Friday, May 27, 2005

Too. Much. Fun.

Just wanted to let y'all know that I am indeed well, and have been having a wonderful time with my girlie friend. We've been mountain biking, climbing, hiking, and hanging out by the river. I'll post some pics next week, but right now I gotta run! I'm meeting The Skoogs so that we can take a quick road trip to the area north of Tahoe. Mrs. Skoog and I are going to attempt to do a metric century ride tomorrow, while the boys do the full 100 miler. Ouchy wouchy. Can you say sore buns?

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Not Your Traditional Beauty Queens

Here are the odd and prickly desert wildflowers that I encountered last weekend.

This is a Bull Thistle. I love the sound of that, its gonna be my new curse word. Bull Thistle!

This is some sort of Monkey Flower that has no chlorophyll what so ever. Weird.

The always attractive Baby Shit Brown Snapdragon. Wildly popular with the summer bride.

And my personal favorite, the Horned Devil Paintbrush. Rock on little foliage!


Along with that housing update I forgot to mention that we did get half of our deposit back. Legally we could have gotten the whole thing back, but, well, we were trying to take the high road here. It is a long and painful question about who fell short of the terms of our gentleman's (gentlewoman's?) agreement, and it still leaves me with unresolved feelings. So we split the difference and called it good. The seller dude is still harboring some ill will, but honestly I think that we have done more than our share. Again, ick! Nothing makes enemies quicker than money.

In my typical counterpoint method, the "up" news is that a good friend of mine is coming to visit for the week. We have lots of wonderful things planned, and I'll temporarily have a fun buddy with which to explore. Yay! Fun Buddy! Yay! Explore! I'd better run and wash the dog hair out of the sheets from the guest room, since Bailey had decided that sleeping on the floor is far too undignified for a dog of his wisdom and stature. Yes, his dog bed is in storage.

Oh and one more update. The Hub has graciously performed some editorial magic with my Paper and as soon as I get around to deciding whether he is a literary genius or an erudite demon from hell, I'll hand the durned thing in. Unfortunately this means that it is too late for this semester, but the Advisor seemed to think that this was entirely reasonable, expected even. So eventually some day I'll be graduating. Really. I swear!

Sunday, May 22, 2005

The Storage Space Blues

First of all I just want to give y'all a quick (yet vague) housing update to keep ya from worrying about us too much. Oh, wait, you all weren't worrying, that was me! Heh heh. But anyway, I am not going to actually mention any specifics here, to prevent major jinx-age, but we do have a few pokers in the proverbial fire. It seems that at the very least we won't be living outside by the dumpsters. Yay! Lets hear it for roofed structures! Perhaps we'll have more news on Monday or Tuesday. Or perhaps not. You'll have to wait and see!

Moving on...
I was getting a bit morose today, which was no doubt brought on by my recent cold turkey vis-a-vis mountain biking, my insignificant yet nagging injuries, and a subsequent dearth of outdoor activities. Therefore, while hiking (for the first time in two weeks!) I was mentally and silently waxing faux poetic about the change in the seasons and what we living critters derive our strength from. See, in the last three days the weather has finally and decidedly taken a turn for summer. Thus the hillsides are losing their lush, soft, greenness and turning tawny, the wildflowers are fading from their flagrant purples and blues to wispy whites and dusty roses. And I was somehow equating my recent prickliness to that of the natural surroundings. I am becoming a desert plant that hoards its life force and wards off others through barbs and spikes. And then I'm thinking that diggedy darn that sounds incredibly shallow! Are we defined by our possessions, or more specifically, am I? Is it a bad thing to admit that I miss my bike, my climbing gear, my piano, my hula hoops, my sewing machine, my beading supplies, and any other pairs of shorts other than the three I currently have available? And then I was obsessing about how DOES one define one's self. If it isn't from our possessions and the activities that we perform with them, what is it? What would make me ME, without my bike? Who am I, if I am not in a position to be a cruise director and tour guide? And then I rounded the corner in this hike and saw the coolest thing ever. There was this bridge in the road that was crossing the base of a small but majestically frothy waterfall. As I walked out and stood on the bridge and squinted into the sparkling diamond spray and thundering mist all of my silly angst was whipped away in the breeze. This. This is who I am. And this. This is what I do.

And unfortunately my camera battery picked this very moment of epiphany to die on me, so you'll have to come out and visit to experience the cleansing power of the falls. Ha! And THEN a handsome young man came by on a dirt bike and tried to pick me up. Quite flattering. I walked back from the falls with a renewed spring in my step.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Purty Pit'chers.

Following yesterday's rancor, here is a fluffy little picture essay of last weekend...

Cold chillin' by the river.

Bloomin' lilies...

Upper, middle, and lower Yosemite Falls. See. Mist!

Blue-bellied hiking buddy.

Oh and yeah, we did have some river floodage near here. But we are fine, high and dry in our little home-sweet-housing-project. I hear that they nicknamed the Valley "Lake Yosemite" though.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

28 Days, And Counting...

On Monday or Tuesday I had a post all ready to go about the past weekend, but then we got some ummm, not so good news. The aforementioned "condo of happiness" just got really sad. In order to get a home loan, the lenders send out an appraiser. We were prepared for the fact that the appraiser might not give the condo the full value that we had agreed to pay, but not quite prepared enough. It appraised at $64,000 less than the selling price! (Wasn't that some sort of game show about a pyramid?) So unless we want to get a second mortgage on the Tahoe house and pretty much gamble with that much money that the market will grow to support this exorbitant price, we are going to have to bail on this deal. As of today we have 4 weeks of housing left. As of today we have to start paying $400 a month for the government to keep our stuff in storage. I am angry at the dude selling the condo, I feel like he knew that this price was exorbitant, and was taking advantage of us nice, trusting, outta-towners. He pushed us to sign a contract with no contingency clauses about the appraisal, saying if we didn't do it his way we couldn't do it at all. So it looks like we are going to line his pockets with our hard earned deposit. Bleah, ugh, icky icky ptang ni!

Friday, May 13, 2005

Just The Facts, Jack.

Wow, who knew you'd all be so touchingly concerned with my posterior. The problem seems to be that I have an aggravated hamstring. This is good news, because it is much less serious than something like sciatic nerve damage. I guess I just sort of pissed it off over the last year's activities, and it has just never really forgiven me. So we (my butt and I) are in a month long therapy session to get to know each other again, and hopefully come to some mutually acceptable terms. I'll keep you post(erior)ed. heh heh.

We officially "close escrow" on (as my sister called it) the "condo of happiness" on May 27th. So if y'all come and visit between May 27th and June 18th, we will have not only one place for you to stay, but TWO, count 'em TWO places to lay your head. Bring your friends! And bring your friends with large pickup trucks and bulging biceps. It could be a three week moving party! Whoo hoo! The fun never ends.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

The Women In My Life...

Last week when we got in Janine to go get Tabitha (cars, if you are just joining us) we were greeted with the lovely aroma of gasoline. OUR BRAND NEW CAR! And she had a horribly odiferous, fume-filled interior due to some undiagnosed fuel leak. Yum. So we did the old car switcheroo, and drove her to the shop, and picked up the truck. The Zippy car is also in the shop (WAY down in Merced) so now we are down to one functioning car, and Tabitha at that. God love 'er. Hopefully we'll be back at operating capacity of three functioning cars by next week. Or not. Whatever. Where do I have to go? I'm supposed to be finishing my paper! Ack! But before I go a quick story...

Molly (a cat, NOT a car) is an indoor/outdoor kitty. Well, that kinda makes her sound like astroturf, but anyway... When I let her out for the first time after getting settled here she got in a huge fight with the neighbor kitty and everyone came running to break it up. The neighbor cat is a big old orange Tom who's lived here for about 10 years, and needless to say is rather territorial. Molly is (much like her mother, I like to think) tiny but tough, and very adaptable. The neighbor guy ended up chasing both of the cats into the wild rosemary and sort of flopping around in there getting himself covered in pleasantly scented ticks. I tried to tell him that I'm sure they'd come back if he'd stop tormenting them, but he really was trying to help, so I pulled the old "Hey I hear my phone ringing, I gotta run" to escape. Both cats made their way home within the hour with nary a yowl from either. So later that night the Hubby and I are snuggling with our little scrapper and he thinks he feels a tick in her fur by her front shoulder. He digs around and pulls it out and finally say "Holy Cow, look at this!" Lo and behold, it isn't a tick, but a CLAW! Embedded in her shoulder! She looks at him as if to say, "Yeah, so?" and snuggles back down. She's my hero.

So now-a-days if Molly goes out, it is early in the morning before the old Tom is awake. As a matter of fact she just came back inside after being outside for two and a half hours. And what is the first thing she does? She takes a big old stinky crap in her cat box. Thanks, Molly. You are so tough and scrappy, but prefer the cleanliness and privacy of your own personally serviced toilet facility. I guess I didn't go to Environmental Engineer school for nothin', huh?

And finally, the news you've all been waiting for, SuzieHulaHoop is finally google-able! Yeppers, you can now type my title into Google and get not only this site, but my Flickr picture hosting site as well. I feel like I'm finally part of something! Something closely akin to "searchable nonsense words", but something nonetheless!

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Oh the adventure...

Sorry I haven't been around much this week, I've been making a concerted effort at getting the Paper done, and wanted to avoid all of those fun things that take up valuable work time. Yeah, it hasn't really worked either, so here's the news!

Last weekend we had another family fun climbing day with the same mom and her three kids. (Lets just call her Maggie for short, okay?) Their dad couldn't come along this time, too busy putting up some new heinous route. (You've really gotta work for those sponsorship deals!) Instead we had another climbing mom as our rope gun, and her 18 month old daughter. Have I mentioned how much I love hanging out with the strong climbing mommies! I get kiddie snuggles, woman bonding and outdoor escapades all at the same time. My hubby might have been less psyched on the estrogen day, as the only member of the male species he had to bond with was the 3 year old. Who, by the way, DID poop his pants again, which of course he hasn't done since the last time we went climbing. But this time Maggie was prepared with spare trousers, so he was changed before the turds had enough time to make their way down to his ankles. Any whoo, after climbing two lovely routes in the Valley and getting all the kids in the harness too, Lee and I headed off for a quick hike to the top of Yosemite Falls. (And again! With the mist!) Here is the bottom of the falls, and the back of Hub's head.

And here is the hilarious sign at the top of the falls. To me it seems like its short hand for "Hey dummy, this here is a cliff, so don't go any further. Them there falls are over there!"

We then met back up with everyone for a yet another lovely barbecue at our neighbors. I can't believe it, but I swear those folks LIVE on nothing but tri-tip. Are you jealous yet?

Since the weekend, I have done oh so many exciting and varied things, like visiting the doctor for the pain in my ass (literally) and found out that no, it isn't sciatic nerve damage, grocery shopped for the first time in 3 weeks, and I am currently doing the world's biggest pile of laundry. I don't think I mentioned it last time I did laundry, but there was this HUGE spider just inside the door about two inches from the light switch, just WAITING for me to clumsily miss the switch and get my hand near his gnashing mandibles and therefore succumb to his Master Plan, but today, I am happy to report that the laundry room is blissfully spider free. I think...

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Listen Close Grasshopper...

Blogs, much as life, require moderation. If you have too many fun things to do, you don't get the chance to write about them, but if you have nothing fun goin' on, who wants to read that? Deep, huh? So this will be quick. This is potentially huge news for me and my ilk. Stay tuned for future updates, but don't hold your breath, it may be a year or two... And the second quick side note is that Tabitha passed her smog exam on the third try! She just had to study a little harder. Any one need a freshly smogged, wonderful, dependable, lovable, most excellent pickup truck that is only leaking some of the oil that she doesn't burn?

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

I Drink You Up

Okay, so I didn't want to mention this with the Tabitha post, outta respect, but we got a new car. Well, a new used car, of course. She is a Subaru Outback, dark red, family vee-hickle, station wagon, all wheel drive, named Janine. Not quite the tough-guy ride, but she should do quite nicely. So now when y'all come out to visit, we can actually pick you up at the Fresno airport and transport all of you to our home in one vehicle! Won't that be nice!

Moving on, I don't think I've gotten a chance to mention that I had a fabulous weekend. It all started on Friday when I actually got to go climbing with a friend of our neighbors'. We ran off and did about 5 pitches, and then met up with his wife, three kids, and my Hubby, and got all of them climbing too. It was a super fun active day, and family fun day as well. It got a little hairy when the 3 year old pooped his pants and had turds falling out of the ankles of his pants, but dad went to town with the wipeys, and we scrounged up a fleece suit intended for the 6 month old and bravely soldiered on. The clean up was a bit gag-eriffic, but funny too in that helpless kinda way. And little did I realize when we started out, but the climbing dude is sort of famous, and in the magazines and sponsored and stuff. Hee hee, I got to climb with a famous dude.

Then the next day the Hub and I went for a hike up to the top of Nevada Falls in the park. The mist trail was just crazy at this time of the year, and well, was really misty. The falls are going off, and are bigger than I've ever seen them. (Okay well I've only seen them a total of about 7 times before, but, you know, they were really big!) So that was a lovely day as well.

Sunday was a deliciously languorous day and I won't go into details, but we didn't make it out of the house until late afternoon. But then the dog got a lovely walk to the river, and lots of stick fetching and swimming and we all headed down to a local bouldering area to for a quick arm pump. Then we rushed home, baked cookies (my favorite, oatmeal raisin!) and went to our neighbors' house for dinner, and small town politics conversations late into the night. All together, it was most satisfactory! Yay!

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

You Guys Rock!

Hey, looky there! I got comments on my last couple of posts! Yay! Thanks! You guys are the best blog readers ever!

Monday, May 02, 2005

Ode to Tabitha Galdys

My beloved old truck, that now has over 240 thousand miles on her, did not pass smog. Much to my dismay she was deemed a "gross polluter". We've been together for over 10 years now, I've lived out of her, driven her across the country numerous times, camped with her, gone four wheelin' to climbing areas, laughed, cried, sang, and changed diapers in her, spent quality time with my son listening to kiddie tapes, got flat tires, towed lesser vehicles out of snow banks and generally lived LIFE together. There are few feelings quite so kick-ass as riding high in a tough little pickup truck, looking down on all you survey. But it now it may be time to put her out to pasture. There are mundane reasons for this, such as the fact that we own 2 two-seater cars, and were we to get preggers, we might need to bring another being along with us. Tabitha is getting terrible gas mileage these days, despite tune ups and oil changes. She is leaking and burning various fluids as well, and needs at least $1,200 worth of repairs. And she is a Gross Polluter. Poor baby. So here's to you my beloved truck, we will try and get you through the smogging process and then find you a good home, where you get to tromp through the woods occasionally and rest up between adventures. You have been a true and faithful friend and I'll miss you.