Sunday, May 31, 2009

Prejudice And Pride

If I were a prideful sort of person, I'd lead with the big story instead of making you wait for it. Of course, "big" is a relative term. What constitutes big news in my world is actually kind of small in the grand scheme of things. But it's been a rainy sort of day with nothing good on TV so if I want to make mountains out of my personal molehills, then I feel entitled.

On the more "incidental" end of the scale, I'm reporting back on the sprinkling of ants with vinegar. Last week, I mentioned that I was trying a mixture of 1 part vinegar, two parts water (sort of...), a couple of tablespoons of lemon juice and a few drops of dish soap to try and repel the spring ant invasion. I'd realized that this concoction, used to mop my floors for well over a year, may have been responsible for them not wandering around the kitchen and thought it might work in other areas.

I sprayed the living room rug a couple of times over the course of the week. Just lightly, mind you. I also sprayed the floor around the front door and, unlike the usual mopping routine, did not rinse.

Nary an ant in sight. Not one. I changed nothing else. My usual lax housekeeping remains fully in play. I still manage to leave half a can of soda sitting in the living room every night even though I promise myself I won't. I don't chase crumbs. The odd dish often sits unwashed in the sink. Still no ants.

The one downside is that the floor by the door is a bit on the slippery side these days. It's not noticeable in shoes, but slippers and socks make for a bit of an adventure in the morning. I'm going to start rinsing it again since breaking my hip and having to crawl over to the neighbor's for assistance is not something I'd like to do right before the start of summer break.

Otherwise, I'm thinking I may have scared away an ant or two. Which is fine by me. I hate ants. As much as I enjoy squishing them with extreme prejudice, I think this is a better solution.

With nothing crawling over my feet to distract me and a rainy Sunday all to myself, I had lots of time to knit. I knit like the wind. I knit like a woman possessed. I knit two whole inches of fabric! I'm a machine!!!

And, before I knew it...

I had what is most certainly not, in any way, shape or form, a sleeve.

The dishcloth (the codename assigned to all projects that need to fly under the radar lest they be cursed by the Knitting Demons) is now at that alarming stage where it just doesn't look right. I remember this from the last dishcloth. You just can't help but think that it is too short. It looks funny.

I am short through the body so it stands to reason that I would knit a dishcloth in a lesser length. I'm really not much more than a pair of bosoms and a head sitting on top of some legs. Shorter sweaters are good for me. And, having already knit this pattern in the exact same gauge, I know for a fact that it will work just fine. It's simply a matter of trusting my percentages and measurements.

Next up: Not-sleeve #2. Which is moving along slowly. I am trying something a little different and that is slowing things markedly. Further, it is taking a bite out of my pride so we'll save that for another day.

For now, we will bask a bit in the glow of a completed not-sleeve, call it a weekend well spent and practice our humble and not at all prideful expression.


Saturday, May 30, 2009

Happily Rolling Along

There are things that make me happy. Some I know all about and then I can anticipate the happiness. Others just sort of happen. Here are some of the things that made me happy today:

1. It's the weekend.

Need I say more?

2. I had an appointment with The World's Greatest Stylist And Life Coach this morning.

There is always reason to celebrate that happy happening. I love my stylist. And she loves me. She also loves my new purse because she has great taste and absolutely no inhibitions regarding snatching it right off the counter so she can explore each and every pocket. The fact that we have a working relationship is probably based in my complete acceptance of this sort of thing. It is not the first time she has commandeered something upon my person for closer examination.

The other reason this appointment made me happy was because I had something of a "forehead situation" going on. I am in my forties and it is high time I accepted the fact that I need working bangs. I happen to have an acre of forehead and it needs ground cover. No one should ever have to look at that much forehead.

3. On the way to my appointment...

I happened to notice a balloon that had escaped from one of the eight million car dealerships having sales along Route 1 this weekend. This balloon had managed to snag itself on a power line directly above the highway. Further, it had centered itself perfectly between the poles. It couldn't have been done more perfectly had it been an intended ornament. Why this amused me so mightily, I know not. But it did.

4. The Used Book Store is right next door to The Happy Hair Place

I didn't find much this time around. But I always try to make a purchase. This is the kind of place I want to remain right where it be and I'll give them my dollars when I can. In addition to reading material, they also carry a rather impressive selection of movies. I have a system for perusing The Used Book Store: Youth Lit., Horror, Best Sellers, New Arrivals, Clearance, then Movies. In that order. Always. When I brought my meagre selection to the counter, the woman running the store said, "Oh look! You're just like me! You can't resist those slasher movies!" Of course, I had to correct her. Just because it is a common mistake, doesn't mean I don't have a responsibility regarding the setting straight of records. "No," I said calmly, "it is not a slasher movie..."

"It is a zombie movie."

This, of course, led to a delightful discussion of the genre and I am pleased to say that I did a little educating today. Seriously. The woman wrote stuff down based upon my recommendations. I am like the Socrates of the independent zombie movies crowd...

5. On the way home from my appointment...

I saw a sign for a yard sale, complete with an arrow directing people towards the goods. It was pointing at the local cemetery. I don't think there is any question regarding why this tickled me as much as it did. That's just funny. And contextual given the Zombie Chat I'd been having mere moments before.

6. It is not a sleeve.

It may not be a sleeve, but it is about two inches from being a finished not-sleeve. Of course, there is no reason for anyone to get all excited about this since I tend to put things off even worse than usual when I am close to the end-point. But I still feel the need to celebrate this approaching milestone. I will also feel the need to apply a firm poke in the eyeball to anyone who dares to point out that this is only the first of what needs to be two not-sleeves.

Don't go harshing my mellow. I am happy today. Let's just bask in my glow.

On another note, it appears that a few people noticed the disappearance of Thursday night's post. Frankly, I hadn't thought anyone would. But, if site meter stats speak true, there have been some searches and I did end up getting a couple of emails. I suppose I should explain.

The post has shuffled off this mortal coil and I confess that it was by my own hand. I read my comments in my email (as many of you do) and have gotten in the habit of perusing them on my phone rather than on the computer. It's handy, quick and lets me keep up, but doesn't do much for letting me see the comments in context.

On Friday morning, I received a comment that made me question whether I'd written something in an offensive way. I wasn't seeing where I'd gone wrong, yet I couldn't help but wonder. With departure time for the morning commute upon me and little time for pondering, I had to make a quick judgement call. I responded to the commenter and deleted the post. I knew that it would worry me all day had I left it up and decided that this would be the best course of action under the circumstances.

Later, I learned that the comment was in no way intended as a response to a gaffe on my part. Had I been reading it as part of the "flow" of comments this would have been obvious, but the way in which I was viewing them that day made it hard for me to follow that flow.

The decision to pull the post? Well, that was hasty and regrettable, even if I use the late-for-work excuse. The commenter in this case is a lovely person and someone with whom I've corresponded regularly for years. She deserved, at the very least, the benefit of the doubt. Truthfully, she deserved my complete confidence. I should have known better than to think she wouldn't "get" me. She felt badly, I felt badly...there was a whole lotta badly. I am sorry about that. Very.

The intentions which led to pulling the post? Those I stand behind. I teach the students in my writing classes that words have power and to write with a purpose. When I am teaching them how we are going to be while we are together in that space for 7 hours, I tell them again that words have power and that it doesn't matter how you "meant" them. What matters is how the other person perceived those words. It's about taking responsibility, a trait I value.

I decided long ago that the purpose of this blog was entertainment. It isn't a political blog nor do I spend much time inciting passionate debate. It is a silly little space where we can have some fun for the most part. Had my words that day been about how I think it is wrong to make babies work in coal mines, I would have left the post up and stood proudly behind it.

But a silly bit of daily whatnot? That does not merit taking a stand. If there was any chance whatsoever that my words were written in a hurtful manner, then the post needed to be deleted, even if I didn't mean it that way. Don't get me wrong. I'm glad that it wasn't what I'd feared and that the post could have remained as it was. But I will always err on the side of caution when it comes to content. It's all about responsible writing and valuing your audience.

That's just how I roll.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

WNBP: I Need A Sweater...

The nice thing about a three day weekend (besides the obvious...) is that the following work week is delightfully short. You go back to the salt mines for one day and...BOOM! It's Wednesday!!! It is also time for the Wednesday Night Bullet Post. Let's catch a ride on The Random Train, why don't we?

*When I went out to my car after school today, it informed me that the temperature was 48 degrees.

*That's, like, 8.9 degrees Celsius. Which is cold for May. Downright brisk.

*By last period, my staff was sitting around in forty layers of clothing and talking about how awesome it was going to be to go home and make cocoa with a side of popcorn.

*There was also talk of snuggly blankies and fluffy slippers.

*It's the end of May. And, quite possibly, the world as we know it.

*Still better than too hot, though.

*The student known as She Who Is Strident informed me that she becomes "unpleasant" during warm spells.

*I shudder to think how much more "unpleasant" a person can get.

*I really need a sweater. Too bad I don't knit those.

*It's looking to be chilly for most of the week.

*Hey! Guess what? The zoo-cam widget I use finally made the Heffalump Cam work!!!!

*Not as cool as pandas, of course. What could be cooler than a panda-cam, after all?

But Heffalumps are a close second. Even when they are kind of hard to see...

*That's an impressive Heffalump Area. Sometimes you can see a jeep driving by.

*I wave to it.

*No one ever waves back.

*The Polar Bear and Monkey-Cams are much less dependable.

*Also no waving.

*The pandas are my favorite. I heart my pandas forever and forever and then some.

*Still knitting on that not-sleeve, if anyone is interested.

*Although I cannot see how anyone possibly could be at this point.

*I carry on, ever hopeful that I will one day not have a sleeve.

*Still desperately trying to eat food from my overly filled freezer.

*Things fall out and onto my noggin when I open the door.

*Casseroles. Lasagna. Things that I'm pretty sure are foodstuffs but who really knows anymore...

*How did this happen? There never used to be anything in my freezer.

*Ice cubes, frozen pizza and coffee.

*Maybe some film dating from back when such things were useful.

*I blame the economy. Suddenly it's all about the frugal.

*Stupid economy. It keeps hitting me on the head with cascading chickens.

So there's that. The Wednesday that was. Now I'm all about getting ready for tomorrow (which is Thursday if you can believe it!) and morning bus duty with the charming middle schoolers who will be awaiting my delightful early banter. There's band practice in the cafeteria tomorrow so we will be cramming both the 7th and 8th grade into the gym for the morning.

Between that and the chilly weather, I anticipate my banter being more "delightful" than is usual.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sour Keeps Me Sweet

I arrived at school today to discover that pretty much everyone had reached the same conclusion as I over the holiday weekend: "it is just too "summer" to be here." Staff, parents and kids alike...none of us much wanted to be back in the routine. It all just felt so very wrong. I had to repeat the countdown stats approximately thirty times today.

Yes. We still have twenty days of school unless you are an 8th grader and then you have one day less.

No. That is not your report card. That is your progress report. You take that home and try to convince your parents that you will still be able to pass for the year if you really buckle down and start taking this education thing seriously for the next twenty days.

Yes. I am counting today. We are still here so it is still twenty days.

No. I am not going to go back and count it out again. I'll do it during math class when numbers matter. Right now it is social studies and we are more concerned with the fact that I am giving a test on ancient Greece sometime during the next week.

Yes. I am sure about the number of days. And your class average. And that what I am handing you is a progress report, not a report card. Report cards go out after school gets out. In twenty days.

I'm tired of talking about it. At least it will be a different number every day between now and the end of the school year. That'll break things up a bit.

Meanwhile, I have a limited list of other things to talk about. It's hard to not think about how many days of school I have left and the only other topic is that Thing That Is Not A Sleeve. Who wants daily updates on the progress of a tube? Especially one that is moving along with all the speed of this never-ending school year...

Fortunately, a few folks asked about the vinegar spray I was using for the ants. I can share a bit more on that life event. There is hardly any counting involved and I can make that stuff faster than a Not-Sleeve.

I've been using a homemade cleaning concoction made of vinegar and whatnot for a while now. I heard about similar recipes and thought it might be a nice alternative to the stuff in the grocery store. I tried it and found that it worked rather well. It's nontoxic and costs mere pennies to throw together. It's also fairly simple to use when the kitchen floor gets sticky.

I am not much for measuring, but I generally put something like 2 parts water and 1 part vinegar in a spray bottle. Sometimes it's more like half and half. It doesn't seem to matter, really. Then I add about two tablespoons of lemon juice and a few drops of dishwashing detergent. I shake it up before each use and spray where needed. I happen to really hate mopping the kitchen, but don't mind spraying stuff. That's kind of fun. I spray down the kitchen floor, run the mop over it as quickly as possible and the floor is clean.

The formula is also great for kitchen counters, although I am more careful to rinse after use. Especially if I am going to be doing any baking. We don't want vinegar in the bread dough...

During a recent on-line search for natural ant repellents, I happened upon several sites that suggested vinegar and lemon juice as a solution. It was then that I remembered thinking that there were not all that many ants in the kitchen last summer. I think I even mentioned it in a blog post at one point, although I'm darned if I can find it. You'd think the ants would like it in the kitchen. If nothing else, the cats do a lovely job of scattering food around for them. But they just didn't seem to want to go in there.

I figured it couldn't hurt to spray down other areas and see what happened. The theory seems to be that the scent is not only repugnant to the ants, but that it also masks their ant trails, rendering them incapable of doing that conga line thing that they so love to do.

I'm not an expert in these things, mind you. I have done no studies in ant behavior. I don't even know anyone who has undertaken such a thing. I make no promises regarding this course of action. I also can't say for certain whether this is safe for carpets and furniture. I only know that I don't much care about my carpets and furniture at this point. There really isn't much more I can do to them in the way of abuse. I've seen no ill effects to date, but I'd feel badly if you tried this and found yourself with melting upholstery or something.

What I can say is that there have been no ants in the living room since I sprayed. Nor have I seen any in the kitchen where I regularly use my cleaning concoction. Make of it what you will and feel free to try it. For the record, I also tossed in a bit of lemon peel this time around just for kicks.

Oh yeah. It also smells like vinegar. But I'm assuming you've already figured that part out...

I'm going to sign off now. I need to feed a few cats, spray down my carpets and see about getting some clothing ready for tomorrow. I have to go back to school again so that the kids will know how many more days we have to keep doing this.

19 for 7th graders and staff. 18 for 8th graders and those who plan on skipping the last day. Just in case you were wondering...


Monday, May 25, 2009


I have two practice sessions before the actual "start" of summer vacation. With the end of school being delayed this year due to storm cancellations, I will have a great deal of time between my practice sessions and the genuine article, but I'm not thinking about that right now. It could lead to fits of depression and massive carb consumption.

The carb consumption is already happening. We don't need to add to the problem...

The first of my practice sessions occurs during the April break. The weather has warmed up a bit so it is kind of easy to see how the whole thing could work out should I be done with school for reals. Then there is Memorial Day Weekend. It is not as long as Spring Break, but the whole summer experience seems much closer and the weather is usually dead-on.

I had myself a truly wonderful three day weekend this year. After Friday's heat wave, I was ready for some cooler temps and Mother Nature obliged. With the exception of the aforementioned carb consumption, I really did get into the spirit of summer vacation.

I puttered. I tidied. I visited with family. I napped. I knit.

You are just going to have to trust me on this one. The Thing That Is Not A Sleeve has gotten longer. The fact that it doesn't look any longer is something upon which I shall not dwell. It would ruin my Practice Summer...

I even made a Dollar Store run. I don't necessarily do that every day during my summer vacation, but it is a handy place to stop for all those little gee-gaws and doo-dads that you need to be productive during the summer. I scored big with storage containers, cat toys, washcloths and band-aids for the first aid kit. I also happened to notice that they'd just gotten a huge lot of books and those of us willing to rummage through cardboard boxes could find some real gems.

Not the first knitting book I've found at the dollar store, mind you. But it is the biggest if that counts for anything.

I actually already own a longer version of this same book and many of the patterns are repeats in the Sheepish Library Of Things She Will Never Knit. However, there were a couple of new ones included in this edition and I figured that was worth the buck. Plus, I have absolutely no idea where the other one is and this is a sure-fire way to ensure that I will trip over it within the next 48 hours. That is just how these things work.

Summer, be it the practice version or the real one, also involves the yearly battle with the ants. Over the last few years the cute little ants that used to wander in have given way to gi-normous beasts who probably spend the day raiding the fridge and making lots of long distance calls while I am out. I spent part of today attempting to dissuade them from making this their summer vacation home with the liberal spraying of a vinegar, lemon and water mixture. (ants hate that stuff)

No ants have been seen since, but I anticipate the hate mail arriving sometime within the next week or so. I wouldn't be surprised to find that they've keyed my car either. I don't care. It will be worth it to not have gigantic, mutant ants crawling on my feet while I am enjoying summer vacation television viewing.

Yup. I think I've got it all down pat. This summer vacation thing is in the bag. The fans are set up, the schedule is working and I may have fooled the ants into moving on for a while. I am a master of summer vacationage!

Now I just need the actual vacation. And if anyone dares to mention that this is four weeks away, there will be heck to pay. I'm in a precariously balanced zone. It is a fragile state.

And it is not going to be pleasant seeing it shattered tomorrow morning when I have to get up and go back to school...


Sunday, May 24, 2009


I was going to clarify the post title by saying that I am not stupid. But then I rethought that and realized that I might be a little bit stupid. The fact that I did The Big Grocery Shopping today without first checking the freezer is probably not indicative of a high IQ. I have been very careful about shopping of late and doing a fine job with not over-purchasing. I have also apparently been doing a good job of buying meat on sale and freezing it. My freezer is filled to capacity and my ability to access the part of my brain that deals with spatial relationships and freezer dimensions is compromised.

Don't open my freezer. The avalanche will probably kill you. Setting up an in-home avalanche is probably kind of stupid if you keep to the strictest definition of the word....

But that wasn't what I was thinking when I conceived of this post. I was thinking more of sleeves. Or, more accurately, things that are not sleeves because I don't admit to the knitting of such things. Sleeves fool me every time. Which probably makes them not so stupid and brings us back to me being the flawed creature, but I'm mad at the not-sleeve and calling it stupid is perfectly reasonable to my way of thinking.

How is it possible that one can knit for a day and still make no visible progress? I realize that knitters far more worldly wise than I have been contemplating this dilemma for an age and a half, but it still feels like I am the only one in the world who can't seem to reach the end of a not-sleeve. Worse, it is a not-sleeve in straight-up stockinette which is the most boring thing ever put on this earth.

I knit today. That is good. I suppose you don't reach the end of a not-sleeve without actually knitting. I've been kind of lax in this area of late. However, I am stuck in an endless loop of stockinette and it is making me a little bit grumpy.

Let's look at a kitty. Kitties are soothing, right?

#1 Nap Assistant. Not so much use as a Knitting Assistant, but the nap was pretty much the only thing standing between me and a raging Knit Fit so her role in the process was rather important.

I'm going to keep plugging away at this not-sleeve. I shall resolutely ignore the fact that it is never-ending and that I have to do another one when this one finally does consent to reaching the finish line. I have lots of leftover desserts from yesterday's cookout so I should be able to keep the Screaming Crazies at bay until I go back to work on Tuesday.

Of course, by then the not-sleeve probably won't fit me any more because my coping strategy is a little bit self-destructive and stupid. We won't dwell on that matter either...


Saturday, May 23, 2009


It is a sad fact, but a fact nevertheless. On a day where you have all the time in the world to knit happily away, you don't always feel like doing that. However, when handed a day where you have lots to accomplish and a time frame in which to make it so, you are suddenly overwhelmed with the urge to craft a slipcover for the couch in handspun silk.


I was up at 6:00 this morning. On purpose, no less. The Annual Gathering Of The Maternal Side Of The Sheepish Flock was upon me and there was no way I was going to be let in the door if I didn't have some of my world-famous cheesy bread in hand. In fact, it is highly likely that I would be burned at the stake. Or on the grill right along side Daddy Sheep's even more world-famous barbecued ribs.

Bread is easy, but it takes some time. And Cheesy Bread is better when it's had time to sit for a bit so I knew I'd need to get an early start. Frankly, I should have done it last night. But it was too hot to even contemplate such folly, even once the sun had settled down for the evening so I put it off until today when the temperatures were markedly cooler.

I cast a few longing glances at that Thing That Is So Totally Not A Sleeve And I'll Fight Anyone To The Death Who Says Differently and set to work. I am nothing if not a worker bee, after all. Of course, the only things I really needed to do were bake the bread, locate my very-stretchy-jeans and make sure that I had two shoes that matched. However, I defy anyone to figure out a way to fit all that into a day and still manage to find the time for a nap. It was a mad scramble to work it all into the schedule and get myself off to Mommy and Daddy Sheep's house in a timely manner!

It was worth all that early rising and not-knitting, though. I look forward to this yearly event. The food is amazing. Over the years, we've all managed to find our niche within the theme and everyone has their "something special" to add. The highlights, of course, are my Dad's offerings from the grill. But the desserts were nothing to sneeze at either. Of course, we all missed Uncle Sheep's lemon bars, but we will forgive him this year (and this year only) as he is out of state for his son's wedding. Cousin Sheep made up for it with his Snickers Brownies. As soon as I work my way out of my diabetic coma, I'll maybe describe those in further detail.

Mommy Sheep also provided (God help me) another birthday cake for her eldest daughter. This one was chocolate which, as we all know, is the very best of cakes. A generous slice was added to my pile of leftovers. It seems that I am not quite as "caked out" as I thought I was last weekend when I celebrated my actual birthday with more cake than anyone should eat in a two day period.

It is a very good thing, I found those stretchy jeans...

The company was good (lots of folks I don't see regularly). The conversation was lively (Any time you get to hear one relative greet another with the words, "Well hey there! Good t' see ya! Been a while now, hasn't it? I put a fresh batt'ry in th' hearin' aid this mornin' figgering you'd have lots of questions for me!" is going to be nothing short of awesome). And, as I mentioned, the food was beyond words. (I will be eating well this weekend) I even got to see Great Nephew Sheep in the full upright and walking mode! And he colored a picture for me for my birthday!

Of course, another ironic fact is this: One person's pleasure is another's misery. Certain residents of this household do not care for changes in the routine. Or the parts of the routine that involve my leaving. They can't even handle it when I go to work in the morning. Hence, they become rather clingy when Mommy tries to do things to get ready to leave. They will cry at the window while she goes to her car. They might even attempt to block her path to the door, not caring one little bit that there is a gigantic table full of food and a cake with her very own name on it waiting for her. They don't like the separation one little bit. They are the types who tear off the wallpaper when Mommy leaves the house.

Iz too much. I haz the sadness and hides mine faces.

Happily, it is a three day weekend here at the manse. I'll do some Kitty Kompensating. I can make up for my big night out with another couple of days, complete with extra head scritches and some time watching the panda-cam (he loves the web cam from the zoo almost as much as I do...) He'll be just fine.

And I'll be OK, too. I've got leftovers and an extra day to see if maybe I can make some progress on that not-sleeve. It all works out.


Thursday, May 21, 2009

90 Degree Turn-Around

My car is very good about keeping me up to date with the weather. When I hopped into the driver's seat this afternoon in order that I might head home for the day, it informed me that it was over 90 degrees out there.

As I've said in the past, my car is something of an alarmist and is wont to exaggerate. Today, however, it wasn't too far off the mark. It was quite hot. Blazing hot. With a side of searing.

Happily, there was no humidity involved so my third floor classroom stayed quite comfortable. Sort of. Better than if it was humid, anyway. In addition, the heat didn't really start to creep up on my corner of the building until later in the day. It was almost dismissal time before I noticed that things had gotten toastier than I like.

It wasn't all rainbows and roses, though. Let's not get carried away. When the principal came on the PA for this morning's announcements, he gleefully proclaimed that today's lunch would be served outside and that we would all be enjoying hot dogs and hamburgers on the front lawn. He was as giddy as a school girl over the whole turn of dining events.

I was not. When the kids eat outside, all teachers have to be on lunch duty. So, not only did I have to do my regular morning bus duty today, I had to do an additional lunch duty as well. And did I mention the part where it was outside? On the lawn?

I do not care for outside. There are bugs outside. And weather. There is also the poo of a thousand creatures, some of whom I cannot even identify and let's not even get into the threat of sunburn. Or the fact that there are usually other people out there...

No. I do not care for outside. Or lunch duty.

I topped off the day with a trip to the grocery store because I needed to purchase a variety of common materials which, when combined, will simulate a volcanic explosion. The volcanoes my class made from flour, water and newspaper have been festering away nicely in my office for a while now and I'd like to get them blown up soon. I think there is a colony of ants moving in. The time seems right...

It is really too hot to knit today. The Tube That Is Not A Sleeve will have to sit quietly for a while. Happily, it will get to sit in the cooling breeze of the new fan I purchased a couple of weeks ago. My trusty tower fan, which was never really well-seated in its base, came tumbling down at the end of the summer season last year and I thought I should get a new one before the temperatures began climbing again.

Apparently, I chose well. The Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty took one look at those whirling blades and immediately plonked his vast self in front of them. He rolled and sprawled about for the better part of the afternoon. He has never looked happier.

What? I likes fans. They cools my belly...

You could almost forget that he was the one who broke the other one. Almost.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Experience, Proof And Bullets

Greetings and Salutations, Dear Readers! Welcome to your regularly scheduled Wednesday Night Bullet Post, complete with all the random highlights of the day. At least the ones that are fit to print...

There is very little in my life that is not fit to print, but I like to think of myself as A Woman Of Intrigue And Mystery. Let me have that.

*I had to go to one of the private education facilities our school district uses today to observe some of the kiddos who are placed out of district. This required Interstate Travel!

*And, by "Interstate Travel" I mean that I drove five minutes to the state line, crossed over the New Hampshire border and parked in their lot.

*Seriously. It takes me longer to get home than it does to go across state lines...

*I'd never been to this school before, but have worked with a few of their staff on occasion. Nice place.

*I always like to meet with the social workers and counselors when I'm doing observations. They have the "real info." If I want to justify spending the dollars on these placements for kids, I need the deets 'n data to bring back with me. I was fortunate to find the two people I needed, available and willing to chat with me.

*After a very informative dialogue, one of them looked at me quite seriously and said, "You're very good at what you do, aren't you?"

*I suppose it's not so much that I'm "good." It's more that I have lots of experience and I've worked hard at getting a variety of those experiences in my storied career.

*I can talk "teacher" and I can talk "counselor." I can even speak "agency" since I've worked outside of the school setting in a family services program. I can also talk "residential/day treatment" after spending a few years teaching in a private school for challenged kids. Then there's the whole "adult ed." lingo I picked up during that year that I worked for the alternative program in my town...

*Call it good. Call it experienced. Six of one, half-a-dozen of another...

*It's still nice to hear.

*The weather is starting to turn and you will all be pleased to learn that I probably won't be complaining about the cold tomorrow.

*I've penciled in some time to whine about the heat.

*Call it a change of pace...

*Hey! Remember back when I used to knit?

*Fun times. I used to make things out of string. We all enjoyed that, right?

*I swear to you that I do still knit.

*I've just been knitting bigger things and they take longer.

*I can prove it.

See? Told ya!!!

*No. That is not a sleeve. A sleeve would mean I am knitting a sweater and we know that I don't do that.

*It's just some random tube that I'm going to attach to another, larger tube at some point.

*Just for fun.

*I might even make another one that looks just like it.


*But it is not a sweater. It's a "dishcloth."

*I am still clinging to that fairy tale. It keeps the Knitting Demons away.

*I also throw salt over my shoulder and knock wood from time to time.

*It can't hurt...

*One of my teaching assistants picked up that stomach bug that's been going around. She was out on Monday.

*She came back on Tuesday, clutching her stomach and making me open her cracker packages because she was too weak to do it herself.

*We are not supposed to come to work sick, but there was no reasoning with this woman.

*My other teaching assistant left school at the end of the day today clutching her stomach.

*Great. Just great.

*I bleached the whole room.

*It needed it anyway. Middle school boys tend to be...fragrant. A little once-over with the bleach wipes helps on any number of levels.

*See what I mean? I know stuff.

*Comes from experience.

Here's hoping that your Wednesday is fragrant in a good way and that you have naught but happy experiences. I'm going to keep plugging away on that "dishcloth" while the weather is cool enough to do so comfortably and hope that my own experience level is up to the challenge of finishing all those tubes before somebody at Knitting Disaster Central notices what I am doing.

I just have to keep reminding myself that I am sometimes good at what I do.


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

It Boggles The Mind...what's left of it.

I wore wool socks to bed last night. I awoke to a frightfully chilly house and stumbled out to the car for the morning commute to discover that it was only just above freezing out there. My classroom remained frigid for the entire day and no amount of sunlight hitting the windows could bring the temperature up enough to make me take of my stylin' velour hoodie. I was grateful that I'd thought to continue in the wool sock tradition for the day.

Half of my class is sick and spent the day sneezing, shivering or (heaven help me) vomiting and some didn't bother to even show up. The rest of us huddled together in one corner of the room, enveloped in a fog of disinfectant and hoping for the best. We chanted magical spells and threw rocks at anyone of a sickly nature who thought to even venture near us.

Sickly, sneezing children passing disease back and forth while confined in a small classroom. Arctic temperatures raging all around us and preventing the opening of windows, thus ensuring that we will never, ever release the germy horror. This is the stuff of January. Maybe even February.

But in May? The week before Memorial Day, no less? That is just madness.

With five weeks to go before the end of this most challenging of school years, I can expect the weather to turn soon. By week's end, I suppose I'll be whining about the heat and you will wonder why you even bother stopping by since you've heard it all before. At least it will be seasonal, though.

On the plus side, the cooler temperatures do keep my third floor classroom from totally overheating. We learned the hard way last Fall just how bad it can get in there when the sun beats down on my little corner of the building. It also inspires me mightily to knit upon that sleeve I've been working on. Sleeve-knitting in late May would normally seem weird. Not so when you wake up to find frost on the lawn!

On the negative side, the kids in my school are not fooled one little bit by the weather. They know that the end is near. They further know that we, their hapless teachers, are kind of tired. And that our power over them has limits. Sure, we have progress reports to hold over their heads next week. And final grades will probably sting a bit for some of them. But, in the end, we will lose our hold on them in just over a month. They know this. They have us right where they want us. We still have to show up if we want the paycheck, but we can't make them learn nuthin' if they ain't of a mind.

I cling to my sanity in a variety of ways. I knit, of course. That is soothing. I maintain a rigorous (sort of) schedule of physical exercise and then I eat leftover birthday cake. There's something of a balance there, I suppose.

I also seem to be spending a great deal of time listening to this song. It is currently in the #1 spot on my Ipod playlist.

I wonder why...


Monday, May 18, 2009

Cake-1; Sheepie-0 (+5 pounds)

I hate to admit it, but the cake beat me. How did this happen? I was so confident on Friday afternoon when I brought that bad boy home. (note to self: a child's birthday cake, complete with frolicking puppies and kittens, is not exactly bad boy material...) I figured I could easily consume most of it without even breaking a sweat. The rest I'd somehow choke down in the interest of saying that I did it.

But I just couldn't.

After I posted yesterday, I had every intention of following through on my promise to snarf down a bit more. I still thought I could pull it off. I was overconfident and maybe just a little bit dizzy from all the sugar. Yet the mere thought of cake made me queasy. I was done. I ate no more cake forever...or for the evening. Whatever.

With the donning of the jammies and the sliding between the sheets, I called an end to The Birthday Festivities and knew that my cake eating days were also over. Frankly, I couldn't see myself ever eating cake again. While I didn't finish the cake, I did make an impressive dent in it. I'm guessing it was designed to feed twenty or so, assuming you were doling out small, reasonably sized portions. I ate over half of it. Well over half. I dozed off believing that I might never eat cake again.

Now it is 7:06 on a Monday evening and I want cake. Again. Why I didn't just toss the thing away and be done with it? Was I really so foolish as to think that I was finished with cake? Could I really be so naive? Did it never occur to me that my tummy troubles were of a fleeting nature and that no one is ever really "over" cake?

Apparently not. I want cake again. And there is still cake in the fridge. I should not have cake as I ate too much of it over the weekend, believing that it was my birth(day)right. I could barely button my jeans this morning and almost had to call in sick instead of going to work because I didn't think wearing sweatpants would be professional.

Plus it was a "discount cake" and due to expire within mere hours of its purchase. Eating it now would probably kill me. Or, at the very least, cause me to have some sort of "incident" tomorrow morning and that is not the sort of thing you want to have happen when you teach middle school for a living. Or if you have eaten lots of blue frosting. There is no good scenario I can envision should I eat more of that cake...

I should probably just keep knitting away on that sleeve and ignore the fact that I have a blue frosted time bomb sitting in my refrigerator. That would definitely be the best course of action. I need to be strong. And toss that cake into the trash first thing in the morning then rush it out to the dumpster. I'm not going to do it now. I am already in my pj's and I don't want to venture outside. I probably wouldn't eat cake out of the trash can. But I'm still sort of flying high on the butter cream so I don't dare to make any promises. It is best to just leave the cake in the fridge for the time being. Just in case...

Thanks to all for the kind birthday wishes yesterday and today. It is sad to see a birthday end and it gave me no end of the glowing to keep getting "happy birthdays" throughout this day-after. It was like getting another whole day of birthday!

Which might mean I have to eat more cake...


Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sheepie Takes The Cake

One of my greatest delights is visiting the "Oops We Over-Baked" rack at the local bakery/superstore/giant conglomerate. It's in the back and generally not very well stocked, but sometimes you can find real gems if you travel out that way. Of course, this is not always the case. Sometimes there is nothing. Other times there is something you think is something but it ends up being nothing more than a stale disappointment. Yet it's always an adventure. And I find the hunt exhilarating.

If you are really, really lucky, you find the holy grail of baked goods: extra birthday cakes! Don't get me wrong. Cake, in general, is a good thing no matter why it exists. But there is something sort of special about birthday cakes and you can taste the happy in there. They tend to be kind of big, though. You have to really commit if you are going to get an "Oops" cake. They come with an expiration date and you have to set aside the time to eat cake if you want to beat the "best by" clock.

With my birthday looming, I found myself in need of a cake as I will simply not celebrate the day without one. It is wrong to not eat cake on your birthday. That is a rule. However, having gifted myself a great deal of late, (upgraded the TV, replaced my dying cell phone, bought those language CD ROM programs I'd been wanting for a while...) it made sense to check out the rack in the back before buying a full-priced cake. I hit the store on Friday afternoon and hoped for the best.


There was one cake. And it was a doozy! I don't suppose it is the kind of cake that most people in their mid-forties would choose, but it suited me just fine. And yes, it was of the gi-normous variety and required that I cancel any and all plans for the weekend.

Wanna see it? I took a picture before diving in. Just be prepared. Don't say I didn't warn you...

Oh, shut up. I can hear you laughing back here. It's cake. With butter cream frosting. Don't tell me you haven't thought of picking up the exact same one at least once in your adult life.

Of course, it had its downside. It is a white cake which, as we all know is fourth on the list of desirable cakes. First is chocolate. Second is yellow. Third is marble, but only if it is a combination of the first two. Then there's white. But it was 40% off and the only cake on the rack so I found myself more than able to live with white cake. Put butter cream frosting on it and it's fine. And if it's the blue and green frosting that stains everything including your teeth and tongue, then so much the better!

This is the point where some smart aleck always asks where carrot cake falls on the Cake List. As you very well know, carrot cake does not belong on the list at all. Carrot cake is nothing more than a conspiracy to get people to eat vegetables. Every time I see a carrot cake, I want to stage a rescue mission on behalf of the cream cheese frosting which is good and doesn't deserve to be on something so vile and insidious as a cake made of carrots.

I began noshing on this monstrosity Friday night, well in advance of my actual birth date. It's a big cake and it has an expiration date. I had no choice. I ate cake for breakfast on Saturday and with every meal since then. As of this morning, my true natal day, I have to admit I'm a little caked-out. It's become something of a mission with me to see how much of this cake I can eat before tomorrow morning when I can say that the birthday weekend is over. I don't know how much more I can eat, though. The cake may beat me.

But it was 40% off so I win no matter what happens. And I had cake for my birthday. I have caked to a degree that no one has ever caked before. Even if I have to go to bed tonight with cake still sitting under that plastic dome, I can say that I took the cake leap and that is sometimes enough.

Oh, yeah...I also knit a whole bunch of sleeve today, but I'm too bloated to get the camera right now. The only reason you are getting a picture at all today is because I took that one on Friday before my body mass was 85% butter and sugar. It will be a miracle if I can get my Another Year Older And Another Size Bigger Body out of bed tomorrow to go make some money for more cake.

For next year. I think I am done with cake for now. Well...maybe one more piece after dinner. And maybe one before bed since it is my birthday, after all. I suppose I could freeze one piece for later. You know. Just in case...


Saturday, May 16, 2009

I Go Fast In A Slow Kind Of Way

I'm a continental knitter, one of those wacky types who look like we are knitting backwards. I taught myself how to knit this way a number of years back after doing it the other way for forever and a day. Now I can't knit that other way any more.

That's OK. I knit really fast continentally-ish. I'm like a blur. It's amazing and I should probably teach a class or something except I can't explain anything while I am doing it and when I'm not doing it I can't remember how to do it enough to explain it. I can just knit (and make mistakes) at an impressive clip.

The problem is my ability to sustain. I don't exactly persevere. I normally crank out a round or two and then get distracted by something. Usually it's television related, but sometimes it's a kitchen thing. As in "Oh my God, there is a cat crawling into the toaster oven!!!" or "Wait...was I cooking something?"

I'm good if I'm in a group and everyone else is knitting. Then I've got the whole peer pressure thing going for me. I'm also pretty motivated if the alternative to knitting is something very boring. Waiting rooms or teacher workshops are usually pretty good for that kind of knitting. Progress is amazing under those circumstances.

Unfortunately, those sorts of situations do not always present and I mostly knit at home where there is a television, a couple of cats and a kitchen with a working (if not always well-tended) stove. This makes keeping the blog audiences entertained somewhat challenging. There just isn't much to look at sometimes.

It is probably a good thing I don't knit sweaters. Those take a really long time and never work out for me anyway. I do, however, sometimes knit "dishcloths." The kind with sleeves and which do not attract the attention of the vengeful knitting demons who don't like it when I knit sweaters. This brings us right back to the original problem:

Speed without pacing. I'm like the hare napping blissfully away while the tortoise plods steadily towards the finish line without me...

The best I can hope for is that distractions will present themselves while I knit fast and progress slowly. It is a desperate kind of feeling...

You can only imagine how giddy I became after watching 30 Rock this week. This was just what I was looking for! It was like a little gift from heaven!

I came of age during The Time Of The Benefit. Suddenly, we were the world, we weren't sure who knew it was Christmas and farms were being aided all over the place. It got to the point where if you had six even minimally musically inclined celebrities in one place at a time you didn't ask any questions. You just scraped the coke residue from around their nostrils, planted a mike in front of them and told them to sing from the heart. It didn't even matter if you had a cause in mind at the moment. That was for the Detail People. You cut the album before someone lured your musicians away with a movie deal.

It was good times, people. Good times. It's nice to see that someone remembers them.

ETA: As of this morning (5/17) it appears that the video has been removed due to a copyright claim by NBC. The song is available for purchase on Itunes and, before you get all up in arms about The Man and His Never Ending Greed, just take a breath. All proceeds will go to a most worthy cause. FMI, do the linky-thing over here. I am dropping the bucks to have this one in my own digital library, rest assured on that score. I'll probably hold on to my kidneys for the moment because I am still using them. Maybe later, I'll reconsider. You can't help but be inspired by a gathering of celebrities singing about kidney donation...

And Alan Alda played Milton Green, aka He Who Needs A Kidney. Life made sense again for a brief moment. This didn't help me to knit any faster, mind you. Nor did watching the clip on YouTube for days on end.

But you have to admit it is a nice distraction...


Thursday, May 14, 2009


Last Friday, I happened to be out and about after school. I stopped by one of the local Purveyors Of Stuff and there I saw a bag. It was a very cute bag. Sort of a cross between a bag and a purse. I'm a fool for bags. Especially cute ones.

I hesitated over that bag. I carried it around. I put it back. I returned to the rack and caressed it a few times. I slung it over my shoulder and reveled in its baggy, purse-y feel. I was quite taken with it.

In the end, though, I hung it back where I found it and walked away. I'm trying very hard to be a fiscally responsible person. Since I already happen to be a billion and four handbag person, I thought it was time to try something new. I was quite proud of myself. I left it behind.

And proceeded to think about it all week.

Happily, Mommy and Daddy Sheep thought to send out my Your Mother Has Decided To Forgive You Again This Year For The Agony Of Your Birth So Happy Natal Day card early. They enclosed a check. Checks are very good for people who can't help but think of purses left behind.

For the record, I fail to see the need for all that "agony of your birth" business. My birth happened to occur back during those halcyon days when ladies were sensibly drugged to unconsciousness for the whole messy business. We are like a club. You can easily identify us by those little divots the forceps left in our temples. On the other hand, I suppose that phase I went through where I'd eat nothing but ketchup might be cause for some second thoughts come gifting time. I guess it's just nice that my parents love me enough to still celebrate me in spite of my formative years...

Of course, there was but one of those bags in the whole store and it was highly unlikely that this particular bag would still be there. That was OK. They had lots of other bags and they were very nice. I could get a purse of equal or perhaps even greater gorgeousness!

I decided that today would be a good day to go purse shopping. I returned to the store to find a bag that would simulate the happiness that earlier (and very singular natured purse) gave me. I entered through the big glass doors and headed straight to the Accessories section.

And there it was.

As I live and breathe, the same bag was still there. Maybe it's because everyone thinks it's ugly. Maybe it was hidden most of the week. Maybe everyone else has already bought one and now I'm just a big fat copy-cat. I don't care. My bag was there and, thanks to the early birthday monies (no, it is not my birthday....calm down) I got to have my bag. The exact one I couldn't stop thinking about all week long.

I also bought a pair of jeans because I ran out of clean ones and didn't have any to wear tomorrow. That's right. I am personally responsible for the state of our natural resources and the wasteful nature of our planet. But I haven't had a working washing machine for a while now and I make no apologies. Sometimes it's easier to just buy a new pair of jeans for ten bucks off the clearance rack and that's that.

I suppose if I were a better knit blogger, I would have used my Good Job For Being Born Monies for yarn. I thought about it. But the purse kept intruding on the though processes. Even after I purchased my spiffy new bag, I wondered if I could maybe fool people and make them think I bought yarn. But you guys are too smart for that. There is no way anyone is going to mistake a bag for yarn. It's just not possible. Yarn is yarn and a purse is a purse.

But you can put yarn in a purse. If it is a nice big purse with lots of cool pockets for toting stuff, that is. That works, right?

I didn't even use the whole check for my new bag. There is still enough left over for cake when the real birthday rolls around. Or maybe some yarn.

Or cake and yarn...


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Wednesday. Take Two...

OK. I think I've got this all straight now. Yesterday=Tuesday. Today=Wednesday. Assuming I have some kind of grip on the timeline as we know it, I'm going to go ahead with The Wednesday Night Bullet Post. If you read this from some alternate universe or don't get to it until tomorrow, I don't particularly want to hear about it. I've had enough day-related confusion, thank you very much!

*Lots of staff shuffling going on in my school district these days. People are getting reassigned all over the place.

*I was told very clearly that nothing was final and that I should not even think about discussing the matter. Penalty of death and all that nonsense...

*Everyone else, apparently, does not care about penalties and told their staff what was going on anyway.

*Which is how my staff first heard about it at a meeting yesterday with no warning whatsoever while everyone else sat there nodding sagely.

*They did not know that they might have to move to a new classroom and were not expecting it at all.

*You can only imagine the degree to which I feel like an utter jerk.

*This could also explain the headache I've had for two days now.

*I didn't knit today because I got home late. And because it was not a day where I can ride the little exercise bike with my hands free to make sleeves happen.

*I did twenty minutes of lifting and then gave in to the headache.

*I'll knit tomorrow. Or maybe the next day...

*I finally got a check reimbursing me for all those bowling trips I paid for over the course of the school year.

*For the record, if you think your kid's teacher doesn't pay for stuff out of pocket, you are mistaken. We do it daily. I'm not kidding.

*I couldn't get all the money back due to lack of receipts, but I still think the sixty-six bucks in my wallet right now is pretty cool.

*I also have a check gifted unto me from Mommy and Daddy Sheep in that wallet. The checks are snuggled right up together nicely.

*If I leave them alone and let nature take its course, I do believe I will have a brand new, bouncing baby purse sometime within the next few days.

*At least that is how I remember it from Health class. I'll probably also have to go to the store, but I think I can manage that.

*I like purses. But I'm picky about them. They need to be gi-normous.

*For carrying emergency supplies.

*I'm like that. I can't help it. I like to carry stuff. Just in case...

*Remember my former Cheerful Teaching Assistant? The one I lost in the last Great School District Staff Shuffle? She like purses, too. I miss talking purses with her.

*And writing. She's a writer sort of like me only better and probably more organized about it.

*And reading. We both read lots.

*And knitting! Don't forget the knitting! We talked about knitting a lot, too.

*I miss talking to the CTA.

*Whoops. Just had to go remove an Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty from behind the television.

*The nice, new flat screen that I gave myself last month.

*He has good taste in the things he likes to hide behind and possibly topple to the floor.

*Did I mention that there is a great shuffling of staff going on in my school district?

*And that I haven't been able to discuss the matter?

*Penalty Of Death?

*Even if everyone else got to talk about it freely and without the Death Penalty hanging over their heads?

*It is now official, barring any further complications. I can discuss. Freely.

*The only thing standing between me and the discussing was one person's decision. Today, she made it.

*This is bigger than my headache.

*It is bigger than my Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty.

*It is bigger than my flat screen TV.

*The CTA is coming home!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

*A Happy Song For A Happy Day:


Tuesday, May 12, 2009


As I sat in my classroom with the last kid of the day and dreamed of the moment when his bus would finally be called, I had something of an epiphany. Not the good kind.

I couldn't help but voice this realization. It bubbled up from the very depths of my soul and was out before I could stop it. It was a mandatory verbalization. Not the quiet kind.

I bellowed out for all the world to hear, "Oh my God! It is Tuesday!!!!!!"

I knew that it was Tuesday when I got up this morning. I knew it as I blearily made my way to the car and sucked down coffee for forty minutes hoping that I'd wake up sometime during the commute. I seem to recall being quite clear on this fact when I entered the school and I'm certain that I was on top of things even up until the third teaching block.

It was sometime around then that the day seemed to morph into Wednesday and it stuck there until dismissal. That was when I had the "not good" and "not quiet" epiphany. It was also when I got a few very odd looks from my staff and that poor kid who has to wait until the very last bus.

It is Tuesday. Not Wednesday. I kind of feel like I have to do Wednesday all over again now and that is really rather unfair, in my opinion.

It is also not the first time this has happened to me during the '08-'09 school year. You'd think I'd have figured this whole days-of-the-week-thing out by now...

I could barely summon the will to pedal away on the little exercise bike when I got home. I'd managed to develop a real eye-twitcher of a headache by that point. (I also have a sore throat but I am ignoring that because it is so totally not the H1N1 flu and more likely due to yelling out the obvious during bus dismissal)

I did, however, pedal away on the little exercise bike. When you spend all day Sunday in your jammies and eating cake in honor of Mother (ish) Day, you sort of need to spend some time doing cardio. It is probably even more necessary if you are celebrating a holiday that you made up because you don't have children but want cake anyway. Karma will get you if you don't somehow balance the scales after stealing a legitimate holiday for your own selfish purposes.

Besides, I always do cardio and knit on Tuesdays. It's a good way to multi-task. I can't knit on Wednesdays when I do strength training. My hands are full with the weights and it is highly likely I will stab myself with a needle while I do crunches. It's good for the knitting when I get to ride the little exercise bike on a Tuesday.

On the other hand, repeating Wednesday afternoon is not so good. Not by a long shot.


Monday, May 11, 2009


I was standing in the cafeteria this afternoon and observing some of my darling students at lunch. I like to think that my presence is enough to inspire better behavior and perhaps decrease the amount of food flinging. The presence will have to be enough. That place is full of kids and I can barely pick out mine own from the throng. For all I know, they are staging a full-on coup from the back tables.

I was joined by my teaching assistants who wished to discuss an issue with me and see where I was with the whole mess. As we chatted, the principal came over and said:

Well, well, well! I wonder just what is afoot and could cause the three of you to stand in the cafeteria with arms crossed and looking so determined!

There was certainly enough going on today to justify crossed arms. I could don a straight jacket and remain in the crossed pose for the remainder of the school year and still not have done enough arm-crossing to cover the situation. I could grow extra arms and cross those for good measure. I could cross everything crossable and no one could accuse me of over-crossing.

But that was not the case today. I was crossed. But not because of any untoward behavior on the part of my students. As I explained rather pointedly to He Who Is The Boss Of Me, I was cold. Freezing to death, in fact.

This, of course, caused the principal to launch into a lengthy diatribe regarding the temperature in the building and how it seems rather ridiculous that he is considered responsible enough to oversee a plethora of students and full complement of staff, but not able to adjust the temperature. Apparently it was chilly in his office today as well...

It is May. And it is freezing. Yes. I complain a lot. I know this. Soon it will be very, very hot and I will fuss about that, too. It's not that I'm never content. It's just that I don't care for extremes. I want to be comfortable. I'm never going to be one of those people who claim to prefer "hot" or "cold." I want "medium."

The good thing about chilly temperatures on a day that should be more about the transition to all things t-shirt is that you want to do something about those crossed arms. Usually, I'm finding the idea of knitting things with sleeves rather unappealing at this time of the year. Now, I'm suddenly inspired! After attending the late meeting at school I'd forgotten all about, making my way home with the heat blasting away, popping that chicken into the oven that I also managed to forget to cook yesterday and settling myself on the little exercise bike, I cast on for a sleeve.

I'm still not admitting to anything other than straight-up dishcloth knitting. I stand firm in my resolve. I do not knit anything that might be worn on the upper body and require sleeves. No one should get all excited and start chattering about how Sheepie is knitting a sweater. We don't want any of the Knitting Curses to begin raining down upon my head as they are wont to do. I'm just saying that my arms were cold and that I started knitting a sleeve.

I can't keep my arms crossed forever. I'm going to need them at some point. Perhaps for pointing fingers of shame at my students while they frolic their way merrily towards the summer vacation season. I'll need sleeves...


Sunday, May 10, 2009

M Is For Mother (ish)

As I was performing the afternoon sanitation of the desks on Friday, The Kid Who Carries The Gi-normous Gym Bag came over to me. I was wielding bleach wipes and in a bit of a rush as I didn't have to stay quite as late that day. My only late bus student was out sick and I wanted everything done so I could bolt. I was very focused on getting the germs under control and only half noticed that someone was there. But it's not like you can avoid bumping into that huge gym bag so I finally caught sight of the student waiting to speak to me. Here is what he said:

"Hey, Ms. Sheep! I know you don't have any kids or anything and that you get that weird twitch when any of us call you Mom. But I still really want you to have a Happy Mother's Day anyways, 'kay?"

I'll just give you a moment. I'm sure you'll need it to make "awwww" noises and perhaps wipe away that tear that you don't want to admit to having. I understand. I was touched, too.

When TKWCTGGB tells you to have a Happy Mother's Day, you do it. He carries a lot of stuff in that bag. Some of it could probably be used to make my life miserable if he really wanted to take the time. He'll also ask me tomorrow if I enjoyed the day because he's like that. I took his wish for me seriously. This called for cake.

Fortunately, I had cake. It was one I made last weekend and stuck in the freezer before I knew that I needed to celebrate a day that I didn't actually earn. I also had fudge sauce so that all worked out. The only thing left to do was keep the jammies on for the entire day and watch my blood sugar.

I tried to get the cats in on the whole thing, but they didn't seem interested. Probably just as well. Breakfast in bed isn't all that great when the ones serving it don't get along all that well and tend to shed into whatever gets in their way. I made my own waff-ooz 'n syrup this morning and ate them on the couch. Close enough.

I chatted with my own mom, watched a highly enjoyable House marathon and knit my way to the point where I can justify starting on sleeves for That Thing That Could Be A Sweater If I Knit Sweaters But I Don't So It's A Dishcloth (with sleeves). I did all this while eating cake covered in hot fudge. And I never spilled a drop.

I do believe I can truthfully report to my student that I did myself proud on my Mother (ish) Day.

For those of you who are less "ish" when it comes to being mothers and who are celebrating yourselves, I wish for you all the best of days. I hope that you go to bed tonight feeling totally and completely appreciated for all you do.

And that you had cake. If not, you can get one tomorrow. There will be some really pretty ones on sale. Trust me. I know about these things. Go for the chocolate one if you can!


Saturday, May 09, 2009

Spring Fever

As we were riding back from our field trip yesterday, I was looking out of the bus windows and desperately trying to forget the fact that I was trapped with a bunch of kids who had an afternoon of testing ahead of them and the combined will to make my life miserable over it. I gazed at the trees, grass and flowering thing-a-ma-bobs and suddenly got that "Spring Feeling" for the first time.

That's sort of how spring goes around here. It hits fast. One minute you're swaddled in forty layers of clothing and the next you're in a t-shirt. With the recent rains and warmer temps, the blooming had commenced in earnest and it was hard to imagine ever having to find matching boots again.

Spring has its good side and its bad side. On the positive end of the spectrum, it is warm and colorful. You don't have to wear a jacket and I believe I've already mentioned that matching boot conundrum. That's done with, too.

On the down side, there is the sudden need for the school year to end even if there have been a billion snow days that need making up. I have to learn how to drive the car whilst wearing sandals all over again and that is always something of a trial. Today's drive from the grocery store (ten minutes at most) was fraught with peril since I couldn't seem to keep the back part of my flip-flop from catching on the accelerator.

Then there is the whole Seasonal Allergy Thing with which to contend. When everything blooms at once, the histamines have all kinds of things to choose from and can react with wild abandon. I'm kind of snuffly these days and I keep getting little hives at inopportune moments. Should I happen to find myself in a flip-flop related auto incident, I'm certain that I will present quite the pretty picture to the first officers on the scene.

That's OK. I'll still take spring over that wild and wicked winter we just experienced. If the price I have to pay is a case of the sneezes, then I'll gladly fork over an "ah-choo" or two. That's what OTC cold remedies were made for, after all. Besides, it's the weekend. I can even take a nip of that fun kind with the alcohol in it and just mellow the day away.

In fact, that is exactly what I did once the Flip-Flop Shop Event was over and done with. I can't think of a better way to spend the Saturday after a week of testing and multiple field trips with middle school students. I sat. I knit. I read. I napped.

It's all good. Even if that "Dishcloth" (with sleeves) doesn't seem to be getting any longer no matter how much time I spend knitting upon it. Must be the cold medications...

It was the perfect lazy day. Just the kind I like. While I lazed about and sneezed through the afternoon, the kitties were able to entertain themselves with various catly activities. The Big, Fluffy Kitty mainly napped and snacked. The Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty napped and tended to some much-needed grooming.

He fell over a lot doing this. That's probably why I didn't get too far with the knitting. I had to keep propping him up...

She lies. And takes too much cold medicine.

He doesn't have allergies so he is not the best judge of dosages, in my opinion. He also doesn't have to test middle school students or take them on two field trips in one week. All he has to do is find a way past his belly to clean his toes. Don't get me wrong. That is a mammoth undertaking and probably quite exhausting.

But not the same.


Thursday, May 07, 2009

A Poor Player...

You don't want to mess with me today. Seriously. I am a woman on the edge. I cannot promise you that I won't just teeter off that precipice and fall right into the kind of utter madness that involves the unraveling of your knitting. Today, I loaded 200 somewhat-odd kids on a bus and traveled with them a short distance to the local high school so they could watch some theater.

Not impressed? Fine. How about this? I traveled to the high school with 200 somewhat-odd middle school students and made them experience the theater.

There. I think we understand each other now.

I'm exaggerating just a bit. I didn't actually do this single-handedly. The rest of the teachers at my school went along for the ride as well. And the principal was there, too. I didn't have to wrangle all of them. It just felt like it.

Two schools in our district were scheduled to see The Chamber Theater Production at the high school's rather impressive facility. (If you are at all interested in this sort of thing, this was the show we saw) The technical aspects were amazing. Lighting, sound and scenery were among the best I've seen in my limited theater-going experience. While I found the pieces to be just a bit over-acted (apparently it was "enunciation and almost-British-accent week at Improv class...) it didn't really detract too much from the show. Frankly, the stuff geared towards younger audiences tends to run in that direction most of the time and I've gotten used to it over my many, many years of dragging children to these things.

The kids really weren't all that bad. I think they enjoyed it. But it's a long morning with lots of even longer wait times involving buses and scenery changes. Then we still had to go back and teach them something (per order of the principal) before they left for the day. I am tired. And I still can't figure out which of the little boogers had the laser pointer. This vexes me. I'm usually dead on with that sort of thing...

To make matters worse, it didn't even occur to me that I could have brought along some knitting until I was settled in my seat and wondering just how long one act of The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow could possibly last. Once I had that thought, it was impossible to let it go. I mentally beat myself about the head and shoulders for the rest of the show.

I suppose it distracted me from the laser pointer and the fact that I had to sit next to The Kid Who Has Worn The Same Hoodie Every Day Since Late September. That's probably a good thing.

I'm tired. Very tired. Forcing children to experience culture against their will because they will certainly enjoy it once they give it a chance is exhausting work. I just need to sit here at home for a bit where it is nice and quiet and where all is harmonious. I'd like to soak up the peace that comes from a Happy Habitat.


A place where no one ever squabbles over things like territory. Where no one cares who gets The Nappin' Basket and who gets The Big Cookie Bed.

For, as we all know, home is where you can always count on never having to get out the Water Squirting Bottle Of Judgement or listen to an Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty cry for twenty minutes because his sister does not love him. It's a place of sweet, sweet silence...

I eat beasts like him for breakfast. No problems here. None whatsoever.