Sunday, January 31, 2010

Silver Liningness Sunday

And a lovely week it's been - so much so, that I really must find other adjectives besides "lovely", I've realized.

For starters, we did get back to some winter weather, but nothing like other parts of the country are seeing. It snowed. It melted. I rode my bicycle without hardly a blink.

We upgraded Chaco's bank account and he now has a debit card. I think that's a good thing, time will tell.

I've been McTutoring a high schooler. We live quite a distance apart, so we meet in the middle. Original plan was to meet at a small branch library, and when that didn't really work out so great (you call this loud, raucous, no-tables-to-speak-of, place a LIBRARY?!?) we decided to meet at the McDonald's across the street. My student is doing well and he loves that we meet at McDonald's. Feels right at home amid the teens that are typically there making out and whatnot at that time of day.

On that note, work continues to be fun and busy. The LSAT class is wrapping up, and I actually had to turn down a couple of assignment requests this week because I just didn't have time in the schedule.

And, as mentioned, I've been playing with my paints and brushes and pencils, etc. One medium I'm not too sure of is watercolor, so I endeavored to become more familiar. Let me say that I feel like a fish out of water when it comes to watercolor, so I took a stab at it by attempting this fish out of water. I think it turned out rather Junior High looking, but was a worthwhile exercise, and I'll play some more. Things may not look too good for this fish, but it has a determined look about it.

Self portrait.

Friday, January 29, 2010

wake up

From as far back as I can remember, I've always loved to draw and sketch and doodle and paint and whathaveyou. As a kid, my favorite gifts for Christmas and birthdays were art supplies of any kind (and bicycles).

Over the years, all that doodling got back -burnered to more practical endeavors. Recently, I realized I missed that weird girl that was always drawing.

So, yeah, I more or less made it a New Year's resolution to let the weird girl out to play every now and then. I will do "something" artsy every day. For at least 30 minutes. Now I have a freaking jungle growing on the wall of the Mancave, among other things.

Yesterday, I was sitting and pretending to be folding laundry and decided to draw some "still life" for 30 minutes - just anything non-moving that caught my eye. Thing is, still life has never been that interesting to me. I'm not one of those people that produces bowl of fruit after bowl of fruit after bowl of fruit. On that note, no barn paintings either. *YAWN*

On my search for a still drawing, my eyes found an interesting non-moving thing: Wolfgang.

He was on the laptop, typically totally immersed in whatever was on the screen.

Then, this weeks' topic at illustration Friday is "focused", so I thought it appropriate to link.

Then I folded laundry.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

because it's funner and easier than keeping fingerprints at bay

I'm still playing with my wall.

I used up all those old paints and then went out and bought some new. So I guess that defeated the purpose of the wall paintage to be a means to use up old paint.

It's not done yet. I'm waiting for the wall to tell me when it's done. I think it prefers this to ubiquitous smudgy fingerprints.

Kids helped some too. Can you find Meego's contribution in this section?

In other news, the 4th grade science fair project report has been completed and turned in. Meego never reached full death of all the batteries, but a couple were comatose.

Conclusion: LED light bulbs last WAY WAY WAY WAAAAY longer than incandescants.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Today, I took China the crazy dog for our daily stroll. We emerged from our back gate and were greeted by the biggest [censored] German Shepherd I have ever seen in my life.

In My Life.

I mean, clearly, this was not a purebred German Shepherd. It must be a mix of German Shepherd and something huge. Like a moose.

And naturally, when it saw us, I think it had lunch on the brain. Although, I think to this creature, China and me together would still just have been an appetizer.

So, I just want to say how grateful I am for the large strong man that was at the end of the German Shepherd Moose leash. And also, I am thankful for the good strong well-made leash.

Other than that, a nice walkie.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Silver Liningness Sunday

Happy Sunday everyone! Whoo, the week flew by, did it not?

For one, I am thankful just for it being Sunday. A Sunday of nothing on the calendar. This is our first weekend in quite a while that is pretty open, so it's nice to just be a slug and get caught up on things for a bit.

We enjoyed another mild week weather-wise, so my bicycle bliss continued - YES, even the capris came out of hiding!

Summer before last, one of the things on our things-to-do-over-summer-break list was to paint a mural on a portion of a wall in the basement. Well, never happened. I got all the paints and brushes, but we couldn't decide what to paint, and we got busy with other stuff, blah, blah, blah. Before we knew it, school started again and the wall was as naked as ever.

This week, I remembered that those paints were still waiting, so I just started splatting them onto the chosen wall - Bob Ross style - watching to see what "happy accidents" appeared. So here's a portion of what's on the wall now. Plus, the kids are back to Let's-Paint-A-Mural! mode after the reminder. If we're not careful, the mancave may just look like a jungle by the end of the weekend.

And, in a total mom-of-suburbia moment, have you been to the mall lately? Some great deals to be had! Picked up some hoodies and cargo pants for the kids on the CHEAP this week. Very timely, since they've grown out of just about everything I bought them in the fall (mom-of-suburbia moment now over).

On the work side of things, my class is going well and I also have a high school tutor student who will most likely get an athletic scholarship, so wants to make sure his academics are up to snuff. I find that this type of student - one with specific motivation - is the most pleasant to tutor.

And speaking of academics, Meego has been working on his Science Fair "project of death" for a while, and I think/hope that the death is finally near for the tougher specimens! Not to worry - he's killing batteries, not innocent life forms. Deadline is this week, so our dance-of-death has been employed and is hopefully effective.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

code of fire

A couple of days ago, I got suckered into going to the elementary school and cleaning out a store room with another PTO sucker. Apparently, a fire inspection is imminent, so this room needed some attention. Mind you, we were only cleaning out the PTO section of the storeroom.

Turns out my partner in grime is, like me, a clutterphobe, so we made very short work of our task. And I will say that the formerly jumbled shelves are now an efficient, tidy shrine of orderliness.

She, also like me, is a mom of all boys. She's got an extra one, though, a fourth one to contend with. So we talked about being moms of all boys. Yes, they are messy. Yes, they are loud. Yes, they are rowdy. Then there are stories we've heard of moms with girls. They could be weepy, they could be overly sensitive, they could hold a grudge forEVER, and yes, they could be bitchy.

I thought back to my school and work experiences, and just experiences with the different genders in general. Girls can be mean. Mean mean. Fortunately, I think I can say that I was never an active target of such meanness, but I've witnessed enough.

A few years ago, I had a temporary part-time job at that very elementary school. Most of the staff there is female. I couldn't help but notice the contrast in coworker dynamics between that and when I worked with mostly men.

Those women would be all flowery and nicey nice when in each others' company, but the minute one party left the room, the bitchiness and gossip ensued. I was rather shocked that this was the "rule" and NOT the exception. It happened on a daily basis.

Working with mostly men was so different. I find men to be more honest and upfront. Basically, they treat you like "one of the guys", grab your ass, or totally ignore you. So much easier to know where you stand.

I know there are exceptions, but I still wince when remembering the backstabbing and catfighting I witnessed during my short stint at that school job.

So my friend and I received profuse thankfulness regarding our decluttering prowess. We then left the building so someone could surely accuse us of something bad.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Silver Liningness Sunday

On a Monday!

Okay, I was wholly absent yesterday. Did anyone miss me?

Oh well, I can't let a week go unnoticed and unthanked, so the silver liningness is a day late. Actually, we spent a day in the Big City yesterday (cue "Dynasty" theme music...). Got out to get a little culture and whatnot to commemorate Chaco's birthday from earlier in the week.

Last week will also be remembered as a special one as it was simply lovely weather-wise. I took my poor neglected Bella (the mountain bike) out of her holding cell on several occassions so as to feel the wind in our hair. AND, in addition, not a minivan incident to speak of! Oh, pinch me, I MUST be dreaming.

It was also quite a week of busyness and productivity. I can't even remember what all I got done, but my to-do list has many scratch outs on it. One thing was a good closet cleaning for each of us, and the VVA is coming today for a donation pickup. Six bags o' stuff for them. YAY!

Oh, and speaking of the warm weather... such circumstances meant that the new tattoo was occassionally on display and got several positive comments. A showing at a PTO meeting, no less, prompted the principal to remark on what a rocking PTO our school has compared to others she's dealt with. Not only do we discuss ways to sneak marguerita machines to the staff appreciation luncheons, but now we have a treasurer with a tattoo.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

as the classroom turns

Last week, I briefly introduced the soap opera that is my LSAT classroom. Allow me to update.

Firstly, we have the character known as Rich Girl. Rich Girl is a college student at the local small private ($$$$) liberal arts college that is located smack dab in the middle of our conservative military heavy city. As with much of the other students I've had from this institution, Rich Girl is intelligent, inquisitive, confident, charitable, and well taken care of financially by the family. And, also typical of her college mates, she is not pretentious in the least. It's a delight to have her in class. She's also quite cute in a rich liberal college student girl kind of way. She's in her early 20's.

Then we have Bartender who is, you guessed it, a bartender. I can admit here that Bartender is currently one of my favorite students. C'mon, name a teacher who is truly unbiased! Bartender is rather rough around the edges. He typically comes to class in faded frayed jeans, tennis shoes, a well-worn t-shirt, and a baseball cap. His voluntarily unshaven face nicely rounds out the ensemble. He is boyishly charming in that he appears comfortable in any setting, speaks freely, laughs with abandon, and is just basically a what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of guy. He's somewhere around 30 years old.

So, one night last week, we were analyzing arguments. One such argument attempted to prove that Beethoven had had a venereal disease, to which Rich Girl posed the question:

"Uhm.... what's a venereal disease?"

To which Bartender responded with absolute side-splitting laughter.

The rest of the class, myself included, found amusement in this question as Rich Girl is the baby of the class. We realized that "VD" is not a term people her age are that familiar with. STD is the new VD.

So as we explained the meaning of venereal disease to her, Bartender continued with the laughter. No, he was not merely chuckling, not snickering, nor did he just let out one good guffaw and leave it at that. He was unabashedly and gleefully cracking up.

Not surprisingly, Rich Girl found amusement in this too, rather than becoming self-conscious about her cluelessness of the term.

But, I must say, I don't see the two of them heading off, hand-in-hand, into the sunset. Oh, and I had such high hopes. It probably didn't help that Bartender happened to be wearing an old faded version of this shirt at the time:

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

semi sweet

It's Chaco's birthday today. Sixteen. Daaaaaaannng....

Naturally, I remember the day he was born. It was snowing up a major storm outside, but I didn't care. I had a BABY! My very first BABY! (*crap!* Now what??)

But, we weathered that storm just fine, and here were are 16 years and a few storms later.

At 16, Chaco can be wonderfully stubborn, adoringly bellicose, delightfully bossy...

He can also be attentively helpful, demonstrably intelligent, refreshingly witty...

And I love all of his attributes. I love his rebel non-conformist side, like the one displayed here in this go-ahead-and-take-my-pic-but-don't-expect-me-to-smile-all-nicey-nice:

Happy Birthday, Chaco.


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Silver Liningness Sunday

Happy Sunday and welcome to this week's episode of Silver Lining Sunday!

I'm fresh from my lovely neice's wedding last night. Beautiful time it was. She is my oldest brother's oldest kid and so happens to be the only girl that my brothers and I have been able to spawn. Congratulations to the special couple!

And I can't leave without mentioning that this was tattoo week. It's been a fun experience from deciding to get one to finding a studio and getting it done.

There are some bad studios out there and some really ugly tattoos out there. I was very pleased with the studio and artist I found. I asked him how one becomes a tattoo artist. "Some people just buy a machine off of ebay...", he began. *shivers*

The kids finally went back to school on Thursday, so things have settled back into a cozy routine. I like a good sloth fest every now and then, but it can get old after a while.

With that, I also got back into the swing of the volunteer mom routine. It's nice to feel wanted... or maybe it's just that I'm cheap.

Friday, January 8, 2010

okay, so yeah

I got a tattoo.

Didn't talk much about it. Just decided to do it already. Did my reasearch and found a great studio. Tattoo artist Don designed it and inked it. Want one? Go see Don. Tell him I sent you.

<--it gets bigger if you click.

Magnum likes it.

Kids like it. I think.... in an Uhm,-yeah-okay,-our-mom-has-a-tattoo kind of way....

It's actually on my right arm. Looks like the left arm here because it's one of those cheesy in-the-mirror shots.

Okay, so yeah...

Thursday, January 7, 2010

better than reality TV

As mentioned, I kicked off a fresh class at the start of the year. More lawyer hopefuls.

I enjoy the classroom as opposed to those online courses we also teach. Don't get me wrong, it's nice not to have to commute anywhere and be a total slob below the waist if I so choose, but the personal element is a bit missing in an online course.

Sure, the teacher is there live onscreen and all, but the students... the students are just names and little comments in a chat box. In the classroom, the interaction feels more real, more intimate. Out of the classroom...?

I think I can say that, in every class I've taught since starting these post-undergraduate courses, there has been at least one pairing of students. No, they don't come to class hanging all over each other or leave in a mad rush to satisfy some carnal urge. It's just the subtle budding of relationships that doesn't go unnoticed. Not by me anyway.

I remember the volleyball player and the soldier. My opinion was that it would be a summer-lover fling, then they would both go their separate ways.

Next came the down-on-his-luck-glass-half-empty-guy who always perked up whenever he was around the always-friendly-and-likes-to-shop-too-much girl. I was thankful for her, otherwise he could be such an Eeyore.

Then we had the working girl and the quiet man. Didn't see a whole lot of promise with that one. She was too career oriented. He too private. But who knows?

Now I've got a new batch, just begun. We're still all getting to know each other...

But the rich girl and the bartender - I sensed something start to take root last night.... I can't wait to see where this one goes.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


I can't recall the last time I'd anticipated something quite so much.

We had set the date a week prior, and not a day had passed when I didn't think about it at some point. The day arrived and there I was, his willing participant.

After getting some necessary things out of the way, we got down to more serious business. He was very gentle with me, very soothing.

"What made you wait so long?", he asked.

"I've thought about it for quite a while, of course," I explained, "I just wanted be sure of what I wanted". He understood, and continued. I felt a bit of a stinging, burning sensation.

"Let me know if I'm hurting you... or if something doesn't feel right", he spoke gently. And then a minute or so later, "Does it feel like what you expected?"

"Yes", I replied, "about what I'd expected. It's fine".

And soon, it began to feel rather good. I started to relax and enjoy it. I could understand how some people could get carried away with it, almost addicted.

A few minutes later, and it was finished.

My first tattoo.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Silver Liningness Sunday

Greetings and Happy New Year! Welcome to the first silver liningness post of 2010. Let's reflect, shall we?

Firstly, we greeted the new year with our second annual Midnight Mile. It was chillier out this year than last - invigorating! Despite the temperatures, there were more people outside than I remember from last year. More people out watching fireworks, shooting fireworks, and just taking part in general revelry and noisemaking.

At one point in our run, someone gave a shout out from their porch, "Hey, Happy New Year runners!" I'm not sure if it was a greeting or a description, but it was shouted with sincere merriment and was well received.

Oh, and recall last week when I mentioned the plan for a "no electonics" day? Welp, we did it! Friday. Dja miss me??

It was nice. No computers, no TV, no video games. Surprisingly, there was no whining either. In fact, everyone seemed to get into it, wanting to take it further. Wanting to go "no electricity day!" even. I reminded them that, at that point we'd already used the stove, oven, microwave, hot water heater, furnace, etc... so we went back to just "no electronics" with a plan to get truly feral next time!

One of the things we did on NE day was go hiking. I took this pic with the menfolk up against a cliff face a little before sunset. It made me think of a firing squad setup... *ahem*... can't imagine why.

I kicked off another class this week. It felt good to be back in the classroom after taking a month off. I realized that I'm right where I wanted to be job-wise this time last year when setting my goals for 2009. Time for some new job goals now, I suppose.

And I am so very mucho thankful for my blog friends! Such a smart, fun, witty, varied, helpful, supportive bunch you are!