Tuesday, September 30, 2008

When Do You Know?

I think that, as knitters, we all have that moment.  It's the one where we just know that a project is not meant to be.  It may hurt.  But we accept it as an inevitable part of the process.

And yes.  I do still count myself amongst the knitters.  The fact that I have not actually finished anything of a knitted nature is not deterring me in the least.  I think about knitting a lot and I have oodles of yarn laying about.  My definition of "knitter" is a bit looser than it was back in the day...

As universal as this phenomenon is, however, we all seem to have our own unique pace when it comes to the knowing.  I think it may have something to do with the learning curve, but I don't want to dwell on that too much right now.  Under the circumstances, I don't feel that this is in my best interest.

For example, some people might catch onto the doomed nature of a pattern (let's just say it is a tam for the sake of argument) after the first attempt goes rather badly.  Still...you can't really blame a knitter for giving it a second try.  

Others might see the futility in the whole thing after the third stitch is dropped or after they need to tink back eight million rows to fix a rather stupid sort of error.  That would most certainly be a good time to let the whole thing go the way of the frog pond.

And yet there are those intrepid souls who would forge ahead in the face of such adversity.  They would knit on, hoping that the worst was behind them.  However, their little moment of "knowing" might just come when the tam starts to develop a point.  Tams do not have points.  They would realize that they have been bested and just move on with their lives.

Then there are the true optimists.  They need to believe that this is not really a point sprouting out of their tam, rather that it is a figment of their imaginations.  However they will probably catch a clue when the whole thing doesn't decrease down to the right number of stitches or that the point is really and truly a point.  And a rather firm one at that.  There is no amount of blocking that is going to take down this mighty peak.  None whatsoever.  There is still time to walk away at this juncture.  The knitter simply has to stop knitting.

I am none of these types of knitters.  I knit on after the first attempt fails.  I keep going even when more things go wrong than go right.  I scale the height that is that mighty pointy thing.  

And then I fasten off.  I fasten off convinced that things will maybe work out.  I fasten off tightly and in such a fashion as to render the yarn immovable.  It is only with scissors that I am able to work out that steel fastening knot and even this does not stop me in my tracks.  I go so far as to unravel some of the knitting in the hopes of getting back to a place where I can pick up the stitches again and make some sort of appropriate, non-pointy sort of top to this tam.  

And that's when it hits me.  I probably should just give up on the thing.  I have no real love for this tam.  I have less love for those stitches that need picking up.  In fact, it is fair to say that I hate the tam.  I hate it with the passion to ignite a thousand suns.  I never, ever want to lay eyes on it again and wish for it a moth-infested demise.  

That's my moment of "knowing."  And why we shall not discuss my learning curve for a few weeks.  We will just pretend the whole thing never happened.  

Let's look at the kitties, why don't we?  That is a cheerful sort of thing and something that always nicely distracts both the blog readers as well as the blog writer.  Here's the Big, Fluffy Kitty taking her turn in the new Tunnel Connector Thingie That I Bought By Accident:

If she looks wary, that's because she is.  Baby Brother is lurking and awaiting his chance to hurtle into the cave.

He still loves his good ol' Collapsible Cat Cave, though.  He can sit in that until Big Sister decides to vacate the new clubhouse.

In spite of its being shredded to ribbons in places, the Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty still loves his widdle cave...

At least until the new one becomes available...

There.  That took care of the whole knitting thing pretty handily.  And now I can't knit anyway since the AGK took exception to my adjusting the cat cave a little for the photo op and sunk a claw into my pinky finger.  I am injured and must rest so I shall not knit.  This will also avoid any future issues with such things as dropped stitches and pointy outcroppings.

Sometimes my moment of "knowing" actually does come to me in a more timely fashion.


Monday, September 29, 2008

Would That It Were So...

I tend towards impulsivity.  It is just my way.  That said, I really do make an effort to hold my tongue.  This has nothing to do with any sort of maturity on my part.  It's really more about my wanting to keep the waters around me calm and wave-free.  I know that saying what I'm thinking in certain situations will only lead to uncomfortable moments later on.

I hold my tongue.  But I guess it all has to leak out somewhere.  This is probably why I said such vile and horrible things to The Stupid Lopsided Tam today.  It seemed reasonable to assume that it was out to get me since the pattern said I was decreasing in a fashion designed specifically to avoid the whole thing coming to a point.  If that was the case, I couldn't help but ponder just why the whole thing was coming to a point.  I said things to that tam that do not reflect well on my character and will most certainly be considered when I approach the pearly gates after I depart this mortal plane.  

I felt just horrible about the whole thing and even worse when I realized that the point is probably more due to the fact that I am knitting it on two circs rather than its developing a truly pointy nature.  It's more of an optical illusion than actual, pointy fact...

Still, I can't help but think that I might have noticed this sort of thing sooner had I been more willing to speak my mind today.  There were any number of times I held my tongue when I really wanted to say stuff in my outside-my-head-voice.  Things along the lines of:

No.  I cannot sit down and develop a schedule for you to meet with each of my students individually once per week.  We have a rotating schedule in this school and what you are asking will take my full concentration.  In case you hadn't noticed, I happen to be teaching two different subjects at the moment.  And none of the students involved are really all that thrilled with this fact so you can imagine how full my plate is right now.

Stop calling me.  The phone is in my office.  I am in my classroom trying to develop that complicated schedule and teach two subjects at the same time to students who are not thrilled.  I can't drop everything to run in and talk to you.  I don't care what you need at the moment.  This does not make me insensitive.  Just busy.

What's that?  You want me to pick up an extra Language Arts class today because you need to test students?  Well....no.  I don't think so.  And let's not trot out that "team player" speech again.  I am very much a team player.  I just don't think that your asking this five minutes before the start of class is all that reasonable.  

Of course I can't meet with you this afternoon.  You were right there when I took that call from the distraught parent during my only prep period.  You know that I spent the entire time I'm supposed to be planning for students dealing with this issue.  You know that I do not feel well and that I'd like to get things wrapped up here so I can go home.  Meeting with you is not going to facilitate that in any way, shape or form since I know how you drone on and on and on...

It is for the best that I did not say any of these things today.  The Stupid, Lopsided Tam might not agree with that assessment, but I stand by my decision.  I held my tongue, clenched my teeth and just let it ride.  Tomorrow, there will be no uncomfortable moments and I will continue to be known as That Kind And Oh-So-Accommodating Ms. Sheep.  

But there are days when I really wish I could adopt an attitude more along these lines:

My blood pressure would probably be lower and the tam wouldn't need therapy...


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Ongoing MIsdirection

Sometimes it is really rather helpful to have a variety of strategies on hand to keep one's mind from focusing on things best left alone.  I am rather good at that sort of thing, having had years in which to practice.  I'm actually something of a master at it.

If, for example, you need to keep yourself from thinking too much about how The Stupid Lopsided Tam is going to look all stupid and lopsided, there are always the 80's to ponder.  Good times, the 80's.  The hair was big, the pants were pleated and there was no end to how you might rip up a perfectly good sweatshirt for the sake of fashion.  There was also 1985 and a little film gem known as The Return Of The Living Dead.  

What could be better?  Well...truth be told, lots of stuff could be better.  This isn't one of those movies to which I will turn when I need solid reference material during the coming Zombie Apocalypse.  Still, you can't help but appreciate it when the living dead have the wherewithal to radio in to dispatch for more cops and paramedics when they find themselves still feeling a bit peckish.  There is also something to be said for the film's willingness to graphically impart certain pearls of wisdom.  You really can't get enough of such life lessons as:  If Your Boyfriend Has No Pulse And No Heartbeat After Being Exposed To Zombie Gas Then It Is Probably A Rather Bad Idea To Lock Yourself In A Room With Him Because There Is Really No Hope For A Positive Outcome In This Sort Of Situation. 

I'm just sayin' is all....

Of course, sometimes this sort of distraction will prove a bit too much.  You might, for example, miss the second stitch whilst performing a K2tog maneuver and find that you have yet another gaping hole in that Stupid Lopsided Tam That Somehow Defied The Mathematical Odds And Actually Decreased Down To The Right Number Of Stitches.  You might need a distraction from the fact that you were very close to the finish line and now have to go back and find that stupid loop before all is lost forever.

Now you're in a pickle.  This requires the breaking out of the Big Guns.  This tam has been an ongoing source of frustration after all.  You need an expert for this sort of thing.  It is time to call forth that force of negativity known as Hysterical Mind and turn her loose on a variety of weather related websites and television channels.  She can easily kill two hours following the track of Hurricane (sort of) Kyle and determine whether or not it is time to be boarding up the windows and start doing a detailed inventory of the canned food.  The fact that we live in the southernmost part of the state and were not really in line for the brunt of it means nothing.  HM can find the worst in a potentially good situation with nothing but a few flood watches and a couple of wind gusts.  Of course, once the track of the storm changes dramatically enough that even Hysterical Mind has to admit that there is no reason for alarm, then you need to go back to the drawing board.

There's the ungodly humidity.  That is pretty distracting.  Or the eventual need to start tinking back on the tam and snagging that loose stitch.  Then there's the fact that you have a nasty cold which is not mixing well with that humidity nor with the rage that comes from wrestling uncooperative stitches.  That can lead to an impressive bout of overheating and the required soaking in a nice, cool tub for a bit.  All that can be very distracting when you need to change trains of thought.

But I think I might have something better.  There is something that will keep even the most focused of knitters/storm watchers/zombie aficionados from staying on task no matter how hard they might try.  It is so effective because it is so unexpected.  There was no indication that this was going to be a problem given that the parties involved had never once seen fit to dispute a certain item in the past.  

You see, up to now, only the Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty has shown any real interest in The Collapsible Cat Cave.  There was no reason to believe that there would be a problem when I brought home The Giant Connector Thingie That I Thought Was A Cat Tunnel.  I figured it would keep him occupied and allow the Big, Fluffy Kitty to roam about in peace.  I was wrong.  There have been any number of power struggles going on over here since yesterday afternoon.  Both cats seem to want The Giant Connector Thingie and neither wish to share.  

Trust me.  That is very, very distracting.  Alarming at times even...


Saturday, September 27, 2008

A Series Of Unfortunate Events

It is important to pay attention to the little things.  If you fail to do so, you have no one to blame but yourself when consequences shower down upon your head, much like the rains that have moved into my neck of the woods lately.  

What is that?  You want examples?  Well, for heaven's sake, where do you think you are????  This is Sheepish Annie's House Of Inconsequential Observations!  Of course I have examples!  A plethora of 'em!  Sheesh.  You must be new here...

It is unfortunate that I believed myself capable of knitting a simple tam.  If my math is correct (and there is absolutely no reason to believe that it is, but what the heck...let's go with it) then I see no hope for my decreasing down to the correct number of stitches before fastening off.  It will be either more or less.  There is no in-between.  For the record, I stopped caring a very long time ago and will just continue to knit along until the Stupid Lopsided Tam is in the "Finished" category.  I will then add that particular pattern to my own personal Black List.

Side Note:  I still think it may look OK when done.  Just not so much with the symmetry is all...

It is unfortunate, for reasons which will soon become obvious, that I chose today to do three thousand errands.  I've been planning this day for a while now.  Yesterday was payday and we never know how long the financial resources will last.  As I had to go out to visit with The World's Greatest Stylist And Life Coach anyway, I figured I might as well do a mess of other stuff while I was at it.  But today really wasn't the best day for that sort of thing, I fear...

Side Note:  I actually managed to get to all the places what needed gettin' to.  I just forgot a lot of the stuff that I was supposed to be gettin' once I'd gotten there.

It is unfortunate that I decided to take the kids outside yesterday.  There was a little bit of a gap in the day's scheduled deluge and my students were having a bout of the Fridays.  They needed to expend just a bit of energy.  It was still drizzling slightly and really too chilly for my fragile constitution, but I took the chance.  

Side Note:  I realize that a cold is caused by a virus and not so much by the actual temperature.  But I still don't think my being outside helped matters.  In fact, given the timing of my cold symptoms, I can't help but wonder if my decision to go stand outside in the rain might have determined the course of events.  I could be wrong.  But last night I had a cold and I didn't have one yesterday morning.  I'm just sayin'....

It is unfortunate that I somehow managed to throw away the appointment card that told me what time I needed to be at the salon today.  Had I not done that, I would not have had to call this morning to confirm the appointment and talk to the Distracted Lady.  The Distracted Lady told me to wait just a minute while she checked on my appointment.  I had no issues with that.  This was followed by the clunk that generally signals a phone being set down,then by the unmistakable sound of a toilet flushing and a tank refilling.  Then came the tap-tap-tapping of footsteps heading, I presume, to the front desk where the Distracted Lady (now sounding much less distracted) looked up my appointment for me.  I barely registered this and had to have her repeat the information for me.  You see, I don't recall at any time hearing the sound of a sink running or anything else which might be related to hand-washing.  Ack!  Fortunately, it was not my stylist who answered the phone...

Side Note:  I realize that modern technology, having afforded us the miracle that is the cordless phone, means that I have been speaking to people for years who are doing things that I really don't want to know about.  It has just never been my misfortune to hear someone doing #1 (I hope) at a place of business.  

It is unfortunate that I chose to go right over to the Used Book Store directly after my hair appointment.  They had just opened and the Book Lady was using the computer to check her email thinking that she had a few minutes before the customers flooded in.  The slow dial-up connection made it rather hard for her to log out and ring up my order using my debit card.  

Side Note:  It is worth your time in these situations to be patient, maybe reassure the nice lady that you are in no hurry.  You could even chat with her a bit.  When the lengthy transaction is over, you will very likely be told that you made her day by being so nice about the whole thing.  That will, in turn, make your day.  Especially if you have a nasty cold and aren't feeling too great about anything in that moment.

It is unfortunate that the Dollar Store is out of Collapsible Cat Caves.  If you happen to have an Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty who loves his CCC and who is also very hard on his toys (due to his gi-normousness), you are in trouble.  Especially if his favorite game is racing into his cave, pulling it over his head and then skidding around the house blindly, peeking out only occasionally to ensure that he isn't going to crash into the coffee table. 

These sorts of activities do not bode well for the Cat Cave's longevity...

It is even more unfortunate when Mommy goes to the pet store to seek out an appropriate substitute while she has a cold.  She is, perhaps, not quite so observant under these conditions.  She might even get so excited at the sight of a cat tunnel contraption that she doesn't really read the package contents too carefully.  She will be further distracted by the fact that this is the only one in the whole store and simply grab it.  When she gets home, she will be dismayed to learn that she does not have a tunnel.  She has the connector thingie that is designed to go with the tunnels.  That is not even close to what the AGK wants.

Sad kitty.

Side Note:  I'd return it, but the AGK has been sleeping in it for a while now and I haven't the heart.  So now I don't have the toy he wants and do have a ridiculously huge thing in the middle of my living room.  The moral of the story is this:  It pays to read the packaging.

I like to think that I actually came out ahead for the most part.  The hair is trimmed, a few of the things I was supposed to purchase actually made it home with me today and nothing caught fire in the process.  Not that this really was a concern given the weather situation.  We are now in the Flood Warning stage of the festivities so I think that fire danger is the least of our problems at the moment.  Of course, I don't live in a flood prone area so that's not much of a concern either, I suppose...

At any rate, my cold and I are back at home and the minor misfortunes which befell us are all in the past.  There is nothing left to do but take a few hits of narcotic cold medication and watch the raindrops fall.

Side Note:  Narcotic Cough medicine is also kind of good when you need to stop thinking about which stylist didn't wash her hands after going to the bathroom today.  And what she might have touched...


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Like Flicking A Switch

Some days you are a rock star.  Others, you couldn't catch a break with a ten wide foot net and a professional guide to assist you in the process.  That's just the way it goes.

After yesterday's wild flailing with that metaphorical net and the less-than-helpful suggestions of the native guide, I feared that my rock star moment was not going to be coming any time soon.  I just couldn't seem to lure a break into my sphere, let alone snag one.

Today, however, the spotlight shone upon me and the breaks came my way.  Sure, there were hitches and glitches.  Who is ever going to have a perfect day, after all?  A few of the lesson plans failed miserably (causing quite the bout of grumpiness from my Less Than Cheerful Teaching Assistants) and I won't claim that the students were all completely on their best behavior.  

The kids who were working with me for much of the day were, though.  And the LTCTAs, are walking much more delicately around me these days since I've had to play the role of The Very Serious Boss Who Will Not Be Taken Lightly.  (this is not a role I play well, for the record...but you do what you have to when you are working with the Less Than Cheerful types.)  I received a note from a parent of a former student praising my abilities to a degree beyond which I really feel I deserve, but was thrilled to receive anyway.  She also asked if I might help out a friend of hers with some of her child-rearing issues.  The vote of confidence was a real pick-me-up.

The school secretary confirmed for me that no one else really has a grip on the schedule these days so I don't feel like the only one in the building who is utterly flummoxed when asked what day of the week it is.  The Amazing And Astounding Custodian found two ceiling tiles to replace the ones that fell down in one of my classrooms and she even figured out how to get the covers back on the light fixtures before they fell on my head.  (Although that was something of a downer because I was looking forward to the Workers Compensation benefits...)

The grocery store had an open line just waiting for me this afternoon and even saw fit to have one of my favorite sandwiches waiting in the deli.  I fairly flew through the aisles as if wings had sprouted from my ankles and was home in time to do the shorter weight training routine I've been promising myself to do every Thursday.  

That means I get ice cream tonight.  

I'm thinking that a good day is a good thing.  It's probably not something to take for granted.  It would be easy to get all cocky and start thinking of myself as bullet proof.  I'm not going to push my luck.  The Stupid, Lopsided Tam should probably just sit in the knitting basket for the time being.  I realize that there is really no logical reason behind this decision.  There is not much else that can go wrong with a Stupid Lopsided Tam.  But whenever I start thinking that nothing else can go wrong, something else generally goes wrong and I don't happen to know where the fire extinguisher is at the moment.  We'll just let it rest for tonight and enjoy the ice cream.

Not everyone had such a stellar day, though.  A certain Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty thought it might be nice to grab a little piece of the sill near the only open window in the place.  You can't blame him.  Who wouldn't want to enjoy a little bit of the last few wafts of fresh air before we close things up for the winter?

Sadly, it was not meant to be.  A rather disgruntled Big, Fluffy Kitty made it clear with but one haughty look that she was not really looking for company at that particular moment.

He beat a hasty retreat.  

And wisely decided to enjoy the view from the recliner instead.

Hope your day was of the Rock Star variety and that tomorrow really is Friday.  I'm pretty sure it is.  But, I've been struggling with the schedule all week long so you probably don't want to go by me.

I'm not going to work the day after tomorrow either way, though.  I think I've put in enough time for this week.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

What Day Is It????

I have gone through the last few days with a complete lack of understanding regarding the forward progression of time.  Monday, for reasons that utterly escape me but which may be related to my being at a training instead of at work, felt like a Friday.  Tuesday, in logical fashion, felt like Wednesday.  Today, I tried to show up for morning bus duty at school because it was obviously Thursday.  I'm assuming that tomorrow I will simply stay in bed because it will be Sunday.  It is not like the week is not following any sort of sequence for me whatsoever.

I'm a delight to be around right now, so very put together and organized.  Just ask my Less-Than-Cheerful Teaching Assistants.  They are spending more time reminding me of where I need to be than is good for any human being and this is probably contributing to their dour demeanors.  Fortunately, I do seem to have a grip on the schedule in some respects because I am about to do the Wednesday Night Bullet Post. 

If it is not Wednesday, please don't tell me.  Just let me live in my happy little bubble for a bit, 'kay?  I don't want to know the truth.

Here's your I-Think-This-Is-What-I'm-Supposed-To-Be-Doing-Right-Now Bullets:

*I think I have covered the whole issue with the days of the week thing pretty well.  I'll just let that one go.

*The principal made it through the afternoon announcements today without incident and without the mention of boobies.  I think we are on the road to recovery and that the school will find its way back to normal.

*Unless we, the teaching staff, continue to bring it up at random intervals.  It was a slow day.  We didn't have anything else to talk about...

*The Stupid Hat continues to decrease towards the crown at a very lopsided rate.  I stopped caring about six rounds ago.  

*I'll block it and then give it to one of my Less-Than-Cheerful-Teaching-Assistants for Christmas.  It will go with either of their lopsided, grouchy faces quite nicely.

*I miss my Cheerful Teaching Assistant Who They Took Away From Me And Sent To The High School.  I miss her more every day.  Not only was she cheerful, but she hardly ever argued with me and she liked to knit.  

*This new batch is not so much with the agreeing and compatible hobbies.

*Still working on getting the CTA back.  It's not going well...

*Yesterday I received an email from Mr. A. Dorable, the trainer for the client safety program with whom I am working in order to recertify and be able to teach the rest of the staff.  

*I was giddy because he is A. Dorable.

*I have to take another half day of classes because the district didn't give me enough teaching time last year and I didn't really qualify for the new certificate.  He sent me a list of my homework assignments and a request that I pass on said list to one of the other unfortunates who must continue taking this class but whose email is not working.

*I agreed to do so.  

*But only if he reduced my homework.  

*I pointed out that I was taking valuable time away from the children to forward this email.  Like ten whole seconds of teaching time.  It seemed only fair that he take something off this gi-normous list of stuff I have to study and then demonstrate for his approval.

*Gi-freakin'-normous list!!!!!!!

*He said he would give me a ten minute break during class as a reward for my extra efforts.

*The wedding is off.  Make a note on your calendars.  

*You can still send me toasters and blenders and stuff, though.  I hate to think that you went to all the trouble of going through the bridal registry for nothing...

*Ten minute break....hrrumph!

*Seriously.  You should see this list of stuff I have to do.  It's ridiculous.  More so given that I didn't want to be a trainer for the district this year in the first place.

*And that I can't knit during the class.

*I ate ice cream for dinner tonight.  Hat not working out, staff not being cheerful, Mr. A. Dorable The Trainer-Dude not willing to negotiate...

*Not to mention my difficulty with figuring out what day it is...

*Ice cream seemed appropriate under the circumstances.

On the up side, I should be rather pleasantly surprised to see the tail end of this week.  By Friday, I'll probably be thinking it is Monday again and the weekend will seem like such a nice surprise!  Meanwhile, I'll just sit here letting all that ice cream go to my hips and wondering why the television schedule doesn't seem to reflect the Thursday line-up.

Happy mid-week!


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Don't Look At Me...

I love it when it's not me.  Mostly, it is me.  So, when it's not me, I get pretty happy about it.

If there is a verbal faux pas to be made, I will be the one to make it.  If there is something that shouldn't be said, I will blurt it out no matter who tries to stop me.  Should you desire that something be held in the strictest of confidence, I will most certainly forget from whom I am supposed to be keeping this secret and, the next thing you know, the engagement is off.  

I have often been heard to say aloud the things that I meant to just think and my witty observations are sometimes not always the most well-timed of quips.  It's just my way.  I like to think it is a charming quirk because I need to somehow make it through each day with some degree of self-esteem to my credit.

Today, however, it was not me.  

At the end of the school day, all the kiddies return to their homerooms for a final good-bye from their beloved teachers and to half-listen to whatever announcements must be made from the main office.  Today, there were many announcements.  We knew this because the principal told us that there were many announcements and he is a very truthful sort of fellow.  He also has a pretty amazing sense of humor so, in the middle of this lengthy recitation, he dramatically stopped to catch his breath.   He even went so far as to tell us that this was something he must to do given the amount of information that needed to be broadcast.

Except he didn't say, "catch  my breath."  We knew that is what he meant to say.  Nothing else would have really made sense, after all.  Plus, you could kind of tell he was out of breath and I'm guessing that this is probably why he fumbled his words a bit.  It happens to the best of us.  We all miss the pronunciation mark every now and again.

What most of us don't do, however, is announce to the entire middle school and all the parents who have come to pick up their children that we need to "catch our breasts."

I'll just give you a minute.  This is one of those things for which you really need the time to develop a mental picture.  All set?  OK.  Let us continue.

And so it was that Ms. Sheep found herself stranded in a room with 8 somewhat worldly teen aged boys and the knowledge that it is probably not all that appropriate to laugh at the image of her revered boss chasing down you-know-whats in the office.  I lost that battle of good vs. evil, in case you were wondering.  Some things are simply beyond my control.  

You would have done the same and you know it.  As proof, I offer my having witnessed several parents leaving the building with their young 'uns in tow and laughing to the point of tears while they repeated the poor principal's words.  Even my Less-Than-Cheerful Teaching Assistants cracked a smile and that is saying something.

It wasn't me.  This time, they won't be shaking their heads over my having done something horrible to the English language.  I feel badly for the principal...but I can't help but smile knowing that, this time, it wasn't me.

That sort of happiness can take you a long way.  It can fuel you with the upbeat energy necessary to slog through an hour long session on the little exercise bike when you get home from work.  It can make the fact that the decreases on the hat you are knitting don't really seem to make any more sense on the second try than they did on the first.  You suddenly don't care so much that the Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty has taken vast amounts of crunchy kitty food and scattered it all around the kitchen where it is getting stuck in the treads of your shoes.  

None of that matters.  Because this time...it wasn't me announcing that I needed to catch the you-know-whats in front of an entire middle school.  It's a good feeling.


Monday, September 22, 2008


If there has ever been a question in your minds regarding just what an agreeable sort of gal I am, I think I can dispel any lingering doubts about that.  In fact, I can also prove that I am easily lured into accepting a situation with the simplest of ploys known to man.

A little over a year ago, while still trying to enjoy the last few weeks of summer vacation, I got a call from the Special Education secretary begging me to pretty, please, please, please agree to come down to do a training in safety procedures that would render me certified to train others in our school district.  I did not wish to do this.  I wanted to sit at home and watch cartoons for a few more days before doing anything school-related.  But I said I'd do it.

I'm a sucker for the Pretty Please...

The training was unpleasant and the dude running it was something of a masochist.  He worked us to the bone and even set up impossible role-playing situations that devolved into one of my co-workers throwing a desk at me.  She was simulating an out-of-control student and I guess she got a little caught up in the moment.  With that little piece of business out of the way and an injured knee to my credit, I was fully trained.

I agreed to go forth and train others as promised, but decided that I would never again go through this.  No amount of Pretty Pleasing was going to topple me from my tower of resolve.

  I meant it.  

So, today I was back at the recertification training which will allow me to continue in the fine tradition of educating my colleagues at minimal cost to the district.  Apparently, all it takes is one strongly worded email and the begging eyes of the Special Education Director for me to be toppled.  

They could make me go.  But they couldn't make me like it.  What's to like?  You have to practice various forms of physical restraint, evasion techniques and role play how you might go about avoiding these sorts of situations by chatting distractingly with irate children.  There's no coffee, only bottled water so you'll have a caffeine fueled headache bouncing around in your noggin well before the noon hour.  You can't knit because one of the rules is that you teach your trainees to focus all their attention on the trainer.  And, to make matters worse, you will notice that most of the other people who did the original training aren't there which means that they were able to successfully get out of the whole stupid thing.

Nope, I told myself.  Not going to like it.  I won't even crack a smile.  I'll just sit there and project an image of exasperation and pouty resignation.  That'll teach 'em.  They'll think twice before conning me into another one of these stupid trainings.  

I swaggered into the classroom today fully engaged in "You are so totally not the boss of me" mode and ready for some serious pouting.  And then I saw the trainer.  These people are diabolical in their strategy-building.  Evil geniuses, that's what they are.

He.  Was.  A.  DORABLE!!!!!!

Further, he was more than adept at using a little bit of the flirty-flirty to get middle aged trainees on board for the material.  The Director introduced me as the one "he'd better watch out for," and that was it for me.  I was the most dedicated student of school safety techniques to ever open the manual.  I tried to resist.  I really did.  But what does one do in the face of a charming young man who knows how to work the perimenopausal crowd?  By the time he got around to describing my demonstration of how to release one's self from a hair pull as "beautiful," I was pretty much beyond help.  I had lost all control over my better judgement.  

And I may or may not have turned to my fellow trainees with my arms held out in victory, nodding my head and swaggering before them saying, "Now that's what I'm talking about!"  

I don't even like myself all that much right now so there is no point in saying that you are ashamed of me.  You can't make me feel any worse about the whole sorry display.

Suddenly, I was a regular Pollyanna, seeing the bright side in everything.  Maybe I couldn't knit during the actual class, but I got to knock out a few rows on the traveling sock project during lunch.  Sure, I didn't actually eat the lunch that was provided, but it was free.  And it came with all the water I could drink!  Why, when I stopped to think about it, it was really rather nice to have a day away from the classroom even if it did mean having a chair (containing a whole person) dropped on my foot.  That's a small price to pay.  And, to learn that I have to do another half-day of training to account for the fact that I didn't get in enough teaching time last year to qualify for recertification just means I get more time to enjoy all this wonderfulness.  I even get to do some work at home to extend the experience a bit further!  That is fan-freakin'-tastic!!!  

Best of all, the training didn't start until 8:00 in the morning so I got to leave the house a full hour later than I normally do on a regular sort of day that doesn't include such a fabulous gift from The Fates.  We even finished up just a bit early, allowing me to be home in time for an extra long session on the little exercise bike.  I gained two whole hours of time thanks to this golden opportunity presided over by the Angel Of Safety Training Who Now Has My Email Address So He Can Send Me My Homework Assignment And Who's Missive I Will Probably Giggle Over For Days!  

Extra time in a day, even at the expense of my very dignity, is actually something kind of nice now that I think about it.  We probably shouldn't call it "me time," though.

I told the Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty that I scheduled the time for him.  

The Big, Fluffy Kitty knows better and I didn't even bother trying to sell this story to her...

I'm telling neither of them about Mommy's weakness in the face of the Pretty Please and Charmingly Manipulative Young Trainers.  They are my babies.  They don't need to know about the seamier side of life just yet...


Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Fate Of A Nation...

I managed to gift myself with a little bit of extra snooze time this morning and was running just a bit behind my usual weekend schedule.  Otherwise, though, it was a pretty typical Sunday around here.

The Big, Fluffy Kitty was sitting around looking coy

The Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty was denying his recent weight gain by attempting to prove that he can fit into his Collapsible Cat Cave

And I was reknitting the hat  (Very Scary Fuzzy Squeaky Duck included for scale and as a means of protection against AGKs who might wish to interfere and require having the fear of God squeaked into them)

Things were moving along pretty nicely.  There was some downloaded television for viewing, thus allowing me to catch up with some of those shows that I miss now that I have to get up at the ungodly hour of 5:00 a.m.  Snacks were readily available should I begin to weaken from hunger.  All felines were otherwise occupied with their various hobbies and leaving the yarn unmolested.  Life was good.

And then the fate of this great nation was compromised by a dropped stitch and a poorly timed phone call.

Even now, I am not really certain if this loose yarn was truly a dropped stitch.  I only know that something looked wrong and required that I release some stitches so that I could I travel back down to the problem.  From there I seemed to lose track of the loops and had nothing to work back up into something resembling stockinette stitch.  I was perplexed, but not really overwrought.  This was the least of the problems I've had with this hat, after all.  It was fixable.  I just wasn't seeing the solution at that exact moment and had a whole bunch of loose yarn that needed careful watching while I pondered my options.

This was a very bad time for someone to call me for polling purposes.

I'm normally pretty tolerant of this kind of stuff.  I will usually take the time to answer a few questions be it for polling or marketing research.  These folks are just doing their thing.  And I am usually nothing if not helpful.  And bored.  

However, I have noticed a rather distressing trend in the calls I'm receiving of late.  Some are messages left on my machine offering the me the chance to take part in a "town meeting" event and asking that I stay on the line if I want to participate.  My digital space for messages is then filled while the candidate conducting the meeting chats away with callers, oblivious to the fact that I am not even home and have no way of hanging up on them.

Others, once they have me on the line, start off in typical polling fashion with the asking of questions regarding my political affiliations and voting intentions.  They soon deteriorate into highly biased questions designed to "help" me see how I might benefit from voting for certain candidates or supporting particular issues.  By the end of them, I am convinced that my not telling the caller he can count on my support will result in the death of cute puppies and the eviction of little old ladies from their homes.

It is not the fault of today's caller that I am fed up with all this intrusiveness and the assumption that I don't have the wherewithal to do my own research into the issues upon which I will be voting in November.  He could not have known that I have something of a petty streak.  Who could have shared with him the story of how I changed my vote on election day a few years ago because the supporters of a certain candidate rushed the school van I was driving to pick up my students for one of our weekly outings and waved signs mere inches from my windshield?  

He also probably had no idea regarding the hat situation.  Most people calling names on a list aren't prone to thinking, "I should definitely ask if there is a hole in her hat.  That is just common courtesy, after all..."  I am 99% sure that this is not something that is covered in the training session before they are allowed to use the phones.  Although I think it should be...

At any rate, he probably was not expecting me to say that my vote on the issue he wished to discuss would be decided after I'd tabulated the results of my own phone survey.  The vote will go to the side who called me the least number of times on a Sunday afternoon while I was busy trying to do Very Important Stuff.

You don't want to say that you have a hole in your hat at that point.  You want to express both indignation and a keen mind.  Telling the caller that you can't be bothered to discuss taxes because you are wrangling wild string with naught but a crochet hook and high hopes for the future will only hurt that image.

For what it's worth, I'm certain that I will have settled down come election day.  There's plenty of time for me to get a grip and make it to the polls with a more rational and reasonable approach to voting.  I'll do the right thing.  

And that hole?  Well, by the time I was off the phone, I'd lost any hope of finding its cause.  I worked those stitches that would cooperate back up to the needle, finished the round then stitched the hole closed with a trusty yarn needle.  From there, I forged ahead.  I put it behind me.  All is well with the world.

But, for one brief moment today, the fate of the nation rested upon a grumpy  Sheep with valid voter registration and a hole in a hat.  


Saturday, September 20, 2008

Sheepie Ponders

So I'm sitting around all afternoon re-knitting that stupid hat that I started last weekend.  You know the one I mean: the project I thought might be a nice, simple pattern and which I could complete quickly in order that I might actually produce something of a knitted nature to show on this, my knitting blog.  Yeah...that one.

I was mightily bored what with doing all the same stuff I already did exactly one week ago and it was becoming rather difficult to not let the mind wander to dark places.  You kind of can't help it when you are taking a do-over on something that should not have required the use of a "do-over pass" in the first place.  Basically, the whole train of thought goes something like this:

Great.  It seems that I cannot read.  Even simple things in plain English are beyond my ability.  I also cannot count.  How did I ever make it out of high school, let alone attain both undergraduate and graduate degrees?  My only skill must be high level "faking it."  In addition, it appears that I am delusional and in need of medication because I can distinctly recall several times during the first attempt at this hat where I thought myself capable of knitting repairs which would prove challenging to even the good knitters, let alone someone of my limited skills.  I have issues.  Big, serious issues.  The kind that require the intervention of several specialists and which probably won't be covered by my insurance...

You don't want to go there.  It is a slippery slope.  That's the train of thought that is only ridden by those who wish to spend their days wearing black and writing angst-filled poetry that doesn't even rhyme.  You need a diversion and you need it fast.

I could have started thinking about how much I hate my downstairs neighbors right now because the renovations they are doing to their unit are loud and involve the use of many hammers.  However, that seemed like another dark path and one I really don't feel I have the right to travel at the moment.  I woke up this morning to find that one or both of the resident felines had somehow managed to topple the tower fan in the living room during the night and I can only imagine how loud that must have sounded to those who live beneath me.  Best to just lie low and not attract any attention until everyone can forget about that little incident.

So then I got to thinking about a comment that Cursing Mama made the other day.  She'd just finished viewing the latest photo of the Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty who was lounging about in all his glory and doing some pondering of his own regarding the lack of foodstuffs in his bowl.  She said that she couldn't help but wonder just how such a fine fellow could possibly have ended up as a stray in a shelter.  

I wonder about that myself.  

I mean, we're not talking about one of those hissing, spitting clawing-type cats who spurns the advances of all humans.  He is, by no means, a lap cat, but he does love company and craves petting.  He seems to think people in general are pretty neat-o and is really quite a social creature.  He could have easily lived in most homes, although I guess he might not be quite as kid-friendly as some might like.

In fact, he really did strike me as someone who'd lived the domestic life.  His abject horror at the sight of the vacuum cleaner seemed proof of that.  I didn't even need to turn it on.  He simply knew what it was and began hissing.  Of course, he could have been introduced to that particular piece of housekeeping equipment at the shelter, but I'm not sure that this is the case.  At any rate, he just seemed awfully savvy regarding the pace of life in a private residence.

I sometimes think he just got lost.  He was somewhere around a year old when I was first introduced to him and must have been out there for a while given the amount of matting he was experiencing when he arrived at the shelter.  With only minimal brushing, he doesn't seem to have that problem now.  He had not yet been neutered but that doesn't necessarily mean anything regarding life before the streets or how long he was out there.  

It's a mystery.  I guess you just never know how these things happen or if this was what someone intended for this cat.  I've tried asking him, but he just wants to talk about food these days so the whole conversation ends up feeling really one-sided to me.  I guess this is simply one of those things that I'll be left to ponder and for which I will never get honest answers.  I suppose I wasn't meant to know everything.  I only know this:

The view from my knitting spot is much more entertaining these days.


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Got Some S-plainin' To Do...

Questions have been raised.  And who am I to deny my loyal readers the story behind the story?  That would be selfish!  I shall now take a moment to offer more detailed explanations of the little quirks that have gone on around here lately.

Why no...I'm not desperately trying to come up with blog fodder on a day when my brain is so shriveled up in my noggin that it's rattling around like the last peanut in the jar.  Why do you ask?

Explanation The First:  What Happened To The Hat?  

It was a very simple project.  It shouldn't have gone so horrifically awry.  But, I am using the pattern for that tam from Knitting Without Tears and I think we all know by now that Ms. Zimmerman can sometimes be a little vague in her directions.  I rather like her writing style and enjoy meandering along the knitting path with her.  But I gotta say...the directions regarding decreasing for this hat were a bit too wander-y for my feeble brain.  My first interpretation was very wrong.  Then I couldn't seem to get back to the right stitch count.  This was probably due to the fact that I got frustrated and ripped instead of tinking back to where I was when life was good and everything was divisible by 7.  Finally, instead of counting to make sure I had the right number of stitches for the second try, I simply forged ahead, confident in my ability to pick up all those loose stitches without any making a run for parts unknown.  

For future reference:  I do not seem to have that particular ability and should never, ever make such an assumption again.  Feel free to remind me of that fact.

I ripped the whole thing out in a fit of disgust and, while there were no actual tears involved, I couldn't help but wonder if maybe the book is somewhat optimistically titled.

Explanation The Second:  What The Heck Happened To The Blog????

You may have noticed that the cultural phenomenon known as Sheepish Annie went away for a bit over the weekend.  

Stop laughing...it could too be a cultural phenomenon!  It's just that most of the world doesn't know that yet.  As soon as the culture catches up, it's gonna be huuuuuge!!!

The whole mess goes back to my stat counter.  I use Site Meter and they decided to go all fancy-pants over the weekend with a big upgrade.  They went from a clear, easy to read format to something disturbingly complex and asked that we all change our html codes to accommodate their brilliant plan.  

When the plan went ker-blooey in their faces, they switched back to the old format and put up a somewhat red-faced apology to all and sundry.  I was happy.  But, it seems that the new html prevented anyone from accessing my personal cultural phenomenon and I was feeling all bereft at the loss of readership.

Fortunately, Beth emailed me and I was able to repair the problem before any culture was lost forever.  The blog and I thank you for your patience.  We hope that you did not suffer any loss of culturing during the dark hours.

And we missed you.

Explanation The Second:  Why Are You Commenting During The Noon Hour?  Are You OK?  Were You Fired?  Are You Sick?  Did You Finally Use That Hatch To The Roof Of The School And Flee Your Job?

When school started up this year, I begrudgingly got in my car and headed out to begin my new job at the Middle School.  Or, as we affectionately like to call it:  The Bad Job At The Middle School That No One Else Would Take And Which Was Foisted Upon Me With The Idea That I Might Be Able To Fix The Program Because What Else Do I Really Have To Do With My Time...

I have been somewhat pathetically trying to find the bright side ever since.

There is the fact that I have already taught most of these students before and won't be starting over with new kids.  There is that spiffy office they gave me with the almost-working air conditioner in it.  I get to hear at least once per day how grateful everyone in the school is that I have arrived to solve this horrific problem and what a delight my shining countenance is for everyone to behold.  And I got a sweet deal on photocopies...5000 of 'em before my code runs out and I have to sell my soul to get more.

But none of these things really helped me to find the happy in this situation.  Contrary to popular belief, telling someone that they are a hero doesn't mean squat.  The Bad Job At The Middle School is still Bad.  However, I have found a little bright spot in the whole mess.  The Internet filters at the Middle School are constructed of a much looser fabric than those at my other school.  Hence, I can access all sorts of nifty stuff that was banned from mine eyes for the last few years.  Blogs, for example!  Further, I have been given an actual, honest to goodness lunch break!  Twenty minutes!  Twenty whole minutes to eat my banana and maybe relax like grown-ups do!  And, since a banana doesn't really take that long to eat, I can even have some string cheese to go with.  That is usually something I can scarf down pretty quickly, too.  

This leaves almost ten minutes to read a couple of blogs and even toss out a pithy comment or two before I hear the thundering roar of a couple hundred teens as they charge back up the stairs, ready for some good old fashioned book-learnin'!

No.  I am not home sick.  I did not quit my job.  I have not gone into hiding so that the kids can't find me and give me their less-than-welcome opinions regarding the need for structured education.  I'm at lunch.  For twenty whole minutes!

And I miss you.  So I visit.  

There.  That should cover it.  I feel that I have fully explained all the stuff that may have mystified and baffled you this past week.  I have also successfully managed to come up with something to post on a day when there was really very little to say so that's good, too!  I can't think of a single thing left to explain.  Nothing at all.

Really?  I gots one for you.  Why is my Absurdly Gi-normous Belly making rumblies?  And why is my face not buried in a big bowl of yummy foods?  Explains that, why dontcha?  


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Wednesday Worked Out!

Sheepie does love mid-week posting.  Who knew that my needing to do shorter, less coherent blogging when I was taking that stupid class a while back would lead to a whole new way of looking at Wednesdays?  There is nothing quite like being able to just write anything and everything and not worry about whether a line of thought is being followed!  

Let's take a look at this week's Wednesday Night Bullet Post:

*It's odd.  When you complain about your schedule and being forced into meetings and other unfun things that get in the way of your doing stuff you like, suddenly you get a break.  

*The hours for teachers at my school are, at the minimum, 7:15-3:00.  

*Unless you have a morning duty, then you have to be there at 7:00

*I made it out the door at 3:00 on the dot this afternoon.  I even waved to the assistant principal as I passed through those glass doors to freedom!

*Here's the current progress on the hat I've been knitting:

I put the Very Scary Fuzzy Squeaky Duckie on there just for snorts and giggles.  One needs to lighten up hat-frogging whenever possible.

*Just wave to the nice duckie and let it go.  We need not speak of this.  Ever.  I cannot count.  I cannot come up with a number divisible by seven when needed.  I am shamed beyond all belief.

*I cast on again, though.  I did this while I was riding the little exercise bike this afternoon.  

*I had the time to do a very nice, long workout today.  

*Also had plenty of time to decimate a hat.  

*Obligatory Cute Kitty Pictures Because I Know You Love 'Em:

*The Collapsible Cat Cave is beginning to shred.  The Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty has played with it until it can take no more.  

*They do not have any left at the Dollar Store.  I checked.

*I guess I'll have to buy one at the "real" store and pay more than a dollar.  ::sigh::

*Has anyone else out there tried BYKI?  It's a neat little language program and the express version is free.

*You won't get much in the way of grammar instruction, but it is a great way to practice short phrases and vocabulary when you are studying a new language.

*I am the worst at learning new languages.  I'm pretty good with English.  Everything else is shaky.

*I need all the help I can get.  Free help is a very good thing.

*BYKI stands for "Before You Know It."

*Just so you know...

*Today at school we had an Evacuation Drill.  That's where we gather up 500 kids, exit the building and go to another location.  We do this by walking them down the road about a quarter of a mile.

*I'll just let you sit with that for a minute.  Let it sink in.  

*500 middle school kids...

*Before I left school today, I noticed that two ceiling tiles had come down.  They are the ones that cover up that hatch leading to the roof.  

*There's a ladder that is mostly covered up and locked so kids can't climb out, but now the top part of said ladder is exposed and easily accessed by those willing to stand on a desk.

*I pointed this out to the custodian.  I then pointed it out to the assistant principal.  There was a certain amount of lukewarm concern expressed.  Everyone agreed that this sort of thing should probably be taken care of.  I didn't get much in the way of a timeline, though...

*Then I observed how this might make a handy escape route for a certain teacher who agreed to take The Bad Job At The Middle School That No One Else Wants Because They Screwed It Up So Badly Last Year And Which Also Requires Taking Kids Who Don't Listen Very Well Out For Evacuation Drills. 

* In fact, I opined that maybe they could just leave that hatch nice and open for a while.  You know...just for fun.

*They are currently working on fixing the problem.

*It's really all in how you phrase things, I guess...

Hope your Wednesday was a pleasant one.  May you find the escape routes you need to get to where you'd rather be and not have to herd 500 middle schoolers in the process!  


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

It's A Conspiracy

I simply cannot understand it.  I am now in week #3 of the new school year and, if past experience is any indication, I should be fully engaged in the routine by now.  I've been doing this for a while.  I know that the first few days never seem to come together.  I will be running either very late or very early, will be tweaking the morning's schedule of events and trying to remember to line up my shoes in pairs because wearing different ones is always more noticeable than I think it will be.  After those first few days, things usually fall into place and I'm ready to go for the remainder of the year.

This year has not gone quite so smoothly.  

I just can't seem to find the rhythm.  It is not so much falling into place as it is falling apart.  I'm going to own part of it.  I know that I could probably be finding a way to fit in the stuff I want to do with the stuff I have to do.  It's simply a matter of putting my mind to it, that's all.  I guess I just haven't really gotten my head around the fact that I am back to work full time again.  

There are other elements, however, that I do not feel are my fault.  I am starting to think that the world-at-large does not want me to do things like knit or exercise.  I am beginning to wonder if there might not have been some sort of secret meeting at some super-hidden location where everyone in the whole wide world who has any influence on me or my routine got together to discuss ways to thwart me.  There seems to be no end to their bag of tricks.  It is truly amazing how Everyone In The Whole Wide World is keeping me from having a schedule which will allow me to get to work, get home, work out and maybe even knit a little bit before pulling together everything I will need for the following day.

For example, I really needed to meet with my director in order to discuss some issues with the program I've recently taken over.  You know the program I mean.  We like to call it The Bad Job At The Middle School That No One Else Will Take And Which They Thrust Upon Me With The Direction That I "Fix" It Because They Screwed It Up Beyond Belief.  Well...we call it something like that, anyway.  The actual title keeps changing, but the overall theme is the same.

At any rate, I needed the face time with the boss to put out a few small fires before they grew into full-fledged conflagrations.  I carefully scheduled this meeting for Thursday because that is a day where I don't have to be home to ride the little bike or lift the not-so-heavy weights.  I could stay after school for as long as necessary without worrying about how I need to trim down the waistline if I'm ever going to squeeze into that bridesmaid dress on November the first. 

I arrived this morning to find an email from the boss lady asking if we could meet today instead.  Her new secretary had triple-booked her for Thursday.  The only time she had was this afternoon.  I had no choice.  I took the meeting, was stuck at school until 4:00 (please bear in mind that school starts at 7:00 in the morning...) and the afternoon workout had to be abbreviated if I was going to have time to do everything else before I collapsed in my bed for the night.

This is not the first time this has happened since the start of school this year.  It is a conspiracy.  I'm certain of it.  And everyone is in on it.  There is simply no way that I could be so successfully maneuvered away from my Most Bested Laid Plans so many times in such a short period without a concerted effort on the part of Everyone Else In The Whole Wide World.

This is, of course, my lengthy way of explaining why I have no progress to report on that hat I've been knitting.  I set it aside last night after it did its part to screw up my schedule and haven't had the will to pick it back up to see if I've managed to get the stitch count right again.  Maybe I'll find some time tonight in between getting the coffee maker programmed for a 5:00 a.m. brew delivery and trying to find a pair of pants that will fit around my non-exercising bottom.  If not, then I guess it can wait until the weekend.  

Meanwhile, though, I can't help but wonder about something.  If I am unable to manage to get my act together and create a working morning routine, how on earth did Everyone Else In The Whole Wide World pull off a meeting which included everyone and resulted in such perfectly coordinated plans of action?  

That is masterful scheduling, people!


Monday, September 15, 2008

Easy As 1-2-3

I was walking one of my students back from his locker this afternoon (they really can't go alone...bad things happen when they are left to their own devices) and we were discussing his math homework.  He asked me if he could do it in my class during the first block since he really can't get much done at home.  I agreed, but with some conditions.

I told him that he needed to work with The Steadfast Teaching Assistant who attends this class with him.  I explained that she, as someone who is in the mathematical atmosphere daily, would be better able to assist him with in this endeavor.  I said that he would need to work with her respectfully and be grateful for her help.  

I also told him that, should this plan fail, he was in trouble.  I was probably not going to be of much use with his math homework.  He tried to tell me that it was easy and that I could most certainly help him.  I appreciated the vote of confidence.  

But he is far enough off base that he can't even be considered in the ballpark at this point.

It seems that I have no math skills whatsoever.  I thought I did.  I count things every now and again.  I once looked at the apple supply in the refrigerator and figured out how many I'd need to buy if I wanted enough for the week's lunches.  I seem to recall having to measure for new mini blinds once and they almost fit.  I honest to goodness thought that I had a few number skills to my credit.

I do not.  

The simple act of decreasing for the crown of this hat I'm working on has bested me.  The first round went quite well.  I was dead on.  Then I guess I maybe over-thought the directions a bit.  I couldn't believe that the pattern as written was correct nor that the math involved would result in the appropriate hat dimensions.  It surely would have.  I simply needed to trust the pattern.  

I did not.

I had to tink back and regroup.  That should have worked.  I should have ended up back where I started and had the correct number of stitches.

I did not.

I probably should have thought better of the ripping it all out to get back to where I was before the decreasing went awry.  I should have realized that this is not really faster as you will always drop stitches if you rip.  I should have gone back to tinking stitch by stitch like I knew deep down was the right thing to do.

I did not.

Everything is back on the needles and I think that it will all work out.  But it is really quite disheartening to realize that I have little in the way of remaining knitting skills after having not completed anything in a while.  And it is downright depressing to learn that I cannot count.

That poor kid who is planning on doing his math homework in my class tomorrow had better kiss up to The Steadfast Teaching Assistant if he knows what's good for him.  My students are still fiddling around with the rules a bit and learning how the adults will react.  Here's hoping that he doesn't try anything too risky tomorrow morning.  If he thinks I'm going to rescue him, he will be a very sad math student.

And I won't be able to hold up my head with anything remotely resembling dignity until at least the third semester.

Hey, I wants to help!  I counts gooood!  Listen:  One Big Bowls Of Yummy Food, Two Big Bowls Of Yummy Food, Three Big Bowls Of Yummy Food...  I can counts all the way up to Fifty Hundred!!!