Friday, December 31, 2010

Last Shot

If you are one of those people who makes New Year's Resolutions but not exactly the "focused" type, you are probably in something of a dither right now.  The clock is ticking and you have but one last shot at resolving before you have to either admit defeat or come up with a very good lie.  This is, I am certain, a lot of pressure.

Oh, it's not such a big deal if you made a little resolution.  Say, for example, you said to yourself, "I think that this year I am going to take a risk and paint my toenails a saucy shade of puce!"  This is doable.  You have ample time to scoot off to the drugstore and purchase the supplies needed to fancy up your tooties.

If, on the other hand, you announced to one and all that you planned to lose thirty pounds, knit a lace shawl, cure the common cold and invent a platform, open toed, strappy sandal that the average woman can walk in...well, you might have a problem on your hands.  Kudos for enthusiasm, though.  It's nice to know you can aim high.

Lots of folks are trying to get in their last shots right about now.  My bank, for one.  They thought it might be nice to take one last poke at Sheepie before the year ran out.  So, they took a look at my recent transactions and noted that my purchasing a few e-books yesterday was not in keeping with my usual behavior.

It is. I do it quite often. They just decided that it isn't because how else could they say they kept their resolution?

A message was left on my phone last night alerting me to their deep and very sincere concerns on my behalf.  I was asked to call them.  I took that to mean during business hours. It was they way they said it.  Which was all part of the plan, you see.

What they failed to mention (and I cannot stress this enough) was that they made my debit card worth less than the plastic from whence it was crafted.  Failing to mention this was also part of the plan because how else could I have made an early morning run to the grocery store and not have had the means to pay for that which I'd selected?

How they knew I didn't have checks with me is something of a mystery.  I'm assuming they have spy cameras in my purse...

Well done, Bank!  Some people might have given up what with it being the final hour and all.  But not you!  You hung in there and made your resolution come true!

After calling the bank and reassuring them that I (like the billion people who got e-readers for Christmas and are currently buying books) was not a victim of fraud, my card was restored and I was able to go about my business.  I am not one to make resolutions (I know my limits).  However, I did have a mission.  I was going to get a picture of the cats playing with their Christmas toys or die trying.

"Die" is a strong word.  I don't mean really die.  I'm just trying to tell you how dedicated I was to this endeavor, is all.

I have tried repeatedly to do this.  It shouldn't be hard.  They play with their toys all the time.  They love them.  But, whenever the camera appears, they suddenly find other things to do. Sometimes they stare at me blankly as if they have never in their entire lives seen such a device.  Other times they do things that are less than...aesthetic.  But, by God, it is New Year's Eve and I was going to do this!  Nothing would get in my way!!!

Epic Fail.

Epic Fail Times Two

Oh, well.  You can't always get a win.  It doesn't mean you don't take the shot, though.  If nothing else, you can say you tried.  Or slap some puce paint on your toenails and call it a day.  I hope that you and yours can say that you met more of your goals than you missed and that you can wave good-bye to 2010 with naught but a light heart.

Happy New Year, Everyone!!!  And, for what it's worth, the cats are currently taking advantage of my blogging time by playing with their toys.


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

WNBP: I Blinked And It Was Over...

I had a rather sickening realization this morning: I have been on vacation for a week.  It doesn't feel like a week.  It feels like it just started.  Christmas will do that to a person.  The days before (which I am grateful to have had off, don't get me wrong) are busy ones.  The days following are sort of devoted to recovery.  Then, just as you start getting into the whole business of relaxing, it starts to wind down.

Now I feel like I should be doing all the stuff I thought I had plenty of time to do back when a week and a half off seemed like a very, very long time.

I guess I should look on the bright side.  Vacation is vacation, after all.  And I'm certainly grateful to have the time off.  Besides, it's Wednesday and I'm always thrilled to have a chance to do a Wednesday Night Bullet Post!  There's time for that, even in these ever-dwindling hours...

*The cats have finally gotten to a place where they are willing to let me sleep in the morning.

*Why, I have found myself snoozing until the crack of 5:30!

*I am waking up now in self-defense because I honestly believe they are lurking beside the bed and ready to pounce.  Even if they're not.

*I figure I'll have this sleep thing worked out just in time to go back to work...

*I have been eating a great deal of chocolate lately.

*This isn't overindulging.  It is housekeeping.

*We simply MUST have this stuff cleaned up by January 1st!

*I'm nothing if not dedicated to good health and a tidy home.

*I watched a bunch of those shows on Hoarders yesterday.

*That also helps in motivating a person to clean up a few things.

*Filled two trash bags during the commercials...

*I knit a sock.

There is little in this world more strange looking than a ribbed sock off the foot...

*This is significant because I have been lugging this sock around since September.  Maybe even August.

*It is one sock.  It needs to be two socks to really mean anything in this crazy, mixed-up world.

*I estimate that, based on current progress, I will have a pair in time to pack them away for the summer.

*I have been trying to get a picture of the cats playing with their new toys.

*They play with them a lot.

*But, every time the camera comes out, they suddenly cease all frivolity and begin scratching their ears.

*Or poking their noses at the lens.

*Or suddenly discovering the need to wash their hindquarters.

*I'm still working on it.

*I re-read Fear Nothing.  I love that book.  Planning on reading the sequel again soon. (Seize the Night)

*I have it.  Can't find it.  Had to download it to the ereader.  Now I will always know where it is!

*While I was looking, I read From the Corner of His Eye.  I have had this book for a long time.

*Can't recall ever reading it.  Hadn't a clue what the ending might be...

*Which is a shame, because Koontz did a rather amazing job with this one.  Clever biblical parallels that I didn't twig to until well into the book.

*He writes dialogue better than most authors, although he tends to use a similar tone in most of his books.

*Also has a thing against dialogue tags but that really keeps the pace moving, I think.

*Frankly, I'd like to go visit him at home and see if he and his wife talk the same way.  I'll bet it's a fun place to be with lots of snappy patter!

*Did I mention that it snowed the other day?  I can't remember if I told you that.

*It snowed the other day.  A lot.  With a side of wind.  Big wind.

*Now we have winter out there.  Lots of winter.

*There were snowplows involved, just like in those movies where it snows!

*I have a plan to shampoo the carpets before this week is out.  

*Any bets on whether that gets done?

*Intentions are good, will to use the time remaining in this vacation for such chores is not.

*Plus, the cats have been very good about helping me with the daily naps and I hate to let them down.

Well, there's mid-week for you.  I'm heading into the down turn, vacation-wise.  Sad...but true. It's like it was done with in an eye blink, for heaven's sake!  I'm looking to get a few more things done and a few more naps under my belt but I suppose I should also make sure I do the grocery shopping.  Before I know it, I'll be back in the routine and I'm probably going to need something a little healthier for lunches.

Not many calories are burned with eye blinking and I'd like to be able to fit into something for work...


Sunday, December 26, 2010

So Much To Cover!

Goodness!  It feels like it's been an age since last we saw one another, doesn't it?  In truth, it's been mere days, but so much has happened what with the holiday and all.  I don't even know where to begin or what topic to stick with.  I guess I can just do something with categories.  That should work.

On The Matter Of The Greenery...

I never did get that Christmas tree up.  My intentions were good.  I set deadlines for myself.  "I will just get through this week and then I'll do it."  In the end, it always felt like too much work and pressure.  Frankly, I don't like my trees to come with a side of obligation.  It was almost in defiance that I kept putting it off.

And you know what?  Christmas still came.  You'd think all those years of watching The Grinch Who Stole Christmas would have taught me a thing or two about that, wouldn't you?

And Speaking Of Christmas...

If someone asks you to knit something for them, purchases the pattern and also the yarn, it is poor form to finish the object then wrap it up and give it as a Christmas gift.  I'm fairly certain that there are any number of etiquette books that will back me up on this one.  It's just not done.

That doesn't mean I'm above it, though.

I did, in fact, wrap the scarf that Mommy Sheep bought and paid for and I did give it to her for Christmas.  However, I am not a complete barbarian.  I know that, if you are going to give someone something they already own, you'd better go the extra mile.  Or, in this case, use up every single scrap of yarn left over from the original project and add a little something extra to that box of social awkwardness.

Accessories galore!!!

Heck, I even took the last yard or so and whipped up a quick little pin.  I was determined.  And for those of you worried about the yarn slipping off the water bottle cozy (which was really intended as a coffee mug cozy) fear not!  I found some of that rubber grippy stuff that you put on shelves or under computer monitors and stitched that to the inside.  The thing is on there so tight it will take a team of obstetricians to extract the bottle.  Mommy Sheep's beverage is safe as is her upholstery.

And From The Weather Desk...

I haven't checked in a while, but I hear tell a storm is coming.  All things seems to indicate that it will be along the lines of epic.  Maybe even apocalyptic.  Since it often happens that it's not as bad as they say and since I don't have anywhere to go tomorrow, I haven't really been keeping track.  I have, however, put aside a flashlight and a few meals that can be made without benefit of the stove.  Hysterical Mind is always squawking away in the back of my brain and she gets terribly disappointed if there isn't something in the way of panic going on.  I don't mind.

If it weren't for her, I'd probably never remember to charge my stupid cell phone.

The First Noel (For Us Anyway...)

The Very Complicated Kitty seemed pleased with his first Sheepish Christmas.  And I think that the Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty was happy to celebrate it with a brother who doesn't just tolerate him or merely like him, but absolutely looooves him.

They ignored Mommy's gift of a new scratchy box in favor of the million toys lavished upon them by their Auntie, Uncle and doting grandparents.  There has been much in the way of capering, gamboling and collapsing in utter exhaustion now that there are new things to bat about.

Of course, it's hard to tell with cats.  Who knows if they understand that it's Christmas?  Maybe they just think I forgot about the rules and gave them extra snacks due to my aging mind.  But I think they get it.  In fact, I like to think they even discussed it.

BrotherBrotherBrother!!!!!  Tell me again about CHRISTMAS!!!

...and then, if you are really good, Santa comes and gives you THIS many presents!!!

OK.  So maybe it didn't go exactly like that.  But it's how I see it in my mind and I rather like that image.  Besides, if they didn't know it was Christmas, how do you explain their letting me sleep until 6:00 yesterday?  If that isn't a gift for Mommy, then I don't know what is!!!

In Closing...

I'm sure there is more and that it will come to me as the week rolls along.  I'm on vacation so there is plenty of time to regale you with random details from my holiday.  (whether you like it or not!)  I hope that those of you who celebrated Christmas had a wonderful day and that those who didn't enjoyed a peaceful Saturday without having to deal with those of us who have been getting more and more frenzied over the past few weeks.

Tidings Of Comfort And Joy From Sheepie And Da Boyz!


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

WNBP: Four Sessions Later...

I, your faithful Sheepish Blogger, has successfully managed to survive two days of teacher workshops and can now say that I am on vacation for reals and trulies.  I suppose there are harder ways to make a living.  One probably shouldn't complain about sitting in reasonably comfortable chairs and enjoying free central heating whilst others toil in the harsh elements for a few coppers. 

But anything a body has to do right before going on vacation can seem kind of rough even if that isn't an entirely reasonable way to feel.  It's all behind me now, though.  Nothin' but vacation time and a rather impressive holiday to contend with at this point.  Oh, and the Wednesday Night Bullet Post!  Can't forget that, now can we?

*This year's workshops weren't all that bad, really.  I took mine in four sessions.  A biggie first thing in the mornings and short ones in the afternoon.

*Long time to sit in the morning, but way less in the way of walking from place to place.

*Even got to go to a knitting group for the Wellness session on Monday!

*Happily, they didn't schedule a keynote speaker for the last session this year.  

*Individual groups and staggered dismissal times.

*Hence, I didn't have to sit in the parking lot for an hour while 45,000 of my colleagues forced their cars through six exit points in a mad dash towards vacation.

*I knit a scarf.  Not a whole scarf.  Only about three feet.

*Not my personal record, but still impressive.

*Three feet could make a scarf, I suppose.  Short scarfs are rather cute.

*I like longer scarves.  Except when they trail in the mud or dog poo.

*Then I think shorter scarves are the best thing ever.

*Hold on a second...Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty in the kitchen.

*Can't see him but, from the look on his brother's face, nothing good is going on in there.

*OK.  I'm back.  Nothing to see.  He's too crafty for that.  

*Very innocent looking kitty in my kitchen.

*Will check for damage later...

*Glad I managed to get a few more books downloaded onto my Sony e-reader.

*Friend from my former school wanted to show me his new Nook.

*It's the color one.  Very pretty and highly distracting during teacher workshops.

*Could have been an impulse purchase waiting to happen had I not planned ahead.

*Fingerless Mitts?

I haz them!!

*Actually, that's not true.

*It would be more proper to say, "I hadz them."

*I gave these as gifts to my teaching assistants.  

*Easy and quick.  And cute.

*Am making more just because I can...

*I forgot to go to the school library before the start of vacation.


*But I fed the e-reader and that might keep me going for a little while.

*I finished Pure Dead Trouble a few days ago.

*Just started Anansi Boys.  

*How is it possible that I have not read this before???

*I loved American Gods: A Novel.  I've read it ten times, for God's sake!!!

*I guess it's good that I've finally gotten around to it now...

*I also read I Am Not A Serial Killer (John Cleaver Books) and Mr. Monster (John Cleaver Books).

*I listen to a podcast in which the author participates and I've been meaning to get to them.

*Some people say that he is skirting a little too close to the Dexter (Dexter: The First Season) model.

*They are not wrong.  

*However, what he does do very well is develop character.  That's where it all works here.

*Warning:  These are dark.  Not as dark as other stuff.  Maybe not even as dark as the author intended...

*But still very dark.  

*I have come to the conclusion that the Christmas shopping is never really done.

*There is always "one more thing" I'd like to get.

*But I still think I'm going to have a workable pile o' gifties come December 24th.

*And, if I don't, I'm told that the holiday isn't going to be cancelled so whatever I've managed by then will have to be good enough.

*Also need to bake some bread.

*Not arriving with the promised leaven loaves might cause the family to cancel Christmas.  At least my participation in it...

*That is for tomorrow.  And the next day.

*Tonight is for sitting around and reveling in the end of the first day of vacation.

*Which is even better than reveling in the end of the day where you just finished four sessions of workshops and don't have to get up the next morning until you are darned good and ready!

That's your bullet points for this evening, folks.  I must be off.  This vacation isn't going to enjoy itself, now is it?  There's a bit of winter weather going on outside which has added a very festive feel to the whole thing.

I might even have a bit of hot chocolate just to complete the picture.  It seems like the thing to do.


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Reading Between The Irony

I purchased my Sony Digital Reader Pocket Edition (PRS300SC) with 5" Screen - Silver last winter using some cash I picked up teaching Safety Procedures classes for my school district.  It isn't a top 'o the line gizmo or anything, but I liked it well enough.  In fact, I even recommended it to my Cheerful Teaching Assistant since I knew she was in the market for such a device.  Frankly, I didn't think she'd go for it what with wanting a Kindle 3G Wireless Reading Device, Free 3G + Wi-Fi, 3G Works Globally, White, 6" Display with New E Ink Pearl Technology so badly, but she ended up purchasing the pink version of my own device.

We were happy and life was good.  For a while at least...

Then, tragedy struck.  I crashed my laptop and couldn't use my tethered reader unless I wanted to just keep reading the same stuff that was already on there over and over and over.  The CTA left her reader behind while on vacation and didn't even have the old stuff available to her anymore.  We were thrown back to the ancient practice of turning pages.  Somehow, we both managed to survive.  But it was a dark time.

Finally, the CTA decided that this was a sign from the fates that she was really meant to own the Kindle all along and went ahead with the purchase.  It arrived, complete with a fancy decorative skin and she happily settled back into the digital age.  I observed this from across the classroom and realized that I was in trouble.  It was shiny, it was slick, it had WiFi.  I was enamoured.

I needed to do something quick.  Christmas is breathing down my neck and there is a limit to how many handknits you can give.  Ditto for "Hug" coupons.  Furthermore, the mechanics are predicting dire things if I do not purchase four new tires some time in the immediate future.  If drastic action wasn't taken, it was very likely I might succumb to the siren song of wireless reading devices. 

I did what I had to do.  I rummaged around in the depths of the closet and dragged out the old IBM ThinkPad.  I plugged it in, forced it to accept an internet connection against its violent protests and introduced it to my little ereader.  Software was downloaded and I was back in the game.

Not happily, mind you.  I hate the old laptop.  It is clunky and slow and it is the sort of thing you pass on to your grandmother so she can get email.  Not that it matters.  She won't use it.  She will call it a contraption and recall how her friend Ida's son was arrested because he clicked the wrong thing and ended up getting porn while the government was monitoring his machine.  She will not understand wireless and fear the radio waves she is now inviting into her home.  She will call you sixteen times a day because she can't make the dad-gummed thing work or figure out where you insert the sheet of paper.

I am NOT a grandmother.  I am a young and vibrant woman with the technical savvy to crash a MacBook Pro all by myself, thankyouverymuch!!!!!!!!  I should not be subjected to this given my level of computing experience.  And now I'm all worked up.  I'm going to need my pill. Where's that bottle?  And will somebody PLEASE tell me why they put the lids on so tight and when they started making the print on the label so danged small????

But I digress...I'm fairly certain I was going somewhere with this.  Oh, that's right!  The tale of the ereaders! 

So here's where we stand:

The CTA has her Kindle.  However, she has confessed to me that she truly misses her little pink Sony with its simple, no-frills approach to reading.  She liked the way it felt in her hand and how easy it was to navigate without all the bells and whistles.  I, on the other hand, have moved heaven and earth (not to mention taken several steps backwards computer-wise) in order to reconnect with the very same reader my friend so misses, yet still can't help but think hers is way cooler.

I suppose that, in a perfect world, we could just swap them and carry on with our lives.  But it is never really that simple.  Our tastes in books aren't exactly the same and I'd hate to lose my entire library as much as she would miss the one she is currently rebuilding. And neither of us is so unhappy with our reader that we are ready to fling ourselves into an endless abyss.  Besides, it's taken a great deal of emotional effort for us to get to where we be at the moment.  I can't speak for the CTA, but I don't have the energy for much more in the way of change.  I'm just happy to have my reader back up and running. 

It is, however, ironic. Great story material what with all the angst and whatnot.  We should write a book about it.  Maybe even publish it digitally...


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

WNBP: Up On The Rooftop...

The Boy For Whom All The World's A Stage thought today was Thursday.  I was kind of on target day-wise (for once), but that didn't last long.  By lunchtime, he had me so turned around I thought it was July.  It is not July.  It is December.  I also calculate it to be the 15th which is something of a problem since this whole Christmas thing isn't really solidified in my mind yet and that is going to blow up in my face rather soon if I don't get a handle on things.

While I wrap my head around the concept, I shall toss out the weekly Wednesday Night Bullet Post and see if any of those missiles land.  Maybe one will serve as a good reality check...

*It was supposed to snow today.

*Not a lot.  Just a little.

*Snow might have helped me.

*No snow means it could be any month.  It doesn't necessarily have to be December...

*I was awoken by my furry roommates at 3:30 this morning.  Lots of "activity."

*Impending (but ultimately not helpful) low pressure system.

*It wasn't going to be a big storm.  I had no illusions about this.

*But for some reason the whole combination of things made it feel like a snow day.  

*It was not a snow day.  There was school.  I knew this was going to be the case, but that didn't help shake the feeling.

*At 3:30 in the morning...

*It was cold so I wore my crocheted handwarmers.

*Also wore my earmuffs.  They are not crocheted.

*I like earmuffs.  But here's the thing.  They kind of irritate my ears a little.

*I have ten piercings in total.  

*Two in one lobe.

*Eight in the other.

* was the 80's.  I had a safety pin and time on my hands.

*And was surrounded by people more than happy to encourage me in needle-based endeavors.

*Not knitting.

*I picked up a few books from the school library the other day.  

*Finished Plain Kate in two days.  

*If you can get to the end of this one without shedding a tear, then you are a better person than I.

*And I say this as someone who is not often moved to a blubbery state.

*While reading this, you won't be able to decide if the human race is made of of amazingly resilient individuals who are to be celebrated or total poops deserving of an immediate flushing.

*A quarter of the way in you will want to talk to your cat...because anything is possible, right?

*By the end you will wish you hadn't done that because, while anything is possible, everything has a price.

*I returned it to the library today because I wanted to make sure it was there for someone else to read.

*Then I started Pure Dead Wicked.  Much lighter reading.  Downright comical, actually.

*I also have Pure Dead Trouble.  

*Sadly, I couldn't find Pure Dead Magic so I had to traverse a bit of a learning curve for the first chapter.

*I'm all set now, though.

*I'm going to make one more trip to the library before school closes for vacation.  

*Hate to be cut off for that long.

*But that doesn't mean I don't look forward to the holiday break.  I'm not insane.

*I had to go see Mr. Assistant Principal today to discuss The Thing That I Needed Help With Two Weeks Ago.

*It was important that I tell him how my not getting any help has impacted my life.  And sanity.

*He listened.  He asked a few questions.

*All of which I could answer in a manner that proved my original hypothesis.

*He was a little horrified, but quickly regrouped enough to look kind of paternal.

*Which is an odd look on someone who is younger than I.

*Then he gently said, "Ms. Sheep, I would like to take this opportunity to personally thank you for not jumping off the roof."

*I said that he probably shouldn't thank me just yet because the day wasn't over.

*This is the last week before the kids go on vacation.  Then I have two days of workshops.

*During those workshops, I plan to assume a very interested expression and then ignore everything that is going on.

*I'm just going to knit and nod sagely.

*That's it.  I don't care if someone tells me my hair is on fire.  

*Knitting.  Sage-type nodding.  I'm going to look like a needle wielding bobble head.

*It's that or the roof.  

Well, I still don't feel quite like a person who has not met the holiday deadlines, but I didn't honestly think I would.  Still, it was fun firing off the bullet points so I'm not complaining.  Any day you don't end up on the rooftop has its good points, right?  I trust that you all are doing well and that any gift-giving responsibilities you might have undertaken are met.  If you need me I'll probably still be struggling through this most endless of weeks.  I'm sure you'll spot me.

If not, just look upwards...


Sunday, December 12, 2010

To Tree Or Not To Tree...

I am a person for whom internal dialogue is constant.  I have lots and lots of conversations with myself because I find me endlessly fascinating and because the cats only listen when some sort of food description is involved in the wording.  For the past few weeks, the chats with myself have had a theme.

"It's almost time to put up the Christmas tree!  Isn't that exciting!!!"

"Why yes!  It is.  I am almost giddy with the anticipation!"

Days later, it sounds something like this:

"You know, I really should start pulling out the ornaments and stuff.  Christmas comes but once a year and I want to enjoy my tree for as long as humanly possible!"

"Right you are! It's not like we have our own little elves to do it!  I shall get on that just as soon as I finish up a few things.  And take my nap..."

The mood started to get a little less festive after a few more days passed and there was still no tree in the living room.

"There is still no tree in the living room.  Think how nice a tree would look in the living room.  Why don't we have a tree in the living room?  Other people have trees in the living room."

"Christmas has gotten too commercial.  I don't think I should be participating in such a gratuitous display.  Plus it is a lot of work to put up a Christmas tree.  And don't forget the cats!  The Very Complicated Kitty might try to eat a tree if he suddenly came upon one in the middle of the living room."

Things were still pretty polite up to that point.  Yesterday, however, I noted a distinct change in tone.

"Still no tree???  This is ridiculous.  What if January first marks the coming of the Zombie Apocalypse or you suddenly decide to join a cult?  What if this is the last Christmas tree you will EVER HAVE?"

"Really?  That's nice.  Quite the holiday spirit you've got going on there.  You want a tree so much, why don't you go drag the stuff out and take care of it, Little Miss Tidings Of Comfort And Joy?"

The holiday trimmings have yet to be removed from their storage area in spite of my good intentions and self-nagging.  As much as I hate the idea of becoming one of the treeless people...I simply cannot find the energy to go get the sparkly baubles.  I know I would enjoy the tree once it was up, but the act of walking ten feet to the spare room to begin the process seems like far to much trouble.

In fairness, the last few years I have been graced with a snow day early in December.  Snow days mean that the phone rings in the wee hours of the morning and I am informed that I must not attempt to drive to school that day.  Since the weather is foul and I'm not going anywhere anyway, putting up the tree seems like a nice thing to do.  Plus it's all snowy and stuff so I can't help but feel inspired.  This year, there has been no snow day.  At the moment, it is raining.  This is not conducive to tree trimming.  It was highly conducive to ice scraping this morning when I was trying to clear my windshield enough to drive to the grocery store.  But tree trimming?  Not so much.

I'm not completely devoid of holiday spirit, though.  I have eaten six candy canes over the course of this week and have knit more over the past two months than I have in recent memory.  Seriously.  I swear it!  I just can't show it until December 26th is all.  But I am filled with warm glow of impending giving and redolent with the scent of artificial peppermint!

Maybe the internal dialogue will take a turn for the better soon.  Or maybe the dire predictions regarding the end of all Christmases will strike enough fear in me that I'll put up the tree out of sheer panic.  I like to think I'll have a tree this year in spite of the marked lack of elves around here who do it for me. 

Then I can go through a similar argument with myself when it's time to take it down...


Wednesday, December 08, 2010

WNBP: Oh Baby!!

It is the week before the week before school closes for the holiday break.  As you can imagine, the days are long and patience is running short.  Thankfully, time marches in a forward direction and one only needs to hang in there.  Eventually, it will be over and I can spend some time pretending that I don't work for a living.  Meanwhile, let's enjoy some Wednesday Night Bullet Points while we pass the time...

*I have been knitting more lately than in recent memory.

*Oodles.  Great, vast acres of knitting.

*But it's all gift stuff so I might as well not be knitting anything for all the good it does me blog-wise.

*Here's a kitty.  People like looking at kitties.  They forget about knitting or the lack thereof.

And a sleepin' kitty is even better for distracting the masses!

*I had an appointment with The World's Greatest Stylist And Life Coach last weekend.  I brought her the fingerless mitts she asked me to make.

*She lost the last pair and was sad about that beyond all reason.  

*I had to use different yarn, but they were nice.  I don't think she loved them as much as the originals, but she still found them pleasing.

*How do I know this?

*Free cut for Sheepie!

*Have I mentioned recently how much I love my stylist?

*In science class yesterday, we were discussing different ways to classify something as "living."

*We got to talking about the concept of Stimulus/Response.  (the boy who is) Dark And Disturbed volunteered that he recently read something about how unborn babies first demonstrate this concept.

*He articulated it pretty well except for the part where he couldn't recall the words "amniotic fluid."

*Medical Personnel please take note:  The new term is now Fetus Juice.

*The class sort of fell apart after that.

*Once you start saying, "fetus juice" it is kind of hard to stop saying, "fetus juice."

*It is not even remotely appropriate to say, "fetus juice" in any social situation I can think of.

*This is a problem.  Especially when you have no support whatsoever in stopping because now D&D says it randomly and starts the whole ridiculous business up again.

*The Cheerful Teaching Assistant has been talking about purchasing a Kindle Wireless Reading Device, Wi-Fi, Graphite, 6" Display with New E Ink Pearl Technology for years.  

*Pretty much ever since I've known her.

*It makes sense.  She is the only person I've ever met who reads as much or as fast as I.

*She never quite got up the nerve to do it, though.  Sometimes she even made it as far as putting it in her virtual shopping basket.  Then she'd chicken out.

*But she recently misplaced her old e-reader and the loss was devastating.

*She got the urge to buy again yesterday.  I didn't hold my breath.  I'd seen this before.

*I guess I underestimated her desire for digital reading material because I went to use the restroom and the deal was done by the time I got back.

*I do not have a Kindle.  I have the same e-reader she used to have but it is useless to me since my computer crashed.

*Tethered version.  Should've sprung for the Kindle...

*I'm still reading, though.  I finished Lord Sunday (The Keys To The Kingdom) last week and, with that, have completed the series.

*As I reached the end, I started to have a bad feeling.  I sensed that the author was going to finish things up by making everything alllll OK.

*I swore that, if this was the case, I would never again read anything he wrote.  Ever.

*He did not make everything OK.  He ended the story by making some things OK.  Other things were very much not OK.

*And that was exactly the right way to do it.

*Which is why Garth Nix is good at what he does.

*I was hiding from the children in the school library yesterday and found Fall Of The Templar (Grey Griffins).  I'd forgotten about reading the first two books last year.

*Soon, I can say that I've read the first three.

*I have a spider plant in my classroom.  A while back, The Boy For Whom All The World's A Stage cut off what he thought was an unsightly blemish.

*It was a spider baby.  I explained to him that this was how we make new spider plants.  I put the stalk in my water bottle and there it sat happily growing but unplanted.

*It took a while but he finally got it.  Yesterday, the day's educational plan had to stop because he suddenly decided that we must pot the baby.  He wanted to have it for his desk.

*When the deed was done, he told the whole class about it.

*And loudly announced the following:


*(the boy who is) Dark And Disturbed made lots of choking sounds.  

*I'd have gone to his aid, but I was too busy thinking about quickly 25 years of teaching can fly by and if my new career was going to pass in the same fashion.

*TBFWATWAS and I have agreed to not make eye contact for a 72 hour period.

*No fetus juice associated with the repotting of a spider plant baby.

*Maybe I can find something in the horticulture field after I'm fired and the media frenzy dies down...

And there is the Wednesday That Was.  I'm heading off to set the timer on the coffee maker and see about clothing for what may or may not be my last day as a professional educator and spider baby mama.    Then I think I might sit back and enjoy that new TV for a while since it's paid for and I won't have to give it back should the paychecks dry up.  I wish for each of you a pleasant end of the week.

And a marked lack of ridiculous baby references...


Sunday, December 05, 2010

Her Majesty Rules

It was a rough week.  A long week.  A week spent without the joy that is babbling, meaningless, shallow entertainment.  I'm talking TV, people.  I had none and it was no kind of life for anyone.

When my big box o' happy blew up a week ago Friday, I knew it was gonna be a trial.  However, I made myself stand firm and not rush out to purchase a new one until payday arrived and I felt more comfortable regarding the availability of liquid assets.  This was very responsible of me, but I missed my daily dose of programming.  And believe me when I tell you that I can tolerate a pretty high dosage.

I like to think I used the time well.  I watched two seasons worth of Twin Peaks courtesy of the internet and spent many an hour researching new televisions.  I think it was the latter that finally got to me, though. I scrolled through so much information that my head was beginning to bulge.  This was not a good look for me.

I finally realized that my best bet was to visit the local electronics store rather than try and brave the holiday shopping crowds at the department stores.  I needed someone in a crisp blue shirt who could help me wade through the vast array of choices.  I kind of knew what I wanted and my budget was set.  But I know the face of overwhelming options, I tend to crack and just buy the first thing that I trip over or break in my panicked state.

Hence, I staggered into the brightly lit store at 3:45 in the afternoon and gave my most piteous look to the first blue-shirt I saw.  Right on cue, he asked if I was looking for something specific.  I had my reply at the ready.

Yes. I'm glad you asked.  I need someone to tell me what I want.

Things got a little dicey for just a moment.  Little Blue Shirt's eyes widened and he backed up just enough to be out of crazy range.  Then he allowed that it might be best if he went to get someone from the TV department.  "They are the experts in this sort of thing," he mumbled as he scurried away.

Taller Blue Shirt arrived in short order and he clearly had more experience with frazzled middle aged ladies who have lived without TV for a week.  He listened to what I had to say regarding my needs and budget and waited patiently while I babbled about how I might be flexible on either count if only it might make television happen in the next few minutes.

And let me state for the record that the world is in need of more handsome, young blue-shirts who will gently (but firmly) lead bleary eyed women away from $2000.00 televisions and over to the ones they can afford in spite of the possible sales potential.

With Taller Blue Shirt's help, I was able to realign my thinking process and get myself back under control.  A very reasonably priced TV, with LCD-LED, 1080p and very well-leveled sound was soon being loaded into my car and I was on my way.

The world makes sense again.  There is TV.  Whenever I want it.  I can (and did) watch a movie.  I can mute the commercials unless I am busy or they are wicked funny.  I can make the picture bigger or smaller depending upon my whims.

I suppose my week without TV wasn't the worst thing that could have happened.  I knit three hats this week.  Of course, the last one was done in a day and that was with TV, but I was in pretty good practice by then so the data might be just a bit skewed.  Lots of people don't have TV and they all appear to be very happy and well-adjusted.  Maybe it was even a good thing for me to not have television.  Perhaps what they say is true and it really is an Idiot Box.  It is entirely possible that I and others like me are having our brains slowly sapped away.  There might even be millions of us all getting more idiotic by the minute.  Dear God in heaven...I might even qualify as their queen by this point!!

But, if that is the case, Her Majesty is very happy right now...


Wednesday, December 01, 2010

WNBP: Some Things Work, Others Not So Much.

Greetings, All!  Another Wednesday has wandered our way and it is time for Sheepie to toss out a few of the ol' bullet points for the general wonderment of the readers.  I shall do my best to stir up something with a little wonder in it.  Please be kind if I'm short on that, though.  Wonder isn't exactly something you can whip up easily these days...

*I had a delightful Thanksgiving break.  From the teacher's perspective, it's one of the shorter vacations, I'll grant you.

*But delightful nonetheless.

*It's been rough going back to work after all that delight.

*I made cranberry juice, played with the cats, knit lots of stuff, the TV blew up and I read quite a bit.

*Hmmm?  What's that?  The middle one?  You didn't quite catch that?

*No, you heard me correctly.  The TV blew up.

*Friday night.  There was lots of smoke and everything.  Very dramatic.

*No.  I have not yet replaced the TV.  Payday is Friday.  This most distressing state of affairs will be rectified at that time.

*And the first person to suggest that my life might be better without TV will the the last person to suggest that my life might be better without TV.

*TV is all that is good and pure in this world and a beauteous thing in mine eyes.

*Plus, I have no idea what time it is without TV.  TV tells me when I am hungry or tired.  I have been eating dinner at odd hours and have no earthly idea when I am ready for bed.

*No.  I am not addicted to TV.  That is ridiculous!

*Thank God for the internet and streaming digital media.

*A few weeks ago, I went to visit with Mommy and Daddy Sheep.

*They have a TV.  It's a nice, big one.

*Mommy Sheep gave me a pattern she purchased for a cute, little scarflette.

*That's what it's called. The Sassy Scarflette.

*She also took me to a yarn shop and bought me all sorts of pretty yarn.

*Including some lovely, single ply, variegated wool in soft browns and greens.

*Then she asked me to knit her a scarf.

*More specifically, she asked if I would knit her a Sassy Scarflette.

*Since I happen to think that Mommy Sheep is pretty swell, that didn't seem unreasonable to me.

*Plus I was going home with a boatload of yarn and this was the least I could do under the circumstances.

*So I knit her a scarf (lette).

Did I mention that Mommy Sheep has crazy good taste in yarn?

*I still had TV while I was knitting this.

*I knit it in two pieces and did a three needle bind off because I cannot stand it when the bound off edge doesn't look the same as the cast on edge.

*Not as neat at the join, granted.  But that part is in the back and I can live with this.

*It is possible that the TV blew up in protest, but I don't think so...

*My Other Favorite Librarian told me that she should have Lord Sunday (The Keys To The Kingdom) ready for me today.

*She also said she'd bring it down to the classroom for me, but she never did.

*I was disappointed, but she is very busy and it's kind of hard to get mad at the librarian who ordered books for the school library just to make a teacher happy.

*I'll go pick it up tomorrow.  Then I can rest easy and finally know how this series ends!!!!!!

*To recap:  I have no new book and no TV.

*I do have one last piece of pecan pie left over from Thanksgiving dinner, though.

* I might manage to get through this night without chewing through the sofa cushions.

*I've been watching Twin Peaks online to pass the time.

*I don't think I followed it very well back in the day and it is important to be able to discuss such cultural phenomena intelligently.

*Plus I don't have real TV so I might as well watch that...

*I practiced knitting hats while I watched.

*I don't suppose one really needs to practice knitting hats, but I haven't done one in a while and Daddy Sheep wants one.

*He knows about the Sassy Scarflette.  I don't want to be the cause of any spousal rivalry.

*Oh, for crying out loud!  It's 7:00!!!

*I have not eaten dinner!!!

*No TV to tell me that I'm hungry.

*Must go deal with this situation...

And there you have it.  My Wednesday.  The kind where scarflettes work out and TVs decide against working.  Plus my growling stomach.  In hindsight, that should have been a clue regarding the passing of the dinner hour, but I don't trust my stomach.  It always thinks it's hungry.  If I had TV, I would have known what time it was merely by looking at the screen and seeing what was on.  I could have confirmed the hunger instead of accusing my stomach of being overly needy and wanting pie.

It is very confusing here.