Monday, September 1, 2014

Rambling Woolysheep Hits the Trail

I have a new blog titled "Rambling Woolysheep Hits the Trail".   It is about my weight loss efforts and desire to hike the Appalachian Trail someday.   I think most of my new posting is going to be there.

You can check it out at this address...

Monday, March 31, 2014

I got on the scale today, just for shits and giggles. I was down to 347.6! I don't know if this is a glitch with the scale or I actually lost some weight.  I did move the scale to clean the bathroom.  I may have thrown it out of caliber.

But just in case I actually did lose some weight I thought I should document a couple of changes I made recently that may be paying off.

I recently bought a juicer and have started adding fruit and veg smoothies to my diet.

I juice the fruit and veggies up and then combine the pulp and juice in the blender for a smoothie. Way more filling that you would expect. One smoothie is 3 apples, 2 handfulls of brocolli florets, 2 handfuls of baby carrots, 1 orange-peel off, 1 large cucumber, a wedge of ginger-peeled, and 1 lemon-peel on.  I add water as needed in the blender to get something I can suck up through a straw.  I do try to pick out the lemon seeds before the pulp goes into the blender, and the apples are cored to avoid seeds as well.

I also went and got some raw milk again. I felt better the next day after the raw milk so I think I should keep that as part of my diet.

I also was shown without a doubt that tomatoes are not my friend. Had some of my ex mother in laws wonderful spaghetti sauce and ended up down with racing heart palpitations, shortness of breath, and extreme fatigue. No more spaghetti for me.

Other than that I haven't been doing much.  I haven't been walking nearly as much as I should have been since the fall.  I did get back at it today though with the short walk from the car to the school.  It come out to about a third of a mile round trip.  Even that had me huffin', puffin', and hurtin'.  The start is the worst of it so it's all up from here.  Again.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Spring Break 2014

(please excuse the weird formatting.  I copied and pasted this from my private blog about exercise and it did weird things)
This year the boys really wanted to go back to Crater of Diamonds in Arkansas but back when the time was right for making reservations we didn't have the money, or employment for that matter, to make camping reservations.  Instead we took two day trips and went to see Longhorn Cavern State Park in Burnet, Texas and Turner Falls Park in Davis Oklahoma.

Longhorn Cavern Trip Photos
On the way to the caverns we stopped at Wiseman House Chocolates.  It is housed in a gorgeous little vintage house.  Sammy took one look at the house and said he wanted to live in it.  He has good taste.
Sammy in front of Wiseman House Chocolates, doing his best "hey you whippersnappers get off my lawn" act.

Modern day Falkenstein Castle, on the way to Longhorn Cavern.

Near the enterance to the cavern.

Calcite crystals.

"The Queen's Watchdog"  This was a natural occurring formation in the cave.  It was found in a different area of the cave and moved beside the formation known as the "Queen's Throne" back in the early modern history of the cave.  At some point it got knocked over and broke in two pieces and was cemented back together and cemented down.


Stalactite/stalagmite formation

I think the guide said that these walls are Dolomite.  They were so smooth and white it was had to resist the urge to touch them.

Sammy and Ryan on the steps to the enterance of the cave.

The original visitor center, now a museum exhibit about the Civilian Conservation Corps that cleaned out the caverns 
 and built this park and many other State and National Parks as well as other projects that we take for granted today.

After visiting the caverns we headed off to Llano to find some llanite.   We found some at a rock shop.

I want to own these soooooo bad.  All of them.

This picture does not do these justice.

Llano County Courthouse, Llano, Texas

We also found the place along Highway 29 to pull off and see the bald eagles but there wasn't much action going on.  It's a little late in the season for eagles.  They just come here for the winter.

Turner Falls Trip Photos

This is the first section of Collins Castle that you encounter.  I actually made it all the way up to the building to look around even with my bad knee.  I saw some grown men in better shape than me that didn't go up.  So sad.

This stair leads up from the building seen in the first photo.  The path continues on up the mountain.  The boys went up and scouted around but didn't think much of the trail, so I stayed at the bottom of the stairs.

You go further down the road and you then reach the next set of buildings in the Castle complex.

Ryan on the roof of the main building .

All three of us in the tower of the main building.  There is a tiny winding stair that leads from the floor below through the tower.  It must have been a hoot seeing me squeeze my fat ass up that tower and out the door on the other side of that window I am in front of.  It wasn't much wider than the window, probably about half the width of the door to the left in the picture, maybe less.



Ryan in the arch.
 What you don't see in the picture is that we are high above the falls here and you have to follow a rugged trail and then climb up the rock face a few feet to get to that spot. If you were looking at the big picture of the falls we would be just of to the right of the photo and the top of this arch is along that rocky ridgeline.  It was too scary for Sammy.

The end of the trail.  

 The picture above is what we found when we went looking for the Crystal Cave.  We didn't find the cave, but this spot was worth it.  It was like something out of a LOTR movie.  So silent too.  When the kids shut up for a minute you could only hear the stream and your own breath.

Turner Falls was great and we plan to go back in swimming season.
A topographic map of Turner Falls.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Fridenburg Scroll is Finished

The finished scroll

After hearing about my scroll work from folks in my SCA shire, my old group asked me to make them prize scrolls for their upcoming Championship event "Guardian of the Tor".  Four painted scrolls by the end of April and copies of the line drawings so that they can be reused for years to come.  I am going to be a cross-eyed hunchback by the time I am done.  Pictures of that project will come after the scrolls are handed out so as to not ruin the surprise for the event.

Things are looking up again

An update.....Jeff was out of work from mid November until mid February.  He has a new job, but work is slow so he is still around the house a lot.   He has also gotten hooked on Minecraft as has everyone in the house. It seems to be taking the place of watching TV as we canceled the cable to keep from running up a bill we couldn't pay.  I do miss the local weather reports and The Daily Show on Comedy Central but I can get those online if I want them so there just isn't a lot to draw me back to cable at this time.  We did just buy a new antenna for the roof so we should at least have the local stuff back as soon as we can get Jeff up there to set it up.

We got through the unemployment thanks to help from friends, family and the 401k from the old job.  We now are a two car family as well thanks to the 401k.  I will post pics of the new car as soon as we get them both washed and I take some pictures of it.

Also I did finish and hand over the Fridenburg scroll so a post with pics of the finished product will appear shortly.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Things aren't going well right now.

I have taken the blog private for a while.  I need someplace to write stuff down and get it out but I don't want people reading about it right now.

Jeff lost his job back on November 13.  I don't know if he will qualify for unemployment benefits.  I think the company he worked for may be contesting his claim.  We got a call from the Workforce commission asking Jeff a bunch of questions.   I wish I knew what to expect.  I wish I knew what to do.  I don't even know if I will be able to get a tree and presents for the kids for Christmas or if I have to save that money to pay bills and buy gas and groceries.

Anytime I ask Jeff what I should do he just gets flustered with me and says, "I don't know!"   "I don't know" is about the only answer to a question I can get out of him these days.

There was an ice storm Thursday night.  Everything has been a solid sheet of ice for days.  The kids just went back to school today.  The road in front of the school was impassable.

My mood is tanking and I just want to cry all the time.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Fitzmorgan Peerage Scroll Project ep 1

First an apology.  Apparently Google has decided to embed ad links to random words in my blog.  I have seen this cropping up on others' blogs as well, so I think perhaps they have decided that this particular bug is now a "feature".

I have started on a new art project.  I am making a peerage scroll for an SCA friend of mine.  The original commission came from his wife and it was to be a least until she sent a text intended for me to him and she had to fess up.

I thought it would be cool to keep track of the project and go over some of the steps in making the scroll.

The first part would be to sit down with the person commissioning the piece and find out what they want.  After gathering that information I sat down and started searching the internet for a good copy of the image file I wanted to use.  After hours of searching and guessing I finally tracked it down.

This is the piece that the scroll is modeled after.  You can click this to go to the file and see it in all it's glory.  Use Ctrl + or Ctrl - for the zoom features.

After getting the good image to work from, I was able to take measurements of it to get the proportions correct so it will look as close as I can get it.  I then made a master of the work on paper with pencil.  Once I had the design down the way the wife and I wanted it I inked it in to make tracing it onto the parchment easier.

The artist herself, clinging for dear life to the vinework.

Here you can see the difference between the pencil and the ink in the castle scene.

One of the clients friends used to be a prolific cartoonist in the SCA before his death. In the kingdom newsletter "The Black Star", he had a long running comic strip featuring members of the kingdom as anthropomorphic animals.  His SCA name was William Blackfox.  The fox perched on a cloud and playing the bagpipes represents him.  The client wanted the scroll done with the anthropomorphic animal theme and I think is is working out really well.  His work was much more detailed and vibrant than this but, it is also really out of period and very very copyrighted so I couldn't try to copy his characters.  It would look wrong and I would get sued by his estate that doesn't care for the SCA in any way.

Next I got a copy of the text to be written on the scroll.  I discovered that it was a heap o' text to be cramming into the available area.  I traced of the text area and made copies on plain paper which I layered over graph paper so that I could work out the size of nib and word spacing.  I must have gone through at least 10 tries before I got a good one to model the text on.

The wife ordered the parchment and I waited for a chance to go to the Known World Scribal and Heraldic Symposium to get the historically correct ink with which to work.  I was also able to get some scrap parchment to test inks on.  Good thing I did.  Turns out the historically correct ink wasn't a good choice to go with my skills at this time.
I went with the manuscript black.  It works with my cartridge pen and produced a nice crisp black line.

Just after I got back from the symposium, I get a call from the guys wife that she let the cat out of the bag and the guy now knows.  He needs some changes made.  Thank God they were minor.  I was able to make most of them with tracing paper.  I was able to trace off the areas to be altered onto the tracing paper, omitting the parts that were going to be changed or moved.  On a scrap piece, I traced things that were going to be moved so that I didn't have to try and replicate them.  Then I stuck a piece of Bristol board between the scrap and the master to block out the master and was able to trace the moving parts into their new locations.

Next came transferring it all to the parchment sheet.  First I laid down the changes and a couple of references with the tracing paper underneath the parchment and then finished up by aligning the master with the references I gave myself.

 Now it is on to the slow process of calligraphy.  This is going to be the longest, slowest part.

Here you can see the graph paper under the parchment.  It keeps me writting straight and helps give me a sense of the space available.

To be continued.