Wednesday, October 26, 2011

WNBP: Tales From The Line

I'm pretty sure that my entire life can be reduced to a line right now.  I'm spending a lot of time waiting for stuff and a great deal of it involves standing in a row with other people who may or may not be as excited about the situation as I.  I'm also filling out a whole bunch of paperwork and signing on dotted lines, not to mention trying to toe the line in order that I don't get into trouble for ranting and railing against lines.

Lines are oppressive.  They are meant to create order, but I am kind of tired of them.  I'm looking forward to doing the Wednesday Night Bullet Post where I can happily meander from topic to topic and where the lines are only there for mocking.

*Today was the Cheerful Teaching Assistant's birthday.  She is learning that time marches forward in a somewhat linear fashion and that one's twenties are not an eternal sort of thing.

*Hence, it was really in my best interest to go buy her a cake.  A chocolate cake that is in total defiance of any and all dietary restrictions.

*I found a doozy.

*It was the envy of all the ladies on line at the Wal-Mart.

*I know this because they told me so.  We discussed this cake in depth.

*Using the wisdom of a cashier, three total strangers and my own input, it was decided that this cake needed to remain in my car for the night.

*None of us believed for one minute that it would last until morning if I brought it into my house.

*Seriously.  This cake was like a chick magnet!!!

*They are talking snow soon.  Like...really soon.

*Not a lot and it's probably not even going to happen, but it is making me think I should really finish those socks from five or six months ago.

*It's just that I don't want to do the heel.  If I could just cross that line, I'd be fine.

*Maybe when my feet get cold enough...

*Although I don't know why I bother.  My feet have started to puff up again in response to the last few nights of popcorn snacking.

*Swollen feet are a new phenomenon in my life and I am ill prepared for them.  I question whether my bloated hooves will cause my socks to explode in a shower of woolly bits.

*Any thoughts?  I'm genuinely curious about it.  If I am going to be known forever as She Of The Elephantine Tootsies, I'd like to dress part.

*Even if that means wearing duct tape socks.

*I could also probably just lay off the salty snacks but I don't want to do anything too drastic...

*The book situation has gotten a little off-track lately.

*I was reading some of the D. D. Barant books and thought I'd move on to Killing Rocks (The Bloodhound Files)

*But then I didn't feel like it.  I sort of wanted something different.

*Mrs. Secretary Who Sits At The Back Desk (and who also likes a lot of the same stuff I do) mentioned Zone One: A Novel

*So I bought it.  It's not bad.  A bit over-written for my taste, but a kind of interesting take on the whole Zombie Apocalypse.

*It's fair to say that some people really are going to find their true calling during the coming dark and very stinky days.

*I also started The Kingdom of Fear.

*It's too early to give an opinion on this one, but it's a cheap download.  Even if it ends up not being a favorite, I won't cry too hard.

*Oh, I forgot to mention Aloha from Hell (Sandman Slim)!

*Or did I do that last week?  I can't remember...

*I love this series.  Even if this one didn't end the way I wanted.

*I want the poor guy to finally realize that it's not his fault he's a monster and that he doesn't have to be in The Very Bad Place!

*Fair Warning:  If you have strong feelings regarding the nature of good and evil, this is not the book for you.  You kind of have to be flexible about who is a good guy and who is a bad guy to appreciate The Sandman.

*Most of the series I'm interested in right now aren't boasting anything new and I'm casting my lines far and wide.  

*I'll keep you posted!

*And from the classroom...

*The Siren is officially dating The Anti-Bieber.

*They require a great deal of monitoring because I am honestly not interested in being a godparent right now.

*Their love is the stuff of legends.  Epic poems will be penned.

*For now, though, they are content with gooey messages left on the last line of a math page.

*Today, I found ILY scrawled on the bottom of the multiplication review paper.

*Best Conversation Of The Day:

Ms. Sheep:  Why look at this!  Thank you, Anti-Bieber!  I had no idea you loved me!!!

Anti-Bieber:  Er...what?

MS:  It says so right here! " ILY."  It's as plain as day.  And I'm ever so flattered that you would share your feelings so boldly.

AB:  What is happening?  I don't understand.  And I'm scared.

The Siren:  Hee-hee!  I wrote ILY on your math page and now Ms. Sheep is giving you crap!  This is awesome!!!

(Note:  The Siren is, sadly, inflicted with the exact same sense of humor as I.  It is not looking good for the AB)

MS:  I am sad to tell you AB, that our love can never be.  It is wrong.  We are ships that pass in the night, dear lad.  I can offer you naught but my hand in friendship.

The AB:  Please.  Make it stop.  Please...

MS:  (voice rising as she rides the emotional wave of the moment)  Take heart, Dear AB!  For I promise you that one day the pain you feel shall be a distant memory and that your life will be all the richer for having experienced it!  Please do not despair!  You shall, in fact, find another!  Yes....YOU WILL LOVE AGAIN!!!

*The Siren then spent most of the afternoon harassing her beau about his leaving her for an older woman.

*And yes.  I will probably end up on the news for crossing the line, but there is really only so much of the middle school love stuff a woman can take before cracking up.

*I am pretty sure a good lawyer can get me off on an insanity defense.

Yeah.  So here I am standing in line on my puffy feet and congratulating myself on not eating an entire chocolate fudge cake before leaving the parking lot.  It could be worse.  At least I have the support of the Wal-Mart Women.

And The Siren seems to think I'm kind of amusing, as well...


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

WNBP: Candy, Weredogs and Zombies!

I am a person who truly wanted to post before Wednesday.  I had very good intentions.  I truly did...

It didn't exactly work out that way, though.  As much as I don't want to be known as The Sheepie That Only Does Wednesday Night Bullet Posts, I guess that is what I'm going to be.  At least for now.  There may be hope for me sometime in the future.  I suppose I can cling to that.

Meanwhile, I will live up to the title and give you the best WNBP a slacker can produce!!!

*I have not had a very good day today.

*It was raining and the students in my class did not like the reduced chances for outside play.

*Hence, they took it upon themselves to make me as miserable as possible because I clearly control all aspects of weather and climate.

*I can't make them finish their math, but I can move the very clouds.  Yeah.  That makes so much sense.

*I was also running short-staffed due to an ill-timed doctor's appointment that I did not know was on the staff docket.

*I missed two meetings today due to the missing staff and weather-related protests.

*At one of them, they decided to place a new student in my class starting on Monday.

*This tends to happen when I don't go to meetings and I generally try to be all places at all times.

*Except when I am preoccupied with making rain.

*Someone thought it would be a nice idea to tell me that it was OK because the kid wanted to learn how to knit.  I would probably get along well with him.  

*This is not enough of an incentive given the rest of the paperwork that came along.

*Little Miss Let's Distract Her With Knitting References has been prohibited from speaking to me until further notice.

*And I will now be attending all gatherings whether they relate to me or not.

*Best Conversation Of The Week Thus Far:

Ms. Sheep:  I am now eating the candy I keep in my desk that is normally designated for student bribes. There is nothing to see here.  Move along and go look out the window for your bus.

Li'l Einstein:  Well, I certainly hope you are not eating the crunchy candies that I like.  That is unacceptable.

Cheerful Teaching Assistant (approaching slowly whilst making soothing gestures):  Er...LE?  I'd just step away now.  She bought the candy.  She can eat it.  I really don't think that now is the best time to debate that.

MS:  Grrrrrr!!!

LE (not really sensing how close he is to being a cautionary tale for future students)  Why are you eating the candy?

CTA:  Seriously, LE.  I'd just drop it.  Ms. Sheep just needs some candy right now is all...

LE:  I think it is emotional.  Let me guess!  You are sad?  Is that it?  Sad?

MS:  (snaps at him, narrowly missing a finger)

LE:  Nope.  Not sad.  How about lonely?

MS:  (Glares at the CTA menacingly, clearly expecting some sort of intervention)

LE:  Hmmm...not lonely.  Let's see.  What else makes the ladies eat sugary snacks...

CTA:  Oh, for crying out loud! I can't take this anymore!  It's ANNOYANCE!!!  And I think we can pinpoint the immediate cause!

LE:  Ah!  Yes!  That makes perfect sense.  Am I annoying you into eating candy, Ms. Sheep?  Is that it?

MS:  Got it in one.  Now go home.

LE:  Can I have some candy?

*He still lives.  But only because there were witnesses.

*I'm reading stuff because I have to.

*If I don't distract myself, things could get dicey.

*I was looking for a new series...something in the urban fantasy genre, if possible.

*Stumbled across Hard Spell (Occult Crimes Unit Investigation)

*Just the one, so far.  But it's a nice read.  Not the best I've ever come across, but very well-developed, methinks!

*Then I thought I'd try Dying Bites: The Bloodhound Files

*Oh, now this is quite the concept, people!  FBI agent transported to a whole 'nother reality because the werewolves and vamps that live there can't profile a certain kind of killer.

*Brilliant!!  And so many details to fiddle with...I couldn't imagine keeping the parallels and whatnot straight!

*I quickly snagged Death Blows: The Bloodhound Files.

*Not quite as good, but still compelling.  And there are weredogs!

*Dogs bit by werewolves.  Think about it.  How might they change once infected?  

*And would they make good pets?

*I'm not going to tell you but it is so funny, I nearly asked the resident felines how they'd feel about a weredog.

*Weredogs can be trained to make coffee.  I like coffee.

*Resident felines do not make coffee so there is not point in trying to train them.  

*Nor will they approve the adoption of a weredog.  The condo association probably won't go for it either...

*Yesterday, the Cheerful Teaching Assistant said, "Now, I keep hearing about this Walking Dead thing. Is that some sort of television special?"

*I had to leave the room and go visit Mrs. Secretary Who Sits At The Back Desk because she understands.

*Season Two.  Not just "some television special."  Season Two.  Which came after the first season.  It is a "thing."  An actual, bona-fide THING!

*Television special...really?  I talk of little else besides zombies and this season 2 premiere was kind of an event in mine eyes.

*The Walking Dead season Two premiere was freakin' amazing.

*Totally, seriously AH.  MAZ.  ING.

And so we come to another one of those "I got nothin' else" moments that brings a WNBP to a shuddering halt.  Also, the cats just careened into the fan and now I have to go pick it up before further damage is done.  It's a lot to deal with after changing the weather, eating all the candy and scheduling my presence at every single meeting that will ever be held.  I'm kind of overwhelmed by it all.

Maybe I should look more seriously into one of those coffee brewing weredogs...


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

WNBP: Short Week, Tall Hurdles

The Cheerful Teaching Assistant and I were talking today.  She took a couple days off to round out the long weekend and was saying how sad she was yesterday when it was time to trudge back onto the plane.  Then she thought about it and said, "You know...I'm kind of thinking I won't get much sympathy after spending the weekend lounging poolside and all.  But I still kind of cringed when it was over."

It's true.  I didn't use any of my personal time, but I still had a three day weekend. It doesn't seem right to complain now about how a short week can be harder than a full one.  This, of course, doesn't mean I'm not going to give it a go, though.  I'm probably even going to enjoy doing it in bullet point form.

*The Cheerful Teaching Assistant was out yesterday because she was taking a personal day and enjoying her last day at poolside.

*I was back at the home front trying to convince a group of middle school students that state mandated testing was the most fun thing ever.

*Even more fun now that we are in the second week of them!!!

*I was not one of the people who had much sympathy for the CTA upon her return even if I really do understand the sadness that comes from leaving a vacation behind.

*I never use my personal days.

*As the head teacher, it is harder to do that.

*And never really worth it in the end since chaos always reigns in my absence.

*If I have to do another day of testing, I might just resort to chewing every single pencil into sawdust by the weekend.

*The 7th graders finished most of their testing today.

*Except the ones who have to do make-ups.  Which is all of them.

*And the 8th graders have two more days to go.

*Hide your pencils, people.  They are no longer safe.

*In celebration of Columbus Day, I busted out one of the Dollar Store Cat Caves this weekend.

*I don't know what this has to do with Christopher Columbus, but it surely is a cute sight.

*Frankly, one look isn't enough.  There should be MORE of the cute kitty in the cat cave!!!

*Ahhhh...I miss those wonderful days from so long ago!

*When all I had to worry about was how to get a fat, furry feline fanny out of a dollar's worth of nylon.

*Which was all of two days ago, but it seems like a long time after going back to the state mandated testing.

*I think I might have found a way to link some books for you.

*I have been reading all over the place here!!!

*Not exactly the link I prefer, but it seems to work and I kind of liked this series.

*The first one is rough and it really takes a while to connect to the characters, but hang in there.

*Totally worth it.  By the time I got to the third book, I was filled with angst for everyone involved and devastated to learn that there was no new installment on the horizon!

*Let's see if I can get another linky-linky to work!

*HA!!!  I did it!!!  Still don't like this type of link, but it's better than the fight I got over this last week.

*Maybe next time, I can do a simpler link that fits with my quiet and dignified demeanor.

*For now, I'm just happy to be able to tell you that I read all three of the George Mann books that comprise this series to date.

*Good old fashioned steam punky fun and you will never, ever feel such loathing for a monarch as you will for Queen Victoria.

*Not the nice version of Her Majesty.  This one is run primarily on vile chemicals and steam engines.

*We are not amused...

*And yet , we kind of are...

*Fun books!

*We were told to expect fire drills this week.

*It is going to rain.  We are not going to be having fire drills unless the weather turns around.

*I'm sure you can literally hear the devastation in my printed words!

*Oh, the travesty of it all!!!!

*I was not looking forward to state mandated testing and fire drills.

*And not knowing that it was already Wednesday.

*Which puts me one day behind in the planning, but that was OK.  I could get a bunch of stuff done on Friday now that the fire drill threat was behind us.

*Except that I can't because I received an email today informing me that I will be at a training all day on Friday.  And that it is, in fact, Wednesday.

*Which meant that I have an early morning meeting, less prep time and state mandated achievement testing.

*And one day left to prepare the class for my absence on a Friday.

*Then I got an email telling me that the training site was changed because they couldn't fit us at the original site.  That was fine.

*Except that we all have to go move our cars at 1:00 because the Farmer's Market is starting and no one is allowed to park at the  school district's central office.

*Apparently, the farmers get a little feisty and the school district lost the last strategic battle in The Great Parking Lot War.

*And it is still Wednesday, not Tuesday.  And I still only have one day left to plan for being out all day on Friday.

*Short weeks are nice but sometimes kill me.  Short weeks that get shorter are also really nice but I hate the part where Farmer Brown comes at me with a pitchfork because I didn't get my car out of the way per his schedule.

*The Cheerful Teaching Assistant doesn't have much in the way of sympathy for me, though.

And there we go.  The Wednesday that made me an unappreciative wretch for not recognizing my short-week fortunes.  I should probably go now.  I need to start printing off a plethora of worksheets if my staff has any hope of surviving the coming dark days.  I haven't exactly done my karma any favors by not indulging in a little of the gratitude tonight.

Blogger seems to agree.  It has decided to stop saving...


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

When Sloths Fly

There are two things you need to know before reading this post.  First is that last Friday was a half day for the students at my school.  Not for the teachers, just the students.  Teachers have to stay for the full day and get to work in blissful silence.

The second thing you should know is that teachers who leave the school during designated working hours must sign out.  They must do so using a pencil tied securely to the desk in the main office and clearly write the reason for abandoning their post on the forms in the handy red binder.  I signed out half an hour early on Friday with just one very silly word.  I did this in full view of Mr. Assistant Principal and even directed his attention to it.  He waved me out the door without so much as a "how dare you defy the laws of our school district, you sad excuse for an educator!!!"

It all started when, for reasons I don't really recall, Mrs. Secretary Who Sits At The Back Desk decided to tell me a story.  It was a rather gripping tale entitled "Why My Mother Is Crazier Than All The Other Mothers Combined."  I didn't ask to be told this story since I was working very hard that day, but what are you gonna do?  MSWSATBD is the one in charge of the red binder and sometimes I need to sign out of the building.

Besides, once the tale began, it was absolutely impossible to stop listening.

It seemed that MSWSATBD and her daughter went to the zoo one day and became rather enamoured of the sloths.  And really, who wouldn't be?  Sloths are the epitome of cool.  They spent a great deal of time talking about sloths, thinking about sloths and dreaming of sloths after that.

When the lovely little girl's birthday drew night, MSWSATBD decided to order her a stuffed sloth to mark the occasion.  She scoured the Internet for just the perfect specimen and did not rest until it was found.  When she finally located the elusive creature, she had it sent to her mother's house in order that the surprise not be ruined.

She told her mother that a package was coming.  She did not specify what was in the package because, by then, she had already begun to suspect her mother was a little bit crazy and that she might not think sloths were as cool as they really be.  She did, however, remind her of the package no fewer than four times.  To be on the safe side, she also told her sister just in case her mother didn't remember the four package related announcements.

On the day the gift was slated to arrive, MSWSATBD called her mother to check upon its well-being and to arrange for pick up.  Her mother did not answer the phone.  Her sister answered the phone.  She did not really have time to talk, though.  They had something of a "situation" going on at the house.

It seemed that Mom got the package.  And, as MSWSATBD suspected, she did not recall the four reminders.  She was intrigued by a delivery.  Who was sending her packages?   And why were they addressed to her daughter when her daughter clearly lived elsewhere?  She asked her other daughter, who happened to be visiting, if she should open the package and they agreed that nothing on earth would be more fun.  Sister to MSWSATBD wasn't any better at remembering package announcements than her mother.  I guess it runs in the family...

Apparently, it was one of those really realistic stuffed sloths.  The kind that has all sorts of fluffy, slothy fur.  Fur that, when seen in a box, might prove confusing to mothers who don't think about sloths arriving in the mail.

And so it was that MSWSATBD called the house shortly after her mother screamed heartily, threw the offending sloth across the room and cried, "Why?? Why would someone send me a DEAD ANIMAL???"

Mom was hysterical.  Sister was beside herself at this insult upon her maternal unit.  MSWSATBD required oxygen because who isn't going to be laughing themselves sick by then?  I know I was and I was only hearing it third hand several years after the fact.

I really did try to get some work done Friday afternoon.  Hand to God, I did.  But a lot of that work required that I use the main office and how the heck is a person supposed to photocopy when the school secretary is snickering and all you can picture are mothers who think they have dead sloths in a box?  I ask you....HOW???

I signed out at 2:30.  I did so with one stupid word and with the blessing of Mr. Assistant Principal.  I wrote the word in block capital letters so there would be no confusion.  Sure, some people might think I meant something else, but he'd been listening to the childish giggling long enough to know.  Right there, in the box where teachers put their reason for leaving school early I wrote:



Wednesday, October 05, 2011

WNBP: Health Restored In A Nick Of Time

Well, it was a bit of a near thing there!  I truly did fear for my survival as I struggled through the horrors of my common cold.  I am pleased to report that all is finally back to normal and that I am upright for the foreseeable future.

And now we take you to the regularly scheduled Wednesday Night Bullet Post in order that I might find something else to talk about besides sneezing.  I can only imagine how weary people have grown with that topic by now.  At least the people who had to deal with me on a daily basis.

Poor people...

*Isn't it nice that I'm not sick this week?

*State mandated achievement testing started on Monday and I'd hate to miss all the fun whilst searching for tissues.

*I miss the husky voice, though.

*Except for the part where I called down to main office with a question or something and Mrs. Secretary Who Sits At The Front Desk said stuff about my sexy sickly voice.

*That was disturbing.  Especially when she  put other people on to listen to me and verify my crazy hot phone voice.

*This makes it particularly difficult to maintain a professional demeanor in the classroom.

*Hand to God, she put one person on the phone to make creepy purring sounds at me!!!

*Interesting Classroom Conversation:

Ms. Sheep (using her pen to indicate a Very Important Detail on a worksheet):  And if you look at this example, you will see that...oh!  I'm so sorry!  I just wrote on you with my pen whilst enthusiastically attempting to education you!

The Future Farmer:  I am going to sue you over this.

MS:  Go ahead.  What exactly do you think you are going to get out of this?

TFF:  Seven cents.

MS:  Wow.  That was fast.  Actually, you won't get seven cents.  You will get a boatload of credit card bills and a very fat cat.  That is it.

TFF:  Seriously?  I like that fat cat!  I'd really get the fat cat?  Awesome!!  Hey everyone, I get the fat cat!!!

*He should rethink that.

Fat Cat is currently chewing through the mini blinds

*It's not really his fault.  His brother, the Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty, has been carefully bending the slats on the other side and snapping them off so he can stick his gi-normous head out for a better view.  

*What else was he to think? Blinds are clearly there to be slaughtered...

*I forgot a had a big box of honey nut cereal.  Then I remembered and now I'm eating a lot of honey nut cereal.

*More honey nut cereal than anyone should ever eat in one sitting.

*I didn't even know I like honey nut cereal.

*Perhaps it is a reaction to the horrors of state mandated achievement testing?

*This year we are doing one test per day instead of lots of tests per day.

*Less testing per day.

*For two long weeks.

*There is no good way to do that much testing.

*Today we got an email reminding us that we still have to do two more fire drills, one evacuation drill and a lockdown drill while the weather is still appropriate for such frolics.

*I think that will make the perfect counterpoint to achievement testing!

*Not really.  I'm just trying to make the best of it.

*Amazon Associates link still not working, but I'm not going to let that get in the way of a couple recommendations!

*Actually, it appears that I am.  Nothing seems to want to link tonight.

*I swear to you that I've read some stuff!  Honest!

*I'm just not linking very well.

*I'll keep playing with it and see if I can make something work for you at some point in the near future.

*I've never been one of the I Hate Blogger club members.

*It's free and it does lots of stuff.

*All good.

*I do not like Blogger very much tonight.

*Not at the "hate" stage yet, but getting there...

*I got healthy.  Why can't Blogger work out its issues with Amazon links?

*Blogger needs more fiber or something.

*This link should work!

*I can't wait to see American Horror Story!

*I can't stay up until 10:00, but that's OK.

*I got a DVR so I could not stay up for The Walking Dead.

*Now I don't have to stay up to watch anything!!!

*I wish I could but I can't even if I am healthy again.

*4:45 comes very early and I need to be at my best if I am not going to be sick for state mandated achievement testing.

There we go.  That should cover us.  I didn't make the book thing work, but I still consider that a temporary situation.  We are going to think of it as delightful bit of suspense rather than a hurdle.

Because that is the way a healthy mindset works.