Friday, May 30, 2014

one does not simply...

Like The Incline, the story doesn't necessarily end when you reach the top.  It's all...

"Yay, we made it!"
"Look how purdy!"

and soon becomes...

"Okay, now we gotta get back down"

But, what to do?  Because...

Incline people are typically a courteous bunch, watching out for each other because of the common bond formed from climbing over piles of trash together.  One unwritten rule is that, you climb up, but you don't climb down The Incline.  It's just common courtesy to the suffering souls going up.  

The way down is the Barr Trail, which is the trail that leads to the summit of Pikes Peak.  The top of The Incline hooks up with the Barr Trail, and there is also an outlet about two thirds of the way up The Incline for bailing out, for those who are so inclined (see what I did there?)

So the process of cancelling out all of the gain in elevation of The Incline is going down a three-mile stretch of loose gravel switchback trail.  Many Incliners like to run back down the trail.  That's kinda what we were doing, peppered in with some walking, chit chatting, and enjoying the views.

Halfway down Barr Trail
Chaco says, "Take our pic, the more Mom smiles the bigger I will frown!"

We were about two feet from the end of the trail with Ellie Mae in sight - me in the lead, Chaco behind me, and Wolfgang bringing up the rear.  We were strangely discussing anesthesia and pain killers (foreshadowing?) when I sense this slight ruckus behind me.  

I turned to see Chaco writhing on the ground, gripping his ankle.  Wolfgang explains, "Yeah, he rolled it", showing me the side of the trail that fell away making for perfect ankle-rolling.  

So I'm thinking, "Great, we make it UP The Incline, DOWN Barr Trail, and he breaks his ankle in the parking lot"

But he didn't.  Break it, that is.  Just a sprain leaving him a bit of a gimp. 

And it didn't foil his photography skills.  He got more nice shots of the Thunderbirds later that day during USAFA graduation. 

I put together this little video which features some of his photos, the YouTubization of which doesn't do them justice.  There's also some shaky video coverage of graduation practice that I take full blame for.  I mean, I could totally make a blooper video from the footage, but it would run twice as long at least.

Turn up your volume, Sound o' Freedom!


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

a slip of paper

Yesterday, Chaco, Wolfgang and I got into Ellie Mae to run some errands.  I found a slip of paper in a cup holder.

Me:  Whassat slip of paper?
Chaco:  I dunno, Dad found it and put it there *looks at slip of paper*
Chaco:  Oh, it's the parking tag from when we did The Incline
Me:  Yeah? Hmmm... hey, we should do The Incline again this summer.
Wolfgang:  I wanna do The Incline!
Chaco:  grumble grumble

Me:  Okay, so when should we go?
Wolfgang;  Let's go before work starts, I start week after next.
Chaco:  I start next week... oh, and I gotta do paperwork Thursday and Friday, so...
Me:  So... tomorrow!?

Yesterday, today was tomorrow.

Or... today was tomorrow yesterday.  Or...  whatever!

We did The Incline today.  Whee!  It was actually nice to do it on such a spur of the moment, I didn't have time to let my fear of heights talk me out of it.

Lovely morning, just lovely!

My fearless leaders at the base

We hit the stairs at about 6:45 with a goal of "just keep moving".  To be told, Chaco is our weakest link.  He's backpacked to the top of Pikes Peak - a 13-mile slog - but he claims The Incline is harder.  What?!?

Wolfgang kept to the goal, but I told Chaco he should stop as needed, so he did.  I could've kept with the goal, but thought I should stop with him.  I got antsy on the "trash heap" portion of the trail that gets very steep.  Really, that's my motivation to get to the top - get off the trash heap.

At close to the end of the trash heap portion, I told Chaco I had to keep going, but he should continue at his Grandpa pace.

Wolfgang was first to the top.  Here he is sitting upon his throne.

My big finish, as shot from the throne.

Googled image of the trash heap portion

All in all, it was another fun adventure.  The biggest challenge for me is the acrophobia, but I find The Incline as a good time right in our "backyard".  

Chaco emerges at the "reception area"
See him?  Wolfgang still atop the throne.

Of course it's not a real adventure unless someone gets injured, but that's another story.

Same time next year?  


The city shot a video today of the incline from a drone helicopter.  Pretty cool!
Check it out here [click me]


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

friends in town

One time, I was innocently shoveling in China's pen when it happened.  Other times, I've been out on some bicycling mission.  Yesterday, I was out shopping.

We don't hear them coming, don't think to watch for them or sit in waiting.  They just suddenly appear with teeth rattling report.  OH yeah, must be end of May.

So yesterday, I was finishing up my purchase when the telltale sound and shaking of spent jet fuel announced the arrival of the Air Force Thunderbirds.  Air Force Academy graduation is Wednesday.   Recall that the Thunderbirds were grounded last year, and we had an oddly quiet end of May.  The Commemorative Air Force stepped up and volunteered for the fly over.

It was elegant, poignant, very well done.

This year, the grounding has been lifted, and it's nice for us Academy neighbors to see and hear the jets again, although China begs to differ.  They fly around practicing, and I can't help but think that they buzz the nearby neighborhoods and schools on purpose, giving us a freebie.

I arrived home to find Chaco in the backyard snapping a few photos.  He got some nice shots, so I'll share a few of them.  Click on 'em, they get big!

Anyway, it seemed like a fitting part of Memorial Day.  I hope my blog friends were able to enjoy some time in recognition of the holiday.

I managed to get caught up on a few things and then spend a good part of the day playing.  Meego and I got in some playground basketball where he succeeded in beating me in both HORSE and PIG before Magnum joined us and the three of us took turns abusing each other in Knockout.  Afterwards, we went for a Slurpee bike ride so I could pay up and Meego could collect his winnings.

And Chaco prepared a yummy Memorial Day lunch for us and slaved away in the yard as mentioned.

Somebody's gotta do it.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Silver Liningness Sunday

The first full week of summer break has been a good one.  It didn't take long for me to get used to the idea of not going to class everyday I tellya.  And I'm glad I've got a couple of tutor students to keep me from going total slob.

Once we got all of the dorm stuff sorted, our house feels like home again.  It's certainly not as minimal as I'd prefer, and there's still a bit of sorting to do, but it's all relative, and it's nice having Chaco and Wolfgang home. Poor Meego is still in school for another week, and having his brothers hanging out in full summer form until their jobs start up is not particularly motivating when it comes time for homework!

The three of us - Chaco, Wolfgang, and I - took a day trip this week to visit my parents.  Neither of them is getting any younger, so it's good to visit. All things considered, they were in good spirits and we had a nice time together.

In movie news, we watched World War Z.  I didn't have high expectations for that one, and it pretty much lived up to them.  Not spectacular, not a waste of time.

Django Unchained was quite fun, though.

Observant visitors may have noticed that I have a blog list over there on my sidebar now.  I actually spent an appreciable amount of time trying to get that freaking widget to work!

If you don't see your blog and feel it's been ignored in error, it could be that you just haven't updated recently enough.  Yes, my blog list compels you to update!

Or the freaking widget isn't working correctly.

Or your house is too clean.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

turning down the volume

I sit here among the ruins.  I think... "Hey, it's not so bad".

The Modern Trashed Dorm theme was not going over well here at the abode.  Plus, a couple of days after trashing the place, Chaco went off with some friends for one of their rip-roaring 2-day LAN parties, leaving us here among the filth.

I was tempted to scoop it all into big trash bags, but lucky for Chaco, I was enjoying a virus that Magnum brought home for me from his recent travels.  So I sat around among the rubble while fighting the snot wars.  Although when Chaco returned yesterday, I think he was somewhat wishing that I would've just trashed it all.

But he tackled it, motivated by the fact that he wanted to hook up his computer, and doing so was pretty much out of the question in the state the room was in.  I came down this morning to find this:

Trust me, this is actually much better than before, with more improvement to come.  The hideous lamp is still here, but it and most of the stuff is going to a storage unit today.

So I was over looking at Mama Kat's writing prompts for this week, and all of them kind of applied in a way, but I thought of

2.) You HAVE to go back in time and choose a different career path for yourself. What do you choose?

Today I'm thinking Garbage Lady.  Like a Garbage Man with different parts.  I just love me some trash takin' out!  And today is our Garbage Day to boot!  YAY!

I've never actually seen a Garbage Lady - not on a truck anyways.  They probably exist though, right?  Either way, I think I can still rock the fluorescent vest.  Been there done that!

Back during my actual non-traditional profession days, several other enginerds and I went on a tour of the dump.  We were in the process of designing a family of products back when "environmental friendliness" was kind of a new thing, so we naturally headed for the dump to inspire our creativity.

I remember that our tour guide was a Garbage Lady who knew a surprising amount about trash and what happens to it when it leaves the dumpsters.  She spoke in terms of "tons" a lot.  It was a good field trip, and ever since, I've had trouble throwing things away... except when it's rained down on me in the form of a dorm purge.

In the meantime, anyone have any good Ramen recipes?  We've got like a TON of Ramen...

Monday, May 19, 2014


This week's Illustration Friday prompt is "Retro", and I didn't actually do an illustration because my artsy place is still surrounded by dorm clutter,  but I managed this sketch to accompany this post.  For Meego's Birthday outing, we ended up going to see Godzilla at IMAX.  

I'm not necessarily a Monster Movie aficionado.  I appreciate good special effects now and then, but can usually take them or leave them.  Also, after that 1998 Godzilla, which I found pretty forgetful, I thought I would be content to never see another Godzilla movie.

But a few months ago, we were at IMAX and caught this trailer (pretend you're seeing it on the ginormous IMAX screen in 3D with their patented sound system...):

And after that trailer, I was all, "Gee, that looks really good".

So when it was decided we would go see it, I was cautiously optimistic, and DANG, it was good!  I really liked it, and that was also the family consensus.  Poor Wolfgang went to see it at the regular theater on Friday with some friends, so he knew what was going to happen.  Afterwards, he said he wished he'd seen it at IMAX first instead of second.

As I watched, I remembered getting excited to watch the old Japanese Godzilla movies when I was a kid.  Were they black and white?  I don't know because we only had a black and white TV, so everything was black and white, whether intentional or not.  But anyway, this movie goes back to that retro Godzilla in a good way.

Without going into spoiler detail, I'll just say that it's just very "artistic", and different from typical action movies big on CG.  Really a visual delight.  It's not big on character development, but that's really not the aim of this movie, and the characters felt developed enough.

Thank you, Godzilla people


Sunday, May 18, 2014

Silver Liningness Sunday

To my left are two of, I think, five fans.  A little behind and to my right is a hideous lamp.  There are boxes in various stages of unpack and disorganize, there is a subtle odor of vinegar...

It's a good thing everyone's in a good mood.

As mentioned, the college semester came to a close for Chaco, Wolfgang, and myself this week.  Meego still has a couple of weeks of slaving, and the rest of us are trying to organize all of this dorm stuff into manageableness.  Most of it is Chaco's as he was living in an apartment for the last 9 months or so.

One of his roommates "washed out", more or less, after the fall semester, and left a bunch of stuff behind.  Another roommate is headed home to Florida in a Honda Prelude, so Chaco took on the care and feeding of a good portion of his stuff too.  Then there are various things that the New Guy roommate left behind, and it's all invaded our house.  I KNOW I didn't buy that hideous lamp.

BUT, it's all good and will be resolved soon, I'm certain.  The good moods arise from being finished with school for now and looking forward to summer.  Wolfgang will be back to his summer job at EduKit soon, and Chaco's secured a job working in the university's computer science department.

We basked in Meego's birthday on Wednesday, and I think today, we're going out for a proper celebratory meal and activity of Meego's choice.  Yes, he did like the thing that we got him that I nearly busted a bladder to intercept.  Since Anita asked, here it is:

We've already had some fun with some backyard stargazing.  Jupiter mooned us.  Three times!

And speaking of birthdays and gazing, I have visited the new little boy baby next door.  We brought over some supplies, and I got a baby fix.  SO precious!!  Then I came back home for a full night's sleep.

In other new stuff news, Reese shed (big whoop).  We could tell he was about to strip at any moment, so decided to train the video camera on him to record his undressing.  Who knew he was so modest!  He did it, but managed to do so behind his "play structure" from the camera angle.

But oh well, we videoed it, so here is the 13-second strip show.  He comes out of the cave, sheds the skin on a piece of driftwood, and leaves it hanging off the wood like a pair of pantyhose left on the shower curtain rod.  It's hard to see it even with having it explained ahead of time, so be sure to rewatch the video about 50 times or so...


Friday, May 16, 2014

so... now what??

Well, this was a week.

Finals week at school - the cause of much anxiety, I think I could smell it in the air.  I wasn't too worried, just looking forward to being finished.  I reminded myself that I'm a freaking tutor for cripe's sake, and actually took my own advice and did fine.

As we sat waiting for our math teacher to arrive for our exam, one kid in front of me was all a-fidget while taking sips of RedBull.  I wondered how many of those he'd had that day.

I've just got one class I'm still waiting on the final grade for.  I had a solid A going into the final project, which was no biggie, so unless the instructor thinks it's total crap, I should be good to go with that class too.

*ahem*  famous last words.

And now, after all that studying and testing... nothing!  Yay! 

Yesterday I helped Wolfgang move out of his dorm.  That translates to - I sat in the car while he and his roommates lugged things.  Chaco is checking out later today, but he's been bringing things home piecemeal all week, and last night took Ellie Mae with him, so I don't even need to sit in the car for his final move.  Hopefully, he doesn't have much left because I don't know if the house can hold much more!  

Think I can pull off a garage sale while they sleep??

So it was nice to enjoy Meego's birthday.  Everyone was here for dinner and cake, and I managed to find his gift in all the dorm clutter.  Meego's last two birthdays have been somewhat overshadowed with Chaco's and then Wolfgang's high school graduations, so it was nice to not have all that hoopla going on this year.

Then last night was the final band concert followed by a few tunes from the jazz band.  There be Meego, slappin' the bass.

Is it my imagination, or is he starting to resemble Rock Chef?  


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

boxed in


Me:  Oh {SHOOT!} Don't answer that!

Meego:  What?

Me:  Don't answer that!

Meego:  Why not?

Me:  Don't answer that!

Meego:  Go answer that?

Me:  Don't answer that!

Meego:  Who is it?

Me:  Don't answer that!

Meego:  It's UPS.

Me:  Don't answer that!

Today is Meego's birthday.  Happy Birthday, Meego!  Born Mother's Day of 2000.  So we ordered him a thing, and it was due to be delivered yesterday afternoon.  Meego and I were both at home, but I had to leave to go tute and was hoping that UPS driver would get here so I could intercept the thing.

I had to get ready to go and stepped into the bathroom to do in-the-bathroom things, and of course, that's when Mr. UPS arrives.  Hence the above "conversation", me shouting from the bathroom.

So I made it to the door to intercept the thing, which by then, Meego was on the up and up about.  At least it was in a nondescript brown box, so I took it down to the rec room to help it blend in.

In the meantime, Chaco and Wolfgang are to be out of their dorms by the end of this week, and have brought "a few" of their things to the house already.  So I have plenty of camouflage for Meego's Birthday thing.

Anybody remember where I put it??


Sunday, May 11, 2014

Silver Liningness Sunday

First of all...

Happy Mother's Day to all my Mom Friends!

Honestly, I'm not really a Hallmark holiday kinda girl, but it's nice to recognize the Moms.  I both talked to my kids, and talked to my mom, so got the best of both worlds.  It's like a Motherhood sammich!

In other related silver liningness, our next door neighbors welcomed a new baby early this morning - a Mother's Day baby!  They have four girls, and this one... it's a boy!  Can't wait to meet him.  I will mention that these are the neighbors of the poultry murders, so it's nice that they're enjoying happier times.

Back in the fall?  When the university did that Bike Jam thing?  I won a backpack?  Anyway, the bike jam connected us with a site for tracking our cycling mileage, and I've continued to use it.  It's handy for knowing when my tires are about to blow out.

Anyway, there are bunches of people on there, and several groups members can join, so I joined a commuter group.  It's kind of fun for motivating each other, and over the past several weeks, I noticed I was moving up on the number one slot.  This week...

the "girls" and I made it to the top of the heap.  See them at top billing?  It's not likely to last, so I took a snapshot.

And I'll end this silver liningness post with some clouds... SNOW clouds!

I needed a snowy day prop, and Napolion was all too happy to volunteer.  Doesn't he look happy??


Thursday, May 8, 2014

the frito banditos

Last week, Magnum was in Mexico for a few days for work.  While we were here, dealing with snow and subfreezing windchills, Magnum was in sunny, warm Mexico.  PFFFttt.

So he calls and talks about how sunny, how warm, how blah blah blah....  Yes, how nice.  *snark*

I went off to bed with my wool blanket.

Next morning, I turned on my phone and it quickly spills out a series of text messages.

"Our van was broken into..."
"Stole all the laptops..."

Followed by a list of tasks for ME.  Change passwords, block online access, identity protection plans...  Oh, caca, hay chihuahua.

Oh, and also, could I meet him at the airport on Friday because he doesn't have a key for the Civic.  Anymore.

Well, I could meet him if he cared to wait around for a coupla hours.  But then Chaco volunteered for key dropoff duty.  All in all, it could've been worse.  And he still got all that sunshine and Corona.  And Karma will get the banditos.


Sunday, May 4, 2014

Silver Liningness Sunday

Happy first weekend of May.  Ours came in like a sweet lambkin!

This was an interesting week - what with snow and mousecapades and crazy winds...  In addition, Magnum was out of town for most of it, so I was weathering it all as the sole old wise person.  Although I imagine the mouse drama wouldn't have played out much differently if he were here, he just missed the fun.

He was actually dealing with his own fun in the form of Mexican banditos, but that's another story.

Seems I'm making progress in the P.E.O. world.  Today, I became a POd chair.  Bet you're wondering what that is!  In fact, I kinda am too!  But oh well, I'm in the books.

Spent some time with Chaco and Wolfgang this weekend.  They both came by for dinner from a task somewhat related to the Mexican banditos, so it was good to have the whole gang here at once.

Meego got in another track meet this week.  An earlier one was cancelled on account of below-freezing windchills (BOOO!), but the second one made it.  It was held in the big stadium with the fancy surface and grandstand, so it was fun for all to be in the big show.

And did you hear about one of the perks of living in Colorado?  Well, yeah, there's legal pot... BUT as of May 1st, AAA membership includes rides for stranded bicyclists at no extra charge!  They got four new members.

And the first inaugural Grizzly Dash 5K was fun to be a part of, and I was glad to avoid below freezing windchills.

Stay cool, fools!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

and they're off!

I'm sitting here waiting to watch The Kentucky Derby.  I don't gamble, I don't own a fancy hat, I don't know what's in a mint julep, but I love to watch these big horse races.  Most exciting two minutes in sports and all that.

And I know there are those who say the horses are pushed too hard and/or drugged up.  I think they're beautiful, and hope there is no abuse.

Speaking of athletes and beauty and strength, in contrast, Meego and I did a 5K this morning at his middle school.

Meego's never done a 5K before, but his school was doing this book drive, and organized it around "The Grizzly Dash 5K".  This week, I asked him if he wanted to do it, and he was good to go, so we rounded up a few books to donate and jumped in the fray.

It was a great day for it - sunny and warm, no more b*tch wind.  We were urged to dress in super hero garb, so I of course went ....


Oh, sorry.  The Kentucky Derby just happened and I had to watch.  Awesome!

Okay, back to the contrast....

so of course I went as Storm Trooper Hello Kitty.

There were, I'd guess, about 150 runners.  Mostly middle school students, staff, and parents, as expected.  I took second for the "girls".   First place was a foregone conclusion, as Meego's school is home to both the regional boy and girl middle school distance badasses.  The boy took first overall, girl was not far behind.

Here they are lined up next to each other for the start of the race.  Boy on the left with orange shoes, Girl as The Female Flash.  Meego and I are behind them, trying to catch their juju.  I have no idea what I'm doing/saying.  Do I always look that strange?

mark... get set....

The race clock had me at 20:45 which leads me to think that either the clock was a bit off, or the course was just short of a full 5K.  I don't think I was going quite that fast.

too hot today for all black!

Meego made a great showing at 23:40 and now knows that he can handle a 5K just fine.

Who is he?  Captain Underpants?

I swear the  grizzly bear is real!

Magnum came along as cheerleader and photographer.

This was the first annual Grizzly Dash, with hopes of many more to come.

We can say we were there.


Thursday, May 1, 2014


Yesterday morning, I was greeted by this in the back yard:

Yeah, it's snow and it's kinda pretty, but  IT  WAS  MAY  EVE!  Enough with the snow already!  And to my satisfaction, it did melt pretty quickly.

But it was annoyingly windy.  I contemplated taking the metro to class, but decided that would be wimpy and I hopped on Bella and flew to class with a tailwind.  Of course that meant that the ride back home would be a beotch, but oh well.  

I returned to Bella for the windy ride home and was greeted by this, clipped to her:

It's a clothespin adorned with a butterfly that reads "You make each day brighter!"  So I had to snap a pic and share it before paying it forward - to another bicyclist of course!  Thank you, random anonymous butterfly clothespin person!

The day continued into evening and I was at my desk watching PewDiePie doing homework when I heard a bit of cat ruckus in the hallway behind me.  I didn't think much of it, since the cat's a weirdo.  

But then he came into the room all proud-like and sat at my feet...  

and greeted me by commencing to eat the mystery mouse.  

Join me?

So (a)  the mouse has been located and (b) sent on to mouse heaven, and I now realize that (c) it lived among us for nearly two days.

I'd been thinking that Napolion seemed to be acting differently during that time, like his badassness had slipped a bit.  But he seems to be back to his cocky self since this redemption.