Sunday, August 30, 2015

Silver Liningness Sunday

Greetings on this post Supermoon Sunday!  Another good week in the books.

It's nice to be back in the swing of things with fall semester classes up and running.  Chaco and Wolfgang are settled and handling off-campus apartment living, and  Meego's in fine back-to-school mode with the new computer performing as expected.  So far.

My decluttering adventures reaped more than just peace of mind.  I came upon a bike rack that was Chaco's several years ago, so decided to put it on Bella since she absolutely refuses to wear a wicker basket or anything like one.

I usually wear a backpack when commuting, which can be heavy and cumbersome and hot.  And I don't like those big ugly saddlebags that hang off the rear (of the bicycle!).  But a handy little rack should come in... well... handy, and free up my shoulders.  Who knows, maybe Bella will get some "Nice rack!" comments like I get all the time COUGH*never*COUGH.

In other salvage news, we came across two tubes of Shoo Goo while Wolfgang was searching for some epoxy.  Why we have two tubes of shoo goo, I have no idea.  

But I do have a pair of running shoes almost ready for the can.   I love these Kinvara 5s.  They're lightweight and comfy and fast.  My only gripe is that their lightweightness stems from the fabric in the upper being quite flimsly, which means they get holes and tears while the outsoles still have some decent life left.

I decided to try some Shoo Goo on this current pair and see if it would take.  I watched some youtube videos - shoo goo is apparently quite popular among skater dudes - and went to work on the Kinvaras.

Betcha I can get another hundred miles or so outta them!  Thank you, Shoo Goo and the Skater Dudes.  Who knew?

But enough of the junk pile.  Magnum and I streamed a movie this week after several weeks of movie drought.  I expected The Lifeguard to be light and humorous, but it was actually quite intense and dramatic.  

While I don't agree with the premise (mid-life crisis at 30?!) or the resulting situation (summer fling with a 16-year-old?!?) , I thought it was well directed and well acted.  I'll give it a 3 out of 5.

I'm looking forward to the start of September and the hopefully cooler temperatures.  Won't be long now until we're griping about the cold!


Saturday, August 29, 2015

breathing room

Fall semester began this week for Chaco, Wolfgang, and me.  Meego had week 2 of school.  Magnum continues to bring home the bacon for us all.

I am so tired.

NOT from classes, however.  Those were the fun mellow parts of the week.  All that tidying and decluttering I was going to do during my end-of-summer break? It didn't quite pan out until this week.  It hit me with a vengeance.

I guess since Wolfgang was still temporarily living here, I couldn't really go hog wild.  But he pretty much got all moved and settled last weekend.  Then I felt that most anything left behind was free pickings.

My dad will readily admit that he's probably got some psychological "condition" that makes it difficult for him to throw anything away.  Plus he felt a need to always have a large number of any one item on hand in case one broke down.  I wouldn't put him on the same level as true hoarders, but borderline?  Our home was always clean, but full of stuff.

I remember going home while in college, and I'd mention needing a lamp or something. He'd say, "What color do you want?" and whip out an assortment.  And he's a math nerd.  I can't begin to estimate the number of calculators in the house.

So, I think from that, I went the other extreme.  I like space.  Lots of empty space.  The final frontier.

Having lots of stuff cluttered around puts me on edge.  It's like a constant discordant racket, I can't concentrate.  For instance, remember this?  On my desk?

Gosh, that was loud.  It's all been silenced and resides in here now.  

Was that SO hard?!

And once I got started, I just couldn't stop.  Yesterday, after the desk, I moved to the rest of the basement, the bedroom, the garage, the hallways... It was wonderful!  Everthing put into its appropriate place.

The trash and recycling dumpsters are full, and there is stuff in the front hall ready for those nice guys with the donation truck on Monday.  

So I'm physically tired but feel so much better now.  Still, a part of me worries that I might need some of that crap someday.



Sunday, August 23, 2015

Silver Liningness Sunday

Here we are, classes start tomorrow which is probably a good thing. The house isn't as tidy and organized as I'd hoped it would be, but I managed to get some things off the to-do list during the break in action.

Along with getting a few responsible things done, I also enjoyed finding some new bicycle routes, reading a coupla novels, playing too much words-with-friends, and watching some escapist tv shows.  Time to fire up the brain cells again, I suppose.

Meego started school last week, and Wolfgang is nearly all moved into the apartment with Chaco now.  This will be an interesting experiment.  Naturally, they've lived together before, but this arrangement will be different without their washwoman around.  Hmm...

And Potato, Meego's aged computer, just wasn't going to be able to handle the workload anymore.  He's been replaced by a newer, younger model to accommodate all the important gaming schoolwork.

Magnum and I offered to get Meego a laptop to take care of all his homework needs, but Meego didn't necessarily jump for joy at the offer.  Instead, he entered into cahoots with Chaco to build a new computer to suit his needs when I said we would contribute money we would've spent for the boring laptop.

The yet-to-be-named new guy arrived in pieces, and then this happened:

Chaco wouldn't build it.  He said that Meego had to build it, and he would just  help.  This so that Meego would take better care of it.  Either that or Meego would have to pay him bunches of money.  

How come Chaco was able to get such quick results when it's similar to the principle I've been using for years with such lackluster results??

And speaking of results, I got a surprise generous e-mail promo coupon and ordered some capri tights this morning.  While I was shopping, I was reading the reviews for these particular tights and came across a review that included this photo.

Yes, that's the same woman in both pics.  I don't think she'll mind me stealing her  photo since it was on a shopping site and all, right?  In her (favorable) review, she mentions that she's lost nearly 200 pounds in 15 months and plans to run a marathon later this year.  

I just love those kinda stories.  


Friday, August 21, 2015

Incline 2.0

I went Inclining this morning.  I realized it was the last week of summer break and I hadn't been there yet.

I've gone with Chaco and Wolfgang in May before, but this May was record breaking rain which meant snow and ice on the trail coming down.

Last fall, the Incline underwent renovations to make it more safe.  Now that it's a public trail, it was bound to get a clean up.

People fretted.  "No!  Don't make the Incline all wussy!  It's supposed to be rugged!"

I was one of the pensive ones. Thinking, if the trash heap was gone, it just wouldn't be the same.

Here's the old trash heap section:

It included rods of rebar sticking up at all angles, waiting to impale some innocent  hiker.  Then there were rusted out waste water gutters with jagged edges begging to send someone to the ER for a tetanus shot.  

Safe?  Not very.  But it DID give the Incline its personality.

So today, I visited for the first time since the renovations.  I will say that the Incline is as challenging as ever, the views are still amazing, and it's still kinda scary.  

Here's the approach to the same section as it appears today:

It's still super steep.  In fact, it felt like it was steeper than before for some reason.  Maybe that's just because I wasn't thinking about maneuvering around all that rubbish, so I was more aware of the steepness.

Anyway, it was a nice day for it.  I wanted to see how fast I could do it, since every other time I've gone, I was with someone who took several breaks. This time, I was going for speed.  I wasn't very sociable.

My goal was to make it under 40 minutes, and I managed to reach the summit at 33:40.  So, goal met with some lung tissue to spare.

There was a large number of army soldiers there today.  A troop?  Squadron?  Platoon?  I don't know the different categories, but I'd say there were around 30 of them scattered about.  They were dressed like anyone else, but their militariness was still very apparent.  The short hair on the guys, the "sir" and "ma'am".  

I don't normally prefer to be addressed as "ma'am", but when military personnel say it, it's just so respectful.

There was also the usual crowd of civilians.  Parents urging teens onward and vice versa, a few college kids, some other housewife types, fitness travelers...

I like the Incline because it's so humbling.  Except for the ultra fits that do it most every day, everyone on it is so supportive and non-judging, and there's this shared kinship that comes with the common struggle.  I think people's "masks" come off too.  Women who are probably very proper at the office or whatever are up there hocking lugees with the best of 'em.  (Not me, though.  gross).

As I approached the summit, there were some soldiers watching for their comrades.  One of them, a young woman, was motivating everyone "Almost there!",  "You got this!"   We swapped high 5's as I took the last of the railroad ties.  In the meantime, one of her fellow soldiers was upchucking in the trees...

So a nice morning "hike", although it seems like the Incline and the Barr Trail loop needs another, more unique word.

*Not my photos.  I stole them off facebook or something.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

fashion Wednesday?

So remember back in the spring when I agreed to be VP of my P.E.O. chapter?  Putting me next in line to the throne?  I suddenly find myself in charge of the unruly bunch.

The Prez has been sequestered to a secret bunker.  Either that or she's taking a night class having to do with certification for her job.  I think the secret bunker sequestration is a better story.  Either way, it means I'm in charge.

What?  Everyone knows Veeps don't do anything!

Well, it is what it is.  I dunno, though, this is a pretty ho-hum, serious bunch

I can't share what this activity was about.
Top secret.  Obviously.

In other fashion news *ahem*, that bicycling jacket I bought under duress?  Splendid decision!  It's already saved me four additional times from inclemency!  I say it's paid for itself.

Go 'head and rain!  I've got a Pearl Izumi barrier jacket!

I went to the university today.  Fall classes start next week, so the campus was abuzz, mostly with new freshman who had their move-in day yesterday.  A few parents still hanging around, having a tough time letting go I suppose...

There was also some event for new grad students.  I scoped out a few going to the thing and was pleased to see a good representation from my age group.  Often times when I've gone to a pedal perks thing, they've asked me if I'm a staff member  *sigh*.  Maybe more of those old grad students need to sign up for pedal perks!

But alas, pedal perks is coming to a close.  It was a one-year bicycling incentive program from a grant for the recreation and sustainability departments.  This is the final month.  Whether it continues in some form or another remains to be seen once they crunch all the stats and feedback.

I will say that I made out like a bandit!  I hope it continues because I think it really did help bicycle commuting to and from the university in general, not because I need or want more stuff.

On that note, I got more stuff.  Another t-shirt:

It's true.  You did.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Silver Liningness Sunday

Whoo, this week was pretty heavy on the silver and light on the clouds!

First of all, Magnum and I are officially an Old Married Couple.  We made the 25-year mark on Tuesday, according to our marriage certificate.  My how time flies, I remember when we were just a young stupid couple.  Now we're older...
We're planning to go out for a celebratory meal later today.  After 25 years, waiting a few days to celebrate is nuthin'.

Also this week, I got some more free bike stuff.  Lookie!

All this and the bag it came in!

The bicycling app I use promotes challenges every now and then which usually result in getting various "badges" added to user profiles.  I recently signed up for this SRAM Mariposa Challenge, and shortly afterward, I got an email directing me to go to the local bike shop sponsor and pick up my gift bag.  What?  Gift bag??

As a bonus, this particular shop is the one I adopted Bella from so many years ago.  They've moved three times since then, and their current location offers a very pleasant bike ride to get to. So I had fun just getting there, let alone picking up my loot!

In other challenges, a shout out to Wolfgang for doing the Pikes Peak Ascent yesterday.  It's a 13.32 mile foot race to the summit of Pikes Peak.  

Earlier this year, he and 3 friends decided to do it together.  Two of them had done it before, and it was the maiden voyage for Wolfgang and another.  Recall that Wolfgang first thought of doing it last summer, but missed the qualifying race after a nasty longboarding crash and resulting road rash.  

This year, he was more organized, and they signed up for the Triple Crown of Running, which is  a series of three races culminating with the Ascent.    And today is the Marathon, which is up to the summit and then back down.  Some crazies do both races!

They all made it in fine fashion.  Online results were updated every five minutes or so, so I was down here in the lowlands in Mom mode refreshing the page until all four of them had crossed the finish.  The last three miles of the race are above timberline, where Wolfgang reports that, "Not stopping is the hardest part".

I will say that the four friends didn't train all that hard.  They'd go running for about an hour every few days or so.  They did go run on the mountain for a couple of hours one Saturday, but other than that, they just signed up, did the races, then ran up the mountain yesterday and finished with enviable times.  Ah, to be young again!

And while Wolfgang was getting himself back down to where the oxygen is, Magnum, Meego, and I decided to beat the heat at a reptile show.

"Just looking!", I stressed before we walked into the place.  And it was quite fun to look at all the slimy creepy crawlies.

Stacks of Pythons - not your typical Tupperware party!


*Scarface mode*
"Seh Hello to my turtle fren!"

There's a really fat Chameleon in there.  See it?

I'm happy to report that we did manage to get in and out without purchasing anything other than our admission.  It was at this very show a few years ago that we got the still MIA Reese.  His breeder has been at all the shows we've attended since, and he was also at yesterday's expo.  Usually, we go visit with him and his fresh crop of king snakes and update on how Reese is doing.

We avoided stopping by his table yesterday... *sniff*

But all in all, it was a fun show, and I'm glad we didn't give in to temptation.  The Solcata Tortoises were definitely calling to us, but at $200 a pop, fuggedaboudit!  The $20 PacMan frog was a bigger threat to my resolve.  What would I do with a PacMan frog, anyway??

...Other than love him and squeeze him and name him "George".


Friday, August 14, 2015

tags, I'm it

Happy Friday!  This has been a busy week, and now we're already at the end.

I have to go to the tire store in a little while.  Wolfgang bought a truck that desperately needs a set of tires.  Really, we can't believe the previous owner was still driving around on them.  When we first looked at the truck, I went to check the thread depth on the tires and couldn't find a thread to check!

So, since I'm the resident *Hop Sing around here (harumph!), I'm taking the truck for new tires.  This after I was subjected to the DMV yesterday.

Okay, actually I offered my services since I've got time right now,  Wolfgang has profusely expressed his gratitude, so maybe don't tell him about my typically frustrating time at the DMV yesterday.

I mean, I just don't understand this particular DMV office.  First of all, it's about two miles from our house.  I could easily walk or bicycle there, but yesterday I drove.

I walked into the comfortably air conditioned and pleasingly decorated office where I was greeted by a pleasant DMV person.  She quickly checked to see that I had the proper documentation, then issued my number:  703.

I looked up at the convenient monitor to see that they were currently serving 699, then settled in for my wait.  I also checked my watch.

At just under four minutes later, my number was called.  I had barely sat down and got a feel for the layout and counter numbering system of the place!  How rude, right??

Despite that, I managed to find the counter I'd been summoned to.  The helpful and efficient DMV person clicked on the keyboard a bit while looking over my documents, got up a couple of times, shared a joke with the next staff person over, took my payment, and handed me plates, title, registration, and receipt.  I checked my watch again.

The ENTIRE visit took 11 minutes.  That beats my previous record at that DMV of 12 minutes.

And the reason I drove there? I needed a few groceries, and this DMV happens to be conveniently located in a friendly shopping center that includes a comfortable grocery store.

Dare I say that the whole errand was enjoyable?

Don't be envious, though.  Our post office still sucks.

*Everyone knows Hop Sing?  Or is it just us old folks?


Wednesday, August 12, 2015

thanks for the nosebleed

Remember last summer?  The summer of the bees?  Boy, I do.

Let me briefly refresh...
Over a span of about a week and a half, I was bee stung three times.

Exhibit A

Exhibit A shows sting result number 1.

Clearly, that kamikaze bee was going for the jugular.

Exhibit B

Exhibit B shows sting result number 2.

Knowing I'm right-handed, that kamikaze bee was obviously seeking to render me helpless.

Last, but certainly not least, was sting result number 3.  Out of blog appropriateness, I have no Exhibit C as that kamikaze bee got me square in the chest, the result of which was the development of an awkward third boob. 

Just take my word for it when I say that sting number three was the MOST disfiguring of them all *ahem*.

So far this summer, I have remained stingless (knock on wood!  Hear me knocking, bees??), but I fear that I'm still being stalked.

Monday, I gave Meego a ride to work.  He got a bloody nose just before leaving and was afraid he'd be late if he rode his bike so I drove him.  As we got into the van, he noticed a wasp buzzing around his window.  We didn't think much of it and just drove off.

Later that afternoon, when I went to pick him up, we once again noticed a wasp buzzing around the passenger window after he got in the van.  Hmmm... how curious...

We pondered what this all meant for a moment, and we saw the wasp fly into the housing behind the passenger side mirror.  I moved the mirror around, but it never emerged.  Okay, whatever.

Then we got home and had a look:

Can I get a collective, "EEWWWW!!" ?  

Those little moochers had built a house in the mirror of the van and were multiplying!

I googled like a madwoman to figure out the best remedy.  In the end, we waited until after sundown and sprayed those buggers instantly dead.  We were a bit concerned about the poison messing up the paint and/or the wiring inside the mirror, but neither turned out to be an issue.  

This is what's left of their dead planet:

 Meego got a bit of video.  The actual killing didn't get recorded - something to do with pushing "pause" when meaning to push "record" and vice versa...

ANYWAY, may they rest in peace... and Leave.  Me.  Alone.



Sunday, August 9, 2015

Silver Liningness Sunday

Greetings on another fine Sunday!  Whew, I dunno about you, but this was a hot one (or maybe it's just an age-related thing...) but we're surviving!

In fact Monday, I was enjoying my bike commute.  It was relatively cool and lightly overcast, so the sun wasn't scorchingly hot and I was being all grateful about it.  Then it started to sprinkle.  And sprinkle turned to rain.  Rain turned to downpour.

Long story short, I ended up with a new Pearl Izumi barrier jacket.  Here it is, doesn't it make me look cute?

Okay, it's clearly not me in the photo, but my stunt double.  I was too lazy to take a pic of the actual.

I got stranded at the bike shop during the storm.  It wasn't letting up.  The store had a clearance rack, and I was tired of waiting.  Let it be known that I was fully in the market for such a jacket already, just hadn't got around to shopping!  I hope the store doesn't think I'm some diva who just goes making raingear purchases willy nilly every time I get rained on!  I expect this to last me 20+ years!

The remainder of the ride home was lovely under the protection of that jacket.  But now, it'll probably never rain again.

Speaking of which, remember all that rain we got that turned our backyard into a swamp?  Well, it's finally dried up enough for us to walk around back there without fear of alligator attacks.  The result was the necessity for much weeding and trimming.  Now, I must say, our backyard has never looked better.  There's actually a lawn there now!

Also, with the swamp abatement, Magnum was able to resume work on the Great Wall.  This to go along with the Great Weeds of China.  Remember when Terri showed us her giant sunflowers?  Same thing here, but totally not.

Photo credit:  Magnum
(He made me put that or he would sue)

Okay, so there's still a bit more weeding to be done, namely in China's dog run.  Poor girl's bathroom has shrunk. 

But it's not all work and dirt, we managed some play and dirt this week by getting out for a bit of geocaching.
It's been quite a while.

Action shot!
Meego's band camp came to a close yesterday and culminated in a little performance for the parents.  I think they had a fun camp and are looking forward to the marching season.  Meego had some nice featured bass grooves.  I managed a grainy pic from behind the helicopter parent barrier.

Nice bass solo!
That kid must have cool parents

Thursday, August 6, 2015

it's really just a list

I was at the library today, returning a book and picking up another.  I usually have one laying around to work through when I get around to recreational reading, but I don't buy them.  Yay for libraries.

And maybe since I don't buy them, I don't put a lot of research into it.  I typically grab something off the "popular" shelf or "staff picks" shelf.  I was looking through my goodreads account to see what books I've read so far for 2015.

Here's a brief look at my year of reading so far...

  Sorcerer's Apprentice:  My Life with Carlos Castaneda

Gawd, this book was awful.
I've read most of Carlos Castaneda's books and found them interesting even if a lot of it was totally made up.

I thought this book would be an amusing look inside CC's "gang".  Well, maybe if that gang was a buncha rotten middle schoolers.  Obnoxious.  Couldn't finish, it gave me headaches.

The Book Thief

Not much to say here since most people who would care to read this one probably already have.  One review I read likened it to a chocolate chip cookie in that regard...

 Meego read it for school, so it was laying around the  house.  I liked it well enough, but honestly thought it got overly sappy at times.

Life Drawing

A bookie friend of mine recommended this one.  It's about a reclusive artist and her writer husband whose lives get complicated when a neighbor woman moves nearby.

It was okay.  I didn't really like the characters much, though.  Three stars

Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven

Oh, now this one was quite a ride.  It's a true account of a couple of freshly graduated college girls who set off to travel the world for a year.  I thought it would be a fun travelogue to live vicariously through, but it was something totally different.

Things get a little... crazy.  Plan B!

The Book of Strange New Things

Same bookie friend who recommended Life Drawing recommended this one, which I actually liked.  It's about a Christian pastor who goes on a mission.  To a faraway planet.  Preaching to the aliens.  Because they asked for him.

It sounds very scifi, I know, but it was actually very human.   Emotional and imaginative.  And not real churchy.

Her Fearful Symmetry 

Diva twin sisters move to their dead aunt's home in England, hook up with dead aunt's boyfriend and OCD neighbor.  Dead aunt's ghost hangs around and they all become friends.  This book was just weird, and I didn't even share the spoilers.

Chaco read the title, "What does that even mean?"  Heck if I know.

The Girl on the Train

I thought this one was really good at the beginning.  A real page turner.  But then it just seemed to slow down too much in the middle.  Pages and pages of, "I can't remember"... "I'm going to do this thing to try to remember"... "I can't remember"... I'm going to do this thing to try to remember"... "I can't remember"..."I'm going..."  Well, y'know.

Predictably, she eventually remembers.  Not bad, not great.

So seven books so far for the year - one for each month.  I picked up another I've never heard of.  It's titled The Harder They Come by T.C. Boyle.  I've read one page, and so far, so good.

I will say that, if you do a search on that title, the results are all kinda nasty!  This book isn't one of those.  I don't think...

So, whatchya readin'?

For Mama Kat's prompt:
4. Book review!


Sunday, August 2, 2015

Silver Liningness Sunday

Happy Sunday and Happy August!

Meego and I had another night of Sky Sox duty last night.  My voice is still a little rough, and I wasn't even on the register this time.  I had relatively cushy duty as a beer chick, but my vocal cords still managed to take a beating.

For one, it was a sellout crowd.  It was Avenger night!  Check 'em out:

I will say that they look a bit more formidable in the movies...

This marked Meego's and my final scheduled obligation for this summer.  I won't say I'll miss it, but there are some fun aspects - the cute kids in attendance, the camaraderie with the other banned parents and kids in the stand, and there's always something entertaining going on in the stadium.  Oh, I think there's a baseball game too.

On that note, Meego had his first week of 2-week band camp (this one time...?) this week.  It's not sleepover camp as it's just held at the high school, but sounds like it's been fun and productive.  Meego will be in the pit for marching band, playing the bass - which he prefers to marching around with a baritone.

Chaco graced us with his presence yesterday, just stopping by.  He's having a good summer - enjoying his job and his bicycling adventures.  Both he and Wolfgang (along with the guy at the bike shop) are lobbying hard for me to get cycling shoes.  I already have clipless pedals as Alice was wearing them when I freed her from spin class hell.  Maybe... maybe...

In other gadgetry news, Potato, Meego's computer, has been suffering some health problems that have mainly been swept under the rug.  This weekend, he's getting some TLC.  I'm not sure if Potato will be restored to his original performance strength, but it's nice to see some brotherly problem solving.  

As for me, I've kinda been enjoying the time off from school, but can tell it will get old soon.  I've got one tutor student who keeps my brain somewhat engaged, but other than that - sloth city.  I honestly don't know how the potheads do it.


Saturday, August 1, 2015

grass time

Magnum and I had a day off yesterday. We got some errands taken care of and then tooled around the city on a little joyride.  Poor Bob, Magnum's bicycle.  I think he feels a bit neglected.

Wolfgang and Meego both ride their bikes to work, and I'm usually out with Alice or Bella on most days.  This leaves Bob alone regularly.  Aw, poor Bob.

It was a nice day for it.  We stopped at a downtown park to take advantage of the shade trees.

Magnum used the break to learn everything we ever wanted to know and more about Pickleball, which is popularly played at this park.

In fact, there were several perky pickleballers playing while we were there.  I can't remember a time I've been there when there were no pickleballers.

There is also a public swimming pool, basketball courts, playground, etc.  All were happily populated which is nice to see and something to amuse us as we sat among the trees.

There's Bob behind me with Bella.  Doesn't he just look so chipper?

In the meantime, our cat?  The evil killer?  He's been showing us his nurturing side, and it's a bit ridiculous.

Here he is, and I know what you're thinking:

That poor baby bunny!  He's gonna eat it!!

But no.  He goes and gets them, just from where we don't know, and carries them around like a momma with kittens.  He plays with them for a while, then off they hop.  He's tried to bring them into the house, all "Can we keep him?  Can we, can we, pleeeeeeez??"

Oh sheesh.