Sunday, August 30, 2009

Silver Liningness, Vol. 2, part 2

It's all grey and overcast outside. A little misty. Like one big cloud from horizon to horizon. Perfect setting for silver liningness!(?)

Hard to believe that August is already coming to an end. The kids are well established into the school year now it seems. Had a back-to-school nite thing at Meego's school. I'm getting the vibe that it will be a good year for all of the kiddos.

Just yesterday, I kicked off another LSAT class. It's always nice to start another round with new fresh-faced law student wannabes. They all seem nice. Hopefully the feeling is mutual.

On that note, there was a parade going on downtown not far from where I was teaching yesterday. It was a Welcome Home/Military Appreciation parade for our local troops. I was giving the class a test after we had discussed not letting ambient noise and other things distract their focus, when along came three F-16's in formation to thoroughly buzz our classroom! What timing! It reminded me that I am thankful for our military. And thanks to those pilots for helping with yesterday's lesson. Twice!

Speaking of lessons, Chaco is coming along nicely with the driving. He's pretty much got his clutch/gas coordination thing down and is able to drive me around to run errands now. I think he takes pride in knowing how to drive a stick when he knows adults who don't have it. Yesterday's excursion featured hydroplaning potential, poor visibility, malfunctioning traffic lights, and a particularly bad driver in a parking lot. Chaco, I, and the car all survived!

We have a new dentist (oh boy!). Our insurance provider changed, so we needed to find another and did so. Someone right in the neighborhood. Magnum went last week and gives them good reviews. He's getting a crown that he's needed for a while. A gold one ("so I can harvest it from your body if you die before I do"). This is his first crown. I, on the other hand, have had 6 crown procedures in regards to the 3 crowns currently in my head. This makes me still and forever The Queen.

Friday, August 28, 2009

just checking

Friday, August 28. About 8:30 a.m.

For some reason, I started pondering the New Year's resolutions. Did I make any? I vaguely remember sitting at the mall food court with the family, slurping on ice cream cones, while we knocked a few around.

So I went digging around in the archives, and YES, I really did make some. Did you? Remember them? How's that workin' for ya??

I thought I'd do a little rehash, a little check-up, a little examination - check the pulse and all that. This is what I said I'd do this year:

Regarding my job, I wanted to add some more responsibilities (a.k.a more cash). I think I've done what I set out to do. I'd say I'm happy with my current level of hours and responsibilities, at least until the end of this year. Then we'll slurp on an ice cream cone and decide what's next.

Regarding the housewifery, I wanted to get a better handle on the food stores and whatnot, stocking the pantry with provisions in case of emergency. Uhm, maybe it's a little better stocked and better organized than it was at the beginning of the year, but could be better. B minus on that one.

Nextly, on the physical front, I wanted to run more miles this year than I ran last year. Right after I made that resolution, I was sidelined with a pesky foot injury for 3-4 months. Doesn't look that I will top the mileage from last year, BUT I'm happy with where I am NOW after my return to running, so that works for me.

I wanted to improve some friendships. Hmmmm, that's kind of vague. I should work on that some more, and be more specific.

For the Mom wars, I wanted to help the kids become more responsible and independent. I think they're doing well. And then there's that "Pay The Putzfrau" program in place. CHA-CHING!!

Magnum and I resolved to go on more dates. I think we have. Then there's those old folk's strolls we've added to our evenings. I think we get A's here.

So. Okay. I'm glad I went digging around in the archives. I'm glad I have archives to dig around in. Four more months 'til deadline!


Thursday, August 27, 2009

who are these people?

As I was taking my early morning jaunt around suburbia this morning, it seemed a little less populated.

There's usually a fairly good sample of early morning walkers, joggers, dogs walking their humans, etc., but this morning was relatively deserted. There was the old couple that I pass, almost always about at the same place. They walk single file - one behind the other. Sometimes she's in front, sometimes he is. They're always very friendly in their greetings to me, though, so I guess they just like single file.

Then there's the oldish man jogger I come across on the trail. This is a narrow trail, suitable for only one person at a time. It's in the midst of Preble mouse town which some may remember as the setting for my crazed deer encounter.

There's no development allowed in Preble mouse town, so that early in the morning, it's kind of dark (no electricity) and tricky on this trail. One must pay attention lest one trips and falls on one's face.

In fact, one can get so focused watching the trail immediately in front of them, that one does not become aware of another person coming straight at them until... well.... the two of them collide. This has yet to happen with the oldish man jogger and myself, but we've come close. Side note: that HAS happened to me, embarrassingly enough, with a different jogger, and that's maybe why I keep myself aware of oldish man jogger, while also managing to keep from falling on my face.

These two encounters, I can almost set my watch by them. The locations are always the same. Their greetings are always as friendly. Almost as if we look forward to our friendly yet very brief crossings. I guess I do, in a way, look forward to them. If they weren't there, where they are supposed to be at that given time, I might worry.

There's another woman I see walking on Sundays when I run later in the day. Again, our paths cross at the same location each time. I'm pretty sure she is on her way to work... somewhere... based on how she is dressed. We always exchange pleasantries.

Not too long ago, I'd changed my routine a bit to work around a class I was teaching. I didn't see this woman for a while. When I saw her again, she visibly perked up. "There you are. Hadn't seen you in a while, I got worried". I was glad and a bit relieved to see her too.

And I don't even know her name.

Monday, August 24, 2009

get yours today!

I've reinstated "Pay the Putzfrau".

Old longtime readers of this blog may recall a few years back when I was inspired by a certain globe hopping blog friend to start charging my children for my cleaning services. No, this friend didn't do so, but when he was in Germany, he had a Putzfrau, a cleaning lady.

It was the word "Putzfrau" that so inspired. A program of pay-your-mom-when-she-cleans-up-your-messes-that-you-are-perfectly-capable-of-and-responsible-for was just too exhausting to try to enforce, I felt. But what an endearing term, this "Putzfrau"!

And it was from that that I fashioned my own handy Pay The Putzfrau home service kit. It includes the lovely handcrafted receptical shown above, and the program works as follows:

1. Someone leaves a mess
2. You charge them money

Not too complex, eh?!

What? Someone splashed juice on the floor and now walking in your kitchen feels like walking in a movie theater? Pay The Putzfrau!

Snack remains left behind while the snacker has gleefully gone off to play? Pay The Putzfrau!

Forgot to flush? You know it!!

The photo above shows my lovely handcrafted receptical. It has two slips in it - I.O.U.'s because my current "clients" happen to be currently broke. The Putzfrau fees will be garnished from their next wages.

Want your own kit?? I'll ship it for a small fee. Really, it pays for itself in no time!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Silver Lining, part I, vol. 2

I'm starting a new volume of silver liningness. Since I made the 1-year mark last weekend, I decided to start back with a part I. Plus, the Roman Numeralizing was getting challenging.

So welcome to the first edition of volume 2!

School started this past week. That first week back always feels a bit disjointed with everyone still getting used to getting up on time and meeting schedules and having stuff ready to go. I think at this point, we've smoothed out most of the rustiness and are back into the swing.

On that note, I'm glad that all the kids enjoy school. Chaco and Wolfgang have met all their teachers and seem to like all of them and have enjoyed seeing their school friends. I wasn't concerned about which teacher Meego would get, as all the fourth grade teachers at his school are well-liked and competent. He's already become good friends with a new kid, and his best friend from last year is in his class too.

There was, however, that little incident with the "inappropriate school computer use". I think Chaco was really worried that Magnum and I would be pissed, but no. In fact, I knew he was able to do this as he'd told me before that he and his friends had figured out how to hack their way into checking craigslist ads from school (also an "Access Denied" site) - only during lunch break. If anything, we see this as a marketable skill to have. Just don't do it at school, please.

For work, I attended a workshop yesterday - a "bootcamp" - thrown by my newish boss. I knew he'd be a good boss to work for when he moved into that position just a few months ago. He's better than good, though. He's excellent! The workshop was very beneficial and I'm psyched to utilize my new bootcamp skillz. Plus, he brought FOOD.

OH, and I was also reminded about some employee discounts we're eligible for that I often forget about. I loves me some employee discounts!

Remember back when I said that the husband and I had started going for walks in the evenings (mainly for lack of anything better to do)? Well, that was several weeks ago now and we've consistently kept at it. It's turned into a nice ritual for us, a nice bit of quality time. It's become a priority, and we find ourselves taking care of other things more efficiently in order to not compromise the nightly stroll. Gag, like an old married couple! Yet another reason to not have cable.

And... as always, I'm thankful to have such cool blog friends! I look forward to another year of silver liningness.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

access denied

Okay, so today. Day freakin' two of back-to-school for Chaco, I get one of those phone calls. You know the calls? The ones no parent wants to get? (Please tell me you know the calls...). I wasn't home at the time, so it was just a message left on the machine:

"Hello Mrs. Normal, this is Mr. Vice Principal at Hoopa Choopa High School. I've got Chaco here in the office and I'm just calling to let you know that he was inappropriately using a school computer today. His computer access is suspended for one month, and we've discussed making better choices. He'll get his access back in one month. Call me if you have questions."

Well, YEAH I had questions! What??

So I've got these scenarios running through my head. "inappropriately using a school computer" - geesh, that's like language from a news story about pedophilic teachers trolling for hook ups! Vagrants surfing for p0rn! What WAS he doing? Online gambling? P0rn surfing? Drug dealing? Chaco?? Chaco the techno-geek?

I decided not to call Mr. Vice Principal and instead let Chaco tell me what he was doing.

"Soooooooooo...... whatwereyoudoin'??", when I saw him after school.

"I wuz just editing code on a website"

"What website??"

"The 'Access Denied' website..."

"WHICH 'Access Denied' website?" (Gambling?? P0rn?!? Methamphetamines?!?!)

"An 'Access Denied by the school district' website"

*SIGH*, could he beat around the bush any more?? "WHICH website were you trying to access?"

"xbox dot com"

Oh, seriously.....

I mean, WHEW, but how can we be smart enough to know how to edit code to get around the "Access Denied" firewalls at school, yet clueless enough to actually do it?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

exchanging glances

He looked an awful lot like Wilford Brimley. Had to be over 70 years old.

I saw him one day recently as "our ships passed in the night".

Actually it was broad daylight. My ship was my trusty road bicycle. Wilford was in a late model viagra-blue Ford Mustang.

I was waiting at a traffic light for the oncoming traffic to make their left hand turns. Wilford approached the intersection in the Mustang, made his turn in front of me, and gave me this debonair wave.

At first I thought that maybe he was someone I knew, but upon closer scrutiny, I saw it was an elderlyish man in a macho car giving me the eye. Gosh, and here I thought it was just third graders that I sometimes had that affect on.

Things are looking.... "up"??

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

why does love always feel like a battlefield?

Okay, school started yesterday, and my kids were actually present for it.

Actually, Chaco didn't start until today. The high school does this thing where the dumb freshmen get the whole school to themselves on the first day. But, conscientious student that he is, and wanting to be prepared for the real thing, he got up yesterday on school time, showered, ate breakfast...

... then promptly crashed on the futon for about 3 hours.

He eventually opened an eye and mumbled, "Meego already go to school?"

"Uh.. YEAH! Like, an hour and a half ago.", I informed him.

"Oh, musta fell asleep".

Ya think?

So I was feeling quite pleased with myself knowing that Wolfgang and Meego, at least, made it to their respective schools on time and with fairly clean clothing and bodies. But alas, we had to do it again today! Okay, I'm slowly getting into school mode.

Now Chaco and Wolfgang pretty much take care of getting their own selves readied and out the door on time. I only have Meego to order around, and I think I'm slacking. That and I'm still adjusting to the realization that school has actually begun.

So we're walking up the path, a bit *ahem* behind schedule, and notice a golf cart up ahead driving towards us on the path. At first, I thought it was a maintenance vehicle for the pathway, but then we see it stop near the school gate and let out a kid and a mom-like figure.

The two of them stroll towards the front of the building, so it seems that this golf cart was just driving the little brat to school. And that's fine, although there's a "No Motorized Vehicle" rule on the path (other than the aforementioned maintenance crews). Seems a bit wussified to drive the kid - curb service - to school while most others are schlepping up the path, BUT not my business...

The thing that really bothered me was the fact that the dad-like figure who was driving the golf cart just sat there in the vehicle, presumebly waiting for his mom-like partner to return after dropping off the kid. He sat there in this behemoth illegal-on-the-path motorized vehicle right in front of the gate where the walkers walking that way enter the school grounds. So all of us non-wussified school kids and companions had to squeeze around his ugly golf cart. Did I mention that it had an ugly roof to protect the wusses inside?

Okay, now, it's totally possible that said kid has some medical condition that precludes him from walking very much. However, there is a drop-off point at the front of the school that is much closer than the illegal golf cart location, so I'm thinking no.

And this dad Just. Sat. There. In his golf cart. While about 20 kids and various parental types squeezed around him through the access gate.

I wonder how easy those things are to tip over?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Silver Lining S-day, part LII

Omigosh! I just made the 52-week mark for silver liningness! That's an entire year of thankfulness!

So I guess I should begin with thanking the blog friend who made it all happen. That would be Terri Terri who so inspired me when she began doing her "Life is Good" Fridays. Thanks Terri! *waves hands unrestrainedly*

As mentioned previously, it's been a busy week. A bit of a blur actually, but I got the important stuff done, like the week-before-school-starts busyness of high school registration and check-in night at Meego's school. I'm getting the vibe that it's going to be a good school year all around. Now I just need to remember to get everyone off to school on time tomorrow. I had a dream last night that we all forgot and I realized that that could actually happen!

We're looking into getting a wood burning stove installed before winter. We had one in our last home and miss it. Yesterday, we went on a stove hunting expedition. Didn't finalize anything, but we've drastically narrowed down our picks. And on that note, I'm thankful that Magnum has been doing all the homework to find out the logistics of installing the thing. Heck if I want to do that!

We had another cool down! Moved in last night. I went for a run today in a wonderfully cool breeze. So nice to be able to just go out and run without the fear of shriveling into an incoherent dehydrated blob!

Sold a spare dog crate on craigslist this week too. Didn't make a killing on it, but I'm happy to have the extra floor space along with a little bit o' cash.

Oh yeah, then there was that 19th wedding anniversary... How time flies.

Friday, August 14, 2009


I guess it's been a busy week because, here it is Friday, and I'm all, "where did the week go??"

A lot of things on my to-do list have not gotten done, but there's solace in knowing that it's because of all the other stuff I was getting done.

The car is fixed and Magnum reports that it's noticeably improved. I only drove it home down the hill from the shop so couldn't tell. In the meantime, we have yet to procure that cheapo beater car.

Chaco, Wolfgang, and Meego are now all officially registered and I.D.'d and scheduled for school which starts next Monday. High school registration was Tuesday, and yesterday, Meego and I toted his boatload of school supplies on up to his school for the all important find-out-who-yer-teacher-is session and the all the more important find-out-who-yer-classmates-are peek. I was also suckered into manning the PTO t-shirt selling table at said event.

Yesterday, I had to give a test in the morning, so had gotten up at dark crack of dawn to go running. I walked out the front door to find Chaco and a friend loitering around in the dark. Turned out, they'd stayed up all night to watch the meteor shower and do who knows what else. I myself saw two shooting stars during my run before the sun washed out the activity.

There were dentist appointments scheduled for the afternoon, but I intelligently cancelled them earlier in the week when I realized that stuffing them between work and back-to-school would be like getting a size 18 woman into a size 10 dress.

Plus, sleep-deprived Chaco became crabby as the day wore on. I wouldn't want to be messing with his mouth.

Now it's Friday. Maybe I'll get caught up on stuff. Somewhere in there, Magnum and I surpasssed the 19-year mark. Anyone got a cheapo beater car they want to sell me?

Oh, and we have no dogfood.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

happy dance

Okay, THINK!

What were YOU doing 19 years ago today - August 11th, 1990??

I was graduating from college. Actually, I had already officially graduated, but the whole pompous cap and gown and tassle ceremony was 8/11/90, and I was a happy NO SHOW.

Nope, didn't go. Didn't feel the need. Just give me that diploma in the mail and make sure my transcripts say that I sucked it up 'til the bitter end.

Besides, I had more important things to attend to. I was getting hitched. It's close, but I think getting the husband was easier than getting the college degree.

Today, I'm not actually sure where my college diploma is. Probably in a musty box somewhere. Maybe the same musty box with the marriage certificate.

But yeah, nineteen whole years. I checked online for the traditional significance of this event and found:

"This Wedding Anniversary does not have any traditional materials or symbols
associated with it"

Well now, isn't that special...

But they're not fooling me. It's nineteen years and I consider that a feat! Nineteen good good years! Nineteen years of wedded *COUGH* bliss!

And we're celebratin'!

Monday, August 10, 2009

in cars

It's Monday morning. Our car's in the shop.

I took it in last Friday because Magnum said it was vibrating (ooooooh) and pulling to the right when he applied the brakes. See, I rarely drive. I just take care of all the vehicle maintenance. So if he breaks something notices that something is awry, I make the appointment, bring it in, etc.

It supposedly needs new brake rotors, oh, and a couple of transmission bu$$hing$$.

In the meantime we have this grandma loaner car - no offense meant to actual grandmas. It's a white Oldsmobile sedan, so basically, it has absolutely NO personality. Oh well, I rarely drive.

And I mentioned in the previous post that we're also shopping for a cheapo beater car. Why, if I rarely drive, is so much effort going into automobiles? Well, Magnum's office recently moved. He used to work about a mile away from home, so he typically walked or rode his bike to work. Now he's about 20 miles away, so he drives - in a carpool - but he still needs to tow the line when it's his turn to do so.

I think I've mentioned here before that, if not for the kids, I probably wouldn't even own a car as I consider myself a bicycle commuter first, reluctant licensed driver second. Maybe Magnum and I would just have one car between us. But that "if" is pretty irrelevant since we have 3 kids. And Chaco just recently got his learner's permit. He is to log at least 50 hours of driving practice within the next year, and it's become very apparent that it's hard to practice driving when there is no car around.

Our other vehicle is a big butt econoline van, purchased mainly for road trips, and not conducive to learning to drive unless at bus driver school.

So we're perusing the want ads. There are some real pieces of crap out there. I can buy a car for less than what I paid for one of my bicycles. I can buy a car for less than what I'm about to pay the shop that's fixing our Subaru. I can buy a car for less than what my students pay just for their online access.

Many remind me of my first car. A truck actually.
Aah, the memories. And what a great personality.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Silver Lining Saturday, part LI

Greeting friends, lurkers, and people who clicked the wrong thing and ended up here...

It's another beautiful Colorado morning. Just came inside from taking a stroll up the walking path and around the school with Meego and his remote control off-roader buggy thing. There, we found the school principal and her husband cleaning up one of the garden beds - tidying up for the start of school.

Yep, school's back in a week from Monday. We had our first PTO meeting for the year this past week. I've mentioned here that I have mixed emotions about serving on this PTO board, but I signed up for another year of treasurer, Run With Lumber, and general suckerhood at the end of last year.

But the meeting was good. There's really only a couple of people that rub me the wrong way. You know the type - the attention wh*res. Of the remainder, 4 of them are way cool and have become good friends. I'm happy to serve with 'em.

And some may remember that last year, the school year ended on a very sad note with the death of one of Meego's classmates - shot by his older brother. Part of the PTO meeting sort of opened up that wound for me, but I'm happy that we were able to purchase a stone and tree for him with PTO funds.

The memorial sits in a serene spot just off of the playground.

In other thankfulness news, China the heartworm patient is doing well. She spent the day at the vet's on Monday - took a big shot of nasty stuff. Heartworm nuke or something like that. She was very sore and lethargic for about 12 hours afterward, but seems to be feeling fine now.

On a related note, oh wonder of wonders, it seems that the CAT, of all things is concerned and has been acting very protective of China during her recuperation. Cookie, the tough loner cat, usually barely tolerates any and all pet-like creatures encroaching on his territorial family. Dogs are probably lowest on the totem pole. But he's not fooling anyone now with his bedside vigils and whatnot.

And, just so you know, we're shopping for a piece-of-crap car. Just a cheap thing that runs. And there seems to be plenty out there still. Save them from the Cash for Clunkers clutches!


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

a happy place

When I was growing up, we had a bird. It was a parakeet named Peppy. It was originally Grandma's bird and then we inherited him.

Peppy had a cage that he mostly used for eating and sleeping. Other activities, like pooping, chattering loudly, and general bothering of the humans, were done outside the cage - the door of which was usually just left open so he could roam about the house. I think he thought he was the Alpha.

Nowadays, I live with more conventional pets. A spoiled cat and a dog that's a little nuts, but in a sweet way. Both are surprisingly quieter and less messy than Peppy the parakeet. They are also friendlier, but that's not much of a surprise. I have since learned that domesticated birds are quite notorious for being b*tches, yes even the males, to everyone except for one choice human of the household. The choice human of our house was probably my mom.

Anyway, so China the dog began phase 2 of Operation Heartworm Annihilation this week. Hopefully we have successfully killed off all of the babies and now we're pulling out the big guns and going after the adults. She's under vet's orders to do not much of anything lest a dead heartworm carcass go and clog and artery on its way to heartworm heaven.

Luckily, China is crate trained for when she's in the house. And she loves loves loves that crate! She loves it so much that when I bring her in from outside, I worry about her excitement levels causing that bad thing with the heartworm carcasses as she does her exuberant sprint to the crate.

She loves it much much more than Peppy the parakeet loved his cage.

The door is left open, but she often just remains, happily in her crate bliss.

I'm thinking I want one of these... for myself.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


And so it was that Chaco and I found ourselves with the other captives at the Department of Revenue this morning for two hours of our lives. Two hours for what was approximately 5 minutes of actual Department of Revenue business.

We were there to get his driver's permit. Welcome to the world of government efficiency, as I told him. It was reminiscent of the time he broke his arm and we were at the after-hours care place and another patient had a "cardiac incident" and so all the rest of the patients got put on the way back burners for a while.

But we survived. I suppose I should be happy that it was only 2 hours.

I thought back to when I got my permit and, eventually, my license. In the small town where I grew up, I remember there was one guy. One guy, one counter. He administered and graded the written test. He approved the permit. He gave the driving test. He approved the license. Maybe there was someone else there who took the picture, not sure. But I remember that, for all the other stuff, there was that one guy. All the teenager's knew him. Just go see that guy. One guy, one counter. No take-a-number-and-wait. And wait. And wait.

And wait.

And just think. A year from now, we get to do it all again to get his license.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Silver Lining S-day, part L

Is that right? Part "L"? Looks funny.

But it's another weekend, and according to my records, it's the 50th silver lining Saturday (on a Sunday)!

Lovely week we had. We got a break in the summer heat, which really hasn't been that bad, but we cooled down big time and it was goooooood. I decided I should bake something to celebrate the occassion since I typically practice oven abstinence in summertime. So I made a cornbread.

And, speaking of appliances, due to Brilliant Beej's ordeal, I'm reminded how thankful I am to have a fridge that works! We did that weeks-without-a-fridge thing a couple of summers ago. Doable, yes. Fun, no.

Yesterday, Chaco completed his obligatory 4-hour driving class and passed his written test to get his learner's permit. I don't know when this 4-hour class became required. I never had to do it, but then, when I got my learner's permit, the wheel had just barely been invented.... Anyway, he's coming right along with his learning-to-drive-a-stick practice. Now we can practice legally.

Back to School
School starts up again in a couple of weeks. I have mixed emotions, but I'm happy that Chaco and Wolfgang are both in high school this year. The high school doesn't give out those obnoxious school supply lists that require everyone to bring in boat loads of pencils and glue sticks and markers and other stuff they often won't even use. High schoolers certainly do have to get stuff as the year goes on, but explain to me, for instance, why Meego and every other kid in his class each needs 48 pencils??