Friday, August 31, 2007

Sundries

67%How Addicted to Blogging Are You?






Mingle2 - Dating Site


I suppose if I had more time to waste spend on the computer, this number would be a bit higher. (Via Buck)


Time for a WIP update. I've actually been pretty productive since my last update, and my list is now as follows:

1. Yukon Leaves socks. This is the sock that has been languishing on the needles the longest. I'm making good progress on them. The yarn is Austermann Step in Dune.


2. Columbine Peaks Socks. This pattern is from Cat Bordhi's book Socks Soar on Two Circular Needles. No progress on this one as of yet.


3. Garter Rib socks. A little progress on these. I'm not feeling the love here, but they are an obligation, so I'll keep plugging away at them.


4. The Jaywalkers. DONE!!!


5. My charity scarf for Scarves From the Heart. DONE!!! However, I have enough of this yarn left to make another scarf just like this one, so you can expect to see another of these in progress soon.


6. Cody's Texas Longhorns scarf. No progress, but now that football season has started, maybe it'll put me in the mood to work on it.


7. Cubs for Kids charity knit. Teddy bear sweater. DONE!!!


8. A Prayer Shawl. This one had to have about three inches ripped back after an unfortunate encounter with *sigh* puppy teeth. I'd made good progress on it, too.


9. Two toe-up socks on magic loop. Still no progress on these.


10. Branching Out lace scarf. No progress on this one, either.


11. Mindless stockinette sock in cotton. I'm still considering ripping this one back. There are too many really cool patterns out there to be knitting boring stockinette. On the other hand, it is good to have a mindless project to take to waiting rooms, band concerts, etc.

Grand total: Three items finished. Still on the needles: five pairs of socks, two scarves and a shawl. And in the midst of all that, I finally finished the August mid-month dishcloth. Just in time to start the September one. This adventure just reinforced how much I dislike knitting cables in cotton.


So that is my knitting update for now. It looks like I'm going to be spending my holiday weekend fighting a head cold. On the bright side, I have a legitimate excuse to do nothing but watch football and knit!

Oh, and I bought a pot and some soil to re pot my begonia. It's been a week and it hasn't died yet. I looked up begonia care on the net, and found everything from "begonias are hardy and tough to kill", to "begonias are delicate and need tender, loving care to survive." I guess I'll just have to do what I think is right. And this, from someone who managed to kill a cactus...

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Whatever Happened To Gratitude?

Chances are if you are old enough to remember when Land Of The Lost originally aired on Saturday mornings, or M*A*S*H was prime time viewing, you are old enough to remember when people were actually courteous to one another. You have probably also noticed that there is an increasing lack of courtesy in the world today. It's almost as if rudeness and selfishness are considered to be the admirable qualities instead politeness and generosity.

Something else has fallen by the wayside in these modern times as well. Gratitude. Our expression of gratitude has been reduced to giving lip service to sweeping generalizations about health, wealth, and freedom one day out of the year. But for the day to day things--the little things someone may do for us--no one seems grateful any more. Thank you is a phrase that is seldom said, and even less often said with sincerity.

Three stories:


James asked me to buy him a bag of chips. Remembering that he had on previous occasions bought me ice cream, I did. As soon as the cashier had scanned them, he snatched them out of the bag, and without a word walked away, stuffing the chips into his mouth as he went.

Debra was trying to buy herself a snack, but the vending machine wouldn't take her crumpled up dollar. Though she didn't ask, I dug through my pockets and came up with a dollar's worth of change. When I offered her the change, she took it, but didn't offer any expression of gratitude. "About #$@& time!" she yelled instead. "You waited all this time, watching me struggle with my dollar, when you could have given me change right off!" It was all I could do not to take my change back, but I was determined to be better than that.

Sue was complaining about all the dust blowing out of one of the ceiling fans. Of my own volition, I went back to maintenance and asked one of my buddies there if he would clean the fan out when he got a chance. I went back out to the shop floor and told Sue that he'd said he would clean it. No thanks did I receive. Instead she rounded on me. "Yeah RIGHT!" she screamed. "When is he going to do it? NEXT WEEK???"

"I did you a favor," I calmly responded. "I didn't expect attitude for it."



Attitude instead of gratitude.

Almost makes you not want to help anyone out.

.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

My Nephews

I don't get new pictures of my nephews very often. These are the newest ones I have, and they are not all that new. Anyway, here are my adorable nephews:


Nate (7), Andrew (2), and Paul (7 months).

Baby Paul. He was 6 months old when this picture was taken.


Nate (7) helping dad with the drywall.


Andrew (2) being sure to wear his safety goggles. These three are my sister's kids.


Joshua (3) enjoying his kiddie pool very much. Josh is my brother's son.

And just so we have a girl represented somewhere in the family:


Rylea, almost 4 months old.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Knitpicks Essential

I absolutely love this yarn! It is what I knit my soldier socks out of, and though it is inexpensive, it is the softest sock yarn I've ever worked with. After I washed and dried the socks, it was even softer!

I had a free day for completing the July Stashalong KAL with in a KAL, so what did I buy? More Knitpicks Essential. Here is the loot:



The colors are riverbed multi, burgundy, gulfstream, coral, more riverbed multi, Tuscon multi, and Tuscany multi. After seeing the Tuscon multi, I wish I'd bought more of it. Now I just have to finish up the projects I already have OTN so I can start some more.

Hey Buck! I saw someone at work today with a Red Wings t-shirt on and immediately thought of you! See, you've had a definite impact on my life as well! Still not a hockey convert, though.


Hockey Cowboys





Monday, August 27, 2007

Hard Times

I'm having a really hard time with karate lately. I haven't lost my motivation or anything like that. I still want to go to class, and I want to do well. I'm just --I don't know.

Sensei has noticed. When I walked into Black Belt class tonight, he asked me what was wrong because he said I seemed a bit down. I told him I was tired, which is true, but there is more to it than that. It's more than just a physical fatigue. It's a mental and emotional fatigue as well.

I hear other people talk about working out two to three hours a day outside of class time, and I wonder how they do it. I almost never practice at home any more. I want to. I have good intentions. I tell myself that I'm going to go over all my kata once a day. But I never do. When I get home in the evenings, all I want to do is sit. And once I get sat down, I don't want to get back up again. I usually end up doing nothing.

When I go to class, I always feel that I don't measure up. That I'm not good enough. I hate working out in front of people I don't know. I always feel like they are looking at me and wondering how in the world I ended up with a black belt.

Sensei says Mr. Eiffling is coming from Greenville tomorrow night, and we are having a sparring class. Sparring is my biggest weakness.

I'm considering staying home.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

We Are Becoming Hermits

Cody and I used to go places all the time. We would often just go for a drive on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon--but that was before gas was nearly $3 per gallon. Even if we didn't go far, we would go out to the lake and walk some of the nature trails out there.

We haven't done that in a long time. Seems we hardly ever leave the house any more. We are becoming hermits. I decided we needed to get out more. So after church, we got some KFC ( I won't even begin to describe that. I think we had the dumbest cashier on the planet. Ah, but I said I would go there...) and went out to the lake to eat. It was very pleasant. Not nearly as hot as it has been lately.

After eating, we walked one of the nature trails. And of course, I had my camera with me. What follows are the best of the pics I took.

This massive tree has got to be between 250 and 300 years old. Oh, the stories it could tell.

I tried to get Cody to stand by this log for perspective, but this was the closest he would get. There was a spider, he said.

The way the light dappled this young tree really caught my eye.

I can never remember if these are beech or birch trees. The bark peels naturally like that. Whatever they are, they are very pretty.


But I do know what these are. These are fire ants. There's a reason we call them that. You don't want to know what it is. Trust me on this.

I'd planned a better post than this, but after we got home, Cody wanted to download a game. Naturally, I'm not going to let him download anything without checking it out.

I spent three hours playing that game. After that, I had to let Cody download it.

What else could I do?

.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Catching Up

Yes, after watching 24 hours of House since Tuesday (not straight, this annoying thing called work kept gettin in the way), I am once again ready to return to the real world. I got behind on a lot of things, including blogging. Here's an attempt to catch up a bit. We'll start with today's

It stayed overcast for most of the day, but we only got a trace of rain out of it. The good news is that it has been cooler--low 90s instead of low 100s.

Yesterday while grocery shopping, Wal-mart had a whole cart of begonias on sale. Not being able to resist a pretty thing, I bought one. Now, my track record with house plants isn't too great, but I've heard that begonias are hard to kill. We'll see.

I also finished my charity teddy bear sweater. One more item to mark off of my WIP list. I've thought of putting some of those little graphs in my sidebar like some knitters have, but I'm too lazy to keep it updated all the time.

Finally, it's been a while since I posted a gratuitous cute puppy picture.



I won't be able to call her a cute puppy much longer. She is turning into my little lady.

More later...

Friday, August 24, 2007

Rest


Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass on a summer day listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is hardly a waste of time.
~John Lubbock

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Much Ado

about nothing to say.

I ripped back my garter rib socks and started over. I found that the difference in gauge between the flexible needles and the metal needles was just too great--even though they were both the same size.

Still watching House...

Real post soon.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Busy

Still watching House, but I did finish my charity scarf.

I also spent time working on my garter rib socks. I never could get used to those Comfort Zone needles. They were too bendy. I found them difficult to knit with and my gauge was really wacko with them. So I switched to my good old Knit picks nickle plated needles and have knit as much in an hour as I did in two months.

House normally comes on during karate class, so I don't get to actually see any episodes until the DVD comes out. I found this season to be a bit disconcerting at first, because they remodeled the set. It doesn't even look like the same hospital, and I hate the puke green they painted the walls. But I'm starting to get used to it now.

Cody and I put flea stuff on the cat this afternoon. Yes, it took both of us.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Why?

Why couldn't Saturday's sky look like this?



Spent the afternoon watching House and knitting on my charity scarf. Now it's past my bedtime and I don't have a thing to say--other than that I'm still pondering. Oh yeah, and I did a sketch.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Pondering

I have lots on my mind, but I really need to mull it over a bit before posting. So I leave you with this:


Today's Pic: Barbed Wire, August 2007

Sunday, August 19, 2007

They're Finished!

The Jaywalker socks are finally finished! These are also my first official summer of socks socks.


And here they are on the feet.

They are a bit tight going over my heel, but once on my feet, they fit great. Even better, it's one item I can knock off of my WIP list.

My fingers began to itch. Then they begin to twitch. Then I realized there was nothing for it but to give in. So I dashed off this quickie of my dearest friend. My teddy bear, Felix.


That'll hold me. Until the fingers start itching again.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Saturday Sky

Do you see it?
Do you see that wetness on my back steps? That, kids, is called rain. It's the first we've seen of such in at least a month. It actually rained a good bit. Not a heavy rain, but hopefully enough to perk the cotton up.



The sky looked like this when I let the dogs out this evening. Just that one little spot where the sun was trying to break through. As usual, my pitiful little point and shoot didn't even come close to capturing the beauty of this moment.

Because of the rain, most of today--like most of the last several days--has been spent watching House reruns in anticipation of the season three DVD release on Tuesday.

Now, if you will excuse me, I need to go clear a space on the shelf...

Friday, August 17, 2007

Reverse Psychology

Sensei takes the three new students into the other room, leaving me in charge of the main class. After a brief moment of thought, I say, "Barrett, lead us through the basics."

Barrett lines us up and leads through the basics harder and faster than we've done them in a long time. And we did twice as many reps to boot. He finally stops--two basics short of doing them all, and we do some stretches and things. He tells me later that he'd stopped because Tom looked like he was about to fall out. Tom is in his late 50s, and even though sensei cautions us not to exceed our limits, Tom will not quit.

After class, Barrett confesses, "I was trying my best to make Becky break down over there, so she'd think, 'I'm never telling Barrett to lead the basics again!'"

What I was really thinking, though, was, "Boy, this is a great workout. I ought to get Barrett to lead basics more often!" Reverse psychology doesn't always work.

In knitting knews, I've hit a snag with the second Jaywalker sock. I got all the way through the heel and past the turn. I'd picked up the gussets and had begun my decreases when I realized that what I was doing wasn't matching up with what the pattern was saying, or with what I'd done on the first sock. I picked back until just before picking up the gusset stitches (a whole round and a half, thankfully it wasn't more) and figured out what I'd done. Instead of ending the leg on round one of the pattern, I'd ended on round two. Yes, I knew I was supposed to end on round 1, and I thought I had, but I must not have been paying that much attention.

So now the decision needs to be made. Do I rip back the heel turn and the heel and knit one more round on the leg, or do I just wing it?

I'm gonna wing it.

.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Dating in the Dojo

The question often arises: is it ok to date someone in the dojo?

It is a topic that is often discussed on martial arts message boards and groups, often leading to bitter arguments and flame wars. The answers are as varied as the people who respond. They run the gamut from No way! Never! Absolutely not! to Sure. Go for it!

I say yes, it is ok to date someone in the dojo, as long as you are not dating in the dojo. In other words, practice discretion. Now, I don't mean that you have to pretend that nothing is going on, or act like you don't even know each other. What I mean is that it is inappropriate to publicly display affection in the dojo--i.e. kissing, groping, spending half the class draped over each other. No. The dojo isn't the place for that. And certainly never engage in any sort of sexual behavior on dojo property.

As long as you use common sense, and behave in a mature fashion, I don't see a problem with two dojo mates dating each other.

Is there ever a time when it is inappropriate for two people from the same dojo to date? Yes. It is inadvisable for an instructor to date a student. If an instructor does choose to date a student, there are risks involved, and they can be serious.

The first risk you face is losing a student. If you choose to date a student, and you break up, will you still be able to teach that student objectively? What if it is a nasty break up with hard feelings all around? Can you still teach that student? As a student, can you train under an instructor you hate? Are you willing to give up your martial arts or move to another dojo if this happens?

There is also the risk of being accused of showing favoritism. As in, "She's only getting promoted because she's sleeping with the sensei." Or "Sensei is taking it easy on him just because he's her boyfriend." That kind of stuff. Is that a chance you are willing to take? Remember, this kind of talk hurts the student as well. To be told that sensei is only promoting you because you are in a dating relationship negates all your hard work and training.

But the accusations can be much more serious. Case in point, I know of an instance in which an instructor (male) and a student (female), both adults, by mutual assent entered into a sexual relationship. Whether there was more to it than that, I don't know. However, I have it on good authority that the lady knew what she was doing, and she wanted it as much as the instructor did. Unfortunately, for reasons unknown to me, things turned sour and the relationship soon ended.

The next thing he knew, this instructor was being accused of representing the dark side of karate--of abusing students, molesting this woman, and using his power to take advantage of her. Basically of raping her. His reputation, and that of his dojo, took a serious blow because of this. That incident happened years ago, and in some circles, this instructor is still seen as a manipulative predator. All because of this one ill begotten fling with a student.

Is it worth the risk? I think not.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

It's So Hot

How hot is it?

It's so hot that Rob walked by as I was emptying the melted ice from my lunchbox at work. He shook his head regretfully as he gazed longingly at the water swirling down the drain.

"All that good cold water," he lamented, "that you could have poured on my head!"





Today's Pic: Honeybee, August 2007

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Kids Say...


My uncle used to have a watch donkey. Yes, you read that right. He had a watch donkey. He kept it with his goat herd to protect them from coyotes. My cousin Jennifer named the donkey Gabriel, because she said, "He sure can blow his horn."

Every time we went for a visit, Cody had to ride the donkey. This picture was taken in December 1996. Cody had just turned three. He wasn't really big enough to ride by himself, so my uncle would lead the donkey while Cody rode. After a bit, he decided he was ready to get down, so down he came. But then, he decided I needed to ride.

"You get on, Mama, " he said, "and I'll pull you around."

Monday, August 13, 2007

All Bottles

Our new black belt was back in class this evening. Most of the class was spent going over bunkai for wansu and seisan kata. It was interesting to see the differences in her kata and ours. One big thing I noticed is that she did her kata with what I consider to be a lot of excess movement. I'm not knocking her. I'm sure that's the way she was taught. There just seemed to me to be a lot of flips and flourishes in her movements. There was a lot of telegraphing.

Another interesting difference is that she takes really high steps. I mean exaggeratedly high, like lifting her foot up to knee level and kind of swinging her leg when she steps. She said it was to gain distance, but frankly, I don't see it.

Her kata had other slight differences, but basically they were the same kata. She got lost at first trying to follow Joshua and me, but sensei told her, "Just do your kata."

I'm not criticizing. As the master said, "All bottles are good." It's just interesting to see the variations within the style, even in the same lineage. She is under Willie Adams, who, if I'm not mistaken, is also of the Nagle-Pittaway lineage.

After doing kata, Josh started asking a bunch of self defense questions about situations specific to women. Turns out he's been teaching a self defense class and wanted to make sure he was covering everything. Our new student told us a mnemonic she'd been taught: SING

Solar plexus
Instep
Nose
Groin

Interesting, but if I'm being attacked, I'm not going to be thinking, "let's see....SING..." In a real life situation, you don't have time for that. You have to react and react fast.

And you'd better know what to do.

Your life could depend on it.
.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

WIP Time

I've noticed something these last couple of days. I've worked really hard this year to reduce my number of WIPs (Works In Progress, for those of you not in the know), but these last few days it has come to my attention that my WIP count has been slowly creeping back upwards. Therefore, I'm asking you, my faithful blog readers--and anyone else who just happens by--to help hold me accountable.

These are my current WIPs:

1. Yukon Leaves socks. It's not a difficult pattern, and I love the yarn. I don't know why I keep putting off knitting it.
2. Columbine Peaks Socks. I stopped knitting after only one because I needed the needles for something else. I'll get back to this pair as soon as the needles are free.
3. Garter Rib socks. I put these off to finish my Jaywalkers. I'll get to them as soon as I'm done with those. 4. The Jaywalkers. This is priority. I should be done with them soon.
5. My charity scarf for Scarves From the Heart. Coming along nicely because I'm actually working on it.
6. Cody's Texas Longhorns scarf. It'll have a football on the other end, but right now I'm facing 37 miles of stockinette before I get there. A bit daunting, but I'm determined to finish.

7. Cubs for Kids charity knit. Teddy bear sweater. I hope to finish this one later this evening during the game. 8. A Prayer Shawl. I started months ago, but didn't have the heart to finish. I've worked on it a little, and intend to complete it.

9. Two toe-up socks on magic loop. This is the needles I need to finish my other socks with, so I'd better get cracking. 10. Branching Out lace scarf. Though it is easy for lace, this one still takes concentration.
11. Mindless stockinette sock in cotton. I keep thinking that I may frog this one and do an interesting pattern with the yarn. We'll see.
So there you have it. Six pairs of socks, three scarves, one shawl and a teddy bear sweater. My ideal would be to finish all of them before starting anything else, but we know that's not going to happen, don't we?

So what will I do? I'll try to reduce my number of overall WIPs to 4 or 5, and try to keep it there.

Stop that laughing. I can do it!

Stop laughing!

heavy sigh...
.

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