Thursday, March 31, 2016

sharing a pint

I remember him sitting there.  George.  He was kicked back, all relaxed looking.  We'd just gotten off work and were hanging out after having discussed our sexual and drug habits...

"You know you live a boring life when you're allowed to donate blood", said George.

"Yup, I suppose so", my reply as blood drained from our veins.

Many years ago, I made a New Year's resolution to donate blood at least three times a year.  It was easy.  The blood letters came by regularly to our workplace.  We could just stop in after work before heading home.

Then I started having babies and breastfeeding babies and being busy with babies.  The blood donating tapered off.  I remember the last time was during a Halloween party at the elementary school where Chaco and Wolfgang were in attendance.  Good idea- blood drive at a Halloween party!  Had to hand it to 'em.

Anyway, that was quite a few years ago.  I just got out of the habit.  There was a blood drive at the university on Tuesday, so I decided to see if I was still boring enough.


I found it actually quite relaxing, just as I remember.  And the staff is always so friendly and appreciative.  Plus, free snacks after!  I sat down to begin, across from this kid - likely an undergrad.  It occurred to me that a blood drive is probably a good place for single people to meet "safe" potential mates, much like George had alluded to.

Anyway, the guy was sitting there and he had a wet cloth draped over his forehead and there was a box fan blowing directly upon him.  Maybe he'd gotten a little woozy?  I learned he was doing the "big boy" procedure where the machine draws out two pints instead of one, separates out the plasma, then gives the rest back.

No thanks, I just did the one-way procedure.

He noticed that the blood people were wearing either blue, green, or burgundy scrubs and asked, "Do the colors of your scrubs mean anything in particular?"

"You bet it does!", replied my nurse, "It means these are the colors we each picked out of the closet today!"

Look at at that, dinner AND a show!

Then yesterday, I was about three miles from home when I guess Bella felt sympathetic or something.  I heard this click-click-clicking coming from her front tire and looked down to see something going round and round.  It looked shiny.  It looked metallic.  I was really hoping it was just a rock caught between treads, but the logical part of my brain told me it was something sharp and man-made.


I contemplated stopping to inspect, but instead chose to pedal like a bat outta hell to see if the LITTLE PRICK would stay in so as to keep the air loss at a minimum and allow me to make it home before things got all squishy.

Happily, that strategy worked without a minute to spare.

Here's the thing before I carefully surgically removed it all psssssssshhhhhhhh...

I think it's a screw for holding on a license plate.

Yet another evil "Car vs. Bike" story!


Sunday, March 27, 2016

size matters

Happy Easter Sunday!  We have many bunnies out frolicking about, thanks be to Jesus.  Or thanks be to the reduction in neighborhood foxes and coyotes...

It's been a nice spring break week off despite blizzards and such.  I've gotten caught up on a few things and have just enjoyed the time off.  On the last day of school before spring break began, Meego texted me:

  • Meego: [band director] wants me to be in the orchestra for the school play
  • Me;  okay
  • Meego: He wants me to play the upright bass
  • Me:  fine
  • Meego:  He wants me to bring the bass home and practice over spring break
  • Me:  I don't think it will fit in the Echo
  • Meego:  And I have to bring my baritione and electric bass home too.
  • Me:  HA!  Good luck with that!

Undeterred, he strangely assumed I was joking and would help him get all that instrumentation from school to home somehow.  *sigh*  Fine

I woke our big slumbering van out of hibernation, drove to school, and we somehow got everything to fit. Meego has diligently practiced on the upright bass for hours each day of spring break.

That was a joke.  Well, he's practiced a little.

And it's back-to-school tomorrow.  The van is currently somewhat buried in a snowdrift.  I really don't feel like digging it out and am counting on the Easter sunshine to do the job.

In other adventures, I've begun reading this book and am looking forward to life-changing magic.

I've mentioned here before how I'm a minimalist and hate clutter.  When I first heard of this book, I thought, "good for her", but it would just be preaching to the choir as far as I was concerned.  But I picked it up from the library (minimalist book ownership!) and have been enjoying it.

From the reviews I've read, it seems that readers either love it or hate it.  And I understand where the haters are coming from.  "Thanking" our possessions before we chuck them to the trash?  Finding the "sweet spot" of just how our clothes "want" to be folded?  Discarding anything that doesn't "spark joy" when we touch it?

I admit that I think there is something to this, however.  Clutter makes me feel drained of energy.  Certain outfits make me feel enlivened while others don't.   I similarly believe there is something to feng shui, but haven't studied that either.

And I've been sharing what I've learned with Magnum, which prompted a bit of tidying on his part.  I told him about the whole "sparking joy" thing.  He feared that he would end up naked if he went through his clothes and discarded everything that didn't spark joy.  But, he tried it out anyway, which resulted in throwing stuff out he didn't even remember having and finding apparently joy-sparking things he'd likewise forgotten about.

So, let the life-changing magic begin.  And the upright bass goes back to school tomorrow.  We might need a bit of magic to make that happen.


Thursday, March 24, 2016

Oh, I've seen fire and I've seen rain

Greetings from springtime in the South Pole Colorado!  It's a beautiful sunny day today.  We just got back from picking Chaco and Wolfgang up from the airport.  They went out to L.A. for a few days to visit Magnum's dad and stepmom and Flop.

I told Wolfgang, "Everytime you go someplace nice on vacation, we get crap weather back here".  Just like Thanksgiving when he left us in the deep freeze.  Holy Guacamole, we had us a bit of weather yesterday.

Blizzard, so exciting.  In fact, Wolfgang texted me from sunny California yesterday when the university sent out an alert that they were shutting everything down at 1:00 pm.  "I got an alert from the university.  Have you guys been getting a lot of snow?"

Magnum, Meego, and I were actually driving home as we had gone down south to hometown to take care of some business regarding my Dad.  I sent Wolfgang this pic I took as we drove passed the university...


A couple miles later, closer to home...


Meanwhile he sent me this...

Happily frolicking dolphin in sunshine as seen
from their whale-watching boat

But I must hand it to Ellie Mae, and maybe Magnum, the driver, gets some credit too.  Things really got messy, but that Honda Element, as funny as she looks, gets it done.

I feel bad for the many travelers who got stranded by the storm.  Sitting in a car for hours on the side of the road during a major winter storm is inconvenient and frustrating and can be downright dangerous.

Years ago - February of 1984 to be exact - I got stranded in a similar storm.  I played on the women's basketball team in Jr. College, and we were coming home from a game in Sterling, CO.  Sterling is out in the barren flatlands that might as well be Kansas.

We spent a few hours stranded in our van before a road grader dug us out and had us follow him to a remote church where we spent the night.  At least I wasn't alone and had teammates and coaches to keep things light.  I remember our coach making jokes in the van about what to do if we needed to "use the bathroom".

Oh, the power of suggestion.  Stop talking about it!!

Suffice to say that, pissing in a snowstorm in 60 mph winds with a few friends and other stranded motorists is not something I will likely forget anytime soon.  Or have any desire to do again ever.

After yesterday's storm ended, Meego and I set to shoveling the wet heart-attack snow off the driveway while Magnum tackled the back yard.  It's good that we've experienced recent wildfires.  It helps us to appreciate these things.

*Blizzard better than fire*.  Our mantra with every shovelful.

How's your spring so far?

Sunday, March 20, 2016

I break for spring

Happy Spring!  It's here!  AH-CHOOOOO!!  I google imaged "spring break" for something appropriate to add, but suffice to say I found nothing "appropriate".

Actually, I'm just happy the sun is shining.  We've just emerged from two days of gloom.  At least we got snow out of it, because we were hurtin' for water, but I'm glad the clouds are now gone.  We average 300 days/year of sunshine here, so when it's overcast, I for one go into a bit of withdrawal.

And with the start of spring comes spring break at the university, and same for Meego at the high school.  Nothing major planned other than getting caught up on a few things along with filling in the gaps with fun.

And the gloom did provide the opportunity for some spring cleaning.  I fired up the chromecast to stream "Sunshine Cleaning" while I decontaminated the house.  That movie helped our house to not seem quite so bad.

In other movie news, Magnum and I watched Mission Impossible - Rogue Nation.  I have no review to offer because the movie put me to sleep.  Well, I guess that's my review.

At the other end of the spectrum, we also watched Wild.  I'd been wanting to see that movie ever since I read the book and loved it.  And I loved the movie too.  It really is a great story, not just her solo trek on the PCT, but the whole thing of what put her there in the first place, and then going on to write the book and make the movie years later.  As with the book, I was a bit sad when the movie was over.

Later last night, Magnum suggested we take China for her beauty walk.  We usually take her at night because she prefers it, anything above 40 degrees seems too hot for her.  I was reluctant because it was dark and cold out.  Magnum says, "You just watched that movie, and you don't want to walk the pooch around the block?"

Okay fine.

A few weeks ago, Chaco was over here rummaging through the scrap wood pile and borrowing some tools and hardware.  He was customizing his desk chair for "optimum geeking gaming".

Yesterday, I was at their place and saw the finished chair.  Magnum told him he should offer to similarly modify geek friends' chairs for a small fee.  Chaco has no interest in that whatsoever, but I snapped a pic, threatening to open an etsy store:  "Chaco's Chairs"

Throttle on the left hand, joystick on the right.

I'm wondering, how does he get his homework done?  Oh well... I guess he does homework in lieu of cleaning the apartment *ahem*.


Wednesday, March 16, 2016

the reason for waivers

It was hot and muggy.  We were in the home stretch - a couple hundred yards or so from the finish.  It had rained just before the race, but during the race, the rain stopped and the temperature went up while the humidity stayed high.  I was coming up on this guy.  He looked to be relatively young and fit, but I noticed he was running rather slowly and was soaked with sweat.  As I passed him, he sorta twisted toward me a bit.  I saw his face as it tilted upward and in my direction.  I saw his eyes roll to the back of his head.

Then he was down.  Didn't fall violently, just sort of crumpled.

This was years ago.  A 4-mile race at the place I used to work in upstate New York where it can get quite humid.  "Innovation Run" as part of "Innovation Days".  Our company took up a large amount of area, and the race ran around the complex.  It was just a bit of fun, not heavy competition.

Luckily, the guy collapsed right near the finish, so plenty of responders were right there.  He just overdid it, and the humidity got to him.

The other night, I went to the healthy grocery store to get some healthy things.  In that same shopping center is a fitness club / gym / whatever they're called these days.  The place has big windows out front so, after dark, you can look in and see people doing their gym things.

So as I was heading out to my car, I noticed lots of activity outside the gym.  An ambulance and fire paramedics.  Personnel going in and out.  I was very tempted to do the rubber-necked drive by, but instead did the responsible thing to give the emergency crews their space.

I assume someone overdid it at the gym.  Heart attack?  Stroke?  Dropped dumbbell on the foot?

Not too long ago, Wolfgang and some friends were at a climbing center.  One of his friends was on the slack line and did a bit of a hurkey doo and ended up with his kneecap on the side of his leg. *CRINGE!*  But he was young and durable and healed up quickly enough.  Still, the paramedics were called.

So I don't know what happened at the gym.  Older person have a heart attack?  Younger guy twist something the wrong way?

It got me thinking about these public emergency medical situations, arising from over exertion and such.  I'm glad to say that, other than sweaty Innovation Run guy and a few barfers at the top of The Incline, I haven't witnessed many such  situations.

Have you ever had to help a stranger in a medical situation arising from having too much "fun"?


Sunday, March 13, 2016

Springing onward

Hey, what time is it??  I'm missing an hour!

I just got back from collecting the rest of my P.E.O. presidential stuff.  Magnum says, "It takes that much crap to be president?".   Psshhh, I hope not.  I think it's mostly stuff that gets passed down from prez to prez, and no one's felt comfortable enough to chuck it.

From a lack of any other imagery from this week to share, this is a top secret photo of the new officers, taken from our top secret underground bunker.  I've purposely blurred the image to protect the top secrets.

On the far right is Running Sue.

But enough of that.  Magnum and I splurged on a Chromecast last weekend (They're 35 bucks).  I remember seeing them when we went on our annual Thanksgiving night shopaholic trip to Best Buy.  Then Chaco got one a couple months ago and had been singing its praises.

So we got one.  Magnum was concerned that it's yet another laziness device, but I say replace "laziness" with "time saving" and POOF, it's all good!  I like it.  No more having to boot up the chromebook, hook into the TV, sit uncomfortably on the floor while setting up the Netflix.  Such hardship that was!

Then we watched Spectre.  Not via the Chromecast, but a DVD.  It's the latest James Bond and the last for Daniel Craig.  It was a typical James Bond movie, but I do like me some Daniel Craig.  And Christoph Waltz, who plays such evil yet likable characters.

This was a pretty productive week, and we are still enjoying springlike weather, which was nice when it started, but now everyone's all, "We need water!", because we do, seriously.  In the meantime, I'm trying to make the most of it.  I've been enjoying the use of Alice, my fast, fair weather bicycle.

I use the mapmyride app for tracking my rides, and Alice helped me earned a "fastest time" badge on one of the courses this week.  So while it was nice to gain that recognition, I'm thinking:

(a) The really fast people use some other app
(b) The really fast people only ride in the summer
(c)  I should probably not worry about achieving PRs so as to not take out a pedestrian
(d)  All of the above.

But I'll enjoy it for now until someone knocks  me off my pedestal.


Thursday, March 10, 2016

midterms and mish mash

It's midterm time at school.  I will say I feel in a bit of a conundrum, because on the one hand, I like my classes, but on the other, I feel I'm too old for this sh...tuff.

And I haven't had much time this week to either read or write a blog post.  Actually, I suppose I have had the time, but during the parts I haven't had the time, I've been on the computer reading or writing school related stuff, so when I do get the time, I'm outta here.

Here are some random thoughts from the week in speedy bullet form.

  • I find the news story about this guy really strange/interesting.  Can I meditate to the point of being super smart, but avoid the frog aliens?
  • I went to a career fair today and ran into Jake, Magnum's (ex) best friend at work.  Sounds like he's got some good prospects.  He'll be fine.
  • I randomly sat next to a guy on a full shuttle bus. Turned out I know his boss's boss's wife.  Small world?
  • The barefoot runner guy I see and wave to almost daily while on my bicycle jaunts spoke to me this week.  He said, "Bike!".  I almost responded with, "Feet!", but changed my mind.
  • I watched a few vlogs on youtube and found them really mundane, and thought, "Why do these people vlog?"  But if it was in blog form, I probably would've found them more intriguing.  Why??

Anyway, that's about all the typing I have in me for now.  "See" you soon!



Sunday, March 6, 2016

oh hail

Yesterday, I was installed as Grand Poobah President of my P.E.O. chapter.  It wasn't at all unexpected as I knew this was the natural progression after they'd asked me to be vice prez last year.  And really, not a whole lot is changing due to the fact that our outgoing President ended up having to miss several meetings this past year, so I was obligated to jump in and run about half of the show.  So much for veeps having nothing much to do.

Before handing me all the presidential goods, the outgoing prez bestowed gifts upon all of her officers - a 6-pack of Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory truffles - to which one officer lamented, "Crap, I gave up chocolate for lent!"

Ha, I didn't.

This also isn't too daunting a task since I've served as a local chapter president before with my previous chapter.  Once someone joins P.E.O., she receives an official P.E.O. star emblem to wear to meetings.  Traditionally, once a member completes a term as chapter president, she receives this gavel guard that attaches to the emblem:

I remember when I first got that gavel guard.  It seemed like such an honor.  Now, I see it has another function - as when a member transfers to a different chapter, and she has a gavel guard, it tells everyone, "Hey, she's been a sucker before, bet she'll do it again!"

But really, it is nice to be asked... and here I am.

When I got home from the meeting, schlepping in all the presidential gear, Magnum greeted me with  Hail to the Chief wafting from his phone.  We then got into a discussion over whether "Chief" was a masculine or genderless term.  

We concluded "Chief" is genderless, FYI.  Nonetheless, no one will ever call me "Chief" at a P.E.O. meeting.  Hopefully.

Then I got a text from one of my sisters saying she found a yearbook (member booklet that has all this tip top secret stuff in it) after the meeting.  Was it mine?  I realized that it probably was.  Apparently I was so concerned about making sure I secured my chocolate truffle 6-pack, I totally neglected my yearbook. 

With that and the fact that it was another nice spring-like day, Magnum and I had a mission.  We summoned our bicycles and headed out to retrieve my top secret documents!*

So that was fun.  It lead us to a bicycle route we'd never taken before, and also made for a good ride of well suited distance.  Any excuse for an adventure, and my negligent behavior gave purpose to our ride.  

So far, after 24 hours in or so, my presidential reign, while not without mistakes, is going well.

*blog content regarding the mission may have been somewhat embellished.


Thursday, March 3, 2016

your legs are fine

I don't know about y'all, but I am glad to say good-bye to February.  I remember when we lived in upstate New York, and the winters would be soooooo long.  A friend who'd lived there all her life advised  me, "Just get through February".  It was a mildly helpful strategy.

Now, I don't like to whine, and I really don't like listening to other people whine (is that whining?), but I just want to give a quick rundown of the crap of this past February:

  • Dad died
  • We were buried under a bunch of snow for days
  • Magnum's best friend at work / carpool buddy got laid off
  • Wolfgang and the girlfriend, whom I like quite a bit, decided to split up
  • I know there was a 5th whine, but I can't think of it now, so that's probably a good thing

Anyway, Helloooooo March!  

And really, February wasn't all bad.  There were definite bright spots, but I am feeling glad about turning a page on the calendar.  The days are getting noticeably longer and warmer.  After our mild excursion during last Saturday's power outage, Magnum and I did a more rugged hike on Sunday. 

We went to an area that is popular among the locals, but in all our 12 years here, we'd yet to check it out (losers!).  It has the creative name of "Section 16", which to me sounds like some sort of extraterrestrial alien research center.  

But it's a beautiful place to hike, don't know what took us so long to get out there.  As we were slogging through some particularly rugged parts, we were commenting on how difficult it would be to mountain bike there.  No sooner did we start commenting, than crazy people on mountain bikes started going by now and then.  We noted that they were all quite young and resilient/crazy...  

So here's a fat photo from the hike for a little I-spy.  See the tiny people on the big rock?

We eventually made it over to the big rocks too, which weren't as scary as they looked from the I-spy point.  In fact, someone had put a geocache in the area that we managed to add to our collection.

By then the wind had started kicking up, and so to avoid being blown off the big rocks, we made our way back down the trail.  There were several others out enjoying the day as well.  We passed one family of what I assume were Mom, Dad, and daughter of about 4 years old.

Daughter:  m' legs!
Mom:  Your legs are fine
Daughter:  m' legs!
Mom:  Your legs are fine
Daughter:  m' legs!


Magnum did a bit of an ankle twist near the big rocks - his own version of "m' legs!", and I totally ignored it in my version of "Your legs are fine (and I sure as heck am not carrying you off this mountiain!)"

All in all, a good time, and with that, we made it through February.