Tuesday, July 30, 2019

bear bells and Tiffany

It is with sore back muscles that I sit here typing, working at getting the best angle to view the computer screen with my transition bifocals.  Yeesh, when did I get so old?

But my new bicycle arrived last Wednesday, and we managed to get out to play over the weekend - old folks or not.  The weather and trails were nicely accommodating.

her name is Lily

It's been fun and a reminder of what a noob I am at mountain biking.  When I justified the acquisition of a new bicycle to Magnum, he was so sold on the idea that he got one too.  So there we were in the woods, working on our skills.  As expected, mountain biking is like math.  You don't learn it by watching someone else do it.

Now to shift to some sobering news, a friend of mine had a bad reaction to some medication.  Long story short, she's been in a coma for over a week.

Tiffany is about 40 years old and energetic, smart, charitable, and adventurous.  She's a science teacher at a local high school.  It was Tiffany who talked me into being a (mostly... sometimes...) vegetarian.  She recently hiked many miles over several days to some ancient ruins - "NOT Machu Picchu.  You can ride a BUS to Machu Picchu!" - in Peru.

It's hard for me to picture her in her current state as she is typically smiling and bustling with energy and ideas.

But she does seem to be making slow progress, so there's that.

Friday, July 26, 2019

roses are red, violets are blue, I am not a...

One afternoon last week, I walked by my bedroom and noticed Meego zonked out in there.  A while later he emerged, freshly napped.

"Your futon is SO comfortable!", he revelationed, "I went in there to pet the cat, and next I knew..."

Reference image:  cat

No, that's not an action shot.  Napolion was perfectly still in this position for me to take his photo.

Might the cat have converted Meego into a believer?  A believer in the mighty futon?

Recall that I ended up sleeping on our living room fold-out futon back in March when Magnum came down with a Chewbacca-snore-inducing cold.  It was there that I realized how darn comfortable that futon was to sleep on.  Within a week, I think, we'd chucked out the old queen mattress and box spring and replaced it with a Japanese futon.

Of course, our kids teased us for "sleeping on the floor".  Hey, don't knock it 'til you've tried it!

So yes, we're still loving the futon and have no plans to go back to the old ways.  I sleep better and the joints, back, and neck feel fine in the morning.  Probably the biggest thing to get used to is that, yes, it is like "sleeping on the floor", so getting up in the morning is basically getting up off the floor.  I count it as yoga.

Now Meego is seriously considering getting one for the rental house he and three friends are moving into shortly.

But I am not a weeaboo.  For those unfamiliar with the term...

No, I am not a weeabo.

I just like their furniture... and their tea... and their cooking utensils... and their sushi... and their cars... and their electronics...

Monday, July 22, 2019

turkey stalking, relationship goals, and welcome to delicious

"Don't mind me", I was saying telepathically to the large buck eating foliage next to the running path.  He looked right at me, pondering if I was worth worrying about and goring with his impressive rack, and thankfully, he decided I was not.  

We have our fair share of wildlife in the neighborhood.  In addition to the occasional deer and various members of the rodentia family, included are birds of prey, coyotes, and lots and lots of bunnies.  No turkeys, though... until last Friday.

Meego came home from work and reported, "There's a wild turkey walkin' around outside".  I had to see for myself, and he was right.  What the...?  We followed her down the street.  She was quite shy and avoided us.  I snapped a grainy shot of her back before she disappeared into someone's backyard.  No idea what became of her.

We're trying to establish "play dates" with our dogs and Chaco's dog, Ella.  Chaco adopted Ella about a year ago, she's a very cool Australian Cattle Dog - smart, alert, strong, loyal...  She is a bit socially awkward, though.  Chaco rescued her from a shelter, and we think she was a stray for a while, living on her own by her wits.  She can be overly cautious and takes a while to warm up to other dogs.  

So we've spent a little time breaking her in with Merlin and Penny, her "cousins".  She and Merlin are friends, but Penny's going to be the critical path.  Penny can be a bit of a b*tch, and Ella ain't got  no time for that. 
Merlin's pretty easy going, though. He really wants to be friends with Napolion, the cat.  Napolion's still deciding if he's going to expand his circle of friends.

And speaking of Equifax (not that we were) and Chaco.  I got an article in my email recently.  The headline was something like, "Is There Such a Thing as Ethical Hacking?"

Well, of course there is!  Look, I dunno squat about how to hack a computer, but be thankful there are those who do, and do it for good reasons.  They hack into systems to alert owners of flaws in security.  Chaco's been hacking since high school (before?  maybe, I dunno), and I'm all, "as long as you use it for good, not evil".  

He and his coworker, K, took yet another first prize at a local hacking competition and got a shout out on twitter.  Tweet out?  

That's K, wearing the hat and backpack, while Chaco's holding the "golden keyboard" a.k.a. trophy.  

And team "Culver's", because that's what they'd brought for lunch.  Welcome to delicious.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

so left but she's right though

Well, I ordered that bike.  That bike I mentioned thinking about getting on my last post?  My last post that was nearly a week ago?  Dang, time flies when I neglect the blog

I'm sure the masses that read here were kept in suspense, unable to think of anything other than if I would get that bike or not.  So there ya go, yes, I did order it. 

It's a mountain bike.  I've been true mountain biking twice in my life.  We rented awesome bikes and hit the woods.  It was great fun, and we vowed to do it more.  So yeah, we've been a grand total of two times.

Sure, we meant to go more, and thought about it a couple of weeks ago, but alas.  The rental shop was fresh out.  Then there's the time limitations - the "must pick up by" and "must return by", and I said, "wouldn't life be nice if I just had my own sitting in the garage, ready to go?"

I went to my fave local bike shop to try some out, but nah.  None were quite right, and if I was going to commit, I wanted all my specs.  With help from the young salesman, I found the bike.  I could have it by... OCTOBER?!

I slept on it over the weekend, went back on Monday to order it, resigned to waiting three months.  The girl who helped me out pulled it up on the computer and said, "Uh, well, looks like it will be about a week, week and a half.  That okay?"  Apparently more of MY bike had become available?

So I was pleasantly surprised and said,

I plopped over the down payment, and now I wait.  I'm counting this as a win.

I'm still a total noob when it comes to mountain biking, and have been watching a few inspiring tutorial videos.  In the meantime, Meego's been checking out some local trails, and I asked him to find some good recommendations for noobs.

He came home a couple of nights ago and shared the aftermath of a crash.

He ended up going over the handlebars and somehow ripping a hole in the center of his t-shirt, leaving a hot pink abrasion underneath.

Okay, now I know one place NOT to go.

Linking up this week with Mama Kat for the prompt:
5. Write about the last thing you won.

Friday, July 12, 2019

when I grow up, I wanna be just like me

What were you doing ten years ago?  Where were you in life?  Were you happy?  What had you accomplished?  What were you looking forward to?

What do you remember from that time up until now?  Any regrets?

I just finished reading the novel, What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty.  It's the story of a woman, Alice (duh), who hits her head, goes unconscious, and when she wakes up, she's forgotten the entirety of the past 10 years and thinks she's who/where/when she was 10 years prior.

The plot seemed interesting and introspective.  She's told that she's actually 39 years old with three kids and going through a divorce rather than 29 years old, expecting her first child, and still gah gah over her husband.

She doesn't remember any of it.  Kids??  Divorce??  What would she discover?  What would she learn from the whole thing?  It seemed like a good book for readers to gain insight into themselves. Take us along, Alice!

I actually found it to be a pretty lackluster story - very "chick lit" and light with soccer momish characters.  Plus, I'm the type that is really bothered when story elements don't reflect true life.  For example, there's Alice in her 10 year time warp.  She doesn't remember ANYthing, yet the hospital just sends her on home, no follow up, no nothing.  She's separated from her husband, and they're working out child custody.  Husband and other family members know full well that Alice has just suffered a brain injury, doesn't know her kids, and has no memory of being a mom.  Yet they leave her alone to take care of her alien children - including drive them around in a big SUV - fresh off her TBI.  Every once in a while, someone asks, "memory back yet?"

I gave it 2.5 out of 5 stars - somewhere between "it was okay" and "I liked it".  It was okay and I liked it mainly because I wanted to follow along as Alice's last 10 years got pieced together.  Why did she seemingly hate her husband?  Why was she all fit and stylish compared to when she was 29?  Why won't anyone just sum these things up for her?

Well, I dunno why because it's not like there was some big sensitive revelation that couldn't just be summed up.  But that would've made for a pretty short book.

So, two stars and I added a half-star because I still liked the premise and the questions it invites.

Ten years ago, I was an elementary school volunteer mom, serving on the PTO.  I had just gotten into tutoring and teaching, working for a test prep company - a sidebar I thought would be quite temporary :P.

Meego was entering 4th grade, Wolfgang was just about to start high school, and Chaco had just finished "stupid freshman" year of high school.  I was pretty much in the thick of momhood.

Magnum still worked at the same company and we lived in the same house we live in today.  The house had a lot more stuff in it back then, though.

Now?  Everyone's an adult and the nest is practically empty.  Time to be me again.  But... who am I?

Sometimes, it does feel a bit like I bumped my head and woke up here.   I think I'm figuring it out little by little.  Although our roles in life change during our various "seasons", we're still ourselves at our cores.

On that note, I've been preoccupied today with sort of maybe trying to talk myself out of buying an appealing bicycle. It seems so ME at a pretty perfect time.  But do I really need another bicycle?

What will I decide?  Will I regret buying/ not buying it?

Ask me in 10 years.

Linking up this week with Mama Kat for the prompt:
2. Book review!

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

I bequeath my collection of paper clips and staples to...

Onward to the documents!  *yeesh*

You know I'm a declutterer, a tidier, a Kondophile.  I've been sorta when I'm not too lazy, more or less meticulously clearing out clutter for the past several months. I'm not alone when I say that one of the worst tidying jobs is going through documents.

I'm very grateful for the digital age, but we have leftover piles from the paper age - user manuals, financial investment information, medical records, billing receipts, educational transcripts and certifications...  I'd actually gone through quite a bit of that stuff, and in so doing, I unearthed our trust documents, a.k.a. our "death" documents.

It's not like we have much of an "estate", but it's a good idea to get such ducks in a row.  Of course, after paying the attorneys, there's even less of an "estate" to line up...  But, there it was, in all of it's heavy bound up glory, taking up pages and pages of legalese.  Not to mention, it's laden with all kinds of identity thief treasure.

All of it exists in "the cloud", and a small pocket in front of one of the heavy dusty binders contained a tiny usb drive, which also contains everything.  All that pretty paper and toner was not sparking any joy.  No, Marie, it was not.

It was time for the paper purge.  We have a document shredder, but this job calls for industrial strength.  I found a place nearby that will shred documents for a dollar/pound.  I figured I'd scoot up there on my trusty bicycle.  Here's the pile next to my cycling backpack, and the pooches are volunteering to just eat all of it.

If I don't survive the haul, remind Magnum and the kids about the cute little usb drive.  

Do you save paperwork?  What papers do you find difficult to throw out?

Thursday, July 4, 2019

with all due respect to the queen...

Happy Independence Day, America 😊

I don't have an actual count of days, but 4th of July marks the mid-point of summer in my mind.  And here we are already!  We're burning through summer (not literally this year, thankfully)!

I didn't really set any goals or specific plans for summer, but I suppose there's still some time.  I tried to think up some summer goals to put in writing in no particular order:

Keep on a-tidying
I've mentioned my recent tidying efforts and how we're looking to downsize now that our nest is emptying.  That's been going well.  I even, to my surprise, managed to sell a pair of next-to-new running shoes on craigslist today.

I prefer rather minimal, zero-drop shoes for running, but thought I'd see how the other half lives and bought these Hokas to rotate in as I've heard such rave reviews.  I wore them once and realized I don't belong with the other half.  All that dang "support" - so uncomfy!

Some may recall that I tried to sell another pair of barely-worn running shoes on craigslist once.  The only response I got was from a foot fetishist, ick.

But this time, a friendly non-foot-fetish woman contacted me. She was so appreciative, and the shoes fit her perfectly.  Win-win.

And speaking of feet...

Walk/ Train the dogs
I'm trying to make it a point to walk our dogs and work on their leash skills on a regular basis.  They've been making good progress, but are both young and energetic and tend to pull and go wherever their noses take them.  I mean, look at what handfuls they are!

And speaking of training...

Keep the tutin' skills sharp
Not surprisingly, tutoring requests drop off in the summer months, which I'm happy of.  Thankfully, they don't drop to zero as many rising high school seniors (who don't bribe and lie their way into college) tend to use summer break to prep for SATs and ACTs - my biggest gig.  I have a handful of very pleasant kids I'm working with now.  The test makers update their prep materials every couple of years, and the SAT peeps just released new stuff.  I've got this lovely new edition of tests to geek out on.

And speaking of geeking out...

Use the apps

The app that I used for years to track my bicycling miles announced that it's getting rid of a key feature.  In protest, I removed them and downloaded a new appSo there I was, in the new app, with a big fat zero for miles logged.  Gotta get rolling, and get rid of that goose egg.

And speaking of joy riding...

Spend time with fam
With everyone having the day off, we - Magnum, Meego, and I - indulged in a delightful joy ride today (as recorded in the app image above - no more goose egg).  Rode downtown to a nice shady park where we hung out for a bit and did some people-watching before heading home, grabbing lunch on the way.  Here's an action shot:

The "action" being checking the map to decide on a place for lunch.  And if wanting to tease Magnum about his white socks, go ahead.  He's already heard it from me.

Linking up this week with Mama Kat for the prompt:
1. Do you have any summer goals? Write about them!

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

I could be lonely with you

How I've spent my summer vacation?  Well, nothing too eventful as of yet.  It seems that lately, my main adventures have been watching other people's dogs while the dog people are out having their adventures.  Dogs get lonely during such times, so I'm trying to be a sufficient substitute human for them.  A sub-human?

A couple of weeks ago, Chaco was out of town at a conference, so I watched his and his ex's (that's another story) dogs:  Ella the Australian Cattle Dog and Burton the big Samoyed Husky mix. 

Here I am, working with Ella and Burton.

Magnum's sister and her husband took a trip to visit husband's parents.  Meego is house / dog sitting for them, but he works full-time during the week, so I'm providing backfill for him in helping with SIL's English Pointer, Kingston.

Here I am, working with Kingston

Whew!  Exhausting duty, I tellya.