Sunday, February 27, 2011

Inner Transcripts

Everybody has an inner dialogue going at some point during the day.  We keep it on the inside for a variety of reasons.  What we are telling ourselves might be hurtful to another or embarrass them.  Perhaps we know that it might make us look foolish or reveal that we don't exactly understand what is going on.  Or it could be that it is just fun to have a little secret.  Whatever the reason, the chats we have in our brains stay locked within.

However, I believe that a bit of what we are thinking always shows on our faces to some degree.  Thus, I am able to fairly accurately recreate what I believe were the multiple inner dialogues going on amongst those of us at my recent dentist appointment.

It went something like this:

Perky Hygienist: There.  I've put the little stick between her teeth and told her that the dentist will be in shortly.  Now I can go be perky somewhere else while her mouth goes numb.

Sheepish Annie:  Well, here I am with a stick between my teeth and my mouth is going numb.  I'll just sit here and look out the window while I wait for the dentist who should be here shortly.  Wait!  Was was!  It's my dentist!  He's leaving!!!  Maybe he forgot about me.  That would be nice...

Dr. Desade, DMD:  Off I go for my little walk without my coat.  I'm certain that no one has noticed my leaving but I'll be sure to tell them all about it when I get back for I am such a manly-man strolling about in freezing temperatures without protection from the elements!

Several Minutes Later:

Dr. Desade, DMD:  Oh, good.  She has that stick between her teeth.  Now I can tell the tale of my trip to the hardware store down the street and allow them all to marvel at my bravery without interruption.

Sheepish Annie:  Wait...did he say, "hardware store?"  Why in the name of all that is holy did he need to go to the hardware store before doing my filling???????

Note:  After brief consideration, I decided that this particular inner dialogue should be externalized.  It seemed like a prudent question to ask under the circumstances.  For the record, the Perky Hygienist got it and was chuckling a full fifteen seconds before the dentist lost his perplexed expression.

Dr. Desade, DMD:  OK.  That threw me for a second.  But it all worked out.  Now I get to tell the ladies all about how I went to get a screw so I could fix the receptionist's drawer and they shall again be in awe of my vast talents.

Sheepish Annie:  This is a really long story...

Dr. Desade, DMD:  And now I shall use this giant needle to administer the gift of pain-free dentistry.  My God, I am amazing!

Sheepish Annie:  Wow.  That is a really big needle.  Ow!  What the heck just pinched my tongue?  I should really mention...YIKES!!!  Never mind my tongue!  That sucker is pretty much ripping up my jaw!!!

Dr. Desade, DMD:  One day, they will make a movie about me and my awesomeness.

Sheepish Annie:  Urk.  I taste blood.  I should maybe mention that to the Perky Hygienist.

Perky Hygienist:  I am just going to quietly offer to suction her mouth and pray that she doesn't see the look of abject horror upon my face.  

Dr. Desade, DMD:  Well, she says the anesthetic's working.  Now let's make the magic happen!

Sheepish Annie:  You know, I can never remember.  Which side of my mouth is the one where the Novocaine doesn't work?  Is it the left?  The right?  OMG!!!  NOW I REMEMBER!!!

Perky Hygienist:  Just keep suctioning, just keep suctioning, just keep suctioning...

Dr. Desade, DMD:  Huh.  That's interesting. The chair is actually shaking right out of it's base.  She's got quite a grip on the armrest, there.  Maybe I should stop and ask her if she is all right.  I'm certain she is simply overwhelmed by this display of great skill and whatnot, but it never hurts to ask.

Sheepish Annie:  I hate this man so much.

Dr. Desade, DMD:  Well...she did say to keep going and get it over with.  I'll just keep telling her that I'm almost done and that will distract her nicely.  I'm sure it's not nearly as bad as she's making it out to be.

Sheepish Annie:  *%@%$*&@#$$!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Perky Hygienist:  I could have gone to cosmetology school.  That would have been nice...

Dr. Desade, DMD:  There.  That should do it.  Oh, look.  The silly patient bit her own tongue.  I should tell her that so she, too, can laugh at her folly.  I'll even throw in my patented Condescending Chuckle.

Sheepish Annie:  Bit my...really?  That's what you're going with?  Oh, I'm gonna give this guy a piece of my mind right here and now!

Dr. Desade, DMD:  She looks like she has something to say.  Must be getting ready to start in with the tearful professions of thanks.

Sheepish Annie:  Oh, forget it.  It's not worth it.  Besides, what do I know?  I can't see inside my own mouth and everything but the tooth he was drilling into was numb.  Maybe I did bite my tongue.  Maybe it is only a coincidence that it didn't hurt until he stuck that stupid, giant needle in there.  Maybe the Perky Hygienist always has that deer-in-the-headlights look during procedures.  I just wanna go home...

Dr. Desade, DMD:  

Sheepish Annie:  That's right, little man.  Run away.  As fast and as far as you can.  Because if I ever regain the strength to get out of this chair...

So much to say and yet virtually all of it remained unsaid.  Silent witnesses would have heard naught but, "how are you today?" and "fine, thanks."  There were wishes for pleasant weekends and reminders to be cautious during the upcoming storm.  The hygienist's horror, the dentist's sense of self and the patient's fervent desire that a plague of boils suddenly manifest itself upon a certain drill wielding man were all kept internalized.

I drove home shakily.  Every so often, I spat out a little something that looked disturbingly like a piece of tongue, but that might have just been my imagination.  My tooth throbbed, although my mouth and jaw remained numb almost to the point of uselessness.

Not so much, however, that I didn't take advantage of the privacy of my vehicle.  Rest assured, I had a great deal to say and the internal dialogue became highly and explosively external.

That was Thursday.  Now it is Sunday and my mouth has healed a bit.  I ranted in lisping tones for a while, but I think I'm over it.  Now it is time for the internal dialogue to focus on getting me ready to go back to school tomorrow.  Vacation week is over and I really need to be gearing up for interpreting what my students are thinking instead of my dentist.

I wonder what the kids would say (internally or externally) about a science unit on good oral hygiene?


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

WNBP: Overly Structured...

It may be February Vacation here in Sheepie Land, but that is no excuse for not doing the Wednesday Night Bullet Post.  The days continue to march along regardless of my vacationing status.  Frankly, I'm a little concerned about that, if you want the truth.

How I managed to schedule so many little things for this week, I don't know.  I suppose that a vacation always seems longer in theory than it does in actuality.  It's not like I've blocked out whole days on the calendar or anything, but my appointments seem to be taking little bites out of my downtime and this is not exactly what I had in mind for this week.

Oh, well.  What are you gonna do?  If nothing else, I can at least nap in the afternoons if I play my cards right.  And in between, I can come up with one or two things that might be worthy of a bullet point or two!

*Apologies to those of you who are getting bored with socks.

*I understand why you might be feeling that way, but I'm still working out the kinks in my Toe-Up Technique and there is really just nothing else to be done for it, I'm afraid.

Socks. What else to say about them, really?

*I had lots of time to work on these before the appointment train really got rolling.

*Woke up Monday with a slight fever and sniffles.

*Lolled around all day cursing the sickly children who inhabit my classroom and making little moaning noises.

*Which was a bit of an overreaction, since the whole thing passed pretty quickly.

*And gave me an excuse to cancel Tuesday's dentist appointment.

*And extra knitting time.

*So I finished my socks.

*Promptly decided to take a break from sock knitting for a while.

*Then cast on for another pair because I am really kind of hopeless when it comes to sticking to things

*Have to go get that filling tomorrow.  The inevitable cannot really be delayed no matter what they say.

*Had an appointment this morning, too.  That killed half of this day.

*Omigod!  I just realized I forgot to call the doctor back to schedule my blood work.

*It's a good thing I am on vacation and can get all this stuff done.

*Tomorrow is Thursday.  It's not looking good for me...

*Cats are still enjoying the addition of crunchy kibble to their diet.

*They let me sleep in the morning now.

*This is good.

*The Very Complicated Kitty is particularly impressed.

*So much so that he is now turning his nose up at the canned stuff.

*Which he needs because that is how I sneak his Happy Pill to him each day.

*Slight backfiring in the plan...

*We are cutting back on crunchy kibble.

*Vacations are very good for reading.  

*Even vacations that are cut short by obligation.

*Online bookstores are notorious for luring you in with a cheap book to get you to read the series.

*I, of course, am too smart for that so I knew that when I bought Fallen for a low-low price, I wouldn't have to worry about getting the sequel.

*I am middle aged.  What do I want with a teen problem novel?

*Apparently, I am emotionally stunted and incapable of acting my age because I found this to be a highly engrossing story.

*Teen problem novel, yes.  But an exceptionally well-written one.

*Will she ever be with her one true love or will forces, both sacred and profane, conspire to keep them apart???  

*I know.  Crazy, right?  But I couldn't help myself!!!!

*And we're not talking regular forces here.  I'm talking actual "sacred and profane!"

*And yes.  I downloaded Torment (Fallen) this morning.  

*The tragedies which befall this most unlikely and literally cursed couple make my petty problems with the dentist seem almost trivial.


*The Cheerful Teaching Assistant strongly recommended that I take a look at this zombie book she was reading.

*She doesn't read zombie books.  She only knows about zombies because I sometimes talk about them.

*In my world, "sometimes" means "babbles on and on about them until she has no excuse but to learn something about zombies."

*I don't actually read a lot of zombie books, though.  Most aren't all that good or try for funny.

*Zombies are not funny.  Ever.  If you think you see a funny zombie, just lie down.  

*You've already been infected.  You are feverish, hallucinating and in the last stages of life as you know it.  

*I am on my way to lop off your noggin for your own good and that of humanity.

*The CTA liked the opening lines so she bought the zombie book in spite of it not being her normal fare.

*She came into work last Friday bleary eyed and feverish.  Being sick was bad enough.

*But being up all night disturbed by the zombie book was worse.  It bothered her.  She was worried about it.  She couldn't stop thinking about it.

*Good enough for me.


*Another cheap read in digital format.  Didn't like the ending all that much, seemed a little abrupt.

*But worth the ride, lemme tellya.

*Unlike the macaroni and cheese I made earlier this week which was not good at all.

*Lumpy sauce.  I seized my cheese.

*These things happen.  I was out and about most of the past few days so it wasn't like I was home to eat it anyway.

There.  That ought to do it.  In spite of my busy vacation schedule, I seem to have managed to eke out a Bullet Post for this week.  I'm hoping that my streak will continue and that I will also manage to catch up with all the blog reading that has fallen by the wayside of late.  We'll see what we can to about that in the next couple of days.

Maybe after my dentist appointment tomorrow.  I'll probably need something to take my mind off that little scheduled event...


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Epic Wins/Epic Fails

It's all about the win/loss columns tonight, I think.  I don't mind losing most of the time.  If you aren't occasionally taking a belly flop on the field while someone else steals the ball, then you aren't playing the game.  Besides, the wins more than make up for the losses because they are the things you can't help but recall later.  I think I can spin any losses pretty well if I put my mind to it.

The Weather:

We had some amazing weather last week.  A couple of days almost gave me hope that there might be a springtime this year.  Why, Friday's temperatures were hovering near sixty as I made the drive home from school and that was enough to make me open the windows and breathe deep of the balmy air!  Wins all around!  Of course, this state of affairs was not to last and we are now back in the deep freeze with some snow on the way for tomorrow, but that's OK.  It's seasonal.  And besides, it's not like I have to go to work anyway.

The February school vacation would be a win even if it was fifty below and polar bears were roaming around my lawn...

The Teaching Gig:

Friday was a rough day, though.  The students were antsy and a few got to the point of downright grumpiness by the last period of the day.  I just gritted my teeth and remembered the sight of the deer feeding along the side of the highway that morning.  The clock might have slowed to a crawl by noon and The Cheerful Teaching Assistant may have been sporting a fever long before that, but deer make me happy.

The Working Of The Wool:

Riddle me this, if you would.  How the heck does a person manage to lose count of their heel stitches if they are using a stupid row counter???  I mean, seriously!  I like to think I'm getting the hang of this short row, toe-up thing, but it is a little hard to crow about my mad skills if I can't count to 8.  This is particularly difficult if you have technological assistance in doing so. They drum you out of the Sock Knitters Hall Of Fame for that!

(we will ignore the fact that no self-respecting Hall Of Fame would even induct me based on my sock knitting skills...)

The sock was tossed aside after the misshapen heel was ripped out, but the second attempt went more smoothly.  Furthermore, one side doesn't even have a hole where I rejoined the yarn for the leg!  Now I just have to remember exactly where I picked up the extra stitches to make that work...

The Feeding Frenzy:

For months now, I have been awakened at 4:30 in the morning by frantic, starving felines.  The fact that I am not the one who put them on this diet means little to them.  I have given some thought to calling The Cat Whisperer every day at this godforsaken hour just so she can suffer as I have, but that wouldn't be fair.  Fat cats need to be trimmed.  It's not really her fault...

However, both of Da Boyz have slimmed down quite a bit and it seemed reasonable to start upping the calorie count a bit.  Since the Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty had taken to foraging and stealing food in order to make life seem more bearable, I don't suppose I had a choice.  Not everything he found agreed with his digestive system either.  I was tired of cleaning the carpets.

After months of research, I am pleased to report that the grain-free, gluten-free, soy-free, low-carb, high-protein, no-by-products, low-magnesium food I found for them is a hit.  (I get tired just typing that.  The research that went into it nearly put me into a coma...)  The resident felines are thrilled with the little crunchy bits and, even better, I slept until 6:30 this morning.

The Sharing Of The Craft:

The World's Greatest Stylist And Life Coach asked me to give her a little refresher course on crochet and, today, I finally made it to her house to do that for her.  I figured that, since she once knew how to wield a hook, it wouldn't be that hard.

Those are famous last words...

She remembers nothing of this thing she used to do.  Nothing.  What I thought I could impart in a quick thirty minutes took two hours.  The first hour and a half were spent with me trying to figure out what the heck she was doing.  She doesn't hold the hook like I do and it looked like she was crocheting from where I sat.  But it turned out she was slip stitching for about five million rows and this doesn't lend itself to much progress in crochet.  You sort of need to do a whole stitch.

I left after a grueling three and a half hour session and TWGSALC had a lovely, lumpy triangle to show for her efforts.  Not crocheting that last stitch in the row really does make a difference, I suppose.  I remember doing the same thing when I first started and I suppose I should just be grateful that she wasn't making an afghan as a gift when it happened.  As I did...

But, you know...there are worse ways to spend a day than sitting in a spacious living room, in front of a roaring fire while a massive Golden Retriever gazes up at you adoringly.  And we laughed a lot.  It was fun.  Plus she gave me chocolate.

The Final Tally:

It is vacation week.  The February Break is my favorite because it is the first vacation of the school year that comes without obligation.  No holidays, no timetables, no nothing.  Just me and whatever I want to do.  Or not do.  This is very nice and I feel like a real winner right now.

It's almost enough to make me forget that I have to go back to the dentist for a filling on Tuesday...


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

WNBP: Have I Mentioned...

Maine schools have two vacations after the holiday season.  The first comes in February, right around President's Day.  This year, it is a week later than usual and I actually managed to forget that this event was rolling around.  It doesn't feel like the week before school vacation.  In fact, we've had so many snow days over the past two months I hardly feel as though I deserve one.

I guess that's why I didn't mention it earlier...

Why don't we take a look at some random events and musings from this week?  Now that I've realized how close I am to a week off, a Wednesday Night Bullet Post will help to distract me and keep me from going utterly mad with anticipation.

*Week before vacation.  I'm not the only one who forgot.

*When I told My Favorite School Librarian that it didn't feel like the week before vacation, she gasped and almost fell off her Official Librarian Stool.

*Then she told me that I'd made her day.

*Then I blew the whole thing by showing her pictures of my cats and it all got awkward because who knows how to react to sudden outbursts of Crazy Cat Lady?

*The 8th graders had yet another course of state mandated testing today.

*None of my 8th graders came to school.

*I was not surprised.  Since this is not one that needs to be made up, I was also not disappointed.

*I am still working on my socks.  I think my toe-up toes look quite nice.

*Dreading the heel because that is where I suddenly look like an idiot.

*Which makes no sense because the toe and the heel are essentially the same thing...

*I recently decided to start supplementing the cats edibles.

*They've been on a strict diet, but I'm getting the idea that it might not be enough for a certain Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty.

*He's been snacking.  On anything he can find.


*I've found him sampling chili right out of the pot while it simmers on the stove.

*That wouldn't bother me so much except for the fact that he uses his paw and I know where that's been.

*Don't even ask me about the time he stole some of the toppings from my very spicy pizza.

*The brown dashed line around the living room carpet the next morning might have looked like a treasure map.

*But it didn't lead to anything I wanted to find...

*Both of Da Boyz have slimmed down remarkably well so I think boosting the calorie count is OK.

*But it isn't that simple.  One cat has a tendency towards weight gain.

*And the other is just a dietary mess.  A Very Complicated Kitty, that one.

*Long story.
*It ends with me finding a grain free, high protein, low magnesium dry food that they both seem to like.

*Low carb, too.

*Don't tell The Cat Whisperer.  As their vet of record, she hasn't approved it.  At least not officially.

*But it seems to meet the high standards she set for them and still puts their portion of the grocery bill above mine.

*Have I ever mentioned the filtered water they enjoy?

*I'm pretty sure I already told you about the monthly canned food delivery and the prescription medication.

*And I know I've explained how I never envisioned this as my life's work...

*My craving for oatmeal cookies with butterscotch chips has become overwhelming.  It's like an obsession.

*Maybe I'll bake some over vacation.

*Or maybe the craving will just go away...

*I finished Behemoth (Leviathan).  

*Devoured it.  Digested it and gave a nice mental, literary burp of satisfaction.

*Then I was sad because it was over and the next book in the trilogy isn't out yet.

*This is one of the best series I've read in a long time.  Crazy, insanely, awesome!!!

*Lots of Steam Punk goodness and a little history thrown in for good measure.

*I like WWI fiction.  I like it even better when it's "tweaked" just a bit...

*So there I was, all sad and stuff, then I discovered something!

*A Hard Day's Knight (Nightside) is out!!!!!

*I love The Nightside novels.  

*Simon R Green's other stuff is good, but it doesn't make me as happy as that series.

*I wasn't wild about the ending of this one, though.  It sort of changes everything...

*BTW, if you are thinking of reading these, it kind of helps to also read The Secret Histories books as well.  (The Man with the Golden Torc (Secret Histories, Book 1).

*Not necessary, but it ties things together.  

*And explains who The Droods are.

*Now I'm reading something that is sort of a got-it-cheap-and-it's-a-guilty-pleasure book.

*Divine Misdemeanors: A Novel

*Please don't tell anyone.  It's not the first book I've read from the series, but I don't want everyone knowing about it.  

*Just tell them I'm reading something with a fine leather cover whilst listening to Mozart.


*Almost time to feed the cats.  Complicated thing and requires some concentration.

*Is it time for meds?  Is it OK to add a little dry food?  Are we maintaining our grain-free status or am I failing my charges utterly?  Did I remember to check the water filtration unit so that everyone is adequately hydrated?

*I had beef and potatoes for dinner.  Stirring was required.

*And did I mention that the AGK was found licking the spoon?

And that is what the week before school vacation looks like, at least if you live in my world.  I'm sure that I've forgotten to mention any number of other things, but that should keep you going for now.  I'm assuming that the next time I post I will have survived this week and that I'll be eagerly anticipating my week off.

If I missed any mentionables, I'll fill you in then!


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Down At The Heels

I knit really good socks.  That's not bragging.  It is fact.  It also isn't some innate skill I just pulled out of the aether.  I knit a lot of really ugly socks before I got the hang of it and unraveled more than I finished at the outset of my sock knitting journey.

I will always screw up a complicated fancy-schmancy pattern and that also lends some credence to my so-totally-not-bragging stance.  But I can knit a really good looking basic sock with nary a fumbled flap.  I stand behind my skills and have a certain amount of justified pride in them.

My recent (if somewhat belated) decision to try toe up/short row heel socks has taken me down a peg or two, though.  To go from flawless heels to something that resembles Swiss cheese is nothing short of frustrating.  Not to mention humbling.  I carry on in spite of this for a couple of reasons.

First, it is something new and interesting.  I sort of got distracted from the knitting for a while there and now that I'm back at it I kind of like the challenge.  If you've never tried to knit a wrap before, then it is challenging.  I will stand for no dissent on this matter.  I'm cranky from that experience...

The other reason I think I like the toe up design is that they fit remarkably well.  After years of thinking that my high instep was too delicate and special for anything other than a flapped sock, I am shocked by how perfectly a short row heel lovingly hugs my foot.  My tender hooves deserve such luxury so I'm keeping at it.

As an added bonus there's none of that pesky weaving of stitches at the toe, but that is a minor consideration.  I've gotten pretty good at toes over the years, what with having to finish socks in darkened movie theaters or teacher workshops...

My second pair of toe up socks is at the half-way mark.  This time, I didn't do wraps for the short rows.  Instead, I turned the work, stuck my tongue out and said, "I ain't doin' no stupid wrap" and went on my merry way.  As I worked the second half of the heel, I did a series of k2togs and M1s to keep things even.

Thank you Internet for your most wise and generous counsel...

Sure, it 's an acceptable sock.  It fits very well and the cuff is exactly perfect this time.  (unlike the overly snug first pair I crafted)  What's killing me here is the little stuff.  There's that gap at the heel, the thing I worked so hard to overcome in the past and now can't seem to remember to pick up the extra stitches for.  And don't even get me started on the whole provisional cast on deal.  Why I can't seem to do that right is just beyond me.  I've tried a couple of other ways (including the figure 8 cast on) and they don't work very well for me.  I always seem to end up with what I like to call a "protuberance" or an "outie" at the toe.  It also looks very much like other things that I simply can't live with on my foot.

I'd tell you the story about how I tend to get bored and put the sock down half way through the heel then forget about where the needles are and let half the stitches slip off, but that makes me shake and think bad thoughts.  Let's just say I have now done it three times and leave it at that, shall we?

I mean, honestly!  It's like losing six years of sock knitting progress!  I'm a rookie again and it's not a good look on someone of my advanced years.  I just have to remember that practice makes perfect and that neither Rome nor the ideal footwear was born in a day.

And I'll bet the Romans had even more trouble since they wore those sandals all the time and their sock heels showed up pretty darned clearly...


Wednesday, February 09, 2011

WNBP: (ab)Normal Week

Hey!  Guess what?  There have been no storms this week!  Not one.  Just that nasty bit of flurries that kind of went on longer than we thought it would earlier in the week.  But that didn't amount to anything once the morning commute 'o terror was over and we actually had some melting later on.  Why it's been practically like living in the tropics here!

Well...except for the mile high snowbanks and whatnot.  And the sudden drop in temperature that has left us all shivering but who's complaining?

The downside of all this nice, non-stormy weather has been our total lack of work-sense.  Teachers and students alike are reeling from the expectation that we should come in to school for five straight days.  That seems like utter nonsense after a month of weather-induced short weeks.

I think that, given my current state of exhaustion, a Wednesday Night Bullet Post is a very good thing indeed.  Here's your weekly bout of random rambling!

*I'm acting all put-upon and downtrodden, but the truth of the matter is that I have a doctor's appointment on Friday and won't be going to work.

*I've had this one on the books for three months and I swear to you that I didn't plan it to coincide with my current inability to work for five consecutive days...

*I live kind of far from school and the trip back and forth makes it rather inefficient to take a partial day off.

*Plus I have a stupid amount of sick time racked up at this point.  Might as well use it.

*Did I ever mention to you how I made cranberry juice?

*Back in November, local cranberries were plentiful and on sale due to the holidays so I grabbed a bag every time the price was right.

*Then I made juice using a canning recipe from Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving.

*What?  You thought I'd get over the whole canning thing once the summer was over?

*Puh-leeeze!  I'm nothing if not a die hard when it comes to my obsessions.

*Had some juice when I got home today.  Worth all the effort.

*Not exactly economical, but what are you gonna do?  Sometimes the novelty of it all is where you find the value.

*Plus I know what's in it...

*I feel badly about not having a photo of my first ever toe-up socks for you.

*But I wore them a lot after I finished them.  They really, really had to be washed.

*I underestimated the cuff a bit.  They are kind of tight.

*I just smunch them down a little and all is well.  The fit through the foot is surprisingly good.

*High instep.  Who know I'd like a short row heel?

*Second pair is on the needles as we speak, but please know that I am so totally done with picking up wraps.  That is over.

*Am now experimenting with new and exciting ways of shortening rows.

*Ones that involve less in the way of cussing.

*I'll try to get some pictures for you but remember that I almost work full time now and don't have the spare minutes I used to have back in the day.

*Just got an email.  It's from the nice people at the Very Expensive Cat Food Place.

*They've shipped out a case of VECF for the Very Complicated Kitty.

*Good thing I work full time now...

*Although I have to admit, having cat food delivered kind of rocks the house.

*It's like we're rich aristocrats or something.

*They'd also ship his Anti-Stressed-Out-Feline medicine, but that is way cheaper to get at the pharmacy.

*VECFP doesn't offer a rewards program for discount prescriptions...

*I went to the school library last week because I wanted to read Leviathan.

*Actually had an overwhelming, all-consuming need to read it.

*They didn't have it.  Just Behemoth (Leviathan).  That's the sequel.

*Had to download it to my ereader.  Which was OK because I knew I could get the sequel on Monday.

*Except for the fact that it was so unbelievably, amazingly awesome that I finished it in a day and a half.

*And couldn't wait to get the next one.

*Alternate version of how WW1 might have played out.

*If there were wicked cool walking machines and living airships.

*Oh, and an honest-to-goodness heir left in Austria/Hungary.

*I refrained from emailing the school librarian on Sunday with a directive to order the first book.

*Waited until Monday to do it in person.

*My Favorite School Librarian can't read every book in the library.  When she gets book lists and recommendations, she orders based on what information she has.

*She praises me when I give her suggestions or let her know that series are incomplete.

*I practically preen under the approving glow of any librarian.  It's sort of embarrassing.

*BTW, she told me today that Brian Jacques had passed away.  Hadn't heard that.

*This is a loss to young readers everywhere.

*He wrote the Redwall series.  (Redwall (Redwall, Book 1)

*I have seen more kids turned on to reading through his books than I can count.

*Sad.  Truly sad.  But what a legacy...

I am feeling like that's a good place to end this.  I'm going to head off to read a bit more and great ready for the fourth day of the five day week.  I need time to adjust to normalcy.  And get ready for a Friday off because I'm really just dipping my toe in at this point.

Don't want to overdo it...


Sunday, February 06, 2011


There are lots of reasons to love my sister-in-law.  She's smart and funny and bakes like nobody's business.  She's fun to hang out with and makes an effort to see that I'm included in all the going's on.  She also understands when my social abilities are lacking and being with the humans is just not going to work out. Oh, and I guess there's also the part where she seems to make my baby brother happy...

But the best thing about her is that I have never once seen her do The Yarn Flinch.  That is a quality not often seen.

What's that?  You are unfamiliar with the Yarn Flinch?  Well, it's quite common, really.  It is based upon the same impulse that causes people to inform knitters that they should be selling their handknit socks.  In fact, they are often quite disgusted with us for not doing just that since we could obviously be making millions if we'd simply put our mind to it.

If the conversation progresses far enough, you'll see it.  We patiently explain that, even if we didn't factor in the cost of our time, the yarn alone could put that pair of socks in the $20.00 range. Or more.  And sweaters?  They don't wanna know.  But when they do know, you'll see The Flinch.  It also happens when well-meaning shoppers think to purchase yarn for their knitting friends.  Unless they've done this before, they generally aren't prepared and will Flinch right there in the store in front of God and everyone.

Note:  The Flinch isn't just a Yarn Thing.  Quilters aren't covering their king sized beds for free and casual cobblers don't have closets full of designer shoes at a penny a pair.  It's the nature of hobbies...

My sister-in-law has gifted me several times with fiber in both spun and unspun form and has never once Flinched.  At least not to my face.  She even has the good grace to put my brother's name on the tag when she wraps the gift, but I know the truth of the matter.  My brother would Flinch.  He'd probably still make the purchase.  But he'd Flinch.  At least a little bit.

Note:  Baby Brother Sheep has given me some truly amazing and thoughtful gifts over the years.  He's actually quite good at gifting.  Like that time he went back to purchase the tea chest he saw me admiring and then shipped it across the country for me at Christmas.  The fact that he Flinches is in no way an assault on his character.  I just sort of know that it was my sister-in-law who did the holiday shopping is all...

Hence, it is not a surprise that my Christmas gift this year included not one, not two, but three skeins of llama/silk blend yarn.  If you consider that my sister-in-law is not a knitter and that the also thought to give me a set of stitch markers, then you can surely see why I consider her to be a truly marvelous addition to the Sheepish Clan.

She told me to knit myself something special with it.  Having recently lost a fingerless mitt to the ever-growing snowbanks and with hands cracking from the icy chill, I think that something with which to cover the poor things qualifies.  Plus I used that weird, but oddly satisfying pattern I made up during the holidays so that adds to the special-ness a little bit, I do believe.  Granted, it's crochet and not knitting, but I still believe this.

Even if I didn't believe, it's too late now.  They're done.  And I'm not taking them off!

I wore them outside today as I braved the icy driveway.  In spite of their lacy nature, the combination of llama and silk did a wonderful job of keeping out the morning chill.  They were done in a day, in use and appreciated shortly thereafter.  I brushed the errant chunks of ice from my windshield with nary a Flinch!  And the best part?  There is over a skein left!  Plenty more for a little something special should I feel the urge.

Especially given the turn this particular winter has taken.  It's times like these when I am grateful for the UnFlinching nature of my sister-in-law.


Wednesday, February 02, 2011

WNPB: Rerun...

It's getting to the point where I can start recycling blog posts.  It snowed.  Then it snowed some more.  Then I didn't have to go to school.  Then I sat around all day doing far less than I planned on doing because there is something about a snow day that makes me feel like I have more time than I actually do.

The only difference is that, this time, most of the state had the day off with me.  Still, it's getting a bit repetitive.  I'll see what I can do to make things more interesting for you in tonight's Wednesday Night Bullet Post.

*The auto-dial system called me last night to let me know I didn't have to set the alarm.  This time it was the superintendent himself who made the recording.

*Probably to make it sound more dire since we haven't had a full week of school since before forever and I would imagine a few parents are ready to tear their hair out.

*I told the cats I would be staying home with them for the day.

*Kind of made it sound like it was my idea...

*Not that it matters.  I doubt they heard me.  They were up at 4:30 just like always.

*Mega-storm today.  Didn't quite live up to the hype.

*But close.

*Almost a foot of new snow.

*On top of what we already had.

*I made a plan to shovel the car out each time the plow came through to clear our lot.

*See how I learn?  It only took two major storms for me to realize that large plows will bury my car if I don't keep track of things.

*Let's all stand up and cheer for the nice plow driver who saw me on my second trip out.

*He caught sight of me shoveling and came back to clear some more of the snow so I could back out of the drift.

*Bless his little heart.  I only wish my thanks were better expressed.  I was cold and kind of in shock because the plow guys don't usually do that kind of thing.

*Cheer loudly for him.  Maybe he'll hear and realize that I was honestly trying to be very, very gracious.

*Also might have been a little flustered by his cuteness.

*Sad thing to see in a middle aged lady, but there it is...

*Daddy Sheep sent me this today.  It's not a Maine map, but it's close enough for you to get the general idea.

* I laughed for a full ten minutes and then found myself chuckling off and on for much of the day.

*I'm sure that some of you can relate...

*I thought I'd finish a sock today.

*Did not finish a sock today.

*Came close.  Mere inches.

*But did not finish a sock today.

*I gave those Stoopid Rectangles (aka handwarmers) to The Very Nice Lady at the convenience store on Monday.

*She asked if I'd make a pair for her sister and I couldn't think of a reason not to.  Even if I didn't quite understand why anyone would want a pair of Stoopid Rectangles with a hole in the side that lets you stick a thumb through them.

*When I gave them to her, I heard the rest of the story regarding the intended recipient and why she is deserving of something to warm her hands this winter.

*Moral Of The Story:  Sometimes a Stoopid Rectangle is more than it seems.  Greater than the sum of it's limited geometry, as it were.

*I'm very, very glad I made them and that I finished them before the storm.  I'm very, very glad I took the time to put them in a nice wrapper and label them.  I'm very, very glad that a few hours on my part could help someone out.

*I went to the school library yesterday.

*Storm on the way=library trip.

*Actually, it's right on the way back to my classroom when I'm leaving my Tuesday meeting.

*I was planning to pick up Septimus Heap, Book Six: Darke.

*It's not out yet.  

*All was not lost, though.  I found Reckless!

*Cornelia Funke is one of my favorite authors.

*I consider her "required reading."

*She writes...richly.

*That's the best I can do.  It's the only descriptor I can come up with.

*I started it last night and am almost finished.

*Even the little things are so vividly depicted as to seem extraordinary.

*And that which is extraordinary seems perfectly plausible after a few pages.

*This one is teetering on the edge of the YA genre, but still a good read for middle school kids.

*And middle aged teachers who like getting books from the school library before snowstorms.

Yes.  It's another snow day for Sheepie.  Same knitting, same reading, same forcing the car out of snowbanks.  It never really changes here, I guess.  Here's hoping I managed to make it sound at least a little bit different than the last one.

And that I can do it again because they are talking about another storm for next week...