Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Wednesday, And Not A Thing To Say



This heart looks more like it is wearing an obi rather than a scarf. I'm just about out of ideas, so it's back to regular sketches for a while.
I went back to work today, and I am exhausted. We've got more bad weather heading this way. I just hope it's not as bad as the last bad weather we had. I'm going to go try to rest a bit before it hits.
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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

A Minor Tragedy

I discovered today that my wavy lace shawl, Number 3 in my Stashalong Goals had somehow gotten fruit punch spilled on it. Ok, Cody did it. I don't drink fruit punch.

But that is beside the point. The point is that despite my best efforts with washing it, my shawl now has large pink blotches on it, and they won't go away. What happens now is that instead of trying to dye the shawl and the remaining 4 balls of wool the exact same shade of pink--which I don't really think would fit my vision of what this shawl was meant to be--the shawl will get frogged*, the splotchy wool will get dyed as hanks, then it will be reknit into something else at a later date. Maybe I'll do a felted bowl or something. Those look fun. I will replace the shawl with another stash project.


With that change, my list now looks like this:

1. Prayer Shawl
2. Irish Hiking Scarf
3. Wavy Lace Shawl--replaced with Grey Scarf From Unknown Wool Blend
4. Red Heart Strata Scarf
5. Branching Out Lace Scarf
6. Texas Longhorn Scarf
7. First Time Socks
8. Socks using Magic Loop
9. Socks on DPNs using Knit Picks yarn
10. Socks from Red Heart Strata

I had originally planned on replacing my Red Heart Socks with another project, but I decided against it. If I keep adding new projects to the list in place of the ones I finish, I'll never be able to buy yarn. That doesn't mean I can't start anything else. It just means I still can't buy yarn until I've finished this list.

I have to go back to work tomorrow, and I'm not looking forward to it. I'm feeling much better, but I have no energy. If I'd had a desk job somewhere, I'd have gone back today. But since I have to stand on my feet all day in an oven hot factory, I just didn't feel up to it this morning. I did a little bit of housework, and kept having to stop and rest. The simplest tasks wore me out. Well, we'll see how it goes tomorrow. If I need to, I'll come home at lunch.


* Frog--rip it, rip it
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Monday, February 26, 2007

Look What I Got!

The yarn I won for the contest naming the charity got here today. The notice was actually in my mailbox Friday, but I didn't feel like going to the post office to pick it up. I went by and got it this morning when I left the doctor's office.

It includes 2 skeins Patons Divine Chantilly Rose, 5 skeins Patons Voodoo Night Sky, 4 balls Knit Witz Ombre #53, and 1 hank Showstopper #204. I just love that Patons Divine (that's the pink stuff, Buck). It is similar to the Bernat Haven I got for Christmas, but a whole lot softer. I may end up having to make something for *ahem* me with it. Shelly also promised additional goodies, and these are what she included:


2 balls Moda Dea Tutu Pear Green, 3 balls Moda Dea Tutu Geranium, and the nifty little book of bag patterns. Even though I am not really a bag person, I do see some patterns in that book that I like, and I see lots of gift ideas. There are even some drawstring type bags that I can do in guy colors for the boys.

So I did go to the doctor this morning, and I have bronchitis. I could have told you that, but since I can't write my own prescriptions out...well, you know. He gave me an antibiotic, told me to get plenty of rest, fluids, take a couple of days off work, etc. etc...I'm a little paranoid about my lungs. I've had pneumonia twice, and the second time was from a case of bronchitis that I let go for too long. The first time I got pneumonia, I was 11, and it hit me out of nowhere like a ton of bricks. I was outside playing freeze tag with the kids on my street. I was fine then. My mother called me in to take a bath, and before I was finished, my fever was so high that I could not get warm. I don't even remember what my fever was. I went straight from the tub into the bed and my mother brought every blanket in the house to put on me and I still couldn't get warm. The next morning, she took me to the doctor and I ended up in an oxygen tent in the hospital for 8 days getting penicillin shots twice a day. I remember it all so vividly. My lungs haven't been the same since, but I still feel lucky.

If I'd been born 100 years before I was, I'd have died.
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Sunday, February 25, 2007

The Bad Thing

The bad thing about being sick when you are the mom is that there is no one to pamper you.

Still sick.

Going to the doctor tomorrow.

Being drug out in the rain last night didn't help, but we were under the first severe storm of the spring. We were under a tornado warning for a while, and felt we needed to be under more substantial shelter. We went over to B and J's. It was bad. I've never seen purple on the radar before, at least not that I can remember. Lots of green, yellow, orange, even red, but not purple.

It was bad, folks.

Gonna go lay back down, now.
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Saturday, February 24, 2007

Still Sick

I spent most of the day in bed. I did get up long enough to snap this Saturday Sky photo. It has been very windy all day, and I thought it was cool that I caught this leaf in flight.



Thursday, February 22, 2007

Brevity

No sketch today, nor knitting progress to report. I came home from work with a 101.6 fever, so I'm taking it easy tonight. So that I don't leave you completely empty handed, here are the some of the more interesting Site Meter Google search queries:

Fun nurse sketches

desparate "had to go so badly"

becky and paul

bruised lips

Progress Reports Part II

Progress socially:

I got a really nice e-mail from Shelly last night. She acknowledged that of course I had the right to post my sketches on my blog, and would I please continue to submit ideas. She explained that her concern was that someone would get their feelings hurt by thinking that I'd already been chosen to do the logo. Once she actually visited my blog and realized that that was not what I was saying, she apologized. Yes, there were misunderstandings on both sides, and I really did over react a bit. In consideration for her feelings, I will offer a compromise in the form of a disclaimer with each logo idea. Onward to the...


This thing that looks like a large intestine is actually supposed to be a scarf. It looked a lot better in my imagination. Today was definitely an off day as far as sketching goes.

Disclaimer: Sketches presented are ideas only. The final logo and rendering artist have yet to be chosen.

Progress on Dishcloth KAL:

I finally finished it. I really like the way the colors pooled on this one. The yarn is Peaches and Creme something-or-other. I don't remember. I bought a cone of it on clearance several years ago and the band is long since gone back to the abyss from whence it came.

Progress on Prayer Shawl:

It's just over half way finished. The color is Red Heart Tropic Fruit. Remember the other day when I said I'd found a mistake that would not be ignored? Well, I ripped back, and corrected what I thought was the mistake and began knitting again. After about 4 rows, I realized that I'd stopped ripping one row short of where I needed to be. Yep, the mistake was still there. I ripped back again, far enough this time, and corrected the actual mistake, then began knitting once more. So, despite the fact that a lot of knitting has been going on, not much progress has been made. But it's a pretty color...

Progress in school? Cody got two failure notices sent home yesterday. One was only a D-. The other one was an F. How is that progress? Well, since the last progress report--the one in which he had 9 zeroes in that class--he has gotten all 100s and one 90. If he would just do his work, all his grades would look like that. I think he is getting tired of staring at the wall...

I had the strangest dream last night. I dreamed that it was pouring rain, so I had driven Cody to school. I got back home, only it wasn't my house. In my dream, I was living in the house my aunt and uncle lived in when I was a child. They moved out of it some 20 years ago. About the time I got inside, I looked out the glass patio doors and it began to snow. It was snowing the biggest, wettest snowflakes I'd ever seen. I mean, these flakes were about the size of an old silver dollar. That is all I remember of the dream...

When I woke up, this is the sight that greeted me as the sun came up:


All those black specks in the tree are birds. They migrate down here this time of year and fly in huge flocks. They can cover an entire yard and blacken the sky. They chirp constantly. I've even heard them make so much noise that they drowned out my TV. The sound that I thought was rain this morning was them. Sorry for the poor picture quality. The sun wasn't fully up yet.

Tomorrow is another plant shutdown day, but Johnny volunteered me to come in and do a mini-inventory. He is going to bring biscuits. See, he's not all bad...

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Apologies

First off, my apologies for my rant of yesterday. That e-mail I received just touched a nerve. It's not so much that she didn't want me posting my sketches on my blog, but that she was making assumptions about what I was doing without even checking them out. Please be aware that I did not respond to that e-mail in the same ranting style I posted here. Also be aware that posting here in the way that I did helped me calm down enough to respond calmly to the e-mail. I did decline to submit any more of my ideas, but after re-reading her previous e-mails, including that last one, I realized that she didn't really want to see anyone else's ideas anyway. She just wanted someone to draw out her idea. For free...

I did rescind my offer to provide her with pro-bono labor. She can call the local high school and find an art student who may be willing to sketch her logo, if she treats them with a bit more respect than she showed me. Well, no hard feelings--at least on my part--and I wish her luck.



This isn't a logo. It's just a heart. I really like drawing hearts for some reason. I think it's the challenge of making them symmetrical. This one didn't quite make it. Yes, I know there are ways to make a drawing symmetrical, but that takes the challenge out of it. Ya can't really do those tricks in 10 minutes anyway.

Good news! I finally got my Amazon.com account straightened out. I ended up having to call them. I'd tried using the e-mail customer service, but the problem is that each e-mail you send them will go to whoever gets it first. It usually isn't the same person. I'd get the form response about how they couldn't answer e-mail unless it was sent from the address associated with the account. I'd send them a reply telling them that I couldn't respond from that address because I no longer had it. A different customer service representative would send an apology and request certain information. I'd send the information requested, but it would go to still another customer service rep, who would then send me the standard form response about how they couldn't respond to an e-mail unless it was sent from the address associated with the account.

Needless to say, I got tired of running in circles so I just called them and got the matter straightened out in about 5 minutes. I feel really silly now that I found out what I did. When I switched ISPs, I did change the e-mail address on my Amazon account. The only thing is, I got my old address and my new address mixed up and used part of each. No wonder I couldn't find an address that worked! The rep told me what address I had put in (after I verified my identity using other means) and I was able to log in and correct it. I now have the correct address associated with my account, am able to log in, and am ready to spend, spend, spen...Oh, wait. I have no money. Well, it was good while it lasted.

Karate class was good last night as well. Sensei worked the bajeebers out of us. I complimented him on the class saying, "That was such a good workout, you made my hair curl." We got to go over all our empty hand kata, not just the first three or four. He even called sunsu, which surprised me (ok, I had requested it, but he usually doesn't go that far) because I am the only one who knows it. It is nice having more higher ranks in the class for this very reason. For so long it was just James, myself, and a bunch of white and yellow belts. We'd go over seisan kata over and over and over and over, but we'd never work on the higher kata. I like being able to do higher kata in class.

After we did kata, we did some self defense. James participated in the whole class, but I had to ride him pretty hard to get him to stay out on the floor. He'd brought some buddies with him and kept wanting to go sit down and talk to them. Well, he participated in most of the class. We were doing some self defense and he was supposed to be taking me down. As I went down, I, without thinking (mushin), shot my hand out and connected with his groin. That was the last of him participating. There was only about 5 minutes left in the class, so I went and helped Mr. Tarver--the new white belt. He was partnered with Brian, but wasn't getting the move we were supposed to be doing. I spotted his problem right away. He was grabbing Brian's punch and holding on to it instead of blocking it correctly. Therefore, that hand was unable to complete the next move it needed to do. When I pointed this out to him and emphasized the correct way to block, he was better able to grasp the technique.

I've gotten behind on my dishcloth KAL. I hope to finish it later this evening. I'll post pics either later tonight or tomorrow.
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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Second And Final Logo Idea




I'd had about 4 or 5 more ideas on logos, but I got an e-mail today informing me that she did not want me "announcing to the world" that I'd been "chosen" to "do the logo", therefore I was not to post the sketches on my blog. Frankly, that just made me mad. I never announced to the world anything. I just volunteered to submit ideas. That's right, I volunteered to do it for free. I wasn't going to get paid a dime for this. Now, she is slapping me down for posting my sketches on my blog. Nobody tells me what I can and cannot post on my blog. It's not like it's copyrighted material or anything, and even if I was I own the copyright on it anyway. I can do whatever I *&^% well please with my own work. The part that really gets me is that according to Site Meter, she hasn't even visited my blog to see what I have up here! She is just making assumptions--slapping me down based on unfounded assumptions!

Not only that, when I volunteer to do something--for free, mind you, I expected to be treated with a little more dignity, respect, and appreciation. So, starting tomorrow we will go back to the ordinary, everyday daily sketches, and my other ideas for the logo--which I thought were actually my best ones--will go unsketched and unpublished.

When people ask you to volunteer to help--for free, mind you--they shouldn't be so persnickety about how that help is presented, else they may run off all their volunteers.
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Monday, February 19, 2007

Scarves From The Heart Logo #1

Shelly is wanting a logo for their scarf charity, and I thought for your sketches for the next few days will be some of my ideas. Some will be better than others, and some will seem very similar. Any artist knows (right Lou?) that changing a single line will change the composition of a sketch. So I'll be changing those lines to see which way works better.

Here is the first:

Remember, these are rough sketches. If Shelly picks one of these, I'll do it up in a finished form.

I had a bit of a setback on prayer shawl #1. I was knitting along and discovered an error about 6 rows back. I tried to ignore it, but it would not be ignored. I ripped back and corrected it, and am now playing catch-up. Off to do some knitting and TV watching...
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Sunday, February 18, 2007

Bored?

A very wise friend once said:


It's a funny thing about boredom. You know the way to get un-bored is to get up and do something, yet being bored makes you not want to do anything. The more bored you are, the less you want to do stuff.

Yes, I was getting bored watching TV this afternoon. I was actually watching movies on DVD since the only thing on regular TV was golf, basketball, and infomercials. But I was getting bored anyway, and I remembered what my friend had said. So I got up and cleaned house a bit. I cleaned up my kitchen, vacuumed, and did laundry. When I got done, not only was I less bored, but I had a cleaner house to show for it.

Speaking of laundry, the allergist told me that I needed to wash all my bedding at least once a week. I did that yesterday and it took all day long. Literally. I put the first load in at 7:30 AM and got the last load out of the dryer at 8:00 PM. The problem is my el cheapo dryer. It doesn't have a high heat setting, so I have to dry everything for two or three cycles to get it done.

I also put my allergy pad on my bed yesterday. I'm supposed to have one on my mattress and one on my box spring, but one of them is going to have to wait. Those dumb things cost nearly $40 each. I was kind of dreading sleeping on it, since I had to sleep on one when I was a kid. It was just a vinyl bag that zipped up around my mattress. Nothing but a thin cotton sheet between me and the vinyl. I hated it. It crackled every time I moved. It reflected my body heat back on to me, so that I spent the entire night sweating on my bottom side while my top side froze. Then, of course, the sweat made my sheets all wet...

Needless to say, I did not have good memories of allergy pads. But I must say, they have improved a lot in the last 30 some-odd years. I couldn't even tell I had one on the bed last night.


The first prayer shawl is coming along just fine. I'm about halfway through with it. I'm also doing the mid-month dishcloth, but I haven't been taking pictures of it. I spent a bit of time this weekend knitting some bookmarks with scraps of yarn.


Thursday night's karate class was a good one. There were only 4 students, besides the black belts. Sensei let us have an open workout, and he would work with anyone who asked. We went over all our kata, then sensei worked with me on kusanku sai. James went over all his kata, then guess what he did?


He sat. He just sat.


He and Brian sat and talked most of the class. Josh, Cody and I were going over kata, and even the white belt was doing drills. But James and Brian were just sitting. And he wonders why he didn't get his full black belt...I hate to sound shrewish, but he's really getting on my nerves about this, especially since he found out that Josh and Barrett are testing sometime this spring/summer. He thinks sensei ought to make them stay brown belts for some 3 years like he made James. I don't think so. Both of them have been training about 3 years, which is the average time it takes to get to black belt in our association. Both are serious, hardworking, and dedicated. They don't whine or complain or stomp their little feet at sensei when things don't go their way. They don't quit. They don't throw the bo on the ground in a huff breaking it when they forget part of a bo kata. They don't quit in the middle of two man basics during their rank test and stand there with their hands on their hips with an attitude, then wonder why they didn't get promoted.


I worked with Josh a bit on two man basics. It was so nice to have a partner who was serious and focused, and didn't stink. If you ask me, James has some serious growing up to do before he even thinks about getting his black belt.


To end on a lighter note, I bring you a





Katie peeking in at me while I blog.

Friday, February 16, 2007

I Won! I Won!



Several weeks ago I entered a contest sponsored by The Yarn Tart, which asked us to suggest a name for a scarf knitting charity. The scarves are donated to cancer patients at Sister Mary Pia Cancer Center. I thought it was a worthy project , so I entered the first thing that popped into my head: Scarves From the Heart. Since it was some 5:30 in the morning when I read the e-mail announcing the contest, and I hadn't had a milligram of caffeine yet, I wasn't too sure about it, but sent it in anyway. After all, what did I have to lose? I figured that once I'd gotten woke up a bit and fully decaffeinated, I'd think of some better ones and send them in later. I never did think of anything else, and rather quickly forgot about the contest.


This morning I received an e-mail informing me that I'd won! My name had been picked by an impartial panel of office workers--or rather the staff at the cancer center. Out of 130 entries, they liked my name best! Here is what I won:




All that, plus some mystery prizes. It will be going into the mail Tuesday. I can't wait!


Site Meter search inquiry: get rid of bruised lips from kissing Hmmm, I wonder what that is all about.

Male Menopause

You know those people who are just a joy to be around? The ones who give you warm fuzzies all over? The ones who make you feel better about yourself? The ones who spend a few minutes with you and make you feel like all is right with the world?

Johnny Lindley is not one of those people.

Johnny has been on an absolute tear these last two days. He's driving everyone crazy yelling, fussing, snarling...Even though he hasn't yelled at me personally, just being around him when he is like this is exhausting. Finally, Norma asked him, "What has been your problem these last few days?" I leaned over and answered her:

Male Menopause!

Johnny has always been rather moody. He could be all sugar and sweetness one day, and biting your head off the next. The thing that is so wearying is that you never know how he is going to react. You can ask him a question, and get an honest and helpful answer, or get your head bit off. But you just don't know. If I knew he was going to bite my head off every time, I could prepare for that. It's the not knowing that makes it so hard.

The last two days he has been in such a state that he's had everyone on edge. This morning he made Mary Ann cry he was so mean to her. That's nothing. Johny Lindley can drive a grown man to tears. I was walking around with no work, and Mary Ann called me over and asked me if I needed something to do. When I told her yes, she said, "Go find a broom handle and beat the $#!^ out of Johnny Lindley!"

Towards the end of the day, my shift supervisor walked by and I told him Johnny needs hormone replacement therapy. But he isn't going to do anything about him. Nobody ever does. As much as we complain, they aren't going to do a thing about him. Even the upper management acts like they are afraid of setting him off.



What I wish I could have thrown under Johnny's feet--a banana peel, the remains of my lunch.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Thursday (For Want of A Better Title)

Some years ago, I participated in a knitting related e-mail group. Yarn snobs ran rampant on that list, which I no longer participate in. Anyhow, one time, during a yarn snob's anti acrylic rant, I just happened to mention that it doesn't get cold enough here to make wool items comfortable. If it isn't cold enough, I said, wool gets very coarse and scratchy. One person very haughtily informed me that I didn't have a clue as to what I was talking about. She wore wool socks in 100' weather and they kept her feet perfectly cool and retained every bit of their softness. Wool is a natural insulator and will insulate heat out as well as in, keeping your feet nice and comfortably cool. I'm afraid I'm going to have to throw the BS flag on that one.

Today I wore my hand knit wool socks. I'd wanted to wear them yesterday on our road trip, but they were thicker than my normal socks, making my shoes just a bit too tight. Since my work shoes are rather large on me--to allow for when my feet swell up in the summer heat--I decided to wear them to work. As I was putting them on, I thought, "I may regret this later, but I'm going to wear them anyway."

Regret it I did. By two hours into the workday, I was counting the minutes until I could get out of there and get my feet cooled off. Those socks were so coarse and scratchy feeling, I had to go to the bathroom a couple of times and pull my shoes off just so my feet could cool off a bit. If you've ever worked with fiberglass insulation, you can sympathize. I felt like I'd knitted those socks with that stuff. With a reinforcement of sandpaper.

I don't see how anyone can wear wool in 100' weather.

In other knitting knews, I'm going to have to take a hiatus from working on my WIP list. I've got two more prayer shawls to knit. The lady who cuts our hair lost her father last night. Since I know her mother quite well also, I feel I need to make one for both of them. I'll knit both of them from stash, though. Tammy's will be from the variegated yarn I posted the other day, and Edna's will be blue.




My work station. A brazing jig and parts tray. Boring, but I liked the composition.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Boring Post

Containing the details of my allergist appointment. I don't blame you if you want to skip it. But before I get to that, a little about the rest of the day:

As you may recall, I spent my Valentine's Day with my allergist. OK, not the whole day, but I did have an appointment for my skin test this morning. Since the kids were out of school today, and B & J were out of town, Cody had to go with me.

Odd that the kids are out of school on Valentine's Day? Not really. What happened was that parents were sending so many balloons, flowers, and candy up to the school that they weren't getting any teaching done. So now they avoid the whole problem by scheduling a teacher work day on Valentine's Day. This has been going on since before Cody was in the public schools.

So the little munchkin had to go with me, and he wasn't too happy about it. I made it up to him by taking him to the museum of natural science afterwards. It is a pretty nice museum, and reasonable admission prices make it worth it. It only cost $8 for the both of us to get in. The exhibits were about Mississippi flora and fauna. About half of the museum consisted of terrariums, aquariums, and herpetariums displaying living native Mississippi wildlife. There were also many taxidermied displays of birds and mammals, a pretty good insect display, and a fossil room. I'll try to post pictures tomorrow.

After we left the museum, Cody wanted to go to a mall. Now, I knew there was a mall in Jackson, but I didn't know where it was. Needless to say, driving randomly around the city looking for the mall did not produce favorable results. By that time, the antihistamine the allergist had given me to counteract the skin reactions was kicking in full force and I was pretty loopy. I just wanted to get home so I could rest. I told Cody we'd research were the mall was and go there another day. B & J got home about an hour after we did, and she told me exactly where the mall was. When Cody found out how close we actually were to it, he gave me that teenager look. Not that it mattered, I didn't have any money to spend anyway.

Now for the dull part. I originally had gone to the allergist to find out if I was allergic to eggs. Since I was there anyway, I decided to have them test me for other stuff as well. The did skin testing for several different types of pollens, molds, and what they call incidentals. They also tested me for the two foods: eggs and orange. I hadn't really planned on being tested for oranges. I'd known for a while that they make my mouth swell, but I'd always thought it was just sensitivity to the acidity. When I mentioned that to the nurse, she said we might as well test for it anyway. So we did and I am allergic to oranges. The doctor said that was a first for him. He'd never seen anyone who was actually allergic to oranges. He asked if this was a recent thing. No, it had been happening my whole life but it took me this long to make the connection. My gums were always swollen as a child, but my dentist had told me it was because I wasn't flossing well enough. I always thought that was what it was. It wasn't until about 3 years ago that I connected it to the orange juice. I hadn't had any in a long time, then one day at work I was feeling kind of sick and went and got some OJ out of the vending machine. The next day, my lips, gums, and tongue were swollen. That was the first inkling that it was the OJ. So I waited several weeks and tried it again. Sure enough, swollen mouth. That was the last of the OJ for me.

I also tested positive for eggs, which I pretty much knew anyway. The way they did the results were: 2+ means a reaction, 3+ means a strong reaction, and 4+ is the strongest reaction. Here is the list of what I tested positive for:

My 2+ Reactions:

  • Pecan pollen
  • Dock pollen
  • Giant Ragweed pollen
  • Cocklebur pollen
  • Lamb's Quarter pollen
  • Mixed Ash pollen
  • House Dust Mite P
  • Red Cedar
  • Short Leaf Pine
  • House Dust Mite F

My 3+ Reactions:

  • Eggs
  • Oranges

My 4+ Reactions (all are pollens):

  • Bermuda Grass
  • Johnson Grass
  • Bahia Grass
  • Timothy Grass
  • Rye Grass
  • Kentucky Bluegrass
  • Orchard Grass
  • Meadow Fescue Grass
  • Sweet Vernal
  • Red Top
  • English Plantain

Do any other types of grass exist? Seriously, I can tell when anyone within 5 miles of me is mowing. I just know. Now I know why I just know.

What surprised me was that I didn't test positive for any molds. I though sure I was allergic to molds because I get in such a state when they plow. I thought it was from stirring up molds in the moist dirt, but now I guess it is from the grasses that have grown wild in the fields since harvest.

Now, there is one reaction I did not put on the list, because I wanted to talk about it separately. I have a 3+ reaction to this:


The other solutions were relatively simple: don't open the windows, keep my a/c filter changed, put an allergy pad on my bed and wash the sheets in hot water at least weekly, don't eat eggs or oranges. This one is a little more difficult. The doctor said it would be better if I found another home for her. If I kept her, it would be very difficult. I'd have to keep her contained, and I could not allow her in my bedroom and certainly not in my bed. But that is where she lives--in my bedroom. That is where she prefers to be. The doctor said cat dander is so hard to get rid of, it will still be in my home for up to a year, and the longer she stays the longer it will be.


As hard as it will be for me, I think it will be better for her if I found her a new home.

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Today's Sketch

It was raining so hard when I got home from work that I left my sketchbook out in the car. However, when I got back from karate class, I brought it in so that I could bring you the:
A human eye, drawn from memory. My memory is a bit rusty, it would seem!

Valentine's Day Advice

I heard this on the radio this morning and in the spirit of Valentine's Day, I thought I'd share. A survey was done asking people what makes a bad kisser. These are the answers:

What Makes A Bad Kisser?

The number one answer was: Failure to control saliva (I am so glad I'm not alone on this one!). Coming in second was: too much tongue. The other answers, in no particular order, were: teeth in the way, biting, not enough tongue, and other. The guy on the radio said he didn't want to think about what that other category entailed, but I have a few of my own. Tight or tense lips make a bad kisser. It's like kissing a corpse. Kissing with too much pressure makes a bad kisser. Seriously, if I want swollen and bruised lips, I'll get into the sparring ring. Kind of going along with that is kissing so hard that the kissee feels you are going to break her neck. This is uncomfortable and does not inspire romantic feelings. It's just bad kissing. Creating a suction in the kissee's mouth makes a bad kisser.

Now for my personal favorite, or should I say, my ex's personal favorite. If you want to be a really bad kisser, try this. Wait until you are in the middle of a passionate, deep kiss, then take a deep breath--through your nose, of course--and blow as hard as you can into the kissee's mouth causing her discomfort and possibly damaging her lungs. Do that, more than once, and you will have earned yourself the title of Really Bad Kisser.

Still on the topic of Valentine's Day, I read an article online about the ten worst V Day gifts. The entire article is here, but I've summarized the list below, and the explanations the article gave as to why these may be bad choices:

1. Red Roses--because they are such a cliche'
2. Candy--because there will always be an icky one in the assortment
3. Any jewelry in a ring sized box, other than the ring--can we say awkward moment?
4. Cutsie girly stuff like sachets or wishing stones--dust collectors with no useful purpose
5. Stuffed Animals--what are grown folks going to do with a bunch of stuffed animals anyway?
6. Lingerie--face it, dude, you buy the lingerie for you, not her
7. Small Appliances--If she needed it, she would have it already
8. Perfume--because you might pick a fragrance she hates
9. Tie--he's got plenty of ties already.
10. A Gift Certificate--what can be less romantic than handing someone a price tag?

The article made some good points, and some points I didn't agree with. For example, the candy one. Sure there will be some candy that is less liked than others, but that is part of the fun of assorted chocolates. It's in the surprise. But the article also offers practical solutions.

Me? I'll be spending my Valentine's Day with the allergist. Fun fun. But the kids are out of school, so I'm making Cody go with me. After I get through with my appointment, we are going to go to the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science. Now, that really does sound like fun!

Looking for Love: Almost three year old male corn snake looking for a sexy babe. Forty-four inches long, a bit chubby, but still sleek enough for a hot chick. Come home with me baby, and we'll watch the Sunset together. Call 1-800-Luv-Corn. (Not a real phone number. Don't try to call.)

Monday, February 12, 2007

Yarn Snobs

If you spend enough time in the world of fiber crafts, sooner or later you run into them: the yarn snobs. The knitters/crocheters among you know what I'm talking about. The ones who look down their nose at you and condescendingly say, "I would never use acrylic yarns."

"I would never use anything but wool fiber."
"I would never put acrylic yarn next to a baby's delicate skin."
"I'd personally pay the $26.00 from ****** for beautifully handcrafted wood [sock blockers] than I would $19.00 for these crappy plastic ones. "

You know, the ones who snottily refer to ackrylic yarn, icky acrylic, acrylic (ugh), plastic yarn--"It must be like wearing a plastic bag." The ones who make the less confident want to apologize for using synthetic yarns. The ones who make you feel like you are not a real knitter if you don't use all natural fibers all the time. Those are the yarn snobs.

Truth is, natural fibers are expensive. Enough wool to knit a sweater can cost in the hundreds of dollars. Silk, angora, alpaca--they are even more expensive. I suppose if you are made of money, that isn't a problem. But not all of us are made of money.

Not all of us can afford the silk/angora blend yarn at $30 a ball. Not all of us can afford the hand made, solid oak $30 sock blockers, especially when there are plastic ones available for half the price. (But if you're clever like me--and your son has a jigsaw--you can use the plastic ones as a pattern to make your own hand made oak sock blockers.) When it comes down to choosing between yarn and groceries for my son, well, too bad. Son takes priority over yarn. Always.

So, should I give up my hobby just because I don't live up to someone else's standard? Heck no! I knit for me, not for anyone else. Despite the fact that I give most of my knitted items away, I am still knitting for me. For the enjoyment I get from making something with my own two hands, and yes, even the joy I receive from giving it to someone else.

I grew up using acrylic yarn. I knew there were different types out there, but it was something I just didn't think about. The stores I had access to didn't carry anything but acrylic. I never saw anything wrong with it. Frankly, it doesn't get nearly cold enough down here to make wool comfortable. If it's not cold enough, wool is more scratchy to me than acrylic. Most modern acrylics are very soft. Plus they wear like iron. I have an afghan on my bed that I crocheted some 13 1/2 years ago. When I was in my apartment in Italy, I used it for an area rug. Other than a bit of pilling, it looks as good as it did when I first made it.

So, for all you yarn snobs out there, unless you intend to buy all of my yarn for me, you have no right to criticize what I choose to knit with.

This one's for you:

Red Heart acrylic worsted weight, tropic fruit colorway. Nine ounces. In my stash. It's starting to whisper. "Knit me." "Come on, you know you want to cast on..." "Knit me!"

Here's evidence spring is on the way:

Sunset, out and about during the daytime. Must be mating season.

Here's evidence that I'm beginning to run out of ideas:



I drew my eraser again. Must go search for reference photos...
Meanwhile, check this out: Daily Monster Too fun!
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Sunday, February 11, 2007

Sunday Sky

I know it's not Saturday, but the sky this afternoon was just plain photo worthy. So instead of being a Saturday Sky photo, I present to you the

Sunday Sky. I prefer skies like this over the cloudless blue. They are so much more interesting.

Other than the sky, it's been a rather uneventful day. I don't quite know what to do with myself without football to watch.

I love watching the special features on DVDs. All the making of documentaries, the cast bios, and the commentaries...I just love them. B doesn't. She doesn't care about any of those extras. She says she just wants to watch the movie and be done with it. Even when the movie is playing, she doesn't pay attention to half of it. She is trying to carry on conversations or clean house, or talk on the phone. Now, me, if I'm going to watch the movie, I want to watch the movie. No interruptions, no distractions, nothing.

But I digress...I was watching the latest Pride and Prejudice with the director's commentary playing. At one point, he said something to the effect of, "That must have been a very dull existence back then. All they did was sit." And I thought, "How is that so different from today?" Whether it is sitting with a book, or letters, or playing cards as they did back then, or sitting in front of the TV, or computer, or playing video games like we do now, it is still just sitting.

Yes, I know people today work, but they worked back then too. Just a different kind of work. But in our leisure hours, we still just sit.

Good news, I found my copy of Emma. It's next on my reading list.

Bad news, I still haven't gotten my Amazon.com mess straightened out. They are still saying I don't exist. Sigh...

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Saturday, February 10, 2007

Saturday Skies and Socks

The sky was overcast for most of the morning, so I put off taking my Saturday Sky picture until mid afternoon. By that time, the clouds had moved off and the sky looked like this:

It was still cold, though, so I stayed inside and knitted another sock:


I came mighty close to matching the stripes perfectly. Pretty good for a first try, don't you think? This was the screaming stash project from my WIP List, which I can now update to look 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. Socks using Magic Loop
9. Socks on DPNs using Knit Picks yarn
10. Socks made from Red Heart Strata (I lost the ball band and forgot the name of the color.)

I'm working on the Texas Longhorn scarf for Cody. It was supposed to be part of his Christmas present, but he may get it in time for next fall. I found a Longhorns dishcloth pattern and am adapting it for a scarf. I have a football pattern to put on the other end. What I need to decide, though, is whether I want to repeat the patterns all the way up the scarf, or just knit the length plain with one pattern at each end. Or maybe I can alternate the Longhorn logo with the football pattern throughout the length of the scarf. That'd be neat.

Posts have been dull as of late. I'm even bored reading my own blog. The Pro Bowl was played this afternoon, and even the players seemed rather lackadaisical about the game. It doesn't really count for anything, so why go all out, though Drew Brees did injure his elbow. It wasn't serious and he should be back for next season with no problem. Peyton Manning hardly played at all, but Tony Romo played a good deal. He led the NFC back from a 14 point deficit only to lose the game by a last minute field goal by the AFC. And that's it for football until the fall...

I'm a bit put out with Amazon.com right now. I've been a customer of theirs ever since I got my first computer some 6 1/2 years ago. I order most of my movies and a great deal of my books from them. My most recent order was some stuff I bought for Christmas presents. Today when I tried to sign in to add something to my wishlist, I suddenly don't have an account any more. You have to sign in using your e-mail address. Now I registered my account with my old Dixie-net address. Since I changed ISPs back when I got DSL, I no longer have access to that e-mail address. I'd never gotten around to changing it on that site, but I'd still been able to sign in with it, until today that is.

When I tried to sign in today, it said they don't have an account associated with that addy. I even tried to sign in with my new addy, just in case I'd changed it and forgotten that I had, but still no go. So I went to their home page without signing in and tried a generic search for my wish list, and I was able to pull it up--using my old Dixie-net address. So they do have my address associated with my account, just not when I try to sign in. Note: I couldn't pull up my wish list using my new e-mail address, so I know I didn't change it on the site.

My next step was to send an e-mail to customer service explaining the problem. They sent a response back basically saying they can't help me because I didn't e-mail them from the address associated with my account and I needed to sign in to my account and change my e-mail address before they could do anything.

Well, DUH!!!!!

I can't sign in. That's the whole problem. I sent a response back to them (I actually sent the second one I typed out--the first was not very lady-like) stating that they needed to forward my complaint to someone who could actually fix it, or they would lose me as a customer. I don't expect them to be very helpful. A site that big has enough customers that they won't worry about losing just one.

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Update: I asked Cody how he wanted the scarf, and he just wants one Longhorns logo and one football pattern on the ends and the middle knitted plain. That solves that dilemma.

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Friday, February 09, 2007

Dodged a Bullet

The freezing rain and ice accumulation we were expecting to hit us last night didn't. Something for which I am very thankful. It is still unusually cold, though, not even getting out of the 30s today. A good day for knitting the first of a pair:

A house sock knitted from Red Heart Strata. I lost the ball band so I can't tell you what color this is. I knitted a scarf out of it also, which I sent to my sister in law for Christmas. I think I like it better as a scarf. Anyhow, this is #10 on my WIP list, which I will update when I finish.


Tools of the trade: my gum eraser (which I seldom use, preferring my kneaded or white vinyl eraser) and my pencil sharpener (which I often use).



I don't know what kind of flower this is. My neighbors down the street have them all around their mailbox.
Some of you know me well enough by now to know that an abundance of pictures means a dearth of things to say. So I'm off to spend some time with Jane Austin and a mug of hot chocolate.
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Thursday, February 08, 2007

Relationships

I work with a lady. She is 35 and fairly recently divorced. Well, within the last couple or three years. She had three sons, the oldest of which is Cody's age--13, and she still wears a size 2 jean. Sigh-- But that's not what I'm here to talk about. Her boyfriend is 19. They are very much in love and even talking about getting married.


Now, I'm not going to be one of those snooty know-it-alls and say that they shouldn't, that she is robbing the cradle, that they couldn't possibly really be in love due to the age difference, that their relationship is just wrong. No, if that is what they want, then I'm happy for them.


It's just not what I want.


The experience, the wisdom, the depth of character that comes with age--you just can't find that in a teenager.




Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Progress Reports

Cody is still grounded. They brought home progress reports today, and he was hoping to be ungrounded completely. I had partially ungrounded him when he brought home his report card, because his grades did come up some. While his grades are still slowly improving, he had way too many zeros to be completely ungrounded. He fussed and sulked, but I told him he is lucky he didn't get completely re grounded because of all the zeros. The only reason I didn't is because he did bring his grades up some. Well, some grades came up quite a bit, like algebra. He brought it up from a 54 to an 81.


And reporting another type of progress, on to Finger Cam day #3:

It is looking and feeling much better, and should be completely functional in just a couple more days. At least I hope so.

There is a lot of detail in a human ear--so much so that it is a daunting task to attempt to sketch one in 10 minutes. However, I was willing to give her a go, and this was the result.

Sensei is trying to get Barrett and Josh ready to test for their black belts in May. I wonder if he is going to get them ready or will he do them like he did me: "Go over in the corner and get yourself ready." James didn't come to class at all. I guess he still can't find the patches for his gi. Irony. I just love the irony of the situation. He is pouting because he didn't get his full black belt, yet if he'd been attending and working hard, he might have been able to test with Josh and Barrett. He's shooting himself in the foot with his sulking.

Whatever...maybe when Josh and Barrett get their shodans, sensei will finally start having the black belt class. I've talked to him several times about it. I've told him that it is really hard for me to stay after class to work on my black belt stuff, especially since he keeps moving the class to later and later. I don't know. It just makes me feel like he thinks I'm not important enough, so he's got to wait for somebody else so he can start the class. I mean, it's not like he's making an extra trip into town or anything. He's got the after school program and he's there every day anyway. I hate to sound like a whiner, but I want to continue growing in my own Martial arts. I want to learn and improve and develop my skill. In less than a year and a half, I'll be up for my ni-dan, and I'm nowhere near where I need to be.

Speaking of, I'm going to go run a few kata.

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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Finger Cam

Here is Finger Cam, day 2:
Other than being quite tender to the touch and rather stiff feeling, my finger feels much better today. My thanks to everyone who offered sympathy in yesterday's comments. I hope you will forgive me if I don't answer them individually, as typing is still somewhat tedious.
I did finish the monthly dishcloth:

and despite the stiffness, attempted a


This is one of the rolling carts we use at work. My perspective may be a tad off, but it isn't that far off. Most of these are in pretty bad shape, and really do lean that much. Well, almost...

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