Monday, November 10, 2008

Flower of Remembrance - Veterans Day

In Flanders Fields

By John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly.

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow

Loved, and were loved, and now we lie

In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.

This was the poem written by World War I Colonel John McCrae, a surgeon with Canada's First Brigade Artillery. It expressed McCrae's grief over the "row on row" of graves of soldiers who had died on Flanders' battlefields, located in a region of western Belgium and northern France. The poem presented a striking image of the bright red flowers blooming among the rows of white crosses and became a rallying cry to all who fought in the First World War. The first printed version of it reportedly was in December 1915, in the British magazine Punch.

McCrae's poem had a huge impact on two women, Anna E. Guerin of France and Georgia native Moina Michael. Both worked hard to initiate the sale of artificial poppies to help orphans and others left destitute by the war. By the time Guerin established the first sale in the U.S., in 1920 with the help of The American Legion, the poppy was well known in the allied countries — America, Britain, France, Canada, Australia and New Zealand — as the "Flower of Remembrance." Proceeds from that first sale went to the American and French Children's League.

Guerin had difficulty with the distribution of the poppies in early 1922 and sought out Michael for help. Michael had started a smaller-scaled Poppy Day during a YMCA conference she was attending in New York and wanted to use the poppies as a symbol of remembrance of the war. Guerin, called the "Poppy Lady of France" in her homeland, and Michael, later dubbed "The Poppy Princess" by the Georgia legislature, went to the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) for help. Following its first nationwide distribution of poppies, the VFW adopted the poppy as its official memorial flower in 1922.

However, a shortage of poppies from French manufacturers led to the idea of using unemployed and disabled veterans to produce the artificial flowers. In 1924, a poppy factory was built in Pittsburgh, Pa., providing a reliable source of poppies and a practical means of assistance to veterans. Today, veterans at Department of Veterans Affairs medical facilities and veterans homes help assemble the poppies, which are distributed by veterans service organizations throughout the country.

Donations received in return for these artificial poppies have helped countless veterans and their widows, widowers and orphans over the years. The poppy itself continues to serve as a perpetual tribute to those who have given their lives for the nation's freedom.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A Fair Update - Mixed Results

Well, I have to start by saying that I am a little bit disappointed in the results at the fair. Fire Flower was my main piece, and it got nothing. After looking at the other needlework entered this year - and I think there was substantially less than last year - I am pretty sure it was so far out of class for the entries, that the judges had no idea what to make of it - so they ignored it. There are only 3 categories for cross stitch at this fair - 14ct or less, 16-18ct, and 19ct or greater, and I saw all three 1st place pieces. One was Fish City, and I assume it was in the 19ct or Greater category - it was a huge piece, so I could be wrong, but at any rate, it was pretty awesome:
Another 1st place winner was a rendition of one of Van Gogh's Starry Night's. Now, the work was very nicely done, well framed, but the conversion itself was really, really not very nice - the yellows were all green, and it was very, very blocky and cartoony. So I'm not sure what the judges were going for on this piece, unless sheer size is what won the category? I think it was in the 16-18 category, with my FF (32ct over/2). I didn't take a picture of it - I was getting left behind. It's finished size was about half of Fish City, slightly bigger than FF, with matting and framing. I would guess the stitch count to be a bit less than my FF, if that had anything to do with it....

But I do have to wonder who was doing the judging by the 3rd category 1st place winner (which I also did not take a picture of). It was a very small piece, maybe 4x5, on 14 or 11ct aida. It was a very simple piece, some religious piece that I didn't fully grasp, something with a cross and I assume a piece of scripture. It was cartoonish, too - not primitive, just kind of crude and back-woods-ish, if you know what I mean - like a $2 kit from the Dollar Store, made in China. But what absolutely kills me is the condition of the piece; it was chock full of creases, from hoop or in hand, I don't know, and the dollar-store frame it was in, it was not even centered or stretched - I think they just laid it on the frame, and put the back whatever on, and called it good. And it won 1st place???? We were all stumped - the boys both just looked at me and said "You didn't win anything? With that? How can that be?" Which I took to be quite shocking to them, since they pretty much ignore my works. So I am going to ease my bruised ego with the fact that I must have exceeded the sophistication level of the N. GA Fair with my piece, which with the positive/negative idea alone, made it at least as difficult a work as Fish City, even if it was only 1 color. Personally, I'm stumped...

As for my other 7 entries, I did place 5 - my jewelry, my sister's 2006 Christmas present (long story) took 1st in the Jewelry category. I wasn't that pleased with this piece, to be quite honest, and may actually modify it again before I send it to my sister - but another thing I didn't get - there was only 1 jewelry category, and there were 2 First Place pieces, as well as a second & third. Mine this year and this other 1st place were definitely not on par with last year's entries - I'm wondering if the gas & economy issues kept a lot of participants away? Anyway, 1 of my 3 pics got a 3rd place, and I thought for sure my dragonfly would have placed, too, but it didn't. My set of 4 Dragon Dreams ornies placed 2nd in the 4-ornie Category, and my single Wiehenberg ornie placed 3rd in the 1-ornie category - they both were the only stitched ornaments. My little purple Grumpy Dragon flatfold won 3rd in the 14ct Category (losing to that wrinkled mess???). I have an album set up with all the pictures I took last night - exhibits and attractions - here:

So, I placed 5 out of 8 entries, but wow, the competition, from my biased view, was not what it was last year, and neither was the judging, from what I saw. If only my FF had fit the size limitation for the more-local fair (which is a much more affluent part of town) - I think I could have done much better there, but FF was 1/8" too big to go there :( So I will do some rethinking about next year and see if I can't get some stuff framed to fit in the other fair's size requirements. And if nothing else, I will have several entries into Silkweaver's Showcase this year, since I WILL FINISH Bouquet for Cheryl and The Castle and Halloween Fairy. I will also have a Long Dog finish not too far off, though I suspect not in time for this year's showcase. And suddenly, I've become a glory hound - how did that happen?? I don't mean to come off that way, but I guess it does sound like that, doesn't it? I am really just amazed that the works entered this year, aside from Fish City, were so 1990's; it's like the shrinkage we've seen in needlework stores and supplies has also affected the quality of work being done around here - something I am NOT in favor of, as you might imagine. At the very least, I have hoped that the last couple of years' exhibits have exposed more people to this craft, in an attempt to keep it from dying; I think I missed the mark this year - or I'm too late here....

Friday, September 19, 2008

Talk Like A Pirate Day - Be A Pirate

You Are:
Ugly Louise Lofton
(formerly known as Karen)

You have X-Ray vision and look good in Spandex, but you can't fly worth a damn or scramble an egg to save your life. You never sweat even when you use your super strength. If you could cloud men's minds we'd all be in trouble. You also use your X-Ray vision to ogle guy's bodies in the grocery store. You can travel in time, but you only do it to cheat at horse racing. Your super-boobs are every man's dream and you are without a doubt the kinkiest Superhero of them all.

Here's lots of fun Pirate Stuff:
I found this Pirate Generator here:

So get off yer duffs an' talk like a gentleman o' fortune!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Never Forget

Some may say it's opening old wounds, but I say, better that than forgetting, because someday, someone will try to get you to believe it never happened...

In Remembrance - to all those lost on that day and since, helping to restore and fighting to keep freedom.... It may not mean anything to you, but it means the world to me.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Picture Perfect ~*~WET~*~

I just haven't been coordinated enough lately to participate in PPF - new computers, moving pics around, some on CD, some on other machines, and mainly, no time!! But when I saw this week's, I thought for sure I could come up with something pretty easily... Well, I had the perfect shot in mind, from a soccer game last February, when all of the boys were just drenched, with sleet & drizzle, actually, not just rain, the refs were soaked, we had puddles on the field - the look on the face of my son, with his hair plastered to his face as he went up to head the ball was the epitome of *WET*. And I can't find it.

So, for Plan B, I thought, gee, maybe something in the pictures I've taken outside this year - the creek, the wet dog who plays in the creek, and then I thought of this one:
Click picture to go to the original full size...
This was taken after a thunderstorm had passed through in June, and the sky was golden and looked as if it was lit with fire. So I took the camera outside to get shots of the sky. I turned to see these normally bright white lilies had taken on the color of the sky, still dripping from the brief downpour our drought-stricken area received. Additional pictures in the series are here.

*WET* has taken on a whole new idea here north of Atlanta; we are currently standing at 16" below the normal rainfall we should have by this time of the year, even with the 5" we managed to get out of Tropical Storm Fay almost 2 weeks ago. And that does not take into account the 20" or so we were short last year. Other areas have gotten considerably more than we have - even Atlanta itself is not quite as bad as we are, just 40 miles north. But we have Hannah, Ike, and Josephine lining up out there in the Atlantic - we definitely don't need any of the destruction those storms are likely to produce (like the tornadoes we got from Fay), but could we ever use a bit of rain....

Welcome to


Each week a new theme will be posted here on Friday morning. You are invited to put up your best picture on your own blog with that theme in mind, and you do have the whole weekend to post your picture, so there is no rush

Remember it should be just ONE and ORIGINAL, taken by YOU,and not off the internet,

Then come back and leave a comment on this page in the comment box so that everyone can link to your blog and see your photo. Don't forget to OPEN your page to EVERYONE for that day.

By all means mention your camera and lens used, and if the picture has been altered or enhanced in any way, so we can all learn and improve our techniques.

Try and post a decent size picture on your blog page for an increased WOW factor. Often so much is lost or distorted if the size is too big or too small.

Remember this is NOT a competition, this about being creative having fun and being supportive of one another.

Out of the box thinking is encouraged.

~ Have FUN out there! ~


The theme this week is


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

That TV Meme thing

(borrowed from one of the many blogs it has appeared on :) )

Bold all of the following TV shows which you’ve ever seen 3 or more episodes of in your lifetime. Bold and Underline a show if you’re positive you’ve seen every episode of it. If you want, add up to 3 additional shows (keep the list in alphabetical order).

7th Heaven
Aeon Flux
Alfred Hitchcock Presents
Allo Allo
American Idol/Pop Idol/Canadian Idol/Australian Model
America’s Next Top Model/Germany’s Next Top Model
Are You Afraid of the Dark?
Arrested Development
Ashes to Ashes
Baa Baa Black Sheep
Babylon 5
Babylon 5: Crusade
Barnaby Jones
Battlestar Galactica (the old one)
Battlestar Galactica (the new one)
Beavis & Butthead
Beverly Hills 90210
Bionic Woman
Bosom Buddies

Boston Legal
Boy Meets World
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Bug Juice
Captain Planet
Chappelle’s Show
Charlie’s Angels
Commander in Chief
Cowboy Bebop
Crossing Jordan
CSI: Miami

Curb Your Enthusiasm
Dancing with the Stars
Danny Phantom
Dark Angel
Dark Skies
Davinci’s Inquest
Dawson’s Creek
Dead Like Me
Deadliest Catch
Degrassi: The Next Generation
Designing Women
Desperate Housewives
Dharma & Greg
Different Strokes
Dirty Jobs
Doctor Who (new Who)
Doctor Who (original)

Dog the Bounty Hunter
Due South
Earth 2
Eerie, Indiana

Empty Nest

Everybody Loves Raymond

Facts of Life
Family Guy
Family Matters
Family Ties

Fantasy Island
Father Knows Best
Fawlty Towers



Full House
Get Smart

Ghost Whisperer
G.I. Joe (original series)
Gilligan’s Island
Gilmore Girls
Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.
Green Acres
Green Wing
Grey’s Anatomy
Growing Pains
Gundam Wing
Happy Days

Hart to Hart
Head of the Class
Hell’s Kitchen
Hogan’s Heroes
Home Improvement

Homicide: Life on the Street
Hotel Babylon
I Dream of Jeannie
I Love Lucy

Ice Road Truckers (hate this show – I have no choice, since I can’t move my stitching spot)
Invader Zim
Jem and the Holigrams
John Doe
John and Kate Plus Eight
Just the 10 of Us
Kate & Allie
Kath and Kim
Kim Possible
Knott’s Landing
LA Law

Laverne and Shirley
Life on Mars
Little House on the Prairie
Lizzie McGuire
Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman
Lost in Space
Love, American Style
* M*A*S*H

Mad About You
Major Dad
Malcolm in the Middle
Mama’s Family

Marcus Welby, MD
Married… With Children

Melrose Place
Miami Vice

Mission: Impossible

Mork & Mindy
Murphy Brown

Mr. Show with Bob and David
My Family
My Life as a Dog
My Name Is Earl
My Secret Identity
My So-Called Life
My Three Sons
My Two Dads
Night Court

Northern Exposure
One Tree Hill
Out of This World
Perry Mason
Picket Fences
Power Rangers
Prison Break

Prisoner: Cell Block H
Project Runway
Punky Brewster (live action)
Pushing Daisies
Quantum Leap
Queer As Folk (US)
Queer as Folk (British)
Remington Steele
Rescue Me
Road Rules
Sabrina the Teenage Witch
Saved by the Bell
Scarecrow and Mrs. King
Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?
SeaQust D.S.V.
Secret Diary of a Call Girl
Sex and the City
Simon & Simon
Six Feet Under

Slings and Arrows
So Weird
Sonic the Hedgehog (SatAM)
South Park

Space Ghost
Spongebob Squarepants
Sports Night
Star Trek

* The Original
* Star Trek: The Next Generation
* Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
* Star Trek: Voyager
Star Trek: Enterprise
Stargate Atlantis
Stargate SG-1

Starsky & Hutch
Step By Step
Strange Luck – loved this show!
Tales from the Dark Side
Teen Titans
That 70’s Show
That’s So Raven
The 4400
The Addams Family
The Amazing Race
The Andy Griffith Show
The A-Team

The Avengers
The Beverly Hillbillies

The Brady Bunch
The Cosby Show

The Daily Show

The Dead Zone
The Dick Van Dyke Show
The Drew Carey Show

The Flintstones
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
The Golden Girls

The Hogan Family
The Honeymooners
The Jeffersons
The Jetsons

The L Word
The Love Boat
The Mary Tyler Moore Show
The Mighty Boosh
The Monkees
The Munsters

The O.C.
The Office (UK)
The Office (US)
The Partridge Family
The Pretender
The Real World
The Shield
The Simpsons
The Six Million Dollar Man
The Sopranos
The Suite Life of Zack and Cody
The Tomorrow People
The Twilight Zone
The Unit
The Walton's

The West Wing

The Wonder Years
The X-Files
Third Watch
Three’s Company
Top Gear
Transformers (original series)
Twin Peaks
Twitch City
Ugly Betty
Veronica Mars
Walker, Texas Ranger
Weird Science
Whose Line is it Anyway? (US)
Whose Line is it Anyway? (UK)
Will and Grace

Yes, it is obvious that I watch WAYYYYY too much tv - but I like it :)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

New Words from MENSA

This from an e-mail I've seen a couple of times, but thought if I copied it here, I could read it a few times until I remember them, and work them into daily conversation. I have no idea how old this list is - I know MENSA does this periodically, but I'm too lazy to authenticate - and who cares?

Washington Post's Mensa Invitational

The Washington Post's Mensa Invitational once again asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition.

Here are this year's winners. Read them carefully. Each is an artificial word with only one letter altered to form a real word. Some are terrifically innovative:

1. Intaxication : Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.

2. Reintarnation : Coming back to life as a hillbilly.

3. Bozone (n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future. (This definitely applies to a certain group of engineers to the north of my location...)

4. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period.

5. Giraffiti : Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.

6. Sarchasm : The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.

7. Inoculatte : To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.

8. Hipatitis : Terminal coolness.

9. Osteopornosis : A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)

10. Karmageddon : It's like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it's, like, a serious bummer.

11. Decafalon (n.): The gruelling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.

12. Glibido: All talk and no action.

13. Dopeler effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

14. Arachnoleptic fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you've accidentally walked through a spider web.

15. Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.

16. Caterpallor (n.): The color you turn after finding half a worm in the fruit you're eating.

And The #1 pick is:

17. Ignoranus : A person who's both stupid and an asshole.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

PPF ==> Extravagance

This week’s theme was a bit hard for me – I don’t really do anything extravagant, haven’t really been anywhere very extravagant that I have pictures of; my life, to date, has been anti-extravagant, actually. But then I started to think about some of my hobbies, and the materials I have come to use for them – hand dyed fabric, silk floss, gemstone beads. And then it occurred to me – the one thing I have thought of as one of my favorite splurges for many years: silk fabric. I love clothing made of silk – it keeps you cool in the summer, it keeps you warm in the winter, it’s soft and shimmery, even the raw silk, and let’s face it – it just feels good! It has had trade routes named after it, areas of the world named for it, was a trading commodity, and was available to the aristocracy only for a very long time. It’s not the extravagance it once was, but is still not as available as cotton and, egads! synthetic fabrics! This is one of my favorite pieces, a shirt:

(click for larger picture)

For something that comes out of a worm's butt, it has some pretty amazing qualities - read here. I also took a second picture of several pieces, but this one was the best; you can see the other one here. Taken with my trusty Panasonic DMC-FZ5 and cropped.

And as I couldn't come up with an earworm for this week, I decided to pick a piece from The Bard - it's not actually about silk, but it does mention it :) And there might be an allusion or two in there slightly related to Extravagance:

Now all the youth of England are on fire,
And silken dalliance in the wardrobe lies:
Now thrive the armourers, and honour's thought
Reigns solely in the breast of every man:
They sell the pasture now to buy the horse,
Following the mirror of all Christian kings,
With winged heels, as English Mercuries.
For now sits Expectation in the air,
And hides a sword from hilts unto the point
With crowns imperial, crowns and coronets,
Promised to Harry and his followers.
The French, advised by good intelligence
Of this most dreadful preparation,
Shake in their fear and with pale policy
Seek to divert the English purposes.
O England! model to thy inward greatness,
Like little body with a mighty heart,
What mightst thou do, that honour would thee do,
Were all thy children kind and natural!
But see thy fault! France hath in thee found out
A nest of hollow bosoms, which he fills
With treacherous crowns; and three corrupted men,
One, Richard Earl of Cambridge, and the second,
Henry Lord Scroop of Masham, and the third,
Sir Thomas Grey, knight, of Northumberland,
Have, for the gilt of France,--O guilt indeed!
Confirm'd conspiracy with fearful France;
And by their hands this grace of kings must die,
If hell and treason hold their promises,
Ere he take ship for France, and in Southampton.
Linger your patience on; and we'll digest
The abuse of distance; force a play:
The sum is paid; the traitors are agreed;
The king is set from London; and the scene
Is now transported, gentles, to Southampton;
There is the playhouse now, there must you sit:
And thence to France shall we convey you safe,
And bring you back, charming the narrow seas
To give you gentle pass; for, if we may,
We'll not offend one stomach with our play.
But, till the king come forth, and not till then,
Unto Southampton do we shift our scene.


- William Shakespeare

The Life of King Henry the Fifth , Act 2 Prologue



theme this week is

~ Extravagance ~

This is week 4 of our 10 week competition

Each week Ten of The Best photo's will be selected by the host. On Saturday a poll will go up and you all get to vote for 24 hrs... for who you think was the best/most effective for that theme. The winner will be announced once the POLL closes.

The one with the most votes (by you) will receive a special icon which they can proudly post on their site as Best PP Photographer in The World..for the rest of the competition

only ONE picture please and it should be YOURS

not off the internet, not a friends picture but your very own

No slide shows please, and no automatic music on the page

Then post a comment on this page
so that everyone can link to your blog and see your pic.


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Just a Pic of the Pup

Took this this morning on the way out, thought it was cute. Somebody's a ham....

Friday, June 06, 2008

D-Day Anniversary

"You will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world. Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well equipped, and battle-hardened. He will fight savagely....The free men of the world are marching together to victory. I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty, and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full victory. Good luck, and let us all beseech the blessings of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking."

~ General Dwight D. Eisenhower

(Quote from a speech delivered while giving the D-Day order on June 6, 1944.)

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Picture Perfect Friday ==> Curves

This hutch belonged to my grandmother on my father's side; as long as I can remember it being in Grandma Williams' house, I remember her telling me it would be mine one day, and so it is. Inside the curved glass and wood, on shelves cut to mimic the curves of the front, are 2 1/2 sets of Depression Glass that belonged to my grandmother on my mother's side, as well as several other knick knacks. Okay, one set, the gold, has square plates, but the corners are scalloped, so they are actually curvy. The red set has the regular round shapes :) And then, at the top, there is the curvy mirror and the beautiful scroll work and relief work. One of my most prized possessions. And curvy!

Picture Perfect

~ Each week a theme will be posted up on Thursday, and you are invited to put up your best picture with that theme in mind, it should be just


i.e not off the internet,

Then come back and post a comment on this page
so that everyone can link to your blog and see your pic.

By all means mention your camera and lens used, and if the picture has been altered or enhanced in anyway! Out of the box thinking is encouraged!!

Please open your page for viewing for all for that day...and then visit as many others as you can! Try and post a decent size pic on your blog page, so much is lost if the pic is too small or too big.

The entries will close at midnight on Friday



& Law of Mechanical Repair
After your hands become coated with grease, your nose will begin to itch and you'll have to pee.

Law of Gravity

Any tool, when dropped, will roll to the least accessible corner.

Law of Probability
The probability of being watched is directly proportional to the stupidity of your act.

Law of Random Numbers
If you dial a wrong number, you never get a busy signal and someone always answers.

Law of the Alibi
If you tell the boss you were late for work because you had a flat tire, the very next morning you will have a flat tire.

Variation Law
If you change lines (or traffic lanes), the one you were in will always move faster than the one you are in now (works every time).

Law of the Bath
When the body is fully immersed in water, the telephone rings.

Law of Close Encounters
The probability of meeting someone you know increases dramatically when you are with someone you don't want to be seen with.

Law of the Result
When you try to prove to someone that a machine won't work, it will.

Law of Biomechanics
The severity of the itch is inversely proportional to the reach.

Law of the Theater
At any event, the people whose seats are furthest from the aisle arrive last.

The Starbucks Law
As soon as you sit down to a cup of hot coffee, your boss will ask you to do something which will last until the coffee is cold.

Murphy's Law of Lockers
If there are only two people in a locker room, they will have adjacent lockers.

Law of Physical Surfaces
The chances of an open-faced jelly sandwich landing face down on a floor covering are directly correlated to the newness and cost of the carpet/rug.

Law of Logical Argument
Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.

Brown's Law of Physical Appearance
If the shoe fits, it's ugly.

Oliver's Law of Public Speaking
A closed mouth gathers no feet.

& Wilson's Law of Commercial Marketing Strategy
As soon as you find a product that you really like, they will stop making it.

Doctors' Law
If you don't feel well, make an appointment to go to the doctor, by the time you get there you'll feel better. Don't make an appointment and you'll stay sick.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Picture Perfect Friday ~ SummerTime Fun! ~

Okay, I cheated a little bit (or a lot) this week, but that's only because this week's theme is too big for 1 picture. These are all from our last vacation, in 2006, and were taken with my Minolta Maxxim 7000 - cropped in some cases after scanning.

Welcome to
~ Each week a theme will be posted up on Thursday, and you are invited to put up your best picture with that theme in mind, it should be just
i.e not off the internet,

By all means mention your camera and lens used, and if the picture has been altered or enhanced in anyway! Out of the box thinking is encouraged!!

Coach Takes One For The Team

The past year has been an interesting ride for the U11 Sharks. It has been a year of controversy, hard work, disappointment, and achievement. People have walked out, walked on, not shown up, and arrived late. We've played in the smog, in the smothering heat, in the rain, in the bone-chilling cold, in the snow, of all things, and in the wind. We lost some games we should have won, and won some we should have lost. Through all of this, progress has been consistently made towards the state rankings of the Gold team; as of 08 MAY 08, this is where they stood:

National ranking #144 out of 1232 u11 teams in the Nation.

Region III ranking # 95 out of 434 u11 teams in our region.

Georgia ranking # 29 out of 194 u11 teams in the state.

Having looked at some of the scores of the past year made these standings come as a bit of a surprise, until you consider the teams we have played this year, as compared to the teams that some of our opponents have played. We have played some pretty tough teams, who have handed us some of our losses, but the fact that we played them and lost has given us the advantage over some of the other teams that played lesser teams and won. These rankings are the best evidence of that advantage. That shows just how hard everyone has worked, and also how far we have yet to go.

So, as we near the end of this season, we commit to play the President’s Cup tournament. All the best teams go to the President’s Cup. Practices leading up to the tournament are grueling, and the coach tries to take all the things they’ve seen during the spring season and work on the weak spots and finesse the strong spots – the tourney is going to be tough, we have to be ready. The schedule comes out, and we are grouped with Athens – one of those games we should have won during regular-season play; here’s our chance for some payback! And, just as an added bonus, for the first time ever, we don’t have the first game of the day – either day!! Yay for us! See, those rankings are already paying off J Just as a little added incentive, the coach tells the boys, “If you guys make it to the finals, I’ll get a mohawk!”

So we arrive for our first game, against the Snellville Stokers. I don’t want to say it was a cake walk, because it was a tough game, but let’s just say the final score of 3-0 should have been more like 6-0; we capitalized on a few things, and missed a couple of others, but in the end, all to the good. Our second game is against Athens, and it’s time to show them how a passing team plays on a field bigger than a postage stamp. This game was a bit tougher, as Athens is a very physical team, and we really aren’t, but in the end, we came out victorious, with a score of 2-1! Take that, Athens! Notice I’ve made no mention of the reffing; that’s a whole other rant for another day. Suffice it to say it was less than stellar, and in no way advantageous to us.

So, we are in the semi-final round on Sunday, and playing a team we know nothing about, the Stone Mountain YSA. There are storms overnight, tornadoes and rain and all kinds of chaos, and who knows what shape the fields will be in for our 9:30 game. The games are all moved back 1 hour, to let the weather clear and fields dry, but there is a wind advisory in the area for the entire day – great. We always do so well when the weather is weird – not. So we arrive at the fields, and really, they aren’t in bad shape; a bit soggy, of course, but not mud pits as we thought they might be. And the wind advisory doesn’t disappoint; it’s blowing pretty steadily, and as the top layers dry out, there’s a red haze for about the first 6 inches above the ground, and everyone downwind is being sandblasted.

We watch the Stone Mountain team warming up; hmmm, this one’s going to be hard to call. They have some big boys, and they look quick, but their warm-up doesn’t show us much of their skill set. The game starts, and the wind is definitely a factor; corner kicks are just a disaster, not to mention, when the ball rolls out of bounds, it just keeps on going for 200 yards before we can get to it. We’re all going to be worn out just chasing the ball down, let alone actually playing! After 50 agonizing minutes, the game is tied 1-1. Since it’s the semi-final, we go to a 5-minute double-overtime (5 minutes in each direction). The score remains tied 1-1. All of the parents on are the edge of our seats (and cleaning the dust out of our eyes and mouths every 30 seconds)! So it comes down to penalty kicks, 5 from each team, alternating one at a time. Nails are bitten down to the quick, parents have their eyes covered, boys are visibly apprehensive, and the wind is just horribly annoying. After some just crazy saves, we remain tied, 2-2 in PKs! Oh my god – how long is this going to drag on??? Now to Sudden Death PKs. Stone Mountain kicks first – and it is saved by Chris!!! Up steps Abel to take ours, and you can see how unsure he looks; his dad has his shirt pulled up over his face and is pacing a hole into the ground behind us. Abel aims, steps, and it’s in!!!! We won!!!!! The team explodes onto the field, the Stone Mountain boys and parents are standing there in utter disbelief (a couple of which were probably looking for someone to punch; classy, huh?), it’s mayhem on the field, and the wind is just blasting merrily away!!! Holy cow, they’ve done it!!!!!!! We go on to the finals!!!!!

Back Row: Coach Will, Coach Todd

Middle Row: Simon, Josh, Kaleb, Chris, Nick, Jake, Chandler

Front Row: Connor, Cory, Abel, Michael, Will

So now we’ve got a couple of hours to kill, regroup, rehash the game. This is the point that I’ve come to realize that the game the coach sees and the game I see are usually vastly different, so if possible, I really try to just not discuss it. Perfect time for a snack and a nap. We have learned that the Stone Mountain team has not been beaten in regular season play, in fact has not been beaten since they lost the final round of last year’s President’s Cup. That’s a pretty impressive feather in the LSA cap, don’t you think? But we are meeting CSA – Columbus Soccer Assoc. – in the final, and we know they are tough; they didn’t get to the finals on good looks and charm. But then again, neither did we. So the coach has butterflies the size of pterodactyls, and the wind continues to blow. A picture is taken of the Finalist team, we are as prepared as we can be, we hope. The game starts, and it is indeed tough. A bit of controversial reffing (on par with the weekend, really), boys are getting tired, parents are down a couple of layers of skin, figuratively and physically, and 50 minutes later, after a heroic effort, the Sharks end the game down 2-0. Columbus are the U11 Champions. We go to the Awards Presentation, and the Sharks all receive silver medals, and the Columbus boys receive their gold medals, and the wind blows merrily on. As we are all wrapping up and preparing for the haul home, the promise of the Mohawk comes up; they did what the coach asked, they got to the finals, in spectacular fashion, I might add, so Mohawk it is. It just so happens that Kaleb’s mom is a licensed cosmetologist – hair-cutter, whatever – so she volunteers to do the job, at Tuesday’s practice. Yep, more practice, as we still have the canterbury Cup to prepare for.

It’s Tuesday, and all the parents are assembled; I even make it to ACSC to witness the event – I-85 was a parking lot only because I had to get up there on time. It has been arranged to have the office available, and the sweeper is ready, and Tab has her clippers and comb at the ready. Earlier in the day, I got a call from the coach; he was NOT looking forward to this at all, but that’s what he gets for opening his mouth – he’s not getting an ounce of sympathy from me (as usual). Everyone troops into the office, and the boys are all hooping and hollering, helping the coach to the chair. He gets his drape on, and the clippers are plugged in, and off it comes. Of course, Mr. Hard-Core Asst. Coach is really upset that this isn’t down to the scalp, in “true” Mohawk fashion, but hey, the coach still has to go to work on Wednesday, you know. It was pretty darn short with a #2 guard, but we all talked him into going down to #1. And no one had any gel – we forgot the gel! But, a can of hairspray did make an appearance, and Tab pulled that mess of curls up as well as she could. The boys were happy, though there was some discussion as to who was next – the parents were volunteering the kids who DID not volunteer themselves (Dylan), but in the end, only one scalping was had. Well done, everyone!!!

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the parents for a wonderful season, and thank you for your support of your coach and your players; we couldn’t have accomplished any of this without all of you. We hope to see everyone at tryouts, and look forward to kicking some more butt in the coming season!!!!!

Friday, May 09, 2008

Stupid Question # 132

Why do your shoes come untied when you are just sitting at your desk???? Or are there some gremlins in here that I can't see? WTF?

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Just a Little Morning Chuckle

For those living in urban areas, The Onion has a wonderful article on a new government-sponsored program, here.

Language alert - definitely not kid- or virgin-ear-friendly....

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Zopf: Fear the Falcons

By Jonathan 718-3412

document.write(writeModDate("May 4, 2008 9:58 p.m."));

POSTED May 4, 2008 9:58 p.m.

There’s something going on down at Flowery Branch High School, and I’m not talking about the recent coaching changes or the public run-ins with the law.

No, what’s going on down at The Branch is a lot more positive than coaches leaving for other schools in the region or students getting caught doing illegal activities. What’s happening down at The Branch is winning, and a lot of it.

In just its fifth year of existence, the athletic program at the South Hall high school is quickly becoming one of, if not the most, successful programs in the county.

Just outside the Gwinnett County border, and although they have yet to bring home a state title to Flowery Branch, the Falcons are experiencing a rate of success comparable to such elite Gwinnett programs as Parkview and Brookwood.

Combined with the boys track team’s dominating performance at the Region 7-AAA meet in West Forsyth last Tuesday and the baseball team’s dramatic 4-3 win on Friday night against Lumpkin County, the Falcons have won a total of five region titles this year.

The boys cross country, basketball and soccer teams all were region champions this year.
But even when its teams aren’t winning region titles, Flowery Branch is still finding a way to represent Class AAA in the state playoffs. Since school began in August, the football, cross country (boys and girls), volleyball, basketball (boys), soccer (boys and girls), track (boys) and baseball teams all qualified for the state playoffs.

Even in individual sports the Falcons shined. Tom Pennington (wrestling), Danny Bell (wrestling), Ashley Hillie (track) and Sam Salyers (track) also sported the Falcon red and black during state competitions this year.

To say that Flowery Branch has had a successful year in athletics would not be giving the school justice.

And the Falcons still have a chance to improve on their historic year.

The third-ranked boys soccer team has reached the semifinals of the state tournament, and with a win against No. 2-ranked Westminster on Tuesday night at The Branch, the Falcons will be one game away from the school’s first state championship in any sport.

If the Falcons don’t bring back a title on the pitch, the pitching and hitting of the top-ranked baseball team in the state could very well bring a state championship back to The Branch.
Flowery Branch’s baseball team opens the state tournament on Friday against Riverwood, and if they beat Region 5-AAA’s No. 4 seed twice in a three-game series, the Falcons could very well to be on their way to a state title.

Recently I asked Flowery Branch’s athletic director Shannon Benton about some of the goings on at the high school, specifically the training methods of the athletes. Benton said that the athletes at the school get there at 6:30 a.m. to train and lift weights, and after the training is complete they are awarded with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

I’m not sure what kind of peanut butter the school is using, but whatever kind it is, they better not switch brands any time soon.