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!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

What Humans Want

On Huffington Post I saw a little piece by Dennis Whittle, where pointed to work by game theorist Jane McGonigal. He said:

"She pointed out (and I agree) that the following was particularly compelling:

What humans crave:

1. Satisfying work to do.
2. The experience of being good at something.
3. Time spent with people we like.
4. The chance to be a part of something bigger."

Yes, I say to all these. Since I left the nonprofit job, I often felt like I was not a part of something bigger. But, I have found other ways to volunteer and help out, so I am feeling much more connected these days. I am glad I have knitting, where I help others and get to be good at something, and school volunteering, which helps me see myself as part of the bigger world.

My work is more satisfying than it was for 2007 and early 2008, so that part is better as well.

And I certainly get to spend time with some great people! My wonderful Lee, my dear kids (especially Tuba Boy who texted kind things to me yesterday), and all those friends who are helping make this such a fun time.

Another thing this human wanted was for Flickr to work again the way it used to. I guess they finished whatever they were doing to the servers, and I can see images on my blog and Ravelry again. Woo! To celebrate, I share today's photo, which is one Lee took of our hanging rose plant.

In home improvement news, the inside of the house was painted yesterday, and the front door sanded. The patio in front looks awesome, and just needs its final grouting. I cannot wait to see things in the daylight after the clean-up is finished! Then, sigh, hours of rearranging stuff that we had to move is to come. Oh well, it is a small price to pay.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Fun Things!

I am getting into the wedding spirit, I think. Either that or my “love language” is gifts, because I was really touched to get a wedding gift in the mail yesterday, and happy as a little kid. Remember a few weeks ago when I went to the fancy shopping center to get undergarments and I drooled over a purse at the Brighton store? Well, a blog reader saw that and found the purse and sent it to me. See how cute it is? (By the way, it is a large coin purse, not some giant thing, which you can't tell by the picture.) And its name is Roselie (hey that’s a mixture of my dog’s and my man’s names). I wrote the sender a rather ecstatic thank-you note. Then, after I calmed down and took Beccano to his guitar lessons, I looked inside the purse. There was more! She had inserted a (safely preserved) four-leaf clover from her own property and a really cool English copper penny, which I guess I could put in my shoe, but it would probably make me hobble down the labyrinth.

Anyway, I am just tickled pink (or rose) to have my red rose purse. It is so NOT something I’d get myself, and since we are asking for practical home-improvement wedding gifts (registering at Home Depot should give people a clue) or being perfectly happy with nothing at all (your presence is my present, I say!), I really don’t expect a lot off foo-foo personal gifts. This one was plenty! I have had a smile on my face for 24 hours, even with all the other stressors going on.

I am going to try to concentrate on all the fun stuff in the next few weeks. Please remind me of that if I start stressing out. I am already messing up my knitting, which is a bad sign for Suna!

And I am being ambiguous! I posted on Facebook that I was packing up my office today. Well, I knew what I meant, but I panicked a bunch of friends. No, I wasn’t fired again (please, not that!). We are just moving to the other end of the building, in what looks to be a nice, quiet, sunny locale. I will try to be more straightforward in what I say in those cryptic little status notes! My office does look pretty sad, though. One good thing is that my plants are still out, since I will be moving them myself, along with the vitally important candy dish Big Bowl of Self Esteem!

It’s weird to have to move on Friday, because that’s the day of the big Halloween event at work. We will all be in costume at our desks full o’ boxes. There will be chili to judge and dessert to eat. I am making cornbread, since contractors can’t participate in the chili contest. Sigh. I hope I have time, since I also have to work on Tuba Boy’s debate tournament stuff. Tomorrow will be busy. As will Friday. I got the band kids some stuff (shh, don’t tell, Parker) but I hope to get more. At least having to be at the football game MAY break Beccano of the habit of wanting to trick-or-treat with his very tall pals like they did last year.

Well, I gots to go buy stain for the front door, the last project of the home improvement festival. I hope to see a beautiful front patio when I get home today!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Adventures with Chocolate Skittles

Or: not much exciting to blog about today.

After the excitement of the house turning into a pumpkin, everything seems dull by comparison. The good news is the house is now mainly tan again, though the garage doors are the festive rusty pumpkin color. We will show you photos when it's all done.

The dogs are not happy with us because they have been trapped in the house all day for a few days now, thanks to long band events Friday, Saturday and Monday--meaning way too much cooped up time. They showed this by finding a box of gel pens and chewing them to pieces. And pooping festively, perhaps in an attempt to hide the ink damage. No, they can't think that cunningly. Non cunning canines. The dining room carpet cannot be saved. So, we hope for lots of Home Depot gift cards in our near future, to purchase flooring. I need to get Rose some things to chew on.

Last night's excitement was Festival of Bands, which would have been more festive if it hadn't been freaking cold. For Texas. I got the shivers, just like last year. Besides, I had seen each high school's marching show more than once already. But, I had fun sitting with my knitting buddies Deana and Pilar, and seeing how long I could knit before my hands froze. We each rooted for our own school, plus Westwood, where I also know some kids. That means we had all the high schools covered!

Anyhow, today's work excitement has been new candy for my Big Bowl of Self Esteem, which always has some sort of treat in it, either contributed by me or a coworker. I had to buy a lot of salsa for Tuba Boy's debate tournament, and went to the store at lunch to get it. While there, I noticed the ample displays of not-very-cheap Halloween candy, the kind I usually don't get, since I wait until after Halloween to get whatever is left over on discount. There I saw my beloved almond Snickers. And the Twix that the Big Boss likes. And…chocolate Skittles. What a concept. Well, I could not resist. The reaction at work was definitely mixed…

The first person who saw them was appalled. Skittles can't be chocolate. "That kind of defeats the purpose of Skittles, doesn't it?" I had to agree. That guy just took all the left over Pay Day bars that another guy had brought yesterday. Next, the woman across from me (soon to be next to me, 'cause we move on Friday) just had to try them. She went over to her desk, and a half hour later came back to report on which flavors she liked best (chocolate pudding and vanilla). By the way, vanilla is not a flavor of chocolate, last I heard, folks at Skittles HQ. She had carefully sorted her little bag by color and taste tested them. Along came Daredevil (the guy with the giant racing motorcycle, fanciest road bike I ever saw, BMW M5, etc.). He just had to try. Two minutes later he comes up, chewing hard. "Hey, I thought these were going to be chocolate, but they're chewy!" he mumbled. Yes, in his daredevil fashion, he had put them all in his mouth, assuming they'd melt, like M and Ms. He looked like a baseball player with his wad of chew. We had a good laugh over the male vs. female candy sampling styles.

I actually haven't tried the Chocolate Skittles yet. I ate sushi for lunch and bought some delicious cookies (which I will take home for the family, never fear) so I was rather full. I saved one bag for me, in case someone takes them all after I go home!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Word Fun

Just a quick note:

I read a blog called the Double Tongued Word Wrester, or its RSS feed, anyway. It finds new word coinages and talks about them (this is what people with advanced degrees in linguistics find interesting, you see). I like a word they recently found:

Catchword: malus
Part of Speech: n.
Quotation: A report by Frankfurt-based Center for Financial Studies has coined a new word—malus. Malus is Latin for “bad” while bonus means “good.” It says if executives can win bonuses for a superior performance, they also need to be exposed to penalties such as salary cuts for presiding over failures, which can have ramifications for financial stability.

Here's the link to the original.

I have been unhappy with how Big Businesses do business for many years. I am not thrilled that we regular folks get to help them out after they screwed up. I am really not happy with how many "maluses" have been passed out.

I do hope my house is no longer a pumpkin after I get home from the most festive Festival of Bands this evening, but of course, once more, I will not have been home in daylight to see it. Band season is almost over, though. I will try to not cry tonight. And I sure will miss the bus and all its drama.

Voting update: Williamson County is up to almost 15% of its population already voting, as of last Thursday. I hope lots voted Friday and Saturday!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

House of Scariness

House Before
Originally uploaded by sunasak
Here, at last is a photo of why we are having home repairs done. Look at that trim. Not good. Well, it was moving right along, but yesterday I returned to an early Halloween scare. Due to some miscommunication, the workers had painted the entire back and sides of the house in what was supposed to be the subtle second trim color, a rusty brick color.

The back of the house looks like one big pumpkin. A real Halloween scare. We have things cleared up now, and the siding will be tan again, with green main trim and the rust color secondary trim. Oh whew. I will be putting up a photo of the incredible orangeness of the house later this evening, so come back if you read this without the additional photos.

Things have just been a bit wonky these days, but at least there are also highlights.

Bad: The general contractor's sister's house burned down last week.
Good: We just have an orange house. It's still all there.

Bad: I missed Tuba Boy's counseling appointment about going to college.
Good: His senior pictures came in. Lots. Need one? Let me know!

Bad: The band did not make the finals at the Area UIL contest.
Good: They still did a GREAT job, and we had a nice Chinese dinner, along with Guitar Girl, afterwards. The spirited conversation and how much we confused the waiter raised all our spirits. Plus we came up with a great new nickname for Guitar Girl. One that goes over well with some, not others.

Bad: I won't get to do my volunteering at the party HQ Monday evening.
Good: That is because I had written the date of Festival of Bands wrong, so we will be seeing the marching one more time tomorrow. And Deana will come, too! I hope I don't cry again. I cried at the contest yesterday because it was Tuba Boy's last.

Bad: We can't write our wedding service this week, and Tuba Boy won't be there for senior night with the band (last home game).
Good: That's because he has to be responsible for lots of stuff at the debate tournament our school is hosting, and because I am going to help prepare food for it Thursday night.

Bad: Next week is so, so busy.
Good: I got lots of wedding stuff done this week, so that load is less, plus my dad booked his flight and will arrive Thanksgiving morning, plus my friend Janet in Arkansas is going to join us for Thanksgiving! I am really happy to have family and friends for that holiday, not having to eat at a cafeteria.

Bad: We still don't have the wedding service planned and the songbook to the main song I want seems to have gone walkabout.
Good: All the attendants seem to have found their outfits. Each has something with vaguely the correct color. And Bill thinks he can figure the song out.

Well, that should do for now. I will add to this lovely post a picture of how crazy Lee and I are feeling right now!

Friday, October 24, 2008

College Memories

Someone posted this meme on her blog a while back and I saw it on the Huffington Post. But, feeling nostalgic, as I often do when facing yet another exciting financial challenge (which will open new doors! help me learn new things! present a GREAT opportunity! and other positive mantras), I thought I'd take a whack at this one. And to entertain you, here's a nice photo of Lee.

For background, I was at the University of Florida in my hometown, Gainesville, for four years, then the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for 7 years until I could take it no more! This is about my time at the 4-year college. Go Gators, though I never watched you play football while I went there.

* What insecurities did you take with you to college? Are you still carrying them or have you set intentions and taken steps to let them go?

I took a huge insecurity about my looks and a worse one that I was not worthy of love. I think I sought out affection so hard during those years that I made some bad decisions. It has taken a long time to get over feeling I was so ugly and unworthy of love that I'd take anyone who looked at me sideways for a partner. Finally I think I have done the right thing and chosen someone because I deserve such a nice, compatible person.

* What expectations did you have going into college and how did they or are they impacting your decisions? Are there any expectations you are still clinging to that are getting in the way of what you want?

I expected that I would finish high school, graduate college in four years, get a Master's in two, and a PhD in two after that. Then I would be a brilliant linguistics professor. Everything went great until after the Master's degree, when I fought hard over the fact that the topics I was stuck on were really not interesting to me, and the politics of academia were more the focus than what I liked, which was teaching young adults. I now still feel bad that I didn't do what I set out to do and never really replaced that career ambition with another one that would get me on the road to financial security and intellectual fulfillment. Having the kids (which I do not regret) sent me on a big old detour into web design and parenting support, which seems to have made me someone no one wants to hire. I am pretty sure I'd be in a different place if I'd managed to keep working, building up to a good position in technical writing/management. But, the kids would have suffered, and they are what is most important anyway. So, some ambivalence here.

* Who were you in college? Did you like who you were and how much of that identity do you carry with you?

I did like who I was in college. I enjoyed the classes so much, really had fun meeting people like me (I was in a small "honors college" kind of thing for the mandatory classes, which means all smart kids and real professors). I really loved learning Japanese and linguistics. I loved hanging around with my boyfriend and our friends. I was a fun person who did all the work and still had time for a little social life. I think I was OK then, other than a few misdeeds.

* What were some of your favorite things about college? What did you least enjoy?

I loved those honors classes, my linguistics classes, the town I lived in and my wonderful friends, which were a mix of smart kids and the gay subculture (thanks to boyfriend's late roommate, the wonderful Bobby).

I liked least the snobby fraternity and sorority people and the focus on football and all the privileges the players got, while us smart kids got very little. I didn't like my grandmother guilting me in to visiting, and my mother being sick.

* If you could tell your college self anything knowing what you know now, what would it be?

You really were not fat. And Corey was the best boyfriend ever. You screwed up.

* If you could go back, would you add another major/minor? If so, what and why? Can you take classes in those fields at the local community college now?

I loved linguistics. I'd like to go back and get a degree in biology of some kind, or neurology (brains). I was so good at science, but didn't think I could do it because I was not good at math.

* What valuable lessons were missing from your college curriculum that you are responsible for teaching yourself?

Budgeting, bill paying, business crap. Fiber arts. I wish I could have taken classes in knitting. I really did study everything I was interested in.

* If there was one person from college that you could reconnect with, who would it be? What's stopping you from reaching out?

Dr. Shenkman. Social studies teacher who really cared about kids. I hope I can be the kind of friend to young people that he was to us in college. Every young adult needs a trustworthy adult to talk to as you navigate all that confusing adult "stuff," all those weird urges you get, and all the challenges that come up. Doc was great for us.

* Imagine yourself at your next big college reunion - what do you want to be telling people about yourself?

I did some good work for a nonprofit organization, I love teaching people to knit and making music. I have learned a lot about people and more about myself. I hope I never stop learning!

* College is often about enriching one's self and meeting other people. What are you doing now to expand your circle? How are you exploring new things?

I meet a lot of new people by teaching knitting. That has been a wonderful way to reach out to all kinds of people. I am also really enjoying the people I meet at the kids' school, both parents and students--I have finally found some parents willing to hang out with someone as nontraditional as me. I get a lot of enrichment by going to the local UU church, too. I hear many new ideas and meet some very weird, funny, interesting and unique folks there. I don't think I will grow old from lack of learning and exploring!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Interesting Voting Stats

My friend the yarn dyer in Houston posted this link to how many people in various Texas counties have voted in the early voting. It's only the fourth day and over 7% in my county have voted.

People sure are interested. We have an old dude at our early voting location who hates to type, so he gives anyone who shows up with their driver's license in hand rather than their voter registration card (even though you ARE allowed to use the DL). My coworker who is my neighbor had the misfortune to have her DL not scan, so had to delay many people while he painfully typed in her info. I sure was amused to find him working when I went in to vote. It was nice to hear people all being positive about the experience. All the people in line seemed genuinely happy to have the chance to participate.

I was going to do some volunteer work on Monday at the party HQ, but forgot there is yet another band event that night (I had put it on the wrong date in my calendar). I will let them know, and instead do some of the "get out and vote" calls to members of my own party (I really don't want to get yelled at too much, and that should help).

I am even getting a bit band-weary myself, though looking forward to the Area competition. I am really sad that Tuba Boy has to help at a debate tournament on Halloween weekend and thus will miss his last home game as a senior. I always love the moment when they all get introduced, but my boy will not be there. Of course, it's good he is helping so much at the tournament.

Sigh. I need to do some rock and roll. As soon as all our home repairs are done, I hope to. Choir is so messed up that I have to sing the soprano part on our lovely number this Sunday. Alone. Bear in mind, I am an alto. It goes up to G, the high one. At least it isn't A, the one I can do, but it is not pretty. The song for Sunday is an old, old Elizabethan one and very pretty. Too bad none of the good singers will be there.

Wow, this is long for a quick post about that link. Anyway, if you are local, check out your county stats!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

You Are So Beautiful, To Me (even you, Joe Cocker)

I was browsing my blog browser today when I came across this in the Huffington Post. I was really happy to read that a network would choose not to air a show that had so much potential to hurt young people. It hits close to home, since the child of people I care about us is having a difficult period dealing with an eating disorder, and it has been quite a journey for them.

Young girls get so many messages that you can't be cool unless you are bone thin (but, please, also have large breasts, OK? And who cares if it means you can't feed your babies when you have them, 'cause that's way in the future, unless you get no family planning information like so many...but I digress). We don't need television shows demonstrating how to turn normal girls into "fashion models." I'd sure like a show on how to turn normal girls into smart, well-adjusted adults with lots of friends and loved ones. Certainly not as exciting, I guess, but at the same time more likely to contribute to a good future for our precarious society.

About me: I have been medium all my life since puberty. Unfortunately, I was large as a child. Not fat, but taller and with bigger bones than a lot of kids. So I got called lots and lots of names, with my brother's endless taunts of "fatso" among the nicer ones. So, no wonder most of my life I have felt fat. The way I came out, I have some fat on my lower abdomen. It is there whether I weigh 110 or 150 (and I have weighed all those things and everything in between). When I think about it, my mother, who weighed 96 pounds most of her life, had that, too. It's hereditary, not a fatal character flaw. But to me it always has been a source of embarrassment.

No, I never did anything awful to myself, but I always worried about weight. I also worried about my funny-looking eyebrows, my manly ears, and my plain face. SIGH. I didn't judge my friends (quite the collection of large, small, buck-toothed, pimpled, and crazy-haired young people) based on any of these superficial things but I sure judged myself that way!

I am glad to see my kids mostly not acting the way I did. They embrace the hair, and aren't too concerned about their weight, or lack thereof (at 9 inches taller than me, they each weigh LESS than I do). When Beccano goes on and on about how one side of his face is wider than the other, I do sigh. I remember studying my own asymmetry. What a waste.

Sure enough, all my adult relationships have been based on compatible personalities. Sure, I like guys who look good, but that is not the only way I choose friends or dates. I'd hate to miss out on a great friend because they were "flawed." And this is why a long time ago I used to write endlessly on the superficial stupidity of men in online dating services. They all specify the looks of their potential dates down to hair color, leg length, exact weight...while posting photos of their chubby bald selves. I wonder if any of those dudes who turned me down because I had short hair and weighed 125 EVER got a woman? If they did, I hope they were shrews.

Anyway, I digress. I want to point out that so many young people I see today at least appear to be less concerned with outward appearance than I was. I see kids large and small, beautiful and normal-looking, straight-laced and adventurous...all treating each other fairly respectfully or at least with good humor. It makes me happy, and that is probably why I enjoy the kids' band friends so much. They seem quite open to each other. (Of course, I know perfectly well teen drama is teen drama--that did NOT go away! And there are still in-groups and such--it just seems like there is a place for everyone.) I like all my short, tall, chunky, lanky, long-haired, short-haired, Emo-haired, White/Black/Asian/Hispanic/Middle Eastern friends and acquaintances just the way they are. Things could be a lot worse.

I'll end with a quote from the author of the piece I liked to above:

To teenagers across America,

I want to say that we love you!
You're beautiful, exactly the way that you are!

And thank you MTV. You did the right thing. If this show not airing creates an extra half-hour in your schedule, call me. I have plenty of show ideas.

(I have lots of ideas, too)

Lunch break's over. End of me philosophising.

PS: I voted.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I Ordered Flowers and Went to the Bank

Sounds dull, doesn’t it? And since I can't access Flickr, I can't even try to put a nice image on this entry. But, actually it was a most educational foray into the New Way Things Are.

So, yeah, as the kids would say, I went out into the world at lunch today. I had planned to order some flowers for the wedding ceremony and put a check for my fine web design work in the bank. Simple.

First, I drove to my favorite florist. A guy was painting the building. No problem, guys are painting my house right now, and that just means it will look better. But, he toothlessly told me, the store is gone. Victim of the economy. So, I trundled farther down the road to the next florist, the one across from the Other High School, which is at least that much closer to the church. They were open, but a bit weird. At least the lady seemed to understand my needs for dark red and gold, and noted that I am not against sparkly ribbon. I am to go purchase my own vase and bring it in, and they will put flowers in it. That is at least more economical than buying some el cheapo florist vase. And, actually, my simple 6-rose bouquet with some gold "stuff" in it won't cost too much. That's good, considering the number of boutonnieres and corsages I am ordering.

I looked around at downtown Round Rock, Texas. Wow, half the businesses I used to go to are gone. Even the auto repair places. It was very sad. It is such a cute downtown area, too.

So, I sadly re-crossed the Interstate and went to a branch of my bank to put a check in. It's easy, you'd think. But, no, you have to run a gamut of enthusiastic bank employees practically begging you to do some banking. Like, put some money IN. I said something like, um, I am putting $200 whole dollars in, so let me pass. Then, the teller told me how cute his baby is and showed me his picture (that was the good part of the visit). Then he tried to sell me many credit card services. I escaped at last and as I went out 5 separate employees thanked me for coming, with desperate smiles frozen on their faces.

The hard times are making for some interesting experiences, I tell you.

And if I could, I'd show you some stuff about how we are boosting the economy, like Lee's fine "before" photo of our rotting trim that is being replaced by the fine product HardiePlank.* And the lovely colors that trim and it's accompanying new gutters on the sides and back of the house will be. We are also digging up the sad plants in the flower bed that gets no light and turning it into a patio that will be nice and shady in the summer. And finally painting the tall walls of the interior that Lee can't get to. As a bonus, they will clean the spider webs off the windows and let me clean the foyer light fixture, which has not been cleaned since we moved in, because we can't get to it. Eventually we WILL buy a very tall ladder, you betcha (that is my nod to Talk Like Sarah Palin Day, a thing I have been enjoying all too much today). I am so glad we can finally do this stuff--I really have had to put it off years longer than I would have liked, due to "hard times." I figure if more are coming, we'd better do stuff now.

*OK, I just looked this up on the web. This stuff is named after an Australian guy, James Hardie, not after the fact that it is "hardy." Very interesting product. Wood made from concrete. I must say that the siding on our house has lasted great. The wood trim, not so great. Thus, it will now be ALL made of this fine stuff.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Helpful Voting Link

If you go here you can type in a bit of info and see an exact copy of your ballot for the November election. That will help you see if there is any race you need to check into, to make sure you vote for the right candidate. I always like being an informed voter, not just someone who toes the party line. Even if I mostly do that. I want to know who I am voting for.

Early voting starts today here. I think I will go do it Wednesday afternoon. That sounds like a potentially light time.

Yesterday the kids and I went to a local rally. It was fun to see my favorite candidate, the wonderful Diana Maldonado (will mean nothing for you unless you live in Texas State District 52). The kids and I got cool Obama t-shirts with his head in many colored squares, like a Warhol painting.

Don't forget to vote. This is the most important election, like, ever. Yes, I want ALL of you to vote. That's how we liberals are--respectful of everyone's right to the democratic process.

Friday, October 17, 2008

It's a-Happenin'

Lots of stuff is happening right now. Mainly a lot of maintenance items that have needed doing but were put off when we were un- or under-employed.

For instance, my car, which strongly resembles the one in the photo at left, got four new tires and its 30,000 mile service yesterday. I'd been putting the tires off, though one had a slow leak. Well, that same tire ran over something and got a HUGE leak Wednesday, so it was no longer optional. And I realized as I was going to the place that the car had hit that milestone and needed to be serviced. So, I bit the bullet and got all those little maintenance things done. Wow, do they add up. But, I am relieved to have good tires again and to know the car is up-to-date at last on all its needed components. I want this car to last a LONG time.

Also, since we have the ability to do it right now and don't know when we will again, we are getting the house painted, trim replaced with longer lasting stuff, a new front patio and repairs to the front door. Oh, and the parts of the house interior that are too tall for us to reach will get painted, too. This is rather exciting for me, since I don't think I've ever actually been able to hire someone to do stuff to my house before, other than the roof I paid for last year and a guy that made a flower bed and planted some trees for us many years ago. Actual workers will come and do stuff, and we don't have to kill ourselves doing it. Since everyone's afraid of heights, I am pretty sure the trim would remain a mess forever, otherwise. Thank goodness Lee is able to help me out with this. It's such a relief to have a real partner again. Now when the time comes to sell the house, someone might actually want to buy it.

I've been getting other little things done, too, so I am feeling less worried and antsy than I was this time last week. There are just SO many wedding details, and while they are fun, they are simply very numerous. I just need to keep telling myself it won't be the end of the world if I don't have this thing or that thing, or forget to buy this present or that one. What counts is that we will all be together and enjoying ourselves at a nice, positive event.

There, what a pleasant post. All good things. It's homecoming, and it won't rain tonight, so that will be good for the kids, although we will lose--playing the best team in the District. I will enjoy looking at expensive mums and girls in cute dresses. This year I don't think anyone in the band will be homecoming queen or king, like has happened in recent years, but it should still be fun. And think of the band tomorrow--the big UIL thing is then, and we really hope they do well. They sure have practiced a lot, had lots of additional coaches come in and all that. I think Bec is really tired of his part--the pit sits around a lot.

Think of my dad, too. He managed to break his foot and not even know it. Stress fracture. Healing thoughts appreciated!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Band and Church, or a Normal Weekend in October

Here's one of Lee's band pix. That's our kids, with the award-winning Dancing Pilgrims waving the yellow flags. Beccano's the far right vibraphone, which you can sort of see when the picture is enlarged.

So, anyway, another weekend came and went. A fine and restful Friday evening was followed by a long stint of teaching knitting and visiting with knitters on Saturday. It was Yarn Crawl weekend, so I did manage to meet a few people from my knitting email list. And I got to chat with friends. That was followed by the long haul to Kyle, Texas to watch the USBBA contest (one of many they sponsor). Like Lee said, it was very entertaining, and they had pretty good food. And since the color guard and percussion both did great, coming in third wasn't too bad. I know the kids had fun (though today mine are NOT wanting to rehearse for three hours at the Palace). The big deal, the UIL competition, is next weekend. Fingers will be crossed for that one.

And it is homecoming week. I will see if anyone makes their mom or band friend a mum, but mostly I will enjoy what the kids do. It's fun to listen in on their planning. One band friend is playing music at the carnival, and I wish I could see that. I just love the young people, I do. Their humor cheers me up in times o' trouble such as now.

Yesterday after suffering through church (we were so tired...) we spent the day mostly cleaning the house so that people from church could come by and have a potluck and get canvassed. Beccano did he vacuuming, and I am happy that the new one is quieter than the previous one. I am wondering if maybe there was something wrong with the red one all along. At the dinner (ribs, soup, salad, bread and very decadent dessert) we actually did talk a little bit about church, but mostly we talked about politics and world events. Beccano said we laughed very loud. Tuba Boy poked his head out to correct some political information, which I enjoyed. Even though preparing is a pain, I end up happy with having people over. And the music room looked nice as a dining room once again.

Other than all the dogs seem to be less healthy than usual, everything seems OK. I invited more people to the wedding--remember, you can come, too! Just go to the link and say you'll be there! I still don't think Lee has invited his people, but maybe he sent personal emails instead. I hope we have some people! At least guests now outnumber the wedding party! Now I have to think about the ceremony, but can't bring myself to wade through the tons and tons of info Linda the Officiant sent me. I better do it...

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Read about the Band Elsewhere

Just a quick post to say that Lee posted such a nice review of the band contest in Kyle on Saturday night that I just want you to go read it there. See the ballet dancer in full action! See really lovely band formations and more photos of kids on a bus! I will be posting on Monday.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Life Is Lifelike

Things are good. Kids got school pictures this week, but Beccano didn't like his, so I am letting him get them re-done. They looked sorta like the photo at left, which is by a color guard member. Love his new side part. The rest of the photos in here are random ones of him doing band activities, stolen from his friends. OK, I actually told one of them I was doing it. Naturally, no names will be given for anyone in the pictures, to protect them!

It seems that one of Beccano's hobbies is sneaking behind people in pictures and sticking his precious head into the shot. So the last photo is an example of that extra-special trait. The other kid in the photo just turned 16. Man, even the little kids are growing up now!
Things are still quite good on the home front. Last night was yet another Thursday football game. Luckily, the kids had the day off and "only" had a two-hour band practice at the Palace at 10 am today. The band's looking better, anyway, but the football team is not. Nonetheless, the footballers won. Even though they allowed the other team to run with impunity and could not sack the quarterback (allowing him to frolic in the backfield shaking off defenders for what seemed like hours), and despite the fact that one field goal and two extra points failed, they managed to score more points than the other team (which I have to say, looked better). Never fear, next week we play the dreaded Stony Point. A team with no kicking, a defensive line that doesn't kick in until the 4th quarter, and an injured first-string QB (I forgot that part) will not be able to beat the best team in the District! But, it'll be fun. We'll just enjoy their band show, even though we will also see it at UIL (that is the contest that counts) and Festival of Bands.
Enough high school football highlights (it was probably enough after sentence one of the previous paragraph). I know you are way more interested in wedding shopping! (The rest of the readership now flees.) Suzanne and I had a way good time at the Domain Land of Expensive Shopping on Wednesday afternoon. I managed to buy one shirt for myself at Macy's for only $22, and it is a great white ruffled shirt with built-in vest. It will be my one fashionable item of the season. And I got a nice bracelet at Brighton, while she bought an entire charm bracelet. Cute, though. What I really wanted was a rose-shaped coin purse that would have made the nicest wedding accessory/souvenier, but, well, I just couldn't do it. Nor could I buy the extremely lovely gold chain with tiny garnets sprinkled on it from Nieman Marcus. It was $1800 for what I know was less than $5 worth of cute li'l garnets and some nice, but not that weighty gold. Sigh. It would have looked good with the dress, though.

What I did get were (wow, exciting!) a Wedding Wonder Bra to fill out the dress and some Spanx to fill me into the dress. The latter I did get at Neiman's, which means I have a snazzy souvenir bag. Suzanne and I looked a long time at really fancy dresses, though. I touched one that was over $3K. The details and workmanship were amazing, but well, I just couldn't do it. I wish I knew more wealthy people so I could at least look at that stuff sometimes.

It was fun shopping anyway and pretending to search for a yellow or gold dress for Susan to wear at the wedding. I will let her go get one at a more reasonable shopping center, however!! As for me, it's back to Kohl's and Penneys! Maybe if permanent work comes, I can hit Chico's and Coldwater Creek again, LOL. On the other hand, the economy tells me to wear my old clothing, darn it.

I've had some encouraging news at work, so I am feeling good about it, and I think Lee is settling in well at his new position. We are even going to go out to eat tonight to celebrate mutual employment. I will try to invite more people to the wedding (like church folks who don't read the email list there) and send out written invites to my dad's friends and family.

On another note, please send healing vibes to my friend's daughter, Ashley, who had brain surgery this week and has a lot of recovering to do. She is just a senior in high school, a beautiful cheerleader, and this is just going to be hard for her, as well as for her mother, who is a very dear human being and deserves any kind thoughts you can direct her way.

PS: I learned on Facebook that October 21 will be National Talk Like Sarah Palin Day. Now, by golly, that sounds like some fun, you betcha!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Pilgrims with Swords and Other Oddities

I haven't had much to say lately. Been tired and bored of my life, but unable to make myself be exciting.

It's sorta like the Dancing Pilgrims in the kids' band routine. It just isn't exciting to see pilgrim girlies forming circles and leaping, though the incongruity of the fact that they also dance with guns and swords makes one ponder the realities of color guard routine requirements. The show is good. They play nice American music, and the color guard is good, too--in fact, they are the only part of the band that scored well enough for a trophy in the contest last Saturday. It just isn't fun, funny or exciting like some of the other routines were (like the kids with pink wigs whose drum majors had pink insides on their white gloves--they were cool, plus had an incredibly buff dude running through their routine). But I digress. We asked for this ourselves, by complaining so much that last year's show was too "weird" and "gimmicky" with the bed in the middle of the field. Well, not this year. It's a 100% standard no-frills marching show. Even the shirts (which we did, at least, get in time) are very bland.

Oh well, I'm just a follower, and I still enjoy the kids and the parents. So I will stick around.

Things are really fine, honest. I think we just are tired from doing too much, with wedding planning on top of all that. We did have a nice break where Lee and Beccano played music with his friend--the one he dreaded having over because she is "so, oh, you know" and "so much better at guitar." Well, she's good, but so is he, and yes, she sings well. They ended up having fun, and he actually played for her. She said she'd like him in her band! Woo! I like this kid, anyway. She is a bit energetic, but good with people. Will speak to adults, even. Comments on my Facebook page, LOL.

One issue that has led to me feeling a bit funky is lack of sleep. Dogs barking is the main issue (plus Lee was gone to his dad's and I don't sleep well without him), but now I think there is a darned squirrel or something in the attic. Lee went up and checked last night but didn't see it. Ugh. Critters. We NEED to get that trim on the house fixed--obviously there is a hole!

Exciting news is that Lee got a new camera, so there should be better photos in here soon. He got some great ones of flowers and such! I hope I will have time later in the week for more fun news. There is wedding shopping tomorrow! That should be fun!

Friday, October 3, 2008

A Wedding Shoe?

Wedding Shoe?
Originally uploaded by sunasak
Hey, look what I found at Penneys yesterday, when I was passing time before a hair appointment. It is a wedge-heel shoe (stellar photo does not show heel) with a suede-like top part, and a silk-like strap, avec rosette! They were having some giant sale, so it ended up costing like $23. I got it, on a hunch. When I got home, I hauled out the wedding dress, and sure enough the shoes are the EXACT color of the dress. Lee was amazed. My work colleague says it is a positive sign for the marriage. OK, sure. I had this plan to go shopping for fancy shoes at the Domain next week, and was prepared to spend into the double digits for something amazing. But, hey, this will work, and lets me spend more on flowers or something!

I am still going to go to the Domain (if you are not in Austin, it is this new, ritzy shopping center with nothing but the best stores, so nothing's cheap). Suzanne and I will have fun looking at "foundation garments" for my wedding outfit. And other stuff. It doesn't hurt to look. Still, glad I didn't get that job that is right next to the Domain. Too tempting, I guess.

It's been another busy week. Something every night, ranging from Senior Parent Night to Watching Scary Debate night. Again, my kids made me happy. Beccano kept coming up and telling me that Biden is his new hero. I must say, he sounded GREAT, and his closing words were so, so confidence inspiring and well done. I have spent so many years being deeply disappointed by politicians that it was GREAT to be reassured and inspired by one. And yes that woman with the irritating voice and even more irritating folksy ways did not mess up anywhere near as badly as she was expected to. Set the bar low and it is easy to win!

I don't report a lot about my job, but that is good. Everyone has been really nice to me, I am getting lots done, and I am enjoying the things I am doing. I feel like I am making a contribution. The coworkers are all very interesting people and enjoyable to talk to, as well. It would be great to get to stay here, but ALE is still cutting people right and left.

Oh, and here's a photo of the results of last night's hair appointment. I think I look like crap here. I let Robert use the flatiron on my hair to see what it would look like straight. Interesting, so say the least. I must look better today, because all my female coworkers keep screeching, "Ooh, wedding hair!" like I really should have it done this way for the Big Event. Hmm. I am not sure that the flat, flat hair would balance the big dress.We will have to see. It's the same color as last time, making this a remarkable second time ever I haven't changed the color slightly from one appointment to the next.

I'll write again after the weekend, I am sure. Lee is going to see his dad, but Jody is visiting from EuropeLand, so I hope to see her. Of course, most of the weekend will be taken up with Marching Band activities. The first contest is Saturday. And the percussion dude is having Bec and Company get there really early. If this results in Beccano getting overheated like last year for this same competition, when I had to drive him separately in the car, I will be much less than pleased. We'll see....