Booooooo Part Two

3rd grader joke:
Why couldn’t the witch have a baby?
Her boyfriend had a hollow weenie!

We tend to think too much: like trying to figure out why we had Halloween last night instead of tonight. Safety issues made sense, so we went with that. Yet on the noon news yesterday the anchors were talking about it, and the real reason surfaced: Halloween on a Friday night interfered with high school football playoffs.

Now, my first thought was “so freaking what?” (ok, freaking was not the word I thinked up…) But then I realized that if I had a 16 year old with what might be a once in a lifetime chance to play in a game that could lead to a state championship, and the chance to stay home and hand out candy … well, I wouldn’t be handing out candy. And HS Football is huge here, so I imagine a lot of people wouldn’t stay home. Having it the night before gave everyone a chance at some fun.

We didn’t get quite as many kids last night as we did last year (and thusly, we have lots of leftover candy) but it was still fun. We sat out with the neighbors and talked, and had fun with the little ones. The older kids were obviously pros—they know how to get to as many houses as possible in the 2 hours allotted to trick or treat on base—and the littlest of the kids had no idea what was going on. A few of the toddler aged kids didn’t quite grasp the idea—they kept trying to give us candy. We’d drop a couple of Crunch bars into their bag, and they’d reach in for something else to hand to one of us.

There were no screamers this year, no one terrified by being out there, but a few of the kids looked dazed and stoned, either tired from walking around or tired because it was close to bedtime already. And there were some awesome costumes (poor kids had warm costumes, so of course this year the temps were in the mid-60s), but the one I laughed at the most: a 12-13 year old boy dressed in a pink evening gown and blonde wig. This kid had guts.

And the surprise of the evening—some kids are still out there collecting for UNICEF. I haven’t seen that in years.

So now I’m $5 poorer, but I have lots of Crunch Bars left over!



Tomorrow is Halloween, but tonight is when the kids around here go out for Trick Or Treat. Well, they call it “Beggar’s Night” here, which to me sounds a little—I dunno, it just sounds wrong. But, whatever … a rose by any other name, and that sort of stuff, I suppose.

Initially, we were kind of perplexed about why the towns around here all were making tonight the night kids could go out instead of Friday. On the surface, Friday makes more sense. There’s no school the next day, the kids could stay up later and munch on their candy a little longer—and for those parent who take the kids’ haul in to be x-rayed, they have more time.

But then we started thinking about it. Friday night. People go out on Friday night. People drink on Friday night. The Stupid People who drink often drive, and they’re out there in greater numbers on Friday night. So the change may be a safety issue—send them out a day early and maybe more of the little monsters will get home in one piece.

So, okay, I can deal sitting outside handing out candy a day early if it means they have a better chance of not getting run over while they’re out.

Safety is probably a notch better on base—the routine speed limit is 15 mph to begin with, but tonight the housing areas will be crawling with security police. They’ll walk the streets with the kids in pairs, right up the middle, and stare down any potential troublemakers. Last year we saw no less than 4 pairs of cops on our street in the 90 minutes we were outside.

I suppose that means we can’t snatch candy away from the little one.



Today I harbored many ill thoughts towards a group of old people.

Their crime? After their Over-50’s Water Aerobics class, they did not vacate the pool. They stayed to float in the water and chit-chat. For once I decided to try the Y closer to our house, but they only have lap swim from 11:30 to 1:30. The class ended at 11:15, and by 11:50 they were still hogging all 4 lanes of the pool.

I waited, patiently at first … then with thoughts of jumping in and dunking them all. Then with thoughts of “aren’t you all supposed to be in a home somewhere?” (yeah, I was feeling a little snarky by then.) I finally asked the lifeguard how long they usually stay—“An hour, maybe two.”

What about lap swim? He just shrugged.

So I left and went to the Y where I usually swim, where I bought myself some really spiffy swim gloves (and I’ll feel it tomorrow… those really upped my workout a notch), and where my swimming was cut short by a severe cramp in my foot.

It’s all the fault of those old people.



Caught In The Web

If AOL is your service provider, and you’ve expected an email reply from me in the last 2-3 months, chances are you haven’t gotten one. I’m not sure why, but it seems I can get mail originating from AOL, but not very many of my replies actually make it back the other way.

I’m not ignoring you.
Really, I’m not.


This Wheelie, Wheelie Sux

Anyone who has ever been in a wheelchair knows how frustrating it is to get around. And anyone who has ever driven a car knows how frustrating it is to avoid unexpected obstacles—moving or not—in the road.

And then comes this kid from Iowa. He’s a 14 year old kid who keeps getting fined for rising his motorized wheelchair on the streets of Laurens.

Is he a traffic hazard? Sure.
Should he be on the street? Of course not.

When I first heard the story on CNN my gut reaction was to side with the cops—a wheelchair going down the side of the road is a safety hazard. Then came the little piece that makes a difference: Laurens, Iowa does not have curb cuts on its sidewalks.

It’s hard enough to get up and down curbs in a manual wheelchair. It’s damn near impossible in a motorized chair. Without curb cuts—those places where the sidewalk levels off with the street—this kid has no choice. It’s either ride in the street, or be held hostage to a town that hasn’t complied with the ADA of 1990.

Yep, they’ve had 13 years, and they haven’t bothered to make their town accessible for those with limited mobility.

So sure, I see the cops’ point. The kid is a safety issue.
And I definitely see the kid’s point. His town has done nothing to make it possible for him to get around.

Tally the points up—I think the kid wins. The town must provide curb cuts, not only for this one teenager, but for anyone needing reasonable access. Will they? I doubt it. Not until forced to by lawsuits that could bankrupt them. Then no one wins.


Molasses Be Quicker, Eh?

OK, I don't have a clue what the problem is, but I've noticed that it takes a freakishly long time for my blog to load. Spouse Thingy has noticed it, too--he gives up trying to check up on it after the page just sits there, all black and blank for 2-3 minutes.

I'm seriously considering moving it, and if I can figure out Movable Type, I probably will. The only thing holding me up is a fear of not being able to install MT on my web host's server correctly. It looks easy to use once it's up and running, but it's the actual installation that has me sitting on my hands grunting "uh huh uh huh uh huh" every time I check out their web page. I suppose I could pay them to install it, but, funny enough, they don't mention how much they charge for that particular service.

Until I work up the nerve, I'll keep it hosted here, and when I do move it, I'll leave a nice big link to the new location.

But first, I gotta grow me a pair...


Autumn Wonderland

One of the nice things about living in Ohio is that we get 4 real seasons. None of this “Almost Winter, Winter, Trailing End Of Winter, and Remember Winter?” like North Dakota. Or the “Cripes this is one hot summer” followed by a “where the hell did fall go?” mildly annoying winter like in Northern CA.

We get a real, honest to goodness autumn, complete with the changing of the leaves.

Last year was a dry year here, so the changing of the leaves was less than spectacular, and they dropped before reaching full color. This year we had a wet summer, and it’s awesome. Spouse Thingy and I went to the Cox Arboretum yesterday to walk the trails and soak up a little fresh air, and we got to see some of the most awesome sights.

Stuff like this:

There are more pictures to see here. Just click on the images to see the larger, better picture.

Pretty, aren’t they?


Uh oh

Dye your hair blonde.
Hate it.
Dye it back to its natural medium brown.
Be happy.
Go swimming.
Look in rear view mirror while driving home and wonder where you got all those copper highlights.
Get home, go about your business.
Look in mirror later.
Ask yourself "does this look lighter?"
When the Spouse Thingy comes home, ask him "does my hair look lighter?"
Say choices words to yourself when he confirms, yes it looks lighter.
Then think to yourself, "this really is a nice looking color."
Eye workout bag suspiciously, and wonder whether or not swimming again is a good idea.

We shall see.


Wants revisited

My former list of the material things that I want:

  • A convertible

  • A recumbent trike

  • A Honda Elite Scooter (not sure if I mentioned that yet or not…)

  • A portable word processor

  • $100,000 cash

  • I got the convertible (ooohyeah), I got a recumbent bike instead of a trike (sweet), and I came to the conclusion that I really don’t need a portable word processor, and really don’t want one—I have a laptop computer, that’s portable enough. I still kinda want the scooter, but not because I need it or because it’s even practical; it’s just cool. And the cash would be very practical, ‘cause with it we’d get out of debt and could look towards retirement with a sense of relief and fun.

    So, since I got the biggees on my Incredible List Of I Want, it needs to be revised:

  • A Honda elite Scooter (for the fun factor

  • $100,000

  • A house. Not too big, but not too small. The 1400 sq feet we have now is nice, but a basement would help. And a 2 car garage. Oh, and a game room.

  • A pool table, but only after we get the house and have a place to put it

  • A swimming pool, but again, only after we have a house with a yard in which it can be put

  • See, when you get most of what you want, there’s always more crap to add to your list.

    Oh, I want a better body, too, but since no one can give that to me, I better head over to the Y and swim a lap or 80…


    Back To The Dark Side

    I couldn't stand it ... I dyed my hair back to its natural color, or as close as I could get. I just haven't felt blonde lately, and it was bugging me. It freaked me out every time I looked in the mirror, and maybe it was my imagination, but the blonde hair made me look pasty and washed out.

    'Course, I only waited 2 weeks between dye jobs, so my hair might fall out overnight and I'll be bald as a cueball in the morning, but what the hell. Bald would be different...


    Round is a shape, but not a very good one

    There’s an odd, paralyzing kind of fear that, when faced with mortal uncertainty, descends on a person like a fog of befuddlement. It’s like being stuck in a circular room with no corner in which one can hide. We all have those moments in our lives; they can be defining moments, or moments that make you stick your head in the sand.

    Last year I came face to face with one of my greatest fears. And while it didn’t completely overwhelm me, it never really went away.

    Face it, like those moments, we all have our deepest fears.

    Mine happens to be death.

    Dying terrifies me on so many levels: I believe in God and in heaven; I believe that true faith and an honest belief in good will get you there; I’m not sure I believe in hell, at least not that of the fire & brimstone variety. Yet in spite of believing that there is something else that follows this life, it scares me.

    The seed of that fear is, I suppose, the questions that have the tendency to take on a voice of their own during quiet times. What if I’ve screwed this life up? What if the things I should be accountable for but don’t have the guts to own up to bite me in the celestial ass? And what if I’m wrong, that in spite of the faith that gets me over bumps in the road, that after this there’s nothing?

    I can’t abide the idea of not existing.

    There’s an entire theological spectrum that does sometimes eat at me, but it would take too much time to sift through it, and it would terminally bore anyone who bothered to read it. Or it would piss them off.

    I had an epiphany of sorts; I’ve had it before, one of those light bulb moments that makes you grunt “duh!” because you get it, but I actually got it this time.

    I’m feeding my worst fear. I’ve set myself up with a lifestyle that, aside from fits and starts and frustrating failures, is leading me down the path to the one thing I fear most of all.

    My nutrition sucks. I don’t inhale food the way an addict does cocaine, but I make poor choices. I go for the easy fix, whatever is convenient, whatever makes the least mess to clean up, because frankly, I hate cleaning up. If I had a kitchen fairy who could wave a magic wand and the kitchen would be instantly clean, I’d cook every night. Well, most nights.

    My physical activity is inadequate. Sure, I exercise, but not at the level of intensity that I probably could. There’s another fear that holds me back there—the fear of movement, because of chronic pain—but I allow that fear to hold me back.

    My goals have been typically unrealistic. “Lose weight” isn’t good enough. “Lose 70 pounds” isn’t much better. I need to set a series of smaller goals, and be specific in how I intend to achieve those goals.

    And yeah, I’ve been watching Dr. Phil.

    I like him; he can be abrasive, but he seems to strongly believe in personal accountability, and I appreciate that.

    My personal epiphany came while watching his show; I can’t even specifically recall exactly what was said or by whom, Dr. Phil or one of his guests, but I started thinking about my deepest fear—one I was already keenly aware of—and what it really meant.

    That annoying little voice that often compels me to get up and do the dishes, or finish a particularly difficult chapter, piped up something along the lines of, “You are headed straight for the white light at the end of the tunnel if you don’t make the changes you know you need to and get yourself back into some semblance of shape, and for you this shape is not round.”

    I hate that voice, mostly because it’s usually right. It’s the voice that also corrects me (and I sometimes ignore) when I think I hear M&Ms calling to me, or when I use having FMS and other assorted physical problems as a reason to not get up off my ass and work out.

    That voice also keeps telling me that in the vein of being realistic, I need to remember that I’m not 20 anymore, and I don’t need the body of my 20 year old self. That person was thin, but not terribly fit. The voice keeps reminding me that at age 30 I was 30 pounds heavier than at 20, but in terrific physical shape, with little body fat and lots of lean muscle. And the voice tells me I might not be able to get that back, either, but it’s a hell of a lot more likely than trying to ever squeeze into a size 8 again.

    So. Someone at WWDN started a 6 week exercise challenge and I’m joining in. It starts on Monday, so between now and then I’ll work on setting up some realistic goals for myself, take a good look at why I do what I do and why I don’t do what I should, and hopefully work up the nerve to face some of my own personal demons.

    We all have them.
    Fear of mortality is mine.

    While it’s inevitable that someday I will take that last breath, if I stake a stand and do what I can to stave off the end of my personal life story, maybe I can stare down that personal demon until I’m ready to accept it.

    Like, when I’m 120.