30 April 2015

skittles and starburst

This morning I accidentally dumped my bowl of breakfast cereal into a drawer in the bathroom. 

It's kind of hard to explain how that could happen. I was carrying my bowl of cereal in one hand and my sinus rinse bottle in the other. I was going to go into my bedroom to sit facing the happy light while I ate, and I had just warmed up the sinus rinse in the kitchen, so I was going to set it on the bathroom sink. 

I set down the sinus rinse and then something happened. I can't remember what. Maybe I decided to try to pluck an eyebrow hair? 

Anyway, I set my bowl of cereal down on the corner of a built-in drawer that was partway pulled out and it promptly fell over into the drawer and filled the drawer with cereal and milk.

I've used this corner before. I know that it is perfectly sized to handle the bowl of cereal. I just missed it somehow, this morning. 

So then I had to rinse off the brush, comb, and curling iron that were in the drawer. I pulled the drawer all the way out and rinsed it out in the kitchen.

I didn't even bother to re-fill the bowl. I just ate what was left (about half of it). 

Then I used the blowdryer on my hair brush. What? I needed to be able to brush my hair, and a wet brush does weird things to my hair.

It was only the start of a bad day for food. 

I forgot my lentils and rice for lunch.

I forgot my chocolate covered almonds for snacks.

I got the wrong filling in the tacos I bought for lunch. (I should have gotten one chicken and one veggie and combined them. There was too much chicken and not enough other flavor.)

I pretty much survived the day on skittles and starburst, and my stomach is making me pay. 

27 April 2015

they are wrong

I woke up this morning to the same knee pain I felt yesterday on the hike. 

I limped down the stairs. 

But then, I know! I thought. I will ice my knee on the way to work. That will help. That is, after all, what they recommend. They, they, the all-knowing they.

So I did. I drove to work with an ice pack tied onto my knee with a towel.

That turned out to be a huge mistake. Remember how, while hiking, it was sitting in the cold that made my knee hurt? So did icing it. 

I almost had to call in a Search and Rescue team AGAIN to carry me on a stretcher into work. There was limping. There was whining. 

And so I didn't do any stairs today (sob), even though my knee felt better once it warmed up. I feel like a sloth.

However! I did get an amazing package in the mail, filled with things from the Netherlands: plates and chocolate and stroop wafels and an alpaca shawl (actually from Peru) and pretty things to put on my wall. 

A package of things from the Netherlands makes up for a whole lot of knee pain. 

Also, now I know better: no ice. They are wrong.

26 April 2015


I learned something today. Namely, I learned that I am getting old.

I learned this on about mile 6 of a 10 mile hike, after about 2300 feet of elevation gain. 

How did I learn this?

Well, I sat down with the rest of the group at the pinnacle of our hike. It was cold in the shade, and I was sweaty from the hike up, so I put on all my layers - long sleeves and midweight and raincoat. 

When we all got up and started down the hill, I was still cold. 

I took a few steps downhill, and my knee started hurting so badly that I thought I was going to need the Search and Rescue people to come up and carry me down on a stretcher. 

The crazy thing is that it stopped hurting so badly when it warmed up. (Then it only hurt a little, as it always does on the downhills.)

I am an actual old person.

Which isn't going to stop me from doing 10 mile hikes, nope.

25 April 2015

stubborn and cheap

The weather report led us all to believe that it would rain all day today. When I woke up to sunshine, I figured it was a spring fluke and the rain would take over soon.

Not so. The sun stayed while I cleaned the bathroom. 

I shook out the rugs and laid them over the railing in the sunshine, but before I left the house I made sure to take them in, anticipating rain.

Not so. The sun stayed while I went for a walk in a hilly neighborhood where I sought out the steep hillside staircases to run up and down them in anticipation of a difficult hike tomorrow. 

The sun stayed while I took pictures of my favorite orange poppies.

The sun stayed while I got tea and worked on my resume.

In fact, the sky is clearer than it has been all day, despite the (greatly reduced) chance of rain that the weather app predicts for 6 pm. 


Sometimes I reap the benefits of being cheap. 

I've been putting off buying another pair of summer shoes, despite weather that necessitates wearing summer shoes. 

The reason I don't have summer shoes: the last few years, I have just worn (nice) flipflops all the time, including to work, and then changed into flats when I had to be more formal - if you know what kind of work I was doing, you know what I mean - but the flats I wore were not real leather and it didn't matter because it was only for a short time each day. This year, I will have to wear the same shoes all day because I have to be on all day, and my feet have revolted against non-leather shoes. I will not go into detail, for y'alls' own sakes.

So I kept putting it off, wearing the same two pairs of leather shoes on alternating days when the weather was nice, and stalking a pair of purple shoes that I have been wanting. I saw them for a reasonable price a couple of months ago, and then for months they just WOULD NOT go down in price. They were at an expensive store. I like nice things but not their prices.

Finally, FINALLY, after three months of watching their price, they went down to the price I saw them at in January when I couldn't afford them yet due to that whole digging-out-of-self-employment things. I just ordered them online.

I win at being stubborn and cheap.

23 April 2015


It happens that I do not have to commute to State City tomorrow, which made today my last commuting day of the week. Because it was my last commuting day of the week, I drove alone.

It happens that every week, I stop at C0stC0 for gas on my last commuting day of the week. It is the only one that is on one of my regular routes, and I would rather just buy gas there once a week than have to think about which station to go to in town (and pay more). I put 6.5 gallons in my tank.

So it happens that I had just filled my tank with gas when I tried to start my car and heard a very slow chug, chuuuug, chuuuuuuuug sound and then nothing. 

It also happens that I have been putting off buying my car a new battery since, oh, January of 2014 or before, when I had my oil changed one time and the guys at the oil place told me that my battery was operating at 15% of what it should be, and would I like a new one? and I said no, thank you. 

It even happens that I priced them at C0stC0 a couple of months ago, and then still I waited, because sometimes my car struggled to start, but sometimes it started just fine! Fine, I tell you. Okay, a little slowly. But fine! Just fine.

Two C0stC0 employees tried to help me push start my car, but nothing happened. And I mean nothing. There was no sound coming from my car. (I do know how to push start a manual transmission, although for a moment there I thought I had forgotten.)

Instead, they pushed me to the nearest parking spot and I went into the store to buy a battery.

Now, it happens that C0stC0 does not install batteries. Further, it happens that I have no tools in my cur that would enable me to change the battery myself. However, it happens that people are nice, and two of them stopped to help me. 

One was a middle-aged guy with an accent who did not have tools but did have friendly. The other was a not-quite middle-aged guy with a huge, oversized truck that probably contained one of each human-made item invented since the beginning of time and it still had space left over. One of the things it contained, fortunately, was a set of pliers. 

He swapped out my battery, I returned the old one to C0stC0 for my $15 recycling fee, and my car started with a purr that I'm not sure I've ever heard out of the ancient little go-cart before. 

It occurs to me that I probably should look into the rest of my list of potential car-fixes: the timing belt, that funny noise in the right wheel well, the muffler. Preferably before they go the battery route of just up and giving up on me. I probably can't count on this level of good fortune and happenstance for every car problem that I let go on too long.

22 April 2015


Last night I wore my long arm brace to sleep because my golf elbow was paining me.

(If you were not around for The Wrist Saga, you can find it here. The long arm brace looks something like the long arm brace in that post, except that at some point a physical therapist decided that I would be better off with a brace that went over the top of my thumb and inside of my elbow so that my elbow was not compressed inside the brace. So it's kind of the inverse of the long brace in that post.)

It isn't super comfortable to sleep with the long brace on, but as long as I prop my arm up on a pillow, it isn't bad. I fell asleep quickly. 

At some point, well before my alarm went off, I woke up and realized that the brace was no longer on my arm.

It was lying on the ground next to the bed.

There are four pieces of velcro that hold that brace onto my arm. 

I have no recollection of taking it off. 

I don't normally sleepwalk, but apparently in my sleep I tear off my arm brace. Possibly in some sort of frenzy of uncomfortableness (even though it really isn't very uncomfortable). It's a mystery. Okay, a tiny little mystery, but a mystery nonetheless. 

21 April 2015


Girl, approximately 10 years old, walking into the grocery store with her dad: "Do you think I have a photographic memory?"

(My parents are cracking up right now, because this is so something I would have asked.)

Her dad: "No."

Girl: "Why not?"

Dad: "Well, do you remember everything from... [inaudible]?"

Girl: "Yes, I do. I remember the... thing. And the other thing."

She clearly did not remember whatever it was her dad had just asked about. 

I feel like this girl and my 10 year old self are/were kindred spirits. 

20 April 2015


The person who thought of the ceiling fan was a genius. Ditto the person who put a ceiling fan into a rental apartment. 

If I had thought of it, I should have been using the fan all winter to move the warm air (slowly) around the room, instead of just turning it on now that the temperature is rising to an entire 80 degrees F during the day. 

But I just remembered it yesterday when I came home all glowing (read: sweating) from my 27 mile bike ride, turned on the fan, and cast myself like a starfish onto my bed to gather all the breeze I could. 

I think I'll keep it. You will have to pry this apartment from my cold, dead hands. Unless they raise the rent. In which case, see you later, apartment. Then I'll just have to install a ceiling fan wherever I move, because now that I've tried the ceiling fan, there is no going back. 

19 April 2015

back on the bike

Yesterday I girded up my courage and rode my bike across town to a women's soccer game. (The girding part was for the biking in the city, not the attending of the soccer game, although when my roommate offered me the ticket, he said, "You won't be the only girl there. [Girl I'm seeing] will also be there." Yes, right. Because my primary concern about attending a women's sporting event would be that I would be the only woman there. I love living in a town where groups of men attend women's sporting events just for love of the sport.)

"I almost got hit by a car and then as I was looking at the car that almost hit me, I almost hit pedestrians," I announced when I got to the game. 

"The key word there is 'almost'," J. said. "You are fine."

After the game (we won! yay! and there were MANY other women there), the group of us raced through the city - it turns out biking is faster than the train in downtown - and ended up on a pier reaching out into the river, watching the sun set. Periodically kayakers would debark at the end of the pier, pick up their watercraft, and drip-drip-drip their way past us up to the parking area.

This afternoon I met two friends around the same spot, only we went south on our bikes, along the water, and then west toward the mountain. 

I wore sunscreen two days in a row. 

I might have a sunburn anyway.

In April.

"We live in California now," someone said at the game last night, and it appears to be true. California no longer has rain, and we have California's former weather.

I rode my bike for 27 miles today. My legs are sore and my butt is sore (I need a better seat), and it feels pretty awesome to be tired and sun-swept.

18 April 2015


Last weekend, I drove over the mountains to Sunny Ski Town with a couple of friends. We had lovely intentions of hiking and exploring the mountains, but when we got to downtown SST, there were sale racks of clothes out on the sidewalks, and we got sucked in. (Don't worry, we got in some outdoor time, too, and a couple of meals that were so delicious that I am dreaming of them right now.)

One of the stores sold used cowboy boots, some consignment clothes, a bunch of random cute little household objects, and a local swimsuit line. Local to Gone West, actually, although I've never shopped it here.

I tried on a swimsuit that wasn't right for me, and, standing in front of the mirror in the store, I pointed to the upper part of my stomach. "I don't like this," I said. (I usually try to avoid this kind of body shaming, and I'm generally happy with my body, but as a rule, that is the part that I would try to cover in a swimsuit.)

The sales person, who was sitting behind me at the counter with a big steaming cup of tea, said, very gently, "You look beautiful whatever you wear."

I heart her.

The next suit I tried on was perfect.

10 April 2015

week's end

Every Friday, on my way back to Gone West, I stop at C0stC0 to fill my car up with gas. I don't always need a full tank (today I filled it with 7.717 gallons*), but I drive my carpool on Monday, so I like to have it full. 

Today I called the Ethiopian restaurant while my car was filling, to ask if they would have enough injera if I stopped by to eat dinner before my friend's birthday party. 

They did, so I drove straight there and sat at the bar with my sudoku puzzle.

"Come on a Tuesday or Wednesday," P. said, so we have time to chat.

My food came quickly, which was good because after a day that starts at 5:30 am, I am ridiculously hungry by 6:45 pm. 

I never get tired of ye doro tibs and kik alecha wat. Never, ever. When my mom came last winter, when I was going to drive back to the Mitten** with her and then never picked up the rental truck because I could not leave Gone West, we went to the Ethiopian restaurant twice, and each time we got enough for leftovers. I ate Ethiopian four days in a row. Actually, maybe six, because I think I had it the two days before she arrived, too. I was not tired of it.

I had enough time to stop at home before the birthday party, which is where I am now. This is a problem, because I'm not sure I can move again now that I have let myself lie down.

* My old friend SHO from Universe City recently bought a hybrid SUV, and he proudly announced that he'd gotten 32 miles to the gallon. "Me, too," I said. "And my car is a '97 Civic."

** Random story: the Mitten license plate has always, naturally, been the one that is most familiar to me. (I have an inexplicable interest in license plates, the numbering thereof, so I pay attention to them.) The State of Happiness license plate, though, is catching up, and a few times recently I have caught site of a State of Happiness plate and, because of its familiarity, thought, "Hey, it's someone from the Mitten!" Only, of course, it isn't. It's just that the State of Happiness license plate is replacing the Mitten as the most familiar in my brain.

09 April 2015

excitement, lack of

I got home a little earlier than usual today and my first thought was not, "Oh, I can go for a walk," or "Oh, I can blog." 

No, it was, "Oh, I can go to sleep earlier."

I'm hip like that these days.

All my excitement happens on weekends: I go dancing (partner and line dancing). I go for hikes. I go out to vineyards with friends who know the owner. 

During the week, the big excitement is the Volvo that flipped us off yesterday after almost running into our car during the evening commute and the Volvo that rear-ended us today, so gently that I thought it was just the driver stalling out the manual transmission.

The big excitement is whether we take the highway the last few miles or head off onto the side road.

The big excitement is whether we have to stop for a 20 minute train at that intersection here in town or if it turns out just to be the Amtrak.

It's not that exciting.

But even when the alarm clock goes off at 5:21 am, even when I am so tired I have to drag myself out of bed, I still don't have to dread my work. And that, my friends, is something to enjoy.

05 April 2015


My taxes are done, with 10 days to go, and I hardly know what to do with myself. What does one do after turning in one's taxes early? Can one just, say, relax?

I don't think I know how to relax on April 15. 

Also, my taxes are done! Yay! I've been worrying about this since approximately August, when I realized that self-employment tax is a thing and also it is a thing that is supposed to be dealt with quarterly (who knew? certainly not this girl who started a business by accident), so being done is a nice feeling.

04 April 2015

nailed it

Question: If I drove a nicer car with bigger tires, would my tires still be so vulnerable to nails?

Because for the second time in 15 months, I managed to imbed a nail in the tire of my car.

Rather than a pop and instant deflation on the highway, this was (I think) a pop pulling into my driveway, and nearly 24 hours of slow deflation (including an hour of driving on the freeway, yikes) before I walked up to my car after work, observed that the right passenger tire appeared to be low but not THAT low (I only noticed this because my car was parked next to a sidewalk and I approached via the sidewalk), and drove directly to the tire store, arriving approximately 18 minutes before it closed. 

The guy at the desk was clearly skeptical of my "I think my tire is low, maybe?" (I could almost see his brain going, "Women. Always with the hypochondria about their cars."), but he sent me off to the bays around back, where the actual worker bee took one look at my tire and said, "You have a flat."


Only he wasn't the one at the desk when I went back in. He did express surprise that I had an actual problem with my tire when he called my name after it got fixed. 

Anyway, it was a nail. Again.


After the delay with the tire and a stop or four at grocery stores (at all four of which I forgot the most basic thing I needed, namely Skittles, because I promised this kid at work that I would replenish his drawer o' Skittles that we've all been eating from), I made all the preparations to get up and go hiking this morning. I bought all the food I would need. I packed it in a row on the counter, ready to be thrown in my backpack. I put the right clothes in a little stack with my day pack.

It was kind of a last minute thing, and at the very last minute I realized that I didn't have the necessary forest pass and I was ridiculously exhausted, so I canceled c. 11:00 pm.

Then I slept for almost 12 hours. 

I guess I needed that.