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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

because it's there?

The hills are alive!


Okay, sorry, I just couldn't help myself...

I ended up hiking to the top of Colorado with Chaco yesterday.  He's using some vacation time this week, and he started out with a backpacking trip over last weekend.  During that trip he climbed Mt. Massive, one of Colorado's 14ers.  When he returned, he said he thought he'd go back and climb Mt. Elbert, which is next to Mt. Massive and the tallest peak in Colorado.

My schedule is pretty flexible right now.  I've got that new job that doesn't start for about another month, and I've stopped taking new tutor students, so I asked Chaco if I could tag along.  And, oh what fun!

Despite its prominence, Mt. Elbert is a relatively "easy" climb - meaning we didn't need any technical climbing gear/skills.  It was still fairly steep with a total round trip distance for us of a little over 12 miles, and it's still a 14er.  All in all, it was a very fun and satisfying hike.  I'm glad I had the time and went for the spur-of-the-moment adventure.

Chaco at the start of our trek.  Mt. Elbert summit in the background


And it was a beautiful day for it.  The trail started out weaving through thick forest of Aspens.  Eventually we were above treeline, but despite the lack of trees, I was surprised at the little grasses and pretty wildflowers covering the landscape at that elevation. Very Sound of Music, and I felt just like Maria/Julie Andrews!

Thankfully to the others, I needed to preserve my oxygen, so did not break out in song.

As we continued upward, conditions got very windy with blow-you-off-a-mountain gusts.  The biggest threat during the summer, and the thing we were most wary of, however, is lightning.  Despite the windy conditions, the sky was blue and sunny.

The little grasses and flowers eventually disappeared and gave way to rocks and dirt... and SNOW.  Portions of the trail were still covered in snow, which meant we had to traverse the stuff.  Acrophobic me was not particularly happy about that, but I just went for it with a keep moving don't look down keep moving don't look down keep moving don't look down strategy.  It worked.  I think if I'd have stopped and/or looked down, I'd still be on that mountain.





The wind continued to batter us, and the summit seemed to be eluding us.  But next we knew, we were there.  There were a few other windblown people at the top, taking in the amazing views and
snapping pics while trying to stay shielded from the wind.

Everyone was sitting since to stand would mean getting blown off the mountain

This bloated pack of fig bars was ready to burst
at the seams from the change in pressure during the climb

So many other peaks to look down at!
So a lovely time all around (except for the snowy bits).  Some observations:

  • I need some real hiking shooz if I'm going to do much more of this.  My trail runners were wimps at climbing and descending.
  • Most others on the trail had trekking poles, but we didn't.  I could see where they might come in handy, but am not rushing to get some.
  • Despite being tagged as a relatively easy 14er, the wind made it more of a challenge than otherwise, which made the summit all the more sweet.
  • The mountain marmots are oh so cute!

Round trip was a little over six and a half hours.  Well spent 😊



Saturday, June 24, 2017

Sprout

The Illustration Friday prompt for this week is "sprout".  The first thing that came to mind, sadly, is the mighty Chia Pet.

"Chia" is the ancient Mayan word for "strength" (I just learned that today).

Chia seeds are among the most healthiest foods on the planet (according to that article I read where I learned about the Mayans).

I've seen chia seeds recently in the stores, but really, I just know them as the things that make the "fur" on Chia Pets.  I guess chia seeds sprout relatively quickly, so they work for the pets.

Does anyone actually buy Chia Pets?  As gifts?  Or are they associated with Christmas the same way fruit cake is?

I've never had a Chia Pet, nor have I ever wanted a Chia Pet.  Thank you to all of my family and friends for not giving me one.


Friday, June 23, 2017

VPs and mysteries

Several years ago, the Vice President of the United States came to visit my place of business.  I never actually saw him since, surprisingly, he hadn't come to visit ME specifically.  I just remember that all the roads feeding in and out of our little compound were closed for quite some time, and there were sexy secret service men walking around.

Some of us peons were able to press our faces against windows and watch the motorcade as it left the premises.  That was the extent of our veep visit experience.  Oh, and as a testament to my age, it was Dan Quayle.

Today, Meego is sleeping in.  His place of business is being visited by the Vice President of the United States, and Meego's managers decided to just not bother having workers come in today with all the security hoops in place.  VP Pence is coming to Focus on the Family.  No, Meego does not work FOR Focus on the Family, he works at a warehouse that is rented FROM Focus on the Family and is located on the Focus on the Family property.

So yeah, we live a bit among the holy rollers, but after living in Utah for about four years as a "gentile", I find the Evangelical Christians pretty tame.  And I'm pondering how I went from growing up in the "Sex Change Capitol of the World" to living at the home of Focus on the Family?

It's also Comic Con season here in Colorado.   We attended about three Denver comic cons before it got too crowded and we determined we'd seen it all before.  I always enjoyed the people watching at Comic Con.  Some of those cosplayers really get into it, and I sensed that some maybe didn't always fit in in the "real world", but loved it when Comic Con was in town.

And I remember this... thing


We had no idea what it was.  Some suggested it was a furry thing from Star Trek (the name of which I can't remember, not ever being much of a Trekkie myself).

Now I still wonder.  Anyone?

And if wanting to know what it looked like from the front, know that it looked pretty much the same as from the back.  Just a fat furry white thing. With dark hairy legs and flip flops.  Should someone have called security?

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Linking up with Mama Kat for the prompt:
1. Throwback Thursday: Choose a photo from a previous June and write a poem or a blog post


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

getting high and saving the world

nom nom nom nom



Happy belated Father's Day to all the good dads out there!

My own dad was a very practical man, who didn't much care for Hallmark holidays.  But he was a great dad and wearer of impressive pocket protectors.

Back here on earth and in the near present, the guys came by and we all got out for a bit of nature.  Thankfully, no one wore a pocket protector.

Taken while crouched in a cubbie in the fetal position

For some reason, they must find the highest rock with the steepest drop-off.  See Chaco's shoes?  Apparently my acrophobia is strong enough that I don't even have to be the one in the high place to start needing to do my Lamaze breathing.

Since I couldn't bear to watch, I distracted myself by looking for a nearby geocache.





Maybe the guys figured the rock climbing wasn't as fun if I wasn't freaking out, so they joined a bit in the hunt and Chaco found the dang thing among so many good hiding places.









So it was a productive and adventurous time, and how 'bout that blue sky?

On Saturday, Meego, Magnum, and I went to see Wonder Woman and enjoyed it.  She is, of course, a badass, but there is one aspect of the movie which left me wondering, "THAT is the choice for [spoiler]??" because it wasn't really working for me. For those who have seen the movie, I wonder your thoughts, but for those who've not seen it, I won't get into it.  But it certainly was not a deal breaker.

I found the movie to be quite artsy as well as actiony.  All in all, a good way to spend the afternoon.  Thumbs up.


Friday, June 16, 2017

educated

I recently learned quite a bit of good information.  It all came to me as I was happily tooling along the bike path with bicycle Alice.  The temperature was perfect, there was very little wind, and some happy clouds kept the sun from totally frying everything.  My lessons covered a variety of subjects.

Meteorology

  • "Very little likelihood of rain today" is just weatherman-speak for "It's gonna rain today"

Space time

  • It can go from no rain to full on downpour seemingly instantaneously.  

Strength of materials

  • Those cool, lightweight capris I enjoy wearing on hot days become the equivalent of wet toilet paper once soaked through.  
Geometry
  • If pressed just right against a building, a person can keep a little bit dry beneath the tiny overhang for a little while

Fashion

  • I can think park rec maintenance workers look funny because they're wearing trash bags, yet be jealous of them because they're wearing trash bags at the same time.

Social etiquette

  • Despite her nice rack.... that could easily accommodate my bicycle, I would turn down the nice lady's offer for a "ride to my car" since my car was at my house, nearly 9 miles away.  

Chemistry

  • Mud.  You can never get rid of all of it

70's Music Trivia
  • I was reminded that I don't much care for piña coladas either.

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Linking up with Mama Kat this week for the prompt:
4. Share something you learned in May.



Monday, June 12, 2017

stars, daisies, and chicken

I convened in Denver over the weekend.  It was P.E.O. state convention time, and once again, I played the role of chapter delegate.

Running Sue joined me again along with another sis, Dya.



It was a successful convention.  We had a good time, and took care of business, but I'm a little sick right now of stars and daisies - both of which figure prominently in P.E.O.  Enough with the stars and daisies already!

In fact, those stars with the holes in the middle in the photo above?  They are there to be held up with your face poking through the hole while snapping pics.

We were all, "uhm... yeah... we're not doing that..."

So I got to catch up with a few friends from my hometown too.  I actually ended up knowing more of them than I did attendees from where I live now.  And one of our scholarship recipients is from my hometown and spoke at the banquet - bonus!

A good time with the Sisters.  Now I'm expected to report everything back to my local chapter, which could be summarized as

"Two and a half days of stars, daisies, and chicken"

I might need to add a bit more detail.



Thursday, June 8, 2017

he wore khakis and a blue button-down

The student center was strangely quiet.  Usually, the place was bustling with activity as it was the central gathering spot on campus.  It housed the bookstore, clubs met there and/or had booths set up for their various causes, there was a large snack bar and deli, and several tables took up a large space.  It was like a big college campus food court.

SOURCE

The fall semester was coming to a close and a lot of students had already left for winter break.  But there were a few people mingling around including myself.  I guess I was studying or taking a break from studying.  I know I was NOT checking my email or browsing the internet because neither of those things existed at the time.

It was December of 1989.  I was enjoying having another semester completed.  And then...

HE walked in.

I noticed him right away.  Since it was not crowded, anyone walking around was easily noticed.  I just sat there.  I sat there and I watched him.  What would HE do?  What would I do?  What would the others in the place do?  Should I do something??

Since I didn't know what, if anything, I should do, I did nothing.  Just continued to watch him and the others and see if anything happened.  He looked so normal, yet I knew he wasn't.  Still, no one else seemed to notice him at all.

I watched.  This is what took place:
  • He walked down the walkway toward the snack place
  • He walked into the snack place
  • He selected a piece of their heavenly banana nut bread (that I typically could not afford)
  • He took his banana nut bread to the cashier
  • The cashier rang up his purchase
  • He paid 
  • The cashier took the money and made change
  • He left, heading out the way he'd come in, carrying his banana nut bread with him
It was riveting.

Yet none of the others present said or did anything to acknowledge it.  Not even that cashier.

SOURCE

And I was left all, "Hey, that was...", "He was...", "That's the guy that...", "It was him..."
because, it was him

It was Thomas Cech.  He's a professor at CU Boulder where I was attending college (Go BUFFS!).  He's a professor of Chemistry, but more importantly, he had just been awarded the freaking Nobel Prize for Chemistry.

It was in all the papers (back when people read papers), and certainly, it was published all over campus.

But he walked in and out of that student center like he was anyone else.  No one batted an eye.





So I sat there thinking, "Well, at least I know who he is" and that maybe I should've said something in acknowledgement.  As I sat there pondering, another distinguished member of campus walked in.

HE was surrounded by a sort of entourage.  And as he walked through the place, others in there shouted acknowledgements to HIM.  Everyone, it seemed, wanted to be HIS friend.

It was Eric Bieniemy, star running back of the football team.

I found it interesting.  Everyone knew the football star.  No one seemed to know the chemistry star.

Maybe Dr. Cech should've had Ralphie lead his entrances.  Then maybe people would cheer!




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Linking up this week with Mama Kat for the prompt
1. Share a college memory.



Tuesday, June 6, 2017

who needs weed?







Meego:  So what's at the top?

Me:  Buncha sweaty, gaspy people.  And dirt.














Recently, Meego reminded me, once again, that he's never done the Manitou Incline.  Y'all remember The Incline, right?  I've blogged about it a few times.  I first visited The Incline myself just a few years ago after getting sick of hearing everyone talk about it.  It's difficult to live here and not do it.

I went up that first time with Chaco and Wolfgang.  Meego was still in school as his brothers were in college and on break at the time.  The handful of other times I'd gone, Meego was either at school or at work.  Recall that last summer, Shadowrun came out and owned it!

In fact, Shadowrun and I went up just a couple of days before it closed for renovations.  It recently opened up again, so Meego and I took advantage of a small window of time he has between the end of school and his job that starts later this week.

"We've lived here for over 13 years, and I've never been there", he realized.  So,today, The Incline!

It was a beautiful morning for it.  We got there early enough to get decent parking and to beat the hordes of  Incline enthusiasts.  Just enough others to help it feel sociable without feeling crowded.

About halfway
Almost there!  Pass that guy!

He did good for his first time up - first time up for someone who lives off too much fast food (IMHO) and gets the bulk of his exercise from banging on a snare drum.  



As promised, we mingled among the other sweaty, gaspy people at the top.  There was a foursome of very military looking guys.  They asked us to take their photo, and I learned that it was two Army lifers and their 20-something sons.  Nice bit of bonding mixed with morning PT.

They returned the favor and snapped our pic.  It's always tough to get a decent photo in the morning since the overlook faces the sunrise, but it's a must-have.

Can you see your house?


Sunday, June 4, 2017

kathy griffin covfefe

I was gonna do a "weekly recap" blog post, but my week was rather uneventful, so I had to borrow some words from general news headlines for my title.  If you found yourself here assuming something interesting is in store, you can probably leave now.

Today, I enjoyed a lovely morning bike ride under sunny blue skies.  As I was returning towards home, I ran into a wall o' people and pooches!



I learned that today was the annual Doggie Dash 5k.  I thought it was actually kinda nice to see so many people out enjoying the morning and raising some money for the charity.  A few other bicyclists looked to be grumbling at the inconvenience.  To that I say, "get over it!".

It was an out-and-back "race", so the canine horde only took up about a mile and a half of the pathway.  Most were pretty considerate of the others out recreating like myself.  I did almost get taken out by a Great Dane who decided to explore the area near a water station.  That's not a collision I would've won.

In other news of people with more exciting lives than myself, Wolfgang just returned from a fun trip to Europe.  One of his friends was invited to present a paper at a conference in Paris, so Wolfgang and the friend's brother tagged along.

He sent this "obligatory" pic

peanut butter and jealous!
A strange thing happens whenever Wolfgang leaves on a fun trip.  Our weather turns to crap.  It was true for the most part during this trip, so another reason I'm glad he's back.

I haven't actually seen him since he returned late last night.  He did spend that final 48 hours of the trip dealing with flight delays and cancellations, so not all of his texts were of the sort to be envious... but most were.

Have I ever mentioned that I don't even own a passport?




Saturday, June 3, 2017

shut UP

Last Monday, Memorial Day, we went for a little hike.

Meego, from the "Pulpit"


We got to the top of Pulpit Rock and noted the strong pot smell.  There's was no one else up there at the time, and I was poking around to see if someone had left a smoldering pipe or such.  But then looking down to the trees beneath the rocks, I spotted a hammocked individual.

Have portable hammock and pot stash, will hike and get  high.

Anyway, it was a nice short time in nature before threatening thunderclouds moved in.  But maybe the residual pot fumes made me lazy this week?  Blogging-wise, I've been a slacker!

I think maybe I'm a bit tired of talking about myself.  I remember getting this chatty cashier once at the grocery store who felt she needed to share her life story with me.  I was thinking, "I just want to pay for these groceries and get out.  This woman needs a blog!"

I've been looking around for a job and have had a few prospects.  As such, I've had to talk about myself either through just written applications or in a handful of actual interviews, and I've realized I don't really enjoy doing that at too much length.  I don't want to talk too much.  Maybe I should NOT blog to make me more chatty?

I did manage to get one actual offer this week, with two openings still in limbo.  What to do?

I decided a bird in the hand was worth the two in the bush and accepted an offer to work at a local high school as an assistant study hall teacher.  There are only a couple of local high schools I would care to work at, and this one is the top of the list.  The (distant) second one is Meego's school *snort*

Remember last marching band season?  Where an awesome-but-friendly high school band plucked the state championship trophy from the awesome-but-full-of-themselves band?  And everyone rejoiced?  Of course you do. Well, I get to work at the awesome-but-friendly trophy plucker school.

So I don't start working for another two months, but I do have a few summer tutees to help me feel productive until then.  The other two jobs in consideration were management type jobs, but this feels like a good fit right now.  Even Meego is happy I'll be at the awesome-friendly school, rival or no.

Magnum noted that I'll be "hitting for the other team", and I had to inform him that that expression means something else!