Thursday, June 30, 2011

check it off the summer bucket list

Got some fish today.

Got fish?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Dreaded Mom Vortex

I had a lovely time today, spending it with Wolfgang and Meego. Wolfgang was getting his driver's permit.  It's about time, since he'll be 16 in about another month.  We spent an awesome 3 hours at the DMV.

We enticed  Meego into coming, and we managed to pass the time with a variety of cheap entertainments.  Played some rousing hangman, took a few educative walks, played some more rousing hangman....  It was a nice day out, so we could hang around outside away from the inside DMV queue and enjoy the lovely recession-hit strip mall sights and breathe in the fresh second-hand smoke.  I give the waiting area outside the DMV a rating of "R" for language and sexuality.

Wolfgang was fretting about the vision test.  He hasn't had an eye exam in a while - his choice.  As the clock ticked on and on and on aND ON, I began to fret too.   Really, at the 2 hours 45 minute point, I was pulling for him to pass that test probably harder than I did any of his year-end finals at school.  Imagine going back there again, so soon.  That would really take the specialness away.

And there's plenty of fun people-watching to do at the DMV.  Here's a quick sketch of one of our lively fellow revelers.

Ah, good times.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

midsummer night

Hello and happy weekend!  Happy Illustration Friday on Saturday where this week's prompt is "Midsummer Night". 

The prompt took me back to my younger days as a carefree teenager.  Don't tell my kids, because I'm rather enjoying harping on them about how they should be working and earning money (from someone other than their parents!) and getting valuable experiences that will help them throughout the rest of their responsible lives.  After all, I did those things when I was their age.

Truth is, though, while I did do those things, I also spent a lot of time just hanging around with friends and doing absolutely nothing productive during the summers. 

And it was good.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


That's what my pedometer currently says:  19,007.  Magnum and I got these pedometers through his employer.  They have put these health incentives in place, and the latest thing is the "Health Miles" program.  Sign up, get a pedometer, download your daily steps, earn points.  Take the health challenge today! 

Today was a running day so I racked up over 15,000 steps before I even took a shower.  Weee!  Most recently, I got back from taking China the crazy dog for her daily beauty walk.  Net so far = 19,007.

I remember when this all started.  There were health screenings that paid $50.  We didn't even have to be healthy!  Just participate and get the $50.  So yeah, I got screened!  I recall one woman there, while we were in one of the waiting stations. 

"She just told me I'm fat.  I already KNOW I'm fat", she commented.

I suspect this is true for most.  We know that there are things we should do more of and things we should do less of.  It's just a matter of priorities.  I think it's really the psychological aspects that drive us to do what we do.  And to permanately change what we do, our psychology needs to change.

I had a friend who was quite an avid smoker.  Naturally, she knew it was bad for her, but it didn't worry her that much.  She always said she could quit if she wanted to, she just didn't want to. 

Then one day she just stopped.  Cold turkey.  She came in to work, declared that she no longer smoked and that was that.  Others didn't really believe her.  They looked on while wearing their nicotine patches or chewing their nicotine gum so much their chewing muscles were sore or visiting accupuncturists or trying to cut back.  How could she just be so calm and smug?

"It was that Yul Brynner commercial", she told me.

That's it.  That 30-second PSA made a non-smoker out of her for life.  Even when others would take smoke breaks, even when she went where others were smoking, even when she started putting on weight.  I haven't seen her in years, but I feel pretty certain that she hasn't smoked a puff since.  I could see it in her eyes.

Now I see that the U.S. is going to start putting graphic warning labels on cigarette packs.  My first thought was, "people already know that smoking is bad, I don't think this will really work". 

But what do I know?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day

My dad.

One of the good ones.

For one thing, it was him who taught me to ride a bicycle.  For that alone, I should be eternally grateful.  But he's done oh so much more. 

Saturday, June 18, 2011


Welcome to another Illustration Friday on Saturday. This week's prompt is "Launch", so I did this owl. I think he's launching for lunch.


Friday, June 17, 2011


Greetings blog friends! I'm back, did you miss me?? Did you even notice I was gone??

Anyways, remember how I mentioned we were going to do a road trip to Arizona, but Arizona was on fire, so we didn't? We brainstormed to come up with alternatives and settled on just driving a couple of hours up into the mountains and playing Tourist to Colorado.

We rented us a cozy 2 Bedroom condo and just had a lovely time. About an hour into the drive, we realized we had not one camera between the five of us. Oh fudge! How to visually record the trip!?

Suffice it to say that, through the magic of super high technology, I was able to capture images of the trip and share them here...

Here's us, heading for the hills in the big butt van:

There was a nice pond to rent paddle boats. The geese were bullies. Here's the kids in their boat, playing chicken with a goose... and winning!

Of course there was fishing. Didn't catch a darn thing.

And bicycling!

The educational portion of the trip included a tour of a former Gold Mine. It was awesome and not for the claustrophobes!

Here's me, outside the mine, panning for gold in the nearby stream. I found some shiny bits and made friends with a sweet burro. I don't think I found much gold, but my burro friend did provide a friendly golden shower. *ahem*.

We swam nearly every day.

But mind you, it wasn't just Kidstuff. I purchased some wine for Magnum and me and didn't notice until later that it was named "Menage trois" - from some naughty winery in California.

It wasn't bad, but I couldn't help but feel that something... was... missing....

In the end, a great time. Colorado, you beautiful state you - and not on fire!

Saturday, June 11, 2011


Greetings on this fine Illustration Friday on Saturday. This week's prompt is "swept" and I decided to give a shout out to the bikers out there.

In my time spent being a school crossing guard, I tabulated some unofficial statistics and the results are:

Worst drivers in a school zone - women in minivans.
Best drivers in a school zone - men on motorcycles.

Sorry to the mini van driving moms, I just call 'em as I see 'em.

I'm not really a "choppa" kinda girl, but I thought this one was pretty - with the swept handlebars and all...


Tuesday, June 7, 2011


<-- Note left for my slumbering children this morning in the unlikely event that they would awaken and become vertical before my return from walking the dog. "All of China" is a nickname for her, but that's another story...

Week two of summer break. Last week, I did quite a bit of catching up on things, and I'm rather enjoying this week by not doing a whole lot of anything. In fact, my mom called this morning and we had a short conversation:

Mom: Hi Abby, are you in Arizona?
Me: No. Arizona is on fire

Mom: I know, that's why I called. I thought you said something about going to Arizona.
Me: Well, we were, but not this week. Magnum has some training at work, plus, Arizona is on fire.

Mom: Oh, I see. I asked Dad if it was now you were going to Arizona, but he didn't know anything about that, just said, 'Arizona?! Why on earth would they go to Arizona?!'

(I did tell them both that we were going to Arizona... good old Mom)

Me: Yep, you're right. We were planning a trip, but not for this week. Plus, Arizona is on fire.

Mom: I was in Pueblo yesterday, and we couldn't see the mountains.
Me: I know, it's really smokey here too, because Arizona is on fire.

Mom: Well, I'm glad you're not in Arizona.

Me too. I'm having enough troubles dealing with the smoke in Colorado from the fact that Arizona is on fire. I can only imagine what it's like in the actual Arizona. We are currently rethinking our road trip plans.

But in the meantime, I'm just enjoying some lazy days. Blame it on smoke-in-the-atmosphere sloth, but it's not total sloth. For instance, in the past few days:

- I've purchased 2 shirts for myself. Cool ones for summer. I needed them, really.
- I've checked out 2 books from the library and have actually read large parts of them.
- Chaco has peeled large expanses of dead skin from his sunburned body.
- Wolfgang has lost neither part nor all of his new pair of running shoes.
- Meego has kept half of the neighborhood armed from his nerf gun arsenal.
- Magnum goes to work and supports all of this decadent activity.

Why on earth would we go to Arizona?

Saturday, June 4, 2011

just a bit of toast

In yet another reminder of "How Did We Ever Survive Childhood?", I am reminded of the virtues of a good sunscreen.

Growing up, we were seatbeltless in cars and helmetless on bikes, skated and skateboarded without pads, rode in the open backs of pickups, and freely ate and shared peanut butter. And I don't remember sunscreen even being available when I was a kid. Heck, we'd cover ourselves in oil just to hasten the charring of our skin.

Now, of course, we know better.

So we're all grown up now and raise our kids in a different world of helmets and seatbelts and padding and sunscreen. Usually.

Chaco went to a party a couple of days ago. The party was outside at a pool. He came home looking like a ripe tomato.

He spent most of yesterday shuffling around in a shiny covering of various ointments. I felt sorry enough for him to take on his laundry duty for the day. I've also begun referring to him as "The English Patient".

Maybe today will be less lobster-like. Looks like summer has officially arrived.

Friday, June 3, 2011


Oooh, I'm liking this summer break thing. An Illustration Friday on an actual Friday! (Yeah, I'm pretty easy to please).

This week's prompt is "shadows". When I saw that I almost cringed. A little background:

We are about to head out on another epic summer road trip. Now, one thing Mag and I decided long ago is that we would not provide our deprived children with electronic stimulation for these road trips. We would leave them to their own devices to use that captive environment to quietly ponder and/or let their imaginations blossom and/or foster their brotherly bonds, etc... Sounds good in theory right?

I will admit that I have sometimes wholly longed for a DVD player or two in the road trip van, but I've managed to not break down so far. It's very much similar to my conviction made long ago to forego the birthing-time epidural. There've been moments when I just wanted to shout, "SCREW THIS!!"

BUT I digress.

The thing is, we often fill the road trip voids with marathon games of 20-questions. They can get quite raucous and testosteral, but one round I remember in particular was several years ago when Wolfgang's subject was "shadow", and we were all failing miserably at figuring that out.

Think about it. Shadow? Not too many "yesses" or "nos" for that one, but a whole lotta "sometimeses". Oh, the frustration. Oh, can we just pull over. Oh, can we NOT play any more 20-questions for the next 100 miles or so?!? And the whole "shadow" thing has had negative connotations ever since.

Until now.

I mentioned that I did another house drawing last weekend. The original photo was taken on a sunny day, so I had some wonderful shadows to play with. I look at them differently now.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


Terri tagged me with a meme. A meme?!

Like Terri, I don't do memes. This is a blog. Isn't a blog just one big rambling meme anyway? And I've been blogging for a long time. What else IS there to over share???

So, like Terri, I will continue to rebel and just do this one (what?). I'll try to reveal revelations not previously revealed here before, but I'm not making any promises...

Seven things you probably couldn't care less about me:

- In high school, I was voted "most humorous girl", but I'm thinking the sweater my partner is wearing in the yearbook photo - now THAT's funny.

- I'm not typically attracted to "beautiful people". I prefer some imperfection. For example, David Beckham is sexy, but not attractive. He needs some beer gut or bad teeth.... something.

- I've never been in a physical fight, but part of me is curious to know what it's like to hit and be hit.

- On that note, I'm a little curious about what prison is like, psychologically. Maybe I could kill two curious birds with one stone?

- When I was 3 years old, I was walloped in the face with a projectile softball. I don't remember anything about the impact, but I still vividly remember sitting on the kitchen counter in my house while my mom cleaned the gallons of blood off of me.

- My upper right arm is tattooed, I have two piercings in each ear lobe, I have no facial hair to speak of and hopefully it stays that way.

- I used to smoke cigarettes, but they made me feel heavy-headed and sleepy for hours and it was easy to quit; I've never tried recreational drugs (other than pot, I mean c'mon, I'm in my 40's); I got truly drunk more often before I was of drinking age than after.

I tell you only because you care.