Thursday, May 31, 2012

hair today

I got a haircut yesterday. 

 I don't really give much attention to my hair.   I just go get it cut every six weeks or so, and yesterday I was well overdue, so I went to the mall.

I walked into the salon and was greeted by the one who would cut my hair.  She had bleached hair with a glob of blue spilling forward from the top of her head.  She had about five tattoos that I could see, and she had body piercing jewelry sticking into and out of various locations of her face.  She also looked like she was about 16 years old.

My first impression did make me ponder the thought of finding a regular stylist and sticking with him or her.  But no, she would do.  She worked at a salon, right?  She graduated from SOMEplace. 

In the end, she did a good enough job.  I could tell that she was a bit of a rookie, but she was pleasant enough and didn't wreck my hair.  I think it was a pretty basic assignment.  Every once in a while, she would make hairstylist conversation, like she would suddenly remember being told to do that while in styling school.   

We actually talked mostly about tattoos.  Turns out that she had only one other one than the ones I could see... if she was to be fully believed. 

As far as what I asked her to do, I guess I would give her a grade of "B".  So I got to thinking, what would MY grade be as a customer?  I looked up a sort of "do's and dont's" for going to the salon and found some belated advice:
1.  Schedule a Consultation.    Grade = B

Apparently, we are supposed to schedule a consultation before any actual work begins and "let the stylist see what your hair looks like dry and styled as you typically style it."  Well, I walked in with it looking like it usually does at that time of day.  As I typically style it?   Uh, yeah - it was the windblown look.

2.  Bring Pictures.  Grade = missing.

Nothing more of note to say about that.

3.  Don't Say It, Show It.  Grade = D-

I did exactly what the article said NOT to do.  I said, "Just take 2 inches off of the length and clean up the layers".  Instead, I should have actually taken my hand and karate chopped right where I wanted her to go.  The only reason I didn't totally fail is because, after my wrongdoing, SHE karate chopped and asked if that's where I  meant. 
4. Be Careful About Saying, "Do Whatever You Want".  Grade = A

I might actually have been guilty of doing this in the past.   In this case, I probably realized that I could end up with bleached hair and a glob of blue spilling to the front.

5.  Prepare Questions & Listen to Your Stylist.  Grade = C.

These are supposed to be questions like:

  • "Do you think my hair can look like this picture?"  
  • "How long will this haircut take me to style in the morning?"
I didn't ask anything, but I give myself a C since I had no picture (and already took the F for that), and I already knew that I would just continue to let the universe style my hair in the morning. 

6.  Pick the Right Stylist.  Grade = C-

Apparently there are stylists who "specialize" with things like curly vs. straight,  "funky" vs. conventional, dyed vs. undyed, straightened, etc.  Who knew?  My selection process is a.k.a. "next available person with scissors".

7.  Tip Appropriately or Beware Your Next Haircut.  Grade = A

Despite my cluelessness, I think I left her a good tip. 

And now, I'll be ready for next time.  I bet my hair will still end up looking the same, though.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Missing

... a graphic interpretation (based on actual events)

Last week, Chaco had just returned from one of his rip-roaring LAN parties when...


Just goes to show... sometimes the best solution to a problem IS a
1 - 2 punch. 

I charged him a finders fee. 

He didn't pay it.


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

take a hike!

Our Memorial Day was pretty pleasant.  I actually had one tutor session early in the day, but I was back home before a couple of  the slugs were even out of bed.  We kicked the bums out and told them to take a hike!
rocks and trees and stuff

So they did.

We went to a place we'd not yet been.  It was very pretty, reminding me of photos I've seen of the boonies of Ireland and Scotland.  It was a bit crowded with others having the same idea, but not so much as to not feel like a getaway.

Coaxing Wolfgang out of his camera shyness

Plus it was a perfect day for it weather-wise.  We honed our poison ivy detection skills, and whetted our appetite for the good feral camping to come. 

I took it easy on the foot, and didn't go all parkour on the rocks.  Plus there was a nice stream for cooling the tootsies. 

The imaginary family, suitable for coworkers

Magnum wanted a new family photo for the office.  I'm not sure what he's got there now, but it's probably back from the days when I was the second tallest member of the family.

The truth - putting the "fun" in dysfunction

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day

My very first memory is of my grandmother (sorry Mom, Dad).  I was probably around two years old at the time, and I vividly remember going out back of her apartment to throw out the trash. 

I know.  Pretty special.

I read somewhere that our earliest memories are probably remembered because they involved some sort of heightened emotion or trauma.  In my case, I think the reason I remember going on that trash walk with Grandma is that I was very new to walking.  So walking in a gravel ridden alley was, at the time, practically analgous to summitting Mt. Everest.

I remember the anxiety I had, trying to navigate ALL the way to the trash dumpsters over that rocky wasteland of an alley.  I somehow knew, in my still-forming brain, that I needed to walk because Grandma couldn't carry me.  Her arms were busy with the trash. 

Also very vivid in my memory was the comforting feeling that, throughout this precarious trek, Grandma was at my side and would remain.  I realize now that it must have been a painstakingly slow process for her, but she never left my side and I never worried that she would. 

In the years that followed, my grandmother remained a major part of my life.  Her apartment was my home away from home, and I was there several days a week during the summers.  I'd sometimes bring friends over with me, and she welcomed everyone with her same cheerfulness.

She encouraged my art hobby, she encouraged my schoolwork, she encouraged my participation in sports, she encouraged... me. 

When I was 15, she died. 

It wasn't unexpected, her time had come.  We certainly missed her, but life went on. 

Today is Memorial Day.  CiCi reminded me that it's not just about those who have died in service of our country, but also a day to remember all loved ones who have inspired us and passed.  And besides, Grandma did serve.  She raised my dad who went on to serve in WWII, which is how he met my mom...

So, for this Memorial Day, I think of Grandma.  My first memory, and many others. 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Silver Liningness Sunday

With it being Memorial Day weekend, it's the unofficial kick-off to summer.  I know the mood around here got a little lighter with the school year coming to an end on Friday. 

A couple of my tutor students are taking a break from summer tutoring, but want me to hold their spots to start up again in the fall.  I like the idea of cutting back my hours in summer, and it's nice to have them lined up already for next year. 

One of the summer break students - the girl with the awesome fishtank - had troubles keeping her work (and thinking!) organized, and her grades reflected that.  She pulled things up by the end and told me that her math teacher now accused her of getting her homework solutions off of the internet because they're so detailed.  HA!  I think that's one of the best feedback comments I've gotten. 
No respect, but oh well.

The foot, she is still not working so good.  I'm still not running, and I'm starting to have running dreams.  But it's made me thankful for what I CAN do.  I can ride the bike and walk without too much of an old lady shuffle.  Then there's my boxing toys...

Plus, I think the foot is starting to feel a little better.  A couple more weeks?  Maybe?

So I'm looking forward to summer daze.  We've got a little road trip planned along with Denver Comic Con(!!).  Other than that, no major plans, but I know it's all good!

Saturday, May 26, 2012


This week's Illustration Friday prompt is "faded".  When I saw it, I sat here at my desk pondering what to make of it.  I looked over and saw my little note card I keep, my to-do list for the day.  One of the items is "Wolfgang shoes" as he mentioned that he needs some.

Ya think?

Friday, May 25, 2012

ending with (nearly) a bang

Today was the last day of school.  It should be a generally happy time, but instead had a little too much drama for my taste.

I was at the crosswalk waiting for the happy kids when a teenaged girl approached from across the street.  Most people older than elementary kids don't prefer to be escorted across the street by an elementary school crossing guard, so when a citizen comes through, I just get out of their way and watch out for bad drivers.

I kind of know this girl.  She is the younger sister of one of Wolfgang's friends and I see her after school on occassion.  She hit the button to cross and I saw this Ford Explorer approaching at lightning speed.  I started sending brainwaves to the Explorer driver that he'd better &%^! slow down.  Miraculously he did, in time to stop for the crosswalk.

I'd been so intent on the Ford, that I missed the Honda CRV that nearly blasted through the red light from the other direction.  It wasn't until I heard him apoligizing profusely to the teenaged girl that I realized what had happened. 

She just walked across the street, a little red faced.  I think she was actually embarrassed - it was afternoon traffic time -  and that made me feel even worse that I hadn't noticed his approach. 

Then the elementary school kids started arriving.  They all looked a little tired, toting their full backpacks.  Summer is a fun time, but saying good-bye to teachers and good friends is a little emotionally draining for them. 

One girl, sweet Belle,  was actually sobbing.  I asked if she was sad because it was the last day, and she told me that she'd just said good-bye to a good friend who was moving away.  She doesn't expect to ever see that friend again. 

She was holding a little box, a gift from her friend. 

The traffic continued to be worse than usual and was getting on my nerves.  Then my fellow Outsider, Dee, pulled into the road.  Dee drives a big honkin' pick-up truck.  She pulled that truck right out in front of some guy in an SUV that was barrelling down the road.  He slowed down, but then went by her.  As he did so, Dee yelled, "SCHOOL ZONE!!" at him. 

Good old Dee.  I know it was all she could do to not say, &*#$-ing SCHOOL ZONE, YOU %^*&<>!!"

Shortly after that, I left for home and called it a school year.  I would have preferred ending on a better note, but I suppose it could have been worse.  Plus, there's always next  year...

Thursday, May 24, 2012

our Overton window

"What did we just agree to?", Magnum asked.

"Wait... what?", me still figuring it.

Yesterday, Chaco took the car that I use.  He and four of his friends got in it and went to Denver for a day of general mayhem.  How did he manage that?

Chaco doesn't ask to use the cars often.  This is because we aren't very liberal in letting him use them.  He doesn't have a car of his own, and he knows he can use one of our cars for school events or for running errands or chauffering Meego somewhere.  For anything else, he "rents" from us, and that actually rarely happens since he's usually broke. 

So when he came to me the other day asking if he could (a) use the car to (b) drive him and 4 friends to Denver for (c) a day of mayhem, the odds weren't in his favor since (a) it didn't fall in to one of the previously mentioned categories, and (b) he has never driven around "the big city" with a car full of teenaged friends that (c) wouldn't all fit very comfortably in the car anyway, and besides (d) I needed the car for tutoring.

The exchange began, with Chaco making the first moves.

They were (a) all good guys, (b) they'd been planning this trip for a while, but the two original drivers had car troubles, (c) they would all pay their fair share for gas and (d) Robbie was small and would fit comfortably in the 5th position. 

Then he cleaned his room, which caused me to stumble momentarily, but I stayed on my feet.     

All of his negotiating tactics were true, except for maybe (d). I said I'd think about it.  Wimpy counter, I admit.

So just how did he get us to say "yes"? 

They toned the trip plans down to be a little less mayhemic (word?  It is now) and also promised to have the car back quite a bit sooner than originally requested.  At that point, it felt easy to say, "okay".

So when Magnum asked, "What did we just agree to?", we gave it some thought.  We realized that the plan they ended up with was probably all they wanted in the first place, but if they would have asked for just that in the first place, they were less lkely to get the okay.  If you want a rock ask for the moon, and then settle for a rock. 

I think I'll start honing my skills on that strategy.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

making up

Well, I said that last week was busier than normal, but that doesn't mean the fun has ended.  This morning was Meego's end-of-year ceremony for 6th grade.  Any excuse for a party, right?

It started early, so I told Meego I would be a bit late because of the crossing guard biz, but I'd be there and find him.  Luckily, before I left, I remembered that we still had that borrowed baritone at the house.  I grabbed it.

Since I was late, all the good parking spots were taken.  I think the spot I found was just barely close enough to still be in the same zip code as the school.  That's fine.  It was a nice sunny morning.  Or... it would've been nice if I wasn't schlepping a baritone.

After toting the thing across the expansive parking lot and into the building, I made my way to the "drop-off" window.  I was already late for the ceremony and was hoping I could just drop the behemoth baritone off.

"I've got a baritone that needs to go back to the bandroom.  Should I leave it with you or TAKE IT TO THE BANDROOM?", I asked the friendly drop-off person, hoping she didn't hear that last part.

"Oh... well, you can just take it on down there", she said smilingly, obviously glad that I was offering to do her job. 

"Uhm.. okay, there's not a class in there... or... anything?", graspingly.

"Nope, it's a passing period now, so you can just take it on down", bigger smilingly.

Okay fine, I hefted the baritone again.  And she was right, it was a passing period.  A passing period for the 8th graders. 

So there I was, swimming upstream in a river of  8th graders deep in the throes of last-week-of-school.  I don't care to do that again.

I eventually made it to the bandroom, arms a-burning, whiney foot whining.  Of course, all the while, the clock was ticking and I was seeing my "Mom of the Year" nomination slipping away yet again as Meego's ceremony was happening elsewhere in the building. 

But I salvaged it.  I made a couple quick phone calls to some close friends of mine and arranged for a special visit.  *ahem*   It's 6th grade after all! 

(I love how my neighbor dogs give 'em hell at the end)


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

bad poetry

Jack be nimble,
Jack be quick,
Abby not so much

Something's gone wrong in my foot.  My left foot.  It's not running.  Consequently, the right foot isn't running either.  Bummer.

There's no defining moment of injury that I can tie down.  I have no exciting adventure tale to tell about how it is that something's gone wrong in my foot.  I also don't really know what the injury is.  I did a little surfing online and I've ruled out a metatarsal sprain, but it's possible I have only a week or so to live...

A few weeks ago, I had a little tinge - you know those tinges - of pain on the top of my foot near the toes, but nothing of note.  Then, it was exactly two weeks ago today.  I was out for a run in the morning and the foot was whining.  Made me stop. 

I think I was sabotaged by those dang mail order shoes, remember them?!  They arrived all wrong and I sent them back for a second chance?  I don't think they agreed with my feet.  They are shoes of the devil!  I stopped wearing them a week ago.

So here I am, still in watch-and-wait mode.  I can walk okay and ride the bike and drive the manual-transmission car, it's just running that is a no no. 

And I miss it oh so much  *sniff*.

It's not just the physical exertion I miss.  In fact, I'm filling the time with more biking and boxing than I normally do (seriously, I'm so sore from boxing right now, and I'm not even getting hit!).  But I miss being out in the early morning hours with the other early morning runners.  This is such a nice time of year for that, and I paid my cold, dark dues through the winter damnit!

But I guess I can wait a little longer.

The thing that bugs me though - makes me a little nervous actually - is just not being able to run.  One of the reasons I run aside from "it's fun", is that I just like knowing that I  CAN.  I mean, one never knows when an emergency type situation might arise and running would sure come in handy!

I like knowing that I CAN run relatively far and/or run relatively fast if I ever need to (crossing guard... hello...).  I'm a prepper, what can I say?

Good ju-ju for the foot.  I'm taking donations.

Monday, May 21, 2012

CSI sidewalk

In terror they watched as, one by one, their brothers/sisters were taken from them.  Repeated exposure to this does something to a psyche.  Soon, they could think of nothing else but revenge.

They planned and plotted and schemed.  They made outlines and drawings and revisions to outlines and drawings and finally hatched something that just might work... if the stars aligned.

They began collecting.  Collecting the materials they would need.  They waited in hiding as their unknowing accomplices - the landscaping crews - shed the necessary ingredients. And eventually their meticulous planning and work paid off. 

They'd made a bomb.

The bomb became like an idol of worship to them.  It was their way to salvation.  It must hit its mark because, once spent, it was gone forever.  But the years of oppression had brought them to this state.  The state of evil genius. 

And it worked.

I came upon this morbid scene while out taking China for her daily beauty walk.  It's the body of a bluebird - male I think - wedged in a fence.  I'm pretty sure it's  DEAD

"What could have done this?", I wondered.  How does a bluebird body end up wedged in between two fence boards. 

Revenge of the Worms.  Gotta be.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Silver Liningness Sunday

As I've already dished, this past week was a busy one.  But it was all for goodness sake!

Note the wrinkle-free gown.
Someone here can iron!

The highlight was Chaco's graduation from high school.  We never expected him to not graduate, but it's still not something to be taken for granted.

I know HE was ready to be finished and is looking forward to being all Joe College starting in the fall.  He's going to major in computer science at the local university, and we've heard very positive things about the program. 

I've actually taught a few students that attend or have attended this university, and I think it's a good fit for Chaco.  I'm glad he chose it.  Plus it's close, so the Mom factor is high :)

In other silver liningness, the school year is winding down.  Wolfgang and Meego have one more week to endure - as do us crossing guards.  I stopped by the elementary school last week after some PTO friends told me about gift cards for the staff.  I had a nice chat with the principal while there AND picked up my gift card.

As also mentioned earlier, Meego had another birthday this week.  This ended up taking a bit of a backseat to all the graduation hoopla, but yesterday we had a belated Meego Day.  We spent the afternoon at a local "family fun center" arcade type place.  I learned that I suck at auto racing games, but can still give Pac Man ghosts a run.  Afterwards, we went out for Chinese food.

So it was a busy week, but a good busy.  Have I mentioned lately how much I appreciate the blog friends who visit and comment?   I was glad to be able to keep up with my daily blogging this week, and even though I didn't answer as many comments as I'd liked, I got a kick out of all of them.

But really, busy weeks like this remind how busy all of us are with family and work and life.  I really appreciate that people stop by to read and say nice things!

Saturday, May 19, 2012


When I was 8 years old, a bat took up residence in my bedroom for three nights or so.  It would fly around in circles, doing laps around my room at night.  Of course, when I would dash out and summon my dad, we would return only to find nothing out of the ordinary, with my dad thinking I'd dreamt the whole thing.

It was my mom who put me back in with the sane. 

"I was cleaning in Abby's room, and I found.... droppings". 


That night, my bat friend made its existence known to everyone in the house.  AHA!  I wasn't nuts!  My dad caught it in a paper sack and set it free.  I don't know who was happier it was out, me or the bat.

And I appreciate bats.  As icky as they are, they help clean up other icky things, using echolocation to "see" because they're just cool that way.  I think I formed some sort of odd kinship with them from those three creep-filled, sleepless nights. 

So, for this week's Illustration Friday prompt "sight", I dedicate it to my bat friend from all those years ago. 

Thanks for the memories, Bruce.

Friday, May 18, 2012

on the seventh day

Sheesh, what a week. 

It started last weekend with the arrival of all of the in-laws.  Lucky me, I have two complete sets of them (sarcasm there).  But really, it wasn't that bad, it's not like any of them stayed at our house.  Just dropped in occassionally.

And it's been a week of graduation dinner for Chaco, graduation ceremony for Chaco, Birthday for Meego, end-of-year band concert for Meego... a small part of me is secretly happy that Wolfgang didn't make it to the state track meet.  Do NOT tell him!

Of course, life continues to go on in the midst of all this - groceries, tutor students, laundry, crossing guard, etc., etc., etc.

But one nice even-keeled thing this week has been the presence of Chaco.  His last day of school was last Friday, so he's been around the house.  He's been mowing and weed whacking and cleaning up piles of crap from his various end-of-year school projects.  He's upgrading his Frankensteinian computer and using the old parts to build a whole nother computer.  To me, it seems like he's been more productive this week than he has all school year.

Of course I jumped on that productivity bandwagon. 

"You should clean my computer, it's making funny noises and acting sluggish" (it was).

Here is the "before" pic of the innards.  There was about 20 pounds of dust in there, I think, that the photo doesn't do justice. 

He not only cleaned the hardware, but he also did a good software scrub, and I'm now blogging from a lean mean computing machine!  He put my keys back FINALLY, cleaned the monitor... I feel like  a new woman!  Or at least a new woman with computer!

And really, I cannot complain about the busyness this week.  It's all been for nice reasons.  Who wants dull?

But I am looking forward to the weekend.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

school daze

With all of this end-of-school year stuff going on, many memories are bubbling up from childhood.  Magnum and I were out walking the other night, walking down memory lane apparently.  We started talking about our various teachers from when we were young -uns.

I always liked school as a kid.  I really didn't have any teachers I disliked or who made me hate school or a certain subject.  Some were better than others, of course, but for the most part, my 13 years in the public school system were all pretty positive.  I can remember all of my teachers from each grade and subject.

All of them except for third grade.

And what is up with that?  I really have no memories from 3rd grade.  I don't know who my teacher was, I don't remember who I hung out with (I'm assuming pretty much the same kids from 2nd and 4th grade?).  For most of it, I was 9 years old.  WTH?  I went to the same school as for grades Kindergarten through 4th... at least I THINK I did. 

not my 3rd grade... or is it???

On second thought, maybe I was abducted by aliens and the experience was wiped from my memory before I was returned to earth.  Or maybe I was seriously mamed in some sort of industrial accident, and now I'm a cyborg, but no one ever told me. 

Do you remember all of the teachers you had during your formative years?  Were you a victim of an alien abduction? 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

top brass

Meego had his end-of-year band concert last night.  It was a typical 6th grade beginning band concert.  He's enjoyed band this year and wants to do summer band also, so I guess some day he can have his "This one time?  At band camp?" stories.

Meego is the one with the white shirt and black pants

As I sat and listened to the music, I began feeling bittersweet memories of my own days as a beginner.

When I was Meego's age, I wanted very much to be in the school band.  Most of my friends joined band, and I had watched the high school band over the years practicing in the streets and marching in parades and doing half-time shows.  Yes, I wanted to be part of all that.

But I remember bringing it up to my parents and the discussions about how expensive instruments were, etc.  The fallback elective was art, so as you can imagine, I wasn't too heartbroken.  But still...

Years later, I got my chance.  When I was in 10th grade, our high school band director needed  a couple of flag girls.  There was a big competition coming up, and a couple of slots on the flag team had been vacated by girls who had become... uh... pregnant. 

I jumped at the chance!  (not pregnancy, flag team).  One of the other flag girls was assigned to "tutor" me.  She didn't like me, but ended up becoming one of my best friends... but that's another story.

I ended up LOVING being on the flag team and continued with it all through high school.   But marching season ends in late fall.  The other flag girls had played instruments before, so when concert season started, that's what they did.  There were a few of us late additions and the band director gave us a choice.  We could either (1) learn to play an instrument, or (2) do paperwork in the band office.

I chose the French Horn.

Another flag girl, a majorette (baton girl), a rifle girl, and I were sent to learn instruments with the assistant band director.  Our quartet consisted of a trumpet, an alto saxophone, a flute, and me on the French horn. 

Those were fun days.  The four of us having the whole junior high bandroom to ourselves for an hour each day with the assistant band director who was also the band teacher at the junior high school.  Mr. H. was an excellent teacher, he really loved music.  He was also funny and kind and extremely patient!  I never saw him get upset.  To this day, he is one of my teacher role models.  He taught me to play that french horn in just a few months, and by springtime, I was playing with the concert band. 

Mr. H died unexpectedly over the weekend. 

He wasn't that old - early 60's - and still teaching band at the high school.  The news was all over my facebook.

So last night as I listened to Meego's 6th grade concert, I couldn't help but think of Mr. H and remember fondly those days of our little newbie quartet. 

As one of my friends aptly put it, "The music in heaven just got a little sweeter".

Thank you, Mr. H.  Rest in Peace.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

another visit

Some elders came knocking today.  Mormon elders.  They were between 20 and 23 years old I'd say, these elders.

At first, I was a little "OH SHEESH", but I decided to be nice to them.  Maybe it's because I'm a mom and these elders are so young.  Maybe it's because I know they get doors slammed in their faces more often than not.  Maybe it's because one of them looked so darned much like Russel from "UP".

Anyway, I smilingly opened the door and they said, "hello", and then just stood there like they were expecting me to slam the door on them or say something rude.  After this moment of silence, they sort of startled awake and began to talk, trying to remember what to say about their church and all.

They asked if I knew anything about the Mormon church.

"Yes actually", I replied, "We used to live in Utah and most of our friends and neighbors were Mormon".  Not my best friend, but they didn't need to know that.

"OH", their eyes sort of lit up, "Did anyone tell you about the church?"

"Yes actually" (I've done this conversation before with other elders), "We had some elders teach us about the church, did the whole 7 lessons thing, graduated from Mormon school"  Okay, maybe that's not exactly what I said, but that's what I told them.

When we lived in Utah, there was a definite rift between the Mormons and the Non.  We didn't want to be with those who criticize a religion while knowing nothing about it.  Why not do the Mormon school?  We told the boys elders right away that we weren't looking for a church, just interested in learning about theirs.

And no, we didn't become Latter Day Saints, nor will we ever, but at least I have a story for the elders that continue to knock on my door.  They know I won't slam the door in their faces.  They know they don't need to come back. 

And they're always so polite.  Notice that they always offer to help out "with housework or yardwork or moving heavy things..."  I've never taken them up on it.  We've got these boy kids around for that stuff. 

After they left, I thought to myself, "I should have them dance on the roof, maybe insurance will cover that... hahahahaha...."


Monday, May 14, 2012

new stuff!

... just not for Meego.

Today is Meego's birthday.  Twelve years already *sniffles*.  We ordered him a gift for his special day, he'll like it  I'm sure.

Too bad it's NOT HERE!!  CRAP!

I placed the online order a week ago yesterday.  I knew it would be close, but since I've had such good luck with mail order lately (NOT!), I was optimistic that it would arrive on time.  Last I checked, it was in Toledo, OH. 

It's coming via the U.S. post office, and they've already delivered here today, so that pretty much confirms that he won't be getting his birthday gift on his actual birthday.  Well, someone's got to keep the therapists gainfully employed...

To add salt to the wound.  I got new stuff today (not that I'm disappointed *ahem*):  SHIRTS!

Last week, I got an e-mail from Deviant Art.  I'm not usually a soft sell, but they were offering FREE "Mystery Shirts" to anyone who spent a certain amount in their store.  I ordered a shirt and was promised a second Mystery Shirt!  How fun is that??  Besides, I needed some short sleeves and, as mentioned, I don't like to shop.

I ordered them Thursday. The shirts arrived today, which is how I know that Meego's thing is NOT arriving today.

Here is shirt #1.  It's a sketchy "ART" shirt. 

And here's the mystery shirt they sent me.  It's a DA 11th anniversary shirt.  Black background with a nice contrasting green. 

I realize that the angle at which I took the photos makes it hard for anyone to really see the design and whatnot, but they're ART shirts okay!  Going for drama.  This isn't the JCPenney catalog!

Now quick!  I have to stash them before Meego gets home!  The therapists don't need that much business.

p.s.  I did bake a cake.  On time.  Not a total fail.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Silver Liningness Sunday

First of all, it is Mother's Day, and let me just reiterate that I'm not into these "Hallmark Holidays".  My kids and Magnum know to not do anything Hallmarkish.  In fact, in my rebellion, I went out and bought THEM donuts this morning.

But it's not to cheapen the reverence I hold for my own mom.  Maybe it's the reverence I feel for my own mom which makes me dislike the once-a-year cheapening of it.  That and my early job as a busgirl and how Mother's Day Brunch was the most back breaking work of the year.

Either way, hail to my wonderful mom!

And speaking of special occassions, last night my in-laws took us out to dinner for Chaco's high school graduation.  It was a nice gathering at a local restaurant that was just fancy enough to make for a special occassion but not so fancy as to be a snob-fest.  And the food was the best I've ever had.  There must be a real chef in the kitchen rather than someone who just worked his or her way up from dishwasher. 

And finally, since I'm sure readers are on pins and needles wondering about my UFO (Unidentified Fluffy Object) encounter, the mystery has been solved.

It's a Pillow Pet. 

As I had so adeptly deduced, its presence here was Wolfgang's doing.  A friend of his on the girl's track team left it at the meet (so sad... reminds me of the beginning of Toy Story 3).  Wolfgang brought it here, it's foster home.  He says he'll get it back to its true home. 

It's still here.  I'm becoming quite attached. 

Saturday, May 12, 2012


Children of the Corn?

This week's Illustration Friday prompt is "kernel".  I found this to be a challenging prompt.  About the only thing I could think of was popcorn.   I like popcorn.  The only time I eat it, however, is when I'm watching a movie.  And only if I'm watching with someone else.  What is it about movies and popcorn? 

Looking up the definition yielded:


1. the softer, usually edible part contained in the shell of a nut or the stone of a fruit.
2. the body of a seed within its husk or integuments.
3. a whole seed grain, as of wheat or corn.
4. South Atlantic States . the pit or seed of a peach, cherry, plum, etc.
5. the central or most important part of anything; essence; gist; core:

What I latched onto for the illustration was that 5th and final definition.  Kernel as the central or most important part of anything.  It's not so much the movie or the popcorn.

It's about experiencing it with a friend.  That's the important part.

Friday, May 11, 2012

CSI Abby's

I was tidying up a bit today.  Often when I'm tidying up, I come across treasures.  Mysterious sticky notes, "lost" homework assignments, ", that sock...

Today as I tidied, I discovered something quite unexpected.

This is truly a mystery.  It's like nothing I've seen on this earth.  I discovered it behind the futon.

I've used my advanced detecting skills to narrow down its origin. 

This is the area where Wolfgang and Meego dump store their backpacks when they get home from school. 

It's safe to say that this... this.... this this was not here for most of yesterday.

I've deduced that Wolfgang is the prime suspect for this alien's presence.  That doesn't help explain the mystery at all.

I do know that he was at a track meet until relatively late.  This is the strangest athletic award I've ever seen. 

It occurs to me that it may be a depiction of something I'm just not familiar with and that perhaps a reader who visits will recognize this creature?  Maybe have an explanation as to why it's here? 

Or maybe I've just set a new Dust Bunny PR.



Thursday, May 10, 2012


I think part of a kid's education, along with reading, writing, and arithmetic, should be the mastering of domestic chores.  Each of our kids has been exposed to the variety of jobs that fall under "general upkeep". 

As I mentioned recently, Chaco can't iron.  None of them can actually.  I think Magnum might have some skillz in this area, having been in the army.  I've never actually witnessed it, however.   I guess ironing doesn't fall under "general upkeep" around here.   Because 98.654% of their wardrobes consist of clothes that don't need ironing, the kids got waivers on that workshop.

Laundry, however, is certainly general upkeep.  Years ago when  I was a new mom, another mom gave me the advice to do laundry every day "no matter what".  Laundry has a way of snowballing into huge piles of dirtiness if left unattended for too long.  I think it's safe to say that, except during camping trips, I have done laundry every day for the past several years.

Good mentor that I am, I taught the kids to do laundry.  It's not like we have to go down to the creek and beat our clothing against rocks and scrub them with our homemade soap of fat and ashes.  Technically, the washing machine is the family member that does the laundry.  What's the big deal?

And back to Chaco, he despises doing laundry.  I don't know why, but he'd rather clean a bathroom than have anything to do with laundry.  He'd rather clean the dog's bathroom than have anything to do with laundry.  Wolfgang and Meego put it right up there with cleaning a bathroom, human or dog.  Magnum thinks they should do it more often, but I let them pass on having to do anything with laundry.  I figure we've gotten to a point where they could pass a laundry test, they don't need to do it on a regular basis.

But the truth is... I'd rather just do it myself.  It's not that I love doing laundry, it's just that...

I don't like any of my male offspring - of which all of them are - handling my unmentionables for any reason.

not my unmentionables

I mean, I know we're family and all, but still. 

And yes, we could have them just do their own laundry, but that would require each of us letting our personal laundry piles build up to a suitable load size.  We didn't get that carbon footprint jar opener for nothin'.  We'd have to say good-bye to having our laundry done every day.  That would be difficult.  It's not like I have unmentionables for every day of the week like some people do. 

So I'm a proud washwoman.

What domestic chores to you "save" just for yourself?  Why?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

good morning!

A few weeks ago, IT guy Chris from school came down to the crosswalk in the morning to "film the speeders".  Apparently the school is lobbying for a camera down there.  Not necessarily a red-light-runner camera, but just a surveillance camera for just in case something goes awry. 

He didn't have much luck recording speeders.  I noticed while he was there all out in the open with his camera and tripod, the traffic behaved quite well.  I think it was the effect of having a guy on the side of the road with a video camera.

So I did a little psychological study.  Now, I've brought the helmet cam to the crosswalk before.  I've always sort of had the thing hidden, but this morning, I brought it with me and stood loud and proud, helmet cam a-recording!

Yep, just as predicted, it had the same affect as when Chris was there.  People noticed.  They slowed down.  They probably didn't like me.

As I stood there with the camera up next to my eyeball for all to see, I realized I could probably wield a cardboard tube from a roll of toilet paper and get the same results. It's not the fact that they're being filmed that makes the motorists behave, it's the possibility that they're being filmed. 

I used to give some of them the benefit of the doubt.  Maybe they were unfamiliar with the area and just didn't notice the flashing lights and the big fluorescent signs and me (really?).  But now I realize that most of them just don't give a hoot.

What's worse, distracted ignorance or shameless disregard? 

Thing is, I got so caught up in my "study", I even distracted myself!  At least my friend NinjaBoy got me back  on task.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


I wrote a letter once.  Well, it was really an e-mail to a website.  It was to Dr. Laura's website.  Remember her? 

I would sometimes tune in to her radio show while scrubbing a toilet or... yes... ironing someone else's wrinkly clothing.  Many I'm sure know the story of how she crashed and burned and subsequently made her exit from commercial radio. 

Anyway, I wrote my letter just before her crash and burn.  Maybe she was already in her downward spiral. 

She used to read an  "e-mail of the day" or "e-mail of the week", something like that.  One of her featured e-mails was written by a woman who was pointing out what a wonderful wife this woman she had encountered was.

Well, that sounded okay, until I heard what the writer based her assessment of the wife on:

"I saw this couple shopping together, and the husband didn't pay any attention to me even though I am way hotter than his wife is.  Obviously, she's a great wife!"

Wait.. what?

Okay, I guess the fact that someone might be arrogant enough to assume that was true and write a letter of such to Dr. Laura isn't so ridiculous.  But what bothered me was that Dr. Laura thought it worthy of her "e-mail of the..." feature.

The next day, when I wasn't scrubbing or pressing, I went to the website and found the featured letter by Hot Woman and sent in something like, "Are you kidding?  That letter was so pretentious I'm not even sure it's real.  Dr. Laura, are you in the midst of a downward spiral and about to crash and burn?", in not so many words. 

I just wanted to get it off my chest and leave it at that.  Not long afterwards I noticed, however, that Hot Woman's letter had been removed.   I wondered if perhaps others had been bothered, maybe slightly offended, and had also put in their two cents.

Something similar just happened closer to home.  Do you remember how I mentioned my friend - we'll call her Heather since that's her name - was taking over as Chaco's English teacher?  She did and was doing a wonderful job with the kids and cleaning up after PMS.  Then we all got an e-mail.

Because of a union rule technicality, Heather was being replaced with teacher #FIVE for the remainder of the year.

I've learned to have pretty low expectations of the public school system.  Still, this seemed even more silly than the usual shenanigans.  I sent Heather an e-mail, not a rant,  just a thanks for all she'd accomplished in 19 days. 

She replied back and told me how she'd shed tears over the situation and had even offered to work for free if she could stay until the end of the year (yeah, that's Heather).  But alas, no.

But... wait!  Heather called me the other day and it seems the district suddenly found a way around their technicality and Heather was allowed to stay. 

I suspect that I wasn't the only one who chimed in.

Have you ever written to an organization / business / media personality / celebrity / etc.?  What was the outcome?  Have you ever not chimed in but wish you had?

Monday, May 7, 2012

back to the ironing board

I thought I was in the clear for a while, but apparently not.  Yesterday, Chaco sprung on me the fact that he needed  a dress shirt and some khakis.  Shopping?  Again?  What is this conspiracy!?

Anyway, I was back in the same store in the same young men's department as I was last week with Wolfgang and the jacket caper.  The trick here was that all of the dress shirts are all neat and tidy and pinned and folded, a.k.a. non-try-onable.  Okay, so now what?

Eventually we found some try-onable ones that also had numbers that looked similar to the ones that were non-try-onable.  We took our best guess, and he grabbed one of suitable color.  It almost seems unexplainable to me now to realize that we made it out of there in a decent amount of time with shirt, pants, tie, belt, and shoes. 

We returned home, me feeling quite successful.  Chaco asked me to iron his new stuff, so I got out some other wrinkly things and fired up the iron.  I was part way through the second wrinkly thing when Meego reminded me that we were going to get him some shoes (he reminded me by walking in with his quickly disintegrating shoes, his only pair), so I said to him, "Oh yeah, do you want to go get shoes now?"


I said to Chaco,"Okay, iron's all warmed up.  Get the wrinkles out of your clothes".  I was joking.  He's never ironed a piece of fabric in his life that I know of.

He didn't realize I was joking, and got up to make an attempt.  I decided to keep my mouth shut and let him continue.  My crumbling credit card and I left with Meego.

We returned a little less than an hour later to find Chaco sitting at his computer, the new clothes having slightly shifted in position.  I said he should hang them up after ironing.

"I don't know how to iron", he said, the realization finally hitting him.

"Sure ya do, you just put the stuff on the board and move the hot iron around until the wrinkles are gone".

"You never showed me how to iron!", he explained.

"I think it's best to learn by trial and error"

"I tried, but all I did was error!"

"Okay, I'll iron them.  You can clean the bathroom".

I was joking.  He didn't realize I was joking.  I need to do that more often.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Silver Liningness Sunday

It was a lovely weather week all around, and yesterday, Cinco de Mayo, will be recorded as the first morning of 2012 that I ran in sunscreen and a tank top.  It was 60+ degrees at 7am!  Of course today is in the 50's and I'm back in a hoodie...

But with the nice weather comes reminders that it's nearly summer.  School will be out in less than a month.  Magnum pointed out a letter a local crossing guard (not me) had written to the newspaper op-ed page.  The letter said, "School's not out YET.  Get off your [censored] cell phones and follow the rules in school crossing zones!!" or something like that. 

On that note, I had a visit from my motorcycle cop last week.  Real life Avengers!

Speaking of movies...

Magnum and I watched Oyster Farmer, a fun enjoyable movie with great scenery and wonderful casting.

We also watched Born to Race with Meego. Clearly, I was not born to watch "Born to Race".   *AHEM*

Work was good with some setbacks followed by victories, which is better than the other way around.  It looks like a few of my students are going to stay on to keep things fresh over the summer, and that's nice. 

Saturday, May 5, 2012


This week's Illustration Friday prompt is "hitched", so I did this old married couple.

Friday, May 4, 2012


It's a new month and it feels like spring!  Since I managed to continue the post-everyday business through April, I've gone ahead and signed up for another NaBloPoMo for May.

NaBloPoMo May 2012

This month's theme is "Play", not that I've really been doing much with the themes lately.  Last month's theme was poetry and I didn't write a single solitary poem.  But to make up for it, I decided to play today!

I currently have a light schedule on Fridays, and rather than get caught up on housewifery or similar, I decided to play.  I rode my bicycle under the guise of errand running, and I played with my pencils and paper. 

I decided to do more Comic Con prep and drew Anakin Skywalker.  It's not that I'm even a Star Wars fan but...

I decided that should be my subject since it's May.  May the 4th.

And May the 4th be with you.

(so sorry)

Thursday, May 3, 2012

the clueless go shopping

My "look presentable" work was done for the day.  I was hanging laundry while wearing a comfy ensemble bordering on clash, my hair up in a sort of ponytail/bun combo.  Wolfgang entered.

"Can we go to the mall?"

"Uuuhhhh....", I contemplated.

He needed some fancy clothes, and fancy clothes are not something we keep a stocked supply of.  We don't regularly attend events that require fancy clothes, and none of the kids has particularly fancy tastes.  They are all jeans-and-t-shirts guys, the only exception being Meego who has a strange "no jeans" rule that no one really understands, but it's not worth the battle.

But occassionally, a need presents itself, so we must make a mall run.  Their needs, my credit card.

My mom loves to shop.  She literally has several closets full of clothes.  When I was growing up and my mom came to school events, I always knew she'd be the best dressed.  Even for my wedding, she didn't go out shopping for a mother-of-the-bride dress.  She simply went to one of her closets and pulled out something perfect.  I didn't inherit the shopping gene. 

Wolfgang and I headed to the mall, my Mexican purse only further pushing my look into the clash realm. We were in the young men's fancy clothes section looking for a sport coat (or is it a blazer?). 

"What do the numbers mean?", Wolfgang asked

"I have no idea", I supplied.

"I mean, I know they're sizes, but how do I know what size I am?", he continued.

"I have no idea", I supplied.

"And what do the letters mean?", still barking up the wrong tree.  I just looked at him, no words necessary.

"Here, just put this one on", I said, holding up a brown courduroy.

"That's hideous", he observed.

"I know, but it has a number on it.  Put it on so we have a reference point".

He put it on.  It was both hideous and big.  Reference obtained.  Eventually, he selected a suitable sport coat or blazer or whatever.  He wanted a tie.

"The red one?", he queried

"I have no idea... ",  I haven't been around a place where men wear ties in a long time.

All in all, it was a pretty painless trip.  A low maintenance shopper with a clueless companion makes for pretty short work.  Maybe that's why God spared me having to shop with a daughter?

In the end, I think his outfit is quite stylishly dressy and appropriate.  But then... I could be wrong.

p.s.  I've since learned what the numbers and letters mean.  Thank you google. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

getting my geek on

Over the weekend, I was with Wolfgang at the video game store.  He was purchasing an "M" game, so I was there as a representative of maturity.

As he went about his business,  I tried to stay occupied.  I came across a stack of flyers for Denver Comic Con.

I half-joked to Wolfgang, "Oooh, Comic Con, we should totally go..."

We continued to half-joke about it in the parking lot.

On the drive home, we half-joked about it some more.

Back home, we half-joked about it to the rest of the family.

All those half-jokes summed up to full on jokes, and now we are totally going.  I've made the reservations and purchased the tickets.  My first geek convention!!

In an attempt to prepare myself for this thing - and maybe because I was trying to think of a way to make the June-and-me-switching-places-for-test-days story less boring -  I got out the sketchbook and began forming a graphic novel.  Meet the main characters, based loosely on some people I... uhm... know.  

Crossing guard and playground monitor, Big John is the village protector. He's a big guy with a big heart. Don't let the elementary school job fool you. He likes beer, baseball, and muscle cars. Pedophiles beware!

Playground monitor Dee has a bit of rebellious biker chick in her.  She's great with kids and she also wields a mean crocheting needle!

Crossing guard and lunchroom monitor June is the Matriarch of the bunch. She's nurturing and kind, but tough. Growing up with livestock made her that way!

Crossing guard Abby is a bit on the quiet side and often looks lost in thought. But really, she's just watching... watching EVERYTHING.  Don't slip up!

Together, they operate like a strange well-oiled machine.  Their main common bond is that they all care about the health and safety of kids...

... they just have no desire to be indoors with them all day.

They are

The Outsiders.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


The second time's a charm apparently.  Remember the two left shoes I got last week?  Did I mention that they weren't even the same size?  Oh well, even if they were the same size, it would still have been a major wardrobe malfunction.

I took a second chance and tried again.  The box arrived.  I didn't get my hopes up.  I opened the box, pulled out one properly sized shoe then pulled out... another properly sized shoe for the opposite foot.  Success!

Good thing because my knees and shins were starting to feel the effects of walking in shoes long past their useful life. 

So now I'm off to take China for her beauty walk.  I came across this video, and now I'm wondering if I can train her to do this for me.

Watch 'til the happy end!