Sunday, October 19, 2014

Silver Liningness Sunday

Well.  It's Sunday already!  This was a busy and productive week.  It's midterm project time in the land of school, so I was slaving away, and my blog dependence has been neglected.  But I am still here keeping my head above water.

My tutoring schedule has, thankfully, calmed down to a gentle oozing after the back-to-school gush, and not a moment too soon.  And I discovered a nice feature that my tutor matching service recently added.  We can selectively turn our profiles to 'off' if we don't want to show up in searches, but we still keep full communication with our current students.  So now I don't have to invoke my say-no skills.  I just made myself invisible!

And before I go further with the gratefulness stuff, I do need to share some somber news.  Tina, the Black Skirted Tetra of aquarium apocalypse survivor fame has passed.  We discovered her last night, facing east underneath her prayer temple, suggesting a very peaceful passing.  She was given a proper porcelain burial.  Now, only the monsters remain.  May she rest in peace.

In other casualty - sort of - news, Alice was in bad need of a pedicure.  Peda - cure?

I somehow managed to shear a chunk of pedal off of her, and for this past week, she's been going around all clipped like this.  But today, I took her to the salon and she's looking peda-spiff now!

It's a very nice day out, and I easily managed to get Meego and Magnum to come along with me on a ride to the bike shop.  This was a good thing as I'm starting to feel that Meego and his new computer, Potato, are spending a bit too much time together.  I mean, I'm glad they're getting along and that Potato is such a suitable match for Meego, but sometimes we need to go feel the wind in our hair and the cracked pedals beneath our feet.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

we're not all weird

Quick! What were you doing five years ago??  This morning, I had a little memory jog.  Meego was getting ready for school.  It's his last day this week because it's teacher / parent conference time.

I said, "Welp, I better go to conferences to discuss all of your issues", sarcastically.   I hope.

He said, "Yep", sarcastically.    I hope.

Actually, there's not really much to discuss (knock on wood), and I realized that five years ago was the last time I went to a conference at the high school.  It was for Chaco and it was for English.  Figures.  He's probably the most intelligent of all of us.

So I remembered the day vividly because I also had a conference with Meego's 4th grade teacher, since we're actually scheduled for these things in elementary school.  And what I remember is that Meego and I were home just before going to his conference, and we turned on the noon news to catch the headlines.

Balloon Boy.  There was a little kid uncontrollably aloft in a homemade balloon over the state of Colorado.

It was on every channel - this large mylar balloon with a compartment that the kid crawled into and then got caught by a gust of wind.

It was tracked all along its journey while planes and emergency personnel raced after it to be there when it hopefully landed.  Everyone wants to save a little boy caught in a big balloon!

Now, if you remember that story at all, you remember that it was all a hoax by a very strange family.  When the balloon landed, and authorities raced to attend to the little kid - who must've froze or gotten airsick or whatever - only to find that he wasn't in there.  

The family said they thought he was in there, but turned out he was hiding the whole time.  But then it turned out they staged the whole thing just to get free publicity for their big homemade balloon.

And that's what I will probably always remember about fall parent / teacher conferences.  I remember that day, going to Meego's class when the news was still fresh, and the boy was supposedly still sailing on the high winds.

I'll remember asking Meego's teacher if she'd heard about Balloon Boy.  She hadn't since she'd been conferencing all morning.  I don't remember anything else we talked about.

I'll remember waiting out in the hallway at the high school for Chaco's English teacher while we parents huddled around someone's smartphone to catch Balloon Boy updates.  

Back then, I was teaching some online classes, and a few days after Balloon Boy day, we had a first session for one of them.  We were all introducing ourselves and saying where we were from.  When it came to me, I said

"I'm Abby, and I'm in the state of Balloon Boy"

They all knew where that was.   Unfortunately.


Linking up with Mama Kat for the prompt:
1.) A blog post inspired by the word: race


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Silver Liningness Sunday

Hello and happy Sunday greetings!  The air is crisp and the leaves, they are a-changing.  Pumpkin season is here, I like it!

I snapped this pic this morning as the peak is covered with its first official snow of the season.  We've had some dustings in the last few weeks, but with this, it's moved officially into "snowed upon".  It's prettier when not looking at it through a dumb phone.

My P.E.O chapter hosted a local Oktoberfest fundraiser yesterday.  I haven't heard the final numbers, but I think we made a pretty good haul.  Beer and brats, what's not to like?

As for us, we actually weren't in attendance.  Magnum, Meego, and I decided to spend a day in Denver.  The zoo has added some nice big habitats since we were last there a few years ago, so we decided to check them out.

It was a great day for it, perfect weather and the summer crowds have passed.  I, for one, still enjoy a visit to a nice zoo, and it was nice to see plenty of others of all ages enjoying it too.  However, it did serve to remind me of the uneasy state of my aquarium...

I remember visiting that zoo nearly 30 years ago with a guy I was dating at the time.  Seems we just went in the afternoon, walked in a loop for about an hour or two, and that was that.  Now the place is huge.

Another good push to get out was the fact that we've been having intermittent problems with our internet service.  It's probably from our modem being about to die.  The bright side to that is that we've seen plenty of Chaco this week since talking to the official "Tech Support" only seems to make matters worse if anything.

So for that, I'm grateful that Chaco lives so close by.  I told him, "shouldn't you just teach me all of this?", but I guess he'd rather just come over.  Surely it has nothing to do with my own computer tech savviness.  Or lack thereof.

And that reminds me, the feed died while Magnum and I were in the middle of watching an episode of "The Walking Dead" - Season 4 just released on Netflix.   We're gonna have to hook in and catch the rest of that episode before the modem zombies take away our streaming capability again!


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

I'm a wiener!

And I got some prizes today, too!

Last month, the University kicked off "Pedal Perks".  It's... well... it's...

Specifically, it's organized by the office of sustainability, which does things to help the university be more environmentally friendly.  Promoting bicycling is just one of those things.  So anyways, about 130 people signed up, and we began recording our mileage on the official Pedal Perks club page over at

Anywhoo, I think there was a threshold of 100 miles to win a prize each month.  I got an e-mail yesterday that I was one of the September wieners, so stop by the office  for my prize.  I strode in there today, all prize-winnerish.

There was a lone person in the office, a young woman typing enthusiastically away at her keyboard. Really, it made me wonder just WHAT she was typing.  After I strode in all prize-winnerish and the enthusiastic typer didn't seem to notice I was there, I gave an enthusiastic,


She stopped typing, looked up, and gave an equally enthusiastic, "Hello!"  - lots of enthusiasm in that office, I tellya - and then continued to just enthusiastically look at me.

Surprisingly *cough*, she didn't seem to know who I was.

"I'm Abby?", I continued, "I got an e-mail that said I'd won a prize for bike month? And to stop by?"

"Oh, Hi!", said the sustainability person.  I started to realize that maybe she's just always enthusiastic and what she was typing wasn't all that exciting.  Either way, it was refreshing.

She brought out a box filled with goodies, a.k.a. "prizes of approximately $10" and told me to take my pick.  She also gave me an official Pedal Perks insulated water bottle since I had failed to get one when the thing kicked off a month ago.

I dug around in the prize box a bit.  There was an assortment of < ~ $10 goodies:  socks, taillights, coupons, more water bottles, etc.  In the end, I was torn between the socks and the taillight, but went with the light since I rarely wear socks that people can read (these said "One Less Car").

Here are the goods!

And in addition to my pedal perks prizes, while I was en route, I engaged with Mr. Happy Friendly.  Remember him?  The super speedy, super friendly one-legged bicyclist?  I actually hadn't seen him in a while.  Maybe he just rides/commutes/whatever he's up to at times other than when I do, but he did seem a bit slower than his usual super speedy self.  I was actually behind him for a while and able to keep up.  

At one point, though, he must've looped around somewhere and we crossed going in opposite directions.  

"Good morning!", was his usual peppy salute.  

Fame, prizes, and Mr. Happy Friendly.  

A good day.  


Sunday, October 5, 2014

Silver Liningness Sunday

I rode by a fully populated pumpkin patch this morning - a sure sign of fall.  I was thinking we should go get some pumpkins while the gettin's good, but then that would break my long-standing tradition of scrounging at the last minute.

I've been contemplating my aquarium.  The zombie fish continue to thrive in their dystopian existence.  I've been waiting for them to die... or whatever it is that zombies do when they "pass".  I don't dare introduce any innocent fish since all of the others I tried died shortly after, even when I check the water chemistry and deem it healthy.

There's just something about those two (Buenos Aires Tetra) zombie fish!  The secret lies with Tina, the sole survivor of the apocalypse.  She was one of the lesbian Black Skirt Tetra threesome.  For some reason, she still lives.  So it's just the flourishing zombie fish and Tina.  They even killed the plants.

In the meantime, I continue to properly care and feed for the monsters and Tina, out of obligation.  My luck, they'll live for another twenty years.  But I've got plans to get a nice Cichlid tank going after deciding that a marine reef setup is too expensive right now.  Magnum suggested getting the cichlids and letting them eat the monsters, but my luck, it would kill the new fish.

Anyway, we went and looked at nice fish and supplies yesterday.  It was really just an excuse to go for a bike ride on a pleasant Saturday, and it worked.  I managed to not let Meego talk me into buying anything - helped by the fact that we couldn't lug much home on bicycles.  But he did get us to Carl's Jr. to eat like we mean it.

In  movie news, we watched Into the White, which we all liked.  It's based on actual WWII events, and nicely done as far as a story of survival can be done nicely.

And speaking of bicycle rides and survival, I got a flat tire this week.  Unlike my last trailside mishap, this wasn't my fault!  In fact, I've given both Alice and Bella such TLC, it's silly.  Alice was literally running like a well-oiled machine when she pulled up lame.

I was only about a mile and-a-half away from home, and although I had all the first-aid supplies to get Alice rolling again, I was thinking I would just walk it home and fix her there.  So I was walking along deciding if I wanted to pull a PDM - public display of maintenance - when this good Samaritan pulled up and offered me a ride.

Yes, he was a total stranger, but I could (pretty much) tell he was a good one.  I'm not sure, but I'd say he's one of our local military people, he just had that air about him.  He claimed to be an avid cyclist who's "been there", plus he had this roomy SUV.  He was in the neighborhood scoping out houses to buy, so I took him up on the ride offer.

His name is Joe, he drives a newish BMW SUV that's only slightly sullied from carrying a wounded bicycle, and has his left arm in a sling from recent shoulder surgery.  If you see him, give him a shout out.


Thursday, October 2, 2014

given a choice

It started when I was about the age Meego is now.  Then, once I began working in a restaurant, there was no looking back.


I remember brewing up some instant one day when I had to get up early to make it to the track meet bus.  Coffee was warm and supposedly a wake-up tonic, so I made some.

Looking back, I think I'd unknowingly made decaf that morning, but it was warm and made me feel a little grown up.

When I began working as a busgirl in a hotel restaurant, coffee flowed in unlimited amounts.  That was where I discovered the fully-loaded version, with just a touch of cream.  The increase in my table-cleaning efficiency was notable after that first cuppa.  In fact, once we'd closed for the evening, busboy Jimmy and I would put our feet up for a while and enjoy a cup or two. Then we'd hit the dining room with a vengeance.

Later on, I transferred from the restaurant to the front desk where I pulled the occasional graveyard shift.


When I was in college (the first time) I had this little aluminum stove-top percolator.  I would load it up every evening so all I had to do was click the burner on in the morning to get my fresh-perked on before classes.  Magnum thought that very efficient of me, so much that he snapped that pic of me and the percolator in the kitchen of our college apartment.  He's easily impressed.

While I was pregnant, I'd have lucid coffee fantasies that continued through the nursing months.
At one point, I thought, hmm... am I a slave to coffee?  Just to check, I stopped drinking it for a good month or so.  The result?

NO problem.  It's more of a habit, really, than a true addiction.  I don't NEED it.  I think I just like the ritual of preparing it, whether in the percolator, the automatic, or my coffee press.  Every now and then, I do the coffee abstinence thing, just to make sure.   What gets me through it?  Tea.

I prefer tea.  Real tea - green, black, orange pekoe, whatever - not a bunch of herbs thrown together and falsely named "tea".

I know I could go on happily existing without coffee, although I might miss it a little. Take my tea, though,  and things WILL get ugly.  Just so you know.


Linking up with Mama Kat this week for a three-way!  Choose your poison:

1.) September 29th is National Coffee day. How do you like your cup?
2.) What were you blogging about last year at this time? How have things changed?
4.) Throwback time! Share an old photo and tell us about it.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

love nesting

I've been away for a few days doing an assignment for school on the design and production of high-end washing machines.  Sheesh, as if I don't have enough washwomanery in my life!

But it's all done, crisp and clean, so I dropped over here to the blog and... look at all the updates on my bloglist!  Oh, I must get to reading something other than moldy door seals!

Meego and I went to the nursery over the weekend so he could do a little landscaping refurb on the toad vivarium.  He wanted some more ground cover for them other than the moist soil they usually do their thing on.  And "their thing" is pretty much toad sex.

Have I mentioned that we don't know the sex of any of the toads?  We've sort of deduced that they're all guys, though.  At first, we just watched to see who took which position in doing "their thing", and they all ended up interchanging.  Okay, nothing wrong with that.  It's still possible that they're all girls, or some mixture.

But I digress, this is about the landscaping.  Meego ended up getting this little Blue Star Creeper plant.  I'd like to put some in our neglected backyard, but we'll test it on the small scale for now.

Here it is, freshly rooted in the upper left corner:

The toad threesome hung out in a tote during the extensive yardwork

The tote proved to be a total mood breaker.

But once they were back in their natural environs, they seem to really like the new plant.  Broke it in in no time!

So, let's play "I Spy".  Can you find him/her?

Who can resist these bedroom eyes?