Saturday, December 27, 2008

Still Not Dead!

Hello, readers,
A brief update:
1. I moved. No one (especially not me) died. There was a brief moment of panic when the truck wouldn't start, and the fact that it was ninety million below zero didn't help. Still, the move is done. Yay!
2. I cracked 200 books! Details to follow.
3. I am using the library's high-speed wireless access because I don't have any of this innernets magic in my swanky new home. Have patience. Sooner or later, the Shaw people will call me back.
4. I don't have to go back to work until January 5. I love teaching, but I need a break.
5. Started a new sweater: Mine is greens and purples and blues - all the old favourites.
6. It's my gramma's 80th birthday on New Year's Day. Raise a glass!

That's about it... I've been at the library for a long time now (software upgrades, checking blogs, etc) and I want to go back to my new house (!!!) fire up the fireplace (!!!) and do something domestic.

Happy new year to all!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Unrepentent Thievery and Other Hijinks

I have stolen this, verbatim, without a shred of credit or permission, in complete and total violation of every copyright law known to man, from the website of Panopticon (which you can find at, for no other reason than that I find it unbearably funny.


Waxahachie, TX. Visitors to last night’s performance of the annual Living Nativity Pageant sponsored by the Waxahachie Full Bible Baptist Church were horrified to see a beloved local tradition come to an unexpected and violent end.

Witnesses say that as the Herald Angel (played by Wanda Meeks, daughter of the Reverend Lou Meeks) was lowered into the scene to begin her speech to the shepherds, a sheep broke loose from her tether and threw what appeared to be a half-empty bottle of Four Roses Bourbon into the air, narrowly missing Meeks’ head and knocking one of her wings to the ground.

Meeks began screaming to be let down, but remained suspended helplessly above the scenery while stagehands attempted to corral and subdue the angry sheep, whom police have identified as Dolores Van Hoofen of Chicago, Illinois.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Betsy Cartright of Midlothian, who was cast in the role of Shepherdess #2. “She just came out of nowhere cussing a blue streak. I knew she was trouble from day one. We had to keep telling her to put out her cigarettes around all the hay.”

According to pageant director Louise-Lynn Butler, the sheep had been a constant source of disruption during rehearsals, making overtures of a sexual nature to two of the three wise men and offering suggestions for enlarging her own role. At one point, Butler and Van Hoofen came to blows after Van Hoofen insisted on taking over Wanda Meeks' role as the Herald Angel, and replacing the traditional “Fear not, I bring you tidings of great joy” speech with a harmonica arrangement of the Frank Sinatra hit “Come Fly With Me.”

“I should’ve fired her, I guess,” says Butler. “But it was a big deal for Waxahachie to have a real sheep in the pageant this year instead of dressing up Lulu McWhirter’s lhasa apso the way we usually do.”

Before police and fire fighters could secure the scene, Van Hoofen bit or kicked at least three-quarters of her fellow cast members, and her cigarette sparked a blaze that within minutes had consumed most of the stable and severely damaged two papier-mache palm trees. A donkey and three chickens on loan to the production broke loose and were later apprehended in the parking lot of Pizza Hut.

Van Hoofen, who is presently in custody at the Waxahachie Jail, had no comment on the incident but says she still expects to receive the $35 she was promised in exchange for her performance in the Living Nativity. To which Louise-Lynn Butler responded, “Dream on, crazy Yankee bitch.”

As Texas state law has no precedent for filing criminal charges against livestock, the Waxahachie sheriff’s office has confirmed that tomorrow morning Van Hoofen will be escorted to the edge of town and put on a Greyhound bus heading north. A large crowd is expected to make sure she doesn’t try to turn around and come back.

That is all. Now kindly wander over to Panopticon yourselves to see the illustration of Dolores, before I get a "cease and desist" letter from anyone.

Happy Friday. Stay home and make soup.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Randomness and Readering

I am amazed, every day, by how little I know.

I thought I'd be pretty good at this teaching gig -- and I am good at the teaching part of it. What I'm struggling with (today) is the sheer amount of detail. Kids going out of class, kids coming in. Report cards and marking and lessons and homework and whose program needs to be modified in what way in order to please absolutely everyone.

That's why I so enjoy my reading time. It's time in which I can do only one thing. My attention is not pulled thirty-eleven ways from Sunday, and no one is shouting for my attention.

I'm edging up on 200 books, which is my personal goal for the year 2008 (isn't that crazy? If I was capable of math I'd totally figure out how many books a week that is), and because I really do want to reach this random and arbitrary goal I'm reading as fast as I can.

Also, I'm reading very, very short books.

Last night I started the sixth book in Margaret Peterson Haddix's "Among the Hidden" series. It's really good young adult stuff: about a world in which third children are illegal, their existence not recognized by the authorities, forced to hide their entire lives. The author has expanded the series to include other characters, each one an illegal third child (a "shadow child") and each with their own background and story.

I take comfort in books because reading is something that I am, without a shadow of a doubt, very very good at. No one can accuse me of not doing my reading properly. I do not wake in the night afraid that I have made a critical error in my reading and that everyone I respect will now think less of me. Reading belongs to me in a way that no other activity in my life does.

And that, on days like today, is the one thing that keeps me going.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Friday Friday Friday Friday Friday

That's mostly all I wanted to say.... Friday Friday Friday Friday Friday

And that there's a Santa Claus parade in my town tonight -- the only night-time parade in Western Canada -- and my boy and I will be there with people we love, greeting the holiday season and waving to The Man on The Sleigh, and thinking happy thoughts.

Stay warm. The light will be back soon.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Bookish Quote of the Day

"One can never have enough socks," said Dumbledore. "Another Christmas has come and gone and I didn't get a pair. People will insist on giving me books."

In other news, I'm up to book #185. Who thinks I can crack 200 before the new year?

PS Don't listen to Dumbledore. Give me books, any day.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

It's Spreading

It all started so innocently.

My work friend R. and I discovered one day that we both knit. She is the proud creator of several things that are flat, and was thrilled and astounded to learn that I know how to make things that are round. During our knitting discussion (it went like this: "You use THREE needles?" "Yes, it's dead easy" "Really? Three needles? Don't you ever poke yourself in the eye?" "Sure, sometimes, but that's why I wear glasses, really. It's a safety issue.") another teacher overheard and mentioned that she wanted to learn to knit.

Soon, the three of us found ourselves at a yarn store, fondling the merino.

Then it got worse.

There was knitting in the library after report cards were done. This, not unnaturally, attracted the attention of others, some of whom are also knitters. I have now corrupted the following members of staff:
1) R., who is convinced that knitting with three needles makes her look dangerous.
2) the cooking teacher, who is making a scarf that is as colourful and full of character as she is herself.
3) a teaching assistant who is actually pretty expert at knitting, but who can now curse her work with words taught to her by a student in one of my classes.
4) the admin secretary, who wants to knit a toque (preferably one with viking horns) and is quite miffed that I advised her to start with something flat.
5) I must include myself in this group, since I am knitting mittens for a friend who has unnaturally large hands (note to self: in the future, make friends only with small-handed persons). They are lovely warm plain mitts with an elegant little cable up the front. Very manly.

Today we had our very first "Stitch and Twitch", named in honour of the weird tick over my left eye.

Rock on, baby.