Friday, November 30, 2012


Is it just me, or have the months been flying by lately?  Is this an old age thing?  Either way it's the last day of November already.  Last week (wasn't it??) when the month just started, Terri commented:

"I hope when you've finished the month, you'll write about the pros and cons of daily blogging."

Gosh, there's a thought that I never really thought of, but probably should have.

It was over a year ago that I decided to try blogging every day for one month.  This was mostly a result from my sessions with Life Coach - I agreed to do it for homework.  Once I accomplished that, I decided to try to keep it up for another month, and so on... and so on... and so...  We're still alive, a year later.

First, let's think.  The cons:
  • low wages
  • no medical plan
  • no sick days
In my eyes, the pros greatly outweigh the cons.   The pros:

  • challenges me, in a good way
  • forces me to be more observant every day
  • (usually) keeps me from getting bored
  • HOPEFULLY keeps me from getting boring
  • helps me to regularly keep up with blog friends, old and new
  • more fun than housework

At first, what kept me going was that I didn't want to have to tell Life Coach that I didn't make it, and I couldn't lie to her either.  By the time I'd done it for a month, it had become a habit.  I wasn't sure I'd make it through a year, though.    If my foggy memory serves, I recall blogging through, the zombie flu, last year's holidays, a bad foot, Comic Con, vacation corn, the city burning, meeting ShadowRun300, test season, college visits, and several other distractions.

At this season of my life, while I'm still waiting to be what I will when I grow up after I work myself out of the mom/tutor/Xtreme crossing guard job, blogging has been a nice place to hang out.

I'm grateful for Magnum who brings home the lion's share of the wages, so I can work part-time.  I'm grateful to all of the visitors to the blog, for the comments and stories!  I wouldn't do it withoutcha!!  Thank you!

And so...

NaBloPoMo December 2012

I jumped in for another month.  As always, it's not like I'll fall into a boiling pit of lava if I don't make it.

 "NaBloPoMo is what you make of it. At its core, all you need to do is post daily on your blog. The point of NaBloPoMo is not to be restricted by the theme, but instead to either take it or leave it. If you'll do better blogging every day based on what's happening in your world, throw aside the daily prompts"

Ramblingly yours,

Thursday, November 29, 2012

doing the dance

It was just a typical Wednesday, at least that's what I thought.  If I would've known what was awaiting me, I would've given more thought to my appearance before heading out.  Was my outfit flattering?  How was the hair?  Socks match?

But who checks those things on a typical Wednesday, before going out to run a few errands?  Maybe I'll pay closer attention now.

I pulled into the shopping center.  The one I go to almost weekly, so often that I hardly even think to look around for anything new anymore.  But something just felt different this time.  There was a certain electricity in the air.

And that's when I turned.  And that's when I saw him.  He was absolutely beautiful.

I couldn't take my eyes off of him.  I'm sure I must have been staring rudely, but I was transfixed by his perfection.

He was tall and dark.  Powerful looking too, but not a brute.  He was just sitting there.  Waiting.  I wanted to observe him while he moved, but I would have to settle for just watching him in repose.  That doesn't mean I couldn't fantasize, though.

He was the only other one in the waiting area, and I found myself feeling self-conscious.  I usually don't feel so flustered, but he was just too amazing.  That's when I started wishing I'd taken a second thought to my appearance before leaving the house.  Oh well.

As much as I wanted to snuggle up right next to him, as much as I wanted to actually touch him, another part of me was afraid of him - of the power of my attraction to him.  I made myself take a seat farthest from him, to provided a safe distance between us.

I looked up to find him looking at me.  Just looking, not speaking.  Again, I couldn't take my eyes off of him. Normally chatty, I couldn't muster any words.  Just as well, though.  Talk would have spoiled the moment.  There was a certain spirit about him.  While my insides were turning to putty, he just sat there oozing calm confidence.

We had a lot in common with each other, I could tell just by looking.  He knew it too.  I wanted to ask, "Come here often?", but that seemed silly, even though I really wanted to know.

So we remained there, in each other's presence.  Speaking volumes without saying a word.  The heat was overwhelming!  I took in all of his details.  His every part, his accessories.

Too soon, my wait was over, and I had to go while he remained.  We gave each other knowing glances as I turned to leave.  Gracefully... gracefully...

He had a mudflap.  My GOD!  He had a mudflap!

Bella, feelin' the heat

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


It was a beautiful sunny morning.  We met at one house, then the four of us piled into one car and headed towards the mountains.

It was a pretty drive in all it's fall color glory.  Music streamed through the car stereo with us switching out the cassettes in the tape deck occasionally for a nice variety of tunes.  Two girls, two guys.

One of the boys, Derwin, was just a good friend of mine, as was the other girl Lana.  The other boy, Ringo was new to our circle and had been dating Lana for a couple of weeks.

We reached our destination and got out of the car for a fall hike.  It was a perfect day for it.

As I got to know him, I found I didn't really like Ringo.  He was nice looking, but arrogant and too worried about messing up his designer clothes.  Seriously?  We're hiking.  Lana could do better.

Lana must have realized it on that trip too.  She and Ringo began to bicker with each other about every little thing.  Derwin and I tried to just ignore them and enjoy our time in nature, but I think Derwin was having a hard time relaxing.  He was the one who'd set Ringo  and Lana up.

Still, we managed a nice enough hike thanks to the beautiful weather and fall colors that day.  We made it back to the trailhead and found another friend, Munchie, from town was there.  He was by himself in his car and we went over to hang out for a while.  Pretty soon, he broke out a baggie of pot.

Ringo seemed ecstatic at the sight of the weed.  Lana was uncomfortable.  Derwin seemed to feel it an intrusion.  Yet, pretty soon a joint was rolled and lit.  Lana refused to smoke, already having inwardly broken things off with and acting very cool towards Ringo.  The guys happily partook of the doobie, and when they passed it to me, I thought, what the hell.  Maybe it would make Ringo less obnoxious.

Things did lighten up after that.

Munchie took off in his car and the four of us hung back a while.  Ringo wanted to talk with Lana alone.  He must've sensed he was losing her and wanted a last chance to adorn her with his charms.  They went off into the woods.

Derwin and I hung back at the trailhead, talking about whatever.  We'd been good friends since kindergarten.  He was like a cousin to me.

As we hung out in our fogged state, just talking about nothing, waiting for Ringo and Lana to work out their issues, Derwin told me he wanted to kiss me.  WTF?

I just laughed because... well, pot?

He laughed too, then said, "No, really".


Next thing, we're smooching.  He wasn't too shabby, but still... we'd been friends for too long, plus something just wasn't doing it for me.  I looked at him to convey, "Okay, there.  Can we be done now?"

Ringo and Lana soon returned.  Lana as fed up as ever, Ringo as annoying as ever.  Derwin never kissed me again.  We never spoke of it, and remained good friends.

Like me, Derwin is now happily married to a lovely man.

An annoying guy, a bickering couple, unwanted drugs, kisses from a gay boy.

For today's NaBloPoMo prompt:
Maybe not the Worst but... "Tell us about the worst trip you ever took."

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

the old lady gets a bed

The day we went to the Humane Society and first met our pooch, China, she looked at me with those ASPCA commercial eyes...

and said, "I love you already, take me home".

At the time, we lived sort of out in the sticks on a horse property with lots of room and no horses of our own.  We had one energetic dog, Domino, who would like a romping partner.  After we told the Humane Society that we'd like to adopt China, they discovered there'd been a mistake.  China was already going to another home.

BUT, a couple of days later, they called me.

"'China' (not her name at the time) didn't work out with that other family.  Do you still want her?"

"Uh... yeah", I answered.

"Okay, but we're going to kill her later today, so you'd need to get her before 4pm".  Not the EXACT words, but that's pretty much what she said.

"Great, we'll be there", or something like that.

I hung up the phone and thought CRAP!  How we gonna be there by 4?!?  Magnum was at work, Meego was wandering around in diapers, Wolfgang and Chaco were little elementary school kids.  Did I mention we lived out in the sticks?

I don't even remember now how we did it, but we did.  We even managed to get Domino there to make sure the two of them would get along.  Snatched from the jaws of death!

We don't know the story of her origin, but she'd clearly been abused.  She was afraid of all men, she has a large scar on the back of her neck, most likely from wearing a collar long past having grown out of it.  When I first took her out on the leash, I could tell that was a new experience for her.  She was afraid of everything.

But she's the sweetest dog, so eager to please.  Soon we gained her trust, and she stopped freaking out about everything for the most part.

As with a lot of dogs in the boonies, ours lived outside.  We had a barn with a fenced in area just outside.  They slept in the barn on cold nights and cooled off in there on hot days.  When we moved here, Magnum put up a dog run with a cozy "hide" for shelter from sun and cold.

A few years ago, we lost Domino to the cancer.  China was noticeably sad, as we all were.  We started letting her into the house.

We had a crate for her that she took to right away.  She's never even attempted to get on any of the furniture.  I've put down large towels and blankets for comfy padding.  They've just ended up bunched in a wad.

Yesterday, I was at the pet store getting some "frozen dinners" for King Reese the snake and decided it was time that China had a proper bed.  I brought it home and put an extra cover on it and slapped it into the crate.

When she entered, she was a bit hesitant, like "Can I still be in here??"  I assured her that it was her bed, just like for a real pet.

"It's about damn time!"

Magnum says, "She's never going to come out now".  I must say, she does look even more content than before.

Like maybe I should have a padded room too.

Monday, November 26, 2012


I threw the bright colored dive stick and the boys quickly splashed after it.  Chaco soon emerged with...

five bucks.

What?  He examined it with a perplexed look, then dove under again.  This time he came up with a few dollar bills.  He repeated this process a couple of more times until he eventually held over twenty dollars.  The dive stick was long forgotten.

Chaco was about 7 years old at the time, and we were once again spending a hot summer day at the pool.  Given the amount of cash he'd found on his treasure dive, we decided to turn it in at the club house.  Just as he was bringing the dripping bills to the cashier, a man was there inquiring if anyone had found about 20 bucks.

The man was quite happy to see his money.  He realized too late that he'd left it in the pocket of his swim trunks and didn't really expect to see it again.  He let Chaco keep some of it, as "reward".

I come across a lot of lost items during dog walks, fun runs, bike rides...  I've got a rather handy fine quality knife that I just today used to skin a dead animal open a bag of kat litter.  Then there's the mini flashlight.  Those are just a couple of things I've kept.  There have been countless baby socks, shoes, binkies, gloves, hats, coins, golf balls, tennis balls, baseballs...

During my stints working in hotels, all kinds of interesting things were left behind.  The one most prominent in my memory was an actual wooden totem pole, longer than the bed.  It was left in the room, it's "feet" dangling off the foot of the bed.  The housekeepers refused to clean the room, certain that there was some sort of curse left on it.

The Friday before Thanksgiving break, a nice black jacket was lying next to the walking path as I headed home from the crosswalk.  I'm pretty sure it belongs to one of the high schoolers that walks to and from school that way.


I didn't want to just leave it there.  It was in pretty good shape and there wouldn't be any school traffic for over a week.  It spent Thanksgiving break with us.

Last night, I put it back out on the path in a place where it could be seen, hopefully, by its owner walking to school.  It was still there this morning.  I left it.  It was still there this afternoon.  RATS!

I guess I'll leave it, and if it's still there tomorrow I'll ask Wolfgang to take it to the high school lost and found.

As for my new hat, I've had good reason to wear it on a few occassions to ward off the chill.  It's OH so warm and comfy!  No one has tried to claim it from me.   Plus, the kids, parents, and motorists in general all seem to like it too.

This one's a finders keepers!

What's something you regret losing?
The most interesting thing you've found?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Silver Liningness Sunday

Really, Thanksgiving week is already coming to an end?  Awww... time flies when you're having fun.

And a nice week it's been.  Magnum, Wolfgang, and Meego had the whole week off.  My last tutor row was Tuesday, and it's been pretty much a lazy fest ever since.

I picked Chaco up Tuesday night after the tuting.  Once again, I'm thankful he's at a college that is so closeby.  Also, the choice for him to live at the dorms gives us the best of both worlds.  He's become noticeably more independent and self-directed, but at the same time, I can be waiting for a tutor student and text him:

"Whachu doing for the rest of the week?"

"I can come home tonight if someone picks me up"

"Okay, I'll leave the library in a couple of hours and getcha"

BAM!  Done.

While he was here, he said he needed a project.  I made several suggestions.  Most included the clean up of various forms of debris, and strangely (not) he passed on those.  Finally, I just asked him to make me a new blog banner.  He wanted to see what I currently had, then deemed it so wrong on several levels.

In sticking with the crosswalk theme, he went out at around dusk to My Office and snapped this pic of the lay of the land going away from the school where the friendly neighborhood coyote pack lives:

Yes, he stopped traffic just in order to get the "walk" signal instead of The Hand.  Oh well, it was Thanksgiving Day afternoon.

He played with the image for a while and ended up with that new banner up there.  I like it.  There are still several projects of the debris-clean-up variety.  Anyone?

So while we had a low-key Thanksgiving without a houseful of relatives and assorted guests or travel plans, it's been a nice recharging week.  It included a few bicycle joyrides, NO black Friday shopping, Daniel Craig, various board games and card games, friends hanging out with friends, and turkey trotting.

And both Magnum and I got another year older this week.  Well, actually, we'd been working on that the entire year as was everyone else,  but Thanksgiving time makes it official for us.  So nice that there's a national holiday to commemorate our birthdays.

For the record, he's still older than I am.

Saturday, November 24, 2012


Pronta de Illustration Friday de esta semana es "whiskers", así que dibujé este caballero con bigote.  Para Moviembre?

Yeah, okay enough of that.  This week's Illustration Friday prompt is "whiskers", so I drew this gentleman with a mustache.  For Movember?

I think I'll call him Rico.

Friday, November 23, 2012

lock up your sons!*

Rock Chef Wilder Hirsch recently blogged about his celebrity look-alikes and asked others to also give it a go, so I thought I'd give it a go.

People used to say that I looked like Valerie Bertinelli.  I certainly won't complain about that comparison.

I especially enjoyed it back in my late teens and early twenties since, at that time, I had a silly schoolgirl crush on Eddie VanHalen.  Yes,he's a chain smoking rock star, but dang could he play guitar!  My bad boy complex rearing its head.

I'm sure he really wanted to marry me, but had to settle for Valerie instead...  I was destined for the not-musically-inclined Aspergerian fellow engineer.

Nia Peeples is another celebrity some have compared me with.  I don't know much about her these days.  I mainly remember her as Nicole from Fame fame.  I understand she's gone through 4 or 5 husbands...

A few years ago, a fellow blogger became my instant best friend when she said I looked like Angelina Jolie.  I always wanted to be Laura Croft.  Still do.

Magnum commented, "Yeah, you look like Angelina, except she has bigger....    lips".

That's about all I can remember for my celebrity comparisons.  As far as who I want to BE like?

*Tank Girl, of course.

She's the reason I became a crossing guard.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

you can get yourself clean, you can have a good meal!

Happy Thanksgiving to my U.S. friends!  And anyone else who wants to ride along!

Our turkey is cooking and I've got a few other things in process, but first... the 5k turkey trot!

Black Thursday?
It was rather emo themed this year?  with the black race shirts.  The weather was very accomodating with a slight overcast and good breeze.  This is a popular event - the 15th annual according to my propoganda.  There were 3000+ runners.  Typical.

Plus, it's only about a 5k from our house, so Wolfgang and I just headed out and jogged on over.  Heck, it takes me that long to get warmed up anyways.

I was soon left to my own devices once Wolfgang found his pack of friends.  I lined up with a few other parent orphans.

I'm not too anal about my time, but I was hoping to finish under 24:00.  Shortly after the start of the run - heralded by some broadcast rockin' by the Village People (YMCA event...) - this kid about Meego's age tripped and fell right in front of me!  And we were still in packed-in mode!

A few others and I stopped to make sure he was okay and wouldn't get trampled.  Tough guy got right back up and continued the race.  The rest of the race continued without incident with a nice variety of hills and curves.  It did remain relatively more crowded than I would prefer the whole way, requiring near constant jockeying for position, but that's part of the fun too.

Somewhere in the last mile, a guy asked where we were time-wise.  I told him I didn't know.   I did have my watch on, but I use it for telling the time of day... His look said, "thanks a lot for nuthin'!"  Or maybe he was just disgruntled because I was passing him in the process :D.

My finishing time was 24:08, so I didn't quite make the goal.  I could say that the young turkey trot tripper added those crucial seconds, but truthfully, I think last night's Asian Buffet dinner was more of a factor than he was!  The results put me as 7th fastest old lady.

Afterwards came the task of trying to find Wolfgang among the 3000+  assorted "friends".   I don't wear my glasses when I run, and that goes for races too.  I just needed to find the dark-haired kid in the black shirt.  Yeah, good luck with that.

I did find him eventually.  He did 19:06 in the very blue shoes.  So a fun start to a very thankful day.

I'm thankful for my blog friends!  Thank you for stopping by as regularly as you do.  I started this quest to blog every day for a year a little over a year ago, and it means a lot to me the you have followed along so consistently!  Couldn't have done it (be doing it) withoutcha, really!  *tissues, please*

Happy Thanksgiving from all the AbbyNormal staff!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

feeling blue?

Ah, *breathing*.  Things are falling into place.  I hadn't really realized the number of loose ends until I started tying some up.

First of all, I got the yams this morning.  I had to take out a guy wearing a sweatshirt from my college alma mater, but oh well.  It's Thanksgiving.

Meego got his dashing retainer from the orthodontist yesterday.  Mouth all fixed yet?  How about now??

I picked Chaco up last night and he's settled in for the long weekend.  Needs a haircut.  But we may have confirmed the missing jeans residing at the dorm

Also, recall that Wolfgang went to get new running shoes, but the store didn't have his size?  They had some trucked down from one of the other stores and they were in yesterday.  They're loud.  Bright blue loud.

He took them for a test drive this morning and declared them good except, "the color's kinda.... girly".  Now, I happen to have a pair of the girl version in purple.  Also a bit loud:

Brooks PureFlow
girl, boy, girl, boy

It's the laces, he says.  Maybe if the laces were black instead of royal blue?  So we found some black laces laying around so the shoes can be more masculine.

How important is color?  I remember in home ec. classes, how we were taught to make colorful meals as well as tasty ones.  What color to paint the baby's room?  Not red, he'll never sleep.  Blue and brown are relaxing.  White is associated with cleanliness.  Selling your house?  Paint everything beige.

Color seems to keep popping up as a discussion theme lately.  A friend of mine who is a teacher noted an advertisement for a new building toy targeting girls, to try to encourage more girls to become engineers.  This started off  a discussion of the silly  "pinkification" of other building toys like Legos and Tinkertoys.  Do most girls have no awareness of these toys unless they're pink?  I say no.

But I bet there are long discussions and decision making processes that go into the color for athletic shoes.

How much do you care?  Colors.

I found this video I made about a year and a half ago.  As I recall, I was using up some old paints - just random colors - and this is what came of it (and yes, I was cooking eggs at the time too).

Why a scorpion?  I have a thing for arthropods?

Not really, but today is my birthday.  Get the connection?

For a more difficult test, whoever spots the cat in the video gets extra pie.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


I was prepared.  Mentally.  Physically.  Spiritually.

I had checked my equipment the night before and made sure to get a good night's sleep.  I arose early in the morning to quietly center myself and then listen to some inspiring, motivating music.  As I made my way to the starting line, the crowd steadily increased.  The competition.

I silently observed.  Most didn't look so tough.  Some, I knew I could take them.  There were others, though, that I could tell were seasoned veterans.  They could give me some troubles.  I would have to work for this.

But then I reminded myself that I was no rookie either.  I'd done this battle before.  To the point that it's become rather mundane, and I don't really look forward to it anymore.  I swat those thoughts down, however, and remind myself to be grateful for the opportunity.  There are plenty who only wish they could be in my place.

With that, I loosen my neck and shoulders, take a few deep cleansing breaths and step up to the line.

Next I know, I'm in the thick of it.  Bodies on all sides of me, some impeding my progress and some falling in my wake.  And the children!  Little children!  I'd forgotten how many show up for this.  Do they enjoy it?  Or are they forced to be there?

I can't let them distract me, though.  Yes, I would be more courteous than I'd planned.  More accomodating to the little ones.  Still, my mission was the same.  Win the prizes!

I reach the halfway point and things are going well enough.  Most of the pack is lagging behind me by then, they've not prepared like I have.  Keep moving forward, just Keep.  Moving.  Forward!  But the elites are  in front and likely to remain.  I'm still picking off a few opponents, though.  Adults and children alike.

Once in the homestretch, I feel a surge of confidence.  My confidence is shaken, though.  An elderly woman!  NO, not that!  I sidestep and let the elderly woman go on ahead of me.  Once she's clear, I need to settle myself and get my rhythm back.  Near disaster is averted as I manage to make up lost ground.

And then, finally, the finish is in sight.  I can just cruise on through.  Yes, others are already there before me and victorious, but in the end, we're all winners!

Yeah, got me a nice looking turkey and a few fixings.  Was totally beat down on the yams though, so I'll need to work on my yam strategy for next year. I think I've still got a yam chance, though, but I'm not in any rush to go back to the grocery store just yet.  I need at least one day to recover.

And I noticed, sadly, not a Twinkie in sight.  Rest In Peace.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Sunday salvation

Last dumb Friday, I went shopping.  I don't really like to shop, but since I froze my bare legs last week during a bicycled mission (I probably should have stuck with no-shave November), I was wanting to get some warmish clothing suitable for cool time bike riding.  With that and the fact that I'd amassed about 20 bucks worth of "rewards", set to expire in a couple of weeks from the local sporty store, I gave it a go.

I was on the hunt for some capri tights to replace the shorts and tights I'd sacrificed to the mud gods.  I found some nice ones on sale, so coupled with my rewards bucks, BINGO!

And let me just say that I don't wear those shorts specifically made for cycling, with the big "seat" pad?  I don't ride far enough in one "sitting" to necessitate wearing such things.  No, the lovely tights I found would be just the thing.

So yesterday afternoon, I was frumped on the futon with Magnum while he watched the Broncos and I read a dyslexia book.  The sun had just gone down, but it was relatively warm out.  It occurred to me to go road test the new tights.

Since it was getting dark, I thought I'd just make a big loop, avoiding streets other than the quiet residentials. When it came time to turn left toward the high school, however, the traffic light that is never green was green.   That's as good as it saying, "This way, Abby.  THIS WAY!!"

I went that way.

I'd never been in that neighborhood before.  It had nice spacious and wide streets.  Not too hilly, not too flat.  I've now dubbed it "Goldilocks".  And the tights?  Just right.

I don't know how long I pedaled in my revelry, but soon I noticed it was getting quite dark.  Eventually I came to a recognizable intersection.  Left would take me home.  Right would take me the long way home.  I went right.

Yes, it was pretty dark by then.  No, I hadn't put the lights on my bike.  I was just going to do that loop.  But oh well, the route I was on was pathways and back roads away from traffic.  Except for one little stretch.
Not me, just another
image off google

I was whoo-hooing on that stretch of pavement when I sensed headlights approaching from behind.  Up ahead was a large church parking lot.  Beyond that, the rest of the way home was safe bike paths.  Would I make it in time??  Would I?!?  Did I at least have a reflector on the rear of my bicycle?  I checked the frump shoes I had on.  No reflection.  Really?

The race was on.  To my rear, the headlights bore down.  To my front, the church and salvation.

I made it to the church on time.

Blessed tights.  On sale even.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Silver Liningness Sunday

I'm thankful for and looking forward to the light Thanksgiving week.  Magnum and the kids have the week off.  I've got a light tutoring schedule, and the crosswalk is on it's own.  Wolfgang is pet sitting for another fat cat, so we won't be flying off to exotic locales, but it's nice to have time off.

This week included a lot of running around to appointments it seemed.  I mentioned Meego's visits to the posh orthodontist, and it's nice to get the ball rolling on his dental transformation.  Also, China got the stitches removed from her ear, and it looks so much better now than with that big old juicy lump.

And speaking of fat cats and pets, we've started letting Kat outside.  We're pretty sure she knows this as "home" now, and she's been longing to go outside for a while.  We do have a lot of predators in the area though - coyotes and foxes mostly - that have taken out a few neighborhood cats.  Our backyard is pretty safe, however.  We have a fence that typical cats can manage, but we're pretty sure Kat's too fat... so that can be a good thing.  When we want her to come inside, we just bang the food can with a spoon.

too sexy

In movie news, Magnum and I watched Bernie yesterday.  I'd never even heard of this movie, but we both liked it.  It's based on a true story about a funeral director, an elderly widow, and a murder!  Jack Black stars in the title role.  I like Jack Black (he's more than welcome to join us for Thanksgiving), and I thought this role was different from his usual stuff.  Nice job.

Saturday, November 17, 2012


This week's Illustration Friday prompt is "zoom" and I think it's mocking me today.

First of all, I racked my brain quite a bit trying to come up with something zoomy.  Fast car?  Fast animal?  A turkey in the cross hairs briefly crossed my mind...

In the meantime, I got Wolfgang and myself registered for the upcoming local turkey trot.  I'll spare the details, but the online registration for the thing was a pain.  I think it took me longer to get us registered than it will likely take us to finish the dang race!

Along that same theme, we went out to the running store because Wolfgang needed some new shoes.  This store is usually really good about having plenty of shoes in stock.  Except today.  Not the shoe Wolfgang wants.  Not in his size.  Anyway.

But, they should be here in a coupla days.  So after all that, I decided to paint some fast shoes.

Going nowhere.


Friday, November 16, 2012

teacher becomes student

There was a little boy pulling an empty red wagon.  He walked around, picking things up, and placing them in the wagon until the wagon was overflowing.  I remember a dump truck, a ball, a pail and shovel.  Then he pulled the wagon all over the neighborhood, returning each item to its rightful owner.  Finally, there was a little boy pulling an empty red wagon.  The End.

That was the first book I remember reading all by myself.  The words were sparse, but I remember sitting on the floor of my dad's office / den  and reading while he worked at his desk.  He asked me about the book, so I told him the story and read a few of the words.

He told me how lucky I was to be learning to read, and what a fun process it was.  Until then, I hadn't thought about it much.  It was just part of school and everybody learns it.

And like most other kids, I worked my way up from picture books and monosyllable words to larger, more complex reading.  Never much thinking about it.

I currently have a student who has dyslexia.  I'm certainly not a dyslexia expert, I was hired for other purposes, but dyslexia is part of who he is.  He is a bright, articulate, critically thinking, high school senior.  In fact, he's so bright that sometimes I forget he has dyslexia.  Until he reads out loud.

I was thinking I should learn a little more about dyslexia to help me to better tutor him.  Coincidentally, I have a friend who works for the school district where I am a crossing guard.  Coincidentally, she is an expert in dyslexia.  Coincidentally, she's just put together a Professional Development class through online learning for the district.  There was a message about it in my staff e-mail this week as I did my weekly purge.

All of those coincidentallies were just too coincidental.  This would be perfect!  Self-paced, pre-recorded, could do it right from home, blah, blah, blah.  I did wonder if I, just a crossing guard, could enroll.  But all of the above seemed the district wouldn't care one way or the other, right?

WRONG!  I logged into the professional development site, punched in the course number, and was handily rejected.  I can, however, take CPR and First Aid.  Again.

I'm not upset, maybe just a little bummed because I know the course would be useful to me.  I did feel that it might be taking wrongful advantage of my district employee status.  And there is a book to accompany the course, which my friend says she can get me on the cheap, so it's all good.

Meanwhile, I'm learning from my dyslexic student.  We were reading a passage about the history of certain music genres.  It mentioned polkas, and he said he thought that was inappropriate.

"Okay, why do you think it's inappropriate for the author to mention polkas?", I asked

"OH!  I thought it said 'Polacks'!", he revealed, laughing.

Once again, I'm reminded.  Dad was right.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

the troupe retires

They'd grown up in the same town but never knew each other as children.  Fate threw them together, however.  Their's was a world where they had no choice of professions.  They were destined from birth, by the powers that be, to be entertainers.

Lumpy:  Well, we had us a good run, and I just want to tell you guys how much I love yas.

Jack:  Aw, thanks Lump.  It's been a real pleasure working with you too.

Betty:  Stop it you guys, you're gonna make me cry!

Darth Vadar:  Hey now, don't go getting all mooshy!

Lumpy:  We can't help it Darthy, it's the end of our time.

Betty:  It's okay.  I wouldn't change any of it.

Jack:  Another round? Let's order another round!

Darth Vadar:  Should we tell Jack that his head's not right anymore?

Lumpy:  Naw, he's happy.  That's all that matters.

Betty:  Oh Lumpy, you old softie.

Lumpy:  Huh, well there was a time you didn't like me so soft...

Betty:  *BLUSH*

Darth Vadar:  Hey, enough you two.  I wanna propose a toast to the great run we had.

Jack:  Here!  Here!

Lumpy:  Betty, you lit up the stage!

Betty:  Aw, that's sweet.  But we ALL lit up the stage!

Darth Vadar:  Hell, we was on FIRE!

Jack:  FIRE!

Betty:  I still remember that day we first arrived.  I didn't know any of you yet, and my children were taken from me.  I was so sad.  But it all turned out so beautiful, didn't it?

Darth Vadar:  Yeah, Betty.  Of course.  We had no choice, but we were lucky.  There were others didn't do so good.  My brother...

Lumpy:  Yeah, we were lucky.  And I'll never forget that first day either.  I first laid eyes on my Betty, so ripe and juicy!

Betty:  *BLUSH*

Jack:  My kids were taken too.  Just scooped right up.  I like to think that they're happy.


Darth Vadar:  Well, winter's coming.

Lumpy:  Yeah, time for us to go.  It's hard for me to think of moving on, though.  Either way, at least I know I'll leave a mark.

Betty:  Aw, Lumpy.  I don't want to think about moving on.  I just want to remember the good times.  I'm gonna miss all of you so much *SOB!*

Jack:  *SOB!*

Darth Vadar:  Here's to us.  I'll see you all on the other side.

Lumpy:  Not if we see you first, you big lug!

Jack:  'night 'night

Betty:  *whimper*

L to R:  Betty, Jack, Lumpy, Darth Vadar

-------------------------------------------- Curtain Close---------------------------------------------

P.S.  We ate the children.  Don't tell the troupe.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

love bites

I was with Meego.  We were walking down a long corridor in a very clean building at the perfect temperature.  After walking a bit, we came to a door.  A door that beckoned us inside.

I opened the door that had just the right amount of balance for it to open smoothly with a comfortable amount of resistance.  We were instantly greeted by a pleasant woman seated behind a stylish and clean counter.  She knew our names.

We were directed to take a seat in the airy, sublime area just beyond the stylish and clean counter.  Chairs were of just the right size and cushioning.  A flat screen television displayed "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" with video and audio settings that were just right.

Next to the TV was a tasteful magazine rack - mahogany perhaps? - holding a tidy variety of crisp magazines.

Another pleasant woman appeared and asked to take Meego.  I had no qualms about allowing him to go off alone with this stranger while I wrote things down on smooth, high-quality paper, with a pen that was oh so comfortable in my hand.

After a few minutes passed, she returned, asking me to follow.  There was no question that I would.

We passed through a very spacious sunny room with smooth wooden floors.  Huge windows provided an amazing view of a nearby private golf course and majestic mountains.  There were others in this blissful space - bodies suspended in the supine position.  I thought to myself, "They're either really relaxed or.... or...."  Were those people....   dead?

Then it occurred to me.  Was that what this place was?  Had Meego and I crossed over without realizing it? Was this place heaven??  I looked to the pleasant woman.  Grandma?

She sat behind a desk and gestured for me to sit as well, then she turned her computer screen towards me.

Back to reality.

No, we weren't in heaven.  We had entered... The Land of Orthodontia.

While growing up, the closest I came to orthodontics was witnessing my friends' braces and the hideous headgear they had to wear during slumber parties.  Chaco and Wolfgang both managed to avoid braces, so it only seems right that Meego should pick up the slack.

He's got bite issues, so we were referred to this ambrosial orthodontist practice and had our consultation yesterday.  I felt under dressed.

I've been to my share of dentist's offices and procedures, but this.. THIS!  We have arrived.  Thank goodness for insurance.

We go back tomorrow to get an impression for his bite plate.

I can hardly wait.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

space case

It's my island in a sea of testosterone and zoology.

We bought a simple 5' x 3' table from Office Max and put the desktop on it.  Eventually, I upgraded and added another simple table to get the all important L-shape.  Thus, the gigadesk was born.

To my left, and a little bit behind is the 36" TV upon which the kids play XBox and PS2 games.  So I bought earbuds.

Behind and to my right is a bookshelf that holds my tutoring books.  Directly behind me a few paces is a sink ("wet bar" in the real estate ad) and counter with a snake.  Next to that is one of my other offices - the laundry room.

Underneath the gigadesk are some storage bins, since it has no drawers of its own.  The bins hold finished artworks, a few virgin art supplies and office supplies.

So while we all co-exist in this "rec room", the gigadesk is my island.  This is where I blog from.  This is where I draw and paint from.  Sometimes, I do work here. Rarely.

I know others like to get all comfy on a couch or bed, with a laptop, to blog from and read blogs.  But I always blog and read from here.  When I'm doing my tutor work to prepare lessons and such, I kick back and get comfy on the futon.

Growing up, I had my own bedroom.  I would draw in there, listen to music in there.  Never did my homework in there.  I guess I'm just continuing the tradition.  I play at my desk.  I work on the couch.

Don't bother me.  I'm playing.

From the NaBloPoMo prompt:

"Where is your favourite place to blog?"

Monday, November 12, 2012

in observance

It was dark out and relatively late at night.  We weren't in the best part of town.  The building was deserted other than our class meeting that night.

I was teaching a class of people preparing for their law school admission tests.  They were taking a quiz, so it was relatively quiet in the room.  That's when I heard the front door of the building open and someone walk in.

"CRAPOLA!", I remember thinking.  I'd forgotten to lock the front door before starting the class session.  All of the students were already there, happily taking their quizzes.  Who was in the building?!

I remember a couple of students looking up at me, we had all heard the front door.  I strode to the back of the classroom to go out and see what was what.

I walked down the dark hallway and came upon a man, maybe about 30 years old?  He was standing in the front lobby looking into the windows of the front office.

"Can I help you?", I said with authority.

He turned quickly towards me, startled.

"Uh...Uhm... Is the office closed?", he asked.

"Yes, are you a student?", I asked.

"I... uhm.... uh... I just wanted some information", he replied.

"The office is closed now.  It will reopen in the morning at 8 a.m.", I told him.  Then I handed him a brochure that was sitting on one of the tables.  He nervously thanked me, then abruptly left.

I abruptly locked the freaking front door.

I honestly don't think he was looking for information.  I think he may have been thinking to rob the place.  I just wanted him out of there.  And I think what made our exchange so short and successful was that, despite the few words we shared, my nonverbal communication went more something like this:

"Obviously the office is closed at this hour.  Currently in the building, there is just myself and about 10 students, two of whom are soldiers who have served tours in Iraq and Afghanistan and who will not hesitate to take you down should you so much as even think about doing anything harmful to me, the rest of the students, this building, and anyone else even remotely associated with it, past, present, or future."

Because that was the truth.

There is a LOT of military personnel here where I live.  Active duty, retired, somewhere in between... And I think we as a city are very grateful for and supportive to them.  It's sad that's not the case everywhere in the U.S.

Yesterday was officially Veteran's Day, but like the stock market and the post office,  I'm taking today to observe, and say a big THANK  YOU!

Starting with these 3...

Brother Guano

And also to close friends, many neighbors, the Maid of Honor at my wedding, several students, and blog friends!

Happy Veteran's Day (in observance of)!


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Silver Liningness Sunday

A week into November, and we've got some snow.  Just a dusting really, but it's cold.  I'm thankful that I thought to go out and finally get me some warm winter boots.  I do have some fashionable and warm boots, but they're no match for those cold mornings in the crosswalk.  So, even though it's been seasonably warm lately, I made myself go boot shopping.  What an arduous task!  But now, I'm set for winters on the street.  That and elk hunting, should I be so inclined.

I'm thankful that the election is over.  I don't discuss politics here, but know that I have very clear opinions.  This election year was another nasty and divisive one. Additionally, Colorado is/was a battleground state and the constant mudslinging and negative campaigning became nearly unbearable.  And about those ads, are they targeted towards first graders?  Insulting to the intelligence.

On the silver lining side, Chaco voted for the first time.  The kid who is a master procrastinator had his ballot ready to go with over a week to spare (we do mail-in).  He actually read the voter's guide and pondered each issue responsibly and intelligently.  And did you hear?  The rocky mountains got a little higher with Colorado passing the legalization of marijuana.

We attended the high school cross country banquet yesterday.  It was a nice ending to a great season.  Good kids, those runners.  And Wolfgang received a special award - the Sisu award (no, not "sissy"!).  Well deserved if I do say so.

In other cleaning up of loose ends, the Subaru is back home and running smoothly.  China's ear almost looks normal, whatever that is, and I just need to put a few finishing touches on "The Don".

Thank you to everyone who gave such helpful feedback regarding compensation!  I know what I'm gonna do.

Saturday, November 10, 2012


This week's Illustration Friday topic is "Tree".  At first, I thought I'd do a cute little bonsai, but then decided I'm still not quite done with October, even though my calendar says otherwise.

So I painted this, and it's kind of a celebratory entry to commemorate the end of the raking.  Our trees are pretty much empty.  The bags are not.

And no, Kat did not model for this painting (seriously?).  I didn't want to block out too much of the tree.

Friday, November 9, 2012

a little help?

The first thing I noticed was the stuffed animal.  Or, I think it was an animal.  It was blue and ratty with light green eyes.  It was dangling from a small duffle/backpack.  There was another small nylon pouch-like bag hanging from the other side.

I'd just exited the art supply store where I'd picked up some pretty paper and was walking behind this girl who had just passed by the door.  In addition to the things hanging off her back, I noticed her wavy dark hair pulled into a ponytail.  She had on a pair of grey sweats tucked into black suede, flat-heeled boots.

I walked toward my bicycle that was locked to a post.  As I pulled out my keys, she became aware of me and turned.

"Excuse me... (polite pause)... Do you have thirty-five cents?"

She had a bit of a homeless waif look about her.  She was young, though.  Twenty maybe?  I found her simple yet specific request a bit odd.  Thirty-five cents.

Also, in those seven short words, I detected intelligence.  I've been approached by panhandlers before.  Then there are those who set up at opportunistic intersections with cardboard signs.  But I think it's safe to say that no panhandler with intelligent eyes has ever specifically asked me for thirty-five cents and in such a clear, polite, intelligent sounding voice.

This all made me curious about her story.  I pulled out my wallet and rummaged a quarter and a dime.  I found myself wanting to give her more.  I often don't trust panhandlers, but I trusted that she really just wanted thirty-five cents.

I placed the coins in her grimy hand, and she thanked me in that same intelligent way.

That was the end of our exchange.  I went back to unlocking my bicycle.  As I went to pull out of the parking lot, I looked back in her direction.  She'd continued to the grocery store and was putting the coins into one of the pop machines out front.

So I wonder about her.  Was she really needy?  If so, how did she end up in that position?  Part of me wonders if it's not all a social experiment?  Downtown, there is a small, expensive, private college.  I've tutored there, and a lot of the students dress similarly to that girl.  It's just their style.  The homeless look.

When I was in college, a shanty town was constructed on campus, in an act of solidarity for South Africa.  It was big.  It was trashy.  Some people complained.

The college administrators didn't worry about it too much.  Seems they had a plan.  Spring break came around, the poor rich shanty town residents left for Mazatlan and Acapulco, the whole thing was then torn down without a fight.  I witnessed it since I stuck around to get in some extra work hours at my lowly retail job.

Is the girl doing a social experiment?  Does she have an address?  I know first impressions can be wrong, but something just seemed a little off.

Thirty-five cents worth of pondering.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

doctor Don

I was hanging out with The Donald this morning.  Not that Donald.  This Donald has way better hair.

My mother in law asked me to do a pastel portrait of Magnum's stepdad.  I suppose I could refer to him as my step-father-in-law, but I'd rather just say "Don".  One syllable vs. five syllables wins.

I was flattered she asked and knew it would be fun since I've known Don nearly as long as I've known Magnum.  She'd asked me about the portrait prior to their visit last weekend and said she would bring a couple of photos.

The photos she brought, though, were from a few years ago when Don was a bit heavier.  Plus, he wasn't rocking the awesome chin-strap beard he currently rocks.  She snapped a bunch of photos while they were here, then honed in on one to use as a reference.

So I was playing with Don and it's been fun, BUT I'm having some difficulty.  My mother in law wants to pay me for the portrait.

I have NO idea what to charge.  I want to just do it for free.  I may not always agree with her.  We may wonder sometimes if Magnum was switched at birth.  (Really, Mag and I have had conversations.  Like, "we should look for your real family, I bet we'd like them!").   But for the most part, we get along well and maintain the relationships on our shared interests and just avoid the unshareds.  

There's also the fact that they've always been very generous with us.  If I were to charge for such a request, it would be a negligible amount in comparison with the support they've given us over the years.  

She brought up paying me a few times, and I just brushed it off, not knowing how to answer.  Does giving it to her at no charge "cheapen" it for her?  I've had this problem before,  *COUGH* GUANO* COUGH* and I'm not sure if I'm happy with how that went either.

I guess I need outside advice.  Rambling on the blog hasn't helped.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

like a hillbilly

I was with her Monday evening.  Just seemed like another typical Monday.  Until the drive home.

She wasn't feeling quite herself.  I'd planned to stop for gas anyway so we pulled in to a station where she proceeded to expel all kinds of fluids.  Yeesh.

We were only about a half mile away from my house, so I urged her to get that far, and then we could better see what was what.  What a trooper.  She made it up the hill, and just after I pulled into the driveway, she passed out.

I'd never seen her like that before.  She was usually so full of life and energy.  But I had to admit, she's not as young as she used to be.

The next morning, I called the ambulance to come get her.  I watched as she was loaded onto the gurney and driven away.  A few hours later, I got the diagnosis.  It's pretty bad as expected, but not terminal.  She should be home in a couple of days.

We've had that Subaru for 13 years now.  I remember when we got her, mainly because I was preggars with Meego at the time, and I remember the yummy lunch.  But still, she's been a good car.  She's gotten us through some dicey winter road conditions. She taught both Chaco and Wolfgang how to drive a stick, taking plenty of bruising and grinding along the way.

Watching her get loaded onto the "wrecker" (what a name) was a sad event.  She seemed embarrassed at being unable to move under her own power, hoping the neighbor cars wouldn't see.

Driving isn't something I particularly enjoy.  I just do it for practical purposes, preferring a bicycle to a car most of the time.  But since I drive so little, I want the vehicles I do spend my time in to be good ones.  That Subaru and I have some history.

In my driveway is an oil stain from Monday night.  She left a trail all the way up the road from the gas station, but she got me home rather than leave me stranded.

And up through the ground came a bubblin crude. 
Oil that is, black gold, Texas tea. 

I was like Jed Clampett, but not in a good way.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

decision 2012

Happy election day, my fellow US citizens.
Choose wisely.
Stay warm.

Monday, November 5, 2012


So Chaco was here on Saturday night and he, Wolfgang, and I were sitting around talking religion(?) while they messed with video games and I doodled.  I ended up with this hermit house for Illustration Friday.

The prompt was "shy".  I thought to do a tortoise - the shell thing and all.  But I thought a tortoise would be better as a painting and I didn't have time to mess with mixing paint.  Pen and sketchbook it was.

I remember being shy around adults as a kid.  By the time I was in my teens, I'd crossed the extrovert bridge for the most part.  But I didn't wander too far from the bridge.  Given a choice between going out to a party or having a quiet night in, I prefer... yes.  Either has an equal chance of being chosen depending on my mood.

I've been subjected to the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator twice - once in college and then again a few years later.   I came up ENTJ both times, "E" for extroversion.  If nothing else, going through the exercise reminds us that we humans are a diverse bunch, on the insides as well as the outsides.

Why I drew a hermit house?  Well, other than laziness, not much.  In general, I think that hermits prefer to be isolated from others, but shy people don't.  Otherwise, why are there so many books about how to overcome shyness?  How to meet people?  How to be comfortable in a crowd?  Etc.?

But, it's a hermit house.  I'd leave him alone.  I'm not overly shy, but I think I can take a hint.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Silver Liningness Sunday

First of all, I'm loving that extra hour of back-to-standard time.  Wish we could just stay here, but it's not on the ballot.

I'm also having a dumb Sunday.  Other than mud weekend, I've had hardly a Sunday off since the start of the school year.  I'm going to be so dumb today.

As mentioned, we had the maternal in-laws visiting.  Just for the day yesterday.  It was a nice relaxed visit, and we managed to rouse Chaco out of bed to spend dinner and the rest of the evening with us.  Plus, they gave me an artwork "assignment" that looks to be very fun.  Really, I'm just flattered they asked.

Remember that ugly thing on China's ear?  It's gone.  In it's place is this horrendous cone of shame.

You're not seriously gonna put this on the blog are you??

She did fine with the procedure and is healing up by the book post-op.  Kat is very attentive and concerned.  I think the stress is making her fat...

I mentioned how the growth removal put my new bicycle fantasies far in the back of my head?  This morning, I was having a lovely ride with Tessa, who badly needs new tires.  I was thinking I could replace her current ones with some that are a bit wider and thicker - essentially a bicycle boob job.  

Nothing redonkulous, just a little enhancement to make her more of a commuter than the speedster she is.  Although, I do like her speed... compromises.  Either way, new tires will make it kind of like getting a new bike.  

Fresh dog ear, fresh tires = aaaah.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

so shy

This week's Illustration Friday prompt is "shy" and my entry is SO awesome, it's too shy to show itself!

Okay, that's a lie.

Actually, Magnum's mom and stepdad are visiting, and as much as I've wanted to, I couldn't just say, "Hi, I'm gonna go play with my art toys for a coupla hours.  Talk amongst yourselves!"

I did sort of start something something.  If I finish it, and like it, then maybe it will show itself later.

I wonder, is shyness innate or is it conditioned?  Maybe a bit of both?  How or why does someone become a hermit?  I think isolation, "alone time", is nice and perhaps occassionally necessary.  But in the end, we are social creatures, and too much isolation makes us crazy.

So with that, I go to be the social, happy hostess that I am.

If you don't hear from me in a day or so, text me.  Pretend it's urgent.  (HELP ME!)


Friday, November 2, 2012

day 2

I haven't shaved.  Have you?

It sounds old, but October flew by.  Seems like it was just beginning.  I remember thinking that I should put together a fun costume for the crosswalk, but alas.   I woke up one day,  it was Halloween, I had no costume.  Fail.

True, the vest IS hideous but doesn't count as a costume.

It's dumb Friday, though, and I'm feeling refreshed.  I was filling in my tutoring schedule for the upcoming month, and there is some nice breathing room.  The back-to-school testing frenzy has mellowed as of last weekend, and it's nice to be in non-frenzy mode.

The new page of the calendar also brings a reminder to keep with the daily blogging.  November is the month that started it all.

NaBloPoMo November 2012

So we're typing our hearts out.  Care to join?

November is also the month of Thanksgiving.  I think we've all been to a Thanksgiving dinner or two (or more) that we attended only out of obligation to family or work, etc.  So here's a little thing with me.  When I meet someone new, get to know them a little, I inwardly assess and ponder if they are someone I would like to have over for Thanksgiving, as opposed to the obligatory table mates.

I do it with celebrities and fictional characters too sometimes.

You're all invited.*



Thursday, November 1, 2012