Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Endless Afghan - The Eighteenth Square

I finally managed to finish another square despite all the homework assignments Kenny has been bringing home from school.

This square was designed by Ann Strong in Olympia, Washington.

It is based on a pattern called "pomegranate" and does resemble the fruit after it has been cut in half.

The side cables are also interesting. It alternates a solid knit cable with a seed stitch cable intertwined with each other to create an unusual look.

Overall, there is a lot of seed stitch throughout the square which gives the square a very pretty and very distinct look. It was also fun to knit.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Liberty Belle

Dan loves vintage airplanes. When we first started dating over 16 years ago, he took me to an airshow to see a Boeing B-17 nicknamed "Sentimental Journey". He happily gave me tour of the plane, explaining all of its history and quirks. Years later, Dan and I had the opportunity to fly in a B-17 called the "Nine-O-Nine" sponsored by the Collins Foundation. The flight, which stretched from Torrance, California to Monterey, California was, and remains, a very special memory for each of us.This week, Dan was excited to learn that another B-17 called "The Liberty Belle" (owned and operated by The Liberty Foundation) was coming to Fresno. He wanted to take Kenny to see this piece of history, and give him the opportunity to tour the inside of the plane. Boeing built 12,731 of these aircraft in the from 1936 to 1945. Today, only 14 are currently airworthy. Operating costs are on the expensive side, running approximately $3000 per hour. As a result, it is a real treat to see a B-17 that can actually fly. (Most of the remaining B-17s are part of ground based museum collections.) Kenny took a picture of his Dad posing by the front wheel.

After Dan explained to Kenny how a prop is different from a jet engine, we were allowed inside the plane.

The plane was nicknamed "The Flying Fortress" due to heavy armament to protect the aircraft during raids in World War II. Before the advent of long-range Fighter escorts, B-17s had only their .50 inch (12.7 mm) caliber machine guns to rely on for defense during the bombing runs over Europe. Because the bombers could not maneuver when attacked by fighters, and during their final run they needed to be flown straight and level, individual aircraft struggled to fend off a direct attack. In the picture above you can see two of the defensive guns and a yellow oxygen cylinder.

Because this B-17 is airworthy, all of the instruments in the cockpit actually work.
Dan in the cockpit area explaining the various instruments and how they work to Kenny.

Kenny discovered his favorite part of the plane. He said that it would be "just great" if he could sit in the nose gunner's area if the plane was in the air because"you can see the whole world from here".
And now Dan and Kenny get the surprise. I had booked them on a flight over Fresno. They attended the pilot's briefing then climbed aboard. The Liberty Belle taxis to the main runway.

Take off!

Kenny got his wish as he sits in the nose of the airplane and watches the world go by underneath his feet.

Kenny took this picture of the propellers over the Sierra Mountain Range.

Kenny took this picture of his Dad at the communications desk in the aircraft. I think Dan looks like he's enjoying himself, don't you?
After 45 minutes in the air, Dan and Kenny returned to the Fresno Air Terminal.

When Kenny and Dan exit the plane, both are all smiles. I was glad they both got to enjoy this bit of history together.

Monday, November 5, 2007

I Thought That I had Already Completed 6th Grade.

I have a complaint about 6th grade. Where is it in the teacher's manual that says that homework assignments should take between 2 and 3 hours to complete each night?
Tonight's homework assignment was the following:
1. Review this week's 20 new spelling words. Look up the definition of each word and write it down.
2. Read pages 79-92 in the Literature Book and write a paragraph about storyline. Be sure to include the names and description of the three main characters.
3. Complete problems 12-32 of the Math Workbook.
4. Draw a picture of a flower and label all of the parts, including petals, stamen, pistol, stem.
5. Read about a current event in the newspaper or on-line. Make a copy of the story and bring it to class for discussion.
Now take a look a typical evening schedule in my life:
1. I leave my office between 5:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
2. Drive 20 minutes to Clovis to pick-up Kenny at his great-grandmother's home. Arrive between 5:20 p.m. and 5:40 p.m. Chat with Meme (Kenny's great grandmother) for ten minutes.
3. Drive home. Arrive between 6:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.
4. Start dinner while Kenny starts his home work.
5. Eat dinner at 7:00 p.m. usually ending about 30 minutes later. Clear and wash dishes while Kenny starts his home work again.
6. If all goes well, we finish the last assignment between 9:00 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Kenny helps feed the dogs, takes a shower and gets ready for bed.
7. I now have about 30 minutes free time to try to blog, knit, or read before I take a quick shower and head to bed myself.
I don't remember spending all my evening hours as a 6th grader doing homework. I distinctly remember having time during the evening hours to be with my family --- to have "fun time" with my Mom, Dad, brother and sisters. I know that school work and learning is important but Kenny has already spent the entire day at school (he gets out at 4:00 p.m. because he is in drama) and now spends his entire evening doing homework. It is no wonder kids are sick of school by the time they reach high school!