Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Problem

when you have huge clown feet like I do is that you have to sketch them really fast before your entire leg goes to sleep, so your proportions aren't always right and your toes run off the page. Not one of my prouder moments, but still a

I haven't posted any knitting progress in a while, so here is where I am. The second sock is coming along, slowly but surely.

The 8 foot long scarf has had another change of plans. You may recall this project from my WIP list. It was #4. A couple of weeks ago, I decided that the scarf would be way too long, so I was going to knit it wider to make it shorter. I didn't rip the whole thing, that's too much work. I just started at the other end of the yarn. It didn't take long, however, to realize that a) I just didn't like it that wide, and b) I didn't really want to knit the whole thing over again. So I ripped the new part and cast on a hat. Once I'm done with the hat, I'll pick the original scarf back up and finish it. Then I will have a hat and scarf that match. Cool, huh?

It is snowing outside as I type this. Very tiny flakes, and no accumulation is expected. But that's the kind of snow we usually get down here. Still, it's good weather for hot chocolate and knitting.



Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Lots to Catch Up On

But I am soooo tired. Johnny was on one of his rampages this morning, and frankly, once he told me what had happened, I couldn't say I'd blamed him. First, I'd better familiarize you with the hierarchy at work.

The top position is the Production Superintendent, a guy named Jake Spears. This is only dealing with the shop floor. I won't get into the managerial structure of the front office, since they are insignificant to this story. They are pretty insignificant anyway, but that's another post.

So we have Jake, the production superintendent. He is over all the production on all the shifts. Under him, each shift has two to three supervisors. Each area (on each shift) has its own supervisor. On day shift, the supervisors are Ron Bourne (Air Handler area), Ronnie Patterson (A-Coil Assembly), and Calvin Miller (Component Parts). Under the supervisors, each department within each area has a group leader. This is where Johnny Lindley comes in. He is the group leader of my department (tubing).

Now, Johnny is not one to normally inspire warm fuzzies in a person. Quite the opposite, Johnny Lindley can drive a grown man to tears, so when I say he went on a rampage, I mean we were all walking on eggshells.

Some of the other shifts don't seem to like taking their scrap copper to the scrap dock, so they've been hiding it under conveyors and buggies and such. Now, neither Johnny nor Calvin can control what the other shifts do, but Jake can. Johnny had been complaining to Jake about the scrap being left in bins on the floor for weeks now, but Jake hadn't done anything about it. He hadn't made the other shifts take it to the dock. This morning, he had jumped all over Johnny and told him he needed to get those bins of copper up off the floor because we are having company. This made Johnny mad, justifiably so, and he decided we wouldn't just clean up the scrap copper, we'd clean up everything.

And clean we did--all morning. When I got home, I decided I wasn't going to clean a darn thing, and I didn't. I'd had enough of cleaning for one day. Even my sketch for today was a bit pitiful. By lunch time, my arms were so tired, I could hardly lift them, much less sketch anything.

Here is what I did:
It is the handle of my brazing torch. The left knob looks a little funny because I ran out of time and just threw something up there.

I sure didn't feel like going to karate tonight, but Cody was anxious to go and see if he'd been promoted. Sure enough, sensei promoted him to san-kyu. He's done a whole lot better since we started back. I hope he keeps his effort and motivation up.

The white belt on the far right started tonight. He just tickled me. He was so excited about starting. He said he'd always wanted to learn a martial art, but never had. For his latest birthday, his wife came and signed him up for class, bought his gi and some sparring gear, and of course surprised him with it. He was quite effervescent in his enthusiasm. He even said that he would bring his sparring gear up and leave it at the dojo so everyone could use it. I guess he didn't think we would have our own.

While sensei was teaching him and another guy who was observing, I led the big class. We did basics and kata, which is what karate is really all about.

James asked sensei when he was going to test for his full black. Sensei was hemming and hawing around trying to think of a diplomatic answer, but I felt no need for such hesitation. I promptly told James, "When you're ready." I wonder how he thinks he's going to get ready if he doesn't even come to class. He wouldn't have even dressed out tonight if I hadn't leaned on him a little. Even then, he didn't do anything. Somebody's going to have to get it through his head that he is going to have to earn his belt. The board isn't going to baby him. Neither are they going to give him a rank he doesn't deserve.

He needs to just grow up a little.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Another Short Post

Between suspected tendinitis, possible carpal tunnel trying to develop, general muscle soreness from work and the fact that I can't take any anti-inflammatories for them, I'm trying to stay off the computer as much as I can here lately.

But I won't forget the
This is the computer cabinet from work, and the rack thingy in which we put our completed orders. Oh, and the funny looking blob is the telephone. It was the hardest to draw because it is black, and the cabinet is also black. Black on black makes it hard to see.

I'm going to have to print out some more reference photos. I'm getting bored with sketching my workplace.

It was pretty nippy here this morning--15'. J called and said he'd take Cody to school since it was so cold. He thought it was too cold for Cody to be standing out there waiting on the bus. Cody appreciated it, but I couldn't help but contrast that with my sister's latest e-mail, in which she stated, "It's 5', plenty warm enough for Nate to play outside." They live in Alaska, by the way.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

I Know It's Sunday

But here is yesterday's Saturday Sky:

It has been rather chilly today, with a strong North wind blowing all day. It was a good day to sit inside and knit. I really haven't gotten all that much knitting done, but I have accomplished something pretty major today. I got my taxes done! This is the earliest I've gotten them done in a long time. I usually procrastinate until sometime in March.

Unfortunately, now my brain is too worn out to think of decent things to blog about, so I'm going to go watch some TV and work on my second sock.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Curses! Foiled Again!

The plan was to go to Memphis to the zoo, but as soon as we got onto the highway, it began to rain. It rained the whole way, so we didn't go all the way into Memphis. We decided to go to the Petco in Olive Branch, since I had a 10% off coupon that was about to expire.

Once we got to OB, instead of turning left into the Petco parking lot, I thought, "Let's just go straight here and see what's beyond this stop sign." So we did, and discovered an absolute wonderland right there behind Wal-Mart and Office Max.

There was J.C. Penney, Dillard's, Yankee Candle, Sportsman's Outfitters (or something like that), and so many other stores I don't remember them all. Best of all, a Books-A-Million! I couldn't believe it! A real bookstore! One in which you can browse and thumb through, and even sit down and read! I was in Heaven! But I practiced restraint. I only bought three books for myself and two for Cody.

The bad news is, I left my camera in the car so I'll have to post my Saturday Sky picture tomorrow. Right now, I'm going to go curl up in bed with a mug of hot chocolate and one of my new books.

I'll tell you more about the trip tomorrow.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Kid Pics

Yesterday, Buck posted some adorable pictures of his youngest son climbing on stuff and fiddling with switches and levers (of a sort). They reminded me so much of these pictures I had of Cody driving the kitchen sink that I just had to dig them out and post them.

Then he discovered the inner workings of the garbage disposal, and I had to intervene:

Fortunately, this was right before we moved in and neither the water nor electricity had been turned on.

These last few days, Cody's been trying real hard to convince me that he's got a mustache. I don't quite see it yet, but offer the following proof that he is indeed a man:

September 1995. One month shy of two years old, and he's already got the remote figured out.

Finally, another picture of my nephew Paul, taken when he was a week old.

On to weirder things...Last night I had the strangest dream. It was very long, and had a few blurry bits in it as dreams are wont to do. I dreamed that I was in a huge medical complex. I mean it was enormous. There was an inpatient hospital, outpatient care, private practice offices, and even it's own pharmacy all in one huge building. I had gone into see my doctor, and as the dream opened, our appointment was just ending, and we were standing in the corridor talking.

"Try that prescription," he told me, "and if that doesn't work, come back and we'll try something else." About that time, a rather extremely large woman entered the hall and started to hit on my doctor. As in, flirt with him, not pound on him. She inserted herself firmly between the doctor and me, began chatting him up, and at the same time sort of draped herself over my shoulder as if trying to push me down and out of the picture. I finally got tired of her leaning against me, and pushed her off. She then began to raise a ruckus about how I'd assaulted her and she was going to file charges against me, sue me, etc, etc. I think she was just trying to impress the good doctor.

I just rolled my eyes at her and walked down to the pharmacy window to pick up my prescription. The pharmacist had seen the whole thing and wanted to know what had happened back there. I told him, explaining that I hadn't assaulted her. She was draped over me and I just wanted to get her off my back--literally.

After picking up my prescription, I wandered over to the patient lounge area, which was next to the pharmacy. I walked in and the TV was turned on. The show Deal or No Deal was playing, only some of the models on the show were bare breasted--and no, it wasn't Howie. I was shocked. "They can't be doing that on network television! They will get in big trouble with the FCC!" You know how sometimes in dreams you just know stuff without having to have it explained? Well, I just knew that they were trying to see how much they could get away with.

My friend John, who in real life is a pastor, in this dream was a doctor in this hospital. I went to his office and told him what had happened. "They can't be doing that, can they?"

"Naw," he replied. "They can't be doing that." So saying, he stormed out of his office determined to find out what was going on, and to file a complaint with the FCC, muttering all the while about how low this country's morals have become if they will show this kind of garbage when our children can see it.

As I was wandering back toward the lounge, I just happened to glance into an operating room in which they were preparing a baby airplane for surgery. Yes, you heard right. A baby airplane. An infant 747. Another of those "in a dream you just know" moments, I somehow knew that the baby airplane was scheduled to have one of its wings removed on orders of its father. The father feared that when the baby grew to be a teenage airplane, it might try to fly away from its poverty stricken, Spanish speaking, Communist controlled country (we don't know any that fit that description, do we?), and seek a new life in America. So he'd ordered that one of the baby's wings be removed so that it would be unable to fly.

As soon as I saw this, I charged into the operating room and snatched up the baby airplane. There was no way I was going to let them maim and permanently cripple this darling little infant because of its father's paranoia. The doctors tried to make me give him back so they could amputate his wing. It was his father's orders, after all, but I wouldn't let him go. The doctor called security to tell them to send someone to arrest me, and I ran over close to the phone and began yelling at the security guard to call child protective services. All the commotion frightened the little baby airplane, and I began trying to soothe it. It was at this point that I woke up.

I really do need to see about getting my prescription changed...



Thursday, January 25, 2007

All Thumbs

Everyone needs a hobby. In the old TV show M*A*S*H , Colonel Potter's hobby is painting. In various episodes, he paints Hawkeye, Charles, and even himself on Sophie the mare. In one particular episode, it appears he is painting the Korean landscape. He holds up his thumb, studies his model carefully, then paints a bit. When the viewer actually gets to see the finished painting, we discover that Colonel Potter is painting, not the scenery, but a picture of his thumb.

Ladies and Gentlemen, for your

I present to you, my thumb:

We had rank tests tonight at the dojo. Joshua and Barrett were testing for their Ik-kyus. Tuesday night, after doing basics, then kata by the numbers as a class, we had an open workout for the rest of the class. Watching Josh and Barrett going over kata, and bunkai, and self defense...I almost felt jealous. They were concentrating. They were focused. They were serious. They were working. I thought to myself, "If I'd had someone like that to work on my black belt stuff with, I might have felt a little more prepared for the test."

But no. I had to work with James.

"Come on, James. Let's do bunkai." "Come on, James, let's work on some self defense." "James, let's do kata." "James! Let's do something. Anything."

When sensei would send us off to work on stuff for our test, James would make a beeline straight for the chair, grab his cell phone and start texting. I might get him to go over one kata with me, but then I'd end up working out by myself. Even the two man routines, like two man basics and bo vs bo kumite, he'd maybe do them one time, then he'd run right back to that cell phone. I finally taught bo vs bo to Josh, just so I'd have somebody to practice it with.

I find it extremely funny that James is still mad because he didn't get his full black belt. He said only Tuesday night, "It was only two months until my birthday. They could have given it to me." I guess he doesn't realize that his age wasn't why he didn't get it. He didn't get it because he didn't earn it.



Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Last Date

Hot on the heels of yesterday's post, I'm reminded of the last date I went on. It was so long ago that I'm embarrassed to tell you how old Cody was. Not only that, but I hesitate to even call it a date since we (the man and I) took all our kids to the park for a picnic. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Years ago, there was a man who attended the same church as I do. He was divorced also, and had twin sons about a year and a half older than Cody. The boys were cute as buttons, but wild as march hares. Paul was the director of the local church camp. His responsibilities included maintaining the buildings, scheduling camps and retreats for local churches, and planning activities for summer camps. I had met Paul on occasion, but he was not someone I could see myself dating. Besides that, he was pretty tight with another recently divorced lady from the church. Rumor had it that she really wanted the boys, rather than Paul, but I couldn't tell you if it were really so.

My cousin just loved Paul and thought he was "sweet sweet sweet". She was constantly pushing me to "encourage him". But I just wasn't interested. I didn't find Paul attractive, and it didn't seem that we had much in common, other than both of us being divorced with sons.

One day, seemingly out of the blue, I get a phone call from Paul. I wondered how he got my phone number, since it is unlisted. When I asked my cousin about it, she admitted that she had given it to him and told him that I'd wanted him to call me. She justified it by saying she'd felt I just needed a little push in the "right direction". So Paul called and asked me out. I didn't really want to go out with him, but I said yes anyway. Here's why:

Just a couple of days before that, I'd gotten into a spirited discussion with a co-worker of mine who was telling me that I wasn't giving guys enough of a chance. This co-worker, Duane, was really pretty cool. He was someone that I could talk to. He became my source of information. Many a time I would ask him why do men do this, or why did that man react that way, or what does it really mean when men do or say this or that, and he would explain it in a way that made sense to me. Duane told me once that I had an air of unapproachability about me, and in the same conversation he told me I shouldn't throw myself at men because that makes me look desperate and is a turn off. To this day, I have yet to figure out how I manage to unapproachably throw myself at guys.

Anyway, Duane and I had this discussion about me not giving men enough of a chance. My position is that sometimes you just know when a man is not right for you. You don't have to live with him x number of years or have sex with him x number of times to figure it out. You just know. Straight away. The example I used was a man from work who was unintelligent, unclean (he was always dirty and he stank), rumored to be an alcoholic, suspected of being violent from time to time, and had the reputation of being unfaithful in his relationships. He wasn't nearly good looking enough to make up for all that. I told Duane that with a man like that, I didn't have to spend any time in a relationship with him to know that I didn't want to be with him. I just knew. Duane's answer was, "No, you don't because you are not giving him a chance!" So when Paul called, I thought "Maybe Duane is right. Maybe I should give him a chance and get to know him." On the strength of that, I agreed to go out with him, though I didn't really want to.

The first night we went out, well it wasn't really a date because we had all our kids with us. He wanted to show me the camp where he worked, so we went out there and he showed me around. As part of his compensation for being the director, he was provided with a house to live in at the camp. When we walked into that house, I swear I wanted to hurl. It was the filthiest place I'd ever been in. The floor was filthy, there was very little furniture, and the carpet looked as if it hadn't seen a vacuum in it's entire life. The couch was so grungy and grimy, I didn't even want to sit down on it. When I asked to use his restroom, there was feces floating in the toilet. I was revolted. If I hadn't had to go so badly, I would have passed on using the toilet.

Shortly after we got there, Paul asked me if I wanted a soft drink, and I said yes. To my horror, instead of getting a can out, he poured me a glass from a two liter bottle. I was afraid to drink it. Seriously.

Paul sat in his recliner, and I sat on the couch--holding my drink the whole time because there wasn't any where to set it down--and we talked. The first thing I asked about was this other lady he'd been seeing. I wasn't jealous, but I didn't want to cause any trouble for her. Well, truth is, I didn't want her coming after me in a rage. Paul told me that they'd talked and agreed that they would just be friends. However, her behavior, even after that day lead me to believe that he'd somehow forgotten to tell her about that little talk.

Then I told him that because of my recent divorce (ok it had been five years, but he didn't need to know that) I wasn't ready to get involved in a serious relationship so soon. I assured him that I wasn't ruling out a relationship in the future, but at that moment, I just wasn't ready to get involved. I didn't want to rush in to a commitment I felt I wasn't ready for. He told me that he understood, and that we'd just be friends, but by the end of that evening, I was pretty well convinced that he had no intention of respecting my wishes in that area. I think he was already picturing us married, and may have even mentally set the date.

The next day, Saturday, he came to my house and we visited a bit. Then we decided to take the boys on a picnic out at the lake. By this time, I'd seen enough red flags that I knew I didn't want to get involved with him. At all. Ever. So after we'd eaten and were walking the trails through the woods at the boys' request, when Paul tried to hold hands with me, I didn't let him.

I'll tell you why. Holding hands is not something "just friends" do. I didn't want to give him any encouragement that would just make it harder to end things later. I didn't want him to come back accusing me of leading him on then dumping him. I didn't want to give him any ideas, therefore, I didn't want him holding hands with me, and apparently, that shamed him.

He pulled a switch off a tree, stripped it of its leaves, and switched me across the back of the legs hard enough to leave a red whelp for three days.

"That hurt!", I exclaimed.

"Yeah, it did, didn't it?", Paul replied, his tone implying that he was proud of himself for having hit me.

We continued the walk, barely speaking after that. I kept waiting for him to apologize. He didn't. When it became apparent that he wasn't going to do so, I began to hint that he needed to apologize. I said something to him about the red marks on my legs, and in a mocking tone, he said, "I wonder where those came from?" Even though my hints got stronger, he never did apologize.

Would it have made a difference if he had? Of course.

Would I have gone out with him again? Not if he were the last man on Earth.

Then what difference would an apology have made? Well, I might not have hit him back...

But then again...

As we approached the end of the trail, Paul did a very stupid thing. He handed me the switch. Now, I must point out that this was before I began training in karate. That point must be clearly understood. I would never use my karate for vengeance or to attack another. Nevertheless, when he handed me that switch, I wore his tail end out!

"Oh," he whined. "You're just like my ex-wife. She was so abusive. I was a battered husband." Blah, blah, blah...whine, whine, whine...

By that time, I was thoroughly disgusted with the man, and was so glad when the afternoon finally ended and he took Cody and me home.

When all was said and done, I think the part that hurt the worst was when I told my cousin what had happened. Her response:

"Oh, no, no, no! Paul wouldn't do something like that. YOU must be mistaken."

Even after I showed her the red marks on my legs, she still insisted that it had to have been an accident, because Paul was "so sweet". That just didn't sound like him. What? Did she think I was lying about it?

Her husband was a different story. When I told him, and showed him the marks, he didn't say anything for a long time, but I could see the muscle in his jaw pop out and the vein in his neck start throbbing. He finally said, "He has just made himself unwelcome in this family". And that was the end of that attempt at matchmaking.

Now the best part about the whole thing was when I went back to work the next Monday. I found Duane and told him what Paul had done. Then I asked him,

"How many times do I have to let him hit me before you think I've given him enough of a chance?"

Duane had no answer for that. He did stop advising me about my love life, though. I never went out with Paul again. He eventually got fired from the camp and left the church. I have no idea where he is now, and I don't really care. As I said yesterday, I'd rather be alone for the rest of my life than with someone who will abuse me.

Strangely apropos, today's sketch is the safety rail around my striker at work. It doesn't protect me from the flame, but protects passersby from inadvertently walking into my lit torch.

It's all about being safe, whether at work or in relationship.

Stay safe. Always.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

I Love Eggs!

but eggs don't love me! It seems egg commercials are everywhere these days. Or maybe I'm just noticing them more. I think I could live on eggs, if I weren't allergic to them. Sigh...and my search for fake eggs continues...

Meanwhile, for the
I present an egg, drawn from imagination. I wanted a simple shape so I could work on shading a bit. I can see now some things I would have changed if I'd had time. But the end of break buzzer went off, so I had to stop.

While we are on the subject, here is yesterday's sketch, my tape measure. I had a hard time with the shadow under this one because we have multiple light sources in there. They cast multiple shadows. I finally had to just pick one and go for it.

I used to post my daily sketches on a drawing forum, but they just didn't seem to get what I was trying to do. Line sketches, with a little bit of shading if time permits, done in 10-15 minutes. Without fail, every time I posted a sketch, someone (or multiple someones) would tell me I needed to add more detail, or more shading, or work more on my background, or rework my perspective, or this, or that, or the other...As many times as I tried to explain--quickly drawn line sketches--they just didn't seem to get it. I finally quit posting my sketches, and eventually quit visiting that forum. I don't even miss it.
There is a lady I work with who seems determined to get me married off. We were talking about this man who also works there, but he's in the front office. I don't know what his job actually is. I don't think anybody does. Come to think of it, I don't think he really even has a real job. He's just there. He has been a supervisor in the past, as well as filling in when we were between Operation Superintendents. (We seem to go through those like water.)
Susan and I were talking about how our co-workers can act like totally different people outside the work environment. She mentioned this guy--John--and how she'd gone to a party given by his hunting club. She said that at the party, he was really, really nice. I remarked that, yeah, I liked John, as long as I didn't have to work for him.
Susan then said, "He would be a good man for you, if you could get past the weight thing*." (John is very overweight.)
I replied, "No, I like him as a friend, but I'm just not attracted to him that way. Besides that, he's been married and divorced four times." In other words, he doesn't have a good track record. She responded that no, she thought it was only three. Uh, three failed marriages still isn't a good resume. I then stated that besides being married and divorced four (or is it three?) times, I'd heard he was abusive to his wives.
She said, "I hadn't heard that, but I've heard that he is real mean to his wives."
DUH!!!! Isn't that was abusive means? Not all abuse is physical, and a man doesn't have to hit you to be abusing you. There is also verbal, mental, and emotional abuse. Being mean qualifies as abuse in my book.
Susan then told me that the reason he got divorced this last time was because his wife went to Wal-mart and bought something for her daughter. He got into her face, yelling and cursing, saying she had no right to spend his money on her daughter. Yeah, she said, she'd heard he was mean to them, but he doesn't hit them. Then she looked at me and said,
"But I think you could handle it, anyway."
Excuse me???? I could handle it???? I'm not going to handle it, even if I could. I shouldn't have to put up with abuse just because I "could handle it", and I'm not going to. I'll stay single the rest of my life before I'll get involved with someone known to be abusive.
So here is this friend of mine, recommending a man who uses food as his drug of choice, has been divorced four (or three) times, and is abusive (or maybe just mean) to his wives as a "good man". Does she really see a man like that as a good man? I think I now know why she seems so bitter.
*The Weight Thing: Susan is attracted to overweight men. I'm not talking about basically fit guys with a bit of a spare tire or belly. She likes them fat. Really fat. She once pointed out a man that she thought was attractive. She said he had a nice build. The guy was about 5'10" and pushing, if not exceeding, 300 lbs. Heck, Peyton Manning is 6'5" and he doesn't even weigh 300 lbs. At least, not according to that phone commercial thing he does. Susan thinks the body types I'm attracted to are too skinny. I don't like men to be skin and bones, but I just don't find obese men to be attractive. So, according to Susan, I have hangups about men's weight.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Sock, Take II

I finished the first one, with barely a yard of yarn to spare. Toward the end, I was getting a bit nervous, thinking maybe I hadn't shortened the leg enough, but I made it. Do you see the little bit of blue at the toe? The yarn ran out before that turned back to grey. The second sock will not be identical, because the first bit of color on that ball is blue. After what happened with this one, I don't dare try to match the colors for fear I won't have enough yarn to finish.

Looking at this picture, I can tell I really need some sock blockers. Maybe not, though. After all, they will get unblocked every time I wash them.

Speaking of washing, I'm really wanting to felt my first pair of socks that I did. They are 100% wool, and not superwash either. They have to be hand washed and air dried, so they really aren't practical for everyday use. I want to felt them, just to see what they'll turn out like. I'm trying to resist because they are keeping my feet toasty warm at night. Maybe once I get one of these other pairs finished...

When I came in to update my blog, I surprised Sunset in the act of shedding:

Cindy, if Robbie or Aaron wants the skin, e-mail me your snail mail addy and I'll send it to you.

I left my sketch book in the car again, so you'll have to wait until tomorrow to see today's sketch.

Sorry for the abruptness of this post. I really had more I wanted to talk about, but I wanted to get that sock finished so I could post it. Now I'm headed for bed. Good night.



Sunday, January 21, 2007

Super Bowl XLI

Will be the Chicago Bears against the Indianapolis Colts.

We watched both games, but I'll tell you, the Patriots/Colts game was a real nail biter. The Colts overcame an 18 point deficit to win 38-34.

Cody is a big Colts fan, and while I am not, I am more of a Colts fan than a Patriots fan. I was really pulling for the Saints, though, but the Bears pretty much routed them. It's not so much that I'm a Saints fan--they trounced the Cowboys pretty badly after all--as it is that I'm a rabid Anti-Bears fan. I think that aside from the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Philadelphia Eagles, I despise the Bears more than any other team.

Hmmm, I wonder what I'm going to do with my weekends once football season is over...

Angie hasn't written in a while. She's been really busy, but I did get this e-mail from her today:

January 21, 2006

Hey everyone,

I am so sorry that it's been so long since I've written. I haven't had the chance to get down to the Cyber Cafe to check this e-mail account. I've been that busy. The other night I finished work and got back to my room at 2340 (11:40 p.m.) and I had a flight come in at 0700 the next morning. I've been running like crazy. I'm really learning quickly. The previous liaison left on the 16th. That afternoon I got six patients in. The Army liaisons keep telling me they've never seen the Air Force get slammed like that. They have been absolutely wonderful. There is one person in particular that has taken me under his wing and really helped me with the patients.

Let's see... What's been going on? I have 14 patients at the moment. All of them are outpatient, but I have to track them. I didn't have anyone come in this weekend, but I still have to go to the office and check on missions and answer the phone to anyone who calls my cell phone. I got a ticket entering Ramstein Air Force Base Friday. I didn't know I wasn't supposed to have a cell phone to my ear while driving. Silly me. It had just rang as I approached the gate. I had only just answered the phone. They made a massive deal about it. I'm sure the commander is going to be pleased with that. Oh well. I'll be more careful in future. The funny thing was, the person who called me was the same person who had taken me under his wing for the previous three days. Very ironic.

I appreciate everyone sending me e-mails about how their days are going. It's good to hear from everyone and you really make me chuckle. Keep them coming. Unfortunately, I don't have enough time to e-mail everyone back individually. I would like to ask that jokes not be forwarded to me right now. If it looks like a joke, I'm just deleting them. I'm sorry, but I just don't have the time.

Some of you told me that you've forgotten or lost my information. My address is SMSgt Angela XXXXXXX

Richard and Cheryl - thanks so much for the care package. That peanut brittle is awesome. I received the package two days ago, but haven't had the chance to write.

Rachael - congratulations on your promotion. I saw that SMSgt rank up there on your e-mail. I still need a copy of my promotion orders so that I can get my ID card changed.

The weather here is cold and rainy on and off. It's not good for the hair. I'm still enjoying myself, but working too hard. My friend (the Army guy we call John Wayne) is making sure I don't get too stressed. He told me that if I start looking too frazzled, he'd take my patients one day. Actually, he told me he'd take my patients on Monday so that I should go get my nails done and spend the day with Sierra. These people here are terrific. I just can't say enough wonderful things about them. I love the patients and want to do whatever I can for them. Hopefully, one day soon I'll take a little day trip to a castle and I'll have more interesting things to tell you all. But for right now, I have to go get my laundry out of the dryer.

Love you all.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Sock Regression

It took me a long time to get started, but I finally managed to frog* my sock from yesterday. I just sat and stared at it for a long time, thinking of all the work I'd put into it that would now be ripped out. I finally just sucked it up and started pulling....

I didn't rip all the way back to the beginning. I just took about an inch off the leg and picked up from there. From there, I managed to get the heel flap done and the heel turned, and I'm ready to start the gusset.

Lest anyone think that is all I've done today, I present to you the finished dishcloth, shown in the process of being blocked:

I don't normally block dishcloths, but in this case, I thought it would make the cables stand out better. I didn't particularly like this one, and didn't enjoy doing it, and I'm glad it's done.

Today's sky looked like this all day. I waited until late afternoon to take this, hoping the clouds would move off, but they never did.

It kind of reflects the day I had--rather gloomy and dull all around.

*Frog--rip-it, rip-it

Friday, January 19, 2007


I was almost finished with my sock. I'd followed the pattern exactly. Well, almost exactly. I actually knitted the cuff shorter than the pattern called for, but horror of horrors, I still ran out of yarn! I thought maybe I'd just seam the toe up where it was, but it is too short for my huge foot. Sigh. I'll have to rip it out and start over, knitting the cuff even shorter this time. Maybe that's why those balls were on clearance in the first place. Here is the progress I had made...

And here are today's dishcloth rows:

Oh, and the other pair of socks I had started--the ones I was doing using the two circulars method--I discovered a mistake way back on the second row. I had inadvertently turned the sock around and started knitting the opposite direction. I tried to drop down and see if I could correct, or at least hide, the mistake, but I couldn't. So I ripped them out, too. When I cast on again, instead of using the plain old, boring undyed yarn, I cast on with one of the balls I'd bought on my trip to Jackson last week. I"m anxious to see how that turned out.

For the sketch of the day, I got kind of tired of doing tomatoes, so I did my soft drink bottle.

Last night, sensei showed us a tape of Sensei Advincula explaining sanchin kata. On the tape, Sensei Advincula was showing how Master Shimabuku tested their sanchin, and why he did what he did. Each test had a specific purpose, and tested a specific thing. It seemed a whole lot better than the random beating they gave me in Greenwood. Anyway, one of the points Master Shimabuku tested was the tension in the buttocks. Sensei said he wasn't going to grab anyone's buttocks, so he designated me the Official Buttocks Tester.

I quit taking my Allegra yesterday, and got the first halfway decent night's sleep I've had in a week. Funny thing is, I dreamed about a guy I'd gone to high school with. His name is David Rice, and he seemed to have it all. He was good looking, football player, smart and a general all around likable guy. I really liked him--not in the I have a crush sense, but I just liked him. I think because he was always nice to me. Not the condescending pat-the-puppy-on-the-head kind of nice, either. He was really and truly nice. That's just the kind of guy David was.

I lost touch with him after graduation, but you know what? I'll bet he is someone's hero now.


Thursday, January 18, 2007

I'm Way Behind

Cody and I started back to karate class this evening, so my whole schedule has been thrown off. I should be in bed by now, but I've just finished today's KAL rows:

This is going to be a cabled dishcloth, and I don't really like it that much. I don't think cables look right when done in cotton. They don't hold their shape right. The purpose may have been to get newer knitters to at least try cables, but I don't really think this is a good way to do that. Not only do they not look right, but cables are kind of difficult to do in such a non-stretchy yarn. I've been doing cables for years, and I'm having trouble with these. I'm afraid that this may actually turn someone off to them.

It was good to be back in karate, but I did miss just being home. I ran through all my kata after class, and hadn't forgotten them, except for sunsu, which I didn't know all that well to begin with. I'm suffering from a tremendous lack of motivation these days. I've heard that this is not all that uncommon after a big event, such as shodan testing. There's such a build up, then sort of a let down when it's all over. I'm hoping that now I'm back in it, my motivation will pick up.

BTW, James is soooo busted! He hasn't been coming to class either. He comes to the dojo and parks his van there, but doesn't come inside. Well, sensei ran into James' mom in the store yesterday and she asked sensei how James was doing in class. Sensei told me that he'd thought they were just giving him a little freedom, but when she said that, he realized that they expected him to be in class. When James got there tonight, Sensei told him that he'd have to either start coming back to class or tell his parents the truth. He'll be back in class Tuesday.

Looks like this is tomato week.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Short Post Today

I really want to spend some time just knitting and watching TV. So for today's post, I bring you

today's rows on the dishcloth, and...

A tomato sketched from a painting. It was really hard to sketch from a painting. Everything seemed so flat that it was hard to judge the tonal values I needed.

No more of that for me!



Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Report Card

Cody's school no longer sends report cards home with the kids. The parents now have to drive all the way into the school to pick them up. That is fine for those who live in town...

His grades have improved since his progress report came out, though they still aren't that great. But since they have improved, he is partially ungrounded. He still can't use his computer or Playstation, but he can watch TV, with limitations, now.

Since we were already in town, we ran by the dojo after we left the school. We didn't stay for class, since we hadn't brought our gis. I was hoping to find time between the kids classes to run through a few kata, but it's pretty chaotic. I was having a hard time sleeping last night, and tried to run through all my kata in my head. Works better than counting sheep. I got a bit freaked that I couldn't remember any of my kata. I got up this morning and did seisan and kusanku and remembered them fine. Maybe my brain was just too tired in the middle of the night.

It's been 36 hours since I fed Scarlett her fuzzy, and so far she hasn't upchucked it. I think we may be past this.

Here is a sock update:

I didn't work on it at all yesterday, since I was determined that I would finish that shawl. I was going to wash and block the shawl today, but got so caught up in the report card thing that I forgot. I'll try to get to it tomorrow.

It's that time again. Time for the

And finally, I leave you with the:

It's my C clamp I use at work. The little thing on the top is a knock out tool. We use it to open up the holes in the headers that we braze.

Now, it's definitely time for bed. I hope this post was coherent....



Monday, January 15, 2007

Another One Bites The Dust

But first, a bit of good news. Scarlett shed last night, so I fed her her first fuzzy this morning. I usually feed in the evening, but since we were off for MLK day, I wanted to feed her in the morning so I could more closely monitor the temps of her tank. It has been so hot lately that I turned everybody's heat off. But I knew it was supposed to get cold today, and wanted to make sure she didn't get too cold. I don't want to risk her starting to throw up again. Here she is with her tummy full of mouse:

On to other news. I finished this prayer shawl today. This one is for my friend who's mother died the week before Christmas. It was #1 on my WIP list.

I've still got to weave the end in, and I want to wash and dry it. I'll do that tomorrow, then I'll lightly block it.
The first picture I took of it is this one:
I wanted to lay it out on the floor to take the picture, since it is so big. When I looked at the photo, though, I noticed that the shawl had blended in with the carpet. So I took the one on the bed. It didn't turn out very good either, but you can see the shawl better.

With that completion, my WIP list now looks like this:

1. Prayer Shawl
2. Irish Hiking Scarf
3. Wavy Lace Shawl
4. Red Heart Strata Scarf
5. Branching Out Lace Scarf
6. Texas Longhorn Scarf
7. First Time Socks
8. Monthly dishcloths KAL--two per month
9. Socks knitted from the yarn I got for Christmas (two pair)
10. One slot left open for a screaming stash project

Sunday, January 14, 2007


I am on the library rotation at my church. I was doing my hitch behind the circulation desk this morning and I had one patron in there with me. She was looking for her books, mumbling and muttering the whole time. I wasn't really paying attention to what she was saying. She got her books and came to the desk to check them out, still mumbling. All of the sudden, out of the blue, she looked straight at me and said, "I'll bet your house is spotless." I had to laugh at that. While I to try to maintain a semblance of order, my house is far from spotless--especially with a teenage boy, a dog, and a yard full of mud from all the rain we've had lately.

On FOX network, they have this show called "Trading Spouses." Two families trade wives for a week. (No hanky panky--the wife must have her own room.) On this latest episode, when the new wife walked in to the house, you could see the shock, horror, and disbelief on her face. This house looked like it hadn't been cleaned--ever. There was filth everywhere. Dirt and grime covered just about every surface of the house. Dead bugs and mice littered the window sills, cabinets, and floors. Live bugs crawled around in plain sight. Food was left out, rotting and covered in flies. Poop of unknown origin was scattered across the floor. It was digusting.

Needless to say, that wife spent her week making the husband and kids clean that house from top to bottom. I'll bet it doesn't stay that way, though.

My house may be cluttered, but at least it isn't nasty.

Saturday, January 13, 2007


It has been so unbelievably hot today. My air conditioner has run all day long and my hands are all swollen and sticky from the heat. Not much has gone on today because the forecast predicted that it would rain all day. Cody and I rented movies, and I've knit most of the day. Though I'm only half way through with this sock

I went ahead and cast another sock on to my two circulars. I want to learn that technique as well as the magic loop. Though the yarn is undyed, I decided to go ahead and knit it in it's natural color. I didn't want to have to fool with dying it.

I feel like my brain is in a bit of a fog here lately. The allergist gave me some Allegra-D Tuesday when I went for my appointment. It has a decongestant in it, and they always make me so that I can't sleep. I didn't take it last night, so I slept a bit better. However, I've paid for it today, in being congested all day.

Cindy has a very good account of her recent visit over on her blog. While we're on the subject of snakes--sort of--last night was supposed to be Scarlett's first fuzzy meal. However, when I went to check on her, she was blue, so that feeding will wait until after she has shed.

And an e-mail from Angie:
January 11, 2007
OK, so yesterday I thought it was the 11th. My time clock is so messed up. I'm still adjusting to the time change. Today is the 11th for real. I've had an absolutely crazy day. As with yesterday I didn't get anything to eat until 7 pm this evening. I promise to do better. I only had time to pee once. This has to stop. I will get more organized. Anyway, Major General Fletcher from 3rd Air Force came to visit my patient MSgt Ewing today, so it was my job to meet him and escort him to the patient. We all had a very nice visit. Later MSgt Ewing's grandmother came to visit him since she lives in Stuttgart. What a wonderful lady. He is doing well and will probably go home tomorrow. I've been doing so much running. I don't know if I told you, but this hospital is only two floors high. It was built out instead of up so that if they were bombed, they'd still have plenty of hospital left to work in. This means a lot of walking. Taking the general to the patient's room, he turned to me and said "You didn't tell me I was doing PT today!" There is a lot of humor here as well as pain, but it's still the most rewarding experience I've ever had. I am now learning the German roads around here. Dayna is leaving on Tuesday and then I'm on my own. Actually, I'll just be the only Air Force Liaison, but there are plenty of Army Liaisons to help me out and they are such wonderful people. This is my first joint service experience. We like to tease each other a lot. I think we work hard, but we can also play hard. I am so tired at the moment. I am going to take a hot shower and go to bed.
Thank you to everyone who is sending me lots of e-mails. I don't have a lot of time to respond, but I'm doing what I can with these generic ones that I send out.
Good night (no I haven't learned any German yet)
Love you all,

Friday, January 12, 2007

Gasp! Politics In My Blog!

Now, I know I said I wouldn't turn this into a political blog, and I don't intend to. However, every once in a while, I run across something that I just have to comment on.
“President Bush said last week that he wanted to work with the Congress to balance the budget in five years. But he also rejected any tax increases and obviously he’s not in a mood to reduce spending on the war... Can you [balance the budget] without raising taxes?” —CBS’s Bob Schieffer (emphasis mine)

Uh yeah. It's called cutting spending. There's plenty in the budget that you can cut besides the war. If you took everything that wasn't authorized by the Constitution out of the budget, the government could cut taxes by 90% (like that would ever happen) and they would still be rolling in dough.

Ok, enough of politics...

On to Global Warming...My sister sent me an e-mail today in which she said, "It is about 5 degrees out, so plenty warm enough for Nate to be out playing. " Yeah, they're warming alright. Last week it was -35.

Now, the e-mail that brought tears to my eyes:

January 10, 2007

Today I shed the first of what I am sure will be many tears. You may have seen on the news where three Air Force members were killed in an IED explosion and a fourth was injured. That fourth one is my patient. I visited him a couple of times today. The second time was with General Hobbins wife, Robin. She is a fantastic lady. She gave him very heartfelt, comforting words. There were also two chaplains there. The patient remembers everything that happened. The shrapnel went through his lower right leg and broke both bones. He has pins in waiting for the skin to heal, then he'll get rods put in his leg. One of the people who died in the blast was a friend of his of 16 years. The other two were young airmen. The young lady was engaged, but her fiancee will now be her pall bearer. You can tell he loved these people. We prayed together and cried. There are four beds in his room. The other three are empty. All he wants is to see his friends laying in those beds. I can't even begin to explain the feelings I have. Dayna tells me I won't forget my patients. She's been doing this job for four months now and is having a hard time giving it up.

Now I'm going for karaoke and beer. Don't worry....I won't be singing.

Love you all
I didn't do a sketch of the day today, since we had the day off. I got lazy and after grocery shopping, I watched TV and knitted all afternoon. However, in lieu of sketch, I bring you the

Feeding the pigeons in Florence Italy, 1992


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