There's More to Life Than Knitting!

Join Suna as she stops knitting long enough to ponder her life, share her joys and concerns, and comment on the goings on in the world.
You are very welcome here, so feel free to comment and contribute!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy, Happy Samhain

Happy Halloween
Originally uploaded by sunasak
Doesn't Lee look festive in his Breathe-Rite strip and witch hat? Trying to look like me with the hair thing, I guess. It's the anniversary of the Most Fun Day Ever, which was last year at Dell, when we had fun every moment of the entire day and won awards for our fine costumes. I am so glad to get to spend the rest of my Halloweens with the lovely creature in the photo.

I just read a beautiful tribute to Samhain on Mambocat's blog. She explains why she always spins on Halloween, but there is a lot more to it. It's really worth reading, if you have a chance.

Looking forward to a fun evening with lots of teens around, some tarot, I hope, and delicious food. I hope you are having a great day, whatever tradition you celebrate at this time of year!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Aww, Ain't it Purty?

Traditional Engagement Ring
Originally uploaded by sunasak
I thought you might want to see the ring I was blathering about yesterday, so here it is, in a rather blinding close-up. I am having way too much fun waving it in people's faces, though. I will stop that...tomorrow maybe.

I am asked a lot about what the wedding date is. I have no idea how we are going to determine that, but I have to have enough time to knit a shawl/jacket/shrug thing first. So the answer is: spring or fall. Just some time when the kids will be around and it is not hot!

Now, on to finding Tuba Boy a car, if there are funds for that after buying jewelry :-) which is oh so important, hee hee.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Love Puppies

Love Puppy
Originally uploaded by sunasak
Rose was very affectionate all weekend, and kept putting her head in our laps or her paws up on the couch so she could impress upon us how much she would like to be petted, now, please. She's so soft it's hard to resist, too. It's a good thing she has such a sweet disposition. It makes up for having to clean up whatever she dragged into the living room to chew on every day.

Scrunchy was also feeling extra cuddly yesterday, which was fine until he begain exhibiting the symptoms his new food has been causing. Wow, puts a lot of truth into the phrase "little stinker."

Lee and I were love puppies this weekend, too. Neither of us was feeling up to being around people, so we spent Sunday mostly with ourselves and Beccano. (Tuba Boy did come home, but stayed with Debate Boy or in seclusion for most of the day.)

We did go out for lunch and a wee bit of shopping Sunday. We got Beccano the new Guitar Hero and a Ninja book (by a "qualified" author, he informed us). Lee and I also got things that reflected our interests (knitting, Stephen Colbert and woodworking).

Then we dropped by the scenic Jared Galleria of Jewelery place (not somewhere I'd ever think of going) and ended up getting a nice wedding set for me. I was touched at how not bored both Lee and Beccano were at the whole thing. We had fun looking at occlusions in diamonds and gasping at how much a real diamond the size of my CZ would cost. And it was fun to pick a setting (as usual, I ended up with the first one I picked, but we went through many in between). We got a pretty darned good .84 carat princess cut stone that will be mounted in a "kite" setting (more like a diamond shape) in good old yellow gold, which I prefer (not trendy: timeless). I am somewhat aghast that anyone would ever spend that much money on me, but touched at how much Lee wants to physically demonstrate that he is not going to abandon me (if he did, he would have to take my expensive finger with him!). What a love puppy he is, and how lucky I am to have finally be with someone so kind and generous.

So I am rather excited to go pick up my jewels this afternoon. I will have to wave my hand at everyone I see at choir rehearsal, like a giddy young girl. This is all good. No wonder I drew "Wheel of Fortune" over the weekend--I really WAS lucky! Am lucky. I live with three fine men, one of whom is sticking with me, no matter what.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Sniff, It's True

It's true, they grow up. I know that. I know that at some point in the teen years children become more attached to peers than their families. This is normal.

But I sure miss being a priority for Tuba Boy. I want him to have a nice normal life, and he has great friends of whom I pretty much approve. But it hurts to see him separating. Totally my abandonment issue rearing its ugly head, and I know it.

Just acknowledging my feelings. I am really glad he is happy and well adjusted and doing well in school. I was so touched that he got a homecoming mum from a girl, and that he made one for two of his friends, too. That is all so normal and sweet.

But every time Beccano comes in and tells us a story, shares his day at school, or just sits down to hang out with us, I am grateful that I still have a kid who wants to do stuff with us. At least I know what to enjoy, while it lasts.

No doubt the next phase in life will be great, just sometimes transitions can be hard.

Friday, October 26, 2007

A Thing I Do

Photo courtesy of

This afternoon I noticed myself doing this thing, and realized I had done it yesterday as well. I began thinking about it and it occurred to me that, well, this is what I always do.

I was taking a little "wake up" walk around work, and as usual looked out the big windows to see the pretty views of woods and hills around the building. As I often do, I saw a large black vulture looking at me from the windowsill. I said (aloud), "Hey, Big Vulture!" and kept walking. The next window featured two hefty crows looking in at me. I also said (aloud), "Hi there, Big Crows." Yes, I greet birds.

It's not just birds. On my way out to the car yesterday, a rather large lizard of some sort scampered under a planter as I approached. I said, as I recall, "Whoa! Hi there Lizard!" I realize that if no one is around, I will give a hearty greeting to a large spider, a moth, or any small bird. Oh yes, and I asked a waddling black beetle where it was going one day this week--it looked so purposeful.

I guess it is my week to speak to black creatures. Samhain's coming and all that. I think I have always spoken to animals, given them warnings, told them they are lookin' good or whatever. Oh well, I guess that's harmless.

The black vultures are such interesting birds! They love to spread their wings out in the sun, as in the photo, and they appear very curious and friendly. They are always hanging out on the sills and walls near the elevators at work. I like their looks better than the more common turkey vultures, I guess because their heads match their feathers and they look less naked. Of course, the caracara ones down where Lee's dad lives are the prettiest vultures I have seen. Face it, I just like birds. Off to have a good weekend. You have one, too.

Friday's Feast

Appetizer: Name a great website you would recommend to others.
The Loopy Ewe, my favorite yarn supplier, and a wonderful family business. The owner posts great recipes on her blog, too. Another site I like is the Perpetual Kid. They sell really amusing items that are just for fun--real good stuff for your desk at work.

Soup: On a scale of 1-10 (with 10 as highest), how often do you dream at night?
10. I dream a lot. I think I live an entire second life while I am asleep. I love the insights I get from dreams.

Salad: Did you have a pet as a child? If so, what kind and what was its name?
I had lots of pets (including Squirrelly the Squirrel and Gerbie the Gerbil--great namer I was). But the stand-outs were my two dogs: Maggie was a black spaniel mix who had to be the most even-tempered animal ever. I had her from when I was a small girl through most of high school. She lived to be 18, and we got her when she was around 8. We dressed her up, made her ride all the rides in the playground, slept on her, and she just sat there smiling. Pumpkin came after Maggie. She was a Jewish dachshund mix (her ethnicity was acquired from her first owners, and explains her New York accent). Pump was the smartest and most fun pet in the whole world. She was like having a sister who talked funny. I swear we conversed often. She even saved my mom's life, like Lassie--fetched my dad after Mom fell and broke her hip. My brother, boyfriend and I enjoyed "making her talk" in her little accent, and we also REALLY enjoyed making farting noises behind her, which made her think she'd really done it. "Hey, I didn't feel that!" I still miss her.

Main Course: If you had the chance to star in a commercial, what would you choose to advertise?
Jody's yarn!! Of course, first she'd have to dye up a lot of it, then there would have to be a storefront, then there would have to be a budget. But yeah, I'd sit there knitting and say, "I'm just KRAZY 'bout this colorful sock yarn!"

Dessert: What is your favorite kind of hard candy?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

This Explains a Lot (Political Rant Ahead)

This morning Lee pointed me to a comment on global warming made by Our President's Press Secretary.

“Look, this is an issue where I’m sure lots of people would love to ridicule me
when I say this, but it is true that many people die from cold-related deaths
every winter,” she said. “And there are studies that say that climate change in
certain areas of the world would help those individuals. There are also concerns
that it would increase tropical diseases and … I’m not an expert in that.”

No, it's not just that she was having a blond moment. She believes this crap. You do realize, don't you, that the people Our President hangs out with are among those who truly believe the earth is here for us to use up, and whatever happens is just fine and dandy because their deity is going to pop up real soon anyhow and transport them all away to Happy Land. (That is when the rest of us will get their fine, gas guzzling cars.) That's probably why Our President won't spend money to care for young children's health but implores us to help out the young people he has sent over to die in a foreign country to his cronies' oil money is protected. Heck, we're all gonna die shortly anyway--those kids won't get to grow up.

WHY aren't more people up in arms with alarm that people who think this way, make policy decisions based on these beliefs, and spend OUR tax money on an agenda based on this way of thinking. They keep telling us that fundamentalist Islamist extremists are nutsos. Um, well, sorry, but so are fundamentalist Christian extremists. (Note that I think moderate to liberal Muslims and Christians tend to be fine people and ought to be as concerned as I am about the radicals.)

And My Friend Bill thinks I am way too pessimistic for stockpiling headscarves for when we become the United States of Iranica. That's also why I have so much yarn. So I'll have something to do while I am stuck in my house the rest of my life. That's assuming I haven't died from radiation sickness. We aren't THAT far from all those bases in San Antonio and Killeen.

Gee, I had a choice of a meme about me me me or this, and I blogged about this. Hmm. I am taking things one day at a time, and trying to enjoy my crazed liberal lifestyle while I have it. And I AM voting, and I AM talking about things, trying to keep people aware.

I will post happy things about the kids and knitting later.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Sun Sets on a Long Band Show Season

Other than three nice, easy football games, the intense band parenting season has wound down. There's a pep rally the kids have to do tomorrow, but no need to chaperone, so we just have to make sure someone gets them there and back. Ahhh.

Last night was an example of working hard while being the kind of parents we want to be. Once again Festival of Bands rolled around, but it was cold. Colder than we thought, and very windy. We were the only band whose parent chaperones sat with them on the visitors' side, so we could barely hear the middle schools and saw the backs of all the high school shows. And we were COLD. Lee and I even skipped the Longhorn Marching Band to go warm up in the bus (no hanky panky occurred! we are good bus stewards!). Still, I know the kids appreciated it, and not just ours. Lee gave a poor sniffly drummer a napkin, and he looked so grateful. Other parents loaned out their blankets. Little comments and big smiles made it clear the kids are glad we are there.

On the way home in the car, Tuba Boy was talking about his two best friends and their parental relationships. He said he didn't understand why one friend didn't just talk to his parents and tell them simple things, like he does. He said the friend told him, "Well, you have reasonable parents, I don't." Tuba Boy made it clear how happy he is to have "reasonable parents." We talked about how our rules don't have to be set in stone as long as he keeps us updated on what he's doing, etc., and he says that's what he tells his friend--let your parents know what's going on and they might not punish you so much. You know, it's hard to say who is more grateful--me to have such reasonable children or them to have reasonable parents.

Both boys agreed that it was much easier on them that none of us are "nutty" like one friend's parents are, to the extent that she tries at all costs to avoid one parent. They seem so glad all their parents and partners act respectful with each other and are vaguely sane. I know what they mean--I was so glad my parents were people I could trust to care about me, but not to overwhelm me with rules and regulations. They did it just right--if I went too far, they'd come down on me, but if I showed them I respected their guidelines, they'd respect me back.

Conversations like this, which only lasted ten minutes or so, really help me. I can think of them when Tuba Boy forgets yet another vital item* or makes it way too clear he'd rather be with the friends than us, or when Beccano bends the truth about school stuff. They are so good hearted, underneath it all.

*Tuba Boy cracked us up before last night's performance: he saw Lee, ran up to him and urgently implored, "Lee, give me your socks!" Apparently, in addition to forgetting his black shoes and shorts to wear under his band outfit, he also forgot socks. Luckily, Lee had worn black socks. So, there they were, in the middle of the band hall, exchanging socks. Good thing Lee's a good sport about this stuff.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Hard Work Pays Off

UIL: Sousaphone Action
Originally uploaded by sunasak
And I mean hard work for both the kids AND the parents. Saturday was the big UIL contest (I forget what UIL stands for, but it is the entity that judges high school students in the arts at various contests). Our young ones practiced like crazy and did their best performance yet of their show. They got a rating of "1", which is the highest you can get. All the bands of our size in our District got 1s, which is nice--getting a 2 is sad for all concerned (and we got a 2 a couple of years ago). Here you see all ten sousaphones marching in tight formation (there is one hiding). We had a very fun day, and it was nice to have Lee chaperoning. He took some good pictures, too.

We sat in the hidden seats way at the front of the Palace, which are near ground level. I had not seen or heard the show from that level before--and the sound was GREAT. You could see the kids' faces, too. Or you could see them when you weren't all teared up with pride, which I was much of the time. Seeing that concentration on all their young faces was so touching. What I did not know at the time was that the kids could see us. At least three of the marchers told me later that they had seen me as they marched, and two actually said it gave them confidence. That felt SO good.

It's amazing the kids did as well as they did, since it was a very confusing day--the band director FORGOT to order buses, so the buses that brought Westwood over had to floor it over to our school, get us, drop us off, take Westwood back to their school, comb back, and get us! We thanked the drivers profusely for volunteering to do that.

Friday, of course, was another band fun day. Yet another football game, the one where we are visitors in our own stadium (we played Westwood, the ones whose buses we borrowed, and where we knew lots of kids). It was a battle of two not-so-great teams, so sort of fun in a "who can be less competent" way. At one point our QB had a 1-1 completion to interception ratio. But, we got better, and our star Aaron "AJ" did some spectacular stuff, so our team won. It was nice to win again. We tuba moms were danding and being goofy.

Knitting on Saturday went OK, though NONE of the students showed up. That is not horrible, because it gave me a chance to help out some others, including a really nice lady who had forgotten what she was doing on her first scarf, so I got her back on track. That felt good, and we think she may return for Chicks with Sticks, too. I truly enjoy helping people with knitting--it makes up for a lot of stuff that makes me feel less than competent and unpopular lately.

Sunday was a challenge, but I enjoyed singing a couple of songs with Trey Bone, my quartet, for a pledge drive event. We really got a lof of applause, and I think I did a good job on the singing. Lee's bass adds so much to the songs, too. And both the other guys did GREAT on their parts--not as nerved out as they sometimes get. So, I was proud of us all. And the sopranos did OK on the Faure Requiem piece, which I think is my swan song as a sop. Back to the low notes.

Tina and Jared came by the church, sorta unannounced, but luckily there was someone there who could book them wedding space. Trying to find an officiant may be harder, but that is being worked on. They seem pretty inseparable. Wedding is 12/29 for them. They have really made a lot of plans. I feel like such a wedding slacker.

It was a long afternoon/evening of doing what Tuba Boy wanted, but I think he is happy to be making homecoming mum thingies for the two girls in his life. He and his best friend really worked hard on it. (I don't get a mum, not enough mum money for a Mom mum).

I was happy to finish a sweater and block it and the previous sweater yesterday--so nice to finish things. But when I went to start the next project, UGH! The yarn was badly skeined! I spent at least three hours trying to wind it into a ball, and got what I hope is more than halfway through. It sure tore up my leg and back muscles. The yarn is lovely silk/wool/alpaca stuff for a scarf for Flo. Yep, back to holiday gifts. Lee was very patient with me while I got in a pity party mood and was frustrated by the yarn. He and Beccano never fail to cheer me up.

It's cool today, so the Festival of the Bands may be sorta brisk. But at least that is our LAST band thing other than the remaining games! And tomorrow maybe I can wear a new knitted item!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Building Up with Words

Blogging leads you down interesting roads sometimes. I am glad I read all the blogs I do, because sometimes I hit on something very helpful. Lately one of my online friends from the past has posted some really helpful stuff about her life that has helped me. Today she responded beautifully to an idea from yet another person's blog, and it was very inspiring!

The idea is to publicly lift your partner up with words, because sometimes it is so easy to zing them, especially if you are an especially verbal person (who, me?). This is an issue I have worked hard on, and I know my sarcasm and passive aggressive barbs have gone way, way down from the way they were in the past (assisted greatly by four years of witnessing the effects of someone who has great difficulty checking his instincts to put others down). But, once a zinger-inflicter, always one. And that is never good, especially when one has a partner who is especially sensitive to such things, like I do. I am sure he could use a public tribute!

So, here is my contribution:

Lee, we have been through a particularly trying few weeks, and neither of us has been at our peak of perfection. I am not sure if I have been good about pointing out all the things that you have been doing that I appreciate and admire, and that maybe I have focused too much on little irritations, due to my, err, irritability. But I do notice that you take care of so many things around the house--laundry, groceries, dinners, dog feeding the dishwasher. Without fail or complaint. I notice how hard you work to make things good in our environment! And I notice how hard you work to be there for the children, too--they notice as well.

Hey, if something doesn't come out perfectly, it is always very obvious from your caring and kind words and demeanor that you had the best of intentions--you never purposely set out to irritate or upset any of us. You want the very best for me and want to protect me and keep me happy. This is such a wonderful gift, and I really appreciate it. Your desire to be a real part of our family is very obvious, and it makes me feel so much more secure and at home than I have felt in decades. You could make a lot of gaffes and still not come close to balancing out the wonderful fact that you truly want to be my partner and aren't going to go away. Sharing your love and kindness has been so healing for me, and given me hope for a happy future with someone to share life with. Thank you for all of this. Know that you have my love and admiration, and it won't stop. You are not a good guy; you are a GREAT guy--the best choice possible for me. I am so glad we found each other!

Isn't it nice that reading other people's blogs can inspire you to be good to others? I enjoyed reading what other women said about their husbands, boyfriends and fiances, as well as what at least one husband said in return. We need more kind words in this world, so I am happy to contribute mine.

Friday's Feast

Appetizer: If you were a dog, what breed would you be, and why?
No one breed really does it for me, but perhaps I'd be a springer spaniel. They are friendly, not too hyper, have pretty hair, and love children.

Soup: What does the color purple make you think of?
This amuses me. The first thing I thought of was a squid. Then the inside of a seashell. That's more like it...why I didn't think of the intensely purple African violet right in front of me, I don't know. It's my favorite color--perhaps too many associations.

Salad: Approximately how long does it take you to get ready each morning?
25 minutes or so.

Main Course: How many cousins do you have, and are you close to them?
I have 18 first cousins (or is it 17 plus me?). All on my dad's side--just second cousins and stuff on Mom's. Right now I am closest to my cousin Jan, who lives where my dad lives, and her daughter Kendall. I really like a few of my cousins, though, and wish I could see them more, but there's really no occasion to. I am impressed at what great people my dad's siblings' kids turned out to be, for the most part.

Dessert: Take your initials (first, middle, last) and come up with something else those letters could stand for. (Example: SFO = Sweet Funny Otter)
Seaweed And Kelp. Goes with my nautical theme.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Sad about Dad

I heard from my dad today and it seems that he and his wife are way closer to choosing and moving into some Quaker retirement village than I realized. It's what my step-mother wants, apparently very badly. I feel really weird about it.

Of course it's their decision, and perhaps step-mother is less healthy than I thought (I do know she has some medical issues but they don't tell me a lot). And I know that a bunch of their friends (Friends friends, ha ha) think this is a good thing to do--I think you move into a separate condo place, then as you get less able to care for yourself you can go to assisted living, and so on.

But my father's in good shape, and is always very busy doing stuff around the house and yard. What will he DO with no house and yard to take care of? What will they do with their lovely things? (Maybe the retirement place is big?) The thought of my dad with no lawn to maintain in pristine perfection makes me feel very old. And useless, since I am of no help here and can't get out to see them with this brilliant contract work career going.

I am almost 50. My parents want to move to an old folks' home. This all will take some getting used to...but it's my job to be supportive of Dad, not whine about how it affects meeeee. No wonder my dad has not sounded too good lately; this can't be his idea of the ideal thing to do, but he would do anything to make her happy, and that is admirable. I wish I were able to talk to my brother--he is going to visit them this weekend. But, that's not to be.

Sigh. I just wanted to share.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Feel Better about Those Character Flaws!

I am feeling better about my shortcomings after getting some perspective from good ole Anu at Word a Day. Here's the daily quote:

The most futile thing in this world is any attempt, perhaps, at exact definition of character. All individuals are a bundle of contradictions -- none more so than the most capable.
-Theodore Dreiser, author (1871-1945)

Yeah, we are all walking bundles of contradictions--I knew that!

Mostly I am happy I survived the drive in. More bad traffic and dense fog. But my sweet man let me take the easier vehicle today and that helped.

Plus, there was a bonus, thanks to the fog. All the spider webs along the railing of the elevated path we take from the parking lot to the building at work looked like the one above. (I think the picture is of the same kind of web, from a person named Valerie.) I really enjoyed looking at the variety of dew-covered natural Halloween decorations! The loud warbler who greeted me two days in a row was gone--hopefully she was drying off.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Blow This Stress Away

My hope is that this long line of at least 17 tubas and sousaphones will help me blow away all the little stresses that have just not been stopping for over a week now. (The picture depicts both the high school tubaboys and the two middle schools that feed our school as well, who joined our kids at last Friday's game.)

By the time I got home from work, after witnessing an accident right in front of me and dealing with horrible stopping and going prior to that, I was shaking and needed to sit. I gathered up some things to take pictures of, then Lee came up and said he saw the back gate wide open, and the two swift dogs were gone. I saw Rose down the block, so he got her. But Scrunchy must have taken off like a bullet. So, instead of resting, we dog searched. He was thinking someone opened our gate, because the pot that blocks it was neatly moved, not pushed over. So we were all worried he'd been stolen (as if he is a valuable pedigreed dog, which you'd know he wasn't if you knew what a pug is supposed to look like).

After both of us driving around for a half hour, I came in and found a phone message saying someone had gotten him, on the street around the corner from us (the farthest one). He had ran a LONG way. So I rushed to my choir rehearsal, only to get stuck behind another wreck.

Thank goodness singing is calming. I just concentrated on the music and let the other stuff slide away. Whew. I am so glad I have these outlets!

Tonight no rehearsal or other scheduled event (the only night this week). I hope we can watch a movie and relax. I need to.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Freakin' Long Weekend

Red-Haired Tuba Moms
Originally uploaded by sunasak

I am one tired Band and Singing mom. I did enough activities from Friday to Sunday for at least a week. But, I am not done yet!


I am grateful for fellow parents who make all this volunteering bearable. These happy faces are my neighbors, Pam and Gina. Each of us has a tuba playing son and we each have colored our hair red. And we live within one block of each other. Spooky! We had a great time at our team's very losing effort against the Fighting Pflugers of Pflugerville. Did you know our team has the second longest District losing streak in history (Trombone Boy Wes told us that)? Wow! We're #2!

I am also grateful we are all healthy and safe. There was an accident this weekend involving a bus full of local high school kids this weekend and both our long bus rides were during the hours when the most intoxicated drivers are on the streets.

And last, I am grateful that Lee's job started today and it sounds good. Such a relief.

On to the Weekend

So, yeah, the football game was fun in a losing way. Lots of former band students showed up, and it was good to see them. But the game lasted long enough that it was hardly worth going to sleep before popping back up at 1:30 am to get ready for the trip.


Long ride to Arlington in very cramped and scuzzy tour bus. Not my idea of fun, but at least Beccano was with me and I got to watch him sleep, a thing mothers like to do. It really was a pretty good time, and the kids marched well. It was just a very LONG time.

There was much beauty to behold. The sky was blue and it was neither cold nor hot--that was a bonus! Some of the bands had really pretty uniforms or color guard attire. The band with the Spanish-style uniforms and Spanish-style flamenco dresses on the guard looked refreshingly different. And even though it was a PITA to stay unti the finals, we saw one or two performances that were so beautiful you forgot that you were watching high school students marching and became tranfixed by the music and sights.

There was a band from Flower Mound, Texas whose routine was all about flowers. Their sets were exquisite and their color guard very talented and creative. They had a giant lady bug who toddled out in the second movement and "danced" very charmingly with three students inside her, making 6 legs. This band only made ONE set of straight lines in the entire program--they made flowers, vines, leaves and other beautiful effects, all curved. How they all knew exactly where to go was beyond me. And when their "pods" were wheeled out and opened up to reveal stargazer lilies with trumpet players in them--wow! I hope they won (we didn't see the results).

In any case,while we were at first surprised to learn we didn't make the finals, we were no longer surprised after seeing the bands who did make it. Out of our league! But our band did its best and was nothing to be ashamed of!

Most of the day we spent watching most of the band sleep in a church gymnasium, while a bunch played Magic or ultimate frisbee. They also ate a lot of food. We brought a lot, too. The food people did such a good job. My friend Sharon and I went to a hallway to knit and crochet, and were joined by some others. We enjoyed watching the parade to the bathroom, especially the kid who wanted to know where the "dudes' room" was.

At one point, there was an African wedding in the church. We successfully kept the students out of the way of that, but also got to enjoy the incredible beauty of the traditional African fancy-dress clothing. Each family wore matching attire, and it was all stunning. Huge shining headdresses on the women, plus gorgeous fabric in their dresses. Men had equally flamboyant and beautiful fabric in their tunics, robes and pants. Some people wore western clothing, but it was also very lovely. it was especially fun to watch the ladies afterward carefully maneuvering the headdresses into cars. The bride and groom and the attendants wore western-style gowns and tuxes, but were all very lovely. What fun it was to watch a very happy group of people at a happy event. It made many of us wish we had a heritage that encouraged us to wear national dress or cultural attire on fancy occasions.

Transitioning to Sunday

We lucked out and had a nice quiet bus to go home on, and I slept enough that I wasn't totally dead when I had to wake up and go sing soprano with Saranda, who had also been at a band contest the previous day. We were not at our peak of high noti-ness. Plus she cried at the dang song. I was concentrating too hard on trying to make sounds come out of my mouth to get involved in the meaning of the lovely holocaust-inspired song.

Out of respect for you all, I hereby declare I will not go into detail on the sermon, other than to note that it was endless and no one over where I sat agreed with practically anything the dude said. That's UU for you, I guess. We were, however, happy that Lee's friend Rick came to the service and liked the church.

I wanted to enjoy knitting in the afternoon, but slept a lot and only knitted a bit. We took the boys to a nice Mexican dinner and thorougly enjoyed the conversation and camaraderie with them. What fine young men! Then, Lee and I went to practice with our singing friends, because Bill signed us up to do something after church next week. It was all very civil and pleasant, and we got to see what our other band-mate had done with his house. A lot of work!

And that brings us to today, which features Lee's first day at his new job, and me writing assessment questions in my current job, plus finding more things to add to the training. So productive! I just want to sleep. But no, gotta go sing for the community choir tonight. I am feeling like perhaps this is the busiest period of the year. Certainly it has led me to incoherant babbling.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Why I Am Smiling

Hair Color October 11
Originally uploaded by sunasak
I am smiling in my new dark red hair because I was genuinely pleased to hear Al Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize today. I actually teared up and gasped when I heard the news. And I am happy for the researcher dudes who shared it, too. I really do believe focusing on taking care of our home planet can only lead to a more peaceful world, and I am very impressed with how Al Gore has taken abuse, ridicule and antagonism yet kept on plugging away at telling the truth. And he got people to listen.

I am also pretty happy with this hair color, which probably will look better in an outdoor shot. It will take a while to get used to the darker hair around my face again--maybe I will get highlights next time, but not yellow ones. This is a little closer to my natural color, at least in value. But actually it is pretty much the color I always wanted my hair to be. Robert did a good job!

I won't be blogging for a couple of days, but will report on my adventures when I return! Wish us luck that we get a new roof successfully today and that the kids do well at their band competition tomorrow.

Friday's Feast

Appetizer: When was the last time you were surprised?
This morning on the way to work I was happily surprised to learn Al Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize. I smiled then got tears in my eyes. He really has worked hard for a cause he believes in.

Soup: Fill in the blanks: My eyes are ________, but I wish they were __________. interesting shade of reddish brown...not so small and close together.

Salad: If you were a Beanie Baby, what would you look like and what would your name be?
I'd be a shiny red and purple fluffy puppy named Suna.

Main Course: Name two things you consistently do that you consider to be healthy habits.
meditation and eating a diet low in fat and high in veggies

Dessert: What brand of toothpaste are you using these days? Do you like it? Why or why not? is cinnamon flavored gel and I forget if it is Crest or Colgate. Whichever one it is, I like the other brand's cinnamon better. I may see if Lee wants to switch flavors and try something else next time.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Thinking Happy Thoughts

Green Hat
Originally uploaded by sunasak
First happy thought (which I will get to in a bit): I have certainly had a lot of hair looks. Here's one, from 2004. The short dark-haired effect with stripes. I grew my hair out when "someone" who lived at my house said I looked like a lesbian. Did I care if I looked like one? Not really--that was HIS stereotype, not mine (knowing plenty o' lesbians with lotsa hair and plenty with butch cuts, too). But his attitude had me irritated, so hair began to grow so he'd remember I was a heterosexual who wasn't going to be romantically involved with HIM any more. And thus began "roommate."

I digress. The happy thing is that, while I have liked my yellowish hair for 13 months now. I think I will do something different today. Perhaps more orange. Or burgundy. Only my sweet hairdresser man knows for sure what the plan is at this moment, but in 4 hours, so will I.

Photos will come. I just hope I don't end up with Tammy Wynette hair again.

The other happy thought is in honor of Coming Out Day. Because I am actually fond of my gay, lesbian and transgender friends, family members and acquaintances. I would love it if they had the same rights as I do. I will do what I can to help with this, such as pick who I vote for carefully, and make it clear that a primary reason I didn't want to marry again was that my gay and lesbian fellow humans are banned from doing so in this fine state. They deserve access to the same legal protections and legal obligations as anyone else. And the right to carry on a patriarchal institution is that's what they want (oh yeah, my OTHER reason for not liking the Institution of Marriage).

But , please read this nice article in today's local newspaper, which is what cheered me up. It is nice to see all kinds of people showing up to make it clear that all of us humans deserve the same rights. Good for you, nice people of Austin!

Best wishes to all, from the woman of many hair lengths and colors. I hope I sound slightly less grumpy. I applied for a different job today, too.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Don't Like This Trend

Eww, I have been in a testy mood for more than a few days now. I normally don't stay testy for very long. Funny thing is that I find myself saying things to myself that I used to hear my former roommate say, like, "Do I have to do everything around here in order to do it right?" or "Am I the only person here who knows how to turn off a light?" At least I can laugh at myself and recognize that once again the thing that bothers me in someone else is a flaw I just might share, a wee bit. I am sure all this grumpiness and impatience with the frailties of others will pass. I am ready for it to pass NOW, dang it! Oh, that is impatient, isn't it?

Luckily the kids and Lee know I love them anyway.

And the Time Warner people know I do not love their poor customer support, incompetence and inability to communicate. Let's just say I managed to lose email access by upgrading my cable service. HUH? At one point some dude assured me that every time you change your service, for any reason, they take away your email accounts. Now, why on EARTH would they do that? Turns out that, no, that was not true. Someoen screwed up. I helped the final tech support person figure that out and how to fix it. Instead of eating dinner and visiting with aforementioned ever-grumpy former roommate (who is always pretty nice now that he just visits every so often, and brought me a bunch of new CDs).

So let's all think "Suna get tolerant" vibes. Let's end the trend NOW.

As for those new CDs:

Jeff is right--the new Bruce Springsteen, Magic, is mixed really oddly. Everything is all compressed and mushed together, so it's hard to tell him from the band, and the backup singers sound miles away. I will listen to it again--I didn't get to hear all the lyrics. What I did here seemed to be really sweet love songs. Better than Tom Joad. And yay, the whole band is there. I love that band.

The new John Fogerty, Revival, is a MUST buy if you are remotely tired of Your US President or That Britney Tramp. He has some really fun/funny/apt songs about them that are well worth listening to. And the first song. "Don't You Wish It Was True" is a lovely, lovely hymn to a vision of the future that should go in the UU hymnal. He still sounds strong and unique as ever. And there is killer rockabilly guitar. What's for Suna NOT to like?

The third one I have listened to most of the way through is the new Karen Mal CD. She is local (note prominent link to the Austin Connection podcast on her home page--she's been in my house!). I like her breathy Celtic stuff and her musicianship. And she's so ... pretty. But who cares, I like her songs and her interpretations of other people's songs. If you like Emmylou or Linda Ronstadt, you might want to check her out. I've heard most of the songs already live, so it's neat to hear how they come out on CD.

I still have two more CDs to listen to: Patti Scialfa ADA Mrs. Bruce and Beth Wood, a folkie I enjoy. More on them later.

Hmm, I thought I had nothing to blog about today. I'll practice not blogging LATER.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Think about This

Blogging without obligation I was just reading about this on a guy's blog (a guy who posted a GREAT sock knitting pattern, too), and wanted to share the philosophy of some OTHER guy, who came up with the idea of Blogging without Obligation. This applies especially to you, my seldom-blogging friends. Out with the guilt! Post when you want to! And only when you want to!

Here is my favorite quote from the original BWO page answering why blog without obligation:
Because they are probably not going to inscribe your stat, link and comment
numbers on your tombstone.
Words I need to live by when I am fretting over declining numbers on my knitting blog, like a person with no real life. :-)

Back to your blog, WoW, Ravelry, email, work or whatever is filling your time...

Band, Band...Band..grateful

For another few weeks, this is what much of my life will look like. Me trying to figure out if a marching band is doing well or sucking. I sure can't tell. Unless the color guard drops stuff or someone falls down, they all look pretty darned good to me. Here we have the Capital City Marching Competition at the Berger Center in far South Austin. Tuba boy is second sousaphone from the left, and Beccano is the one at bottom left standing straightest and most soldier-like. Excellent for a lad with poor posture.

Our lads and lassies came in second overall in our class, and Beccano's percussion ensemble also came in second. This was VERY good, considering the competition. It is a good thing that the LBJ High School band was a host, so not in the competition, because their set was so cool. They all take off their hats and wander around marching a while, then magically come back to their hats, which are shiny and purple.

I didn't think we'd all make it to this one, because Beccano got rather overheated during practice at the school. His head hurt and he was nauseated. So, they asked me to drive him in the cool car and let him keep his uniform off until the last minute. That helped, and he did fine. I considered keeping him at home, but his part really sticks out and would be noticed if it wasn't there. Good thing I took him, because he was so incredibly psyched by the experience. Said it was "the most awesome thing ever." I think doing well really made him happy. So, I am glad I took him.

My friend's daughter's band did well, too, so we celebrated as if we had something to do with it other than giving birth to band members on Sunday.

The rest of my weekend was OK, though Lee was so sick with ragweed that he didn't get to enjoy much. I was as helpful as I could be at the yarn shop, and enjoyed talking to new people and seeing my lovely friends, as well. I like it when there are people to talk to there--helps me feel like part of a community, whereas sometimes I feel sorta peripheral.

And Sunday's fun was singing with members of the excellent Tapestry Singers women's chorus. We didn't do too badly for people who really didn't know the parts (and my music was wrong, too). I keep getting compliments on my soprano-ing. Hmm. I have gone from no high notes at all only a couple of months ago to hitting all sorts of notes in a not-too-screechy manner. Still a bit screechy.

Sunday afternoon I rested as much as I could and knitted like crazy. Lee is starting to feel better, so maybe we will have more fun this coming week before he starts the new job. I also talked to my dad, and that was a relief--hadn't spoken to him in a while. They aren't as bad off as I was afraid.

This is just a bit of stream-of-consciousness "letters to the world" and not very deep. I'll do better next week.

What am I grateful for? New blogs to read and old friends.

PS: progress on my lovely sweater is pictured on my knitting blog if you want to see it. Feel free to visit there.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Friday's Feast

Appetizer: On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being highest, how much do you look forward to your birthday?
Ehh, 5. In theory, I like the idea of everyone having a day in the year when they are treated special, but I also notice that everyone got born and it had to be on one day or another, so having a birthday really doesn't make you unique. And when folks get tons of attention publicly, it can make people whose birthdays go completely unnoticed feel bad. I like getting cards and some nice treatment from my family, but am not one of those people who go out and announce that they expect this and that for themselves, or who get all peeved if someone dares not notice the day. I am also "bad" in that I do not send out birthday wishes to everyone on every email list I am on. I like them every day, and when something significant happens, I am there for the, so I hope that counts. Hmm, lots of words. I must have birthday "issues."

Soup: What is one word you don’t like the sound, spelling, or meaning of?
Fatso. It's the meanest word. And it was what my brother called me every day for years, and what all the kids at school called me. If you look at my childhood photos you will see a child who was not built like a stick, and was tall for her age. But, sigh, nowhere near "fat." Nonetheless, thanks to "fatso" I have a fat self image.

Salad: Do you wear sunglasses when you’re outside? If so, what does your current pair look like?
I'd wear them more if they were with me. But, they tend to live in a car, generally the one I am not in. And I need prescription sunglasses, which makes it harder. I had hoped to get clip-ons for the glasses I wear all the time, but they never came in.

Main Course: If you were to write a book, to whom would you dedicate it?
Lee and Roberta Bishop Johnson, my mentor.

Dessert: Name a beverage that you enjoy.
Just one, how cruel. Ace Pear Cider. Nectar of the Gods. The most delicious, refreshing and wonderful alcoholic beverage ever created. Both sweet and tart, it's bubbly wonderfulness brightens up a hot day or a cool evening.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Hi Ho

That's the message I have for Lee today: be a happy worker, 'cause off to work you go. Yes, he has an offer in hand, at our favorite workplace, ALE (who have changed their contractor rules to let you come back only 30 days after you are let go or your contract ends--must need workers to replace all the ones they laid off).

First, I am so glad for him to have something to bring in income and fill his days productively (not that he wasn't being productive at home, 'cause he was). It's so easy to get down about yourself when you are out of work and not hearing back from places. He will have a much more positive demeanor in future interviews and phone calls now that he is bringing in money. So hooray hooray. We can relax a bit!

It is a shorter than usual contract, but they seem to think it could extend. My personal hope, because I am not fond of ALE, its CEO or its policies, is that he finds something better before it ends, so he can give them just as much notice that he is leaving as they gave him that he was laid off. None. But that is just me. Who knows, he might love it and find his way back to something permanent there, or longer term at least.

Tuba Boy's first thought was that he can now get a car for him. And it's true. We need to get one. Mine is that we can now make plans for the house, the future, and life. And I can get my hair colored again.

And on a children note, how the heck did we get so lucky? Last night, conversations with each of them were so pleasant, heartwarming and funny that I just had to sit there and smile. And Lee got Beccano a new leather-trimmed jacket on Tuesday, to thank him for all his help with moving his stuff out of the old house. Beccano loves it so much that he put it on to sit around with me before going to bed. It makes you feel good to see a gift truly appreciated. Yes, we are lucky.

Other tidbits:
  • The band parent meeting we are not invited to is tonight. We will be celebrating the job at Mesa Rosa, our neighborhood Mexican restaurant.
  • I am still singing soprano at the church choir. It feels weird, but sort of nice to have a different challenge--rather than reading the music for a harmony part, the challenge is hitting those there high notes. Like a high A. Dudes, I am an ALTO. However, out comes the note! And I am as loud as 5 altos. (So nice to be in the community choir where I am not the loudest or best singer--it is nice to have people to emulate.)
  • This Saturday's band contest is one I like to attend, but I won't get to see my friend Susan who never comments whose blog is invisible very nice for one only created due to peer pressure, due to weird scheduling of our kids' bands. I hope the kids know their parts 100% by then.
  • Knitting is going so well! Fun!
  • Work is fine. Hoping lots more to do starting next week. Woot.
(The site I got the illustration from has some pretty funny posters and such that you can download for your cubicle walls.)

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Knitters' Long-Term Effects

(I meant to post this in the knitting blog, but it works well here, too, so I am going to cross post, just this once.)

As you can see, I am moving along on Mr. Greenjeans in Red. What appears to be a big blob there is actually the top of the cardigan, heading to the armholes. It's got a very wide top, and that's because a) it has a wider neck than a lot of cardigans and b) there is a pretty wide band of ribbing that goes along the front edge--12 rows.

I just love this Cascade 220 handpaint yarn. It's normal Cascade 220, so it's nice worsted weight wool, but the colors are so pretty. They are more subtle in person than in the photo, I think. It will go so well with much of what I wear!

The title to this post is "Knitters' Long-Term Effects," and I came to that last night while sitting on the couch with Lee, knitting calmly and watching Monday Night Football after my community chorus rehearsal, winding the day down. I was thinking, "This is what I always looked forward to doing when I grew up." Then I remembered how that vision of the future came to be!

It's the influence of someone I don't think about often, but who really had an impact on me as a "slightly troubled teen." Lila Brunell was the lady across the street from us when I was young and lived in Gainesville, Florida. She was a nurse and her husband was the head dietitian at the local VA hospital. They had met in the Navy and had a pretty interesting life--my favorite part was when the lived in Iceland--I loved those stories (which included yarn!). They settled down in Gainesville with their incredibly hyper Basenji dogs at the end of their working careers.

They were really nice to me, and I spent a lot of time over at their house the last couple of years I lived in Gainesville. She was a knitter and helped me with knitting, though mostly at that time I crocheted endless granny squares and embroidering on my jeans (I mean, I was 11-13, OK?). We moved away to horrible (to me) south Florida when I started 8th grade. I was totally miserable. My parents took pity on me and let me go back "home" for two weeks the next summer. They were especially kind to let me visit the Brunells and NOT my grandmother (one mean ole woman). So, I stayed at their house, visited old friends, rode a borrowed bike through all my old haunts, and reveled in being "home" for a while. During the days they were at work, and I read their books (including the Joy of Sex--how convenient it was that they left that out in plain sight). In the evenings, we'd eat, then sit around while Lila knitted and Ralph watched TV. I crocheted along. I remember asking if she ever finished a sweater--she was about at the point I am now with Mr. Greenjeans, and going back and forth on very long rows. She laughed and said she would, but the idea was more to enjoy the making of the sweater.

They were so happy together. Comfortable with who they were and what they were doing. It seemed so warm and pleasant to sit and knit and have nice conversation about current events (with no pesky little brother to bother me). That is when I put it into my mind that when I was grown up, I wanted a nice, warm room where I could sit and knit with someone I loved, feeling relaxed, safe and comfortable--and enjoying the process of my craft.

And now I get to do that! No matter what is happening, I have my warm cozy room, my wonderful yarn and my supportive man at my side. I have arrived at last.

Ralph died when I was a senior in high school. My dad and I drove up to Gainesville for the funeral. It was important to me to be there. I wanted to show Lila that I was going to turn out well, and to thank her for being there for me. She moved away before I went to college, so I didn't get to see her when I returned. That's too bad--she'd have loved all the things I was knitting by then! And I hope her spirit is somewhere appreciating that she had a positive effect on a young girl.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Grateful for...

Skylight Says Hello
Originally uploaded by sunasak
I thought a while this morning about what I was grateful for, because it was a pretty rough weekend.

I am always grateful for my little bird, Skylight, who doesn't get her cage cleaned out enough, but truly seems to appreciate the things I give her to play with, and any conversation Lee and I give her. Seeing her handing upside down or attacking her piece of rope cheers me up a lot.

The other thing I am grateful for is the changing seasons. This time of year is very nice, because I get to see beautiful sunrises as I go to work. It will start to get dark, then lighten up again when Daylight Savings Time goes away, so a good part of the year I get to enjoy the subtle beauty of the sky in the morning and the big, red ball of the sun coming up. Last year it really made for a lovely time as I drove toward ALE!

I'm not feeling too well--yesterday both Lee and I didn't feel good--all my joints ached very badly, and I kept falling asleep. He did, too. I think Friday and Saturday, which were filled with riding buses and doing band parent things, when added to the work of the Saturday knitting class... they just did me in.

Worrying about the job thing also doesn't help. And worrying about the clogged sink in the bathroom, which I have to get a plumber in for, doesn't help. (This is when I wish Dad were nearby--he'd open the drain under the sink, get rid of the water, then run a snake down the pipes. We don't have anyone here who is able to do that, me included.) And, ugh, the gold paint we got for the living room and giant stair wall turned out to mustard-yellow-y and not gold. Wah. Waste of good paint!

On that note, I will go think about something else, and remember to remain grateful for all that is good in my life.