Tuesday, April 28, 2015

the next big thing in girl bands?

As requested... "Bella and the Mudflaps":

Nice ring to it?  Maybe a name for our girl band?

We'll probably have major drought now.  But anyway, I like the flaps.  No more mud speckled me.  A nice feature is that, once they're mounted *snicker*, it's just a matter of snapping them on and off at will.

No need for mudflaps today, though.  After a dismal drizzly couple of days, we're back to sweetness and sunshine.  I feel better, the greyness was making me grouchy.

In other news, Napolion the mighty hunter is in full predator mode.  A few days ago, he bagged another huge gopher, plopped on the welcome mat, pigged out, then left the parts he didn't want.  Gee, thanks.

Then he came inside and decided the gopher didn't agree with him and left those parts too.  In the living room.

I looked at him.  He looked at me.  Was it shame I sensed?  Yes, he definitely communicated, "OMG, I can't believe I just did that!"  Then he left the room to cower in a closet.  I swear he was embarrassed!  Mighty hunters do NOT barf!

It took him about a day, then he was over the BOS (Barf of Shame) and back in form.

Just wanted to share that because I couldn't just blog about mudflaps.  Be glad there are no pictures.


Sunday, April 26, 2015

Silver Liningness Sunday

Happy Sunday!  We are experiencing grey skies, drizzle, and mud.  You?

But it's all good.  In fact, on Monday, Meego was off of school on account of marijuana appreciation day.  In addition, 4/20 is also the anniversary of the Columbine shootings.  Since Colorado is the site of the shootings AND has legalized recreational marijuana with the related "smoke-ins" that the day brings, most school districts smartly set that day as a professional development day.  Less volatility.   I'm in agreement.

So anyway, since he had the day off, we took a field trip after my class was done.  Remember that bike shop gift certificate I won last semester?  It was burning a hole in my dresser, so we went and spent it ALL at Old Town Bike Shop.

I was on the hunt for mudflaps for Bella because I'm tired of being sprayed up and down in our spring weather.  I found some lovely ones.  Bella looks a bit butch, but she seems to like it that way - on rainy days anyway.  She's made it clear that there will be no wicker basket to offset the butch flaps.

Meego talked me into getting him some fast tires for his bike and then commenced to picking out a nice pair.  After that, all that was left of my gift certificate was about $20, so I got a t-shirt to make sure we spent it all.

I'd never been to that store before and found it to be very nice, plus it's a nice bike ride to get there.  I'll be back, which is, I guess, one of the purposes of them donating the gift certificate :).

In other updates, Magnum and I continue to hunt for geocaches.  We've found some and searched in vain for others - all within easy walking distance from our house, so China is enjoying the adventures too.

And this semester is winding down - just a couple of more weeks.  So we are now in the throes of final papers and projects.  I'm busy, but very much enjoying the fray.  Have I mentioned how content I am with this master's program?  Yes?  Okay.

Speaking of which, I should stop blogging and get on with school stuff.  I have the words of Walter White echoing in my head. "Apply yourself!"  Because Magnum and I finally got on the Breaking Bad bandwagon and have become fully addicted to methamphetamine.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

pure inspiration!

Today's a good day.

Not only is it trash day, but the donation pickup truck came and hauled away three good sized boxes of junk.  I have these two big totes that I keep in a remote closet.  Unwanted stuff goes in there, and once the totes are overflowing, I call for a pickup.  Big guys with a big truck come take the stuff off the porch, and the cycle resumes.  It's lovely, really.

So I was feeling lighter and freer today, but then a friend shared this photo of something he saw while out driving yesterday

I was aghast.  

That TV!  It looks so familiar!  It looks just like the one that has been sitting in our garage for months because we haven't figured out how to get it to Best Buy, who takes in unwanted old TVs!  We haven't figured out how to get it to Best Buy because the TV weighs a freaking ton!  Okay, a slight exaggeration, but only slight.  And yes, Best Buy will send their big guys with a big truck over for a small *GAG!* fee.

In fact, it took entire Team MagnumChacoWolfgang to get the TV up seven stairs and into the garage.  Granted, we aren't a family of powerlifters, but still!  

Our next phase of Operation Mega TV Removal is getting the TV into Ellie Mae, who with her ample booty, can handle things just fine from there.  But we  haven't come up with a real satisfying way to get the TV into Ellie Mae, so it sits.  But we're all, "Oh we're engineers, this will be easy" (you hafta say it all nasally nerdy)

And then I see this photo of this beater of a Subaru with a big a&& TV on the roof!?

Okay, the TV dilemma hasn't exactly been hogging our every thought, but I'm not sure of a good cheap and safe way to get the TV into the back of a car, let alone onto the top of one.  

It's pure inspiriation!

... or it's PhotoShop.

For Mama Kat's prompt:
4. Write a blog post inspired by the word: Inspired.


Sunday, April 19, 2015

Silver Liningness Sunday

Greetings on this fine Sunday.  We're still having "some weather" here - to coin a phrase from my grandma - but still plenty of good times to be had!

Yesterday, I attended a PEO officer's workshop in Denver.  It was good to get up to speed and get all rallied 'round the mission.  I've served as chapter President before, but that was years ago.  Now, after the workshop, I don't feel like such a noob.

I rode to the workshop with the treasurer.  It was nice getting to know her a little better.  Among other things, we found out that we were both goofing around, occasionally getting drunk studying judiciously at CU-Boulder at the same time.  Plus, our then future husbands lived right near each other.

In other newbie news, these last couple of weekends, while going traipsing around in these different wilderness areas, we got to thinking about geocaching.  Did I ever mention my first ever blog friend, Aile?  No?

I "met" Aile shortly after I started blogging in 2004.  She visited my blog and left me my first ever blog comment!  (the rush, remember it??).  Anyway, we became blog pals for years, and had much in common.  She lives in the midwest and was a stay-at-home-mom of Richie, who is the same age as Meego.

She has since fallen off the blog wagon, but thankfully we've stayed internet pals mainly through facebook.  Not long ago, Aile and Richie took up geocaching.  I remember thinking it sounded like fun and maybe something to try sometime.  As a bonus, the activity enabled Aile to lose 50 pounds AND quit smoking!  Two things that don't typically coincide!  She said it gave her something to do other than sit and eat and smoke.  Just going out and walking wasn't desirable enough.

Anyway, the fact that it's an outdoor activity plus it helped a good friend become healthy while spending quality time with her kid, gave geocaching a warm fuzzy place in my heart.  Honestly, though, I'd not thought about it much until these recent outdoor excursions.  I have since registered at the site and got Magnum to go along on the hunt with me today while we took China for her beauty walk.

Our first!

This is a small one, but pretty low difficulty to find.  

I may be hooked now after this stellar success.  


Friday, April 17, 2015

it's like Christmas!

... but not in that nice cheery way.  We finally got our April snow.

My to-do list includes taking China for her summer shearing.  She looks at  me with pleading eyes and panting tongue, "I'm frying in here, Abby!  Time to chuck the fur coat already!".  But I'm all, "Nope, not yet!"

I also need to take the big van in to replace the snow tires with the non-snow tires.  Nope, not yet.

Because EVERY April since we've lived here, we've gotten all YAY, spring!  And then we get hit with a wet winter snowstorm.  Like this one.  Here's the backyard today:

Meego got to sleep in, thanks to a delayed start to school.  Note the wall of wall stones that aren't quite in the configuration we have in mind just yet.  It'll be here soon, I know it!

And maybe NOW we can put winter behind us.  We just had to make it over that April snow requirement?  We're done??

One nice thing, I was out doing the bicycle commute biz yesterday.  The storm gave me a chance to test out my new lobster claw gloves/mittens I recently got at end-of-winter clearance.

They worked marvelously!  No more frozen fingers!  Plus, there was this annoying precipitation thing going on.  You know that stuff that isn't snow, but isn't rain, but isn't sleet, but is little pellets?  Not hail, but kind of like hail fetuses?

It was doing that.  My hands never felt better!  Can't say the same for my cheeks, though...

Not my shirt, not my chest

In the end, although I wasn't too happy to need the winter gear, I was happy I had it.

But now I'm ready to get back to t-shirt weather.


Thursday, April 16, 2015

twisting trees, groping agents, loafing youths, and a butt crack!

Remember those weird trees we were wondering about?  Last weekend?  I found it a weird twist of coinky dink to come across a local news story about just those things!

Anyway, it seems that they are Ute Prayer trees...or medicine trees, or message trees, or burial trees...They were intentionally distorted by Ute Indians many years ago.  They even have initials!  CMT = culturally modified tree.  A former local sheriff researched them and wrote a book that is due to be released soon, hence the news story.

Isn't that cool?!

Not the twisted trees, I mean the fact that we were all, "What the heck's going on with those trees?", and then there's this news story about them!

Okay, I guess the trees are a bit cooler.

In other area news...

I have not traveled by air in a long time.  No, that's not particularly newsworthy, but it's just that I haven't had to deal with TSA in quite some time.

And it turns out that a couple of Denver TSA agents were getting a little too frisky.  A couple of screeners conspired to trigger "necessary" pat-downs on select passengers they found attractive.  Much groping ensued.  The freaking pervs!!

Another screener noticed what they were doing and blew the whistle.  Kudos to the whistle blower, I say!  An investigation caught the screeners in the act, and they were fired, but authorities were unable to press charges since none of the victims had complained.

Until now.  Once the story broke, a bunch of victims have come forward.  *evil grin*


Last week, we had a general election.  Mayor and a few city council seats.  All of my choices lost.  Or maybe I should say, none of my choices won?  Anyway, I'm a loser, but the bigger story to come out of the election was the dismal turnout - only about 30% of registered voters cast their ballots.  Most of those were people over 40.  "Where were the young people!?" the sore losers want to know.

Apparently the young contingent didn't care enough to vote.  I suppose if they don't care, then they shouldn't vote, so it all works out?  Besides, they're busy doing other things like playing the newly released Grand Theft Auto V and Mortal Combat X!

But hey, the young people in Germany care about how things are run!  Okay, they're quite far from my neck of the woods, but it ties in with that local election story, so there.

Did you hear about the 21-year-old protester who attacked the European Central Bank president during a press conference!  No one was hurt (physically), and the photos are a hoot, complete with plumber butt thong action!

Why am I blogging all this?  Because Mama Kat said to, and I couldn't pick that butt crack just one.  

For Mama Kat's prompt:
5. Tell us about a local news story that’s all the buzz right now 


Sunday, April 12, 2015

Silver Liningness Sunday

Greetings on another fine Sunday!  The weeks are a-flying by, it seems.

Times are busy, we're getting stuff done, but we've thankfully got time for a bit of recess.  Magnum, Meego, and I hit up some nature again yesterday at a nearby area I've been wanting to check out for a  while.

Fox Run Park is in Black Forest - in a part that didn't burn in the Black Forest fire of 2013.  It's heavily wooded and has a rather primal feel to it, I thought so anyway.  Very enjoyable afternoon!

 We came across several of these twisted trees among the straight up-and-down ones.  I have no idea why that happens.  Anyone?

This is what most of Black Forest is like, even where people live.  Floor thick with dead, dry pine needles among lots of trees.  It's not difficult to understand why it went up in flames so easily.

There are also some nice, more civilized areas, where people hold wedding receptions and other big gatherings.  Really a nice area.  I'm glad we finally made it out there.  All the guys had been out there once before for an orienteering event, but I don't know where I was - I think it was back when I used to often teach on Saturdays.

As we traipsed along, we also came across several benches dedicated to people who have passed on.  There were plaques on each, with quotes and names of the honorees.  Nice.  There was also a tree with similar dedications to beloved pooches.

This bench had a particularly nice view:

Anyway, it was really nice to take advantage of a little slack in the schedule.  No school extracurriculars, no P.E.O.  Just dirt and bark and stuff.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

nice rack!

Isn't it neat how neat nature is?  On Easter Sunday, Chaco and Wolfgang came over, and we ended up going for a nature hike at one of our neat hiking parks - Ute Valley.

Beautiful day for it.  The park is pretty popular among the locals for hiking and mountain biking, but far enough off the beaten path to not be too much of a tourist trap.  It's not huge, but it's big enough so that the hiking trails don't ever feel crowded.

Anyway, we enjoyed our neature walk.

You all know how the family typically refuses to pose for any photos, so I just snapped covertly away.

We thought we might try some geocaching, as there's got to be some in Ute Valley, but we couldn't get the information to load, so we just didn't.  We did come across a cache of weird rock formations that we still have no explanation for.  They looked like fossilized coral or other marine invertabrates, but could just be mineral deposits or petrified poop for all we know.  

Then, this morning, I got even more neat nature.  

I was out enjoying a run in about 50 degrees.  I can't remember the last time it was 50 degrees before the sun came up!  Anyway, I wasn't far from home when I was running  along this weedy, woodsy area.  The road was on my left, a weedy woodsy ditch on my right.  I heard a ruckus to my right.

It's common to hear a ruckus in the weedy woods.  There are plenty of bunnies and birds and other varmints around.  But this was BIG ruckus!  I saw three  large, startled deer in the ditch weeds.  Their antlers looked particularly huge, so I decided to just keep on a-runnin'.  

Two of the giant deer headed off down the ditch in the opposite direction of me, but the third ran along side me.  I was a bit worried that he would become enraged and run up and gore and trample me to a dead bloody pulp run by me onto the road, but thankfully he stopped and turned around to join his weed buddies.  

Oh, and Reese the King snake has awakened from his brumation.  He shed his skin, we fed him a mouse.  Apparently, spring has arrived.


Sunday, April 5, 2015

Silver Liningness Sunday

Greetings on this lovely Easter Sunday for those who celebrate, and Happy lovely Sunday otherwise!  We don't celebrate Easter anymore since the kids got older and we coincidentally became Christian rebels.  But it's still a lovely time of year.

And another lovely week has passed.  It just feels nice to be in April instead of March.  I think I got in a nice balance of work and play and feeling useful.

Our local newspaper has a story today about a "Therapeutic Recreation Program" that provides a variety of activities for people with disabilities, injured soldiers, and others.  I'd never heard of it before now.  There are so many worthwhile and fun volunteering opportunities out there, but sometimes  you really have to hunt them down.  Anyway, they got a  nice shot along (a rather clean) goose poop slalom of a group ride from yesterday:


Meego and company had their final percussion competition yesterday at the state championships.  They didn't bring home a trophy, but still put on a great show and had fun doing it.  Competitions are typically held at area high schools, but this one - being state and all -was at a high-faluting event center.  The practice area was quite a ways from the venue, resulting in quite a trek over rough ground for each team to get all their gear to the competition.  Sort of a "caravan of the bells".

Luckily, it was a nice day.  As we were rattling along in the procession, I was thankful that it wasn't snowing or raining, nor was there any snow or mud on the ground.  Maybe there was a plan B in place that wasn't  necessary.  Anyway, it all went off without a hitch, and we didn't have to go all Donner Party in getting to the event center.  

Magnum says he wants to play outside today.  So do I.  Maybe we can get Meego to hang out with us too.  The goose poop is calling.


Friday, April 3, 2015

that thing they do

Terri says, "The percussion stuff sounds like a lot of fun! Maybe you can get video of them sometime and share it with your blog fans?"

I did manage to get an official copy of their show from last week.   It's shot from far enough away to see and hear what everyone's doing without identifying any individual students.  There's a bit of background chatter that I'm guessing is from someone near the camera watching a basketball game?? Making our own videos is frowned upon because of privacy rules and such - although I've seen plenty of cameras rolling in the audience.

Each performance lasts six minutes.  If they go even one second over, they're docked points.  Then there's a mad scramble to haul everything out of the way for the next group.  It's nice for spectators, not much downtime!

Anyhoo, I edited the video down to three minutes to give the gist of the thing.

Take the floor!



Thursday, April 2, 2015

maid raid!

I walked into the hotel, and immediately felt that something. Just. Wasn't.  Riiiight.  It was too quiet?  Something...?

This was back in time, like mid 1980s.  I was working as a desk agent at a hotel in Denver.  I typically worked second shift which started at 3:00 pm and went until 11:00 pm, so we mainly checked the guests in and made them all comfy cozy in their temporary homes.

So I get to work and there's all this Heavy Heavy in the air, but at the same time, it was all very Hush Hush.  Then I see that nearly all of the rooms are showing as not clean, and I'm all, "Why hasn't the housekeeping report been done?"


Actually, the housekeeping report, such as it was, had been done.  We were just very very low on housekeeping staff that day.  Eventually - since it was all so Hush Hush - my deskmates and I were filled in.

There was an INS raid at the hotel that day.  INS was the Immigration and Naturalization Service back then, currently known as U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.  So, yeah.

So, at first we were all, "*GASP*, they hauled in our housekeepers?!"

But, NO!  The plot thickened.

See, our housekeeping department was managed by this assistant manager, Richard.  And no, I'm not using a euphemism for a more blunt term, his name was really Richard.

And apparently, Richard had some connections with - who knows - someone who could get undocumented workers on the cheap.  Now, this was news to us, but recall that this was back before 9/11, so undocumented workers weren't all that uncommon around here.  Most of them were from Mexico.

So my fellow desk workers - C and D (really) - and I were feeling bad for the housekeepers, who we did not know were illegal, thinking they'd been hauled off the hoosegow before their deportation.  But no.  It just.  So.  Happened. that most of housekeeping COINCIDENTALLY called in sick that day...

Apparently Richard had another friend who was actually part of INS.  The FRIEND gave Richard the heads up about what was going to go down at the hotel, so Richard got the word out in time.  INS showed up all, "RAAAIIIIID!" only to find a few U.S. citizens cleaning rooms.  Very few, thanks to the housekeeper flu or whatever.

So when we showed up at 3:00, there weren't a whole lotta rooms to rent out, and we were all "*frick*, what we gonna do about all these reservations?!"

We tag teamed,  making sure someone was at the desk at all times, while whoever was able - desk agents, maintenance guys, managers - went and prepped rooms.

The next day?  Everything was back to "normal".  Housekeeping was fully staffed.  Richard was Richard.  Rooms were cleaned.  Business as usual.

And to this day, I can fold a toilet paper point like nobody's business.

 In response to SR300 regarding my housekeeping training and...
For Mama Kat's prompt
5. A memorable day at work.