May 6, 2019

Quick Turn

Saturday morning, 0300 bright and early (well, early anyway... the sun had yet to show itself, as one might imagine), I woke up and after a quick shower and filling my travel mug, hit the road to Denver International Airport for a 0615 flight to Dallas-Fort Worth.  My friend David picked me up, and we drove up to Wichita Falls to celebrate Peter's newly conferred citizenship status.

OldNFO has a synopsis of the weekend, and I've nothing more to add.

Spent the night in Wichita Falls, and after a light breakfast on Sunday, David took me back to DFW, where I spent a couple hours at the airport bar blowing the froth off a few Shiner Bock beers before catching a flight back to DEN.

Having packed light -- a fresh t-shirt and polo shirt, a pair of socks and a pair of boxers, and my toothbrush -- I didn't have to check a bag, and was off the plane back in my truck, and on the road home in short order.

Every chance I have to spend time with this group of people, this family this Tribe, is welcomed indeed.  It's a soul and spirit refreshing, comforting, and peaceful experience, and I thank my lucky stars they welcomed me into the fold.

April 29, 2019

Welcome, Citizen

Y'all join me in sending congratulations to Peter over at Bayou Renaissance Man, as he takes his oath and becomes a 100% legal citizen of the United States of America.

Welcome, my friend.  We are glad to have you as a citizen.

April 23, 2019

A Most Pleasant Weekend

Last Thursday, my mother flew out for a few days of visiting, and we made a fine weekend of it indeed.

Her brother, my Uncle, Kenny, lives in Albuquerque, and he has a daughter Melanie, who lives here in FoCo.  Mom made mention she was coming out, and Uncle Kenny and his wife Sara made the trip up.  Being on opposite sides of the country (New Mexico and Indiana... You can't get there from there, really), they don't get to see each other very often. 

Picked up Mom at DEN on Thursday around 1pm, and drove to FoCo.  Stopped for a  sandwich and a beer at D.C. Oakes (get the Chili Verde burger) before getting to my apartment.  We went to cousin Mel's place around 7pm and the family antics were already in full swing.  After a bit of chatting and a couple drinks, we turned in for the night.

Friday, we met Mel, Kenny, and Aunt Sara for breakfast at Rise! A Breakfast Place, where I had the Coloradoan Benedict: A bed of hash brown potatoes formed more or less like a hockey puck, topped with roasted poblanos, tomato, onion, and two poached eggs, a Chipotle puree drizzle and cilantro. 

It did not suck.  At all.

On my way out of the breakfast place, I noticed that one of the headlights in my Tacoma was out, so once Mom and I got back home, we walked over to the auto parts store where I bought two new headlamp bulbs, and then we drove over to Mel's place where Uncle Kenny and I replaced the bulbs already in place (if I have one bulb out, I always replace them both).  The layout of the engine compartment in a 2010 Tacoma strikes you as poorly designed when you have to replace a headlamp bulb: The right side headlamp requires you disconnect the washer fluid reservoir and move it just slightly aside.  While holding it in place, you need to bend your wrists backward to get into the spot where the bulb is connected.  It's a bit contorted, and you can't really see anything because your hands are blocking your view of how the bulb is connected, but we finally got it done.  The left side bulb is slightly easier, but requires moving the battery aside. 

At any rate, after that was done, we commenced to playing some cards.  Cousin Melanie, freakishly, had managed to reach the age of 50 without ever having learned to play Euchre.  This struck me as very odd... It'd be like growing up and never having a skinned knee.  I began to wonder if she's a Communist Spy, trying to infiltrate 'Murica.  At any rate, we remedied that issue with a quickness.  She's pretty smart and caught on quickly.  However, her and Aunt Sara were no match for me and mom... We spanked them 4 games straight, the closest of those being 10-5. 

A couple delivery pizzas, a few cold beers, and the night was complete.

On Saturday, Mom and Kenny took a drive to Laramie, then to Cheyenne, and back to Fort Collins, while I took a nap.  I didn't sleep well Friday night, waking at 0230 and never getting back to sleep, so I was thankful for the few extra hours on the sofa.  After she got back, Mom and I went to Zwei Brewing for a pint and a chance to chat with a couple friends.  My usual routine on Saturdays is to do my house chores like laundry and dragging the vacuum around, then around 1300 or so I go to Zwei for a beer.  There's a retired couple, Mick and Lannie, that I've become friends with, and they're really nice folks.  Mom met them the last time she came out, and Mick and Lannie were insistent that I bring mom by again this time for some visiting.  So I did. 

After a pint or two, we went back to my apartment where I made some dinner, and we turned in early. 

Sunday, we headed to Mel's for a late breakfast/early brunch, and she made shirred eggs served with baked grapefruit.  I gotta be honest, I wasn't a big fan.  The bread under the eggs was way too soggy from the tomatoes she put on top of it, the eggs were over cooked and kinda rubbery, and it just didn't do it for me.  I appreciated the effort, of course, and ate my helping, but yeah no. 

While the Sunday afternoon weather was calling for rain, the morning and midday were near perfect, and Mel's daughters and I enjoyed a nice walk with the dogs, we had coffee and juice and mimosas under the sunny sky, and did a short bit of prep work for Easter dinner. 

Easter dinner was a baked ham with pineapple curry chutney, Rosemary and lemon asparagus, a spinach salad with cashews, carrots, and sliced tomatoes, and beer grain bread (a simple bread recipe that substitutes 1 cup of spent home brew grains for 1 cup of flour).  I snagged the ham bone and some chunks of ham, and will use it for ham and bean soup, or perhaps split pea and ham soup. 

Monday morning, Kenny, Sara, Mom, and I had breakfast at First Watch, formerly The Egg & I, and said our good byes.  Kenny and Sara pointed their car south toward home, and I took mom to the airport for her flight back to Indiana. 

It was a very nice weekend spending time with family.

March 28, 2019

The Boys of Summer Are Back

It is opening day of the MLB season, and today Americans of all types, men and women, young and old, white and blue collar alike, take to the stands to hear two words that have remained unchanged for decades.

Play Ball.

Let's go Yankees!

March 14, 2019

Well, That Was Sporting

So we had a bit of weather blow through yesterday.

As is common in Colorado in late winter/early spring, we had bluebird perfect weather on Tuesday.  A high temp in the mid 50's, bright sun, few clouds... Just amazing. 

Then Tuesday night the rain started.  And come Wednesday morning, that rain changed to snow. 

A lot of snow.

And wind.  LOTS of wind.  Peterson AFB recorded 96 mph at one point. 

I made it through just fine.  Was in the office for the morning, then cut out around 2:00 pm when most of our customers decided to close their offices for the day. 

Jake dog was rather expedient in doing his business: Go out, piss on the closest shrub, then do a 180 and get back in.  I heated some venison and vegetable stew and watched some television. 

Major roads are actually in decent shape this morning.  Mad respect to those who drive the plow and salt truck in the overnight hours. 

Oh, and there was a little crash just north of me, near Wellington.  Good lord, folks: When every weather reporter is telling you to stay home and don't travel, you should listen.

February 28, 2019

Lay Down With Me

In May 2005, we met, and the bond was instantaneous.

I was walking in the desert just northeast of Phoenix, taking a hike on a pleasant day off, and about 600 yards from the truck I saw her.  She'd been tied off to a tree and left for dead.  Thin, dehydrated, pads of her paws torn and cracked, dried blood where they'd been cut as she vainly, furiously, tried to break free of the inhumane bond placed upon her by some worthless scumbag, her eyes turned to mine and silently she pleaded for help.

There was no decision making process involved.  I was going to take care of her, so I pulled out a pocket knife, cut the rope from her neck, carried her back to my vehicle, and drove her to the local veterinarian.  Within a few hours, I'd dropped several hundred dollars that I didn't really have to spare, and after some IV fluids, some antibiotics, and some wound care cream, we went home.

"Honey, I can explain" I told my then girlfriend, with whom I was living.

"You don't have to.  What's her name?"

"Haven't picked one yet.  In time, she will give herself a name.  I'm going to shower, then take a nap with my dog."

I laid down on the sofa, and she lay down beside me, my right arm hanging off the edge, resting softly on her chest, giving her a slow stroke back and forth, letting her feel love and acceptance that she'd never known before.  How could someone do this to such a gentle animal?, I wondered.

The television was on, Cubs and Brewers, I think it was, and a commercial break came on.  The television speakers tried to entice me into eating K.C. Masterpiece barbecue, and her ears perked up right quick at that.  Well, Casey it is, then...

We went on many adventures, that dog and I.  In the unbearable hot Phoenix summers, we'd load the tent and camp gear into the Jeep and drive up to Flagstaff, the additional 6000 feet of elevation providing a cooler climate.  I had my backpack, and she had hers.  Loaded with two liters of water, her food, sleeping pad, and bowls, she'd carry her own gear for miles on the trail, never losing stamina or energy.  8 miles into the trail, we'd stop, set up camp for the night, and she'd lay down with me, her head on my chest, and we'd sleep blissfully under the stars.

I moved back to Colorado in 2008, and she rode shotgun the entire drive up.  Curled up in the passenger seat, nary a sound of complaint for 16 hours of driving, and when we finally arrived, after a short run to stretch the legs, we turned in for the night.  It was a new, strange place with new smells, and for an attentive dog as she, it wasn't a terribly comfortable feeling, but I soothed her nerves, climbed into bed, and bid her to Lay Down with me.

The next adventure took us to Indiana when I got married.  We were about half way through, camped on the banks of the Missouri River, just west of Columbia, and a storm was rolling in.  I got my tent up and secured in a hurry, we crawled inside, and once again we lay down together, just a man and his dog, the closest bond known to humanity.

The years passed, as they will do, and she aged, as did I, but every chance we had, that dog and I would lay down together, just enjoying whatever moment we could.  From sleeping in my tiny 400 square foot studio after the divorce to sleeping in the bed of my pickup on the shores of Lake McConaughy in western Nebraska to laying under the vast Colorado night sky while watching a meteor shower... In nearly 14 years, she never left my side.

Canine Degenerative Myelopathy is a disease in dogs that is quite similar to Lou Gherig's Disease (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) in humans.  The myelin sheath around the neurons of the nervous system breaks down, and that means that signals from the brain to the legs don't always get through.  This results in poor coordination, loss of balance, and eventually paralysis. For a dog who has spent a lifetime being active -- running, playing fetch, herding free range cattle or toddlers who stray too far from their humans -- being paralyzed is intolerable.

Yesterday, I asked her to lay down for the last time.

I'll see you at the bridge in due course, Casey.  Maybe we can lay down and take a nap before we cross over.

February 26, 2019

Legit LOL

That would be hysterical.

February 7, 2019

Blog Roll Addition

Added A Geek With Guns to the blog roll. 

Some good reading over there.  Get your click on.

February 6, 2019

Small Bite of Crow

Well, I kinda have to take a bite of crow.

Despite my last post being about preparedness in the event of a bit of hardship, I failed to notice something lacking in my own.

The weather app and assorted websites and local news channels were all telling me, for three or four days now, that there would be some snowfall today.  "Two to five inches!" they said. 

And they're right... It's been snowing for almost 3 hours now, and we've got a couple inches on the ground.  Radar shows more of the same for a while... Probably won't stop until tomorrow morning.

And while I was _reasonably_ sure I had a snow brush and window scraper in the bed of Tico the Taco(ma), I didn't actually, you know, confirm.

Imagine my dismay when I went to drive home for lunch and couldn't locate my snow brush.

Got a new one on my lunch break, so now I *KNOW* there's one in the truck. 

January 29, 2019

Failure to Plan

This morning, on the drive to work, I had the truck radio on the local news station, just to get a quick bit of what's going on, what the weather is going to be, sport scores, and the like.

Normally, it's the usual codswallop, but something I heard this morning made me turn my head and give the radio a quizzical look, like a dog trying to understand some strange command.

See, according to the voices on said radio, many of the food banks of Colorado are running "dangerously low" on inventory "due to the recent government shutdown."

Now I'm not here to say a damn thing about the (partial) government shutdown.  I've my own beliefs, I'll possibly write them down later, and you have yours and that's fine.

But this bit of news.... We're talking just over thirty total days, and when you plot that out over a calendar and highlight the every other Friday government employee paydays in yellow, we're talking two paychecks total (the sum total of which the employees will be getting paid now that the Dot Fed is back to business.)

So... You're telling me that in just over two weeks, these government employees not only burned through their entire bank account, but also the content of their food supply? 

Or did they not HAVE any savings and extra stores of food? 

Much like Peter over at Bayou Renaissance Man, I make it a point to have stored away a supply of assorted and sundry food.  As a rough guess, with what I have in the freezer and pantry, I wager I could go 45 days without needing to go to the grocery store.  Yes, there might be some rather bland meals that aren't worth blogging about (one can only store so many packages of beef short ribs, you understand), and sure, I might get tired of oatmeal after a few weeks, but necessity and luxury are at opposite ends of the spectrum.

I'll also admit, freely, that I don't have any additional mouths to feed.  It's not like I have three kids and a spouse and an elderly parent depending on me -- though if I did, you can bet your last dollar that I'd triple or quadruple my food stores -- for a meal. 

In addition to having extra food stocked up, I also have an emergency supply of cash and spending money available.  I've got a credit card with a decent limit and currently no balance, so spending $300 or more on a grocery run isn't a hardship.  Worst case, I dig into an envelope with a handful of $20 bills that I've got stashed away. 

My point is this: "Prepping for the Zombie Apocalypse" is really just a funny euphemism for being prepared to deal with unexpected, and unpleasant, times.  Like, say, two weeks or so without a paycheck. 

If you don't have supplies of a quantity sufficient to go three weeks without a grocery store run, I feel that you're just asking for trouble.

Failing to Plan is planning to fail.