Tuesday, December 30, 2008

four play

I came across this meme over at Terri's, and for lack of anything better to do, I did it.

The rules are as follows:

- Go to the folder in which you keep your digital photos.
- Choose the fourth folder.
- Find the fourth picture in that folder.
- Explain.
- Tag four people.

Unlike Terri, I followed the rules and this is the picture I found.

It's Chaco trying out his "new" bicycle which, at the time, was actually my old bicycle. Yes, the poor boy got a hand-me-down bicycle from his MOTHER!

This was nearly 4 years ago. Meego had officially outgrown the child seat that had adorned my bicycle and was heading off to kindergarten *sniff*. To celebrate.... er.... compensate for my loss, I purchased a spanking new Gary Fisher bicycle for myself, now affectionately known as "Bella".

Chaco inherited the minivan of a bicycle shown above. He was happy with it. Note that I had at least removed the toddler seat, lest Chaco be totally scarred for life.

But really, it was a good bike and suited his needs well at the time. He and that old Raleigh logged many a mile before the front shocks totally blew up one day. We purchased a new and mucho macho bicycle for Chaco last spring, and the old mom bike was donated to the bike store to be reworked and reborn as some other needy teen's bicycle.

That's today's meme. Go tag yourself.

Monday, December 29, 2008

weekend update

We braved the mall on Saturday. It wasn't that bad, really. The kids had Christmas money burning holes in their pockets and it would've been worse around here had we NOT gone shopping, know what I mean?

Sunday was a beautiful day here weather-wise. Such a treat for this time of year. I was out running in it for a while and sort of got lost in the whole whoopee-do-it's-such-a-nice-day until I thought the family might wonder where I was, so I stopped running and went home.

Later, Magnum, Meego, the dog and I walked over to the nearby park that is home to the BMX track. Meego bought himself a new RC car on Saturday and was eager to test it out on the whoomps of the track.

See, while the track was built and maintained for BMX, it has become a popular hangout for the RC car crowd. And I don't mean little kids like Meego, I mean grown men with their expensive gas-powered toys (really, they are still TOYS if you ask me), often with their female groupies in tow.

Our kids use the track for both bicycle fun and RC fun, but we remind them that the bikes have the right of way. Others don't always see it that way, and small turf wars can start between the bikers and the RCer's, but they usually coexist quite cordially. Sunday's crowd was pretty low-key. Mostly younger kids trying out new Christmas bikes. Meego drove until the batteries gave out.

In the meantime, Chaco and Wolfgang had gone to a friend's house. They arrived home several hours later with worn out voices. There must've been much loud racousness as they both sounded a bit like Oompah Loompah's.

"Thanks for sharing!" the friend's mom said as she dropped them off back home.

No problem. Thanks for taking the hit.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Silver Lining Saturday part XIX

Quick! What's the Roman Numeral for "50"?! Just thinking ahead here...

Another week down, and another week of good things.

First of all, it was Christmas here, yes, that's the one we celebrate. As I mentioned, it was relatively low-key here with us not travelling anywhere, and no visitors coming this way. It was a good day, and the kids like and appreciate their gifts. Now if they'd just all go back to school so I can play with their stuff!

The weather's been nice here too, making it easy to get out and about for those last minute shopping excursions and just to stave off the cabin fever. It's been cold, but not much new snow and ice to slip and slide around on, and I also appreciate that when I go outside to run.

For those days that are wintry, I'm thankful for our all-wheel drive Subaru. It's an animal!

And I'm thankful for the time off to get caught up on work stuff and around-the-house stuff. Also the family-time stuff. We played "LIFE", the board game, the other night. I ended up a teacher living in a trailer. I had a man, but no kids. That's LIFE.

Now I'm looking forward to the New Year. It's going to be a good one, I KNOW it!

Friday, December 26, 2008

and then I don't feel so bad

Well, we survived Christmas. It was just the 5 of us this year. No dysfunctional in-laws, and I can't say that I am disappointed about that.

And it was nice. I think the kids liked all of the gifts they got, and there was no overload. The weather was nice, and I got out for a Christmas day run before making the Christmas ham. The microwave seems to have bounced back to it's normal self. Don't know what was going on with it the other day. It probably had a major leak that has since sealed back up. We'll see if the day of leakage made any or all of the kids sterile. Or maybe I'm just paranoid about these things, having flashbacks to my own mother shouting, "DON'T STAND IN FRONT OF THE MICROWAVE!"

So today, I relax and ponder.

I volunteered to play along in a "Ten Things I Like That Begin With the Letter ” “_" game from Terri who got it from More Than an Electrician.

Just list 10 things that begin with the letter assigned. Any readers that want to play can leave a request in the comments, and I'll assign their letter.

Terri gave me the letter “C” and these are ten "C" things I like:

Colorado. I grew up here, then we were living in other states for several years. Now we're back. Nice to be home.

Camping. No electricity, no asphalt, the more feral the better!

Cowboys. They're tough, down-to-earth, and just darn nice to look at.

What's not to like?

Candles. One of my few girlie indulgences.

The Computer. Duh. How else would I do these riveting memes?

Chinese food. Or pretty much anything eaten with Chopsticks.

Commuting on my bicycle. Have fun and get stuff done at the same time!

And I do like a good Challenge now and then. As long as it's not too challenging

China, the dog. My walking companion and fellow resident b*tch.

Cookie, the cat, because he's just plain cool, and if he finds out I included China and not him, he'll hurt me.


Thursday, December 25, 2008



Love & Kisses,

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

'twas the day before

Okay. Tree's up, smothered in decorations and on ice. The kids put the finishing touches on last night. One nice thing about these little baby trees is that the time to decorate them is minimal.

Yes, it looks a little more like a houseplant with things hanging off of it, but someday, it'll be the mighty dwarf blue spruce!

This morning, the microwave didn't seem it's normal perky self when I cooked my oatmeal. It heats, but something's different. It reminds me how reliant we are on the microwave. God forbid I should have to go out to some place retail today.

Can we go 2 days without a microwave?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

don't wake the baby

We got our Christmas tree yesterday. I know. It sounds pretty late, but that's just how we do these things. I think I've mentioned here before that we always get a live tree. And no, I don't mean a "real" tree that was once happily alive and then got lopped off at the shins, but a LIVING tree with roots in a pot and all.

It's just a baby. In the spring, we'll find a good spot for it in the yard. We already have three previous Christmas trees gracing the back yard. Should be four, but one didn't quite make it (may it rest in peace).

Here's a pic of last year's tree. It's a wittle Colowado Bwue Spwuce (that's baby tree talk for Colorado Blue Spruce). Those bluer needles are the new ones that sprouted over spring and summer. Just disregard the land of misfit toys there in the background of the photo *Cough*

This year, we got a dwarf blue spruce, so it won't get as big as it's older brother here. The previous ones are also dwarf spruces.

With these ALIVE trees, we have to be careful not to wake it up and make it think that it's spring and time to start growing and stuff. So it spent last night in the garage, then it will come inside for a couple three days, then back outdoors it'll go until plantin' time. The dog will promptly christen it, bet on it.

So, with that, I think I'm actually all set for Christmas. I got the last of the chickens yesterday, and today I actually BAKED! *GASP* I even got all of the kids into the dentist this morning for overdue checkups. Aaaaah, nice to be caught up.

Oh, wait, we're probably going to need food....

Monday, December 22, 2008


I'm off to go tutor in about 15 minutes, but I'm feeling lazy. Everybody else in this house is in winter break mode, and it's contagious.

But it's good for me. My tutoring with this student is about complete, just putting on the finishing touches. He's a humble guy, he knows he won't be with the frontrunners. I just want him to make it to the finish line.

Running analogies, they make sense to me.

We'll work on Math and in the meantime, I'm pondering Chaco math. He passed me on the height chart a while ago. His voice is all deep and squeaky. He's got this pubescent mustache thing going on. Why does he sometimes still act like he's 3 years old?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Silver Lining Saturday part XVIII

As another year comes to a close, I'm getting a bit contemplative and looking back over the past year and looking ahead to the next.

For one thing, I'm thankful I started doing these thankful saturdays, via Terri's prompting. I find myself being more alert to things to be thankful for during the week. There's really too much to post on these silver lining saturdays, I'll just hit some highlights.

I'm thankful for the light workload I currently have, starting this week, and probably continuing until the end of the year. It's given me time to get caught up on things, including the chicken hunting, and I'm looking forward to a nice break with the family before hitting it hard at work with stuff already scheduled for next year. On that note, I'm thankful for the job and the fact that the schedule is filling up.

This week, I initiated an awkward conversation that I felt was needed. I knew it would be awkward, and it was, but it was good to get some things sorted out with this person. I made myself leave my comfort zone to do this, but afterwards, I was so glad I did. That which doesn't kill you makes you stronger? I feel stronger and more authentic and honest. Now, I'm looking for other ways to push that envelope. Who's next? Neighbor Flanders?

And I mentioned how well our mental dog is doing with her social skills. She's come a long way. Now, if any sort of canine altercation occurs with another dog at the park, it's because the OTHER dog has issues, not China. She is now the happy friendly butt sniffer nature intended.

Friday, December 19, 2008

the gift

A young schoolgirl. On the last day of school before the winter break. There'll be a party. She's brought a few gifts, carefully wrapped just so, for a few of her special friends.

Upon arriving at school, she finds that she's missing one of the gifts. She searches her bag. She searches her back pack. She checks the floor, retracing her steps. It's nowhere to be seen. Where could it be? She's sad. She's upset.

I take the crazy dog out for a walk nearly every day. The therapy has done wonders for her social skills, and for me, I enjoy being outside with her. On these daily treks, we find all sorts of "treasures". Baseballs with the outer skin falling off, slobber soaked tennis balls, various species of "scat". On a good day, I might find a dime.

But today, among the melting snow and muck on the walking path, there it was. A small red and gold gift-wrapped box, finished off with a tidy green bow. The label read "To Mickinsay From Stefani" in somewhat shakey young penmanship.

And that's when I saw her in my mind. This Stefani. Arriving at school, excited for Christmas. Missing one of her carefully wrapped gifts. "Aaaaaawww", I think I actually said it out loud. Dog probably thought I was weird.

We got home from our walk, and I headed back up to the elementary school after dropping off the dog. The office ladies might recognize the unique spelling of the names and know the owner.

"Ah, yep, I know who that is", the secretary said, "Thanks for bringing it in." I almost want to thank the girl for dropping it.

Finally something worth finding.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


I just ate half a peanut butter Power Bar. How are those things manufactured anyway? I imagine this Power Bar factory that starts out with all these healthy ingredients and nutrients being poured into a big hopper. Then they go through a series of vats and hoses and conveyor belts and emerge as this big Power Bar extrusion that is automatedly cut into Power Bar length and wrapped.

They're kind of like what I imagine space food is like. Real dense, hard to chew, in a shiny wrapper.

But they're loyal. They are readily available at just about any grocery store I shop. Everyone knows Power Bars. I remember a friend of mine adopting a baby from South America. She spent two weeks there handling the adoption process. She was determined not to get the runs, so she packed a bunch of Power Bars. She got the runs anyway, but I digress.

See, I really like those Clif Z-bars, but I have trouble finding them, and when I do find them, I notice the price has gone up. So, I'm relying on my loyal but not so pleasurable to eat Power Bars.

I figure I need the healthy fuel. I'm going to foray once again today into the land of Christmas shopping. Nothing too strenuous. Just half a Power Bar's worth.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

on the hunt

First of all:

Yes, Jerry, that is a toilet seat that my foot is propped on for the picture of my chair war wound. Unsanitary, yes, but in this house there really aren't many better alternatives.

And, yes, I WAS wearing shorts. In the middle of December. In Colorado. But I was inside the house. It was early in the morning - before I put on my "real" clothes. We don't all live in igloos out here.

After that ominous start of my day, things did improve. I'm glad to say that we haven't been plagued by snow days at school this week like Whimsical Ranter. That would've seriously thrown a wrench in my Christmas prep.

For the remainder of this entry, I will substitute the code word "chicken" for words that may reveal too much, lest one of the kids happens to stumble in here.

After taking the dog for her cold-weather training, I headed out to the chicken store because Wolfgang had dropped a big hint about a certain chicken there that he wanted. So I was in the chicken aisle, looking for this very specific chicken and wasn't seeing it. In the meantime, I could hear one of the store employees talking very loudly. Just had one of those loud voices. I found it a bit annoying as I was hunting through all those chickens looking for the one chicken I'd gone to purchase.

To make matters worse, she started eating a sandwich yet continued to talk. I could hear the "see-food" in her mouth, it was as gross as seeing it. At some point, she peeked down the chicken aisle I was in. She put a hand in front of her mouth and loudly inquired, "Can I *garble* help *garble* you find *garble* something?" Like the placement of her hand helped much.

I asked if they had the specific chicken, and she said yes, they did and approached to locate it. She couldn't find it either though, so she calls loudly - in an even louder voice than before - to the front of the store. "HEY! WE GOT ANY OF THEM CHICKENS?"

No answer.

Loud sandwich woman then whispers to me, "his hearing's not what it used to be". So, I'm thinking, why is she whispering? "Or maybe he's just ignoring me", she continues, whispering. Now I start to warm up to her, making fun of her man and all.

Anyway, the man comes over and looks for the chicken too. Can't find it either and determines they must've all been sold. I leave the store empty handed.

Then I hit the mall *shudders*. I had better luck there. Got another chicken I know Wolfgang wanted and also found some chicken for Meegos' teacher. Oh, well, that's just hand lotion. Don't need the code word.

By then, I still had a few hours before the kids got home from school. I welcomed the time to sit and get quite a bit of work done at my desk as my shin was fat and throbbing. Dastardly evil chair.

I'm still hunting for the chicken, though. Eight more shopping days!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


A simple chair. Purchased at Office Max I think. Steel with an upholstered back and seat.

It was a chair.

It was a chair in the middle of the room.

It was a chair in the middle of the dark room.

It was a chair in the middle of the dark room that doesn't normally have a chair in the middle of it.

I walked into the dark room with the chair in the middle of it that doesn't normally have a chair in the middle of it.

I walked into the chair.

I was wearing shorts.

Too bad I gave up cussing a while back.

Good thing I didn't give up throwing chairs.

Monday, December 15, 2008


It's fweezing cold outside. No, that's not a typo. That's how freezing is said and spelled when it's that cold.

I just crunched Meego up to school - that's walking in fweezing cold snow - then made the return trek home. My glasses immediately fogged up to epic proportions when I walked back into the house.

The weekend was good, though, and I've got lots to do today.
  • Order those Christmas gifts so they get here in time.
  • Write out some Christmas cards, already!
  • Meet with a tutor student this afternoon.
  • Prepare my lesson for this afternoon's tutor student.
  • Put a bunch of heavy stuff in the back of the van to increase traction.
  • Make sure the van will start.
  • Get a gift for Meego's teacher.
I just remembered that I need to get a gift for Meego's teacher. I usually try to get them something perishable because I figure they get their fill of coffee mugs, candles, etc. I usually go for stuff like hand lotion or pretty paper - stuff that will get used up.

I was actually at the mall on Saturday. Wolfgang had a birthday party to go to yesterday and needed a gift. We looked around and he found all kinds of stuff for HIMSELF. Dropped enough hints anyway. Maybe that was the plan the whole time. He did talk me into splitting a mango slushie with boba with him from Vina Bubble Tea. Never had one before. Next time I will forego the boba. Slimy and look like deer poop. I don't care if it's all natural. So is deer poop.

Anyway, that is all. There's really no point to this entry.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

going polar

I was running earlier today. On my treadmill. I normally would've been running outside, but because of various weather conditions including but not limited to ice, below-zero windchill, blowing snow, and erratic traffic, I decided to confine my run to the treadmill. It's just an expensive hamster wheel, really.

But I did open the window in the room to make it more outdoorsy-like.

It was a good run, but not quite a good enough fix for my usual outdoor jaunt, so I decided to hook up the dog and force her to go for a walk this afternoon. Cold weather turns her into a wimpy house dog, and this must be stopped.

We had a marvelous time, actually. The wind had died down and it was, by then, a whopping 18 degrees F. At one point, I reached up to push my glasses up my nose a bit, as they had slipped some. A total nerd gesture on my part, yes, but a necessary one. As I did so, I bumped my nose with my thickly gloved hand and noticed that I didn't feel it on my nose at all. The entire face was totally numb. I did a quick assessment and at least determined that I didn't have a frozen booger mustache that I was unaware of. I think one has to have an actual hair mustache for one of those to form.

China and I returned to the warm house, only to have her make a bee-line in the door. If I thought she was becoming a wimpy housedog before, our arctic trek probably pushed her that much further over the edge.

And yeah, she had a bit of a booger mustache going on.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Silver Lining Saturday, part XVII

Another silver lined week, this makes number 17 since I started this thankful exercise. Today's the 13th so I'm feelin' lucky!

For starters, I'm thankful that I'm not nursing a hangover this morning. We went to Magnum's office party last night, and I was a good girl.

On that note, with the economy the way it is and employment numbers being the way they are, I'm thankful for Magnum's job as well as mine. I'd never met his current boss before last night's party, and he seems like a good guy and there seems to be a general sense of security within their department.

And I'm thankful that it's finally starting to look and feel like winter around here. The kids had their first snow day of the school year on Tuesday, and we've finally got a couple of good snowstorms under our belts. When it's too nice out for too long, I start to get anxious. Not because I'm fretting about global warming, but because I think that it will all catch up with us in one big major major snow DUMP if we go too long without. Like precipitation constipation.

I'm thankful that we've got some specific ideas of what to get the kids for Christmas that are in a reasonable price range.... not that I've done anything about it yet. But there's plenty of time, it's only mid-Decem... CRAP!!

I'm thankful for geeky kids. Chaco had an assignment to create a Rube Goldberg device, with at least 8 steps, for his science class, the purpose of which was to powder a brownie. He and his geeky friend constructed this huge contraption that I was actually getting a bit concerned about the size of. It took up nearly a third of our "wreck" room. They needed a ride to and from school just to transport the pieces. But apparently, they got the highest score in the class. Size does make a difference.... well, when it's properly utilized.

Friday, December 12, 2008

symbols of love and fertility

I'm feeling good this morning. My roller coaster relationship with the milk man is on track today. Recall last week, we were having some communication issues and this consumed me for most of this week. Codependency is rough.

But after putting some serious work into this - mainly my inability to express myself and my needs in a way that he can clearly understand - we've made noticeable progress. I'm happy to say that the cheese was plainly absent from the cooler and had been replaced by lovable cuddly eggs, sitting right there alongside the unwavering milk.

As proof of his devotion, my Mr. Mm (that's just my pet name for him. Say it. "Mm") also left me this lusty missive:

Happy Holidays

from our family to yours!

_________ Your home delivery driver

*shivers with delight* He penned his name with his very own hand on the blank line. OMG! I would have reproduced it here on the blog, but it also happened to include a *ahem* photo.

It's his TRUCK!!

OH, what the heck! Here ladies, take a gander:

Be still, my heart

Thursday, December 11, 2008


I was over reading at Terri's, which then prompted me to go over to MTAE's. They've both got this walk down the awkward teen years memory lane going on, and it got my own memories bubbling. So I kick back, put my feet up on the head shrink couch, and jump in to join the fray...

I've mentioned here before, I think, that I grew up in a neighborhood full of boys for the most part. Sure, I was friends with girls at school, but as far as just being able to walk out the door and go find a neighbor kid to play with, it was Boy's Town. So I grew up liking sports and dirt and such and heard more than my share of crude humor. I still don't know if I was already tomboy inclined, or if it was just the environment that shaped me. I have no regrets. While I may not have been the daughter my mother envisioned after having two boys, I enjoyed those rough and tumble pre-adolescent years.

I do, however, remember vividly the point at which I took notice of the human male.

I was probably about 12 or 13 years old. It was a holiday - either Thanksgiving or Christmas. I remember that because my oldest brother was home visiting. He, my dad, my other brother, and I all went out for a walk (again, there I was hanging out with the guys). So we're walking up this street and up ahead there's a guy on a ladder, fixing a window, or maybe he was putting up Christmas decorations, I don't know. I'd guess that he was about 15 feet above the ground.

All of a sudden, his ladder slips, and the guy comes crashing down to the ground! My dad and oldest brother run to his aid with my other brother and me trailing. Surprisingly, he wasn't hurt, but was visibly shaken from the experience. He was kind of freaked out about what happened, almost shocked that he wasn't hurt, but after a few moments, he assured us and himself that he was, in fact, okay.

And all I could do was stand there and look at him.

He had light brown curly hair, was probably late teens or early 20's. We lived in a small town, and he didn't live far from our house, I'm sure I'd seen him before, but this was the first time I really SAW him. He was wearing a pair of bib overalls over a white t-shirt over an athletic build.

It was sooooo HOT!

Looking back, I almost feel guilty that I began to feel the early blossoming of my womanhood from this poor guy that had just come crashing to the ground. I don't know, I think it was the combination of his manliness - the muscles, the tight t-shirt, the fact that he was post-pubescent, unlike the boys I hung out with - and the contrasting qualities of fear and vulnerability from having just fallen off of a ladder.

It was right about that time in my life that I began to not like hanging out with the neighbor boys so much anymore, and I began hanging out more with girls. Then things really got rolling.

But that's for later.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

those two little important words

S N O W D A Y!!!

Yep, got us a full blown snow day today. For me, it WAS going to be a day of errands and general catch up, but I suppose that will have to wait, what with the kids all hanging around. It's like summertime, only colder and snowier, and more treacherous to drive in.

And that's okay. This is our first full snow day of the school year. We had a delayed start last week, but that was just the precursor. The "School's Closed" days are the ones that really test a mom's mettle!

No problems here, though. We'll romp a bit in the snow, I'll put them to work, then I'll regurgitate something for them later.

Wish you were here!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Silver Lining Saturday, part XVI

The first week of the last month of this year. I think I made some "resolutions" last year, but I have no idea what they were. Since I deleted that other blog, I can't even go check my archives, so I guess I'm off the hook!

Which leads me to another episode of Silver Lining Saturday!

The week started off with a bang in the form of a major snowstorm - unforecasted by the way - on Sunday. It made me thankful that we weren't part of the mass of Thanksgiving travellers, but it was also the first real snow storm of the season and a little late in coming. I went running/mushing/whatever you'd call it through it in the morning, like Susan Butcher without the dogs! Later that day, we all went out and frolicked as it continued to come down - romping around with the dog while the kids thrashed about on the nearby black diamond sled hill. To top it off, the kids had a delayed start to school the next morning.

I'm thankful for the people around our neighborhood that are so organized and have their Christmas decorations up. Really makes the streets pretty and festive at night. We are total slackers in that area, along with the whole Christmas cards and gifts thing, but I can still look at and appreciate the pretty lights.

I finished up a round of tutor sessions with another student this week. He's a nice kid and seemed noticeably more confident than when I first met him. He should be taking his SAT as I write, and I think he'll do fine. My other current students are making nice progress, too, and I'm thankful to be doing something useful... I think.

And I'm thankful for friends and that whole give and take that goes along with friendships. Sometimes we're the shoulder, sometimes we're the crier. It would suck to be stranded and alone on an island.

And remember that new furnace we got? The local utilities company gave us a rebate for being so efficient! Employee discount + Utilities rebate and the furnace was practically FREE! Well.... not hardly, but every little bit helps.

Oh, and we won the office football pool again. We can practically buy another furnace! Well, not hardly....

And despite our ups and downs, I am thankful for the milkman. I will do better in making my needs known from here on out, and now we've got some new cheese to try out. On that note, I'm also thankful for the local grocery store and it's well stocked egg selection.

Friday, December 5, 2008

problems with communication

Well, you know my guy on the side? The milkman?

Yeah, he comes around to service me once a week, and I sooooo look forward to it. And this week especially, I was really waiting in anticipation for him because the weather is cold and a little dangerous, y'know? That danger factor really gets me in an "appreciative" mood, yeah?

Yesterday, it snowed all day, and by nighttime it was really cold and the roads were quite precarious. But I knew my milkman was coming. He never fails me.

This morning, while it was still dark and bitterly cold, I went to "our place". I reached out for him. I reached into "our special box" for my milk and egg treasures, drooling with desire. I found his large familiar jug of milk, just like always, but then... but then...

CHEESE?!?! What's with this freakin' block of cheese?!? And where's my eggs?!?!?

I took out my order form and, holy cheddar, I'd checked the cheese box and not the egg box! The cheese row is right underneath the egg row, it's a conspiracy!!

So, bottom line, even though I ALWAYS get the milk and eggs, he brought me milk and cheese because that's what my order form said! Shouldn't he know by now, after all this time together? I want his eggs, not his cheese?

He delivered what I said I wanted, not what I actually wanted.


Thursday, December 4, 2008

comfortably college

Sitting in the middle of our mostly conservative, largely evangelical city is a small, private, liberal arts college. One of my current tutor students goes to school there, and we have our tutor sessions at the campus library.

I was there yesterday when he called and said he was running a few minutes late. No problem, I would just wait for him inside the library doors. I picked out a comfy chair and began observing the comings and goings of these rather boheme students.

As with first impressions upon meeting another person, I was first struck by the appearance of these kids. They all, particularly the males, had a rather disheveled rather homeless style to them. Hair, relatively long and unkempt - many with knit hats ala thrift store sitting atop. Shaving is probably not a daily activity - more like weekly if with any regularity.

As I continued my surveillance, I couldn't help but feel the comfortableness that each of these students seemed to be emitting. Yes, they were dressed and coiffed in a very relaxed way, but there just seemed to be this overall atmosphere of grungease.

I found it quite refreshing and relaxing sitting there. Being the private college that it is, the tuition is not cheap and I know that many of the students come from rather affluent families, but I detected no sign of pretention among them, with their genuine friendliness and I-sleep-under-a-bridge fashion statements.

I actually felt a bit overdressed and overcombed as I sat among them, but if I were to grunge things up to help close that gap, I would violate my company's dress code.

After about 10 minutes, my student entered. His familiar, fully-bearded smile as he walked up wearing a nondescript hoodie and similarly generic baseball cap atop his rat's nest of a hairdo, caused me to smile too, in recognition of just how well he fit in. I wondered if he'd just awoken from a nap...

... from under a bridge.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

alpha male to omega-3

So Magnum recently had a check-up at the doctor's. They called him back a coupla days later.

"It was my bloodwork", he says.

"They say my triglycerides are high, my HDL is too low, and I need more sex", he continued.

*pause for look of skepticism from me*

"Okay, I threw in the last one. What are triglycerides??"

"I dunno", I adeptly replied, "they've never called ME back *snicker snicker*".

True to form, Magnum looked up information on triglycerides. It's basically fat. He's one of these people that, for most of his life, has eaten however much of whatever he wants without too many repurcussions. Maybe it's catching up. To his defense, he had just returned from a business trip before the check-up. Those business trips are really just week-long artery hardening fests. Plenty of expense account food and beverages, very little exercise.

I guess he's supposed to eat "heart healthy" now? To get his numbers into the normal range? Does this mean I have to learn how to cook? What about my scrawny children?

Anyway, I'm off to the grocery store. At least I won't have to think too much to buy the toilet paper.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Silver Lining Saturday part XV

Welcome once again to Silver Lining Saturday - where every week, it's Thanksgiving!

okay, okay, enough of that announcer crap.

But it has been another wunnerful week, let's recap!

Well, it was Thanksgiving on Thursday, and we had a nice one here with just the 5 of us. The dysfunctions of my family-in-law do tend to be more apparent around the holidays, but we made it through this one okay. And I'm thankful that Magnum has gotten better at standing up for himself and his values, thusly elevating our black sheep status. Sheesh, talk about your silver lining hunting...

And as far as the actual Thanksgiving day goes, we had a very nice one. I cooked all the traditional stuff - it was all eaten up, and the husband and kids were genuinely appreciative. And we do have lots to be thankful for, everyone's health for example. We had a full day of playing-outside time in honor of all that good health. I think even the dog was extra thankful.

Kids were on break from school and Magnum took the week off from work. My work schedule was lighter than usual too, so we had more time for some good ol' R&R. I actually did go and see the movie "Twilight". Magnum tagged along. I warned him that the audience would probably be a bunch of 15 year-old-girls, and he had NO problem with that *rolls eyes*. We enjoyed the movie - was a nice little "escape", and I can certainly see the appeal to the teen girl crowd.

And I mentioned that our week also included a day at Memorial Park. It's nice to get away from the daily grind and just go out and play with like-minded people... like we did when we were kids... and not think about bills and government bailouts and dirty toilets and whatnot. It was a good systems flush.

Now it's the weekend, and December is upon us. I took a raucous, snowy run this morning in 24 invigorating degrees! I am thankful for my physical health, and I'm thankful that everyone returns to school and work next week (that's for my mental health).

Thursday, November 27, 2008

now we're cookin'!

AAaaaaaaaaah.... Woke up to the smell of cooking flesh this morning.

Got my turkey S-L-O-W cooking, put it in at bedtime last night. So now it's officially Thanksgiving and I'm in more of a cooking mood. We went out yesterday, got some fresh air at a local park and got rid of the domestic doldrums, so now I'm ready for some culinary adventures.

Chaco and Wolfgang cut up the park sidewalks with their rollerblades while Meego terrorized some ducks and geese for a while before hitting the playground aparati.

It was a nice day to get out. I'd been feeling a little caged with Magnum and the kids all home from work and school this week. Causing ruckuses and making messes and talking about the food they're going to eat - that just magically appears in that fantasy land of theirs. I was feeling a bit abused.

So the fresh air and people watching the park provided was a good thing. Got outside the box.

Meego successfully
and unsuccessfully hiding
from the camera.

So Happy Thanksgiving to all of my blog friends! I'm truly thankful for all of ya's!

Love and kisses,

Abby<--------- (That's webdings for "Abby". Cool that it's got 2 bicycles, no??)


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

bon apetite

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving here in the U.S. The guy on the radio this morning kept referring to it as "Turkey Day" and it started to bug me.

"Here's the weather forecast for your Turkey Day".... "Here's what you should know about closures on Turkey Day".... "Our program lineup for Turkey Day is..." I don't have a problem with people who say "Happy Holidays", but c'mon. Turkey Day? He doesn't even need to say "Thanksgiving" if he doesn't want to. Just say "Thursday" or "Tomorrow", I'd be good with that, but "Turkey Day"??

I know people put much preparation into their Thanksgiving meal. I'm just cooking for the 5 of us this year, so no pressure. I made my last stop at the grocery store yesterday, and if I forgot something, well, too bad. I'm not going there today. No way.

I do like to cook. If I've got the time. And the proper equipment. And the food is interesting. And someone will actually eat it. Uhm, remember when I blogged about the Army recruiter in High School telling me I could "do anything but cook"? And remember how I'd felt a bit offended? And perplexed about how he could get that from an ASVAB test?

Truth is, deep down, I know he's right.

I see cooking as a creative activity, but I don't worry about it much. My own tastes are very simple when it comes to the actual eating part. Cooking is just a pastime - like making mud pies or paper snowflakes. I don't particularly like eating in restaurants either. It's just "recreational eating".

But I do try, most of the time, to be a healthy conscientious meal planner. Somebody's gotta do it.

I saw this meme over at Brandy101's and thought it seemed timely and worth thinking about on Thanksgiving Eve:

#1. What's the worst tasting food you've ever eaten?
Oh, GAG, that's gotta be flax seeds. I got some of those a while back because I'd heard they're supposed to be good and healthy. Thought I'd throw some in with a bowl of oatmeal. Don't do it! DON'T!! I deplore you!!! Some people offered me alternative ways to get some flax, but I just can't go back.

#2. Share a funny or embarassing story about a meal you've made.
Did you know that if you don't put enough sauce on the bottom of your casserole dish for a "quick pasta casserole", the pasta doesn't cook? At all? I do. Now.

#3. What food do you burn or have problems cooking most often?
I guess I'll go with bacon. Such fine lines there between too squishy, just right, and burnt.

#4. Name two foods you'll be eating on this Thanksgiving.
That remains to be seen. I'm planning the traditional turkey/stuffing/gravy/yams/etc. But if something gets ruined, I just don't really care enough to try to fix it. There's always peanut butter and pickle samwiches.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

the last thing I said?

I was sitting in traffic yesterday.


Sitting. Inching ever so slowly forward. Stuck in a traffic jam. This was the second time in less than a week, I'm beginning to wonder what's up with that. Again, it was a bad car crash on the interstate. Are the car-crash gods following me?

Last week, I was heading home from a tutor session. Took me nearly an hour to go 5 miles. Multi-car crash. Yesterday, I was heading downtown for a different tutor session. Car had crashed into a parked semi-truck. There was a fatality. All south-bound lanes were closed. Find an alternate route.

So as I've spent an inordinate amount of time, literally just sitting, in traffic, I've been thinking of mortality. Of how short life is. I started thinking about people that probably don't know how important they are to me. What if I never saw them again?

So the car crash gods have gotten through. I've gotten the message. I'm going to be more "authentic" (pardon the Oprah-ism). I think I do okay at this, but I could be better. I gotta hand it to their timing too. Two car-crash jams in a week, my birthday right in the middle.

Oh, and we watched "Cloverfield" last weekend. A similar message there, and rather thought provoking if you can get passed the nauseating shaky camera effects. Seems to be a theme with me. Think about it. What if YOUR city and friends were eaten by a big monster? Do they know how you really feel about them? Better tell 'em!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Silver Lining Saturday, part XIV

Welcome to this week's episode of Silver Lining Saturday!

For one thing, yes, yesterday was my birthday. I don't really make a big deal about my own birthday anymore. Once you can drink, drive, and vote (preferrably not all at once), what's the dif? And, definitely, once one becomes a mom, one's own birthday pretty much takes on the same priority as waxing the lawnmower. BUT, it's still nice to have people say a heartfelt, "Happy Birthday!", and I did get some of those... after a bit of prompting.

On that note, there was the Neighbor Flanders lunch. I told her that I would be "in and out" a lot on Friday. Upon arriving in after a particular out, I found a message from her on my answering machine informing me that she would be delivering my lunch in about a half an hour. The call had come in about a half an hour prior, so I braced myself for impact. She arrived a few minutes later armed with a takeout bag from Zio's Italian Kitchen, complete with salad, entree, roll, drink, cake, packet of plasticware, and personalized birthday card. I felt horribly guilty that she had done this after all the work I put into avoiding her. She assured me that she "just wanted to", and I suppose I should be thankful for her thinking of me, silver lining that it is.

And on the food frenzy theme, the Thanksgiving Feast at the elementary school was a fun success. Coincidentally, I did, in fact, have mashed potato duty (looks around, paranoidly wondering if any school peeps read this blog), gravy too - a double dipper! There was a very large turnout of parents, and we could hardly scoop fast enough to keep up. I served with some fun moms, and I didn't have to cook anything nor clean up!

I'm thankful that my flexible work schedule allows me to do this school volunteering stuff while still having a job that I find fun and rewarding. One of my tutor students informed me that he scored well on the test that we had prepared for. He's happy. Mom's happy. Everybody's happy.

We won the office football pool again at Magnum's work. I don't remember how many weeks we've won, but we've actually got a pretty decent record going. We do our picks together as a family, and the kids get a share of the pot if we win - gotta get that gambling ethic instilled early. Plus, it provides a good outlet for Magnum's competetive nature and keeps him from griping (too much) about the government.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

corn of plenty

I'll be heading out in a little while to go to the Thanksgiving Feast at Meego's school. Yep, they pull out all the stops - set up a full buffet line, complete with whole roasted turkeys (not the wonderful "turkey loaf" with fluorescent green gravy we all remember and love from our own school cafeteria days). As a PTO SUCKER... er... volunteer, I get to work the serving line.

It's actually quite fun. Most of the kids get all dressed up and their parents come in to eat with them, also all dressed up. Meego is wearing a pair of camo cargo shorts and an nondescript t-shirt, his typical M.O. He's not a real dress-up kind of guy, and I figure that's one battle I don't need to pick.

Me, I'll break out the girl clothes for the occassion - being a server and all. Last year, I was corn. Maybe this year, I'll be qualified to move up to mashed potatoes. We'll see. Just don't make me carve. Sterno fumes and sharp objects are not a good mix for me.

AND, this feast duty thing serves as excuse #4 as to why I won't do lunch with Neighbor Flanders. I appreciate everyone's advice on my Neighbor Flanders dilemma, but despite the potential for colorful blog entries, I'm going to continue my evasion tactics. To those who have said, "G'head! who knows? You might have fun!" - thing is, I HAVE. I tried saying yes to her invites early on and that's how I KNOW this would be a Lunch of Eternity, and I don't mean that in a good way.

So, off I go to sling some public school Thanksgiving hash. May the sterno fumes be wafting a-plenty!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

hold the guacamole

Well, what a good class we have here! So knowledgeable of your SOHCAHTOA's and PEMDAS's and FANBOYS's. And extra credit for Jerry for remembering FOIL for expanding the quadratic, and I'm rather curious as to what MYLEGS refers to.

Let me just say that I don't remember EVER being taught any of those mnemonics or whatevers when I was in school. We just learned the stuff the old boring way. I do remember a little ditty a friend of mine from the Catholic school told me for remembering the order of planets in our solar system, but that's it.

I'm thinking I should give prizes to those who were the first to give such good answers, but I'm not sure what to award. Maybe later, I'll rummage through our own little Land of Misfit Toys.

Now, on to a little dilemma. Okay, so some of you know of Neighbor Flanders. For those who don't, a little recap. Neighbor Flanders is my (surprise!) neighbor. She lives across the street. Ever since we moved here 4 years ago, she's been trying to get me to do stuff with her - to build up to this best neighbor buddy thing. I don't want to be best neighbor buddies with Neighbor Flanders.

She's not a bad person or anything, and on the surface, we have lots in common. For lack of a better explanation, I can only say that I just don't feel that she and I are "compatible" with each other. I JUST FIND HER A LITTLE STRANGE, OKAY? I just can't bring myself to just tell her that I don't want to do stuff with her. I get out of her invitations by siting a conflict of schedule or some such. And she just hasn't seemed to be getting the hint! PART OF HER STRANGENESS, I THINK.

She hadn't called me in a while, so I was thinking that maybe she was finally getting it. But NO. Yesterday, she called. She wants to take me to lunch for my birthday that's coming up. UGH!! Now, I know what you're thinking! Just go out to lunch with her already, how bad could it be? OH, it could be bad. AND, I've found that saying yes to her only eggs her on to request MORE!!

Anyway, I told her that I just have a really busy week, and Magnum is out of town for a few days - all true. But the truth is, if it was a friend that I actually wanted to have lunch with, I could've found the time.

Certainly there are worse dilemmas, but this has been ongoing for 4 years, and I feel a bit frustrated. And now she says she's going to MAKE me a lunch and just bring it over. Guilt GUILT!!

I think of myself as a very what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of person - don't have much problem being honest with people, but this Neighbor Flanders thing puzzles me. Fiddlesticks and Shaving cream! (I gave up cussing, remember?)

Just venting. In the meantime, I'll let you know what she makes for lunch *sigh*.

Monday, November 17, 2008

blood thirsty

I just got back from grocery shopping. Monday mornings it's the typical mom crowd at the grocery store. A couple of stay-at-home-dad types too. So cute with their little coupon wallets.

Anyway, I want to see that movie Twilight. I don't know why. I haven't read the book, although I'm like a gazillionth in the queue at the library. I'm not usually a soft-sell when it comes to these hyped movies, and I know the target audience is the teen crowd, but I just want to go see it. Must be that whole obsessed love thing. With a bad boy - a really bad boy - no less.

But there I was at the grocery store and happened to see that they had two copies of the book. Did I buy one? NO, I just don't buy novels, unless it's like at a book fair where some proceeds go to a good cause or something, or if it's a book I know others in the family would want to read. But, alas, it seems that no one else here is at all intrigued by an obsessive love story between a teenaged girl and a vampire. I guess that means that no one here will particularly care to go to the movie with me either. That could actually be a good thing.

It's just as well I didn't buy that book. Work is pretty busy right now, so I need to get back to the FANBOYS and the PEMDAS and the SOHCAHTOA's and stay away from silly vampire novels.

Bonus points - and maybe a prize! - for anyone who knows what FANBOYS, PEMDAS, and SOHCAHTOA's are. The more explanatory the better.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Silver Lining Saturday part XIII

Ooooh! Part XIII - lucky 13! I know, 13 is supposed to be UN-lucky, but it's always been lucky for me, so I like 13. Then again, it's bad luck to be superstitious.

Still, it feels like it was a good week, so time to give it some thought and find out why:

I mentioned that last weekend we went to.... "that" park (don't make me type the whole name again). That was really a fun afternoon. We hadn't done that kind of "family fun" few hours thing in a while, and I was thinking earlier in the day that I really should get some work done and just let Magnum and the boys go, but then changed my mind. So glad I did. We frolicked around, everyone had a good time, and I threw the frisbee until my arm was about to fall off. Made a few catches that would make even the best frisbee dogs jealous, I might add.

We had our monthly elementary school PTO meeting this week. Some readers who've been here a while might remember that I was feeling serious PTO burnout last year and wanting to hang up that volunteer badge. The only reason I agreed to stay on another year was because a friend of mine was taking over as president this year and she'd asked me to stay as treasurer. Many on the board the last few years just rubbed me the wrong way, like they were doing the PTO thing just because it looked good on the volunteer section of their work file. Or they wanted to impress people with their title of "PTO President of Little Neighborhood Elementary School". Impressive as that is *COUGH* I think people should be on a PTO board for the school and the kids. That's why I was in. This year, a lot of those snooty snoots are out, and we've got the aforementioned new president and several new members that are in it for the right reasons. PTO is fun again.

The fall weather has been great, then yesterday, we had this cold front move through. I woke up to go running this morning in 17 degrees F. WHoo, invigorating! I was thankful for my UnderArmour Coldgear and that blasted balaclava. I really have a love/hate relationship with that balaclava.

I'm thankful for my students, both the newer ones and the longer standing ones. They are sincerely trying to improve their lives and reach goals they've set for themselves, and that in turn inspires me.

And, since I haven't said this specifically in a while, I'm thankful for my blog friends. Always entertaining and inspiring and educative and supportive and challenging (you WordTwist people!).

Friday, November 14, 2008

I, (state your name),...

I was at the usual place at the usual time talking with the usual people when one of the usual people says, "AHA! Your name is Abby!" And I'm all, "what?".

It was yesterday, after school. I was near the bench. You know, the bench between the rear door of the school and the playground. The same spot I can be found on most school days at that time, waiting for the mass of school children to come streaming out, newly freed from their school day shackles.

I'm there at that time most weekdays as are the other 4 or 5 people who routinely pick up their kids at that spot. We see each other and we talk about all manner of things. Weekend plans, troubles with kids, funny stories, sad stories, troubles with spouses, troubles with teachers, work stories, hobby stories... Things maybe we don't even talk about with our neighbors, because we don't see our neighbors as often.

Yet, we never really took the time to introduce ourselves, not by names anyway. I learned that one woman's name was Julie only because one day she wasn't there, and someone said, "Where's Julie?". Until then, she was "The Blonde Chick from Canada". Another guy was "The Parrot Dude", because he was a cook at a restaurant called The Thirsty Parrot. Another guy is "Trina's Dad". Then theres "The Big Guy" because, well, he's a pretty big guy.

It was Trina's Dad who revealed that he now knew my name. I had just left our monthly PTO meeting and still had my official I'm-allowed-to-be-in-the-school-building-because-I-signed-the-official-sign-in-sheet-and-stuck-this-official-school-visitor-sticker-on-my-shirt sticker. Half the time, I don't even bother to write my name on those stickers, but yesterday I did. So there it was for all to see.

So Trina's Dad knows my name. The Blonde Chick knows my name. Cell Phone Guy probably doesn't, he's not very interested in us it seems.

But now I'm wondering. Who was I to them before I showed up with a name??

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


When my kids were babies, or even before they were born, I wondered paranoidly about their personalities. I mean, what would a half-Abby half-Magnum baby turn out like?! Yikes!

Turns out our 3 kids have all turned out, so far, like… well… themselves. All unique. Some things in common with each other, some things at polar opposites.

I probably wondered most about Chaco since he was our first. I kind of pictured this Jimmy Neutron type kid, with the lab in the basement, blowing things up. And, well, it seems that the prophecy has been fulfilled.

He’s a good kid and a bit of a science geek. He managed to land himself in high school physics this, his freshman year. Recently, he was given an open-ended assignment to demonstrate his knowledge of Newton’s 3 laws of motion.

The project states: “Your project may consist of any approach that is appropriate and meets the criteria in the grading rubric”. Then it goes on to list a few suggestions: “Short story, Music or song lyrics, Video or film, Drama performance, Art illustration,” etc…

So Chaco chose to create a graphics video. It’s like a hobby to him anyway. Homework that was fun?! What more could a geek freshman ask for!? I know I’m a little biased, but I thought it turned out quite well, considering what was asked of him. So I unashamedly present Chaco’s Newton’s Laws of Motion:

I will admit that, during the time that he was working on the project, if he acted up, the threat of taking his laptop away was veeeerrrrrryyyy effective. I took advantage of the fact that he didn't have to make a computerized video, and if he was unable to finish this project on the laptop, he would have to resort to "Plan B" of my choice.

I chose that he do an interpretive dance.

Thank God and Isaac Newton that it never came to that.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

now let's not get carried away

It was a fine weekend here. On Saturday, we felt the need to go outside and play.

After much deliberation and compromise and a bit of whining, we settled that we would go to a popular local park with the mouthful name of "America the Beautiful Park". I was not on the committee that chose the name of that park. I expect that lots of taxpayer dollars were spent on consultants to come up with the name "America the Beautiful Park", but I've always found the name "America the Beautiful Park" a bit cumbersome.

Where should we go? Let's go to a park. Okay, which park do you want to go to? How about America the Beautiful Park? Okay, America the Beautiful Park is a nice park, let's go to America the Beautiful Park. Anyone else want to go to America the Beautiful Park? Yeah, we want to go to America the Beautiful Park too. Okay then! Let's go to America the Beautiful Park!

So it was decided. We loaded up Econoline the Beautiful Van with various America the Beautiful Park things like Trek the Beautiful Bike and Razor the Beautiful Scooter and In-Line the Beautiful Skates. Oh, and don't forget Wham-O the Beautiful Frisbee.

It was an America the Beautiful Afternoon. America the Beautiful Park has lots of wide open space to America the Beautiful frolic. The kids all rolled around on their various America the Beautiful Vehicles while Magnum and I tossed around Wham-O the Beautiful Frisbee. Three college aged looking America the Beautiful People joined us on the field to play some America the Beautiful Soccer.

There was an Air Force game just starting not too far away, so we were often buzzed by various America the Beautiful Fighter Jets. So just a nice America the Beautiful Day experience all around. America the Beautiful Kids were playing on the America the Beautiful Playground, America the Beautiful Dog Walkers were romping around the America the Beautiful Pathways.

I understand that America the Beautiful Park's name was derived from the America the Beautiful Song that Katharine Lee Bates wrote while overcome with America the Beautiful Emotion during a trip to the top of Pikes Peak. So thank you, Kathy, for that.

Oh well, I doubt the name will change. Unless some aliens decide otherwise.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Silver Lining Saturday part XII

Welcome to another fun-filled episode of Silver Lining Saturday!

In case anyone failed to notice, this week featured election day. Things pretty much turned out the way I expected they would. Note the non-provocativeness of that statement, non-confrontationalist that I am. I am thankful that the campaigning is over. This battleground state business is the pits, I look forward to no more mud spewing from my TV/ radio/telephone/mailbox.

On that note, I'm thankful that the election day bake sale was a fun success. It was nice to have the election to give us an excuse to have one. I enjoyed working with some of the other cool moms, and I wasn't stuck working a shift with any weird moms (you know they exist). Our intent was to not only raise some cash for the school, but also to be a "friendly neighborhood presence" as one PTO maniac put it. I think we accomplished both. It was cool to have some of the older voters stop by for some baked goods and comment on how they remember serving on the PTO and doing the bakes sales and stuff at the school many years ago. Some people bought whole armfuls of stuff to take back to the office. Others put money in the jar without taking even one cookie.

Work is busy and that's good. I remember the managers telling us teachers that people often decide to go back to school when the economy's bad, and that is certainly proving true in my schedule in the form of an increased number of GMAT students. I won't say that I'm thankful for the poor economy, but I'm thankful for the work.

Along with that, I'm thankful that the kids are being responsible at home during those windows of time that both Magnum and I are at work. Chaco and Wolfgang pick Meego up from school on some days, and they even remember to check that he has everything - which he hardly ever does - and go back to retrieve the necessary item(s) when he doesn't. Something I often forget to do when I have Meego pick-up duty.

I went for a run this morning, and it was perfect outside for such a thing. With the change in the clocks last week, I could actually see where I was going. And, as I ran by the local gas station, I noticed that gas is now at $2.03/gal. What??

Friday, November 7, 2008

nothing of particular substance

*sigh of relaxation*

Just felt a need to sit here and update, even though there's really nothing to update about. The whole work thing and being head of a household thing are putting a cramp my blog time.

The weekend has now begun, and I'm contemplating different things:

Computer geek son Chaco has one of his computer geek friends over. They're doing fun creative things on their respective laptops. Whatever happened to getting together with friends and wreaking havoc down at the local playground or something? By the way, don't tell them that I have no idea what they're talking about.

A friend of mine, who is going through a divorce, is going on a date to a hockey game tonight. She gets really loud at hockey games and nearly got kicked out of one once. I hope she doesn't scare her date away, but I won't be surprised if she does.

As for me, I will be hanging out at home watching a Family Movie. Someone was asking me about running earlier this week. How far do I run? Why? Those familiar questions. I think I figured out that I like to run because I don't go out and scream at hockey games, I don't go out and party and dance all night. Gotta do sump'n. Gotta.

It's nice to go out and see that most of the political signs have been removed. As for the ones that are still up.... HEY! PEOPLE!! COME GET YOUR STINKIN' SIGNS!!

Aaaaaah, that's better.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

an allocation of pity, 006

Happy post-election day. I will forgo the political punditting. There's WAAAAY too much of that going on as it is. Besides, I don't like to talk politics here, and the husband and I hashed it out enough. It's a good thing his and my political opinions are aligned.

I will keep it clean and just say that the election day bake sale was a success. I don't know what the final take was, but the donation jar was filling up at a pretty good rate when I left. And the lemon poppyseed bread was being scarfed as well. I purposely didn't make brownies or chocolate chip cookies because I figured everyone and their grandma would make those, and I was right. Go for that lemon poppyseed road less travelled I say!

Sooooo, in a totally unrelated to politics road, I got an award from Freak Magnet. See how purdy?

AS it usually is with these things, I'm supposed to do some work now that I won the thing. Freak Magnet is a relatively new reader here, so I will forgive her and actually play along I suppose.

I'm to post 6 random things about myself and then pass the award along. Sheesh! Random things I haven't posted already?? I mean, I've already confessed to kissing a gay boy, to cheating on my husband's zucchini, to having awful handwriting. What else? Too much probably.

Can I cop out of the award giving? Because there's too many deserving winners? Beej, Anna, Linda, Brandy, Jerry, Judy, Terri, Herb, Rants and Whimsy - whatever her real name is, Laurabelle, Pendoodles... Ack, yes there are too many. And I'm too lazy to provide links to all those bloggers. Go find them.

Oh well, here goes:

1. I've never had chicken pox, but I've had chicken.

2. I once played footsie under the dinner table with a boyfriend only to realize that I was playing footsie with said boyfriend's dad! Wait, that wasn't me. It was a good friend of mine. WHEW!!

3. I still have all my original parts - appendix, tonsils, ovaries, uterus, wisdom teeth - but my two front teeth are fake.

4. I've never eaten sushi, but I've eaten alligator... and fishtix.

5. When I was a kid, I was annoyingly afraid of any and all dogs. Now I like 'em.

6. Patrick Dempsey does nothing for me, nor does George Clooney for that matter. Now, Daniel Craig on the other hand....

<---- click, he get's bigger!

The latest James Bond installment, in theaters Nov. 14.

Hubba hubba! I'd even play footsie with his dad!

Monday, November 3, 2008

easy like Monday morning

Two lemon poppyseed loaves and a round of antibiotics please.

That's kind of been my morning this Monday. Our elementary school is having a bake sale tomorrow since it's a polling place. Might as well cash in on the vote. With everyone voting early or mail-in, we'll see how many turn out on the actual voting day. A friend of mine went to vote on Friday and was faced with a 3-hour line, so she said, "Screw it. I'll vote on Tuesday". That raises my hopes for bake sale success.

So I cooked a couple of lemon poppyseed loaves - from a mix, whatever - and they have been successfully dropped off at the election day bake sale staging area. I'll be working the morning shift by the way, my fellow Americans...

And you know the cat got in that scrap last week. He seemed to be healing up well enough, but then he started to stink to high heaven! Upon examination, we discovered another facial wound. Nasty puncture that almost went all the way through his upper lip. "Does your face hurt?? 'cause it's killing me!", I told him. He didn't laugh.

We drowned him in antiseptic all weekend and he started to smell a little better, but I took him to the vet's this morning. Here's some more gore:


And another of the nose:

Anyway, no infection yet, and he got a nice shot of some new antibiotic that will hold him off for two weeks. He's acting his usual self. In fact, he keeps badgering us to put him outside at night, he's looking for a rematch with Smokey, stupid cat.

So that's been my morning. That and Cookie LITERALLY got pissed at me for taking him to the vet's.

Gotta go clean the cat carrier now...

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Silver Lining Saturday part XI

Whoo, another week, another Silver Lining Saturday!

For one thing, we survived Halloween without anything burning down or getting Teepeed, so I suppose that's something to be thankful for. And speaking of which, I went to Meego's party, and it all went off without a hitch. A very capable Party Mom took the reins, and I was happy to be her minion. Also, Meego remembered a flight suit he had collecting dust in the closet, so that was his costume. I didn't have to sew a stitch or hot glue anything!

Wolfgang happily took the little bro out trick-or-treating after transforming into an evil Nazi.

I've raked about a google leaves this week, with a google more (how much in a google? Google it!) still left on the trees in the front yard. In true silver lining form however, the weather was beautiful this week, so I'm thankful for that. If you're futily raking leaves while a bunch are still on the trees, might as well be doing it in beautiful weather.

I got two new work assignments this week, and I'm qualifying to add another test to my repertoire. I'm thankful for my job and the fact that I find it fun and interesting and geeky.

I'm thankful that the cat, Cookie, was not shredded any worse than he was after his latest fight. That opponent was one big sucker! Don't know where he came from and I haven't seen him since.

On that note, I'm thankful for two of neighbor Flanders' kids who came and told us they'd broken up the catfight and that Cookie was bleeding. Both those kids are very allergic to cats, but jumped into the fray anyway.

And, yet again, I'm thankful for my friends - real life and virtual. Life would be SOOO dull without 'em.

Friday, October 31, 2008

stupid pet tricks

Hey, how youse doin'? It's me, Cookie. I ain't posted a entry here in a while, so thought I'd stop by.

See, I'm convalessin'. Just takin' things easy these days because of something happened the other night.

I was just out mindin' my own business y'know like normal, plannin' the next morning's bird hunt - stuff like that. Anyways, this big dude cat comes along. I mean, musta been about 15 pounds. Big gray. I call him "Smokey", he's the color of pollution.

So this Smokey cat, he wants to mix it up with me. ME! Tough Cookie! So's I tell him, okay pollution cat, g'head. Gimme your best shot. And he did. Slashed me right in the snoz. See the gash?

Cripes, there was like blood everywhere. Looked like my face was gonna fall off, y'know? The neighborhood girls were lovin' that, lemme tellya. Yeah, it's a shame I had that surgery thing and won't be makin' anymore like me, but let's not talk about that, I din't have a say.

So's anyways, my humans helped clean me up 'n' stuff. Found out my face was as handsome an' intact as ever, just had this gaping wound, but it takes more than that to mess this up! And yeah, don't think they didn't notice the other blood on me. Yeah, dat's right - gotta be pollution cat's blood, no? I only got the one wound. Haven't seen the big guy around since either. Huh? HUH? Know what I'm sayin'??

So yeah, I took about a day to do some extra layin' around, and now I'm good to go. I heard the fam sayin' that if I laid around much more, they'd take me to the freakin' vets! I ain't goin' to no freakin' vets, lemme tellya! Hate that place!

So I'm good. Feeling good and back to fightin' weight - in case Smokey's dumb enough to come around some more.

Well, that, and Abby's got the Super Soaker locked and loaded.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

it has a name!

My name is Abby, and I do not have pretty writing.

The first step is to recognize that there is a problem. Terri recently posted a blog entry done in her neat, friendly handwriting and urged others to do likewise. Ugh, do I dare put readers through the torture?

Now I don't think too much about this, this "disability" of mine. It usually only causes me consternation when I need to write a personal note of some sort, like a thank-you. A thank-you should be handwritten and authentic and pretty. I try, but it seems the harder I try, the worse it gets.

I actually keep a written journal, but I don't worry about anyone finding it and reading it, because it's so illegible, even I can't read it.

BUT, I recently learned that there's a name for this! I'm not alone!

Graphomotor function is the use of the neuromuscular system in the fingers and hands to effectively maneuver a pen or pencil and put letters and words on paper. People with graphomotor problems struggle with this, especially as assignment length increases. This function affects the ability to keep pace with the flow of ideas.

Yes, that's me! Graphomotor function - "the deeply mysterious and too often elusive form of motor ability needed for writing." - Mel Levine, M.D. - problem.

And I'm a teacher now. My biggest obstacle in my teacher training was writing legibly on the whiteboard. My trainer just tells me to "practice practice practice"... "and, write in BLOCK LETTERS". So that's what I do. I have a whiteboard in my house for practice. It's getting better.

I know a lot of people who just say, "I have bad handwriting", and it seems that maybe they're just lazy, but I can attest to the struggles these people have with legible writing. Like I said, the harder I try to write prettily, the uglier it gets. And yes, the longer the note gets, the more it looks like sh*t on a shingle. And yes, my hand just can't keep up with what my brain's trying to say. *sigh*

So, to all the Graphomos out there (is that a proper label?). You are not alone!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

in high support of red ribbon week

So you know that song? "I Kissed a Girl" by Katy Perry? Of course you do, it was on the radio, like, every 5 minutes over the summer.

I think it's a fun and cute song and all. I noticed, though, that whenever a radio station would air a caller calling into request it, and the caller was a girl, and the DJ asked if the caller had ever herself kissed a girl, caller would almost always say, "yeah *giggle *giggle*".

I feel like the 44-year-old virgin here. I mean, is this some rite of passage? Did I not get the memo? I don't even have a there-was-this-one-time-in-college story. Is it as rampant as the radio call-ins would suggest?

There were these two friends of mine in high school. They were sisters (...yes we're going there). They were only one year apart, and they shared a bedroom. In fact, they shared a bed - small house for a relatively large family. Anyway, it seems that one sister was having a particularly "good" dream and started sleep-kissing the other sister. Other sister, not being really awake either, responded in kind. Eventually they awoke from their dreamlike make-out session to being fully awake and realizing what they were doing. Much spitting and gagging ensued.

They each kissed a girl, they didn't like it.

The only personal story I have that comes close is this: I was with a very good friend of mine at a party during high school. We had been good friends since kindergarten. So we're both at this party where there was no shortage of giggle weed, ganga, jay, weed... yeah, okay there was plentiful marijuana. None of it was MINE! Dang horticulture club.

Anyway, I'm there with my good friend and he says -- aha! yes, he's a HE -- and he says he wants to kiss me. And I just start laughing because... yeah. And so he starts laughing and says it again, but stops laughing. So I stop laughing and look at him all stupidly.

Now the two of us had been friends for a long time, as mentioned, strictly platonic. In fact, at that time, it was highly suspect that he was gay. So, I don't know, I guess because he was my friend and I cared about him and all, I said okay, and he kissed me. It was really weird and... Eeeeew.

We've remained friends, and since then, he has totally come out of the closet and is living a happy life as a "wife". I sure hope it wasn't that kiss with me that pushed him over the line, but who knows. Anyway, that's as close as I come to a kissed-a-girl story.

I kissed a gay boy, and I didn't like it.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

leave your body and soul at the door

On the way to school today, I asked Meego what he was going to be for Halloween. When I asked him last week, he didn't know. Same answer this morning, in an oh-yeah-Halloween's-in-three-days kinda way.

So I guess Halloween isn't a big deal for him. I did get some candy yesterday for the little moochers. Kit Kats and Milky Ways. I've often thought about doing something a little more original and less nutritionally empty, but once again I got the junk.

And there will be the inevitable classroom party on Friday. I've been to several, but forgo being the designated "Party Mom". I'll be support crew, all well and good, but just don't make me the Martha Stewart of the classroom.

After a while, the moms and teachers all sort of know who the Party Moms are. The ones who just eat that stuff up - been doing it since their now college kids were in kindergarten. Not me, man. Don't get me wrong, I love a good party, just don't ask me to throw it.

And so I realize I have no idea who the Party Mom is this year for Meego's class. The control freak mom from first grade is in a different class THANK GOD this year, and a good friend of mine who was a great Party Mom from last year moved away over the summer CRAP! And now this is the first party of the school year so I have no idea who will be running the show. I just know that I purposely did NOT check that box on the volunteer form.

Meego will probably request a highly complex costume on or around Thursday night. And if the teacher calls looking for Party Mom, I'm not here.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Silver Lining Saturday part X

Part X folks. I've been grateful for 10 weeks now!

The week went by fast. Wasn't it just last saturday?? But it was another goodie. Here's what what.

Democracy in Action. Well, I did vote. I'm thankful that I decided to do mail-in this year. Colorado has a humungo ballot, and it was nice to fill it out on my own time at home without having to wait in line, or have others waiting behind me. I didn't see Tina Fey on the ticket though. Where was Tina Fey??

Kuddles for Kids. I mentioned here about those Lumber voodoo dolls that the elementary school counselor had requested. I'm thankful to say that the clandestine drop off of the contraband went without a hitch. She was very happy to received them. She told me that some of the kids (with deployed military parents) had specifically asked for the little Lumbers, but she had no idea where to get them. Now she knows. But ONLY she knows! Everybody keep it zipped!

Mission Accomplished? I finished up with another tutor student this week. He has a test today, and another next weekend. I think he's ready. Is he ready? I think he's ready. And I'm thankful that finishing with him left some time in my schedule this week to "Sharpen the Saw" as they say. Can't be getting dull now, can we?

Canine Therapy. Our dog China, I've mentioned, is a bit mental. She has *ahem* issues from, no doubt, an abusive puppyhood. Last spring, I decided that I would make it a priority to take her for a walk every day as she does love the walks. Plus that was about the time our other dog died, so she was a bit melancholy on top of being mental. And I've noticed recently that she's doing better. I'm thankful that she's not so jittery, not so bitchy with other dogs, and maybe getting past her past. She'll always be kinda crazy, that's part of why we love her. Happy and crazy isn't so bad.

Ya Gotta Haves. I'm thankful for friends. Friends who are happy to do favors without expectation of anything in return, friends who can keep each other smiling through rough times, and friends who care enough to give helpful advice, even if it's not what someone wants to hear. I'm thankful to be on both sides of those lines. (And yeah, that counts for blogger friends as well as the real life kind).