Women and Salary

Here's a very interesting article about tests describing why women's salaries are generally lower than men's. Essentially, it has a two part answer: women tend not to ask for raises as often as men (self-esteem?) AND part of that is because women who do ask for raises are socially penalized more than men who ask for raises. I guess it boils down to a negative stereotype of the ambitious woman.

Which is why I have my doubts that Hillary Clinton could be elected president.


Camping and Caving

The weekend before last, I went up to a campground near Eagle, CO for a night of camping with my friend, Erica, and three of her friends. They were all really fun people. It was a long drive for only one night, but I really miss camping. The campground was chosen because it's about a mile away from Fulford Cave, a cave that one of the people in our group had explored before. This is an important point because we went into this cave and I realized how important it is to have an experienced person with us. But more on that later.

We arrived about an hour before the rain did, with just enough time to put up the tents. The truth is, I like camping in the rain. As long as it's dry when I put up my tent and where I eat, that is. The latter can be (and has been) a tarp over the cooking and eating area. The part I like best is hearing the rain on the roof of the tent. Needless to say, I have a nice, waterproof tent.

We went up to the cave pretty late, but as someone pointed out, it's always night in the cave. We went in with hard hats, bike helmets, and in my case, a snowboarding helmet, and head lamps. I was glad that I was wearing old clothes because we got filthy dirty (running jokes: "Oooh, it's a bit slippery over here" and "You've got a bit of dirt on you."). The worst part was the metal tunnel and ladder to get in and out (see picture to the right). It was fun, but I wouldn't take up caving or spelunking as a hobby. It's got the same entertainment value as hiking or climbing, but it's dark, wet, and if you were to get lost, it's considerably scarier (see earlier reference to having a good guide). Not that we did get lost, but my storyteller side leapt out every once in a while and say "what if!"

Then this weekend, I went on a hike with my brother and his new honey. She is very nice. I look forward to getting to know her better. She seems to be just the sort that would suit my brother well. We went by another cave entrance and went down it a short ways. Turns out it was impossible to get lost in, thank goodness. There was also a lovely little stream and a beautiful view of the valley.
We stopped by a winery on the way back and did a little wine tasting. It was fun and I ended up buying a few bottles.

And, though this has nothing to do with caves or camping, I'd like to report that I've read and enjoyed the latest Harry Potter and am now reading a peculiar mystery, called Three Bags Full, in which a flock of sheep investigates the murder of thier shepard. I just noticed this morning that the little drawings of sheep in the lower right corner would jump and frolic when flipped through, like one of those moving picture books. In just one of the frames, the sheep looks like it had quite a fright, but I haven't got to the story at that page, so I'll have to wait and see what's on that page.

A New Adventure

OK, where to start?

Some time ago, Former Squeeze (FS, for short?) got a motorcycle and took me for a few rides. It was fun, but the rides were few and far between and I didn't like being dependent on his whim if I wanted a ride. Riding a motorcycle has long been one of my Three Totally Superficial Goals in life. The last, of the three, in fact, to be realized. Turns out one ride wasn't enough.

SO. I bought an old bike (see above, note the helmet!) and took a motorcycle class. I passed and got my license. Since then, I've been practicing my clutch and throttle control. I've been mostly travelling around first my own neighborhood, then a neighboring one. Today I went to get gas and took a longer ride, still staying on side streets. I figure I'll continue to develop my skills incrementally and eventually be able to drive to work, and to visit friends and siblings. It will be a while before I get on a major highway.
It's a lot like learning to drive a car when I was sixteen. My fine motor control is pretty rough. Going 40 miles an hour feels like my top speed (I have been told, however, that the bike itself will go up to 65. FS test drove the bike when I bought it. So it's the driver not the vehicle.)

I've already had two dreams in which I was riding a motorcycle. Not sure what it means, but it is interesting, isn't it?

Here's an interesting article about The Joy of Motorcycling by Stephen M. John. Enjoy!


Touching Realities

I was busy this weekend and will post about it, but really need to get some work done. So, instead, I will leave you with these very interesting thoughts about the nature of reality and how our realities interact. Much of what she says ring true to me.


Too Cool To Compete

I resemble that remark! :)

This wonderful cartoon accompanies an advice column in the Washington Post. (The cartoonist, Nick Galifianakis, is the husband of the columnist, Carolyn Hax.) I started reading them back when I lived in DC and used the internet to further my addiction. The cartoon often relates to one of the questions in the column. Sometimes it's directly relating and sometimes it's a digression, but it's always funny.


100% Done

On Friday, I put in the last whole bricks (2 hrs). On Saturday, I did all the cut bricks (4.5 hrs). On Sunday, I grouted between the bricks on the radius because the sand wasn't holding them tight enough and they had a tendency to move (1.5 hrs).
Now, all that needs to happen is for me to have a BBQ so a bunch of people can walk on the patio and help the sand to settle. Unfortunately, because I waited until the last phase to allow help, only my dad got to help. Oh well, I'll remember that next time. I'll just have to get people to "help" me eat some tasty BBQ food.
The remainder of Saturday, I watched an episode of Mystery! and gave myself a pedicure/manicure. On Sunday morning, I went to my sister's to lay by the community pool and take a dip in the warm tub (it was not "hot," but that was a good thing). Then we went up to look at her new house that's under construction and have lunch. The sandwich shop we had our mouths set for was !closed! but we managed to make due with a tasty Asian food place called Spring Thai. While there, Aileen decided that because her husband was out of town, she would get the fixings for Thai spring rolls for dinner that week. We stopped at a really nice Asian market on our way home to pickup the ingredients. Shortly after I got home, there was a lovely thunderstorm, so I sat by the open sliding door and read a good book. After that I managed to put the finishing touches on the patio (see results, above). And in the evening, I watched a really good movie called The Matador. It has a few graphic images and certainly graphic language, but the story is fantastic (if a little odd). It's only in the second half that everything starts coming together, but the first half is packed with great images and characterizations. I think I shall have to buy a copy.


Patio Dilemma

I know that several people offered to help me with the patio, but I'm almost done. I've probably got 2 to 4 hours left and some of that may happen before people become available to help. The pavers are going down pretty fast, which I didn't expect. It's the opposite problem from the cleaning and painting I did at the beginning of my home ownership. That seemed to go very slowly and I was dying for help. Now I've had offers I'll have to turn down.
Oh well. That'll teach me not to wait 'til the end to accept help. :P


Transformers Review

I saw Transformers today and it was surprisingly good. No, there wasn't a very good plot and aside from a few main characters, the character development wasn't all that great either. BUT the quips and the humor were wonderful. John Turturro and Bernie Mac were especially good, though the main kid also gave a solid performance. I laughed more than I probably would if I saw that dreadful Chuck and Larry movie (which I will NOT). The inside jokes were fun to look for and I loved when they inserted humor into an action scene. There was even some great physical comedy. I also enjoyed when they inserted inside jokes for those familiar with the half hour cartoon. The action was, as one might expect with a Michael Bay film, a little over top for me. Too many explosions going on at once, so it was hard to tell what was going on. Special effects were done well.
I'd actually recommend it, and that's saying something.

A Chip Off the Ol' Brick

The bricks (I should really say "pavers," since they are not standard bricks) came yesterday! YAY!
My dad stayed a couple of days longer than he'd planned to help me get a good start on the patio. As you can see above, he did a good job. We got the standards established and all the geometry worked out. We put down half of the bricks already and it's looking fabulous! In the picture, some of the bricks look darker because they were wet, either from the hose or from cutting them with the wet saw. When they are all dry they'll be more uniform.

After we slaved in the backyard until dark, I whipped up a lovely dinner:
Mozzarella and Herb Tortelloni topped with Mushroom (White and Shitake), Broccoli Cooked in White Wine, garnished with grated Parmesan. Mmmm, Yummy!


Stall on Patio Road

The pavers did not arrive on Thursday, due to the sudden realization that they were out of stock. My dad was very disappointed, since he was looking forward to helping me with that.
The break's been nice, since I was able to focus on my family's visit this weekend. I enjoyed hosting my sister, Karen, and was still able to get a few household things done yesterday afternoon. Relaxation and accomplishment, my favorite kind of weekend.
However, I'd really like to have the pavers now, since I want to finish that up and move on. I've got an appointment at the brick place to figure out a solution this morning. In fact, I ought to leave right now for it.