Monday, April 2, 2012

Puppy Nightmare

Last night, I woke up to the sound of Blitzkrieg whimpering in his sleep. I guess he had a nightmare. I was sleeping with my back to him, and after a few whimpers, he crawled over my back, burrowed under the covers and buried himself against my chest, then let out a huge sigh and fell back asleep.

I love my doggies.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Jerk towhee

There's a towhee outside picking on a much smaller junco because the junco is eating birdseed off the ground too close to the towhee. And the towhee is almost twice the size of the junco. Jerk bird.

I spent hours and days outside working in the garden, making it look nice so the HOA and my landlord don't complain this year. For some reason, my landlord had planted only boring green stuff in the garden, including two gigantic patches of what he called "ornamental grass." Unfortunately, this grass wasn't hardy at all and it bit the dust. Apparently it was terribly expensive grass. After checking the garden areas of Wal-Mart and Home Depot, I can agree. Seven dollars for a patch of grass is terribly expensive. So I uprooted the grass, which was by far the hardest part of anything I did out there (and also broke my gardening trowel, so I had to go buy a new one before I could finish my work), and planted daffodils and violas and creeping myrtles and three different color primroses and two different colors of some kind of bulb I forgot the name of, and I uprooted and relocated some of the less attractive green leafy things that were already out there. And now, by golly, our house has the prettiest and most colorful garden on the block. Unfortunately, my work outside still isn't done, since there are still weeds in the grass that need to be uprooted, followed by reseeding bare patches in the grass, and of course an entire back garden to do. But I think I earned the right to brag a little bit about the front garden.

I'm on the Women's Volleyball Team at church. Yesterday was our first game. We'd never had a practice. I don't even know the names of most of the women on the team. I just showed up and suddenly "Bam! Here's your team. Game starts in two minutes." Given the circumstances, I started out the game hoping to play for fun, not play to win. But unfortunately, two or three of the other women on the team decided not to make that possible. Any time the ball started to come in my direction, one of the two women on either side of me would practically shove me out of the way to get it. And most of the time, because they had rushed to get there, they didn't have even marginally decent aim. We played to 25 points, and in the first game, except when I served, I didn't even touch the ball until the next-to-last point scored for either side in the game (which we lost 25 to 20). The second game wasn't better, but at least that game didn't last as long because we lost 25 to 3. For me, the highlight of the evening was as we were leaving, when I heard the lady who had been standing almost in the very center of the court no matter which position she was playing tell our coach that our problem was that "certain people on the team don't know where their zones are."

Thursday, March 15, 2012


Jack was awarded the Distinguished Commissioner Award at the Pacific Harbors Council Awards Dinner tonight. He's done a lot of great work as a commissioner, here and in Alaska, and I'm really proud of him! I know he's worked hard to learn the Scouting program inside and out, and he's helped a lot of people. I'm looking forward to helping someone write a nomination for him a few years down the road for the District Award of Merit and Silver Beaver (although the Silver Beaver may take many more years, I guess).

The speaker for the evening was none other than Robert Birkby, who wrote, among other things, the last three editions of the Boy Scout Handbook! He gave a fantastic speech along with a great slideshow--and he indicated to the computer operator when to change slides by waving a semaphore flag.

After the ceremony, I approached Robert Birkby for an autograph and to ask if I could have my picture taken with him, because I thought my dad might be interested. Since I had nothing else with me for him to sign, I had him sign my program for the evening, then we got a passerby to take my pictures. The following picture shows us with his Troop 77 flag, which is in the Scouting Handbook (check p. 449 of the current version). Troop 77 no longer exists, so Robert was given the flag, which he has taken with him to such places as Mt. Kilimanjaro and Mt. Everest.

A little while later, as I was talking with some other people there about my Wood Badge tickets, he tapped me on the shoulder and said he would like to talk with me for a minute before I left. So I wrapped up the conversation I was in, and he pulled out a big, beautiful, brightly colored Scouting Centennial book called Boy Scouts of America Scout Stuff, by (you guessed it!) Robert Birkby. He said, "You know, signing your program was cute and all, but I thought you ought to have something a little better than that. So tell me your name again." And he signed the book and gave it to me right there! Inside the cover was also a printed list of items in the book that were from his own collection.

After I thanked him again and hugged him and said good-bye, I was talking with Jack and our friend Merrill, and I said, half-jokingly, "Ha ha, I wonder if he could get me a job editing his stuff. On second thought, he'll probably say, 'How dare you! My work needs no editing! Gimme that book back!'"

Jack and Merrill pushed me to ask him anyway, thought, so I bothered Robert Birkby one more time to ask who I would talk to if I were interested in editing. He said, "Me, actually. Give me your contact information and I'll send your name to my editor and see if we can hook you up!"

Job or no, though, I met the guy who wrote the Boy Scout Handbook! And I got his autograph, and my picture with him, and he gave me a book, and yay! Coolest evening ever!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


Jack has been bugging me to update my blog, so here goes. Now shush, dear. :P

First on the list of things I'm required to write about, we spent so much time playing Wii Bowling that we decided to go normal bowling. Turns out I'm less terrible at it than I was last time I went bowling, which was about three years ago. In the first game, I beat Jack 95 to 88. YAY a win! After that, we were both warmed up, and I broke 100 on the second game with a score of 106 (this is the first time in my life I've broken 100 in a bowling game, so it's very exciting for me). Jack beat me with a score of 125. After that, my wrist was starting to get tired, but we did one more game, which I lost again 86 to 103. I didn't feel bad, though, because I kind of consider bowling to be a game where I mostly just play against myself, and other people happen to be playing too. The reason I view bowling this way is, of course, because I'm so bad at it normally. Apparently playing Wii Bowling has actually slightly improved my irl bowling. (Note for Mom and Dad: "irl" stands for "in real life.")

We also did Pinewood Derby, which was a blast. I got to be the one who set up and released the cars this year! YAY! Because of the way our brackets were set up, there were a couple kids who had to race an equalizer car, which was basically the block of wood with the wheels put on, painted like a school bus. The school bus was supposed to be horrendously slow and lose every race, but it actually beat two or three kids' cars, which made me feel a little bad. The school bus was the only one that I actually tried to turn a little crooked on the track to slow it down. It didn't work, though. Oops!

The kids all had fun anyway, though. Thirty scouts showed up, and after the scouts finished their races, five or six little brothers and sisters ran up with cars that they had made that they wanted to run down the track too.

Also, since springtime is apparently here now, Jack and I have been doing a lot more bicycle riding. In addition, I've started filling the bird feeder, for which I now have about 15 pounds of seed thanks to a Cub Scout project we did a few weeks ago. We saw a bird out there just now that I've seen a couple times before and forgot what it is. We looked it up and it's called a Spotted Towhee. Weird-looking thing with red eyes.

Anyway, other than that, not too much to tell. I still jog periodically. I've ridden my bicycle over 250 miles since September (I have a bike odometer now because I have to go 500 for my Wood Badge ticket). I beat Final Fantasies 7 and 8 and am playing 12 now, which is by far the best FF game I've ever played. Also, I'm studying for my ham radio license and am reading a book called Schwa Was Here, by Neal Shusterman. I'm only about forty pages into it, but I'm really enjoying it!

Okay, the end.