Saturday, February 28, 2015

sun, wildlife, and drums

We got out into the world a bit today.  It seems like we've spent so much time being snowed in recently, so an outing was nice.  The sun shone pretty much all day, and the roads were all mostly pavement!

Meego had a winter percussion competition today in Denver, so Magnum and I went along, although the stereotypical "band parents" were are certainly not.  But that's another story.

Anyway, it was just nice to have clear roads and clear skies for a change.  The trip and entertainment were just gravy.  We arrived with plenty of time before Meego's group was scheduled to perform, and Magnum noticed a curious "Two Ponds National Wildlife Refuge" on the map near the competition venue.

"TWO PONDS?!", he smirked at the name.  "NATIONAL wildlife refuge?!" he smirked at the distinction.  Okay, I agreed it wasn't much of a name, and we were in the middle of a residential area that didn't look anything like a wildlife refuge, so it was decided.  We had to check this place out.

It's a real thing.  I googled.

And we were there.  Today.  See?

It wasn't a huge place, but it actually looked quite inviting.  I think it would be a fun place to take little kids.  Today, it was very buried in snow.  We ventured inward a little bit along a trail someone had blazed with snowshoes, but with the risk of being stranded and resorting to cannibalism, we turned around.

One thing has us curious, however.  Maybe the blog brain trust can help?  Here's one of the trailhead kiosks...

Note the universal "do's and dont's" symbols.  On the right, the "dont's":  No horseback riding, no bicycles, no pooches, no humungous cigarettes, and no shark fishing - apparently.  On the left, the "do's":  Wheelchair access, binoculars/observing, hiking, and... and... deer hunting?  Bring your pet elk?  Not our fault if you are gored by antlered wildlife?  What does that symbol  mean??  


Oh, the band competition was fun too.  They did us all proud.  

I was glad to have something take my mind off the weird signage of Two Ponds National Wildlife Refuge...

Thursday, February 26, 2015


Okay.  You guys.  Have you seen this?

It's a dress, right?  Just a dress.  Just a BLACK AND BLUE dress?!  So what's the big deal?  How is it that some weird people are saying it's white and gold?  

Apparently, it was posted on tumblr yesterday, and different people were seeing it as either black and blue or white and gold.  Magnum and I came in from taking China for her old lady walk, and Meego asked me what color it was.

"Black and blue.  Why?"

HE sees white and gold.  WAT?

So Magnum comes in to see what we're talking about, and HE says, "it's white and gold".  WAAT?!?

I'm so confused....

What do YOU see??

Monday, February 23, 2015

going both ways

And so it begins.

I figured, with all the snow closures and such, I'd probably have a pretty good chance of getting in at the eye doctor's.  I figured right.  I got an appointment for this afternoon, and the dr. was actually kind of scrambling around because he was short handed.

But we got it done.  Last time, he tried to talk me into trying out some bifocals.  What?  Bifocals?!  Me??  Deny, deny deny!

This time?  Yeah, okay.  Fine.  I'm tired of flipping up my glasses to read what's in my hand.

He starts going into "... the lens becomes less flexible..."  Blah, Blah, whatever.  Do we hafta talk about it?!  Let's just order the old lady glasses and move on!

So that's done.  They're in the works anyway.  Then I'll see about getting used to this bifocal business.

Funny how this stuff just creeps up.  I can vaguely remember the days when I didn't need ANY glasses.  I was in college when I realized I was having trouble seeing the board.  With that, I ended up with my first pair of glasses.  I did the contact lenses for a while, but eventually got tired of all that cleaning and whatnot.  So high maintenance.  I've been bespectacled ever since.  The prescription getting a little stronger with each visit to the eye doctor.

Anyway, as I was sitting in the exam room waiting for the doctor to take care of some administrative stuff because the administrative person didn't come to work today, I noticed there was a poster on the wall featuring some ghastly eye conditions.

There are some gross things to be had by our eyes and the tissues around our eyes.

I'm glad there are eye doctors. I'm glad there are corrective lenses.  I'm glad I'm just getting bifocals.


Sunday, February 22, 2015

Silver Liningness Sunday

Like many in the rest of the country, we're in a deep snowy freeze.  I can't complain much, though.  It's nice to not have anywhere I need to go.  I've organized my pantry, bookshelf, and desk.  Now what?

It is silver liningness day, but I must say that this week has been a rather dark one.  First, there's the coming out of flu fog (flog?), but early in the week, a friend's husband died.  Two days after that, another friend's son died.  Totally unrelated incidents in separate parts of the country.  So yes, darkness.

But we push ever onward. With that, I think I'll go shovel...

Okay, intermission over.

So Meego was supposed to have a winter percussion competition yesterday, but it got cancelled because of the snow.  At least the concert band concert went off without a hitch in typical fine fashion on Wednesday night.  Meego on the euphonium.  I sorta know what that is now.

Anyone going to watch the Oscar's tonight? I actually haven't seen many of the contenders.  In fact, it seems like the latest movies Magnum and I have watched have been unmemorable at best.

Anyway, I'm almost feeling like myself again and looking forward to a new week and melting snow. We're almost done with February! That's something, right?  Now, I think I'll go organize my sock drawer.


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

going viral

I spent the weekend coming down with the flu.  All the reports are true, it is awful.  I've spent the last couple of days crawling out of that hole, and am starting to feel almost human again.

Really, I think I spent about 96.776% of Monday inside a sleeping bag.  It was my only comfort.  I don't even think I actually slept, it was more a combo of weird hallucinations interspersed with annoying segments of full awakedness. I mainly remember my dad and Meego hogging Potato the computer from each other and battling it out...

But it does seem to be exiting as quickly as it entered, which is consolation, so I didn't get too far behind in anything.  The cat's paw seems to also be on the mend, but between the two of us, this has felt like The Great Home of the Infirm.

Meego had a concert tonight, so I was glad to be back healthy for that.  Although I would've enjoyed listening to the other groups, we only stayed for his portion because he had to come back to work on an English project.  Damn that Shakespeare.

 Yesterday, when we went out for said project supplies (you know those kinds where your kid is all, "I need to get this stuff for a school project", and you go, "Okay, when?", and he's all, "today") it turned into a bigger shopping trip because yesterday was also the first I'd heard of tonight's concert.  *sigh*

But luckily, he did happen to mention it while we were out, because I had in the back of my mind that Meego needed new band shoes, so we got those too.  Things turned strange, however, when he asked if we could also get some jeans.


He hasn't worn jeans since about 3rd grade when he declared his body off limits to denim.

But wait, he wasn't finished!  We got home with the Shakespeare, shoes, and chaps (it's the only alliteration I could think of to include the jeans...) where he had yet another request:  a haircut!

I'm starting to wonder if maybe I'm still flu-lucinating inside my sleeping bag.


Sunday, February 15, 2015

Silver Liningness Sunday

Well, what a difference a week makes.  It's snowing and about 53 shades of grey outside.  Not inviting at all.  Still, can't complain.  I've got a warm house and warm people and pets inside it.  Except for the fish.  They're not warm, they're still monsters...

But it was another good week, and we're getting that much closer to spring.  I've noticed the days getting lighter sooner, and staying lighter longer.  Valentine's Day came and went.  We don't typically play into the Hallmark holiday hype around here, but we do typically get chocolates for the occasion.  As it happened, both Magnum and I forgot the chocolates, but the marriage survived.

On a somewhat related note, two of my celebrity crushes also had good weeks.  Sam Smith (yes, I know he's gay) won 4 Grammys - 4!  Benedict Cumberbatch got hitched on Valentine's Day, breaking many hearts.

A definite highlight this week was a quick visit with brother Guano, who travels a lot for his job.  In fact, he more than makes up for my lack of travel.  Once in a while, his travels allow for side trips near my neck of the woods, so we get chances for short but sweet visits.  Naturally, I've known him my whole life, but it's always nice to get together and catch up on what's what, and talk about what is no more - Mom, some old friends, the way we used to be able to eat when we were teenagers and not weigh 300 pounds...

Related to that, I'm thankful for the flexibility in my schedule, so I can say "you betcha!" when I get a text from Guano saying, "I'm headed down the interstate, wanna go for a burrito in about 30 mins?"  Have I mentioned that my classes for the masters program are online?  Yes, it means I have to have a bit more self-discipline and sometimes I miss the classroom atmosphere, but I love the flexibility.

My Systems instructor (I'm inventing a sewing machine for him) is an avid cyclist.  There's a mug shot of him on the university website, and I think I've spotted him several times on the pathway, but it's hard to tell with all the Secret Squirrel get up and such.  One of these days, I'm gonna shout, "Larry!" cuz that's his name.  And if it's not him, boy will I feel stupid.

I'll keep you posted.


Saturday, February 14, 2015

50 shades of *OUCH!*

Happy Valentine's Day!  Doing anything special?  Go see a movie maybe?

Well, our 50 shades of grey cat isn't feeling too adventurous these days.  He's pulled up lame, not sure why. But we noticed him gimping around all day yesterday.  Front right paw.

He was having at it with one of his Fight Club buddies on Thursday afternoon, so I'm thinking that has something to do with it.  This particular bruiser is huge.  Big old brown and black striped cat.  I refer to him as "Beast Mode".  

"“No, Anastasia, no Xbox, no Playstation..."

Still, it seems kind of weird to have a gimpy paw from fighting.  Typical battle scars are in the form of nasty scratches or puncture wounds.

But he's not talking.

Maybe he's been getting too  much into the spirit of things?


Thursday, February 12, 2015

like a rug

Quick!  Who invented the sewing machine??

If you don't know, don't bother googling.  I'll just tell you.  It's me.

I'm working on an assignment for a class and trying to lie.  In short, we're going through a process of inventing something that's actually already been invented and, while doing so, we're pretending that it hasn't yet been invented.

So I chose to invent the sewing machine. And what a wonderful invention it is, if I do say so myself!

It's strangely challenging to play like it doesn't exist. I have to come up with several alternative concepts on my way to selecting the right design.  The alternatives are difficult because the right design already exists!  But I'm having fun conceptualizing epic fails.

So it's got me thinking about lying in general.  I'd like to think that I'm not very good at it, but know I can do it in a pinch.  I remember watching a Ted talk once about how we're lied to most every day from 10 to 200 times, and that we all do it.  Certainly, some lies are more harmful and mean spirited than others, and I THINK I don't do those kinds.

Heck, we've never even had the Santa Claus game going on at our house, nor that of his cousin the Tooth Fairy.  I know there are those who say it makes Christmas and dentition more "magical" for kids, but Magnum and I just couldn't bring ourselves to play along.

But I do go along with the harmless ones like, "Ha!  You're funny!" or "Nice hair color!"
Then there's the playful ones, like when I get a text from the phone company or such during dinner and Magnum asks what it is and I tell him, "It's just my lover, wondering about your schedule this week".  At least I think he knows I'm lying, but it's good to keep him on his toes.

I watched a movie recently for which lying is a central theme.  Lies and their motives, reactions when a lie is uncovered... The movie is "Wreckers" (bad plot synopsis on Rotten Tomatoes, ignore it), and it's the one I was going to watch for the Super Bowl, but then the Super Bowl ended up being watchable this year.  So I watched the movie in snippets last week while doing other things.  In all, I think I watched it at least two times over those snippets.

I won't lie (see what I did there?), I mainly chose it because Benedict Cumberbatch is in it, but I liked the movie.  I thought the performances were all well done, and I also liked how we weren't spoon fed all of the motives behind some of the actions of the characters.  We're left to draw our own conclusions.

I'm sure some people would think the film moves too slowly, want things to be more spelled out, or won't like that it doesn't wrap up so nicely at the end.  But I liked it, it made me think.  Plus, well... Benedict Cumberbatch.  It's a different role for him, not the usual pompous intellectual.

Do you consider yourself a "good" liar?  Is there a lie that was difficult for you to tell?

Welp, I gotta go.  Benedict Cumberbatch just texted me.  He wants to see my secret working sewing machine prototype.


Sunday, February 8, 2015

Silver Liningness Sunday

*POOF*, another lovely week is in the books.  It started out nicely with "us" (Magnum, really) winning the office football pool with that exciting Super Bowl.  I was actually streaming a  movie on  my tablet, but I didn't watch it much - had to finish it over a few days this week.  I know, right!  The hardships!


I was hoping that there might be some photos of some of the fun supporters and signs from the Super half marathon in the event galleries, but it was slim pickings.  At least someone snapped a pic of this sweet little volunteer.  How precious was she?!


Other than that, all I mostly found were pictures of people running.

The week progressed pretty productively with tuting and classes.  I finished up with one tutee.  He showed up for our final session on crutches.  Snowboarding mishap.  The last time a tutee showed up bandaged and injured, he ended up doing really well on his test, so I'm taking the possible torn ACL and/or possible torn MCL as a good sign.  Not that I'm superstitious.  But I kinda am...

On that note, The McRibs are noticeably improving.  My extensive medical research (3 mins on google) informed me that it takes about 4 weeks for healage.  I'm finishing up week 3 now, but who's counting?

The weather turned all spring-like on us this weekend.  70s yesterday!  Meego had a band evaluation in Denver, but Magnum and I took advantage of the sun and warmth.  Poor Bob, Magnum's bicycle, has been holed up since our last joint outing, so I lobbied for a spin.

Here's Magnum, looking all angelic behind Jean's bench while we took a break in the park.  Lots of people and pooches out enjoying the day.

And Meego's show went well.  In fact, Meego himself made quite an impression on the judges, apparently.  Unfortunately, it was because he forgot one of his amp cables in the truck and had to run to get it as the performance was starting without him.  He jumped in right in stride, so no one even noticed - not.   



Tuesday, February 3, 2015

roommate row

I texted Chaco...

"Is your refrigerator running?"

He texted back...


So of course...

"Better go catch it! Bahahahaha!"

Okay, no I didn't.

See, we recently got him his own little dorm fridge because his roommates were eating all of his food.  Like ALL his food.  Recall that he shares a dorm apartment with three other guys.  One is a friend from high school whom Chaco has roomed with since they were freshmen.  The other two are randoms.  They all get along okay for the most part, except for the food thing.

Seems like last year Chaco and his roommates shared pretty equally in the purchasing and eating, with an occasional indiscretion, but no biggie.  But this year, he's had to resort to having his own fridge in his bedroom that he can lock up.  Things you gotta do!

We were talking about it last week, and it got me thinking about my roommates from days past.  I started taking a mental inventory, and I think I lucked out pretty well in the roommate department.

Exhibit A:  Roommate 1 (and 2)

When I left my hometown for Denver, I couldn't wait to do so.  I packed up with a friend from high school, who was mainly a good friend of Guano's.  We had a third girl roommate in our 3 BR apartment, which  made for a bit of a "Three's Company" set up, but it worked.  Strictly platonic, of course.

As I recall, we all had very different schedules and didn't really see each other a whole lot, but we would manage to go out dancing quite regularly.

I'm still in touch with roommate, "R".  No idea where the girl is.  And... that may or may not be Guano in the fedora...

Exhibit B:  Roommate 4

After moving out of the Three's Company apartment for Boulder, I lived for a while with an older divorced woman who rented out rooms in her house.  She was nice, but it was never meant to last.

Next, I  met "A", who I think just ran an ad in the paper for an "single female" or some such.  She was fresh out of high school.  The condo belonged to her parents, so she took good care of it.  Great roommate.  She sorta became my little sister.  That's her, on my right (if you can find me), the short little sis one.

We still keep in touch, kinda like sisters.  She met her now-husband during one of our nights out.  She is not quite 5 ft. tall.  Her husband is 5'3".  Their eyes literally met across the dance floor.

So they got hitched, and she moved out, leaving me in her parents' condo.  They let me screen for a new roomie, and along came "I", all the way from France.

Exhibit C:  Roommate 5

She was a French exchange student, attending CU for one year to become an English teacher.  Very fun and outgoing!  She wanted to make the most of her one year, and we had some good times.  She broke a few hearts too!

I have no idea where she is now.

In the meantime, I'd been dating Magnum for a while, so when "I" went back to France, Magnum and I shacked up to live in sin in a two-story 4plex.

Exhibit D:  Roommate 6

We split all the bills and shared equally in the housekeeping (yeah, riiiight).  It was a nice cohabitation, until he left me...

...because he graduated a semester before I did and got a freaking job.

So I was left to find another roommate until I would graduate and get a freaking job.

I have no Exhibit E.  Hmmm, maybe because we were only roommates for a few months?  I dunno, but she was yet another exchange student.  This time from Japan.

Like "I", "H" was adventurous and wanted to make the most of her stay in the U.S.  She had rich parents, as in VERY rich parents.  The only problem I had with "H" is that she would take forever to pay her portion of the bills, so I would pay the whole thing and she would eventually give me her share.  She just didn't understand the urgency, having piles of money.  I knew she was good for it, though.  On top of that, she had a boyfriend in Montana and would spend hours each month talking to him on the phone, racking up the phone charges - remember life before cell phones?  Vaguely?

But she was nice, and we had some good times.  Strangely, though, I will add what I found to be a weird thing with her.  Recall this was my last semester in engineering school, so I mostly had group projects.  When group members would come over, "H" had a habit of walking around with nothing on but a big shirt.  Walking around to where we were for  no apparent reason.  I think she had a thing for one of the guys in my group, but that was pretty weird.

...but she didn't eat all my food.



Sunday, February 1, 2015

Silver Liningness Sunday

Greetings on this Super Bowl Sunday!  Any wagers?  Anyone care much?  Personally, I'm not necessarily a fan of football or Katy Perry, so no hype going on here.

Except, I did spend this lovely sunny morning running the Super Half Marathon once again.  What a great day for it!  But more on that later...

This was another lovely week to close out January and kick off February.  Is it me, or did January go by super fast?

I think I've gotten settled into the routine of classes and tutees again after the long winter break.  I just have two tutees currently, and one is about to go out into the big world, so I'll be down to one.  I plan to keep it that way for a while. I'm continuing to enjoy my classes.

In movie news, Magnum and I watched Win Win, which we both liked.  Some good humor mixed with some deep stuff to make for a good all-around flick.

And I'm happy to have been able to do the Super Half this morning.  Remember I said I coughed my self into an achy rib injury?  My left side has lovingly become known as "The McRibs".  I really wanted to participate in the Super Half, but wasn't sure if that would be a wise thing.

By Friday, the weather forecast was looking good - sunny and high 20s.  The McRibs?  They were a "maybe", so I went ahead and got registered, vowing to take good care of The McRibs until race day.  Then yesterday, I apparently did the unthinkable.  I laughed.  Nothing gut busting, just a "HA!" that turned into *pop* followed by "ooch, [expletive]" and maybe an [expletive].

By bedtime, though, they'd gone back to "maybe" status.   So this morning, Magnum asked, "You gonna run?"

"Yes", I decided.  "It'll be a counter-irritant".

"Running will be a counter-irritant to the McRibs?", he asked

"Maybe?", I said with fake conviction.

But y'know?  The Super Half was bunches of fun.  The McRibs and I felt pretty okay with the whole thing.  I made myself take it slow and gently with no care about my time, and by the turn-around, I was feeling like the first half had gone by really smoothly.  That gave me confidence for the second half and I gradually picked up my pace a bit.  The last three miles felt really good and I managed to pick off quite a few others coming into the home stretch.

Maybe I'll give a more in-depth race report later, but for now, the stats:

Time:  1:50:23
152nd overall,
38th for the ladies,
2nd for the old ladies.

First 600 finishers for the half got this medal that is also a bottle opener - brilliant!

When I got to the car, I texted Magnum "The McRibs and I survived!"

Anyway, good times.  I will say that I don't have the fun photos like Agg79 shares with us from his races each year, but there were some nice supporters and cute signs along the way.  So now I guess I'll settle in and enjoy [some chick flicks on my tablet while Magnum watches] the Super Bowl and its commercials.  At least we know that this year, the Broncos won't be Super embarrassed.