Sunday, April 23, 2017

a weekend in contrasts

Yesterday, Magnum and I got out for a bit of culture:  an afternoon at the Thee-a-tah (trying to say "theater" in a snobby way).  It was the high school drama department's production of "Emma!" a pop musical.  

They did a nice job, it was very entertaining, and some of those kids are very talented young thespians and singers.  It's not really typical for us to go to the school plays, but like last spring,  Meego participated as one of the nine musicians, so that's how we ended up there.

The musicians all had a good time of it, sounded great, and Meego said that it was some of the most challenging music he's ever played, so - growth!

The cast presented each musician with a rose after the final showing, along with a thank-you note signed by each member of the cast.  All the notes had some silly pun to refer to each musician's instrument.

For example, Meego's said "Your bass-ically the best!" *snort*.  However, the trumpet player's note just said, "Sorry, all the trumpet puns are too dirty".

This bit of fine arts culture was in stark contrast to my outing on Friday.  I went up to Boulder to visit my oldest brother, Hagrid.  Y'all remember Hagrid?  The secret government agent scientist man?  Yeah, him.

As might be inferred, Hagrid works at an interesting place.  Yet, I'd never been there before, even though I'd lived in Boulder for four years. Sure, I'd driven or bicycled passed the place many times, but getting inside is such a chore and would involve having Hagrid escort me, blah, blah, blah... There are no photos of our visit.  Hopefully these will suffice:

Where Hagrid works

 With Hagrid's impending retirement however, the whole blah, blah, blah didn't seem so limiting anymore.  Really, it was Chaco who lit the fire.  His work bares some similarities to what Hagrid does, and so Chaco has been wanting to go visit for a while, look around, and talk some shop with Hagrid.  The three of us made arrangements for Friday.

As expected, I was pretty clueless once the two of them got to discussing nits and grits.  The conversation was like foreign language with some English words peppered in a la:
*gibberish* *gibberish* *gibberish* *gibberish* system *gibberish* *gibberish* *gibberish* data *gibberish* *gibberish* effects *gibberish* *gibberish* *gibberish* *gibberish* signal...

Nonetheless, it was fun spending a few hours in the secret places of the secret place with Hagrid and Chaco.  Also, Hagrid's 14-year-old stepdaughter joined us, so I had someone at my intellectual level to hang out with.  😊

Plus, it was fun to just get outta town for a day.  I lived in Boulder over twenty years ago, so it was fun taking in the sights and memories.  Its relative compactness is a nice contrast to the sprawl of Colorado Springs - which is becoming increasingly annoying to me...

All in all, a nice end to a nice week.  Science and music - aren't I so darned well rounded!


Friday, April 21, 2017

Peppy the love budgie

Generic budgie, not Peppy
I remember the day my grandmother bought/adopted Peppy.

Peppy was a parakeet, a budgie.  My grandmother had told me stories about the parakeets she'd had in the past, and how she took care of them and taught them to talk, etc.  I guess all that reminiscing prompted her to say, "Shoot!  I'm gettin' one!"

At the time, Grandma was probably in her late 70's or so.  She lived in an apartment in our small town and typically walked to do her errands.  She and I walked to the local pet shop where she carefully selected Peppy from a cageful of budgies.  She claimed that she could tell by the looks of them which would be the good talkers.  I just had to believe her as I knew nothing about parakeets.

She named him Peppy right away because of some spots "like pepper" he had near his face.  She proceeded to buy the cage and other essentials she would need, and we then walked back to her apartment as she carried that bird cage, complete with bird.

They began bonding right away.  I didn't know that people bonded with birds the way they do with cats and dogs, but the bonding going on between Grandma and Peppy was quite noticeable as I - the once highly beloved, attention grabbing, sole granddaughter - suddenly became an invisible observer.

And Peppy did learn to talk rather quickly.  In fact, he wouldn't shut up.

Not surprisingly, his favorite phrase was "Pretty Peppy".

He said several other phrases and also coughed and sneezed just like Grandma.

Eventually, Grandma was not able to live independently in her apartment anymore.  She moved to a home where she wasn't allowed to have pets.  Even a parakeet.  Peppy came to live with us.

My Grandma had clipped his wings so he could fly freely about her apartment, and then, our house.  We only shut the door of his cage at night.  I've since heard that pet birds usually bond with one member of the household when living with multiple people.  Everyone else is beneath them.

I'd say that Peppy bonded with my mom since she took care of his food and cage.  I also began hearing him say, "Good morning, Jay" in my mom's voice (my dad was Jay).  Clearly, however, he still carried a torch for Grandma.   The first time Grandma came to our house after Peppy had moved in, it was an amazing reunion.

I can only describe it as frenzied hugging and kissing like those videos we see now of soldiers returning from deployment and their dogs going nuts.  That was Grandma and Peppy.

My brother Guano and I had a sort of love/hate relationship with Peppy.  On one hand, it was fun to have him flying around the house, sitting on our shoulders, and talking and coughing and sneezing.  On the other, he could be a pain in the ass.  He'd jump on our papers as we did homework, or begin gnawing on our pencils as we were writing.  If we dared to eat something while he was around, our food became his food.

In fact, this photo is the only photo of Peppy in existence, as far as I know.

Blurry Guano is eating an apple while blurry peppy is about to pounce.  That bird didn't even care if the food was halfway in our mouths.

So he wasn't the nicest or most obedient of pets.  Plus Guano and I were in our obnoxious teens during Peppy's time with us, and may have subjected Peppy to a prank or two...

I will say, as far as I know, that Peppy never uttered "F*ck you", despite Guano's attempts to quietly teach him.

Peppy outlived Grandma.  Her visits stopped, and I think Peppy eventually learned that she was gone from this world, and he was stuck with just us.

We've heard of the rainbow bridge, where our pets who have passed away wait for us.  I'm betting that Grandma waited for Peppy, and it was quite a reunion.


Linking up with Mama Kat this week for the prompt:
6. Write about your favorite childhood pet.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

fables, body organs, and Mother Goose

When I was a kid, I had several story albums.  Remember those?  Vinyl records included with illustrated books?

They were fables, and the one I remember the most - the one I listened to over and over - was "The Grasshopper and the Ant".

I'm not sure why that particular fable engrossed me, but I vividly remember the illustrations.  Especially the one at the end of the story, where the business-like ant takes in the  frivolous, near-death grasshopper.

That miserable grasshopper, sitting there sipping on soup while soaking  his frozen feet in a tub of warm water as the ant places a warm blanket around him.  It stuck with me.  Forget the tortoise and the hare, I didn't want to ever be that grasshopper!

Am I so darn practical because of that story, or did I like that story because I'm so darn practical?
Whatevs.  This week's prompt at Illustration Friday is "Fable", so thanks for that walk down memory lane.

Happy Easter, to those who celebrate!  And happy Sunday, everyone else!  We haven't been church-going folk for a while, and don't have any special plans for today.  Yesterday, I helped Meego complete his taxes, so there's that.

This past week, we went to the end-of-season potluck thing for the winter guard and winter percussion programs.  The coaches gave out a few awards, and Meego won an award for "Best Attitude", which in my HUMBLE opinion is the most bestest award.  Attitude is everything, right?

Funny thing, they actually mispelled Meego's name on the plaque.  Surprisingly, they spelled his often mispelled last name correctly, but typoed the first name.  Transpose a couple of letters on Meego's real first name, and you end up with a bodily organ, and that's what the plaque says.  Meego had a good laugh with it (attitude...), and actually, there are certainly worse bodily organs to be referred by.

Magnum and I took a walk to the post office yesterday.  The post office makes a nice walk destination because there's a lovely pond along the way.

Several geese families also live there, and last spring, there were the cutest little hatchlings from three different goose couples.  As we walked by the pond yesterday, I was wondering if we'd have any more puffy goose balls to enjoy this spring.

Sure enough, we got to the post office to find a section of the sidewalk taped off:

See "Mother Goose"?  The baby daddy was out near the parking lot, securing the perimeter.

I'm thinking that these geese aren't the sharpest nest builders when it comes to location, location, location, but they seem to be getting it done.

There's probably a fable there.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

the arrival!

Ah spring!  It has arriveth!

Doncha just love the longer days, the warmer temps, the chirping birds, the budding plants, the oozing road rash...

This morning, I was enjoying a lovely run just before sunrise.  Recall that I'd been off the running for several months due to injuring my foot  due to being a non-alcoholic drunk for about one month.  For those who don't recall, I'd rather not rehash it

Suffice to say that walking like a drunk person for a month can mess up a foot.

ANYhoo, the drunk feeling is gone, and the foot is better, so I've been able to get back out and pretend to be a runner again.

This morning, I was doing just that while taking in the lovely sights of spring.  Maybe, instead, I should've been paying better attention to where I was going.

As I crossed a small side street, I went to hop, gazelle-like, over the curb.  Except it wasn't gazelle-like at all.  Apparently, my left foot didn't get the memo about the impending gazelle-like hopping.

I'm thinking that my left foot was mad at the (previously injured) right foot and saw this as a chance to get a word in.  So it purposely failed to clear the curb, and my right knee took the brunt of the revenge.  

It wasn't embarrassing at all *sarcasm*

Happily, there was no lasting damage.  I was able to instantly bounce up in an I-totally-meant-to-throw-a-pushup-into-the-middle-of-my-run kind of way.

So while I haven't yet taken that much needed trip, I feel like I've flown United Airlines!  

And I am thrilled to be able to run again.  What is spring without some road rash??


Linking up with Mama Kat again this week for the prompt:
2. Show us what Spring looks like in your neck of the woods

Monday, April 10, 2017

the big bang

As I mentioned, I managed to get some bootlegged video of the winter percussion championships.  Typically, video recording of these things is discouraged because of student privacy.  Another band mom shot these on her phone, so the video quality is not so great.  As such, it's a bit difficult to make out individual people, let alone their faces, so I'm okay with it.

Anyhoo, I'd never heard of winter percussion before Meego got into it his freshman year.  Shows are performed inside and are limited to, I think, six minutes, which includes setting up, tearing down, and getting on and off the floor.  Groups are penalized if they go over that allotted time.

They score points through a variety of factors including

  • complexity of music 
  • playing in synch 
  • audience engagement
  • "general effect".  

The music of Meego's group this year was quite complex with several points requiring the marimbas to play very fast and in unison.  They were in third place going into the finals and totally got 'er done to take home the first place trophy!

So with that in mind, here's the bootleg of their finals opening number.  Probably not something you would choose to play at your wedding or background for the garden party, but it kicked butt at competition:

I include this portion of the video because in the beginning, there's a break where Meego, on bass, and the guitar player play behind their heads. They just decided to throw that in.  The video also  highlights those marimba skillz

So definitely a memorable finish to the season for this nice bunch of kids and their coaches!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

peaks and troughs

Ultradian rhythm.  That's a term I learned recently.  Because of it, your brain can only focus for 90 to 120 minutes before it needs a break.

I'd noticed that from observation. It's why I never have tutoring sessions that go longer than 2  hours.   You can almost see it.  Stuff just no longer goes "in", which is just as well, because the stuff I try to put in at that point is mostly garbage anyway.

One day last week, I had 3 tutees in a row, and one session was with the two kids I refer to as "the triplet twins" as they are 2/3 of a set of triplets.  So four students altogether, all for math.  I did have a decent break between the second and 3rd tutes, but still, by the end of the day, I was all

So feel free to use this information for a variety of situations:

"I was gonna ___________________ but my ultradian rhythm was in a trough"

I offer this as explanation for my neglectful blogging recently, as in, "I was gonna blog more last week, but my ultradian rhythm was in a trough"

It was a good week, though.  Yesterday, Meego and the gang had their winter percussion state chamionship competition.  It was cut throat, I tellya, and in the end, our group got...

First Place!  WOOOOOT!!  State Cham-PEENS!

Quite exciting, I'm very happy for those kids.  Last year, they didn't even make the finals.

I've got some short video of highlights from their championship performance.  I'll maybe post it later for those going, "what the hell's 'winter percussion'?"

...if I'm not in a trough.


Linking up (late) with Mama Kat for the prompt:
1. Something you learned in March.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

C is for celebrate!

Late last week, I heard about the A to Z challenge for the month of April.  It's where bloggers blog EVERY day except Sundays, working their way through the alphabet.  Morgan, for one, is doing it...

And I thought, "Oh, that sounds fun and worthwhile!" Then I thought of Marcy doing/attempting her picture-a-day for a year and decided I'd combine the two into my own little blog activity:  The A to Z Picture-a-Day for April!

Let's pause for a moment and note that today is April 4th, and this is my second post for the month.  I'm behind already.   I suppose I could just say, "APRIL FOOLS!"

First of all, I just heard of the A to Z, and I didn't read the instructions clearly - I thought we get whole weekends off.  So, WHATEVER!  I already failed.

But maybe I'll still play along, just might not make the whole alphabet.

Today, we got buried by a sloppy snowstorm.  Schools were shut down as were many other services. I was scheduled to tutor today, but the library was closed. Plus the student's a mom, and her elementary school kid was home.  Magnum even stayed and worked from home.

So I thought this would be a good day for blogging.  It was.  But it was also a good day to get caught up on planning stuff for work and finishing up some biz for P.E.O.  By the time I'd finished those things, I was tired of my computer, so for fun, I shoveled snow and cleaned a bathroom.

In short, I'm already failing at the A to Z Picture-a-Day for April challenge.  I did manage a photo for today.

It's Meego and the cat raucously celebrating the snow day.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

nothing to see here, so get out

This past week was spring break for the area school kids.  Get it?  "spring break"?? 

Okay, sorry.

We didn't plan anything particularly getaway-ish because of the difficulties involved with having an old dog when planning a getaway.  Of course, as reported, we no longer have the old dog...

Magnum actually got to get away.  He attended a workshop/class that he's been wanting to do for a while.  Even though it was scheduled for spring break, since we didn't have any plans anyway, he went for the class held out of town.  Wolfgang and some friends took off for a few fun-filled days in Mexico.  Gosh, just typing that makes me jealous.

So left behind, it was pretty much just Meego and me, lucky him.  

I had a light work week as most of my tutees took the week off.  So I mainly got caught up on a few things.  One of those things involved going to lovely Parker, Colorado, a sleepy town to the north of us.  My reasons for needing to go there are too boring to blog about, but away we went.  

I figured I'd have Meego drive me to get the last of his driving hours in as his driver's license eligibility is coming up soon.  So, off to Parker it was.  It was sort of adventurous as the weather was crap - as tends to happen during spring break and we don't leave - lots of fog.  

I confess that I didn't have high expectations of Parker.  It's actually bigger than I thought it was, but that's not saying much.  As far as I know, there's not a whole lot of industry in Parker.  It provides schools and services for the outlying ranchers, and I think many residents live there and commute to Denver.  

But we found it to be clean with fairly new shops and restaurants and very little hustle and bustle.  I took care of my necessary business, and Meego and I indulged in a good lunch before heading back.  The "trip", if it even counts as one, only served to remind me that I need a real getaway.  I was happy to go to Parker, for chrissakes!  The only reason being that it was someplace I'd never been!

Better than nothing?

On another day of crap weather and no appointments, Meego and I went and saw "Get Out".  Have you seen it?  Oooh, it's good.  Two thumbs up.  And creepy.  Very creepy.

That was my exciting spring break.  You?

Thursday, March 30, 2017

"hell is the absence of the people you long for"

When Magnum and I go out for our nighttime old folks walks, now without China jingling beside us, we usually walk passed a neighborhood church.  The church has a lighted sign out front.  But unlike other churches that post their worship times and/or some bible verse, this church puts vague messages on its sign.

We try to interpret these brief advisories or lessons, like they're some cryptic fortune cookie message.  I gotta hand it to those church people.  The sign has a "made you look!" ability that makes us think, but we usually just come up with some comedic, often racy, interpretation.

The most recent notice reads, "Love Actually Suffering".

So we pondered that one a bit.  It felt like something was missing.  What's the subject?  The verb?  The object?

"I love actually suffering"?

"Love actually suffers"?

Eventually, I settled on, "Love is actually suffering", which made Magnum giggle nervously.  He assumed I was referring to him as my source of suffering.

But no (not this time...).  I loved our dog China, so now I suffer to walk without her.  I loved my parents, so now I suffer to no longer talk with them.  I love others, so when they suffer, I suffer too.  I love being healthy, when it's compromised, I suffer.  I love doing certain things, so when I can't do them, I suffer.  

If I didn't love anything, I wouldn't suffer.  We suffer because of what we miss.

Such is an underlying premise of the book, "Station Eleven", a novel set in a post-apocalyptic world after most of humanity has been wiped out by a mysterious and pervasive virus.  Sounds depressing, doesn't it?  Parts of it are.

Parts of it are dark, parts are beautiful, parts are heartbreaking, parts are poetic, parts are mournful, and parts are brilliant.  And it's never hopeless.

We humans need to do more than just survive.  We need "enrichment" in our lives.  This is not so much a book with a standard beginning, middle, and end.  So readers who like a meaty, suspenseful plot might not care so much for this one.  But it's a thoughtful book that touches the emotions.

I actually read this book over a year ago, but I remember it.  And I remember when I finished it, I knew I would miss it.


Linking up this week with Mama Kat for the prompt:
3. Book review!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

when a young man's fancy turns to...

It was a warm night in late spring, and my coworker - who was Gay - and I were finishing up our shift.  Sexually orientation-wise, Gay was straight, it's just that her name was Gay.  She was straight much to the relief of the straight male population of our town, since Gay was young and pretty and thus, highly sought after.

So Gay and I worked the front desk of a busy hotel, and our shift was coming to a close.  Gay had a boyfriend, whom she'd been with for two or three years, and they had their share of rocky times as those young drama-laden years tend to bring.

He was Tony, and they made a nice looking couple, with Tony being the tight-muscled testosteral counterpart to Gay's young female appeal.  But alas, that night it was during one of their rocky times.

Enter Joey.

Joey was another superb male counterpart for Gay.  It was clear he wanted Gay, Tony or no Tony.  So Joey came a-knocking.

Gay and I were finishing up our nightly desk duties when Joey came up and leaned oh so masculinely against the counter.  His head dropping down and forward of his wide shoulders, with thick forearms and strong hands resting on our desk.  Not that I was really paying attention.

He and Gay carried on a little flirtatious banter as I sat a few paces behind tallying up receipts in my seeming cloak of invisibility.

Enter Tony.

Tony sees Gay.  Tony sees Joey.  I highly doubt that Tony saw me... like... at all...

Anyway, Tony was not happy.  He didn't even stop at the desk, he strutted right back there where we were penned and started giving Gay the what for, as in "what for you talkin' to Joey?!"

Our boss, from the "a-go-go" (whole 'nother story), stepped in from her back office and, more or less took Tony by the ear and kicked him out from behind the desk.  In fact, she told him to leave the hotel, which he did in a bit of a huff.

Joey was asked to leave the desk, so he went to the lounge. Gay and I commiserated on what she was going to do when our shift ended.  She suspected that Tony had been drinking based on his behavior, and she was clearly shaken up.

Next thing we knew, there was a ruckus outside.  We had a small office with windows facing the parking lot, and we saw Tony and Joey going at it.

Punches being thrown, bodies lifting off the ground, shirts coming untucked, faces turning red... it was a true brawl.

We just stood frozen as they went at it like feral dogs. Eventually, hotel security (a.k.a. the maintenance guys) were able to break them up.  Tony and Joey were allowed to go separately without involving the sheriff.

Such a spectacle. Modern times, but two young men were reduced to their primal natures and fighting for rights to the female.

It was so hot...


Linking up with Mama Kat again for the prompt:
1. A memorable day at work.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

bangin' hot

Thank you everyone, for the comforting comments and thoughts regarding China's passing.  We miss her, of course, and are now dogless for the first time in many years.  I think the cat's been looking for her and wondering why we're not going for walks with her at  night.  The cat used to walk with us, he's kind of a weird cat that way...

Yesterday, Magnum and I went to Littleton (suburb of Denver) for Meego's winter percussion regional competition.  The group made a fine showing, finishing second out of eight in their class.  I tested my winter percussion judging ability and I managed to have a few of my picks agree with the judges, including first and second place.

Our group did a good job, but after the first place group went, I was feeling that Meego and company had been edged out.  I'm no winter percussion expert, but that first place group had a cowbell, among other things, and they knew how to use it.  And we all know the importance of More Cowbell.

On a side note, four of the winter percussionists in Meego's group went bald 4 bucks, three of them are girls.  Can  you spot 'em in my blurry photo?

It was record breaking warm yesterday, and Magnum and I decided to take advantage of the new location to hunt down some geocaches.  The camouflage on this  one didn't fool anyone - it was  hidden in an evergreen - but I appreciate the effort.

It was nice to enjoy the outdoors, but too  hot for black long sleeves.  Is it really still March?  I had to shed the long sleeves in order to not keel over from the heat.

And this morning, I went running in shorts and a tank top!  Simple pleasures.  I came upon two deer, who eyed me suspiciously but were not alarmed enough to run either into the road or into me, thank goodness.

So I'm ready for spring and glad we had China for the winter, her favorite season.  We'll get another dog eventually, but need to miss China a bit more before then.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

the sad sadness

The inevitable happened today.  We helped China go to dog heaven.

I'm actually quite surprised she made it this long after being diagnosed with liver problems in early 2016, but she was a tough old girl.  She clocked in at somewhere between 16 and 17 years old.

She'd really been declining the last couple of weeks, could barely walk and just didn't seem happy anymore.  I found a veterinarian who does in-home euthanasia, and I'd say it was the next best thing to her going naturally and peacefully in her sleep.

Chaco and Wolfgang came over yesterday to say their goodbyes, and Magnum and Meego gave theirs this morning before heading off to work and school.  Truthfully, I was a bit anxious about being the lone accompanier, but on the other hand, no way was she going without me being there.

Happily, Chaco showed up about an hour before the appointed time.  After a meeting at work, he told them where he was going, and the boss and coworkers understood.

The vet was a nice balance of medical professional and sympathetic dog lover.  He gave China a quick once over and agreed it was time.

It's almost like she knew.  When Magnum and I took her outside last night for her last slow, short walk, she seemed to linger longer than she had been lingering lately.  Sniffing more things on the ground, taking in the night sky a little longer.  A few last things to remember her time on earth by, I guess.

Rest in Peace, sweet pooch, free from that old worn out body.  I hope she's running again and rolling in all kinds of awful smelling things.

Friday, March 10, 2017

at least it wasn't a pizza

Last weekend, I ordered a pair of shooz from Brooks.  They were shipped via FedEx and arrived on Wednesday:

See the cat back there?  Yes, he's laughing.

I'm curious what the FedEx driver thought as he plopped placed the crumpled package on our porch.

"How embarrassing, this package is all smashed up...", or

"Is it 4:20 yet??"

I think the shooz were adequately packaged from the Brooks end.  A thick cardboard box secured the inner box that secured the shooz.  Works for me.

Thankfully, these were just shooz, meant to take a bit of a beating, so the actual product was unharmed.  

On Tuesday, I ordered a book I needed for a tutee.  It was shipped via FedEx and guaranteed to arrive by yesterday.

It is now today. This is what has arrived.  

Actually, I have no image available because the book is floating around out there somewhere nowhere near me.

Thankfully, the bookstore located about a mile from our house had copies of the book, so I was able to get it in time for tuting, just not at the lower online price.    If and when the original order arrives, I'll have the pleasure of returning it because I needed it Thursday and we have now entered Friday and beyond.

Meego was home when the shooz arrived and I brought in the crumpled box.  He laughed even a bit louder than the cat did as I just stood perplexedly staring.  

He wasn't really surprised, and asked, "Haven't you seen that youtube video about FedEx?"  

But yesterday, we got a little ray of sunshine.  A cute little intact package arrived, this time for Wolfgang:

No dings, no dents, no crumples.  I believe it's a raspberry pi.  Even well in time for pi day. Delivered via UPS.

I'm wondering if FedEx drivers are sabotageful UPS drivers in disguise?


Linking up with Mama Kat for the prompt:
1. Something that made you smile this week.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

it's a wrap

... not a rap.  I think I tried that once on the blog, it was quite bad.

This was a pretty good week.  I recently read a tip in a book, regarding journaling.  The tip was to not think, "what happened?" but rather to think "what happened that was good?".  It noted that many of us typically focus on the bad stuff, the fails and/or embarrassing things, etc. So, okay, putting on my rose colored glasses...

Honestly, it was a pretty good week.  Busy, but not too.  The weather was very springlike - except for that sloppy snow storm - and I'm reveling in the sunshine.

On a related note, my lame-o foot has been feeling increasingly better since I went to that foot chiropractor.  I've started doing short bits of running.  It feels quite awkward since it's been a good five months since I've done any appreciable runs.  Really, this is what I feel like...

The running parts are a bit rusty.  But it's not like I haven't been doing any other forms of exercise in the interim...

Whatever.  I'll take what I can get.  In other news, Meego's hair has about doubled in length from last week - which isn't saying a whole lot.  He still feels the breeze on his head rather than through his hair.  I haven't heard any updates on the latest total amount earned for bald 4 bucks, but the event was another great success.

We wrapped up another fiscal PEO year, then started the next one about a second later.  They've elected me president for another term, which wasn't a big surprise, but it's nice to get the vote of confidence, a.k.a. acknowledgement that no one else particularly wants to do it.  

We snapped a pic of the new officers for the newsletter, then realized that one of us was missing because she was out sick, so we'll have to wait until next time for a more "official" officer pic.  But I kinda get a kick out of this one with the man-on-the wall photobomb.

In other other news, a friend who is single and childless and teaches high school (so has summers off) is looking for a travel companion for an exotic trip to China in a few months.  It's sounds amazing, but I don't know if I can quite pull that off for my needed adventure.  Fun to think about, though!

Thursday, March 2, 2017


It's a cutthroat, violent, aggressive sport.  It's a wonder it's not been banned.  Why were young formative children allowed to - EXPECTED to - participate?!

I knew nothing of its tragic effects until I got that phone call, THAT call.  It was a crisp February morning:


"Hi Mrs. Abby.  It's the elementary school.  Your son Chaco was hurt in P.E. this morning.  He's in with the school nurse..."

I raced to the school (after I finished my coffee and combed my hair a little bit and stuff...)

Sure enough, there was Chaco, holding his right arm, the nurse at his side saying, "Yeah, he should probably get that checked".

As we were leaving, the P.E. teacher, Mr. Steve, appeared, all anxious.

"How's he doing?!  I don't know what happened!  This has never happened before!  *No one's ever broken a bone in my class!"

I glared at him with a mother's scorn.  By then, I'd heard what had happened.  Those sweet little 5th graders were hauled down to the gym from the comfort of their warm, loving classroom and thrown upon a brutal battlefield.  No tolerance for the meek, and no security for the aggressive.

Pillow Polo
.  It was freaking pillow polo.

Bloody carnage waiting to happen.  Look away.

Is it any wonder Chaco broke his wrist?!  Especially considering that just a couple of days prior, he "fell up" the back yard stairs and noted lasting tenderness in his wrist, which probably warranted my writing a note to excuse him from P.E.??

But then if I'd done that, Chaco wouldn't have gotten that cool cast, and Mr. Steve couldn't have anxiously and temporarily taken credit for it.

*I've since learned that that was not true, but Mr. Steve didn't know me that well yet then, and was probably worried I would sue and drag him though the mud*


Linking up with Mama Kat again this week for the prompt:
5. Throwback Thursday: Choose a photo from a previous February and write a poem or a blog post.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

I can see clearly... now

"I need an adventure..." - the last text I sent.

I was out today and happened to be riding Bella the bike when I got a text from Wolfgang.  He told me about a trip he and a couple of friends are planning for a couple of months from now.  Sounds like fun.  For those guys.

And it reminded me how much I would just LURV to get away.

Remember how the family took a trip to sunny California while I stayed here to freeze and keep the geriatric dog company?  I'm not complaining, it was my choice, I'm glad they went and saw and did the things they did.  They said they missed having me along.  They brought me back a t-shirt...

But it doesn't delete the fact that I feel overripe for a getaway.  When was my last one?  I don't even know!

In the meantime, I took advantage of a relatively nice day today.  I haven't gotten in much bike riding lately.  Mostly because of the weather. We haven't had a whole lot of snow, but it's just been a really windy blustery few months, and windy blustery takes the fun out of bicycling.

Today looked good, though.  Relative calm.  A bit on the chilly side, but that's what outerwear is for.  Plus, I had no tuting assignments today and felt deserving.  So after doing a bit of morning housewifery, I got Bella and me all ready for a joyride "just because". No deadlines or need-to-be's.  Just ride around for the fun of it, like when we were kids.

And it was wonderful and invigorating and fresh and crisp and just what I needed...  For about 90% of it.

At one point, I remember looking to the north sky and thinking, "Those are some really dark clouds, glad I'm not under them".

Well, they must've heard me and came over to make fun of me.

Suddenly, the bright crisp day turned dark and sloppy.  Huge, wet snowflakes began hitting me.  At the beginning, it was actually still quite fun.

I snapped this selfie just before I crossed over into probable legal blindness.

The big sloppy snowflakes smacked into and clung onto my geeky bicycling glasses.  As soon as I'd swipe them somewhat clean, they'd get re-smacked upon.

At one point, as I took them off to give them a (totally ineffective) better cleaning, I realized I could see fifty times better without the glasses.  Anyone who knows how bad my eyesight is will know that's not a good sign.

But I wore the glasses anyway to keep the big sloppy snowflakes from smacking into my eyeballs.

Eventually, it tapered off some.  The big sloppy snowflakes turned into just little wet ones.  The storm moved on through, and the sun reappeared about 5 minutes after I got home.


I still need a getaway adventure.  I'm not counting that one.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

tutin', shavin', laughin'

Another busy week is in the books.  Had some P.E.O., had some tutin', had some job huntin', but not too much of any one thing, so it's all good.  I've taken on more tutor students and have accepted that that's still my job for now...

Friday was also the culmination of the Bald 4 Bucks effort at Meego's school.  The event has really grown over the years.  This year, they'd counted $50,000 raised with still lots more coming in.  The goal was $75,000, and looks like they're going to make it!

Meego somehow made it into the local 5 o'clock newsreel.  That be him with half a shaved head...

I did get a "before" shot just before he left for school, and the "after" later that evening.


It's just nice to see a buncha kids organize such a thing and then also make the symbolic gesture of shaving their heads.  I especially admire all the girl students and women teachers- mostly ALL of them - who get shaved. The teachers come up with fun and creative ways to get students to donate to their tills.

So now Meego's head feels like a big round cat's tongue.

Speaking of which, the mystery stray cat?  Meego and I were both willing to give it a try, but Magnum was the party pooper logical voice of reason, noting the high likelihood of our current cat having a major cow with another cat moving in.  After all, the reason we got him was because he was evicted for beating up his previous housemate on a daily basis.

In movie news, we watched I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore.  OMG, what a ride!  It's funny, and violent, and hilarious, and dark, and romantic, and funny, and sad, and spooky, and hilarious!  How they managed to get all those things into a 93-minute movie, I don't know!  I wouldn't be surprised if drugs were involved.

Anyway, we really liked it.  It's streaming on Netflix now.  Not for everyone, I'm sure, but I gave it five stars.  Plus, Elijah Wood's character is adorable in this.  He's quirky and socially awkward - probably has Asperger's.  Like I said - adorable!

Your week in three words?  GO!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Is it...? Could it be....?

Magnum got an email at work today.  Well, he probably got more than one, but he got a certain email forwarded at work today:

"Ask Magnum if this is the cat he adopted from me that was outside. It has white on chest a white tip on tail.  Been back here trying to come in my house..."

and a little while later...

Yes , this kitty has shown up since it has been cold, hangs around and wants in my house.
I do not remember what your kitty looked like just making sure it wasn't the one you got from me.
Has white tip on tail and neck has white spot.  Loving little girl but I can't take her in- my cat I saved from outside will attack it.
My cat hated my daughters cat when she lived her and beat her up any chance she had.
I know you never found your girl and just thought I should check

So... quick backstory...

Back in the summer of 2012, Colorado Springs was burning down.  So we did what logically came to mind when our city was burning. We took in a stray cat.

Our previous cat, Cookie, had been in cat heaven for a few months when a woman who works with Magnum told him about this stray that she was feeding, but couldn't keep in her house.  Did we want her?  She had a photo...

So I was all, "OMG, yes.  I love black cats!"

I distinctly remember the trip to go pick her up.  There was thick smoke and panic in the air.  I was thinking, "WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE, BUT AT LEAST WE'LL HAVE A CAT!"

We actually ended up not dying.

BUT, a year later, Colorado Springs was burning again.  In the meantime, we'd had the cat, who was quite fat, especially for a "homeless" cat, for a year and were trying to slim her down.  It didn't seem to be working.

I actually really liked her plumpiness, thought it  made her all the more cute.  But... diabetes and stuff.

I doubted she much liked the healthy food we were feeding her and was seeking sustenance elsewhere.  That cat may have been feral, but she knew how to beg.  I'm sure she missed her old home in the yard of Magnum's coworker.

She ran off in the midst of that new fire, and we never saw her again.

So now, I'm looking at that photo above and digging up any photos I have from when she was with us.

And what if it IS her?

(a) She clearly didn't feel too attached to us and our non-fat-cat ways.
(b) She probably thinks she only changes locations if there's a major fire happening
(c) Where's she been for the past three-and-a-half years??
(d)We have another cat now, who is a confirmed bachelor.

Even if it's not Kat the fat cat, I wouldn't mind adding this newcomer to our menagerie, but I think Napolion thinks is his job to keep all cats besides him out of his established perimeter.

This could make for a good fight.


Linking  up again with Mama Kat for the prompt:
3. Write a blog post inspired by the word: fight.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

home alone II and procrastinating

I need to finish writing my president's letter for P.E.O.  The P.E.O. year ends/begins at the start of March, and all chapter presidents need to send a letter summarizing the past years' activity to the state prez.  My letter is 97.642 percent finished, and I sat down here about an hour and a half ago to finish it off.  I've yet to open the file...

Time flies when you're procrastinating.

This was a busy week, so I'm basking in non busyness.  Plus, it's just me and the furry and scaly things right now.  Magnum and Meego went to New Mexico for a couple of days to visit Magnum's mom.  Chaco went along too.  My mother-in-law had a small stroke a few weeks ago.  She's doing okay, but her speech ability was affected, so it's difficult to talk to her on the phone.

While I'm in a bit of a limbo state regarding employment, I took on another tutee, have been answering questions for other possible tutees, and am getting established with some other tutor matching companies.  They all make us take and pass these tests to prove we know the stuff we want to tutor, and I'm all, "Can't you just check with the other service I'm already using?".  Okay, no.

In the meantime, I get daily job alerts for various full-time positions I might be interested in.  The life of the unemployed can be surprisingly busy.

In the other meantime, remember when I was contemplating Princess Leia earmuff hair?  Well, I didn't do that, but I did change the hair up.

I was partially inspired by one of my friends who went radical asymmetrical bob, complete with razor undercut and red dye for Valentine's day.  As she put it, "Stepping away from the mom hair for Valentine's Day!  Show YOURSELF some love!"

No, I did not go asymmetrical bob complete with razor undercut and dye, but she looks awesome.

I went to the salon armed with some photos.   As I talked to the stylist and showed her my photos, I could see her eyes lighting up.  Was that a good thing?

Once we got situated, she said, "Let's DO this!"  and got to cutting.  Was that a good thing?

She seemed to be having bunches of fun while I quietly watched large and long clumps of my mom hair falling around me.  Here's the back.  I have a neck back there now instead of the weirdly positioned Minnie Mouse ears that my hair always seemed to morph into.

It took a couple of days to get used to, but I'm liking it 🙂

More professional looking?  I dunno.

Minnie Mouse?  Heck no.

Easy?  YES!

Yesterday, before the guys headed south, we attended Meego's Winter Percussion competition.  One of the volunteer moms attending the admission ticket table had a similar cut, which looked great on her.  

So, in getting away from mom hair, I've copied and been inspired by other moms.

Maybe it's the new "mom".