Sunday, June 30, 2013

Silver Liningness Sunday

I'm basking in the smell of freshly fallen rain wafting through the open windows and doors.  Aaaah.... smell it?

RIP, Michael

Our heat wave finally broke, the break heralded in by an exciting lightning storm on Friday night that actually brought rain with it instead of fire.  It's been pretty comfy ever since.  I'll happily take it as long as it lasts.  No more loitering in the frozen foods section at the grocery store.

The silver lining to the uncomfortable heat is that it got me to try both an ice bath and iced coffee.  Yeah, that's right, I'd never had an iced coffee until a couple of days ago.  So what!?!

And I actually enjoyed some nice running this week after somewhat of a hiatus.  Smoky air and a weird tinge in my leg that felt kinda like a shin splint, but I don't think it was a shin splint, brought on the hiatus.  (for now) Air's clear, leg's better.  Yay!

Meego enjoyed his time Biblin'.  ("Biblin'" became a verb here last year during our trip to Nebraska, but that's another story).  I think he enjoyed having the structure during an otherwise structureless week and enjoyed helping out the younger kids.  He received a very nice thank you note from the VBS teacher he assisted.  As expected, his ignorance of all things churchy was not a problem.

Wolfgang got a package in the mail from The Bolder Boulder.  He was out with friends so I texted him and asked him "whatizzit?"  I was curious, was he in trouble?  He had no idea what it was.  Pffft.  Turns out it was a 7th-place-for-his-age-group medal, which was a nice surprise.  We didn't know they gave out medals and have no idea how many places got them. His buddy Reid got one for 6th.

The sun is threatening to come back out, so I think I'll go play in a puddle before they all evaporate.

Saturday, June 29, 2013


Once again, I think it's safe to assume that this week's Illustration Friday prompt, "Equality", is inspired by news of note from current events.  

Yes, it's time once again for Crested Butte Bike Week!  A little nice press for promoting bicycle love.  Really, sometimes when I'm out and about on the bicycle, I feel invisible.  Then there are those who feel we are somehow a threat to their way of life.

So I chose my love Tessa, a.k.a. "The Girl with the Emerald Tires",  as this week's model.  It's so nice to have our relationship recognized as the good healthy, harmless relationship it is.  CELEBRATE!

More photos HERE

Share the road, share the rules.  Don't be hatin'.


Thursday, June 27, 2013


We learn so many things from our blog friends.

I think moreso than our real life friends a lot of the time.  I suspect some of the reasons for that are (a) people are willing to be more open and intimate on their blogs than in real life, and (b) blog friends live in and grew up in different parts of the world, making for a more diverse pool of experiences.

Years ago, I had a blog friend who began blogging during a very low point in her life.  She was reluctantly going through a divorce from her husband of about 10 years.  They had two kids. The divorce was his idea.  There was cheating involved (him not her).

But, contrary to how that may sound, her blog was typically upbeat.  I think that was the idea - she started blogging as a way to vent and focus on other things.  In the time I "knew" her, she became even closer with each of her kids, her social life picked up, she became healthy and fit, she met a new man, he and the kids got along great, she eventually married the new man, they bought a new home together, and at the time her blogging stopped, they were living happily ever after.

I like to think that the happily ever after is the reason the blogging stopped.  Its purpose had been fulfilled.

I appreciated her blog.  It was very inspiring, as might seem obvious.  And just recently, I was thinking of her, thinking of something she'd mentioned that I found intriguing at the time, but had yet to act on.

I mean, here I am, been in the same relationship for years and years.  After a while, it's like I just go through the motions and don't think much about changing things up a bit, going outside the lines.  But there she was, where everything was brand new, and with all that open mindedness and experimentation, not to mention an able and willing teacher...

A hefty part of her blog was writing about these particularly new experiences.

I remembered a blog post she wrote.  She was in a hotel(!) for a sort of endurance event.  I mean, really, this thing went on for DAYS!

And she went on to describe this nightly ritual they would do that was totally foreign to me.  I just remembered it this week, so I decided to try it.  This morning.  And, Oh... GOD!

Truthfully, I don't see myself doing this all that often, just maybe for special occasions.  But this morning, the conditions just seemed right to let loose and try it out.

I'm still all a-tingle.

See, one of her life changes was that she took up running.  She decided she was going to train for and complete a marathon.  In fact, she completed at least two marathons, countless half-marathons, and a few adventure races that I recall.

Having never been a runner, she wisely took up with a coach to help her meet these goals.  Her coach was a proponent of the ice bath.

That was the blog post I remembered.  About how she did it in a hotel.

I did it today.  At home.  And it was goooooood.  Maybe someday, I'll even do it in a hotel.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

mending fences... or not

Yesterday afternoon, I poked at the window blinds to take an assessment.

"Damn clear blue skies", I murmured.

What an ingrate, huh?  But what can I say, it was hot again without a friendly cloud in sight.  We really haven't had much appreciable rain since the mass car-washing ploy that helped put out the Black Forest fire.  While other blog friends are getting more rain and yuck weather than they seemingly deserve, I wish we could organize this weather better and share the "wealth"!

Terri recently shared some photos of her parents' downed tree from a recent storm.  She also noted the neighbor's deteriorating fence.  I'm not trying to pull any one-up-blogship, but I looked at the photos of the deteriorating fence and thought, "oh honey..."

Allow me to share just a couple of deteriorating fences in my neighborhood.  I snapped some pics during this morning's China walk, trying to be incognito.

Exhibit A

Exhibit A is what is left of the poor fence at the house near my former office, the school crossing.   Looking further up the way, we see that there is a slight bend in the road.  An errant driver, however, decided not to follow it and instead, to drive into the now gone fence.

This is actually the second time in about five years that has happened.  Gee, I'm gonna miss that job but not really.

Exhibit B

Exhibit B is my favorite, though.  This photo really doesn't do it justice (incognito, remember?).  If it did, the pile of tree branches placed in line with the gone fence line would be more prominent.  Several sections of fence are missing, and the pile of branches are saving seats?  There is also a utility box in shadow that is covered with graffiti to give it a certain urban feel.

Exhibit B.1
Exhibit B.2

One feature I get a kick out of is how that one section of fence remains standing.  It's like a lone tooth in an otherwise toothless mouth.

Now let me just clarify that I'm not neighbor bashing!  Most of the fences are in decent shape, but weather and traffic and teenagers with spray cans happen.  And some people have things going on in their lives that preempt fixing back fences. 

We live in an HOA-less neighborhood and we like it that way.  If something is a safety issue or such, then there's already a city code for it.  We don't need an HOA to tell us our house isn't beige enough.  

With that comes the potential for tree branch fences and graffiti-ized utility boxes.  Signs of freedom.

HOA's.  Do you have one?   Pro or con?

Monday, June 24, 2013

So, you know who Jesus is, right?

I inquired this of Meego this morning.  A little background:

When I was growing up, my family didn't attend church, but my dad arranged for brother Guano and me to crash the local Lutheran church and attend Sunday school and VBS as church orphans.  Looking back, it was a positive experience.

I was not a churchgoer when I met Magnum and neither was he.  But by the time we became parents, I felt maybe we should at least expose the kids to "the basics" of our Judeo-Christian society like I had been.  With that, we dipped them in a few church experiences spanning about three years.

It started with a non-denominational church that was so ridiculously non-denominational that we didn't see the point (rhymes with "spoonitarian").  From there we went to Christian Science - not to be mistaken with Scientology.  While we had a few issues with the church itself, that I won't expound upon here, we were happy enough with the Sunday school.

But when we moved to another town and another CS church, the hypocrisy smothered us out.  We began  attending a non-denominational Christian church in our somewhat rural community, Chaco and Wolfgang did Sunday school.  It was all right, the people were nice, and I don't really remember why we stopped going.  I think the hypocrites at the previous church had just left such a bad taste in our mouths.  We were churchgoers no more.

Meego was just a baby then.  His sole church experiences were of either sitting in my lap drooling on the hymnal, or spending time in the nursery with the Noah's Ark pillow pets.

I did think about it over the years - what to do about Meego.  I vaguely remember getting a book of Bible stories from the library and reading a few selections with him.  And we've talked to him about what Christmas and Easter are to Christians.  Haven't we?

Which brings us to this morning.  This morning is his first day as a VBS volunteer at the church up the street.

So how did this young heathen become a VBS helper?

Meego has a couple of good buddies in the neighborhood, twin brothers K and J.  K and J are nice kids.  Playful, polite, boy bundles of activity.  They're about two years younger than Meego, and the three of them hang out for hours at a time, shooting hoops, riding bikes, playing video games, etc.

summer daze

Last week, K and J were at VBS at the church down the street.  Meego sat around the house ho-humming until they were released in the afternoons.  Even the kids next door, a.k.a. "the girls", were at VBS.  Everyone was out having VBS fun except Meego!

K and J announced that this week, they would be attending the VBS UP the street.  Meego should go!  I said I thought he was too old.  He is, but learned that older kids could volunteer as helpers.  

I got the contact info for volunteers, e-mailed, and left it to Jesus.

Jesus... er... Julie e-mailed me back quite directly.  "Yes!"  

We walked up there, set foot in that church for the first time in our lives, talked with whom we needed to talk with, and it was a done deal.  

So this morning, as he prepared his breakfast before heading out for a rip roaring good time with Jesus, I inquired the title of this post.

He gave me a look that said "duh", and reminded me, "We learned about him in humanities, remember?"   

Oh, right.  They did a unit on world religions in school.  

Hopefully public school Jesus will suffice for a VBS helper.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Silver liningness Sunday

Not to harp on fire season, but I was glad to learn last night that the fire near my parents is now 10% contained.  Anything is better than zero.

East Peak Fire

Really, it does seem that Colorado has two seasons:  Winter and Fire.  The fact that we've had two destructive fires near us in a year's time is not indicative of a necessarily bad row.  Colorado burns every summer, it's just a little "better" when it happens in the boonies.

That said, the smoke is not so bad this morning.  We're advised to "limit time outdoors, close the windows, and use the air conditioner".  Well... our open windows ARE our air conditioner.

Nighttime temperatures usually get into the 50's.  We open up all the windows, run the swamp cooler, and the house is pretty comfy.  Then in the morning, near sunrise, we scramble around closing and boarding up the windows to keep out the evil passive solar.  It's quite a fun challenge to time the closing of windows and blinds for optimum temperature control.  Each window is different.  I imagine it's something like successfully baking a souffle'.  Only trickier.

And all of this forced house arrest has meant that I've gotten pretty caught up on the housewifery.  The house is "clean" enough for an insurance video, but tidiness is a fleeting thing around here.  Some areas are just NOT going to make the video...

In other silver liningness, I've already mentioned that I've got both bicycles back home.  And they are running like well-oiled, prettily tired machines.

Wolfgang went to see Man of Steel.  He and his friends - all comic book movie aficionados - totally panned it, so I know not to waste my time.  Not that I had much desire to see it anyways, but now I have a good excuse if someone tries to get me to go.


Saturday, June 22, 2013


This week's Illustration Friday  prompt is "surveillance", probably inspired from recent news events.  

I drew this relatively passive gargoyle because I thought about old buildings and churches that have gargoyles adorning them.  I think gargoyles were first included near the tops buildings to act as spouts for rainwater, and it's also thought that they warded off evil spirits.  

Makes sense to me, since they had such good surveillance positions.  

Well... before the NSA.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

and brimstone?

A friend of mine took these lovely photos:

We are having "pretty" sunsets as a result  of ugly ugly fires.

Black Forest is 100% contained as of this evening, but another large fire is burning south of us near my home of sex change town.  The fact that so much smoke is here is a good sign to me that the wind is blowing the fire away from the more populated areas.

I called my parents and asked if they had a lot of smoke.

"No, why?"

May they continue in their oblivion.


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

could you pick me out of a lineup?

One rule for staying under the radar is to have no distinguishing marks.  I find it humorous when criminals go knock off a 7-eleven or such, and the witness descriptions include something like a dagger tattoo on the face.  Are they seriously surprised when they get busted?

I, however, have no intention of ever knocking off a 7-eleven or such, so I can feel free to get all the face tattoos I want.  Which is zero.

So I have to stand out in other ways.  Can you find my bicycle in this mob?

Yes, the lovely Tessa is back from the salon.  I just love her green highlights!  Apparently, tires other colors than black are becoming quite popular.  The tech at the bike shop really wanted me to go green.  I should mention that there was no price difference among green or black or white - the other available color.  So I said, "heck yah!"

These tires are a little thicker and more durable than the skinny ones I replaced, but I really didn't notice "feeling fat" during my short test ride.  

Hmmm... green handlebar tape perhaps?

So far, the local polling results are:  
  • Meego - "like" (I want it)
  • Chaco - "dislike" (it looks like a clown bike)
  • Wolfgang - "neutral" (as long as it can still go fast)
I'll pose a guess for Magnum:
  • "like" (if I'm happy, he's happy, know what I'm sayin'?)

And I'm happy.  So happy, I think I'll go clean the bathrooms now, so I can make my video already.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

for the record

I went running this morning for the first time in a week.  The air quality last week was such that it was probably healthier to spend the day on the couch with a jumbo bag of pork rinds than to go outside and breathe heavily.


The last press release has the Black Forest fire at 75% contained, which is a lovely number.  Some evacuees have been able to go back in, but others are still waiting.  Mr. Steve and family are doing well, all things considered.  They're being deluged with gift cards and the like and  looking for a rental home in our area.  Know anyone?

One thing that the evacuees have to deal with, those whose houses were spared, is some nasty clean up.  Think about it.  Those homes have been submerged in smoke for days with no power.  Care to open any of those fridges and freezers?  They're nasty.  NASTY nasty.  So nasty, there are special dumpster areas just for spoiled food.

As I was watching the news updates last week, an insurance rep gave some recommendations.  These included having a physical inventory of all the stuff we own.  She recommended taking photos or walking around our homes with a video camera to record it all.

A lot of people, myself included, tend to think, "Oh well, it's not the 'stuff' that's important", and we would probably remember most of the high dollar items.  But as I made a mental trip through my house, I realized that little things add up.

For instance, since I work out of the house, I've built a small library of books and other reference materials over time.  They don't have sentimental value, and I probably wouldn't remember each item.  But as a whole, it's significant and would be a task to replace.

I'm also reminded that we do a bit of "prepping", with a small zombie apocalypse stash going on.  Just how many buckets of grains and other provisions do we have now?  Heck if I know!

The rep said to make sure to hit every room, even closets.   And don't forget the garage and tool sheds.  Open drawers and cabinets.

"Good idea!", I thought, "I'm going to do that".  Sure beats writing everything down.  Then I looked around my house and thought, "No way I'm recording this mess..."

So I've been doing some *ahem* tidying of my own...  THEN it will be video time.

After you make YOUR video, if disaster was headed your way, what would you be grabbing on your way out the door?

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Silver Liningness Sunday

First of all, Happy Father's Day to all the good dads out there, starting with my own!  A lot of men can be fathers, but not all can be good ones!  And a Happy day to Magnum too.  He's not MY dad, but he is the resident Baby Daddy!

One thing about my dad is, he is extremely honest.  If he says he'll do something, he'll do it.  If he expresses an opinion, it's authentic.  The back side of all that honesty is that he often lacks tact, but I guess I'm used to it.  I think it's mostly because of Dad that I'm a what-you-see-is-what-you-get kinda girl. I dislike hypocrisy as much as he does, and I wouldn't want to be any other way.  Thanks Dad!

I also appreciate that he's not one to sugar coat things.  Life can be difficult, but what doesn't kill us makes us stranger (not a typo).   This was not an upbeat week.  A second devastating fire in just under a year reminded us that Fire Happens.

I mentioned that while  last year's fire was met with anxiety and panic, this time felt different.  When smoke began filling the sky, and breaking news alerts and evacuation notices began popping up on Tuesday, they were met with more a feeling of *sigh* [quiet expletive].

But we don't get silver linings without clouds.

I'm extremely grateful for the firefighters and officials who worked so hard to get the fire under control.  That goes for all of the peripheral people too - volunteers, animal shelter staff, grocery stores and restaurants providing free meals, other businesses providing resources and means for us "safe" people to help out...


And let's not forget the usually forgotten scientists and engineers who develop the equipment, the slurry, the firefighting technology...

Shout out!!

And thanks to all my blog friends who check in and truly care.  On Friday, the sheriff asked us to go wash our cars - jokingly to use Murphy's law to our advantage, since car washing usually brings rain.  I went out and washed the biggest vehicle we own, the van.  It needed it anyway.

Chaco waxed and vacuumed it, then we parked it outside... then the sweet sweet rains came.  Thank you Murphy!  Whoever you are!

But it wasn't just the mass car washing that went on.  I believe in the power of car washing, the power of prayer, and the power of blog juju!

Saturday, June 15, 2013


This week's Illustration Friday prompt is "Worn".    My first thought was, "Well, I've done plenty of beat up shoes..."

So I started thinking about things that are worn by specific groups or for specific reasons.  With the Black Forest fire still predominately in our minds, I started thinking of all the gear worn by the firefighters.  What does one wear to a fire?  

...which led me to this Native American dancer.  RAIN dancer, to be specific.

Friday, June 14, 2013


A few years ago, back when I was Run With Lumber chair at the elementary school, the event was running along quite smoothly.  I was walking around the field, holding a clipboard, looking all chairperson like, when a concerned parent approached me.

"There's someone lying on the ground over there", the man told me, "He's not moving".

He was right to be concerned.  Despite our efforts to keep it fun, some had troubles.  If it was cold and windy, the asthmatics suffered for it.  Then there were always those who had no clue what the term "pacing" means.  Parents and grandparents showed up, and sometimes got a little too caught up in the action.

I looked across the field to where this parent, new to the school, was pointing.  He was correct.  Someone was lying on the ground across the field from us, not moving at all, while the other kids continued with their laps.

I turned back to the concerned parent.  "It's okay", I said, "that's Mr. Steve".

Mr. Steve, getting the troops ready

Mr. Steve is the much loved P.E. teacher at the school.  He's been there since the school opened, around 30 years ago.

Even though Run With Lumber was a PTO fundraising event, I always relied on Mr. Steve.  He'd get the field ready, and more importantly, he'd get the kids ready.  They all loved him, and he could inspire them like no other.

Although he was a leader to whom all the kids looked up, he's actually quite a rather softspoken, unassuming guy.  Very laid back.  I suspect that a lot of that is really just quiet wisdom of a man whose group of coworkers consists of about 95% women.

His wife is also a teacher, who used to teach at the school.  A piece of school trivia is that Mr. Steve proposed to Mrs. Mr. Steve during a Pride Assembly.  I'd have loved to have been there to see it!

The Human Hurdle, getting into position

Another thing he's known for is, every Run With Lumber, he spends part of each group's run as "The Human Hurdle", hence the laying-on-the-ground-not-moving.  He bravely lies in the path of runners - including kindergartners who can be poor judges of distance, and 5th graders who can just be downright nasty.

He just retired from the school.  While everyone is certainly happy for him, it's sad to see him go.  Two weeks ago today, I went up to the school to turn in my crossing guard getup, and he was there cleaning out the last of his stuff.  We had a nice visit, and I know he looks forward to an active retirement.  He's an avid outdoorsman - loves hiking, camping, and river rafting.

Mr. Steve lives in Black Forest.  His was one of the 389 (so far) homes that made the "Total Loss" column.

At least his family's safe.  And it didn't take long for the sad news to spread through the school community, staff and parents alike.  Everyone I've talked to wants to do something for them, and I'm sure something will be organized soon.

Because it's Mr. Steve.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

keep dancing!

Sheriff's department just had a press conference.  Here are the latest sad numbers:

Source:  twitter friend of a facebook friend's facebook friend

360 homes completely destroyed

14 homes partially damaged

79 homes not verifiable

1,205 not affected

15,000 acres burned

So this fire has now nudged last year's out as worst in Colorado history.  One of my tutee moms told me they were safe, staying with family, but didn't know the status of their house.  Later, the sheriff's department released a list of addresses with two columns:  "Total Loss" and "Not Affected".  My friend's home made the "Not Affected" column, but she couldn't find any of her neighbors, so didn't know what to think.  At that time, there were about 70 homes verified as "Total Loss".

I heard from another tutee family yesterday afternoon.  Dad texted me:  "We're sitting in evacuation traffic". Their son, who is my student, is away working as a camp counselor.  "He's missing all the excitement".

Here's a map of the latest evacuation area, which keeps growing.  See me?  In blue?  Down in Briargate?

I feel like I should be in a bit of a panic, but I'm just not.  It's more frustration than anything.  Wolfgang kinda said the same thing last night.  We were coming home from a grocery run when I mentioned not feeling as panicked as I did during last year's fire and that maybe it's because we've been through this before.  He said, "I don't feel panicked either.  I just think it sucks.  I mean, it's Black Forest."

Yeah, couldn't happen to a nicer community.

This fire is different from last year, though, in that it's more accessible to the firefighters.  Last year's was in a canyon, then jumped the ridge and roared down the mountain.  Black Forest is a relatively flat area with lots of road access.  The many aircraft are able to get in and out relatively easily and to make better targeted drops.
Chinook helicopter.  Some local news source

C-130.  Another local news source

There is even an awesome DC10 tanker jet.  It's quite something to see a large jet fighting a fire.

So those are the "good" aspects of this fire.  All that flat accessibility, however, also makes for the bad.  Because of all that wide open space and fuel, the fire jumps around to, literally, wherever the wind takes it.  Yesterday, it split off in two directions.  Today's weather forecast doesn't promise much help.  The fire is still at 0% containment

But I don't want to be all glum.  As always, there are silver linings.  People offering their homes to evacuees and their pets, offering horse trailers and such to move large animals, offering their time and money to do what they can to help in whatever way, getting the word out to reunite families with scared animals that ran away, etc.

As much as I sometimes make fun of facebook and twitter, they are an excellent way to get information out quickly.  And here's something from the local humane society that just popped up in my news feed:

"We had to leave one of our cats behind when we evacuated Tuesday. She was hiding and we ran out of time. I just found out that you were able to go in and find her and she is safe. I am more grateful than I can ever adequately express."

There have been many stories like this each day.

So I'm thankful for the firefighters and the support organizations.  I'm thankful that I have the means and the time to help out too.  And I'm thankful for my blog friends!  I really think the blog juju is working.  Really, things could be worse!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

w/o wheels

Thankfully, the wind has died down since yesterday.  The air was quite smokey earlier this morning, but that seems to have dissipated with the sunrise.  The fire is still not contained.

I don't know anything about the status of any of my Black Forest tutees or their homes.  Our school district has a couple of schools out there.  This morning, I heard that one of them burned down, but also heard that it's still standing.  Clearly, everything is still in rumor mode.

Black Forest is an area of thick pines and ground cover consisting mainly of dead pine needles.  If there's anyplace for a wildfire to spread, it's Black Forest.  Really surprised it hasn't happened sooner.  There are also some million dollar and up homes out there scattered among the trees.  The people I know from there, however, are not at all snobby.  Super friendly in fact.

In the meantime, the rest of us just watch and wait.  Other fires have sprung up around the state.  The Royal Gorge fire is threatening the bridge.

For those who don't know, that area is home to a Super Max prison.  Ted Kaczynski (The Unabomber), Terry Nichols, and Tim McVeigh before his demise,  among others, reside there.  I heard that one of the prisons was evacuated.  There's a task!

Back in my little world, I'm feeling a bit adrift.  I am without wheels.  BOTH bicycles are in the shop(s).

Mountain bike Bella was due for a tune-up, and I happened to get a coupon for a free(!) one at a local sporting goods store.  I wouldn't normally take her to a sporting goods store, but a tune up at my shop costs around $70, so...

As for speedy Tessa the road bike, remember how I said I was going to change her tires?  Of course you do!  Her current tires were baldy baldy - blowouts waiting to happen.  It was time to get those new tires.  I pondered keeping her around until the other bike was back home, so I'd have SOMEthing, but really, I wasn't going anywhere on those tires anyway.

So I took her in to the usual shop, and we ordered up some pretty pretty tires.  Oh, I'm so happy for her, and me.  Can't wait to see how they look and feel on the road.  I want to bicycle commute as much as practical once I start fall classes.  We'll see how that goes.

Both bikes should be ready in a few days.  In the meantime, I'm feeling rather naked.

World Naked Bike Ride participants


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

not a cloud in the sky

But *damn* I wish there was!

It's hot and dry here.  No real news.  I got up this morning and it was 66 degrees at 5am, so we knew we were in for a hot day.  If we were lucky, some rainclouds might come in the afternoon, but they didn't.  Instead, there's just smoke in the air.


Today's fire is just to the north and east of us.  I have a few friends that live in Black Forest, a handful of tutor students.  The live feed shows several large homes burning.  I feel a bit morbid as I scrutinize to see if they are any of the houses I know.

Of course, after last summer, everyone's got the heebie jeebies whenever there's a fire.  But at least we know not to take them lightly.  It's that time of year.

Anyway, we'll take prayers, rain dances, hallucinogenic drugs that bring about alternate realities - I, for one, am not picky.
Update:  Chaco and I took the camera out and caught some of the aircraft going after the fire.  They look so tiny in comparison!


The beginning shows smoke from the fire near the Royal Gorge to our south.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Silver Liningness Sunday

Well this week sort of flew by.  That's most likely because it started off with the whole Comic Con and Beyond trip.  Comic Con itself was fun but crowded, so it was nice to then escape to wide-open-in-June Keystone, CO for lots of playtime.

It seems to have rejuvenated each of the kids too, who were already getting into the "I'm bored" of summer before we left.  They've been whirlwinds of activity since our return, and I'm not complaining.

And speaking of summer activity, a growing pothole at the end of our driveway is no more!  It's been there for as long as we've lived here.  I never called the city to patch it since we live on a dead end, and I didn't want to be a driveway diva.

On Friday, I noticed a patch truck slowly moving down the street.  It stopped in front of our house, and the driver utilized a manly forearm to point the pothole out to his colleague. The two of them, attractively dressed in matching safety vests, hardhats, tans, and manly forearms, then got out of the truck and proceeded to jackhammer, sweep, and fill.  It was beautiful.

In movie news, Magnum and I watched Wilby Wonderful.  It looked like just something light and quirky, but turned out to be deeper than expected.  Like!

And in car news, the sweet Civic is nearly all  TRANSFORMED  from her spa day.

If this is our Civic, then that girl is Megan Fox

I say "nearly" transformed because we ran into a weird glitch with the shop, but that's too long a story to get into.  I am fairly confident that she'll be roaring to go by the end of today, though (please please please...)


Saturday, June 8, 2013


This week's prompt at Illustration Friday is "Children".  Some find it stressful to be around children.

Others deal with them quite well.

Friday, June 7, 2013


Our poor Honda Civic.  It probably thinks I don't like it, but truth is, I LOVE it!  - as much as an anti-driving bicycle commuter can love a car anyway.

Really, though, I think that my attempts to be as car free as practical make me all the more picky when it comes to choosing gas powered vehicles.

I recently mentioned the criteria for choosing our pedophile van.  Then, of course, there is the ever adored, recently adopted Ellie Mae.

Our third and final gas snacker is the sweet little (no-named) Honda Civic.  We got her about 4 or 5 years ago when we wanted a no-frills, reliable, economical commuter car.  She fits the bill perfectly.  She's a frugal 5-speed with an absolutely hideous interior, moody radio, no A/C, and U-Crank-Em windows and mirrors.

She's quite fun to drive, sneaking in and out of tight parking spaces with ease and otherwise instantly responding to driver commands.

Recall that a couple of months ago, in a haze of blizzard induced cabin fever, I took out the driver's side mirror.  The GUILT!

Yesterday was worse.

Meego and I were coming home from the orthodontist.  We'd just witnessed a crazy person entering busy cross traffic through a red light.  What??  This SUV was stopped and then... just decided to go?  I'm guessing they were just distracted (like so many are!) and forgot they were sitting at a light?  That was STILL red?

They managed to stop-and-go get across as the green-light people stopped, all wtf.  But it was just weird.  Anyway, maybe I was replaying that in my head, or maybe I was tired from unpacking and getting restocked after our little trip, or maybe...

Well, we were about a half mile from home.  I made a tight little road-hugging right turn that the Civic does so well - too well this time.  My turn was too tight and I ended up clipping the curb with the rear passenger tire.  "Ouch", said the friendly Civic.

So there we were, a block or so further on, changing out the flat and replacing it with the spare donut.   Meego actually enjoyed it - going all NASCAR pit crew, albeith much MUCH slower.  I noted that it was a nice day out for such activities, and it was nice to be in a quiet residential area rather than a busy highway or such.  I was not, however, thrilled about getting my new Hello Kitty Stormtrooper shirt all dirtied.

So, I will finish my coffee and take little Civic to the shop now.  I'm contemplating getting her a whole new set of tires as I noticed how baldy her current ones are as I was sitting on the ground with her yesterday.

Maybe we take her for granted because she never complains.  She is just SO reliable.  I even left a sticky note on the garage door so that Magnum didn't automatically climb in and take her to work this morning.

Spa treatment day.

Thursday, June 6, 2013


I almost forgot...

Comic Con Fash-ON!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

proud nerds

Hi, Honey, I'm home!

We got back from our Comic Con and Beyond adventure this afternoon.  I think all is forgiven with the cat.  It was a great few days with lots of recreating and family time.  And I think I'm starting to get the hang of Texas Hold 'Em.

None of the fish died either, unlike last year... (may they rest in peace).

But really, not much else to blog about just yet.  This is really just an excuse to post a few more pics instead of go to the grocery store.

picture of a duck

Umbrella Corps Guys!

more Cosplayers

Oh My, George Takei!
(not my photo, I didn't want to stand in that line)

There were lots of fun artists at Comic Con.  I think many were famous among the purists.  I'd never heard of any of them, but they were a fun bunch.

Anyway, it was a fun few days.  Great way to kick off the summer!
See you soon!

Your friend,


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

beyond the con

I'm not quite back to myself yet.  That is, I'm hunched over in an uncomfortable position blogging from a little Chromebook in a corner.  And nobody puts Baby in a corner!

morning Old Folk's walk

After Comic Con, we headed west to the mountains and have been here playing ever since.    And lest any malcontents get wise ideas, our house is being watched over by our Xtreme nosy neighbors and our fat cat that will probably eat just about anything, including malcontents.

No big trips are planned for this summer, but we were able to sneak in this getaway to the mou'ains for a couple of post Comic Con days, and it's been loverly.  We just rented a cozy little condo - relatively cheap since it's the skiing offseason.

Lots of general outdoor recreating going on - swimming, bicycling, boating, laundering...  Today we took a longer than anticipated bike ride.  It was just so darned nice out, and the trail kept going.   The Adventure Girl (bike rental employee) saw me trying to get the crew to behave for a photo, and I guess she took pity on me.  She offered to take a photo for us, and everyone pretty much behaved for HER.  So here is the Brady-Bunch-on-Vacation version.

This is not typical

We're having us a good time, but now my back is starting to hurt from this nonideal blogging position.  I did find this other photo from "The Con".  My idol, Tank Girl, snuck in!  See her??

Meego's thrilled

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Stop and Smell the Roses Sunday

Dear Blog,

new friends!

Greetings from Nerdtopia!  It's time once again for Denver Comic Con, so how could we resist?

So yeah, the family and I have taken a little side trip to stop and smell the roses and zombies and superheroes and video game people and stuff I have no idea what's.


The place was a bit of a zoo for some as word got out about how fun it was last year.  Compared to others, though, we fared all right.  Got in Saturday with less than an hour wait and then walked right in this morning.  Good times all around!

As expected, it was once again People Watching Palooza.  Chaco met George Takei at the hotel gym - just a few minutes after I'd left - harummph!

Once I'm down from my nerd high, I'll be around to visit my fave-O blogs.  In the meantime, I'm so looking forward to wearing my new Hello-Kitty-as-a-Storm-Trooper t-shirt!