Sunday, August 31, 2008

A Season In A Day

Remember back when this used to be a knitting/fiber blog?  Those were fun days, weren't they?  There was all sorts of yarny fun going on.  Projects flowed from the needles like water in a flooded creek bed and I do think that the blogging world spent more time marveling over my amazing feats of stitchery than was really healthy for them.

Good times...

Or maybe that's just how I remember it.  At any rate, times have changed.  I don't think it's permanent or anything like that.  It's just that I suddenly find myself in a bit of a time crunch here.  To say that I did not budget my time well this summer would be an understatement.  I now have, for all intents and purposes, one day to finish up any number of household tasks and ready myself for the return to the working world on Tuesday morning.  

It's not looking good...

Today I ventured north (sort of...and not all that far really) to participate in the final cook-out of the summer season with Mommy and Daddy Sheep.  I used some of those last few precious gasps of summer to bake up some challa for the feast, but it was worth it.  I found it to be the perfect accompaniment to the rest of the meal and a good time was had by all.  Granted, time was lost in this endeavor, but it is tradition and time spent observing traditions is never wasted.  

Plus, I got leftovers...

Now I am back at home, stuffed to the gills with steak 'n cake.  And the list of stuff I still have left to do sits beside me.  It's mocking me.  

There's stuff on there like mopping the bathroom floor and that's not something that I can really put off for another minute.  I honestly think we've reached the point where I'm losing square footage to the dust bunnies in there.  And it's not a particularly large space to begin with.

I must put together something vaguely lunch-like and repeat this two times more if I am to have a midday meal while adjusting to the teaching life again.  I need to find enough "grown up" outfits to get me through an abbreviated work week.  

I also need to make sure that they fit what with all the steak 'n cake consumption going on around here...

I must organize the breakfast foods, double-check that the alarm clock is set for 5:00 (there's a mistake you don't make twice...) and clean the coffee maker.  The trash really should go out and if I don't vacuum the carpets before this long weekend is over then there is just no hope for it ever getting done.  

It also occurs to me that I need to put gas in the car.  I'm a commuter again.  Commuters require the fossil fuels in greater amounts than ladies of summery leisure.  That's just a fact.

On top of all this mayhem, I need to ensure that certain kitties are entertained enough to stay out from under foot.  I have also been feeling no small amount of guilt over the fact that it is time to leave the new baby at home alone with his big sister all day.  New toys are the best way to not only distract playful felines, but ease the guilt pangs that come with being a working Mom.

As a single mother, I must also watch that budget, though.  Which is why I do so love the Dollar Store!  They understand that I need to shower the kitties with gifts and endeavor to give me ample choices with which to do so.  Anyone who ever doubted that I rock the Dollar Store like no one else you know, please take note.  This is a good 'un!

I give you...The Collapsible Cat Cave!!!

The Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty investigated it thoroughly once it was taken out of its collapsible state.

He checked it out from all angles.

The final verdict?  He love, love loves it!!!!!

Hours of entertainment, all for a buck.  You can't beat it, friends!  It's not quite as good as being on vacation or having your Mommy at home all the time.  But it's pretty darned cool.

And the best part?  It keeps the AGK busy.  This is good for Mommies who need to believe that they will finish the list of stuff they need to get done in a day, but better for Big, Fluffy Kitties.  BFKs are not quite as enamoured with Collapsible Cat Caves as AGKs are.  

But they greatly appreciate the peace these things afford.  It's been a while since this level of Carpet Napping has been seen.

And now I must be off.  The oven timer is telling me that the boneless chicken breasts I'm cooking ahead for dinners and salads this week are done and the first round of cleansing vinegar and water has run through the coffee maker.  We are still fully under the impression that we will get all this stuff finished before Tuesday morning.

We are delusional.  We are OK with that...


Saturday, August 30, 2008

Better Late Than Never...I

To:  The Superintendent Of Schools

From:  Sheepish Annie

Re:  School Year '08-'09

Dear Ultimate And Most Supreme Boss Of Me,

Greetings to you, Sir.  I hope that this letter finds you well rested after your abbreviated summer work schedule and refreshed for the upcoming school year.  I do apologize for the tardiness of this letter, but you know how it is during the lazy, hazy days 'o just feels like you have all the time in the world.

You will, I'm sure, be pleased to know that I have managed to get myself into school over the past two weeks and that I have set up the classroom for another fun-filled year of learning and priceless moments with the children.  It was a bit startling to realize that none of the things I included in my email last spring (the one detailing all that I would need for this educational adventure) were provided.  I must admit that this gave me pause.  But I like to think that not having any of the math materials will force the students to be more creative.  And the lack of outlet covers will certainly make for some exciting moments, won't it?  I'm certain that my request that those be made less accessible was not filled in order that those youngsters with a tendency to poke at these sorts of things learn through experience.  A very solid approach.  Very solid, indeed.

But this is not the purpose of my letter today.  I am writing to you in order that I might request a leave of absence for the upcoming school year.  I hate to do this just before the opening of school, but I find myself in a bit of a pickle and without recourse at this point.  I am certain you will understand.

You see, I honestly need a little more time to do all the stuff I said I was going to get done this summer.  It is just the strangest minute you have months to work on projects and the next you got nuthin'!  I don't know quite how this happens, but it certainly does.  

I was supposed to dig all that dirty, yucky caulking out of the bedroom window frames before it crumbles into toxic dust.  I did the one window, but lost interest in the whole endeavor back in July.  There is still another window requiring my attention.  

I said that I would complete at least two holiday gifts before the closing bell rang.  I didn't do two.  I didn't even do one.  I did none.  Instead, I let myself get all involved in breaking The Blog Sweater Curse and spent my time knitting a sweater designed for myself.  Were I to return to the classroom next week, there would be no handknit goodness for Christmas this year!  This would be an entirely unacceptable turn of events, now wouldn't it?

I went so far as to put in writing that I would spin up no fewer than four batches of fiber that have been awaiting their respective turns at the wheel.  I am horrified and shamed to report that I haven't even finished the first one.  Again, we blame The Blog Sweater Curse.  However, the playing of The Blame Game never solved anything and now I must take a whole year off from school in order that I might rectify this sad situation.

Finally, there is the new baby to consider.  Did I not mention that I adopted over the summer?  Goodness, I thought everyone knew about that by now.  It's pretty much all I've talked about for months and months on end.  You don't even want to know how it's affected my Bloglines subscriptions!  

At any rate, I do not feel that now is the time for a new mother to be going back to work.  My only child care option at this point is Big Sister and she has not shown any real aptitude as a nurturing being.  She has reached the point where she can tolerate Baby Brother, but it is an uneasy peace.  And Baby Brother has not figured out that Big Sister does not wish to play with him and that racing towards her in order that he might bowl her off her feet is only making matters worse.  I simply must be here in order to ensure that the children are safe.  It is what a good mother does, after all.

Besides, the view from the sofa is too just too cute.  I find that I am unable to tear myself away to tend to such matters as educating the masses.  

The baby has a new sleeping position.  Can you stand it?????

In closing, Most High And Mighty Lord Of The School District, I believe that I will be able to better serve the students of our educational system if I just stay home this year.  I shall be far too distracted by domestic matters should I even attempt to come into work every day.  I'm certain that there will be no difficulty finding a long-term substitute who is willing to take over the shattered remains of the program that I was handed last spring.  After all, I've already set up the classroom.  The only thing left to do is teach the kids for a year.  The backbreaking labor is done.  (You're Welcome!)  It should be a piece of cake.  

Thank you in advance for your consideration of this matter.  Again, please accept my apologies for the lateness of this letter.  As is my wont, I really thought I could do it all before September rolled around.  It always surprises me when I don't, but I feel that this year's leave of absence will let me catch up nicely.  There is no need to respond to this letter as I am certain that my request will be approved without any further discussion.

All that is left, then, is to wish you and the rest of the staff a wonderful start to the school year.  I hope that the time between now and June flies by in a wonderful wash of happiness and teachable moments.  Oh, how I envy those of you organized enough to return to the halls of academia!  Think of me fondly while I'm gone as I will of you.

See you next September,


Thursday, August 28, 2008

That Which We Cannot Change

The last week of summer vacation is all about Acceptance.  You can fight it all you want, but it will only cause you grief in the end.  It is, in fact, the last week of summer vacation.  The calendar says it.  The television commercials are saying it.  The mobs of harried parents at the store loading up on notebooks and pencil cases say it.  Acceptance.  That's the key word of the week.

I've never been particularly good at this part of being on summer vacation.  School gets out for the summer, I pack up the classroom, I flee to my car...and then I forget all about the fact that I teach for living.  For years, I've tried to do better with this.  And, to some degree, I have.  Why I recall that time during my third year in the profession when I realized that I hadn't taken that trip to the beach I'd been promising myself.  Knowing that the time to do this was short, I quickly ran into school to get the classroom set up so that I could take care of that bit of sunny business bright and early the next morning.  

Imagine my surprise at learning that school started the very next day.  See what I mean?  I'm much better about it now.

But I still don't really "get it."  And thus, every year, I must go through the same stages of acceptance as I roll into the last week of summer vacation.  This year has been no different, in spite of a few slight variables.  It has looked something like this:

Sunday Night:  After a nice, relaxing day, a horrible realization slowly dawns.  I cast mine eyes around the manse and am struck by its disheveled state.  I begin to realize that there were an awful lot of things I meant to get done this summer.  Not only did I not do them...but I actually created more of a mess.  In a fit of overly optimistic organization, I begin to plan out how I will somehow cram weeks of Gotta-Do's into a mere seven days.  

Monday Morning:  I oversleep.  I chuckle at my little faux pas, knowing full well that there is a whole week left to get everything done.  Not a problem.  I'll be fine.  I did, after all, think very organized thoughts the previous evening...

Monday Night:  I take a moment to review the Gotta Do's.  One or two items are removed since they are really the sorts of things that people only say that they do.  No one actually cleans under the refrigerator.  It's just not done.  

Tuesday Morning:  I wake up with only slightly diminished enthusiasm.  I'm still on track.  I just need to focus, is all.  Maybe I should be going to bed a little bit earlier.  I seem to have overslept again...

Tuesday Night:  I think about reviewing the Gotta Do's but don't.  I'm fine.  And, as far as going to bed earlier is concerned, it just doesn't seem necessary.  I'm an adult.  I don't need a stinkin' bedtime!  No one tells The Sheep what to do!  I'm still on vacation!  You can't take that away from me!!!!!

Wednesday Morning:  It occurs to me that, if you can't remember the last time you changed your sheets, then it's probably time to change the sheets.  I think I read that somewhere.  

Side Note:  Pay no mind to that quiet weeping in the background.  That's just Mommy Sheep.  You can't blame her.  She really did do her best to ensure that I grew up in a hygienic environment and that I learned basic housekeeping.  It just didn't take.  

Side Note Part Deux:  I am very much in touch with my Inner Frat Boy

Wednesday Night:  I finally find where I've been storing the clean sheets.  Since that took most of the day, I am now hopelessly behind on the Gotta Do's.  

Thursday Morning:  I head out to do the things that I've put off because they are boring, grown-up tasks.  I don't like boring, grown-up tasks.  But, the car needs to be registered and the Mobile Medical Kit must be re-stocked.

Yet Another Side Note:  After an horrific bout of food poisoning at school one day which required that the Special Education director leave a meeting to transport me to the hospital, I vowed to never, ever again be without tummy medications and the like.  Various pills, potions and salves are now on the back-to-school shopping list.

Oh, And Here's One More Side Note:  I also had to buy an insulated lunch box.  I didn't want to.  But it seems that the insurance  company has decided that teachers can no longer have mini-fridges or coffee makers in the classrooms.  They will raise the premiums if we dare to do this.  They will not pay out if we happen to whip up a little java then lighten it up with some fresh cream and disaster ensues.  They will, I assume, write a check when I go utterly insane from the lack of caffeine and snacks then proceed to rip off the heads of my colleagues...

Last Of The Side Notes, I Swear:  Insurance people can go out to grab lunch, I assume.  They do not have to eat in their offices because there are people in there who must be supervised at all times.  I'm also assuming that they don't need to find coverage if they have to use the restroom, but that really has nothing to do with having a fridge to keep your lunch in so we'll save that for another day.

They were on sale.  Half price!  But that doesn't take the sting out of the fact that I have a mini fridge in the back of my car and have been driving it around for three days because I am too lazy to drag it up a flight of stairs to my condo.

This brings us to Thursday night.  The Gotta Do's have been pared down to almost nothing.  I have accepted the fact that I will not get them all done.  For some reason, I seem to think that it's more important to play computer games and knit on the new sweater.  I mopped the floor and I suppose that should count for something.  And I added, "buy sheets" to the shopping list for tomorrow since the only ones I could find that were clean had holes in them.  Otherwise, it's over.  I'm not going to get much else done.  I need to dig down deep and find that still, quiet place within.  This is where Acceptance lives.  I need to embrace the Acceptance.

However, as I have given up my afternoon coffee break in order to prepare for the caffeine-free existence coming my way, I have to tell you that I have not been able to locate the elusive Acceptance.


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Summer Vacation WNBP: The Final Edition

Well, it is the last Wednesday during which I can loll about and pretend that I am going to get some housecleaning done.  This time next week, I'll be patting myself on the back for surviving the first day of school with the kidlets and trying to find the inner strength to go back and do it all over again on Thursday.  And Friday.  And many, many more days after that...

How did I spend this bittersweet sort of day?  Well, let's take a look at the highlights in Wednesday Night Bullet Post format:

*I did not go to the Farmer's Market today.  I really should have.  It's the last Wednesday I can do this, you know.  

*It's open again on Saturday.  I probably should get used to going on Saturday.  That's going to be the FM day from now on anyway.

*But I'm almost out of potatoes and that is causing a certain amount of distress.

*I spent a great deal of time staring at the latest sweater project.  I have some thoughts for how I want to do the neckline...

*I should spend less time thinking and more time knitting.  Things tend to go horribly awry when I spend too much time thinking about knitting.

*I should also probably just go with the directions and stop trying to be all "creative."  That, too, tends to lead me down dangerous paths.

*Last month, my insurance company discontinued its Rewards Program and I was no longer able to earn points for remembering to exercise on a somewhat regular basis.  I mourned the loss along with all the prizes I could have earned.

*They have a new program, but it is very demanding and wants to know my cholesterol levels.  I don't know my cholesterol levels.  And, even if I did, I feel that this is personal information.  

*Sort of like my actual weight and how I like to eat ketchup sandwiches.  This is all highly classified stuff.

*Today, they sent me a package as a "Thank You" for participating in the program.

*Read here:  We are cleaning out the closets and need to unload all the reward items that no one wanted or for which we were charging way too many points.  I got a new Portable Grill With Bag That Doubles As Cooler.

And The Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty got a box.

*AGKs really like boxes.  I have to throw away boxes when he is asleep.  

*Then I tell him that the box has gone to live on a farm with lots of nice open fields and other boxes with whom it can play.

*I went into school yesterday.  I was there a good chunk of the morning.

*When I got home around lunchtime, there was a message on my machine saying that there had been a horrible mix-up and that I was supposed to be at the school all morning for an orientation.  The caller was just devastated over the lack of communication and hoped that I could make it to school.

*I was at school.  Hence, I missed the call saying that I should be at school.  

*This is going to be an "interesting" school year.

*You know how I sometimes get all obsessed with 80's tunes?  I revisit some song from my misspent youth and listen to it over and over and over...

*Maybe you don't know that.  I can't remember if that was classified information or not...

*For the last month, I have been over-the-moon for Pat Benatar's Shadows Of The Night.

*There was a bit of a standoff over the box later in the afternoon.  It got kind of ugly.  

*Big, Fluffy Kitty vs. Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty.  A real clash of the Titans...

To the victor goes the spoils...

*She spent the entire afternoon in there.

*Did you know that a very young Bill Paxton and Judge Reinhold are in the Shadows Of The Night video?  I didn't either...but look:

Not the most exciting way to spend The Last Wednesday Of Summer Vacation, I suppose.  But the whole box episode was kind of entertaining if you like that sort of thing.  And I kind of do...

Happy Wednesday to all and do see if you can't find a box to play in or a vintage video.  It really does help to keep the mind off such things as work and other bits of  unpleasantness!


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Final Grades

Report card day is always a biggie.  It's the day you find out if you made the cut or if you will be repeating the whole stupid year.  It's enough to make even the hardiest of pupils tremble just a bit.

Tonight we shall take a look at Sheepie's final grades.  Since mid-June, I have been participating in the Summer Of Compensatory Knitting Socialization (S.O.C.K.S) Program.  This is an intensive course of study designed to help a knitter who tends to hibernate for much of the year re-learn the art of being amongst real, live people.  It requires that, for the summer months, I travel to The Yarn Sellar, knit publicly, engage with others in a manner that does not raise eyebrows and remember to wear matching shoes if possible.  Regular attendance at this once weekly event is mandatory for successful completion of the program.  

With the start of school now a week away, tonight represented the last of my S.O.C.K.S. sessions for the '08 season.  It is time to review how I did.  Let's run down the criteria and assess progress:

Attendance:  Not bad.  However, two sessions were missed and this did cost me a few points.  The fact that one of these absences was due to vehicular difficulties was factored in and adjustments were made to account for the need to think about safety.  

Project Completion:  Could have been better.  In the "finished" category we can count That Weird Little Scarf Thing That I Knit For A While Then Cast Off Because I Got Bored With It, The Blog Buster Sweater (I did knit a sleeve while at S.O.C.K.S.) and one lonely sock.  I honestly think I could have done better...

Socializing:  Rather well done, if I do say so myself!  Why there were times when I was downright chatty!  That might account for the lack of knitting progress now that I think about it...

Shoes:  They matched every, single week.  I was a champ with the shoes!  I did wear mismatched socks one night, though.  But I don't think anyone noticed so I'm good.  I'm not even going to count that.  They were footies.  Footies can't really be called socks anyway.

Extra Credit Stuff That Really Has Nothing To Do With Knitting Or Socialization But Which Amuses Me So I'm Adding It To My Cumulative Grade:  

*Timing my departures to coincide with the closing of a certain restaurant along the way home and getting "stuck" at the stop sign so I could watch that unbelievably cute bartender putting up the stools and stuff almost every week.  Good times...

*Daring to crochet in public

*Being told for the last two consecutive weeks and by two separate people that I didn't look 40.  And their clarifying that they meant I looked younger than 40.  This is good since I am actually closer to the mid-forties.  I could have understood if they thought I looked older, I suppose.  It just wouldn't have been quite so pleasant.  I guess I'm a lot more relaxed during the summer months.  They should see me in March.  I'm all tense and wrinkly. 

*Eating cake.  You don't often find cake in a yarn store.  Nor do I often eat in front of other people because I fear getting things stuck in my teeth or finding out that I think the food is yucky. (super picky eater, here...)  But the cake was not yucky at all and I am pretty sure that I didn't get any stuck in my teeth.  And, even if I did, I didn't care one whit.  It was good cake.

All these factors were considered when the final grades were determined.  The S.O.C.K.S. program is well-known for its somewhat "subjective" assessment process.  This is mostly due to my being the one doing the grading and I hate doing averages.  That's a lot of math to be doing in the summer, don't you think?  So I just ponder stuff and make up the grade I think fits best.  

Given that I did miss two sessions and that I really didn't use the knitting time as well as I could, I missed getting the A+.  However, I did make it down there far more often than I failed to do so and I was really quite social.  No one was seen rolling their eyes after I said something and I didn't once notice anyone diving for chairs on the other end of the table when I walked into the shop.  Then there was the whole thing with the matching shoes.  All in all, I think I did pretty well.

I'm giving myself an A for this year's efforts.  Who knows?  Maybe next year I'll hit the A+!  Until then, I'll just have to go back to work for the school year and dream of S.O.C.K.S. '09.

I'm already looking forward to it...


Monday, August 25, 2008

It Was Bound To Happen Sometime...

I've been pretty lucky with the allergies this season.  I think it might be related to the rain.  We've had a lot of it and I believe that it has smooshed down all the pollen.  Normally, I have a bout of the sneezies in the Fall and another in the Spring.  I can almost mark the calendar in advance.

Not so this year, though.  Spring and summer have been gloriously sneeze-free this season!  At least until the last week or so...

I've been a bit on the snuffly side for a while and today the pollen rallied in spectacular fashion.  I awoke aching, sneezing and chilled.  The planned trip into school to do those last few things what need doin' was put off in order that I might be achy, sneezy and chilly at home.

It would have been a great day to cuddle up on the couch and knit, frankly.  Nothing I'm working on is in the OMG This Is So Hard stage.  I could easily perform the knitting magic whilst all NyQuilled up.

But I didn't.  And to those of you who wish to question just how cleaning the bathroom and putting up shelves is any different than going into school and doing the same sort of things, I have all kinds of answers. 

 For example, it is not a forty minute drive to my bathroom.  (I think we can all see how that would be inconvenient, right?)  I can putter around cleaning and shelving the bathroom with lots of rest breaks and no commute.

You can clean and shelve the bathroom while under the influence of cold medications.  You cannot drive forty minutes and make nice with your colleagues while in that condition.

Besides, the only way I could face cleaning the bathroom was with the assistance of narcotic cold remedies.  It's been a while.  I consider the whole allergy thing to be nothing short of Fate's Timely Intervention Before The Summer Vacation Ends.

In addition to the shelving of the bathroom, I continued with another project that's been going on around here for a couple of days.  It's a little something I like to call:  Project Low Karb Kitty.

As I was attempting to pull the Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty off the valences the other day, it became apparent that he is perhaps just a bit more gi-normous than he was back in June.  In fact, he is maybe well on his way to chubby.  

The vet (aka The Cat Whisperer) made a point of telling me to watch his weight carefully.  Marmalades tend to be hearty eaters and end up rather round.  The percentage of the red-heads who develop diabetes is pretty high.  She strongly recommended a carb-free diet.  But he would have none of it.  I went with a low cal dry food and thought myself quite the fine example of motherhood.

Until the cat got fat.  So we've been trying to introduce the meatier types of foods before school starts.  It's been slow going.  The AGK has not shown much enthusiasm, but we've made progress.  Today went very well.  

However, I have to say that his approach to the new food has been interesting, to say the least.  In fact, in all my years of kitty parenthood, I have never once seen a cat consume canned food in this manner.  Dry food, yes.  But the wet stuff?  Never.

He dips.

Then nibbles

Piece by piece, morsel by morsel.  Twenty minutes of this.  Each individual bite was thoroughly consumed and the paw meticulously washed before returning to the bowl.  Sometimes he used the right paw.  Sometimes the left.  Twenty minutes.  I was mesmerized.  Pleased as all get-out to see that he was accepting the change in diet, but mesmerized.  The Big, Fluffy Kitty and I sat there staring like it was the most amazing thing we'd ever witnessed.  Well....she was actually waiting her turn at the bowl and getting more perturbed by the moment.  But I was utterly entranced by this.

Of course that could have been the cold medicine.  Yet I still think I would have been mesmerized even without that...


Sunday, August 24, 2008


The Bachelorette Party for Future SIL Sheep went on as scheduled last night.  However, it should be noted that it went on without me.  I was, shall we say, "otherwise occupied."

I was having one of my Noteworthy Headaches.  I don't get them very often so I generally miss what's going on in my noggin until it is too late to really do anything about it.  And I don't call them what I think they truly are because I am not a doctor nor has anyone with appropriate initials after his or her name done this either.  But they are Noteworthy.  They start with an entertaining sparkly lightening bolt running from the upper right corner of my right eyeball to the lower left.  

Watching TV is hard.  

Then I get a moderate, but really pretty tolerable headache.  There is still plenty of time to stop things if I am on top of my game.

But, chances are, I'm busy watching TV.

Then the nausea hits.  We are pretty much out of time now.  The "noteworthy" portion of the festivities will soon commence.

I usually just watch TV and hope for the best.

Next, I hurl a lot.  There is really no predicting how long this part will last, but I know it's over when I note fragments of my pedicure making an appearance.  

You can only imagine how challenging it is to keep watching TV during all this, but I do my best.

Finally, I get verrrrry sleeeeeepy.  The TV is still on but it is really confusing because I'll be watching something and then suddenly a whole other show is on.  I've lost two hours.  Not that it really matters because I'll just be asleep again in a few minutes.  

This all has a fairly migraine-y feel to it.  But, I'm no doctor.  I don't even play one on TV...

So, with all that noteworthy activity going on, I figured it was probably best to stick around the homestead last night.  I'm told I missed a good time.  But I honestly think that the limo driver responsible for transporting the revelers is happier knowing that I was not in the back of his vehicle.  This is the same company that's providing cars for the wedding and you just know it will be the same driver.  That's just how my life works...

But it isn't all bad news.  Sure, I had to stay home last night.  But not everyone was entirely unhappy with that turn of events.

Don' likes it when Mama goes 'way.  Makes me all sad-faced.  Mamas should stay home wif the babies.

I also come out of this sort of headache with renewed vigor and an appreciation for life in general.  The sun is brighter, the air is cleaner and the world is a beautiful place full of hope and possibilities.  Why there is no mountain I cannot climb, no sea I could not cross!  I'm like a superwoman!!  (Who watches a lot of TV...)

This, I suppose, is why I happened to start swatching today.  I do not care for swatching.  It is not the kind of thing I feel is really necessary in spite of reams of evidence to the contrary.  (And a drawer full of knitting projects gone awry, to boot)  But, swatch I did.  Who knows?

Maybe there will be another sweater of note in my future...

Or not.  We'll have to see if the post-noteworthy-headache-high is wreaking havoc with my overall ability to judge knitting possibilities.  If it doesn't work out, I'm certain I can find a use for a half-knit thingie.

Perhaps a security blanket for a certain Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty Of Note?  If he can't handle me going away for one night, I don't think he is going to do well when I go back to work the week after next.


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Up And At 'Em!

Today was the day.  No more excuses.  It is late August and, in a very short period of time, I will be expected to stand up in front of a group of boys and teach them something.  I will be expected to do this for something along the lines of seven hours and the thinking is that I will do it with great gusto.  Perhaps that I will even be a little bit prepared.

The fact that I had not yet even unpacked the classroom and had spent the first three days of this week coming up with ever more creative excuses for not going to school to take care of this little matter might present a problem.  I'd put it off long enough.  Today was the day.

To that end, I decided that this morning should be something of a dry run with the schedule.  Now, don't misunderstand me, here.  On a regular school day, I am up at 5:00 and out the door around 6:00 (when the planets align and I can find matching shoes, at any rate...).  I had absolutely no intention of doing that on a Thursday in August!  However, setting the alarm for 6:00 seemed reasonable.  It would allow for some "flex" in the schedule.  I was going to need "flex" after a summer of lolling about.

I even got myself a new alarm clock.  The one I've had since high school still works perfectly and I hated to retire it.  But after mumble-mumble years of listening to its clarion call, I'm afraid I've learned to tune it out.  That doesn't bode well for waking up in time to get to school in the mornings.  I dutifully read the manual and set up the clock to wake me with a crowing rooster sound.  I figured that would get my attention.  

Now, I don't claim to be a mechanical engineer nor a rocket scientist.  But, I do fairly well with the setting up and assembling of stuff.  I'm a single gal from way back and I'd be sitting on boxes while whittling because the TV won't work if I didn't learn how to wrangle a wire or two.  

However, it seems that I lack the technical know-how required to turn on an alarm before retiring for the evening.  6:00 came and went, but there was no rooster crowing at me.  I'd failed the test run miserably.

Fortunately, I have a back-up system in place.  Here's the thing:  if you forget to fill the cat bowls before you go to bed ( seems I forgot a lot of stuff last night) then you will be awakened at 5:00 in the oh-my-god-are-you-kidding-me-with-this morning by a certain sound:

Meow?  Meow?  Meow.  Meow!  Meow-meow!  Meow-meow-meow!!!  Meow-meow-meow-meow-meow-meow!!!!!!!!!  MEOW!!!!!

For the record, I did not get up.  I know that I have failed miserably in my parenting of these felines and that they pretty much do whatever they want.  I am fully aware of the fact that I have lost, not just the battle, but the whole stupid war and that I now live in a state of perpetual servitude.  But even I am not going to get out of bed to feed an Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty at 5:00 in the morning on a Thursday in August.  I mumbled things best not repeated here and pulled the covers over my head for another hour.  

He continued his reminders regarding the empty bowls.  AGKs are nothing if not determined.

On the plus side, it sort of negates the need for that alarm clock.  Although I hesitate to consider this a foolproof plan for getting out of bed.  I can't believe that I will be allowed to get away with the lack of nighttime feeding for much longer.

I gots a biiig belly.  Takes lots 'n lots to fill it!

It was a shaky start, I'll grant you.  But I did manage to get into school, unpack the stuff (mostly...I hid the rest in the storage closet), meet with the teacher who ran the program last year and even get some grocery shopping done on the way home.  I still need to go back one more time next week, but the worst is over.  

And it was all done without the benefit of a crowing rooster.  

With that task behind me, it is time to look ahead to the weekend.  I fear there may be a bit of spotty posting in the days to come.  I shall be celebrating the impending nuptials of Baby Brother Sheep and Future SIL Sheep by participating in a ritual known as The Bachelorette Party.  I have never attended one of these functions before so I cannot speak with any real authority here.  But my research into the subject leads me to believe that I may be a bit hampered by all the whooping and general merriment.  Just in case there is a lapse in the blogging behavior, here's a little spinning action for ya'....just to tide you over:

Shetland/Silk blend.  Yeah...still working on that.  

It is also my understanding that there may be other issues involved following a successful Bachelorette Party.  I believe that there is a very good chance that I will be spending some time as a guest of the county and defending myself against at least three counts of Stuff That Is Too Horrible To Mention In Polite Company And Even Made The Judge Wince as well as one count of Endangering The Welfare Of A Billy Goat.  At least that's what they tell me.  And if you do it right...

Contributions to my bail monies should be sent to Sheepie (aka Inmate #3608) c/o General Delivery.  


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Dodging The Bullet...or responsibility

Welcome to Wednesday and the weekly flinging of random bullets for your bloggy entertainment.  I shan't keep you in suspense regarding whether or not I went into school today to do all that unpacking I keep yammering on about.  It's not even worth the bullet point.  I didn't.  I think we all knew that deep down...

Here's the day's highlights:

*If you really think about it, my not going into school today is perfectly consistent with Plan #2 that I came up with on Monday to avoid having to go into school.

*That makes me a Plan Follower.  

*Let's not examine that little bit of self-delusion too closely.  I really do have to go into school tomorrow and I can't afford to be in a spiral of shame at this crucial time.  

*Here's the Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty doing that thing he does best:

Asserting his dominance over all things technological.

*Now he's just doing it right in front of me.  Not that I wouldn't have figured it out anyway...

He's messing with my world order here!  I don't have time for this kind of thing!  I have to go back to work soon!!!

*Since I wasn't going into school today anyway, I thought I'd take a nice, relaxing bath instead of a shower this morning.  Might as well enjoy the time to myself while I have it!

*Before I did so, though, I had a very stern discussion with the AGK regarding his behavior.

*He was a little bit "fired up" after the whole computer thing...

*I was not very effective in my parenting.  He decided that, if I wasn't going to get in the spirit of things, then he'd just stalk his sister, the Big, Fluffy Kitty, for a while.

*She seemed to take it fairly well.  But you could tell she was annoyed.

*I was roused from my nice warm tub by a screech similar to something you might hear on a wildlife special.  It was like a Big, Fluffy Puma was loose in the house.

*End of nice, relaxing bath...

*As penance for not going into school today, I went Back-To-School shopping.  I got a new alarm clock since the one I've had since high school doesn't seem to be anything I can hear after all these years.  I've learned to tune it out.

*This one makes barnyard noises.  That should get my attention...

*I broke out the spinning wheel today so I could get in a little of the yarn making.  I'm running out of ways to distract you from the fact that all I am doing these days is crocheting the same row over and over and over and over...

*In laceweight.  

*I didn't spin very much.  Maybe I should stay home tomorrow and spin.  I can't keep letting you guys down like this!

*That is a dangerous train of thought.  Must let that one go...

*I also went to The Farmer's Market today after all the school-type shopping.  I was tired, though and didn't get much:

Local peaches and a wee, baby watermelon.

*Because really...when hear the word, "peaches" you just can't help but think, "Maine!"  

*They are actually quite good.  

*I also got some potatoes, but you've been looking at my potato purchases for two months now and I could see how you might be kind of sick of the 'taters.

*Did I mention that the AGK was kind of fired up this morning?

There used to be a nice valance here.

*The windows aren't really dirty.  There's some condensation on there. But it's outside and I can't get to it.  Or I don't want to go to the trouble of getting to it.  Or I used to have a valance that distracted me from seeing the condensation on the windows... 

*Absurdly Gi-normous Kitties who have gained some weight over the last couple of months should not hang from valances.  Gravity is a powerful force.  

*The Big, Fluffy Puma had pretty much found a safe spot in the nappin' basket by then.  

She was not amused.  

Happy Wednesday, Guys!  Hope yours was peaceful and that your valences remain in the place where you hung 'em.  Or that your kitties are not quite so fired up.  

And Absurdly Gi-normous...


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

You Can Count On Me.

I'm like a rock, really.  A genuine Go-To Gal.  When I say something, I mean it.  You can take it to the bank.

Except when you can't.  I wish I could predict for you just how these things are going to work, but it's just one of life's mysteries.  Frankly, I'd strongly suggest you have some sort of back-up plan in place when dealing with me.  Don't get me wrong.  I'm a delight and a heck of a nice person.  I have truly amazing intentions and never, ever lie about what I am going to do.  It's just that stuff sometimes gets in the way.  Or I put stuff in the way.  Or I can't find anything to put in the way so I have to invest more effort into locating things to put in the way that it probably would have been easier to just do what I said I'd do in in the first place...

Heck, just that last sentence was more effort than it would take to just do what I said I'd do in the first place!

This week started out with me planning to go into school for a few days, get the room set up, review a few files and generally be a responsible educator.  That would leave next week free for mental preparation and maybe the enjoyment of the last few gasps of summer break.  It was a plan.  I said it.  I meant it.

However, by the time Monday morning rolled around, I'd successfully managed to come up with a different plan.  It seemed like a much more logical thing to wait until Thursday and Friday so that I could squeeze in the last few workouts of the summer.  Then I could truly enjoy the final week of vacation.  Now that's a plan I could get behind, by gum!!!

Then I realized that I have an appointment on Friday.  I can't go to school and still manage to make that appointment.  I supposed I could just go Thursday...  Or maybe I could go in tomorrow and blow off the Wednesday workout.  That actually sounded pretty good.  Everything would get done and I could still bask in the glow of my responsible behavior.  I'd probably get a medal or something.

So pleased was I with my new plan, that I even stated this to be my intention tonight while participating in my Summer Of Compensatory Knitting Socialization (S.O.C.K.S.) program.  I announced it loud and I announced it proud.  Tomorrow, I'd be heading into school to unpack.  The rest of the knitters down at the Yarn Sellar were mightily impressed.  You could tell just by looking at them.  They may have even been just a little bit jealous of how well-adjusted and hard-working I am.  Can't say as I blamed 'em, really.  I was rather impressed, myself...

However, it is a long drive home from S.O.C.K.S.  Like almost a whole hour!  That's a long time to think about how late it is.  And how you're gonna be wicked tired tomorrow.  Or that you didn't go to the Farmer's Market last week like you said you were going to do every week and that this really is just an inexcusable state of affairs.  Then you can get to thinking about how you're teaching middle school now and that middle school teachers don't get quite so "invested" in the decorating of rooms or the arranging of colorful posters.  There's no class hamster to replace after whatever incident might have befallen the one you had last year.  It's really less of a time-suck, if you think about it.  In fact, other than unpacking some stuff, most of what needs doing can be done at home...

I have no idea how it's going to play out at this point.  It could go either way.  I'd like to think I'm going to take the high road, especially since I made such a point of announcing tomorrow's plans in front of real, live people.  But at this juncture...who can say?  I'm an enigma.

And we mustn't forget the need for increased supervision here at the homestead.  The assault against all things technological continues and who knows what might happen if I am not here to rescue some of the things around the manse which make my life a little easier.  Today's target for assassination was the cooling pad for the laptop.  A cooling pad is necessary if a certain Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty has taken to parking his tushy on the laptop when Mommy isn't around and making it very, very hot.  But sometimes Mommy forgets to turn off the cooling pad when she is using the laptop and that's when AGKs like to take action against the whirling fan blades.

See what I mean?  I really should be here.  None of the nannies I've interviewed have really seemed right for the position.  Nor were they particularly interested in the job once they realized I wasn't asking them to nannify actual babies.  

I'll probably just have to take maternity leave now that I think about it.  It would be crazy to set up the classroom if I'm not really going to be there.  I should just leave that for the substitute to deal with...


Monday, August 18, 2008

Professional Planner

I am one who plans.  I plan all the time.  I plan pretty much non-stop all the live-long day.  Got something that needs doing?  Give me a ring.  I'll plan it allllll out for ya!  I'm so good with plans that I don't even really have to try anymore.  Plans just come to me...right out of the blue.  And they're good ones, too!

The plan for today was to get myself out of bed, do an abbreviated workout and then head into school.  I need to get that classroom ready and I don't want the task hanging over my head for the last two weeks of summer break.  I am very much aware of my patterns regarding this less than pleasant job.  I go in.  I do stuff.  I get bored.  I come home and take a nap.  Hence, I need a little more time to get it all done.  Today was the day.  

I planned it all out.

Then the alarm went off.  I did, in fact, get up.  And I even got everything all set up for the morning's abbreviated workout.  I started the workout.  All was well with the plan at that point.

Now, here's the other thing about me:  As amazing as I am about the whole planning thing, I'm really not so good with the follow through.  I'm actually pretty bad at that part.  My problem seems to stem from my other talent:  excuses.

Here's how the train of thought went:

I am so good.  Look at me doing my workout.  I'm amazing!  

But, you know...I really should be doing a full workout.  I did, after all, eat a whole cake yesterday.  (no.  you did not misread that.  i ate a cake.  it was a small cake...but a cake nevertheless.)

OK.  I'll do the whole workout.  But that's going to put me a bit off schedule for getting to school if I factor in the part where I get bored and leave early.  That's a problem.'s a tad warm out today.  I'm really sweating up a storm, here!  Gosh, that's going to be a issue once I get to school and start unpacking stuff.  In fact, it might even be a little dangerous to exert myself in this only-slightly-warmer-than-usual weather...

I need a shower.  A really long shower since it's so warm out today.  

Whoops.  That took longer than I thought.  Heavens to Betsy, I am certainly off the schedule now, that's for sure.  Why, if I weren't so committed to this plan, I'd probably start thinking that it isn't even worth it to go into school today!

Hey!  Why is my computer asking me if I really want to change all those settings?  I never told it I wanted to...oh.  It seems that someone of an Absurdly Gi-normous nature has been resting his hindquarters on the keyboard again.  That's going to take some time to sort out, darn it!  And I'm guessing that he maybe needs more supervision than I'm giving him these days.

Hmmm?  Whazzat?  Oh.  Yeah.  I was just tryin' sumpthin.  Then I realized I couldn't read the manual so I figured I should just leave it.  

(Side Note:  Don't look directly into his eyes.  Trust me.  He does that "rest my jowly face on the arm of the chair and look right at Mommy thing a lot.  And I come completely undone.  Save yourselves...I beg you.)

(More With The Side Notes:  Seriously.  He really did try to change the settings.  I know it sounds like the kind of thing I would make up.  But I'm not.  He simply cannot stay away from the stupid laptop!)

(All Done With The Side Notes.  Let Us Continue...)

From that point, it was really just a matter of time before I began thinking about all the things I failed to do this summer and how I really should be tending to the home fires before heading out to do stuff off-site.  It wouldn't do, after all, to be so distracted while setting up the classroom.  I might put the dictionaries next to the biographies or mix and match the dry erase markers.  Before I knew it, I had managed to justify putting the whole thing off until the end of the week.  I really sold it to me when I told myself that I should probably do the regular workouts this week and those go through Wednesday.  I'll probably not be too motivated next week so this is really the time to get those last few sessions in.  Yup.  I used the dreaded exercise as an excuse to not go into work.  Shameful...

I'm a master.  I even used the spinning as part of my sad little excuse-fest.  I haven't done as much of the spinning as I'd planned this summer so I thought I'd maybe do a bit of that in these last few days.  Spinning the fiber that is cluttering up the house is surely a good reason to stay at home today rather than go into school.  It's actually the responsible thing to do.

For the record, I did not spin.  I crocheted a little...but I did not spin.

See what I mean?  Master of planning.  More masterful with the avoiding.


Sunday, August 17, 2008


My brain is on "idle" today.  There hasn't been a useful synapse all day.  I've spent more time than is good for a person sitting and staring.  My gumption has simply up and gone.  I don't even have the motor coordination necessary to drool.

I suppose there are any number of reasons for this.  Near as I can tell, I haven't had a stroke or anything so I'm pretty sure that the causes are more external than internal.  I've narrowed the possibilities down to the following:

1.  The sun is out today.  My side of the world hasn't seen sun for any real length of time lately and we are afraid of it.  We don't know what to do in the face of the big, burning ball of fire in the sky.  I thought it might just be me, but the nice lady at The Convenience Store Where They Call You Honey And Sweetie And You Kind Of Like That said that she was feeling the same way.  Terror and fear will make you tired after a while.

2.  I am stuffed with lobster.  I'm not saying that's a bad thing.  I'm just wondering if being stuffed with lobster might make one kind of droopy.  I've had similar experiences after being stuffed with pizza, brownies and french fries...

3.  It could also be the full load of Benadryl I'm carrying at the moment.  After stuffing myself with lobster then noting what may or may not have been a slight swelling of my lower lip, an antihistamine seemed like a good idea.  

4.  This is the week that I am going to have to force myself to accept the inevitable and head into school.  As much as I don't like to admit that the summer has begun swirling down the drain, I really do need to get the classroom set up.  I just don't want to think about that too much since I have been transferred to The Bad Job At The Middle School and anticipate a rather "interesting" year involving trying to pick up the pieces of a program gone horribly wrong.  Anyone questioning my decision to focus on weights and strength training this summer should know that I have a pretty good reason for doing this.  Ms. Sheep may need improved upper body strength if she plans on making it to the Winter Holiday Break...

5.  My current WIP requires that I sit and crochet the same row over and over and over and over and over...and over.  

In laceweight no less...

It's not that I don't like it nor is it that I don't appreciate the chance to do something that requires less in the way of thought.  The last project involved knitting a sweater and breaking The Blog Sweater Curse.  That was quite intellectually taxing, not to mention what it did to my fragile state of mind.  I needed something less strenuous.  But it's not exactly the sort of project that exercises the muscles of the brain.

6.  ITunes.  There has been downloading activity over here and today, I enjoyed the fruits of my labors.  One can't be expected to crochet the same stupid row over and over and not have a little entertainment, right?  But when you sit for extended periods crocheting the same stupid row and watching downloaded TV, you are probably going get a little mushy in the brain after a while.  Even if one of those downloads is Dr. Horrible's Sing-a-Long Blog and is entertaining beyond all reason. could be any of those things.  They are all known causes of brain drain.  I'd look up the statistics for you, but I'm too logy to bother.  You'll just have to take my word for it.  They are all contributing factors.

But, I'm thinking it might just be something more along the lines of denial.  There are just times when the brain needs to shut down lest it ponder how serious things have gotten.  There are some mysteries best left unsolved.  

The Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty's fascination with the laptop continues.  At first, I just figured he liked the warmth or that he was still trying to get at the fans in the cooling pad.  Heck, he might just like the screen saver.  There is also the distinct possibility that he enjoys the reaction of a certain human, but who can really be certain?  

Or, and this is where I find the brain needing to shut down a bit, he has a more serious mission in mind.  I could be overreacting.  I do that sometimes.  Still...I can't help but wonder.  There may be something rather serious afoot here.  After removing him from the computer yet again this morning, I made a rather disturbing discovery.

He's using the search engine.

I don't know what it means.  Perhaps it means nothing.  It could simply be that his absurdly gi-normous tushy hit those specific keys in a gi-normously random fashion.  It is probably pretty innocent if you don't think about it too much, right?

Or, he is searching for something.  See what I mean about not wanting to think about it too much?  It's better that way...


Saturday, August 16, 2008

Out And About

It's another late post, I'm afraid.  Sorry about that.  I had an engagement.  One of those social-types of things that people sometimes do and which I tend to do less of.  It's probably a good idea for me to get out there and practice being like people whenever I get the chance.

Tonight was the Sheep family's yearly pilgrimage to the Fishing Competition/Lobster Bake to benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association.  I met up with Baby Brother Sheep and Future Sister In Law Sheep and we traveled together to where the ocean is so that we could enjoy dinner with Mommy and Daddy Sheep. (We leave the competitive fishing to those better suited to the task)  As this is not only a chance to visit with the parents, but also the time to score a free meal, I try very hard to pencil in the date.

The earlier part of the day was spent in pleasurable pursuits for the most part.  Heck, I even crocheted a bit in between naps and stuff.  A very restful Saturday, really...  

Until, that is, a certain Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty decided that it was time for some attention to be directed his way.  Then I found myself rather busy tending to his needs.  Among today's adventures we can include my coming into the living room to find him sitting on the laptop that I only just finished paying for.  During those thirty seconds he was left unattended, he managed to open no fewer than nine windows (all versions of my Google homepage) and cause the computer to ask pathetically if I was really serious about wanting to shut down.  It also got really, really hot.  When removed from the computer, he spent some time going after the fan in the cooling pad because we all know how devious those little blades can be and that they should be attacked whenever possible.  If you cannot reach the little fans or if you have a mother who removes you from the cooling pad then you can always stalk your older sister.  That's pretty entertaining.  At least until she has had enough and strikes back.  In case anyone was wondering, there is an actual scientific basis for the term, "then the fur really started to fly."  Wisps of white kitty hair were floating through the air like early Christmas snow.  If you ignored the growls and shrieks of indignation, it was almost quite lovely...

Frankly, I was glad to get out of the house.

As near as I can tell, they were fine in my absence, though.  In fact, they looked pretty rested when I got home.  Isn't it nice that they save their best performances for when I am here and can get all stressed out about it?  Thoughtful, really...  

But now I am home and a leftover crustacean happened to come along with me.  Lobster rolls for lunch tomorrow!  Yay!!!  I'll also see if I can come up with a better post, maybe one that includes knitting or something remotely related to the blog genre and not the mass consumption of seafood or misbehaving kitties.  I promise to not get distracted by all that kind of stuff tomorrow.

The AGK will probably steal my lobster anyway.