Friday, August 30, 2019

some fairytale bliss

A couple of years ago, I got an urgent email from my friend, Cynthia.  She had been kidnapped by Philippine rebels and needed cash for her release.  Naturally, I replied,

"Sorry, Cynthia.  A little tight this month.  Maybe next kidnapping"

Yeah, her email was hacked.  She was safe and sound at her office downtown.  These scammers.  We hear about them preying on the elderly.  I'm offended they prey on me as often as they do. 

So when I got this message on facebook messenger this week, I was skeptical.

Who is this "Andie"?  Why doesn't she mention "my son" by name?  Better yet, why is she contacting me and not "my son"?

I checked her profile.  Sure, she looks sweet and innocent, but we have no mutual friends.  It's all a ruse!

Her profile showed she lived in the same town where Meego goes to school.  Wolfgang also lives there. Maybe that was all part of the ruse?  I was about to blow the whole thing off, but sent a quick text to both Meego and Wolfgang, just to see if either one happened to be missing a wallet.

Lo and behold, Meego was looking for his wallet.  Wolfgang also texted back saying the mysterious Andie had contacted him too, saying she'd found Meego's wallet.  Wolfgang was texting with Andie to get the wallet to Meego.  The mystery remained, however.  How had she found us without finding Meego?

Long story short, she and a friend met Meego and a friend (good to have backup, on both ends...) on campus, he got the wallet back and said, "they were really nice".  My faith in humanity is restored.

She said she found me on facebook and Wolfgang on Instagram but Meego didn't show up in her social media search.  I'm still wondering how she knew we were all related.  Our last name is not an uncommon one. 

Maybe she's in cahoots with Philippine rebels?

Now, onto the 3-day weekend.  We made it an impromptu 4-day weekend.  I purposely didn't schedule any tutees today.  Magnum learned this and decided to take the day off too.  We played outside some:  an early ride with the mountain bikes

followed by a nature hike in some different boonies.

Look, nature!

Yeah, we're walkin' into the long weekend like...

We cut our hike a bit short because weather people said "severe storms after 2pm".  It's 5 o'clock and still beautiful outside.  Not complaining.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

boy jobs and girl jobs

I had a 6-month teeth cleaning and check-up yesterday.  I know everyone who just read that is wholly engaged now. 

So yes, a routine thing.  It so happens, though, that my dental hygienist is a man. 

Our dental office has three hygienists that I know of, and the other two are women.  I had been going to one of the women, but at some point, I needed to reschedule, and was scheduled with - let's call him - "Guy", who was new to the office.  I remember the scheduler asking me, "Are you okay that the hygienist is a man?"

"Uhm, yeah, sure", I replied.  But I guess it might be uncomfortable for some who are accustomed to a female hygienist.  Why should it matter?  Yes, it is a somewhat intimate procedure, I suppose.  It's not a profession that ever appealed to me.

And Guy is good at what he does.  He's also quite personable, which can be annoying in a dental situation.  In fact, everyone in the office, dentists included (there are 3 of those too), is quite friendly.  It's annoying because they're making interesting conversation while sticking instruments in my mouth.  Guy was talking about the local housing market after I'd told him we were clearing out our house and thinking of downsizing.  All I could respond with was, "aaaugh hhnnn" and "hckk kknng" and the like. 

He noticed the little "zit" I have on my gum at the site of my recent apicoectomy, or retrograde root canal I had back in March.  Then the (female) dentist came in, had a look, and diagnosed an infection and prescribed me some antibiotics.  Yuck.  I have a follow-up with the oral surgeon soon, so I can ask, "Dude, what's this?"

< This is not a picture of  MY gum zit, but close enough...

I had googled the zit thing when it first showed up.  As usual, when googling for medical answers, I learned that my gum zit was a normal part of the healing process or something that would kill me any day now. 

Also curious about the dental profession, I did a bit of googling there, and learned that female dentists account for about one third of dentists while male hygienists account for a little less than three percent of hygienists.  Guy is in a relatively small group.

Do you care what gender your dental hygienist is?  Do you have a gender preference when selecting a doctor or dentist?  

Sunday, August 25, 2019

broken bones and bon appétit?

On Friday, I had to get my commuter bicycle from the shop and decided to ride the bus to pick it up and then ride the bicycle back home since there's a stop right at the bike shop.  I was waiting in the bus shelter when a middle-aged guy hobbled over and joined me.  He was wearing a back brace like what furniture-and-appliance movers wear.

"How's your day going?", he asked me in a somewhat slow drawl.

"Not too bad", I replied, "how 'bout you?"

"Well... my ribs are still broken", he said, explaining the back brace and lack of furniture and/or appliance.

Taking the bait, I asked him how he'd broken his ribs.  Without speaking, he pointed animatedly at my bicycle helmet in my lap.

He went on to say he'd gone over the handlebars of his mountain bike, told me a little about his bike (a nice one) and mountain biking in Moab, Utah.

As he was talking, though, his speech was rather slurred.  I wondered if he was mentally challenged, but that picture didn't actually line up with the high-end bike he described and adventure trips to go biking in Moab.

His bus pulled up,  and I said good-bye since I was waiting for the next one.  He stumbled/weaved/staggered his way to the bus, and it occurred to me that he was quite intoxicated.  Self medicating?

I plan to go shopping later today and get ingredients for some decent vegetarian dishes.  One does not live by PB&J alone.

I've been finding appealing recipes and pantry lists but have yet to cook anything.  Enough research already!

Tiffany's memorial service was yesterday.  As expected, there was quite a large turnout, and not a dry eye in the house.  But the service was very well done, I think Tiffany would be happy with it.

So I've lost my vegetarian mentor, but not the inspiration.

Friday, August 23, 2019


I somehow managed to have zero tutees today, so AAAaaaaah.  Not that I'm not grateful for the tutor students, but it's been a busy week, and I have neglected a few things, so I'm happy to have the clear schedule.  First SAT of the school year tomorrow.  Whoopee doo!

I did have some administrative things to do on the tutor site this morning, and when I checked in over there, I noticed an ugly 1-star review.  What? 

Like most online services, we tutors are subjected to starred reviews.  I've never gotten a 1-star.  I've never gotten less than a 4-star (knock on wood), so I was befuddled.  I'd met with the student on Wednesday, and all was good.

I went over the lesson in my mind.  Did I do something offensive?  Say something racist/ sexist/ ableist/ there-are-so-many-ists?

So I messaged her asking about her concerns and what I could do to make it right.  Thankfully, she responded right away, saying "Oh no!...".  Somehow her 5-star flipped to 1-star.  She was able to switch it back.  Still don't know what happened.  Hackers??

In other mistakes... My faithful yet underappreciated commuter bike is in Urgent Care.  Yup, I managed to wear her rear brake down to nuthin'.  I knew it was getting time to change the pads, but kept putting it off even though I ride Ariel nearly every day. 

It got so bad by yesterday, I put Ariel in the car and drove her to the shop that is usually a nice bike ride away, since I didn't want to ride her another foot without fixing the brake.  Too late, she needed new pads AND a new rotor. 

The service techs at this shop are great.  It's my favorite bike shop for many reasons, and this is one of them.  Jon assessed the damaged and promised her back to me by this morning.  I just need to go pick her up.  Here's the work order:

Yup.  "Status:  Urgent Care".  I'm a bad bike mom. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

feng shui and chocolate wine, oh my

On Sunday, I rearranged my workspace.  Oh boy!

Recall that we've been gradually moving our existence solely to the main floor of our house.  The primary functions of the lower level are laundry and my workspace for shopping amazon for things I don't need, wasting time on facebook and instagram and reddit and youtube, blogging, and online tutoring .  Meego also had a desk and computer downstairs for game central over the summer, but with him making his final move to the Lake House, it's back to me and the laundry.

I used to have my desk facing a window and wall with my back to the rest of the large room.  Now I'm oriented with my back to a wall while I'm facing the rest of the room.  SO much better!  Here's the view

I looked up feng shui workspace tips AFTER I did the rearranging, and I think I found out why I like this better.

Sitting position 
The best sitting position or chair position is against the wall. Feng Shui has the principle of sitting facing the ocean and leaning against the mountain. The ocean can be interpreted as a broad view, while the mountain is the wall. So, when you sit facing the wall, you may find some obstacles in your career. In contrast, when you sit against the wall, the wall can make you feel secure and can maintain your career stability.

I learned that the LEAST beneficial desk placements are

  • facing a wall
  • facing a window
  • with back to a door

AHA!  Dang, I was doing all three of those!
Okay, so my phone hasn't exactly been ringing off the hook with exciting and lucrative job offers, but I like the idea of facing the ocean while leaning against the mountain, nonetheless.

Over the weekend, I got together with some P.E.O. sisters to make some mementos for Tiffany's upcoming memorial service.  About 300 attendees are estimated, and Tiffany's cousin wanted to have some mementos to give.

She sent out an email to see if anyone wanted to help the assembly process - "we could have an appetizer potluck at my house and drink chocolate wine..."

Well, several of us were available and eager to help out.  The prospect of eat and drink didn't hurt either.

I'd never had nor heard of chocolate wine, but apparently it was a fave of Tiffany's.  Truthfully, it didn't sound very good, but I was pleasantly surprised.

I'd say it was like a good red wine with a just right amount of dark chocolate syrup.  Tasty!

Ever had chocolate wine?  Ever rearranged your surroundings using principles of feng shui?  What else have I been missing out on??

Saturday, August 17, 2019

civic duties and boonies

We made yet another trip to the Lake House yesterday.  This one as Meego's final move out/in.  Classes begin in a week.

A couple of weeks ago, Meego got his first jury summons in the mail - ooh, how exciting! (not).  He wasn't sure what to do as he'd never been called for jury duty before and he wasn't planning to still be living here on his assigned day.

I checked and saw that there's an easy online form to fill out for disqualification - one of which is if your address is in a different county from the jury summons.  Click that box - BAM.  Of course, it asks to be provided with the current address.

So, guess what was Meego's first piece of mail at the Lake House?  Yah, jury summons.  New county.

Boy, they don't waste time do they?  He might qualify for a student postponement, or he can just let it ride and hope that when he calls in, he doesn't have to show.

We enjoyed a bit of roaming around and surviving in the forest, far from civilization.  Here are the primitives:

Actually, no.  We checked out the Heritage Gardens and Arboretum on the campus of the university.  Lots of different trees from all over the world, so fun to see trees we don't normally see in Colorado... or anywhere.

For more nature fun, Magnum and I hit the mountain bike trails this morning.  The area was quite crowded as it was a beautiful day on a weekend, but it's a large enough park that we had plenty of moving room. 

I think my skills are improving little by little by very little.  

We'll be dreaming of this in February.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

weekends at the lake house and jumping

We've spent the last couple of weekends at The Lake House.  That's not nearly as fancy as it sounds.

The 'Lake House' is the title given to Meego-and-friends' rental college house.  It's a pretty typical college rental house on a street with a bunch of other typical college rental houses.  The street name happens to be Lake Street.

We loaded up a u-haul van on August 1 and u-hauled the bulk of Meego's possessions.  Two of his housemates are friends of his from high school attending the same university.  The 4th guy is a friend of one of the friend's dorm roommate.  They're pretty much moved in but not living there yet.  Like Meego, they have jobs and are finishing those up for the summer.  We went up again last weekend to put together a desk and mow the lawn.  Aah, home rentalship.

They've got it pretty well put together - lots of furniture they've managed to onload from others and a big honking brand new gas grill one guy's parents furnished.  The kitchens (there are two)  are  ridiculously well stocked with cooking utensils, serving ware, etc.  Not reminiscent at all of any of my college digs.

I'm sure they'll keep it nice and tidy 😏

And speaking of kitchens, I have renewed fervor in my vegetarian conversion.  Recall that I decided to go vegetarian at around the start of this year.  Tiffany, who recently sadly and tragically and unexpectedly died, was my vegetarian mentor.  She'd been a vegetarian for several years and primarily became one for the same reasons I was interested:  environmental sustainability and compassion for animals.

I found it pretty easy to shift since I wasn't that big of a meat eater at the time.  But I did fall off the wagon a few times, mainly out of laziness. Tiffany's death put me back on the path, and I've been actively gathering new recipes.  "gathering new recipes" is another way of saying I've found some good vegetarian recipes but have yet to purchase any ingredients let alone actually cook any of them. But hey, it's a start!

Tiffany's cousin, who is also a friend and P.E.O. sister, shared [THIS VIDEO] that Tiffany made of her first sky dive.  I knew she'd skydived before, but didn't know of the video, so it was so fun to watch and SO Tiffany!

Makes me smile/cry

Well, if she can jump out of an airplane, I can learn to cook.

Friday, August 9, 2019

we're not in Kansas anymore. Or are we?

Yesterday afernoon, I'd just gotten home from tuting at the library.  This particular library is about a mile and a half away, and I typically ride my bike to/from. But the weather people predicted "severe storms" for right about that time, so I wimpily drove.

I'd driven under relatively clear skies and dry roads, so I was all "PFFFT" at the weather people.

I had the radio on as I was padding around the house when a weather alert came on.  Just vaguely paying attention, I heard things like "tornado...", "rotation...", "take immediate shelter...".  I peeked out one of my windows and saw... nothing.

So I went outside and looked a little to the north and west and... HOLY DOROTHY AND TOTO!  Dark dark clouds, including an ominous cylindrical shape.

Just then, Meego arrived home from his work, from where he'd gotten a better look at the storm.  So we did a bit of "storm chasing" a.k.a. we wandered around the neighborhood trying to get the best look.  Our view was mostly blocked by houses and trees and such, but someone from one of my facebook groups got this shot from the south:

As we wandered, the wind increased rather dramatically as the temperature rapidly dropped.  The weather alert said the storm was moving east, but it seemed to have shifted a bit to the south as well.  Novice storm chasers that we are, we took off running for home as large raindrops began to pellet us.

We got there just as it started to pour rain.  The dogs were in their dog run in the yard, all, "Get us the hell outta here!!"  Meego, the dogs, and I then made a beeline for the house.  Yeah, about 2 minutes after we got inside, things settled down to a calm shower. Figures.

Thankfully, the tornado didn't fully form, and the storm continued out of the area, but it made for some excitement.  The photo taken above shows it sitting about over the Air Force Academy which is near to where we live.  It was eerie to be out there looking at the sky and hearing the Academy alert sirens.  I almost expected Godzilla to emerge from the mist ala [THIS]

He didn't.  Shucks.

In other news, sweet Tiffany passed on yesterday afternoon.  The family kept her on life support until sometime yesterday since her sister arrived from out of town on Wednesday.

I was able to visit Tiffany one last time in the hospital on Tuesday.  It was rather surreal.  Her eyes were open most of the time but not looking at anything in particular.  Her tongue and lips made some occasional slight movements, and she swallowed a few times.  I'm told this is all just basic brain function.  I held her hand, and it was very warm.  I'm not sure if that was because of the increased sedation she was under, to stop her seizures.

But I did feel her presence, and we had a "moment", otherwise alone in her room in ICU with no other sounds but the calm steady breathing pace from her ventilator.   Strangely peaceful.


"Tornado Warning"
referring to the hairdo

Sunday, August 4, 2019

on this sister's day

There are so many things I admire about Tiffany.  Her adventurous spirit, her overflowing positive energy, her dedication to STEM education, her charitableness, her inquiring mind, her true friendship...

I mentioned in my last post that my usually bubbly friend Tiffany had an unexpected reaction to a medical procedure and was in a coma.  In summary, she was having an out-patient surgical procedure (the family hasn't specified) and was administered the anesthesia propofol.  She went into cardiac arrest, the medical team immediately performed CPR and got her heart restarted in about a minute and a half.

She never regained consciousness, but her brain showed signs of response to stimuli in the first few days.  We were all hopeful that she would wake up and begin the long road to recovery.  After all, this is Tiffany.  She's a young, energetic, healthy 41-year-old.

Sadly, she got worse.  She no longer showed much brain response and seizures increased.  MRIs showed pervasive brain damage...

I can hardly believe I'm writing this.

She's been taken off of life support and will go soon to hospice care in her parent's home.  It's expected she will go "Home" soon after that.

I know Tiffany from P.E.O.  She's one of my sisters.  I don't have any biological sisters, but I love all of my P.E.O. sisters, and we are all grieving.  We had a meeting yesterday, but didn't get any business done.  We spent the meeting writing notes to Tiffany that her family would read to her.  There were lots of tears and lots of snot.

But honestly, there were lots of laughs, too.  Big laughs between tears and hugs and snot.  We may have not gotten any "business" accomplished, but it was still a damn good meeting.

Tiffany's nephew with his favorite Aunt

Tiffany, I'm so grateful that in this vast world in this relatively tiny blip of time I'm on it, my path crossed with yours.  I'll miss you like crazy, but know you'll just be on another great adventure.  

See you on the other side, Sis.