Saturday, December 31, 2011


Happy Illustration Friday on New Year's Eve Saturday.  Omigosh, what a day?!  Anyways, this week's IF prompt is "highlight". 

So I was thinking... uhm... hair?  Nah.

Well, there's always the sports highlight.  In my work as a tutor, I've had several high school athlete students.  Not just run-of-the-mill high school athletes, but highly recruited ones.  They excel at a particular sport and big colleges and universities want them.  Badly.

They get all excited at the prospects, go visit campuses, meet coaching staffs,  meet upperclassmen, etc.  Then they find out the academic requirements of their schools of choice and it's all, "Uh oh..."  Enter the private tutor.

I'm not sure how many students in this category I've taught, but I can say that each one of them has been a delight to work with.  They have all been hard-working, conscientious, disciplined,and suprisingly humble. 

They didn't come into it looking for shortcuts or ways to "beat the system".  They focused on the task at hand, looked to me as their coach, asked good questions, and did everything I asked of them.  I've concluded that it's these traits that helped them be in the position of highly sought athletes in the first place.

I know that "jocks" often get a bad rap, and I know that not every one is like the students - no strangers to the sports highlights -  I've been fortunate enough to work with.  But when they get in touch with me down the line and say, "I made it!", THAT is the highlight for me.

Friday, December 30, 2011

opposites attract, the sequel

Okay, agg79 commented that since I'm having fun at Magnum's expense, and that since I certainly dont have "perfect feet",  then I should at least fess up an reveal my running shoes.  NOT a problem.

These are my lovely Nikes, or at least an attractive google rendition of such.  Note that they are not optimum for me based on my gait analysis, but I like them because they're lightweight and simple.   So I run in them, rebel that I am.

No, my true shame comes from the shoes I wear for walking.  I typically walk the dog everyday, and typically walk with Magnum each evening.  In fact, I attributed most my "running" injuries to improper walking shoes.  And now, these are what I wear for walking:

They are absolutely hideous!  Really, this image does not do them justice.  They look bad enough now, but imagine them in summertime when I wear them with shorts!  It's difficult for me to admit that I do such a thing!

BUT, I'm on my second pair of these ugly ugly shoes and my feet, knees, hamstrings, etc. have never been happier.  It's quite the love / hate relationship.

I did joke with Magnum that, when he's finished running in his new shoes, maybe we could bronze them and put them on the mantle.  But in reality, I totally win the ugly shoe contest.

And that's enough about the shoes!

opposities attract?

Okay, I did one thing, I did start the running blog up again - more or less.  More as in it exists, less as in I haven't written anything over there yet.  BUT it's a start...  I checked on a couple of my running zealot friends to see that their blogs do still exist, but nothing's been posted for Looooooong Times. 

In somewhat related news, though, Magnum and Wolfgang went shoe shopping yesterday.  Wolfgang is the "other" runner in the family and was due for a pair.  Magnum uses the treadmill a couple of times a week too, and he's got weird feet, so he wanted to go to the running store with Wolfgang and have the full blown "gait analysis".

First, here are the shoes that Wolfgang got.  Aren't they pretty?  I swear the boys get the coolest colors! Plus he gets the all-important High School Team Discount. I've done the gait analysis too, and Wolfgang and I are pretty much in the same category...

But check out Magnum's shoes - resulting from his gait analysis.  Dude!  We all know that he has flat feet, it almost kept him out of the army.  Check the soles of these shoes, though.  They remind me of big baby shoes!  I don't mean to make fun, really I don't!  There is truly much science that goes into running shoe design, and I for one appreciate it.  I can't imagine trying to run in these things with my high arches.

So anyway, we're all decked out running-wise for the new year.  Me with the old/new blog, those guys with their shoes.  I will say that running's been good to me lately.  I haven't wanted to mention the fact that I have been injury free now for quite some time - no knee bursitis, no plantar fasciitis, no strained hamstringitis...  If I say something, it might wake them up!

And, according to my records, I've run 1408 miles to date in 2011.  I'm not really one to keep track of a bunch of stats, but I do keep track of miles because it indicates when my shoes are about to crap out. 

1408 miles = 4.7 pairs of shoes.  Mom would be proud. 

Thursday, December 29, 2011

beginning of the end

Magnum and I were out for our Old Folk's walk last night.  I asked him if he had any New Year's resolutions.

"I've got [that financial thing]", he replied, ponderingly, "and that [other financial thing].  You?"

"Nah, *sigh* not really.  Got any suggestions?", with great expectation.

"Nope, you're perfect", he replied a little too quickly.

"Ah, c'mon, I can take it!"

Then he went on to make a couple of good suggestions from the professional realm that are along the same lines as what I was discussing with my coach.  Things I was planning to do anyway, but I just needed to get specific.  So now they're specific and I'll write them down and do them.

I also signed up for another  month of NaBloPoMo.  Go ahead and click the image and you too can be part of the fray!

NaBloPoMo January 2012

The theme is "Beginnings" so what's not to like about that?  Just commit to blogging EVERY day of the month, and read some of the others' stuff.  I figure if I made it through December - despite the holidays and the flu - I can do a January!

I'm also thinking of resurrecting the old running blog.  When I had it before, I met a few other zealots and we would keep each other motivated and blog about exciting things like new shoes and mud. 

I miss that sometimes...

What do you have in the works??

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

twenty twelve

This year, it's "Gardens East and West".  There have been countless others - most I can't remember.  I've gotten one every Christmas for the last 20+ years.

The desk calendar.  From my stepmother-in-law. 

I don't use desk calendars.  I used to, though.  Back when I was a working girl and had a working girl desk, the desk calendar was a handy tool for me to communicate with coworkers who would stop by my cubicle and find it vacant.  They could look at my desk calendar and possibly get an idea of where I was.  If there was no appointment showing on the desk calendar, it was safe to assume that I was in the break room / in the restroom / in a lab / bumming the halls / saw them coming and ducked out to purposely avoid them.

I am not anti-desk calendar.  I just don't have a use for one as I consider clear space on my desk a higher priority.  I haven't had a working girl desk in nearly 15 years, but the calendars keep coming.  I just can't bring myself to turn them off.   So I open them, I thank the stepmother-in-law, I put them in the goodwill box.

Let me just say that I have no qualms whatsoever about putting unwanted gifts in the goodwill box.  I am a chronic non-hoarder. Really, decluttering is one of my favorite hobbies.

And I suppose that putting a brand new desk calendar (every year) into the goodwill box counts as "regifting".  Like the other stuff I put into the box, I envision it going to someone who really loves desk calendars and can't believe their good fortune at finding a brand new one, still in the box, still in the shrinkwrap even!

So Mr./Mrs. desk calendar lover, whoever you are.  Enjoy "Gardens East and West".  Merry Christmas.

For today's NaBloPoMoWhat is more uncomfortable - regifting or returning a gift?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

lull week

Here we are in "lull week" - the week between Christmas and New Year's where we don't have a whole lot going on and everybody's home from work and school.  We went bowling today.  I was awesome.  Not.

I rather enjoy "lull week" because it's like a pseudo-vacation.  We don't typically go anywhere, but the schedule is pretty relaxed.  We're doing the board games, the bowling, the movies, the books... 

I like to read, but rarely find much time for it, and so it takes me forEVER to get through most books.  Many, I don't even finish.

I'm reading one right now, and I found this "Teaser Tuesday" which is a weekly bookish meme, so I decided to play along - it being lull week and all.

Just do the following:

1. Grab your current read
2. Open to a random page
3. Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
4. BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
5. Share the title & author, too.

Okay, so here goes:

"I heard", Ellie said, touching her shoulder from behind.  "I'm sorry".
Katie tried to keep her eyes wide, so wide that the tears in them couldn't quite trickle over the edges.  but then she turned and threw herself into Ellie's arms.  "It's not supposed to be like this", she cried.  "It wasn't supposed to happen this way".

All right, that was technically more than (2) sentences, so shoot me!

The book is "Plain Truth" by Jodi Picoult.  I'd not read a Jodi Picoult before, and she has a bunch of books, so I thought I'd give her a try.  So far I like it. 

What types of books do you like to read?  What are you reading now?  Read anything particularly good lately? 

Monday, December 26, 2011

the aftermath

Okay, the day of languishing is over.  Yesterday's sloth and indulgence are history.  Now we start the headlong rush into the new year.

I haven't made any New Year's resolutions.  It's certainly not because nothing needs improvement. It's just that I need to sit down and reflect a bit to see what's next and why.  I've got 5+ days.

I will admit that I'm having trouble forming a "picture".  Other times, before, I've been able to do this.  Picture finishing college and getting a job.  Picture the family and the lifestyle, etc.  Now at this point, though, it's all a bit foggy.

But I'm fresh from life coach land and that's given me some strategies.  In fact, just thinking on that now, I'm able to form a bit of a vision.  I'm envisioning lunch. 

And after that?  Well, it IS Boxing Day.  Anyone up to throw down?

I need a skilled and worthy opponent to knock me around good for a bit! 

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Silver Liningness

Ah, Christmas has happened and it was good.

Yes, we had the decorations.  Yes, we had lights.  And YES, we had the tree - just in the St. Nick of time.  But what I'm grateful for is that, even if we didn't have those things, it would have all been good.

Our tree-gettin' did come down to the wire, but I really wasn't too stressed about it.  I wasn't stressed because I know these guys.  If something would have happened to keep us from getting that tree, we would have been able to laugh at ourselves. 

We would have come up with some stupid substitute - a cardboard tree cut out of stuff from the recycle pile, some twigs in a cup, I don't know.  But trust me, there would have been something and it would have been less than a Charlie Brown tree and cheesy and funny and special, and we would have christened it "Christmas 2011", and made it memorable.

And that's what I'm thankful for on this Christmas silver lining Sunday:  my wonderfully weird family.  We get each other.

That and my awesome blog friends.

“It isn’t what you have, or who you are, or where you are, or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about.”
Dale Carnegie


Saturday, December 24, 2011


NaBloPoMo prompt:  What will you be doing over the weekend?

I've still got some wrapping to do, but it's just for the kids so doesn't need to be impressive. 

Magnum and I did a coffee walk earlier.  We went near the mall by our house, and surprisingly, it wasn't too busy.  Still, we won't be doing any shopping whatsoever today - well, other than the coffee.

I ran this morning - my first run in a week after zombie flu.  It was glorious. 

Yesterday, I ordered a new toy for myself. (get your minds out of the gutter). 

Merry Christmas to all of my wonderful blog friends!  I hope this weekend is full of love and warmth for all of you!

Love, Abby (comma optional)


Happy Illustration Friday Saturday!  This week's prompt is "messenger", so I got some takeout. 

With all the holiday hustle and bustle going on, I was in the mood for still life.  Something lazy and comfy.  The Chinese takeout fortune cookie often contains a message that is less than memorable.  Often not even a true "fortune", but a vague general saying. 

I got one once, though, that said "You will be showered with good luck", and so I saved it.  Because it's true. 

I must have dropped it when I was a baby, and it somehow found its way back to me.

Friday, December 23, 2011


It was a week before Christmas
And there were things yet to do.
Oh how it sucks
To catch the Zombie flu!

There were days I did lose
To viral delerium
But I did somehow manage
At least a bare minimum.

Then I was better,
Renewed and reborn!
Only to be stranded
By a winter snow storm.

But time keeps ticking
It doesn't wait for me.
Christmas will be here
Even if there's no tree!

Would this be the year
We would remember as being
The year without a tree
Like a song with no feeling?

Then the clouds parted
The snow stopped falling
The sun even shone
As if to be calling

Go!  Go! 
Go now in the car!
Take the All-Wheel-Drive
The nursery's not far!

We mushed through the snow
And we got us that tree
At a bargain price too
With an ornament for free!

So now we can sit
Content in good cheer
That was a close one
What happens next year?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

something waits

I went for a bike ride this morning.  It was warm out - about 60 degrees.  The sky was vivid blue and the sun was just coming up.

I put on my comfy bike shorts and my sleeveless Canari top and my pretty Pearl Izumi gloves with the embroidered flowers.  It was glorious.  The birds were chirping and I didn't eat any bugs.

And there were hills, there are always hills, but I welcomed them because reaching the crest of one hill just means to be able to go screaming down the other side.  Traffic is light so early in the morning.  I had the roads practically to myself.

Even my bicycle - the speedy Tessa - was feeling wholly invigorated, like the well-oiled machine that she is.  At one point there was a hot air balloon hovering just overhead, close enough for me to see the people in the basket and hear the sporadic releases of propane.  I waved big windshield-wiper-arm waves until the people waved back. 

I saw foxes out hunting, and then a crazed deer... no wait, let's leave the crazed deer out of it.  After all, this is MY daydream.

Yeah, it was all just a dream.  In reality, I was on the stationary "thing" - it's not really a bicycle.  It's just a seat with pedals and handlebars that sits in a little room.  The lovely, yet lonely Tessa sat idly next to me the whole time as a winter storm raged right outside the window next to us. 

But the whole time, while on that stationary "thing", my mind was a conglomeration of many of the lovely bike rides that Tessa and I have had.  And my mind went outside that little room while the storm was raging, and I was anywhere I wanted to be. 

“God gave us memory so that we might have roses in December.”– James Barrie

"or lovely bike rides during a winter storm"
- me

So yes, there is quite a storm on this Winter Solstice.  And NO, we do not have a Christmas tree.  And yes, the roads are not very travelable.  But NO, I am not anxious about that  *SQUIRM*.

Here we have China the snow dog channelling her awesome mental powers ( and I DO mean "mental"!) to somehow conjure up a tree. 

At least, I think that's what she's doing. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

if I could put time in a bottle

Okay,  I think I've figured out the source of our troubles here in the household.  Despite the fact that we all live under the same roof, we live in different TIME ZONES!

We loosely decided that today would be tree-getting day, and I use the term loosely loosely.   It was just understood that since I was huddled under a blanket on the futon on Sunday with the Zombie Flu, and Magnum was watching football otherwise busy as well, the tree didn't get gotten.  So today would be the day.  But I think we need to actually hard schedule these things in our respective planners.

Magnum and I were up at a decent hour, and I left to go crime-bustin' before anyone else was up.  When I returned in the early afternoon, everyone except Chaco had been up for "a little while" and was fixing or eating breakfast/lunch/whatever they call it.  But Chaco was up and in the shower, so Mag and I took the dog for her beauty walk, thus giving Chaco time to primp and eat breakfast/lunch/whatever he calls it. 

So the dog's all walked, everyone is sufficiently fed, but... Wolfgang's gone out for a run before the next storm moves in. 

Okay, next time all five of us are home at the same time with  nothing scheduled for a while, throw a net over us!

I've resisted for all these years, but the artificial tree idea is starting to appeal...

a smart move

Yesterday I did this sketch of Magnum and then put it on my deviantArt page.  Another deviant then commented:  "Nice, did he sit for you, or is this from a picture?"

I had to laugh a little at that.  I could not imagine Magnum sitting with this contemplative gaze just so I could draw it.  I replied back:  "Thanks, it's from a photo.  He's not much of a 'poser'!"

In fact, the photo I used as a reference was a spontaneous "unposed" photo.  That's what I like about it.  I thought it captured more of his true self rather than a posed version.

Magnum and I met in college.  Actually met in the classroom - not at a bar or frat party.  One of the things I liked about him was that he was most certainly NOT a "poser".  There are up sides to Asperger's and that is definitely one of them for me. 

And now here we are, a good 23 years later.  It's not always perfect, but what is? I will admit that there are days when I don't have the energy.  There have been moments where I've said to him, "Don't.  I just don't feel like dealing with the Asperger's right now".  But I will add, that on the rare occassions when those moments have occurred, it was almost always during a certain week of the month ifyaknowwhatimsayin'. 

So yeah, I came across that photo, and to me, that was the Magnum I decided to talk to that day in class.  A nice, but shy guy who would probably like it if a girl struck up a conversation with him.  Did he pose for me?

Absolutely not.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


I'm starting to feel like a member of the human race once again.  That whole zombie thing is highly overrated.

It does still feel like there's a vice squeezing my head, but it's been nicely loosened.

It helps that the sun came out shining this morning and revealed some pretty freshly fallen snow.  Not a whole lot, but enough to make things look a little more Christmassy around here.  So I got a photo of the decorationless house.

I spent over 12 hours in bed last night.  I kept having dreams that I was hunting for drinking fountains and taking in copious amounts of cold water, but was still thirsty - only to have to hunt some more.

But yes, today is a  new day.  China the dog missed her beauty walk yesterday as I was in my delerium, and I'm not sure what might happen if she misses 2 in a row.   I'm thinking a walk will do the both of us some good.

And then I might actually bake something.  Maybe.  We wouldn't want the family to stop missing me just yet...

Monday, December 19, 2011

sicks days

It's six days until Christmas and our house looks pretty much the same as it did for - say- Labor Day.   We have no tree, no stockings, no bells on the door, no lights on the roof.  NO-thing.  Well, we do have those 5-year-old snowflakes...

Our plan was to go the nursery for a tree yesterday.  It's not a complicated thing, we just get a small tree in a pot, put it on top of a table, decorate it and voila, suddenly it's Christmas!  But that didn't happen.  It didn't happen because I came down the "The Crud" and APPARENTLY, NOTHING CHRISTMASSY CAN HAPPEN HERE IF I'VE GOT THE CRUD!

I was perfectly happy to let the menfolk go to the nursery and get a tree while I stayed home and remained one with the futon.  And they are the ones who put the lights up and such in the yard, anyway.  Me?  On a ladder?  HaHaHaHaHa!!

But no.  Since I was laid up with The Crud (coughingsneezingheadfulloffluid), everybody else took a sick day too.  But The Crud won't beat me.  I'm up.  I've got my sexy on with the windpants-over-leggings-and-turtleneck-over-thermal going, accentuated with a splash of Vick's Vap-O Rub. 

Magnum is working today and tomorrow, then he's off for the week.  I'm thinking Wednesday will be tree day.  We should probably get a good bargain so close to Christmas...

... if there are any trees left.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Silver Liningness

Welcome to another episode of Silver Lining Sunday.  Yeesh, just one more week until Christmas?!

Despite the sparseness of decorations (with the exception of some paper snowflakes that Meego made 5 years ago and we just never removed), at least I've got all my shopping done.  And it was relatively painless.

I continue to move up from "rookie" at the cops.  There's quite a bit to learn, but I think I'm a pretty quick study.  The other volunteer who is training me is coming in extra to do that, so I'm motivated to get up to line speed. 

I'm actually a bit surprised at the amount of information and responsibility we peon volunteers are privy to - I guess that explains the 3 months of background check.  This past week, our supervisor was getting my desktop all set up with the proper database shortcuts, and at one point she looked at me and said, in a hushed voice, "Isn't it amazing all the information we have?"  I was all, "You're telling ME??".  It often feels like a paid job, then I remember *DRAT*, it's not.  But everyone I've met so far is friendly and seems to really enjoy their work, so I take that as a good sign. 

Chaco, our resident IT department, is competing on his high school's  Cyber Patriot team.  He seems to enjoy it and be good at it.  There was another round of competition yesterday, and that was enough to get him - a teenager -  into bed by 10:30 on Friday night and up by 6:00 Saturday morning.  I was up  yesterday morning too, to go for a run, so Chaco and I had some nice quiet Who-Are-You-And-What-Have-You-Done-With-Chaco? time. 

Magnum and I watched Castaway on the Moon.  Ever since Netflix went through their transformation, we only have instant-play available from them.  It's been nice because we end up seeing these movies we've never heard of and would probably have missed.  "Castaway on the Moon" is one.

I will admit that, in the beginning, I wasn't getting into it.  I was considering bailing and looking for something else, but ended up nodding off instead.  Maybe it spoke to me subliminally, because when I came around a few minutes later, I was really into the movie and ended up enjoying it a bunch.  5 black bean noodles out of 5.


Saturday, December 17, 2011

just for grins

I haven't done a meme in a while, and it seems like Christmas memes are as ubiquitous as cold viruses this time of year.  So, I went ahead and caught one:

1. The Christmas song I can even listen to in June is…I like "Carol of the Bells" ... or anything by Elvis.

2. Hot chocolate, egg nog or mulled wine?I'm going  with the mulled wine.  Hot chocolate is a close second, but egg nog to me is like phlegm mixed with ridiculous amounts of sugar.

3. When do you put your decorations up?Uhm... *cough*ahem* ... I'll get back to you on that one.

4. What are you having for Christmas dinner?The plan is ham and scalloped potatoes.  That usually gets devoured pretty efficiently.

5. What’s your favourite Christmas tradition?
Well, it's not really a Christmas tradition, but I get a kick out of our midnight mile on New Year's. 

6. Have you ever gone carol singing?Yes, but not since high school.

7. When did you discover the truth about Santa?I'm not sure at what age, but I'm pretty sure it was one of my brothers what ruined it for me.

8. How do you decorate your Christmas tree?
Tell the kids, "'kay, decorate!".

 9. What’s the best thing about Christmas?
The whole family having time off from school and work and being stuck together. 

10. All I want for Christmas is.....If Cookie the cat somehow returned, that would be nice.

Now, please join me in a little "what if?":



Time for some Illustration Friday on Saturday action.  This week's prompt is "sink". 

I was thinking along the lines of becoming submerged - not necessarily literally submerged, but to have one's mind become totally occupied with something.  Like the way a kid's mind can become totally submerged after he sinks into the mud. 

Or the way one can become totally submerged while drawing a kid playing in the mud...


Friday, December 16, 2011

espresso yourself

As a teacher and tutor, I've sometimes received gifts from my students, or their parents in the case of minors.  Not often, but once in a while, the gracious types will go a little above and beyond the credit card deduction.  I don't expect it, so I appreciate the gesture when it happens.  Even just a little thank-you note is nice. 

As I've mentioned here a bit in the last few weeks, I've been working with a life coach.  Some readers have expressed curiosity about that, and I would too if the tables were turned.  This week, my coach and I more or less wrapped things up. 

And I deem the whole exercise very worthwhile.  For the cost of about one month's net pay of the unhappy part-time job I had earlier this year, it was well worth it. 

BUT, I don't want to share, just yet, things that "went down" during the coaching sessions.  No, I mention it here because I wanted to give a personalized thank-you gift to my coach.  An artwork of some type seemed appropriate since my "artsy" side was something we often discussed. 

One thing about coaching, though, is that it's very one-sided.  My coach is very approachable and down-to-earth, yet the nature of the thing is that we mostly talked about ME, and I didn't learn a whole lot about her other than what was mostly coachingly related.

So that was a bit of a dilemma, since artwork is so subjective.  One person's beauty is another's beast.  Monochrome or multi-colored?  Bold colors or subdued?  Realistic or abstract?   It's not like we ever just went out for coffee as equals and....

Wait, that was it.  Somewhere in those one-sided coaching sessions, she had mentioned that she was a coffee lover.  I grasped onto that skinny straw and painted this still life. 

Colors too bold?  Colors too subdued?  Not realistic enough?  Not abstract enough?   I have no idea, but at least there's coffee, right?

One exercise I did at both the beginning and at the wrap-up was fill in this wheel.  I was supposed to fill in each piece of the pie as to how "full" I was in their respective areas.  My "after" wheel is happily fuller than my "before" wheel.  Not full to the brim, but it's a work in progress.

I tacked it up on my corkboard above my desk, to keep me on my toes, and keep me working on filling in the gaps.  Chaco noticed it yesterday.

Chaco:  What's that chart?
Me:  What chart?
Chaco:  That pie chart?
Me:  Oh, that's my "Wheel".
Chaco:  Your "Wheel"?
Me:  Yep
Chaco:  Where does it go?

Well now, that IS the question, isn't it?


Today's NaBloPoMo promptWhat was the last handmade gift you gave?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

a taste of honey

I was in my late teens and Mother's Day was coming.  I had no clue what to get for her, and I was just out browsing around hoping that something would speak to me.  After not having much luck, I went into the card store, figuring I could at least get a nice card in the meantime.

So I was selecting a card when I saw this cute little musical doll.  It looked like a ragdoll with a little flowery dress and matching hat.  And it was singing. 

Well, not actually "singing", but it was equipped with a wind-up music box.  It played a tune, and as it did so, the little ragdoll head swayed a little to the melody.  I don't know why, it seemed silly, but turns out that that was the thing that spoke to me.  The tune it played was the Sukiyaki Song.  Seriously though?  A doll?  For my mom?!?

I purchased the card and the doll and deemed myself ready for Mother's Day.  When the day arrived, as was customary for me, I didn't just give it to Mom and say "Happy Mother's Day" *kiss*kiss*.  Instead, I always put her gifts someplace where she would eventually find them, all the while acting like I'd forgotten the occassion.

I put the doll and the card on the toilet seat of my parent's bathroom.  My mom sulked around for a while because nobody had given any Mother's Day recognition, but eventually, she went to the bathroom and all was forgiven.

She thanked me profusely, but I still felt a little silly giving her a doll. 

The next afternoon, I heard the tune playing from my parent's bedroom.  My mom was in there, seated at her dresser getting ready to go to work.  The music doll was propped on her bed pillows, playing and swaying. 

Once again my mom told me how much she loved it.  Then she said, "I never had a doll before".


I was all, "Mom, you're like 55 years old!  Whaddya mean, you never had a doll??".  And she said, "I just never had one", all nonchalantly as she continued tweaking her hair.

But... but... I was confused.  On the wall of her bedroom, for as long as I could remember, was an old black and white photograph of my mother with her mother and her two older brothers.  Her younger brother hadn't been born yet. 

My grandmother is seated, quite regally, in the center.  My two uncles, looking proud and manly, stand just behind her. And then there's my mom, probably about 4 years old, leaning on my grandmother's knee and holding a DOLL

I can't say how many hours I've stared at it, from the time I was about the same age my mom is in the photo.  Thoughts would run through my head about what my mom was like as a little girl.  And much wondering went on about the doll.  Was that her favorite toy?  Did she have other dolls?  Having been quite the doll aficionado myself, I was very curious about that doll my mom clutched in the photo. 

"But, you're holding a doll in that picture", I pointed out, indicating the photo on the wall. 

"Oh, that wasn't mine", she said.  "The photographer just wanted me to hold it for the photo". 

I was dumbfounded.  All my little made-up stories about my mom playing with her doll vanished.  I'd remembered her telling us about growing up poor in the Phillipines.  About how they only had oranges for special special occassions.  How she learned to sew clothes at a very young age.  How, part of the reason she married my dad was because he had a refrigerator...

But THIS!  No DOLLS?!  EVER?!?

And so coming upon her that day, with the little music doll propped on the bed, singing and swaying, was a real bonding moment for Mom and me.  She told me it was one of the best gifts she'd ever gotten.  And, almost 30 years later, she still has it. 

Damn straight.

For the NaBloPoMo prompt:  What is your favourite gift you ever gave someone?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

getting impersonal

Does anyone here do the "Christmas Family Newsletter" thing?  I don't.

Now, I fully understand the purpose and usefulness of the things, and I do appreciate the work that goes into them.  They're just not my style.  I prefer personalized letters.  And I know that some may be thinking, "Ugh, that's too time consuming!", which it is if you send a bunch of Holiday cards out.  I send out a small smattering.

smat·ter·ing/ˈsmatəriNG/  n.  1.  A small amount of something.

In fact, I composed one (1) such letter last night.    There will be a few others, and that will wrap up 2011 as far as our mailings go.  And I've never really even been tempted to do the mass mailed newsletter thing, but if I were...

Dear Friends, Family, or Current Resident,

Christmas greetings to all you all! We would like to write personally to each of you, but it’s much easier to lump you all into the same one-line salutation and send you a form letter with obligatory photos.

The kids are doing fine.  Chaco apparently made a boat since I found this photo in a pile of stuff that was left to rot on the rec room table.  I deemed it Holiday Newsletter worthy, cropped out the other boat builder kid and show it here because Chaco can't find the school pics I paid for at the beginning of the year.  I also remember purchasing a boat load (pun intended) of blue duct tape. And he bowls.

Wolfgang still enjoys track and cross country and wearing loud clothing inside of putt-putt golf course caves.  He's also teaching his out-of-touch parents some teen lingo phrases such as "smash or pass?".  He has a school photo, but we like to keep things uniform.

Meego is a fine example of how being the third child results in having next to no individual photos.  He's enjoying middle school and his liberation from the chains of elementary school.

We enjoyed a family trip to the mountains last summer, after cancelling our epic Arizona trip since Arizona was on fire. 

Magnum and I celebrated 21 years of marriage in August, and we marked the occassion by ending the three-month fight over how to load the dishwasher. 

Merry Christmas and happy 2012, with much love from the AbbyNormals!  :)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

concerning the hair

"When I cut my hair, the whole sound changed, my style changed"
--- Rihanna

When I was little, around 3 and 4 years old, my mother kept my hair short.  "Pixie cut", it was known as, but bottom line, I looked like a boy.

<----Short-haired and girlie looking in a pink dress.  I don't actually remember ever wearing a pink dress.  Same goes for today.

I really didn't think much about it - I was a toddler/preschooler - until a stranger like a waitress or such would indicate she thought I was a boy.  When that would happen,  I often felt surprise and then embarrassment bordering on humiliation.

Surprise, because I was a girl.  I didn't think much about my appearance, but on the inside I was a girl, I had been one for my entire 4 years of life! 

Once I was older and more assertive (kindergarten), I let my mom know that I wanted "girl hair".  It wasn't about my looks or personality preference, it was all about the being-mistaken-for-a-boy thing.  And actually, growing up, I was quite a tomboy.  My neighborhood was full of boys, so my socializing consisted of playing sports with them and listening to their crude jokes. 

But it's one thing to be a tomboy and another to look like a boy.  The hair was never allowed to get too short.

Eventually, my not-too-short hair and I grew up, and Magnum and I moved to Rochester, NY.  It's very humid in Rochester, NY.   Combine my longish hair and NY humidity and  strange things happen.  My hair got HUGE.

I put up with it for the first few years - battening it down with barretts and scrunchies (remember the 90's??).  Then the kids came along, I "retired" to be a stay-at-home-mom, and the hair fights had to go.   I cut it.  I cut it like it had never been cut.  I cut it and cut it.

It was a bit of a shock.  It's interesting to me how much of "us" is in our hair - especially us women.  I was never one to put a lot of fussing into my hair, and yet I felt really different after I cut it.  I felt good actually, after all that heat and humidity hair I'd been smothered under.  I felt somehow better and actually felt smarter because of a haircut!

Taking bicycler novice Chaco for a "short" ride ---->

We eventually moved back to drier climes, and I no longer liked the short hair.  As the humidity went down, so did the hair.

Yesterday, I read a blog entry about women and short hair, and what the short hair indicates about them - whether it's true or not.  Look at models, and most all of them have long hair.  What perceptions do you have based on a woman's hair length?

I remember a few years ago, I was at the veterinarian's with one of our dogs.  A friendly woman with a friendly dog about the same size as mine walked in, and our two dogs soon became happy friends in the waiting area.

This woman was also a friendly dog lover, and as our canines enjoyed some social time, she and I did too.  But I confess, that during this little assemblage, in the back of my mind, I was wondering if she was just a friendly person, or if she "liked me" liked me. 

All because she had a buzz cut.  Not full-on G.I. Jane, but close to it. 

I don't recall her acting particularly "butchy", nor was she dressed like a lumberjack.  My perception was all about the hair.  What is it about a woman with a buzz cut that says "lesbian"?  And in the end, does it even matter? 

Have you ever made drastic changes to your hair - particularly its length?  Why?  Do you have preconceived notions based on women's hairstyles?

Monday, December 12, 2011

once upon a time...

The first notable thing about her is her eyes.  Other than that, she seems like a typical 10-year-old girl for the most part.  But not her eyes. 

She doesn't look you in the eye when she speaks to you.  She doesn't look anyone in the eyes.  The words come out of her mouth, and the words are clear, the vocabulary well-developed.  Her eyes are directed at the ground.

Since Magnum has Asperger's, I think I'm pretty good at recognizing the signs of it.  Lack of eye contact is a big one, and typical.  This girl has other traits and sensitivities that I'd spotted too, so when I was copied in on a list of  kids with "health notes to be aware of" from the school nurse, I wasn't surprised to see this girl on the list with "autism" next to her name.

For the most part, she's a happy and typical 5th grader who goes through my crosswalk on a regular basis.  She engages in conversations, she has friends and enjoys extracurricular activities.  In my non-professional observance, she is "high functioning" autistic, or Aspergerian. 

Several weeks ago, she breathlessly told me that she'd gotten the part of Gretel in the school's production of "Hansel and Gretel".  Wow, a headliner!   I knew she liked to dance, so the fact that she'd tried out for the play was no surprise, but the part of Gretel?  Even though her eyes looked at the ground the whole time she told me this news, she was clearly excited, and I was excited for her.

This morning, "Gretel" and her friend Belle approached the crosswalk together.  Belle asked me, "Did you go to the play on Friday?"  No, I hadn't, and then Belle said, "You should hear her sing!", indicating Gretel.  "She has the voice of an Angel!"  Belle then leaned over and whispered something in Gretel's ear, and at that, Gretel began to sing.

It was absolutely, unequivocally, categorically, without question, fully and altogether BEAUTIFUL.

The pitch was perfect, the intonation was deep, the melody was haunting.  I was flabbergasted. 

I looked to Belle whose expectant eyes were already watching mine - Belle is clearly not autistic.  She and I spoke to each other, using just our eyes, as Gretel continued to sing.  Belle's eyes said, "See?!  What'd I tell you?!", and my eyes said, "Are you  *&%#-ing  kidding me?!?!"  (It's okay to swear to children as long as you're doing it with just  your eyes).

Gretel sang just a couple of bars of a song I didn't recognize, right there at the school crossing of Crazy-Driver Boulevard.  After she finished, I went to say something, but my voice caught in my throat, as I was near to crying.

Near to crying because (1) it was just so beautiful and (2) I'd missed the play.

This month's NaBloPoMo theme is "Gift".  Gretel has an unmistakable gift.  And her sharing it with me this morning is one of the best gifts I've ever received.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Silver Liningness

Happy silver lining Sunday.  It's an NFL day, which I really don't care about, but somehow we've managed to win Magnum's weekly office football pool a few times this season, including last week.  That's one way to keep the outcomes interesting.  And it doesn't require that I watch!

There was that tutor student incident the burned my a$$ a little.  I had a phone conversation with her and I haven't heard from her since - including any attempts-to-cheat text messages (seriously!).  It still bothers me, there is something fishy going on and I'll probably never know the whole story, but at least she knows where I stand.  To placate my own hurt feelings, I painted some flowers and now feel much better.  Some people have heroin, I have paints and brushes.

Meego had his first band concert this week.  I wanted to get a photo, particularly because Meego refuses to wear anything other than cargo pants/shorts (no denim!) and t-shirts unless he has to.  I managed to snag a photo:

Blonde kid on the left:  "Dude, your mom's in the drums!"
Meego:  "Mom!  What the...?"

Okay, yeah, I had to infiltrate the percussion section, but I got the shot!  Well, sort of... he's wearing a button-down shirt and tie with a pretty baritone accessory.

And the music was quite good (really, it's not about the clothes).  Our own Meego is first chair baritone!  Clairification:  there are no chair challenges in 6th grade band, they are seated alphabetically.  But we'll take what we can get!

I'm pretty trained up at my volunteer crimefighter post.  Omigosh, the information at my fingertips!  Sadly, I'm not supposed to go digging up dirt on my neighbors/kids' teachers/ reckless minivan drivers/ etc.  But there's nothing like getting to know the seedy underbelly of the city I live in.

Saturday, December 10, 2011


Welcome to another episode of Illustration Friday on Saturday.  This week's prompt is "separated".  I kind of struggled to come up with something "nice" for this one.  I think the term often has negative connotations - splitting, breaking, ripping... pain, pain, pain...

But then I started thinking about time lapse footage of flowers growing and blooming and opening up.  What starts as a tiny seed or bulb eventually pops up and separates into all the pretty and individual flower parts.  Take the perennial tulip, for example. 

It starts as a not-so-pretty bulb, but then pops up out of the ground and makes (most) everybody happy as a beautiful harbinger of spring.

And speaking of time-lapse, I did a time-lapse video of this painting's unfolding.  I use Chaco's camera for these things, and he highly supports my doing so - in other words, he charges me rent...

You can support the local entrepreneur at this video [link].

Friday, December 9, 2011

mooooving on

Okay, I did it.  I broke it off with the milkman.  So I'm feeling a little sad right now, and feeling a little need to ruminate.  We had some good times, the milkman and I, but in the end it just got kind of cheesy.

I didn't want a public scene, so I took the coward's way out and ended it via e-mail.  I know!  How cold of me!  But I udderly expected him to e-mail me back like he said he would.  And that's why I wasn't sure if he was going to come by to pick up his stuff - what he's given me over the years. 

Despite not hearing from him, I readied his things and placed them in "our spot".  And sure enough, this morning when I checked - his cooler, his empties - all were gone.  Just like that, without a herd... er... word.

It really is for the best.  I was tired of putting up with his bull, and  I think he knew it.   I doubt that my e-mail was that much of a surprise.   And to be honest, the whole time we were together, I never really felt like I was his type.  For some unknown reason, I just think he's a boob man.


Thursday, December 8, 2011

neither a cheater nor a pumpkin eater

Okay, I don't typically rant on my blog, but then again, I don't typically feel like ranting.  I don't typically feel the way I've felt all morning.

I have this tutor student - a high school junior.  A while back, her uncle called me to help her with her trigonometry.  Said she was a good kid, but shy and wouldn't ask the teacher for help.  No problem.  Shortly afterwards, we began doing occassional tutoring sessions.

The "worksheets" she provided for these sessions looked a bit suspect to me, but she told me she was taking an online course, and just printing them from the screen.  Okay, but they sure looked like tests to me. 

She's always been very vague about the nature of this online class.  There's (supposedly) no book, no live person to ask questions of, etc.  It seemed a bit strange, but I chalked it up to her shyness and didn't press it.

It soon became apparent to me that she does not really have the math skills that this class required.  Our tutor sessions are sometimes like me trying to pull her teeth.  And yet...

She sends me more "worksheets" for us to work on together - each one a different and higher level concept than the one before.  She's sending me precalculus stuff now, trig apparently has been "mastered", but I know it hasn't.  I won't go further into details, but I think I'm finally getting a clue.

She's cheating.  And she's using me to do it.

CRAP, that pisses me off!

Now, I don't even think she's going through the lessons.  I think she may be going straight to the tests, printing them out, having a tutor session with me, going online and passing the test, then moving onto the next one.  Just to get through the course quickly and painlessly. 

This morning, I turned my phone on and there was a text from her:
"Hi srry its early in d morning.  I really need it 2day..."  Then she goes onto ask for a solution to a problem. 

Okay, (1) it's a multi-step solution that I'm not about to send via several text screens and (2) it's something she should know if she's really doing the work, and (3) I'm not going to give her answers to something she "really need it 2day" because that translates to "I need to turn this in today for credit". 

I ignored the text.  She sent another one later saying "I just needed help cuz I culdnt get d answer u got".

I texted back:  "Please call me before our session this afternoon.  Thanks".  I'm supposedly the teacher here, and yet I feel SO  STOOPID!

Man, I just want to hug each of my kids and tell them how good they are.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

It's time!

The 80's.  They were kind of my formative years (yikes).  Remember the big hair?  The acid washed jeans?  Jazzercise?  Yeesh.

I remember Christmas 1981 pretty clearly.  I was a junior in high school and had to work that evening at my restaurant job.  But, since it was Christmas, we closed early and afterwards, I went out with my new boyfriend.  It was actually our first real date.

He came to my house driving a borrowed car and got it stuck on the ice in front of my house.  We didn't do anything particularly special.  Back then, in my hometown, the kids just drove around, so that's what we did.  Eventually, we parked *ahem*.  Eventually eventually, he took me back home.

Somewhere in there, we even swapped gifts, but I don't remember what he gave me.  I think it was some safe jewelry.

The next day, my parents and brother and I got in the car and paid a visit to my oldest brother and his family in another city.  I even still have the photo that was taken during that visit:

The reason I remember that particular Christmas so well, though, was because of the new boyfriend.  I'd liked him for a while, and I was pretty sure he liked me.  Somewhere in there, we arranged that first date - after work on Christmas.  When that photo was taken, I was personally taken only with infatuated thoughts of him.

He would turn out to be my first love - including all of the drama that goes along with THAT.  Codependency, jealousy, crying (me), fighting, making up, breaking up, crying (him), blah, blah, blah...  damn those 80's.

But, it's Christmas, so I'm thinking happy thoughts and good times,  and  I pulled out a happy little tune from Billy Squier and the MTV crowd back when they were fun.  Christmas 1981.  I was happy and falling in love.

Everybody sing!!  Please disregard the big hair / mullets...

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

saving face

"Ah cafee mahfeth", he said to me.

That's frozen 5th-grader-speak for:  I can't feel my face. 

Yes, it's still cold here.  Those words were spoken to me yesterday after I watched this particular kid ride his scooter to where I was.  It was an interesting thing to watch as I first saw him at the top of the path, and it's a gentle downhill slope of about 150 yards to where I was.  His face transformed from slightly pink to bold magenta in that one short scooter ride.  Quite beautiful actually.

I myself have lost my face a few times.  It starts rather painfully with the tip of the nose then quickly and uncomfortably spreads to involve the cheeks.  If the ears are exposed, they are long gone by that point.  Eventually, it all pleasurably returns, and I've gained appreciation for my face.

A couple of weeks ago, when I was visiting my parents, I ran into a high school friend of mine while out power shopping with Mom.  "Nan" was a grade behind me, but we had played basketball together and occassionally hung out with each of our boyfriends in tow.  It's safe to say that she and I were pretty good friends.  And yet...

I don't recognize her at all.

True, it's been nearly 30 *COUGH* years since those high school days, but even so,  with others I've reconnected with since then, I can see vestiges of their previous appearances.

Luckily, Nan and I are f#cebook friends so I recognized her as the high school friend I no longer recognize.   I suspect that she's had "some work done", and I have no idea why.  I can't tell specifically what's been changed - nose? eyes?... but her face just isn't her face.

As we talked, she was the same Nan I remember - generally happy, friendly, and easygoing.  She certainly seemed the same from the inside.  If she cosmetically altered her face, that's certainly her own business.  Perhaps she had some unfortunate accident that required reconstruction?  I think I can rule out witness protection program given that she shops in the town where she grew up and she's on f#cebook, maiden name and all. 

"God has given you one face, and you make yourself another"
-William Shakespeare

I agree with Mr. Shakespeare on that.  What face are you wearing today? 

Monday, December 5, 2011

advice served cold

Sheesh it's cold today.  Weather forecast is for a high of 10.  Our school district got a delayed start because of snow and cold.  But I was prepared for the the frigidness of crossing guard duty today - all the way down to my Miley Cyrus leggings.

There are these 3 siblings that are regular customers of mine - two brothers and an older sister.  They came walking up today as usual, braving the cold.  As we walked across the street, I said to them, "Welp, enjoy your walk to school because you'll probably be stuck inside with no outdoor recess today".

They took my advice to heart.  I watched as they made their way up the path to school by wading through the snow and throwing it at each other and plopping down in it.  They were probably drenched and near to hypothermic by the time they got to the building.


and now for some girl talk

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring.  -  Leo Buscaglia

I was having a girl's night out about a month ago.  There were six of us in all at this coffee house pretending to be playing board games when really we were just gabbing.  I don't remember how the subject came up, but someone mentioned accupuncture and how they swore by it for everything from relieving back pain to killing a cold to treating infertility.

Yes, infertility.  It turned out that three of the six women had struggled with infertility and/or precarious pregnancies.  I don't know what the actual numbers are, but I also find that there are a lot of women bloggers with fertility and pregnancy problems.

Probably deep down, I always somehow knew that I would be a mom.  I didn't really think about it much more than that.  Not long after Magnum and I got married, the lever went full over to "time to be a mom".   And along came Chaco, pretty much by the book.  And he was just so much fun, we went and had us a Wolfgang too. 

Then came The Dark Times.

We didn't have much problem getting pregnant, but for some reason, staying pregnant became a challenge.  I had a miscarriage.  Then another.  And yet, another. They each made it to about 10 weeks, but then...

During those dark times,  I learned a little about just how common a problem it was to (1) get pregnat and (2) stay there.  I began to think of my obstetrician having "just another day at the office" when miscarriages happened to her patients. 

After that third one, I was in "the back room" yet again.  I remember the mobile in that room.  No, it wasn't a baby nursery mobile, it was a perfectly balanced stained glass mobile that was very calming as it would slowly turn or not, depending on the air current in the room.  It didn't serve any real medical purpose, but someone thought it important enough to put it there, and I appreciate that.

Eventually the nurse practitioner came in to check on me to see if I was recovered enough to go home.  I remember how my obstetrician, after she was finished with "the procedure", had abruptly gotten up and left the room without saying much.  I figured she had other patients to attend to, as it was another day at the office. 

The nurse practitioner told me, "These are really difficult for Dr. K.  She had to leave and sit alone in her office for a while, she was so upset".   Really?  I saw Dr. K in a different light then.  I knew she cared, but this showed me that she really Cared.

Not too long after The Dark Times, we had Meego.  Hadn't done anything particularly out of the ordinary - no hormones or drugs, no accupuncture.  I guess my body, along with the universe, decided The Dark Times were over. 

Later, I gave my obstetrician a photo taken during Meego's first day on the earth.  She smiled and I saw tears in her eyes. 

Another day at the office.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Silver Lining Sunday

Welcome to the first Sunday of December, time for a little silver liningness!

First of all, after nearly 3 months of being referenced, interviewed, toured, polygraphed, urinalyzed, background checked,  fingerprinted, and pretty much laid naked throughout much of the local police department, I am finally an official member of the (volunteer) force. 

I'm rather looking forward to this and am grateful for those many Saturday morning hours spent watching Scooby Doo.  I am so ready to begin channeling my inner Velma! 

In other ducks-in-a-row news, Magnum and I spent a few hours this week with our Death Lawyer (a.k.a. "estate planner"), getting things up to date.  It's certainly not the most stimulating of activities, but it's nice to have these things clear and organized and in place.  Do you have a death lawyer?  I recommend it.

On the cloud side of silver liningness, we did lose our beloved cat Cookie this week.  My heart is still heavy with it, but I think we've all gotten through the grief stages and made it to "acceptance". 

Cookie and Wolfgang in their younger days-->

He was our first family pet and a sweet companion who helped to foster some nurturing traits in each of the kids.  He was also a very badass cat.

And in related silver liningness, it was the missing pet wars that introduced me to the local humane society.  I'm looking into some volunteer opportunities there in addition to my crime bustin'.  There are plenty of interesting areas where volunteers are welcome and needed - it's not just cleaning up poop.  I'm thinking "surgery assistant", yeah?

A lot of this stuff - the volunteering, the updates with the death lawyer, etc. - has been clarified through my life coaching sessions.  Sometimes I wonder if I'm getting anywhere, but then I look back and realize that I am.  But that's probably a blog entry (or more) in itself...

Lastly, Magnum and I watched TrollHunter yesterday.  I'm not embarrassed to say that I liked it!  It's clever and fun and totally entertaining in a horror fairy tale kind of way.   And usually, I require some sort of love story somewhere in the plot to keep me entertained.  That was missing from TrollHunter, but I still liked it.  Three heads up!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

moving forward looking back

Here we are in December and I'm looking ahead to the New Year.  Don't assume that, because I said that, that my Christmas is in the bag.  It most certainly is NOT (as in, I've done nothing), but I'm avoiding that little detail.

No, I thought I would take a moment now to reflect on my resolutions I made for this year.  Did I make any?  As per usual, I made some and then promptly forgot what they were.  Thank goodness for blog archives.  I dug around and found some:

I will gain weight.
According to last year's list, I was looking to make my arms "a little less noodly".  Beings that I took no measurements whatsoever, I have no idea if their dimensions have changed from thin spaghetti to regular spaghetti.  I have been sticking to my strengthening regimen, however,  and I am, among other things, up to a whopping 8 pullups (on a good day).  Not to mention, I wield a mean crossing guard stop sign.  I'm checking that one off as Done!

I will drink more.
This was made in relation to my and Magnum's wine drinking program of a glass a day.  I don't even remember what, but supposedly there's health benefit in drinking a glass of red wine a day.  I think we've done it, but it's all a little foggy...

I will work harder, not smarter.
This time last year, I was teaching classroom classes, online classes, and filling in the blanks with tutoring sessions - all of which made family time pretty sparse.  The pay was good, but I was burnt out.  I left that place.  Today I've got more control over my teaching schedule and the crossing guard moonlighting is a nice and easy income trickle.  This was probably the resolution I did the best at.  Yay me.

I will volunteer less.
I enjoy volunteering, and I'm grateful that I have the option to help out for free.  This resolution was made with specific focus on my elementary school volunteering.  I'd been doing that since Chaco was in kindergarten and was ready to call it a stint after Meego's last year.  I'm happy to say that I found worthy suckers for both my positions as PTO treasurer and Run With Lumber chair.  That said, I do still have 4 large boxes of Run With Lumber crap taking up space in my house.  I give myself until the end of the month to offload them!

Okay then!  I'm satisfied with my resolution report card.  Nothing too daunting there.  Now to think up some new ones for 2012 to promptly forget until next year about this time.

Friday, December 2, 2011

the weaning

I remember how in the beginning I fell for him, how I fell for him hard.  He just came into my life, so unexpectedly, so magically, I was totally swept away.  He offered himself to me, with no strings attached, and I drank that sweet nectar. Before I knew it, I was completely under his spell.  He had me.

But that was years ago.  And over the last few months, the magic seems to be slipping away.  As I step back and examine us, I see that he has gotten more and more demanding as of late.  Where did all this neediness come from?  Was that in his plan the whole time?

Plus, I know he has others.  No, I'm not the only one.  I've seen him.  Early in the morning, when it's dark, I'm out there and I've seen him with these others.  But then, we never promised any exclusiveness between us.  He certainly knows that I'm with someone else when he's not around.  The same someone I've been with since before he came into my life. 

Maybe that was all part of the initial allure - the fact that he would be something special on the side, pure luxury.  But at what point does luxury become just another burden? 

Lately, I've been thinking of breaking it off with him.  I just haven't been able to bring myself to actually do it, especially now with it being the holidays and all.  Would that be insensitive of me? 

And, well, what about me?  Is this really what I want?  Having him does induce more obvious demands, but I have to admit that this relationship has not been without its pleasures.  Has he spoiled me with his pleasures?

No, no.  I really think it's time to call this quits.  I mean, six bucks for a gallon of milk?  Plus the monthly service charge on top of that? 

Have I been played by the milkman?


Wow, is it really already Friday?  Yes, Illustration Friday actually, where this week's prompt is "brigade".   Isn't it fun  how these prompts are just all over the place?  We go from "round" to "brigade" in the course of one week!  That's the kind of thing that makes me look forward to Illustration Fridays.

I'm not really much of a "battle scene" type.  But, despite my small-framed-and-not-particularly-busty-polynesianness, I do like me some occassional "Viking". 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

love hurts

I just want to thank everyone for their kind thoughts and comments about our missing cat.  There is still no sign of him anywhere, and at this point, we suspect that he purposely went away, sensing it was time to "go". 

I've heard that cats like him (with outdoor access and most likely born to a feral mother) will do this when it's time.  He wasn't displaying any obvious signs of illness, but he was around 13 years old and had a heart murmur.

I do have fantasies of him showing up like always at the back door, but I don't actually believe that will happen. 

There is some solace in the thought that he went out on his own terms, but I just didn't know that the last time I saw him would be the last time I saw him...


Welcome to December.  Ours is coming in like... well... December.  We've got snow, wind, grey skies, and c-c-cold. 

Here I am this morning at my crossing guard post.

Okay, not really, but close enough.  The only things missing are my (ratty and unfashionable) vest, stop sign, and the traffic.

So, yes, it was blustery cold, but I was toasty warm.  Warmer than my penguin friend, I bet. 

Twelve years ago, I was preggars with Meego.  I liked to go for walks in the evenings, and the evenings were getting chillier and chillier and my waist measurement was getting larger and larger.

I outgrew my own jacket and began wearing Magnum's for my nighttime excursions, which were just as much about "quiet time" as they were about pregnant-woman-walking.  I wasn't about to give those things up just because it was getting dark and cold.

So one evening as I was putting on the Man Jacket, Magnum said, "You should buy yourself a new jacket, you deserve it"  Translation:  I will pay you to stop wearing my jacket. 

Whatever, that was just the nudge I needed to go a-shopping!  This was back in the days of single-income-with-two-kids-and-one-on-the-way, and I rarely RARELY bought anything for myself without a thrift store tag.  And I wasn't about to skimp.  We lived in Utah at the time, and Utah winters can be c-c-cold too.  I went to Cabela's - "World's Foremost Outfitter" for my outfitting, and got me an ultimate women's parka, complete with adjustable waist drawstring. 

To this day, nothing I have ever worn has sheltered me from the wrath of winter like that parka.  I walked with Meego all through that pregnant winter, comfy and cozy the whole time, never foreseeing that someday I would be moonlighting as, of all things, a crossing guard.

As I was out there this morning, leading packs of bundled kids across the street, I realized that the parka and I are embarking on our 13th winter together.  And I was super warm and cozy.  And since NaBloPoMo for December kicks off today, asking us to write about a tangible gift,  I pay homage to the Cabela's World's Foremost Outfitter's Women's Ultimate Parka and to baby daddy Magnum.