Saturday, January 28, 2017

Can't Take The Crazy

I'm going to have to quit Facebook, I think.  Or at least cut drastically back on my social media time, as an alternative to unfriending half my so-called 'friend' list.  Damn this homogeneous, white, affluent area.

I've posted in the past about sometimes being able to tell just from the bumper stickers on somebody's car that I won't like the driver.  Getting that feeling a lot these days online.  I just can't take the enthusiastic pro-Trump postings.  They tell me all I need to know about these women that I would have said I liked well enough at an acquaintance level before this election hit the fan.  I don't post much political stuff online...the odd 'like,' but that's about it.  Enough to make it fairly clear where I stand though, I guess.  Wonder if that will tank me for the school board in this year's election.  Fuck 'em all if it does.  No kool-aid for me, thanks.

Went to lunch with some ninja girlfriends this past week to celebrate the fact that one of them is still above ground...she survived a random and massive cerebral aneurysm this past fall.  Ten ladies, all in street clothes and looking like the middle-aged matrons we are.  Would have been interesting if the restaurant had come under attack, though...nine of the ten are either black belts or only one step away from it.  Lesson in not judging books by covers, I guess!  Anyway, one lovely lady (and Facebook friend), who happened to be sitting next to me, quietly told me that there was a group I need to join, another of those secret ones.  I got the invitation later that day.

A valid use, I guess.  Maybe I just set the filters to ignore everyone who makes me crazy.  That's going to be a lot of ignoring though.  I'm finding myself retreating into my shell, talking mostly to the few people I know aren't crazy.  Good thing a lot of my pursuits are solitary, or at least small-group.  Still waiting to wake up from this terrible dream.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Things That Confuse Fourth Graders

Petunia is 9. At this stage of her life, her primary sport is soccer.  Since both boys play soccer as well and Thing One in particular lives and breathes it, she has absorbed somewhat of a soccer-centric worldview.  However, during the break between the fall and spring soccer seasons (when the teams are on a more limited winter training schedule) all three kids play Rec basketball as well.  Since they play for a soccer club in a town that is about half an hour away, they don't go to school with any of those kids, so this is their chance to play a sport with their friends, plus it also lets them use different muscles for a season.  Anyway, it sometimes gets interesting when young kids whose primary sport is soccer are suddenly trying to figure out how another sport works.  (Remember a few years ago when Thing Two assumed that shinguards are part of a standard baseball uniform until we explained that he was only wearing his because he never had time to take them off between soccer practice and baseball practice??)

So, yesterday Petunia was talking about her basketball coach and where he plays her during games.  She said: "I wish he would stop playing me at back.  I'm much better as a guard," mixing the two sports in the process.  I reminded her that there is no such position as "back" in basketball.  Ironically, the term she was looking for was "forward."  Both backs and forwards play right in front of the net in their respective sports; can't blame the kid!!

Friday, January 20, 2017


I wanted to throw a bowling ball at the television as it showed the smirking, smarmy, orange face of our new President (god how that phrase sticks in my craw) taking the oath of office today.  People who voted for him: you created this mess.  You.  I hope every bloody one of you eventually regrets that vote.  When you lose your health insurance.  When you lose your job, because big business keeps exporting them.  When it becomes clear that every campaign promise was a lie aimed at a gullible population and that you bought them hook, line and sinker to your own detriment.  When you finally wake up and realize that your candidate is a racist, xenophobic bigot and terrifyingly ignorant to boot.  Fuck you all.

Yes, I'm bitter. I'm still bitter. Can you tell??

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

New Arrivals

A couple of weeks ago, I was thinking that it might not be a bad idea to buy an extra set of nunchuks to keep in my geocaching backpack, so I started looking through the catalogs they keep on the desk in the dojo.  I've had two sets for years already: one made of foam around a central core (so hitting your elbow, head etc with them while practicing doesn't hurt quite so badly) and one plain black wooden set, unadorned except for ridges engraved into the handles for better grip.  Both of those live permanently in my taekwondo bag now, since a nunchuk form is one of the requirements for my black belt test.

I've been using chuks for about five years now, off and on.  They are comfortable in my hands as a weapon, and one-on-one they beat just about everything other than a gun.  I don't make a habit of spending time in dangerous places alone (I actively avoid it, in fact), but it's always good to be prepared.  My keychain has a kubotan on it and my pack always contains both a pocketknife and a small canister of Mace; still, I can envision a scenario in which I want to keep somebody a good arm's length and then some away from me, and chuks would take care of that very nicely.

I was going to order another plain black set identical to my current wooden chuks, but the other girls convinced me to branch out a bit for the hell of it.  The new ones arrived today and are now tucked away in an accessible pocket of my pack.  Meet the new set, affectionately christened the "badass chuks" by my classmates since they look like something a biker would carry!  May they never see action.


Monday, January 16, 2017

The Last Leaf

Thing Two's tutor has assigned him (as part of his reading comprehension work) a series of short stories to read, each of which contains a plot twist.  The idea is that he needs to try to pick up on the twist, which is happening about half the time right now.  Oh well.  Work in progress.  Most of the stories I'd never seen before, but this week's reading assignment was an adaptation of "The Last Leaf" by O. Henry.  I hadn't thought of it in years but remembered it being wonderful, so I took the book and read it myself after Thing Two had completed his work.  Short indeed, but poignant and with a solid blow to the gut at the end.  You can find it here.  Read it, if you haven't and perhaps if you already have as well.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

I Have Arrived (*sniff*)

Heard the *bing* of an incoming email the other day, and when I checked my messages, saw that it was the notification that a new geocache had published.  Not a big deal ordinarily, except that this one was dedicated to me!  In my universe, that's a pretty big deal.  It's called a 'tribute cache.'  I've hidden three to honor friends of mine, but this is the first one with my name on it.

I solved the puzzle on the cache page and got myself to the final coordinates posthaste, since convention dictates that the honoree is supposed to be allowed to find a new tribute cache first.  Look what I found inside!  The very kind septuagenarian friend who put the cache out left a souvenir for me in the container.   There was also a small blue frog attached to the top of the container...apparently my fondness for frogs is not a secret.  :)

I told him that I was going to add my souvenir to the frog collection on my kitchen windowsill, which I did.

Not a great picture, but you get the idea.  Sadly, this is only about half of the frogs in my husband just rolls his eyes when the subject comes up.  Oh well.  Everyone is entitled to an idiosyncrasy or two, and I am no exception.

The funniest thing is that this friend had no idea whatsoever that he put my cache less than 50 feet from the door of one of the places near home where my children play soccer!  I was there tonight with Thing Two, who had goalie training, and as I walked past the bush in which the container is hidden, I smiled all over again.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Back To Politics, Sorry

Saw this quotation today and it is so absolutely perfect, so utterly in line with how I still feel about those who voted for Trump in this past election, that I absolutely had to repost it here.  Where I saw it, it was credited to the author Sparrow R. Jones, whose hand I would very much like to shake.

I am not mad at you that Clinton lost. I am unconcerned that we have different politics. And I don’t think less of you because you vote one way and I vote another. No… I think less of you because you watched an adult mock a disabled person in front of a crowd and still supported him. I think less of you because you saw a man spouting clear racism and backed him. I think less of you because you listened to him advocate for war crimes, and still thought he should run this country. I think less of you because you watched him equate a woman’s worth to her appearance and got on board. It isn’t your politics that I find repulsive. It is your personal willingness to support racism, sexism, and cruelty. You sided with a bully when it mattered and that is something I will never forget. So, no… you and I won’t be “coming together” to move forward or whatever. Trump disgusts me, but it is the fact that he doesn’t disgust you that will stick with me long after this election.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Pet Peeves (ha)

This bumper sticker makes me absolutely nuts.  I saw one the other day.

WHOM, folks.  Who rescued WHOM.  Subject versus object.



Saturday, January 7, 2017

Friday Night

Got a text from a friend on Wednesday: "A bunch of us are doing an escape room on Friday night.  Want to join us?"  I'd heard about them but never done one before, so I signed on with enthusiasm.

This particular one was Area 51-themed and rated very difficult.  Six combination locks to get open.  Two keys to find, one unlocking a strongbox and the other a door.  A cipher to decode, allowing you to reach into a large glass-topped box to retrieve objects.  Clues to notice in maps and drawings on the wall, including some only visible in blacklight (of course, the blacklight was inside one of the combination-locked drawers.)  Etc, etc.  And as per the norm with these rooms, we only had an hour to get all of the puzzles solved and "escape."  A big clock digitally counts down on one wall.

There were eight of us in the group.  A high-school sophomore, a college senior who will soon become a Spanish teacher, an auto mechanic and his preteen son.  A retired electrical engineer, an artist, and a guy who works at a rock-climbing gym.  And me.  Six males, two females ranging in age from 16 to 60.  Off the top of my head, I can't think of any hobby other than geocaching that would bring this highly unlikely collection of people together and make them good friends, but there it is.  Pretty much the only thing we have in common is that we all like to solve puzzles!

We had a BLAST.  Oh, and we escaped with almost four minutes to spare.  :)


Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Interesting. Haven't Seen These Before.

One of these stickers is prominently displayed in each stall of the women's bathroom in a small airport in central Oregon.

Wondering whether human trafficking is really a problem there or if there is just a vigilant rescue group in the area.  Perhaps both.  There is a significant Hispanic population (clearly, given that the sign is in Spanish as well as English, it is at least partially aimed at these women.)  I had to explain to Petunia what the signs mean and why they would be in the ladies' room-- "Oh, so the bad guys don't get to see them." said my bright little girl.

Intelligent placement, to be sure.  Just hope that the women who need them see them and then have the courage to call the number.


Sunday, January 1, 2017

New Year's Eve, Murphy's-Law Style

Sorry for the sparse posting; I'm still away from home for the winter holidays. We are visiting my parents in central Oregon, and boy, did we have a central Oregon moment last night!  Copying below from an email I sent a friend today.

"Last night around 10 Mom noticed it was getting cold in the house. Sure enough, the furnace wasn't working. [Himself,] Dad and I spent the next half hour checking all the simple stuff and it was none of that. About 10:30, Dad calls the emergency number for the HVAC company (the furnace is only 5mo old, btw) and leaves a message. We're figuring maybe we'll hear back today sometime if we're lucky, it being late on New Year's Eve and all.  With a couple of frigid nights in the forecast, not a good thing to have happen at all.  However, *five minutes* later, the guy calls back. He talks to Dad for a few min, and then Dad hangs up and says, "He's on his way. He'll be here in 45 min."  He shows up at 11:15, cheerfully fixes the furnace, and leaves at 12:15am. Total cost?  $99. Craziness. Murphy's Law big time with the timing, but I was amazed at how fast that got fixed!"

I am consistently surprised by how friendly and polite folks around here are. Not sure if it is small-town or Oregon or both, but wow.  This guy was something else even for Oregon...when he left our house at 12:15 on the morning of January 1st, he was voluntarily going to another no-heat call even though the woman had said waiting till daytime was fine, just because he was in the area anyway. 

Happy New Year to us. And Casey the repair guy, wherever you are, Happy New Year to you too. You rock. 

Time In A Bottle

Okay, time can slow down now, please. When I was a kid, I remember my mother saying that the days were long but the years were short.  I d...