Friday, February 26, 2010

Blown Away And Flooded With Hysteria

As I was driving home from school yesterday, I heard a very quiet little voice from the back of my head. I almost missed it because I truly did need to be focused on the road. However, it made itself known.


I stopped thinking about how disturbingly close the water level was to the sides of the road and remarked, "That's odd! I think I heard something..."

Another voice intruded, one I know quite well. It is the voice I hear in my head most days. It is the voice of reason. It was Rational Mind.

Ignore her. You know who it is and you know where she's going with this.

I agreed wholeheartedly. I most certainly did recognize that voice once I thought about it. And this was no time for Hysterical Mind to be distracting me. The wind was darned near blowing me right off the road for heaven's sake! But still she persisted.


I turned up the radio. I hummed loudly. Rational Mind applauded my efforts and spoke words of encouragement.

Don't let her get to you. Everything is fine. It's rain and, yes, it is going to flood. That much is certain. But we aren't going to let this turn into a disaster movie scenario.

Teeth gritted and hands clenched on the wheel, I continued to make my way through the storm. I could barely see through the driving rains and the wind howled so loudly that it pretty much drowned out everything else. Yet, I still thought I heard something.

Give in to it. Just relax and let Hysterical Mind take care of everything. You know you want to...

It was a close call, but I didn't fall prey to the hysteria. I remained firmly entrenched in Rational Mind's camp. There would be no flailing of arms nor predictions of doom on this night, by gum!!!

I stayed the course right up until bedtime. I slipped into slumber secure in the knowledge that I was Rational. Even the howling winds and periodic rattling of the windows didn't bother me. Neither did the flickering lights. Nor the sirens.

I awoke sometime in the wee hours. Four-thirty, to be exact. Something dragged me from sleep, but it took me a moment to recognize it. It was the gentle voice of Hysterical Mind.

Wake up. C'mon. Waaaaaake uuuuup...

I did not want to wake up. I still had half an hour of sleep left to me and I wasn't going to waste it listening to HM. But she was persistent.

Hey. Have you noticed anything? Something...different?

I squinted around blearily. Everything seemed fine. Except that it didn't. Something was different. It took a moment. And then I had it.

"I'm cold!" I said. I was pleased to finally make the connection but concerned about the chill all the same. HM seemed almost amused by this.

Very good. And what else?

That one took longer. I just couldn't figure it out. Finally, HM stepped in with a hint.

Isn't it usually more RED in here?

Red? Why would it be...wait! The alarm clock! The alarm clock numbers are red! But I didn't seem them. And then I realized that I wasn't hearing the refrigerator. Or seeing the light from the lamp I always leave on in the living room in case the zombies come. Nothing was running! Nothing!!! What was I going to do?????

Are you finally ready to let me take over this operation?

I groped around for Rational Mind, hoping she might be somewhere close and able help me figure out how to stuff HM back into the recesses of my brain. I called and called but all I got was a recording that said:

RM is currently out and unable to take your call. Please leave a message after the beep.

And HM said:


I surrendered. The power was out. Clearly things had gone from rational to hysterical during the overnight hours and it was time to accept it. I checked the battery operated travel clock I keep by the bed and got the correct time. I grabbed the cell phone and clicked the link HM put in there in case I couldn't use the laptop or TV on a snow day. It said that a terrible storm had taken out power all over the state and that roads were closing. So were schools, mine among them.

I lit the candles that she made me buy in bulk when they were on sale even though we have no place to store them.

When she told me to go get that fondue pot she picked out at the thrift shop last July, I reminded her that we had no gel fuel for it. She told me to look in the cupboard by the fridge.

And then directed me to set it up on the pizza stone in the kitchen where it would be safe to heat water for our coffee.

As I drank my morning brew, she began whispering in my ear again. Now she was talking about eggs. I explained that we could not cook eggs today because we were in a Very Serious Crisis That Only Allows Us To Eat Crackers All Day. She begged to differ and referred me to that website she found a while back. She'd read it to me but I wasn't listening at the time because who wants to think about cooking eggs in the dark? Apparently HM does and she remembered every word.

So we had eggs with sweet yellow peppers, cheddar cheese and the last of the cooked pork that wasn't enough for a meal but just enough for eggs.

Once breakfast was done, HM directed me to wash up the dishes (so we wouldn't die from rampant bacteria) and then triple check the gel fuel to make sure it was extinguished. (Actually, we checked it many, many times but she will only admit to three...) Finally, she made me set up a cooler to chill down all those sodas she wanted me to put in the fridge yesterday because she knew this was going to happen but did I listen to her? Nooooo....

Then she allowed me to sit down and knit for a while. This was something of a relief since HM can be exhausting when she is full-on Disaster Mode. She did, however, chastise me hourly for not charging the Blackberry before bedtime because we were really wearing down the battery every time we needed to check in on the progress of the disaster.

Around mid-morning, the power came back on. And it stayed on. I was able to watch TV and take a shower and make coffee...all the "normal" stuff. HM started to fade away as hysterical thoughts will often do when the lights are on. Rational Mind started taking credit for our morning because it all looks very rational and responsible when a person has the supplies to deal with flooding and high winds. RM and I sat back and watched reports on how others fared in this storm with an almost smug attitude because we'd thought ahead. How very rational of us!

But, deep down, I know otherwise. And even if I didn't, I'd still have that little voice nagging away in the back of my head. The one that tells me to buy a fondue pot in July because it would be handy to have someday. Or remembers to get gel fuel and sees the potential in a pile of discount candles. It's the voice that trumps Rational Mind while she's screaming about how we are out of cupboard space. And sometimes it's the voice that says:

I told you so.


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A Folksy WNPB

The raindrops are pitter-pattering their way across my landscape and the week drags on. But, as forty people told me today, it is Wednesday. It's all downhill from here, right? Any minute now, I'll have a weekend. I don't have a weekend right now, though. I do, however, have a Wednesday Night Bullet Post and that will have to suffice.

Here's the day's highlights:

*It is raining.

*Tomorrow, I hear it will rain some more.

*Then, just for a change of pace, I believe we will get some rain.

*It was supposed to be snow so I'm trying to not complain too loudly.

*The snow can sometimes hear you.

*Then it comes a-runnin' just like a dog to a whistle.

*That's Folksy Talk.

*I have concerns about my sock-in-progress.

*Picked up a whole lotta heel stitches.

*Not stretchy yarn so I figured it wouldn't hurt.

*Now the sock looks kind of big.


*I'll just stuff 'er down into the ol' shoe like a prom queen fillin' out her dress with the tissues.

*I'm all over the Folksy tonight.

*It's the rain.

*Muddles the thought processes.

*Busy weekend ahead of me. Lots to do.

*Places to go, people to see...

*Which is why I am wearing my pajamas with shoes.

*New shoes. Need to break them in.

*Tight shoes.

*I'm multi-tasking so I won't have to break in my new shoes over the weekend.

*While I'm busy going and seeing.

*Can't wear the gigantic socks with the new shoes.

*Too much with the gusset stuffin'.

*Socks will be worn with my old shoes that have already been broken in and which are more Giant Sock Friendly.

*I should really vacuum the carpets tonight.

*Busy weekend=weeknight multi-tasking.

*Can't vacuum. Breaking in new shoes.

*Too much multi-tasking isn't good for you.

*When it's raining.

*Why, a gal could get so bamboozled with all that doin' of tasks she might get all turned around and start breaking in the carpet while she vacuums her shoes.

*Folksy. Very, very Folksy.

*But not so good for the carpets.

I'd best be getting back to all that giant sock knitting and not vacuuming. And these shoes aren't going to break in themselves, now are they? They might have if I'd gone a half size larger but who can say for sure?

Maybe they'd still be as stiff as a wet acrylic sock straight outta the freezer...


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

In A Fog

We've had an amazing run of good weather up in these parts. There was a storm last week...but it was a dud for most of us. What little snow that managed to sneak through has melted. There's been a decidedly "springish" feel to the air.

This appears to be ending. A round of Weather is headed my way. It's not "snow day" weather, at least not yet. There's the possibility of something later but, for now, it's just drizzly, soggy and moving towards winter again.

Weather has a way of affecting a classroom. Low pressure is not a friend to those of us who work with the younger set and it tinkers with the delicate balance of power between Us and Them. To make matters worse, it slows cognition markedly

To put it mildly, we were all stumbling around today. It wasn't pretty.

The Cheerful Teaching Assistant, perky under most circumstances, returned to school this morning but was still feeling the effects of jet lag after her whirlwind London excursion. I started off strong, but faded quickly as the dismal weather closed in. The boy who is Gauged And Aerodynamic lasted through math class then had to go lie down. He could barely keep his eyes open and was rapidly losing much of his aerodynamic personae. The Stalker (who has followed me since fourth grade and through three schools) was cursed by having his required Triennial Assessments scheduled for today and we had to forgive his mood. It's not his fault that federal regulations require this kind of thing no matter what the weather.

Frankly, the only one who had his act together at all was The Great Debater and don't think he didn't know it. He was the King Of Logic today and owned us all.

I think that He Who Needs A Nicotine Patch By Noon had it the worst, though. On the best of days, he is grumpy as the lunch hour approaches. He tries, bless his heart. But sometimes the pressure of the educational system and his faulty sleep patterns have their way with him. Not to mention the fact that the average middle school doesn't offer a smoking section.

All this could go a long way towards explaining why my class ended up talking about donuts today. I know that we started with a science class. I distinctly remember planning their projects. How we got to snack foods, I have no idea. It just seemed to...happen. One minute we're doing that for which I get paid and the next HWNANPBN was trying to explain which of the donuts was his favorite.

He'd been trying for some time, but just couldn't find the right words to describe this confection. He told of the color (dark brown). He told of the texture (chewy unless it's stale but it's still good). He told us exactly where it is placed in the box as compared to the others (two in from the right and close to the center).

But we still weren't getting it. He couldn't get the true wonder of this donut imprinted upon our brains. By this time, he was leaning helplessly against the window, framed by the shimmering rains that fell in sympathy with his plight. He even beat his head slightly against the glass as if to somehow jar loose the right words.

Finally, with eyes shut tight and with hands clenched into fists he cried out:

They're just so GOOD! They taste...they taste like...THEY TASTE LIKE LOVE!!!!!!!

And that, gentle readers, is the definition of Donut Devotion. There is no higher praise. I only wish I could think of something in my own life for which I felt such passion.

I'm trying to work up the same sort of feeling for that sock I'm knitting. I like it. Don't get me wrong. It will probably come in handy now that winter is coming back. I have an affection for the sock.

But it will never taste like love...


Sunday, February 21, 2010

Last Of The Vacationing

I remain firmly entrenched in denial, but I'm going to have to face it sooner or later. Preferably sooner since tomorrow morning's coffee depends upon my getting it ready before bed. Vacation is over and tomorrow I have to go back to school. The future doctors and lawyers of this fine land are counting on me, after all...

I suppose a good note upon which to end would be with a training film review. I would never let a week of respite go by without sharpening my skills. The future doctors and lawyers of this fine land will be counting on me in the coming Zombie Apocalypse, after all...

And it's marginally knitting-related since I finished up the Mittens 'o Shame while I was watching, right?

The sad fact of the matter is this: I've watched a lot of zombie movies and it's getting hard to find good ones. Some are OK. Some are better than that. Others? The best you can say is, "they tried."

Last Of The Living falls somewhere in the middle, I think. It doesn't offer much in the way of new material, but there are always lessons to be learned. One can't afford to let a training opportunity pass by without taking advantage. That's just forward thinking. And when that opportunity is found for five bucks at the local department store, so much the better.

I might quibble with the quick thinking guy in the marketing department for reissuing the product with the label, "Zombieland's Got Nothin' On These Slackers," though. That's stretching things a bit. was pretty enterprising.

The tips I have to pass along after this particular educational session are as follows:

1. As much as we like to think otherwise, our good friends in New Zealand are not going to be spared in the coming apocalypse. In spite of having their very own center for viral study, it's just not going to work out well.

2. I find the spelling "centre" far preferable to "center." It's classier and inspires confidence in this particular Yank. However, it will make no difference in the end. It's all the same to the undead roaming the halls.

3. Whether it is a "centre" or a "center," it would behoove its planners to put more in the way of medical equipment around the place. Security might be helpful as well.

4. New Zealanders are rather impressive in a crisis. Most of them will develop almost ninja-like skills in the face of the menacing, moaning masses. They will also step up with the witty repartee.

5. The down side of this is that a few of the zombies, in full defiance of the example set by their shambling peers, will also begin sprinting nimbly about. This is confusing since it's hard to tell which ones are limber and which ones are more sedate.

6. For the record, the ones that hiss seem to be quicker but I'm not sure I have enough data to back that up. Screeching can be a good clue as well, I think.

7. A zombie in a parachute is funny no matter what the circumstances.

8. Don't go getting all sentimental about witty, ninja-like New Zealanders. Everyone is expendable.

9. The lacrosse helmet is often underestimated.

10. No one needs a new CD so badly that it's worth going out in the middle of the Zombie Apocalypse.

I think that about covers it. You are now better prepared to battle the undead army when the time comes. Feel free to print this material for your personal use, but remember to include the Sheepish Attributions should you disseminate it. I get royalties and whatnot, you know. This is hard work. I'm planning for the survival of the whole world here!!!

OK. I don't really get royalties. Mostly I just get a lot of strange looks...


Saturday, February 20, 2010

Dirty Little Secrets

We all have a dark side, right? Things we're not proud of? Things we'd rather just let faaaaade into the background? I have oodles of dark secrets that should never, ever see the light of day.

However, confession is good for the soul and I hear that karma likes it when you come clean. What's the use of having a blog if you can't periodically use it to unburden your soul onto unsuspecting readers, right?

Deep, Dark Secret The First:

It appears that I really hate cleaning. In fact I hate it so much that, when faced with a display of shiny toilet seats in the discount store, I will lose all sense of responsibility. I will think, "You know what? It would be easier to buy a new one of these thingies than it would be to clean the old one."

This is not even close to true. Nor is it one of my prouder moments, but there you are. It is what it is. I considered buying a new toilet seat to be more efficient than wiping down the old one. My mother is beside herself with the pride.

To be fair, the retired seat came with the place when I bought it twenty years ago and you can't say it didn't do the job. And the new one is pretty darned spiffy. It took some wrangling to get it connected since my toilet is, apparently, not "standard size." But it's on and it's beautiful. Truth be told, when I sit myself upon what is sometimes crassly referred to as "the throne," I sort of do feel like a princess! I really, truly do!

It is shiny enough to put the rest of that particular household fixture to shame, but it seems a bit over the top to replace the entire toilet. Even if it probably would be easier than cleaning...

Deep, Dark Secret The Second:

First of all, let me say that the Olympics are amazing. They represent the world at its best and bring us all together in the spirit of competition and cooperation. I have great respect for the tradition of the Olympics.


It's still sports. Worse, it's sports played outdoors. In the cold. Except for the ones that are inside, but there is still something of a "chilly" vibe going on there. I don't care for watching sports. I am even less inclined to watch sports that involved people wearing winter gear.

This year, I have watched nary an event. Not the opening ceremonies. Not skating. Not skiing. Nothing. I accidentally caught a bit of the curling but that was more of a problem with my remote not responding quickly enough rather than my suddenly developing an interest in the sweeping of ice. (which is, as you know, cleaning and sports put together...yikes!)

Don't get me wrong. I'm as excited as the next guy when we take gold and I've kept track a little bit. Sort of. I'm proud of our athletes. I just can't sit and watch sporty-type stuff without getting bored.

Besides, everyone is Twittering all over the place about it so it's almost like I'm watching, right?

Deep, Dark Secret The Third:

On Wednesday, I announced that I was really getting into the vacation schedule. I confidently stated that I was now ready to tackle all those projects that I'd left undone while I "adjusted" to this workless state. That was probably a mistake.

I started off strong. But then the whole "toilet seat" thing happened and it was pretty much all over after that. It's hard to keep to the schedule once you've taken a left turn of that magnitude. How do you top it?

I ended up sitting in front of a movie for the rest of the afternoon. (A training film, granted and one that offered a few helpful tips I may use in the coming Zombie Apocalypse, but still...) Most of the things I thought I'd get done this week while I had the time remain undone. Sheepie hangs her head in shame.

For what it's worth, I finished the stupid Mittens 'o Shame. But that hardly seems to make up for the sloth.

Deep, Dark Secret The Fourth:

You know what? It really does feel good to confess! In fact, it feels so good that I'm going to confess on behalf of another. I want everyone to feel as clean of soul as I!

Half-Priced Candy Day began on Monday and I fear I was a little over-enthusiastic. I always say I'm going to keep things within reason, but it's hard when you're faced with a whole table of half-priced goods. Why I thought I needed a bright pink fleecy throw covered in fancy hearts, I don't know. It goes with nothing in the manse. And I have enough blankets here, Lord knows. But I guess I blacked out for a minute in all the excitement and suddenly I had a hot pink blankie. With a matching pillow.

I don't much care for it, truth be told. It's a little too frou-frou for my tastes. But there is another who loves it. Someone who fancies himself a real man's man. Someone who names himself the Protector Of The Household and Lord Of The Manor. Someone who, in my opinion, clashes with bright pink and has no business swaddling himself in it.

Err...I can

He's going on and on about how cats are color blind, but that doesn't explain his being so attracted to the heart pattern. He just doesn't want to admit that he's gotten in touch with his feminine side, is all.

He's feel better if he just manned up and spoke true. There's no shame in pink hearts. I wish I could say the same about new toilet seats...


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

WNBP: As Intended

Hard to believe it is actually Wednesday. I had to check. I usually do. Days of the week only make sense to me when I think of them within the context of the prime time TV lineup and that isn't always something you can count on.

But Wednesday it is and it's time for some bullet points. So here they be:

*Today was the kind of day I envisioned when I thought about school vacation week.

*Did I mention it is vacation week? I can't remember...

*It is.

*I was very productive today. I did lots of things that a vacationing person who isn't going someplace interesting should do.

*I cleaned one shelf in the fridge.

*Then I got a tetanus shot.

*I steam cleaned my wool coat.

*I mopped the kitchen floor.

*I did rather well until about 1:00 and then I played computer games for four hours.

*We'll try for a longer session of productivity tomorrow.

*None of this productivity included knitting a thumb.

*I suspect that a great deal of today's activities revolved around the avoidance of that thumb.

*Tomorrow. The thumb will be knit tomorrow. It has to be.

*I like February Break. It's the first vacation of the school year that doesn't come with obligations.

*The Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty is also pleased to have Mommy home.

*This creates an obligation in that he wants to play while I want to not be obligated.

*I finally broke down and got out a new Dollar Store Cat Cave with which to divert him.

*He likes them when they're new. They still have a shape and aren't all tattered.

*Which is ironic given that it's his love of the Dollar Store Cat Caves that causes their ultimate destruction.

But how do you deny an AGK the thing he loves most?

*I stock up on the things whenever the Dollar Store gets them.

*They look at me funny at the Dollar Store.

*Not sure what was going on in this next picture. He might be yawning.

*Or grinning broadly.

*Or singing a loud, lusty love ballad in praise of the Dollar Store Cat Cave.

Or gearing up to take a bite out of my face...

*Yesterday's snowstorm was a bust, in case anyone was wondering.

*Three inches, tops.

*In my area. Others got more. Others got less.

*It all melted.

*I'm not the least displeased by this turn of events.

*Proof that knitting three rounds on a thumb will appease karma and keep it from dumping snow on my head.

*I hope...

That's it. Unless you want a detailed description of my plan to clean the toilet tomorrow, that is. And I'm assuming you don't. Hopefully, the siren song of the computer game won't lure me away from my dreams of a fresh, clean bowl. Again, though, I'm thinking you don't want to hear about that. I should probably just wrap things up now.

The End


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Paying The Piper

There is always a price for not paying attention to the karmic balance. I forget that sometimes and always to my sorrow.

I do stupid things. I ignore a mitten that should have been finished a million years ago because the thought of picking up those thumb stitches is just too much for my fragile psyche. I forget to clean the cat box. I send the car payment late enough that even I can't come up with a good excuse when the bank calls. (they no longer believe me when I say I have a chronic condition that causes me to break out in hives when I come into contact with stamp adhesive) I blithely go about my days as if there are no consequences. If the car needs an oil change, I'll get to it when I get to it. If the leftovers in the fridge have been there long enough to develop emotions and the ability to share them, I'll just consider them new friends. It will all work out. What could possibly go wrong?

But karma always gets you in the end. Any of the aforementioned things could have caught its attention. Each is worthy of a little bit of the smiting. I have a sneaking suspicion that it might have been something else though.

I think it could possibly be that it is a bad thing to torment your snowbound friends and family on Facebook with the fact that all the snow has melted where you are. It might be the sort of action that gets you into trouble later. It will seem funny at the time, granted. But a bad thing will happen. There are rules to the universe and one of them is this:

Taunting frozen relations will lead to snowstorms during your school vacation week.

There's nothing I can do about it now. What's done is done and I offer up my heartfelt apologies to all involved as well as to my fellow Mainers who must now suffer for my mistake. It isn't nearly enough, I know. But it's all I can do. For what it's worth, I'm chilly and didn't get nearly enough half-priced, left-over Valentine's Day candy to see me through an extended weather event. I'll probably run out and be left with naught but canned vegetables.

And I've learned my lesson. Truly I have! As I checked the weather report this morning and realized that the snow was coming, I did what little I could to make it right with karma. I picked up that mitten and promptly started the thumb. It felt good to do the right thing.

Of course, I didn't finish it. I just did three rows. But they were heartfelt rows and fairly dripping with contrition. I think karma will be OK with that...


Sunday, February 14, 2010

Fair Warning

I'd like to take a little break from the regularly scheduled excuses for not picking up thumb stitches and finishing that stupid mitten to address a very serious topic. It's that time of year again and we must be sure to remember the solemnity of the season.

I think that the best way to remind people of the occasion is to relay a conversation I had Friday afternoon as I was leaving school. In the interest of full disclosure, I should probably tell you that this is not an exact transcript. While it is primarily based on that exchange, it also includes elements from similar discussions throughout the day. Not that it really matters, but I like to be up front about these sorts of things, you know.

The Time: 2:35

The Place: The main office of A Very Happy Middle School

The Players: Ms. Sheep, Colleague #1 and Colleague #2

Ms. Sheep: I am leaving. I know it is early but I deserve it because I didn't kill the kid who is Gauged And Aerodynamic. He walked close to the line between life and death today but I didn't give in to my baser instincts.

Colleague #1: Nice job!

Colleague #2: Kudos!

MS: Thank you.

C#1: And have a nice vacation, too!

C#2: Yes! Enjoy!

MS: Vacations are good. Especially when they fall during The Most Exalted Of Holidays.

C#1: Pardon?

C#2: What's that you say?

MS: Sunday. You know...Sunday? It's Half-Priced Chocolate Eve!

C#1: Half-Priced...Oh! The day after Valentine's Day.

C#2: Aren't you clever? I think that should be a real holiday.

MS: It is. But you don't get to celebrate. Sorry.

C#1: Pray tell, why?

C#2: Yeah. What she said. The pray tell part.

MS: Half-Priced Chocolate Day (or "week" if you take it to extremes... and I do) is the single girl's holiday. It is the day we get to purchase some of the finest chocolates at reasonable prices and without guilt. We can stock up for months of single days and nights. It's our day. You get the day before.

C#1: That seems rather unfair.

C#2: Yeah. My husband doesn't remember to get me anything.

MS: You made your choice. You could have gone a different way with this. Besides, I seem to recall you saying something about him shoveling the driveway and helping you move the sofa. You went for brute strength. That is not my fault.

C#1: What about me? The voters of this great state opted to not recognize my civil union as a legal marriage. Don't I get something for that?

MS: I see your point. It's a valid argument. But no. Under the laws of Half-Priced Chocolate Day, you are legally married. It's an equal opportunity holiday and not subject to questionable/unethical TV spots aired prior to election day. For what it's worth, anyone in a relationship of more than 12 month's duration can't celebrate it either. It's for those of us who act as our own Valentines.

C#1: I have the right to buy chocolate whenever and wherever I want, you know.

C#2: Yes. As do I. You cannot stop me.

MS: Perhaps not. And I know it seems unfair. But I didn't invent the rules, you know. There are lots of things I didn't invent. Here's a partial list of those things:

1. I did not invent the Sad, Pitying Smile or the Accompanying Sorrowful Head Shake.

2. Nor was I the creator of the Hush Up Now, The Single Gal Is In The Room So Let's Stop Talking About Our Valentine's Day Plans game.

3. The words, "Don't worry, lots of people find their Special Someone at your age" were not first uttered by me.

4. I was also not the one who came up with, "I think it's so, you live such an, um...independent life..."

5. I am not the great innovator who first conceived of The Blind Date As A Kind Thing To Give The Single Friend Who Has Everything Because Surely She Cannot Stand To Be Alone On Valentine's Day.

C#1: You've put a lot of thought into this, haven't you?

C#2: Yes. Lots of thought. When do you find time to teach?

MS: For the record, that last one has forced me to fake raging sinus infections and astronomically high fevers for the past twenty years. It's a great deal of work and takes away from the thinking of important thoughts.

C#1: Well...enjoy your winter break. However you celebrate it.

C#2: Yes. Enjoy. However you do that.

MS: Thank you. And I trust that our paths will not be crossing at the clearance tables next week.

In closing, let me say this. We The Single People are generally good sports about this day. Whether our singular nature is by fate or (as in my case) by choice, we have a sense of humor. Further, we maintain that jovial attitude when Half-Priced Chocolate Day, our holiest day of the year, rolls around. We don't deny others a bit of the bounty. But please remember that those crumpled, heart shaped boxes mean more to us than the shiniest of diamonds and that they smell sweeter than the long stemmed roses currently gracing tables throughout the world. We probably won't fight to the death over the matter. We are not likely to resort to hand to hand combat over dark chocolate truffles. We are civilized beings in spite of our somewhat misunderstood status.

But you can't be certain of anything. It's hard to say how these things will go. I'll leave you with this warning. Should you be of a mind to get yourself a some of that discounted candy tomorrow, please remain alert. The partnered among you are obvious, especially on February 15th. You have a look about you and are often sporting new jewelry. If you happen to be reaching for the last box of the good stuff, be sure to look both ways first. You just never know.

This may be the face you see coming at you.

If this is the case, drop the dark chocolate truffles and proceed to the nearest exit. It's not worth it. There's always next year...

Happy Valentine's Day!


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

WNBP: The Art Of Misdirection

I normally try to think of Wednesday as a positive kind of thing. It is midweek. It marks the beginning of the end and puts us closer to the weekend. It's not Monday. That last one will work if you are really stuck for something nice to say about your day.

This week has proved itself to be endless. It might as well be Monday for all the good the passage of time is doing me. At least I have the Wednesday Night Bullet Post to look forward to. Let's see how things shook down today:

*No storm up here. This is good. I'm kind of over this whole "winter thing."

*Yes, a snow day would have been nice. Especially given the snail-like nature of this ridiculous week. I would have enjoyed that.

*But it's better to think about not having to make up the day in June at this point.

*Plus it's the week before school vacation so that kinds of takes the sting out of it.

*The Cheerful Teaching Assistant is sickly right now. She's sneezing. A lot.

*This is an issue not just from a "Sheepie's fear of germs" standpoint.

*She leaves for London early next week.

*London hates it when American tourists come over and sneeze all over the scenery.

*We are thinking healthy thoughts.

*And offering up preemptive apologies to the international community for whatever may happen.

*Several kids did very well in art class today and earned extra "choice" time. They "chose" to play computer games. The boy who is Gauged And Aerodynamic was pleased by this turn of events and, as a result, more chatty than usual.

*This resulted in The Best Conversation Of The Day:

Gauged And Aerodynamic: Did you know that if you die and no one finds you, your cats will actually eat you if they get hungry? That's just gross!!

Ms. Sheep: Well, they're not like people. You can't blame them. They're just doing what instinct tells them to do.

Cheerful Teaching Assistant: I don't feel so good...

GAA: I mean...dude! Seriously! Eaten by your cat! That's a bad way to go.

MS: Yeah.

CTA: (blows nose and looks wearily at the unmoving clock)

GAA: It just creeps me out. My cat starts nibbling on me if I just go to sleep...

(MS and the CTA immediately start mentally composing their respective Facebook updates, trying all the while to hold back their giggles)

*I am of the opinion that the manufacturers of whole wheat pasta should have to answer for their crimes against diners everywhere.

*GAH! I hate whole wheat pasta.

*It always seems so healthy and I get guilted into trying it.

*False advertising. Bad pasta. Bad, bitter, gritty, slimy pasta.

*Join me in a class action suit, people! Rise up against this injustice!!!!!

*The Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty seems perplexed by my having used duct tape to secure the cabinet he keeps opening.

*I wouldn't mind except he takes out all the pots and pans.

*The Big Fluffy Kitty refuses to do anything about it.

*She is immune to my waving around the "You Are The Big Sister And Therefor Responsible For What Goes On Around Here During The Day" clause.

*If I die and people find me, I'd appreciate it if someone steps up to explain all the duct tape.

*Looks crazy. And could be mistaken for bad decorating choices.

*That didn't come up today in the Dead At Home With The Cats discussion, but I'll be sure to mention it tomorrow.

And there's Wednesday. As this week trickles away towards its end point, I am finding little to celebrate. The pasta was whole wheat, the weather is drizzly (albeit not stormy) and the clock won't move no matter what I say. However there is one thing I managed to accomplish.

I avoided discussing the unfinished mitten with the gaping thumb hole sitting right in the middle of it.


Monday, February 08, 2010

Me Vs. Actual Me

I have this image of myself. Sure, I know I'm flawed. But I like to think that the image is pretty close to what I envision.

I won't bore you with the details. You probably don't need to hear about how I am poised and clever in all social situations. Or how I can wax philosophical at the drop of a hat and that everyone is always fascinated by what I have to say. In my own personal view, I am also the type who regularly saves kittens from trees and little old ladies from mail fraud. I think I can also fly sometimes, but even I know that is a little over the top...

Yes, in my mind's eye, I'm pretty gosh darned nifty. And my greatest quality? Well that's an easy one to identify. I happen to be a Great Knitter Of Mittens!

Having a good self image is probably something for which to strive. Except for the flying and kitten-saving delusions, I think it is good for my character to think positively. What is not good is being faced with stark evidence to the contrary. That is something of a downer.

As much as I want to believe myself a Mitten Maven, I don't think I am. Would such a person take over a month to knit a pair of mittens? Would she take advantage of every excuse to not knit a mitten just to avoid getting to the thumb part? Would the High Priestess Of Hand Coverings consider not doing the daily ride on the little exercise bike because that is her usual knitting time?

Probably not.

I may have to rethink my Perceptions Of Self. Even if I get to the finish line with these mittens, I don't think that this will qualify me for greatness. A pair of plain mittens, especially plain mittens that are the sole project upon which one is working, should not take over a month. I'll get them done. I'll probably even get them done soon. That is something, I suppose. But it does not make me a Great Knitter Of Mittens.

Time to rethink my whole life and my list of good qualities. But I'm keeping the part where I save little old ladies. And I'll probably fill in the blank left by the mittens with something along the lines of "Lion Tamer."

That will help take the sting out of it...


Saturday, February 06, 2010

Safety Lapse

My being designated one of the school district's Safety Procedures Trainers has nothing to do with my skills. The decision was not based on my innate sense of safety. I was not handpicked from a list of eager applicants. This dubious honor came about by virtue of the fact that I was home when the secretary was cold calling people to see if they'd do it.

Essentially, the whole thing boils down to my being too lazy to get out of the house and too curious to not answer a ringing phone...

I swore that, after the first year, I wouldn't do it again. Unfortunately, I was one of several who made this declaration. Even more unfortunate was my failure to do so before my colleagues. By the time I got around to quitting, the pool of instructors had dwindled markedly and I was begged to stay on for just one more year.

I'm now in year three and have accepted that it is probably better to teach it than it would be to have to take the class from someone else. These are the sorts of things we tell ourselves when we are trapped at the bottom of a well with no hope of escape. "Gosh, it could be worse. At least it's not raining and I haven't seen any alligators yet..."

I normally teach the class a few times a year and with two other people. This year, however, I've had coverage problems in my classroom and, no matter how hard I try, I can't seem to make it work. I've had to abandon my fellow Safety Instructors more often than I've been able to help them out. I felt badly about that and offered to teach one of the classes by myself to make up for my poor attendance.

It didn't sound so bad, really. I'd have control over the timing and content. In fact, I told myself, I could probably have this whole thing over and done with by 1:00 if I put my mind to it. That would make for a nice, early start to the weekend!

I amaze myself with my ability to dream big. I really do...

As usual, I wasn't totally prepared. That was OK. I can fake preparedness. Of course, there was no way to get around the issue of people coming in late. Or how this happened to be a chatty group who could easily take me so far off course that I was nowhere near where I needed to be on the syllabus by the time they were begging me for a lunch break.

I suppose I could have thought more about how I was going to demonstrate two and three person holds when I was all alone. How I failed to take into account the need to observe everyone performing the various moves within this short time frame, I'll never know.

The 1:00 hour passed and we were nowhere near done. Despair gave me the energy I needed to push through, though. Never before in the history of Safety Instruction have a group of people extricated themselves from front and rear choke holds so quickly. Supported escorts and evasive maneuvers were executed at speeds approaching the sound barrier. I would imagine that anyone glancing into the room might think we were reenacting scenes from those old movies where everyone is racing about all herky-jerky. I didn't care. We were getting through this or we were going to die trying. I may have missed my 1:00 dream deadline, but 2:00 was not out of the question. An early end to this day could still happen!

And so it did. The final test was handed out by 1:40 and the trainees were all happily exiting the classroom shortly thereafter. While they agonized over the brief, open book test, I cleaned up the room so I wasn't all that far behind them. Most people said that they enjoyed the class and one even commented on how she learned more this time than in any other. It should have been a triumph on my part, but it didn't feel that way.

The death knell came early in the class. I looked over at one of the trainees, someone I know well from my own school. She seemed happy and serene. She was almost placid, despite the hurried pace of the course. And why was this? She managed to remember the thing that I forgot. Yes, I forgot many things but this one was my undoing. Watching her made it all the more painful.

She remembered her knitting. I did not.


Wednesday, February 03, 2010

WNBP: Now With Hiccurps!

OK. We've got our Wednesday. That means we are on the downward slope towards the weekend and, if we ignore the fact that I have to teach a Safety Procedures class on Friday and my total lack of preparedness, we can feel pretty good.

And if that's not enough for you, then I'll even throw in some bullet points!

*Last night, I had a bit of a philosophical dilemma.

*Is it worse to spend three hours thinking, "Oh my God, am I going to throw up?"

*Or is it worse to actually throw up?


*Or Eventuality?

*Both were unpleasant.

*Still felt rather ooky this morning, but staying home sick was not an option.

*Short-staffed in the classroom.

*Fortunately, it was only a half day for kids.

*Mr. Principal was nice enough to say I could go home.

*Still wasn't sure, though.

*Then I got tired of worrying about what was going to happen every time I hiccurped.


*Hiccurps+Ooky Feeling=Possible Public Gastric Disaster

*Lots of hiccurps today. Each of which was fraught with tension and an ominous burning sensation.

*I came home early and didn't do my usual work out.

*Hiccurps+Cardio=Carpet Cleaning

*Hiccurps-Cardio=No Mitten Knitting

*Does anyone else ever watch the opening sequence to Friends and think about how it was filmed back when they didn't know each other very well?

*And wonder if they felt kind of stupid dancing around in that fountain?

*I'd probably get the hiccurps and embarrass myself all over the place...

*They'd have to clean the fountain.

*Zombieland came out on dvd yesterday.

*No. I am not even putting a link on that one. I've been telling people about this for weeks in my "real" life and getting lots of blank looks.

*I'm tired of explaining it.

*OK. OK. Fine. I'll link it. I am not feeling well and hiccurping everywhere and now I have to do links!

*Zombieland. Be still my heart...

*Still need more? OK. I'll give you the trailer...but that's it!

And that is my day in hiccurps and bullet points. I am thankful for principals that let me go home early. I am also thankful for Mrs. Secretary Who Sits At The Front Desk and the fact that she spent most of last night watching Zombieland on an endless loop. This gives me hope for our future.

And that my hiccurps will remain just that and not evolve any further. The alternative is not something we should contemplate...


Monday, February 01, 2010

Blog, Darn It!!!!!!

I was in the shower this morning when I heard somethng beeping. As the sound increased in volume, piercing the early morning silence, I realized that I forgot to shut off the alarm clock when I staggered out of bed. That little beep tore into my eardrums like a rabid bunny but there was nothing I could do from the shower.

Actually, I forgot to shut off the back up alarm clock, but that is neither here nor there. I don't want to talk about the level of paranoia I have about oversleeping...

After putting on my coat, gathering my commuter breakfast and making my way to the car, I suddenly thought that my arms were less full than usual. How was it that I had a free hand with which to take the trash to The Dumpster Where The Zombies Live? I finally realized that I'd forgotten my coffee. With a sigh, I made my way back inside and up to the stairs to retrieve my blessed beverage.

When I arrived at school, I realized that my quick escape on Friday afternoon hadn't included a check of the Monday Lesson Plans. I'd forgotten to copy much of the needed material and my prep period wasn't until the last block of the day. I had to "wing it." This generally works out but not as well as I'd like.

When the Cheerful Teaching Assistant arrived, I realized that I'd forgotten to bring the peanut butter cups I made for her over the weekend. I can bring them tomorrow, but the it won't be the same. I was going for "meaningful gesture." Not "I know you had a tough go of it last week so I thought it might be nice if I forgot to bring you some chocolate treats on Monday."

I generally don't bring much for lunch, just a couple of apples to tide me over. My daytime appetite is minimal. However, I have come to enjoy my midday snack if only for the pleasure that comes from having a routine. You can imagine how distraught I was to see no apples in my school bag. All my apples were still sitting at home in the refrigerator.

Don't even ask about Daddy Sheep's birthday card. That is so overdue that I can't even begin to come up with an excuse...

By the time I got home, I was thinking how easy it would be to forget a bunch of other stuff. The workout? What workout? I don't remember anything about the need to pedal a little exercise bike or lift heavy objects for an hour.

And the mitten? I know not about the mitten-thing of which you speak. I don't recall ever having started a pair of mittens, much less needing to knit them now.

As far as your belief that I should eat a healthy dinner that includes at least one vegetable, I can't help but think you need to lie down. I have no memory of saying that I would do that sort of thing come the new year. Clearly, you are hallucinating. Have you considered medication?

Yes, I thought about all of those things and the ease with which I could just delete them from my mind. Apparently, the deletion of important information is something I am rather good at. In the end, though, I decided that it would be wrong. I dutifully donned the stinky sweats and pedaled my way to nowhere. I lifted the little weights and did a few sit ups for good measure.

I also worked on the imaginary mitten. I was committed to the remembering of stuff.

I won't say that I felt better for having followed through. I actually rather resented it a little bit. It didn't seem fair to suffer through all that forgetting at work but still have to remember the stuff I don't want to do at home. But it was the right thing to do. I even remembered to run the dishwasher like I said I would last night after I realized I forgot to do it during the weekend.

Don't ask about the healthy dinner, though. I can't be expected to remember everything...