Tuesday, August 31, 2021

always be

It's highly probable that my and Malcolm's paths wouldn't have crossed after we went our separate ways after leaving our jobs at the old folks home.  We were a generation apart, just coworkers really, I didn't know his family or friends outside of work.

But then came the day he died.  I doubt I will ever forget finding out.  It was a Sunday, and the evening shift was clocking in.  One of the girls, Ella, looked to us all, "Is it true?  Did you guys hear?  About Malcolm?"

She pulled up posts on Instagram from mutual friends, none of them stating it in so many words, but leaving little other option.  Walk chalk messages and hearts, "RIP, Malcolm"... what else could they mean?  

We all pulled out our phones, looking to see if anyone else knew anything, the younger crew Snapchatting away.  It couldn't be true.  Could it?

I texted him.  He never texted back.

Shortly after, it was confirmed to us from HR.  It's been over three months now, and think of Malcolm often.  I think of silly things that happened at work.  It was certainly not a glamorous job at all, but it was one that was rich with teamwork.  I don't miss the work, but I miss those coworkers.  

Watching all these kids going back to school, and freshmen moving into dorms, I think of Malcolm and his family.  He'd planned to start at the university this fall and major in business after taking the year after high school off because of the COVID lockdown.

I think of the lost potential and the void he left behind.  

His  mom reports that they still get middle-of-the-night chalk messages that mean so much to them.  He would have turned 20 last week.  His dad posted:

Yep, he would like that.  And it's easy to "give a little thought" to Malcolm.  

Sunday, August 29, 2021

I bet you think this song is about you

Yesterday at work, I was finishing up a woman's test administration.  As she stood waiting, she commented, "You have beautiful..."

And in that split second prior to her speaking the final word, I pondered what she could possibly be thinking.

Hair?  Eyes?  Skin?  Nails?  Voice?  Accent?  Mind?  Handwriting?  Style?

Also in that split second, the logical answer occurred to me as, "none of the above".

After all that micro pondering came the object of her affection:  "...veins".

Oh.  Yes.  Of course.  I get that sometimes, actually.  I get it from nurses, phlebotomists, paramedics, EMTs, etc.  

A nurse I worked with at the old folks home told me, "Ah, you'd be so easy to give an IV!"  One time, I went to donate blood, and the phlebotomist proclaimed, "Oooh, it's like Christmas!"

During yesterday's conversation, the tester nodded, "Yeah, I'm a paramedic".

So there it is, my seemingly most notable physical quality.  There are worse things, but truthfully, I'm a bit self conscious about my arm veins.  

I got comments on my veins from the nursing home residents, and a couple little old ladies once asked to touch them.  That was weird, but what the hell.  Similarly, there are worse requests from nursing home residents.

I don't know why my arm veins are the way they are.  I chalk it up to genetics plus age making my skin thinner.  

I'm not wishing for an IV, but I guess it's good to know it would be a relatively effortless procedure.  When I do have blood drawn, it's over almost before it starts.  

But still.  I'm ready for long-sleeve season.  

What's something about you that brings people to comment?  Are you happy with it?
(And Peggy, if you're reading this, I think I already know your answer 😊)

Friday, August 27, 2021


It's early afternoon, Friday, and I'm a bit surprised at how unproductive I've been so far. I currently have Fridays off and thought I would get some yardwork done.  It's hot, though... blah blah blah whine whine whine.

I've mentioned that school has started up here.  Colleges and universities started classes this week.  It's nice to have so much activity on campus at work - everyone all gung ho and motivated, supposedly.  Our vaccination numbers are relatively high, and we still have the campus-wide  mask mandate.  I've not heard of any complaints.

So  no big surprises with the start of the semester and otherwise. A few small ones maybe:

Merlin and Napolion,
the neighborhood Karens

We've put  our pooch, Merlin, on a diet.  At 70 lbs., he was about 10 over what he should be.  I think he's gotten leaner, and he's still chipping away. 

It's surprising since he was a 35-pound bag o' bones when we got him.  I guess he's been making up for lost time and calories. 

Speaking of dogs, I asked my boss if we allow service animals for clients at work.  The answer is yes, but specifically dogs and miniature horses.  Nothing else.  

Miniature horses are the one ADA exception to service animals other than dogs.  Oh, how I hope someone comes in with one!

I have noticed increased traffic while going in to work in the mornings - bike traffic, somewhat surprisingly.  Fort Collins is a very bike-friendly city, but we still have our challenges with car traffic.  

It's nice to pedal along with the youngsters in the mornings, but I'd say they need more parking!


And along with parking and pets, I bought Napolion a new litter box today.  This one has supremely high walls.  When we cat sat Wolfgang's Maisey a couple weeks ago, I was instantly enamored with her glorious litter box.

The one I got for Napolion isn't quite as majestic as Maisey's, but pretty darn close.  I've got it all set up within my view as I type.

I'm quite surprised at how much I'm anticipating Napolion's first gander at the thing.  

Where's that cat when I need him?


Linking up with Mama Kat this week for the prompt:

3. Share about a time you felt surprised.

Saturday, August 21, 2021

single and ready to mingle

Last weekend, I found myself in the midst of a bit of a frenzy.  I put the lovely Ariel, my commuter bicycle, up for sale on Marketplace.  Just about everyone and their grandmother wanted her.

The price I set was no loss leader, quite fair according to bicyclebluebook.comBut the lovely Ariel does clean up and photograph nicely...

...backdropped by the newly painted house, no less.

The point is, I sold her.  The woman who adopted her paid me full price online, sight unseen, then drove a nearly 5-hour round trip to pick her up and take her home.  I would never do such a thing, but to each her own.

But why would I sell such a lovely?  Well, her talents were being a bit wasted here.  Fort Collins is  a relatively flat city compared to the never ending uphills and downhills of Colorado Springs.  Ariel had 24 gear combinations.  I've used maybe 3 since we moved here.

Enter the delightful Daisy.  I mentioned a couple weeks ago? Daisy?  A new bicycle?

Simplicity at it's finest, Daisy has one gear.  One gear!  Her clan is also known as SS, or "single speed".  Count me in.  No suspension, no derailleurs or shifters.  Only minimalist unpretentiousness.  So lightweight and nimble!

I found her on Marketplace as well.  Her owner said he got her for his daughter, but she decided she wanted more gears after riding Daisy for about two miles.  Daisy was fresh from the womb, her tires still had all their flash.  

So Daisy has settled in while Ariel serendipitously made it back to the hills of Colorado Springs.  Daisy comes to and from work with me.

As of this week, we ride along with the school kids in the mornings on their way to the elementary and middle school along my route.

Wanna race?

Friday, August 20, 2021

they're baaaaaack

I accompanied Meego to get his wisdom teeth removed on Tuesday.  As I left our neighborhood to pick him up, I was met with a mass of high school humanity traffic.  

We live near a large high school, and yep, they're back to school.  What is usually a quick left turn out of the neighborhood instead had me waiting for a slow train of cars and bikes and pedestrians for what seemed like forever.  But eventually I got a break in the action and we made it to the wisdom teeth removal in time.

So that's checked off the to-do list.  Fall semester for the university and the college where I work begins on Monday.  I think I'm looking forward to a frenzy of activity on campus rather than the slow trickle of summer session.  We're all wearing masks, but in-person classes are in order.

My job, by the way, has to do with a variety of proctored testing for professional licenses, certifications, and such.  We also accommodate college students trying to test into certain academic programs or test out of course prerequisites as well as take make-up exams.

I realized after telling a few people that I work at a "testing center", the term isn't clear - especially nowadays.  Several people assumed I performed COVID testing.  Funny/ tragic how our thoughts turn immediately to COVID for various terms.

Like last summer, when I was still at the old folks home, when tents showed up in a parking area.  Any other time, we would assume they were for a party, but we all automatically assumed they were for COVID testing.  (Actually, they were to increase the area for visiting, since visits had to be outside).

So young kids are back in school, big kids are back in town for college, and away we go.  As I was leaving Meego's house last week, I drove by another college rental.  Several dudes were sitting out front.  As I drove past, I happened to notice one of them pointing at a cardboard-and-sharpie sign.  I only made out the beginning:  "YOU HONK...", and kept on a-driving.  I heard a collective sigh from the dudes and realized the sign said "YOU HONK... WE DRINK".  

Yep, the college kids are back.  Sorry guys.  But I'm sure they managed plenty of drinking without my help.

Sunday, August 15, 2021

the Silver(thorne) lining

I've got some blog catching up to do here.  I could also do some housecleaning and/or yardwork, but surely this is more pressing.

We took a couple of fun days in the mountains last week, managing to get the brood together all at the same time.  Went up Tuesday night to an Airbnb condo in Silverthorne, CO and returned Friday morning, so we had two full days to play.  

In summary, we hiked, biked, fished, gamed, and ate.  I count it all as a success.  We had access to a pool, but sort of forgot about swimming.  Dang.

The biking bit involved riding up and down Vail Pass, which I'd heard of doing, but this was my maiden voyage.  

It was a beautiful day of beautiful scenery and no threat of rain/hail/lightning.  10/10 would recommend.  

We weren't planning to go all the way to the summit, just enjoy riding along the path for however long.

We made it a mile or so passed the halfway point when Chaco's knees started creaking - it's uphill the whole way from Frisco to the summit.  Wolfgang, Meego, and I went on a couple miles further while Magnum and Chaco headed back to check out the marina. 

Everyone but myself had rental bikes, and we wanted to make sure to get back to the shop in time not to pay for an additional day.

But first, some victory pics...

In looking at the map after the fact, we turned around about 2 or 3 miles from the summit.

The way back was a total rush.  We had no idea we were climbing so steeply until turning around.  I sped down the path and watched as Wolfgang and Meego became little blue and red dots respectively.

A few heart palpitations and eaten bugs later, we were all back to downtown Frisco.

Thursday, we hung out in Frisco and hiked around Dillon Reservoir where Chaco tried his luck at some fishing.  

Yeah, no luck there...

Ella the pooch was with us.  She never sat down.  Her favorite part of fishing is when it's time to leave.

We also got in a bit of culture by visiting some historic displays downtown, engaged tourists that we were.

All in all, a positive wrap up for the summer, COVID variants and all.  

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

run to the party and dance to the rhythm

The  masks are back.  The college where I work stopped requiring masks for vaccinated people on July 1st, but as of today, they're back.  

I certainly understand why the Prez made the decision, but needless to say, we were less enthusiastic while putting up little mask notices than we were when we ripped 'em down a little over a month ago.  Fall semester begins on the 23rd, and hopefully the in-person classes will hold.

So yeah, summer's winding down.  Admittedly, August is not a favorite month for me.  My allergies kick in to high gear each August.  If I'm on the ball, I start taking allergy meds before symptoms hit as a prophylactic measure, but I guess I forgot this year and I was ambushed yesterday.  Dizzy as a drunk sorority girl, yet without a drip of alcohol.  

I snorted some Flonase and popped an antihistamine and am feeling better today.  Now I'm looking back at how summer went down.

That's Jake and me atop Arthur's Rock a couple weekends ago.  Our hiking partner, Jasmine is a flatlander transplanted to Colorado and not yet quite comfy with scrambling to the top of rocks.  So she played photographer.

Last weekend, we were reluctant dog boarders.  Chaco had an out-of-town conference, and much like the U-hauls of August, dog kennels were full up.  Hopefully Chaco and Wolfgang are learning from these waiting-'til-the-last-minute consequences, but somehow, we parents got snagged in those nets too.

Ella's a good pooch who gets along fine with our two, but she's not cat friendly, so we had to play a bit of cat and dog musical chairs for those four fun-filled days.  

I will say that living with three high-energy dogs is not something I would choose to do, but we made it and I am ever so grateful for my monster pet vacuum cleaner.

In other crowded indulgence news, I bought another bicycle.  I know, I know, I just bought the lovely Violet!  But, I can't have just one bicycle.

In actuality, the new bicycle brings my "fleet" to four, but I plan to sell one as soon as I get her cleaned up a bit for the marketplace.  So, while four's a crowd, three's company.  Nice company.  Ironically, I acquired the new bike in my unrelenting quest for minimalism.

More on the delightful "Daisy" soon enough. 

How does your summer look from the rear view mirror?

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

wild things

 Wolfgang moved from his apartment to a duplex last weekend.  We helped out a little, and I'll share this public service announcement:  

The first weekend in August is probably the MOST busy time for moving - definitely feel it in a college town!  Get that U-Haul reservation WELL in advance.  Yeah, Wolfgang didn't have one of those.

Lucky for him, he has some friends who have a big a** van they're converting to a camper, so that van toted most of Wolfgang's stuff .  He had to be out of his apartment by midnight Saturday, but couldn't move into the new place until noon Sunday, leaving him homeless for 12 hours.

He stayed the night with his van friends while we housed some of his stuff along with his rescue cat, Maisey.  In general, cats don't like change, and Maisey easily falls into that category.  

Maisey in calmer times

She was a grumpy kitty after having all of "her" things packed up and removed, then being stuffed into a carrier only to arrive at an unfamiliar place housing two dogs and a fight club cat.  Nope, not amused at all.

She spent the night and most of the next day camping in Magnum's office.  Social time allowed some petting but was accompanied by intimidating hissing.  It was quite an ordeal to get her packed up once again to move to her new digs, but Wolfgang reports that she seems happy now and has figured out that she's "home".  

But she put up such a fight on Sunday, that we had to call upon the expertise of Jim Fowler.  Remember him?

More seasoned *ahem* readers here might remember Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom TV show.  I remember watching it on the weekends and seeing Jim wrangle various deadly creatures, all while being narrated by Marlin Perkins ala "watch Jim almost die from the anaconda/ rhino/ panther/ etc."

So Magnum played the part of Jim and managed to scoop the wary Maisey with a towel and chuck her into a basket with Wolfgang at the ready with a good lid.  Success, whew!

Marlin and Jim would be proud.