Saturday, January 19, 2008

Crushed

Lemonade, lemonade,
Sweet and sour.
How many boys can you kiss
in an hour?

One, two, three . . .

(My mother is getting nervous right about now, wondering where this is going. No worries. This isn't about me.)

When we were outside for recess the other day, a group of my 3rd grade girls were jumping rope. They were singing this rhyme as they jumped and counted until the jumper messed up. Then they giggled over how many boys they "kissed." One of them got up to 14. "I kissed 14 boys." I rolled my eyes. "I kissed 9 boys!" Again, my eyes.

Then one of my sweetest little darlings took her turn. She was jumping. "How many boys can you kiss in an hour?" Messed up. None. "I didn't kiss any boys." I high-fived her. "Good girl," I said. That's when another girl, the lone voice-of-reason in my class, stepped up and said, "We shouldn't be kissing boys anyway. We're only in 3rd grade."

Love that kid!

Spring is in the air in my classroom. I know it's only January and the temperature is below freezing, but the songbirds are singing, the butterflies are fluttering, and the girls and boys are gushing about their crushes. They're 8 years old! I hear them talk about girlfriends and boyfriends and who likes whom. I find the notes that say, "Will you be my secret girlfriend? Yes or No? (Circle one.)" It's all cute and adorable, but geez. Can we possibly just focus on reading, writing, and math? I had to give the, "We don't do this in 3rd grade" speech, telling the kids that we don't talk about who people have crushes on, and which girl likes which boy, because it makes people uncomfortable and feelings can be hurt. Happens every year. We're even having girls' lav graffiti issues, with the girls writing about the boys they like or saying rather unkind things about the girls who the boys they like like. (Following that one? Me neither.)

I don't remember being like that in 3rd grade. Things have changed. Yesterday after school, an alarmed-looking mom stopped me and asked if I had a minute for her. She said that while trying to get her son to do something he was trying to avoid she said, "Just do it." He said, "I know that that means." "What do you mean?" "Do it. I know what that means." "What?" "S-E-X."

Oh, this poor women - the look on her face as she told me this. She said that when she asked him where he heard this, he said, "In school." (Quickly thought back over my lesson plans for the week. Nope. Wasn't me.) She couldn't get out of him who said what, but I encouraged her to try to find out more this weekend. Who said what and where it was discussed. Then I'll, um, call in the social worker. Not touching this one.

Let's go to the yarn, shall we?

Look what arrived at my door in a big box:


A big bag o' Knitpicks yarn.


Four hanks of worsted Natural Bare Peruvian Wool so that I can try my hand at dying with Kool-aid. Can't wait to do it. Two hanks of Cadena in the color Neptune. It's a bulky weight that I plan to use for Knitpicks' Chunky Cable Purse. I saw it in their latest catalogue and I'd really light to try it. It's a small bag that will let my give cabling another try. I've only knit cables once on an ill-gauged neck-warmer, but I'm ready to try again.

A close-up of a neck-warmer knit for Bigfoot.

I also bought this new book. So many great patterns! I'm setting a personal goal of knitting all 101 projects.

You didn't believe that for a second, did you? First, I have to finish this:

The main part of my Satchel Grande is done. It only took forever (I've had NO knitting time this week. None. My real life has been interfering in my knitting life. Crappity crap crap.). I'm determined to finish it this weekend. Two little sides and two straps. Can do. I think.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Monday, January 14, 2008

Paulie Walnuts, Jr. (and I mean Jr.!)

I'd like to begin today by thanking my school district for making the dum-dum call to close schools due to snow. We have no snow. Woohoo! I'm sure the big guys are kicking themselves, but I have nothing but good things to say about them. Sometimes our mess-ups make lots of people happy.

It seems that whenever I go out for drinks with my teacher-friends, a Paulie Walnuts-type character is lurking. Here's the Paulie story from Saturday night . . .

A bunch of us went to a local restaurant/bar to see a band which stars one of my former 3rd grade students -one of my all-time favorite students. This girl is only 14 years old and is an amazing drummer. She doesn't play like a teenage girl - she's unbelievable. (And don't worry about her now that you're thinking she's playing in a bar. Her father is the guitar player and her mom was right there, too. She's not hanging out in bars on her own at 14.) As the band was getting ready to start, we got a table and pulled a bunch of chairs around it. My friend C. and I were standing behind our chairs while the rest of our group sat down. From behind C., a little (and I mean little) bruiser-type guy walked up to her chair and said, "Hey, ya mind if I sit here? I gotta sit down." I don't know if she spoke or just nodded, but the guy dropped himself into the chair. The rest of us looked at each other with raised eyebrows and then at C. She just shrugged her shoulders.

We watched him as he sat there, wiggling and squirming like he couldn't sit still. He checked his phone, sipped from his beer bottle, and looked around. We couldn't help but notice his tattoos on his neck and his arms. Now, I'm not tattoo expert (although I have watched quite a few episodes of LA Ink), but his tattoos weren't the nice kind. They weren't crisp and clear and well done. They were bluish and blurry. The one on his neck was the Playboy Bunny symbol. (Must make his mama proud.) After a few minutes he got up and walked away. Good. He was gone. A little bump in the road. We return you to our regularly scheduled evening out.

Not to be. C. and I walked to the bar to get a drink (just milk, Mom) and C. found herself standing next to the barstool on which Paulie, Jr. was sitting. He leaned toward her and put his hand on her back. (Why do men think it's okay to touch a girl when they're complete strangers? Ew.) I didn't hear what he said, but she told me when we walked away (with our milk). It went something like this: "I hope ya didn't dink I was disrespecting you sittin in your chair. We should go get cawfee at da end of da night." C. smiled politely and side-stepped away, and we very maturely broke up into fits of giggles.

Paulie weaved and bobbed throughout the crowd for a while, seeming to be looking for something or someone, but hanging out on his own. He ended up back in a chair at our table. This time, there was no polite request to sit in the chair. I don't know if I can paint the picture with words here, but his hand shot out toward the back of the chair, he grabbed it, pulled it back hard and let it go, then walked around it and dropped. I was thinking he must have learned that move through a Be-A-Tough-Don't-Mess-With-Me-Kind-Of-Guy correspondence course. Again, we all looked at each other and raised our eyebrows.

At this point, I kind of lost track of what happened. Apparently, Paulie did or said something that offended K., a fellow female teacher who takes no nonsense from anyone. She asked him to leave our table. Yikes. Pushed Paulie right over the edge. After this, there was testosterone flying everywhere. (I think some of it got in my hair. Yuck.) There was Paulie, toe to toe with one of the guys in our group. Then there's R., the adorable husband of one of my friends, approaching with a smile, hand out ready to shake, introducing himself and asking Paulie his name. (Didn't he already know it was Paulie?) It seems that someone in our group heard this tough guy telling someone that he'd just gotten out of prison and that he got during some prison "down-time." R. was playing the role of the good guy, trying to diffuse the situation before it got out of hand. Paulie wasn't having it. He did shake hands, but then puffed his chest out even farther. (He might have even flapped his wings. I could have been imagining that, though.)

Suddenly, there were more toe to toe, nose to nose, and, well, nose to chest pairings among the males as they took turns trying to get rid of Paulie. Paulie kept reaching behind his back and touching the waistband of his jeans. Checking to be sure his gun was still there? His knife? His shiv? Was he really packing? It was kind of scary. It got even scarier as all of the men started puffing up their chests and I heard the word "outside" spoken by one of them. Luckily, one of our guys had armed himself, sticking a fork up the sleeve of his sweater.

The man-pack moved outside, leaving us girls to worry about our men as they went off to battle (and leaving us to handle the harvest and the hunting on our own). Even though I didn't have my own personal man in the group, I was nervous. Actually, one of our guys had remained behind, staring at the TV and looking very bored. He told me that he had their back, but he didn't want to further antagonize the guy by joining the pack. Still not sure if I'm buying that one.

After only a few minutes, our guys returned. They were all in one piece. No torn shirts or bent forks. Relief. "Is he gone?" we asked. "Nah, he'll be back." And he was. As if he could float, Paulie was suddenly back behind the group. It wasn't more than a few minutes when there were more puffed up chests and noses nearly touching. This time, an employee had called the police and a cop came in to have a chat with Paulie. I couldn't hear what was said, but I figured that the cop was strongly encouraging him to hit the road as they walked outside together. Big sigh. Catastrophe averted. Jobs saved, as we noted that there were several school district central office administrators among the patrons of the bar.

Now we could all relax and enjoy the band. We told C. that all of this trouble could have been avoided if she'd just agreed to go for cawfee with him. Geez.

Onto the enjoyable part of the evening. Smooth sailing the rest of the way. Not.

We move on the the next bad guy story. When the man-ruckus was happening, a handsome white-shirted guy had joined to good guys to help them out. He stuck around and started talking to our group. He was attractive and had an adorable Boston accent. (His fawtha was a cawp. So waws his brotha.) C. and I remarked that he was cute. He liked C. He moved in on her and I was thinking, Good. He likes her. He's cute.

A few minutes later, she was at my side again looking angry and scared at the same time. He's cute, no? No, she told me. He wasn't. He was a pig. He had invited her to his hotel room. Creeped her out. Did I also mention that he was touching her arm and back as he talked? Why do they think they can do that. Men think they can touch you when they don't know you. Why? (Now don't think I'm generalizing about men. I know that not all men are like this. I happen to know some good men. Let's see . . . there's my dad, my uncles, a few cousins, my brother-in-law, and okay, I'll count my son. And there's, um . . . I'll need more time to think about this, but I'm sure there are more.) C. was grossed out and very uncomfortable. She did her best to stay away from him, but wasn't successful. He kept coming back. At one point, he was talking to her as she was standing next to me - and then she walked away. Leaving me. With him.

He kept tawking, telling me that he was that kind of kid who gawt in trouble at school. Even though he had cawps in his family, he was a bad kid. I told him I believed him and that I think I'd read about his family once. I rejoined our group and he seemed to back off.

We did end up having a good time overall, staying until closing at nearly 2 AM. As C. and I were leaving, she told me that the Boston guy had given her his phone number and hotel room number. I told her that she was just being a baby. She just had to choose how she wanted to be murdered that night. In a dumpster behind a diner after coffee? Or in a hotel room after a dip in a hot tub? One way was dirty. The other way was clean. (I'd pick clean, but that's just me.)

So, my friends, once again, I've learned something. We're all just better off staying at home and knitting.

I've been working on my Satchel Grande and I'm getting there. I'll post pictures of it soon.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Sounds Like Me

Knelley --
[noun]:

A level headed person who always makes the wrong decision
'How will you be defined in the dictionary?' at QuizGalaxy.com

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

The Big 100

To celebrate my 100th post, I'll share with you 100 things about me. They're listed in no particular order - just the order they popped into my head.

1. I lick the bowl when I eat ice cream.
2. I still have my Dressy Bessy doll, my Tim Bear, and my Fisher-Price Cry Baby Bear from when I was a little girl.
3. When I was a kid, many of my clothes were hand-me-downs from my sisters. Since lots of the pants were too long, and I didn’t want the bottoms to drag on the ground, I would walk on my toes. For this, I earned the nickname Twinkletoes.
4. My other nicknames? Kelley Belly, Smelly Kelley, Kelley Jelly Belly, the quintessential Smelly Kelley Jellly Belly, and just plain old Smell.
5. I named my son after my father, who is named after his father. After having three daughters and two nieces, my dad deserved a little recognition.
6. When I was a teenager, my mother used to braid my hair for me every morning and tie a ribbon in it.
7. Before I became a teacher, I worked for a bra company. Used to get a lot of free bras. Now I pay retail.
8. In college, I changed majors three times.
9. I wore braces on my teeth for nearly six years on my bottom teeth. Now they’re all crooked again. (Sorry Mom and Dad.)
10. I eat popcorn almost every day.
11. Sometimes I snort when I laugh.
12. I feel naked without earrings.
13. On my very first date ever, when I was almost 16, a boy with a curly perm took me to see the movie Arthur. The boy was so nervous that he was sweating like a pig. At one point during the movie, he shook his hair, probably to unstick it from his head, and I got sprayed with his sweat.
14. I have bad luck with men. (It all started with #13.)
15. I can’t fall asleep without my sound machine. I listen to cricket or rain sounds.
16. I’m afraid of clowns.
17. I crack my knuckles, my wrists, my toes, and my back.
18. I stopped eating red meat and pork the day I came home from high school after dissecting a pig in biology class and found that my mother was serving pork chops. And I won’t each chicken unless it’s boneless.
19. I used to have such rough spots on the bottom of my feet that my friend used to call them tap shoes.
20. I get really crabby when I’m tired.
21. I have a blue spot under the skin on my palm from poking myself in the hand with a pencil when I was in kindergarten.
22. I have a blue spot under the skin on my left cheek from poking myself in the face with a pencil when I was in 6th grade.
23. My favorite color is blue.
24. I love pie. Pah.
25. When I was pregnant, I craved Slurpees, hotdogs, and stuffed clams.
26. I used a dishwasher for the first time this year.
27. I once had a polymer clay bracelet project published in Jewelry Crafts magazine.
28. I love limericks.
29. I’d like to write a children’s book.
30. I pay for my gym membership every month, but I never go.
31. I hate to sweat.
32. I used to be afraid to go to the dentist.
33. I went through a red phase in high school when I wore red boots or red shoes all the time.
34. I also went through a purple lipstick, purple blush, and huge earrings phase.
35. I always seemed to lose my purple lipsticks, purple blushes, and huge earrings. I later found out that my father sneakily confiscated my wacky items – one by one. He gave all of them back to me when I didn’t want them anymore.
36. My mother taught me to knit.
37.I knit every day.
38. I’m very easily startled.
39. Even though I’ve been divorced and single for more than seven years, I still sleep on my side of the bed.
40. Sometimes I drool on my pillow when I sleep.
41. I wear socks to bed.
42. When I was in 3rd grade, I was proud that I could spell Czechoslovakia.
43. I took dancing lessons – ballet, tap, and jazz – for ten years.
44. When I was old enough to drive myself to dancing lessons, I would blow off class and drive around for an hour. I still have nightmares that it’s recital night and I don’t know any of the dances.
45. I once cut my bangs off right at the scalp. They were frizzy.
46. I love mermaids.
47. When I was in college, my friends and I used to crank call a group of guys in my dorm on Sunday nights after the Dr. Ruth show was on the radio. I could do a mean impression of Dr. Ruth and the guys never knew it was me.
48. My pocketbook and wallet are always a disorganized mess.
49. I have good intentions, but don’t always follow through.
50. I love my garage.
51. I dropped my son on his head when he was little. I’m still really sorry about that, but he’s okay. Really. He didn’t fall far.
52. I hate hate hate baby squeaky toys.
53. I can’t stand suction of any kind.
54. I love Hello Kitty.
55. I put way too much Splenda in my coffee. I do this every day.
56. I love orange food - anything made with pumpkin, carrots, or sweet potatos.
57. Lost is one of my favorite shows. I get goosebumps when I see commercials for it.
58. I love watching Project Runway.
59. I still have a nightgown that I got for Christmas when I was a teenager. Both of my sisters got the same one.
60. My son recently told me that I’m becoming more and more like my mother. He meant it in the nicest possible way.
61. I love my family.
62. I often dream that I have to pee and can’t find a bathroom – or the bathroom I find is gross – or there’s no privacy.
63. Other times I dream that I’ve gone to school without wearing pants.
64. Nearly every time I go to Panera for Stitch ‘n Bitch, I get the Portobello Mushroom and Mozzarella Panini.
65. A few weeks ago, I went into a Starbucks and ordered myself a latte – all by myself. I didn’t get intimidated and leave without ordering like I did that other time I went to Starbucks.
66. I used to have a wicked lisp when I was a kid. I went to speech classes in elementary school. I think I was cured during that class when a mean, lisping girl named Sally Sachse put a big blob of past on my tongue with a craft stick. Thally Thacth.
67. I still lisp sometimes when I get really nervous.
68. I crack up on the inside when little kids and old people swear.
69. When I was in high school, my friend and I were standing at the door of our English classroom waiting for the bell to ring. We saw a banana peel on the floor in the hallway. We looked at each other and laughed. One of us said, “I wonder if anyone ever really slips on a banana peel.” Seconds later, a boy came around the corner, slipped on the banana peel, and fell on the floor. My friend and I laughed (we were teenagers – no self-control). The boy thought we’d put the banana peel there on purpose. If only.
70. I’ve reached for the remote control to turn down the sound . . . at the movie theater.
71. My sister and I used to compete to identify which episode of the Brady Bunch was being shown within the first 30 seconds. Oh, my nose!
72. I’ve never been able to buy a toothbrush, coffee mug, or bicycle license plate with my name on it.
73. I love to read and always have a book in the works.
74. I like to read the book before I see the movie.
75. I’ve never read a book with a long-haired, shirtless man on the front cover. I never will.
76. I cried at the movie Titanic, right at the beginning of the movie, when things were still happy, because I knew what was going to happen and all those poor people on the ship had no idea.
77. I make up dumb songs in my head. Sometimes I sing them out loud. Some of the lyrics are angry and have 4-letter words. Most of them are sung to the tune of “Jingle Bells.”
78. I once made up a little song about my cat, Emmie Ming May, and I would sing it to her all the time. I drove my boy nuts. When I showed pictures of Emmie to my 3rd graders, I sang the song to them. It drove most of them nuts, too, but quite a few of the kids loved it and sang it with me. Then I called my boy’s cell phone and had the class sing the song on his voicemail, just because he said I couldn’t get them to do it.
79. I clip coupons, but forget to use them.
80. I’m really uptight about my money. I balance my checkbook to the penny.
81. I often brush my teeth in the shower.
82. I used to take extra Equal and Splenda packets from Dunkin’ Donuts until my then-5-year-old son pointed out that I could buy them at Stop & Shop.
83. One of my all-time favorite movies is Baby’s Day Out. I bought it on DVD for him for Christmas since our old VCR ate both of the copies we owned before.
84. I like Sudoku.
85. In order to retire some day, I’m going to have to find myself a sugar daddy.
86. When I was little, I cried when my sisters went to Girl Scout camp and I slept in their beds while they were away.
87. I used to have a hard time sleeping over at a friend’s house. I’d last until about 10 or 11 pm, and then I’d call home pretending to be sick. My dad would have to come pick me up. I finally spent the whole night at one friend’s house after my father bribed me with 4 shiny quarters.
88. I once stuck a bead up my nose.
89. I weigh myself every morning.
90. My mother caught me with a cigarette in my hand when I was in high school. I blamed it on another girl, telling my mom I was “holding” it for her. She never believed me.
91. I am still friends with two of my favorite people who I’ve been friends with forever. They’re goodies. One of them has been with me since we were tiny, and the other we picked up in junior high school.
92. I sat at the same blackjack table as the actor Paul Sorvino in Atlantic City. I played one hand. I lost.
93. When I was 16, I worked at Burger King. Eddie Murphy came through the drive-thru one Saturday afternoon. He ordered two cheeseburgers, mustard and onion only, and an orange soda. He had a real, live cat sleeping on the dashboard. This is a true story. No one believes me, but it was him. Our Burger King was right off I-91. Easy off – easy on.
94. When I was a kid, my mother liked to keep my hair cut short. One day, at the North Haven Fair, a horribly nasty woman said to me, “My husband thinks you’re a girl and I think you’re a boy. Which are you?”
95. I once won $101 by calling into KC101’s Worst Joke Wednesday.
96. I accidentally killed my son’s beta fish by dropping it into the sink when I was trying to change its water. I fell into the drain and I tried to fish it out with a spoon. I got him out, but he didn’t make it. Still feel bad about that.
97. One of my favorite pictures of myself was taken when I was little, sitting on our back porch reading a book and wearing a sweater hand knit by my mother.
98. I still love to call out, “Huckle Buckle Beanstalk,” when I find something I’ve been looking for.
99. I’m extremely ticklish.

And the big 100 . . . I’m happy and healthy.


Tuesday, January 1, 2008

One Down . . . Eight To Go

As I mentioned in a previous post, I've written my New Year's resolution to model for my 3rd graders tomorrow. These are the questions they'll have to answer by writing complete sentences:

- What is your New Year's resolution?
- Why do you think your resolution is important?
- How can you make sure you'll keep your resolution?
- What will you do if you break your resolution?
- Would you suggest that other people make the same resolution as you have?
- Why or why not?

* * *
Here's my example:



My New Year’s resolution is to organize all of my yarn, knitting books and patterns, and my knitting needles. I think this resolution is important for me because my living room is a mess. There are balls of yarn all over the place, spilling out of baskets and rolling across the floor. The yarn gets tangled and I can’t find what I need when I want it. To make sure I’ll keep my resolution, I’m going to buy a big bookcase and sort out all of my knitting supplies on the shelves. Then, whenever I use something, I’ll put it back where it belongs. If I break my resolution and end up with yarn balls and knitting books all over the place again, I won’t allow myself to buy any new yarn until I get organized. I suggest that other people make a similar resolution to mine. Although others might not have the yarn mess that I have, I’m sure they have something messy they need to organize, like their desks, their take-home folders, and their backpacks!


* * *

Well, people, I'm not letting any grass grow under me. I tackled Knitterly Resolution #1. I went out to Ikea yesterday and bought myself a yarn wall.

Here's Emmie behing helpful during the building process. My boy was a huge help, too. It was definitely a 2-person job. And I only swore a few times. They were very bad words, but there weren't too many of them. Really.




Here's the new yarn wall, anxiously awaiting its yarn. Emmie pronounced it fabulous and quite suitable for that string.

This is just some of that string she was talking about.

The yarn wall is partially loaded and stocked, with Emmie trying to convince me to save her a spot.


And I present for your viewing pleasure . . . the yarn wall.

Knitterly resolution #1 . . . check.

* * *

A happy find: Yarn Ball Boogie - a blog written by a very entertaining man. I want to invite him over for dinner. Too bad I don't cook.

Happy New Year!