Tuesday, April 29, 2008
This computer is so slow uploading these things that I'm going to try one more; if it doesn't move any faster, I'm gonna quit.
Flowers at school:
Okay, it's taken 8 minutes (so far) to upload those two photos, so enough of that for today.
Tom had hernia surgery yesterday, outpatient. We both thought it would be laparascopic, but I guess that's why one is supposed to actually read the disclosure things one has to sign before surgery. Surprise! Anyway, lack of sleep is causing me to be uncharacteristically impatient, so time to quit.
You're welcome for the hearty laugh that last sentence caused.
Friday, April 25, 2008
My sister, Betty, said that once you actually buy tickets, you get an option to immediately sell them on Ticketmaster's
This is how TM "protects" the ticket-buying masses. This way you can be sure that you're buying a genuine ticket instead of a counterfeit one, since they hold the tickets and send them to the
The American Express Gold Card presale for Neil Diamond went on sale last Friday. Betty is a die-hard ND fan; once before she, Joan, and I had tickets, but not great ones, (they turned out to be pretty great for Joan and me, though), so the day or two before the concert, Betty went on ebay and bought a front-row ticket. Joan and I were to the side of the stage but on a higher level, and we had a good view of the band, the stage, and Betty. We so enjoyed watching her enjoy the show!
So, back to my story before my lunch gets cold: Tom has a Gold Card and graciously donated it for the cause. I informed my boss that I was going to take about half an hour of personal leave (she laughed) to try to buy tickets. I spent 45 minutes trying to find something decent, but nothing came up that I was willing to buy. I finally gave up out of frustration and hunger. The only sections that were selling that I ever saw were across the stadium.
However. TicketExchange was already showing tickets in the front sections, for the prices listed above. How did they do that? I'm a fast, accurate typist; I mistyped the security words twice in 45 minutes. Many times I got a page that says, sorry, no tickets available. So, here I am with a very fast internet connection and a decent computer, and I couldn't get a ticket anywhere near the stage.
We both tried throughout the last week, but only those far-away sections were available.
Have you seen the commercials for American Express, bragging how they got tickets to a sold-out concert? Lies. Tom called AmEx and asked about their tickets for the ND show. They gave him a number to call, and guess what? That person told him that TM handles that; they have nothing to say about where the tickets are. He told her that the seats were crap and they should be ashamed to put their name on the presale. She wasn't any help.
So this morning was the start of the ND fanclub presale. Betty, after nearly having a stroke when nothing decent showed up in the first ten minutes, finally got two tickets in the back of section 2, which is center in front of the stage.
You know, we'd boycott TM if there was any other way to get tickets to the shows we want to see. But they're the only game in town at most large venues, so we're stuck.
So we buy tickets and gripe about TicketThievery and go to the concerts anyway.
We're going somewhere in Maryland to a house party, whatever that is. If you know or have a slight clue, please let me know. I don't know what to expect.
Last Train Home is playing at the party. Their tour list on their website said to email if anyone was interested in going, so we did. And so we're going.
Don't get me wrong, I love Last Train Home and love their shows.
I just want a weekend at home!
And of course I didn't have my camera with me (or my jacket, but I didn't think I'd need that, either). I always have my camera with me. It's one of those Don't Leave Home Without It things for me, but the new one is too big for my purse, and I've stopped carrying the old one because it made my purse so heavy, and I just didn't think I'd need one for a workshop.
This isn't a great photo of the place. The second I saw it, I was in love. Inside it's even better. The rotunda is the entrance; it's three stories high and has stained glass inside. I can't begin to do it justice by describing it. I have to go back and photograph it.
After the workshop, Mary and I ate lunch at the pedestrian mall a couple of blocks away. We ate at a small bakery/cafe and sat outside. Again, gorgeous architecture all around, trees just beginning to leaf, lots of restaurants with outside seating, people walking by with their dogs. So many photo opportunites, and me with no camera.
We got back to school just in time for me to go to Claudia's to work, so I didn't go back upstairs to get my bag. (It's a long long loooonnnnnnggggg walk from the parking lot to my office.) It wasn't till I was on my way to pick up Tom that I realized that my camera was in that stinking bag in my stinking office (well, the office doesn't stink; I have my little Ionic Breeze on my desk and I forgot to turn it off before we left for the workshop, and there are lilacs on my desk.) and didn't have the stinking camera all evening.
Which sort of didn't matter, as it turned out. Claudia didn't need me to work, but she wants me to knit some test garments for her new book of patterns. I cleaned my glasses, which had been filthy for several days, and they. snapped. at. the. nosepiece. In half.
Now, I'm extremely nearsighted, and I really can't read just using my left eye anyway (macular degeneration, 20% blind in that eye, the rest blurry, blah blah blah), so I was fortunate (?) that it was the left lens and earpiece that broke off. I tried to superglue it together, but that didn't work. It glues my fingers together, so I thought it was worth a shot.
I could wear the right half of the glasses, since the nosepiece was still intact for that much of the glasses. I drove to pick up Tom, very carefully, and we went to Costco to see if they could fix them. I was sure they couldn't as they don't keep actual stuff there; everything has to be sent off for a week to ten days.
I couldn't possibly go without them for that long, and I'm not sure where my old glasses are.
Anyway, long story shorter, they were able to take the piece off another pair of old glasses they had lying around. I can see again. And I've made an appointment with my regular eye doctor (retinologists don't "do" glasses prescriptions) for another eye exam and prescriptions for both glasses and contacts. It's not till May 9, so I hope my glasses will hold up till then. I hope they'll stay clean till then.
And this time I'll buy a back-up pair of cheap glasses.
Saturday, April 19, 2008
Using the "super macro" button on the camera, I caught this (very sluggish, or otherwise I wouldn't have touched the doorknob) wasp in our garage.
Here's a view of the redbud and some white-flowering tree in our back yard; note our West Virginia storage shed:
Today has been chilly and wet in Spruce Pine, NC. I see that it's been in the upper 70s at home today. We didn't go to Biltmore; at $49 a person it wasn't worth it in the rain, and it was too foggy on the mountain to want to drive to any gem mines.
This is one of our adult female deer; one or more of the others have been beating the tar out of her and some of the others. She has boo boos all over from bites and flying hooves. I caught her in a rather unladylike position, but it tickles me, so here she is (we don't know her name; she hasn't shared it with us):
And, last, my favorite yarn photo so far:
Friday, April 18, 2008
We're heading out to a Last Train Home show in Tennessee, just over the border from VA/North Carolina, then to my cousin's hotel just off the Blue Ridge Parkway, Skyline Village Inn. Lynn and Mike are great hosts and it's very reasonably priced. Stop in and tell them I said hi!
Tomorrow, if the weather is nice (and there's 100% chance of rain!) we'll go to the Biltmore; if their azaleas are out it will be glorious. But, our alternate choice (in case of rain--HA!) is gem mining.
There are two emerald "mines" close to the hotel, but neither is an authentic working mine. The one I want to visit is the Sheffield Mine, because they have native stones, not those brought in from elsewhere and "salted" in their dirt, which the "mines" then sell by the bucket.
Or I might sleep all day while Lynn and Mike are in Charlotte on business. At this point, that sounds like a plan to me.
From my new camera:
Thursday, April 17, 2008
He is 60!!! Tom is 62, and he looks a lot younger.
By the way, I'm wearing the bamboo t-top (Oat Couture, Tropical Tee, love the pattern) that I knit last year and never blocked. The side seams twist, which I don't like, but not having the motivation to block it, I just ended up wearing it and pulling it into place occasionally. It really doesn't pull that much over my boobs; it's a little loose, and by the end of the evening it was really droopy (not my boobs. I'm wearing my Soma bra.). I washed the tee in the washing machine last night (no hand-washing for me) and it came out looking a lot better. I laid it to dry and I'll see how it did tonight. I hope that takes care of the twisting seams, but I'm not counting on it.
I'm going to knit another Tropical Tee in coral bamboo, a size smaller, a couple of inches shorter, and with longer sleeves. Maybe a tiny bit of shaping at the (I wish I had a) waist. This one is knit with Southwest Trading Company's bamboo; the second will be Classic Elite Bam Boo. I'm curious to see how the two compare.
FO: I finished Joan's birthday socks this week, too late to give them to her this past weekend, but they're finally done. I started them in August of last year for her early September birthday. Now they're finished and I've cast on for a pair of (black)hearted socks in Claudia's Red Wagon colorway, all bright and springy.
Joan's socks, fini:
On to springtime with Red Wagon!
I'd decided on a Canon S5 IS because it appeared to have almost everything I wanted in a point-and-shoot camera: good macro setting (even super macro), decent wide-angle and zoom, can be used like an SLR if desired, image stabilization (for those shaky days) and face detection technology, and other things I can't remember here. Oh yes, it had to be under $450, and this one was $329. I hadn't handled one, so that had to be a big consideration, the way it would feel in my hands.
I'd have loved to have a DSLR; some of them are reasonably priced, but with a telephoto lens, which I'd have to have, I just couldn't hold it steady. Since I take lots of photos of far-away stuff, that just wouldn't work. So I opted for a nearly-DSLR.
I've only taken a few photos with it; it was getting dark when we got home last night, and I really have no idea how to use it for even the simplest photos. I was trying to photograph the yarn on my desk but had a difficult time getting a clear picture, so who knows what I did to the settings when I played with it.
I took some pictures of it with my old camera, which will soon be on its way to J. If/when I learn to use the new one!!!
I didn't realize till I got it home that it has a USB card reader with it, so I don't have to hook up the camera to the computer and waste batteries uploading photos:
This is what I have to wade through in order to learn how to use this camera. Auuuggghhh!
What it came down to, though, when choosing a new camera, was the batteries it uses. I really wanted a Sony H7; it has really good reviews, has so many manual settings and longer telephoto plus 15x zoom; this one has 12x zoom, which is close enough. But the Sony H7 uses a proprietary (read: expensive) lithium ion battery, which no doubt will last a lot longer while shooting photos, but the expense is what stopped me. A spare rechargeable battery is $60. The Canon S5 IS uses 4 AA batteries, which I can find anywhere anytime. I know that in the long run I'll end up spending a lot more on AAs than if I bought the rechargeable, but AAs are just so much easier to deal with. And if I want to, I can use rechargeable AAs; somewhere I have some batteries and the charger.
So. I have my new camera. I've done my part to jump-start the economy. Now I just need to learn how to use the thing!
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Last weekend we went to Ashland Coffee and Tea on Friday night to hear Tom Russell. (I'm too lazy to link today.) He's a fairly good singer-songwriter, but not much of a showman. The next night a guy that Tom likes was going to be there, so we bought tickets for that show.
Saturday night we heard Bill Kirchen and Too Much Fun at the same place. My sister, Joan, and her husband, Scott, came with us (I begged them, just in case the show was as
The weekend before we went to Saturday night and Sunday afternoon Last Train Home shows in Arlington.
And, this coming weekend, we're going to Johnson City, Tennessee, to hear Last Train Home again, then spend the weekend at my cousin's hotel, the Skyline Village Inn. Maybe go to Biltmore on Saturday afternoon (if I get out of bed) or, if the weather's bad, to one of the gem mines in the area.
I think that we'll actually be home the following weekend, unless some show pops up. But the first weekend of May we'll go to a benefit in Richmond (I don't remember what it's for) headlined by Bill Kirchen and Jerry Jeff Walker. We went all the way to Belize last year to see 3 Jerry Jeff shows, so Richmond isn't such a stretch.
Maybe by that time, it'll be warmer and we'll be able to spend some time outdoors on the weekends. I can only hope.
"Some members of the xxxxxxxxxx High School football team are accused of armed robbery and distributing prescription pain pills. Information came out Wednesday afternoon concerning star players who are allegedly involved with the drugs, as well as allegations that the coaches knew what was going on but turned a blind eye to any illegal activity.
Investigators from the xxxxxxxxxxxxx Police Department signed search warrants to access records at the high school. An affidavit filed with the clerk of court Wednesday alleges nine current memebrs of the school's football team, one former student, the team's head coach and two assistant coaches were involved in, or had knowledge of, the distribution of prescription pills in the school's locker room before games. Many of the pills are believed to have been Oxycontin.
Investigators say some of the football players may have also been involved in an armed robbery of rival high school students on Halloween 2007. One of the students allegedly involved is the football team's star player. Ten other xxxxxxxxx High School students' names are also listed in the affidavit.
Police executed a search warrnant at the high school Wednesday morning and got all the documents they needed. Although no arrests have been made in this case (note from me: two kids have been arrested for the robbery since then), investigators want to know how many players and coaches knew about this alleged prescription drug distribution, but who also failed to tell police.
The biggest name on the list junior xxxxx xxxxx, a star running back on the football team. Police talked to xxxx more than once during this investigation. According to the affidavit, on January 23, 2008, xxxx admitted to being part of an armed robbery which included other xxxxxxxx School students xxxx xxxx and xxxx xxxx. Xxxx said he only helped plan the robbery.
On March 28, xxxx was questioned again and investigators asked about his knowledge of xxxx dealing prescription pain pills before football games while in the locker room of xxxxxxx High School. In the affadavit, xxxx states he was aware that xxxx had been both selling and giving away pills since the 2006-2007 football season and that xxxx had told him the pills would make it so players would feel no pain during games, even from hits by other players. Xxxx verbally committed to UVA in December.
The Xxxxxxx City School Superintendent says since this matter deals with students and personnel, he cannot comment on the matter at this time.
Along with alleging that some of the coaches knew about the drugs, police also allege some of the assistant coaches may have known about the armed robbery. However, the coaches did not report it to the police.
In the affidavit released Wednesday, HPD Sgt. Xxxx Xxxx, Xxxx Criminal Investigations Gang Unit, says it was "very apparent that there was an overwhelming amount of information and knowledge about the use and distribution of pain pills by football players of the xxxx High School football team." Police Guy also says that not only did the players know about this themselves, but several coaches also had this information and knowledge. In the affidavit, Police Guy talked with head football coach Xxxx Xxxx.
He says, "Xxxx stated he had heard of Xxxx Xxxx selling drugs on one occasion and on another occasion received an anonymous note that his football players were selling drugs." Xxxx also says he approached Drug Guy about it in the spring of 2007, but that Xxxx denied any involvement or knowledge.
In the affidavit, Xxxx goes on to say that "Head Coach stated that even though he had received information about Drug Guy selling drugs and received a follow-up anonymous letter about it, he never reported this information to police." The affidavit also alleges that two assistant coaches, Xxxx Xxxx and Xxxx Xxxx, had knowledge of some of these reports. Police Guy says Xxxx told him he had no knowledge of of the drug dealing, but did know about the armed robbery, which he allegedly never told police about.
Police Guy adds Xxxx coach guy said he had heard about the allegations and had questioned Drug Kid, but he "did not know where to draw the line between what was rumor and what was real." "
Friday, April 11, 2008
And it's 79 degrees now--I can't wait to get outside!
Tuesday, April 08, 2008
"All is good... B2s teacher, Ms. M, said he was GOOD! I didn't ask anything else.
No milkshakes- he didn't even ask this time! I have been feeding them low fat foods, no cookies or junk at all... he suffered for the first week. I brought them small sundaes from McDonalds once last week and B2 went on and on... "OH THANK YOU MOMMY!!! I JUST CAN'T BELIEVE IT!!!" and shook his head smiling.. poor chunk. They are eating a lot more fruit for dessert, and not complaining about having grapes or pineapple or oranges. Good."
I had suggested a milkshake as a reward, but this is much better!
B2 pushed red Play Doh down my bathroom sink drain last night. He had put water in the sink, too. Bless his little heart. He went off to preschool this morning, skipping. So happy to be back. I bet he comes out this morning a different boy. His head will be down, and he won't say good-bye to his teacher, like always. I will then hear "B2 had another rough day today. He couldn't keep his hands to himself" or "he was running around OUT OF CONTROL!!!" or "He was showing his privates, again". You never know. (That only happened after his surgery and he just wanted everyone to see what had been done, I guess...)
Monday, April 07, 2008
Then we headed off to Arlington to the IOTA club, with a stop in Fairfax to check into our hotel and try to rest a little. We're not used to staying up till 10, much less 1 or later, so we hoped to take a nap. But since we'd never been to the IOTA and it's Last Train Home's home venue, Tom called to see what time we should get there. 5 p.m.--"It's filling up fast, man, it's going to be busy tonight. You'd better get here as fast as you can."
Crapola. So off we went to find the place. I'm not familiar with Arlington at all, and it's been years since Tom's spent much time there. I was pleasantly surprised; it's got lots of little and big stores, tons of cafes and restaurants of all types of food, and since it was a pretty evening, many people out with their dogs, kids, strolling the streets, eating outside at the restaurants, shopping.
Got to the IOTA, a tiny, tiny cafe with a club room, standing room only except at the bar, to get our seats. Guess what? NOBODY was there yet, except a couple of people in the bar watching the sound check. Guess the guy who answered the phone was amused. Anyway, we got to hear Last Train Home get ready for the show, which was fun. Okay, okay, I'm an overage groupie.
So we went to the Container Store, which I'd never seen before, to get some ideas for our future yarn/book room when our master bedroom is finished. They have a shelving/storage system, can't remember the name now, that's incredible. They'll design the system free; the components aren't cheap, but we're not designers and this seems to be sturdy, attractive alternative to tubs of yarn and unmatched bookshelves (did I tell you that I broke the shelf on one of our bookshelves when I shoved one too many knitting book onto it? No? Okay, then, we'll pretend it didn't happen).
We went back to the IOTA early and got our table in the cafe. With Tom's bad back and knee (he's had two back surgeries), he isn't comfortable on a bar stool, so we chose a small--and I mean maybe 4' square small) jammed against other small tables. We took our time, ordered an appetizer (they have a small menu, but the food is extremely good), a while later our dinners. We were almost the only ones there till around 8:30, when it got really busy.
It's a great place to eavesdrop on conversations. I mean, the tables are so close together, and the people are so loud, that it's impossible to ignore them. Even with my limited hearing, I could see and hear what was going on around us. The couple two tables down (which means they were maybe 4' from us) were evidentally on their first date. I'm betting there won't be a second one. The guy either got really drunk really fast, or he had a bad speech impediment, and he was incredibly ignorant of social niceties, especially for a date. He was leaning over the table, reaching for the girl's hand most of the dinner, while she sat with her back as close to the wall as she possibly could without sinking through it. I think she really did want to disappear. I couldn't see her face and wouldn't stare (oh, how I wanted to!); Tom sat facing a mirror and could see everything in the room. When Dreamboat went to the restroom, I asked Tom what his date's face showed; he said she looked anxious and ready to run.
Dreamboat kept mentioning his mother and how much this girl was like her. That's always a smooth move, Romeo. Near the end of their dinner, he started in on politics and how wrong she was in her beliefs and proceeded to call her "sweetheart" in a condescending voice, explaining her errors in judgement. She snapped and screamed, quietly (good for her!!!) but in a high pitched voice, several sentences that I couldn't understand, then she was quiet for the rest of the dinner. She just tried that melding act with the wall. Poor girl. I felt so sorry for her. I'm guessing that whoever set them up for this obviously blind date will no longer be her friend.
So, anyway, the point of this post is to announce that, in spite of eating like a pig all weekend, I maintained my 4-pound weight loss. Good thing I'd lost that 4, or I'd be back to the starting point.
Sunday, April 06, 2008
Friday, April 04, 2008
I'm even drinking green tea this morning, but I have to confess that it's only because the Pepsi machine in my teachers center is out of Pepsi, and the office downstairs was locked when I got here (at stinking 6:37 a.m. this morning, thankyouverymuch) (yes, I know that's redundant, that's why I wrote it that way). So I'll probably still get a Pepsi in a few minutes when I go down to work in the attendance office.
But I weighed myself on these old office scales, and I'm 4 pounds lighter than Wednesday. I'm sure it's water weight and I know you're not supposed to weigh yourself every day because fluctuations like that can be depressing (supposed I drank a lot of water last night and didn't get up to pee several times and weighed more this morning?), but I'll probably do it anyway.
Thanks for your support!
Wednesday, April 02, 2008
You see, I didn't have boobs until about 10 years ago. I certainly didn't when I was a teenager. Pregnancy helped for a short time, but then they deflated and were smaller than ever. But I was skinny, too.
Enter perimenopause, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and depression. I stopped exercising (I was in good shape when J was a Jazzercise instructor and I got to take free classes), gained weight, lost 25 pounds after surgery for reflux (8 weeks on a semi-liquid diet), and over the last 5 years I slowly gained it back. Now I'm 7 pounds above my pre-surgery weight, and I've got boobs.
My clothes don't fit. Anything that buttons up the front just gapes open. (Okay, not just at the boobage area now. Also the gut area.) So I was measured for a bra and got one that reduces the bust by 1". I was so impressed that I bought two of them.
Oh my goodness. No jiggling when I walk. My tops fit so much better. I love these bras! (I can't post a link--blocked because it's "provocative attire". Like the kids can't find their way to porn sites here.)
No more buttered popcorn. I weigh more than I've ever weighed, and I don't like it. I bought a cute pair of shoes last week that have buckles, and I almost cannot reach around my gut to buckle them.
So, in front of God and you guys, I'm vowing to lose weight. 30 pounds. Then I'll look at "things" and rethink it all. By the end of the year. (I vowed in January--not a resolution, since I don't keep those hahahahahahahahaha!--that I'd lose 24 pounds by July. That's only 4 pounds a month, totally doable, but only if you don't sink into a deep dark pit that's only scaled by mounds of buttered popcorn and lots of medications.)
I just weighed myself here at school (my skinny boss keeps them here, damn her skinny ass) and it's appalling. I'll write down the amount and hide it in my desk drawer, and I'll keep track of it and share it with you (if it happens. Yeah, yeah, think positively and all that.) I'd post a photo but it would scare the children and animals.
So, keep me on my toes, will you? I'll need all the help I can get.
I even told A, and patiently waited while she laboriously wrote www.google.com, to check it and see what cute thing they did for April 1. She was really excited about googling something.
Then I got to school and checked, and nothing. Nothing at all. I was so disappointed and hated that I'd apparently lied to my granddaughter.
But last night before I went to bed, I went to google something and there it was, in a tiny link underneath the search box. A link to Virgle, an enterprise founded by Virgin Records owner and the founders of Google, complete with application to join their venture. From Wikipedia:
Google announces a joint project with the Virgin Group that aims to establish a permanent human settlement on Mars (http://www.google.com/virgle/index.html). This operation has been named Project Virgle. it also includes videos of Richard Branson as well as Larry Page & Sergey Brin (The Founders of Google) on YouTube , talking about Virgle. The site even includes a comedic "Application" to join in the settlement. The application includes questions like "What is your major?" A. Physics, B. First Aid, C. Engineering, or D. Guitar Hero II. After submitting the application, the site either notifies you that you are not fit for space, or that application is fine and that "all you have to do is submit your video [as a response to their video on YouTube]." The creators of Virgle wish to convey the following -- 'So long, and thanks for all the fish!'"
They didn't let me (and the world of Google fans) down. But how on Earth am I going to explain that to an 8-year-old???
Tuesday, April 01, 2008
Tom called the guy who's selling my Dream House in Florida City or Homestead, somewhere like that. This man didn't exactly have a good grasp of the English language, like his dad who showed us the house, but he managed to express the price: $1.4 million. That's more like what we'd expected when we looked at the place, but the man insisted it was $270,000.
Oh well, it didn't have a pool, anyway.
I had another injection of Lucentis yesterday to try to clear up the new "leakage" in the macula. I think that's what it's called. Macular Degeneration, anyway. Right now I can't read with my left eye because of the extra blurriness from the newest leakage, but I'm hoping that it'll clear up soon.
Can't see my knitting, either, but my right eye is the dominant one, so I can still see well enough to do both!
On a happier note, the retinologist said that there's no reason that I can't try to wear contacts again. I don't know if that's good or bad, but I'd like to try them. I wore them for years and loved them, but perimenopause destroyed that. Now that it's behind me, I'll try again.