Sunday, February 28, 2010

Silver Liningness Sunday

Happy Sunday! Happy end of February! Is it spring yet?

It feels to me like this whole month just flew by. It's been a busy one, but good busy, not bad busy.

I'm thankful that I have work opportunities a-plenty and am actually in turn-stuff-down mode. I did say "yes" to the latest tutoring request - a soldier transitioning out of the military. How can I say no!? That would just be wrong.

So I currently have one class and three tutees. The class is a Live Online class, and it's going well. I can't see the students' faces, but certain enhancements by the Live Online techie people have made this a more personal experience for both students and teachers I think. The other teacher doing this class with me is a pretty laid back guy. Plus, gotta love that commute!

<---Meego crashed my "classroom" the other night. Dang webcam to hams is like light to a moth... (we were off-camera to the class at the time *ahem*. You know I'm all about professionalism *COUGH!*).

It snowed. It melted. Snow here is not news, and the kids even got a delayed start to school one day this week. But it melted quickly. My bicycle never knew a thing. I did encounter some pretty good road vomit here and there, but it wouldn't be bicycling in February without it.

Took Chaco in for his annual checkup, and now just have one more victim to cross off the checkup list: the cat. He goes in tomorrow. He DESPISES going to the vet's. Is there a stronger word than "despises"?

Despite work busyness and snow and dr. visits and the usual housewifery, I'm stil playing regularly with my artsy toys. Drew some ivy on a 5"x7" notecard for a friend. In so doing, I discovered brush pens. Ooooh, brush pens! Where have they been all my life?!

Friday, February 26, 2010


pen and ink in the pocket Moleskine

This week's topic at Illustration Friday is "perspective", and so I chose this fish cartoon.

I took Chaco to the Dr.'s for his checkup this week and had an enjoyable 15 minutes or so with the ubiquitous Dr.'s office aquarium. Having owned various aquariums in my lifetime, I've always found them fun to get lost in for a while.

A good friend of mine and I had similar fish in similar aquariums at one time. She, like me, was a retired "science type" who'd become a stay-at-home-mom. The aquarium gave her an outlet for her geekiness - she would check the water attributes often and exclaim, "I get to do CHEMISTRY!"

I remember that some of my fish had babies, so I gave a couple to her before they were eaten by their parents. She was hoping to breed some too, but alas, turns out the ones I gave her were all female to go with her already all female tank.

But WAIT! Shortly after reaching adulthood, it's as if all of these girls looked at one another and said, "We need a man in here. Any volunteers?" One of them boldly stepped forward and, sure enough, sprouted the necessary parts. My geek friend and I were in awe of their resourcefulness.

Yes, some fish can do this. We were so in awe, we geekily researched. Where there's a will there's a way.

So as I watched and doodled these fish at the Dr.'s office, I wondered about their thoughts. Were they wondering about their next feeding time? Where were the bubbles coming from? Whether to be male or female? Were the rumors of life outside the tank true?

Looking at things from another's perspective can help us treat these others differently, treat them better. Like, maybe a Killer Whale doesn't want a career in the theater.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

be careful what you wish for

I'm sitting here looking at yet another e-mail from my boss with yet another tutoring request. Sigh.

It's not that I dislike tutoring, it's just that I feel that my work schedule is busy enough right now. Not to mention the fact that I have a husband, three sons, one dog, one cat, and, subsequently, one perpetually messy house perpetually in need of provisions.

At the same time, I think I've gotten a case of the Judy's in that I find it difficult to say "no". Difficult because private tutoring is the most expensive, premium product we offer. Saying "no" would be like a waitress telling a restaurant patron, "wouldn't you rather have beef stew?" after the patron had just ordered steak and crab.

And I do enjoy tutoring. Maybe not as much as the classroom drama, but tutoring's good fun.

True, my boss could look for another tutor if I decline. But I suspect that this student requested me because we live near each other - the Mother Ship being 50 miles to the north. I also like to think that I've developed a favorable reputation in the tutelage department. Sigh.

And then, of course, there's Run With Lumber, a mere two months away. Two short months until Lumber time.

Not ready to hit that "reply" button just yet...

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Silver Liningness Sunday

Good morning on this snowy Sunday! It's snowy here anyway, but it's pretty, gentle, fluffy snow, not the mean blustery, drifty, crusty snow.

It's been a busy week at work. I started a new class, and I took on another tutor student. So much for my phasing-out-of-tutoring phase. The class is for the GMAT this time, and it has been totally revised, so I've had to learn myself the new stuff. It's extra work, yes, but I like the revisions and the work is fun because I'm a geek like that.

Took China the crazy dog for her checkup at the vet's this week too. She's fat and getting arthritic, but the heartworms are dead and gone.

Remember the kids' bedroom project? Of course you do! Well, they managed to get some cleaning done. Not nearly as much as I would prefer, but I'll take what I can get. On Monday, we ordered new beds for Chaco and Wolfgang. They talked us into Memory Foam mattresses. Now I want one too!

Here's what the room looks like today. It has a rather military barracks/juvenile detention facility feel to it, I think, but they seem to like it. Once again, I Spy a Cat. I also Spy a Lazy Young Male Human.

The next project is new paint for the awful walls. What do you think - big flowers??

But during the cleanup, we found a bunch of Meego's "Magic Treehouse" books which were promptly sold on craigslist, so he's a little bit richer. I also found a figure drawing book that I think we bought for Wolfgang when he took a summer art class. It's mine now.

Oh, and I mentioned earlier that I gave up negativity for lent? It's working! Five days into it anyway. I'm thankful for my positive role models! Everyone should have them!

Despite the work busyness, I've still found time for Art and Bicycles. I'm honing my figure drawing skills thanks to the cleanup, and I have another watercolor in the works. The car sat in the garage a lot this week too... before the snow.

For this week's Sunday Sketch, I give... a chair. That's it. Just a chair... in keeping with the furniture theme.

Friday, February 19, 2010


Happy Friday everyone! This has been a busy week. As such, I haven't been able to play with my art supplies nearly as much as I'd like to, but it is Friday and I promised myself I would post something artsy each Friday even if it's just a stupid doodle.

This week's Illustration Friday topic is "propagate". I will admit that my first thoughts turned to human reproduction... Since I didn't have any sketchbook porn laying around, I had to think harder.

Then I remembered the rebellious ManCave mural I did. Rebellious because it is a blatant symbol of my estrogenic presence, placed right at the base of the stairway that leads to the ManCave.

Medium: Acrylic on dirt and fingerprint stained
wall. [It get's bigger if you click it]

Here it is in the state it's been since I last put paint to wall about three weeks ago or so. . There is some cleaning up to do. And it should be noted that I had some help. Wolfgang did the large dark red flower in the upper left. Meego did some random smaller flowers here and there and also helped propagate the grass. Chaco looked on with interest, but prefers to wait for the next mural which will be more macho.

There is an unfinished looking green thing in the lower left. That was a Meego stray from grass painting when I wasn't paying attention. We'll clean it up...

My own take on it is that it was fun to paint and I think it is happy looking with the exception of the mean looking yellow-green flower on the left. This one gave me troubles, so I added thorns and mean things to it. It's glaring at me now as I type this.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

get up

Happy lenten season!

Now, I am under no external religious obligation to take part in lent, but each year it rolls around and I often just go ahead and play along, thinking that it's probably a good thing to do.

And this year, it just snuck up on me. What? Yesterday was Ash Wednesday?! DANG, I totally missed Fat Tuesday!

So I've had to scramble to figure out my lenten sacrifice.

Anyway, this morning I went running. I left the house and left my neighborhood and was walking passed the next neighborhood over. It was about 5 a.m. It's pitch dark out. It's about 25 degrees and there's this crazy man standing on the corner.

At first I wasn't sure if it was a crazy man. Could've just been an oddly shaped evergreen because it was dark, and I suffer from myopia, and I refuse to wear glasses when I run because doing so makes me nauseous.

As I got closer, however, it became clear that it was a crazy man - or at least a crazy human - because it moved unlike the way an oddly shaped evergreen would move when there's no wind to speak of. All right, it's clearly a crazy person because normal people just aren't out at that time of morning.

As I got even closer, I noticed "baggage" near the crazy man's feet. Probably the chopped up remains of his victims since his latest escape from the Institution for the Criminally Insane. Great, this is how it's going down. I continued onward.

Eventually, I was within a few feet of him and the myopia wasn't so bad. He actually looked a little more sane looking than at first and the bags of victim's parts were a couple of quality-looking duffle bags. Maybe he was just waiting for his carpool. At that point, he noticed me, and from the look on his face, I'm sure he thought I was a murderous escapee from the Institution for the Criminally Insane. Normal people just aren't out at that time of morning.

"Good morning!", I offered in what I hoped was a sane sounding tone.

"Hello!", he chimed back in a very cheerful, friendly, non-murderous tone mixed in with a bit of relief that I was (probably) not the crazy murderous type.

Funny how that one word, spoken just so, can convey so much. The murderous crazy man on the corner was suddenly transformed into this fun, interesting person (uninteresting people just aren't out at that time of morning) whom I should invite for next Thanksgiving. Let's chuck our plans for running and carpooling and just go get a coffee, shall we?

Okay, we didn't.

My reason for describing this occurrence is that it was the impetus for getting me out of my lenten haze. I decided that I will give up negativity for lent.

Lately, I'd been irritated by negative people around me. Whiners, critics, uptights, etc. So, I've decided that I'm not going to let them irritate me anymore. Let them wallow, I choose not to.

Let the fast begin.

Monday, February 15, 2010


Him: "I still remember our first date, 22 years ago"

Me: "Yeah, I think it was on a Sunday that year too"

Him: "It was. And I remember what you were wearing. That white jacket, those grey jeans, your nice butt..."

Me: "Wow, you've got a good memory. Two of those three things are long gone."

Him: "Really? You've still got those jeans?"

♥ 

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Silver Liningness Sunday

First of all, Happy Valentine's day! I hope you are all feeling the love!

On this thankfulness day, I should take a moment to say that I'm thankful for Magnum and our life we've shared for, like, a hundred years or something. Our very first date was actually on Valentine's day. No symbolic reasoning behind it. We were both in school, I worked a retail job, and he was in the National Guard. V-day happened to be the first mutual opening in our respective calendars.

Okay, enough mushy mush.... onward!

It was a not-too-busy week this work week as I'm in a lull between classes and just have my two tutor students until next week. I did attend a training session which was fun and informative and paid for. In the meantime, I cleaned house like a ninja.

My "create more art" resolution of the New Year is still full of steam. I'm managing to find time each day to do SOMEthing. I've been working on folds. Here's some... uh... yeah... Kleenex *YAWN*. (decided to post that rather than the jeans on the guy's butt of which I'm quite happy with how the folds came out...)

We had snow this week, but we also had sunshine and warmth. I'm feeling for those people on the east that got socked in. I was able to leave the car in the garage for the most part - a.k.a. get around on my bicycle.

I volunteered at Meego's class Valentine's party on Friday. Helped get all the little lovebirds off to a good sugar high and even got some free cheese.

This week's Netflix pic was Nobel Son which was dark yet fun! Very enjoyable group of actors. Probably not for everyone, but Magnum and I liked it.

Oh, what the hell... it's
Valentine's day. Kleenex?!

Friday, February 12, 2010


For those who haven't noticed, I've decided to post something artsy each friday that I've created during my week. This is my third installment since starting this endeavor. I'm utilizing the Illustration Friday site to keep me at it.

This week's topic is "Adrift", and I admit, I had trouble finding something from this week's doodling to fit that bill.

The word Adrift at first struck me as a negative. I thought of being lost and without direction. As I thought about it some more, though, I saw that Adrift can have good associated with it too - like being free and unencumbered.

So, I settled on this cheetah watercolor. I still feel a little lost and "adrift" with watercolor and am trying to figure things out as I go - just go with the flow.

And then there's the cheetah thing. I'm thinking wild cheetahs, roaming the Savannah, not the neurotic ones walking in circles at the zoos.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

on the couch

A Charlie Brown Valentine show was on last night. Meego had it on. I used to like these Charlie Brown shows when I was a kid, and as I sat there with Meego, I couldn't for the life of me remember WHY!

I'm sorry, it may sound unAmerican, but I just found EVERY character terribly annoying. They all had such issues. Charlie Brown was daydreaming of "The Little Red Haired Girl" to the point of obsession. Peppermint Patty was engaging in stalking behavior. PigPen - HellOH!! Linus needed to lose that blanket years ago. And Lucy is just a total BI-OTCH.

I had my sketchbook and just began scribbling. A couple of Meego's Lego toys were hanging around, and I was thankful for that. I found comfort in their weaponry.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

tastes like high school

See him now?

Okay, so one day last week, I needed to take Wolfgang for his sports physical. The appointment was conveniently timed so that I would sign him out of school just as one class was ending. Easy enough.

I made my way to the high school entrance and opened the doors. I was instantly met with the roar of rushing.... hormones? Whatever.

I've been in the high school on just a few occassions - teacher/parent conferences, check-ins, dropping off forgotten whatevers - but have never been in there during the change of classes. I found myself instantly swept up in the flow of mass of teenaged humanity.

I managed to skirt my way around the borders of this current and make my way to the podium which large, angry signs were telling me I needed to stop at before advancing any further. Behind the podium was a largish Wrestlemania-looking man that I guessed worked nights as an effective nightclub bouncer.

In a surprisingly grandmotherly tone, he handed me a visitor's badge and asked that I please return it to him before I left. I then dove into the current of teenaged humanity.

The flow carried me up the stairs to the office. Except... wait... it's the library that's upstairs. The office is downstairs. CRAP! I managed to untangle myself from the mass of teenaged humanity and hug the wall.

Now I had to somehow find a way to get down two levels. I detected a flow of mass of teenaged humanity moving in that direction and went for it once again.

Continuing, this downward current of teenaged humanity carried me back down to the main level and past the Wrestlemania-but-grandmotherly man. I managed to keep going.

At last, I was at the ground level and had the office in my sights. I frantically paddled - or at least it felt as if I frantically paddled - my way to the office door. Eventually, I made it and was met by the serene silence away from the mass of teenaged humanity and found the school secretary affectionately known as "the Crackhead".

"You need the attendance office", the Crackhead explained in a raspy voice. "Around the corner", she directed with a skeletal finger.

Thankfully "around the corner" wasn't very far. I made my way into that serene space. A moment later, Wolfgang came peeking around the corner.

"Oh, there you are", I said.

"I've been here. Where were you?", he asked.

Stranger in a strange land.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

design of experiments

Okay, so I left out that box of tea last week? Remember? It's gone!

I'm not sure who moved it or precisely when. Heck, I'm not even sure if it went to its proper destination! I suppose I should've checked to see how many boxes were already in the proper destination, huh? I'll just assume that the top-of-the-stairs box of tea is now one of the tea stash boxes.

Anyway, I went to teach my class last Wednesday night. Sometime between my leaving and the time that I walked by the experiment site the next day, it had moved. I have my suspicions that a resident or two of this household may have actually read the blog entry where I laid out my experiment, thus cancelling out the accurateness of the results, but hey, whatever works.

In other slob news, Chaco and Wolfgang need new beds. They've been sharing the same bunkbed for years. I think Chaco's feet actually hang off the end. Anyways, we told them that they need to get the room "bed ready" and then we'll get each of them new bed sets.

Some headway has been made, but they could do OH! so much more. A new experiment?

To attain a state of habitability for the boys' bedroom

Entice with the promise of new beds and wait patiently for metamorphosis.

Slight changes detected. Very slight. Too slight.

Not holding my breath.

As seen from the entrance since
I'm kinda afraid to go in there.

Note: There's an actual cat in the photo. I challenge you to find him.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Silver Liningness Sunday

Greetings on this cloudy sunday! Well, it's cloudy here anyways. The clouds look like they want to snow. They are probably waiting for me to go outside to run, so I'd better get out there so as to not disappoint.

But first, let's count the ways, shall we!?

That LSAT class finished up. They were a fun bunch. Lots of good chemistry between the whole group - not just Rich Girl and Bartender. It's always a nice feeling to finish a class and have the students feeling confident, but when we all make new friends, that's even nicer. And now I have a place to get a free beer whenever! Well, as long as Bartender is working at the time...

On a related note, I also got a new tutor student. Here I thought I was going to taper off the tutoring and just do classes, but these tutor students come up that I just don't want to say, "no" to. This boy is a high schooler with mild cerebral palsy and just needs a little bit of one-on-one time. He's an absolute delight, and it's for kids like him that I would (almost) work for free.

Magnum and I watched a good movie yesterday. "Fracture" was one I'd had in the Netflix queue for one of those when-nothing-else-looks-good times. But as it turned out, we thought it was really good! First of all, I could probably be content to watch Ryan Gosling just walk around for a couple of hours, I mean really. But this was a clever crime/courtroom drama thing, and one usually can't go wrong with Anthony Hopkins playing the psycho genius type. And then there's that Ryan Gosling factor again...

And Magnum, Mr. Practicality, is investing in precious metals in response to the current economic situation. I've agreed that this is a good idea, and convinced him that we should purchase in the form of jewelry. Strike while the iron's hot, Ladies!!

Silver Liningness Honorable Mentions go to: comfy shoes, warm blankets, fast bicycles, great friends, paychecks, and cute kids (not necessarily my own).

Still playing with my art toys.

<-- cartoon me?

Friday, February 5, 2010


I went for a short bike ride yesterday. It had snowed overnight on Wednesday, so their was a thin layer of fresh fluffy snow on the ground in the morning. By noon, however, the snow had mostly melted and left the familiar mud everywhere.

Mud can make such interesting designs on a bicycling person.

Little splats, bigger splats, clusters of splats - one never knows what one will look like once one reachest one's destination. My destination happened to be a nearby grocery store. I was on a fishing expedition - to frozen foods.

I didn't actually get too muddied, and for that, I would like to thank my trusty backpack. This backpack goes with me most everytime I am running errands via bicycle. I keep my bicycle paraphernalia in there: lock, gloves, little keyring with everyone's library cards on it, bandana for tying up the pant leg...

It loyally shields my backside from onslaughts of mud. I can wipe my front off, clean off the glasses, and not worry much about having missed a spot from my back and butt because the backpack takes the hit for me in those locations.

I know it's just a backpack, but it's almost like a companion. We've ridden many miles together and when it's not with me on a ride, I feel like something's missing. It serves as my support crew, carrying various items like snacks, wallet, maps, cell phone, etc.

And it takes the mud hits for me.

"Muddy" is the topic at Illustration Friday this week. So... an ode to my backpack.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

tea time

Not far from where I'm sitting is a 12-can pack of Brisk iced tea. It's stationed at the top of the stairs leading into the Mancave.

This box of tea has been there since mid-morning yesterday when I plopped it there after my return from a grocery run. It originally had two companion tea boxes that I have since obediently stashed in their proper waiting stations. My original intent was to return for the third box and obediently stash it also, but then I thought I'd try a little experiment instead.

To determine the number of times and subsequent length of time that my family members will walk past the box of tea, in the direction of the stash location, before someone, ANYONE, stashes it away in its proper waiting station.

Leave the tea at the top of the stairs.

Results (so far):
I know there have been several encounters with the tea box from various other residents as they headed toward the stash. If I start recording my data from this morning, however, I have at least 5 encounters, so I'll start with that.

Okay, Magnum works full-time and clearly makes the lion's share of our financial bottom line. He also helps clean up after meals and does fine with that as long as I don't watch.

Kids are in school for about 7 hours a day. I consider it my job, and have for quite some time, to take care of the meat of the household well-oiled-machineness. I mainly just ask that people take care of their own "stuff" and clean up after their own selves. These basics sound good in theory, but rarely are handled smoothly.

Maybe I'm making life too easy.

I recall reading about a family that called a meeting because the mom was overwhelmed with doing "everything" around the house. A divying up of various responsibilities ensued. Certain jobs were categorized as "specialties" that could only be handled by specific members, for example: "breast feed the baby".

So today, I will go about my daily housewifery and also grade some essays and prepare some lessons.

But I'm not touching the tea. I don't even drink it.

Monday, February 1, 2010


Sears, you done me wrong
Now I'm rappin' out this song
To pass the word along
About how Sears, you done me wrong!

We went into your store
And we bought a TV
Did we look like Suckers?
My family and me?

You gladly took our cash
And you sent us on our way
You thinking you had gotten us
With your "have a nice day!"

We got the TV home
And imagine our surprise
When our "brand new" TV
Was just a USED one in DISGUISE!

Sears, you done me wrong
Now I'm rappin' out this song
To pass the word along
About how Sears, you done me wrong!

We brought the TV back
Better straighten out your act
But we sure won't be back
For even vacuum cleaner sacks

Sears, you done me wrong
Now I'm rappin' out this song
To pass the word along
About how Sears, you done me wrong!!

Now we've got a new TV
All shiny brand new
And it's from another store
Never buying again from you!