Tuesday, July 28, 2015

she said I was boring, then told me I should stick it where the sun don't shine

I had a "well woman check" yesterday.  It's just another hoop to jump through for Magnum's employer's health incentive program.  We got money for me having a well woman check.

"Well woman" strikes me as an odd term.  Sounds like a character in a Cecil B. Demille movie:

      The well woman was portrayed by Abby Normal
      *publicy photo of me in ragged dress, holding a roped bucket*

My doctor's appointment wasn't nearly as dramatic.  In fact, Dr. told me I was boring.

"I don't see you for two years and you're as boring as the last time!"

I told her I would try to keep it that way.

Anyway, she's quite friendly and laid back.  I think this was only my second appointment with her as she replaced my previous doctor who was also quite friendly and laid back.  So we're going through the various well woman pokes and prods (pick a spot on the ceiling... pick a spot on the ceiling... pick a spot on the...), and she's talking about her daughters and the recent vacation they all took, and next thing I  know, she starts throwing around the dreaded "colonoscopy".

Wait, what?  We were having such a nice visit.
Another perk of turning 50.  Pfffft.

Meanwhile, as I was sitting in the waiting area, I couldn't help but notice the office aquarium.  In addition to other varieties, it is home to three fish that are the same breed as my monsters.  Except the doctor's office fish seem typical as publicized.

"...a South American fish that will make a great addition to any community aquarium..."

HA!  Very funny, not.  Tell that to my large deceased community!

My two monsters continue to thrive in the Tank of Death.  They've even tried to kill the scuba diver/treasure hunter by removing his air hose.  But really, the diver was already suffocated by the copious amounts of algae that have consumed him since the monster fish killed every algae-eating plecostomus I've invited over.

See them here?  Just behind my shoulder?

I continue to care for and feed them as they are totally dependent on me for such maintenance.  But dang, these fish just won't die!  I swear, I think they've lived longer than any fish I've had.

I guess there's something to be said for ruthlessness. If I become ruthless, can I skip the colonoscopy?


Sunday, July 26, 2015

Silver Liningness Sunday

Happy Sunday, friends!  Another fine week it was.

As mentioned, Wolfgang turned 20(!) on Monday.  I just got back from the bike shop with him as he spent a chunk of his birthday "earnings".  I was just along for the ride, though.  I refrained from buying anything as frugality wins again!

He also shared some of these chocolate covered coffee beans his girlfriend brought back from Costa Rica, where she spent a month studying abroad.

Yummo, how many can I eat before I'm never able to sleep again??

Yesterday, the five of us took a little excursion up to Denver to check out the Forney Museum of Transportation.  We hadn't had a good museum fix in a while, so this was fun.

One of the main attractions is this Big Boy engine that is so big it just barely fits in the building, and didn't fit all the way in the frame of my photo.

It was interesting to walk through the old train cars and note the tight quarters.  Lots of people nowadays wouldn't fit very comfortably!

Of course, it wasn't just trains

One thing that interested me in the list of attractions was Amelia Earhart's "Gold Bug".  Silly me, I assumed it was an airplane.  It was her car - heh.

Anyway, it was a nice day-jaunt to beat the outdoor heat.  

In other silver liningness news, my summer class wrapped up this week.  This marks the half-way point of the program, one more half to go!  And now I've got a few weeks off to occupy myself until the fall semester starts up.

I plan to get caught up on my to-do list.  We'll see how that goes...


Thursday, July 23, 2015

that moment

Wow, we're already on the backside of summer.  And I realize we haven't taken any epic trips or the like.  We decided to forego Comic Con this year as we've gone the last three years in a row, and there didn't seem to be anything new happening this year.  Plus, everyone is busy with summer jobs and school, so yeah.  We've sorta been homebodies.

But that's not to say we haven't had our moments.  Special summertime moments like...

1.  That wake-up moment (Monday) when I realized that summer baby Wolfgang is now 20 years old?!?

Because what mom doesn't think of her kids always in baby form and needs annual reminders that it doesn't work that way?

2.  That aha moment, when checking out some new bicycling routes, I realized this tunnel looked a lot more inviting on google maps:

Because what's summer without a mucky nasty-disease-carrying-mosquito-infested obstacle course adventure?!

3.  That opportune moment when the cat came inside, seemingly for the sole purpose of throwing up on the carpet.  

Because now I know there is at least one square foot of carpet that is recently cleaned.

4.  That tidy moment when Chaco bought a used desk, and I realized he wouldn't be using mine anymore.

Because... wait.  This is still here!!

5.  That classic moment while driving down the highway, when I was able to name more songs and artists than anyone else in the van

Because we were listening to the old folks classic rock station.  

6.  That rainy moment when Magnum looked at the bedroom ceiling and said, "Is that water stain new?"

Because at least we have insurance...

Hooking up with Mama Kat again, for the prompt:
6. List your top 6 favorite summer moments so far.


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

little old houses, Dad, and George

As planned, Chaco, Meego, and I headed down for a little hometown visit with my dad over the weekend.  It was a nice getaway.

It's a little over a 2-hour drive to get there, so not bad.  I'm not big on driving (puts me to sleep, even if I'm the driver!), but I typically make the trip down and back in one day.  I thought we'd take a little more time to spread the drive over two days this time and not feel in a rush during our visit.  Problem is, the whole town fills up with tourists all summer long.  Mostly obnoxious Texans.

I worked at a local hotel for the last four years I lived there.  We'd be full-up well in advance every weekend of summer.  Weary travelers would come in looking for a room, and we'd have to break the news that the next available hotel rooms were about 100 miles to our  north.

First they would laugh, because, surely we were joking.  Why would so many people fill up our podunk little mining town?!  Certainly, they couldn't all be getting sex changes!  Truth is, hometown is the first town you hit when entering Colorado from the southern border on the main interstate.  You make it to Trinidad, and you have ARRIVED!  Little podunk  sex change/mining town, yes, but highly desirable nonetheless.

ANYWAY, my point is, hotels are still booked through summer.  I couldn't get a room.  Hometown girl status or no. to the rescue.  Have you heard of it?  I found us an old house to stay in.  It was built in the 1890s and really gave a feel of how little people were back then.

As we navigated the narrow and steep staircase to the upper level of the house, Chaco noted, "Gee, I've heard stories of people in the past dying from a fall down a flight of stairs and wondered how could that even happen.  We could totally die from falling down these stairs!"

True.  But we didn't...

Not my photo, I stole it off facebook

So we had a nice visit with Dad and took in a little scenic time.  This is "Simpson's Rest", a bluff that overlooks the town and has a well-known "Trinidad" sign.

It's the burial site of pioneer, George Simpson (hence the name).

So, in the morning, the three of us took a hike.

The peak in the background is Trinidad's most prominent feature - Fisher's Peak.  It's about 9600 ft. in altitude and has about a bazillion depictions - paintings, photos.

It's practically a crime to hike to the Trinidad sign and not get a photo of the view of Fisher's Peak and Trinidad, so...

It was a beautiful morning for our little adventure.  When we arrived at the base of Simpson's Rest, we noticed a series of toppled garbage cans.  Evidence of bears.  I hoped they were resting after their night of garbage partying, and apparently they were.  

Of course, we were really there to visit Dad, who's doing well.  He turned 91 last week.  I took this pic which demonstrates my poor photography skillz.  Dad's eyes are closed and I failed to notice that there was a gentleman sleeping in a chair in the background.  I blur-smudged the sleeping man out, and now he looks like a ghostly presence.  

Poor photography aside, it was a nice little getaway.  Had a nice visit with Dad, didn't land in a bloody heap at the bottom of a Victorian staircase, and weren't mauled by bears.



Saturday, July 18, 2015

heads up

Chaco, Meego, and I are planning to take a little trip south to visit my dad later on and into tomorrow, so I thought I'd reflect on this past week and get in a little silver liningness now.

First of all, I was summoned for jury duty early in the week.  Oh, boo.  BUT, I called and was told I was on standby and to call again later.  Called again later and heard those lovely words:

"Your jury duty obligation has been fulfilled"

Whoopee, that was the easiest jury duty I've ever had.  I can remember being summoned three times in recent years, but have never served on a jury.  First time, we all got sent home after sitting around the courthouse for a couple of hours.  The last time, I was herded into a courtroom for jury seating.

They needed just one more juror for a trial dealing with drug possession with intent to sell (meth).  Three people ahead of me were questioned and excused.  They called me to the hot seat, and just as I sat down, the defense team asked to approach the bench.

Much whispering ensued, we went to recess.  When we returned, the judge told us that the defendant decided to change her plea to guilty and accept the judge's terms.  And I was all wondering, what?  What did I do?

Anyway, we were all then sent home, so my jury duties so far have been pretty painless.

On that note, how 'bout that James Holmes verdict?  I'm happy with it, and think he was crazy to think he would be found not guilty for being crazy.

In non-legal system updates, I made the Pedal Perks prize cut again.  They gave out shirts this time, here's mine.

It's very... green.

I do like the world-in-the-wheels thing.  And the fact that the shirt was essentially free.  Nice people, those Pedal Perkians.

Oh, and in other prize news, I got an email from the HuHots telling me I got a medal for being first old lady at the half on the fourth.  Hu knew they had medals for such things?

So I got that.  It was sitting on the counter, and Wolfgang walked in.

"Oh, is this your medal?", he said

"Yup", I said

*looks at it* "Oh yeah, you're 50 now", he remembered

"SHUDDUP", I lovingly responded...
Like I need a reminder.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

swoop swoop doo bee bop!

So I'm glad I was able to take one of my classes this summer semester.  One step closer to being finished.  Plus it's kept my brain active and productive, and that's certainly a good thing.

I've learned a lot of useful concepts too, but one thing I've learned this summer stands out.  However, I didn't learn through the university.  It just came to me as a gift.  I learned about swooping season.

Swooping season is something that happens in Australia, thanks to the Australian Magpie:

"This species is commonly fed by households around the country, but in spring a small minority of breeding magpies (almost always males) become aggressive and swoop and attack those who approach their nests, especially bike riders."  ~ Wikipedia

When I first learned of it, I thought it was just someone making silly videos, or there was just one nasty magpie someone managed to catch on video, but NO.  It's a real thing!  There are dozens of videos and other accounts of these... these... outright attacks.  On friendly bicyclists!

Out of these attacks have come a variety of theories on how best to deter these nasty swooping Australian Magpies.  The following is probably my favorite educational clip that tests a couple of theories.  Amber of "Amber and Billo's" - a popular morning radio team - takes a couple of theories on the road.  Let's see what her results are, shall we?? (make sure your audio is on)

[F*BLEEP*k] Yeah, Magpies!

Who's up for some educational adventure travel to Australia!?!  I'm in!  Swooping Season, let's go!
... seriously, I kinda want to do that.

For Mama Kat's prompt this week:
3. Share something you learned in June


Sunday, July 12, 2015

Silver Liningness Sunday

Happy Sunday once again!

This was another fine week, summer is seemingly flying by.  It feels like it's been Bike Week around here.  I just got back from the bike shop with Wolfgang.  He's feeling all rich and bought a new mountain bike.  This after yesterday when Chaco bought himself a new cyclocross bike.  Apparently he's feeling rich too.   Well... not anymore I guess.

Meego, Magnum, and I went on a nice bike ride this morning (no new bikes for us though).  Magnum's sister is on a planning committee that is revitalizing the bike trails and paths around our downtown, and the group had an event this morning.  So the three of us pedaled on down, did the tour, then pedaled back.  They had a decent turnout for the tour - close to 100 pedalers - it will be nice when the project is all finished. And it was a very pleasant way to spend time at the end/start of another busy week.

Sis-in-law, in polka dots

Meego and I had Sky Sox duty again last night.  Good turnout there too.  It still amazes me how much money people spend on crappy concession stand food at a baseball game.  Those nachos - is there even any real cheese in the cheese-colored stuff??

During the game, there were 11 winners of cars, just selected at random.  Yeah, they were used cars but still!  A friend of mine from PEO was there with her teen granddaughter, she stopped by the concession stand.  I told her I didn't know she was a Sky Sox fan, and she admitted she was just there hoping to win a car.

In movie news, Magnum and I watched Lucy.  It started out okay, but then crashed and burned in our opinions.  I'm really curious as to how the producers got Scarlett Johansson and Morgan Freeman to be in it.

This week was actually pretty cloudy/gloomy weather-wise.  We're still getting rained upon more than seems usual, but not a bad as in May.  I snapped this photo one rare sunny day this week.

It was a lovely day to be out commuting... up here, not necessarily down there.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Thursday, July 9, 2015

so... what happened there?

It was summertime, I was 16 years old.  The biggest challenges in my life were making it to my busgirl job on time, remembering my flag girl routines, having someone ask me to prom, and maintaining my tan (much to my dad's disapproval).

We didn't have an automatic dishwasher at home, so there I was, washing the dishes by hand.  I remember it was early evening and still light out.  I was gazing out the kitchen window, probably daydreaming about boys, while washing a large drinking glass.  As I wiped around the lip of the glass, the glass cracked and sliced into the middle finger of my right hand.

I stood there for what seemed like a long time, just looking at my finger, looking at the broken glass, watching the blood drain into the dishwater.  I don't remember it hurting, it was such a clean slice.  I remember thinking that it should've hurt with all that blood.

When I regained composure, I cleaned it up to see that the cut was tiny in length but rather deep.  I wrapped it tightly with a band-aid and commenced to feeling sorry for myself.  There's still a baby scar there today that probably only I can see.

It was my right hand.  How would I doodle?  My hands were always in water at work, I'd always be changing that darn band-aid.  Oh.  The Hardships.

Obviously, I survived.

Why did that mishap come to mind now, after all these years?  I was just trying to remember what it was like to be 16.

Earlier this week, I was out grocery shopping in the evening when I saw a rare sight. It was a 16-year-old boy with half an arm.

This is a military town, and unfortunately, amputees are not altogether rare.  But 16-year-old amputees are, thankfully, rare.  How do I know his age?  Because he was all over the news since a couple of weeks ago after a shark bit his arm off while he was vacationing with family in North Carolina.

So I recognized him right away.  The friendly bespectacled face and the obvious injury.  In news reports, he seems very poised and mature for his age.  He looks ahead with a positive attitude, something he's become known for in the news:

"I've lost my arm obviously, so I have two options: I can try to live my life the way I was and make an effort to do that even though I don't have an arm, or I can just let this be completely debilitating and bring my life down and ruin it," he says. "Out of those two, there's really only one that I would actually choose and that's to try to fight and live a normal life with the cards I've been dealt."

So when I spotted him at the grocery store, I was tempted to tell him how I admired his attitude.  But I thought I'd just leave him alone.  He just wants to be a normal kid.  Out shopping for snacks with his mom, who says:

"He did it without complaining,"... "He doesn't complain about anything. He doesn't complain about the food in the hospital, the hospital bed. He's not complaining about taking the cap off the toothpaste with one hand. He always weathers trauma very well. What an honor for me to be his mom. I can learn something from him."

Can't we all.

I betcha he's not going to have ANY problems getting a date for prom.

Hooking up with Mama Kat again this week
2. Write a blog post inspired by the word: challenge.


Sunday, July 5, 2015

Silver Liningness Sunday

Sunday greetings on this first weekend of July!  4th of July is SO yesterday, and it looks like we survived.  Private fireworks are illegal in our county, but like anyone cares...  

For a few years, we had fun neighborhood block parties on the fourth, but they died out.  Among other things, one of the main party planning couples got divorced.  The mom and daughter are still here, but the parties that typically involved much illegal pyromania have gone.  The fact that a cop moved to the street a few years ago might also have something to do with the tameness on the fourth.

In other exciting news, remember Chaco's dorm tribulations?  His only-child roommates eating all his food so we got that mini fridge?  Well, he didn't need the mini fridge anymore, so my minimalist self put it on craigslist and sold it within a few hours.  

I know there are some horror stories involving craigslist, but we've always had good results from using it.

The guy who bought the fridge was huge, as in very muscly.  He just paid me the cash, and hefted it away on his shoulder.  Maybe he wants it for a lunch box?

Magnum and I watched Gone Girl this week.  I read the book a while back and liked it in a this-is-SICK! kinda way.  

And yesterday afternoon, the five of us went to see Jurassic World.  It's pretty much another spin on the familiar Jurassic plots, but entertaining nonetheless and we liked it.  

The HuHot Half was fun, I'm glad I decided to do it.  I signed up on Thursday thinking I hadn't done a race in a while, so I was due.  Most everyone was in a pretty festive and friendly mood with the holiday and all, and the race was well organized and staffed.  I met some nice people as we sweated up  the post-race food tables.  Orange and watermelon slices - like manna from heaven.

And China is glad the the 4th of July is behind us.  She's not a fan.  Despite the mellowness of our block, there was plenty of popping and banging going on in the periphery.   She doesn't bark, just paces like a mad woman and pants heavily.  Right in the face.  Lovely.

Speaking of banging, the menfolk are heading out to the shooting range in a bit.  My sensible side says I should catch up on some housewenchery, but my other side says "HECK no!" or something like that.

And in other pet news, Reese the snake?  He's STILL missing!  However, I've sensed his presence on a few occassions.  He has a distinctive odor.  It's neither strong nor unpleasant, but noticeable when he's around.  I would describe it as being like a combination of leather and fern, and I've noticed it a few times.  Meego says he has noted it too.  So while Reese remains unseen, we think he's at least still in the house!


Saturday, July 4, 2015

HUee, it's HOT on the fourth

Greetings and Happy Independence Day to my fellow United States of  'mericans!  And happy Saturday to you others, despotic Brits  included!

I went and ran the Half on the Fourth half marathon again this year.  It was a lovely morning for it,
although a little hot towards the end.

I got this t-shirt.  Aha, something to wear now for the fourth.  The race was sponsored by HuHot Mongolian Grill, so the full name was the "HuHot Half on the 4th", which is kinda fun to say.

Anyway, it was a fun way to start the holiday.  Last I checked, there were 406 finishers, so not a mega-race, but enough to make it feel like an event.

And it's a fundraiser for The Home Front Cares, so a good cause.

Anyhoo, here's the quick race recap:

The first coupla miles were reeeaaaallly slow as we were pretty bunched up and the trail was narrow for that many of us.  As expected, things eventually opened up and I continued to gain more elbow room as we plodded along.

As I was about 2 miles or so from the turnaround point, the first place guy passed us going the other way.  He was doing what is technically known as "hauling ass".  There was quite a lag between him and second place guy, and it was nice to see the third place "guy" was actually a girl.  Way to represent!

So yeah, it was a foot race so not a whole lotta play by play.  Just left-foot-right-foot-left-foot-right-foot and so on until the finish line.  I did manage to not get lost this time like I briefly did last year.

About 100 yards from the finish, there was one woman ahead of me, giving me motivation to catch her.  I was gaining on her, then she somewhat surprisingly stopped running and slowed to a walk.  I was all thinking, "but... the finish is right up there, you can walk after", but she did look a bit wobbly.

Anyway, the stats:
Finish time:  1:49:47
55th place overall
12th overall for the ladies
1st for the old ladies

My ensemble included my Pedal Perks freebie top and my new not black hat.  They did their jobs nicely.  All finishers got lovely HuHot medals.

I entered the finish chute to hear my name over the PA, cheerfully mispronounced.  Figures.

Yay for a Mongolian Fourth!


Friday, July 3, 2015

white is the new black, and this has nothing to do with race relations

Today is Friday, but feels kinda like a Saturday, but not.  Everybody's got the day off and is home, but I had a test in my summer class this morning.  As soon as I finished the test, it felt like a holiday.

Wolfgang wanted to go to REI for a hydration pack.  He and some friends have been mountain biking a few times, and he deemed the hydration pack a necessity.  Yes, *sigh* Good Time Louie is back hanging out with the guys again.

So anyway, Magnum and I tagged along.  Not looking to buy anything, just an excuse to go somewhere.  Whoo, how fun are we?!

The shopping trip was a success.  Wolfgang got his hydration pack, which leaves me with a dividend for our REI membership.  I was just tagging along but ended up getting a summer running cap because the one I've been using is that one that Brooks gave me for my half birthday last year.

Then we were back home and I was fiddling with my webcam for the online tutor room, so play along. Compare and contrast...

On the left we have the Brooks hat... and what's wrong with this picture?

Actually, nothing is wrong with this picture.  It's a black hat.  Black is hot, and not in a good way.  I think I know why Brooks was giving these hats away, other than the specialness of my half birthday.

So, on the right, the new REI hat...

It's white and very cool, not necessarily in the cool way, just the temperature way.

And really, it wasn't that crucial a thing.  Just that there was a sale and I remembered my hot black half birthday hat, and then I remembered one of my mom's sayings whenever we went shopping but didn't really need anything.

"Well, it would be a shame to drive there and not  have anything to show for it".

So... what exciting things are YOU doing?