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"One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas Day. Don't clean it up too quickly."
– Andy Rooney  
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  Volume No. 18 Issue No. 12 December 2021  

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  “Kinda” all over the place again
  By Mark Stoller

   Mark Stoller moved to Falcon in 2007. He and his wife, Andra, both U.S. Air Force veterans, enjoy life with their daughters, extended family and adopted rescue dogs in Latigo. Mark savors the privilege of his wife and daughters being his muse for topics, people to meet and places to investigate.
We’re going to walk and talk this month as we catch up on different topics.
   Pikes Peak Community College fall semester is in full swing, and I am working through my pre-requisite classes. My two courses are PSY235 Human Growth and Development and BIO204 Microbiology. During this phase, I need to truly excel in my classes with the highest A possible to compete for an opening in nursing school. Since almost everyone else who applies has A’s, I understand it comes down to who has the higher A for more points.
   
   Human Growth and Development is all about how we progress through life starting as a bunch of cells, our sequence of life phases, and up to our last breaths as we pass from this life. The infant development information would have been helpful to me as a new father. I am still not a pediatrics fan, rather the elderly remains my favorite crowd.
   
   Microbiology is the study of all the microorganisms in our life. In our first experiment, I swabbed a culture from the bottom of my shoe and grew it in an agar plate petri dish. Two days later, we took our dish out of the incubator and studied the resulting culture(s).
   
   My shoe had both staphylococcus and streptococcus bacteria on it! Let’s say it together, “Ew!” From now on, shoes are taken off before walking around the house. Now I can’t look at countertops, handles or floors without envisioning the big green germ character from the Mucinex commercial taunting me from afar! I am forever changed.
   
   We took our annual excursion to Estes Park for the Long’s Peak Celtic Festival with Andra’s band, the Pikes Peak Highlanders. It’s a great festival and worth attending if you ever have the opportunity. In the evening there is a musical concert with military and pipe bands. The organizers do a fantastic job celebrating military and first responders throughout the show.
   
   This year, the U.S. Marine Corps band broke into an A cappella version of God Bless America. I can’t tell you how truly awesome it was to be with fellow Americans who weren’t the least bit concerned about being patriotic — or singing on key. Well, maybe it was me not hitting the notes.
   
   A lot of planning and work goes in to our celtic festival weekends. The band must be certain places (parade, festival open/close ceremonies, etc) at certain times and competes against other bagpipe bands later in the afternoon.
   
   For these weekend-long festivals, we plan transportation, meals, equipment, chairs and water to be settled during the many periods of waiting. Talking with another band spouse, Angie, we came up with the idea to write a book called, “Schlep and Wait - Memoirs of Being a Bagpipe Band Groupie.”
   
   Free time is not a luxury for me this semester, but I am mulling over the idea of hosting a Mark’s Meanderings podcast. On a weekend, I could record a couple of episodes and still contribute monthly columns here in The New Falcon Herald. There are many moving pieces required to pull this off.
   
   I figure I could bring on guest co-hosts to talk about the material of a previous Meanderings column and then close the podcast by reading original material. Andra and my daughters have each accepted my invitation to periodically co-host the podcast. Next project is the list of special guests and topics.
   
   Lastly, there’s less than 90 days until Christmas. It is time for the frenzied sprint through the holidays and end with a headfirst slide into the new year!
  
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