Thursday, January 31, 2013


I've been looking into getting my teaching license.  I've thrown the idea of getting a license around before, but have wavered.  But I'm thinking it wouldn't hurt. I just think I've topped out as much as I care to in the unlicensed tutor world and need to decide what to be when I grow up.

So in the midst of all this fun, I've been chatting up current and former bosses and colleagues for references and such.  Yesterday, I was up at the school, so THAT means, another episode of What's in Crossing Guard Abby's Mailbox?

In a word:  Christmas!   OH wait, this is a public entity.  Try again.  In a word:  Holidays!

Nothing ridonculous, just a cute bag with some candies and a doodle pad and fancy pen.  

I was also talking with a former boss at the place where I occasionally taught classes online.  This was based out of Denver, so when I left there, he told me he would send packaging for me to ship my tablet and webcam back to him.  

I dutifully stashed the tablet and webcam so no one would screw around with them behind my back they'd be out of harm's way and waited for the packaging to arrive.  It never did, the toys stayed stashed.  

So as I'm talking with him, I mentioned that I still had the goods.  How to get them back to him?  He says, "They're long forgotten, feel free to keep or donate them".  

The Wacom Bamboo tablet makes for a nice memento, I must say.  And they're great for digital artwork.  I still prefer the feel of the pencil/pen/brush on paper/canvas, but no sooner had I mentioned the release of the tablet from its quarantine that Wolfgang had the thing hooked into his computer.  

Bamboo in action with someone who is neither me nor Wolfgang

I really don't have a use for the webcam, so am thinking of giving it away.

Anyone out there want a Shia Labeouf webcam?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

gettin' some!

Let it you-know-what!  We woke up this morning to  this white fluffy stuff.  I'd almost forgotten what it looked like.

Not a major dumping, but more than a dusting too, so we'll take it.

I also had to jog my memory to remember what one wears in such weather when one is a crossing guard (who strangely refers to oneself as "one"?).  I remembered the leggings-under-the-jeans at the last minute, and it would've been annoyingly uncomfortable had I forgotten.

In related sad/suspicious news, June informs me that her awesome leopard patterned earmuffs have gone a-missing.  Hers too now!?  Clearly, there's some sort of crossing guard earmuff theft ring afoot!  I've pretty much given up hope of ever finding mine, but the trail for June's is still warm - pun intended?

As I worked my post, I noticed a bit of slipping, sliding, and fish-tailing.  The crosswalk is on an east/west hill, with the little pedestrians commuting north/south.  Each time a pack crossed, my mantra to the cars coming down the hill was please-stop-please-stop-please-stop-please-stop... moreso than usual.  They thankfully managed to do that.

No sooner had I thawed out, that I had to pick Meego up for a Heavenly Orthodontist run.  Broken retainer wire - had to take it to the "shop".  I'm glad to say that The Element, which has yet to have much winter-driving tests, did fabulously.  Ate those slippery, snowy hills and laughed at them!

Okay, there may have been a little booty-shaking in some spots, but I assure you, that was on purpose.

Whee!  Let it snow!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Silver Liningness Sunday

We're almost through the month of January.  I've noticed the days getting a teeny bit longer with each passing week.  Have you noticed??

I've already mentioned the mild weather we've been having.  It's hard to fully enjoy it, knowing we need the moisture.  But still,  it's nice for people on bicycles and in hideous crossing guard vests.

This week, I went to get the Element registered.  You know what that means... {dun dun duuuuuuun!}... the dreaded DMV.  At least I didn't need to go to the teenagers-and-criminals DMV for this task.  I went to the pretty one.  Know how much time I was stuck there?  Go 'head, guess...

About 12 minutes.

Are they kidding me!  I was greeted by a friendly, competent, seemingly intelligent number assigner who went over my documents and then assigned me a number that was just two away from the number currently being served.  I'd barely sat down in the waiting area when my number was called and yet another competent intelligent person efficiently handled my registration and said I was done.  They call themselves a DMV??

In other strange things, Magnum and I watched All Good Things.  It's a movie based on real people and unsolved mystery.  It gets creepy, but is intriguing.  I thought the actors all did nice jobs with their roles.  And it's not all creepy.  The scene where Ryan Gosling's character proposes to Kirsten Dunst's?  I think I may have quietly audiblized my "Yes, O God YES!".

Lastly, I thought I should give a shout to my 2nd running shoes.  I've already praised The Shooz, which are still my faves, but I always keep two pairs of different brands for rotating.

Wolfgang turned me onto these after getting a pair last summer.  They're not quite as minimal as my others, but they're comfy and seemingly indestructible.  I've gone over 300 miles in them and they seem as comfy and cushy as fresh out of the box.  Wolfgang finally got a second pair after running about a gazillion miles in the first.  So, a shout out to the Energize Bunny of shoes.

Enjoy your weeks!  Send snow!

Saturday, January 26, 2013


This week's prompt over at Illustration Friday is "wings", so I was naturally inclined to do something profoundly spiritual...   Buzz Lightyear!

Okay, so maybe I just wanted to draw Buzz Lightyear for grins, but STILL!  He is a role model.  I think.  Remember, before he realized he was "just a toy", he really believed he could fly, and so he did - sending all the female toys into a swoon. (C'mon ladies, we've all been there).

We've all got wings.  None of us is "just a toy".  I believe I can fly....  Everybody sing!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

the return

This morning at the crosswalk...

See it?  Behind me?  Approaching?  (not the bunny)

Actually, not an "it", but a "her".  Bike Lady hath returneth!

ALACAZAM!  Behold the power of the blog!

Recall   last week   a couple of weeks ago   recently that I mentioned that the ever consistent Bike Lady had been missing in action since before Thanksgiving.  It was a curious thing, a bit worrisome perhaps, but not too.

Well, it seems that putting it out there in blogland has conjured her back up.  She appeared like a ghost in the sunlight this morning.

"Hey!  I wondered aboutchoo!", I hailed

"Yeah, I started working a later shift", she explained with a hint of apology.  "But I decided to go to the gym earlier, so..."

I'm relieved.  During those weeks I wondered after her whereabouts, I thought it possible I might run into her somewhere else.  But would I even recognize her?  She's always wearing helmet/ponytail/dark shades while on the commute.

This morning, the dark shades were replaced with a pair of clear eye protectors.  I'm pretty sure that, nope, I wouldn't have recognized her without the getup.

So thank you, blog friends, for your positive JuJu sent in the name of Bike Lady (whose real name I still don't know).  She's alive and well, still riding.  Not that I was worried.

But next time, she better clear it with me first!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

life begins at 65

Or at least it seems that way today.  It was sunny and 65 degrees.  January?!

I don't want to go all Weather Channel, but really it was just too nice to not mention.  For one, I get a lot more company at the crosswalk.  Wasn't I just all alone and freezing my butt off last week?  These last couple of days, it seems that literally everyone and their grandma is walking to and from school.

And today, I noticed how much easier things are when it's nice out.  Not having to bundle up, not having to work so hard to keep breathing while not freezing a lung, not having to keep moving or die.  Is there a way to keep this and still have water next summer?

And with spring in the air, you know what that means!  *wink*wink*nudge*nudge  Oh yeah you betcha... cleaning!

Monday was a day off school, so I had some extra time and just couldn't stop myself.  Wolfgang even came in and asked, "What's that smell?".

That would be the smell of clean.

Even Magnum, in all his Aspergerness, noticed in just a few seconds.  Amazing!

... or maybe I should do that more often.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

lost in space

I pulled into the parking space, then had this sinking feeling.  My phone.  Did I remember my phone?  I checked the pocket of my bag.  The pocket I reserve for my phone.

SHITAKE  MUSHROOMS!  I'd left my phone at home.

Have you done that?  Realized you're "out there" without your phone, and suddenly it feels like you're spinning aimlessly through space, no way to reach Ground Control?  Or for Ground Control to reach you?

Okay, I told myself.  No biggie.  Just carry on.

I was meeting with a student and was planning to swing by Chaco's dorm afterwards.  He'd left his winter jacket, so I'd brought it along so I could drop it off since his dorm was on my way home.  I would just text him when I was on my way.  Oh, sure, I'd remembered to bring the jacket!

I went into the library and thought, what if my student is running late?  Or has some other reason to get hold of me?  I have no phone!  I'm aimless in space!

She showed up right on time.

After tuting, I considered my options.
(a) Just call Chaco from the payphone, let him know I'm on my way.
(b) Just go to the dorm, have someone let me in, then go to his suite.
(c) Go home, get the dang phone, text him, and bring the jacket.

(a) was out of the question because I don't actually KNOW anyone's phone number anymore!  They're all saved in my PHONE - the phone that was then sitting on the dining table in my house - why should I save them in my brain too?!

Next, I quickly concluded that (b) would be committing Chaco's social homicide.  Picture explaining to the other dorm kids that Chaco's mommy was there with his winter jacket.  "No, really!  I just forgot my phone!"

I decided that (c) it was, only after trying (b minus).  I called my phone.  Magnum was home.  Maybe he'd answer.  It would have made more sense to call Magnum, but we got rid of our land line a long time ago, and recall that I don't actually KNOW anyone's phone number anymore!

I eyed the public library payphones.  When was the last time I used a payphone??  I couldn't remember.  I eyed them some more.  Then I looked around at the downtown library patrons.  At the time, they appeared to be a collection of bathless and/or flu ridden.  I'm sure they were all very nice, my perceptions were just a little off.

Warily, I picked up one of the receivers and dialed my number.   It kept ringing.  I was pretty sure Magnum was aware of it ringing, but wasn't picking it up because it wasn't his phone.  Caller ID would be useless.  Voicemail.  I got my own voicemail.  Such a lonely feeling.

Fine, (c) it was.

I got my phone.  Chaco got his jacket.  I wrote down "important people" numbers on a piece of paper to stick in my wallet.

Temperatures have been in the 50's ever since.  I doubt the jacket has budged since I dropped it off.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Silver Liningness Sunday

Another good week is in the books.  It started out with arctic temperatures, but ended up in the 50's with us wanting more snow.

Yesterday, I was sitting here drawing and Magnum kept rounding people up to go see a baby golden eagle out behind our house.  I was all, "pffffftttt... baby eagle.  Probably just a hawk".  Finally, I had to go check and By Gum!  I think he was right.

Not quite a baby, but not full grown either.  Probably an adolescent recently booted from the nest.  We could see it really well with the pornographic binoculars, but my camera is crap.  A non-crap camera is tops on my "want" list.

And speaking of kids booted from the nest, Chaco FINALLY goes back to the dorm this weekend.  Was that a long break or what?!  He's been out since mid-December, and has been climbing the walls the last couple of weeks.  We had to knock him out and remove four big teeth just to liven things up for him.  So, once again, I'm glad his university is right here in town and that getting him back there is relatively easy.  I'm also glad he badly wants to go back.  So far, so good grade-wise.

Also this week, one of the local high schools contacted me about doing some training for their Juniors.  This school is in an "underprivileged" district, and it was so refreshing to meet with educators and administrators that really have a passion for their work. On top of that, one of the teachers I met ended up hiring me to tutor her daughter over the next few weeks.  Cool!

Over the last few weeks, I'd been buried in paperwork dealing with rewards programs, changing insurance agents, rebates, and the like.  This week, all of our refunds, rewards, and rebates came flooding in.  Yay for fat checks!  Sometimes, I think these companies bank on people just not wanting to do the paperwork.  Sorry to disappoint them.  Not.

Saturday, January 19, 2013


"What's the prompt for that??", Magnum asked as I hopefully got Lance Armstrong to emerge from the paper.

"Myth", matter of factly.

"Ooh, okay!", and later, "He looks kind of like a Nazi".

Yes, this week's Illustration Friday prompt is "Myth", so what to make?  A dragon?  Unicorn?  Some other fantasy creature?  Okay.

I will say that I was never a fan of Lance Armstrong.  Yes, he was fast on a bike, but I don't like giving hero status to athletes, and he wasn't exactly humble about that.  There are others, too,  who have survived cancer and gone on to do meaningful things, limelight unnecessary.  The big "revelation" that he used performance enhancements  was certainly no surprise.

So I tried to talk myself out of doing his portrait for "myth", but oh well.  I wanted to do a speed drawing video [IT'S HERE], and portraits are fun for those, so... my first and last Lance Armstrong drawing.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

hit me!

Meego and I made our way to the Heavenly Orthodontist office.  I swear, it's like dental week around here for me.  Chaco's wisdom teeth Tuesday, Meego's Heavenly Orthodontist Wednesday.  So, what's in it for me??

A punch in the face!  Yeah!

It wasn't pretty.  The blood.  The swelling.  The loosened teeth.  The misalignment.  BUT, with wrestling, there are risks involved.  Just another day.  And with quick intervention, all would not be lost.

Still, I'm glad it wasn't me.

Which is not to say, however, that I didn't feel the "impact".  No, we were just there for a routine follow up for Meego.  A quick get-in-get-out, go back to school.  Except the bloodied wrestler got there just before we did.

He was inadvertently kicked in the mouth during wrestling practice.  At least, I hope it was inadvertent.

He was appropriately moved to the top of the queue, and the good doctor went about putting things back where they belong.  Meego and I waited in the comfy, softly lit waiting area, watching some MegaMind.  There was one other patient, a girl about Meego's age.  The wrestler's young sister sat cutting out paper snowflakes while wearing a princess dress, seemingly oblivious to the state of her big brother.

It was really not a big inconvenience, and certainly understandable.  In the end, our appointment was only pushed back about 15 minutes.  But it was enough for the receptionist to take pity on us.  In the form of free FroYo:

She gave LuLu's gift cards to us and the other waiting patient.

Of course Meego wanted to cash it in as soon as we left the office.  LuLu's is just downstairs.  But no, I made him go back to school.  As keeper of the coupons, I brought it home and put it on the kitchen white board next to my crossing guard Santa.  I doubt it will stay around for long, but for now, we shall savor it and give thanks to the sacrificial wrestler.

Now, that's a fine kick in the mouth.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

visions of sugarplums

Aaahh, I think our cold snap has finally snapped.  For now.  It was a balmy 25 degrees this morning at "The Office", and it felt like about 50 after the last couple of days.

Yesterday afternoon, during a blustery 20 degree commute, Meego came walking by the crosswalk on his way home from his bus stop.  He was wearing his typical "uniform" of cargo shorts and light pullover.

"Where's your big jacket?", I asked, thinking he must've left it at school.

"At home", he answered while hopping around.

"Well, you're supposed to wear that stuff on days like today.  Long pants might help too", sarcastically.

"This morning, the thermometer said thirty-seven degrees", he replied.

"Thirty-sev...?!?  This morning it was three  POINT  seven degrees!", I clarify

Then he did that perplexed look, eyes up and to the left, that says, "hmmm... that's entirely possible".

Sheesh, this from the kid who got the math award last quarter?  Oh well, he survived.  Meanwhile, it's probably too late to head off the calls the middle school made to Child Protective Services.

In other survival stories, we seemed to have successfully pulled off Operation Wisdom Teeth Liberation for Chaco yesterday.  I was cast in the prestigious role of Designated Driver.

They'd said that the entire appointment would last about an hour, and that was surprisingly accurate.  Since I was "required" to hang around, I brought my work bag along with the novel I'm currently reading.  I pretended to do a bit of work stuff, never cracked open the novel, and mostly just caught up on waiting area Reader's Digest.

After the procedure was finished, I was led to a groggy Chaco who said, "MMF FFFMM  MFFFMMMFFM".

"I can't understand a word your saying", I answered.


"I still can't understand a word you're saying", I continued.

"MMMMFF FFMMWWMMM...."  and so on...

Eventually, his speaking ability returned.  Everything seems to be healing up as expected.  We went shopping for "old man food" last night.  He's not pleased that the pound cake he was so looking forward to is mostly gone already.

Having never been "under", I asked him about the anesthesia experience.

"AH WOE  UH EN..."  Oh never mind that, I'll just translate what he sort of said.

He said he remembered waking up in the middle of the procedure and could feel a sensation of one of his teeth being removed.  The ceiling tiles (white) were blue.  The light was blue.  The people standing over him were blue.  Then he went back to sleep.

Made me wonder.  Were The Smurfs inspired by a drug high?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

a good roll!

From the learn-something-new-every-day department, I was reading over at Junky's RD one day last week, and she was singing the praises of her foam roller.  I wondered.   Aren't foam rollers the pink squishy things our moms put in their hair?

So... I googled away.  How did we survive before google?

And I learned that foam rollers aren't for hair at all!  I learned that "This form of stretching utilizes the concept of autogenic inhibition to improve soft tissue extensibility, thus relaxing the muscle and allowing the activation of the antagonist muscle"

Okay, actually, that sentence didn't teach me a whole lot.  What??

Thank goodness for video!

After reading Junky's experience and googling and watching video, I was ready to try one out.  I picked one up while I was out and about one day last week.  I rolled around on the floor for a while with my new friend.  Gawd, I think the earth moved~

Magnum, who has been doing the physical therapy for the bum knee, came home later that day.  Coincidentally, he said he was using a foam roller - a.k.a meat grinder - in his therapy sessions and that we should get one.

"Abracadabra!", as I made one suddenly appear!

They're (relative to a masseuse) inexpensive, easy to store, and pretty darn simple to use.  There are a few guidelines, but nothing a kindergartner can't understand.

So as I was enjoying a good roll this morning before my run, I was thinking about things I've learned from blog friends.  Agg79 just finished yet another half-marathon and mentioned his "speed shell" in his post-race press conference.

This also sounded like a wonderful item I'd never heard of, so I did a little digging.  I was unable to come up with what I think he has.  I looked up "disposable jacket" and mostly just found chemical spill gear.

Hmm... that might make an interesting fashion statement at the next race.

In what ways has blogging been enlightening/educational?

Monday, January 14, 2013

when things get cold

Well, I am feeling the complete Inuit woman now!  It is muy frio here, has been all weekend.  Single digit temperatures, probably negative windchills, overcast skies, light snow.  THIS is the kind of weather that separates the crossing guards from the bus drivers!

But I layered up good and had on the Frankenstein boots, so was pretty comfy.  I kind of enjoy days like this - bonding moments with the toughest little pedestrians.

Saturday morning, I went for a little-icicles-form-on-the-eyelashes run.  It was sunny then, and when I stopped, I stood still in the sun and watched the steam rise off of me a la wicked witch from the "Wizard of Oz". Melting!  I'm Melting!  MELTING.... melting... melting...  Cheap entertainment.

Speaking of cheap entertainment, yesterday we went out to a local steakhouse for Chaco's birthday.  Afterwards, we loitered around a neighboring shopping center, which houses a large sporting goods store, a large electronics store, and a large market while digesting our large meals.

We got a new and improved tripod for Meego's new camera.  That and the fact that he was in need of a haircut combined to make the following test video:

I know the lighting's not great.  I prefer to not see what I'm doing when I give a haircut.  Keeps things a mystery.

Have I ever mentioned that none of our kids has ever set butt in a barber chair?  Well, except when Wolfgang got a baldy.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Silver Liningness Sunday

Another great week down!  This week, top billing goes to Chaco.  He turned a whopping 19 yesterday.

How can it be that he's 19 already, and yet I haven't aged one bit since his arrival?! (SHUT  UP).

However that works, Happy Birthday!!

In other weekly good things, it was nice to get back to being a responsible citizen after the long winter break.     To help commemorate, I finally got around to getting a much needed haircut.  Gads, the feral woman look is not a good one for me.

And I've been making strides at clearing out old stuff and getting somewhat organized.  Of course, that's an ongoing hobby of mine, but the Christmas season always spurs some good activity.  Nice to have sold the cargo trailer too.  To a nice artist, no less!

And I think Wolfgang and Meego were glad to get back to school.  I know that January is technically the beginning of the year, but my year tends to go on the school schedules, both at work and at home.  Winter break marks the midpoint, and each kid is enjoying the school year and holding his own grade-wise.

In a somewhat related note, remember my student with dyslexia?  I was working with him to prepare for his college entrance exams, and I learned quite a bit about dyslexia while doing so.  He got his scores back last week, and he did GRRREAT!  I knew he had it in him.  Ha!  Take THAT, dyslexia!

Have a great week, and stay warm!

Saturday, January 12, 2013


This week's Illustration Friday prompt is "Ocean", and I decided the world didn't need yet another drawing or painting of a lighthouse.

I think the oceans are marvelous places.  Nature shows about oceans are so engrossing with their incredible diversity of creatures. Living landlocked my whole life, I've had four visits to oceans in total.  Someday,  I want to attend an all-night party with a big bonfire on a beach.

That's what I think about when I think about the ocean.

But when it comes to actually going IN the ocean, farther than wading, I think about flesh-loving sharks.  Not a fan.

Damn you, Steven Spielberg!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

have you seen them?

Have you seen them?  The Resolutionists?

Last Saturday morning, I was out for a run and saw a troop of runners streaming from the karate place.  It reminded me that I typically witness such a thing on the first Saturday of the year.  I did notice that the group was noticeably smaller than in year's past.

Same goes for other similar outings so far.  Three or four "extras" and that's about it.

But one area that has ticked up this week is the bicyclists.  I'm getting more traffic in my crosswalk.  Not kids, but adults on bikes.  Resolving to commute more on the bicycle?  Less in the car?  More power to them.  I'll keep a mental record to note how long it lasts.

However, one noticeable gap in the action is Bike Lady.  Remember?  Bike Lady?  In all my two years as a crossing guard (just passed my anniversary), Bike Lady has commuted through nearly every morning, exchanging a quick friendly "hello" before continuing on her way.  Rain.  Snow.  Ice.  Wind.  Nothing deterred Bike Lady.

And I haven't seen her since just before Thanksgiving.

I'm a little curious as to where she's gone.  I KNOW she didn't give up the bike for a car.  I just know it in my bones.  She's quite tough, so if she was sick or injured, she likely would've recovered by now.  She was also a safe rider, so I feel reasonably certain that she's not been lying by the side of the road in a heap.

So I've deduced that she's moved or gotten a new job or a new shift or some combination of those.

...or found a Sugar Daddy.

I, for one, plan on sticking around.  I do want to mention that I didn't sign on for the blog-every-day this month.

I still plan to write blog posts obnoxiously often, maybe even daily.  I'm just not committing to every day.  My year of daily blogging was fun and I enjoy the discipline of it.  I just want to try an open relationship now.   Plus, the spring test cycle is coming around, so my tutor schedule is starting to feel the strain.

And now, I must run a quick errand before the afternoon crosswalk and tutelage.  On my bicycle.  In memory of Bike Lady.

I hope it's the Sugar Daddy scenario.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

the unhitching

 Last Friday, I placed an ad for our cargo trailer.  Our 2004 5x8 smooth skined tube steel framed floor cross membered wall uprighted and roof bowed aluminum roofed with a fiberglass nose coned
undercoated bodied rear barn doored 24" rock guarded swivel up jacked fold-down stabilizer jacked 3/4" plywood floored 2" ball hitched trailer.


I began fielding inquiries right away.  Who knew there was so much interest in a...(no way I'm describing it again...) trailer?

Some were a bit sketchy.  Some weren't worth responding to.

One of them read:

"...As soon as you get back to me with the above info,the payment will be sent to you by FEDEX and you don't need to worry about the shipping,i have a shipping agent that will come for the pick up and the documentation because i also purchased some farm equipment which will also be shipped... i will be sending an excess fund that will include the shipper fund,soon as you receive the payment, go and cash the check in your bank and deduct your charges and send the rest of the fund to the shipper via western union..."

Oh, come ON!  Isn't that one of the oldest scams in the book?  Does this look like a stupid person's trailer??

I just flagged that one as spam, but part of me wants to play his silly game and somehow nab him.  But I guess I'll just leave it alone.

And yesterday, our loyal trailer left us.  Had we really had it for nine years?  It's strange to feel an empty spot for a trailer, but I admit that I kind of do.  She was our toy hauler.

In the end, she went to a nice man from Denver.  An artist actually.  He travels around to art shows and fairs and was sick of renting from U-(know who).   We discussed art fairs and watercolors while Chaco, who is still on winter break, talked the trailer into releasing her hold on the frozen ground.  Really, it was like the trailer didn't want to leave.

But, they left.  I waved.  To the artist.  And the trailer formerly known as ours.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


Wolfgang would like some new shoes.  I know because he said, "I need new shoes".

"Mmm hmmm", I replied after having anticipated this request.

"I buy you new shoes when the ones you have are worn out or too small."

"Exactly", he continued, "Mine are too small".

"I'll buy you new shoes when THE ONES I BOUGHT LAST TIME are worn out or too small", I rephrased.

The Thing What Happened

A week or two ago, Wolfgang went to the climbing center.  Climbing center climbers wear climbing shoes.  Bring climbing shoes there (or rent), take off the street shoes, put street shoes in a cubbie, go climb around, change shoes again before leaving.

Wolfgang wears nondescript black converse most of the time.  They're about as unique among his peers as a nondescript black bicycle is in China.

So, it's probably pretty apparent what happened, right?  He went to the climbing center, he swapped the nondescript shoes for his climbing shoes, he climbed around, he put on someone else's nondescript shoes, he left.

Later that evening, when his feet hurt, he realized his shoes had shrunk a size and a half.

We did call the climbing center to see if anyone realized later that their shoes had grown a size and a half.  No such luck.  They've got our phone number, but I'm not holding my breath waiting for the phone to ring.

It's an understandable mistake.  Not like the time he lost one running shoe.  He doesn't ask for much, and I think I could actually see myself doing something like this.  So I am willing to just buy him another pair.  Eventually.

And maybe give the next pair a little Sharpie Love?  Other advice?

Monday, January 7, 2013

one last kiss

While the winter break seemed plenty long enough, at the same time the last few days of it seemed to fly by. Yesterday, we found ourselves in the final hours before everything turned back into pumpkins.

We were pondering an outing, either bowling or indoor rock climbing, when Wolfgang noted how nice it was outside for January.  We should take advantage.  Bike ride!

Ellie Mae was more than willing.  Check out her fine behind!

5 bikes to 1 vehicle = happy ratio!

I mentioned that we bought The Element mainly because of her toy hauling capacity.  Some asked about where everyone sits when she's loaded up with bicycles.  In that case, there's room for only two people, but we do have 4 drivers in the fam.

We rendezvous at the starting point of our bike rides, of which we have several choices for just around town.    If we want to go biking at some distance where it's impractical to drive two cars, we would just rent bicycles.

And it really was a lovely day for it.  Most of the recent snow and ice has melted, the sun was warm and inviting.  We did about a 12-mile ride as the sun approached the mountains.  Nice way to end the break before facing reality again.  

And I did practice some camera and video editing skillz, which hopefully are improving.  [CLICK HERE] to join Bella, me, and the rest of the gang in our Colorado tourism plug!  There's more to do here than ski and snowboard in the winter...


Sunday, January 6, 2013

Silver Liningness Sunday

This has been a nice week to kick off the new year!  I always feel a little rested and forward-looking once Christmas passes by.

One thing I want to do more of, now that I have the time and fun money, is to enter more organized races.  I've only done a handful since I graduated high school.  In fact, I bet I can count them all... let's see....  seven.  Yep, it's seven organized races I've done in 30 years.

I signed up for the Rescue Run 10K to set the stage for that "resolution". Much fun was had.

See anyone you know?
Purple hat & shades, middle of photo?
Not at all prominently featured?

I already blogged about how I won free groceries, but I've never won free groceries, so I must mention THAT again!

In movie news, Magnum and I watched The Double Hour  this week.  It's in Italian, and it twists and turns all over until the end.  Hard to not keep watching once you start!

And yes, I changed the blog look a little.  I, for one, like change every now and then.  And as mentioned, I've lowered the spam shields and got rid of the word verification puzzles.  We'll see if the riff raff starts coming around.  As far as providing a fun challenge to those who  miss the word verification, maybe a question of the day?  Of course, that won't keep the spammers out...

So I've enjoyed these two weeks of end-of-year/start-of-year rest, but I'm ready to get back to it.  In fact, I'm starting to go a bit stir crazy.  I took a short sample SAT this morning just to make sure my brain hasn't turn to mush. 

(it hasn't - not too much).

Saturday, January 5, 2013


This week's Illustration Friday prompt is "edge".  As I thought about that, I realized that there are a lot of definitions for "edge".  It can be the beginning of something, it can be the end of something.  It can be a noun, it can be a verb.

It can be a positive thing, like a competetive edge.  It can be a negative thing, like something that puts us on edge.

It can be something to go over...

So I painted a jumping horse.  Of course.

Friday, January 4, 2013

ice capades

First of all... YES, it's a pedal power generator.  I don't remember what started the kick, but once we got on it, it seemed like the thing to do.   I remember Magnum showing me an article about a prison that used one, and that provided some incentive.

The nice thing is, we have one of these things, so we can pedal away and save up the power to use later when we're being couch potatoes.  So remember, when the lights go out, come onna my house!

But now I have another mystery that I just can't solve.

I brought in China's water bowl a couple of mornings ago.  It was flipping me off.

She has an indoor bowl, and an outdoor bowl.  This time of year, the outdoor bowl is usually an ice bowl instead of a water bowl when I let her outside in the morning.  So, we just swap the indoor bowl with the outdoor bowl.

I have no idea how the outdoor bowl grew this finger overnight.  There are some metal crosspieces over the kennel, but the bowl wasn't underneath any of them.  So how did this stalactite form??

It's really got me stumped.

Maybe it was just happy to see me.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

don't mind the mess

While the majority of working slobs has gone back to the grind, I confess that I am still slacking.  Students in our school district don't go back until Monday, so while the teachers and administrators are back, we outsiders have an extra few days.  Additionally, all of my tutees are taking this week off, and I didn't try to persuade them otherwise.

So I'm kind of getting caught up on things while enjoying a bit of lazy bumness.  Keep in mind that all of the kids are still here making several messes daily hanging out until school starts up again.

BUT, at least Magnum's been earning his keep.  Remember that contraption we ordered?  Then it arrived all wrong and he commenced to making me stupid?  Then he retaliated and got all of our money back, PLUS we got to keep the crap thing?

Well, he's been playing around with it during the break, and IT'S  A-LIIIIIIIIIVE!

Okay, not really, not quite yet.  But the head has certainly dropped.

We gave it a little test a couple of days ago.  The lovely Tessa, happy for the activity since the snow season started, was an enthusiastic willing participant.

Okay, so it's almost working.  Just needs a bit of tweaking.

With this- and maybe a good sturdy crossbow - we're nearly ready for the zombie apocalypse.

Know what it does?  20 questions?


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

luck be a lady!

My house is tidy, all things considered.  It's just not clean.  I know it's not.  Stuff is picked up and put places, but the house needs a good post-holiday scrubbing.  

I looked around wondering where to start.  The kitchen?  The bathrooms?  Bedroom?  Faced with such a choice, I chose shopping.  Not fun, indulgent shopping, but mundane, ho-hum grocery shopping.  It seemed the lesser of the evils.

So I was at the checkout, signing off my purchases when the cashier gets all animated-like.

"*GASP*!  You won!!", she says all happy.

"Wha..?", I reply all clueless.

"You're our winner today!", all game-show hostess like.

Bells were ringing, lights were flashing, confetti was flying, a sharp man in a tuxedo was placing a tiara on my head! Really, it all happened just like that except for the sentence preceding this one!

Bottom line, I got my groceries for free.  All $72.55 of them.  Apparently, this grocery store has a random daily winner of "Win What You Spend".  Today it was little old me.

Now, I'm not much of a loyal grocery shopper.  I like to play the field.  I've got a good batch of stores within equal distance from me, so depending on what I need and where my other errands are, and my mood, I select one of them.  Today, I selected this one.

Or was it... fate?

Here's a bit of AbbyNormal trivia, in case it should ever come up at a party:   My favorite number is 13.  I just like it, probably because of the dark connotations, the rebellion of it.  Plus it's a prime number, and I've always been rather partial to prime numbers.

Earlier today, I was looking at the overall results of that 10K I did yesterday.  Turns out, I finished 13th overall for the ladies.  See that?  See what I did there?  Thirteenth overall for the New Year's Day run for year 2013??  Huh?  HUH??

Ooooh, it's gonna be a good year, you think?

Really, I'm not superstitious.  Not about numbers anyway.  I know the true force behind my good fortune, and it's none other than our cat Kat.  I've always gotten good vibes from black cats, and now I live with one!

I returned home with my load of free groceries and thanked her muchly.   And I'll let you in on a little secret.  She's not just a cat.  That's just the form she chooses to hang out in most of the time.   She's asked me to share her true self with the blog.  She's the... uh... larger one.

As you can see, she is elated that we won.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

so far, so good!

So far, 2013 is going well.  Yesterday was rather cold and snowy, so I spent  most of the day inside - along with everyone else spending most of the day inside.  I'm dealing with the testosterone levels as best I can (HELP ME - SEND CHICK FLICKS).

As is tradition - I'm not sure when it started - we had dead crustacean for New Year's Eats.   As the buttery slobbering commenced, I mentioned that I really should make crab legs more often, just not so often that they aren't special on New Year's.

There was general agreement.  "Okay, so when else?", I surveyed.


I didn't know if we'd be doing the midnight mile or not.  Chaco and Wolfgang in particular may have made other plans.  Everyone knows I'm up for it, though.

Since we were all holed up at home, we laced up the running shoes and waited for the magic hour.

Kat and Meego assessed the conditions as snow lightly fell close to midnight.  Kat chose not to run...

Temperatures were right around 20F - relatively balmy for our Midnight Mile, the clouds and snow blanketing us in "warmth".

Good times.  Magnum and the bum knee even put forth a decent showing.  I did make a video, but it was just too dark and not worth publishing.  Just know we were awesome.

trailer for sale...

After that excitement, I had to unwind so as to rest up.  I needed to be at another starting line this morning.  The Rescue Run 10K.

What a beautiful day!  Bright and sunny and about 20F (still) when I left home.

It was held at a local park that we've hiked in quite a bit, but I really didn't know what the race course would be like.  It advertised "The courses are challenging and hilly " which I expected from our hikes there.        

They also boasted "The views on the 10K course are spectacular, with panoramic views of Pikes Peak and the Front Range mountains."

Omigosh, that was so TRUE!  Beautiful views!  For someone who normally just runs around the suburbs, this was a real treat.  And the proceeds go for a good cause - the county Search and Rescue.  Over 800 revelers joined me.  Wolfgang opted out, preferring quick and dirty 5K's instead.

Considering I'd never run this course before, some sections of the race were quite hilly and icy, and I'd never run a 10K race before, I figured I'd just go with the flow, hoping to finish in less than 54 minutes.  I clocked in at 49:53, which was good enough for 2nd place old lady.

Happy New Year!