Thursday, March 30, 2017

"hell is the absence of the people you long for"

When Magnum and I go out for our nighttime old folks walks, now without China jingling beside us, we usually walk passed a neighborhood church.  The church has a lighted sign out front.  But unlike other churches that post their worship times and/or some bible verse, this church puts vague messages on its sign.

We try to interpret these brief advisories or lessons, like they're some cryptic fortune cookie message.  I gotta hand it to those church people.  The sign has a "made you look!" ability that makes us think, but we usually just come up with some comedic, often racy, interpretation.

The most recent notice reads, "Love Actually Suffering".

So we pondered that one a bit.  It felt like something was missing.  What's the subject?  The verb?  The object?

"I love actually suffering"?

"Love actually suffers"?

Eventually, I settled on, "Love is actually suffering", which made Magnum giggle nervously.  He assumed I was referring to him as my source of suffering.

But no (not this time...).  I loved our dog China, so now I suffer to walk without her.  I loved my parents, so now I suffer to no longer talk with them.  I love others, so when they suffer, I suffer too.  I love being healthy, when it's compromised, I suffer.  I love doing certain things, so when I can't do them, I suffer.  

If I didn't love anything, I wouldn't suffer.  We suffer because of what we miss.

Such is an underlying premise of the book, "Station Eleven", a novel set in a post-apocalyptic world after most of humanity has been wiped out by a mysterious and pervasive virus.  Sounds depressing, doesn't it?  Parts of it are.

Parts of it are dark, parts are beautiful, parts are heartbreaking, parts are poetic, parts are mournful, and parts are brilliant.  And it's never hopeless.

We humans need to do more than just survive.  We need "enrichment" in our lives.  This is not so much a book with a standard beginning, middle, and end.  So readers who like a meaty, suspenseful plot might not care so much for this one.  But it's a thoughtful book that touches the emotions.

I actually read this book over a year ago, but I remember it.  And I remember when I finished it, I knew I would miss it.


Linking up this week with Mama Kat for the prompt:
3. Book review!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

when a young man's fancy turns to...

It was a warm night in late spring, and my coworker - who was Gay - and I were finishing up our shift.  Sexually orientation-wise, Gay was straight, it's just that her name was Gay.  She was straight much to the relief of the straight male population of our town, since Gay was young and pretty and thus, highly sought after.

So Gay and I worked the front desk of a busy hotel, and our shift was coming to a close.  Gay had a boyfriend, whom she'd been with for two or three years, and they had their share of rocky times as those young drama-laden years tend to bring.

He was Tony, and they made a nice looking couple, with Tony being the tight-muscled testosteral counterpart to Gay's young female appeal.  But alas, that night it was during one of their rocky times.

Enter Joey.

Joey was another superb male counterpart for Gay.  It was clear he wanted Gay, Tony or no Tony.  So Joey came a-knocking.

Gay and I were finishing up our nightly desk duties when Joey came up and leaned oh so masculinely against the counter.  His head dropping down and forward of his wide shoulders, with thick forearms and strong hands resting on our desk.  Not that I was really paying attention.

He and Gay carried on a little flirtatious banter as I sat a few paces behind tallying up receipts in my seeming cloak of invisibility.

Enter Tony.

Tony sees Gay.  Tony sees Joey.  I highly doubt that Tony saw me... like... at all...

Anyway, Tony was not happy.  He didn't even stop at the desk, he strutted right back there where we were penned and started giving Gay the what for, as in "what for you talkin' to Joey?!"

Our boss, from the "a-go-go" (whole 'nother story), stepped in from her back office and, more or less took Tony by the ear and kicked him out from behind the desk.  In fact, she told him to leave the hotel, which he did in a bit of a huff.

Joey was asked to leave the desk, so he went to the lounge. Gay and I commiserated on what she was going to do when our shift ended.  She suspected that Tony had been drinking based on his behavior, and she was clearly shaken up.

Next thing we knew, there was a ruckus outside.  We had a small office with windows facing the parking lot, and we saw Tony and Joey going at it.

Punches being thrown, bodies lifting off the ground, shirts coming untucked, faces turning red... it was a true brawl.

We just stood frozen as they went at it like feral dogs. Eventually, hotel security (a.k.a. the maintenance guys) were able to break them up.  Tony and Joey were allowed to go separately without involving the sheriff.

Such a spectacle. Modern times, but two young men were reduced to their primal natures and fighting for rights to the female.

It was so hot...


Linking up with Mama Kat again for the prompt:
1. A memorable day at work.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

bangin' hot

Thank you everyone, for the comforting comments and thoughts regarding China's passing.  We miss her, of course, and are now dogless for the first time in many years.  I think the cat's been looking for her and wondering why we're not going for walks with her at  night.  The cat used to walk with us, he's kind of a weird cat that way...

Yesterday, Magnum and I went to Littleton (suburb of Denver) for Meego's winter percussion regional competition.  The group made a fine showing, finishing second out of eight in their class.  I tested my winter percussion judging ability and I managed to have a few of my picks agree with the judges, including first and second place.

Our group did a good job, but after the first place group went, I was feeling that Meego and company had been edged out.  I'm no winter percussion expert, but that first place group had a cowbell, among other things, and they knew how to use it.  And we all know the importance of More Cowbell.

On a side note, four of the winter percussionists in Meego's group went bald 4 bucks, three of them are girls.  Can  you spot 'em in my blurry photo?

It was record breaking warm yesterday, and Magnum and I decided to take advantage of the new location to hunt down some geocaches.  The camouflage on this  one didn't fool anyone - it was  hidden in an evergreen - but I appreciate the effort.

It was nice to enjoy the outdoors, but too  hot for black long sleeves.  Is it really still March?  I had to shed the long sleeves in order to not keel over from the heat.

And this morning, I went running in shorts and a tank top!  Simple pleasures.  I came upon two deer, who eyed me suspiciously but were not alarmed enough to run either into the road or into me, thank goodness.

So I'm ready for spring and glad we had China for the winter, her favorite season.  We'll get another dog eventually, but need to miss China a bit more before then.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

the sad sadness

The inevitable happened today.  We helped China go to dog heaven.

I'm actually quite surprised she made it this long after being diagnosed with liver problems in early 2016, but she was a tough old girl.  She clocked in at somewhere between 16 and 17 years old.

She'd really been declining the last couple of weeks, could barely walk and just didn't seem happy anymore.  I found a veterinarian who does in-home euthanasia, and I'd say it was the next best thing to her going naturally and peacefully in her sleep.

Chaco and Wolfgang came over yesterday to say their goodbyes, and Magnum and Meego gave theirs this morning before heading off to work and school.  Truthfully, I was a bit anxious about being the lone accompanier, but on the other hand, no way was she going without me being there.

Happily, Chaco showed up about an hour before the appointed time.  After a meeting at work, he told them where he was going, and the boss and coworkers understood.

The vet was a nice balance of medical professional and sympathetic dog lover.  He gave China a quick once over and agreed it was time.

It's almost like she knew.  When Magnum and I took her outside last night for her last slow, short walk, she seemed to linger longer than she had been lingering lately.  Sniffing more things on the ground, taking in the night sky a little longer.  A few last things to remember her time on earth by, I guess.

Rest in Peace, sweet pooch, free from that old worn out body.  I hope she's running again and rolling in all kinds of awful smelling things.

Friday, March 10, 2017

at least it wasn't a pizza

Last weekend, I ordered a pair of shooz from Brooks.  They were shipped via FedEx and arrived on Wednesday:

See the cat back there?  Yes, he's laughing.

I'm curious what the FedEx driver thought as he plopped placed the crumpled package on our porch.

"How embarrassing, this package is all smashed up...", or

"Is it 4:20 yet??"

I think the shooz were adequately packaged from the Brooks end.  A thick cardboard box secured the inner box that secured the shooz.  Works for me.

Thankfully, these were just shooz, meant to take a bit of a beating, so the actual product was unharmed.  

On Tuesday, I ordered a book I needed for a tutee.  It was shipped via FedEx and guaranteed to arrive by yesterday.

It is now today. This is what has arrived.  

Actually, I have no image available because the book is floating around out there somewhere nowhere near me.

Thankfully, the bookstore located about a mile from our house had copies of the book, so I was able to get it in time for tuting, just not at the lower online price.    If and when the original order arrives, I'll have the pleasure of returning it because I needed it Thursday and we have now entered Friday and beyond.

Meego was home when the shooz arrived and I brought in the crumpled box.  He laughed even a bit louder than the cat did as I just stood perplexedly staring.  

He wasn't really surprised, and asked, "Haven't you seen that youtube video about FedEx?"  

But yesterday, we got a little ray of sunshine.  A cute little intact package arrived, this time for Wolfgang:

No dings, no dents, no crumples.  I believe it's a raspberry pi.  Even well in time for pi day. Delivered via UPS.

I'm wondering if FedEx drivers are sabotageful UPS drivers in disguise?


Linking up with Mama Kat for the prompt:
1. Something that made you smile this week.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

it's a wrap

... not a rap.  I think I tried that once on the blog, it was quite bad.

This was a pretty good week.  I recently read a tip in a book, regarding journaling.  The tip was to not think, "what happened?" but rather to think "what happened that was good?".  It noted that many of us typically focus on the bad stuff, the fails and/or embarrassing things, etc. So, okay, putting on my rose colored glasses...

Honestly, it was a pretty good week.  Busy, but not too.  The weather was very springlike - except for that sloppy snow storm - and I'm reveling in the sunshine.

On a related note, my lame-o foot has been feeling increasingly better since I went to that foot chiropractor.  I've started doing short bits of running.  It feels quite awkward since it's been a good five months since I've done any appreciable runs.  Really, this is what I feel like...

The running parts are a bit rusty.  But it's not like I haven't been doing any other forms of exercise in the interim...

Whatever.  I'll take what I can get.  In other news, Meego's hair has about doubled in length from last week - which isn't saying a whole lot.  He still feels the breeze on his head rather than through his hair.  I haven't heard any updates on the latest total amount earned for bald 4 bucks, but the event was another great success.

We wrapped up another fiscal PEO year, then started the next one about a second later.  They've elected me president for another term, which wasn't a big surprise, but it's nice to get the vote of confidence, a.k.a. acknowledgement that no one else particularly wants to do it.  

We snapped a pic of the new officers for the newsletter, then realized that one of us was missing because she was out sick, so we'll have to wait until next time for a more "official" officer pic.  But I kinda get a kick out of this one with the man-on-the wall photobomb.

In other other news, a friend who is single and childless and teaches high school (so has summers off) is looking for a travel companion for an exotic trip to China in a few months.  It's sounds amazing, but I don't know if I can quite pull that off for my needed adventure.  Fun to think about, though!

Thursday, March 2, 2017


It's a cutthroat, violent, aggressive sport.  It's a wonder it's not been banned.  Why were young formative children allowed to - EXPECTED to - participate?!

I knew nothing of its tragic effects until I got that phone call, THAT call.  It was a crisp February morning:


"Hi Mrs. Abby.  It's the elementary school.  Your son Chaco was hurt in P.E. this morning.  He's in with the school nurse..."

I raced to the school (after I finished my coffee and combed my hair a little bit and stuff...)

Sure enough, there was Chaco, holding his right arm, the nurse at his side saying, "Yeah, he should probably get that checked".

As we were leaving, the P.E. teacher, Mr. Steve, appeared, all anxious.

"How's he doing?!  I don't know what happened!  This has never happened before!  *No one's ever broken a bone in my class!"

I glared at him with a mother's scorn.  By then, I'd heard what had happened.  Those sweet little 5th graders were hauled down to the gym from the comfort of their warm, loving classroom and thrown upon a brutal battlefield.  No tolerance for the meek, and no security for the aggressive.

Pillow Polo
.  It was freaking pillow polo.

Bloody carnage waiting to happen.  Look away.

Is it any wonder Chaco broke his wrist?!  Especially considering that just a couple of days prior, he "fell up" the back yard stairs and noted lasting tenderness in his wrist, which probably warranted my writing a note to excuse him from P.E.??

But then if I'd done that, Chaco wouldn't have gotten that cool cast, and Mr. Steve couldn't have anxiously and temporarily taken credit for it.

*I've since learned that that was not true, but Mr. Steve didn't know me that well yet then, and was probably worried I would sue and drag him though the mud*


Linking up with Mama Kat again this week for the prompt:
5. Throwback Thursday: Choose a photo from a previous February and write a poem or a blog post.