Tuesday, June 29, 2010

morning persons

I've noticed a strange phenomena the last few weeks: People. Droves of them. Outside.

On days that I go running, I run early in the morning, and this morning was such a one. Unlike the dark months of winter, when there are just the occassional chance encounters with suspicious men with duffle bags and no one else, these summer morning runs almost qualify as "crowded".

This morning, for instance, I came across several dog walkers, dogless walkers, and a few runners scattered about.

There's a woman who has routinely been running at the track for several weeks now. I don't know if she runs everyday, or if her runs just happen to correspond with mine, but she's quite systematic. I also came across a relatively large woman working her way up a hill as I was going down. She moved over to the grass as I passed, took a swig from her water, and gave me a very cheerful, sweaty, breathless greeting.

Rounding a corner, I came upon another woman and her two dogs. She directed my attention to across the road where there were 4 deer a-grazing.

I will miss all this in December.

Monday, June 28, 2010

mega me

So, did you see that episode of "The Office" where Dwight constructs his Mega Desk?

Neither did I... BUT, I did however construct my own version of my own Mega Desk a few minutes ago.

It's all a part of my evil plot to slowly take over the Man Cave! AAAHHAHAHAHAHAHahahahahahahahahhahahaha.......

Update: In light of Jerry's (Duble's) comment, I've renamed it the Giga Desk.


Sunday, June 27, 2010

Silver Liningness Sunday

June is fast disappearing. Wait! I think I'm still in March!

This was a good week for "sharpening the saw" workwise. I don't currently have any active classes, and I just got one new tutor student, so I was able to get caught up on some training. Shia and I have graduated to more opportunities.

I'm glad to have more free time in my schedule during the summer anyway, so I'm thankful for that flexibility in my job and the fact that I can slack off take extra time when I want to.

In movie news, Magnum and I watched Inglorious Basterds. Have you seen it? We enjoyed it. Yes, it can be graphic at times (Hello! Quentin Tarantino!), but if you can handle that aspect, it's worth a look-see.

And I finished the fish mural that I started last weekend. Of course, with murals, it seems they can always be added to, and I just may do so, but it has at least reached a point of finishedness.

Fishy finishedness.

Friday, June 25, 2010


*POOF* Illustration Friday already!

This week, the prompt is "satellite", and the only thing I could think to draw was an actual satellite - whether man-made or a moon of some kind. YAWN...

People are actually my favorite subject for illustrating, and I remembered a photo we had of Meego flying a kite. So I reproduced that with a huge satellite in place of the whimsical kite. Now, I do KNOW that this version is physically impossible! I was trying to be outside the box, okay?!

And it was actually pretty fun. I've been inside the box enough this week.

Happy Friday!


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

look into my eyes

Allrighty, so at work we do these live online classes, right? One thing that's more difficult than it sounds is to maintain "eye contact" with the classroom or tutor student. It's tempting to just look at what's on the computer screen, when really, we're supposed to look into the "eye" of our webcams.

Here's my webcam sitting on its usual perch atop my monitor. See it? Very small and non-humanlike. Not very engaging to look at.

So one of the trainers gave us a tip to stick a picture of a friendly face onto our webcams - you know like in Lamaze class where they tell you to bring a photo of someone you like to ride the waves of the contractions with you?(I never brought photos for those occassions myself. Would've probably ended up ripped to shreds). But for live online, I thought, "Oooh, good idea!", then wondered whose photo I should stick.

I didn't necessarily want a family member (really, I see enough of them), and for inspiration, I just did a google search on "face", to see what that would bring up.

Got a lot of faces I didn't care for....

Eventually I settled. Allow me to hereby confess that I have a bit of a secret cougar crush on Shia Labeouf. YEAH, go ahead and laugh... fine... shut up... whatever! He's got a friendly face, OKAY?!

Anyway, here's my new webcam:

Looks so much better!

Monday, June 21, 2010

it's just the fumes talking

Well, I may have created a three-headed monster.

I thought this mural painting would inspire the kids to come up with similar creative outlet projects and... they HAVE.

They're each doing their own mural.

Chaco's begun a beach scene, Wolfgang a sailing ship, and Meego "space" as in planets and stuff, not just empty space.

You can maybe imagine what the basement looks like?

Oh well, it's all good, and if not.... that's what paint rollers are for.


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Silver Liningness Sunday

Happy Sunday, and let me just wish a Happy Father's Day to all the good dads out there. Non-cancerous cyber cigars all around! My own dad is a loving and rather strange man. Taught me everything I know!

Another good week has passed. After returning from our road trip, we've recalibrated and reorganized and are settling into a nice summer.

AND my summer slave program continues. Cars are washed and waxed, bathrooms and floors are cleaned. It's like a Christmas miracle in summertime. Now, about that bedroom....

By my own admission, I am anti-pomp, anti-ceremony, anti-snobbery, anti-government-by-Monarchy... and yet I find this whole Swedish Royal Wedding thing so endearing. My girl side is showing. Probably because Princess Victoria has married such a COMMONER! You go! Way to rock the boat!

Speaking of boats, can you believe that BP CEO at the yacht races?!? Clueless much?? Oh, I digress, this is thankfulness day...

Yesterday, I started another mural. Ocean fish. No, that's not a zombie fish on the right, it's a work-in-progress and he's just not complete yet. No spewing oil either.

Friday, June 18, 2010


Hello, Friday! Illustration Friday that is. I missed last week's fun since we were on our road trip, but am back in the illustration saddle. This week's prompt is "paisley".

I'm not particularly a fan of paisley when it comes to fashion. It conjures up images of "hippie" types, smelling of patchouli. Also, most times when I see paisley designs, they remind me of amoeba and other single-celled organisms.

The paisley bandana, however, is a fun versatile little accessory. I personally always keep one handy when camping and/or hiking. It's a hat/hair tamer! It's a hanky! It's a cool offer! It can even be a water filter in a survival situation!

Or in this case, a big guy's do-rag.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


You know how when friends go on a trip? Then they come back and bore you with stories and photos? Let's do!

Yes, we just got back from our first road trip of summer. Did some camping, some hiking, some museuming, some fishing, some swimming, some general getting on each others' nerving... all in "The Land of Enchantment"... oooooooooohhhhhh, (uhm... that would be New Mexico)

The menfolk, playing with their weenies

Wolfgang, under a B-52

Me and da bomb (replica of Fat Man)

Meego and Magnum at the top of Mt. Capulin Volcano.

So many fisherman... so little fish

McDonalds, I'm lovin' it, even in the middle of nowhere.

All in all, a good time was had by all. Mt. Capulin was very cool despite being SO high up. I'm glad I didn't know about the height factor beforehand - wimpy acrophobe that I am.

And we just totally geeked out at the Nuclear Museum.

And I mean totally.

Wish you were there.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

what about the van?

We're planning a little road trip. Nothing major, just a getaway to have it officially feel like summer.

So as I brush the cobwebs off of our big butt van, I'm thinking it needs a little personality. The best road trip vehicles are vans, of course, and the more personality the better.

Our van is just your basic monocolored Econoline. No curtains, no Christmas lights, no outer embellishments.

Maybe it needs a little customization to make it more roadtrip worthy?

Any suggestions? I was thinking maybe...

Or how about...

Okay, maybe not.


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

hairy carey

I'm not a fan of the mohawk. Y'know, the hairdo.

There's a certain small window of age where it's okay in my opinion. Late teens to early twenties maybe.

"mohawked shadow boxer"

Anything outside that window, and they bug me. I don't like seeing little kids with mohawks. Makes them look like trouble. Older guys with mohawks? Hmm mm.

I have a mom friend at the elementary school. She had a mohawk for a good two years. She's a total butch, and for the longest time, before I got to know her, I (and many others) just assumed she was one half of a two-mom couple. Turns out she's married to a not-too-shabby guy. So much for appearances. When I did get to know her, she explained that she'd lost a bet. The mohawk was the consequence. She gave her old hair to those wigs for cancer. So then, why not just let it grow out?, I queried. Well, she started having fun with it. She'd dye it for school activities. Green for St. Patrick's Day, hot pink for Valentine's day, etc. Soon, she was known as the volunteer mom with the neon hair.

So my neighbor, Neighbor Flanders (no, she didn't get a mohawk). She and her family were gone for about a week on a little vacation. She has 4 boys. One of them is Chaco's age, and he came home from the vacation sporting a mohawk.

Now this kid is a good kid. Hard working, pious, responsible, gets good grades... I can honestly see him being a pastor some day. So the mohawk, I nearly didn't recognize him. He said, "It started out as an accident".

He was giving himself a haircut, and one side was shorter than the other. He kept trying to even the sides up and... well...

So I'm getting over my hairdo prejudice. Could just be a lost bet, or a charitable act, or just a home haircut gone bad.

Or maybe they just want to try something new. Like young Flanders, I'm thinking. I'm thinking he likes it.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

day 2

It's been just over a month since our last big snowstorm. Really, I went into the archives and checked. And I do remember that we've had some snow since then too.

Well, yesterday, we broke the record for high temperature. It got up to 96 new-record degrees. ACK, I'm dealing with this weather moodiness as best I can. It was a pleasantly breezy 60 degrees this morning. A lovely run I had, yes I did.

Okay, enough talk about the weather. I see this is "Day 2" of the seige summer. Yes, the kids were officially released from school last Wednesday. Yes, there wasn't a whole lot of schoolness in the days just prior to that. But I was still with the busy work schedule last week, so for me, summer break didn't really start until yesterday.

So yesterday we made some lists. One, a fun list. Two categories: "Adventures" and "Projects". Oh, I can't wait to begin! The other, a not-so-fun list?

See, I think my kids have been slacking on the helping-out-around-the-housery. I'm cracking down. We listed things that need to be done daily as well as weekly. Then we made a third category, which I labeled "$pecial" - to indicate that they would actually get paid for doing things from that category - and also to indicate that they would NOT be getting paid for the other two categories *cackles evilly*.

So far, it's working wonderfully, and the household is running like a well-oiled machine.

The floors are swept, and in some cases, mopped(!). Lawn's mowed. Weeds were pulled. Car was washed, vacuumed, and is set for a morning waxing today. In all this zeal, China the crazy dog underwent two good rubdowns and rinsings.

Who are these children?

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Silver Liningness Sunday

Happy silver liningness Sunday to all! It feels like summer.

As previously mentioned, the kids FINALLY had their last day of school this past week. Talk about beating a dead horse. They all managed to not get held back and will be advancing a grade next school year. For now, however, we are on summer break.

In a somewhat related note, I taught the final session of a class on Tuesday, and finished the final hours of tutoring for my one tutee yesterday. My work schedule is now officially wide open! That has not happened in a while, and it feels kinda nice. I plan to cut back on the work hours somewhat over the summer. Gotta love that flexibility.

Still, while I'm not currently teaching anything, 3 of the 5 classes I do teach are undergoing major reconstruction, so we've had lots of workshops and trainings and such like going on. I appreciate that I can attend these things live online. No need to commute, dress presentably, or apply deodorant.

<-- And AND, I can doodle away without the presenter knowing that I'm doodling away (Yes, I'm listening and taking notes too!), while getting paid.

In movie notes, I finally saw Avatar. I liked it better than I thought I would.

Lots of rolling around on the bicycle this week. That's always a good thing.

Friday, June 4, 2010


*POOF* it's Friday! Already Illustration Friday! This week's illustration prompt is "trail". So, why the smoking chick?

Well, thing is, years ago, I used to smoke. Not a whole lot, mind you. It started out innocently enough. I worked in a restaurant where it was very common to smoke around the break table. Cooks did it, waitresses did it, dishwashers did it, and eventually I did it.

And it didn't just confine itself to the work break table. Soon enough, friends and I were smoking when we'd go out together for fun. One thing though, I notice that I always only smoked in social situations. Never alone. I guess that counts for something.

This may seem kind of a surprising revelation to people who know me now and perhaps think of me as a bit of a health nut. Well, they're only half right.

Compared to many "quitters", I smoked relatively little. When I stopped, I just stopped and went on. But still... still to this day... over two decades later, I still feel like lighting up now and again. I don't, but sometimes I catch myself just staring at someone who is smoking. Just staring and staring and getting lost.

Lost in that enticing, alluring, mesmerizing, slow, deadly trail of smoke.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

galerie de abbynormal

You know how, if you have young schoolkids? How they're always bringing home some sort of "artwork"? Some people plaster the front of their fridge with these masterpieces, but I have never been much of a fridge plasterer myself.

Some of them get sent straight to the trash (those that I'm pretty sure won't be missed), others are put into a binder.... er.... portfolio, and still others reach the distinction of framage and wall adornment.

( I really don't own anything else to put on the walls, and I'm not into "Twilight"/Justin Beiber posters.)

It's occurred to me that, while I occassionally display my own artful attempts, I have not given a thorough walk-through of our art adorned domicile. Join me in the living room?

The photo above shows a lovely composition of a large fish and mountain vista. First grade Chaco and third grade Meego respectively.

And here we have a lovely abstract piece from pre-school Meego (note the unplanned effect of gravity!) on the left, with an exquisite second grade Wolfgang iguana.

Nextly, what a treat of military prowess! Yes, that is a fifth grade Chaco "Crimson Guard" on the left with an intimidating fourth grade Wolfgang Samurai on the right. Pardon the glare.

And lastly, the Wall o' Muscle. This particular display involves some 3-D art in the form of a Plymouth Roadrunner model in blue; a Dodge Charger model in black, and a Plymouth Superbird model in red. The 2-D art, clockwise from top left, is a Ford Mustang of unremembered year (it has the year on the drawing, but I'm too lazy to check), yet another Plymouth Superbird, a wood carving of Speedy Gonzales (what is he doing there?), topped off with - yes you know it is - an oil of Optimus Prime.

Thank you for joining me on the tour. Who says we are uncultured?