Midweek

birds 0319Because I haven’t mentioned it in something like two whole days, I will open with an update on the weather: it’s snowing, with a large chance of robins in our crabapple tree. Here is the unpleasantness my weather (Weather Underground) is calling for: snow until noon, at which point it turns to rain for at least 12 non-stop hours. And back to snow after that. So this should be fun.

I would also like to report the city showed up in full force on Monday, putting a road grader with two blades down on the ground and finally plowing up all the slush reposing on Irwin Street and the rest of the Palisades. This happened just as I got home for lunch, and no matter how hard I tried to put my car out of the way, it ended up interfering with the city’s plans.

Since we were home, Lynn and I went immediately to work, moving slush from the bottom of the driveway before it hardened. Then we went inside for lunch, and shortly thereafter, here came more city equipment, clearing everyone else’s driveway’s for them. Who would have expected that?

No matter: the streets were suddenly passable, and Life Was Good. Lake Palisade receded to the gutter where it belonged, although we still have a large pond where Irwin and Palisade intersect. And who knows what sort of mess we’ll get with today’s snow followed by rain.

The sun was shining yesterday, so I thought I’d try reading while walking, since I’m behind in my daily quota of pages on ancient battle formations. I didn’t get very far: there was a sheen of ice, more than I expected, although I should have since we finally dropped below freezing, and while the city made short work of the mess covering our streets, it didn’t get to the alleys of Van Tuyl Village. But I did, this morning, push through to the photo section at page 144.

I never look at the pictures ahead of time, although it would have been helpful so far in this book, because his word pictures aren’t worth the thousand words he could have saved by showing me a picture and saying: This is what a Greek shield looked like, and this is a sample of a Roman version.

I always view the pictures as a reward for making it this far in the book, and I figure this  means I’m halfway. Probably more, since the back features glossary pages and notes. And I did just read about the battle that gives us the phrase Pyrrhic victory, where one might have won, but the cost is so great that it’s probably not worth the win.

This book, which so far is not going down as a keeper, did have a couple of interesting thoughts. Pyrrhus was an ambitious king from Epirus in Greece, and his goals, in order, were to conquer Rome and Italy, then Sicily, and then Carthage in northern Africa, thus putting a lock on most of the Mediterranean. “And then what?” asked his friend. “You and I will sit in the sun, drink all day and talk,” replied the king. His friend pointed out, “That’s what we’re doing right now.”

Pyrrhus did not heed his friend’s wisdom, and although I’m not quite there yet, I sense it isn’t going to end well for him. And a lot of Greeks, Romans, horses and now-extinct Atlas elephants have all died in Pyrrhus’ circular quest to achieve happiness. There could be a lesson there.

Which: I finally heeded that lesson myself yesterday, and no animals were harmed in the making of the event. I did, after putting down my blog “pen,” go to Safeway and buy a box of Twinkies, along with Doritos and peanuts for prizes. I settled on the wide sidewalk across the street from Pat’s as our race course, and I broke the race into two categories: running and a senior walking event. The “senior” age kept sliding down until we settled on “30 and over.”

We eschewed frying pans in favor of our snack plates at work, and after some practice flips inside the shop, we locked the doors (with a note pointing the way to our Twinkie race) and went across the street.

I missed it because I was busy organizing, but some woman (she must know us, but no one could give me her name) came by and knew about our Twinkie race. “You guys always have a lot of fun,” she said to those of us who were listening. (I’m told, since I was not among those listening.)

James emerged the victor in the three-man running competition, sure enough of his victory to “dab” in the middle of his run. (Yeah, I don’t really know what that’s all about either, but that’s why I was in the over 30 competition.)

And then it was the walkers’ turn, and here is what I learned:

  1. I only have one gear anymore, and it isn’t fast.

Kara thought we would all be walking at a sedate pace (she was one-quarter right), but Ben and Gilly streaked out ahead, so Kara raced to catch up, and was aided by Ben’s confusion as to where the race turned back. She and Gilly were Twinkie and Twinkie approaching the finish line, but Kara made a deft flip on the fly to claim the victory.

I can’t tell you if I came in third or not: I believe Ben reached the finish before me, but he had thrown his Twinkie at Kara back at the turn, so the moral edge goes, I’m sure, to me.

We filmed this event with the video camera we recently purchased for work-related purposes, but for some reason everyone seems to think the camera’s future lies more with important stuff like Twinkies. I didn’t post the race videos themselves, but I managed a multi-media extravaganza on the Pat’s Facebook page that I can’t replicate here unless/until I upgrade my WordPress package.

You know what? This took so little time, really, and everyone enjoyed themselves immensely (especially Fortino, who consumed three Twinkies in short order and one more later, just for good measure). We — I — need to put more of this back into the Pat’s matrix. It would be good for all of us. Not to mention it pointed out my need for more gears in my get-up.

So that’s my week so far, with the exception of the Great Electrical Tour of our Some Day house, but you should get that report tomorrow. (Be sure to tune in!)

I do have this math problem, should anyone want to solve it for me: If one of my peanut butter cereals contains 7 grams of sugar per three-quarters cup, and the new peanut butter cereal I just purchased but can’t recommend (Nutter Butters as cereal — it seemed like a good idea) has 13 grams of sugar per cup, how many more Panda Puffs can I eat before achieving the same sugar content?

Have a good day, all.

Photo: There were robins in this tree, but by the time your photojournalist got out the camera, these little black guys were there instead. Either way, the snow wasn’t slowing anyone down: they were all chirping like it’s spring.

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