Thursday, April 30, 2009

Sheep Unmasked...For The Time Being.

With yesterday's revelations regarding the Swine Flu coming to Maine for a visit, I anticipated a certain level of unease. You can't mention a pandemic without people getting a little bit tweaked. The Center For Disease Control's helpful memos reminding us of the state's containment policies were not exactly soothing either.

Thankfully, things were relatively calm. Sure, we were going through hand sanitizer like it was water and sending the students off to wash their hands often enough to make the teaching process somewhat fragmented. I'll also admit that when The Kid Who Has Worn The Same Hoodie Every Day Since Late September sneezed, I may have crossed the line a bit. I don't suppose it is exactly ethical to order a child to not sneeze. It is, however, interesting to note that he stopped mid-sneeze when so ordered. And that he completed that sneeze only after I came to my senses and told him that sneezing was not really such a bad thing as long as he followed the correct "sneezing into the crook of the arm" procedure.

Yes. I can scare the sneezes out of someone. What of it?

The secretaries got the worst of it. They had to answer the phones. It is all well and good to say that we need to keep this in perspective, but parents love their children. It's kind of hard to hear that the elementary school two towns over and a mere twenty minute drive away has closed down for seven days to contain a confirmed infection and still think logically. At least if you have children and like them enough to want them around for a while. While I sympathized with the secretaries as they took call after call, I can't help but understand how a parent might want a little extra reassurance.

I'm perfectly calm about the whole thing now that I know I can make the kids stop sneezing if I try hard enough. I'm just putting some lotion on my hands to soothe them a bit after all that hand sanitizer dried them out and taking some pleasure in the fact that I don't have to go to school tomorrow. No. We haven't been shut down. I have a dentist appointment and the distance between that office and the school means that I couldn't really be in both places for long enough to matter. I'm taking a sick day.

Those of you who have been reading for a while will know that my dentist and I do not have the best of relationships. He thinks I don't floss enough and I think he is mean. We both have valid points, but neither is willing to concede to that fact. Near as I can figure, this is the first time I've ever been jazzed about having a dentist appointment. The dentist's office is very sanitary and everyone wears masks. I won't have to think about getting the flu and the thought of how much I hate my dentist will probably distract me from all this distressing information for quite some time. I'm even planning on going in just a bit early so I can knit quietly in the nice, sanitary waiting room while the masked people go about their very disinfected business.

It'll be nice to get away from the school with all its health memos and the scent of hand sanitizer. Although it's not much different here at home. I was telling my furry family about the situation today after school...

The Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty listened intently. He processed each and every word.

And promptly put on his face mask.

Frankly, I'm not sure he is overreacting at this point. But it still seems a bit over the top...


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

WNBP: You Can't Help But Disinfect...

Well, hello there, Wednesday! You certainly do have a way of making an impact when you put your mind to it. You can run the gamut...highs and lows! Nicely done! Since you are also the day when I get to do The Very Random Wednesday Night Bullet Post, then I suppose I should proceed immediately to the Very Random Rundown of my day:

*As of this afternoon, there were two confirmed cases of Swine Flu up here in the wilds of Maine. Two...

*The Commissioner of Education met with the superintendents of the schools and pretty much formally activated the state plan for containing any possible spread of the piggy virus.

*I am now going to write a word that I do not believe I have ever written on my very G-rated blog. I apologize in advance to those of you who object to this sort of thing, but I'm hoping you can see my point.


*It's not so much a fear of contracting the flu. I've been taking the normal precautions since this first started and there isn't really much else a person can do.

*But when you take the "dem" out of Pandemic...

*You get Panic.

*This should be fun. We get to try and find that delicate balance between not panicking the children and convincing them to take the whole hand-washing thing a bit more seriously.

*It should be even more fun when the parents get the letter that went home today. The CDC is pretty stern about this stuff. The procedures in place should anyone dare to present with flu-like symptoms are comprehensive.

*Very comprehensive.

*Comprehensive to the point of me being able to stay home and knit for 7 days should there even be a chance of infection anywhere in the school.

*I do not disagree with any of this. Kids are goopy by nature and many are inclined to pick their noses at will. I wholeheartedly support any and all measures in place to keep infection contained.

*I also have a somewhat compromised lung situation so I would prefer to not get this flu.

*It's the general sense of panic that is going to be unpleasant for a while.

*I won't swear at you again. But feel free to imagine me thinking it...

*I recently loaned the school secretary a couple of movies from my collection.

*I love her. She "gets" me.

*She understands almost all of the very obscure movie references I make during the day.

*She can talk about zombies with me. Intelligently.

*That is harder to do than you might think...

*She brought a movie in for me to watch this weekend.

Like I said...she "gets" me.

*I made a lasagna last weekend. My sister-in-law had some leftover sauce after my brother's birthday party and handed it off to me since I might starve without sauce in the house.

*You would weep if you tried this sauce. Seriously. It's that good.

*It made a great lasagna!

*Veggie lasagna.

*Did you know that Absurdly Gi-normous Kitties really, really like veggie lasagna?

*They love it passionately. Wholly and completely. To the point of obsession.

*Especially if they are denied access.

*Seriously. He'd sell each and every one of you on the internet for just one serving.

*Hey! Guess who was informed recently by her baby brother that her phone was less than functional?

*That'd be me.

*And guess what else? Phones are on sale right now to the point of stupid!

New phone. Shiny, with lots of buttons.

*I'll probably never figure most of them out. That's OK. I just like buttons.

*It has an internet browser, too.

*The home page featured a story on the Swine Flu pandemic.

*Insert your favorite curse word here*

Happy Wednesday, everyone! Please make sure to wash your hands and cough into your sleeve. I'll just be over here waiting out the panic, watching killer sheep tear up New Zealand and pushing shiny buttons until I figure out what they do.


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Hot Like Lava

When I left school this afternoon in order that I might head home, my car informed me that the exterior temperature was 95 degrees on the Fahrenheit scale. That is kind of hot...

Now, bear in mind that my car is something of an alarmist. It is also known to exaggerate from time to time. It is never wise to put too much stock in what the car says.

On the other hand, the car had to spend the day sitting in the parking lot and on hot asphalt so there was probably some validity to its assertion. It was hot today. Very hot. It was August Hot. That is not the sort of thing one wants to see in April. Nor is it the sort of thing one wants to see on a Tuesday when one has to teach middle school students all day. The average middle school student becomes 17.26% grumpier for each degree above 75. You can only imagine how much fun they were today. It was a glimpse of things to come what with the truly hot months still waiting in the wings. We all felt the oppressive heat and reacted accordingly.

It was the perfect day to drag them all outside and force everyone to build volcanoes under the blazing sun.

That was sarcasm, in case you didn't catch it...

Dragging grumpy middle school students out into the blazing sun and forcing them to construct volcanoes is nothing short of self-abuse. It is hot under the blazing sun. And the flour/water mixture ensures that the flies will soon begin to congregate. The teacher will forget forty things that she was supposed to make the children drag out there and she will have to send her staff in to get those things. She will send them back enough times that the secretaries get sort of irate because the doors are locked after the first bell and they have to keep buzzing the staff in. Fiery hot winds will snag the strips of paper and send them fluttering across the football field. Kids will stop caring about them and the teacher will be forced to chase them because she promised the custodians that she wouldn't leave a mess out there. There will be flour/water mixture smeared all over the chain link fence because everyone figured out that this is a good way to scrape the stuff off their hands before it dries. The teacher will say a short prayer for rain because if the custodian sees that she will have to move to a different country and she does not want to have to learn a whole new language.

Finally, things will degenerate into the predictable flinging of volcano goo at one another. This signals the end of volcano building because there is really no way to salvage the situation at that point. Sure, you have some pretty fine volcanoes to show for two class periods' worth of work. And you can't help but hope that they will look even better when they get painted. Lastly, there is no way on God's green earth that filling them with the appropriate ingredients and making them explode all over the football field isn't the going to be the best thing to ever happen in the history of your tenure at The Bad Job At The Middle School That No One Else Would Take.

But you really have to accept certain facts.

1. Excessive And Unseasonable Heat Does Not Mix Well With Middle School Students.

2. Sometimes You Should Listen To Your Car Because I Suspect It Could Have Told Me That It Was Going To Be An Uncomfortable Experience Out There.

3. Building Volcanoes Is Not For The Faint Of Heart.

More with the knitting tomorrow. Today was just too hot for that kind of thing. Plus my fingers are sort of crusted up at the moment...


Monday, April 27, 2009

Pigs, Email And How Not To Delete

The Scene: It is Monday night at The Sheep home. We enter the kitchen to find our favorite obsessive/compulsive standing over the trash can, muttering to herself and spraying disinfectant at some unseen item. It is none other than Hysterical Mind, the half of Sheepie's brain who cannot seem to resist any opportunity to turn a molehill into a towering mountain. If she can turn it into a simmering volcano, then so much the better! Rational Mind wanders into the kitchen to investigate what her crazy counterpart is up to.

Rational Mind: (coughing and waving away clouds of pine scented spray) Good Lord, what now?!

Hysterical Mind: (looks up and mutters through the professional grade HEPA filter mask covering her mouth and nose) You thought you'd get away with it, didn't you? You thought you were smarter than me! Not so, my friend! Not so!!!

RM: What? What did I think I'd get away with?

HM: I read it.

RM: I'm already tired of this game. Just know that right up front.

HM: You never want to play with me anymore. Fine. The email. I read the email.

RM: Um....what email? (she assumes a suspiciously innocent expression)

HM: (simply stares over her mask saying nothing)

RM: OK. Fine! So you read it. I must have not deleted it like I thought.

HM: No. You deleted it. It was right there in that little trash can in the corner of the screen. You can just get stuff right out of there and it's not even gross like a real trash can!

RM: Noted. I'll be sure to empty the little trash can from now on.

HM: You do that. Meanwhile, I read the email and now I am going to start Taking Steps.

RM: You are overreacting...

HM: I am NOT. That email was waiting for us when we got to school this morning and it told us all about how there is Swine Flu out there in Mexico. Mexico is very close to us. The word "pandemic" was used! PAN. DEM. IC!!!!

RM: You misunderstood. It was just a regular reminder to wash our hands and not sneeze on each other all day. Basic stuff. Nothing that didn't go out to lots of other people who work in schools or hospitals and whatnot. They aren't saying that we have Swine Flu.

HM: That's just their way of containing the panic. I know all about this stuff because I watch television. The government doesn't like it when we panic because stuff gets broken. It is time to Take Steps and that is what I am doing. I've boiled most of the dishes and burned the clothes we wore to school today. Now there's just this little matter to take care of and then we can start bottling up some water for the coming quarantine situation.

RM: What is that in the trash can?

HM: The bacon. That contaminated swine isn't going to infect us on my watch! (she sprays another blast of disinfectant into the trash can and looks smug)

RM: Hey! That stuff is expensive! And it's not even real bacon! It's vegetarian! No swine was harmed in the makin' of this bacon!

HM: Have you never heard of Cross Contamination? Sheesh...

RM: That's not what cross contamination means.

HM: Guilt By Association?

RM: No.

HM: Monkey See/Monkey Do?

RM: Now you are just reaching...

HM: Better Safe Than Sorry. And don't say another word. I'm not taking any chances because I am Taking Steps and that is all there is to it!

RM: Fine. But did it ever occur to you that we are now out two packages of veggie bacon? However will we survive when the quarantine starts up? We shall surely starve! (rolls eyes sarcastically)

HM: (eyes widening and beginning to tear up) I'm making a list. We have to go to the store...

One cannot help but be cheered on The First Monday Back To School After Vacation when there is a pandemic-related email waiting in the old in-box. It's even better when the less-than-rational side of the brain gets ahold of that little tidbit. Fortunately, there were so many other emails, meetings and students with which to contend that I didn't really have time to read the full missive. Perhaps tomorrow, I'll have a free moment and can put the time into processing it properly. Meanwhile, I'll just keep washing my hands and ducking any random sneezes the children might aim my way. You never know...

Although I have to admit that a quarantine might be nice. I could use the time to work on that dishcloth (with sleeves). I just won't have any veggie bacon for breakfast.


Sunday, April 26, 2009

I Prefer To Think Of It As "The Beginning"

Sunday afternoon is upon me and it would be easy to start thinking like a Negative Nellie. I could get all sad because my week of Spring Break is over. I could become rather melancholy as I ponder my fate and begin literally wailing at the thought of going back to school tomorrow to face the students. Most of them won't be any happier about this state of affairs than I so it promises to be...unpleasant.

But I'm not going to go there. I'm going to remain resolutely positive about things. Sure, it was a great vacation and one that I am sorry to see end. The weather was rather nice. There was a cool surprise party for Baby Brother Sheep and many leftovers upon which to nosh for the week. I got to visit with other knitters for a night. I managed to get an oil change for the car and a style change for my hair. I purchased and assembled a new stand for the new TV. I moved lots of things from room to room and pretended that I was cleaning. (we will ignore how stressful this made today as I needed to create some form of order out of that chaos before going back to work or how I'm not exactly finished with this little project...)

Heck, I even knit over ten inches of "dishcloth!" The kind with know what I mean.

Yup. It was a good one. A great deal was done and I feel like I was the very model of productivity without sacrificing my dedication to the fine art of afternoon napping. But I'm not going to mourn the loss of it all. Instead, I am going to look for the silver lining.

We will be going to school quite a bit longer this year. I am not due to be released into the wild until June 22nd. We had an overdose of snow events this season and none of them were conducive to delayed starts or just braving the roads and getting the day over with. In some cases there were lengthy power outages which made opening the school impossible. It was just one of the school years. But that doesn't mean I won't see the end of it at some point. If I can muster up the will, I can survived the coming weeks. The key to ending is beginning. I have to go back so I can start getting ready to leave.

Let's do this!!!

Before I know it, I'll be back at home for summer vacation and all the things I got to do last week will be a semi-permanent kind of arrangement. I'll just call what I did for the past seven days "practice." Practice makes perfect, as the saying goes. I think I'm ready. I just need to keep to the right mind set.

I'm not saying it's going to be easy. I do, after all, have to work at The Bad Job At The Middle School That No One Else Would Take And Which I Have Somehow Managed To Survive For Eight Months Against All Odds. The weather is going to turn muggy soon and this never makes teaching any easier. Plus, the end of the school year is always so busy and nerves become frazzled to the point of needing sedation.

Oh, and then there is the view at my feet whenever I sit on the couch these days:

This does not inspire me to work towards the end point. Not one little bit...

I'm sticking to my plan, though. With every once of strength I have, I shall forge ahead and stagger across that finish line with my sanity intact. I just need to get past that first day back and then I'm good to go through June.

Although it's a little tricky getting past the Absurdly Gi-normous obstruction blocking my way from the couch to the door...


Saturday, April 25, 2009

It Ended With A Scream

The whole thing started with bad brakes. I realize that saying something started with bad brakes and ended with a scream sounds like a thing that went very, very badly but I promise you, this is not that kind of story. It's a happy tale!

Back in November, I took the car in for a "routine" oil change and was told that I needed my rear brakes replaced. This was annoying, but not especially surprising. I've come to expect people in blue jumpsuits asking me to sit down so we can "talk" following simple vehicle maintenance.

This really couldn't have happened at a worse time. I'd just come off my brother's wedding and the holidays were looming dead ahead. This wasn't the best moment to find out that I needed to give more money to people who weren't family. I like spending money on family. They are nice and say, "thank you." My car never says that. Nor do the people in the blue jumpsuits.

But this wasn't the sort of thing one should put off for very long so I bit the bullet and decided to take care of the brakes. However, I was also in the throes of some sort of weird need to be fiscally responsible and was starting to see things happening with the already struggling economy that made me nervous. I began economizing like never before. With a car repair bill already in my future and Christmas mere minutes away, I made the decision to cancel my hair appointment for December. There was always time to get the hair cut, after all...

But, somehow, December morphed into January. January suddenly became February. And so on and so on... Whenever I had the time to make a hair appointment, I was again taken over by the need to save pennies. When the pennies were plentiful, I suddenly had no time or was stricken with The Plague That Comes From Children Sneezing On Me. Before I knew it, April was upon me and my hair had not been tended since '08.

April vacation arrived and, with it, an infusion of cash courtesy of my income tax refund. Finally! I had the time, the health and government dollars in the checking account to make the idea of spending money a little bit easier! I called on Thursday and requested an appointment with The World's Greatest Stylist And Life Coach at her earliest convenience.

I arrived at the shop this morning exactly on time. I wondered if she would even remember me. It had been so very long, after all. Would she still like me? Or was I now on the Stylist Hit List? I took my seat in the waiting area, alerted the nice lady at the front of my presence and crossed my fingers. Hopefully, TWGSALC would be forgiving of my long, long absence.

First, I heard someone informing my stylist that her 10:30 had arrived.

Next, I heard a familiar voice in the background acknowledging this. (She didn't sound too unhappy, I thought...)

Finally, I heard what can only be described as a scream. It started at the back of the shop and traveled all the way out to the waiting area. It was the sound of a very tiny Chinese woman in very cute shoes racing towards a very shaggy Sheepie, arms open and grinning from ear to ear.

For the record, there are no hugs better than Stylist/Client Reunion Hugs. Stylists smell nice and always remember to put down their scissors before latching onto you.

She chattered happily through the whole appointment. She told me of how she'd worried about me and wanted to send me a note. She reminisced about the times we'd gone out to lunch and that day we spent shoe shopping together. She listed every, single knitted item I've ever given her and how many times she'd worn it since last we met. She said that her mother-in-law had knit her a pair of hand warmers but that they weren't nearly as nice as mine. Then, with a startled gasp, she suddenly began rooting around in her purse and triumphantly withdrew a large bar of dark chocolate. She had seen my name in the appointment book and purchased it as a Welcome Back gift as we have, perhaps, discussed my love of chocolate once or twice over the years...

If your stylist doesn't welcome you with hugs and chocolate, then I guess I feel a little sorry for you. It is very nice. You probably have lots of other things going for you and a very satisfying life on the whole. I'm sure you'll be just fine. But you are missing out on something very special...

It was almost anticlimactic to visit the used book store next door after my appointment. I've missed doing that, too. But, while I did find several things that made me glad I stopped by, it wasn't quite the same as the first stop.

It was a nice way to start the day. The cut is wonderful, but the service was even better. I came directly home and didn't bother asking for anything more. That would have seemed selfish. A nice, quiet afternoon seemed like just the thing.

So, while the Big, Fluffy Kitty took a turn at the window where the spring breezes were wafting,

And the Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty took advantage of the chance to sleep in the Big Bed for a change,

I settled in to enjoy the simple bounty that comes from a morning well-spent:


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Please Come Get Them

I know you were all just trying to be nice. It was very generous of you to think of me. And I hate to sound ungrateful...but I simply can't accept.

What I don't understand is how you did it. All I did was go to the grocery store. This was a truly masterful use of time and must have taken incredible coordination on your parts! Kudos! Well done!

Now come and get them. You know what I mean. Don't look all innocent. You know you left the fifty seven cats in my kitchen. I came back from the grocery shopping and they were everywhere!

Sure. To some people it may have looked like only two. But I know what two cats are like. They are most certainly not capable of interfering to the degree that the fifty seven were. It takes more than two cats to create that level of chaos. I suppose it is possible that my new policy of only grocery shopping once per month to keep the impulse buying to a minimum made the whole thing more exciting for the resident felines. But I still don't think that explains it all.

There was a gi-normous orange kitty leaping from the floor and into the freezer in one mighty bound. There was a black and white kitty twining around my legs bellowing for treats. Before I could even deal with the kitty in the freezer, his twin was suddenly in the bag with the eggs and I couldn't see how that would end well. Fortunately, by the time I got back to the freezer, the Popsicle Kitty had disappeared. Meanwhile, the black and white brigade had somehow managed to topple the bag containing the soda and I had to go deal with that before the poor thing set off some sort of carbonated explosion and rocketed into space. No sooner had I extricated black and white #1, than I saw similar kitty tossing kibble from her bowl and scattering it all over the floor for me to crunch across while trying to get the frozen food taken care of before that wily orange beast noticed that the freezer was open again. I was then distracted by a rustling sound and turned in time to watch one of the few plastic bags I'd needed from the store traveling into the living room under the paws of another one of those orange kitties. He must have been hiding in a cupboard or something. As of this writing, I have yet to locate that bag.

Frankly, it's a miracle that I got anything put away at all. Or that I didn't step on one of those fifty seven cats since at least twelve of them were underfoot at any given time during this process. Please come get your cats. I don't need this many. I could barely manage the two I had. Please, I beg of you. Come and get them before I have to shop again. I don't think I can take another morning of this...

I think I'd prefer to have pandas. They sleep a lot. Although today's viewing of The Panda Cam revealed a very, very active panda. It's a good thing that whomever is in charge of the web cam on Thursdays is more dedicated to following along. Otherwise, I'd have missed The Great Panda Romp:

The camera followed him all around the enclosure before he settled in the genuine, imitation Panda Tree. He wasn't there long, though. He soon took off for another race around Panda Land. Maybe I should rethink the panda pet idea. A panda in the freezer would probably be way worse than an Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty sneaking an ice cream sandwich...

Between the romping panda and all those invading cats I was simply exhausted. I barely knit a stitch. Just a couple of rows and I was done for. I didn't even dare to go get any ice cream for fear that one of those big, orange kitties would leap back into the freezer before I could position myself for a body block. You have to come and take all these cats back. I don't even think I have enough food for all of them.

And that means another trip to the store...


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

WNBP: Spring Break Style!

We are kicking it Old School over here. least I got the "old" part right. I don't exactly do spring break like I did back in the day. That's OK. I still enjoy myself. It's just that now I don't have to worry about ending up in the newspaper or anything...

Here's today's highlights:

*I had a lovely time knitting amongst others last night. It was good to get back down to The Yarn Sellar and see everyone.

*Here's a tip, though. Don't try to sneak in the "practice" project you are knitting in cheap acrylic and hope that no one will notice.

*They will. Or you will feel such guilt over the whole thing that you will confess your fiber sins before they get around to doing so.

*I have yarn adequacy issues...

*And a weird need to practice simple patterns that I could easily do in "real" wool were I to just sit down and do them.

*It is currently raining.

*It wasn't earlier. In fact, we had sunshine for a while there. It was quite nice. The windows were open...the breezes were wafting through the manse...mmmmmm!

*I wasn't the only one who appreciated it:

The Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty also appreciated the chance to bask in the spring sunshine for a moment or two.

And was less than thrilled to have to participate in an impromptu photo shoot rather than squint into the early afternoon sunshine.

*He'll get over it.

*Probably some time around dinner.

*I had an email today from regarding my last prescription. I use them for the stuff insurance doesn't cover. It's cheaper.

*They wanted to let me know that the company who produces my medication was offering a rebate.

*That's nice. Twenty five bucks is nothing to sneeze at!

*It would be even better if I ever remembered to follow through on these sorts of things. I am not good with stuff that requires paperwork.

*The email went on to explain that they'd already taken care of it and requested a credit to my debit card.

*We love them. They are nice. They know I forget stuff sometimes...

*I spent a lovely day nesting. There was some general tidying of the living room and kitchen.

*Didn't really make a dent, but I still feel better about it.

*I even knit a bit whilst watching one of the latest Zombie Awareness Training Films to come into my possession:

Straight to dvd movie and project in cheap acrylic yarn. At least I am consistent...

In spite of the rains that began to fall later in the day, I still call this Wednesday a winner. Very relaxing. Spring break may not be quite as interesting as it was before I got all worried about possibly breaking a hip whilst frolicking on the beaches, but it's still pretty good.

And you can't knit acrylic on the beach anyway. Too sticky...


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Before I Dash...

I only have a moment. I really must be getting myself together and heading out the door. I'm traveling down to The Yarn Sellar tonight for a long-overdue visit with The Chicks With Sticks and can't stop long to chit chat. But I wanted to drop a note and give you a little heads up just in case you had any plans of your own this evening. Here goes:

Run!!! Run for your very lives!!! Gather your loved ones and head to the nearest underground bunker for I have seen the signs and read them clearly! The End Of Days is upon us!!! Bring unto you your canned goods, packaged snack cakes and portable entertainment devices then flee into the night! Save yourselves, I beg of you!!!!!

No. I am not being overly dramatic. I see you rolling your eyes. That is a fine way to treat the local prophet and soothsayer. Besides, when you hear what I have to say, you will be as chilled to the bone as I. Then you'll feel badly about doubting me...

I took my car in for a "routine" oil change and state inspection today. I sat in the waiting room for over an hour because they were so very busy. I knit. I watched obligatory and predictable morning news programs. And when it was over, the nice man came out, handed me my keys and said the words that no one wants to hear when they are on vacation and have plans which don't include an apocalypse or two:

You're all set, Ms. Sheep. Just pay the cashier and have a nice day!

I see that a few of you don't get it. You must be new here. Let me see if I can put this into some perspective for you. Here's a few facts:

*I am one for whom the term "internal combustion" means the not-so-good kind of combustion. The kind with flames...

*I am the one who needs new tires every three weeks or so.

*I am the one who decides to pretend the shaking and lurching of her dying truck is like a massage and good for the lower back because I really, really need to see the positive side of things.

*I am the one who spends thousands of dollars to resuscitate the poor vehicle only to have a rock hit my windshield the very next day while driving to work.

*I am the one who, this time last year, was shopping for a new car because the old truck died before it was even paid for.

You can see how I have come to dread "routine maintenance." It never goes well. There is always something. Usually something expensive. Oddly, though, I have come to find some comfort in the predictability of this cycle. I know that when I go in for a simple oil change, the mechanic will find some piece of metal hanging by a thread and threatening the entire working system of the vehicle. That piece of metal will be in a highly inaccessible place and will require that a team of engineers be brought in at my expense to deal with the problem. They will fix the car, send me on my way and then the engine light will come on because they forgot to tighten the screw on the rear view mirror and the entire car will shut down as a result.

Or something like that...

To have them send me on my way with nary a "we need to talk" is disconcerting to say the least. And indicative of bad things to come. I can't be certain, but it does seem reasonable to think that the end of the world is nigh and that we might want to consider making other plans for the weekend.

That said, I'm going to live life to the fullest in the time I have left. I'm going to eat full fat ice cream and take my now street legal car for a trip south to visit with the other knitters before it is too late. I'd suggest you do the same.

Happy Tuesday and please don't forget to lock the door. It is only a matter of time before the zombies are roaming the streets and kids are eating broccoli like candy. You have been warned...


Monday, April 20, 2009

I Set The Alarm

I normally don't go too far from home on the first day of any school vacation if I can help it. The idea of having nowhere to go is kind of appealing to me. I may venture down to The Convenience Store Where They Call You Honey And Sweetie And You Sort Of Like That...but not much further. It feels rather decadent to lounge around the house all day.

Don't get me wrong. I'm usually up pretty early. As much as I like spending the day in sweats and slippers, I hate the idea of wasting any precious non-working time. But I don't get all crazy about it.

Today, however, I set the alarm so I could be up and out the door. I used the "Singing Birdies" setting so I'd know it was a day off. "Screeching Seagulls" and "Crowing Rooster" are for work days because they are loud and unpleasant noises designed to get me out of bed as quickly as possible. Bird songs kind of ease me into a waking state.

I'd managed to forget my camera and some of the wedding pictures from my brother and sister-in-law when I left my parent's house on Saturday night. If I didn't get over there today, I'd be sans camera and would soon lose the will to travel over there to get it. I wanted the trip over and done with so I could get back to the business of not leaving the house as early as possible. As an added incentive, I promised myself I could make a stop at the discount store on the way home to purchase low-cost baubles.

I also did some of that sweet, sweet "cupboard shopping" while at Mommy and Daddy Sheep's abode. I may be middle aged, but there is still a cheap thrill that comes with scoring stuff like I did back in my college days. I'm not proud of it. However, since Baby Brother Sheep had already done a fine job of clearing cupboard space of late, I don't think I was completely out of line. Fair is fair...

The camera was retrieved, free tuna packed up and the discount store shelves scoured for bargains. Then I was free to come home and do that which I do so very, very well:

Good book, mediocre knitting and a kitty who likes to help me nap. That is what I call vacationing!!!

I also watched Trailer Park of Terror because the viewing of all films featuring dead things walking is a vacation tradition as well. To call this one a true zombie movie would be stretching the genre a bit. Just because the trailer park inhabitants are dead and terrifying doesn't necessarily mean they are zombies. Sometimes the walking dead are just regular folk having a bad day. For example, if you and your neighbors happen to accidentally kill The Very Pretty Girl Aspiring To A Better Life's boyfriend and all end up cursed for your poor behavior, you aren't necessarily a zombie. Frankly, I think these people were just using their situation as an excuse to behave even worse.

I wouldn't be surprised one little bit if the zombies showed up just to set the record straight...

All in all, I'd say it was a pretty good first day of spring break. The only fly in the ointment was having to get up and face the outside world before I was really ready, yet I can't help but think that this would have happened anyway. There was something of an issue with the sleeping arrangements last night. After spending months working out an acceptable division of territory in the family bed, we are suddenly spending the wee hours squabbling over who gets to sleep where. It's not me. I know where I sleep: in the two square feet allotted to me on the right side of the bed and only if I sleep on my side and not move until whatever animal sound the alarm clock is making that day is heard.

Others, however, are less willing to stick to the Bedtime Treaty.

Waz not me! Waz jus' dufendin mi spot!!!!

It's vacation. I can nap. They have until the weekend to come to some resolution. After that, the rooster alarm is back on and there will be no time for this nonsense.


Sunday, April 19, 2009

It Was "Need To Know."

It is 7:30 on a Sunday morning and I am wracked with guilt. Wracked, I tellya!!! I've been in this state since Friday night and must now purge myself of this horrific emotion lest I explode and get angst-goo all over my couch.

I knew several things on Friday:

*I knew that I don't normally post on Friday nights.

*I knew that I wouldn't be posting on Saturday.

*I knew that I really should drop a note on Friday night.

*I knew that I couldn't.

*I knew that I have a long and illustrious history as The Worst Of Secret-Keepers.

I don't mean to be bad with secrets. I am not a gossip. I don't share things in a mean-spirited kind of way. I just tend to be impulsive and something of a gabber. One minute I am in the middle of an interesting story about the invention of cheese and the next I am finding a way to mention that Bob is having an eyebrow lift even though he made me swear that this information would never leave my lips.

It is best to just not talk at all.

SIL Sheep has been planning Baby Brother Sheep's surprise 40th birthday party for some time now. I agreed to head over early and spend Saturday helping her with the general preparations. Between that and the event itself, I would be out of the house and unbloggable for the full day. I could have just dropped a note on Friday, mentioned that I had plans for the next day and been done with it.

But I am the one who lets the cat out of the bag whether I mean to release that feline or not.

There was every reason to believe that someone else had already done this. We couldn't be certain that he'd heard the vague reference to his party, but it was possible that BBS knew perfectly well what was going on. At the very least, he probably suspected. Were I to say that I'd not be blogging on Saturday and were he to read the blog that day, I would only confirm the whole thing.

I locked my lips and tossed the key. This time, it was so totally not going to be me that ruined the whole thing for everyone and made me the bitter subject of social gatherings for the next calendar year.

If it makes you feel any better, my denying you all access to yet another cat story, excuses for not knitting and random videos of long-disbanded 80's bands was a successful strategy. I arrived at my parent's home almost on time to be helpful to my Sis-By-Marriage. I only had to go back to the store once to purchase the things she'd asked for rather than the things that I bought the first time when I wasn't paying attention. I stirred and chopped as directed. At the appointed hour, I made the phone call to BBS with news of the break-in at the house. With just the right amount of girlish-timidness, I begged him to come over and stand by my side in case the nefarious thieves were still inside waiting to do harm unto my fragile self and to help me make the dreaded phone call to Daddy Sheep informing him of the situation. He, being the good brother that he is, rushed to my side and all indications are that he was quite surprised by the gathering of friends and family there to wish him well in his new state of old.

It went well. There were the usual party-glitches, of course. There may have been too much food for any human being to consume, but leftovers are the best part of any social gathering, in my opinion. It was a little tricky shuttling everyone's cars to an off-site location. And why people keep inviting The Best Man From BBS's Wedding And Long Time Family Friend to these things is just beyond me. We all know that he is going to continue telling that outrageously false story about me drinking 5 Long Island Iced Teas in a Salt Lake City bar. This is nothing short of slander since I would never do such a thing. If I was in a Salt Lake City bar, I am certain that it was to keep an eye on everyone else and to ensure the safety of all present. I was probably also handing out pamphlets on the dangers of excessive alcohol consumption and leading the patrons in a rousing sing-a-long extolling the praises of fresh milk and home baked cookies.

I can't be certain. I don't actually remember the exact sequence of events. But I'm fairly certain that it went something like that...

So there you have it: the reason behind the radio silence and an explanation for a marked lack of knitting yesterday. My intentions were noble. Rest assured, regular blogging will commence as of today and, with a week's vacation before me, I can assure you that there will be an improvement in the situation around here. Why, I've already started a new project, ripped it once and cast on again with more attention to that one spot where the stitches always twist the first time through. I'd show you a picture, but I sort of forgot the camera at the party site and will need to go retrieve it before I can back up my bold statements. I'm not doing that today, though. I need a day to recover.

The keeping of classified information and whatnot is really quite exhausting...


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Thursday: The Day Before The Last Day Before...

I believe that the overall "tone" of this day can be distilled down into two conversations. The first happened shortly before lunch and during what we could still call the morning. The second occurred after the students left for the day and while I was trying to pull together something, anything, that might suffice as a lesson plan for tomorrow.

I arrived at school at the ungodly hour of 6:30 today because yesterday was not a good day for doing anything productive. Nor was the day before that. Or the day before that. This could probably account for my spending more time engaging in witty banter than teaching.

Conversation The First:

The Husky Redheaded Kid Who Reminds Me Of My Cat (and who has had a very tough week) is chatting with his peers regarding the very important matter of who is going to sit with whom at lunch. He has accepted an invitation and other students are jockeying for positions at the same table. Ms. Sheep has accepted that her priorities (namely the finishing of Science and Social Studies before lunch) are not that important.

HRKWRMOMC: So who else is coming? Bob, you in? Tom?

Ms. Sheep: Can I sit with you? I want to come, too!


MS: Pleeeeeeeeease???? I wanna sit with you! I'll be good, I swear it!


MS: Awwww...c'mon! I'll just sit there. I won't say a word.


MS: But...


MS: You won't even know I'm there.

HRKWRMOMC: (now ignoring Ms. Sheep)

MS: I'll just sit there and knit...

HRKWRMOMC: (with a look of utter horror) Oh God, NO!!!!!

There is a pause and then the both he and Ms. Sheep crack up. The Husky Redheaded Kid may have had a horrible week and was barely holding himself together by the thinnest of threads, but he never seems to lose his sense of humor. He "gets" me. This is a good thing.

Of course, he was the one who was supposed to bring in the movie for tomorrow. His eventual invitation to start his spring break a day early courtesy of the assistant principal left me in a bit of a lurch. I was less amused when I had to run out to pick up a copy of Twilight so that we could follow through on our promise to show this film if the kids could just not kill each other between Monday and the start of vacation.

Conversation The Second:

Ms. Sheep is wearily trying to photocopy some stuff for the kids to do tomorrow. There are about four billion staff members in the teacher's room and the principal is leaning comfortably against the copier while it collates and staples her language arts packets. Suddenly, the copier stops. There is a picture on the information screen. It is a diagram that Ms. Sheep has seen many times over the last few days and one which requires that she, once again, travel down to the main office and confess to the secretary that she has jammed the photocopier. She does not want to do this. She knows that this will not make the secretary happy. She also knows that she is not allowed to clear the machine herself. That is a rule. She is in an agony of indecision and softly speaks of her angst. Note that I say she said this one should have heard her.

MS: ...I have to join the Witness Protection program now.

Four Billion People And The Principal In Unison: GASP!!!

Before Ms. Sheep can even process the fact that everyone heard the whispered voicing of her dilemma...

Mr. Principal: OK, people. You know what to do. Let's move.

He then, and you may think I'm kidding but I am as serious as a funeral here, began ushering the crowd out of the teacher's room and into the hallway. I was left standing alone by the jammed copier with no one to comfort me in my hour of need.

The secretary was kind, but in a sort of exasperated way. I don't blame her. I've managed to jam that copier every day for a week now. On the positive side, she did cast a chastising look at all the people who were standing in the hallway and grinning happily at my predicament.

For the record, I have never been invited to any of the Copier Jam Emergency Evacuation Drills. But clearly they are happening because I've never before seen a more orderly emptying of a room.

I didn't bother trying to finish my copying. I just got my stuff and went home. I know when I'm beat. I hit the store to pick up the movie for the kids, as well as a stack of viewing material for myself. (my new TV has a DVD player built right in so I had to buy some new movies to test it, right?) An ungodly amount of snack foods were also purchased because, this time tomorrow, there is no way I am going to be dieting. (I tested some of the goodies tonight because it wouldn't do to have stale snack foods in the house for my vacation, right?) I am now counting down the hours.

One more day. One more day of jammed copiers and colleagues who will throw me under the bus before standing by my side when the secretary must be called. One more day of students who won't do their work and who also don't want me to sit with them at lunch. If I can survive just one more day, I get to come home and sleep for a week.

I'll still be eating lunch by myself but, somehow, that doesn't seem so bad...


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

WNPB: I Have The Power! Except When I Don't...

Welcome to Wednesday! I have completely run out of interesting ways to introduce the fact that Wednesday is the night I do bullet-point posting instead of anything coherent. I'm just gonna dive right in. Maybe next week, I'll be feeling more creative...

*Spring has sprung. The weather is almost balmy!

*Hence, I have little to no interest in being a teacher anymore. I'm done with all this nonsense.

*Sadly, the school calendar and the government do not agree with this point of view.

*The power went out this morning. Bright and early. They made us keep all our students in the classrooms and wouldn't let us release them.

*They sent the School Resource Officer around to tell us this and he has the power to arrest those who do not exhibit compliance.

*Trapped. In my classroom. With my students. For hours.

*It got tense in there. We are already sick of one another and helplessly awaiting the school vacation next week. It is the only thing standing between us and possible crimes against one another.

*The rule is that we can't release the kids into the wild (or the hallway) until we get permission from the office. But no one ever got back to me.

*Either they forgot about me or they are trying to kill me so they can save the cost of my salary.

*I showed them. I just sent the kids to class when I saw everyone else going.

*They showed me. There was a staff meeting after school that I didn't know about. It was a long day followed by a long day.

*I am beginning to wonder if I will ever knit again. I can't seem to settle on anything that interests me.

*I want to want to knit. I yearn to want to want to knit. I pine...

*I am pinning my pining on next week's vacation. Perhaps some time off and away from students telling me that it is not fair that they are stuck in the room with me will lend some perspective to my life.

*And I'll knit once more!!

*Meanwhile, I'll just keep making vague references to knitting and hope that this qualifies me as one who still has a knitting blog of some sort.

*My school principal, who is a musical sort of fellow and who likes nothing better than including some kind of brief ditty in the morning announcements picked a doozy today.

*He often picks doozies. The kids don't know any of them.

*Sometimes I don't either.

*But today's selection, chosen especially for TV Turn-Off Week, was one I happened to know.

*In fact, I know it to the point of knowing all the words.

*And had little problem with periodically bustin' out a verse or two of this blast from 1980.

*All day long.

*Do you have any idea what that does to children? I owned their little butts!!!!

*And I just happen to be the sort of person who will also torture anyone else who crosses my path.

*Sorry about this...


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Reality And The Degree To Which I Do Not Care For It

Yesterday was a truly lovely sort of day. Money was deposited unto me by the nice people at the Internal Revenue Service.

(which was really my money all along and we don't want to get into how using the U.S. government as a savings account is a rather dubious kind of investment strategy...)

I forced myself to follow through on purchasing that new television that I'd been promising myself for nigh on two years.

(a very responsible purchase in many respects considering the sale price and other markdowns, but maybe not the best thing for a "role model" to do during T.V Turnoff Week festivities at her school...)

I cast aside all thoughts of the usual Monday afternoon workout in favor of watching the new moving picture contraption with all its fancy-schmancy buttons and goo-gaws.

(I might as well have worked out. All that moving of televisions pulled more muscles than I even knew I had. Sheepie is sore today...)

The sun was shining, the breezes were blowing and the birds sang cheerily as if celebrating my happy day. I can't recall just when I've had such a wonderful Monday!

Today was more along the lines of "too real." It is the week before school vacation and the students who inhabit the middle school with Ms. Sheep are running the emotional gamut from "too exuberant to even be borne" to "grumpy with a side of nasty." They are not the sort of people you would be choosing to hang with if you had your pick. I had a meeting at 8:00 this morning which I'd neglected to put on my calendar. One of my teaching assistants was out, but all of the students elected to show up.

Once home, there was no real justification for not doing the Tuesday workout. I hadn't been lugging televisions all over the place to compensate for any sluggishness. Then I found myself all overcome with some weird form of "responsible behavior" and used part of my income tax refund monies to pay the credit card bill early this month rather than late. Someone over at the payment processing department is probably breathing into a paper bag even as I type. I've probably put them on permanent disability from the shock of receiving an on-time payment bearing my name.

Like I need that kind of guilt on my shoulders! Next month, I can assure you that I will return to my fiscally negligent ways. I'm not the kind of person who can handle such responsibility for my fellow man and his emotional well-being.

Too real. I have developed a taste for fun-filled days and big presents that provide me with high definition. I want to return to those halcyon afternoons where everything is all joyful. How can I be expected to go back to my work-a-day existence when I've experienced a Happy Monday?

I'm ignoring it all. I'm putting on blinders so that I can only see what is directly in front of me. (That way I won't fall down any stairs.) I'm leaving these blinders on until Friday afternoon when I can begin my week of Spring Break, knit when the mood strikes and watch my new TV into the wee hours.

In the meantime, just to keep myself from getting too overwhelmed by any reality that might sneak past my blinders, I have the second book in the Fablehaven series. This way I can indulge my new found love of all things so very not real while I wait out the days until Friday. That should hold me.

And if someone could call my credit card company to check on the nice people who process online payments, I'd appreciate it. Otherwise I'll be all worried about them being passed out on the floor while my early payment flashes on their computer screens and that will harsh my non-reality-based mellow...


Monday, April 13, 2009

Promises To Keep

I gave myself a three-day weekend last Friday. That's three whole days of not working. I wasn't the most productive of souls. There was a great deal of napping and doing of things that weren't necessarily what you'd call "impressive."

However, in between napping, noshing on Easter candy and knitting up useless little swatches of very pretty patterns, I did manage to hit the "send" button on my state income taxes. I also remembered to remind myself to not forget to remember to check on the status of my federal return. That one went out a week ago and, if the All Knowing Website spoke true, I'd have a refund deposited in my account sometime this week.

Not bad, that. Apparently not all branches of the U.S. government are stumbling about distractedly these days...

I had plans for that refund. There are any number of things that need taking care of around here and many places where that cash would be well-used. I'm not doing too badly, but I won't say that I've been rolling in greenbacks. The economy may not have hit me quite as hard as it has others. I'm employed. I haven't lost my home. I have insurance. I'm able to keep myself in brownies and the cats in kibble. But there hasn't been much wiggle room... This refund would lend a nice infusion of cash to the coffers.

Then I got to thinking about the nature of promises. Specifically, I thought about the promises we make to ourselves. They always seem to start with prefaces:

Maybe once things settle down a bit...

Just as soon as I take care of...

This just isn't the right time...

We tell ourselves that we will one day follow through once that magical, mysterious perfect time rolls around. In fact, we promise ourselves we will do this. But mostly we don't. What we want seems frivolous. We don't dare to admit that we want it for fear that we will be thought of as irresponsible.

My promises fall victim to this more often than not. There is always something. Sick cat...broken car...stuff just happens. I thought about this a great deal over the weekend and made a decision.

There is nothing wrong with keeping a promise to myself.

A call to the bank today revealed a deposit from Uncle Sam. My refund was in. I was half-way to The Promised Land! I assured myself that I would keep this promise next week during school vacation. That is a great time to take care of this sort of stuff. No rushing. Just the fulfilling of obligations to self.

On the drive home, though, I got to thinking a bit more about promises. Cash in the bank doesn't know that you've made a promise. It just sits there, easy prey to all those predators that like to nibble away at promises-not-yet-realized. It's the waiting that kills it. You find yourself seeing other, "better" ways to use your money. And, in the end, you always regret not doing what you said you were going to do.

I hit the blinker and made a right so I could exit the Maine Turnpike. I drove directly to the store and there I kept my promise. They didn't have exactly what I wanted, but what they had was close enough. Once the transaction was complete, there was plenty left over from my refund to do all those very practical things that need doing. They will get done, but I chose to first honor my word to myself.

And SpongeBob Squarepants has never looked better.

It was on sale and a floor model, to boot. A 20% discount was taken on top of that. I was able to keep my promise to myself and still satisfy that niggling and highly annoying sense of guilt that comes from keeping a frivolous promise to one's self. It also didn't come with a box or anything remotely resembling an owner's manual so there has been a bit of a learning curve with set up and installation. But I'm not completely helpless with these sorts of things and I was up and running in no time.

It's good to keep a promise to yourself. Even a silly one that isn't going to do anything about securing your future or keeping the car running. It just feels good and who deserves to be treated kindly and respectfully more than you do? Just something to think about...

Now, if you'll excuse me, I must be off. I will be enjoying an evening of Prime Time programming in glorious Hi-Def and with actual, honest-to-goodness, full-on stereo sound.

As promised.


Sunday, April 12, 2009


I don't know what I was saying yesterday. Thinking I was all boring and without interesting stories...pish! Pish posh, I say! I am the Queen Of All I Survey. And then some...

I finished a game on the computer last night. It has taken me a year. One year. It's not that it was a particularly challenging game. It was just one of those hidden object games that I like to play sometimes. I have a membership with an online game club and can download one game a month for a very reasonable fee. But this was not one that I purchased from this site. I got this one for free.

No. It is not the game that they gave me a couple of weeks ago after there was some ordering confusion and I wrote them a nice, but firm note regarding the situation. The game I got for Freesies from them was very fun. But it was different one that I finished last night.

I downloaded the demo from my usual site a while back. I enjoyed it. But didn't really think it was anything I wanted to have for my own. Still...I wanted to see how it all turned out. And so it began.

I spent a year hunting down game sites that would let me download a demo of this game. This is tricky because you have to make certain you have not already downloaded it there. Then they tell you that you can't play it anymore. You also can't go to sites that link to the same sites from whence you've downloaded before. They will know that you have already played it. Then you need to make certain that the new download will let you continue from where you left off. Starting over is such a pain! You must diligently hunt and demonstrate great craftiness.

It's an exhausting process. You need great fortitude and the willingness to isolate lots of inadvertently downloaded spyware for disposal.

But I have prevailed in my quest to finish this game without actually paying for it. I am like some kind of cheap, internet-gaming genius! I should get a medal or something. Except that I don't want a public ceremony. The accolades would be nice, but I'd hate for the game developers to figure out that I finished their game for free. And that it only took me a year.

Me? Boring? Without fascinating interests and things to show for them? Oh, I think not!!!

I celebrated this great accomplishment with the renting of a movie. I've wanted to see Quarantine for a while now and the rental was available on Itunes so I did that clicky-clicky thing I do so well now that I am the cheap game master. I'm glad I only rented it. This is the sort of movie that could have been good. In fact, it should have been good. There was very little to screw up as far as I could tell. But it wasn't really all that good. I don't know just what went wrong.

Perhaps my new found gaming status has left me with impossibly high standards...

I also commemorated the day with some knitting. It wasn't particularly productive knitting and won't result in anything at all useful. But it was pleasant and mildly challenging. Sure, I have a sock that needs finishing, but I deserve to do whatever I want now. Free game. Finished it. For free. In a year. For free.

Crochet cotton from the dollar store. Is anyone really surprised by this? Didn't think so.

Really, it was a delightful way to bring the weekend to a close. Other than the fact that I forgot the grocery store wouldn't be open today at the usual time due to it being Easter Sunday, I can't complain. I've restored my feelings of purpose and can now say that I accomplished great things over this holiday weekend.

Speaking of Easter, The Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty would like to extend his warmest holiday wishes to one and all. He does love the holidays, you know. He embraces them. He cannot wait for Mommy to upload his photo to the editing site so he can see his charming visage all decked out for the occasion.

He's good that way...

Nooooooo!!! I don' wanna be no bunnee inna basket!!!!!!!

I'm certain that what he meant to say was, "Happy Easter!"


Saturday, April 11, 2009

Like A Herd Of Turtles

What happened to me? When did I become the slug-a-bed that you see before you?

I know that you don't really see me. I'm being metaphorical for the sake of making a point. Plus I'm in the throes of Sudden Self-Awareness Syndrome and desperate for blog material. I get a free pass and can say whatever I want. I read it in the Americans With Imaginary And/Or Conveniently Created Disabilities Act. It's in the fine print...

I used to be quite the Gal-About-Town. I was the toast of that same town. I danced my nights away in exotic, exclusive clubs and spent my days making the world a better place. Everyone wanted to be me. To call me a trendsetter would be an understatement. I lived large and loudly.

That might be something of an exaggeration. It is entirely possible that I am confusing going to the movies or walking to the mailbox with better stuff.

Now I sit here on a Saturday with little to show for my day and a blog post to write. It's not like I don't have ample opportunity to create a life with which to craft something blog worthy. I am mobile. I have resources. I even have the time. I just can't seem to find the motivation.

The best I can do for you today is a series of random descriptions of the things I did in between naps. I am so very, very sorry. For what it's worth, I thought about doing Great Deeds. But I only had the energy for Vaguely And Maybe Moderately Interesting If You Squint When You Look At Them Deeds.

The Weekend:

I ended up starting it early. Following a night of interrupted sleep, I was treated to the blatting of my smoke alarm while I was getting ready for work yesterday. As it was 5:30 in the morning, this was certainly an eye-opener. I'm sure that the neighbors were thrilled. I was 99% certain that it was set off by the steam escaping from the bathroom following my shower. That's happened before. But it still seemed like a good idea to cast mine eyes about for a fire of some sort. I didn't see one. Fearing that the detectors might be malfunctioning and that my neighbors might come after me with pitchforks and torches (which would probably set the alarms off again) I flipped the breaker and cut off the power so as to not wake up anyone who wasn't already clinging to their ceilings in a state of startled alarm.

This also cut off all power to the left side of my home. The bathroom is on that side. I need that room if I am going to finish getting ready for work. Between the lack of a hair dryer and mirror, the concerns regarding either smoldering fires or electrical issues and my overall distaste for the way this morning was shaping up, I opted to call in sick. If there was a problem, I'd like to be home to deal with it. Happily, my original theory seemed to have borne itself out and the alarms didn't go off again. That left me with a day off and an early start to the weekend. I could have used that time to do any number of things that would have interested you.

Instead, I finished my taxes and took a nap. I also ate Cadbury Eggs. I never once danced on a table or knit.

And Speaking Of Knitting:

I spent some time staring at "The Dishcloth" (with sleeves). I have come to the conclusion that this thing that is so-totally-not-a-sweater-because-those-never-really-work-out is a no go. I set it aside a while ago when the pressures at my teaching job got a bit more intense. I've managed to lose track of where I was and don't seem to have the motivation to find the aforementioned trackage. It was a coin flip anyway. There was every reason to believe that I didn't have enough yarn to finish it. The plan was to simply knit the sleeves in a contrasting color, but I don't really feel like looking for that yarn. I can also think of about three billion other things I'd like to do with this yarn. It's over.

Take heart, though! All is not lost! I still have that second sock to finish! I know this because it is still sitting right there in my school bag waiting for me to go get it so I can work on it. It has been sitting in there since Wednesday. I know that I should rescue it. It is the right thing to do.

But that didn't stop me from casting on twenty stitches today for a new headband. I could probably justify that course of action had I knit upon those twenty stitches. Yet somehow, I felt that the casting on of stitches was enough to say that I had accomplished something and settled in for a nap this afternoon.

The Naps Remind Me Of Something Else Not Very Exciting:

I remain flummoxed by the sleeping arrangements over here. The cats continue to defy all logic regarding spatial relationships and the laws of physics. I spend a great deal of time staring at them and pondering this phenomenon.

The Big, Fluffy Kitty (who is really more fluff than stuff) continues to sleep in the big dog bed. She has room to spare. I could fit ten of her in there.

And the Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty continues to choose the smaller sleeping containers. This time he stuffed himself into The Squooshy Bed. He dragged his beloved Dollar Store Cat Cave in with him. I'm beginning to suspect that no one bothered to swaddle this beast when he was a baby...

I'm pretty sure that this is the kind of thing that distracts me from doing all those Great Deeds I was talking about...

Getting Out Of The House:

I haven't even bothered to get dressed today. I'm still in the same sweats and t-shirt in which I slept last night. If the smoke detectors decide to go off again today, I'm doomed. I'll just sit here, too embarrassed by my unkempt state to save myself from the conflagration. I'm certain that any of the female firefighters who are called to the scene will understand.

Yesterday, though, I did get out. I roused myself from my state of Friday Lethargy to attend a very special event. Forty years ago yesterday, I was bundled into the car to go visit Mommy Sheep who, for reasons I didn't entirely understand at the time, was in the hospital. Upon arrival, I discovered that she had a pretty sweet deal going on there. They let her sleep in a cool bed that cranked up and down. They gave her special pj's. And, to my utter wonder, they provided her with cuisine unlike anything I'd ever seen before. You can only imagine my delight when she allowed me to have two perfect saltines sealed in cellophane! It was unlike anything I'd ever seen before! I decided that she must have been a very, very good Mommy Sheep to be treated to such luxury.

But there was more...

Apparently she wasn't just given interesting pajamas that tied in the back and crackers packaged perfectly for a visiting three year old. No. She also got a baby. A boy baby. A boy baby called "brother."

Would the wonders never cease?????

Unlike the crackers, which were consumed on site, the brother came home with us. I was fascinated and enthralled with him for at least a full day. After that, I became a little disenchanted. He was kind of needy. He also didn't come with anything remotely resembling instructions. Or an "off" switch. Much like my smoke detectors, now that I think of it...

Over the years, however, I rediscovered my interest in this little brother and we became fast friends. I liked him. Still do, now that you mention it. I feel very, very fortunate to have a sibling who is someone I'd hang out with given the choice. We've snacked our way through marathon, all-night sessions of Halo on the X-Box. Our road trips to Vegas and California are the stuff of legends. The time at my grandmother's funeral when the lady asked him if I was his lovely wife is the stuff of horrific shudders, but a funny story nevertheless.

He's a good kid. And he came with a side of crackers. What more can you ask for, really?

Happy Birthday, Baby Brother! Welcome to the Fourth Decade Club and thanks for including me in yesterday's celebratory steak dinner! I'm so glad that we didn't return you as I suggested to Mommy and Daddy Sheep all those years ago. I'd have missed all the laughter and having someone who "gets" why the family stories are funny.

Plus you're the only interesting thing that's happened in the past two days...