Saturday, April 30, 2011

I was probably tempting fate by using the computer

Well, THAT sucked. 

I do not want to cause you any anxiety.  Anxiety leads to stress leads to health issues.  So I will skip straight to the end and tell you that everything turned out okay.  As far as I know.

Last night I started feeling horrible.  Like, Lyme-disease-coming-on horrible.  I curled up in a ball on the bed and felt sorry for myself.  JD felt sorry for me too, also.

Eventually I put on my big girl pants (technically I took my pants off, but metaphorically I put them on) and got ready for bed.  I think I slept pretty well.  I definitely slept late.  I don't know when JD got up.  I was surprised to look over and find him not in bed.

So I'm lying there and I smell smoke.  I smell burning.  I say "JD?" because if he's cooking then he can handle it.  But I hear no answer, so I pull on my robe and stumble downstairs to find out what's on fire.  I am half hoping that JD has burned pancakes, because then I can have pancakes.  When I get to the kitchen there is no fire, and also there are no pancakes.  There is an empty frying pan in which JD had toasted some oats.

Still foggy, I pour a bowl of cereal for myself.  JD comes upstairs and tells me that his ridiculous company has to have financial paperwork from me or he will lose his job.  Paperwork for stuff that happened years ago.  Years in which I was not even DATING JD and had no idea that some official of the company of my future husband would demand to see my paperwork.  I object on the grounds that that is insane, and we get into our first argument of the day.  Mild stomping ensues.  Also frowning.

I am still eating my cereal, and as I gradually become more aware I realize that I feel pretty shitty.  I check my temperature.  99.7, which for this time of day is fairly high for me.  Also, my back aches.  And my head.  Huh. That's weird.

All four of the cats start hopping up on my lap, one after the other.  I throw one on the floor and then another teleports into my lap.  I am having difficulty taking vitamins or seeing the computer due to cat overload.

I decide to move some of the funds from my ebay sales out of paypal and into my bank account.  I ask JD if he has moved the one sale that went to his paypal account over to my bank account, and thus starts the second argument of the day.   Eventually we determine that I don't have access to accounts he thought I had access to, which means I am not being completely unreasonable.  While we are talking money, I try to look up my 401k information.  I realize that I have forgotten my password, and possibly I lied to them about my mother's maiden name because I can't answer the security question to get back in.  And their support line is closed on weekends.  And they have locked my account because I'm obviously trying to hack in.

A cat tries to jump up on my lap, but the previous cat hasn't left yet.  There isn't enough room.  I try to pick up second cat but he loses his cool and sinks in all his claws into my thigh, and then starts falling down.  He leaves four paws worth of gashes in my leg.  I scream and start bleeding.  All the cats leave the vicinity.  JD finds me a 2-year-expired tube of Neosporin.  I smear it on and wait for the bleeding to stop.

At this point I am seriously considering going back to bed and trying again tomorrow.

Also, I realize that maybe I am sick.  Fever, aches, irritability, incompetence.. it all adds up.  Having made a decision ("I'm sick!") has the strange and unexpected effect of making me feel little better.  JD finds me walking toward the front of the house, looking wretched.  He walks me up one step of the stairs and then turns me around so I can have a comfortable hug.  (It is hard to hug properly when you have a foot of height difference between you.  It causes neck strain. Standing one stair up helps a lot.)  This also makes me feel better.

I decide that just having eaten breakfast should not stop me from eating lunch, as it is suddenly noon.  First I have pringles and onion dip, because I feel rebellious and also a little pitiful.  It is not as deadly as it could be because the dip is made from yogurt, not sour cream.  Nevertheless I feel a strong sense of devil-may-care.  I can do whatever I want!  Which includes eating potato chips and dip for lunch.

However after that I make actual lunch, which involves two veggies and a meat.  Magically I start feeling better.  I think that last batch of spinach that JD bought is really potent.

I really need to get ready for my upcoming backpacking trip so I start getting my food together.  I am much more methodical than usual.  I count up meals, number them, write down what each will be, and make a shopping list.  The only fresh items I need to put in are tortillas, sprouts, and a little cheese.  I weigh my food.  Adding in the tortillas and cheese (sprouts are almost weightless) I'll have twelve pounds of food.  Oof.  But that's about two pounds a day, which is what most people figure you need.  I have probably overpacked.. I usually do. 

Doing something purposeful has given me more energy and determination.  Next I measure out and bag up all the vitamins and supplements I will need for the trip.  Then I go in search of a tent I mean to sell:  

Sitting halfway back, I can extend my arms almost all the way over my head. Palatial!

Is it just me or does it have the look of an angry hog?
Seriously this is an angry tent.  Do not piss it off.

Putting it up, taking photos, and taking it back down take a good long while.  I'm doing all sorts of bending and my back actually feels pretty good.

While JD fixes dinner (I know!  I *just* ate spinach!) I put the tent up for sale on ebay.  It's a pretty nice tent, but I used it only once in the winter and then realized that winter camping is not for me.  Maybe somebody more manly than me will get good use out of it.

After dinner I put a bunch more things up for sale.  The gear room is slowly but surely being cleared out.  I look forward to putting things I actually use onto the shelves, instead of things I purchased, tried once, and stowed (apparently forever.  Until now.)

And then ten minutes ago I looked up and realized I had spent all evening weighing things and writing descriptions and now it's time for bed.  And I feel pretty good.  I don't think I'm feverish anymore, and I don't hurt all over, and also I don't want to cry. 

That's as close as I'm going to get to a happy ending on a day that started like today did.
 

Friday, April 29, 2011

This post possibly approved by Dori. I can't be sure.

Man alive I'm tired tonight.  Why I gotta work for a living?

The state department returned my passport to me unchanged.  They lost my photos.  So today JD and I stopped and got more pictures taken, and I'm going to try it again.  Surely they want my money?  If it doesn't work this time I may just decide to stay here.  Machu Picchu can't be that great can it?  Or Stonehenge?  Nah..

I'm wearing my writing hat and the cat is giving me the funniest look.

At this point I can't imagine how I would do Run Amuck tomorrow if my back didn't hurt.  Since I'm currently in a brace and avoiding all things strenuous, it's a moot point.  But if I were running tomorrow I would be pretty worried at the moment.  That, or I'd be asleep.  We were going to get up at oh dark thirty to get there in time.  And that was before I found out my run was at 9:30, not 10.  Instead, tomorrow I hope to get mostly packed up for my trip next weekend.

I'm making a list (which, now that I think about it, I've left at work) of things I need to do or find or pack before I go.  It's getting to be quite the extensive list.  For instance, I needed to buy some more permethrin (check - ordered using my iphone browser today), spray my clothes with it, okay first wash my clothes and then spray them, and let them dry before I touch them.  The point of the permethrin is to bring unpleasant death to ticks and other biting things, preferably before they get their teensy little fangs into me.  Three times with Lyme is plenty, thanks.

I need to figure out my food for six days, as well.  It needs to be fairly compact food so I can actually fit it in my pack.  I normally have shorter sections than that.  Of course, I'll be doing the hundred mile wilderness in a few months so I guess this is good practice in overstuffing the backpack.  I can probably underpack a bit for the first few days because it always takes a while to get the appetite going.  I guess I have a fear of hunger (or hypoglycemia) because I *always* pack too much food.  Well, always except that one trip where I halved everything, including my bagel, and ended up eating some of DeLee's food.  Fortunately she packed too much.  :)

However at the moment that all seems like a lot of trouble to go to.  I'm going to go numb my brain with some TV.  Night all!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

How bad weather might affect the future of the AT

That was some storm, wasn't it?  Hundreds dead, brick buildings demolished down to the ground, trees snapped like so many toothpicks?  Some of the photos I've seen looked remarkably like the damage done by tsunamis.  I guess catastrophic is catastrophic no matter where you are. 

I have friends and loved ones way too close to the path of devastation.  I might get to see some of it, too.  In a week I'm driving down to southern Virginia to hike for a week, and I'll be going right by some of the damaged areas.  Of course with the way tornados skip around I could walk half a mile from the track and not know it.

It got me to thinking.  I've been assuming that the violent weather is part of the global warming trend.  The models predict more violent and extreme weather.  If that's the case, life is about to get very interesting (and scary) in a lot of places.  We should find out in a year or two if this year is a fluke or part of a trend.  If it's a trend, some of things I love to do best, which involve being outdoors, are not going to be so easy or fun to pursue. 

One thing I'm talking about, of course, is hiking the Appalachian Trail.  (Though the horseback riding will also be problematic.  I can probably get around that by moving the horse to somewhere with an indoor arena, if tornadoes don't take out all the arenas..) If we get more wet and wild weather, there are several consequences that will make thruhikes much more difficult.

1) 2000 miles of slippery rocks, roots, and mud.  Slips and falls, already a problem in intermittent wet weather, will become even more of a problem in constant wet weather.  I shudder to think about trying to hike some sections in the rain.
2) With more rain comes more vegetation.  It will be hard for the volunteer maintainers to keep the footpath open, even with hundreds or thousands of feet helping kill off anything growing in the middle of the path.
3) Rain is hard on hikers in so many ways.  Your feet shred, you get hypothermia more easily, everything gets heavier as it gets damper, paper and electronics are damaged, food doesn't keep as well, and spirits wither.  Plus, no views.
4) More uprooted trees means more obstructions to the path.  There are so few maintenance volunteers compared to the mileage that has to be maintained that it can take a long time to get big trees off the path in a regular year where there aren't many blowdowns.  It seems obvious that more blowdowns caused by worse weather means it will take even longer.  Regularly bad weather means trees and branches falling all the time, not just during winter.  Shelters will likely take on more damage too.  Most of them are near trees.
5) Wet ickiness aside, the chances of being killed by violent weather (tornadoes and lightning mostly, but also drowning at fords) will go up.

If these things should come to pass, it will take a different, more determined breed of hiker to thruhike the Appalachian Trail.  The safe hiking season might become shorter or even nonexistent in places with mud problems.  They already ask you not to hike in parts of New England during mud season.  If mud season is all year round, then what?

While I hope this year is an aberration (there have been rainy years before, and there will be again), it fits too well with the predictions for me to be comfortable thinking that.  Every time I consider the future and try to project what things might look like in 20 to 50 years, I scare myself. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I'm sure this butt corset is going to be all the rage now

My day started abruptly at 6 am.  I heard a noise and opened my eyes to see a naked man in my bedroom.  Of course I asked him what he was doing there.  He said he was taking a sick day.  Ah.  I prepared to return to sleep, as my alarm wasn't set to go off until 7.

However, naked guy asked if I could drive up to the car dealership with him and then bring him home before I went to work.  I said "Sure, but I'm going back to sleep first."  Unfortunately, my brain started getting all mathy on me and I slowly realized that I didn't have time to sleep until 7, eat breakfast, get ready for work, drive to the car dealership, drive home, and then drive to the chiropractor's office by 8:30.  So I got up.

While I was downing my kibbles and bits (I like the kibbles better) my no longer naked husband came into the dining room and said that instead of driving back with me, he would get a ride to the metro.  Suddenly all the urgency left my morning.  I was up nearly an hour early, and I had some leisure.  So, I ate a banana.  As one does.

I also no longer needed to drive him up there after work, so my day suddenly looked a lot less stressful.  It was a topsy turvy twenty minutes.

I meandered out the door and drove to the chiropractor's office.  My back had ramped up the pain overnight.  I'm pretty sure it's just my "mild degenerative disk disease" because I haven't done anything to make it worse.  Right now, per my doc, I'm not to ride, do yoga, or basically have any fun.  I'm allowed to do a little gentle walking.  I'm wearing a super sexy sacroiliac brace to try to stabilize my lower back:

Are you stunned by my fashion sense?

Or the fact that I'm willing to take pictures in the women's bathroom?
It also works well to hold an icepack on my back.

There turned out to be "tornadic thunderstorms" directly over the horse farm tonight, so I guess the riding wasn't happening anyway.  I hope all the horses are okay.  And Liza.  She lives right near there.

So, tomorrow no yoga.  Saturday no Run Amuck.  I suddenly have oodles of time to get ready for my backpacking trip, assuming I don't waste it all surfing the web and blogging.  Note how I'm just assuming there will be a backpacking trip.  I think this is a sound assumption, based on the fact that strapping on my backpack is very much like wearing a full torso brace.  I may not be able to get up and down from the ground, but by golly I can carry a backpack.

Now I'm going to go spiff up the Wintec and get it ready to go out the door, because the auction FINALLY ENDED and could I be happier to see that giant box leave the sunroom?  Unfortunately it will be replaced by another giant box, but that should be leaving sometime next week and then we will have only medium and small size boxes taking up all the available room.  Which is an improvement I guess.

JD thinks I'm going to have to get another saddle, because I'll be down to one, and I'm keeping it at the barn.  So we are now short one saddle in the bedroom.  However I will also be taking the bedroom's saddle rack to the barn and now I have no idea I will hang my pajamas.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Now with extra pollen and secure authentication

I determined early on today that my back felt not.. quite.. right.  I went over to the chiropractor's shortly after they opened and she diagnosed me with a mild back strain.  I'm going back in the morning and will make further plans from there.  For right now, horseback riding is off the table.  Not that horseback riding is inherently bad for my back, it's just that this particular horse is a wee bit unpredictable.  I can't afford to wrench my spine around at the moment.

If my back spasm hasn't resolved by Friday night, Run Amuck will also be off the table.  I told the doc about Run Amuck and my upcoming backpacking trip, which is why I'm going back to see the doc tomorrow instead of waiting.  We're going to try to get my back in functional condition by this weekend.  And it *has* to be better by next weekend.  A week of backpacking with a back already strained is not at the top of my list of fun things to do.

Doc prescribes the Cobra position to stretch.  We shall see.  Typically Cobra hurts in the same area where it hurts now.  Not a good hurt, either.

I was pleased that today's migration of our RSA server from one network to another went pretty well.  I have one remaining problem, which is that it doesn't seem to be starting all the correct processes at boot time.  I can't find where they were supposed to start, and I'm not convinced they were being started automatically before.  The machine had been up for 244 days before I moved it, which is about 90 days longer than I've been managing it.  So maybe the admins had been logging in and manually starting the processes.  It's a mystery.

Honestly I thought that by this point I would only be finished recovering the machine after it totally failed in transit due to motherboard failure or the like.  That sort of stuff happens when you don't have redundancy.  The machines just know.  They die when it's least convenient.  I was happily surprised when it booted at all.

After I eventually got home this evening (late, due to the aforementioned mystery), JD wandered into the sunroom to stow the catfood he had just purchased.  He stopped, stunned.  The cats had somehow exploded their Corelle bowl all over the room.   We spent a while sweeping up tiny little white shards of ceramic.  We wondered if the bowl had spread that far on its own or if the cats had played with it.

Going by their litterbox, which has a dome, I think it's clear that they played with the shards.  Either that or they've started pooping eggshells.
I don't know if this happened by you today, but everywhere I went there was oak pollen.  It fell all at once.  I'm amazed I didn't hear a "whoomp".  Actually, I lie.  It had to have fallen in two whoomps.

My steps this morning, pollinated
Steps this evening, now with extra pollen

Monday, April 25, 2011

Put appropriate zombie noises here

I really regret this weekend.  Once again it was one of those "fun while I was doing it" weekends.  Perhaps I should be grateful that for me that involves too much exercise and some overeating, rather than less legal alternatives.  I would guess many Monday morning regrets revolve around alcohol and skanky sex.

I was dumb all day today.  My muscles and joints ached, and my brain refused to start.  The dog had an anxiety attack during the night due to thunderstorms in the area, and that combined with a heavy meal (seven hours before, but still making its presence known) led to an unrestful night for me.  Once again, I will say that I don't know how parents do it.  One interrupted night has virtually turned me into a zombie.  I couldn't do years of that.

At lunch time I had Easter leftovers, not considering the massive calorie count involved.  Then my tummy got unhappy.  I decided to go home and feel sorry for myself in private, rather than annoying my coworkers by whining all afternoon.  The cats were happy to see me, at least.

I even got work done while telecommuting, so it turned out to be a good plan.

This evening I'm pondering Run Amuck.  I have no illusion that I might somehow win the thing.  I just hope they don't pull me off course for impeding the progress of other runners.  Also I hope I don't hurt myself.  I still don't have replacement jogging shoes (I took the new ones back - they weren't supporting my pronative tendencies properly) so I'm going to wear my old ones and hope that I can resuscitate them afterward.  And I sincerely hope that they have good food at the festival.  I know there will be a beer garden of some sort, but sysadmin does not live on beer alone.

Not this one anyway.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

I-I-I-I ate too moishe

Ow.

I ate so much.  I'm not even Christian.  Why do I eat so much at Easter Dinner?

I was doing really well until the desserts came out.  I apparently cannot resist the cookies.  I had some of the lemon tart, and some of the fruit tart, and then.. the cookies were looking at me.  I could resist the Cadbury eggs, and the cupcakes.  But not the cookies.

And here I am with a bellyache and only myself to blame.  Well, myself and Christine.  She makes a mean lasagna.  In some households this might not be traditional Easter food, but apparently in an Italian household, you eat lasagna.  There was ham too, and lamb for that matter, but I love me some lasagna.  And asparagus.  I don't care if it makes your pee funny, I love asparagus.

Anyway I did stuff other than eat, today.  Tara wanted to meet to ride, and shockingly I wasn't hurting from jogging or riding by this morning, so I went out to meet her.  And man, did it get hot.  Like, sweating, headaching, nauseating hot.  Hot enough that eventually when Pluto didn't want to trot, I didn't have the gumption to make him.  Tara decided to lead us on patterns through the arena and we did that for a while.  Cutting my brain out of the equation for a while helped.

I drank two liters of water after that and still felt kind of dehydrated.  My clothes were soaked through.  (I know, sexy.  Middle aged sysadmin wringing wet with sweat really does it for me too.)  For some reason our tap water is tasting soapy today so I've been drinking up our supply of sparkling water.  I hope the tap is unsoapy by tomorrow because I don't have much sparkling water left.

Oh, anyway, so the horse?  Before my attack of heat prostration hit, I asked him to do a bunch of figure eights at the trot, and I asked him to canter and keep cantering.  You could feel the shockwaves go through him when he realized I wanted him to keep going.  Eventually he kind of drifted into a trot, and then a walk.  I wore my horse out!  Sort of.  I at least made him less enthusiastic.

Maybe next time I'll actually remember the flavored snaffle bit I keep meaning to take out, and he'll like it, and I'll actually have some, like, steering.  And brakes.

In honor of Easter Dinner, please sing along with the "I ate too moishe" song.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Actual video proof of me riding

Wow, what a great day!  It had the potential to be awful, with bad weather and whatnot.  But it turned out beautifully.

Nasty weather on the radar spooked me out of riding in the morning, so I changed out of my breeches and into my spandex.  (And OH BTW, it just occurred to me THIS MORNING that Spandex is just "Expand" with the syllables reversed.  I am a little slow this millenium.  Also the last one.) I went out to Greenbelt park and did my slow jogging thing.  I figure I jogged about four miles, total.  (Slowly.  Like molasses on a cold day.  But it was jogging and it counts, okay?)  That's the farthest I've jogged since at least high school.  I can't remember how far I ran when I did cross country practice.  (Also slowly.  I was not a star of the team.)  I carried rain gear the whole way but it didn't rain.  Should have carried a water bottle.  I soaked through all of my clothing with sweat.

When I got home, I ate some lunch, and then I gathered up JD to come out to the farm with me.  He brought his camera:


I used to have a mug with the caption "Never a bride, always a groom"

Me and my giant bottom cleaning the horse


Pluto was not thrilled to be ridden alone.  Usually his pal Timber is there.  This time not only wasn't Timber there, but it was windy, there was a loud radio, there were people in the graveyard, and a truck kept backing up past us.  He was distracted.

JD took some video of me.  Besides the vast expanse of my butt, the things I noticed most were that I talk a lot, and that I need to do exercises for longer.  Pluto needs to get used to trotting several times around the arena, not down one side and then we halt or walk.

I had hoped to work on extensions today, and we did a very little bit.  The problem was that Pluto interpreted every cue as "Canter now!"  He really likes this cantering thing.  He would like to do more of it.  Below you see him juuuust starting to extend and then WHEE WE'RE CANTERING!



He got a little excited and pranced around with his head up for a while, which I don't intend to show you because we both look like dorks.

And then, as he ALWAYS DOES, he undid all the brushing as soon as we got back to his field:

I has a bliss

And then after that JD and I went to Teppanyaki Grill and stuffed our faces.  I felt totally justified, having jogged and briskly walked for two hours, and then ridden my horse for some indeterminate length of time.

I came home and iced my shins because they were a wee bit sore, and sadly the dishes still have not done themselves, but I am counting today as a great day.  I'm really happy, Internet.  This is good stuff. 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The neighbors won't look at me funny. They're used to seeing tents in my yard.

Oof.  I think that sitting trot thing is harder on the back than it used to be.  I'm trying to remember how long ago it was that I never posted, I only sat the trot.  It was back when Playboy was in good riding shape.  That would make it.. twelve years ago?  Yeah.  My back noticed the twelve years of no sitting trot. 

I can do the trot no problem, it's afterward that I feel it.  That old degenerative disk disease rears its ugly head.  I can feel the muscles seizing up in my back. 

Still, it feels good when I do it, and I am certainly happy that Pluto is learning to do his part.  It was aggravating the first N years that the only trot he knew how to do was the super high, super lurchy one.  There was no sitting that.  Now he will consent to do a small quantity of a trot that I can sit.

At yoga tonight I was hoping to stretch out my various riding parts and it mostly worked, but I somehow got a cramp in my calf.  I think it was because she told us to point our toes for something.  All it's every really taken for me to get a cramp is for me to point my toes really hard, and then BOOM big old knot in the muscle of my calf.

Before yoga, I raced home and finished seam sealing my tent.  I think that by the time I'm ready to sack out, it should be pretty much dry.  I hope to sleep in it tonight to see if I'm comfortable in it.  I'm concerned that I might feel claustrophobic, since it's one of those tents that comes to a point at either end.  If I do, I guess I'll be ebaying that as well.   Since I sewed on some tabs myself, it looks kind of amateur in places.  Not to mention my stellar seamsealing job.

So, I hope, I am happy with the tent because it would be somewhat embarrassing to have to describe the defects I created in an ad.

Off I go to fish out my sleeping pad and sleeping bag.  And ear plugs.  Stupid road noise.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Earl Grey, Hot, in about fifteen years

Finally, FINALLY, the weather cooperated and Tara and I got to ride on a Wednesday night.  It was lovely, too.  It was pretty warm during the day, but after the sun went down it was just right.  A little breezy, but comfortable. 

For once, Tara was riding the flighty TB and I was riding the Lipizzaner.  (Normally, she is riding the calm schoolmaster and I am riding the nervous Arab.)  (Same horses, btw, just different night.)  I told Tara that I didn't know who this horse was, but I didn't want the old one back.  She's of the opinion that he's developed another brain cell, which brings him up to four now.  Curious, I asked how many she thought he'd end up with.  She said she thought at least 27.  Using this math and his rate of development, he should be doing calculus and serving me Earl Grey tea by the time he's done.

I asked for and got a lot of good stuff from the horse tonight.  Solid stops, a lovely swinging walk, a nice trot, much more developed lateral work, light contact, good bends.  I was a pretty happy rider.  Until... the gnats came out.  They were "bugging" Pluto, swarming around his head.  I called it a good night and hopped off.  Then I helped Tara move jumps out of the arena so we can get it dragged.  Pluto and Timber followed me around (why?  Isn't there something more interesting elsewhere?) and when Pluto found a good opportunity, he snuck up behind me and headbutted me.  Literally.  His head, my butt.  He kind of launched me forward a bit.  I whirled on him, calling him a bad name, and he shied back.  I'm pretty sure he thought he was going to get it.

I hollered but I didn't do much to him.  It doesn't work to discourage his sense of humor.  He, like most boys, will only find a more annoying way to express himself.

Tara and I made plans to take the boys out for a ride on Saturday, which I'm looking forward to.  Assuming it doesn't monsoon.  Wish us luck!
Pluto, wondering when I'm going to get around to putting a bridle on him.

I find it very difficult to work on the security plan at work.  It takes a lot of concentration.  Any time I'm interrupted it sets me back at least fifteen minutes.  So I have a sign up - If I'm wearing the hat, don't interrupt me.  Or I will turn you into a newt.

I have a feeling I'm going to have to point at the sign a lot.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

My Visa bill is going to have many digits

Wow, it turned out to be unexpectedly nice today.  I hope my luck continues into tomorrow, because I still didn't get out to see Pluto.  I remembered halfway through the afternoon that I needed to go to the gym at least once this week, so I did that.  Whether or not Tara and I can ride tomorrow, I'll still go give Pluto a little TLC. 

The weekend isn't looking so hot for riding, either.  What's up with our weather?  It's looking like another one of those years when it will be challenging to find opportunities to mow in between rainstorms.  (Not that this is currently my problem.  Husband came with a riding mower and the will to cut grass. )

Talking to DeLee about our trip in May, she asked me to fish out my tarp for her to carry.  That way we can eat lunch in relative comfort even if it's pouring - which it's starting to look like it may be.  Oy.  Ah well.  That's why one has a tarp.  Or rather, that's why I do.  I guess others may have the tarp to actually sleep under.  I used to, but now I like the creatures to be less comfortable with me.

I may have to make a tarp decision.  I can't remember for sure, but I think one of them is 12x12, and one is 6x9.    The one is a little too big for two and the other is a little too small.  I generally err on the side of too small for weight savings.

I will be watching the weather carefully as our starting date approaches.  What are the chances we'll have the one dry week of spring to hike in?  Slim to none?

I've been busy with the shopping, too.  I have ordered a pair of Keen trail runners off of www.zappos.com.  I haven't found any in stores to try on, but my Keen boots fit my hobbit feet very nicely so I have hopes.  Life's tough for a hobbit with fallen arches.

After DeLee gave me a talking to, I have also ordered a new water bladder.  My old one wasn't really that old, but I've avoided using it ever since I had to use the backup iodine in it last fall.  It just kind of tastes nasty now.  And so I've been carrying Nalgene bottles (which I don't intend to do while backpacking) and getting a wee bit dehydrated because I don't drink as often.  DeLee gently pointed out that I was being an idiot and told me to buy a new platypus, already.  Which I have done, so I should be happily hydrated soon.  Also?  Did you know the polyethylene Nalgenes are like half the weight of the polycarbonate Nalgenes?  I sure didn't!  I needed a wide mouth bottle in which to use my Steripen, and now I have one, and it doesn't weigh very much at all.

I gave my new western mountaineering alpinlite another chance last night.  I'm keeping it.  I don't know why I felt constrained in it the other night in bed, but it felt fine when I lay in it on the guest bed.  Possibly my bed has too much of a Mama Bear thing going on and I sleep differently in it.  Possibly I need to fix that.

I also need to finish seamsealing my new lightheart tent or I'm going to have to take a different tent on May's jaunt.  I do still have several tents, despite selling off a bunch of stuff on ebay.  If I end up taking the old tent, I should probably just go ahead and take the two man Squall.  It weighs about the same as the one man Rainbow, and why should DeLee carry a tent if she'd fit in mine?  But the weather gets the last say when it comes to seamsealing.

The other reason I hope the weather clears up is that our bumper crop of pollen is putting a crimp in my lifestyle.  Like I don't already take enough pills, I also have to take Claritin?  You should have seen my car this morning.  It was solid yellow from bumper to bumper.  I got in and started the car, and as I backed up you could see drifts of pollen forming into small clouds around my car.  It was gross and disturbing.  Pollen should not eddy.  Pollen should not imitate a sandstorm.  Pollen should do its business and let the rest of us move on with our non-headachey lives.

That sounds a lot more negative than I feel right now (because I had that Claritin this morning) so I'd like to end with this announcement.  I had PIE!  JD felt inspired and made strawberry pie for dessert tonight.  Mmm, pie.

Monday, April 18, 2011

In which my job is annoying and I am cranky. And I'm sharing.

I have determined empirically that the kittens have no personal space boundaries.  Andy, however, does.

They usually work out this issue while sitting on my lap.  I'm not sure I'm going to be able to wear shorts this summer.

I really thought that this evening after work I'd go out to the farm and ride.  Weather is supposed to be fairly crappy this week, so I have limited opportunities.  So far it's supposed to be nice on Thursday as well, but I have yoga then. 

I realized fairly early on (say half an hour after rising) that I was going to be lucky to make it through the work day, let alone conduct any recreational activities.  I put my breeches and riding boots in the car just in case, but as the day progressed it became obvious that I am "wore out".  I actually felt more tired this morning than I did before bed last night.  (Not trying to invite comments about my sex life, here.  I read a book and then went to sleep.)

I don't know if it's pollen, or some kind of illness, or the sheer unpleasantness of daily life as an IT professional working for the government, but today definitely rated high on the Suck-O-Meter. 

BTW:  If you are reading this, you probably use a web browser of some kind.  I want you to do something.  Go to this webpage:

http://www.adobe.com/software/flash/about

If you have flash installed, it will tell you here.  If you do have flash installed, make sure your version is up to date.  There is a new, active vulnerability out that you do not want to encounter.  There is a link on the page to get the new version.  After you have installed it, go back to the link I put up and check again.  Sometimes the install fails and you end up with the old version still in place.

Also, if you use Internet Explorer, update it.  If you are using an old version of Internet Explorer (i.e. (hee) Internet Explorer for Mac, Internet Explorer 6, etc) you're just screwed.  Ditch it.  Get a new version or use a different browser.

Also, if you use multiple browsers, check them all.

That was dull, wasn't it?  Maybe mildly painful, if you had to update anything?  Multiply that times 100, give yourself a headache, make a bunch of spreadsheets about it, explain it to your maiden aunt, and then get your upper management to send you a dozen memos about it.  And there you have very much what my day was like.

Anyway my point is I didn't ride my horse.  I haven't even done the dishes yet.  I think doing the dishes and riding the horse can both wait until tomorrow.  Although in the horse's case it will probably be reduced to "feeding him cookies and patting his nose" because the weather is supposed to suck.  It's not looking like the most productive horse riding spring ever, over at my horse farm with no indoor arena.  Not that I'm bitter.

Okay I'm bitter but I think I'm justified.  Also, bitter can make a very nice counterpoint to sweetness.  I'll try that later.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

My weekend in pictures (warning: mostly food)

I was pretty bummed about not backpacking this weekend.  DeLee took me to REI and then Sushi King on Saturday to cheer me up.  It worked remarkably well.



Sunday we drove up to Comus and dayhiked around Sugarloaf Mountain

Hello.  I have nostrils.

I do not mind saying that the views were freaking fantastic.

Also?  Insanely beautiful.

We thought we were mostly alone until we stopped for a break, and then 40 or 50 people showed up.

As soon as they left, another 10 or 20 stopped by.

You know they were all mad jealous of my freshly prepared egg salad sandwich (made with Easter eggs).

DeLee may have dubed about the eggs.

Sugarloaf, even sans views, is pretty scenic hiking.

Between those two trees, waaaay off in the distance, you can just see Oz.


DeLee was also inspired to take some pictures.



This was just the view from the parking lot!


We did carry backpacks.. just not big ones.

A good day was had by all two of us
DeLee had a really hard time deciding on a sandwich at Roy's Place afterward.
I didn't.  This was the Miss Nellie Bee.  It was really messy to eat.  Also, delicious.

DeLee claims hers was delicious, but how can a sandwich that unmessy be really great?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Emo blog post du jour

Something today got me thinking about Lyme disease.  I was thinking that one of the worst parts of it, for me, was the social withdrawal.  After I got sick and kept getting sicker, I stopped making plans.  I got tired of canceling plans with friends, and they got tired of being canceled on.  So I just stopped trying to go out and see people.  I couldn't predict if I would feel strong enough to go to the movies on Friday.  Most days I couldn't predict if I would be strong enough to sit upright and eat dinner. 

When my doctor didn't know what was wrong with me, he thought maybe depression was causing my problems.  But it was the other way around.  Being that sick *causes* depression.  Being in constant pain is depressing.  So is crushing fatigue.  Scary mystery symptoms, wondering if it's all in your head, trying to explain to people what's going one when you really don't know yourself.. all not fun.  All depressing.

I don't know how many times I looked around me and saw tasks that needed doing, and couldn't do them.  I couldn't vacuum.  I couldn't pick things up.  I couldn't scrub the toilet.  I couldn't wipe the kitchen counters.  I couldn't stand up long enough to wash dishes.  Every few weeks I would rest up and summon the energy to clean up a little bit, and then I would be wiped out again for a couple of days.

Just thinking about those times is upsetting.  I had to push people away because I didn't have the energy to deal with them, and that hurt all of us.  But with the level of fatigue I experienced, even having somebody come to the house to sit with me was beyond my endurance.  Getting up to answer the door used up maybe 10% of my energy for the day.  A few times people stopped by unannounced, and after their visits I sat trembling in fatigue, waiting for the energy to be able to climb the stairs to go to bed.  Because answering the door and reclining in a chair, not even keeping my head up, had totally drained me.

Normally this would be the point where I would offer advice to friends and family of the afflicted, but I can't think of any.  If you're so sick that just having people be there makes you worse, I don't know what helps.  I certainly didn't come up with any solutions for myself.  I had to wait until I got better.  And that was a very, very slow process.  More than a year after I got sick, and after five months of antibiotics, I started dating JD.  It was a leap of faith for me.  I still didn't know if I had the strength to carry on a social life, but it was important to me to try.  I didn't want to lose the chance I had with JD. 

JD got to witness a few crashes.  He saw how paranoid I was about energy expenditure.  I didn't want to plan long outings because I knew it was likely that midway through them I would have to be the big downer, ask to go home, and be sick and helpless.  It was years before I could have enough faith in my own body to be able to plan a day long outing and be pretty sure that I could do it all.  JD got to pick up the pieces on quite a few failed attempts - leaving me somewhere while he went to get the car, holding me while I shook in fever or fatigue, getting me an ice pack, making phone calls to cancel and apologize for me.

Despite two more bouts of Lyme since then, I feel stronger now than I did before my first go round with Lyme disease.  I am fanatical about exercise, about trying to eat right, about taking my vitamins and getting regular medical care.   I start antibiotics and herbs as soon as I suspect I have Lyme disease again.  I am hyper aware of my muscles, my joints, my lymph nodes, and my limitations.  I am careful to try not to injure myself, to try to avoid infection of any kind.  With all those precautions, I am healthier now than I have been in a long, long time. 

And I am terrified of ticks.

Friday, April 15, 2011

In which I cancel a hike and then get drunk

Today was not a great day.  The sun was shining, birds were probably chirping, but it was not a great day.  Anticipation shuddered to a smoking halt as I read the weather reports and realized that my hiking weekend with DeLee was not going to happen.  I had already stated (with good reason, I think) that if the forecasted winds got up to 50 mph then I was going to cancel.  And they got up to 50 mph and I canceled.  But I wasn't happy about canceling.

DeLee, bless her heart, immediately came up with a backup plan for the weekend.  We are going to REI (where I am going to return my new trail shoes which make my legs tilt inward, and now I don't know what I am going to run in) on Saturday and finding somewhere to go on a long dayhike on Sunday.  But in the meantime, I fell into a funk.  At 3:30, which admittedly was the end of my 40 hour legal work week, I said "Eff this place, I'm going home".  Except I didn't say eff.  And then I went home.

At home, I got out my last two ounces of scotch and the last bag of salt and vinegar potato chips, and I totally went off my diet.  As I was nomming chips, Shirley called to see if I wanted to come over this evening.  I already had a date with JD to go to the Korean/Greek place that has replaced Regina's (may it rest in peace) Pizzeria, but I texted him to see what he wanted to do.  He was fed up with everybody with a driver's license, and I was all funky, so we decided to go to Shirley's instead.

It turned out to be a good decision.  Seeing Shirley and Susan was good for my soul.  I laughed until I cried (while JD was out getting actual food, so he missed it.)  I drank emergency Double Bag and ate tortilla chips with toppings on them and generally felt better about the world.

This bowl *had* been on the chest freezer and I thought the cats had developed mad skilz, but it turned out JD moved it.  Ripped up paper courtesy of Olli.

Susan

JD, deep in discussion

my savior

Shirley looking much more respectable than she really is

Turns out it's spring, or something
So I guess I'm over my disappointment, sort of.  We can't reschedule the hike because I have plans the next two weekends, and the weekend after that we're going on a week long hike.  So it's a total loss (except for the REI trip and the dayhike).  I'll still get to see a lot of DeLee so I should really stop feeling sorry for myself.  So I won't get to hike until I'm sore and get blisters, and get cold at night, and smell bad.  Poor me! 

Still, I'm kinda pissed at the weather.

I texted Point Goose, the thruhiker I'm following this year, to let him know about the severe weather hitting tomorrow.  He, in turn, called the local hostel (Woods Hole, and I totally recommend them should you be hiking through) and they're coming to get him tomorrow.  So I know he'll be safe and I feel good about that. 

Basically my life is good and I should be a lot more grateful than I am.  Maybe I'll get over it tomorrow.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A fabulous disguise for pointy hair

Today was fantastic.  If you haven't gone outside today, drop whatever you're doing.  Go outside, stand still, and take a deep breath.  Go on, I'll wait.


....

See?  Wasn't that nice?  Wasn't it worth it?  Isn't the moon up in the sky stunning?  And doesn't the air smell like the finest perfume?  It's definitely a grade A night around here.  I did something that I very, very seldom do, because it was so nice.
I opened the window on the top of the car while I was driving around.  Usually the wind and the noise bug me, but I was driving on back roads between work and yoga and home, and the air was warm and fragrant.  At low speeds I didn't get much wind or noise, and the air felt incredible on my skin.

Anyway, enough about how much my life rocks.  Not that I'm sure what else to talk about.  I'm not feeling very emo tonight.

Oh!  I can show you my new hat.  My office, such as it is, sits in the main thoroughfare of my house.  It is the opposite of private.  I've been having difficulty thinking and writing, sitting at my desk, because there was no obvious cue for JD that I was thinking as opposed to waiting to engage in conversation.  So I bought myself a nice big visual indicator.

I bought a writing hat!  Writing, wizardry, tomato, tomahto.  It's a big fat visual cue.  I told my boss about it and he thought I needed one for work, too.  So I've ordered another one.  A purple one.  When I work on the security plan I will be wearing a big effing purple wizard's hat, and that will be people's notice that they should not effing talk to me or I will effing turn them into a toad.

I'm sorry, security plans bring out the rough language in me.  Come see the violence in inherent in the sysadmin.

I will not be wearing my hat this weekend, though.  I'll be roughing it.  I'll have to write hatless.  Although the hat probably only weighs a couple of ounces (Actually 1.15.  I checked.) so it wouldn't be an unreasonable addition to my backpack.  And in the long distance hiker world, nothing says "backpacking trip" like weird clothing.  Nevertheless, I will leave my hat home to save weight, because the torrents of rain we expect on Saturday will probably add several pounds to my backpack, and probably several more to my boots and garments.  Yay!  Fun times.  Or something.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

She's healthier. Not good and healthy. Just healthy.

Our beloved doggie has been feeling better and better.  So good, in fact, that she has become extremely bad.  We thought we had a good dog.  What we really had was a tired dog.  It's a subtle difference.

Several times in the last two weeks, somebody has knocked over the kitchen trash can during the day.  We've tried several methods of securing the trash can.  We wedged it between a table and a cabinet.  We We wedged it tighter.  We put it up on a cooler so it's harder to get into.  We put bricks in the bottom of the can.  And so far all that has happened is our dog, and probably a helper cat, have gotten better at knocking over trash cans. 

I think Olli has likely been helping, because I've seen him working at it when I'm around.  He's too dumb to realize you're only supposed to be bad when you're unobserved.  So it may be that the dog and cat are alternating in taking down the trash can.  Regardless of who knocks it over, I think everybody in the house has been helping themselves to trash.  The foam tray from a package of raw chicken?  Torn up and scattered all over.  I'm trying not to think too hard about what else has been in the trash.

For some reason, some of the animals' tummies haven't been feeling so great.  Go figure.

Yesterday the dog did something that was pretty scary.

Buckethead

Sometime while we were at work, she knocked a mostly empty catfood bin off the shelf and wedged her head into it.  When JD got home, her face and chest was soaked.  We figure she was drooling in fear for hours.  Knowing her behavior of late, she probably wedged her head in the bin immediately after I left for work, and stayed that way for about seven hours.

She seems none the worse for wear, though she was pretty thirsty by the time JD wrestled the bucket back off of her. I'm glad that she didn't suffocate, asphyxiate, tear up her ears, or break her neck falling down the stairs with that contraption on her head.

But man, what a bad dog!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

short and savory

In case you were wondering, today's entree was not as good.  I will not be making little vacuum sealed clones of it.

DeLee and I got together to plan our next trip, which is THIS WEEKEND and OMG I HAVE TO PACK.  I have riding scheduled one night, yoga the next, and if we end up driving to our hike area the night before as we discussed today, that means I have to pack tonight.  So I'm going to keep this short.

I was happy to be able to do some actual system administratory things at work today.  Often I get bogged down in agency crap, going to meetings, reviewing proposed changes to standards, and other totally uninteresting minutia.  Today I got to do software upgrades and figure out technical issues.  You know, things I actually like.

Okay I have to go pack now.  G'night.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Me and my coconut curry triumph (Umph! Umph! Umph!)

I must say that I rock a little bit.  I do this rocking thing.  I am like a Lazyboy recliner.

Yesterday evening I sat down with my giant box of ingredients from www.packitgourmet.com and commenced putting together entrees.  I wasn't working from any recipes.  I was making it up as I went along.  And I guessed that this would result in some horribly inedible food.  But I didn't know how else to go about it other than trying it to see.

Today, I grabbed one of the entrees and took it to the office.  I made it for lunch.  (I was fully prepared to eat backup snacks if it turned out to be horrible.)  I guesstimated the amount of boiling water to pour into it.  I MacGuyvered up a bag handle out of a binder clip so I wouldn't burn myself.  And I used my office blanket (don't judge, sometimes people gotta nap) to insulate the bag while it rehydrated.  It took about twice as long as I expected to cook the grains, half an hour rather than fifteen minutes.  But once that was done, I had a delicious lunch.  And a really filling one as well.

I made several different entrees. I still have to taste test the others, and they may still be horrible.  But I know that I have one good one.  The good one, I'm sure you are dying to know, was a coconut curry.  It had quinoa, freeze dried chicken, dehydrated carrots, freeze dried green beans, coconut milk powder, and curry powder in it.  It was fabulous.  I'm going to make up five or six servings worth of it to take on various hiking trips this summer.

It's really nice to have just-add-water food that a) tastes really good, b) is non-dairy, and c) is reasonably high protein.  If I made it for lunch rather than dinner on the trail I think it would give me quite a bit of hiking energy. I base this on the fact that I was significantly less hungry than usual this afternoon at work.

I do have a small dilemma in that I packaged the entrees in vacuum bags so they would last a long time, but I really want to cook them in ziplocs to keep heat in and reduce spillage.  It galls me to carry both.  I may have to live with the gall.  (But only a little bit at a time, as I have no gall bladder in which to store it up.  Hee!)

Tomorrow I suppose I'll try another one.  Maybe I'll bring a ziploc with me so my office blanket only smells like curry, not curry and also garlic.

In non-food-dehydrating news (Although who wouldn't be utterly fascinated by my hiking food? I mean come on.) I started working on a book outline yesterday.  The whole idea feels a little ridiculous to me.  I'm a computer nerd.  I am not a writer.  And yet, here I am doing it anyway.  Maybe if I actually write a book, somebody will read it.  Possibly I will just send a really long text file to eArThworm and she can read it.  One person reading it would probably be good enough, if they liked it.  Just say you like it, you don't have to be truthful.  I am happy with the lie.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

In which I finally ride my horse

I finally got to ride Pluto today.  I don't even remember how long it's been since I've ridden.  It feels like a very long time.  I didn't really have any goals other than the simple act of sitting on the horse.  I figure if we got only that far, it would still be more than we've done in a month or so.

Many people from the farm were out today at an Old People's Riding Club (OPRC) event.  As a result the farm was very quiet.  Pluto was bored in his field and happy to come out.  He was absolutely filthy due to his habit of grinding dirt into his hide as soon as he gets done being cleaned, with repetitions frequently thereafter.  I didn't bathe him but I did spend quite a bit of time with various brushes, combs, and scrapers, removing excess hair and dirt.  He looks more like an appaloosa than ever this year.  He greyed out around eight or nine, and ever since he has been growing back more bay or chestnut spots.  It's pretty weird looking.  Fortunately his coloring is a lot less important to me than his movement, and his movement is pretty nice.

We walked the half mile to the arena with a minimum of fuss.  One last person was getting a horse ready to go to the OPRC event.  Pluto was quite interested in all the noise coming from the trailer.  He could see the thing rocking around as the horse inside stomped, but he couldn't see the horse.  Fortunately no explosions resulted (from Pluto.)

I did something a little differently this time.  Generally I visualize myself riding before I ride.  This time, I visualized Pluto being ridden.  That is, I wanted him to give me a slow, gentle jog, so I visualized a slow, gentle jog.  And that's what he gave me.  I accused him of pretending not to be telepathic up until now and he flicked his ear at me.  Then he quit the gentle jog and took up his normal vigorous trot.  So I guess the lesson learned here is not to be accusatory immediately after you've gotten what you want.

We worked on backing up today, as that is a very weak point with us.  I went through my standard useless sequence (which produced no backing up) and then stopped to ponder.  Then I visualized the horse backing up.  And I said, very softly, "beep.  beep.  beep."  And dang if the horse didn't back up.  Of course, that didn't work the second time I tried it.  Nevertheless we managed to come to a meeting of minds and backed up several times, so I'm calling it a win.

At some point the horse in the pasture next to the arena realized his buddy was gone, having been towed off (stomping) to the OPRC event.  So the lone horse took off bucking and galloping around his field.  Pluto was riveted and getting jumpy, so I decided that discretion was the better part of riding solo and I hopped off.  By the time I got the stirrups wrapped up and loosened the girth, the other horse had settled back down.  Grrr..

I called it a day and walked Pluto back to his field, where he promptly ground dirt back into his hide.  It was like I had never been there.

I figure we're good, now.  We should be able to resume regularly scheduled riding on Wednesday with Tara.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Federal Shutdown 2011: temporarily off

So I got used to the idea of a shutdown, made some plans, thought I had it all figured out, and then they came up with an extension.  Not for a week, mind you.  Until Thursday.  Why Thursday?  Why not 3:15 Wednesday afternoon?  I have no idea.  All I know is I don't get to sleep in and I'm bitter.

Although for my friends' sake I am happy.  They like getting paychecks.  I do too but I am obviously more cavalier about it or I wouldn't have taken six months off to hike last year.

However, not using up all our vacation time on the government's whim means that DeLee probably is going to hike with me on my week long hike in May, and that's awesome news to me.  Also, we both get to retain health care coverage in the near future, which is sometimes useful.  Maybe not for me, as I have never had health care that covered either chiropractic or naturopathy, but maybe for other things.  Broken legs.  You know.  That.

JD and I took our regular lap around the local park this morning.  I wore my new trail shoes to try them out.  I think they are an adequate replacement for my old shoes, so I won't feel bad about sacrificing the old pair to Run Amuck in a couple of weeks.  However, I must say (and I told JD repeatedly) that I felt ridiculous jogging while he walked next to me.  I know I'm slow, but that really rubbed it in my face.  There's nothing to be done about it, however.  JD offered to jog with me, but his tiny little jogging-in-place gait made me wallop him, so that's out.

I had hoped to get in a nap this afternoon.  Really that's one of my favorite pleasures, the nap after the exercising and the eating.  You can't buy naps better than that.  I had almost drifted off when the phone rang.  I wasn't awake enough to answer it, but when I woke up a little more and checked the message, it turned out I needed to be somewhere this evening a little earlier than planned.  So no nap for me.  Grrr.

Since I couldn't nap, I went all crazy and had a coke.  JD stocked us up with 7.5 oz cokes, for some reason.  They look cute, all petite and winsome.  And they are just about the right size.  I feel awake without being overly perky.  Also I had a piece of chocolate.  Because I missed my nap, that's why.

I hope that I can be social this evening.  I will try not to bite anybody.  I'll say right now, that I really can't be held accountable for anything that happens on a missed-nap day.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Government Shutdown 2011

I got all my paperwork together today to get a new passport. I got one in 2007 or 2008 at JD's request. We never left the country, and then we got married and I changed my name. Now the dang passport is useless. However, with $110, a new photo, and a marriage certificate, I can get one that might get me across borders, should the option ever come up again.

That was the good part of my day. The rest was anxiety and running in circles over the impending federal shutdown. I am not good with uncertainty, or situations over which I have no control. (like many people I suppose) Knowing that the jackholes holding the future hostage are people with whom I violently disagree doesn't help.

However, I am looking forward to some unplanned vacation time. Assuming congress doesn't suddenly grow some sanity over the weekend, I look forward to some sleeping in, lazy mornings with my sweetie, horseback riding, and hiking. It'll be like summer vacation except for the warm part.

(typed on my iPhone due to computer unavailability, and therefore not checked for spelling. Enjoy!)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

I wish to fall off the milkshake wagon now.

The good news:  my dad's surgery went really well.  And Dad is feeling pretty perky, due to what sounded like maybe really good drugs.  Also JD made a fair approximation of sticky rice and mango, and it was ready to eat when I walked in the door tonight.

The bad news: (There's a lot of it, I'm going to have to use numbers.)
1) Congress canNOT get its crap together, and so I'm probably out of a job next week.
2) My government agency isn't handling it particularly well.
3) Nor is my contractor.
4) Olli is trying to kill my printer.
5) Somebody barfed on a wool rug.
6) The dog peed in the house twice -once who knows why, and once because I yelled at her.
7) Both times, she hit wool rugs.
8) The dog and possibly the cats pulled down the garbage can and had their way with the contents.

I was pretty mellow when I got home from work due to a nice after-work yoga class.  But now I'm all tense and kind of pissed off.  I'm thinking it's going to be one of those "take drugs to sleep" kind of nights.  In my case, the drug is just Benadryl so it's not like I'm going hardcore.  But it's still a drug.

Oh but in other good news?  I'm half a pound lighter.  You can't tell by looking, of course, but I know it's not there.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

I think I got some pollen wedged in my synapses

I had an idea on the way home and I was going to tell you about it but the truly astonishing (I'd say exceptional but it really isn't, although lord knows *I* take exception to it) amount of tree sex going on in my head is preventing coherent thought from happening.  Although apparently it isn't preventing run-on sentences.

It's been three days of tree sex now and frankly I'm tired of it.  Oh sure, it's pretty.  I like flowery external sexual organs as much as the next girl.  But every time I sniff that delightful fresh spring air, it feels as if somebody has hit me in the temple with a hammer.  My legs feel like I am wearing lead shoes while, simultaneously, my arms feel as if balloons are attached to them.  And, of course, I'm dumb.  My thoughts bubble up and then drift off into the void without connecting with anything else first.  Several times today I thought of something, started to tell someone, and then forgot what the thing was before I had gotten three words out.

Anyway, the idea.  I remembered it again.   First, let me tell you what it felt like.  (If I still remember the idea after that, I'll tell you.  Otherwise make something up.)  Do you ever get an idea, and then you're immediately embarrassed that you only just thought of it?  This happens to me all the time.  It's as if I have stepped in poop, and complained about it all day, and tracked it everywhere, and then finally after eight hours it finally occurs to me to CLEAN MY SHOE.   (I would like to say that this particular example of a late idea would not happen, but with all the tree sex going on I can't really make extravagant claims like that.)

I have heard that when other people get ideas they feel happy, or proud, or smart.  I am only embarrassed.  Possibly this means I am incredibly arrogant.  I may have been faking humility to myself all these years. 

Or, maybe, I'm kinda slow.

Anyway.

My idea is that I should get off my duff and start writing.  I started this blog last year with the intention of writing it for a year.  To make sure I had the endurance to write a book.  In retrospect, that's ludicrous.  I could have been ACTUALLY WRITING A BOOK. 

I can thank eArThworm for this revelation.  She gave me a lovely compliment yesterday.  She said she wished I had something to write a book about.  I think that's what she said, anyway.  It was along those lines.  It got me to thinking.  I had a fairly interesting thruhike, I thought.  What with the dead guy and the tick and the stubby legs.  But I didn't finish.  Who would want to read about an unfinished hike?  Because I was originally going to write about my thruhike, which ended up being only a reeeally long section hike.

But hell, that Bill Bryson guy didn't finish his hike either, and I hear his book did pretty well.

This morning I reread some of this blog (of which there is rather a lot, now) and I crack myself up.  (Yeah, probably erring on the side of arrogance.  I'm going to have to given up my pretense of humility.)   I'm thinking I'll just keep doing that, writing things that I like.  Except I won't immediately set it all free on the Internet.  I'll hold some back.  And then, eventually, perhaps it will coalesce into something that somebody might want to read all at one go.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Sleeping outside just seems weird, somehow

My new sleeping bag (a Western Mountaineering AlpinLite) showed up today.  I'm wrestling with the idea of sleeping out on the porch tonight to test it.  On the one hand, it's a good idea to find out if it's warm enough.  On the other hand it's kinda noisy and bright out there from traffic and streetlights.  And I'm going camping next weekend so I can test it then.  And just looking at it you can see it's got more loft.

I'm kind of talking myself out of it.

On the other hand, it definitely doesn't have as much room as my stretchy bag, and if I wedge my knee up near my chest like I like to, I think I'm going to compress all of that nice loft.  I tried it in the living room.

Decisions, decisions.  I bet most girls never have to decide whether or not they're sleeping out on their porch in 40 degree weather.

It's looking very much like there might be a government shutdown at the end of the week.  If that happens, of course, I won't get paid.  But I don't mind that so much.  I might mind not accruing leave during that time..  I have vacation plans, after all.

My manager asked if I'd take off on a hike during a shutdown.  Probably not.  The weather has been sucking great big goose eggs recently.  And with a government shutdown I don't know when it will end, which makes planning pretty tricky.  Still, it's an enticing idea, isn't it?  If you're a crazy hiker person.  Which, apparently, I am.

With both JD and I working contracting jobs, we might have to arm wrestle over who gets to leave for a shutdown.  He has a significant weight advantage.  And longer arms. And he's not ticklish.  Dammit.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Stupid spring

Screw spring, pollen, and massive instantaneous headaches.

That is all.

Okay fine.  That is all, plus this:

Skunk Cabbage
Dog plus husband's sock

Andy loves his new cardboard throne

Olli lurks

Nazca says that is really all

I said good day!