Wednesday, January 25, 2012

WNBP: It's All In My Head

I generally try to have something of a theme when I post.  I think it is wicked clever and makes things ever so much more cohesive even when I'm doing a Wednesday Night Bullet Post.  Those are random by nature, of course.  However, I need a bit of an anchor lest I sail off into some weird rambling whirlpool.

Tonight I have a headache.  It is a whopper and has been with me since before the break of dawn.  Nothing seems to thwart the mighty headache from heck and I have given myself over to it utterly.  Hence, there will probably be nothing even remotely connected to the title of this post with the exception of the occasional whining about head pain.

I'm OK with that if you are...

*Let's see...I got the headache announcement out of the way, right?  Did I mention that it was of migraine proportions?

*I get migraine-like symptoms, but the headache part is usually the least of it so I didn't really understand that this was where the whole thing was going until it was way too late to do anything about it.

*I had multiple meetings today.  I made little to no sense in any of them.

*I am quirky.  Hopefully, people will just think I've raised the quirk to a whole new level and leave it at that.

*Otherwise, they might send in some nice people who want to talk to me very softly about how I am feeling and if I might like to go someplace quiet and well-padded for the next six months.

*That won't happen.  No one wants to substitute in my class.  I'm there until death or the lottery goes my way.

*I actually said that in one of my meetings today.

*To a stranger who doesn't really know about my quirks.

*Actually, what I said was, "What if I die?  Then where will these people be???"

*It made sense in the context of the conversation.  Honest.

*But it was still clearly inappropriate based upon my colleague's horrified look so I softened it to "what if I win the lottery and leave this job?"

*Then it was OK because winning the lottery is a nice thing to have happen.

*I probably should have told her about the headache.  She might have been more understanding if she knew about the headache...

*Yesterday, I had to deal with one of the worst cases of cyber-bullying I've experienced in a long while.

*An epic and convoluted tale that ended in a pretty savage beat-down.

*I know you guys all know this, but in case you forgot, you might want to check up on what your kids are reading on-line.  Maybe have a chat or two about it if you haven't in a while.

*I'm as horrified by how many kids knew about this but didn't know how to stop it as I am by the active participants.

*Sadly, it's not my blog audience who needs this reminder...

*Yesterday may possibly have something to do with the headache.

*I've been trying to work on a pair of fingerless mitts to give to The World's Greatest Stylist And Life Coach once she is a bit more recovered from her surgery.

*Knitting time has been a bit compromised of late, though.  The headache, if you will recall.

*And we have been given some fairly strong discouragement when it comes to knitting during school hours.

*Some people don't exactly know the meaning of the word "discreet" and with budget cuts around the corner, questions are sometimes asked.

*As in, "If you have so much time to knit, is it possible that your position is superfluous?"

*I'm 99% sure I'm not superfluous, but who knows?  Maybe I am.

*Maybe I wouldn't mind being superfluous, now that I think of it.

*That is just the headache talking.

*I got a new keyboard skin to protect my school issued laptop and it makes typing hard.

*I just need to get used to it, I'm sure.  It will be fine because it is purple and looks really cool and I want it to work out.

*I went to bed early last night and read.

*Having finished Fate's Edge (The Edge, Book 3), I decided to try out another of the books these authors have written.

*It's really two people penning these.  That is why I can say authors.

*I picked up Magic Bites (Kate Daniels, Book 1) as a trial run and pretty much loved it.

*There is more very complex world-building in this series and readers should be prepared to just go along for the ride, secure in the knowledge that it will all make sense eventually.

*By the time you hit Magic Burns (Kate Daniels, Book 2), it'll all feel like old hat!

*And even before I really felt like I had a handle on the setting, the characters were compelling enough that I didn't much care.

*I'll definitely read the series.

*You may recall that my vehicular "reading" (aka listening) has involved Lost Boys: A Novel

*I wanted to make sure I mentioned it because it is getting rather good.

*Not that it wasn't good before.  It was.  It takes place in the way back days of 1983 and it has been great fun reliving the glory days.

*Very cool insights into some of the early history of personal computers and what was going on in the industry at that point.

*Main character is a programmer.

*But it is a very long set up before you get to the meat of the story.

*Wait a minute...gotta go check on the chicken.

*Chicken for dinner tonight.  I wanted cookies and root beer but the headache insisted on chicken, potatoes and green beans.

*Stupid headache.  I already worked out even though I have a headache and my knees don't work.  I should get cookies.

*Hate the headache...

*On a happier note, let's all say a nice Happy Birthday to Daddy Sheep!

*We celebrated it over the weekend, but today is the big day for reals and I'd hate like heck to forget about it just because I've already done the pre-birthday whooping an hollering.

*We didn't really whoop and holler.  We had a nice dinner out in a public restaurant where most of us comported ourselves with dignity and aplomb.

*My year-old great nephew probably being the best behaved member of our group...

*But still a great deal of dignity overall.

I think I need to go feed my headache now.  The chicken seems about finished and those green beans aren't going to microwave themselves.  With any luck, I'll manage to sleep this thing off tonight and be fresh as a daisy for whatever nightmarish conflict tomorrow brings.

Or at the very least convince the nice people with the soft voices that I really am only quirky and not ready for the heavy meds just yet...


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

WNBP: There Was Snow And Then...

Yes, Sheepie, there are still snow days.

 If you recall, the last post involved yours truly declaring that there would be a snow day or all holy heck to pay.  I knew, based on current weather patterns and the horrific behavior of my students on Wednesday that there would be a snow day.  There really wasn't much doubt.

And so it came to pass. The snows fell in more abundant amounts than predicted and a restful day was had by all.  Or by me, at any rate.  And now let's see where we are this week.  Here's tonight's Wednesday Night Bullet Points!

*My only complaint about the snow day was the Snow Plow Situation.

*One plow allotted for the entire complex.

*And one obviously inexperienced plow guy.

*With a great deal of enthusiasm and desire to move snow with wild abandon if not accuracy.

*He did his best and it wasn't ME moving it so I guess I shouldn't complain...

*Friday was weird.  When you have Thursday off and it's a long weekend coming up Friday back at school feels all crazy-pants.

*Had to visit with The World' Greatest Stylist And Life Coach on Saturday.  I really needed my hair cut something fierce.  And, if nothing else, I had to give her the Annual Handknit Holiday Mitts!

*Except I didn't finish them and ended up giving her a candle instead.

*I'm hanging my head in shame, here.  I don't need those looks from you people!!!

*Except maybe I do because she is also having surgery soon and might have liked her AHHMs.  They might have been a great comfort to her.

*Because I and my average knitting skills have that power, after all.

*She wants me to come visit her while she is recuperating so I still have a second chance at Greatness Through Knitting Altruism.

*On Monday, The Very Complicated Kitty decided to jump on the bed and inform me that it was time to get up.

*He didn't care that it was a holiday.

*What happened next was not his fault.  It was mine.

*It was not an attack.  It was not aggression.  It was a half-asleep woman trying to move a very large cat while she was still lying down and misjudging every single aspect of the maneuver.

*And, for the record, I do not feel that the abuse of animals is an appropriate response to their behaving according to their natures.

*I just want to be clear about that because I have heard many of these poor excuses for humor since The Incident.

*It was an accident.  He felt badly.  I felt badly.  We all got to get up early, mop up the blood from my slashed face and feel really badly about the whole thing as a group.

*No stitches needed, but the scar is pretty impressive.

*And highly visible.  There has been actual wincing when I walk into rooms.

*The considerate people try to hide it and pretend that all is well, but I can still see it.

*For the record, had it been my eyes that got it we'd be having this conversation in braille.

*I don't know braille so that would be really tricky for all of us.

*It was darned near my eyes.

But I still love him very much in spite of it all.

*I still have my eyes, too.  Want to know what I've been reading?

*I'm still living life on The Edge.

*Second book in the series: Bayou Moon (The Edge, Book 2)

*I was kind of disappointed to learn that this series is less about "character" loyalty and more about "place" loyalty.

*Specifically the place known as The Edge.

*But they still reference the folks I came to love in the first book so it all ended up OK.

*I liked it enough to go get the third.

*Fate's Edge (The Edge, Book 3)

*Kind of thought I'd enjoy this one the least, but I think I might like it almost the best except I can't decide because I still really liked the first one a lot.

*I might try some of the other books written by these authors.

*I'm tired of linking so I'll get back to you on that.

*Actually, I'm eating a Pop Tart while I'm blogging tonight and linking is just too much for me right now.

*Juggling links and Pop Tarts is a recipe for disaster.

*I know what a recipe for disaster is.  Just look at my face, for crying out loud!!!

*No.  I'm not showing you my face.  

*I'll be feeling your winces all night long.

*The Phuture Physicist had a birthday last week.  He requested cheesecake for his celebratory treat.

*I bought it on Wednesday and didn't eat it all day Thursday even though it was a snow day and I could have died what with being snowed in and all.

*Please Note:  Students who request a cheesecake for their birthday and force their teachers to stay home with it all day Thursday so it can be brought in whole and unharmed for consumption on Friday should probably...


*I mean...seriously!  You put me through The Great Cheesecake Trials and then go to a doctor's appointment????

*I put it in the freezer at school and hoped the secretaries wouldn't get to it before PP could eat some.

*It all worked out, but a lesson was learned by all.

*I'm not sure just what that lesson was but it mostly happened in a school so something knowledge-related must have occurred at some point.

*And, if not, I got to eat cheesecake on a Tuesday afternoon so that's OK.

And there you have it!  I got my snow day, my hair cut and saved the cheesecake.  I also got scarred for life and failed the Knitting Altruism Test, but you gotta look at the bright side or your head will explode three times a week, right?

Happy Wednesday, everyone!


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

WNBP: Snow Day. I Mean It.

Tomorrow is going to be a snow day.  I am sorry to just throw that out there without a preamble or anything, but I am not really up for the niceties at the moment.  Tomorrow is going to be a snow day.

I have known this for two days.  I would know this even if I did not have the advantages of television, radio, print media and the sometimes contradictory but mostly helpful thing known as The Almighty InterWebs.  I do not need these things to know that tomorrow is going to be a snow day.

I am an educator.  I spend my days with children.  I spend my days with very challenging children.  And I am telling you right now and for certain that tomorrow is going to be a snow day.

Let us explore this boldly phrased statement in Bullet Point Format.  It is Wednesday, after all.  I'm not going to let a little thing like a snow day get in the way of weekly tradition.  I might be a little rough around the edges when it comes to social niceties and whatnot, but I'm not a savage!

*It would be an understatement to say that things in Ms. Sheep's classroom have been a bit...tense.

*This is not unusual right before a storm.  Low pressure systems are not my friends.

*Monday was PRIDE day.

*We had PRIDE day as part of our school's ongoing efforts to improve the culture and climate and you can trust me when I tell you that this is sorely needed.

*I've nothing against PRIDE.  Please don't knock the PRIDE.

*I'm just tired and maybe a little cranky at the moment.

*All the letters in PRIDE stand for some noble thing or another, but I don't much care about them anymore.

*We used each class to do an activity representing the noble attributes represented by these words.

*By the time I got to E, I'm pretty sure that P stood for Perplexed.

*As in, "Why the heck is Ms. Sheep so Purposefully Pushing us towards Producing Posters today?"

*Low pressure systems do not make for noble sentiment.  Nor the desire to make colorful, positive posters.

*By the time I got to the Write About Something You Are Proud Of assignment and the Phuture Physicist began to weep outright, I figured we might need a break from the PRIDE for one class period.

*PP was sick and had fought with his mom that day...not feeling really proud of anything at that point.

*It was also his birthday the next day so I asked him how old he was going to be and he told me he was going to be fourteen.

* And then I needed to go weep because I've had him in my class off and on since he was freakin' five years old and if he's fourteen now...


*Spunky Girl also had a birthday over the weekend.  She's thirteen.

*First had her in my class when she was six.

*My stomach hurts.

*Also my ankles are swelling again and I look like I'm walking on pontoons by 2:00 each day.

*Low pressure system, possibly assisted by the consumption of half a bag of salty nacho chips following the excessive displays of PRIDE and birthdays.

*Here's a fun fact:  The Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty has learned how to rattle the bathroom doorknob.

*He can actually make it twist back and forth, looking for all the world as if someone is testing the knob for entry.

*Which is awesome at 5:30 in the morning as I emerge, still half-asleep, from the shower.

*I do so love to let out a girlish shriek first thing to start the day off right.

*Seriously thought the boogy-man was at the door.

*Best Conversation Of The Week:

Jolly Boy: (running back into the classroom after accompanying the Cheerful Teaching Assistant to her car to pick up some project supplies) Hey!  Guess what?  I just got to look at the Tree Fat!!!

(No one responds because, really, what is there to say?  JB decides to focus his message on one student for better impact)

JB:  Hey!  Anti-Beiber!  You won't believe this!  I was outside and I got to see the Tree Fat!  I was right up close!  I could've touched it if I wanted to!!!!!!

The Anti-Bieber:  (after several minutes of Tree Fat related commentary directed his way)  Dude...what the hell are you talking about?

Ms. Sheep:  (tiredly)  Don't say, "hell."

AB:  But he's yelling at me about Tree Fat!  I don't know what Tree Fat is!  Do you know what the hell he's talking about?

MS:  No.  I do not know what the hell he is talking about.  I just know that our asking about it whilst invoking hell is probably not in keeping with at least three of the PRIDE letters I had to teach you about on Monday and I don't want to have to go back and do that all over again.  If I make anyone else cry this week, I'm going to have to fill out paperwork or something...

Cheerful Teaching Assistant:  (picks head up from desk where she has been resting it)  It is suet.  The Green Team hung suet for the birds and I had to stand there for ten minutes holding a ten thousand pound sewing machine while I explained what suet is made of.

MS:  Oh.  Well...that makes sense.

CTA:  I can't feel my lower arms...

AB:  What the hell is suet?

*You don't have to fill out any extra paperwork if the teacher is crying.  Just the kids.

*My hair is looking so bad these days that the World's Greatest Stylist And Life Coach called me to say I need an appointment.

*She hasn't seen me or anything...she just knows.  I'm going on Saturday.

*I haven't finished her Christmas gift yet.

*A snow day might help, but I don't know if even that is going to be enough.

*I finished up The Bride Wore Black Leather (Nightside) the other day.

*I was fairly eager to read it and snapped it up when it came out.  It ended all too soon.

*For fans of The Nightside series, this is a Must Read.

*And yet not the best of the series.

*I used to get rather excited when he did a tie in to one of his other non-Nightside novels.

*Now it just kind of feels like an advertisement for them.  Seems like kind of a cheap thing to do.

*Although this is the Nightside, the place that exists to give the darker souls a place to work out their issues safely away from the lighter realms.

*I suppose a few sneaky, subversive messages are almost in keeping with that tone...

*Also wrapped up the audio version of Enchantment.

*Which I enjoyed very much, although I sometimes hated the fact that two readers were used to cover the male and female perspectives.

*Both were quite good readers...just a little jarring to adjust to both, I was all.

*Since that worked out so well, I decided to keep up the Orson Scott Card theme and try Lost Boys: A Novel.

*I've only gotten a little way into it, but so far so good.

*I listen to books in the car on the way to work so I'm hoping that I won't get to listen to it tomorrow.

*Snow day, if you recall....

*I'd rather be home reading On the Edge (The Edge, Book 1).

*A confusing read at first, but worth the effort.  Hang in there.

*Quickly becomes quite compelling.  

*Although I have to admit that last night, as I was falling asleep over the text, nothing much was compelling me.  

*I am tired from all the PRIDE and edgy children and cats who are trying to open bathroom doors all because of an impending storm that has everyone going a little bit crazy.

*Snow day, people.  That is all I am saying.  

And, with that, I am off to go check the weather forecast one more time.  I don't think there's been much of a change, though.  All indicators still seem to point to a weather event in my near future and the likelihood of a much needed snow day for Ms. Sheep.

Of course, that doesn't always work out.  Just in case, I cautioned my staff to not get too comfortable with the idea of a day off.  We might still have to come to work.

And no one is to speak to me if that is the case.  Or look at me.  Or cross within four feet of my path...


Wednesday, January 04, 2012

WNBP: New Year, Old Routine

Well, here we are!  It's 2012 and everything is all new and shiny!!  But does that mean a blogger can just toss out all the "old and perhaps a little less glittery?"  Absolutely not!  The Wednesday Night Bullet Post might be getting a little bit tired these days, but it still services.

Besides, vacation is over, I'm back to work and I honestly don't see how much of anything has changed.  It all looks exactly the same to me.

Here's this week's new bullets straight from the old routine:

*We had a staff meeting after school today.

*We are in the painful process of tearing down old policies and trying to build new ones.

*And when I say, "painful," I mean exactly that.  Pain.  A full dose of it.

*I've worked in a lot of schools and it always goes like this.  I usually sit quietly and let the process play itself out.

*Today, I dared to engage in conversation with the school counselor who was sitting next to me and wondering aloud if we were ever going to be released from this Most Painful Of Meetings:

School Counselor:  I am wondering if we are ever going to get out of this Most Painful Of Meetings.

Ms. Sheep:  It doesn't matter.  Nothing matters anymore.  I have heard the words "trust circle" uttered three times now and that means only one thing.

SC:  What's that?

MS:  I have to kill myself.

SC:  That seems kind of extreme...

MS:  Perhaps, but I have no choice.  I cannot live in a world where people say, "trust circle" in a serious way.

SC:  I'm pretty sure they decided not to do that.  We talked about it at the meetings you missed when you were sick, but I don't think it's going anywhere.

MS:  I can't take that chance.  They said "trust circle" three times.  Anything you say three times can come true.  And they said it so seriously!  No one laughed at all!!

SC:  I guess I can kind of see your point...

*I'm not going to really end it all over a circle.

*Oh, I meant it when I said it.  Make no mistake about that!  But I've had some time to think it over and it does seem a little extreme now that I'm away from the TC People.

*It suddenly got very, very cold up here in the Wilds Of Maine.

*It is seasonal.  I shouldn't really be so surprised.

*But I was.

*As were the cats. They were very chilly last night.  I was covered in cats come bedtime.


*I didn't sleep very well.

*Until I finally figured out that I didn't really need the electric blanket anymore.

*Covered in cats.  Cats are warmer than electric blankets.

*I was covered in fifty thousand cats.

*Or two.  It was one of those...

*The Phuture Physicist (also known as The Giant Man Boy) had a baby yesterday.

*Not a real baby.  A computerized one.  All the 8th graders get one for two nights.

*Unless they agree to write a paper instead.

*The Phuture Physicist came stomping into the classroom wearing a tiny pink backpack and scowling.

*He got someone else to carry the baby.

*He was late to school today.  Baby had a malfunction.  Baby lost all sense of cuteness.

*Baby cried every fifteen minutes.

*All night long.

*Baby wouldn't shut down.

*When he finally staggered in to school today, he announced that his mother was turning in his baby.

*"And, just so you know, I'm writing the stupid paper!!!!"

*The Phuture Physicist believes that Baby was behaving in a highly illogical manner and was certainly out to get him.  He also allowed that this could not possibly be a child of his.

*He isn't wrong...

*Short week due to the holiday.  I like a four day week.

*But Giant Man Boys bearing pink backpacks and ranting against illogical computerized babies really makes it all worthwhile.

*I read quite a bit over vacation.

*The Undertakers: Rise of the Corpses wasn't what I thought it was going to be.  I decided that I probably wasn't going to finish it.

*Just one more chapter and then I'd call it a day.

*Well, maybe one more...

*Turned out to be pretty good, actually.

*When an author says, "You know what, this ain't Shakespeare.  I'm just gonna find the right voice and write the heck out of it," things usually go rather well.

*And I think that the voice of the narrator is rather well done, with only a few (moderately) heavy-handed explanations of motivation slipping in.

*I spend my days with middle school boys.  I know the author got it right.

*I also re-read A Hard Day's Knight (Nightside).  I like that book.  Plus I think a new one in the series is due out soon and I wanted to recall where I left off.

*I would have sworn that I already read One Salt Sea: An October Daye Novel.

*I'd have sworn it on my life.

*And then I wouldn't have needed to threaten to end it all during the "Circles" discussion.

*I have not read it.

*Now I can say I've read half of it, though.

*I like that series.  Why wasn't I checking more carefully?????

*And, in keeping with the routine, I am rather glad to be back in the car even if it means going to work.

*I get to catch up with my audiobook, Enchantment.

*Not everyone's favorite Orson Scott Card book.  But I like it.

*Not the mainstream routine, but part of my current routine.

*It is good to have something to make going back to the grind a little easier.

So that was Wednesday.  It seems a lot like all the other WNBPs, but it is the first of 2012. That is something worth keeping in the routine, I think.  Happy New Year, Everyone!  I hope that your next 365 is filled with a nice balance of the old and the new! (and maybe a giant boy bearing a pink backpack...)