Saturday, July 26, 2008

Halfway through vacation: and I ate something that disagreed with me.

Let's see, Saturday night a week ago was Memphis, TN. We were only there long enough to eat supper at Corky's (great barbecue) and sleep. Sunday, we reached Oklahoma City but since it was Sunday night, everything was closed.

Monday morning we toured the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum and I took lots of pictures. Many of them even turned out, a few decently. Tuesday night, we reached Amarillo, Texas, where Dad's upset stomach sent him to bed early. The hotel was obviously wonderful in its day. But it has not been maintained. And they canceled breakfast with no provision or more than perfunctory apology made. The desk said that the reason was maintenance. It's possible that they were doing something in the kitchen, but there was no sign of it. I'm sure that the desk staff caught hell for something that they could do nothing about.

Kathy & I ate at the Big Texan, a place that looks like a tourist trap but has incredible steaks. They're the home of the 72 ounce steak. If you can eat it, and the trimmings (salad, roll, etc) in an hour, the whole meal is free.

Wednesday, we got to Santa Fe, New Mexico, early enough to go downtown. We went to the governor's palace and I met some of the local Native American/Indian artisans (some people prefer one term, some the other). I bought a barrette, two pairs of earrings, necklace to match one pair of earrings, pendant and a piece of pottery. I could have bought so much more. It was all just gorgeous. And everyone was so nice. The woman from whom I bought the barrette has a son at Camp LeJeune. He just came back from two tours in Iraq.

I bought some magnets for my coworkers and a hat for myself. I finally found a straw hat that I'm willing to wear in public. Naturally, it's in the cowboy style, black. Dad went back to talk to the artisans and rest his legs. Kathy & I hit the shops. We went through this wonderful art gallery. I finally understand why someone, who has the room in their house, would buy a waist-high statue for the entryway.

We ate at a rooftop cantina, Coyote Cafe. The food was good and the breeze on the roof was perfect. I am such a wimp when it comes to spicy food. The 2 on the waitress's scale of 1 to 10 was almost too much for me. It's a good thing I changed my selection. My original choice was a 3.

Thursday morning we left for Ouray, Colorado. We stopped at the Continental Divide and took pictures, both of the new sign & the older, more informative one. We had to cross the modern, 4-lane, highway to reach it.

We spotted a sign for a park, Aztec ruins, and had to stop. I can't remember if it's a National Park or a State one but oh, how neat. It's an ancient Pueblo ruin, c. 1300, I think. They've reconstructed the main kiva and you can walk through some of the housing. It was well worth the stop. We stopped by a nearby trading post as we left and I bought a bookmark. It's tatted by a woman in Farmington. I plan to give it to Kathy when we get back to NC.

We had barely reached the mountains when it started raining. The scenery was breathtaking. There were mountains all around us. The road was a mass of narrow hairpins. The sign 'shoulder drop off' was on the white line because the only shoulder was about 1000' feet down (I exaggerate, maybe, but that's certainly what it looked like). There is no guardrail so your view is completely unblocked. We finally reached the summit, Coal Bank Pass, some ten thousand plus feet elevation. Despite the cool temperatures and drizzle, we got out to look.

When we reached Red Mountain Pass, eleven thousand plus elevation, we just kept driving. Dad was very tense and did not look at any of the scenery. Occasionally there were pull-offs so that the tankers and other semis could get off the road and let the traffic that had built up behind them by.

We got to Ouray just before dusk and checked into our room. It was long and had really high beds. Literally, the bed was hip high on me. Dad had to use a stepstool to get into it. We had a second floor room and left the window open so that we could hear the river all night. By the way, Ouray is pronounced 'You-ray.' We ate at a local hotel/restaurant, former saloon. It has one of the 'faces on the barroom floors.'

The next day we went for a walk by the river and then hit downtown Ouray. I bought a lovely black leather jacket, trimmed with tan and elk bone. I also bought some beads to make into a tatted bracelet later. We had packed everything but our swimsuits before we went shopping.

That was because we decided to go to Ouray's swimming pool. It's fed by a hot spring. Ohhhh, it felt so good. The part closest to the dressing rooms was as warm as a late afternoon Miami swimming pool. You know, after it's been warmed all day in the sun. A wall, just a little higher than the water separated it from the cool and hot area. The cool area is probably close to the same temperature as a typical swimming pool and the hot area ranges from 102-106F. Mmmm. I basked in that a few times. I saw one guy swimming it but I couldn't quite bring myself to do that.

We got to talking to some locals and found out that we had come in via the Million Dollar Highway; the two worst passes in Colorado. No wonder Dad swore to never drive that way again. I also got a sunburn, mostly on my right shoulder. And guess who decided not to pack her aloe. I guess even SPF 30 wasn't enough, although if I had used the waterproof, it might have been. We were in the pool over an hour and only stopped for a quick lunch before heading for Manitou Springs.

We didn't have time for any stops, especially since it started raining again. Fortunately, the pass out of Ouray towards Colorado Springs is a lot milder (it has a guard rail for one thing) than the one by which we had entered Ouray. Our motel in Manitou Springs was a little thing, also old but well-maintained.

Friday morning it was up to Pikes Peak via cog railway at 8 am. Wow, what a ride. We had a very good conductor who was full of anecdotes and humor. I bought a windbreaker at the gift shop at the top. I only brought one jacket and Dad couldn't bear for me to use it. It's an old suit jacket that I picked up at the thrift shop but he wouldn't see the moth holes, etc and just kept saying 'it's too nice to stuff into a bag like that.' I borrowed a light knit jacket and a windbreaker from Kathy for the trip up. It was nice to wear my own jacket on the way down.

Truth to tell, a couple of the canyons were cooler than the top. I guess because there wasn't much wind and the sun was shining. What a view from the top. I think that we could see Kansas it was such a clear day.

It was another quick lunch and we headed for LaJunta. We checked in, to our hotel and at the reunion. We unpacked the car and went to the welcome barbecue. We did catch part of the rehearsal for Friday night's show and Dad ran into several people that he knew.

The show Friday night was great. They had alumni dancing as well as current Koshares. Most were in garb but some were in every day clothes. I wish I could have gotten pictures but my flash was useless.

I started laundry today, after we had breakfast at the reunion. Kathy brought me some lunch but I didn't realize until too late that there were onions on it. So I'm still doing laundry while Dad & Kathy get to go listen to the Navajo code talker. I won't talk about it because I get depressed every time.

I hope that my stomach is better in time for the banquet tonight. Speaking of which, it's time to get ready.

Monday, July 21, 2008

3rd full day of vacation: and the 3rd city, not including the original departure. I made it to Dad's & Kathy's Friday night, only about 2 hours or so late. Dad spent time packing the van & I got to bed later than comfortable for me. Which wouldn't have been so bad but we were up at 3:30 to leave Pleasant Garden by 4:30 am.

Day 1: to Memphis. It was a long day of driving, I spent most of it sleeping. I got a little reading done, a little tatting done. We had supper at Corky's. Absolutely delicious barbecue.

Day 2: to Oklahoma City. Our hotel was next door to the Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum but we got to town after it had closed. We went to supper almost next door, on the other side of the hotel. We went to County Line, a great local restaurant. It has a lot of history; shame that the overlook just 'overlooks' the hightway. You can see the dome of the capital building though.

Day 3: the next day we went to the museum. Wow, it's a great place. 3 plus hours was not enough. The Prix de West was there and we sampled that, until we ran out of time & I was suffering from over stimulation. We had lunch in their restaurant. The food was really good, I had the shepherd's pie and fruit salad (cut up fruit). I overate, just a little. I couldn't even manage to dessert, luckily the fruit was enough.

Then we left for Amarillo. Dad has an upset stomach but we managed the drive anyway. I napped a little but kept getting woken up. I did more tatting, despite some hinderances *grumble* The scenery has definitely changed.

Dad wasn't up to eating supper, so Kathy & I went alone to The Big Texan. It was a really good steak.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

How's this for an icebreaker: "When I was a little girl, my daddy did shows wearing a wig and makeup." It's true, too. My dad was a Koshare; when I was a little girl he taught Indian/Native American/AmerInd dances to a scout troop. They did shows and well, I take after my Dad in coloring. To look the part, he wore a black wig & make up.

computer: I still can't get my Palm (older one of course) to work. Of course, I spent a lot of time looking for the right cable (found it by accident this morning). If I have time after I finish packing tonight, then I'll try to get it to sync properly. I haven't tried to do anything with it since I got my new harddriver. I'll need to reinstall everything. Since the batteries were dead in the Palms in question, I could do nothing with them anyway.

Vacation: as par for someone of my coloring, my skin is milk white everywhere that the sun has not touched. I remember to put at least spf 15 on my face so it's barely touched by the sun. Mostly it's my forearms; they're sort of cream; sprinkled liberally with cinnamon. I freckle like I swallowed a dollar and broke out in pennies. I wear pants most of the time, so my legs, shoulders & upper arms cause snow blindness when hit by bright sunlight.

This is not a desired look in our culture but I'm not going to sunbathe to change it. My skin cancer risk is too high. I bought some sunless tanning solution; I don't want to be brown, I just want to be off-white. It works very well, too. It's not perfect but who's going to be paying that much attention anyway?

I've decided to wait to cut my hair when I get back. My hair really is my crowning glory; a beautiful color & past my waist. I cut my bangs last week and boy, they're shorter than I thought. I cut them dry and pulled them down to eye level before I cut. Without the weight though, they've sprung up to only half my forehead. I don't want that to happen to my hair, even though I was only planning on cutting it up to my ribcage.

I was an odd teenager. Teens are notorious for staying up late, right? I went to bed at 9 pm, voluntarily. My mom once had to insist that I stay up later to finish the card game. My reasoning was easy enough; if I went to bed at 9 pm, it was easy to wake up at 5 am & watch Hogan's Heroes before getting ready for school.

As an aside, read about some of the stars of Hogan's Heroes sometime. The actors portraying Sgt Schultz, Col Klink and Gen Burkhalter were all born in Austria or Germany. And the first two were Jewish. Newkirk and LeBeau really were from England & France. Maj Hochstetter is from Tennessee. Kinch was, frankly, just impressive.

Sunbathing? My mom & I were going to go visit her sister in Miami and both of us are Celtic white. She insisted that we sunbathe to take the edge off and be less vulnerable to the Florida sun. Ye gods that was boring. And it didn't make a difference. I have gotten a tan twice in my life; both times by accident. The first time was during my summer job after I graduated high school.

I worked in a building so cold, that I'd sit in the sun at lunch just to warm up. Even with SPF 15, or 25, whatever was the highest available at the time, that has an effect. I was shocked one morning when I noticed that I had a tan line. I had turned a lovely shade of cream, not brown, cream. Same thing happened in 2000 when I spent at week at Disneyworld. It was May but I still darkened to cream.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Urban Legend: Have you ever heard the story of the lost server? The story goes that an institution had a contract to replace their servers on a rotating schedule. The company notified them that it was time to replace Server, let's call it X. Institution's IT department checks their maintenance logs & can't find a server X on it. They double check with the company, who confirms that yes they have a Server X. IT people ping the server & to their surprise they get a response. So the server does exist, but where?

They do a quick check and can't find it. In resignation, they form teams to start tagging and tracing cables, to find the server (good things those thing aren't wireless, huh). These cables sometimes go through walls and so on, too, increasing job fun. One team, in a recently renovated building, traces a cable going into a wall but can't find where it exits. As a last resort, they cut open the dry wall to see where the cable went.

There, behind the drywall, still in the plastic, protective dropcloth, is the missing server. It had been placed temporarily between to wall studs and then the workers had just drywalled over it. In all the time since the renovation, it had done its work, without requiring service, covered by a dropcloth.

Here's the kicker. I know the building where they found the server. One of my friends was on a search team, although not the one that found it. This is not an urban legend. It really happened.

Bus: I was (I counted) 36 steps from the bench at the bus stop when the bus drove by. It must have been a new driver because although the sidewalk is not right next to the road there, experienced drivers look to see if anyone is close to the stop. I know because I've had them stop for me. I got to work a little late as a result. The sad thing is, if I had walked back home and driven to a park & ride to get to work; I would have gotten to work at the same time as I did waiting for the next bus.

Gaming: Chris's game was last night. We're sticking with D&D 3.5 because switching to 4.0 would be like changing game systems entirely. One player is at the beach & another one had car problems but we continued the adventure anyway. We descended into the underground river to sneak into the giants' keep.

It was all navigating natural hazards and one character's lack of engineering knowledge. Our scout almost drowned but the one who almost drowned her, rescued her. We used an immovable rod to belay the rope to lower folks down the waterfall. Which is great, but the monk deactivated the rod early and let all the rope descend on the scout swimming downstream. She managed to cut the magic rope, making is disappear, before she drowned. The monk had consumed a fly potion so he was able fly over and grab her to finish the rescue.

My druid Kelis, 12th level now by the way, used her 2nd wild shape of the day and took the trip as a polar bear. I need to check how long she's been changed, I think she's limited to her level in hours.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

More Gaming: It's Pyre of the Righteous today (Living Greyhawk). I'm playing Kayla for the first time since September. We're waiting for our 4th player, so I have time to post a little bit. I get to kill more things, cause Kayla's a barbarian.

Chris was sick yesterday so I didn't get much done. I collected my manga together, or at least a lot that I have not read yet. I cleared out the floor near the phone and that was it. Then this morning a transformer blew & we lost power for 3 hours. It came on in time for Chris & I to take showers and run to FE for me to pick up more manga.

Dream: I had a bad dream Friday night, it was not a nightmare per se, but definitely unpleasant. I remember a mechanic allied with us that I was glad that he was on our side; quasi-psychotic perhaps? I remember him shooting an attacker on a motorcycle and I could see the biker's spine sticking up out of the wound/severed torso.

Computer game: I've been playing Chocolatier and Build-a-lot. They are fun little strategy & economics games. In one you're building a chocolate empire and in the other a construction business.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Mutants & Masterminds: Since two of the players couldn't make it to the game; we had an 'annual.' That's the GM's name for a one-shot. We ended up dealing with a racist ghost/demon. It had been summoned at the end of the Civil War, as a last ditch effort. Its MO was to possess someone, until they died. Too bad the last host had been in a coma, trapping it. We had to fight it; it killed a male nurse and two of his neighbors. We managed to save the teenager that it possessed. It briefly possessed Kodachrome (after she accidentally revealed her secret id to a freelance reporter) and tried to possess Totem. Its weakness was gold. Totem and her priest trapped it in a gold inlaid ashabti. The reporter agreed to keep Melanie's/Kodachrome's secret since she saved his life.

Dream: I had a really good one last night. It was a fantasy adventure but I don't remember much. There was a princess/queen and a prince pursuing the prince's older brother, who had stolen her magic artifact/treasure. The pair had both bonded to large panthers, who were partners rather than anything subservient. The panthers chose their partners and, as usual for cats, still retained much of their independence.

Work: More unpacking today. My boss really helped. Mostly, I told him where I wanted stuff, at least more or less, and he emptied boxes. All that's left are the drawers around my desk. That will take some doing as they got re-arranged. I may have to empty & redo them.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Cause of the day

Work: Meetings are taking up most of my day today. Plus I'm trying to unpack and do all the daily stuff. Wheeee!

Weather: Another storm hit. I got home just ahead of it. No power outage this time.

Family: Kathy's mom died. She's been ill for some time but Dad's been frantic trying to reach me. Then when I called him back, my phone died.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

site of the day: spoof of Bay's Batman script *shudder*

Work: the carpet people finished today. If they get my furniture put back together then I'll be moving back into my office today. Too bad I'm not dressed for it.

Clothes: I've worn new shoes for the past two days. Belgarath in the Eddings Belgarion saga wore mismatched shoes. When someone got around to asking why, he said that it was because the toes on the right shoe of that pair pinched while the heel of the other pair rubbed badly. I finally understand that. The right shoe of the pair that I wore on Monday rubbed a blister into my right heel. The left shoe of the pair that I'm wearing today rubbed along the toe joint on my left. I'm going to wear my old shoes tomorrow and I'm going to buy some moleskin. I also need to find some Scotchguard for my new white eyelet flats.

Family: despite a growly stomach and a bad t-storm I went to see Mom on Saturday. We worked on her house, plus worked on emptying a closet. She's thinning her wardrobe, based on the 'I will never wear out all that if I live to be 130 so I might as well get rid of some of it.'

When I came home Sunday night, I went to take a shower. She smokes & I wanted to get the smell out of my hair. Just as I was about to step into it...the power went out. I couldn't lay my hands on matches to light the candles that I keep in the bathroom; so I trotted downstairs to get a flashlight. I took my shower by flash & candle light. Chris was at David's running a Witch Hunter game (that apparently ate the characters & spit them out - it was harsh). I played games on my laptop until the battery got too low, sat around bored for at least 2 minutes. Despite the risks, I decided to go to B&N.

I wrote a note for Chris and then got the bright idea to call David. Chris had already left so I was going to leave a 2nd note for Chris, when the power came back on. *sigh*

Gaming: Mutants & Masterminds on Thursday. I am looking forward to it. I need to beat up something.

Monday, July 07, 2008

sight of the weekend: Coming around the on-ramp in Greensboro about 4:30 in the afternoon, I spotted a brown hare, presumably grazing in the grass, in the middle of the cloverleaf.

Movies: Wanted, Indiana Jones & the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and Rush Hour 3. John J, Chris & I went to see Wanted Thursday night (just missing the rain). It was not the best movie that I have seen all year but it was a good movie and I enjoyed it. I might even be willing to buy a copy. It had a couple very good plot twists and some interesting world building.

Friday, Chris, Rosemary & I went to see Indiana Jones. There weren't very many surprises but it was a good action movie. The final ending had a big disappointment though (spoiler ahead: highlight to read: aliens? freaking interdimensional aliens?! WTF?!

Since Chris forgot to bring the zombie fluxx deck, we rented Rush Hour 3 and watched that instead, as we ate our bison hot dogs. Jackie Chan was his usual scarily marvelous self. The bit where he grabs the flag is just wild. I've seen Cirque du Soleil acrobats do that. I don't know how much longer he can keep up his action movies but I'm happy to see every one that he makes.

Weather: Just as the movie ended, the heavens opened up. Or someone uncapped the heavenly hose and sprayed the area. Either way, we got very wet running out to the car.

It rained again on Saturday. And Sunday. We're already more than halfway to our usual monthly amount of rain. And we're only a week into the month. We lost power for over an hour on Sunday. I was getting ready to give up (my laptop battery was almost gone) and go somewhere that had power when it came back on.

Family: I went to see Mom on Saturday. I was delayed, first by bad stomach juju and then by the Saturday storm. We found some shirts that I plan to take with me to Colorado; short-sleeved cotton ones to wear over tank tops. We also found some white shoes to wear so that I'm not wearing all black shoes or tennis shoes.

shopping: I also bought some black flat shoes to replace my black ~ballet shoes. I'm wearing a pair today & really wishing that I had some moleskin. I have a couple bandaids on but I think that I will be adding more before I head home. I also bought a pair of black, high heeled sandals. I think those are the first new heels that I have bought in over a decade.

But my teal silk dress really calls for heels, not flats. I need to try them on together to make certain that everything looks good together. I've been planning the outfit but it's all been in my head; teal, brushed silk spaghetti strap sheath, black nubby silk haori, black heels aaaaand I need to decide about jewelry too. Do I go black or turquoise?