Thursday, July 31, 2008

A Day Off

Remember that senior moment I had last week? I needed to take a vacation day, but put in for the wrong day. Today was that day. I intended to go and get the oil changed, or the radiator flushed and refilled, or my annual physical or all sorts of errands that I can't seem to find time to do. But when I got up this morning, I just didn't want to do anything.

So that's exactly what I did. Nothing. Unless you count three loads of laundry and washing dishes. Other than that, I did nothing.

OK, I did go pick up the mail, and looky what was in it:


Hook 'Em Horns sock yarn by Hill Country Yarns.

The Hall of Fame game is this Sunday! Football season won't be far behind. Woo Hoo! I can hardly wait!

Oh, and school starts Thursday. Cody is a little less excited about that...

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Cat's In The Cradle

or in this case, the dishwasher.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A Scarf Is Done

Pattern: One Row Handspun Scarf
Yarn: Vanna's Choice
Colorway: Autumn Print
Needles: 10.5 US


Remembering the need for scarves men could wear, I started this one:

Pattern: Textured Scarf
Yarn: Red Heart Supersaver
Color: Tan
Needles: 10.5 US

It's knitting up really fast. What you see is only about an hour of work. I hope it's manly enough.

The answer to yesterday's question:

The flowers shown are cotton blossoms:

See?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Summer Photo Project



I'll give kudos to anyone who can tell me what kind of flower this is.

Answer tomorrow...

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Italian Podcasts

I while back, I posted that I had found some Italian language podcasts that I was listening to. I received a couple of comments from readers stating that they would like to learn Italian. After listening to several of these podcasts for a few weeks, here is my review of the top 5.


The Power Of The LingQ: This claims to be a revolutionary new way to learn a language, but so far, I haven't seen anything revolutionary or new about it. That's not to say it isn't a good program, just that it isn't all that different from other language instruction programs. The podcasts are a simple one or two minute long podcast, but they are completely in Italian--even the beginner lessons. No translation, no vocabulary. Just Italian. To get the English, you have to sign up for an account on the website and spend much time at the computer studying and translating. That's OK, if that is what you want to do and have time to sit at the computer all day, but if you want an actual podcast lesson, pass this one up. (The quality of the recording leaves a lot to be desired as well. The two people sound like they are sharing a single microphone in a large bathroom.) Cost: there are several levels of membership, which range from Free (in which you barely get anything) to $79 per month.


Let's Speak Italian: This seems like it would be a good series, but there is a drawback. You cannot go back and download previous lessons. They are up to lesson 80-something, so if you are an absolute beginner, you will be lost. Cost: The current lessons are free, but to go back and start from the beginning, you have to buy the entire series. It is $15 for the first 100 lessons, which is not a bad price, but why pay for what you can get elsewhere for free?

Learn Italian: This seems to be a very good language study series, however, I personally didn't like the format of the lessons. The way the podcast is set up is that they will have a brief dialog in Italian. They speak this dialog three times, then the teachers will translate explain what it means in terms of Italian culture. Then they repeat the dialog three more times. The thing about this one is that it doesn't seem to start at the beginning. Most language courses start off teaching you how to say things like hello and my name is. This one starts you off with what seems like a random bit of language, rather than an introduction. With this podcast, you feel like you are jumping into the middle of something that is already going on, even if you go back and download the very first lesson. Cost: The website has many resources to supplement your language study, and the costs range from free to $125 per month.

ItalianPod101.com: In my opinion, this is one of the better language learning podcasts out there. It offers several different levels of lessons--from the absolute beginner, to the more advanced student. All the podcasts are free and comprehensive enough that one can learn quite a bit of the Italian language just by listening to them. If you have no knowledge of Italian at all, you would want to start with the Newbie series. There are also resources available on the website, such as PDF downloads of the lessons and vocabulary lists, but one must buy a subscription to obtain those. Cost: The website offers four different levels of subscription, from free up to $199 per month. Also, if you sign up for multiple months, you get a discount.

My Daily Phrase Italian: I really like this podcast, even though it seems to be designed for the tourist planning a visit to Italy rather than a serious language student. It is a good introduction for those whose only knowledge of the Italian language are the words pizza and spaghetti. The podcasts are short, three to five minutes each, and the lessons are simple. You will learn just a couple of words or phrases each day, which prevents you from being overwhelmed by the amount of material presented. There are a total of 100 lessons, all of which have been released and are available for free download. Cost: The podcasts are free, and there are bonus materials available at the website for a one time fee of 25 British pounds or about $48 US.


The last two podcasts I listed are the subscriptions I kept. I've listed the others because everyone has a different learning style. What fits me may not fit you. I suggest you review all of them for yourself and decide which one best fits you.

E tutto per oggi. Arrivederci!

(Ok, one thing about learning from podcasts is that they don't tell you how to spell the words! A good Italian/English dictionary comes in right handy there.)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Special Delivery From Oklahoma

Look what came in the mail today:

And this very pretty little package contained, some very pretty yarn.

This is KnitPicks Alpaca Cloud in Tide Pool, sent to me by Amy, who also enclosed a very nice card and quite a hefty load of sugar. That's a woman after my own heart, I'll tell you.

You know, knitters are like no other people in the world. I've never met Amy. She came to my blog to enter a contest, and stayed. One day while reading my lace knitting adventures, Amy mentioned that she had three skeins of lace weight alpaca that she would send me if I wanted them. I did, so she did.

She sent yarn to a total stranger. Free.

Hang around in the knitting world long enough and you will see that this is not unusual. Not among knitters. We are like no other people in the world.

So, while the new yarn was getting acquainted with the other lace weight stash (and a ball of sock yarn that is just passing through),

I worked on a new sock.

The pattern is Falling Leaves, and the yarn is Crystal Palace Panda Cotton in Chocolate Almonds colorway. The pattern is written to be toe up, but I'm doing it cuff down. I'm calling these my Fallen Leaves Socks.

Saturday Sky looked like this part of the day, but it rained off and on all day.


The plan was to get up and go on a photo safari for today, to try to get more items from the Summer Photo Project list. I just couldn't motivate myself to get going, and the rain provided me a perfect excuse to stay home and do nothing.

So that's what I did.

Nothing.

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Strangest Thing

So I was cruising the Dallas Cowboys website, which I do daily, catching up with the news and reading about how they flew this week to Oxnard, Ca and their charter plane actually landed at Naval Air Station Point Mugu where the players signed autographs, etc., etc.. In the article was this picture:


Pay no attention to the fan holding the large popcorn box, and just this once, pay no attention to the adorable--er *ahem* veteran quarterback signing autographs. (Just this once.) Look at the guy in the dark blue shirt at the left edge of the picture.

I know that guy.

I'll call him Ken. I was stationed with him in Naples. Ken taught me how to play darts. Ken also taught me never to assume that a man understands that your relationship with him is not serious. To me, Ken was just a friend. To him, we were all but engaged.

I had other male friends besides Ken, lots of them. Mike was just one of the guys in the group I hung out with. I'm not sure I'd really even call us close friends--we were just friends. But I loved dancing with Mike. He was a fantastic dancer. He was not the only guy I danced with, but for some reason he was the one Ken singled out to be jealous of.

Now, keep in mind that Ken had no claim on me. We weren't engaged. We weren't even dating. We were just friends that ran in the same group of people. But at one point, Ken became so insanely jealous of Mike that he went and told Mike that if he didn't stay away from me, that when Mike's wife finally got her travel orders and came to Naples, Ken was going to tell her that Mike and I were having an affair.

We weren't, by the way. Yes, I danced with Mike sometimes, but I danced with other guys, too.

Well, when I found out, I was furious. I reassured Mike that no one would tell his wife anything, and I pretty much--well not pretty much, I completely--ended all association with Ken. He became, in my mind, nonexistent. I never spoke to him again. I never hung out with him again. I never played darts with him again. Until the day he transfered, just a few weeks later, I never forgave him.

And Ken? Well, he never understood what it was he'd done that was so wrong.

I should have thought it was obvious.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

And They're Done

Pattern: Nutkin
Yarn: Cherry Tree Hill Supersock
Colorway: Sugar Maple
Needles: Knit Picks Nickel Plated DPNs size 2.75mm
Modifications: Eye of Partridge heel flap and gusset substituted for short row heel, and regular toe decreases and kitchener join substituted for short row toe with three needle bind off. I thought the ridge might be a bit uncomfortable inside my shoes.

Earlier this evening, I was outside taking pictures of the sunset.

when what should fly by but a flock of Canada Geese. These geese live here year round. They've made a home in the pond in front of the paper mill.

If I ever get some time off again, I'm going to try to get some close up pictures of them.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I'm Too Young For This

What you call a senior moment.

I have to register Cody for school Thursday. I don't know why, but this school district makes you re-register every year. Anyway, I went in to work Monday and put in for my vacation day, so I could take him up there. After I got home, I realized that I had put in for the wrong day! I put in for NEXT Thursday. I went back up to the office the next day to change it, but this Thursday is already full. I'll have to go in and leave early.

Cody has been in Band Camp all week, learning their music and marching for the coming school year. He says it's hard. He plays the tuba, and they don't play Sousaphones. They play actual tubas, which means they have to hold that big, heavy horn up the whole time they are performing. I went to pick him up today and got to the band hall just as the kids were coming off the field. The drumline was leading them, and when they got off the field they stood there and played until all the other band members gotten into the band hall. I turned off the radio and rolled down my window and just listened to them.

I'm biased, but I think it says something when one would rather listen to a high school band than a multi-platinum country music artist. But like I said, I'm biased.

On the knitting front, Nutkin is coming along right nicely. I'm determined to get this pair finished this month. I should make it. I only have three more pattern repeats before I start the toe decreases.

I know you are all probably getting bored reading my strange dreams, but I'm trying to post the ones I remember. I had two last night. If you don't want to read them, stop here.

Still reading? Ok, here we go...

In the first dream, I was playing a game with some people I didn't know. We were something similar to the MesoAmerican ball game played by the ancient peoples of Mexico and central America. We were using a baseball and a basketball goal to play. The basketball goal was only about waist high, and we were allowed to use our hands. Other than that, it was pretty much no holds barred. I saw the ball rolling on the field, and I dashed over and picked it up. I was running for the goal when one of the opposing players grabbed me by the hand. I put one of my self-defense moves on him. Not a karate move, but something that had been taught to me by a sergeant in the Marine Corps when I was in the Navy. I broke loose and ran and put the ball through the goal to score the winning point. The young man who had grabbed me was so impressed that he kept asking me for my phone number. I thanked him, but told him that he was too young for me. I trotted into the club house where Buck was waiting for me so we could eat dinner. I was just about to sit down when I remembered that I'd left my shirt out on the playing field. I ran back out to get it, with Buck calling behind me that I didn't really need to do that. He didn't mind if I ate while topless. I covered myself up, and said, "Trust me, nobody wants to see this body naked!"

That dream faded, then I began dreaming totally differently. I dreamed next that I had gotten bit by a copperhead. I wasn't really worried. Copperhead bites are almost never fatal, even when medical attention is not sought (I still recommend seeing a doctor.) However, I'd read somewhere that if one is allergic to honey bees (which I am) the body can have a cross reaction to copperhead venom and go into an allergic reaction. So, my sister--who in my dream didn't look anything like my sister--and the youth pastor from my church, Andrew, took me up to the local emergency room. The admitting office took my information, then sent me back out to the waiting room. Sometime later, a guy from my karate class also came in to see how I was doing. Five hours later, I was still waiting, and by that time I was in a full fledged allergic reaction, struggling to breathe. My sister, Andrew, and the guy from karate, who had mysteriously gained an uncanny resemblance to Brett Favre, basically shoved their way back into the examination room and demanded that a doctor see me NOW!. While they were arguing, the doctor finally arrived and began leading people from the waiting area back into the examination room. He lined them all up and began counseling the woman who was first in line about the risks of getting a tummy tuck. Andrew interrupted the doctor and told him that I had been there first, and my situation was a bit more urgent than someone wanting her tummy tucked. The doctor replied that he had not seen me in the waiting room when he came in and so I had to go to the back of the line and wait my turn. That was when Brett physically grabbed the doctor and forced him to come over to the table I was laying on and look at me. Andrew, cute as a button, but not very big, jumped between Brett and the doctor trying to keep Brett from killing the doctor before he could treat me. Meanwhile, I lay on the examining table, barely conscious, with my left hand grotesquely swollen from the copperhead venom, my body in anaphylactic shock, barely conscious and struggling to breathe. And that dream faded out as well.

Dang. I wonder what Dr Phil would make of me.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

This Doesn't Fit Me At All




You Are Barbeque Sauce



You are a social person. You enjoy cooking for other people.

You are both skillful and competitive. You enjoy mastering hard tasks.

You appreciate complexity more than simplicity.



Your taste in food tends to lean toward interesting flavors.

You appreciate exotic spice combinations. You tend to like cutting edge, fusion cuisine.

You get along with all personalities from a distance. Except salsa personalities, who always seem to annoy you.



I am definitely not a social person, and I don't much like cooking--not for anyone. I'm all about simplicity. The simpler, the better. My tastes in food are definitely not exotic or interesting. I could pretty much eat the same thing day after day. After day.

After day...

Monday, July 21, 2008

Conversations With Cody

The Preschool Years

I was working the 3-11 PM shift back then, when Cody was 3. I dropped him off at his babysitters house, where her teenage daughter was doing her geometry homework. Cody picked up a plastic shape and proudly declared,

"Triangle!"

Never one to pass up a teaching moment, I replied, "Yes, that's right. That's a triangle. Do you know what makes it a triangle?"

Cody, without hesitation, confidently answered, "God."

"Well, I don't suppose I could argue with that."

.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Knitting Pictures and Old Podcasts

Though I spent most of the afternoon gazing longingly after my lace shawl


as it lay on the arm of my chair, I was good and worked on my Nutkin sock.

I got a few more pattern repeats done even after I took this picture, and am almost ready to start the heel.

Then it will be back to lace knitting.


I found a site that hosts podcasts of old time radio shows. My dad was born in 1926, and these are the shows he grew up with. When I was a child, the NPR station run from Lamar University in Beaumont, Tx used to play a lot of these old radio shows. I loved The Shadow, and The Lone Ranger, Fibber McGee and Molly, Gunsmoke. I've subscribed to all of these, and there are plenty more on that site.

Other than that, not much went on today.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Saturday Sky

Gray and gloomy, and raining when this picture was taken. I spent most of the evening trying to catch up on blog reading and Ravelry posts. I didn't get completely through, but if you read my blog, you can be assured that I've kept up with yours.

No more dreams. At least for now. My dream last night wasn't nearly as interesting as the previous two nights.

That's all for now.

Friday, July 18, 2008

And So It Goes

again with the dreams.

I had gone to my grandparents' house, only to find that they were no longer there, and the house had been converted into a day care center. It was owned by a woman and a man whom I'll refer to as John Doe and Jane Doe. (Actually, I know these people in real life, but don't want to reveal their identities.) About the time I got there, all the kids began arriving for the day. I played with them in what used to be the living room all morning. After a while it came time for the three year olds to go out into the fenced in back yard and play. John was going to take them outside, and I decided to go with them.

The children got outside and instead of running and playing, they all just stood staring. I walked up behind them to see what they were looking at.

"What is it?" I asked.

"Look," replied one of the children.

I looked, and there in the corner of the yard was an alligator. Not a small one as in the last dream. This one was fully grown--and in the 10 foot long range. Big monster. Big. Fully capable of killing an adult, and certainly capable of killing a child. John, who had been standing behind the children turned and headed for the door.

"Go back inside, kids," I said. "Now." The children began backing slowly towards the steps that lead up to the open door, beside which John was already standing. At that point, the alligator charged.

"Come on, kids! Hurry!" called John, not moving from his spot by the door. But I, I jumped in between the alligator and the children and thrust my foot into its mouth, to draw its attention away from the kids. It grabbed me by the leg and began shaking me violently. I think the only thing that saved my life was that there was no water nearby. If he could have gotten me into the water, well, that is his world. As it was, on dry land with no access to water, the alligator, though strong, was awkward and clumsy.

Once all the children were safely inside, John also went inside and closed the door, leaving me outside with the alligator. Somehow, I managed to escape and when I got back inside the house, John and Jane were in the kitchen. Jane was sitting at the kitchen table, wringing her hands and saying, "What are we going to do?" They both looked at me, and Jane again said, "What are we going to do?"

"I don't know what you're going to do," I said, "but I know what I'm going to do." I picked up my cell phone and dialed 911. When the operator answered, I explained the situation to her, that I was at someone's home day care and a large alligator had gotten into the fenced yard and we had kids there and someone needed to come get this alligator out of the yard.

"Well, we don't really handle that sort of thing," the operator answered. "What you need to do is..."

At that moment, John chose to begin bragging in a very loud voice about how he had saved the children that were being attacked by the alligator, so I didn't hear what the operator was saying. Giving John a dirty look, I pressed the phone closer to my ear and stuck my finger in my free ear, to block out the sound of his bragging.

"What was that? I didn't hear you," I told the operator, but there was silence on the other end of the line. She'd hung up. The 911 operator had hung up on me. Disgusted, I closed the phone and tossed it onto the table.

"What did she say?" asked Jane.

"I don't know," I said. "All I heard was..." and I repeated what John had said.

Jane began wringing her hands again. "What are we going to do?" she asked again, looking at me. I understood then that what she really meant was, "What are you going to do?"

Both John and Jane made it perfectly clear that they certainly didn't intend to do anything. They both looked at me expectantly. Resolutely, I walked to the back door, bruised and bleeding though I was from the previous attack, yet knowing that somebody had to do something. I hitched up my britches and headed out into the yard to face this alligator that was threatening the children.

Alone.

I almost wish I hadn't woken up at that point. I will always wonder what it was I did.

.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Gully and The Alligator

I grew up on a dead end street. Thanks to the magic of Google Earth, I can show you my street:

Yes, that is my actual street. Well, my childhood street, not the one I live on now.

My house is the third one from the right, on the South side of the street, which is at the bottom of this picture:

Across the street from my childhood home is an empty field, and beyond that is a shallow, muddy waterway that went only by the name of The Gully.


During periods of heavy rain, The Gully would fill and the field would flood. During periods of really heavy rain, the dead end of the street would flood as well. If it had rained really, really hard, the street could stay flooded for several days. This was always great fun for us kids, until the parents began to be concerned about snakes.

"Stay out of the water. There might be snakes," they would say. It didn't work on me. You tell me there might be snakes and that's the first place I'm heading. I wanted to see the snakes. But I digress....

I often regress to my childhood days in my dreams, and so it was Monday night. I was back in my childhood era, in my childhood home, but I was not a child. I was grown and Katie and Rylea were there with me. The field across the street had flooded, and I was wading barefoot through the ankle deep water, when I saw something moving just beneath the surface. Curious, I went closer and saw that it was a young alligator, about four feet long.

"Hey, look! It's an alligator," I called!

Attracted by my call and the splashing, both dogs came to investigate. They began barking and snapping at the alligator. I yelled at the dogs to get back, and Katie--being the well trained dog she is--immediately obeyed me. Rylea, however, being at that doggy teenager stage of I-know-everything -and -don't- need -Mom -to-tell -me-what-to -do kept worrying the little alligator.

"Rylea," I yelled! "That alligator is going to eat you!" Now Rylea is a good size dog, but not so big an alligator couldn't take her. I know we joke about chihuahuas and poodles, but I've heard/read accounts of alligators taking dogs as big as German Shepherds. One of my best childhood friends lost her 7 year old Golden Retriever to an alligator. Rylea isn't that big, so naturally I had cause to be concerned.

She and the gator continued snapping and worrying at each other. The fight had worked its way over into my driveway, and no sooner had I yelled, "That alligator is going to eat you!" than the alligator chomped down on Rylea's head. I ran into the fray and grabbed the gator, which let go of Rylea and turned on me. I jumped back, and the alligator, seeing it had an escape route, high tailed it back towards the water as fast as it could.

Rylea lay motionless on the driveway. Her neck was twisted in such a way that I knew it was broken, and her head was caved in on one side. Strange that there was no blood.

"Oh, Rylea," I mourned as I looked down at my little dog, but right away, she jumped up, shook herself and her neck snapped back into place, her head re-inflated itself, and she trotted off, right as rain.

At that time, there was an Italian family visiting my next door neighbor, whose name is Shirley. The Italian man and his two sons heard the commotion and came outside to see what was going on. They had never seen anything like the little alligator, and so decided that they were going to take it home with them as a souvenir. I tried to dissuade them.

"It's an endangered species."
"How are you going to get onto the airplane?"
"It'll never survive the trip."

But they were adamant. They threw a piece of canvas over the alligator and wrapped him up. Desperate, I tried one last tactic. I knelt down and put my hands on the alligator and looked the man straight in the eye, and said,

"It is illegal in this state to possess an alligator for any reason, no matter how short a time, so right now you are in violation of Texas state law." But since Italians tend to have no respect for either the law or a woman's opinion, the man just looked at me. He and his older son picked up the canvas wrapped gator and, with the younger son trailing along behind, carried it to my neighbor's house. I followed, along with a crowd of curious people who had gathered to watch the spectacle. The three disappeared through Shirley's front door. Silence, then a blood curdling shriek--which turned out to be my alarm going off and someone trying to sing.

Whatever has happened to country music these days?

Last night, I dreamed I was in a school, eating up all the poor orphaned chocolate so that the social workers wouldn't have to worry about finding chocolate foster homes to place it into.

Is it any wonder I never seem to get any rest?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Karate Update

It's been a while since I mentioned karate class, though I'm still going. I've been in a bit of a slump here lately--just lacking motivation. I think the long hours we are pulling at work have a lot to do with that.

Monday night is--well, I can't really call it black belt class any more. It's black and brown belt class now. Might as well just call it advanced class. Anyhow, Monday night was a true black belt class as there were only black belts there. Barrett was there, and when I walked in, he remarked that this was the first time he and I had been to class at the same time since March. Bout right. Josh was also there.

We started off running through Wansu, Kusanku, and Sunsu kata to warm up. Then we did Tokumine no Kun, and after that Urashi. When we had completed Urashi, I said to sensei, "I forgot a li'l bit of it." I'd messed up in a couple of spots, but just minor things. We ran through it again anyway and I got it right the second time. The rest of the class was spent learning (or re-learning in my case) straight line Tokumine. That is like Tokumine no Kun, except that you stay facing the same direction the whole time. It is really good to work it that way with a partner doing bunkai. Sensei was my uke, and we went over it a few times. I kept whacking sensei's hands, but not on purpose. It is much more fun and easier to stay motivated when you are learning new stuff. You feel like you are growing.

Tonight was just me and two new students. Sensei worked with them on learning the basics, while I did all of my kata off to the side. And I did ALL of them. All 12 (8 empty hand and 4 weapons kata), and I did my weapons kata twice. Each. That's like 16 kata. That in itself is a pretty good workout. When sensei gave the white belts a break, we went over straight line Tokumine a couple of times, then I left early.

My friend at work is pregnant. Get this, she got married and had a baby. Then she had another. She wanted more children, but couldn't seem to get pregnant again. Eventually she stopped even thinking about it. Next thing she knew, she was 45 and pregnant. Tomorrow is her baby shower, but I didn't find out until today, so I had to run by Wal-mart and pick up a gift bag and all that. I already had a gift. I'm going to give her this:

January 14, 2006

I finished it quite a while ago, and it has been waiting in the gift drawer for just the right time.

The time is now.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Two Socks and a Sunset

is about all I have time for today.

I knit this and this
Sunday afternoon while watching golf. *ahem*

Took the sunset picture Sunday night.


That's how far behind I am.

P.S. Buck, I'm not through with you, either. I'll get back to you when I have more time.

Monday, July 14, 2008

If I Could Write A Letter To Me

and send it back in time to myself at 17.

So beings a recent country hit by Brad Paisley. In the song, Mr. Paisley writes a letter to his younger self, giving his 17 year old self advice on such topics such as teenage breakups, avoiding traffic tickets, dates, passing Algebra, and the like.

It got me thinking, what advice would I give myself if I could go back in time? I wouldn't write to my 17 year old self for one thing. Frankly, there are just more important decisions to be made than whether you are going to the bonfire rally or not. Instead, I chose to write to my 18 year old self. More specifically, I wrote to the self who was leaving home and going off to college, and on my own for the first time. Here is what I had to say to myself:

Dear 18 year old self,

This is both an exciting and scary time in you life--this passing from childhood in to the world of adults. Enjoy every minute of it. Savor it. Treasure it. Before you know it, you will be looking back over your life wondering where the time went. I hope these words of advice I'm about to give you will make things just a little easier for you.

The first thing I want to say, and this is without a doubt the most important think anyone will ever say to you, is that your childhood was not normal. No, it wasn't and it was not OK. What happened to you was not "just the way things were done back then." In a few weeks you will meet someone named Glynn. Yes, he is arrogant and obnoxious, but when he suggests you get counseling, listen to him. Somewhere inside you is a beautiful, vibrant woman crying to be set free. Don't be too proud to admit that you need help doing that. Get counseling. Now. If you wait another 10 or 15 years, she will be gone forever and you will never know who you were meant to be.

Secondly, don't listen to your Daddy. Yeah, I know. I never though I'd say that to a teenage girl, but just this once, don't listen to him. If photography is what you love, then major in it. Maybe you will have to derive the bulk of your income from studio portraiture, but even that beats the heck out of what you do for a living now.

When it comes time for you to declare a major, go ahead and transfer to that other university. In ten years time, those friends--you know, the ones you couldn't bear to leave--they will all be gone and you will be stuck barely scraping out a living in a miserable job that you despise.

Oh, and while we are on the subject of friends, don't be so mean to Patti all the time. Twenty years down the road, she will be the only one who has stuck by you. That's right. When you become me, Patti will be the only one who will still be there for you. All the rest, they won't even send you Christmas cards any more.

Finally, if you ignore everything else I've said so far, do not ignore this. When you are leaving to drive home after that long weekend at the beach, and that still, small voice whispers into your heart to hug your dad, hug your dad. Yeah, I know you are not a huggy family and it may feel awkward, but hug your dad. No, he won't think you are crazy, and even if he does, hug your dad. No, don't tell me you will do it next time, hug your dad now.

There won't be a next time.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Getting to Know you Contest Questionnaire:

Knitty Otter is having a contest on her blog. To enter, just fill out the following questionnaire and post a link to it in the comments of her blog.


Getting to Know you Contest Questionnaire:

1.) How long have you been knitting?

Since early 2000. I remember that because one of my very first projects, other than the ubiquitous garter stitch scarf, was a sweater and hat set for my oldest nephew for his very first Christmas. He was born in March 2000.

2.) How long have you been knitting socks?

About a year and a half. Here is my very first pair.

3.) What do you do with a problem like Maria?

Stick her in a cheesy movie and make yourself millions of dollars.

4.) What is your all time favorite sock yarn?

Hard to say since I haven't really tried all that many. I'm really liking the way my Cherry Tree Hill Supersock socks are turning out, though. I also like Austermann step, if only they had better colors.

5.) Toe Up or Cuff Down?

I know both, but prefer cuff down.

6.) What's your favorite color (this week or for all time)? Do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer? Any colors you just can't stand?

Teal. Looking at my yarn stash, you'd think I prefer reds/oranges. I think that's just because there are so few of the right teals out there. I can't stand the browny oranges and greens that look somewhat like vomit.

7.) Do you have a pet(s)?

Why yes. I have two dogs, Katie and Rylea, one ornery cat, Squeaky, and seven snakes: Scarlett, Monty, Blaze, Slider, Sunset, Snow, and Onyx Aloysius (he's the only one who needs a middle name.)

8.) Babies: Oven Roasted or Barbecued?

Why is fried not an option?

9.) Besides socks what is your favorite type of thing to knit?

I'm a lace knittin fool here lately.

10.) What's your favorite scent?

Sweet feed and saddle leather. But when you have to go with store boughten scents, I guess a vanilla will do.

11.) What music are you really loving right now? Like a song or a band?

Here lately, I've been listening to my son's band videos on YouTube. Maybe I'm just missing him.

12.) How many pairs of socks have you hand knit?

Twenty pairs. Wow, I didn't realize I'd done so many.

13.) What's your favorite treat? Salty or Sweet?

Sweet, all the way. Ice cream is the absolute best.

14.) What was the most interesting thing you smelled yesterday. Not good or bad necessarily, just the thing that stuck out most so that you actually took notice of it.

I would have to say my supervisor's cologne/aftershave or whatever it was. He always dresses nice (he can, because he doesn't have to actually work) and smells good.

15.) Needles - DPN's: Wooden, metal or plastic?

Knitpicks Nickel plated, unless I'm casting on lace. Then they shoop right out of my project. For my next lace project, I'm going to try the Harmony DPNs.

16.) What is your favorite sock pattern that you've knit? What do you recommend?

Yukon Leaves. I don't know what it is about this pattern, but they were my favorite to knit, and are my favorite to wear.

17.) The last Question: If you were stuck on a deserted island who would you want with you, what knitting would you want with you and would you ever want to leave?

Hmmm, that's a hard one. Long time readers will think they know the answer, but in a real life situation, I think I would want someone who knows more about survival in the wilderness than him. I'll have to think on that some more. For knitting, I would want a never ending supply of cotton. Not only could I knit with it, but I could make fish nets, tie stuff together, and make hammocks. We're talking survival, baby, not recreation. Would I ever want to leave? Definitely. I don't think I could go that long without a shower, or a teeth brushing.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Busy Saturday

I had planned on getting up fairly early and going on a photo safari for the Summer Photography Project, except that they came around and asked for volunteers to work today. I couldn't pass up 8 hours of overtime, especially since it will all be going away soon. We ended up only working 7 hours, because something broke somewhere, and they wouldn't have gotten it fixed before time to get off anyway. So they let us all come home.

I did get a couple of photos taken. Here is one for the topic Light, which will also do double duty as today's Saturday Sky shot. No photoshopping done on this one, just a simple crop.


I listened to some podcasts, and wound my Dallas Cowboys yarn. DeMarcus approves. He thinks there is too much white, too, but overall, he approves. Now to find an appropriate pattern.

I decided what shawl I will knit with the Iris Heather Alpaca Cloud. It'll become a Queen Anne's Lace. Gorgeous, isn't it? The bad news is, now that I've chosen the pattern, I am itching to cast on. Only if I cast on the QAL, poor Rona might fall by the wayside. The good news is, I don't have the right size needles--either DPNs or circulars--to knit the QAL with. So I will have to order some. I'm going to hold off until the Gloss Lace Mermaid I want is available in September. That ought to give me time to just about finish Rona.




Looky what came in today's mail!


Yes, it is a Dallas Cowboys windbreaker. It was a freebie, too. See, what happened is this: Cody has subscribed to Sports Illustrated for Kids for years. Every issue that arrives I snatch away from him and devour it myself. I've wanted to subscribe to Sports Illustrated for myself, but what was holding me back was the swimsuit issue. I don't want that trash coming to my house. Last year, the model on the cover--on the cover, mind you, right out in the magazine racks where all our kids can see them (and face it, I don't really want to be leering at near-naked women myself)--was topless. Topless, I'm telling you. I liked to have fell over right there in Wal-mart.

Well, I wanted the magazine, and with football season fast approaching (most teams start training camp this month), I went ahead and subscribed. The jacket was free with your paid subscription. But what'll I do about the swimsuit issue? I've got it all figured out. On the day it is expected, I'll just carry a lighter to the mailbox and burn the garbage right there in the road.

One more photo project photo: Furry.



I'm off to browse sock patterns...

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Honorable Mentions

When I was making up my What I Love About America post, sometimes I had trouble deciding what to list for each letter. Some letters had more than one option, and I ended up with some difficult decisions to make. Some things got cut from the list because I didn't have sources to cite, and I didn't really want to reference as: "I remember reading in some magazine or somewhere several years ago". Other items had to give way to more important concepts, such as The Bill Of Rights.

Still, I felt that these deserved mentioning, so I gave them their own post. Here they are, other things I love about America;

A--Air Conditioning: Modern Air Conditioners were invented by New Yorker Willis Haviland Carrier. Where would we be without it?

B--Baseball, Basketball: Both games are very popular in America. Though baseball's true origins are not entirely known, the modern version of the game definitely developed here. Basketball was invented by Dr. James Naismith in Springfield Massachusetts.

E--Electricity: Ben Franklin, the kite, and all that.

F--Foreign Aid: I remember reading in a magazine some years ago (probably World magazine) that the U.S. gives more foreign aid than all other countries put together. I'm mighty proud of that.

G--The Grand Canyon: It's pretty grand, at that. I've never been there. I want to go.

H--Hollywood: From movies to television to the idiotic antics of some of its residents, Hollywood never ceases to provide us with endless entertainment.

J--Jobs: When I lived in Italy, the unemployment rate hovered at around 15%. Here, we grouse if it gets above 4%. We ought to be more appreciative that there are so many jobs available here.

T--Television, Telephones: These I lumped together under the topic of Technology.

Y--Yosemite: A fantastic national park, but it had to give way to Yellowstone.

Z--Zee: As opposed to saying "zed", which always makes me think of a blackhead. You know, a zit.

So there you have them, my list of other things I love about America. They may not have made the final cut, but they are definitely worth a mention.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

It's Here! It's Here! It's Here!

The $60 worth of yarn I bought in my sleep deprived state of reduced inhibitions arrived at Chez Becky today!

First we have Shimmer, an alpaca silk blend in the color Sunkissed:

I don't have a project picked out for this one, but I couldn't resist. The problem I have with Shimmer is that all the colors are variegated. I love the yarn. I love the softness of the alpaca with the sheen of the silk. I just wish it came in solid colors.

Next up is Alpaca Cloud, 100% alpaca yarn. This is the color Tide Pool Heather.

I love all things teal, so naturally this fit right into my basket.

Finally, we have Shadow in the color Snorkel. This is 100% Merino wool yarn.

I thought I'd use this one for the Mystic Waters shawl. I'd originally wanted to use Gloss Lace in the color Mermaid, but it was backordered until August. When I checked on it last week, I found that the expected date for it to be in had been pushed back until September. So in a sleep deprived huff, I ordered the Snorkel instead. Now, whether I end up using the Mermaid or the Snorkel depends on how fast I finish my current shawl. If I finish before Mermaid is available, I'll use the Snorkel. If I don't, I'll order the Mermaid. I'm on round 87 of 154, but as the shawl gets bigger, the rounds get longer.

Finally, as I noticed how well the pictures were turning out, I dug out the old Iris Heather Alpaca Cloud I'd gotten a while back.

This picture is much more color accurate than the first one I posted.

Oh, and I ordered a set of Harmony DPNs. I think the wooden needles will be much easier to cast on with than the slicker 'n snot nickel plated ones. Besides that, they're kinda pretty.

Don't you think?

When I Grow Up

This is me in a few more years:

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Random Things

Last week, they posted a notice at work saying no more overtime would be scheduled. When we got to work yesterday, one of my co-workers was telling me how disappointed he was. He really needed that overtime, he said. Not to worry, I replied. It won't last long. Sure enough, before the day was out, they were coming around telling us to come in early. We are back on 9 hour shifts. At least we don't have to go in at 5.


I took Katie to the vet for her annual shots and checkup visit. She is in great shape for a 13 year old dog. Well, she'll be 13 in November. She has lost a bit of weight, but the vet said that is normal at her age. We went ahead and got some blood work done on her, to make sure her organs were still functioning well, and all that was ok, too. I got some different kind of flea stuff for all of them. The Top Spot just didn't seem to be working as well, and the vet said that she thought the fleas were starting to build up some resistance to it. We are trying them on something called Pro Meris. It has a much stronger smell than Top Spot. So much stronger that I had to put the dogs outside for a while until the odor dissipated.


I found a bunch of free Italian language lesson podcasts on iTunes. I'd learned quite a bit of Italian when I was stationed over there, but have forgotten most of it in the 15 years since I've been back. I was hoping to brush up my Italian. I've subscribed to several of the podcasts, but will most likely weed out all but two or three. One of them keeps making a dialog box pop up asking for a pass word. I don't know which one it is, but when I find out, it'll be the first one eliminated.


Rylea bites her nails. I mentioned this to the vet while I was in there with Katie, and she said some dogs do. I've just never seen it. I don't mind. It saves me the headache of having to trim them myself.

I haven't been to Ravelry in 10 days now. It's amazing how much more time I find when I don't go over there. I'm thinking I may not go back at all, but I know that won't last. I need access to my queue too much.

That's all the randomness I have for today.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Back To Work

The first day back to work after a long weekend is always hard. Today, I got in my car to leave, turned the key, and heard that clunky noise that usually signals a dead battery. What threw me, though, was that I couldn't get my key to turn back to the off position so that I could take it out. About that time, J drove up. He'd been working the night shift, so he whizzed me on to work and said he'd check out my car.

He jumped it, and it started right away, but when he turned it off and tried to start it again, everything went dead. So he took the battery in and had it tested. It was dead. It was really dead. It was so dead that the switch thing that made my key let go didn't even have enough juice to let my key go. He looked at the date on the battery, and it was 2003. It just didn't have any more get up and go. He bought a new battery (I paid him back when I got home), and the car is good to go.

In other news, important if you live in coastal areas, Bertha became the season's first hurricane, reaching Cat 3 sometime today. That means her sustained winds are between 111 and 130 MPH.

There is a slight chance she could make land fall in the U.S., but only slight.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Knitting And Olympics

I had to rip back to my lifeline this afternoon--only four rounds, thank goodness. But I thought that while I had the needles out, I'd spread a bit of the shawl out and show you how it is coming.


Not much else to talk about, unless you want to hear about the Olympic Trials. I did learn one thing watching them. The U.S. is only allowed to send two swimmers per event to the Olympics. Seems American athletes were dominating the sport too much. By restricting the U.S. to only two swimmers, one other country can at least hope for a bronze.

At least, that's what the commentator said.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Saturday Sky

Because the sky looked like this all weekend, though it never really rained hard, it gave me good excuse to stay indoors and knit. I got some 20 something rounds done on my Rona shawl. I'd finished the first nutkin sock several days ago, but am just now getting around to posting a picture of it. I haven't cast on the second one yet.

I also got this in the mail:

Sock yarn in what is supposed to be Dallas Cowboys colors. Chestnut Bay Fibers is starting a sock club in sports team colors. When I mentioned that a sock club would not be the best thing for me, she offered to dye some Dallas Cowboys sock yarn as a special order. I hadn't really intended to order any, but something in our conversation she took as just that. Once she'd actually dyed the yarn, I sort of felt obligated to buy it. It looks better in person, but there is too much white in the yarn. Still, it's not bad yarn.

Despite the rain, I did manage to get out and take a couple more photos for the Summer Photography challenge.

Summer Rain



Farm Animal



And Red Button

In the Strange Dream Department: I dreamed last night that I went to work in a t-shirt and shoes. That's it. No pants. No underpants. I kept wondering why they didn't send me home, but it appeared that nobody even noticed.

Sheesh...
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Friday, July 04, 2008

What I Love About America From A to Z

A--Aviation: The Wright Brothers built the first feasible aircraft, and flew it on December 17, 1903 at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.


B--Bill of Rights:

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Amendment II

A well regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.

Amendment III

No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment V

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Amendment VI

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

Amendment VII

In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Amendment VIII

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Amendment IX

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment X

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people



C--Constitution:

September 17, 1787

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.


D--Declaration of Independence: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. (emphasis mine)


E--Equality: the Declaration Of Independence correctly states that all men are created equal. Every person in this country starts life of equal value and worth as a human being. What he does with that equality, well, that's his own doing.


F--Football: From pee wee leagues to the pros, this is truly America's game.


G--Guns: The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. There is a reason our founding fathers placed this right so high. It was the second amendment, not the 15th or the 23rd. The right for a citizen to defend himself and his family is paramount. Without this right, morally upright and law abiding citizens would be at the mercy of those who respect neither the law, nor their fellow man--and that includes those in the government as well.


H--Health Care: The U.S. has some of the best health care anywhere, and it is available to everyone. Everyone! You want to go see your doctor? Just get up and go. No need to apply to a government bureaurocracy to request medical treatment. No need to hope and pray that they deem you worthy to fund your doctor visit. No waiting lists that you hope you live long enough to make it to the top of. Just go! But wait, you may argue. What about those who can't afford health insurance? You'd be sruprised at how many people who "can't afford" health insurance somehow find the money to pay for cable/satellite TV (the premium package), high speed internet, multiple automobiles, an x-box and/or a playstation or two, designer clothes and multiple cell phones. It's not so much a matter of money is it is of priorities.


I--Internet: Despite what Al Gore claims, the internet was actually invented by the U.S. Department of Defense.


J--Jazz: A uniquely American style of music, Jazz is popular all over the world.


K--Knitting and Karate: Though neither originated here, both are enjoying immense popularity in the U.S.


L--Land: More specifically, the wondrous variety of land found here: from mountains to deserts, forests to prairies, America has it all.


M--Military: The finest military anywhere, it's biggest strength is that it is all volunteer. No one is conscripted. No one is forced to serve. No, these men and women are here because they love their country and they love freedom. They love it enough to lay down their very lives to defend it.


N--National Parks: From the National Park Service website: In nearly 400 national parks and every hometown. It covers everything from the remnants of ancient civilizations to the boyhood homes of U.S. Presidents to the stirring sagas of hard-fought wars to the reverberations of one woman refusing to give up her seat on a bus. History is a part of who we were, who we are, and who we will be.


O--Opportunity: America has long been known as the land of opportunity. Face it, there aren't too many other places were a homeless man, or a child born into poverty to unwed teenager parents can become millionaires or heck, even billionaires.


P--Poverty: “Overall, the typical American defined as poor by the government has a car (31% of poor’ households own two cars), air conditioning, a refrigerator, a stove, a clothes washer and dryer, and a microwave. He has two color televisions, cable or satellite TV reception, a VCR, or DVD player, and a stereo. He is able to obtain medical care. His home is in good repair and is not overcrowded. By his own report, his family is not hungry, and he had sufficient funds in the past year to meet his family’s essential needs... A third of poor’ households have both cell and land-line telephones....” —Robert Rector . In other words, if I had to be poor, there's no other country I'd rather be poor in.


Q--Quality of Life: The United States has one of the highest standards of living in the world. See the above entry.


R--Rattlesnakes: Unique among the snake world for that little buzzer on their tails, rattlesnakes are a symbol of America, and of American Independence.


S--Space Program: From the Space Race of the Cold War Era to the Space Shuttles of today, America's space program brings out a bit of the pioneer in all of us.

T--Technology: From Alexander Graham Bell, to Thomas Edison, to Henry Ford , American inventors have some up with some amazing feats.


U--Universal Health Care: I'm thankful we aren't forced to endure the government rationing of health care: “Did you know that when a patient is diagnosed with cancer in the United States, it takes an average of four weeks to begin treatment? It’s 10 months in the United Kingdom. It’s called ‘rationing of care.’ That’s what you get with national health care. When government rations the care, that means bureaucrats are making medical decisions.” —Sen. Tom Coburn. And of course, whether you receive treatment at all depends on whether some government Bureaucrat decided if you "rate" treatment. That may be ok with some of you, but as for me, my medical decisions will be between me and my doctor. Period.


V--Variety: There are all kinds of people living here from all different ethnic backgrounds, religious persuasions, tastes, and interests. Some like chocolate, some like vanilla, some don't like ice cream at all. The variety among the people is tremendous, but despite those among us who would be divisive, we have all come together to form one people--the American People.


W--Washington D. C.: Our nation's capital, Washington D.C. is full of history and beauty. I'm going to go back there someday.


X--Xerox: Yes, the humble Xerox is an American invention. I'm glad, too. X words are hard to find. If it weren't for Xerox, I'd have had to go with X-box.


Y--Yellowstone National Park: America's oldest national park, Yellowstone has always been a place of fascination to me. Cody's been there. I haven't. I'm going to go eventually.


Z--Zoos: From the San Diego Zoo, to the Memphis Zoo, to the National Zoo in Washington D.C. America has an abundance of zoos, and they are great places to visit.



**Unless otherwise referenced, all quotes are from the Patriot Post website.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Trauma

I had a rather traumatic experience at work yesterday. I was going to post about it last night, but the memory was still too fresh. I just wasn't ready.

For those of you who don't know, I work in a facility that manufactures evaporator coils for home air conditioning units. Normally, I am a brazer. I use an acetylene torch and a Teflon/tin alloy brazing rod to assemble copper components. Since the beginning of the housing slump, many of us have been moved to different positions within the plant, and are thankful that we still have jobs. Here lately, I've been running a straight tube cut-off machine. It does exactly what it sounds like it does. It cuts off straight pieces of copper tubing, which are then sent to a different machine and so on down the line. At the time of the incident, I was running copper tubing that was 7/8" in diameter with a wall thickness of .045". The cut edges of this copper can be very sharp. I've cut my hands on them before. Nothing serious, but enough to make me cautious.

Yesterday, Johnny had called maintenance out to look at the cutter because something in the machine was scratching the copper. Ricky was the one who came out and was working on the machine.

He'd been fiddling with stuff for several moments when the cutter stopped feeding the copper. I walked back to where the feed cylinder had hung up on a bit of dented copper. I was watching it, wondering if it would feed on through the machine, or if I would have to pull the copper out and cut the bad spot off. It finally began to feed forward, and as I watched the cylinder move I saw out of the corner of my eye Ricky putting his hands inside the cutter between the final clamp and the exit tube. I didn't even have time to react. About the time I yelled, "hey!" in warning, Ricky yelled in pain--only "hey" is not what he said. He reached with his right hand and hit the emergency stop button, while his left hand remained trapped inside the machine. He then reached in with his right hand and began pushing the copper tubing back so that he could free his left hand. I thought for a moment that I could pull the copper out from the back of the machine, but I was afraid that if I pulled too hard, or twisted the copper in any way, I could do more harm than good. Truth is, I was afraid that if his finger was hanging by just a bit of skin, I could yank it all the way off if I'd yanked too hard on the copper. So, I just let Ricky take care of it.

He was almost done when he pulled his right hand away and wiped his fingers off, then reached back into the machine. It scared me. I was sure he was reaching in to pick up his finger from the bottom of the machine. But no, he was just clearing the copper. His finger was still attached to his hand, thank goodness.

When Ricky was finally able to free his left hand from the cutter, I could see that his left index finger was badly cut. Really badly. It makes my own finger all squiggly just thinking about it. He went to the first aid room, and they sent him on to the hospital, where it was determined that Ricky had severed the tendons in his finger. He would need surgery to reconstruct them.

The E.R. doctor has forwarded Ricky's case file to the Medical Disbursement Services Agency already. He's made a pretty good case for Ricky, stating that without corrective surgery he'll have permanent loss of use in that finger. They ought to authorize the surgery. You would think they would, but you know how government agencies are. They may decide that it's just one finger, on his non-dominant hand. He doesn't really need it. I don't know. Maybe they'll give approval for him to have the reconstruction. I hope so. Of course, he's also got to pass his background checks and medical history screenings first, to determine if he's got any pre-existing conditions, genetic pre-dispositions, family histories, or other risk factors that would disqualify him from receiving medical treatment.

Then comes the biggie: The financial appropriations committee. Even if the passes the medical screenings and background checks, this department could still decide not to appropriate funds for his surgery. They may decide that someone else would be a better choice to allocate those funds to. We can only hope and pray that they approve funding for Ricky's surgery. All we can do now is wait. It usually takes 90 days for medical service requests to pass through the agency, but if they have a backlog of cases, it could take longer. It's a good thing Ricky had the foresight to take out Long Term Disability insurance, because they told him he couldn't go back to work until they'd reviewed his case. They don't want him to take a chance on damaging his finger further. Of course, if he is approved for surgery, he won't be able to come back to work until he's had the operation. He's lucky that he got hurt when he did. I checked last night and the waiting list for Non-Critical Orthopedic Reconstructive Procedures is only 12-14 months long right now. That's great that he will be able to have his surgery done so soon. With any luck, Ricky could be back to work in a year and a half, two years tops.

Don't you just love having universal health care coverage?


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Yeah, right! He had the surgery this morning, and will be back to work next week.

Don't you just love AMERICA!!!



*The events in this story are based on an actual experience. Ricky did cut his finger yesterday at work. He did have reconstructive surgery today, and will be back to work (barring complications) next week, or at the latest, the week after. I was amazed at how quickly Ricky's surgery had gotten scheduled. While pondering the efficiency of it all, I began wondering how differently things would have turned out had he been injured with America under a system of socialized medicine. Thus, this story was born from my musings. From the various things I've heard and read about socialized medicine, my vision may be closer to the truth than you might think.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Karate

I haven't written a karate update in a while, because, frankly, there just hasn't been that much to talk about. Sensei has added a Wednesday class from 5:30-6:30, so I've been going on Mondays and Wednesdays since we started working 10 hour shifts.

This week, Mr. Eiffling from the Greenville dojo came in on Monday to work out with us. His wife's family lives here, so he comes fairly often. He got there around 6:00, and we worked out until 8:00. That's when I left. Sensei had told me that if I needed to go, to just go, but I didn't want to miss anything. Mr. Eiffling's knowledge of Isshinryu is simply amazing. I finally leave at 8:00, though the rest of them stayed and sparred a bit.

Tonight was just me and Joshua. Sensei had worked nearly around the clock at his regular job. He said they'd let too many people off for the Holiday, so those who were left had to fill in. He came in about halfway through class, but was too tired to teach any. So Josh and I piddled around with some self defense. Then we just sat down and talked. And talked. About everything from mortgages to student loans to band to the local private school. We were never at a loss for words. There were never any awkward moments of silence. We just talked.

It's almost frustrating in a way. I can talk to Josh, but there are so many other people out there that I'd like to be able to talk to that way as well. I just never seem to know what to say.

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