Anyway, the plan for the last Hajj Podge post was to list little tidbits of info about a few things I've taken an inquisitive interest upon. However, the Hajj cannot be explained in one little paragraph for it is a complicated process. I also have this theory that the best way to learn about something is to write about it. And being as I wanted to learn about the Hajj, I wrote about it. That's what this blog is about, mostly. It's one, big, fat, research project in the which I challenge myself to relay info from other sources without plagiarizing. I also have this goofy self-imposed challenge to include a word I've never used before. As time goes on, and as I've used most of the many words out there, the challenge becomes more and more querulous with each passing post.
Enough about me. Let's move on to my thoughts.
Driving to my run the other day, I was fed by the Led. Led fed. That's where you listen to Led Zeppelin and it somehow ends up in your stomach. I find it was better than the best of carbohydrates. I ran fast that day and I pay tribute to the sustain of some Zepplain. My favorite album of late is In Through The Out Door. That album has All Of My Love, I'm Gonna Crawl and In The Evening. What's your favorite Zeppelin album right now? I say "right now" because I'm assuming you're as moody as I am. (Remember, same boat?) This means it prolly changes. Often. Sometimes I surprise myself, however, with an element of consistency in my moodiness. For example, my favorite Zeppelin tune is When The Levee Breaks. I think this tune has been my favorite for some time. But only if it's loud. And has lots of base.
This was the summer I was going to learn how to mountain bike. Mountain biking requires all sorts of skills and even more sorts of guts. So this was the year I was going to get some skills and even more guts.
It's not going to happen, however, and it has nothing to do with the 18 stickers acquired in each tube (damn canal and thank you Spouse for fixing 'em!) Suddenly, I'm totally out of time. I mean, totally. Like I've never been stretched this thin, like, ever. I'm considering the quitting of the job. Which is a bummer because, like, where will I get the cash for my fancy running shoes?
Lay Me Down In The Tall Grass
Speaking of the sticker spin, I was on this one (bike) ride. It was the last week of school and was heading home. To get home I had to get on this canal which just-so-happens to run by a high school which just-so-happens to be near a large grassy field. A grassy field used to farm something. Tall grass, perhaps. So as I rode by, I startled a couple of sluffing high-schoolers rolling around in that tall grass, half-naked. If I didn't have toget home for kindergarten car-pool, I would have jumped off my bike and chased 'em back to school. Yes, I'm that kind of mom. I will interrupt the coitus and insist on the returning of education. And if it there's no education to return to, I will insist that it's wrapped.
The Tour is alive and kicking. Did you know that? What with us being in the same boat, you prolly already knew that. Our Fourth of July traditions always include the watching of boys on bicycles in France. Last year, I admitted as much, and Megan sent me France's national anthem through itunes. Also called me a frog. Hey, it's not my fault the Tour's opening days are always on the Fourth of July!
All these years that I've been watching the Tour, I've been pulling for a Schleck. Andy Schleck or Frank Schleck. I want a Schleck to win. I don't know why. Maybe it's because Schleck is fun to say. Or maybe it's because Frank and Andy are each other's help-meet. Who knows. But I like the Schlecks. Maybe it's because I have envy for their brotherly love -- for their cooperative nature. Heck, their web site is www.frankandandyschleck.com not www.frankschleck.com and a matching www.andyschleck.com, but together with a www.frankandandyschleck.com. Sadly, Frank (Schleck) crashed in one the beginning stages of the tour and is out with a broken collar bone. Doubtful if Andy can do it without Frank, but what do I know. There is one thing I'm sure of, however. I'm tired of the commentators talking about Armstrong and Contador. Good grief. Those two are drama queens. I would know because I have a drama queen for a sister.
The Polka Dot Whore
While we're on the subject of the Tour de France, let's get into the fashion associated with it, One of my favorite parts of the tour is the podium ceremonies. I like watching them. I like the glee on each rider's face as they scan the crowd and soak it all in, as if it's their last. Sometimes I cry. (But keep that little tidbit of in our boat, kay?)
Another great part of the podium ritual is the models who present the award and the clothing they wear. It's France. France is full of bee-you-ti-ful people. And fashions that excel. They all smoke, however, but that's beside the point. But France.... France is full of the hottest of the hottest. I've been there, you know... so I know all about France and it's hotness. This year, I'm aghast at the hideousness of the clothes these models have been required to wear. Not only are they bland, they're terrifically bland. There's one exception to this, however. It's the polka dot dresses (for the models that present the winner of the combined mountain points for the tour.) These polka dot dresses aren't bland. Oh no sir-ee. They are just plain frightful. See for yourself:
(Thanks, Ryan for the image! Image taken from Versus)
Last year's dresses were awesome. See for yourself.
The Yahoos have never been to a parade. Isn't that sad? Call the authorities if you must. I prefer to use my microscopic cache of patience on matters of construction. Like skiing. And piano. And helping my mom.
Speaking of my mom. She's a valiant knight in shining armor and the princess with the pea. I'm so very proud of her tenacity. Learning to walk again is no picnic, especially at age 67. We are all learning a bunch. For example, we've all learned an interesting side effect associated with a brian injury. Somehow, when the synapses aren't firing right and there's been a fair amount of bleeding, the body has trouble regulating blood sugar. So now Summy (ma's name of nick) gets to have her finger pricked to test blood sugar levels and insulin when necessary. Now. You'd think that the hospital people would know that the types of food you eat have a direct association with blood sugar, wouldn't you? I mean they are hospital people. They should know that ingested sugary carbs equals increased sugary blood.
Well it appears that the hospital people don't know that because they keep sending her food full of sugary carbs. For example, the other day at dinner, they sent her pork, rice, milk, juice -- and here's the kicker -- a giant piece of chocolate mouse cake, layered with cream cheese and oreo cookie crust. The nutrition sheet sent with the meal reported the carb content of that mouse cake at 76 grams of carbs. 76 grams! Made us laugh. Even Summy was in chuckles over it. Did she eat the cake? No. She's smart and knows how to do this stuff on her own. Incidentally, every meal they send includes some sugary starchy treat.
In order to remove a blood clot from your brain, the hospital people must shave the head and slice it wide open. That's what happened to Summy. They shaved her bald and installed an awesome frankenstein-esque scar that goes from crown to neck. Even gave her 30 staples. Incidentally, she looks a bit different from when she had a head full of finely coiffed locks. My sister's kids came to visit yesterday and were a tad reserved about the visitation. While speaking to one of his parents (can't remember which), I overheard one of them say, "But I can see her brain!!!"
Bool On or Off
To change subjects entirely, I'm going to make an itunes request. Any of you in itunes development? Or better yet, itunes product managing? I want the ability to form playlists using boolean attributes. For example, I want a playlist with all songs in the "Rock" genre except for all from Styx (blah), REO (ick) and Foreigner (yawn) songs. Another example is all songs in the classical genre except Debussy. (You know, 'cause Debussy requires a specific mood.) And while we're requesting stuff from itunes, I want to suggest a field attribute called "explicit." And then I want to have a playlist that includes everything except those songs marked explicit. Ask me about the time the whole neighborhood was over and the shuffle produced a tune from the Kick A$$ soundtrack. Not pretty. There were children.
Scratch and Win
While I'm on the subject of itunes, did you know it was my birthday a couple of weeks ago? It was. And I had a couple of people send me itunes gift cards. These itunes gift cards are the neatest thing since that nifty pineapple coring gadget. For those of you unschooled on this itunes gift stuff, let me explain how it works: On the back of these cards, there's a silver strip that reads, "scratch off gently with coin to reveal code." So you scratch off the silver strip, gently with a coin, to reveal the magic code. Then you open itunes, click on itunes store then click "redeem." From there you enter the magic code and watch your account balance go up and up and up. It's magically delicious. It's like gambling that pays all the time. It's like those dumb scratch and win cards you would get as a kid, scratch frantically and never win, only this time you win! Win! Wooden, is what those cards are. Full-on wooden.
The Cow Whisperer
Have I told you about the Cow Whisperer? She's this tiny 100lb hot thing that runs with us. We call her Downhill Diva because she can go down hill faster than anyone I know. Downhill Diva is also the Cow Whisperer. This is because she was raised on a dairy farm with cows and knows how to handle cows. I do not know how to handle cows. I'm scared to death of cows. While running here and there, we will come upon a herd or two of cows. Usually happens once or twice a year. I know those cows can smell my fear and look at me as if I'm their next lunch. Downhill Diva always rescues me from the cows. She claps her hands, gives those bovines the stare-down, and gruffly hollers something like "Get along! Move out!" It's pretty cool to watch.
Hot for Pot(s)
Each year, the gang and I do a special run in a canyon called Diamond Fork. We call it the Hot Pot run. Diamond Fork is a sub-canyon within the canyon of Spanish Fork. Towards the top of this Diamond Fork canyon, there's a trailhead system called Three Forks. It's spectacular. We run up one fork for about 6 miles, then turn left on to a road called Sheep Creek, and run 5 more miles on Sheep Creek (pronounced "crick" by the locals.) After five gruesomely hot and hilly miles we turn left on the Fifth Water trailhead and run down 6 miles. Two miles from the bottom, there's some hot pots. A hot pot is a pot that is made hot by a hot spring. It's not really a pot, however. It's a little basin type thing that a sulfur-powered hot spring runs into.
This year, there were a couple of things to note about the Hot Pot run. First, there weren't any naked people at the pots. I was so disappointed for there are always naked people in the hot pots. Second, The Cow Whisperer was chased by a mooing cow for a whole mile. That cow was mad. Prolly had PMS. And now, The Cow Whisperer just might be as scared of cows as I am.