Sunday, August 31, 2008

I Finished It!!!

The lace shawl is finished! Well, except for weaving in the ends and blocking it.


I'll weave in the ends later today, but I'll need to wait until I can gain access to a canine-free spot big enough to block it. I'd planned on using one of my cousin's spare rooms, but she's got a house full of evacuees right now. I felt almost a bit of sadness as I bound off the last stitch and cut the yarn. This shawl has been a part of my life for so long, now that I'm floundering just a bit without having it to work on. Not to worry, though. I'll find something. Maybe those socks that have been plaguing my existence for the last few weeks...

In case you haven't seen it, this one's been making the rounds the last couple of weeks.


I thought it was funny when I first saw it, but now, not so much. It just seems kind of silly. I guess I've got more important things on my mind right now.

Hello Gustav.

The storm inches ever closer. People have already begun evacuating. Several churches in the area have opened shelters, including ours. If the storm continues on its projected path, we won't get too much of it here. However, it appears to be headed in the direction of my hometown in Texas.


It has weakened a bit, but the weather wise say that once it hits that warm waters of the Gulf, it could strengthen again. Even so, it is still a dangerous storm and not one to be trifled with. People seemed to have learned the lesson of Katrina. They're not taking this one lightly.

In church this morning, a young man sang an absolutely beautiful song. I don't know if he planned it this way, but it turned to be incredibly appropriate for these times. The last line is especially moving:

The anchor holds in spite of the storm.

Indeed, it does.

.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Football Saturday!

Football season is finally here! Though some games were played as early as Thursday, the majority of teams had their first games today.

In their 2008 season opener, LSU would face Appalachain State. Yes, the same Appalachian State that upset powerhouse Michigan in the season opener last year. And there were worries about the quarterback. Who would replace expected starter Ryan Perrilloux, who had been kicked off the team last May due to multiple rule infractions? Who was this Andrew Hatch? Would he be able to lead the team? And who was Jarrett Lee? A redshirt freshman who would be given a chance to play, but was he any good?


(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

By half time, all our worries would be put to rest. There would be no surprise upset this time. LSU, playing in front of a half empty stadium, handily dispatched Appalachian State 41-13 at Death Valley. The stadium--the same stadium in which the fans once caused seismic readings--was eerily quiet as spectators, knowing this game was well in hand, left to prepare for a much more dangerous opponent:


Hurricane Gustav, which was upgraded to a Category 4 hurricane Saturday. He is only expected to grow stronger as he makes his way through the Gulf, possibly becoming a Category 5 before making landfall sometime Tuesday morning.

My other team U of Texas also won 52-10.

(Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

I was surprised, in a good way, to see Colt McCoy still playing. For some reason, I'd thought he had graduated last year.

(Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

The bad news is, none of the local stations carried either of my games. Imagine my disgust when, on the first day of the season, I was flipping channels desperately looking for a game and all I saw was infomercials. Infomercials!!! What kind of retarded TV station is going to broadcast infomercials when there is football to be watched!

I was able to watch LSU on my computer on ESPN360.com, but I didn't see the Texas game at all.

I did, however, get all the knitting part done on my shawl. I was working on the border, when I stupidly decided to go put flea stuff on the cat. Here's how that turned out:

I now have a mosaic of bandaids on my hand, but I'm going to try to see if I can still work on the shawl. I need to get it done, so I can work on other projects that have been shunted off to the side due to the lure of lace.

I almost left my Saturday Sky shot too late:

But I got it in, just in time.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Aggravated

Arggh! I am so aggravated!

You see, a while back Dani and I decided we were going to knit the same shawl, as a sort of knit along for the two of us. The only problem is that the yarn I wanted to knit mine out of was backordered until August 15th.

That was OK, as I was still working on Rona, and Dani wasn't quite ready to start anyway. About a week before the yarn was supposed to be available, I checked the Knitpicks website and the date had been pushed back until September 5th. Aggravating, but still not that big a deal, since I was still not finished with Rona.

Well, I just checked the website, and the availability date has been pushed back again! That really irks me because I need to order some needles to do my QAL on. I was going to order the yarn at the same time, since ordering only needles just isn't cost effective in terms of shipping charges. So now I have a decision to make...do I wait on the yarn and hope it is ready when they say it will be (this time)? Do I order the needles by themselves and pay outlandish shipping charges? Or do I go to my third choice?

Oh, decisions, decisions...



P.S. Dani, if you want to go ahead and start, don't feel you need to wait on me!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Football!

Cody's first football game is tonight. I'll be there, even though I'll be a walking zombie at work tomorrow. Cody said, "Mama, you can go home after halftime." But I'd still have to go back and pick him up after the game, so that wouldn't do me any good. Now, next year when he gets his driver's license, I'll do just that. Maybe.

The first college ball game is Saturday. LSU plays Appalachian State. LSU had 25 seniors graduate last year. Ryan Perrilloux, who was supposed to be the starting quarterback, got kicked off the team for too many rules violations, so I don't know who will be the QB. This ought to be an interesting year.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Maybe I'm Crazy

Maybe I am crazy, but I've decided to join blog buddy Sus and take on the 100 push ups challenge.



Why? I'm not really sure. When I got out of Navy basic training, I could do 100 pushups without even thinking about it. Since then, they've become the bane of my existence. I've been doing push ups for the last few years, but they don't seem to get any easier. Maybe having a structured program will help me work my way back up to where I once was.

I did my initial test, and came up with 13 good form pushups. I'm going to start the program Monday. I'll be doing push ups on Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays. The trick will be actually remembering to do them!

Wish me luck.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Conversations With Cody--The Elementary Years

Cody was 7. I'd sent him to cut his fingernails. He went into the bathroom, and in a few minutes came back out into the kitchen where I was. He had an emery board.

"Mama," he said. "I got them cut, but I don't know how to sand them. Will you sand my fingernails for me?"

.

My Nephew

Joshua, age 4.


Isn't he just the cutest thing?

Joshua and my brother Russell.

With my sister in law, Yoke Wan.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Now What?

What with the Olympics being over, I'm at a bit of a loss for blog fodder. I even looked through my backlog of photos, and nothing jumped out at me. I was going to do a re-run of last year's post for this date, but it was kind of boring, too. (The begonia is dead, by the way.)

The band id going to Disneyworld in the spring. They are also going to national contest this year. The first ball game is Thursday, and I need to get Cody's uniform pants hemmed. He brought home his uniform for JROTC today.

Rylea is a brat dog, and I'm really really tired.

I went to bed last night at a fairly normal hour, but tossed and turned until well after midnight, so I'm not all here.

I'll get back to you tomorrow.

Goodnight.

Medals


Olympic Medal winners at NBC Olympics.com!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Games Of The XXIX Olympiad

(Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
To me, there's always a bit of sadness when the Olympics are over, almost a mourning. I may have lost interest. I may have even gotten tired of watching, yet there's always a part of me that hates to see them end. I almost feel like I'm losing a friend. Indeed, for many of us, the next time we see some of these athletes will be four years from now, in London.

These have been some special times, these last 17 days. We've seen records fall. We've seen upsets. We've seen underdogs win medals. We've seen redemption. We've seen disappointment. We've seen triumph born of tragedy.

We've seen history made.

It has been a Games filled with memorable moments. From Usain Bolt winning both the 100M and 200M, setting world records in both, to Dara Torres winning 3 silver medals at age 41, a 38 year old winning the women's marathon, and 33 year old winning a silver medal in gymnastics. The men's gymnastics team, who won--even without the Hamm brothers--when everyone else counted them out. Nastia and Shawn. Jonathan Horton. David and Thomas. Jeramy Wariner. Sonya Richards. Dalhauser and Rogers. The Redeem Team.

Michael.

It has all been special, but if I had to point to one single moment that defined these Games for me, it would have to be the men's 4 X 100 freestyle relay.

He was behind. No one thought he would win, but what they didn't know is that he had decided it was time to stop losing this race. It was time to bring this medal back to his country. Back to the United States. And so Jason Lezak swam the final leg of that relay in truly superhuman time--so fast that even Michael Phelps was impressed. He gave every ounce of energy he had to that race, he left everything he had in the pool. And won. Shocking the French. Amazing the world. That is truly the embodiment of the Olympic Spirit. Jason's accomplishment may be overshadowed by the glory that is Michael Phelps, but as Rowdy Gaines said, "He will forever be remembered as the hero of these games."

(JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

And so the flame is extinguished. The games of the 29th Olympiad come to a close. Tomorrow we will go on with our lives--back to work or school. Back to our mundane existence. But we will remember these times. We will remember these games.

For the rest of our lives, a little part of our hearts will remain in Beijing.

.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Spoiler

Preventing a Chinese sweep of the Olympic diving medals was Australian diver Matthew Mitchell, who came from behind in the last round to snatch the gold from Zhou Luxin, who appeared to have the medal locked up. However, in the sixth round, one really bad dive and one really good dive shocked the water cube into silence as Mitchell came from out of nowhere to win the event.


(AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis)
Cody says, "Do they have to wear Speedos?"

Early this morning, the rain clouds moved in and my Saturday Sky


turned gray, and stayed that way. A light rain fell off and on all day. Perfect for watching Olympics and knitting. In addition to the diving, I watched the women's basketball team win their fourth gold medal in a row, and the women's volleyball team take the silver.

Synchronized swimming, rhythmic gymnastics, and track and field events rounded out the day.

The lace shawl is coming along. I've completed round 149, and have only 4 more to go until I get to the border! I should be done--at least with the knitting part--by tomorrow.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Even More Watching

Dalhauser and Rogers did take the goldin beach volleyball. I would have liked to have stayed up and watched it, but sometimes life gets in the way of what you really want to do. I really wish I could have seen that third set. They won it 15-4. Cool.

After Misty and Kerri won their gold, Bob Costas was interviewing them. At one point he asked them if they wore sweats to compete in, would the sport attract as much attention.


They laughed and replied that no, it probably wouldn't. What I want to know is, don't they think the same way about men's beach volleyball? The men wear these:

Can we say "double standard"?

I posted yesterday that the IOC was investigating the ages of the Chinese gymnasts. Unfortunately, they barely even gave lip service to their so-called investigation. According to this article, they've already closed the investigation--after only a few hours-- stating that there was nothing amiss with the girls' ages. I wonder what they actually did, just ask to see the Olympic passports that we all know already were falsified?

Men's platform diving is on tonight. It's my last favorite event.



Dadgum, I just realized something. By the time the next summer Olympics comes around, Cody will have graduated high school. EEK!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Still Watching

Olympics, though most of the sports I really like are completed now, so my interest is beginning to wane.

I watched Shawn Johnson finally get her gold on the balance beam. Nastia Luikin won the silver and the same Chinese girl who landed on her knees in the vault bobbled and wobbled her way through her routine, but still somehow ended up with the bronze.

(LLUIS GENE/AFP/Getty Images)

Now, Nastia Liukin is very beautiful and graceful, but I've always favored Shawn. I think it may be because she favors one of my cousins so much. Or maybe it's her attitude. She is always smiling, and even though she was getting discouraged, she still focused on the experiences of being in the Olympics and just enjoying being there. You go girl! You deserve it.

On the men's side, Jonathan Horton surprise everyone by winning a silver on the high bar. I'm not so sure he didn't deserve the gold, though, and the crowd seemed to agree with me. They booed his scored when they came up. I'll tell you one thing, it was the best high bar routine I can remember seeing, ever.

(LLUIS GENE/AFP/Getty Images)

Then last night, Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh won their second consecutive gold medal in beach volleyball, but I didn't stay up and watch them. I saw the first half of the first set, but so confident was I of their abilities that I went to bed and let them play without me.

Them men's team of Dalhauser and Rogers plays tonight, but I am also confident of their abilities, so they will play without me, too.

In other news, the IOC is finally ordering an investigation into the age of at least one of the Chinese gymnasts.

And finally, lace shawl progress will be counted down until I finish it. As of today, 142 rounds have been completed. I've got 11 more to go!

Woo Hoo!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Just For Buck

because he said he likes girls with chubby legs:



Chubby enough for you?

And just for good measure, here are two more, but without the legs.



OK, I was planning on posting these anyway. It was the weirdest thing. I was getting something out of my tool bag at work this morning and found these pictures in it. I have no idea what they were doing there. They are all me. I am (from the top) 8 weeks, 9 months, 13 months, 4 months and 19 months old in them. My brother Russell is in the third one with me. He is 3 years old in that picture.

I apologize for the quality. The were all wallet sized photos.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Light Blogging

Heavy Olympic watching.

I'm a little aggravated at NBC's coverage of the games. The last few events of the gymnastics competitions took place yesterday, China time. They are being shown tonight tape delayed. They are also showing track and field events, also tape delayed.

In what is considered the Prime Time hours, they are showing quarterfinals and semifinals of the track and field events. The MEDAL events of gymnastics won't be coming on until 10:00 PM.

Granted, I'm no TV producer, but I would think medal events should take priority over preliminaries. They should be shown at the times when more people would be able to watch them.

But that's just me.

Oh, lace knitting is coming along right nicely, too. 15 more rounds and a border and I'm done!

Woo Hoo!

Monday, August 18, 2008

I'm No Expert

But it seems to me that a gymnast that lands on her hands and knees ought not place higher than one who did not fall.

But that's just me.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Quiet Sunday

It has been a very quiet day. I've watched Olympics. I've knit lace. I've gotten back to the point I was before I frogged it. I retro-posted my Saturday Sky picture. I just couldn't figure a way to fit it into yesterday's post.

It's just been a very quiet day. A rather emotionally flat day. It feels like the day after Christmas.

With Michael Phelps astonishing accomplishment, Mark Spitz has been brought back into the spotlight a bit. The day Michael tied Spitz's record, NBC did a live interview with the two of them. Of course, Spitz's part had to be broadcast from wherever he lives, because he refused to go to Beijing to watch Michael race. Why? Because nobody would pay his way for him.

I'd heard a bit about Mark Spitz's ego and arrogance, and during that TV interview I saw just a bit of it for myself. It seemed to me that through the whole thing, he was trying to downplay Michael's accomplishment and return the attention to how great he himself was.

At one point, Spitz was asked the question, "All else being equal, who would win between you and Michael?" Spitz hemmed and hawed around quite a bit, desperately trying to tactfully find a way to say that he would, and I wondered if Michael hadn't been right there, would he just have come right out and said it. In the end, he said that they would tie.

I'm not so sure. Spitz didn't swim as many strokes as Michael, nor did he swim the farther distances. He didn't face nearly as challenging a program as Michael. After all, Michael swam 17 races in 8 days. That's a tougher schedule than Spitz ever had to face. I think if you raced them head to head (if you could make Spitz 23 again) Michael would win hands down. The days of Mark the Shark are over. It's time to make way for Superman.

But I give Spitz credit for one thing: he swam with all his hair.

(Neil Leifer)

For your viewing pleasure, I present photos of Michael's amazing finish in the 100 meter butterfly, from above and from below;

(Nick Lalham/Getty Images)

(Underwater Camera/Water Cube/Beijing China)
Michael Phelps with his FINA achievement award:

(Al Bello/Getty Images)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

History Has Been Made


(ap photo)
and like Michael, I am at a loss for words. How can one describe such a phenomenal event without it sounding cold and mechanical? Words, phrases, emotions keep running through my mind, but how do I put them all together? Watching the race, I think I was more nervous than the athletes themselves.

I'd been working on this sock

(me)
all day. I'd made it past the heel turn and the gusset decreases when I decided to put it aside and pick up the lace shawl once again. I watched Dara Torres win a silver medal at age 41, then come back less than an hour later and anchor the women's 4 x 100 meter relay, which also won a silver medal.

The next race was the big one. Michael was going for number 8. As time grew nearer, I got more and more jittery. I tried working on the shawl, but my hands were shaking so much I had to set it aside.

I couldn't stay in my chair. By the time the race started, I was on my knees in the floor. As each swimmer entered the water,

(Heinz Kluetmeier/SI)

I cheered him on, yelling "Go Aaron," "Come on, Brendan," "Swim, Michael"--an unusual thing for me to do, but then this was not your ordinary, everyday swim meet.

(Cameron Spencer/ Getty Images)
By the time anchor Jason Lezak swam his leg, I was yelling "Go Jason!" so loudly and franticly, both dogs came over to see what was wrong.


(ap photo)
Jason was once again the hero of the race, holding off a charging Eamon Sullivan from Australia to touch the wall first. There would be no .08 second margin of victory this time. It was clear who won. They'd done it again.

Only this time, they made history.

(Timothy Clary/APF/Getty Images)
And Michael? When he saw that they'd won, when he realized that he'd done what no other human has ever done,

(Greg Wood/APF/Getty Images)
he didn't brag about how great he was, or how he'd set the record, or how he'd become the greatest Olympian ever. No, the first thing he did was to turn to his team mates and say,

"Thank you!"

(Carl De Souza/APF/Getty Images)

And he said it over and over again as he embraced them. "Thank you. I couldn't have done it without you."

Character, as well as phenomenal physical ability. He truly is


(Michael Kappler/APF/Getty Images)
Superman.



.

Saturday SKy

Friday, August 15, 2008

He Does It Again

Michael Phelps pulled off a true nailbiter, winning his 7th gold medal of these Olympic games.

(Michael Kappler/APF/Getty Images)

This one was supposed to be the one that tripped him up. His Kryptonite, if you will. He was trailing in the race. Second to last at the turn. In the second 50 meters, he began to close in, but it didn't look like he would make it. He was in the middle of a stroke when the Serbian Milorad Cavic stretched his hands out to the wall. It looked like Phelps would indeed fail. He would fall. His dream would end in a cruel awakening.

Somehow, by some miracle, Superman got his hand on the wall first. He won. By the tiniest of margins. By .01 seconds. That's one one hundredth of a second. But still, he won.

(Nick Lalham/Getty Images)

For 36 years, Mark Spitz held the record for the most gold medals won at a single Olympics. Now that record has been tied.

By the length of a fingernail.

(Getty Images)


The Swimmer

The swimmer sliced through the water. She was swimming the race of her life. Every muscle, every nerve, every fiber of her being strained to be the best she could be. She pushed her body as fast as it would go. Stretching, straining, reaching, her fingertips touched the wall. She was done. She turned to look at the scoreboard.

She'd finished last. Dead last. She'd finished more than 20 seconds behind the top qualifying time. For her, the Olympics were over. She wouldn't be going on to the semi-finals. She was done.

Even so, a look of jubilation crossed her face and she pumped her fist into the air triumphantly. Why? She'd just beaten her personal best time by two full seconds.

Officially, she finished last, but from the joy evident on her face, you'd have thought she won gold.

Maybe she did.

That, my friends, is what the Olympics are all about.



*Note: I don't remember the swimmer's name or country, but this is a true story.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Men's Gymnastics

I love watching gymnastics, both men's and women's. I wanted to do gymnastics as a child, but my mother said I wasn't worth spending all that money on. Still, it's one of my favorite Olympic events.

I watched part of the men's competition last night. But since NBC insists on showing this stuff "LIVE", it went on into the wee smalls. Since I have to wake up in the wee smalls, I went to bed after only two rotations.

As expected Yang Wei from China won the gold. The U.S. didn't have a strong contender for the all around, but the two men competing did a respectable job, finishing 9th and 12th.

I know, especially for boys, that participating in gymnastics isn't always considered cool. Gymnastics is considered to be a sissy event. Boys are often teased, bullied, and ridiculed for competing. They are considered wimps and wusses.

For those who say that, I challenge you. Try this:

Or better yet, this:

Kai Wen Tan of Team USA.

Doesn't look like such a sissy sport now, does it?

Because I Am An Idiot

You get to see shawl progress.

So why am I an idiot? Well, it was late last night, and I was watching men's gymnastics on the TV. I had decided to go to bed--just as soon as I finish this pattern repeat, I says to myself.

But almost done, I experienced the most horrifying thing a lace knitter can go through. I dropped a stitch.

I stared at my knitting. I turned my needles this way. I turned them that way. I stared blankly, trying to figure out how in the world I could pick up that dropped stitch, which by then had run all the way back to my lifeline.

Through the fatigue induced fog clouding my sleep deprived brain, I sat numbly, unable to make this thing work. Finally, in frustration, I ripped the whole thing back to my lifeline. Four rounds. Now, that may not sound like much to you, but I'm at the point in which each round of knitting has almost 800 stitches. Do the math. I'm too tired.

This morning, I did the (you knew it was coming) inevitable forehead smack. I realized that I didn't have to rip the entire shawl back to the lifeline. I could have just ripped that one pattern repeat back and reknit it.

I am such an idiot!

While it was ripped back, I thought it would be a good time to spread it out and take a progress picture.

Now, I just have to re knit those 3000 some odd stitches and go on with it.

I blame George Bush. Ok, I know he doesn't have anything to do with my knitting, but blaming him for things he is not responsible for seems to be the "in" thing. Since I'm not the kind of person to follow the "in" crowd, I un-blame Bush.

I blame Michael Phelps.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Bronze, and Silver, And Gold, Oh My!

"Hamm brothers? We don't need no steenkin' Hamm brothers!"

Or so the men's gymnastics team seemed to say Tuesday in Beijing. The Hamm twins were the bedrock of men's gymnastics. They were the hope for a medal in these Olympics. After both Paul and Morgan Hamm withdrew from the competition due to injuries, no one expected the men's team to do much. But with a determination that defines the Olympic spirit, this team that was patched together at the last minute, hung on to win the bronze medal.

The next day, the women's gymnastics team competed amid controversy surrounding the age of their Chinese opponents. The rules state that gymnasts have to be at least 16 years old, yet earlier this year evidence surfaced that at least two of the Chinese gymnasts were only 14. There is no way a 16 year old is still in the process of losing her baby teeth.

But the Chinese government issued papers verifying that all of the girls were definitely 16. And we wouldn't want to doubt the integrity of the Chinese government, would we? Despite the controversy, it was the Americans' own mistakes that cost them the gold. In this, the athletes themselves showed more sportsmanship than their coaches, who groused about competing against babies and unfair judging practices.

Michael Phelps is five for five. Five gold medals. Five world records.


Even with his goggles leaking; even swimming blind, he won another gold medal and set another world record. Twice in one day.

And he's not done yet.

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