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Happy dogs, happy me

May 4th, Star Wars Day (“May the Fourth be with you”), is not a great day for us.  It’s the anniversary of Roxy’s death (three years this year), and that just sucks (and ruins what could otherwise be a fun, geeky day).  But it’s not all sadness and tears.  Yesterday, we were biking along the path, and we passed a couple walking what must have been the happiest dog alive.  How do I know this dog is the happiest dog alive?  He was soaking wet and carrying a very large stick in his mouth.

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(Not this dog, but you get the idea.)  Google “dogs carrying big sticks”.  It’s awfully cute.  Puppy pictures make everything better.

Foot Update

By Sunday afternoon, my foot didn’t hurt anymore (I didn’t run on it – that helped), so I bought the shoes I said I wasn’t going to buy.  Then I took Monday off entirely (because my foot hurt while I was testing the shoes at the store) and biked Tuesday – still no running.  Wednesday, my foot didn’t hurt all day, so I figured I’d test it out.  It was not a good test.  I didn’t even make it half a mile before I could feel the discomfort coming back, so I walked back home and called my new doctor (who I haven’t actually met yet – I have an appointment for late May).  They have after-hours appointments with PAs, and they had one for that night at 6:45, so I went.

Inconclusive, of course, but the PA said he didn’t think it was a stress fracture (which was my worst case scenario, according to Google) because it doesn’t hurt ALL the time and I can stand on it without pain (after the pain from running has receded).  Basically, I should use ibuprofen and see if it goes away.  He said I could run if I can handle it, and if it doesn’t go away in another week or two, I should see a podiatrist and maybe get a bone scan.

Eugene is TrackTown, USA.  I must run.

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Regressing

I finally put a basket on my bike!  I’ve been meaning to do that since I bought the bike years ago.  We biked over to the bike store, bought the basket, attached it to the bike, and then biked to Trader Joe’s for bread, milk, and flowers.

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I swear I didn’t just buy the flowers so I could bike home with them peeking out of my new basket.  Now I need a light and a bell.  And possibly a rack to go over the rear wheel.  I can’t wait to bike to the library!  Yes, I’m a grown-up.  I’m a grown-up in Eugene, where EVERYone has a bike.

More mildly strange, but closer to home this time

Our house is on a pretty quiet street.  One side of the house (the side my office is on) is on an alley that slices through the block and is shared by at least 8 other houses.  There’s plenty of room, but it gets used as a shortcut pretty often, sometimes by residents (I think) and sometimes by random people (I think).  Yesterday, I was startled by someone singing.  It was so loud, I thought someone was in the room with me, even though there’s basically no space behind my chair, so that’s impossible.  I froze for a second, freaked out a bit, and then looked out the window.  There was this woman with headphones and a discman* very slowly walking down the alley by our house, singing her heart out.  Then she stopped, right under my window (I don’t think on purpose – she wasn’t looking at the house).  It was weird.  I hid from her.  I’m aware that that is also weird.

*The dream of the 90s is alive.  I know that’s Portland, but based on my experiences this past month, it applies to Eugene, too.  There is a real, honest-to-god, working pay phone (that takes COINS!) in town (maybe more than one, but I’ve only seen one), and I saw a woman wearing basically this outfit last week.

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If that doesn’t scream “I can’t leave the 90s behind”, I don’t know what does.

I am a failing failure who fails

Shoot, I missed a day.  For those of you keeping track at home, yesterday is the first day I have missed since November 22nd.  And….now I’ll just have to give up.  Missing one day is the same as screwing up whole lives, right?  I’d better lock my doors.  The scary witch who lives in the woods at the top of the hill might be after me now.

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This is about two blocks from our house.  Maybe three.  And sadly for the scary witch,  her view out the front door (and down the hill) is of railroad tracks.  Not so scenic.  I should stop giving her reasons to come after me, since she’s obviously a dedicated reader (because who isn’t?), and I have let her down by skipping yesterday.

(Really, I am annoyed.  I could keep it up during a cross-country move but I can’t remember to blog on a normal Sunday? I am disappoint.)

Delayed

I desperately need new running shoes.  Mine have worn out to the point of discomfort, and after running in them this morning, I think I may have actually done some harm to my left foot.  It’s uncomfortable enough that I’m taking tomorrow (Sunday) off, and I’m putting off buying new shoes until it feels better.

I’m disappointed.  I was really looking forward to buying new shoes this afternoon, but with my foot feeling like this, I won’t be able to tell if the shoes are uncomfortable because they’re not for me or if they’re uncomfortable because my foot hurts.

Boo and blah.

Grumble grumble grumble.  I’m off to sulk.

SETI is alive and well in Eugene

The other day, in the park (where you could be forgiven for thinking I LIVE now), I saw a couple of sheriff’s deputies roaming the tree line between the path and the river with these big grid-like antenna things (like an old-fashioned TV antenna).  Naturally, I assumed they were searching for aliens.  I’ve checked the news and haven’t heard anything about it.  I shouldn’t be surprised.  That’s just the sort of thing they would keep quiet.  I’ll just have to pay more attention.

The truth is out there.

My fictional White House

Man, I miss The West Wing, but if I can’t have that (in real life or on TV anymore), at least I can occasionally have things like this: West Wing Fans: ‘C.J. Cregg’ Returns To The White House Briefing Room.  I love Allison Janney, too.  I’ll watch her in anything.

For TV, I recently heard that Madam Secretary might be better than The West Wing.  We haven’t tried it yet, so I’m just passing on someone else’s (possibly crackpot) opinion.

Fluff

Every tree in Eugene drops white fluff.  Every time I go to the park (which is nearly every day), I’m dodging all the white fluff that’s floating through the air.  I don’t want it in my mouth, I don’t want to breathe it in, and I don’t want it in my eyes.  It’s EVERYWHERE.  It’s practically snowing white fluff around here.  Are cottonwoods a thing?  I think they are.  Are they a thing in Oregon?  Do they drop white fluff in the spring?

These are things Ms. Google can answer for me.  Oh, Ms. Google!  Yoohoo!

Hm.  Well, cottonwood trees are a thing, they drop white fluff everywhere, and they have them in Oregon, so I’m willing to go with that.  And it’s pretty…

Dog fix needed

Our bike ride this afternoon took us past the dog park.  It’s a really big dog park, and there were a lot of dogs playing and looking happy.  We watched for a few minutes, trying not to be those weirdos who lurk outside dog parks without dogs.  I missed our puppies, but was mostly happy to watch all those dogs play.  I’ve toyed with the idea of volunteering at an animal shelter before, and I’m toying with it now.  I’m not Mom – I can be trusted not to come home with a new pet.  But will it make me feel better, knowing I’m helping out homeless animals, giving them love and attention and helping them get adopted?  Or will it make me feel worse to come home every time, NOT having adopted a new pet (a new dog, let’s be honest here), knowing I’m not rescuing them and giving them all a loving home?  Because really – now is not the time for us to get a dog.  We’re not ready emotionally.  We’re a week away from three years since Roxy’s death, and about a year and a half from Riley’s. We both have dreams about one or both of them fairly regularly, which is kind of nice.  They’re not sad dreams – they’re matter of fact (we’re doing something and oh hey, one of the dogs is with us), and it’s kind of like saying hello.  For me, crying about them is not a thing of the past.  On top of that, our travel plans make it complicated, so it’s not an option.

But anyway, volunteering at an animal shelter – good thing for me?  Bad thing?  I should probably try it and see.

Queen of the nerds

I have reopened a nerdy obsession of mine, totally by accident.  I was looking for another blog or website or SOMEthing online to get completely immersed in, so I went to Tor.com to scan their recent posts and found out that Leigh Butler is doing ANOTHER re-read of the Wheel of Time series.  !!!!  Yay!

I’ll pause so you can collect yourselves.

Actually, I’ll pause so you can roll your eyes and say “Who cares?”* and “What’s a re-read?”** and “Oh, THAT series?***  You finished it?***^  You still like it?***^^  NERD!***^^^”

Are you done?

Thanks.  I care, a little.  Enough.  Okay, I care plenty.  I started reading the series in 1990, maybe 1991 because I remember waiting for the third one to come out (1991, paperback 1992), which is basically right at the beginning (the first two were published in 1990).  I have reread those first three of this 15-book series too many times to count.  This is the first series I did that with, where I’d go back to the beginning and read every book out so far to prep for the next book to come out.  It’s the first series I waited for, with years in between books.  It’s the first series that made me go searching online for people who might know something about it.  It’s where I discovered the WOTFAQ sometime in college, where SO many people more obsessed than me gathered to chat and share theories.  I never joined them (they’d been doing it for years – what could I add?), but I read the ENTIRE thing and then went back after each book was published.  (I’m a lurker.  I’m a lurker on reddit, too.)  They all seemed to know each other, and some really did – they went to conventions together, or met there.  (Stories about JordanCon (and DragonCon) may have sparked my interest in going to conventions myself.)

Anyway, I care plenty.  In 2009, Leigh Butler (who was heavily involved in the WOTFAQ and the fandom and the conventions and met Robert Jordan and spent time with his widow after died) started a re-read of the entire series on Tor.com.

Re-read of a series online – she reads through the books and posts summaries and her thoughts and commentary on a chapter or two at a time, once or twice a week.  The commenters go nuts (in a fun way).

She thought she had 9 months before the last book of the series (written by Brandon Sanderson) was supposed to come out.  The last book was split into three, and what was supposed to be done by the end of 2009 took until May 2014.  I didn’t read along (my memory of these books is pretty good – I have read them many many times), and I didn’t start in 2009 when she did (I don’t remember when I found it), but I did read ALL of her posts and a lot of the comments, and it was a fun way to revisit the series and get a LOT out of it while waiting for the last books to be published.

ANYWAY.

I was poking along online yesterday, and I found that she’s doing it again.  Why?  Because when she did it the first time, the last books hadn’t been published, and the things that happened in those books shed a ton of light on things that happened in earlier books, and this fandom WANTS TO KNOW.  Including me.  So we’re all going back with fresh eyes and a new perspective, and I have another fun way to waste time online.

I love the internet.

*I do.

**I explained.  Be patient.

***Yes, THAT series.

***^Yes, more than once.

***^^Yes.

***^^^Yes. Stop yelling and JOIN US.

Birds are chirping, too

It’s SUCH a beautiful morning.  I can almost forgive the constant dreams about work last night and the 40-degree temperature outside overnight and the sub-60-degree temperature in the house this morning because we haven’t had the heat on for over a week and the 5:45am alarm and the 6am start-work time in a cold house and the 6:30am conference call with no caffeine in a cold house because NOW (breathe here) the sun is out and the sky is blue and the grass is green and there are leaves on the trees and a neighbor’s cat just traipsed through our backyard and the heat is on and I’m warm and I’m awake.

What does one do with a leprechaun?

Eugene has a real leprechaun.  I’m not kidding – I saw him yesterday.  He had a green top hat, a green shirt, a gray beard (medium length, not quite ZZ Top), and he was riding a green bicycle.  I couldn’t tell if he had a pot of gold, and then he got away from me.  He was on his bright green bike, and I was running.  Couldn’t keep up.  I’ll keep an eye out for him.

Oh, I know – he got away because I wasn’t wearing my shamrock necklace.  Damn.  Gotta plan my accessories better.

Self-inflicted

Remember how I stopped drinking caffeine because I was stressed out and I assumed (I think correctly) that caffeine was adding to the problem (or at least not helping)?  I did pretty well for a couple of months.  I drank only decaf tea or water or decaf coffee, and I was breathing easily, sleeping well, and feeling good.  In the few instances I slipped and had regular coffee, I could feel it immediately (and all day long, with the pressure on top of my lungs and inability to take a deep enough breath). I also found that I can’t have decaf Starbucks coffee at all, although it’s possible they messed up that day and didn’t actually make it decaf.  Anyway, since we moved to Oregon, I haven’t been able to find decaf tea that isn’t herbal (and I really just want my black tea, people), so I’ve been drinking regular English Breakfast tea and having the occasional chai latte.  It’s been going okay!  I haven’t noticed any ill effects, I haven’t felt especially stressed, and I hope this means I can slowly make my way back to normal coffee.

Of course, I say that, but it’s not 100% true.  Yesterday, I had the same type of tea I’ve had all week, but during my run, I spent a lot of time thinking about this whole caffeine and stress thing, and I started to feel it again.  Did I bring it on myself?  Am I okay as long as I’m not thinking about it?  How is that supposed to help me out?  Telling myself not to think about it is about as useful as telling Ray not to think about the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.  If I’m relying on NOT thinking about caffeine and stress to avoid feeling stressed, I might as well get used to a lifetime of having a toddler sit on my chest.

But hey, way to overthink it, girlie.  One day of mild stress after two months of almost zero physical signs of stress, when those two months included a stressful job and a cross-country move, is nothing to sneeze at.

Things I don’t understand

I don’t know a lot of things, obviously, and that will always be the case because who can ever know everything?  But I think that if I learn something, or someone explains something to me, I’m capable of understanding it.  I feel like that should be true of EVERYTHING.  I’m intelligent and curious.  Tell me, and I’ll understand.

There are exceptions.

Things/actions I don’t understand:

  • People who wear make-up to work out
  • People who wear perfume/cologne to work out
  • People who don’t wave/nod/smile/say good morning back
  • Acquiring a taste for something
  • People who cut in line (there are some exceptions, but they require explanations and politeness)
  • Dog-walkers who don’t clean up after their dogs
  • Drivers who don’t use their turn signals

This may be Part 1 of an ongoing series, but for now, those are the big ones.

Outside

We went hiking today!  Okay, “hiking”.  Fine.  We went for a walk.  We live at the base of Skinner Butte, and there’s a trail that winds around it to get to the top.  After more than two weeks of looking at it, we finally climbed it.  I think the walk up is prettier than the views from the top.  We’re going to have to get out of town to get the truly spectacular views.

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Paths.  I love my paths.

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I was waiting for something to come crawling out of this tree trunk.

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Overgrown path…and I have a picture of these GIANT primordial ferns, but I get an error when I try to transfer it to my laptop, so you’ll just have to imagine the giant ferns.  I noticed that when we went hiking with Will and Christina last October.  The woods looked prehistoric.  I expected dinosaurs to come charging through.  Not so much THESE woods, but I want to get out of town again soon.

Couple of views from the top, facing south.

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I think that peak is Spencer Butte, but what do I know?

Scaredy-cat

I started a book the other day that I am too scared to read at night.  It’s good.  During the day, I enjoy it.  At night, I get creeped out.  The worst part is that I can’t remember how I found it or WHY I picked it out.  I don’t read a lot of scary stuff.  When I put a book on my private Amazon wish list so I can buy it later, I add a note so I know where I found it or who recommended it.  I can view books I’ve purchased FROM my wish list, and I can see those comments.  But that’s not how I got this book.  I mean, yes, I ordered it from Amazon, but it was an impulse buy (where impulse means it was only $1.99).  It was never on my wish list.  Somewhere online, probably on the day I bought it, I saw this book and was inspired to buy it.  Probably on Twitter.  But that doesn’t solve WHO I heard it from or WHY I thought this scary book would be a good idea.  I mean, it is a good idea.  Just not at night.

Give me a head with hair

Outside looks like a pretty place today.  Too bad I haven’t seen any of it yet.  The work day didn’t work out that way, unfortunately.  I’ll get out after five for a little bit, though, and the sun will still be shining.  I have a haircut scheduled!  Today is just a trim, a consultation, a get-to-know-the-new-hair-stylist kind of appointment.  If all goes well….perhaps actually cutting of length will occur.  I measured my hair today – I could lose 12 inches of hair and still have it fall near or just under my chin.  This is a possibility.  Just not for today’s appointment.  Baby steps.

It’s been TWO YEARS since I last cut my hair.  On the one hand, ridiculous.  On the other hand, meh.  Who cares?  It’s hair, and when it’s long anyway…  Maybe I shouldn’t say that to my new hair stylist.

More news of the mildly strange

I saw a girl with a rabbit on a leash today.  She and her rabbit were in the park, and the rabbit was nibbling contentedly on clover or thistle or something that was not grass but was green and grew in the ground.  And I assume the rabbit was content.  It wasn’t trembling.  Not trembling is content for rabbits, right?

The girl was dressed exactly like you’d expect a girl with a rabbit on a leash to be dressed.  She was wearing a floppy hat, a skirt, sandals, and a light crocheted cardigan.  (I ran by her twice, there and back, so I noticed.  Also, RABBIT ON A LEASH.)  Something she was wearing (the sweater or the skirt) had daisies on it.  And she had long curly hair.  That’s the girl who takes her rabbit for a walk.

I also met a 10-week-old chocolate lab puppy named Rory (SO cute), but there’s nothing out of the ordinary about that.  The puppy was also on a leash.

The world might end sooner than expected

Oregon weather is not as advertised, not that I’m complaining.  We had ONE rainy day last week, which I think is only the second rainy day since we got here (where rainy day = day where it actually rained all day.  We had a couple of rainy mornings that turned into sunny afternoons, too.).  This weekend was beautiful, and today (Sunday) was WARM and SUNNY.  I ran this morning and then spent an hour weeding the front yard, and I got a little sunburned.  SUNBURNED.  In APRIL.  In OREGON.  I think the world is ending.  Tomorrow and the next day are supposed to be in the 80s.  It’s APRIL.  In OREGON.