Thursday, December 14, 2017

gif guide for humbuggers

Yesterday, there was a meeting at work.  Since I'm a noob, it was my first meeting at work.  I'm told they happen every quarter or so. It was a pretty laid back meeting featuring some business talk and some awards.  And, being the time of year that it is, there was the inevitable ugly sweater contest.

Where are those sweaters the whole rest of the year?  The thought, to me, is uglier than the sweaters.

As confessed a few times on the blog, I'm a minimalist.  I don't like "stuff" that serves little or no purpose, such as a sweater worn for a few hours or less, once a year.  A lot of the stuff in our house is only there so as to not scar our children by my getting rid of it, although I've probably already created little scars during the times I couldn't stand it.

In fact, I've told our kids not to get me stuff - for Christmas, for birthdays, for Mother's Day... They all too readily comply.

Truth be told, I wouldn't mind learning that they gave it some thought.  I just don't want "stuff".

So with that, I offer...

A Gift Guide for the Minimalist in Your Life

1.  The first category that comes to mind is Consumable Items.

  • Gourmet coffee or tea
  • Trail mix
  • Harry & David pears and cheese (we just ripped through the annual box from the MIL)
  • Homemade jam.  I'd eat it.

And although a minimalist's gotta eat, there are non-food consumables too.  Ferzample:

  • Nice luxurious hand lotion - rather than the cheap store brand stuff I buy
  • Art/craft supplies, for the artsy minimalist *hint*hint*

2.  Another category is the Experience category.  Being a minimalist doesn't mean sitting in a cave!

  • Ski pass
  • Fishing/hunting license
  • Theater/concert/sporting event tickets

3.  Or howzabout some educashun?
  • Yoga class
  • Guitar lessons
  • Personal trainer session

But seriously, don't get ME anything!


Linking up with MamaKat this week for the prompt:
3. Create a gift guide.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017


Started the new job this week.  Sorta.

I'm working for the company that provides food service to the school district.  They also serve area universities, colleges, hospitals, and senior living facilities.  I took a job with the school district branch because it has the best hours for me.

The plan is for me to eventually manage one of the site kitchens, but for now, I will roam around and get a feel for the various schools.  I've been at an elementary school this week, and I know from previous experience that there's not much to it.  Middle school and high school are where it's at, but everyone "trains" at an elementary school.  Today, I'll finish my training and let the roaming begin!

In the meantime, I'm still wired into the job I just left.  This is finals week, and kids are emailing me with late assignments, and I'm graciously updating their grades as I still have access to all the stuff.

There's probably a rule against doing that since it's government and I'm not getting paid, so don't tell anyone.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

communication skills

Do you leave your phone on all the time?  Is it near you when you sleep?  I was having this conversation recently with some people, and the overall majority said they sleep with their phones.

They had reasons:
"It's my alarm"
"I get called into work early in the morning"
"What if... happens?!"

Unless Meego is out late somewhere, I typically turn my phone off at bedtime.  Yes, we have older kids, but they're technically adults and pretty self sufficient.

Tuesday morning I turned on the phone and as it booted up, I had two texts from Chaco:

"J took me to the hospital, but I'm better now"

"Wolfgang knows the details"

Okay, so that was slightly better than the time he texted me that he'd been hit by a car while on his bicycle to his place from our house and nothing more.  Slightly.

I eventually got the scoop.  Chaco and his girlfriend were at a rock climbing gym.  As Chaco was climbing, he was gripping a hold with his left hand and his feet slipped from the wall, leaving him dangling from the hold with his left hand.  In hindsight, I guess he should've just let go, but who would do that?

Since he didn't just let go, he dislocated his left shoulder.  The crew in the ER, with the help of some good drugs, put him back together.

As I talked to him, I told him I'd turned off my phone around 10:00.

"Ha, I texted you at 10:06"


Other than THAT, it's been a great week.  I got in my last days at that old  high school job, and feel I'm leaving on a good note.  I like the kids and the staff, it was the job itself that sucked 😝.  And there was some silly drama - from a few of the adults! - that I didn't care to be a part of. 

They still have one more week left of school before winter break, but it's half days for finals.  I'm out.  That last class on Friday took FOREVER!  I swear time stopped.

What time is it?  Where's your phone?

Friday, December 8, 2017

that moment when you realize it's you

I was scrolling around in instagram a couple of days ago.  I got an instagram account a while ago because it's the platform of choice for geocaching pics, but I soon learned that I don't really want to post geocaching pics  *YAWN*

But I admit that it's kind of fun to find interesting things to follow.  I don't really follow my "friends" much, but I've found some fun artists and such to inspire me.  And I follow some gear companies and groups, because really, I like looking at happy pictures. 

So I was boringly perusing my instagram feed when I came across a familiar looking photo.  Then I realized it was familiar because I had just been living it!  My PEO chapter was adorning the screen.

Yeah, we had another party.  Yeah, we had to take the Von-Trapp-Family-on-the-staircase photo - complete with a coupla pooches.

Thanks to the Veep who has a great house for parties and then took some pics and then posted them to the PEO instagram.  You go, girls.  What did we do before the internet?

Linking up with MamaKat for the prompt:
3. Share a recent photo or video you  somebody added to Instagram and give us the back story.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

one week to go, the high school musical

Where did this past week go?  I feel like it was busy and productive, but I have no blog submissions to show for it.  Well, here we go...

For one thing, I'm in the process of leaving my job and starting a new one. Yup, my "new" job is now my "old" and I've got a new "new".  It's a bit of a tedious and whiny story, so I'll be brief.

I took this job at a nice area  high school.  I don't have a teaching license and have been going back and forth for the past few years, wondering if I should get a license and just be a high school teacher already.  So this job opened up, which didn't require a license, but would be a strong step toward getting one PLUS a job.

After doing this gig for a while, I consulted with my inner cells to see their thoughts on pursuing a license.  After crunching the data, here are the results:

Okay, so yeah, it was unanimous, but unanimous elections make for dull pie charts...

In the end, I got my answer.  No more wondering.  And I'm glad that I didn't just go ahead and jump through the various hoops to get a license only to learn AFTERWARD that it wasn't for me.  So it's all good, and I'm a lame duck for another week when the semester ends.

And I've got another job lined up to begin once this one ends, so I've been overlapping quitting the school job and going in for some training and such for the new one.

In somewhat related news, one of my students got himself suspended last week for 5 days, which is a lot of days to be suspended for.  I'm curious as to what he did, but since no one's told me, I haven't asked, out of respect for his privacy.

In the meantime, I eavesdrop on student conversations.  In one, I heard "jail" and "probably".  So curious.

Another day last week, security came through our classrooms with the cutest drug sniffing pooches!  I think it was just a random sweep, but they did remove one of my students' backpacks, and the kid was in the office for quite a while.  I wasn't surprised, to be honest.

But back to the dogs.  They were the cutest black labs.  I'd pictured drug sniffers as German Shepherds, but these were small black labs, about 40 lbs. I wanted to play with them, but they were all business.

I have had some fun stories from my semester of high school, but not enough fun to make me want to stick around and go bonkers.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

old age, bus boys, and meeting girls

I've got some doorbustin' to do in a little while, but I'll give thanks for an all-around good Thanksgiving week.  Both fun and productive!

In addition to Thanksgiving, Magnum and I both turned it up the age count.  His birthday was Friday, and mine was on Tuesday, with Thanksgiving falling in the middle so the whole country could celebrate us!

As mentioned, the Turkey Trot was bunches of fun.  There really was a five-guys-dressed-as-a-school-bus.  See?

That's one way to get your picture in the paper.  I'm not sure what place it/they finished or what relation it served for Thanksgiving, but they seemed to be having fun.  As for me, the results did eventually update, and I became myself again rather than a nameless and homeless male of no age.

I took 2nd for my age group, and when I looked at the next OLDER age group, there were three women there who beat me.  I recognized a couple of names, and yes, I've eaten their dust before...

Speaking of eating, we spent Thanksgiving at Magnum's sister's, and it was a good time.  Chaco brought his girlfriend to meet the fam, so she was in a bit of a hot seat.  But I'd told her prior that everyone is pretty chill, plus there would be a 5-month old baby there to grab all the attention anyway.  The little guy did a good job of it, and I think GFchaco had a nice time.  She's cute and fun and I'm not quite sure how Chaco swung that ;)

Meego went shopping with his girlfriend's family for Black Friday.  They came by the house to get him, and he wanted me to come out and meet them as he's only been with this girl a short time.

I actually know her mom as she's an active band volunteer, but I didn't know the girlfriend that well.  I honestly "met" GFmeego only once during band camp when she had an asthma attack, thus freaking me out.  But she's talented and pretty and I'm not quite sure how Meego swung that ;)

Now I'm off for some doorbustin', but be assured I won't buy anything we don't need. 😛

Friday, November 24, 2017


My mom had an old sewing machine that she hardly ever used.  It was such an interesting contraption to me as a kid.  One day when I was about 8 years old, I was playing with my Barbie doll, and Mom asked if I'd like her to make a dress for the doll.  Of course, duh!

Mom cut up some pieces of fabric she had lying around and whipped out a dress on that sewing machine in seeming record time.  I was at a loss for words, so utterly impressed.

I'm not sure if it was from that incident or just an inherent thing, but I'd badly wanted to learn to sew for the longest time.  I asked my mom to teach me, but she was reluctant.

She and her family made clothes and sold them when she was growing up.  Mom was the only daughter, and I think she and her mother did the bulk of the sewing while her brothers cut the fabric.  So years later, when she was in America, she was ready to put that life behind her, and I guess she didn't want it for me either.

She did have a crafty friend of hers show me a few basics, and I also did some projects in junior high home ec. class.  When I graduated from high school, Mom gave me my first sewing machine as a graduation present.  To this day, I think of that sewing machine as both the best and most practical gift anyone has ever given me.

But clothes are pretty cheap now, there's really no practical reason to make clothes.  Most people I know who sew do crafty things like quilts and decorations and such.

I recently found a blogger who has made a lucrative living as a... seamstress?  For lack of a better term?  She has a powerful online presence with her fashion and DIY as well as sewing tutorials.  Probably another thing that attracts people to her various websites is that she models all her own clothes, and she's not the typical stick-figure anorexic-looking model.

What impresses me is how productive she is - cranks out the outfits and photo shoots and vlogs and blogs with crazy regularity.  She says it all happened when she just decided to blog about her DIY a few years ago, never meaning it to be her career, and it all went viral.  But it's obvious she's got skill and loves to do this stuff.

Illustration Friday hasn't posted a  new prompt yet, so I'm still in time for last week's prompt "skill" with a fashion sketch of Mimi G.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

yewpee five oh too

Happy Thanksgiving, blog people! I will mention here that I am not one of those who refer to this holiday as "Turkey Day", and I have been known to inwardly judge harshly those who do, given my mood.

BUT it is a good reason for a Turkey Trot, and I managed to make it to the annual 5K event in my neck of the woods.  I hadn't turkey trotted in 3 years, so it was fun to get back into the fray.

It was a perfect morning for it. Sunny in the mid 40s, no real wind.  After a lovely rendition of the National Anthem, we were off.  Since it is such a popular race, we started in waves and I put myself in the second wave.

I'd been feeling a bit sluggish just before the race, but once the starter said "go", I got a surge of energy and moved to the front of my even more sluggish wave.

I eventually passed the 5-guys-dressed-up-like-a-school-bus that I'd had as my first target and was onto the next thing.

Shortly after the turnaround, I noticed some animated people in the corner of my left eye.  I turned to see Wolfgang and his three buddies, who must've arrived a bit late and started in one of the waves behind mine.  I was about to call out to them, but realized my lungs were  quite preoccupied, struggling to keep me alive.

So instead, I meandered over and gave Wolfgang a Ben-Hur-chariot-race elbowing.

Once he realized who the weirdo was, he sped up because no son wants to have his mom cross the finish line ahead of him in a Turkey Trot, late wave or no.

I made it to the finish, feeling I'd run a decent race.  I'm not certain, but I'm pretty sure that some dude was doubled over and actively vomiting right after finishing a few seconds ahead of me.  I kept on running for a little while...

I hung out in the aftermath and got a very nice freebie water bottle, which I actually was in need of.  Some people began to post race results near where I was standing, so I figured I'd try to find myself.  I'd been shooting for a sub 24:00 but didn't time myself, plus I was wondering how I'd done against the other old ladies. But I couldn't find myself anywhere in the results.

But then... there I was:  "UnknownParticipant502"


An official looking person (official looking because she had a bullhorn) told me that the "roster system" had gone down from some accident, so some of us didn't roll up.  She thought it would eventually update, but didn't seem real concerned.  So for now, this is me

It seems there were 74 of us thrown into the Unknown Participant bucket.  No age, no home, but strangely, we are all male.  

I won't hold my breath waiting to become a Turkey Trot somebody.  I did have Magnum snap a pic of me, making #502 a little less unknown.

And that's a turkey wrap of this race report.



Linking up with MamaKat this week
6. Write a blog post inspired by the word: accident.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

think of the good in the world

It was study hall of the last block of the last day before Thanksgiving break.  Not surprisingly, the kids weren't eager to crack open the books.

"Can you let us go early?", they asked.

They probably expected me to say either (1) "No, you can't go early.  The break starts AFTER this block, so get crackin'" or (2) "I s'pose if you're all well behaved, we can leave a few minutes early".

What I said instead was,

"I'm actually surprised so many of you showed up!", because I was.  It was study hall of the last block of the last day before Thanksgiving break, for chrissake.

That statement seemed to perk them up, make them think maybe they had a chance after all.

"How about you mark us all present, and then let us go!", they pleaded hungrily.

To which I replied,

"Oh right!  Then you go off and get in a car accident a mile from school.  You're paralyzed, and I'm in prison, and that's how we spend the rest of our lives!"

So marked the beginning of study hall of the last block of the last day before Thanksgiving break.  They accepted their fates and we had a pleasant time while making it officially to the break, but not before responding to my scenario with,

"But think of all the good you'll do in the world if that doesn't happen!"

I guess we'll never know.

The week actually went by quite fast, so that was nice.  I met another adult at the allergy shot place.  I'd seen her there before, a rather quiet bookwormy type, so she seemed.  She went into the shot room from the waiting room and was wearing a light jacket.

When she emerged, her jacket was off as needed to receive her injection.  She had an ice pack on her arm and was doing some Lamaze-like breathing and sat down near me.  She moved the ice pack and revealed that her entire upper arm was covered with a large tattoo of a horse head.

We ended up having a pleasant conversation involving tattoos and shots and shot tattoos.

Hmmm... don't judge a book(wormy) by its cover?  Then again, I suppose one can be both bookwormy and tattooed.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

assemblies, football, and Serena arms

First of all, a happy (belated) Veteran's Day here in the U.S.  A few weeks ago, the principal of the school where I work asked the staff for anyone who's had a "spouse, child, or self" who served or was serving in our  military.

Yeah, okay, I figured they'd make a little window display in the office or something.  Magnum was in the Army, so I reported in.  Turns out the principal wanted to recognize all of us as a part of the school assembly on Friday.

I inwardly groaned and sat in my assigned seat.

But y'know, it was a real nice assembly.  I do like the principal of my school. Not surprisingly, he threw a very nice Veteran's Day assembly.  And the students were so well behaved and respectful!  Who were they, and what did they do with the usual kids?!

Find Abby?
As a member of staff with a military "spouse, child, or self", I received a little commemorative plaque for Magnum, thanking him for his service to the country.

Afterwards, some students told me, "Good job Mrs. Barker!"

"Well, I didn't really do anything..."

"Good job getting married!", they acknowledged.


In other ceremonies, the football team at Meego's school had their last home game, so it was "Senior night".  Not only were senior football players recognized, but also senior marching banders and senior cheerleaders.

It was a nice night.  The football team won, thus establishing home field advantage for the playoffs, and the band did one last half-time show and no one fell off a ramp (because they decided to not use the ramps - it's just a football game).

And I believe my allergy shots are doing the job.  My eyes feel SO much better, I hadn't even realized how uncomfortable they were.  I'm not sure if the injections have totally cleared out my drunkenness, but the neti pot action seems to be taking care of that.

I'm not yet to "maintenance" stage, still working on desensitizing myself.  Each time I go in, my serum gets a little stronger, until eventually, I'll be able to go frolicking in a sea of pollen and mold to my heart's content!

So we're supposed to watch for stronger-than-usual reactions to the shots.  A usual reaction is where the injection site gets no bigger than a quarter.  Earlier this week, I woke up with Serena Williams arms.  My injection sites were about dollar bill size.  I was pretty sure it wasn't from my feeble attempts at strength training.

Oh well, I was "swole" for a couple of days anyway.

Friday, November 10, 2017

doing shots with strangers

A little boy sits next to me, playing a game on a tablet while fervently sucking a lollypop. His feet swing back and forth, several inches above the ground.  Four other kids - all siblings - play outside on the small patch of lawn.  The youngest, a girl about six years old, comes in the waiting area, breathing loudly on the verge of tears.

She's literally "in a huff" because one of her big brothers did or said something mean to her.    Random children make frequent visits to the basket of free candy, while others play loudly with Lego bricks too large to swallow and the big wire toy.

Another day at the allergist.

I've gotten used to hanging out with my little shotmates two afternoons a week.  They make a mess of the place, but I don't mind since it's not my responsibility to clean it up.

The office I go to is only open two days a week.  Since the recommended shot frequency is twice a week, everyone has become a familiar face.  And it's not ALL little kids.  I count three actual adults in the hoard mess.  Three including me, but I don't really know them since we're three grownups in a sea of little kids.

Ray is, I'd guess, late 20's or early 30's.  He has long hair, often in a ponytail, and usually wears baggy jeans and fat-tongued skater shoes.  I can easily see him taking advantage of Colorado's  snowboarding and legal recreational marijuana.

Diane looks to be about mid-30's, with a pleasant and quiet personality.  She's typically casually dressed in crisp jeans and stylish but comfortable sneakers.  There's something about her that tells me she doesn't have any children.  Not that we've ever really spoken much, but she has an air of non-mom.

When I arrived today among the hoards of little people, sucking on free candy and playing with messy waiting room toys, there was one seat available.  So I took it, seating me on Ray's right.

We are "required" to remain at the shot office for 30 minutes after our injections to watch for any severe reactions.  Ray had gotten his shots just before me, and Diane and I were shot in parallel.

I came out for my 30-minute wait and retook my seat next to Ray as I had left my jacket in the chair.  At that point, many of the little people had cleared out.  Soon, the last of the littles were dismissed and it was just us three adults and several empty chairs in the quiet aftermath.

I suddenly felt that I was awkwardly close to Ray, and Diane was just a couple of seats to his left.

"Should I move to another seat?", I thought to myself.

Nah, that might seem rude or offensive to Ray.

Yet, staying there also felt, well, weird.  Here we had this whole waiting room, and suddenly I felt as if I was practically in Ray's lap, thus making Diane seem like a bit of an outcast in our strange threesome as she was a whole two chairs away.  And since we'd all gotten our shots at about the same time, we'd all be there in this awkward formation for the remainder of our waits.

Ray was playing a game on his phone while I pretended to read my Kindle as I pondered the situation.  Diane was also looking at and swiping her phone screen, but I think she was also pondering the situation.

"Somebody say something!", I inaudibly screamed.


Where's a hoard of messy sugared-up little kids when you need them?


Linking up with Mama Kat for the prompt:
5. Write a blog post inspired by the word: messy

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

120 minutes to...

You unexpectedly find 120 minutes in your day.  What do you do with them?

We have a 2-hour delayed start at school today because of "inclement weather".  I found this out after I'd been up a while and taken a shower and gotten dressed.

So far, I've used the time to do some productive things:

  • I read a few more pages of the novel I'm currently reading
  • I had the honor of telling Meego he's unexpectedly gotten 120 minutes in his day
  • I went on f*cebook...

Honestly, I don't use fbook much at all.  But I purposely visit some groups as my default feed is quite boring.

This morning, on the bicycle commuter group page, a new member posted seeking inspiration.  She's starting her bicycle commuting today at 48 years old, and says,

"good news is that I work in the ER so I will get to work one way or another..."

That's looking on the bright side.

Even with the delayed start, I don't plan to ride in today, or I likely would end up at the ER.  So I'll miss that part of the day.  The students, in general, seem to like my bicycling ways - noticing Ariel once I started parking her in the room behind my desk.  One of the other teachers calls her my "convertible".

There are no adult bicycle commuters that I know of at school.  One guy says he rides his "bike" on nice days.  It's a motorcycle.  Had to get in his two cents, I suppose.

One morning last week, while it was still dark because we hadn't changed the clocks yet, I saw a light in my rear view mirror.  It was getting bigger, and I soon realized it was another cyclist.  And he was gaining on me.

We got to the portion of big climb, and he passed me.  I felt so wimpy.  But as he did so, I noticed a slight *whirring* sound.  AHA!  He was on an e-bike.  Wimp-no-more me!

But it's really not a race...

Despite there being no others at my work, at least I have that online group.  Remember last week when we posted pics of our bicycles at our workplaces?  This was one of my faves:

Caption says:  "In my office... Under the watchful eyes of the king and queen"

Sunday, November 5, 2017

warm drinks and windy parades

Sipping on a cup of Maxim, enjoying an extra hour on Sunday.  Chaco's friend and former college roommate, Flop, is Korean.  He had a bag of 100 packs of Maxim Korean instant coffee that somehow made it to our house.  Then it sat in the pantry for a couple of years.  At some point, someone in the house decided to try some, and then I did too.

I don't typically like instant coffee or sugar in my coffee, but gotta say, I like this stuff.  We're down to the last few packets.  I ordered more.  It's due to arrive today.  Yay for simple pleasures and amazon prime.

The city's Veteran's Day parade was yesterday, even though Veteran's Day is next Saturday.  I think maybe the parade is just always scheduled for the first Saturday in November.

Coincidentally, my P.E.O. chapter always has a meeting on the first Saturday in November.  As such, I've missed the last couple of parades.  But this was Meego's last year marching in it with the high school band, so I was able to get a sub to be President yesterday so I could go a-parading.

It was a good time, although a very windy day.  Some parade units were really struggling to hold on to things, and hats were flying off with reckless abandon.  Meego's band looked good as always.  Good thing for chin straps.

I was optimistically thinking that the buildings along the parade route would buffer the high winds, but it was more like they provided a nice narrow channel for the wind to blast even more powerfully through.  Many of the flag teams gave up trying to twirl the things and held them horizontally.

But it was an otherwise nice show.  We have a lot of military and veteran support here in Colorado Springs, so it's a well-attended event on an important holiday.

Meego.  He's the one in blue ;)

Speaking of P.E.O., it's been busy times.  We're sponsoring a candidate for a highly competitive scholarship, got new members coming in, then this past week, one sister's husband landed in the hospital and another's younger brother passed away.   I mention this because it's the reason I didn't fully complete Inktober.

But I got all but the last two!

And it was fun, except for the time crunch.  But a good challenge all around and it was fun to see what others were coming up with.

Now it's November and NaNoWriMo.  I'm trying to write every day for the entire month, and so far, so good.  Making grocery lists and updating the résumé count, right?

Friday, November 3, 2017

high and dark

We were sitting on a log, a few feet back from the first row of partiers gathered around the fire.  Where it was dark.

Several of the others were also friends from work.  Jimmy and I were coworkers at a restaurant.  I was in high school, and Jimmy was a year or two older, but I'm not sure if Jimmy ever graduated.  We sat customers to tables and then cleaned the tables after they left, a.k.a. "host and bus".  Jimmy was known around town as a tough kid.  Got in fights and never lost.  He wasn't big, but he was muscular and quick.  He told me he won fights because he was so quick.

We went to the party after work.  It was summertime and we were pretty tired because the restaurant was always busy in the summer months.  So it was nice to be quietly sitting there on that log.  Where it was dark.

Jimmy pulled out a baggie from his shirt pocket.  From the baggie, he pulled out a previously rolled joint.  He put it to his lips and lit it with a long drag.  He held it between his thumb and index finger as a wordless offering to me. Where it was dark

"Where'd you get that?", I asked him

"My brother", he answered.

But Jimmy had lots of brothers.

I took the weed and had a puff.  I wasn't a very experienced smoker, but I tried.  Then I gave it back to Jimmy, who took another slow drag as we sat on that log and watched the fire and the people in front of us closer to the fire.

We were talking about whatever small-town teenagers talk about after their tourist restaurant jobs while sitting on a log while sharing marijuana from a brother while sitting a few feet back from others sitting around a fire.

Then Jimmy pointed up and to his left.

He said, "Look, a falling star"

I turned my head to look in his direction.  That's when he kissed me.

Funny guy, that Jimmy

Linking up with MamaKat this week for the prompt
3.) Write a blog post inspired by the word: dark.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

teacher's pet

I was giving Bella a bath when it happened.

Suddenly, there was a *snap* and the shifter wasn't shifting anymore.  I knew it wasn't something I could readily fix by myself, so off to the trusty bike shop I went. 

Bella has been a wonderful bicycle for me for twelve years now.  Dutiful, hardworking, and tough.  But truth be told, she's getting to be a bit of a granny.  She's still a joy, but little things have been going on her and needing frequent maintenance.  The shifter was just one in a long line of *snap*

Sure enough, she needed a new shifter cable.  I was just glad it happened while she was in the bath, and not while on the road.  The friendly tech was able to get her back to good in about 10 minutes.  10 minutes I had to walk around the shop...

A voice called to me from a row of bicycles near the back of the shop - where they keep the commuters. 

"Abbeeeeeeeeee.....", I heard. 

"I've been waiting for yoooooooooooo..."

"I'm on cleeeeeeeeeeeeearrraaaaaaance ..."

I followed the voice, and it got louder.  And LOUDER.  Until I was right on top of it. 

Long story short, I went in for a broken shifter and left with a new friend.  It's been a little over a month now and she's gotten me joyfully to and from work with ease. 

I think Bella was a bit hurt when I removed her commuting jewelry and adorned the new girl, so I haven't said much about it.  Out of respect.

But today, on the facebook bicycle commuter page, someone asked for pics of our bikes while we're at work, and I had to participate.  She just makes the room so much brighter - now that I park her inside my room instead of the bike rack where those hooligans broke my tail light.

Blog, meet Ariel

Best kid in class.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

final march and a dead thing

I'm behind by two inktober drawings, but we're in the homestretch! 

This week turned busy with P.E.O. stuff including getting a scholarship recommendation in before the deadline.  I figured that was more important than inktober scratchings.  BUT, recommendation is in, and now we wait.  My part is mostly done.

Meego had state champ marching band competition yesterday.  They looked really good, possibly their best show all year, but they didn't get a trophy.  ALL the bands brought their A-games and the bar seemed really high this year.

However, as another mom put it, "No ramp tumblings!", since amazingly, no one fell off those blasted prop ramps.

Magnum and I got out today for a bit of hiking.  Geocaching too, but we came up empty.  As I was stupidly and ineffectively hunting around, I came upon this grisly scene:

See the skull?  I'm thinking it's a large mouse or chipmunk?  Clearly, there was pagan sacraficial activity going on!  Now, we're probably cursed.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

the last time I saw her

"Don't look!", I told myself.  Act like everything's normal.

I knew if I looked, she would either disappear or I would totally freak out.  Or both.

But I knew she was there.  She was ninety degrees to my right, standing in the doorway to my bedroom.  I was facing a mirror above the dresser, getting ready for work.  It was early morning and still a bit dark out.

So I didn't look.  I pretended to continue to primp, but it was bad pretending because even without looking, I was freaking out a little.  Even without looking, I KNEW she was there.

Eventually, I figured that, since I was already freaking out anyway, I might as well look.  I had to look.

So I did.

And there she was.  The vision probably lasted less than a second, but I saw her.  She didn't speak.  She didn't move.  She was only standing there, looking right at me.  She was wearing navy blue and sunglasses.  She looked good.

Then she was gone, and I was left standing, looking at the hallway outside my bedroom.

My grandma.

About 15 years after she'd passed away.

I still wonder why she was wearing those sunglasses.  Maybe I'll ask her next time I see her.


Linking up with Mama Kat for the prompt:
5.) Write about a time you were totally freaked out because thought there was a ghost.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

graceful, deep, and furious

This week has been a real whiz-bang of activity!  Mainly featuring parent-teacher conferencing, P.E.O.-ing, marching band regionaling, and the continuing saga of Inktobering.  Whew.

It's all good, but it's meant little to no blogging.  I'm happy to be here now.

Parent-teacher conferences went as expected - meaning that really NO one came to talk to me.  I'm high school study hall, for chrissake.  Luckily, I was assigned to the library with a few others that no one typically visits - a couple of P.E. teachers and a part-time math tutor.

We had a rip roaring good time in the library. Sadly, the one woman who stopped by my station just came by to sign something for the other study haller (who had smartly taken the night off).  I was glad for the visit until I realized she'd walked off with my pen.  *sigh*.  I liked that pen.

Meego had marching band regionals on Wednesday and will by vying for state competition later this week. Their show theme features a ship lured by mythical sirens, so yeah,  the ship crashes, etc.

They've got these props that are meant to be the rocks that the ship crashes upon, and various members of the band go up and down these rock props during the show

On Wednesday night, one of the bass drummers bit it on the way up the prop, fell off the ramp.  An audible "Oh shit!" was  emitted.  But I'm pretty sure that only the other parents in our close vicinity heard me 😳.

She wasn't badly hurt, composed herself, and recovered nicely for the remainder of the show.  Later I learned that this is not the first time someone has fallen on that stupid ramp - friction problems.  I say it needs a better solution than what they're doing now, but then again, it IS a shipwreck.  Say it's part of the show?

Speaking of recovering, I've got my head slightly above water on Inktober after falling a bit behind this week.  I managed three drawings yesterday to make up for a couple I'd missed

17.  graceful

20.  deep

21.  furious

Today, I plan to be all caught up!  Just need to finish Fat, get Filthy, and hit the Trail!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

some pics, no ink

Last weekend, I mentioned how Magnum and I came upon a cute little rattlesnake while out geocaching?  Lo and behold, a Colorado hiker died after being rattlesnake bit last weekend.  It's actually quite rare to die from a rattler bite, especially if medical  help is available, which it was for this young hiker.  Plus, it's not like he was out of shape, he was a triathlete who loved to go on hikes.  Sad thing.

I have since learned that those little young snakes are often more dangerous because (1) they usually inject venom whereas adults will often "dry bite", and (2) the younger snake's venom is typically more toxic than with older snakes.  Well, now.  I feel bad for the guy's family and friends, though.  By all I've read, he was a really nice guy.  Be careful out there.

On a much lighter note, it was a lovely morning for a bicycle joyride.

The fall air was crisp, and I realized I looked somewhat like a scuba diver on dry land in the cool-weather garb.  Balaclava season is upon us.

I snapped this photo of a hot air balloon hovering at a height I would not be comfortable hovering at.

But it was pretty from the ground.

Yesterday, we went to watch Meego and the gang at a marching band competition.

Meego and the rest of the bangers

They had a good showing, despite the fact that it was annoyingly windy.  I felt for those flag girls - do a toss move and, "where'd my flag go?!"

I'd been keeping up with Inktober 2017 until yesterday.  The day just got eaten up by marching, and in-lawing, and haircutting, and general lazing arounding.  So now I'm behind a day, but I'll catch up.  It's the halfway point, I can't stop now!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

this one has a story

Today's Inktober prompt is "shattered".  I kept coming back to a recent incident, so I inked it out for the catharsis.

A couple of weeks ago, I was leaving work.  As I came upon my bicycle in the rack at school, I noticed my tail light was missing. 

Now, sometimes, I remove my lights when I park the bicycle just because there are people who will take them.  But I'd become too trusting and had begun to just leave my lights attached.

So I was discouraged when I noticed the taillight missing.  It wasn't an expensive light, but it served its purpose of helping me stay visible, especially now that the morning rides are getting increasingly darker.

In my discouraged state, I looked around the area a bit and sadly, found my light.  Broken in several pieces and strewn about.  It was a sad day.

I gathered up all the pieces and tucked them in my bag.  Not sure why, I just didn't like seeing my trusty light all shattered and left for dead like that.

I mentioned it to my supervisor who happens to be the administrator in charge of discipline - behavior issues, detentions and such.  She in turn told the head of security:  A large police officer named Buck. 

Buck in turn involved "Security Barb", one of the school resource officers.  Barb contacted me:

I do have a camera facing some of the bikes.  I need some intel on which bike I am looking at..."

"Intel" - doncha just love the CopSpeak?!

Barb showed me some footage, and eventually we found me showing up for work and parking the bike.  I was encouraged at how clear the picture was, however, it was footage of mostly the top of my head...

Good ol' Barb, though.  She scanned the footage from that fateful day and:

"...found what I think is the incident at about 14:54:55..."

The incident at about 14:54:55, doncha love it!

Anyway, yes, she found the incident, but was unable to identify the perps.  Two boys.  One swiped at the light and it came off.  The second perp picked it up and threw it against the wall. 


I thanked Barb very much for her efforts, then wrote the incident off as a disappointing lesson learned.

Today, one of the counselors came by my room and asked to speak with me outside.  He asked me about the tail light, what I knew, etc.  It seemed strange that he would be asking me about it at this point.  I had my bike parked in my room, where I've parked it since The Incident.  He noticed I had a different and more secure light on the bike - in my room and not in the rack.

He didn't say so, but I'm wondering now if they continued to investigate and possibly found the tail light violators?  I'd told him the light wasn't worth much in a monetary sense, but I was just disappointed in the kids who'd done it.

He was quite sympathetic in a school counselor sort of way.  Said, "You'd probably at least like an apology, I bet". 

I dunno.  I hope the team did find the kids, but I don't necessarily want to know who they are. I just want them to know they got caught.


Sunday, October 8, 2017

rattlers, study hall, and revealing quizzes

Magnum and I got in some hiking/geocaching yesterday afternoon. It was a gorgeous day out, plus it's supposed to turn crappy overnight tonight, so we had to go outside.

We had much success finding caches in Ute Valley Park, where we also came across a cute little rattlesnake sunning itself.

That park is known for rattlesnakes, but when we came upon this one, I realized it was the first time I'd seen a live rattlesnake in the wild.

He/she was actually quite cute.  A young one, no more than 18 inches long, I'd say, with the cutest little rattle.  I tried to get a decent photo of it, which was when it showed us the rattle and that it knew how to use it.  But it slithered off into the grass before I could get a decent photo, probably cursing the damn weekend hikers.

At work last week, I had to send emails out to the parents of 11 students who are failing study hall.  One one hand, 11 out of about 250 isn't a bad percentage.  On the other hand, IT'S FREAKING STUDY HALL!  Who fails study hall?!

I don't think I had a formal study hall during my high school years.  I recall that certain teachers would just sometimes call a study hall day to get caught up.  I do remember being in the school library with a couple of friends as we worked through sex quizzes in Cosmopolitan magazine.

Why did my high school library have a subscription to Cosmo?!?

Oh well, can't say I didn't learn anything in study hall...

Today's Inktober submission:

8.  Crooked

Saturday, October 7, 2017

ink has spilled

Inktober is one week old/young!  It's been a fun week of  joining in the draw-every-day challenge.  When I was a kid, up until about puberty, I'm pretty sure I did draw every day.  So, it's been a bit of return to my prepubescent self?

Oh well, whatever, it's been fun.  There are daily optional prompts, but the priority is to complete an ink drawing every day.  I like using the prompts, though. 

During the week, I've actually been "sneak drawing" while at work - just kinda chip away at the drawings in between work stuff.  Dang, those teenagers can be so interruptive!  Rude, no?  Also, for drawing at work, I limit myself to my little moleskine notebook, a fat sharpie, and a generic felt tip.  Further challenge!

Here's what I got so far

1.  Swift
2.  Divided

3.  Poison

4.  Underwater

5.  Long

6.  Sword

7.  Shy

Wolfgang's been keeping up too, so we keep each other motivated.  Good little exercise for those of us feeling rather underemployed 😕 😀

Thursday, October 5, 2017


Couple of months ago, I bought some new shooz (yeah, I know, stop the presses).  They're running shoes, and I ordered them online.

So they arrived and felt a bit tight, but not too.  I hopped around inside the house and deemed them good.  Then I ran around outside, and that changed my mind.  I really should go up a half size.

I got a second larger pair and we've been enjoying a  happy existence ever since.  But... what about that first pair?  I couldn't return them because I'd stupidly hastily run around outside in them.  Other than being too small for ME, they were perfectly fine shoes, only worn that one time.

I could donate them, but I was thinking (1) they're practically brand new, (2) they're not a common brand for people who don't run, and (3) I just doled out some good cash for these things.  Maybe I could sell 'em?  Maybe some other runner lady, with feet slightly smaller than mine, would recognize the brand and realize the bargain!

I jumped into action.

Guess the shooz!
(photo not my feet/shooz/legs)

Off to craigslist I went, with a few pretty pictures and a bit of the story - only worn once, wonderful, just too small for me, blah, blah, blah...  I posted my ad under both "clothing" and "sporting goods", and figured I'd just let it run for a couple weeks.

Not surprisingly, nothing happened.  Weeks went by, and I actually forgot about the ad... until I got a recent email in my covert only-for-things-like-craigslist email account.  The subject read, "Running Shoes".

That jogged (see what I did there?) my memory that I'd put those shoes on craigslist.  At that point, I figured any response wasn't even legit, and was reminded I should probably just bite the bullet and put the shoes in the donation bin.  Chalk the expense up to lessons learned.  I opened the email anyway.  It was from a dude.

      "Any chance you could sell these to me fresh off your feet? Thanks"


Okay, there are stranger things than smelly shoe/feet fetishes.  But no.  There's no chance.


Linking up this week with Mama Kat for the prompt:

3. Write a blog post inspired by the word: change.