Monday, April 29, 2013

Post and run

I was in Las Vegas over the long weekend, celebrating my sister in law's 50th birthday. There were about 20 of us there - how cool is that? We tried to make the most of it. We gambled some, did a good bit of walking, ate fabulous food, drank champagne (!) and generally had a fabulous time. 

The above is a picture of the the Dale Chihuly installation on the ceiling of the lobby at the Bellagio. The lighting was funky, and it looked dark in person, too. Each "plate" is about a foot or two across. His work is really fantastic if you haven't checked it out, the link above shows more. 

I've got a ton of stuff to do to catch up, but we had a great time and it's been a while since I posted, so I though I'd check in.   

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Want to play a game?

We had a good day yesterday. The Denver science museum has an ice age exhibit that I wanted to see. I thought it was well done. They had a mix of fossils and these resin/carved/plastic beast recreation like the scary bear shown below. I love it when Mr W plays along.

Later, we went to a party to celebrate a couple (who are a couple) of dog park friends who had a few life events to celebrate. It was fun, and there was a mix of people there. On my way out the door, I grabbed a game called Timeline and brought it with us. It's a card game where each person (flexible numbers can play) gets 4-6 cards. Each card has an event on it and you try to place the event in the proper place on the timeline that begins with the top card from the deck. 

I played once, and then there were people playing it the ENTIRE time we were there. How cool is that? I'm going to invest in a couple more games like that and bring them to events like this from now on. I talked to people I would probably not have talked to, and people had fun. By golly, it was even educational. Win-win!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Almost finished brooches

The nice lady who ordered a bunch of brooches has given me good info as to what color combinations she likes, and we're just about done with her order. Here are the almost-finished (need to glue on the back) ones. I love making these. I've come to the conclusion that one of the appealing things is being able to assemble something new by selecting unique combinations of parts.

I think Mr W and I will take a ride in the new car today. Happy Saturday!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

We pause in this week's news to bring you this

Good gravy, it's been a week full of challenges and tragedies.

I could use a cute dog picture about now.

Stealth Doodle.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

I don't want to seem ungrateful

But I am tired of shoveling!! My back hurts. My arms hurt. I think we've gotten close to two feet of snow since Monday night. We got sent home early Monday, had a late start yesterday, and got sent home early today. That's all good stuff, but the shoveling has been a drag.

Here's my recycle bin sometime Monday (I think. It's all running together).

For those of you who asked for a picture of my new car, it's there in the front of the picture. I guess I'll wait a bit to take a better photo of it. 

I'm always paranoid about not being able to get out of the alley, so I shovel out the apron where the alley meets the street because when the plows go by, they push a little wall of snow across it. Today I also shoveled out part of the alley where I would have to back up to get out. The snow is heavy! 

But we really need the precipitation, so I'll try to remember that this is a good thing. Now I'm going to swallow some Advil.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


It will be another out of sorts day. The bombings at the Boston Marathon yesterday coupled with a bunch of snow make me a little anxious. This quote from Fred Rogers has been making the rounds on Facebook:

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping." To this day, especially in times of "disaster," I remember my mother's words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.”

It helps me some to think that this is the way that we really are. That if something bad happens our instinct is to help. We as a society think this is the right thing to do. We probably don't even think, we just do it. 

One thing I'm trying to do, with limited success, is to NOT tune in for the continuous coverage. The speculation, the hypotheses, the leads. I think this is good for my mental health in that it keeps me from re-experiencing the shock and disbelief over and over again. 

And we finally got a big dump of snow. About a foot or so. Yesterday it was very heavy, but overnight it was fluffier, so it won't be as much work to shovel. Schools are on a two-hour delay, and work takes its cue from the schools, so we are also on a delay. This seems petty in comparison, but I have an irrational fear that someone is going to hit my new car. It handles well in the snow, but there are plenty of people who drive like they think their all-wheel drive car makes them invincible and able to stop on a dime. 

While I'm at it, I think the tree in my yard is pushing the garage into my house. Again. I have a large fir tree in the corner of my property, behind the garage, and its trunk is very close to the roof of the garage. I had to get the roof of the garage trimmed away from the trunk a few years ago because the trunk of the tree was pushing the garage into the house. There is a tiny bit of room (an inch or two) there because of roof overhangs and Mr W's room expansion. There is a solution, and I will find it.

So the juxtaposition of another national tragedy and weather anxiety makes me feel a little goofy today. It was hard to concentrate yesterday, and I'm glad I've got a bunch of data processing stuff to do today that is pretty mindless.

Tomorrow will be better.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Auto Emeritus

Well, after 18 years of loyal service, I have retired my 1995 Civic and purchased a new car. Meet C:

I don't have the heart to get rid of the Civic yet, and it is relegated to the dog's car at the moment. It's not worth anything, but might make a good beater car for Mr W. That phase is only four years away. We'll see. There's plenty of parking on the street outside my house, and it is cheap to keep the Civic. I'm designating the Civic "auto emeritus", like a retired college professor who still hangs around. 

C is a Prius C. The baby Prius. It's subcompact, so about the size of a Honda Fit, which was my other choice, except the Fit just didn't deliver in the gas mileage department. I mean, a small car should get 35-40 miles per gallon, in my opinion, and the fit gets a yawning 30 mpg combined. 

They had two of the trim line (there's four levels) I wanted. I chose this blue color, "Summer Rain Metallic". Cars have come a long way in 18 years in terms of technology. My Civic has airbags, and the SRS light on the dashboard always comes on when I start the car, but after 18 years, who knows if they work or now. C has a bunch of airbags, and that makes me feel safer. 

Here's part of the sticker:

I like that the fuel savings over five years really eats into the price difference between a hybrid and a gasoline engine only car (which was about $3K for what I was looking at). On the down side, it is a little smaller than my Civic. It is a small car. But it has enough room for our stuff if I want to take Mr W and the dog on a road trip. 

I also like how there's all these readouts and calculations that the car's computer does, and one can scroll through the different screens to see information about gas mileage in real time. It also provides feedback as one drives, which I think really does train the driver to get the best gas mileage possible. The key is to drive like a person who is not in any kind of hurry. Avoiding punching the accelerator and then leaving plenty of time to stop (which charges the battery) look to be the way to go. 

We're getting snow right now. Fingers crossed that I don't get in an accident! 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

A funny thing happened

I believe I have crossed some kind of threshold in the dating department. After talking with two friends in the last couple of weeks that signed up for online dating, I went ahead and bought a month's subscription for myself. A month is about all I can stand at a time.

It's been a year and a half since I have been on a date (!) and in that time I have done a lot of stuff. Made/making new friends, I really feel like I have good solid social connections that are from a variety of my interests. But no sparks with anyone I've met.

I've felt the desire to get this part of my life settled (that's the term I use in my head) for a while now. Almost to the point where it's become this thing that I'm almost convinced will never happen, so I've gone ahead (as I should) and went on with my life. By golly, I like my life.

Anyway, so the threshold is that I got an email from someone who I had considered emailing back, but in the end had a funny feeling about him, so I didn't. I had this sense of "geez, I might actually have to go and meet some of these people". And that was followed by a feeling of "well, I don't have to, things are pretty good right now as they are". It's hard to describe. I'm less desperate, I guess. Still, I wish I'd cross paths with the guy already.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Sad face

We were supposed to get yet another big storm coming through last night and we got...a dusting. The roads are dry. There's supposed to be 3-5" possible today, but we'll see how that goes. It won't be a problem to get to where we need to go this morning. Grumble, grumble.

I was hoping for a snow day. Not for my own selfish purposes, of course. We're in drought conditions here and it would have helped to get a big dump of snow. And I feel bad for my kid too, who was looking forward to a day off. Now we both *sniff* have to carry on.

Seriously, though, this is the third 'major' storm that has come around in the last month that we've gotten storm warnings about and has subsequently fizzled. Not sure if we are now in the Colorado banana belt or what, but it's a little weird.

I had visions of shoveling snow from the alley and walks onto my garden for the free water. Too bad.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

The Muskie Tank

I don't know if it's a sign of anything in particular, but a few times lately when I've been concentrating on something, usually at work, I get a little random memory pulse. Usually associated with good memories, and if not good then neutral.

I should write them down, as they seem to go as quickly as they come. It seems like a new kind of thing, and it's happened maybe a half-dozen times in the last couple of weeks.

Yesterday, it was the muskie tank at the fish hatchery in western PA. Let me back up a bit. As a kid, my parents had a small cottage that we shared with my aunt and uncle. We'd go there during the summer, and the adults would do a lot of fishing and we kids would roam the fields and forests and swim and it was fun. time. I remember spending time in the little streams flipping rocks to find crayfish, and trying to tag along with my sister, who was too cool for that kind of thing.

We'd go on occasional field trips, including to one of the state's fish hatcheries. They had (have) an educational center with the aforementioned tank, and also a spot outside where the vast numbers of carp gather and people feed them with stale bread. I have no idea if they still sell bread onsite anymore (it can't be good for them), but in the 1970's they did.

We have a family memory where my dad was bending over the fence to retrieve a piece of bread that landed far enough away that even the most ambitious carp would not get it, and in doing so a pair of dice fell out of his pocket. We watched in fascinated horror/delight as they tumbled down the incline and were promptly swallowed by the carp.

The tank has windows for viewing, so one can go downstairs and look up and see the fish. One of the fish there are/were Muskellunge (Esox masquinogy). They are big, and in the pike family. I remember thinking that if these fish were in the water where I was swimming, I might think twice about that activity, but I was assured that they preferred the deeper water and I was unlikely to encounter one.

So the memory flash was me looking through one of the windows and into the green water to see the fish. Funny how that has now cascaded into the dice story, and I do believe I'll give my dad a call today to see how he's doing. As I recalled the dice story in bed this morning, I smiled.

Image from here.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The anticipation

I've been pretty good about going to my spinning class. It's twice a week, and unless I have a meeting for something I volunteer for, I get there. My reward for going to spin class is that the next morning, I don't have to do the reasonable amount (IMO) of sit ups, push ups and planking I do other days.

Have you done planks? There's a picture of one below.

It's good for your core and it's got this funny mental thing about it for me that if I can distract myself, I can go for longer periods of time. I've worked up to 90 seconds at home, and we've been recently increasing the amount of time that we do it in class.

I'm pretty sure that if I didn't do planks regularly at home, there'd be no way I could keep up in class. Well, someone thought we should try a two-minute plank, so we did and it was hard. The next class, we did two minutes, 15 seconds and it was really hard, but some of us (me included) did it. We had a substitute teacher (who is one of the long time students in the class) so our regular instructor wasn't there.

Fast forward to yesterday's class, where our regular instructor is there, and we're not sure if the sub has told her that we did the crazy long plank. I admit I was a little anxious, because our instructor is pretty competitive, and I thought she'd have us try for an extra 15 seconds. So we get done with the spinning part of the class, and then do our floor work with weights and mats, and there's no plank. I think, "She's being especially crafty and saving it for last when our muscles are tired from hoisting these hand weights". Nope. She gets to the end, and says, "That's all I got."

It was funny how I was sort of dreading having to do the long plank, and then disappointed that we didn't get to try. Perhaps next time.

Image from here.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Something springlike

I don't think it's going to get us out of our drought conditions, but we've had some precipitation lately and it's been very welcome. I even went outside the last two days and the world smelled like wet earth, which is a sensation we get precious little of here in Colorado. 

The picture is from over the weekend, where it had rained that night, and then temps dipped below freezing. You can see how temporary the situation is. The bottom of the picture shows the feathery frost patterns already melting where it's warming up. So pretty.

Things are good. There's plenty to do (as always). The woman who wants me to make a bunch of polymer clay brooches for her likes what I've done so far on the new order. That's a good thing, because it was sort of what I was doing naturally and I liked the outcomes, so it's a win-win.

I bought a bunch of carpet samples from Home Depot and am going to try to tape together a pattern to make a rug for my basement. They had a stack of them marketed ostensibly as "anywhere mats" for cars and stuff. I would not put carpeted mats in my car, but that's just me. Anyway, I'll take pictures of the process, but need to wash the floor down there before I begin, so it might not happen until this weekend. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Reasonable Saturday reasonably interrupted

My otherwise solid plan of "getting things done" on Saturday was interrupted by a request to go to the zoo, so that's what we did. I am ambivalent about zoos in the truest sense of that word, but we did see some cool stuff. The weather was perfect for it, too. Mostly overcast, a bit breezy, and temps in the 60's. 

There will be time this weekend to pull up carpet and install the vinyl tile. Looks like it's going to be warm, so I might be able to update my irrigation this week, too.