Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Coming soon: An Ode to Donut Day

Today started week four of physical therapy.  Today's exercises were mostly the same as last Thursday's, except they felt easier.  I continue to be amazed at how the human body (in this case mine) works.  One time!  It takes one time for a hard exercise to become easy.  Wacky.

Of course, I'm not saying that I don't hurt afterward.  I hurt.  Which is why I'm there in the first place.  It generally hurts when I do things, and now I'm doing things twice a week.  I have to have faith that with some work it will get better.

I like to think that one of my nicer attributes is that I'm not afraid to work.  I don't mind hard work if there is a suitable reward at the end.  I don't mind waiting a long time for that reward, as long as I know it's there.  I'm doing all the exercises with a smile on my face, because I know that I'm working toward a goal.  And I'm trying to pay attention to what I'm doing so that later, when I'm on my own, I can do the exercises for maintenance.

However, in the meantime, I'm kind of sore.  I need to find my Icy Hot.

I stopped by the farm to check in on Pluto this evening.  It was daylight!  Kinda!  It felt fantastic to leave work with the sun still up.  It made me smile all over.  I took a walk today, too, and that was similarly awesome.  But back to Pluto.. he's holding his own.  His weight loss has definitely halted.  He isn't gaining, but that's okay.  He'll pork up when the grass comes in.  I don't want to cram grain down his throat (not that he is objecting) and potentially run into metabolic issues.  Assuming he holds steady, I think we're in a good place, food and hay-wise.

I'm thinking I'm also going to stop cramming grain down my own throat.  When I got back from the trail and started seeing a naturopath, she had me refrain from a lot of things, including processed carbohydrates.  No baguettes, no french fries.  Like that. And I felt pretty good.  I've gotten out of that habit, and I think I want to get back into it.  Right now I'm trying to remember what all it involved, and making some grocery / meal / snack lists.

Donut Day is going to be the hardest.  Alas, Apple Fritter, I hardly knew ye.

Monday, January 30, 2012

In which I have a very Monday Monday

Oof.  What a crappy day I've had.  But first, weekend recap.

DeLee and I drove out to the Ruck Friday night and basically just had a continuously good time all weekend.  I do have a desire to change some things about how the Ruck works, but I don't know how to do it while keeping it at the same facility.  (Note that I'm not in charge of the Ruck, so it's not my decision to do any of this.  I'm just whinging. ) Bears Den is small.  The living room is where talks are held, and it also holds the front door, the entrance to the kitchen, and the entrance to the dining room. You can't talk in the dining room without being heard in the living room because there is no door in between.  And the kitchen is tiny.

I have a strong dislike for "you're my captive audience and I'm going to preach at you about how you need to act, or how I need your help, or something else you don't want to listen to" sort of talks.  This ruck had a LOT of that.  I absented myself (mostly solo), but there was no place where several of us could have gone to talk amongst ourselves.  (Other than the sex-segregated bunk rooms.  I did retreat there on more than one occasion to have conversations with other women.) There needs to be a "hallway track" like there is at technical conferences.  If you're there to make friends, or catch up with old friends, you need a space where you can actually talk.  

I'd also like more talks that are interesting to me - trail social norms and behavior, gear discussions, techniques to work on your conditioning at home, and trail cooking.  If people want to learn about various trail organizations, or how to mark trail boundaries, that's fine.  But that's not what I am interested in.

That said, I did have a very good time and I enjoyed catching up with hikers.  Oh, and I was Friar Tuck this time!  Seeing as how I'm a gearhead and have had multiples of every possible item, I figured I was well qualified to make suggestions on people's gear.  We tuckerized four packs, and I hope the hikers took away some ideas on how to lighten their loads.

Sunday DeLee and I arrived back home around 10:30, 11 AM.  I spent the afternoon working on moving some hiking gear into the sunroom.  A lot remains to be done but I was glad to make some progress.

I plan to get out to see Pluto while it's warm and sunny, maybe tomorrow.

Okay, so my crappy day today.  I scheduled an outage to do a system software upgrade to our Pillar Axiom 500.  It is our primary NAS server.  If you aren't a computer nerd, it's a type of computer that other computers connect to for files.  It's kind of like an attached disk drive, except it lives in another room.  And all the other computers can see it too.

The upgrade went just fine, until it was done and I was checking the three filesystems on it.  They were all offline.  I had manually set them offline because I have no way to quiesce activity to them from all their clients.  The upgrade wanted to have very little activity on the filesystems.  Hence offline.  It's what we did for the last upgrade.  This time, however, they introduced a twist.  The new version of the operating system does not include "online" or "offline" commands.  I had no way to online them!  Tech support went back and forth for hours.  I missed the end of my five hour outage window.  Finally, I got a call asking me if they were REALLY offline, or just LOOKED offline?  Doh!  I hadn't checked that!  I took the OS's word for it.  They were in fact online and fully operational.

They're coming out with an update to fix the issue.  In the meantime, I recommended they revise the installation notes to caution customers not to take filesystems offline prior to the upgrade.  Sigh.

While this was going on, I felt a little dry eyed so I reached for my eye drops.  As soon as they went in my eye, I felt an intense burning.  My eye drop bottle is the same size, shape, and color as my water flavoring bottle.  The flavor was orange - hence citric acid.  And it's in an alcohol base.  Good golly that hurt.  I rinsed my eye out thoroughly, used the eye drops, and decided to store the water drops in the fridge from now on.  Oy.  My eye and eyelid still hurt.

I had other, unrelated technical problems at work today as well.  Data not coming in correctly from a spacecraft, software not installing.  With the stress of it all I was hungry and tired.  I still am.  And now I'm going to bed.  Good night.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Please welcome our guest blogger!

[Editor's Note: Since your usual blogger is out of town hanging out with hikers, she's arranged a guest blogger for this evening.]

how i spent my day 
by beauty, age 10

today i slept until the woman's alarm went off. that must mean it's weekend. when it's not weekend, the big human gets up while it's still dark and i go potty and i get food and then i go back to bed, but today his alarm did not go off. but the woman's alarm did go off so maybe it is not weekend. alarm clocks are so confusing.

since i didn't have breakfast early, the woman made me a yummy bowl of kibble. i like it better when the woman feeds me. she puts more peanut butter on her finger to give me my pill. sometimes the big human doesn't use any peanut butter at all, and i sometimes don't notice it until i already swallow the pill. that's no fair.

it got scary and thundery. i got another pill (more  peanut butter!) and i wore my thundershirt. i don't know what the thundershirt is for, but it makes the humans feel less scared, so i wear it.

after the woman left without me again, the big human got out a cat carrier. vet visit! i love vet visits! the back room is scary, but the front has people and doggies and sometimes even kitties but they're in carriers so there's no butts to sniff. andy didn't put up much of a fight. he's been around here longest, so he knows that when it's time to go to the vet, it's time to go to the vet, and there's no getting out of it. 

then they left without me. i wish one day my humans would learn to understand simple communication; then they would know i always want to go with them. cars are scary, but i still like to go for a ride and i still like to be with my people. i don't know why they often go places without each other. if i were a human and i had the car keys and the opposable thumbs and the can opener, i would always be with my other people and my doggie.

the big human brought andy back; he got to see the doc! then the big human left again. he told me to be a good girl and he would be back soon. i think i remembered not to poop in his slippers.

when he came home, he brought a pizza and a salad! i love pizza and salad! i didn't get any, but he made me a plate of gooshy food. i love gooshy food! i sniffed the sunroom, and the cats only got kibble today. they get the best kibble, but they turn up their noses and don't eat it unless they get so very hungry. it's such a waste. i'd eat their kibble.

this evening was very windy outside. i went out to potty and almost blew over the fence. i decided to sack out on my big fluffy chair with a chunk of deer bone.

the woman did not come home. she's gone forever. again. i will wait a night or two before i sleep on her side of the bed. i might not at all. it is cold now. the big human's feet are very warm. i like sleeping near them. they keep suggesting i curl up next to the woman's feet, but that's crazy talk. i would freeze!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

I'm off to see the wizards

I've been hoping they'd kick it up a notch in physical therapy, and they sure did.  They brought their A game today.  I was burning and sweating.  If nothing else, I at least had the sensation of working hard.  :)

Not much blog tonight.  I have to go get ready for the ruck.  I already made brownies.  I can smell them in the kitchen.  They're taunting me.

Y'all have a great weekend.  See you when I get back.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

I said things to people and I didn't die

Today was the day of my first Toastmasters speech.  My icebreaker. (That's what they call it.)  I prepared carefully.  I met with my mentor.  I rehearsed my speech mentally.  I rehearsed my speech out loud, recorded it, and listened to the playback.  Three times.  I planned my lunch, my outfit, and my daily schedule around the meeting.

This morning when I woke up, my entire torso felt like there were bees buzzing around within it.  I briefly contemplated some chemical help in the form of Xanax, but I figured that while chemistry may help with better living, it probably won't help me get over my phobia.  So I stayed unmedicated.  However, I was careful not to add to the bees.  No caffeine for me.

(Supersonic "eeeeeee!" buzzed around in my brain all morning.)

I got nothing of substance done in the office in the morning.  I tried to.  But no, nothing.  I timed my speech again.  I tried to read emails.  I checked to make sure I had everything I needed.  Finally, it was time to walk to the building where the group meets. Fifteen minutes early, of course.  Today would have been a bad day to be late.

We met in a different room today.  EVERY OTHER MEETING was in one room.  A room I was familiar with.  A room I was comfortable with.  Not today.  Special for today we met in a glass walled conference room.  Today's room goes by the appellation of the Skybox.  I felt like I was on the bridge of the Starship Enterprise.  From the speaker's position, you could see all the way down the building, and down into the atrium.  Yikes.

I met and talked with Becky while waiting for the meeting to start.  A lot of members didn't show up, including my evaluator.  Becky volunteered to evaluate my speech for me.  This was a lucky thing for me, because Becky would have made an excellent cheerleader. By the time she got done evaluating my speech, I felt like I had won an Academy Award.  According to Becky, I'm awesome.

The actual speech went fairly well.  I left out some parts, but that's fine.  I stayed within my time limits.  I wanted to make it closer to the long end than the short end, since I have a hard time speaking long enough.  I accomplished that.  Also, I didn't hyperventilate, faint, or cry.  Apparently I looked confident.  Looks are deceiving. But that's why I wore that irresistible purple sweater today.

I was amused and a little appalled to note that some of the others in their comments had mentioned that I should try not to use note cards.  The manual specifically says you can use them.  I had six note cards, which I referred to three times (in total).  And I didn't hold them, I left them sitting on the lectern.  So really?  For my first speech, you think I should have tried to avoid using note cards?  Do you remember what a first speech is like?

Anyway, I survived and people were nice, and I got a ribbon.  Everybody gets a ribbon for their first speech.  It's pinned up on my desk now.

PS I talked about being a long distance hiker.  Several people were interested and requested variations on the topic for future speeches.  I may do all ten dang speeches on aspects of long distance hiking.


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Almost time to be social woo!

I'm starting to get pretty excited about two events.  First, this weekend I'm going to a ruck.  http://www.paruck.com/  (A ruck is a gathering of long distance hikers.) It's being held at Bears Den Trail Center which is basically a castle in the woods.  I had a fantastic time last year.  I realized the other night that in large part I go because I want to see Starlyte, a favorite hiker of mine.  And I get to spend the weekend with DeLee, which is always nice.  There are a few others I look forward to seeing, too.  Gary, who is sometimes there and sometimes not.  Felix, who usually says he's not going to go and then does anyway.  (However, he hasn't made any noises about it one way or the other this time.)  Jim and Ginny Owen are favorites of mine.  Stitches, Skeeter.. ah heck, I guess I look forward to seeing pretty much everybody.  Ruck this weekend yay!

Then, in two more weeks I'm meeting up with a couple of 2010 thruhikers for a girls hiking weekend.  I CANNOT WAIT.  Love those women.  (Platonically.)  One of the best things about a long hike is the people you meet.  You get to spend inordinate amounts of time with them.  Situations like these just don't happen much in our culture, except in a small number of circumstances.  There's college, but you're super busy studying.  There's prison, but you're locked up.  Summer camp, maybe?  Yeah, summer camp.  But with no counselors.

Anyway, there are a lot of hikers in my immediate future and I'm pretty psyched.

Monday, January 23, 2012

In which my day is both boring and terrifying

Oh good gravy.  Today was a day.  I'm not really sure how to describe it, but I'm exhausted.  It was the sort of day where you have to snatch a minute just to be able to pee.  Or eat.  I never did find time to get water, so all I drank all day was my lukewarm half liter of water left on my desk from last Friday.  That helped me out with not having the time to pee.

First work was closed until 10.  I, of course, had set the alarm early so I could get up and shut down the server room prior to our electrical outage.  But before I did that I had to email, text, and phone call people to find out if the outage were really happening, what with the ice and the late opening and the liberal leave policy.

After I got there and had already started shutting machines down, I found out that the person who had to sign off on the last piece of paperwork to allow the work had not actually signed it.  A remedy was found for that, and I continued shutting down machines.

The work I was going to do while the power was out didn't happen, because the machine I needed to do it on, broke.

Several machines that weren't supposed to be turned off were, because I was mistaken about where their power came from.

When the power came back on and I started booting things,  not all of them came back to life.  So I spent six hours standing in the cold aisle (which meant cold air blowing up my pants legs) of the server room, persuading them to boot.  Or, alternatively, crouched in the hot aisle, persuading them to boot.  So I'm frozen and now my quadriceps don't want to work.

So you will understand when I explain that I'm really tired and I have nothing interesting in me to say today.

Good night.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

This is why I didn't get anything done today that I planned to get done

Last night I noticed that the chest freezer was making weird noises.  Clicking noises.  Not so much with the humming.  A little online research suggested that maybe the coils were iced over.  JD brought up some coolers from the basement and we put all the food out on the porch (it being below freezing overnight.)

We opened up the freezer and set it up on supports so that we could put a pan underneath of it to catch drips.  It thawed out nicely, and then JD plugged it back in.  It proceeded to stay warm. Looks like some important part inside is shot.

Wouldn't you know it?  Just barely out of warranty.  So, it was off to the Home Depot for us to get a new chest freezer.  But first, we went to the farm to check on Pluto and also measure his feed for my vet.  But before that, we stopped at a gas station.  Because Rabies thought it was low on fuel.  JD had a little trouble starting Rabies before we left the house, and sure enough when he went to start her back up again after fueling up, she wouldn't start.  I approached the woman at the head of the next line of pumps and asked her if she'd give us a jump.  She did, very graciously.  I was so relieved, because our other option was walking back to the house and getting another vehicle with which to jump Rabies.  Or, walking back to the house to get another vehicle with which to buy a new battery.  Either way, the gas station owner probably wasn't going to be happy with us blocking access to one of his pumps.

With that accomplished, we drove down to see Pluto.  He and Mystery have demolished their new bale.  I was pleased to see that his new blanket is not rubbing anywhere - it's a really good design for him.  He wanted many cookies, and so did Mystery.  Pluto tried to keep me from leaving by blocking my path out with his body.  Hah!  Like I've never seen that trick before.  I flapped my gloves at him and walked around him.

I was interested to note that the pellets are much more dense than the sweet feed.  The 13 oz coffee can holds 15 oz of sweet feed or 21 oz of pellets.  Good to know!

JD kept the truck running the whole time so we would not have dead battery drama while at the farm with nobody around.

Next stop was the auto store, where JD purchased a deep cycle battery.  I was definitely in favor before I found out that a deep cycle battery for the truck cost $200!  My deep cycle battery for my old tractor was a LOT less than that.  Of course, the tractor didn't come with air conditioning.  Or windows.  Or a roof. Or much in the way of brakes.  But by golly its batteries were cheap.

So we FINALLY made it to Home Depot and purchased ourselves a new chest freezer - a different brand and slightly larger than the old one.  Also, while we were there I picked out a small fridge to take to the office, to replace the old one that died last year.  And in the process of moving all these various freezers and fridges around, both JD and I strained our backs a little bit.  Oy.

Luckily when we got home, our neighbor Larry saw us pull up the truck and came over to help JD bring the freezer into the house.  I made room for it in a spot that gets a little less sunlight than the old one got, and voila!  New freezer.  We turned it on and it even cooled, so bonus.  JD replaced all the food from the coolers, and it's like nothing ever changed.  Except the part where I now have a new mouse-proof, UV-proof, old-chest-freezer-shaped bin to store my camping food in.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

A fine rare day at home

It iced!  I had to stay home and wear comfy pants.  I have actually not set foot outside the house today.  It has been delightful.  Usually if I'm home all day it's because I'm sick.  It's been nice to enjoy my house when I feel good.

I slept in but I wasn't a complete sloth.  This morning I started pulling out books to sell on Amazon.  I'm not sure I'm actually going to sell them.  It seems like a bit of a hassle.  I need to research more how it all works.

This afternoon I went through my dressers and pulled out clothes to throw away, put away until such time as I'm a more appropriate size, or give away.  Amvets is coming on Wednesday so this is a perfect time to do that.

I'm also putting a little time into coming up with a better storage arrangement in our sunroom.  We stopped using it for sun a long time ago.  Now it just has stuff in it.  A sunroom is less than ideal for storage, since so many things don't like UV.  But a sunroom is what I have.  I'd like to put a lot of my camping gear in there, rather than stowing it in our tiny room upstairs.  I never use it up there, so it doesn't need to live up there.  A first floor location would be optimal.

At some point I'll figure out a better cat feeding solution, at which point I won't need to keep the sunroom gated, and then I could use it again as a sunroom. (Right now, all four cats are fed in the sunroom, and we have a gate up to keep the dog out.  My old dog was not particularly interested in food and I could leave both cat and dog food out all the time.  Boy, was I spoiled.)  But by then it will have turned into a storeroom completely.  Oy.

I feel that this house has a little too much living area and not nearly enough storage area.  Is what I think.

Friday, January 20, 2012

My comfy pants await

IT IS THE WEEKEND, BABY! And yes I was shouting.  It's been a long, hard week.  Even though it was only a four day week.  Mother in the hospital, wild temperature fluctuations while my horse is wearing his blanket and cursing me, incipient cold which can't make up its mind to go beyond a sore throat and overuse of Kleenex, physical therapy occasionally kicking my arse, major hardware failures, OS issues, and also I'm trying to lose weight.  Again.  (Because, as I told JD last night, twenty years of failure doesn't mean I'll fail this time.)

I was so happy when my workweek was over today.  Assuming it really is. I'm not technically on call, yet whenever trouble occurs you'll see me trudging into the office.  Okay, really you'll see me RACING into the office, because I am NOT going to be the one to blame when we start losing data from (multiple) spacecraft.  Or worse, when instruments fail on spacecraft because commands didn't get uploaded correctly.  No.  I am getting my ass to the office and fixing the problems, assuming I'm not drunk.

Maybe even if I am drunk.  On more than one occasion, JD has driven my tipsy self into the office so I could lay on hands.  It turns out that sobriety is not an absolute requirement for system administration.  I don't think too well when drunk, but I can flip switches with the best of them.  Same goes for major illness and incapacitation due to degenerative disk disease.  Just put me on a hand cart and roll me up to the machine.  I'm fine.

It's supposed to ice storm all weekend.  Okay, okay, it's supposed to "ice pellet" all weekend but I'm not sure how that's different from a storm.  No lightning?  I don't know.  But my theory is that it won't be safe to leave the house, and I'm going to be forced to wear my comfy pants and sit on the sofa all weekend.  And drink beer.  Maybe eat cookies.  Maybe watch some low quality tv.  I don't know.  But I'm pretty sure I'm not going to do anything productive.

Normally, of course, I would go out on Saturday and walk six miles.  I've been aiming to walk twelve (doing the loop twice) and if it weren't for our ice pellet storm tomorrow would definitely have been the day I did it.  Bummer.  What can I do?  My comfy pants await.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

I appreciate you. I just wanted you to know.

I have recently come across some people who have horrible other people in their lives.  I am flabbergasted at just how evil and awful humanity can be.  And petty.  Like the woman who had a dog with her ex.  The dog died.  That was sad.  But then the ex's new girlfriend started posting lies about the dead dog.  That was evil.  And petty.

I am so grateful to have an unexceptional life.  Neither evilness nor pettyness plays much of a role in my daily life.  It's easy and pleasant for me to forget that not everybody has it this good.  I mean, I know not everybody has a great job, or a stable marriage, or a roof that doesn't leak.  But I often forget that not everybody can say that nobody in their life is evil.

Thank you, my friends.  Thanks for being kind, and smart, and funny.  Thanks for telling me stories about your dogs and your kids. Thanks for not spreading vicious gossip.  Thanks for contributing to your community.  Thank you for being upstanding citizens.  Thank you for being good.

Family, thanks for being supportive.  Thanks for just being there and being someone for me to care about.  I love all of you.

And JD, thanks most of all to you.  You're there every day of my life.  You make me laugh.  You make me happy.  I love that we do fun things together, and I love that we just sit on the sofa and watch tv.  Before you I had friends and a dog and cats and a horse and hobbies.  I liked all those things.   And I still have all those things.  But what I have now is something to look forward to every time I come home.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


I lucked out in the free lunch department today.  My company had a lunch for employees at a pretty nice restaurant nearby.  Normally you pay for those things by listening to some blowhard go on and on about things NOBODY CARES ABOUT.  But this time, they spoke for under a minute!  And then they gave away money!  Or gift cards, which is essentially the same thing.

So I got out of the office, I had a delightful lunch, and it was free.  It was pretty nice.  (medium rare sirloin, in case you were wondering.  plus salad bar and a baked potato.)

At work I actually got useful work done.  My brain felt pretty much fully functional, which is better than it's been doing recently what with cold and flu season going on over here.  Our office now has a plague-o-meter on the door.  It's up to 75% today.  Two of us had sore throats and one of us was wheezing.  You can guess how productive we're all being.

I had a lovely but chilly (I would say brisk but some might take it to mean that I was moving quickly) walk in the afternoon light.  The winter woods aren't much to write home about, all brown and crunchy.  But I was listening to an interesting podcast on worms.  You might think that worms aren't interesting, but you haven't listened to the podcast yet.  It was pretty good.

This evening I went (against medical advice!) to yoga.  I haven't been in a month and I've been getting creaky.  I was careful not to do the few parts that really aggravate the L5-S1 joint.  I'm still just the teensiest bit sore afterward.  After a month off, I've definitely lost both strength and flexibility.  But, the nice thing about that is I can totally get them back again just by going to class, which I shall do!

It was awesome to have our regular teacher back.  I missed her.  Her sub is good, but there's nobody like Carolyn.  I would have been happy if she just stopped in and said hi, but to have her lead the class again was sublime.

At the end of class I talked to a new member.  Tonight was her first class.  She's there for back problems a lot like mine.  Hers are more severe - she's walking with a cane.  I told her that regular yoga attendance had gotten me to the point where I hadn't had a backache that kept me from standing upright in several years.  She's going to sit near me in class next time to see which poses I modify to save my back.  I hope it helps her.

I had a whole post in my head about gratitude and not taking the people in your life for granted.   Maybe tomorrow.  Unless something interesting happens.  Or it slips my mind.  Which, given my mind, is likely.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

I also need a note so I can stay home from work

Dear Internets,

I am tired.  I appear to be coming down with a cold.  I was just going to go watch a John Cusack movie and then go to bed, but then I thought "What if the Internets worry?  "  So I'm telling you that I'm okay.

Okay, goodnight, Internets.  See you tomorrow.



Monday, January 16, 2012

Ghosts, scones, and cabinets

Last night started with a jolt.  I turned off the light to go to sleep and then noticed that there was a light above me.  I looked around, wondering if it were coming through the windows.  Nope.  It was shining down around the attic door.  Huh.. I haven't been in the attic in months.  And I definitely didn't see the light the night before.  I woke JD and asked him if he'd been in the attic.  He said no and immediately fell asleep again.

My adrenaline stepped everything up a notch.

Given that it's a really old house, lights turning on and off immediately takes me in the ghost direction.  Or, hell, in the raccoon direction.  It's not like there have never been animals in the attic.  For that matter I need to get up there and remove all the mouse poop that has accumulated in the last five years.

Anyway, I had more than an average amount of difficulty falling asleep.  In the morning I asked JD to go up and turn the light back off.  He found that the switch needs to be replaced - it no longer solidly moves to the on or off position.  One more thing for the to do list.  While he's at it he'll replace the iffy one in the guest bedroom as well.

The first thing on our agenda today, however, was tea.  JD had bought a groupon for afternoon tea at Moulin de Paris.  It was delightful.  They had dozens of teas on the menu.  The little restaurant was very cute, and it was fun to sit there with my tea (and champagne) and have a date with my husband.  He did note that he was nearly the only male in the room - afternoon tea is apparently a girly thing.

My tea had flowers!

I am pretty sure I have never had a serving of shrimp come in a unit of "two" before.

The adorable tea tray full of yumminess - all the defaults, there were only ordering options on the beverages.  There were various sandwiches, scones, clotted cream, chocolate dipped strawberries, and more.

Champagne is appropriate at any time of the day

My beloved, who is secure enough in his masculinity to go out for afternoon tea.  Thanks, sweetheart.

After that, JD suggested that we stop by Ikea to see if they had furniture which would suit our storage desires.  We took notes on a bunch of items then came home to see if they would fit into the spaces we had available.

This Hemnes glass door cabinet is exactly the right height for our towel cabinet, but is one inch too wide.

The Edlund chest is exactly the right height, width, and depth for a larger entryway chest.  However it has been discontinued.  They kept the floor model only to taunt us.

This Hemnes three drawer chest is a couple of inches too deep,  and would leave the space from the entryway to the hall just a little too narrow to comfortably walk through with a laundry basket.

This eensy (24" high) Rast chest is completely inadequate to store everything.  It's what is in the front hall now.

The Hemnes six drawer chest would be AWESOME but is also 2" too deep, same issue with the laundry basket.

The Hemnes shoe chest is *perfect* for the other side of the entryway, but it doesn't have back legs.  We don't wish to bolt things to the wall.

This Hemnes glass door cabinet with drawers would fit the entryway nicely, but would have to be bolted to the wall as well.  And there is a good chance that we would shatter the glass by opening the front door too enthusiastically.

It appears that we are going to have to bolt things to the wall.  It's that, or not have enough room to walk.  Or not store things.  One of those.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The only cure is more cowbell

I have a sickness.  Thousands of others are suffering with me.  We all have it, and we all get it this time every year.

Springer Fever.

Thank goodness I had a camera in 2010 when I attempted to thruhike the Appalachian Trail.  I took lots of pictures, and now I can look through them and relive the trip.  I'm remembering my ups and downs, both literal and figurative.  (Much harder to do with my previous month long section hikes.  No pictures = very little reminiscing.)

It doesn't help the fever go away, but it's a lot of fun.

It's not like I could thruhike this year anyway.  Even if I miraculously were given the opportunity to take that much time off from work, I'm not in physical therapy right now because my spine is awesome and problem free.  I need to take care of it first.

Knowing that I am not in a position to thruhike does not do much to lessen the pull.

In a couple of weeks I'll go to the PA Ruck (we really ought to change its name, now that it's not in PA anymore) and hang out with past and future thruhikers.  That will help.  Or make it worse.  One or the other.


I bundled up against the cold (Maryland version, i.e. in Minnesota they would have been wearing shorts) and went out to see Pluto.  To my relief, he's filled out a little.  Yay!  We finally reversed the tide!   Between different hay, more food, electrolyte pellets, and his blanket, I finally got more food and fluids into him than he burned off!

That hip bone is sticking out a wee bit less.  Non horse people, I realize this exactly the same to you as all the other pictures.  You'll have to take my word for it.

I'm including this because I wasn't paying attention to the shadows when I took my first picture.  I had to move him over a few feet to get a picture where he didn't have giraffe markings.  The effect amused me.
And now I have to go take a shower.  Because we are going to a French restaurant for tea tomorrow morning.  We have a date!  At a French restaurant!  Aren't we fancy?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

A winter day's hike, with gear links

So I went to bed early last night, and I actually put down the damn Kindle and turned out the light before it got very late.  I slept like a log, woke up early, and felt FANTASTIC.  The older I get, the more I love a good night's sleep.

It was chilly when I got out the door to go hiking - 27 degrees.  I figured it was an excellent opportunity to try out my new winter hiking boots.  The verdict?  I don't think they make great hiking boots.  After three miles, both my feet were feeling blistery.  It doesn't seem to be very easy to tie the boots such that they're snug in the right places.  They're too warm for hiking, I think.  Although the waterproof feature was very nice when I hit icy puddles.

I'll probably give them another try with different socks and/or insoles, but as of right now I'm thinking I'll either send them back or just not plan on wearing them for long distances.  They'll be fine boots for shoveling, visiting the horse in the snow, and other winter activities.  But for less money I could get fully waterproof Muck boots.

Pretty shortly after I got started I warmed up to take off my down jacket.  I put on a wind shirt, and combined with my wicking shirt and stretch polarfleece top it was enough to keep me warm.  In fact I was sweating pretty vigorously.  I didn't realize it until I pulled my phone out of my breast pocket and found it wet.  Woopsie!

My butt, however, started freezing within minutes, so I pulled my down skirt out of my daypack and stepped into it.  Worked like a charm.  I'm going to try not to be without one of these skirts for future cold hikes.  I wore it the whole time, plus out to lunch afterward.  It's not the most stylish look, but my butt really doesn't care.

By the time I finished a circuit of the park, it was up to 35 degrees and felt comparatively balmy.  My legs were totally up for another loop, but my feet were bitching about their new blisters.  I had swapped the winter boots for my regular Keen hiking boots about three miles in, but the damage was already done.  I decided to take pity on the feet and call it a day.

Home earlier than I expected to be, and with a steadily worsening neck ache (why?  I have no idea) I decided to pursue one of my favorite hobbies - midday napping.   I let a hot shower beat down on me, and then I warmed up the bed with my awesome heated mattress pad and climbed in.  I was out in seconds.  Oh that felt good.  I was blissful.  And the nap totally did the trick, too.  My neck shut up and got back to business as usual.

This evening I ate irresponsibly.  I was in the mood for bread and fruit, so that's what I had.  Rainier cherries, and Italian bread with margarine and honey.  And then sea salt caramel flavor gelato.  (I ate before going to the grocery so I have no excuse.  That's what looked good to me.  Is it possible I could have a sea salt caramel deficiency?)

Right now I'm trying to decide between TV and the Kindle.  TV is a crapshoot.  Sometimes I find something awesome, like the special on Mayan hieroglyphs I saw last week.  (Sometimes I don't!) Plus, I could have cats all over me while I watched.  But I already know I have something good on the Kindle.  On the other hand, if I go to the Kindle there's no element of delightful surprise.

Either way, it's probably a win.

Today is going down in the books as a good one.  I hope that yours was good too.

Friday, January 13, 2012

I've forgotten how to entertain myself

I'm baching it tonight.  So, I did what you're supposed to do.  I made a sandwich and I drank a beer.  Unfortunately, I remembered that I was going to go be all athletic and buff and stuff tomorrow, so I can't have too much more beer.  Now I'm on seltzer water.  

Do you have any idea how boring it is here with no husband?  I ran out of entertainment at 5:45.  He's been away less than 6 hours.  I haven't even been home from work for very long.  AND I got a new copy of Backpacker magazine in today, which I already read.  I am so screwed.

I guess I'll be super, super lame and go to bed early.  I'm hoping to be warm enough, strong enough, and butch enough to do the park loop twice tomorrow.  Wish me luck my butt doesn't fall off from cold!

Everybody else is bored too.  Andy is flat.

Actually Dori isn't bored.  I have no idea what she is up to.  She is worryingly industrious.  Cats should not have an agenda.  Here she is checking into why we're all in the living room before she goes back to her work.. whatever it is.

Olli and Nazca are cuddled up to the best source of heat in the room:  me.

Also, completely randomly, here's some things I ate:

The really excellent food now available from our new cafeteria.  The yellow blob is curry chicken.  The red square is fried tofu in chili sesame oil.  That's spicy radish salad next to it.  The plastic box has rice pudding with cinnamon and raisins.  It beats the pants off the mediocre spaghetti I usually got at the old cafeteria.
PS:  Mom?  Hope you ace your test tomorrow.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

I'm going on the Pluto diet plan

Pluto and Mystery are driving us all nuts by refusing to be plump.  They got a new bale today, which Pluto promptly stuck his nose into:

Isn't that a nice looking run-in shed?

The new bale is to the left, the old bale that they were ignoring is to the right.  According to Bonnie, they were still eating an hour later.   By 7 pm I guess they were full, because they were just hanging out in the field.  I wanted to lead them back to the run-in and shove their heads in the bale.  The old bale, btw, looks perfectly good to human eyes.  Smells good, too.  But, the boys just weren't very interested.

Every person involved is trying to figure out why our two horses are not fat.  I mean, they should be fat.  They both have always been easy keepers, they have 24x7 access to a round bale, and we've increased their grain.  They get regular worming, vaccination, and vet care.  Pluto gets gobs of horse treats.

Neither one is scary thin, but neither one should really be thin at all. Ugh.

Our farm owner has been great, trying to help us figure it out and suggest solutions.  Not everybody would be that nice (or have the resources to be as helpful).  Thanks so much, John!

I've blanketed Pluto because it will be chilly the next few days, and he doesn't need to spend extra energy on staying warm.  I've emailed my vet to verify when his last dental check was.  And I'm trying to remain calm and give him time to eat down some of that new bale to see how much of a difference it makes.

Maybe I'm approaching this wrong.  I need to lose weight.  My formerly portly horse *has* lost weight.  I need to figure out what he's been doing and follow his lead.

In other news, I had my first session of physical therapy with actual exercises today.  So far, so good.  It seemed absurdly simple and easy.  I guess (I hope) it will ramp up.  So far I quite like the facility and the staff, and it's super convenient to where I work. And they take my insurance.  I really kind of hope my current company wins the re-compete for our contract at work, just so my dang insurance doesn't change again.  (For those of you arriving late, I work at a government facility, but my actual paycheck comes from a contractor.  I've lost track of how many companies I've worked for as contracts have changed hands.  I've worked with the same group of people at the facility the whole time. )

Seems like life is going to be a little busier for a while, finding an extra three hours a week for doing physical therapy.  Should be worth it though.  I look forward to the time when my spine is no longer stupid.  It'll be a nice strong friendly spine.  That's the ticket.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

That's a might fine can you got there, ma'am.

Do I feel domestic or what?  I've been shopping for a trash can.  For days.  I didn't think I had it in me to think about trash cans for that long.  But I know what I want, and I'm not stopping until I find it.

We have pretty specific trash can needs at our house.  Because of the dog and one or more cats (I have my suspicions), we need a trash can that is tall, heavy, and hard to topple.  For JD's cooking needs, it needs to be open so he can throw things in with no fuss.  For my cleaning needs, it needs to have a lid that acts as a backstop to catch anything that's flying high.

I don't think this is it, yet, but this is pretty close to what we want:

It's a little deeper front to back than what we have now, and I'm concerned it will stick out into the room too much.  But otherwise it's almost perfect.

This one is pretty nice too.  Not as tall, but also with a smaller footprint, which I like.

Now I just have to convince myself to spend over $100 on a trash can.  I've had my current $13 trash can for quite a long time, but it's hard to keep clean, and despite the lengths we've gone to (raising it off the floor, putting bricks in to make it heavier, wedging it between the cabinets and a table) the dog still occasionally gets into it.  Which, yes, is annoying.  But more importantly it could be health threatening.  Between the dog's inflammatory bowel condition and the possibility of poisonous-to-dogs substances in the trash, I kind of freak out whenever I come home to find the trash can overturned.

This is definitely a first world problem.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Big day today

I made a new friend today.  She's the new wife of someone I've known for a while.  I talked to her for an hour about Lyme disease, which she is currently dealing with.  Sounds like she has a tough road ahead of her, but I think that she is a strong person and she'll pull through.  She might need a puppy to help her out when she's feeling sick and down.  But cuddles or no, she has a supportive husband and the will to get better.  Now she just has to get through the treatments.  And then thrive.

Talking to her brought back so much from 2005 when I spent months on antibiotics for Lyme, suffering and slowly healing.  That was a long, ugly year.  I'm grateful not to be in that place anymore.  It reminds me that even huge, awful problems can be solved with time and perseverance.  And it also reminds me that whatever is going on in my health right now is not so bad.

After work, I had my new patient appointment with my physical therapist.  I gained a good impression of her.  I told her what I do now, and what I would like to be able to do.  (Especially that I would like to be able to trot my horse.  Almost everything else I would like to do, I can do to some extent now.) She tested my range of motion, strength, and flexibility.  She says I'm doing very well compared to the results of my MRI.  She also palpated my back looking for sore spots (and now I have many aches.)  In her opinion, the degenerative disk disease is a separate issue from all my herniated disks, and the herniated disks can be improved.  Thursday she'll start me on exercises toward that end.

I think I need a better understanding of what's going on in my back and why.  Is the tearing considered degenerative disk disease, as opposed to  the bulging / nerve pressure?  Is the deformed bony growth considered degenerative disk disease?  Or is that arthritis?  I realize that I have no clue.

I heard several notable comments from her.  I told her that I had quit running, and she nodded emphatically.  Like the neurologist's office, she says I can ride OR run, but not both.  She says no more crunches, period.  Oops.. I'd been increasing crunches to try to build up my core.  She will show me other, safer exercises to accomplish the same goal.  And, she is the first person I've talked to who was concerned about yoga.  She says that with the amount of damage I have, it would be very easy to make things worse rather than better.

She suggested that I stop doing yoga for a while.  I have not agreed to do so, yet.  Right now, regular yoga is what keeps me from feeling achy all the time.  If other exercises can take yoga's place, I'll consider stopping for a while.

When I got home, I found that several items had arrived in the mail.  My new home seltzer maker, which appears to work nicely.  My new slippers, which are toasty.  And my new slipper boots, which are also toasty.  I can't decide which I like better!  I was going to return whichever I liked less, but I don't know.  I bought them for backpacking.  The slippers are very light - 3 oz.  The boots are a whole 9 oz, but *significantly* warmer.  I may carry them on an overnight trip and wear one of each in the sleeping bag to help me decide.

Warm feets.  So warm.  So delightful.

Monday, January 9, 2012

I am deficient at thing-putting

Hello!  It snowed here today.

One of the quirks of living in an old house is there is never enough storage.  People have so much more STUFF in the 21st century than they did in the 19th century.  JD and I probably have enough clothing to serve at least four or five families from 150 years ago.  We have hundreds of books.  We have more kitchen gadgets than you can shake a stick at.  There are just never enough places to put all these things.  (And this is after many purges on my part.  I regularly toss, sell, or donate clothing and household items.)

As far as I can tell, the house was designed with almost no storage, possibly none at all (not counting the attic).  What storage there is seems to have been added later.  There are four closets on the two main living floors.  There are two in our bedroom.  Only one of those has decent amounts of room, and that one is taken up by my husband's wardrobe of button down shirts and nice pants.  My closet is about two feet wide, and not deep enough to comfortably hold a hanger.

The guest closet is mostly full of sleeping bags.

Downstairs, our coat closet is about three feet wide, and again not quite deep enough for a hanger.  Plus, it is nowhere near a door.  The only things we store in there are things we don't use regularly.  Jackets we actually want to wear, we hang on the hooks I installed in the hallway - just kinda hanging out there.  Not super grown up looking, but functional.
Way more outer coverings than actually fit in the closet.

JD and I spent some time this evening brainstorming on storage solutions.  Both of us are pretty sick of the piles of things.  They need places to live.  These are categories of things that need homes: towels, dog clothing, daypacks (and hydration and fanny packs), shoes, extra jackets, excess horse tack, and extra bottles of nutritional supplements.  As of now (and for much of the last 13 years) they have just drifted around the house, washing up on various shores.  When we need a space free, we move the things elsewhere.  And then we can't find them.  

I hope to change that, sometime soon.  It would be nice to have  my things accessible, findable, and yet not in my face.  (JD's things, too.)  I hope that some of tonight's pictures will be invalid once we implement the solutions.

 This corner is full of books.  So are all the other corners.   That's okay, though.  They're on shelves!

Behind the chair lurk the shoes.  Hard to reach and totally disorganized.  At least they're hidden.

Our sole downstairs closet, inaccessible in the dining room.

And, of course, a coat rack full of bridles.. and no coats.  (And some cats, who refuse to be categorized.)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Way more info about my horse's butt than you really want

I am SO OVER being sick.   Apparently sick isn't over me, though.

I gathered the gumption to get out of the house today.  First I had a coke.  High test, with sugar and caffeine.  Then I drove out to check on Pluto.  His rear end still looks skinny to me.  However, I decided to check against photographic proof.  I don't have perfect pictures of his butt over the years, because normally I focus on his front end, or his body as a whole.  But I think that he hasn't lost as much as I thought.  I think that his hair is maybe matting down a little on his behind, so it looks worse than it is.

The electrolyte pellets I got for him don't appear to have helped, at any rate.

He's never had a particularly large rump, when you get down to it.  (Unlike his owner.)  His back end is petite compared to his barrel.

I pondered the possibilities of EPM (which could be caught from hay, if an infected possum had spread its ick to the hay before it were cut) and Cushing's disease, either of which could lead to muscle wasting.  But he doesn't seem to have any other symptoms that would indicate either of those two.

I've upped his food a little more, and I'm just going to keep an eye on things for a bit longer.  And keep taking pictures so I'm not relying on my memory.  Perhaps I'll come up with some way to actually measure his butt.

It turns out that when you google "how to measure a horse's butt", the answers aren't very helpful.

Pluto's dirty, matted butt today (fine, YOU try to keep a grey horse clean)

Pluto's somewhat cleaner and less hairy butt at Thanksgiving

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Finalizing some backcountry plans

I've slowly but surely been gathering gear and working out some plans for cold weather backpacking, so I can go year round.  I have a four (ish) season tent, which is my Tarptent Rainbow.  I have snowshoes, though I don't intend to go on snowshoe-worthy trips at first.  I bought my first ever pair of winter hiking boots, although I need to actually hike in them to make sure they will work for me.  I have a 15 degree sleeping bag, and a down quilt to layer inside it.  I have a canister stove, which MIGHT work in cold weather if I keep the canister in my jacket the rest of the time.  I'll have to see on that one.  Alcohol is definitely out, and I don't have a great history with liquid fuel stoves, so I hope the Jetboil will do it.  The Jetboil site suggests yes, but says carry two canisters so you can rotate in a warm one from your jacket.

I'll definitely need to carry one of my larger packs just to fit all the fluffy warm stuff in.

I think my NeoAir will be okay as long as I layer it with a foam pad.  My Big Agnes didn't do AT ALL last year, as my feet hung over the end and they were wretched in the cold air.  Cascade Designs has, of course, come out with a warmer and lighter version of the NeoAir than the NeoAir I have now.  Of course they did.  Dang.

I think I'm good on clothing (my butt is literally covered by my insulated Skhoop skirt), but my feet get cold at night no matter what, so I've ordered some down slippers to wear in the bag.  I think I'm getting pretty close to being ready to take a trial run.  Just a one night trip at first.  I might even redo the same trip I did last February in Maryland, so conditions will be as close to the same as I can get them.  I might even set it up so I get to go to the South Mountain Inn's Sunday brunch, like last year.  That was awesome.

Add some single use handwarmers, a hot water bottle (leak proof, preferably) in my sleeping bag,  and a wee dram of scotch, and I think it sounds like a fabulous night out.

You know what, though?  I think I'll try the whole setup out on my porch.  Just in case.  If my feet start to freeze during the night, I have a giant, hot husband who'll let me warm up my parts on him indoors.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Pre-talk anxiety commencing: now

Oog.  I am fed up with being home and inactive.  Unless I'm dying tomorrow, I'm going to go outside and do something.  Or else my back is going to seize up on me entirely.

I got a delivery today.  My new trekking poles came in.  I ordered a pair of Gossamer Gear LightTrek poles to replace my very beat up REI poles.  The REI poles were great, but since I replaced the worn out tips, those tips just don't want to stay on.  Plus the old poles are feeling kind of weird, like maybe something inside is a little loose.  The LightTrek poles are very light at 4 oz each.  The REI poles are probably 8 oz each.  Unfortunately, the weight difference isn't enough for me to notice when I hold them, as it turns out.  Ah well.  I needed new poles, and these are new poles.   I'm looking forward to trying them out on a trail soon.

I also have to do a little work this weekend.  I'm meeting with my Toastmasters mentor on Monday to run through my first speech.  Which means I have to write my first speech.  Or at least work out the details of what I'm going to talk about.  I was surprised that they didn't want you to write it out word for word.  Instead they wanted you to write an outline, then reduce it to one word per notecard.  I'm sure that one word will be a great help when my mind goes blank.  "Green?  Green?  WTF was I going to talk about that's green?"  Yup.  That'll go well.

The easiest thing for me to talk about is backpacking, so I'll do that. I've actually given speeches about backpacking that were much longer than 4-6 minutes - but I was wrung out afterward.  Which is the thing I'm trying to fix.  Sigh.  Anyway, I know I can talk about the trail with one hand tied behind my back.  With my mouth on autopilot I hope I can work on other things to reduce my anxiety - like remembering to breathe.  I hear that helps.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

I prefer not to be the sauté

Wow.  I'm glad I'm not, like, REALLY sick.  Being just a little sick is annoying enough.

I just spent the whole day feeling a wee bit chilly, until suddenly I was sweating and I had to take most of my clothing off.  Hello, fever!  It's been a while. Don't get comfortable.

So now I need to stop drinking hot drinks (of which I have so far consumed ~80 oz) and switch to cold drinks.  Until I get cold again.

I tell you what, though, those -Quil products work very well.  I have Dayquil, and then I feel fuzzy but otherwise reasonably well for a couple of hours.  I can definitely tell when it wears off, because I turn into a miserable, whiny brat immediately.  And what's worse is I finally cleaned us out of Christmas chocolate, so now I'm a whiny brat in chocolate withdrawal.  (PS please don't get me more chocolate.  There's no point in delaying the inevitable.)

I hope to drive to work tomorrow for at least a little while.  I don't know if I'm contagious, but as long as I'm not spewing fluids the coworkers should be safe.  So as long as I have access to Dayquil, it's all good.

Last night I tried to go to sleep but I was SO HOT.  Probably feverish.  It was like nine bajillion degrees below comfortable out, and I was there on the bed with the fan blowing on my bare skin.  I felt like I was being sauteed.  Finally I decided I didn't care if it had been enough hours since my last dose of Nyquil, I was having more.  And voila!  Sleep.

Despite my current health impaired state, I have Springer Fever pretty bad.  I need to get together with DeLee to plan out our backpacking trips for this year.  A weekend in the woods is a good vaccination against Springer Fever.  You have to repeat the procedure every month or so, but it works.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

I don't exactly have the flu

But I wouldn't say that I definitely don't have the flu either.  What I do know is that I'm grateful for my flu shot this year.  I've had flu very bad before.  15 years ago, I caught it over New Year's.  I was sick for at least a month.  I was so sick I thought I might die, but I felt so badly that I didn't care anymore.  I had to go back to work after a while because I ran out of any kind of leave, but when my fever spiked every afternoon I'd go back home and go to bed.

Since then, I get my flu shot and am grateful when I get through the season without major illness.  Even if I get a little bit sick, like today, it is far, far better than the real, unadulterated flu.

I've spent most of my day in a pleasant coma, to which I hope to return shortly.  I'm a strong believer in lots of rest, lots of fluids, and occasional food to heal illness.

I felt great yesterday.  It figures.  When the ol' body is mounting an immune defense is when I usually feel the best.  Probably should have gone for the extra two miles while my white blood cells were rioting.

Oh!  When I've been awake, I've been reading Terry Croteau's book about her Appalachian Trail thruhike, "Footpath My Ass!".  She had me at the title and I was riveted all the way through.

Monday, January 2, 2012

I can't believe that trail misled me AGAIN!

I slept in again this morning.  It feels so good!  It will be hard to get up on time tomorrow to go in to work.  C'est la vie.  At least I had a few days of slack. Next week will be a regular work week, but I just checked the calendar and noticed that I have a tea date with JD on Monday the 16th.  Day off = woot!  Although this year that's a floating holiday for me, so I don't have to take it off if I don't want to.  I was not informed about our new holiday schedule until after I made the reservations, so a holiday it will be.  Lots of long weekends (when it is dark out a lot) agrees well with me.

Today I thought maybe I'd do two laps around the park, for a total of about eleven miles.  I still felt great at the end of my first lap, but did not have the mental fortitude to revisit ground I had just walked over for hours.  Instead, I did some trails around the interior of the park for an hour.  I got lost (again!) on the Dogwood Trail.  Some day I am going to go there with my GPS and find the daggone trail intersection that I have missed EVERY TIME I've tried it in the last few years.  Maybe I'll start out clockwise instead of counter clockwise.  Maybe I'll take flour to mark the trail.  I don't know exactly what I'll do, but something's gotta give.  I am tired of that trail getting me turned around.

So today's hike was around 9 miles rather than 11.  I felt great at the end, though.  Probably should have done a couple of loops of the Azalea Trail to wrap it up.  Instead, I texted JD to meet me for a meal at Chanan's.  Hiking around in the cold boosted my hunger.

I always get cold after eating a meal post-cold-hike, so today I tried out something different.  Before I left the park I put one of my new insulated Skhoop skirts on over my warm hiking tights.  It definitely slowed down the chilled feeling to the point where I didn't feel the need to wear my warm upper layers in the restaurant.  By the time I got home, I was chilly enough to want to keep my layers on for half an hour or so.  But the skirt made a big difference for me.  I must remember to carry it on future winter hikes, and it is definitely going in my backpack for cold weather backpacking trips.  I think it will help a lot with Cold Butt Syndrome in the sleeping bag.

I know I said today would be chili day, but lunch was held near dinner time.  So tomorrow will be chili day.  And the day after that, and the day after that.. I love that a pot of chili feeds me for so long.  The habaneros keep me warm.  So do the beans, though the officemates appreciate it less.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Tomorrow: chocolate habanero chili

We've had a very quiet start to the year.  Our get together with neighbors ended well before midnight.  Just before the hour, JD walked up to me and showed me the seconds counting up to midnight on his iphone, so we were on time with our kiss.  And that was it.

Today all I've done is laze about and pack up Christmas decorations.  And make chili.  Originally I had thought about doing a brisk 12 mile stroll today, but when I woke up with a migraine I chucked that idea.  Maybe tomorrow.

I'm sad to see the lights go away, but then again I don't want to live with them all year.  The house is a much less merry place without all the twinkly lights, I must say.  I think I'm having post-Christmas let-down.

I think I'll go curl up with a dog and a book.  Happy 2012, y'all.