Wednesday, September 29, 2010

WNBP: I'm Feeling Saucy!!

It was a lovely day here in Maine.  Temperatures were so mild I was flashing back to spring and wanted to pack up the classroom for the coming vacation.  It was almost painful to leave school without doing that.  But I'm determined to see it for the nice day it was and not think about how I still have 9 months to go before real summer strikes.

Let's see if I can maintain my cheerful attitude through this week's Wednesday Night Bullet Post!

*I left school a few minutes early today.  No one tried to stop me.  It's been a heck of a month and most people are either patting my hand in a comforting fashion or just backing away in fear.

*We had a staff meeting yesterday to cover the myriad of issues involved with the coming state assessments.

*We are in trouble if these do not go well.  Mr. Principal is starting to show the strain.

*You should have seen his face when I told him that I would be out on Monday.

*He paled.  Halfway, at any rate.  50% of his face was kind of red with impending rage.

*I told him it wasn't my fault and that he could take it up with my director since she was the one who scheduled my safety procedures training class that day.

*Then he went back to pale because this is really the best color a face can be under certain certain circumstances.

*I knit on my sock during the meeting yesterday.  

*This is one of those socks that is going to be with me for the duration.  I'll probably finish it during the next "real" summer.

*I told the Alternative Ed. teacher today that I'm working on lots of personal mantras that I can play in my head all the time.  Like a soundtrack.

*She didn't pat my hand, but I could tell she wanted to.  

*Instead, she went with the Understanding Head Bob and Soulful, Sympathetic Gaze.

*An excellent choice under the circumstances since we were standing outside the office while one of my students was recovering from a morning cafeteria brawl.

*Another one of my students was there.  It was The Boy With The Bass Booming Earbuds.  I had to question him over the whole affair.

*Best Line Of The Day:

Dude!  I swear, I didn't do nuthin'!  I was just protecting my honey bun!!

*I told Mr. Assistant Principal and he wasn't sure if we were discussing a pastry or new girlfriend.

*It was the former.

*Alpha Betta is doing very well.  The cats have left him alone.

*They do like to show up when I feed him, but I think it's because fish food smells...fishy.  They don't much care if there is an actual fish involved.

*A lot of people showed up at the family dinner last Sunday, including a long lost member of the clan who moved a while back.  She heard I was learning to can and brought me a sample of her tomato sauce.

*She's old school Yankee.  You could lock her in the house and she'd live better than most of us on just what she's got "put up" in the cellar.  

*I had some sauce with pasta tonight and...Oh.  My.  God.  

*Soooooo good!

*Old recipe.  Good recipe.  Love the long lost relatives who share.  Love them.

*Mommy Sheep?  You out there?  I need her address so I can extend further adoration in letter form.  

*Yeah.  I got the recipe.  Oh, yes I did!!!!!

*It is my mission to chronicle the family foodstuffs.  I like family foodstuffs.  To date, I've scored the recipes for lemon bars, biscuits and the super-secret rolls of goodness.  Now the sauce.  

*Currently listening to Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter during the daily commute.  It's very good.

*Except for the fact that the ipod keeps skipping around and I don't know if Lincoln is a ten year old boy or the president at any given time.  

*Edited To Add:  Ipod isn't on shuffle.  Probably should have mentioned that.  Not mentioning it makes me sound like one of those middle aged women who require the assistance of teenagers to function in a technological world.  Which I sometimes am...

*I should get the actual book and just be done with it, for crying out loud.  I like the story.  

*But, in keeping with my sunny attitude, I am just grateful to be able to listen to it and shall consider the random chapter presentations as a way to keep my mind alert.

*I need more sauce, I think...

So there's a Wednesday.  I cannot wait to see what Thursday will bring because I am a sunny, saucy gal who loves life and all that garbage.  Perhaps I will find a cache of tomatoes and make some sauce.  Or maybe Lincoln will come explain how he went from being a boy in a log cabin to an adult vampire hunter then back to boyhood again in the space of two minutes.  Or someone will announce that there is no such thing as state achievement testing and my principal will return to his normal facial coloring.

Anything's possible!


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

So Tacky!

I did not plan my weekend very well.  It's not like I didn't have advance warning of everything going on.  I've known for months.  I stuck the itinerary to the fridge for regular review and my understanding of the situation was crystal clear.  I had plans for Sunday with the family and bread was required.  More than once, I have been told that I cannot enter family functions without Cheesy Bread.  People who haven't seen me in years will say their obligatory hellos and then ask if I've come bearing offerings of grain and dairy.

This, however, did not stop me from deciding to make grape juice on Saturday.

It's not hard to make grape juice.  I've read the recipe a billion times and I do so hate to think that my summer 'o canning fun is over just because winter approacheth.  Besides, grapes were on sale for a buck a pound last week so it's not like I had much choice in the matter anyway.

What makes the situation difficult is that it is time consuming to make grape juice.  It has to sit for a while before you can it.  Furthermore, I often tend to complicate matters beyond all reason due to my unshakable belief that I always know a better way to do things and that the book isn't nearly as smart as I.  For what it's worth, I was on the right track with my "brilliant" juice straining thoughts.  Just not exactly on target.

Hence, I spent all day Saturday flinging grape guts about the kitchen and not making Cheesy Bread.  The sink was full to the brim with juicing paraphernalia and my counters so sticky that I dared not touch them for fear of becoming permanently adhered.  The floor was pretty bad, too.  I went to bed with a lot of juice sitting in the fridge and waiting for the canning pot.  But no bread...

This, of course, meant getting up at the crack of dawn to make bread.  I was tired.  I got a little distracted by cartoons.  I maybe made it a little bit darker than usual, but no one seemed to mind.  The bread was welcomed into the noontime gathering with open arms, as was I by default.  It all worked out.  Of course, the juice still needed to be canned and the cats were stuck to the kitchen floor, but what are you gonna do?

I left it all for the next day.  If nothing else, a day spent at school where the custodians keep things not-so-much-with-the-sticky would give me a new perspective.

Except for the duct tape wallet adventure.  The Boy With The Bass Booming Earbuds chose yesterday to suddenly realize he needed a wallet made out of duct tape.  Why he needed this is unknown.  Why he didn't bring his own duct tape rather than have to borrow some old stuff from the principal is also beyond me.  Furthermore, why the principal had a roll of ancient and partially melted duct tape in his desk is a mystery for the ages.  All I know is that partially melted duct tape sticks to everything.  It leaves a tacky trail that rivals grape juice in its ability to attract all things in its path.  Including the teacher who is trying to assist in the crafting of duct tape wallets.

The Boy For Whom All The World Is A Stage told the principal  I was stuck to the wall and that someone should come get me.  This wasn't true, but it still bothers me that the boss didn't even check on the situation...

I finally managed to get the classroom less gooey before I went home.  Then I scrubbed down my kitchen and ran the dishwasher.  I did a final straining of the grape juice and canned it.  It was a busy night and I still keep finding spots on the kitchen floor where it's harder to keep up forward momentum.  When I returned to school today, I discovered that the table where we all do our Very Important School Work is still riddled with glue spots.  My life is one big No Pest Strip...

The week is young.  I have plenty of time to scrape another layer of goo or two before the weekend rolls around.  I do not have any major plans for Saturday or Sunday.  At least not according to the fridge.  All the notes on there are now out of date.

I'm thinking of making cranberry juice...


Saturday, September 25, 2010

ABC's & 1-2-3's

1.  This is my Betta:

OK, everyone.  All together now:  Hi, Betta!!!

2.  He is new here. His name is Alpha. I guess I was kind of worried about his self esteem.

3.  Alphie for short.

4.  I am Certain that many of you are Concerned for his safety given the plethora of felines that also live here.

5.  I had some Assurances for you.  They were good ones, too.

6.  Alpha Betta was only supposed to be here temporarily.  Then he was going to live in my Classroom.

7.  Where all we had to worry about were a few well-meaning but not always gentle Boys.

8.  Now I'm not so sure.  He's my friend.  My Companion.  I like having him here.

9.  The Cats don't seem too interested.  At least not at the moment.

10.  But...

11.  I probably have Cause to be worried.

12.  The Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty is practicing his Gosh I'm So Sweet 'N Innocent look:

He's got it down pat.  It looks good on him, too.

13.  The Very Complicated Kitty is working on his Reassuring Grin:

This needs work.  It does not look good on him.  It looks...disturbing.

15.  There is the possibility of a Catastrophe.  I am Aware of this.

16.  It's a Conundrum.

17.  I'll need to Cogitate on this.  Work the ol' Brain for a while.  Ask the experts...

18.  Meanwhile, the male to female ration here at the Manse stands at 3:1.  I'm outnumbered, but I Accept this.

19.  Alphie is a very Congenial roommate, after all.

20.  He is not, however, open to the idea of tiny, handknit sweaters.  Frankly, I think it's a Bias.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Random Consistency Restored.

All-righty, then!  I'm back on board with the Wednesday Night Bullet Post and doing it when I'm supposed to.  Last week's little Thursday debacle is past us and we can all move forward.  This is what healthy people do.  At least that is what the healthy people tell me.  The non-healthy people tend to ignore me since they are kind of caught up in their own stuff.

Let the bullet points commence!

*The Organized Teaching Assistant had to have surgery again and is out for three weeks.  This leaves us kind of short staffed over in my corner of The Magnificent Learning Factory.

*The Cheerful Teaching Assistant wasn't quite as cheerful as is her norm yesterday.

*I was not exactly shocked when I got word that she was home sick with a fever today.

*Fever=no work.  That is the rule.  

*And I don't want her getting even sicker so she really did the right thing.

*There were no substitutes available at all.  Not even for the first one to fall under my command.

*I had to go it alone today.

*At 1:00, I went to the office to find Mrs. Secretary Who Sits At The Back Desk. I had three children in tow.

*Here's what I said:

"For the love of all that is holy, would you please look at these children for three minutes.  If I don't find a bathroom soon, there is going to be a great deal of therapy in all our futures.  I can't speak for them, but I plan on billing the school district for this."

*She watched them for me.  

*But then she made me take them back because there is no sneaking past MSWSATBD.

*We had a meeting after school.  Training on the issue of school violence and bullying.

*I am very passionate about this topic and have been since back when we all thought it was OK to say things like "Kids will be kids..."

*I did not care about it this afternoon.  Not one little bit.  

*I was tired and feeling a little bullied myself after 8 straight hours in the company of middle school students.

*And I forgot to bring the sock along so I couldn't even knit.

*Hey...I'm curious.  Has anyone read The Forest of Hands and Teeth?  I hear good things and I'm thinking it's one I should have read by now.  

*You don't need to rush out and read it just because I'm curious.  Don't put yourself to any trouble on my account.  I was just wondering is all.

*Best Conversation Of The Week:

Ms. Sheep:  Mmmph.  Magglepromph.  Blerk.

(the boy who is) Dark And Disturbed:  You look tired, Ms. Sheep.

MS: Blaaaaaaaahhhhh.

DAD:  Hey, have you ever heard that story about the Greek guy? The one who had to do all those trials and stuff?

MS:  Flagglesnorf.  Glumph.

DAD:  No.  Not him.  The other guy.  The one who was really strong.  One of the things he had to do was clean out these massively messed up stables.  It's a myth.

MS:  Hrumph.

DAD:  Yeah.  That's the one.  Anyway, I was thinking after watching you today that your job is kind of like that trial.

MS:  (eyes tearing and lip trembling because someone finally understands)  Mmmphlap. Booooosh.  Proooshie-koosh.

DAD:  You're welcome.

*When I got home today, I was very tired.  I wanted nothing more than to fling myself upon the sofa and forget the whole world.

*But I was met at the door by two cats.  The Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty always meets me at the door.

*The Very Complicated Kitty does not.  He waits for me to come to him.

*Today there were two at the door.  And I've lived with cats long enough to recognize guilt when I see it.

*Trash can dumped all over the living room.

We are past the guilty phase of the process now.

We are back to filling all the holes in the window screens with fluffy fur.  We tell Mommy that it is insulation for the coming winter and she is too tired to argue.

*I get a daily WikiHow on my Google homepage. Sometimes it scares me a little. 

*The best thing about September is that there are all kinds of new TV seasons starting.  It almost makes September attractive except for the part where I have to work too hard to stay awake for most of it.

*The cats seem happy about it, too.  Which is good because they had a hard day what with all the anxiety and guilt over the trash can.  

I can't think of anything else.  I'm pretty sure there is other stuff I should be telling you.  Like the part where the lady was knitting at the training this afternoon and it made me sad because mine was still sitting in the classroom.  Or how I forgot my lunch and was forced to eat all the apples I've been putting in my bag every day but not eating in spite of all my good intentions.  But I guess I won't be able to tell you about that since I can't remember it.

Still, it is Wednesday and I managed to post so we're going to celebrate anyway.  We also celebrate that there is new television to watch and no children in my house to make me too tired to appreciate it.


Sunday, September 19, 2010

A Heck Of A Jam

When Daddy Sheep asked me today what the heck was going on with the blogging, I was forced to admit that it sort of got away from me last week. (and for several weeks prior to that, but who's counting?) First, I didn't make it to the starting gate with the Wednesday Night Bullet Post. Then I went ahead and did it on Thursday, no doubt causing any number of poor readers to think that the weekend was one day further away than it really was. I cannot even begin to imagine the despair I wrought with that one! Lastly, I totally forgot to post yesterday, in spite of the fact that I really did mean to do just that.

It's rare that I actually have anything to say these days. But yesterday, I did.  I learned three very important life lessons and I wanted to share them with you. I guess I'll just do it now.  Same stuff, different day, if you will...

The first thing I learned was this:

If you have never before in your life made jam, it is probably not a good idea to start with a no pectin recipe. In fact, I am certain that this is not a good idea. 

The second thing I learned was this:

If you turn your back on jam, it will gel without telling you.  Then it will burn. It doesn't matter if you look away for a fraction of a second, even if you do it so you can perform the gelling test like the book says you should.  It will take that moment and use it to sear itself to the bottom of your best pan.  It will do in such a fashion as to resist all standard methods of pan cleaning, as well as a few special tricks you've learned over the years.  This is just the nature of jam.  Do not trust jam.  Ever.

The third thing I learned is this:

Burnt jam smells really, really awful.  I think it's the subtle base notes of failure that do it, if you want the truth.  That and the carbonized sugar.  Just remember this and you'll be fine: Jam=Fan.  Fans are very good at wafting away the scent of your shame.

Once it was clear that I would be jamless for the weekend, it fell upon me to find other things with which to amuse myself.  I spent a little time jotting down that silly little story that has been waving at me from the back of my mind since early July.  For the record, I'm always jotting down silly little stories.  Even if they are silly, it makes me feel smart when I jot them down.

And on a day when the lingering smell of burnt jam is mocking you from the kitchen, it is rather important to do things that make you feel smart.

I also spent some time knitting away on the Situationally Necessary Octagonal Replacement Thingie. (SNORT).  That didn't make me feel nearly as smart since it is kind of a simple thing and even I know when I'm merely humoring myself.  But it's also comforting to just knit and purl and do a decrease every now and again.

I made a few grand pronouncements around how I'd be finishing the SNORT this weekend, but I think we all knew that was just me being wildly optimistic.  I am prone to that sort of thing and it almost makes me feel better in a weird sort of way.  I don't like it when life lets me down, but it's perfectly OK if I've engineered the situation.  It's like I'm in control of my own failure and that renders me all-powerful.

Don't question it.  I don't understand it myself.  Frankly, I inhaled a heck of a lot of blackened jam fumes yesterday and it's entirely possible there's some brain damage.  I'm sure I'll be fine, but please feel free to make some calls if I start mentioning the three-headed monkeys selling encyclopedias at my front door.

So that was that.  Except for the part where I forgot to blog about it, but I've taken care of that now so all is well.  I spent today scraping the bottom of the jam pan and cleaning away all traces of this experiment from my kitchen.  I'll give it another go sometime in the near future since I know for a fact where I went wrong, but there's really no time for that now.  I have to go back to work tomorrow and teach America's Future how to do things like read.  They probably won't give me the day off to go buy more sugar even if I tell them that I burned up the last of my supply.  The education train stops for no man or woman.  So I'll put all this jam business behind me and go teach the masses.

I do not teach Home Economics.  Let's all take a minute to be grateful for that fact...


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Late Bullets. They're Better Than None...

I am normally somewhat confused when the school year starts. I suddenly become incapable of discerning what day it is. The only one that makes any sense at all is Wednesday because that is the day I do the Wednesday Night Bullet Post. This week, I've done fairly well, though. I knew what day it was all along. Even today.

Now I'm confused again.

Last night was Open House Night at school. It only lasts an hour, but I have to stay until it starts because driving home and turning around to go right back makes little to no sense. What with all sorts of "this" and little bit of "that,"things got away from me and I didn't get to the WNBP. Now I'm going to do it on a Thursday and hope for the best. I'm pretty sure that it won't mess me up too much. Tomorrow is Friday and I always know that day from all the others.

Let's give this TNBP a shot and see where it takes us:

*I had one parent visit me last night.

*That's OK. I have a very small class and all the parents know that they will be calling me and meeting with me umpteen times during the course of the upcoming school year. 

*Hard to blame them for not wanting to drive in on a Wednesday night to do scavenger hunts and hear all about their kids schedules, especially given how complicated they are.

*Virtually indecipherable unless you have to go about them every day.

*Then they are only partially indecipherable.

*I have a meeting tomorrow morning and somehow didn't find a way to fit that into the schedule and I'm one of the people who does it every stupid day...

*Public Service Announcement: I am tired. I am very tired. I am tired of other humans and the start of the school year has forced me to be in contact with many humans who seem to need my constant attention. Please note that I will be locked in my house for the coming weekend and keeping contact with the rest of the world to an absolute minimum.

*Thank you for your understanding and distance. It will benefit both of us in the long run.

*Mostly new kids in the class this year. They are not so bad, really. Even the challenging ones are interesting given that it's all new stuff. Change is good.

*But they are needy. Crazily so. They need to know where all staff are at all times or they cannot function.

*I feel weird telling a 13 year old boy that I need to go to the bathroom and that my having to stop and tell him this is putting us both at risk for extended therapy over the next five years.

*I plan to knit this weekend. I plan to finish something.

*I probably won't finish it, but I like the part where I plan to do so.

*Makes me feel really competent.

*I summoned the will to go buy cat food this afternoon. The Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty ran out of his food several days ago.

*He's been eating the very expensive food specially ordered by prescription for the Very Complicated Kitty.

*I'll have to order another case of the very expensive food specially ordered by prescription for the VCK.

*It's all very complicated. 

*I was talking to SIL Sheep earlier tonight.

*She asked if I'd pooped recently.

*I soon realized that she was actually talking to her dog, but it was too late to keep me from wondering if I'd performed the aforementioned action.

*Now it's all I can think about...

*I found this very cool collection of short stories in my Hardly Ever Read Pile Of Books the other day. Can't believe I forgot I had this thing lying around. 

*The Nightmare Factory by Thomas Ligotti. Not my usual fare, but a refreshing change.

*Forward by Poppy Z. Bright. 

*She wrote Lost Souls, among other things. Deep, twisted stuff but kind of brilliant if you're in the mood for it.

*Exquisite Corpse was the very first book I ever bought from Amazon back when doing such things was a new and daring experience.

*You got a free bookmark and I thought that was the very height of sophistication at the time.

*I keep crackers in my classroom for kids who get hungry. I tend to eat them more often than not, but I mean well. I gave some to a starving teen the other day before he expired right then and there on the floor.

*He said, "Gee, you're kind of like the nice grandma who always gives out homemade cookies and pennies on Halloween."

*I am currently deciding which class he is going to fail for this school year. Don't even bother trying to tell me that this is unprofessional because you are wrong.

*His mother didn't come to Open House Night. That is probably for the best...

Well, willya lookit that! It seems that Thursday Night Bullets sound pretty much like the ones that happen on Wednesday. I don't think this is going to result in a radical change of blogging strategies, but it's good to know. Hope that everyone had a pleasant (if bullet point free) Wednesday and survived the lopsided posting this week. If it bothered you, I do apologize.

But look at it this way: you have the weekend to recover!


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Yarn Remembered, Fudge Denied

This weekend was the date Mommy Sheep and I set aside for our annual pilgrimage to the local United Maine Craftsman show.  We've done it for years so you'd think I could manage to make it there on time or remember how to get there without having to think about it and turn myself around twice, but that's not always how these things work out.  In the end, we found one another and the shopping commenced!

I report back on this field trip each year for the blogging community.  Generally, I make a point of telling what I bought and what I paid for it.  You see, it is fairly common to spot people at these events picking up an item, squinting at the price tag then saying to a friend something along the lines of:

What???  I could make ten of these before bedtime and it wouldn't cost me but a nickel for the whole lot of 'em!

Polite people say this in hushed tones.  The less "socially aware" tend to verge on bellowing and always think themselves quite the witty soul for having thought up such humorous dialogue.  The fact of the matter is that it really doesn't matter how much something costs if you need/want/will die if you don't have it.  I don't care if it's a pom-pom with a magnet glued to one end and a pair of google eyes affixed to the other.  If it's something you desire, then it's most likely worth the price.

Furthermore, let's be honest.  Of course we can make google eye magnets.  We can make lots of things if we put our minds to it.  But are we really going to do it?  I could probably set my own broken leg if I wanted to, but I still feel grateful that there are people out there to do it for me.  I feel the same way about craftsmen.  I can't do many of the things they do and the stuff I probably could manage isn't something I'll be getting around to in this lifetime.  I'll proudly announce what I paid for handmade items and I make a point of doing it once per year just to prove it!!!

As I prepared to do that very post this afternoon, I suddenly remembered something.  Almost everything I bought this year is a Christmas gift.  While this makes me a very good person and probably deserving of a medal, it isn't going to help me with the blogging.  It's all Very Secret Stuff That Must Be Cloaked In Mystery.  Worse, saying what I paid becomes kind of tacky if it's a gift and the recipient gets to read all about it.

Well, pooh!  So much for the yearly tradition. The only other thing I bought was some fudge.  And I might be an open book where the crafts are concerned, but I'm going to go to my grave without telling you what I paid for a pound of homemade fudge.  It was good fudge...but not so good that I want the world to know how desperate I am for dessert.  I figured I'd have to take some pictures of the cats for the blog and pretend that the craft fair was attacked by wild ducks and declared off limits by the Fish And Game Commission.

And then, because apparently tonight is the evening for sudden and spontaneous remembrances, I realized that I did have something I could share!  How could I have forgotten???

I bought yarn!!!!!

In fact, Hilltop Handspun was my very first stop, at least the kind where I laid down some cash rather than just peruse.  I always make a point of picking up something from the charming Lucy Rogers because she is talented, the only purveyor of yarn at the show and an all-around nice lady.  I also think that $19.00 per skein (1 laceweight and 1 sockish) is pretty competitive pricing.  Not that it matters.  If you love it and want to support the artist, then you drop the dollars.  Besides, it's been a while since I've been able to hear someone say, "You can never have enough sock yarn in the stash!" At least not in real time as opposed to online.

We had a good time, Mommy 'n Me.  We shopped and lunched and that is always a pleasant way to spend a Saturday.  It might mean having to do all the Saturday chores on Sunday and put off the Sunday chores until November, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing.  I spent some money, no doubt about it.  But I'm ahead of the game on Christmas shopping so it's no harm/no foul there either.

As far as the fudge goes, you'll all just have to wonder.  The most I'll say is that I bought two kinds, peanut butter with chocolate and chocolate with walnuts.  I'll also admit that it was very, very good fudge.  I'm not even too proud to say that it was all for me and that I kept it hidden in my purse for the entire day of shopping just to make sure that nothing bad happened to it. (carjackers love fudge, I'm told)  But that's it.  No admissions regarding the amount spent will be forthcoming.

However, I will add that I don't regret a penny of it!


Wednesday, September 08, 2010

WNBP: Back To The Routine

One of the really, really fun things for the blog readers is that, when I go back to school in the fall, they get to constantly hear about my Day Confusion. You'd think I'd eventually get back in the swing of things, but I never seem to. From now until June (or retirement) you will all be able to live a day in my life with each post. And you won't have a clue what day that might be.

Except for Wednesdays.  Those I generally get right.  The Wednesday Night Bullet Post is always a good anchor for me.  Let's sit back and enjoy tonight's dose of the random!

*I'm kidding.  I had no clue it was really Wednesday for most of the day.  

*Cut me some slack.  Monday was a holiday and we also had Friday off.  Today could be Gluffensporkday for all I know...

*It was the third day of school for the kids.

*And my staff and I have already had a moment where all we could say was, "Oh my God, they are annoying!!!!"

*I know that sounds harsh, but you had to be there.  There was burping involved at one point.

*Spunky Girl was feeling particularly spunky and wanted to express herself through the timeless art of the belch.


*I am no longer knitting the Situationally Necessary Octagonal Thingie. (SNOT)

*I have swapped it out for the Situationally Necessary Octagonal Replacement Thingie (SNORT)

*Sometimes you just have to accept that you have no intention of ever picking up all those stitches sitting on waste yarn.  Even if you really want to be the kind of person who does that.

*SNORT on!!!

*The Very Complicated Kitty took his meds this morning without batting a whisker.

*We switched pharmacies so now his pills are blue instead of pink.

*He doesn't seem to care one way or the other.  As long as they are smooshed up in a nice gloppy cat food meatball, it's all the same to him.

*Still reeling from the fact that his medications qualify for the store's reward program while mine do not.

*He's probably going to get email now too since we had to put his name of the sign up form.

*The school nurse thought this was the funniest story she'd heard since ten seconds earlier when I prefaced the tale with the fact that I have a cat on anti-anxiety medication.

*As did Mrs. Secretary Who Sits At The Back Desk.

*She used to be Mrs. Secretary Who Sits At The Front Desk, but the other MSWSATBD got a new job last year.  

*Now Mrs. Secretary Who Sits At The Front Desk is Mrs. Secretary Who Sits At The Back Desk.

*We mourn the loss because we loved MSWSATBD, but we also love MSWSATFD so it all worked out when she changed her title.

*Mrs. Amazing Permanent Substitute Teacher For Our Building is now MSWSATFD.  It took two people to take her old job because she is amazing.

*I haven't made up names for them yet because I am still adjusting to all the changes in the front office and I don't have time to deal with multiple shocks to my system.

*One thing at a time...

*I am still trying to figure out why I decided to re-read Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell right before the start of school. This isn't just a book.  It is a veritable tome!

*If you listen carefully, you can still hear some of the editors and bookish bigwigs crying out in pain at its all being between two covers.

*"It's a series!" they cried in anguish.  "This could go on for decades if we just do some cutting!!!"

*Long book.  Amazing, wonderful and very long book.

*I love this book and don't know why I haven't picked it up in a while.

*Probably couldn't lift it.  Or finish it before summer vacation ended.

*That's OK.  It gives me something else to think about besides burping students and shuffling secretaries.

*During my ungodly early morning commute (and the weary afternoon version), I am listening to From Dead to Worse (Original MM Art) (Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood).

*Not a tome.  But still a fun listen.  I like the reader.

Now, however, it is time to leave you.  All thoughts of reading, office staff and burping must be set aside in favor of figuring out what the heck I am going to wear tomorrow.  Now that I am fully back in Teacher Mode, I should probably come up with something besides sweats and t-shirts.  I am a professional who needs clean jeans and maybe a top without salsa stains.  That takes some time to put together since nothing resembling it is near the summit of the clothing pile.

This routine is probably going to be the death of me...


Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Rewards Once Removed

I dithered over whether or not to toss the latest sock-in-progress into the school bag last night.  I dithered for quite a while, truth be told.  In the end, I decided to take it along because who knows then the fates will be kind and allow for a minute of knitting during the day?

Not a single one of the fates opted to turn a shining countenance my way, though.  I'm assuming that they think my evening might have been better spent checking on the Very Complicated Kitty's medication supply rather than dithering.  The big fellow takes a tricyclic for anxiety and I swear to you that I saw at least three of those little pills rattling around in the bottle when last I checked.  The truth of the matter was that he gobbled down the last one today with his breakfast so I was going to have to get some more and pronto.

I have never spent any time around an anxious cat, but I am assuming that this is unpleasant...

I was stuck at school for longer than I planned today, but was eventually able to get out the door and proceed to the pharmacy.  I was tired.  Very tired.  But the my boy needs his happy pills, right?  I dragged my weary self to the counter, empty yellow bottle in hand.

Perfectly Coiffed Lady Pharmacist:  Good afternoon.  How may I help you?

Sheepish Annie: (holds the bottle out beseechingly) Um...hi.  I was wondering if I could refill this here.  My vet called the prescription in to the wrong pharmacy last time and I thought it might be nice if my cat and I were registered at the same place.  

PCLP:  (peers at the bottle)  Of course!  We can do that with no problem.  You say this is for your cat?

SA:  Yeah.  Sometimes the vision you have for your life doesn't exactly match the reality.

PCLP:  (gives a reassuring look)  Oh, we do this all the time.  Now...let's get him in the system.  It's Androcles, right?

SA: (astonished that someone outside her immediate circle is able to pronounce the name without assistance) Why...yes!  Yes it is!!

PCLP:  And you are a member of our Healthy Rewards Program?

SA:  No.  My medications don't qualify so I don't think we need to...

PCLP:  (clicks a few more computer keys and nods)  Yes.  Your cat's medication is covered under that program.  I'll just get you the application and you can finish filling it out when you pick up the prescription.

(I'd like to pause here to repeat that.  My medication does not qualify for the discount program.  My cat's medication does qualify for the discount program.  Health care reform, people.  Think about it...)

I reviewed the pertinent details and was pleased to learn that for small yearly fee, the VCK's medication would cost a mere four bucks per refill.  Since he only takes a half a pill each day, this is crazy cheap!  I trotted happily off to do a little grocery shopping while I waited for them to finish filling the prescription.  There was a line at the counter when I returned, but I was already into this pretty deep so I figured I should finish the transaction.  At last, it was my turn.

SA:  I'm here to pick up a prescription for Androcles...or me.  I don't know which.  One of us takes it, the other one gets to pay for it.

Perky Pharmacy Tech:  Yup.  Got it right here!  And you are signing up for the rewards program so you'll just need to fill out this form here.

SA:  (diligently filling in the required information)  Um...what do I put here?  Do I give him my last name?  I don't know his birthday.  I don't think he has a job at the moment, but who really knows what he does during the day...did I mention that he's a cat?

PPT:  That's no problem.  I use this program for my dog all the time.  And once someone came in and signed up two guinea pigs.

SA:  Dear God...

PPT:  That's it.  You just need to sign electronically here...and here.  The second one is the privacy statement.  We've found that cats can be really upset when you share their personal information.

That last one just about put me over the edge.  I have a deep and abiding appreciation for people who can see the humor in a situation.  For the record, the guy waiting in line behind me was not quite so amused.  I think he wanted his medicine or something.  Frankly, I found him to be a bit of a killjoy.

Tonight, I will not engage in frivolous dithering.  I will spend my time working the pill splitter and preparing my cat's medication like a good mother should.  I will do so secure in the knowledge that the pharmaceutical companies are looking out for the welfare of my cat and his mental health.

Rewardz.  I can haz them.


Sunday, September 05, 2010

If I Had A Hammer...

Goodness gracious and an extra holy moley for good measure!  It seems I let things get away from me, blog-wise. I meant to post something sooner and, at one point, may have actually believed that I did. I suppose that with a good deal of this, that and the other going on (not to mention a little bit of whatnot) I kind of forgot.  Let's remedy that, shall we?

There's ever so much to tell because my life is, after all, filled to bursting with fabulous-ness.  I finally remembered that I have an entertainment system in my car and that it would serve to amplify my Ipod far better than using the radio. (Which has never really worked well)  I also managed to not expire from the heat wave that barreled my way and which took an almost-but-not-really-that-impressive hurricane to sweep away.  And I knit a bit once the yarn stopped threatening to melt between my fingers.

I even went to a cook-out at Mommy and Daddy Sheep's house this afternoon for an early Labor Day celebration. The food was divine and the company delightful.  Although, for reasons I don't fully understand, someone thought it might be a good idea to leave me alone in the company of a toddler for a short period of time.  This might not have been such a big deal had the lad not been in possession of a hammer at the time.  It was a plastic hammer, but still...he wielded it with skill never before seen in the preschool set.  To prove this, he managed to utterly decimate a speck of a fruit fly with no fewer than ten strokes and went on the do the same to a bit of hamburg left on the the table.  It seems the poor lad was the victim of an unprovoked hornet attack not long ago and now feels that it is his personal mission to avenge himself upon all things insectile (I'm assuming that the hamburg was just for practice...)  Can't say as I blame him, really.  Nor would I in that moment because, as I may have mentioned...he had a hammer.

Plus, he's my great-nephew and cute enough to warm even a heart as withered and crusty as mine own.  I also can't help but think that it is rather a good thing to have relatives with hammers and a willingness to use them defensively.

Of course, this is not the stuff that most people want to hear about.  I'm fairly certain that everyone has been on literal pins and needles waiting for me to report upon the first day of school.  I suppose that I have built up enough anticipation on that score.  I should let folks know how it all went.

It was, in a word, HOT.  Temperatures hovered close to 100 degrees that day.  Some schools even closed down in self-defense.  I'm certain that those of you in southern climes are laughing as hard as I do when you have to shut down for an inch of snow, but the truth of the matter is this:  If you aren't equipped to deal with it, any weather can be rough.  Most Maine schools are really not set up for high heat, and mine is no exception.  We survived, though.  In fact, the muggy air was the least of my worries for much of the day.

Most of my troubles centered on transportation, especially some of the buses required for unique students.  I would have been on the phone discussing the matter for much of the day, but my phone lines seem to be down now that the construction done in my room over the summer is finished.  Then we were invaded by hornets and I had to play the role of Ms. Sheep, Scourge Of The Invading Insect Hordes for an hour or two before I located the hole from whence they were coming.

By 10:00, I figured it was time to put in a movie and be done with it.  I'm assured that next week will be better and that I needn't worry my pretty little head about a single little thing.  I'm not worried.  I'm reasonably certain that some of this stuff will be fixed and that I shouldn't bother worrying about the rest.  It's not like I can call anyone about it anyway.

Maybe I should just arrange ahead of time for my great-nephew to come with me on Tuesday.  He could bring his hammer and take care of things while I attempt to teach...

Yes, I survived my grueling two day work week and was rewarded with a four day weekend for my efforts.  For some reason, they are expecting us to go back on Tuesday once the holiday is over.  In fact, I got an actual email to that effect from my director.  Why she would think I might not come back is a mystery.  Maybe it has something to do with all those messages I sent her throughout the day detailing the transportation issues that kept cropping up...

At any rate, I have fulfilled both my working and blogging responsibilities and can rest easy knowing that the blogging community is now up to date.  Granted, it's late.  But, in my defense, I did have that whole "I thought I blogged" thing going on for a day.

I wonder if I'll remember to get up and go to work on Tuesday?  Or if I should pick up a plastic hammer tomorrow just in case...


Wednesday, September 01, 2010

WNBP: The Working Girl Edition

No...not THAT kind of "working girl."  Sheesh!!  Let's keep it clean, people.  No, I am referring to my return to school today and the rampant attending of teacher workshops that I endured.  Frankly, it's good that this is Wednesday since I'm too hot and tired to do much more than toss out a few random bullet points for you.  Let's take a look at today's offerings:

*It was somewhere around 95 degrees today.

*I was grumpy and out-of-sorts well before 9:00 this morning.

*I think that might also have been right around the time the Assistant Superintendent made a joke about how she was looking forward to seeing our sticky, shiny faces tomorrow when the students arrive.

*It is going to be hot tomorrow, too.  

*She will be spending most of the day in her air conditioned office so I don't think this little witticism was something she should have included as part of her Start Of The School Year Speech To The Staff.

*I was ready to just go home, but I didn't think that was going to be the kind of thing anyone in authority would approve.

*So I stayed for the Teacher's Association meeting.

*Knit a sock and tried to not over-react to the dawning realization that the contract negotiations might not be going well due to a marked lack of flexibility on the parts of all involved.

*Also a little too much of the snarkiness.  Snark never helps in these sorts of situations.

*We remain under a salary freeze while everyone blames everyone else for the lack of progress.

*Then I went to a mandatory special education meeting.  

*Actually, I went to the staff breakfast first and had some coffee.  Hence, I was late to the special ed. meeting.

*About twenty of us were late due to our belief that we were entitled to coffee consumption prior to meetings.

*This meeting (for which I was late) caused me to be late to our building meeting.

*Then, just as the pizzas were arriving for the staff luncheon, I was informed that I needed to go make a Very Important Phone Call.

*This was emailed to me earlier in the day, but I couldn't check my email because I was in meetings all morning.  And late for all of them so there wasn't much in the way of down time.

*Except for the part where I stopped to have coffee but I didn't have my laptop with me at that point so this wasn't going to help me stay in the informational loop.

*I hid in the Guidance Counselor's office until the building staff meeting was over because, by then, I was pretty much done with meetings.

*Then I finally went to my classroom to come up with some sort of strategy for tomorrow's school day.

*Don't feel too sorry for me.  We only have one day then we get a long weekend for the holiday.

*Just feel a little sorry for me.  That's fine.

*Or say you feel a little sorry for me even if, on the inside, you are not at all sympathetic with my having to go to work like the rest of the human race.

*I'm good either way...

*It is still over 80 degrees here and that is just madness once darkness falls.

*Plus, when school starts, I consider it to be Autumn and there is no need for these kinds of temperatures during this season.  No need whatsoever...

*The Very Complicated Kitty seemed kind of confused when I came home.

*I explained to him repeatedly that I was going back to work and that his brother could give him some pointers regarding how best to handle the empty hours

Still not sure he fully understood the situation, though.

*I should probably stay home tomorrow....

*That's not going to fly.

*Never mind.

*Here's an observation:  The automated kitty toy thingie is great for giving the cats some exercise.  I'm certain that it is the kind of thing that will help them peel off the extra pounds!

But I'm fairly certain that the goal here is actual movement as opposed to just laying there and waiting for the fuzzy ball to finally swing your way...

That's all I can think of for now.  I still have a few things to work out for tomorrow's first day with the students and I'm pretty sure that the VCK is going to need another sit-down regarding the new schedule here.  I probably should go deal with those things.  That and soak my head in cold water for a while before my brain utterly melts in this heat.

Happy Wednesday, Everyone!