Saturday, December 17, 2005

Burning both ends and the middle

This week has been busy -- to say the least. Pay period ends and the doctors aren't dictating much so I'm back to working during the night in addition to my regularly scheduled shift during the day. No help for it if I want to make enough money for bills, food, rent, and presents. And there's no one but me to pick up the slack.

Monday night I met with the PPRAA (Pikes Peak Radio Amateur Association) hamfest committee and was officially designated the newsletter editor and the newest voting member of their board of directors. The officers are voted in for a two-year term and my term has no limits on it. They have had trouble finding and keeping newsletter editors. My first official act was to beg (read strong arm by email) a friend for an article with pix for my first official newsletter in January 2006 (can you believe another year is nearly burned out?). My second official act was to introduce myself to the membership and let them know who I am and what I plan to do. Within minutes of my message being posted on the PPRAA reflector I received and article and offers of articles and help, all citing their good wishes and praising my enthusiasm and introduction. It was even suggested that I would be a great resource for helping other members edit their articles for national publication for organizations like the ARRL (American Radio Relay League).

Did someone mention money?

In the past 30 days I have had to join three organizations: the ARRL (to get my official badge for VE sessions, more about that later), MARC (Mountain Amateur Radio Club), and now the PPRAA (they frown on editors and board members not being actual members). And I foresee more money given to the poor and greedy -- I mean needy -- member hungry ham radio clubs and organizations. Oh, well, what price glory -- or membership?

I missed the MARC Xmas party due to work and didn't get to see Michael before he left for two weeks in sunny California with his family. I will, however, tool up to Woodland Park sometimes in the interim to meet his housemate, who is a Wiccan witch, and her fella and the new puppy that has kept Michael awake every night since he bought her from some kids outside the Safeway in WP. Cute dog -- or so I hear -- but yappy and needy and whiny -- just like a real girlfriend. He hadn't gotten any sleep before he caught his plan yesterday, but hopefully he will get some on the plane and when he gets to his mother's house.

I did manage to celebrate the end of my grueling work schedule Thursday night with the boys. They brought over hot wings (with the intention of napalming the mucous membranes on the inside of my mouth -- and failed) and I provided two pizzas (one thin crust with the works and anchovies and the other mushroom and sausage pan pizza). I provided the first movie, Sky High with Kurt Russell, Kelly Preston, and a very cute guy playing Warren Peace (although I thought he was War & Peace). The show is cute and what you'd expect from Disney, but still an okay flick. Pretty schmaltzy in some areas and heavy on the good guy-bad guy deal with some low level special effects, but all in all an innocuous flick for a nothing-to-do-Saturday night movie. Then we watched the last three episodes of the first season of Queer as Folk. If you didn't see the series when it was on Showtime, check it out at your local library (if they're brave enough to carry it) or rent it from your favorite video store. And not just for the sex and hot guys, but for the ensemble cast, the drama, the whole shebang. Excellent show -- if a little heterosexually idealized for TV kind of drama, but still... Worth a look. I can't wait to see the second, third, and other seasons and I wonder why they took it off the air. It is definitely a winner.

They boys left early and I crawled into bed with Frank Herbert and the Bene Gesserit of Chapterhouse. I was supposed to go for a walk at 7 the next morning, but it was too cold for the landlady and I was still sleeping off my work binge. I went for a walk around noon to the library, to the post office, stopped for a moment at Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory for a caramel apple freshly made an studded with English toffee, and a cold and bracing walk home. I needed the exercise and the fresh air after being cooped up inside with my butt welded to my chair in front of a computer with ear buds stuck in my ears.

Last night the boys and I planned to meet at Temple Shalom for a Chanukah concert and nosh. The directions were vague and I ended up way past Widefield and came back to finally discover the street sign I passed on the way out into the wilderness was too dark to read in the dark. They really need to do something about that. I got there late, but alive and cold and intact. When I took my seat at the back of the sanctuary I saw a fellow ham radio operator peering from between the partitions. He asked if Temple Shalom was my temple and I explained I was invited for the concert. I suppose the tux and onyx studs on his pleated shirt should have been a clue, but he was part of the entertainment for the evening. (I found out just a few minutes ago that he is also president of the group.) And the concert was stirring and absolutely wonderful.

I had never heard the Little London Winds play before but I won't miss them again. They do free concerts all over the area throughout the year for free and they are an all volunteer band who play because they love music. Shel said music keeps him off the streets. I thought it was ham radio, but he assured me that kept him off the streets, too.

After the concert I talked to Shel for a few moments and his wife walked up and we renewed our acquaintance from the campfest ham exams in August. She suggested I go to their summer concerts in Manitou Springs at Soda Springs Park. I can guarantee you I will be there. I can't wait to hear how they play Sousa and all the tunes that I have loved so much over the years, especially if last night's little concert is any indication of their virtuosity.

While I was talking with Shel and his wife, the boys slipped out into the darkness and I drove home to pick up some wrapping paper for a gift to give a friend who came over today to drop off the Dr. Who DVDs he made for me. They are all the episodes of the brand new BBC series with Christopher Eccleston as the latest incarnation of the Doctor. He said one of the actresses reminds him of me. I'll have to check it out. He liked what I gave him even though I had to make him promise not to buy ANYTHING for himself between October and Xmas because he always talks about getting what I've already bought him. I have to find a way to keep him out of my head when birthday and holidays come around. I don't know how he does it.

And that brings us up to a beautiful snowy day on an old friend's natal day. I wish her well and hope she gets what she wants for her 41st birthday.

The snow outside is like goose down falling softly onto everything, obscuring my mountain from view, and turning the world a softer shade of white. Inside, it is comfy and warm and quiet and clean (I got up early this morning and cleaned house, did dishes, stripped and made the bed, and hung up my laundry). I smell chicken and vegetables and pastry cooking in the oven and I feel just a little sad. It seems a shame not to have hot chocolate and cayenne bubbling on the stove and a tree surrounded by boxes of lights and ornaments ready to hang, but that will come with Monday evening. I also have to buy a table and chairs and probably an entertainment center to house my growing collection of DVDs (made by my friend) and the ones I bought and get my TV off the floor now that it's paid for. Time for me to move in since I've already become a happy denizen of these environs. The fun thing about all this is that everywhere I go, even just to the store, I run into someone I know or met recently. Makes living here feel like home at last and like its time to put down some deep and permanent roots.

Tuesday afternoon will help with the continued shoe-horning of me into this little outpost of civilization because I have a date to go see Narnia. I never read the books as a child and I certainly am not a fan of heavy handed sermonizing and Christian proselytizing, but I do so adore fantasy, so Lou and I will bump into each other outside the theater on Tuesday, start up a conversation, and take the sting out of our first blind date. I really hate the idea of dating, but I love the idea of spending time with new friends and old. So, we've decided to forego the whole date stigma and pretend we just met and decided to sit next to each other in the theater, maybe have lunch afterwards, and see if we can strike up a friendship that will keep us both busy now and again. There are worse ways to spend a Tuesday afternoon. I'm glad mine will be in a movie with a bucket of popcorn and a friendly pair of eyes next to me in the dark.

And it's two weeks from my New Year's date with Gus, and I'm really looking forward to that.

It has been a year full of tears, fears, and drama, but all in all it has been a year full of interesting times. I guess the curse does work -- and it works really well.

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