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Thursday, May 25, 2017

reform school

I mentioned how this past couple of weeks have been pretty sluggish schedule-wise for me.  End of the school year/semester, and hardly anyone wants a tutor. *sob*

I've found myself with some extra time on my hands, like a little vacation. Oh, I'm still hunting around for a full-time job, but my phone isn't exactly ringing off the hook with offers. In the meantime, the house is strangely clean, and on nice-weather days, I have taken bike rides to nowhere in particular, which strangely, is not perceived as strange at all...


And y'know we have that gym membership, which we actually do use with some regularity.  A couple of times a week, I get emails from them with "exclusive" offers for fancy things like complementary personal training sessions or couple's massage or a mani-pedi - none of which I take them up on.

Last week I got a similar email and decided to take them up on the free exclusive offer.  I thought, "What else I got to do?"  Plus, it sounded downright tasty.  Oops






Today I went in and had an hour's worth of free pilates - NOT pie and lattes.







It was advertised as a one-on-one session, but when I arrived at my appointed time, the instructor told me she'd overbooked and there would actually be three of us.  This was fine with me, and in hindsight, it would've been kinda weird to be just me and the instructor, so yay for overbooking!

I've never done pilates and knew absolutely nothing.  There's an area at the gym with these weird contraptions that I think are for pilates.   The instructor took us back to this cave-like room with several large contraptions called Reformers.  In no time, we were Pilate-ing away and looking darn good doing it!


Okay, I lied.  It was much more this




ANYWAY... it was a pretty good time.  I was a total kindergartner in the Pilates school, but so were my two companions - a man and woman, both around their late 30s I'd guess.  The guy actually was rehabing a pretty intense back injury.  I was curious as to what happened to him, but didn't ask.

I thought it similar to yoga, in that form is very important.  Also, the machinery isn't necessary, there are a lot of pilates moves just done on a mat, like yoga, or that incorporate those big exercise balls.  We did some things with a ring that looks like a steering wheel, and made me feel like a total weakling.

Also, similar to yoga, the instructor told us to do confusing things like "knit your ribs together", "open your collarbone", "maintain a neutral pelvis"... wha?

Other times, she'd use more simple universal terms like, "tighten just below the boobies"...




As far as what it felt like?

Yeah, it burned.  She'd get us doing some Pilates-thing, and then go over to help one of use while we others were burning.  Were we supposed to keep doing the thing?

We were all little obedient newbies, and just did whatever she told us to do, despite the burn, until she told us to stop.

Thank God for stop.



So that was my little staycation adventure today.  What'd you do with your spare time?

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Linking up with Mama Kat this week for the prompt:
4. Write a blog post inspired by the word: staycation.


Sunday, May 21, 2017

the nature of things

We got sloppy snow here last week and it seemed that everyone and their grandma was whining about it, so I purposely didn't whine.  (1) We need the moisture and (2) the sucky weather wouldn't last.

I was right!  I should be a meteorologist.  Yesterday was a beautiful day, so Magnum and I got out for a little nature time at Fountain Creek Regional Park.  We hadn't been there in years, and I'm glad we chose it.
















We added a few geocaches to our log while we were at it, so a productive spring day all around.





And it was a good week in general, the tutees are winding down with the end of the school year/semester at hand. Just a few "OMG, final exam!" appointments in an otherwise mellow schedule for me.

We had a nice dinner with my mom-in-law and her husband to celebrate Wolfgang's graduation.  Magnum's sis and her husband joined us too.  It's strange we don't really socialize much with my sister-in-law (their politics are a little opposed to Magnum's...), but we usually have a good time with them.





As for Sierra the Wonder Dog - as in "I wonder what's the deal with her?" - things are looking good!  Her new foster family, after she left our cat craziness home, decided to keep her on even though she attacked their other foster pooch.

One of their stipulations in taking her in was that the adoption group expedite her eligibility for adoption.  The fosters aren't available for adoption until they've been spayed/neutered, so our coordinator was able to get Sierra in for her "spa day" this week.  Really, I'm impressed with how efficiently stuff just gets done with this group.

So she's done been fixed, and she's already got an appointment with a potential adopter family today!  She's a good dog, really.  Smart and playful, just a little overwhelmed at all the changes in her life.  She's not even 2 years old yet.  Her new foster mom took this mug of her.  What's not to like??



I noticed she's wearing a Thunder Jacket in the photo.  Maybe it helped to calm her down.  Thunder Jacket and major abdominal surgery...

Update:  Sierra was adopted on the spot once the adopters met her!  Retired couple, no other pets.  Perfect!  I'm so happy for her *sniff*



Thursday, May 18, 2017

because she said so

During my teen years, it felt to me like my mom had only one rule:

"No hanky panky"

I know she had my best interests in mind as well as an awareness of raging teenage hormones.  But c'mon Mom, "I have good grades" - my answer to every infraction, even those that were only imagined.

Often, I would come back with something like "Okay, I'll just get sloppy drunk and all potted up on weed, but no hanky panky!"

She wouldn't laugh.

Looking back now, though, I realize she gave good advice on a variety of topics.  Some were born out of superstition, but the stories stuck with me.

"Take care of your skin"

Back in the hanky panky teen years, a good suntan was a priority among my friends and me.  In the summer months, we would sunbathe.  Skin cancer wasn't really much of a thing to worry about, but neither of my parents liked me to sunbathe.  Now, it seems a pretty stupid practice to me.

I remember Mom telling me how she was told as a kid that moles on one's shoulder indicated a hard life ahead. They were ominous marks, metaphors for the scars left on the shoulder of Jesus from carrying the cross.

Now, I have shoulder moles.  Probably from the stupid sunbathing.  Even though I'm living a happy non-hardship life, whenever I notice the moles, I think of Jesus but not in a happy way.

"Don't cheat"

Another story Mom told me from her upbringing was of the practice they had of jumping as high as they could on their birthdays as children.  The height they reached from their jump would supposedly become their adult height.

One year, Mom cheated and jumped from a chair.  She ended up reaching a (non) statuesque adult height of about 4'11".

No cheating for me.

"Don't pull your gray hairs"

Many of us have probably heard this one.  "For every gray hair you pull, two grow in its place".  But I first heard it from Mom. When she passed away at 87, she still had a good portion of black hairs.

I don't touch my grays.

"What goes around comes around"

Probably the biggest lesson from Mom was that of Karma, or the Golden Rule, whatever strategy she was aiming for.  I remember her always letting people into traffic when they were pulling out of a parking space along the street.

"Someday, I'll be wanting to pull into traffic.  I let someone in now, and someone will let me in later"

She assured me that the principle worked for other things too, not just traffic.  Trust it, it worked.  Thinking about it now, I don't think I practice it as well as she did.

Never too late to start?
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Linking up this week with Mama Kat for the prompt
3. Share a lesson you learned from your Mother that still sticks with you to this day



Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Sierra missed

Sierra?  Sierra the greyhound we were fostering?  "Were" as in, not fostering her anymore?  Yeah, sadly, she had to go.  Cat issues.

She seemed to be responding appropriately to Napolion, which means showing mild interest and curiosity, and then getting bored.  Perfect!

Until she tried to eat him.

Friday evening, she'd been doing well.  The cat was telling us, "You guys!  I know she doesn't like me!  What do I gotta do to convince you?!"  And then,

"Okay, fine.  Hold my beer..."

They had a baby gate separating them, as a good idea in these initial days. Napolion slowly walked up to the gate, just as he should (no running!).  Sierra had her eyes on him the whole time.  Finally, she lunged/pounced and barked and growled in a not "okay with cats" way.  I had her by the collar or she would've busted through that baby gate.

That was a good test.  She failed.

We put her in her crate, and I was going about contacting our foster coordinator to see about having Sierra moved.  Napolion was all, "Just in case you guys didn't see that..."

He came sidling up, all cocky, walking slowly passed the crate.  Of course Sierra went all Cujo on him.

By Saturday afternoon, she had a new foster family.  This family has two resident greyhounds and one foster they took in the same day we got Sierra.  We all thought Sierra would be happy to be in a pack, to help with her separation anxiety.

Here they all are, after we made the introductions and hung around a bit to make sure she'd blend in.

Happy Happy Joy Joy

Note that Sierra still had her muzzle on.  The greys are used to wearing them as they wear them at the track when with the other dogs.  It's customary to leave it on for a while in a new home.  As we can see, the other dogs were comfortable having her around.

One thing we noticed when we got her, she didn't quite fit the image we had of the sleek, streamlined greyhound.  Oh, she was sleek and streamlined and muscular, but not in an obviously greyhoundy kind of way.  

This was more apparent to us as we spent time in that other home with the three other greys who were very streamlined and more of what we imagined.  Sierra was downright stocky in comparison.  

Yesterday, I got texts from our foster coordinator.  Sierra is still crying and whining, even with all those dog friends.  Worse, she attacked the other foster dog, Elf, the one lying on the floor in the foreground of the photo.  Apparently, Sierra'd figured out the hierarchy and was looking to climb the ladder.  

So, okay, she's got a few issues.  She's to be moved again today.  Our foster coordinator says she's a "puzzle".  

Looking at her build, maybe it's "'roid rage"...

It's not helping with my guilt trip.


Sunday, May 14, 2017

Happy don't-buy-me-anything Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all my blog friend moms!  And I'm forever grateful for my own mom in heaven.

We don't make a big To-Do about Mother's Day around here.  Like graduation ceremonies, I'm not really into "Hallmark Holidays", and Mother's Day is certainly one of those.

In fact, I read this article today about how Anna Jarvis, an early organizer of Mother's Day, was strongly against the commercialization of it.

"For Jarvis it was a day where you'd go home to spend time with your mother and thank her for all that she did,"

In short, she got pretty pissed that card, flower, chocolate, etc. companies were profiting from it.  Oh well.  But I've always told my kids that every day is Mother's Day to me, and they shouldn't waste their money on cards, flowers, candies, etc.  So they don't.

Besides, we have a built-in Mother's Day celebration since Meego was born on this day, 17 years ago.  It was Mother's Day that year too.  I distinctly remember feeling my water break and looking at the clock. It was just after midnight, and I thought, "Well this little bugger is going to be born on Mother's Day!"


And he was.

Talk about upstaging your brothers.  

Yesterday, Magnum and I took a walk to the post office.  There are little goose babies at the pond now, and I assume that one of those families is from the goose couple that made their nest at the post office several weeks ago.  At least that's the story I'm sticking with and not the possible one where they all got crushed trying to cross the road between the post office and the pond.  Here's an awful photo of one of the families we saw yesterday.  


Can you make out the fluffy goose babies?  I didn't want to get too close.  We know how moms can be.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Oh, and I should mention...

I originally set up this blog - many moons ago - as a place for ME.  But, naturally, I can't totally neglect the rest of the fam, so as to not be totally boring!

Seems like Meego's been getting much mention with his shaved head, percussion state champeenship and awards, and prom.  Chaco clearly tried to  move to the top by getting hit by a car.  Well, we do have that other guy too.  Remember Wolfgang?

He is now Wolfgang with a Bachelor's degree.  So shout out to him!

Last week, he and his team presented their Senior design project (mechanical engineering).  I know he was relieved to get that finished - and working!  It's sort of a culmination of the four years of sweating through the program.

Magnum and I went to the university to check out his team's display along with the other projects.  Here's Wolf with the team and their "Third Eye", which is a cool training device for rifle shooting athletes to shoot more accurately and consistently.


Okay, I said it's Wolf and the team, but I guess it's mainly Wolf, three of the team, and an arm of the fifth member.  Go team!

The spring graduation ceremony is today, and Wolfgang's been going back and forth on whether or not he would attend.  At last check, he'd decided not to.  Then I got a text from him yesterday afternoon.

 
A few more texts, he'd decided the cost and the time wouldn't really be worth it to him.  I left it up to him, we'd go if he decided to cap 'n' gown up.  It's nice to be right here and have that easy option.

After he decided on "not", I told him that I'd never regretted not going to mine, which is true.  And Magnum, in hindsight, has said he'd rather not have gone.  It was pretty impersonal.  Chaco decided not to attend his ceremony a year ago.  Geez, whatta buncha party poopers!

I know for many, walking at graduation is an important step.  I myself tear up when I see people who have overcome many challenges, receive a diploma, wearing cap and gown.  But it's not like we won't whoop it up, we just don't need a long ceremony with speeches we won't remember to commemorate the achievement.

In fact, I truly remember very little about Magnum's except for how impersonal it was - him sitting there in a sea of other graduates.  And I truly never regretted not attending my ceremony.  I still got the dang diploma.  

But I DO remember finishing that final design project (Magnum and I are also both Mech enginerds).  As we walked around looking at the results of those students' hard work, it brought me back.  The long hours coming up with ideas, fixing things that didn't work, not sleeping, swearing...  I remember one of my teammates, who was married, lamenting,

"I'm at the engineering center so much, my wife thinks I'm having an affair"

"Are you?", I asked jokingly

"I WISH!", he replied, jokingly (I think)

I said to Magnum, last week as we walked around the different displays, "Brings me back to the good ol' days"

"Well, maybe just the 'ol' days'", he corrected.  

Okay, maybe I mainly remember the good parts.  I told Wolfgang that, in our eyes, last week's presentation is the way bigger deal, and he rocked it.  Hopefully, the good parts will be what Wolfgang remembers too.  And not that he didn't wear a gown.  

.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

tripping

I'm enhancing my cognition.  Right now.  As I sit here.  My cognition is being enhanced.  Supposedly.  I've got my earbuds in and I'm listening to [this].  If I take my earbuds out, my cognition would not be enhancing (enhancing?).  I would hear whining and crying.

I mentioned how we've taken in a foster greyhound.  Sierra is wonderful.  She's pretty and smart and FAST fast.  She has literally awesomely torn up the yard with her speedy lap running.  She's not quite two years old and pretty fresh off the track.

She's used to being kenneled with bunches of other greys.  She's used to being turned out with several dogs at a time.  She's used to racing.



She's not used to a house with floors and windows and mirrors and other people things.  She's not used to being alone.  Part of our job as foster parents is to help her transition into her retirement, to get ready to be adopted, to get used to floors and windows and mirrors and other people things.

Sierra posed for this pic to
show off her impressive booty

And she's doing really well.  She's (sort of) figured out that the sliding glass door is a barrier between inside and outside.  She's learned that the dog run is the "ladies" room.  She's really figured out that the dog bed and toys are for her.



She and Napolion are still figuring each other out, but it's coming along.

One thing she's still working on is being alone.  I feel for her, I really do.  She follows us from room to room and pretty much always wants us within sight.  She readily and comfortably goes into her crate, but when she can't see anyone, she cries.  

Like right now.  

I say I'm training her.  I'm helping her be adoptable.  It's only day 4.  I've been leaving her alone in the crate for a couple of hours each day and getting her used to the idea that I always come back.  

But it's still a foreign situation for her. So she cries.  And I reassure her.  And I blog with the cat in my lap, because he's feeling a bit neglected too.  And then I put in my earbuds.  

To help with the guilt.

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



Saturday, May 6, 2017

the one where we take in a greyhound and Chaco gets hit by a car

I haven't been here since Prom??  So neglectful...  Allow me to summarize

It's not really that I've been super busy.  Just wrapping up some end-of-(school)-year things when it comes to tutees and our own kids.  Oh, and we decided to become a foster home for retired racing greyhounds.  We got our first foster today!

This is Sierra


We picked her up this morning in lovely Fort Lupton, Colorado. As you can see, our Prom snow has been replaced by summer.  There were six dogs in all in this particular "haul".


They've all been cat tested and (supposedly) Sierra passed.  We're wondering just what sort of cat they use to test dogs for cat friendliness?  I can just picture these tough cats sitting around the bar:

"So, what do you do for a living?"

"I test hunting hounds that run over 40 miles per hour for cat friendliness, you?"

Napolion has yet to be properly introduced, however, since at first sight, he took off.  At second sight, Sierra didn't even notice him.  Yeah, some hunter.

In summary, she's about fifty pounds of muscle and awesome, but more to come later.

Chaco came over to meet the pooch, hung around for lunch, then headed out, hoping not to get caught in an afternoon rainstorm.  He was on his bicycle.

A little while later, I got a text from him:

"I just got hit by a car."

Okay, kids, a word of advice.  Don't text your mother, "I just got hit by a car" then no response to further inquiries.

I did eventually get ahold of him.  He'd sent that first text from the urgent care, and then was busy being an urgent care visitor.  Anyway, he's fine.  It was a very low speed crash - guy said he didn't see Chaco and turned right at an intersection... that Chaco was in.  Chaco didn't even want to go to urgent care, but the driver made him go.

He SHOULD have contacted police, but, in his words, "I didn't want it to be a thing, 'cause I've got other things to do today..."

*sigh*  At least he didn't get caught in a rainstorm.