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!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Weird Times

People Used to Be Much Shorter
Originally uploaded by sunasak
These are weird times. It feels like all the doors that used to be open and easy to get through are shrinking, like the one Tuba Boy is trying to go through in this picture. You can't just go out and get a good job, and if you do, it will go away to India. You can't safely save your money, because the banks mismanage it if you do. And if you have a job, you were probably forced to move from a pension to an IRA or 401K. This is, of course, all based on the stock market. Bye bye retirement.

I actually teared up listening to the news yesterday. We LET this bunch of goons get elected that have given all sorts of powers to big business. We sat and watched as things got worse and did not step in. We regular folks have just sat haplessly, watching OUR money get mismanaged and OUR country become a lame laughing stock.

I found it most telling that the reason that big bailout thing failed was that both the very conservative and the very liberal were totally against it, for different reasons that combined to make them work together. Interesting.

My personal feeling is that we have to be more parental with the doofuses in charge. If they screw up, they need to take the consequences. For too long we have made excuses for them, ignored what they are doing, pretended things will get better if we just wait it out, and bailed them out when they misbehaved. They have never had to deal with the consequences of their poor decision making and "me first" attitudes.

Too bad those consequences mean the rest of us suffer. I do think it is about time people in the US stood up and said, "I am mad as hell and I'm not going to take it any more," though I think all the protests lately are making that point, a bit.

And if you are thinking of moving to Canada if the election goes the way you don't like, think again. They have some brilliant thinker up there who declared the average Canadian doesn't care about the arts, so he cut all sorts of arts funding. As thegenuinrely brilliant (as opposed to the sarcasm directed at the Canadian PM) Stephanie Pearl-McPhee points out, hmm, I wonder who makes that guy's pamphlets and who writes his speeches?

Good thing I have a perky wedding to plan. And Lee finally has work. But I can't ignore what's going on, and it is not good. I can't wait to see how the progressives get blamed for this one...'cause you know the wonderful and insightful conservatives had NOTHING to do with all this...heh.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

You Are Invited

Please Come to Our Wedding

Lee and I would like to invite any reader of this blog who is in town at the time to come to our very informal and very joyous wedding. Bring a covered dish to share (creative use of leftovers is encouraged) and perhaps an adult beverage, if you'd like to. See Suna in a fancy dress! See Lee in a suit! See Beccano and Tuba Boy in tartan ties, and so much more!

When: Saturday, November 29, 2008
Where: Live Oak UU Church Labyrinth,
3315 El Salido Parkway
Cedar Park TX 78613
Time: 5:00 pm.
Reception: Common Ground Building, adjacent to the ceremony

If you play a musical instrument, bring it (there is a piano in the reception area), because we hope to have some impromptu entertainment from our friends.

We would appreciate it if you'd go to our Evite page and add yourself to the guest list, so we will have a rough head count of how many plates such, and how much barbecue and cake to get. If you'd like to offer to help in any way, just email me or send a comment.

Woo Hoo! The Week Is Over!

Whew, what a long and busy week. This is the first "free" time I have had to blog since last weekend. but, as the photo shows, everything was triumphant in the end. You see Tuba Boy without his tuba, basking in the glory of being announced as "Marcher of the Week" at the football game. He didn't have many chances left to get this, since he's a senior. so, even though the team lost the game (heinously--they were awful) and the lower brass got completely off during the fight song before the game, it was a triumph for him. He gave a very fun and funny acceptance speech upon coming back up the stands after the halftime show, too. Funnier, he saw I had gotten an embroidery on my band parent shirt indicating I was his and Beccano's mom. His comment was, "Nice to see you acknowledge who came out of your uterus, Mom." Suave, son.

I'm really happy with both boys this week, even though Tuba Boy had his car hit by a friend (not too badly). Both are doing great at school, and I have been encouraged at how well they are paying attention to the upcoming elections--TB and his best friend watched the debate last Friday very intently, and B tried to follow it. Both older boys had very good criticisms and comments on what they had heard. I think their debate and AP history classes have done great job preparing these kids to be good citizens.

I am also happy with our musical life. After a slightly rocky rehearsal on Monday, our hour of singing at BB Rovers on Tuesday went really well. I didn't let myself get intimidated by all the "real" musicians who showed up (Edge City, Chip Dolan, and Jeff, to name a few). It was the best we ever did, even with a touchy sound system. So, yay to my colleagues Bill, Austin and Lee! Trey Bone rocks!

Right now we have gone into wedding prep overdrive. We are trying to get our Evite sent out, but having trouble getting an image on it. Oh well. We put up an album with a few photos of us on it. When we have sent out the invitations, they will be here: and if you are local and want to come, please visit the site and let us know you are coming! I don't have email addresses for everyone I'd like to invite, so don't think you aren't welcome if an email doesn't come. This wedding thing is mainly a great excuse to get together with friends and make music, eat, and enjoy each other's company.

Honestly, I have a lot more to say, but my brain is tired. I should have time on breaks at work again next week to blog, so you will hear more from me soon. And speaking of work, Lee starts Monday. Woo hoo again for two incomes!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Great Weekend of Happy Things

Singing at Church
Originally uploaded by sunasak
It was quite a celebratory weekend--without the weight of Lee needing a job on us, it was easy to do fun things and feel good. The picture shows what we did this morning. Lee, Bill, Beccano and I played all the music at today's peace-themed church service. Here we are singing "Rocky Mountain High," a song about someone who finds inner peace. I admit it, ever since this was my favorite song when I was 14, I dreamed of getting to sing this in front of a crowd. Maybe hokey, but the words to this are actually pretty nice. We also did "One Tin Soldier," which people my age from the US will remember from endless viewings of the fine film Billy Jack. Beccano terms this number "rockin'". He really liked his bass part.

Indeed, one of the special things about today's performance was that it was Beccanos' first public guitar performance. He did great! It was also a first for me, because we sang a song I wrote. This was the first time anyone ever agreed to play anything I wrote. I just couldn't think of a song about peace and its importance, at least the kind I wanted, so I just wrote it myself. And I remembered to keep it simple. I think everything else I ever tried before was way too complex. Bill even said nice things about the song in front of the whole congregation. Honest, though, while it isn't a greatest hit song, it does say something nice and is sort of catchy:

I am a warrior for peace.
With fierce determination my quest will never cease.
'Till peace fills every land, I vow to take this stand,
For I am a warrior for peace.

Deep stuff, huh.

After church, we goofed off a bit and took some photos. We need to do our wedding announcement soon, so Beccano took some photos of me and Lee, and then Lee took a few of me and Bec. They really do look like we're having fun--one of my friends' husband was looking at them on Flickr and he told her how happy we all look. Amazing how a little stress relief can help! And if Tuba Boy were here, he'd be happy too--he got his first debate trophy yesterday, and that is about time! As a reward, I gave the kids permission to go see Weezer in concert. I hope that is how you spell it!

The rest of the day has been just fine. The weather is nice this time of year, and I sat outside for a while and watched Beccano sand on his piece of wood shaped like a guitar. He just got two books on building your own guitars, so it's the start.

And Lee made me melted cheese on crackers for dinner, just like my mom used to. Aww.

Here's one of the photos of me and my boy. You can hardly tell we are related, can you?


Yesterday was also a very nice day. The plan was to head down south for some wedding dress shopping with my friend Katie, but on my way I got distracted by people on the side of the road offering free Obama stickers. They led me to the Williamson County Democratic Party HQ, which was a nirvana of "people like me." I got three bumper stickers, including one for a candidate whose beliefs really match mine, and a yard sign for another local do-gooder, though they were out of Obama ones. I got two t-shirts, but the kids are so fashion conscious that they will not wear size large shirts. Fine, then, Lee and I can say we think a black dude can be our Prez.

So, emblazoned with liberalism, I did make my way to south Austin, where I got the patiently conservative Katie and drove to New Braunfels, host city to Celebrations, the place to shop for wedding attire in the area. This place had sold Katie's mother her wedding dress and Katie her wedding dress (and prom dresses and every other formal she ever went to). The same woman is still doing the alterations. She certainly must know how to make this matron look good. The place was as nice as Katie said it would be, and the people there were patient and helpful. I tried on every red dress in the store, and sure enough, one of them was just right. It is exactly the color I wanted, has sleeves, has a lovely neckline and just enough sparkle. Katie was really cute about not wanting to pressure me into getting that particular dress, but really, it is just right. Also, it is the one that would look best with my wedding shawl. I am glad I got to get one that didn't have a jacket, which would have made the shawl harder to wear.

After making the largest clothing purchase of my life, we were hungry, so Katie took me to the nicest restaurant in town, Huisache Wine Bar and Grill, after a nice tour of the old downtown (it is fixed up very nice). I really enjoyed the restaurant, which is in an old building and has a beautiful garden and outbuildings behind it. I was really impressed by the plant selection and the neat buildings, which were designed by the dad of someone Katie knows (so fun to hang out with a native). And after the lunch, we went to see her parents' house, in a lovely location outside of town. There I got to meet her sister and little niece, too. I do so love to play with babies. And this one was quite charming, and VERY good at arching her back and using her legs to move her around in that position.

I'm really glad to have had the help picking a dress, and really glad that to do item is over. Whew.

Other than getting stuck in bad traffic on the way home, it was a great break from the usual routine. And we even managed to drop by the Knitting Nest and see their second anniversary celebration! All in all, one fine day, topped off by a lopsided college football game.

Being happy. What a concept.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Friday Wedding Planning

Pug Vision
Originally uploaded by sunasak
I try to write about something fun on Fridays, but with the Friday's Feast gone, I've been scrounging. At least here is a fun photo of Scrunchy looking like he's using Lee's laptop. We must be showing videos from "The Dog Wheeeesperer" on there, since that is his favorite show (when dogs start yapping on that show he runs in, cocking his little head like, "How did the dogs get in there?").

I figure this would be a cheerful entry: what do we still need to figure out or do for the wedding in two months? I'm sure you are dying to know how disorganized Suna and Lee can possibly be. Here is a list, which I may well add to or update. Suggestions are very welcome. And anyone who wants to volunteer to help with a task will win my undying affection if you don't already have it. If so, you will get bonus affection points.

  • Get dress: Katie and I are supposed to go look in New Braunfels tomorrow at what she says is a NICE place. It had better be, 'cause I will have to drive and not get any knitting done (hee hee).
  • Pay the down payment on the church and labyrinth!!! I keep forgetting to print the agreement and hand over the money.
  • Get a photo of me and Lee together not looking disheveled.
  • Go live on the E-Vite site and send it out to everyone we know via email. To do this, we need the photo mentioned above.
  • Write up a printed announcement that we can print on nice paper and mail to the few people who need it, and post in places like the church and my cubicle at work.
  • Figure out flowers: I am pretty sure I want gold and red. Roses are ideal, but I know lots of mums will be available in those colors too. Perhaps I could also have some squash. I like squash. I am hoping we can get lots of them at Sam's and arrange them ourselves on Friday not have to go to a florist. My hope is that my sister will help with this, too.
  • Figure out tables and such: I need to see how many tables are in the Common Ground building, where the reception will be, so I will know how many table cloths to get. I'd like cloth, but will probably end up with plastic, sigh. I know there are plenty of chairs in there, which we can arrange for folks who want to sit or listen to music.
  • Line up musicians: I have ordered sheet music and have a CD so I can get Bill to sing one song. I would like Jeff to sing another one, if he is willing to sing something he didn't write. If not, I will find someone else, I guess. I also hope Jeff will man the sound board at the reception. I may also ask Brenna to play something or sing.
  • Knit beaded fingerless gloves: because it might be cold. Make to match the shawl. This won't take but a couple of days.
  • Plan ceremony: This will happen when Linda, who is the officiant, gets back into town. We have talked about it.
  • Make sure Lee has a dark suit or whatever he wants to wear. And good shoes.
  • Make hair and nail appointment for MEEEE. I will see if I like my nails long or cut them off. I am now wishing I had not cut my hair quite so short (it looks "matronly" to me now), but will at least get it colored and maybe highlighted.
  • Get candles, plates, napkins, forks, cups and all that. It would be nice to get red and yellow ones.
  • Contact cake makers: Hoping to have a bride and groom cake, one by
  • Get wine. From Texas.
  • Think of some kind of little favor to give out. At least plan a program.
  • Get a guest book and find someone to bug people about signing it.
  • Order barbecue, once we have an idea of how many people will be there.
  • NEW! Ask photographers if they'd like to do the wedding--hoping to get it as a gift, if possible. Thanks to Anne for that reminder!

Things That Are Done

  • I have rings, and the wedding band is NOT lost.
  • We have ordered a ring for Lee.
  • I ordered clan ties for the kids' paternal line and they are in at Things Celtic. This is their gift from me.
  • I knitted a wedding shawl for me.
  • We have booked the room.
  • We have selected the officiant and planned a time to put together the ceremony.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Hilarious Political Fun

There isn't much fun or funny about politics these days, but my friend and frequent commenter NYJLM sent me a couple of essays today that made me laugh and laugh.

But the best was the link in one essay to the "Sarah Palin Baby Name Generator" Here are three from our family:

[Suna], if you were born to Sarah Palin, your name would be: Taupe Armageddon Palin

[ELAB], if you were born to Sarah Palin, your name would be: Missle Blunt Palin

[Beccano], if you were born to Sarah Palin, your name would be: Snooker Hinge Palin

Now, if you actually know me, you will realize I have NO room to criticize that woman's baby naming skills. My children have "weird" names. And they love them. But, it was still fun to see what the random name thing spit out. If you find out yours, leave it in the comments!


Taupe Armageddon (Just call me TA)

PS: I wasn't going to do it, but I just HAVE to share this New Yorker essay because it had me crying with laughter. And remember, my dear conservative friends, we only pick on you because we love you. You know, like how you took "liberal" and made it a dirty word out of love for us.

Get This Man Better Clothes!

Candid ELAB
Originally uploaded by sunasak
We won't be seeing Lee lounging around the media room in his old t-shirts much longer, because WOO HOO he finally has work! Apparently the place he'd had all the interviews for froze those positions, but they still need the work done, so he's on as a contract worker, and it's extendable. And at the rate of pay I used to get. All good. He will have a pleasant, short commute, too. I am so relieved that I don't even know how to express it. So, yay.

And in Other Good News

Remember how I said Beccano had a great English class experience? Well, so did Tuba Boy. He went crazy and wrote an amazing poem in his AP English class. The teacher loved it so much she had him read it to the class. He informed me, "Mom, I'm really a great poemer." And such a vocabulary!

Tuba Boy is also thrilled with me because I let him have a new phone, after buttons began falling off his old one, which was a cast-off from his dad. He got an LG Shine, which looks like a mirror when not active. It's the perfect phone for the mirror-obsessed high school senior! We sure had fun getting the thing, too. I really enjoy the times we have when all four of us are together. The kids are just so much fun.

I am now going to relax. Congratulations, Lee!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Good Things Sunday

Beccano's Pals
Originally uploaded by sunasak
Here are some good things for a Sunday evening.

1. We had no hurricane damage at all, though we wish we had some rain. We are concerned for friends in Houston with no power, and friends in the midwest who have had to deal with some terrible winds and rains as Ike moves through.

2. This happened to Beccano, so no wonder he's smiling in the picture: his English teacher asked a few kids, including him, to write their reactions to an Amy Tan reading on overheads. He said he would, as long as his name wasn't on it, fearing a lot of criticism. The teacher then put his up, and said, "Well, I was going to point our how all these essays could be improved, but I really can't think of any way to improve this one. It's great the way it is." This, my friends, is the first positive encouragement I can remember him receiving in an academic class. He really IS a good writer, and I am glad he is showing it.

3. We have been having some lovely cloud patterns. Last Tuesday as we came out of guitar lessons, Lee, Bec and I were transfixed by an arrangements of all kinds of clouds, with the sun partially obscured by a misty one. All the sky looked like shades of silver. And then on Friday night, the kids came back from a fast food run, and both of them ran in and said, "Some outside and see the sky!" It was all pink, everywhere, then turned purple. You really can't have done a bad job raising boys if they come in and tell you the sky is pretty.

4. I have figured out something with singing, and suddenly have a lot more power. I have opened up somewhere. Yay me.

5. I saw a roadrunner today on the way to Austin's house for a rehearsal. You don't see many of them around here now that so many houses and development has cropped up.

6. Beccano has been interested in paisley patterns lately, with an idea of painting a guitar with them. We got one of those Dover Press books of paisleys, and he drew me a really lovely flowered paisley border based on some of the ones in the book. What a fun gift!

See, there are many little good things around. I am needing to work on boundaries, though, because I am really affected by some deaths in the families of friends, local and online. And I really have been worried about stories of storm damage. I just worry about people.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Stormy Weather

We're getting ready for the edge of Hurricane Ike to come through tomorrow. It appears we will mostly get some high winds and only a little rain. Sigh. We need rain. Of course, we do not need mass destruction, so it would be better to not have this thing coming! I am thinking of everyone in south Texas!

Here the traffic is bad and hotels are full, but that is about it. One good thing is that the football game in Bryan was canceled. None of the band members were looking forward to having to deal with the game being moved to Thursday, since they would have had to leave early and miss school, then get in at close to 2 am, having to be in school the next morning! And school gets out at 2 here, too, so as to help with the traffic issues.

As I told the family, it's a good thing we have books and acoustic instruments, so we can have fun even if we lose power tomorrow. And I will get a LOT of knitting done if we have to stay in due to the wind!

It's been a busy couple of days, anyway, and things are a bit better. Lee and I enjoyed the open house at the high school. The boys' schedules were conveniently staggered to where I got to see all of Beccano's teachers and all but two of Tuba Boy's (Lee met those). Since I didn't need to see the band directors or debate teacher, it all worked out. Both boys are taking very interesting science classes--I'd take either one! Tuba Boyhas an ocean science class, and Beccano has one called Principles of Technology, which is actually a physics class but with real-world examples. It looks fascinating, and the teacher sounds like a great guy. There is a lot of algebra in the course, but he says he helps the kids who need it. This is JUST what Beccano needs! He will really be ready for Algebra II next year.

Last night we rehearsed for a couple of upcoming things. Lee, Beccano and I have worked out some songs to do at church week before next, and Beccano is playing bass. I am so impressed with him. And, um, I even wrote a song. And I played it for Austin and Bill. Austin even said it was good! It is sort of a hymn, called "Warrior for Peace." Very simple. But, it has a point.

The other thing we rehearsed for was yet another gig at BB Rovers, but this time we have 45 minutes to an hour. It's Tuesday, September 23 at 8 pm. This means you, Tina. We'll see if we do better singing outside on unfamiliar equipment surrounded by smokers. Heh. Some of our songs sound real good, though, if we can only reproduce that with people around! All are invited, if you are willing to be kind to our not-really-professional selves.

The rehearsing really helped take my mind off things, which was good. I realized, after my sad little post last time, that I still have some issues with 9/11. I probably have a wee bit of post traumatic stress syndrome. It was surely the worst ordeal I ever had to deal with, and the most frightened I have ever been. I sure missed the kids. They assure me they didn't realize what a big deal it was.That is good, I guess.

Yesterday was a good day for Lee, too. He got a whole bunch of action on three different jobs! We are really hoping the job search ordeal will finally be over, and soon.

Well, I will go finish working. I worked extra Wednesday and Thursday, in anticipation of wanting to get off early today. Luckily we were asked to work from home if we could, so that is what I am doing. My computer magically started working correctly again, so I was able to use its screen and my work computer screen to work more efficiently than I can with just the small laptop screen.

I will try to post how we are doing by tomorrow night, if we have Internet and power. If not, I am sure we will be OK--we are on the "dry" side of the storm. To all my local friends: stay dry!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Updates, None Too Swell

Originally uploaded by sunasak
The flowers say it all. No one is feeling too great at our house, and I can only hope things improve. But, like I mentioned on Lee's blog today, I have been waiting for things to take a turn for the better since 2001. At least I have learned to really, really appreciate the good things that DO happen, and always, to appreciate my family.

Technology Update: Lee's phone did end up totally dying. It was not even a year old, but had been used pretty hard. He got a shiny new and trendy iPhone. If you're going to be a lemming, I guess, be a lemming for shiny new pieces of technology. At least he got a good deal, was able to add it on our family plan, and didn't have all the strings that were attached to those phones at first.

Job Update: Lee still doesn't have one. No one has decided. I'd hoped to hear back on my job nibble from week before last, but I guess not. I had a recruiter call yesterday, then he didn't even send me the job listing. Maybe Lee's book will get published. Or maybe we can both work at Home Depot together when this contract ends.

Bus update: I don't get to go on the nice long band trip this week. The school suddenly rescheduled the game for tomorrow (Thursday) and I'd have to leave work WAY early and then not get home until 2 am, making work the next day hard. I have to get in 40 hours every week until Lee has something. Plus, we have a rehearsal tomorrow for our Big Exciting Gig on the 23rd. Yeah, BB Rover's on a Tuesday. But, it's the best gig we ever got (we are just so mediocre!).

The good news is the bus kids don't seem to be in big trouble after all, and the kid we saw get arrested at the game turned out to be someone Tuba Boy knew who had done something not too smart, and he lived through the ordeal and after paying his dues at "the Rock" should be all right--maybe he will learn a lesson. You just hate to see poor kids learning hard lessons so early.

I am really depressed by the Presidential race. Really depressed by OPEC. Worried about jobs. Worried that Beccano won't do well in school this year (always in the back of my mind). Tonight is high school open house, which means, sigh, no choir for us. And no knitting fun (though I may sneak over for an hour or so, since I got to work at an ungodly early hour to chat with Europeans). Oh, things will be better. Or I will focus better on what is good and do what I can about the rest.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Enough with the equipment failures!

I would like to send out a plea to the Goddess of Technology, whom I will call Dellia, to please stop afflicting our household with technological glitches. I am growing weary already! Some of this I have mentioned before, but I need to build to a climactic conclusion, for dramatic effect.

First, on Saturday the power was out most of the day. Just our neighborhood. Ruined Lee's ability to use his power tools to finish a project. So I had to come home from the knitting store to entertain the troops.

Then, Saturday night, my precious football viewing was ruined by cable outages. Which also meant no Internet. It prompted Beccano to come to me at 11 pm as I was preparing to go to sleep or read one of my many Lucky magazines and ask, "Mom, can we chat?" I realized he had really gotten hooked on his late night Internet.

On Saturday or Sunday, I forget which because it is to traumatic, my laptop (a cousin is pictured above) suddenly stopped being able to receive wireless in the media room. Where do I always use the laptop? That would be the MEDIA ROOM (yes, shouting). We did all sorts of troubleshooting off the website, tried whatever we could think of, but no, it has decided to be unable to find ANY wireless in the media room, even the neighbors who usually show up. All we can figure is that some Microsoft update or something has messed with the wireless somehow. We have no clue. But I am really frustrated because everyone else can get signal in that room, including Lee's new immense Gateway machine, which is also running Vista.

But wait, there's more. Last night as we were getting ready to go to sleep, Lee plugged his phone in to recharge. It went absolutely bonkers. Every light went off, including the flash for the camera, and it buzzed constantly. It would not stop. Pressing the reset button did nothing. It finally quit on its own after about ten minutes. When he tried to plug it in, or start it, I forget which, it went nuts again. Neither of us have ever seen such a thing before. After a not very helpful phone call to our carrier, he tried the phone again. He tried charging it a while. And lo and behold, a while back he called me on the phone. It is working again. I just hope it doesn't go loco on us in a public space or something!

So, in summary, please, let's stop with the technological issues for a while!

PS: Send healing vibes to a couple of injured friends--Kris hurt her wrist slipping on water in the basement, and teen friend Royce fell down stairs at school and hurt his back pretty badly.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Rest of the Weekend

Originally uploaded by sunasak
Well, other stuff happened over the weekend than the band trip! The happy sunflowers (a whole packet of seeds) tell you it really wasn't a bad one, even with the challenges.

While our power went out for many hours on Saturday, Lee, Beccano and I went to the Things Celtic store in central Austin, and there we found Lee a wedding ring. It's titanium, so we hope he can wear it with no bad reactions. I also ordered Beccano and Tuba Boy matching ties in their family tartan, which is County Meath, according to the giant book of Irish and Scottish tartans. Their grandmother is from County Meath, though their name came from their grandfather, who was from County Sligo. Anyway, that was fun. Then we went further south and shopped BRIEFLY at the yarn shop, and then a bit more in Beccano's favorite antique store. All in all, a nice time.

We came home, had Chinese food, and then I prepared for an evening of watching college football (the Gators from where I grew up and the team of the local college here, to which I only bear a somewhat huge grudge after that job thing). But, the middle of the first quarter the cable went out. And stayed out. I got to see the last few minutes of the Texas game.

But it's OK! We ended up doing music stuff and that was even more fun. We learned "One Tin Soldier" for a church service, and Bec did a great job on bass. Then he and Lee just rocked out for a while. It is so cool to see that my own son can follow a song just by watching Lee's fingers. He has really, really improved.

Sunday was fine. Lee and I went to church, then a meeting was canceled, so I got to go home and knit and watch MORE football. Then I realized that I had scheduled a rehearsal with Trey Bone for the EXACT time the Cowboys started. Woe is me. I thought they were the evening game. Wah. I did get to see the very end of it, though. Sigh.

Got to watch only one whole game, where the Manning of the Day had a bad time against Da Bears. Always loved those Bears, but I also love those Mannings...

I am really NOT the huge football fan this posts makes me out to be!!

Today I worked from home, and actually got stuff done, so that was good. Tomorrow is back to normal!

The Kids on the Bus Go Round and Round

The Kids on the Bus
Originally uploaded by sunasak
Now, don't these look like a bunch of little angels? This is the bus full of mainly 9th and 10th graders that Lee and I are chaperones for during this football and band contest season. This means 15-20 bus rides with a group. I chose this bus because Beccano and his friends are on it, and I know most of them. I also know "how they are" and figure we'd be a good choice to discipline them--a couple of them listen better to me than other perceived authority figures.

They are sweet, very funny and slightly rambunctious, just like most "sophomoric" high schoolers. We enjoy them a lot, and laugh and laugh at them. However, the bus driver on Friday's very long trip to Belton (that is over an hour's ride from here) did not find our kids amusing at all. Unfortunately, he didn't SAY anything until we got almost there. Lee and I did have to ask them to sit in their seats a few times, and the one kid who is the "class clown" (front and center in the photo, the one with the hair) did have to be talked to a bit. But, they were better than they'd been last week, when we had to sit in the rain for 20 minutes!

The driver informed them that they were the worst busload he had ever driven, and that he had recorded every infraction of the rules they had done on his handy bus-cam. He then sternly intoned that they would all be going to "The Rock" for this. (At this point, the kid who actually had already been to "The Rock" turned pale--it's the school where they send the felons, kids with guns, kids who hurt others, etc. I am pretty sure that kid does not want to go back--he is being real good now, and has actually always been a likable kid.) A bunch of the kids looked real nervous--there are some very well behaved and good students in the group! The bus driver claimed someone was using "something that clicked and a flame came out" (for some reason he wouldn't say "lighter"). He said the cameras would tell who did it!

So, a bunch of very scared kids got off the bus--the ones who had been in the back fervently began to tell me all about how they were taking a lot of pictures in the back--could he have seen the flash? I reassured them that if they had indeed done nothing wrong, the camera would have recorded that, too, and to not worry. I had to go tell the chaperone chairs what had happened, and they had already been found by the bus driver before I even got to them. When I told them the kids had been average, and that they said they had been using a camera, they felt it would all blow over.

Still we needed to talk to the band director. While doing THAT, we saw some poor non-band kid getting arrested, because the people at Belton High School MEAN it when they say no student loitering under the stands. He must have stood still too long. Anyway, the band director said it was a bunch of nonsense and he'd take care of it. He said after all I had been through, I'd know bad behavior (yup).

Throughout the game, kids kept asking if things were OK. One poor child was visibly shaking when he said, "Miss Sue Ann, do you think we will really go to the Rock?" I said no, I didn't think so, and I patted him on the back, even though that is against the rules.

And after the game, my son and his friend said they overheard the other bus drivers talking (while putting away the equipment in the trucks) and the other bus drivers said this guy was being "a baby." I honestly think the man over-reacted, and if he had just asked us to tell the kids more forcefully to stay in their seats, or asked them to put away the "cameras," things would have been fine. It's like he was looking for something to report on his camera. These trips are sometimes the only times kids get to hang out with their friends for an extended period of time. To expect them to sit silently and not interact is pushing it. We CAN ask them to stay seated, though.

We had a VERY quiet long bus ride back. Even the Class Cut Up cut it out a little bit.

What I like about the group of kids that Beccano hangs out with is how they treat each other. They know they each are sort of a mess in one way or another (they knew Beccano back during his "troubles") and accept each other as they are. They know the Cut Up just craves attention, so they give him some. They know the kid with the unfortunate incident last year really means well. They know they are tender from parental divorces and other issues. They know the kid who looks Emo and the kid who looks Punk are nice kids with interesting clothing preferences. And they accept each other's varied religious and political backgrounds--there are all kinds of kids in the group. They kid around, they have little spats, but they really stick together. That's the kind of friends that the slightly misfit types really need.

So, all in all, I like the little hooligans. And we beat that other team quite handily, in the football department. Kicker? We don't need no stinkin' kicker--we'll just score lots of touchdowns!

Enjoy my random band photos.

Thursday, September 4, 2008


I have been having a sour feeling after this week's political convention. As my friend Ricky said in his usual eloquence: "He's experienced already, you don't have to say it 8,000 times like we're STUPID!" But, that's the party's tried and true recipe: find a talking point and repeat it until people actually DO get sick. I have hear God, country, and experience so many times that I could easily never hear them again.

So, I thought I'd write about something else. But what? My sinuses? Yep, they have been a mess. It only took a bit over a decade for Austin to get into my head, but it did. But I got some Zyrtec stuff and feel marginally better. Whew. Sinus issues feel WEIRD.

To get my mind off politics stuff that has me in a "tizzy," (did you know Jesus was not American and he did not tell us to go out and worship a flag? I think some people don't know that) and all that, I decided to write about whatever word my finger hit on in a book. So, this post is about "copilot."

Of course, I have no god to be my copilot. I have Lee to be mine, I guess. It's good to be part of a team, even if we are both vaguely grumpy team members for the past week or so. Just too much stressful job, people, and money issues. But, that won't last forever. It is good to have someone to work with in life, to help you pilot your ship towards wherever it is you are going. Some of my friends are really, really good at going it alone. I never have been. But I have had some less than ideal copilots, too.

Yay for Lee for being a kind, understanding and helpful copilot. I hope he will help drive me out of my "what's the world coming to" despair and towards some other focus. Like how to carve a good life out with few options and limited resources.

I will try to be more up-beat tomorrow. A long bus ride to Belton awaits...

Monday, September 1, 2008

Why I am Tired

Visitor Girl
Originally uploaded by sunasak
I am not really rested this weekend, though I think doing some work will rest me up (that's my plan for the rest of the day: earn some money, cause contractors don't get paid holidays). The photo you see is one reason. We had this charming child (really, she WAS cute), her sister with some behavior issues, her two parents AND her ancient neurotic dog visiting from last night until this morning. I am so obviously not used to nonstop talking 7- and 10-year-olds, nor of dealing with the aftermaths of one's partner drinking too much. I need to learn that when people are coming you HAVE to have breakfast options available, but since we never have anything but coffee, I am always thrown on the first day, "What, you don't have milk?" (nope, we only have fat-free half and half). "I am used to eating as soon as I get up" (well, if you'd told me that, I would have gone off and gotten something at the grocery store as soon as you all got up, about two hours earlier than I had planned to get up). It really was a fine visit, and it was good to meet Lee's high school friend and his family. Lots of time to chat and a good meal was had! I think I need to be more flexible. I get myself sorta ready for what I am expecting (in this case, a couple and one child), and then I have a hard time when it turns out there are two children and a dog--I worry someone will get hurt, break something, or not get their needs met, if I am not prepared. I will try to learn to relax.

It's been a busy weekend otherwise, too. The high school football game on Friday was fun, but we had a rainstorm that delayed it a bit. The bus was full of very jumpy friends of Beccano, who really cracked me and Lee up, but they definitely required a bit of supervision. The game was really good--even though, as usual, this school doesn't have a competent kicker, they creamed a nice bunch of large kids from College Station. They drove a LONG way to get roundly defeated (and they had an amazing kicker). Their poor band didn't make it until halfway through the second period, so they just marched, sat for a dismal half of football, and then went on a long road home.We greatly enjoyed the ride home with the kids, but when we got home, Buddy wasn't home--he had broken down our gate during the storm and hobbled off (I can't say "ran" off). Lee wrote more about it in his blog, so feel free to read it there. I was SO worried we'd lose him or that he had injured himself. I am glad he is back.

Saturday, after some fun knitting time, we had a fun time roaming through pawn shops so Beccano could look at guitars, amps and such. I ended up buying a ruby and diamond ring. Not a guitar part, I know. But, it was what I was looking for. The rubies are maybe rhodolite garnets, since they are a bit purple-y, but I still like them, and I got a pretty good deal for a ring with gold and diamonds.

After that excitement, we took Jeff out for a belated birthday dinner. We'd planned to eat at Chuy's, but it was an hour wait. We ended up at the neighborhood Mesa Rosa, and Jeff loved the fish tacos. (I love them, too.) We ate there again with Lee's friends, but that's OK--there is plenty of yummy food at that restaurant! And it is rarely too crowded. We all had a good chat with Jeff, so it was a good Saturday.

All in all, it's been a good weekend. I am, I think, just whiny because I have been having really bad allergies. I plan to go get some allergy medicine! I promise!