Monday, November 29, 2021

onward and back

 Ah, Monday after a holiday break!  Can you feel the boundless enthusiasm?

Well, it will be good to get back into the routine of things, I suppose.

I will be going into work later today, and right now, I was planning to watch some more video of my final module for the gardening course I've been doing this semester.  The course has been useful and educational, and one of the main things I learned is that one cannot get very in depth on these topics in a one-semester course.  

Aha, maybe that's how they getcha?  Scratch the surface on a variety of topics that serve to suck us down a deep, expensive, and time consuming rabbit hole!  

It's all interesting, naturally, and I realized that I'm going to miss "tuning in" to these courses now that they're coming to a close.  Would I like to take more courses?  Yes.  Do I want to pay for  more courses? Eh...

Way back when I was in real college, a friend talked me into taking a Life Drawing class.  "A nice break from all the technical classes", he'd said and was right.  I think the class met one evening a week.  No books, no calculators.  Just our drawing toys to balance life out.

Live models would come and sit while we students would draw.  Traditional life drawing classes have
nude models, but thank gawd this class did not.  Neither my small town nor we immature students would've handled that very well.

Things I learned from that class have mostly stuck with me over the many years, and every now and then I like to draw a (fully clothed) random person.  

So I did this pencil drawing while learning about nasty plant diseases today.

Maybe someday I'll be able to successfully grow a decent plant.

Friday, November 26, 2021

so many things!

Thanksgiving day has come and gone.  I'm thankful for much, and I'm grateful to have today off from work as well.  No shopping on the agenda!

All the "kids" were here for our simple festivities.  I feel I need to have another term for them than "kids", but it'll have to do for now.  I cooked the traditional foods, but certainly no pressure since it was just the five of us.  

So we ate, walked the dogs.  Wolfgang brought some games over, and we played two of them.  Board gaming has made a thriving comeback as of late, and he's got a nice collection.  These newer games are creative and imaginative, and I'm glad it's a popular pastime.    

Earlier in the day, I did the local turkey trot, aptly named "Fort Collins Thanksgiving Day Run".  Four miles around downtown.  It was my first time doing it, and it was much fun - a popular local race that was cancelled last year for obvious reasons.  

The morning was chilly but sunny and very nice conditions for the event.  I heard there were over 3,000 participants, and the atmosphere was one of buoyant gratitude to be able to do these things safely again.  I personally hadn't been part of a mass start like that since 2019.

Came across this clip later on instagram and thought it looked like right where I'd started from.  Then yep, watching the clip I realized camera-person had been right behind me.

I'm thankful I survived it and am happy with my finish time, ending up 3rd place for my gender/age category.

All in all, a very good day.

And we have leftover pie.  Anyone want leftover pie?


Linking up this week with Mama Kat for the prompt:
1. Write about something(s) you are thankful for.

Monday, November 22, 2021

moon messing and goats

Happy Thanksgiving week to us 'mericans.  I, for one, am looking forward to the short work week.  Was it just me or were people acting a little weird last week?  I theorize it was that beaver moon lunar eclipse going on up there and messing with us.  

Since I work in a testing center, anxiety is common, but sheesh.  We had a couple of people actually break down and not finish their exams.  I feel quite bad for them and hope they're doing better.  Another tester aptly earned the nickname "Mean Woman" with her strange and brusque manners.  All that was missing was another helicopter mom losing it.  Had to be that moon.

This week will be better if only because it's shortened.

In other news, I had a birthday.  Coworkers broke out in song and presented cake during a break in anxiety riddled activity.  When asked what I was doing for my birthday, I truthfully explained, "nothing really". 

Magnum's birthday is later this week.  Then there's Thanksgiving.  We just lump the three together.

Honestly, I don't really remember any birthday celebrations since I turned 21.  Seems that's the last biggie:  Okay, we can drink legally now.  No need to keep counting.  That year, I also celebrated with coworkers.  

We went out after work (I was a quality inspector at a big corporation), quite late since we worked 2nd shift.  I had my first legal drink in a bar, but didn't get trashed.  Actually, by that point in my life, I'd drunk enough illegally that getting trashed wasn't big on my agenda.  But it was a good time.

My coworkers now are a nice bunch too.  One gifted me a cashmere sweater set - no, not for my birthday.  That would be a bit much!  She'd been trying to sell the set on ebay, but no takers, and she said she'd rather give it to me than donate it to Goodwill, so okay.  It just happened to coincide with my birthday.

It's too small for her now, and her advice, in hindsight, to me was to wear it a lot rather than save it for special times.  Now, this woman is not necessarily "fat", but she has very large boobs.  I honestly think they are not original equipment. They're a bit too... "solid" looking in their largeness.  She would tell me if I asked, but I haven't felt a need.  

Bottom line, I got a new-to-me cashmere sweater set.  No goats were harmed in the making.

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

you were good to me

Thank you to those offering comforting thoughts regarding the tragic loss of Michelle.  Yes, she was vaccinated and also had compromising issues.  But she was by no means "fragile" - very active with her family and the community and her work.  Loved to travel.  She's left a palpable void. 

A week prior to her passing, she was admitted to the hospital and put on a ventilator - certainly not a good sign.  She'd been showing teeny signs of improvement with her medical team hoping to take her off the ventilator soon. Then she had a stroke, her body working so hard.

There was really no hope at that point, so the family planned to move her to comfort care.  She passed away right after the ventilator was removed.  At least she didn't linger. 

I've known several people who've had COVID.  Two of them have died from it.  But the others got through it without much fuss.  Some have mentioned "long COVID" symptoms - brain fog and fatigue, mostly.  Many don't really know how/where they got it.

And the world keeps spinning.  I'm looking forward to a little Thanksgiving break next week.  There's
always plenty to be thankful for!  

I'm thankful for people still blogging and still stopping by!

Sunday, November 14, 2021

if I say I'm fine, I'm lyin'

I still can't quite believe it.  I lost another friend.  

Wonderful Michelle - wife, mom, daughter, friend, business woman, and so much more - succumbed yesterday to fucking COVID. 

Michelle is another of my sisters in P.E.O. and flawless.  Two weeks ago, she was fine.  Now she's gone, leaving a husband, four kids, one grandchild, and many many friends.

Rest In Peace, Michelle 💓

Friday, November 12, 2021

fever, holes, and a precious pig

Thanksgiving 2003 was a memorable one.  We were in the midst of moving from Utah to Colorado and checked in to a hotel room.  Chaco and Wolfgang were elementary school-aged, and Meego was a toddler. We'd just arrived in town, and the bulk of our possessions were on a moving truck somewhere. 

After getting settled at the hotel, we went to check out our soon-to-be new neighborhood.  We made sure the keys worked in our empty rental house, then took the short walk to the elementary school to check out the all-important playground while the school was closed due to the holiday.

About halfway to the school, however, Wolfgang started to lag.  This was strange as back-in-the-day Wolfgang would typically be leading the pack once the word "playground" was audibled.  A quick once over determined that, yep, he'd come down with something.

By the afternoon, Wolfgang was feverish and languishing in the hotel bed.  Everyone else was raring to get out and explore our new surroundings.  Plus, it was Thanksgiving.  What's to eat?

I "took one for the team" and stayed in the infirmary with Wolfgang while Magnum took Chaco and Meego out for exploration and dining.  I don't remember where they went to eat, but Thanksgiving dinner in a restaurant is a bit depressing to me anyway.  As I recall, our hotel room had a mini fridge and I'd gotten some food to sustain us.  Wolfgang and I probably had some sort of hotel room sandwich for Thanksgiving '03.

I do remember him sleeping a lot while I read the book, Holes, in its entirety.  As I was out getting a few groceries earlier, I'd picked up the book to read while "holed up" at the hotel - it seemed fitting.  Tightwad Thoughtful, caring mom that I was, I purposely selected a book that the whole family could read rather than something that would be particularly entertaining just for me.  Note that this was before hotels had wi-fi, and you could just stream videos willy nilly.

So I read all about Stanley Yelnats digging holes at a desert boy's detention camp while listening to Wolfgang's febrile mumurings.  Wolfgang had this thing - maybe he still does, dunno - where, when sleeping off  a fever, he would talk in his sleep.  A lot.

He never sleep walked, but he would sit up and talk about all kinds of things as if he were fully awake.  His eyes would be wide open, and he'd look me right in the eyes and speak from some far off plane.  

It wasn't often easy to "talk  him down".  In fact, I think most times, he just stopped on his own whatever schedule and would fall back to deeper sleep.  

That day, the other guys eventually came back, and the room got a little more energized.  Meego and Chaco were watching something on the TV when Wolfgang suddenly sat up, looked over at Chaco and said,

"Don't do it, Chaco!"

Don't do what?  We all wanted to know.  Wolfgang cleared it up for us as he was acting very protective of his pillow.

"Don't touch my pig!", he clarified, somewhat cradling the pillow.

"Wolfgang, you're dreaming", I told him .  

He turned his head toward me, looked me right in the eyes, and said, "Okay".  

Then he went back to glaring at Chaco, "Don't do it!"

This exchange repeated about three or four times, then was over as mysteriously as it had started.  The pig apparently unharmed.

By the weekend, our moving truck had arrived, and Wolfgang was mostly over his mystery illness after a few more sleep rants in the new-to-us house.  We did all end up reading Holes (which strangely includes an imperiled pig) together, and later,  watched the movie.  Probably because of that fateful book selection, none of our kids ever ended up n a boys' desert detention camp.

It was certainly a memorable Thanksgiving.  

  • We moved across state lines,
  • We conducted a successful preemptive strike against the potential for any of our kids ending up in boys detention camp, and
  • We preserved the safety of a beloved pig.  Apparently

Eighteen years later, I'd say we have yet to top it.

Linking up this week with Mama Kat for the prompt:

3. Write about a memorable Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 11, 2021

how smashing

I had a routine mammogram scheduled for last August.  The doctor's office called and said the mammo-machine was on the fritz, and I would need to reschedule.  

I got rescheduled for September, and they called again to say that the new mammo-machine was great, but they were still working out a few bugs and I would need to reschedule.

I got rescheduled for October, and they called to check if I'd had any recent vaccinations.  If so, I would need to reschedule.

This, a couple of days after I got my flu shot. wouldn't ya know. Okay, fine.

I'm now scheduled for the end of December.  Any bets that the mammo happens?  That new machine's gonna be old by the time I get in there.  Honestly, I'm not disappointed to have these mammograms cancelled.  I've not gotten a COVID booster and was planning to wait until early next year anyway.

But yeah, that flu shot.  I noticed the morning after I got it that my left armpit was gelatinously swollen.  I'd taken the shot in my left arm and hadn't noticed the swelling until I went to shave and was all,

"WTF is THAT?"

I googled and of course learned that I was dying, but that it could also be a reaction to a vaccine in the form of swollen lymph nodes.  It took almost a week for the swelling to go down.  Anyone had that experience before?  For all I know, it's happened to me before, I just had never noticed.  I take it as evidence that my flu shot - and my lymph nodes - did its job.  

Now, onward to a completed mammogram for Christmas.

Sunday, November 7, 2021

getting organized

This old bag got a new bag.  Recall I was contemplating getting a new bicycling bag after a stronger, faster commuter went by me, flashing big leg muscles and a pretty bag. I researched and contemplated getting that damn bag for myself.

Thank you to those who chimed in, saying I should get the damn bag.  I did (minus the cat) and have been happily using it for a week.  We are getting along famously.

The bag actually comes in three sizes:  Mini Metro/ Citizen/ Metropolis... aka S/M/L.

Because of my petite torso, I got the Mini Metro, figuring anything bigger would be too much for me.  I figured correctly.  The "Mini" is plenty big, and I have no desire to carry any more than this holds.

I've always used backpacks and waistpacks in the past, never seeing the advantage to the over-the-shoulder messenger bags, but by George, it's better!

Since it sits lower and weight is distributed differently, it's very comfortable wearing this bag while on a bicycle.  On the flip side, I wouldn't want to use it for hiking.

It easily holds everything I schlep around, even on these moody fall days with big temperature swings when I want to swap the hefty morning outwear for lightweight afternoon garb.

Yesterday I needed to make an amazon return - too-big shoes in their box - and set out for Whole Foods.  My other go-to bag can't handle a shoe box, but Mini handled it with aplomb plus ample space for  the other crap I needed to carry - lock, phone, wallet, etc.

The errand to Whole Foods was all really just a ruse to get out for a joyride in the lovely fall weather we've been having.

Stopped for a selfie in this nice tunnel of elms on the university campus.  Pretty soon, I'll be whining about the snow and ice and cold, but at least I'll have a weatherproof bag 😊.  

Mini is "guaranteed for life", so guess I'm gonna stick around a good long while more to get my full benefit.

Thursday, November 4, 2021

this is a test

"He stepped out of the office for a few minutes, is there something I can help  you with?"

One day at work, I was chatting with my loquacious boss.  He was telling me about things he looks for during interviews as he was in the process of hiring a new part-timer.

"Yeah, I have a series of questions, but there's really one main answer I'm interested in", he said. He continued, "You got it correct".

So I'm sitting there trying to remember his interview questions when he reveals, "It's where I ask what you would say if a patron comes in and asks to speak with the director".

I'd said that I would first ask if there was something I could help them with and take it from there.  So when I took a phone call yesterday, and the caller asked for my boss by name (strange since Boss has his own phone line), I told the caller that he'd stepped out (true, Boss was in the bathroom), and asked if I could help.

The man on the phone asked why his son was unable to take his test with us.  I won't bore with the details, but these tests are highly secure, and names on registrations for test takers must exactly match their identifying documents or we can't launch their exams.  As a testing center, we don't register people for tests, we just administer tests after they register and then make an appointment with us.  The man on the phone thought that making the appointment with us secured his son's ability to take the test.  

The guy was registered in his mother's name.  Apparently his mom registered for him and mistakenly?  oddly?  helicopterly?  submitted her name. Their names weren't even close - different last names even.  

We advised  him to contact the testing board to correct the name, and we would go from there.  I'll mention that the would-be tester is college age, and that registration instructions explicitly state the name requirements.

So the dad was calling to figure out what happened and what his son needed to do.  Reasonable enough.  The disturbing part of the phone call, for me, was that I could hear a woman on an absolute RANT in the background.  Omigosh.

Screaming over and over, "HE NEEDS TO TAKE THE TEST TO-DAY!"..."HE NEEDS TO TAKE THE TEST TO-DAY!"..."HE NEEDS TO TAKE THE TEST TO-DAY!"... at the seeming top of her lungs.

Since this was a  phone call, I couldn't see the woman's body language, but dang.  I seriously thought she was in need of fast-working medication.  Seriously.

To his credit, the man I was speaking with was relatively calm about the whole thing.  And to the woman's credit, I don't recall any swearing on her part, but dang.  

After briefly explaining the situation, I did take the message for Boss, and Boss called the man back a few minutes later explaining the same thing.  This went down mid-morning, and we'd not heard back nor seen the kid again by the time I left in the afternoon.  

Crap like this happens once in a while, although I've not ever seen someone registered in their mother's name try to take a test.  But minor misspellings, lost or expired IDs, etc. happen and are cleared up with relative ease.  

Her ranting in the background of that phone call was replaying in my head the rest of the day.  I am/was a bit concerned for her and for the son, who seemed like a nice enough kid.  

  • Why did she fill out the registration in her name?
  • Was she, in fact, losing it?
  • Why was the man so calm, like this is typical behavior?
  • Why didn't the kid come back?

Well, I hope everyone's okay.  He needs to take his test today?  Today is now yesterday.

Monday, November 1, 2021

life is a series of challenges

Anyone want some candy?  We had zero trick-or-treaters  last night.  Last year, we had one group, but it was COVID times, and we weren't sure what was the norm.  This year, COVID isn't as big a deterrent, but it was a cold, wet evening, so maybe?  Anyway, we've got leftovers.

Other than that, it was a good ending to the month.  I did manage to pull out a few more drawings for Inktober '21.  I include the fat raven here because I forgot him in the last update.

In all, I finished with 11 drawings out of 31 prompts, so at least I got into double digits.

So yes, I participated.  Yes, I had a good time with it.  No, I didn't do it under pressure.  The "purpose" of Inktober is to get people into the habit of drawing on a regular basis, so for me, it worked.

In other participation prizes, I ran a 10K yesterday morning.  It was the October Tortoise and Hare race for the local running club.

These are typically run around the start/end of the month, and it wasn't intentionally a Halloween themed event.  Not surprisingly though, there were a few people in costumes.  I was passed by a cow and a Wonder Woman and was able to pass a Chewbacca and a Spider Man.  I saw a few other costumes along the course,

For the most part, actually, we were dressed to deal with the wet, drizzly conditions.  Here, I'm waiting for my start time (I was warming my hand, not picking my nose) behind this mom of undefined pink costume with her bat babies.

I did manage to stay quite dry for the duration.  I was wearing a fleece neck gaiter at the start, but once I warmed up, I pulled the gaiter up around my head.  

So no, I was not trying to appear dressed as a snake charmer. My finishing "turban" is merely the result of wardrobe management.  

In all, I was happy with how I did - came in slightly faster than the algorithm predicted.  These Tortoise and Hares are fun, but it's been a while since I've done a typical mass start race, and I kind of miss those.  First world problems, I know.

Now it's the start November already.  National Novel Writing Month.  

Don't hold me to that one.