Thursday, September 29, 2011


Flexibility gets me what I want. I've learned this over the few years that I've had a "parenting schedule" for my son. I get a little choked up when I think that he spends half his time away from me, but his dad (my ex) does a good job and a kid benefits (IMO) from having a loving, involved dad in the picture if that's possible. I know it's not always possible.

We've shuffled the parent schedule a bit lately, but everyone's happy. There's a concert I want to go to next weekend (when I'm supposed to have Mr W), and his dad is doing dusty renovations at their house this weekend so would like to have Mr W someplace else for part of that. I feel like I've got enough going on that I need to check my calendar often to make sure nothing important (as in kid-related) falls through the cracks.

I have been trying to get out more and do social stuff. Last week I had something going every night, a couple of them with Meet Up groups where I didn't know everyone (or anyone, in one case). That's fine, I can hang. I can strike up conversations with people. Maybe I'm not doing it enough? I don't feel like I'm getting much out of the interactions. Maybe I haven't interacted with the right people yet.

I'm on the organizer team for a single parent group and I've scheduled a couple of outings for October. My criteria is that the event has to be something that Mr W and I will do anyway, regardless of who shows up. These things are notorious for people doing no-shows without RSVP'ing. So we've got an easy hike coming up, and a trip to the Denver science museum to see an IMAX movie (with people getting their own tickets and meeting outside the theater). I'm especially looking forward to the movie (T-rex! 3-D!).

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Looking for something?

Mr W had running practice yesterday, and we were at a nice big park in town. It's been really nice to visit different parks around town as part of his practice. Yesterday at dinner, he said, in the manner I imagine most kids' minds work, "So, why aren't you going to Spin class on Mondays anymore?" I said, "Because I have to take a certain boy to practice on Mondays." "Oh". But it's over soon, and he's liked it, so I don't mind.

He wanted to take the dog again, while he was running, but they weren't getting started for a few minutes, so I took Sally the dog over to the dog park part of the park. This particular dog park has a pond. Did I mention that my dog is half water dog and half water dog? She's a Labradoodle, a half Lab-half Poodle mix. Puddles, cups of water, damp rags, you cannot keep my dog away from water; don't even try.

The protocol involves excited bouncing up and down on her front paws, followed by a beeline to the edge, trotting in, and then laying down in the water. Then she gets up, gets out and repeats. Yesterday, I had her squeaky orange tennis ball, so we played fetch in the pond for a little while. I made a short throw once and she overshot where the ball was. She spent a minute testing and rejecting the other tennis balls floating on the water (she's pretty particular about her orange squeaky tennis balls). Then she puts her entire head under water. One one thousand, two one thousand, three one thousand, and up. I wonder what she's doing until I realize she's looking for the ball. How's that for dedication?

I think it's so interesting how no one taught her to do that. I don't know if that's Lab or Poodle or some hybrid trait in her, but it was neat to watch. She never sputtered, or coughed. I did eventually convince her that the ball was closer to me, and she found it, but it was cool to watch the processes, and the other dog owners got a kick out her too. It makes me wonder about things we humans do, just because that's who and how we are.

Image from here.

Monday, September 26, 2011


I want to be one of those people. One like lot of you who read this blog. A person who thinks enough of good wholesome food, and self-sufficiency that they will therefore put up some of her own food. I'm only partway there. And I have the cooked tomatoes to prove it.

To my credit, I did can peach jam a couple of weeks ago. It's not like one could subsist on jam when the going gets tough, however. I also bought a bucket (about two quarts' worth) of frozen pitted pie cherries from the farmers market that I plan to make jam out of, but they may end up in a couple of pies at some point.

When I started my vegetable garden last year, I had aspirations of being able to preserve some of my own food. Reading up on the current state of how food is grown scares me, and I wanted to contribute, or at least be in line with, some gist of the local agriculture movement here. I realize now a couple of things. First, the space I have devoted to vegetable gardening isn't nearly enough to produce enough produce at one time for me to preserve it. Plants do their thing, and even my determinate tomatoes have not ripened in any kind of organized fashion (my mistake for thinking they would - I thought that's what determinate meant).

Second, having a full time job, raising a kid half the time and trying to have a social life take up most of my time. Add in a couple of things I really like to do like play my banjo and knit, and spending most of my daylight hours on a weekend canning loses some of its appeal. There, I said it. This hit me yesterday, when I started in on a box of tomatoes that I had gladly accepted in lieu of eggs from the CSA I signed up for egg shares from, but whose chickens have been less than cooperative.

I dutifully blanched and removed the skin on them, and they just kept coming, and coming, and coming. And here's that tricky part. I didn't want to be there, doing that. I wanted to be doing something else (anything else?), and I couldn't stop because this needed to be done. And it didn't take all that long to peel, seed, and chop the tomatoes, and then get them into pots to cook down. About 4 hours. But my heart wasn't in it. My plan was/is to make spaghetti sauce, but I ran out of time and motivation. I probably should have started earlier.

So, for now, I have 12 quart-sized bags with about 2 cups each of cooked tomatoes in them. That's it. And my evenings are full until Thursday, so there won't be anything happening with them at least until then. I might try to find room in my freezer for them, so I can punt on the issue until I feel like I've got the time to add stuff to make sauce and have it taste good. Or, I might just have 12 bags of diced tomatoes that I'll add to chili and store-bought spaghetti sauce.

Ugh. It's more of a burden than it feels like it should be. It could be that I'm afraid of my new pressure canner. Yes, could very well be that. But still, making the time to devote to this worthy pursuit has proved difficult. I'll update on the fate of those tomatoes in a couple of days. I need to get ready for work.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Err, umm, I'm good.

It's good for me to be reminded once in a while about things that go well in my life. I've been divorced for almost 6 years now, and Mr. W's dad and I get along fine. We are amicable for the purposes of raising our kid, I don't socialize with him otherwise, and we do share a 20 year history, so there are things that happen and we will update each other. I'm still close with his mom, and I'm pleased with that. I never had MIL troubles.

I don't know exactly why it works out well. I tried really hard, once I had done everything I could to save the marriage, to act in the kid's best interest. And I get more of what I want if I'm nice about it. I imagine there was/is a substantial guilt motivator on his dad's part in terms of being cooperative, and that's just fine with me. And we both need occasional flexibility to travel for work or to simply attend an event we'd like to attend.

It's not perfect, but it works. I think about how it might be confusing for Mr W, once he's old enough to really think about it, that his parents seem to get along just fine, yet they got divorced. I'll have to just say, "Ask your dad what happened. I didn't want to get divorced." It's true and as un-loaded as I can make it.

Anyway, I went to a potluck yesterday for the single parent group I'm part of. It was fun, and we chatted and kvetched about ex-spouses as we inevitably do most of the time. Of the 7 of us, no one but me had a 50:50 time split with the other parent. Several were strictly single moms whose kids' fathers were not in the picture for whatever reason. The others were lopsided in the parenting, and had their kids most of the time. We didn't even get into talking about financial support. It gave me pause, after I left, to realize I was the only one in the group to say, "Yeah, my situation works just fine."

And I didn't say it too loud. I think here, too, that the financial stuff is something that I don't worry about much. Mr W's dad could support him financially if I was unable. And I could do the same. We don't have any court-mandated agreement about who pays for what; we work it out. I end up buying more clothes, and signing Mr W up for stuff, so his dad pays a bigger share then of the next after school care bill. That IS a good thing.

OK, then. Color me grateful.

Friday, September 23, 2011

18 years

Hard to believe, but my mom's been gone for 18 years now. She was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, which had spread to her lungs. She was a smoker, and was never able to kick it. It was pretty quick, six weeks from diagnosis until she died. I regret that we never really discussed the idea of her dying with her. We were so completely overwhelmed by the idea of her being sick that I think we never considered that she'd die until it was just about over.

I'd like to think I did a little better with my sister, at least trying to ask what she wanted to do, and to listen to her vent her outrage and sadness that this had happened to her. You can search the label "Sister Kris" to read my posts about her. My sisters in law referred to her as "Sister" because my dad's partner is also a Chris(tine).

I was thinking a couple of days ago, as I felt this day getting closer, that I do OK with these losses if I take them out and examine them occasionally, but continue to look forward. I'm not as afraid of getting taken early as I once was. Or of dying alone, without a partner to support me emotionally. I'm not sure if it's simply the time having passed, or that I feel like I'm eating pretty well, exercising, getting health screenings and trying to watch my stress, and so am doing really all I can, prevention wise. It sounds morose, but after I went out for a drink the other day with the person I dated briefly and now is just a friend I thought, "He'd take me to chemo if I needed it." I'm not sure where that came from, I have no diagnosis to share, but it did prompt a bout of list-making in my head of people I know (some whom I've dated, and friends) of people who would pitch in in this manner if need be. And I was comforted. Not planning on needing the help any time soon, but it felt good to have the knowledge.

ANY-way, sorry for the somber tone of this post, but I wanted to share another thing. Oh, wait. Before I do that, I haven't mentioned how fabulous my mom was. She was a nurse, had three kids one year apart (plus one more, six years later) and went back to work after her kids were in school. She juggled it all, and had a clean house, cooked dinner every night. She was my friend as well, and a solid supporter of me getting a good education so I could support myself. After she graduated from nursing school in the late 1950's, she and her friend took an epic road trip out West, and worked at various hospitals as they saw this part of the country. Two single gals seeing the world. Love that.

OK here's the last bit. Last night I went to a Meet Up meet up called "Haunted Fort Collins". Two women do walking tours around downtown and one does the history, and the other can see spirits of local ghosts. Now, I am a solidly evidence-based gal. I figured she'd be all bluster and drama, but I bought it. She's quiet, sincere, humble, and absolutely confident in her abilities, which she says she got after an accident made her die briefly before being resuscitated. We made 4-5 stops around downtown, and the history woman would tell us about the site, and then the spirit woman would tell us who was there. She said she calls them in. At one point, the history woman was talking, and I glanced over at the spirit woman, who was absolutely looking into what I saw as empty space as though she saw something.

I felt nothing. She said this is normal. I was a little wary of going back to my old house all by myself, but I feel nothing of that sort here as well (phew!). See how I sort of want to believe? So much so that I took one of the spirit woman's cards, and might have her do a reading for me. She does kind of general readings of past and future stuff. While I stood there listening to her describe her services to someone else, she told this person she can "see" into the body as well. And proceeded to point to this woman's hip, saying she had something funky going on with a ligament there.

Since this happened close to a time when I'm thinking about my mom and my sister, I thought, wouldn't it be nice to hear that they're doing fine? I don't know. If they aren't, and it takes a lot of money on my part to get them there, it would start to feel like a scam, you know? It was really interesting to me to be in the presence of someone who felt as though they could tap into something I had no access to. As I said, I'm all about the evidence. However, I'm also not so arrogant to think there is stuff that science can't explain at this point in time. So, color me intrigued.

Ma? I might be in touch.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Put your $ where your @%#! is

Somehow, despite my best efforts, and despite being of the opinion that people who use curse words lack imagination and an adequate vocabulary, I have slipped into the habit of occasionally swearing. I'm no potty-mouth, but my occasional "dammit"s and "what the hell?"s have attracted the attention and wrath of none other than Mr W. OK, there was the time when I was canning the peach jam a couple of weeks ago and everything was happening at once and I let fly some words that I really shouldn't have. But those episodes are very rare. I swear.

I spend enough time with him to see where he is coming from. We go around and around on him watching Youtube videos. Some are fine and age appropriate (and fun, too). But some are on the topics that he likes, the Bionicles, and now the game Minecraft, and are made by older kids or adults for all I know. That's the thing with Youtube. You can't really tell ahead of time. So our compromise has been for him to watch these things while I'm around, sitting on the couch or in the kitchen so I can hear the dialogue. If it gets racy or they use swear words, he knows he needs to turn it off and find a different one.

He thinks this is a great system. I think this trial and error stuff stinks, and I'll sometimes just say, "no, I don't want you watching any of them at the moment, go find something else". The other day, were sitting in the living room, and he picks one and it's full of f-bombs and the like. He says, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry" and turns it right off. I say, "See? That exactly proves my point. You don't know what you're getting, and you're going to be exposed to stuff I don't want you to see or hear".

So now, he's taken this idea that the swear words are really bad (although I'm probably more concerned with something racy coming up. Or really violent). And he's been calling me on it. Mom, you shouldn't swear. Mom, I already know all those swear words, so it's OK for me to watch the videos. Not on my watch, pal. They think they know everything there is to know.

But I don't want to be in the habit of swearing. Maybe it's some vestige of wanting to sound cool (at some level. Yes, I get the contradiction). So I proposed the jar. The Swearword Jar.

Now, every time I swear, I have to put a quarter in the jar. He gets to have the money at the end of the month. I imagine he'll make a little bit of dough, but this sort of thing is a good motivator for me.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A smaller slap on the wrist

Growing up, I remember my dad comparing things like speeding tickets to a "slap on the wrist". Society's way of enforcing rules that are (we hope) ultimately for the public good. I have not gotten a speeding ticket, but have worked through the process of getting my campervan to pass emissions so I can get its registration renewed. I finally got all that finished up yesterday, and will finish cleaning out the van and get it listed this weekend. Phew!

It's been a bit of work. New water pump - unrelated, but that took time to get resolved. Two trips on my part to the emissions place. Several hundred dollars of work to get it to pass. Then my registration expired, so I got a parking ticket - IN FRONT OF MY OWN HOUSE! - that I had to pay. Yesterday, I went down to the county vehicle registration place (ugh 45 minutes of waiting) and was wary about having to pay the penalty for letting the plates expire. It was only $25, so that wasn't bad. I'm all set now, and looking forward to getting it sold.

Funny how these things work, I'm just starting to see advertisements (I don't believe they will be for sale for a few months yet) for the new, smaller Prius C, which I've got my eye on for my next car. Not that I'm in a rush or anything, but it's nice to know it will be available when I'm ready to buy my next car.

I've got a bunch of stuff going on for the rest of the week and I like that. I miss doing my Monday Spin class, but it's good the kid is doing his cross country, and this is temporary. I've got beer and knitting at one of the local microbreweries tonight and am looking forward to that.

After what seemed like a pretty easy and painless process, my family has figured out a good time for us all to meet up in OH for a few days before Christmas. I am thankful we got our plans going early, because I was able to get Mr W and I nonstop flights both ways at reasonable times. I think last time it was October when we had dates finalized, and we had to leave for the airport really early in the morning. That was quite the snafu, but we had a good time once we got there.

We're going to be staying at my brother-in-law's house. Which is my deceased sister's house, which still freaks me out a bit. We've had a Thanksgiving there since she passed in 2008, but it was painful. Not just for me, I'm sure. Hopefully enough time has passed that we can have a good time and honor her memory as well. It's just weird to be in her house, surrounded by her stuff, and have her not there. But it's time to do this, so we will.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Double good

If you've read this blog for any length of time, you've read about how I bemoan the fact that my kid's preferred activity is playing video games. He would, I am pretty sure, choose that over almost anything else if no one (i.e. his dad and I) had him do other things as well. As I tell him, I'm all about the balance. Go ahead and play the games, but you need to do other things, too.

So for a while now, we've tried a variety of after school activities. Sports, art, music. It's funny, as his dad pointed out, my kid does not come from team-sports people. His dad and I weren't particularly athletic as kids but are reasonably active now. It's not surprising then, that he doesn't have the drive to play soccer, or whatever. If they had recreational Lego clubs that met once a week all the time, he'd be on that immediately. Not the robotics, but just building stuff.

This year I signed him up (with his approval) for cross country through the city's recreation program. I love it when things work out better than you think they will. On the other hand, keeping one's expectations low (or reasonable) helps a lot too. It's six weeks, and the practices are held twice a week, each week at a different city park. I've had to give up my Monday Spin class for the next couple of weeks, but have been having a nice time at the parks with the dog while Mr W runs.

I bring the dog because I can't get to the dog park and get the kid where he needs to go. This has worked out well because now the kid wants to run with the dog at practice. Ha! Double duty. I'll go get my knitting now and see you two when you're done. It was kind of like that yesterday, although I walked with the dog for about 30 minutes (to assuage my guilt at not attending Spin class) and then sat and knit for a while.

Monday, September 19, 2011


It was a good weekend! Mr W and I ended up going down to the Denver natural history museum to see their new exhibit on T. rex, and enjoyed that. They had a few animatronic dinos that had motion detectors, so their heads would move in response (more or less) to movement in front of them.

And we cleaned the house a bit, and harvested some stuff from the garden. The dog keeps eating the raspberries, so I have to monitor her while she's out there. The yard is too small to keep her out of that area, so I might just have to accept the loss.

We had lunch with Mr W's grandma (my former MIL) and that was nice. The place where she lives, basically a nursing home, is such a stark reality check, that it's good to go there and get zapped every once in while. It is a good reminder to stay active, take good care of oneself and enjoy life in the moment.

This week is shaping up to be busy and social and I like that. Mr W's been liking his cross-country practices, even went out for a short run around the block with the dog yesterday (cha-ching!). I've signed up through a Meet up group to go on a "haunted Fort Collins" / Fort Collins history walk downtown this week. I'm intrigued. My neighbor invited me over to their tapas party on Saturday, and I've got a single parent group pot luck on Friday. Whew!

I finally rejoined the Native Plant Society, which is something I've been meaning to do. They are pretty active in learning about plants and in conservation. The president emailed me, saying the annual meeting was coming up and she wanted to talk to me about the plant I studied because it was going to be discussed at the meeting. Cool! It's like being a plant celebrity ;-)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Weekend To-Doodles

I finally got the van back yesterday. I dislike having to rely on the shop to give me rides, so with the van, I've ridden my bike down to get the van so I could do it when it fit my schedule. Yesterday, though, it was raining, so I called for a ride. I waited for an hour, which made me annoyed, especially when I thought of how much I could have gotten done in that hour. I did end up, because I figured it would be "any time now", standing in front of my front window with my banjo, practicing while I waited. It's a different deal to stand and play, versus sitting as I normally do, so it was good practice.

Anyway, the van is back, I'll go online today and update the registration now that it has passed emissions testing and get it ready for sale. I was out with a friend last night who asked, "So, do you feel an emotional attachment to this vehicle?" And I jokingly said, "Not anymore!". But I do, a bit. For what it symbolizes. But it's time to find it a new home. I need to clean out all our camping stuff that lives in there, get it washed and wax it as well.

So this friend I was with last night is someone I had dated briefly a year or so ago. I had a good time. We knew enough about each other that we could ask about family and work and stuff. But it's not physical. He's just off of a relationship, and I'm not going there again (there meaning trying to be in a relationship with someone who is unavailable). But this works. Try as I might, I don't like going to places by myself, especially bars. We listened to live jazz and had a couple of drinks and it's nice to know someone I can call up to do that kind of thing.

Lots of housework awaits this weekend. It's funny, I never have time during the week for this stuff, and then the weekend hits and I want to have fun, play banjo, knit and spend time with Mr W (not necessarily in that order). But I've hit the wall in terms of the place being too cluttered and dusty for my comfort, so it must be done. I'd like to get a couple of yard things done as well.

But I told Mr W we could drive down to Denver, park the car somewhere and ride the light rail, and he's excited about that. Still a train lover, despite disavowing any knowledge of his passion for Thomas the Tank engine years ago. There's also (yet another) festival type thing called the Sustainable Living Fair that we'll try to go to, that has booths, activities and music.

It's shaping up to be a good one.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Glorious sleep - sometimes

 When I went through the period from March through the middle of July this year thinking I was going to lose my job, I had trouble sleeping. Not surprising, I think that anxiety over what's going on in our lives keeps a lot of us from getting the rest we need. Then I ended up getting my contract renewed for another year, and that was a huge relief.

I tried what I called a sleep experiment, which I didn't say at the time, but consisted of me taking the sleep meds my doctor prescribed for four days in a row. I think that did help a bit, as I felt like I was sort of in a habit of waking up at 2:30 and staying up for an hour. In the end, I do think that helped reset my clock.

However, it hasn't been until I've taken my profile offline and taken a break from online dating (Again. I know, but one of these days I'm going to show up here with good news, I promise) that good sleep has found its way back to me. I've also had a couple of instances where I'm aware that I'm dreaming, which is unusual for me. This morning, when the alarm went off, I had been dreaming I was in a room with some people, thought of my brother J, and there he was. I said something like, "let's see if we can get something else to show up, but nothing scary, OK?" I thought about an ice cream sundae (you see where my priorities are). And all of the sudden, there was a glob of whipped cream on the clock radio. The alarm went off shortly after.

The last two nights have felt good and normal in terms of sleep, and I feel relieved about it, but also a little peeved that I haven't been able to harness the peace of mind I need to sleep well when times aren't as good. I think I still need to learn to meditate, or do something that I can get some practice clearing my mind for short periods of time.

I'm really thankful to be in this spot. Prince Charming, you'll know me by the big happy grin on my face.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


I am so ready to get the van sold and get on with things. It's been a month-long process of getting it repaired and able to pass emissions testing. I am supposed to have it back today, and I shudder a bit to ponder how much it's going to cost, but it is what it is.

I'm a little wary of selling it on Craigslist, but it's easy enough to show the van in a public parking lot instead of at my house, so I'll pick a public place. I hope I can get what the mechanic and I have agreed it's worth. I'm a few thousand dollars past getting back what I put into it, but that's OK. It's going to make someone who knows a thing or two about fixing things very happy.

I will miss having a second car that is capable of hauling things, but that's not worth the expense of this one. It sure has been fun to camp, but I don't feel like camping by myself at this point in time, and Mr W and I can do tents if necessary. His dad has a van as well, so he won't miss out.

In other news, I made peach jam on Sunday. I put ginger and cinnamon in it and it is fantastic!! Really good. The spices enhanced the peach flavor instead of tasting like themselves - it is so yummy. And a lot of work. I made two batches, and one would be fine. This way, I'll have a few Christmas gifts (if I can bear to part with them). I'm still waiting for enough tomatoes to really make a push with canning tomato sauce. I might just buy some at the farmers market this weekend and go that route. We could get  frost any time in the coming weeks, although it won't be cold for a while.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

What got me

There have been as many remembrances of 9/11 for the taking as anyone could possibly consume today. I had to turn NPR off at one point because they had taken yet another angle on it and I was getting fatigued.

I went to church today, and I knew the minister would have something relevant to offer up. I can't remember if I've been moved to tears at other churches I've attended, but the minister at my church now knows how to drive the point home, and there have been several occasions where I've cried a bit, I was so moved by his words.

What got me today is when he showed a book called something like, "The sounds of 9/11". And he said this: that when the people who were on the hijacked planes knew they were going to die, and they called their families, they didn't talk about retribution. They didn't talk about getting the people that did this to them.

No, they wanted to tell their families that they loved them. If they had to say goodbye, they wanted their spouses, kids, parents, etc. to hear it one last time.

When the chips are down, the most important thing is love. Oops, gotta get a tissue.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Once again

It"s been an elsewhere kind of week. Trying to plan for things that are coming up, lots of time in front of the computer. The computer stuff shook out with success. I know a tiny bit about this program and wanted to use it to analyze data for a paper that I'm writing. It uses the geographic coordinates of each site and compares it with the genetic data to group the populations into groups, if that makes sense. It was all well and good to start, except that it put three populations on the wrong side of the state, and that took a few days fiddling to figure out how to kind of fool the program into putting the populations where they needed to be. I am glad that my boss is OK with me spending that kind of time on something, especially if, as in this case, we'll use the program in the future.

After going out for coffee with yet another person from the online dating site, I am officially taking a break. I was just about to when it seemed he and I might hit it off, but there was no spark. Perfectly nice, just not what each other is looking for. Can one tell this in one two-hour coffee date? I think so. I know so. It's funny, I picked the place, and the same thing happened the last time I went for a first meeting at this place. The guy was a great match on paper, but wasn't interested.

And I've been mulling over past connections as well. To what end, I'm not sure. I looked up someone I had gone out with a few times and we ended it as friends, and I think he'll be someone that I can call up to go see live music or hang out with, with no expectations of taking it anywhere else. I got a call from another past relationship person, who was going through a painful breakup with someone they truly cared about. I don't know if we do this more when it's someone whose well-being we care about, but when the conversation was done, the feeling of being able to step back because this wasn't actually my problem was a huge relief. And yet another past brief relationship person has been all over FB this week, as he whoops it up on vacation.

And 9-11, who hasn't been thinking of 9-11? I get sucked into the pictures and the stories of the heroes, and get so depressed about where the country has gone from there. Depressed that it takes a tragedy to bring out the best in us. The partisanship in Washington is so repulsive to me when so many people only want to work and earn a decent wage to feed their families. There is an interfaith remembrance tomorrow afternoon, and I think I will attend to get a reminder that people are doing good work.

And today's going to be a busy day! Mr W's got a party in the afternoon, we're going to a picnic, and I won tickets to the Historic Homes tour for knowing why they built the streets so wide in my part of town. Why, you ask? To be able to turn around a wagon and a team of horses, of courses.

And, I started knitting my Lanesplitter. It is going to be a pretty fast knit, and I'm excited about it.

OK, thanks for reading through these rambles. I'm looking forward to heading back to the present for a while.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Look Ma!

No cavities. This likely seems like a real non-news item to put in a blog, but I'm doing it anyway. Went to the dentist for my twice-a-year visit and everything was fine. They even checked my pockets - the ones between my teeth and gums that is, and those were good as well.

There was a time, I was telling Mr W over dinner last night, when just about every visit to the dentist meant they'd find a cavity. That's my recollection, anyway. It seems like my dental woes didn't stabilize until well into adulthood. So to be told that everything looked good was one of those simple yet profound things that it seems I should ponder just a bit and be appreciative of.

There are enough little day to day things that need my time and mental energy that to not have to throw "get filling replaced" or something similar onto the pile is a good thing indeed.

And speaking of little day to day things, I hurt my back. Kind of hurt it once, it was feeling better, and I hurt it again. It's fine when I'm sitting, but I can't stand or walk for very long at the moment. Yesterday at the dog park I was leaning over to stretch it out every few minutes and probably looked like I was either getting sick or looking for a lost contact. Oh well. I'm doing stretching exercises and taking Aleve, so it will get better in a few days.

Sunday, September 4, 2011


Yesterday was busy and eventful. I volunteered at the Tour de Fat bicycle parade in the morning. That's me in my goofy costume. Hey, no one should take themselves too seriously, right? And my get-up was totally boring compared to many of the participants. If I had a dollar for every guy in drag that was there, well I'd be a rich woman... I went through the crowd and had people sign a waiver to participate, and also hit them up for donations to the bicycle non-profit that was the beneficiary of the event. People were pretty generous, and I had a good time.

Then, I went out to dinner with someone I met online and had spoke to a few times on the phone. He was nice enough, but lives an hour away and I need to be able to see my guy more than twice a month. (My parenting schedule gives me every other weekend free.) I told him this at the end of the evening, and feel it was the right decision. It's still a bummer to back away when the other person wants to proceed.

When we were at dinner, I saw my neighbor who lives across the street from me. I was pleased when he bought and renovated the house, because it had been a rental with three creepy guys for a couple of years. Whenever I was in my yard, I felt like I was being watched. I haven't spoken much with the neighbor, mostly waved and said hi. He's retired, probably in his 70's. To my astonishment, he made a pass at me. Held his hand out as if he wanted to shake it, and then didn't let go, but held it to his chest. I suppose he was drunk, but I couldn't believe it.

When I got home, I saw that the van had received a parking ticket for expired plates! My city's zealous parking services department, out there making sure no one parks goofy for the Tour de Fat. Yeesh. It didn't pass emissions, so I couldn't renew the tags, the mechanics can't get to it until Tuesday, blah blah blah. Another small problem, but I'll be glad when it's fixed and I can sell it.

The weather has turned delightfully cooler. Almost sweater weather, comparatively. I need to paint my fence, and will enjoy poking around outside today, I believe.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Excuses to be grateful

I went to Mr W's parent information night last night at his school. It started with a sincere and enthusiastic thank you from the principal, for us voters approving two ballot measures last year that have put the school district on solid footing for a while. She remarked how the 5th graders will each get the use of a netbook computer, and I thought that was pretty swell. It was a good reminder of another reason that I love living here.

As she spoke, I looked around the room and saw a woman dabbing at her eye, as though her eye was watering of its own accord. That happens to me sometimes in the winter, and it's an inconvenience and a bit uncomfortable. Chalk up another one for being grateful I wasn't experiencing that little malady. Then I saw the mom of a classmate of Mr W's, who is obviously undergoing chemo (headscarf, no eyebrows...) and I thought back to when my sister was sick and how neighbors making dinners for them (for about 18 months) was a big help. I asked if they needed meals and she said no, but maybe that wasn't quite the right way to do it. We're not close, but I'd like to help if I could. They're just up the street.

As an aside, I had an idea. When someone undergoes chemo, as part of the process, someone prints up a set of business cards. Somewhere along the line (again, as part of the process) there is some kind of online registry to set up support for the person, and the cards are advertising. Rides, meals, housecleaning, etc. Then, when someone like me fumbles up to someone and goes, "can I help?", instead of feeling weird about it, with our culture of self-reliance, and not wanting to be perceived as weak or needy, I would get a card. I log in, and then sign up for something. There's probably something like that, but dammit, people want to help and it's hard to figure out what to do sometimes.

The last one was that a mom asked about how the school was going to handle medications for the kids when they go on this fabulous three day field trip up in the mountains. I know that her son takes daily injections, and I got poinked again by a little feeling that said, "See? There's yet another thing that you don't have deal with."

One stop shopping for reminders to be grateful.