Saturday, July 19, 2014

Herding cats

OK, not really. It looks like I am the one who is coordinating the selection of our destination for the trip to celebrate my dad's 80th birthday this year. It's been fine, actually. People have been more or less "whatever you pick will probably be fine". We've bounced back and forth a little on what exactly our destination will be, but I think we are close to putting a deposit down on a vacation rental house.

Originally, Dad had the idea that we should all take a cruise. If you are like me, your throat tightens up a little when you consider that idea. Not from any bad experience, but from news stories, and the thought of not being able to escape (even if it's a large vessel). But dad likes cruises. But we are restricted to a couple of weeks and a particular port, and that limits our options.

But after getting a link to a site called Cruises Direct, I put in our criteria and it returned 5 options. They were all about the same in terms of what you got and the price. My dad suggested that Mr W and I share a room with him so we could get a bigger better room (fine by me). Click, click, click.

Did you know when you search on those sites, the cost is per person, not per room? Of course you didn't, you don't even want to take a cruise. Bless you. Anyway, the cost of the cruise for the three of us was about $1,500 each. Of course, that does not include airfare, which will be another $800 for me and the kid.

Sigh. I know this is a once in a lifetime party we're doing here, but still. It doesn't seem WORTH that kind of money. As a result of realizing how expensive cruises are when one is as restricted in options as we are, I found a couple of rental houses that go for about $4,000 for the week for all 12 or so of us. I particularly like the idea of sharing a house near the beach, especially one that is big enough for people to be in their own space if they want, and gather together if they want as well.

Now I'm at the point where I am waiting for feedback. I think they will again all chime in and say, "whatever you pick will probably be fine", but I haven't heard that yet for this round of houses.

My sister's youngest kid is graduating about a week before we do this trip with a double major in Computer Science and Engineering and we are trying to have him join us. We'd like to see his brother and dad and his dad's fiancee too and have invited all. We haven't seen them as much since Kris passed. My nephew really has done well and it feels right to celebrate his accomplishment. He started in a program from the get-go where knew his major(s), which involved three co-ops/internships with nearby companies and I suspect he will easily get a job with one of them when he is done.

It'll be nice to be on a beach in December.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Another tornado dream

I don't have what I would call reoccurring dreams, but there are themes sometimes. When I'm anxious about something, I often find myself back at my old high school, trying to get to class, or am there, unprepared for a presentation. Sometimes I'm at my old job in Toledo, where it's the same thing. There's a group of kids arriving shortly and I'm scrambling to put an education program together at the last minute.

I have whale dreams, too, although they haven't been as frequent in recent years (they may have been supplanted by the tornado dream). Whale dreams are when I'm somewhere near the water and see an orca (it's always an orca) under the surface of the water. Once I was at work in my dream and saw an orca in the pond next to the building. In the dream there's always this moment of "Is it? Is it a whale?OMG!" I've figured out that orca dreams represent me feeling like I'm missing out on something, or really wanting something to happen.

Then I sometimes have tornado dreams. In these dreams, I'm looking off in the distance and it looks like a tornado might form. Then one inevitably does, but I'm never harmed and it's more thrill than fear. I never experience the howling wind. Last night it was the same, but my location changed at least once, and I was standing next to my house, in the alley, and it was coming. Funny thing about this one was that it was so close (up in the sky) that I felt I was getting a good look at it. And when I looked hard, the cloud above the tornado consisted of countless gray cloudy mouths, with gray cloudy teeth, and the mouths were moving. Singing? Speaking? Just moving? I don't know.

The dream then cut to a front yard with downed trees and we (me and I don't know who else) were assessing the damage. I think this was shortly before I woke up.

I slept pretty good last night. It seems it's one thing or another that often keeps me from getting a good night's rest, but last night I slept soundly. I've always wanted to see a tornado from a safe distance, same as I've always wanted to see an orca. So I think the two are the same sort of dream. The cloudy mouths were a new part of the theme, though. I wasn't scared at all, just a bit wide eyed that they were there.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Summer travels

On Tuesday, I dropped Mr W off at overnight camp. It sounded like a lot of fun to me, and he was excited, although he's been working on his under-enthusiasm because he IS a teenager. It's a camp where they have go on a quest and have to solve riddles and work together.

I'm a lot less melancholy than I was when he went to his first overnight camp last year. That was a big hit because it seemed it was only a matter of time before he was going to grow up and leave me for good (sniff). Even though that's what we're aiming for anyway. I'm still prone to bouts of worry, but it helps me a lot to remember that my thoughts don't have any bearing on his experience, so I might as well envision him having a wonderful time.

He'll be home for a few days, and then is off to the midwest with his dad et al. for a 10 day trip to someplace remote (read: no internet). I think he'll have fun. He's better at finding something to do in the absence of internet than he thinks he is.

Then I thought we'd take a few days in August and go...somewhere. My back is better than it used to be, but I still don't want to sleep on the ground for a vacation. However, if I could haul around one of these, I might consider camping:

Anyway, I thought we should go to Seattle, and waited and waited and hesitated and couldn't make a decision, and hadn't really saved any money for it, and... we're not going. It would have been easier if I had planned better and I'm realizing I have a problem with wanting things to be perfect if I'm going to be spending a lot of money on the trip. Yet, traveling means there is so much that one has to roll with. I'm working on it and am going to start to save specifically for a big trip.

Meanwhile, we are fortunate that Colorado has several excellent mountain towns that are not too far away and we'll go somewhere up there for a few days.

Then, my dad turns 80 this year, so we are gathering in FL for something. Maybe a cruise (!), maybe a hotel on the beach. We need to get that planned, but we'll be traveling around Christmas for that big event. My brothers and I reminisced about the quirky little house we rented when we were down there last, and wish we could do that, but Dad wants something more upscale. I don't blame him.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

We did it!

We did it! The dog (who was a willing but unwitting participant), Mr W and I completed our first 5K yesterday. This is shortly after the finish. He finished a couple of minutes ahead of me, but my one and only goal was to jog the whole thing without slowing down to walk. It's all kind of relative because my pace is slow and I can walk almost as fast as I can jog. No matter - I jogged the whole 3.1 miles, in about 38 minutes :-).

Come to think of it, the dog was pretty much briskly walking the whole time as well. But she's still a tired pup, so I'm sure it was a big deal for her too. She's been along for the whole training thing for the last nine weeks, and I imagine has also gotten in better shape. 

This started ostensibly as something we were doing for the kid, as I mentioned previously, but has become a thing I really want to do. I was going to quit after a couple of weeks because my back and hips would get so stiff at night, while I was in bed, that I thought I was injuring myself. 

Rewind to 1992, when I worked as a camp counselor and during the first day of camp, was chasing another counselor during a game of Capture the Flag and fell just so, dislocating my hip with such force they had to do surgery to remove a ligament that had torn. I was never a regular exerciser until I was in my mid-40's (I know, I know) so I only had youth and not any kind of strength from an exercise regimen on my side.

Anyway, I remember them telling me that I shouldn't do downhill skiing (check, no problem) or sit with my legs crossed, which I have taught myself to do. The problem with babying the injury site for all these years is that my hips are TIGHT. So when we started running nine weeks ago, I didn't know if the hip would stand for it or not. Having the pain after a couple of weeks made me think I was going to have to pass.

As a mom, I could see that the kid just might really take to this running thing if I could help him a bit over the very beginning part. This has happened - woot! - he wants to see how good he can get at it. So one day around two weeks into it, I had the bright idea to go to a Saturday yoga class. Maybe I could begin to loosen up and it would help. I dutifully put on my stretchy black pants and went off to the 4:30 class.

That class has always been at 4 pm, and I have shown up at 4:30 about three times. Oh well. This motivated me to go to the library to get a couple of books on yoga. I also searched online for "hip openers" and long story slightly shorter now have a set of five stretches I do daily that has helped tremendously.

I still get sore, and I still have to take some Advil occasionally, but the stretching really has been a game changer for me. The cool thing about this is that my body has given me what I've asked of it. I don't have aspirations to go for much longer than 30 minutes when I jog, and Mr W's cross country races are two miles (about 18-22 minutes when he gets better at it), so we'll concentrate on getting better at those distances/times rather than pushing for more more more.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Eleven minutes

That's how long I am waiting for Mr W's ipod (my ipod, really) to charge before we can go for our run today.

In a comedy of errors, I texted Mr W's dad this morning, asking if he could drop off (or I would pick up) my ipod from his house, which Mr W forgot when he came over yesterday. His dad said he would drop it off at my house today at 4. Great.

I get home at 4:45 and no ipod has been dropped off. I text his dad and after several confusing texts determine that we must go to Mr W's dad's house (15 minute drive) to get the ipod.

We get in the car, get the ipod. Is it charged? No, no it's not. Thus we are waiting a few minutes (six now) so it has a minimum charge so he has something to listen to while we do our run.

Oh, LindaCO, you say, I didn't know you ran for exercise. Yep, me and the kid started a "couch to 5K" program eight weeks ago. We are in the final week this week. I have really liked it, and will probably talk more about it, but it has been a really good way to start to run. I had the idea that we should do this so Mr W would be ready for Cross Country (Is that capitalized? I never know) in the fall. However, I have been the one (I guess this is not a surprise) who has driven this thing.

He has said how he wants to get better at running. Wants to make it his "thing". Alright.

As an aside, it has been a surprise how much more comfortable the right gear is. Decent shorts, a wicking top, jog bra, thin socks - no cotton at all - does make a difference.

OK, time to hit it.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Tap, Tap. Is this thing on?

I received two inquiries in the space of 24 hours as to whether I was ever going to post again, so here I am :-)

Things are good, posts will likely be sporadic, but stuff happens and I think to myself pretty regularly that I should "get those thoughts down somewhere".

Yesterday was my birthday. I was a little trepidatious that I was going to spend it by myself, which can lead to brooding and not seeing the big picture. But I went to church, and while there got roped into helping out with something (which I actually love because it makes me feel useful).

I then went to a friend's house to pick up a dozen eggs and was delightfully surprised that she had baked me a cake and she and the family sat down and we all had cake and ice cream. What a thing to have no expectations at all (except the eggs) and have someone make that gesture. It really was a wonderful thing.

And people posted on my FB wall, and that's always nice. And my brother called and we got caught up on things.

And I walked the dog and bought her some actual bone bones because all the rawhide my Target sells now comes from China and that gives me the excuse to reduce her rawhide consumption. The bones aren't cheap, but I gave Sally the littlest one (it was frozen) and it kept her busy for about 30 minutes. They told me to take them away from her after she gets everything off so she doesn't splinter the bone, so I did that.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A dream

I had a dream last night where I got a new apartment. Nice place, lots of glass - windows and doors. It was on the ground floor in a city, near a place with a lot of pedestrian traffic, like on a town square. In my dream I went to sleep, and when I woke up (can't remember if I was woken up or if I got up on my own), I started checking the numerous doors.

I went around looking at each one and was astounded to find each of them ajar. The doors had been open while I slept. I assumed I had left them open, as opposed to them being opened by someone.

My thought was something like, "Huh. I feel vulnerable". And yet, I remember realizing in the dream that I was OK. All this time, there were people passing by, and I don't think anyone came in, I don't remember talking to anyone, but I was OK. Vulnerable, a little open, yet safe. Yes, I think the house is me...

Wednesday, February 12, 2014


Here are my thoughts on the weird icicles that formed on the south side of my house. We've had a good bit of snow and it had been cold, so there was plenty of snow on the roof ready to melt. It had warmed up the day before for the first time in a while, and was above freezing when this happened. The weird icicles formed near, but not exactly across from, the window. There are both normal and angled icicles.

I think that the straight ones formed normally, when the temperatures were warming up. I think the angled ones also formed normally, but the radiant heat from the house pushed the dripping water/forming icicle away from the house as it formed. It wasn't particularly windy, so I think it's a heat thing, not a wind thing.

In other news, I've grown weary of Valentine's Day things, right on schedule. I dislike being reminded that I'm. still. alone. Even though things are going just fine right now. I feel inadequate in that regard, courtesy of the media. Thanks for nothing.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

What's going on here?

I took this picture on Saturday, at about 10:30 in the morning. This side of my house faces south, and the temperature was around freezing and getting a little warmer. You can see two kinds of icicles, the regular straight up-and-down kind, and also some that jut out from center. 

Any idea what's going on? I have a couple of ideas, but thought this was an interesting thing to share.

Friday, February 7, 2014

The one thing

We used to have a TV, a 18" thick picture-tube-analog behemoth that I picked up at a garage sale for $10. It was used mostly to watch videos from the library, and I am fortunate that there is a TV antenna in the attic that I hooked up to the TV to get local channels.

Back in 2009 (I think) the signal for broadcast TV became digital, and to continue to use my TV, I'd have to get a converter box. I guess I didn't want one badly enough to get the box, and the TV went downstairs and was never hooked up again.

We certainly don't lack for media opportunities here. I subscribe to Netflix, our laptops have CD players for movies, and Mr W watches lots of stuff on YouTube.

However, there is one time, every once in a while, when I really want a TV.

For the last three Olympics, I have yearned to be able to watch events, but not in the advertising-riddled way one can do it online. So I had planned to finally get a converter box, haul the big ol' TV up from the basement, and get it connected to the antenna, which connects via a coaxial cable that is in my living room.

The converter boxes are about $50 (do you see the rationalization and where this is going?). If I had a new TV, then I wouldn't need the converter and it could be hooked up directly to the antenna and I could watch the Olympics. I've been intimidated at the level of technical expertise required to make a new TV receive a cable signal and the other inputs, and sound, blah blah blah, but if I could just plug in the TV, and plug in the antenna and it worked, that would be good, right?

I think so. I went to Target and got a 32" TV for $199. It's like a big computer monitor, and weighs about 10-15 lbs. We can plug Mr W's PC into it (so they say) and stream Netflix or play games on it. I have to see if I can do the same with my Mac. After the Olympics, I'll need to see about threading the antenna cable through the floor so the TV can go down the basement.

It's out of the box and on my floor, I'll get it hooked up when I get home from work tonight. Fingers crossed I catch the opening ceremony!