Tuesday, January 31, 2006

A Toast

to our new Supreme court justice, Samuel Alito, and to the new purple belt in our family, Cody. Cheers!

Monday, January 30, 2006

Tales from the Toilet

My cousin's granddaughter Shelbi wanted to have a tea party. She was three. So she got Mommy, Neenaw, Peepaw, and baby sister Brittani together. Shelbi brought out her little tea set, and very primly poured them all some make believe tea--which was really water.

Neenaw asked, "Shelbi, where did you get this water?"

Shelbi replied, "From the toilet."

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Cody was three. Shelbi was two. Cody needed to go potty. Shelbi followed him into the bathroom and stood there watching.

Shelbi needed to go potty. She stood in front of the toilet and peed on the floor.
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Cody was four. We were going to Wal-mart. I asked, "Do you need to go potty before we go?"

Cody answered, "I'll go when we get there."

No sooner had we gotten out of the driveway than Cody started shrieking that his TT was coming out. I pulled over to the side of the road, got him out and told him to go ahead.

"On the ground?!?!?!"

"Well, it's an emergency."

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Yesterday my air conditioner ran all day. Today the heater is running. That's winter in the South.

My weight today--142. I've lost three pounds so far. I bought a scale from Wal-mart, and it reads differently. It said 137, but I also have to take into account that when I weigh at work, I'm fully dressed, including work boots. At home, I'm just in my nightie.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Quotes and Stuff

A collection of quotes courtesy of patriotpost.us :

Because as I look around the state of this nation and see all of the weak little pampered candy-@$$es that are whining about this or protesting that, I'd be afraid to leave the fate of this nation entirely up to them." —First Lt. Bruce Bishop explaining why he's re-enlisting in the Utah National Guard

"An America that is militarily and economically strong is not enough. The world must see an America that is morally strong with a creed and a vision. This is what has led us to dare and achieve. For us, values counts."—Ronald Reagan

"The deficit doctors have their scalpels out all right, but they're not poised over the budget. That's as fat as ever and getting fatter. What they're ready to operate on is your wallet." --Ronald Reagan

"[L]et us thank God for life and the blessings He's put before us. High among them are our families, our freedom, and the opportunities of a new year. Let us renew our faith that as free men and women we still have the power to better our lives, and let us resolve to face the challenges of the new year holding that conviction firmly in our hearts. That, after all, is our greatest strength and our greatest gift as Americans." —Ronald Reagan

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts."--Winston Churchill

"Laws that forbid the carrying of arms...disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes...Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, foran unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man." --Cesare Beccaria

Bulgaria announced they're pulling all their troops from Iraq, both of them. No, they said they'll replace their troops with a non-combat force. That would be the French army. --Jay Leno

"The privilege of debating our constitutional rights requires first that we be alive. If federal agents want to listen in on suspected terrorists as they plot their next mass murder, please allow me to turn up the volume. Meanwhile, unless I start placing calls to Peshawar using phrases such as 'I want my 72 virgins now,' then I figure I'm safe to make my next hair appointment without fear of exposure." —Kathleen Parker

"It's very hard to fight a terrorist war without intelligence. By definition, you can only win battles against terrorists preemptively—that's to say, you find out what they're planning to do next Thursday and you stop it cold on Wednesday. Capturing them on Friday while you're still pulling your dead from the rubble is poor consolation." —Mark Steyn

"Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual." —Mark Twain

"If I wanted to break the law, why was I briefing Congress?" —President George W. Bush on the NSA surveillance program

Schumer: Does the Constitution protect free speech?... Alito: Yes, Senator, the First Amendment protects free speech... Schumer: Well, why can you give me a straight answer on that issue but not give me a straight answer on abortion?... Alito: Because the text of the Constitution explicitly includes the term "free speech." —Exchange between Sen. Schumer and Judge Alito

Notable Newspulper Headlines:

If You Can Read This, Don't Thank a Professor: "Literacy Falls for Graduates From College, Study Finds" —The New York Times

A 200% Death Rate?: "It is known that the risk of death in adults with diabetes is approximately twofold that of the general population." —Reuters

The Stork Perhaps?: "Unwanted Births Up; Reasons Unclear" —Salt Lake Tribune

What Would We Do Without Scientists?: "Scientists Find Sand on Seafloor" —News.com.au

Not US!: "WHO Wants China Bird Flu Samples" —headline, CNN.com

Studying Always Made Us More Depressed: "One in 10 Teens Depressed: Study" —Reuters

"Meeting on Open Meetings Is Closed" —(Tucson) Arizona Daily Star **"Our question is, if they held a meeting on whether meetings on open meetings had to be open, would it be open or closed?"

Lava? In a Volcano?: "Mount St. Helens' Lava Astounds Scientists" —Associated Press

Not Everyone Is Susceptible to Thought: "Bird Flu Spreads to Humans More Easily Than Thought" —Reuters

He'll Wear Jersey No. XVI: "Pope to Enter NFL Draft" —Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Above 100%?: "Midlife Obesity Raises Later Risk of Death: Study" —Reuters

Headlines We'd Like to See: "Sharks Silence Powerful Senators" —San Jose Mercury News

Oh Sure, Blame the Bushes!: "New Source of Global Warming Gas Found: Plants" —Reuters

What Would We Do Without: "Study: 'Sleep Inertia' Affects Decision Making" —ABCNews.com

That's One Sick Bird: "Turkey Now Has 15 Cases of Human Bird Flu" —Associated Press (Thanks to The Wall Street Journal's James Taranto)

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Swans and Strawberries

This stupid swan is as finished as she's going to get. I think the million horizontal lines turned into more like a gazillion. Anyway, I think she turned out pretty nice, despite making me pull my hair out on more than one occassion. The next section of the book is on drawing people, something I've never been able to do. We'll see how that goes.



For my daily sketch, I sketched strawberries, my favorite berry.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Friday


The imagination well ran dry today, so I just drew some basic shapes.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Eye See You


This sketch may look familiar to some of you. It is the same one I did before, but from memory and without the step by step instructions. And in a lot less time.

We had rank tests in karate tonight. Not everyone tested, just Barrett, Cody, and Brian. I didn't break any boards tonight, either. I will say one thing, though. Barrett tested for san-kyu (third grade brown) and his test was a whole lot easier than what I had to go through to get mine. I think sensei is getting soft.

Cody talked to the youngest one of them in school. He said they were quitting karate because of the way me and James treated them. Now, I can't speak for James, but I am not mean to them or anything. I just prefer not to be overly friendly with persons of their--or more particularly her--, uh, shall I say "low moral character". Besides, I say if they are going to quit because I'm not falling all over myself to grovel at their feet, they don't need to be in the martial arts anyway.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Knuckles

Only a karate student could be proud of. Yes, we played with the breaking boards again last night.

I wish I had a bunny rabbit. I would name him George, and I would hug him and squeeze him and pet him and pat him...

I'm going to bed early tonight.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Whitetail Doe


For some reason this doe was really hard to draw. I did cheat and revise her a bit after I got home. I usually do my sketching during my lunch break at work. It provides an automatic time limit.

Cody woke up sick this morning with a bit of a head cold. I don't think he had a fever, but I couldn't get an accurate temp because he couldn't keep his mouth closed long enough for the thermometer to read. He was so stopped up he had to breathe through his mouth. I let him stay home from school anyway. I've dragged myself to work feeling miserable enough times and spent the entire day wishing I was still home in bed. But he's going back tomorrow.

I forgot to post my weight yesterday-144. I only lost a pound, but hey, a pound is a pound.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Slumping


I hit a bit of a slump in my sketching today. I didn't have a reference photo, and didn't even know what I wanted to draw, so I did this doodle of a dog. Not one of my prouder moments, I assure you, but a sketch none the less.


When you work at a no-brainer job like I do, sometimes the strangest things pop into your head. Like today, when I was singing my Jr high school fight song. I'm actually amazed that I can still remember it, since that was back in the 1976-77 school year. Our colors were purple and white, and our school saying was, "Purple Pride Never Dies." I still have a purple pencil with that printed on it. The 7th grade football team was the Braves and the 8th grade team was the Warriors. The high school mascot was the Chiefs. Not very PC, but back then nobody minded. Speaking of PC, did you year about the Native American intramural basketball team at a college out West a few years back? They decided that they were going to show us how it felt, so they named their team the Fighting Whites, and sat back and waited for the outcry. The only problem was that white folks weren't offended by it. They LOVED the name. I heard the team got requests to buy their team shirts from all over the States. But I digress....

Anyway, the fight song went something like this:

Warriors and Braves stand here and now, we will fight on for you Oh West Orange Jr High.

Chorus: Our fighting men have held up our standard, passed on our glorious name, so hold it high and never day die and fight on to victory.

Years will go by, still we will know, days were the best, here at you, Oh West Orange Jr High.

The summer between my 6th and 7th grade years, the school district merged with the nearby Orange school district. Our colors changed to blue and silver, and our mascot became the Stallions. Slightly less offensive, except maybe to the horses. If you truly want an inoffensive mascot, you need go no further than Delta State University in Cleveland MS. Their mascot is the...are you ready? ...get this...brace yourselves now...The Delta State Fighting OKRA. Doesn't exactly inspire awe, but it doesn't offend anyone either. But I digress again...

The new Jr High fight song went like this:

Hail Mighty Stallions, we'll stand by you.

Forever Stallions, silver and blue.

Our fighting spirit always will be

for West Orange Jr High unto victory!

Once we got to high school, we were the Mustangs. Our school song was:

Far out on the coastal prairie, standing plain to view

Is our dear West Orange-Stark High School, towering toward the blue

Hail all hail our alma mater, Hail West Orange-Stark High!

We bear thee a love so fervent, it shall never die!

I wonder what the Delta State Okra have for a fight song.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

The Swan...


is almost done. I spent much of this afternoon working on her, and she's almost done. I've still got to add the water around her, which will consist of drawing about a million horizontal lines of varying shades throughout the background. The reflection looks more like it has fur then feathers, but most of that will be diminished by the water lines drawn over it. Of course, a lot of the detail is diminished in the scanning process as well. The swan looks much better in real life. I am quite pleased at the way her head and upper neck turned out, but I haven't quite gotten the body like I want it.

I also finally finished that art test, though I don't at all like the scene I did. They had printed a house, and I was supposed to finish the scene. I ended up making a wintry scene by adding a chimney to the house, with a snowman and a snow fort in the front yard. I also put little foot prints from the snowman to the front door of the house. It is ready to send in as soon as I buy some two cent stamps.

Of course I haven't shared this news with the participants of the Drawspace forum as they are very much against me even seeking more information about this school. The gist of the conversation went something like this:

Me: I'm working on the test for Art Instruction Schools.

They: That school is a scam because the test requires you to draw a cartoon doodle.

Me: I've checked them out and they sound pretty legitimate.

They: They can't be legitimate because they make you draw a doodle.

Me: As I said, I've done a bit of research and believe they are a legitimate school because of the following information:

A) The school was established in 1914, and has been in business ever since. Scams tend not to last 92 years, since they must frequently change their MO to stay one step ahead of the law.

B) The school is accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council, a nationally recognized accrediting agency listed by the U. S. Department of Education. It first received accreditation in 1956, and is periodically reviewed to determine if it receives re-accreditation. The last review was in 2005. Scams wouldn't stand up to any sort of accreditation process, and certainly wouldn't remain accredited for 50 years.

C) The school is licensed by the Minnesota Higher Education Services Office.

D) The school's curriculum has been reviewed by the American Council on Education, the major coordinating body for all the nation's higher education institutions, which has recommended that over 3000 colleges and universities grant up to 24 university credits for completing the course. Scams don't allow any sort of review, much less get recommended by anything.

E) The school has produced many outstanding artists who credit the fundamental training they received from the school as a big part of their success. One graduate, Charles Schulz, even returned to the school as an instructor. Scams never get recommended by anyone, especially not by those who were also "scammed."

F) The school is a member of the Better Business Bureau . Scams are NEVER members of the Better Business Bureau.

Based on the above six points, I do believe the school is legitimate, and would like to pursue further information about them.

They: But they make you draw a doodle! And if you won't agree with me, I'm just not going talk to you about it any more!

They accused me of being hostile and getting mad about it, and claimed that nothing constructive was coming out of the argument, meaning of course, I was not changing my mind based on their opinions. I haven't even been back there--to the forums, that is. That is not the kind of support I want or need.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Rooster


Whoever coined the term chicken as slang for coward, has obviously never run up against an angry rooster.

Cody has decided that he needs to lose weight as well. He told me, "Mama, when you get to jr. high, the fat guys don't get any girlfriends." I told him that all he needs to do is eat less junk food and be more active. He never was a fat child until last summer when he spent several weeks with his grandma. All he did was sit in front of the TV and eat. I was shocked when he came home at how much he'd ballooned out.

Friday, January 20, 2006

I Don't Drink Wine


but wine bottles and glasses make great still life subjects.

Once when I was a teenager, my family and I were vacationing at Crystal Beach, TX. I loved to get up early and see what the tides had brought in and left on the beach. You had to get up early, because they had big road graders that would come and scrape the trash off the beaches, and they got there pretty early. Anyway, this particular day, my dad had gotten up to do some surf fishing (didn't catch anything), and my younger brother and I had gotten up to explore the beach. He found a Japanese wine bottle, still with the label printed in Japanese on it. When I graduated and left home, he still had that bottle.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Before You Meet the Handsome Prince


first you gotta kiss a lot of toads. Well, this is not really a toad, but a frog. But he's just so cute! Heh, I'd rather kiss him than a lot of men I know!

I started learning a new bo kata, Urashi bo is the name of it. The whole class was a bo class, in fact. We started with bo basics, which took quite a while, since there were some in the class who hadn't yet learned them. Then we split into two groups, those who knew Tokumine and those who didn't. Those of us who knew it went over the kata together, while sensei started those who didn't. Finally, sensei started James and me on Urashi, while the rest of the class went over Tokumine some more. Josh got to teach Brian and Tom. Josh is ok with that--it is Barrett who doesn't like to teach. Barrett hasn't been there all week, and neither have they. She went back to India for a while, and honestly, the classes this week have so much more fun. So much more relaxed.

I told Salena about what Dana was doing, and she went and told Jessica. I knew she would, even though I didn't tell her to. I told her I'd wanted to tell Jessica yesterday, but was too busy. Dana was better today, but I don't know if Jessica talked to her, or if it was because the line was moving so slowly anyway. She only gets impatient if she feels people aren't keeping up with her.

The checker at the Family Dollar store, where we always go get our poweraids, told me about a new weight loss fad--getting your ears stapled. It's supposed to work, but I think I'll stick with eating less and exercise.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

A Rather Crooked Barn

Drawn from my imagination.

I'll tell you one thing, if Dana doesn't stop being so mean to that poor crippled man at work, I'm just going to have to smack her around some. (I know, I know, it's not PC to say crippled, but then I'm not very PC myself.) Ok, the back story. Last week, a man started working at the plant. I could tell just by looking at him that he'd had some sort of brain trauma. He is very weak on his left side. he has a pronounced limp, and weakness and poor coordination in his left arm and hand. His speech is also slurred. My first thought was that he'd had a stroke, or maybe he was in an accident. I found out later that he'd been in a bad car wreck and wasn't expected to survive. While he was recovering from that, he also had a stroke.

The first day he was there, Dana came over and was calling him a wierdo and was making fun of how he talked. I told her he'd had some sort of brain trauma, but it didn't make much difference to her. Ever since then, she has been so impatient with him, rolling her eyes, huffing, sighing, shaking her head and stuff like that. If he is doing something and she thinks he's not moving fast enough, she'll shove him out of the way and say, "Let me do it" in a very curt tone. Today, she told him to take a dented unit back to the repair station. He picked the unit up, and as he was turning around, got tangled in the cable to Dana's screw gun. She snatched the unit out of his hands and said, "I'll do it" in a really snappish tone of voice. I saw his face, when she did that. He looked like he'd been slapped. He's doing the best he can, and needs to be validated, not treated like a child. But, you know, Dana treats everyone like that, not just him.

Tomorrow, I'll tell Salena and she can tell Jessica (Dana's supervisor). Saturday, I worked over with Jackie, and it was so nice. It was so relaxed over there without Dana and her huffy attitude. She keeps bragging that they are going to hire her on. I wish they would hurry up and do it so they can move her to second shift. I've just about had my fill of her.

I have been on the phone ever since I got home from work today getting the run-around about this bus thing. I'd called Dr White, Cody's principal, several times, but she was never available, and wouldn't return my calls. So this afternoon, I called Dr Pender, the school superintendent. I explained the situation to him, and he didn't want to fool with me. He said, "I don't have anything to do with that. I'll have Dr White call you." And this, AFTER I'd told him I'd been trying to get in touch with her for a week and a half. He is retiring in 6 months, but he's pretty much already checked out. She finally called me, and it only took her an hour and a half. I explained the situation to her, and she said, "I'm more than willing to work with you, but I have to do what the bus people recommend." Then she gave me the number of the guy over the busses. I called him and he said, "It's not up to me to say whether a child is suspended or unspended. That's up to the principal. If she wants to unsuspend him, she doesn't need MY permission." By this point, I was ready to crawl through the phone and choke somebody. However, he did say he'd call her in the morning and talk to her. And I feel like I'm playing hot potato.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

My Work Shoe


Boy, I have big feet!

I am ashamed to say that my weight is still 145. I almost cried when I got onto the scale at work this morning. I worked so hard all week controlling what I ate, and for nothing it seemed. However, by the end of the day, I feel like I've peed out about 5 pounds of that weight. Every time I turned around I was going to the bathroom. Here's to retained water, and to getting rid of it!

Monday, January 16, 2006

My Grandparents.

Buck, over in Portales posted pictures of himself and his two sons, all in uniform. That got me to thinking that I should post pictures of all of my family in uniform. Unfortunately, I don't have pictures of all my family in uniform. But here is my grandfather, Walter Lee Gunstream, Sr in his World War I Army uniform. He was born in 1893, and died in 1974. While in the army, he served in France, but I don't know any details. This is my grandmother, Fannie Mae Winfree Gunstream. She was born in 1895, the youngest child of Joe and Jo Ella Wright Winfree. She died in 1987, at the age of 91.

These were my father's parents. My family has a long history of military service on my dad's side. No one on my mother's side ever served that I've found. Anyway, my great grandfather, Gustavus Adolphus Gunstream, was in the army during the Civil War. My grandfather, pictured above, was in the army during World War I.

My father, Walter Lee Gunstream, Jr, was in the army during World War II and Korea. He was born October 23, 1926, and died July 14, 1995.

I don't have a picture of myself in uniform, though I served in the Navy from 1989 to 1994.

I didn't sketch anything today. And I didn't weigh in. We had the day off of work, and I don't have a scale at home. I'll post my weight tomorrow.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

First Knitting Project of 2006

I've finished my first knitting project of 2006, this baby afghan. I actually started this one several years ago, and just recently ripped the whole thing and started over. I don't have a recipient for this one yet. I started it for my brother and sister in law's baby about 6 years ago. She lost that baby, and so I set aside. After I made my vow not to buy any new yarn until I'd finished up some of my WIPs (that stands for work in progress), I started on it again. Add one more WIP to the completed list, and I've got a good bit of yarn left over to add to my scrap afghan.
The pattern didn't snow up very well in that picture, so here is a close up of it.
Not to forget today's sketch, drawn from memory. I didn't have time to finishe shading it. This one is based on a drawing exercise from Drawing for Dummies, by Brenda Hoddinott. Cody had chair tryouts in band last week. He made second chair. He figured he'd make last chair, because he didn't know some of his notes for his scales. They learned those the two days he'd been suspended from school. He was complaining about it, and I told him, "It's amazing that the smallest actions can affect so many things."

Friday, January 13, 2006

A Toast


to Friday the 13th. However, being that I'm not superstitious, it doesn't mean much.

The first of the spring storms blew through in the wee smalls of the morning. I know, it's still winter, but the weather has been so warm lately, the storm acted more like a spring storm than a winter storm. Anyway, I digress...

I woke up about 10 after 4, after a tremendous thunderclap. About 4:18, the power flickered off, then came back on, then flickered off again. It didn't come back on until after Cody had left for school. I had to get dressed in the dark. However, it felt extremely odd not getting online to check my e-mail. I didn't know what to do with myself, so I did all my kata, including weapons kata, and two man basics. The storm also got my sinuses stirred up, and I spent the first half of the day feeling like my head was about to explode. Fortunately, that was all the excitement for the day.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

You Know You've Been

in the martial arts too long when you admire your bruised and swollen knuckles like other women admire diamond rings.

Sensei has some plastic re-breakable boards at the dojo. They are supposed to correspond to certain size boards, but sensei says they are harder to break than real boards. We've spent the last couple of classes trying to break them. I had the yellow one, which is the easiest one to break, and was trying to do a one handed drop break. That is, I hold the board in my right hand, drop it, and break it with my right hand. I succeeded in doing it a few times, then James wanted me to break some of the harder boards with him holding one corner. I broke the yellow one, no problem. I broke the orange one, no problem. When I punched the green one, James let go and it flew across the room! I tried to hold it myself and break it, but didn't. It is harder to break them holding one corner than if someone was holding both sides. I only got one chance to try, because then it was time to start class. When we were doing basics, I noticed that my knuckles were rather bruised and a bit swollen. As I was looking at them, it occured to me that the way I was holding my hand and admiring my knuckles is the same way women admire a ring they are wearing. I know I've been in karate too long now!

Well, I'll let my knuckles heal a bit and try some more next week.

Good news! My new sketch pads got here today! And I still had ONE page left in my old one.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

A Little More This and A Little More That

I can write long, eloquent posts in my head, but as soon as I sit down at the computer my mind goes blank...I didn't even talk about last night's karate class. It was actually fun again. They were there, but it was kind of funny because they were on one side of the dojo, and everyone else was on the other side. Nobody is trying to be deliberately ugly, but nobody wants to be around them any more. They just got on too many people's last nerve. There is a man in our class, and his wife sometimes comes to class with him, just to watch. One day, the man--I'll call them Dick and Jane to protect their privacy--was wearing a...ahem...uh...a protective device under his gi, but nothing else. She was sitting right next to Jane, who is a bit shy and very conservative, and said, "Your husband has a nice @$$, especially when he wears those red underwear." Jane was flabbergasted! Even more so because Dick wasn't wearing any underwear. Anyway, later she told Dick about it, and last night, she asked him if he had his g-string on. He said "No, I don't do that any more." I said, "Awww, now. I hear you have an admirer." He replied, "That's why I don't do it any more."

Once class started, we went over some basics to warm up. Sensei had me go and teach our new student, Sally, shuto uchi. While I was doing that, the green belts worked on kata. Then he had the upper ranks working on kata, and I joined them. He had her go over to teach Sally cat stance, elbow strike. At least that was what she was supposed to be doing. I looked over there and she was teaching her shuto uchi! Made me mad, like she thinks I didn't have enough sense to properly teach Sally the technique! But that's the way she acts, like she thinks nobody can do anything without her telling him what to do and how to do it. The irony of it is, she is the one without any sense.

Anyway, after we ran all our kata--from seisan to kusanku--, sensei split the class up. I don't know what the rest of them did, but the purple and brown belts worked on two man basics. Barrett paired with James, and I taught Barrett the rest of his side of upper body basics. Then Josh came in and we worked on learning the other side. We both sort of knew it, and helped each other figure it out. It was good to work with Josh again. I haven't been able to in a long time because everytime we partnered up for anything she would run and grab onto him. It was also good to do upper rank stuff again.

Finally, when we were lined up to bow out, sensei was making announcements and he mentioned that there will be a rank test for Barrett, Brian, and Cody on the 26th of this month. James started going, "What about Becky? When is she going to test?" I interjected that I wouldn't test for a LONG time. Sensei replied, "It might not be as long as you think." That really freaked me out, because, as you know my next test is for black belt. I don't think I'm anywhere near ready.

Oh great. One more thing to stress out about...

This and That



I just loved this little toadstool when I saw it. It looked like it should have a family of gnomes living under it. Imagine the cap of it being red with white spots--that's what it looked like. One day I want to get some colored pencils--good ones, not the cheap things they sell at Wal-mart.

Do you know what I find to be extremely funny? How I can't seem to get through to Dr White (Cody's principal) when I need to talk to her, but the school has NO problem tracking me down when he is in trouble. I went in again Monday to try to have a conference with her, and she'd left early. I left a message with her secretary asking her to call me, and I left my home, cell, and work numbers. I specifically told the secretary that I work until three and Dr White needed to call me after then.

She called at 7:30 in the morning--my HOME number.

I called again today. She was in meetings until 3:15, so I left ANOTHER message asking her to call me. It is now almost 5:00 and still no call.

I'm trying to do things right, but at this rate, I'm going to go straight to the superintendent and not worry about the chain of command. Rebellious thing for a veteran to do, I know.

Cindy has decided to join me in the battle of the bulge. It really helps to have someone go through it with you. And to help things along, here are some dieting tips I've found to be helpful:

1. Eat only when your stomach is audibly growling.

2. Eat foods that taste good. You will not be satisfied eating tofu and bean sprouts all the time, and are more likely to binge if you do not satisfied your taste buds as well as your hunger.

3. When you get something to eat, get half of what you think you will want. If it isn't enough, you can always get more, but you are more likely to overeat if it is already on your plate.

4. Once the food is on your plate, divide it in half again. Eat half, then wait from 2-5 minutes before eating more. If you decide you feel full, cover the plate with plastic wrap and eat the rest the next time your stomach growls.

5. Eat tiny bites, and eat very slowly. A lot of times, you will get tired of eating before the food is gone, and so you are more likely to eat less.

6. If your stomach is growling, eat. Don't skip meals. This will keep your metabolism up and burning fat.

7. If you get food cravings, but your stomach is not growling, tell yourself that the food will still be there when your stomach is growling. If your family is like mine, your food may not be there when your stomach is growling, so it may be necessary to put your name on your food, and give strict hands off orders.

Easier said than done, I know. But it CAN be done. There is this one guy at work, I don't see him that often because he works in a different part of the plant. Since August, he has lost SOOO much weight and has let his hair grow back--he had been shaving his head. I tell you what, he is looking good...

Yesterday's Sketch


I don't know what was wrong yesterday, but I coudln't get to blogger to post my drawing. The pages were taking SOOOOO long to load that I finally gave up and went to bed. But here is what I drew yesterday, one of those old fashioned water pitcher and basins that people used to wash their faces in. I drew it from imagination, but I'd like to find a picture or something so I can do one with a model. I really like the image--though not THIS particular image. Off to work now, post more this afternoon.

Monday, January 09, 2006

My House



Or at least the house I grew up in. Unfortunately, I ran out of time before I could finish with the details. Like the bricks...

Gosh, I haven't seen this house but once in the last 6 years. I'm surprised I can remember what it looks like.

Now for the bad news. I weighed myself this morning at work--145. I've gained 10 pounds since June! Well, I've got to get it back off, and you are going to help me, aren't you? I'm going to weigh in every Monday, and post it here. It'll be really embarrassing if I can't get this weight back down, esapecially with everyone watching!

I'm down to four sheets in my sketch pad! If I limit myself to one sketch a day (out of that pad), it'll last me until Friday. Hopefully, my new ones will arrive shortly thereafter.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Creativity Runs in the Family



My son can make amazing things out of paper and tape--or cardboard and duct tape as the case may be. Once he made a sailing ship, complete with sails and rigging, out of notebook paper and scotch tape. He doesn't draw out a pattern or anything. He just starts cutting and taping, and amazing things come out. This .45 even has a holster with a belt loop. Out of cardboard and duct tape. Red Green would be proud.

I haven't drawn anything today. Mr Pennington has a cold, and I think I'm having sympathy aches. I worked a bit on the jigsaw puzzle Denise L gave me for Christmas, knitted a bit on my scrap afghan, read a bit on Cody's library book, and watched some TV. I think I'll go lay down for a while.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

No Sketch


I didn't do a sketch today. Instead, I worked a bit more on this project. I still have to do the reflection and the water, then it will be done. One good thing about scanning your drawings--you notice things you didn't see before. Looking at my uploaded picture, I do see some things I need to tweak.

Sad to say, but my daily sketching is about to come to a tragic, yet thankfully temporary, end. I'm almost out of pages in my sketch book. I do have some more on order from Dick Blick art supply website. I hope they will get here before I use up the old one. I like the 8.5 by 5.5 size because it fits into my lunch box. Makes it a lot easier to take to work like that.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Mountains


I decided to try a little something different today and see if I could sketch realistic looking mountains. I think they turned out pretty good, though the scans don't show as much detail as is in the original drawing.

I've always loved the mountains, and hope one day to live in a mountainous area.

Karate started up again this week. It's a wonder how much conditioning you can lose in just two weeks. Tuesday, our first day back in class, James, Brian and I were sitting out in the lobby waiting for the kids class to finish. James kicked off his shoes, and went into the restroom to change into his gi. Man did his shoes stink! He came back out into the lobby, sniffed a bit and said, "Something smells like vomit!"

"It's your shoes, man!"

"It is not!"

"Yeah it is!"

He picked one up and sniffed it, then threw it across the room.

"See, I told you..."

Cody is in his room writing letters of apology to his teacher and his principal. That was Beverly's idea. I'm having a hard time punishing him for this (though the child voluntarily brought me his portable DVD player and Robosapien, saying "I figured you'd ground me from these anyway, so here they are") because I don't think what he did was so wrong. Sure it was silly, but it wasn't bad enough to suspend him over. But I told him that was the decision his principal made and we will abide by it.

I got more to say, but I'll save it for tomorrow. I'm going to go wash the karate sweat off of my body and head for bed.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

And More Frustrations

So today is the first day the kids went back to school. I was going to try to talk with Cody's principal this afternoon about getting him back on the bus. However, I got a call at work around 9:45 AM. Cody had been suspended from school for two days. From what I understand, he wouldn't stop talking so his language teacher (the one who can't spell or use proper grammar) assigned him some lines to write. Why in the world to teachers do that? It doesn't teach kids anything. I know I didn't learn anything from it. Why not give them a discipline that is actually constructive for a change? Anyway, what she wrote on the discipline record is a different story than what Cody is telling me. The stories are not contradictory per se, but there a definite inconsistency. The teacher wrote that she told Cody she was going to increase his writing amount and he jumped at her. Cody says she never said that, or he didn't hear her because everyone else was talking. He said that they were passing in their spelling lists, and the student picking them up didn't get all of them from Cody's row. He tried to tell her that she'd missed some, and the teacher barged over and started yelling at her. When she did that, he flinched and she wrote him up for it. He doesn't have any trouble with any of this other teachers. Just this one. This is his LANGUAGE teacher, mind you, and in the discipline report she sent home today, there were four, yes four, count'em four, grammar errors. She has yet to send a note home that didn't have at least one spelling or grammar error in it. I'm ready to try to get him switched out of her class.

This isn't helping me get him back on the bus.

Today's sketch--a vase with a remnant of dead flower.

Yesterday's sketch--the Smart Charge. This one should look familiar. I drew it a couple of months ago. I wanted to draw it again to see if there was any improvement. I think there was. I was able to get more detail in the drawing, and the perspective is a little better, considering I eyeballed it. Gotta keep on practicing, though.

I rented National Treasure. I don't really like Nicholas Cage that much, but this movie is good.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Frustrations

Life seems to be full of frustrations today. I can't get my image to upload, so you will get two tomorrow.

Remember I said I'd found somebody to take Cody to school? Well, turns out she can't do it after all. Frustrating. See, she and her husband gave their second vehicle to their daughter, who'd lost her car to Katrina. Yes, that would be THE Katrina. After discussing the situation with her hubby, they decided it would be too difficult to get Cody, plus get both of themselves to work on time with only one car. I was up half the night bawling my eyes out, just over the feelings of frustration and helplessness. I spent this afternoon making phone calls, and getting a no, after a no, after a no. I finally found someone who said he'd take him tomorrow. BUT, I also talked with an employee of the school district, who asked to remain anonymous since DR. CAROL WHITE can make things very difficult for her if she ever found out, who gave me some excellent advice. She assured me that being suspended for the rest of the school year was way too stiff a penalty for what Cody did, especially since the other boy was not injured, and especially since this was Cody's first bus referral. She gave me the practical steps I needed to take to deal with this situation. Yeah, I tend to need things spelled out for me sometims. So, even though I still feel frustrated, I also feel hope that maybe I can get him back onto the bus, at least in the AM.

You know, you expect students to dislike their principal. That just comes with the territory. But when you can't find a single person--student, teacher, parent alike--that has ANYTHING good to say about a principal.... Well, that's the kind of principal Cody has. Her name is Dr CAROL WHITE, and so far, every time I mention her name, I get the same reaction, a disgusted grunt and rolling eyes. Even prim and proper Miss Ruthie came straight out and said, "She is a butthole." I mean, how in the world can you respect someone who's own colleagues call her The Ho.

And I've got two more years to deal with her. Heaven help us...

Monday, January 02, 2006

Here's Looking At You, Kid

This one is from Brenda Hoddinott's Website Drawspace. It is also found in the Drawing for Dummies book. However, I didn't know that until I'd downloaded it from the site. There's a bit of a hoopla going on over there on the forums. Seems some people are having difficulty with the fact that I want some professional art instruction. Well, that's not what is causing the hoopla. It is that Art Instruction Schools is one of the options I'm looking in to. One guy said the school was nothing but a scam, yet when I presented him with information indicating that the school is legit, including being a member of the Better Business Bureau, accredited by they Distance Learning Training Council, and reviewed by the American Council for Education, he asked why I was being hostile. Someone else seems to feel that I ought to be getting all the instruction I need from reading books. And the third person says I can get all the art instruction I want online for free, however, she has yet to produce a single link to all this free professional art instruction. I'm like, come on people. What is so wrong with me wanting to take real art lessons?

On New Year's Eve, Cody and I went to Beverly's, my cousin who just happens to live next door. We didn't stay long, because her husband had to be at work early the next morning. Before walking home, though, I wanted to fix myself another glass of punch. I sent Cody on home, and said I'd follow as soon as I done with my punch. I guess he'd decided I'd gotten lost, plus the porch light is burned out and I'm too lazy to replace it. So he grabbed a flashlight and headed out to look for me. We both reached the front door at the same time. He opened it, not expecting me to be there, and it scared the phooey out of him. He hollered, and I've been laughing about it ever since.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

A Load Off My Mind

Well, the new year started with one good thing, at least. I found someone who will take Cody to school. Since she is an employee of the school district, he'll have to get there early, but I'm cool with that.

I didn't make it until midnight last night. I remember looking at the clock at 11:31 and thinking I could stay awake 30 more minutes. Next thing I knew it was 5 o'clock in the morning.

Gotta go back to work in the morning. And 4;30 comes awfully early, so I'm off to bed now.

Happy New Year everyone!

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