Friday, November 26, 2010

Marathon Games 1 & 2

I'm going to put most of the actual hockey game stuff over on the other blog, but I have been having a BLAST this week!

-I am apparently a very familiar-looking person. Five different people at two hockey rinks almost 400 miles apart have either stopped me in the concourse or approached me at my seat to tell me that I look very familiar. Weird.

-If you sit near the home team's bench, you don't get to see your team on the bench as much, but you get to see them shoot at the goal closest to you twice. If you sit near the visitors' bench, you will get to see your guys on the bench a lot more but it will be harder to see them on the ice. Presuming, of course, that they spend more time on offense than defense, which is generally a good thing to do in a hockey game. I cannot decide which I like more and may continue flip-flopping. (I think my seat for tomorrow is on the visitors' side, but not sure.) However, sitting on the visitors' entrance aisle iz teh ossim. (Honda Center, Sect 209, Row E, around seat 10-ish. That is going to be my seat there now forever!) I got high-5s from my guys!!!

-Staying on board the Queen Mary while in SoCal and it's really nice for the price! Very thin walls, though. I did one of their ghost tours this evening, which was very interesting. There was one room that they were asking questions and the K2 meters were going off and a few people said they saw something (including a self-proclaimed psychic)* - I felt/saw/experienced absolutely nothing other than visually seeing the meters light up. We move on to the old first class pool and supposedly there's a lady in the changing rooms who "guards a vortex" there. They set up the equipment and were asking questions again and asked if she would let us go into the changing rooms. The "answer" came back as a clear "No!" The guide told the group that they could go into the changing rooms if they wanted but he wasn't going to; he'd had his own experiences in there and didn't care to repeat them again. Of course, the rest of the group all wanted to go in, but I kept getting a nagging feeling about it and didn't. It wasn't like I was afraid something bad would happen or something but it was just more of a "Man, if you believe what you just got 'told', and she told you to go away, go away already!" protective kind of feeling that I just couldn't shake. Rather like walking by a door guarded by armed security guards. You're really curious as to what is behind the door but it's clear that it's not an issue that really needs to get pressed. Weird. So I stayed out and talked to the guide for a little bit. It turns out that I am not the only one who has had issues with going down to the isolation wards. (Claustrophobia, however, didn't bother me tonight.) All in all, though, nothing happened that I would say beyond a reasonable doubt was paranormal, and if any ghostie wants to come into my room at night and wants to mess with my stuff, that's fine, as long as I don't get woken up and I don't lose any of it.

-I have a new favorite pair of earrings. Big dangly cheap silver and turquiose circles. Love them! Yet another set of earrings that I can't wear for 90% of my life, between work and martial arts, but they're so fun!

-Thanksgiving was much more fun than I had anticipated. I was invited to a guy I work with's house to spend the afternoon/evening with his family. There turned out to be six adults - two couples, two singles (I got kind of a "wow, what a coincidence that you guys have SO much in common!" vibe, but oh well) - and three kids. It was very fun. The kids were all old enough that they could run around outside or play upstairs, and the grownups played a cross between Pictionary and Telephone (I can't think of the name right now, Scribbleysomething, maybe?) and Apples to Apples which is a very fun game! You get to see how a lot of people's minds work, which is interesting. Anyway, I had kind of figured it would be eating around three, some polite conversation, and home by six or seven. I didn't get home until after eleven. Which sucked for trying to get laundry done and packed for today, but was too much fun to really complain about.

-I think I might hit up the Aquarium of the Pacific tomorrow, since the game isn't until the evening. One more day/night in SoCal, then going back up Sunday and have to go in to work for a couple hours to get caught up on the daily tasks that haven't gotten done because everyone's been on Thanksgiving break. Random day off later this week too, so my orders can change over from MPA (being loaned out to the 614 AOC full time) to AGR (being actually employed by the 216 OSS full time). My schedule's going to be so out of whack!

*ETA (because I'm not falling asleep now) Some of the experiences included flashlights turning on and off, several people feeling ill (I felt ill, too, but that was because I'd had two alcoholic drinks that day and not enough food to soak it up!), a couple of odd noises, and supposedly an apparition in the green room. There's this room that is supposed to be "Henry's" room - a guy who died in a boiler room accident and is supposed to be, well, grumpy about it to say the least - and they had everyone go in and turn off the lights and then they set up a flashlight, a K2 meter, and a DVR on a table. Another lady in the group had a second K2 meter a couple feet away. They started asking questions and got a few hits on both the meters and the flashlight. People around me seemed tense and a couple mentioned feeling dizzy or ill. They asked if whoever was there wanted us to leave and it went dark. Someone joked "Aww, Henry likes us!" and the meter flashed all the way across. Then this girl in the group gasped and said "You guys are going to think I'm crazy, but I swear I just saw a little girl over by the table!" No little girls had been mentioned on the tour at all at that point, but the guide said that there is supposedly a little girl running about the place and that she usually stayed one floor above, but people had seen her all over the ship. After that, the group claimed that "the energy in the room got lighter", they felt better, and the psychic said that the little girl had made the "bad energy" that was in there before leave. Also, in the changing room above (the one I didn't want to go into), one couple on the tour supposedly got touched by a dark mass who wanted them to leave.

I have no reason to doubt the sincerity of the people I shared the tour with, but I have serious reservations about the claims that they made. I have no doubts that they experienced what they said they experienced, but think about it from a psychological standpoint. You have about twenty people in a group because they want to learn about ghosts. You're taking them through locations that are famous for being haunted. Now, no effort was made to scare us, it wasn't like going through a haunted house at Halloween or anything, but you tell the group about a supposedly malevolent spirit and then stick them in a small dark room. Not to mention there is a slight pressure difference because you're actually about fifty feet underwater at that point. (I really didn't need to know that, but it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.) Energy is going to be weird and tense inside that room just from the combination of psychological factors you just had them experience! Then this little girl appears (that I can't explain, unless the tourist was a plant) and suddenly everyone is relieved because it's not a big bad scary spirit, it's a little girl and who is scared of a little girl? and the "energy in the room" lightens. I'm not sure I would call that paranormal, just normal environment messing with your mind, maybe deliberately, maybe not.

I really thought the tour was interesting and a neat experience - you do get to see parts of the ship that are not open to the general public - but I felt pretty detached from it. An observer rather than a participant. Except for the "these rude people are invading my space after I asked them to go away" feeling in the changing area (and a creepy vibe from one of the - living - cleaning crew guys we saw - you know how there are some people you see and you just don't like? yeah, that was him), it was pretty uneventful for me. I am not psychic, I have no desire to be psychic and I also am not willing to be deliberately scared for entertainment. Evidently I am not "in touch" with the spirit world and am "closed off", or ghosts really are like most living people and tend to leave me alone ;-)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Let the Marathon Begin!

First off, Trans-Siberian Orchestra is awesome to see live! I've always liked the drive and pulse to their sound, and, while there were some parts of their show that I wasn't insanely wild about, I did like the lazer and the use of the LEDs and pyrotechnics. I am insanely jealous that I worked in technical theater professionally and educationally for twelve years and never once got to give or take a cue for a flamethrower, though. (Admittedly, the wrecking ball from Dames At Sea was pretty fun, but still, it's no flamethrower.) The two things that I didn't really care for were the LED screens - I found them distractingly pixillated and not particularly graphically flattering for the pictures/images they displayed - and the choreography was just horrible. I will be the first to admit that I am not a dancer, nor have ever been one, but I'm pretty sure our swing choir in junior high had more complex and interesting choreography. Luckily, choreography is not a huge important element to the show, so you could just ignore it fairly well. I did, however, realize how "military" my life has become, though, when I just kept thinking how pretty the guys' hair was. I do love long hair on guys, as long as they keep it clean. Mmm! Don't see too much of that anymore, sigh.

But anyway, that was very fun and I got meet up with a fellow Puck This!er and her hubby up at the Los Gatos Brewing Co., which is very yummy and I would totally recommend. (We never did get around to drinking any of the beer there, since we were talking too much hockey and knitting, but I can recommend the BBQ burger and the coffeecake!) We also hit up Yarn Dogs (sans hubby) which is a totally cute little LYS up in Los Gatos and I may have to make a return trip or five up there. (Pics of the yarn shop raid do exist, but alas, they are not mine and I have not asked permission yet to use them, so you will either have to take my word for it or wait.)

Monday was work and class, which was taught by Mrs. S, who got stuck with me as a partner for tkd and we would get giggling during drills - at least in my case because I am very not used to working with her because she rarely works with the tkd class and is about a foot shorter than me and the drill involved many crescent kicks, I have no idea what she was giggling about - and generally caused trouble. Not as much as Ma'am and I can cause, mostly because there were kids around and she was teaching, but still fun.

Today was the Thanksgiving dinner/celebration at work, which was fun but a little weird, since Tuesday is also PT day. It maybe wouldn't be bad if we did PT in the morning, but I'm really curious as to how many people actually showed up for the "4.5-5 mile run" scheduled for the afternoon cuz I know my flight didn't. Granted, there are four people in my flight. One is a civilian, one is on leave this week while he & family move onto base, and the other guy and I looked at each other, said "no way" and somehow got extremely busy working with things that had to be done Right Now around PT time. (Note: this is absolutely NOT typical behaviour for my flight - we typically drop every hour on the hour for some form of PT or other and all of us do outside workouts as well - but that's just poor planning after a Thanksgiving lunch.) I also got to spend the last half hour of the day talking hockey with our Canadian boys, which is always fun although it does kind of make me feel like a bit of a ditz sometimes. One is a Leafs fan, one is a Canadiens fan. It makes life interesting, for sure! (And it is kind of nice to hear Jonathan Toews come up in conversation that I have not started, even if it was in the "eh, she's a Jonathan Toews baby" context - I refuse to be offended.)

Tomorrow is a couple hours of work and then heading back up north to the Shark Tank again for the hockey game and the start of my personal Blackhawks marathon! Yay!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

More Things I Learned This Week

-McDonalds' Quarter Pounders w/ Cheese are WAYYY salty! I don't usually get fast food burgers unless it's from In-N-Out, and I really dislike cheeseburgers in general anyway, but I was starving and they screwed up my order and I thought "eh, I'm hungry enough to deal with it." I wasn't. Yuck.

-You would think that if the cat can't be bothered to clean the house or do laundry while I'm out, he could, at the very least, have a hockey game already turned on when I get home.

-Wrist wraps are not optional equipment for kickboxing. In fact, they're more important than the actual gloves. I can deal with bruised knuckles, but aching wrists suck. Related: I have a re-found appreciation for repetition training. It was kind of cool to still be able to just react and not think while getting tossed around during FIGHT. And trust me, Sir did NOT go easy! Obviously, he wasn't as tough on me as he was with the guys - he's really good about challenging us at our own levels - but he was definitely not going to let me just go through the moves like the new girls. I appreciate that. (He does go easier on groundwork with us, though.) It was also cool that there was an MMA fight that night on tv that I happened to catch just as the fighter was doing that exact ground move and used it to win. I don't really go out of my way to watch fights, but I do enjoy those "OH!" moments.

-Bedroom furniture is a pain to find. I need a new dresser and I want a headboard. Can't find either that I like. Sigh.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veterans Day

Oh, say! Can you see, from the dawn's early light,
What, so proudly, we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars - through the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched - were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our Flag was still there.
Oh, say! Does that Star-Spangled Banner yet wave
O'er the land of the Free and the home of the Brave?
-Francis Scott Key, The Star-Spangled Banner

I, (NAME), do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God. - US Armed Forces Oath of Enlistment

Thank you to all those who have raised their right hands and sworn that Oath. We wouldn't be here if it wasn't for you.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Things I've Learned Lately

-Vegetables should never ever be boiled. They should be sauteed or grilled or baked or stir-fried. Then I'll actually eat them. Willingly. Like, to the point that I'll even make them myself.

-If rocket launches ever become boring or not-cool, someone please shoot me and end my life quick.

-If you make a pair of toe-up socks in your team's colorway, and those socks turn out to be lucky, DON'T try to make another pair. Particularly don't try to make another pair in the reverse order (cuff-down). It will a.)mess with the team and b.)mess with the knitting juju, too. I don't know how many times I've had to rip back every project I've started, including the sock, until I finally took the hint and just frogged the thing last night. Since then, I've been able to correct the other projects' mistakes AND Coach Q says the guys will all be back in the lineup by the weekend AND had their "best practice of the season" today. Never mess with the power of knitting!

-Pattern ideas will completely elude you when you really want to work with a new yarn (two skeins of Berroco Vintage Chunky from a Puck This/Ravelry swap) that is soft and squishy and pretty colors (blue and green). The gifter suggested Rebecca from Knitty, which is very cute, but I don't really wear hats all that much. I'm thinking a bag of some sort. Might have to make it up as I go. Hmm.

-Not going to martial arts is nothing more than cheating myself. And not just out of money. It wasn't like I was avoiding it or anything, but I was really trying to focus on running and PT. Last week, I randomly saw or otherwise talked to three different people from the dojahng, and had two different dreams where Sir would get on my case for not being in class. So last night I went back for the first time in a while. I love being there. I love the people. I love the workouts. I love the fact that I can get tackled there. I love the inside jokes. I love the fact that things came back to me pretty quickly. I love the fact that I worked out hard enough for my muscles to feel it today. Didn't go today b/c of squadron PT, and there's a standing deal for hockey game nights, but can't wait until Thursday when I can go back!

-One of my friends is totally serious about wanting me to play hockey with them on weekends. I am sorely tempted but pretty sure I would completely embarrass myself. (Because if I'm not honest here, where else would I be?)

-Thanksgiving week is going to be very busy this year. Sunday: TSO concert in SJ. Wednesday: Hawks/Sharks in SJ. Thursday: T-day w/ friends and coworkers. Friday: Hawks/Ducks in Anaheim and possibly hangout time with LA friends. Saturday: Kings/Ducks in LA. Sunday: sleeping to get ready for work on Monday. I do even have to work a couple days in there, too!

Monday, October 25, 2010


My mom keeps telling everyone that we got spoiled this weekend. I must say, I have to agree with her. No unexpected visits this time - I'm pretty sure I mentioned (once or twice or a million times) that we had planned out a Blackhawks game in Chicago this weekend. Mom picked me up at O'Hare Thursday afternoon, we got to spend the drive back chatting and then we spent the rest of the evening with the guys and my favorite Chinese food.

Friday was spent on a run, some time with the little bro & extended family, then off to a football game at the local high school with my best friend from that time, her hubby (a teacher) and their adorable little girl. After halftime, we packed G (who was really really upset that she was so sleepy and bound and determined to run until she dropped) up in the carseat with her daddy, and then B and I went to one of the local watering holes. Ran into another old friend there (after a bit of confusion b/w me and B on his identity), and unfortunately a drama king decided to join us at our table and cut our night a bit shorter than we wanted as we had to pull a "Hey B, how come K isn't here yet? Wasn't she coming? We should call her now!" to get away from him. We ended up going back to her house and chatting with her hubby for a while before crashing for the night.

Saturday, though...we packed Mom, Dad, & Bro into the car and headed back up to Chicago. That's when the spoiling really started. We got to the United Center before the gates opened, so we wandered around and happened to find the lot the players park in. Most of them were already there, I guess, but we watched Pat Foley and Marian Hossa park and go in - my brother is now madly in love with the Bentley that Hoss showed up in - and we watched one of the employees start moving cars around. We saw him move a big SUV to right in front of the Mustang Pat Foley had shown up in, and just as my dad joked “Wouldn’t it be funny if that was Eddie O’s car they just used to block in Pat Foley?” Eddie O himself came out to put his bag in that very car! We about died laughing. Mom also wondered how many car-moving pranks got pulled, and it turns out at least one - Kaner’s car apparently got regularly moved on him during his rookie year, according to the game program! =)

Mom about had a heart attack when she saw our seats - I refused to tell them where we were sitting beforehand. She teasingly complained about it to the guy at the gate, who snickered and told her she better be happy with such horrible seats. We walked almost straight from the gate down into the rink, where the usher, of course, does his job and says “oh yeah, just keep going down the stairs, you’re the second row up from the ice on the other side of the aisle from the bench” and after we picked Mom’s jaw up off the floor and made it down, I don’t think she stopped saying “Oh my gosh!” until the first intermission. My brother got hooked during warmups; he’s been tolerant of our hockey adoration but I think this is the first time he actually got it. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him grin so much!

2500 mile plane ticket: $250
4 Blackhawks tix @ the UC: $X
Sharing a hockey game with your family for the first time: PRICELESS!

More pics of the game up on my Facebook & Flickr accounts (same pics, just different places). Unfortunately they lost, but hey, they've played 10 times in 16 days, with only a max of one day off between games and they looked fairly exhausted. I hope they're taking advantage of their couple days off now and getting some rest! But both of my favorite players scored goals, we got to hear "Chelsea Dagger" and the National Anthem UC-style, and we were thisclose to our guys!

(Why yes, that trio of hockey awesomeness is Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp, and Captain Serious - Jonathan Toews - sitting there all in a row. Right Next To Us!)

Sunday, we got some breakfast, then headed to the airport. Got a bit of knitting done on the flights - I'm finishing up a Puck This! swap package - drove home from LA, and crashed pretty hard after getting chewed out by a thoroughly ticked off cat.

It was very cool to see my first home game with my family. I can't wait until next month when the Hawks come out to Cali!!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

One Year Ago... was one of the longest days of my life. I didn't wake up in my comfortable, queen-sized bed with soft sheets and a warm comforter and the cat snoring next to me; I woke up on a hard mattress with cheap sheets and a wool blanket and fifty other girls waking up around me. My alarm clock didn't go off, waking me up with my favorite songs; "reveille" took its first step in becoming one of my most hated songs ever. My exercise wasn't spending two hours in the dojahng with some friends each evening; we were out on the track doing pushups, situps, and running with the rest of the squadron before the sun even thought about rising. Breakfast wasn't a leisurely cup of coffee and a muffin while chatting with friends online; there was no speaking at any meal as we ate whatever we could wolf down as quickly as we could and prayed we didn't get screamed at by the TIs stalking between the tables. Getting ready for the day didn't include a warm shower and picking out a professional yet still flirty outfit; it was a quick rinse and the only thing in the "closet" was, while comfortable, quite possibly the most unflattering thing I've ever worn. We didn't learn about orbital mechanics or aerospace design in classes; we learned how to challenge and kill enemies, look for IEDs and apply first aid to those wounded in combat. We didn't relax in front of the tv at the end of the day; evenings were spent scrubbing and folding and praying you would have time to write a letter home. Mail didn't come in a digital inbox; it was a card or a letter you could hold in your hand and cherish and look at to help get you through the next day. Phone calls with home didn't make you roll your eyes and wonder what Mom wanted now; they were your lifeline to the outside world and became the most important twenty minutes of the whole week.

One year ago, I needed a drivers' license to get to work instead of a military ID, two badges and several PINs.
One year ago, the phrase "being a wingman" would have only meant something at a bar instead of in daily life.
One year ago, people in uniform would have been set apart, instead of brothers in arms.
One year ago, a memorial service would have included a black dress instead of a salute.
One year ago, I was a trainee instead of an Airman.

What a difference a year makes.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Some things you just can't look forward to

From the East out to the Western shore
Where many men and many more will fall
But no angel flies with me tonight
Till freedom reigns on all
And curse the name for which we slaved our days
Till every man shall his kingdom come
But sure as night turns day
Ends the passion play
Oh my god what have they done
With madman's rage, well they dug our graves
But the dead rise again you fools

Walk away me boys, walk away me boys
And by morning we'll be free
Wipe that golden tear from your mother dear
And raise what's left of the flag for me

-Flogging Molly, What's Left Of The Flag

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Bragging A Bit

It's been more of those "lots of things going on but not really a lot to talk about" kind of days. Busy training at work still, and I'm liking the job more as I get into it. I like the variety of things we do, although I hope I get a little more confidence soon, because it's really scary to think "oh man, what did I do this time? Is this sensor having problems because of me?? Did I take down the entire network??" (Note: it's very very unlikely that anything I do will irrevocably screw anything up, but you know me; I'm usually that one-in-a-million case!) We also do a lot of statistical analysis, which I always enjoy for the sole purpose that it lets me make pretty graphs in Excel. (Learn and love Microsoft Excel - it's one of the best tools you can use in the office. Pop the right numbers into cells, make a bar graph with some of them, a line graph with others - approximately five minutes of work, counting font-tweaking time - and a captain will walk by and say "wow, that looks good! Nice work! How long have you been working on this? You should go home!" Trufax!)

I have been able to achieve two of my financial goals so far this year. I have one credit card completely paid off now AND paid for, in cash, the best tickets I could afford to two Blackhawks games - one here in LA against the Kings in November and ONE AT THE UNITED CENTER IN CHICAGO in two weeks!! (Why no, I'm not excited. Wherever would you get that impression??) Actually, four tickets to the Chicago game - my family is going with me! The plane ticket was also paid for in cash. And I should be able to make it to at least one more game this season! I'm very pleased with myself right now.

I'm also proud of myself on the exercise front. I haven't been to the dojahng in several weeks, unfortunately. Honestly, by the time I get home from work, the very last thing I want, or even have time, to do is go out again. So instead, I've been stopping by the gym on the way home from work. Tuesdays and Thursdays are either weights or off-days, and Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays are running days. I use the trail, the track, or the treadmill depending on the weather conditions and the workout, and Saturdays I run in Santa Maria. I have a program set up through Adidas' MiCoach system, which I really like. The workouts are fairly short, usually 16-25 minutes, so it's really easy to do the "Ugh, I so do not feel like running today! But it's only another 20 minutes of my life and then I can go home and sleep!" thing. I have it set where I do three days of interval training, including one day of sprints, and one day of a steady run. The only thing I don't like about it is that the GPS doesn't work so good with the iPhone, which really screws up your distance and pacing results. I'm thinking about getting a different compatible GPS tracker to see if that helps. I think I've been actually averaging around 2 miles per workout, though, and honestly, having it set up in advance makes it so much easier to stay motivated. I've been really consistent with it so far, and, while I still don't like running, I do think I am getting closer to being back to where I was at before.

I think that's about it for now. I just finished a conversation with a friend in Seattle, and all the games I care about today are much later this afternoon/evening, so it's probably a good time to run some errands and hit the library to finish up term paper research. Thank goodness it's a three-day weekend - the paper is due Monday night! ;-)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

How is it almost October already??

So busy and yet so not busy!

I've finished my final formal training class at work and am now in OJT. The crew job I got ultimately put into isn't what I expected at all, but I don't dislike it. That might just be because I know it's relatively temporary - I got a full-time position with my squadron that starts late October, so my time will be probably 80% doing squadron work and 20% crew work. It's also kind of interesting, because instead of doing a lot of orbital analysis and actual tracking of things, I do more statistical data and sensor analysis to make sure that the people who do do the orbital analyses are gettng the best data they can get. So I have to be able to understand not just the orbital data that they use and why/how they use it, but also the capabilities of all of the sensors we use to get that data AND a decent amount of the programming code that is used to process it. So space geek stuff, computer geek stuff, and management geek stuff.

In knitting, I have another pair of socks on the needles (Leyburns in my beloved Mountain Colors Bearfoot), and the OpArt baby blanket has been resurrected. My friend Sarah (a die-hard Sharks fan, along with her SO) informed us this week that she is expecting a little one, so I have ripped it back a bit and re-started it with some teal and possibly a thin strip of dark yellow in addition to the black and white. I think it looks pretty awesome so far, and there is a good feeling about the blanket again. I'm really happy about it!

Oh, and not only did I score a rockin ticket for the November Kings/Blackhawks game down in LA, but I have been able to save up enough for a quick weekend trip to Chicago next month and tickets to a Blackhawks game at the United Center with my family!!!! I'm so stoked to be able to a.) experience a home game in Chicago and b.) get to go to a hockey game with my family! Now I just have to decide which jersey to wear! (Sharp's has the best record so far, but it also has the most experience.) I've been coerced into thinking that the Kings might be my team when they aren't playing the Blackhawks - I went down for a practice the weekend before last and really enjoyed it. You don't realize how LOUD hockey is, even without a crowd cheering during a game. Ice skating is loud, the stick hitting the puck is loud, the puck hitting the boards is loud, the players hitting the boards (or ice, or other players) is loud. It's crazy, and I love it!

Speaking of loving things and good times, there were two launches on base last week, last weekend I got to hang out with John and the girls at their new place in Burbank, and tomorrow Chrissy and I are hitting up the farmers' market in SLO! I've been busy in the evenings and it's been hard to make it to classes at the dojahng. It's much more convenient to work out on base - either running the trails, the tracks, the streets, or the treadmill or using the weight equipment at the gym - and it's free. Breaking in new running shoes, too, because the time off from running this summer has killed my run time and I'm vain enough to want to not be the worst PTer in the squadron.

Taking tonight off to watch Ghost Hunters, knit a bit, and pick up the place so Chrissy doesn't have a heart attack when she comes over tomorrow. I have a rental car right now (finally getting those awful scratches fixed up on my baby! She has almost 80k miles already! ) and have come to the conclusion that I will never own a Honda Civic. Pretty blue color, but uncomfortable car! =P

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Drive-By Posting

I actually do have things to share, like pics that made my friend Cy and I feel like we were all high-class hoitytoity when he came to visit last weekend, and three (three!) current knitting projects (none of which I have any idea what I'm going to do with), but I haven't been feeling well all weekend and so I'm just going to post pics instead.

A baby blanket I started for a dear friend who has since miscarried =( I can't bear to frog it, so I keep working on it in spurts, but I have no idea what to do with it now. I thought about maybe giving it to Sir and Mrs S when their new little one is born sometime this month, but that seems kind of crass and bad juju-ish to me. On the fence about it, but it is fabulous "I don't feel good and just want to curl up in bed with a book or a movie" mindless weekend knitting. Pattern = OpArt Yarn = Caron Simply Soft in Black and White.

You've seen this before, but this is a much better pic of my A New Angle. I've decided not to put borders on it, because I like the edges as they are. One of the joys of Ravelry is that the designer actually saw it and wondered what I had done differently that "the holes look so deep you could fall into them!" The only thing we could come up with was the color scheme. No matter, I love it!
Pattern: A New Angle Yarn: Loops & Threads Impeccable in Amethyst, Lavender, and True Grey.

The spoils of my playoff pool: Blackhawks colored yarn from Draygone Yarns! (Our very own Puck This raveler! Who did a lovely job on lovely yarn, even if she is a Canucks fan ;-) ) Just basic socks, new mindless knitting during class breaks/study time project. Stripes always make socks go faster, I think! Again, I don't really wear socks all that much (although I have been lately), so we'll see if I keep them or give them away.

Final current knitting project is pic-less for the moment, because I can't get the lighting right. And, to be fair, there isn't much of it right now, anyway. I'm finally putting my skein of yummy Claudia Handpainted Silk laceweight to good use as an Adamas Shawl. I got about ten rows into it, didn't like the fabric, and frogged it. I started it again tonight on smaller needles and I'm liking that a lot better - already through the first chart! Again, though, I have no idea what I'm going to do with it - I don't wear shawls myself (and if I did, I don't have anything that would go with this, sadly), and I don't know anyone who does. I'm such a process knitter. I'll keep working on it and decide what to do with it when it's done!

On a non-knitting note, my friend Cy came out to visit the weekend before Labor Day weekend. Unfortunately, work did not cooperate like it had promised it would, but we still managed to get some Central Coast tourism in.
While there are lots of really good vineyards around here, I will once again recommend Tolosa Winery up by SLO. They do have daily tastings, but on Saturdays and Sundays they also offer wine & cheese pairings. It's a bit pricier than a regular tasting ($20/person), but you get to hang out back in their Heritage Room (which has a fantastic view), get to taste really yummy wines and (surprisingly yummy, because I'm not generally a cheese person) different cheeses with them, and in general get treated like you're the most important person who has ever crossed their threshold for an hour or so. (Hint: Do NOT do this on an empty stomach, or you might have to sit for a bit longer than an hour or so if driving - they pour with a bit of a heavier hand for these!)

We also hit up Pismo Beach and the pier there, as well as splurging for pizza and beer at Klondikes Saturday after I (finally) got off work. After Pismo, we came back to the apartment, watched a bit of football, and then headed down to LAX so Cy could get his flight back to Kentucky. I was actually granted the next day off work, so I still got in a bit of a weekend, albeit not much. Started a new class last Tuesday, and have been busy with that, my current ERAU class, and my CDCs (um, how to explain? AFSC-specific lessons the AF thinks you need to learn - on your own time, of course - before they will promote you to a new skill level) ever since.

The ankle is still giving me fits on occasion, and I spent this past weekend borderline nauseous and headachy, which didn't help things at all. I did run a bit yesterday, though, and hope to get out again tomorrow - I'm limited to three workouts per week right now, so that plus squadron PT on Thursday should do it for the week. I would rather go to class, but I am very very much out of running shape, and, sadly, squadron PT tests take precedence over black belt tests. I might still go to tkd tomorrow night if the running workout is short and doesn't irritate anything. We'll see.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Maybe Katie

One of my favorite songs. Not just because it's my name and one of my favorite silly bands, but it's so darn catchy!

-"Maybe Katie", Barenaked Ladies

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Busy Bee

I've noticed that the more stressed I get, the more I want to knit. I'm thinking that's a very direct correlation, and needs to translate into being allowed to carry a project with me at all times at work right now, like I did in Colorado. Of course, the difference between here and Colorado is that here, for now at least, I am actually doing stuff and it's hard to type and knit at the same time while looking appropriately military-esque.

The short version is that my squadron got tasked from On High and I got assigned as a team leader for one portion of it due to what was supposed to be a "you'll use it someday but not soon" course I did back in January. This was supposed to involve me showing a couple NCOs and airmen how to fill in some basic templates using information that was already available. It has evolved into me somehow getting designated as the enlisted focal point for the entire project today. Mostly because the brass need a centralized system where they can review things, and trying to track changes being made by approximately twenty airmen working on twenty different things on three different systems in two buildings is like herding cats. (Luckily, I have stage managed choreography rehearsals. It's about the same thing, really. And people laugh when I say my background is in theater! Muha!)

I think we've been doing a good job, too - we haven't gotten reamed out for lousy work or (more likely) had any of the officers have to sit us down and baby-step us through anything and I've only had to pull "dumb new airman" about one topic (which turned out to be not so dumb, since two officers didn't know either) - but it seems like everything that happened today added more items to my to-do list and very very few actually got crossed off. Very frustrating, particularly for coming in on a weekend, but it does give me a better idea of how to work through the coming week.

It's really intimidating to be in a meeting with the officers, though. Not because any of them are mean, scary people - in fact, they've all been extremely supportive and generous with advice and thanks - but just because of the experience difference there. Just the four that were there today have at least 50 years of experience between them, and here I am literally waiting for the *initial training* course we're building (which is a whole OTHER can o' worms). And the scariest one? Not the lt, not my flight cc, not even the DO. First Drill major. I've never been scared of him in the past (he also happened to be the second person from the squadron to see me the day I got back from Basic), and I rarely ever even see him, but for some reason he was totally intimidating today. Ugh.

Anyway, I get rather tired of staring at computer screens all day, so I will probably not be very consistent with posting. And I'm still grumpy because my ankle has been hurting all week. But for those who have suffered through all this rambling today:

Finished (well, blocking) Moon Dance Scarf. It's prettier than in the picture.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Teh Moniez

I hatez dem.

Seriously, nothing is more depressing than finances when you're trying to make ends meet. On the flip side of that, though, it's pretty cool when you lay everything out and come up with a plan and go "hey, I can DO this!" It won't be magic - it will definitely take some time - but figuring out that I will eventually be able to save close to $800 a month?!

That's a lot of yarn and hockey games!

Speaking of yarn, I have not gotten around to putting a border on the afghan yet, but I have almost finished the Moon Dance Scarf. I have about one and a half edgings left to go. Knitted-on edgings are both really cool and really irritating. It's neat to watch it kind of seam up like a zipper without having to actually sew anything, but I have been having the worst time keeping track of what stitches get p2tog/bo. I'm thinking sitting in the sunshine now will help.

Speaking of hockey games, I've moved a lot of my sporty-type posts over to a new blog called 1/2 Mental so as not to bore all the folks who really have no interest in my frequently nonsensical ramblings.

Off to run some rather important but tedious errands - finally changing the oil in my car, going to Target for a new clothes hamper (mine has mysteriously disappeared in the two months I was gone), and maybe even finally getting some lunch!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Blackhawks Convention Thoughts

-My respect for (and crush on) Jonathan Toews just keeps growing. During the Olympic panel this morning, he gave a shoutout to the overseas troops, saying that he thought it was pretty cool that the Olympic hockey tournament could help give "the real heroes " a break from what they were doing over there and help make them feel a little closer to home.

-I'm wondering which is stronger from the players' perspective - the Hawks/Wings rivalry or the Hawks/Canucks rivalry. There were several shots at Ryan Kesler in particular and the Canucks in general during the above-mentioned panel. The general consensus was "we can't wait to beat them (up) again!" It seems like with the Wings, it's the traditional rivalry, and the Canucks, it's personal still.

-Real friendship between teammates is a cool thing to see and we don't see it enough in today's media.

-Sharpie (who, btw, is no longer Chicago's sexiest bachelor - he got married last weekend) will be "rigorously" interviewing his teammates in an attempt to find an acceptable new roommate who will help him continue the proud traditions of beating Seabrook at Wrestlemania and pranking Captain Serious on road trips. Possibly a new BHTV reality show?? I would ask where I could apply for this job, but I'm still sighing over the fact that he said his wedding, not his day with the Cup, was the highlight of his summer. Awww!

-I know I said this after the Olympics, but I'll say it again - the Hawks are some pretty classy guys. We need more guys like that around here. I don't have the money or time to keep going to Chicago! (Although I am working on it!)

Quotes of the Day
Fan: Soupy, are you going to be looking for some revenge on Ovechkin for your injury?
Campbell: Yup! See, what I do is hold this big huge silver trophy over my head and wear this Stanley Cup ring....maybe I'll cut a hole in my glove for that game so he can see it real clear.

Sharp: My dog Shooter ate breakfast and dinner out of it (the Cup, on his day with it). Then Tazer drank out of it the next sure to tell Toews that when you see him.

(BHTV's Convention live stream schedule is here. BHTV clips of the opening ceremony are here. The panel interviews that were streamed live today have not been added to the replay clips, sadly.)

Friday, July 30, 2010

Who Are You Not To Be?

We ask ourselves, "Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?" Actually, who are you not to be?
- Marianne Williamson

I first heard that quote back when we were doing tablework for Godspell. It's kind of stuck with me ever since, in the back of my head, and lately it's been really prominent. I have no idea why, but it's been on my mind lately.

Several friends of mine, from various walks of life and in vastly different areas of the world, can often turn into chronic complainers. Life is never good enough. A relationship is in trouble, a job is lost, there's nothing interesting anymore. Most of my friends are people I would usually consider reasonably intelligent. They can see these things they don't like about their lives. They can describe them to you in depth. And I am sympathetic. Except for the fact that they don't do anything about it.

I do understand that we don't live in a world where we always get what we want, and we sure don't always get instant gratification. (Trust me. I understand this. If it were true, I'd be sitting in a fancy schmancy room at the Chicago Hilton being wined and dined by Blackhawks elite this weekend. And I'm pretty sure sitting in my sweats in my small-town California apartment typing a blog post with a slice of pizza and a glass of Jack & Coke is not the same thing.) Life is not fair. The economy sucks. Medical stuff happens. Money is tight. Jobs are scarce. I know. I live in this world, too. But you also aren't going to get anything if you just sit around and say "I wish" all the time. No one is forcing you to just sit there. No one has forced you down and scheduled your life to be miserable/boring/whatever. You have to play the hand you are dealt, no question. But you have three choices - hold, fold, or draw. And you can keep drawing cards until you get a hand you like. It's an unlimited deck. Maybe you'll never win the mega-multimillion jackpot, but you'll keep getting a better and better chance at it.

Live the life you want to live. Be the person you want to remember. Make decisions. Make mistakes. If you fail, at least you tried. Dreams don't come true without action. Things won't always go the way you want them to (I clearly need to save up in order to hit the Convention next year), and there will be consequences, good and bad, for your actions. But I'm pretty sure life is for living, not just wishing.

Who are you not to be?

It does not do to dwell on dreams, Harry, and forget to live. - Albus Dumbledore/J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Random Wednesday

-40 inches worth of stitches do not fit on a 16" circular needle, particularly when you have to use said needle to pick up those stitches in the first place. So although all of the afghan squares are knit and seamed and it looks fabulous (and wow, is this warm!), I can't properly finish it until I get home.

-I leave Colorado on Friday morning. I'm hoping to be able to get home Saturday night, but if that becomes unreasonable or unsafe, I'll get home on Sunday at the very very latest. Can't wait! I might even try to make it to knitting on Monday!

-The Moon Dance Stole (Scarf) is a great pattern. Clear charts, easy to read knitting, fast to see progress.

-My ankle hurt a lot again tonight. I'm really over this whole "doesn't even twinge for several days and then BAM!" I want to go to classes next week, darn it!

-Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman promised that Patrick Sharp is "safe" from trade rumours this summer. Figured he would be, since they've been really using him in the media lately, but it's nice to know that I will be able to continue wearing both my jerseys next season without having a broken heart. Now about this goalie situation...

-On that note, my personal financial short-term goal is to save up money for tickets to both the Hawks/Kings game and the Hawks/Ducks game the weekend after Thanksgiving (assuming work schedule is clear, of course) and make an LA weekend out of them.

-California-bound on Friday! Gotta make sure to stop by the bank for cash and the pet store for portable litter boxes tomorrow.

-The cat has dug an end of the dark purple yarn from the bag and is chewing on it like it's a piece of spaghetti on a plate. All four paws are on the ground and it's just hanging out of his mouth. Quite amusing!

-Things I will miss about Colorado Springs: dry heat, thunderstorms, and easy access to a major city with professional sports teams.

-Things that I can't wait to get home to: a real kitchen oven, a decent stable internet connection, my big screen tv (to watch my new Blackhawks Stanley Cup Champions dvd on), cable tv with more than four channels, my friends, my squadron, and my dojahng. Even if classes are going to kick my butt for a while now because I'm so out of shape.

-Cubs manager Lou Pinella is retiring at the end of this season. Ryne Sandberg (probably my first professional athlete crush - I don't remember if it was him or Mark Grace) is "definitely interested" in taking over his spot and has done quite respectably as the manager for the Iowa Cubs. Lots of speculation going on as to whether this is a good idea or not, given Ryno's lack of major league coaching experience. I do understand that viewpoint. I really do. However, I say, a.) you can't get better marketing than that scenario right there and b.) how's he going to do any worse? Pinella is a good manager with an exemplary career. So was Dusty Baker, for that matter. If these guys who are tried and true can't turn the Lovable Losers around, doesn't it make you think that maybe someone who can grow up (as it were) with such a team might be able to do something different with it? Good thing they don't let me make decisions like that.

-I'm going home on Friday.

-I think I'm a more "social" person here in Colorado. Not that I necessarily hang out with more people or spend more time hanging out with people, but I have gone out a LOT more than I would/could in Santa Maria. Movies, baseball games, museums, zoos, just going out to dinner...heck, the idea of actually going out to a sports bar to watch a hockey game would not have even crossed my mind if I hadn't been stranded in a hotel where I couldn't get the channel. I've never had a problem going places by myself, but I am going to miss having the ability to keep doing that. Santa Maria just doesn't have that much to do.

-Unfortunately, it takes contract-dispute drama (the NHL/Gary Bettman v. New Jersey Devils/Ilya Kovalchuk contract) to get ESPN to remember that hockey is a sport. It got a whole one minute four seconds of coverage today on that station! That's almost more than it gets there during the playoffs!

-Bedtime for now, since painkillers for the ankle are kicking in and I do actually have class tomorrow and need to finish packing up. Did I mention I'm leaving Colorado on Friday??

Thursday, July 15, 2010

NHL Cupcakes

(aka More Hockey Humour)

Inspired by this post over at Puck Daddy, the online hockey community has spent the day coming up with NHL-inspired cupcakes. Here are some of my favorites (some created by me, some by Puck This Ravelers, and some from Twitter). A lot of these will only make sense if you follow (or are forced to follow by an eclectic Ravelry group) several hockey teams and players in order to know the back stories.

The New York Rangers cupcake - sold only in high end boutique bakeries, looks yummy on paper, but tastes, eh - only ok on ice. It coulda been a contender……

The Adam Burish - mouthy, but nothing overly offensive, unlike The Sean Avery. Has been partially rebuilt.

The Sean Avery - offensive, and comes in very expensive designer wrappers, and is beat up often due to the offensiveness.

The Devils cupcake: Unobtrusive but classic flavour, expires on April 15th.

The Duncan Keith - Angel Food cake , red frosting with black (or brown) sprinkles… and 7 gummy teeth.

The Jaroslav Halak – sampled and perfected in Montreal, then shipped out to St. Louis for mass consumption.

The Brooks Laich: looks too good to eat therefore you just sit and gawk at it. (I would change that to Patrick Sharp, personally)

The Red Wings - red velvet cake with white frosting, red sprinkles and a gummy octopus on top. A classic recipe that you either love or hate. If in the presence of a Blackhawks cupcake, both cupcakes will spontaneously explode.

The Jonathan Toews: plain vanilla with golden frosting. (General consensus adds a silver cup to the top of this one)

The Sidney Crosby: doesn’t matter if you like it or not, it will get crammed down your throat.

The Patrick Kane: only costs 20 cents and will knock out a cab driver.

The Antti Niemi: decent first impression, strong Finnish.

The Atlanta Thrashers: the '10/'11 cupcake tastes very similar to the Blackhawks’ '09/'10 cupcake. Possibly made with some of the same ingredients.

The Ilya Kovalchuk: Coming soon to a bakery near you! Or you… or maybe you over there..

The Philadelphia Flyers: devil’s food cake , orange icing with white sprinkles. Somewhat dirty, but goes the distance only to get a single nut slid in at the end.

The Chicago Blackhawks: one really superb made, not enough money to make another

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Knitting Stereotypes

Occasionally knitting boggles my mind. Not the act of it, that tends to soothe the mind, actually, and there's something pretty cool about looping a piece of string around two sticks and ending up with something beautiful. It's more the stereotypes of it. Not the stereotypes that non-knitters associate with knitters - I'm quite used to it being implied that only old ladies or pregnant women knit, which is pretty dumb when I am clearly neither an old lady nor pregnant - but the stereotypes that knitters have created in and of themselves. Think about it. Here are a few that I can come up with off the top of my head:

Lace is hard. The second project I ever did was a lacy baby blanket. And trust me, it was lace. Lace is....lace. Lace is only as difficult as you make it out to be. It is knitting, purling, increasing, and decreasing. Period. I, never having been told that lace is supposed to be hard and that it was only for "experienced" knitters, had absolutely no problem following the pattern. There were times that I couldn't count right to save my life, but that has happened in pretty much every project I've ever done. We've started a "Lace 'Em Up!" support thread over in the Puck This! group on Ravelry, and it amazes me how many of the members have spoken up and said they are afraid to try lace. These people are some truly excellent intelligent knitters (well, there ARE a few Red Wings fans). It boggles my mind. Granted, lace does take a bit more attention (which is why I don't do a lot of it), and there are certain tricks that will make a project go more smoothly (stitch markers and lifelines come to mind, but, again, those can be used in pretty much any project, not exclusively lace ones), but when I am getting teased and consulted as a "lace oracle" by other knitters, it tells me that lace is not hard. It's just different.

Colorwork (of any kind) is hard. Let's see...I've done stripes, patches, squares, entrelac, intarsia, and fair isle projects. I've yet to see the "hard," but again, knitters seem to be terrified of trying them. Yes, entrelac does look really strange at first, and you really have to put your faith in the pattern starting off, and keeping an even tension is important for fair isle, but guess what? Your tension isn't going to get better if you never try it.

Sweaters (and other sized garments) are hard. Frankly, to me, a hat is harder than a sweater. I've gotten sweaters to fit great - I have never gotten a hat to fit quite right. A basic top-down raglan sweater in the round is just about the most mindless knitting project I can think of. You don't even have to keep turning the work like you do with a garter stitch scarf. The only thing you have to know is your gauge and row count.

Socks are hard. The Yarn Harlot, the ultimate sock knitter, can wax much more poetically about socks than I can. The reason I don't knit socks very much even though I LOVE sock yarn is because, well, I don't wear socks very much. I've done singles, two-at-a-time, toe-up and cuff-down. I've done plain socks, lacy socks, and patterned socks. I've used dpns, 2 circs, and magic loop. And I've only been knitting for a couple years. Now, turning a heel is something that is rather mind-boggling at first, but it isn't difficult to DO, just difficult to figure out why it works. However, if children were expected to be able to knit socks 100 years ago, I'm sure that today's educated adults can manage them quite easily.

Anyone can knit, but only women of a certain age (shall we say) actually know what they're talking about, the rest just knit because it's a fad and only use cheap yarn and/or fun fur. This one drives me particularly batty and is one of the main reasons that I really have to work up the effort to go to an LYS. I hate getting watched in a store as though I am a fascinating new species of humanoid. Particularly when I can ask intelligent questions about yarns and patterns and needles and actually seem to want to spend money on quality items instead of crap. And the only time I ever buy muppet pelt (aka fun fur) is when I'm making a hedgehog for someone. (Omg, felting! You can felt, too?!) Apparently even other knitters seem to think that one magically becomes an expert knitter at the age of 50 (I'm guessing) and until then, any one else is a prodigy or just blindly following a trend.

From the perspective of a 29-year-old single woman (okay, so I do have a cat) who learned to knit at the age of 22 backstage during a production of Hamlet (true story), ideas like this, which are passed and learned from knitter to knitter, drive me a little crazy. I don't consider myself a good knitter, or an experienced knitter. I don't think I'm particularly gifted over any other knitters I know - usually quite the opposite. But I guess the upside to being mostly self-taught is that what you don't know really can't hurt you. And ignorance is bliss.

Saturday, July 10, 2010


-I'm very very sick of hearing about Twilight (books and movies) and whose "team" people are on. They're FICTIONAL CHARACTERS, people! I've read the books (I refuse to see any more of the movies after I got suckered into seeing the first one - it was better than the book by the sheer fact that it condensed 300 pages of teen angst into thirty seconds on screen), and I can add that they aren't even GOOD characters! Edward is obsessive, controlling, and over-protective, while Bella is whiny, helpless, self-disparaging, and also obsessive. I spent the whole series waiting for at least one of them to grow up and they never did. Jacob...well, Jacob was okay, I guess, except for the fact that he liked Bella. Am I the only one who sees the sheer ridiculousness of this?? I mean, I've read lots of actually good books and never felt the need to declare my love for any of the characters. (I do, of course, like the Harry Potter series, and actually enjoyed the Percy Jackson series, too, so it's not just an anti-young adult thing.)

-For all the complaining people do about the Cubs (and yes, a lot of it is well-deserved and there need to be some changes made because this group of players really should make a better team than what we've seen so far), we're still only in third place in the division, and it's only halfway through the season. I.E., we may be terrible, but we aren't the worst team in the League and I'm tired of hearing that we are.

-Blackhawks, I love you dearly and, for the most part, have handled the off-season roster changes pretty well, I think. (Keep your eye on Burish, he would love to come back to Chicago, but it will be fun to watch him go after Kane and Sharp in the meantime!) I know we still have a core that any other team would kill to have and the guys in the system are looking promising. But Stan Bowman, if you seriously let Hjalmarsson go to the Sharks, unless you can give me a damn good reason, we will have words. I'm really getting tired of watching my boys leave Chicago, although I do appreciate the additional hockey games I will now be interested in next season. I might even have a whole Eastern team now. Should the Atlanta Thrashers change their name to Blackhawks Lite? =P

-People in Colorado need to freakin learn how to drive. An entrance ramp is designed so that cars coming onto the road have time to match the speed of the traffic they are joining, not so that they can come to a complete stop and then peel out. And if you see a car on an entrance ramp, common courtesy is to move over in order to let said car get on your road without having to drastically change its speed. Seriously, even LA drivers have figured this out! It's pretty bad when I have done more cursing on a small-town (relatively) Colorado highway in six weeks than in 7+ years dealing with the LA freeway system. (Not counting Friday morning, when I almost got ran off the road by a captain in my class. He apologized, though. After another captain made him confess.)

Friday, July 09, 2010

A Slightly Busy Weekend

I know I haven't posted much lately. There was a reason - certain people read this regularly and I had certain information that could not be shared and didn't trust myself to not say something that would give it away.

I might have mentioned that I planned to spend the Fourth by "going to a game with the guys." I just never said which game with which guys. Despite many understandable assumptions, I actually started off the weekend of the Fourth here:
Or, more specifically, here:
And these guys just happened to show up:
Okay, so my brother and I plotted this out several weeks ago. I knew I would have a four-day weekend over the Fourth but wasn't sure if I really wanted to go to Illinois or wait until my two weeks after this class and didn't want to get too many people's hopes up. Then my brother and I got talking and he had most of the weekend off too and the Cubs had a home series that weekend. And this year is my parents' 30th anniversary, and neither of us had had any idea what to do for them. So we decided to surprise them. We spread the word that I was not going to be able to travel over the weekend (military acronyms make a lot of things sound really official). He got tickets to the game on Friday afternoon and convinced my parents to take the day off for it (not particularly difficult, you might have figured out that we kinda like sports - 75 more days until hockey preseason, btw), and I got tickets for a plane and flew into Chicago late Thursday night/early Friday morning. Spent the night at the Hyatt Rosemont near the airport, and after a couple hours of sleep and a shower, grabbed a cab and headed to Wrigleyville. The initial plan, which we weren't sure would work, was to meet up for lunch at The Cubby Bear - I would get there early and then my brother and parents would come in for lunch and I'd be there with a table. But between a later-than-planned start and traffic, they weren't able to get to Chicago in time for a pre-game lunch. So instead, I crossed the street to the ballpark and made myself comfortable in my seat to watch the Reds' batting practice:
Excellent tix, btw, K! My parents were definitely surprised to see me sitting in what they thought was my mom's seat. The Cubs apparently were, too - so surprised that they forgot to play the seventh inning and lost horribly. I spent the rest of the weekend with my family in my hometown, and then went back up to Chicago on Monday to fly back to Denver. After spending the day here:
The Museum of Science & Industry! I got to see my Fairy Castle, plus a real space exhibit (they have the actual Apollo 8 and Aurora 7 capsules and a big old moon rock, not just some little sliver of one, sorry Denver!), a cool IMAX movie about the new 787 Dreamliner, and a bunch of other neat stuff. (Yes, I think we've established the fact that I'm a geek.)

It was a really good weekend. Made me remember how much I love Chicago. I really need to spend more time there. Too bad it snows and is generally miserable there in the winter. Not to mention the fact that I'd have no work there. Anyway, back to the weekend, the only real downsides were the Cubbies losing badly TWICE (although I do feel the need to point out that despite the fact that we're 10.5 games out of first, there are also three other teams BELOW US) and the fact that I did not get asked to run away with any cute professional hockey OR baseball players while there. Need to work on that. One of my online friend's responses to this was "What?? I assume the reason I have not been asked these things is because I moved to Chicago with my SO, but I would have figured someone eligible and awesome like yourself would have made it work. I’ll have to complain to Mayor Daley," which I thought was a brilliant idea. He needs to be made aware that the players in his city are NOT fulfilling my personal fantasies ;-) This was right before she chewed me out for being in Chicago and not meeting up with her and several others - next time I'm in Chicago, I now have to take out a full-page ad in the Trib announcing my presence and schedule. My social calendar is apparently much busier than I thought.

I did get some knitting in, though! In fact, I have two projects going now. The New Angle afghan has grown:
There's another four squares ready to be seamed together, too. Just ten more squares and the borders! The guys have been teasing me and saying that it has to get done before this class ends, because it has to be in our class photo. We have two weeks left, so I'm thinking that's probably not gonna happen, but I might try.

I also finally gave in to my recent craving to do some lace again:
This is the start of Melanie Gibbons' Moon Dance Stole (Ravelry link). Well, in this case, Moon Dance Scarf, since I know a.) my own attention span and b.) my pocketbook. (I didn't bring any laceweight or smaller needles with me from Cali, so I had to buy both.) The yarn is Berroco Ultra Alpaca Fine, and is a darker, richer teal than in the photo. I am really enjoying this pattern so far and it's going relatively quickly. (It will look a lot lacier and less dense after blocking.) I've been working on this in the evenings and the afghan during class breaks. No timeline on this one, yay!

Class is going better. We've gotten to the point where we know each other well enough to razz each other (they have a LOT of fun with my ankle brace and that whole situation) and we laugh a lot. It helps that we know we'll be working together after this class, and we have a common enemy in one of the instructors. The enemy of my enemy, after all. (I actually have no problems with said instructor as a person, but she dropped too heavy of a hammer on too light of a situation and succeeded in putting all of our backs up. Since we don't have too much interaction with her, we've seen no reason to forgive her for it yet.)

Only two more weeks left and then I get to go back home! Yay! I can't wait to get back to classes, although I'm sure they'll kick my butt. My ankle is definitely still not up to it - it had been feeling better, and I'm technically off profile now, but the past couple days it's been hurting almost as much as it did when I initially sprained it, so I'm most likely going to try to get another appointment for Monday to get it looked at again. I think by the time I get back to California it should be okay, though. And I have orders at least through 1 October according to my flight commander - one more class and then probably a couple months of OJT - so getting paid regularly is always nice.

So I think that catches everyone up for the most part. I'm still plotting the adventures for this weekend. I'm pretty sure I'm going to hit up at Rockies/Padres game either tomorrow night or Sunday afternoon. The Padres are in first and the Rockies in a potentially close second, so that should be an interesting series. There are also a couple movies that I want to see, but I haven't decided which one yet. (On a TV sidenote, I did attempt to watch CSI again and it, again, failed miserably. But I am looking forward to TNT's new series Rizzoli & Isles series that starts Monday. Two of my favorite actresses star in it.) Before I leave the area, I want to go to the Cave of the Winds and go white-water rafting, but that's going to depend a lot on the ankle, so we'll see.

The countdown begins!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Broken Bones, Unbroken Plans

Like I said earlier, I realized a bit late that I didn't share my adventures from last weekend. And since this weekend isn't going so great so far (more about that later), I figure it might be best to live in the memories for a bit.

Last weekend was, well, cold and wet. Even by Colorado standards. It was about 45 degrees and rained all weekend. Did that stop me from doing anything? Of course not! The Rockies were playing at home. Well, sorta. Playing that is. This is what it looked like when I got there Friday night:
I love these seats, btw. $12 - the same cost as a movie - and you can see everything! Unfortunately, there is a drawback to them. When there is lightning in the area, you get kicked out of them. Even if it isn't raining or storming yet. But, that was probably a good thing, because this is what it looked like ten minutes later:
when the temperature dropped insanely, the wind picked up, and the skies decided to open up and pour buckets of water down onto the field. That delayed the start of the game for about an hour and a half, but it did actually start. It never actually stopped raining, but it did lessen up to where they could play, I guess. Of course, they wouldn't let us go back to our seats in the nosebleeds, but they wouldn't let us sit in any of the lower seats, either, so I watched most of the game standing on the concourse between home and first. It wasn't too bad of a game, either. I saw three homers, a couple doubles, several base hits, and a triple. I guess the pitchers had a hard time handling the wet balls or something, cuz it was pretty much a batter's dream night.

I might have accidentally talked to an Avalanche player that night, too, but I don't know for certain. (I'm not particularly familiar with that team, although I should probably learn!) During the rain delay, when everyone and their brother was packed into the concourse, there were a group of casually-well-dressed guys near me. One looked kinda sorta familiar, but I couldn't place him. I knew he wasn't a Hawk or a Cub or any of the movie stars I might actually care to meet, and since I have no reason to know anyone in Denver, I was trying to do the "don't stare but discreetly try to figure out who he is" thing. Then they started talking about hockey and the Cup finals, which got my attention even more. But they were actually talking like they knew players, not like fans, and one of them jokingly mentioned that he "texted Hammer after the Parade to tell him that he looked like a kid on tv". In my Blackhawks-wired brain and in the context of a hockey conversation on that particular Friday, that immediately went to "Is he talking about OUR Hammer (defenseman Niklas Hjalmmerson, who, while extremely good looking, does actually look like he's 10 sometimes) and the Cup Parade??" So they definitely got my attention, but then the officials decided to announce that the game would start in ten minutes. I guess they heard the announcement but couldn't understand it (it was pretty garbled and the only reason I understood it was because I could see the JumboTron flashing the same thing) and one of them did a general "what did they just say?" to the area and I answered. He grinned at me and then he and his buddies started meandering (I assume) back to their seats. When I got home, I looked up the Avs' roster, and the guy who grinned at me sure looked a lot like Ryan O'Reilly but I can't say for sure. I'm kind of kicking myself for not being less discreet and actually finding out, but oh well. I'm going to try to hit up another game this weekend - maybe they'll be back!

Saturday was fun, too - the Circus was in town!
And they had trapeze artists, tightrope walkers, clowns, dancers, gymnasts, trampoline jumpers, tigers, and dancing elephants! It was a really fun show, although I would have gotten different seats if I'd known where I was sitting ahead of time. I was pretty much backstage, which on the one hand was kind of cool, because I was near one of the stage managers/board ops' stations, but on the other hand I got watching the crew sometimes instead of the show. Definitely worth seeing, though. Then Saturday night, myself, the girls (the two civilians in my class), and one of the guys went to Phantom Canyon Brewing Company for dinner and drinks. Very very yummy and lots of laughs!

For the life of me, I cannot remember what I did on Sunday (and I only had one beer Saturday night!), other than apparently nothing picture-worthy. Sunday, I went to the movies and saw The A-Team and The Karate Kid. Both were pretty good, although I don't remember ever watching The A-Team on tv, so I don't have anything to compare it to. I thought they were both entertaining summer movies, though. Oh, and I am looking for either a giant US or world map that I can stick pins into marking places I've been, or a blog equivalent, because I think it would be interesting.

The rest of the week was kind of boring, so I decided to spice things up by breaking my ankle on Wednesday and not getting it looked at until Friday. Okay, so they aren't sure it's broken and are going with "severely sprained" since it'd be the same treatment either way (splint, elevation, lots of ice, and painkillers - I thought if it was broken it'd be puffy and nasty looking and I'd be unable to put weight on it at all, but the doctor said that wasn't always the case) and this takes out the time of taking an x-ray and they were pretty swamped. And I wasn't even doing anything cool or fun. I literally tripped over my own two feet in my hotel room, which prompted the doctor to tell me to come up with a better story. I had decided that I was going to tell people I hurt it while using my Jedi powers to battle evil ninja pirates who were dumping more oil into the Gulf, but then my brother pointed out that ninja and pirates are mortal enemies and would never work together, so I've had to change it to getting caught in a battle between robot ninjas and zombie pirates. I have not had confirmation that this is plausible, but it sounds good, no? (ETA: My brother has apparently given up on my ability to tell a decent story. Literally, that's what he said when I asked him about the second scenario - "I give up!" Sigh. I think it still sounds better than "tripping over my own two feet"!)

Anyway, I'm supposed to take it easy and stay off of it except for work for the next two weeks and then maybe I can start walking and doing a light jog if it feels okay. I decided not to tell them that I'd done a weight workout on Thursday. (My ankle hurt, the rest of me didn't!) It's been 24 hours and I'm already going stir-crazy. It's just too nice to be indoors. I might go up to the ball game tonight - I can sit during a baseball game....

Friday, June 18, 2010

Update to Say There Will Be An Update

I was thinking about what adventures I wanted to do this weekend and realized I never posted last weekend's! It was a doozy, too, with soggy baseball games, possible meeting of hockey players (I can't confirm, but pretty sure), the circus coming to town, going out with classmates, and a pair of movies! Pics and a real post to come this afternoon, after I get out of class and my doctor's appointment.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


Man, I don't even know where to start! I'm still so hyped up from last night, it's crazy! Oh yeah, in case you didn't know and somehow missed the loud screaming that came from the Chicago area last night...

THE CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS WON THE STANLEY CUP!!!!! Ahem. Not that I was excited about it or anything. Rumours that I may have called my parents and my brother screaming my fool head off are entirely unfounded, of course. And they would not have been screaming back at me, either, naturally. We could NEVER be so undignified in public! (Because, you know, hockey is all about dignity! ;-) ) Man, on the one hand, I would SO love to be in Chicago right now, on the other, I can't imagine how crazy tomorrow's parade is going to be!

(Random scenario today. We tend to watch ESPN at lunch, which is starting its World Cup coverage, and also catching up on baseball scores and football news - did you know the Pac 10 is soon going to be the Pac 16?! - and the guys have figured out that I can speak fairly intelligently, if not always in-depth, about most sports. One of them asked me today where I got my sports-fan-ness from. "My mom." "Really? Most girls say from their dads." "My dad likes sports, but the die-hard fandom comes from my mom." "Where'd she get it from? Her dad?" "My grandma." I thought it was amusing, anyway. Speaking of, my mom is doing a fund-raiser overnight marathon tomorrow!)

This is only intensifying (or maybe it was the creation of) my Chicago craving lately. First the Hawks, then baseball, and then the museums! I have a couple weeks off after this class gets over with - maybe I'll try to fly to Illinois for a couple days! I haven't really gotten to spend much time in the city itself for, well, probably since the last time we went to a Boston Pops Christmas concert up there. (Bird Dancing Guy! Sorry, inside joke!) And I haven't been to the museums for a couple years before that! I've been telling myself that I need to actually take a vacation for a while, and I think I've narrowed down my choices - either Chicago or Hawai'i. Chicago's more of a "day or two" type trip, while Hawai'i would be like a week thing. Luckily, I have friends in both places to stay with. Hmm....

Before I went absolutely completely hockey crazy this week (Game 5 was on Sunday night and Game 6 was on Wednesday), I did get one more weekend adventure in!

They have POLAR BEARS!!

Of course, most of the animals are smarter than humans and stayed indoors and slept through the 100-degree sunshine (I did NOT get sunburnt for once, yay spray-on sunscreen!), so most of my pics aren't that great. The ones who were cool enough to brave the heat were ones like these guys:

(first time using the video camera on the phone and trying to upload a video here so not sure how well this will work!) They were pretty fun to watch, and I got to see a feeding and training session with them, so that was pretty cool.

Not sure what I'll do this weekend - it's getting to the "ugh, it's the end of the pay period and pay day is still a few days away!" time, so maybe I'll just stay in town and go to the Olympic Training Center or something like that. The Rockies are playing at home again, too, and I know some of the guys were talking about going to a game this weekend. We'll see.

Now to bed (PT in the morning, probably kickball) and, knowing my luck, dreams of animals playing hockey! (Btw, I came in seventh place out of, well, a bunch, in the Puck This! Playoff Predictions Pool! I can't wait to pick my prize and find out who picked mine! And I HAVE been knitting, I promise! I'm almost done with the third row of my New Angle afghan! And I found a darling little LYS over by the Olympic Center!)

Saturday, June 05, 2010

A Day In History

I spent Saturday surrounded by skeletons, mummies, and plasticized human remains. No, I am not in the planning stages of some weird B-flick style Halloween show. I was here:
Now, this place doesn't hold a candle to Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry (I'm suddenly struck by a strong desire to see the Fairy Castle) or even the St. Louis Science Center. It has some interesting stuff, but it isn't very big at all. I got there around 1:30p and was able to see all of the major exhibits, plus two shows, before the majority of them closed at 5:00p. It being Colorado and all, there was a big emphasis on these guys:
And they're always pretty cool. There was the obligatory ancient Egypt exhibit complete with a couple of mummies, and a health thing where you could do all these different things and then at the end it would give you a printout of your current health (the sunscreen v. UV light thing was kinda cool). The shows I saw were decent. One was an IMAX movie called "Arabia" which was a history of Arabic people during their Golden Ages and turned out to be much more interesting than I had anticipated. The other was "Cosmic Journey" in the planetarium (like you guys seriously would expect me to pass up a planetarium) which, to be honest, was good but would have been better if I had been dumber. In fact, their whole space exhibit was kind of like that. It had some neat stuff - my favorite thing was their Big Dipper constellation, which was spaced out across the ceiling not only width-wise but depth-wise, which made it look VERY different from different angles! - but it was a lot of little kids' science class stuff and very little actual space relics or history. (I might have gotten extra nerd points for being able to tell what type of rocket they were showing a launch video for, though. I got some crazy looks when a kid who was watching asked what it was and the parent said "Oh, it's a space shuttle launch" and I just couldn't let that slide. "Actually, it's a Boeing Delta II rocket launching one of the Mars rovers." I did cheat a little on the payload, it was *gasp* on the sign!) They did have a small sliver of one moon rock, though. Eh.

I ended the day with (what I assume) is their current pride and joy, and rightfully so. I didn't know it when I decided to go up this morning, but one of the BodyWorlds exhibits is currently in Denver. I'd heard a lot about it, most of it controversial, so I decided to check it out even though I really wasn't sure how I would react to it. In a nutshell, for those who don't know about it, this German guy has figured out how to preserve bodies so that the skin and outer layer of tissues are gone, and the muscles, vessels, nerves, organs and bones are all visible. It's controversial in some lines of thought because, in these cases, the bodies are human. (Personally, I think that if these people donated their bodies for this, and they did, then I have no problem with it. It is not disgusting or gory or creepy or disrespectful in any sense of the word at all.) Some of the bodies are posed doing regular human things (walking, lifting, playing hockey - seriously!) so that you can see how things work together to give us motion. Others are dissected, sometimes cross-sectioned, into one of the best anatomy lessons I have ever had in my life. This is tempered with a focus on love and happiness and peace and how those things actually physiologically affect us and make us work better. (Did you know that optimists actually do live longer than pessimists? I didn't.) It is most definitely NOT an art exhibit, although it does show off the power and resilience of the human body like I have never seen, and I can't honestly say I enjoyed it or even liked it, but I can say that I learned from it and it definitely made me think. I might not go out of my way to see it again, but I would recommend it to someone who hasn't seen it before. So all in all, it was a good day. To the zoo tomorrow!!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Because What's More American Than Baseball?

I still don't like Colorado all that much, but I do have to give Denver its props. It's just over an hour away, so I can sleep in, wake up, go to places like this:

and see things like this:

and still be home around 6:30p!

Coors Field is really nice, too. Very pretty, and the fans were a lot of fun. They do "God Bless America" and "Take Me Out To The Ball Game" for the seventh inning stretch (I don't know if that's an everyday thing or just Memorial Day, though). Lots of recognizing military between half-innings (I got a free ticket thanks to being military!) and they do know how to do a baseball game. I was in the first row of the upper deck, on the first base side, so I could see pretty much everything that was happening on the field. I could even tell (usually) when pitches were strikes or balls. (I was a bit worried that I would fall over the railing - it's only about knee high - and so decided to play it safe and not try to go for any foul balls that came my way. Only one did and it was too high for me anyway.) I sat in front of a dad who was there with his son and daughter, who were clearly not a huge baseball family but were having a good time anyway. Definitely the kids' first time at a major league game, and I think it might have been the dad's, too. They were very fun to listen to, although I did get caught smirking when the kids mentioned “I think hockey rinks get louder than this. Have you heard about how loud Chicago gets when they score a goal?!” I mean, really, how could you not be proud of overhearing THAT? Even schoolkids in Denver know about the Madhouse on Madison! (There were also more than a few Avalanche hats in the crowd.)

Anyway, definitely going to head back to Coors Field again while I'm here. They lost to the Dodgers, who I probably should have been cheering for since they'd technically be my "home" team now, but I've never liked the Dodgers and the Rockies' uniforms are much nicer (purple, white, and black!). I can cheer for Colorado as long as they aren't playing the Cubs!

Back to BW's tomorrow night for Game 2! Go Blackhawks!!