Thursday, September 29, 2016

floating through high school

It's Homecoming season for area high schools.  Remember Homecoming?

The pageantry?  The athleticism?  The school spirit?  All that teen drama?

I vaguely remember.  It's been a while...

But I do remember the floats.  Our school always had a Homecoming parade on the Friday afternoon of the big game.  Each class would throw together a cheesy float based on the year's Homecoming theme, and we competed for 1st through 4th place.  I don't remember there being any particular "prize" other than the pride of winning.  Yes, a week o' fun with chicken wire, paint, and lots of kleenex!

So, join me on this little march down memory lane, won't you?

For future reference, our school mascot was the "Mighty Miners" (coal mining town, what can we say?).  Okay, so my freshman year, the theme was the uninspired "Year of the Miner".

Yeah, not a whole lot to work with there, but we created this lovely entry featuring a big ol' football helmet and goalposts on the field (ignore Mike sitting in the endzone.  He wasn't there for the crucial parade and judging)

My apologies for the black and white photo, but that's what yearbook photos looked like way back then.  Toldya I'm old.

Anyway, darned if we didn't win first prize!  Yeah, go stupid freshmen!  

For my sophomore year, the theme was "Miner Magic", which was a little better theme than the previous year, but we ended up with this sorry looking thing.

So it's like a fairy godmother thing?  Maybe?  Hard to see, but she has a magic wand and she's turning a coal bin (miners remember?) into a bin of gold.  Supposedly.  Third place.  ppfffftt.

Junior year, things picked up a little.  That year the theme was "Miner Fantasy" ooooooh.  Not a big jump from "Miner Magic" maybe, but we were determined to redeem ourselves from the creepy mannequin lady thing.  We created this awesome castle, complete with ivy vines and opening/closing drawbridge smashing a tiger (that year's opponent)

Note also that we moved into the super modern world of color photography that year.  We were robbed as the judges took pity on the seniors and gave them first place while we got second.  Fine.

So, my senior year, I felt that all the stars were aligned.  We had a super duper football team and my class ruled the school.  Surely, our float would win top prize for the theme "Miner Extra-Terrestrial".  Hey, I don't come up with the themes, I just go with 'em...

We had this great idea to make a flying saucer, complete with tractor beam, coming in for a landing on the football field.  It would bring back our glory days as 1st place freshman float makers with the field and goal posts! It would be flashy!  It would be inspiring!  It would be Extra Terrestrial!!

...or it would end up looking like a blueberry muffin.  

Okay, in all honesty, I admit that it became forever known as "The Big Blue Boob".

Yes, our last year of high school, we took last place in the Homecoming float competition. Could've used a bit more chicken wire maybe?  On paper, we figured we'd have first place in the bag. Turns out we were mistaken.

Linking up with MamaKat again for this week's prompt:

5. Write a blog post inspired by the word: mistaken.


Sunday, September 25, 2016

guilt prizes and wave riding

Greetings and Happy Fall!  Remember to flip that mattress!

My P.E.O. chapter had our 3rd annual Oktoberfest shindig yesterday.  Not a great turnout, but we took in a good amount of cash, and those of us who were there had a good time together.  Like one sis said,

"You party for the ones who are there".

Works for me!

In fact, we were having such a nice time, I didn't get any pictures like I intended to.  However, I did get lucky enough to win one of the door prizes.  A Pampered Chef pitcher!  So here's a picture of my pitcher

In all honesty, I'm feeling a little guilty that I won it.  See, one sis, "Lil", had to leave early because she's a labor and delivery nurse, and she had to go labor and deliver.  So I took the seat she had just vacated to eat my brat and saurekraut.  

When the door prize was announced, my ticket was not a winner, but I noticed the one that Lil had left behind was the winner and I raised my hand in victory.  So now I have a guilt pitcher.

In other wins, my balance troubles (are you as sick of hearing about it as I'm sick of having it?) are improving.  I saw a vestibular rehabilitation therapist this week who, literally, is getting me on the straight and narrow.  We're pretty sure it's sinus pressure from my allergies messing with one of my ears.  

So now I'm taking Sudafed.  Did you know that, although Sudafed doesn't require a prescription, you have to get it from a pharmacist so they can take down your personal information, and you can promise that you won't use it to cook meth?  I can just see all the meth cooks out there...

"Well, since I promised that pharmacist, guess I won't do it now..."

In the meantime, the therapist gave me some stabilizing exercises as well as some ways of coping with the waves I'm riding.  They're working.  Yay.

So a good start to fall!  Death to &%#*<+  Ragweed!


Friday, September 23, 2016

I need you to need me

I was around 15 years old, going somewhere in the car with my mom.  She asked me,
"What do you think you want to be when you grow up?"

Of course I'd been asked that before.  Seems like from first grade on, we had to write a paper every school year to answer just that question.  I'd never had any clear cut ideas, anything I KNEW I was destined for.  But I always remember that I wanted to do something useful.  Does that count as a thing?

And by that time of her question, I wasn't in elementary school anymore where we'd write about three sentences and then draw a picture of our career of choice.

I remember thinking that I should probably give my mom an answer.  To ease her mind that I wouldn't be a spinster living at home forever.  I told her I thought maybe I'd like to be an architect, maybe...

I detected a sense of relief from her.  Apparently I'd given a favorable response, unlike say, "barmaid", "snake charmer", "pole dancer"...

In fact, it seemed like I was better at knowing what I didn't want to be.  That seemed like a shorter list.  For example, I wouldn't want to work in sales.  Trying to reach quotas every month, trying to always "get to 'yes'", travelling all over to meet with clients.  Not my cup of tea.  The competition, the schmoozing, the somewhat conniving connotations

So I went to engineering school which I actually enjoyed except for the lack of a social life and the first few days of classes and...

But even that business calmed down after a while.  And in case anybody's wondering what it's like to be one of five girls in a classroom with 95 guys, it's not as good as it sounds.  But it does make it more likely to be picked for a photo to accompany a magazine article on your somewhat well-known professor.  And you will be paid a very handsome sum of one black and white photo.

Eventually, though, after a few group projects and such, the engineering guys learn that the engineering girls are just people.  Plus, they learn that the typical engineering girl doesn't really have time to spend on hair and makeup, nor does she want to.  The business school was the next one over.  Those girls spent more time on their appearance and would probably be good at sales.

At that point, it's safe for an engineering girl to agree to marry one of the engineering guys.  *ahem*.  We understand each other.

So I went to work and was useful, and it was good.  I liked my job.  I liked my coworkers. I liked my paycheck.  Mom was happy.

But then babies started to arrive...

and I realized I'd be more useful taking care of them.  So I did...

Now, they're all big and independent.  So it's time to grow up and be useful again.


Linking up with MamaKat this week for the prompt:
2. Something you wanted to be when you grew up


Sunday, September 18, 2016

the hills are alive

... with bugs and reptiles and weeds and stuff.

I've been having these balance troubles for the past couple of weeks, but I have noticed some slight improvements - either from the exercises or the antihistamines or a combination of both.  I'd say my equilibrium skills have improved to about a grade of C from the D- I had a week ago.  Hopefully this week, I'll get them back up to an A.

In the meantime, I was going a little bonkers from having to limit my activities in the outside world.  Yesterday was a nice day and was beckoning.  I gently mentioned to Magnum,


Meego was at an all-day marching band clinic, so the two of us decided to go for a relatively easy hike in Pulpit Rock Open Space with hopes of logging a few geocaches.  Good idea!

We've hiked in this area before, but the geocaching took us to some places we've never been.  I didn't even know this chimney remnant from an old hermit house was back there.  This is where we found the aptly named "Santa Missed his Mark"

Like that particular cache, the names of many geocaches hold clues.  As we looked for "Camo Tater", I was wondering, was it hidden in a potato patch?  Was it an actual potato?  Close.

Yup, I'd say that's a camo tater.

Another was in a beautiful spot in a tree near the edge of a cliff.  My phone gps told me to go another 16 feet forward.  I don't think my phone gps likes me very much.

See the cache?

See the cliff?

See our moniker in the log?

All in all, it was a nice couple of hours at about the limit of my staying upright, and the weather held up nicely for us too.  Now to just get off this boat!


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

oy vey and "oooooooh!" day

This morning was sort of an "oy vey" morning, and I'm not even Jewish, so allow me to vent a little.  Now, y'all know I'm prez of my local little P.E.O. chapter.  It's not bad duty, not at all.  In fact, I rather enjoy it.  At our upcoming meeting next week,we're planning to initiate a new member, which makes it a bit special.  I'll try to explain my oy vey-ness without (a) giving away any secrets of the 'hood or (b) being absolutely boring.

For an initiation, there are certain roles that each officer has.  Last week, alas, our "guard" informed me that, "SHOOT!  I forgot I'm gonna be out of town that week!"

Okay,  no biggie, just get someone to fill in.

Well, she didn't.  She just left me holding the empty bag.  Fine, I'll find someone.  One by one, each person I asked either said "no", including a load of excuses, or didn't reply until after I'd given  up on them and asked someone else.  I had my webcam up for skyping, and it got to be where I was opening my e-mail like this:

I understand that some people aren't comfortable getting in front of a group and such, but it's just US!  Oh well, I finally went to one of the "Go To" girls, Ruby*

While I awaited her response, I was feeling grumpy in part because of (1) this guard business, and (2) the fact that I'm still a bit of a stumbling drunkard with zero blood alcohol content.  Stupidly, I went over to fa(ebook.

Now, I'm not stupid enough to get into any of the political discussions, but there's this one guy I've seen on there before.  Maybe others are familiar with him - he does these "tricks" where he has you manipulate numbers and dates and stuff, and then he guesses your original thought?  Seen him?

His "tricks" are so lame and so figure-outable, and there was another of his videos that one of my friends had liked and shared because he got their thing correct.  *SIGH*  On a side note, we all know here that "liking" a video on facebook does not "lock in your answer!", right?!

Remember that I'm a tutor and a bit of a nerd.  I watched the video, and the many comments got me down.  "OMG, you're amazing!"... "How do you KNOW these things?!?" ... "OMG, that's my number!  Spooky!!".
Oh, Jiminy Cricket.

It made me grumpy.  Thinking about how poorly the U.S. has consistently been in math in recent years.  I know right?!  Why should I care so much!?  After all, it's job security!

So I actually left a comment, and I never comment on such things, particularly not haterish comments.  I pointed out that the "trick" was based on something we all learn (supposedly) in grade school.  I even included this snarky little sticker.  

So at that point, I knew I'd gone over the edge.  It was time to turn that frown upside down.  Thank goodness Wolfgang talked us into that gym membership, because I went to the gym to ride their bikes that go nowhere.  It proved to be good therapy, plus no one mistook me for a drunk person... at least not out loud.

Eventually, I got a reply from Ruby:

Ruby:  I've never done guard at initiation before...
Me:  Oh crapola, here we go again...
Ruby: ...but I'm willing to give it a try...
Me:  YES!! RU-BEE!  RU-BEE!  RU-BEE!  *ahem* Suffice to say, Ruby took a load off.

Then, I just happened to catch Britney Spears' latest video for that orgasm song, because I actually happen to like the tune.  Webcam still up...

She claims that the video "features lots of female empowerment".

Well, doesn't it now.  Little somethin' for everybody, that one.

*Name changed to protect the innocent

Sunday, September 11, 2016

silver liningness and a throwback

I'm still muddling around a bit drunkenly, so I thought I'd take a break from whining about it to reflect on good things this week.  I think there's been slight improvement in the fight against the off-balance wars, more than just wishful thinking.  Patience is not typically one of my strengths.

For one thing, I've gotten quite a bit done around the house since I've been a bit grounded.  Just some general tidying and clean up of the house and yard.  Put more stuff into the donation pile and even sold some stuff on craigslist.

I sold a big pile of Legos that no one has used in years.  I saw some other ads with people asking $100 or more for a similar pile, but their ads had been sitting for over a month.  Other ads were more reasonable, so I priced ours accordingly.

I got five emails in about 5 minutes and thought, "Oh sh*t, maybe I should've asked a little more!"  Thankfully the emails calmed down.  The guy who bought them came to get them about an hour after I'd placed the ad, so I was able to take the ad down quickly before it generated any more interest.

He was so nice and appreciative, and told me they would be shared among eight cousins, aged 5 thru 11.  He even texted me later to say thanks again and that he'd sent the kids pictures and they were all so excited.  I told him that I just wanted them to go to kids who would enjoy them as much as ours did.  I think I got a bingo.

Recall that we went to look at the balloons for the Labor Day Liftoff on Monday.  It was actually Meego's idea.  During marching band season, we don't see a whole lot of him, so it was nice that he suggested something for Labor Day.

I reminded him that when we lived in Utah, the Ogden Valley Balloon Festival was practically in our backyard, and we would traipse on over there every year.  In many ways, I thought that was a nicer event because there were craft vendors (the ones here were mostly just food vendors) and a car show in addition to all the bloonz.

But alas, Meego said, although he's aware of it mainly from people talking about it, he didn't really remember much.

I knew we were there, after all, I had plenty of memories.

I found some old photos.  Yup, I'd say it was a little before Meego was socking things away into the memory banks.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

not dancing and no stars

I went to see my doctor today.  I was reluctant to call the office because, last year during my "well woman" check, she prescribed a colonoscopy and the annual mammogram.  Neither of which I've scheduled...

So, I was thinking, "I'm gonna get in trouble!".  Turns out, she wasn't in today, so they scheduled me to see one of the other docs in the office.  Win!

Anyway, I've been having balance troubles - BBPV.  Actually, I've had this for about the last 25 years, so not new.  It comes and goes, and thankfully, it's gone a lot longer than it's here.  It's sort of like being drunk without the giddiness and loss of responsible inhibition - thank goodness!  I'm guessing it's related to my seasonal allergies, in my totally uneducated diagnosis.

Some people are affected a lot worse than I am - nausea and associated gross "activity".  Mine is more of a big glass of wine, not the whole bottle.

But it does make ordinary things like riding my bike or running or taking the geriatric pooch for a walk around the block quite a challenge, so waaaaah.

The doctor gave me some exercises to do, which hadn't been offered the last time I sought professional opinion - about 25 years ago.  I've started doing them and they WILL work, dammit!  And with this down time, maybe I should schedule that colonoscopy already.


On the bright side, brother Guano (remember him?) and I had a nice little visit.  His two sons, two of my awesome nephews, go to school nearby.  Plus, he's got other relatives in the area too.  It's always nice to get together and catch up, even though his time is typically spread pretty thin when he's in town.  If we were more organized, maybe we'd actually get more of the family members together!  Something to work on...

Anyway, Guano says "hi".  His new computer doesn't allow him to make comments on here anymore.  I blame Steve Jobs.

Monday, September 5, 2016


Happy Labor Day, Americans!  Happy Monday, everybody else!

Today, we celebrate the hard workin' people by not working.  For the last two Labor Days, I'd volunteered for the American Discovery Trail Marathon, but this year decided to... not.  I wasn't sure of my schedule for this year, and it turned out I could've volunteered, but no biggie.  I'm sure they went ahead with the event without Meego and me.

So in lieu of all that excitement, we still got up early and headed down for the Labor Day Lift Off:  A buncha hot air balloons.


It was a very nice morning for it, so us slobs who weren't running or working a marathon stood around and looked at balloons.  Here are some of our photos in no particular order

Okay, so I'm still learning to remember where the camera lens is on my phone.  Sheesh, my photos look like the ones my grandma used to take!

These bee balloons - I was worried they were stalking me, but they seemed friendly enough.

... a rare pic where Meego agreed to face the camera.

Have to include the Colorado Springs "Olympic City" balloon as proper blog propoganda.

So a nice way to spend the morning before it all rolls up and summer is declared over.  It was a  nice summer, now onto the next thing.

Doing anything fun today?

Saturday, September 3, 2016

effing arachnids and cutesy video

Looks like I've been a neglectful blogger this week.  I'll blame the effing spiders!  That and maybe there just wasn't a whole lot of excitement around here...

As far as effing spiders go, I woke one morning and as the day progressed, I noticed itchy welts forming.  Four of them in total.  I concluded they were spider bites.  I'm not sure if one big spider bit me four times, four spiders each bit me once, or some combination in between.  I'd rather not think about it.

Two were on my inner right thigh, one was a bit below and to the right of my belly button, and the fourth one was an outlier on the back of my right shoulder.  I'm glad to say that the worst is behind me, and that it wasn't quite as bad as the summer of the bees, but memorable nonetheless.

Apparently, they weren't poisonous bites or I could possible be near death by now.  But they itched and got all swoll up, and I felt a bit deformed for a couple of days.  The one beneath the belly button caused the most freakish deformity - from the swelling and gravity, I assume, I was left rather asymmetric if y'know what I'm sayin'...

Thankfully, that's behind me, and I never saw nor felt the culprit(s), but clearly this is in retaliation for the spider spraying I do during the summer.  I don't kill them, I just blast the spiders and their webbery from the front porch and door.  On the one hand, I look at all the little morsels they've caught in their webs and am grateful that those things didn't make it into the house, but on the other, it makes the front door quite creepy and unwelcoming.

So I blast them away, and for a little while, we appear friendly.  Soon, they're back and rebuilding the webs and, apparently, infusing me with vengeful venom.  I keep hoping for super hero powers to come of this, but so far, I got nuthin.

In other news, it was bike jam day at the university this week to kick off another year of Pedal Perks.  I didn't get any freebies or participate in any contests, but I was there for the "campus cruise".  It's just a slow pack ride through campus for anyone who wants to go along, which effectively ties up any car traffic that happens to regretfully cross its path.  How could I not play along with that?

Last year, a couple of brave souls rode on the back of a small, unstable, no-handles towed trailer to shoot video footage of the campus cruise.  The result was this cute little feel-good production.  If you're observant, you might spot me in red and Alice as her typical photogenic self:

UCCS Bike Jam Fall 2015 from Rich Moricz on Vimeo.