Sunday, November 29, 2015

Silver Liningness Sunday

And so ends another week.  Thanksgiving has passed, now onto the chaos of Christmas season.

I was going a bit stir crazy today.  We haven't had sun for four days - a rarity around here.  At first, the thought of being holed up at home to take a load off, read, watch Netflix, whatever, was pretty appealing.  But after a coupla days, I was going a little bananas. Thankfully, I got out today for a rousing time of grocery getting.  It was just nice to be out in the world again, and out of the  house, out of the neighborhood.  I would suck at being a recluse.

I also got caught up on some housewifery, and I have yet one other errand to run.  The toads need a new light as theirs burned out.  Seems they've temporarily had to go without their needed "sun" just like us.

Despite the grey skies and chill, it was a nice Thanksgiving week.  We got in the sloth time as mentioned, plus enjoyed some good food and family time.  I have  yet to get full details from Wolfgang, but I'm betting he had a rip roaring good time in Hawaii too.

Magnum and I finally watched Mad Max: Fury Road.  I really liked it.  I knew it got very favorable reviews, but  honestly, it wasn't something I cared about seeing.  But he brought home the DVD, so I said I'd watch with him.

What a ride!  Literally!  But it's beyond just two hours of stuff blowing up, although it is pretty non-stop, gritty action.  I just thought it very creative - artistic really.  Stuff blowing up artistically?  Okay.  I'm sure it was all the more impressive on the big screen.

Now back to reality.  Of course, the university issued an official statement regarding Officer Swasey's death in the line of duty on Friday, and there was a candlelight vigil last night.  I'm sure it will be a rather somber return to classes next week.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

grey thursday and a very black friday

Which brings us to Saturday.  It's still very cold and snowy here.  But because of the cold, it's not as slippery outside as it was on Thanksgiving.  I went running outside this morning where I got to test out my "mid-zero" tights (whatever that means) that I bought on sale last spring.  OH, they were warm and comfy!

Yesterday was a very bad day here.  A man went shoot-em-up at the local Planned Parenthood.  There was a  nearly 5-hour standoff before he eventually surrendered.  In the meantime, he killed 3 people, including a policeman from the university.   Several others are injured, but are thankfully in good condition and expected to recover fully.

We still don't  know the shooter's motives.  Because it was at Planned Parenthood, the speculation is that he's an anti-abortion zealot, but who knows.  Of course this remains the top of the local news.  I've got the local police, the university, and some local news stations on my facebook feed, so it's sadly repetitive.  The officer who was killed looks very familiar and I know I've seen him on campus, but didn't know him personally.  The campus police office is where we register bicycles, and they are a friendly and active presence at bike jam.  He leaves a wife and two young kids.

We were mostly just homebodies yesterday as the snow has been continually falling since Thursday and temperatures were in the teens.  It looks the same outside right now, only there's more snow on the ground.  I'm pretty sure Meego would've had three snowdays in a  row if school was in session.  We don't  make it a point to go shopping on black Friday.

We did, however, continue our "tradition" from last year by hitting the Best Buy on Thanksgiving.  But I stand by word that we are not much into shopping in general.  There's a Best Buy about a mile from our house, and we'd been holed up inside all day, so a walk was needed.  Might as well stretch our legs and end up at Best Buy to look at people.  I didn't even bring my wallet.

It was actually a couple of hours after they'd opened their doors, so it wasn't crazy.  The snow and ice outside showed many tracks in the "corral" and around the port-o-potties, so there was the suggestion of people actually camped out.  I did rather enjoy the people-watching.  No one was rude or annoying.

Chaco found a few accessory bargains for his computer.  Okay, maybe he was in it for the shopping...

We did do the more wholesome things too - played some board games and cards.  Yay, I didn't lose at everything!  Okay, I lost at the board game but managed to hold my own at cards.

So yesterday's events really put a downer on the holiday week.  We just had a guy, about a month ago, walk a downtown street and kill three random people before he himself was killed by the police.  I don't understand and have no words, but we've always got blessings to count too.

Wolfgang's texted me that he's back in town from his Hawaiian Thanksgiving.  I hope he's got warm clothing on and that he didn't bring me any avocados.


Thursday, November 26, 2015

Hey, thanks!

Happy Thanksgiving to all who are reading this!  Even if  you're not American and this isn't a federal  holiday for you!

I got up this morning at the predetermined time to make it to the annual Turkey Trot.  The weather forecast wasn't too favorable, but I was willing to give it a go.  Skies were overcast with temperatures in the mid 20s, so I was still willing.

I layered up, slathered my face with Burt's Bees, then went outside for a little road test.  I went nearly to the bottom of our driveway with hardly even moving my feet.  That's what happens when there's practically no friction to be found.

The whole outside was covered in a thin film of icy frosty slippery.

I contemplated.  Then I went inside and contemplated some more.  Then I went out the back door and contemplated some more.  Then I decided that running a race in those conditions was a trip to the ER waiting to happen.

So, no Turkey Trot for me this year. But I'm sure they got plenty of registrants, and the proceeds go to stock local food pantries, so it's all good.  It just would've been nice to have the traditional 5k included. Race people notified us to be careful, and that they were putting ice melt on the course.  I still got the shirt, but #2078 was a no-show.

Online results showed that about half the typical number showed up, and finish times were noticeably slower.  But I'm glad the event happened.  No major injuries that I know of!

In the meantime, I've got stuff cookin'.  It's just us this year, no dignified guests at our table, and we're not travelling.  I don't work very hard at it.  The most difficult part so far has been stuffing the bird, and I don't mean in the traditional sense.

I cook it in the slow cooker overnight up until eating time, and every year, it's touch-and-go getting the bird to fit.  I really should get one of those oval cookers, but I only think of it on Thanksgiving.  I managed to just wrestle another sacrificial turkey this year, but it took some exertion on my part.

So Happy Thanksgiving!  I'm thankful to all who continue to visit me and hoping you're all comfy, warm, and satisfied!


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

go do hoodoos

Our Thanksgiving week roadtrip was derailed, but that's okay.  I'm getting stuff done around here, and today we played tourist in our own backyard.  Here's the story:

It was a dark and stormy night It was a warm and sunny day.  A day off of work and school.  We said, let's do something before this big cold front gets here.  Off to the Paint Mines!  It's an "interpretive park" and we're not too sure what that means, but we think it means you guide yourself on the "tour" rather than be led by knowledgeable docents.

So that's what we did.  We went out there and interpreted.  It was an enjoyable time among the "geological, archaeological, historical and ecological resources"

Here they are, interpretting, Chaco hamming as a knowledgeable docent.

In the meantime, recall that Wolfgang is off in the tropics with the girlfriend and family.  He sent me a photo of a huge avocado because I don't like avocados.  (go ahead, tell me how daft I am for not liking avocados, I bet I've heard it all before).

So back here at the Paint Mines, we got all educated while enjoying a nice day out in unique natural surroundings.  We were also impressed by the vast windmill farm out there.  See 'em?  Must've been at least 50 humongo windmills out there.  Reminded us of War of the Worlds.

It was a great day for it. A bit muddy from last week's blizzard, but I suppose that's part of the experience.  I'd heard of the Paint Mines, but it's not necessarily a destination like other points in Colorado.  We practically had the whole place to ourselves.

So if you're ever in the area, looking for an interesting outing involving natural wonder and intriguing technical windmillage (because you never know when that urge might strike), head to Calhan!


Sunday, November 22, 2015

Silver Liningness Sunday

It's a lovely Sunday morning here.  Sunny blue skies, birds a-chirping, a kid riding a motorbike up and down and up and down and up and down and up and down... the street.   I don't really understand the fun of riding a little motorbike up and down the street, but maybe it's all a big kid on a little motorbike's got to do at the moment.  And so that's nice.  Thanksgiving week begins, school's out.

This was a nice week, albeit very snowy and windy.  I know that other parts of the country are feeling similar.  It was quite a reminder of how everything shuts down when a storm like that comes through.

In other news, I had a birthday yesterday.

Yup, 51 now.  I'd say that puts  me officially "in my 50s".  For the past year, I was just hanging out on the edge of the pool - out of the 40s, but not fully into the 50s.  Now I'm all in.  What a thrill.

... which reminds me that I still need to schedule that colonoscopy...

ANYWAY,  we didn't have a wild bash or anything.  Magnum's birthday is Tuesday, and we just traditionally do our birthdays and Thanksgiving in one big lump.  Yeah, those kids with summer birthdays have all the fun.

We were actually planning a little getaway this week.  Remember how I've been itching for a trip of any kind?  So much that I was willing to travel with the high school band??  And sorry to have not been able to?!

Last week, we thought we'd plan a little trip for this week since we're off from school and work.  But alas, the weather report doesn't look conducive  + we ran into snags getting snow tires for the van (long story I don't feel like getting into at the moment) + I have a larger load of school work than originally expected.  So, we will attempt to make the most of our Stay-cation until we can do a proper trip.  Soon please!

In movie news, Magnum and I watched "Ex Machina".  I liked it, although it was creepy.  But I suppose a movie about AI should be creepy.  Despite a couple of things that had me, "well THAT wouldn't happen", I thought it was well done and well acted and made for an engaging plot.  I didn't much like the ending, but it fit with the movie's creepiness and wasn't a surprise.  I'll give it a 3.5 out of 5 overall.

Happy Thanksgiving week!


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

fall has been cancelled

We're having us our first snowday and it's a doozy!  School's closed, even the university.  With my online classes, I don't get to do a happy dance - still "went".

I snapped this selfie when I went to go out and clear the driveway.  It was full on blizzard when I started getting dressed, but by the time I was all geared up, the blizzard had blown away.

Oh well, not complaining.

I did get the driveway cleared, it took me over an hour, and I had to shed most of that get up.  There was a crap ton of snow out there!  Afterwards I felt probably similar to how Rhonda Rousey felt after Saturday night.  Then again, no.  Not that bad...

As I was convalescing afterward, I was reading emails and realized that it's NaBloPoMo - y'know, where people blog every day during November?  There are helpful prompts at this site, and I thought maybe I'd do the Cliff Notes version to get caught up:

What was the one toy that a friend had that you wished you had when you were little?
My best friend had a whole play kitchen - oven, sink, countertop - the whole caboodle.  GAWD, I wanted such a one.  That and a Mrs. Beasley doll.  
What did you think was the coolest job in the world when you were younger? Do you still feel that way now?
When I was in elementary school, I wanted to be an artist, but I remember when I first learned about stunt doubles.  I thought that was a cool job, but I didn't necessarily want to be one.  I guess I still feel that way a little.
When you were a kid, did you want to have the same job or a different job than your parents when you grew up?
My mom was a stay-at-home-mom who did lots of volunteering until I was 15.  My dad was a teacher.  I didn't think about having the same job, but it kinda ended up that way, nuh?
What is the most important lesson you learned as a child, and who taught it to you?
My dad taught us to be grateful, not forcefully, but he'd just often say stuff that started out with, "We sometimes don't realize how lucky we are to have/be/do..."  And then I'd be all, "Dang, he's right!"
What was your biggest fear as a child? Do you still have it today? If it went away, when did your feelings change?
Strangely, my biggest fear was losing the stuff I had to be grateful for that my Dad would remind us we were so lucky to have!  Like my family, my home, my friends, my health.  Yup, still have it!
What is the first thing you do every single day (I mean, after you hit the snooze button)? When did that step in your routine begin?
I do some kind of exercise thing.  I usually run three mornings a week.  On the other days, I do some calisthenic type stuff.  That routine began once we had kids.  I knew that once they were out of bed, there'd be no time.
What is the hardest part of a big project: getting the energy to begin, finding the time to work on it, or feeling down that it's over?
That second thing - finding time.  Feeling down that it's over?  Can't remember that ever happening.
What was the last thing you fixed or built?
Other than the glacier of a driveway?  Over the weekend, I swapped out Bella's summer tires for the winter nobbies.  Just in time, apparently!
If you had a personal assistant who would do your most dreaded tasks, which items from your to-do list would you assign out?
Swapping out tires on Bella.  Not a fave task.  
Describe your ideal day off. What would you do with your time?
Just one day?  Actually, my schedule isn't overly harried (by design, and I'm grateful to have that choice!), but I rarely have a full day with no obligations.  If I had a full day of nothing, I'd drive down to see my dad.  It's about a 5-hour round trip.

Pretending you have the expertise to make the product a reality, what do you wish you could invent?
Time machine.
What is one place you need to see to feel like your life is complete?
Hmm, I don't have such a place, such a "need".  My life feels complete by whom I'm with, not where I am.  I've been to nice places with obnoxious people and to scuzzy places with fun people.  Guess which were more fun.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Silver Liningness Sunday

Greetings at the end of another fine week.  Amid all the chaos in the world, I'm thankful for this mundane blog and those who come visit.  

It was a productive week that I expected to spill over into the weekend, but the weekend has actually been nice and restful.  I had a group project due for school, and we knocked it out rather efficiently.  Then our team member who was to submit it online submitted the wrong version.  I'm all thinking, "you had ONE JOB!"  But yeah, other than that, it's been mellow.

We were actually planning to go mountain biking today - Meego's idea.  But the weather turned a bit cranky and I left it up to him.  My words:  "It's up to you because you know I'm chicken and am fine if we don't go"

I like bicycling on friendly trails and pathways.  Leave the hucks and jumps and ruts and crap to the young and resilient.  So he said we'd wait for a better day.  Whew.  

We had a short visit with Wolfgang this weekend.  He's getting ready for a fun trip with the girlfriend's family over Thanksgiving week and was rummaging around the house for a few things.  They actually planned for this months ago so they could get tickets in advance.  I was wondering what would happen if they had a falling out in the meantime, but thankfully, that hasn't happened.

Services for Sean were on Monday.  I understand that several of the band kids shared fond memories.  Probably not a dry eye in the house.  I didn't really know him, but I don't think I'll ever forget him.

On a lighter and more distractive note, Magnum and I enjoyably finished all of season 5 of  The Walking Dead.  And since spoilers are impossible to avoid, it seems, I'm well aware of the current tumult surrounding a certain character's demise in season 6.  I'm fine with it because, to me, it's all just escapist entertainment with fictional characters portrayed by actors.... 

Just Pleez, not Glenn!!!

Speaking of which, you've seen this Glenn TWD meme?  

It reminded me of something my Filipino nephew posted this week for Movember.   I think he's actually my first cousin once removed, but what a pain.  I refer to him as nephew, he refers to me as aunt.  Simple.  Anyways...

Yeah, Asians in general aren't known for facial hair production capability.  He's quite proud as you can see.  We all are.

Saturday, November 14, 2015


"You have been selected to serve on Hoopa Choopa High's Site Improvement Committee..." so began the email.

I have been selected, or I was the only sucker who applied?

A few weeks ago, the high school set about recruiting volunteers for this committee.  The message stated:

"This committee is charged with identifying and 
prioritizing the needs of [Hoopa Choopa]
and then presenting a final report of needs to the 
District Growth and Capital Needs Committee. 
Identified needs will be of a capital nature that 
will improve the educational environment of the school."

And I was thinking, there are a lot of "needs" in there.

Then I was thinking this could be interesting, but as far as I knew, the high school doesn't have any glaring capital needs that I know of.  I considered throwing my hat in the ring, but what if I was selected to serve and still felt there were no capital needs?  Should we spend money just because it's there??

See, Colorado legalized recreational marijuana.  A good bulk of the tax revenues are meant to go toward education.  Well, the pot business is going like gangbusters, so now there's all this pot revenue floating around.  I assume that is what gave rise to this site improvement committee - to help find ways to spend the pot money.

The recruitment message included:

"Membership will include at least three parents, two students (grades 10 / 11), 
three teachers, two classified employees and two administrators. "

So that seemed like fun enough.  I've cut back on the tutoring since I'm in grad school, and this sounds like a nice mesh of my interests.  But I put off applying until the final day.  In addition to our contact information, we were to provide

"a brief summary explaining your interest in being a part of this committee"

and I didn't lie.  I mentioned my interests in secondary education and project management and added a bit about  *paraphrased* - I'm a bit bored and isolated right now, plus my participation might help me get a real job in the near future.

Okay, so I've been selected.  How many people even answered the call?  Would they have turned anyone away?

Our first meeting isn't until January, so maybe I'll snoop around for needs of a capital nature in the meantime.  I've asked Meego for input, and he just has complaints about the librarians (not of a capital nature) and the fact that the vending machines are off limits during lunch - apparently thanks to Michelle Obama.  I think she's got  more pull than I do.


Thursday, November 12, 2015

the case of the gluten invasion

We've noticed a strange phenomenon in our back yard.  Where's Encyclopedia Brown when you need him?

It started a couple of weeks ago.  Magnum was back there working on the Great Wall (yes it's still in progress) when he came upon a... thing.  An unexpected... thing.  It was.... strangely enough... it was... it appeared to be...

a dinner roll?

A fist sized roll like is served warm in a basket at fine dining establishments.  Why would such a thing be buried in our  hill?  Don't tell me the cat is going vegetarian.  NEVER!

So we thought that strange enough and just thought maybe the kid next door chucked a dinner roll over the fence.  Yeah, that happens.

Then on Tuesday, I was in the backyard with China and I went to take something off the clothesline (yes we have one and use it!).  China was snorting around nearby as she does, then goes walking by with... it was a.... she had in her mouth.... yeah, it was a...

a freaking dinner roll!

I thought maybe Magnum just left the one he found for the gophers or whatever and now China had it.  So later when he came home, I asked him what he did with that mystery dinner roll he found.  He said he'd thrown it away.  Well then what the hell dinner roll did China find??

I'm perplexed.  We've found soccer balls, tennis balls, and other stray playthings that wind up in the yard, but dinner rolls?

In other intriguing outdoor things, I rounded a corner on the bike path today and was greeted by this road hog of a tree:

So how's your Aspen?


Monday, November 9, 2015


I said I was slacking on the blog because of school?  Today I felt like slacking on school to hang out at the blog.  Actually, I was just reading a few and thought I'd check in over here.  

Pedal Perks just finished another month and I managed to get my name in lights again.  Really, that's the only reason I participate...  all that recording of rides blah, blah, blah.  But anyways, here's my latest perk.  FedEx guy just dropped it off.  My new crown.  

From the comfy chair, toadz in background

Oblique shot with visor, still with toadz

It's a Bern bike helmet to replace the old Giro I had.  I was just thinking last week after I'd put my order in for this one, that my old helmet was old old, but thankfully had never taken a hit.  I was thinking this as I was pedaling under an overpass when a rock jumped down from the overpass and smacked me upside the helmet.  I think that's the first time that's ever happened, like the helmet gods were reminding me of their importance!

Anyway, I hope Bernie and I enjoy many a ride together, and she never has to go to work except for maybe some occasional debris from overpasses.

The promo stuff says it's "designed to be women specific".  I have NO idea what that means.  

Speaking of the toadz, there's been no sign of Reese the snake since that fateful day he left us back in May.  As I recall, it was the week of Memorial Day, so it's been some time ago now.  Considering his chief skill on his resume' is hiding, we doubt we will ever see  him again.

Unless we get another snake.

That's how it usually seems to go.  Lose something, and  once we give up hope and get a replacement *POOF* there's the thing we lost.  But truth is, I miss him.  It was fun creating his habitat - or at least watching Meego do it.  The whole thing was quite educational - including his escape.  I will say that I don't miss the dead mice in the freezer however...


Sunday, November 8, 2015

Silver Liningness Sunday

First of all, Ima say it.  I do miss blogging more often.  I just spend so much time on the computer for school that I gotta get some balance.  BUT, can't miss the silver liningness.

Truth be told, it's been a somber week, actually.  One of the high school band kids passed away.

I got a call around noonish on Wednesday.  It was one of the school office staff informing me that a student had died and that Meego had been seen by a grief counselor.  I figured the only reason she would be calling me in person was if the student (she didn't give his name) was a close friend of Meego's and/or in the band since that is Meego's main extracurricular activity.

Sure enough, it was a band kid.  He and Meego were not close, and I didn't know his family.  Still, anyone who's been a high school band nerd *raising my hand* knows how close everyone gets just from the large amounts of time spent together practicing and performing - and just being part of something bigger than oneself.  And this just after the they'd gotten back from their fun end-of-season road trip.

His name was Sean.  He was just a freshman.  He played alto saxophone.  He had two little sisters.

We don't know what happened, just that he passed away "suddenly and unexpectedly".  He had no known health issues, and his family was close, happy, "normal".

So, it's been a sad time, but I will say that it seems to have made the whole band "family" closer in general.  Several of the kids have expressed thoughtful and mature insights and tributes to Sean.  And I sometimes poke fun at the band parent stereotype, but truth is, the boosters just really care about the kids - all of them.  And they work tirelessly for the benefit of the program.

It doesn't make up for the tragic loss, but it's silver liningness Sunday, so I'm grasping.

Rest in Peace, Sean


Sunday, November 1, 2015

Silver Liningness Sunday

Happy day-after-Halloween.  And  happy Día de Muertos for those inclined to celebrate.  Hopefully we all survived in relative comfort.  

Our Halloween traffic was pretty low-key, but at least not a total bust.  I'm guessing that around 25 to 30 trick-or-treaters  graced our front door.  I dished out candy while we watched some Walking Dead.  Seemed appropriate.

During one candy presentation, an adolescent Pikachu commented:

"EEK!  A spider! On your door!"

To which I responded, "Uhm... that's a decoration"

And then she said, "Wow, it's crawling and everything"

Me, "Yeah, pretty cool huh?"

I happily smashed it after they left.

It was another good week otherwise.  My to-do list has lots of things scratched off, so that's a nice feeling.  I probably make lists just for the satisfaction of scratching things off of them.

Relatedly, remember these shooz that I attempted to revive with Shoo Goo?  It worked marvelously!  The shooz spent many more miles with me, including the mongrel-bite run, than would've otherwise been the case.  And now they are truly ready for the can.  So now I've got "Shooz" on the to-do list.

As mentioned, Meego and the marching band went to Utah this weekend.  Looks like they had lots of fun and put on another good performance.  In this regard, I think Facebook is both a blessing and a curse - providing updates and photos and also rubbing it the faces of those left behind ala "Look, here we are having fun in the sun in t-shirts and shorts!"  while we look on in our cold bundlage.

Mother nature took pity on us, however, and after a gloomy cloudy Friday of pumpkin hunting, we were graced with a warm sunny Saturday.  Magnum and I took advantage to go play outside again.  This time to Palmer Park which is a large area for hiking, biking, climbing, etc. plopped right in the  middle of town.  It's very easy to get to, but large enough to feel like we're in the boonies.

This park is actually the site where the county search and rescue hosts the annual Rescue Run 10k every New Years Day.  I've done it three times now, but I couldn't tell you where the course is, the park is that big.  My geographically challenged self might have something to do with it, but I historically just follow the crowd or I'd get lost, and search and rescue would have something other to do than just host a race.  

One feature of that race is that the first mile is a grueling uphill where I'm all, "Ugh, I hate this", but then it rewards us with gorgeous views for the majority of the remainder of the run where I'm all, "OH, how PRETTY!  Can't wait to do this again next year!"

Shot of Pikes Peak, which I promised not to post a pic of last week...

Happy November! What time is it??