Wednesday, June 30, 2010


The year's first named storm has strengthened into a hurricane.

Alex is now a category 2 storm, and is expected to make landfall sometime this evening.

Though we are too far away for any real storm activity, I can see clouds outside my window.  They are hurricane clouds.  One can't grow up on the Gulf Coast without recognizing hurricane clouds when one sees them.

Today at work, my group leader Rod walked up to me and said, "I need you.  Come with me."  About half way down the aisle, Rod turned to me and said, "You're going to hate me, but I need you to [work in this other area].  I'm going to owe you huge for this one."    He took me where he wanted me to work, and showed me what I was supposed to be doing.  I was grumbling and fussing the whole time, and he was just going, "yeah, I know."

Well, he didn't have the right tool for what I was supposed to do, so he said, "I'm just going to Afro-engineer* this."

"Ummmm!"  I said.  "You're not supposed to say that!"

"I can, because I'm black," was Rod's reply.  "But if you were to say that, you'd get into trouble." 

"Yeah, if I said it, it'd be a racist thing.  But it's ok for you to say stuff like that, and that is so not fair!"

Not that I want to be saying racist things, but hey, a racial slur is a racial slur, no matter who says it.  But that's the topic for another discussion.

So, Rod got me set up and as he was walking away, I quipped, "This is number 5387 on the list of things you owe me for."

At that point, Opie** butted in to a conversation he was not a part of and said, "Excuse me, but don't we pay you for this?"

"No,"  I rejoined.  "You pay me to braze."    He's lucky that's all I said to him.  You don't know who you're dealing with, baby engineer.

There I was, finally set up and ready to start working when Mary runs up to Rod and tells him that if he wants a chance of going home at 3:00, he needed to get another helium tester.  One of the ones that normally did it had gone home.  Well, guess who got the nod for that.  Now, I don't really like helium testing, but it sure beats screwing on access panels.

I'd been down there helium testing for about an hour, when I looked up and saw Rod watching me.  I gave him one of those "I'm going to smile at you but pretend I'm trying not to smile at you" smiles.  He smiled back and all was right with the world again.

*The first time I heard Rod use that phrase was right after I'd gotten moved to his line.  When I told him he wasn't supposed to say that, he looked at me and said, "You're lucky I didn't say something else."

**Opie is the student co-op from one of the local universities.  He's pretending to be the shift supervisor this week.  Honestly, I think he should stick to engineering.  He doesn't have the people skills to be a boss.  That's not his real name, by the way.  We just call him that because of his bright red hair.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I Fought For You By The Sound Tank

Monday, June 28, 2010

Chocolate Cake In A Mug

You gotta try this!

4 Tbsp flour
4 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp cocoa

1 egg

3 Tbsp milk
3 Tbsp oil

Combine dry ingredients in a large mug. Add egg and mix well.  Add milk and oil an mix well.

Microwave on high for 3-5 minutes. 

Don't make too often. 

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Kids Say...

We have a new blogger in the family. Welcome to my cousin Ashlee, who has finally jumped into the blogging world.

Ashlee is my first cousin Tommy Gene's youngest child.  (I'm told that as he got older, he preferred to be called Tom, but to the family, he was always Tommy Gene.)   He was the one who added the term "monstrosity" to the family lexicon.  Anyway, they lived quite a ways away from us, and I didn't really see much of Ashlee when she was growing up.  However, there was one time...

She was three, and we were visiting my Aunt Bonnie, who is Ashlee's grandmother.  She didn't have enough room for all of us, so I went to stay with Tommy Gene and his wife Linda.  Ashlee proudly told me that I would like staying with them because their water was blue. She was talking about the Tid-e-bowl.

The next morning, were back at Aunt Bonnie's, getting ready to head for home.  Just up the street from her house was a cow pasture.

MARDEN, UNITED KINGDOM - AUGUST 08:  Herefordshire cattle graze amongst the apple trees in the orchards of Ashgrove Farm in the village of Marden on 8 August 2007in Herefordshire, England.The farm produces cider in the time-honoured Herefordshire practice of combining livestock farming with the growing of cider apples.  Sales of cider have overtaken beer in Britain's off-licences and now top one billion pints a year.  (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Ashlee loved the cows, and every time she went to her Mammaw's, she wanted to walk up the street and see them. That morning was no different, she begged Aunt Bonnie  over and over again until finally she said, "All right, we'll go see the cows."

As soon as she got the OK, Ashlee ran into the kitchen and grabbed a dish towel.  Running back into the living room, she exclaimed, "I need to put this over my head in case one of them poops on me!" 

HAMILTON, NEW ZEALAND - MAY 27:  Cows are seen on farming pasture on May 27, 2009 in the Waikato, New Zealand. The farming industry is awaiting the outcome of the New Zealand budget which will be delivered by the Minister of Finance Bill English on Thursday this week, and is expected to be a 'responsible budget', intended to protect New Zealand from the effects of the world recession and ready the economy for recovery.  (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

Friday, June 25, 2010

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

New Things

In preparation for the 4th of July, a new Dallas Cowboys t-shirt!

A close up of the detail:

They'd offered one with a Mexican flag for cinco de mayo, but I passed on that one.  I am an American, after all.  And for football season, new drinking glasses. 

I wonder, do you still call them glasses if they are made of plastic?

This is new, too.  

This is the closest Squeaky has ever voluntarily gotten to Rylea. She was great buddies with Katie, but has never really wanted anything to do with Rylea.  It didn't last long, though.

Ry keeps trying to get Squeaks to play with her, but so far, no dice.

And finally, a new chart finished on my Vernal Equinox shawl.

This is after chart 6a is complete.  I've started on the 7th and final chart, chart 6b.  Soon I will have a finished object to show you!  That'll be the first one in a while, now.

Well, that's all that's new under the sun for now.


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Things My Father Taught Me

How to tie a square knot.
How to tie a bowline knot.
How to read a sextant.
How to read a sundial. 
How to read a map.
How to find latitude and longitude.
How to track hurricanes.

How to keep a journal.

How to play chess. 
How to throw a football.
How to throw a harpoon.
How to cast a rod and reel.

That if I really loved that fish, I'd put him back into the water so he could live.

How to change a tire.
How to check the oil.
How to drive a nail, and turn a screw.
How to run a table saw.
To keep my fingers well back from the blade.

How to tell which figs will taste the best.
How to identify poison ivy.
How to identify venomous snakes.
To identify clouds.
To identify constellations.

That even the most mundane tasks can be made more exciting when a good story is involved.

To sing "Away down South where the cotton grows there was an old man a pickin his nose, look away!"

To appreciate the value of a good book.
That a library can be an exciting place.

To love the Dallas Cowboys.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Bits and Pieces

It was HOT today.

How hot was it?  Well, I was waiting for the temperature to cool off enough to take Rylea for a walk, and by 7:00 PM it was still 95' out.  Needless to say, the dog didn't get walked. 

The heat doesn't seem to bother the tomatoes, though.

Or the blueberries.

This is not my garden, by the way. After working, and sweating, for 10 hours a day, the last thing I want to do is work in the yard. J planted this one.

This is, however, my bloodred morph corn snake Scarlett:

She will be 5 years old this August.  Can you believe it?  I was looking back through old blog posts trying to find a baby photo to compare with this one, and I got caught up in all those old posts from when she was regurgitating all her meals.  She couldn't keep anything down and I was considering euthanizing her.  Finally, I got some good advice from Kathy Love, and she pulled through.  I'm so glad I hung in there with her, because she has grown into a real beauty. 

The other day at work, one of my coworkers asked if these are my real eyes.  After staring at him blankly for a moment, I asked, "Why?  Do you think I have fake eyes?"

Where is the eye rolling icon? 

Friday, June 18, 2010


I finally got around to fixing my Varanasi sock last night.  I just duplicate stitched over the thin spot.

Not a bad bit of repair, if I do say so myself.  But, when I got ready to wear them to work this morning, I noticed that the other sock had a thin spot, too.    I decided I'd better fix it, too, before I wore the socks again. 

That one was just a bit more tricky, but it looks OK.  Most importantly, I'll get a few more wears out of this pair of socks.  I was a bit disappointed that these wore out so quickly.  This was Lorna's Laces.  It's supposed to be one of the higher quality sock yarns.  I would have thought it would have lasted longer.

Look at what I bought at Wal-mart:

They're cat toys.   I thought Squeaky might like to play with them.  Squeaky thought differently. 

"You went to that great big store, and all I got were a couple of wads of paper.  I'm not talking to you anymore."

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Despite repeated requests for comments to be left in English only, I'm still receiving a large number of spam type comments in Chinese.  Therefore, I have turned comment moderation back on.  Sorry if this inconveniences anyone.

Well, it's not like anyone was commenting anyway...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Clean Bill

I took the day off of work today because it was time for my annual physical.  I figured I'd better get it while I still can.  I have a co-worker who schedules hers for after work, but I can't do that.  I can't go all day without eating, so I schedule mine for as early in the morning as I can get it.

Anyway, I was given a clean bill of health.  He put me back on my allergy medications.  I'd quit taking them back in the fall because I hadn't had time -- or rather, I hadn't taken the time --to go down to Jackson to see my allergist.  I'd had an appointment scheduled, but we were working so many 4 day weeks that I decided I needed that vacation day for one of the days the plant was shut down.  So, I called and canceled it.  The week after my appointment would have been is when they laid off all those people and put the rest of us back on 5 days.  I'd meant to reschedule, but I hadn't gotten around to it.  So, I told my Dr. the abbreviated version, and he said, "I can write those prescriptions for you."  And he did.

My insurance company said that they were not going to pay for my Allegra any more, but I'm going to keep taking it anyway.  I'll just have to pay for it myself.  I pretty much was anyway, because I'm never sick and rarely even meet my deductible.  That's the thing about private insurance.  If they say no, I can still get my medical care through another means.  When the government has completely taken over the health care system, we won't have that choice.  If the government says no, we will have to resort to black market health care, and most of us won't be able to afford that.  Ah, but that's a topic for a different post.

I did ask him about the fluttery feeling I have in my chest from time to time.  He said he thinks it may be supra ventricular tachycardia.  He wouldn't know for sure without doing some tests, but as sporadic as my episodes are, I could wear a heart monitor, and we still might not catch an episode.  But he said that as long as they aren't getting more frequent, or lasting more than a minute or two, it isn't really anything to worry about. He also told me to avoid caffeine--or cut way back on it--, stimulants, chocolate, and decongestants.  Well, three of those I can do. 

My blood pressure is good (120/70), and my blood work results will be back in a few days.  I had a snag when I went to go fill my prescriptions, though and discovered that the pharmacy I used was closed!  I mean as in shut down and moved out of the building.  I guess I'll go by Wal-greens or CVS and get my prescriptions there.  I won't get my Allegra from Wal-mart.  I don't know what they give me, but it isn't the same.  It wasn't even the same pill.  Whatever it was, it made me sooo sick every time I took it. 

I came home and watched Netflix and knitted for the rest of the day, until it was time to take Rylea for her walk.  It was sooo hot that we walked down by the creek so that she could drink and cool off.  The water looked so inviting that I took my own shoes off and went wading.  I wished that I had carried my camera, but all I had was my cell phone camera.  It does take pictures, but I don't have a plan that allows me to e-mail them.  So they stay in the phone. 

I guess I really do need to upgrade.

Monday, June 14, 2010

So Happy

Monty is constricting! 

That means he's going to eat.  For the first time since November 22, 2009, Monty Montgomery the ball python is going to eat!

Can you tell I'm happy? 

Balls are known for going off their feed for months at a time.  Slider once refused to eat for 8 months.  I try not to worry, but I just can't help it.  To go so long without food seems impossible to me.  Yet for a python, it's normal.  They don't every seem to lose weight, or energy.  Not that they have a lot of energy in the first place.  Pythons are like that. 

Funny thing, while Monty is squeezing the stuffin' (the rats I feed them are humanely killed then frozen, so he can't exactly squeeze the life out of him--he just thinks he is) out of his rat, Slider is looking at me as if to say,

"Where's mine?" 

Tomorrow, big guy.  You'll get yours tomorrow.


Sunday, June 13, 2010

Clue 5

of the Vernal Equinox shawl is done.

For a while, I'd been a pretty monogamous knitter, working exclusively on the Anniversary Mystery 10 shawl.  Then I hit the wall.  My mojo for that shawl flew out the window.

So I set it aside and started a new sock yarn blankie.  I worked on it almost exclusively for a couple of weeks, then I hit the wall.  My mojo for the blankie flew out the window.

So I set it aside and picked back up the Vernal Equinox shawl.

I finished clue 5 today. Only one more clue and that one will be done. But don't worry, I still have plenty to work on.

There is my friendship blankie, the family blankie, the Anniversary Mystery 10 shawl, the Orkney Pi shawl, and two pairs of socks.

I'll keep you updated.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


There are very few times in my life when I have truly been left speechless. There have been times when I haven't though of an appropriate response until 5 or 6 hours later. You know how i is. You're laying in your bed late that night and suddenly you think of it.

"I should have said..."

I do that a lot. Still, there is one incident in my life in which the "I should have said" never came to me. More than 15 years later, I"m still not sure what

"I should have said..."

His name was Jesse, and he was recently divorced. Jesse had a thing for me. Oh, he didn't want a relationship. He just wanted for me he said, "Come over to my house and we'll sit on my couch and whatever happens will happen."

I do give him credit for honesty. At least he was up front about what he wanted. No smooth words, talk of love, or promises he had no intention of keeping. I appreciated his candor. I also appreciated that he didn't push me into anything I didn't want to do. After a while, Jesse got engaged to a nice Italian girl. I figured that he would forget about me. I figured wrong.

We'd been having trouble with one of the transmitters. As I went in to work that night, my shift was relieving Jesse's shift.

"Come here, Becky," Jesse said. "I want to show you something." Thinking that he had some schematics or notes on the machine to discuss with me, I followed me to his locker. He flung his locker door open, and I just stood there waiting for him to pull out a log book or tech manual, but he didn't. He finally had to point to the picture. It was a Xerox, actually. It took me a moment to figure out what it was. It was his business.

The man had taken his stuff out of his pants, laid it up on the xerox machine and run a photo cop of it. As soon as I realized what I was seeing, my jaw dropped. I stood there--speechless, my mouth hanging open. Then Jesse said the last thing I wanted to hear:

"Well, what do you think?"

I didn't know what to say. I mean, what do you say to a question like that? I finally just stammered out, "It's nice, Jesse." And Jesse replied, "It kinda makes you want to do stuff to it, doesn't it?"

I said, "I think you'd better leave that to [your girlfriend].

There are very few times I am left speechless.   Very few.  But this was one of them.  

Friday, June 11, 2010

Bed In Summer

In winter I get up at night
And dress by yellow candle-light.
In summer, quite the other way,
I have to go to bed by day.

I have to go to bed and see
The birds still hopping on the tree,
Or hear the grown-up people's feet
Still going past me in the street.

And does it not seem hard to you,
When all the sky is clear and blue,
And I should like so much to play,
To have to go to bed by day?

--Robert Louis Stevenson

I was going to write this nifty little post about how when I was a child, I didn't understand why I had to go to bed while it was still light out.  My dad used to love to tell of me standing in my crib protesting, "but it's not dark yet".  About how, now that I'm grown, my work hours still necessitate me occasionally going to bed before the sun does.

But something was not right.  Something was nagging at my memory. That's when I remembered. 
I'd already done it.

Sigh.  Sometimes, I can't win for losing.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Fake Eyes?

I was at work, with nothing to do at the moment, so I was up talking to the guys on the test tank.  All of the sudden, one of them turned to me and said,

"Are those your real eyes?"

Momentarily taken aback, I just stared at him, then said, "What?  Did you think my eyes are fake?" 

He laughed, and responded that you know some people wear contacts to change their eye color, so he thought maybe I had colored contacts in.

It was then that I pointed out to him the prescription eyeglasses sitting on my face. 

So, no, though they may look fake, these are indeed my real eyes. 

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Sunday--For Want Of A Better Title

I've been blogging for 4 1/2 years now, and coming up with a fresh, new title for each post is getting more and more difficult.  So, you get what you get.

I got to sleep in until 8:00 this morning.  Well, after I got up at 5:30 and let Rylea out and fed Squeaky.   And that was after the alarm went off at 4:15 because I forgot to turn it off before I went to bed.  Anyway, after taking care of the critters, I went and laid back down.  Usually when I do that, I just toss and turn until I finally give up and get up.  But today, I fell back asleep almost at once and slept until Rylea wanted back in.  It felt good, too.  I know some of you might not think 8:00 is sleeping in, but when you're used to getting up at 4:15, yeah, it is.

I had a banana that was almost too ripe to do anything with, so I made myself a smoothie for breakfast, after I whacked open my index finger washing the blender out.  Banana, milk, a little ground flax seed, and some chocolate milk mix. But no blood.   I decided it was time to get myself a new blender.  The old one is leaking some kind of oil, and the top part--where you put the stuff to be blended-- is cracked.   Since I've had the old one for some 15 years now, it's time. 

I went to church, then came back and knit for the rest of the afternoon.  This is how Rylea spent her afternoon.  

"Good heavens! Do you have to keep shoving that thing in my face?"

I forgot to show you this yesterday:

Dallas Cowboys ice trays! I'm all ready for football season to start. Just two more months until the Hall of Fame game!  You know I'm going to be watching because Emmitt is being inducted, so the Cowboys will be playing the Bengals.  August 8th, here I come!

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Random Thoughts

An interesting thing happened in church a couple of weeks ago. I'd meant to blog about it then, but just never got around to it. So you get to read it now. Our pastor was out on vacation, and we had a guest preacher. Towards the end of the service, he said he was going to do a survey, and asked everyone in the congregation to stand.   Then he said, "I'm going to ask you two questions, and if you know the answer, remain standing.  John 3:16--probably the most well known verse in the Bible--For God so loved the world...The question is, who said it and who did he say it to?  If you know the answer, remain standing."

All over the sanctuary, people began sitting down.  I'd expected about half of the people there to sit, but when they all got settled, only two people were still standing.  Me and the youth pastor.  I couldn't believe it.  I figured surely more people than that knew the answer.  The lady who sits beside me said, "I don't know who he said it to."

The correct answer is found in John 3:1.

The second blankie is coming along.

A week later, I've got two full rows done, and have started the third.

I think I'm going to call this one the Family Blankie, since I'm probably going to give it to my sister.  When it gets done.  Whenever that is.

I finally got around to darning my Falling In Love socks. 

Pretty good job, for my first darning attempt.  Normally, I wouldn't bother, but these socks are special.  They are my Marion Barber socks.  I wanted to keep them around just a bit longer.  BTW, Marion Barber tweeted that he had his wisdom teeth out yesterday.  Oh, I feel for him.  He said he has some good pain killers, though.  They sent him to outer space, or so he said.

I also need to fix these Varanasi socks.  They've got a thin spot in the heel, and I'm  going to duplicate stitch over it.  I just haven't gotten around to it.

That's a light bulb inside the sock, because I don't have a darning egg.  Yet.  I need to place an order with Knit Picks.  I need some more Options cables, and I want some darning wires.  What I don't need is more yarn, but the new Felici colors are sooo tempting.

You know that TV show Bones?  I didn't really discover the show until it was in season 3.  I tried to watch a few episodes, but just couldn't get into it.  Then I discovered that Netflix has it streaming in their Watch Instantly feature.  I thought that if I went back to season 1 and got to know the characters and watch them develop, I might like it better.  So I started with season 1, episode 1.  By the end of that hour, I was completely and totally hooked.  Now, I'm halfway through season 4, and drumming my fingers for them to get season 5 up. 

One last thing before I go.  You have GOT to see this video. 

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Feed Readers

I have a love/hate relationship with feed readers.

I love them to keep up with political blogs--especially those who post several times a day, or with blogs like Engrish or Not Always Right, ones that I don't really want to leave comments on.  I also love them for keeping up with those who post infrequently.  There is nothing more discouraging than clicking through to a blog day after day, only to have nothing new to read.  I stop visiting the site, only to go back one day and find that I've missed several posts.  With a feed reader, I don't have to worry about that.  Anything new will show up in my reader, without me having to waste time clicking through to a site with nothing new on it.

On the other hand, I hate them.  It is too easy just to read personal blogs in the reader, and not click through to the site.  When I don't click through, I'm less likely to leave comments.  And for those who like to keep up with who visits their sites, posts read in a reader don't count as hits.  Yeah, you can check the site monitor for references, but --at least in the one I use-- it just shows up as the reader hitting your site.  You don't know who is using that reader.

Not only that, I think a reader adds a barrier between the author and the one reading the blog.  When I used to bookmark my blogs and visit each one individually, I thought of the authors as my friends.  Now, using a feed reader, it has become much more impersonal.  It's like so many of them are no longer friends any more.  They are just authors.

The question is, can I give up my feed reader, and reconnect with the blogs I read on a personal basis?  I don't know.

Could you?

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Fun With Co-Ops

The plant where I work has a co-operative agreement with one of the local universities, in which engineering and business management students can work there.  They get practical experience in an actual work environment, and somehow it counts towards their degree.   I don't know all the details, but it's been going on several years now.

One of these college students started working with my line today.  He said he wanted to know every order that had something wrong with it--not enough parts, parts bent wrong, etc.--so that they can find out what the problem is and fix it.  After I stopped laughing, for which I am very sorry, we got down to work.

He asked me how often parts shortages happen.  I said, "Every order.  Every day."  At that point, my group leader Rod walked off laughing.  Red didn't believe me (his real name is Blake, but hey, Red is a step up from what we had been calling him, which was Opie), and told me to call him every time I had a part come up short.  By lunch time, he was rolling his eyes, too.

So, Red was jotting a note down and I asked him, "You're a college student?"  He nodded, and I said, "And you spell like that?"  Red answered, "I'm an engineer.  I only have to do math."

Before I left, I asked Rod if "Dear CoWorker" would be back tomorrow.  He looked thoughtful for a moment, and said he didn't know.   Then he got it, laughed, and said, "He's going to have a time with her!"

I'm bringing my popcorn for that.

Sharing Popcorn

Oh, but Red did like my cookies.


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