Wednesday, November 28, 2012

WNBP: Fighting The Grump

Greetings, All!  It is Wednesday and I give you fair warning: I am grumpy.  Very grumpy.  Grumpy on a level where I might actually be considered a weapon of mass destruction if only the right government sees fit to offer me the right price.  I could quite easily nag, whine, rage and complain an entire country into submission, given half a chance.

Or even a quarter chance.  Grumpy folk have a way of spreading their misery without actually being invited to do so.

But, it is Wednesday and, while I might be extraordinarily grumpy, this could be a chance to revisit some of the happier things in life.  Who knows?  Maybe I'll be a veritable angel of light and joy when this week's bullet post draws to a close!

I wouldn't put my money on it, but what the heck?  We can dream big if we so choose.

*I am grumpy and have been grumpy since yesterday.

*I am grumpy for a variety of reasons, not the least of which being something I learned at work yesterday.

*I used to teach the Safety Procedures class for my school district.  I won't say that I loved the job, but it was a little extra money and teaching it meant I didn't have to listen to someone else while they taught it.

*Control is a good thing.

*Sadly, I wasn't able to teach enough classes to keep up my certification requirements.  I couldn't just recertify with a single refresher course.  I needed the two day training.

*A fact I pointed out many times over the past two years.

*In emails I still have.

*And in person to my director at the beginning of this very month.

*I was told I could take the two day class next month.

*I didn't teach enough classes because I had to stay behind to cover for a fellow employee who has some difficulty understanding the meaning of a five day work week.

*Yesterday said colleague emailed me to let me know she would be out for two days to take the Safety Procedures class so she could become a trainer.

*She is, apparently, replacing me in that position because no one has any memory of the emails that I still have or the direct conversation less than a month ago.

*My colleague is giddy over the extra cash she will be making.

*My director is frantic because I am beyond ticked off with her right now and barely speaking to her.

*Oh, and the colleague who emailed me?

*Yeah...I'm currently covering for her this week because she allegedly injured her foot too badly to work.

*But it seems she will be up and about just fine next week and ready to do the physical portions of the SP class.

*Rage.  Boiling, searing rage spilling out of me in waves of grumpiness....

*To recap: I lost my certification and approximately a grand in extra cash over the last few years to cover for the person that didn't come to work so she could take over the position that I couldn't do while I covered for her.

*Red hot rage...

*Here's a cool thing.

*I found these nifty pillow cases at the dollar store and, while I have no real need for pillow cases, I couldn't resist the pretty colors for a buck a 2 pack.

*And I saw a kinda neat idea on Pinterest a while back so I got me some Styrofoam and...voila!

Pillow case art!!!

*The larger one rather neatly covers the go-normous hole left behind from when I removed the crazy-ugly and highly-not-state-of-the-art sound system console that came with my condo.

*Haven't decided whether I'm going to patch that hole or make it bigger and let it become some sort of functional space yet so Styrofoam art is just the ticket right now.

And some pillow cases have become table coverings so no one can see how marked up this particular surface has become...

*Please ignore the plethora of wires charging all my various thingies.

*And the fact that I haven't changed the little manual calendar since October 30th.

*Just focus on the pretty pillow case covering...

*The cable company has come up with a new way to express their "concern" regarding my tendency to forget to pay them every so often.

*They thought it might be nice if I tried life without cable for a while.  You know, just to see how I liked them apples.

*In return, I am "punishing" the cable company by not paying the bill until the end of this week just to see how they like life without my money.

*I may have to reevaluate this strategy.  It seemed like a good idea at the time.  But I'm grumpy so what do I know?

*Grumpy isn't good for solid decision making.

*Also not great for avoiding childish behavior that really doesn't affect much in the way of change.

*The sixth grade is studying the digestive system in science.

*He Who...PROJECTS was in my room for study hall today trying to finish up some of the work that was due for that class.

*There is really no other way to say this other than to put it  exactly as he did...

"I think I have to go to the bathroom. I  haven't moved any of my Thanksgiving dinner yet..."

*When he emerged from the restroom, we congratulated him on his most excellent demonstration of the digestive system in action.

*HW...P doesn't possess a sense of irony nor would he ever see that as sarcastic.  He is just a straightforward kind of guy.

*So he was pretty pleased with himself, accepted the praise and gave a little bow, complete with a flourish towards the restroom.

*Kind of like he was giving credit...

*That is what we in the business like to call "a teachable moment."

*It is also what we like to call "making the best of it when a kid forgets to turn the fan on in the class bathroom."

*We have been having little snow flurries lately.

*Normally, I am not a fan of snow.  I also have recess duty now so I expected to be miserable.

*Not so.  I actually rather like getting outside to breathe the fresh air for a few minutes each day.

*Ask me again if I still have this love of nature and all things fresh come February...

*Since I didn't have any pesky television to distract me last night, I made biscuits.

*I don't know exactly what ended up distracting me, but I burned my biscuits.

*Probably for the best since I honestly didn't need biscuits but you can only imagine how that affected my mood.

*Batch number two came out just fine.

*Thank heavens for that.  I'd probably be blogging from the state funny farm (if not the closest penal institution) had I burned another round of biscuits!

*I came to the end of Beautiful Redemption (Beautiful Creatures) yesterday.

*Not just the end of the audiobook, but also the series.

*Made me a little sad.  I enjoyed this one.

*I also finally came to the end of Fluke: Or, I Know Why the Winged Whale Sings (Today Show Book Club #25).

*Probably my least favorite Christopher Moore book ever.  I stuck with it, but never really found the love.

*Thankfully, it was a library download so it cost me nothing to read.  Just time and I have a bit of that to spare these days.

*I also borrowed the audio version of Death's Daughter (A Calliope Reaper-Jones Novel).

*A well-written, if not well-read book.

*Amber Benson (of Buffy The Vampire Slayer fame) chose to read her own work and I won't say she's the worst I've ever heard.

*But there is a difference between your "acting voice" and your "reading voice."  

*Once you learn to keep up with the fast pace and up 'n down voice pitch, it is really quite enjoyable.

*I'll probably continue with the series since I believe my library carries a few of the other titles.

*Or they don't.  Or they do right now but will delete them just as I decide to check them out because someone at the library thinks I might not be grumpy enough...

No.  I'm not going to go there.  Tonight's blog has served some purpose.  I honestly don't feel quite so squash-all-who-would-dare-cross-me and I think I might even be able to answer one or two of the emails my director has sent without coming completely unhinged.  (partially unhinged is just what people at work expect of me so that's fine...)

Yes.  I think it might be time to call it a blog and sign off before the spiral starts again.  I wish for you all a very Merry Wednesday and that you are making a healthy comeback from any Thanksgiving dinners you might have wolfed down with wild abandon last week.

Me?  I miss the pie.  Maybe I'd be less grumpy if there was still pie...


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

WNBP: I'm Managing. How About You?

Lots of people tell me how lucky I am to have the day before Thanksgiving off.  They suggest that I am spending my day lazing about in my jammies and noshing on low-fat bonbons, resting up before the big day.

Well...OK.  I did a little bit of that.  Maybe more than a little, if the truth be told.  But I also got a lot done today, thank you very much!  We all have our part to play in the Thanksgiving revelry and mine is carb based.

In short, I've been baking bread.  Lots and lots of bread.  Probably more than we need, but I'd hate to think we were stuck with just vegetables or something horrifying like that.  Better to be prepared, I always say!

Since I'm still up to my elbows in flour, eggs and undissolved yeast, I'm thankful I have the Wednesday Night Bullet Post.  I can usually type that up with a minimum of fuss and still have time to punch down the dough and clean the keyboard.

*Yesterday, I bade a fond farewell to my students as they departed for the long holiday weekend.

*This is the first year in a very long time I've gotten a "Happy Thanksgiving" in response to my having said it and actually believed they meant it.

*Have I mentioned the bread?  I came home from school and baked bread.

*I cranked out about a dozen rolls last night.

*Then got kinda tense about the yeast situation.

*Master bread bakers do not run out of yeast.

*So I woke up at 3:00 this morning all stressed out about the yeast and couldn't get back to sleep.

*So then I was up at 3:00 in the morning cutting the cheese.

*For cheesy bread.  Not what you were thinking.


*Cheesy bread is my "thing."  I make it for lots of family gatherings.

*I've been told many times I can't come if I don't bring it and I'm pretty sure they're kidding.

*Except for that little part of me that isn't quite sure so I make it.

*I made six loaves of it today.  My oven is coated with blackened cheese.

*So there you have it.  I have five loaves of cheesy bread to bring to Thanksgiving dinner!

*Yeah.  You heard me.  Five.

*I am so totally not going to be without bread for my turkey sandwiches this weekend!!!

*Since I finished the cheesy bread before darkfall, I decided I had time to make a challah.

*So that is rising now and I figure I'll be able to call it done sometime before 3:00 tomorrow morning...

*The Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty is not happy with me for taking his favorite spider plant to live at school.

*It was a rescue mission, pure and simple.  That plant was down to little spidery nubs.

*He is now trying to find a new plant to eat.

*Which means I suddenly  remember why my place isn't exactly well decorated.

*Every design decision I've made for the past twenty years has been based on what cat likes to destroy what object and how high I can hang things before I'm just putting everything on the ceiling.

*I took a nice relaxing bath Monday evening.  With all that baking in my future and one more day of teaching to go, I felt I deserved it.

*I emerged from the tub in a cloud of lavender scented steam, fully relaxed and at peace with the world.

*There was half a chewed up bamboo plant horked up on the living room carpet.

*Oh, and then there was this:

That would be the cord that charges my iPad.

*Not only is it the cord that charges my iPad.  It is the cord that WAS charging my iPad.

*The Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty does not chew cords.

*That would be the other one.  The Very Complicated Kitty.

*Who actually seems a little smarter since Monday.  I wonder if that jolt he possibly took to the brain actually sped up the synapses...

*Baths no longer seem quite so relaxing.  I'm actually more tense, what with all the wondering about the goings on in my living room.

*And you don't even want to know how close it was with the rolls last night.

*Rising.  Cooling.  It didn't matter to the AGK.  He just wanted a taste.

*AGK is more of a carb fiend than even I.

*The VCK likes carbs too, but he isn't a fan of jumping.  He relies on his big brother to do the heavy lifting and get the food to floor level.

*The rolls were fine.  I kept an eagle eye.

*Thanksgiving prep is rolling along in spite of it all.

*I finished reading The Minority Council (Matthew Swift).

*I really do love this series.  Funny with a twist of YIKES!

*Sadly, I'm all out of them now.

*So I looked around the ol' digital bookstore and was pleased to find the a sequel to a book I enjoyed a while back.

*Blood and Silver (Deacon Chalk Occult Bounty Hunter) is on the short side, but it's a wild ride.

*Because who doesn't love a former tattoo artist turned occult bounty hunter who funds his operation through his lucrative strip club?

*That is just cool.

*It's been a couple of weeks now, so I feel comfortable in my assumption that everyone who DVRed it has seen it by this time.

*So I just have to ask...


*Did. Not. See. That. Coming.


*Carl: But she's my mom...


*A show like that is on my Official List Of Stuff I'm Thankful For.

Well, I do believe it's time to punch some challah.  I'd best go tend to that and make sure there aren't any lurking felines while I'm at it.  I'll leave you with thoughts for a very Happy Thanksgiving if you are among those of you gearing up for that delightful feast o' plenty.

May your loaves be well risen and free of paw prints.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012


I'm still having a great deal of difficulty getting back on schedule.  It seems like, just when the week days start to make sense, something comes along to smash the order into smithereens and I'm right back where I started.

At least this week I'm not alone.  Everyone at the Learn-a-matorium seems to be suffering from Long Weekend Syndrome or, as the professionals call it, LWS.  We are all in agreement that the long weekend was nothing short of awesome.  We are further in accord when we say that it will probably be March before we manage to get our darling students back on track.

Fortunately, I have a rather delightful group of kidlets this year and they keep me entertained.  Of course, they aren't exactly the edgy types that I had in years past and they lack that certain challenge that comes from having to find something to love in a kid who wants nothing more than to key your car...

But one adjusts.

Here's your midweek bullet points.  The very fact that they exist proves that I can't be too far off the mark even with the long weekend!

*I had Monday off.

*And today I figured out that I have to take tomorrow off because I have a doctor's appointment.

*Which isn't going to help the LWS situation one little bit, but I don't much care.  I figure I can work in a little holiday shopping and perhaps an early nap as well.

*The New Teaching Assistant pointed out that the Thanksgiving break is just around the corner.  We spent the better part of first period dreamily discussing the first through tenth courses of the meal that comes with that holiday.

*I am starving.  And there is no pie in this house.  Not so much as a slice.

*Which is why one shouldn't be discussing Thanksgiving dinner a week in advance.

*Speaking of which, next week will consist of two days.  We have Wednesday off as well as the regular holiday break.

*That will do nothing to improve the LWS.

*I kind of don't care.  I just want pie.

*I finally had to break down and bring my poor little spider plant in to school.

*The Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty views it as his own personal salad bar and can find it no matter where I hide it.

*I showed the kids a picture of him eating the plant to explain why we have to make room for it in our classroom.

*It was a tiny photo.  The Boy With The Cutest Lithp EVER asked me to use the zoom feature on my computer.

Ms. Sheep:  Oh, that's horrible!  Look.  It got all pixelated!  You can't even see the AGK's face while he hangs from the curtains and chomps away on my lovely spider plant...

TBWTCLE: Ha! He lookth juth like the cwiminalth on TV!!!

*He sort of did what with him committing an actual crime and all...

*My staff and I shared a lot of "holiday" stories today.  It's that time of the year, I guess.  They had some truly lovely tales to tell, full to the brim with family, happy children tearing into stockings and hot chocolate by the fire.

*I told about the one and only time I cooked a turkey and how I had no idea that those things come with little baggies of innards stuffed both fore and aft.

*And how that turkey was part of a school celebration of the first Thanksgiving where I was dressed in a full-on pilgrim outfit.

*Which is exactly what you want to be wearing when your authentic-if-not-exactly-what-the-pilgrims-ate turkey poops out a paper bag of guts...

*I also told about the time I lost hold of the fresh, ice coated Christmas tree and was trapped for what felt like hours in the middle of my living room while the Smaller, Less Fluffy Kitty licked my face and looked more and more like a wild animal preparing to feast with every passing minute.

*And how it was a Friday and I knew I wouldn't be missed before Monday which is why that darned cat was making me so nervous.

*That, I declared, was the year I decided an artificial tree was a perfectly acceptable holiday choice.

*I had lots of good stories.

*But I barely got to the part where I decided that the stuffing from inside the turkey (where the bag of guts used to be) will probably kill us all before my staff was laughing so hard I couldn't be heard no matter how loud I shouted.

*I am shocked by their callous disregard for salmonella based stuffing...

*Little Einstein has gym this quarter.  That's good.  He likes gym.  He specifically requested it.

*I like it because he burns off some energy.

*But he can't remember to bring gym clothes to save his soul and has to borrow shorts from the nurse four out of five days.

*The odds of him remembering decrease with each and every shortened school week.

*Sometimes he forgets to change out of the shorts and then I have his discarded pants all over the classroom.

*Today, he realized he was running out of jeans and that he needed to take a pair home.  I gave him a plastic shopping bag in which to transport them because he also forgets his backpack on a regular basis.

*He stood there, staring at the plastic bag in his hand.  Finally he wandered off shaking his head and muttering...

"Yeah, I'm pretty sure everyone's gonna think I pissed my pants..."

*I don't know why that struck me so funny, but I darned near needed to go visit the nurse myself.

*And I didn't have any more plastic bags.

*He Who...PROJECTS, a 6th grader, was working rather quietly this morning.  Then he interrupted the fiftieth holiday food/memories/trauma discussion of the day.

HW...P: Do you have any friendship bracelets?

Ms. Sheep:, not on me.  But I remember those.  Do you remember those Mrs. New Teaching Assistant?

NTA:  Oh yeah!  I used to wear them pinned to my jeans.  And do you remember how long it took to make them while you were pretending to do actual work in study hall...

(HW...P waited patiently for this round of geriatric reminiscences to wind down before turning the conversation back his way.)

HW...P: Can you check your desk? I need friendship bracelets.

MS:  Well, I could check.  But I'm 99% sure I'd know if I had friendship bracelets in there.

HW...P: Oh.  But I need them.  Where can we get them?

MS:  Why exactly do you need friendship bracelets so badly?  I can try to get some for you, but I think I need a little more information.

HW...P:  See this book?  It's on World War II.  I think WWII was terrible and I don't want it to happen again.  I want to start giving friendship bracelets to the Axis and Allied powers now before it gets out of hand.

*OK.  You just try to tell me that isn't a-freaking-dorable.  I dare you.  Just try.

*I hate to get ahead in my reading what with all the time off coming up.  What will be left for those long lazy days???

*I finished The Neon Court (Matthew Swift).

*And I just couldn't wait to start The Minority Council (Matthew Swift).

*What can I say?  I'm weak.  I'll just have to come up with a plan B for the Thanksgiving break and other assorted long weekends.

*Hoping to finish the audio version of Beautiful Redemption (Beautiful Creatures).  I'm barely commuting at all these days and I fear I might forget everything that happens in between long drives to work.

*I don't know if that's going to pan out, but I'm going to give it the ol' college try.

*Missing out on a really good Car Book is one of the drawbacks to LWS.

*But I'm going to try and find a way to live with that.

OK.  That should just about do it.  I'm running out of steam and I think I'm due for my evening snack.  Which will probably be something that I normally only eat on a weekend because I don't have to go to school tomorrow and that's kind of like a weekend.

If you stretch it.  Which I am because I am suffering from LWS and no one can hold me really accountable anymore.


Wednesday, November 07, 2012

WNBP: The Swngi Of Things

Oh, I give up.  I just give up.  Last week was the most crazily "off" week in the history of seven day sequences and I don't think I'm going to ever find my groove before this week hits the finish line.  I can't get out of my own way.  Worse, I honestly don't believe the alarm when it goes off and there is every reason to believe I'm going to think every day is Saturday from now until the third of March.

I am not exactly getting into the swing of things here.

Wednesday seems to make some sense to me, though.  I might have almost missed work today due to my schedule confusion, but it all seems to be a little clearer now.  I know I have to do a Wednesday Night Bullet Post.  Maybe performing that simple, routine bit of business will help me figure all this out before Thursday rolls around.

*I think I've talked about the election enough to keep me going for a while.  I'm exhausted from it all.  I want to talk about something else.

*But I probably should mention that Maine made me awfully proud yesterday on any number of issues.

*We are The State That Said Yes.

*And, as I mentioned on Twitter this morning, I am now heading out to purchase lots of gravy boats because I anticipate a few weddings in my near future.

*I survived my Autism Conference.  In case you didn't catch the subtle whiff of discomfort coming from my general direction, I wasn't looking forward to two days away from home.

*The ride up was pleasant (if ungodly early) and I discovered that I'd scored a single hotel room once we got to talking about roommate assignments.

*Considering the horrible insomnia that plagued me even after the walking pneumonia started to stroll away and the occasional bout of late night coughing that sometimes sneaks up on me, that was a good thing.

*It has been my experience that people do not care to share their sleeping space with wide awake coughing roomies.

*With that bit of stress out of the way, I was able to focus more on the content of the conference and learned a lot.

*And then we got a dog to bring back.

*What?  You don't go to Autism Conferences and bring back rescued border collies?

*You don't spend three hours in the backseat of a car with said canine in your lap and periodically being bestowed with puppy kisses?

*Clearly, you aren't doing your Autism Conferences right...

*The dog threw up on me but it was just the once and she clearly felt kind of ashamed of it.

*I didn't care.  I was too busy trying to figure out how to sneak the dog into my car when we got back to the Park 'n Ride and then explain her to Da Boyz.

*Which probably wouldn't have gone over too well with the lady who was adopting her but I am partial to dogs who sit in my lap, lick my face and gaze at me adoringly for three hours.

*I have a standing invitation to visit the dog any time I want.

*Our next Autism Conference is scheduled for March.

*I'm asking for a pony.

*Last week, I worked half a day on Monday, had a storm day on Tuesday, wandered back in to school on Wednesday and then took two days off for an Autism Conference/Dog Rescue Operation.

*Then we changed the clocks to Fall Back Time.

*At which point my insomnia disappeared and every day became Sleep In Saturday.

*This week, we have Parent/Teacher Conferences and they are scattered throughout the workdays rather than plonked down in the middle for one long day like they usually are.

*And there is a storm coming, but probably not the kind that will result in another day off.

*But it still adds another layer of confusion to the whole business.

*Tomorrow, I have to stay at work until 7:00.  Which will probably make me think it is two days or something.

*Wait.  What time is it?  Oh, for crying out loud!

*Just realized I forgot about dinner.

*I had to schedule a late afternoon conference today and got home an hour late and now I am all confused.  I've lost an hour and I can't find it!!!

*Speaking of time and the confusing aspects thereof, is it really November?

*Should I be concerned about the fact that I have given no thought whatsoever to the upcoming holidays?

*Or that I can't find where I stored my winter sweaters during last summer's cleaning binge?

*It is cold out there.  I can't be wandering around in t-shirts and capris anymore!!

*I'm currently reading The Midnight Mayor (Matthew Swift).

*Since getting my online library loan capability, I've not purchase too many books.  But this series is really rather good and worth the cash layout.

*But that didn't stop me from putting a hold on the audio version of Iron Kissed (Mercy Thompson, Book 3) so that I could check that out once it became available.

*Don't want to abandon my library all together!

*And my nice, single hotel room afforded me the opportunity to power through Mister B. Gone, also a purchased tome.

*If the library found out, they might think I was favoring the bought books over their freebies.  We can't have that.

*There is a problem with my computer monitor.  It appears to have morphed into a gigantic cat butt.

*Which means that either my computer is possessed or the resident felines are still not finding their Time Change Groove.  

*I'd move him but he looks kind of ornery.  

*And I've already done it twice to no effect.

*Which probably indicates a need to wrap up this week's WNBP if only because looking at a cat butt does nothing for my keyboarding skills.

I need to go get some dinner, I think.  It occurs to me that I probably should also locate something to wear tomorrow's Parent/Teacher Conferences since my whole Every Day Is Saturday thing hasn't exactly panned out.  Apparently my beliefs around calendar progression are not shared by all involved in my working life.

Just wait until Monday, though.  Once they get around to realizing it's a three day weekend, they'll understand.  By Tuesday, everyone will be as confused as I.

Of course, by then I'll be back on track which will still have me out of sync with everyone else...