Wednesday, June 26, 2013

#59, 60 & 61!

Wow!  There's some impatient people here!  I like it.

So I went on a road trip.  Probably not the wisest road trip to attempt--far too long in far too short amount of time.  However, it was a tremendous trip, and I'd probably do it again, in spite of the craziness of it all.  There were some really big 'ups', and really big 'downs'.  So I'll do this all in bullet points (it's been awhile since I've done that!)...
  • Friday morning - I'm on the road to the Sacramento area at 4AM.  1001 miles to my destination.  I figure I'll pull into town at around 7PM local time (16 hrs.).
  • Stopped in Idaho Falls for a fine McDonald's breakfast, and find that SOMEONE forgot to pack his insulin needles...
  • Stopped in Pocatello's Walmart to pick up said needles.  Expected a hassle, but it was quite easy. 
  • Got a phone call while going through Twin Falls.  A good news/bad news call.  I asked for the bad news first.  A gentleman that we'd been trying to get money from for the summer concert was not going to give us $5K.  The good news--he's giving us $10K!
  • As I was pulling into Wells, NV for gas, I blew a tire.  Upon further inspection, all tires needed to be replaced.  Of course, I drive a car that takes a special sized tire.  Left Wells on four new tires, and $1,550 lighter in my bottom line.  Ouch.
  • The rest of the trip was uneventful, along those lines.  Lots of time to think, lots of time to not think!
The occasion for the trip was the 40th bday party for Margaret's hubby.  Remember Margaret?  Monkey?  Mylifepartdos?  She set up this party months ago, and since I'd never been to California, I figured, why not?  She had people in from all over the place, and as she admitted herself, she was looking forward to it more than he was!  So I headed over at around noon (after sleeping most of the morning due to the long drive from the day before).  Met lots of his friends and her friends and played with all the kids around.  And then Sam, from Sam's Stories, showed up with hubby and kids in tow.  All the way up from the bottom of California!  Lots of talk and gossip and stuff, as these meets tend to be.  I was duly chastised from both Sam and Margaret for not being current with their blogs (oops!), and they both tried to talk me into Twitter (NEVER!).

Margaret (#59) and me
Sam (#60) and me

And then, all of a sudden, I had to leave.  I had a dinner date waiting with another HNTer, MissCrystal!

MissCrystal (#61), her hubby, son and I went to a great new Mexican place for dinner.  I'd have done dinner with them on Friday, but it was their 10th anniversary, and I didn't think they'd need me around as a third wheel...  Again, there was discussion and gossip, and since I had another 16-hour drive ahead of me, an early evening.

MissCrystal (#61) and me
The trip back was uneventful, other than the time or two that I briefly nodded off.  Yes, I pulled over twice to grab a quick nap!  Other things I thought about over the weekend...
  • God didn't paint Nevada with the ugly paint (like WY or SD), but he didn't waste any of the pretty paint on it either!
  • God also decided to make all the mountains nekkid.  Seriously--miles upon miles of mountains, and not a single tree in site!!  The mountains certainly helped the boredom compared to the flat states, but still...absolutely no trees!
  • And barely minimal agriculture.  No cows.  No crops.  No sprinklers or irrigation.  But plenty of sagebrush.  Gives me a new appreciation for the pioneers and the Natives that traveled through here.  It must have been hell...
  • Mock me if you must, but blaring John Denver and Jim Croce and singing along at the top of your lungs is a great way to road trip!
  • On the other hand, classical music doesn't quite allow oneself to do a good pee-pee dance while driving.  And there was plenty of that needed.  I swear, as soon as my bladder sensed a rest area or a bathroom nearby, I had to go!
  • Margaret had an electric fly swatter in her house.  This is my must-have toy of the summer.  I'll be able to have hours of fun with it!  If you're a fan of bug zappers, you'll LOVE this thing!
  • Lots of billboards throughout Nevada for ranches.  Made no sense to me until I thought, "Oh, yeah.  I'm in Nevada!" (think about it...)
And to end this long overdue post, some more pics!

Sunrise on first day of Summer! - Dillon, MT
My car!  About 20 miles north of Idaho
Jackpot, NV - Immediately cross the state line and you have your choice of casinos
I got mixed signals on the way...

Neither place looked terribly inviting.
Late afternoon skies in eastern Idaho

Monday, June 24, 2013


I've been away on a road trip.  A post is coming.  I promise!  With pictures, even!

But I'm spent.  How can sitting on one's ass all day be so exhausting?  And having no down time today didn't help. patient!  And don't forget that there's only 2 weeks before the next HNT!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Father's Day Weekend

Father's Day weekend has always been one of those weekends when we all got together.  It was usually the first weekend together after school got out for everyone.  And it always fell within a few days of my dad's birthday, so it was always a double celebration.  We all drank lots of beer, spent time outdoing each other with stories, sneaking into the kitchen and "testing" the potato salad, and soaking in the smell of the grill as the burgers or steaks were sizzling.  Earlier in the day, there was sure to be some golf played, and all was right in the world.

Then it wasn't...

The year was 2010.  Not the best of years for this family, as we'd learn by the end of December.  BIL2 had died unexpectedly earlier in the month.  Dad was having issues with post-op complications.  Nothing life-threatening, but he just wasn't up to any sort of gathering. And to tell the truth, none of us were.  Ray's death really threw us for a loop, and even though we'd all put on a pretty brave face, the thought of getting together to celebrate for Father's Day just didn't sit right.  So we passed on the weekend.  Little did we know that we'd never have the chance again.  Ray's dad died in October, and my dad died in November.

All of a sudden, Father's Day meant nothing for the family.  At least in the way we'd celebrated in the past.  And we haven't done anything for it since.  I'm sure that BIL3 is getting his share of loving from my sister and her kids, but that's it.  Today would have been a special day, too, since Dad's 80th birthday was yesterday, and my baby sis and BIL3's wedding anniversary is tomorrow.  But we're doing nothing.

I think that because of the bday/Father's Day convergence this weekend, I've been a bit down.  Reading everyone's FB posts about their dad, or their husbands as dads, sort of hit hard this year.  I don't mope around or anything like that--it just hit me harder yesterday that he's not around.  I spent most of the day in the office (post on that coming soon!) keeping busy.  Then my mind would wander to various memories of me and Dad.

Then it dawned on me--I HAVE those memories.  Because I had a great relationship with my dad.  And so many don't.  I have difficulty comprehending what it would be like not having it.  Having to deal with an alcoholic father, or a father who spent more time in jail than out, or worst of all--an absentee father (which I think would be the worst).  So, while I still find myself a little sensitive that I don't have the opportunity to buy my dad another tie (which I NEVER bought for him!), I'm finding that the constant "dad" things have made me spend more time than usual reliving memories.  And you know what?  That's not such a bad thing!

So Happy Father's Day to my dad, to BIL3, and to all fathers reading this.  I shall drink a beer at some point today in your honor and memory!

Time is getting near to the next HNT!  Remember--July 4th!!  I'm busier than a a one-armed trombone player these days so I might not get the reminders out like some of you expect.  Though I imagine that for half-nekkidness, I'll find the time...  Don't wait until the last minute though!  Send your pics to me so I can post them on the OHNT site!

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Letting go of the old...

I didn't make note of it last month.  At least not here.  May 18th was the 33rd anniversary of Mt. St. Helens (which I find impossible!), and May 19th was the 8th anniversary of HNT.

I think that every year prior to this one, I posted a picture of the volcano, and linked up my story about Volcano Girl, and waxed poetic about the one that got away, or about how every moment of that time in my life still lives vividly in my mind.  This year, I thought about it, and just didn't feel it.

I get nostalgic about my past, and I've finally figured out that the phases of my life have followed the decades.  High school and college in the 70s, my teaching years and grad school in the 80s, life in a daze and total uncertainty through the 90's, rediscovery and purpose and relationships since 2000.  While 1980 was an incredibly good year in my life, and a great start to a great decade, that's over half my life ago.  A great thing to look back on from time to time, but not something I have to write about here every year.

On the other hand, I purposely didn't say anything about HNT when the anniversary rolled around.  Not here, at least.  I sort of mentioned it on FB, without really saying anything about it.  But in such a way that anyone who did HNT would catch the drift.  And many of them commented about it.

I still believe that the greatest thing that happened because of HNT was the community, and the number of friendships that developed.  I am constantly reminded of that when I see some of the comments on my friend's statuses.  Not so much the recent ones, but the old-timers from 7 or 8 years ago.  When I see others' comments, I know that they wouldn't be connected if it weren't for HNT.  As I said when I put HNT into retirement in 2011, when I arrive at the pearly gates of Heaven, and a list of my life's accomplishments is read, HNT will be somewhere in the top five. And you know what? That's not such a bad thing. But if I end up at the fiery gates of Hell, I have an inkling that HNT will be on that top five list as well!

Speaking of HNT, don't forget that we'll be doing HNT again in its new form on July 4th!  So do your patriotic best and join in!  Remember, you don't post it on your site anymore (though, I suppose you could...).  Send it to me to post on the OHNT site!

Tuesday, June 04, 2013


This has been bugging me since I saw the new Star Trek movie on opening day.  First off--let me say that I was quite satisfied.  A good, and somewhat familiar story, great special effects, some new tricks, and a lot of "in" jokes and dialog for a longtime Trek fan (noticed how I avoided the word "Trekkie"?).  But there's two anomalies that I haven't been able to justify in my mind.  And I'm disappointed that others haven't mentioned them either...

WARNING:  Plot lines and spoilers coming!  If you haven't seen the movie yet, or don't care about this post, leave now!

OK, the first one concerns the Tribbles.  A basic premise of this movie is that the Enterprise has not yet left on it's five-year mission to explore new galaxies, yadda, yadda, yadda...  Even continuing with the "new" timeline story, Tribbles had not yet been discovered by the Federation.  Therefore, McCoy couldn't be experimenting with one, am I right???

The other anomaly also involves McCoy.  When he and Dr. Marcus are disarming the bomb on the planet's surface, he makes the comment that he once helped a Gorn give birth.  In the original timeline, on their five-year mission, the Gorn was such an alien that the universal translator didn't even work.  How could McCoy have delivered baby Gorns when the two species had never met yet?

These have been weighing heavily on me since I saw the movie.  Forgive me.  I'm a geek.

Don't forget to prepare something for HNT on July 4th!!!

Monday, June 03, 2013

Whereas, ...

Whereas, in an effort to spread out my posts, rather than puke them up all at once, and

Whereas, it was apparent that my last post was less than spectacular, and

Whereas, I'm busier than hell,

I'll post single subject posts, for better or worse, for the next few posts.  Well maybe two subjects per post...

The HNT experiment of posting them quarterly throughout the year worked well, so be advised that the next HNT will be on the first Thursday of July.  Which also happens to be the Fourth of July!  So do your patriotic duty and send something in!  All HNTs will be posted on the OHNT site like the last time.  Be sure to let others know too, since many of them won't see that here.  Looking forward to it!

My real post--the lilacs have been out for a little bit.  Lilacs are usually a little late in blooming around here compared to much of the rest of the state, but when they do, they do it with wild abandon.  Interestingly, the blooming seems to be different within the city, as the west side lilacs bloom much earlier that the east side lilacs.  Not sure why.  Regardless though, I love the smell as it unexpectedly smacks me in the face when I leave work.  Puts me in a happy mood for the rest of the afternoon!