Saturday, December 22, 2012

the tangent of my tangent, say wha?

I have been contemplating on whether or not I should write a sort of Christmas Letter blog post or not and how or what themes I should be making this blog as a whole. I had mentioned before that it all started as a way to explain and let my family and friends experience my life as a working archaeologist. However, I am not a working archaeologist anymore, and haven’t been for almost two years now. That part of my life seems to be over now. So the blog seems to be more of a general, “this is my life now” sort of deal. Which is fine. Nothing wrong with that. But I wonder if it is interesting anymore for the few readers I have, and for myself. I feel a sense of obligation to keep writing. I’ve talked with my dad about this often when he says, “I wonder about starting my own blog”. I have plenty to say. Blog ideas pop into my head all the time, I just don’t write them all down. Writing is tedious. There is a reason why I have never written a novel. I have an entire bookshelf of my own work in my head. And it will most likely remain there. I can’t seem to take the time to write it all out. It is all so visual in my head, that taking the time to write out in text what I see visually is just not appealing.

Random tangent there, if there ever was one. I am also thinking about when I should start up the webpage, blog, twitter, facebook, social media spew for my shop. Part of my marketing will rely heavily on social media. I was planning on starting a blog for the shop. Starting with the acquisition of the loans and investments, and all the preparations. Giving people “the story” as it happens. The highs and lows, struggles and victories up to the opening. The adventures we are going to have in retrofitting, remodeling, finding the perfect gems of fixtures and equipment. And then continuing on with the adventures of recipe building and the day to day running of a quirky little shop. All through the eyes of the fictional Jack, of Jack Diddly Squat.

Once that happens, will I still find the time to write here? I don’t know. It’s not like I have 100’s or 1000’s of readers. I have maybe 30 on a good post. Leaving this blog behind will not be devastating on anyone. The world will not end because of it. I don’t have that kind of power.

Everyone seems to reflect this time of year, myself included, obviously. This certainly isn’t how I saw my life turning out way back when I thought about what I wanted to do/be growing up. I never thought I’d become an archaeologist. And I certainly never thought I’d become an entrepreneur... in progress. I never thought I’d have an advanced degree, or that it would take 9 years of college education to get it. I never thought I would live here in Gilroy... and like it. I never thought I’d live with my parents as long as I did or that living with my sister would be an option.

I always thought I’d be married by now. I can’t remember now if I wanted kids when I dreamed about my future as a child. I don’t want them now. A partner - yes, kids - no. Could someone change my mind - possibly, but highly doubtful. I have no desire whatsoever to experience pregnancy, childbirth, nursing, or the responsibilities of parenthood. I don’t feel the need to “carry on my line”, my siblings have done that for me. Would it be fun to have a little “mini me” running around? Sure, but that is also one of the scariest things, ever! I have nephews. That is enough for me. I just have to hope now, that when I become old and certifiably crazy, that one of them will take me in. There are four of you, you can draw straws.

Yet another crazy tangent. This entire post is a tangent of a tangent. Ponder that for a while.

Friday, December 7, 2012

ah, high school, how I loathe you

As promised, my one regret about High School. I played sports all four years of high school. As a freshman, it was just soccer. As a sophomore it was soccer and swimming, junior year it was softball and soccer, and senior year, just soccer. As you can see, I liked soccer. I started playing soccer when I was probably 6 or 7 years old. My best friends dad was her soccer coach and I wanted in. I played on some sort of team from that age till my senior year of high school.

Now I know I was not the fasted, or had the best tricks, or the strongest kicks. I knew that. I was never the star player, nor was I the worst. I was kind of right in the middle. And because I knew that, I wasn’t a ball hog, or tried to be a superstar. I was one of those team players. I had my moments of brilliance, but most of the time I was passing to someone who was open or had a better advantage.

By the time I got into high school, I was comfortable as a mid fielder. Not a striker in the front or a defender in the back. In the middle. Mid fielders are to run back and help out the defenders and run forward to help out the strikers in the front. Hence there is a lot of running involved. Part of being a mid fielder is endurance. That I had. One particular coach I had saw that in me. He saw where best I would fit within his team and knew how to exploit my skills on the field.

All that to say, on the high school team, my skill set was not desired. I got to play quite a bit as a freshman. There was no jr. varsity team at the time and we were in a division that had very poor teams. The next year, my school was moved into a tough division, and the school allowed us to have a jr. varsity team. I was put on that team as a sophomore and as a junior. I didn’t mind to much, because I got to play in every game.

Senior year. Seniors aren’t allowed to play on jr. varsity. The coach was sympathetic to the few of us seniors that were on the team since our freshman days and gave us spots on the varsity team. She sat us down at the end of try-outs and said she would give us spots, but that we were going to be bench warmers. This was the first time I should have said thanks but no thanks and walked away.

That year was spent watching from the bench, maybe playing the last 5 minutes of a game we were either loosing horribly or winning greatly. The bench warmer seniors were looked at by the rest of the team with either distain (seeing that we replaced younger, better players) or sympathy in a bad way (as in, look how sad). I felt it, and I’m sure the others did too. There was one particular game I remember. I don’t remember who we were playing, but all the seniors got to start the game, as per tradition. Our coach would then slowly pull out the senior bench warmers one by one and replace us with her starters. We were loosing the game pretty bad, so our coach started putting us bench warmers back in to let us play. One of our players who was in the sweeper position behind the defenders was getting pissed off that us bench warmers were back in the game. She yelled something to the effect of, “why are you putting these stupid people in the game, they suck”. I happen to have been standing right next to her when she said it. She looked at me and said, “well not you, you’re okay”. The coach kept us in the game but moved her to the front to keep her away from us.

That was the moment I wish I could have changed. I wish that I had had the balls to yell back at her something, instead of taking it. And I wish I would have walked off the field, handed my jersey to my coach, and walked away from that season and that team. But I didn’t. I stayed. I finished the season, and put up with being dissatisfied.

I haven’t played ever since. There was one other time that year when a lot of the players, one in particular voiced their displeasure of me being on the team, and that was when the yearbooks came out. I got pictured in the yearbook. I overheard this one particular person get all in a hissy that someone like me got featured and not her who was a star player. I shrugged it off at the time, but it hurt. It's the picture at the top of this post.

So there it is. I wish I had not played on the team my senior year. I enjoyed playing the first three years. I liked my coach... I didn’t like the assistant coach. He may have been another reason why I didn’t get a chance to play much. He had his favorites. His players from his league team. The high school team was made up of so called stars. Mostly they were ball hogging, glory seeking, whiney bitches. And I didn’t fit that mold. So glad I didn’t fit that mold.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Running in Silence

Since my debacle with itunes and ipod revolts back in September, I have been going on my runs without music. I had thought that I somehow wouldn’t be able to run without music. I use it for inspiration and motivation. How can I run without that? Well, I did. For a little over 2 months I ran in silence. All I heard was my own breathing and footsteps. And of course the voice in my head yelling motivational speeches to keep me going. Yep, that’s right folks. I yelled at myself. Thankfully not out loud. And I will admit that punctuating swear words in there helped. Somehow it is more stimulating when I say, “You can climb that fucking mountain” as opposed to “keep going”.

I have had my new ipod nano for over a month now, but I hadn’t fixed my music problem. For some reason I was taking my sweet ass time doing it. I realized several times that I was missing listening to my music. I wanted to put the earbuds in and zone out. For some reason that didn’t motivate me to fix the problem. Anyway, I think I have finally fixed said problem. I have been listening to music on the new nano and on the laptop and haven’t yet heard the old problem rear its ugly head.

So I have now begun rebuilding my playlists and making new ones. First one I rebuilt was the one I used for running. The past week and this current week I have been listening on the runs. It’s nice. That voice in my head is much quieter now. She was getting annoying and quite the potty mouth! Someone should wash her mouth out with soap or something.

I have also been frustrated in that I have most likely plateaued because I have been loosing and gaining the same 1 pound for months! So I decided last week that I would extend the run to about 3 miles. I was doing 2.4 on a regular basis, and it wasn’t a big challenge. So, on the first day of the extended route... I should have kept it short. During the run I had almost burped up my breakfast of cherrios twice. Then when it was time to make the new turn to extend the run I had the feeling that I was going to need a bathroom soon. At the .4 mile to go, I REALLY needed to go... like NOW. My lungs were burning and I was squeezing those cheeks so hard it hurt. I ran all the way home, untied the house key from my shorts, up to the front door, and made it to the toilet just in time. Oh my, that was close. I was shaking.

So after vacating my bowels, I sat there for awhile on the toilet, drenched in sweat and beet red and realized I had just run 3 miles, and survived. I hadn’t done that before... ever. I was quite proud. Yes, I was sitting on a toilet being proud of myself! I’ll take whatever moment there is, no matter how embarrassing.

I’ll leave you with that image. And this will tie into the next post about my one regret about High School. (running, not vacating my bowels!) You’re disgusting!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The sort of The Hobbit fangirl

*one of my favorite pics from New Zealand, also is the background for this blog.

It’s a big day on the other side of the world down in New Zealand. It’s the World Premiere of The Hobbit in Wellington. Starts at 4:30pm kiwi time which means 6:30pm PST. It will be televised live too on Cinemax. I don’t subscribe to that channel. And it seems weird that that network will broadcast something where everyone will be keeping their clothes on. I mean, Cinemax isn’t nicknamed “skinemax” for nothing. But now that I think about it, they do show some shows from the UK and most likely have some sort of deal with Sky over across the pond. And New Zealand is still part of the British Empire and all that. Would be a lot easier on me if BBC America was doing it instead. Anyway, there are also several places on the web that will live stream it. So the question is will I watch it?

I don’t know. I’ve been sort of overloaded with Hobbit hype of late and I don’t really want to spoil the experience of seeing the film. On the other hand, the footage of the Premiere is only that. I won’t be there actually seeing the film so it won’t be spoiler-ish. Perhaps I will watch it later and not tonight. I do have things I need to do. I should be mowing my lawn right now.

Which brings me to something else I’ve been worrying about... sort of. With all this hype and excitement and little clips, interviews, previews, behind-the-scenes snippets: will it all make me so excited that when I finally do go and see the film in December, will it live up to my boosted expectations? So I’ve been perusing the pre-film juggernaut and not delving in and reading and watching everything there is out there. I don’t want to get my expectations so high that it will be a disappointment when I go to see it. I know it will be a good film and it will be entertaining, but I went to see Tron Legacy in the theaters in 3D expecting to get my mind blown with the special effects. I know the actual story was weak so I wasn’t expecting that. But I came out of it disappointed. My mind wasn’t blown. I don’t want that to happen with The Hobbit.

Also, I hate 3D. It gives me a headache. The eye strain is exhausting. When I walked out of Tron Legacy I practically had a migraine! So I never went to see Avatar or Hugo or any other film that showed in 3D. Movies are so expensive these days and 3D is even more money. But I’ll be going to see The hobbit in 3D and at the HFR (high frame rate). I decided that I need to see it as the Director (Peter Jackson) intended. So I will give it another shot. I’ll be taking drugs though (legal ones). I will most likely pop some Ibuprofen before hand and have some more in my pocket, just in case. I will most likely be taking my nephews as well. So it might be their Christmas present from me. We aren’t doing the midnight showing though. I didn’t buy those tickets, and plus we wouldn’t be getting back home till after 4am!! I’m not that hardcore. Sorry. Perhaps later in the week or the following week. The movie isn’t showing in 3D HFR in my city, so we will have to travel 40 miles to San Jose to see it. And of course I’ll have to splurge for the snacks and such, because this is part of “the experience”. Part of the experience will be traveling to the theater, waiting in lines, getting all the junk food, and picking out the best seats, and then of course the movie itself.

I fell in love with The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy. I was a bit late. I reread The Hobbit prior to going to see The Fellowship of The Ring. I was greatly confused the first 10 minutes figuring out who this Frodo character was. Face palm, I know! I then went home and prior to The Two Towers, I reread the Trilogy. I came away from that trilogy experience wishing I was somehow part of it. I wanted to be part of the experience that all the actors and production had. Everyone who worked on those films kept saying how amazing it all was and how it changed their lives. I wanted that. And of course that was the first time I had seen the beauty of New Zealand. I knew that place existed, but just figured it was like Australia to its north.

*at left is one of the places I got to visit where LOTR was shot.

So years after the films came out and several DVD editions came and gone, I finally made it to New Zealand myself. You can read about that here. Many other films had been shot in New Zealand since then. So while I was there, I traveled with a trekking group for 10 days. Midway through we had a day off in Queenstown, on the South Island. So what did I do besides jump off a cliff and live to tell about it? I went on a Lord of the Rings Tour. I felt like such a dork, but there you go. You can read about that here.

I tell you all this because I watched an interview this morning about The Hobbit and one of the actors said something to the effect of, “Even if there wasn’t a film at the end of this year, it has changed my life. Just coming here to New Zealand and the experience has changed my life forever.” Not exactly what he said, but close enough. They all spent the better part of a year down there. I only spent just under a month. Reflecting on it now, three years out, had my own experience down there change my life? Today I thought, “I missed it again.” After my own trip to New Zealand, I wanted to move there. I went as far as looking for jobs there and looking into what I’d have to do to immigrate. Had I actually done it, would I have had the opportunity to be part of the making of The Hobbit? Who knows.

Did my own short journey change my life? I think so. I wrote about this here and here soon after I got back. Now three years later, I still do think about it sometimes. I look through my photos, I reread my blog posts sometimes. It was a huge deal for me to go there... alone. I didn’t know a soul. I had never traveled internationally alone before or that far. For some people traveling overseas alone is no big deal. But for me it was huge. I had put off the trip for years because of that. I felt that, and still do, even this extremely introverted person can take on the world. Okay, maybe not the world, but you get what I mean. I can overcome whatever obstacle comes along.

So in a way, the Lord of the Rings movies and now The Hobbit films, have changed this closet fangirls life.

*and no, I will not be dressing up. I am not a cosplayer.

**we'll see if I get any new views besides my normal readers when I tweet this with a Hobbit hashtag.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

then do it anyway

Oh dear, watched Roadtrip Nation again. I talked about the show before here. This time it was 3 recent college graduates. And the quote that one of the people they interviewed that stuck with me this time was, “Commit... then figure it out”. His name is Jimmy Chin, who is a photographer and climber. He’s climbed Everest as an expedition photographer. After graduating college he lived out of the back of his Subaru for 7 years.

I’m not going to do that. It’s already been over 7 years since I graduated from Graduate school. But I like what he said. It’s what he did. He knew that he needed to climb and ski, so he did. Which led him to photography, and got photo’s published, which led to expeditions... etc. You can see his full interview here.

I like to think that I am doing the same. I have committed to opening my own business. I don’t have a job, I don’t have any money, I don’t have any business experience, never took a business class in all those years of college. I don’t have wealthy family members or friends. Neither of my college degrees have anything to do with the retail/restaurant business. I may fail, I may not. Whether or not I fail or succeed isn’t the point really. It’s what happens during the journey that is important.

It has taken a long time to get to the point where I am now in the whole process. And it isn’t very far... at least to me anyway. There is still a lot that needs to happen before this business can become a reality. It has taken almost a year now... just to write my business plan. That is dreadfully scary. I hope that the rest of the process before opening doesn’t take that long. But, I have learned quite a bit in that time. It wasn’t a waste of time, perhaps a bit mismanaged, but not wasted. I’ve learned how to write a business plan, create a menu, make financial projections, a bit about commercial real estate, types of loans, investors, etc. I’ve also met some pretty neat people who really want me to succeed. The people at the Chamber of Commerce, the Small Business Development Center, the Economic Development Center, the Welcome Center, the Downtown Association, and the City Planners and others at City Hall.

Everyone I have talked to has said it will be hard and difficult to do what I want to do. But they all have also given me advice and encouragement to keep going and do it. No one has said to me, “don’t do it” or “don’t even try”. At this point, I’m not sure I would even listen to someone with that kind of negativity.

It’s like the quote from the last time I wrote about Roadtrip Nation. “Feel the fear, and do it anyway.”

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Cheesy TV

Many things and ideas have run through my head about what to write on the blog. This is just one of them.

The new cheesetastic tv shows I am watching this tv season or guilty pleasures (however you wish to see it). And yes, they are cheesy. But for some reason, I like them. What are they? Arrow and Beauty and the Beast, both on the CW. I know, I’m to old for their demographic now, but these two new shows plus Nikita, now in it’s 3rd season are what I watch from that network.

So why do I like these? They are predictable overall, meaning I know the overall story and know the major story arcs, however, within each episode there are surprises and how they deal with the overall story. The dialog can be over the top or bad (a la George Lucas... ok not that bad). But the actors are pretty to look at (petty, I know). And overall they are redemption stories and how these characters deal with what they have done in the past, how they atone for them, how they help people now, and their ultimate goals for their futures is interesting to me. Also they are all normal humans (i.e. not aliens from another planet with super powers)... well, except for the “beast” in Beauty and the Beast, he’s a genetic experiment gone wrong, but anyway.

So yeah, no deep thoughts here or anything, just admitting my guilty tv pleasures.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Springtime... somewhere

A few of you have asked what I have decided to do as my “reward” for hitting my weight loss goal. I talked about it here. (I haven’t quite hit it yet, but I am close) Well here it is in Technicolor! Part one is a hike I have wanted to do since high school. That was 16 years ago! Good grief. It is the Skyline to the Sea Trail in Castle Rock and Big Basin State Parks. It is 29.5 miles one way from the starting point in Saratoga to Waddell Beach. Big Basins web site says it will only take 6 hours to complete, once at the parks headquarters. It is usually a two to three day hike, depending on how many diversions we take. My crazy good friend from Santa Cruz (she really is certifiable) will be going along with me on the mini adventure. However we may have to wait till spring comes, for if there is too much rainfall, we won’t be able to cross creeks. May want to wait till spring also so that we can actually enjoy the ocean when we get to it. Too cold in the wintertime. Brrrrrrrrr.

Part two is getting my passport renewed. I expired almost two years ago. I have been holding off on it partly because I don’t want it to have a “fat” picture, and partly to have it renewed as a reward to myself. I will reward myself by finally being able to leave the country! Who wants to take me to Cabo? Anyone? Ok, how about Saint Lucia? No? Australia? Chili? Ireland? It’s springtime in New Zealand!!

You people are no fun.

*according to Wikipedia there is an effort to connect the Skyline to the Sea Trail with the Bay Area Ridge Trail system.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


This was my saving grace: give a listen

My calm in stormy seas
I listened to this a lot at night when I was in Victorville
I needed it
It helped block out the noises and voices around me
It quieted my anger
It soothed my melancholy
It helped me relax from the stress

It cleared my head
It also inspired
It lightened my heart

How is it that one piece of music can do that?

*This is Helen Jane Long, song is titled Breath
She is a British composer/artist. Check her out!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

something special

I want to do something special, meaningful for my weight loss goal. I have talked about it before long ago in a far off land. But now that it is close at hand, I need that little bit of extra motivation.

I however, have no money to spend on a vacation get away. I thought about Zion National Park, Chaco Canyon, surfing lessons in Hawaii (which is something I’d really like to do). But all of these require money. I also want to see Machu Pichu, Australia, Ireland, Scotland, Patagonia, and I could go on. But again, these cost even more money.

So I am left with something that doesn’t require a lot of money and/or travel. And I have... nothing. I need some ideas. Anyone got anything? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

Sunday, September 30, 2012


Been needing to write, but haven’t been able to... write. Or more to the point what about. I think I should write something funny and light hearted, a la another blast from the past photo. But I don’t want to share too much. I kind of like anonymity or being mysterious. Bwahahahaha. Perhaps another tour of the music library, but I am in the process of replacing said library due to a bug or glitch or upgrade compatibility issue, and I’m only halfway through the “B’s”. So, an update on the job front? Not sure I should share that publicly... yet. I will only say, I am no longer in Victorville working. So, update on the me exercising? Are you all bored with that yet? Perhaps I will eventually do all of those.

In the meantime, while I sort all that out, last week I was house-sitting for my parents and got to spend some quality time with my cat, Quirk. This was our favorite hang out spot.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Bad Fangirl

Am I a bad fangirl if I haven't purchased this yet? I really do want it. But I don't even have a Blu Ray player. Oh my, does that make me an even worse fangirl? Oh dear. I'll go hang my head in shame over here in the corner... without my elf ears.

*I don't own elf ears or hobbit feet. Going back to my corner of shame.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Just Peachy

My latest posts haven’t been all that fun or silly and I have been wanting to lighten the mood a bit, so I think we will get in the TARDIS and go to 1985, only not with Michael J. Fox, but with me and Peachy.

This is me and Peachy when we first got her. I’m 7, almost 8 and Peachy is about 3 months.

My mom found an ad in the paper for kittens. We were suppose to only get a kitten for me, but when we got there, there was another one. Peachy’s brother, Bud. So needless to say, I got Peachy and mom got Bud. I don’t exactly remember what happened to Bud. He may have run away or he died mysteriously, but he didn’t stay long with us. One thing I remember about Bud was his nasty smelling farts. They were so bad that even he would leave the room. But Peachy... well, she was... interesting. While she was still a young little fluffy kitten, she decided to climb up the ironing board that was standing up in the garage. It fell over, and she with it. She hit the concrete floor so hard she got a concussion. She couldn’t walk straight for two days afterward. And ever since then, she was never the same. I can only conclude that it was not just a simple concussion but brain damage as well. She would drool when you pet her. She would suck on your toes. Really! She never really grew out of her kitten phase in that she would knead (I know normal cats do this too) but she wouldn’t just knead, she tried to nurse, hence the sucking on your toes thing. She was sort of slow, I wouldn’t say stupid, but she was kind of like Forest Gump, only in cat form. She also became allergic to herself (her own fur). She would scratch herself so much that her fur would come out. We had to take her to the vet every year for shots so she wouldn’t do that. She also sneezed all the time. Which I also associate with her being allergic to herself.

She had so many things going against her. But she was such a loving cat. She was beautiful. And I think she had a pretty good life. I would get frustrated with her at times because I didn’t want to have wet spots all over my clothes from the drool and get sneezed on or have my toes sucked on, and I would push her away. But she always came back and I always gave her some loving.

I eventually had to make that hard decision in High School. She had gone into kidney failure and she was suffering. The Veterinarian asked if I wanted to see her before she gave her the last shot of her life. I said no. I couldn’t do it. It is one thing I regret. I didn’t say goodbye to her. I cried all the way home. I buried her up on the bank in the backyard where I thought she would like to be. As far as I know, she is still there. We had quite the pet cemetery back there. Mostly cats, a dog, many hamsters, a bird or two, and a rattlesnake. It wasn’t a pet and I dug him back up because my nephew wanted to see it and have the bones.

I have to say that every cat that I have had over the span of my life to date, has been weird in one way or another. We have had cats for as long as I can remember. There has almost always been at least one cat in our household. I have never had a “normal” cat. Pumpkin got run over in front of our house by our neighbor ( dad saved the day on that one, I never saw her), Turtle had half a tail and I still have scars on my chest from her. She came back from the vet after getting “fixed” a changed kitty. Tosca loved classical music, but started spraying like boy cats. Dot was so special, she was so friendly she spent time in the neighbors houses. She got shot by a BB gun. :( I’ve blogged about Jack here, I even made him a facebook fan page because he had human and feline friends that would come visit him. I now have a cat named Quirk, and he is quite quirky. He lives with my parents. But he too is... different. Here is a pic of Quirk.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Funny workout videos

Back in a Starbucks in Victorville, listening to my tunes in itunes so I can find my finicky tracks that need fixing. I have been having problems with my ipod and itunes lately. They have decided to not play certain songs or not play them all the way through. I now know how to fix it, but I have to find each song that is doing it and replace it. So, I will be doing a lot of listening for awhile.

So I am here in Starbucks procrastinating on the business stuff for the shop and am writing a blog instead. Go me!

I guess I will update you on the whole me exercising and liking running. Since being in Victorville I have not been able to run and I am missing it. I am antsy and fidgety. But due to the extreme heat and skeeziness of Victorville, I cannot run outside. It’s just not safe. There is no gym at the hotel, so no running on a treadmill either. I have been having a hard time finding a substitute. I didn’t want all that hard work I put in for months and months to fade back into flabby lazy fat cells again. At first I tried a pilates video workout thing and I brought my dumb bells with me. I did the pilates thing but it was kind of boring and annoying and though it is a workout (I got slightly sweaty) I felt it wasn’t enough. I was still antsy and fidgety and restless. Then I went through the videos we have in the garage. Oh my god! I just couldn’t do it. I was laughing so hard at the ridiculous outfits and things they expected me to do. I just couldn’t. The unitard, still gives me nightmares! So this last time I was home over the break I went to Target and bought a Jillian Michaels kickboxing video. She is kicking my ass! I like it better, and I am really sweaty by the end of it. But again, I’m just not sure it is enough.

I’m really tired at work during the day... morning, whatever. I am sleepy. I get back to the hotel and decompress a bit, shower to get all the sunblock off and then do the workout. It wakes me up, which is good, because I need to stay awake to work on the business and such (yeah, I’m working on it real hard right now), and I don’t want to nap because then I won’t fall asleep at night when I need too.

So anyway, Jillian is kicking my ass while I fake box in my hotel room and I look forward to running around my neighborhood when I get home.

It is strange to think that when I started this odyssey it was hard to tie those tennishoes and get out the door. I had to really motivate myself. Now, I can’t wait to tie those tennies. Go me!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Musical Extravaganzas

Today's sunrise over Victorville

Back in Victorville, or should I say still in Victorville? Well, whatever, I’m here. The drive to and from takes from five and three quarter hours up to seven hours depending on how fast I drive, traffic, accidents, and route I take. No matter what, it is a hell of a drive... without cruise control and an auxiliary jack. I do have a radio tuner for the ole ipod, but constantly trying to find a station without too much static is annoying and quite frankly dangerous. Almost as bad as texting! So I have been plugging my ihome into my power converter which plugs into my 12 volt car thingy (used to be called a cigarette lighter, but cars don’t have those anymore). It works pretty good, unless the road is bumpy and the ipod goes flying off the port, and the sound would be better piped through the car speakers, but at least there isn’t static.

All that to say, I have been having musical extravaganzas on the way to and from Victorville. Well, except this last time. My ipod has been going wonky on me. It has decided to not play anything I have purchased from itunes for the last 6 months or so. Why? No idea! I’ve tried several things. I’ve reset, rebooted, restored, and so on, and restoring the ole ipod seems to work for awhile, and then it starts not playing songs again. I don’t get it. Frustrating, and I’ve looked on help comment boards and all that. So if this next round of reseting, rebooting, and restoring doesn’t work then I don’t know what to do.

Anyway, back to my musical extravaganzas. My first trip back home was the first and best of the experiences. (the ipod was working then) I had it play a few playlists I had and it played the new Linkin Park album probably 5 times, and then I switched it up to Natalie Merchant. It was great. I was singing and bopping along. All the while brainstorming an idea I have for part of the pitch to potential investors for the shop. I realized that by the time I was about 1.5 hours away from home, that the drive just flew by. It was great.

The next trip back down was pretty good too. Only the ipod was starting to act up and not play songs. I decided that the trip back home that I would just put it on shuffle. That’s always an adventure. Since my musical tastes are so varied, it can go from Chopin to Metallica to Jack Johnson to the soundtrack to Jurassic Park to a Shel Silverstein poem!

Which segues nicely to how much I love movie soundtracks. I have a ton of them. Majority of which are the orchestrations, not so much the pop culture soundtracks. Examples are: the already mentioned Jurassic Park, Lord of the Rings, Independence Day, Hook, Gladiator, Last of the Mohicans, Emma, Star Trek: First Contact, Schindler’s List, Dances with Wolves, I can go on... but I won’t. I have very few that are pop/bands like Forrest Gump, Mr. Holland’s Opus, 10 Things I Hate about You, etc.

Why movie soundtracks? I sort of equate them to modern symphonies. Nothing against composers of today. Movie soundtracks have to tell a story or “help” tell the story. So there are lots of rises and falls, and themes. Just like a Beethoven Symphony. I can listen to a good soundtrack and play the movie in my head, no need to actually watch it. Or play out my own life in movie form... in my head. (don’t worry, I’m not actually acting out my own life story in my room, that’s just creepy) I have soundtracks to movies I don’t even own on DVD. Shocking, I know. The good ones can evoke emotional and/or physical responses out of me. Some are motivational, others can help quiet the nervousness and anxiety. Others are good for just some quiet meditation time. I was going to say some are good to write blogs too, but I’m actually not listening to anything while I write about music. Interesting.

Friday, August 17, 2012

stinky yogurt

Another sunrise from Victorville. And as you can see a new design for the blog. What do you think? Now that I have the latest and greatest MacBook Pro (until it isn’t) I can now finally finish the remodel and upgrades to the blog. That’s right folks, the lonely traveler finally got herself a new laptop! I can’t stop smiling and petting it. It’s just so pretty, I can’t help it. That is one thing Apple is really really good at; making beautiful machines. I have no complaints. And so getting on with the first blog on the new machine... he needs a name. Hmm. Don’t know his personality yet, so the name may take awhile. Anyway, as I was saying:

So today while my co-worker was eating her yogurt for lunch in the work truck, I thought to myself, “why would I eat yogurt that smells like my armpit after a long days work outside?” And then I thought, “I should write that down, it’s kinda funny.” It must have been the heat talking, because it is nowhere near interesting or funny now. It’s true though, her yogurt really did smell like my armpit. Either I have really nice smelling sweaty armpits or that yogurt is kinda gross. I don’t mind my own smell most days but I’m going with her yogurt is gross this time. Back in Victorville in the summer heat wave. Only 104 today, and we had a thunderstorm roll in at 4pm... was gone and sunny again by 5pm.

It seems that several crew members bodies don’t handle the heat well. We survey early in the mornings before it gets into the mid 90’s, and later we record sites or do other paperwork to avoid overheating. I have not had any problems yet. And because we aren’t walking much anymore, I get pretty antsy once back at the hotel. If I was home or in a hotel that had a workout center, I’d run off my antsy-ness. But I can’t do that here. It is too hot to run outside, and this place is pretty sketchy, so I don’t want to run out here even if it was below 90 degrees. I can’t believe I’m saying this, I miss running. I ran every day over my last break. I had an evil side cramp but I didn’t care. I do a Pilates work-out from a DVD and work with my dumbbells here, but that doesn’t really do anything for my fidgety legs. I can’t wait to get home and run. I never thought that sentence would ever be written by me.

Another thing I have noticed, and I touched on it in the last entry, is my overall health. Or more to the point, the health of my lungs since I started this odyssey of running. One day I will write about my valley fever fungus. For the first time in a long time... probably since my high school athletic days, my lungs are strong and healthy. Healthier than my pre-valley fever days. That’s saying something. I can breathe very well at high elevations. I used to have trouble with that. But while in Cheyenne Wyoming which is at 6000 feet, I ran 5 days, and had no trouble breathing. No burning, coughing, or wheezing. I was actually quite shocked. Out here in the desert heat, surveying, I am doing just great. Not getting tired, or winded. I can trudge up slopes and not have to stop to catch my breath. Unlike last year, where I was practically panting and crawling up hills. If I had known how beneficial this running thing is back then, I would have forced myself to start it a lot sooner. However, hindsight and all that, and the fact that I wasn’t ready for that challenge then. I would have failed. The fact that I have kept it up, and am now enjoying it is proof that the time I started was the right time. It was the right moment, the right state of mind, and the fact that my desire and drive for change was at it’s strongest. There were lots of bad days, and there will be more bad days, but my motivations then worked to get me through them. And I hope that my new motivations (some are the same) will pull me through the bad days ahead.

I’ve been kind of down this week, and forcing myself to do the Pilates workouts and work on the projections for the shop. I’ve compensated by eating an entire package of double stuffed oreos. I finished them off today. They were delicious. I know why I’m down. The blah-ness of Victorville doesn’t help. So I keep my head up, keep looking forward, and keep working on achieving the goals I’ve set for myself. The sooner I bend and flex through that annoying DVD and plug away at numbers I don’t understand, the closer I get.

In other news: Our house has termites again, luckily we are still under warranty. Makes me wonder though how good of a job these people did in the first place. A cousin is getting married next weekend in Lake Tahoe, should be fun, and I don’t have to wear a dress!! And what else... I think that is it for now. Tomorrow is hump day, for me anyway. Day 5 in our 10-day work cycle. Woo hoo. Also means it is new pants day! Awesome! That fact that I am excited about new pants day is just sad.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Impressive but not impressed

Hello from Victorville. For those of you who don’t know where that is, let me enlighten you. I am in the Mojave Desert about an hour southeast of Lancaster and Palmdale and north of San Bernadino by about the same on Interstate 15. The cool thing about Victorville is... wait, it will come to me... hold on... I’ll think of something... It’s on the Historic Route 66. And that’s about it. Granted I haven’t really explored the place beyond Food 4 Less, the slightly skeezy hotel, and Starbucks. I just don’t understand the draw. Why does this place exist? No one can figure out why people live here. I think this was a stage stop back in the old days, then Route 66, and people just decided to stay? I wonder how many of them commute into the Inland Empire, LA, or other places. But then there are a lot of Desert Rats here. If you haven’t seen or met one yet, just wait... or come here. They are... interesting people, and that’s all I will say on that.

So why the hell am I here? Work! I’m playing archaeologist for perhaps the last time doing survey work. Yes, surveying in a desert in the summer. Yeah, real smart timing. So to avoid the heat (sort of) our day starts at 5am. The only good thing about that is that we are done by 1:30. However, I have a hard time eating lunch at 10:30 am when I’m still used to not eating breakfast till 11 am. We do get to watch the sunrise, which can be pretty spectacular.

But then it’s over and the sun comes out and it gets hot and we start to sweat and stink. And then the flies get really happy and the crew starts to get a little loopy. I must say though that we have been pretty lucky this rotation. We get out and back to our hotel rooms before the temperature reaches 100 degrees. The crew keep commenting how nice it has been. This is rotation 3 for them, only 1 for me. It’s 25 days vs. 5. My perspective of pretty sunrises and “I don’t mind the heat” attitude will most likely change by the time this project is finished... which could be a very long time off. Not sure I will last that long. The good thing about being able to choose for whom and for how long I work means I can say, “I’m out of here” and go home. But, I may try to ride this out for as long as possible so that I can get some money in the bank. I’m a bit poor. No surprise there, but it got scary there for a bit. Let’s just say I won’t see any of this first paycheck or probably the one after that. So mom’s crown molding project will have to wait a bit. Sorry mom.

My thoughts after being here 5 days and 6 nights? The crew I’m with is pretty cool. Just the usual whack jobs and social outcasts. The desert is the desert. Everything pokes you in the ass, the ants are vicious vicious evil creatures. People still think the desert is the largest trash can in the world. And I can finally keep up with Ms. Long legs speedy gonzales. Either she is getting older and finally slowing down or I really am in decent shape. Oh, and the hotel internet sucks balls, hence me spending my after work hours here in Starbucks. I have 5 blisters, one for each day I've been here so far. And down a pair of boots. I had to cut the inside lining to get the huge ball of soil out. And they were the good pair, hence the now 5 blisters. But they are small little things. No bleeding pustules or anything like that... yet.
How many surveyors can you spot?

Today was our first day of surveying all day. We had been surveying in the mornings and recording sites later in the day, and by that I mean between 11 and 1:30. But now we were told to just survey. So today we were walking in the right-of-way of transmission lines behind people’s backyards. Which means, treasure abounds. Ms. Long legs speedy gonzales found a Mini Mouse figurine. Humboldt cowboy and the Colorado kid came away with some glass for flint knapping, and I found a headless Burger King kids meal toy and these stylish glasses.

Don’t you think they make me look smarter? Really?

Ah shucks, thanks.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Roadtrip 2012: Sunset

And so the sun has started to set on our adventurous road trip this summer. On Tuesday we went out to Uncle D’s house and had a very good dinner and some of his homemade wine! By Thursday we were packing up the truck with our haul because mom and pop were leaving for home on Friday. We played around a bit though too.
Miss Princess got a ride in the wheelbarrow courtesy of Longboarder

Then Longboarder wanted a ride. It didn't quite work out.

So Longboarder gave First born a ride instead.

But then it was time to load up the truck.

Amazingly we fit almost everything. Only things that didn’t make it in were 2 coffee tables and a chair that Grandma claimed. Not sure we will get that one back. Mom and pop said they will be going back to Cheyenne in September so they can bring back the stuff that didn’t make it this time. The poor truck when everything was packed in was a bit back heavy and slightly lopsided.

It made it back to California though with no problems.

Frontier Days had started so First born and I went downtown to the park to try and get in to see Young Cowgirl in the Junior Barrel Races. We got all the way to the arena before we got turned away. We saw it on Cousin Sweety truck driver’s phone. She placed 3rd! After being turned away, First born and I walked around the booths and shops and went down Wild Horse Gulch. I got put in jail. I swear it wasn’t me. It’s a conspiracy!

We watched the pee-wee stampede. Hilarious!

Went over to the Indian Village and got fry bread. Yummy! And then went back to Grandma’s. Saturday was spent just lolly-gagging around and playing games with Grandma. She may be 90, but she still wins almost every time! Gosh darn her!

It was time to leave on Sunday. We said our tearful goodbye to Grandma and saw her off to church, and then we headed down to Denver Colorado to pick up Miss my car and Longboarder who were visiting their dad over the weekend. We stuffed the car, quite literally. The guy in the starbucks parking lot in Denver was quite impressed. We headed out west on I-70 through Colorado and Utah.


First born drove the day shift this time and I tried to sleep. We got to see a tornado in Utah. But don't worry we were far away. I didn’t sleep much at all, so I watched a 4 hour BBC mini series called North & South (not about the civil war). I took over driving duties at the Nevada Utah border. I only made it to Reno before I was starting to fall asleep. I woke First born up and asked her to drive us to Sacramento California, and then I would take over again. She ended up driving the rest of the way home.

When we pulled into the driveway, we all couldn’t wait to get out of that darned car. It really was like being packed into a plane this time. Within 30 minutes of our arrival back home, Longboarder had unpacked, showered, and was out the door on his board. Pop showed up with the truck to unload, and mom showed up in the car to bring back her stuff we had loaded into the truck. Miss my car left with mom to the DMV because he had lost his license and wanted desperately to pick up his car and drive it. It didn’t matter that he had just spent 20 hours in a car. We were zombies that day. But we all kept moving and doing stuff. We ate dinner at mom and pops, nothing special, but it was delicious. But that may have been the zombies talking. I slept like a rock that night. I woke up the next morning and don’t think I moved a centimeter in my sleep. It was super easy making my bed that morning.

The trip was great. Seeing family I hadn’t seen in decades was awesome. So glad I did my side trip to Chicago to see my internet besties, and the trip to Minnesota to see my childhood bestie as well. But I am so glad to be home.

I will leave you with this picture of the windmill behind Grandma's bunkhouse.


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Roadtrip 2012: Dirty Laundry

So like I said earlier, almost everyone had left again and left those of us still here with a mountain of laundry. So today, (Monday) which is usually the wash day, right? We decided to do it the old fashion way! 1960's style!

First born and I remember helping Grandma with the laundry back in the day. She was adamant for us to stay away from the ringer! "You can lose an arm", she would say. We had asked Grandma months ago if she would let us have her old ringer washer. We want to use it in the store. She said sure, and that she actually has two. So we asked her neighbor who had her spare, if we could have that one too. She said, "of course, by all means"! So we pulled Grandma's up from her basement and crossed the pasture to her neighbors and pulled that one out of her basement. And we all stood around them and wondered, "Do they still work?" We just had to find out.

We cleaned them up, filled them with water, and turned them on! By golly, they just don't make them like they used too. Of course Grandma still had some blueing left. You put some blueing into the second rinse bin and it makes your whites brighter. Who knew? She also had to give us the lesson of not losing your arm in the ringer.

Grandma giving us our lesson before we begin. "Now pay attention!"

First born was delighted to finally get to use the ringer! She was practically giddy with excitement.

Hey, that's my underwear! Why is Grandma so happy about my underwear?

Even Longboarder got in on the action!

The peanut gallery

And ta da!

We washed about 7 loads of laundry in about 2 hours. The agitators are better, cycles are faster, and uses less water. Bloody brilliant! (actually, no blood was spilt) We got everything on the line, and then decided we deserved a treat and took pop to the Sierra Trading Post. He got two belts, I got a $5.00 pair of jeans, and First born got a $3.00 backpack (saved 97%) and $7.00 pair of jeans. We made out like bandits! But it also started to rain... and hail... and rain... and hail. Hope they got the laundry in! We got back and Grandma, Aunt P, mom, Longboarder, and Miss my car were soaked. They rescued the laundry, but paid the price of soggy shoes, wet denim, and tight curls (Grandma's perm).

By the time the rain stopped, Grandma almost had an island in her driveway!

So of course we had to get in it!

All in all, a wonderful day, and no one lost an arm! Hurray!



Roadtrip 2012: Family reunions and crazy cousins

They start arriving

And so it begins. I came back from my mini (ultimate) road trip to find that my brother (Unfortunate middle child) and his boys Always Right and Chatterbox had beat me back to Cheyenne and had already moved into the camper trailer in Aunt P’s driveway. My parents (mom and pop) and First born’s oldest son (Miss my car) had also arrived. Pop’s clan had all arrived.

Does everyone have their life preservers on? We went down to Wellington Colorado again to Aunt J’s house to swim. We were soon laughing it up with Cousin Crazy (Aunt J’s youngest son) and his wife and daughter. His eldest couldn’t get out of work to make it.

Later that evening we all went out to Cousin B’s place for dinner and horse rides. Chatterbox fell into his element learning to rope and ride. We ate tons of food, and watched Cousin B’s daughter (young cowgirl) demonstrate barrel racing. Everyone got a horse ride, even the ones who were scared.

Cousin Crazy's lovely wife... she really is! And gosh darn it, she rode that horse!

Chatterbox almost gets roped!

Aunt P rides with style!

And I find a new friend with the barn cat

The reason we all gathered

It was time for Grandma’s 90th birthday celebration. Granted her actual birthday was in May, but I think we have all decided to celebrate all year long. All of Grandma’s 5 children were in attendance, plus all of us cousins. It was the first time all of us had been together at one time since 1994! All nine of us! And all but one of the greats (14). We celebrated the big event at the Terry Bison Ranch. We ate buffalo burgers, sang songs, told stories, and listened to Grandma play her accordion. First born and I later got her accordion out, and Grandma tried to teach us to play. That thing is hard! It’s exhausting, don’t know how she can do it. We saw llama’s, camels, a really fat tom turkey, and alpaca’s at a bison ranch, who knew?
This llama was really hungry.
Grandma arrives back home in style.

The next day the majority of us went out to Grandma’s house and just had fun. Playing hackie sack, airsoft guns, bow and arrow, and always chatting and laughing. If this family does one thing right, it’s laughing our asses off.

Cousin Crazy with a whip... this can't be good

Cousin Army with his middle girl LJLGG (looks just like great-grandma)

Miss Princess hamming it up

everyone leaves

It seems that just as quickly everybody came, they all left again. It wasn’t long enough. It never is. By end of Monday, almost everyone was back to their respective homes or on their way. Cousin Army, Cousin Crazy, my brother Unfortunate middle child, Aunt S and all their offspring were gone. Goodbyes are hard. Tears were shed, we're good at that. Hugs all around, and lots of "just one more picture". But we (mom and pop, First born, Longboarder, Miss my car, and I) just won’t leave. Bwahahahahaaa

*wrote most of this waiting for Miss my car in Starbucks. He needed wifi like his life depended on it. And once again I am stuck waiting for Miss My Car, only this time he is taking a 40 minute shower. He has no hair! What is he... nevermind, don’t answer that.

Stay tuned for the next adventure involves dirty socks and is a real hum-ringer! HA, I crack myself up sometimes.



Thursday, July 12, 2012

Road trip 2012: Pavement and Childhood Bestie

Hello Wisconsin!! The driving continues. Left Naperville Illinois around noon on Monday. It was suppose to take about 8 hours to get to Winsted Minnesota.

Sunset near Winsted Minnesota:

I did it in about 9. I rolled up to the house of toys and chaos around 9pm. I went to Minnesota to see CB (my Childhood Best friend). She has five adorable kids (big brother is 9, muscle man is 6, twins are 4, and little surprise is 3). I understood that being a single mom was difficult, but I now have a new admiration for you ladies. CB, you amaze me! Your kids are happy, healthy, extremely intelligent, funny, and loved, and it shows! So they are a bit loud (I’m being sarcastic) and crazy, but who cares.

Tuesday we all went to muscle man’s T-Ball practice and then headed to the Arboretum. Beautiful place!! At the last bathroom break, big brother, muscle man, and I went to look at the large map of the arboretum and the others didn’t know where we went when they all finished peeing. After waiting around for a while, thinking they were still in the restrooms, we soon realized they were nowhere in sight. Oops. Everyone else eventually went to the minivan of love and started driving around looking for us. Obviously we met up again and there was much rejoicing. Later that evening we all went to big brother’s baseball game. I have no idea which team won.
Big brother up to bat:

Wednesday morning we got back into the minivan of love and drove to Darwin Minnesota. All to see the largest ball of twine. That’s right, I told you in the last blog I was going to see it and I did! Here’s proof.

I left the crazy brood around 1pm that day, and started the drive back to Wyoming via South Dakota and Nebraska. South Dakota was pretty and I just had to stop here:

Crossed the Missouri River and watched the sun set over Nebraska.

I also happened to be driving right into the lightning storm. I was tired by 10pm and needed to stop for the night. There were no good hotels. I finally found a Holiday Inn but the room rate was exorbitant!
They recommended across the street. They had a room, half the price of Holiday Inn. And now I know why. Gross. Didn’t see any dead things, but that building just needs to be demolished. I charged the phone since Minnesota sucked the battery dry, charged the laptop, showered, and slept for about 3 hours. I had had enough. Was back on the road by 5 am. So I also watched the sun rise over Nebraska.

I was so very happy to see this sign:

I loved visiting the Internet Besties and CB and her kids. Everywhere I went was beautiful... in it’s own way, but I am happy to be back in Cheyenne Wyoming. It is now a decent hour of the morning to drop off my crap at Aunt P’s house and return the rental car. So my adventure at Starbucks this morning can end. Time to hang out with the relatives!!

One more thing. Actually two. Total mini trip miles driven is 2,232.
And you know you are back in Wyoming when the ladies room emblem has a cowboy hat.