Monday, April 3, 2017

Well, that sucked

Every once in a while, quite often actually, I'm reminded of my genes. The specific gene this time is what I like to call, "I know you love to travel so I'm going to make you puke because I care" gene. I do not travel well. I've known this for a while now. It has gotten worse with age. As a kid I could be in the back seat of a car for days, through mountain roads, eating junk food, and playing games. But now I can't even do that. I can get sick in a car, plane, train, or boat. I have puked in a car, out of a car, in a van, off boats, in boats, in planes, even off a kayak in New Zealand, but not in a train yet... that's the one moving vehicle I have yet to check off the list. This behavior really blows for someone like me who likes road trips, and exploring the world. So I prepare myself. I make sure I have something to puke in, if needed. I choose aisle seats on planes for easy access to the bathroom, or window so I can see outside if I'm flying during daylight hours. I don't read while in any type of moving vehicle, I bring drugs, don't eat anything "exotic" or spicy. And I try to get sleep before hand. But this doesn't always work.

This past Friday I was to go do a small survey near Clear Lake, California for my job. So I got everything packed up Thursday and had everything ready to go, so that all I had to do Friday morning was get up, get dressed, and head out the door. I tried to go to bed somewhat early (for me that's 11pm), because I needed to be out my door at 5am. So I had a snack of popcorn and a glass of wine (to make me sleepy). At around midnight, I puked it all out in my toilet. Great. So I didn't sleep much. I got up and got out the door on time anyway. I felt nauseous, so didn't eat anything and didn't drink my coffee, and stuck to just water. I left this early because I needed to stop in Berkeley, (company office) to pick up the work truck because it is a 4x4 which we would need. I also left that early to avoid sitting in traffic for 3 hours. Well, I avoided traffic. I got there by 6:45am. So no one was in the office to give me the truck keys. I parked in the garage where the company truck was and took a nap till 7:30. I still felt nauseous. I texted my project leader and she was just getting off BART, so I walked to the office and met up with her to get the keys. I thought, hey, I'll be a bit early now to meet with my co-worker in Lake County. Sweet. I get back to the garage and move all my stuff into the truck and turn it on and see the low tire indicator light come on. So I get out and walk around the truck and sure enough the left front tire is low. I call my project leader and tell her, I don't feel comfortable with a low tire even if it's just a slow leak, I don't want to have to fill it three times in a day. I tell her I'll inspect it for any nails... and there it is, a nail in the tire. Crap. She starts calling rental companies, and she finds one that has a truck but can't confirm if its a 4x4. I unpack the truck and repack my car and walk back to the office. I give her back the keys, we decide to risk the rental and have them deliver the rental truck to their closest office which is 5 blocks away. So I walk back to the garage, pack up my stuff and strap it all onto my backpack and walk to the truck rental office. My project leader forgets to give me the utility company gate key, so she walks the 5 blocks too to meet me at the truck rental office. I get a Chevy Ram 1500 4x4. I'm impressed, and my project leader is so impressed she takes a picture to show everyone back at the office. Of course it's out of gas. So I fill it up. $75.00 later, I'm finally on the road again, and it's almost 10am. I text my survey partner (whom I've never met yet) and give him my new ETA and warn him that I feel like crap and may puke.

I'm still nauseous. I still haven't eaten anything, and still just sipping water. I have to stop twice on the way because I thought I needed to upchuck. I didn't either time. By around 11:30, I start to feel a bit better so I decide I could risk eating a handful of Cheerios, and a sip of my coffee.

I finally pull into our meeting spot, Cache Creek Vineyards, at 1pm, which is 2 hours late from our original meet time and meet my survey partner for the very first time. Archaeologists can spot other archaeologists from a mile away. We are all geeky nerds dressed in hiking boots and outdoor wear, and smell of sunblock and sweat. My survey partner is tall, skinny, and sort of lopes when he walks, so I'll call him Dopey Walkingstick. From here on out is where we will need the 4x4. We drive not even a tenth of a mile before even the 4x4 truck can't go further. There was no point in it. The "road" to our survey spot was not a road. Normally it's a road/creek bed. But because California actually had a rainy season, it was washed out and impossible to drive. So we decide to hike it. It's only about 2 miles to our survey spot. The creek and road weave over each other countless times and is very rocky and unstable. I only slipped once and fell once on our way up. I skinned up the palm of my left hand and thought, "this still hurts, why"? I look down at it and find a thorn sticking in my palm. Great, this is going to be so much fun. We finally make it to where we have to leave the "road" and start up a canyon. There's no trail, no road. We are reliant on our maps only (my GPS unit, and Dopey Walkingstick's ipad with external satellite booster).
We climb, bushwhack, double back, and climb some more. By the time we finally get to our survey spot, I'm exhausted and almost out of water. I drop my pack, and we survey around this one stupid lone distribution pole out in the middle of buttmunch nowhere.

We're done in under 10 minutes. It only took 2 hours to hike there. I sit down to write out our field form, and realize that the trek back will be excruciating. By now I have a headache as well as nausea. Thankfully, the trek back won't take as long because it will be all down hill and we know the way. I took one last picture to remind myself that even though I felt miserable, it's beautiful out here.
We take off back down. I'm slower now, and Dopey Walkingstick is ahead of me and has to stop several times to wait for me. I fall two or three more times. I've now skinned both knees and scrapped up both arms, and I'm out of water. We are about 1 mile from the truck when I stop and puke up all that water (no Cheerios). Dopey Walkingstick see's this. Oh joy. I stand back up and keep going. Not five minutes later, I do it again. Dopey Walkingstick see's again. I keep going. Head down, just keep walking. Just keep walking. We finally get to the useless rental truck at 4:30pm. I sip a bit of water I had in the truck. We get back to where we left Dopey's car and I can't help but feel bad for him. He either thinks I'm a lazy, out of shape, stupid, useless slow poke who shouldn't have been an archaeologist, or a complete hardcore fucking rock star who doesn't let puking her guts out keep her from doing her job. I hope it's the latter, but more than likely the former sadly.

After Dopey leaves, I stay by the useless rental truck for a bit. It takes me about 10 minutes just to change out of my wet boots and into dry shoes. I stand there another 10 minutes waiting for my stomach to calm down. It doesn't. I puke again. I decide I need to get going. I can't stay here. I now have the shakes or chills, but I have to move. I get in the truck, roll the window down all the way, get my puke bag ready, and tell myself, I just have to get to I-5 where there are hotels. I can get a room and just crash. Just get to I-5. I make it to I-5 in about 30 minutes. I've stopped shaking by now. I stop at a gas station and hobble in to get Gatorade and smart water. I know I have to replenish. I'm not too nauseous by now, so I decide to try and get to Berkeley. If I need to stop, I can, since I'm back in civilization.

I make it to Berkeley by 7:15pm. I drop the useless rental truck off at their office and dropped the keys in their after hours box, then walk down to my company office to drop the utility company gate key though the mail slot, and then walk to my car in the garage. I pay the garage fee, text my project leader that I've dropped everything off and that I'm on my way home. I roll my car window down all the way and get on the road for home. I just keep thinking of my own bed. I finally roll into my driveway a bit after 9pm. I tell dad it sucked and that I'm taking a shower and then going to bed.

I think I slept a good 10 hours. I hate days like that. So yeah, that sucked. But I'm still alive. Bruised body and ego, but alive to tell the tale. Oh and to add insult to injury, I had a letter from the IRS waiting for me when I got home saying that I'm being audited.

Friday, March 24, 2017

To My Mom Part IX: The Purge

So if you are "friends" with me on Facebook, you've noticed that I've been going through my moms stash of greeting cards and mailing out all the silly inappropriate ones to those who have requested one, and even some to those who haven't. So why have I been doing this? Well, after two and a half years, Dad and I are finally cleaning out her office, to convert it into the spare/guest bedroom/my office. This means everything needs to be taken out and gone through. Big task. I've gone through her CD collection and digitized the ones I want to keep and boxed them all up. Dad has gone through her desk and organized all her stationary (there's a lot - she loved shopping at Staples). We have sticky notes and pencils to last two lifetimes. We've been finding interesting things. Something dad found was three note pages with her list of books to read, movies to watch, and a list of 10 books from me. She had copied the list from one of those Facebook things that people fill out. It was one that asked for the 10 books that have influenced or stuck with you the most. So it isn't a list of my favorites, but influential. She kept it. This list is probably 10 years old. Why? She must have thought it important to know about me. She was a voracious reader. And perhaps thought that reading the books that have stuck with me, would bring her insight into me or closer to me. I'll never know, because I didn't know she kept the list in the first place.

Here's the list: She named it Kelly's List
1. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
2. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
3. The Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood
4. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
5. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
6. Christy by Catherine Marshall
7. A Town Called Alice by Nevil Shute
8. Hamlet by William Shakespeare
9. Canery Row by John Steinbeck
10. The Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind

The list is still pretty accurate. However, I would change that last one now. Once I got to book 5 in the series, I got tired of the preachiness of the main character and the fact that none of them learned or evolved and seemed very two-dimensional. I got bored. There's a new series (book one: Outlander was published in 1991) I would replace it with. The Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon. For one, I finished the series (she's writing book 9 now), second, and more importantly, it's the series I was reading when she died. That may sound very creepy, but, I had started reading them maybe three months before she passed, and I finished them a few months after she passed. They got me through a very difficult time. I would read them at night into the wee hours of the morning during the last month when she was really sick and in the hospital. And I would read them till my eyes couldn't focus anymore and fatigue would put me to sleep in under 5 minutes after she died. It was the only way to get sleep and not have my mind constantly thinking and turning. So I guess they have a special place in my heart now for getting me through that time.

It will be interesting to see what else we discover in moms old office.

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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

SueBee's First Great Adventure: The long awaited ending

I know you've all been waiting with baited breath for me to finally finish the story. Well, sorry about that. Let's see if I even remember what happened. Where did I leave off? Oh bother.

The day after the Hail Storm of the week, we laid low. We went downtown and watched a horse auction, visited the Cheyenne quilt shops, and I watched my 94 year old blind grandmother play her organ.



 We went to Laramie to visit more quilt shops! On the way there we stopped at Vedauwoo and we walked around a bit.
I love this place. It's a crazy geologic formation in the middle of the prairie.  The name is a butchering of the Arapaho word bito'o'wu which means earth-born.
I was let off-leash!!!!



friend D and I
Once in Laramie we stopped at two quilt shops.

On the way back to Cheyenne we stopped at the Lincoln Monument. It used to be on the railway, but was moved when the interstate went in.

His head is oversized and of course I had to see if there were any boogers up his nose. We then stopped at the very strange Ames Monument. The Ames brothers (Oakes and Oliver) were wealthy railroad men who helped build the Transcontinental Railroad. However they weren't very nice guys, but of course their monument says nothing of that.

I only wanted to see it because the internet said the only interesting thing about it is the bird shit on the faces of the brothers and that the nose has fallen off of one of their faces.
My Aunt P. remembers going to see it, and my dad said he remembers climbing in it. However, if there were doors or entrances, they aren't there anymore. Still, it's weird that there is a pyramid in the middle of the prairie.

The following day we went to watch our Cousins TnT compete in cow sorting and barrel racing.
they came in 2nd place

They were competing with FFA (Future Farmers of America), but the event was put on by 4-H. My cousin B (TnT's dad) was fuming about how unorganized it was and had to "take a walk". He came back with a proper glue gun and hopped into the corrals to properly put the numbers on the cows for sorting. We left a bit early and went down to Terry Bison Ranch because friend D wanted to go see the animals. It started out with a herd of bison. They now have all sorts of animals. Even camels!
awesome coup conversion!


this pig has very large balls!
The following day we went south to Estes Park to spend the day with little Cousin D and the girls K.D. and E.G. Now Estes has a famous hotel. The Stanley Hotel where The Shining was filmed. We had a nice view of it from the (you guessed right) Mexican restaurant.
We also saw some ruins from the restaurant and had to go find them. Ended up being an old homestead.
 Guess what Estes has as well. You guessed it. Quilt shops! Two of them!
 We decided that my mom would have loved this particular quilt shop. We were given tea when we walked in and they had all sorts of things that my mom had collected over the years.
The next day we went to Grandma's house. The family is cleaning it out to get ready for sale. It was bitter sweet. Seeing it one last time. Seeing it in such disrepair. It had been Grandma's home for almost 70 years. It's just one more big change, milestone, the world keeps spinning moments. So we took a few bricks, rocks from her rock pile, and a flower pot, so we could have a piece of the home.
how many pictures were taken in front of this wall?



How many Sunday dinners were prepared in this tiny kitchen?
After shedding some tears at the house, we went out to Uncle E's house because friend D wanted to ride a horse, and Uncle E has horses. We had a quick dinner, and then K.D. and E.G. got to ride Scoot the horse.

And then it was friend D's turn. There's hilarious video on someones phone of her getting on Scoot. But I don't have it, and I'd probably be shot if I posted it. She got a short ride before Scoot decided he didn't want anyone on him anymore.

Friend D was no longer on Scoot. Scoot was pissed, Uncle E and friend D were on the ground, and Aunt P, sis, and little Cousin D were running. We spent the evening in the best E.R. I have ever seen! No broken bones for friend D, but severe bruises. We were concerned about how we were going to get her home. We were supposed to leave for home the following morning. We got her to Aunt P's, drugged her up and put her to bed. We packed up SueBee that morning, got friend D in it and went to the pharmacy to get her prescription. Well because it's a "controlled substance" Wallgreens had to "hold" it for 2 hours. So we tried the E.R. pharmacy and got it filled in 15 minutes! Yay drugs!

So we popped a pill in friend D every 4 hours all the way back to California. So no side trips to quilt shops or the archaeology site I wanted to see or the wild horse preserve. Just drive, drive, pop pill, drive, drive, stop to pee or eat, drive, drive, pop pill. Little K.D. and E.G. got me a little hedgehog, so she became our co-pilot. I named her Hetty the Hedgehog.
The last picture I took was this one of the obvious Star Wars fan road sign that didn't want to get sued by George Lucas.
We got friend D home safely and plenty drugged. Her husband just shook his head. Then dropped sis off at her husbands place. His family was all there and they tried to feed me. But I declined, but did show his nephew and niece SueBee's hail damage. They got a kick out of that. I then drove the rest of the way home alone. I drove through my childhood neighborhood in San Jose just because and freeway traffic avoidance. I don't miss it. What I will miss is Grandma's house.


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

SueBee's First Great Adventure: All Hail the Hail Balls from the Sky

It's always good to start the day with a parade. I'm sure that's a saying somewhere. It's doubly good when you have relatives in said parade. We got our spots on the corner of 18th and Capital on a cloudy Thursday Cheyenne Frontier Days morning. There were probably more horses than people in the parade... if you discount all the High School Marching Bands. Pretty soon we heard the siren of the fire truck and knew it was time to get our waving hands ready.
Here's Baby Cousin D and her adorable girls I always want to take home in my suitcase, K.D. in the hat and E.G. with the double hand wave.

And you know you're still in the Wild West if this is one of your claims to fame:
The Legendary Tom Horn, the last man to be legally hanged in Cheyenne. Of course you know the end of the parade is near when you hear the rumble of the Historic John Deere Tractors.

Standing is Cousin A. with her "little" brother C. out front. Little is in quotes because he's freakishly tall.

After the parade, it's time for the rodeo. The Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo is known as The Grandaddy of 'em All, and is the largest outdoor rodeo in the US. Sis got us tickets to the days events which were mostly qualifying rounds.
 Luckily this cute little guy wasn't in the arena getting his hooves tied.
I enjoyed the rodeo, but there were aspects that were hard to watch such as what they do to the horses and the bulls to get them to buck and the wild horse race. But what was fun to watch was the steer wrestling and team roping. The next day we went back to the fair grounds because friend D wanted to go to Indian Village and watch the dancing demonstrations and take the "behind the chutes" tour. So we wandered around the Old West Town and in and out of all the shops then headed over to Indian Village. We ate Indian Tacos and watched the clouds gather as we watched the dancing.We made our way across the fair grounds, and as we did, it began to sprinkle. Then rain. Then hail, but normal pea sized hail. Then it got bigger, and bigger... and bigger. As we were jogging past the Saloon Stage, the performer whom we later found out was Michael Martin Murphey, invited everyone on stage with him for protection. So we joined the maybe 40 other people on stage. He kept playing while ladies were jockeying for selfie positions. The hail was now golf ball sized and just kept coming harder and harder. I leaned over to my sister who was huddled in the back because she didn't have a jacket and said, "your poor car".

video
Shoulders were shrugged. There wasn't anything we could do, so might as well enjoy the show. Both of them. It got real interesting when a park official interrupted to tell everyone to run to the museum because there's a tornado warning. So we the naive tourists take off. I'm the smart one who wore tennis shoes, got to the museum first carrying a few hail balls in my sweatshirt. Sis arrived next, after decided to save herself after stopping mid way to wait for friend D. Those hail balls hurt when they peg you on the head. Not five minutes after arriving at the museum completely soaked, the so called tornado warning was lifted. We had a long trek to poor SueBee so we waited for the storm to pass and lighten before heading back outside. So we chatted with the museum docent, and went through the gift shop. We got a little lost trying to find SueBee, and ended up walking through the botanical gardens surveying the damage. We eventually find her, luckily no broken windows but she now had dimples. Lots and lots of dimples.

We went back to my Aunt P's house to get dry clothes and lick our wounds, and then over to Grandma's for more wound licking and dinner. Aunt P. said that there was no tornado warning issued by the national weather service. So maybe the event security were playing it safe. Uncle E. who volunteers at Frontier Days said there was only one injury reported. A lady had a head wound from a hail ball direct hit. Sis called her insurance agent about SueBee's hail damage, and his comment was, "Where are you?". It only hails where we live in California maybe once every 5-10 years, and even then it is small and slushy. Aunt P. made the comment that they were about due for a good hail storm. Just another normal summer day in Cheyenne.

more to come


Monday, August 8, 2016

SueBee's First Great Adventure: Lets get this party started

I, along with my sister have inherited the "road trip" gene from our late great mother. We love road trips. We've talked and dreamed about getting an RV and driving Route 66. Well she finally did it. Sis bought an RV! We got it home and realized it does not fit in the driveway. Oops. Guess that means we get to redo the front yard landscaping again. Yay, landscaping project! Anyway, we decided the RV's first trip should be to visit Grandma in Cheyenne Wyoming. Well she (the RV) decided she didn't want to go and threw a tantrum in the form of her engine overheating. So she spent the week we were suppose to leave at the mechanic. And we left without her in SueBee the Subaru, my sister's new car.

Sis and I packed up SueBee bright and early Tuesday morning and headed north and picked up her good friend D, and officially got on the road. Our first stop was Windy Moon Quilts in Reno Nevada.
You see, my sister is a sewer. And there is this thing called row by row, learn all about it here.  Sis decided she needed to participate, so any quilt shop within 10 miles of Interstate 80 was fair game in Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming.

Next was a different Windy Moon Quilts in Sparks Nevada.
Then A Stitch of Country in Fernley Nevada
We also had lunch in little Fernley, a nice Mexican restaurant. Throughout this adventure, you will sense a theme, and not just quilt shop stops. Next quilt stop was Comfy Cozy Quilt Shop in Winnemucca Nevada.

A few shops down from the Comfy Cozy was this little gem. Not sure if we went in because there's a cat in the logo or because it was an antique shop. No matter, sis found a chicken to add to the collection in the backyard.
Then we saw this sticker friendly vehicle at the gas station.
We stopped in Wendover Nevada/Utah for the night. Then up early to battle through Utah and Wyoming. Fisrt stop on day 2 was Saltair Utah, on the shores of the Great Salt Lake. A former resort/spa/amusement park/everything under the sun now music venue/saltwater taffy maker. Weird place.

We chose only one quilt shop in Salt Lake City, ... And Sew On, and Davidene's Quilt Shop in Park City Utah.

Crossed the Utah/Wyoming border and stopped off at Common Threads Quilting in Evanston Wyoming.

Not that I was tired of quilt shops, but I wanted to stop at something else for a change. I saw a sign for Fort Bridger Historic Site, and also saw that it was the same exit as the next quilt shop, I piped up. I was thinking we'd stop at some road side plaque and learn a little history. Well, we pull up and it's not just a plaque, it's a freakin' state park with entrance fee's and re-inactors and museum, and of course gift shops. Sis dropped D and I off at Fort Bridger, so she could drive down the road to Valley Fabric Shop in Lyman Wyoming. So while D and I were getting educated about Mormon's and the Oregon Trail and U.S. Calvary, Sis was getting lost in Lyman. She found the quilt shop without the help of Siri who said it didn't exist, got her row by row pattern, forgot to take a picture (the only quilt shop stop without a photo - feel guilty yet sis?) and came back to Fort Bridger to join us and got hung up by the retired history teacher now "shop owner". He was bored and did have interesting things to say.

After our education for the day, it was back on the road to Green River Wyoming to Keama's Quilts and A Little Country Character.

I saw a sign on our way in to Green River for the Pilot Butte Wild Horse Scenic Tour, perfect for D. She LOVES horses. We find the entrance, and it says "Scenic Loop". You would figure that a loop meant it loops back to where you started. Nope. Drove some miles along a dirt road through the mountains looking for horses. Decided we should turn around since we didn't know at the time that the loop didn't actually form a loop. But got some good views of the Flaming Gorge, just not of horses.


Miss SueBee got her first dose of dirt roads. She enjoyed the views, but not the dust. I don't think she likes to get dirty. She is a subaru though, so she will need to get used to it.
 Our last quilt stop of the day was Willow Ridge Crafts in Rock Springs Wyoming.
By now the day was more than half over and we still had 270 miles to go. We put the petal to the metal and rolled into Cheyenne around 10:00pm tired but happy to have made it. Not in Tallulah May the RV, but SueBee the Subaru stepped up. And it's only the beginning of the adventure. More to come soon.