Friday, April 29, 2011

Humpty Dumpty Sat on a Wall

We haven't been out to work on Spray all week. It's been cold and rainy here. The evenings we might have, I and we shot an IDPA match instead.

The Women's only IDPA had it's third match this past Wednesday. I'm am concerned for this event. We had a pretty good turn-out for the first match, ten shooters, seven of whom had never shot an IDPA match before. The range where this is held is just outside an Army base and the second match happened to fall when a lot of soldiers had just come back from deployment so attendance was down. We had only six shooters and only one of those was newish to IDPA. This month there were no extenuating circumstances that I could see and we had the same thing, six shooters and only one newbie. If it stays at six shooters, the range can't afford to hold these events and we take over the entire range for three evening hours. Most, if not all of the match fee goes to the range. Even if they got the entire $15 with only six shooters for three hours, they could have probably made more by having it open to the public.

A couple of us are working on ways to get the word out to the husbands, boyfriends and SO's that shoot IDPA with us. Many of those women probably have little or no interest in guns or shooting. They're not anti's, they just don't have an interest. So we'll see what happens.

As far as my results other than the first stage I did pretty well, for me. I had a great time, as always. One of our "regulars' usually shoots a .22LR. She has a .40 but doesn't like the hard break. I know some tough guys that don't like a .40 for the same reason. Anyway, I brought all the 9mm's we had, along with holsters, mag holders and ammo with me. They've all shot IDPA so I had all the gear for all of them. She chose my regular gun, Springfield Armory XDm 3.8. She said she really liked it. So I ended up shooting Mr WK's S&W M&P 9L with the small palm swell. With the longer sight radius, I did much better than I normally do.

Helping that out quite a bit, the match director chose to spend the entire match on basics — which was just fine with me. For all but two of the us, this was only their first, second or third IDPA match EVER!! You can't ever go wrong by going back to the basics occasionally. The entire match was spent only six rounds loaded in two mags. So a lot of reloading from slide lock. The one other woman who has shot IDPA before this, her and are still the only two who when we press the mag release we let the empty mag just fall on the ground where it will and ignore it until the CoF (Course of Fire) is over. All the rest, grab the empty mag, extend their arm down, bend their knees a bit and try to gently drop the mag onto the concrete floor.

We had a low light stage which I always enjoy and I think the other women did also.

Thursday night we had one of our regular Thursday night matches. We had 16 shooters including one IDPA newbie and four CoFs. Again, other than the first stage, I did very well shootin' the XDm.

This afternoon after I mowed the lawn, I was able to scratch off my list one of my outdoor to-do items! I was going to give our very overgrown Forsythia bush a haircut. It hasn't bloomed much the last couple of years and I believe it blooms in the spring on new growth from the previous summer. It's right next to the house and it provides a nice screen from our neighbors to the north. I'd planned on cutting away just the branches that were touching the house and some otherwise light pruning. I ended up cutting a huge chunk away and now a person can pass quite easily between the bush and the house. The only place it's really noticeable is our patio and we still have plenty of screening. I probably cut out an eighth of its total mass, most of which consisted of outrigger growth. Anyone who has a large Forsythia and has looked under it's skirts knows what I'm talking about. So that's done for the year. Over the next several years, I plan to cut it down to size by eliminating quite a bit of that outrigger growth so it can start again. If I keep doing that it'll be a beautiful yellow bush every spring!

blogging to: a quiet house

reading: Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
Culture of Corruption: Obama and His Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks, and Cronies by Michelle Malkin (the audio book)

Parting Shot: "... unhappiness is the hallmark of virtue. If a man is unhappy, really, truly unhappy, it means that he is a superior sort of person." ~ James Taggart from Atlas Shrugged

I believe that quote is the Liberal mantra.

Monday, April 25, 2011

We Now Return You to Your 'Regular' Programing

We got word the late last week that the six night extension was not going to be needed. So Sunday night / Monday morning, as per the original plan, was Mr WK's last night. Today after sleeping in and a nap things will revert to "normal" around here. YIPPEE!!

The weather hasn't been conducive to priming patio furniture or polishing on fiberglass. I was able to get out to Spray Saturday evening and sand some more on the teak slides on the cabin top. They are almost finished. I also finished polishing the inside of the cockpit, by far the largest area on the top of the boat that needed to be done. Now things will progress more quickly. Other than the sides of the cabin roof most of the rest of the smooth gelcoat on the deck is the narrow parts between the non-skid. So, yeah, I'm still very far behind. It's good that there's not that much that needs to be done this year—as far as big projects, anyway

At least the wooden patio furniture [if I put it all on the patio there would be no room to use it] that sits on the grass isn't on a time-table. As it's all got at least one coat of a good oil-based primer on it and between coats of primer and paint we can still use it. I really want to get it all done before the hot and humid weather gets here and I won't be so inclined to sit outside and paint.

As to the knitting, it seems to be moving backwards instead of forward. I tinked two rows of 350 stitches each on the White Caps Afghan. Yes, I screwed up again. And no, overall, no one would have noticed or cared but I did. But it's all back on track now.

Mr WK's Dimples Socks are another thing. I "fixed" an extra stitch error when I couldn't determine where the extra stitch came from with a k2tog. But a round or so later I have another one. So I tinked back to the first error and a several rounds beyond that one so I could fix it properly. When I got back to what I thought of as a good stopping point I counted and I'd gained two stitches. Well, I'm not going to sweat two stitches. At least it makes the pattern come out even but I'll be counting on the knit even rounds in the future, where I suspect it happened. Yes, another case of no one but me would know or care. But get enough of these and it will be noticeable. It's all back on track now, too and I've reknit what I tinked.

It makes me wonder sometimes, if I never had to frog or tink, what future projects would I have completed or be knitting on.

I've started reading Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand again. I started it a few years ago as part of a read-along. When the read-along went south when most of the participants were booted from not one but two knitting fora for being too Conservative* I kept it up but was writing this long, detailed book report on every chapter which really slowed down the reading. I was reluctant to stop with the book report but eventually decided I'd never finish the book if I didn't just read it. Which is what I'm doing now — reading it for enjoyment. And I am enjoying the read. I have no particular plans to see the movie. For me most of the time the book is way better than the movie. When it finally comes to TV I may see it then or not.

I've read all the Harry Potter books after they were all out but I've no desire to ever see any of the movies. Yes, I am a bit strange.

* the second banning wasn't such a big deal
just unexpected and bit sad

blogging to: a quiet house

reading: Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
Culture of Corruption: Obama and His Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks, and Cronies by Michelle Malkin

Parting Shot:

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Knit, Purl, Polish and Prime

I'm moving slowly along on my Sunset Socks and the White Caps Afghan and a bit more quickly on Mr WK's Dimples Socks. I've reknit and then some on the leg I frogged back to the cuff a few days ago. This pattern seems to eat up the yarn and advance round counts but doesn't seem to provide as much fabric. I've knit 57 rounds and have just under 3" of leg. On some socks, I'm lookin' at startin' the heel at 57 rounds!!! I may be over 100 rounds on the leg before I even think about starting the heel. It's good to be a process knitter.

As to the heel when I get there, I'm going to continue the theme of the leg and do an eye of partridge heel which is the same stitch as the leg only knit flat instead of in the round. For the last couple of socks for Mr WK I've done a Dutch heel but I'm going to revert back to my standard triangular heel turn for this pair.

As to the White Caps Afghan, as I noted in a previous blog post, I'm knitting only one 350 stitch row a day. The wrong side purl is particularly hard on my eldabows for some reason. At any rate, I've knit 412 rows which shockingly (to me) and
[based on a 700 row overall length] leaves only 288 rows to knit!!! At around four feet in length it's long enough that I snuggle my legs under it when I'm knitting on it.

I only worked on Spray for a short time Monday evening. I had everything laid out to polish and I did get some polishing done before it started to sprinkle. It WAS supposed to rain big time but that's all it did. Now I wish I would have stayed but, ah well.

Today the temperature is stuck in the mid-40's. Not conducive to painting or polishing so I'm going to stay home and mow the yard. Other than Wednesday, there is rain forecast for the next week or so, some days more than others. If I do the lawn this evening, I can spend Wednesday evening (which is supposed to be dry and in the low 60's) polishing on Spray and maybe throwing some more primer on the chairs and/or the picnic table in the afternoon while Mr WK is sleeping. Everything needs at least one more coat if not two. One chair has two coats of primer from the initial go so one more coat on that chair and two more on everything else or whatever it takes to use up all the primer and then I'll be good to go for the paint.

blogging to: a quiet house

reading: The Naming of the Dead by Ian Rankin (an Inspector Rebus mystery)
Culture of Corruption: Obama and His Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks, and Cronies by Michelle Malkin

Parting Shot:

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Almost a Week

It's been a rip-roaring time with Mr WK's current sock. I had around 50 rounds complete on the leg of the Dimples sock when I discovered a problem more than a couple of rounds back. I could have left it and pulled it to the back and no one but me would have been the wiser. I hadn't picked up the entire loop of yarn and laddered down to try to fix it. That didn't work so I decided to take the sock off the needles, frog the four or five rounds down to it but then I couldn't get it back on the needles properly. So I just frogged the entire thing back to the cuff.

So this sock has been frogged back to nothing several times, back to the cuff a few times and tinked more than I can remember. And prior to that this yarn was destined to be a hat!! Will I ever be done with the sock, let alone the yarn??!!

Ah, well. Such is the life of a process knitter. It doesn't have to be perfect but it has to look good, fit and work. I'd avoided working on it much until I could get Mr WK to try it on to make sure the cuff and leg were wide enough and would fit easily over his heel. I did before it was frogged and the fit was good. No issues at all. And as I'm not knitting 100+ stitches every round and fiddling with two colors it goes quickly. However, I think because of the pattern even 50 rounds was only a few inches long so this leg is going to have a lot of rounds.

My Sunset Sock has been getting some attention. I have a 44 round stockinette leg atop a 40 round ribbed cuff. And it fits, too. Before I started working on Spray, I took a photo of the progress. This is round 44 of the leg.

I've been trying to do one row on the White Caps Afghan every time I sit down to knit. Knitting on it continuously makes my arms ache but I seem to be able to manage one 350 stitch row every day. Slow but sure finishes the project.

We had some stormy weather come in Thursday evening. It wasn't as bad here as it was elsewhere, mostly just wind, rain and lightening. No hail and no destructive winds. It did however stop me from working on Spray Thursday night and as it rained almost all day Friday and into the evening I didn't make any progress on any of my outdoor projects. Saturday it was almost too cool to be outside so I rested up.

I went out to the boat after Mr WK left Saturday evening with the intention of if not finishing the sanding at least making a good run at it. I managed to finish both handrails, about half of one of the main hatch cabin slides and a little of the other one. You a see a bit of the before and after in the photo. I sanded everything with 60 grit to get the one coat of peeling sealer off. Once I clean the teak then I'll sand it again with finer paper for a smooth finish before I seal it.

Four days away from Spray and I wasn't as prepared as I would have liked. I'd forgotten that I'd taken the old t-shirt out of the truck that I was going to use on the boat to clean the patio furniture the other day so I had only the sleeve of one leftover from last year. I also didn't bring enough water. Spray wasn't as dirty as the last time but there were plenty of leaf debris that had drifted into the cockpit. So I didn't clean much.

blogging to: a quiet house

reading: The Naming of the Dead by Ian Rankin (an Inspector Rebus mystery)
Culture of Corruption: Obama and His Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks, and Cronies by Michelle Malkin

Parting Shot:

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Workin' the Plan

Once a year at this time, one of the large organizations that have contracts with Mr Wk's company to maintain their equipment has their yearly peak time. Usually, it's 14 days of nights. But two days in they've applied to extend it six more nights for Mr WK and into the first two days of May for the folks on days. And this year Mr WK doesn't have anyone to run any service calls that come in during the day. So far he's been lucky there've been only a few and he's been able to get the problems fixed fairly quickly. I am praying it keeps up.

Two good things though. His night shift is now only eight hours instead of ten and with the extension, more expense dollars for us.

Meanwhile I am working through a spring chores list that would choke a horse. Usually I just work on Spray, but this year, I'm also doing some outside house and yard projects. I managed to snag a wooden picnic table from Home Depot last week. It's not exactly the style I wanted but with the metal frame rusted through on the bottom of one we've had for 16 years the entire table is unstable, unsafe and unusable. We might have been able to get a few more years out of it had we left it on the patio but the table took up almost the entire patio so it's been in the yard for the past several years.

I would have preferred one with separate benches but I couldn't find one locally. So I settled for this one. The wood is crappy and it's very heavy but for $98 it was built and assembled. This is with the first coat of an oil based primer applied. The table going to be white.

I also cleaned up the wooden Adirondack chairs and footstools I bought in August '07. All I did was prime them and one chair got only one coat of primer. Since then they've been outside in the weather. I think they held up pretty well. The one in the photo is the one with with only one coat of primer. You can see on the arms that the wood is just beginning to show through.
front ~ before

The biggest issue was the dirt, mold and mildew, mainly on the backs and bottoms of the chairs.
back ~ before

bottom ~ before

The after photos almost look like they've been freshly painted!

front ~ after

back ~ after

bottom ~ after

I also cleaned the two white resin Adirondack chairs up. Before they looked like they were ready for the trash bin. They weren't broken but were an icky greyish color with dirt and spots of mold and mildew ingrained into the "grain".

front ~ before

front slats ~ before

Now they look brand new!! Amazing what some elbow grease and a little diluted and full strength Clorox chlorine bleach will do.

front ~ after

front slats ~ after

I've been working just a bit on Spray after Mr WK leaves for his evening's fun. Monday I went out, mainly to assess what needed to be done. The cockpit was dry thanks in part to the old sponges I placed over the cockpit drains to keep out the worst of the debris that blocked them up and flooded the cockpit last year.

We put only one coat of teak sealer on last year and that didn't last. It's already peeling off. At least it's one thin coat peeling off instead of the multi-year application I dealt with last year. I've already sanded the two wood strips on either side of the cabin entrance, the piece that goes on the gas locker and about three-fourths of one of the handrails on the top. It shouldn't take much time to finish the rough sanding. Then I'll clean the teak and sand it again with a finer grit so that it feels smooth. After it dries a few days, I'll start sealing it. Meanwhile, I'll start polishing the smooth gelcoat.

Earlier in the week it looked like it might rain Wednesday evening so
Tuesday evening I mowed the lawn. It only needed in spots. It grows so quickly with all the moisture this time of year that I didn't want to leave it, even a few days as it would get longer and thicker and more difficult. Our mower is older and doesn't have as much power as it had when it was newer.

It was supposed to start storming earlier today but now it's not going to do that until later this evening. I might go out and sand on the wood on Spray if the storm looks like it's not going to get here until after dark. It keeps changing so I'll make the call after Mr WK leaves.

blogging to: a quiet house

reading: Tampa Burn by Randy Wayne White (a Doc Ford mystery)
Culture of Corruption: Obama and His Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks, and Cronies by Michelle Malkin

Parting Shot:

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Shooty Goodness

I am shocked about how long it's been since I blogged about shooting. We've been several times this past month and I suppose I was "saving" up. Yeah, whatever.

I shot my second Women's IDPA match near the end of March. The second Women's match wasn't as well attended as the first one. The range is next to a military base and a lot of soldiers came back from deployment at that time and were off on vacation or spending time with their families. We had six shooters including one new shooter. Not as good as the ten on our first outing but they're going to keep having them. I'm looking forward to the next one!

Mr WK and I also shot two matches, one at our regular indoor range and the first outdoor match of the year. Both were a lot of fun but we always enjoy the outdoor matches more. We have a vehicle that we use. We shoot around, under and in the vehicle taking advantage of the Fighting From a Vehicle classes many of us have taken. It's difficult to practice that in your driveway at home! And so far [touch wood] no one has shot it.

There was also a walkin' the dog stage. The set-up was several wild dogs were attacking your two dogs. One had pulled the leash out of your hand and was being, um, serviced by one of the feral dogs. Those readers who shoot IPDA or are familiar with it know that a target with hands painted on it is a non-threat. The guys drew paw prints on the dog non-threat! For all the dogs they cut the outer -3 area off the targets and had them all on the ground sideways, like dogs. Neat but more difficult to score!

Anyway, you also had a five pound dog on a leash represented by a five pound weight tied to the leash. You stood on a sturdy bench and had to hold the leash with the five pound weight off the ground while you were shooting as if you were holding back the dog as it tried to charge. Everyone shot it with two hands holding the "dog".

I tried that and couldn't maintain a good enough grip with my support hand. I kept having stovepipes. You couldn't let the weight touch the ground and it was hard to clear them with a five pound weight hanging from my support hand. I should have shot it strong hand only but, of course, didn't think of that until later. Duh!

Over the weekend we went to our local outdoor range both days. The weather was warm and clear although very windy on Sunday.

Saturday, we took long guns and pistols but ended up only doing the rifles. Mr WK spent his time at the covered shooting benches exercising the Mossberg 30-06 bolt gun and the .308 DPMS. He confirmed that the Mossberg was still spot on at 100 and 200 yards. He couldn't find a happy place with .308 but as it continues to break in we've learned that it's choosy. Oh, it shoots everything but only some things are very accurate instead of OK accurate.

I mostly worked out of the open area with my carbine, sling and inexpensive red-dot optic. It's hard not to grin and shoot up entire 30 round mags at 25 yards while shooting off-hand and practicing alternate shooting positions. Some of the guys looked a little askance at this older chubby woman workin' it. They are just not used to seeing women shoot the big guns there. Plenty of wives and girlfriends watch but I'm just about the only women I've every seen actually shooting out there let alone shooting from all kinds of different positions.

Mr WK and I has so much fun Saturday both our shoulders were sore!

Sunday we tested some .308 loads at 100 yards; 39 gn of Hodgdon's Benchmark with a Remington 180gn ps pcl was the ticket — 1" groups at 100 yards. Although I stuck with the smaller caliber on Saturday I put more rounds downrange than Mr WK. Even so, I volunteered to shoot the 20 test loads. I was glad that was ALL we decided to test.

We scored 277 pieces of .223 brass.There were some shooters there that didn't reload and said we could have their brass. Sweet!

Then we moved over the handgun range. Mr WK had some new .40 loads to test in his quest for a more accurate load for his M&P. This time out it was 180 gn bullets with 4.5 gn Hodgdon's Universal Clay's. Accurate but a real thumping.

I worked some more with my self-appointed shooting coach on target acquisition, focusing on accuracy over speed as always with both eyes open. I worked with his dueling tree and a paper target. My speed is not great but my accuracy is way up from several months ago. I've been workin' the dry fire at home ... well, more like the dry aim. When Mr WK's not home, no round in the chamber and finger OFF the trigger as I moved from room to room doing housework or whatever, I bring the gun up and acquire various targets on the wall, in a different room or outside. At the end of the day we were both pleased as I haven't had much live fire practice time.

blogging to: a quiet house

reading: Feelers by Brian M. Wiprud (a mystery)
Culture of Corruption: Obama and His Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks, and Cronies by Michelle Malkin

Parting Shot:

Friday, April 1, 2011

Denial is a Wonderful Thing

Mr WK's Vertical Striped Socks are taking yet another turn. The toe decreases on the first sock were about half finished which means I was probably within 10-15 rounds of finishing the sock!!!! I had him try it on one. more. time. And decided at that point (many, many, many, many rounds too late) that it really was too small. Only several rounds back I attached the second skein of both colors so I only frogged the sock back to that point.

Being the persistent (OK . . . stubborn, obdurate and bull-headed person I am — which is why I got this far with a too small sock in the first place) I am casting on again, knitting from the old sock. I went from casting on 84 stitches to 100 and now I'm going to cast on 130 stitches. I can take away mid-stream a heck of a lot easier than I can add to.

Meanwhile, the project is "resting". It's in a basket with around 70 cast-on stitches sitting on a needle. This is where being a process knitter comes in handy. I'll get there, eventually.

Meanwhile, I'm working on the White Caps Afghan. When I do knit on it, it grows slowly. At 350 stitches per row it takes a l-o-n-g time to knit 14 rows, which is one pattern repeat. And for some reason, the four pattern rows always seem to go more quickly. The seven wrong side purl rows and the three knit even rows seem to drag just a bit. Maybe it's because there's nothing to mark progress. When I'm kitting a pattern there is a beginning and an ending several times across 350 stitches. When it's just knitting or purling all the way across there's not such a feeling of progress until near the end.

I've got 401 rows knit on the afghan out of a possible 700 so it's almost 58% complete. A few rows back I attached the 12th skein of blue yarn. I'm not very far into the third skein of white. I bought lots and lots of yarn for this project. When I reach row 700 I'm going to see how much yarn I have left and and decide if I want to make it longer. Now it's just over four feet long. I'd like it to be a good six feet in length. As it's cotton it's very heavy. But I like it.

I've also been working more on my Sunset Socks. They're my stoplight / passenger knitting. The pattern is Nancy's Bush's Gentleman's Plain Winter Socks wth Dutch Heel. A 40 round ribbed cuff then the entire rest of the stock is stockinette. I was apparently in a frogging mood because I fogged the 28 rounds of the leg I had knit on this one back to the cuff. The knitting was very uneven from all the starting and stopping. This yarn is not every forgiving in that respect. I've now re-knit about a dozen rows and it looks better.

blogging to: a quiet house

reading: Witch Faith Narrelle M. Harris (a fantasy)
Culture of Corruption: Obama and His Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks, and Cronies by Michelle Malkin

Parting Shot: