Sunday, August 29, 2010

Silver Liningness Sunday

It's the last weekend of August. I'm pretty glad to see it go in some ways. August is hot, and I'm looking forward to a cool down.

Cooler temperatures and shorter days have made for some very pleasant early morning runs this week, with a weiner dog race in the dark thrown in for extra fun.

As mentioned, Wolfgang is running cross country. He's enjoying that quite well and holding his own nicely. There was that team potluck thing yesterday. Normally, I'm not big on these things, thinking that the emphasis in competetive sports should be on training and competing (GRRRR!), but it was a nice enough way to kick off the season. I brought a ham/egg/cheese/potato casserole thing that was scarfed down in record time. So I'm glad it was enjoyed and it also made for an efficient way to rid my fridge of those pesky salmonella eggs. JUST KIDDING!

And speaking of Wolfgang, he's misplaced his wallet. No, I'm not really thankful for that (although I'm sure there's an inherent lesson in responsibility there...), but as he was searching for it, he found my bicycling gloves that had been MIA for about a day. YAY!

And speaking of bicycling, I've enjoyed some nice rides nearly every afternoon, under the guise of errand-running. Now that the kids are back in school, there's more time in my days for such indulgences.

And speaking of back-to-school, one of the teachers at Meego's school sent a gift card home with him last week. It was to thank me for helping her out at school last year. Okay, better late than never, I'll take it. Meego's decided that he and I will use it. I guess hefting it home earned him that.

In movie news, we watched Kick Ass the other night. I liked it, even though it wasn't really what I expected. I expected a rather geeky teen movie. In fact, I never even checked the ratings to see that it's rated "R". I just assumed it was a PG-13 geeky teen movie. It's very graphic novelish in presentation, rated R for sexuality and gore, and a bit awkward for me at times, sitting next to Meego... but we all liked it. (Not for the squeamish or prudish).

Saturday, August 28, 2010

what's in a name

This morning, Magnum and I went to this potluck picnic thing for Wolfgang's cross country team. They had a morning practice followed by parents bringing a bunch of food. I think it was mainly a ploy by the coaches to get a bunch of food after practice, but whatever...

Anyway, it was a nice enough day for it, and we were at this park pavillion. As I was hanging out, this vaguely familiar person came up to me and asked if I lived near the elementary school that we live near. I answered that indeed I did, and he went on to say that he runs on the path and often sees me walking the crazy dog.

Okay, so then I remembered him, and pretty soon we're talking like we've known each other since kindergarten. He points out his daughter, Magnum and I point out Wolfgang (of course the kids weren't anywhere near their parents, on purpose I'm sure).

But the whole time we're carrying on this conversation, I realized that about 5 seconds after he told me his name, I'd forgotten it. Or maybe it was never deep enough into my brain in the first place for me to have known it well enough to even forget.

To make matters worse, his wife joins us and he adeptly introduces us all by our actual names - just further making me feel like an inattentive slacker. So I'm thinking that, hopefully Magnum remembers.

Yeah, riiiiiight.

The thing is, I will probably see him on the walking path again, and I should acknowledge him by his name, right? "Hey, runner guy that I shared life stories with at the cross country potluck! Howzit going?" just doesn't really sound right.

What to do?

Fortunately, he told us that he works for the school district. And fortunately, Wolfgang knows his daughter pretty well, and knows their last name. And fortunately, the school district has a website which I happen to have bookmarked. And fortunately, I easily found the department he works for. And fortunately, they have a listing of department staff...

Jeff. JEFF. jeff. Jeff. JEFF.

Wait... what was it?

Friday, August 27, 2010


Happy Illustration Friday, where today's prompt is "immovable".

When I saw that prompt, I was reminded of my working girl days. My department had an annual summer picnic. No spouses. No kids. Just us working slobs getting together for an afternoon of fun, beer, and camaraderie. I truly believe that this simple yearly event was a major factor accounting for our excellent synergy at work, despite many differences in ages, personalities, and backgrounds.

And I recall one year where an impromptu Tug-of-War tournament broke out. For some reason there was a rope laying around and we decided to pick teams ala the old playground style of gathering some "captains" and letting them pick from the underlings. I don't remember, but I was undoubtedly one of the last picked - unless a team took pity on me.

Anyways, I recall one team in particular - the winning team - the team that blew all other teams away. It consisted of just 3 guys, but they were the 3 largest guys in the department, looking much like my depiction above. All other teams had 4 to 6 members, but none were a match for the uber tug-of-war team.

In fact, it was so humiliating, I recall vividly how this team didn't even dig their heels in as is customary in such an athletic competition. Someone would say "GO!", and these three would just move their hands from front to rear while holding their end of the rope, and the opposing team members would barely escape falling on their faces. Actually, some didn't escape.

That could've been from the beer, though.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

rolling along

Saw some kids on skateboards, winding down the last days of summer. Soon, we'll be bundling up and fighting the snows, but for now, let's revel and flip our skateboards.

I was chased by a weiner dog yesterday morning while running. I passed him on the sidewalk as he looked at me rather confusedly. A few yards later, I heard the telltale sound of his nails on the sidewalk *scritcha*scritcha*scritcha*scritcha*... as he chased me down. What did he think he was going to do when/if he caught up to me?

So I stopped running, turned to him and said "STOP". And he did. Then I began running again. I think he just wanted to run with me.

So not much is happening here. The weiner dog chase is the most exciting thing. This time of year makes me feel like doing resolutions again - like at new years. I don't know if it's because this is when school gets back in gear, so I'm programmed to set goals in the fall or what, but the gears in my head are a-turning that way.

Or maybe it's because the weiner dog chase is the most exciting thing.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Silver Liningness Sunday

I should start by being thankful about that rib thing from about a month ago. Remember? You DO remember don't you? Anyway, it is much better, and I'd put it at a 95% at this point.

And, as already mentioned, kids are all back to school, and I think I've gotten all of the first-week-back chaos out of the way. Forms and agreements have been agreed upon, checks have been checked, school supplies have been supplied...

Chaco finished his final phase of Master Drive today. So now what?

Magnum and I watched a movie called The Last Station. It wasn't rivetting. I'm not falling over myself to recommend it. It was entertaining enough, though. I only mention it because James McAvoy is yet another cougar crush of mine and, in my opinion, can do no wrong.

OKAY... in closing, I just want to give a shout out to our storage efforts from the last few weeks. Magnum and I think everyone should have at least a 3-month food supply if not longer (I swear, sometimes I think I married my DAD!). I've been working on ours, and it's lacking in some areas, but here are a couple of photos of it's current state:

Anyway, I'm thankful for the preparedness blogs I found to help inspire and guide me. Not to mention, they're FREE!

We've got storage, yes we do. We've got storage, how 'bout you?

Friday, August 20, 2010


Wow, Friday already! Illustration Friday to be exact. This week's prompt is "atmosphere".

Several years ago, I worked at a polyurethane plant. One of my job duties was that of "Safety Coordinator". Sounds impressive, no? Actually, I think it was assigned to me because no one else wanted to do it.

Anyways, I just had to keep track of all the safety stuff in compliance with OSHA regulations. In a polyurethane plant, that could be relatively extensive and tedious. This position also required that I provide necessary safety training to all new employees, including temporary workers.

This place had a tendency to use a lot of temporary workers. And they were usually used to do things that weren't pleasant. In a polyurethane plant, that could be relatively extensive and hazardous.

I recall two such temps. They showed up one morning bright eyed and bushy tailed - NOT! I took the two of them into a meeting room and went through all of the terrible things they would likely encounter while earning their day-laborer wage. I then showed them how to properly use a respirator (gas mask really, but "respirator" sounds more friendly). They signed all of the necessary paperwork, in compliance with OSHA, and I sent them on their way.

The morning breaktime arrived. They left and were never seen again.

My coworkers joked about how I had sent them running away in fear. I say, it wasn't MY fault. It was just the atmosphere of that place.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Silver Liningness Sunday

Another week bites the dust. Another one begins!

Firstly, Wednesday was my and The Magnum's 20th anniversary. GAWSH that sounds like a long time! He actually bought me stuff, too! We don't normally make a big deal about the anniversary date, plus I'm totally low maintenance when it comes to stuff like that anyways. That's probably why he married me in the first place.

This was a good productive week. I started tutor sessions with a new student and also started an online class, so work is picking up just in time for the kids to go back to school.

Speaking of which, school starts tomorrow! Summer's done. Boy, that was quick, but I managed to get Meego's supply list taken care of... well, except for the hand sanitizer which was picked clean. HAND SANITIZER, who do I have to sleep with to get some hand sanitizer around here!?!

And actually, Chaco and Wolfgang get one extra day of summer. Their school year begins Tuesday as tomorrow is dumb-freshmen-get-the-entire-building-to-themselves-day. We didn't have that when I was a high school freshman. We started proving our idiocy right from day one.

I did the drawing at left in celebration of back-to-school. I just felt a certain vibe in the air...

Friday, August 13, 2010

star gazing

Illustration Friday is once again upon us. This week's prompt is "star gazing", and it conjures in me cartoony thoughts for some reason. It also conjures romantic thoughts. Put those together and it's a fine cartoony romance.

Sometimes when I'm watching nature documentaries, and think of those filmers, hidden with their cameras, trying to capture the true nature of wild beasts, I think, "what if aliens are filming us... making little PBS documentaries?" What are they thinking?

Or maybe they just like to stroll - three-fingered hand in three-fingered hand - with their sweeties, and think about the bigger picture.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Welp, we're winding down the last few days of summer before school starts back up again. It's sort of a bittersweet time. On the one hand, it's nice to have the break from schedules and homework, but on the other hand, some structure is a good thing.

I can tell that each of the kids is ready to start a fresh school year, since we did our bit of back-to-school shopping last week. Wolfgang got himself all registered on Monday, Chaco on Tuesday. In fact, Chaco had to be there at the earliest of early - oh the curse of being an A-L junior. Meego meets his teacher tomorrow afternoon and gets ice cream for the effort.

So things are moving along and next week will bring on the eerie quietness that are those first few days of school. It's all good, though, because my work schedule is picking up at the same time, so I need the quietude, but I must say that it's been nice having the brood around all summer.

Chaco especially.

He's just been so helpful and responsible lately. It's a bit weird, but I'm not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, but rather just ride that horse into the ground! I came across something recently, though, that I think explains the phenomenon:

Is there a Camelot where children clean their rooms without being threatened... clear the table without demanding a check... and look upon their homework as a privilege? There is indeed. Age 16. Each day you will be bottle-fed with the milk of human kindness from this wonderful child who will smother you with love and concern. Why?
The kid wants to drive your car!

-----Erma Bombeck


Sunday, August 8, 2010

Silver Liningness Sunday

GOSH! (ala Napoleon Dynamite) Where did this week go? Well, I'm sure some good stuff happened in that blur somewhere, let me try to rewind.

For one thing, a new class has begun and so it's good to be working an actual schedule for a while.

And yesterday was a fun day. We went out for a large recreational breakfast and then spent the bulk of the day fishing at the lake. It was a very nice day for it and nice to kick back and connect with nature if just for the day. I even had a momentous moment with a friendly turtle to boot.

Meego graduated another level of swim lessons. One of the reasons I signed him up is because the open swimming is so sparse around here. It was already bad to begin with, but budget cuts closed many pools, so it's really slim pickin's now. At least one of us got to swim.

And this so happens to be our last week of summer break, so last week, I got out the dreaded school supply list. I was glad to see that 5th grade isn't too bad. Really, some years have been downright ridiculous. So I got most everything on Meego's list. There is no list for High School. Gotta love High School.

On a similar note, we did some back-to-school clothes shopping. Wolfgang has outgrown most everything over the summer. Chaco and Meego are pretty similar and what wasn't grown out of was worn down to a holey pulp. We caught some deals. According to one receipt, I "saved" over $100. Where is it?

Friday, August 6, 2010


Happy Illustration Friday, where this week's prompt is "caged".

I know this guy. He's a nice guy, and he drives a forklift. He prefers to earn his money by cooking, and has done so quite well in the past. He's also an aspiring artist - graphic novelist to be exact.

So he's a cook. He's an artist. But he currently earns his paychecks by driving a forklift, and he's okay with that. He calls it his "purgatory" job. It's not ideal, but he's also grateful enough to know that it could be much worse.

A bit caged maybe. Caged, but never trapped.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


This is week 4 of the 4-week swim plan I put Meego on. (2) 2-week sessions, back to back. A regular Aqua Man he is.

So anyway, as I'm sitting there, day after day after day after day after.... I can observe the other swim parents. Most of them are the typical swim class variety of functionally clothed mothers, often with younger siblings in tow.

But there is one group that stands out a bit. It consists of one dad-like figure, two motherly ones, a boy of about 8 and a girl of about 3. Now, during our stint of living in Utah, this wasn't such a strange thing to see - your typical polygamist family out to beef up the swim skillz. This group, however, doesn't quite fit that mold. For one, this is Colorado. Additionally, this group is about 5 kids short, and neither of the females is noticeably pregnant.

During the lessons, the adults sit dutifully on the sidelines - the younger female with the male, the older female, usually somewhere else. When the lesson is finished, and the kids emerge from the pool, they often look a bit confused about where to go.

I've concluded that the man is the baby daddy, the older woman is the mommy, and the younger woman is the mommy replacement for the daddy.

They all look to get along amicably enough, but it seems strange that they all go to swim lessons. Almost all of the other kids, regardless of age, are accompanied by only one adult - whether that be an actual parent, or the one in the group that has carpool that day.

Maybe they're just all keeping tabs on each other under the guise of keeping tabs on the kids? Ho hum, maybe I should just read my book and/or continue my conversations with the random babies.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Silver Liningness Sunday

Welcome to Sunday! Welcome to August!

This has been a goodly productive week. I will start with thankfulness for my healing rib whatever. My own totally nonprofessional diagnosis is a pulled or torn muscle as opposed to a cracked rib. This is good, as I was thinking, geesh, am I such an old lady as to crack a rib by sitting up wrongly from bed?!? Anyways, it's feeling much better. I can actually move and breathe now. And, in case brandy101 reads this, just know that I am able to do those "small household repairs" again too. ;)

Sort of on that note, Magnum, Meego, Wolfgang and I went for a Slurpee bikeride yesterday. This is just a bike ride that includes stopping at a 7-11 along the path for slurpees (God forbid we'd expect the kids to just go for a ride without some sort of junk ingestion at some point...). This was enjoyable as I hadn't ridden my bicycle for over a week per aforementioned rib thing. Can you imagine how annoying I must have been to live with!?

Anyway, as we were sipping slurpees under the slurpee tree, I was discussing with Wolfgang my mixed feelings about another year of PTO. He's convinced me to stick it out. "You have to stay president of Run With Lumber", he says. "All the kids know you that way". Oh, so that touched my heart a little.... (but maybe it was the way he said "president" of Run with Lumber. That sounds so much better than "chair"...)

And Chaco missed out on the slurpee ride because he was completing the second phase of his driver's ed at Masterdrive. This is his least favorite phase, the classroom phase: 3 full days of book learning, but he completed it. Not such a small feat because it required getting up at ungodly hours of the morning - ungodly to a teenager on summer break anyway.

And it rained. It rained a LOT. God bless the rains down in Africa and Colorado Springs.