Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Dear Abby

No, not me, that other one...

My husband's evil stepmother (his title for her, not mine... well...) has, for YEARS given me a pleasant desktop calendar for Christmas. For YEARS, I used it on my desk at work. I would write down meetings and other appointments in there, not so much for me, but for coworkers who came a-looking for me.

There it would sit with my scheduled commitments written out for all to see. So if someone came by my cubicle wanting to talk to me about something, they would know if I was in a meeting or something, and the approximate time when I would return. If nothing was written in the pleasant desk top calendar and I wasn't there, it was safe to assume that I was just roaming the building or hiding in the bathroom or something and would probably return relatively soon.

I haven't had a desk job in over 12 years.

Still, the calendars arrive. I give them away.

I got another pleasing desk calendar from the stepmotherinlaw this Christmas. I will give it away.

My question is: Do I ask her to stop sending them? Or is it too late for that? If I do make the request, will it dawn on her that I've not used the pleasant desktop calendars for the last 12 years?

Before answering, perhaps I should provide some background info on the stepmotherinlaw. She is not exactly the sweet little old lady type. No, not at all. Seen the movie "Devil Wears Prada?" Remember Meryl Streep's character? That's similar to my stepmotherinlaw, only not as extreme. Really.

I would bet money, cash MONEY, that her coworkers, particularly the underlings, speak about her behind her back - instant messaging each other and such similar to the way as in "DWP". In fact, my husband has had it documented that certain neighbors have done such things. And there's some evidence of connection to Nazi's, but really, I just don't want to go there...

ANYWAY, in addition, I think it's safe to say that she's never really understood my leaving a perfectly good title and profession to be a LOWLY stay-at-home-mom. Perhaps the pleasant desk calendars are her form of denial.

What would you do?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


On Saturday, we went to the mall.

YES, we braved the day-after-Christmas crowds and hit it. Of course, we wouldn't get the full drama of it if we didn't experience the mall food court, so that's exactly what we did.

Lunchtimish, day after Christmas, mall food court. We were sitting there amongst the throngs eating various things. Meego had a large plate of Japanese something-or-other, and once he'd eaten his fill, the vultures (a.k.a. Chaco and Wolfgang) swooped in to lick his plate clean.

I just nonchalantly happened to note, "all those dishes on the steam table taste the same like there's just one big wok in the back and then the workers fill up different compartments."

Both Chaco and Wolfgang stopped mid-chow and gave me quizzical looks.

"No they don't", was the concensus as the quizzical looks persisted.

"Yeah, they all just sort of swim around in that same saucy stuff and...", I could tell this was sounding like I was some sort of alien. Then Magnum cleared things up.

"Mom doesn't have smell buds, so she doesn't taste anything either. Sense of taste and smell are related".

Okay, so that didn't really clear things up. I was sure they knew the story of how I somehow left my sense of smell on the delivery table when I gave birth to Wolfgang, but apparently not.

They were absolutely astounded to learn this.

"You never told us that!", Wolfgang stated, wide-eyed, lips glistening with one-sauce-fits-all.

"Well...", I explained, "I can smell SOME things. Burning diesel fuel is somewhat noticeable".

That didn't really help either. I told them how I even asked my ob/gyn about this strange phenomenon at my 6-month post Wolfgang checkup.

"Pffft, beats me", was her educated opinion. "Maybe it's Nature helping you out since you have two in diapers now". Worked for me.

I've heard of similar things happening. I have a friend who suddenly became allergic to dogs after having kids. Another friend lost 3 teeth. I have a dog, a cat, and my teeth are all pretty well rooted. I don't really mind that all of the food at King's Wok tastes the same. The kids thought this a bit of a travesty though.

"You mean, you can't smell it when you make corned beef and cabbage - the way the whole house smells like it, even the basement?" Wolfgang asked forlornly.

"Uhm... no, not really". This seemed to make them sad, so I added, "Well, I can kinda smell bacon! OH, and dog breath! I don't really smell it, but there's the sensation of it in a gag reflex kind of way!"

This cheered them up somewhat.

Their mother could sense dogbreath and bacon. Things were okay with the world.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Silver Liningness Sunday

Hmmm.... anything special happen this past week? Well, there WAS that Christmas thing...

Yes, a special week it was. I'm still basking in the afterglow. It was a low-key Christmas day this year, much like our low-key Thanksgiving.

For one thing, I'm thankful that we are able to have the financial side of Christmas. Magnum and I don't fuss over the getting of stuff, but do like to get special things for the kids since we're total tightwads with them the whole rest of the year (probably according to them anyway).

On that note, it's been a good year for me workwise, being able to contribute more to the kitty.

Continuing with the materialistic theme... the kids - particularly Chaco - are lobbying heavily for a new TV, pointing out the great deals out there right now. Yesterday, during one such pitch, Chaco enticed me by noting that we could mount the new TV on the wall, thus being able to move the old TV, currently on a stand. "We could get rid of the old TV stand, and you could VACUUM!" He knows me and my love of dust bunny annihilation all too well. I nearly bought the TV right then and there.

The kids have a small humidifier in their room. It began dying a noisy death on Christmas eve - as if it's not hard enough to sleep on that night anyway. Between the cooking of the Christmas ham and scalloped potatoes, I managed to tenderly bring the dying humidifier back to life. Nothing like some good machine surgery to bring about some yuletide peace.

Some readers here may remember our traditional Escape-to-the-Yurt! Christmas trips. Well, yurts aren't exactly erected in easily accessible areas, particularly under winter conditions. After a couple of years of having our Yurtness spoiled by bad weather, we don't reserve one anymore. I made the suggestion the other night that we should simulate the yurt experience during our break, so we've scheduled a "no electronics" day or two for next week. That should be fun. Right? Shouldn't it be? It will, won't it??


Friday, December 25, 2009

living large

Merry Christmas to all of my blog friends!

Here's our little blue spruce all.... er... spruced up for the occassion.

And I think the rest of the festivities of the day are declared a success. A low-key holiday around here so far, and everyone is in a holiday state of contentment.

After anxiously awaiting the morning, Chaco is now anxiously awaiting the night to try out the new night vision scope (note: I want to try it too).

Wolfgang has now proudly proclaimed that he has the best cell phone in the family (note: this is true, but really, it wouldn't take much to acquire that position).

Meego has retired to a corner of the Man Cave to spend quality time with the Legos (note: I want to play with the bus).

Even the cat is festively sparring with some Christmas trash. The dog is, however, clueless as always.

Magnum has been spying things with his new binoculars. I think we could spot stranded hikers on Pikes Peak if necessary. These things are huge, though. It's like "Mr. Magoo Goes Stargazing" or something. I mean, look!

Okay, this post is seriously starting to have a pornographic feel to it now...


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

it was a pizza mash

The latest winter storm is moving through and we are amply stocked with life's necessities.

I made an intrepid invasion to wal-farts yesterday, mandating beforehand that it would be my last such invasion until well after Christmas. The place can be ugly around Christmastime.

So I got us well stocked with food and shampoo and cat litter (life's necessities), and returned home to find I would have to get creative with the fridge packing. The leftovers were making their presence known, so it would be another famous clean-out-the-fridge dinner.

When this happens, I sometimes become divinely inspired and combine the leftover morsels into some nicely packaged regifted meal. Just wasn't feeling it yesterday, though.

Even now as I think about it, leftover pizza with leftoever mashed potatoes and mushroom gravy does not sound appetizing. Martha Stewart would probably declare that this is NOT living.

All I know is that this utilitarian meal was satisfyingly consumed and so far, everyone who partook has lived to eat another day.

I don't plan on serving it again, though.

Monday, December 21, 2009

the twee

So here's Christmas Tree Oh Nine. Isn't she cute? We adopted her Saturday and she seems to be taking nicely to her surroundings.

She has yet to meet the dog, though.

We expect her to sleep all through Christmas and beyond. This tradition with the live Christmas trees started many Christmases ago. I don't even remember, but I guess we just decided to get a tree that would go on top of a table and be out of little kid reach.

Now the "little kids" are the ones who hang the lights on the house.

The trees are later planted somewhere in the yard. I really wonder how our trees are doing at the houses we no longer live at.

This tree be a dwarf blue spruce. I think. I don't remember if we went for the regular or the dwarf and I don't feel like going out into the cold garage to check it right now.

Anyway, we've got the tree. The decorations are up. My shopping's done. Cards are mailed.

It can be Christmas now.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Silver Liningness Sunday

Another lovely week has been entered into the books...

Got our Christmas tree yesterday. I've mentioned here before that we traditionally get a small still-in-the-pot evergreen each Christmas and then plant it in the yard later. This year, it's a cute little baby blue spruce. Shhhh.... it's sleeping in the garage.

The kids had their last week of school before winter break this past week. It was finals week for the high schoolers. Chaco and Wolfgang say they think they did well on the things. We will soon find out if reality matches.

I've taken the last few weeks off from work. I'm thankful that I have such flexibility in my job. I'm starting to notice that I miss it though, and that's something to be thankful for too. I've got a class scheduled to start up in a couple of weeks - fresh out of the gate for the New Year. A gala it certainly will be.

So, we are pretty much on break-time status, which is temporarily a nice thing. I'm thankful for couch-potatoes and sleeping cats - not necessarily mutually exclusive items.


Saturday, December 19, 2009

party on

<--I hereby present... the yema ball.

Yes, Wolfgang and I had yema ball success. I found a recipe that looked pretty easy, plus it even had a video to go with it. The guy making the yema balls in the video spoke tagalog, but was easy enough to follow anyway. It kinda went like:

"tagong bakong abonga chonga egg yolk... bonbaga chonga konga mongalonga condense milk..." and so on.

Anyway, our yema balls came out looking just like the ones in the video, so I assume they tasted like they were supposed to taste.

And I will say this... I am NOT a fan. yucko. But, to each his own. Wolfgang brought them to his party and claimed that some people really liked them. I think they are like egg nog in the way that people either love it or hate it.

Meego's class had its holiday party yesterday morning, so I attended that. Yes, the school has a new party policy this year - having parties at the start of the day rather than at the end of the day. I guess the thinking is that they will get the parties out of the way, then the kids can move back to learning stuff.


Oh well, a party's a party and it was typical 4th grade fun. And it felt quite sporting to leave the sugared up kids with their teachers for the remainder of the day.

Some classrooms really got into the party-in-the-morning theme. One classroom had bacon and eggs while another had gingerbread pancakes. Meego's party had neither of these, but we figured that party moms are eligible to crash other classrooms' parties.

Now, we've two and a half weeks of winter break fun ahead of us. Little icicles formed on my eyelashes this morning when I went out to run. How fitting.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Yema balls.

I'm supposed to make Yema balls today. Or at least get them started.

What the Francis are Yema balls??

Apparently, they are some sort of Filipino dessert/cookie thing. Wolfgang said he was bringing them to his "International" party tomorrow. Enter mom-makes-yema-balls request.

He found a recipe online. I searched and found several others. No two match. Dang yema balls.

I will attempt something. Probably an amalgamation of various yema ball recipes. I mean, who's gonna know if they turned out right or not? Yema balls?

IN other news, remember my cute little iPod shuffle? I took it for it's first run today. Oh, so fun! So light! Now the thing with it is, it's so tiny, that there are no controls other than off/on/play/shuffle on the little unit. Volume control and skip/pause are on this little switch attached to the wire of the earbuds.

So I'm on my iPod run, and I go to decrease the volume and some point. Well, nothing changed. I'm like clicking away on that little control and nothing. I try "pause", nothing. It worked fine earlier on the various little test drives.

I'm trying it now, and the pause/skip works, but still no volume control. I think maybe it gets saturated with perspiration, and this perspiration saturation renders it useless? Anyone else have this problem??

updateness: I searched online (how did we get anything done before the internet??) and yes, apprently this is a sweat-gets-into-the-controller problem. Teflon tape anyone?

Other than that, I love it.

IN other news, Meego still wants a baby. What I thought was just a passing phase is still here. Maybe we should start "the talk".

Yema balls should be easier.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

smell like I sound

The following post is somewhat in response to Beej's many "What Did Dirty Larry Bring Me" episodes...

It seems that I'm beginning my emergence out of the dark ages. Looky what Magnum got me!

Yes, it's a precious little iPod shuffle.

I've mentioned here before that I didn't own such a thing. I'm not really the ubiquitous earbud type, and when I do listen to fed-straight-into-the-ears tunes, it's just when I'm using my treadmill.

But finally, FINALLY, Magnum's frequent flyer miles were worth something. Rather than just offering airplane tickets to someplace we weren't going to anyways (because we've got three kids that we would then have to cough up money for plane tickets for in addition, and who really wants to spend that money and travel on an airplane with three kids?), they've started offering other sweet treasures.

Such as my brand new precious iPod shuffle. And that's not all. Magnum got himself some sweet new binoculars too.

Just got it last night, so haven't used it yet. As usual, I plan to just use it on the treadmill. I'll be a downloading fool today.

I think it goes lovely with the loufah that Magnum scarfed from that hotel room for me.

And no, this is not a Christmas present so yes, I can have it NOW.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Silver Liningness Sunday

Happy Sunday! I have much to be happy about.

For starters, my thermometer says "42". No, not "4.2", not "-4.2", but a whopping FORTY-TWO above zero! It feels like the Bahamas.

Okay, enough of the boring meteorological updates...

It was a good week. We had that blustery coldness, but that was actually kind of fun. Kids got a snow day and a delayed start out of it. The count now stands at 4 snowdays used up for this year. The schedule allows for 6. 2/3 down and it's only mid-December.

It was also quite productive. I was way behind on some of our financial mumbo jumbo - just one of the many hats I wear around here: financial mumbo jumbo person - and I'm glad to say that it's almost all caught up now. Much crunching of numbers.

On that note, I'm thankful that we have some decent numbers to crunch in these "tough economic times".

In other productivity news, My Christmas Shopping Is DONE! Can you believe it? Neither can I! Now, about those decorations....

In movie watching updates, we saw the latest Star Trek movie. I'm not a Trekkie. I'm not even really a Science a-Fictionado. Magnum and the kids liked it, though. I slept a bit and wondered why Uhura was often dressed in clothing that was 2 or more sizes too small. Eric Bana as the vengeful, tattooed, bad boy, Romulan, Nero was HOT, though.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Years ago, I ran a childcare in my home. Just prior to doing that, I went to the state required run-a-childcare-out-of-your-home school.

This was nice, just a few training classes for a few evenings. I met some nice ladies there. What's not to like about a run-a-childcare-out-of-your-home lady? I have yet to meet one that I didn't like.

Anyway, I learned many useful things there regarding the care and feeding of other people's children. Did you know that a caregiver is only really allowed to carry, at most, two babies at a time? Particularly if running? What would you do in case of a fire? And you have more than two babies? Ever think about THAT?

I hung up my home childcare hat a while ago, but one tip that has remained with me is the art of ventilating the home EVERY day. Yes, it is highly recommended that we open windows, preferrably all windows, of the house for at least 30 minutes a day. This keeps the inside air fresh as opposed to just recirculating the old, stale, kiddie-germ infected air, and helps keep the house from becoming a very large petri dish. Do you do that cover-windows-with-ugly-plastic-and-smooth-it-with-the-blowdryer each winter? STOP!

To this day, I open the windows - north, south, east, west - for at least 30 minutes a day.

Yes, even when the temperatures are in the single digits. (Note: you should turn off your thermostat during this ventilation time, to prevent your furnace from trying to heat the entire neighborhood).

Since we and many in the rest of the country are currently in the deep freeze, it is more noticeable when I do this ventilation ritual. Actually, I typically do it when I leave the house and everyone else is at work or school.

Tuesday was a major freeze day as well as a snow day off from school. Everybody but Magnum was home, shunning the outdoors. Nonetheless, I ventilated. Oh, how I ventilated.

I opened the windows and let the screaming wind have it's way with us. No one really freaked out too much. I think they were all on a snowday high. Eventually, however, it started to become noticeable.

Cover was sought, blankets were wrapped, thermostat was consulted.

"When it drops below 55, buy!", I directed.

The huddling continued.

Ultimately, we did reach 55 degrees. I gave the signal, and there was a mass frenzy of window slamming. One window revolted however. Snow had blown in and had gotten icy and prevented the shutting of said window.

After some struggle, I got it closed. "HA HA, that would be funny if we couldn't shut it until spring!"


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

a struggle ensued

We're having us a snowday today and, baby, it's COLD outside. Remember that snow on Sunday? It's still here and it invited a bunch of friends to come over too. My thermometer reads a whopping "1". Up from the zero a few minutes ago. Is it a warming trend?

With this snowday, that makes for three snowdays on the school year and two delayed starts. It's only December 8! If this keeps up, they'll still be going to school in July (cool!).

I like snowdays, though... the cozy deprivation they provide.

We must struggle more in a winter storm. It's a struggle to go outside. It's a struggle to drive. My garage door is refusing to fully open. It opens just enough to squeeze the cars underneath, as if it's saying, "not doing any more than I hafta!"

Yesterday was cold too, but not quite as snowy. I struggled a bit with the garage door. Then I struggled to get gas for the car. Then I struggled to get groceries.

It helps that I'm currently reading "The Coldest March" It puts things in perspective. If their struggles are infinity, mine are about a 3.

Later yesterday afternoon, I took China the crazy dog out for her customary walk. Yes, it was cold, but she has fur and looks forward to our walks. We don't go that far. Even so, about halfway through the walk, she turned and looked at me as if to say, "Why are we out here again?"

Maybe I should introduce her to the stories in the book. She's not pulling any supplies, and I don't plan on eating her when she's of no more use to me.

Be glad.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Silver Liningness Sunday

Sunday... Snowy Sunday. Certainly better than bloody Sunday.

Yes, we have snow. Fluffy, pretty, fluffy snow. I know because I went outside this morning to get the newspaper. I searched around, to no avail, like a ski patroler seeking an avalanche victim. Then I came back inside and called the newspaper people. Their recording said, "we have snow" (paraphrasing).

It's been a lovely week. Everyone went back to work and school after our slothful Thanksgiving week. I, however, had the week off from teaching and got totally caught up on stuff that's gone by the wayside as of late... okay, maybe not "totally", but who is really ever totally caught up, I ask!

The pantry is pretty well stocked, the house is SEMI clean, we ate SEMI real dinners... Even the car is happy with a fresh lube and oil change. AAAaaaaaaaaahhhhh....

AND I spent time on one of my favorite hobbies - that of PURGING! No, not in a bulimic way or in a colonoscopic way, but in a get-rid-of-clutter way. I got rid of some old frump clothing, some no-longer-useful books, some worn out shoes, etc. I highly recommend it.

Magnum and I once again came out winners in the crapshoot of DVD watching. I selected The Lucky Ones purely on a whim because I was in a hurry and thought it had possibilities, although I had never ever never heard of it. It was REALLY good! Just one of those plotless movies that can really stay with you. Go see!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

oh, here we go

Okay, so a couple of weeks ago, there was that Thanksgiving feast thing at the elementary school. I mostly served up stuffing and gravy, but was allowed to go eat with Meego during his feasting time.

Honestly, I may not have even gone if not for the hash slinging duty. I mean, the food's good and all, but bottom line, you're still eating in an elementary school cafeteria. My ears were honestly ringing afterwards, like I'd attended a rock concert. And Meego gets more of a kick out of me pulling lunch lady duty than me actually sitting and eating with him. But sit and eat with him I did.

Now these are 4th graders. Nine or ten years old. A good bulk of the conversation of those whose parents were not in attendance centered around the various "relationships" in this soap opera that is 4th grade.

Who's "dating" who. Who's broken up because of who was "cheating" with whom. Who is broken up over the break up. Etc., etc. All this and the noise level did not make for healthy digestion.

"La la la, one-two-three, la la la...." I offered while plugging my ears with my fingers and looking at the ceiling - wanting to provide a mature example. All to no avail as the drama continued.

This was mostly girl-talk, and the boys who were sitting nearby would involuntarily get roped in. Try as they might to change the subject, those girls were on a roll.

One girl sitting next to me, Lea, pretty much ignored the others. Lea is a neighbor of ours and has been friends with Meego since first grade. She's cute and precocious for her mere 9 years. She and Meego spend a lot of time together at school as they both go to the TAG reading and math teacher in addition to being in the same class.

Lea often walks home with us as she lives right around the corner. I notice that Meego acts a little differently around Lea than he does around his manly guy friends. More "chivalrous" is the best way to describe it.

A few days ago, I overheard Lea tell Meego that a classmate, Olive, liked Meego. Meego said nothing in response and Lea made an additional statement to confirm the first. Then Meego made a comment about Olive that was not what I would call slanderous, but was a round about declaration that he did not have mutual feelings for Olive. (I will note that Olive wore a rockin' Laura Croft costume for the Halloween party!)

Lea dropped the subject of Olive and commenced to inviting Meego to her house to play racecar video games. The two of them continued off into the sunset, seemingly oblivious of me.

"La la la, one-two-three, la la la...."

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


I realized a while back that there are some accents I just don't like. It doesn't matter what the person is saying, the voice, the accent, make it stop!

I'm not sure why this is. Does it make me prejudiced in some way?

(Okay, this blog post is a bit of a confession..)

For instance, I realized I do not like James Dobson's voice. His accent. James Dobson - he's that Focus on the Family guy. Focus on the Family is based here in Colorado Springs. Some people don't like James Dobson. They say he should just Focus on his own D*mn Family! I don't really care, let him have his ministry. I just can't stand his VOICE!

His voice comes on the radio every now and then. ACK, it's like fingernails on a chalkboard to me! Seriously, if I were to be tortured, just turn on non-stop James Dobson and I'll spill everything!

What really bugs me? It's the way he pronounces words that end in "-ive" by pronouncing it "-eev". Like "active", he says "acteev". Isn't that grating?! I know!

He might have some good advice, but I just can't deal.

On the other hand, take the Aussie accent. On Sunday I was out running and I literally ran into a bunch of people playing, of all things, rugby. What? Rugby, yeah, that's what I said. Really, there must've been about 100 people in this rugby madness.

In the midst of it all, I heard a few Aussie accents here and there: "All Rot, mates...", "Avery wone get a tay shut?", etc...

The Aussie accent has a rather playful sound. Sounds like beer during high school.

I wanted a tay shut.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Silver Liningness Sunday

Well it was Thanksgiving week after all, double thankfulness!

We all had the week off, and no nutty in-laws visitors scheduled to come out, and no schedules to meet. This was nice. We just sort of played.

Earlier in the week, we decided to go visit a small nearby zoo since it was a nice day out. Despite the lovely weather, the zoo was not crowded at all, so we could embarrass ourselves with mostly just the animals being aware of it.

The kids and some birds, not to be mistaken with the dead bird we ate on Thanksgiving.

We also got in a fair amount of hiking and general playing-outside time, foregoing the coochie-coochie-in-the-car time.

Watched a coupla DVD's: Coraline, which is pretty weird and The Big White ,which was fun and better than I expected it would be.

And, in light of the headlines that won't go away, I am thankful to just be a boring wife and mom on a budget, in contrast to being a supermodel married to a golf legend. Not that I ever came close to being either...

Friday, November 27, 2009

karma, I hope

Friday has arrived and it's been an extra-sleeping, extra-eating, extra-time-wasting, rip roaring good time of a week!

Really, we all had the entire week off - no work, no school for anybody here. We declined spending Thanksgiving with Magnum's sister and the other in-laws don't usually come out here in the colder months (thank GOD), so we've just been enjoying a lo-stress Thanksgiving week.

I'm not a regular "black Friday" participant, but I did get out into the fray earlier. Seems a little [censored] stole Chaco's winter jacket last week at school. I do believe in Karma, so there's comfort in that. Anyways, Chaco and I had planned to go jacket hunting today.

At about 10:45 this morning, I went into his room to roust him out of bed. You've seen those cartoons with teenagers sleeping into the middle of the day under piles of clothes and stuff? Those are real!!

Anyway, I jostled him about, told him I was going to walk the dog and that he should be ready to go jacket shopping when I got back in about 30 minutes.

"Mmmmmmrrrrrrrrrrrr..." was the reply, which I'm sure translates to, "of course, sweet mother of mine".

The dog and I went out and enjoyed a lovely walk and I returned to find Chaco laying there in about the same position I'd left him in.

"DUDE! Gedddupareddy!", I sweetly reminded. To which he responded by laughing and emerging from the bed, fully showered, fully dressed and apparently fed.

Ha Ha. Very funny.

Anyway, we headed to Big 5. Found a nice winter jacket to replace the perfect-but-stolen winter jacket (karma... karma.... breathe... breathe...).

Note: There aren't any good Black Friday deals on winter jackets in late November in Colorado.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Happy Thanksgiving to all of my blog friends. I'm truly thankful for all of you all.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

trail mix

We pulled into the parking lot at the trailhead and got out for a short afternoon hike. Just the two of us.

I says, "Sheesh, just go to the trailhead and make out in the car..."

He says, " okay?"

I says, "No, I'm talkin' about that couple in the car parked next to us!" *whispering kind of loud*

"OH!", he says, "I didn't see them". *whispering kind of loud now too*

I figured he'd seen them when he got out of the car. I had driven, and the make out car was to our passenger side. I just happened to look over and catch a glimpse of the festivities.

I really don't think they'd planned on going to a popular trailhead to make out in the car in the middle of a sunny afternoon. We figured they just got so caught up in the whole splendor-of-nature moment.

Or they just like doing that sort of thing.

Well, we hiked. See ^ ? Got some photos.

I wonder if the make out car couple got photos.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

music for the season

I got up this morning and looked outside. It was dark and rather unappealing. I could make out some stars and patches of ice and crusty snow. The thermometer said 18.3 Fahrenheit.

So I thought a bit. Go out and freeze my face off before biting it on a crusty chunk of ice and laying broken and immobilized while dying a slow hypothermic death? Or treadmill?

As much as I love a good adventure, I chose the treadmill.

A treadmill can be drudgery to some, and yes, it's not the same experience as running outside. Not at all. When I'm outside, I can enjoy the fresh air and the scenery and whatnot. Inside on the treadmill, I compensate. I listen to tunes.

We all have different tastes in music. Sometimes people will ask for music recommendations for the treadmill. Some good high-energy music to pass the miles. My preferences might not match yours. Let me just say, though, after this morning. Here's one I recommend.

I want your ugly
I want your disease...
I want Lady Gaga to come to my house for Thanksgiving, please

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Silver Liningness Sunday

The week started off with heavy, dense snow, and a lot of that snow is still here. Lots to evaporate! Aren't we all thankful for the hydrologic cycle?!

Onto other thankfulness, it was another good week, after all.

Firstly, we are all officially on Fall Break at the moment. An entire 9 days of no work, no school. I'm looking forward to that... I think.

The Thanksgiving Feast at the elementary school was fun and nourishing. Yes, I obediently complied and wore my white shirt/black pants casino outfit. I had stuffing duty, which is quite taxing on the forarm. Luckily, I later rotated to gravy.

No, we did not go camping this week. We would've likely frozen our patooties off had we gone, but since I made it a point to include a photo in the silver liningness entries, I just went and found one to my liking from a camping trip last summer. I'm thankful for technology... and memory.

Remember last week, I was all Laura Ingalls and made banana bread while the snow flew outside? Well Judy subsequently sent me one of her banana bread recipes, which includes crushed pineapple - oh she's a saucy one that Judy! I made two loaves of it this week. Num num num num... (no photo on account of the feeding frenzy that ensued).

We watched G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra this weekend. Clearly, I am not a member of the target audience for this movie. But it did provide a nice little nap opportunity for me.

Oh, and I'm a year older. Beats the alternative.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

eleven twenty-one sixty-four

I came across this photo of my brother and me several several years ago, I was probably about 13 years old or so.

Being a 13-years-old-or-so girl, my initial reaction was, "GAWD, Mom, I look terrible!" Yeah, Mom was in the room with me as I poured through a box of old photos.

"I look like I'm on my deathbed!", I continued in annoying adolescent girl fashion.

"Yes", she replied. "I think you're saying that Wombat killed you" (noting my index finger clearly identifying the villain) after which she commenced to laughing hysterically. Really. I think she may have peed a little.

So, what brought back this memory? Well, today is my birthday, so naturally I'm thinking of my death.

Just kidding, that would be morbid. A little.

Actually, that memory came back because I was thinking *a little bit* about my death and I got a birthday greeting from the villain brother. He wished me a happy birthday in tagalog - Filipino language. Mom's Filipina, Dad's not, so we kids are half. We really don't know the language other than a few words like terms for body parts taught to us during bath times and not typically shared in mixed company.

Being born on the cusp of Scorpio, my birthday has always fallen near Thanksgiving. So I'm thankful to be seeing another birthday. I'm thankful for Mom. And Dad. And brothers. Even Wombat, who was and is, clearly, the favorite child. Bad hair and all.

Friday, November 20, 2009

oh em gee

It's a day off today, and I've got a to-do list sitting here in front of me. There is no item that says "blog", but since I can't decide what to do next, here I am.

I just got back from Friday morning VoMo duty in Meego's classroom, so maybe I can scratch that off of the TD list to make me feel somewhat productive. Of course, I'll have to write it on the TD list first... then scratch.





Update: It's later now.

See, as I was sitting here procrastinating, I looked at what I needed to do and saw "alignment for the subaru", and thought, "well, there's something fun I can do". Okay, not really. But I wanted to get that done and it looked better than dog kennel duty so....

I've vented here before about my mistrust of our automotive service place. Seemed that every time I took a vehicle there for something minor like an oil change, they'd find a bunch of $$$tuff that needed fixing. But I reluctantly continued to go there because of their convenient location.

Today, I rebelled. I found another shop that's a little further away, but not by much, for the alignment. After a short wait, this is what they said (paraphrasing).

"The alignment's not that bad, the pulling is mainly caused by a tire issue. Your tire tread is still okay, but if you're going to get tires in the next few months, you should just do the alignment then. You don't really need to do anything now".

Then she printed out a "receipt" for ZERO dollars.

It's Friday, I'm in love.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

spooning, missionary style

Got a call yesterday. A not-too-frantic call from a mom friend from the elementary school. Seems she had gotten a slightly more frantic call from another mom friend a bit earlier.

Me: Hello?
MF: Hey Abby, it's Mom Friend
Me: Hey
MF: I just got a call from Other Mom Friend who just got a call from School Secretary
Me: Yeah hmmmm.
MF: School Secretary's in a panic because they NEEEED servers for the feast. Other Mom Friend has to go to work today, so she asked me to round up a few servers. Neighbor Mom Friend and I're going, you wanna go?
Me: Yeah, I can sling some hash on Wednesday.
MF: Cool, that's 4 of us so far...

So yes, today's the annual Thanksgiving Feast at the elementary school, also known as Let's-Get-High-Off-Sterno day.

Each year, the school goes all out, setting up a couple of buffet lines, cooking up a bunch of turkeys and fixings, inviting parents to eat with their kids, and getting all tryptophaned out. This endeavor takes a bit of help, mainly in the form of slave labor to carve the turkeys and dish out the food. That's where we come in.

I've done this before and it's actually quite fun and festive. And did I mention the sterno high?

So our phone conversation wrapped up

MF: School Secretary says to be there about 10:45.
Me: No problem.
MF: She says to wear black pants and white shirt.
Me: What?
MF: Yeah, they're imposing a dress code on us this year.
Me: Right, first they're begging for help, then they wanna tell us how to dress?
MF: Yeah....
Me: Okay fine.

Black pants and white shirt. Sounds a bit like "casino night at the elementary school" or perhaps a gathering of Mormon missionaries.

Anything for Let's-Get-High-Off-Sterno day, I suppose.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

putting the fun in dysfunction

Magnum's sister invited us over for Thanksgiving.

We're not sure if it was just a token invitation or if she actually wants us to show up, but we're thinking token.

See, Magnum and the sister aren't all that close. In fact, we have pretty much attained Black Sheep status with most of the family - a position I actually hold in high regard. They're all quite crazy in their own technical psychological issues sense. I won't go into details, but nearly 20 years of marriage have educated me in just about all things "dysfunctional family".

So we got the invite. This despite the fact that the last time she and Magnum spoke, it was a while ago, and the conversation ended with a rather abrupt, drama-queenish slamming of the phone. Her phone.

The whole family is notorious for sweeping things under the rug and pretending that the big lumps they make are not really there. Bring up a lump and you'll likely have a phone slammed.

So we were out walking the other day.

Me: Your sister invited us over for Thanksgiving.
Mag: *silence*
Mag: *silence"
Mag: Over the phone? (probably remembering that last conversation...)
Me: No, e-mail.
Mag: I wonder why.
Me: She's probably hoping we say no.
Mag: So how should we say no? Just "No thanks"? "No thanks, we'd rather not"?
Me: I dunno, she's your (mental) sister. *parentheses used to illustrate word spoken in my mind only*
Me: We could say we have other plans. (We really don't yet, but it's not technically a lie is it?)
Mag: Yeah, we have plans not to spend it with them.
Me: See, so that works?

At times this bums me out. I sometimes wish I had married into a family I actually liked. And anyone who reads here regularly should know that I don't necessarily have a problem with "crazy" per se.... It's just this family's particular brand of crazy that doesn't mix well with me. Seriously, it's a wonder Magnum survived childhood.

In fact, this particular sister - I used to really like her. Then she got all weird and did a total flip-flop thing. It's like a whole 'nother person in a Mag's-sister suit.

But, it is what it is. And now I know what we're not doing for Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Silver Liningness Sunday

Got snow? We Do!!

Woke up to White World this morning. It's pretty. I probably won't like it so much come March, but for now it's good.

Another week down, another batch of things to be thankful for. For starters, I'm thankful for my industrial strength snow shovel, but onto other matters...

Well, it was Veteran's Day on Wednesday, and I'm certainly thankful for all of our veterans. The elementary school sold wristbands (those rubbery kind) for a dollar apiece - all proceeds going to a local VA hospital. It was a feeding frenzy! I managed to buy one of each color before they were all gone. Great idea.

I learned that my neice is getting hitched in January! My oldest brother's daughter. The only girl spawn from my brothers and me. I'm happy for her. Marriage is a nice thing.

When life gives you squishy bananas, what should you do? Make banana bread! I did this last night while it was cold and snowy outside.

And I'm thankful for my students. One of my classes is coming to an end in a couple of days. I gave them their last practice test yesterday. They've worked hard (most of 'em *ahem*) and I really want to see them (most of 'em *ahem*) go on to successful lawyerdom.

Remember how we got new neighbors next door? They seem nice. This week we got new neighbors at the other next door... Stay tuned.

Chaco just said, "I'm going to go shovel the driveway". WHAT?! I'll take it.

Friday, November 13, 2009

pay no attention to the woman behind the bedsheet

Ah, Friday. It's a day off, but it's also my school VoMo day. I just got back from Meego's class. There was a bit of rowdiness going on.

See, there's a sub today. Teacher's out of town, so bring in the sub and let the hellions at her!

The sub happens to be a friend of mine, who also has kids at that school, who also is a familiar face to many of the kids. Still, she is not immune to substitute teacher abuse. I'm actually a bit glad to be out of there right now...

And it makes me appreciate my own job. Growing up, I didn't plan on being a teacher, it's just where I find myself now in this season of my life. Don't know how long I'll stay with it, assuming it's entirely up to me, but it's good for now.

Had both live-in-the-flesh class sessions this week and a couple of live online class sessions. The live online thing is really growing on me. It's a bit weird because we can't read our students' body language. Also, we're told in our training, that it's different for them too, because they mainly just see a small head-and-shoulders shot of us rather than having a full sized 3-dimensional teacher. So everyone's adjusting.

We get all these tips about making the most of our little head-and-shoulders box in the "classroom". Tips about what color to wear, about what color to use for our background, etc. I remember a trainer saying, "you don't want it to look like you've just got a bedsheet hanging behind you".

Well, newsflash: I DO just have a bedsheet hanging behind me.

Works for me. In fact, it's appearance is very similar to the background that particular trainer had. I wonder, does SHE also just have a bedsheet hanging behind HER?? (Pay no attention to the bedsheet hem there, just under the right armpit...)

Last night's online class was going nicely. I was just TAing with another teacher, so I was completely offscreen anyway. We were discussing stress management - strategies to get their minds off of test anxiety - when one student suggested Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2!!!

Oh, the excitement that brought about in the chatbox! In fact, looking back, it was very similar to the just barely controlled chaos going on in Meego's classroom this morning.

This was for a GMAT class - future MBA's. Is there no escape?

Maybe Chaco has a future in management.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

call of duty

Duu-huuude, get ur copy of Modern Warfare 2?

Yeah, that's where I was yesterday... at the local GameStop store. Apparently, this was a big deal release

And I actually knew it was coming. I don't play video games, but they live in my home. I knew this was coming because Chaco purchased his "ticket" for the game several weeks ago.

And then he marked it on the calendar.

And then he programmed his calculator to countdown to the moment it would be available.

He forgets to turn in homework and yet, he marks the release of a video game on the calendar and writes a program regarding it? *sigh*

He reminded me several times in the days leading up to The Event that we would be going to the store right after school on Tuesday. See, it's rated "M", so for someone under 17 to get it, they have to have an accompanying parental type person there to say, "okay". Now, like I said, I don't play video games, but Magnum does and he says it's okay, so I get GameStop store parental duty.

On the way down there, I'm all, "So what's this game again? 'Mech Wars 2' or something?" and Chaco's all, "*sigh* callofdutymodernwarfare2!" and then I'm all "Wait... what's it called?" Geez, such a mom sometimes.

So we got there and it wasn't that bad. A short line was all, and no one dressed like the kid in the photo above. The true zealots were there at midnight, no doubt.

Luckily, Wolfgang had come along, because after we exited the mall, Chaco said "Okay, see ya!" and took off at a sprint towards home (we walked there). Now, our house is under a mile away from the mall, but it's all uphill. It was actually quite an impressive display of physicality. So, I say it was lucky that Wolfgang had accompanied us, because then I had someone to walk with.

I remember runner friend Ben recommending that I tie a video game to a string and run with it as a way to get the kids to run distances with me. I think that could actually work!

Monday, November 9, 2009

rounding second

Went shopping this morning to replenish all that was pilfered over the weekend. This is actually a pretty typical Monday event. What wasn't typical about my shopping today was the purchase of bras.

(okay, yes, possible TMI to follow)

I have long since resigned myself to the fact that I am not of the well-endowed. I'll actually confess to attempting some recommended exercises and even some herbal tea concoctions.

The exercises probably made me somewhat stronger, but didn't do much for the boob size. The tea? I dunno, I think "something" went on in there, they "felt" a little different, but the measuring tape read the same as before.

Okay fine.

They've served their purpose. Three babies somehow managed to fatten up from them, so I'm not really complaining.

But, recently I'd noticed that my current underthings had gotten pretty weathered. I can't even remember the last time I had new. So, it was off to the intimates department.

Omigosh, the selection. There seemed to be as many types and styles of bras as there are breasts to put in them. One of the benefits of being not of the well-endowed is I don't need all those extra supportive, separative, over-the-river-and-through-the-wood-ive accoutrements. Just enough to cover basic liability, thanks.

I searched rack after aisle after rack and finally, FINALLY, found some.

They were in the next department over. The "girls" section. Next to "women". I've got one on now, and admit that I'm quite satisfied with my purchase.

I think Miley Cyrus gets a cut.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Silver Liningness, part XII

As I look outside my window, I think, yes, it looks like November. Mostly cloudy. There's snow on the peak. A few rebellious leaves futilly cling to the trees.

I like it. I like this time of year.

After last week's epic snowstorm, the meteorological pendulum swung to the other extreme, and we had sunny and 70's this week. Nice for a change, but it's November. Today is a November kind of day. I like to use words like "brisk" and "nippy" and get to wear stuff like sweaters and leggings. Wearing both now...

It was a busy week, and busy hopefully yielded productivity. Work schedule is full with two separate classes going on, but they both come to an abrupt end in a couple of weeks. My next class, as of now, isn't scheduled until January, so I'm perusing the schedule for other openings. But I'm thankful that I'm not desperate for work and may just get a month off.

And speaking of those aforementioned leaves? I think I finally got all the raking and bagging done for the season. I count 17 bagfulls of yard vomit in the compost queue! And that's not counting the stuff that's already gone into the bins. Let's just call it an even 20 for the season! I win!!

On that note, I got Chaco to clean the gutters. He's started getting into parkour, so any excuse to climb and jump and stuff is fair game. In fact, it was HIS idea to clean the gutters. WHAT?! I knew I loved the French!

So happy November everyone! Don the leggings, your knee-high "ho" boots! Find disgusting treasures in your gutters!

Saturday, November 7, 2009


Okay, so I got this e-mail. It was highly personal. I know that because it started out:

"Dear Colleague:"

It's from a group at the national level of the place I work. Apparently they are revamping the website and "online center"and want to include biographies of us teachers on there. The e-mail was asking me to click a link to fill out the survey for my info to be included in this sleek new "online center". The results of the survey are for "professionally-crafted profiles for perusal by prospective and current students"

Okay fine.

So I clicked the link, filled in a couple of rudimentary questions and then scanned some of the other questions. There were forward and backward buttons so I figured I could move around before submitting my survey.

Well, turns out I couldn't.

I clicked the forward button and got that "THANKS FOR COMPLETING OUR SURVEY. YOUR ANSWERS HAVE BEEN RECORDED" page. No going back, no reset button, just pretty much "thanks, goodbye, dear colleague".

Perhaps it will elicit my coming across as one of the more mysterious teachers. The intrigue my sparse profile will bring about will have prospective students signing up for classes left and right! What a great marketing ploy!

Or not.

Friday, November 6, 2009


Oh poor poor blog! I've neglected you so this week!

*fluffs the bedding* *freshens water* *removes droppings*

It's been a busy and productive week, and the Friday arrived in a hurry. You do realize that Thanksgiving is now less than 3 weeks away for us United Statesians? So... who are you spending it with?

Or better yet, who you LIKE to spend it with? I started thinking about this when I visited Beej (who has been neglecting her blog even worse than I have) over at facebook (the "blog affair"?) and decided I'd like Christopher Walken to come on over. Shall we brainstorm a few others? Others who I've never spent any time with IRL, but am willing to give a whirl?

Maybe Drowning Pool? That might liven things up a bit. Then again, they'd probably really trash the place...

How about Eric Balfour? I mean, since we're just harmlessly brainstorming and stuff... heh... *ahem*

How about that Progressive Insurance girl?
She's so friendly. I bet she'd help to clean up too.

This guy, since Chaco seems to have taken an interest in Parkour, of all things. But mainly because he's French. We should have someone French over for Thanksgiving.


Sunday, November 1, 2009

Silver Liningness, part XI

Happy November everyone! We've survived Halloween, and I am thankful for that extra hour - as silly as I think this whole thing of flipping clocks is, I'll take it.

Quite the tempestuous week it was! Had a minor snowstorm come through Sunday, delaying school on Monday. Then had an adult snowstorm come through on Tuesday which closed school on Wednesday and Thursday and delayed Friday. Kids in our district had just one real day - and even that is questionable - of school last week.

This made me thankful for the new furnace we got last fall.

It also made me thankful for those Live Online classes - not one missed class on account of weather.

And the party must still go on! Friday was Meego's school party. Good thing school was open. And speaking of Halloween...

Here we have an out-of-luck NASCAR driver; a Nearly Dead - it's apparently from a video game, so I'm told...; an Edward Cullen. [They get bigger if you click the pic].

The Nearly Dead took the crashed NASCAR driver out to trick-or-treat, along with a large M&M friend. The M&M friend was actually quite frightening because said friend is positiviely allergic to M&M's.

Edward Cullen went to a party and has yet to return.

As for me, I had to work in the morning. I thought I would dress up as a geeky professor type, but then worried that my students might not realize that I was in costume, so...

And the afternoon was absolutely beautiful, weather-wise. We went to a local popular park and play play PLAYED!

Oh, and those tracks in the snow? Remember? I think I have a positive identification. The M&M kid, before he transformed into the allergen, was wearing an animal tracks t-shirt. I found Red Fox prints near the kid's spleen.

Sly thing... probably after my eggs.

Friday, October 30, 2009

and the clouds parted...

*GASP!* Pardon me, just coming up for air here. Sheesh, after two days of thinking that we'd somehow been beamed to Antarctica, the sun has decided to return and it actually feels downright balmy at 40 degrees.

Yeah, okay, so it snowed in Colorado. Not big news. It just doesn't usually leave us stranded for two days in October. I remember the last time that happened. It was a banner year for snow and kind of a love / hate relationship for school kids. Yes, they got a bunch of snowdays, but then they had to make them up at the end of the school year. HA!

But it did force me to get a few things done around the house that I might not otherwise have done. For one thing, I changed the wallpaper on the computer to this:

It's the view from a girl jumping off of a very tall building onto a crane, I believe. As I've mentioned here before, I rationally know that I have an irrational paralyzing fear of heights, so I thought putting this as my wallpaper would help me to "GET OVER IT ALREADY!"

It's not working. Just sayin'.

But hey, told you I was getting some important things done anyways.

And then this morning, when I ventured out into the thawing outdoors, I noticed these prints on the front porch, dangerously close to the front door, dangerously close:

I've included my own foot there for scale. Any trackers out there who know what these prints belong to? I'm thinking too big for squirrel. Raccoon maybe? Did I mention that they were dangerously close? Dangerously close to my milkman bounty??

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

what's in a name?

Halloween is nigh. I just realized, we have no candy. I need fruit for Meego's party. I need to assemble Meego's costume...

Meego wants to be a racecar driver - specifically a crashed-and-burned racecar driver. His school, however, doesn't allow make up for the parties, so unless he acquires some real-life wounds before then, he'll just be a plain old racecar driver for the class party. He can crash and burn later.

Chaco and Wolfgang are on their own. They no longer trick-or-treat, but Chaco will sometimes, almost with disturbingly abundant glee, lay in wait, in some sort of getup, outside our front door and freak out the poor unsuspecting trick-or-treaters.

Wolfgang may dress up for school. There are no parties in high school, but costumes are allowed. Just the usual rules against weapons and masks. Make up? Could you imagine if a high school banned make up?!?

Wolf is thinking he'll be Edward Cullen - that hotty irresistible heartthrob vampire from the Twilight series.

See, a few weeks ago, he came home with a project he'd made in shop class. It's a small tasteful wooden pen holder. The wood has been laser-cut to form the name "Edward".

"Edward"? I asked. "Why does it say 'Edward'?"

"Well, some people call me Edward at school, so...", he explained.


I have sinced learned that "some people" are mostly "some girls".

He wants tips on how to look pale and sparkly.

I think I'm better at crash and burn.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Silver Liningness part X

Good morning to all and Sundry on this Sunday!

Another wonderful week providing much to be thankful for has passed. Roll 'em!

The week started with a lovely hike last Sunday. Magnum found a trail we've never stepped on before, so we went and stepped on it.

Magnum and Wolfgang on Spruce Mountain.

Thirty Eight Point Seven. THIRTY EIGHT POINT SEVEN. 38.7. Thirty eight and seven tenths. <---that's the miles per gallon that new-to-us little Honda is getting. Told you I love her.

Remember how I said we've started to teach classes online at work? Remember how I said I've been training? Welp, I completed the training and started doing it this week. Here's the inspiring view - taken with my webcam - that the students see of me:

What do you think? Makes you want to go move mountains doesn't it!

Okay, so I actually just snapped that picture a couple of minutes ago. And I haven't done much today rather than slog out of bed, eat some breakfast type stuff and sip half a cup of coffee. Serious bed head going on.

And in real life, I use a backdrop to cover the lovely room behind me. It's so cool! Teaching right here from the Man Cave. And I get to kick all of the men folk out!

Meego's class did a music program this week. It was the typical elementary-kids-on-the-stage-for-about-a-half-hour kind of music program. It was cute though, I suppose, if you had a kid up there. Meego seems to be sloughing off some of his shyness and getting into things now that he's a big time fourth grader.

Yesterday, we drove up to Denver to visit the much hyped 8-acre corn maze. I recall a smaller corn maze we visited years ago and got thoroughly lost in. Looking forward to another survival adventure, we found the much hyped 8-acre corn maze to not be much *COUGH* of a challenge. Okay, so like the cornstalks were about 4 ft. tall or shorter! Oh well, it was still kind of fun, making fun of it and all...

Friday, October 23, 2009

like mother

I was recently having a phone conversation with my mother.

These are actually quite rare because we have this thing. This thing about writing letters to each other. Ever since I moved out of the house over 24 years ago.

We have the internet and e-mail now. I have an income better than that of a homeless person now, so can actually afford phone calls. And yet... still.. we write the letters, put them in envelopes, put stamps on them, drop them in the mail, and wait for several days to get a reply.

So when she or my dad calls, naturally I panic. Omigosh, what's happened?!

Turns out, it was pretty bad/sad news, about a friend of mine, though. Not about Mom or Dad.

But anyway, since we were on the phone and actually speaking live with each other, we talked of other things than the bad/sad news. Somewhere in the midst of the conversation, she adds, "you're a lot like Dad, y'know".

Fact is, I do know this. I am more like my dad than my mom. I don't think it's anything I chose to be. I just am. Like we're just wired the same in many ways.

I says, "Yeah, I know."

And she says, "You really are."

And I says, "Yeah, I know."

Truth be told, my dad can be a bit strange. We don't share ALL of the same values and/or "quirks", but we share many. I'm certain that my mom is not disappointed that I'm more like my dad than I am of her. But I do wonder sometimes if she had different hopes for me in my formative years.

So I thought of this conversation yesterday. I thought of it because I had mail ordered some shoes, and they arrived yesterday. They were too small. I quickly boxed them back up for return and then went out and bought some shoes locally. Because I was all set to have new shoes that day, and when the mail-order didn't work out, I had to do SOMETHING about it.

That was definitely Mom's genetics at work.

She'd be happy. I should call and tell her.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

he needs a 25 or better

Oh happy day!... Despite the fact that it's been blustery cold and snowy all day and I spent it wonderously indulging in tidying up the house.

It's a happy day because, as of yesterday about noontime, I completed a tutoring package for an okay kid with a rather annoying father. Now, it's hard to really put my finger on why I found this father so annoying. Let's just say he RUBBED ME THE WRONG WAY, plus there were some other aspects of this particular assignment I didn't particularly like, BUT not to be whiner, let's just say I was glad it was finished.


Just as I was THANKFULLY leaving their house (note: we prefer not to tutor in people's homes, but it says right there on the website - "convenient in-home tutoring!" - so there I reluctantly was, blasted website...) the aforementioned father lays this on me: "We think we might have him take the test again in December, to try for a better score. We'd like to get in some more tutoring hours for that, will you let me know your availability?"


I was leaving! I was in the car! The engine was running! I had even backed up a few feet! I was SO nearly free!! Then I saw him in the driveway and STUPIDLY rolled down my window to see if he wanted to consult with me. ACK.

Okay, so I normally naturally want my students to do well on their tests. But this one more than others. Guiltily, not out of opportunity for him, but so I don't have to tutor him anymore! Even though it would mean some extra cash... I just don't wanna!

Okay, so the kid's test is this Saturday. Send some good JuJu his way, K? For me??

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Silver Liningness, part IX

Helloooooo from Balloon Boy Land (PLEASE MAKE IT STOP!)

Another week has flown by like a big Jiffy Pop looking balloon thing adrift on the breeze (SHUT UP!)

I got in some good VoMo activity as the elementary school had their Fall book fair. I got writer's cramp from helping first graders and kindergarteners make out their Wish Lists. Boy, they sure can shop when they have no concept of money!

Plus, with the VoMo-ing and the fact that Meego won the guess-how-many-beans-in-the-jar contest for fourth grade, we got 2 freebies to go with our purchases. Gotta love freebies.

It was also parent/teacher conference time. Meego's was scheduled, the high school ones are optional.

I actually went to see a couple of Chaco's teachers after we discovered some *ahem* issues this week. It seems that techno-geek Chaco sort of let the balloon off the tether (STOP!!) when it came to lower priority (to him) English.... History too for that matter. SO, this provided me an opportunity to meet his teachers - something I don't always do with the higher grades. All conferences went very well. I think even Chaco would agree.

Remember that cabbage that Meego grew?

We ate it this week.

It was gooooooooood.

We also watched another good movie that I'd never heard of this week. Anyone heard of Shrink with Kevin Spacey? I thought it might be depressing, but I actually rather liked it. Go see.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

the mark of a chicken

So Meego emerged from his bedroom this morning with a green "5" on his face.

Actually, it's a backwards "5". A mirror-image "5". From that, I know that he chose the Chicken-Patty-with-Mashed-Potatoes option for lunch at school yesterday.

... and that he slept with his face on his hand.

See, his school typically offers 5 choices for lunch. The students place their orders first thing in the morning. Once their choices are made, they're LOCKED IN. NO switching. Just to make sure, they must write the number of their choice on the back of their hand - with permanent marker. God forbid someone should order a chicken patty in the morning, then grab cheese pizza at lunchtime.

This is understandable. It cuts down greatly on wasted food for one thing. The lunch ladies get 50 orders for chicken patties? They only make 50 chicken patties... and so on.

This designation method of permanent-marker-on-the-hand, however, is not too popular with parents. I'm sure Meego is not the first to wake up with a permanent markered mirror-image number on his face. And he typically only eats the school fare once or twice a week. I shudder to think of what the other kids' faces, who eat there every day, look like by Friday!

When I was his age, aside from having to walk to school uphill in the snow both ways, we had two choices for lunch: Cafeteria Tray or Not Cafeteria Tray.

No tough early morning decisions. No trading of entree's in the lunchroom. No permanent marker numbers on hand and face. You went to lunch. You got a tray. You ate what was on it. Lunch ended.

*sigh* Life was so simple back then.

Permanent marker removal from face tips? Anyone??

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Silver Liningness, part VIII

Happy Saturday, everyone! My thermometer says 25 degrees and the weather forecast says "high" of 28, so I guess this is as good as it's gonna get.

I went out for a hike this morning. Not bad if one wears about 5 layers, like I did.

Anyway, it's been another fun-filled blessed week. Let's revisit!

On Tuesday, Meego's school had it's annual field day. It was a bit chilly but sunny and, overall, a good day.

I was sent to the "Tennis Ball Throw" trenches this year. Had never done that event despite this being my 6th year as a field day volunteer at that school. Y'know, a tennis ball thrown, even by an elementary school kid, can bounce and roll quite a long ways. It was basically a day of shagging - and I don't mean that in the UK sense.

I've had more fun with training to get ready to teach live online classes. The idea of not having to drive anywhere and being able to teach in just my underwear (if I wanted to) is strangely appealing.
Also, my live offline class is going well, even though I have to drive and wear decent clothing for that.

Yesterday, the kids all had a day off of school. Not wanting to squander the event, I made sure to have a fun activity planned: we would FINALLY give their room the cleaning it so badly needed.

The three of them all share one big bedroom, so imagine a teenage boy's room. Now multiply that image x 3. Okay, I know that Meego isn't an official teenager, but he is definitely eligible for the Talented and Gifted program from being such an adept protege' to his brothers' mentoring.

I did what any good mom would do. I offered cash.

"One dollar per pound of anything that is either thrown away or donated", - my final offer. Oh, the fire THAT lit!

Here's me and the highly accurate weighing device with my resulting $81 worth of crap!

Okay, so when I made the contract, I didn't actually think they'd come up with 81 pounds! But, it's money well spent, I'd say. Besides, I can make a good chunk of that back since the Pay the Putzfrau program is still in effect!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

once more, with feeling

I'm not sure how many times I've called Chaco, only to get his voice mail. *SIGH*. What good's the dang cell phone if it's OFF?!

It seems that communication just isn't that high of a priority for him. "Oh.. yeah... forgot to turn my phone on..."

Well, until today, anyways.

I was heading out the door to meet with a student and thought I'd check the e-mail before I left. My inbox had an "urgent" message from Alphonse Fredenheimer (that's e-mail incognito "code" for Chaco) as follows:

"mom, you forgot to call in for that day I was sick, and you need to do that today before 2:00 or else I get Saturday school".

Oh yeah. He was home coughing up a lung a couple of weeks ago. I never got around to confirming the absence with the attendance lady. So I made a mental note of it, and went on with my business.

When I returned home, the phone answering machine was beeping away:

[with feeling] "You need to confirm my absence from the 25th TODAY or else I'll get Saturday school!". [Dread/Panic]

No "hi Mom". No "Hi, it's Chaco". Not even a reference to Alphonse Fredenheimer, just the [with feeling] "You need to....." [Dread/Panic]

Nextly, my cell phone is buzzing with a voicemail (I think you know what it was and from whom..)

Apparently, it takes a threat of the dreaded Saturday school to get that kid on the phone.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Silver Liningness, part VII

My cup runneth over!!

....No, really, anyone got a napkin handy? I just spilt some coffee...

Oh, but seriously, it's been another silver-lined week. Let's review, shall we?

Firstly, recall last weekend that I mentioned we were quite resolute about getting a second commuter car. Well, here she is! Isn't she cute?

It's not exactly an action shot. I just wandered into the garage a few minutes ago to catch this pic of her while she's sleeping. Absolutely NO frills '01 Honda Civic.

The trusty big-butt van has been relieved of its commuter duties and is back to RV status. It now resides in the backyard with our trailer. We finally have the white trash backyard we've strived for all these years.

Work is fun. I had some training last week. We've begun teaching classes online. How cool! I can teach right from here in the Man Cave! I will complete my training shortly, and yesterday, I picked up my flashy smlashy company provided WebCam. TOYZ!!

On a related note, I also kicked off another class yesterday. This one is the old fashioned, live OFFline version. Another nice group of students to bust down so I can build them up..

Remember that house for rent next door? Someone moved in yesterday! I have yet to meet them, but there was lots of activity with people and truckloads of stuff moving in. This could be good. This could be bad. Stay tuned.

Friday, October 2, 2009

scene on a sidewalk

I saw him at first from a distance. But still, I was pretty sure he was male.

He was pushing a baby in a stroller. Just the two of them out enjoying some midday sun and fresh air.

He wore a striped polo shirt, a pair of sensible white athletic shoes, a pair of denim.... capris.

Yes, they were definitely capris - not just mere highwaters - landing at just the perfect capri spot at lower-calf. He wore ankle socks.

It occurred to me then that I had never seen a man wearing capris. It occurred to me then that I was turned off by a man wearing capris.

I pondered this. No, not the man wearing the capris. I pondered my reaction to it. (Well, okay, maybe I did ponder this man a little...) What was so off-putting? I pondered his "ability" to have actually fathered that baby he was strollering around.

Just a piece of clothing.

After all, I've noticed that I CAN like a man in a skirt.

But I don't know if even Brad Pitt can make capris work.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

when I grow up.... a confession of sorts

This morning, I was out in the wee hours for a run. Yes, it was dark, but I've gotten used to that now.

The thermometer said that it was 45 degrees, so I dressed accordingly and headed out into the dark abyss. It was a little chilly, but I knew I'd warm up once I got moving. Sheesh, yes!

I swear I felt the temperature rise 5 to 7 degrees in about 30 seconds, like someone turned on a heat lamp, minus the light! Suddenly, I had on one layer too many. But oh well, I trudged onward, hoping it was a freak hot wind current I was just passing through. Then I had the thought...

"I wonder if this is a hot flash..."

Seriously, I don't think I've ever had one. Heard of 'em, sure, but had the "pleasure" of one? Don't think so. I don't know much about them, preferring instead to just avoid the topic altogether

So there I was. Out there running. In the dark. With too many clothes on. Feeling all old-ladyish or whatever.

It did eventually cool down from the initial heat surge, but I still think I could've done without some piece of clothing. When I returned back to the house, I checked the thermometer...

AHA! Rejoice!! It said 51 degrees. So there HAD been some chinook wind or something that blew in some hot air!

Nothing like a bit of gerascophobia to wake you up in the morning!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Silver Liningness, part VI, Vol. 2

Welcome to the weekend!

This is actually a first "real" weekend for me in about a month. I'd had to work the last 4 Saturdays and Sundays, but not so this weekend. I do enjoy my job, but it's nice to be able to look a total slob on a Saturday morning and not worry about what time it is. On that note, today is one of 4 times out of the year that the LSAT - a notorious weeder outer of lawyer wannabes - is given. Good luck to all of my students!

This week also featured a palpable cold front. I was hit with SNOW on more than one occassion! I learned that our furnace works as do wool socks. And Pikes Peak is very pretty now (no pics, I'm too lazy). Oh, and today's high should be around 80. Cold front all gone.

As for the pic-o'-the-week, I finally got around to posting Meego's old bike for sale on craigslist.

Recall that Wolfgang got a new bike and Meego inherited Wolfgang's old one. So Meego's got a new-to-him bicycle, and he wouldn't mind some cash as well. Let the selling begin.

I also mentioned that we're contemplating a new used car. I feel a bit traitorous to my bicycle commuter status, but bicycling to work is pretty impractical for me, and the big butt gas hog of a van is overkill. We're going car shopping today.

Update: She's a 2001 Honda Civic with 115K miles, no A/C, no cassette or CD, crappy factory stereo, hideous interior, U-crank-em windows... I LOVE her!

Oh yeah, as already mentioned, my vacuum cleaner sucks.