Sunday, November 30, 2008


If you were to happen by my couch today, I'd understand if you might question what you saw.  In fact, you would probably be remiss if you did not say something, if only to be helpful.  That's what friends do, isn't it?  

When a friend sees something that they feel you, as a homeowner, might have overlooked, it behooves them to comment.

"Um...Sheepie?  Were you not aware that an elephant stopped by to poop upon your sofa?"

Perfectly understandable thing to say.  Of course, were you to step back a bit and run screaming for local law enforcement regarding the length of intestine that I'd left carelessly splayed upon the upholstery, I'd be less than pleased.

But, I'd understand...

I'd also handily walk away from any and all charges.  This is not what it appears.  It is, in fact, a scarf of very curly and whirly proportions.  It is also not quite as hideous as it looks in the picture.  If you happen to be a girl who likes the fluffy and the floofy, it is pretty nice.  I am not one of the fluffy girls, but even I find it to be a rather soft and fun kind of scarf.  

Not enough to toss it over my shoulder and head out for a night on the town, mind you.  But I think my stylist will like it.  I've knit one for her that is quite similar to this crocheted version and she gave it a thumbs up.  This one is softer so I think it will get more wear.  I'll just have to make sure that I don't arrange it so it looks like elephant poop when I give it to her...

Meanwhile, in other parts of the manse, the Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty was gleefully investigating the first of the Dollar Store Cat Caves.  We are dispensing them carefully and one at a time, never knowing when the supply of caves will dry up.  He seemed pleased and yet a little confused at the same time.

This new one has a feather rather than the pom pom he was used to.  But he likes feathers a great deal so it was one of those things he got past pretty easily.

Where there is a feather, there is a need to conquer.  I understand that.  Feathers can be tricky and should be watched carefully at all times.  Whenever possible, they must be captured.  But that is kind of hard because feathers are insidious in their ability to remain tethered to Dollar Store Cat Caves.  Sometimes they even hide within its folds.

The AGK cannot understand how his feather-catching skills could have failed so miserably.

At least it kept him occupied and out of the way.  Had he gone after the scarf yarn one more time, I think we might have needed to have one of our famous "discussions."  These generally involve my explaining my feelings about his eating my yarn and how I'd like for us to learn to share the this space equally.  I may even suggest that we do one or two trust exercises to help us in this endeavor, maybe even draw some pictures of how we are feeling...

He doesn't understand that sort of relationship therapy.  Mostly he eats a little more yarn, takes a swipe at my nose and makes off with my snack foods.  It could be worse.

He could decide to poop on the couch like that elephant did.


Saturday, November 29, 2008

Fortune From MIsfortune

Realizing (belatedly, as usual) that I need to have a gift for The World's Greatest Stylist And Life Coach in very short order, I made it my mission to finish up the handwarmers I'd planned to knit for her.  I work very well under pressure, you see.

Except, of course, when I don't...

The handwarmers crashed and burned.  You could probably see the column of smoke rising from wherever you happen to be at the moment.  It was really rather spectacular and reminiscent of any number of effects-laden films out there these days.  Once I'd recovered from the trauma, I began the process of regrouping my knitterly self and trying to come up with Plan B.

It occurred to me at that point that TWGSALC is not so much a fan of the wool.  I've actually gone yarn shopping with her in order that I might complete a project for her so I know this firsthand.  In fact, she has even been known to scoff at wool in both its spun and unspun states.  I cannot convert her.  She is committed to the acrylic path.  So why was I struggling with projects made from the sheepie stuff?  Why not knit something simple and in a fiber she would actually appreciate?

I know.  It is not a pretty side to her character.  But it is really her only shortcoming and she is my stylist, after all.  Good stylists don't grow on trees these days.  I overlook the fiber issues...

I did what any good salon patron might do at that point:  I put on shoes, tucked my turkey-enhanced tummy into my jeans and headed out to the Dollar Store.  If I'm going to knit in acrylic, I'm going to do it with dollar yarn.  That's my new motto.  I'm probably going to put it on t-shirts and stuff.

The store of cheap goods did not let me down.  They get all sorts of overstocks and discontinued items.  Even yarn.

Caron Bliss!  Made entirely from things never before seen in nature!!!

It even came with a pattern for one of those weird curly-Q scarves.  In crochet!  I can crochet!  And it's faster than knitting, in my experience.  Let the wild rumpus begin!  Or wild chaining...whatever.  I can knock this thing out of the park before the weekend is done.  In fact, I've almost already done so.  And I may even have enough left over to trim some simple mitts should fortune and finger dexterity finally start smiling upon me.

I feel kind of good about the fortune thing.  I'm not normally one for signs and stuff, but I think I was actually rewarded for my having put on shoes and taking the feelings of the knit-wear recipient into consideration.  Remember back in September?  When I had to return to my work-a-day life as a teacher?  And I was all worried about leaving the poor Absurdly Gi-normous kitty all alone for the day?

In an attempt to distract him from all the abandonment, I gave him a cat cave toy that I found at the Dollar Store.  I wasn't certain that he'd like it, but I figured that for a buck it was worth a try.

He loved it.

He loved to sit in it.  He loved to pull it over his head.  He loved to use it as a launching pad for his sneak attacks on his sister.  In fact, he loved it so much that he pretty much shredded it.  Sadly, the Dollar Store had no more of this particular item and I was reduced to buying a ridiculously huge thing from the pet store as a substitute.  He loves that, too.  But it's not the same.  He can't flip it over his head and the run around blindly or wear it around his middle like a tube top.  It's just not built for that sort of thing.  ::sigh::

Guess what I found at the Dollar Store today?  Yep.  Cat caves!  Right there where they used to be back when I didn't know enough to stock up.  You can rest assured that I won't be making that mistake again...

I bought five.  

That should hold us for a little while anyway.  Fortune smiles on she who buys the right yarn...


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Gobble, Gobble...And Gobble!

Here in my little corner of the world, it is a most marvelous day known as Thanksgiving. We like Thanksgiving. It is a day pretty much meant for those of us who enjoy large meals followed by long naps.

The Sheep family gathered early in order that we might accommodate Baby Brother Sheep and his new gang of near ones and dear ones. They had a second dinner scheduled for later in the day and no one minded sitting down a bit earlier than usual. In fact, I was rather pleased to be able to start scarfing down my turkey 'n stuffing before the normal ringing of the starting bell.

This gives me more time for digesting. Then I can start in with the consumption of leftovers even sooner. Did I mention that I really love this particular holiday? Thankful. That's what I am. Any minute now, all that stuff I ate earlier will be out of the way and I can begin the evening dining extravaganza...

The downside of the day is that I seem to have a headache of rather epic proportions and the application of OTC pain killers has yet to really beat it into submission. That is not going to stop me, though. I will power through this setback. Do not worry yourselves one little bit. Those leftovers will no go unattended while I am on duty!

The knitting, however, has not seen much in the way of attention. I brought the new project along with me today, but didn't really get to it. I blame the baby. Babies are cute and you just want to look at them. Great Nephew Sheep is no exception. In fact, I think he may even be a smidgen over the normal cuteness level, but I don't want to sound biased. There were also wedding pictures to look at once the baby left for the next family visit so you can see how I might not have time to fling yarn about. Maybe if the old noggin stops throbbin' in the near future, I'll be able to wend my way about a round or two.

Or I'll just leave it for tomorrow and focus on those leftovers. Either way, it will go down in the annuls of Thanksgiving History as a good day. I hope that those of you celebrating the holiday had a wonderful day as well and that your leftover situation is satisfactory.

The Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty would also like to send you his wish for a pleasant day. Most boys wouldn't let their mommies do this sort of thing, but my guy is a natural celebrant. He's all about the holidays. I thought that his plan might be a bit over the top, but he was really quite insistent on the matter. So, for your viewing pleasure and with thanks to the nice people at Picnik for their editing assistance, I give you...The Absurdly Gi-normous Pilgrim Boy!!!

With pie, no less...


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Something's Afoot...

I suppose it was inevitable.  I knew on some deep, inner level that this was going to be a possibility.  But I took the chance.  I informed all available felines that, with winter approaching, they should be prepared to start sleeping in the bed.  Whatever their issues with one another might be, they needed to set them aside and come up with a plan for spending quality time together.  I need the extra layer of warmth.

The Big, Fluffy Kitty, already a nighttime resident of the bed, had no real issues with this.  She wasn't thrilled about sharing the space with Baby Brother, but adapted fairly well.  The Absurdly Gi-Normous Kitty, in spite of not really having any prior interest in sleeping on the bed for any length of time, was lured in by the electric blanket.  Things seemed to be working out fairly well.  I patted myself on the back for a job well done.  One kitty at pillow level, one at foot level.  Nice!

I was living in a fool's paradise.  I have feet and there was no way that the AGK was going to be able to ignore them forever.  He discovered them last night.  With great joy, I might add.  He pounced, he chased, he gnawed at the slightest movement beneath the comforter.  Finally, he settled down and I breathed a sigh of relief.  However, bright and early this morning, he found them again.  In fact, he pounced from across the room if the degree of impact I felt is any indication.

I needed my rest today.  It may have been a day off and all, but I had stuff to do.  I needed to be at the garage by 8:00 for an oil change and The Talk.  Those of you unfamiliar with The Talk may not realize that I am subjected to it regularly.  It involves a somber-faced person emerging from the service area with a clipboard of some sort who wants to discuss what is currently wrong with my vehicle.  Today's Talk was regarding my brakes.  That's a new one.  I look forward to spending some money on brakes, if only for the novelty of it all.  It is also a relatively minor fix so I'm not going to complain too much.  We don't want The Fates to take note and send down a worse vehicular punishment.  

I also needed to untangle fifty-five miles of yarn so I could start knitting those mitts I said I'd craft up for The World's Greatest Stylist And Life Coach.  That was going to take some concentration.

Note:  The AGK spent much of this process "helping" me.  And when I say, "helping," I mean in a somewhat less than helpful way and one which required my rescuing handspun yarn from his jaws every ten minutes.

Lastly, I have bread to bake.  Baking bread doesn't really take all that much concentration, I realize.  It's mostly about waiting for it to do whatever it is supposed to do all on its own.  But you do have to be awake for that and I can't very well stay in that condition if I am up all night anticipating the next foot attack, now can I?

I realize that there are many solutions to this problem.  I could simply shut the bedroom door.  Of course, the door doesn't shut all the way and the AGK has demonstrated the ability to open it with ease.  I could launch him firmly from the bed with a stern, "No!"  That might be a good way to go.  Except for the fact that he is Absurdly Gi-normous and I do not have the upper body strength to launch my brick of a cat any real distance.

Not that any of it matters.  I could come up with all the plans in the world and I'd forget all about them once he settles down and starts looking all cute.  That pretty much defuses me.

I will then fail to realize that he is simply resting up for another round of foot chasing and yarn eating.  I am hopelessly weak...

Maybe it was just a one time thing.  Maybe he's just all excited about Thanksgiving and the prospect of leftover turkey.  Maybe he just needs to get it out of his system and things will go back to normal.  Maybe...

I need to go bake some bread now.  I ended up knitting mitts and napping all afternoon.  Thanksgiving dinner does not wait for foot chasing kitties with an appetite for yarn.  


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

And Now....Day Two!!!

This morning's schedule was a little more conducive to getting out the door for my school district's annual Fall Forum in a timely sort of manner.  I'd like to take the credit, but it really boiled down to a whopper of a storm going on outside and my waking up in the wee hours to the sound of shrieking winds.  I couldn't get back to sleep.  Which was a drag.

But very good for a second cup of coffee.

I made it to the high school in plenty of time to snag a good parking spot and find my first workshop session.  I even had a minute to grab yet another cup of coffee in the cafeteria before having to sit for 90 minutes of training.  As was the case yesterday, I learned a great deal.  Although it probably wasn't exactly what the school district had in mind when planning this educational extravaganza.  Here's a sampling of the knowledge that followed me home today:

Never Believe The Stereotype:  I chose to go with the science teachers for the breakout sessions on refining the Maine State Learning Results.  Yesterday, when I was still all bright eyed and bushy tailed, I had high hopes for their being the more focused of the groups.  Science teachers are very process oriented.  Surely they would use this tendency to make short work of the tasks we'd been given.  I felt so very lucky to be able to choose my group!

Science teachers, it turns out, are not so much process oriented.  In fact, they are so committed to the belief that all the learning standards within their discipline are vital, that they are incapable of giving anything lower priority.  They also like to use big words and argue about stuff.  They don't get much done.  Hence, I will be labeled as being part of the group that did not finish their assigned task.  

The High School Has Incredible Rain Acoustics:  Today's weather is bordering on apocalyptic.  There is rain.  There is wind.  There is more of the rain.  And all of it could be heard clearly no matter where you were in the building.  Everywhere I went, all I could hear was the sound of rushing, flowing water.

I had to go to the bathroom 47 times.   

There Are Limits To The Amount Of Talent A Person Can Take:  The whole event wrapped up with a brief talent show, featuring none other than our very own colleagues.  I'll admit that there are an awful lot of talented people working in our school district.  I was rather impressed.  

However, when the principal of one of the schools took the stage with his guitar in hand and joked about how he'd like to do twelve songs for us, I began to sense that I was reaching my limit with this Fall Forum.  He then commented on how, as the closing act, he was the only thing standing between us and our loved ones.  Thanksgiving break was within our grasp and this guy was going to do folk songs.  Worse, he was going to do it as a sing-along.  

I had every reason to believe that I was going to take my own life with whatever I happened to have handy in my purse.  I leaned forward to where my Former Cheerful Teaching Assistant was sitting and whispered to her that this was exactly like one of those Circles Of Hell you hear so much about.  

She agreed.  

I Have Mad Weaving Skillz:  It appears that I am capable of not only finishing a mitten whilst listening to scientists argue and having to run to the bathroom every ten minutes, but that I can also weave the tip closed under extreme duress.  While Mr. Bojangles was strumming merrily away on his guitar and coaxing us all to join in, I sat in the dark and finished up a mitten.  I couldn't really be certain that I'd done it right until I got home and could see it under better lighting.  I also needed to wait until my jaw unclenched a bit because that was painful and very distracting.  

But all was well.  I picked up some thumb stitches and suddenly:

There were mittens!

There was some unfortunate fraying of the yarn that I failed to notice until I was already knitting it and that has left one of the thumbs looking a bit ragged.  But it's not so bad.  There are also one or two (or ten) ends to be deal with.  But, all in all, I'm calling these, "done."

I have to admit that this was a pattern that I sort of pulled together from a variety of sources.  To say that I was winging it would be an understatement.  I didn't want to deal with thumb gussets while at the workshops so I just put the thumb stitches on waste yarn somewhere around where I thought thumbs ought to be.  Thumbs were then knit at home.  While this necessitated making a "left" and a "right" mitten and lining up the fingertip decreases accordingly, it was actually a pretty simple way to make a mitten happen without needing to pay much attention.  And they do fit as a mitten should fit.  They are big for me, but the beauty of a mitten is that it will always fit someone.  Everybody needs a mitten every now and again, right?

And so ended the 6th Annual Fall Forum.  There was all sorts of knowledge dragged home and I even found a minute to listen to that audio book I downloaded over the weekend.  All in all, I'd say it was a success.  But the part I liked best was when I pulled the car into the driveway at that place I call home.  Soggy from the driving rain and chilled to the bone, I was grateful to slip into something more flannel-y.  And what will I do with all that knowledge I collected over the past two days?

Nothing.  Not a darned thing.  Zip.  Zero.  Nada.  I am now on Thanksgiving Break and do not plan on thinking again until Monday.


Monday, November 24, 2008

Forum Findings: Day One

The first of the two days I must spend in my school district's annual Fall Forum is behind me.  I think it is always helpful to review the data after these sorts of things and see what I have learned.  This is, after all, supposed to be staff development.  I should walk away with new knowledge.

But first, I'd like to take this moment to send out a hearty Thank You Oh, So Very Much to two people near and dear to my heart right now:  The presenters who ran out of material and the will to continue thinking of stuff to say about using Mimio in the classroom.  You guys are like family to me now.  Your decision to just give up and accept that there was nothing else left to say on the matter was inspired and very much appreciated.  Getting out of the high school parking lot is a trial during these workshop days and I can't tell you how nice it was to be released early so I could actually pull out of my space without a twenty minute wait.

And now, let's get on with the Knowledge!  What have I learned today during my seven hours of enforced adult education?

Lesson The First:  Never Think There Is Enough Time.

The mere suggestion that I don't have to be somewhere until 8:00 is enough to make me believe that time has become a far more flexible concept than it really is.  I somehow believed that not having to be there until an hour later than my usual start-of-the-workday-time translated into sleeping later, having an extra cup of coffee, eating breakfast at home instead of in the car, watching some TV and maybe reading a little bit.  

This would be a fallacy.  The aforementioned activities take much more than one hour.  At least the way I do them.  Hence, there was much racing about just after 7:00 this morning once I processed the forward movement of time and my inability to bend it to my will.

Lesson The Second:  There Is Such A Thing As Too Much Of A Good Thing

I am a knitter.  As such, it is more than probable that, on any given day, I will be sporting one or two hand knitted accessories.  This is to be expected and is really perfectly normal.  Today, I could count the following knitterly things upon my person:

The Blog Buster Sweater (In my mind it is less than perfect, but you wouldn't believe the number of compliments I got on it!  Someone even asked about the pattern and I was forced to admit that I'd "designed" it.  Even I couldn't keep a straight face on that one...)

My Maine Morning Mitts (It was cold in the high school.  I wore them quite a bit.  They also got lots of compliments and they weren't even the good ones that I knit the second time around!)

A rather simple bag that I made years ago out of my first handspun and felted.  (No compliments there, but that's OK.  People have gushed over it in the recent past so I feel good about it)

Add to this the fact that I was physically going about the act of knitting for much of the time today and I couldn't help but wonder if there was just a wee bit of "over-kill" going on.  Tomorrow, I'll wear my comfy and oversized hoodie.  That should balance things out a bit.

Lesson The Third:  Lopi Is Icelandic For "Fat"

OK.  That's probably not true.  However, it is very much true that some lopi is very fat yarn.  And any mittens you might be knitting with it will go rather quickly.  In fact, it will become painfully obvious rather early in the day that you probably should have brought along more in the way of knitting notions.  Thankfully, when I found myself in this perilous situation, I was able to locate a paper clip to use as a makeshift stitch holder to that I could leave the end of the mitten open as I'd planned.  I'm sort of winging it with the thumb placement and performing that three needle bind-off that was the only move left to me if I wanted needles free to start the second mitten would have hindered my brilliant course of action.  

Further, I did not want to do a three needle bind-off.  I wanted to weave the end closed all purty-like.  Being totally unprepared for the speed with which this yarn would produce mittens, I also didn't have a yarn needle with me.  The bent paper clip in the bottom of the felted bag was almost like a gift from heaven!

Lesson The Fourth:  Someone Has To Live In The Ivory Tower, I Suppose...

Our keynote speaker today was brilliant beyond words.  He was eloquent and even had a well-developed sense of humor.  He spoke for almost a full hour and then took questions from the crowd without even once losing his composure.  He owned the podium.  He was a master.  

And I couldn't understand a single word he said.

I was fortunate to be sitting with my Cheerful Teaching Assistant from last year so I could ask her if it was "just me."  She confirmed that he was incomprehensible.  Each of us could remember one or two things that struck a bit of a chord with us.  But, try as we might, neither of us could remember just where those talking points led or why we found them so brilliant.  We just knew we should nod sagely and clap enthusiastically at the end.  

Then we went to lunch where the sudden burst of understanding that we'd hoped might hit us after the ingestion of a few calories failed to materialize.  We let it go and I showed her pictures of the Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty and my brother's wedding.  Then we gossiped viciously about everyone because the powers-that-be have separated us this year and we have to do these sorts of things whenever we can.  We are not brilliant speakers with mind-boggling thoughts on stuff, but we do pretty well within our own milieu.

Sadly, I didn't have time to listen to my audio book nor was I able to log onto the high school's highly secured wireless network in spite of the fact that I work for the district and all.  I also smooshed one of my cookies in the bottom of my bag with the pretty much useless laptop I lugged along.  Otherwise, I like to think that I learned all sorts of very important things during this year's Fall Forum!

Tomorrow, I'll use that knowledge for good.  I'll remember to bring along stitch holders and will pack my cookies more carefully,  Lastly, instead of a keynote speaker, we will be enjoying the staff talent show and I'm pretty sure I will be able to understand that without too much difficulty.

I may not want to understand it, mind you.  But I'm afraid that I will.  Think good thoughts for happy knitting and talented coworkers...


Sunday, November 23, 2008


 I have been working in my current school district for about six years.  And in that time, each and every November, they have hosted a two day series of workshops known as The Fall Forum.  Most schools are doing less in the way of workshops now to increase the amount of instructional time.  My district is no exception so they pack a great deal into these two days.  Mandatory trainings are covered (somewhat...), collaborative discussion groups are organized, fancy-pants keynote speakers are lured to the high school then trapped in the auditorium until they agree to speak eloquently and staff are bribed with snacks in order that they might demonstrate good attendance.

Mostly we are all torn between ecstasy over spending time with actual grown-ups and an overwhelming urge to flee to our cars so we can start our Thanksgiving vacations.  

This year, I've signed up for mostly technology-based workshops to fill my "choice" slots in the schedule.  My reasoning is pretty simple:  I want to bring my laptop with me.  I have successfully managed to "forget" my school laptop (which I like to refer to as my "crap-top") and bought myself a rather snazzy new sleeve to transport my own Macbook Pro.  It was on sale.  I took this as a sign that the universe wanted me to bring my computer to the Fall Forum.

Over the years, I've developed a pretty good plan for organizing supplies for these two days.  The fact of the matter is that, in spite of the planning committee's best intentions, this can be a rather boring event.  Distractions are needed.  I've already mentioned the laptop transport planning.  Here are a few of the other things I've learned to do in order that I might survive The Fall Forum with my sanity intact:

Nutritional Plan:  We are strongly "encouraged" to remain on site for the duration of the event.  Lunches are available but, unlike the snack foods, must be purchased.  I do not wish to do this.  Hence, I have laid in a supply of cheese, cookies and apples which I hope will last longer than the first hour.  I tend to eat when bored.  This has proven to be a problem in past years, but I'm limited by what I can carry.  This is sort of like hiking in that you have to lug around all your stuff.  Unless, of course, you are able to sneak out to the car for a nosh...

Subtle Entertainment Items:  It is very, very important that one be paying attention during the Fall Forum.  It is not only good for absorbing the material, but really the polite thing to do.  However, a girl can only take so much scintillating discussion in a day and a diversion can only help her to be more focused during those times when she is working in a small group and more conspicuous if not listening.  I've downloaded a nice, new book onto my embarrassingly outdated ipod and should be able to hide the headphones if I wear my hair just right.  I use a clip-on style of listening hardware as the traditional earbuds hurt my ears.  They are bigger, but I still think I can keep them out of sight if I plan ahead.

Busy Hands Are Happy Hands And Can Keep Workshop Participants From Falling Asleep:  The first of the Fall Forum Mittens are well on their way to completion.  I like to have a project on the needles and some sort of motor memory already ingrained in my fingers before heading out to The Fall Forum.  Casting on in a darkened auditorium during a Power Point Presentation on Reading In The New Millennium (or some such thing) is never all that successful.  A couple of years ago, I knit an entire three-mile-long scarf (give or take) during the two days of workshops.  It is a highly productive time if you use those hours wisely.

TFFM in the early stages and resting comfortably on my new laptop sleeve.  

And, no.  That is not a magic loop mitten you see there.  My minute and a half of magic loop experience taught me two things:  First, that magic loop is really a rather interesting way of knitting and that there are endless applications.  Secondly, that magic loop is not the best way of knitting mittens if you have never done it before and will be sitting in a darkened auditorium trying to hide the fact that you are actually listening to an audio book rather than watching the Power Point Presentation.  I dug around for a set of double points close to the size I needed and adjusted the stitch count a bit.  It is really for the best.  

It's kind of hard to rip out knitting in those tiny auditorium chairs.  I always seem to elbow the person next to me in the face or something along those lines...

Otherwise, it's all just basic, run of the mill, organizational stuff.  I've washed the "comfortable" jeans.  I've charged up and synced the embarrassingly outdated ipod.  The school bag has been emptied of regular school items and is ready to receive the Fall Forum Supplies.  I just need to set the coffee maker timer for an hour later than is usual and remember to do the same with the alarm clock since I don't need to be there until 8:00 or so.  I've done all I can do.  There is nothing left for it but to hope that I've got everything I need to fake alertness for the next two days.  

If it gets dicey, I suppose I can always ponder this:


So many questions.  How does he fit in there?  How do all those parts and pieces equal a complete Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty?  Can he breathe?  Where the heck is his tail???

Those thoughts should kill at least an hour.  Or I can just eat all the cookies...


Saturday, November 22, 2008


If you are looking for actual knitting content of the visible or tangible variety, I'd suggest you move on.  Go visit one of the responsible stitchers who understands that these sorts of things tend to go a little more quickly when the yarn is actually maneuvered about on the needles every once in a while.

That would not be me today.

That's not to say that I didn't think about knitting.  I did.  I thought about how the dishcloth (with sleeves) is already tinked back quite a ways and how I should probably just keep going since there are some boo-boos that I'd like to see go away.  I thought about not working out next week since I usually don't bother during non-working weeks.  Then I thought that two days of teacher workshops before being set free to skip amongst the daisies isn't exactly "non-working."  I thought that maybe I might be more inspired to hit the little exercise bike on Monday if I had something to do and tinking is something I can do whilst pedaling.  

Then I thought about mittens.  I'm rather jazzed about the idea of knitting mittens these days and they'd be a kind of neat thing to be working on during the long, boring and very much mandatory workshops I'll be stranded in soon.  I thought about how I could even do that "thumb trick" from EZ's book and that this would do away with the whole thumb gusset nonsense that I have no intention of doing during the aforementioned workshops.  

There are rules.  Some things just are not done in public.  I don't pick my nose, nor do I pick up heel stitches in polite company.  I suspect that gusseting for thumbs is probably along the same lines what with all the counting and whatnot.  I can leave a hole for a thumb to be named later, though.  That seems like the sort of thing one might do without too much foul language during keynote speeches...

I even thought about how I should probably go get the lopi yarn and wind it up so I'll be Mitten Ready come Monday morning, but I didn't actually get that far.  I was all distracted by the fact that I have somehow managed to use up an entire black ink cartridge since getting my new printer up and running.  And not that puny little cartridge that comes with the printer, either.  A real one.  How much printing am I doing around here these days, for heaven's sake?  

That little slice of reality, combined with a little early morning Christmas shopping once the stores opened was enough to send me off to the couch for a nap.  All that thinking, realizing and crowd dodging was simply too much for my fragile system to handle all in one day.  I'm sure you can see how this might happen.  

The kitties were already napping so they were one step ahead of me in the process.  In fairness, however, they have had much more practice with sitting and thinking so they know when to stop and just go to sleep before becoming completely overwhelmed.

Here, the Big, Fluffy Kitty demonstrates the fine art of Back Of The Couch Napping.  Notice how she is perfectly balanced so as to not fall off and into the laps of people who are thinking too much.

The Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty has to nap more these days.  In addition to his regular Gi-normousness, he seems to have grown a layer of winter fluff.  He can barely hold himself up long enough to make it to the food bowl, poor baby.  He's pretty warm, though...

If you haven't been convinced of my hard work today and need for rest, perhaps you were distracted by the napping felines in all their cuteness.  Still, there are probably one or two out there who think I am nothing short of a weakly wimp.  I understand. 

Would it lend any credence to my excuses if I told you that I discovered that I had no double points in the right size for my upcoming Mitten Adventure?  And that I decided to go all Magic Loop on these suckers?  In public.  With no real experience knitting in a loop, magical or otherwise?  I had to watch an online video and everything.

I think I need another nap.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Fuel Gauge Chicken

Knowing that I had morning bus duty today and that there was every chance I was going to be late, I decided to plan ahead.  I did everything that needs doing for the morning well before bed last night.  I laid out the clothes and made sure that they were the sort of garments that wouldn't inspire me to change 45 times before I left.  I double checked the coffee pot so I wouldn't forget to set it to go off at 5:00.  Then I checked it again.  I organized the breakfast foods and rinsed out the thermos.  I had it all ready to go.

As a final touch, I set my bedroom clock ahead by another ten minutes, for a grand total of fifteen.  There was no possible mishap for which I did not have a plan.  

It all went like clockwork.  Until I drove past The Convenience Store Where They Call You Honey And Sweetie And You Sort Of Like That.  The plan got a little bit shaky right about then.  I hadn't foreseen what I'd find there.

Gas.  At a $1.99 a gallon.  Gadzooks!!!

But I had no time to stop for gas.  I'd allowed enough time to stop at the mailbox so I could pay the nice people who called me yesterday with the suggestion that I send them some money.  They were of the opinion that my having forgotten to pay their bill was not really particularly funny.  I'd planned to stop for gas on the way home, knowing that I had enough in the tank to make the first leg of the round trip.

There was no time for $1.99 gas.  

I am not normally one to quibble over a penny here and there.  Even a nickel is worth it to me if it is more convenient to pay it rather than save it.  But $1.99???  

At day's end, I just couldn't bring myself to stop at the gas stations closer to school as I'd planned.  I could still hear the siren song of the less-than-two-dollars gas.  The question was this:  could I make it?  

As I drove past the first gas station, I steeled myself and did not even turn my head longingly towards the pumps.  At the second station, I must admit that I did gaze forlornly at the gas waiting to be placed in my tank.  Gas will get me home.  I like going home...

A third and fourth station were passed in the same manner.  By now, I was in an agony of indecision.  Should I proceed or do the sensible thing?  I finally realized that it was best to let the car decide.  

I bought the new car last spring.  At the time, I figured that, if I was going to be making two car payments on one car, then I'd at least have one with cool stuff in it.  Hence, the car is smarter than I.  It will tell me all sorts of things like whether or not I am cold or if the oil situation is about to go south on me.  It will also tell me how much further I can go with what's left in the gas tank.  It assured me that I could go for many more miles.

But I just couldn't believe it.  Cars have lied to me before.  Cars have led me to believe that they were broken and forced me to pay lots of money to be told that they are fine.  Cars have exploded on me with very little warning.  Cars lie regularly.

But the gas was $1.99.  That is cheaper than some yarns, for crying out loud!!!  

I was wracked with anxiety and convinced that I was driving on mere fumes and a strong tailwind.  And yet I drove on.  Each mile that rolled past increased my stress levels.  What if the car lied to me as cars so often do?  The one thing this car doesn't have is that cool button you can push to summon assistance from some helpful satellite.  I don't remember the last time I charged my cell phone.  I'd be stranded!  Was the cost of more readily available gas ultimately the greater bargain?  What if I was stranded out there in the cold and lost a thumb to frostbite?  Then I'd have to have that surgery where they take one of your toes and sew it onto your thumb-hole and that is most certainly going to cost more than $1.99!!!!!

Things progressed in a similar vein for many, many more miles.  I almost had a heart attack from the stress of it all.

For the record, the car spoke true.  I made it home with fuel to spare.  The irony here is that I did not stop for gas when I got within range of the Convenience Store Where They Call You Honey And Sweetie And You Sort Of Like That.  I was too exhausted from all the angst.  I just went home to rest.  I'll fill up tomorrow morning.  It's not like it's an emergency or anything like that.  I have plenty of gas.  The car says so.  No need to get all excited about it...

There is every reason to believe I should be heavily medicated.  Or that I am in need of a vacation.  Or a weekend...

The Absurdly Gi-Normous Kitty has retreated to his Cat Cave.  I'm not certain that he understands the workings of the female mind.

It was $1.99 a gallon.  What can I say?  Cheap gas can make even the most stable of individuals go a little off-track, right?


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Weird Sort Of Wednesday...

Well, it is Wednesday.  And I remain pretty much lost regarding the days of the week since I haven't had to work a full five days in a row since before the dawn of time.  Or two weeks...whichever.  

Happily, it is the night of the Wednesday Night Bullet Post, so I don't have to make any sense if I don't want to.  Which is good because I probably won't.  I suspect you'll keep reading along anyway just to see if I catch a clue at any point.  

But it's unlikely.  Clues have been far and few between over the last couple of days...

Here's your utterly random bullets for this week:

*I swear to you that I thought it was Thursday.  Driving home, I had a mini panic attack because I thought I'd missed my morning bus duty.  I have that tomorrow.  

*I'll probably miss it what with it being Friday in my mind...

*To add further confusion to the mix, next week is vacation week.

*I was going to say, "To make matters worse, next week is a vacation week."  But that is ridiculous because there is nothing "worse" about having a vacation.  Nothing at all.

*Except for the part where you have to keep working to get there.

*I survived this afternoon's session of file reviewing without incident.  I even managed to plow through two of them all by myself.  

*That's actually pretty good.  The last group only reviewed one apiece.  

*The trick is to pick really skinny files, preferably those of kids who have transferred into the district recently.  There's hardly any paperwork in there and the state won't be checking on the stuff that other schools did before the kids got to us.

*Frankly, I am shocked that no one else in these review groups thought of this strategy...

*The kids have next week off.  I only have Wednesday through Friday.  Teachers get to go to two days of workshops.  We call it The Fall Forum.  They give us lots of snacks and free water bottles.

*They used to let us sign up for things like Yoga, Jewelry Making and Book Binding.  They trusted us to sign up for at least a couple of educationally relevant things rather than just doing the "wellness" activities.

*Everyone signed up for Yoga, Jewelry Making and Book Binding.  Except for me.  I always logged onto the sign up site late so I ended up in Grant Writing and School Law.  

*They wised up after a couple of years and now we are all sitting in Grant Writing and School Law.  

*It's good for knitting if you happen to be behind in your holiday stitchery.

*Not so good for staying awake.

*I did not bring any knitting today.  I figured I'd be busy with the file reviews and that I would need both hands for wrangling all that paper.

*I sat next to a woman who was knitting at the Very Late And Very Much Mandatory Meeting that we all had to go to after school.  I envied her.  Listening to an attorney talk about Title IX (Sexual Harassment Law) was also not so good for staying awake.

*Our Title IX Coordinator for the school district is the assistant superintendent.  She and I are not always in agreement over how things ought to be.  And she is the boss of me.  You can imagine how I might want to not call attention to myself too much unless there was a fire in the auditorium or something.  Then I could be a hero.  Otherwise, I keep a low profile.  We are only just getting past our last little "difference of opinion..."

*Not a good idea to knit in her meeting.  That's all I'm sayin'.  

*I'm knitting at the Fall Forum, though.  I'll just sit in the back.  

*Or tell her that I am knitting her a toilet tissue cozy.  That'll keep her far and away.  

*Again, I marvel at how no one else ever thinks of this stuff.  It's not like it's rocket science...

And so we come again to yet another Wednesday Night Bullet Post finale.  I do hope it made some sense.  I tried.  I really did.

Meanwhile, if you could all think good thoughts for my making it to school tomorrow with some indication of my impending morning bus duty, I'd appreciate it.  I have a bad feeling that I am going to wander around thinking that it is Friday and that is going to be a very bad thing for the fifty thousand 7th graders in the cafeteria who long for my supervision in the morning.

It could also be bad for my spotless record of middle school service.  And I don't really have it in me to knit toilet tissue cozies for everyone who will be inconvenienced by this...


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I Know. I'm Weak...

I have lost all sense of grown-up behavior.  I do not have any ability to understand how actual adults live.  I am now enmeshed in a world where people have schedules that are somewhat "less" than average.

This is the first Tuesday I've had to go in to school and teach small people in two weeks.  (I use the term "small" somewhat loosely, here.  Most of the kids in my class are bigger than I...)  Between having election day off and then Veteran's Day, I've sort of lost my momentum.  Frankly, I was rather miffed when the alarm went off this morning.  It seemed most unfair to expect that I work for five days in a row with no breaks or nuthin'.  

I stomped into the classroom (only a teeny bit late today, thank you very much) and proceeded to my desk.  Next to it, I noted my calendar and some scribbles on the box representing "tomorrow."  I was elated to see that I have a meeting at 12:30.  I will have to leave early and go be with adults for the entire afternoon.  Well, now there's a nice surprise!!!

The fact that this meeting is for the purpose of reviewing paperwork so that our school district might pass its upcoming Special Education State Audit did not occur to me until later.  I was just jazzed to see something of a break in the routine.  

I won't even be able to knit while I'm there.  This is one of those "hands on" sort of events.  This is probably for the best since I am in the Repairing The Damage Done Through Ripping Back For The Second Time stage of the dishcloth (with sleeves) knitting.  I doubt that any of my colleagues would care to be around me for this.  

I also failed to notice that there is a late afternoon meeting right after that and that I will actually be working a longer day than is usual for me.  Further, I didn't even bother to take into account the upcoming absence of one of my staff members tomorrow.  I'll be leaving the little darlings with the one remaining Teaching Assistant.  That probably won't go well.  In fact, I suspect that it will all go rather badly unless there is some sort of divine intervention.  

And I'm 99% sure that I don't qualify for one of those right now...

Yet, I don't seem to be at all daunted by these negative aspects.  I remain firmly entrenched in my Happy Place when I consider the idea of a shortened work day.  It matters not that the work day is in no way shorter than it was before.  I see nothing at all wrong with my having taken a longer work day and made it into a fake shorter one.  

I'm hopeless.  I am not a real adult.  I'm just an overgrown kid who still thinks she is not quite ready to be on her own in the world and that more "practice" is needed before she can do what the big people do.

I shared this insight with the resident felines.  The Big, Fluffy Kitty seemed very disappointed in me.

She felt that I deserved a shot from her Very Scary Fire Eyes.

The Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty didn't seem all that distressed, though.  Of course, he was a little bit busy at the time.

He was preoccupied with trying to locate his feet...

I'm going to go pick out an outfit for tomorrow.  It's going to be a Day Off sort of ensemble.  I'll maybe even wear my Really Comfortable Jeans.  I like to think that this will help to maintain the not-really-working illusion for me for as long as possible.

The AGK, however, is going to have to face reality.  Because he certainly can't face his own feet these days...


Monday, November 17, 2008

Think Pink

I stumbled into Monday as I bumble into most of them: less than gracefully.  I do not respond well to the sound of the alarm clock and don't even try to tell me that the cute one I bought over the summer that makes cool birdie noises makes it one little bit better.  It does not.  I was born to be a Sheepie of leisure and have failed miserably in my achievement of this goal.   That alarm brings home the point rather forcefully five days out of seven per week.

Things progressed as they always do on Mondays with me being a bit behind schedule and unable to get any of it back on track.  I had enough gas to get to school and enough time left on the clock to say that I wasn't late upon arrival.  But it was near thing on both counts.

The routine took a sudden left turn around 9:00, though.  I couldn't put my finger on it.  But something just wasn't right.  By 10:00, I had a clearer picture of the situation.

Maybe it was my less than nutritionally balanced diet over the past weekend.  Maybe it was the six million kids horking up their breakfasts in the nurse's office.  Heck, I'm not beyond thinking that it was a last little Love Tap from The Dark Forces That Hate It When I Knit Things With Sleeves.  They certainly made their feelings known yesterday with that smiting of the neckline trick.  I wouldn't put it past them to try and mess with my Monday.

Whatever the cause, things were not going well in my digestive tract.  In fact, they were going rather badly.  By the time I was left in the room with That Kid Who Really Shouldn't Be Attending Assemblies, I wondered if there was going to be some sort of "incident."  I further wondered if it was going to be the kind of "incident" that would scar TKWRSBAA for life.  Not to mention his shoes...

Thankfully, I am one of those people who carry a pharmacy in my purse.  I have remedies for pain, congestion, itchy skin, profuse bleeding and snake bites. I can glove up and perform surgery with my swiss army knife, if need be.  I can whip up a sling and record any pertinent vital signs should that service be required.  I also have some very lovely pink chewable tablets in there that will stop the dreaded Icky Belly in its tracks.  Sort of.  There are still going to be a few tense moments and there will probably be some snapping at TKWRSBAA after he has been talking nonstop for twenty minutes.  But they will make the roiling stop after a fashion.

I still didn't dare to finish my coffee.  Nor did I think it wise to eat my lunchtime apple.  (the kid who didn't have lunch money was happy to eat it for me so that all worked out...)  I'm not big on lunch anyway.  Lunch just takes up time better spent dealing with the fact that I had my entire class in for detention because one of the little blighters keeps locking the classroom door and I feel that they should be as annoyed by this as I.

I felt pretty good by the time I was heading home.  Good enough, in fact, to attempt the afternoon workout.  If you are going to eat poorly chosen things all weekend, I guess this is one of the prices you must pay.  I also flew in the face of The Curse and ripped back on the dishcloth (with sleeves) before The Dark Forces could realize that I was back at it again.  I'm not going to attempt any further knitting at this point.  But it is ready when things settle down a bit.

I was also pretty much starving, having eaten nothing all day and still riding that stupid exercise bike for an hour.  Dinner involved the actual use of the oven and the chopping of stuff.  I ate like a trucker instead of simply heating up a Hot Pocket.  There probably wouldn't have been much time for re-knitting anyway.  

To give you some idea of my level of starvation, I should tell you that I ate two vegetables and one fruit as part of this Festival Of Foodstuffs.  Seriously.  Actual vegetables.  I'll just let you sit with that for a minute...

But I don't think any of it would have been possible without those sweet, little pink tablets.  We honor the pink tablets.  Even if they were a no-name, off-brand version of the pink tablets.  They saved Sheepie's dignity and the shoes of a student who can't go to assemblies.

Maybe I should knit the next dishcloth in pink.  Sort of like a tribute or something...


Sunday, November 16, 2008

A Well-Deserved Smiting

There is a fine line between "faith" and "failure to see the obvious."  Faith is when you forge ahead believing in the rightness of your course of action and a willingness to risk that which you value with utter confidence in things turning out the way they should.

The latter is less noble and probably related to either some form of brain damage or pure laziness.  Either way, it usually does not go well.

I re-knit the neckline on the dishcloth (with sleeves) today.  Excepting for the fact that I rearranged the stitches to allow for a couple of buttons up the back, I did everything exactly the same way that I did it the first time.  And, just like the first time, the neck is too small.  In fact, I have something that looks far more turtleneck-y than even I could have anticipated.  And it's not like I haven't had some experience with this already...

At the time, I suppose I was thinking that I was performing an act of faith.  Perhaps I truly believed that Happy Thoughts would be enough to spare me a second round of head and neck trauma.  Even as I looked at it and knew the truth of the matter, I still began merrily knitting up the ribbing.  I seem to recall saying something like, "Oh, I'm sure that it will look bigger once it's off the needles.  These things always do..."

Except when they don't.

We'll be ripping it out again and stopping with the decreases at that point where I know it is right to do so.  Any and all further attempts at Faith-Based Knitting will henceforth cease.  Faith without common sense and a little bit of personal responsibility is a disaster waiting to happen.  I think that a second round of ripping should serve nicely as a reminder of that fact.

I should probably also mention that the ripping of this neckline might have gone a bit more smoothly had I not already cast off.  This will be loads of fun.  We'll just consider it extra reinforcement in the learning process...

I don't know whether to be vexed or a little bit relieved, if you want the truth.  The Dark Forces That Hate It When I Knit Anything With Sleeves were bound to pay a visit at some point.  To have their most vicious smiting over and done with is kind of nice.  I don't have to worry about it anymore.

Unless, of course, I do.  But I don't want to think about that.  I just want to finish my dishcloth (with sleeves) and I think I need to be a little closer to my Happy Place for that to happen.  If I look really sorry and stuff, I'm pretty sure that the DFTHIWIKAWS will be appeased.  

At least I had a diversion during all this mishandling of good judgement.  In return for my loaning her two of my Zombie Invasion Preparedness Training Films, the school secretary handed off a DVD from her own collection on Friday.  I hadn't had a chance to see Hot Fuzz but, since it comes to us courtesy of the nice people who made Shaun Of The Dead, it was one I'd had on the to-view list for a while.  It was most entertaining even if it didn't have any zombies or anything.  

Any day you get to see a mild-mannered English granny break out the heavy artillery is probably going to be a good one...

The Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty missed all this, though.  It seems that he has taken Mommy's lectures regarding the coming of winter and the need for all kitties in the manse to sleep in the bed lest we freeze to death at night rather seriously.  He has dutifully been snoozing at my feet most nights just like we discussed.  

And during the daylight hours, he practices sleeping at my feet.  He's a perfectionist...

It's probably just as well.  I'm certain that he would have liked the movie and all.  But to see Mommy's leap of faith end in a crash 'n burn might have been traumatic for the poor little guy.


Saturday, November 15, 2008

HM Hears The Chimes

When Hysterical Mind, that piece of Sheepie's brain that takes charge of making mountains out of molehills, is quiet for any length of time it never bodes well.  No one knows this better than Rational Mind and she has learned to become alert to the sound of silence.  

Which is why she thought to wander into the living room last night and see what her less logical counterpart might be up to.  She discovered HM in the middle of the floor, mumbling incoherently and frantically going through a stack of five year old catalogues, haphazardly slapping sticky notes on pages in a random fashion.  Further from this center of chaos, RM noted several knitting books, also decorated with sticky notes.  These, however, bore scrawled messages such as, "Yeah, right," "Are you kidding me?" and "Never in your wildest delusions."  The laptop had also made it to the party and it appeared that at least ten windows had been opened.  Closer examination revealed that each was from a website detailing the conversion processes to any number of obscure faiths.  

You don't have to be entirely rational to figure out that something might be wrong.  RM decided to investigate further.  It went something like this:

Rational Mind:  Oh, for crying out loud!  What now?  Are you still going on about our entire staff being absent today and your belief that the students were going to rise up in some sort of teen-aged anarchy?  It's over.  We were fine.  We brought a movie and set up easily manipulated situations where they could "earn" the viewing of it.  We gave them candy.  They did their work and there was no need for any sort of crime scene clean up.  It is now the weekend and you have nothing to fear.

Hysterical Mind:  (Continues to scrabble through outdated catalogues and mumble incoherently)

RM:  Are you listening to me?  I said we are fine!  Stop this silliness right this instant or I am going to put the peanut butter cups in the freezer where you can't find them.  I mean it.  I'm not kidding.  This time I'll hide them behind that broccoli we bought six months ago and which you are afraid to touch!

HM: (Snatches up another catalogue and begins to cackle.  She marks that page with six sticky notes)

RM:  That is enough!  Give me that!!!  (Forcefully rips the catalogue from HM's grasp)

HM:  (Looks up and appears to see RM for the first time.  She tries to form words) K-K-K-K...

RM:  K?  I don't know what you mean.  Speak up!  Just tell me what is wrong so I can tell you why you are being ridiculous and you can spend the next four hours ranting about how you can't be too careful and who is out to get us.  I'd like to get to bed before sunrise if that's OK with you.

HM:  (More forcefully) K-K-K!!!!  K!!!!!

RM:  (Resignedly...and not without sarcasm)  Oh, goody.  It's going to be a guessing game.  I do so love those.  It starts with K.  Karma?  Kindling?  Keystone Kops?  C'mon!  Give me something here!  I was just kidding about the peanut butter cups.  I'll give you one right now if you would simply tell me what you want.  Heck, I'll give you two.  Three, even!

HM:  (Takes a deep breath and tries one more time to make the words come) K-K-...Kisses!  

RM:  Huh?

HM:  Kisses!!!  Kisses!!!  Kisses ring the doom!!!!  

RM:  What?!  Kisses?  Doom?  What did I tell you about watching the Sci Fi Channel when I'm not there to explain things to you?  Don't you remember what happened last time?  We are still getting follow up calls from the Navy because you couldn't understand the concept of computer generated animation and their application in the use of creating sea monsters.  I swear to you that I'm getting one of those V-chip things and then it's going to be all public television all the time for you, Missy!

HM:  Kisses!!!  Doom!!!!  RING!!!!!!

RM:  That's it.  You've lost it.  I'm calling...wait.  Kisses?  Ringing?

RM becomes suddenly very still.  A horrible realization begins to seep through her very being.  She is very cold.  

"No," she whispers, "It can't be."  

In a sudden burst of terrified movement, she snatches up the laptop.  She closes the various windows, each revealing a more interesting course of religious study and devolving into those which require the investment of life savings or animal sacrifice as part of the conversion process.  When she finally manages to dig her way down to the home page, she types four words into the search engine.  As the computer seeks out that which she requested, she says a small, quiet prayer. 

 "Please," she begs, "not yet.  This must be some sort of mistake..."

She finds what she is looking for.  She pulls up the website.  Her faint hope of a reprieve is dashed when HM hears the haunting refrain and begins to keen loudly and rattle the catalogue pages in what is obviously a hopeless gesture.  There is no doubt.  The sign, once viewed, can never be taken back.  Even RM knows that doomsday is near and that there is nothing her rationality can do to stop the clock.  

The Kisses have spoken.  It is time.  Heaven help us all.  Especially those of us who are maybe not quite as prepared as we should have been...


Thursday, November 13, 2008

With A Wave Of Her Magical Scanner Thingie...

I sometimes think that librarians have just a touch of Sorcerer's Blood running through their veins.  Maybe not a lot.  Could be only the tiniest bit.  But it must be there.  I can think of no other logical explanation for their magical abilities.

For what it's worth, I also think the nice lady who works at the Used Book Store has a little bit of those mystical corpuscles, too.  She is a warrior fighting for all readers.  She sold me a book for a dollar last weekend rather than the price her boss had marked upon it because she felt that it was simply too tattered and well-read to go at the latter amount.  Not to disparage the boss, mind you.  He didn't laugh once when I bought those cross stitch books last year and told him that they'd been sitting there for so long and were making me sad.  He just smiled approvingly and put them in the bag.  

But, librarians have The Touch.  Even more than the Used Bookstore People.  I offer up the following as an example.  However, I urge you to consider this to be purely hypothetical.  Parts and pieces of it represent behavior at its most stupid and I shouldn't like for you to think that anyone you or I might know could be capable of such acts.  This is just for funsies, 'kay?

Perhaps the hypothetical subject of this example was knitting a dishcloth (with sleeves) and got all the way to the neckline when she realized that there is no way the designated head would pass through it.  (assuming, of course that heads needed to pass through dishcloths...)  This knitter (let's call her Fannie just to give the whole thing a sense of realism) may have even spent a great deal of time thinking about how to go about this part of the "dishcloth" and done actual math.  All to no avail.  Fannie will go to bed on Wednesday night resigned to the fact that she must tink back.

Note:  Fannie will swear to herself that she will not rip.  Fannie knows better.  This knowledge, however, will not stop Fannie from believing that ripping is faster come Thursday night when the deed must be done.  Fannie thinks she is so smart and efficient.  Fanny fails to remember that she has to factor in the time spent figuring out where the beginning of the round is after the marker falls out and that she will have to pick up three million dropped stitches because she can't seem to get her head around the concept of K2Tog's.

Fannie has also learned a little something about The Dark Forces That Do Not Like It When She Knits Things With Sleeves.  It seems that calling something a "dishcloth" will not necessarily keep those forces at bay forever...

Of course it would be silly to assume that this hapless soul has naught in her life but knitting.  There are many other things in her imaginary (and so totally not belonging to anyone we know) life.  Perhaps she almost drove off the road on the way to work because she couldn't remember whether she had the keys to her classroom with her and simply had to search her bag for them at fifty miles per hour.  It is not outside the realm of possibility to think that she is short-staffed this week and that the only remaining Teaching Assistant left to her is so sick that she can barely function.  She might even be forced to accept that the student with whom she spent much time in order that he could finish his math quiz is not coming to school today.  By 10:00, she will know in her heart of hearts that he won't be turning in that very important piece of paper on the due date no matter how much she would like for him to pass math class.  

Now let's really stretch this example.  No one would ever really forget that a student was in the library for an hour and a half.  And even our silly old Fannie wouldn't lose track of a kid who is a foot taller than she and and least two of her wide.  That would be ridiculous.  No one would do that, for heaven's sake!  That would mean that the poor kid would miss lunch.  But let's say that this did happen...just to make the point.  Fannie would need to race down to the library to retrieve the kid and maybe one or two tattered shreds of her remaining dignity.  

After having skidded into the library, Fannie would most likely have to offer up any number of breathless apologies to the librarian for her thoughtlessness.  At least I'd assume that would be the case.  I, being a responsible educator and nothing like Crazy Fannie, would have no firsthand knowledge of such things.  While leaning on the counter, gasping for breath after her frantic race towards student retrieval, Fannie might notice a book on display.  She might comment that she'd just read that one and that she was a little disappointed.  She's really just making conversation, trying to get past the awkwardness of forgetting a kid and all.  She would probably blather on about how she doesn't know what to read next.  She'd possibly even say something about just accepting that she can no longer wait for that book she really wants to come out in paperback and that she should just purchase it and be done with it.

And here's where the magic happens.  The librarian, being a mystical creature who, no doubt, suspects that Fannie is in need of some good news might say, "Oh, I just got that one with our Book Fair order.  It's on the shelf you want it?"

Fannie will come perilously close to breaking down utterly and flinging her pathetic self into the librarian's arms, forever marking her as the school's resident Crazy Lady.  She will hold it together, though.  Her excitement will be visible only in the slight tremble of her lower lip and her inability to navigate her way to the shelf that has been clearly indicated by the librarian.  She might need a little help at that point and require that the librarian hasten after her before she takes out the graphic novel display.

Then, just like that, the librarian will wave her magical scanner thingie over the bar code, push the button that tells the computer to ignore the fact that Fannie already has three thousand books on the human brain out right now because the kids need them for their science projects and hand her a very shiny and never-before-read copy of InkDeath.  

She will then smile in the way of all librarians who maybe know of their magical powers but don't like to flaunt them and say, "There.  Now you'll have a nice weekend, won't you?"

Fannie will skip out of the library, light of heart and forgetting all about such things as neck holes, math and missing keys.  She will also forget the student that she came down to rescue.  Having to go back will probably ruin her exit just a bit.  But she doesn't care about that so much either.

Even for a so-totally-not-true-and-completely-not-about-me story, I think it is a wonderful illustration of the power these men and women wield.  In fact, I think you should all rush out and go hug a librarian right now.  

Well...maybe not.  That might scare them and it seems kind of creepy now that I think about it.  I take it back.  Do not, under any circumstances, go out and hug any librarians with whom you are not already acquainted and on hugging terms.  

You could maybe smile at them, though.  Or thank them for the kindly use of their magical powers.  I think they would be OK with that.  

I know one school librarian who will be getting some nice cookies or a handknit scarf come the holidays, that's for sure...