Sunday, March 9, 2014

Still waiting for spring

Hey look, we found a warmer place to wait!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Is it spring yet?

It's March 1st. 

Our back deck

To take the dog for a walk, I wore the following: 

  • light hiking socks
  • heavy winter boots
  • Under Armour compression long johns
  • fleece pants
  • insulated winter pants
  • workout shirt with hood and wrist-warmer cuffs
  • fleece jacket
  • heavy winter coat
  • liner gloves
  • heavy winter gloves
  • hood of my workout shirt
  • fleece ball cap with ear flaps
  • hood of my winter coat
  • fleece scarf, wrapped around my neck twice and pulled up over my nose, secured by the coat

How did I feel?
  • feet - a little cold, should have worn another pair of socks
  • arms and legs - slightly chilly
  • core, neck, back and top of head - fine
  • fingers - ok as long as I flexed them regularly and put my hands in my pockets a fair amount
  • face - from my ball cap to the top of my mouth, really cold. When the wind blew, I felt like I had an ice cream headache.
Am I ready for spring? Umm, yeah?

Front walk. There isn't usually a mountain in our front yard.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Book of Awesome

Today I'm excited about a new book I got with a Christmas Gift Card. It's the Book of Awesome.
From the  Amazon description:

Sometimes it's easy to forget the things that make us smile. Sometimes it's tempting to feel the world is falling apart. But awesome things are all around us:
  • Popping bubble wrap
  • The smell of rain on a hot sidewalk
  • The other side of the pillow
  • Hitting a bunch of green lights in a row
  • Waking up and realizing it's Saturday
  • Fixing electronics by smacking them

I think this fits in well with what I guess you could call a New Year's Resolution - to enjoy "little indulgences". I've tended to reward myself with food. Since I'm working on a healthier relationship with food, I needed to come up with a list of other rewards. I decided to call them Little Indulgences. Just the other day, I started making a list in Evernote (another thing I love,  by the way, but that's a different topic). I figure maybe this book will help me add to the list. Or else revive my gratitude project...

My list so far:
  1. quiet time to read
  2. nature walk
  3. photo walk
  4. have tea at a tea room (avoid the pastries)
  5. have a massage
  6. have a pedicure
  7. stretching routine
  8. buy myself flowers
  9. find a nice place to watch the sunset/sunrise
  10. enjoy candlelight
  11. a little quiet time to write
  12. meditation
  13. bubble bath
I'm not positive these will all work for me. For instance, I'm not sure I'll ever be good at meditation. But it's something to try. 

Saturday, December 21, 2013

'Twas Risky Night Before Christmas

This view of the Clement Moore classic was shared at my office yesterday (original source unknown). When you work in the insurance industry, it tends to affect the way you look at things....

‘Twas the night before Christmas (12:01 a.m. 12/25) and all through the house (single family, joisted masonry, e.c.3, terr. 44, pc5), not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse (thorough pride of ownership and excellent maintenance).

The (flame-retardant) stockings were hung by the (contractor-installed) chimney with care, in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there (in spite of deadbolt locks and central station alarm system).

The children (ages 4, 8, 14, & 16) were all nestled snug in their beds (check MVR on 16-year-old) while visions of sugar plums danced in their heads (check for drug use).

Ma in her kerchief (scheduled heirloom) and I in my cap (no slave to fashion) had just settled down for a long winter’s nap. (Check employment, is insured sleeping all day?)

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter (check into condition of premises, housekeeping, etc.), I jumped out of bed to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash, threw back the curtains and tore open the sash (intentional destructive act, no coverage; also, appears insured only wearing a cap in front of uncovered window).

When what to my wondrous eyes should appear, but a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer. (check if sleigh is rated business use and corporate owned.) With a little old driver so lively and quick, I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick. (Notify life underwriting, order medical on 600-year-old driver).

More rapid than eagles (check MVR for speeding violations) his coursers they came and he whistled and shouted and called them by name (possible aggressive driver).

Now Dasher (turbo equipped?), now Dancer (classic?), now Prancer (check occupation), now Vixen (definitely check occupation), on Comet (possible muscle deer), on Cupid (check credit score), on Donner (4×4) and Blitzen (possible drinking problem?).

To the top of the porch, to the top of the wall (check for structural damage; also look into height exposures), now dash away, dash away, dash away all (old man climbing walls either in great shape or overly medicated).
So up to the housetop his coursers they flew, with a sleigh full of toys and Saint Nicholas, too. (Check for possible retail delivery classification of autos). And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof, the prancing and pawing of each little hoof. (Check for shingle damage; also classification of operations—roofing is a prohibited class).

As I drew in my head and was turning around, down the chimney he came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur (scheduled items) from his head to his foot, and his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot. (Part-time job as firefighter?)

A bundle of toys he had flung on his back. (Check to see if insured has safety committee; check lifting training). His eyes how they twinkled, his dimples how merry, his cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry (order updated medical report, possible drinking and/or drug abuse).

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth (ineligible for nonsmoker discount) and the smoke encircled his head like a wreath (check batteries in smoke detectors to make sure operational) 

He was chubby and plump a right jolly elf (overweight for height) and I laughed when I saw him in spite of myself. A wink of his eye and a nod of his head soon gave me reason I had nothing to dread (Stranger enters past alarm and insured not worried? Sounds suspicious.)

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work, and filled all the stocking, then turned with a jerk (review workplace for ergonomic compliance).

And laying his finger aside of his nose (obscene gesture?), and giving a nod, up the chimney he rose. (Check operations, chimney sweeps are prohibited classification, look into GL PD deductible.)

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle, and away they all flew like the down of a thistle (not likely with fat man and sleigh full of toys. Check GVW for proper classification, light/service/local seems unlikely).
And I heard him exclaim as he drove out of sight, “Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!” (Check hours of operation; 24-hour service operations prohibited. Also check into seasonal nature of business.)


Sunday, October 13, 2013

C-ATCH Bravo

Last Sunday, Bravo and I achieved the CPE Agility Title C-ATCH (CPE Agility Trial Championship). A little rundown on what it took to get here:

7 years of training
2 1/2 years of attending trials
39 trial days
4-5 classes each trial day
7 games (Standard, Colors, Wildcard, Snooker, Jackpot, FullHouse, Jumpers)
5 levels
120 qualifying scores required - 30 in Standard, 15 in each of the other 6 games
16 extra qualifying scores

I think it's interesting that we had 13 trial days in 2011, 13 in 2012, and 13 in 2013 (so far).

So what's next? Well, we continue training and attending trials. The next one is in about a month. We work on a second C-ATCH title. This means 10 more qualifying Standard runs, and 5 each of the other 6 games. The 16 extra scores will apply to that number. (You can accumulate an unlimited number of C-ATCH titles. The CPE website tells me one dog has achieved 16!) Hopefully, we will get into Nationals next June. Bravo loves competing, and we'll keep going as long as he's having fun.

Sunday, September 22, 2013


Russ has been working on making over one of the bedrooms for a study. And encouraging me to set up an office in another one, partly because for a while we thought that next year I might have to work from home. So far I've mostly just thought about what to do in the old guest room. But one day I was looking over quotes I have written down and decided I'd like to make a poster, that would eventually go up in "my" new room. I designed the poster below, and today I picked up the finished copy. (Well, copies - yes, Karis, I have one for you.)  I took the photo in 2010, after Karis and I climbed the bridge.  I processed it in Lightroom, then added the quote and re-sized it in Photoshop. I'm really happy with how it came out. It's kinda hard to see in this post, but on the 3 ft  by 2 ft poster, you can easily see the people on top of the bridge.

Monday, August 26, 2013

On being a grown-up

I found this post in my drafts. I started it 5 years ago, and for some reason, never finished it. But it still applies, so here's what I wrote then:

I've been thinking lately about being a grown-up. After all, my youngest child is in college. I attended my 30th college reunion (and I fear I was NOT a child prodigy who graduated at the age of 8). Recently celebrated my 31st anniversary. Am 5 years into my second (or third) career. And have my own internal, though erratic, furnace system, if you know what I mean. One would think that if I am not a grown-up now, then I never will be. Certainly when I was in my teens and twenties, I assumed that by the time I was 50 I would be mature, confident, etc.

But I don't FEEL that old. And in certain situations I act like a 15-year-old. I like to read teen novels and go to see teen chick-flicks. On a hot summer day, I still feel like going to a water park. And is it really my job to take care of a whole house?? That's waaayy too much housework, she whines. Confident? No, I still second-guess every important decision. And even many unimportant decisions.

5 years later, Russ is now 60 and we are starting to think about what retirement will be like. I still feel pretty much the same way I did 5 years ago. And now I'm listening to my kids talk about the things that make them feel like adults, or not. So here's to you, Jason and Karis! Don't ever lose that kid inside.