Sunday, September 30, 2012

Silver Liningness Sunday

This was a good week.  Everything seemed easier after slogging through a buncha mud and then washing it off in a mud tent with a garden hose.

The weather's been great.  I love fall and have been enjoying the cooler temperatures with crisp early mornings.  I like to include a "photo from the week" for these Sunday posts, and this week's is yet another grainy cell phone pic from this morning's bike ride.  

I took it towards the end of my ride, near the area of Meego Falls.  Another beaut of a morning!

In work news, the tutor schedule is quite full and I'm looking forward to wrapping up another round of college entrance test prep this month.  My students who took their tests in September got their results this week, and I was blessed with some very nice e-mails.  They all did so well!  *sniff*, I'm so proud of them.

I've mentioned how I've learned to say "no" so as to avoid over scheduling myself, and I've gotten pretty good at it if I do say so myself.   I had resolved to accept no more new students until the October test cycle is finished, but then I got this in my inbox this morning:

"hi Abby So this is my situation i haven't been in school in almost 8 years im trying to get in to collage and i have to take an assessment test and well i dont really remember much when it comes to my math and as you can see my writing is well shatty at best so i would really need a brain over hall and have to relearn alot of stuff so if your up to it it would really be apreashated"

Well now how can I say "no" to that?!  What a hoot! (I admire his truthfulness)

Wolfgang set another PR at this week's cross country meet, which also moved him a couple of spots up the depth chart. They've got a really strong team this year.

In movie news, we watched "Chaos Theory" which was blah.  We watched "The Grey" which I surprisingly ended up liking after thinking it would be a good napping opportunity.  It seems to be another love-it-or-hate-it movie.  Not many middle of the road reviews.  I found it to be quite spiritual, in a horrible kind of way.  Magnum didn't much care for it.  *SPOILER ALERT*  "Meh, everybody dies".

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, September 29, 2012


Just after I blogged about getting that naughty book from the library, the Illustration Friday prompt for this week is "book".   Hmmm, coincidence?

I thought about just doing a still life of a book and some prop - like a candle or a glass o' wine or the cliche' book with roses...  Then I considered the cop out of just opening up a couple of sketchbooks and snapping a pic of them.  Nah.

In the end I went with this girl reading some chick lit.

The lace leggings were a challenge.  To me, she looks kind of naked with some strange rash on her legs, but oh well.  They're supposed to be lace leggings.

I wonder what she's reading.

Friday, September 28, 2012

gave in

I rarely buy books.  Unless for work or one of the kids' required reading for school, I get books at the library.  I'm a minimalist, remember?  It's not just that library books are free already paid for, the library stores them for me too!

When I first heard about that naughty book that went all viral, I didn't plan to read it.  It's not really my usual fare.  But I gave in to the hype.  Several women I know have read it as well as several I don't know.  From the reviews I've read,  readers either love it or hate it.  But it's curious to me what makes a book get so popular when others go essentially unnoticed.

So, under the guise of in the name of social research, I put a library hold on the book a little over a week ago.  Yesterday, I got the message that it was ready for pick up, so I headed to the library today.

As I searched for my name on the hold shelf, I noticed that Magnum also had a book available for pick up.  Since I'm the resident library gopher, I grabbed his too.  Really, as far as the rest of the family is concerned, when one of them puts a book on hold, it magically appears at the house.  Likewise, when they've finished it, they drop it into a bag, and it's magically returned.  Yah, they'll miss me when I'm gone.

In truth, though, it's a very enjoyable bike ride to the library and back.  It's part of how I justify having two bicycles.

Anyway, back to checking out my naughty book.  I'd planned to just check the thing out at the self-checkout kiosk - the library version of plain brown wrapper.  But Magnum's book was an interlibrary loan, meaning I would have to get it from an actual library person.  *sigh*  Fine.

The actual library person was this older grandmotherly woman and I was suddenly a bit self conscious about checking out the naughty book.  I sheepishly handed her the book along with the claim slip for Magnum's.  I fumbled around with the keyring I keep all of the library cards on.

"Yep, I've got the WHOLE FAMILY'S  cards here, heh", I mentioned as she requested mine then Magnum's cards.  Just going to show what a boring, nothing-out-of-the-ordinary-certainly-no-sexual-deviancies wife and mom I was.

She completed the transaction and handed me the books with a sly, little, not-so-grandmotherly grin.

I was so busy trying to look ordinary, that I didn't bother to see what book Magnum had reserved until I got home and emptied my bag.

It's a book on the many uses of human powered cranking, treadling, and pumping.

Of course it is.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

eleven in the same bathtub

This communal living thing sounded like such a good idea at first.  I liked the variety, the mixing of different cultures and backgrounds.  And it was nice, at first.  The relaxed atmosphere, the free love, all of it.

We put some thought and planning into who would be our cohabitants.  We knew we wanted hardy folk - those who would tow the line without being high maintenance.  No fragile constitutions.  Next, we addressed appearance.  Yes, I admit that physical attractiveness was important to me.

We carefully selected our first family:  Zee and his two wives - Zelda and Zina.  They are a pretty happy threesome.  I know that Zee would be miserable and frustrated if single.  Even one wife wouldn't be enough to satisfy him, plus that lone wife would grow tired and stressed by his strong appetite.  Two wives for Zee, and everyone is happy.

Next, the lesbians moved in.  Tina, Tetra, and Tawny. They're a great bunch, and again, a threesome.  They're all very easy going and live a nice, surprisingly drama-free existence.  Never a problem with them.

It's this last bunch that are trouble.  I'm not sure what to do.  They're young bachelors, all of them - Gus, Grog, and Rocky (?).  Looking to sow some oats probably, and feeling rather frustrated about that.  At first, I thought they would fit in with our group.  They are tough, I'll give them that.  They do their share of the work and look good while doing it.  But they are just a little too aggressive much of the time.

They don't bother the lesbians much.  I guess they realize there's no point in bothering them.  But Zee's wives drive them to near madness with all that raw sexuality and fertility.

Patrick and Fin, the maintenance guys, just keep to their work and stay out of it all.

And really, it didn't bother me that much until the murders started happening.  Worse than murder actually.  Infanticide.

The bachelors are clearly unhappy that they have no love lives.  Having Zelda and Zina around, but off limits, has driven them to unspeakable acts.  They've been killing the offspring.

I know this is the natural order of things, I just don't know if I want it going on under the roof where I live, in the habitat that I have created for them.

What can I say?  As I get older, I worry about the state of my karma.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

do you miss me??

Has anyone ever said, "When I grow up, I want to be a human resource"?

I don't think that thought ever occurred to me, and yet, here I am!

I actually have a day off today - well, except for crossing guard.  Sometimes I forget that that's a "job", but they keep paying me the big bucks every month, so I guess it is.  In return, I'm required to occasionally prove that I am both human and a resource.

So I had to go up to the school today and be trained in various human resource matters.  I now know not to do drugs while in the crosswalk, among other things.

I was there with June and brand new crossing guard, Eli.  Eli is a funky young guy in his early 20's.  He also works part-time for school maintenance - mostly as a groundskeeper.  Anyway, he showed up wearing a fedora to accentuate his hideous vest, a look that works for him.  I need to get cracking on his graphic persona.

The three of us were sitting there in little chairs in the computer lab at school, clicking through our respective Power Points, when in marched a class of kindergartners for their computer time.  Don't get me wrong.  I love the kindergartners.

It's the kindergarten curriculum...

I was sitting there reading about all the grey shades of sexual harassment when the teacher turned on some AWFUL music to learn the alphabet by.  And it was loud LOUD LOUD!  Dang, I was really getting into the sex harassment presentation too.  Eli, June, and I looked at each other, silently conveying "I can't STAND this racket, can you?!?  This is why we work OUTSIDE!!"

I put on a pair of nearby headphones, and the other two followed my lead.  The earphones did absolutely nothing to filter out the cacophony.

I understand that the military does stuff like that as a form of torture.  Now I know why.  I, for one, would totally cave.

I somehow managed to get through all of my training.  There were 5 modules in all, but I don't remember anything after sex harassment.  I quicked logged off and got the heck out of the torture chamber.  Before leaving school, I thought I should check my much-neglected staff mailbox, which was stuffed.  For one, I got another school t-shirt that had been sitting since day one.  Yay!  Just in time for the cold weather.

Also among the mail was a "missing child" ID card of me.  (?)

Have you seen this child?

The photo company that does the school pics provides these ID's for each child at school, but this was a first time I got one of me.  

I assume the whole staff got them?  Since we had our pics taken by the same company, and they just crank out ID's for the entire school?  

Or do they just know that I might need looking after?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

drug store?

We were camping.  On top of a little hill, overlooking a woodsy ravine.  Our tent was surrounded by a few evergreen trees.  The large bear in the ravine was pissed.  Growling and roaring and thrashing about.  We sat  helplessly up on that hill just watching that pissed off bear.  There didn't seem to be anything else we could do other than to hope it would just go away.

But it was loud.  It was really angry.  It felt to me that it was angry that we were there.  Why wasn't it attacking, though?  That's what I kept wondering.  It could have easily climbed up to where we were.  We were trapped.  I was scared.  Could we climb one of the trees?  Then what??

It just kept thrashing about down below us, occasionally stopping to look up at us - eyes looking directly into mine as it huffed and puffed.  It was me.  I was the reason it was so pissed.

And then I realized that it wasn't going to come up.  All this violent activity was just posturing, to try to make us go.  To try to make me go.  If it was going to come up and eat us, it would have done it a long time ago.  Once I realized that, the bear calmed down.  It gave me one last long deep look, then turned and walked away.  Just like that.

Did we have an understanding now?  What did I understand?

Relieved, I checked my phone messages.  It was my friend Judy from high school.  She wanted me to start working with her at Walgreens so that I could fill in for her when she wanted to take a day off.

Sure, why not?


Then I woke up.

Dreams. Do they ever make sense?

Monday, September 24, 2012

beauty is deep

I was on my fbook page this morning when I saw this photo feed from the dirty girl people - from this weekend's event.

It was captioned "Style Points", and I have to totally agree! Plus, I recognized that skirt as being very similar to the neck accessory I picked up during one of our slogs.  Was it hers?  If so, I don't think she wants it back.  Just as well, because I surely didn't keep it.

Through reading the comments on this fun photo, I learned that the stylish dirty girl is herself a breast cancer survivor.  She says:

"... it was soooooooooooo worth it!! As a survivor, all I want to do now is live life to the fullest and laugh every day!!! Much love to all my Dirty Girls!!! ♥"

I thought, how right she is.  And this attitude doesn't require us to first have to survive some tragic event or disease.  And anyways, who of us hasn't been touched, either personally, or through relationships, by tragedy?

Are you living life to the fullest?  Have you laughed today?

Style points, indeed.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Smudgy Silver Liningness Sunday

My Getway Weekend has wound down.  I made a total pig of myself.

I blame peer pressure.

Remember when ShadowRun300 came out with her family to visit Colorado?  How I had my first blog friend meetup??  Shortly afterwards, she asked me if I'd ever done a mud run.  She said she was thinking about doing one, did I know anything about them?

No, I'd never done one, "but they sure look like fun!"

So when she said something like, "If I come back out there, would you be a dirty girl with me?", I was pleasantly surprised!

I said, "CHYAAA!", but I'd have to check my schedule... FOR A NANOSECOND!!

Next we knew, we were on the roster to get good and dirty yesterday.

Omigosh, So.  Much.  Fun.   Now I have truly lived.

After I got us a bit lost... *cough *ahem*... we arrived with time to spare and pulled into the dirt field and parked next to, I think it was, Team "Vodka and Cigarettes".

The Shadowmobile!

It was a beautiful day in Eastern Boonies, Colorado.  Warm sun.  No clouds.  Lots and lots of mud and fun ladies.

Still squeaky clean
When it came time four our wave to start, we were both chomping at the bit.   Our "official" got us all fired up with some dancing and high-fiving, always remembering that the event is for the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

Our SRun300, for those who have not met her in person, is a petite but fit slip of a woman.  But don't let her size nor hobbies fool you.  She is no cupcake, but an absolute ANIMAL in the mud-and-obstacles wars!

The 5k course includes things with names like Just Get Over It, Jail Break, Barn Burner, The Hangover, H2O MG, Get a Grip... all of it PMS (Pretty Muddy Stuff).

And of course, as we squelched and squirched our way through the dirt and muck, we were accompanied by a fun group of ladies.  Just a few things overheard:

"I'm still so hungover.."

"I'm closing my mouth for this one.  I've got gum"

"TAKE  YOUR  SHIRT  OFF!" (to our male race official.  He didn't)

"We sound like a milking machine" - from the sound made from running-while-muddy.  (SR300 made that astute and appropriate observation)

"What's with all this mud?  I thought by 'Dirty Girls', they meant 'Slutty Girls'" (She was joking.  I think).

Not to mention, some of the team names:

"More Than a Mouthful"
"Mud Butts"
"Mud MILF's" (!!)
"Dirty Old Ladies"...

By the time we were done, we were coated in thick farmer's mud, happy as hogs.

The toughest part of the event was trying to get clean afterwards.  The "showers" were garden hoses draped over hay bails, tapped into trucked-in c-c-c-c-c-c-old water.  As we stood in line waiting our turns at the spigots, ShadowRun realized she couldn't do the frigid water shower.  

I quick grabbed me a hose while she coaxed more heat from the sun.  After getting "clean enough", I put on some dry clothes, leaving my muddy getup in a heap in the changing tent.  We got SR300 into some drier clothes before heading back to the hotel where we each took The Best Showers EVER.  

What a BLAST!  I'm so glad ShadowRun invited me to join her at "The Spa."

We woke up sore, scratched up, and happy this morning.  First mud run for each of us.  Can't say it will be our last...

Saturday, September 22, 2012

taking a day

I'm not really here (thanks to blogger prescheduling).  Not even in the physical this time.

I'm taking a day.  Seizing a day?

A little while ago, a friend invited me to go along on a bit of a getaway weekend.  And I jumped on it!

So I'm away from the blog today.  I'm getting back to my roots, reconnecting with Mother Earth...

I expect it to be strangely cleansing.  In a dirty kind of way.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Houston, we have a problem

Today was a day of no tutees, so I've been checking things off of my built up to-do list.  I was making some pretty decent progress when I noticed something not quite right.

While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping, 
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door. 

Okay, not really a tapping and not really as rapping at my chamber door.  It was more a flapping.   A frantic flapping, flapping in my backyard.

Taking a closer look, I saw that it was a bird near the trampoline.  Flying, but not flying.  It was near the safety net of the trampoline.  It was IN the safety net of the trampoline.

"Oh geesh...."

I went out to investigate, thinking to grab some gloves on the way.  Sure enough, the robin had somehow gotten all tangled up in the safety netting.

"This is SO embarrassing.  Please don't post it on your blog!"
He was dangling between two of the trampoline springs, flapping futily between breathers.  I pulled on the netting and placed him on the trampoline, then began to meticulously figure out how to untangle him.

Well, actually, I never quite figured that out.  He was in there, but good.  I eventually just took the yard shears to the netting and cut him out.  He plopped to the ground and I hoped he would flap out of the netting that remained between his feathers.

Didn't happen.

He made a pretty decent run for it though, ending up under the safety of our utility trailer.  I left to go run a couple of errands.  When I came back, he was gone.  I did see another robin, though, that COULD have been the tramp robin with no netting accessories.  He had that what-a-hell-of-a-day-I've-had look about him.

There are some that say that the sight of an animal in an atypical situation is a sign of  something different on the horizon.

Robin in a net?  What might that signify?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

we are SO stealth

not even the great google knows where we are!

I have a friend coming to visit from out of town.  I wanted to e-mail her directions to our humble abode.  Simple thing, right?  Google maps??

I put our address in, pulled up the map, got ready to forward it along (what did we do before the internet?).  But then I looked closer.  That's not our house.  It's a house down the street and around the corner.  We don't live down the street and around the corner.

I checked my typing.  Had to be a typo.  I typed it again.  Again I was directed to down the street and around the corner.  I tried more things - spelling each word out instead of abbreviations, abbreviations instead of full words, fresh load the page and start from scratch.  Each time, down the street and around the corner.

View Larger Map

So this is a bit of a mystery.  I know we used to be on google's A-list.  Satellite view.  Street view.  Map view.  The whole google kaboodle.  Now they're directing to another house.

Chaco's probably behind it.  He does these, sometimes unallowed things when he gets bored.  And Chaco, if you're bored now and hacking onto my screen, close it and go do your homework.

No, he couldn't really hack google.  hahahaha... could he?  Either way, it might help explain the mysterious case of the missing pizza delivery.

Whatever the cause, I'm sure my friend will find me.  We don't need no stinkin' google.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

the saga continues

Back to Lotta Joy's original comment:  "I wish you would give more details of the differences you and your husband adapted to after getting married"

I haven't really answered, I've instead droned on in laying out the whole foundation to my answer(s) from how we met to me starting to notice stuff to the good side of Asperger wifery.  

It's not always such a pretty picture, oh no no.  My Aspie wife friend Maureen, in her book Loving the Tasmanian Devil, notes:

"Having a partner with Asperger Syndrome can feel like a roller-coaster ride for the neurotypical spouse -- riding high one moment on the spouse s charming quirkiness, only soon to spiral downward, exhausted and discouraged -- sometimes by the very same traits, which have suddenly taken new forms of expression."

Remember those things I found so adorable?  Let's revisit:

Magnum's really smart.  Yay.  Really smart people can sometimes be pompous asses.  Boo.  Magnum is not a pompous ass.  He has pompous ass "moments"?  Hardly ever with me, though.

Magnum is very honest.  This is typical of Aspergers.  Since a major trait is an inability to empathize or relate to other people and their experiences, they don't really see any logic in being dishonest.  HOWEVER, there are sometimes things that are better left unsaid.  'nuff said.

Magnum pays attention to every last thorough detail.  Sometimes it takes him forever to finish a task that others will do in half the time or less.  This drives some wives crazy.  I just choose not to watch and be happy that he's doing it and I'm not.

Magnum and I have lots of interests in common, share many of the same opinions and values.  We don't really argue over the typical marital issues of finances, extended family, or child raising.  Still, our personalities are quite a bit different.  He's an introvert, I'm more extroverted.  Before we knew he had Aspergers, I thought his "anxieties" were a combination of being introverted and coming from a somewhat (conditionally loving) dysfunctional family, and that he'd get over them with time.

I'd ask him about it, and he'd say he didn't know, just that it was "always there".   His way of dealing with it is to go into a sort of robotic mode where he just mirrors what he sees other people doing or saying - typical Asperger coping strategy.  To me, it comes across as phony and a bit hypocritical at times.  Additionally, I didn't see any reason for him to put on the "act".  I like him best when he's just being his quirky self.

That's not to say that it's always a struggle.  We've often joked about his cluelessness.  People with Aspergers don't read nonverbal clues well.  They often don't get sarcasm.  Many things have to be explicitly stated.  I just found out a couple of years ago or so, that something I said jokingly before we got married, made him think that I was dumping him.

Now I know, when I see that he's misunderstood me, I restate things.  I've actually told him, "I'm flirting with you now."

One day, it struck me.  I don't know what made the light go on, but I realized that his occasional  anxiousness when dealing with people, myself included, wasn't just an emotional issue.  I told him that I thought it was something "organic".  This was just a few years ago, after several years together and 3 kids.

Soon afterwards, we got the answer.  It came in a roundabout way through a boy named Alec...

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

fine doubled

School's been in session for a little over a month now.  I don't know what the what's going on, but I've had traffic cops with me for 3 days in the last week of crossing guard zone.  I stealthily snapped a pic of Mr. MoCop this morning so as to share how pretty he is atop his shiny motorcycle in his crisp black uniform (RAWR!)

Can you even find him?
As you can, I think, see, he's not at all sneaky.  These are not speed traps.  He sits in plain view of traffic from both directions, and this usually results in good behavior from the motorists, which is all the two of us want!

Still, he chased down three perps in about 30 minutes... pretty much the going rate during good behavior times.

I happen to know that the previous crossing guard left the job because of "anger issues".  It was a mutual decision between her and the school to leave the crosswalk.  She is still a beloved employee of the school, just in a happier position for everyone involved.

I admit that careless/distracted drivers piss me off bother me somewhat.  But I think one thing that keeps me from going all road rage is that I totally expect the careless/distracted drivers.  They are there every day, how can I not?

This morning, after the good behavior shift with my MoCop, I was crossing the street to go back home, since we live on the school-side of the crosswalk.  In fact, we purposely chose that neighborhood so OUR kids wouldn't have to cross this street to get to school.

As I approached my side of the street, a car came barelling down the hill from my right.  It was almost like seeing me in the hideous vest in the crosswalk egged him on to assert his superior I'm-in-a-car-and-you're-not-so-you-better-get-the-&%$^#-outta-my-way position.  In fact, I think he was so focused on buzzing me, that he didn't see Mr. MoCop.

I wasn't fazed.  I had my eyes on him as I continued to walk at my casual pace, thinking, "Oh,  you so don't want to do this".

It wasn't even a pursuit.  It was more of an interception as Mr. MoCop pulled out and brought that snotty little sedan to a stop.

I wanted to hug him.

Monday, September 17, 2012


Secret Squirrel.  That's what he said I looked like.  He seemed to mean it in a good way.

The four of us decided to go on a joyful 12-mile bike ride yesterday.  It was just so nice out, and the bike paths were beckoning.  So much for my getting caught up on the housewifery, but really, the bike ride was worth the agita and subsequent frenzy of activity last night and this morning.

I wear glasses for nearsightedness, no news there.  I have a special pair that I got just for bicycling.  They hug my face.  They have this squishy nosepad that doesn't slip when my nose becomes sweaty.  That right there makes them well worth the cost.

I was wearing the squishy, face-hugging specs on our ride.  Functionally, they're great, but they leave something to be desired from a fashion sense.  They're like chemistry goggles,  or WWI bomber goggles, or... oh hell, I'll just show you:

Anyway, after the ride, we decided to get something to eat.  We were at this burger place and the bicycling glasses, while great for riding, were a bit cumbersome in the burger place.  

"Sheesh, I feel like Spaceman Spiff", I said, taking the glasses off and going to the beverage dispenser to take my chances at  a little beverage roulette.  

That's when Magnum said that no, I looked more like Secret Squirrel.  

Secret Squirrel.... Secret Squirrel... the name was familiar, but I couldn't quite place him.

"Is he cool?  Like a spy or something?", I asked Magnum.

"He's awesome, we watched that show all the time", he assured me.  Works for me.

After a little googling, my memory was jogged.  Oh yeah, I vaguely remembered the clever crime fighter.  And check out the hat - it also serves as a disguise AND vision correction!  What's not to like?

And of course there's the oh-so-sexy trench coat...

Then I learned, from a certain deviant artist, the REAL secret of Secret Squirrel.

Hmmm... things are getting Spice-AY!  Have I found another function for the glasses?

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Silver Liningness Sunday

This has been a nice week.   A little let up in the tutoring schedule left me time to get caught up on some things.  While housewifery may not sound like a nice "vacation", I'm in an agitated state if it's not caught up, even if I'm not sitting in the middle of the neglected house.  It's not great, but I'm out of agitation state.  For now.

I was also able to do some much needed clothes shopping, which was timely since I discovered the missing jeans.  

Chaco and a couple of friends backpacked and camped out on Pikes Peak last weekend.  It was arduous, but sounds like they had fun and learned a lot to add to their backpacking skills.  When they reached the summit, they found it amusing to be greeted by "tourists wanting photos of the natives".  

Wolfgang had another successful cross country meet. Broke his PR time, but says it doesn't count because the course was easy.  The main thing is that he's back operating within the parameters of The Agreement.  

After a mid-week drenching, the weather got all pretty again.  The leaves are just starting to change.  Meego and I took advantage and had a sweet bike ride yesterday.  Had to stop and say Hi to the duck and goose friends.

Speaking of wildlife, the deer have been helping clear out the neighbors' overgrown yard.  As seen in this photo, the big one either shares my concern about the RV in front of the fire hydrant, or is just trying to help preserve the food crop for future seasons.

I hope the blog friends and visitors are also enjoying good times and balance.  My busyness in the week ahead picks up once again, and it is nice to feel wanted, but I've gotten better at saying "no".  I think I said it a good three times this week!  And every "no" in one area means a "yes" in another.  I'm looking forward to some good and fun dirty outdoor plans next weekend.

Just say, "Yes!".

Saturday, September 15, 2012


Have you ever laughed so hard you thought you might burst?  I hope so!  

This week's Illustration Friday prompt is "burst", and I tried to capture that STOP-or-I'm-gonna-pee! essence.

Friday, September 14, 2012

secret of the travelling pants?

I haven't worn long pants since early Mayish.  This week's cold front sent me rummaging in the dark recesses of the closet for something warmer than shorts/skirts/capris.  As I rummaged I discovered that *GASP* an entire third of my jeans are missing!

Okay, so I only own 3 pairs of jeans, but saying, "an entire third...!" is more attention grabbing than saying, "a pair of my jeans".

Either way, it's a curious thing.  Despite any rumors that may be circulating, I am NOT the kind of person who goes around misplacing my pants.  After searching the possible hiding places around the house, I came to the conclusion that they were either (a) left somewhere in Nebraska, or (b) accidentally gathered up in the midst of Chaco's chaotic packing off to college.

I've lost my wedding ringmy college diploma.  I lost Meego once.  I've put videos in the mailbox... In light of other things I've lost or left behind, the missing jeans are pretty low priority.

If my jeans were left in some Nebraska hotel, I doubt they caused much of a stir.  Probably by now, they've been donated to some charity and that's fine with me.  I've already replaced them.

On the other hand, if Chaco scooped them up in the ball of clothes he "packed" on move-into-college day, well that could be kind of funny/not if he gets dressed a little too sleepily one day.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Gentlemen,... don't start

A small woman in a red car beckoned me while I was with China on her beauty walk this morning.

"Kin soup?", she asked.  At least I think that's what she asked.  

"Wha?", I replied

"Kin soup?", she said once again. Aha, I was right.  Using my super powers of translation, I correctly translated this to

"Excuse me.  You look like a friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful person.  Can you please tell me how to get to King Soopers (supermarket)?"

The gears in my head began to spin.  I calculated that there were, in fact, three King Soopers equidistant from the exact spot we were at.  As I contemplated which one would be easiest to direct the small woman to, she interjected

"Dry lice?"

Oh!  Well, this threw an entirely different wrench into the situation.  I adeptly translated to 

"I'm actually looking for the driver's license place.  I was told it was near King Soopers".

There is no DMV anywhere near any of the equidistant King Soopers.  There is, however, a nearby DMV located in an Albertsons (another supermarket) shopping center.  I then attempted to direct the small woman there.

"YOU  NEED  TO  GO  TO  ALBERTSONS!",  I shouted, because we all know that shouting the English language makes it more understandable to those who aren't fluent.  

I continued on with directions to Albertsons, all the while gesticulating exaggeratedly.


All the while, the small woman was mirroring my gesticulations - etching it all into her brain.  

"There's a DRIVER'S  LICENSE  PLACE there!".   

To which she replied, "Thank you so much.  Enjoy the walk with your beautiful and patient dog", or close enough.  I honestly didn't have much confidence in the outcome.

What made the whole thing kind of eerie, though, was that I was thinking of the DMV just prior to this exchange.  I need to make plans to go there for Wolfgang to get his license.  

He's had all of his required driving, etc. completed for a quite a while, we just hadn't gotten around to his driving test.  We finally did that yesterday, now we must go to the loathsome DMV.  

HE thinks he will borrow our cars willy nilly to go have good times with the buddies.  WE think he will mainly be Meego's chauffeur and resident gopher, thereby filling Chaco's recently vacated exalted position.  

Either way, we must first deal with the DMV.  The one near AL BERT SONS!  can't accomodate us either. No, we must go to the sleazy one for new dry lice.  

I need motivation.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

mud pies anyone?

Monday was hot.  Sun beating down.  I'm sure I whined about it.

Tuesday, same as Monday.

This morning welcomed with clouds, rain, mud, rain, puddles, rain, rain...  I'm not going to complain. We need it, and I'm sure the flora and fauna are happy.   I'm wondering if something's going on with the neighbors, though.

I don't know my neighbors all THAT well.  They keep to themselves for the most part, and on the occassions I've talked with them, they're friendly.  The woman has a son from a previous marriage who is Meego's age and lives there most of the time, and he and Meego walk to and from the school bus together.  They don't hang out all that much, though.

But lately the yard's gone to crap.  Just overgrown and weedy, giving the house that unoccupied look if not for the many vehicles out front.  Local deer have been enjoying the all-you-can-eat buffet, but even that hasn't made a noticeable dent.

I'm not one to go all CODE on the neighbors.  If I was, I'm more concerned about the RV they keep parked in front of the fire hydrant...*ahem*...  but I'm just wondering if things are okay over there.

A couple of weeks ago, I noticed that the front end of one of their vehicles was completely smashed in, but I have glimpsed both husband and wife out and about, and son is going to school.  So I guess everyone is okay?  Just not in the mood to mow?

Oh well, I've been indoors for most of the day because of the constant drip outside.  The morning's crosswalk duty taught me that the waterproofing in my hiking shoes is spent, so as soon as the shoes dry off, I'll give them another treatment.  They should be dry in about 3 days...

Also, I learned that June has an awesome umbrella, much better than mine.  I've got umbrella envy now.

Bike Lady was there like the trooper she is.

So now I feel a bit wimpy for staying inside so much and inadequate in the umbrella department.  But at least the lawn's mowed and the pets seem happy.

Unless we count the mice as pets.  <-- Warning:  it's a video of the snake feeding.  Disclaimer:  a mouse most certainly was harmed in the filming of this video.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

on a side note

"Wait... what-burgers?"
"Just keep walking..."

I recently heard of a divorce rate statistic of 80%  for Asperger marriages, but am unsure of the source.  Geesh, that's high!  Again, I don't know how accurate that is, but I want to blog a bit about Asperger Syndrome and how Magnum fits in that general scheme of things.

I'm no professional, but from what I've learned about Asperger's, I would say Magnum has medium-to-mild Aspergers as I've seen and heard of others who have more troubles than he does.

There are two types of Aspies.  There are those who are quiet and seem shy and introverted.  Then there are those who are loud and overly talkative who often say things that are socially inappropriate.  Magnum is certainly in the first group, and I don't think his "shyness" comes across as extreme.

There are those with Aspergers who struggle so much to "fit in", and they never really settle into a comfortable job or profession.  On the flip side, there are those who develop careers based on their circumscribed interests.  Magnum's personality and interests combine nicely for an engineer.

So although I noticed early on that he struggled a bit socially, Magnum's struggles don't overwhelm him as they do others with Asperger's.  He's also developed appropriate coping skills, and his differences don't immediately send people to point to the autism spectrum.

While I wouldn't recommend marrying an Aspie man to everyone, let me count the ways of the positives for Mag and me - all of which result from his having Asperger's

  • Magnum is very intelligent.  It sometimes surprises me how much he knows about geography, world history, different structures of government, literature...  So much we joke about it sometimes (why would anyone need to know THAT?  Ever??).  Then of course there's the stuff he needs to know as an engineer.  The math, the physics.
  • He's a conscientious, focused worker and good at what he does.  He's well liked by his managers and co-workers.  I've never worried about his "marketability" or his lack of work ethic should we decide to just pull up stakes and move to somewhere - something we've actually done.  Twice.

He's (brutally) honest.  His "lying" mainly consists of the coping I mentioned earlier.

  • He's got a way with animals.  When we first started dating, we were in college and living in apartments with no pets.  The first time we visited his mom, I noticed the strong bond between Magnum and the family dog.  It actually surprised me, considering his struggles to relate to other people.  The pooches sense it too as I've seen dogs choose him from a group of people as the one to go to for a cuddle.  

  • He's a bit of a perfectionist, going back to that conscientious worker thing.  When he sets his mind to do something, he wants it done right and pays attention to all of the details.  And I'm not just talking about paid employment here *wink*wink*nudge*nudge* (that's all I will say about THAT...).

And besides, who's to say that I'm so "normal"?

Add it all up and it looks pretty good.  At least on paper.  Eighty percent?  What for...?
... yeah about that...

Monday, September 10, 2012

have you seen Junior's grades?

Yesterday, I noted that Wolfgang almost didn't attend his cross country meet this past weekend.  That case was preceded by this conversation:

"You can't go".

"But I hafta be there".

"No you don't".

"I really need to".

"No you don't.  We had an agreement"

"I know but..."


"Please can I go?"

"No, we had an agreement".

"Please can I go?"

I'd gone online to check his grades earlier in the day and found that he had 3 assignments missing.  The trouble with Wolfgang is that he's a smart kid, but he can be lazy if he doesn't "see the point".  Such is the case when he ends up with missing assignments.

Yes, it's happened before.  That's why we had The Agreement.  That's why I was checking in the first place. In reality, I'm not cut out for helicopter parenting.

So before we got stuck in a "Please can I go?" loop, I asked why he hadn't turned in those assignments.  I will spare the blog the whiny details, but some of it actually made for a decent argument.

After sleeping on it, though, I still think he should just do the work.

I know it's not that he doesn't understand the material, he's just not that motivated.  He pretty much owned the ACT he took last year as a junior, so maybe he's a little bored.

When I was his age, there were naturally, classes and school activities I liked more than others.  I was also very active in school, and I knew if my grades slipped, I would have to cut back on the extra-curriculars.  So I just did it all to keep the peace.  It wasn't so bad.  

In the end, we let him go to the meet.  He knows he's on "probation", and there's another meet this coming weekend.   He knows the "but I hafta" response will be met with a "no, you can just e-mail your coach... or I can"  doom DOOM DOOM!

Did you think school was easy? What did you enjoy the most?  The least?

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Silver Liningness Sunday

This week, things settled down a bit busyness-wise, or it least it felt like it.  Yesterday was a big day for ACT testers.  I had a handful of students in the fray, and hopefully they collectively wrecked the curve for the others.

As this weekend was "game day" for them, it left my weekend a little more open than usual, so I've enjoyed having more playtime and sharpen-the-saw time and get-stuff-done time.

Wolfgang had another cross country meet yesterday.  He's back healthy after the back-to-school cold virus ritual, so he ran with the big dogs and set a new PR.  His team came in 2nd overall, so he was happy about that.  This after he nearly wasn't allowed to participate - but that's anOTHER story.

I had a lovely bike ride this morning and reminded myself that I really need to savor such things, because soon it will all go into hibernation for the dark, cold days of winter.  As I was riding along, lapping up the good times, at one point I noticed another bicycle chick fall in behind me.  Not unusual for such a fine morning.

Later, about 5 miles further into the ride, I stopped in the gutter to snap the pic above of some hot air balloons.  As I was digging for my phone to take the photo, Bicycle Chick appeared at the crest of the hill just behind me then whizzed on past.

Had she been on my tail the whole time?  I guess so.  Judging from her speed as she went by, perhaps she was using me as a pacesetter.  Until I decided to snap those balloons, I wasn't slowing down for anybody!

I took the  pic, stashed my phone, then put my toes back in the straps and gave chase.  I rounded a curve and spotted Bicycle Chick about 2 or 3 blocks ahead of me.  I was closing the gap when, alas, she turned left at the intersection where I turn right.  Well, it was a fun race while it lasted.

I'm still glad I stopped for the balloons.

Saturday, September 8, 2012


This week's Illustration Friday prompt is "Imagination", and it got me to thinking of how we would amuse ourselves as kids before kindergartners had iPads.

I remember the cold wintry days when we'd have the dreaded indoor recess.  Looking back now, it was probably more dreaded for the teachers than it was for us kids.  But we always managed to find things to do.  I remember many a game of paper football played across the desks.

Magnum's office football pool entry sheets are once again appearing on the kitchen bulletin board.  A dollar a play.  Imagine if we win?

Friday, September 7, 2012

hot and cold

We have a local Sporting Goods chain that does things a bit backwards this time of year.  While other stores are clearing out all of their summer things to make way for their winter things, this store puts up big tents and has a big old sale on winter items.

This unique event is called SNIAGRAB,  and it's been around for years.  Any guesses from the unfamiliars as to the origin of the name?

SNIAGRAB happens every year on Labor Day weekend.  It's not a major event on my calendar.  We don't ski or snowboard.  For those who think that everyone who lives in Colorado is either a cowboy or a skier/boarder or both, it's  a myth.

Nonetheless, I was at SNIAGRAB last weekend.  Chaco, in the ever popular oh-I-just-thought-of-something-else-I-need mode, asked me to sniagrab him on my way home after tutoring because he needed some outerwear.  

He and his college buddies have become known as outdoorsy geeky guys.  When they're not sitting in front of their computers, they're out hitting the hiking trails.  With winter's impending arrival, he'd inventoried his gear and found it lacking.  So that's why I was in a big tent while wearing a skirt last weekend.

I guess I got caught up in the tent party sale atmosphere, because I didn't walk away empty handed, literally.

One of the items Chaco needed was a pair of winter gloves.  Alas, the SNIAGRAB deal for gloves was the ever trappy BOGO 50%.

The obvious solution?  New gloves for me too, from the spend-money-to-save-money philosophy.

It's not that I don't need them.  I've lost feeling in my fingers, toes, and face on many a crossing guard shift, only to have to deal with the painful re-entry of feeling in these extremeties.  At least, here was an opportunity to do something for the fingers.  Since I've often temporarily lost gloves because they were "borrowed" by some other member in the household, I got some I don't think anyone around here will borrow.  Not unnoticed anyway.

"Hot" pink.  For warmth.  They will absolutely clash with the hideous vest.  Perfect.  And no excuses for not seeing the crossing guard.  Plus, they match my hot pink shoes that do nothing to keep my toes warm.

And that's how we SNIAGRAB.  Okay Winter, bring it.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

thank you

Do you write thank-you notes?  Actual hand-written, sealed, stamped thank-yous?  Do your kids?  If so, do they write them on their own, or do you hafta make them?

Our kids write thank-you notes.  I've had them do it since they were old enough to scribble.  The idea was that it would become ingrained in their brains and they would automatically write them like little Pavlovian dogs each time they received a gift.  Well, that experiment failed.

They write them.  Reluctantly.

I know they understand the reasons they should be written, but it's just not in their procrastination natures to do it.  Chaco finally got around to writing graduation thank-yous the morning he shipped off to college.  Whenever I reminded him, he would say, "But I want to spend all of the money first so I can mention what I bought mumbo jumbo mumbo jumbo".

That actually made a bit of sense.

Wolfgang had a birthday over a month ago now.  The thank-yous have yet to be mailed.  Can't mail something that doesn't yet exist.

Mama Kat also prompted thank-you notes this week, so I thought I'd attempt some that I felt were due.


Dear Lady whose running and boxing blog I sometimes read for inspiration,

Thank you for always posting your daily activities.  I actually did one of them today after reading:  I had a yogurt.
Dear end-of-season sales,

Thank you for saving some items for me.  The tattered, 5-year-old clothing look is never in style.
Dear Mother of O,

Thank you for your nice review at the tutor site.  I would not describe your daughter as you say "not easy to work with", I think of her as "edgy", and that will take her far in life as long as she doesn't get too pissed off.
 Dear Mother of J,

Thank you for calling this morning to cancel our tutor session.  I'm sorry that J is sick, but I rather enjoyed the afternoon off without any guilt.  
Dear SUV full of high school boys with sideways hats,

Thank you for driving at the reduced speed limit in the crosswalk while blasting that bass yesterday afternoon.  Your comment, "You're sexy as F**K" gave me a chuckle.  Is that a good thing?
Dear clouds,

Thank you for blocking the sun this afternoon while abstaining from dropping rain on me.
Dear Kraft Macaroni and Cheese dinner,

Thank you for being there for me when I fall off the I'm-gonna-cook-better wagon.
Dear garbage guys,

Thank you so much for all you do.  SOOO much.

Aaaah, that felt good.  I suppose it's nice to cultivate an attitude of gratitude.  Now... off to the powdered cheese product packet.

Who are you thanking these days?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


When I was younger, I didn't really give a whole lot of thought to being old.  I thought I would be forever young.  Getting older was for all those sad conformists.

Somewhere in the time/space continuum, my thoughts about getting older changed.  I noticed that I began feeling like my time here on earth was numbered, like my life was slowly being drained from my body and there was NOTHING I could do about it.

I swear I could hear the hands of time tick... tick... ticking away.  Getting louder and louder.

I tried to take my thoughts elsewhere.  I tried to think "happy thoughts" to make the feelings of doom go away.  "Visualize, just visualize", I told myself.  Visualize a better state of mind.  A timeless state... yeah...

It didn't really work, though.  The images that formed in my failed visualizations were like those time-lapse videos that show vibrant plants drooping, wilting, browning, drying up, blowing away.  Dust to dust.

Drat, if only I could go back to those carefree moments when I was younger and wasn't under these suffocating thoughts of my pending demise.  What was it that had changed?  Where had I gotten this negative attitude?  Where had I lost control?  I'd go back to that point and make better decisions.

I would go back and decide to, instead, go to cashier number 9 instead of cashier number 7.  Yet cashier number 7 had looked so promising, so I forgave myself for the bad choice I'd made.

As it turned out, cashier 7 was a gaping time-sucking abyss.

Cashier 7 with only one other customer.  One other customer who had a boat load of groceries.  A boat load of groceries that he tried to pay for with some sort of mystery card.  Some sort of mystery card that required a photo ID.  A photo ID he didn't have,  that matched the information on the mystery card... mystery card... mystery card... (*echoes from the time-sucking abyss*)

A manager was called, the problem cleared up.  All the while, my life was slowly draining.  I was getting older.

Finally, I shuffled my old lady self to cashier 7.  Cashier 7 rang up my must-have-passed-the-expiration-dates-by-now foodstuffs.

"OH, hold on", cashier 7 commanded. "I'm out of receipt tape..."

I wanted so badly to go back about 15 minutes to when I was younger.

Mama’s Losin’ It

From this week's Mama Kat's writing prompt:

"Write something that begins and ends with the words "When I was younger"

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

after day 1

Today's prompt over at NaBloPoMo is:

"When you are speaking with someone, do you prefer to look them in the eye or talk over the phone?"

And so I thought I'd use that as a sort of segue into my continuing Asperger wife sharing.  This prompt suggests that when two people are speaking, but not looking each other in the eye, they aren't in the same place.

One of the first things I noticed about Magnum is that he very rarely looked me in the eye when speaking to me.  I would guess that that is the thing most people first notice about him.  That, and how he speaks rather quietly and monotonely.   I chalked these up to shyness.  I'd always rather liked the quiet types, so this "shyness" was in no way a deal breaker.  After 22 years of marriage, he looks me in the eye a little more, but not a whole lot.

Magnum and I were both non-traditional students - not straight out of high school into a 4-year college program - when we met.  I had taken a couple of years off to work full-time to earn tuition money, Magnum served 4 years in the Army before going back to get his degree.

Yes, we had the same major - mechanical engineering, and we had plenty of other things in common too.  A common trait among Aspies is that they often obsess around certain interests.  For Magnum, one of those interests is politics (a common AS obsession).  Although, he is typically quiet and soft spoken, he can go on and ON expressing his political views.  Although he usually avoids conflict, woe be to whomever should oppose his political views.  I share his views if not the intensity.

We are also both "outdoorsy", enjoying hiking, camping, biking, self-sufficiency, etc.  So things were moving along quite swimmingly.  Although I was noticing some of his "oddities", there was nothing that made me want to turn tail and run.

Relationships I'd had prior to meeting Magnum had been more consuming.  Asperger traits include difficulty socializing and an unawareness of others' feelings.  As a result, people with AS  really need their alone time, and are not very romantic.  For me, that meant that Magnum was not "always up in my business" as previous boyfriends had been.  At the time I met him, I liked that.  I don't always like that (ooooh, forshadowing...), and it's that not-always-up-in-my-business that trashes many an Asperger/NT marriage.

I was also kinda sorta but not really seeing another guy at the same time I met Magnum.  Eventually, Magnum asked if he and I could be "monogamous" - using a rather formal speech pattern, typical of Aspergers.  I decided... okay.

Then came the inevitable meeting of his parents, divorced and both remarried.  I noticed a certain cordiality between his family.  They would greet each other with the, "Hi, how are you" "Good, how are you" types of greetings that usually pass between customers and bank tellers.  I don't do the empty-ritual thing, certainly not with members of my own family.  Later when I asked Magnum about this, he said he knew that his mother often didn't care to know the answers to her questions, but asked them out of routine, and he was fine with that.  Red flag, but I reasoned that his "oddities" were a result of his weird family.

We flew to California to meet his dad.  There was notable tension the whole time.  Additonally, there was clearly articulated tension between Magnum and his stepmother.  By then, I was sure the oddness stemmed from his upbringing and that he'd be fine with me showing him how the other half lived.

Still, we had a good time on our California trip.  I sent my parents, who had yet to meet Magnum, this photo of  "me and the boyfriend".  Poor Mom.

His family was a bit strange, he didn't look me in the eye much, he was a bit too serious a times.  Yet we were crazy compatible, looking forward to graduating. It was all good...

Monday, September 3, 2012

labor of love

I got my first real job - meaning one where I actually reported my income to the IRS - when I was 15.  I was a hostess and busgirl in a hotel restaurant.

I won't say I loved the job, but it wasn't bad.  It provided the much handy and economically stimulating disposable teen income, and my co-workers and I somehow found ways to make the art of cleaning up after other people's meals fun.

Since we worked in a hotel, we were responsible for other duties that sometimes took us out of the restaurant.  These included things like delivering and setting up rollaway beds and cribs, delivering room service, etc.  These usually provided us with a nice change of scenery, a break from the dirty tables.

I recall some interesting room service customers.  The first time I delivered them lunch, the room was very dark, even though it was the middle of the day.  A man answered the door, wearing only a small towel around his waist.  There was a non-sleeping woman in the bed.

The man's small towel revealed that he was very happy to see his lunch.

Scenes like that weren't all that uncommon in a hotel.  My 16-year-old virgin self was able to deduce the goings on behind the closed doors.  At least I was helping to provide them with energy-giving calories.  Plus, they were usually happy customers, which often meant a nice tip.

But this particular couple continued to stay in our hotel for just under a week and continued to order room service, usually 2 or 3 times a day.  Each time, we buskids were met at the door by the towel-wearing man with the reposing woman in the dark room.

Naturally, whenever the call came down from the sex room, we would giggle and run to see whose turn it was to do a room service delivery.  We kept it a secret among just us busgirls and boys because we were mildly afraid that if we told any of the adults we worked with, they might find a reason to cut us off from the sex room business.

I have no idea who that couple was.  None of us ever saw them anywhere else in the hotel other than the darkened room.  Were they married?  Was it an extramarital fling for one or both?  Where were they from?  Why our small-town hotel?  I do know that they went through a lot of fish 'n' chips, however.

Happy Labor Day.  What was your first job?  Got any stories??

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Silver Liningness Sunday

Final week of  HOT August.  I won't say I'm sorry to see it in the rear view mirror.

It was a good week.  After getting somewhat caught up with making the living space livable, I began tackling the pile of paperwork.  There's still a pile, but it's smaller.

On Friday, we went to Wolfgang's first cross country meet of the season.  It was HUGE.  These meets are often heavily attended.  Cross country is one of those school sports where no one gets cut and no one rides the bench.  As a result, participation is high.

The meets themselves are out in the boonies, so many teams are invited.  But this one was by far the heaviest attended we've ever seen.  It was at a state finals course, so everyone wanted to come run on it I guess.

Here's the start of Wolfgang's race - just one of several run throughout the day.  Where's Waldo?... er... Wolfgang?  Find him and win a prize!

Okay, actually, I don't currently have anything in the prize bag, so I'll make it easier.  Find Waldo now? (hint:  blue top, gold shorts.  C'mon people!).

Wolf was fighting off the ever popular back-to-school cold virus, so just treated this as more of a training run.  No pressure.  He still made a good showing and was happy with his finishing time.

In other human-powered news, I had a lovely bicycle ride with Tessa this morning.  This is such a nice time of year for such things.  Sometimes people I know see me out frolicking around and later ask me what I'm training for.  I'm not training for anything.  I just enjoy "going for a spin".  Like when we were kids?

A friend of mine started running a few months ago and has seen steady improvement.  She said that I helped motivate her after last Thanksgiving's Turkey Trot.  She wants to race in a 5k, and maybe more.  I'm happy that she's enjoying herself and taking delight in her progress (she's rather heavy).  My only advice to her would be to not be too "grown up" about it.  

Just have fun.

Saturday, September 1, 2012


This week's Illustration Friday prompt is "identical".  When I first saw the prompt, I knew I didn't want to draw two of something, so I drew a 1908 Model T Ford.

Henry Ford developed the first assembly line for mass production of this automobile.  His quote,
"Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black."
underscores the "identical" nature of mass production.

Back in my working girl days, I spent many hours analyzing, optimizing, and otherwise having a grand old time with assembly lines.  Ironically, there is a lot of creativity that goes into developing one, but once it's up and running, it cranks out the same old thing time after time after time after time...  identical copies of the one that went before.  Hopefully.

The artist in me likes the uniqueness of a one-off creation.  The engineer in me appreciates the ability to make exact replicas, time and time again.  While I had fun drawing this car, I don't care to do it again.