Saturday, June 07, 2008

Weekend surprises

I did it. I got to the hamfest and did my turn as VE today. The pain was bearable as long as I didn't move too quickly or the wrong way. We had 23 people in the exam session, which is ten fewer than last year, but still a good number. A few didn't pass, including one older woman, about mid 60s, who cried. She couldn't understand how she could ace the exam online and fail it today. We talked and I gave her a local ham's name to help her study for the General exam. I also talked to her a little while and gave her my name and number so she could call if she needed to talk or study. The more we talked the closer we came to an answer for why. She had memorized the answers on the test online and not the information. Okay, that gave me the info I needed. I gave her a website that mixes up the questions and pinpoints problem areas. She'll make it next time; she almost made it this time. And she felt much better when she left.

We don't get a lot of women in the exam sessions, but the number is increasing, and today I got a surprise. One of the people testing was nervous, so nervous her hands were shaking. I told her she'd do fine and she did; she only missed four (you're allowed seven). She got her General license. When I gave her the good news she said, "Blessed Be," and I was stunned for a moment. I always wear my pentacle with the amethyst in the center; I never take it off. The last thing I expected in a ham radio exam session was a fellow pagan. We shook hands and shared greetings and goodbyes and we both made a new acquaintance, a very nice surprise.

Some of the people taking exams I've seen before and we have developed a bantering acquaintance. And there are the VEs I see several times a year who are determined to end the day with the most zingers. They fail miserably. It's not quite like dueling with unarmed men, but it's close, and it's fun. Since I'm the club's VE contact person, and it's even listed on the ARRL web site, I have gotten to know quite a few people. Being the only female on the local VE team makes for interesting dynamics and a lot of teasing, one of my favorite sports. I even got to see an old friend from up at Woodland Park I haven't seen since last year and that was fun. I invited them all to the book signing tomorrow. Some of them will come out of sheer curiosity and the rest will just spread the word. Hams are worse than old women when it comes to gossiping. In fact, Dean, from Woodland Park, told me he heard about the books through some Yahoo group, but I haven't mentioned it on any Yahoo ham group. We narrowed it down to where and it looks like I have a PR person (ham gossip) out there spreading the word about me. Not a big surprise -- gossips, old women sharing gossip over the back fence. Nothing stays secret for long in the ham community.

I came home, had some lunch, watched a couple episodes of X-Files from the sixth season, started another review book and then took a little nap. When I woke up, my shoulder blade popped back into place and the constant nagging pain lessened considerably. Even my neck is less stiff and my hip is less painful. The shoulder blade has popped out before but not in a long time. As long as I stop riding the couch during naps and stick to the bed, it shouldn't be a problem and I won't need to resort to thinking about popping pills or drinking (as one person on my F-list mentioned) Hemlock.

It's fairly cool outside and the sky is my favorite shade of Colorado blue. I missed the farmer's market today because of the hamfest but there's always next week. There's a nice cool breeze making the blinds dance while it brings the sweet scent of honeysuckle inside and all is peaceful and calm on this beautiful and breezy Saturday afternoon. The only thing marring my otherwise idyllic weekend is the imprint of the Funny Times newspaper that has mysteriously tattooed my chaise and the book signing tomorrow. I'm not a big fan of sitting and watching people walk by me while my pen is poised for signing. I am a lot more familiar with reading my writing aloud to no one in particular; it's how I edit. I'll do the laundry tomorrow morning, the whole load, and finish reading a couple of review books and maybe even put in a few hours of typing operative reports, just a typical weekend. There will be dinner with friends and I'm looking forward to that, but otherwise I'm looking forward to enjoying the usual round of the week and this beautiful weather with the lawnmowers buzzing and thrumming and sending waves of fresh grass scent all through the neighborhood. It's my favorite part of summer.

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