will give them one more critical review and then send them winging on their electronic way either tonight or first thing tomorrow morning. My tax situation isn't especially complicated so they aren't really all that challenging to complete. And, given that I have owed small amounts to the state over the past few years, it makes more sense for me to wait a bit to give the tax man my money. I don't think I've ever been quite this stingy about paying the man, though. Even I was getting a bit nervous about when I might find some interest in the whole matter of keeping myself out of federal prison. (Yeah...I make so darned much that the name of The Sheep will be uttered with all other famous income tax evaders for decades to come) But they are done and, for the first time in several years, Mr. Taxman actually owes me for all my living on a single teacher's salary.
You can't have all happy surprises, though. You're bound to have a few of the nasty ones, no matter what. Mother Nature has one that she has been holding back for a few days and is planning to release upon my head tomorrow. A massive storm is bearing down on us as I type. There will be snow, but the amounts probably won't be all that bad. There will be rain and those amounts may be of some concern. Then there will be the high winds. Now, she has my attention. When you put all these things together, it generally means that I will be looking for an unwelcome guest, specifically The Ocean. This is flood weather. And, while I'm a mile away from the beach, it can still really complicate my life and be cause for worry when I get to thinking about the people I like who live a bit closer to water's edge than I.
With this upcoming event rattling about in my brain, I heeded the call of Hysterical Mind bright and early. She urged me to head out for batteries and peanut butter in order that we might ride out the storm with our battery operated television and high protein snacks close at hand. Nine times out of ten, HM's prophecies of doom, gloom and the end of days are a bit exaggerated. But when she's right, she's right and I'm always grateful to her for forcing me to keep a few supplies at the ready.
But, time stuck inside is good for a few things. Most notably, it is time for more of the plying of the pretty, pretty Shire Blend. Not a bad way to start off my spring break!
Did I happen to mention that I am officially on vacation now? ::grinning broadly::
SA

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Identity Crisis Solved!

It's all so very confusing. I look at the calendar and I see the word, "April" emblazoned across the top. And yet, when I look out the window, I see January. The snow and sleet continue to fall in complete defiance of the actual date. Seasonally speaking, I should be edging into my cute spring wardrobe with the capri pants and strappy sandals. Instead, I am swathed in turtlenecks and woolen socks.
I used to be a relatively competent and intelligent person. Suddenly, I find myself the owner of a lemon of a vehicle that is nothing if not a symbol of my poor judgement to all and sundry. For a whole week there, I didn't even recognize my own mode of transportation as I was driving a teeny, tiny rental.
I used to have a sleep schedule that defied the need for alarm clocks. Since last week's power outage, I have found myself awakening at 4:30 or so each morning for no reason other than the eyes have opened. I have reset the clocks, but I cannot seem to reset my brain. Have I become a farmer of some sort? Do I need to plow a field? Feed a chicken? Or perhaps I have morphed into a milkman and need to scoot out to my truck to deliver fine dairy products to those lucky souls who reside on my route?
The lack of sleep has led to odd outbursts of cackling laughter at the most inappropriate of moments. (like when my windshield is struck and cracked by a rouge pebble...) This is new behavior. I do not even recognize myself.
And, don't quote me here, but I think it may be entirely possible that I just spun laceweight yarn on a drop spindle.
Who am I?????????????
Just when I thought all was lost and that my only hope was some form of electric shock therapy, a package arrived. The ever thoughtful Beth, upon learning of a recent issue with my Girl Scout cookie order, gave of her own cookie stash and sent me a little care package. To say that it was well-timed would be an understatement. Sometimes a Sheep needs a little reminder of all that is good in the world and a subtle hint as to who she grew up to be. Gaze upon that which has returned my equilibrium:




Cookies, Pez, a thoughtful card and a headdress that brings it all back.

I actually collect Pez dispensers! That is part of my identity! And I eat cookies!! I remember cookies! Cookies are good! (note to self: eat the cookies in sensible amounts or you will be needing to re-adjust to a larger version of yourself and what may be another identity crisis) Yes, it is all coming back to me now. The path is clear. I understand where I fit in the grand scheme of things. Thank you, so very much, Beth! I know who I am...


I am The Sheep!!!
SA

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Here They Come!

Your Wednesday Bullet Points! They be that which The Sheep gives when she be too busy and too tired to put together anything that makes any sort of sense...

*I just heard the eleven o'clock news teaser. The nice weatherman says, "Another winter storm is bearing down on us." I'll just let that piece of April Information speak for itself.

*I still haven't done my taxes. This has become something of a game for me at this point. Deep down I know it's a mistake. And yet I can't seem to stop playing...

*My night class was rife with hacking, coughing, sneezing and snuffling tonight. It sounded like a T.B. ward. The professor noted that we all seemed rather quiet and wondered if we might be just a bit tired. As it is the week before school vacation, I'm sure that was part of it. But I have to wonder if, perhaps, our "deer in the headlights" demeanor had more to do with the fact that we were all pondering the irony of our getting sick the week before school vacation. I know that's what I was doing.

*My professor really liked my finished socks. Seriously...she is sooooo cool.

*I am unable to count the number of times today I had to say the words, "Yes, I am aware of the current recall on my make of vehicle. I am looking into it. Meanwhile, why don't you all just cross your fingers on my behalf and send up a little prayer that the stupid thing just catches fire and burns like a blazing torch of Sheepie satisfaction. I don't care anymore." However...

*I stopped off on the way home from class to pick up some marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate bars so that I can use the heat from the blaze whip up some s'mores to offer the fire and rescue workers when they arrive on the scene to extinguish both truck and Sheep. One may have reached the point of utter defeat and still maintain a sense of decorum about the whole thing. However...

*I can't have any s'mores. The visit to the doctor last Friday revealed a startling weight gain and a rise in the blood pressure. We're only talking 7 pounds. But we need to be careful here. It is a slippery slope. I blame the motor vehicle manufacturing industry. They drove me to the black and white cookies. (It's not like I could drive myself, after all) I am diligently monitoring the sweets, resolving to do the workouts with a bit more gusto and looking into a lawsuit seeking damages from the car fixy place in order that I might finance new jeans with a more accommodating waistband and a membership at the gym.

*Two of the offending pounds have since been removed. They have gone to live somewhere else. I do not miss them. I do, however, miss the black and white cookies.

*Did I mention the snowstorm?



Have a happy Wednesday, people! I'm off to sip some liquid cold medicine, enjoy a tasty glass of low-fat chocolate milk and throw darts at a picture of my truck.

SA

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

It Was A Bullseye

"Karma One Calling Karma Two, come in K2. Do you read me?"

"Roger, Karma One. I read you loud and clear."

"K2, do you have the target in sight?"

"That's affirmative, K1. Target sighted and coming into range."

"Confirm location, K2. Is the target approaching the Kennebunk exit from the Maine Turnpike? Is this the same location where she experienced a total vehicular breakdown on two separate occasions?"

"Affirmative, Karma One. The target is within range of the designated coordinates."

"Then we're a 'go.' Ready the flaming meteor."

"Um...well, about that."

"Is there some sort of a problem, Karma Two?"

"There are no meteors, flaming or otherwise, in the vicinity. I looked. We won't be able to drop that particular item today."

"That is fine, Karma Two. That possibility was taken into account. We will move to plan B and send down the large piece that broke off the space station."

"Funny thing, there. I requisitioned it, but email was down over the weekend and the tech. guys were on a Trust Retreat in the mountains somewhere. The large piece of the space station never made it."

"What????? Karma Two, this is unacceptable!"

"Hey, it's not like we're Fate, or anything. We're Karma!!! What do you think, we can just pull stuff like that out of the sky?"

"Well, yes. As a matter of fact I do think that is supposed to be within our skill set. Meanwhile, we have a target approaching the designated drop site and nothing to drop! We need to abort!!!"

"Calm down. I've got it under control."

"Nice work, K2! I knew I could count on you. Now, tell me. What've you got? Frozen astronaut poop? A three piece luggage set dislodged from a passing airliner? Killer seagulls?"

"Well...no. It's a pebble."

(There is a clattering sound followed by loud thumps as Karma One rips off his headset and bangs his head on the console in frustration. After a fashion, he replaces his set and resumes transmission.)

"A pebble. You are telling me that you have a pebble."

"Well, it was the best I could do. You try finding flingable stuff on short notice! I figured if I threw it really hard..."

"I have my doubts, here."

"Work with me! She's had almost a full cup of coffee. I figure I can maybe get a decent startle reflex out of her with some good results at this point!"

"Fine, fine. We'll just work with what we have. Proceed with the pebble flinging when ready."

"Pebble ready, sir. Preparing to drop in 3...2...1. And....we have contact! It's a direct hit, sir!!! Right in the middle of the windshield!!! Success!!"

"And do we have a visual reaction from the target, Karma Two?"

"Well, sir. She's...laughing. Really hard. It's sort of chilling, if you want the truth."

"Not exactly what we were hoping for. But I think we need to take what we can get at this point. Write up the report and fax it to me at Karma Headquarters. Karma One, over and out"

"Roger, Karma One. This is Karma Two signing off."



There was a time when a dead hit to my windshield from what may or may not have been a pebble would have been cause for great distress. I might have gazed upon the large chip in my window glass with utter dismay and cursed the heavens for their having turned their loving gaze away from this poor, little Sheepie. I would have been unable to imaging anything worse.

That was before the Great Auto Repair Escapade of '07. I have a new perspective on just how bad things can get from a vehicular standpoint. This is just amusing.

Meanwhile, the school principal has suggested that I simply go back to bed and stay there for the next few years. The custodian, who recently had emergency surgery to remove his exploding appendix, has informed me that he thinks it best if I not stand too close to him. He is afraid that he might incur real misfortune if he is in my vicinity. My special ed. director, who lives fairly close to me, would like me to simply stay off the road this weekend for his family's safety.

But, it's just a chip in the glass. And that's nuthin'! "Twas good for a chuckle at Karma's expense because they really didn't have their game-faces on today and should have just let me go to work un-pebbled. I'm unimpressed.

(note to Karma: This is not to be interpreted as a challenge. Merely an observation. Stop taking everything so darned personally!)

And with my life returning to it's regularly scheduled stupidity, I am ready to face the rest of the week. It is kind of nice when the other shoe actually drops. I'm spending the evening working on my homework for class, thinking about doing the taxes and knitting on a sock. Status quo, here in Sheepland!

Oh, and looking for the name of a good glass guy. I should probably add that to the to-do list...

SA




Monday, April 09, 2007

Ummm...errrr...

Well, I'm stumped. Utterly flummoxed. After two weeks rich with blog fodder that allowed for unlimited, if somewhat grumpy, posting, today brought only this:

I awoke to clear skies and nothing in the way of falling debris, frozen flakes or sparking wires

The vehicle which awaited me was mine own, not a rental.

The aforementioned vehicle started upon the turning of the key then proceed to carry me smoothly to my workplace.

Once at this workplace, an uneventful day proceeded to unfold. There was a little hiccup at the beginning when I was met by the principal who wished to share with me the rather horrific behavior of my students during my absence on Friday, but that was it in the way of real unpleasantness.

At day's end, the vehicle which had so valiantly transported me to school proceeded to repeat the behavior in a northerly direction.

I dropped off a prescription at the pharmacy for pick-up tomorrow, returned to my home where I completed a full hour work-out the likes of which I have not seen in a fortnight.


Where does one go with this???? There was no dramatic vehicular meltdown, no slogging through the rain to retrieve a truck that was not really fixed. I did not have to drive a toy car rental whose only interesting feature was its ability to make the radio play louder when I drove faster. And what does a Sheep do when she is denied her twice daily call to her new BFF, N****** From The Dealership to check on the progress of her ailing truck?

Sure, my blood pressure has gone back down. But what the heck do I talk about???

I suppose this is one of those emergency situations where I'll have to fall back on the knitting. In a frenzied bout of knitterly focus, I managed to knit a hat yesterday. Even I am starting to think that the ongoing parade of socks and scarves is getting just a bit tiring. And I had some rather yummy handspun that I wanted to make into something useful. So, here's a hat for your viewing pleasure:






Glass canisters are not great hat models. They are waif-like and not representative of the average woman's head. And yet they get all the good print jobs. I blame the media...
The yarn is a two ply Finn that came to me from the talented hands of Sheila at
Ewenique Fiber. Finn ranks up there as one of my all-time favorites. It is soft, squishy and spins like a dream. And when it is so beautifully dyed, you get functional as well as purty!
The hat itself came out a bit smaller than intended. But that's OK. I meant it for myself and I have something of a pinhead so all is well. (another thing that went my way...go figure) I'm planning on using up some handspun for hats and tucking them away as holiday gifts so I'll simply adjust the pattern a bit to accommodate the average person's cranial capacity.
That's it. I got nuthin' else. Not that I am wishing for another blast from the Bad Karma Kadets, but maybe tomorrow I'll get a hangnail or something minor that will fuel my bloggy instincts. I haven't done my taxes yet...that could pose a problem or two. And I blew off my homework for class since we were cancelled due to the snowstorm. I'm pretty sure that is going to blow up in my face. Really, we have all sorts of good stuff in the making right around the corner.
But, just for tonight, I think I'm going to revel in a little boredom. Maybe wear my new hat around the house just for kicks...
SA

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Maybe I Can Just Distract Them...

Ummm...here's the thing: It takes a really long time to ply with a spindle. So I can't show you the yarn that I've been spinning. And the sock I just started is but a mere cuff. Not all that exciting, really. I started a hat. But it has a mystery hole in it and that has stalled progress while I figure out what went awry there.
How about I share some shattered limbs with you?
Not mine, silly! How could I be typing if my limbs were all shattered? No. I'm talking about tree limbs. Stay with me. It will all make sense.
Remember when I posted on Thursday and said that I'd woken up with the distinct feeling that something was "wrong?" It turned out that the power was out due to a freak snow storm that hit Maine with all the vim and vigor of a perky cheerleader on espresso and powdered doughnuts. It was a biggie! I was one of the lucky ones who only lost the electrical goodness for twelve hours. Others were still in the dark as of today. There were lines down everywhere, including one that was dangling across the end of my street and making my trip to the doctor Friday morning something of a challenge. There was also a nice, flaming gas leak going on that added another tricky element to the journey. Those pesky emergency evacuations...sheesh!
Things are pretty much back to normal, though. The only exception is the clean up portion of the festivities. The management of my fine condo community has managed to contain the many fallen limbs but, with the exception of the one that fell on my rental car, none have been removed yet. Here is a little of what Mother Nature decided to toss around outside my bedroom window:
I think this is the stuff that was hitting my window and the cause of my awakening at 4:30 in the god-forsaken morning.

Or was it this stuff? Who can tell...it all looks the same after a while.


And this is why I won't be napping under any shady trees for the foreseeable future.

That is just a small sample of the pine carnage that is strewn about my complex. But, you get the idea. There's a lot of toothpicks in the making laying around out there. But it is over and I can say that I lived through the Great Storm Of April '07. It was good for the knitting and sitting and napping if not for the pine tree population. And Hysterical Mind was quite thrilled at the prospect of saying a hearty, "I told you so" to all and sundry who pooh-poohed her excessive purchasing of candles and batteries in all shapes and sizes for just this eventuality. Now we get on with the clean-up.

Because there is the possibility of another one this week...

SA

Saturday, April 07, 2007

This After School Special Brought To You By The Sheep

Maybe it's the "teacher" part of me, but I often like to sit back and think about what I've learned in certain situations. I generally do this after the more unpleasant events. I think that the idea of my having come out of the whole mess with a little something positive keeps me from climbing the nearest water tower or other high structure and flinging rotten fruit and old shoes at hapless passers-by.

At least it's worked to date. One never really knows...

At any rate, with this most miserable of weeks complete, my finally-repaired truck back home in its own little parking spot and the Maine's massive storm clean up well underway, I have found a little time to reflect on the Week That Was and come up with these as things to file under "Lessons Learned:"

* I have learned that it is beyond stupid to ever utter the phrase, "well, at least it can't get any worse." Of course it can get worse. In fact, if Fate hears you saying something along those lines, it will attempt to prove it to you. For example, you may have have already spent an ungodly amount of money to get your truck fixed and still break down on Monday morning during your commute. You may have had to take it to the dealership for repair and rent a tiny, little toy car to get to work so you can assist on a field trip. You may find yourself sitting on a bus with eight million fifth graders following said field trip, gamely playing a rousing round of Type Numbers Into A Calculator Then Turn It Upside-Down To See What Words You May Have Made while the girls play with your cool pink cell phone and "discover" the camera feature. You may think, as you are trying to make the word "pig" per the request of a student, that this is as bad as your life can get. You will be wrong.



And I couldn't even make the word. All I got was "hig."
*I learned that everyone I know is an expert on vehicle repair. Once they learned that I was having transportation issues, they all chimed in with a variety of opinions and judgements whether I asked for them or not. As I was dealing with this for a full week, this gave everyone plenty of time to take their turn.
*I learned that most people really do mean well. Their pronouncements with regard to what I should be doing now, should have done in the first place and should be doing in the future with regard to my truck repair were all well-meant. And one in ten or so actually had something helpful to offer. It was worth taking the time to listen. The only exception to this are the comedians who asked what type of car I drive and, upon learning the make, laughed and said, "well, there's your problem!" They are just jerks.
*I learned that there are nice people at the garage who want to help you. One in particular who, when she saw the bill climbing to yet another level on Friday, went to her manager on my behalf and managed to negotiate $400.00 in parts at no cost. She also took the rental of the toy car off the bill. That goes beyond mere niceness and edges into sainthood. (And should be giving you some indication of just how much this little adventure cost me overall.)
*I learned that I like sitting up just a bit higher than the other drivers and that I will probably never be able to tolerate driving a compact car again. I also learned that I have a lengthy learning curve with regard to how to turn on the wipers. Despite the foul weather, I never really figured it out for any length of time in the rental.
*I learned that even a simple Feather and Fan stitch is too much at certain points in life. It is better to just knit stockinette socks and hats when you are running low in the luck department.
I also learned a lot about perspective. Sure, it was a bad week. It was also a very, very expensive week. But, this morning I was able to drive myself to my favorite little convenience store down the street where they always call you, "hon" or "dear" and you don't mind because they do it so darned well. While there, I noted the board over the window and, thinking that it had taken a hit during the storm, commented upon it. I learned that they had been broken into last night. Today's clerk was the rough 'n gruff one that we all love anyway. And to see her near tears was pretty much heartbreaking.
In her words, "We've been here such a long time. This just feels so personal...really personal."
I'm not saying that I'm going to stop complaining. No one would recognize me if I did that, for heaven's sake! They'd think I had taken a hard blow to the noggin or was a replacement pod-type person. Either way, I'd end up in the back of a van heading for some sort of treatment facility. But I think that I will chalk it all up as a learning experience, be grateful for the things that actually didn't go wrong and call it a day.
And set aside the Feather and Fan piece. That is just asking for trouble.
SA