Thursday, June 30, 2011

Should I really be the one doing the reassuring here?

I drove myself crazy locking down machines today.  Please can it be penetration testing time now?  I don't even care what the results are anymore, I just want it over with.

It turned out to be an incredibly beautiful, perfect day outside.  JD and I walked to lunch and it felt like the sort of day when you would lay out beside the pool with your best friend and soak up some sun and maybe gossip.  Okay, definitely gossip, and drink drinks that are so cold that condensation beads up on the side and slowly rolls down and makes a ring on the table around the can.  And then maybe later, when the sun starts to throw long shadows, we would get up off of our towels on our chaise lounges with the straps across them, and we would go make some hamburgers on the grill.

That sort of day.

But, instead of doing that, I went back to work and tried not to break everything while reviewing the firewall rules and creating smaller groups of machines with more privileges, and larger groups of machines with fewer privileges.  And then I drove over to my chiropractor's office and reassured her that despite my spine, I am okay.  And she was relieved.  

Then I drove to work and typed rapidly for a few more hours, and then I drove to yoga where I reassured my instructor that despite my spine, I am okay.  Mostly.  But some of those poses aren't happening anymore.

So now I'm more bendy than I was this morning, and thanks to my chiropractor my right arm isn't all numb and tingly anymore.  And she recommended a good neurologist, although when I called for an appointment they put me with his PA but said she worked closely with him.. and anyway he's really a neuroSURGEON and stay away from my spine with your cutty knives you madman.  I'll take the PA.  I just want advice on activities to avoid or pursue with my newly discovered bulging and/or torn discs.

So, long day.  But much accomplished.  How bout you?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A normal day on (or near) Pluto

Pluto seems to have gotten over his fright.  He was a fairly normal horse when I went out to see him today.  Fairly normal for him anyway.  He followed me around, shadowing my movements.  He begged for cookies.  He got sprayed with flyspray and complained about me putting the roll on spray on his face.  Normal Pluto stuff.

The bump he always has on his left side, right where the girth goes, was pretty big.  Of course, I don't intend to ride any time soon.  But there is no way I can put a girth over it.  I'm hoping it isn't a growth that needs to be removed, because I have no idea how you would bandage just behind the elbow.

I'm wiped out from trying to prepare all of our systems for penetration testing.  At this point I just want to get it over with.  I'm frazzled.  They'll get in, they'll find all of our vulnerabilities, they'll yell at us, and we'll have to kowtow and fix it.  Fine.  Whatever.  Just do it.

Today my back is being quiet and my right arm is going numb.  It's never dull over here in me-ville.  Makes me wonder what will happen tomorrow.  Blue nose?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

This is so not going to be interesting to anybody but my Mom

I FINALLY got my MRI report today.  After two days of failed attempts to fax, I asked if I could just get photocopies.  And they told me to drive right over.

So, without further ado, here is the state of my spine.  It looks totally good and normal except for five exceptions:

C5-6 has "subtle-to-mild, broad based central disk protrusion, without compromise of the cord or the exiting nerve roots."  There is a small perineural cyst within the left neural exit foramina at C7-T1, which is neither here nor there.

T8-9 has a midl focal central disk protrusion leading to a subtle flattening of the cord.  The nerve roots are fine there too.

L3-4 has subtle degenerative disk disease with a subtle broad-based left paracentral disk protrusion, casing a mild narrowing of the left lateral recess.  (Whatever that means.)  There is abutment of the descending left L4 nerve (without definite compromise.)  It has a subannular tear in the left paracentral posterior location.

L4-5 has a broad-based right paracentral disk protrusion, causing a mild narrowing of the right lateral recess.  The right L4 nerve root is abutted, with possible compromise.  There is a mild degree of facet arthrosis on the right side.

L5-S1 has a moderate degree of disk space narrowing with degenerative disk disease and Modic-type II endplate changes. (Those radiologists with their wacky terminology.)  There is Grade1 retrolisthesis of L5 on S1, measuring .4 cm.  The disk has broad based disk protrusion, causing effacement of the anterior epidural space.  (I have no idea what this means).  There is no definite compromise of the exiting or descending nerve roots, but there is some abutment of the descending S1 nerve root.

So, all that medicalese?  Works out to I have five bad disks, but none of them are REALLY bad.  I don't have any disk fragmentation.  None of the nerves is totally effed.  And while I do have some spinal cord compression, it's minor.

So, I'm good.  No bouncing, but I'm good.

Thursday I go see my chiropractor to review the findings, and I guess I need to find myself a friendly neurologist and physiatrist, but I'm going to take Mom's advice.  Which is to stop when it hurts.

I have already given up running. And riding horses above the walk. I feel better walking than sitting, so I have NO INTENTION of giving up hiking (and you can eff off if you plan to advise it).  And I will make my own determination about whether or not I can carry a backpack.

Actually I'm planning a short, rocky hike with backpack this weekend to see how it goes.  I'm sure I'll let you know.

Monday, June 27, 2011


I am currently having a meltdown because the doctor's office has my MRI results, has promised to fax them, and has not in fact faxed them.  Talk amongst yourselves.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

In which I sleep with two women to whom I'm not married

I spent the weekend at the Trail Dames Summit.  Many of the women there were people I already know, well or less so.  And many more were total strangers to me, although much less so by the end of the event.  The Trail Dames are a group of women hikers with chapters in several states. Link  if you care to read for yourself.  The individual chapters (or at least the members that attended) seemed to be pretty close and supportive of each other.  Which is nice.

The Summit was not just for Trail Dames.  I'm not a Trail Dame.  I hadn't actually heard of them until I heard from Mud Butt, (I know.  That is not the weirdest trail name I could tell you.) the genius behind both the Trail Dames and the Summit.    I met her years ago, and had heard peripherally of her adventures.  I was pretty surprised to get an email from her in April.  But the Summit, after I read about it a little, sounded like fun.  A bunch of hiking women?  Getting together to talk about hiking and share tips and laugh a lot? I'm so there.

DeLee and I drove down Friday and met our friend, the Missing Kink (I TOLD you they got weirder) on the edge of town.  While I was happy to attend the Summit, which was being held at Eastern Mennonite University, I had absolutely no desire to stay on campus.  In dorm rooms.  I already did my time in dorm rooms.  Three years in a soulless, concrete block, cold tile floor, uninsulated, un-airconditioned, low privacy dorm room on the fifth floor of an eight floor building.  No thanks, I'll stay at the Holiday Inn.  (As far as I can tell, both nights people were exhausted and went back to their rooms and slept.  But I could be mistaken.  Maybe they had hijinks but kept them on the down low because of fear of angry Mennonites with pitchforks.  Or, seeing as how the Mennonites are non-violent, angry Mennonites with accusingly shaken forefingers.  )

We were already late for the start, as we had known we would be.  Harrisonburg is not particularly close to home for us.  So we grabbed a quick dinner at Wendy's and then drove on over to EMU, where we walked in on the speaker.  Yay for complete lack of social graces!  We were quickly seated and then a concert started.

The thing about the concert is that it was held in an un-airconditioned classroom.  There was SUPPOSED to be air conditioning, but something had gone terribly wrong in a pipe or vent somewhere.  So 60 women were crammed into the back two thirds of the room, perspiring, while a man sang at the front of the room, also perspiring.  It was only an hour, but by the time he was done, I was nauseated by the heat and DeLee had a migraine.  We went outside.   And despite Mud Butt's dismay, we STAYED outside while the rest of the evening happened.  I found us a very nice spot on some grass where we could gaze at the pretty campus and watch the fireflies.  And I was much happier than I had been in the room.

It is totally like me, unfortunately, to pay money and travel a long way to attend an event and then sit just outside of it.  I could probably fund a therapist's kid's college education to find out why I am like that, but I am unmotivated to do so.

Anyway, after things broke up for the evening we went back to the motel, where I had totally screwed up every aspect of our reservation.  But we made it work.  (To be fair, the loud wedding reception on the second night was not my fault.)  MK got one double bed, DeLee and I fit into the other, just, and we all passed out.  DeLee and I have spent many nights in our considerably smaller two man tent, so the bed may even have felt roomy by comparison.

I surely don't know any other women with whom I could have crawled into a double bed and felt totally comfortable.  There really isn't any way to avoid touching between two adults trying to sleep in a double bed.  But with DeLee, my closest friend, I have a seriously high comfort level.  Possibly too high.  The next morning, another long time acquaintance told me that when she first met us, a decade or so ago, she thought DeLee and I were lovers.  (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)

This not the first time somebody had thought I was a lesbian in a committed relationship.  MK says I give off a Lesbian Vibe.  On the one hand, so what?  JD and I are happy together, and that's the important thing.  Plus, I probably get hit on less by strangers than I would if I weren't a Lesbian Viber.  Getting hit on when you are uninterested is so annoying.  But on the other hand, it makes me wonder why I don't have a Heterosexual Vibe?

I guess I don't have to wonder very hard.  I stopped wearing makeup as a teenager when I discovered I could sleep in until ten minutes before the bus arrived if I didn't do makeup.  I dress for comfort, not style.  I am extremely practical.  Until my back started going out, I didn't wait around for somebody with a penis to do a task I could do perfectly well by myself (...with my ovaries, I guess.)  I don't particularly defer to men. I don't giggle (except at fart jokes). I don't cook.  (I can.. I just don't.)

Well,  hell.  Maybe I AM a lesbian.  Sorry, JD.  I had no idea.

Anyway, that was surprising.  But the rest of the event was much as expected.  Tips on lightweight gear, a "Peeing, Pooping, and Periods" panel (god, I love alliteration, although I was not responsible for the panel's) which was wildly popular and funny.   Discussion of what is involved in planning a multi-day hike.  You might think I would have skipped that one, but I figure you can always learn something new.  I also picked up some good tips on balance exercises from Leapfrog.

The college dining room, where we ate all of our meals, was significantly better than the one at my old school.  I'll give it that.  Also, the campus?  Quite pretty, other than the grain silo obstructing the view of the mountains.

Saturday night there was an awards ceremony for the Trail Dames.  Had I realized it was an awards ceremony for a bunch of women I had barely met, I'm pretty sure I would have bailed in favor of Wendy's.  Or Taco Bell.  A stale tostada would have been an excellent trade for sitting in a crowded room, clapping as a bunch of weeping women accepted plaques.  I do not excel at the social graces, as you definitely realize by now, but I didn't walk out.  I texted JD instead. Because the light of a cellphone text conversation reflecting on your face is far classier than the sight of your butt going out the door.

During the brief break before the evening's speaker took over, I escaped.  DeLee stayed behind.  I wandered the campus for a while, then decided to walk to a restaurant which I had noticed down the highway to see if it would be open for lunch the next day.  (No.)  Then I noticed a RiteAid a little farther down so I texted DeLee to see if she wanted more Benadryl (Yes.  Terrible allergies at EMU for some reason.)  So off I went down the highway to RiteAid, with my Lesbian Vibe and my wallet, to do some shopping.

Yen, the cashier, was both bored and apparently not put off by my vibe.  We chatted for a while.  Chatting with cashiers is a skill I developed while attempting to thruhike the Appalachian Trail.  If you are a solo hiker, as I frequently was (and by solo I mean I didn't even see freaking SQUIRRELS, let alone other hikers) then it behooves you to talk to anyone who will listen.  She asked who the Trail Dames were and what they did, and when I said they were women who hiked, she perked up.  Yen likes to walk.  Given that the Shenandoah National Park was within sight just outside of the store, I asked if she had gone there.  She had, but she was too apprehensive to hike on the Appalachian Trail itself.  She had instead hiked to the top of some mountain and back.  Well, gosh.. that's what the Trail is all about!  I encouraged her to do more hiking in the park, and I told her about the Circuit Hikes guidebook I use.  I really do hope she pursues it, because Yen with her college degree and her obvious foreign birth and excellent grasp of English seems wasted on RiteAid.  Not that there's anything wrong with RiteAid.  But I like hikers, and I like it when awesome people become hikers.  Because then I might run into them on the trail.

So, that was my weekend.  I attended parts of a conference of Dames, I had a Vibe, and I went to RiteAid.  Also, I observed the Irony (and excessive use of Capital Letters) of a bunch of hikers spending the weekend indoors.  On uncomfortable chairs.  My back, BTW, hates me now.  That "Baby got Back" song?  Going to be only a fond memory after my back divorces me due to irreconcilable differences.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

I am totally calm, cool, and copacetic

Also I am drugged to the gills.

When I woke up this morning, I felt nervous.  After the nine million people in my life, both personal and medically professional, telling me it was a BIG HUGE DEAL to get my whole spine MRI-ed at once, and also my knowledge of my own claustrophobia creeping in, I was on edge.  My heart was racing.  This worked well for getting some stuff done at high speed (dishes and laundry for instance) but it did not bode well for my MRI experience.

"Self," I said.  "Get a grip.  On your bottle of Xanax."  And I went into the kitchen and did so. And the Xanax helped a lot.

Now, I don't take a lot of Xanax.  My prescription is for .5 mg tablets.  For comparison, the vet prescribed 1 mg tablets for our cat.  To be fair, the cat got totally wasted on 1 mg and we reduced his dose, but he weighed ten pounds at that point.. and I weigh considerably more.  I am only a lightweight in the pharmaceutical department.

I got the prescription last year for two reasons:  traveling (hello I hate flying) and dealing with NASA bureaucracy while trying to move our offices and datacenter out of the physical facilities and network they'd been in for 17 years.  The latter was actually worse.

Anyway, out of something like 30 pills, I probably had 27 left.  I think I had been taking them in halves.  But I was feeling pretty revved up so I took a whole (WHOLE!) .5 mg and was  on my merry way.  I figured I'd be at the radiologist's office before it kicked in, and I was right.  I was totally coherent and pleasant to the (very nice, capable, professional) front desk attendant.  And I was totally coherent when talking to the MRI tech.  And I was probably pretty coherent while the first MRI (out of three) was happening.

Somewhere around the second I started getting a little drifty.

I think I slept through most of the third one.  I told her I was feeling sleepy, and she said I couldn't sleep if I were going to snore, because that could make my spine move.  So I tried really hard to stay awake, but since that 45 minutes passed in 5 minutes, I'm thinking I missed some time.  And occasionally I noticed the sounds of heavy breathing in that tube with me. The sounds stopped whenever I started paying attention though.

FYI?  The new 3T MRI is REALLY LOUD.  They gave me earplugs to wear, but it was still loud enough that I could feel it inside of me.  And they didn't play me any soothing music, either, not that I would have been awake enough to appreciate it.

If you're claustrophobic?  Definitely keep your eyes closed in the tube.  I closed my eyes before I went in and pretty much kept them closed.  I looked a couple of times but then I could feel my claustrophobia starting to overwhelm my Xanax so I chose to look at the insides of my eyelids instead.

Oh, and everybody who said it was a huge deal to be still for that long?  You suck at being still.  I *excel* at lying around being slack, and I didn't have a problem.  I did do some yoga breathing but that was more due to the tiny, coffin-like space I was in than any issue with lying still.

After that I drove, slowly and carefully, to my office.  Which fortunately was about two miles away.  There I told my boss that my brain was basically offline for the day and not to expect much.  And then I was dopey for the rest of the day.

I even felt too washed out to go to yoga.  I came home.  You know it's bad if I skip yoga.

Somewhere during the day I acquired a new Verizon iPhone 4, courtesy of JD.  There was really nothing wrong with my old phone, but I wanted a smartphone that would work in more of the woods than my old AT&T iPhone.  So, iPhone 4 it was.  It took approximately forever to start working but now it does, and I think it will be a fine replacement providing it didn't take any damage when JD dropped it as soon as it came out of the package.

In addition to the actually getting signal part, I hope that the new battery will hold charge for longer.  The phone is not sporting a sexy Buffy the Vampire Slayer skin like my old phone did.  I'm pondering replacing it.  Or maybe I'll just add some Hello Kitty Duck Tape (tm).

Oh, and I forgot the other huge benny of this phone!  It has a camera on both sides.  That means that those arms-length photos I take whenever I'm hiking alone?  I will now be able to tell that my head is in the frame!

Like so

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

In which I continue obsessing

Oy.  Long day.  Ate lunch at the desk, didn't get out to Celebrate Work day, didn't even know it had rained.  JD made a delicious if ill tempered dinner, and then I drove out to meet Tara.  She had forgotten she was going to ride Pluto, but it didn't matter because he had gone temporarily insane.  And then I came home and did dishes.

Now getting ready for the Trail Dames Summit this weekend - packing and whatnot.  And trying to think not too hard about my MRI tomorrow morning.

In between other activities I'm trying to continue with planning for my trip to Maine.  Since I'm going to be gone this weekend and Mom Forinash is arriving next week, this includes getting all my camping gear off the guest bed, which I STILL haven't done.  And Mom, I'm sorry but when you and JD are off visiting Grandma Forinash, I'm going to have to go in there because I will still have to sort out some stuff that isn't going to get done before then.

I'm at least getting a grip on what I need to pack for food and maildrops.  I emailed White House Landing because I had heard a rumor that their place was up for sale.  But they say they are open for business this year and they'll have a burger waiting for me.  :)

I realize I'm the only person in the world, at this point, who cares anymore, but I'm still going to write up a gear list.

Gregory Jade 50 backpack
blaze orange pack cover  (if anybody shoots me, it will be on purpose)
Hello Kitty emblazoned hiking poles
fanny pack that Madeline gave me for snacks and stuff
Montbell 30 degree bag (maybe, maybe a different one)
Neoair sleeping pad
Lightheart Awning tent (with no awning pole for the 100 Mile Wilderness), plus stakes
Tyvek groundsheet
picaridin based bug juice
mesh head net
tiny swiss army knife
glasses in plastic case
cookset - teapot, alcohol stove, wind screen, lighter, wool mitten / pot grabber, long handled spoon, maybe a mug, denatured alcohol
steripen plus extra batteries or gravity filter
backup iodine
plastic scooping cup
platypus hoser 2 liter bag
nalgene or gatorade bottle, depending on steripen vs gravity filter
silnylon water bag
several bandanas / pieces of camping towel
closed side crocs
trash compactor bag pack liner
iphone, headphones, appropriately sized zipper bags
iphone external batteries
long sleeved shirt and long pants to wear, treated with permethrin
one of my pairs of trail runners, plus dirty girl gaiters
ball cap
rain skirt
maybe rainpants for mosquito protection
three pair wright socks, treated with permethrin
capilene 1 long sleeve, for in camp
my trusty plaid pajama bottoms, for in camp
wool socks, for in camp
powerstretch fleece top
my Rockdancer fleece hat
powerstretch fleece glove liners
synthetic insulated vest
rope plus rope bag for hanging food
a variety of stuffsacks, none of which are waterproof anymore
my trusty headlamp
sunscreen.  always sunscreen.
many ziplocks
some first aid stuff
small unbreakable mirror
AWOL guide pages
toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, eyedrops, earplugs, biteguard
misc repair kit
some wet ones
my keeper
credit and health cards
no intention of being productive for a month
probably more stuff than will actually fit in the damn backpack


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Calling all backpacking, horseback riding physiatrists

Just got off the phone with my mom and she recommended I see a physiatrist for activity recommendations after I get my MRI.  Can any of my athletically inclined friends recommend a physiatrist in the DC/MD area?

I really owe you a blog but it's getting late and I got stuff to do because I'm happening like that.  Although I had a little coffee ice cream a couple of hours ago and I am W-I-R-E-D.  Non-caffeinating people probably shouldn't have coffee ice cream at night.

Monday, June 20, 2011

I am full on freaking out

My start date for climbing Katahdin is in 41 days.  Of the five weekends between then and now, ONE doesn't have stuff already scheduled.  I may or may not have a back that can hold up to the stress of long distance hiking.  I still am apprehensive about the terrain, described as some of the toughest on the Appalachian Trail.  And I still have not made final decisions on just how much stuff I can leave home.

Some folks have said that I need basically raingear, a warm sweater, and a 50 degree bag.  And some folks say that I need long underwear, gloves, hat,  a good insulating layer, definitely rainpants (I usually wear a rainskirt), and a 30 degree bag.

I'm not sure which water treatment system I'm using (steripen or modified Platypus gravity filter).  I'm thinking about trying to modify my stove handles so they don't get so hot.  I can't figure out if my trail runners are sturdy enough to stand up to all the rocks and roots of Maine.  They definitely wouldn't do for Pennsylvania, but they would have been fine for New York.

Heck, the Barefoot Sisters did Maine barefoot.  Surely I can do it in trail runners?

I generally carry too much food, so I am also trying to review my food to lighten my load.  And I need to pack maildrops - minimal for Monson (but including things like my phone charger, which I won't need in the Hundred Mile Wilderness), complete for Caratunk.

And maybe I would like to switch out my aging AT&T Iphone for a Verizon Iphone before I go.

I'm just, generally, floundering over here.

On the other hand, if I had not just had an enlightening x ray and doomsaying doctors, I would assume my back would be fine.  It had no problems with my 1000+ mile hike last year.  And I tend to feel that if my footwear is comfortable and secure, I can do pretty much anything in it.  And I seriously doubt that Maine in August is going to be cold like Georgia in March.

It would be really nice if I had somebody else here who had done an August section hike in Maine who could give me definite answers.  Even though there may not be definite answers.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

My husband has a big one. I mean HUGE.

I'm talking about his tent.  You pervert.

In no particular order:

My lounging in the tent outfit - the bottom half, anyway

The view from said (enormous) tent

My hot pink trail runners tucked away in one corner of cavernous tent

JD and Beauty, about to embark on their first backpacking trip.  My little blue backpack.  JD's enormous black backpack.

Snake!  JD found a very long branch and tossed it safely into the woods after it refused to move.  After that, I walked in front so the dog would not be the first to greet any other snakes.  Then we didn't see another snake.

JD adjusting the many straps of his enormous backpack.
Day 2, it rained and so I took no pictures.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Hello Kitty, for all your adhesive needs

Well, I was much less bummed out today.  I got a great night's sleep, and my natural happiness just sort of welled up.  I can't help it.  I'm kind of a happy person, especially since that whole marriage thing happened.   (Hi JD!)

I went to see my primary care physician today.  I am still not sure if I needed her authorization to get an MRI, but it wasn't really worth the hassle of contacting the insurance folks.  Plus, it's good to keep the doc up to date on my health issues.  I asked her to write the authorization for my whole spine, not just the lumbar area.  Since I had no clue I had a disk going bad in the lumbar area, I do wonder about the rest of it, and I do have two other problematic spots - one thoracic, one cervical.  I'd rather not wait until they're completely shot to find out I should have been taking better care of them.

She gave me a general checkup while I was there, and I was pleased to be able to tell her that other than my back, I feel better than I have in years.  Here's to healthy living!  And excessive amounts of backpacking.  I also caused her to guffaw, which is always fun.  I told her my chiropractor had told me no running and no horseback riding.  And my doctor, who has been my doctor for quite a while now and so is pretty familiar with my character, cracked up and asked "And did you LISTEN to her?"  I pretended to be offended for a second, but honestly I am pretty bad at following doctor's orders.  I try to take all of a course of medication, if one is prescribed, but I pretty much suck at lifestyle recommendations.  The first time a doctor told me to quit running I was 15 (and I actually did stop running for a very long time.)  The first time a doctor told me to quit riding I flat out told him no.  (Same doctor.)  I asked him what he wanted me to do instead and he suggested knitting.  Indoors.  I don't get what it is with all the people who want me to stay indoors.  I mean, yes, I keep getting Lyme disease.. and I sunburn like nobody's business.. and I've broken around 30 bones while having too much fun.  Okay, I've lost track of what my point was.

Anyway after that I called to schedule the MRI appointment.  The scheduler was taken aback that I wanted to get all three areas scanned.  "But you'll have to lay still for an hour and a half!" she exclaimed.  "Fun times", I said.  I mean, maybe I will find that it is indeed onerous.  But having an hour and a half where I just get to be still?  Nothing I have to do?  Sounds pretty good to me.

I hear the machine can be loud, though, and I'm not getting the open MRI.  I hope my claustrophobic tendencies stay under control.  But I'm not really worried about my ability to lie still for an hour.  In fact pretty soon I'm going to go upstairs and practice.  For eight hours!

After work today I finally got around to sorting out some of my camping gear.  My house has camping gear scattered all over it, which should surprise exactly no one.  I still have no idea where some of the stuff is.  And I keep finding stashes of camping food here and there throughout the house, as if a giant redheaded squirrel has been preparing for winter. (1)

Sooner or later I'm going to have to put all that stuff away.  Sooner, I guess, because we're going to have a houseguest soon and she's probably going to want access to the guest bed.  And possibly other parts of that room.

I came across my Hello Kitty Duck Tape (tm) and got around to putting some on my poles for hiking.  I absolutely cannot wait to offer it to some burly hiker man in need of tape.  I look forward to watching the mental struggle as he tries to decide if his emergency is serious enough to suffer having Hello Kitty on his gear.

(1) If you bury a sausage, will you grow a sausage tree? (2)
(2) What about if you bury a packet of ramen?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Naked pictures woo

3 things.

1)  I was so angry today I shook.  It took a while to calm down.  Not good.  Might need Xanax again.

2)  I just finished listening to the audiobook of Earth Abides.  FANTASTIC book.  I recommend it.  It's 1940's era apocalyptic science fiction, imagining what happens if man gets mostly wiped out - in this case by disease.

3)  The most intimate pictures of me you will ever see:

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

At least I can still walk

Oh, internet.  I am so unhappy today.

I went to the chiropractor's office this morning.  I had the x rays, she had the written report.  The written report is not good.  I have "advanced lumbosacral junction degenerative change".  Two years ago I had a abdominal scan done for other reasons, but they mentioned my spine anyway.  At the time I had "mild degenerative disk disease".  I went from mild to advanced in two years.  

The joint in question is so filled in with bone that when I looked at it, I thought it was part of the sacrum.  I didn't recognize the vertebra as a separate entity.  Not that I'm the expert on x rays.

Doc says no running, which makes me sad because I really liked running.  But she also says no riding and that is beyond sad.  I have been riding for 38 years.  Sometimes I rode for a living.  I rode 8 hours a day, and fed and doctored horses in between.  I loved dressage, and bought myself a Lipizzan cross so that I could practice my dressage on the very best dressage horse out there.  And my dressage horse had finally grown up and started being mature about things.  And it was good.

Except for the part where it started hurting.  Had I realized that my back was in the middle of self destructing, I would not have upped the riding and running regimen.  But I had no idea.

I'm not even supposed to get a massage right now, because "that knot might be what's holding you together."  When all you have going for you is a back spasm, you don't have very much going for you.

The doctor would not commit one way or the other on backpacking.  She wanted to see the results of an MRI first.  But I can say for sure that I feel my best when standing and walking, so I have some hope there.  And, I'm planning on going backpacking as planned this weekend.  Just a short hike, on decent terrain.  And I'll be ultralight because JD is bringing a tent for both of us.  :)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

In which I am generally grumpy

I am upset and frustrated and pissed off.  Mostly about my job, though I have some lingering frustration at my effing spine.  Stupid spine.

Do you have to already be an asshole to get hired by the inspector general's office, or do they train you on the job?  I wonder.

I have a whole rant associated with this line of thought, but it occurs to me that it would violate my security training to say most of it.

So.  Anywho.  I woke up an hour late today.  Still got to the office around the right time, but I missed out on my morning sitting and pondering.  And the weather was insanely nice when I went into the office, but when I came back out again for my daily walk, it had clouded over.

Also, the audiobook I'm listening has gotten very sad and I think the protagonist is about to die.

Would like very much to be on vacation right now.  At a beach, except I know I would fry like an egg in the sun.  Stupid red hair.


Monday, June 13, 2011

Home, home on the parkway

I saw something that made me laugh out loud as I was driving to work today.  You know those "deer crossing" signs?  Somebody had made a really excellent modification.  They added wings to the deer. I laughed like a loon.

I needed the laugh, as the doc (not a radiologist, so this is not a final sort of diagnosis) who reviewed my x rays this morning didn't have really positive things to say.  I hope to learn more soon, but it is starting to look like I may have to restrict some of my favorite activities if I can't get fixed up.  I guess there are only so many times the doctors can wave their magic wands before they go "Nope, wand wave-age quota exceeded."

It's not like I'll be bed ridden, but as things stand I pretty much can't ride a horse for more than a few minutes.  Possibly a horse with less motion could fix that problem.   But that would, of course, mean I wouldn't be riding Pluto.  I don't see him becoming a smooth ride any time soon, if ever.  I have had friends who bought gaited horses (Tennessee Walkers, Paso Finos, and Saddlebreds, for instance) for just such reasons.  Their backs couldn't hand much motion any more.  So I guess it's an option.  Alternatively, I might be able to modify my riding style to accommodate the needs of my back.  But I can't keep riding the way I have been, all these years.  I am in constant pain anyway, but riding makes it worse.

It's depressing.  I'm going to stop thinking about it for now.

Let's see, cheerful things.. I'm going backpacking!  I know you just gasped in shock.  I have a short trip planned for this weekend.  I'm not sure who my hiking partner will be, but I'm going.  Backpacking actually doesn't bother my back, which is pretty happy when I'm walking.  So I have a pretty route picked out, and I'm starting to pack up the food.  Unfortunately it's going to get hot again this weekend, but I plan to tromp through a stream many times, so it shouldn't be too bad.  :)

JD and I tested a couple of old Thermarests to see if we could find the leaks in them.  If so, we could fix one up for him.  The smaller one had a couple of leaks we identified using the "spray it with soapy water and look for bubbles" method.  The larger one, we gave up looking after finding the sixth hole.  I bought it from REI lo these many years ago, I think.  After it dries, I'll take it back and try to get some store credit for it.  It was one of those huge lux-o-mats, which was used ONCE and I am pretty sure I spent over a hundred bucks on it so I am aggrieved.  (It was pretty nice that one time though.)

The one with only a couple of leaks we have marked with a permanent marker.  When it finally dries back out we'll have a go at patching it.  It should work well.  Ten years ago I patched one that a cat clawed up,  and it's still holding air.

Okay, even though watching five hours of True Blood yesterday made me kind of blah, I'm going to go watch more.  It's an addiction.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

If looks could kill she would be yiping right now

How can you love someone and also want to strangle them?

The dog peed on the hallway floor, about four feet from where I was standing.  I was cleaning out the cat litter boxes.

I am so aggravated.  And she is acting like everything is normal.

I guess I should be happy that A) I got to clean it up within about a minute or so of her peeing, and B) these incidents are happening a lot less often than they were when she first went on steroids.  But C) I had *just* asked her if she needed to go out, and D) I'm sick of this.

I have to go fold a metric ton of laundry and also glare at my dog now.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

I should have a pipe dream where I'm a millionaire

Do you ever stop and be amazed that you are where you are?  Sometimes my life seems completely unlikely to me.

Yesterday we were having a problem with a computer so I fetched a screwdriver out of my toolbox, took the server out of the rack, and opened it up.  And wondered at what point in my life that came to be a normal thing to do.  When did it go from "I better ask somebody to fix that" to "I better fix that"?

I mean, this is a good thing.  I like having skills.  Sometimes I like having mad skilz.  But generally on the inside I feel like I'm about 14, and 14 year old me was really only good at math and drooling over Johnny Depp.  14 year old me, while she *did* know how to use a soldering iron (thanks Dad!) would not have been able to diagnose a computer problem.  Of course, 14 year old me didn't have the benefit of Google, either.

And at just what point did I get comfortable with the idea of having my own horse?  14 year old me dearly wished to do that, but realized she didn't have the knowledge or money necessary to actually keep one healthy.  And now here I am with horse number four.

Similarly, when did I get to be old enough to make my own decisions about a house?  I think it was a pretty gradual process.  When I rented, I could fix my own toilet, sort out telephone lines, maybe flip a breaker.  Now I decide to start major construction projects.  (Note that I also decide to call in professionals, as I'm now far enough past 14 to actually hurt when I do heavy labor.)

I'm not sure when I became an comfortable solo backpacker, either.  But now I am happy with or without company, on some pretty tough terrain, for months at a time.  14 year old me hadn't even really considered the idea of backpacking.  I mean, I had been on a trial trip with Campfire by that time, I think.  But to just go?  Without Mom planning the trip?  Or anybody?  Literally inconceivable.  I can't even remember when my first solo trip was, though I have a suspicion.  I think maybe 10 years ago, I came back from a long backpacking trip with DeLee, and wanted to go back out the next weekend.  And she didn't.  So I just went.  And I'm pretty sure I was a little scared.

Everything has followed a gradual progression where I learn a little, do a little, get more comfortable.  I'm sure it all makes perfect sense.  But sometimes, when I look at my life, it seems crazy that I am where I am.  I was a smart, smart-ass, fairly unadventurous kid. I had to be prodded to get out of my room and go outside.  And now here I am, solo backpacking on extended trips, owning a rambunctious Lipizzan (hello back injuries), owning a house, being a computer nerd.  The last two seem like they fit.  The first two?  Pipe dreams.  That came real.

Friday, June 10, 2011

I can eat whatever I want and not lose weight. The converse, however, is not true.

A few weeks ago, I read something on the internet (I know, what a great source of facts!) which made me think that perhaps all this dieting I'm doing (a good year or two after I declared that I would never diet again) had put me into starvation mode.  I was inclined to agree, because A) I wasn't losing any weight, and B) I was tired all the time.  So I upped my intake per the recommendation of Anonymous Person on the Internet with Convincing Equations.  This put me at 1800 calories a day.  In theory, this was my maintenance amount, and any exercise I did would cause me to lose weight.

You can probably guess where this is going.

I haven't lost.  An effing.  Ounce.

I mean, I haven't gained weight either, and that's nice.  But I haven't proven ANYTHING.  At this point my options are 1) eat less, hope the weight loss thing happens after all, or 2) eat more, finally figure out exactly where the maintenance point is for me.  Although truthfully?  I'm having difficulty eating 1800 calories worth of food a day.  A lifetime of dieting has not put me in a place where I can eat a ton and feel comfortable (in any sense), unless I am getting insane amounts of exercise.

And with my stupid painful injury thingie, my exercise is not as insane as it should be for this time of year.  No running, no riding.  All I'm doing is walking and hiking and backpacking and yoga and weightlifting.  Psht.

I will say that this seems to be a nice break even point for me, energy wise.  I am not hitting big slumps.  It is nice to do whatever exercise I want and not feel like somebody needs to dig me a grave to fall into afterward.  But it would be even nicer if I had smaller thighs to show for it.

Stupid metabolism.  Stupid science.  Stupid mountains that are harder to go over when you weigh more.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

I'm okay, you're judgmental

I don't want to be Debbie Downer, but I have something to say.  And that thing is:

Why people gotta judge so much?

I'm thinking here specifically of hikers.  In theory they are a non-judgmental crowd.  In theory the hiking community tolerates and encourages a wide variety of hiking styles and personalities.  But they're human.  They judge.  They judge rampantly enough that there is a phrase that is repeated frequently, which is "Hike Your Own Hike" or HYOH.  We wouldn't need a phrase like that if people weren't all looking at each other all judgey.

The point of HYOH is that everybody has different reasons for hiking, different abilities, and different desires.  I am not Nature Boy, hiking 40 miles a day.  Nor am I Slowride, walking five miles a day and talking to every passing hiker.  There is room in the woods for many, many different types of hikers.  And if you're not hurting anyone, I don't see what it matters how you hike.  (Though people's definitions of "hurt" vary wildly.  If you are not a hiker, you would not believe the uproar over people having and *gasp* USING cell phones.  Or having brightly colored clothing.  Or walking on blue blazed trails instead of white blazed trails.  Or walking southbound rather than northbound.  Seriously, hikers?  This is a problem for you?  Really?)

I am pretty sick of people judging me for how fast (well, how slow really) I hike, how much gear I carry, how fat I am (good golly people judge that), and any other aspect of my hiking life.  Why does it matter if I wear a mesh net so bugs don't fly in my eyes?  How could this possibly affect you?  Why would you give a shit that I am wearing long pants, or a skirt, while you are wearing shorts?

A lot of hikers are really young - high school and college age.  They have yet to reach a point in their lives where they work full time, sit all day, and gather the (usually) inevitable aches, pains, and pounds of adult life in an industrialized society.  I don't know what the excuse of the old hikers is when it comes to judging the abilities of others.

Now, there are definitely areas where I am quick to judge.  People who leave their trash in the woods piss me off.  People who build fires in unsafe areas (on grass or duff, for instance, or where there is no water or other extinguishing material to put out the fire) draw my ire.  Flagrant violaters of law bug me.  People who poop in the woods but won't bury their poop drive me nuts.  And so on.  Of course, I feel that all this judging that *I* do is okay.  ;)

I like to hike, and I like being in the woods, and generally speaking I like hikers.  But they sure do get on my nerves sometimes.

PS Some other time perhaps Debbie Downer and I will discuss the ways the equestrian community judges each other on piddly shit.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

In which my underwear has more of an audience than I expected

Tonight was supposed to be working the horses night with Tara.  But you know what?  It was 96 degrees out when I left work, an hour late.  I got heat prickles just walking to the car.  Working with the horses, even just in hand, seemed like a fabulously bad idea.  But I still wanted to go see Pluto, to check on the state of his various owies and to make sure his latest fly mask was working out.

So I booked it on over to the barn, and this is what I found:
Technically, this horse is grey.

Man that's a dirty horse.  I couldn't have done anything with him anyway.  He'd need a bath before I could work with him, or I would immediately become as dirty as he is.

The fly mask is a success.  It doesn't have a forelock hole, but that doesn't seem to be a problem.  It stayed on really well.  I actually had trouble getting the velcro to rip open.  Yay!  A flymask that actually stays on!  And doesn't seem to rub anything or pinch ears!  I was starting to doubt that such a thing existed.

Timber, btw, was similarly filthy.  It was just harder to see over his dark coat.

Okay, so, that was my evening.  My extremely short evening, because my day was so long it ran over into evening time.  I got up an hour early to go see the chiropractor.  Despite the additional stretches I've been doing, my sacroiliac still hurts.  The doc got this *look* on her face and made me go get x-rays.  I am hoping that whatever she thinks it might be isn't there, because bone things are not good.  Not when they're that deep.  There ain't a dang thing I can do about bones several inches in.  Not that I'm having any luck fixing non-bone parts, either.

There was a radiology place in the same building so I toddled over and they fit me in pretty quickly.  They couldn't tell me at the front desk if my insurance would cover x-rays prescribed by an out of network doctor, so I have no idea if it just cost me $20 or $1000.  Sheesh.  I do have a healthcare savings account that will cover part of it, at least.

When I got dressed this morning, I pulled out a new pair of underwear that I got this weekend at REI.  They're breathable, lightweight, travel style, yada yada, feature, yada. They are also pink and lacy.  (When did REI underwear become pink and lacy?)  So I was happy that this one day I happened to wear the one pair of presentable non-granny-panty underwear I (now) own.   Because when strangers are unexpectedly seeing you in your skivvies, you want them to be nice skivvies.  Even if those strangers are x-ray techs who are used to random people in their underwear.

X-rays are a much faster proposition than they used to be.  I was out of there with copies pretty quickly.  I looked at the x-rays but all I can determine is that I do, in fact, have bones.  And intestines.  (How come when I look up x-rays on the internet, I never see intestines?  I think they photoshop them out.)  Also, staples.  I wonder if they are non-magnetic staples?  I don't recall them being an issue the last time I had an MRI.  And they have all those warnings about not having loose metal in the room.  Not that these are loose, I guess.  Still, it's an uncomfortable idea, that staples might suddenly come shooting out of my side in the event of magnetism.  I expect it might cause a pinching sensation.

So, that was my morning.  And in the middle I did the hamster in a wheel imitation at the office all day.  I didn't even take the time to heat up my lunch.  I ate it cold.  And no walkies because it felt like it was 108 out, according to the weather folks.

Oy.  Long day.  Underwear, x-rays, hamstering, and filthy horses.  I need a nap.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Happiness comes down to two things. Chocolate and beer.

Over at Bye Bye Pie, June asked us today what our regrets would be as we lay dying.  A fairly gloomy topic, although we soon cheered up.

At first I didn't think I would regret much.  I do a pretty decent job of keeping myself happy, and I'm kind of living the dream with the job and the husband and the horse and the hiking.  Not everybody's dream of course, but it works for me.

But then I mulled more and realized that I spend so much time trying to diet and exercise my way into fitness, I would probably regret eating so little chocolate and drinking so little beer.

So, tonight I had a piece of chocolate and a beer.  No regrets!

Also, I spent approximately thirty hours this evening filling out an online mortgage application at my credit union.  I happened to look at mortgage rates and noticed they have gotten even more insanely low than their previously insanely low state.  So we are trading in our two year old, barely even used 20 year mortgage on a shiny new 10 year mortgage.  I think there's a reasonable chance we could have that 10 year mortgage paid off in 8 or 9 years, which would mean that we could own the house free and clear before I'm 50.  Which would kind of rock.  In a very staid, middle class way of rocking I guess.  It's not like Megadeth is out there writing songs about paying off the mortgage.  (Are they?  I'm just assuming here.)  (I just looked them up.  They're still around.  And the one guy who's been with them the whole time?  He's 49.  Maybe he's thinking about mortgages after all.  Or his prostate.  Not that I have any insight into prostate thoughts.)

Anyway if all goes well we'll funnel several thousand more dollars to the credit union next month, for the privilege of having a higher monthly payment.  But for a shorter amount of time!  And for less overall interest.  I'm kind of scared to do the math to see if my various refinance charges have overwhelmed the interest savings or not.  I'm just going to be happy with getting out of debt and leave it at that.

See?  I rock at the being happy thing.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Anxieties Attack: News at Ten

I spent my whole weekend being uptight about something.  I emailed something to somebody on Friday and I was really worried about what I would get back.   I took that mailbox offline so I couldn't look at my email, because if the response were negative I knew I would lose my cool (even more) and it would ruin the weekend.  But I had low level anxiety about it the whole time.

This morning I finally screwed up my courage and read my email.  And it was fine.

Wow, what a waste of an anxiety attack.

Shortly after that it came to my attention that I didn't feel so good.  Reaction?  I don't know, but I had to throw out all the food in the vicinity.  Just in case.  Hours later, I finally bought some pretzels and a coke, and they stayed down fine.  Though dinner, which was pizza with all the cheese and sauce stripped off, and plain green beans, was kind of tough.  The dog got most of the green beans and I'm still pondering whether or not the uncheesed pizza is staying with me.

JD felt ooky yesterday so I guess it's going around.  You really can share too much in a relationship.

I put together a box for my friend Phoenix Rising, who is section hiking, and then found out that she will only be on the trail for nine more days.  I need to pick a hiker and mail it to them.  But maybe I should tell them first.  A random box of treats from somebody on the internet might come off as creepy.  Stalker-y, even.  Maybe.  Hell, maybe I'll mail it to myself.  

I'm pretty sure I had some interesting thoughts earlier in the day, but I'm all scatterbrained so I have no idea what they were.  Sorry.  Blogging is hard.

It came to my attention today that the MTV awards happened, and the Twilight cast won lots of awards.  And there were pictures.  And suddenly my fascination with the movies is alive and well again.  I went and wikipedia'd some of them.  Again.  I'm pretty sure  there are more productive things I could be doing with my time, but oooh pretty!

Also in the pretty category is Nathan Fillion.  JD suggested today that if things changed drastically in our lives, such as Nathan Fillion professing his undying love for me, causing me to kick JD to the curb, we could refinance our house to take care of the one payer problem.  A)  I hadn't realized that Nathan Fillion's undying love was an option, and B) I'm pretty sure Nathan could afford the mortgage on the house.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Weekend good. Happy now.

Wow.  What a great weekend!  Yesterday Six Flags and collapse from exhaustion (but, you know, in a good way), and today all sorts of me-like activities.

I have a few comments about Six Flags.  1) The lines were super short.  For some of the rides we didn't wait at all.  2) Apparently the park has gotten some bad press.  I'm not sure what that's all about, but I will say the age of the park is showing.  The waterpark area looked fantastic, but some of the buildings and decorations elsewhere need a fresh coat of paint.    3) Funnel cake!  4) The park is insanely loud.  There are speakers all over the place, and they blast music and/or voices so loudly that JD and I often had to shout to speak to each other.  What's up with that, Six Flags?  It's not enjoyable.

We were so tired last night.  I started thinking about bed at 7:30.  Because we are happening adults, we stayed up until 9:30.  Go us.

This morning I woke up bright and early and ready to pursue some non-amusement-park fun.  I fed the dog (who then wanted to go back to bed.  She's no dummy.) and made my plans for the day.  I did briefly debate going back to bed for decadent napping, but the desire to hike won out.  So I breakfasted on three cold leftover blueberry pancakes (nom!) and I was ready to go.  First I drove out to see the pony and try one of his two new fly masks on him.  It fit okay, although the ears are a bit floppy.  We'll see if it stays on.  Also, I tried the Tri-Tec flyspray that was recommended to me.  The bugs appeared to die after being sprayed, which I feel was a good sign.

Then I drove over to the park and got to walking.  I felt vaguely ridiculous in my shiny, black, stretchy shorts.  But they worked fairly well.  Anyway there was virtually nobody there to see them.  It is a mystery to me why some days I see people every three minutes, and some days I have the park to myself.  I don't mind, though.  I like a solitary walk.

The mountain laurel blossoms have almost all withered.  The park looks totally different from the last time I went there, two weeks ago.  Now the undergrowth is all green, and the mountain laurels have faded into the general bounty of plant life.  It looked so different, with vines climbing up over bushes and trees, that I actually got a little disoriented a few times.  I enjoyed the difference.  Walking at the same place all the time would be boring if I didn't get to watch the change of seasons.

I had managed to not pack my Lara bar, and my water tasted kind of icky, so I was really ready for a snack and some water when I got back to the car.  Fortunately I had both at hand, so I set out to do some shopping.

On a side note, I am positively thrilled that at this juncture of my life, a six mile jaunt counts as mild exercise.  I wanted that Lara bar, but I wasn't super hungry or tired after my walk.  I couldn't have said that at some other times in my life.  Heck, I've had more than one era in which I couldn't have walked those six miles, even in an emergency.  (Stupid Lyme disease.)

My first stop after the park was REI.  I wanted a new shirt.  I ended up with $200 worth of stuff.  This is why it is dangerous for me to go to REI.  But at least I got a shirt!

Then I stopped at Bath and Bodyworks.  I have to go there, even though it is all about scented things you put on your body, because it is the ONLY place I know of where I can buy hand soaps that don't kill me.  Unless you count the occasional bottle of unscented white soap.  Even those sometimes give me a mystery rash.  But Bath and Bodyworks?  I don't know how they do it, but they make soap which smells good, feels good, and doesn't hurt me.  It's like a little soapy miracle.

By that time it was late afternoon and I headed home.  JD met me at the door wanting to know if I would like to have late lunch / early dinner.  This sounded fantastic to me.  My food for the day had consisted of those three pancakes, the Lara bar from the car, a few raisins, and some freeze dried ice cream.  (It was a taste test!  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.  FYI freeze dried mint chocolate chip is pretty good, if you like that sort of thing.)  I needed vegetables and protein, and I needed them stat.  We headed out to our standby, the Chinese buffet / Mongolian grill.  There was some discussion about WHICH buffet to go to.  The one closest to us has much better sushi, and generally more options.  But the other one has the Mongolian, plus tastier food IMHO, and the owners appear to give a crap whether we live or die.  These are the folks who asked how I was when I had Lyme disease, who ask where the other one is if JD or I show up alone, and who actually remember what we like to drink.  Really, it isn't a tough choice.

After lunch/dinner it was time for more shopping.  JD drove us to the local Target, where I picked up supplies for maildrops.  I am putting together boxes for two hikers, Phoenix Rising and Goose.  And I'm starting to prepare my own maildrops for later this summer.  So there is a *lot* of hiker food on various surfaces of our house right now.  I need to corral everything into manageable boxes.  Otherwise JD won't be able to cook.  And the cats will start feeding the dog anything that looks good.

I'm all tired out by this torrent of shopping, so I think it will be another early to bed night.

So, in summary:  Weekend good.  Happy now.

OH!  OH!  I almost forgot!  I got something AWESOME at the Target!

Hello Kitty duck tape! For all your taping needs.  This is so going on my hiking poles.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

We went to Six Flags and it was good

We went to Six Flags America today.  I am not sure yet if I am sunburnt.  First I have to remove my clown makeup, then I'll be able to see my skin.

The best ride in the whole park - the Flying Carousel
 The Flying Carousel is the only ride I wanted to go back to.  We rode it twice.  I could have stayed on it all day.  We rode a couple of other things - a spinny raft water ride, some spine-destroying roller coaster - but the Flying Carousel was the best.  I am a simple woman with simple amusement park needs.
JD on the non-flying carousel

JD, upside down, on a ride I had no desire to try

I am actually too short for the funhouse mirrors to make much difference

See?  Different mirror.  I look the same.

Good god that's a handsome man

I am oddly formally dressed for somebody riding on a black panther
Um, just so you know, the saddle kind of puts you right up against the pole.  I wasn't trying to get personal with it.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Scenes from my evening

I was really feeling none too happy today.  I was fed up.  I was doing my least favorite thing ever at work (again) and I spent a little while dealing with an idiot who shows every sign of becoming a recurring problem in my future.

So, when it was time to go home I was ready for beer and chocolate.  And friends.  

And the porch.

Welcome to the porch!

Plenty of room, no wait for seating

All leafy and shady

A summer beer, some queso..
And so I had beer, and friends came over, and then it was late and now I'm going to bed.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Food and Death. Well, Food and Car Accident Really.

My coworker just emailed me to say that his plans for tomorrow have changed, as he has been in a car accident and his car is totalled.


That could have gone so much worse, so easily.  I could right now be making plans to attend a funeral.  I do not give a ripe shit if he's at work tomorrow, I'm just happy he's alive.

As are his family and friends, I'm sure.  Holy shit.

Life seems all dull and permanent and then sometimes something happens and you wake up and realize that it could all change in an instant.

Whew.  But it didn't.  Except now he has no car, unless you count the crumpled wreckage.

Anyway.  Coworker alive.  Me happy.

Also happy about the best thing ever in the universe, which is ripe strawberries.  I picked up some from the farmer's market today, and they are at the "eat them today or forever hold your peace" stage.  They will be slimy piles of rot tomorrow, but at the moment they are little gustatory orgasms in adorable little red packages.

Mother Strawberry tries futilely to protect the little one.  Rawr!

I picked up asparagus, and tomatoes, fresh rustic bread, and several other items.  We steamed up most of the veggies, put cheese on the bread, and had a delicious summer feast.  I LOVE summer eating.  Although come to think of it we forgot to eat the tomatoes.  Perhaps for breakfast.

How is it that something as wonderful as strawberries are both nutritious and not highly caloric?  It seems wrong.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

No yoga = bad

I headed out to my chiropractor's office this morning.  She was concerned that I wasn't healing very quickly.  She mentioned sending me out for xrays.  :(  Do not want!  I told her it felt like something was pulling me out of position after I got adjusted, and she started poking around at the not-hurty side.  Turns out, my left quadricep is really tight.  It probably wouldn't BE tight if I had been going to yoga, but I wasn't going because I was hurt and wanted to let the ligaments heal.

So, now I have a quadricep stretch to do.  And yoga starts back up next week.  We're between sessions right now.

It is becoming more and more obvious that I really can't live without yoga. Whether I want to or not.

I had a thought this morning and looked up sign language.  DeLee and I talked about it while hiking a couple of weeks ago.  She thought sign language was a direct translation of spoken language, and I thought it had its own grammar.  But neither of us really had current knowledge so we kind of left it hanging there, undefinitively addressed.  According to Wikipedia, (Wikipedia knows all ), there are a BUNCH of sign languages, and generally no direct correspondence to the local language.  There is a geographic correspondence - people in one area tend to all use the same dialect.  But the grammar isn't necessarily similar to the grammar of the local language.  Although, there are such things as Signed English, and that is a reasonably close representation.  I think.

Interesting stuff, to me anyway. The article also addresses areas in which everybody knows and uses sign, because the deaf population is large.  Martha's Vineyard, for instance.  And situations in which you have to know at least some rudimentary sign language, such as in the military for combat situations, in baseball, or when there are taboos against speech.  The article mentioned Australian Aboriginal  sign language which is used during times when speech is taboo, but I wondered also about folks who had taken vows of silence for religious reasons.  Does the silence extend to all communication, or just oral communication?

These are the sorts of things I ponder.

I have been listening to an audiobook recently.  It's apocalyptic fiction.  I'm glad I'm listening to it now, not while I'm on the trail fifty miles from anywhere.  In the book, the main character is starting to miss some of the advantages of civilization, primarily electricity for food preservation.  And that's important, but I think what I would (and do, while I'm hiking) miss most is the vast repository of knowledge readily available to me online.  That, and the easy communication afforded by the internet, cell, and phone networks.  I could probably grow and store food, but if we lost the networks I would probably never hear from most of my family again.  Or most of my far-flung friends.

Hey, friends.  Love you!  I'll miss you if the world ends!  Just wanted you to know.