Thursday, May 31, 2007

Welcome To Maine

This post is dedicated and specifically addressed to the nice man who inadvertently got in the wrong lane entering the Maine Turnpike this afternoon. He needs my help. I must take time out of my busy schedule, set aside the napping and complaining about having the Monkey Pox to assist him in better understanding how we do things around these parts. Fiber content to follow. I thank you for your patience.

Dear Guy In The White Car Who Meant Well And Was Just Trying To Be Honest,

Hi there and thank you for choosing the Great State Of Maine for your weekend get-away. We surely do appreciate your tourist dollars and how you give us something a little different to look at on the way home from work or shopping. But, you would do well to study up a bit before trying to do something tricky like get on the toll highway. Clearly you need a little tutorial before attempting this feat again. Let me see what I can do to help you out.

Maine is on the EZ Pass system. This is a handy way for those of us who commute regularly to avoid having to stop for that pesky ten seconds that it takes to hand change to the toll guy. We can use any lane we darned well please because we have paid for the privilege. Well, assuming, that is, that we have a plan that covers the entire Turnpike. Which I do not. And this has led to some problems at times, I will admit, but we are talking about you not me right now so let's just stay focused, shall we?

Now, where was I? Ah, yes! EZ Pass... Now, the lanes are pretty clearly marked. The one with the giant sign that is bigger than my entire condo which says, "EZ Pass only, all others prohibited" is for us. We are the Chosen Ones. But, I can understand how you might miss it. You do, after all, have to look up slightly. It's an easy mistake. And the Maine scenery being what it is, I can certainly understand how you could get distracted and all. I'm sure that this is the explanation for your having found yourself in the lane that is designated for those of us with the electronic pass to freedom. I did pause to wonder, though, how one with a New York license plate has never once been confronted with an EZ Pass situation...

I applaud your honesty in refusing to pass through the toll gate to the open road that is the Maine Turnpike. You are truly a gentleman of the Olde School who does not like to take advantage of the taxpayers here in our lovely state. Very thoughtful of you.

But, your decision to stop rather than go created something of a problem for those of us where were very, very tired after a full day of teaching, an unexpected long meeting after school and the need to purchase the bribes for the children who managed to behave themselves for most of this week. We were kind of expecting to just drive through the magic scanner thingie and be on our way. We were unprepared for your brake lights. We were even less prepared when you decided to back up and try to do the right thing by going to a regular toll lane. The seven of us who were behind you were left to back up frantically and take on something of an "every man for himself" sort of mentality. Again, I see how you meant well. But, to say that your plan backfired would be an understatement. Big time...

May I offer a suggestion? It may sound radical, but I can assure you that it does, in fact, work. Next time you are in this position, why don't you just drive through? Now, bear with me here...I know that this sounds like a caper of the most nefarious sort. But, I can assure you that the Maine State Police are really rather busy and that they are not monitoring every single toll booth. And, if it is really bothering you, you can call the Maine Turnpike Authority at your earliest convenience, confess your sin and offer to make it right. They will be eager to help you. You don't even want to know how many times I goofed and went through the wrong lane back when I was driving a rental during my car repair woes. Trust me. As one who was raised in the fine tradition of guilt as a means for ensuring better behavior in the future, it is easier to live with the knowledge that you have snuck onto the highway than you might think.

I also know (by virtue of the fact that I work with someone who was recently in this situation) that it is far less expensive to pay a ticket for accidentally going through the wrong lane than it is to be charged with obstructing traffic. Or causing an accident. That is rather expensive as well.

So, dear sir, to recap: Your intentions? Noble. Your actions? Maddening and rather dangerous. The solution? Suck it up, drive through and deal with the guilt that will plague you for far less time than you think. A better option? Look up. There is a sign that will tell you which lane is open to you.

And, as always, I hope you enjoy your visit. Please feel free to roam our state to your heart's content. Just see if you can't do it while going forward. Backward isn't working for you. Or me. Or anyone else...

Best wishes for a lovely vacation,
The Sheep


When not advising the tourists on the best way to handle dangerous situations like going through a tollbooth, I sometimes like to pick up my mail. And I'm so glad that I took a minute to do that today. Lookee what came for little ol' me from Wooly Wonka!!!






New spindle, new fiber...does it get any better????? Methinks not.
I placed this order on Sunday. Got it today. If you factor in that this package came almost from the other side of the country and that Monday was a holiday, you have some idea just how quickly Anne ships out those orders. I immediately began spinning up some of the shetland that Cathy sent me a while back when I first started showing signs of becoming all sickly and stuff. I do love having sample packs with which to play...the idea I'm working on is a little combination of a thinly spun silk/alpaca blend in deep dark blue and a thick and thin silvery shetland. Plied together, I think I will have something almost boucle-ish! And if it doesn't work then we simply un-ply and try something new. Either way, I've been playing with the spindles and this is going to make for a good day.
That's me...giving of my vast knowledge base to others and optimistically experimenting with the fibers. And, yes, I am back on the narcotic cough medicine again.
Why do you ask?
SA

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

WNBP!!!!

Well, I seem to have gotten my "what-the-heck-day-is-this?" syndrome under control and am ready to do my regular Wednesday Night Bullet Post. If it isn't Wednesday and I'm not back on anything resembling a schedule that fits in with the rest of the world, please don't tell me. Just nod, smile and talk about me after I leave. Let me cling to the belief that I have some semblance of control, here...

*I set the alarm ten minutes earlier today. I decided that I needed the extra time in the morning to prepare myself for the day. It would have been a good idea. But, for some reason, those extra ten minutes seemed far greater than the sum of their parts as I strolled about my home, blithely assuming that I had all the time in the world. Ten extra minutes is naught but ten extra minutes. Used well, they can ensure that you leave the house with your cell phone, a healthy lunch and wearing shoes. Spent lolling about on the couch checking your email and congratulating yourself on getting up so much earlier simply makes you later than you would have been had you just gotten up at the usual time. And also seems to lead to a great deal of bad language accompanied by arm flapping. (for the record, this doesn't help matters, but it often seems like the thing to do under these types of circumstances)

*I am beginning to accept that, perhaps, starting back on the workouts might have been something of a judgement error on my part. I was feeling like something of a big, fat, whiny baby over the whole pneumonia thing and wondering if I wasn't just looking for attention and an excuse to lay around eating bon bons. Well...I am a big, fat whiny baby, that's true. But, I probably should have waited another week. I did thirty minutes on the bike and fifteen minutes with the weights tonight (this is a bit less than my usual routine) after I realized that I had an opening in my busy schedule today. Now I'm all achy and had a low fever earlier tonight.. It was a very, very low fever and nothing to worry about. But it seems odd to have any type of fever when you are taking antibiotics. Thankfully, it went back down but I guess I should maybe take it easy for the rest of the week...

*The past couple of days have been just lovely. Nice warm weather...and I'm so very glad it is going to rain tomorrow. My students are just itching for summer vacation and have lost all patience with me and my attempts at educating them per state and federal law. They do not care that I am contractually obligated to provide them with a certain number of days filled with all that I have to teach them. They would rather be outside playing Kick The Can or torturing hapless wildlife. Rainy days tend to go a bit better. It sort of takes the sting out of being stuck with me for six straight hours. Frankly, I can see their point. I'm not all that thrilled to be stuck there with me either.

*For the record, I have twelve more days of school left. This is a good thing. And I refuse to allow the fact that I have about ten million things to get done before the closing bell take away a single ounce of my joy. The workload may impact on the blogging just a little bit, though. Bear with me for the next few weeks, 'kay?

*The good thing about summer vacation is that I will have more time for the knitting and spinning. Those of you who have just about had it with the endless parade of socks and scarves that I've been posting about with all the pride of a practiced lace knitter can look forward to more variety in your blog viewing options. I'm not saying that they will be "good" projects. There will be an endless parade of poorly executed dishcloths and vests. But it will be a change in the scenery and everybody needs a change every now and again, right?

*The Very Scary Automatic Air Freshener seems to have finally died a natural death. No more will I have to watch the Smaller, Less Fluffy Kitty shoot five feet in the air every nine minutes when it lets loose its blast of chemical freshness. I never did muster up the courage to face it head on and risk a cloud of air freshener in the face in order that I might simply shut it off. It was just too intimidating. But, come on! An air freshener that frightens the household pets to the point where you actually need an air freshener seems like something of a sinister plot to me. I wasn't going to tangle with this tool of the devil!


And there you have it: your weekly dose of the random. Now I must bid you all good evening and go ponder tomorrow's alarm clock setting. Do I go with earlier or later? Which would result in more of the morning efficiency?

For the record, this will not be an issue 13 school days from now.

SA

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Better Judgement?

It is so very, very rare to find myself of one mind on any issue. Hysterical Mind and Rational Mind simply never can find that middle ground that would allow me to follow one path. The last time I can recall them joining forces was when they decided that we should not travel down to Rhinebeck in the ailing truck for fear that we might break down on the side of the road or spontaneously combust and take out a busload of nuns delivering hot meals to the needy. That would have taken much of the fun out of the fiber festival...

Mostly, though, they just argue with one another over the best course of action. This is why I never get anything done. By the time one or the other has swayed me to their way of thinking, the opportunity to act has passed or I've forgotten why I cared so much to begin with. Or I get hungry.

Today's input from the two halves of my gray matter was remarkably in sync, though. Sure, their reasons were rather different. But they both stated strongly and for the record that I should bail on the workout today. They were of the opinion that I would do better to simply come home, put on my jammies and have a little frozen yogurt while watching afternoon cartoons.

Rational Mind, being somewhat more logical, put it this way:

We have pneumonia. We are are feeling much better, but remain rather tired. Falling asleep this afternoon while working with a student in one of his regular education classes is a clear indication of this fatigue. The strong possibility that we may have actually snored during this time period is another indicator. We would do better to wait one more week and go back to the exercise routine in a stronger and more "oxygenated" place.

Hysterical Mind, although of the same opinion, was a bit less logical:

Are you crazy??!!!! We have the Monkey Pox!!!!! Just look at us! We are all sallow and tired. The least little bit of exertion is going to send us spiraling back down to the depths of illness and further sallowness! This is not a good look for us...we need to rest. We need to recuperate. We need chocolate!!! Yeah, that's it!!! Chocolate!!! And, if you recall, we had the hives this weekend, as well. Those hives probably indicate that we are having some sort of medication reaction!!! Sure, you can go ahead and think that it is a wool allergy from all the spinning, but you don't know that!!!!! Do you want to spend what may be our last moments on this planet all sweaty and gross??!!! Or with hives??? No!!! We should just lie perfectly still, monitor our pulse and respiration then see if we can't make our peace just in case the worst should come to worst!!!!

I reviewed everybody's thoughts on the matter, weighed my options then made my decision based upon the input of another who lives in this household: the waistband on my jeans. Mr. Waistband spent the better part of the day complaining about how both of his halves should be meeting somewhere around my belly button and questioning why this is such a problem today. Mr. Waistband also noted that we will only have time for one workout this week due to meetings and such. He, by virtue of his having spent the day digging into my belly and sides, won the argument handily.

I did the workout. I knit upon the Socks of Summer while I pedaled my little exercise bike and tried to ignore Hysterical Mind and Rational Mind as they complained about the difficulty of this particular salute to fitness and put me through every version of "I told you so" that they could think of. They did not make it fun. It was rather grueling. I hated every single minute of it. I huffed, I puffed and every muscle ached. But I did it.

Good thing, too. Both HM and RM seemed to want some of the nice frozen yogurt for dessert tonight. And neither would rest once we found a rich vein of chocolate sauce running through the center. We mined it thoroughly.

Now they both want credit for the decision to do the workout today. It is over and we are all full of chocolate sauce so they are suddenly feeling rather virtuous about the whole thing. But, I know the truth...

The waistband runs the household.

SA

Monday, May 28, 2007

On Your Mark, Get Set...

...Go!!!

Or not. This weekend marks the beginning. Those of us who live in the vicinity of sand, surf and cotton candy must now prepare for the onslaught. I do love the summer. Mostly because, as a teacher, I get to take it off. And, since Job #2 is going away, it looks like I'll be taking my first real summer vacation in years.

But, there is a downside. Traffic will increase as will my encounters with stupidity in the grocery store. I hate to use the word, "stupidity." It sounds all cranky and demeaning to others. And no one really means to hamper my shopping in any purposeful sense. It's just that I am a magnet for stupid occurrences and, with the aisles containing about three hundred more people per square foot, the odds of something ridiculous happening increase exponentially.

But, I'm open to the idea that summer can be a good thing and embrace it with all the gusto of a golfer in a plaid pants store. (note: golfers of the better dressed set need not send hate mail. I am just trying to come up with a good metaphor and my literary fount seems to be a bit stopped up at the moment) The long Memorial Day weekend has given me a little taste of what is to come and I'm gearing up. Even my beverages have that festive air about them:




It's what all the smart Mountain Dew bottles are wearing this season!
I saw these little bottle/can cozies in the grocery store and just couldn't resist! Who doesn't love an Hawaiian shirt???? (note: golfers of the better dressed set may now roll their eyes and question how I could suggest that my fashion sense is better than that of the plaid pants wearers. I completely understand the reaction) It keeps my Mountain Dew protected from the warmer air and my hands don't get all soggy with the condensation. It was an investment, really.
Along with my realization of the season came a little of the summer heat. This would normally curtail the knitting somewhat and send me scampering to the wheel for some spinning action. However, after yesterday's marathon session with the rambouillet, we seem to be having something of a reaction to that particular fiber. A couple of mini hives made an appearance last night and again this morning. It could be anything from the antibiotics I'm currently eating like candy, the humidity or any number of things in my environment. But, I'm starting to see a little bit of a pattern in these reactions and am beginning to suspect the lanolin. Rambouillet is a wee bit more greasy than other fibers with which I've worked. I noticed the same reaction with the Lincoln I was knitting up a few months ago and that was one that I knew I hadn't washed as well as I could have. I opted to put Mr. Rambo away for a little bit and return to it later. I'm something of a "face toucher" and that's where I noticed the hives. I'll have to make sure that the hands are washed and that I limit the spinning time, I suppose. Too bad. I was just getting the hang of this particular fiber and starting to really enjoy spinning it. Never fear, though. It is still more than workable and I fully anticipate being able to finish it up and even knit the pattern that came with it.
And I guess I'll just have to have a few other projects in the works to keep my days filled in between rambouillet sessions.
::sigh::
I suppose I'll just have to break down and do a bit more of the spindling.
::sighing again, loudly for effect::
Good thing I just ordered another spindle...I had to force myself to do it. I mean, why would I want another spindle??? (if you aren't catching the irony here then you aren't really trying) But, I guess I'll just have to suck it up and learn to love it. There is no other choice.
And if I happened to order a little bit more fiber to spin upon it then I suppose we will just have to deal with it. Summer is here, after all.
One must adjust to the season. And I don't look all that great in Hawaiian shirts...
SA

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Gimme Space!!!!

There is an imminent disaster waiting in the wings over here at Sheepie's House Of Unfinished Projects and Monkey Pox. And, when it finally comes to pass, I am going to look like the bad guy. There will be great outcries on behalf of the injured party or parties and I will be painted in the blackest shades of black. But, I'm stating clearly and for the record here that I am doing my best to avoid the tragedy. However, I am in my early forties and not nearly so limber or quick of reflexes as I used to was. There may be no getting around it.

For the past week, no matter where I want to place a foot, there seems to be a cat already occupying the space. They may not have been there a nanosecond prior to my arrival. But one or both of them will be there by the time my cute, strappy sandal hits the carpet. I swear to you, I half expect to see my feline roommates when I'm shopping at the grocery store. (In my mind's eye, they are pushing a tiny, little cart filled with Meow Mix and salmon fillets...and talking about me.) To date, I have not stepped on anyone. But that has been more due to luck than skill on any of our parts. Any day now, we will have a bruised paw. Or I will tumble ignominiously to the floor after some comical ballet involving my balancing precariously on one hoof while trying to find a clear space to put the other. This shouldn't be all that hard, but at least one of the felines is easily panicked and tends to move from safe spot to safe spot, thereby preventing me from returning to the security of a two-footed stance.

Like I said...it's only a matter of time.

I've been home a bit more lately and I guess we're all just getting in each other's space. But summer vacation is fast approaching and, if we don't work out who belongs where sometime soon, I think we may have some problems. I simply fail to see how, once I am home on a daily basis for a couple of months, we can manage to continue in our uninjured states.

I just wanted to get that on the record. I am doing my best. Please don't hold me in utter disdain when the one fluffy kitty or another is boo-hooing over her smooshed paw. I'm going to feel badly enough...

Frankly, it has seemed safer to find an acceptable activity and just stay put for as long as possible. Having finished the second of the Sweet, Stripey Socks, I decided to park myself behind the wheel and make some serious progress on the Rambouillet from Wooly Wonka. And, once forced to attend to the task for an extended period, I managed to spin the first half.





The Results Of Enforced Sitting.
Just to be on the safe side, I also started The Socks Of Summer. Being mildly incapacitated with the Monkey Pox/Pneumonia at the moment (but improving rapidly, thanks!) I opted to go for the comfort knitting and subject you all to yet another pair of boring stockinette socks. But, the yarn is really cool and was dyed by none other than the famous Samurai Knitter herself.

Let its sheer beauty entertain you in order that you might be less bored by my uninspired knitting.
I promise to do something with a bit more "oomph" once school is out for the year, 'kay? Right now, I just need something mindless and instant in the gratification department. Something I can't screw up too badly...
'Cuz if I throw it across the room I'll have to go and get it. And I will step on a cat.
SA

Saturday, May 26, 2007

I'm Supposed To Be In Bed Right Now.

I even promised Mommy Sheep that I would refrain from writing anything tonight so that I could tuck my tired, Monkey Poxed self into bed right when I got home. The Sheep family had a lovely time at the cookout. Uncle Sheep The Elder, who has been unwell and off his feet for the last few months, recovered and was able to make the trip from New York with Cousin Sheep. Uncle Sheep, The Younger along with Auntie Sheep, Newly College Graduated Cousin Sheep and her boyfriend also made the trip. They saw fit to bring along some of this Sheep's favorite lemon squares and these gooey chocolate things that have changed my life and made me want to become a song writer in order that I might compose some sort of anthem to them. Also present was one rather spunky 8 year old grandson of Mommy Sheep's cousin (Which would make him some sort of relation of the "second" variety and umpty times removed, but I've never really managed to get a handle on the actual titles of the distantly related. Still, he is a cutie and I'm just going to call him, "cousin") This little feller took a likin' to his older Sheepie relation and, after asking me if I was in college, is now my favorite relative. I was happy to wile away the visit playing cards and having tic-tac-toe tournaments.

I was a bit tuckered out when all was said and done, though. So I really did promise that I would go home and go to bed. I am, after all, a fragile flower who must take to my fainting couch after such raucous and rousing good times.

But, I just had to stop by the old blog and put up a picture. Finished Objects haven't exactly been plentiful of late. If I didn't just post the picture before hitting the hay, I feared that I would be awake all night just thinking about how surprised everyone would be when faced with proof that I do actually still knit every once in a while. This would not be good for my Monkey Pox recovery. I could relapse from the exhaustion and have to go to some sort of rehabilitation facility for wheezy Sheepies. No...it was better to just pop online and get the picture up in order that I might avoid an extended period garbed in unflattering hospital wear. Take a look!




The Sweet Stripey Socks are finished!
And now I can sleep the sleep of the just. For I, The Sheep, have proven that I am capable of finishing one or two of the knitting projects. And, as if that wasn't enough...
the stripes match!!!!!!!!!
SA

Thursday, May 24, 2007

TNBP...just go with it!

I'm a mess this week. With this latest round of the Monkey Pox raging all over my Sheepie self, I seem to have had some difficulty figuring out what day is what. I completely forgot that yesterday was Wednesday! (it was, wasn't it? I've got a great deal of codeine coursing through my system these days and don't even know my own phone number any more, really.) How about I do a Thursday version for you? Will that work? I'm feeling a bit random right about now. I think I can pull it off. Lets give it a shot:

*Thanks, everybody, for all the nice "get well" wishes and knitting suggestions. It meant a lot. I was feeling a bit low after getting the pneumonia diagnosis, truth be told. I was hoping to avoid this.

*Today was a bit better, though. I didn't cough nearly as much, which is nice. The down side of the whole affair is that I seem to have Monkey Pox with a side of sinus infection. My right ear continues to block up after a day of exercising my vocal chords "discussing" the finer points of appropriate behavior with my students. Not only does it block up, but it clears itself with this rather horrid "popping" and "squeaking." I wouldn't mind so much if it didn't kind of hurt. But I'm back on antibiotics now so I suspect that I am kicking its little arse even as I loll about on the couch. Ha!!!

*Speaking of antibiotics, here's a little tip for my doctor and her staff: It would be extremely helpful if you would give me a heads-up when you call in prescriptions for me. I knew that there was a nice little bottle of cough syrup waiting for me behind the pharmacy counter. I asked for that and was going to pick it up tomorrow. However, if you are of the opinion that I need to go back on antibiotics, it is more likely that I will actually take them if you include me in the discussion. And, for that matter, it would also be nice if you told me that you had scheduled a chest x-ray for me. It is rather important that my chest be there if an x-ray is planned. It is a good thing I called today...this is how I "keep up." Had I not thought to give you a jingle I would be blissfully unaware of my sickly state, the lifesaving medications required for its curing and where I need to be to get pictures of it. I am sick. I have a full calendar right now what with the resting and coughing. I need advance notice if I am going to stay on top of anything else...particularly those things I am paying you to take care of!

*Ignore that last rant. I love the staff at my doctor's office. They are wonderful and put up with a great deal of nonsense on my part. I am not what one would call a "model patient." I am just a bit grumpy with the Monkey Pox and all. They are a part time operation and really do manage to give me full time care. Except on those rare occasions when they don't. And it is generally badly timed...

*Summer seems to have hit the great state of Maine with a great big wallop. It is going to be somewhere around 92 degrees tomorrow. Which is hot. I so look forward to the time spent cramped in a small classroom with ten sweating children who do not want to be there. (few Maine schools come with air conditioning) It will be a little slice of heaven...assuming that heaven is a sort of stinky place where no one will do what you ask them to do.

*In addition to the Monkey Pox phone call yesterday, I also got a call from my boss at Job #2. I am soon to not have a job #2. The head office is closing our branch. It is complicated and convoluted. And very sad. Our doors will close at the end of next month. There are many families who will not have time to find other places for their supervised visits with their children. Others will be unable to finish the parenting education programs that the court ordered. It makes me so very glad that I put the time and energy into all that promotional literature last summer. You remember...the ones that they opted to leave in my incapable hands when they had a graphic designer sitting up there at the main office twiddling her thumbs. There may be some interesting developments to come out of this if my boss and I can pull it all together. Or not...we haven't really had much time to flesh the whole thing out. Either way, though, it is entirely possible, that I will be suddenly flush with various office supplies. I am feeling a need for more Post-its. And maybe some nice new pens....and a photocopier. (that last one is probably a bit much. I'm pretty sure I'd get caught with that one.)

*I did get a bit of happy news yesterday, though. It seems that I got an A in my Wednesday night class! Now, there is really very little you can do to screw up an A in a graduate level class if you do the work. But the effort I put into this wasn't really my best. I knit some fairly nice socks during the course of the semester, though. So I guess I can be happy on two fronts even if I'm not really convinced that I deserved the A for my work in this class. I guess it pays to have a knitter for a professor...

*We are now cruising towards a three day weekend here in the states. My Monkey Pox and I will be spending the majority of it lounging on the couch, reading and doing a bit of the knitting. There will be a short detour over to Mommy and Daddy Sheep's house for a "little" family gathering that will include most of Mommy Sheep's side of the family equation. I promise to keep it low-key so those of you who tend to worry about a sickly Sheep on the loose need not fear. Mommy Sheep is nothing if not diligent in her monitoring of her little lambs. I will be in good hands, I assure you. And I promise to rest up all of Sunday and Monday.


That's it for tonight, folks. I am carrying a full load of prescription cough syrup and any further ramblings would probably include odd things like obscure (and incorrectly recalled) song lyrics or the combination to the lock on my diary. I think it best for all concerned if I leave it at this for now. I'll be going into the soon-to-be-closed office of job #2 tomorrow night, but will be sure to catch up with you all on Saturday before or after the grand family gathering.

Enjoy the week's end!

SA

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Not Entirely Unexpected...

Here is a little transcript of the call made to my doctor's office from my classroom at 11:00 this very morning. Voice The First is mine. Voice The Second is that of My Favorite Medical Assistant:

Sheepish Annie: Hi, there...Sheepie here! I just wanted to check in on those chest x-rays I had done last Friday. You know...did they get my good side? Were my eyes closed? Do they make me look fat? I can schedule a re-shoot if need be. I simply won't have a fat x-ray in my file.

My Favorite Medical Assistant: Oh, hi there, Sheepie! Glad you called actually. Your report is right here but it got stuck at the bottom of the pile like it always does and the doctor hasn't read it yet. Why don't I just pop it right up here on the top and...oh. Um...by any chance did the doctor give you, oh, I don't know...maybe some sort of antibiotic?

SA: Why, yes! Yes she did. I just finished my five day course of Zithromax and it is still happily coursing through my system as we speak! Such a nice antibiotic!

MFMA: Well, that's good. And, just out of curiosity, how are you feeling right about now?

SA: Funny you should ask. I've got this weird thing going on where my right ear blocks up and it sounds like I'm yelling. Except I'm not. It just sounds like it because my voice is coming from inside me and it's louder in there. Then it pops and I can hear normally again. Isn't that funny?

MFMA: Yeah, fascinating. And your chest? How does your chest feel?

SA: (now sensing where this conversation is going and becoming wary) I'm coughing. But it's not so bad really. It is actually quite bearable. And if I hold my breath, I can make it stop. Nothing to worry about, if the truth be told. I'm doing great!!!!

MFMA: Really? That's what you're going with?

SA: Well...I'm a little tired. OK, maybe more than a "little tired." I'm a lot tired. And I'm coughing all the time. And my knees hurt. But I don't think that has anything to do with what we're talking about...

MFMA: Yeah. I thought so. The doctor hasn't read the report yet. But here's the thing...


And the conversation progressed in the manner that I knew it would when I first called last week begging for an antibiotic. I had held out some hope over the last few days. The worst of the symptoms had responded so well to the bad bug medicine. I wondered if I had, perhaps, jumped the gun on my little self-diagnosis. Maybe I was just overreacting...

But, like My Favorite Medical Assistant said, I should have trusted my first instincts. They were really pretty accurate. You only have to get it once and you will never again forget the symptoms. I knew. And now it is confirmed.

I have the Monkey Pox again. For those of you who do not have The Sheep's Guide To Diseases That She Has Renamed To Suit Her Desire For Funnier Illnesses, that would be pneumonia. Same as last year, right side and in the middle. I just managed to catch it a bit earlier this time. Which is good...but it still isn't what I wanted to hear. And yet, I knew.

So, I have let the good doctor know that I will probably be requesting a refill on the prescription cough medicine. I have lived without it for a few days because I was being stubborn and insisting that I didn't need it. But I do. I need to sleep. I am very tired. That, in and of itself, was the biggest clue. I'm not one of those spunky, perky types who is just bubbling over with the energy, but I can generally make it through a day of teaching without falling asleep at my desk.

I have accepted the situation for what it is, set aside the workout for today, taken my cough syrup and tried to see the bright side. I have to sit for a while. I can go to work and I can do pretty much all the stuff I need to do to keep Chez Sheep running. But there won't be any energy left over for much else. Since I caught Monkey Pox Part Deux early this time, I don't anticipate the lengthy recovery I had last year. But I'll be sitting for a while. It's really all you can do.

And if you have to sit, you might as well knit. One or two projects might actually get done over here at the Convalescent Home! This could really all be for the best.

Any project suggestions out there? You know, things you can knit while on prescription cough medication? I might be here on the couch for a while...

SA

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Seasonal Thinking.

I woke up this morning with a singular and deeply disturbing thought. It was not the kind of thing that usually comes out of my brain. I'm usually thinking about chocolate or pizza. Or shoes... But this morning's first thought of the day (and the second, and the third...) was this:

I wish it was winter.

Shocking, right? I don't particularly care for winter, overall. It comes with a heaping helping of cold and a side of snow. These are not things that I really love. You have to dig your car out of the snow. And the cold makes my skin all dry and crackly. Nope. Not something I love. Except that, with snow, comes snow days. I've been teaching for nigh on twenty years and I still do love me a good snow day. You wake up thinking, "darn it all to heck, I have to go to school today" and then the TV says that you can stay in your jammies all day. Nice.

After two weeks of being sick, I'm tired. Yes, I feel much better. But I am tired. And there are no snow days in May. Last year we had some Flood Days. But we aren't going to get those this year. Which is good, really, since we ended up going to school for five extra days last year and those were very, very, very long days indeed. But I am tired and wishing for a snow day.

And then I realized something: There's a long holiday weekend coming my way!!! This is a good thing! Three whole days...of weekend!!! I can survive three more days of toil if I know that there is a little reward at the end of it all. I know I can. But, I was still needing a little more of the motivation if I was going to keep this energy level up for the next month. Whatever would a weary Sheepie do to distract herself from her tiredness until school closes for the year?

Wait! I seem to recall purchasing some yarn from The Samurai Knitter back in the cold, cold days of February. And, I also seem to remember thinking how it reminded me of fresh cut grass in the summertime! That is a little something that might give me the love of the season! It took some digging through the yarn stash, but the skein was located and duly wound. It is ready and waiting for me to finish up the sweet striped sockie. When those are done, I will cast on for the next pair of foot coverings...





Behold: The Socks Of Summer!!!
Let the season's knitting begin. I am ready!
SA

Monday, May 21, 2007

Thinking It Through...

You know...something occurred to me yesterday. I'd spent the entire weekend (and then some) spinning because of the fun, but judgement impairing prescription cough medicine. I can spin without really thinking too much. Knitting seemed like a bad idea. You know, what with the counting and keeping all the stitches on the needles and everything. It seemed like a responsible decision.


Upon reflection, though, it occurred to me that the second of the sweet, striped little sockies already had a number of errors to its name. The heel is sloppy. There is a weird rogue thread dangling around in there somewhere and I can't for the life of me figure out from whence it came. It seems attached on two ends...did I drop a stitch? If so, why do I have the right number of stitches? And the gauge is off by more than a smidgen. Which makes the fact that I knit the cuff longer than I usually do exceptionally tragic. These are not socks that will ever fall down. These are socks that may result in the amputation of my feet following the loss of circulation below mid-calf.


But, I matched the stripe pattern so we are ignoring these little issues...


At any rate, if these errors could be made while I was in full possession of all sock related faculties, why was I not just taking up the needles and knitting away? It's not like anything else could go wrong. And you know what? I breezed past the gussets and into the foot with nary an issue. Figures. I wasted a whole weekend of sock knitting time. Or did I?


I actually made great progress on the spinning. I had so many nice comments on the spindling results from yesterday and wish I could take full credit. This is, however, another one of those times where the fiber really makes the yarn. And I didn't even pick it out. No...this came to me as part of Cathy's little care package of fun fiber samples. The lady has taste! There was really very little I could have done to make it un-pretty. It is so soft and sparkly and has been just a joy to spin.


Before I sign off the for evening and return to the socks and spindle, I wanted to let my two original (and imaginary) spokespeople for my Relay For Life Sponsorship Drive give a little update on where we are with prizes that are available for the winning should you happen to be the lucky name drawn from the folks who donate to my pledge site. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you....Hysterical Mind and Rational Mind!



Hysterical Mind: (jumping up and down and wriggling a little bit) Omigod, omigod, omigod!!!!!!!



Rational Mind: What are you doing?



HM: C'mere, c'mere, c'emere!!!!!!!! You won't believe this....c'mere!!!! Now!!!!! Here!!!



RM: Hold on, hold on. I just need to finish getting our lunch ready for tomorrow. Honestly, if I left it up to you we'd be eating ice cubes and plastic wrap for lunch every day.



HM: (trembling just a bit at this point and grinning maniacally) NO! Come. Here. Now!!! You gotta see, gotta see, gotta see!!!! This is so freakin' awesome!! It's soooooo cool. C'mere, c'mere, c'mere....uh oh.



RM: What?



HM: I think I just peed a little bit. No, wait...it's ok. But you gotta see this! Lookit what Susan sent us for two more prizes in our drawing!!! See? See? See? Remember when we told her about how were giving away one of her gift certificates as a prize??? Lookit what she sent!!! LOOK, I SAID!!!!!!



RM: Wow. Double wow. I may have just peed a little bit, myself. Those are beautiful! Should we show the nice people?



HM: No. I want one. Just show them one. I'm keeping the other one.



RM: No, you are not. Show the people the two new prizes. Two. Not one. Two. You can't keep one. These are prizes that people might win if we draw their names from the list of sponsors. This is how we are going to cure cancer.



HM: Oh, yeah. The cancer...we hate cancer. OK. But, can I have a milkshake tonight?



RM: Yes. Yes you may. You just need to go use the bathroom first. You take care of that and I'll show the nice new prizes:











Soooooo pretty!!!!!!! And one of them could be yours!


SA

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Meme...and more me!

Sheepie has been tagged. And tagged again. And then some! It seems that there is a great deal of interest out there in any random pieces of information about my rather mundane life that I'm willing to share. And since "I" happen to be one of my favorite topics, I'm ready to rock 'n roll. Apparently I am supposed to do the following:

"Each person tagged gives 7 random facts about themselves. Those tagged need to write in their blogs the 7 facts, as well as the rules of the game. You need to tag seven others and list their names on your blog.You have to leave those you plan on tagging a note in their comments so they know that they have been tagged and to read your blog."

At least that's what the first one told me to do. It seems that there are some variations on the theme of this particular meme. Hysterical Mind spent more time than was prudent researching just how many things we were supposed to be putting on this list and is now breathing into a paper bag over the fact that we have to choose between 7 and 8. Rational Mind is also in something of a twitter at the moment as it has occurred to her that we haven't put a great deal of planning into this and may end up blurting out certain facts about ourself that are best left shrouded in mystery. I am of the opinion that there will be either 7 or 8 things on the list when all is said and done and any sharing of the "too much information" variety can be handily blamed on the ingestion of prescription cough syrup. (yup...still taking that little doctor approved cocktail. ) So, before one or the other halves of my mind freezes up to the point where we can't find the "t" on the keyboard, let's get this show on the road, shall we?

This Meme-palooza is brought to you by the following bloggers in no particular order:

Emma, Lilith and Jeanne.

This Meme-palooza is partially brought to you by the following bloggers who attempted to pounce and then realized that I had already been snared:

Julie, Kmkat

And now...a random number of random things about me:

1. Despite being a teacher, I rarely take a class in order to learn more about my hobbies. When I wanted to learn crochet, I bought a book. When I wanted to re-learn how to knit, I bought another book. And ended up teaching myself Continental Knitting...thankfully! Spinning? Bought a wheel and hoped for the best. The Internet was my only teacher at that time.

2. I rarely cook...but I'm rather good at it. I can make pasta from scratch and bake my own bread. I use recipes more as references rather than as hard and fast rules for cooking.

3. My favorite color is blue. My second favorite color is pink. I am moderately embarrassed by this. Whenever I wear pink, people always comment on it. Mostly they say, "Um...you don't really strike me as a 'pink' sort of person." So I make do with a pink cell phone.

4. I have never watched "Survivor". Not ever. I think I may have once caught a few minutes of a few dirty, hungry-looking people scrambling across a beach for some reason, but that could have been the news. I don't watch the news either so I can't really be sure.

5. I have been an avid reader since before I can remember. If I'm super-busy then I read a book a week. During school vacations, I can usually go through at least three. I often read even more than that. If there are no new books around, I will re-read one that I liked. Those usually go pretty fast for me.

6. I never get rid of books. I keep them all. I have run out of places to put them and now just stack them on the bedroom floor until I can come up with a better plan. Which I've been saying I will do during the last five summer vacations.

7. Until recently, my entire education, kindergarten through Master's Degree, was provided by the state of Maine. The Wednesday Night Class that I just finished was through The University of New Hampshire. I sort of feel like an adulterer.

Well, it seems that 7 is the magic number! I can't come up with anything else. If I do, I will be sure to edit as I know that you all live for those little tid-bits that represent my day-to-day existence! Now...who to tag??? Hmmmmm...

Just kidding! You can all stop hiding. I can still see you anyway. I waited so darned long to get to this that it seems everyone has already done it. If you haven't and would like to, drop me a comment and I'll make a list so that everyone can go read about your random awesome-ness.

And, lest you all think that I have been sitting around all day trying to edit down my endless list of Fascinating Facts About Me, I give you a little peek at my latest spindling project:









Yes. It is that shiny. And it is that soft. And it is that pretty!

Details to follow. I must get back to it before the weekend runs out!

SA



Saturday, May 19, 2007

We Now Return You To Your Normal Blog Posts

I'm sick of writing about being sick. And I can only imagine what a depressing read it is for everyone else. I'll just skip The Sheepie Health Watch for today except to say that the fever is now officially 24 hours gone and that I did not give it a of bon voyage party of any sort. It was not a welcome guest. The only good thing I have to say about the experience is that I got to take the narcotic cough syrup and even that is getting a bit old. Sure, it's been fun for the cats to watch Mommy stumble over mumbling, "I love you, man..." But, I suspect that my having allowed the cleaning of the litter box to slip my foggy mind on more than one occasion this week is taking some of the joy out of their Mama Mocking.

I like to think that I might use my fiber blog to actually share that little corner of my life for a change! The knitting has been sadly neglected of late. I tend to knit with a little less of the accuracy when I'm ailing. And since I have learned over the years that a certain amount of attention to detail (number of stitches, gauge, making sure that all the stitches are securely corralled on the dpns rather than slithering off during moments of inattention) is the key to knitting success, it made sense to work on a few other projects while I was convalescing.

So, I spun. Spinning is a good activity for those of us on prescription cough medicine. Once you find the rhythm, you can go to a fairly mindless place. Well, to a degree...I have to admit that today's samples are probably not the most consistent spinning I've ever done. But they aren't half bad if I do say so myself. Both are from Wooly Wonka and represent some travels into uncharted territory for this old Sheep.

First up: The Rambouillet:

Despite not being a joiner to any real degree, I couldn't resist signing up for The Exotic Fibers Spinning Club. I thought it might be a fun way to try some new fibers without committing to pounds and pounds of any of them. And the subscription came with not only the fiber, but cool information on the breed from whence the fluffy stuff came, spinning tips and a pattern for the finished product. Not too shabby for what was really a rather small investment! My first fiber arrived this week (in time for my birthday, no less) and I decided to set aside my lamb/silk spinning in order to catch up with the other club spinners this weekend. Rambouillet is an interesting fiber, frankly. It doesn't look like all that much in fluff form. It is one of those fibers that needs the spinning to really be all that it can be. I'm not what you'd call a champion spinner....




But even I can get something rather lovely out of it!
The color is pretty darned accurate on my monitor, too. I've got some spots where the shorter staple length got away from me and I was suddenly spinning sewing thread. But it still looks pretty good, IMHO. I can't wait to see how it looks after plying!
And next up, we present: Spindle Spun Shire Blend:
That's right! I finished plying my second ever spindle spun yarn (not counting those lumpy, bumpy few yards I did years ago when I first attempted this type of spinning...we bought a wheel rather quickly after that experience and thought we'd never again use a drop spindle!) I don't pretend on any level that this is perfect yarn. It isn't. It is somewhat inconsistent in both the spinning and the plying areas. But, like a mother loves her child as much for his faults as for his strengths, I love this yarn. It is serviceable. More than serviceable, really. And I spun it on a drop spindle!!!!!! I'm glowing...and it's not because of the fever. I don't have a fever anymore. I'm pretty sure that this is pride or something like it.

The Big, Fluffy Kitty seems to like it as well!

That or she is humoring me in order to shorten the length of time she has to pose with a skein of yarn on her tushy. She's good that way. Her Smaller, Less Fluffy Counterpart is not quite as tolerant of my spontaneous photo shoots.

I've been looking at different patterns for this yarn and hope to start something with it soon. I'm planning on a scarf and, if I have enough, perhaps a pair of handwarmers or something. The blend of alpaca, silk and bunny rabbit make for a very soft yarn that will keep me quite snuggly warm come the next winter season.

Perhaps this will keep the Monkey Pox away next year? It can't hurt, right?

SA

Friday, May 18, 2007

The Rare Friday Post!

I generally take Fridays off from blogging. You know...just to rest the creative muse. And because Hysterical Mind worries that everyone will get sick of me if I hang out too much on your computers. But she's had a few other things to worry about lately so I think I can squeak this one in before she notices.

I just had to thank everyone for all the nice birthday/get well wishes that have come in over the past couple of days. It really meant a great deal to me to have so many commenters step up with the kind words To say that it wasn't the best birthday I've ever had would be an understatement. But I made the most of it, enjoyed my little cake with a side of codeine and partook of the yummy Lindt chocolates that were given to me by one of my teaching assistants. There are worse ways to spend a day! It was a very, very big bag of chocolates!

I'm also grateful for all the emails that came in today from people who wanted to check in and see how I was doing. It hasn't been a bad day overall. My fever seems to have stabilized at around 99 degrees and, despite a great deal of pain last night, I've been pretty comfortable for most of the day. I have had my x-rays, but won't know anything until next week given that it is Friday. I'm 50/50 on the Monkey Pox diagnosis at this point and hoping for the best. I even made it to the grocery store to lay in a few supplies. The kitties will be fed and The Sheep has more milk for the milkshakes. We're good!

Not having slept well last night, I knew that I'd be sleeping quite a bit today. But, in between naps that were well-supervised by The Big, Fluffy Kitty, I twirled my spindle and plied a little bit more of The Shire blend.





Prescription cough syrup is great for spinning. You're so relaxed and happy...
The second batch of this fiber is looking as yummy as the first and I can't wait to finish it all up. I want to make something!!!!! It is soft and has this lovely shimmer to it. Part of that is from the little bit of angelina in there. The rest is from the fiber itself. I may have to make a nightie or something...I actually want to sleep in this stuff!!!!! (that could be the cough syrup talking, but it really is a nice, soft fiber.)
For the weekend, I'm hoping to switch projects for a short bit and get a start on my Wooly Wonka Exotic Fiber Club rambouillet. I have never before joined an on-line club or or anything like that. I tend to worry that I'll look less than competent as compared to the other members working on the project. But this one was too good to resist! I joined as an early birthday present to myself, actually. It's a gift that will keep on giving for months to come!
See? Not such a bad birthday, really. A few glitches here and there. But there were some nice things and what more can a girl ask for?
SA

Thursday, May 17, 2007

I"m Not Really A Silly Sheepie...

...I just sometimes play one on my blog. Actually, that isn't totally true. I do a rather disturbing number of stupid things on any given day. But they are usually of the "smallish" variety. I'm really a pretty responsible adult. Mostly.

Despite my optimistic attitude with regard to my recent low fevers and cough, I've actually been monitoring the situation pretty closely. It was just a short year ago that I was brought down by illness and I really don't want to go there again.

So when my fever took an upswing last night from what I'd call "low grade" to a rousing 101.5, I took note. This could mean something. Now, bear in mind that I was taking narcotic cough syrup at the time...my reactions were a bit on the slow side. But I figured out pretty quickly that something might have gone seriously amiss.

And when, upon waking this morning, I felt a rather familiar pain in my right side and back, I knew that the time had come to take action. I called Dr. Judy from work and requested an antibiotic. I checked in regularly with the school nurse to make sure that the temperature was staying within a reasonable range. As the hours passed, I began to feel like every square inch of my body was being pounded by tiny hammers. By day's end, the kind nurse took a little listen to the chest and questioned whether there might be some of the googlie mooglies living in there. She and the school secretary promptly banned me from school tomorrow. There is no arguing with a school secretary, for the record. They run the school and if you don't know that then just try to convince one of them that you are able to run your classroom while hunched over your desk and shivering. You will be overruled. Harshly.

Which worked out pretty well, since I have been directed by Dr. Judy to present myself for a chest x-ray at 10:00 tomorrow morning. I'm not arguing. I have a bad feeling about this one...

We may have traveled back to the land of the Monkey Pox. If you are new to my happy little corner of the blogosphere, you may not be aware of last year's "challenging" time with the infection from heck. It was but one year ago that I was laid low by a malady that I dubbed "The Monkey Pox" because it had a more friendly sound than most other illnesses. I know that there is a real Monkey Pox and that it is not a particularly friendly disease. But I was really sick and I decided that this would be a better inscription on my tombstone and no one really had the heart to argue with me at that point. I was sort of pathetic...

Monkey Pox actually turned out to be pneumonia and a rather bad case at that. It took me the better part of the summer to really recover fully and it was October before the nice doctor who was reading my chest x-rays would pronounce me cured. I'm hoping that I've caught things quickly enough this time to avoid another round.

So, The Sheep is currently on the couch, swaddled in an afghan that she crocheted many moons ago and sipping on Mountain Dew. There is a healthy amount of narcotic cough syrup flooding my system as I type and, even though my right ear has some sort of weird blockage in it, I can now hear myself blink. The fever has recently decided to take a turn for higher destinations so I think it is safe to say that I will be adding a little Ibuprofen to the medication cocktail within the hour.

Yeah...not one of my better days. But I have good insurance coverage and the cash on hand to lay in a supply of the comfort foods for the duration. I was also gifted with a nice bag of very lovely chocolates today. They should go nicely with tonight's milkshake and wee, little cake. We are making the most of a bad situation, here. Because I am nothing if not a "Lemons Out Of Lemonade" kind of Sheep.





Happy Birthday To Me!

SA


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

My Wednesday Night Class May Be Over,

But The Wednesday Night Bullet Post lives on!!! The people have spoken and they have made their wishes clear. A Sheep set for "ramble mode" is a well-read Sheep! Plus, I'm sorta brain-dead by mid-week and this is a good way for me to get something posted without having to think too hard and giving myself some sort of cerebral damage. So, here ya go!

*This is the second time I have written this. Blogger ate the first one. I did not save. There is a good reason for that. Stay with me...

*Ibuprofen is a wonderful thing. It takes away fevers as well and the aches 'n pains. I now live on it.

*Except tonight. Tonight it is all-codeine-all-the-time. I'm not exactly what you'd call "focused." My only real goal in life right now seems to be remembering all the lyrics to every Bangles song ever written. And the ones I don't remember, I am making up. I have now managed to change the song Manic Monday to include the lyrics, "...must eat another giant sundae." Fun times!

*I was awoken this morning by what can best be described as an explosion. This was followed by the death of my digital alarm clock and many, many flashes of bright light outside the window. Hysterical Mind became convinced that this was the End Of Days and began to try and bargain her way into heaven by claiming that yarn purchases made in times of financial distress can be counted as mental health treatments. She then became convinced that there was a man in the living room talking to us. Rational Mind, who was really only half awake at this point, had a dickens of a time convincing her that this was naught but a thunderstorm and that our late night visitor was just the answering machine telling us that it was back on after a brief power outage, but that we had lost our outgoing message. HM then became consumed with the idea that we must re-record the message immediately and proposed that we do some sort of catchy rap. She thought it might be nice to include the cats and perhaps an accommodating neighbor who was, perchance, also awakened by Mother Nature's wrath. This did not happen. Rational Mind put her foot down. We were able to go back to sleep for another two hours. But we dreamed of rapping kitty cats and this does not for a restful sleep make...

*I emailed my final paper to my professor this morning and can now say in all truthfulness that my Wednesday night class is oooooover! This is a good feeling! A feeling made all the more gooder by the addition of a narcotic cough syrup, I'll grant you. But good is good, right?

*I have been tagged by, not one, but two people! I will be answering both in a Meme-palooza type post later this week. Brace yourselves and stock up on any medications that you feel you might need. I highly recommend the narcotic cough syrups, for what it's worth...

*I was late posting this thing the first time tonight due to a call from my boss at Job #2. It seems that there are "Issues In The Office," (which would also make a pretty catchy rap tune, come to think of it...) and we must all now go to A Very Big And Important Meeting. At this point, it is safe to say that we are looking at closing the agency in the near future. Frankly I think that all involved might benefit from a nice shot of narcotic cough syrup, but I doubt that this suggestion will be given the consideration that it deserves. My boss and I are planning to grab the parenting program that we have developed and run. Well, we're both sort of middle-aged so it will probably be more of a fast walk. But it will be faster than normal. And we should have plenty of time to delete any and all other copies before we begin our Peri-Menopausal Scamper. What are they going to do? Fire us? We're like the wind...they'll never catch us! (note to self: do not take narcotic cough syrup that day)


That's it...I'm tapped out. When I started this, I seem to recall thinking that I had many insightful and pithy things to say. But, I can't remember any of them right now. And I've promised myself a nice milkshake tonight as a reward for completing three workouts this week in spite of my ailing state. It's going to be chocolate.

Chocolate goes great with codeine. I'm pretty sure that I saw that on Food Network...

SA

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Hey, Karma!

Yeah...you. I'm talking to you. I get it, already. Message received. We dance this little dance you and I. I do something stupid. You get me. I mock and taunt you, refusing to learn my lesson. You get me again. We go back and forth, to and fro, never resolving the issue. Back when it was just my truck you were fiddling with, I felt pretty comfortable giving you the one-finger salute with a side of raspberry. The endless engine break-downs and writing of the checks were a nuisance, I suppose. But it was really rather comical overall and I am a tough old bird. I could take it.

But, you've crossed the line. I know now that there is no low to which you won't stoop. I get it. You are the winner in this little stand-off. I have learned my lesson and will now put my humbleness out there for all the world to see. For I now realize the following:

Openly mock Baby Brother Sheep repeatedly for his lack of fundraising ability towards our Relay For Life walk and credit this showboating for lifting you up from the depths of a summer cold to the heights of good health...

And you will get a fever within an hour of doing so. The fever will last into the next day. It will not spike high enough for the school nurse to send you home. Heavens, no! It will linger at around 99-100 degrees. This isn't a drama-producing fever. But, if your normal body temperature is around 97 and change then it is enough to make you achy and grumpy. And more grumpy.

So please let me take this opportunity to state clearly and for the record:

Baby Brother Sheep is a fine young man who has recently started a new job and has been a bit busy of late.

Baby Brother Sheep has appeared numerous times on local television presenting those really impressive checks that came about as a result of his fundraising on a much larger scale for the Multiple Sclerosis Telethon.

Baby Brother Sheep came over last year when I had the Monkey Pox to help try and fix my truck even though he had other things to do.

Baby Brother Sheep and I have traveled together quite a bit around the great western side of this country and there aren't many big sisters who can say that they looked forward to those trips with a younger sib.

Baby Brother Sheep does most of the driving when I don't feel like taking my own vehicle and never, ever complains about it.

Baby Brother Sheep brought New Girlfriend Sheep Who We Like (and isn't new anymore, really) to the family and she is awesome in every way that you want a sister to be.

Baby Brother Sheep did not deserve to be maligned and it was really just my attempt at inflating my own sad little ego when I pointed out on several occasions that I have raised more money than he has. A lot more money. So much more that it is just sad, really. How does it benefit anyone to see the great contributions I have made to the cure for cancer while he has done less? None. It is just grandstanding. And I should not do that at the expense of one so wonderful as Baby Brother Sheep. Not for something so trivial as my having raised more money than my younger brother who is better at this than I. It would be wrong...so very wrong.

There. Happy now, stupid Karma? You can take back the fever and the cough now. There is no need to take this to the next level. None, whatsoever. I have a sweet, striped sockie to knit and some new fibers to get spinning on. I don't have time for this. And, for the record, I am not scared of getting Monkey Pox. This is not Monkey Pox. Now that I know the difference between "general malaise" and "waving at grammy in the light" I cannot be so easily shaken. I do, however, concede defeat. You win. I lose.

Off to take some ibuprofen with a side of cough drops. And knit hats for frozen children. And roll quarters to buy Botox for aging starlets. And cobble shoes for the unfashionably shod. Whatever it takes...

Make Karma go away, please.

SA

Monday, May 14, 2007

Humility. Don't Believe The Hype.

I was feeling pretty good today. Sure, I still have a lingering cough. And yes, it is a rather wet, hacking sort of cough that makes me sound like I should be lounging in a sanitarium of some sort awaiting my blood-letting in order that I might recover from the consumption. I may still need to blow my nose every so often and there may be a rather alarming squeaking sound in my ear when I do it. But I don't have to do it nearly as much as I did last week. The only other possible issue with my good looks is the fact that I might have a mild hangover from my wild weekend on the narcotic cough syrup, but otherwise, I'm in the pink! I even had a bit of a swagger in the old step today, so confident was I in my utter awesomeness.

At least until someone came up to me, gave me the look of pity and said, "Ohhhh...still feeling sick, huh?"

Ouch. Double Ouch.

I feel pretty good, really. I slept through the night for three straight nights and napped like a professional in between. I ate the finest in frozen pizza and chocolates and even indulged in some seafood courtesy of the day out with Mommy and Daddy Sheep.

I'm pretty sure that my colleague caught me in one of those "off" moments where you are kind of bored and staring off into space. I was maybe out of coffee. Or thinking about how world hunger is really, really bad. I probably only looked like a sickly Sheepie. I will be more diligent about my demeanor for the remainder of the week. Nuthin' but sitting upright and smiling 'til it hurts for me from now on!!!!!

And who wouldn't be all smiley once they remember to check the mailbox and find that their Wooly Wonka Exotic Fiber Club stuff has arrived? I got me a nice full bag of the fluffy stuff, complete with pattern and I'm about as happy as a Sheep can get, lemme tellya! Our first foray into the finer fibers in life is some lovely Rambouillet. It is just beautiful and I can't wait to dive in! I'll take a short respite from the lamb/silk blend and see what I can do with this. I can only hope that my efforts are up to that of the others in the club...

And I couldn't sign off for the evening without a Relay For Life sponsorship contest update! I mentioned yesterday that Susan of Goose Pond had donated one of her pins to the cause as a prize for one lucky winner and promised a link so that you could be awed by its beauty. Well, you need wait no longer. Just go here! Not only is it a lovely example of Susan's work, but a very appropriate item to offer as a prize for this endeavor.

I continue to be so very grateful to those who have sponsored or supported me in this effort, especially when there are so very many worthy causes out there. Thanks to your contributions, my team has almost met its fundraising goal! We remain in the top five teams and, for what it's worth, I continue to beat Baby Brother Sheep handily in donations solicited.

My colleague should take a gander at me now! I'm all beaming and glowing! I'm a vision of "healthy and happy!!!"

Note to self: sibling rivalry makes a Sheep look gooooooood!

SA

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mistakes Happen

I like to think that I learn from my mistakes. Or, at the very least, that I am so darned charming that people can overlook my boo-boos. Failing that, I can always rely on the subtle art of misdirection, start a small fire, and get people to focus on that instead of whatever I did in the first place.

Here are a couple of examples of things that I may or may not have done today:

* Apparently, Daddy Sheep's plan for Mother's Day was to fool Mommy Sheep into thinking that her horrible children had forgotten all about her on this special day then make her happiness all the greater by having one or both of us wander in for lunch at the restaurant. This might have worked quite well had I not blogged about going to lunch with them today. I keep forgetting that Mommy Sheep is a bit more computer savvy these days...

*I was really rather on the ball this week for someone who wasn't feeling all that well. I remembered to set aside the day for lunch with Mommy and Daddy Sheep and even purchased a thoughtful gift for The Best Mom Ever. I did not, however, remember to get a card to go with. Nor did I have a gift bag that wasn't festooned with snowmen and Santas.

*I, for reasons that made sense at the time, thought that swinging by the local card shop on the way to lunch on Mother's Day morning would be a quick trip. It was not. It was crowded. It was crowded by people who had rather desperate looks in their eyes and were willing to sacrifice their own bodies and that of their small children in order that they might purchase anything that had the word, "mother" on it in ornate script. Mugs, commemorative plates, novelty toilet paper...anything. I got my card. But I'm not proud of what I had to do to obtain it. Not proud at all.

*I somehow greatly overestimate the time it would take to get to the restaurant and ended up waiting in the parking lot for half an hour. I used the time to clean out the truck. Frankly, I could have used another hour or so. It looked like I'd been having wild tea parties in there, for crying out loud.


For all my errors in judgement, though, it was a lovely lunch with the 'rents and Mommy Sheep was happy to see me even though I am all mistake-prone and everything. That is a mother's job, after all.

After consuming not only my own meal, but about a quarter of my parent's Seafood Platter For Two, I was feeling a bit nappish. So I rested up for the afternoon, let everything digest as it should then watched it head directly for my hips. Lunch has taken up residence in all the wrong places and is happily setting up house. I will be living on lettuce and ice cubes for the remainder of the week. With all the lunching, napping and yelling at the fried food to stop settling on my midsection, I didn't get all that much done today with the yarn production. There is, however a little plying to report.






The Spindle Station Makes Another Appearance!
I did say that I would explain this a bit more clearly and, since I'm currently too full of seafood to move around much, I will take a minute now. The bobbins are impaled with knitting needles onto a large yarn cake of the finest in ugly chenille. I bought this yarn on Ebay many, many moons ago and it has never appealed as the stuff of knitting. But it is a great needle holder. And perfect for supporting bobbins of spindle spun singles. The spindle is sitting there because I have a limited attention span and there will never, ever, ever come a day when I will ply until I'm out of singles. Never. I need a place to put the spindle until the plying urge strikes again. When it does, then I take up the spindle and ply away 'til boredom strikes again. Meanwhile, stabbing it into the chenille cake holds it quite nicely
That's really it. It looks like more of a "system" than it actually is. But it works rather well and can be easily moved about should I decide to ply elsewhere or curious felines start batting at it.
Lastly, I have a Relay For Life update for you all...a good one! As you may recall, I am participating in the 2007 Relay For Life in order to raise funds for cancer research. Those who have generously sponsored me in this endeavor have been entered in a drawing to win either a Goose Pond gift certificate or a lovely set of stitch markers from the famous Mouse. Well, guess what? There is yet another prize available now! The talented Susan of the very same Goose Pond from whence the gift certificate is coming has offered one of her stunning pins as another prize. I will share a link to it tomorrow. (I'm sorta linked-out right now...plus it deserves its own post) There is still plenty of time to make a donation and be entered into the drawing for prizes. I am well past the half-way mark to my goal and, for what it's worth, am still beating Baby Brother Sheep in funds raised.
(But this is not a contest because all the money goes to the same place and it would be tacky to get all competitive over such a thing, I'm just mentioning it is all. It doesn't make me better than him or anything. Just a better fundraiser. Mommy Sheep still loves us both equally and I'm sure that she doesn't think that I am better for helping to cure cancer at a better rate than my brother or anything...Better. Me. The Sheep. Better. Than my brother.)
Now I must see if I can't pull myself together after my tough weekend of napping, resting and eating off my own mother's plate. Tomorrow is a work day after all. A very Happy Mother's Day to all you mothers out there. I hope you had a wonderful day filled with all the accolades you deserve for doing what you do!
SA

Saturday, May 12, 2007

I Need A Favor...

I'm really sorry to bother you on a weekend and all. I know you're probably really busy. But I was just wondering... Have any of the following events of import happened over the past 24 hours:

*Flaming meteors crashing into conveniently empty fields?

*A sudden outbreak of world peace?

*Sheep Food recalls?

*Isolated, but increasing zombie attacks?

*The discovery of a cure for upper arm jiggle?

*New shoe trends?

If so, could you drop me a note? I'd really appreciate it. Sheepie's been out of the loop since yesterday afternoon thanks to the intervention of her favorite family physician and her magic prescription pad. After a full week of snuffling, coughing and a marked lack of uninterrupted sleep, I finally went to visit Dr. Judy and asked for a supply of the hard stuff. The over-the-counter cough remedies weren't doing the job and I can't really take antihistamines at night. I'm one of the unlucky few who gets the jitters rather than the sleepies. Conversely, I can take in as much caffeine as you want to hand me and sleep like a baby. I can sometimes offset the effects of the cold medications by drinking coffee and such, but I was really too tired to play Mad Scientist every night around midnight and fiddle with formulas to determine "how much is enough." It was time for the big guns...

And thus began The Big Sleep. Thanks to a little of the narcotic-based cough syrup, Sheepie's head hit the pillow last night rather hard and I've been in and out ever since. The results of all this hard-core resting is a much less congested Sheep. But, I fear I may have missed a few things. For all I know, we are now owned by Belgium and I'm flying the wrong flag. If there is anything I should know, please give me the 411.

My codeine daze has not been particularly conducive to much knitting. I've done a few rows on the sweet, striped sockie, but that's about it. I have, however, been spinning up a storm! Spinning is one of those things that I do well even without full faculties. The time just flies by and suddenly, I find myself with another bobbin of spindle-spun Shire blend. It's like magic!






And now I have twins!
Don't be too impressed, though. Even as I was congratulating myself quite heartily on my accomplishment, I realized that I had tucked away another ounce of the fiber for traveling spinning. I really thought I was done... But that's OK. I loooooove this particular blend and could spin it forever. Not once while I was working with it did I think, "It's time for something new!" There's just something about a Wooly Wonka fiber....
Tomorrow there will be a little break in the medication and fiber fondling, though. I'll be joining Mommy and Daddy Sheep for lunch to celebrate Mother's Day through the consumption of seafood. I should also probably go to the grocery store at some point while I'm out and about. The larder is a bit bare.
And Sheep cannot live on prescription cold medications alone.
SA

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Still Flabbergasted...

I am confronted daily by behavior that is annoying. That behavior ranges from the "actually kind of amusing" to the "downright irritating." But, for all my complaining, I am actually a pretty even-tempered kind of Sheep. I find it hard to work up a good grump. I suspect that this speaks to my general level of laziness, really. Sometimes it's just not worth it, you know?

But every once in a blue moon, I have to fight my better nature. Sometimes you are witness to a degree of social inappropriateness that is beyond what can be borne without some sort of cerebral episode. Consider this:

I was making my usual Thursday night run to the store to pick up the rewards for the students who have behaved themselves well for the week and chocolate for the staff that has chosen to remain in the employ of the district despite having to work as my teaching assistants. They deserve it. Trust me. They put up with a lot. Most of it being me-related...

I was maneuvering my cart through the toy area after picking up some sort of light-up, squishy balls that I suspect will be enjoyed by the children (and rather quickly confiscated by the bus drivers) tomorrow. I suddenly found myself having to work around a bicycle. It is unusual to find a bicycle in the middle of a store aisle, but this is me and these things just happen to me so go with it. Further complicating matters was the little girl astride the bike. She had ridden it into the aisle and, in full defiance of her clear inability to ride with anything resembling skill, was proceeding to wobble her way through the toy department. I had some difficulty getting around her. But, I chose to say nothing. She is a kid, after all. Kids don't always know better. Knowing better is the job of the adults in their lives and I was hoping that she might belong to one of the adults in the vicinity. I firmly believe in the rights of parents to deal with their own children.

However, in this case, it was not an adult who interceded. It was a slightly older boy. Upon noting his sister's (I'm assuming that this was the relationship) rather unsafe behavior, he told her that she shouldn't be riding her bike in the store because other people couldn't get around her. I was really quite impressed with his quick action on this one. And for his not calling her a poopy-head. I wanted to...

At this point, I was finally able to pick out the parent of this delightful child from the gaggle of adult-types in the store. It was not the one who might have said, "Why, thank you Johnny for pointing out your sister's unsafe and discourteous behavior. Please, precious darling, get off the bike so that others may shop without fear of tire treads on their cute, strappy sandals that they are wearing for the first time today!"

No.

It was the charming lady (clearly of the old school and highly refined) who said, "Hey! It's her birthday and she can ride her bike wherever she damned well pleases!!! And anyone who doesn't like it can just go cry to someone who cares!!! Now let's go get some air for those tires, sweetie!"

You will just have to imagine the smug smile on the face of the Precious Princess as she proceeded to wobble her way merrily down the remainder of the aisle. There is really no way for me to describe it. And, if you want to, you can try and get a visual of her brother's face. I don't want to think about it anymore. No kid should ever look that old and defeated. It just depressed me.

Now, I think by now that we are all on board with the fact that I am rarely one who is at a loss for words. In fact, I have more things to say rattling around in my head than I know what to do with on most days. But, I never said a word to incite that little Bike Freedom Protest Speech. I wasn't the instigator. You can probably imagine, though, my desire to explain to this mother the facts of life, specifically that Precious Princess is not the only person in the world and that if having a birthday means getting to run people over then she'd better make sure and stay home on mine. Because I will make it my business to find her now that I am clear on the rules.

But I didn't.

Let's face it: those kids have had enough bad examples for one day. And probably many, many more to come. I didn't want to be the cause for another scene in a store that they will have to recount in therapy. Well...the boy, anyway. Precious Princess seemed pretty content with her lot in life, actually. I ignored Her Majesty, Queen of The Discount Store and headed straight to the shoe department where I proceeded to reward my trip down the high road with a new pair of wedge heeled sandals. Tomorrow, I will teeter my way through the day with an air of righteousness.

Meanwhile, I'm debating whether it is time to pick up and knit a bit on the sweet, stripey sock again. The last few sessions with that little piece of footwear have not gone well, thanks to my snuffly, sneezy state and I have made the decision to live by the "if it's inside the shoe, it doesn't count" theory of knitting aesthetics. But I really don't want to do any further damage on this little project.

How much NyQuil does one have to ingest to take care of cold and indignation symptoms?

SA

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

And Now...

..a very special Wednesday Night Bullet Post! You'll see. It's the one I've been wanting to do since January when I started these random brain farts that are the best I can do on Wednesday.

*I thought I was feeling better today. I'm less snuffly and the fever is gone. But, by the time I got to class tonight, I was all tired and had developed a cough that turned heads while my classmates were attempting to give their group presentations. And I had a weird "nose whistle" going on as well. I was a vision, I tellya!

*I did little to win friends and influence people in class tonight. It is apparently not considered "good form" to wander from person to person as they frantically attempt to put the finishing touches on their class presentations and say, "Gee, I just don't understand why everyone is so worked up tonight. I'm feeling perfectly calm. I wonder if it's because my presentation is over and you guys all still have to stand up there and do yours. Seriously...can you feel the tension in the air? It's really bad!" People were not nearly as amused as you might think.

*On the way home, I felt a strong urge for a Mountain Dew. I always give in to that urge. It is not good to fight a Dew urge when it hits. I pulled into my favorite Convenience Store Where They Call Me Sweetie And I Don't Mind One Bit. As I was leaving, I met up with the Cashier Who Actually Went So Far As To Call Me Honey Bunny. I've never seen her from the waist down. She is always behind the counter. I'm not sure how I feel about seeing her in her entirety. Somehow this feels wrong...I'm not supposed to know that she has feet. But, I have to say that her shoes were absolutely adorable!!!

*I'm still waiting for the NyQuil to kick in. Any pharmacists out there???? I need some over-the-counter medicinal relief here! How much longer before my cheeks go numb and I start humming show tunes?

*At the request of a commenter, I braved the zombies that I am sure are lurking at the mailbox and picked up my mail today. (it is no longer dark when I get home so I am less concerned about zombie attacks, but one never knows and I watched a zombie movie just this weekend so they are, once again, foremost in my mind) Imagine my surprise to see yet another package awaiting me!!!




And The Big, Fluffy Kitty just seemed to know from whence it came!
*That's right! Persephone's Auntie April and her new cousin Victor The Wonder Horse sent us a little Get Well package. I was unable to get a clear photo due to her immediate need to investigate the contents of the box and there was no moving her. I just shot around her. It seemed like the safest course of action at that point. There are three, count 'em three, skeins of sock yarn there, a sweet little piggy pez dispenser and two yummy walnut squares. There are not two any more, though. There is one. And I fear for its safety. They are gooooooooood! Thanks so much April! What a nice thing to come home to after a very long day at work and class. I feel better already!
*And now...the best thing. The thing that I have been waiting to add to this list of random blatherings for many a month now. The thing that I will write even though I still have one more paper to finish because that little fact doesn't make this little fact any less true. Are you ready? Really ready? OK. Here it is:
My Wednesday Night Class Is Finished!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Happy Wednesday to all and to all a good NyQuil. Or maybe that's just me...

SA