Monday, April 13, 2009

I Saw Deer
Friday I got a few things done but not all the things that I wanted to do. I failed to get anything to the thrift shop like I had planned. I did add a few things to that collection, though.

Friday night we had what I think of as a summer shower; short, intense, and with lots of thunder & lightning. We needed the rain.

Saturday, we went to David's house to play Living Forgotten Realms, the special. On the way, in Raleigh, I spotted a deer in a clearing not far from the road. As I looked at it, I saw a second one. There may even have been more under the trees. Not bad for an area that is at least surburban, although not what I would consider really urban.

The game went pretty well. Rosemary had her usual lousy dice luck. Nonetheless, no one died and my 'drow' rogue is now 4th level. We didn't have a full table, either but it was okay. We had fun, that's the important part.

Sunday was quiet. We watched taped shows and played games. We went from about 80% full to only about 45%. Some of it was learning that both of us had watched a particular show & it could be deleted.

Kord Mandoon is pretty funny. It's not exactly intellectually stimulating but it's funny. The only problem is that the first episode seemed like it was a few episodes into the show, not the pilot. I guess that means it feels more 'real' in that it has a past. Theoretically that means that it also has a future.

I'm still trying to read the gamebook The Secret of Zir'An. The setting is interesting but the system is driving me nuts.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Excerpts from my Colorado vacation – Day 4

21 July ‘08

6:40 am Light breakfast in the HoJo library. I had their cinnamon (packaged) bun and my tea, Majestic Morning. I’ll be hungry later.

Met National Guard Army guys, during breakfast. They’re in OKC for Search & Rescue Training. Very nice guys.

7:30 am All packed and ready to load car. Laptop still exiting.

8:30 am Off to the Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. I took pictures of the mural on the western wall and of our hotel (HoJo0 from the museum parking lot.

1st pictures inside: Triptych of Yellowstone. 1 to establish size, 1 for ‘close look’ of 1 of all three. There were more triptychs in the banquet/meeting room but a meeting was about to begin so I didn’t want to take too long taking pictures. If you looked at the center painting, ‘closely’ you could see two individuals on the overlook. I overheard someone pointing them out, otherwise I would never have noticed them. They were that small.

Into the gardens: otter sculpture “Ring of Bright Water”, tiny frogs, koi, koi, Buffalo Bill, water people statue (look for dragonflies on the spears), heron statue

I took pictures of the military officer’s dress helmet & great coat. I want to show Chris but without flash, I’m not certain how well the pictures turned out.

Parade saddle: I’d love to know how much it weighs.

Canyon Princess statue and End of the Trail.

Colonel Tim McCoy, early actor in Westerns. He was an actual Army Colonel c. WWI and was fluent in multiple Native American dialects. Early Westerns (pre-Depression) frequently had real Native Americans as extras, for realism. I learned this in the Westerns in Hollywood & TV section of the museum.

I got a little lost in the Prix de West section. It was art/sensory overload.

~12:30 pm we had lunch at the Museum restaurant. I had shepherd’s pie and fruit salad, which was cut up fresh fruit. I decided against the buffet because I wanted a light lunch. Then the food was so good that I couldn’t stop eating.

At the gift shop I bought a couple shot glasses for Rosemary’s collection and a t-shirt & a couple pins for myself. I found nothing for Chris, coworkers, Leela, Hailey, Anitra or Steve.

[sticker from museum: black silhouette of cowboy with yellow bandanna and belt buckle against yellow mountain silhouetted against royal blue sky, all next to ‘National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum’]

This is the sticker so that they knew that we had paid to tour the museum. If you were just going to the restaurant, you got a round green & gold sticker.

101F but it’s dry. That really does make a difference. For once ‘they say’ is true.

We left the museum ~1:30 pm and I napped. Dad woke me at 2 pm because the terrain had changed.

The wheat has been harvested. It’s very flat, more pastures with cattle or a dozen horses loose in the pastures. Lots & lots of sky.

And the state troopers use SUVs.

~2:30 pm We’re paralleling Route 66. I see a lot of streambeds, arroyos?, that are dry. Is there a drought or are they seasonal?

The grain silos are huge. They are more like silo complexes.

Before the Texas border, we passed a wind farm, big wind turbines. And a dust storm, or cloud, hit us, brief and orange.

2:45 pm I saw the 2nd, or was it 3rd, Cherokee Trading Post. It has gas $3.69.

Canute, OK
Gas stop

I saw a truck “soil farming” but it turned out that it was just the company name.

Clouds splatter across the sky like paint flung from a brush.

4:22 pm Crossed into Texas panhandle

Don’t see any more farms, it’s ranches. There are fewer trees, a few clumps, but they are scattered.

4:25 pm

See a barn, or shed, with murals painted on the walls. Very pretty. Wish I could have gotten a pictures.

Soon after, see my first longhorns in the field.

The travel center is 100 miles inside the border, near Amarillo. No welcome center. 1st rest stops are picnic shelters only, no bathrooms. Texas hospitality, my sweet Fanny Adams.

At the first real shelter with facilities, we stopped. I took a panorama shot from the overlook. I also took pictures of the neat picnic shelters there.

They had a warning about rattlesnakes on the doors and about fires on the notice board. The interactive windmill exhibit was not active (couldn’t turn the display model) but it had neat info.

“Miles and miles of nothing but miles and miles.”

Texas highway speed signs have a day speed and a night speed.

Near Groom, TX (~exit 110)

Leaning water tower, used to be functioning. Made to advertise a now-defunct service station. Also saw a giant cross with a life-size Jesus Journey to Cross behind gift shop [looking back at my note, I remember the water tower and the giant cross but not the rest of that].

5:45 pm Finished 4th round of doily, despite problems. I ran out of thread 3 rings too soon, etc.

6 pm Amarillo, Ritz Airport Plaza Hotel

The Texas Travel Center closed at 5 pm.

Dad’s not feeling well, upset stomach. About 7 pm, Kathy & I went to Big Texan for supper. Kathy & Dad went there the last time they went to Colorado. The restaurant’s claim to fame is their offer; as home of the 72 oz steak, if you can finish the whole thing, plus fixings, in an hour, they’ll pay for the meal. They charge you ahead of time, so they refund your money. Some guy finished it with 10 seconds to spare when they were there last time.

No one was trying it while Kathy & I were there. Certainly, we didn’t. We both had the 6 oz Austin Lady cut steak. Soooo good, steak sauce would have been a sacrilege.

We hit the gift shop. I found a perfect lunchbox tin for Gretchen. Yes, I am enabling her storage container addiction. But it’s such a cute tin, the perfect size for tatting.

We came back to the hotel room and I watched Hogan’s Heroes while catching up on email, etc. Dad was feeling a little with judicious application of ginger ale and crackers.

Hotel pro’s:
Very good towels

No iron in the room, had to ask for it
Breakfast had been canceled with no recompense
2 lamps unplugged (of 3)
Entry light almost burned out
Alarm clock not plugged and never found an outlet for it

Once a great hotel, lobby chandeliers are gorgeous. Gift shop was closed. It has an interior garden/atria but showing signs of neglect.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Are we really half-way through the week?
It feels a little like Monday. Maybe that's because I only got 5 1/2 hours of sleep last night. I woke up before my alarm clock went off, completely & utterly awake.

I finished typing up excerpt #4. I think I'll post it Friday. Should I include some of the pictures that go with the excerpts? I'll do another poll. Aaand no one noticed when I skipped an excerpt. I have now inserted it; appropriately enough, on April 1st.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Why Aren't I Asleep?
Really, it's half-past 11. My bedtime is 10 (some of us need 8 hour of sleep).

This morning I found out why I've had such a hard time catching the bus. Their clock was 5 minutes faster than mine. No wonder I was cutting it so close, and even missing it sometimes. Then traffic was so bad this evening that what I thought was my bus running a couple minutes early, was the earlier bus...running that late. Erk.

Anyway, the big news is that my college (alma mater & employer) won the 2009 NCAA Championship. It was a little crazy today as a result.

I spent most of the day printing, copying, data entry & more copying. Plus distributing said copies. That took most of the day. Just as I was feeling massively frazzled, one of my co-workers gave me a chai tea latte. I did not realize how much I needed it until I took a couple sips. Let's hear it for caffeine addiction.

I hit the bookstore with John after work. Yeah, I spent a little too much money but at least 2 of the books are gifts. Really. They are.

I'm sending in my article to Bitemark 5 (Bitemark is a free ezine for players of the games by Sanguine). It's in early enough that it may even get illustrated. I do wonder how it will be recieved.

Time to get some sleep.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Weekend with Mom
did not start well. I woke up with a migraine (love those ever-changing weather fronts). Plus I could not find the charger cord for my Tomtom. I ended up leaving about 3 hours later than I'd planned. I finally got there & we went to lunch at Panera's. Remind me: the chipotle mayo is too spicy for me. I managed to finish my delicious sandwich, with the help of 2 smoothies.

We hit the consignment shop and found a couple skirts; still none with a pointed hem *pout*. I also found a couple more pairs of pants. Ran into a young lady whose clothes sense really disturbed Mom. The young lady was a little punkish; extra long jeans ~held up by black legwarmers; fuschia tutu edged with lime green; green striped tie; t-shirt & blue streaks in her hair. I thought she looked very individual, personally.

Sunday we went to McKay's, taking 6 books to trade in. I brought back 3 (including 2 gamebooks) plus 2 for Mom. Mom brought back 9. What can I say, the free shelf was really spiffy.

I was so tired when I got home that after I washed my hair, I barely managed to stay awake until 9 pm. I did have a slightly easier time of waking up this morning, at least. I remembered, barely in time, that my clock had reset for Daylight Savings on Sunday.

I got only a little bit of tatting done. I spent most of the time, talking with mom, shopping, eating & reading together; plus a little bit of tv. Mom had to catch her shows on Saturday night. PBS from 8 pm to 10 pm, sometimes until 11 pm, depending on the week.

I wore the shoes that I bought with Mom the last time that we went shopping. They felt a little tight at first but I, or the shoes, soon adjusted. I was glad to have them. It was mizzling this morning and I wanted a bit more foot coverage than my Mary Janes provide.

And it's that time of year. The puddles are all edged with yellow-green of pollen. The asphalt walkway was yellowish, except for the hash marks left by someone on roller blades. The trees are trying to mate with everything in sight & I'm scared to sit outside.

Additional note about the weather. It was gorgeous this weekend, sunny and in the 70's (Fahrenheit). Tomorrow they're talking about a hard freeze in the morning. Love NC spring.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Colorado Vacation, excerpt 3

Excerpts from my Colorado vacation – Day 3

20 July 2008

6:47 am CDT, Memphis, TN

La Quinta

Dad woke up and turned on the lights at 5:52 am. That’s 8 minutes early. At 5:55 am, I gave up and got up.

I’ve showered and other ablutions and repacked my bags. I’m not used to living out of a suitcase.

8 am and we are leaving the hotel. I have left Planet of Whispers at the hotel for Bookcrossing. There’s a couple Little League Teams in the hotel & I feel that DeSade’s Valet is not a book for 13-14 year olds to find. Not a book that I wanted to read, myself. It came for free in a bag of books.

Leaving town, we passed St. Jude Hospital Complex. That includes the Memphis Grizzlies House (housing for families of St Jude patients, funded by professional basketball team). Visually striking is the Pyramid, the glass & steel pyramid arena.

8:20 am Arkansas border

Skipped the Arkansas welcome center.

12:30 pm Oklahoma border

Ozarks look like the Blue Ridge Mountains, but spread out.

On 3rd round, got a knot in the thread & can’t close the ring.

1:26 pm arrive at Sallisaw, OK and have lunch at a Taco Bell/KFC.

In town, I saw a carwash converted to a barbershop. Small town, with some historical sites.

~2 pm stopped for gas at a Phillips 66

2:30 pm McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System – transportation & flood control

[I’ve had to start keeping memo notes to look things up and then write in my journal later]

~2:40 pm We hit road construction, about 10 miles of it, ending at McIntosh County line.

3 pm Passed Lake Eufaula

3:30 sun behind clouds and the temperature dropped by 4F, from 101F to 97F

Soon after saw first oil well, then two more soon afterward.

~3:50 pm I took a picture of clouds, once with sunglass lens over camera and then once without.

4:54 pm Howard Johnson in Oklahoma City, next to the Cowboy Museum. Formerly the hotel was a Gardens Inns & Suites

6 pm off to supper at County Line, next to hotel. Took pictures.

Formerly it was the Kentucky Club and it’s been around about a hundred years. It was a dance and gambling club, run by the Mob. It still has some of the old fixtures and lots of old posters & ads.

It’s also haunted. “Russell” haunts the fireplace; he was killed there. A medium said that a female presence was in the women’s bathroom. The medium would not go into the basement; ‘not happy’. Our waitress doesn’t like to go down there either.

The food and service were great. Our table was in one of the old gambling niches. From the windows in the bar you could see the Capital dome.

So far, the trip looks a lot like NC, but without the kudzu.

After supper:

I downloaded videos from Dad’s camera and we watched them. I wasn’t able to erase the disk, though.

I did the first tat demo for Kathy. I just showed her the knot. We were both too tired after futzing with the videos to do any more.

Never got a good internet/wifi signal, despite the hotel clerk’s attempts. She reset the router twice.

Oklahoma highway speed limits have one speed for cars & another one for trucks.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Excerpts from my Colorado vacation – Day 2

19 July 2008
~7:20 am
Hickory, NC Cracker Barrel

I set my internal alarm clock for 4:30 am but my bladder was set for 3:30 am. Good thing, because we left at 4:37 am.

I napped some and read some before the sun rose. Car was a little cool so I wrapped up in the quilt from Kathy’s first husband’s family.

We smelled skunk, in passing, as we headed for the highway. Dad almost managed to miss the dead one on the road. That is an incredibly rancid smell. The van still has a whiff aobut. I suggested driving through tomato sauce. No one took me seriously.

We stopped at about 6:17 am to have breakfast. Our waitress’s name was Annette. I ordered hot tea and drank from my own supply.

9:43 am

Welcome to Tennessee. We stopped to get historic pamphlets for friends of Dad & Kathy. Hoowally homeschools his boys and they’re educational materials.

~11 am local time Crossville, TN
Lunch at McDonald’s – nuggets, diet coke, apples slices & 2 apple pies.

~12:30 pm CDT near River Bend?

Finished second round of snood. Kathy’s driving and Dad is listening to a Neil Diamond cd.
I finished Death in Holy Orders by PD James earlier. After lunch, but before I picked up my tatting. I hope to leave the book at our next stop [].

1:47 pm CDT
Narrowly averted accident?

Saw a guy in big pickup pulling a large trailer; we smelled smoke. Then it’s obvious that the rear-most right tire is shredding. Kathy waited until a straightaway, hit her flashers, flashed her headlights and as we came even with the driver, she honked her horn as Dad gestured. Soon after, we saw the guy flip on his hazards and he slowed down. We were out of sight before he pulled off the road but we’re fairly certain that he did, soon afterwards.

[poem in pencil]

Summer sun, so much light
Reflects off chrome so bright.
Waves of heat from the road.
Rivers of asphalt that have flowed

From pens and pavers of DOT’s
Like streams to both seas.
Carrying travelers of business and pleasure
Vehicles of commerce and leisure.

Travelling west on vacation
No longer station to station
On the ribbons of steel.
Instead, motel and fast food meal.

The less direct route,
See what’s about
Road digressions along the way
Museums and parks and shopping, yay.

Time to talk.
Stop to walk.
History and stories of family and nation.
Take time for relaxation.

Take a look at scenery.
Admire the greenery.
Not just the goal, enjoy the journey.
It’s true, not just corny.

Truckers thread the states
Entire country, all the dates.
Like quilters who stitch
With lane, lines, median and ditch.

Patching the towns and days
Build community, a nation to raise.
From Manteo to Modesto, Key West to Point Hope,
The roads like threads, string, twine and rope.

4:23 pm CDT Memphis TN
La Quinta on Macon Cove, off Sycamore View Rd.
670 miles

~6 pm Corky’s on Poplar
BBQ ribs & so forth

***** Small dining room, great food, BBQ slightly sweet
Had BBQ (pulled pork of course) sandwich and banana pudding. Huge sandwich and rich dessert.

9:45 pm Almost in bed
Check two of my email accounts. Caught up on eTatters; released a book on bookcrossing; IM’d with Bill F; and briefly checked Facebook.

Dad and Kathy hit the pool. They came back as I was about to brush my teeth.

I am very tired. And I forgot my card reader. Unless I find another way, I will not be downloading my camera until I get home.

Tropical Storm Cristobal is hitting Eastern NC with rain. If it stays that way and followed the predicted path, it will be a good thing.