Friday, June 29, 2012

Cats in Colorado

Here is a post for Hardingfele and all the other cat lovers out there: it is about our feline hosts in Colorado. Their names were Iggy, Izzy, and Itty and they lived at the Shack-Toe, although Izzy had moved next door but was still being taken care of by our human hosts. We really didn't see much of her, but we saw plenty of Iggy! He liked to come into our room at night and walk all over us. We put a backpack in front of the door to block him, but he was highly motivated and still pushed it open, so we had to put a suitcase in front of the door. Whenever he came outside, the wren that was nesting in the birdhouse above the Shack-Toe's door would yell at him. He was very affectionate and loved to cuddle with us. Itty wasn't scary-looking at all; she had big angelic eyes and long fur. But when a fox wandered into the yard, she ran after it, all puffed up, and the fox took off in terror. She also fiercely attacked a moth. Did we feel safe with Itty around to protect us!

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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Colorado Trip Photos

Believe it or not, I am back a day early from my Colorado adventure. I loved it out there, but Tiffy was having a lot of problems with the altitude, so we decided to descend. Estes Park is at almost 8000 feet, and Tiffy was always out of breath, had a headache, and felt slightly nauseated. We did get to hike in Rocky Mountain National Park and attend the Scandinavian Festival in downtown Estes Park in the short time we were there. The fires were also freaking us out a little; one day we had dinner with a friend of the Shack-Toe's owners, and the next day there was a fire right where her house was! We found out the day after that her house was spared, but the fire had been just a block away. Twenty-one houses burned down in the fire. The wind smelled like smoke, and ash rained down on us all the way out at the Shack-Toe, so that was a bit unnerving.

Here are some photos from our hike in Rocky Mountain National Forest.

Here are some wildflowers we saw. The first one is called Yellow Banner but I don't know what the other two are.

And here are some photos from the Estes Park Scandinavian Festival.

And here are a couple of brief movies from the Festival, of a wood-chopping dance and a dance with several couples, including two very little children.

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Saturday, June 23, 2012

Colorado Fires

There is one thing I forgot to say about our trip here: when we stopped for dinner in Lincoln, Nebraska, we saw a roadrunner in a tree squawking at passersby. Then when we came out of the restaurant, we saw a fledgling roadrunner on the sidewalk - so cute! It was all feet. I assume the squawking one was the mom.

I am guessing everyone is wondering if we are seeing any signs of the fires here in Colorado. We can see the smoke from the big fires near Fort Collins in the distance, and then today there was a fire in Estes Park, but far from where we are staying. We did see a huge orange helicopter go down to Estes Lake, suck a bunch of water up, and fly to where the fire was a number of times. So that is more exciting than we were hoping things would get, but so far there is no indication that the fire will come all the way out where we are.

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Friday, June 22, 2012

We Have Arrived

Tiffy and I drove our rented Lincoln with air-conditioned seats (quite a luxury when the temperature is over 100 degrees here) through Nebraska to Colorado, where it was so windy that our directions got sucked out of the car the moment I opened the door. Fortunately Tiffy had printed out a copy herself, so we still had them. Lots of tumbleweeds blew across the highway as we drove toward Denver, then we turned off onto Highway 34 and saw a real live cowboy herding cattle. He was riding a horse and even wearing a cowboy hat. Finally we came to the mountains and drove on a twisty road through Big Thompson Canyon to get to the Shack-Toe, a bright yellow cabin. Our hosts are not here at the moment, so I am entertaining myself by blogging. This is a very rustic place, and they have a composting toilet, but they do have internet access. I guess you can't escape it.

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Grand Island Adventure

Tiffy and I set off on our road trip, which coincidentally is the same route as we took to Utah, late in the morning yesterday. We had an uneventful drive and were all set to stay in Grand Island, Nebraska for the evening... but much to our surprise every room in the town was full! This was because of a skeet-shooting event, or so we were told. Tiffy called Richard Bonomo and asked him to look online to see if any hotel rooms were available in Kearney before we set off for another 45-minute drive. He looked and found us a room at the hotel where I am now blogging. I installed Google Chrome on their public computer and then stupidly signed in, so unless I can figure out how to sign out, I may have to uninstall it so that everyone using this computer doesn't have access to write in my blog, as interesting as that could turn out to be. Maybe I should create a dummy blog that allows access to random strangers and see how many takers I get! So that was our Grand Adventure.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Chipmunk Story Revisited

Remember the post about Hardingfele rescuing the chipmunk from her cat, getting bitten, and worrying about rabies? Turns out she was concerned about the wrong disease; she should have been worried about the Black Plague, as this story illustrates.

Toque McToque would probably not save a chipmunk, since she is frustrated with one that keeps digging up her flowers. Here, in her own words, is how her latest encounter with it went down:

On Sunday I was in the backyard and saw that f-ing chipmunk I’ve been after on the back stoop. I ran towards it yelling, hoping to scare it enough that it wouldn’t come back to my yard. It looked at me coming, turned around, paused and then thought better of it. Next thing I know it’s coming in my direction…..I screamed like a little girl and took off running. Turns out that it was really headed for the gigantic thistles growing next to the neighbor’s side of the duplex, nowhere near where I was. I thought my mom was going to pee her pants laughing. So much for being tough!!

This could make an interesting movie too. Maybe we’ll have to add another scene to our long-promised chipmunk movie, which does exist except for Scenario I. Someday I promise to post it here.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Drunk City Falling

Fourth in a series.

Here is an actual police report found by Toque McToque. I don’t know what this 25-year-old Minneapolis was doing on the ground, but it sounds more like he fell and then was embarrassed about it than that he had actually been hit by someone else, perhaps a 28-year-old Toledo. It’s so hard to say with these young cities.

Incident Type
Person Down
Incident Date
06/10/2012 - 12:11 AM
400 block Easy St.
Male, age 25, Minneapolis, MN
A concerned citizen approached a MPD sergeant, who was working a Downtown Safety Initiative Saturday night, and told her a man had just been battered on Lake St. The sergeant, and two other officers working the DSI grant, responded and found a 25-year old Minneapolis on the ground in a pool of vomit. He had a facial contusion. Witnesses, who had come to his aid, said he told them he had fallen. However, he later told officers he had been struck by someone. He could not give a description, and was taken to a hospital for observation. The sergeant indicated he appeared more drunk than injured.

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Monday, June 18, 2012

Rich's Biking Adventure

Saturday Ma and Pa Hat came to town, so I took them to lunch for an early Father’s Day treat. Richard Bonomo, Luxuli, Jilly Moose, and OK Cap came along to see them again (Rich) or meet them (everyone else). I can understand – I am always curious about other people’s parents. In my case I look just like the two of them put together, so there is no mistaking my relationship to them. That didn’t stop me from telling people I was adopted as a kid, since I didn’t want to admit any connection to them. When the other kids would point out that I looked just like my parents, I would say that they did a really good job matching us up at the adoption agency.

Yesterday I went biking with a bunch of Lutherans, including my choir director, Kathbert, Banjo Player, and the fiddler from my band who is not Hardingfele. Rich was running late and said he would catch up to us, so he biked really hard, caught up… and got a flat tire. He stopped to change his tire and raced to catch up with the group again. Just as he caught up, our fiddler had a flat tire, so he had to stop to help her, since he was the only one with a tire pump. By that time, those of us toward the front of the pack had reached our destination, an ice cream shop, and were happily eating ice cream. By the time Rich got to the ice cream shop, the first arrivers were ready to head back to Madtown, but I said I would stay with him. Good thing, since the people who got there later were mostly families with small children, and they were all having people pick them up and drive them back. So Rich and I headed back at a leisurely pace since I am never in a hurry and he was totally exhausted from his futile efforts to catch the group.

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Friday, June 15, 2012

Free Gig

Here is a gig I was unable to participate in earlier this week due to Date Night with Jesus. This is Hardingfele’s description and does not necessarily represent the views of other band members, especially Banjo Player. (Who has promised to tell me her version of events tomorrow.) But she said I could post this as long as everyone knows it is Hardingfele’s opinion, and it is too funny not to post. This story is much funnier if you know that Eql Rights is a lesbian, and that she insisted that the rest of the band stay after the free gig for the speaker.

Banjo player, Hardingfele, Lutefisk Lover and Eql Rights got into Banjo player’s car and drove to the nonpaid gig Eql Rights had gotten for us. We got there very early and proceeded to play a few tunes.  It was a town hall literally in the middle of nowhere.  The ladies all wore pastels and there was no one younger than 55.   We had a typical church basement meal of pasta salad, beans, corn and pork sandwiches [n.b. Hardingfele is a vegetarian] and then we played some more. Hardingfele played her hardanger fiddle as well and the ladies enjoyed this Norwegian musical interlude.  Then we all introduced ourselves.  Hardingfele talked about her feral cat work and asked anyone with unsterilized felines to see her after the performance, because she had low cost spay neuter connections. Lutefisk lover mentioned her grandchildren and her musical experience.  Banjo player talked about her professional musician husband and her stressful UW job and said that playing the banjo was her getting to do something bad!  Eql Rights recalled how the band was started and then tactlessly said that the band just loves getting paid for gigs.  Hardingfele was mortified and embarrassed, because after all this was a free gig.  Then the speaker came on. Let’s call her Stealth Altar Call.  She started talking about her travels and then segued into her life story with its shares of tragedies and happiness and ended with asking all of us to come forward and receive Jesus and be saved.  Hardingfele felt vindicated, because she vigorously protested to Lutefisk Lover and Eql Rights about having to stay for the speaker.  Everyone in the band felt very uncomfortable with the speaker and how a group that was described as non religious actually was.  We got gifts of yummy lemon bread, but with it came a little booklet on salvation. Stealth religion again.   Afterwards, Hardingfele evangelized the ladies on cat sterilization and handed out business cards with a low cost fix program. It was a tit for tat.  They give us salvation booklets and they get spay neuter cards in return!  When we got into Banjo Player’s car, decorated with recall Walker and supporting gay marriage stickers, we realized that we all felt very Madtown and very out of place.  So we hightailed it back to Madtown.  Turns out that Eql Rights’ brazen request for money netted a collection of 30 bucks that we split among the 4 of us.

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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Bonus Post: Garden Photos

Since I didn't post on Monday, I'm giving you two posts today. Here are some pictures of my flowers in Richard Bonomo's garden. First, an iris from the set of bulbs I bought from Rockstar Tailor for her school fundraiser.

My poppy was already past its prime by the time I got a chance to see it.

But the rose bush was covered with blossoms.

Kathbert's lilies were glorious.

Last but far from least, my calla lilies bloomed in white and several shades of lavender.

We did get to see the Venus transit briefly for real, but this photo is showing the transit on Rich's computer Aquinas. Venus is the dark dot on the upper right-hand side of the sun.

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Someone's Brother Falling

Third in a series.

Once I was at a party at the house of a friend of a friend, and I sat at a glass-topped table and set my plate on it. To my surprise, my plate fell right through to the white carpet below, because one pane of glass happened to be missing – right where I set my plate. The hostess seemed unconcerned. “I always forget to warn people about that,” she shrugged. Fortunately my lunch had mostly stayed on the plate, so it wasn’t the disaster it could have been.

We had just all recovered from that shock when suddenly there was a loud clatter as someone fell all the way down the stairs, hollering the F word over and over. We were even more alarmed by this development, but once again our hostess was nonchalant. “That’s my brother,” she said. “He falls down those stairs once a day.” Sure enough, he got up and appeared to be no worse for wear, although he did remind us all of how much he hated those stairs.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

College Roommate Falling

Second in a series.

I had a roommate in college who came home one day and said, “You will never believe what just happened to me!” She had been biking along when a car suddenly swerved and almost hit a scooter, so the scooter swerved to get out of the car’s way – and hit her. She went flying off the bike and landed right on her arm. My response: “Weren’t you embarrassed?” Yes, really. All I could think is how embarrassed I would have been. She said, “No, I just hoped I didn’t break my arm!” But her arm was fine, as was the rest of her.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Falling... and Not in Love

At the behest of my office mate Light Bright, I am doing a series this week on “People Falling… and Not in Love.” Since yesterday got away from me and I never posted, today I will give you two stories about me, personally, falling. The first story happened just a couple of weeks ago, right after choir practice, when I somehow missed the bottom step and fell right on my knee. I saw Luxuli watching me through the door, and I was mightily embarrassed, but she was just wondering if I was OK. Good thing it was the bottom step! My knee hurt for a week. Imagine if it had been the top stair that I missed!

In fact, that was almost what happened in my other story, which happened years ago. I was carrying a full laundry basket down some carpeted stairs, and maybe two steps down I slipped and fell on my bum all the way down the stairs. At the bottom I was a little dazed but basically fine. Truthfully, I seem to have issues with stairs; twice I have fallen on them and sprained my ankle, so that time I got off easy. It’s enough to make me think I should always live on the ground floor and not have a basement.

Tomorrow: more people falling!

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Friday, June 8, 2012

Racing Myself

When I bike to work, lots of people pass me, and I rarely pass anyone. That’s fine, I’m not in a race with any of them. The only one I am racing is Hypothetical Me Who Took the Bus. Most mornings I arrive just before my bus peeps trudge up the hill, so then I barely won the race with Hypothetical Me. (Of course, once you count the extra time it takes me to lock up my bike, I am in a dead tie with Hypothetical Me.) On Wednesday I could see my bus peeps ahead of me but never did catch up to them, so that day I lost the race to Hypothetical Me. It probably helps me beat Hypothetical Me that there is a lot of construction on the main drag the bus goes down, which slows it down and allows me to pull ahead of Hypothetical Me. Once the construction is done, I might not have any advantage over Hypothetical Me. Of course, by then it might be cooler out, so maybe I will go back to riding the bus anyway. I’m not one of those hardcore, bike all winter types like Richard Bonomo.

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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Venus Transit

Tuesday evening people all over the country were watching the transit of Venus across the sun. The sky was overcast here, unfortunately, so Richard Bonomo, A-Fooze, her parents, and I watched a live internet feed from an observatory in Hawaii. The sun did come out for just a moment, so Rich and I ran outside with his binoculars and a blank piece of paper, and we projected the sun onto the paper. Sure enough, there was a tiny dark spot where Venus was passing in front of it. Rich says I get nerd cred points for being excited about this.

After that we went out to a steak house, where we were joined by Cecil Markovitch and one of the B-Boys. Rich had venison from New Zealand, which seems sort of odd since we have plenty of deer around here. A-Fooze had an amazing walleye dish, and her dad had salmon. Being at a steak house, her mother and I had steaks. I also had Brussel sprouts to be healthy… but they were breaded. So much for healthy. They were delicious, though. Cecil and the B-Boy simply had brandy old fashioneds. Since we were a largish group, we got our own little room, and it was dark and cozy so I could imagine backroom deals being made there. Wonder if any really have been?

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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Ultimate Frisbee Fail

As always, Toque McToque proves to be a valuable source of blog fodder. Today she sent me an actual hold a student has on academic records (warning: PG-13 rated team name ahead):


I don’t know which is sadder, that this student got a hold placed on his records for skipping an Ultimate Frisbee game, or the name of his team. Why the league would let them get away with a name like that was beyond both Toque and me, but how pathetic that this guy thought up such a “clever” name and then couldn’t even be bothered to show up for the game. And apparently he never paid the no-show fee, so now he cannot get a transcript. Doesn’t he sound like a winner? No wonder he skipped the Ultimate Frisbee tournament – he already knew he would lose.

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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Today's Deep Question

This happened to Toque McToque yesterday, but I was already planning to blog about Anna Banana II's wedding, so I deferred this important question until today. What happened was that an individual rushed to Toque's office, thinking he had to get there by 4:00 pm, only to find out that the office is open until 4:30, so then he said he had "wasted his time" by rushing. The question is this: can one be said to waste time by rushing? After all, it saves you time to go on to your next activity. Therefore, it would seem that rushing, while it can be unnecessary (like in this case), can never be said to be a "waste of time."

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Monday, June 4, 2012

Anna Banana II's Wedding

So how did Anna Banana II’s wedding go? She looked radiant in her dress, with her hair in an updo done by the same hairdresser I always go to (just a coincidence, I didn’t recommend her).  She had two bridesmaids, four junior bridesmaids, and two adorable flower girls. The choir sang, and the Lutheran choir director played a rousing recessional. I survived singing my duet with Kathbert, and people even said we sounded good. (Mo Girl said if she knew we sang, she would have had us sing at her wedding.) Then came the party – so much fun! The DJ played lots of great dance tunes, and there were two kinds of cake: red velvet and chocolate with raspberry filling. Some little tiny kids were break dancing - so adorable! I forgot to bring a camera, but plenty of other people were taking photos, so I may have some to post at some point. A-Fooze and her parents came to town for the big day, and afterwards she, Tiffy, and I went salsa dancing for old times’ sake. It was so much fun to see everyone! The party continued the next day with the gift opening at Anna Banana II’s family cottage on the lake. We are all so happy for Anna Banana II, but now we are sad that she is gone. She left with her new husband today to start a life in a distant state. (OK, it’s only two states over, but it still seems really far away.) So if you are reading this, Anna Banana II, I hope you are enjoying your new home so far.

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Friday, June 1, 2012

Sock Puppet League Episode Nine: NOW

Have you ever gotten yelled at via email? It makes you feel about five years old, and you have similar thoughts about the maturity level of the person sending the email. In this case, it was the same sock puppet who, a few episodes ago, thought I broke the database somehow until realizing he was using a different browser.

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