Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Ahoy! WNBP Ahead!!

Here's another post from the rain soaked northeast. Furthermore, it is Wednesday so I will do it in the traditional Bullet Post format. I'm so hopelessly off-schedule at this point that the WNBP is my only constant these days...

*We have had more school cancellations due to rain than snow this year.

*That is odd.

*Even odder is that this is not the first time it's happened that way.

*My school district is in a swamp.

*Or it was. Now it's in a lake.

*Got the text at 5:42 this morning. No school.

*Buses don't float...

*I'm normally kind of giddy at the prospect of a day off.

*Yesterday was a baaaad day.

*Series of baaaaad days.

*Some time off would be good if it didn't mean making up days in June.

*Kids falling apart.

*And by "falling apart," I mean "police involvement."

*And by "police involvement," I mean "felonies."

*And by "felonies," I mean at least three separate kids in three separate incidents.

*If we are at this stage of the festivities in March, you can only imagine how exciting things are going to be in June when we are making up Flood Days.

*And it's hot.

*And we all know we should have been done by then.

*Finished plying the yarn I started last weekend.

*I hate to see that little bit of singles on the bobbin.

*I also hate finishing plying.

*Want to move on...

*Plying was the right thing to do.

*An empty bobbin is a happy bobbin.

*Plus I was having angst over whether or not to enjoy a day off in the middle of the week that comes with make up days in June.

*Took my mind off it with the plying.

*Everyone should say, "Happy Birthday!" to Mommy Sheep!

*I was home on a flood day so I could call her early to wish her a happy day and whatnot.

*That was a good thing.

*Ran errands early in the morning since the flood waters aren't quite so vigorous up here in my neck of the woods.

*That was also a good thing.

*Still not loving the idea of those make up days...

*I stepped on the Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty today.

*He's been underfoot for almost two years now so I think it's pretty good that I've managed to avoid him up to this point.

*Seriously underfoot.

*Sometimes overfoot since that's where he likes to sit.

*Still felt badly about it.

*Not cool to hurt an animal even if it's unintentional.

*Even less cool when he runs away and gets smacked by his sister who mistakes his flight for lunging.

*The AGK is currently sitting on my foot.

*I'm afraid to move...

*I have to go back to work tomorrow.

*He will eventually have to get off my foot, right?

That's the best I can do on a Wednesday when I didn't go to school. Normally flooding is kind of exciting, but I think we've all had our fill of that nonsense by now. It's gotten boring. We are no longer fascinated by Sheepie surviving the raging waters. It's old.

Maybe next week, I'll go to school for five straight days and have something more interesting to talk about.


Monday, March 29, 2010

Dumb Rain...

We are taking the high road tonight. There will be no grumping and grousing from this Sheepie, no sirree-bob!

Sure, I could mention the rain. It would be easy to just whine about how every news site has yet another red banner scrolling across the top advising us all to roll up our trouser legs and practice growing gills. But I'm not going there. Because being under a flood watch every Monday is nothing if not consistent and who doesn't like a little consistency in their lives?

A weaker person than I might feel the need to talk about the student who decided to refer to her as a "dumb white b**ch" when she did not give him what he wanted. How simple a thing would it be to rail against such injustice?

For the record, I'm not so much irked by the new title as I am by the irony. If you were to line up the two of us side by side, you'd be hard-pressed to decide which of us is paler. And, while I'll cop to the latter descriptors, the first seems off. While he's currently trying to explain his upcoming suspension to dear old dad, I'm home relaxing and having earned the exact same paycheck I would have gotten had we not crossed swords in the first place. I'm thinking that I might not be the "dumb" one in this equation...

Nope. I'm going to a better place. I am not going to focus on the negative. I'm going to make with the happy. For I have made yarn and it is good. Very, very good.

Throwing it in a pile on the floor is probably not the best way to show of its inherent goodness, but it's not quite dry yet so I didn't dare to skein it. I will, though. Honest. If it ever dries in these damp, damp days...

It isn't perfect yarn. Not by a long shot. I don't spin as much as I used to so there's bound to be a few spots that didn't quite come together like I wanted. Further, there is a real drawback to taking forever and fifty million days to finish some yarn. It is very likely that you will forget your goals between the starting gun and the finish line. This makes for some inconsistencies, but that's OK. I still think it came out quite well under the circumstances.

You might even go so far as to call it "smart!"


Saturday, March 27, 2010

Not With A Bang, But A Gibber.

I knew things had degenerated when geography surfaced. Not that geography, in and of itself, is a bad thing. It is helpful to know where you are and what is around you. Especially if you need to find coffee or are in the middle of a zombie attack. But a solid understanding of land masses isn't always exactly what you need.

On Thursday afternoon, I was faced with a decision. Again. This school year has been fraught with decisions, most of which are big and busting at the seams with import. Normally, I have help making these decisions, but this year it hasn't worked out that way. I've been stuck with some doozies and left with hours and hours of worry over them. This is the sort of thing that takes a toll on a teacher.

That day, the decision was somewhere in the middle of the This Can All Go Horribly Wrong And I Will Be Blamed For It scale. I wouldn't usually be flummoxed by this sort of thing but, as I said before, I've been making decisions for a long time now and my pearls of wisdom are running low. The student whose immediate future hung on my chosen path looked at me pleadingly... and I had nuthin'. In desperation, I turned to the Cheerful Teaching Assistant. Surely she could offer something that might help me in my moment of need!

She responded by asking me if I knew the location of a small town in Germany.

She did this with a sincere smile and the waving of a small map. A hush fell over the room. Even the student who had so recently been pleading for mercy and my benevolent intervention was now silent. What does one say at a time like this? Several things were immediately apparent.

1. The CTA had not lost her hearing, nor was she suddenly seized with the overwhelming need to understand the topography of Germany. She heard my question perfectly well. However, in that moment, a distraction was needed.

2. She knew that there was no way to answer my question. I've been doing this almost as long as she's been alive and still didn't know what to decide. How could she?

3. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, it is not her job to make these decisions. It is mine. And if I'm feeling like I've been asked to make judgement calls that are beyond my range of liability then it's really rather unfair to ask it of her.

I knew this, but that knowledge didn't keep me from coming perilously close to a state of gibbering. To be completely honest, I may have gibbered a little bit. There might have been a dribble of gibber. But it all served to clarify the situation and I made the best decision possible under the circumstance. Mr. Assistant Principal supported it and we all moved on.

However no one was particularly surprised when I suggested that I might be due for a mental health day. I'd expected a little more in the way of distress at the thought of my abandoning ship for the day, I suppose. But I think everyone knew that it was time for me to hit the reset button.

I can always tell by the way they back away and hold up their hands protectively as they nod and smile the strained smiles of the very, very fearful...

There were several things that needed doing around the manse and I'd sort of let them go while I did other stuff. I made a rather ambitious list of things that A Responsible Adult would have already taken care of. Of course, I am not A Very Responsible Adult so I didn't finish all of them. I did, however, take care of quite a few. The screwed up cell phone account is now back to what it used to was and the state taxes are finished. I even have food in the cupboards again and some of it is quite nutritious. Sometimes I guess it pays to listen to your Inner Gibber. It always knows when it's time to take a step back.

Of course, the one thing I didn't do was get a single stitch of knitting done. But that's the nice thing about giving yourself a three day weekend. You can always decide knit in one or two of the extra hours.

And that is the kind of decision I can make without a single dribbling of gibber!


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

WNBP: Talking To Myself

Greetings Fellow Bloggy Types! Sheepie here, live from her classroom at your Favorite Middle School, USA. I'm all alone and pretty much talking to my own self. Everyone else is talking to parents because it is Conference Night (again) but I don't have anyone scheduled so I'm pretty much an educational island.

At least this state of affairs leaves me plenty of time in which to do the Wednesday Night Bullet Post. Let's see what I can come up with under these lonely circumstances:

*I ate four peanut butter cups for dinner.

*I know, I know...

*I also had some cheddar cheese flavored chips.

*I'm a nutritional failure. Have at it. Judge away. I deserve it.

*I cleaned the classroom and entered a few grades.

*Then I went down to bother Mrs. Secretary Who Sits At The Front Desk.

*She's also the one who is Easily Distracted And Won't See This As An Excuse To Find Me A Job Because I Look Bored.

*Then I went to buy a soda but I screwed up the buttons on the machine and accidentally bought a regular cola.

*I prefer diet.

*Regular is too sweet.

*I realize that a person who had peanut butter cups for dinner has no business judging cola but there it is...

*I'm drinking it anyway.

*Don't want to waste good cola, after all.

*I brought a sock with me to work on tonight.

*Got all distracted by the Cola Confusion and haven't done much with it yet.

*If I can't work out how to operate a soda machine, I probably can't knit stockinette...

*Gonna print out some patterns from Knitty tonight, methinks.

*Not that I'll ever get around to knitting any of it.

*Just tickles me to use the school printer ink all willy-nilly like that.

*Don't tell the taxpayers.

*They are already footing the bill for my Great Soda Escapade.

*For the record, I did grades tonight and cleaned a bookshelf.

*I also did some research for a lesson I'm doing in Social Studies Class.

*It hasn't been all sugary sodas and snack foods. I've been a real worker bee.

*Assuming, that is, the average worker bee leans towards the Getting It Done In Fits And Starts model of productivity.

*Someone's car alarm is going off in the parking lot.

*Hoping that it's not mine.

*It just stopped. Which would mean that it was not mine.

*Or that the thieves have happily driven off and are going about their nightly business in my car.

*Either way, I don't have to listen to the alarm anymore so I'm good.

*I don't have any conferences tonight because my class is small and the parents tend to have other meetings with me throughout the year.

*Or I have to call them every ten minutes and they are so sick of the sound of my voice that they cannot bear to listen another minute.

*An aversion I totally and completely understand.

*But my contract says I have to stay for these extra hours if I want to be paid like a real, grown up teacher so here I sit.



*Working on teacherly things in Fits and Starts...

*Until 7:00. Then I can go home.

*Long night...

*But the sun is out and the flood waters no longer threaten our little corner of the world so I'm in good spirits.

*Unless somebody starts blathering about that snow storm that might come early next week.

*That is the sort of commentary that makes me glad I have to spend most of the night talking to myself...

And so ends another Wednesday Night Bullet Post as well as parent/teacher conferences for this school year. The 6:00 hour is rapidly approaching and we are soon to be in the home stretch of this marathon day. Then I can go home. So I can sleep. And get up to come right back to the same place except that there will be kids here instead of an empty room.

I'll probably miss talking to myself at that point...


Monday, March 22, 2010

How I See It

It is Monday. Mondays are, in general, kind of grim and today was no exception. It was also a busy day with lots and lots of surprises. That's how Mondays go.

In an effort to lighten the mood, I cheerily called out to a colleague, "Isn't it nice to be at work on a Monday and not under a flood watch?"

My fellow educator looked at me with a weary expression and muttered, "Guess you haven't checked your favorite weather site today..."

Great. Juuuuuuust great. It's raining and we are under another scrolling red banner. It doesn't look as bad as last week, but who's to say? Last week didn't look as bad as last week, for crying out loud.

Well, I'm not gonna take this lying down, that's for sure. Maybe at first I was a little bit befuddled but I'm over that now, by gum! I am a woman with a plan!!!

Tomorrow morning, I am going to school. I do not care if I have to strap water wings to my car and follow Noah himself, I am going. When I get there, I shall exit my vehicle, wade into the building and go to the bathroom.

(I'll probably need to do that because the sound of rushing water always makes me have to visit the ladies room. I'm middle aged...)

Once I've taken care of business and washed my hands, I'm going to have my morning coffee and then I am going to teach. I don't care who I teach. It could be that weird spiderish bug I found in the corner of the classroom the other day that might be dead but I'm too scared of it to check. It might be the nice people from Emergency Services who swing by to rescue all the stupid people who went to work. It doesn't matter. I will enthusiastically educate any and all who dare cross my path.

At 3:00, I will pack it up and go home. I will mark my school calendar accordingly and credit myself with the day. I will do this in ink and no one will dare argue the point with me.

Because here's the thing: We had a really good shot at ending this school year at a reasonable time and date. We really did. Even with the mandatory workshops we all have to go to once the kidlets are gone, it was going to work out rather well.


Wow. I'm a little dizzy now. Maybe I should sit for a minute. I need to calm down. It isn't like me to get all excited and screechy. I'll just put my head down and breathe into a paper bag or something. Once the blood starts circulating correctly again, I could maybe spin for a while. That's relaxing.

Sorry about that. Didn't mean to shout at everyone. I'm sure I'll be just fine now that I've gotten it all out of my system. A few minutes in my Happy Place and all will be well.

But the first person to suggest I need a glass of nice, cold water is going to get such a pinch...


Saturday, March 20, 2010

Ironic, Ain't It?

In all the excitement, I suppose it is rather easy for folks to forget I am a spinner. Yes, it is a dizzying array of happenings around here and I don't blame you one little bit for getting dazzled. Between the cat stories, the excuses for not knitting and complaints about work, it can be hard to keep track.

But I do spin and there is nothing like the warm breezes of spring to remind me of that fact. I don't know why the onset of this season makes me want to spin. I suppose it might have something to do with my teaching schedule. Having summers off does lend itself to extra time for wool prep and whatnot. Or maybe it's just something about the smell of grilling burgers and the sound of flip flops slapping down the road that brings on that urge. I don't know.

All I know is this: while everyone else was outside today, shucking off their sweaters and frolicking in the 70 degree temperatures with wild abandon, I was suddenly beset with the need to prepare for next winter. Visions of mittens danced in my head whilst the rest of the world worked on their tans. I crooned songs of woolen hats and missed out on the opportunity to sing along with the radio on the way to the beach. My neighbors are tan. I am as pale as freshly washed wool.

Which is pretty darned pale...

That's OK. This is really nothing more than a False Spring anyway. It's only March, for heaven's sake! While I suppose that means I should have enjoyed it while it lasted, I really only saw it as a trial run. There is still a need for warm hats and stuff, or at least the chance that I'll need them. If we ignore the fact that I have absolutely no intentions of knitting a hat in the few weeks left before True Spring arrives, then it is perfectly logical for me to have stayed in to spin today. Soon, it will be warm all the time and I promise I'll get outside then. Honest.

Unless I get around to carding that big ol' fleece I found in the stash. Then I'll maybe have to reschedule Outside Time for Summer '11...


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Balmy Breezes For The WNBP

What a day we had here! Spring? She sprang!!! 65 degrees and sunny...why it was positively delightful! It's enough to make a girl fling off her winter coat and spin around in the school parking lot all giddy-like at the end of the day.

That was probably something of a mistake since I was sneaking out early and the sight of a middle aged woman careening dizzily about the staff lot is not something that will go unnoticed. I don't care. It was a lovely day and I wanted to enjoy the spring atmosphere while it lasted.

Here's your mid-week bullet points, complete with a breath of nice, fresh air:

*It's days like today that I really miss having a moon roof on the car.

*Spring breezes...


*I like all that upon my noggin.

*I didn't keep the windows open at the manse last night.

*Still not quite enough of the spring.

*But I didn't turn on the heat and that is saying something!

*Did the workout with an open window this afternoon.

*Workouts are still unpleasant, even with an open window.

*But they are somewhat less so.

*Also knit on the sock while I rode the little exercise bike because spring isn't going to last forever.

*Socks will eventually become necessary.

*The Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty really loves his cheap, pink blankie.

*I have lots of blankies around here.

*I have knitted and crocheted blankies.

*He wants his pink blankie.

*I have rather expensive throws that are so soft to the touch you can't even feel them.

*He wants his pink blankie.

*I have a green blankie that is the exact same thing.

*He wants his pink blankie.

And that's all there is to it...

*Big, manly cat on a pink blankie with hearts.

*He takes over the whole couch once the blankie casts its magical spell upon him.

*He virtually expands with the magic.

*The Big Fluffy Kitty and I huddle at the other end hoping that he'll eventually get hungry and wander off.

*I have another round of parent/teacher conferences next week.

*These are for after school and a little bit shorter.

*Still have to stay until 7:00.

*And I have no conferences scheduled.

*Probably won't even be any balmy breezes left by then either.

*I'd take the pink blankie along for warmth, but I don't think the AGK would surrender it unto me.

*I was going to do my taxes tonight.


*Got an ugly letter from the people over at the Census Bureau.

*Had to do that instead.

*Took all of one minute, but I was overwhelmed by it and couldn't possibly be expected to do my taxes.

*Must rest.

*Should have done them when I had the day off on Monday...

*The computer does my taxes.

*But I have to push all the buttons to make it happen, you know.

*Taxes are...taxing.

*It was too nice a day to do them anyway!

And so we come to another edition of the Wednesday Night Bullet Post. The windows here are still wide open and I'm sucking down those early spring breezes while they last. I'm hoping for a few more days of this before we take a final plunge back into winter. I hope that the breezes in your corner of Wednesday are as you would like them to be.

Or that you have a nice blankie to keep you warm...


Monday, March 15, 2010

Riding The Wave

"I honestly don't have any idea how I'm going to get home."

These were the words spoken by yours truly in the school parking lot at 6:50 this morning. I was fresh off a somewhat "eventful" commute to work and faced with the school counselor who was telling me not to bother getting out of my car. School had been cancelled and everyone was being urged back to the safety of their various abodes before the roads were no more. We were both soaked as the rains pelted us through our respective car windows.

I was being a bit overly dramatic, but there were some concerns. In two places along the way, the road was pretty much gone. I know it was somewhere under the water. I could tell because I saw it coming out on the other side. But it was not in evidence at points where I and my fellow commuters needed to drive. We forged ahead because we are nothing if not troupers, though. And the waves we sent out across the blacktop were impressive. I was a nervous wreck by the time I arrived at school and not quite ready to make the return trip. There weren't too many other options, though. I didn't think the situation was going to get any better.

*Side note: I am generally not in favor of driving through standing water. It is a bad idea. You really can't tell the true depth of the water, you see. Water likes to trick the eye. Best case scenario, you could end up stranded and looking really stupid on the news. Worst case scenario, you could be wishing that you merely looked stupid. In today's case, however, several cars passed through ahead of me, all of which were of the compact variety. My car is not so much with the compact so I figured it was all right to ford the mighty stream.

I girded my loins, cleaned the rain drops from my glasses and prepared myself for the trip home. Fortunately, the situation had not deteriorated any further and I was able to make it across the tricky bits with only a little bit of teeth grinding. The further north I travelled, the better the roads became and I was safely back home by 8:00.

*Second Side Note: I didn't really gird my loins. My loins were fine. It was my car's electrical system I should have girded but I don't know how to do that. I am looking into taking a night class or something. It all worked out this time, but you never know...

I probably should have used my time a little bit better. It isn't often you get a free day like that. I managed to start the dishwasher and run the carpet sweeper around the living room. I cleaned the cat box and gave some serious thought to mopping something. I was tired from all the drama, though. I flopped on the sofa in what may or may not have been a swoon and watched TV for the rest of the day. I'm pretty sure it was a swoon. It had a swoon-like quality to it. I may have even said something along the lines of: Look out, I feel a SWOON coming on!!!

It was kind of a waste, really. I didn't even pick up the sock and I'm pretty sure you can knit socks whilst in a swoon-state. Somehow the day just got away from me, I guess. But I was home safe and sound and that's something, right?

The rains appear to be pulling away now and I have great hopes for a return to normalcy tomorrow. This is a good thing since I hate the thought of having to make up all these days in June. Plus, I can't seem to find my water wings...


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Wheeling And Dealing Sans Ascot

Perhaps it is because I live alone that I have such colorful inner dialogues. In the absence of other humans, I find myself quite able to chatter colorfully along for hours and hours. Or maybe it is because my professional life has been pretty much based on walking people through what motivates their behaviors and helping them to learn from the journey. It might be that I'm merely loony and just not ready to accept it yet.

I don't think so, though. I think most people converse within their own skulls from time to time. I'm maybe just more willing to admit it. It could also be that I'm so starved for conversation that I don't care what strange things I'll profess, but I don't want to go there today.

The pondering of purchasing an ereader, however, came out of a "real life" conversation. The Cheerful Teaching Assistant and I first began drooling over them well over a year ago. Even after we stopped working together for a while, the memory of those digital marvels lingered. But the process of buying one wasn't something I could ever do without at least a million Arguments With Self.

The first of those debates was philosophical. I call it the If I Was A Classier Person Syndrome. In this case, it boiled down to my thinking that a "good" reader was one who liked the smell of paper and the feel of hard covers in the hand. These readers never dog ear pages or accidentally drop books in the tub. They buy their favorite titles in hardcover and they never, ever lose the dust jackets. They have a shelving system.

I am not that kind of reader. I am hard on books. I read a lot. I drag books everywhere. I fold pages almost half way down to make sure I can get back to the right page. I don't buy hardcover books if I can help it because they are heavy and the ink from the bindings leaks everywhere when the aforementioned tub-drop happens.

That's not to say I don't like the feel of a book. I do. I like it a lot. But it's the words that get me and what keeps me in the story. As much as I'd like to be the type who reads great literature in a chair by the fire, I'll just never be able to live up to the image. I don't even own an ascot, for crying out loud! And you just know I'll tip the brandy snifter all over everything.

The next inner chat came down firmly in favor of the digitized reading experience. Shortly before that, something else came down. Namely a stack of books in my bedroom that was at least waist high. It scared the cats and irritated the people who live downstairs.

I have a lot of books. Hundreds. Sure, I go to the library. And, yes, I can always sell off a few at the used bookstore. But I like owning books. I read them over and over. And over. I am loathe to part with any of them. Even the most boring books in my collection are mine, mine, mine and woe be to those who eye them covetously! I can never own a bookstore because I'd always be flinging myself between the shelves and my customers with tears of horror in my eyes. I'd only ever make any money on the pastry cart and that's not even a sure thing. I also happen to like pastry a great deal.

An ereader would hold lots of books and they wouldn't be falling on my toes all the time. This is a good thing. Plus, the books are a bit cheaper and the world is a little greener without me demanding all the trees be cut down so I can build a book fort.

I still didn't buy one, though. The next debate was with my purse strings. Digital readers can be pricey and I wanted to make sure that I wasn't spending the catnip and frozen pizza money with wild abandon. I also have a tendency to get all starry eyed in the face of "features." Features make it hard for me to breathe and forget that I really just want to read a book. I don't need something that will pick my nose and do the laundry. I just need words on a screen. I fought mightily against my desire for all things shiny and did some research. There are some very good readers out there at a reasonable price. Maybe they don't offer the ability to purchase a book from atop a windswept mountain in the middle of nowhere, but that's not any more my lifestyle than the hardcover book by the fire.

Finally, with fingers fairly itching and the purse strings loosening, I made a deal with myself. It went thusly:

OK, self. Here's how we are going to do this. If you (meaning "I") can agree to wait until we (meaning "I") get paid for teaching those Safety Procedures Classes and to purchase the simple reader that will do just what it says and nothing more, then I (the other "I") will give in to the need to satisfy instant gratification and not order the cheaper one online. We ("I") will go to the store on Friday and pay the extra twenty bucks to get the thing for this very weekend. Do we/I/you/whomever else is living in this head have a deal?

We/I did. The school district came through with the monies owed (finally) and Friday afternoon the contract was executed. Sure, it seems kind of weird for a day of knitting and reading to look like this:

No fireplace, no ascot, no smell of fresh paper...

Yet, it is no less satisfying. Of course, I still can't read in the tub. That could be disastrous. But I may have one or two other bits of reading material around here that will suffice. I'll just go visit the book fort.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

It's That Time Again!

No, not just Wednesday. Although Wednesdays are rather nice in that we get to have a Wednesday Night Bullet Post and all. But tonight is that OTHER kind of Wednesday...

The kind we call Parent/Teacher Conference Night (and I don't have any scheduled conferences.) That's always fun, right? Let's see how the night is moving along:

*I did not have a single conference scheduled.

*Not one.

*The contract says I have to stay and, since I get paid the same as everyone else, I don't quibble with that.

*Nor do I blame anyone.

*Long night, though.

*Long with a side of boredom.

*Except for the part where I have to find excuses for not doing the work currently piled up on my desk.

*That is challenging, especially when there is ample time to get all that done.

*Gotta get creative if there is gonna be any knitting tonight. Wouldn't want to get sucked into paperwork...

*I did paperwork earlier when I didn't have any conferences scheduled.

*Taxpayers relax. I am working.


*A parent came in earlier.

*Kid is in my class most of the day.

*She met with lots of other people.

*Not me.

*Which I find odd.

*I was at the book fair buying new books.

*It seemed like the thing to do since there was no one scheduled to meet with me this afternoon. Or tonight. Or any time in between.

*No one has put out an emergency page or sent a concerned email regarding my not having met with this parent so I guess teachers failed to note that this kid isn't in any of their classes.

*Or they had more to say than I on the matter...

*I was at the book fair. I was happy. I guess it all worked out.

*Everyone else is at dinner right now.


*Parent Sponsored.

*Very Kind Thing To Do And Much Appreciated.


*I cannot eat potluck because I don't know which parent's child hates me and spit in the food before it was delivered.

*Neither does anyone else. Better to eat snack mix in my room rather than worry about it.

*Everyone down there just let out a big cheer which probably means that the food was spit-free.

*Darn it...

*I have not worked on that sock I brought with me.

*The one I started last night just so I'd have something to work on during the empty hours at Parent/Teacher Conferences.

*It's not like I can keep hanging out at the book fair.

*The librarian will think I'm a stalker.

*Or a book thief.

*I have a parent coming in at 6:00.

*He didn't actually ask to meet with me but I'm poaching the conference because everyone should have someone tonight, right?

*Ms. Sheep is the wallflower of Parent/Teacher Conferences.

*This kid is in my class part of the day so I won't look completely out of place.

*Restraining orders will not be necessary.

*Unlike the book fair situation.

*I might have to go back there just to see what's left on the shelves.

*Spring book fair has lots and lots of sale items.

*Found a zombie book but am too lazy to link right now.

*Mrs. Secretary Who Sits At The Back Desk has informed me in no uncertain terms that she does not want me wandering down to talk about my zombie book in the office tonight.

*But she smiled when she said it so I think she might be amused if I did...

*Mrs. Secretary Who Sits At The Front Desk went home at 3:00 today but she thought it was pretty nifty.

*We have similar tastes...

*Not so much with MSWSATBD but she loves me anyway.

*OK. It's getting close to the next conference so I should dash now.

*Actually, it's getting close to my ONLY conference and I'm maybe getting overexcited about the whole thing.

*Still should dash.

*Maybe use the restroom since I'm so excited about seeing another human being and all...

Happy Wednesday to those of you not sitting alone in a classroom and fervently hoping you haven't forgotten all your social skills. Go breathe some fresh air for me and embrace the world in all its wonder.

I'm stuck here 'til 8:00.


Monday, March 08, 2010

Webster's Take Note

Apparently, I have my own definition of the word "triumph." I also seem to see the word "victory" somewhat differently than most. Don't even get me started on how I use "crowning achievement..."

I meant to blog last night. I was actually rather excited about it. It's been a while since I finished anything of a knitted nature and I looked forward to presenting the blogging community with my recent triumph.

See that? I called it a triumph.

The fact that it was only a single sock meant nothing to me. I crowed over what I was soon to accomplish as if it was the greatest victory ever claimed by a mere mortal.

And there it is. Victory.

I didn't dwell upon my having started this sock before Christmas. Or how it sat unworked for months. And then, once picked up again, still took weeks to get near the finish line. This single piece of footwear was nothing short of the crowning achievement in my long knitting career.

That's the last one. Crowning achievement. For a sock...

But when push came to shove, I didn't finish those last few rounds. I was so close. The toe was doing that thing that toes do and it would take nothing for me to close the deal. Still...I set it aside. It was almost like I wanted to fail, for crying out loud!

This left me with nothing bloggable. Not a thing. I didn't even have a good cat story to tell. I let the blog sit untouched, much like the poor sock. I was not the victor.

Today, I finished the sock. I grafted those last few stitches and gazed in wide eyed wonder at that which I had wrought.

The word "victory" was used several times. Shamelessly.

Yes, a single and simple sock is now the yardstick by which I measure greatness. You'd have thought I cured the common cold or figured out a way to get that weird aftertaste out of Parmesan cheese. I probably should be working on my understanding of the word "delusional," but I don't see it happening any time soon.

First I want to knit the ribbing on the second sock. That will probably cause me to redefine how we use the words "epic journey."


Saturday, March 06, 2010

Bright As A Shiny, New Nail!

Most people don't find cause for angst in a simple oil change. I, however, have a long history of car disasters and oil changes have often led to revelations of a more pricey nature. Frankly, I'd avoid them altogether except for the fact that my car gets rather panicky when I pass the recommended mileage mark. It flashes messages at me well beforehand and those missives increase in frequency until I give in.

I've learned to see the bright side in having to drag the chariot down to the dealership. If I have to go, I might as well have some fun with it. It's not always easy, mind you. And the new car doesn't have nearly the same level of drama my poor truck experienced so I don't really need to go to all this effort. But it's best to be prepared.

I got up bright and early in order to be ready for today's appointment. Of course, the most important thing was to check the sock bag because it was the sock that was going to see me through this trial. I was pleased to see that I had miles and miles of plain knitting ahead of me with nary a toe decrease in sight. With that little task behind me, I set out for my designated service bay and began searching for bright spots.

Bright Spot #1: Peppy Guy At The Desk

(Sheepish Annie arrives early for her appointment and is displeased to see that a stranger sits behind the desk. She really prefers it when N is there because she is nice and helpful and adjusts the bill when things start to edge over the thousand dollar mark)

Peppy Guy At The Desk: Good morning! That'll be an oil change and tire rotation, right?

Sheepish Annie: How did you...never mind. I don't want to know. Yes. That's me.

PGATD: Well, you just sign here and we'll get started! Is the car running OK?

SA: Yes. Well...there's the tire thing.

PGATD: Tire thing?

SA: It's shaped like a triangle.

PGATD: It's not supposed to do that. It's supposed to stay round. Like a circle.

SA: I read that somewhere.

PGATD: Why don't we take a look at that?

SA: You're the expert. I might suggest it needs some air, though. If it's OK to offer an opinion.

PGATD: Of course! We encourage participation!

Bright Spot #2: Bright Colors And Life Lessons

I settled into my Waiting Room Chair and broke out the sock bag. The room was rather full this morning. I was, however, the only woman (a fact that is not exactly relevant but will soon become almost funny in a roundabout way). I was also the youngest person there. (which is saying something considering that I'm 44 at the moment)

The television was on and, for reasons known only to the person who made the choice, set to cartoons. I don't mind cartoons. In fact, I like them. I've got cartoons on right now. I am used to cartoons as background noise. These, however, were not edgy, cool cartoons. There was nary a hint of violence. Not a single character is currently on a t-shirt because no one has ever heard of these cartoons. They were not the kind of cartoons that an adult can watch and find a subtle undercurrent of grown up humor.

The first half was about the importance of sharing and how teamwork is a faster way to get things done. The second half was about the value of persevering even when you don't win the game. Happy doggies played the key roles. The average five year old would have been in heaven.

Which is why I was so startled when I happened to glance up at my fellow Waiting Room Prisoners and saw that, to a man...


And I mean intently. Mouths were agape. They were transfixed. I almost had to leave the room for fear of disturbing them with my peals of laughter...

Bright Spot #3: The Return Of Peppy Guy At The Desk

All good things must come to an end and soon I was alone again. The older men with cartoon fetishes all got their cars back and went home to lie about what they watched on TV that morning. A new guy came in and found the remote before he got sucked into the madness. I almost missed the cartoons and was a little sad. Then PGATD came back.

PGATD: Well, we've figured out the triangular tire thing.

SA: Really? Do tell.

PGATD: You had a nail in your tire. That leads to triangles.

SA: OK. Mental note: Stop driving over nails.

PGATD: You should probably also consider not driving over screws because we found one of those, too.

SA: That's a lot to remember.

PGATD: I'd also advise not driving over broken glass and railroad spikes just to be safe.

SA: I'm getting that tattooed on my forearm...

PGATD: We can patch the tire and have you on your way soon.

SA: (Smiles knowingly. "Soon" isn't something that factors into routine maintenance.)

Bright Spot #4: Thinking Ahead.

Unfortunately, the guy who found the remote wasn't content to control the TV. He needed more in the way of power. Hence, he decided that I might benefit from his Waiting Room Wisdom.

The fact that he wasn't wrong in his concern over how long I'd been waiting didn't help matters. He had no way of knowing that waiting is just the way things go for me and that asking doesn't do anything other than make me have to get up more often than I want to. It takes as long as it takes and, for me, it always takes longer. That's just how it is.

It also didn't help that it took most of a sock foot to get to this point. I was nearing the spot where I thought I might have to decrease but was loathe to try the thing on so publicly. What we knitters see as perfectly reasonable behavior is kind of odd to the rest of the world. But I needed to be doing something if I was going to send the Begone Well Intentioned But Ultimately Unhelpful Creature vibe.

My choices were limited. I could decrease and hope for the best. I could knit on and hope for the same. Either could work out well or could result in my having to pick out stitches. It was a quandary, I tells ya!

Thankfully, I'd thought ahead. My library book was right there in my bag and waiting for me to use it as an impenetrable barrier against Car Gurus. It took a while for him to get the hint, but finally I was allowed to read in peace.

And, soon enough, my name was called. Of course my helpful friend couldn't help but comment on how worried he'd been about my having to set up housekeeping at the dealership, but that was all right. I'd made it to the finish line!

Bright Spot #5: Shiny, Happy Car Sans Triangles!

I drove away in my freshly washed and vacuumed vehicle and reveled in the sound of rolling round rubber. Ahhhh! That is the greatest reward, isn't it? The message center in the dashboard showed naught but my mileage and looked happier than it has in days. All is right with the world!

At least for another three thousand miles...


Wednesday, March 03, 2010

WNBP: Minute By Minute, You Get What You Get

It is Wednesday. I often am confused about the day and today is no exception. But it's not my fault because they changed the teacher's meeting to this afternoon and we usually have those on Tuesday. Hence, it is forgivable that I might think it is Tuesday. It is also understandable if I wish it was Friday but that is the kind of thing that can't be changed by a last minute email from the principal.

Here's your bullet points for this week:

*I was greeted this morning by a frantic fellow staff member.

*Apparently it was the special ed department's day to take notes at the staff meeting but no one else was going due to schedule conflicts.

*I said I'd take the minutes.

*I did not want to take the minutes.

*I've never taken the minutes.

*I don't even read the minutes when someone else takes them.

*Frankly, I'm not sure if I know how to take the minutes.

*Shortly after I arrived at the meeting, the person who asked me to take the minutes came in and sat right next to me.

*Which I thought was rather bold...

*Another person from my department was sitting across the room.

*I took the minutes, but I spelled stuff wrong.

*Spiteful Spelling.

*Best Conversation Of The Week:

Ms. Sheep (to The Stalker Who Has Followed Her Since Fourth Grade And Through Three Different Schools): I'm sorry but you can't stay in the class today while you wait for your bus. I have to take the minutes at the staff meeting because the entire special ed. department has been stricken with some horrific minute-taking allergy.

The Stalker: That's OK. I'll just wait downstairs. Of course, I'll look really stupid sitting there all by myself and that is the sort of thing only candy can cure.

MS: Oh. My. God. You are adorable. Beyond words, I tellya! Plus I'm really happy because I thought you were going to give me crap about this.

TS: (Happily pocketing his candy) I was. Then I realized I could get something out of this.

MS: You make Ms. Sheep so proud. It's like you're my very own son...

Proof of knitting.

*It didn't snow today. That's nice.

*Second Best Conversation Of The Week:

The Great Debater: Ms. Sheep! Ms. Sheep! Hey!!!

Ms. Sheep: Oh, for crying out loud! I was talking to someone else. Every single time I try to...

TGD: Look at my project! Look! Now!!! LookLookLookLook!!!!!!

MS: Wasn't it you who told me just last week that I should leave you alone? I believe your exact words were, "cut the umbilical cord, why dontcha?"

TGD: Yeah. I did. Now look at my project!!!

MS: You need to learn to live without my constant attention. You are going to high school next year. Ms. Sheep will not be going with you. We need some "apart time."

TGD: Nope. Don't see it happening. I'm like your second kidney.

*That sock I'm knitting is very much full of the sparklies. Should make for interesting footwear.

*Glad I bought new clogs.

*Didn't knit at the teacher's meeting since I was so busy taking minutes for all my colleagues who couldn't be there except for the part where they were there.

*The kids in my class are working on a bridge building unit.

*Thus far, I have had a tower of hardcover books crash down upon my knee, been burned by hot glue while holding together popsicle stick trusses and hurt my back hoisting weights upon rickety structures which will not support them ever in this lifetime.

*I am concerned about the recent news from my insurance company regarding rate raises and lowered coverage.

*Fortunately, I received my letter from the school department confirming their intent to rehire me for next year.

*At least I'll have a paycheck to cover the difference when I'm squooshed by a student project.

*I wonder if anyone will notice I'm missing while I'm trapped beneath the balsa wood.

*Probably. They'll be needing someone to take the minutes at the next meeting...

And that's all I can think of for today. Now I must go ice various parts of my bridge-injured body and edit the minutes from the staff meeting so they can go to the principal. And I'd also like some candy, now that I think of it. I should get something out of this, right?


Monday, March 01, 2010

Idiocy Explained

I was not exactly on top of my game today. This is often the case and I'm not trying to suggest that I am normally casting pearls of wisdom hither and thither. I am scattered. Today, however, I was really over the line. It was all the worse for knowing why and not really being able to articulate this. Of course, now that the day is over, I find myself a little more capable of putting it into words.

So here it is. The Idiot's Guide To Idiocy.

Friday's Contribution:

As previously explained, my part of the planet was smote on Friday. The winds howled, the rains fell and trees suddenly decided to see how life would be if they cast off their roots and headed into people's living rooms. Oceans and rivers thought it might be fun to travel new paths and began merrily dancing their way down the pavements. The miracle that is electricity was no more and we were all reduced to savagery.

"All" being a relative term. My power came back on mid morning. However, I can assure you that during those dark cold hours of uncertainty, I suffered mightily.

All that Armageddon was very exhausting. It took a lot out of me. I did little on Friday except ponder the meaning of it all. And try to figure out a way to get to my doctor's appointment which, despite being a mere five miles away, required some creative navigation if I was going to make it in a timely manner.

Saturday's Contribution:

I've been helping out with the Maine Academic Decathlon for years now. Not long ago, I managed to rise through the ranks and obtain a paying position. It is a great honor and an even greater responsibility. I get to use White Out. And alphabetize things. And sort by numerical order.

I have not reached the point where I am trusted to run any of the more technical equipment. You have to be certified or something to do that. You need a certain amount of training to run the test forms through the scanner. I hope to someday attain that level of expertise.

That won't be happening any time soon, though. My nine year old niece-by-proxy came to help this year since her Dad is the Head Scorer. She, by virtue of genetic predisposition, got to run the scanner. She was quite good at it, too. Really good. One might even say "gifted." Frankly, I see no way I'm going to make it to the scanner under the current circumstances.

I love helping out with this endeavor, scanner or no. I get to see good friends, meet amazing kids and eat free pizza. Sometimes I even get a t-shirt. But it's a long day. There's no getting around that fact. It's a whole Saturday and one that ends with me collapsing into bed by 9:00.

I got to work a few rounds of sock, though. It's not quite the same as being allowed to run the scanner, but still...

Sunday's Contribution:

I was still pretty tired and couldn't seem to get my act together. I didn't do the grocery shopping like I was supposed to. Or anything else, really. I managed to find some shoes so I could get out the door to go sit with SIL Sheep at 3:00 and that was an accomplishment.

SIL had surgery recently. Since she is lying abed, it only seemed right that I settle in there, too. I wouldn't want her to feel awkward. I am a good guest, one that does not wish my hostess to experience any social discomfort. After an hour or so of lying down, I began to see the possibilities in this lifestyle. Lying down is good. It's even better if the neighbor is willing to make a pizza run and there is a TV nearby. Frankly, I think I would make a great invalid!

When Baby Brother Sheep came home from his activities, I happily pointed out my new discoveries, but he still said I had to go home. Apparently, he is not willing to have two invalids lying abed. I found that to be a little selfish, if you want the truth. I was forced out of bed, into my shoes and out the door!

Monday's Contribution:

There were many. First, I was promised a storm today. Further, there were still a number of power outages in my school district. Even though I knew it would be a bad idea to be thinking I was going to get a four day weekend, a part of me couldn't help but believe it might come to pass.

It didn't.

I had no bagels for breakfast. I had no apples for lunch. I had little in the way of sustenance to get me through the day. All the Armageddon, Sorting and Lying Abed had turned my weekend routine completely upside down! I wasn't ready for this day. Not one little bit!

Perhaps if the Cheerful Teaching Assistant or the students were awake, I might have been able to use their example to my benefit. But the CTA was sick all weekend and the kids didn't want to be there any more than they usually do. We basically did the best we could and muddled.

It was probably a bad day to have them work on their bridge-building projects. You don't even want to know how many hot glue burns we have to our credit now. And the splinter situation wasn't good either. Most of the latter were mine to bear. The former were suffered by the children and I'm imagining that there will soon be A Very Special Movie Of The Week about my callous singeing of innocent youngsters.

At least the pain woke us up temporarily...

So there you go. The reasons for my idiocy today. I hope this clears matters up. Sure, I'm a dope, but I have an explanation for it. It is not my fault. It was a convergence of events, all of which were beyond my control. There is no way anyone can blame me for being an idiot today.

Now I need to get ready for bed. I'm going to need a good night's sleep if I'm to come up with an excuse for tomorrow's poor performance...