Today it is raining, which explains in part why my pain level is way up. Ugh! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

When I was looking for a free image to illustrate the concept of “pain,” all I got were ones you had to pay for (from Shutterstock) and then images that related instead to “paint.” I really like this one of a painted building. ๐Ÿ™‚

colorful building by Rick Barrett
Photograph by Rick Barrett, on StockSnap.

I don’t know where this building is. Do you?

This evening I have my free owners’ class for my new sewing machine. Seeย New sewing machine!ย ย I hate taking it out into the rain, but I don’t want to delay the class any longer because I’m not willing to use this great new machine before I receive instruction on how to properly deal with it.

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My new Husqvarna Viking Tribute 145M

So I have jerry-rigged a cover for it out of one of those plastic zippered comforter cases. It fits over the machine, but not over the cover that came with the machine. I’m quite disappointed with that cover: instead of being one of those that snaps into place on the bottom of the machine, this one merely goes over the top and rattles around there. I will have to find a better cover for this expensive (to me) machine!

Last night my older son Nick, an IT wizard, and his girlfriend Summer, also an IT wizard, took me out for a belated birthday dinner. My birthday is actually the day after Christmas. ๐Ÿ˜‰ We went to Hong Kong House as a substitute for Jiu Thai Asian Cafe, which I had heard about in relation to the Lunar New Year, which was last Friday. But it turned out that Jiu Thai is closed on Tuesdays.

Hong Kong House is somewhere that Nick and Summer have often been to. Nick has gone there with his Mandarin language classes. I think the two of them were a bit disappointed with me because the things they wanted me to try aren’t things I like to eat. Fish and eggplant. ๐Ÿ˜› But we had some yummy dishes anyway, including lamb with cumin, a huge pork meatball with black mushrooms, steamed dumplings with sauce, and I forget what else.

Nick had a wonderful time in the fall of 2016 visiting Summer’s family in China with her. For some really wonderful photos that he took here, please check out my earlier posts about his trip:ย My Son Went to Chinaย andย Nick & The Great Wall of China.ย ย Right now Summer is waiting for her green card so that she can visit her family again.

Here are some of my favorite photos from those posts:

Meanwhile I found out that Nick, an avid gamer, won the U.S. National Championship for an arcane Star Wars card game! He has been invited to participate in the World Championship games in Minnesota in May this year. I hope he goes and wins! ๐Ÿ™‚

On Sunday my younger son Jason came over for a visit. He is just back from an Army Reserves training, an Advanced Leader Course for his PsyOp MOS. That training was at Fort Hunter Liggett in California. He took some nice photos there:

He had an unexpected day off during the training and rented a bike iin order to tour the base. Great idea! He pretty much lives for cycling. ๐Ÿ™‚

Jason graduated from the Advanced Leader Course with honors, which was not a surprise to his mother. ๐Ÿ˜‰ He will be receiving a promotion to Staff Sergeant in the next week or so. I’m very proud of him! โค

But, no sooner did he get back, than he learned that he will be leaving again, this time for a long field exercise in March that is being held in three locations nationwide by the Army Reserves. It is called Operation Cold Steel. Jason will be at Fort McCoy in Wisconsin for the operation, which is where he did his Basic Leader training a year ago, freezing most of the time. ๐Ÿ˜›

Here is a link to Operation Cold Steel’s website:ย ย Operation Cold Steelย ย It is a major, year-long undertaking by the Army Reserves to up the efficiency of their fighting soldiers. It looks like a very big deal.

The day before Jason came over to visit me, his copy of the Reserves publication Citizen Soldierย came in the mail to my place, and it was all about Cold Steel, which I read avidly. So when Jason said that he was going to be sent there, I actually had an inkling of what he was talking about! ๐Ÿ™‚

Jason is one of only three people in his unit chosen to go to Operation Cold Steel…

To close, here is a photo of all four of us, Summer, Nick, Jason, and me eating out on Mother’s Day in 2015. The biggest change in our looks is that now Nick has a long full beard!

Mother's Day 2015 at the Pearl (2016_05_01 17_16_42 UTC)
Mother’s Day 2015