Sunday, December 25, 2011

Bethlehemian Rhapsody

Merry Christmas!  Today, Leni and I are chilling at home and enjoying the time together.  Late this evening, his parents will arrive from TX and spend most of the week celebrating with us.

In keeping with the tradition of a Christmas video every year on this blog, please enjoy this fun little diddy I found a couple weeks ago.

Hope everyone is doing well!  Merry Christmas!  For unto us a child is born!

Keep It Real!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Trading the Trades

Those of you who know my family, know that, in a lot of ways, my brother and I married people who are wonderful, yet INCREDIBLY different from each other.  (understatement)

Meet Leni and Claire:

First pic ever taken of them, at our wedding
Hanging around the two of them is usually particularly hysterical.  Their differences can be basically boiled down to the following: Claire is a student of the arts, and Leni is a student of science.  This is the basis for any interaction that ends in disagreement of any degree.

I remember back in March listening to a discussion where Claire thought it was ridiculous that Leni didn't know the color wheel.  Leni, probably having heard the words color and wheel in the same sentence (and not in relation to cars) for the very first time that day, shot back something about Claire needing to learn the Periodic Table of Elements.  As with most discussions of this nature between these two, it ended quickly before elbows and fists were thrown.

Back in early July, a new version of this came to life.  Standing by a crappy piece of art that we got at a yard sale for pennies, Leni started talking about what he would do to it if he had the talent.  Claire jumped into action and before I could take another breath, there was an easel set up complete with the necessary paints - and Leni standing around watching like a lost puppy.

The original

Considering the plethora of options

Learning some basics from Claire

It became a collaborative effort

As it stands now.  There is talk of more work later perhaps.
The fun doesn't stop there, folks!  Over Thanksgiving, Claire was up at our house and, in holding up her end of the bargain, spent some time assisting Leni in his craft: car stuff in the garage.  

Here's Claire cutting a long piece of metal for some fabrication work:

And here she is doing some actual welding:

In the art project and the garage project, the apprentices were both good sports and very patient and it was quite entertaining for me to be an observer.  Many props go out to both Leni and Claire for being open to new things!

Keep It Real!

P.S. Los Alamos Trails Goal Update:  25.6 of 29.5 miles completed.....3.9 miles to go!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Holiday Peeves

If you have ever read much of what I say on Facebook leading up to the holidays, you know that I strongly DETEST when Christmas is celebrated before Thanksgiving.  It's just not right.

But that's not what my current pet peeve is about.  This peeve exists on a year-round basis but operates at threat level red during the days leading up to Thanksgiving.  It's this...

...a crowded grocery store.  More specifically (although not blatantly pictured above), I loathe those unaware shoppers who block entire aisles.

You've seen it; the patron who leaves their cart on one side of the aisle while blocking the rest of the aisle with their body while looking at a shelf of goods.  This happens 365 days a year and it is not okay.  But it is most ESPECIALLY wrong on high capacity shopping days such as...oh I don't know...the days leading up to Thanksgiving!

It creates a lot of problems but most importantly, it aggravates Yours Truly and causes her to think unholy thoughts about people around her who are, presumably, otherwise nice people.  I  literally prayed for forgiveness after exiting the store today due to the awful things I'd thought in my head about my fellow shoppers.

So please...I'm beggin' you...if you visit a grocery store in the next few days, PLEASE be a conscientious shopper.  If you need to linger in a particular spot, be sure that your cart and your body are on the same side of the aisle so that others can pass.  

I miss the days when my biggest complaint about the grocery store involved waiting for people at the register to scribble out a check for their groceries.  When's the last time you saw that?

Keep It Real!

P.S. Los Alamos Trails Goal Update: 24.4 of 29.5 miles completed....5.1 miles to go!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Two Victories

This week in the Moore house hold came complete with many victories probably, but two stand out and are worth mentioning.

First, I finished our Christmas shopping.  Done and done.  Some gifts will be delivered in person when we see various family at Thanksgiving.  Others will need to be shipped to two locations and I will do that sometime in December when it is closer to the actual holiday.  Others will be given in person at Christmas itself.  But that's the easy part.  Being able to check off the To Do List that the gift selections and purchasing have been completed, is an enormous relief every year and being able to get it done in early November only adds to that enormity.

Secondly, after a drought in working toward my trail completion goal, I made some real progress yesterday.  I had completed 18.8 miles of my 29.5 mile target and had 10.7 miles to go, which involved 7 trails.  This weekend, we hiked the longest of these 7 trails and knocked off 4.9 miles, bringing the number of miles completed to 23.7 and the miles needed to only 5.8 and 6 trails.  Given that the average length of these trails is only 1.18 miles, it felt great to cross off 4.9 of the remaining needed miles in one trip.

Here's hoping that your Veterans Day Weekend was productive.  A special thanks to all the Veteran readers for the sacrifices they have made.  Only they and their families truly know the reality of those sacrifices and, whatever they are for each individual, I am thankful for them.

Keep It Real!

P.S. Los Alamos Trails Goal Update: 23.7 of 29.5 miles completed...getting there!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween and a Rant

Our Halloween was drawn out and fun this year.  It started on Thursday when we had 3 kids from a family we know from church over for some pizza and pumpkin carving.

Charlotte, Leni, Malcolm, and Sasha!
After the kids went home with their parents, I found a few minutes to carve my own pumpkin:

Get it?
We had been invited to a halloween party on Saturday night.  We were excited about our costumes so the day couldn't come fast enough.  Other people got a kick out of our costumes, which made the event a riot for me.

We got good use out of the costumes again on Monday when we actually trick-or-treated a couple pre-selected homes of friends.

A quick note to any readers who turn their noses up at the idea of one claiming to be Christian while still taking part in Halloween festivities:  CHILL OUT.  There were no seances or devil worship or ouija boards.  The weekend was spent entertaining three siblings so their parents could have a date, and dressing up silly with some friends.  Want the real scoop on pagan holidays?  Look up the polytheistic pagan roots of Christmas and Easter.  It's not about how it started, folks.  It's how you celebrate it NOW.


Keep it Real!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Dental Care

Ever seen any material from comedian Mitch Hedberg?  It's hysterical to me.  None of his jokes flow but they are examples of some of the most accurate and funny observational humor I've ever heard.

I'm digressing's a quote of his...not his best ever, but pertinent to the subject of this post:

"People who smoke cigarettes, they say, 'You don't know how hard it is to quit smoking.' Yes I do.  It's as hard as it is to start flossing."  ~ Mitch Hedberg

Flossing.  We all know we should do it.  Some even do!  This past Monday, I went to the dentist's office.  It was my first visit to this particular practice and they have quite an extensively organized system for getting you through all the hoops that need to be jumped through before seeing the actual dentist himself.  After checking in at the desk (note to self: the office staff in dentists' offices always seem so happy and cheerful....possible future career move?), I was taken by Hygienist #1 to the xray room where we cleared up that pregnant people probably shouldn't be xrayed.  She then escorted me to an examination room.

The exam room was delightful.  They had flatscreen televisions mounted directly to the ceiling for patients to enjoy while they are in that reclined chair.  How lovely!  A few minutes later, Hygienist #2 came in to clean my teeth.  There was a little of the dreaded scraping with the mini pirate hook on the end of a metal stick but not too bad.  Nowadays, apparently, they use a tiny power washer to spray water all up in there to knock the nast from away from my teeth and gums.

As pleasant as this may sound, it hurt like hell.  I learned from the nice lady that one symptom of pregnancy is super sensitive gums, also known as "Pregnancy Gingivitis".  Awesome.  She finished up her work as gently as she could and gave me the usual speech about how super important it is to floss.  I had admitted that I do not floss regularly, although I do brush religiously.

Goodbye Hygienist #2, enter Hygienist #3.  Her role in this whole circus was to actually floss my teeth for me and then polish them.  Knowing that my gums were sensitive, she was very gentle with her flossing while, of course, shaming me for not being a regular flosser.

Finally, I got to see the dentist.  I made his job pretty easy because since there were no xrays to look at, he couldn't identify cavities (not that I think I have any) or anything else.  He basically got paid the big bucks to speak to me, again, about flossing.  He actually had additional information to share.  Apparently the infection associated with Pregnancy Gingivitis can lead to preeclampsia and pre-mature labor.

So, needless to say, the shame-filled flossing riot act read to me by the clown car of dental health care workers hit home.  Loud and clear, guys!  I'll start flossing!

So I've flossed every day since then.  I don't like regular floss.  It makes me feel like I have to stick both fists in my mouth to get the job done.  But I've found flossing piks to be amazing tools.

Flossing is still a chore but it is getting less and less uncomfortable every day.  And the amount of junk I am pulling out from between my teeth, even after good brushing, is grossing me out to the point that I WANT to floss.  Nasty.  

So it worked.  I'm a believer.  And apparently, according to Mr. Hedberg, if I ever took up smoking, I'd be awesome at quitting it.  

I think I'll just take his word for it.

Please floss.  And if you refuse to, don't go to my dentist because you'll get the floss speech three times by three different people.

Keep It Real!

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Chapter Closed

Most anyone who's known me for the past decade has met, or at least been aware of, an important lady in my first car: Lola the Purple Corolla.

She became a part of the family just a few days shy of my 19th birthday back in May of 2000.  Since that time, she's been everywhere.  Together, we've journeyed from Arizona, to Wisconsin, to Minnesota, to Texas.  When my brother was in need of another vehicle, shortly after I'd purchased a new car in late 2007, she moved with him to New Mexico, a couple years before I made that same move myself.  Sure, she wasn't in my possession anymore, but she was still in the family and that was great.  Then this past summer, she came home to live with Leni and I again and I loved having her around.

I did my growing up years in Lola.  Not the type of growing up where you learn to ride a bike or deal with bullies or things like that.  But the type of growing up you go through in college and early adulthood.  Owning my first car taught me to manage money and plan ahead for unexpected maintenance and repairs (in those days, I referred to my savings account as my "Save Lola Fund".)  The hell of bureaucracy was experienced in that car when I had my first fender bender and had to deal with police reports, insurance companies, estimates, etc.  I was rolling around in those wheels when I finished college and decided to spend a year as a volunteer and then later when I got a full time job with benefits.  The list goes on.

Other people have had memories in Lola as well.  Tons of people I know (myself included) learned to drive a stick shift in that car.  Some special friends had favorite music to listen to in Lola....if I had a nickle for every Dixie Chicks or Steven Curtis Chapman song that had been played in her stereo, I'd probably have enough money to buy her all over again at the $3000 purchase price we agreed to with her original owner.  

I could go on and on (more than I already have) but in the end, it all boils down to the last week or so when Leni and I decided it was time to replace Lola with something else.  I'd been begging Leni for years to have a daily driver that was a little newer and had airbags.  He finally submitted and had started looking for something else.  We found a great deal on a VW Jetta Wagon and acquired that vehicle this past Saturday. 

On Sunday afternoon, I spent about 2 hours clearing our things out of Lola and giving her a good cleaning.  Windows, vacuuming, upholstery, wiping the dash, an exterior wash etc.  Leni even charged her AC so it would be nice and cold.  When she was all clean, I hopped on the computer and posted an ad for my car on Craigslist.  We weren't expecting much money out of a 23-year-old car.  But I knew she had some life still in her and that someone else could benefit from those miles.  

It happened so fast.  I've never seen an object on Craigslist sell as fast as Lola did last night.  This is what it looked like:

5:16 pm - Posted ad on Craigslist
5:40 pm - Inquiry call
6:30 pm - Met up for a test drive
7:00 pm - Done deal....returned home sans Lola but with a little thicker wallet

Lola now lives with a kid just a year older than I was when I bought her.  He can barely drive a manual transmission and needs her for getting around between his home, his job, and his community college in a town about a half hour away.  He and his mom (who test drove the car for him as my dad had done for me more than 11 years ago) were pleased with the deal and even promised to keep the name, which meant a lot to me.

I'm always on a mission to keep the amount of cars on our property to as low a number as possible and was overall satisfied that we found a good family to live her final days with.  But I'd be lying if I didn't confess how sad I was to come home without her.  In fact, I cried on the way home.

I LOVE the car I drive now.  Still a Corolla, but exactly 20 years newer than Lola was.  And Leni's new (to us) Jetta will serve us well for many years.  But both these cars seems so sterile and without the personality and history that Lola had.  In the end, I'm happier to hand her off to another family than I would have been to have kept her and had to watch her towed to a scrap yard at the eventual end of her life.

Thank you, Lola, for your long and faithful service to the Porter-Moore family.  I know you'll be as good to your new owner and I hope that I'll see you around sometime.

Lola: serving our family 2000-2011
Keep It Real!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Finally Talkin' About It

Meet "Mini Moore"

Forgive the poor photo quality...they gave us printed pictures that didn't scan well so this is a picture of the picture I took with my camera :)

This ultrasound picture was captured just this afternoon.  Waiting to tell the masses about the anticipation of our first child has been tough but we're pleased to finally be able to talk completely openly about it (thanks to those of you who have kept the secret for us in the last couple weeks!).

Here are the details:
  • Currently in the 12th week of development
  • As of this week, Mini Moore is the size of a plum.  Next week will be peach week!
  • Yes, we are planning on finding out the gender (perhaps at our next appointment in early November.  If not, in December)
  • No, we won't be sharing whatever name we choose until the baby arrives
  • The due date is April 18th!
  • Thanks for asking....I've been feeling great!  No morning sickness at all (thank you GOD!).  I've been quite fatigued in the evenings and have to be very careful about remembering snacks between meals, but other than that, it's been pretty smooth sailing.
That information has pretty much satisfied 99% of the questions I've been getting in the last couple weeks.  We're pretty excited and would appreciate any and all prayers that our friends and family can offer for a continued healthy pregnancy and a healthy, happy baby when all is said and done.

195 days to go!

Keep It Real!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Landscaping, Part II

This post, the follow up to Landscaping, Part I, is more than a month in the making.  Thank you for your patience.

Without further ado, here's your update, in photo form:

Before starting
After tilling in more than 5,000 lbs of compost
The straw we used to protect the seeds
Started seeing these guys come up somewhere between the 1 and 2 week mark
Here we are today, Oct 1!
Leni mowed the lawn (LAWN!!!!) for the first time today.  A couple more mows, especially with a new (hasn't arrived yet) mulching blade for the mower will help get rid of the remaining straw.  Still keeping the dogs off of it until the first good snow pack to protect it from their paws and nails.  We don't want them rough housing too much on it until it is more established.  We are quite pleased and can't wait to enjoy it more in the future.

Keep It Real!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Not Guilty

After a long, tiring, but blast of a weekend at a wedding in Milwaukee this past weekend, I had to be up and wide awake for a court trial at 8am this morning.  For a glance back at the last time I was in court, see this old post - it's a goody.

Flashback: Almost two months ago, I was pulled over for speeding.  The officer claimed I was going 70 in a 55. I could swear I was going a shade over 60.  Admittedly, that is still speeding, but I knew that police in this area had been recently trained on eyeing speed without using actual radar.  Knowing that, if that was the case in this situation, that kind of evidence wouldn't hold up in court. This was a good ticket to fight, even though it was only a $30 ticket.

I showed up to my arraignment back in August and plead "Not Guilty" and was assigned a court date.  It was during a time that I work so I called to have it changed and of course they moved it to the morning right after I would be traveling back from a wedding.  Oh well.    

That all brings us to this morning.  I got up early, went through my morning routine, and then sat down to write down the thoughts I'd been collecting regarding how I would question the police officer in court.  

The proceedings are such that my side of the case would be presented in the form of questions directed at the officer.  After consulting with Leni's aunt, an experienced court translator who has seen lots of these cases, and a little bit of online research, I went into court ready to ask these questions:

  1. When you clocked me, were you driving your vehicle or were you parked? (He was driving)
  2. Does using radar from a moving vehicle compromise accuracy of what vehicle is being clocked, as compared to being parked?
  3. Was I driving alone or were there other vehicles around me? (I was in a pack of cars)
  4. Is there a possibility that you inadvertently clocked another driver?
  5. When you pulled me over, did I ask to see the radar? (I did)
  6. What was your response to that? (He refused to show it to me)
  7. When had the radar equipment last been calibrated? (Next question asked only if he did not know the answer or if it had been quite some time)
  8. Is it possible then that the radar gave an inaccurate reading at the time you pulled me over?
As I said before, I was geared up for a fight.  I was naturally nervous but also excited to fight for myself.  I wasn't concerned about the measly amount of the fine but wanted to do all in my power to prevent the citation from being reported to my insurance company.

In the end, the officer never showed up and my case was completely dismissed.  Part of me had been hoping for this outcome but I'd be lying if I didn't admit that I also had really wanted the opportunity to face the cop and get the chance to question him.  I was looking forward to the hopeful chance of having the experience of being found "Not Guilty", followed by shooting him an annoying "you suck and I win" smile from across the court room.  But oh any event, I'm keeping my money and my auto insurance company will never know a thing.  Mission accomplished.

Stay tuned when this weekend, Leni will mow our new lawn and I'll actually take some pics and post the sequel to my most recent post, Landscaping Part I.  Sorry about the month long delay between posts.  I don't have an excuse.  Just didn't happen to get anything up.  My bad.

Keep It Real!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Landscaping, Part I

Meet my yard:

It seems generous to call it a yard.  "Dirt lot" would probably be more appropriate.  Leni once had grand plans about the stages in which he wanted to landscape the dirt lot including bushes, redoing parts of the terrace, steps and walkways, and finally.....grass.

Since the snow melt, however, I've had different thoughts.  Every time the dogs go into the backyard, they wrestle and roll around and bring in TONS of dirt and dust.  By the beginning of summer, I was just plain SICK of it.  So we decided (read: I decided) to plant grass on the lowest, largest level of the yard this year so that the dust-in-the-house issue wouldn't be such a problem next spring.

After researching what grass to plant and how to do it, we chose the end of the summer to do the project, hoping that the monsoon rains would aid in the watering process that germination requires.

So we broke the project into two weekends.  Last weekend,  we hauled and tilled more than two and a half tons of compost into the yard.

Moving from the truck, up the steep front yard, and into the back.

Spreading the compost out.

8 HP tiller!

Weekend 1: done!
Next came this weekend.  Just one day's worth of work this time instead of two.  The plan was to install some edging, actually plant the grass, and then cover it with straw to protect it while it germinates.

Installing the edging

Edging doesn't want to be straight....wonder why

Putting down 20 lbs of grass seed

Seed now covered with 5 huge bales of straw
Chicken wire fence keeping the poor dogs off
So there you have it.  The seeds are being heavily watered as I type this and the copious amounts of water will continue for several weeks.  We should start to see little blades coming up in about 2 weeks, or so we're told.  Time will tell!

Stay tuned for the eventual Part II post, hopefully with pictures of green grass!

Keep it Real!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Trip Report: Handies Peak

As the last hurrah of summer 2011, we planned a trip up to Colorado this past weekend to get into some cooler air and beautiful scenery.  Oh yeah...we were going to attempt to summit our third 14er too :)

Accompanying us on this trip were my brother and sister, Nick and Claire, as well as one of Leni's co-workers, Rob.

Nick, Claire, Leni and I left Los Alamos together early on Friday morning.  We made the drive up to the last city before the road to the trailhead, Lake City.  This is a delightful, small mountain community built upon a historical 19th century mining boom.

If you ever go to Lake City, you MUST go to the restaurant pictured above.  Three words: pulled pork nachos.  I would trade an average to better-than-average friend for these.

After hanging out in the city for a while, it was time to begin the journey up the 20 mile road to the trailhead.  The first 12 miles were smooth sailing driving.  The website that gave details concerning the road had called this a "rough 2WD road".  We were braving this in our 1988 Toyota Corolla and Nick and Claire were in their much newer Pontiac Vibe.  This was no problem when the road went from pavement to packed dirt and when it transitioned to gravel and rocks, it was okay at first.  But the rocks started getting bigger and closer together and it became a pretty stressful drive.  Here's some video of Leni getting Nick and Claire's car over a particularly rough spot.

We all made it up and over but not without some scraping, some bottoming out, and almost getting high-centered.  If I were authoring that website, I would have labeled the road as "High Clearance Only".

We found a parking spot about a mile below the actual trailhead.  The views were really breath-taking.

Not too long after we arrived, Rob arrived too.  It was dinner time.  Rob's dinner cracked me up.

The morning came quickly and we got up, ate, packed our daypacks, and were off!  

Virtually all of the trail is through fields of wild flowers.  The word on the street is that the peak season for viewing these blooming beauties is the last week in July and the first week and August...perfect!

Not too far up the trail, we happened upon this waterfall.  I hadn't seen pictures of it or read about it in online trip reports so it was a nice surprise.

This was Nick and Claire's first 14er so it was nice that the trail was relatively easy.  I say relatively because there's really no such thing as an "easy" 14er.  But the nice thing was the steep parts weren't too long and they were usually routed with switchbacks.  That said, it was still challenging.

Nick, Claire and Dottie

Rob plowing ahead with our pooches

Leni and the dogs with the peaks that watched over us all day
At about 12,800 feet in elevation and about 2.5 to 3 miles in, we came upon a clear lake called Sloan Lake.  The online pictures of it were good but didn't do it near enough justice.  It was a perfect place for a snack break.

We kept going.  The trail was well-defined and we were moving at a good pace, given the varying levels of experience in the crowd.  A bit above the lake and we came upon a scree field crossing followed by some of the steeper switchbacks of the climb.

From the saddle, the summit was looking pretty close.  The trail was generally steep but that was compounded by the gravel that covered it.  It was exhausting because the gravel caused us to lose footing and sometimes slide back a bit.  This was the toughest spot for me.

Here are some summit shots:

Looking southwest back to Sloan Lake

Looking east into Grizzly Gulch, home to another route that summits Handies
Rob, Leni and the dogs were waiting for me when I got to the summit

Nick, Claire and Dottie arrived not too long after me

Me and the dogs enjoying the long rest on the summit

The Moores with Sloan Lake in the background

The Moores and Porters
It was time for the journey down.  That gravel just below the summit was hell and I slid out a little.  Before too long, we were back down to the lake where we had another snack and pumped some water.  Just below the lake, we ran into a couple making their way up the trail with their two goats.  Awesome.

When we got back down to the waterfall, we left Nick and Claire there, as Claire wanted to do a little water color painting of it.  Rob, Leni and I pushed on the final stretch to camp.  My feet were very tired and wanted badly to get out of my hiking boots.  I settled down for a little nap and when I woke up, Nick and Claire were back and it was time to start dinner.

The next day, we started the dreaded drive back down the awful road.  Things were much easier going down than coming up, a major godsend.  We stopped for lunch in Pagosa Springs and then made our way home from there.

It was another good trip to summit a 14er.  We are SO blessed that we've always had good weather for these trips.  I read trip reports all the time about people making big trips to CO only to have their bid for the summit destroyed by storms.  Here's hoping for similar blessings in the future!

Keep It Real!