Friday, April 12, 2013

Colorado Springs, the beginning of the end

Hubby and I moved to Colorado Springs in July after the most frustrating eight months yet. Kansas City didn't hold much interest or much promise and kitty potty training had failed miserably. We were disappointed from the beginning, and it never seemed to get much better. Being newly weds only made it harder because we were beyond broke and - I think- trying to hold on to the honeymoon phase. We were living off Ramen Noodles and probably had an iron deficiency, so we were hungry and cranky and tired. After plotting in our spare time about making the move, we finally had our perfect opportunity when Aaron was fired on the spot because his boss caught wind of our musings. We didn't actually have any immediate plans to pack up and head out, but all of a sudden, we were moving! We had nothing to stay for. We got rid of pretty much everything we owned, rented the biggest U-haul we could afford, threw the cats in their crate, and we were gone. Luckily we chose the hottest day of the year to head out. By the time we reached Colorado Springs, the A/C barely worked in the truck, and our cats were thoroughly pissed off.

We got moved into the apartment we had randomly chosen from Google Maps (luckily not too bad a choice) in just a few hours because the altitude hadn't started to affect us yet. After a month of sightseeing, I got a job, Aaron got a job, and we thought we were settled in.

For me, it actually took a long time to convince myself that I liked it here. I was still in love with Iowa City, and still am for that matter, so it was hard for anywhere else to compare. It's beautiful in Colorado, no one can deny that, but it wasn't home.

Now, several months later, Aaron and I have purchased our first house together, and I don't need a map to find the grocery store, so I feel like we can actually make it here. Unfortunately, I was laid off at my job, so I'm back on the hunt which makes feeling content hard. We have more company now, though. Some of our friends from Iowa moved in with us, so it feels nice not to be lonely and we don't spend our nights staring at each other anymore. We also adopted two dogs in the span of about a month, so with 2 cats, 2 dogs, our friends' dog, and the 4 of us, we have a full house!

When I'm not applying to jobs or reviving a blog, I can go explore Colorado Springs and all that Mother Nature has to offer. Can't wait for summer - wish it was warmer!
Leo (our friends' dog) and Link, neither of which like Aaron

Ganon, our fuzzy blanket

Zooey, the only girl and the one true Alpha

Neil Patrick Harris, the lazy, tubby, scaredy-cat, and also the best cuddler

Friday, January 13, 2012

Green Hair

I have recently been introduced to the idea of green hair. Not so much green in the sense of expensive dyes—or Kool-aid like we did in my high school—but green in terms of the environment, of course! I heard about this idea when a friend announced she had stopped washing her hair. My first reaction was somewhere between a grimace and “Get a hat.” I’ve always thought this particular friend particularly intelligent, so I thought I should at least hear her reasoning before I attempted to persuade her to lather up. Telling me instead about a carbon-footprint-reducing and natural-health-enhancing way to manage the perfect cut, I began to see her side. She reminded me of the body’s natural supply and demand. If the shampoo stopped washing away all the oil everyday, the body won’t produce so much. After about five days of no ’poo, the oil glands settle down. Simply rinsing her hair with warm water removes excess oil without kicking the glands back into overdrive. Also, to wash her hair, which she does every three days (a time frame that is synced with her body’s oil production, not necessarily the standard, though), she uses vinegar to remove any dirt or pollutants she picks up from walking around the ever-moving Iowa City metropolis. After further research, I learned some green-hair-goers also use baking soda every few days to stimulate the hair follicles, helping them grow! Benefits, my friend has said, have been no cost on expensive hair products, for one, no pollution with harsh chemicals running down the drain, no bottles to throw away or even recycle, and no gas spent running to the store to replace what you've literally just washed away. Personally, it’s the conditioner—my mother would say cream rinse-- that always leaves me wanting more. I need to use so much to get through my long hair, half the bottle is gone after a week. She says not only does she not need shampoo, but with her new regimen, her hair is now much softer and just as tangle-free. I thought, if nothing else, my roommates will be thrilled I’m not stealing their conditioner any more. Whether it’s a tight budget, a greener hair-do, or a healthier way of living that is the goal, this girl might actually be on to something.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Heads Up

Gamers worldwide will instantly recognize Recon Instruments’ newest line of skiing equipment as something straight out of Halo or Gears of War. Finally, this live and highly integrated informational system has made its way into the real world. Game Informer Magazine has recently featured Recon’s new set of goggles, retailing anywhere from $350-$450, tempting gamers to trade in the virtual for the actual with what is fondly known on the TV screen as the heads-up display or HUD. The HUD is a transparent interface between player and the game that gives live information such as character, ally, and enemy position on the game map, health information, available resources, and other, game-specific information. This information is displayed over the screen rather than below (like the dashboard in a car) so it can be seen easily during game play.
Recon Instruments has created something similar called a Micro Optic Display (MOD). With features like temperature, speed, altitude, distance of a jump, hang-time, navigation and buddy tracker, music, video camera, and, of course, smartphone connectivity, this MOD makes all the HUDs jealous. Other Bluetooth enabled accessories made by Recon Instruments turn any place a good place for live, MOD information including the belt, wrist, or head. This ski technology company may have what it takes to get everyone out on the slopes this year.
Probably not me, though. Despite the fact that I always wish it was warmer, so snowboarding and skiing is a "no" by nature, I might be tempted to take my turn downhill if it meant playing with those goggles. Especially if someone else got them for me. Unfortunately, though, my tailbone can still feel last year's attempt to shred or whatever. If I can't even sit on the floor comfortably, I decided there are just some places I don't belong. I'd rather sit and drink in the lodge while trying to justify getting the new MOD goggles for absolutely no reason.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Amazonian Warriors

Sorry for the inundation of information, but without a job, I have nothing else to do than job search and read the news. In conclusion, another opinion:

Amazon online bookseller, turned book buyer, turned book publisher-- there’s a lot wrapped up in this little dot com. Many publishers are less than thrilled with the idea that with a few clicks of the mouse, many of their potential clients are taken away by electronic publishing. True, many battle-worn authors can find refuge with Amazon, but publishers should have little to fear. As of now, Amazon is acting as the Wal-Mart of the book world. Providing a one-stop-shop for its customers, it’s an easy place to get what needs done, done. However, like cashing a check at Wal-Mart, it may be easy, but it isn’t a bank. Wal-Mart doesn’t have everything. I can cash a check, but they can only give me what I’ve been paid, no loans, no trust, no relationships. Amazon appears the same. There isn’t much of a relationship between writer and publisher. They agree to publish your work, and that’s the end until someone clicks Add to Cart, if someone clicks. And! Worst of all, there isn’t the satisfaction of going into a bookstore and seeing blood, sweat, and tears in hardcopy. Amazon might be on to something for now, but, just like electronic books versus print copies, there is simply no competition for the real thing.

Who Said That?

Recently, a video has been posted on, a video informational site dedicated to the education and promotion of Deaf culture and especially Deaf literature; this video (link below) is called Early Intervention: The Missing Link. It emphasizes the negativity that overwhelms new parents who find out their baby has been born deaf. For centuries deafness has been labeled by the medical community and hearing population at large, as a disability, a handicap, and a problem to be fixed. This problem, for many doctors, requires surgery and a cochlear implant along with life-long speech and physical therapy to be overcome, sometimes with great success and, more often than anyone would like, great frustration and failure.
The goal of this particular video, which in turn eagerly speaks for the Deaf community, is to say that disabilities and handicaps are far from the truth. Deafness is instead a culture built of people with similar experiences, traditions, habits, and most importantly, language: American Sign Language. This video urges parents to think of language opportunities rather than limitations. Teach your child ASL, a language that can be as easy and natural as English is to thousands of hearing Americans. This language can open up many doors for a child rather than trying to force them through only doors that require speech and hearing, doors they may never unlock. The maker of this video seems to think that if parents are introduced to ASL as an option and, even better, are introduced to a Deaf adult as a model for what their child can become, they won’t be afraid of deafness and make rash decisions about which linguistic route is best for their child. However, it is this point that should cause some hesitation.
I absolutely and whole-heartedly agree that Deaf people can become successful, intelligent members of society and have a whole list of shining examples, but I’m afraid these people may only be as good as their interpreters. Parents, I’m afraid, may still see Deaf people as somewhat foreign if an interpreter is required to communicate with them. They don’t hear the eloquence of the Deaf adult; they hear a hearing interpreter translating. As a person who has loved learning and using ASL, I could have a one-on-one conversation with a Deaf person and get to know them on a personal level, but not everyone has that luxury. I do know there are plenty of skilled interpreters who could easily make a person’s ASL come to life in English, but I’m afraid the less-experienced and less-qualified interpreters are often the ones being hired by many public establishments because of such limited budgets. Less-qualified means less expensive.
Hospitals have little money set aside for interpreters who are called not even once a year. More importantly, they are run by a hearing person who may have never encountered a Deaf person and who may feel translations come a dime-a-dozen-- if you know a few signs, you’re hired. Interpreters play a big role in representing the Deaf community and often don’t live up to the job requirements. Limited knowledge keeps everyone in the dark: the English isn’t right nor is the ASL. Unfortunately, it is usually the Deaf person who must suffer the consequences because they are the minority and must conform. If parents are to be truly informed on the best option-- linguistically, culturally, educationally-- their only real option may be to learn ASL themselves and study the Deaf culture so they understand, at least intellectually, what the options are for both sides.

(As a bit of a disclaimer, I don't want to come across as an antagonist of this video in any way, shape, or form, I loved it and thought it to be spot on. However, I know that simply introducing parents to the Deaf world may not be enough to make them choose a non-hearing route if they don't become involved with the Deaf world first.)

Saturday, December 3, 2011


A few more “Moving to Kansas” stories:

Two weeks ago, Aaron and I drove down to Kansas City with more of our belongings, somewhat begrudgingly relocating in hopes of better opportunity in a larger city. I have spent a lot of time down here and a lot of time job hunting, praying that I’ll find something that I can call a career. So far, the prospect has been bleak, so, to insure that at least one of us has a job and, therefore, money to make the car payment, Aaron has decided to transfer his retail position rather than try to find something completely new. Bless his heart. As we sailed through many an amber-wave-of-grain, my check-engine light decides to turn on as the car downshifts to pass the world’s slowest-moving pickup. Naturally, I become scared beyond all reason, and here’s why:
Once upon a time, I decided it was time to grow up and get my own car, so I trade in my nice chocolate brown Chevy Impala for a neighbor’s semi-used Lexus (yeah, I said Lexus) SUV-ish thing. Within a month of driving said luxury vehicle, strange things start happening. First and foremost, all of my money was going into fueling it. Accustomed to the bottomless gas tank of a new, fuel-efficient car, I couldn’t believe I was paying over $60 a week to back in and out of my parking spot. Little did I know, things were to only get worse from there. What I can only imagine was immediately after another expensive re-fueling, I drive headlong into the night for North Liberty with my soon-to-be husband and our friend, Jarren. All Jarren had to say was, “Oh! That was a hard shift,” for everything to fall apart. By the time we returned the Lexus was barely with us. Over the next few days, its ability to change gears lessened and lessened, jerking violently with every attempt. It finally decided to nix the driving habit completely while I was on Interstate 80, headed home. It wouldn’t accelerate or change gears, I was sure it would slow down, but I was on the Interstate and didn’t exactly want to do that. I called my mother to say goodbye and cried hysterically the entire way home. Then I called boyfriend Aaron to come console me and drive me around. This, to the less than car-savvy, is what happens when your transmission dies. A few thousand dollars and months later, the car has a new transmission, and I feel phantom jerkiness and engine problems every time I drive. I quickly traded it in for a Ford 500, swearing that if I ever had car problems again, I’d sell it and walk.
So, after the slight jostle of downshift and the sudden and incessant screaming of the check-engine light, I was sure I was out another transmission and another thousand dollars, which I don’t exactly have considering I just quit my job. I immediately begin cursing like a sailor and hysterics ensue. Aaron, of course, is sure it’s nothing and decides to call our friend, Scott (a really great mechanic) when we park to see what he thinks. I don’t have the heart to tell Aaron that Scott is two states away and cannot possibly help, you stupid, stupid boy! After a hearty meal at the Olive Garden, luckily, I’m much more agreeable. Scott recommends going to an auto-parts store (shop? Place?) to borrow their scanners that hook up under the dash and read the car’s computer. Scan complete, we learn there is low pressure in the gas tank. Most likely cause: loose gas cap. The engine light turned on because of a gas cap. Properly tightened, the light went off as soon as we started the car. I couldn’t believe it. I was angrier that the light went off than I was when it came on. I was using Scott’s name as a curse now, for thinking of something so simple as scan for a gas cap. The light shouldn’t come on for things that aren’t actually problems. Fact.

Secondly, my cat crawled down the heating vent. My new bedroom has been recently painted and the vents taken off for proper paint coverage. The cat, in her infinite curiosity and wisdom, climbed into a hole tinier than she is, fell two stories, and spent the next hour and a half trying to climb back up while my sister, her friend, Tim, and I called, “Here, kitty kitty,” up on the second floor because we were sure the cat couldn’t have gotten very far. We eventually found out she was in the basement, and Tim was in the process of ripping the ducts apart when I sent my sister upstairs on a lead that a certain vent the cat was under might lead to the living room. Right as Tim was making some progress my sister puller her out, the little dust ball that she had become. Currently, there are bags, cans of paint, a mini fridge, and a fan blocking all of the vents (and, so, the heat) so this won’t happen again.

With Zooey’s trauma-induced cuddliness endearing her to me, I decided to drag my air mattress into “their room” and spend the night with the kitties. Every two hours for two hours, I was forced to wake up and rebuild the blanket fortress I had constructed to protect the mattress from kitty-claws or getting run over by crazed cats chasing each other from one end of the room to another. After the allotted two hours, they settle down to sleep, which means I sleep, but then get woken up by cats walking on, kneading, licking, purring near, and violently biting and scratching my head. Shooing them away only made the running start sooner, so I tried to hide under the covers until lack of oxygen made me pass-out and fall asleep.

I can’t seem to catch a break, although, I did get the surround sound set up and I have a space heater that works, but as winter creeps in, I can’t help but wish it was warmer.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Trying again....

It's a new month, so we're trying again. The first ring is out, but this isn't what we were going for....

Sent from my Droid Charge on Verizon 4GLTE