Friday, October 30, 2009

and the clouds parted...

*GASP!* Pardon me, just coming up for air here. Sheesh, after two days of thinking that we'd somehow been beamed to Antarctica, the sun has decided to return and it actually feels downright balmy at 40 degrees.

Yeah, okay, so it snowed in Colorado. Not big news. It just doesn't usually leave us stranded for two days in October. I remember the last time that happened. It was a banner year for snow and kind of a love / hate relationship for school kids. Yes, they got a bunch of snowdays, but then they had to make them up at the end of the school year. HA!

But it did force me to get a few things done around the house that I might not otherwise have done. For one thing, I changed the wallpaper on the computer to this:

It's the view from a girl jumping off of a very tall building onto a crane, I believe. As I've mentioned here before, I rationally know that I have an irrational paralyzing fear of heights, so I thought putting this as my wallpaper would help me to "GET OVER IT ALREADY!"

It's not working. Just sayin'.

But hey, told you I was getting some important things done anyways.

And then this morning, when I ventured out into the thawing outdoors, I noticed these prints on the front porch, dangerously close to the front door, dangerously close:

I've included my own foot there for scale. Any trackers out there who know what these prints belong to? I'm thinking too big for squirrel. Raccoon maybe? Did I mention that they were dangerously close? Dangerously close to my milkman bounty??

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

what's in a name?

Halloween is nigh. I just realized, we have no candy. I need fruit for Meego's party. I need to assemble Meego's costume...

Meego wants to be a racecar driver - specifically a crashed-and-burned racecar driver. His school, however, doesn't allow make up for the parties, so unless he acquires some real-life wounds before then, he'll just be a plain old racecar driver for the class party. He can crash and burn later.

Chaco and Wolfgang are on their own. They no longer trick-or-treat, but Chaco will sometimes, almost with disturbingly abundant glee, lay in wait, in some sort of getup, outside our front door and freak out the poor unsuspecting trick-or-treaters.

Wolfgang may dress up for school. There are no parties in high school, but costumes are allowed. Just the usual rules against weapons and masks. Make up? Could you imagine if a high school banned make up?!?

Wolf is thinking he'll be Edward Cullen - that hotty irresistible heartthrob vampire from the Twilight series.

See, a few weeks ago, he came home with a project he'd made in shop class. It's a small tasteful wooden pen holder. The wood has been laser-cut to form the name "Edward".

"Edward"? I asked. "Why does it say 'Edward'?"

"Well, some people call me Edward at school, so...", he explained.


I have sinced learned that "some people" are mostly "some girls".

He wants tips on how to look pale and sparkly.

I think I'm better at crash and burn.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Silver Liningness part X

Good morning to all and Sundry on this Sunday!

Another wonderful week providing much to be thankful for has passed. Roll 'em!

The week started with a lovely hike last Sunday. Magnum found a trail we've never stepped on before, so we went and stepped on it.

Magnum and Wolfgang on Spruce Mountain.

Thirty Eight Point Seven. THIRTY EIGHT POINT SEVEN. 38.7. Thirty eight and seven tenths. <---that's the miles per gallon that new-to-us little Honda is getting. Told you I love her.

Remember how I said we've started to teach classes online at work? Remember how I said I've been training? Welp, I completed the training and started doing it this week. Here's the inspiring view - taken with my webcam - that the students see of me:

What do you think? Makes you want to go move mountains doesn't it!

Okay, so I actually just snapped that picture a couple of minutes ago. And I haven't done much today rather than slog out of bed, eat some breakfast type stuff and sip half a cup of coffee. Serious bed head going on.

And in real life, I use a backdrop to cover the lovely room behind me. It's so cool! Teaching right here from the Man Cave. And I get to kick all of the men folk out!

Meego's class did a music program this week. It was the typical elementary-kids-on-the-stage-for-about-a-half-hour kind of music program. It was cute though, I suppose, if you had a kid up there. Meego seems to be sloughing off some of his shyness and getting into things now that he's a big time fourth grader.

Yesterday, we drove up to Denver to visit the much hyped 8-acre corn maze. I recall a smaller corn maze we visited years ago and got thoroughly lost in. Looking forward to another survival adventure, we found the much hyped 8-acre corn maze to not be much *COUGH* of a challenge. Okay, so like the cornstalks were about 4 ft. tall or shorter! Oh well, it was still kind of fun, making fun of it and all...

Friday, October 23, 2009

like mother

I was recently having a phone conversation with my mother.

These are actually quite rare because we have this thing. This thing about writing letters to each other. Ever since I moved out of the house over 24 years ago.

We have the internet and e-mail now. I have an income better than that of a homeless person now, so can actually afford phone calls. And yet... still.. we write the letters, put them in envelopes, put stamps on them, drop them in the mail, and wait for several days to get a reply.

So when she or my dad calls, naturally I panic. Omigosh, what's happened?!

Turns out, it was pretty bad/sad news, about a friend of mine, though. Not about Mom or Dad.

But anyway, since we were on the phone and actually speaking live with each other, we talked of other things than the bad/sad news. Somewhere in the midst of the conversation, she adds, "you're a lot like Dad, y'know".

Fact is, I do know this. I am more like my dad than my mom. I don't think it's anything I chose to be. I just am. Like we're just wired the same in many ways.

I says, "Yeah, I know."

And she says, "You really are."

And I says, "Yeah, I know."

Truth be told, my dad can be a bit strange. We don't share ALL of the same values and/or "quirks", but we share many. I'm certain that my mom is not disappointed that I'm more like my dad than I am of her. But I do wonder sometimes if she had different hopes for me in my formative years.

So I thought of this conversation yesterday. I thought of it because I had mail ordered some shoes, and they arrived yesterday. They were too small. I quickly boxed them back up for return and then went out and bought some shoes locally. Because I was all set to have new shoes that day, and when the mail-order didn't work out, I had to do SOMETHING about it.

That was definitely Mom's genetics at work.

She'd be happy. I should call and tell her.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

he needs a 25 or better

Oh happy day!... Despite the fact that it's been blustery cold and snowy all day and I spent it wonderously indulging in tidying up the house.

It's a happy day because, as of yesterday about noontime, I completed a tutoring package for an okay kid with a rather annoying father. Now, it's hard to really put my finger on why I found this father so annoying. Let's just say he RUBBED ME THE WRONG WAY, plus there were some other aspects of this particular assignment I didn't particularly like, BUT not to be whiner, let's just say I was glad it was finished.


Just as I was THANKFULLY leaving their house (note: we prefer not to tutor in people's homes, but it says right there on the website - "convenient in-home tutoring!" - so there I reluctantly was, blasted website...) the aforementioned father lays this on me: "We think we might have him take the test again in December, to try for a better score. We'd like to get in some more tutoring hours for that, will you let me know your availability?"


I was leaving! I was in the car! The engine was running! I had even backed up a few feet! I was SO nearly free!! Then I saw him in the driveway and STUPIDLY rolled down my window to see if he wanted to consult with me. ACK.

Okay, so I normally naturally want my students to do well on their tests. But this one more than others. Guiltily, not out of opportunity for him, but so I don't have to tutor him anymore! Even though it would mean some extra cash... I just don't wanna!

Okay, so the kid's test is this Saturday. Send some good JuJu his way, K? For me??

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Silver Liningness, part IX

Helloooooo from Balloon Boy Land (PLEASE MAKE IT STOP!)

Another week has flown by like a big Jiffy Pop looking balloon thing adrift on the breeze (SHUT UP!)

I got in some good VoMo activity as the elementary school had their Fall book fair. I got writer's cramp from helping first graders and kindergarteners make out their Wish Lists. Boy, they sure can shop when they have no concept of money!

Plus, with the VoMo-ing and the fact that Meego won the guess-how-many-beans-in-the-jar contest for fourth grade, we got 2 freebies to go with our purchases. Gotta love freebies.

It was also parent/teacher conference time. Meego's was scheduled, the high school ones are optional.

I actually went to see a couple of Chaco's teachers after we discovered some *ahem* issues this week. It seems that techno-geek Chaco sort of let the balloon off the tether (STOP!!) when it came to lower priority (to him) English.... History too for that matter. SO, this provided me an opportunity to meet his teachers - something I don't always do with the higher grades. All conferences went very well. I think even Chaco would agree.

Remember that cabbage that Meego grew?

We ate it this week.

It was gooooooooood.

We also watched another good movie that I'd never heard of this week. Anyone heard of Shrink with Kevin Spacey? I thought it might be depressing, but I actually rather liked it. Go see.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

the mark of a chicken

So Meego emerged from his bedroom this morning with a green "5" on his face.

Actually, it's a backwards "5". A mirror-image "5". From that, I know that he chose the Chicken-Patty-with-Mashed-Potatoes option for lunch at school yesterday.

... and that he slept with his face on his hand.

See, his school typically offers 5 choices for lunch. The students place their orders first thing in the morning. Once their choices are made, they're LOCKED IN. NO switching. Just to make sure, they must write the number of their choice on the back of their hand - with permanent marker. God forbid someone should order a chicken patty in the morning, then grab cheese pizza at lunchtime.

This is understandable. It cuts down greatly on wasted food for one thing. The lunch ladies get 50 orders for chicken patties? They only make 50 chicken patties... and so on.

This designation method of permanent-marker-on-the-hand, however, is not too popular with parents. I'm sure Meego is not the first to wake up with a permanent markered mirror-image number on his face. And he typically only eats the school fare once or twice a week. I shudder to think of what the other kids' faces, who eat there every day, look like by Friday!

When I was his age, aside from having to walk to school uphill in the snow both ways, we had two choices for lunch: Cafeteria Tray or Not Cafeteria Tray.

No tough early morning decisions. No trading of entree's in the lunchroom. No permanent marker numbers on hand and face. You went to lunch. You got a tray. You ate what was on it. Lunch ended.

*sigh* Life was so simple back then.

Permanent marker removal from face tips? Anyone??

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Silver Liningness, part VIII

Happy Saturday, everyone! My thermometer says 25 degrees and the weather forecast says "high" of 28, so I guess this is as good as it's gonna get.

I went out for a hike this morning. Not bad if one wears about 5 layers, like I did.

Anyway, it's been another fun-filled blessed week. Let's revisit!

On Tuesday, Meego's school had it's annual field day. It was a bit chilly but sunny and, overall, a good day.

I was sent to the "Tennis Ball Throw" trenches this year. Had never done that event despite this being my 6th year as a field day volunteer at that school. Y'know, a tennis ball thrown, even by an elementary school kid, can bounce and roll quite a long ways. It was basically a day of shagging - and I don't mean that in the UK sense.

I've had more fun with training to get ready to teach live online classes. The idea of not having to drive anywhere and being able to teach in just my underwear (if I wanted to) is strangely appealing.
Also, my live offline class is going well, even though I have to drive and wear decent clothing for that.

Yesterday, the kids all had a day off of school. Not wanting to squander the event, I made sure to have a fun activity planned: we would FINALLY give their room the cleaning it so badly needed.

The three of them all share one big bedroom, so imagine a teenage boy's room. Now multiply that image x 3. Okay, I know that Meego isn't an official teenager, but he is definitely eligible for the Talented and Gifted program from being such an adept protege' to his brothers' mentoring.

I did what any good mom would do. I offered cash.

"One dollar per pound of anything that is either thrown away or donated", - my final offer. Oh, the fire THAT lit!

Here's me and the highly accurate weighing device with my resulting $81 worth of crap!

Okay, so when I made the contract, I didn't actually think they'd come up with 81 pounds! But, it's money well spent, I'd say. Besides, I can make a good chunk of that back since the Pay the Putzfrau program is still in effect!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

once more, with feeling

I'm not sure how many times I've called Chaco, only to get his voice mail. *SIGH*. What good's the dang cell phone if it's OFF?!

It seems that communication just isn't that high of a priority for him. "Oh.. yeah... forgot to turn my phone on..."

Well, until today, anyways.

I was heading out the door to meet with a student and thought I'd check the e-mail before I left. My inbox had an "urgent" message from Alphonse Fredenheimer (that's e-mail incognito "code" for Chaco) as follows:

"mom, you forgot to call in for that day I was sick, and you need to do that today before 2:00 or else I get Saturday school".

Oh yeah. He was home coughing up a lung a couple of weeks ago. I never got around to confirming the absence with the attendance lady. So I made a mental note of it, and went on with my business.

When I returned home, the phone answering machine was beeping away:

[with feeling] "You need to confirm my absence from the 25th TODAY or else I'll get Saturday school!". [Dread/Panic]

No "hi Mom". No "Hi, it's Chaco". Not even a reference to Alphonse Fredenheimer, just the [with feeling] "You need to....." [Dread/Panic]

Nextly, my cell phone is buzzing with a voicemail (I think you know what it was and from whom..)

Apparently, it takes a threat of the dreaded Saturday school to get that kid on the phone.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Silver Liningness, part VII

My cup runneth over!!

....No, really, anyone got a napkin handy? I just spilt some coffee...

Oh, but seriously, it's been another silver-lined week. Let's review, shall we?

Firstly, recall last weekend that I mentioned we were quite resolute about getting a second commuter car. Well, here she is! Isn't she cute?

It's not exactly an action shot. I just wandered into the garage a few minutes ago to catch this pic of her while she's sleeping. Absolutely NO frills '01 Honda Civic.

The trusty big-butt van has been relieved of its commuter duties and is back to RV status. It now resides in the backyard with our trailer. We finally have the white trash backyard we've strived for all these years.

Work is fun. I had some training last week. We've begun teaching classes online. How cool! I can teach right from here in the Man Cave! I will complete my training shortly, and yesterday, I picked up my flashy smlashy company provided WebCam. TOYZ!!

On a related note, I also kicked off another class yesterday. This one is the old fashioned, live OFFline version. Another nice group of students to bust down so I can build them up..

Remember that house for rent next door? Someone moved in yesterday! I have yet to meet them, but there was lots of activity with people and truckloads of stuff moving in. This could be good. This could be bad. Stay tuned.

Friday, October 2, 2009

scene on a sidewalk

I saw him at first from a distance. But still, I was pretty sure he was male.

He was pushing a baby in a stroller. Just the two of them out enjoying some midday sun and fresh air.

He wore a striped polo shirt, a pair of sensible white athletic shoes, a pair of denim.... capris.

Yes, they were definitely capris - not just mere highwaters - landing at just the perfect capri spot at lower-calf. He wore ankle socks.

It occurred to me then that I had never seen a man wearing capris. It occurred to me then that I was turned off by a man wearing capris.

I pondered this. No, not the man wearing the capris. I pondered my reaction to it. (Well, okay, maybe I did ponder this man a little...) What was so off-putting? I pondered his "ability" to have actually fathered that baby he was strollering around.

Just a piece of clothing.

After all, I've noticed that I CAN like a man in a skirt.

But I don't know if even Brad Pitt can make capris work.