Friday, December 7, 2018

give a girl a fish

Yesterday, I was at the university library to meet with a student.  As mentioned, they're in the thick of semester finals, and the library was abuzz with tension.  I don't miss those days, but they were so long ago for me, I hardly remember.  Still, though, if I could remember, I don't think I'd miss them.

I arrived a bit early and was out in one of the common areas while I waited.  There was a girl sitting at a nearby table, talking to herself as she studied, surrounded by papers, books, calculator.  I could tell she was doing math.

"Okay... okay... I know how to do this...", she was saying to herself, or God, or somebody.

For me, I'm sensing an upcoming slow down in business with the winter break coming soon and high school seniors finishing up their college applications.  So I'm thinking up some little projects to fill the free time.

On that note, here's some aquarium progress.

I've got the water properly conditioned, added some gravel and bubblin'.  Yesterday, I planted a few plants along with some bulbs that are "guaranteed to sprout".

Guaranteed?  So... what if they don't sprout?

I've never had a tank this tall before, always had shorter, wider rectangular tanks.  I like the look of this tall hexagonal, but I have to stick my whole arm in up to my armpit to reach the bottom.  There are probably tools for installing plants at the bottom of tall tanks, but I don't feel the need to geek out quite that much yet.

So after putting in what I thought were relatively tall plants, they look so short and tiny.  I need a tall chunk of driftwood or something before I'm ready for actual fish.  Hopefully I won't experience the mass death that happened with the last aquarium.

"Okay... okay... I know how to do this..."

In other updates, we've still got this Bacon Hot Chocolate.  Any takers?

Anyone else have an upcoming break in workaday stuff?  Planning to eat anything weird?

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

humidity, carnage, anxiety

*FOOM*  It's Wednesday, already!

  • It's been a busy few days, but all good.  On Monday, we had a whole house humidifier installed and I feel better already.  Who knows, maybe the thing isn't even doing anything and it's all placebo effect.

I know that, in some states, DE-humidifiers are the thing, but here in Colorado, the air can get very dry - especially indoors in the winter.  I declared myself done with putting up with stand alone 1-room humidifiers.

I'd been thinking about it for a while, and a couple of weeks ago, we had our furnace tune-up.  I'd planned to ask the tech about a humidifier.  Magnum was home for Thanksgiving break, and almost on cue, he got a bloody nose, which made for a nice segue to begin the humidifier discussion.  Now we own one.

  • We were watching Ella, Chaco's pooch, last weekend.  We took her out for a walk and came upon an area where a bunch of geese were hanging out, not far from a road.  As we approached, the geese began to disperse from the sidewalk by waddling off to the side, HOWEVER, two of the geese decided to TAKE OFF FLYING across the road.  

What followed was not pretty.  They were taken out by an SUV that was going over the speed limit, especially dangerous given the fact of all the geese hanging out by the side of the road .  The sound was awful - imagine taking a big grocery store chicken and throwing it full-force at your car - accompanied by a flurry of feathers.

One goose was injured and able to scamper back to safety, but I don't know how bad its injuries were.  The other one took almost a direct hit and lay twitching in the road for what seemed like an eternity before it stopped moving altogether.

I felt bad because I'm pretty sure the geese were wanting to move away from the approaching dog.  We were just walking, though, not moving fast.  And Magnum reminded me that that SUV driver was going too fast.  But sorry, Mr. or Mrs. Goose.  RIP.  I've found "comfort" in this story to assure me that geese aren't always angels...

  • Busy times in the tutin' world currently.  Semester finals and such have these students on edge.  I'm hoping to be a calming presence.  Well, one can hope anyways.  Colleges around here have winter breaks that last an entire month, so there will be plenty of time to shut the brains off soon.

Honestly, I used to think that "test anxiety" or "math anxiety" were just terms for people who didn't want to put in the work.  But I've met a few people for whom their anxiety is a real obstacle despite their best efforts.  Wish I had a fix-it recipe.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

prize-a-rama and an impostor

Just prior to Thanksgiving, Magnum's safety group at work had another of their many contests.  These things seem to happen mostly around the holidays with offers of prizes.  We always enter, I think we got a basket a year or two ago.  And once again, we're weiners!  Mag brought home one of ten gift baskets...

The "challenges" are not that difficult.  In this case, it was a word search based off of a fill-in-the-blank set of questions based off some reading materials.  We learned about holiday safety:  proper food prep, temps, and storage, what not to feed the pets while everyone else is pigging out, winter travel safety, etc.  I mean,  c'mon, I was a lunch lady - that stint paid off!   And now I'm pretty sure I will never own or use a turkey deep fryer.

Ironically, much of the stuff in the basket from the Health and Safety group is not so healthy.  I have yet to try the bacon flavored hot chocolate (?).

In other prize news, I got an email from the turkey trot people that there were prizes for top 3 finishers in each age division.  I swung by the Young Men's Christian Association yesterday and claimed this cute mug, from which I'm sippin' my coffee as I type.

They recently posted some photos from the race, so I was perusing for photos of myself and Wolfgang and his friends.  I took second in my age group, and there were a couple of ladies in the next older group who also beat me.  Those two older ladies have beaten me before (i.e. every time we've run in the same event), and I'm well acquainted with them as they are well known in the local running community.  

However, the name of the woman who took first in my age division was unfamiliar.  So as I was perusing the race pics, I thought I'd look for her to see if I recognized her at all - to match a name with the face.  

It didn't take long, and I found "her".


Now, despite this clever disguise I've applied, I think we can all agree that this is not a 52-year-old woman, but rather a virile dude in his early 20s.

A bit further investigation, and I pieced together the events of Thanksgiving morning.  
  • Mom, 20-something son, and teenage daughter register for the turkey trot
  • Mom and daughter enjoy the event, starting and finishing together
  • Son runs his own race and meets up with them after.
  • Son wears Mom's bib instead of his own, takes first place for the old ladies

HA!  I'm sure this was not done on purpose because who would intentionally try to throw the results of the old lady division of a turkey trot?  

I mean, it's a cute mug, but...

Monday, November 26, 2018

fat and happy

One of the nice things about being an independent contractor is having no set schedule.  One of the difficult things about being an independent contractor is having no set schedule.

I was feeling like I was putting myself last, so starting today, I'm attempting to be more organized with my time and giving myself scheduled work hours sort of.  My "shift"doesn't start until later, and already I've stopped myself several times this morning from doing work related stuff. I actually don't have any students scheduled for today, so it's a good day to start this endeavor, and I think I'll be more efficient now

And it's nice too since it's on the heels of a nice Thanksgiving.  Dinner at the sis-in-laws was a good time with about a dozen of us.  SIL and her husband really did the lion's share of the cooking and presenting, and it was all very good.  I like to think that they enjoy doing it, so as to not feel too guilty about our family taking up half of the seats and eating the most?

Magnum and I took Meego back to school yesterday for the final push of his first semester. We arrived early in the afternoon to a very sparse campus despite the dorms opening up early that morning.  So it was nice to be able to walk around and have Meego point out various things.  I think we encountered more (very fat) squirrels than people.

Not my photo,
but a pretty good representative

Anybody do any Black Friday door bustin'?  We did our usual trek to Best Buy, only because it's a short walk from our house and a recreation after all the eating.  I'm in it more for the people watching, not shopping

Friday we ventured out to Bass Pro Shop only because Meego needed a jacket.  They were doing a healthy business that day.  As I walked around, I was thinking that the typical clientele of Bass Pro would probably do quite well in an apocalypse as they seem a pretty self-sufficient bunch.  I didn't get much of a vegan vibe either.

It was a successful trip, and on the way home, I picked this up as a Black Friday Haul

Again, I was NOT actually Black Friday shopping.  Y'all read me say that I was going to set up a new aquarium after the evil one finally bit it.  I just hadn't gotten around to it (see paragraphs 1 & 2), and my inefficiency paid off because I got this lovely 20-gal hexagonal tank at a bargain price.

So far, it has water in it and is pulling electricity.  It's a start.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

with the grace of a turkey

Happy Thanksgiving, blog people of America!  I hope everyone has some time to relax and be grateful today.  We're heading to my sis-in-law's in a bit, so there's one thing I'm grateful for already:  she's hostessing.

Once again, I managed to drag my butt to the YMCA for the annual 5K Turkey Trot.  I'm not sure how many of these I've done, but it just wouldn't feel like Thanksgiving  without it.  I know I missed a couple for crap weather and a foot booboo, so I was happy to be there this morning.  And it was a nice morning for it - temps in the 40s, not too cloudy/windy.  My allergies have been bugging me this fall, and I was a bit clogged up and a bit topsy turvy, but hopefully good enough for a turkey trot.

I corralled myself in with the second wave. As we stood waiting for our turn to go, a man next to me wished me luck, and we talked about hopeful finishing times, blah, blah, blah.  He was probably about my age and "getting back into running".

"Second half is all downhill,right?", he asked.

"Yeah, first half is all uphill, then we turn around, and it's all downhill.  Aim for the hospital, that's my strategy", I answered.  It so happens that there is  a hospital right at the finish...

Next we knew, they counted us down, and we were off. I scrambled to get to the front of the pack for a bit more elbow room, and soon things opened up nicely.

 As promised, we slog uphill praying for the turnaround so we can  go downhill.  It's not TOO steep, but feels pretty much like this:

So I just enjoyed myself, not pushing the allergy envelope too much.  I saw some fun costumes.  Plenty of turkey feathers and tutus.  One family was dressed as silverware.

Eventually, I was in the homestretch and had the hospital in my sights, and then the big finish arch.  Now, I remember from years ago in high school track, you don't slow or stop at the finish.  Run like the finish is another 10 yards or so.

Well, nobody told that strategy to the kid in front of me.  He stepped across the finish, then instantaneously went to nearly zero m.p.h., so this happened:

Well, okay it wasn't QUITE that dramatic.  My life may have briefly passed before my eyes.

Right after that, I felt a hand on my shoulder.  It was Wolfgang who was chasing me in the final stretch. HA, I just managed beat him.  Okay, so he started a bit behind me, but I've got 30 years on him, so call it good.  Then his equally young buddies, who all turkey trot together each year, came trailing behind.  I beat all them all 💪(with that headstart...)

Anyways, I was hoping for a sub 25 and managed to just squeeze it in at 24:54. Good enough for 2nd place in my old lady division.  I did check the next OLDER division, and yes, a couple of those old old ladies beat me again.

And I did manage to create something that, at least, looks like a cake for our dessert.  I know I'm not the only dessert bringer, so no pressure.  And maybe by then, most will be tipsy enough to have lost their discerning tastes.

Happy Thanksgiving!  I'm grateful for all who visit here!  (Not you, though, spammers...)

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

"I look at their photos and wish I had their life"

That was a comment someone left on a news story about the sentencing of Chris Watts, the guy who killed his young daughters and pregnant wife back in August.  I'm pretty sure it's a national story, but it's headline news around here since it happened just up the road.

That's a big part of what makes the story so perplexing, in all their social media pics and updates they look like the perfect happy little family - good looking  smiley couple with two cute and happy little girls, a baby boy on the way.  What the hell??

So he took a plea deal to get life in prison and avoid the death penalty.  I saw several other comments that the death penalty would be the easy way out, "let him rot in prison and have to think about those innocent children every day..."

But will he?

I can't wrap my head around being capable of snuffing out 3- and 4-year old little girls, then stuffing their bodies into an oil tank through an 8-inch diameter hole.  I don't think we can assume he is feeling bad about killing those girls if he's capable of doing what he did in the first place.

Ugh, sorry to bring up such disturbing subjects, but like I said, it's been all over the news, so I needed a bit of a vent.  It does shed light on the "picture perfect" families and couples on social media. Don't assume.

Speaking of less-than-perfect, I'll shift gears and mention that today is my birthday.  woot.

Magnum's birthday is Saturday, so we celebrate them together by not celebrating.  Well, they happen around Thanksgiving, so we just lump everything together and pretend our birthdays are a national holiday.

And now I'm going to bake - not a birthday cake.  We're tasked with providing beer and dessert for a family Thanksgiving gathering tomorrow.  Magnum got the beer, so I guess dessert is up to me.  Well, Ima try.

As far as my personal mark for another year on earth?  Maybe I'll get a tattoo?

Happy Thanksgiving, Yo!

Saturday, November 17, 2018


I was gonna do some paperwork after tuting this morning. I've got a pretty full tutee schedule up until Thanksgiving Thursday.  What is with all these studious kids that want to "take advantage" of their break to get in some tutin'?!

Well, I am thankful for them, for their work ethics and for keeping me on my toes.  And... well... the money.

But it's nice to have a break too.  I started listening to some sexy music, and it pushed me to the right side of my brain and wanting to play with my art toys instead of do paperwork.

This week's prompt at Illustration Friday is "music", so it seemed like divine intervention.  All that inktobering made for a rocky transition to pencils. 

Meego got home last night.  Magnum drove up and picked him up from college.  I was tuting, so held down the fort.  It's nice to have Meego home for the week.  He got a new amp for his guitar, and it was good to hear that sound in the house again.

And he needs a haircut.

Last week while out and about, I came across coyotes on two separate ocassions.  It seems they've returned amid the bunny bounty we have around here.  I have noticed a decrease in the bunny population.  I find coyotes pretty cool - so stealth and lithe - as long as they stay afraid of humans. If they start showing up with ACME anvils and stuff, though...