Monday, January 15, 2018

the reveal

I didn't really expect anyone to find Waldo *er*  Meego and the Panda.  But since there was sort of interest...

Sunday, January 14, 2018


I once tried to learn to play the guitar.  Nothing formal, I had a cheapo guitar and a book and a video (days before YouTube).

I learned a few chords, but eventually threw in the towel because I wasn't willing to put in the time to get good.  I appreciate that people who play the guitar well can manipulate their fingers the way they do.  It was a struggle for me.

This week's prompt at Illustration Friday is "guitar", and I'm remembering my inflexible and uncoordinated fingers.

Wolfgang and Meego can both play guitar, so I really can't blame my fingers, though.  Neither of them has exceptionally big hands or long fingers.  Maybe I should give it another try.  Or start with a ukulele.

Speaking of music, we went to a high school basketball game this week.  Meego plays bass guitar in the pep band, and they always get the crowd good and peppy.  This particular game pitted Meego's school against the school I'd worked at last semester, so I knew several of the players from the visiting team as well as a couple of coaches.

Major bonus for anyone who can spot Meego, who is not  holding a bass, but rather eating Panda Express...

I thought I might feel some loyalty to the visiting team, because I like the kids/players and knew the coaches quite well and liked them too.  But  nope.

It was a close game, and I found myself really hoping for a home team win, and I don't even know ANY of those players.

But I know the band.  And thanks to them, of course, the home team got a win.

After the final buzzer, I recognized the entire security team from the visiting team as well as some administrators on the floor.  There to curtail any rivalry activity, I suppose.

Magnum asked if I was going to say "Hi" to any of them.

I didn't.  We're still in the awkward post-breakup window.

And the hometeam won.  Nanny nanny poo poo.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

the late starters

Have you seen them?  The Resolutionists? 

It happens every year at the beginning.  All these new faces "out there" - running, going to the gym, power walking...  But, strangely, I didn't notice ANYone.  I'd even avoided the gym the first few days of the year, assuming it would be teeming with newbies for a while.  Then one day during that first week, I forgot and went on in.

And it was... less crowded than usual?  Plenty of room to move around, plenty of available equipment, what was up?  I thought maybe it was the time of day I was there - late afternoon - which isn't peak hours.

But I asked Wolfgang, who goes in the evenings which are peak hours, and he said the same thing.  Not only was it not crowded, it was actually less crowded than usual.  We were flummoxed.

HOWEVER, it seems they are just late.  This week has brought a noticeable increase in unfamiliar faces, both at the gym and on the walking/running paths.  Better late than never, I suppose.  But every year, the same thing happens. The increase in traffic lasts a couple of weeks, and afterwards, it's like it never happened.  Will that be the case again this year? 

More power to 'em, I say.  For the people who decide to take up running or walking or bicycling or some other outdoor activities, this is actually the worst time of year to start in North America.  Maybe that's a reason why the numbers drop off so quickly. 

I didn't make any resolutions - well, other than the one I make every year to cook better - as in healthy and balanced - meals. I'm doing okay.  We'll see where I am in a couple of weeks.  Frozen pizza, anyone?

Sunday, January 7, 2018

"A" is for apron

So it turns out, I enjoy cooking.  Who knew?  Probably not the family 😕

I started the new job last week, and so far, I really like it.  I'm not quite ready to say "I love you" just yet...

I left my job as a study hall overseer that, frankly, was for me, like watching paint dry.  The school district food service provider had openings, so I signed on.  We discussed my background and blah, blah, blah, and I'm on track for a supervisor position.

The original plan was for me to hop around to various sites and eventually land somewhere, but the boss lady called a couple of days before the kids went back to school and asked if I'd take a position at one of the base kitchens.  Of all the sites they manage, there were four I was mainly interested in.  This school was at the top of my list, so I said, "Yeah, okay."

I wasn't really looking forward to the vagabond life anyways.

So I'm there and it's creative, and fast-paced, and highly productive, and with a fun bunch of coworkers.  The crew is mostly made up of others like me - moms who'd had some career that they'd left to raise the kids.  Now we feed about a thousand of 'em. 

Plus, being a base kitchen, we cook a buncha stuff for the elementary schools too and ship it out.  My professional background is in manufacturing, and there are a lot of similarities.

And I'll say that school lunch is a lot different than from when I was a school kid.  All the choices! And the food is appetizing!  It's like a freaking food court!

Now they get the grill, the "fiesta bar" (Mexican), the "upper crust" (Pizzas), the build-your-own subs, and the daily special.  There's hot breakfast too.  Sheesh.

When I was a schoolkid, all the way through high school, we had two choices:  tray or no tray.

For Illustration Friday, the prompt this week is "The letter A".  I wonder if we're going to work through the whole alphabet.  Should I study up for "X"?

Thursday, January 4, 2018


Last year, around this time, I was glad to be finished with grad school and wondering what the future held.  I was updating the resume' and perusing job sites, updating the Linkedin account...

I'm now into my second job since then.  I've learned that I should take a job where I can say, "I would enjoy doing that" rather than, "I can put up with that for a year".

In all, it's been a good year of, at least, thinking about and discovering possibilities.  During the process, I read plenty of articles that pertain to me and the job search.

"Soft skills" are valuable assets for job seekers and something someone like me - whose been out of full-time work for quite a while - can play up.

One soft skill I'd say I'm pretty good with is being attentive to people.  I've mentioned here before how my name is often mispronounced.  My last name is Barker, and for some reason, people don't see that first "R" and I'm referred to as "Baker".  Like nine times out of ten! Even from people that kinda know me!  Any stranger who reads my name and says it correctly the first time gets automatic points from me.

Since it's been happening for as long as I've been married, I think I try harder than the average bear to get people's names correct.

And since I do have that Linkedin account, they send me articles and links meant to be helpful for such things.  They often try to get me to sign up for classes they offer, and this week another such offer was in the email.  It was addressed to me, but...

Who is Steve??

Maybe the Linkedin autobot needs to work on its soft skills.

At least it didn't call me "Baker".

Linking up with Mama Kat this week for the prompt:
6. What were you blogging about a year ago? What has changed since then?

Monday, January 1, 2018

out with the old (ladies)

Happy New Year!  A lot of hype around turning a page on the calendar, but there ya go! Now we get used to writing/typing 8s instead of 7s. 

I managed to get a race in this morning by doing the annual New Year's Day Rescue Run.  I hadn't done this race in a few years, so it was fun to go freeze my buns and do it this morning.  It's a 10K through the HILLS of Palmer Park.  There was also a 5K, but I get better bang for the buck and do the 10K.

It was a fun time of it, a bit of a cold start, but sunny and calm.  The tagline for the race is "Rain, Snow, or 20 Below", so we were well within the limitations.  Proceeds benefit the local county search and rescue.  As usual, my goal for the race was to not put the search and rescue to work for my sake.

The first mile of the race is all uphill, and it sucks, to put it vaguely.  But then we run around the top of Palmer Park looking at gorgeous views of the city and surrounding mountains and it seems the perfect way to start the year. 

I ended up with a time of 50:57, finishing 85th overall, 12th among the females, and first for my age division.  Two ladies in the age division OLDER than me beat me. 

But I know of them, and I've eaten much of their dust before.  In fact, both of them beat the previous record for their age group!

So it was fun and chilly, but not real slippery as in previous years.  We are hurting for snow around here.

So a new year begins.  I left my high school job at the end of last semester, and I feel relieved that I won't be going back to work there tomorrow.  I did enjoy the kids, however.  In fact, I had a total of 250 kids in my rosters, and I can honestly say that there were none who I disliked.  Some just kept a very low profile, and many I truly enjoyed having in the classroom, but none who I disliked. 

I'll mostly miss lunchtime, though.  Those teachers made for good lunch companions.  Maybe I can go back just for lunch?

The district sent me an online exit survey.  At first glance, it didn't look like much, but once I got started, it contained good questions and I feel good about my answers and reasons for leaving.  It was mostly the ol' "It's not you, it's me" story plus the "I got a  better job" story.

So, Happy 2018!  Looking forward to more blog reading in the new year!

Sunday, December 31, 2017


I remember, way back when I was in elementary school, it was customary to have show-and-tell during the week after returning from winter break.  The purpose was for kids to show others what they got for Christmas.

I'm sure that's not allowed in public school anymore.

Although, I've said that I don't care much for material gifts at Christmas, I do like to hear about what others got and from whom.  I think the gifts we exchange tell bigger stories.

And it's not to say that I'm so minimal as to not want for anything - heck, far from it.  I just don't want others to get me something out of obligation.  Chaco actually got me a lovely tapestry he'd gotten on a recent trip for work.  I don't even think it was necessarily because it was Christmas, he was just in an exotic place, so got me something.

We did a Yankee Swap for PEO, and I ended up with a cute comfy winter-themed throw pillow.  I was quite happy with it until someone opened a pair of cozy knit fingerless gloves.  Suddenly I wanted someone to steal my cute comfy winter-themed throw pillow so I could get those fingerless gloves.  Nope, I'm not free from material desires.

Similarly, Magnum's work group did a swap, and I don't even remember now what he brought home.  Wolfgang came home with an assortment of beers.

I do a good amount of day-to-day shopping online, and was feeling a little guilty in the days leading up to Christmas.  Here were these harried UPS drivers and others in the supply chain working to get my tea and vitamins to me before Christmas.

One purchase was a new lock for my bicycle, that I guess seemed more gift-like to those worker bees.  I'd been wanting an upgrade for a while, and it actually happens that Magnum works for the company that makes THE brand of bike lock to have, I just hadn't gotten around to shopping for one until Christmas time. Even if he didn't work there, I would've gotten the lock I did.  But since he works there - yay, employee discount.

So I got the lock, and Magnum got the required paperwork for the discount.  Under "eligibility", it listed parents, siblings, and kids of employees.

What?  No spouse?

He asked about spouses and was told that "spouse just counts as you".

Okay, fine.  I feel strangely like a discovered mass of hair and teeth, confirmed to be remnants of a twin that was absorbed during gestation.

But hey.  Discount!