Friday, July 31, 2009

The Ultimate Hug

My waking thought this morning was again about hugging. (I miss Zeus.)

The ultimate (and cutest) hug that could possibly occur would be between the Duchess and Muriel.

Love you both!

(Note of explanation: These two ladies are both 7.5 months pregnant! The photo is Mrs. Dub and Eris in 2002, six babies ago!)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Arms length away

Ten yards: I see someone come towards me whom I genuinely love and care about. I am excited to see this person. From a distance of ten yards I am in total control of my emotions.

Nine yards:
Still fine, a smile on my face.

Eight yards: Still smiling, trying to come up with something witty to say.

Seven yards: Nothing witty coming to mind, better just stick with "it's wonderful to see you".

Six yards: The other someone is smiling, probably also trying to think of a clever greeting.

Five yards: Uh oh, they are getting closer...

Four yards: What the... the arms are going up, one higher than the other... I know what this means...

Three yards: Still advancing, no doubt about what is ahead in three, two, one second..... Sweat beads up. Can I run??

Two yards: No getting out of it now.

One yard: (resignation) Which arm do I put up? Opposing arms? One arm? Two arms? Oh......

Contact: Okay, I'm locked in the embrace, how long do I stay? One-one thousand... Two-one-thousand... Three-one thousand... Pats on the back... It's all so confusing....


There is a word for the scenario I just described. Hugaphobia. Go ahead, click on the link.

Yes, I have it. Some people fear spiders, arachnophobia (they don't even phase me) while others might fear flying in airplanes, aerophobia (I have this a little). We all have our little quirks.

My family was not of the hugging variety. Our personal space was just that, personal (except when I helped myself to older sister's clothes). Nor were we the kissing and gushing variety. Physical closeness was rare, and when it did happen it often felt awkward, mostly because it was unfamiliar to all of us. Athena and Eris were also raised that way (along with the OCD tendencies (I don't claim those)). They also suffer from hugaphobia.

Two people have helped me to partially recover from this malady. Seven years ago Amy came to live with us and she was a definite hugger. I gradually learned to let her into my space and accept the physical touching. Shortly after that the Duchess became part of our lives. Now there is an unabashed hugger!

Slowly, and with baby steps I have worked on this phobia. I no longer break into a sweat and count the seconds until release. I am still learning that it is okay to let people into my personal space, briefly. And sometimes I surprise myself by initiating this behavior!


Second thoughts: Those of you who grew up in the same culture as I did will remember the church Stake Dances. There were always strong admonitions of "arm's length apart". Could those warnings have contributed to my personal space issues? Just sayin'....

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Diptera be Damned!

They are attracted to carbon dioxide (exhaling breath), lactic acid, sweat, heat and anything that moves. They need fresh blood to feed the larvae that they have laid in an old rubber tire as far as 40 miles away. They can fly up to 1.5 miles per hour and can zero in on a target from miles away. They prefer blonds (huh?). In other words, I am a convenient fast-food meal for mosquitoes.

My morning ralking routine never varies. The running clothes and shoes are set out the night before so all I have to do is put them on and head out the door. Past experience has proven that if I have to hunt for anything it is easier to fall back into the bed. From May through October there is also another ritual that is performed. One of my many bottles of OFF is sprayed all over any exposed skin, including neck and face.

Due to our exceptionally rainy spring we have been warned that mosquitoes would be a problem this year. They weren't kidding. In spite of two dousings of DEET I am now sporting about eight bites on my legs, neck and arms. There is a spatter of blood on my white running shirt left by the unlucky bugger who was still breakfasting on my shoulder when I smashed him.

These pests hardly ever bother Zeus. But if I step outside without repellent I'll likely get bit. The bad thing is that welts from those bites stay with me for up to two weeks. I usually know immediately that I have been attacked because my scalp starts to itch. Then I begin to swear which emits more carbon dioxide which they love. I swat hysterically at the damn thing, which causes sweat and movement, attracting even more of his little friends!

This morning was particularly bad, especially out by the bay. It's a good thing the coinage was okay.


Disclaimer: The above photo is not my leg, although in the past I have sported that many bites after a trip to the ranch.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Buy me some peanuts and cracker jacks

We crossed one off the summer bucket list tonight (see last post). This afternoon I mentioned to Zeus that we should go to the baseball game after dinner. Our city has a minor league team and the tickets are often available free for general admission or an upgraded seat for a small fee.

When I got back from the pool this afternoon he suggested that we invite the kids to go with us. Surprise, they all wanted to go! Everyone except Bubba who was too busy playing with his new girlfriend, who by the way, none of us have met yet.

The high temp this afternoon was 102 degrees so attending an outside game was pretty risky. It turned out to be very pleasant. The sun set and there was a gentle breeze, perfect for watching the Great American Pastime.

And our team won 11-4 with three home runs! I think we'll do this again!


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Twelve Steps needed?

"Hello, my name is Numi and I am an addict."

Yes, readers, that's right. Today I realized that I have a problem. No, I don't drink, smoke, do drugs, carouse, gamble, look at porn or indulge in any of the other behaviors that you probably thought of when you read the first line. (I purposely didn't list caramel and chocolate, the two things I absolutely can not resist.)

My addiction is to summer. Weird, huh? I partially blame my father for this problem and fully expect that someday in the future a mutant gene will be identified (help, Nancy?). If there really is a Summer Gene then it is certain that Eris also has it and has passed it down to her three children. Athena and her offspring don't seem to have the compulsive and bizarre behaviors that are often seen with this problem, although they do love their times at Lake Powell.

The pattern has been the same since I was a small girl. In April the days get longer and the tulips bloom, a sure sign summer is just around the corner. In May the winter coat of hair on my legs, by then long enough to braid gets shaved. The first 70 degree day sees the shorts come out of the underbed storage box. By the time Memorial Day finally arrives I'm just like a small child at Christmas (or Festivus) eagerly anticipating the opening of gifts, or in this case THE POOL!

The majority of June and July afternoons are spent basking in the sunshine. The kids grow darker and darker in spite of the religious application of 50 SPF sunscreen. More tricks are learned on the diving boards and the new swimmers get more adventurous and independent.

August gets tough. Just as a beer drinker might count the number of cans left in the cooler and wonder if he will run out before the party's over, I start to think about how the summer is going by too quickly and it will soon be time to go back to work or school. Two days ago while out for my morning ralk I noticed that daybreak is creeping slowly to a later time now. No amount of quarters could console me.

There are only five weeks left to cram in all of the activities that are on my summer bucket list. I haven't been to Lagoon yet (postponed until October when the Duchess can go with us). We need to get a day at the local Aquatic Center (tentatively set for Aug 4, put it on your calendars). I still have more tickets for the Nature Center and Dinosaur Park. Haven't seen a baseball game yet and need to get to more lacrosse games. Panic is setting in. Also, sadness.

Yes, I need help for my addiction.

I'll start right after Labor Day.

$3.87 plus car wash token and an Austrian coin

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Obon 2009

The big day finally arrived yesterday. Little Ms. Eris and I had been practicing our dainty steps and the graceful waving of fans for three weeks. Last night we nervously stepped onto the dance floor (actually the church parking lot) to perform for friends and family at the Obon Festival.

Getting dressed for the dance is an art form all by itself. It requires three trained women and takes 15 minutes to assemble each dancer's yukata. Layers and strings are knotted around the middle in a very precise order and pulled as tight as possible. If the dancer can breath or move with any degree of comfort the dressers will yank the strings tighter and tie more knots. The end result is a beautiful costume that is fastened securely and impossible to get out of without further assistance from these same ladies.

After the dressing process is finished all of our accessories must be tucked inside the obi (sash). Little and I each carried folding fans, scarves and kachi kachis (castanets) as well as a round fan which was stowed in the back under the large bows.

I'm guessing that there were around 100 dancers who performed 14 numbers. Littlest really worked hard learning them all and it showed. She danced flawlessly and looked absolutely adorable.

Those in attendance were also treated to the artistry of the Taiko Drummers. Their precision and energetic movements are fascinating to watch.

Thanks to everyone who braved the 100 degree heat to come out and share this evening with us. Little and I worked hard to prepare for it and it was wonderful to see all of you there. We're already looking forward to including Littlest Ms. in the fun next year!

To see more images dance on over to the Shooting Blog.

$1.99 plus a wheatie

Friday, July 17, 2009

Backup your backup with a backup, etc.

This week has not been easy for the Numi. Emotionally it has been quite a roller coaster as well as an extremely busy week preparing for the Obon Festival. Also, a large order for photos was given to me a couple of days ago. No problem because they were all edited and I just had to call them up on my external drive and send them to the printers.


Whoa, Nelly. Not so fast. Three days ago our fair city had some kind of a power failure that lasted a mere 10 seconds, just long enough to require resetting all clocks and.... KILL MY EXTERNAL DRIVE! All of my storage, GONE! Corrupt files! Unreadable! Does not recognize driver!


Off to the land of technology geeks at our favorite computer hospital. One of the first questions the young kid asks is "Do you have a backup drive for your backup drive?" What the hell? Are you kidding me?

Twenty-four hours later I am back home. Data has been recovered and all of your smiling faces are back safely in their own little files. This little laptop now has the ultimate accessories of TWO EXTERNAL DRIVES plus a fancy new UPS plug-in strip (Uninterrupted Power Source) that will hopefully prevent any further crashes during power spikes or brown outs.

The techno guys couldn't understand why I wanted the old fried hard drive. Obviously they have never experienced the healing powers of catharsis.

I feel better now. And the photos have been printed.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009


August 2, 1922 - July 14, 2009

Friday, July 10, 2009

Two geishas

If you want to see more you will have to come next Saturday night. These two geishas had a blast and are looking forward to doing it again in one week for all of you!

For more information go to the Shooting Blog.


Thursday, July 9, 2009

Putting out fires

Yesterday was weird. I spent most of the day putting out fires, or at least helping to man the hoses. A couple of times I had to sit back and watch them burn. Not real fires that burn houses down. I'm talking about fires that disrupt lives and make people miserable.

They were not my own personal fires. However, each one of them affected me greatly. Thankfully none turned out to be life-threatening but one was certainly life-altering.

Please folks, no more fire. Unless of course it involves Hershey Bars, marshmallows and graham crackers.

One more thing. Talking about large fires reminds me that Mr. Eris and Wendy are both celebrating birthdays today! Happy Birthday to both of you!


Photo note: The top image is little Kara lighting fireworks. The last two are of Eris and Athena in 1992 taken at Colter Bay on a girls only camping trip. Lots of burgers and smores!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Achy extremities

My feet hurt.

Normally my feet are covered at all times with shoes and socks, even in the heat of summer. Rarely do I wear sandals and going barefoot just never happens. I like sturdy shoes with a good arch and lots of room to keep my toes comfortable. Because I tend to abuse my feet with all of the ralking it is important that I take care of them.

Also, I believe feet are ugly. Functional, but ugly.

The thought of a pedicure makes me cringe. Ugh, don't touch my feet. And painting toenails? Not ever. EVER.

So it was quite unusual tonight when I asked Zeus if he would rub my feet. Of course, he said yes, but not before I came to my senses and ran out of the room.

Little Ms. Eris and I have been dancing for the last week. Yup, you read it right. Dancing. For two hours, three times a week. We are learning 12 Japanese dances to be performed on the 18th at the Obon Festival at our church. This involves more than just moving my two left feet to a rhythm. That I could do. No, the hands and arms are also required to move gracefully. Then they add fans, kachi kachis (castanets) and an elaborate costume that apparently takes an hour to even get on, with assistance. But tonight they gently explained that my running shoes and ankle socks would not be appropriate accessories to the yukata and obi (a fancy kimono and sash). Sandals required! Now I might be in real trouble.

So until the Obon Festival is over I will be cutting back on my ralking, although not entirely. Probably just shorter duration. (Can't live without those endorphins and the coinage.)

In the meantime, Little and I are having a great time. She is doing well at picking up the difficult steps. The other "seasoned" dancers tell me not to worry about her because the kids are cute even if they just walk around the circle. Yes, she also will be wearing a yukata and obi. And flip flops.

My feet hurt.

$2.30 and one bent penny

Thursday, July 2, 2009


Six hands.

Every one of them is covered with age spots and wrinkles. Most are crooked from arthritis. They all bear scars and callouses from years of hard work. These hands all wiped away wailing children's tears, patted naked baby bottoms and washed endless dishes. Most of them milked cows, tilled a garden, sewed clothing and created artwork. Some of them waved sad goodbyes as husbands or sons went off to war. Every single one of them wore a wedding ring for over 40 years, one of them for nearly 58 years. They still miss holding the hands of their beloved husbands who have since passed away.

These six hands belong to the Swimming Ladies. The hands tell the stories of lifetimes. Written in the lines of these hands are the following totals:

Birthdays celebrated: 491
Average age: 82
Years of marriage: 283
Children: 28
Grandchildren: 87
Great-grandchildren: 74 (and counting)

Last Thursday we took another train trip to the Big City for lunch. The days spent with these incredible women are some of my favorites. They chat about the old days and tell of experiences they had in their youth when times were so different. They are all deeply religious and talk about their life experiences freely.

And the smiles. The smiles! I never tire of the smiles! I love every one of them!


Photo notes: Eris met us for lunch and rode the train home with us. She sat with Mom and they talked the entire time. The extra guy on the end was a tourist from Sweden. His buddy was behind the camera so he joined us in the picture.

The last photo of the two sisters will probably always be one of my favorites.