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!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Senior Moments

There hasn't been much going on with me other than a lot of work, then a lot of rest. I guess that's the pattern. Either they don't need me or they need me 12 hours a day. Hmm. But, with Tuba Boy's last couple of weeks of school in full gear, we've been doing lots of school stuff.

Thursday was the debate banquet. At this event, the star debaters get to give speeches (Tuba Boy's partner and girlfriend did, but not him), then the teacher makes a tribute to each. These were enjoyable, even if Tuba Boy was called a "space alien." In this photo, Tuba Boy is second from left on the bottom, and Brilliant Girlfriend is center on the top row. TB's partner is far left and his future roommate in college is third from the right on the bottom row. The teacher, who is moving on to law school, is on TB's other side. The one in the yellow shirt and tie is the most decorated debate student in the school's history, and the reason they are all going to the national tournament to cheer him on this summer.

I think debate was really a great thing for TB, even if he wasn't the star student. He did well this year, and has really learned an incredible amount of information about history, politics, philosophy and argumentation. He's a lot easier to talk to now--his arguments make sense. And he met some great kids--the team really is like a family, which they stressed over and over. This is probably the thing I am most glad he did in high school. And looking this bunch over, I realize that I have known at least three of those kids since first grade, and a couple of others since elementary school. Wow. They grew.

The next night was the band concert. We got there early to hear the jazz band, which has some of my bus buddies on it, including the only girl, who is on keyboards. I know she listens to music all the time at home (she calls her dad and his friends "The Singing Asians" and says they sing way too long and hard). I'm glad she's getting the chance to do jazz! They sounded so good. I wish more folks heard them.

Then came Beccano's band, the lowest one on the totem pole, which he was put in to be the rhythmic heart, or something like that. You can see his flaming hair, front and center. Well, he was the only percussionist in that band who actually showed up at the concert, which is good because he had a rather difficult and quite audible snare part. I am proud of him for sticking with this change of band, which messed up his schedule and contributed to his English class problems. Ahem. I will move on.

Tuba Boy was in wind ensemble again this year. He was in it during 10th grade, then "demoted" last year after he had all the trouble pining for that first girl he liked, who left him for a "bad boy." Here he is second tuba from the left, though I guess you can't see them in the picture. Their concert has one song that was fairly unpleasant, but ended with a rousing march, the most familiar one to most people, "National Emblem March." What was special about that was the guest conductor was a lady whose friends bid at a silent auction on the chance to conduct the band on one song--she had been a music minor and always wanted to be a band director, but instead became a high-powered lawyer. She did a fine job, and is being congratulated in the photo.
As always, though, the best part of band is the friends. Though we miss Parker since the rock band break-up fiasco, Beccano still has some great friends, like these guys. I am glad to know these kids, too. And after the concert, both my fine sons and Brilliant Girlfriend joined us at Mesa Rosa for a really fun dinner. We all have so much fun laughing and telling stories together. No matter what else goes wrong, these kids cheer me up!

Our final photo is just some evidence that the kids have a lot of fun with each other. Beccano awoke from a nap one day last week to find that TB and Brilliant Girlfriend had decorated his room with this lovely clingy Ariel thing. It certainly fits in with the underwater theme of his room--note that he recently installed blue lights in his fixture. Sadly, she's fallen down and I don't think she will be replaced, especially since Beccano had a female friend visit yesterday and that ain't too macho.

We have no photos yet from the rest of the weekend, but did go see Jeff play at a fancy restaurant Saturday night during a downpour. We almost didn't get in (Lee, Beccano, Martha from church and I), because we were told the music area was full. Well, I sauntered over to say hi to Jeff before we left, and found the room had space--it had been reserved for the "Austin Social Club," and the lady in charge gave us seats. That was so nice of her! Plus, we met a couple of nice middle-aged ladies and had some good conversation. So, that was a success. We even went out for ice cream afterwards. Since Martha's daughter was supposed to be with her that weekend but had to go to a funeral instead, it was good that we could take her out and cheer her up. It is simply good that we can be friends after all we've gone through!

The rest of the long weekend (US Memorial Day) has been full of planting some new plants, resting and for Lee, at least, a long motorcycle ride. I taught a lady to knit contenental and helped sell some yarn at the shop. Keeps me out of trouble.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Rock and Roll Sweet 16

Beccano's birthday isn't until next Friday, but he found the gift of his dreams online, and Lee and I went ahead and ordered it for him. We figured it would take forever to ship a huge guitar amp by land, so it was quite a surprise when the UPS guy knocked yesterday, with two huge and heavy packages. Of course I was just coming out of the shower...but I let him bring them in. Then, of course, I could not hide them.

So, I "decorated" them with the signs in this picture. There was a better one of Beccano looking all confused, but the camera was on the setting, so he was rather blurry.

It says "Mysterious Birthday Surprise. What could it be?" Like he didn't know he sent us the link, etc. Don't mind the mess in the "dining room." We still haven't found something to do with Jeff's old entertainment center, so it is greeting all visitors and making me embarrassed, though not as much as the incredible amounts of hair Rose is shedding. Even after her bath and brushings.

He got right down to opening it up. Here he is gracefully tugging at the head. It's purple, as you can see. I think that's why it was nearly 50% off at Guitar Center. Well, he has nothing against purple and it is his dream gift: a Marshall Half Stack. Apparently this is a good amp. Jeff says it is "too big" but I think Beccano's planning on different venues than Jeff frequents.

We moved it to a less obtrusive location, but still in the dining room. I've spent a bit of time today trying to arrange the furniture a bit better in there and the family room. I guess if I am not going to be working much, I can spend my time decluttering (once we have air conditioning, that is).

I only have worked one day this week, and no signed papers for that. But they will be billed, since I worked 9 pm to about 3 am! Weird place, it turns out. I love doing the work and really like the people a lot, but it seems they have less than they said they would. Why oh why can nothing work out positively? But, I am throwing myself back into job search mode. I applied for one I really liked today, but who knows if it will come through. I am about to see if I can just work in a coffee shop or something. My nerves are having trouble coping. At least that ruins my appetite so my weight is good.

We just found out we are getting an all-new air conditioning system for our top floor. Just what the struggling family with college expenses and one barely-employed wage earner needs!

Lots of kid and graduation stuff coming up, so I promise to any of you who are actually still here reading this that there will be some happy fun posts.

Well, Beccano's amp is happy and fun. It is great to listen to! He will have hours and hours of fun trying out different settings and making lots of noise! And it's purple!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Not Again...

Well, still no word from the wonderful new job, so I am looking for something else again. I am so incredibly tired of doing this. And I am trying to figure out a book to write, patterns to sell, or something.

I wish something would work out.

Here is a picture of how cute our dog is. He reminds me that I enjoyed a nice party Saturday night, featuring lots of raw and gluten free food, and I enjoyed a nice piano recital by our church choir director. That stuff is all good.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

At Least It's Raining

It hasn't been exactly the perkiest of few days. Just little worries or disappointments, but they put a damper on things. First, I had no work other than Monday of this week, and I haven't heard anything from them since Tuesday. I do not know if I have screwed up or if it's something totally not to do with me. I am trying to think it's the latter.

And Beccano didn't get into drumline at school, which had him irritated, especially since two incoming freshmen did. He had done a lot of extra work prior to the try-outs, gone to a bunch of after-school practices and stuff, but to no avail. I guess at this rate he'll never get to march. I have not been pleased with his band teacher all year--he moved him to a lower band (not a punishment, I kept being reassured) and that took him away from a really good English teacher. He pretty much ignored the percussion people who weren't the top students for most of the year. I don't think band did much for the boy this year. To top that off from his band being broken up with no warning, and a bunch of really odd actions on the part of his "friends," it's not been too great of a time for him. But, he copes fine and has a way of forgiving things that is very admirable. Just a series of disappointments.

I hadn't made any horribly productive use of my "time off" by Friday, so since Beccano was home sick from school, I decided he could help me to pet stuff. We got a new water dish and food dish to replace ones that had broken, and some anti-itch shampoo (because the pug has been itching). We also got a really nice long-toothed metal comb. First we used the comb on Rose (seen above looking pissed off). I got a large grocery bag full of icky, dirty hair off her. She actually looks like she has lost weight now. Then we washed Scrunchy, which was not too bad. Washing Rose was another story. She was less impressed with that than she was the brushing. But, by gosh, I got her clean, and I put some nice rinse on it that has her fur looking considerably better. I trimmed matts from it, and I just know her skin feels better.

While both dogs had been acting itchy, neither has fleas (yay). I think the pug has anal gland issues and needs a shot of whatever it is that has helped him with his itchy periods in the past, but I don't think I can afford to take him in.

That is because our upstairs air conditioning unit seems to have stopped making cold air. Ugh, another huge bill coming up--right when there's no work and the car insurance is due. And guess what else? Beccano will be 16 and we had to get his extra cool gift, plus of course we need to pay for Tuba Boy's graduation gift. YIKES! No wonder I am a little stressy.

At least I am prepared to handle stress. I did go to the doctor this week and get my fine anti-anxiety medication renewed. I realize that paying for the visit and the meds is WAY less than it would have been to pay for individual insurance, so I am coming out ahead. Still, I need to have a whole bunch of things done that I have put off...pap smears, icky tests you get done at 50, etc. So, wow oh wow I wish a real job would materialize. I am looking again, never fear.

Good things, of course, abound. And I don't forget them. I am still smiling every time I see the picture of the labyrinth on the wall. And I got to play with TWO babies at the yarn shop today!

Well, this is just a stream-of-consciousness blather but at least it's a post. I hope you are well and that good things are happening to you.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Another Visit to the Farm and a Nice Mother's Day

So, I may not be able to blog as often lately, but I have a big ole post for you today. I just thought I'd share some photos and stories from this weekend with those of you who manage to visit this little blog...

Lee and I went back down to the vortex between Yorktown and Nordheim, Texas to see his dad again over the weekend. It was a very lovely drive, as you'll see below. It rained a lot right after all the crops got planted, so everything was quite green. And the three black cows from last visit had turned into 6! The calves are very tame, and as a matter of fact, Lee's dad was napping with the cows when we came up. That's right, he was all curled up next to one of the Mama Cows, with a baby next to him. Yep, that's some tame cattle. One calf was born in January, one in February and one in March. Just one is a little boy.
Here Ernest is talking to one of the calves. They listen quite hard to him. We enjoyed visiting with them, and watching the Mama Cows licking each other's babies and nursing. They sure have enough nice green grass this year!

The corn is up and looks good. Here it is at a nice sunset angle. We were trying to get back to the farm in time to get a nice photo of the sunset, but those are fleeting, you know. Lee also tried to get some full moon photos, but had no luck wrestling with his still-new camera. We had left the farm after playing our choir service for Ernest. I think he liked it, though he isn't good with stuff about other people. That's fine, he has a nice tidy world and doesn't like to have it interrupted by outside things.

Nonetheless, we took him to Victoria to buy him an 86th birthday dinner. He liked the peanuts at the restaurant better this year, and enjoyed some catfish. Lee and I had tasty little steaks and sweet potatoes drowning in marshmallows.
On our way out of the restaurant we were treated to this sight. This truck was covered in leafy oak decals. Wow, in the woods it would be INVISIBLE! You may be able to see the very interesting star things on the wheels. You can't miss the interesting tires. I am not sure what the truck was all tricked out for, but it sure looks different!

After the restaurant, we went to see our friends Jim and Esther, who moved from Round Rock to Victoria to retire last year. We also got to see their daughter and SIL, and grandkids (who go to our church, so are not strangers). They have a lovely home in a nice neighborhood with lots of space--and parking for Jim's camper and boat! It was nice to see them, though I know it's hard on Ernest to be around new people who aren't farmers or anything! I figure eventually he could get them to talk about politics, and all would be well, though (thankfully, we are all on the same side there). His religion talks would have been harder--he still really doesn't know what Unitarian Universalism is, other than we sure don't study the Bible hard enough. Glad we avoided that topic.

So, we took him home and in the morning had do-nuts. We drove by where his brother, Carroll, lives (he turned 85 the day after Ernest turned 86--guess Oma was in a hurry to get child-bearing out of the way), and lo and behold, he was in the yard. So, they actually introduced me to him! I had wondered if that would ever happen. I guess they don't like Carroll's wife, 'cause she's a Catholic, or something. I thought she was quite nice, and enjoyed the hour we spent on their porch watching lovely birds and playing with the neighbor's quite charming dog, Mo. I liked him. He allowed himself to be "brushed" with a broom, which was pretty darned cute.
We took "the road less taken" on our way back and got to see some really nice scenery. We stopped by one field, near Route 85 and FM 1116 (um, that is near the former town of Pilgrim, near a cool salt flat). This field is all black-eyed susans. There are so many fields like this right now, some also with phlox of many colors. Some had white phlox that looked like snow.

Here's one more view. If you look at the large version, you can see how many different flowers are in there. We passed Cactus World, a huge ranch or two with exotic animals, and much more attractive areas than you see on 183. I have no idea where we were, but it was nice. I guess we were near Bastrop at one point, since there were some pine trees.
When I got home, it was Mother's Day, and that was quite the celebration. Lee got me a very funny card, and totally surprised me with what you see here. It is a huge photograph of the labyrinth where we got married, taken by John Phelps, who did a lot of our wedding photos. He does all sorts of stuff to the photos and they end up looking like paintings. This photo has been printed on canvas and is like 4 feet wide. Really nice (see more by clicking the links). I guess Lee bought it from seeing it hanging at church, and all the profits of the sale went there, so that is another good thing! I think this is just a wonderful memory of where we got married, and it looks great hanging in the gallery between our bedroom and media room. How thoughtful!

But that's not all. Anyone climbing our stairs to see the picture would have the fine experience of using a stair rail that has all the dirt cleaned off it. I was rather appalled at how much "stuff" was on our railings, I guess from people's dirty hands through the years. Well, Tuba Boy and Beccano cleaned it all off as a Mother's Day gift. They even used their own money to buy sponges for the task. And each of them made me a card, in their inimitable ways -- in other words, rather hurriedly created, but very funny and sweet. I was really touched.

As a final treat, we all went to see the Star Trek movie last night. That was a great end to the weekend! I have loved Star Trek since I was in 5th or 6th grade, when my friend Patti from camp and I used to watch the original series every afternoon and then call each other and dissect the plot. I read all the James Blish adaptations of the episodes (and still have the very worn paperbacks to prove it) and Patti and I wore through two copies of our Star Trek book with all the details in it. I loved that book. I was prepared to be pretty peeved if this movie messed around with the Canon too much, but lo and behold, it used very Roddenberry-an plot twists and unbelievable coincidences involving things that go against all rules of physics to make everything JUST fine. It was a ton of fun!

I thought I'd share one last thing, these Mother's Day photos of the guys who made me a mother, in their natural habitat (i.e., surrounded by junk food). Here's Tuba Boy playing WoW on my old computer, with his Whataburger cup.
And here's Beccano in his Springsteen t-shirt, watching bad television surrounded by ice cream containers and um, stuff. He likes his stuff. They are good boys. I am glad to have them around!

Well, if that isn't enough blogging, I just don't know what IS!!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A Nice Chatty Update

Well, finally I am caught up a wee bit and can write something! First, I had to do a lot of work in my fine new job. Oh, but that's OK. I love my fine new job, and think this week I'll finally have 5 days of work in, too. I will love that part the most. I get to work from home, in coffee shops, and sometimes in their spartan little office. Working in the office is great because everyone is so freaking NICE. And smart. And funny. What a relief to have that to say after all this time! And they are friendly--I get asked out to lunch and everything!

And look, we have a happy volunteer sunflower to symbolize how nice that is!

Second, I finally got my wonderful new computer, a Dell Studio 17 with red swirly things on it. I guess I should have put a picture of that on here instead of the nice flowers, so OK, I will go find one. Here's what it looks like:

Setting it up was a bit of a challenge. I tried this lovely Windows Vista "Easy Transfer" utility. Oh that was a good one, all right. I spent four hours trying to move files from my beautiful red Dell 15" model, only to end up that nothing transferred except all the user accounts. Great. All that was during a very stressful work emergency, too, which meant that the time I had planned to spend on Thursday of last week blogging was spent working all night. But, it's OK...

I like the computer a lot now. The high-resolution screen is awesome. I can really see all those incredibly detailed PowerPoints I have to edit, and I look forward to Articulate 09 work on them (that is fun and expensive instructional design software I get to use. woo hoo. I moved all the pictures, all the software and everything else I need. Now I just have to set up Quicken so I can be an Independent Contractor Who Files Her Taxes Right and all will be well. I also got a really nice mouse, which is a red curved USB one from Microsoft (I know, boo, hiss) that folds up into a little egg shape for easy travel. So, now I am little miss modern worker. And it is good for play, too!!

Our garden is getting just lovely. This is one of our roses from last year. All of them are blooming beautifully, including the tiny red ones. We'd thought the wildflower bed Lee planted was a bust, but to the contrary, it's gone nuts--there is even a big ole pink poppy in there now! Lots of phlox in various colors, some white things, sunflowers from last year and such. I see basil coming up from last year, and we have all kinds of onions going. And at last the tomatoes have started to grow. Our soil is so bad for them, but the more compost Lee puts on, the better!

After Thursday of last week, things got good. I had a ton of fun at work on Friday, then went to Pilar's surprise 40th birthday party. The next two photos are stolen from Cindy (hey, thanks, Cindy), but I took a whole bunch of photos of her, so I know she won't mind me borrowing a couple. To prove I really was there, this is a photo of my and Diane. We had been enjoying the beer. The food was great, too. MMMMM. The best part, though was that Pilar was actually surprised, mainly because no one told Miss T. it was going to happen. A 5-year-old can't hold info like that in!

Here you see Pilar in her sweet 16 birthday sash, still looking a bit overwhelmed, while Lee tries to tell Miss T something and I show how bad my posture really is. At right is Pat telling a joke. That happened a lot. We all had a very good time, and what was even better was that our husbands got to know each other, too. Lee and Cindy's husband (Bryan with a y I think), had a nice manly chat on the patio about power tools. We all kept saying how nice it would be to do more social things. Of course, we can't rent a beautiful club house every time. The one the party was at is just in the next neighborhood from here. Maybe we should rent our clubhouse some time!

And finally, what is the first "real" post of May without a Maypole photo? We had a really nice one at church on Sunday, and here is proof. We also did our choir concert, with was Schubert's Mass in G. We actually pulled it off, thanks to a whole bunch of additional recruits and two wonderful borrowed soloists, plus a fine accompanist. I enjoyed it a lot.

OK, that is enough blogging and photos for one post. I should save something up to write about later in the week, huh? Thanks for your patience while I was feeling upset and/or busy. Everything is good now, even if it's different.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Coming Soon...

A real post! I have been transitioning to the new job AND to a new computer, and just plain out of spare time. Blame social life and stuff like that, too. All of which I will blog about...tomorrow.

After Nancy wrote to make sure I was OK I figured I had better say something so you'll know things are good, just not quite under control.