Monday, December 29, 2008

If it ever stops snowing

Every night I shovel snow for a couple of hours. The same job over and over. I guess the up-side is that if it ever stops snowing I can go skiing. But right now I can't get there. It's getting a little depressing. Everyone just wants it to stop for a while . This is how it looked on my way to work today. The snow was finally replaced this afternoon by high winds and the forecast calls for more snow each day.

I changed the blog header to reflect the mood. My neighborhood might be snowed in until spring... I hope we don't start eating eachother...

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Missoula bike culture

Missoula is such a bike friendly town. Many people get around on bikes all year and bikes are everywhere. There is also no shortage of cars, so conflicts between bikes and cars are common. I really miss living in Missoula. Don't get me wrong, this is a good place to live too, and there are actually many more places to ride a road bike, but here people ride bikes to get a workout and will often drive to a trail head to ride, and in Missoula many people ride bikes as a primary means of transportation.

Now when I visit Missoula the bike culture seems a little alien to me. Perhaps I've become the alien and return to observe the culture.

As you can see, there is also no shortage of artistic expression.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas thoughts

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah or happy holidays to everyone who might be reading. What a difference a year makes. A year ago I was here, well not exactly here, but my mom was just through a first cancer treatment operation. I spent my days coming and going from the hospital. How different things were back then. It seems like it was only yesterday.

Tonight Christmas celebrations are over, I've watched all of the Christmas TV programs I can manage, and I decided to go and find a hotspot. I ended up coming to the hospital cafeteria. How calm everything seems. It's as if there really is peace on earth tonight. And how different things are for me and my family than they were last year. I realize that it's all kind of an illusion. I know that for some things aren't as good as they are for me. I know that there are sick people who suffer right here tonight.

Last night I took my mom to here church, her cancer a year in the past. I don't know what it is but I always think they are talking about me when they welcome the people who might be visiting, as if we've been lost at sea for years or something. (Oh what the heck,..) What land have I come to this time, Rough savages are they,. or kind friends willing to help out a stranger? I always think of this line when I drop in on someone's gig...

I had to fake my way through a few church hymns. I'm a pretty good faker. I have a pretty small singing range. Three or four notes.. They had the words to the music printed in the hand out they give you to let you know what's going on. But you could also look the hymns up in the hymnal if you wanted to read the music. One of the hymns was really complicated. I was looking at the score in the hymnal thinking, how do people fake something this complicated? So then I faked it with a thoughtful confused look on my face because the choir is up there looking straight back at all of the people in the congregation and probably trying to decide who is faking it. That's what I'd do if I were in the choir... Then I got to thinking how church hymns might just be some sort of honesty test...

There were the usual people at church. The young and the old. A pastor with a peaceful smile. I'm sure he knows who's faking it... A little girl with a battery powered candle who stood a the pew in front of us and then just dropped onto her bottom in a seated position with the weight of a bird. It gave me cause to think,.. If I stood on the pew and just and just dropped onto my butt I'd probably throw my back out...

But there was one older lady who really stood out. She had a red sweater on with a red flashing Christmas light necklace. I had to admire her courage for wearing that. This was after all a candle light service and they were going to turn the lights off at some point... Then I thought what if I wore a necklace like that?... What would people think? What if we all did? What if 17% of the population wore flashing light necklaces?..

As usual it was hard for me to keep my mind on the service, but I'm sort of glad I went.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Treatment options to consider

If you get a cold you can take Sudafed PE. If it doesn't work take Dayquil with vitamin C, or take Robitussin for mucous. If you think it might be C.O.P.D. you can breathe free with Spiriva. If you have alergies and not a cold, take Claritin as it works both indoors and outdoors and then you can do what you want. If it doesn't work fast enough take Zyrtek, it's faster than Claritin. Women who can't wait to go to the restroom should take Detrol LA and men who spend too much time in the men's room should take Flomax. For many men it can make a difference in one week. Ducolax doesn't make women go it just makes it easier for them to go and then it makes them lay around on with a smile on their face. When the moment is right take Cialis. If Cialis isn't right take Lavitra. Ask your doctor if you are healthy enough for sex. Sometimes back pain may result so apply a Thermacare heat wrap. Then take Ambian and go to sleep, but don't take it with alcohol. Make sure you can devote a full eight hours to sleep. Don't drive or operate machinery while asleep. As with all sleep aids, there is a risk of dependency. There are many treatment options to consider.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I can dig it

It snowed most of the day here today. There was too much snow really to drive a car around. The snow was just too deep. When it gets up to the body of the car it is just too deep. So after I dug myself out of my house I chained up my van which has more clearance and went to work. Why we opened I don't know as they were telling everyone to stay home. Cars were stuck everywhere. Even four wheel drives were stuck. You really needed chains or a monster truck to get around. Quite a few people have moster trucks actually but even they were having problems.

This is a picture of our parking lot at work today, a common scene. I just looked outside and it's still snowing and blowing. I'll have to dig out tomorrow again. The up-side to this is that I'll be skiing soon. I can already XC ski right from my house which I intend to do this weekend.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Flag picture

There's a great big flag not far from where I work and I've been wanting to take its picture for some time but couldn't figure out how to do it and make an interesting image. It's kind of up on a hill and there's nothing around it except sky no matter how you look at it, but it's so big it's hard to not be drawn to it. Today there wasn't a cloud in the sky and a strong cold wind. On my way back to work from lunch I was looking at this great big flag and drove into its shadow as the sun was directly behind it, so I turned around and went back to get some snaps.

I showed it to someone who thought it was interesting but also sad. I found that curious. I may not leave this up if anyone finds the picture offensive.

I retain the rights to all of my photos.  Please do not use without permission.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The trouble with compact fluorescent

Here's what I wrote about compact fluoresecent bulbs back when. Of course I started out writing about Nixon first...

Yesterday I started to write about President's day and it morphed into why I thought it was a mistake for Ford to pardon Nixon.

It just irked me when Ford died that everyone made such a big deal of how wise he was for pardoning Nixon. What the heck!? All it did was set the bar really low for people like W, I thought... And on the subject of W, I would have caught the shoe thrown, or at least made some sort of a martial arts motion with my hands... Grasshopper! How cool would that have been? It was perhaps Bush's last chance to do something cool.

I have another thing on my mind today. These little fluorescent energy saving light bulbs. The little curly bulbs. I got tired having regular light bulbs burn out all of the time so I bought a package of four of these. Well one of them burned out the moment I turned it on, so now I have to take it back. Then I found out that these bulbs contain mercury and should be recycled and not just thrown away. I'm pretty sure if I just take it back they will just throw it away. There is only one store that has taken responsibility for the bulbs that they sell in Washington and that is Ikea. Now I'm thinking that perhaps these things aren't such a great idea after all. I guess there is only one place in the state to recycle them. I need to look into this more.

Here is the link Lamp Recycle dot org that I found back then. And here is a link to my original post.

Birds of Prey crash

Ski season has started and today I watched what little coverage we will get here in the states of the World Cup and the US ski team. It's sad as we have such a good team this year and we won't get to watch much of it on TV. Here's a picture I took of my TV and one of our US Ski Team guys crashing on the Birds of Prey downhill. I'm sorry that I don't remember who this is but it isn't Bodie Miller. (it kind of looks like me :) Miller crashed too but went straight down after catching his tip on a gate. It looked like this guy only scratched his nose after crashing into the netting going perhaps 75 mph or more.

We haven't gotten much snow here yet but I think this cold snap will have frozen what snow there was into a solid base to build on.

The gesture of a shiver

I only left the house once yesterday. It has gotten really cold and windy. Around ten degrees or so I imagine and blow zero with the wind chill. I"m starting to get used to the cold now again but it took a while this year.

I left the house to go to the local grocery store operated by a guy from India and his family. I asume he's from India anyway. We've sort of become friends and he always seems happy to see me, although I suspect that not everyone here has been friendly to them.

We talked about the cold weather as I checked out with my groceries. He smiled and made the gesture of a shiver. I'm not exactly sure what he said other than it's cold, but there was warmth in his sheepish smile.

Friday, December 12, 2008

December tree

I haven't posted a cyber tree for a while, so here is a December cyber tree from the building next to the one I work in. It's dark back behind that building and I was out there taking pictures last night and this woman comes out a door to go to her car in a parking lot. I assured her I was just taking pictures and was from the next building, but it must have been kind of scarry for her. And really not the best situation for them to have to park back there.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Hands on my hips

The dogs that live across the street next to my mailbox hate me. And the thing of it is, I'm not very fond of them either. The wolf dogs that live behind me don't hate me, they aren't crazy about me but they don't hate me. They've been trained and their owner refers to them as "guard dogs". They're kind of isolated though and don't have much to guard. They never leave their yard. So I don't know what it is about the dogs arcoss the street other than they haven't been trained and are allowed to act however they want. They never leave their yard either.

Everyone in my neighborhood has dogs in their yards, and a couple of my neighbors have dogs in their houses. I'm not sure what's better and what's worse. I live on a corner lot and have a pretty big yard. One time I stayed home sick. I was really sick. I never call in sick when I'm not sick. But for some reason I had to go out to my car to get something. This was just after 8:00 am when usually I'd already have gone to work. One of my neighbors let their dog out. A great big yellow dog. It trotted across the street to my yard and went to the bathroom with master watching. I was a little shocked. I walked out in that direction and put my hands on my hips. The master, a woman called the dog and it trotted back in the house as she held the door open for it. I had to wonder if this was their routine each day after I left for work.

But the dogs across the street are fenced in with a chain linked fence. The corner of their yard is right next to my mailbox. So every day when I go and get my mail the dogs bark and growl at me when I go to get my mail. They start the moment they see me. The "master" of them, this old guy, is usually out in his back yard smoking a cigarette. When he hears them barking he will wistle as if he's controling them. He never comes over to talk or anything. I guess I'm just a problem for him. I'm the reason his dogs go off. It's like he can't decide what's worse, me or his dogs, but we both annoy him.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

To tree or not to tree

That is the question...

Everyone around here is putting up Christmas lights and driving around with Christmas trees on the tops of their SUVs. It's time for me to put up my one string of lights. I used to not get a Christmas tree because my cat Spunky thought it was something I brought home for her to climb on. I guess she was a tree dwelling cat, or she might have been looking for birds. I don't know but it drove her crazy and she always fell the tree by the time I got home from work. She was a timber cat... But Spunky has died and now I don't have a good excuse other than I don't like cutting down trees just to look at them indoors. I realize most of them come from tree farms. There's a tree farm in my neighborhood. They decorated it with a bicycle of all things.

This might be a sign...

Hey, it is a sign.. I could decorate my bike..


Last year at this time my mom was in the hospital recovering from cancer surgery. It was a difficult time. But now we've had another year that I wasn't sure we'd get back then. And so far she's still fine.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Forgotten groceries at Safeway

I went to Safeway last night after work to pay very high prices for a few things. Broccoli, skim milk, a bagel, a chicken, and some eggs. I got home and couldn't find the eggs. Well in the morning I really wanted to make a poached egg. I couldn't find the eggs. I looked everywhere. So I ate the bagel.

Well what it was, I left without them from the store. You'd think they'd run me down. I only had a few things. I took everythig the guy put where I could get it. I didn't bother to take an inventory... I thought perhaps it's a sign. I shouldn't eat eggs I thought,.. But I got to thinking about it and I really wanted them. I could make egg salad or something... So today I went back to Safeway and asked them If I'd left them. The same guy was there at the express lane and he remembered me not taking the eggs. I had to go to a different counter and another guy would check this list. My eggs were on the list.

I had to go to the back of the store and select another dozen. They could have sent someone to go and get them for me but no.. At least they gave them to me but I really feel the fault was with the checker for the way he put them in the bags and then not making sure I got them. I took what was presented to me and I just thought everything was in there as there weren't that many things.

Here's the deal, there were lots of things on the list before and after my eggs. So how could it just be me? Do that many people forget to take the stuff they pay so much money for, or do they fail to package and send you off with it properly? It sounds to me like Safeway has a process problem that works in their favor. And it wasn't like "We are very sorry Mr. Don." it was more like "Did you forget your eggs?"..