Sunday, May 20, 2018

weekend imagery

I gave in and got a new phone yesterday.  Maybe it was peer pressure?

First, Harry and Meghan got hitched.  I did not get up early to watch, but as expected, the nuptials were nearly impossible to escape.  So many images and gifs so soon!


In the afternoon, we DID watch the Preakness Stakes and the near photo finish that made Justify a Triple Crown contender.  I'm not a gambler, but I love watching these high-end horse races.

Now, onto Belmont!

So Royal wedding, Belmont Stakes - all so posh.  It made me feel rather frumpy with my old phone, which was working fine by the way.  It's just that it has SO little memory, I could barely have any apps on it.

So I went to the phone store, and the sales person asked what I was looking for.  I explained to her that I was wanting to upgrade because my phone only had 2 gigs of memory.

She looked at me all perplexedly, "You mean you have only 2 gigs left?"

"No", I explained, "I have 2 gigs total.  I have maybe 1 gig left"

At that point, she was probably thinking "Ugh, another old person who doesn't understand her phone... NObody has only 2 gigs total".

She asked to see my phone, then swiped a few times, then,

"Oh My GAWD!  You only have 2 gigs total?!"

Isn't that what I said?

Anyway, I now have a shiny new phone with a whopping 16 gigs.  It's like a bottomless pit!

My old phone camera was pretty awful unless the lighting was perfect - in that case, it was great.  The lighting is hardly ever perfect, though.  But picture taking was never a high priority for me anyway.

Now with this new phone, I thought I'd check out the improvement in photo quality.  I snapped a pic while on a bike ride, but Mother Nature didn't help out today.  Here's a shot of the Peak from the highest point of my ride.

It's there, in all those thick clouds.  Hard to say if the new phone camera's better.

On a brighter note, I did have a handful of photos on the old phone that weren't half bad.  I'm a little late in reporting, but the Mother and Father Goose aren't hanging out at the post office anymore.

I'm not actually sure if this is the post office family since the pond is literally blooming with goose babies. But they make a nice representative family

Friday, May 18, 2018

fancy foods and funny hats

Eesh, it's been a week!  Let's recap:

It began last Friday with yet another end-of-winter-percussion-season potluck.  It was a nice intimate gathering at one of the other parents' houses.

On Sunday we had a fancy dinner with my Father-in-law and Stepmother-in-law for Meego, as it was Mother's Day/Meego's Birthday/Meego's graduation.  I had salmon.

On Monday, my friend Jan and I crashed an area high school Senior Awards Ceremony.  Remember Holly?  Our STAR scholarship recipient?  I finally got her certificate from International on Friday and learned that the school's ceremony was Monday evening.

Jan and I showed up and found out that it's relatively easy to crash a Senior Awards Ceremony as we were readily penciled in to the program.  The fun part of it was that Holly didn't know we'd be there and she was pleasantly surprised.  She sent me an email after the shindig thanking us for coming out and presenting her scholarship "at my school!" as seen in this horribly grainy shiny photo:

Tuesday was a  normally scheduled P.E.O. meeting - and another potluck as it was our chapter's 66th birthday.  I brought fried rice, mediocrely presented.

On Wednesday, this happened:

See Meego?  In blue?

His senioritis has been flaring up ever since he was accepted to his college of choice.  We needed to remind  him that he still needed to graduate high school, which he managed to do.

Wolfgang is currently traveling for work, so missed the photo ops.

Thursday, I did laundry and groceries...

Linking up with Mama Kat
4. Write a blog post inspired by the word: fancy.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

a note from the boss?

I've read some theories on why cats leave dead things on doorsteps.

While some believe it's because the cats love us and want to give us "gifts", another theory states that the cats are trying to teach us inept humans how to hunt.

It's their way of saying, "See this?!  This is what YOU are supposed to be doing!  Quit messing around with that lame stuff in cans and bags!"

I know I've gaggingly cleaned up my fair share of dead rodentia.  Were they gifts?  Or were they lessons?

I may have gotten clue.

Last week, I told of the Scrubjay couple currently making the cat's life a living hell whenever he's outside.  The saga continues.

Recall that I also confessed to sometimes lobbing a lacrosse ball at the annoying birds to scare them off.  The cat seems very appreciative of my tosses and often "asks" me to not only let him outside, but to also accompany him.

But he can't pay me enough to be his 24-hour bodyguard, and I typically leave  him to suffer through it.

Yesterday, I came upon this:

It's the lacrosse ball, sitting prominently on the back doorstep.  I asked Magnum if he put it there, but no.

Clearly, Napolion put it there, and it's probably a message to me, much like a dead rodent.

"THIS is what you're supposed to be doing!"

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

try it, it works!

She sat in the form of a miserable pile as the social gathering grew around her.  We were at my sis-in-law's (Magnum's sister) several years ago for a little family shindig, and her stepdaughter - about 13 at the time - was miserable and looked it.

She'd just returned from having her orthodontic braces tightened, and "social butterfly" was not her mood.  Several people in attendance began offering advice:

"Eat something cold, like ice cream or a smoothie - that will numb your mouth!"

"NO, that will just make the wires of your braces contract and feel worse.  Drink something hot to make the wires expand!"

And so on, and so on...

The poor girl just remained there in her miserable heap, rolling her eyes and not heeding any suggestions as 13-year-old girls typically do in any advice-given situation (I know since I was one once).

Eventually, amid all this advisement chatter, a gentle voice emitted from a nearby recliner

"What she needs", the voice began, "is  a counter irritant"

We all shut up and turned to look at my stepfather-in-law (Magnum's mom's husband).  Grandpa Don is a retired family physician.  He's an intelligent, thoughtful, and introspective man.  I'm sure he had excellent bedside manner.

And there it was, a solution, spoken with authority.  He went onto explain:

"The counter irritant takes your mind of the original irritant by making something else more irritating".

Hmm... made sense.  He continued:

"Back in the old days, when someone came in with a minor temporary gripe, we'd give them a shot of milk in the butt..."


"It made them forget their original gripe, and by the time their butt felt better, the original gripe was nearly gone anyway".

The stepdaughter chose that moment to exit the party altogether.

Over the years, I've had a few instances reinforcing this magic of the counter irritant.  It works!

For instance, just this week.  I was irritated with Meego over some schoolwork he needed to complete that wasn't yet completed.  Being irritated with a kid, I think, is one of the worst forms of irritation for a mom, yes?  So I was irritated about the irritation.

My sis-in-law (same one as above) came to my rescue, however.  On the same day I was irritatingly irritated with Meego, SIL sent out a well-meaning (I think) email to a couple of colleagues on my behalf.  She and I'd had a short conversation last weekend about how I'm looking for some volunteer opportunities to make some purposeful use of my job skills while I'm currently in a sort of - by my choice - job limbo.

She happened to know people who run a couple of local non-profits.  She could introduce us.  Perfect, win-win, blah, blah.

So she sent an email to them and copied me in.  Somehow my intention of offering myself to fill volunteer needs became more of a desperate attempt to get a job.  Not her exact words, but kinda how her email came across, and totally off the mark.  I had to read the email  a couple of times.

In the end, I was able to quickly do some damage control, which actually worked out well and helped me to better introduce MYSELF.  

But lo and behold, while that was going on, I realized I was no longer irritated with Meego!  He was instantly back to being his lovable self - albeit with a lingering homework assignment - once again demonstrating the effectiveness and magic of the counter irritant!

However, I'll pass on the shot of milk in the butt, thanks.

Linking up this week with a bit of a changeup with Mama Kat for the prompt:
3. Share a lesson you learned from your Mother retired doctor stepfather-in-law that still sticks with you to this day

Saturday, May 5, 2018

joys of spring?

OMG, these birds are driving us a bit bonkers.  Apparently, they have a nest  nearby to protect.  And we have a killer cat.

Every time the cat goes outside, the screechfest begins.  Two birds constantly harass by buzzing him and screeching and pecking on stuff.  I did some online research and quickly identified the nasty neighbors as Western Scrub Jays.

See?  It just looks grumpy all the time!

I learned that there is no color difference between male and female scrub jays, so I'm assuming these two in our yard are Mom and Dad.  They're actually quite pretty birds, but with horrible personalities.

Listed under behavior:  "Assertive, inquisitive, and vocal"  Yup.

If one of us humans is outside with the cat, they leave him/us alone while keeping a watchful eye.  So now the cat not only lets us know he wants to go out, he also begs us to go with him.  Bodyguard style.

I'll admit that I've lobbed a lacrosse ball at them a few times - meaning only to scare them off.  However, if one of  my tosses were to "accidentally" hit the mark, I'm not sure I'd be too remorseful.

But then I think, they're just being good parents.  Good parents that make for lousy neighbors.

I was thinking this morning that we could rig up some sort of scarecrow... scarejay?  Maybe tether some obnoxious mylar balloons in the yard, but with my luck it wouldn't work.  Then we'd have annoying birds and obnoxious mylar balloons in the yard. 

I guess we're stuck in this phase until the little twerps grow up.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

some people's kids

We had that rite of spring thing known as Prom yesterday.  Meego and a few friends made arrangements and allowed the has beens parents to snag a few photos before they headed out.  It was a beautiful day for it, unlike last year, which featured snow, rain, freezing temperatures and blustery winds.

I'm assuming they had a good time.  Not surprisingly, Meego has yet to crawl out of bed.  Either way, they all looked marvelous.

Meego and girlfriend Sara were patient enough throughout the photo shoot for some Sears Catalog worthy shots

I'm not sure what this discussion was however...

The school organizes an After Prom - something that's become popular as a result of our generation's reputation of boozing and sexing activities after the dance was done.  After Prom features bowling, laser tag, casino tables, other games, raffles, door prizes, food, no sex, and beverages of the non-alcoholic kind.  It's a bargain at $10 a person.

I, for one, am glad that After Prom is a thing, although I did not volunteer to chaperone that graveyard shift.  I thought about it for a good 10 minutes or so though.

I realize I have it pretty easy having all sons.  Sara's mom told me how she was going to drop Sara off at one of the other girls' homes where they would all get ready, beginning 3 hours prior to the photo-taking.  In Meego's case, I tapped my watch at about 45 minutes 'til, saying, "Better tux up".

Such is the way it goes.  After putting up with all the picture taking, Annie - girl in red and glasses - announced, "The hanger thing on my skirt is up my ass".  Annie, incidentally, was the girl on the floor I mentioned a few posts ago.  Girl cannot catch a break!

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

the reject?

"Well, I am kinda wondering...", she politely began, "what's missing?  Is there something more I need to do or have?  Do you know why the other chapter chose not to select me?"

"PFFFTT", I responded cordially, "Beats me, I was actually wondering the same thing when I looked over your documentation:  'this is the one they DIDN'T pick?!?'"

I continued, "For all I know, they flipped a coin".

Y'all know I'm active in P.E.O., a charitable organization that helps women continue their education through scholarships, grants, loans, a college we own...  One of our scholarships is for high school seniors planning to attend college, starting the year following HS graduation.  It's merit based and highly competitive.  The girls who receive it are really exceptional.  In order to apply, a candidate must be sponsored by a P.E.O. chapter.

Because of the high standards, it can be difficult to find suitable candidates.  A few months ago, I got an email from the president of another local chapter.  They strangely had two strong candidates wishing to try for the STAR (that's the name of the scholarship), but a chapter can only sponsor one candidate at a time.  She was asking other local presidents if anyone wanted to work with their "reject" (not her term) - the one they didn't choose to sponsor.  The due date for the application was fast approaching.

I saw some other presidents had already responded, rather lazily..."Oh okay, I'll pass it on to my scholarship committee, blah, blah, blah", and I was all, "DUDES!  the deadline to get all the sh*t in is next week!"  Well, I only said that in my mind.   My actual reply was,

"Send me what you've got!"

And that's how I met Holly.

P.E.O. is more than just a source of cash.  What sets us apart from other financial aid is how we connect with our recipients, which is why applicants can't just submit some application and cross their fingers.  We get to know them first and vice-versa, and then decide whether to sponsor. We keep up correspondence with them during their studies and beyond, etc.  Many eventually join P.E.O. themselves.

So Holly and I got together and I learned that she was not only an academic powerhouse and community leader, but also a nice and mature young woman with a pleasant, unpretentious personality.  Might she be interested in marrying one my sons?

As we wrapped up our get-to-know-you, she asked the question above, and I gave her my honest response.  I saw nothing lacking in her credentials.

In a whirlwind of activity, the chapter voted (unanimously) to sponsor Holly, I submitted a lengthy letter of recommendation, Holly submitted a lengthy application and essay.   It all went to the international STAR selection board, and we waited. And waited.  For nearly five months until they would announce the recipients.

Tuesday morning, I received an email.  It started:

"Dear Abby and members of Chapter EA (that's us)..."

The next word was "Congratulations..."

I still don't know why the other chapter didn't choose to sponsor Holly.  Maybe they really did flip a coin...

...and we won the toss! 😀

Linking up this week with Mama Kat for the prompt:
2. Write about something that brought you joy today.