Monday, March 27, 2023

spring is springing

 Aah, spring. Time for... wet, sloppy snow.

We got hit sometime in the overnight into the morning with a surprisingly large amount of snow. I looked out at around 5:30 this morning and saw a good 8 to 10 inches on our back deck, although the forecast said 3 to 6 inches by noon.

I was scheduled to work at 8am. No notification from the college, so figured travel must be fine. HA! Maybe the snow was just a fluffy 8 to 10 inches? But... March is not the time of year for fluffy.

And no, it was the sloppy heavy spring snow. Thank goodness for the transit bus, I thought. Staff shortages had cancelled the bus that goes to the college last fall, but the route was recently restarted. Although I'm a little less than two miles from campus, this was not a day to walk or bike or even drive my teeny-tired Toyota if I didn't have to.

I trudged to the bus stop. While there, a diehard runner when loping by, high-kneeing it through the thick mass. It wasn't particularly cold out - about 25 F - nice for morning run if you like loping.

Anyways, I made it to campus a few minutes early for my shift since I'd ridden the bus. Maintenance crews were busy plowing, shoveling, salting... Parking lot was still pretty empty.

I got into the testing center, shook off the snow, removed the outerwear, fridged the lunch, then headed to the ladies room. That's when the announcement came over the PA that the campus was closing for the day.

Whaaaaat? Announce the closure at 7:40am when classes and other facilities start at 8am? People were already out fighting the weather traffic wars trying to get in, or, like me, had already arrived. 

Okay fine. Another day of inefficiency to go along with Friday's inefficiency. I headed back to the testing center to redon the outwear, grab the lunch, etc. 


Yeah, once campus closes, all the doors - inner and outer - are automatically locked by security. Badge access means nothing. So I had to go to security and have them let me back in.

Then I realized, the bus to take me back home was due to arrive in about 10 minutes. I needed to hightail it off campus and cross a busy road to get to the stop. Throw the outerwear back on, grab the lunch, zip up and go!

Made it with about one minute to spare. I figured, if I missed the bus, I could Donner Party it back  home if I needed, but the sidewalks were a mess - covered in road vomit thrown up from the plows.

Despite the plows, the roads weren't a whole lot better. The bus arrived, and I was all glad I'd booked it to the stop. Then... the bus got stuck. Of course it did!

Bus driver spinning the wheels, back up, go forward, spin the wheels, back up, go forward, spin... We'd get it going just enough, but then the flow of traffic wouldn't give space, so we'd have to stop and be stuck again. 

I was almost ready to get out and push. A transit bus. Just for at least the illusion of productivity. Then I realized I was glad I'd stopped in the restroom before leaving campus.

This went on for maybe 10 minutes until a bus employee with a bright vest came out and blocked one of the lanes of traffic so the bus could reenter. Back home. I WILL do something productive.

tldr: snow day!

Sunday, March 26, 2023

what's the point?

Last Monday, I was happily pedaling to work, thinking about nothing in particular, when the thought came to me: "stop the beers".  

I'm not a big drinker by any means. Remember when my kids were afraid I'd get trashed after one shot? That was a bit extreme, but they weren't totally wrong. I haven't been truly drunk in a long long time.

However, somewhere along the last couple years, Magnum and I started drinking a beer each night at dinnertime. I say "a" beer as in one beer between the two of us - so around 6 oz. apiece. I don't remember why or when the habit started, it just did. 

It really has no noticeable effect on me, so I decided just not to do it anymore. That voice in my head.

Later, I consulted this little productivity image I saved in Pinterest a while back (then never looked at again, like a lot of things I save in Pinterest...). 

I noticed the 20th thing, corresponding with Monday's date, was to eliminate a habit. 

Aha, further prompting!

So I stopped the beers. Magnum did too, his choice. 

Now I'm looking to other things from the list I can easily do.

I kind of did a #22 with a new tutor student who talked the coordinator at the college into tutoring even though the semester is two thirds finished.

I agreed to squeeze her into my calendar. I won't go into detail, but she semi showed up for our first scheduled zoom, not at all prepared for a tutoring session. 

She asked if we could reschedule, and it was such a surprising request after she'd seemed so needy, I said "uh... okay?" and agreed to meet at an even more inconvenient-to-me time.

But then I slept on it, and decided "wait a minute, no!", after I'd set aside a time that she'd agreed to, then she decided to nope out and try a last minute change. So...

22. "stop doing" - going out of my way to over-accommodate grown ass adults.

Sunday, March 19, 2023

YAY for allergies, mishap forensics, chicken

A little over a week ago, one of my tutees emailed me:

"My symptoms started Tuesday night and I tested positive for covid this morning (Thursday)..." 

Yeah, she and I met for a little over an hour that Wednesday. Honestly, I wasn't all that surprised at the email. She'd shown up for tutoring wearing a KN95 mask and admittedly feeling "like crap", but needing the help. During our session, she let out a few all too familiar sounding dry coughs as we sat closely - in hindsight - around a small table.

After receiving her email, I google searched to find the latest regarding covid reinfection. I found one article stating that people who are vaxxed and had covid should be fairly immune for about 10 months from their infection. Okay, I was getting behind that study!

In the days that followed, I had some paranoia inducing scratchy throat, sinus pressure... but YAY! It's allergies!

Welcome spring! Tomorrow is the official start, but I've enjoyed this week of saving the daylight. Can we just pick a time zone and stick to it already?

Spring break was this past week at the college and local school district, so work at the testing center and tutoring was relatively appreciably slow. Back to the grind tomorrow for the big push toward semester's end.

Speaking of big push, I was out running around on a recent morning, and came across this scene:

Curious, I've tried to piece together what happened. Something jumped the curb and crashed into the fence, but seems to me it wasn't a car but could've been. Looks like something tipped over and dragged into the fence. That dark smudge just beyond the fence break appears to be some sort of engine fluid, and there is a trail of it from the splotch indicating the driver turned and headed in the opposite direction.

Motorcycle? Scooter?  

In other imagery, who caught the google doodle for this past Wednesday? The 15th?

It was for Filipono adobo! That was my first thought upon seeing it, but then I thought, "Nah, there wouldn't be a google doodle just for chicken adobo"

But yes! There would be!

Apparently, it was to commemorate the anniversary of "adobo" being added to the Oxford English dictionary in 2006. Happy adobo anniversary!

It’s a symbol and expression of Filipino pride that varies from region to region, family to family, palate to palate.

Ask anyone with a Filipono mom or lola (grandma), "Who makes the best adobo?" The answer is, "My mom/ lola!"

And in MY case, it's actually true!

Thursday, March 16, 2023

over the moon

I trace the origin back to second grade. Unlike 3rd grade, 2nd grade was a memorable year. So much coming-of-age in 2nd grade.

One momentous event of that year happened when a classmate, Ken who went by Kenny at that stage, was passing out... I think it was cartons of milk? Anyone else remember having a mid-morning milk-and-graham-crackers break in school? A sort of second breakfast? Or maybe it was phonics workbooks...

Whatever, I do remember it was Kenny, the chosen one, passing out the goods. He was saying each of our first and last names while handing things out. He got to me and mispronounced my last name as "cow". 

Understandable mistake, if it was, in fact a mistake 🤔

My first name starts with "C" (I know, Abby starts with A, but that's not my real name), and my maiden name rhymed with Cow. So there ya go, Kenny purposely or mistakenly amalgamated my first and last names, my last name came out, "cow".

He and I chuckled, and then got back to the business of 2nd grade.

But darned if the name didn't stick? Not right away, but over the years, "Cow" sort of slowly snowballed. By high school, most all my friends called me Cow.  I found a few signages from one of my HS yearbooks:

I suppose if I'd been overweight or noticeably well endowed, I might have disliked the nickname. But I was not overweight, and, if anything, under-endowed. No, Cow was more of a term of endearment. I will note that none of my boyfriends ever called me Cow, that might've been strange.

I recall other nicknames of classmates: Cuckoo (to this day, we still call him that), Onion, Animal, Fish... Cow was just another in the mix, I didn't give it a whole lot of thought.

I do recall one time it worked in my favor. It was during a girls basketball game. I was a point guard bringing the ball down court when my teammate Ingrid cut toward the basket, a half-step ahead of her defender. With her hand up as a target, she exclaimed "Cow!" to bring my attention to the opportunity.

The girls on the opposing team stopped in their tracks, all, "did she say 'Cow!'? WTF?"

Two points for us!


Linking up this week with Mama Kat for the prompt:

1. Tell us about a nickname you were given.

Sunday, March 12, 2023

lingering boss, veep, and fresh starts

Is this the day where we all b*tch about the time change?

I, for one, didn't realize it was spring forward weekend until Magnum mentioned it last night at bedtime. Welp, too late to plan accordingly at that point. Here we are in MDT.

Another good week in the books. Spring break for the college is this coming week, and it's been a  bit busier than usual. I'm looking forward to a more mellow week ahead? Hopefully? 

Boss told us that his move-out date has been moved to summer semester, so June. Ha! At this point, I'll believe it when I see it and am not holding my breath. I have heard through the grapevine that someone or two at another campus aren't happy with Boss's new position and don't particularly like some of the changes he wants to make. I say, "Just wait 'til they have to spend a whole shift with him!"

But that's the way it is. Not surprisingly, Boss was the only one who applied for the position.

Speaking of bossing, I was installed as VP of my P.E.O. chapter this week. As I stood up there saying my "I will", "I do", etc. I was thinking how I am still struggling to learn names of most of the members of this new chapter.  But they asked, so I said, "uhm, okay?"

I have a year as veep, so guess I'd better start learning some names and stuff. I figure this will be good for me to feel more committed after covid lockdowns took a lot of the fun out of P.E.O., and it took more of a back burner for me. 

Speaking of fresh starts, I have a tutor student who was struggling with an annoying cold/flu virus for a couple of weeks. He texted me on one of the days we were scheduled to meet:

"I'm at urgent care, and I doubt I will make it..."

And I was all, "WHAAAAT?!"

" time for tutoring", he continued.

Oh sheesh.

So we rescheduled once "the antibiotics kicked in!". He showed up, still a bit sniffly, but in a fresh new collegiate t-shirt and stylish haircut. Said, after the virus kicked his ass for two weeks, he was ready for a fresh start after feeling a bit better from the meds.

I thought, good idea. Periodic fresh starts are good things. So this week, I purged a few things from my closet, retired a pair of running shoes well past their prime, organized some computer files, and made an appointment at the hair salon 'cause I'm due. *satisfying exhale*. No annoying virus necessary.

Today, I'm on dog duty as Chaco dropped of his pooch, Ella, and he and Magnum went out to do some guy things. I might take the dogs for walks, I might not.
Schrödinger's dogs.

Friday, March 10, 2023

a year of normal

 It was the 1970s, I was in third grade. I vividly remember...


Recently, I was trying to think of my third grade teacher and realized I couldn't recall who it was. I came up with a couple of potential "victims", but that's as far as I got. Strange.

I remember all of my K thru 4 teachers except for Ms. Third Grade. Could it be? Something disturbing happened during that school year? I've blocked it from my memory??

Certainly, no. I'm sure it's nothing as juicy as that. I'm leaning toward the year being uneventful, the teacher being competent, yet forgettable. Sorry Ms. Whoever-You-Are.

But I have this third grade school photo. It was one of my mom's favorites from the school photo pile. 

"You look like Pocahontas", she said, straightening the hanging family photo collage, my unintentional cultural appropriationing self looking out from the center.

I didn't think much of the photo myself. Too brown. The hair, the dress.

Looking at it now, all these years later, maybe I get what Mom was seeing: the surprisingly straight bangs. The peculiar symmetry of the big balled ponytail holders, the decidedly obedient stare...

By George, I've cracked the case!

I was kidnapped and held captive at the start of third grade and replaced with a robot facsimile. That year, I was a Stepford Child!

Whew, good thing I escaped, no?


Linking up this week with Mama Kat for the prompt:

5. Throwback Thursday: Share a childhood photo of yourself and let it inspire a blog post

Thursday, March 9, 2023

a revelation from the trash

I went into work for my afternoon shift a couple days ago. As I was getting myself up to snuff on expectations for the rest of the workday, Assistant Boss asks the others, "Shall we tell Abby about our eventful morning?"

So of course they had to tell me at that point because I wasn't about to let it go, let it go...

Phi began telling the story: a young tester came in for a long test - allotted time of 7.5 hours. I'll mention that they have the option to do this test in chunks (ominous word choice), spread out over several visits. But for whatever reason, they scheduled the whole kit 'n' kaboodle for one crazy long session.

It's not clear if it was nerves, something the tester ingested beforehand, a bug, or some combination thereof, but bottom line was that they emerged from the testing room about an hour into it, stating they weren't feeling very well. See where this is going?

They took some calming breaths, felt better, went back to the beast...

...only to emerge a bit later and barf in one of our trash cans. Thankfully, it all went in the trash can.

And I was all, "Eeewww!", thankful to have missed it.

There've been times where the potential was certainly there while I was present. Test anxiety is a real thing, and people react differently, some on the verge of losing it. 

I also recall a woman who forewarned me she was pregnant and might need an abrupt break at some point, but she made it through okay. Another was an early Saturday morning guy who came in reeking of alcohol. I could swear he partied all night and came in to test without much of an interlude. He also, somewhat surprisingly, managed to complete his test without incident.

So they told me this story, of one of the guys heroically taking care of the mess, the incident report that was filed on the tester's behalf, etc. And I'm again thinking how I was glad to have missed it.

And then I realized...

Prior to this job, started only about a year and a half ago, I'd been working at the nursing home. Such a thing and related messes were an every day occurrence. It was just part of the job. 

I was not a nurse or a CNA. Those people deal constantly with body fluids of all kinds and sources. But short staffing is a real thing in skilled nursing facilities, so it was typically all-hands-on-deck, regardless of job title.

And I didn't mind. Not a bit. In fact, I often miss the physicality of that job. It was satisfying to leave work at the end of the day, feeling quite tired and gross, but knowing I helped someone feel less gross. 

The reason I was looking elsewhere and took my current job was for slightly better pay and a better schedule, not to avoid the gross.

But still, it is not in the job description. Let's leave it that way.