Monday, September 27, 2004

Hot Damn! I'm on a roll now!

The kilt project proceeds apace. (I've always wanted to use that word.) I found the center point of the fabric, and began laying out the pleats, pinning the into place. I got all of that done this morning, so it was time to top stitch each pleat. But I had an Oktoberfest meeting this afternoon, and I had to run to the hospital to visit Dad. I got half the pleats stitched tonight. More tomorrow!

Speaking of Dad, he's doing a lot better. He has some fluid in his lungs, and they have to put in chest tubes to drain them. Otherwise, he's stronger and more alert than when he went in.

Yesterday, I posted a picture of Lydia (from my comic). Today, I am posting a picture of Natalie.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Wow, two days in a row!

Since there's a Renewable Energy Roundup going on in Fredericksburg right now, I have been thinking about energy and politics. What got me started on this was an announcement that International was releasing a new SUV called the CXT. According to the news report, they are making this truck because Soccer moms drive Hummers now. The Hummer gets about 10 miles per gallon. Not to be out done, the CXT gets 7 miles per gallon of diesel.

At about the same time as this announcement, the BBC printed a story on their web site about the depletion of the world's oil reserves, and CNN ran a story that said oil production would peak in 2010.

While driving to work one day, I was thinking about these stories and the current fighting in the Middle East, and thought to myself, "Wouldn't it be great if this country had an actual energy policy dedicated to reducing our dependence on foreign oil?"

California, under Governator Arnold Schwarzenegger, has made some impressive strides in this regard. First, they opened up the HOV lanes on the freeways to single occupant cars that get more than 40 MPG. Detroit was outraged. They said it showed an alarming preference for Japanese cars. Well, Duh! The only cars on the market that meet that criteria are Toyota Prius and Honda Civic Hybrid. Maybe if the Big Three made a car that got great gas mileage . . . Other states are following suit.

Next, the Governator signed a bill into law that could affect the entire country. If the regulations survive legal challenges from the auto industry, it would require the companies to reduce emissions by 30% by 2016. Detroit claims that there is no technology that can be put into place to meet these limits. However a recent study has found just the opposite.

Look, the long and short of it is, we are in Iraq to get oil. If we want to be free of the muddled Middle East tangle, we need to become independent from oil, and that means converting to alternative energy sources. In other words, vote for the candidate that promises to do just that. And don't think that Kerry will do it--he has already met with Detroit automakers to put their minds at ease about his presidency. (I wish I could find the article. It was in the Detroit Free Press a month or two ago.)

Saturday, September 25, 2004

The Year From Hell rolls on!

My promise keeps getting shattered more and more. We had to put Dad back into the hospital Thursday night. Apparently, sometimes after pancreatitis, the organ develops something like an abscess. He'd been getting weaker and weaker, and had lost 14 pounds in a week. So . . .

I did a drawing of Lydia (you know, from my comic, Chasing the Sun) and thought I would post it here. Let me know what you think.

Okay, to get the giggling out of the way, I need to tell you that I am going to try and make a kilt. Yes, I bought one, but Utilikilts no longer makes them in urban camouflage. And I want one in urban camouflage. So, I've started to work. Here's a photo of the first step:

I'm going to start with the bottom hem, and then, I want to find the center of the length, and start pleating. See this spot for updates.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

The Year From Hell

Well, I have broken my promise to my late Aunt Johnnie to update the site more regularly. I must say, though, it has been the Summer from Hell.

First, my uncle Bob Turner had a heart attack and had heart bypass surgery. Then Johnnie died. Then, Dad comes down with a severe case of pancreatitis, and spent 21 days in intensive care in San Antonio. We've had him home for a few weeks, but he seems to take two steps forward and one step back.

Friday, Grandmother Wilson had a minor stroke, and was taken to the hospital by EMS called by my aunt Nelda. Saturday, Mom went to Brownwood to see what was going on, and discovered that Grandmother had lost her mind from Alzheimer's Disease. ('Course, we'd known that for a while.) So Mom's been in Brownwood for the last couple of days.

I had started smoking again back in December. I quit in August, but then Dad went back into the hospital four days later. So much for a non-smoking lifestyle. I had intended to quit again tomorrow. Then Mom tells me Grandmother is going to be living with us for a couple of weeks, after she spends a couple of weeks with Sue.

Looks like I picked the wrong month to quit smoking. Again. (Ten imaginary points for anyone who can tell me where that line came from!)

I am also trying to sew a kilt of my own. I found a pattern
online, but want to use an urban camouflage pattern (at $7/yard) to recreate the Utilikilt style I like. I think I have enough fabric to try a prototype and then one I might actually wear. If this works, I want to make another one in the official State of Texas tartan, Texas Bluebonnet (at $32/yard). That kilt will be a more traditional style kilt, the pleats depending on the width of the pattern. But since Mom's out of town, my sewing lessons can't begin.