Saturday, August 19, 2017

the good, the bad

Well, I survived my first week of Back-to-School.  To be honest, I'm actually a bit surprised how much I'm enjoying this new job.

The staff's great, and I'm enjoying getting to know my students.  I have about 250 of them, so to say I'm still learning everyone's name is an understatement.  I'm sure there are several of them who don't remember my name either, so it's fine.

In reflection on this last week, a few pro and con observations...

The Alarm

I get  up about an hour earlier than I was used to.  Magnum and I actually eased ourselves into this new wake-up time about a week before school started, so to be used to it.  I do actually like being up early, but I need to get better and getting to bed earlier!

The Commute

My commute is actually quiet awesome.  It was one of my decision criterion when looking for a job.  I'm about 4.5 miles of pleasant bike paths from the school.  To help me realize just how awesome the ride in is, I zip on by all the traffic feeding into the high school and nearby middle school.  What a rat race!  As added insult, the city decided to do a bunch of road construction along the main road, taking it down to one lane, starting this first week of school.  I'm pretty sure I actually get to work faster on my bicycle than if I drove!

Dress Code

I didn't really need to revamp my wardrobe for this job.  Tutor clothes are certainly boring enough for a high school.  As far as students go, I have seen a few violations of the dress code - all from girls.  Use your imagination... not too much.


Lunch for the kids is a bit of a zoo as there's only one lunch period for everyone.  It saddens me to see that whole mass of teen humanity filling the lunch area and beyond,  yet see several kids off by themselves eating alone and not necessarily looking happy about it.

Free stuff

So far, I've gotten a free travel cup, a big water bottle, a hoodie, a t-shirt, and a cinch sack.  Yes, they're all emblazoned with the school name and such, but... free.  And speaking of lunch, I brown bag it in the teacher's lounge which has been a good way to meet and get to know some of the others.  I discovered two Keurig machines in there along with a variety of flavor pods.  I asked how much the beverages were and the answer was

"It's free.  The student council stocks that for us"

I love the student council!

Epi pens and beyond

My classroom is "nut protected" because I have a few students throughout the day with severe allergies, so I'm okay with coming up with some sort of nut-free snacks for myself.  Gotta feel for those kids.  Other confidential information on my rosters include depression/anxiety diagnoses, seizure disorders, plenty of allegies and asthma and migraines, and a few restraining orders against parents or other family members.  Jimminy.

That schedule

We all know that public education doesn't pay all that well.  But, my day is done with plenty of daylight left.  And look at all that time off.

And then there's what's-his-face

Meego's a senior this year.  His schedule is lighter than last year, as is typical for seniors.  I'm sure he'll be highly organized and on top of his school work.  (Put that last part in for giggles)


Linking up again with Mama Kat for the prompt - with a bit of divergence:
3. List 8 things you’re looking forward to and/or list 8 things you are dreading about sending the kids myself back to school.

Monday, August 14, 2017

and so it begins

I vaguely remember freshman year of high school.  One notable characteristic was the vast difference between freshmen and seniors.

The seniors seemed SO grownup.  They drove cars, had serious relationships, and muscles (guys), and facial hair (guys)... okay maybe I mostly noticed the guys.  But in general, they all just seemed so old.

So this morning was the first day of school in our district and my new job.  Freshmen-only day at the high schools.  We made a big welcoming "gauntlet", then opened the front doors as these seemingly tiny teenagers came streaming in, looking rather like deer in the headlights.  Some seemed so young and small.  *sniff* you forget how small they are *sniff*

It was nice for us newbies too, to just have a few innocuous students in da house.  After the big gauntlet rah rah, and everyone was settled in the gym, my newbie coworker says, "That was exhausting!"

I looked at my watch.  About 5 minutes had gone by.  Just 7 hours and 55 minutes to go!

Later, after things calmed down a bit and the Freshmen went through their paces without any upperclassmen to harass them, they generally seemed pretty happy to be high schoolers.  I got situated in my room, which was assigned only this morning because of a bunch of last-minute flux.  I went to check wi-fi networks for my phone.

It's interesting to note that the high school is a good-sized complex, but plopped smack dab in the middle of a residential area, so a number of wi-fi networks showed up within range.

I had to laugh at the name of that last one

I guess if you live that close to a high school with 1700 students, it's good to have a sense of humor.

Friday, August 11, 2017

something new, something old

I graduated high school from the same school district I attended on my first day of school in Kindergarten... and all the grades in between.  I never knew what it was like to be the "new kid", and I never really wanted to either.

It seemed so awkward.  Not knowing anyone or where anything is, where to put your stuff, what people dress like, what bathrooms you shouldn't go into, any unspoken hierarchies, etc. And of course, where to sit at lunch.

This week, I was one of the new kids.  I started my high school job.  It was awkward at first, but I think I held my own.  Oh sure, I've started other jobs before, but this one being at a high school at the beginning of the school year, it feels similar to being a new student.

And so far, I'm likin' it.  Everyone seems really cool and nice, and not in an overly-cordial-because-the-principal-makes-us-be-nice-to-new-staff kind of way, but in a genuine-real-and-cool-people kind of way.  People sit with me at lunch.

So yeah, I love it!  Of course, we haven't had any students yet, they start next week...

Also, this week, I got the not-very-surprising news that I'm allergic to bees.  Wasps, yellow hornets, white faced  hornets, and yellow jackets too to round out the party!  Yay!  What the heck's a white faced hornet??

They tested me for a bunch of other stuff too, but that was last week. Apparently, the stinging insect test stuff has to be mixed up $pecial (no, that's not a typo).  Bottom line, if it's a tree, weed, or grass, I'm allergic to it, along with all those stinging insects.  Throw in a few molds for good measure.

I'm not allergic to cows, however.  Good to know?

So I'm gonna start getting allergy shots in hopes it will help my seasonal drunkenness balance troubles.  Runny nose and itchy eyes I can handle, but the vertigo's a b*tch.

The shots won't treat me for the stinging insects, though, since so far, I tend to just get a &$^##! annoying local reaction without the life threatening stuff.  Basically, my allergist advises me to

"Try not to look or smell like a flower"

As the nurse was putting me through all that testing - poking me with a gazillion syringes - she noted the smallpox vaccine scar on my left shoulder.  Who of the readers here is old enough and has a smallpox vaccine scar?  Anyone?  Show of hands?

I don't have too many vivid memories of first days of school, never being too stressed out and all.  But I DO remember getting that smallpox vaccine.

My loving mother took me down to a local gymnasium.  I was all happy because I was excited that I was going to start going to school.  Also, I enjoyed going out and about running errands with my mom, PLUS, she said after the "thing at the gym" we would see Grandma and get a donut!  Win!

Everything changed once we opened the door to that gym.

Crying and screaming children everywhere.  Tears, boogers, the whole caboodle.  They were all about my age. And I was all,

"Mom!  What fresh hell have you brought me to?!?"

I started crying too because it seemed to be the protocol.  I hadn't even gotten the shot yet.

I recall that the shot itself didn't really hurt.  It just had a strange "electrical jolt" feel to it, and left a bloody mark on my arm, now a memorable scar.  I remember thinking I could probably stop crying.

Bring on the donuts.


Linking up this week with Mama Kat for the prompt:
1. Share a back to school memory

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

she was

She was...

a wife

a friend

a mom

a sister

a daughter

a runner

a cancer survivor

and much more.

She died on Sunday at only 44 years old, leaving a loving husband, two wonderful daughters, and many many friends including me.

Even though I never met her in real life.

Similarly as with my internet friend JFuzz, I maybe didn't realize how much I cared until Rebecca was sick again.  Until we knew she was dying.

Rebecca was, strangely, one of my first facebook friends. I'd originally joined facebook because a few blog friends, several years ago, prompted me to join so we could play an online game together. One of those blog friends was also a friend of Rebecca's.

So yeah, I met her through a silly online word game.  Thank goodness.

And I learned she was more than her vocabulary skills.  And when her cancer came back, I was saddened, but SHE kept her smiling face somehow.  Through all the chemo and medications and having to miss out on fun things in life, she kept smiling, right up 'til the end.  Even when told it wasn't working.  Nothing was working.

Now she's finally free from all that.  I feel very sad for her husband and daughters, but I'm glad that her suffering is over.  I think of her as not necessarily "gone", just having crossed another finish line onto the next fun thing.

Enjoy your post-race beer, Rebecca.  You've earned it and so much more.

Rest in Peace.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

not in MY mom tent

Today marks the culmination of another of Meego's Marching Band Camp (this one time...?)

Overall, they had a good and productive two weeks as demonstrated in a little show they put on for us parents today.  A good start to the season.

As often happens, I volunteered a bit here and there during camp.  Yesterday, I had duty in the first aid tent, which is really just a canopy for shade and small cooler of supplies.

No real skill is required, they just like to have a volunteer there to help out in case someone gets a minor injury and to make sure everyone's getting enough water and putting on their sun screen, etc.

I did a first aid shift at last year's camp and had to deal with two or three asthma attacks that probably freaked me out more than they did the asthmatics.

So I arrived and went through the supplies and just did a general check over of things.  There was one kid already sitting in the shade of the canopy, with no discernible "injury".  After a few minutes, I realized that he just wanted to be in the shade instead of out marching.  Okay.

A small handful of other kids wandered in and out, seemingly just for some extra shade and downtime.  They are given regular breaks throughout the day.  So I just made sure they weren't visiting the "ER" for any kind of serious problem and didn't bother them otherwise.  But in my head...

Get off yer lazy asses
When I was in HS marching band?
It woulda been downright SHAMEFUL to be sitting here in the mom tent while everyone else was out on the field
Heck, we didn't even HAVE a mom tent!
Ever heard of, "Suck it up"??

Okay, maybe sympathy isn't a strong trait of mine.

I'd gotten there on bicycle Alice.  She felt the same as I did, see?

"What's with these princesses??"

As I look now at the photo of my duty station, I recall I brought a notebook to do some tutor stuff while there.  Maybe I should've had those kids in the mom tent do some math problems while hanging out in the shade.

"March or math!! Pick!"

But overall, the large majority of the kids put in the work and effort.  It's nice to see them dealing with the long days and repetition, repetition, repetition that is marching band.

"Do it AGAIN!  It's okay, I've got NOWHERE else to be at all today!" -- the words of my flag coach still etched in my brain.  Back in the days of no mom tent.

Meego and the rest of the bangers

Meego is center snare in the battery drumline.  They're a fun bunch of kids, and you can bet none of them came to bunk out in the mom tent.  Although one kid was not wearing his drum today during the performance, just marching and going through the motions.  Hmmm....

He'd better have a good reason.  😈


Thursday, August 3, 2017

... and then there was one

It's been many years since we welcomed you and your gang friends into our home.

Almost instantaneously, the three of you began to methodically and thoroughly kill everything that was alive, so I didn't dare bring anything else within your reach.

I kicked the meanest of you out, so you and your partner lived a minimal life since then - no new friends nor new vegetation to murder.

As the years ticked by, I wondered at your longevity and ability to thrive despite the depravity.

Ultimately, however, it was I who controlled your fate, as I think you know.

But I couldn't do it, I could not willingly put you to death, so I continued to sustain you both, feeding the monsters within.

But now, he's gone and only you remain.

Why do I feel sorry for you?

The Death of Monster2

Linking up this week with Mama Kat for the prompt:
1. Write a blog post in exactly 8 lines

Saturday, July 29, 2017

over the (big gelatinous) hump

That bug sting I got on Wednesday at approximately 11:26:43 AM but who's tracking?  Wish as I did for "just a glancing shot", the thing morphed into an ugly angry itchy hot lumpy thing.  Well, I suppose that was all of me in general.

It's a slow process.  In fact, I spent Wednesday afternoon volunteering at Meego's band camp while the leg remained pretty operational despite a growing red patch covering my inner thigh. But by Thursday morning, it was well on its way to Manatee Leg

CoinkyDinkly, I had a doctor's appointment Thursday morning for my annual "well woman" checkup.  That term always conjures up an image similar to--->
in my brain.

Even though a well woman checkup is not similar to that at all

ANYWAY, since I was there, I figured I'd ask the good doctor about this bee sting business

Not surprisingly, the lumpy thing did the asking for me. The doctor's medical jargon reply:

"What is THAT?!"

So we talked bee stings and my typical reaction.  I swear I thought this is something everyone goes through!  When others told me they just maybe get a little bump, I just figured they hadn't been stung by a "real" bee.  😕

But based on the fact that the doc has been through med school and all, and that she even went so far as to suggest I start carrying an Epipen, I began to realize that Manatee Leg (neck/chest/hand...) was not a normal reaction.

I think I'm over the worst of it now as it maxed out sometime Thursday into Friday.  There's still quite a bit of bee juice in there, but the redness and general discomfort has lessened.   I have an appointment next week with an allergist *fingers crossed*

In other news of excess stuff, Wolfgang has temporarily moved in

That's Meego at his computer among most of Wolfgang's crap.  Meego has an entire couch now for a "desk chair".  It was the most logical place for the couch, so be it.

Wolfgang's lease was up at his apartment, and he's not wanting to sign another lease as the plan is to move out of town in the near future.  In the meantime, he has his job here in town, but is looking to expand his employment horizons while filling our house with stuff.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

where are they now?

I was sitting on the floor, and he came up and gave me this spontaneous bear hug.  I guess he was just caught up in the moment, having a good time, and he just HAD to hug.

It was a sweet hug, but a bittersweet hug.  It was our last day together, and he didn't know it.  But I knew it.

After I retired from the corporate world and got on the mommy track, I ran a little home daycare.  It was a great arrangement getting paid to have cute kids come over and play with Chaco and Wolfgang.   Sure, I was required to do some stuff, but I was already doing that stuff for Chaco and Wolfgang anyways.  Meego wasn't quite in the picture at the time.

Conner was our first and most frequent customer.  I first met him when he was just 3 months old.  The sitter I'd had when I'd been working referred his parents to me to help get my little daycare going.

Over the course of two years, we watched him go from a little 3-month-old to a cute, rough and tumble toddler.  And I think he saw me and Chaco and Wolfgang as his extended family, which I guess we sort of were.  There were other kids at the daycare too, but they were part-timers.  Conner was a full-timer, blessing us with his presence nearly every Monday thru Friday.

L-R: Conner, Wolfgang, Chaco
and that wagon.  I searched all over creation for that
awesome wagon
Conner and his parents made for a cute little family.  Mom and Dad were both just in their 20s, but with good jobs and with family around town.  It was clear that they doted on Conner, and he was a happy kid who knew he was loved.

But, we moved.  We left the state which meant leaving the little daycare biz.  Chaco started school, Meego came along, Wolfgang started school, and I got busy with Meego and volunteering and my daycare days were done.

In all that busyness, I didn't miss running a daycare.  But I did miss the kids.  Most of all, I missed Conner. I hadn't kept in touch with his parents, this was the days before facebook and all.

I'm not sure what got me thinking about those days recently, but I found myself wondering where those daycare kids are now.  I did a little searching online and found this kid with Conner's name, but if not for his parents, I wouldn't have recognized him.

That's not surprising because he's 20 years old now.

Tall, athletic. Graduated from the high school near our old house, now going to college. He has a little brother, same age as Meego.

And he has a stepmom.

Mom and Dad are divorced and Dad's got a different wife.  That saddened me.  I just remember them as the happy cute little family.

But 18 years have gone by.  A lot can happen in 18 years.

If I passed him on the street, I wouldn't have recognized him.  But seeing those few photos, knowing it was him, I could see his little toddler self behind the tall young man he is now.  A little teen angst and attitude showing, but it's him.  I see it in his eyes.

I'm sure he doesn't remember me, but I remember him.  And I remember that last hug.


Linking up with Mama Kat again this week for the prompt:
1. Throwback Thursday: Share an old photo and let it inspire your blog post.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

the bees knees, NOT

I got stung by SOMEthing today while out on bicycle Alice.  I'd been doing so well when it came to bug stings lately too.  When was that summer?  When I got stung three times in two weeks?  I'm too lazy to look it up, but I remember the experience well.

Neck.  Hand.  Chest.  In that order.

This time, it's the inside of my thigh.  I'm hoping it was just a glancing blow, an inadvertent collision.  When I felt it happen, I immediately stopped to check for and remove a stinger, but didn't see one.

Of course it has now also begun to swell.  I'm hoping my right leg doesn't eventually take on the appearance of a fully grown adult manatee.

Monday, July 24, 2017

falling rocks!

Actually, no.  It typically doesn't.  😏

Have you ever done a thing that you weren't expecting to do, and the thing ends up being amazing?  Or you have low expectations that are way exceeded, like, way?

This past weekend, we took a quick camping trip, not really expecting anything special. The whole thing was sort of born out of, "well, we haven't been camping in a while...", like we needed to change the oil or something.

We'd heard of Black Canyon of the Gunnison, but had never been there, and Magnum managed to find an available camping spot, so we reserved it and made plans to go.  Surprisingly, the whole fam was available and willing.

So we got there late Saturday, and no one really knew anything about it.

Me:  I thought you had researched this place

Chaco:  I don't know anything about it, I thought you and Dad researched it

Magnum:  I saw it on a map of Colorado...

Wolfgang:  I googled some images last night after you said where we were going...

Meego:  ...

So, the clueless went camping. Bottom line?  Sometimes that can be the best way to go and be pleasantly surprised!

But I'll skip the campground, because that was nothing to blog anywhere about.  But the canyon!


Oh.  My.  God.

We got to the campground and found a trail that followed the rim of the canyon, so we could look down into it.

But we were still clueless about the place.  Was it possible we could GO down into it?

Answer: Yes

Us:  Yipee

There are a number of steep trails that take hikers down to the canyon bowels.  They have names like "S.O.B. Draw" and "Devil's Backbone" and "Long Draw," formerly known as "Devil's Slide".

We chose the one that looked the most friendly, because we'd been clueless and because of Magnum's knees.

And it was way fun and amazing and exceeded our expectations.  Surprise weekend fun.  The trail was about a mile long with a vertical drop of 1800 feet.

It was quite steep, but with plenty of large rocks and tree roots to get footing on, unlike much of the other trails, which aren't all that well marked and are loaded with scree.

Plus, about a third of the way down was an 80 ft. long chain to help keep us from plummeting to our deaths through a particularly steep portion.

So it was actually quite fun getting down there, and of course, the views were extraordinary

After getting ourselves back up and out, we all agreed that our expectations for "going camping" were exceeded.  Magnum still has his knees, although he said the hike

"kicked my ass"

He's usually the master of preparation as well as Mr. Worst Case Scenario, so this sort of thing was outside his comfort zone for a number of reasons.  He was betting on us dying from heat exhaustion and/or dehydration.

I assured him that we would not.

...since the fall would probably kill us.


Thursday, July 20, 2017

no despacito, es rapido

Last night, Meego and I went shoe shopping for him, and as we got into the car and turned on the radio, "Despacito" was playing.

"This is the most streamed song EVER", Meego commented, "even more than 'Gangnam Style'"

"Yep, say what you will about Justin Bieber", I mused, "but the kid's successful"

We talked a bit more about hits and music, then, "I don't even know what 'despacito' means", Meego confessed.

And I was all, "What?  You're in Spanish IV, what're our tax dollars paying for?!".  But really, it just made me curious as to what "despacito" means.

It means "slowly" (thank  you, google)

More curious, I google the translated lyrics of the song.

... Is it hot in here, or is it just me?  Okay, but really, nothing surprising there.

What I'm really blogging about today is a little man in a boat...erm... OOPS!  I  mean....

my last boat ride.

Honestly, I've not been on many boats.  Never been sailing, but I've been in little motorboats and canoes and rented paddle boats if any of those count.  Mainly for tooling around lakes where shores are visible from most anywhere.

When we lived near lake Ontario, I was surprised at its vastness, being a Colorado girl.  But I never went boating on lake Ontario.

We do have lakes here in Colorado, but really, good sized boats aren't that common a thing.  River rafting, however, is very popular.  A raft is not a boat, but I'm going to count it anyway.

Arkansas River, near Buena Vista, CO

This photo is from the last time I was in a raft.  I don't remember the exact year, but suffice to say that it was over half my life ago.  Looking at it now, I recall how I was a lone female in a boat with four guys.  Not a bad way to "end" my rafting days?

A guy I was dating at the time, who worked as a sales rep, had to entertain an out-of-state client.  Mr. Out-of-State had always wanted to go white water rafting. The then-boyfriend made arrangements with a river guide and got me and another friend to round out our foursome(!)

It was a fun and successful day.  The sky was beautiful blue and the rapids were muy rapido.  Mr. Out-of-State (guy in the red hat) loved it, and a strong business relationship was forged.  We ended the day with barbeque and beers at boyfriend's house.

I have no idea where any of these guys are now.  The boyfriend and I didn't last much after I learned of his love for la marihuana, but we had some good times.

And he forked over the cash to buy me this overpriced photo.
Linking up with Mama Kat this week for the prompt:
2. Tell us about the last time you were on a boat

Monday, July 17, 2017

the people you meet

"I've got two weeks off coming up, and I'm going to hike the Colorado Trail.  Figure I'll need to average about 35 miles a day"

He was telling us this as he shouldered his fully loaded backpack he wore to train for his trek.  Then he told us that the woman he was with was his 33-year-old crossfit workout partner.  She had left a few minutes earlier, and he seemed to want us to know that she wasn't his girlfriend.

Well, she was a bit annoying.  For one, she was blasting music from her cellphone, for all to hear on top of a mountain, whether we cared for her music or not amidst all that nature.

She'd said, "I'm slow going down", and Hiker Man told her to go ahead and get started without him.  He seemed to want to chat with us for a while to further the distance between him and Music Lady.

Chaco and I have continued to climb the occasional 14er.  My count is now up to eight, which is a baby number compared to the true zealots.  We met Hiker Man and Music Lady on the summit of Missouri Mountain (Yes, it's in Colorado 😋)

Another hiker was a soft spoken young man who counted Missouri Mountain as his 20th 14er.  He pointed out a few others he'd done as we looked over the landscape.

He gave us a cordial farewell before beginning his descent and inserting his considerate earbuds.

Prior to this summer, the only other 14er I'd hiked was Pikes Peak, which, unlike these others, is a bit of a zoo on the summit.  In addition to the hiking trails, there's a paved road to get there as well as a cog railway.  There's also a crowded gift shop, and hikers are greatly outnumbered by tourists who have driven or ridden.

Despite the crowded conditions, the only people that Chaco and I spoke with briefly atop Pikes Peak were visitors from out of state who could not believe we'd walked up there.

I find much tranquility in these other less traveled peaks.  And the only people at the summits are those who have also hiked up there, making for a bit of instant rapport - even if they have some annoying traits like blasting music from their phones.

A woman atop Mt. Yale complimented our cardboard sign (Chaco makes 'em). I noticed that she was wearing a "Yale University" hat and asked if she was an alumnae, which she was.  I imagine that getting into and graduating from Yale University is more difficult than summitting Mt. Yale, but if you do the first, you might as well do the other!  Wearing the hat, of course.

Friday, July 14, 2017

there goes the neighborhood

The  next door neighbors have been having regular nightly fireside gatherings.

Over the last few weeks, I've been awakened by the smell of campfire smoke, the sight of flickering firelight, and the sound of voices.  One night, I heard what can only loosely be referred to as "music".

What have they been doing?  Are they conjuring up some sort of spirit?  Evil or otherwise?  And the chickens.  What's with the chickens?!

And there was that full moon over the weekend.  Come to think of it, there's been no such gathering since.

Okay, so maybe it's just been the kids next door having friends over for chats around the fire pit late at night.  They're not even technically "kids", as they're all around 19 or early 20s.

And maybe they haven't been dancing or conjuring up anything from beyond, but just hanging out late at night and waking the neighbors who like to sleep with the windows open during summertime.  What is it about people in that age group being so  nocturnal?

But alas, this morning I heard a splashing in the backyard and looked out to see Mrs. Neighbor watering the pet chickens.  Then I saw Mr. Neighbor out front talking with another neighbor.

Looks like Mom and Dad are back home.  I've missed them.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

the teletubbies did it

I'd build an Earthship.  Just a small one.  Big enough for two people and the occasional guests. It could be a vacation home.  Maybe we'd airbnb it when we weren't there.

[From Wikipedia] An Earthship is a type of passive solar house that is made of both natural and upcycled materials such as earth-packed tires.
An Earthship addresses six principles or human needs:
  1. Thermal/solar heating and cooling
  2. solar and wind electricity
  3. self contained sewage treatment
  4. building with natural and recycled materials
  5. water harvesting and long term storage
  6. some internal food production capability
Designing our Earthship would be fun.  It would provide a lot of sun in the winter.  We could make use of the natural landscape.
It would be cool in the summer and still provide plenty of natural light.

There are plans available online.  We'd just need to get ourselves a plot of land and get hopping.
Construction might involve gathering and filling old tires with dirt and pounding them over and over with sledge hammers, and/or collecting a bunch of old bottles and/or cans and tediously joining them with concrete.  


It could take many hours.  But could be a fun hobby, right?

Or... maybe I'd do a webcomic...


Linking up this week with Mama Kat for the prompt:
2. Describe a hobby you would pursue if you had an additional hour to spend each day

Saturday, July 8, 2017

losing Denver

On Monday, Chaco talked me into climbing another 14er.  His secret plan was to actually climb two, but that wasn't revealed to me until I was already committed.

Mt. Belford is one of the Collegiate Peaks of the Sawatch range, sitting among Harvard, Yale, Princeton, etc....  I'd never heard of Belford University before.  Apparently it's in Texas.

Yet another pic with cardboard and the hat
Not far from Mt. Belford is Mt. Oxford.  Nice to have a prestigious Brit university among the crowd.  It's a bit of a steep ridge to get down from Belford toward Oxford, but nothing I hadn't done as a kid, before I had much sense.

Some clouds were moving in, but they looked to be blowing away from us, so Chaco had talked me into making the extra trek to Oxford.   Once on the summit, we found a couple of canisters held to the rocks with cables and containing logs we could sign.

Checking out the register on top of Mt. Oxford

As we sat and scarfed some snack sustenance for the descent, another hiker joined us.  I was beginning to wonder why we were the only ones there, so with this guy, I was able to stop wondering.   We had seen him on Belford where he'd asked if we'd seen his buddy, who was wearing a huge backpack, and was easy to spot and remember.  We told this guy (never got his name) where we'd last seen Backpack guy.  

Apparently, when Backpack guy arrived at Belford, he was less than thrilled to continue on to Oxford, what with that big old backpack and all.   So Denver (let's just call the guy "Denver" since that's where he was from) decided to hike to Oxford by himself, then rejoin the buddy on the way back (gotta go back to Belford to get down).

Chaco'd made a sign for Oxford too, complete with date.
How could I say, no?
It was quite windy and some new clouds were gathering, so we thought we'd better get going.  Denver asked if he could join us back across the ridge as it was kind of hairy in the wind.

Chaco took the lead with me close behind and Denver right behind me.  We could see a big cloud moving our way with the wind.  The cloud filled in the whole valley as we looked over the edge of the trail. Then it covered us and became fog instead of a cloud.

Right?  Fog is a cloud that you're in??

Anyway, the fog was very cool and a bit surreal and spit graupel at us.  I was glad I'd bothered to carry my windbreaker and put it on atop Oxford.  As we made it back to the summit of Belford, I looked back for Denver - the guy, not the city.  Didn't see him.  Where'd he go??

I wasn't really that worried about him as he is probably in his mid 20s and seemingly quite fit.  During our conversation, he'd told us that Oxford was his 18th fourteener, so this is something he does regularly.

But we never saw him again.  And I'm still wondering.

Thursday, July 6, 2017


The wooden smell of the full-color catalog.  The soft feel of the pages. The cheerful images of healthy, happy, popular, smart, and friendly girls.  Every year in my early adolescence,  toward the end of summer, long before there was anything remotely resembling the internet, my mom would have me peruse the girl clothing sections of  Fall catalogs and Back-to-School flyers and make a few choice selections.  Remember, ladies?  Eegads!

Later, in my high school years, I preferred to do my own shopping at the mall.  But since the nearest mall was several miles away, those happy girls from JCPenney and such kept me sustained as quite the fashionista of middle school and jr. high!

Styles come and (thankfully) go.  They can be difficult to keep up with sometimes.  God forbid we should be caught wearing something that is "SO last year!"

Still, there are some current trends that I just can't get on board with. Fashion preferences are certainly subjective, so I'm not dissing anyone who likes stuff I don't like.  And truthfully, I am at least aware that my fashion sense is... uhm... "lacking".  But here goes, f'rinstance (all images from Pinterest)

Big Chunky Shoes

I don't like 'em.  Aside from the fact that I probably wouldn't be able to walk three yards in them, I just don't like the look.

I can't imagine that they're healthy for feet, knees, hips, spine, etc. but even if they were, I don't like 'em.

I see them with skirts, with pants, with shorts (??), and just, no.

Pastel Hair

This is another trend I'm seeing more of, on all ages and genders.  I'm just not a fan.  It just seems so My Little Pony.

It's hard for me to even know just what it is I don't like about it.  And given the popularity of pastel hair - even adorning friends of mine - I must be in the minority.

Ripped Everything

I kinda feel like the people who started this trend are all just laughing.

Them:  Let's shoot these jeans full of bullet holes and sell them for 50 bucks!

Consumers:  buy, buy, buy

Them:  OMG, hahahahahahahahaha.....

And just for completeness, let me make mention of a coupla trends I don't particularly like to see on men...

Sperm Squishing Jeans

I think I probably have a biological aversion to seeing skinny jeans on guys.

I realize I'm not in the target audience for Boy Bands in general, but I don't find this attractive and worry a bit about the future of our species.


Or leggings for men.  Apparently those are a thing.

I feel a bit snooty saying this, because I really like to wear leggings.  Love the comfort and versatility and bright colors and patterns.  But honestly, I would not feel very comfortable being in a room with a man wearing meggings.

Any fashion trends you think should go away?


Linking up again this week with Mama Kat for the prompt:
2. Make a list of the latest fashion trends that you just cannot do.