Tuesday, June 30, 2009


I believe the sun should never set upon an argument
I believe we place our happiness in other people's hands
I believe that junk food tastes so good because it's bad for you
I believe your parents did the best job they knew how to do
I believe that beauty magazines promote low self esteem
I believe I'm loved when I'm completely by myself alone

I believe in Karma what you give is what you get returned
I believe you can't appreciate real love 'til you've been burned
I believe the grass is no more greener on the other side
I believe you don't know what you've got until you say goodbye

I believe you can't control or choose your sexuality
I believe that trust is more important than monogamy
I believe your most attractive features are your heart and soul
I believe that family is worth more than money or gold
I believe the struggle for financial freedom isn't fair
I believe the only ones who disagree are millionaires

I believe in Karma what you give is what you get returned
I believe you can't appreciate real love 'til you've been burned
I believe the grass is no more greener on the other side
I believe you don't know what you've got until you say goodbye

I believe forgiveness is the key to your own happiness
I believe that wedded bliss negates the need to be undressed
I believe that God does not endorse TV evangelists
I believe in love surviving death into eternity

I believe in Karma what you give is what you get returned
I believe you can't appreciate real love 'til you've been burned
I believe the grass is no more greener on the other side
I believe you don't know what you've got until you say goodbye
-"Affirmation", Savage Garden (video is meh. Older song, but still good.)

Not only did I pick up a new weapon for the absolute first time ever tonight, but I learned the entire first half of the form for it! It helped that I had Mr. R pretty much dedicated to me for the entire class - most people forgot the new schedule started today, so instead of an adult tkd class, we had me and two black belt kids (TKD Grandson and another kid whose name escapes me atm). We spent a couple minutes warming up, then Sir handed Mr. R a pair of ssahng jeol bahngs, told him to teach me the form, and went and worked some wrestling/jujitsu-styley stuff with the boys for the rest of the class. It's an...interesting weapon. Not my favorite, but I do have to admit it wasn't as scary as I thought it would be and I only hit myself a few times. I dropped it a lot, though, particularly on one move that I'm going to have to practice a lot, but both Sir and Mr. R told me I did pretty well with it. *I* think I did pretty good, considering it was the first time I'd ever even touched one and I didn't injure myself or anyone else with it! Now I just have to practice a LOT with it (surprisingly, it actually doesn't take much room, and you can do drills with it just walking out to your car and back without thinking too hard or looking too silly), and I'm trying to decide if I can get it on the plane with me tomorrow night so I can practice while I'm in Illinois....hmm...I'm trying to avoid checked luggage, given the fees and my track record lately, but it'd be worth it...

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Knitting Pics!

Okay, in whatever order Blogger decides to put them in, we have...

...the start of the Ten-Stitch Afghan:

...approximately 30% of the Miter Square Bag:

which will hopefully eventually look something like this (only knitted instead of crocheted):

...the first square of A New Angle afghan:

which, again, will hopefully end up in the general idea of this (designer's pic from Ravelry):

...and my finished baby:

Bear in mind that both pics are taken with the scarf folded in half. I'm telling ya, the thing is LONG!

Oh, and I did survive the midterm. Not sure if I did any better this time (it felt worse, but I didn't forget anything that I know about), but at least it's over. And I got to play with Baby S during the subsequent open house, which was nice, since he'd been acting a little scared of me recently, and we're not sure why. Oh well, I guess one can't be too scary when one is dueling with balloon-swords with goofy hats made from more balloons!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Epic Hilarity - What Are The Chances??

I have a friend in Atlanta that I obviously don't get to see much, although we have a standing joke about coming over for dinner and bar crawls. He and his wife are traveling to Vegas next month, and we were looking at the possibility of meeting up there, but I wasn't going to be able to afford a whole weekend trip to Vegas thing. And then this conversation came along today (screennames deleted to protect the not-so-innocent and slightly edited for length):

Me: so I'm apparently flying through both Vegas AND Atlanta in order to get to Nowheresville, Illinois
Me: please tell me how that makes sense in the slightest
Friend: How long you gonna be in Atlanta for?
Me: hopefully about an hour
Friend: aww, not nearly long enough.
Friend: I've made trips down to the airport to catch a lunch with somebody flying through before.
Me: I'll be overnight in Vegas on the 1st/2nd, but only there for an hour or so on the 8th, flying back
Friend: ...
Friend: the eighth is when we're flying in.
Friend: what time?
Me: are you flying Airline?
Friend: yes.
Me: if we're on the same flight, that'd be freaky
Friend: I'm going to laugh my balls off if we're... yeah.
Friend: That'd be epic hilarity.
Friend: Airline ABCD, leaving at X:YZpm and arriving at H:IJ local.
Me: uhh...let's see, oh my god
Me: are you serious??
Friend: yes.
Friend: rofl
Me: hahahahahahaha
Me: yeah, Airline ABCD, X:YZp-H:IJp
Friend: That's hilarious.
Me: that's so weird
Friend: What're the chances?
Friend: You have a seat assignment yet?
Friend: We're...
Friend: Row Number A and Row Number B
Me: hmm...no, I don't think I have one yet
Me: let me check
Friend: (Row Number C)
Me: that would be weird
Me: ah, mine just says seat assignments upon check-in
Friend: Damn that's funny.
Me: it really is
Me: so I guess I will see you in Atlanta. And Vegas. And we still can't go on a bar crawl!
Friend: so when you're laying over in Atlanta, you should call me and tell me where you're sitting.

I mean, honestly, what are the chances that two friends (well, three counting his wife, although I don't know her other than she's his wife) on opposite sides of the country, booking their flights at vastly different times (they've had this trip planned for several months now, I only finally decided last night), and not even TRYING to coordinated anything ended up on the same four-hour cross-country flight?? That's just weird!!

Update - Teddie actually does seem to like his new carrier better. He still cries, but it's more of a "I'm crying because I think I'm supposed to be crying more than any real discomfort and really, I don't know what I'm crying about so maybe I'll stop for good lengths of time until I remember that I'm supposed to be crying again" sort of thing. If I was driving out to the Midwest, I'd totally take him, but I'm sure he wouldn't be comfortable on a plane with drastic pressure changes and lots of people uncomfortably close (not to mention my wallet not being comfortable with the extra $200 it would cost to fly with him), so he'll be staying home and guarding the apartment again. I'm a little bummed about it, but it's probably for the best.

Martial arts stuff behind the cut, since this is long already.
Midterming tomorrow. I've run through both my forms at least twice every day, and instructor class on Wednesday was focused specifically on our ranking forms. "Not nit-picking, but ways to make it better" - keeping my focus upwards, shifting my blocks slightly to the outside to make them be useful rather than perfect straight lines, not dropping my hands to chamber for circle low blocks, turning my knee out just a little more in rear and back stances, picking up the tempo slightly on some of my tension moves (moves that are deliberately slow in order to make them harder and show them off - I have six hand techniques and two kicks in my regular form and I think six blocks in my weapons form that are tension moves). So many little things to think about that I haven't really had time to practice and get into my body. Not to mention the whole "take your time and don't rush through it" thing. I will count myself successful if I can at least do that much. Sir asked us to come in a little early, because the floor will be a little different than the mats we're used to, so I'm going to try to get there around 11:00a.

On the plus-confidence side, though, I was finally able to break a brown board with my spin hook kick Wednesday night. I can power through a blue board really easily using the foot position we use for that kick in the forms (pointing the foot so that the ball "slaps" the target), but that doesn't really work when you move to a harder board. I've been focusing on using the "board break/doing damage" foot position for the kick - hitting the target with the heel instead of the ball; the force is more focused at a specific point where the heel contacts the board instead of getting distributed all over the board with the wider ball of the foot - and think I might have finally gotten it. It took a few tries to get through my hand technique (an upset hammerfist) on a blue board, but that was completely my own fault for not thinking and doing it correctly the first two times. I'm pretty confident on both my breaks now, which is nice!

Oh, and I got told last night by Gil that he feels sorry for anyone who tries to fight me with knives. "He's either gonna get his throat slit or his face slashed off, girl, you don't mess around!" I've lately been trying to focus more on getting "killing" hits in during knife sparring rather than the slashing at the arms that some of the others do. It seems to me like I would want a knife fight over as quickly as possible, not put them in a blood rage. I can live with a scar on my arm, can't really live long enough to get a scar on my neck or a few other places. I'd still be dead five hundred times a night, but I only have to survive a real fight once. I hope. Actually, I'd rather not ever find out, but you know what I mean. A couple of the guys got goofy throwing kicks around, and Sir told them that if they wanted to throw kicks in a knife fight, he'd take away the practice knives and give us real blades. He figures after a few toes hit the mats, we'll learn. Good to remember.

We've had several new guys in FIGHT the past few weeks. No new girls, though. Several new girls, and guys, in kickboxing, though! A new guy in adult tkd, and the kids' white/orange/yellow belt class about exploded through the glass last night, there were so many. It's good to see!

Btw, I'm seriously wondering if someone at the dojahng reads this blog. It's occasionally eerie how I say "I feel like I need to work on X or I really like Y or I'm just getting frustrated with Z" and usually within the next couple classes, there will be a drill or workout or something focusing on whatever it was. Or, in the case of the previous post, the next day getting "it's not nit-picking, it's making you better" fairly randomly after going through one of my forms. I don't actually think someone is - I think it's more a matter of I'm focusing on one thing and so I pay more attention to it, like how astrologers make daily horoscopes work - and it's cool if they are, I just find it mildly amusing. Oh, and if someone does read it and knows where my other sparring foot pad went, can you bring it tomorrow? I'd really appreciate it! =)

For now, it's 65 degrees with 65% humidity (it's actually more humid than the Midwest right now, but much, much cooler!) and lots of sunshine, so TeddieCat and I are going out on the balcony to take pics of knitting and read while the uniform goes through the laundry. And I got a new afghan pattern (sorry, non-Ravelers, that's all I can find right now) that I'm dying to get started on! Finally, an afghan for ME! (Yeah, yeah, I know, I have two other projects on the needles right now, too. They'll get done...someday...)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Good, The Bad, and The Actually Really Pretty

The Good and The Actually Really Pretty:
In knitting news (I do knit, you know, even if I don't talk about it much), I FINALLY got to finish the Card Trick Illusion Scarf!!! The final skein came Thursday and I finished the scarf on Friday. (Yes, I actually was that close when I ran out of the red.) I washed and blocked it Monday, and it was a beautiful thing, spread out on my balcony railing to dry after its celebratory dunking in Eucalan. And, I promptly forgot about it being out there for the rest of the day. I rescued it after I got home from class last night when I saw it laying on the grass under my balcony - luckily, it hadn't blown into the pool! And, of course, this means that I didn't get any pics, so that will have to happen tomorrow. The thing is LONG, though - I think pretty close to eight feet! Still working on the bag (Ten Minute Rule is in effect for this project - I love the project, hate the yarn!) and the ten-stitch blanket. It goes surprisingly fast, and it's kind of nice to use up some of these random little balls of wool I have left. Right now I have a color scheme going, but once these run out, who knows? It's amazing how far one little scrap ball can go when it's only a ten stitch strip, though.

Also good, I've actually been able to wear my gloves in kickboxing class so far this week, although my hands hurt again afterwards. We've started running again in class and I can keep pace with Mrs. S pretty well (I still hate running, though). We also got the new hanging bags last Tuesday. That night's FIGHT class was the official first use of them. (They definitely need to get broken in. Sir says it'll probably take a good year.) For 100lb. bags, they're actually pretty easy to get up and down quickly. Sir and Mr. R hang them during our run in kickboxing, and then Mr. R and I usually take them down after class. Sometimes we use them in FIGHT, too, although we didn't tonight. They do a number on the feet for round kicks, though, although I've noticed recently that my round kicks are getting fairly high now. We still do a drill with partners on pads and Gil (who is taller than me) holds them up by his shoulders for my kicks. And they've still got some power behind them. So maybe I've improved a little in the flexibility range over the past two and a half years (has it really been that long already??). Oh, and starting next week, they're putting a third adult tkd class back into the schedule. Looks like it's back to nine classes a week (two each on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays and three on Wednesdays). They're also splitting up the teen/adult class into 12-15 year olds' class and 16+ class, which I think will be REALLY nice, and they're adding a Spanish-speaking class on Friday nights that J will be helping out with. I've been asked twice to help other first degrees learn their forms and really enjoy that. I think right now I'm more comfortable working with more advanced students (in all my classes) that already know at least the basics, because I don't have to worry about messing them up so much. I'm afraid if I work with a brand new student (kid or adult in any class), I'll say something wrong or do something wrong or not catch something soon enough and really mess them up. Don't know why, but I am, so I'm really happy to help other students closer to my level for now.

Also good:

Spending time with the girls in Solvang over the weekend. We went wine-tasting (rhubarb wine was surprisingly good!) and then caught the show. The sound is much better in Solvang. It always is. It also pays to have friends - we got bumped from having crazy seats along the wall to some of the held seats closer to the center. I could hear Chrissy calling the show (we were almost right under the booth, and it's really much easier to call the show with the window open rather than trying to rely on the spotty monitor system there), but the girls said they couldn't and told me it was just because I actually recognized and was used to what I was hearing. Whatever. It was still fun and good to see everyone again. I keep hearing really good things about Spelling Bee and am gonna try to catch it sometime this weekend, I hope.

Also good:
This is a cat who thinks he's being sneaky and cool and aloof about his new cat carrier. Don't let him fool you - he's totally snoring his head off in there. We've been going for rides in the car lately, since I'm pondering making a road trip home for a family reunion, but he cries and cries. The old crate I had for him was really small - he didn't have room to sit up or stand and was just kind of squished inside it. He could barely turn around in it. I would have cried inside it, too! So we got a bigger one (that has a special place for food and water inside!), and apparently this is much more acceptable, at least at home. We'll go out again tomorrow to see how he does in the car. He usually settles down slightly after about twenty minutes, so we'll see. The road trip itself may or may not happen - by my estimates it would be cheaper to fly (barely), and, honestly, a heck of a lot cheaper to stay home, but we'll see.

The Bad:
I did not get the job at Kohls. I also did not get a job I don't even remember applying for on base, as I was kindly informed by an email today. (Military spouses get preference for on-base jobs, which is a clear indication that I need to find a guy in uniform!) Again, really tired of the "we really need you, but not YOU" thing. Sigh.

I'm pretty sure this is just me and is completely non-intentional, but man, have I been getting nit-picked in classes lately. Now, I'm not saying I'm anywhere near perfect, very very far from, but am I really that bad?? Suddenly, in the past two weeks, my hook punches aren't right, my elbows aren't tucked in, my arms aren't straight enough, my kicks are too close or aren't fast enough, haganah drills aren't done quite right every single time, etc., in ALL my classes. Apparently, I can't do anything correctly right now. AND, just to top everything off and make me feel REALLY stupid, we were doing forms "testing style" in tkd last night and I was trying SO hard to not rush through it and complete each individual move (like I was asked to do after the last midterm) that I totally blanked on what move came next. I couldn't remember what move I had just did, where I was at in the form, or anything. I just knew I wasn't in the right stance and my arms weren't in the right place and I had no idea why. Sir had to prompt me to get me back on track. In front of everyone. SO embarrassing! I tried to keep going calmly through the rest of my form, but I think I started rushing it again. So now I can't even prove that I've listened to my head instructor and worked on anything he wanted me to. I'm such a good example =P I talked to Ma'am about it tonight (she wasn't there last night), and she assured me that everyone's done that at some point and at least it wasn't actually DURING a test, which is true. I ran through it again tonight after FIGHT and am planning on running through both my regular form and my weapons form a couple times both tomorrow and Thursday and maybe even seeing if I can score some free mat time on Friday afternoon. I CAN do this, I know I can. I just have to prove it to myself and everyone else =P I just wish I didn't feel like the only one constantly having to go "Yes Sir/Ma'am!" after getting some criticism or another, however gently or nicely delivered. I'm now kind of nervous about instructor class tomorrow night =/

However, at least my day didn't end like this:

Friday, June 19, 2009


Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends leave footprints in your heart. To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart. Anger is only one letter short of danger. If someone betrays you once, it is his fault; if he betrays you twice, it is your fault. Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people. He who loses money, loses much; he who loses a friend, loses much more; he who loses faith, loses all. Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, but beautiful old people are works of art. Learn from the mistakes of others. You can't live long enough to make them all yourself. Friends, you and me ... you brought another friend ... and then there were three ... we started our group ... our circle of friends ... and like that circle ... there is no beginning or end ... yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That is why they call it a present. - Eleanor Roosevelt

Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. - Unknown

A hundred years from now, it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove...but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child. - Author Unknown

“Go confidently in the directions of your dreams; live the life you’ve imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will become simpler.” - Henry David Thoreau

To laugh often and much, to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children, to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends, to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others, to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch… to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded! - Emerson

Monday, June 15, 2009

TKD surprises

I got my new dobok tonight! It's soooo much more comfortable than my old one!! Like, I can actually move in it!! And, I have to admit, the white uniform shows off a black belt much better than the blue one did. (Yes, I can be vain. I know it.) I also found out why it took so long to get back:
The logo on the back. It's embroidered on. And, it's not the "banner" logo that most of the new uniforms get silkscreened on the back - it's the logo the instructors have on the backs of their jackets. It's not an instructor jacket yet (instructors' jackets are black), but I'm translating this as maybe one little step closer. (No one has said anything, so for all I know they're embroidering logos on the backs of all the new uniforms now - although I kinda doubt it - but it makes me inordinately happy.)

I also found out that I'm midterming again not this weekend but next. It rather surprised me, since I just midtermed last cycle, and I haven't done anything new so far during this one. I had to confirm it with Sir, who told me to just do the forms I already know and be sure I do them better than I did last time. Helpful. It kind of makes me wonder how badly I did last time. (Not that I really think I did badly, and I have tried to work on a lot of the stuff they mentioned to me afterwards and am resolute that I will NOT randomly forget a whole chunk of my weapons form this time around.) I actually wonder if there are some ulterior motives behind it - it will be the first test in the new space (we're actually going to be testing downstairs and in one of the open areas of the mall so families can watch instead of in the shark tank), it will be very public, and I think they want to show off as big a variety of students as possible. Plus, Jer will be testing for his black belt, so there will need to be ranking, non-judging adults there for him to spar. It works out. I was planning to be there anyway, I just figured I'd be watching or helping.

Sir also confessed that first degrees don't actually HAVE to learn two weapons forms. In fact, most students only learn one. Technically, I could stick with the bahng mahng ee form every time I midtermed and even when I eventually test for rank. However, he's not going to let ME do that. He wants to me to learn the ssahng jeol bahng form because he wants me to know it and get experience with that weapon (and, since he's made it clear that I'll have to midterm with it at least once, apparently demonstrate that knowledge, as well). Which makes sense - if I want to be an instructor, I can't very well help out other students with forms I didn't learn, I suppose. I'll still be allowed to choose which weapon I want to test with when it comes time to test for rank, as promised. It sounds like I'll probably start learning the ssahng jeol bahng form after this coming testing.

My knuckles STILL hurt when I wear my kickboxing gloves. It's really rather irritating - I can make a fist and punch just fine - no pain at all - when bare-fisted. But put the gloves on, even with the wraps, and I can't do it. Sir, Mel, and Gil think it might be a tendon issue from the "overhead" punches we've been doing in kickboxing (well, okay, Mel and Gil think that, Sir is concerned that it might be caused by my tendency to stick my elbows out, but it amounts to the same thing and I've been working REALLY hard to keep everything tucked in and not "be a swimmer". I thought I was pretty much over that by now =( ). Sir told me tonight in kickboxing to give it a rest and let my hands heal. Which is frustrating, because, like I said, they DON'T HURT unless I'm wearing the gloves. But hitting the hand targets we use in kickboxing over and over with a bare hand is not particularly good for them, either. Sigh. (Of course, this is also the same night where Sir told me to be better, so not sure how I can give my hands a rest and train to do better. I'll work on it!)

Quick temp assignment in the morning (finishing up the chemical inventory I started today at local high school chemistry labs) and then an interview for (I think) a part-time cashier job a Kohls. Whatever pays, at this point. FIGHT in the evening!

Sunday, June 14, 2009


Class is going really well this weekend. It's so nice to be in a class where I'm actually learning something! It turns out that several of the students in my class last term are in this class as well, and they all had similar things to say about the prof and the class we just finished in general, so I'm really glad to know that it wasn't just me who had such a terrible time with him. We've been talking mostly aircraft so far, and a group of us went to lunch with the General today, and his conversation made me think of my grandpa. The General did remember me, though, which I'm not sure is good or bad. One more class tomorrow - I have to figure out what I'm going to do my presentation on! - and then a break until next month.

Martial arts went pretty well this week, although between my sunburn and how badly my knuckles hurt, I skipped FIGHT on Tuesday. The sunburn was fine by Wednesday, but my knuckles are still kind of bruised today. A gave me a pair of hand wraps to wear under my kickboxing gloves (they are almost two years old, I guess!), and I think they will help a lot, but my knuckles were just so bruised on their own by that point that wearing anything on them was painful. I did two kickboxing classes without gloves at all (seriously impressing one of the new girls for some reason - we're not hitting bags right now, just hand targets), and tried to focus more on technique and speed than power. Thursday in particular was pretty interesting, because I partnered up with Gil, who is nursing a broken thumb, and we'd get going pretty fast on each other. Almost like a real fight speed. It was also good because Gil is actually one of the few people there who are taller than me, and I've gotten some comments from Sir lately that I'm tending to hunker down to get to my opponent's height instead of fighting at my height. I'm going to try to focus on that this week. Sir's also been doing more "teaching" with us in instructor class - a lot of how to help new people in kickboxing with holding targets and throwing basic techniques, and also how to work with kids and breaking things down to their level without talking down to them. It's actually a little hard to do in instructor class because we're all adults and extremely familiar with the program, and we know each other so well, but I'm trying. Sir also got on our cases a little bit about making sure that we always bring our A game because we are so exposed now. Not that we always have to be perfect, but basically we always need to stand out like we know what we are doing. (Btw, the fishbowl feeling of the new school does wear off quickly once you get focused on whatever class is going on. Sir has decided he prefers to hear it called the shark pool, though.) I think he was talking mostly to me - I was a little draggy because of the burn and knuckles, although I thought I was keeping a pretty good attitude about it - so I'm going to try to watch myself on that this week, too.

Started another new knitting project, a Ten-Stitch Blanket, out of scrap yarn. I enjoy it so far, although I haven't finished the bag or the gloves yet. Just dealing with a case of startitis, I guess. I did actually find a skein of the Alpaca Silk for the Card Trick Scarf, and I'm hoping it shows up in the next few days.

Started reading Robin Hobb's Farseer trilogy and enjoyed it but I'm not quite sure why. Will have to hit the library to get the next book. The new Cast In... book comes out in August now instead of October, so maybe that's a compensation for not getting sent to Basic on time.

The girls are going to come up and visit me next weekend (we're going to see Les Mis again and hang out, which means I need to clean the house again!), and I might be having dinner with another friend/former intern tomorrow. At any rate, I do need to try to get some sleep tonight!

Monday, June 08, 2009

Aloe, please?

Oy. Not sure even where to start.

Drill weekend. Unexpectedly spent Saturday at the Rodeo Parade street fair working a recruiting booth and a bounce house for kids (since I wasn't in uniform, apparently I wasn't scary and they needed help). Which was really fun, and I got to spend time with some of the guys from the 216th, but would have been a hell of a lot better if I'd known ahead of time and could have brought sunscreen. While I lucked out in the sense that my face and arms didn't get too badly burnt, and I was smart enough to wear light pants and real tennis shoes, so my legs and feet were safe, I did wear a square-collar tshirt, so the top of my chest and the back of my neck are absolutely fried. Like painfully fried. As in, wearing a regular tshirt in class tonight was pretty close to excruciating. And the headache still hasn't completely gone away. Yes, I have aloe. It hurts to apply it, but I have been gritting my teeth and doing it. Sunday was actually spent, gasp, at the 148th. I got to hang out up on the hill and actually spend time with people in my own unit. They turned out to be pretty fun (okay, so I got grilled within an inch of my life, but it was funny), and I can't wait to actually work up there. They are badly understaffed and need people like crazy. In fact, one sergeant asked me to come up and help with basic grunt stuff and PT (she even gave me a pair of wings and told me that now I HAD to pass all my tech school stuff so I could earn them), and my security clearance should actually be finished by the end of the month so I can get my badge soon. All peachy. Except for the fact that I can't pull any extra shifts until I go to Basic and Tech. Oh, and I won't be able to do that until OCTOBER at the very earliest now (when the new fiscal year starts). I'm getting REALLY tired of the "We really need you but you're not allowed to help out" line. Really. I've talked to both my recruiter and my contact sergeant up there, so we'll see if that shakes anything loose, but I doubt it. Sigh.

Knitting: I'm starting a new project. A bag. I'm kind of designing it myself. Well, not really. I'm taking a crochet pattern that I really like and turning it into a knitting pattern. It's not particularly difficult to translate if you understand mitered squares. Which I do. Because it's kind of an experiment, I'm using some Red Heart that a well-meaning Secret Santa gave me for the holidays. I love the colors, but I now remember why I don't buy regular Red Heart anymore. I don't consider myself to be a yarn snob in the slightest - in general, the more machine-washable the better, as appropriate, of course - but man, regular Red Heart is awfully scratchy. It doesn't help that I'm purposely knitting it at a pretty tight gauge. (Mental note to self - new scarves and hats for the parents, since they got crappy Red Heart accessories a couple years ago.)

Life in general: Plans to hang out with friends soon. Randomly back in semi-regular contact with John after getting a phone call from him that started with five minutes of "why haven't you called/emailed/texted me?!" He has me researching some potential theaters for upcoming shows. We talk about music a lot, too. Or rather, we send each other songs and say "I like this one, what do you think?" (He's decided Jars of Clay's "Hero" is pretty good.) I've gotten caught up on Chuck (I'm madly in lust with Bryce and the season 2 finale about made me cry) and was suitably pleased by the season/series premieres of Burn Notice and Royal Pains. Cheering for the Penguins in the Stanley Cup finals. Looking forward to class with the General again next weekend. Also looking forward to a good week of martial arts classes, although I'm trying to figure out why my hands are getting torn up by my kickboxing gloves again. My knuckles are getting bruised and I have chafed skin between my fingers and on my wrist. G suggested that maybe my gloves are starting to wear out. They have seen pretty consistent use for almost two years now. I hope not, though. I already have to pick up a jahng bahng for instructor classes, I don't really want to have to get new gloves, too. Not to mention having to break THEM in as well. I'm really hoping that it's just the change in the kickboxing routine (although I don't know why) and after a week or so it will work itself out. No word on my new jacket, although Mel swears it'll be in by the next testing date (although I don't think I'm midterming this time around, but I might offer to help out, if not watch. At least one of my classmates is testing for his first black belt.) Mr. R was sympathetic to my sunburn tonight - we'll see how sympathetic he is during FIGHT tomorrow night. I think I'm safe from choke holds this week (we did them last week), but center clinches might be a problem. We'll see, I guess.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Moving, geeks and more knitting! (Pics!)

The Knitting
The knitting lesson learned this weekend - the right tool for the job makes ALL the difference. As in, the difference between sighing every time you see a certain UFO languishing sadly in the basket and wrapping a luxuriant cashmere scarf around your neck. This story started over two and a half years ago (it's been going on since right before I started tkd!) with a splurge at River Knits over in Lafayette, Indiana. 100% cashmere laceweight in my favorite colors (Jade Sapphire Mongolian Cashmere 2-ply in Lagoon). A simple but pretty lacy scarf pattern. A pair of US 4 bamboo circs, because we all know slick metal needles and lace yarn aren't supposed to mix well. Should be a project made in heaven, right? Yet it took me two and a half YEARS! Why? Because of those bamboo circs. Not only were they TOO sticky for my preference, but they were also extremely blunt. Now, while slickness of needles can come down to personal preference, trying to work with laceweight yarn with extremely blunt needles is, well, let's say an exercise in frustration. I was reluctant to switch needles, though, because I was afraid the gauge would change noticeably between the bamboo and the metals (I've had it happen before). This weekend, after finally realizing the true reason this project remained in UFO-almost-hibernation status, I decided I didn't care anymore and just wanted the thing done. My slick, practically razor-sharp KnitPicks Options plus a good movie (The Illusionist - good movie, not as gripping as The Prestige, though) plus part of a bad audiobook (sadly, the only one I have right now is Twilight, which got turned off about halfway through) equals one cashmere lace scarf enjoying some California sunshine.
Recently, though, I had a sudden realization that I will probably not get much knitting time around Christmas this year (hopefully I will be in tech school), probably sparing my family from too many knitted items this year. However, I started a pair of convertible fingerless gloves (I've had the pattern forever) for my brother. I had some camo-patterned yarn in my stash and thought maybe he could use the gloves and a hat at work during the winter. If not, I'm sure he could use them for paintball. Not sure anyone else is going to get anything knitted, but we'll see.

The Geek
I found two new apps for my phone that I am madly in love with. The first is the Kindle app. Still gotta pay for the books, of course, but the app is free. Any way to make books even more portable is awesome by me. (And frankly, using the same gizmo to make phone calls, get directions, check email, get sports scores, listen to music AND read a book all at the same time is pretty darn cool.) The other is the SpaceGeek app. It's a list of breaking news and images from NASA, including these of Atlantis' landing last weekend. (A SHUTTLE LANDED less than 200 miles from me!! And I didn't get to see it!! =( )
Here she is getting ready to fly home to Florida. (And these get sent to my phone!)
Random FYI tidbit: The shuttle program was initially a fairly joint operation between the AF and NASA and VAFB was actually intended to be an alternate launch site for the shuttles - we can get into a polar orbit from here, and they can't from Florida. However, after Challenger, NASA and the AF got into a pissing contest and NASA won, so there has never been and never will be a shuttle launched from here, although we are one of the few places on Earth with the facilities to handle it. We can also land the shuttle here, but Edwards AFB is at a more preferred angle. Anyway, while launches are visually impressive, anyone can shoot something up. The fact that we can LAND up to seven HUMANS after over almost two weeks in SPACE with a technique no more impressive than a typical glider landing and absolutely no adverse effects (unlike some other space transport systems, ahem) is the REAL truly impressive feat. That said, I still consider it a life dream to see a launch. Guess I'll have to make it to Florida sometime in the next two years.

The Move
No, I'm not moving. My home away from home moved, though! We started moving in the mats and equipment Sunday.

We had a couple students (me and Jeremy - who should be testing for his black belt at the end of this month), a set of parents, Gil, Ma'am, Mel, Mr. R, and of course, Sir and Mrs. S. There was a pair of movers, too, who helped cut the mats to shape. It didn't take long to get everything in, and we even got the closet organized:
We took pics as proof that the closet was indeed organized at least once in its life! We also cleaned the hallways and got the office furniture set up. Unfortunately, today, the mirrors still aren't up, the hanging bags haven't come in yet, and it just wasn't possible to get everything ready in time to have classes tonight. So we'll start fresh tomorrow! I really like the new place, although it will take some getting used to, of course. The solid wall of windows looking out into the mall is a little intimidating, although it definitely does its job and gets a lot of attention for the school! (Still no word on the new jacket, although I'm not ABOUT to ask right now. I hope I have it in time for next testing, though!)