Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

New Site

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

My blog is now at lifeafterds106.umwblogs.org

After a little trouble getting the picture links fixed, I think everything is working properly.

new blog!

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

my new site is jhouck.umwblogs.org

Homage to Sport Science

Sunday, November 28th, 2010

So, as much as I would LOVE to recreate my own episode of sport science, I do not posses any of the technology needed to do so. However, I do own equipment to do basic physics experiments in my kitchen! With the help of my family and a few friends, I’ve created my own Kitchen Science video.

I left a lot of this unedited in order to truly capture the essence of my family dynamic. I hope it gives you a good look into the Strat family, because not only am I obsessed with science, as much as I hate to admit it I’m a big fan of my family’s quirky nerdiness, too.

Jing! The Tale of the Forest Adventure

Saturday, November 27th, 2010

Jing sounds so much like Bing that when I say it in my head, I say it like they say Bing in those commercials Microsoft produces. I am a product of my generation. That is all.

So, in trying to be discrete about where I live, I gave it away. I am an idiot. Oh well. At least the story in this screencast is interesting (or I think so).

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Ankle Update

Friday, November 26th, 2010

So there have been a few more twists in the adventures of Karen’s ankle. I went to my pre-op appointment last week where my doctor was going to read my MRI and CT scan. He determined that it is inconclusive what exactly is giving me pain (either the extra bone or the sprained ligament) so therefore he wouldn’t perform the surgery. He then told me to wear a walking boot for 8 weeks to heal the ligament. I obviously was not very pleased with this conclusion! I went from being able to have a simple surgery to fix my problem to not even knowing what is wrong with my ankle anymore!

I decided to get a second opinion from my teammate’s ankle doc, whom she really likes and recommended. So this new doctor took a look at all of my images and took a few more x rays. She determined that the ligament (which I’ve been wearing this stupid boot for a month now) is not what is giving me pain (which is what I’ve been sayin the whole time! I didn’t even know that ligament was injured). She also pointed out chips of bone in the ankle joint which have come off of my tibia and fibula (the two leg bones that make up your shin), but those aren’t the problem either. She thinks that the extra bone definitely broke off of my talus, and has reattached itself. However, it’s possible it could have reattached itself in a different position, therefore getting in the way of my ankle’s range of motion and causing me pain. The procedure to fix this would be to simply remove the extra bone, approximately 3 weeks recovery, which was the original surgery I had planned on getting all season.

OR, she thinks that I actually fractured my talus and since it went undiagnosed it wasn’t allowed to heal properly. Normally, bones take 6 weeks to heal, especially in young people. It’s possible that it never fully healed and the blood supply could be cut off to the bone (bones have a lot of blood vessels running through them). She said worst case scenario, if I keep running and doing high impact things my talus may actually collapse on itself. Scary. The procedure to fix this would be to actual drill into the bone, which would stimulate bone growth and ossification. I’m not certain, but I’m pretty sure that would mean at least 6 weeks in a non weight bearing cast, plus more recovery time on top of that.

So, next week I am getting a bone scan. I wasn’t really sure exactly what this entailed, so I went to WebMD. “For a bone scan, a radioactive tracer substance is injected into a vein in the arm. The tracer then travels through the bloodstream and into the bones. This process may take several hours. A special camera takes pictures of the tracer in the bones. This helps show cell activity and function in the bones. Areas that absorb little or no amount of tracer appear as dark or “cold” spots, which may indicate a lack of blood supply to the bone (bone infarction) or the presence of certain types of cancer. Areas of rapid bone growth or repair absorb increased amounts of the tracer and show up as bright or “hot” spots in the pictures. Hot spots may indicate problems such as arthritis, the presence of a tumor, a fracture, or an infection.”
So based upon the bone scan, the doctor says she will be able to determine what treatment will solve my problem. I went to the hospital today to pick up the initial x rays I had done the night of the injury. The two men working there were somewhat confused as to why I needed x rays that were taken over a year ago…. I told them it confused me, too! Hopefully these can help rule out some more possibilities of the mysterious ankle injury.

Work, break for turkey, then work.

Thursday, November 25th, 2010

I wish I hadn’t set myself up for this, just making molds.  At a certain point I was so miserable doing it that I almost had myself convinced that it wasn’t so bad, and then my neurons started firing again.  It’s just one of those things that a trained monkey could do, but the problem is that you’d have to find and train a monkey first.

I’ve made six molds in the past two days, ten left to go.  I’ve made it through 65 pounds of plaster and need to brave black Friday to get more tomorrow.  When all is said and done I think I’ll have made it through about 200 pounds of plaster for this set of molds, they’re big.  The only saving grace is that my father has one of those magical drill bits for mixing stuff, so I can mix up two gallons of plaster without sticking my hand in it.

Sadly some of the pieces are breaking while I’m making molds, so here’s a picture of the largest doll while it was still whole.

In less depressing news I painted the two doll heads that I’ve got fired and finished!  The tiny one is about the size of a quarter, the larger one about like a baseball.

Everywhere

Thursday, November 25th, 2010

I feel like I drove everywhere and back yesterday. I didn’t, really.

Just to Clinton, Mississippi and back in 10 hours.

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(I took that last picture while our speedometer read “90 mph”, by the way. Because in the Delta that’s not reckless.

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(credit for this picture goes to Mom, who risked life, limb and hairdo to get me some pictures of the MS river for my upcoming thesis work).

Why all this travel?

To pick up my grandmother for Thanksgiving celebration, of course! My mom got the idea on Sunday to have her mom here for one last visit before we move. The only hitch is that Mam-ma and Pappy don’t drive road trips anymore. So we said, “we’ll come get you!” Pappy had prior engagements and doesn’t ride as well as he once did so we got to visit with him over lunch and dessert yesterday and plan to take a host of pictures to make him feel a part once we return Mam-ma on Friday.

It was just very important to us to have her here a.) because she needs to meet her great-grandbaby! and b.) because her mark is everywhere in this house. Her prayers covered this family as we moved in and she is just as faithfully involved 21 years later.

Some of what is in the boxes of “scraps” are not memories made in this house, but brought to here. This includes the scrapbook Mam-ma put together for Mom in the 1960s.

Here is Mom’s 3rd Grade report card, signed by Mam-ma and her late husband, Binford Truett Nash.

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The left page has Mom’s baby bracelet and the newspaper announcement of her birth. The right? That’s from when Mom took most of that box of laxatives when she was 4 ;)
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But this is my favorite. Mom got bored in church one day and decided to write Mammaw a note. It is riveting.

“Please open it Mother.”

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Little captain obvious felt the need to write “there is something in it.” on the envelope. I’ll give her points on the punctuation, though I maybe would’ve gone with an exclamation point to build suspense.

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“This is you mother. You are very pretty.” Again, the fact that there is punctuation is a nice touch, but I’d have gone more exclamatory. Check the high heels :D

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Here is a comparison photo for you to judge the accuracy yourself:

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In fairness, she would’ve looked a little something more like this back in the day:

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So now you know that my grandmother, Tommie Sue Everett Nash Dockery, has been beautiful always and is so everywhere in the memories of this home that it just makes sense for her to be here now.

The Sitch

Thursday, November 25th, 2010

While I figure I should have done a much better job updating y’all on the house sitch in real time (yes that is a subtle 24 reference), I am pleased to let you know that within a week of putting this place on the market, we got a bite.

An offer, really.

I am mostly pleased because that means someone else sees in this home what I’m trying to capture on this blog.

Right now, if all goes according to plan (does it ever?), we’ll be completely moved out of this house on December 15. To recap:

–September/October/November– CRAZY amounts of cleaning!
–Wednesday, November 10– Final papers signed
–Thursday, November 11– 4 Beeson Ct. goes on the market
–Tuesday, November 16– Offer placed
–Wednesday, December 15–Moving Day
–No holiday decorations for us!

Matter of a fact, I’m writing this post at the counter in our yellow striped kitchen (with the annoying pot rack that always gets in the way of me having a conversation with Mom– or anyone, really– as she cooks on the other side) on our last holiday in this house ever. Pig-in-a-blankets are cookin’ and Dad, Emily, and Mammaw are working a puzzle at the table. I would say we’re just chilling, but it is unseasonably warm around Little Rock these days. It’s actually sort of nice outside, so all of the windows are open and we can hear the falling of leaves with the rain on this, the 25 of November. T minus 20 days.

The answer to your question is “yes, it does seem sudden.” But, it is exactly what we’ve prayed for. More than we could’ve hoped for. And since this girl has never been one for cautious optimism, my mind has traveled full speed ahead into the world of bold excitement!

Plus, pulling up to the house for Thanksgiving break wasn’t as shocking as it could’ve been because Mom– the leader of the packing effort– has been texting me every step of the way. Here is a small gallery of the images keeping me up to speed:

Did you know there is a number for trash emergencies? Well there is (3-1-1). And we’ve called on them 3 times. 21 years is a lot of junk. Of course, our baby bed and cradle didn’t so much seem like “junk” as Mom watched the workers chop it up into the back of their monster truck.

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This is the day we got a lock box so the realtor could bring people by at her leisure.

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A “For Sale” sign to make it official.

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There was also the occasional picture of my nephew (how did that get in here?)

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Walking through the door on Saturday night, I experienced this home for the first time ever as a potential buyer might. Complete with Trudy’s touches– a personal note to help myself to beverages in the fridge (I did) and a bowl full of candies (helped myself to that, too). There is a list of our house’s “features”, which is weird to think in terms of. And finally, a book that essentially says “please buy our house.” Also weird.

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But it worked.

So I’ll just rely on 20 years of memories and pictures to imagine what Christmas decorations would look like around this place.

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Paintings and Photographs

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

Today I went down to my grandma’s for Thanksgiving break, and I decided to take some pictures on the beach. One of them turned out very neat, and actually reminded me somewhat of a Salvador Dali painting in photograph form! This is the painting:

and here is the picture I took today:

I could just really see the elephants walking around on this desert-esque scene. In my eyes the horizons somewhat matched up, and the photo is almost just during the day while the painting takes place around more of a dusk time. Obviously Dali’s painting looks very surreal, but the photograph as well seems to have some elements that don’t seem quite right. For instance, it seems almost like the water and sky are just a backdrop because camera was so focused on the grains of sand, as well as the way the sand goes from individual granules to just a tan blur before the ocean meets the sky. Perhaps this is a bit of stretch, but either way I still really like the photo and the painting. Feedback is always appreciated!

Paying Homage

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

I decided to pay homage to some of the music I’ve been listening to lately by writing a poem heavily influenced by two songs in particular. Those songs are Brand New’s Sowing Season and Radiohead’s Videotape. The poem takes the perspective of death as he is forced by the other powers that be to carry out his duties. “Sowing Season,” inspired the content while “Videotape” can be heard more in the rhythm. Let me guys know what you think.

Death Wears a Straw Hat

an endless sea of wheat
whitecaps beneath my window
the grasshoppers jump like flying fish
lifeboat grains are all around
shaken violently under the sun’s hungry eye
in the friction all I hear are cries for harvest
pleas and bargains from dry salty mouths
not even shade will assuage the qualms
evermore they beg, with bloody ink
the grains wave to me, a rippling parchment
reminiscent of the first good doctor —
a burning star only gave so much
every photon, running to the brazen altar
winter might calm the weary souls
who so long to shed their bulletproof vests
but jupiter too has turned his eye upon me
an argus-eyed conglomerate now
always waiting for me
tying me down, forcing me to cut the bonds
forcing me to grab that sickle concealed cane
and wade amongst the lifeboats
many open their arms
many open their mouths
many bend against the wind
each granule descends beneath
after all the desperation, still in shock
it’s not the icy water
it’s not the loss of blood
my field lay still
silence in winter’s callous cold
snowy remorse falls down on my vacant face
always your fake veneer of amends
dormant or expunged
it never made a difference because
they grow back
the basin refills
the glint of my blade will still peek from behind their eyes
the bread will still rise on their plates
and it might even taste as sweet
self-loathing and contempt fill my lungs
as I bind my limbs and lay in front of the window
to watch my field
to stare at my ball and chain as it grows into the epitome of grace
as it becomes my existence
and I become their demise.