Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Weird WNBP

Now, don't get all over-excited or anything.  It's no big deal.  Maybe you should just sit down or something.  Are you all set?  Good.  Because I was out on a school night tonight.  That is a bit unusual (to put it mildly) and I'm fearful that everyone will get all faint from the shock.  Why don't I put your minds to rest with a nice, predictable Wednesday Night Bullet Post?  That should help put everything back on an even keel...

*Actually, I just went to dinner at Mommy and Daddy Sheep's house.  Not really a big social event or anything.  But anyone who knows me knows that it is highly unusual for me to break my precious routine.

*My family has a tendency to celebrate birthdays whenever the urge strikes us or when we can be together.  Mine isn't until May but we still celebrated it along with my Mom's last week.  My brother's was back at the beginning of April, but he was home for a short break from Driving His Big Orange Truck All Over The Place for a while so we celebrated it tonight.  
*And my Mom's birthday was actually back in March.

*Everyone sufficiently confused?  That's nice.  I hate to be alone.

*The little picture of the world with the arrows all around it keeps bouncing around in the dock on the bottom of my monitor.  It's just telling me that updates are available for Mr. Computer.  But it's distracting me all over the place!

*Scene at Town Hall at 3:50 this afternoon as Sheepie visited the tax department to register the new car:

Sheepish Annie:  Oh, hi!  So sorry to come in so late...I know you hate that.  I need to register my car.

Exasperated Tax Collector:  (sighing)  Fine, fine.  Give me the paperwork.  And did you get rid of the other car?

SA:  Yup.

ETC:  (Still sighing.  I was afraid she was going to hyperventilate...) Fill this form out, please.

SA:  And I gotta tellya I said a great, big, "Whooopie!!!!!" the day I left that stupid thing at the dealership!

Guy Next To Me Who Was Registering His Car And Paying Far Less:  Heh-heh...

SA:  I'm sure you probably heard all the loud singing and dancing.  I wanted to have a parade, but your offices were closed and I couldn't get a permit...


ETC:  (giggling) I've felt that way myself sometimes!

*I am a delight.  Even to those who were really just hoping to go home after a long day.  

*Knowing that I am a delight actually makes me less of a delight, I should think.  I probably should be more humble about it, but I am sort of scared of the tax people in my town and think that being a delight is a highly desirable skill to have when dealing with them.  

*Please note:  I do not hate tax people.  Tax people are wonderful folks who keep the wheels of society running smoothly.  They also have to bear the brunt of the Tax Anger which isn't really fair since they not only collect the taxes, but have to pay them just like anyone else.

*But, I'm still a little intimidated by the tax people in my town...

*Today was the day that I decided to leave my career as a teacher and become a shepherd.  I know sheep.  I could walk around with one of those crooked sticks and talk to sheep all day.  I could make them wear their coats and eat the healthy grass.  I'd probably not be all that great with the wolf attacks.  In fact, I would most certainly be known as The Sheep Who Cried Wolf due to my inability to discern the difference between a wolf and an unusually large squirrel.  Or a log.  

*But it has to be better than my current line of work.  At least it felt that way today.  

*Do shepherds get free fleeces?  I don't want to be paid in fleeces.  I just want a few extra for spinning.  I am a slow spinner so I don't need many.  

*Note to self:  look into the benefits packages enjoyed by those in the shepherding profession.

*Before I left, Mommy Sheep gave me some of the steak that was left over from dinner.  Daddy Sheep clearly reminded me to not go and leave it in my purse.

*I need to go get the steak out of my purse now...

I also need to go deal with that bouncing world icon before it drives me to utter madness and possible odd behavior.  (like forgetting the meat in my purse and leaving it there until Sunday...)  Hope that everyone had a pleasant mid-week experience!  I, myself, am looking forward to tomorrow and being able to say that the weekend is almost upon us!  I am very good at weekends.  

Do shepherds get weekends off?


Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Look! Woodchucks!!!!!!!!

It's been a while since I've done a book review for Mother-Talk.  November, was it?  Seems like forever...

But recently, I received an email which required that I respond with the words, "OMG!  It's like you know me!"  Sometimes a chance to read a book comes along that you can't refuse simply because it is too perfect to be true.  I jumped at that chance.  Sprang right up in the air like I had rockets on my feet.  

Obviously, this was before The Great Back Tweak Of '08...

Since I haven't done one of these in a while, I'll give you a little background on the why's 'n whatnots of my being a reviewer for Mother-Talk.  I'm obviously nobody's Mama.  But I have been teaching for twenty some-odd years as well as working as a counselor and parent advocate in one capacity or another.  Hence, the reviews you see here come from that perspective.  I am a big-time proponent of reading and encourage parents to be a part of the process with their children.  Any time I can make folks aware of a new title or opportunity to experience the world of reading, it makes me happier than a Frozen Woodchuck in a Popsicle stick factory.

Speaking of woodchucks....

Attack of the Frozen Woodchucks

Sometimes people are unique simply because they have learned how to surround themselves with amazing people.  Great adventures will surely follow!  Such is the life of Jimmy Weathers, who includes in his circle: a best friend who is the great-great-nephew of none other than the fattest president in American history, a father who wants nothing more than to cast off his career in law and write children's books, a ten year old rocket scientist whose bestselling book Light Speed and You has sold only one copy on earth but millions throughout the galaxy and a two year old sister who has a disturbing ability to tinker ordinary household objects into amazing inventions.  

When Jimmy's father and sister come home one day, breathlessly describing their discovery of giant, frozen woodchucks in Central Park, he finds himself at the beginning of a saga which will require that he use his wits, courage and collection of talented friends and family to save the world.  From the kidnapping of his father by the foul, frozen beasts to frantic flights through space, Jimmy will experience it all in his attempt to keep us safe from the evil plans of those who would use woodchucks against us.

Author Dan Elish jumps into the plot quickly and paces the story nicely.  Young readers will appreciate the flow of action and the ease with which character development is incorporated.  The story is further enhanced by some rather charming illustrations by Greg Call.  There are some surprises along the way and the tale ends with an opening for further adventures from the cast.

It can be challenging to write a story which includes the fantastical or elements of farce.  Too little and you have a confusing, disjointed story line.  Too much and you risk insulting the reader.  The balance of the "every-day" with the "over-the-top" is well handled in The Attack Of The Frozen Woodchucks and makes for an absorbing tale with many entertaining moments.  It becomes easy to believe that one might use a souped up go-cart to travel further than the bottom of the closest hill...

I generally approach the concept of reading levels with great caution as I firmly believe that families know best the material which most suits their children.  With this book, I am using even greater care.  The readability formulas I've used seem to be resulting in a higher grade level than I might have assigned the text while reading it.  There are several sections of the book which require the use of invented or scientific language and this may have resulted in a higher reading level score.  I shall cast a very wide net and say that "Woodchucks" should prove appropriate for readers ranging from grades 5 to 8.  As many parents and teachers use Lexile scores to help make book choices, I checked the database to see if this title has been included.  As is often the case with newer releases, it has not yet been catalogued.  It takes time for books to be added, after all.  In the past I have estimated the scores, but think that it might be best for me to refrain from taking a guess on this one.

And, as always, I strongly encourage parents to not rely solely on grade or age level scores when choosing books for their children.  There are many factors which influence a child's enjoyment of a book.  Many is the time I've seen a youngster rise to meet the challenge of a story simply because it appealed to them on a level that easier text did not.  You know your children and their reading tendencies.  I only include a range of grade levels so that parents and children can use that as one part of the decision making process.

As not all children have had the smoothest of rides in this life, I should mention a few themes about which parents might wish to be aware.  There are moments where the children in the story must deal with loss and family dysfunction as well as significant betrayal.  Younger or more sensitive children may find the tension of the story a bit overwhelming or be frightened by the imagery.  I should stress that none of these are graphic or inappropriate in any way.  And I have frequently used literature as a vehicle for helping children process difficult experiences.  But I like to have a "heads-up" when those things will be appearing in the story so that I can work with them more effectively.

All in all, I give The Attack Of The Frozen Woodchucks a solid thumbs-up.  It is an engaging book with a very unique story line.  The characters are immensely likable and each plays their role to a T.  The only possible down-side to this story is the eventual decision by the reader to try and build a spaceship in the attic.  That could create some havoc within the household, I'm sure!

There you go!  The first book review in I-dunno-how-long!  Tomorrow, I shall return to my usual knitting-type posting (or the kind where I make excuses for not knitting...) and the Wednesday Night Bullet Post.  Now go read something.

And watch out for woodchucks...


Monday, April 28, 2008

That Clicky Is Tricky!

It is Monday.  Vacation is over and I have successfully negotiated my way through the first day back at school.  It was a rousing 45 degrees (chilly 'cuz I'm talking Fahrenheit, you see...).  All anyone could talk about was how we only have seven more weeks through which to toil and then we will be free for the summer.  

I buttoned myself into my jeans this morning and was able to waddle my way about the classroom without losing consciousness from the lack of oxygen as I'd first feared when I tried to find clever ways to rearrange the material in a manner that would allow me to have just a little bit of dignity today.  But the squishier bits of me kept finding their way out of their denim prison and I was determined to get myself back on the workout wagon this afternoon in addition to my vow to eat naught but fruit for lunch.  Penance for all those brownies.  It's a high price to pay, but things have gotten noticeably more squishy around here.

Pity I didn't remember that Click...

I heard it yesterday while I was bringing in the groceries.  It has been my experience that things which click, glow, become noticeably larger or exponentially smaller are usually a sign of bad things to come.  But how bad could a Click be, really?  I hear Clicks all the time and haven't been struck by lightening.  Yet...

Once home for the day and with the Click successfully forgotten, I commenced the renewal of the afternoon workout.  I rode the little stationary bike for 75 minutes and knit away on the Invisibility Shawl.  Without the pressure of a deadline, it is a far more appealing project these days.  I missed the last five minutes of the ride, though.  I was starting to remember that Click and thought that I should maybe wrap things up.  I wasn't going to forget the weight lifting portion of the festivities, though.  You can't work off a week of brownies without lifting some heavy things and putting them down for a while.  That is like a law!

So, I was doing that bent over row thingie.  You know the one I mean.  The move where you lean forward and pull the weight towards you in a vain attempt at keeping your back cleavage from becoming more fetching that your front one?  Yeah...that.  I remembered the Click.  But it was too late because, by then, I'd moved past clicking and things in my lower back had actually begun to reconfigure themselves into something less lower back-like and more along the lines of steel vise-ish.

I apologize wholeheartedly to the Click.  It really did try and warn me of the danger.  It knew that my carrying all the grocery bags up the stairs at once was a bad idea.  It further knew that my navigating around the Big, Fluffy Kitty while still carrying the bags was nothing short of foolhardy.  It did its clicky, little job.  I ignored it because I am convinced of my immortality and refuse to accept that I might be of an age where Clicks are harbingers of doom.

To be fair, this isn't really an Old Age sort of thing.  I've had this same problem in the exact same spot in my lower back since my late twenties.  But, I still feel pretty darned rickety at this point.  And yet, I finished that workout.  Although I did so minus the whole rowing ridiculousness, mind you.  Even I can't fake immortality when there is a steel trap attached right above my heinie.  There's denial and then there's denial...

And so it was that I found myself opening the mail whilst slathered in foul-smelling ointment, ignoring the plaintive cries of the BFK as she sat in the kitchen demanding that I drag my aching self from the couch for the immediate dispensing of Greenies treats and sadly contemplating the diet ice cream bar that represents the only thing I to which I have to look forward tonight.  As I was just a bit dizzy from the mentholated fumes emanating from my hindquarters, I failed to recognize the return address on the envelope that was about half-way through the pile of paper I'd left to marinate in the mailbox for a few days.  But, guess what?  There was a wicked cool thingie in that envelope!  Anne, upon reading of my recent vehicle purchase, took it upon herself to provide me with a little of the Northeast Auto Bling!  I got me a super-cool new decal with which to declare my allegiance to the Red Sox Nation!  This will also go over well with the family who sometimes wonders if I am truly the fan I should be and will help greatly when matters of The Will are discussed.  Thanks, Anne!  This is just awesome and will go perfectly with the new wheels!

I really should show a picture of it.  And I'll get to that, I promise.  Not tonight, though.

The camera is alllllllllll the way over there.  And I can't quite get "there" at the moment...


Sunday, April 27, 2008

Spring Break Wrap-Up:

Isn't it always the way?  You get a whole week off, make oodles of plans for how you are going to spend it, take an advance on the pride you will be feeling after you complete all the tasks on your to-do list...and then end up having to do it all on the very last day before you got back to work. 

Or as much as you can, anyway.  Maybe I should stop saying, "you."  This is all me.  

With mere hours to take care of things I thought I'd be doing over days, I stumbled out of bed, tried to make some sort of sense out of the rather amazing cut that The World's Greatest Stylist And Life Coach gave me yesterday, fueled myself with some extra strong coffee and tried to do what I could.  And here it is.  The Sunday and very last minute edition of How I Spent The Last Day Of My Spring Break:

1.  With the hair almost completely controlled except for that one piece that is never going to behave no matter what I do anyway, I headed out to the grocery store.  Sheepie needs supplies.  Sheepie has been living on brownies for a week.  Sheepie needs to consider eating things made of vegetable matter.  Those were at the store, not here.  I made a list, remembered to bring it with me and almost managed to stick to it.  But I couldn't resist one little impulse purchase.  Sue me.  I'm weak.  Anne will like it, though!

Whoops.  My feline fotography assistant had some concerns about the light balance...

Here we go!  I do love a new Pez dispenser!  

2.  With the groceries safely put away and all those nice, new vegetables ready for consumption, I referred to the list I made in the weeks before spring vacation.  It seemed to have far more on it than I remembered.  Lots more.  I quickly decided that crossing off everything on lists is overrated and annoying to others.  Who needs to be all over-achieving?  It's not fair to everyone else on the planet. All that achievement on my part will make them feel sad and they will develop issues with their self-esteem.  Instead, I did one thing on the list.  That seemed like plenty.  Since I've been wanting to card up the last of that Shetland Lamb fleece that Cathy sent me last summer, I thought that this would be a good choice.  I hadn't seen it in a while.  But, I seemed to recall there being something like two million pounds of it.  Finishing that one thing would certainly make up for my not having done anything else all week.

I am mortified and chagrined to report that there wasn't really all that much left to do.  I can't quite recall just why it was I stopped carding while so close to the finish line on this one.  I have decided to believe that the Notorious Fleece Thief broke into my home and stole the rest of it.  That is preferable to admitting that my memory is starting to crumble like cheap cement.   I can only hope that he/she is treating it well.  

3.  I ate some more brownies.  I've got that whole vegetable thing with which to contend this week and figured I'd better get my chocolate levels up before I embark on this most dangerous of paths.  It's not like my jeans fit anyway at this point.  One more day with my face in the brownie pan isn't going to make a difference.

4.  I spent some quality time screwing up the Invisibility Shawl.  Sadly, this project did not make the knitting deadline.  An unplanned (but perhaps predictable) round of riotous ripping on Wednesday pretty much killed any chances of it being finished and blocked within the stated time frame.  Had I chosen to go with the pattern's thoughts on length, I might have made it.  But, I really wanted it longer.  So I forged ahead into the Error Zone and that was all she wrote.  Sorry, Mom.  Maybe I shall have screwed it up at a length I find satisfactory in time for Mother's Day.  Or Christmas...

5.  I watched Night Of The Living Dead 3D (but as a 2D version...) because being on vacation does not mean that I can rest from my endless preparation for the coming Invasion.  I link because it's better than you think.  There is the prerequisite amount of "stupid" that one will find in any Hollywood interpretation of the genre.  And there needed to be a number of shots crafted to take advantage of the whole 3D thing.  But's better than you think.  If you like that sort of thing, anyway.

6.  Then I re-watched Evil Dead.  I know I just viewed this one.  But I'm thinking of writing a paper entitled Never, Ever Lean Against The Door You Just Slammed In The Face Of The Oncoming Evil Whilst Clutching Your Weapon And Breathing Heavily, Thinking That You Have Bought Yourself Some Time To Rest Because, Within Seconds, A Pair Of Hands/Claws/Talons Will Burst Through The Door On Either Side Of Your Head And Things Will Go Downhill From There.  Research papers take a great deal of time and, well....research.  I think I may have enough data from my recent study of various films to write something that will earn me a Nobel Prize.

And, for anyone who may be thinking that this isn't exactly the sort of stuff that makes for good knit blogging, I beg to differ.  There are any number of knitterly things to be found.  Seriously!  What about poor Shelly?  Somehow in those intervening seconds between being dragged, smoking, from the fireplace and her eventual (but deserved) dismemberment, she somehow finds the time to change her socks.  At least it looked that way to me.

Only a knitter would notice that...


Saturday, April 26, 2008

When All Else Fails...

I don't count the weekends as part of my vacation, really.  The weekend before vacation starts is kind of nice and I suppose I do call it the "kick-off."  But, for me, the real fun of a vacation is still being in bed at a time when I am normally pointing the car southward and traveling the Maine Turnpike with my fellow, disgruntled commuters or being able to go to the bathroom whenever my little heart desires regardless of whether I need to go or not.  I can do all that stuff on a regular, plain, old weekend.  Doing it on a Tuesday is neat-o!  

So, yesterday I decided that I would celebrate the last real day of school vacation week.  Sure, I had spent the first part of the week dealing with auto repair (or should we say, "non-repairable") issues and had been forced to use a good chunk of that sweet tax refund money towards the purchase of a new car.  But, I'd craftily kept a small piece of that cash pie hidden from the prying eyes of the money lenders and, being as my current car payments will make retail therapy a thing of the past for the foreseeable future, I thought I would take the opportunity to enjoy the new ride and indulge myself just the tiniest bit while I could.  Besides, Saturday was pretty heavily booked as I was committed to a visit with The World's Greatest Stylist And Life Coach as well as a Tastefully Simple catalogue party with the Future SIL.  (or, as I like to call it, The Sharing Of The Company's Food Samples Which Count As A Free Lunch And Which Will Be Better Than Anything I Might Make)

You will notice that knitting has not been mentioned.  I have not knit since Tuesday Night.  We shall not speak of this.  This is shameful behavior and I have no explanation for how I have found myself in this Knitting Mojo-less state.  I probably need therapy.

But, fear not!  I have a commercially knitted thingie that I can share!  I love many things.  I love shoes.  I love things that are chocolate-filled.  I love Zombie movies, but that is kind of a love/hate relationship and also indicative of my need for some sort of therapeutic intervention.  Zombies are scary and are neither chocolate-filled nor helpful when you need an opinion on your new shoes.  This did not stop me from buying a copy of Night Of The Living Dead 3-D (2006) simply because I had never heard of it and was loathe to think of a zombie movie that I'd not watched.  

But that's not what I'm talking about.  Yesterday's Shopping Find Of The Month is more along the lines of a footwear purchase.  And they were a bargain, what with being on the clearance table and all.  For a mere $2.48, I found....

Sock Monkey Slippers!!!!!  

They are even knitted!  And with the lovely memory foam base, my feet will walk in cushiony, sock monkey comfort for years to come!  How can you not love a sock monkey slipper?  How can you not love a sock monkey slipper that is $2.48?????  I carried them to my my new car and drove them home with great pride and a kind of stupid grin on my face.

Bargain slippers can do a great deal for brightening one's last day of school vacation or when a girl needs a little something to put life back in perspective.  Now I have a new movie to watch and feet that are ensconced in Memory Foam/Monkey Comfort.  And if I turn my feet just right...

It kind of looks like they're kissing.

Clearly I need to go back to work.  Not only do I have a car payment coming up, but I probably need to spend some time being around other people and getting some social skills back.  

Kissing Monkey Sock Slippers....that just cracks me up!!!!!!!


Thursday, April 24, 2008

Promises, Promises...

I always go into school vacations with really good intentions.  I make a list of all the stuff I am going to get done.  I become annoyingly virtuous about the many things I shall accomplish and look pityingly upon all those poor individuals who do not have my high level of commitment to excellence.  I even make lists.

The vacation arrives.  I spend the weekend which kicks the whole thing off resting in preparation for my upcoming burst of finishing-frenzy behavior.  After that, it all starts to go downhill.

I suspect I just like the whole planning phase more than anything else.  Lists make me happy.  I have lists everywhere.  Some of them are years old.  It is unlikely that I am ever going to get around to finishing my Y2K preparations...

This vacation was no exception.  I had a list.  I had a plan.  I had what you might even call A Vision.  Now, to be fair, no one could have foreseen the whole nightmare with the truck and the sudden need to spend my children's college funds on a replacement vehicle.  There was a whole lot of sitting in a frozen panic whilst contemplating the best way out of this mess involved, as well as trying to convince myself that I could live without food for a couple of years if need be.  It was time well-spent, frankly.  I remembered that I don't actually have children so I didn't have to worry about any college tuitions.  That put things in a new perspective for me.

But that was really only a few days of angst.  I could have done far more on the to-do lists.  I was stuck at home for a while there and could easily have knit, spun or carded something in between bouts of paralysis.  But I didn't.  Nor did I clean the fridge, shampoo the carpets or take clothes to the donation center.  

There's about a million things I coulda done, maybe even shoulda done.  And didn't do.

I did, however, manage to pull off one little thing on the list.  A while back, the Future SIL asked if I had tried any of the recipes from the copy of Brother Juniper's Bread Book she gave me for Christmas this past year.  I was appalled to realize that I had not.  In fact, once the holidays are over, I tend to put the baking on the back burner.  Except that you bake in the oven and not on a burner so that metaphor is really kind of silly when I think about it.  But you get what I mean...

On Saturday, I broke out the book and made some of the foccacia with oodles of garlic.  Garlic is good when you are stuck at home with no car because it has an engine ready to blow up at any given moment.  It's not like it matters that your breath is capable of wilting mighty oak trees.  You're not going anywhere.  Foccacia is good.  Lots of garlic is even better.

Today, with an appointment to go visit with Mommy and Daddy Sheep on the social calendar, I decided to try a little of the sweet, whole wheat french bread.  I even followed the directions for making a round of bread instead of just a loaf.  Normally, I make lumps instead of loaves.  The bread sort of takes on a life of its own and expands like an alien life form intent upon consuming my oven.  But look:

It's round!   Really, really round!  

There wasn't room in the oven for two rounds so I tossed the rest in a loaf pan.  That worked, too!

Not as impressive as the round...but still kind of lovely.

If you, like me, have a love for the baking of the wheat with the yeast, I'd highly recommend that you scamper off for a copy of this book.  It's a fabulous resource as well as a cookbook.  It will help you make round bread.  Everyone should make round bread that doesn't morph into an amoeba sort of thing at least once in their lives.

It's not knitting.  Nor is it housecleaning or anything else remotely related to my Vacation To-Do list.  But it is edible.  Which is just as good...


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

WNBP: The Spring Break Edition

With the vehicle breakdowns, purchasing and financing excitement all over and done with, today was more along the lines of what I'd had in mind for my school vacation week.  I had a whole day to myself, transportation at the ready and the option to either venture out or stay home as I saw fit.  And, as it is now mid-week, I can blog about the day in bullet point format.  Vacation from school doesn't mean that everything degenerates into utter anarchy, right?  Here they be:

*I opted to go out and to stay home today.  I did a little shopping this morning and a whole lotta nuthin' this afternoon.  

*I like to think of the shopping as "optimism" in the face of my new financial reality after purchasing the new car.  Plus I was out of coffee.

*I knit nothing.  Not a stitch.  There was no spinning, nor was there fiber prep of any kind.  Not sure what happened there...  I meant to do all that stuff.  I guess I'm still in recovery from the first four days of vacation.  Now I'm all messed up.  

*Can you name Karma in a lawsuit?  I feel like I should have some recourse here.

*The new car is pretty sweet, though.  To answer a few of the questions, I shall say that it is silver, very shiny, has a plethora of cup holders and way more other stuff than I was able to really process yesterday.  The downside to speedy car shopping is that you have no idea where to put your sunglasses for at least two weeks.  Or, if you do manage to find a spot, be able to remember where you put them.

*Oh and about the seats:  They are leather and will not clean up well at all, I'm afraid.  This was not a part of my vehicular vision.

* I can't take pictures for you, though.  I'm afraid of paparazzi.  They might get a photo of me driving with my wipers on for five miles in bright sunshine because I wanted to see how they worked and then couldn't figure out how to shut them off.  

*I'm not saying that happened.  It's just an example, is all...  

*Stop laughing.  It wasn't funny.

*Did I mention that I got to meet Melissa last night at Chicks With Sticks?  She is very, very nice and has a Small, Fluffy Puppy.  He is very, very cute and can drink water from a plastic bottle.  Big, Fluffy Kitties can't do that.  Not even if you ask really nicely...

*I was mesmerized.  You just don't see Small, Fluffy Puppies drinking from plastic water bottles every day.  

*I made brownies today.  That should count for something even if I didn't knit.

*I wanted to make them with walnuts as God intended.  But all I had on hand was the brownie mix.  No nuts.  I forged ahead because it was the right thing to do.  

*OK, Mel.  I heard that. was a mix.  And it does too count as cooking.  The oven was on and I had to use two, count 'em TWO eggs.  There was even some mixing.  That is cooking.

*Besides, you don't want to mess with me.  If you will recall, the plan as we envisioned it last night was that I would be the Snack Mistress/Guardian Of The Goodies during the coming Zombie Invasion due to my natural abilities as a hoarder.  Those Oreos you were talking about keeping in the survival stores might just suddenly "disappear" should I start feeling all unappreciated.


*Sometimes sick people become Zombies.  Then you have a Zombie on your nice sheets:

*You should shoot Zombies in the head:

*This method of Zombie Control is ineffective and inadvisable:

*And is a waste of perfectly good pie.

*Screen shots courtesy of my computer because I was watching a movie today while I wasn't knitting and probably not something one should post without at least giving some credit.  Although if I am sued, there really isn't much left after my Spring Break Car Shopping Extravaganza.  

*Maybe tomorrow I'll clean the house and knit something like I said I was going to do back when Spring Break was just a hopeful vision of the future.  

The week has really gotten away from me, I'm afraid.  Tomorrow is Thursday and then Friday will be upon me.  It hasn't exactly been the vacation I was planning.  But like I said to the service center shuttle driver yesterday as he was bringing me back to the dealership for the eleventy-billionth time:  It is what it is.  

We have bonded in our many travels together and it was inevitable that we would reach the philosophical stage before too many more trips back 'n forth...

And today "it is what it is" came with brownies.  


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Great Lengths

Last year, I had to miss my April Vacation visit with everyone down at The Yarn Sellar.  As much as I enjoy a good knit night, the truck's engine light was telling me that travel would be inadvisable.  This, coming right after a lengthy and expensive round of repairs, made for much sadness.

I vowed it would not happen again.

You can only imagine the look on my face when, on Friday morning and just as I was turning into the school's parking lot, that cursed light came on again.  I knew at that moment that my plans for the upcoming school vacation week were going to be altered somewhat.  This could potentially include my participating in Tuesday Night Knitting Group.

The truck went to the service center that very afternoon and spent the night.  The prognosis was grim, but I was allowed to retrieve it on Saturday in order that I not be trapped at home for another day.  Monday morning, bright and early, back it went for more of the poking and prodding.

By Monday afternoon, the verdict was in.  And it was not good.  I needed a whole new engine.  

As this seemed like a kind of extreme sort of thing to be doing, I took the night to think it over.  But even the service people were saying that this was not advisable.  I needed a new car.

Now this was a tricky prospect at best.  I still owed money on the truck and was going into this with nothing in the way of equity.  I returned to the dealership this morning, escorted by my favorite shuttle driver, to see what I could do.  And I knew that it had to be done today.  I was not going to miss another knitting night.  

I will spare you the details, but it was a long day.  To say that my team of auto buying specialists were hard at work trying to make some sort of deal that would keep my payments reasonable would be an understatement.  It would also be safe to say that I owe all of womankind an apology for my behavior.  When you go into the buying process with your repair history, loan arrangements and original contract for your truck spread out for all the world to see, it's not like you can pretend that you are a savvy car buyer.  I did what I had to do.

I went all "girl" on the situation.  

I can't bear to think about it, much less to tell you all that transpired.  But there was flirting.  There was a test drive which involved my making all sorts of understanding noises while the salesman shared more details from his divorce than I needed to hear.  At one point I found myself doing something that bore a frightening resemblance to a geisha-type giggle complete with the hand in front of the mouth.  I flung myself on the mercy of my sales team (and it truly took a team to make this all happen) shamelessly and with Oscar worthy effort.  I prevailed upon their expertise and their manly powers of Making It All Better.  I tried to cry a couple of times, but I couldn't quite seem to work up a good gush of tears.  I did manage to make my voice break pathetically a couple of times and at very strategic moments, though.  Even my favorite shuttle driver stepped up to vouch for my good character and to lend his support to my being granted a new vehicle.

Like I said...I owe all women an apology.  We are better than that.  But I was in a pickle.  I broke out the estrogen.  What little I have left anyway.  

Oh, and I am also now engaged to the manager of the financing department.  I love him.  Deeply.  When the deal was finally done and hands were being shaken all around, this charming man clicked his heels and bowed to me.  

I love him.  Our children will be beautiful.  And I can only imagine that our cars will be equally aesthetically pleasing.

This all needed to happen today.  This was the window with which I had to work.  I was clear and highly specific on this matter.  My team worked hard to make it happen.  The truck is no more and I am now driving maybe a little more vehicle than I really need but financing under these circumstances is weird to say the least and more car seems to make more banks happy.  And it was all done within my specified time frame.

Because I wasn't going to miss another Knit Night.  Commitment, People.  That's what it's all about.


Monday, April 21, 2008

Smile Until Your Jaw Locks

Karma is kind of a funny thing.  At least Karma thinks so.  Karma is one of those annoying beings that laughs at its own jokes.  Everyone is secretly hating Karma and failing to understand how it can be so socially unaware.  But they all chuckle along half-heartedly because Karma is also a little bit mean and has been known to hold a grudge.

The first "official"day of my spring break finds me still smiling.  I shall not be deterred from the smiling.  I waited a long time for this vacation and will enjoy it if it kills me.  Look!  How can you not enjoy a Big, Fluffy Kitty with her new toy?

I thought the blurry ones I posted a few days ago were way funnier, but these show that I actually do know how to use one or two of the settings on my camera.

Sure, I could get to thinking about how sometimes life isn't really all that fair.  Or about all the things that I'd been planning to do with this most joyous of times.  I was going to go shopping right after school on Friday and maybe treat myself to some super-special girly sorts of stuff.  But, I didn't get to do that.  It's OK.  The BFK is very, very cute:

See how she's stalking that whirling feather?  Adorable, I tellya!!!

On Saturday, I'd given some thought to heading over to the used book store and picking myself up a little reading material for my restful entertainment.  That is both a treat and a very fiscally responsible thing to do.  Plus it's like recycling and that is also a very good thing.  But I didn't get to do that either.  Oh, that BFK!  She's just a treasure what with all the fluffy, romping sweetness!  How can you not maintain a smile?

Awww!  She caught it.  Now she's gonna kill it!  Mommy's little girl is so grown up!

On Sunday I hadn't actually planned to do much.  I was, however, looking forward to staying up really, really late watching TV and playing computer games because I am on vacation and can sleep as long as I'd like in the morning.  Yet, I had to go to bed at a reasonable hour.  The alarm needed to be set like it was a working day.  But, hey!  There's always spinning!  I really, really like to spin and I don't often have the chance to do that during the week.  Spinning is nice and soothing.

I didn't get much done because my teeth were grinding from all the smiling and then my neck got really stiff.  But was a very nice way to spend the time before the pain kicked in.

I will continue in this fine tradition of making the best of it.  I will smile until the pain makes it impossible or the nice men with the white suits and the butterfly net come to visit and suggest that I might like to see the pretty room they have for me with the rubber wallpaper.  I am happy.  Happy to the point of needing medication.  Because it is my vacation and, as God is my witness, I will find the joy in this.  

Oh, and Rabbitch?  Your offer this morning to go all "stabbity" on my behalf touched my withered, old heart.  Seriously.  I had a little tear in my right eyeball.  (I was still smiling, though.  Because that is the plan and I am not one to detour from a planned course of action.)  Having someone who is willing to cross international borders with sharp objects for me is so very, very sweet.  You are a gem.  And if you could hang by the phone tomorrow, that'd be super.

I have to do a little unplanned car shopping...


Sunday, April 20, 2008

Substitute Amphibian Blogger

Hi, Folks!  It's Toy-Doo!  Remember me?  I'm the beloved toy of the Big, Fluffy Kitty here at Chez Sheepie.  Nice to finally get a chance to meetcha!  

Sheepish Annie can't come to the blog right now.  After last night's season finale of Torchwood, she took to her bed (well...the sofa, actually) pulled a blanket over her head and started wailing about how everyone is out to get her and that now even the British have gotten in on the act.  She's been making snuffling noises and eating donuts all day.  Given her present condition, I was happy to step up and do blog duty tonight.  Hopefully, by tomorrow, she will have recovered enough from the disastrous and unacceptable developments of Saturday night television viewing and be able to resume her place at the helm.

I suppose you have all been wondering how I'm doing now that the BFK has her new, automated kitty toy.  I can see where you might be concerned.  I was, after all, the favorite around here, having come into the house as a comfort object after BFK's sister shuffled off her mortal coil.  

I'm good, actually.  Real good.  I'm a big fan of the new toy.  It has saved a great deal of wear and tear on my tender, catnip-filled shell and I appreciate being relegated to Napping Companion Status.

Heck, I'll even go turn the thing on for her.  It takes a while for me to get there.  I am a turtle after all.  But, I'm on the job.

The extra hours I now have in a day are just wonderful.  I'm using the time to take correspondence courses in accounting and have finally gotten around to starting that novel.  It's an epic tale of forbidden love between a tortoise and a hare.  My agent is positive about my chances for publication and you can look forward to seeing it in bookstores by Christmas of 2010.  You'll laugh, you'll cry...I see movie rights on this one.  I envision George Clooney playing the part of the tortoise.  

The lump under the blanket just bellowed something about this being a knitting blog and demanded that I discuss something related to the genre.  Frankly, this seems a bit ungrateful considering that I took time away from my own pursuits to help out, here.  But, she is the boss.  If I am understanding Her Majesty, Queen Of The Donuts correctly, she would like for me to share a picture of the Invisibility Shawl and make sure you are fully aware of the fact that this is the first time she's done a provisional cast on.  Fine.  Here you go:

It's actually rather fetching, now that I'm right up on it.  But it took me an hour to get the tripod assembled and then crawl the length of the shawl to make this shot happen.  I'm tired.

I have so enjoyed this time with you and hate to cut it short.  But I am concerned that there has been little in the way of movement from under the couch blankets for the last few minutes.  If you thought the wailing and demands for a re-write of the Torchwood season finale were bad, you should hear the silence.  It is nothing short of ominous.  I fear that she might be plotting some sort of hostile take-over of the BBC.  This seems rather unlikely given that I doubt she can hoist her donut-enhanced hindquarters up from the depth of the sofa cushions, but I do feel that the situation warrants further investigation.  

It is also possible that she is in some sort of diabetic coma.  Good thing I finished that First Aid course...


Saturday, April 19, 2008

Determined. Very Determined.

I have waited a long time for this particular Spring Break.  I have toiled.  Granted, I complained the whole time, but I toiled and I get credit for that.  As such, I have determined that I am entitled to enjoying this vacation.  Whatever forces that may be at work trying to thwart my enjoyment can take a hike.  I am firm in my resolution.  My break.  My time.  My happy.

The past twenty-four hours have been a test of that determination.  Nothing life-threatening.  Just very annoying, filled with lots of people making suggestions that are well-meant but not particularly helpful in my unique situation and potentially very expensive.  However, it is possible to ignore just about anything if you really, really try.  And I have the equivalent of a PhD in Denial so, as far as I'm concerned, today is just a nice, sunny day and the first day of my school vacation.  I am viewing the fact that I was without transportation as a good thing because it gave me an excuse to stay at home and be all rested.  

See how I did that?  Silver lining, baby!  I'm a master.  

So, to that end, let's look at something kind of funny.  I am still putting some miles on the Invisibility Shawl and think that you've been tortured with that particular project enough for one lifetime.  I'll see about doing something of a more fibery nature tomorrow.  For now, let's all smile at the Big, Fluffy Kitty.  She is very glad to have Mommy home for a week and delighted to be the source of my entertainment.  First, let's take a look at what the BFK looks like on an average weekend:

Cute and really easy to locate in the event that an emergency cuddle is needed.

And this is what the BFK looks like after her Mommy has purchased her a nice, new Loco!Motion automated activity toy:

Hah!  I almost had it!

Feel my Paws Of Fury, Foul Feather!!!

I am a master in Kitty Karate!  You shall not escape me!

Harder to see, I'll grant you.  But very, very entertaining.  She's an old gal and not one for hours of play at a time.  But she is pretty impressive in her determination to snag that whirling feather.  There are those who might suggest that twenty bucks is a bit much to spend on a kitty toy.  I, however, feel that I have gotten my money's worth over the past two days.  I can now talk on the phone, read and eat my dinner unaccosted by a furry little interloper.  It's worth every penny!

And knit.  I forgot to mention how much knitting a person can do without a cat in the lap!  I may get some pretty impressive knitting done whilst I'm stranded here at home...


Friday, April 18, 2008

It's Friday.

And I'm sure you're really busy.  So I'll just leave you with this:

It has gotten off to an "interesting" start.  But I'm there!!!!


Thursday, April 17, 2008

And We're Back!

Thanks to this website, I knew when the nice people at the IRS were planning on returning my money to me after holding it hostage for the past year.  A quick check with the bank during a quiet moment at school confirmed that I was now fully reimbursed for my having overpaid the government and that I was solvent for the school vacation week.

I taught all the children very, very quickly and exited the building with great haste.  Me and the Internet were going to be reunited.  There was not going to be anything in the way of "ifs," "ands," or "buts" about it.  I fully intended to throw some money at the problem and make it all go away.

I scampered off to the store where there are lots of nice, helpful young men in matching polo shirts who like nothing better than talking condescendingly to middle aged women who have been denied full access to their knitting community and who would be happy to relieve me of some of that refund.  Just in case I hadn't spent enough money, I purchased a couple of movies as well.  Vacation is almost upon me, after all.  And they had a single copy of the original Dawn Of The Dead, as envisioned by George A. Romero so it was really kind of fated.  I've been hankering after that second flick in the trilogy of zombie goodness.  It holds some very special memories for this old Sheepie.  I also snagged Evil Dead II as I watched the ED The First last weekend and I think it is important to be have some continuity in life.

Then I went next door for some frozen pizza and a new purse.  Because I have a refund and it is a law that pizza and purses factor into the influx of monies.  Look it up.  I'll wait.  

As the Big, Fluffy Kitty has been witness to my ranting, raving and raging over the whole Connection Crisis here and is probably scarred for life, I thought it best to grab her a few treats while I was there, too.  But, they didn't have her Greenies.  So I got a different brand.  She's fine with that...anything that is crunchy and scattered on the floor will suffice in a pinch.  But that didn't seem like enough to make up for all the foul language and missed lap time.  So I got her one of these.  Let's face it:  she has had a couple of rough months, too, what with the loss of her sister and a mommy who isn't always on top of the litter box situation.  

Besides, it kept her entertained so I could deal with setting up the new modem/router thingie.  There was another call to tech. support involved and Brad The Tech Guy Who Loved Me And Left Me Connectionless After My Last Call To Tech Support was nowhere to be found so I needed a little "me" time to get over that.  

And here we are:  one day left until the beginning of spring break, movies and pizza at the ready and a working wireless connection.  Sure, I'm down a few bucks.  In fact, I didn't even have that refund in the bank in its entirety for more than a few hours.  But, you know what they say.  And I'm here to tell you that what they say is a big, fat lie.

Sometimes money can buy you happiness.  


Wednesday, April 16, 2008


I am not the only one who was heard to say, "Whaddaya mean, it's only Wednesday???" today.  I heard it from my Cheerful Teaching Assistants.  I heard it from another teacher while we were outside and on recess duty.  I heard a kid say it.  

But it is true.  It is only Wednesday.  How three days can feel like three months, I know not.  But Wednesday it is.  If nothing else, it is the day of the Wednesday Night Bullet Post.  That's something to celebrate....

*Dunno if I've ever mentioned what my daily schedule is like.  It's not that of the regular sort of teacher.  My caseload is rugged and I teach in a building that houses two schools.  Hence, I start my day at 7:10 when the first kiddies arrive.  I stay with them for the morning breakfast interlude.  I teach them some stuff.  The ones that can make it to "specials" like art or music, go to those classes.  The ones that can't stay with me.  I have a lunch period in my classroom for the students who can't eat with their peers.  I cover the recess duties.  I teach some more stuff.  At 2:30, the last of the 6th graders leave.  But the 5th graders are still there because they are part of the "other" school so I keep teaching.  At 3:00, I put my foot down and close the doors to the classroom so I can leave by 3:15 and not be in violation of my contract.  That amounts to about 8 hours on the job without breaks of any kind, assuming that nothing goes horribly wrong and I have to stay until the last 5th grade bus departs.  I do this for five days and then I sleep for two.

*I am so very ready for spring break.  I do not feel badly about getting a spring break.  I feel like I would crack into a million, tiny, screaming pieces without it.  Spring break is a very, very good thing.

*Fortunately, I have students who are really interesting and have a keen understanding of irony.  They know that my schedule is kind of crazy and really do try to keep me entertained when they see me starting to fray about the edges.  

*They do not, however, have any interest in learning to knit.  This means that I am anxiously anticipating my week of vacation so I can loll about the house with the needles.  

*I also plan to go loll about publicly with the needles.  Chicks With Sticks is calling...

*The thing that is keeping me going right now is playing the "This Time Next Week..." game.  I have all sorts of thoughts about what I will be doing "this time next week."

*One of them is fixing the Internet.  I cannot live much longer without a consistent connection to the outside world.  I think I will be throwing money at this problem.  I can live with that.

*I cannot live without the Internet.  I admit it.  I am addicted.  I needs me that sweet, sweet wireless...

*I have run out of kitty treats.  I thought I had more.  I may not survive until next week's vacation.  The Big, Fluffy Kitty has been staring at me with The Killing Eye.  It is a little disconcerting.

*But not nearly as awful as the look of disappointment that she throws my way every time I come back from the kitchen without having scattered some of the crunchy goodness all over the floor.  That is the sort of thing that makes a mother hang her head in shame.

*If you need me tomorrow, I'll be at the Greenie's Store.  To most people that is known as the Pet Store.  But we call it the Greenie's Store.

*We were calling it the G-spot for a while, but that just came off kind of "unseemly."  

*I'm hoping to finish carding up some shetland next week.  I have me a need for some shetland.

*It is supposed to be sixty-five degrees tomorrow.  I am not ready for this.  I have naught but turtlenecks in the way of clean clothes.  I really need to go look for something more Spring-like.  

*It is not supposed to be that warm during my spring break, but I don't care.  I still have turtlenecks I can wear.  Or pajamas.  I may wear those for a week.  

*Except when I go knit publicly.  By Tuesday night, I anticipate that my jammies will be a little less than presentable.  They will probably be covered in chocolate and pizza sauce.  And I have a hard time driving in slippers.  I will have to wear shoes.

Tomorrow is Thursday and we can officially say that the end of this week is close.  Then it will be Friday, the day that I can eat peanut butter cups for lunch.  And I had the foresight to reserve one of the DVD players in the library so I have a little incentive for the students to keep it together for another day and a half.  There can sometimes be bitter battles over the limited video equipment on the Friday before a vacation, but I won this round.  Thankfully, I had the strength to stand my ground back on Monday.  

I do believe I'm gonna make it!


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Life In The Big Top

Circuses are fun.  There's clowns and amazing acrobats, lions and all the cotton candy you are willing to throw up later that night.  After the circus (and before the throwing up), you dream about wearing a pink leotard and swinging around on a trapeze, the envy of all.

Yup.  Circuses are fun.  Unless you are the one who has to clean up after the elephants and keep them all in that line where they hold onto each other, trunk to tail.  Then it is a lot of work.  My own personal classroom/circus has required a great deal of elephant type upkeep lately and I am getting mighty tired of wielding that shovel.  Which is why, by day's end today, I was a little bit out of sorts.  I also couldn't find my shovel.  I think one of the little charmers stole it.  By 2:00, I was engaged in the following conversation with The Student Who Came In From His Regular Class To Theoretically Finish Some Work:

Ms. Sheep:  What are you doing?

TSWCIFHRCTTFSW:  That thing on Whaling During Colonial Times.

MS:  Really?  Because it seems to me that you are not doing anything remotely like that.

TSWCIFHRCTTFSW:  Nope.  Pretty sure I am.  Don't worry about a thing.  I'm on it.

MS:  Actually, based on my own observation, it seems to me that you are really just hanging out and chatting with The Kid Who Hasn't Done Work In Any Appreciable Amount For Weeks But Today, For Reasons That Are Beyond My Ken, Decided To Finish Everything And Then Some And Is Now Wandering Around Bothering Everyone Else.  That's what it looks like to me, my friend.  What do you say to that?

TSWCIFHRCTTFSW:  I'm multi-tasking.

MS:  (beats head repeatedly on desk)

Stupid circus.  I am not a good ringmaster.  I wasn't even issued one of those cool tuxedos with a top hat.  

You can see why I need to make up my own entertainment in my "off" hours.  And why my little game with the Internal Revenue Service, the one where I put off filing the taxes until I can't stand the suspense anymore, is such a therapeutic thing.    Besides, if I don't make the deadline for filing, I can apparently just tell them I was multi-tasking.  

I've set some pretty impressive records over the years.  I've never actually waited until the 15th.  But, I've come close.  Since I don't skydive or wrestle alligators, I figure I'm entitled to other sorts of high risk behaviors.  And, I'm sure you've all been waiting with bated breath to find out if I actually hit the "send" button and sent those forms, which have been completed for a while now, whizzing through the internets to rest in an electronic pile with all the others.  Or you are remembering just now that I've mentioned my IRS game and are mildly interested because there is a commercial on at the moment and you are tired of hearing about how my DSL connection is all messed up.  Either way, I shall reveal the truth.

I actually pulled the trigger on the taxes on April 10th.  After a review of the finances (which have been shaky for the last 6 months or so) and estimating how long my refund will take, it seemed prudent to send them in nice and early.  Early by my standards, anyway.  It was the right thing to do.  I was sad to lose the game.  I wish I could have held on longer.  But, you know what they say:  Nothing in life is certain except death and taxes.  

Assuming I don't fall victim to the first, then I will get a another chance with the second in 2009.

And, on a happier note, this means that I will have yarn money for the spring vacation week.  And pizza money.  And I can maybe even pick up some peanuts for the elephants.  Maybe then, they will behave themselves.  (except the ones with nut allergies...I may need to rethink the peanut plan)

I will also need to pick up another shovel.  It's only a week's vacation and there's a bit of a stretch until summer.  I am going to need another shovel...


Monday, April 14, 2008

Having A Bad Feeling About This...

We've all been there.  If you are anything like me, it probably happened when you were younger and maybe a little bit short on wisdom.  You know how it goes.  You meet a feller...he sweet-talks you a little.  You get to thinking that this is one special guy.  Maybe even The One.  You are putty in his hands.  You can be easily convinced to do things that are outside your usual, responsible nature.  You change your hair.  Maybe cut a few classes.  Talk back to your parents and stick your used gum under the coffee table.  Help him knock over a liquor store...stuff like that.

I am starting to think that Brad from Tech Support, who used his sweet talking ways to convince me that it wasn't enough to get my Ethernet connection up and running but that it would be fun to start fiddling around with the wireless, was just using me for the thrill of it.  He was merely looking for a few laughs and maybe a little of the adrenaline rush.  And he knew he had me right where he wanted me.  Brad said, "jump" and I leaped like a crazy kangaroo.  I pushed the buttons he told me to push.  I moved the cables he said should be moved.  

He led me down the path of self-destruction.  Now, he is nowhere to be found.  He's probably moved on to someone with more RAM and a faster connection speed.  And I'm here, hanging in the wind with thirty seconds of connection to the inter-webs out of every five minutes, just waiting for the little light on the router to come back on and tell me that it is safe to try again.

I am reduced to living like our forefathers, hastily taking advantage of the connection in between churning butter and fighting off the wild bears.  What am I saying?  Our forefathers didn't live like this!  They had dial-up.  And that was probably much faster than what I have right now.

Brad.  Oh, Brad.  Why hast thou forsaken me?  I thought what we had was special.  This is the eighties all over again...

On the up side of things, the lack of Internet perusing has given me more of the knitting time.  There is every reason to believe that I will be blocking the Invisibility Shawl next week during my school vacation.  I am trying to find the bright side, here.  I am ignoring the amount of non-knitting time that has been devoted to: a.  Trying to fix what I have broken on the Internet:  b.  Thinking about what I need to do to fix what I have broken on the Internet;  c.  Thinking of new names to call Brad.  and, d.  Feeling badly about blaming Brad because he spent an hour and a half helping me try and fix this and he only once mentioned how old my equipment is.  

And then I remember that he called me, "ma'am" and I get back to being all Brad-hatey again. 

 I know it's not really his fault.  He can't help his nature.  In that special time and place, I really do believe that he thought we were creating a wireless connection to last the ages.  He is an "in the moment" kind of guy and lives for the thrill of meeting a challenge.  He can't really be blamed for my getting all swept away in his excitement.  

But, I know one fellow who is so totally not getting a sweater for Christmas...


Sunday, April 13, 2008

Can't Hit Send

I have long suspected that the culprit in my recent wireless woes was my router.  After an upgrade to something I can't even remember but one that seemed highly recommended by the nice people at Apple, I lost my wireless connection.  The Ethernet worked, though.  Not wanting to fiddle with it too much at that point in time, I let it be and lived tethered to a modem.  Which is also my router.

Until this weekend when, possessed by an adventurous spirit not normally in my nature, I decided to try re-setting all sorts of thing-a-ma-bobbies and putting it all back to where it was.  
I lost everything.  Wireless.  Ethernet.  Smoke signals.  You name it.  There was much rending of garments and gnashing of teeth.  The Internet is a very good thing and something upon which I have become a little dependent.  And, I'm not saying that this is the case or anything...but if I really haven't hit the send button and e-filed those income taxes, things are going to get very tricky without a working Internet connection.  If I did send them...then all is well.  

I'm still not saying whether I did or I didn't.  You'll just have to wait until the 15th.  Sort of like the Internal Revenue Service...

I set out this morning, bright and early to replace the offending box.  But this was pre-coffee.  I knew what I needed.  I reminded myself to be very careful in choosing my new box.  My life on the inter-webs depended on it.  There were a lot of boxes from which to choose.  And did I mention the whole "pre-coffee" thing?

I got the wrong one.  No modem.  

Vexed to the point of crazy, I took it upon myself to do that thing which I hate to do more than going to the dentist and eating my vegetables combined.  I called tech. support.

Enter my new best friend.  Let's call him Brad.  Brad and I are very close.  What we have is special.  I don't imagine that anyone else who calls tech. support gets so much attention. After an hour of button-pushing, comparing of screen images and untangling of wires, we managed to get the router/modem back to where we were yesterday:  still tethered by an Ethernet connection, but working.  Deep down, I knew I should quit while I was ahead.  I knew it on a level that is fueled by years of living in a state called Irony.  But my new best friend Brad was feeling pretty good about our progress.  He wanted to take our relationship to the next level.  He wanted to re-establish my wireless.  

What can I say?  I was caught up in the moment.  Brad and I had been through so much could I tell him, "no?"  Brad knows me.  He knows that I have the old router/modem combo that came with my DSL service package.  He knew that my updating the software was what put things over the edge connection-wise without my even having to tell him.  We need no words, Brad and me.  We are soul-mates.

I consented.  I may have actually used the words, "I do," now that I think of it.

We used the old router as a bridge and the new router as...well a router.  It worked, God bless him.  I knew I could count on good old Brad.  There is just one problem.  The connection is strong and true.  Except when you...oh, darn it, what's the term I'm looking for?  I hate it when I can't remember the technical jargon.  Oh, wait!  I've got it!  It works except when you: 

Use it.

Connections are dropping all over the place.  The floor is littered with them.  And Brad is no longer taking my calls.  I'm sure he's just really busy right now.  And I don't want to appear all needy.  That's the kiss of death in any relationship.

Fortunately, I had the common sense to pick up a couple of movies while I was at the router store and spent the afternoon watching zombies.  Zombies will put things in perspective for you.  Even the worst day of your life is not as bad as the day someone tries to eat your foot.

There are any number of solutions to my problem and I am mulling them over as we speak.  No need to offer any technical advice at the moment, but I reserve the right to put out the call for input at a later date.  For now, I'm all set, I promise.  I just need the time to fix things.  And, with this being the week before school vacation, I don't anticipate getting to it until the final bell rings on Friday afternoon.  So, if the posts get spotty and the emails don't get answered, please don't fret.  I'm on it.  Like I said, I have options.

My current favorite is chucking the whole technology thing and going to live amongst the Amish.  They would surely appreciate my knitting skills.  

And I look pretty hot in a bonnet.