You might recall, I got my very first smart phone last January.  How are things going, six months on?

I’m trying to use it to go paperless, as much as I can.  I’ve used mobile boarding passes for nearly every trip since I got it, and I’ve been using it for movie tickets, which is really convenient — no more forgetting paper tickets in the printer.  I’m playing around with a couple of apps to see if I can make all my travel paperless — no more printed reservations, etc.  That’ll be nice.

I’ve been using it for navigation quite a bit, though there’ve been a couple of cases where I would have been better off trusting my instincts.  I’m still ambivalent about the GPS navigation thing, but I’m easing into it.

I haven’t used the camera all that much.  One thing I am using it for:  taking pictures of wine labels that I like.  Theoretically, I can take the pictures to the store to figure out what wines to buy.  It’s a nice thought, anyway.

And what about the instantaneous, ubiquitous communication?  Still not happy with that part.  It’s amazing how that little dinging notification garners an immediate response, like a pavlovian kick to the brain.  Must check phone now. . .  And this is why people text while driving, still, after all the warnings.  Because we’re like rats pushing the button for little food pellets.  The phone dings, must check.  Except, of course, we don’t have to.  I can turn the ringer off.  I can just ignore it.  I still prefer making plans ahead of time — messaging should be for changes in plans, not for making them at the last minute.  I’m training all my friends not to expect instant responses from me.  Hardly anything we deal with requires an instant response.  The smart phone age seems to have made everything seem urgent, when it’s really not.  I don’t keep my phone next to me 24/7 — it usually lives in my bag on the counter in the other room.  I usually don’t get messages right away.

But it is quite nice having a phone available anywhere, just in case.  And I have now been that person who looks something up in the middle of dinner at a restaurant to settle an argument. Then, I put the phone away.

I’m pretty sure I’m still not using the thing to its full potential.  I’m also not really sure what its full potential even looks like.  So, it’s a work in progress.


North Pole, CO

June 27, 2016

My brother and I in December, 1980:

north pole 1980

And in June, 2016:

north pole 2016

The ride operator totally gave us a side-eye as we got into the car this time around.  Those things aren’t really designed for two tall adults.  But hey, at least we like each other!

The angle of the shots is different, but you can just make out the slope of the distant hill behind all the trees.  That’s what I notice most about the new picture — all those trees that weren’t there 35 years ago!

Another side by side shot I could do:  me riding the Candy Cane Coaster.  This is an adorable little steel track roller coaster that basically goes in a circle with a couple of little dips in it.  It was the first roller coast I ever rode, and it scared the pants off me back then.  For being such a little guy it really throws you around, and steel tracks always tend to jangle your teeth out.  That thing kept me away from coasters until I was a teenager.  Now, of course, I love them (mostly — I have limits).  So this trip, I conquered my demons and rode the Candy Cane Coaster once more.  Still knocked me around, but this time I had fun.

We also got a big family picture in front of the North Pole “Post Office,” but I need to dig out the one of my mother as a little girl in front of the same building in 1956 to compare.

Mostly, I’m glad my family all gets along and we like spending time together and we can all get on board with having a fun goofy day out with cheesy rides and root beer floats and all the rest.


bunny trauma

April 25, 2016

The farm where I ride horses is overrun with rabbits.  Which is cool, because it also means there are lots of raptors around, including a breeding pair of bald eagles.

Last week, I went to ride in the indoor arena because the ground outside was still wet, got on the horse I was riding that day (I ride either TinyHorse or the Boy, that day it was the Boy, who is a big baby thoroughbred and a sweetie pie), started around the arena…

And there was a baby bunny sitting right on the path.  I couldn’t tell if it was alive or dead.  Its eyes were open, it was fluffy, it looked alive.  But it didn’t move, not even when the Boy and I walked within a foot or so of it.  The bunny was in baby freeze mode and it wasn’t moving.

I couldn’t stand it.  I’d be worried about stepping on it the whole time, and if the Boy did step on it I would be so horrified and traumatized it would likely ruin my whole day.  My whole year.  So I got off, found a pitchfork, and went to try to get it out of the way.  I mean, if it was dead someone would have to scoop it anyway.  If it was alive, it would leave, right?  Right?!!

No.  I scooped it up with the fork.  Still didn’t move.  I thought I saw it breathing but I wouldn’t put money on it.  I took it to the door, intending to set it down and maybe it could recover or whatever.  It still didn’t move.  I carefully set the fork down and tried to scrape the baby bunny off it.  Determined that it was alive because it started wriggling.  Finally got it off the fork.

And it immediately ran back inside the arena.

So, you know.  At least it wasn’t dead.

(How the story ends:  I never did get it out of the arena, but it finally went and hid under some jump poles, which at least meant we weren’t going to step on it.  I had a lovely ride after that.)


fish ID

June 8, 2015

I found this picture of my underwater note board from when I did the Fish ID portion of my Advanced Open Water certification a few years ago:

fish idea

I think ID-ing fish is actually a lot harder than ID-ing birds, but it may be that I just haven’t had enough practice.



As you can see, I’ve taken out the paper mache again, so that I can make a Thing.  It’s a secret project.  I might post pictures of the finished thing, or I might not, because there are some extenuating circumstances.  How’s that for mysterious?  Anyway, this bit is what I did Wednesday.  I worked on Phase 2 last night, and left a wet sopping mess to dry overnight.  (I love living in an arid part of the country, where paper mache actually dries overnight.  I was reading one set of instructions that suggested putting your paper mache in the oven to dry, and that just sounded like a disaster waiting to happen.  Or maybe that’s just my oven.)

When I got up this morning and took a look at it?  Ooooooooh, it’s lookin’ really good!  I’m really excited!  Next step:  paint.



1. Decide to do a Thing.

2. Study other examples of that Thing.

3. Read up on how other people have done that Thing.

4. Practice doing that Thing.

5. Get feedback from experienced Thing doers.

6. Do that Thing some more.

7. Put that Thing out there.

8. Repeat forever.


ah, childhood

July 30, 2014

Turns out I’m not the only one going through a belongings purge and cleaning out the boxes from the basement and so forth.  My parents are cleaning out, too, which means the last few times they’ve been to my house, they’ve brought. . . boxes.  Of. . .stuff.  They say, “This is yours now,” and leave me to deal with it.  It’s hardly fair, as this has given me even more to clean out than I planned on.  My strategy is to not even let these boxes get to the basement.  Go through them immediately, throw stuff out, send them to the thrift store.  I’ve done pretty well so far.  Most of it has been toys I didn’t even remember we had, leading to the oft repeated phrase, “Why did we even keep this?”  Answer:  They got put in a box twenty years ago and no one looked at them until now.  And I can’t just throw away the boxes, because I’ve also discovered true treasures, like old Muppets toys, that I will not get rid of.

Then one of the boxes turned out to be filled with art projects.  My art projects, from when I was a wee small one.  Seems I took a pottery class when I was probably in second or third grade.  I made a lot of. . .stuff in that class.

What do you do with this kind of thing?  I actually remember making most of it.  I just hadn’t thought about it in thirty years.  And Mom saved it all.



I think the assignment on this one was making 3-D maps of an imaginary place.  We built up a mold of rocks and newspaper and things to make contours.  I actually kind of like it, but it’s huge, like the size of a small watermelon.



This was supposed to be a self portrait.  We will speak no more of it.


Another bust, done a few years later for a different class.  I kind of like this one.  I’ll probably end up putting it in one of the herb planter boxes for decoration, and to scare off bugs.

Seriously, guys, there was a whole box of this stuff.  Art, you know?  Not good art, but still.  It felt really weird when I took a hammer to most of it.  That’s right, except for a couple of little pieces I saved, I smashed the whole box into little pieces, which then went into the bottom of flower pots and planters during my last round of gardening.  So, recycling, which felt pretty good.  Still, it was weird destroying art.

But I think it’ll all be happier providing drainage for flowerpots.



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