Thursday, December 31, 2015

no one will accuse me of being an affluenza mom

Happy New Year's Eve!  Another year is almost in the books, so we all know what THAT means!

But before the resolutions start stacking up (right), I thought I should first take a walk down 2015 memory lane...



... and stuff.  All right, enough already!  

Now I can clearly say that I enjoyed 2015, with its highs and lows as usual. And I've enjoyed spending another year with blog friends, and I appreciate you all for keeping me entertained through your own blogging and tribulations!  I feel as close to you as real life friends!

See you next year!!

Linking up with Mama Kat for the prompt:
5. A year in review! Compile a years worth of your best blog posts and pictures.


Sunday, December 27, 2015

Silver Liningness Sunday

I had China at the vet's late last week.  She had this puffy thing under her left eye, see it?

The Dr. determined that it was a tooth abscess, and that the tooth should come out.  Okay, easy enough.  EXCEPT (don't you just hate when there's an "except"?), the bloodwork to determine if she was clear for anesthesia came back saying, "Nope!"

A couple of abnormally high liver enzyme counts had me with her at the ultrasound place this week.  She has a "mass" in her liver, that we are waiting on the pathologist to analyze.  Magnum googled and found that "Hepatic nodular hyperplasia" - a seemingly benign lesion - is a common thing in older dogs.  She seems to be her usual self, so we're hoping that's all it is.  She's about 15 years old, just an estimate since she's from a shelter, so we're not shocked to learn of these things.

In the meantime, she's taken a course of antibiotics that has taken pretty good care of the abscess.  For now.  But the bad tooth - it's still in there.

The silver lining is that she doesn't seem to be bothered by any of this.  In fact, the things she does find bothersome are going to the vet's and the ultrasound place.  She actually looks forward to the pill popping.  I guess that's understandable since we wrap them in lunchmeat.

In other news, we got this cute little cactus when at the nursery getting our Christmas tree.  We haven't had much luck with houseplants.  I blame the lighting in our house and my nongreen thumb.  But this cactus called to us, so we brought it home and named it Roscoe.

This week has been  nice with Christmas and family time.  And while a lot of the east coast has enjoyed unseasonable warmth, we've had a rather "blue" Christmas...

But it's allowed me to take care of some indoor projects during the downtime - along with a healthfully slothful dose of recreational reading and Netflix.  And now Chaco has taken some more bulk from the old bedroom, leaving all that much more space for Meego.  We were straightening up some yesterday, and I told Meego I would help him rearrange things today.

He said, "Hey, now I can get a drum set..."

And I said, "Yep", and "Wait.  What?"

Friday, December 25, 2015

just pretend the house isn't 20 feet away

After all the build up, the day finally arrived.  But enough about Star Wars...

We did survive another night of We're-Not-Homeless Appreciation.  It seems to get easier every year.

We bedded down last night once Magnum got a cozy fire going in the tent stove.  In fact, it was downright HOT in there for a while.  Temperatures outside got down into the low 20s, but we stayed pretty comfy in our survival sleeping bags.  And yes, I wore double leggings, under the warmups!

China and Napolion came out for a while as we got ourselves situated, but then seemed to do a collective "You guys are stupid!", then headed back indoors.

I remember waking up once during the night after the fire had died out, and it was noticeably chilly.  I just mummified myself further.  Meego had a similar experience.

"I woke up and the fire was out.  There was drool frozen to my face..."


Chaco's not keen on having pics snapped of him upon waking from hibernation...

Too bad.

I've got stuff cooking now, in the comfort of our real house.  Chaco and Wolfgang brought sweet corn muffins last night - well, the mix anyway.  I baked and Chaco made the "Honey Butter Topping".  They're all gone now.  We did some game night, and somehow the muffins disappeared.  Extra layer of fat for warmth?

And that's pretty much our Christmas.  Eat, freeze, eat some more.  A few gifts thrown in.  All good.

Merry Christmas, blog people!


Thursday, December 24, 2015

gone away is the bluebird

There it is.  Beckoning.  Like something from a horror movie.

But it's actually our planned sleeping quarters for the evening.  Looks like we're doing the We're-Not-Homeless! Appreciation Night again this Christmas eve.  And yes, those white streaks in photo are snowflakes blustering around.

So I thought it would be a good exercise to rack my brain and try desperately to come up with a list of things I love about winter.  Here goes *ahem*

Winter, how do I love thee?  Let me count the ways.

I love thee for the white pure fluffy snow.
For how it makes drivers (hopefully!) pay better attention to what the heck they're supposed to be doing.

For the ideal grace of leggings.
So comfy, so functional, so honest.
I've heard there are 3 things that don't lie:
little kids, drunk people, and leggings.
They are practically all I wear in wintertime...

Until I leave the house.  
Some things are better left to the imagination.

And how about a shout out to boots!  
Winter was probably invented for cute boots!
(just not necessarily with the leggings because of the
never-leave-the-house thing...)

I love thee for the lack of bees, and bugs in general.  After the summer of 3 bee stings in 2 weeks, I appreciate this time away.  Nothing says "thank goodness" like the memory of an awkward third boob.
I love thee for frozen, dead weeds.  Because I have hayfever, which sucks. But not in winter!
For expanding my kitchen repertoire.  When it's hot out, the last thing I want to do is turn on the oven and make it hot inside.  In winter, I'll cook just for an excuse to heat the kitchen, not because of my cooking and baking skills.  Obviously.

For Chaco, who was born in wintertime. Oh heck, his birthday is coming up!  Just when I thought I was done with the shopping...

I love thee for socks.  Because I'm still a little miffed about the bad rap socks-as-Christmas-gifts get.

And finally, I love thee for hot flashes, which are actually somewhat welcome in winter.
No they're not.
Not ever.
I just needed 9 things.    

Hooking up with Mama Kat this week, for the prompt:

2. List 9 things you love about winter.


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

tranquility sunset, please

I've heard that it's good to look at things - your job, your relationships, your home/work environment, your finances, etc. -  with "fresh eyes" every now and then.  We can get so stuck in the routine, we don't realize when things aren't going as they should.

Even when they're as hideous as this:

Remember?  Back when I was desperate to find a fix for China's trouble with the hardwood stairs?  I got these awful stair treads as purely a stop-gap measure until I could order some proper coverings?  I figured maybe a week or two, tops?

Well, fast forward to a few MONTHS, they were still here!  Yes, they were still ugly, but I think we all just got used to them, and they somehow became less ugly.  In our messed up minds anyway.  I had proper stair covers on my list of things to do, but they got buried under other things to do.

Now that the to-do list has become less cluttered, I took the "fresh eyes" approach, and thought, "Where did these hideous stairs come from?".  Then I ran screaming from the house.

In my return, we now have:

"Tranquility Sunset".  That's what the packaging says anyway.  Looks like beige to me.  Either way, it's a heckuva lot better than "Geriatric Swimming Pool Exit" that was before.  And the stairs are all warm and soft  now too.  I don't know what took me so long.

Even Magnum, who is not as picky about such things, thought those old treads were just awful.  He did note that their reflectivity came in handy during our recent power outage.  I don't necessarily see that as a good thing...  Even in the pitch darkness, they wouldn't go away.

And on that note, we've survived the longest night of the year.  In Tranquility.


Sunday, December 20, 2015

Silver Liningness Sunday

I was at the post office on Friday.  We have a P.O. box there, so I check it about once a week.  Migosh, the lines.  I couldn't tell where one ended and another started.  Merry Christmas!

It reminded me of years ago, not long after Magnum and I got married and were living in upstate New York, far away from family - which was rather plentiful considering the divorces and remarriages and all the step-branches in Magnum's family tree.  We'd buy things, and box them up, then go stand in long lines at the post office with all those packages.  Eventually, that practice thankfully ended.  With everyone getting hitched and then with babies popping out, we all collectively agreed to halt the mass gift exchange.  I sure don't miss it, so this week at the post office, I gladly bypassed the lines to the quiet of the P.O. boxes.

On that note, I'd say my shopping is done.  And thinking back to those olden days, I'm thankful for the internet and online shopping!  I went to the mall just once this week, and that was only to get a gift for the P.E.O. gift swap.  That was enough, and I couldn't remember the last time I was at a mall, even though there is one about a mile from our house.

That mall also houses a cinema, so with the opening of Star Wars coupled with the Christmas season, it's a good place to avoid if you're not big into traffic.

I am still feeling a bit of the stir crazies.  This week's snow storm was the messiest one yet, and it's still very sloppy out.  I'm already feeling sick of winter, and it's not even officially winter yet!  On top of that, I found that my normally trusty friendly running shoes that are such nice companions in the warm months turned total wimps once it got cold/wet/snowy/icy out.  They felt stiff, uncomfortable, and cumbersome, which left me feeling similarly.

I went to the local running store last weekend with my tale of woe.  And after a very helpful session, I came home with these wonderful Altra Lone Peak 2.5's

I'd heard good things about Altras - the zero-drop platform and the roomy toe box.  Now, I think I've found me a new brand of shooz!  These are SO comfy, and they did quite nicely at dealing with the winter slop.  I can't yet speak to their durability, but so far so good!

And remember that radio guy that said socks were disappointing Christmas gifts??  Well, he obviously hasn't heard of the Netflix Socks that pause your show if you fall asleep!  We all know THAT hardship, right??

I could use a pair of these

Merry Christmas!  Happy Holidays!  Merry Yule! Come on Spring!

Friday, December 18, 2015

is it done?

Remember when Christmas shopping was easy?  A truck.  A boat.  Better yet, a truck AND a boat?  And/or pretty much anything LEGO?

Yes, times have changed.  Our kids still like "toys", but such toys have gotten more high-tech and expensive.  Plus, they're loaded with options I know nothing about making comparisons.  I believe we've now entered the realm of gifts for the "kids" being comprised of clothes and money.

No socks, though, because apparently, socks are a most disappointing Christmas gift.  This according to the guy on the radio the other day.  Meego responded to that with, "How silly", and I was thinking the same thing because I wouldn't mind some nifty socks, but then Meego continued with, "Who would give someone socks as a gift??"


So I was doing some online shopping last night, and today, almost every webpage I go to has ads for the stuff I was shopping for.  I suppose I could just clean my cache and cookies, but for some things, I might want to leave my options open.

Like all these cat condo links I'm getting.

Okay, so maybe I WAS looking at cat condos... and plans for DIY cat trees and such.

It doesn't suggest that I'm going all crazy cat lady.  Maybe I just need a project.  Maybe I want the cat to stop scratching my chair.  Maybe our active cat needs something to stimulate him during the cold winter months.

Besides, we only have one cat, so that automatically violates one of the crazy cat lady requirements.

Maybe we'll get another cat.  I don't think Napolion would like that, though.  We could name it "Socks".

Thursday, December 17, 2015

a separate peace

It was a robust red.  With training wheels,  tubeless tires, a hard plastic white seat, and red and white streamers flowing from the handlebars.  It was the first thing I saw under the tree that Christmas morning.  I had recently turned 5 years old.

Looking back, having and riding a bicycle seems like such a milestone of childhood.  I'd seen the older kids riding them, of course.  I remember staring at a 10-speed as the girl upon it had stopped to talk with my mom.  Looking at those skinny tires and trying to figure out how it was possible that anyone could ride such a thing.

Luckily, that Christmas I got my first bicycle, the outside was not covered in snow.  I could bundle up and test ride it right away.  What a rush of freedom that was!

Fashion Disaster on Wheels

I'm sure I received other gifts that Christmas, but I have no idea what they were.  And I don't know that I can say it was the "best" gift ever, but I loved my new bicycle.  And the infatuation didn't wear off after those initial first "dates".  I remember riding it a lot, even if just around our little block.  Eventually, the training wheels came off.

One of the most vivid memories I have from those years is when I learned to handle the 2-wheeler.  My dad had been patiently pushing me up and down the sidewalk,  holding onto the seat.  At one point, I realized he was just jogging along beside me,  no longer holding on, and so excited.  I had graduated!

Bigger bicycles and more fun followed.  The neighborhood kids all got around on them.  If someone got a new one, we all looked on, and eventually, the owner let us take a spin.  In high school, my close friend Ingrid and I would go on long rides on roads we probably should not have been bicycling on.  Ingrid sadly and suddenly passed away while just in her early 30s, and I'm so glad to have the memories of those rides.

So many years have passed since that Christmas of the Bicycle.  And I don't know what became of that little red bike with no name.  I have no desire for competitive bicycling, but I'm not surprised that, at my riper age *ahem*, my bicycles are my chosen methods of transportation.  It's hard to describe in words the difference between commuting on a bicycle and commuting in a car, but the bicycle experience is just so many nice things the car isn't.  The line of separation is thick.

Older face... 
same expression?

Not religiously epiphanous or anything, just better.

I was at the bike shop recently, where all of the employees are avid cyclists who ride to work and beyond.  One of them mentioned to me, "Whenever I see you on the path, you've got such a big grin on your face".

Really?  I hadn't thought about it.  I guess that's a sign of a great gift.

Linking up with Mama Kat this week, for the prompt:
4. Best or worst gift you ever received.


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

inch-and-a-half, my foot

Had us another snowday today.  I apologize for going all weather channel, but there's not much else to blog at the moment.  As consolation, I will forego the snow selfie.

Last night, the weatherman said, "half-inch to inch-and-a-half" for expected accumulations. Boy, was he wrong.  Oh well, Meego got a day off school so took advantage by sleeping in.  He actually would have preferred to have gone in since it's finals week.  He could've had two done by now.

And my Christmas party was scheduled for tonight, but we decided to cancel.  This after I knocked myself out getting a good gift for the swap.  Plus, I was going to make my world-famous vegetarian fried rice for the potluck.  Well, I guess I didn't exactly knock myself out getting that "plush velvet throw", and my veggie fried rice is not even a little famous, let alone world famous.  But I was prepped for a party.

But all is not lost.  We're planning to "stretch" Christmas and do the swap in January.  And I made the fried rice anyway - the "manly", meaty home version.

Meego had an orthodontist appointment, so that provided us with a winter adventure.  My car is a reliable little putster and does okay in the snow as long as it isn't deep.  It has little tires and not much ground clearance, but handled herself quite well with just a few suspenseful moments.

As we were sitting at a stoplight on the way home, this Smart Car came crossing through the intersection at maximum speed (probably about 50 m.p.h.).  The driver seemed to be wanting to get as much momentum as he could before tackling a hill, decently mucked up with snow.

He  hit that muck pile, and it was all quite impressive.  We watched in awe as he Tokyo drifted his way up that hill through the mass of deep, slippery snow.  At times, he was nearly perpendicular to his direction of travel!  Just when we thought he'd lost the fight, that little Smart Car gave a final gasping push to the crest of the hill, and they continued on to capture the next one.  It was the Little Smart Car that could!

 We're guessing it was some kid with a day off school out joyriding in the snow with Dad's Smart Car.  Looked quite fun actually, can't say that I blame him.

So today's highlights included doing lots of shoveling and gaining newfound respect for the Smart Car.  All while wearing multiple layers. Can it be summer now?


Sunday, December 13, 2015

Silver Liningness Sunday

I find it funny and a bit ironic when newscasts encourage people to not go out in bad weather, and they do so by reporting from out in the bad weather.  Those reporters all bundled up and getting tossed around by the wind, or pelted by rain or snow.  Such sacrifices for their jobs.

That said, I offer this report.

Yes, the big snowstorm that the weather people were all a-flutter about this past week arrived.  I'm feeling the cabin fever as it kept me home all day yesterday.  But at least I finished my conclusion.  Is that redundant?

Thankfully, I got out for a nice run in the morning before the flakes started flying.  It was fully overcast, but about 30 degrees and QUIET quiet.  The genuine calm before the storm.

Then the roads got all messy with multiple slide-offs and such.  On Friday, I talked a bit with Wolfgang who was sort of lamenting the fact that he hasn't gotten to test out the  new snow tires he recently got for his truck.  He was in sunny warm Hawaii during our big snow of Thanksgiving week.  Oh... the hardships.

But today looks a little better... a little.  I hope to get out in a bit for some errand running and general escape.  I don't like to shop on the weekends, but maybe after the Bronco game starts, the crowd will thin.  Yay for football fans.

This was a productive week of finishing up the semester, so I'm thankful to be pretty wrapped up with two more classes.  Meego has finals coming up this week.  They have two finals a day, then afternoons off.  The e-mail says...

               Students should use the time to complete make-up exams, seek
               individual tutorial time
, or to study for exams.

So I said, "Oh, tutorial time.  Good idea, that's what we'll do!"

He just laughed, like I was just messing around.

Beware the nerd mom with some time on her hands.  MUAHAHAHAHA!

Friday, December 11, 2015

in conclusion...

Homestretch of the college semester now.  I'm finishing another final case study and have pretty much everything done, just need a conclusion.  Time for the procrastination to kick in!

Oh well, thanks to procrastination, I got a lot of other things done today.  Cleaned the shed, cleaned Bella, cleaned the dog kennel, ran some errands...

One thing still left to do - I need a gift for the PEO Christmas party gift exchange.  About $10 range.  It's a yankee swap, which is fun.  Last year, I ended up with this huge platter, remember?

So I guess I can't re-gift it at this year's exchange?

In other news, Meego had another concert this week.  Symphonic band this time, Meego on the euphonium, so not as jazzy as jazz band.  It was a nice performance all around, and I'm just pleased to know what a euphonium is.

Any yankee swap gift exchange ideas are welcome.

And I WILL write a spankin' conclusion...


Sunday, December 6, 2015

Silver Liningness Sunday

And so ends another week.  Is it me, or did November just fly by?  Like just a blip and then gone?

Either way, I guess I'm glad to be finishing up another year.  What is the alternative?  This was a nice week getting back into the routine after the Thanksgiving break.  Wolfgang came over and hung out yesterday, which was nice.

He told us all about his Thanksgiving trip - the surfing, the snorkeling, the eco-touring, the eating.  If I wasn't envious before, I am now.  But I was before, too.  Really, though, I'm glad they had a good time... while we were back here in the great snowy freeze that was Thanksgiving 2015.  But we made the most of ours.

He also said he got everyone t-shirts but had forgotten to bring them, so I have that to still look forward to.  Next best thing to being there?

As expected, with the return to classes, the university campus was respectfully subdued after the Planned Parenthood shootings.  Backup officers from two other CU campuses filled in to let our officers take some time off.  The funeral procession was huge, with people lining the entire route.  Here's a pic as it went by the university campus.

So this week was productive while the local news is still filling in details of the investigation.  And we warmed up some which helped melt the snow.  I was glad to be able to get around just fine on Bella since I put her winter tires on.


That line of dots?  That is to signify that we had a big ol' power outage just as I was thanking Bella and her big girl tires.  I was sitting here blogging away, Meego over there doing homework (supposedly) while the toads were splashing about in their fountain when *WHAMO*  pitch blackness and no more splashing.  Knowing those toads, however, the sexing likely continued.

So I can say I'm thankful for electricity.  And when it's not on, I'm thankful for camping lanterns.  Quick, anyone know any good ghost stories?

Oh, darn.  Power's back.

Whenever the power goes out, I'm reminded how noisy the house is.  With the toad fountain and the monster fish bubblin'.  Anyway, the whole traumatic thing lasted about 30 minutes.  We think there may have been an accident that knocked something offline as we heard some sirens shortly after everything went dark.  It will probably remain a mystery.

But Meego did break out a couple of ghost stories while we waited.  Gave me a good case of heebie jeebies.

Sleep tight!

Saturday, December 5, 2015

wrappin' up

I'm sitting here watching my email for inputs from teammates on a final group project for school.  Lemme just say, no matter how nice the teammates are, group projects for an online class are a pain.  We all have different schedules and obligations which is why we're taking classes online in the first place.  Heck, one of our teammates doesn't even live in the same time zone.

But it will get done.  In fact, I've got the whole thing ready to ship, I just think the others would want to have more of their fingerprints on the thing, however virtual.  Either way, it's nice to be at the end of another semester.  Wrapping things up with these final projects and final exams before the long winter's sleep break.

Speaking of school, I was on campus yesterday for a bit.  The mood was respectfully somber as yesterday was the funeral for Officer Swasey.  There was a notable presence of police and other first responders as the campus was preparing for the funeral procession, which was absolutely huge.  Also in his honor, a blue light replaced the usual white light in the campus clock tower for the past week.

So it was quite the outpouring of support and respect as the motorcade left campus for the funeral, and during the whole procession afterward to the cemetery.

In other school-end-of-semester news, Meego finally had a band concert for jazz band this week.  We were wondering, thinking one was due.  At the concert, I saw another  mom friend of mine who was thinking the same thing, wondering "Did we miss it??"

But it happened, and they put on an entertaining performance.  Meego on his new Thunderbird bass.  I'll say that the new bass does have a nice stage presence, pretty.  Sounded good too.  I tried to snap an obligatory cell phone photo, but it was crap.  I did get this less-crappy-but-still-grainy photo of Meego at the formal reception afterward.  You can tell it's formal because of the mini solo cup.

So although the Thunderbird is sadly absent here, it's just such a rare thing for Meego to be wearing buttons, let alone a tie.  It needed to be documented.