Saturday, January 30, 2010

It's Finished!

Finally, the Queen Anne's Lace shawl is finished! Here it is in it's preblocked state.

I'll probably have to strip the bed to block it, and that'll have to wait because I'm not doing it today.


But I did take advantage of Jake being outside, and a fairly recently vacuumed carpet to take a progress photo on the blankie.


It was cold and dreary today, so it was a good day to stay inside and knit. It did snow a bit, but not enough to get any decent photos. Other than the 4 loads of laundry, that's about all I did today. Oh, and I did my taxes.

That's about it.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Downhill From There

It all started when I was about to leave for work. I couldn't find my glasses. I was tearing up the house looking for them. Under furniture, in the refrigerator, everywhere. Cody even stopped his preparations to help, but alas, the glasses were nowhere to be found. I finally had to go get my old glasses, through which I can no longer see, and wear them to work, but I worried all day about where my glasses were.

And the day just went downhill from there. I got chewed out by my group leader for something I didn't do. The part stager tried to get smart with me. The other brazer treated me like she thinks I'm an idiot. OK, she does that all the time, and I ought to be used to it, but today it was just too much.

As if that weren't enough, I realized that I could actually see my work better without the old glasses I was wearing, so I took them off. I could see my work, but couldn't see people around me, so that made me feel really isolated, and the whole day was just weird.

After work, I took Cody to get his hair cut, and I decided that I was just too tired to cook so we went to Burger King. Cody wanted a steakhouse burger, but they were out. We both wanted Dr. Pepper, but they were out. So we had to settle for something else.

But....

I finally found my glasses, in a place both Cody and I had looked several times this morning (beside the computer monitor under a pile of bills), and I got yarn in the mail. Yarn makes all things better.


This yarn is from Ann, who has sent me yarn before. I can't wait to get it worked into the blankie, but I'm almost through with Queen Anne's Lace, so that is priority right now.

I got this skein a from Sarah a couple of days ago.

It is Cherry Tree Hill Supersock in the Limited Edition October 2008 Very Scary colorway. There's enough there that I can get a pair of socks out of the leftovers. That little wad of blue and white isn't part of it.

Jake wanted his yarn in the picture, too.

Isn't that sweet?

.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Update

Baby Isaiah has been granted a few more weeks by the Canadian government. That the government is making these decisions at all is a travesty. It should be between the boy's parents and their doctor.

Period.

.

Football

.



Because I miss it already.

.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Roads

When I take my dogs for their walk, we walk down this dirt road that winds among cotton fields. They lay fallow this time of year, those fields.


The road forks right by a small stand of pecan trees. At times, I take the left fork. Other times I take the right. It all depends on which way my whims blow.


But sometimes, just sometimes I take the overgrown, rutted road that lay between them.

It's seldom used, this road is, but not completely abandoned. We walk. Up the hill.

My dogs and me.

When I get to the top, it's like I'm completely alone in the world.


Nothing but the wind. The sounds of the factories in the distance. Trucks rumbling down the highway, out of sight. I revel in this brief moment of freedom.

And I wonder what would happen if I just kept walking. Left the job I despise. Left the demands that pull me in a hundred different directions. Left my responsibilities, and just kept walking.

Just me and my dogs.

But I know I can't do that. I know. So I sigh a little, and my shoulders slump ever so slightly, and I turn back.

Back to the dirty house. The dishes that need washing. The laundry. The hungry mouths waiting to be fed. 

Back to the sulky, sullen teenager I no longer know.


I trudge back down the hill. Back to my life. Back down the road lined with shattered dreams that I know now will never come true.

Monday, January 25, 2010

What Price Isaiah?

Somewhere in Canada, a tiny little boy is fighting for his life. Somewhere in Canada, a young mother and father are pleading for their baby's life. Give him another chance, they cry. He'll do better, they plead.

Little Isaiah is scheduled to be executed at the end of this month, just a week after he turned three months old. And just crime could a three month old baby commit that he deserves the death penalty? He was born brain damaged.

Isaiah was born after a long and difficult labor with the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck. His brain was deprived of oxygen, resulting in permanent damage. Though he is growing, gaining weight, moving, showing signs of cognitive development, the Canadian government has determined that it is just not cost effective to continue providing medical care for this, one of their smallest of citizens. They have ordered his care--and thus his life--to end.

His parents appealed to the courts, and little Isaiah was granted a stay--of only 7 days--until January 27, 2010. His family has little hope, though that his death will be prevented. This is what happens when a government stops seeing its citizenry as human beings. This is what happens when people become no more than assets and liabilities. This is what happens when governments attach dollar value to human life. Isaiah will require hundreds 0f thousands of dollars worth of medical care throughout his life. What return would a brain damaged adult provide on an investment of this magnitude? Well, this is just one child, you may say. Just one child. But what if Isaiah were your child?

What if Isaiah were you?

Nothing in this life is free. Socialized medicine comes at a price, and often a much higher price than the 60+% tax rate citizens are forced to pay. Much higher than the billions of dollars confiscated by the government to maintain such programs. Socialized medicine comes at a much higher price than that.

Just ask Isaiah.

.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Not A Drop

The plan was to get up and go to the zoo today. They'd opened a new exhibit back in October, and I wanted to see it. However, the weather forecast called for rain all day, so we decided to stay home and do basically nothing. And that's basically what we did.

As it turns out, it didn't rain a single drop all day.

So the big thing was to get the mouse out of the washing machine. I put a live trap in there, but he wouldn't go into it. I waited a couple of hours, and even tried to chase him in there (use #3785 for a knitting needle), but he wouldn't have anything to do with it. OK, he would jump on top and wash his little face, but other than that...

I finally found a heavy canvas work glove, of which I apparently only have one, and just reached in there and grabbed him. I carried him out to Mrs. Woods' woods and let him go, admonishing him as I did so not to enter my house again or I'd have to kill him. He scampered off into the brush, hopefully never to be seen again.

Then I did three loads of laundry.

And that was the extent of my excitement for this gloomy Saturday.

.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Good Things Come

and good things came in the mail this week.

I mentioned over on FB a few days ago that I really wanted to work on my Friendship Blankie, but had run out of sock yarn leftovers. Darn it all if 4 different people didn't up and say, "I'll send you some!" The first of it arrived Wednesday.

This package was from Christi, who as far as I know, doesn't have a blog. And I've received messages that two more packages are in the mail and winging their way towards me. At first, I was going to wait and post photos of all of it at once, but I changed my mind. Woman's prerogative, you know. I've already knit some of this into the blankie, but right now there's not really a noticeable difference. I'll wait until I get a bit more done before I take a new photo.

Today, this little gem arrived, totally unexpected.


OK, the print, not the frame. That came from Wal-mart. The note accompanying it said it was a gift for renewing my subscription to my Dallas Cowboys Star magazine. That is Jason Witten, Marion Barber, and Tony Romo--the three men I'd once promised to name my next child after.

I just love getting stuff in the mail, especially when it's stuff I didn't have to pay for.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Health Care

Unless you've been living under a rock these last few days, you know that Republican Scott Brown has won the Senate Seat that was vacated when Teddy Kennedy left this life to stand before a just and holy God in judgment. That a Republican won a seat in a Democrat stronghold, that had been held by a Democrat for 47 years should send a clear signal to our government. That 22% of Democrats voted for the Republican should be an even clearer signal. Americans of both parties are fed up. Fed up with ever increasing government intrusion into our lives. Fed up with out of control spending. Fed up with the power grabs. Just plain fed up.

Those on the left are lamenting this victory as "the death of health care in America." This, of course, could not be further from the truth. Health care is alive and well, and will continue to be the finest health care system in the world, now that it's possible to block the government from taking it over. And yes, the Democrats are whooping and hollering about Republicans being obstructive just for the sake of being obstructive. (The fact that the majority of their own constituents are also opposed to the current health care bills making their way through Congress is lost on them.)

So, the Democrats say that Republicans are opposed to the bill, but have not offered any solutions of their own. Well, the truth is, Republicans have offered solutions. It's just that they are solutions the Democrats don't want to hear. For those of you who may not have heard what those solutions are, let me enlighten you:

1. Tort Reform--first and foremost, if any sort of significant health care reform is to be achieved, tort reform must be enacted. Trial lawyers are leaches, sucking the life out of our medical community. The sheer number of frivolous and trivial malpractice suits has already driven many fine doctors to leave the practice. For those that remain, the added burden of malpractice insurance can be crippling. Many doctors must pay multiple thousands of dollars in malpractice insurance premiums each year. This leaves them with but two options--quit medicine, or pass those costs on to --guess who?--that's right, you and me. Some states have enacted tort reform at that level. Mississippi for example, enacted tort reform in 2002. Since the law took effect, the number of medical malpractice lawsuits has fallen by nearly 90%, which in turn has cut malpractice insurance costs by 30% to 45%, depending on the county. That's a heck of a lot of savings, folks.

2. Allow competition among insurance companies--so, those pushing for a government takeover of health care complain that insurance companies are monopolies (conveniently ignoring the fact that if government does take over health care, what will that be but a monopoly?). The simple truth is, if insurance companies are monopolies, it's because the government made them so. It was the federal government who placed restrictions on insurance companies which prohibit competition across state lines. That is--competition for your business. If the government truly wanted health care reform, it would lift these restrictions and allow insurance companies to once again compete in a free market. As everyone, well, everyone with some sense, knows, competition does two things: it lowers costs, and it raises quality.

3. Kick the freeloaders out of the system--eliminating this massive drain on our health care system can be accomplished in a couple of ways. One is to allow hospitals to expect payment for services rendered. As it stands now, anyone in this country--whether here legally or not--can show up at any hospital emergency room for any reason. That hospital is then required by federal law to render the highest quality health care in the world, with no questions asked. Millions upon millions of dollars worth of medical care is given out in this country each year to people who have no intention of paying. Well, guess what? Somebody has got to pay for all that "free" health care. It doesn't really drop out of the sky you know, and so those costs get passed on to--that's right--you and me. This alone has accounted for a significant portion of the increase in health care costs in America since the law was passed. Simply allowing hospitals to begin collecting from those who don't pay would lower costs for all of us.

Secondly, allow insurance companies to once again deny or restrict coverage for pre-existing conditions. This used to be the norm, until guess who stepped in again. That's right, the government. The problem is this: Joe is a young relatively healthy, typically self absorbed young person in America. He works at a fast food joint, and by his own admission has no ambition of bettering himself. He doesn't have a lot of money left over after paying for his basic necessities, and what is left over is spent on electronics rather than being responsible for his health. He's got a 72" flat screen plasma TV, the premium package of whatever TV service he subscribes to, the latest cell phone with the most expensive 3G network, high speed internet, all the latest gaming systems, but no insurance. After all, Joe deserves to be entertained, doesn't he?

Then one day, Joe gets sick. He goes to the doctor, who tells him he needs surgery. Joe then runs right out and buys himself some health insurance, which has to cover the costs of his surgery since they can no longer exclude pre-existing conditions from their coverage. Joe has his surgery, and joy joy, he's going to be OK. He's back to playing his XBox in no time. The first thing he does is drop his health insurance. Joe has just had $75,000+* worth of high quality medical care for the cost of just a couple of month's premiums. He feels very proud of himself for having juked the system. Well, guess what? Somebody has got to cover the costs for Joe's surgery, and that somebody is--wait for it--you and me! Scenarios like this are played out time and time again, all over this country. This accounts for a significant portion of the skyrocketing costs of health insurance, and could be eliminate simply by allowing insurance companies to require at the very least, a minimum a waiting period on covering pre existing conditions.

So there you have it--three ways that would truly reform health care by reducing costs without sacrificing quality. That the current government shows not the slightest interest in even entertaining these ideas tells me that they have no interest in improving the health care system in America. What they truly want is power--in this case, the ultimate power over the nation's populace.

The power to dictate who lives and who dies.


*I just picked this number totally at random for the sake of illustration. Actual costs of surgery vary depending on location and type of surgery.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

All Good Things

All good things must come to an end, often much sooner than we would wish.

So it was Sunday when the Dallas Cowboys' season came to an abrupt halt at the hands of the Minnesota Vikings. And all the fans who'd clambered aboard following the victory over the Saints suddenly found themselves jumping back off the Cowboys' bandwagon.

And we alone are left. We faithful few.

We True Blue.

Through the good times

and the bad.

Packers vs. Cowboys

From the highest of highs

CHIEFS vs. COWBOYS

to the lowest of lows


We are still here.


And we are the ones who will look back at the end of the season and say,

Dallas Cowboys v Kansas City Chiefs

"Thanks for the memories, guys. It was one heck of a ride!"

Monday, January 18, 2010

Starting Over

I'd mentioned before that I'd wanted to rip my I Love My Cowboys scarf and start over, because I didn't like the way it folded in half. I finally broke down and did it. First thing I did was to soak the yarn and rehank it to dry. The hangers are there to stretch the yarn just a tiny bit to pull the crimp out.

I'd wanted to knit it during the game yesterday, but the yarn wasn't dry by the time it started. Today was a holiday, and we got the day off at work, so I got up this morning and rewound it.

I found the pattern, which I had already printed out from the first time I knit it, and cast on. First thing I did was to knit 5 rows of garter stitch for the border. It did seem to give some more stability to the pattern. I am knitting five heart motifs--to represent the 5 Superbowls the Cowboys have won, then another 6 rows of garter stitch. I'll repeat this until I run out of yarn, then kitchener it, like last time.

I got this much done today.


I've been knitting so much lace weight lately that I've forgotten how quickly worsted weight knits up.

Speaking of lace weight, I only have 15 more rounds to finish Queen Anne's Lace. Yes, they are long rounds, but the end is in sight.

The only other thing I did today was to take the dogs for a walk. This was the first time I'd tried to walk them both at once, and they did really well.

Once we got to the dirt road, I let Jake off the leash, but kept Rylea on the long lead. I keep them both leashed on the paved road, but let them off on the dirt road since there is very little traffic there. I mean like, one vehicle a week. Today, I kept Rylea on the long lead, because she didn't come when I called her before we left. That's what happened when you prove that I can't trust her. (I don't know what happened to the color in this photo. I was using my P&S, since it's smaller and lighter.)

The view from the top of the hill.

It was an absolutely gorgeous day, cool and breezy, with just enough clouds to give the sky character. The plan had been to get up and go to the zoo, but I decided I was just going to be lazy today. So that's what I did.

And it was great.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Rainy Saturday

It has rained all day long, and I do mean ALL day long. I mostly sat and knit. I'm only 9 1/2 rounds away from being done with chart 4, so it's moving right along. I can feel how warm it is when I lay it down in my lap.

The other thing I did was watch football. The first half of the divisional round is done. The Saints knocked off the Cardinals pretty easily 45-14. Last week, the Packers put up 45 points on the Cards, too, only the Cards scored 51. No team that allows that allows 45 points--much less 45 points two weeks in a row--is going to make it to the Superbowl. I was so hoping that the Cards would win, though. If the Cowboys win tomorrow, the NFC Championship game would be played at Cowboys Stadium. Now, no matter who wins tomorrow, it will be played in the Superdome.

On the AFC side, the Colts handled the Ravens--manhandled rather. Final score 20-3. You could tell the Colts seemed to dial down their offense after getting up 17 points. They will play the winner of tomorrow's game between the Chargers and the Jets. Cody is rooting for the Jets, since the Chargers have historically given the Colts problems. The last two years, it was the Chargers who knocked the Colts out of the playoffs in the first round. I have to root for the Chargers, though. That's the team Jacob Hester plays for. You remember him. I once promised to name my next child after him. Since there are more children in my future, the puppy had to do.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Really, I Have Been Knitting

Just so's you know that there has been some knitting going on...

I cast on the second Falling In Love sock, from the now defunct Magknits website. This is after one pattern repeat.

It's not a hard pattern, but those knit 4 together stitches really get to me.

It's supposed to rain all day tomorrow, so I hope to get quite a bit of knitting done--both on the sock and Queen Anne's Lace. (PDF File)

It's getting so big that I can't get a decent photo of it. It's all scrunched up on the needles. I'm about halfway through chart 4, and chart 5 isn't that long. Finally, slowly but surely, I'm getting this scarf done. It is based on this textured scarf pattern.

This is one that for some reason, I could not follow the pattern, so I just looked at the photo and made up my own. And that's it for knitting news.

Good news--I finally got all my programs and stuff loaded up to my laptop. Now I can download from my camera, edit and upload to my blog. So last week when it was so cold, it actually snowed for three days straight. It was tiny, dry flakes and they didn't stick. This is the most accumulation we got.


Well, I guess that's about it for today.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

What Might Have Been

In the comments to my post about Jack, Steve suggested that I could write my own song,like this one:



I had never heard the song before, but I like it. By the way, that video was made by a bunch of high school kids. Very good job, if you ask me. Being that I'm more of a country music aficionado, I prefer this one:

What Might Have Been

I couldn't find an embeddable video, so you have to click the link.

Well, Steve says there's no pleasing me, but that's not true. It's just that there was no affection between Jack and myself. Just amazement at how small the world is. Now, if you want a "what might have been" moment, one day I'll have to tell you about Tim. One day...

But not today.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I Feel Like Alexander

One of my favorite childhood books was Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. It's still one of my favorite children's books, along with the likes of The Five Chinese Brothers, Mike Mulligan And His Steam Shovel, and The Story About Ping. My mother never read these books to me, so how did they become favorites? Captain Kangaroo read them. But I didn't come here to talk about children's books.

In the book, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, the title character wakes up, and everything goes wrong for him. He drops his favorite sweater in the water, his cereal doesn't have a toy in it, there is kissing on the TV, and the cat wants to sleep with his brother--among other things. Well, my day wasn't quite as bad as Alexander's, but it wasn't great either.

I dropped a hunk of steel right on my big toe, and it hurt so badly I cursed--almost out loud. I went up to the first aid room and put ice on it right away, so it didn't swell or bruise much, but it did hurt. That was at 8:00, so I still had to get through 7 hours of work--all on my feet.

After work, I had to go into town and get milk, so I decided to try to get my car inspected while I was there. I drove all over town. The dealership had cars backed up to the middle of next week. Another gas station I went to didn't do inspections. The one place I found that did them was out of stickers. The place I'd always gotten them done before has closed down. So, I didn't get my car inspected.

By that time, I was tired and hungry, so I went through McDonald's because I really wanted an Angus bacon burger. I got home, and ate about half of it when I remembered I had to do laundry. So I went and put a load of clothes in, and Rylea got up on the table and ate the rest of my bacon burger.

I told her if I hadn't dropped a huge hunk of steel on my toe, I'd be kicking her from one end of the house to the other.

I contacted the Dallas Cowboys Star magazine to try to find out why I hadn't been getting my magazines, and found out my subscription expired last month, only I hadn't gotten a renewal notice or anything. (They said they sent one, and are going to send me the issues I'd missed. Really, if the government can't deliver a simple letter, do we really want to trust them to make life and death decisions for us?).

Jake is walking around limping, and I don't know what he did to himself. I don't see any cuts or anything but he does have a pronounced limp. He's had to stay shut in his kennel, because I want him to stay off of it, and he doesn't like that, so he's fussing about it. By the way, he's bigger than Rylea, and days like today I really miss Katie.

Katie wouldn't have eaten my hamburger.

Now I'm tired and I want to go to bed, and Rylea is looking at me like she wants to be walked, but I'm still mad at her because she has my hamburger in her stomach and I'm still hungry, and I think I could write a book of my own about very bad days.

But at least I didn't accidentally call Australia.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Truth Is Stranger

My job is a no-brainer. That goes without saying. Still, since it is such, I have a lot of time to think, and sometimes I think of strange stuff. Today I was thinking about something that happened back when I was in the Navy.

I was stationed in Italy. There were several bases there in Napoli where I was. The two main bases, though, were the Navy base and the NATO base. Each base had a club. I used to go on country nights--when they played country music. Since there was only one club on each base, they took turns playing different genres of music. Anyway, that's beside the point.

That particular night, I was at the club on the NATO base. There was a ship in, so there were a lot of fleeties in the club. That's what we called the sailors from the ships, fleeties. I made it a point never to dance with the fleeties, because they were always drunk and usually--well, grabby, if you know what I mean. But that night, there was one guy there at the club and he looked so familiar. I kept on looking at him, trying to figure out who he was. When he came over and asked me to dance, I accepted.

I told him basically what I've just told you--that I don't normally dance with guys off the ships, but he looked so familiar that I wanted a chance to talk to him and find out if he really was someone I knew. So we got to talking, and found out that I did know him, sort of. His name was Jack, and we both had been going to school at Great Lakes Naval Training Center at the same time. There was a pool room across the street from the base that I visited occasionally with some of my pool playing friends. I didn't ever really talk to Jack, but I remembered him because he always wore black duster jacket.

We talked a little more, and found out we had gone to the same college for a year. Yes, I remembered him from there, too. I never really talked to him, but I remembered his performance in the freshman talent contest. He came in second, but everyone thought he should have won, because he played a mean fiddle. I mean, he was good.

As if that weren't enough, we talked even more, and found out that I went to high school with Jack's cousin. That was just too weird!

Anyway, Jack's ship pulled out the next morning, and I never saw him again. I often think about him, though, and wonder where he is and how he's doing. And how odd it is to go halfway around the world, just to meet someone from your own back yard.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

What A Game!

I watched the Arizona Cardinals and Green Bay Packers in their playoff game. Wow what a game! It was a high scoring shootout, with the final score 51-45. The Cards won in overtime in what was a real nailbiter. It was a good game, though.

I really need to find something new to knit. I worked on Queen Anne's Lace today, and am about halfway through chart 4. No photos yet, though. I just haven't taken any. I'm really wanting to find something new --non lace-- to cast on. I really want to get back to working on my blankie, but I'm out of yarn. I mean, I'm not totally out of yarn, but all the sock yarn I have has already been added to it. I want to get at least half way through before I start adding duplicate squares, and I need quite a bit of yarn to get there.

This is the most recent photo of it, and it was taken back in June.

Well, that's about it for today. I actually had something I wanted to post, but right now, I can't remember what it is. The blog seems to have suffered since I got my laptop. If Calliope doesn't like keyboards, Calliope really doesn't like laptops. I suppose I need to spend more time at my desktop, if I want to keep the blog going.

I finally got the program installed so that I can download my photos from my camera to the desktop, but now I need an editing program. I use my HP photo editing software on my desktop, but I don't think I can install it on my laptop because I have Vista on it. I suppose I could try--if I could find the disc. Or I could just go to the HP website and see if there is an update there. Yeah, I think I'll do that. I need to do something, though. When I started my blog, I wanted to have lots of photos on it. Now, it seems I hardly take any, much less post them. I have to get back to that.

Well, for not having anything to say, I sure rambled a lot. Return To Cranford is on PBS. I really want to watch it, but I'm not sure I can stay awake for it. This getting up at 4:30 is the pits.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

The Wait Is Over

It's been a long, long wait,

but the playoff drought is finally over.


Cowboys 34

Eagles 14

Eagles vs. Cowboys


There's only one thing left to say,


HOW BOUT THEM COWBOYS!!!!

Friday, January 08, 2010

Still Standing

This was it. The night Colt McCoy had been waiting for. The game he had been waiting for. It was his dream to lead his Texas Longhorns to a National Championship. But it was not to be.

The game started off well. It seemed the Longhorns would dominate. Alabama took the kickoff, but the Texas defense forced them into a punting situation, then intercepted the fake punt. Texas was driving, but then...

The unthinkable happened. The one who never gets hurt got hurt. On the fifth play of their first possession, a quarterback draw, Marcell Darius drove every bit of his 300+ lbs directly into Colt McCoy's throwing shoulder.

(Gary A. Vasquez/US Presswire)

You could tell by the look on Colt's face that something was wrong. He tried to blow it off. Act as if it were nothing, but eventually he had to face reality. He trotted off the field, right arm dangling limply at his side. He was taken to the locker room, then to the x-ray room. His father was brought to him. He wasn't in pain. His arm didn't hurt. It just felt dead. Like it was asleep.

Colt McCoy is no wimp. He knew what was on the line. He knew he wanted to play. He lied to the doctors. Told them he was fine. Told them he was ready to go back into the game.

"Prove it" they said. "Throw the ball." He tried to throw to his dad, but the dead arm just wouldn't cooperate. Three times he tried to throw. Three times he failed. Finally, it was decided that it would in his best long term interests that he not return to the game. This was too much for him to bear. He broke down and wept.

BCS National Championship - Alabama v Texas

Meanwhile, back at the game...the backup quarterback was put in to take McCoy's place. A freshman, inexperienced, with limited playing time--mostly mop up duty. Suddenly he found himself thrust into the biggest game of the year, against the number one team in the country. Talk about a baptism by fire.

As if that weren't enough, the Texas game plan was built around Colt McCoy, and what he could do. In an instant, all that went out the window. The Longhorns were left with no quarterback, no game plan, and no hope. For most of the first half, Garrett Gilbert walked around in a daze, looking a bit shell shocked.

But those Texas boys are scrappers. The team began to pull together. Surrounding Gilbert. Encouraging him. Colt McCoy coaching him on the sidelines. He began to complete some passes. Began to move the ball. Finding his confidence, he brought the Longhorns to within three points, but in the end, it wasn't enough. In the end, the Crimson Tide prevailed.

In the end, Garrett Gilbert also broke down and wept.

The Texas Longhorns have nothing to be ashamed of. Playing without their key offensive weapon. Making up a game plan on the fly. Rallying behind an untested quarterback. Nearly pulling off the upset. Alabama may have the trophy, but one is left wondering who the true champion really is. And we will all forever wonder what might have been.

For Colt McCoy, the most heartrending thing was not the loss. It was that he didn't even get to play. This was his dream, to lead his team to a national championship. This is what he'd worked so hard for, and he didn't even get to play. He was robbed again, this time not by the vagaries of a convoluted ranking system, or the whims of voters who've decided they're tired of quarterbacks always winning the Heisman*, but by the fickle winds of circumstance. It would seem that the accolades, the awards, the glory is not to be his. But somehow, I think that will be OK with Colt, because he knows what's really important in this life. "Whatever happens, I know I'm standing on the Rock," this fine young Christian man said in his post game interview.

Whatever happens, I'm standing on The Rock.


The thing about college football is that eventually there comes a time when there is no wait until next year. Sooner rather than later, it all comes to an end. Students graduate. Go on to other things. It's over.

It's over for Colt McCoy. He will never don a Texas Longhorns uniform again. He will most likely go on to play professional football, but it just won't be the same. His four years at the University of Texas have come to an end, and that means a tradition this blog has carried for three of those four years will also come to an end. Therefore, it is with a doubly heavy heart that I bring you the very last ever

Gratuitous Colt McCoy photo:


BCS National Championship - Alabama v Texas


Thank you, Colt. Thanks for everything.


*I heard some of the sports analysts discussing this on TV. They were some of the ones who voted for the Heisman winner. They were talking about how Colt wouldn't win the Heisman because people were getting tired of quarterbacks winning it. If there were a player from any other position among the finalists, that player would be the winner, just because he wasn't a quarterback.

The information for this article was taken from various places around the internet, including yahoosports.com, cbssports.com, foxsports.com, and ESPN.com.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Hook Em

As many of you know, I didn't always live here in the armpit of the United States. I grew up in Texas, and in so doing, became a Texas Longhorns fan. In the interest of full disclosure, I was more of an A&M fan, but I also rooted for the Longhorns--when they weren't playing A&M, that is. Now, I know some of you would say, "OH NO!!! You can't be a fan of BOTH!" But that was back in the day when a rivalry was just a rivalry. There wasn't this out and out, seething hatred that exists among sports fans today.

My aunt and uncle and 4 cousins lived in Alabama. Every spring, we would go visit them, and every Christmas, they came to visit us. Actually, they came right after Christmas, and we loved it. It was like having a second Christmas. They stayed with our Grandma and Grandpa, but usually we kids would spend the night, either at our house or theirs. Oh, those were some good times. Good times.

My second oldest cousin, Diane, was the one closest to my age. She was a year and a half older than me, and we were inseparable. She ended up going to the University of Alabama. Naturally she was a Tide fan.

That year, 1982, Texas was playing Alabama in the Cotton Bowl. Now this was way back before the BCS, and the convoluted mess we have to deal with now. This was way back before the gajillion bowls they have now, when a bowl game actually meant something. When the teams that played in the bowls were the best of the college world, not the parade of mediocrity we see in the lesser bowls today--where any team that breaks even qualifies for a bowl game. But that's the subject of another post.

Texas was playing Alabama in the Cotton Bowl that year. Aunt Shirley and Uncle Jack and all the cousins were down for their annual visit, and we were having Christmas dinner all over again. With that many people, it was easier to eat "buffet style". All the dishes were laid out on the kitchen counters, and we filed through filling our plates. Then we went and sat down at the tables to eat. Uncle Jack asked the blessing, and the line started slowly moving. It was just about then that my dad leaned over to Diane and asked her

"Are you going to come back next week and watch the Crimson Tide become the Pink Puddle?"

Tonight, the University of Texas Longhorns and the University of Alabama Crimson Tide meet to play for the BCS National Championship. It's time for the Crimson Tide to become the Pink Puddle once again.

Hook 'em Horns!!!!

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Tuesday, January 05, 2010

A New Start

For most people, the new year is a time to start over. Try things again. Make things new. Make things right. The Fine Martial Fiber household is no exception. After wearing my Cowboys hat a few times, I didn't really like the fit. It was just too loose. I looked at it and realized that the ribbing hadn't pulled in as much as it usually does. I thought briefly about ripping the whole thing and starting over, but decided against that. I ended up just picking out the ribbed section and reknitting it on smaller needles.

It took longer than I thought it would, because apparently, when you rip ribbing from the cast on edge, you have to untie every stitch where you make the transition from knit to purl, and vice versa. Nevertheless, we persevered, and finally got the thing finished.

It fits much better now. I could have used it when I walked Rylea this afternoon. The high today was only 31'. It was 18' when I got up this morning, and it's supposed to get even colder the next couple of days.

Remember the socks I got the huge hole in a few weeks back? I had every intention of tossing them, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. I decided instead to rip and reknit them.

I got the first one completely ripped, and got started on the second. I probably won't knit the same pattern, though. Not with re-used yarn. I had this brilliant idea --right. I had some of the original yarn that I hadn't had to use. I was thinking that with what I reclaimed from the socks, plus the unused leftovers, I could make a fairly decent length scarf. But, when I got the remaining yarn out of the closet, I discovered that the socks seem to have faded quite a bit in the wash. So much so that they don't even look like the same color any more. (I'd intended to have a photo to insert here, but I forgot to take it, so you'll just have to use your imagination, because I'm ready for bed and don't want to have to go find the camera, download the photo, etc., etc..) Now, I'm thinking maybe I'll just do toe up socks, and knit the foot with the faded yarn, and the leg with the fresh yarn. I don't know. I'll figure it out later.

Jake says, "All this starting has got me worn out!"


My Christmas cactus is still blooming. I can't believe this. It hadn't done anything in years, and now it's just covered in blooms, with more buds coming out every day.

I'm headed for bed now. Tomorrow, if I don't forget, and I don't get lazy, I'll have a surprise for you.

P.S. I think Cody and I have started a new New Year's Eve tradition: forgetting to watch Happy New Year, Charlie Brown. We did it again this year.

Monday, January 04, 2010

First Day Back

Oh, I did not want to get up this morning. I hadn't slept well, it was cold, and face it, I just didn't want to go back to work. Where had my vacation gone? I wasn't alone in my sentiments, either. Soon after I got to work, I saw Patrick, walking like he was about to fall down. "Oh," he groaned, as I got within earshot. "We're here again."

Yep, we were, though none of us wanted to be. By the time I left work, I had a raging headache. But I couldn't go home and relax, because we needed milk. So, I got Cody and we went into town. I'm so glad he's starting to drive. He took some old PS2 games in to one of the electronics stores here in town to sell them. He had about 7 games, and they offered him $2.75 for them. Not $2.75 each; $2.75 for all seven. He didn't sell them for that. I told him to put an ad in the paper and he could probably get about $5 apiece for them.

Wal-mart was the next stop, and while we were there, we got Jake a new dog box. My cousin Mike had borrowed mine a while back, before we had planned on getting another puppy. I had a small one I was using, and Jake has outgrown it. I called Mike a month ago and asked him to bring my big one back, but he never did. Last week, he told me his dog had destroyed it. He said he'd buy me a new one, but I doubt he ever will. But that's all moot anyway as Jake needed a new box now. Poor baby couldn't even sit up straight in his old one. Needless to say, he's got a nice big box to sleep in.

I still have a headache. The Fiesta Bowl is on the TV, but I can't even get into the game. It's Boise State vs TCU.

Speaking of football, the Dallas Cowboys won the NFC East, defeating Philadelphia 24-0. It was the first time in team history they'd pitched back to back shutouts, having defeated Washington 17-0 the week before. I was working on a post, but the raging headache has left me pretty much unable to put two coherent words together. I think I'll just walk the dog and go to bed. But first, here's a little something to tide you over:

Cowboys 2009

Path To The Playoffs


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Without Terrell Owens

Anyone remember last season, when all the sports analysts and commentators spent the entire year squawking about what a distraction Terrell Owens was? He was a divisive force in the locker room, they said. He was a cancer. The Dallas Cowboys would never be able to accomplish anything until he was gone.

In March, they got their wish. Terrell Owens was cut from the team. Funny how quickly everyone did an about face.

What a dumb move! What was Jerry Jones thinking? You don't cut your biggest offensive weapon like that! What are the Dallas Cowboys going to be able to accomplish without him? They don't have anyone left who scares defenses. Without T.O., Dallas will be an 8-8 team at best--or 7-9, if you ask Emmitt Smith.

But the Cowboys set their sights on loftier goals than the mediocrity of an 8-8 season. They had it in mind to win the division.


After a shaky 2-2 start to the season, the media had pretty much written the Cowboys off, and fair weather fans everywhere were breaking ankles in their haste to jump off the band wagon. The Cowboys won two more games, then lost one. Won three, then lost two. They seemed to be limping along towards mediocrity, just as everyone had expected them to do.

As recently as three weeks ago, they were written off as failures. Then something happened.


Somehow, somewhere along the way, the light came on. As if a switch was flipped, the Cowboys suddenly started clicking. Defense dominating. Offense not just moving the ball, but scoring points as well. Suddenly it was like a completely different team out there. When they beat the undefeated New Orleans Saints on the road--the game nobody thought they had a chance to win--in the Superbowl atmosphere created by Saints fans, people began to take notice.

And the next week, when they shut out the Washington Redskins at FedEx field in what was the most important game of that team's year--their Superbowl, if you will-- they became the hottest team in the NFC East--save one. The Philadelphia Eagles. Division leading. Six game winning streak. The nemesis of 44-6. The team who had crushed the Cowboys dreams last season.

Philadelphia Eagles v Dallas Cowboys

Those same Philadelphia Eagles were coming to Cowboys Stadium, and just like last season, there was something on the line. Last season it was a playoff spot. This time it would be the division championship. Home field advantage. A higher seed in the playoffs--second seed for the Eagles if they win, third seed for the Cowboys. The *** would be the sixth seed. Yeah, there was a lot riding on this game, too. Wasn't nobody going to lay down this week.


Everyone was hoping that this would be another 44-6. All week the media had hyped it. All week, that's all the sports moguls could talk about. Constantly bringing it up. Oh, yeah, they were hoping for another blood bath.

That's pretty much what they got, only this time, it was the Cowboys who humiliated the Eagles. It was the Cowboys who totally dominated, on both sides of the ball. It was the Cowboys who pitched their second shutout in a row since--well, ever. It was the Cowboys who put up their own version of 44-6.

Suddenly, the team nobody expected to do anything was the division champion, and the team to beat. Suddenly, even the media was on the bandwagon. Suddenly, they were the hottest team in the NFC, if not the NFL.

Suddenly, everyone knew what the Dallas Cowboys could do,
even without Terrell Owens.

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