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Sunday, April 23, 2017

a weekend in contrasts

Yesterday, Magnum and I got out for a bit of culture:  an afternoon at the Thee-a-tah (trying to say "theater" in a snobby way).  It was the high school drama department's production of "Emma!" a pop musical.  

They did a nice job, it was very entertaining, and some of those kids are very talented young thespians and singers.  It's not really typical for us to go to the school plays, but like last spring,  Meego participated as one of the nine musicians, so that's how we ended up there.



The musicians all had a good time of it, sounded great, and Meego said that it was some of the most challenging music he's ever played, so - growth!

The cast presented each musician with a rose after the final showing, along with a thank-you note signed by each member of the cast.  All the notes had some silly pun to refer to each musician's instrument.



For example, Meego's said "Your bass-ically the best!" *snort*.  However, the trumpet player's note just said, "Sorry, all the trumpet puns are too dirty".

This bit of fine arts culture was in stark contrast to my outing on Friday.  I went up to Boulder to visit my oldest brother, Hagrid.  Y'all remember Hagrid?  The secret government agent scientist man?  Yeah, him.

As might be inferred, Hagrid works at an interesting place.  Yet, I'd never been there before, even though I'd lived in Boulder for four years. Sure, I'd driven or bicycled passed the place many times, but getting inside is such a chore and would involve having Hagrid escort me, blah, blah, blah... There are no photos of our visit.  Hopefully these will suffice:

Hagrid
Where Hagrid works

 With Hagrid's impending retirement however, the whole blah, blah, blah didn't seem so limiting anymore.  Really, it was Chaco who lit the fire.  His work bares some similarities to what Hagrid does, and so Chaco has been wanting to go visit for a while, look around, and talk some shop with Hagrid.  The three of us made arrangements for Friday.

As expected, I was pretty clueless once the two of them got to discussing nits and grits.  The conversation was like foreign language with some English words peppered in a la:
*gibberish* *gibberish* *gibberish* *gibberish* system *gibberish* *gibberish* *gibberish* data *gibberish* *gibberish* effects *gibberish* *gibberish* *gibberish* *gibberish* signal...

Nonetheless, it was fun spending a few hours in the secret places of the secret place with Hagrid and Chaco.  Also, Hagrid's 14-year-old stepdaughter joined us, so I had someone at my intellectual level to hang out with.  😊

Plus, it was fun to just get outta town for a day.  I lived in Boulder over twenty years ago, so it was fun taking in the sights and memories.  Its relative compactness is a nice contrast to the sprawl of Colorado Springs - which is becoming increasingly annoying to me...

All in all, a nice end to a nice week.  Science and music - aren't I so darned well rounded!

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Friday, April 21, 2017

Peppy the love budgie

Generic budgie, not Peppy
I remember the day my grandmother bought/adopted Peppy.

Peppy was a parakeet, a budgie.  My grandmother had told me stories about the parakeets she'd had in the past, and how she took care of them and taught them to talk, etc.  I guess all that reminiscing prompted her to say, "Shoot!  I'm gettin' one!"

At the time, Grandma was probably in her late 70's or so.  She lived in an apartment in our small town and typically walked to do her errands.  She and I walked to the local pet shop where she carefully selected Peppy from a cageful of budgies.  She claimed that she could tell by the looks of them which would be the good talkers.  I just had to believe her as I knew nothing about parakeets.

She named him Peppy right away because of some spots "like pepper" he had near his face.  She proceeded to buy the cage and other essentials she would need, and we then walked back to her apartment as she carried that bird cage, complete with bird.

They began bonding right away.  I didn't know that people bonded with birds the way they do with cats and dogs, but the bonding going on between Grandma and Peppy was quite noticeable as I - the once highly beloved, attention grabbing, sole granddaughter - suddenly became an invisible observer.

And Peppy did learn to talk rather quickly.  In fact, he wouldn't shut up.

Not surprisingly, his favorite phrase was "Pretty Peppy".

He said several other phrases and also coughed and sneezed just like Grandma.

Eventually, Grandma was not able to live independently in her apartment anymore.  She moved to a home where she wasn't allowed to have pets.  Even a parakeet.  Peppy came to live with us.

My Grandma had clipped his wings so he could fly freely about her apartment, and then, our house.  We only shut the door of his cage at night.  I've since heard that pet birds usually bond with one member of the household when living with multiple people.  Everyone else is beneath them.

I'd say that Peppy bonded with my mom since she took care of his food and cage.  I also began hearing him say, "Good morning, Jay" in my mom's voice (my dad was Jay).  Clearly, however, he still carried a torch for Grandma.   The first time Grandma came to our house after Peppy had moved in, it was an amazing reunion.

I can only describe it as frenzied hugging and kissing like those videos we see now of soldiers returning from deployment and their dogs going nuts.  That was Grandma and Peppy.

My brother Guano and I had a sort of love/hate relationship with Peppy.  On one hand, it was fun to have him flying around the house, sitting on our shoulders, and talking and coughing and sneezing.  On the other, he could be a pain in the ass.  He'd jump on our papers as we did homework, or begin gnawing on our pencils as we were writing.  If we dared to eat something while he was around, our food became his food.



In fact, this photo is the only photo of Peppy in existence, as far as I know.

Blurry Guano is eating an apple while blurry peppy is about to pounce.  That bird didn't even care if the food was halfway in our mouths.

So he wasn't the nicest or most obedient of pets.  Plus Guano and I were in our obnoxious teens during Peppy's time with us, and may have subjected Peppy to a prank or two...

I will say, as far as I know, that Peppy never uttered "F*ck you", despite Guano's attempts to quietly teach him.




Peppy outlived Grandma.  Her visits stopped, and I think Peppy eventually learned that she was gone from this world, and he was stuck with just us.

We've heard of the rainbow bridge, where our pets who have passed away wait for us.  I'm betting that Grandma waited for Peppy, and it was quite a reunion.

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Linking up with Mama Kat this week for the prompt:
6. Write about your favorite childhood pet.


Sunday, April 16, 2017

fables, body organs, and Mother Goose


When I was a kid, I had several story albums.  Remember those?  Vinyl records included with illustrated books?

They were fables, and the one I remember the most - the one I listened to over and over - was "The Grasshopper and the Ant".

I'm not sure why that particular fable engrossed me, but I vividly remember the illustrations.  Especially the one at the end of the story, where the business-like ant takes in the  frivolous, near-death grasshopper.


That miserable grasshopper, sitting there sipping on soup while soaking  his frozen feet in a tub of warm water as the ant places a warm blanket around him.  It stuck with me.  Forget the tortoise and the hare, I didn't want to ever be that grasshopper!

Am I so darn practical because of that story, or did I like that story because I'm so darn practical?
Whatevs.  This week's prompt at Illustration Friday is "Fable", so thanks for that walk down memory lane.

Happy Easter, to those who celebrate!  And happy Sunday, everyone else!  We haven't been church-going folk for a while, and don't have any special plans for today.  Yesterday, I helped Meego complete his taxes, so there's that.

This past week, we went to the end-of-season potluck thing for the winter guard and winter percussion programs.  The coaches gave out a few awards, and Meego won an award for "Best Attitude", which in my HUMBLE opinion is the most bestest award.  Attitude is everything, right?

Funny thing, they actually mispelled Meego's name on the plaque.  Surprisingly, they spelled his often mispelled last name correctly, but typoed the first name.  Transpose a couple of letters on Meego's real first name, and you end up with a bodily organ, and that's what the plaque says.  Meego had a good laugh with it (attitude...), and actually, there are certainly worse bodily organs to be referred by.

Magnum and I took a walk to the post office yesterday.  The post office makes a nice walk destination because there's a lovely pond along the way.

Several geese families also live there, and last spring, there were the cutest little hatchlings from three different goose couples.  As we walked by the pond yesterday, I was wondering if we'd have any more puffy goose balls to enjoy this spring.

Sure enough, we got to the post office to find a section of the sidewalk taped off:



See "Mother Goose"?  The baby daddy was out near the parking lot, securing the perimeter.

I'm thinking that these geese aren't the sharpest nest builders when it comes to location, location, location, but they seem to be getting it done.

There's probably a fable there.


Thursday, April 13, 2017

the arrival!

Ah spring!  It has arriveth!

Doncha just love the longer days, the warmer temps, the chirping birds, the budding plants, the oozing road rash...

This morning, I was enjoying a lovely run just before sunrise.  Recall that I'd been off the running for several months due to injuring my foot  due to being a non-alcoholic drunk for about one month.  For those who don't recall, I'd rather not rehash it

Suffice to say that walking like a drunk person for a month can mess up a foot.

ANYhoo, the drunk feeling is gone, and the foot is better, so I've been able to get back out and pretend to be a runner again.

This morning, I was doing just that while taking in the lovely sights of spring.  Maybe, instead, I should've been paying better attention to where I was going.

As I crossed a small side street, I went to hop, gazelle-like, over the curb.  Except it wasn't gazelle-like at all.  Apparently, my left foot didn't get the memo about the impending gazelle-like hopping.



I'm thinking that my left foot was mad at the (previously injured) right foot and saw this as a chance to get a word in.  So it purposely failed to clear the curb, and my right knee took the brunt of the revenge.  

It wasn't embarrassing at all *sarcasm*

Happily, there was no lasting damage.  I was able to instantly bounce up in an I-totally-meant-to-throw-a-pushup-into-the-middle-of-my-run kind of way.




So while I haven't yet taken that much needed trip, I feel like I've flown United Airlines!  

And I am thrilled to be able to run again.  What is spring without some road rash??


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Linking up with Mama Kat again this week for the prompt:
2. Show us what Spring looks like in your neck of the woods


Monday, April 10, 2017

the big bang

As I mentioned, I managed to get some bootlegged video of the winter percussion championships.  Typically, video recording of these things is discouraged because of student privacy.  Another band mom shot these on her phone, so the video quality is not so great.  As such, it's a bit difficult to make out individual people, let alone their faces, so I'm okay with it.

Anyhoo, I'd never heard of winter percussion before Meego got into it his freshman year.  Shows are performed inside and are limited to, I think, six minutes, which includes setting up, tearing down, and getting on and off the floor.  Groups are penalized if they go over that allotted time.

They score points through a variety of factors including

  • complexity of music 
  • playing in synch 
  • audience engagement
  • "general effect".  


The music of Meego's group this year was quite complex with several points requiring the marimbas to play very fast and in unison.  They were in third place going into the finals and totally got 'er done to take home the first place trophy!



So with that in mind, here's the bootleg of their finals opening number.  Probably not something you would choose to play at your wedding or background for the garden party, but it kicked butt at competition:





I include this portion of the video because in the beginning, there's a break where Meego, on bass, and the guitar player play behind their heads. They just decided to throw that in.  The video also  highlights those marimba skillz





So definitely a memorable finish to the season for this nice bunch of kids and their coaches!


Sunday, April 9, 2017

peaks and troughs

Ultradian rhythm.  That's a term I learned recently.  Because of it, your brain can only focus for 90 to 120 minutes before it needs a break.

I'd noticed that from observation. It's why I never have tutoring sessions that go longer than 2  hours.   You can almost see it.  Stuff just no longer goes "in", which is just as well, because the stuff I try to put in at that point is mostly garbage anyway.

One day last week, I had 3 tutees in a row, and one session was with the two kids I refer to as "the triplet twins" as they are 2/3 of a set of triplets.  So four students altogether, all for math.  I did have a decent break between the second and 3rd tutes, but still, by the end of the day, I was all



So feel free to use this information for a variety of situations:

"I was gonna ___________________ but my ultradian rhythm was in a trough"

I offer this as explanation for my neglectful blogging recently, as in, "I was gonna blog more last week, but my ultradian rhythm was in a trough"

It was a good week, though.  Yesterday, Meego and the gang had their winter percussion state chamionship competition.  It was cut throat, I tellya, and in the end, our group got...

First Place!  WOOOOOT!!  State Cham-PEENS!



Quite exciting, I'm very happy for those kids.  Last year, they didn't even make the finals.

I've got some short video of highlights from their championship performance.  I'll maybe post it later for those going, "what the hell's 'winter percussion'?"

...if I'm not in a trough.

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Linking up (late) with Mama Kat for the prompt:
1. Something you learned in March.


Tuesday, April 4, 2017

C is for celebrate!

Late last week, I heard about the A to Z challenge for the month of April.  It's where bloggers blog EVERY day except Sundays, working their way through the alphabet.  Morgan, for one, is doing it...

And I thought, "Oh, that sounds fun and worthwhile!" Then I thought of Marcy doing/attempting her picture-a-day for a year and decided I'd combine the two into my own little blog activity:  The A to Z Picture-a-Day for April!

Let's pause for a moment and note that today is April 4th, and this is my second post for the month.  I'm behind already.   I suppose I could just say, "APRIL FOOLS!"

First of all, I just heard of the A to Z, and I didn't read the instructions clearly - I thought we get whole weekends off.  So, WHATEVER!  I already failed.

But maybe I'll still play along, just might not make the whole alphabet.

Today, we got buried by a sloppy snowstorm.  Schools were shut down as were many other services. I was scheduled to tutor today, but the library was closed. Plus the student's a mom, and her elementary school kid was home.  Magnum even stayed and worked from home.

So I thought this would be a good day for blogging.  It was.  But it was also a good day to get caught up on planning stuff for work and finishing up some biz for P.E.O.  By the time I'd finished those things, I was tired of my computer, so for fun, I shoveled snow and cleaned a bathroom.








In short, I'm already failing at the A to Z Picture-a-Day for April challenge.  I did manage a photo for today.

It's Meego and the cat raucously celebrating the snow day.