Friday, January 30, 2009
So I've been bicycleless for 5 days now, and these last couple of days have been very pleasant weather-wise. I wonder if she's sitting there in the shop, longing for a ride with me too. (SHUT UP, SHE COULD BE!). I should have her back on Tuesday, Wednesday at the latest.
As some here know, I ride my bicycle as a main mode of transportation - foregoing the motorized vehicles unless deemed necessary by distance/weather/payload. It's part of my minimalist nature, and yet, I wish I had more than one bicycle, such a wish going against my minimalist nature. Oh, the conundrum.
Which brings me to the topic of a car. Our all-purpose car is a '98 Subaru Outback, then we have the big butt van for Partridge Family style road trips. The Subaru has about 91K miles on it, not a whole lot for a '98 Outback, but still, things are starting to go and the nickel and diming has begun.
We're at a crossroads. Do we continue to do the nickel and dime fixes, or do we trade up for another all-purpose car? I would like to get an Outback Sport. Sportier, little better mileage, less domestic looking. We wouldn't buy brand new, but fairly un-used, and they're not cheap, and these is hard times. Although, Magnum points out, skyrocketing inflation is on it's way, so maybe now's the time to buy "stuff".
I vacillate (that's not a sperm term, you're thinking "flagellate"). Do we:
A. Keep the old car and run it into the ground?
B. Replace the old car with an Outback Sport?
C. Replace the old car with another less expensive, but more reliable model?
D. Sell the old car, further commit to bicycle commuting, use an occassional rental?
Then there's the fact that Chaco will start driving this year, but let's not go there just yet...
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Ha*MAN*chies - Grilled ham and cheese sandwiches.
Mmmhmmmmnnnn - 1. Answer to a yes-or-no question that means neither yes nor no.
Skoonch - 1. A meal purchased and eaten at an educational institution.
Squeet - 1. Notification to a pet that it is dinnertime.
Wash*YANDS - 1. Notification to a human that it is dinnertime.
"Welp, I'm going to school. Bislater!"
"Do you have your lunch?"
"Actually, I'm having skoonch".
"What's for skoonch?"
"Have you fed the cat?"
"Better feed him, washyands"
"C'mon Cookie, squeet!"
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
I tried to just roll over and keep sleeping. But the LICK LICK LICKING just kept going on and on, even making the bed bounce a little with the zealotry of it. Sheesh, the things I must put up with. The loud licking and bouncing proceeded to pull me further and further out of my peaceful sleep, until I was fully awake and realized it was the cat, nearly on top of me and bathing, and not Magnum.
Funny how just a few seconds prior it seemed perfectly normal that my husband would be loudly licking himself all over.
I wonder if the cat has fleas. He seems restless lately and grooming himself more often than usual - which is already quite excessive since he is so arrogant to begin with. I keep finding these little tufts of fur all around the house.
And he's suddenly up on everything in that he's walking around on countertops and tables. He doesn't do that. He's not supposed to do that. Is he trying to get my attention? Is this his way of saying, "Hey, Abby! I'm all itchy. Do somethin' will youse?"
I did some investigation and found:
If you are unsure if your pet has fleas, the NPHCN recommends checking for flea dirt--tiny black specks found on your pet or on its favorite spots. Flea dirt is actually an adult flea's feces which is rich in blood. To determine if the specks are flea dirt, wet the specks with a drop of water and if they turn red, they're flea dirt, and your pet has fleas.
Flea poop? I should check for flea poop?
Monday, January 26, 2009
Actually, it feels good. It feels right. Those temperatures in the 60's last week were pleasant but a little weird. It's just not right to be out and about in capris and short sleeves in January in Colorado.
So I'm taking advantage today. Firstly, I'm taking my bicycle to the shop for some much needed TLC. They can keep it ALL day, because I won't be riding it anywhere. I'm thinking I should really educate myself further in bicycle maintenance. I can do a few basic things, and usually am immensely proud of myself when I actually improve one of the family bicycles rather than making whatever problem worse. But really, how hard can it be?
One of Chaco's friends came over to show off his new bike the other day. He'd gotten the frame off of craigslist, mustered up a bunch of parts from here and there, and put the whole thing together himself. He's a good kid. Has a nice mama.
Another of Chaco's friends came over last week. He got a new bicycle for Christmas. It's his first bicycle. His FIRST bicycle!?!?! The kid is 15 years old!!
That's child abuse as far as I'm concerned.
Sunday, January 25, 2009
I worked yesterday morning into the early afternoon. I gave the usual LSAT class another test, and they were joined by two MCAT classes wanting to take tests. So the usual Saturday morning tedium of proctoring a timed test was given a bit of a shot of adrenaline by making a more chaotic tedium of simultaneously proctoring three timed tests. I was glad for the change of pace and it was also good to get all of those students tested. I'm thinking it was similar to working the McDonald's drive-thru at lunchtime. Just guessing.
My bike REALLY needs a tune-up now. Among other things, I have hardly any brakes left, front nor rear. I know this because I got in a lot of bike riding this past week with the mild weather we've been having. The weather is the main reason I haven't gotten the bike in for a good once over. The shop would want to have it for the day, and I just couldn't hand it over for that long. I figure if I get going too fast on the downhills, I can always use the Fred Flintstone braking method.
On a similar note, these mild temperatures have melted all the snow buildup in the yard, including the dog kennel, revealing her very healthy bowel function.
We had a knock-down-drag-out over XBOX privileges yesterday with Chaco. To help smooth things over, Magnum suggested we play a board game we got for Christmas but hadn't learned to play yet. It was fun, a real Norman Rockwell moment.
Watched a movie yesterday. Wanted. I thought it overdone and rather comic bookish, then I learned that it was adapted from a comic book. Aha. Just a Netflix movie, glad we didn't pay to see it at the theater. Still, Angelina Jolie is always good at playing the bad*ss.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Okay, I didn't say that to her. I just said it in my mind.
I highly value honesty and boldness and even bluntness sometimes. But often, it's best to bite the tongue. In fact, it's a good thing for my own tongue that my in-laws don't visit very often. And I guess it's good that I have a blog to let off steam now and then. It's what got me through my sister-in-law's tacky wedding a couple years back.
Some other unsaid thoughts as of late:
"I'm worried about you breaking your arm from all that patting yourself on the back."
"I really don't think that [somewhat famous person you are friends with] would appreciate you telling this entire gathering that her daughter used to put crayons up her [female body part] as a child."
"STOP with the googly eyes already!"
"I'm happy that you're happy with your weight-loss success, but your new clothing choices really make you look like a hooker."
"What are you trying to hide?"
"I don't care to hear the whole story about how you found your window installers. Really, I don't. Seriously, please stop talking!"
Okay. I feel better now.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
She flipped through the screens, showing me how far she'd walked, how many calories burned, etc. Interestingly, she wasn't even wearing a pair of nike shoes. She just rigged a little pouch into the laces of her non-nikes to hold the sensor. From her enthusiasm, I think she'll enjoy her exercisive jaunts a little more now. She's by no means obese, but she's often talked to me of wanting to be more fit and sometimes seeks my advice.
So, I'm glad for her. For all I know, she could be out there right now be-bopping along while her shoe talks to her ipod. I was thinking about this yesterday. I don't listen to music when I'm outside running. I prefer to be able to hear what's going on around me, and while I know that some people like to listen to their tunes to keep their mind off of the exertion, sometimes I like my mind to be ON the exertion.
Plus, my ears are earbudly challenged, but that's another story.
If I'm on my treadmill, however, I do like some music to take my mind away from the fact that I'm in a little room going nowhere. I think I've mentioned that I have yet to get an ipod or mp3 player like the rest of the civilized world. Instead, I listen to cassette tapes. Seriously. I get blank tapes and "download" songs I like from the radio. Sometimes, it can take me an entire week to create a 2-hour cassette.
And I'm starting to feel like a cavewoman. Like I should be out hanging up strips of wooly mammoth to dry while I'm recording.
I mentioned on my running blog that my tape player ate one of my cassettes during my treadmilling yesterday. The general response was "Cassettes?? What the hell...???" Yes, cassettes, okay? They actually still make them! Five for eight bucks at wal-farts!
Is it too soon to drop hints for next Christmas?
Monday, January 19, 2009
There wasn't a whole lot of new stuff there since the last time we'd been, but the kids always enjoy traipsing about in the place. Me, I'm not really much of a walk-around-and-look-at-stuff kind of person, but I happily tag along. There's usually at least some good people watching opportunities at such places.
At the Space Odyssey exhibit, I spotted a couple that looked like they'd walked out of an REI catalog. It's hard to confirm if they were actually the outdoorsy types, or if they just liked to wear rugged outdoor clothing all of the time. The male half of the couple did look like he could easily conquer a tall mountain, while the female half seemed to have trouble keeping her hand off of his butt. Okay, maybe I was a bit envious of that.
While at the Africa exhibit, we were impressed by the realistic and detailed dioramas. At one point, I had crouched down to the floor to analyze how a particular gazelle was suspended in mid-bound. A small person of about 2.5 years, I would guess, violently let me know that I was in what he considered to be "his" space.
The Dinosaur exhibit featured a young boy who clearly needed and wanted a nap. Despite his continued tantrumation expressing his want of a nap - really, he actually used the words "LET ME LAY DOWN!" - he was forced to remain at the exhibit. Something tells me that someday, he will be allowed to lay down on a therapist's couch and recount the experience.
At the Northern Regions exhibit were four loudish college-aged people snapping pictures of just about everything in sight. I was a bit perplexed at the idea of taking pictures of a picture, for instance, but oh well. At one point, they even had Chaco take a picture of the four of them as they sat upon some wooden caribou. Chaco and I both thought them weird, but he took the picture in hopes they would go away. They did.
The Gems and Minerals display featured a lot of rocks. And a hungry baby.
That's about it. Our day of culture.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
A couple of reasons why this post is a bit later than usual:
I've got that Saturday morning LSAT class. I'm just proctoring tests for this class on Saturday mornings, and it forces me to do something relatively quiet for nearly 4 hours when I'm not saying, "Stop work on section ___ and put down your pencils. For the next 35 minutes you are to work on only section ____. Turn the page and begin". As such, I got a lot of work done because there is very little distraction (you Word Twist people, you!).
Mag and I watched a weird movie this afternoon. "Run Lola Run". Have you seen it? It's weird, but I think I liked it.
Also, the weather's been unseasonably warm again this week. I went for another short-sleeved bike ride yesterday, and no one tried to run me over. It's hard to get much work done, but refer back to my first point.
I could've had free seats to see High School Musical On Ice with a friend for Monday - MLK day, kids are out of school. My kids wouldn't go see High School Musical ANYTHING if you paid them... well, maybe if you paid them... but still, it's nice to be offered the tickets.
The laptop was on the fritz, but Wolfgang plugged it in yesterday to troubleshoot and it just started working again. Okay, I'll take it.
The washing machine was on the fritz, but I put a load of laundry in today and it just started working again. Somebody's messin' with me.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
It was relatively nice out - about 40 degrees and sunny - and I rode my bicycle. It's a nice ride to the milk and grapefruits store. It's a residential area that is borderline rural with very little traffic. Some people have horses. I could smell evidence of horses today.
So I'm pedalling down this borderline country road, about to make a right turn. There's a minivan approaching from the opposite direction signalling that it will make a left turn down the same road.
Naturally, the driver sees me. My bicycle is orange. I'm wearing a red fleece vest. Practical Clash. Naturally, she's paying attention.
I reach the intersection just before the minivan, and I make my turn without fanfare. I hear the minivan also make the turn right behind me, like RIGHT behind me. Then I hear the telltale sound of the slamming of breaks as the driver suddenly realizes there's a bicycle here. With a person on it. I'm on the right side of the road as is customary, and there's plenty of room for the minivan as well, yet it sits there stopped for a second or two as - I hope - the driver gathers herself after realizing she almost ran over me.
Minivans. Why is it always minivans?
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
The dog is due for shots and a checkup. Every time I go there, they find some other precedure they "need" to perform. I typically turn them down, but it's warying. I take the pets there, though, because it's close and they're friendly.
My bicycle could use a real bike shop tune up. Every time I go there, I find some accessory that I "need". I typically talk myself out of it.
I need a haircut. Every time I go to the stylists, they try to talk me into highlights. I always turn them down, but it get's warying. I go there because it's close and relatively cheap.
Citibank called. Somebody made two small online purchases yesterday with our account number. Wasn't me, and I'm pretty sure it wasn't Mag. They offered to cancel the account.
Monday, January 12, 2009
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Then I woke up and went, "Oh whew."
I kicked off an LSAT class this morning, and it went much smoother than in my dream. It was nice to be in a classroom after the holiday break. Now for more silver liningness:
The weather this week has been really nice. I almost feel guilty when I hear about other parts of the country dealing with bad weather. But not guilty enough to keep me from enjoying my BIKERIDE in SHORT SLEEVES the other day. HA HA HA HA! SORRY.
The kids are happily using their new XBOX 360 that they pooled their money for. So far, they're being very cooperative and trading off players because they were only able to afford two controllers.
On that note, Chaco's birthday is on Monday, and I just got around to ordering his stuff last week. You'd think I'd be smart after all these years and order his birthday stuff around the same time we get the Christmas stuff, but no, apparently not. I thought it might be late, but it arrived yesterday. I like that whole underpromise-and-overdeliver thing. I'm happy.
I'm dealing with a minor foot injury that has me cutting back on my running for a bit. Yesterday I tried the unimaginable task of riding the exercise bike we've had for about three years (despite my first point about the nice weather, yesterday was crappy). It was surprisingly fun!
As mentioned, I started a class assignment today. They seem like a good group. I doubt they will end up in those TV ads for "The Hammer", "The Strong Arm", etc. Have you been injured?
And I've gotta say it again. I'm thankful for my blog friends. I learn so much from you guys! Pet care tips, camping equipment tips, recipes, religious perspectives, sewing tips, running tips, parenting tips, tax laws, reinforcement that not all Texans are loud and just want to take over Colorado.... I won't mention names. You know who you are.
Friday, January 9, 2009
A couple of years ago, I had a temp job in the school district, working part-time with special ed. kids at the elementary school. I enjoyed working with those kids and I liked my co-workers and all, but I can't say that I was particularly sad when the job was done. It was my first experience working for a government entity and I found it quite different from the private sector.
The main difference, I felt, was that with every other place I've worked, the focus was on the customer. Whether it was retail or the hotel biz or manufacturing. Even now, as a teacher, my job is very customer focused, but the education service I work for is private, not public.
At the public school, there was just this atmosphere that the schools mainly exist for the school district employees. Call me crazy, but that's what it felt like. I didn't like it, and I don't think that it was just because I have kids who go to school in that district (but that certainly didn't help). On an individual basis, I like my kids' teachers for the most part, but I saw too much while I was on the "inside".
Just a bit of pondering. I have yet to meet anyone who "just loves!" their kids' schools. Well, except for those brown noser types, but they don't count.
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Anyway, I was reading about toothpaste and teeth whitening over at beej's. It got me thinking about teeth. One of the things I managed to mark off of my "to do" list over the winter (don't call it Christmas) break was getting all of the kids in for their dental checkups.
I myself, am overdue for a checkup, but I think I've spent my fair share of time in a dentist chair. I've mentioned here in passing that my two front teeth are fake, and I recall actually rehashing the whole ordeal once, a long time ago in a blog far far away.
Suffice it to say that, when I was 11 years old, I was riding skateboards with my friends one minute, and the next, I was involuntarily trying to eat the street. I've never seen my mom freak out like that before or since.
Several dental appointments later, I had earned a "million dollar smile, or close to it" and I think the dentist put an addition on his house. But at least I could eat apples and fried chicken again.
Then again, about 6 years ago, my dentist said one of the crowns needed to be replaced. He went on to explain that since there had been such great advancements in the realistic look of front crowns, I should have them both replaced at the same time so they would match. That made sense. Extra money for him too, yeah, but it made sense about the whole symmetry thing. My mouth.
So, I guess figuring that he had managed to tack on the extra crown so may as well get more, he told me I should have a complete whitening treatment at the same time to make the rest of my teeth match my pretty new crowns.
Hold the phone.
Hadn't he just got through telling me that the new and improved crowns of today looked so real? Ultra white teeth don't look real. I declined the whitening treatment and told him I wanted crowns that looked real. I think he was bummed.
I remember the dental assistant telling me that they were going to make me look like a "Movie Star!" She never mentioned any specific names though. *ahem*.
My falsies. Do they look real?
So now I've got new-and-improved-coffee-and-tea-stained-hold-the-whitening-treatment real looking front crowns.
The Dentist and his wife went on a cruise shortly afterward.
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
<---A little Inuit, in his first pair of polar bear pants. What's cuter? The pants or the baby?? (Sorry, PETA).
It was cold here Sunday. "Blustery" might describe it. Snow, wind, temperatures in the teens putting the wind chill below zero. Magnum and Wolfgang had gone out to run an errand. I was here on the computer doing something highly important like facebook WordTwist or such with beej, Jerry, and Brandy when the inevitable happened. Yet another session of Grabass broke out in the living room between Chaco and Meego.
Now I know the whole boy thing. This need for "puppy time" on a regular basis. That doesn't mean I have to like it, especially after I've said it sooooo many times, "No grabass in the house! That's what outside is for!"
"HO-KAY!", I declared, "We're all going outside to take the dog for a walk!"
"B-B-B-But, it's cold outside", they replied.
"YEP! That's what jackets and hats and stuff are for! Bundle up!!"
So I forced Chaco and Meego out into the elements which also meant I was forced to be out there too. The dog loves it. I think she's immune to cold weather and wishes she were a sled dog. After a while, Chaco and Meego had sufficiently felt the consequences of their living room SmackDown, and we returned to the warmth of the house. Thank goodness, because I was freezing my butt off!
I noticed as we de-layered ourselves that Chaco's jacket was about a size or two too small. What the...? Didn't I just buy that jacket? No wonder he was freezing. Muahahahahahahah!
So yesterday, we went jacket shopping and found him a nice one. Can you say "After Christmas Clearance"? YAY! He's all happy because we had to go to the Young Men's department to find one that fit him.
This morning, 7:30, he tells me he's going to take the dog out for a walk. Oh, did I mention that school doesn't start back here until THURSDAY?! But that's another issue.... What? So early? In the cold? He wanted to put the new jacket through the paces. He wanted to go out. The colder the better.
Oh. Okay. To get them to go outside in wintertime, I just need to provide some warm clothing? That's the trick?
Monday, January 5, 2009
The day that seemed it would never arrived, finally arrived. Oh, that whole "Magic of Christmas" thing. Be good or maybe HE won't come. Of course he's coming. He's made a list and checked it twice.
We never did that whole Santa Claus thing with our kids. No, it wasn't really any sort of self-righteous decision, it just didn't seem necessary. There are the zealots out there that say it's wrong wrong wrong to lie to your children. Then there's the other camp that says it deprives them of the magical aspects to not go along. To each his own, we say, and passed. No mailing letters. No scare tactics to "be good or else". No cookies and milk.
Of course, they heard the stories, even saw HIM. And we just told them it was a story for Christmas, just for fun. And, by the way, don't spoil it for friends that still believe.
They're older now, and I think survived the deprivation just fine. And it's not like they don't still undergo the stress and anxiety of waiting for HIS arrival.
Chaco, Wolfgang, and Meego pooled the bulk of their Christmas money and savings to purchase an XBOX 360, a couple of games, and an extra controller this year. Mail order.
Omigosh, the constant checking of e-mail updates, tracking notices, google maps, etc., etc., etc. The thing arrived late last week after what felt like an eternity. Yes there is a Santa Claus.
He drives a FedEx truck.
Saturday, January 3, 2009
In visiting some blogs this week, I noticed a few mentioning the unmentionable word "resolutions". I think I typically have blogged some goals at the start of a new year. Then I forget what they were and have to go check my archives. This year, I trashed the old blog... ERGO - No archives! I win!
I thought I would use this weeks Silver Lining Saturday episode to look back over the year and ponder the near future, anyway.
* I started my current job a little over a year ago, a fresh graduate of teacher training. For 2009, I want to add one or two more tests to my repertoire, and more happy students. A raise would be nice too.
* On a related note, we'll continue to cut back and to stock the pantry and savings. Economic crisis and all that.
* I ran 2085 miles in 2008. For 2009, I want to run... more. Including a real race or two.
* I can't remember the last time I had a cold, certainly not in 2008. Great, I probably just jinxed myself.
* I think I improved some friendships by just being more accessible and authentic this past year, and I'll continue that attitude. Ya gotta have friends. Real ones.
* For the mom wars, I think the kids have gotten more responsible and independent. Yeah, they slip back now and then, but so do I! I think real progress comes from setting a good example, not from just talking about these things. Oop - just remembered. Chaco learns to drive soon! (I think I can... I think I can... I think I can...).
* Magnum and I have already decided to go on more dates. He says he wants to get back into playing tennis like we did BC (before children). This should be interesting.
Bottom line, my MAIN goal for the new year is to venture outside of my comfort zone. On a regular basis. I know that's vague, but I do have specific goals in some areas and plan on setting more in others.
Oh yeah, and to always notice the silver linings and be thankful!
Thursday, January 1, 2009
I don't typically stay up until midnight on New Year's eve. The guys do their male-bonding-through-video-games thing and then usually wake me for the fireworks. But yesterday, we went bowling and while there, got to talking about everyone's plans for the evening. I said I would stay up until midnight only if someone agreed to run a "Midnight Mile" with me.
To my surprise, everyone got on board. What?
So, there I was. Up at midnight, gathering the troops to go run the first mile of the New Year. Everyone survived, and Chaco caught it on a rather "Cloverfield-esque" video.
The movie is shaky, dark, ill-defined in spots, and, in general, poor quality and a bit nauseating. Naturally, with all of those attributes, I had to post a segment of it.
See if you can follow the participants. We were in single file and fartlekking. If you don't know that term, it's not as gross as it sounds. Anyway, shortly after the beginning, Chaco is in front and you'll see clear sidewalk. Next comes Wolfgang from the left in the 2-tone jacket. Next is me, mainly a shot of my feet. I'm wearing a beret - I thought it festive. After me is a pretty good shot of Meego looking rather like a moonwalking astronaut. Lastly is Magnum in a pair of light colored pants. Then Chaco does his fartlek back up to the front and the thing continues.
So that was us at midnight, just more of the same for another 5200 feet or so. Once we got back, everyone declared that they were fully awake after that mile and might as well stay up longer. What have I done...