Thursday, December 8, 2016

I'm boring, don't follow me

Someday, we'll get this one!

Very recently, I opened an Instagram account.  Not because I feel a need to instantly share what I'm eating for lunch or what my cat is doing or an exciting selfie taken while alone in the car... No, I opened the account because it just happens that Instagram is the sharing platform of choice for the Geocaching mother ship and community.

Readers here know that Magnum and I took up geocaching a couple of years ago, and it's become a fun hobby.  Prior to taking it up, I had no idea how big a following it had.  There are some real zealots.  There are also some very exotic cache locations and creative containers.  For instance, there is apparently a cache on top of Mt. Everest.  It has the maximum ratings for difficulty and terrain.  Ya think!?

Might skip this one

So naturally, it's kinda fun to see where/what others are hunting and finding - for those who have an interest in the activity.

For those who don't have an interest... YAWN.

Which is why it annoyed me to learn that, as soon as I opened my Instagram account, it tried to hook me up with my f@book friends who also have Instagram accounts.  Not only that, but those friends were also alerted about my account, and I nearly instantaneously began receiving requests to "follow" me.

I felt I should allow them to follow, then I felt obligated to follow them back.  But, if we're already friends on fbook, I honestly don't care to see their Instagram photos.

There.  I said it.

I set up the Instagram account solely for geocaching fun.  As far as I know, only one of my f@book friends is a geocacher, and she doesn't do Instagram.

So lemme just say right now.,. if you are a friend of mine on f@book and you also have an Instagram account and you receive a suggestion to follow me and you have no interest in geocaching, don't take the bait!

Unless  you want your feed to include infrequent posts of bug riddled containers in the woods or...

... little things hanging in trees or...

... yes... tupperware in the forest.

Much more exciting than it looks


Linking up with MamaKat again for the prompt:
4. Share a recent photo or video you added to Instagram and give us the back story.


Saturday, December 3, 2016

blank pages

Oy, it's been (almost) a week since my last post?  I'm hereby making an early new year's resolution to blog more often.

Until I started blogging, I didn't really write much - was never one to write in journals or diaries (is there a difference?).  My previous work life didn't require it, and that was fine with me too.  But now I enjoy it, and I enjoy helping tutees with writing too.

This is good since I need to do quite a bit of writing now for school.  So I don't mind it, but I'll blame that for my lack of blogging.  Too much of a good thing and all that.

And this week, I got an e-mail in my university account offering "custom writing services" a.k.a cheating.
The note listed several reasons to use the service
  • tight deadlines
  • writing papers prevents you from attending social functions
  • papers due the next morning, but you haven't started any
  • no time to sit and focus on research
  • working on papers bores you

Serilously?  I'm not naive enough to not know that there are students who pay others to do assignments for them.  This is the first time anyone has hit me up, though. Their note mentions that the are available on Facebook, WhatsApp, Kik, WeChat, Line and Skype".  Geesh, they're everywhere.

They advertise writing assistants who *help* students write papers, but  the not-so-fine-print advertises that they will

"...confidently provide papers that are original, delivered punctually, and which conform to the writing style of you university/college and that all communications will maintain the highest level of confidentiality..."

Sure sounds like cheating to me.   I did an internet search and found all kinds of others. Okay, maybe I am a bit naive about just how many such services exist.  I'm curious as to how many customers they have.

In the meantime, I, for one, will continue to do my own work, responsibly and punctually!

Sunday, November 27, 2016


Since I'm still on a bit of a break, I thought I'd get out my art toys and play some Illustration Friday, where the prompt this week is "Tape".

I ventured into the waters of Manga style, which isn't really my thing, but every now and then, ya just gotta live on the edge!

In manga drawings, "...characters often have large eyes (female characters usually have larger eyes than male characters), small noses, tiny mouths, and flat faces..."

I've seen many a manga drawing from amateurs that are quite good, and I understand manga comic books are pretty popular.  I don't know if I can pull it off so well though,  I'll leave it to the youngsters.

But, I had no other inspiration for "Tape", and now I've got something to show I care.

Thanksgiving went off without a hitch, and we enjoyed the food, some Best Buy hordes, and a bit of board gaming.

As I've mentioned, the trek to Best Buy just started out a few years ago as a destination for get-outta-the-house walk on Thanksgiving and has become sort of a tradition.   We weren't there for door-busting, just showed up after the fact.  As for me, I mainly enjoy the people watching.

It was pretty crowded, but the store set up extra register lines and everyone was just so darn polite.  Lots of, "excuse me", "thanks", "after you", "you go ahead", etc as customers trucked huge carts of TVs and such around.  Really, people were buying multiple TVs - 4 or 5 to a cart.  I didn't even check the prices, but maybe they were deals?

We managed to emerge a while later without spending anything except for Meego, who did get a good deal on a computer monitor.  Wolfgang had some things in his sights, but none were on sale.  That's the way the Thanksgiving door busters bust.

Meego's monitor is a nice step up from his previous one, which isn't saying much.  I oohed and aahed over the resolution and then asked Meego if he wanted to join us in the *smirk* "real outside".

In movie news, Magnum and I watched Moonrise Kingdom, yet another quirky Wes Anderson production. I liked it in a quirky Wes Anderson kinda way.


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

thank goodness!

Thanksgiving is upon us!  Already!

Surprisingly, I got my act together and have my turkey and fixin's ready to get cracking.  It remains to be seen, however, if any of it will actually be edible when I'm done cracking.  No pressure, though, since the only people I will potentially poison/repulse are those in my immediate family.

In the meantime, here's this Thanksgiving meme thing from MamaKat:

1. What is your favorite Thanksgiving side dish?

Acorn squash, except I don't make acorn squash for Thanksgiving, but I realize now that I totally should.

2. What is your favorite Thanksgiving dessert?

 Pumpkin pie all the way!

3. What does your ideal Thanksgiving outfit look like?

I mean... right?!?
Way to work it!

(This is where I got the idea for acorn squash)

4. What is your best Thanksgiving memory?

The way my Grandma would lift her wine glass arthritic elbows and all and make a toast of thanks and then we'd all ching ching our glasses and swig some wine which may as well have been drain fluid because that's how it tasted to me as a kid but it was Thanksgiving and Grandma made a toast and we drank wine!

5. Least favorite Thanksgiving dish.

Well how to answer that one since if I don't like it, I don't eat it.  Sheesh.

6. Do you have any quirky Thanksgiving traditions?

Like walking to the Best Buy after dinner, even if it's snowing, not to necessarily buy anything but just to say we took an after dinner walk to Best Buy on Thanksgiving?

7. Where do you and your family usually celebrate Thanksgiving?

In our home.  Then at Best Buy.

8. What do you love most about Thanksgiving?

I guess I just like the fact that we have a day set aside to be grateful.

9. What do you think has changed most since the first Thanksgiving?

Uhhh... nature, art, books, society, health, technology....

10. What are you thankful for?

Oh, bunches of stuff, but of course, family, friends, health, prosperity, nature, art, books, society, technology...

But really, I am thankful for family and friends - blogfriends too fer sure.  Thanksgiving also coincides with birthday times for Magnum and me, so I'm grateful to be around for another birthday, considering the alternative.

My mother-in-law made this scarf for me, so I took the happy selfie to let her know I received it and love it.  Then I noticed that my windows photo app has added new editing tools and I couldn't resist trying them out.  So, happy Movember too!


Sunday, November 20, 2016

(don't) call me Snoopy

Yesterday, I opened my computer and had a face&ook notifaction... meant for Meego.  Earlier, he had logged into his account on my computer to print up some music for winter percussion and didn't logout.

So there I was.  I could go in and look at what his friends were sharing with him and vice versa,  snoop through his private messages, peruse all his photos... But I didn't.  Just didn't seem right.  I know parents who probably would do that, but I realized I'm not one.

First of all, I'm not naive enough to think I could possibly filter everything he shares and what the internet shares back.  Plus, I think at his age, he should have a good level of privacy from his parents. Thirdly, I trust him.  Finally, I'm just not a snooper.

So I logged him out and logged myself back in.  Really, judging from the continuing post-election fallout, his feed is probably more mature than mine is.

This was a good week.  I thought I'd work extra on classwork to get ahead for a free Thanksgiving week.  HAHAHAHAHAHA!  Nice thought...

But we did end up winning this lovely gift basket from Magnum's work.  He sent this pic after winning, and I was thinking, "desk could use some tidying..."

Usually around the holidays, their health and safety group has these little contests that involve testing knowledge of health and safety topics.  This year was a crossword puzzle on travel safety and a multiple choice quiz on general holiday health and safety.  We've always entered, but never won any prizes, although I always end up learning something I didn't otherwise know.

For example, did you know that onions are toxic to cats and dogs?  Did you?!  Why yes, so don't give them any stuffing!

I did find it rather ironic that the health and safety group gave us this basket of rather unhealthy goodies.  I was hoping we'd win the travel kit for the car, but beggars can't be choosers.  And it's just nice to be the chosen ones for a change.

Our geocaching streak continues, and yesterday was a beautiful fall day after we finally got some snow and slippery this past week.  Yesterday was our biggest geocache haul outing yet.  I think we're getting better at finding the teeny and/or well-disguised ones.

Later last night, I found myself back at Guitar Center with Meego.  Yet another bass on sale had caught his eye, so he wanted to go "look" at it.

Needless to say, he purchased bass number four.  At least he traded in bass number three for it.  He assures me this one is "so much better!", and I'll take his word for it.  

The place was quite hopping for a Saturday night.  Lots of people, who know what they're doing, picking and plucking on various instruments.  Kinda made me wish I could've done the same, but nope.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

the cops, deflation, finders, and losers

A police car pulled in front of our house this morning.  Then another.  Then another... Eventually, I think there were six.  I have no idea what it was about, I was just seeing to important operational matters (laundry) when it began. So this was me for a while:

 I still don't know what happened.  They had a guy in the back of one of the cars and an officer was questioning him, but I didn't see who it was.  I could just make out the back of his head, and from that angle, he didn't look particularly familiar.  Young guy.  Teenager maybe.

I got tired of gawking and went to take a shower.  When I came out, they were leaving.  Mystery abounds.

Other than that, there was an election this week.  I will not share any more commentary on the presidential result, as we all know there is PLENTY of that available.  I instead offer a reprieve.  I will say that I was glad to see more states legalize recreational marijuana.  Now all the stoners who come here for, literally, greener pastures have more choices.

I got a flat tire on Friday, deemed it "Flat Tire Friday" (FTF), and posted the pic of poor Alice onto the facebook Bicycle Commuter page

One cohort offered, "At least it's only flat on the bottom".  haha.

But I was thankful that it was a mild and sunny day, and that I was near the park-n-ride where I could easily perform CPR near the bicycle garages.

Magnum and I got in a bit of geocaching again yesterday, to keep the streak alive.  We didn't make it to the boonies, but found several caches within walking distance of home.  I swear those things are everywhere, who knew?!

This one was underneath a traffic signal pole, like I need an excuse to rummage around the underneath of a traffic signal pole.

The high school football team made the playoffs and had their first game at home last night.  Magnum and I went to show our support while Meego banged his drum for the pep band.  It was close, but our team lost.

It happens.


Friday, November 11, 2016


I first met Ingrid during our sophomore year in high school.  She arrived one day with the thankless title of "new kid".

Our small town was one where "everybody knows everybody", so new kids maybe had it a little tougher than average.  Add to Ingrid's status the fact that she had no brothers nor sisters to help absorb the scrutiny, and I didn't envy her.  To make her stand out even further, she was tall, blonde, and fair-skinned in a town made up mostly of Hispanics and stocky Italians.

We ended up having several classes together, and I got to know and like her.  She was intelligent and athletic and loved the outdoors.  Plus, she lived just a short ways from me.  She was easily and quickly welcomed into my circle of chums.

We were both on the basketball and track teams, and from that, made too many fun memories to recount here.  We may not have been perennial state champions  in either sport, but we held our own.

And we certainly always had fun, even when taking a team photo for the yearbook - short girls (me) in front, tall girls (Ingrid) in back

She was well-deserved Valedictorian of our high school class, then went on to study and serve at West Point Military Academy.

The summer before she left for West Point, we went on many a bike ride and hike, as she wanted to get in shape for basic training and I was an all-too-willing companion.

We also spent hours on the lake, paddling her canoe, enjoying the sun and each other's company.  I started to realize how much I would miss her when she left.

We continued to keep in touch, with her letters (no email way back then!) telling of the adventures and rigors of West Point.  After graduation, she served her time as an Army officer and was once involved in a plane crash that left some lasting physical damage.  She was home for a while shortly after that, and I saw how she handled the troubles with strength and patience.

When I got married, she was a fast and first choice for my Maid of Honor, even though she was in Germany at the time.  Nonetheless, she made it back for the wedding.

Ingrid, with my mom and my niece
After her honorable discharge from the military, she worked as an engineer and settled down with her new husband.  We were time zones apart, but kept in touch through letters and phone calls.  She'd said she didn't want children - had several fur babies - but she sent fun presents for our kids.

This photo of Ingrid and her husband is from our 10th high school reunion.

It was the last time I saw Ingrid alive.  

She died after badly breaking her leg.  After surgery, she developed an embolism that moved to her heart.  She was 33 years old.  She'd broken her leg while doing volunteer work at the zoo.

It was so sad and unexpected.  Ingrid was always such a strong person - physically, mentally, and emotionally.  I remember talking with her mom and her husband on the phone, everyone still in shock.  

Today is Veteran's Day here in the United States.  I'm thankful for all our veterans, including my dad, my brother Guano, and Magnum.

And I'm thinking of Ingrid.