I am a problem solver

I’m pretty sure I have complained about the breakfast place that is within easy walking distance from our house and is really good but has TERRIBLE coffee, but I can’t find the post.  I’ll complain about it now.  There’s a really good breakfast place within easy walking distance from our house, but it has TERRIBLE coffee.  It’s not about how they’re brewing it.  We really don’t like the beans or the roast or whatever it is about a specific kind of coffee that makes it taste a certain way.  (Their Bloody Mary is also bad.)

It’s a real bummer since it keeps us from going there all that often.  Today we decided to go anyway, and I have solved the terrible coffee problem!  They also serve chai lattes, and THOSE are DAMN good.  Yay for not screwing up a drink they’re buying premade from somewhere and heating up for me!

When WebMD just doesn’t cut it

The back of my head, at the base, has been sensitive to the touch in one spot for a few days.  I haven’t fallen or smacked my head on the wall or a low ceiling or a car recently (I have to say “recently” – those are all things I have done in the last year).  Not that I remember, anyway.

I guess this is the beginning of the end.  The aliens that burrowed into my brain and have been hiding for years are close to breaking out.  Although why they’d choose to come out the back of my head instead of through my ears or nose like any self-respecting gross killer parasite, I don’t know.  I’m expecting an explosion of bone and brain so, you know, keep your distance if you want to remain unspattered.  I wouldn’t want to be responsible for ruining your favorite outfit.

Two surprises

Something happened to me that has never happened to me before in Eugene, and has only rarely happened to me in other places we’ve lived.

I saw someone I know out in the wild.

And on top of that, she came over to me first!  My facial person was just leaving the dog park, and she saw me stretching, so she came over to say hi.  And I met her dog.  I’ve said this before, but I almost NEVER run into people I know when I’m just out, and in a year, I’ve never seen anyone I know in Eugene.  I suppose that could be because I hardly know anyone in Eugene, so the odds are against it.  But it was nice!  And only mildly awkward!

So that was surprise #1.  Surprise #2 was this gadget I saw on my way home, one whose inventor was BRILLIANT and should win prizes.

Look, Ma, no training wheels!  The dad was riding slowly ahead on his bike, the little kid was teetering along on his, and the mom was walking behind the kid, ready to grab the handle (which she did a couple of times).

I never liked training wheels.  Too unsteady.  And this is way handier than grabbing the back of the seat, right?  So yeah, I am overcome by the brilliance of this simple idea.

Piece of cake

I was a literal child, and I am a literal adult.*  When my Dove Promise wrapper tells me to build a bridge with chocolate, I immediately wonder what would happen on a hot day when the chocolate starts to melt.  That’s the image that comes to mind even as my brain interprets the message correctly.  And then my brain smacks me on the nose and says, “IT’S A METAPHORICAL BRIDGE.”  It’s a sickness, and it happens to me several times a week.

  1. Read something.
  2. See literal image of the thing.
  3. Correctly interpret the metaphor.
  4. Smack for being idiotic.

It’s quick and all internal (usually), which saves me a lot of embarrassment, but it makes the widespread misuse of the word “literally” a real problem for me.  I don’t have to argue the case against using “literally” when you mean “figuratively” here.  I know you all agree with me.  I don’t know if you always imagine whatever the figurative thing is as a literal thing when someone says something like, “My brain literally exploded.”

You probably do, right?  I’m not alone in this?  I’m sure I’m not alone in this.  I’ll admit to other oddball tendencies, but this is a universal thing among the grammatically correct.  Yes?  Yes.

*In keeping with the theme, I can’t help but point out that yes, I literally was a child, and now I’m literally an adult.  I’m itching to change that sentence.

Putting the fun in chores! Or something less stupid.

The only way I know of to make doing the dishes fun is to play loud music and sing along.  Dancing is optional, but encouraged.  Drunkenness is encouraged but not always practical and often not necessary.  We do a lot of dishes now that we’ve downsized our kitchen.  We run out of clean dishes to use before we have enough dirty ones to fill the dishwasher, so we rarely use it.  We never used the one in Annapolis, and we’ve used the one here once.  We didn’t use the one in the apartment in Ashburn, either, so that’s….one dishwasher cycle in two years.  Because wow – two years next week is when we moved out of our house.

Anyway, dishes.  I prefer to wash than to dry, and I don’t mind the washing because really, how hard is it to wash two plates, two forks, and two glasses?  Plus music.  Music makes the world go round!

I haven’t met any singing mice. Yet.

The wildlife in Oregon is straight out of a cartoon.  John and I both get distracted by squirrels peering in our office windows during the day, that damn turkey keeps showing up on our front porch like it wants to come in, and today I saw a gray squirrel and fat red robin having a conversation on top of a tree stump in the park.  I wasn’t fast enough to get a picture.  I saw them, they looked at me, I swear I heard “Cheese it, it’s the fuzz!”, and then the squirrel scampered off.  The robin stuck around and gave me the evil eye as I ran past.  Maybe slightly more Adult Swim than Disney Channel.

Me and the Flash

Today was a really good day for a run, and I took full advantage.  It was my first run in a week (last week’s concert and travel plans got in the way), and even though I ran the same distance (3.7 miles – I’m slowly getting my distance back up) as last Monday, today I ran it SO much faster.  I can identify four things that were different today:

  1. The weather was PERFECT: mid to upper 50s and overcast.  Last week was pretty cold.  Right about 55 degrees is my favorite temperature for running.  I would have been happy with some sunshine, but it wasn’t necessary.
  2. I had two cups of Yorkshire tea before my run, so I was fully caffeinated.  I usually run in the mid-afternoon, long after any caffeine I’ve had has worn off.
  3. I was wearing my new sports bra.
  4. I was wearing my favorite running pants.

Honestly, I think the bra and pants are what made the difference.  Of course, then I went on a nearly 5-mile walk with John and OH MY GOD I ACHE.  What the hell?  We were walking.  I feel old.

Rock star

I didn’t post yesterday, but I had a very good reason, Person Who Is Berating Me For Not Posting Yesterday For Some Reason: I was at a really, super good, fanTAStic show in Portland last night, and most of our day and night was spent working, driving, dancing and singing, and then driving again, leaving no room for blogging.

Sorry, Person Who Is Berating Me For Not Posting Yesterday For Some Reason.  But I’m here today, and I’m going to tell you all about it!

Last night was a perfect example of “Hey, we don’t have any responsibilities except work so we should take this opportunity.  No excuses.”  (We sometimes have to remind ourselves.)

I don’t even know what order to tell this in.  Chronological?  Best to worst?  How about I start with “what am I talking about” and “how did this come about”, huh?

What I am Talking About:

Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls played a club in Portland last night (Tuesday night) and WE WENT.  We missed him last time he was in Portland – by the time we found out about the show, it was sold out.

How This Came About:

It was a very lucky stroke of wonderful timing.  I follow this actor we like, Timothy Omundson, on Twitter, and on Sunday, he tweeted about seeing Frank Turner in LA.  That made me think hey, if he’s on tour, maybe he’s coming near us, so I checked and OHMYGOD HE’S COMING TO PORTLAND IN TWO DAYS, followed by OHMYGOD TICKETS ARE AVAILABLE AND WOW THEY’RE CHEAP!  Clearly, I bought the tickets.  (Our struggle with “but it’s in Portland and it’ll be a really late night and then we’ll have to get up really early and work the next day” was short-lived.)

Side note: I tweeted at Timothy Omundson about it (as a reply to his tweet) and he responded!  Squee!

Okay, now I’m going with best to worst:

  • BEST – In the middle of a song, the second opening act (which was very good – more coming up) asked the crowd for a guitarist and they picked John, largely due our proximity to the stage and my nutso jumping and pointing.  It also helped that he’s tall.  So John, our very own John, went up on stage with a touring band during a real rock show, and played for a minute or so with the band.  It was so great and I HAVE VIDEO.  I did my best to hold the camera still.  Please forgive my screaming at 1:27 and 2:01.  Yes, the singer is talking about Betsy DeVos.

  • Frank Turner was freakin’ amazing – there was screaming and dancing and singing along and they played all of my favorite songs of theirs minus one and I will go to his shows any time he tours anywhere near us.
  • The second opening act was this Canadian band, The Arkells, who are our awesome new band to love (and emulate because oh yeah, John’s in a band again and they’ve entered a contest and they had a gig a couple of weeks ago and they have another one next weekend and I’ll tell you all about that in a few days).  That’s who pulled John on stage, and they were a really great surprise.
  • The first opening act was this acoustic singer-songwriter guy from England, Will Varley – funny jokes, good songs, and we bought all his CDs after the show (because we’re suddenly very conscious of supporting smaller acts now that, oh yeah, John’s in a band again and they’ve entered a contest and they had a gig a couple of weeks ago and they have another one next weekend and I’ll tell you all about that in a few days).
  • There was crowd-surfing!  It was limited, but I don’t think I’ve ever been to a show with crowd-surfing before.  Frank Turner met a barista earlier in the day, and she came to the show, so he pulled her on stage and got her to crowd-surf with specific directions to the crowd.  We had to get her to the back so she could high-five the person running the merchandise table, detour to the bar, and then come back along the other side to the stage.  We helped her get back on the stage at the end.  And then, during one of the encore songs, Frank crowd-surfed himself, WHILE SINGING, and we helped.  He was sweaty.  But I touched sweaty Frank Turner!
  • Our drive to Portland was fun on its own.  We binged Frank Turner songs and brainstormed ideas for John’s band (because oh yeah, John’s in a band again and they’ve entered a contest and they had a gig a couple of weeks ago and they have another one next weekend and I’ll tell you all about that in a few days).
  • Late as it was (we hit the road at midnight), the drive home was kinda fun, too.  We stuck to the decades stations on Sirius and had a sing-along to stay awake.
  • We ate at a southern BBQ place for dinner before the show which was…not bad.  Total hipster restaurant, from the menu to the diners.  At one table, there was a bearded guy wearing a black button down shirt and a matching black wool beanie on his head.  At the very next table, there was a bearded guy wearing a gray button down shirt and a matching gray wool beanie on his head.  I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP.  The second guy had a toddler wearing a lumberjack flannel shirt.
  • WORST: Getting up this morning was not easy.  I got 4, maybe 4 and a half hours of sleep before I had to get up and work.  John didn’t have any morning meetings, so he slept longer.

There’s probably more, but I think I’m out of words.  For now.  Until tomorrow!  I hope.  If I have time.  Because there’s more cool stuff happening tomorrow.

Huh. I can tell the exhaustion is setting in ’cause I can’t seem to stop.  Stop.  STOP.

Utter nonsense

Dove Promises: cute little bites of chocolate with messages hidden for you inside the wrappers. Usually, I like the messages. “Why not?” “Build a bridge…with chocolate.” “Ignore the clock.” At worst, they’re dumb. (At best, they’re dumb, but I take amusement where I can get it.)

Today, though, I read one that went too far.

“Read the last page first.”

What? Why? What kind of monster would do that? Do you watch the end of movies first? Watch the series finale of a show with no context? Listen to the last 10 seconds of a song and then go back to the beginning?  You’re probably the type of person who finds all of your hidden birthday presents before they’re wrapped, steals candy from babies, and reads spoilers for movies and shows and SHARES THEM WITH OTHERS.

Not cool, bro.

Mixing genres

I finished a book on Sunday set in the early 1800s, and about halfway through a scene about Napoleon coming back from exile, I caught myself expecting a mention of the British Aerial Corps and how Temeraire and Capt. Laurence were going to swoop in and defeat him.  The novel I was reading does NOT have dragons, but dragons will be forever linked with Napoleon now.

Dragons make history fun.

Deep thoughts on Christmas Eve

Molly’s t-shirt says “BILLIEVE”.  I don’t know why.  I don’t know what it’s supposed to mean.  I think it’s “BILLIEVE” instead of “BELIEVE”, and not “BILLI-EVE”, like some sort of conflation of two names, but both options are equally nonsensical to me, so it could go either way.  I’m also pretty sure it’s a Penn State shirt, but that doesn’t get me any closer to what it means.  If it’s a Penn State shirt, then it’s probably sports-related, probably football-related, and there’s probably a coach or a quarterback or whatever whose name is Bill.

Eh. I could Google it.  I could ask Molly.  I don’t care that much, but I am interested in finding out just how long I can stare quizzically at Molly before she finally asks me what the hell is going on.

Self-motivation

It’s raining outside.  It’s cold outside.  Two reasons not to run outside, even though it’s my running day.  I should go to the gym instead.

I hate running on the treadmill.

Well, I don’t have to use the treadmill.  I could use the elliptical thing that’s not an elliptical that I like.

But it’s at the gym and I have to go the gym to use it.

Yeah, but I was going to have to go to the trail to run on it, so what’s the difference?

It’s the gym.

The gym has wi-fi and I can watch an episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend while I work out.

Yeah, but…that’s a compelling argument.  Fine.  I’ll go to the gym.

Our fine feathered friend

So…this happened today.  (Apologies to those of you who saw this on Twitter already.)

turkey1

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I’ve been meaning to write about the turkey in our neighborhood.  We think it’s someone’s pet, but it seems to have the run of the block.  We’ve seen it in the alley in the middle of the block and on each of the four streets surrounding us.  And it’s definitely bigger than it used to be.

I hope it doesn’t turn into someone’s dinner.

Making friends

Today, I played a short game of tag with an 8-year-old who guessed I was 44.

I beat him.

Of course, I mean that I took no pity on him during this game of tag and outraced him handily even though he kept trying to live on the gravel pile that was home base.

His second guess at my age was 29 (27? upper 20s), and his third guess was 19, so he either realized his mistake at guessing 44 in the first place and was trying to fix it the best way he knew how or he’s just really really bad at guessing.

Last week, we discussed dogs.  Maybe next week I’ll get his name.

Batteries included, but how can you tell if it’s dying?

A few weeks ago we bought a cute little waterproof bluetooth speaker so we could listen to music in the shower or while doing dishes or wherever without using headphones or dealing with crappy phone speakers.  Good purchase!  It sounds good, it’s cute and little (as mentioned above), and it’s called the Oontz Angle.  Worth it for the amusement I get out of the name alone.  Its battery is rechargeable via USB, and it’s all-around wonderful except for one minor thing: there’s no battery life indicator.

When it arrived, we couldn’t tell if it had been charged.  Most electronics need to be charged before their first use, but when we turned it on, it worked immediately.  And with almost daily use (not more than an hour a day, but still), it ran for nearly six weeks before it died.  Of course, it died mid-shower (my shower, naturally), and I had no warning.  If I’d known it was low, I would have plugged the poor thing in.  Maybe a warning light?  Where blinking means “Plug me in, please”?  But really, that’s the only complaint I have about it.

Perspective shift

I should stop being annoyed by my constant time zone confusion and treat it like an adventure.  Friday morning at 9am (local), I looked at the forecast and saw that rain was predicted for 12:30.  “Oh, no,” I said.  “I want to run, but it might rain on me while I’m out there.  That sucks.”  THEN I remembered that no, even though my laptop says it’s noon, and everyone I work with is heading out to lunch, and I’ve been working for long enough that it feels like midday, the 12:30 forecast for rain is three and a half hours in my future, not half an hour.  I’ve been to noon already, I’ve seen the rain coming, but now I’m back to 9am and I have plenty of time to run.

I AM A TIME TRAVELER.

Roving gangs of nanny goats

On my way to the running trail this morning, I got stuck behind a mob of mommy joggers crossing the bridge over the Willamette.  Five women, all with jogging strollers with those big sturdy tires, one baby wailing, taking up the entire width of the bridge.  Luckily, they went left on the other side and I went right, but I spent the next ten minutes trying to decide what to call them.

A posse?  A gaggle?  A pack?  A bevy?  A brood?  Ooh, that’s a good one for mothers.

What if they were nannies, not parents?  Are they then a flock?  A herd? A swarm?  A troop?

A murder?  Appropriate for my podcast.

You get the picture.  It kept me occupied during my run.