Monday, February 27, 2012

Another Monday

Excerpt from The Return
by Jan Owen
Mondays Began
with one plait loose, a pip in your teeth
and late for Geography, lined and blank,
facts to the right, tall stories left.
To sail the heat in a weatherboard classroom boat
with banana and vegemite colouring the air
sargasso green. To ship ten thousand things
on cursive seas to the edge of the known page
—coffee, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves.
To import small desires and grown-up needs
in little packets of time for show and tell.
To carve your name on the prow.
To wait for the bell.
No news other than that I was at the lowest weight yet in the quest. That progress will probably be negated after this evening, as my dear sister Rebecca is taking me out to dinner. I had high hopes of bicycling when I got home today, in the interim before she picks me up, but the time is too short. Tomorrow! Tomorrow!
It was 49 degrees today when I left work!!! 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

My Son the PTA

A Student’s Prayer

By Anonymous
Now I lay me down to rest,
I pray I pass tomorrow’s test.
If I should die before I wake,
That’s one less test I’ll have to take.

I'm very glad Abe lived to take the Physical Therapy Assistant exam!! 3 1/2 hours of multiple choice, in a highly secure environment (digital fingerprinting, metal wand detector, belongings in locker, turn-out-your-pockets type security) on Friday morning. He just got the results a few hours ago...and...he passed the test!!! I think I'm going to call him PTABE from now on. We are soooooo happy for him. Dairy Queen is open, and he is seriously considering driving up to get himself a Blizzard. Now that's a HUGE reward, in this sugar- and fat-free household!

Exercise - check. Knitting - check (finished first of the latest vanilla socks) and worked on the shawl as well. Spinning - check (almost done with first half of the fiber). Housecleaning - check (our bedroom is much less dusty than it was...but just WHERE does the dust go if it manages to escape the vacuum and the dustcloth? Right - it hovers in the air but eventually gravity wins, and it falls back down to where it was in the first place.

Now to start preparing tonight's dinner - Poulet Poele a L'Estragon avec Carottes Etuvees au Beurre et Pommes de Terres Sautees.

AKA Casserole-roasted chicken with buttered carrots and sauteed potatoes. Can you tell that I don't know how to insert accents and other symbols? Oh, well.

Champagne, too, to celebrate the elder offspring's victory!

Latest edition of Vanilla Sock

Falkland Handspun

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Dust and the Futility of Dusting

by Amy, from She Wears Many Hats

There are things that come around,
But then they go away,
And things that no matter what I do they always want to stay.
I find it in the corner,
Then on the ceiling fans,
And even inside the cabinets, which I just don’t understand.
I battle it in the morning,
I battle it late at night,
But every time I turn around it’s right back there in sight.
This particular particulate
Is determined to never leave,
I suppose I’ll welcome it with open arms to keep my sanity.

Falkland "Changes" from Spunky Eclectic

Vanilla Sock - first of the pair
 I admit it - I am NOT a clean fanatic. I used to be. I can recall that horrible feeling of despair upon seeing dust bunnies or muddy tracks on the floor. These days, though, the sight of dirt just doesn't bother me much. Call me lazy, call me a slattern, call me what you will, but I quite simply have better (read: more fun) things to do than pursue the ever-receding goal of a spotless house.

After all that ranting, you might be surprised to know that I have just finished a four-hour cleaning binge. And this was not "light" housecleaning, oh, no. I was down on my knees with vinegar and hot hot hot water, scrubbing the kitchen floor. I cleaned and polished the dining room table and chairs. Abe and I turned the dining room rug around to reduce wear on the side nearest the kitchen.

I'm not done yet. FAR, far, far from it. After I post this, I'm going into the kitchen to tackle our chopping block. This is a table on casters that my father made for us way back in 1982. He used cherry and maple that my grandfather cut 100 years ago in the Maine woods. We use this table every single day. It is a cooking/food prep station extraordinaire, and it needs cleaning. Not the top surface - we keep that clean (although it could use a good sanding and tung oil finish) - but the legs and the lower shelf and the casters. I'm armed with a good wood cleaner/polish and I know the wood will be thirsty and grateful.

After our lovely table (thanks, Dad!) is clean, I'm going to take a break. For the rest of the day, methinks. After all, there's only so much housecleaning a body can take.

See? More progress on Malthese Flowers shawl.

Thursday, February 23, 2012



By Charlotte Mew
I remember rooms that have had their part
     In the steady slowing down of the heart.
The room in Paris, the room at Geneva,
The little damp room with the seaweed smell,
And that ceaseless maddening sound of the tide—
     Rooms where for good or for ill—things died.
But there is the room where we (two) lie dead,
Though every morning we seem to wake and might just as well seem to sleep again
     As we shall somewhere in the other quieter, dustier bed
     Out there in the sun—in the rain.
I just stumbled across this poem and fell in love with it. Please don't think that I'm fixated on death - it's LIFE I'm focused on. Thinking of the other helps me appreciate where I am right now.
Hey! Remember the fair isle shawl (Malthese Flowers) I started back in January? It's been dormant - hibernating - for about a month, but today I picked it back up again and have knit about an inch. That doesn't sound like much, but I increase 2 stitches every round, for the triangular shape, so I've gone from 3 stitches to hundreds, and it'll be hundreds more stitches on each row before I'm done. 
Making steady progress on my Falkland fiber - a lovely blend of reds, oranges, yellows, and a bit of green. It should work up into a nice 2-ply.
Still on sock #1 of the latest pair of vanilla socks. 
Day off from exercise. Delicious (at least, I hope so) raspberry-mustard-pistachio crusted chicken with maple glazed carrots for supper. From a Canyon Ranch cookbook.
Finally finished listening to (via Audible) A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin. Now I'm ready for season 2 of Game of Thrones. I've just started Colson Whitehead's Zone One on Audible. What is this fascination with zombies? I'm addicted to The Walking Dead and now I'm listening to another apocalyptic tale. Zombies are everywhere - even in the 2013 Connecticut Nutmeg Book Awards - one of the teen nominees this time around is a book called Rot & Ruin - you guessed it, about a teen who makes his living as a zombie bounty hunter. Can't keep it on the shelves...
Hmmm - I should have found a poem about zombies. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I Miss

Kathryn Worth

Through all the frozen winter
My nose has grown most lonely
For lovely, lovely, colored smells
That come in springtime only.

The purple smell of lilacs,
The yellow smell that blows
Across the air of meadows
Where bright forsythia grows.

The tall pink smell of peach trees,
The low white smell of clover,
And everywhere the great green smell
Of grass the whole world over.


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Handspun Stash is Growing

So here's my latest finished handspun -
216 yards of 2-ply Wensleydale sheepswool in Spunky Eclectic's "Headache" colorway - their July 2011 shipment. I'm catching up - I only have August, September, October, November, December of 2011, plus January of 2012 shipments to be current. At four ounces of fiber in each shipment, that's a mere 24 ounces of fiber to spin! Wait. That's 1 1/2 pounds of fiber. That's a lot (no, I can't say it's a TON) of spinning. Sigh.

Here are two photos of the finished (but not  yet washed and thwacked) Wensleydale. Neither pic is particularly good but I'm too wimpy to go outside. It's cold in them thar Connecticut hills on this February 21st.

Basking in the sun

Natural light but a bit blurry

Next up for spinning is Spunky Eclectic's August 2011 shipment - 3.92 ounces of Falkland in lovely, bright early autumn hues - their "Change" color. I hope for another easy spin but without the halo effect given by the long straight fibers in Wensleydale. Yes, I put links to information on the two sheep breeds, for those of you who have nothing better to do at this particular moment.
Spunky Eclectic Falkland fiber bumps - ready to spin!

Now for some knitting and exercise and checkbook updating. Lowest weight yet this morning!  Ahem - the lowest weight SINCE gaining all this weight. Now that's a weighty matter.

Instrument of Choice
Robert Phillips

She was a girl
no one ever chose
for teams or clubs,
dances or dates,

so she chose the instrument
no one else wanted:
the tuba. Big as herself,
heavy as her heart,

its golden tubes
and coils encircled her
like a lover's embrace.
Its body pressed on hers.

Into its mouthpiece she blew
life, its deep-throated
oompahs, oompahs sounding,
almost, like mating cries.

Monday, February 20, 2012

A Day Off

Something Missing

I remember I put on my socks.
I remember I put on my shoes.
I remember I put on my tie
that was painted in beautiful
purples and blues.
I remember I put on my coat
To look perfectly grand 
at the dance.
Yet I feel there is something
I may have forgot---
What is it? What is it?...

I've always enjoyed reading this poem to kids at school. The poem was originally published in A Light in the Attic, and is accompanied by a very amusing illustration, which I show AFTER reading the poem. Hilarious. Can you guess what is missing???

"Headache" Wensleydale fiber
Vanilla Sock - comforting in its mindlessness
Progress. That's what a day off gives me! Technically, I started both the vanilla socks and the Wensleydale handspun yesterday, but today's day off is helping to further their growth. The Wensleydale is a joy to spin, particularly after the fussy, short-staple merino finished last week. Funny that this fiber happens to be "beautiful purples and blues"...

Oh, and another bit of progress - I filed our federal tax return yesterday afternoon. Whew!

On the weight loss front, I've stayed level over the last week. Not good, but not bad. This past Friday saw the end of a month-long "Biggest Loser" competition at work, and I was the 3rd place winner. $15 in cold hard cash came my way at day's end.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Making a Dent


Jane Kenyon

I got out of bed
on two strong legs.
It might have been
otherwise. I ate
cereal, sweet
milk, ripe, flawless
peach. It might
have been otherwise.
I took the dog uphill
to the birch wood.
All morning I did
the work I love.

At noon I lay down
with my mate. It might
have been otherwise.
We ate dinner together
at a table with silver
candlesticks. It might
have been otherwise.
I slept in a bed
in a room with paintings
on the walls, and
planned another day
just like this day.
But one day, I know,
it will be otherwise.

It's good to be reminded, every so often, of how fortunate I am to be able to live the life I do. I find it all too easy to focus on the things that are wrong/bad/imperfect/wanting and completely lose sight of the amazing fact that I am alive, mobile, and in control of my faculties.

This past summer I found a small (1-inch high) carved stone Buddha (a skinny one, not one of those jolly, fat, laughing guys) in a shop in Damariscotta. Zig, who was with me, purchased it for me. Most days, I keep it in my pocket (if I have pockets). It's really tiny, and easy to forget that it's there. But its presence can draw me back from worry, anger, and impatience to the simple fact that I am living my life NOW and that there will never be a better time than NOW to be grateful for that.

All is well. All is well. All is well.

Pointelle - check!

Vanilla Socks - yes, they're boring, but they still do a sock's job.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Couldn't wait for tomorrow

Latest Puzzle - 1000 pieces of manhole covers from around the world

Pointelle Sock #2 - 80%!

"Night Owl" Merino - 244 yards total. 3-ply; light worsted weight



By Claudia Emerson
One rusty horseshoe hangs on a nail
above the door, still losing its luck,
and a work-collar swings, an empty
old noose. The silence waits, wild to be
broken by hoofbeat and heavy
harness slap, will founder but remain;
while, outside, above the stable,
eight, nine, now ten buzzards swing low
in lazy loops, a loose black warp
of patience, bearing the blank sky
like a pall of wind on mourning
wings. But the bones of this place are
long picked clean. Only the hayrake's
ribs still rise from the rampant grasses.
This poem reminds me of my great-aunt Olive's barn in Kingfield, Maine. There were farmers on both sides of my family, but none of us farm now.
I've gone missing, I know! But the long weekend that awaits (no school until Wednesday) will give me the time to progress on knitting, spinning, and exercise. Not that I've stopped; I just haven't devoted time to nattering on and on about it.
More tomorrow, with photos! 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


"I loved you first: but afterwards your love"

By Christina Rossetti
Poca favilla gran fiamma seconda. – Dante
Ogni altra cosa, ogni pensier va fore,
E sol ivi con voi rimansi amore.
– Petrarca
I loved you first: but afterwards your love
    Outsoaring mine, sang such a loftier song
As drowned the friendly cooings of my dove.
    Which owes the other most? my love was long,
    And yours one moment seemed to wax more strong;
I loved and guessed at you, you construed me
And loved me for what might or might not be –
    Nay, weights and measures do us both a wrong.
For verily love knows not ‘mine’ or ‘thine;’
    With separate ‘I’ and ‘thou’ free love has done,
         For one is both and both are one in love:
Rich love knows nought of ‘thine that is not mine;’
         Both have the strength and both the length thereof,
Both of us, of the love which makes us one.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Monday in February

3 Bobbins of Merino await plying

2 bumps of Wensleydale await spinning
There. Progress. Right before your eyes. Plus, I'm well into Pointelle Sock #2.
Exercise: Weights and cycling on Sunday, cycling only today
Spinning: see above.
Knitting: ibid.
Diet: Broke through a MAJOR threshold this morning. Go me. Go health. Go smaller clothes.

What follows is the sonnet that we including in our wedding, almost 30 years ago. If you work at them, and laugh together, some things will last.

Sonnet CXVI: Let me not to the Marriage of True Minds

By William Shakespeare
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove.
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wand'ring bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me prov'd,
I never writ, nor no man ever lov'd.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Willpower and Knit-Alongs

Pointelle Sock #1
Despite the apparent lack of it, I am making progress in my knitting. Sock #2 is on the needles, and the cuff is already almost done. I really enjoyed knitting the first sock - the pattern is complicated but easily accomplished IF I concentrate. The photo above makes the yarn look like it has blue in it but that's just the color of the sock blocker. 

After this pair I'll knit some vanilla socks, or perhaps a pair of yoga socks (toe-less, heel-less) to make up for lost time!

Feeling tempted this morning, after listening to Paula's Knitting Pipeline podcast, to break my yarn diet and go purchase 3 skeins of Quince Chickadee in the apricot colorway for Paula's Piper's Journey KAL (knit-along). Total cost with shipping is about $30.00 Will I? 

Not if I take to heart the suggestions in the first chapter of The Willpower Instinct - a book that Zig and I are reading. This promises to be a life-changing book, meant to be read at the rate of one chapter/week. 

As for the KAL, my birthday is coming up...perhaps there is someone out there who would give me the pattern and the yarn? Hint, hint. I know, I'm shameless. SHAMELESS!!!

Common Cold
Go hang yourself, you old M.D,!
You shall not sneer at me.
Pick up your hat and stethoscope,
Go wash your mouth with laundry soap;
I contemplate a joy exquisite
In not paying you for your visit.
I did not call you to be told
My malady is a common cold.

By pounding brow and swollen lip;
By fever's hot and scaly grip;
By those two red redundant eyes
That weep like woeful April skies;
By racking snuffle, snort, and sniff;
By handkerchief after handkerchief;
This cold you wave away as naught
Is the damnedest cold man ever caught!

Give ear, you scientific fossil!
Here is the genuine Cold Colossal;
The Cold of which researchers dream,
The Perfect Cold, the Cold Supreme.
This honored system humbly holds
The Super-cold to end all colds;
The Cold Crusading for Democracy;
The Führer of the Streptococcracy.

Bacilli swarm within my portals
Such as were ne'er conceived by mortals,
But bred by scientists wise and hoary
In some Olympic laboratory;
Bacteria as large as mice,
With feet of fire and heads of ice
Who never interrupt for slumber
Their stamping elephantine rumba.

A common cold, gadzooks, forsooth!
Ah, yes. And Lincoln was jostled by Booth;
Don Juan was a budding gallant,
And Shakespeare's plays show signs of talent;
The Arctic winter is fairly coolish,
And your diagnosis is fairly foolish.
Oh what a derision history holds
For the man who belittled the Cold of Colds!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

A Dusting of Snow

Mona Lisa - completed
Cookie A's Pointelle #1
Typical 2-week exercise record
 Dust of Snow
Robert Frost
The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree

Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued. 
The trees outside are dusted with powdered sugar. The promised (threatened) 2 to 4 inches of snow is only the lightest of coatings, sure to be gone by mid-day. 
Typical Saturday here on the homefront - Zig's out running errands, I'm doing laundry before going out on my own errands. 
Progress on all fronts except handspinning. Down another .2 lbs for the week. Not the threshold breaker I'd hoped for but I'll take it. Heel flap on Pointelle #1 is a welcome break from charted knitting. I don't know if I'll finish the sock by the end of the day tomorrow but I'll try. Upped some of my weights from 15 to 20 pounds.  

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The School Play

No poem today - I am too overwhelmed by the absolute EXCELLENCE of my school's production of "Joust! A Might Medieval Musical". The play 's dress rehearsal was held this afternoon and it was a hoot! Our resident comedian-on-staff, Cece, augmented the dialog with hilarious references to current commercials and other YouTube videos, much to the delight of the adults in the audience. The actors, ranging in age from nine to fourteen, were all confident and comfortable on the stage. They sang with gusto, accompanied by able pit musicians - many of them even younger.

Our school is lucky to have a trio of energetic teachers who, every year without fail, manage to pull a production together. A lot of blood (well, maybe not), sweat (definitely), and tears (yes, even those) goes into a play. My colleagues are, quite simply, amazing.

On another note, weigh-in day is tomorrow. Fingers crossed about crossing a major milestone.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Winter Trees

Winter Trees

By William Carlos Williams
All the complicated details
of the attiring and
the disattiring are completed!
A liquid moon
moves gently among
the long branches.
Thus having prepared their buds
against a sure winter
the wise trees
stand sleeping in the cold. 
Exercise: Weight lifting and cycling yesterday; just cycling today.
Knitting: Working on Pointelle - it requires following a chart, so I can't fly on it like I do with vanilla socks. It will need to be washed and blocked when I'm done.
Spinning: Maybe tonight?
Food/Water: Okay, but I could do better. There's no dessert in the house. The trick is to substitute a cup of tea for a glass of wine.  

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

To sleep the night through

Rock Me to Sleep (excerpt)

By Elizabeth Akers Allen
Backward, turn backward, O Time, in your flight,
Make me a child again just for tonight!
Mother, come back from the echoless shore,
Take me again to your heart as of yore;
Kiss from my forehead the furrows of care,
Smooth the few silver threads out of my hair;
Over my slumbers your loving watch keep;—      
Rock me to sleep, mother, – rock me to sleep!

You guessed it - I'm the victim of insomnia. I'm not really sure if I can call it that, because I DO get back to sleep in fairly short order, but I'm used to sleeping the night through. Lately I wake up at 2 or 3 in the morning, and, if I'm not careful, I can end up lying there with thoughts (not creative or constructive) spinning through my head. 

Exercise, knitting, and diet all proceed swimmingly. As usual, I haven't spun since the weekend.

Monday, February 6, 2012

No real post today

It's Monday and I'm very tired. Tough day, but I did exercise, and healthy turkey vegetable soup awaits.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

I won't be watching


By Louis Jenkins
I take the snap from the center, fake to the right, fade back...
I've got protection. I've got a receiver open downfield...
What the hell is this? This isn't a football, it's a shoe, a man's
brown leather oxford. A cousin to a football maybe, the same
skin, but not the same, a thing made for the earth, not the air.
I realize that this is a world where anything is possible and I
understand, also, that one often has to make do with what one
has. I have eaten pancakes, for instance, with that clear corn
syrup on them because there was no maple syrup and they
weren't very good. Well, anyway, this is different. (My man
downfield is waving his arms.) One has certain responsibilities,
one has to make choices. This isn't right and I'm not going
to throw it.
Spinning:  I finished the second bump! Two bobbins down, one to go. I hope to get in an hour or so today.  Weekends really are the only time I have for sitting at the wheel. Which means I'll never catch up.
Churchmouse Yarns' Welted Fingerless Gloves - not much yarn left!
Knitting: Want a quick project? The Welted Fingerless Gloves are just the thing. It probably took less than three hours. Next up - Cookie A's Pointelle socks.

Exercise: Cycling only yesterday, with weight and cycling today. 
Food/Water: Very healthy and hydrated. Maple/mustard-glazed salmon with roasted brussels sprouts and red onions for dinner last night. Crock pot chili today. 

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Third Pair

Canopy Socks - check!
The sock on the right LOOKS narrower than the one on the left, but they're truly the same size. I'd say I used about 300 yards of the 360 in the skein.
I'm taking a break (well-deserved, methinks) from sock knitting to work up a pair of fingerless gloves, using Louisa Harding Grace Hand-Dyed and Churchmouse Yarns' Welted Fingerless Glove pattern. A dear friend gave me a skein of this yarn, in gorgeous, soft grey, green, and blue:

Grace Hand-Dyed for Welted Fingerless Gloves
I've already got 1/2 of the first glove done. Things move along much more quickly when using size 6 needles (most of my socks are knit using either size 0, 1, or 1 1/2 double-points.

This yarn is luscious.
They don't look like socks yet, but that is their destiny.
Abe helped me figure out how to use the yarn meter I purchased - it took a few fits and starts but I tried it out by dividing a 437-yard skein of Cascade Heritage Silk Paints into 2 balls for a pair of socks. The meter measures in feet, not yards, so my math skills were sorely tested, but I still remember how to divide by 3, so all turned out well. I now have two cheery red yarn cakes ready to be transformed into Cookie A.'s Pointelle socks.

Today's poem made me laugh out loud when I read it. It's a bit crude, but knitters will get it.

Fib to a Knit Dweeb

By Mary Roberts
my days
if Lion Brand Fun Fur
will make a nice pair of undies.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Almost There

Spinning: None at all.
Knitting:The heel is turned, the gusset is complete, and only the foot and toe remain. Just goes to show you what getting up 15 minutes earlier can do for your knitting.
Canopy Socks 80% complete

Exercise: Weights and cycling. Abe's upping my time on the bike. 
Weight: Down a whopping 1/4 of a pound. Thinking of it as a stick of butter makes it seem like more.  

Today's poem isn't really a poem, but I love it. Thanks to Paula at Knitting Pipeline, who included this quotation in her podcast. She also talked a bit about James Gates Percival, who sounds like an intriguing individual.

~James Gates Percival  
The work will wait while you show the child the rainbow, but the rainbow won't wait while you do the work.

That Mona Lisa smile

Working on a 1000-piece puzzle of Mona Lisa. All the interesting bits are complete; now I just have about 300 pieces of black.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Ground Hog or Woodchuck?

“How much wood could a woodchuck chuck ... ”

By Mother Goose
How much wood could a woodchuck chuck
If a woodchuck could chuck wood?
As much wood as a woodchuck could chuck,
If a woodchuck could chuck wood.

Happy Ground Hog Day! Punxatawney Phil says we've got to hold on for six more weeks, but I heard that our local Connecticut 'chuck predicts that spring is on its way. Which rodent to believe? It's looking an awful lot like mud season in our driveway.

Thursday is my day off from exercising - more time to finish the heel flap of Canopy Sock #2! 

TG that T is F! This seemed like a VERY long week. I think I need some Vitamin D in the form of real sunshine.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Can You Tell I Am A Teacher?

My Doggy Ate My Homework

By Dave Crawley
“My doggy ate my homework.
He chewed it up,” I said.
But when I offered my excuse
My teacher shook her head.

I saw this wasn’t going well.
I didn’t want to fail.
Before she had a chance to talk,
I added to the tale:

“Before he ate, he took my work
And tossed it in a pot.
He simmered it with succotash
Till it was piping hot.

“He scrambled up my science notes
With eggs and bacon strips,
Along with sautéed spelling words
And baked potato chips.

“He then took my arithmetic   
And had it gently fried.
He broiled both my book reports   
With pickles on the side.

“He wore a doggy apron
As he cooked a notebook stew.
He barked when I objected.
There was nothing I could do.”

“Did he wear a doggy chef hat?”
She asked me with a scowl.
“He did,” I said. “And taking it
Would only make him growl.”

My teacher frowned, but then I said   
As quickly as I could,
“He covered it with ketchup,   
And he said it tasted good.”

“A talking dog who likes to cook?”   
My teacher had a fit.
She sent me to the office,   
And that is where I sit.

I guess I made a big mistake   
In telling her all that.
’Cause I don’t have a doggy.   
It was eaten by my cat.
It's pretty obvious that I am a teacher (well, technically a media specialist). Have been since 1984. Sometimes, that's a bit hard to fathom - that I have been in this profession since I was 25 years old. I'm almost 53 now. This is my 28th year, and I still LOVE/ADORE/YEARN to read to children. 
Even the chattiest, most sociable group of five-year-olds will hush when they hear the rainstick (my ritual start to storytime) because they don't want to miss a good story. That's not to say that all the books I read are hits - some are resounding flops. And it's funny - a picture book can be absolutely loved by one class, and another class (same age) might say, "meh". There's a lot of chemistry at play during storytime.
I haven't posted any photos in awhile. Here's one:
These are REAL women.