Thursday, July 30, 2020

what's cookin'?

"Will this be where I get canned?", I wondered as our staff meeting began.

We have monthly staff meetings for my little part-time hospital cafe job, but yesterday was the first one since mid-March.  We've been on reduced staffing because of COVID restrictions to our biz, and in fact, the job I was initially hired for has pretty much been eliminated.

One of my responsibilities, for instance, was preparing the salad bars for our cafe and for the doctor's lounge.  Yeah, salad bars.  Remember those?  No longer a thing.  I'm thinking salad bars won't be back anytime soon.

Instead of letting me go, however, the managers included me in the rotation of other essential workers where we do a little of everything as needed.  It's productive, I enjoy the variety, and it's nicely added to my value.  But management would certainly be justified in letting me go.

Instead, it was just a "normal" staff meeting.  In fact, I received high praise for my flexibility.  On the outside, I was a bit, "Aw, shucks", while keeping my real thoughts - "c'mon guys, this isn't rocket science" - to myself.  I do enjoy the place and like the people I work with, though, so I'm grateful they've kept me around.  That said, I'll soon be taking my voluntary 2-week furlough, another thing we've been rotating through.  

I'm glad I have my tutoring, which hasn't really slowed because of COVID.  If anything, there are more opportunities.  I asked one of my  high schoolers what her district's plan is for the upcoming school year.

"Two classes per day.  Three hours each.  Everyone wears a mask.  Temperatures will be taken every day upon arrival".

She attends a pretty large school.  Taking everyone's temperature every day? That will be time consuming.  

Three-hour classes?  I'm trying to imagine studying one subject for three hours straight.  That sounds like a real challenge for the teachers - planning 3-hour lessons and keeping the class engaged.  More power to 'em.

In the meantime, this virus has taught me a few things.  I now know a little about how viruses work and herd immunity in addition to expanding my culinary skills.

And speaking of culinary skills, did y'all see Martha Stewart and her "thirst trap"?  Along with Martha, it was the first time I'd heard of that term.

The headline I clicked said something about Martha Stewart's stunning photo at her pool.  She does look good, particularly for a 78-year-old.

But I wanted to see Martha's pool.   Darn clickbait.

Linking up this week with Mama Kat for the prompt:
2. We’re still dealing with Covid…how are you, has anything changed since you last covered this topic?

Sunday, July 26, 2020

now and then

I heard about this website:  You can write a letter to your future self and set the delivery date.  A year from now?  Ten years?  Next week?

The site includes a few letters others have written and had delivered recently, which I found fun to read, and I wondered how things had turned out for those people.  I thought about writing one, but then thought, *DUH*, I have a freaking blog!

I started blogging in 2004.  We had just moved and I didn't know many people in the new city.  The kids were little, so starting a blog was a nice diversion and way to spend time with adults.  

Naturally, much has changed since then.  Now, I'm once again in a new city, empty nested and older and much much wiser.

The family got together yesterday for Wolfgang's recent 25th birthday.  Got in some hiking and eating and card gaming until breaking up the festivities.  We hit up Horsetooth open space - yes that tooth has really made a name for itself around here - meaning to check out Horsetooth Falls.

We got to our destination and, alas, there were no falls.  That's my crew down there, wondering, "where's the water?"

Being a Saturday, several other hikers were there and wondering the same thing.  I'm not sure why there was not even a trickle of water or any moistness to the ground.  It seemed to us that maybe it's been purposely diverted upstream somewhere. 

Either way, it was a good time in Mother Nature, similar to other such times.  My first blog profile pic was from 2005...

... where it seemed that, clearly, no one was particularly interested in whatever I was pointing out.

Fifteen years later, just smile and wave.

Ever write a letter to your future self?  Want to?  Scared to?

Friday, July 24, 2020

want some?

I was 20 years old and had recently moved from my small town to the big city. I worked the front desk of a luxury hotel in downtown Denver and was about to start my morning shift.  Walking to the hotel restaurant to fill my coffee mug, I took in the elegant surroundings - a far cry from my "sheriff" days in the corral.

As I filled my mug with hot steaming caffeinated goodness, I chatted with one of the waitstaff, all dapper in his uniform - black pants and vest, crisp white shirt and tie.  He asked if I wanted anything from the kitchen.

"Nah, thanks", I replied, "just need this coffee, heh"

"Want some spid?", he then asked as he brought his thumb and forefinger to the lapel pocket of his vest.

"What?", I asked, thinking I didn't hear correctly.  Spid?

"Some spid?", he said again with his bit of Spanish accent.

Oh... SPEED.  He was offering me drugs.

"Ah, yeah, no thanks... just the coffee" *smile*

I thought of another coworker from my previous sheriff hotel.  He worked graveyard maintenance shift and told me how he'd do speed before coming in, get all his work done in about an hour, then have the rest of the time for whatever.  Yeah, okay.

I never had the urge, although I did my fair share of underage drinking and dabbled a bit in weed before it was legal.  But it was really more of wanting to see what the hype was about.  Okay, been there and done it.  A coworker at another hotel I worked at suggested she get us some cocaine to do after our shift sometime.  Never happened due to lack of enthusiasm.

(Now I'm wondering if hotel staffs are rampant with drugs, or was it just where I happened to be working when I was of drug-introduction age?)

I've read that genetics factor strongly in a person's vulnerability to addiction.  With that in mind, I'd say I have little to no genetic disposition, although, yeah, I confess to being addicted to caffeine.  Still. 😏

I recently read the book, "Reborn on the Run" by Catra Corbett.  It was suggested from the local running club I joined before COVID, to get discounts on race entries and other events, meet some locals, volunteer, etc.  Yeah, all that stuff's pretty much cancelled, but hey, they have a newsletter!  And they read stuff!

Anyway, Catra's book is a memoir of her becoming an ultrarunner to overcome her addiction to meth, or spid.

It was an engaging enough story as she's, literally and figuratively, quite a colorful character - full of tattoos and piercings, likes to wear loud colors.  In her previous drug life, she'd been a big time goth.

I have no interest in ultrarunning and no need for overcoming addiction(s), but was interested to hear one person's point of view.  She claims to not be addicted to running, but I wonder after reading.  She also mentions that there are a lot of reformed addicts in the ultrarunning world.  As I read, I felt that she is predisposed to addiction.  If it wasn't drugs then ultrarunning, it would be something else.

It's commonly advised  that, to effectively quit a bad habit or addiction, replace it with something else.  Getting to a point of tripping on meth almost constantly required an obsessive replacement.  She does admit to being "obsessed" with running.

The book is neither steps to overcoming addiction nor a guide to becoming an ultrarunner.  It's Catra's story, and I give it 3 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐★★ because it's a story deserving of a book.  But I had to gripe a bit about the writing.  Awkward sentence structures, poor wording, and full on grammar errors show up throughout.   I don't know what her co-author contributed and honestly wondered if maybe the wrong draft got sent to the publisher.

What are you reading?  Addicted to anything?

Linking up this week with Mama Kat for the prompt:
2. Write about the last book you read.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

queen me already

Welp, I'm scheduled to work tomorrow at the hospital.  Remember I had a long stretch of days off?  Hoping to do something fun and/or productive with the extra time?  Reflection time...

It wasn't exactly nine days of "FREEEEEDOMMMM!" (cue William Wallace).  I had a couple dentist appointments and a coupla tutor sessions, so I did get a foothold on some dental work I was so looking forward to.  Got all inspected with the new dentist, and as we pondered a solution for my missing big honking tooth, he also discovered a tooth ready for a crown.  

Okay, fine, and now that's IT!  This will make my third crown - not counting the two front crowns - and according to my friend's crown theory, three is it for me.  Her theory is that women lose a tooth for every kid they have, based on all the calcium those babies take from us.  She had three kids and three crowns.  I have three kids, this'll make crown number three.  DONE!  

The front ones don't count because that was skateboarding trauma drama that happened before I was even of child bearing years.  

And speaking of teeth and time-off adventures, I finally got around to climbing that Horsetooth rock here in sunny Fort Collins.  

Horsetooth rock sits atop a foothill, aptly named Horsetooth mountain, overlooking Horsetooth reservoir and the city of Fort Collins.  Yes the namers really liked that Horsetooth title.  Gotta say, it does resemble a horse molar

I'd hiked the trail once before during a visit with Wolfgang and Meego a couple of years ago, but we stopped short of climbing the rock itself.  

So today, with a clear schedule, I headed to the tooth.  I knew I didn't want to go on a weekend because the trailhead gets packed, even if these COVID times.  ACK, I needed the nature fix, and the day was perfect!

I couldn't really remember how far it was from that one earlier trip since I was with the three guys and we were chatting the whole way.  Seemed like it took us a while, anyway, but I found myself at the base of the tooth more quickly than I'd remembered.

Once there, I realized it's not like mountain tops I've been on as those summits are relatively vast and can easily accommodate many hikers.  But I was reminded that this isn't really a "summit", but rather a rock formation.  

I got to the top with a bit of scrambling, thankful that I'd worn my mountain goat shoes.

Once there, I again realized there wasn't a whole lot of room to move around.  Add my persistent acrophobia, and well, I pretty much spent my whole "summit" time sitting on my butt.

This was a solo outing for me, but I knew the trail is popular and I wouldn't be all alone to be scarfed up by a mountain lion or something.  And yes, there were a handful of other friendly hikers but not so much as to feel at all crowded.

Spotted these lovebirds a bit above me on the toothtop.

Looking back, I suppose my mini impromptu vacation wasn't a total bust.  Got caught up on a few things in addition to the teeth adventures and didn't blow a bunch of money.  


Friday, July 17, 2020

sun's out, buns out!

I went for a lovely bike ride this morning which took me through a ritzy lakefront neighborhood that Magnum and I discovered a while back.  

Lake access is limited to residents of the neighborhood only.  Bike riding riff raff that I am, I snapped a quick pic of the sunrise before continuing on through.  I checked out some real estate prices in the area out of curiosity, already knowing we are not in the target market.  Yeah, they have M's instead of K's after the sale prices.  

I noticed some decent condos nearby for the 62+ crowd.  I thought I'd check those out for future reference and found them to be pretty cozy and decently priced.  What's the catch?  HOA fees:  like 2K/month!!  

What does a $2,000 per month HOA fee get you?  

But speaking of sun and sky, I saw this notion in my instagram feed:

And then of course, the comments...

Yeah, there's one in every crowd.  At least one.

Do you have an HOA?  Likes?  Dislikes?

Thursday, July 16, 2020

when the go gos don't

The year was 1980-blah blah something.  My friend Ron and I had tickets to see the Go Gos live at the state fair.  The concert was outside, late afternoon/ evening, and we made our way to  the front.  We were in the PIT, with all our 80's big hair cohorts!

Red Rockers were the opening band, and they put on a good show.  They wrapped up and we awaited the Go Gos.  Honestly, I wasn't a huge fan, but Ron was, and I felt they would put on a fun concert, and we were SO CLOSE!

As we waited, it got a bit breezy.  Then it got full on windy, gusty even.  A few raindrops began to fall.  Then, lots more.  Lots lots more.  It began to epicly pour.  I seem to recall an announcement over the din of the storm that the concert would be delayed.

We waited in the rain, not wanting to give up our perfect location.  Eventually, people began to filter away to shelter.  Ron and I followed and waited in the grandstand.  From there, we could see what a mess the storm continued to make of the field/ mud bog.  After several minutes, the announcement came the the concert was canceled.  The electronics for the show weren't a good mix for all that water.

Ron and I walked back to the car soaked, muddied, shivered, and dejected from the concert that wasn't.  Did we ever get reimbursed?  I don't remember, I just wanted to see the Go Go's.  It's like a page is now missing from my history book.  I understand the Go Go's are still performing live concerts, but I prefer the see the 80's version.  Now would be a good time for a time-traveled Go Go's Vacation from the pandemic

And since we're going back in time, another artist I never saw in concert but would've liked to in the 80's is Michael Jackson.  Yeah, he got weird toward the end, and there are questionable accusations about  him and young kids... But he knew how to put on a show, and he was peaking in the 80's when I was in college and broke.  Maybe I'll learn to moonwalk during the pandemic?

And honestly, I haven't been to a live concert in so long.  Raising kids, paying college tuition, etc. put concert-going in the backseat.  More like in the trunk, really.  Now live concerts are postponed until...?

Last summer, Meego went to see John Bellion in concert, and I was all, "GASP, I love that song of his!"  Honestly, I didn't know of any other of his work at the time, but loved the one hit.  Not surprisingly, Meego said it was a great show and that JB really connected with the audience.

Another artist I would love to see live is Machine Gun Kelly, because I find him talented and strangely adorable, and I bet he puts on a good live show.  He was in Denver last year.  I missed it.  Those near-to-tears girls singing along in the audience?  Yeah, that's me on the inside.

On the outside, yes, I'm old enough to be his mom.

Linking up this week with Mama Kat for the prompt:
2. List the top 5 musicians you would see in concert.

I know I listed just 4, and I'm not sure that they'd be the "top", but it's who came to mind on the fly, OKAY!

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

somebody that I used to know

On Sunday, Magnum and I went in search of a portable evaporative cooler - those one-room coolers that work well in dry climates with a fan using the hot air to evaporate cold water.  We didn't find one we liked, but at least we spent time in nice air conditioned stores while looking.

Fact is, we have one already.  We were just feeling hot and lazy and thinking we'd get a second so as to not "have to" move the other one around.  In the end, I'm glad we didn't buy anything.  I think know I'm just feeling stir crazy.

I'm scheduled to work one day this week (yesterday, so it already happened) at the hospital job and one day next week.  I'd like to work more, but I'm happy to still be on the schedule at all.  The job for which I was initially hired was essentially eliminated by COVID restrictions, but the managers include me in the jack-of-all-trades rotation, usually two days a week.  So for that, I'm grateful and know that I could be let go or long-term furloughed if push comes to shove.

When I arrived at work yesterday, there was a little robo-mower doing its thing and making me wonder how many of us could be replaced with automation if not eliminated altogether.  Weren't there recently human landscapers out there?

Lucky for us, it wouldn't be a big financial hardship if this job went bust. But the job is a nice little side gig to balance out my other side gig and keep the stir-crazies at bay.  So here I am looking at nine days off in a row, wanting to plan some productivity or at least a bit of adventure.


At least I've got some upcoming dental work to look forward to? Maybe I'll do some online learning, take on a new skill set.

Like proper care of robots.

Sunday, July 12, 2020

not anymore

Yesterday was July 11, or 7/11.  Did you celebrate Slurpee Day?  No?  Understandable since Slurpee Day became another COVID-19 casualty. 

When our kids were young and willing to hang out with us for such things, we'd make it a point to do a bike ride to 7-11 on Slurpee Day.  We never made it in time for the free ones because those came in little 7.11 oz. cups, and the store would run out quickly. 


Just as well because those freebie Slurpee shots would not do on a mid-July bike ride.  We were there for the full strength.

I don't remember when the last Slurpee ride was, it's been quite a few years, but I saw a headline yesterday that it wasn't happening this year - social distance precautions and all that. 

I used to think it was kind of strange the way people would flock to 7-11 for 7.11 ounces of free Slurpee, but I guess it was a big enough deal to make its cancellation a news story.

In other COVID news (as if you don't have enough), I came across this graphic today.  


Honestly, I didn't dig around to verify the data behind the graphic, but if it's true... time to build a moat, Colorado?

Keep washin' yo hands!

Thursday, July 9, 2020

it's good to stop and avoid the goose babies

Yesterday at work, "I" had three ER patients.

We food folk don't get many requests from the ER, but sometimes patients need to stay a while only for observation, so the staff puts in orders for them.  We don't know what they're in the ER for - none of our business.  

One was a woman in her mid-30's. She looked exhausted.  In my clueless and short unprofessional assessment, I deduced she had succumbed to the heat.  She looked flushed and mildly sunburnt.  Her hair was a bit messy and had that recently-sweaty look.  She had an IV in one arm, and I noted the food the nurses ordered for her was a bit high in the sodium realm.  

Naturally, I could be totally wrong, and I was probably projecting some of my own experience on to her because it's freaking hot outside!  It was a good reminder, though, to stay hydrated and keep up on the beat-the-heat tips (my moisture wicking tops are working marvelously!).   

My last semester of college undergrad was a summer session, and during that time, I went to upstate New York for a job interview.  The humidity hit me like a blast from a sauna as soon as I stepped out of the airport.  I took the job, and we ended up moving there a couple of months later from dry Colorado.  

We soon learned that, not only does the humidity make the hot feel even more hot, but also
  • shade does nothing.  It's not cooler in the shade, only darker.
  • temperature ranges are teeny tiny.  The high could be 89 F during the day, and the nighttime low could be 85 F.  Call that a "low"!?
I remember reading a cautionary story of a young and healthy guy who went out running in high heat and humidity.  In short, he died.  His body kept trying to cool him down with sweating, but sweating does next to nothing in high heat and humidity.  Soon enough, his organs shut down.  Yeesh.

We sort of got used to the humidity in our nearly 10 years of living there, but I can't say that I miss it as we've long since moved back to the dry heat of Colorado.  Ugh, it still feels like being under a heat lamp, and it's not like we never whine.  But the nights and early mornings are the bomb!

Tuesday morning, I was enjoying a lovely bike ride into work.  My commute is about 8 miles and a wonderful way to start the day, I miss it on my days off.  It takes me through a smallish park with a quaint duck pond - such a serene setting.  

There are several goose families in the park, and sometimes they think they own the place.  I was making my way through the path when one of the larger families - I swear, they hatched like 12 babies - were all hanging out.  I had to slow way down so as to not cause a ruckus.

I ended up coming to a full stop and taking in the moment:  the goose babies, the sunrise, the crisp morning air... I noticed a family of ducks out for a morning paddle across the pond and decided to snag a pic 

See 'em?  The ducks?

Of course once that sun got a bit higher in the sky, hell (seemingly) broke loose once again, and I inwardly bitched about it on the ride home that afternoon.  

But at least our shade is functional.

Linking up this week with Mama Kat for the prompt:
6. Share the most recent image you published on Instagram and give us the back story

Monday, July 6, 2020

like a hole in the head

This past week or so has been a series of checking things off the healthcare to-do list.  We moved here late last year around the holidays, then once the holidays settled down, COVID-19 came a-calling and shut everything down.  With things including doctor's offices opening back up, I was able to get while the getting was good and check off the annuals.

Here I sit all blood-screened and checked-up and mammogrammed.  For the mammogram, the mammogrammer changed out the squisher.  Did you know they come in different sizes?  Did I get the one to accommodate the smallest boobs?  Small half-Asian female squisher?  I assume the all-purpose squisher was on the machine to begin with.

Either way, happy to say, there've been no surprises, and if things start falling apart, I now have places to call.  And this week:  the dentist.

Actually, I want to ask the dentist about replacing that big honking tooth I had removed last fall.  At first, I figured I'd just let it ride since it's in the back and doesn't affect the all important smile.  But it's such a big gap, and I like to chew things sometimes.

I'd already noped out of a dental implant as my oral surgeon says I'll need a bone graft for that.  A bridge is another option, but then I'd need to crown the adjacent teeth.  Plus, there's the cost to consider.  So I'm leaning toward a partial.  For one stupid tooth. 

Way back when we bought our first house, the previous owner was a fake teeth maker.  A denture maker?  Not sure the actual title, but he had a small shop in the house from where he worked.  There were various molds and teeth and wires - kind of like a jewelry shop?  Somebody had to do it.

Nowadays, I think fake teeth are often made at the dental office.  I know our previous dentist offered same-day replacements.  I have front crowns, and I remember having to wait for their arrival.  I got the first set when I was 11 years old, and they have since been replaced twice.  They've looked more like real teeth with each "upgrade". 

But for this big back tooth, I don't care the appearance so much as long as it fits.  Can I get a gold one? 

Anybody reading have experience with partials?  

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

breaking bad?

I left my house for a run this morning, and as I turned the first corner to leave the neighborhood, I was met with a scene similar to this:

But not just one armored vehicle.  Two vehicles like this with SWAT guys mounted on each side, all gunned up.  Behind them were several more police vehicles taking up the incoming lane of traffic for about a block long stretch.  It looked kind of like the end of a 4th of July parade except nothing was moving and no one was throwing candy.

Yup, the po-po was back in the 'hood.

As I rounded that corner and came upon this scene, all the helmeted heads swiveled in my direction and locked eyes.

Needless to say, I stopped in my tracks, thinking, "Oh sh*t...". At least I don't THINK I said it out loud.

After a moment, one of the SWAT guys hanging onto the first vehicle motioned me and said to go on ahead, and I was thinking, "really?" as I looked at the long line of force I would run past.  Dutifully, however, I did as I was told and jogged on by with a bit of extra pep in my step.

Highly curious as to what was about to go down, I couldn't get a read from any of the coppers I went by.  They each seemed to be watching me, but all were silent save for one hairy one that gave a short *BARK*

When I returned after my run, all was clear, but I think it's safe to say they were back to visit the same house as last time.  The news story that ran after the first incident concluded with, "...more arrests are expected" as they continue to dismantle the drug trafficking organization.  Sheesh.  Such an innocent looking street with young families and puppies...

What are your neighbors up to?