Wednesday, August 31, 2005

A noble quest

I've read Sarah at Trying to Gork for a while now. She is also a military spouse who's husband is stationed in Germany. We've got some things in common like laughing at having a college degree but having the hardest time finding work that allows you to use what you've learned. I don't comment much on her site, but she usually has some interesting articles and links to current public affairs.

Today she posted about a blogger's quest to retrieve something quite near and dear to them. The entry spoke about a family's desire to go and remove one of the white crosses at Camp Casey with their brother's name on it. Camp Casey and Ms. S did not ask permission to use their names and the family wanted it removed. The Sheriff at Crawford has really done a great job at keeping the peace and respecting both sides.

The blogger Sarah linked to has some other interesting reads. I haven't read all of the site but I did notice a disturbing image - so be forewarned that I like this articel but can't comment on any others by that blogger.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Fight Club

Welcome to fight club ladies and gentlemen! Friday was my indoctrination into a heavier practice regime to bring out the Rocky in me. Once a month all the blackbelt students and instructors from the three schools around come in to the main dojo to practice. Everything about this class will be more intense and there is no room (or should I say mercy?) for the unwilling in this class.

I was pretty proud of myself. I was keeping up endurance wise, with little pain to my foot. If I grew tired doing kicks instead of high, sloppy kicks I made sure I kicked low but clean and strong. Head kicks are nothing but showboating anyways, which Bruce Lee has pointed out before. If you and I were to go fist to cuffs in an alley I am not going to bother to kick you in your head I am going straight for your knee (get out of the gutter folks that’s first place men think of and the last place I was taught to go). Tear up your knee and you can’t run after me, now can you?

For the rest of the evening someone got the bright idea to spar. I like sparring, especially when I have had a bad day at work. How great is that to be able to beat on someone without doing any real damage and release all the pent up energy of the day? What worried me was that well, these guys are all better than I. They were mostly adult males 35-45 who outweigh me by about 20 lbs. Yes I normally like to fight those better than me because I learn from it but to be pummeled by 5 adult males, 1 teenage boy, and 1 female was not my idea of fun. So I geared up and psyched up.

This was my first time fighting with a mouthpiece. Since I hate wearing headgear I was told that I better wear a mouthpiece or deal with having a hockey player smile. I can’t stand the feeling of my ears being covered so I don’t wear headgear. If you’ve never worked with a mouthpiece before it takes a little getting used to it. I should had remember it but didn’t. Your airflow is reduced even with a breathing channel so you have to not panic when you think you aren’t getting enough air. So down the line we went, 3 minute (tourney) rounds with only a 1 minute break in between if at all.

I made it through 5 out of the 7 rounds. If I started having issues breathing I would stretch my arms above my head to expand my rib cage. I wasn’t freaking over the reduced airflow and was remaining calm to keep from hyperventilating myself. I took few good hits to the face, a nasty hit in the ribs (from the teenager) which I ended up with making an audible grunt heard across the dojo causing Sensei to remind the teenager not to pelt the adults too much. I was getting into a groove on reading my opponent. I changed my fighting stance after getting kicked in the ribs – like hell I was leaving that exposed again. The next few kicks he tried I grabbed his leg and hit him in the gut. You can get a foul for grabbing but hey they do it all the time. In fact my last opponent was tricking me into throwing a low punch. He then would grab that arm and smack me in the face. I got him back with a fake; I turned my low punch into an upper cut and tagged him good! One other blackbelt was trying to make me dizzy. He kept moving in a medium circle trying to force me to spin; I moved only in quarter turns to keep the movement down and reversed turns to be ahead of him.

Well with all this physical activity, I realized that maybe I didn’t eat enough. In the 5th fight I felt nauseous in the last 30 seconds of the round. I tried to fight it off but didn’t want to hurl in the dojo. I signaled to stop (half of them only speak a little English). When asked what was wrong and I told him, Sensei barked for me to go lie down using the front/shrine area to prop my feet above my heart. R. Senpi who is a volunteer EMT went into “fix the broken girl” mode. He held my feet up in the air and after some colour came back he starts untying my belt and gi top. I was laughing as he checked with me to make sure I was ‘properly dressed’ before he did anything that my reveal anything he was sure my husband didn’t want seen. It was cute how respectful he was of my dignity.

I sat out the last two rounds and after the nausea left me, I rolled over onto my belly. Slowly I moved into positions that raised my head farther from the ground and from being below my heart. I finally got into a standing position just about in time to line up for bow out. I had the shakes, hard core. My blood sugar bottomed out, I hadn’t eaten enough for this kind of workout. I sat there thinking to myself “Holy shit, if this is what Miss T feels when her sugars get screwed up I NEVER want to be a diabetic!” It’s an awful feeling, you are conscious but I felt detached from the room like I was sort of floating above the whole thing. I couldn’t really control my muscles to the manner in which I was accustomed. I didn’t have that far to drive home so once I got there I wandered to the basement, cracked open a large can of pineapple chunks and downed the entire can of the juice. I then picked at the fruit waiting for the shakes to subside. At least I was hydrated, I still needed to use the potty my standard 20 minutes after drinking water.

So for future fight club rounds I bought a six pack of pineapple juice in a can and placed them in my karate bag. If I ever need a quick fix I’ve got natural sugars at the ready. So when can I challenge Brad Pitt to a fight in a parking garage? I think I’m ready.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

The Huffington Post can kiss my...

Left foot! I am really disappointed in them. They have bloggers that post from both sides of the house but for the last three days the comment I entered on one of Cindy Sheehan's posts just never gets there. There are several other comments noting that it is their 3rd or 4th attempt. I also noticed that those that seem to never make it until the 4th try are those that disagree with her.

I don't disagree with a mother grieving for her son, but I do disagree with pulling all of the military out of Iraq, now. The U.S. can't leave a country with a half built infrastructure especially since we were the ones to tear down the previous one (crazy or not the country was stable). I had pointed out in my comments time and time again that there was good happening over there but that the media did not show it. I also pointed out that it was appalling for her to state that every soldier that died (including her son), died in vain as a senseless death. I also reminded her of such political things as the horrid backlash this country would suffer from the UN and other UN & EU nations if the U.S. just walks away now leaving the country to implode. The deaths of all of the innocent Iraqis are what would truly be a senseless death.

None of this, absolutely none of this made it under Ms. Sheehan's post. So I guess or gather that the only dissenting posts they will post are those that make themselves out to be utter loons. The folks that make an educated, calm and reasonable response seem to just disappear. So I guess I should write my response more like:

"ms sheehan u'r soo wrong grl! what er u thinkin? em solderboys R such qdpies!!!!!!"

Now boys & girls open your desks and take out a number two pencil....

Fall semester starts in about two weeks for me. I hope that this class is presented in a livelier manner than my summer semester class. I love labor/employee relations but the Prof made the material dry, boring and stereotypical of what people think when they hear the course title. So this time around I am studying job elements analysis/compensation. Yes, it’s another geeky subject that I enjoy so let’s hope that it’s presented much better.

I also spent most of my evening last night contemplating a professional national certification. It's similar to being a CPA but instead you are a PHR (Human Resources Professional). My organization is offering to pay for the study materials and will reimburse you for the testing costs if you pass the exam. I was jumping at the chance like my dog begs for steak scraps!

Then I get hit with it, at the end of karate my Sensei tells me that he expects me and another girl to test for first Dan (black belt first degree) in December. This means skipping a stripe and going straight for black belt. Ugh, how can I balance work, grad school, karate and studying for my PHR all at the same time? Not mention that some where in there R&R will take place for the hubby. So after long consideration and watching reruns of the first season of America's Next Top Model, I decided to forego the PHR until January. Yeah the government won't be paying for the study materials but I can still test with them in May. Since the test results are instantaneous I am sure I can try to convince my boss to go to bat to be reimbursed for the testing fees.

I so look forward to spending most of my classes face first on a matt as we move into the more advanced throws and takedowns! Now if I can only get my neighbor to quit throwing all her whopping 140 lbs directly onto my ribs with her knee. I at least drop closer to the hip giving the hips a chance to support my weight.

Monday, August 22, 2005

The real Terminator?

I am not even sure what to say on this other than my thoughts and prayers are with him and his family for a quick recovery. Man this is one tough bas*&#d, who won't stop fighting even when shot three times. My hat is off to you Sir! Get well soon.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

USS New York

I thought this was a pretty cool thing to do when I read this. The USS New York is going to be a new battleship in the near future. The Navy is going to use steel from the Twin Towers are part of their building materials. Its kind of a cool way for the memory of those lost in the tower to live on.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Put it don't know where that's been!

I rented a steam cleaner this weekend. I wanted to clean the two Persians and our one area rug. Yes I do steam clean my Persians and you can if they are all wool. You use just plain water, medium warm (warmer than luke-warm but not scalding). This removes the dirt without taking the natural oils from the wool carpet fibers.

When I got home, I was absolutely disgusted by the cleaner and can not believe that people would actually use it and return it in that condition. It still had water in it (which I didn’t know), so thank goodness I put it in the trunk. Because the container was plastic the leftover water had that funky, stale, mildew smell. I emptied the thing in our backyard and saw the bottom. It was covered in dog hair and pastel blue carpet fibers. I yanked our normal vacuum outside and cleaned off the bottom. Scared of what it might do to our good carpets I tried it out on the area rug. This is a cheap synthetic fiber carpet from Belgium. Should something bad happen I can just throw it away without crying. It cleaned alright (that’s relative) but there was some kind of leakage somewhere. It left a 6 inch strip of the fringe, battleship grey! Sadly I think it also smells?? (I emptied the garbage this morning and if the smell is still there when I get home I will assume the stench is the carpet)

Needless to say I was sure as hell was NOT using that on my nice carpets. Instead I pulled out our US one and tried to figure out how to use it. No, I am not dumb folks I can use a steam cleaner but for the life of me and the hubby, the wattage on it was not listed. I tried the website as well, nope not there either. Not wanting to blow up me, the house, the carpet cleaner or my carpets I called my pops. He is an electrical estimator by trade and I used to pull wire and wire boxes for him as a kid. I can still wire most things but hate touching 220v crap. I knew there was a formula to figure out watts, with amps and voltage but couldn’t find it or remember. He gave me the formula to figure amps. No problem I just rewrote the damn thing – Yes! I finally used high school math for something.

It takes 1440 watts (120 volts X 12 amps). Cool we have a 2K watt transformer but it usually trips the breaker on just about any plug in our house. Did mention I swear that the house was built before the war? Anyways, I went to our bedroom plugged it in and using my rubber soled foot turned it on with my toe - hearing no “pop” I opened my eyes to find everything still working in the room. I then checked polarity and did a little dance that I didn’t have to change how the darn thing was plugged in. I drug the long hallway Persian upstairs and cleaned the two of them up there.

If the nasty smell is from the area rug, I will attempt to clean it with solution and our cleaner. I hate to do it and it’s not recommended by any electrician but I will probably have to run an extension cord from the transformer downstairs. I will just make sure that I use a heavy duty extension cord that’s grounded. (See daddy I am a good girl)

Oh hey CVG! I put up the rest of my toilet paper roll holders, as well as two towel holders and two art pieces (old window frames that were painted over and designed with cool stuff). Aren’t you proud girl? Timette the Toolgirl is back – LOL!!

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Jungle Law & Close Calls

Michael Yon's reporting never ceases to amaze me. He's got a great tale of a really close call and some good judgement that almost scares me at how in tune LTC Kurilla is in his job.

If I EVER get the chance to meet LTC Kurilla, I am buying that man a beer (or two)!

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Chew on this

Before you go all nutty and ask why I put these up here let me just say that well I may not be overtly religious, I am quietly spiritual. Spirituality for me is personal and I don't think (nor want) to shove my values on another. So I usually keep religion and spirituality to myself. These two prayers struck a chord with me today and I wanted to share. They speak of strength & courage for yourself and to help others. Being alone right now while my husband is deployed, these prayers seem to remind me of the "gumption" I need to keep on track.

Meditation in Affliction
Assailed by afflictions, we discover Dharma And find the way to liberation. Thank you, evil forces!
When sorrows invade the mind, we discover Dharma And find lasting happiness. Thank you, sorrows!
Through harm caused by spirits we discover Dharma And find fearlessness. Thank you, ghosts and demons!
Through people's hate we discover Dharma And find benefits and happiness. Thank you, those who hate us!
Through cruel adversity, we discover Dharma And find the unchanging way. Thank you, adversity!
Through being impelled to by others, we discover Dharma And find the essential meaning. Thank you, all who drive us on! We dedicate our merit to you all, to repay your kindness.
--Gyalwa Longchenpa

May I become at all times, both now and forever
A protector for those without protection
A guide for those who have lost their way
A ship for those with oceans to cross
A bridge for those with rivers to cross
A sanctuary for those in danger
A lamp for those without light
A place of refuge for those who lack shelter
And a servant to all in need.
--Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Anchorman Passes

I was saddened to hear that Peter Jennings had passed (click title). What I feel really horrid about is that I must have been living under a rock, as I didn't know he had told the public he was ill. Since most of the news I get is from UK television I guess that's how I missed it.

I always enjoyed watching him while growing up. I also enjoyed the pleasant speaking voice he had. It drew your attention without being annoying. He will be missed.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Rode the short bus did I?

Ever have one of those conversations where you walk away because you are at the point where you will bean the person over the head if you don’t? I was a techno-geek, but not so much anymore. I haven’t been around other geeks for so long that my skills are truly lacking.

Attempting to assist another person on my team with an error message they have while updating a record, I had to go and talk to the IT staff down the hall. Most of the terminology I use is accurate at least when it comes to server lingo, but me and the guy geek got into a debate of semantics over the word “permissions.” Some of the things we do are based on our permissions, some are just things added to people’s accounts separately and somethings are apparently given to us by blowing them from frickin’ computer fairy’s arse.

All I wanted was my question answered, “Has something changed in the last three days that won’t allow us to do this anymore?” Please don’t lecture me on how I am confused and not using the right words, blah, blah, blah. All this extra space wasted with him being an ass and irritating me. I leave rolling the eyes into the back of my head, him getting smart and me responding “well it’s because you are being rude!” I don’t even know what he said after that as I just kept on going. My question was answered, but with this big additional lecture on how I am an idiot halfwit who knows nothing about computers and shouldn’t be allowed to touch one ever again.


Wednesday, August 03, 2005

King Fahd funeral

King Fahd was buried yesterday. Click on the title for the article link. Although his son has been the defacto ruler since King Fahd's stroke I am curious to see what political changes may occur with the official transfer of power.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Kitties gone amok

I am pretty disappointed in people today. Last night a neighbor holding a 7 month old kitten (or so) came round the corner asking me if it was mine. My friend and I were on the front step talking and stated it wasn’t. He explained auf Deutsch that the kitty was fighting with his and he was going to place it elsewhere if no one knew who it belonged to.

A few minutes later Mr. Kitty decided to wander up near us. His collar was on too tight and I was concerned about it choking him. After shutting the door so Miss Bella doggie didn’t attempt to play with Mr. Kitty, I was able to pick the cat up. Mr. Kitty was just a’ purring away completely happy to sit in my arms. I loosened his collar as far as it could go without taking it off. This cat was clean and well kept. He was loving, affectionate and didn’t mind being scratched behind the ears. A minute or so later his littermate comes running in our direction. The collar is to tight as well but I couldn’t get that cat to stop and let me fix it. Finally Mr. Kitty clued in on the dog attempting to open the door with the suction of her nose and ran off.

From what I can see, two well kept cats, with collars too small, just now running around the neighborhood appears like someone dumped them. That thought really pisses me off. There are so many places that you could take them. In fact German pounds are against killing healthy animals so they would have been adopted I am sure. It just makes me mad that this problem seems to run mostly in American circles. Sometimes my own nation makes me mad with their “get rid of it when its no longer convenient” attitude. They are really cute and if I can figure out how to get them to think Bella was “cool” I may adopt them. Man, will the hubby be annoyed with me for adopting cats. Okay well he will survive, neither one of us can handle the thought of animals in distress so if he comes home to find two cats and a dog sleeping on his side of the bed he will just have to hear about Mr. Kitty’s adventures.

I am such a sucker for cute animals, how do you think I got the dog? She stood in the pound dirty, matted and skinny looking up at us with those BIG brown eyes, squeaking a squeak toy!