Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Politics of Short Track

There are politics in the Olympics. It shouldn't be that way. It should be the world's finest athletes competing. But it isn't. There are always politics involved, even in short track. How can that be? Isn't short track just skating around in a circle? Yes, but consider this:

Saturday night, February 20th in the 1000 meter semi final. American J. R. Celski was in 4th place. The race was getting short, and he began to make his move. He passed Canadian skater Francois Hamelin to move into third. At that point, the Canadian began grabbing at Celski.

Men's 1000 meter short track speed skating event at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics

He had his left hand on J.R.'s back, while his right hand reached all the way around to the front of J.R.'s right thigh. J.R. reached back with his left hand and swatted at Hamelin, but he didn't appear to make contact. About two seconds later, the Canadian fell.

Men's 1000 meter short track speed skating event at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics

In reviewing the race, it was somehow determined that this was J.R.'s fault, and he was disqualified. Now, short track rules clearly state that when a skater is interfered with, he can be advanced to the next round only if he was already in qualifying position at the time of the interference. Francois Hamelin was not in qualifying position. He was in third place, yet he was advanced anyway. Remember this, it will be significant later.

Apolo Ohno won the second semi-final easily. The battle was for second place. And a battle it was. Charles Hamelin of Canada was in second place and Korean Sun Si-Bak was in third. Just before crossing the line, in a move much more blatant than anything J.R. Celski may have done, the Korean reached out and grabbed Hamelin and seemed to try to restrain him from crossing the finish line first.

Short Track Speed Skating

He did not succeed. By an inch of skate blade, the Canadian crossed the finish line first, yet the Korean skater was not disqualified. He went on to win the B final, from which Celski had been disqualified.

Short Track Speed Skating

So, the final race was set. It would the the Korean team of Lee Jung Su and Lee Ho Suk, the Hamelin brothers from Canada, Charles and Francois, and Apolo Anton Ohno. The race starts, and the two Canadians take the lead, followed by Apolo, then the Koreans. The time comes. Apolo makes his move. He passes Francois Hamelin, and begins winding up to pass Charles.

Olympic Winter Games - Short Track Speed Skating

But he never gets the chance. Francois Hamelin, who had been advanced from third position due to J.R. Celski's disqualification, puts his hand on Apolo's back and gives him a slight shove. Not much, but enough.

Short Track Speed Skating - Day 9

Apolo slips, stumbles, and only his supreme talent and athleticism prevents him from falling. But suddenly, he finds himself in last place, the Koreans having taken advantage of the distraction to move into first and second.


Apolo Ohno, all alone, is dead last, and he's running out of race. With what can only be described as a truly Olympian effort, he passes the two Canadians to claim the bronze.

Short Track Speed Skating

Francois Hamelin is not disqualified. The race isn't even reviewed.


Fast forward to Friday night, February, 26, to the 500 meter race. After having survived crashes in both heats, Apolo Ohno is in the final. Also skating are Korean Sun Si-Bak, and Francois-Louis Tremblay and Charles Hamelin of Canada. Apolo does not get off to a good start.

Olympics Mens 500m Finals Short Track Speed Skating - Vancouver 2010

He is in fourth place. He is beginning to make his move, to pass the pack on the inside, but the track is crowded. He puts his hand up as a cushion, he said. To keep from running over Tremblay, he said. In an unfortunately timed coincidence, Tremblay slips, catches a skate on the ice and falls.

Speed Skating

Meanwhile, at the front of the pack, the Korean passes Canadian Charles Hamelin on the outside. Hamelin reaches out, contacts the Korean, his hand under the Korean's arm and on his torso. He appears to push Sun.

CANADA-VANCOUVER-WINTER OLYMPICS-SHORT TRACK SPEED SKATING-MEN'S 500M FINAL

The Korean falls, and in so doing, bumps Hamelin's leg. The Canadian nearly falls, but keeps his feet, spinning backwards across the finish line, followed closely by Apolo Ohno.

The race is reviewed. Correction, APOLO OHNO's race is reviewed. And though, in the 1000 meter race, Francois Hamelin was NOT disqualified for an almost identical move, in the 500 meter race, Apolo Ohno was.

Short Track Speed Skating - Day 15

And though, in this race, Charles Hamelin contacts the Korean Sun Si-Bak a whole lot more than Ohno contacted the Canadian Tremblay, he is also NOT disqualified. He is not even reviewed. No, the only one disqualified is Apolo Anton Ohno.

Short Track Speed Skating - Day 13

This disqualification gives the other Canadian skater, Francois-Louis Tremblay, the bronze medal.

The judge who made this decision...well, he is Canadian. The honorable thing for the Canadian judge to have done would have been to recuse himself from this situation. It would have been the RIGHT thing to do. But it's not what he did.

The Olympics are still a great thing, but they have fallen so far from what the ancient Greeks practiced--tests of strength and skill. These days, a medal can be won or lost on the whim of a judge.

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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Bobsled

For the first time in 62 years, since 1948, America has won a 4 man bobsled gold medal. Congratulations Team USA!

Bobsleigh - Day 16

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Sundries

If you are one of the 3 remaining people on the planet who still doesn't have ad block, you may have noticed that something is missing from my left sidebar. If you did have ad block, you wouldn't have seen them anyway. What was there were advertisements from a site called BlogHer. They were meant to support women in blogging, and the ads were so that women could earn revenue from their sites. Never mind that my blog doesn't get enough hits for me to make any real money, I thought it wouldn't hurt anything to put them there.

Boy was I wrong. OK, so it didn't really HURT anything, but it just got plain annoying. A representative from BlogHer was constantly nagging me about my blog format. Constantly complaining about the ads not being high enough, or not visible quickly enough, or could I put one in my other sidebar, or could I widen my sidebar a bit? Frankly, the minuscule pittance I was being remitted was not worth the headache of trying to comply with all their ticky tack rules. I finally got fed up and cancelled my account.

I received an e-mail saying that any remaining balance would be paid out on such and such date. I laughed out loud when I read that. Well, really I guffawed. For three years, I have hosted their ads on my blog, and in three years I've made exactly $25. That's right. Twenty five dollars. That works out to just over $8 per year. I made more than that when I was in the Navy. Needless to say, it's almost a relief not to have to fool with them any more.


Unless you've been living under a rock the last two days, you've no doubt heard about the killer whale that killed one of his trainers yesterday. Today, I was shocked to read that SeaWorld plans on keeping the whale. I was even more shocked to read that this was the THIRD person this whale has killed. Why is this animal still around? And why was it still doing public shows???? How many people witnessed this horrifying attack and murder of this trainer? How many kids will have nightmares for the rest of their lives because of what they saw? It should have been either isolated or destroyed after it killed the first person. It's a sad commentary on the state of our society when a marine mammal is considered more important than a human being. And yes, I know an orca is really a dolphin and not a whale, but when three people are dead because if this one animal, does that really matter?


Last night, about three AM, my smoke alarm started chirping. The one in my bedroom. For a while, I tried to ignore it, but it just would not be ignored. Finally I got up and changed the battery. Trouble is, I couldn't find a fresh 9V, so I had to borrow one from one of the other smoke alarms. But, it was far enough on the other end of the house it didn't disturb me.

The bad news is, by that time I was wide awake, and didn't get back to sleep at all. So basically, I've been awake since 3 AM. It's been a long day.

I have a post about Apolo Ohno and short track that I need to get finished and posted, before it becomes like the one on Michael Phelps that is still in my drafts folder. (After all this time, there just doesn't seem to be any point...) Somehow, I don't think it will happen tonight.

Somehow, I don't think much of anything will happen tonight.

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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Surprises!

OK, this first one is a not so good one. I was hanging this photo back up in my living room

because I had taken it down to hang Christmas decorations. Yes, I know it's February, and that February is nearly over, but that's beside the point. I was hanging the picture back up when the back fell out of the frame. The photo fell out and the glass fell right on my toe.

I'm just glad that the glass wasn't real glass, or it might have cut my toe badly. As it was, I ended up with a pretty good bruise.

That was Saturday. Yes, I'm that far behind. But I couldn't wait to show you this stuff I got in the mail today! First up, some yarn scraps for the blankie from my buddy Kristine.

Knowing that I'm also a Dallas Cowboy fan, she sent me a postcard of, yes, Heinz Field. She said she thought I'd appreciate it.

Yeah. But since she sent me blankie yarn, I'll let it slide. Just this once. The second package was even better. It was from blog buddy Opal. She's so sweet.

Yes, those are Dallas Cowboy earrings, and macadamia kisses. Thanks Opal!! I love them!

Onward...

The other day, I showed you I'd wound my Knit Picks Imagination in Gingerbread House. Well, this isn't it. This is Knit Picks Imagination in Pixie Dust. I don't know why I cast on with this instead, but there it is.


The pattern is Bubble Wrap by Sockbug. I'd knit this pattern before, and thought it would be good for this yarn. As I said, this yarn is very loosely spun and will likely fuzz out any complex pattern. This one is simple, without being plain.

Rylea says, "Wake me when you stop talking about your feet."

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Seventh Medal

Last night, Apolo Ono won his seventh Olympic medal, becoming the most decorated Winter Olympian in US history.

Mens 1000M Short Track Speed Skating - Vancouver 2010

He is now ahead of Bonnie Blair, who has 6, and Eric Heiden, who has 5.

Olympic Winter Games - Short Track Speed Skating

They were speed skaters, too.

Short Track Speed Skating - Day 9

Now, some may say Apolo's accomplishment isn't as great as Bonnie and Eric's were.


Olympic Winter Games - Short Track Speed Skating

After all, Eric's medals were all gold. While five of Bonnie's were gold, and one was silver. Apolo only has two gold medals. He also has two silver and three bronze medals.

Mens 1000M Short Track Speed Skating - Vancouver 2010

But the thing about it is, Bonnie and Eric skated alone. For the most part.

Short Track Speed Skating - Day 9

Apolo skates short track, with as many as 7 other skaters on the same ice.

Short Track Speed Skating - Day 9

With all the pushing and shoving that goes along with such a crowded oval.

Short Track Speed Skating - Day 9

It's a lot harder that way.

Short Track Speed Skating

So, though he may have fewer gold medals

Short Track Speed Skating

he is just as much a champion as anyone.

Sports News - February 21, 2010

And that is as it should be.

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Saturday, February 20, 2010

BEAUTIFUL Saturday

Perfect weather. Warm enough I was able to open the windows, and just look at that Saturday Sky!

Last week, I got my tax return. Now, normally I spend a few dollars on something just for fun. Last year it was the laptop computer. The year before, it was a new digital SLR camera. This year, I decided to be a little more conservative, and try to get some bills paid off instead. But I did buy myself something I've been wanting for a long time.

A swift. I had been draping my hanks across the back of my recliner to wind them into cakes, and it is such a pain in the butt. I had to be real careful or the yarn would end up in a big tangle. A swift would make things so much easier.

Oh, and there was some yarn in the box, too.

But before I could play with the new stuff, I was determined to finish my Falling In Love socks, which had been on the needles way too long. And here they are:

A close up of the stitch pattern

And of the cable pattern

Finally, I was done with them, and ready to play with new stuff. Here is the swift loaded and ready to go.

The winding process

And the finished cake:

This yarn is Knit Picks Imagination in Gingerbread House. I'm not sure what pattern I want to knit up with this. It'll probably be a simple pattern, because the yarn is spun very loosely and will fuzz quite a bit.

Finally, this month was my 15 year anniversary at ADP. The longer you are with the company, the better the gifts get. For my 5 year, I got a clock radio. For my 10 year, I got a set of kitchen knives in a wooden block. This year, I chose this print.

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Ruby Pendant

(Note: this is a dream I had several years ago. Yes, this is a real dream, though I have fleshed out some of the details. Now, if you know anything about me, you know I often have interesting and unusual dreams. When I told this one to my late supervisor Virgil Mann (GRHS), he stared at me in disbelief for a few moments, then told me I ought to sell it to Stephen King. Just a couple of things, the dream does a strange time warp at the beginning from modern times to sometime in the 1700's, and the parents in the dream aren't my real parents.)

I was in Wal-mart that day, buying things for my upcoming wedding. Though it was no longer the custom, I had agreed to an arranged marriage. I had misgivings, but I trusted my parents. I was their only child and they doted on me. I knew they would not do anything that would bring me harm. They would choose a good man for me. Still, I wondered what he would be like. His temper and mannerisms. His character. His appearance. The only thing I knew about him was that he was several years older than me.

As the day of my wedding approached, things were very busy, both with wedding preparations and my parents moving. They had given me the family home, and were moving into a cottage about a mile away, but still on our estate. They would be close enough for me to visit every day, but far enough away for my husband and I to have our privacy. This suited me greatly, for I did not want them to be very far from from me.

The estate had been in our family for many generations, though I was not sure how it came to be ours. The house was ancient, but well kept, except for the back wing. It was old and in ill repair. It had been sealed off years ago--so completely that a wall had been built where the entryway had been. As a child, I had found an outside entrance to the old wing, and had spent many hours playing there, exploring, pretending to be mistress of my own home. I found all sorts of forgotten treasures--knives, remnants of crumbled tapestries, jewelry, scraps of silk--all sorts of things a young girl would love to collect. Those were happy days, until the day my father discovered me. He forbade me to enter the ruinous wing again, saying it was not safe. The walls were unstable, he said, and the whole place could come down on top of me. That was the end of my playing there.

Finally, at long last, my wedding day arrived. My groom had requested the ceremony be held at dusk instead of the customary noon hour. I was uncomfortable with this change, but my parents acquiesced to his request. The hour spooked me. Neither day nor night, it was the hour the ancients called The Time Between Times. The time when strange and magical things happened.

Even more so, the lateness of the ceremony gave my mother more time to fret. She always did worry herself silly over every little thing. It drove me crazy! Just when I thought I would pull every last hair out of my head, the wedding was upon us. As my father escorted me into our family chapel, I got my first look at my husband to be. I was pleasantly surprised. He appeared to be about 35 or 40 years old, but I didn't know his exact age, and though gray peppered his otherwise dark hair, he was still very handsome. As for his temperament, well, when he smiled at me with kindly eyes, I somehow felt that everything would be OK.

I remember very little of the ceremony itself, mostly the smiling faces of my family, friends wishing me well, showering me with gifts. Entering the chapel with my father, leaving with my husband.

The wedding feast lasted well into the night, until finally it was time for us to retire to our bedchamber. My maid and I went ahead to get ready. She brushed out my golden hair and wove tiny pink flowers into it, then dressed me in a lacy pink gown. I then climbed into bed to wait for my husband.

He didn't come.

I waited, and still he didn't come. As weariness overtook me, I thought to myself, 'He can wake me up when he gets here.' With that, I drifted off to sleep, alone on my wedding night.

I awoke to the sound of birds singing in the dawn light. As I lay there, wondering why my husband had not come, in he walked bearing a breakfast tray. I asked him why he hadn't come last night, and he responded, "I thought you would be tired from the wedding and the feast. I decided I would let you sleep." What a kind and thoughtful man I have married, I thought, though I wished he had let me know before I waited up half the night. And so I began my married life.

I soon fell into a comfortable routine of managing my home--keeping busy with all the mundane necessities of life. Every morning, I visited my parents. Afternoons and evenings were spent with friends, needlework, drawing, piano, and all the other accomplishments young women are expected to be proficient in. If there was any darkness in my life, it was my husband's continued absence from our bedroom. For the first few weeks, he made excuses--he was in town late on business, he lost track of time, he wasn't feeling well--but eventually he stopped making excuses. He just didn't come.

As the weeks went by, I gradually noticed a change in my husband. He grew more and more distracted, and more and more irritable. I often heard him muttering something about a family legacy. When he bothered to speak to me at all, he was short and testy. Days would go by when I wouldn't see him at all. I began to be glad of it. Then came the night...

I woke suddenly in the middle of the night. I'd heard a noise coming from the hall. I heard it again, and got out of bed to go see what it was. Unexpectedly, I came upon my husband in an old, old hall. He had a pickax and was attempting to break through the wall that had been erected to seal off the oldest wing of the house. All the while, he was mumbling, "I have to find it. My family legacy--I have to find it."

Shocked and amazed as his behavior, I asked him what he was doing. He turned and saw me. Enraged, he rushed at me with the pick raised as if to strike me with it. Fearing for my life, I reacted without thinking. In self defense, I picked up a shovel that was leaning against the wall and swung it at my husband. The flat of it hit him on the side of the head, and as he fell, I was horrified to see his head roll away from his body. Stunned, I just stared for a moment. I hadn't hit him that hard. The odd thing was that there was no blood.

Even odder was that my husband's head continued talking. Yelling, really. He demanded that I put his head back onto his body. Numbly, I swallowed my revulsion, and picked his head up. Again, he demanded that I return his head to his body. I began moving to comply, when

"Don't"

came the soft command from behind me. I turned to see my husband's butler standing there. He was the only servant my husband had brought into our home, and was a man ancient beyond years. From the head I was still holding came a torrent of foulness and hatred the like of which I had never heard. Gradually, though, the sound faded, and I knew that my husband was dead. It was then that Butler told me the story...

My husband's family had been the original owners of my estate, until the day his grandfather had been forced to surrender it as payment for a debt he owed. It was one of my ancestors who became the new owner of the estate. Legend told of a legacy in my husband's family of such great value that if found, it would repay the entire debt and restore his family's estate, and more importantly restore his family's honor. My husband had vowed to spend his life searching for this legacy. "What was this legacy?" I asked. Butler then withdrew a scrap of parchment from his pocket and showed me a drawing of a gold and ruby pendant with a stone so large and so perfect that it could have bought the entire estate.

Then a thought struck me. How could this be possible? The estate had been in my family for 600 years. Butler continued with his story. As my husband aged, he began to fear that he would die before finding this lost legacy. So, he lured a young man out into the forest and beheaded him. Then, using dark arts, he attached his own head to the young man's body and continued his quest to find his family legacy. When the new body aged, he found another young man, killed him, and repeated the evil sorcery. In this way, he had managed to survive for 6 centuries.

When he'd heard that my parents were arranging a marriage for me, he felt that if he could win their confidence and wed me, it would be the perfect opportunity for him to gain access to the house, so he could continue his search for the elusive jewel.

"But didn't he realize," I asked, "that by marrying me he once again became the rightful owner of the property?"

"After carrying his obsession for so long," Butler answered, "his mind had lost the ability to reason. He could think of nothing else. He could only continue to search."

Now his search was over.

"You will stay on with us here?" I asked Butler.

"No," he said. "For 600 years, my life has been bound to his. For 600 years I have walked this earth and served him. Now I have finally been released from this dark magic. I am tired. I am ready to rest." With that, Butler shuffled off to his bed, where I knew he would finally slip the bonds of mortality that had held him captive for so very long.

"Rest in peace," I whispered after him.

Once again, I looked at my late husband's head, still in my hands. In the intervening moments, it had grown cold and as withered as the ancient bodies sometimes found in the peat bogs.

Overcome with compassion for his tortured soul, I said, "You can rest in peace, too. Your family's debt has been paid in full. Your family's honor is restored." With those words, I reached into the bodice of my gown, to the gold chain that hung around my neck and withdrew

a gold and ruby pendant with a stone so large and so perfect that it could have bought the entire estate.

.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Decision Is Made

*Note: I had meant to publish this post nearly a year ago--on May 8, 2009, which would have been the twentieth anniversary of my leaving for basic training. However, stuff happened. Life got in the way, and it just didn't get done. Finally, I managed to get it finished, and here I present to you part 2 of my story.

Twenty years ago, my life changed forever. Two years before, I had graduated College with a Bachelor of Behavioral Science degree, my major being psychology and my minor sociology. I'd spent two years in a rather uninspiring job market, unable to find work in my chosen field. I was working part time at Wal-mart, and truth be told, I enjoyed the job. But after nearly two years, I was still part time. I didn't understand it. I was a hard worker. I didn't miss work. In the two years I'd worked there, I called in ONE time. I'd seen people who had been hired after me already promoted to full time, and here I was still part time. I went and asked my department manager, who went and asked our assistant manager why I hadn't been made full time yet.

"Oh, she'll probably never be made full time," was the assistant manager's response. Well, that made me mad, and I thought to myself, "They're not going to make me full time. I'll just go and join the Navy."

OK, so it wasn't really such a spur of the moment decision as that. I'd been thinking about it, but with that answer I began thinking about it seriously. One day in late December 1988, I went into town and talked to a recruiter. I don't remember his name. He had an unusual last name that started with a V, so I'll just call him that. He told me that the Navy was about to put a temporary moratorium on female recruits, so if I wanted to enlist, I would have to go take the ASVAB* that night.

Whoa! I wasn't ready for that. I would have to think about it a little. "Well, don't think too long," V said. "you'll need to let me know by..." such and such a time. I don't remember the exact hour.

I went home, but I didn't have to think long. I knew I couldn't continue on working only part time. Besides that, it was time. I was 24 years old. It was time to grow up and stop mooching off my family. It was time for me to become an adult. I called the recruiter back and said, "I'm going."

V tolde me to meet him down at the recruiting office, and he was going to drive me and another girl down to the MEPS** in Houston. Normally, he'd stick us on a Greyhound bus, but due to the time constraints, he drove us down there himself. So he drove us down there and that night we took the ASVAB, which is your pretty typical standardized test. Once it was over, we got checked into a motel--which I'm not really sure how that happened. V had left by this time, because he had a 2 hour drive to get back home. Anyway, somehow we got checked into a motel.

The next day, we were up early, and back to the MEPS for a day of poking and prodding, and more medical tests than I even knew existed. We got eyes checked, ears checked, blood, urine, --everything checked. You name it, we got it checked. We also had to do some really strange things, like jump up and down in our underwear, squat down and waddle like a duck, all sorts of things. After that, we faced a barrage of questions by the doctor--all to find out if we were physically fit enough to be in the military.

At one point during the day, I saw the girl I had ridden down with. She was getting on the elevator and she was crying. I asked he what was wrong, and she said they were sending her home. She was on birth control pills to regulate her menstrual cycle, and they wanted her to provide a note from her doctor verifying that. They wouldn't let her into the military without one.

Once they determined I was physically capable of being in the military, I was off to get my fingerprints taken and a background check done. Finally, I took the oath and was sworn into the delayed entry program. They put me on a Greyhound bus and sent me home with orders to report back for active duty on May 8, 1989.

Part 1 of this story can be found here.

*Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery
**Military Entrance Processing Station

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Don't You Hate It

when you sit down to post and forget what you wanted to say? Yeah...

I took some Tylenol PM before I went to bed last night and slept well. I woke up feeling much better. Well enough to watch the Olympics.

Short track, which I absolutely love--just qualifying heats. Down hill skiing, something I've always dreamed of doing. They showed the replay of Lindey Vonn winning gold. Speed skating, Shani Davis winning gold again.

Now they are showing half pipe, which should not even be an Olympic event as far as I'm concerned.

For some reason, I'm just not inspired to post the way I was during the summer Olympics in '08. I'm enjoying watching them, but the stories just aren't there.

Sorry 'bout that.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Feeling Groovy

which I am not today. I got up feeling quite icky, but as the sole breadwinner I went to work anyway. I got worse throughout the day, and before too long, I was literally shivering in my boots. Now, you must understand that my work environment is HOT. Even if it's 19' outside, as it was this morning, it is still hot inside. I am hot natured anyway, so for me to shiver told me that certainly something was wrong. I took some Tylenol and that helped me make it through the day. After I got home, I took my temperature, and it was 99.5. I sat down to watch the new disc of Reba that I got from Netflix, but it wouldn't play. So now, I am just sitting here wrapped in a blanket with nothing on the TV.

I have been watching the Olympics, but just haven't been moved to post about them. I've been knitting, too. I am still working on my second Falling In Love sock, and have also picked back up my Mystery '09 shawl. I'll have photos when I feel better.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Why I Don't Date

Well, Valentine's Day is here once again, and while people are celebrating love everywhere, I will be sitting at home watching the Winter Olympics. No, I don't have a date for this weekend. I'm often asked why I won't date. But it's not so much that I won't date. It's just that I don't. Why? Because nobody asks me out. I'm not exactly sure why, but I do have my theories. It goes way back...

Before I went into the Navy, I worked a couple of years at Wal-mart. For part of that time, there was this guy who also worked there. His name was Tony. I liked him, and for a while I thought he liked me. Looking back now, though, I'm not so sure.

Anyway, one afternoon some of my cousins got to jawing about who could out hunt who. Naturally, this led to a "prove it" moment, so that night three of my cousins and I went hunting. Now, at that time, and in that state, spotlighting for rabbits was legal. Make sure you check your state and local hunting laws before hunting anything. There was a bumper crop of rabbits that year, and between the 4 of us, we killed 9 of them.

The next day, when I went back to work, Tony asked me what I had done on my day off. I told him, and he said, "Oh, I went rabbit hunting, too. How many did you kill?" I told him, and "NINE???? I've never killed nine rabbits in one night in my life!!!" I pointed out that there were 4 of us hunting, and he said, "Yeah, but NINE!" I said that it wasn't like I'd killed all nine by myself. I'd only killed three. "Yeah, but NINE!" Things got very cool between us for a while.

A few weeks later, my cousin's husband told me that when he was a little boy, he used to kill robins, cook them with rice, and eat them. In retrospect, I think he was pulling my leg, but at the time, I was young enough and naive enough--and let's face it, I didn't want to think he would lie to me like that--so I believed him.

Over the course of a several days, I went out and killed a couple dozen robins, the amount I had been told was needed to make up a good pot of robin and rice. I cleaned them, then carried them over to my Aunt Martha's and asked her to cook them for me. She did, and I ate them. I decided I didn't like robin and rice, and haven't killed any since then. But I'm getting off track...

I had another day off of work, so I decided I'd just stay out in the woods until I'd gotten enough robins to make up my 24. The next day, I went back to work and Tony--who was finally talking to me again--asked me what I'd done on my day off. When I told him, he said, "I went robin hunting, too. How many did you kill?" I told him, and "FIFTEEN?????" he exclaimed. "I've never killed 15 robins in my life!"

"What kind of gun did you use?" I asked, though I'm not sure why.

"A .22 with scope," was his reply.

Now, I don't claim to be an expert on men, and back then I knew even less than I do now, but one thing I do know is when to shut up. I knew then that that was a good moment to shut up. (In the intervening 20 some odd years since this happened, I now know that I probably should have shut up about 2 minutes earlier, but I didn't.) "Oh," was all I said.

"Why?" Tony asked. "What kind of gun did you use?" I didn't want to answer, but Tony was insistent. Finally, I rather reluctantly told him,

"A BB gun."

Do you know, that boy never spoke to me again.

I lost a friend that day, but I gained something more important. I gained knowledge, and what I learned from my encounter with Tony was that men don't want me the way that I am. So for years, I tried to be what I thought a man wanted in a woman. And I never wanted for a boyfriend. Even after I got out of the Navy, the men were still there. The offers were still plentiful.

But then, about 10 years ago, I decided I was tired. Tired of pretending to be someone I'm not. Tired of acting like the bubble-headed, big-boobed bimbo. And let's face it, I wasn't fooling anyone with the boob thing anyway. But most of all, I was tired of dumbing myself down to meet men's expectations. So I quit. I dropped all pretense, and went back to just being me.

In an instant, the dates, the phone calls, the interest just stopped, as quickly and completely as if someone had flipped a switch. I haven't had a date since. But you know what? I'm OK with that. If someone doesn't want me the way I am, then he doesn't deserve to have me.

Maybe, someday, someone will come along and want me. ME. But if that never happens, I'm content with who I am.

And that's all that matters.

Valentine kiss







Friday, February 12, 2010

Some Random Thoughts

while waiting for the Olympics to start...

1. If the people of New Orleans had been brought up with an attitude of strength, confidence, and self-reliance instead of one of helplessness and dependence, they wouldn't need a football team to give them hope.

2. When I hear a little girl talking about how sometimes her family doesn't have enough food, but by golly they got that satellite TV, I have a hard time drumming up any sympathy.

3. When I hear a little boy talking about having to go out into the woods and gathering stuff to burn so that his family doesn't freeze to death, but by golly he's got that iPhone hanging from his belt...yeah.

4. People, turn off the TV and buy your children some food!

5. Turn off the iPhone and buy your family some heating oil!

6. Don't even get me started on health insurance.

7. You know, Obama could shut all these "birthers" up in a New York minute by simply producing his original long form Hawaiian birth certificate--which he surely would have if he were truly born there--and saying, "See, I told you so." Kind of makes you wonder why he doesn't.

8. Just how long can a teenager sulk anyway?

It's almost time...catch ya later, then.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

No Snow Here

They keep predicting snow, but so far, we haven't gotten any. I think we must be the only place left that hasn't seen snow this winter. So, in lieu of real snow, here are some photos from 2 years ago, the last bit of snow we got.

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