Friday, June 30, 2006

No More Blues

The blues fest is over. Onyx shed today. He was the last. It was kind of interesting in that we had one snake shed each day for the last for days. Monty shed yesterday, Blaze the day before, and Sunset the day before that. I've been keeping an eye on Snow, but so far she hasn't shown any signs of going into shed.

Old Harry is about as hairy as he is going to get.

Still, for my first attempt at drawing hair, it's pretty good. Now to find a new drawing project...

Thursday, June 29, 2006

A Rare Day Off

I took a rare day off today, but not for anything that could even remotely be called pleasant. It was time for my annual mammogram. Since mine are diagnostic (I have an abnormality) rather than routine screening, they have to do them in the morning. I don't know WHY they can't do diagnostics in the afternoon, but they don't. And because of the location of my abnormality, they had to twist my breast nearly upside down before smashing it flat. Yeah...

When it was all done, the technician said, "Girl, you are as tough as a pine knot, because I know that had to hurt." Well, it didn't feel good, that's for sure. All you girls over 40 know what I'm talking about.

When I got home, I found this lovely sight in my front yard,

and this one in my back yard.

The first one is a hosta, and the second a gladiolus. I put these in years ago, and have pretty much let my gardens go wild. I just don't have the time, nor the inclination to keep up with them any more. Most of my gladiolus and my iris have died back, and the ones that still come up seldom bloom any more.

Karate class was light tonight. Sensei didn't know if he was going to be there or not, so a lot of students just didn't show up. Too bad because we had a really good class. There is a new girl in there. She is Hispanic. I asked James what her name is, and he said he couldn't tell me because he couldn't pronounce it. Then I called sensei over and asked him how come he didn't introduce new students any more, thinking I could get him to tell me what her name is. He replied, "Because some of these students have names I can't pronounce!"

A couple of weeks ago, there was a meeting of the Isshinryu Karate Association. That is Bill Pogue's association, and the one we are affiliated with. Anyway, there are going to be some changes made, some good, others not so good. On of the big changes concerns black belt testing. For one, they are going to impliment a new rule that students must be 16 years old before testing for black belt. Younger students may test for a junior black belt, that is a black belt with a white stripe down it, but must retest for full black belt when they reach 16. James was fussing about this, but I told him it was still generous as most Isshinryu dojos make you wait until 18 to test for black belt. I'd even seen one dojo in which students had to be 16 before testing for BROWN belt. So he shouldn't complain.

One of the not so postive things is that they are going to change the way they test black belts. The tests will be a whole lot easier from now on. (These changes won't affect us, by the way. Sensei says ours will be the last of the really hard black belt tests.)

Excuse me???? Easier???? Why in the world would they want to make it EASIER to get a black belt? That will be like a slap in the face of those of us who had to really work to get our ranks. When I look at the students in the dojo now and see how much easier the tests have gotten, and how fast they can advance now...

But that was before it became all about the money...

You see, we used to have class in sensei's shop. His garage, if you will. No rent. No overhead. No problem.

It had no air conditioning in the summer. It had a very small, and not very efficient, wood heater in the winter. It didn't cast heat more than an arm's length away. Many a time I left class in January and February not being able to feel my feet. We had two red wasps that used to hover around our heads while we did kata. Their names were George and Laura. We had no bathroom. But we did have plenty of horse manure around (and sometimes in) the dojo...

There were fewer of us then, so we got more individual attention. But at the same time, sensei also expected more of us.

I developed a lot of character in that dojo. That is something the newer students aren't getting.

And they are missing the true meaning of Martial Arts.


The ultimate aim of the martial arts lies not in victory or defeat. Instead it lies in the perfection of those who participate. —Gichin Funakoshi

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Why Is It

that when I tell guys that I'm delicate and feminine they always laugh? Well, not all of them laugh. Just the ones who've been cold-cocked a time or two...

There may be more changes coming to the shodan grading, but not of a bad sort. Mr Christensen also has a student who will be testing. Since he will be moving soon, and this will be the last student testing out of his current dojo, he wants to host the test there. That is ok with me because #1 it's closer than Greenville, and #2 it is air conditioned. For a test in the middle of July, that is a definite PLUS. But it is up to the board--specifically Mr Dreher--to decide.

I'm reading a book now entitled A Bride Most Begrudging by Deeanne Gist. Just gotta make a few comments on it. It is a pretty good book for a first novel, but there are several things about it that I find very distracting.

First of all, the story is set in 1643. Now, if an author is going to write dialogue in period dialect, she should write ALL the dialogue in period dialect. Switching back and forth between contemporary American English and an occasional attempt at colonial dialect is very disconcerting to this reader. Which brings me to my second point concerning this. If an author is going to write in period dialect, she needs to write in that dialect. That means researching how they really talked in those days. Throwing in a bit of "Yoda speech" ( ex. "I like this not." & "What mean you?") every few pages doesn't cut it with me.

Another thing, if you are going to write historical fiction, at least get the history right. Not just the major battles/events, but everyday life as well. Research the period. Find out what the social mores and customs were. Be accurate. Sure, most people who read this kind of stuff are not history buffs and probably won't know the difference--especially since history is no longer accurately taught these days. But on the off chance there is someone who does know her history (and I use the feminine pronoun because this is not a book that would appeal to a man), get it right. A perfect example-- in this book, they are talking about going to Christmas services and such. In the Colonies, Christmas was just another day. Unless it was Sunday, it was work as usual. In some places, celebrating Christmas in any way, shape, form, or fashion was illegal. Another thing, I have a hard time believing that a town mayor can force a man to marry an indentured servant just because she is single. But then, if he hadn't it would have been a very short book, now wouldn't it?

However, the story line is pretty good, and it is light, easy reading. If you can get past the few flaws present in the historical context, it is a pretty good book.

Our blues fest is half way over. Blaze shed yesterday and Sunny the day before. Now I've got two to feed, so I'm off to thaw mice. Mouse

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

I Got Tagged

I got tagged when I stumbled across this blog. So now I'm passing it on. If you read this, consider yourself tagged. And post a comment if you do, cause I want to read all your answers!

Fill in the blanks about your senior year. The longer ago it was the better.

1. Who was your best friend? Georgianna and Dena
2. What sports did you play? None, my parents weren't the encouraging kind.
3. What kind of car did you drive? I didn't have a car. When I drove (rarely) it was my mother's Ford Fairmont station wagon.
4. It's Friday night, where were you? Home watching TV. I wasn't very popular.
5. Were you a party animal? No, see above answer
6. Were you considered a flirt? No
7. Ever skip school? No
8. Ever smoke? No, and never wanted to
9. Were you a nerd? Absolutely
10. Did you get suspended/expelled? No.
11. Can you sing the Alma Mater? Yeppers..
12. Who was your favorite teacher? Coach Jones--he actually made trigonometry fun
13. Favorite class? I didn't really have one.
14. What was your school's full name? West Orange-Stark High School
15. School mascot? Mustangs
16. Did you go to Prom? No. A guy asked my best friend to ask if I would go with him if he asked, because he said if I wouldn't go, he wasn't even going to ask. That made me mad, so I said no. Nobody else asked me. Like I said, I wasn't very popular
17. If you could go back and do it over, would you? NOOOOO!
18. What do you remember most about graduation? The feeling of what do I do now?
19. Favorite memory of your senior year? Uhh, I'll have to think about it
20. Were you ever posted up on the senior wall? What is a senior wall?
21. Did you have a job your senior year? No
22. Who did you date? No one--like my mother would have let me Ha Ha
23. Where did you go most often for lunch? The cafeteria
24. Have you gained weight since then? A bit
.25. What did you do after graduation? Went to college then joined the Navy
26. When did you graduate? 1983
27. Senior picture: They're all packed away. I'd have to hunt one up.

Monday, June 26, 2006

I'm So Excited!

Cody and I went looking at new mobile homes this afternoon. We found a really nice one that we both really like. It is a three bedroom, two bath home with a really nice kitchen. Now all I have to do is find a piece of land to put it on. If I'd had some land, I'd have signed the contract on it today. I'll try to get some pictures as soon as I can, and you can be sure I'll post them.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Blues Fest

We are having a blues fest at my house. Four of my seven snakes are blue--that is, preparing to shed. It is called the blue phase due to fluids building up between the old skin and the new skin, giving the snake a bluish cast all over. It is especially obvious around in their eyes. Contrary to popular belief, snakes do have eyelids. They are clear and fused shut, and are shed along with the rest of the skin.

The cotton has begun to bloom. Cotton blossoms range in color from white to a dark red. I'm planning a photo essay on the life cycle of a cotton field. I probably won't blog the whole thing, but will provide a link to my Webshots page.

It'll take a while to complete, of course, since cotton doesn't grow overnight. But here's a couple of shots to get you started.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

I Gave In

I gave in and bought a knitting loom set. I thought maybe I could get some of that excess yarn used up faster that way. Funny thing, though, it doesn't seem any faster than regular knitting. I'll have to search around and find some patterns, now.

The old wisdom tooth is acting up again. Gonna take a pain killer and go to bed.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

This Must Be the Problem

I've got the wrong color eyes!

Your Eyes Should Be Brown

Your eyes reflect: Depth and wisdom

What's hidden behind your eyes: A tender heart

My eyes are blue: That must be what my problem is!

I gave Scarlett her second half pinky tonight. It was slightly bigger than the first one. I think she'll do ok with it, but we're going to keep an eye on her just in case.

I've started another drawing. This one is entitled Before Harry Met Scissors, and is taken from the Ten More Fun Projects chapter in the back of Drawing for Dummies. It is only about half finished--obviously...

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Dad and Family

I'd meant to post this picture in Sunday's post, but blogger wouldn't let me for some reason. So here it is. This is my dad at around 13 years of age with his father and two sisters. This picture was taken on Father's Day 194?--thus the attempt to post it on Father's Day. Notice the cap gun and holster he is wearing. One of my favorite stories from my father's childhood was from around this time, and involved that very cap gun. They were staying at Dad's aunt Annie Winfree's house. Dad was dressed up in his cowboy garb, sitting on the front porch steps. His cap gun was, as usual, strapped to his belt. As he was sitting there watching the chickens peck and scratch, he suddenly noticed a chicken hawk swooping down, claws extended to grab a chicken. Without a second thought, Dad whipped out his trusty cap gun and fired off two or three rounds at the chicken hawk. The hawk, of course, was unharmed, since cap guns do nothing but make noise. But that noise was enough to scare the hawk off. Dad was forever proud of himself for saving the chickens from the chicken hawk, and that cap gun is now in my possession.

I finished this washcloth last night. I love doing washcloths. They are so quick and easy that I can do several in a short time. It makes me feel like I'm accomplishing something.

Something very interesting happened at the dojo tonight. Sensei was teaching the kid's class, and James and I were out in the foyer. A man came into the dojo and started looking at the leaflets and other information that is there on the table. James asked him if he was interested in signing up for classes.

He replied, "No, I'm here to talk to him about letting me teach two or three nights a week."

He went on into the dojo and sat down, and we looked at each other and said, "HUH?????" He was just going to walk in off the street and expect sensei to let him teach? What was he going to teach? Did he even train in Isshinryu? I didn't recognize him, and neither did James.

Later, sensei told us the scoop. The man was the blue belt who had opened his own dojo a while back. His name is Casey Lancaster. He no longer has any students, by the way. He wanted sensei to let him come and teach in our dojo. Now, I don't know if he wanted to teach US, or start his own classes. I'm assuming he just wanted to use our dojo to hold his own classes in.

Sensei told him no, that would have to be a shodan to teach in our dojo, and tried to get the guy to start Isshinryu classes. He wouldn't. He said that he only wanted to train in ju-jitsu, though in the past he'd also trained in flying crane Kung Fu and Tae Kwan Do, and something else. I forget what the fourth style he trained in is. He said, "Ju-jitsu is the only thing that fits me."

That may be true, but how does he know Isshinryu doesn't fit him also if he won't even give it a chance?

It's all moot anyway if sensei is going to start opening the dojo up five days a week.

On a brighter note, Scarlett left me a good poop this morning. Now, I know some of you wonder that I get excited about snake poop, but hey, it means her digestive system is working normally when she leaves a normal poop.

So let's hear it for healthy poop!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Hot Stuff

Actual temperature: 93'
Humidity: 52%
Heat index: 100'

I can't figure out how to put the picture up like Buck does. So I just gotta tell ya. But whether in pictures or words, it's just plain HOT.

Speaking of hot, the subject of love has come up a quite bit on the blogosphere lately.

It's funny how your priorities change as you get older. When you're 12 or 13, experiencing your first little case of puppy love, all you care about is:

1. Is he cute?
2. Is he cool?

As you get a little older, say around 15 or 16, you get a little more depth to your expectations. By that age, what you care about is:

1. Is he cute?
2. Is he cool?
3. Does he have his own car?

By the time you're my age, the questions you ask are totally different. My list is as follows:

1. Is he emotionally stable?
2. Is he financially stable?
3. Does he have a good work ethic?
4. Will he provide for his family, or sit around on him bum drinking beer all day expecting me to support him?
5. Are his religious and moral values compatible with mine?
6. Are his family values compatible with mine? Will he spend time with his family, or hide out in bars or sit in front of the TV not wanting to be bothered?
7. Will he accept my son as his own and never throw it back in my face that I cannot give him more children?
8. Will he support my dreams and passions, and share his own dreams and passions with me?
9. When problems do arise, will he attempt to solve them in a calm and constructive manner, or will he resort to personal attacks? When he gets angry, will he constantly drag up stuff I did before I even met him?
10. Is he a man of integrity and character?

Cute and cool just don't figure in any more...


Today is my brother Scott's birthday. He is 35. Scott was a stinker when he was a kid. You know how when you get into trouble, your parents call you by your full name? Scott Andrew!!! Scott was such a stinker that dad often had to add a few names to his. When he was really being a stinker, his name became Scott Andrew Lee Wright Gunstream!!!!


Bake sales are sure different from when I was coming up. We used to bring dimes and quarters and you could get three cookies for a dime, brownies or cupcakes for a quarter, or cake by the slice for 10-25 cents depending on how big the slice was. All lovingly made from scratch by moms who were involved in their childrens' lives.

Yesterday, I paid $15.00 for a cake made from a mix, covered with frosting from a can.

My how times have changed.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Father's Day

Father's Day generally goes unobserved here in our house. Cody's father doesn't acknowledge his existence. My father has been dead for ten years.

Walter Lee Gunstream, Jr was born October 23, 1926, in Center, Texas. He was the youngest child of Walter Lee Gunstream, Sr. and Fannie Mae Winfree Gunstream.

This is the first picture of him, taken when he was probably less than a month old.

This is my father and his father, Walter Lee Gunstream, Sr. We called him Pappaw. Dad was about 3 years old in this picture.

And here he is with his grandfather Joseph Winfree, who died when Dad was only 5. Grandpa Joe was the only grandparent my dad ever knew, since the others died before he was born. Grandpa Joe called dad "Jim", though nobody ever knew why. Grandpa Joe smoked a pipe, and Jim had a miniature pipe just like his. They would sit out on the porch together smoking--or in Jim's case, pretending to smoke--their pipes.

The others in this picture are cousin Lois Duhon and sisters Martha Gunstream Armstrong and Bonnie Gunstream Tomkins. What made Dad so special is that he is the only grandson Joseph and Jo Ella Winfree had. There were 12 granddaughters, and dad was the very youngest, and the only boy. There was another boy named Bennie, son of Adeline Winfree (I've forgotten her married name), but he died at just few weeks of age. Dad was 3 or 4 when this picture was taken.

When Dad was 18, he was drafted into the army. He'd wanted to join the navy, always having had a love of the sea, but the army chose him first. He served in Japan at the end of World War II, and in El Paso during the Korean Conflict. He was a reservist by then, but was recalled to active duty. Dad used to brag to the guys from California that being from East Texas, he was father away from home than they were, and he was still in the same state!

Dad eventually married, though late--at age 34--and had four children of his own. This is the last picture taken of my father and his four children all together. It was taken Christmas 1989. Left to right are my brother Scott, me, Dad, my sister Deana, and my brother Russell.

Five years later, my father passed away. This is the absolute last picture anyone ever took of him. It was taken on the 9th or 10th of July, 1995. He died on the 14th at the age of 68.

I still miss him.

Walter Lee Gunstream, Jr.

October 23, 1920-July 14, 1995

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Friday, June 16, 2006


Scarlett was out and about last night when I got home from karate. I managed to get a couple of shots of her. She is doing well, all things considered. I fed her a head and shoulder section of a pinky tonight. It seemed to leave a smaller lump than just the pinky head. I think the head may have been turning sideways in her stomach, which made it seem bigger.

We'll keep our fingers crossed...

Thursday, June 15, 2006


Buck over in Portales clued me in to this little quiz:

Your Five Variable Love Profile

Propensity for Monogamy:

Your propensity for monogamy is medium.
In general, you prefer to have only one love interest.
But it's hard for you to stay devoted for too long!
There's too much eye candy to keep you from wandering.

Experience Level:

Your experience level is high.
You've loved, lost, and loved again.
You have had a wide range of love experiences.
And when the real thing comes along, you know it!


Your dominance is low.
This doesn't mean you're a doormat, just balanced.
You know a relationship is not about getting your way.
And you love to give your sweetie a lot of freedom.


Your cynicism is medium.
You'd like to believe in true and everlasting love...
But you've definitely been burned enough to know better.
You're still an optimist, but you also are a realist.


Your independence is high.
You don't need to be in love, and sometimes you don't even want love.
Having your own life is very important for you...
Even more important than having a relationship.

Most of the time, these things peg me pretty will, but this one is way off the mark. I think the problem may have been that it was a multiple choice quiz, and too many of the answers didn't have the option I would have chosen. Neither did they have a None of The Above option.
I'd say my propensity for monogamy is pretty high, since I believe in one man and one woman for life. Didn't work out that way in my own life, but that's what I get for marrying just because I was pregnant.
I wouldn't say I have a whole lot of experience either. I've only had two relationships in my life that lasted longer than 4-6 weeks. The LONGEST one was only 16 months. Well, maybe that is the kind of experience they are talking about, but I think experience at making relationships work counts for more.
My dominance and cynicism ratings are not entirely accurate either, but they got the independence one right on the mark.
While we are on the subject of love, why does everyone assume a single woman is pathetic, desperate for a man, and does nothing but sit at home crying over her situation? I certainly don't do that. My co-worker Susan seems determined to get me married off. Just last week, she was trying to fix me up with a guy from the front office. I told her he was married and too young for me besides, but she wouldn't listen. Then a couple of days ago, she came over and said, "I've got bad news for you. He's married." She was more disappointed than I was. The guy is a cutie-pie, but just not what I would look for in a man.
Anyway, she was telling me I should go hang out in some bar--I forget the name of it--and maybe I could meet someone there. "Even if you don't meet anyone, it still beats sitting at home crying."
So why does she assume I am sitting at home crying? Maybe that's what she would do, but I don't need a man in my life to feel complete.
Heck, my life is so complete, I don't know where I'd fit a man into it if I did meet one.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Dizzying Heights

Some of you may remember, she went back to India for a while earlier in the year. It was supposed to be a one way trip, but somehow she ended up back here. Last night, we got the scoop. Alex told me what she told him. I'm not sure if I believe it, because the whole story doesn't sound right to me. Anyway, apparently what happened was that her father had arranged a marriage for her and had sent her back to India to marry the guy. When she got there, she decided she didn't want to marry him, so she broke his arm and came back to the States. Boy, aren't you glad you don't live in India? Here, the girls just tell you no. There, they break your arm.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Hurricane Season 2006

Yesterday evening, as I was taking taking the laundry off the line, I noticed the wind had a strange feel to it. I remember thinking, "This feels just like the wind at the beach." Not the beach of our local lake, mind you, but the beach of the Gulf of Mexico.

I came inside to check the weather, and realized that it WAS wind from the Gulf of Mexico. It was tropical storm Alberto, which made landfall in Florida sometime last night. He didn't come close enough to us for any real storm activity. Just a little bit windier than usual.

He was the first named storm of 2006. There will be more. Lots more.

And so it begins...

Monday, June 12, 2006


A dragon's egg. One of ten more fun projects in the back of Drawing for Dummies. If I weren't such a perfectionist, I'd be satisfied with this one.

One of my pet peeves--when people type a word in an e-mail or post then put (sp?) behind it. What is that supposed to mean? Yeah, I know it means they aren't sure of the spelling of the word, but what does it really mean? I mean come on people! That's what the flippin' SPELL CHECK button is for! If you aren't sure of how to spell a word, USE SPELL CHECK, for Pete's sake!!!

Scarlett had kept her second solid meal down for 48 hours now...Hopefully, I'll have the little one back on track soon.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Baby Bird

Cody was out in the yard this evening and found this little bird on the ground. He thought there was soemthing wrong with it, so he came and got me. It is a baby robin that must have fallen out of its nest or something. We couldn't find said nest, but felt it would be safer in a tree than on the ground. So we put it here, and snapped a couple of shots, and hoped it would be ok. Since he is fledged out already, maybe he can make it back to his nest.

Meanwhile, mama robin hovered anxiously...

Scarlett has kept her pinky head down for 26 hours now. We may be out of the woods with her. But the tricky part starts with her next feeding. I'm going to increase the size of her meals. I'll give her a head and shoulder section for a few weeks.

Don't worry, though. The mice are pre-killed. There's no way I'd be so cruel as to cut a live mouse in half!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Worm Tracks

I don't know what this thing is, but it kind of reminds me of the critters Kahn put into Chekov's ear in Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Kahn.

Gonna give Scarlett her second pinky head in a few minutes.

Slider ate his mouse last night, but I've got to figure out a way to get him eating rats. I need to switch Monty to rats as well. Mice won't be enough nutrition for an adult ball python.

I have another drawing in the works from the back of Drawing for Dummies. I skipped the chapters on drawing people and went to the chapter about 10 more fun projects. I started the dragon's egg. And as always, I'll post it when it's done.

Friday, June 09, 2006

For Sale

One gently used copy of Drawing For The Absolute and Utter Beginner, by Claire Watson Garcia.

$7.00 plus shipping.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Snakey News

So it may look like Onyx is trying to eat his tree, but he's not. He was trying to get his shed started, which he eventually did.

Speaking of sheds, Slider shed last night. I completely missed his blue stage, but then he's pretty reclusive anyway. That may be why he refused his mouse last week. I'll try to feed him again this weekend.

Speaking of feeding, Scarlett left me a big, smelly poop in her tank this morning. She completely digested the pinky head I gave her. I'm going to feed her another one Saturday. If she holds it down, I'll slowly work her back up to whole pinkies. I'm going to take things really slow with her, because I don't want to get her started regurging again.

Interesting developments at the dojo...Sensei talked with James and me tonight and said that when school starts back up, he's going to quit his regular job and have the dojo open 5 days a week. He wants to have an after school program for the kids. They'll have a snack, homework time complete with tutors, and a 45 or so minute karate program. Then he asked us if we would be interested in a position as paid instructors for the karate part of it. It would be minimum wage, and he hasn't worked out the details. I told him I would consider it.

One thing I don't understand, though. He said he doesn't even make enough from the dojo to cover the rent and utilities. Now he's going to expect it to support itself and his family, and maybe rent the building next to the dojo...I hope he knows what he's doing.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Here It Is

The finished drawing.

What I find frustrating about drawing in graphite is that I can't seem to get my dark parts as dark as I'd like them. This is due to the nature of graphite, in that it gets shiny. The more graphite that is layered onto the paper, the shinier it gets. Then when I try to scan a graphite drawing, the shiny parts reflect the light, making the whole drawing appear much lighter than it is in person.

I had another nightmare about my shodan test. This time I was trying to do Tokumine bo kata. When I bowed in and started the kata, I missed the bo with my left hand. As I fumbled around trying to get ahold of it, I realized that the bo I was using was broken. I did the entire kata with one half of a broken bo!

Sigh...I'll be glad when it's over and done with.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Bits and Pieces

A drawing in progress. It is a dog's eye from the beginner lessons at Drawspace. Frankly, DAUB just isn't cutting it. So I went back to Drawspace and have started doing some lessons from the website. This is the same person who wrote Drawing for Dummies, and the lessons are really fun. It's good to be drawing again. I'll be sure and post the finished product when it gets done.

Scarlett has managed to keep her meal down for 48+ hours now. This is good. She still hasn't pooped yet, but I'm hopeful she will sometime tonight. Either she hasn't or I haven't found it. I'll try feeding her again Saturday. It'll be another head, and if she keeps that one down, I'll very slowly work her back up to full sized meals.

I don't know what Larry Dreher said to sensei, but he lit a fire under him. Ever since sensei talked to Mr. Dreher last week, he's actually been PREPARING James and me for the test. He's been letting us do sai basics while the rest of the class does upper body basics. Tonight after basics, he divided the class up into groups to do punching/blocking drills, and worked on two-man basics and kusanku bunkai with us. After class, he taught us bo/bo kumite. That's a really fun thing. I'll have to teach it to Cody so we can work on it at home.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Pine Trees

One wonders how to capture the majestic beauty of these magnificent trees.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Little Surprises

I've been missing my walk for the last couple of weeks because of injuries, illness, and inclement weather. Still, even though I walk the same route every day, I always seem to discover something new. Today it was these wild Black Eyed Susans. Just a few of them growing out in the middle of an empty field. A bright spot of color in the midst of drab browns and grays.

In other news...I gave Scarlett her first solid food in a month this evening. Just a pinky head rolled in Nutribac. Let's hope she'll keep it down, or it's back to liquid feedings.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Yes, ANOTHER Hobby

Spinning yarn. I learned to spin on a drop spindle a few years ago. There is nothing like giving a gift that you knitted from yarn you spun and dyed yourself. This yarn will probably end up being knit into a lacy shawl. I've got several other colors, some already spun, some waiting to be spun. It is my dream to one day have a traditional spinning wheel. But for now, the home made drop spindles will have to do.

The good news is this guy:

finally ate! It was his first meal since March 24. I've heard that a healthy snake can go up to a year without eating and not suffer any detrimental effects. Most can certainly go a few months without eating and not have any problems. However, when you have one that's been off his feed, it is such a relief when they start eating again.

Friday, June 02, 2006


I've always known that I am not pretty. Jessica Simpson, Julia Roberts, Brittney Spears and the like have nothing to fear from me.

In the old days, I would have been referred to as plain or even homely.

I don't keep a lot of mirrors in my house. If I can avoid seeing myself, I can avoid thinking about it.

I was in Wal-mart doing my weekly grocery shopping. Cody had written something on my list called CleanSafe. I had no idea what CleanSafe was, but I assumed it was some kind of household cleaner. I was wandering down the household cleaner aisle minding my own business, looking for whatever CleanSafe was. There was a little girl chattering away to her mother. When she saw me, she stopped talking and her eyes went wide.

In a completely awestruck voice, she said,

"Wow, that's an ugly girl!"

Thursday, June 01, 2006


Well, we've got things all settled now. The test will definitely be July 15. Sensei said he talked to Mr Dreher (who is like the head of the board) himself and Mr Dreher stated that this date is set in concrete.

James finally told his parents. I told him about it Tuesday night, and when I asked him what his parents had said, he replied that he didn't tell them. So when he left class, I walked out to his mom's car and made sure he told her. She seemed a bit aggravated about it, too. All she said, though, was, "You'd better tell your daddy." John (his dad) called up to the dojo later and talked to sensei about it, and he decided that James' black belt test was more important than their vacation, so has changed their plans.

Carole has gotten her flight date changed--had to pay a small fee, but didn't lose the total cost of the tickets. She'll definitely be here. Linde on the Isshinryu Women Group is talking about coming as well and having a mini seminar that weekend. Sounds good to me. If she does that, we'll probably go into Greenville on Friday and stay in a hotel.

I did manage to get lucky and get my vacation for that weekend approved. And I mean REALLY lucky. That Friday was already full, but then someone else cancelled his day and I was able to get one. I had told Mr Tedder that I didn't know if I would be able to get that day off, and he said, "Why??? What's the problem? It's 6 weeks away, you should be able to get it approved by then." He just doesn't understand how fast those summer weekends fill up.

And it will give my pulled muscle more time to heal...

So there is a bright side to everything.

Now, from bits of conversation I'm slowly remembering, we weren't the only ones who thought the test was going to be June 17. Kevin, the young man from Mr. Christensen's dojo was expecting to test in June. Mrs. Wanker (yes that really is her name), the lady going for her ni-dan was talking about "the 17th". I find it hard to believe that 6 different people in three different dojos could have all gotten the date wrong. I think Mr. W wanted to change it because of the seminar being rescheduled, but just didn't want to admit that is why he did it.

But it's all moot now because the test WILL BE July 15th.


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