Thursday, February 28, 2013

meeting Howard

I was at the University yesterday, making my way through the final hoop I was required to jump through to get approved for the teacher licensing program I applied for.  It's a program specifically for people who have a bachelor's degree in something other than education, specifically for training high school math and science teachers.  Our university is one of the few that offers it, and it's pretty selective, so I thought I'd at least apply and see what happened.

I was going there to meet with one of the program directors, a Ph.D in the Physics department. I jokingly wondered to myself if he would be like one of the characters on "The Big Bang Theory" (TV show I reluctantly admit to sometimes watching).

I arrived at his office precisely three minutes before our scheduled meet.  He is a very personable and laid-back man who totally reminded me of Howard Wolowitz.  Not really in mannerisms, but put about 25 years on Wolowitz, and he's Dr. C at the university.  Ironically, Wolowitz is the only one of the four main geeks in "Big Bang Theory" who is NOT a physicist.

But enough about fictional characters - really, my kids watch the show, that's the only reason I know of it!

So we had a nice little "interview", mostly talking about how old I am  it's been several years since I was in college, and might need/want to take a couple of refresher math courses.

Then, he approved my application, we both signed our respective signature boxes, and that was that.   So I'm in and fully on board to do the program now, after sitting on the fence for the last couple of years.

As luck would have it, however, we got hit with more snow on Tuesday night, and yesterday morning was another 2-hour delayed start to school that I had to call in "overscheduled" for.  The boss got a crosswalk sub for me AGAIN.

There goes my crossing guard tenure.  At least my dog still loves me.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

up, up, and away

I just finished clicking through thirty slow-loading pages of  *sigh*  red carpet photos from the Oscars.  I say I don't care who/what they were wearing, but there it is, I confess.  Maybe I do care, a little.  No, I'd say I have a passing interest.  Thirty slow-loading pages later, it's done.

In other news, the pictures from the balloon launch are up since the teachers made it back to civilization where we have things like internet.  Really, if you've not experienced eastern Colorado, it's kind of like outer Mongolia out there.

Here's a pic taken shortly after liftoff.  Look, my house!

This one got a good shot of the burn scar from last summer's fire.

This one's a pretty cool shot with the moon.

And here's one from the descent into outer Mongolia eastern Colorado.

There were over 700 photos.  The balloon was in the air for about 2 hours total and reached an altitude of about 100,000 ft. before bursting.  

I was trying to think of any similar projects from when I was in high school and could think of nothing.  In college, my group did a senior project testing beer can strength by blowing a bunch up.  Good times.

But rather cheesy in comparison.

Monday, February 25, 2013

it's Monday morning, do you know where your crossing guard is?

I mentioned the snow yesterday.  "Gently falling" I think I said.  "Gently falling" eventually turned into "raging sideways".  I'd look at the weather bug on my computer screen and see a "40" and think, "oh, it's warming up", and then realize that that was the wind speed.

The school district, in a rare move,  announced early last evening that there would be a 2-hour delayed start to school this morning.  Crapola.

Normally, I go off and do the crossing guard bit in the morning, the little kids settle into school, and I settle into not-crossing-guard stuff.   I had not-crossing-guard stuff scheduled for today, smack dab in the middle of 2-hour-delay-kids-go-to-school time.

So last night, I called the vice principal and apologized for my inability to clone myself in time for the morning commute.  She was very understanding, noting that those aren't my scheduled work hours anyway.  Still, I didn't want to be a biotch about technicalities.

It's pretty slim pickings right now for crossing guards, of which the school has three.  June is still out with her mystery injury.  Young Eli, who has another part-time job at the school,  recently vacated the north flank guard post.  Until someone gets hired to replace Eli and until June is back in action, it's whoever can be coerced into wearing the hideous vests and getting out to cover Eli's and June's posts.

The school principal, in a characteristically well-prepped plan, had each staff member who is not a classroom teacher go through crossing guard training at the start of this school year.  Yes, there is required training.  Yes, there is a written test.  Yes, I aced mine.  What?  It wasn't in the papers?

She smartly trained up an entire army of crossing guard reserves.  With that, the vice principal told me she felt that my inept cloning ability wouldn't be a problem.   I was free to go about my not-crossing-guard business without worry.

And so the streak has ended.  Until today, I've never requested a sub in my entire illustrious 2+ year crossing guard career.   Surprisingly, the school can operate without me after all.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Silver Liningness Sunday

Snow is falling gently outside my window as I sit in my comfy place.  It's nice to not have to be out driving.

Yesterday, Wolfgang's PS&E (practical science and engineering) class successfully launched a weather balloon and package.  Fourth time was a charm as the momentous event had been postponed from three previous dates.  Once, apparently there was a major helium shortage.  Another time, the weather was crap.  I don't remember what scrubbed the third try, but yesterday was a hit.

The payload was a video camera and a camera for still pics to record the journey.  It also had a GPS unit so they could know where the thing landed and hopefully retrieve the goods.  The kids designed and built the capsule, which was mainly cardboard, duct tape, plastic cups, and RedBull (it gives you wings) cans.

When thinking of all the things that could go wrong, it's a happy thing to have it all work out.  I don't yet know the specific data like how long it was up and how high it got.  It made it's way halfway to Kansas before landing in Middle of Nowhere, Colorado.

Wolfgang had the honor of releasing the balloon, probably since he had the hand-cramping honor of holding onto the neck of it during the entire prep time.  Here is one of the image results.  Since they were in Middle of Nowhere, Colorado, there was no Wi-Fi, and one of the teacher retrievers just took a cell phone pic of the laptop screen:

I made a [video] of the launch, which you should really go watch.  There is another video which is the [Cutest Video Ever] involving a weather balloon, but that video has over 4 million views as I type.  [My video] has seven, and at least one of them is me.  [Cute video] guy was invited to be on Katie Curic's show.  I was not (yet).  However, [my video] includes an official goose flyover.  [Cute video] does not.  There are people in [my video] whom you know.  There are none in [cute video]...   unless you do happen to know that guy.

In which case, you now have cool friends in two different weather balloon videos.

Saturday, February 23, 2013


This week's prompt at Illustration Friday is "whisper".  Hmmm... how to illustrate a whisper?

The word conjures images of mouth-to-ear action.  In fact, when I went to see what the prompt was, there were already many mouth-to-ear submissions.  All nicely done, of course, but I'm too much of a non-conformist to jump on that wagon.

The word also suggests images of intimacy.  Hmmm...  this is a pretty PG-13 blog, so nope.

I decided to to the mouth-to-ear whisper after all, just from the opposite end of things.  Non-conformity lives.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

fluffy stuff

I allowed myself an extra half hour of sleep this morning. I knew, just KNEW that school would be delayed today or else we would have full on snowday.  So I snoozed.  No rush.

Last evening, I looked outside as snow lightly fell.  About an hour later, Wolfgang said, "Look at the picnic table", so I looked out and was all, "what picnic table?"  Everything in the backyard was buried under mounds of snow.  I had to shovel a path to the street just to get my garbage dumpster to the bottom of the driveway for, the always special, garbage day.

So I leisurely got up this morning and turned on the radio to hear the closure report.  I didn't want to boot up the computer just yet, and I have a DumbPhone, so radio it was.  The announcer went through a list of closures and delays without one word about our district.  What??  Dang, I'd better get on the stick!

It did seem strange, though.  No way, I thought.  There must've been a delay in announcing the delay?  A few minutes later the announcer came back and listed more closures, including our district.  Turns out there were so many, he was reading them in waves.  Really, it would've been more efficient to announce what, if anything, was open.

So here we are basking in snowiness

Checking my facebook page, I found the typical snowday status updates from my gleeful teacher friends.  Snowdays are of the few occasions where my fb feed looks an awful lot like Wolfgang's.  

Some things never change.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

po-po wednesday

Kind of a grey morning today, but as I made my way to The Office, I saw a welcome sight.

A friendly police cruiser decided to join me for the morning commute.  He indiscreetly planted himself right on the shoulder of Crazy Driver Boulevard.  It was all I could do to discreetly snap a pic.

Since winter arrived, the motorcycle cops have been shelved, and I don't get as much po-presence.  So I think it's nice of them to come around once in a while.  A year or so ago, they unveiled this marvelous MTU (Mobile Traffic Unit).  It's a high-tech van equipped with radar and cameras that snaps photos of speeders.

They gleefully set it up at "my" crosswalk, and the wonderful MTU commenced to... malfunction.  It was concluded that the power lines (that apparently are cooking my insides daily) at the crosswalk were interfering with the onboard electronics.

Alas, back to the old school way of doing things.

But really, I prefer things that way.  A human rather than an electronic device.  Take that however you see fit.

Monday, February 18, 2013

dirty pictures

I read a story this morning about a woman who was sickened when she found out that photos she'd posted on her blog had ended up on some suspected pedophile site.  The photos were of her bottomless toddler boys engrossed in potty training.  Emphasis on gross.

I honestly don't have a whole lot of sympathy for her because (1) it's the internet, (2) I don't care to watch kids (or anyone else) taking care of their personal bodily functions and don't find such photos "cute", (3) it's the internet, (4) there are sickos out there who will be all over pics of bottomless toddlers, and (5) it's the internet!  If someone wants photos to be seen by only a select few, they don't post them where the entire developed world has access to them.

As I read, I learned a few things.  I learned that I could search my own photos by simply dragging them to the search box in google images.  Did you know that??  I didn't know until reading about the potty trainer.

Out of curiosity, I did a spot check of a few photos.  Thankfully, my blog was the only place they showed up.  Interestingly, the search also calls up "visually similar images".  Allow me to share some of my results:

My image 1
visually similar image 1
How so very flattering.

My image 2
Visutally similar image 2

It's Brittany, Bitch!
My image 3
Visually similar image 3

Okay, this match is shockingly accurate.

Have you googled yourself lately?  It's not a sin, it's only natural and healthy.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Silver Liningness Sunday

There are streamers on the basketball hoop next door.  Party brewing perhaps?  They have four kids, so SOMEbody is probably due for a birthday.

Either way, it's a lovely day at this week's end.  After dealing with some real March of the Penguins type weather this week, the last few days have been beauts.  On that note, though, I understand the mountains have piles of snow for the skiers and boarders.

Last weekend, Magnum took our bicycles in for their annual spa treatments.  Murphy's law says that we'll have beautiful bike riding weather when bikes are in the shop.  HA!  I have two bicycles!  Take THAT, Murphy!

We attended another Meego concert this week.  They sounded pretty good, as expected.  Sure beats those recorder programs from third grade, eh?  Magnum and I ended up having seats right behind Meego and his island of Baritonia.  We were practically wedged in with the kettle drums, so I snapped this pic of the back of Meego's head.

It was a good productive week work-wise.  Getting things done.  Our computer's been acting strangely lately.  I wonder if it has a virus?  I've been cleaning cookies and caches, running scans, changing passwords, but still the glitches.  It's limping along however.  It's times like these that I miss the in-house IT department that was Chaco.  Might he be the cause, however...?

Friday, Magnum and I had one of our rare epic Fridays, which was nice.  It's good to have these dates.  We never know when an Asteroid or totally unrelated but huge meteor might hit.

Saturday, February 16, 2013


This week's Illustration Friday prompt is "wool", and no way was I drawing a sheep.  Or an alpaca.

So I drew a cat with some (understood to be woolen) yarn because we all know the internet is seriously devoid of cat images.

Our own cat continues to be big and beautiful.  We send her out to run around the yard and feed her only indoor food, but I guess she just likes living large.  She also still has no name.  I occasionally refer to her as "Kat" here on the blog, but in real life, she's nameless.  We have a name for our car, but not our cat.  At this point, a slim cat with a name would just be strange.

(But last week, she told me her name was Olive)

Friday, February 15, 2013

surgery for my imaginary friend

My friend, "Bunny", is having surgery today.  Actually, she's probably already had it and is in recovery mode.  She's having surgery on her hands.  Both hands.  Left and right.

No use of her hands for a couple of weeks.  Either hand.  Think about all of the things routinely done with hands.  Now think about not being able to do them.  And having to have someone else do them.

"We'll find out how much my husband loves me now!", she quipped.


A few years ago, a friend of mine's 13-year-old son fell from a swingset.  To break his fall, he fractured both wrists.  My friend had to help him dress, undress, bathe, etc.  He was able to eventually do some things while still in the casts - motivated, I'm sure, by pride.

In Bunny's case, she's got severe carpal tunnel syndrome.  Typically, surgery would be done on one hand at a time to limit the limitation.  I don't know much about the timing of surgical intervention for carpal tunnel, but apparently there is "need" to do both of her hands now.

So I mentioned this to Magnum, and we pondered being in such a position - one of us having to be the other's hands for a couple of weeks.  Okay, it could and would be done... but...

I don't know the cause of Bunny's CTS.  Magnum assumed that maybe she used a computer too much, but I said I really didn't think she did.  She told me she's dealt with this for a while, and she overdid it while doing  recent renovations to their townhome.

"Maybe she still should cut back on the blogging", he added.

"I don't even think that she has a blog", I said.

He looked at me rather perplexed.  "Oh, I thought she was a blog friend".

"No", I replied, "I do have one or three real-life friends that you don't know, y'know".

I don't think he believes Bunny is real now.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

heart times

Twenty-five years ago today, Magnum and I had our first date.

Yes, it was Valentine's Day.  No, that wasn't on purpose.  We were both over-worked college students.  Plus, I had a part-time retail job, and he was in the National Guard.  It just so happened that Valentine's Day, after my shift in retail land, was one of the few shared openings in our calendars.

To be honest, I don't remember a whole lot about that date.  We met at a bar and grill that was just a few doors down from the sporting goods store where I worked.  Up until then, I'd mainly just known him from chatting in the couple of classes we had together.  These were the ancient days before social media.

At the time, I was also kind of "seeing" a co-worker from the store, but nothing serious.  Just sometimes a group from work would do some after work socializing, and the two of us ended up as a sort-of-but-not-really couple.  Mark wasn't a college student like most of my co-workers.  He was a rather burley outdoorsy guy.  He worked in the hunting department at the store and did some taxidermy work on the side.  Seemed like a wholesome kind of guy.

As Magnum's interest didn't wane after that first date, I found myself wondering if I should choose one path or the other.  Right about that time, I was talking to another co-worker.  I don't even remember what the conversation was about, but he said, "Yeah, Mark's on a first-name basis with half the girls at Shotgun Willies".

Oh... really?  Shotgun Willies is a titty bar in Denver, commonly referred to by some friends and I as "Silicone Willies"

Now lemme just say that I don't have a problem with titty bars, or titty bar patrons.  That whole "first-name basis" thing, though?  Well, it tipped the scales in Magnum's favor.  He had a hard enough time just talking to me, let alone...

And now LOOK!  Here we are, twenty-four Valentine's Days later.

The elementary school is having Valentine parties today, with my little pedestrian customers each carrying bags of little cards for each classmate.

The history of St. Valentine, I understand, is a bit murky.   The day itself also has origins in the pagan fertility festival "Lupercalia" where:

"many of the noble youths and of the magistrates run up and down through the city naked, for sport and laughter striking those they meet with shaggy thongs. And many women of rank also purposely get in their way, and like children at school present their hands to be struck, believing that the pregnant will thus be helped in delivery, and the barren to pregnancy"

Uhm, I'm pretty sure the school is just sticking with the little cards and probably some sweets.


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

I just wanna say...

This month's NaBloPoMo theme is "love and sex", centered on Valentine's Day, no doubt.  So I've blogged on a couple of the prompts dealing with "firsts" - first crush, first love... without going into a great amount of detail.

I do like to keep things pretty lighthearted around here, but I want to acknowledge that real crushes and real first loves can be quite intense, dramatic, and often dangerous.  The teenage years are volatile ones when level-headedness, foresight, and maturity aren't always on par with physical development!

Speaking from my own experiences as well as those of friends and acquaintances, I just want to caution against taking teenage romance too lightly.  Those relationships shouldn't be lumped in the same bucket as the little pretend romances we have as young children.  From an article in Psychology Today:

"Adults who underestimate the strength of the bond-- or the impact of the loss -- of a first love may have forgotten what a blow it was when they lost their own first loves. They may even try to comfort teenagers with lighthearted lessons: a surprising number of men and women wrote to me to bitterly complain about parents who joked years ago, "Don't worry! Boyfriends/girlfriends are like buses... a new one comes along every ten minutes!" This was not helpful, and it was not funny. The loss of a first love can be so crushing to some teenagers that they become suicidal."

Sad but true.  And that's all I want to say about that.

Thus endeth today's Public Service Announcement.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

halls of higher learning

On the few occasions that I have been at my kids' largish high school during a passing period, I've been a bit overwhelmed by the sheer mass of teenaged humanity.  My own high school was relatively small, just a little over a hundred students in my graduating class.  So while at my kids', I've mainly needed to just focus on getting from point A to point B, not really taking time to observe the general behavior.

A few weeks ago, I was in another local high school during a passing period.  Now, that school is just slightly bigger than the one I attended.  It was a much more familiar scene.  Not so much a mass of teenaged humanity, but the air was thick with pubescent hormone driven activity.

Like a lot of people, my first love came about in high school.  Living in a small town where everybody knew everybody, I knew of my boyfriend quite a few years before he was a boyfriend.  In fact, for some reason, I have a vivid first memory of watching him shoot a free throw during an 8th grade basketball game.  It would be about another three years before I took much notice again.

I was a high school sophomore and he was a junior.  We were both on the track team, and track was a sport where boys and girls practiced together - being separated by the events we did rather than by gender.  I was a sprinter, he was a hurdler and jumper.  Close enough.

We became good friends at first, getting through practices and cheering each other on during track meets.  It wasn't until early in the following school year that we began "going out".

I've always liked the quiet ones for some reason, and "DJ" was no different.  He excelled at sports, but unlike a lot of "jocks", he was rather shy.  Academically he.... well, he excelled at sports.

Soon I was head over heels, and he and I were part of the passing period PDA show.  In all, we were together for about 2 years - half of my high school "career" - which seems about 10 years in real life.

Also, like a lot of first loves, our ending wasn't without messiness.  Those final months were a roller coaster of break-up, make-up, break-up, make-up...  but we eventually got over ourselves and moved on.

Our first loves, although they usually happen when we are quite young, can be pretty powerful.  I even think they can be more powerful than those that come later when we're "mature" and have other goals and  responsibilities.  Either way, they certainly shape our future relationships.

In fact, I know that Magnum can thank/blame DJ for setting the stage for him.  But that's for a whole 'nother post...


From the NaBloPoMo prompt:
"How old were you the first time you fell in love?"


Sunday, February 10, 2013

Storm II

From the responses to my not-Halle-Berry illustration for Illustration Friday (including MAGNUM'S!), I decided to give Halle "Storm" Berry a whirl.

Lotsa tight fitting shiny leather.

It wasn't a bad experience.  In fact, I enjoyed drawing her more than I did Lance Armstrong.  She's a much better role model.  Probably avoids bleached flour too.

Now, excuse me while I go do some situps or something.

Silver Liningness Sunday

Greetings on this fine Sunday.  Another week of goodness down.  There is a large bunch of clutter piled behind me that the donation truck is scheduled to pick up tomorrow.  These are always joyous occassions for me.

In other sloughing off news, Reese the snake has shed another round of skin. These are also momentous events as he doesn't talk much or relate to us in the same ways the furry pets do.  He sheds his skin to show his love (okay, it's a stretch, but he's a snake for cripe's sake!).

Back in the fall, when the days got shorter and cooler, he went into this sort of snake hibernation.  It was an educational time for us.  We got him a heat lamp, and he's become less hibernative over the last several weeks.  Lately, he'd been acting and looking like he was going to shed.  Last night, Meego presented me with three large pieces of skin.

After they shed, snakes are very active and alert, like they're all happy in their new clothes.

Happy Reese, ready to party, and the old skin

A hugfest ensued, boy and snake.

In other charitable donation news, Wolfgang and his track buddies totally geeked out a fun run on Friday night.  It was a one-mile "race" at the university, the registration fee being an article of clothing for the Salvation Army.  By "geeked out", I mean they wanted to see how fast they could do it, so they wore their fast shoes and warmed up and everything like for a real race.  Most of the other participants were non-running college kids who just wanted the free food at the end.

I asked Wolfgang how it went

"We beat....  everybody?  Including the bicycle pacers?"

Salvation army got some clothes.  And I'm happy to report that Wolfgang managed to not lose any shoes... for a change.

Saturday, February 9, 2013


I guess it's appropriate that this week's Illustration Friday prompt is "storm", with the mayhem going on in the northeast part of the country.

So I thought I could do the cop out white-on-white thing to symbolize a whiteout.  Or I could do the cop out black-on-black thing to symbolize the power outages.  No.

Or I could do a Nemo, but I just did Buzz Lightyear and don't want to overdo Disney Pixar.   I could do a Halle Berry from X-Men or a weather vane.  Sorry Halle, a weather vane it is.

Watercolor makes the corners of my paper curl, and rather than wait for the thing to dry and then smash it and wait for it to flatten, I just put heavy things on the corners and snapped a picture.  Hence the shadow in the upper right.

Pretend it's a U.F.O.  Or Halle Berry.

Friday, February 8, 2013

keeping it raw

I went to the post office today.  I actually had to stand in the line in order to deal with a real postal person.  I can say that after the strange 12-minute dealings at the DMV recently, the post office has now restored my faith in the uncaring inefficiency of government.  Whew.

Another stop was the health food store.  I go there about every six weeks or so.  This isn't a trendy store like Whole Fudds or Trader Josepe's.  This is the store for the die hards, the serious.  The little store where half of it is vitamins, supplements, and "colon care", and the other half is mostly strictly organic-don't-even-think-about-having-conventional-in-the-same-building produce.  What little meat they sell is from happy, free range, yogic type animals.  Plus, it's strictly BYOB - bring your own bag.  Paper?  Plastic?  Neither.

So I go there about semi-quarterly.  I like to buy my baking stuff there because they have a great variety of pre-packed bulk items.  I know that "pre-packed bulk" is a bit of an oxymoron, but that's what makes it so great.  Bulk foods without scooping around in some big old bin that's been exposed to who-knows-what?

The main thing I noticed was how crowded it was!  I know they have a good flow of clientele through there, but the place was noticeably hopping today.  I wondered if there was some special event, but none that I could see.  I concluded that maybe it's New Year's resolutions still going strong?  People gonna eat healthy!

One thing I thought I'd try is to not eat any "white" food - well, grains that is.  I hear bleached flour is nutritionally weak, so I'm trying to eat the unbleached only.  It's harder than I thought it would be!  What can I say?  The bleached stuff just tastes better.  Plus, it's everywhere.  Plus, my kids tease me.

But okay, I can do this.  One day at a time.


Thursday, February 7, 2013


It's been a couple of those not-enough-hours-in-a-day days.  I've been busy, but good busy, so don't mean to complain.

Several months ago, I was looking into adding online tutoring to the tutoring biz.  That would mean signing up with an additional tutor matching service since my current one didn't offer online tutoring.  I halfheartedly looked around, but never got beyond the research stages.  Build another profile, pass more tests, blah blah blah...

Yesterday I got an e-mail from my current service that they've added an online platform.  It's still in the beta stages, but good to go for the most part.  Yay!

So this morning I got myself all trained and certified.  What timing!  This, just after I was granted that Wacom  tablet.

It's been a couple of years since I've done the online teaching thing.  It's not quite as "personal" as face-to-face, but it is convenient.  The other teachers and I used to joke how we could be all presentable from a headshot, yet be total slobs outside the boundaries of the webcam.  Or totally naked from waist down if so inclined.  And you can't beat the commute.

Sometimes, Meego would sit next to me and do his homework while I was in class, making faces the class couldn't see.

Take Your Strange Kid to Work

I think we've come to expect to be able to do lots of things online, we take it for granted sometimes.  Then when it's not there, what to do?

Each week, the elementary school principal e-mails a summary of what's going on.  In her latest one, she mentioned that June has an "injury" and will be out for "a few weeks".  What?

So I'm concerned about June.  I'm not sure of her age.  She looks to be about 60, but I know she takes good care of herself, so she's probably actually older than she looks.   She's also one of those rare people who doesn't use e-mail.  Can you imagine?

I know her neighborhood, but not her house.  She has no cell phone.  How does she do it?

Maybe that's how she keeps herself young.  

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

a visit

Had me some guests at The Office this morning.

I'd noticed an inanimate object on the path while I was out running around in the dark earlier.  Later, when I went to be a crossing guard in the sunshine, I saw that it was a shopping cart.  Aw, crap, I thought.  I'm used to keeping the area somewhat tidy, but a shopping cart??

As I contemplated the cart and what to do with it, I noticed a few other things.  Some drink cups.  Then, some sleeping bags.  Then, hair from someone's head sticking out of one of the bags.  Still attached to the head.

They'd set up their camp in a little knook area behind the Smoking/Make-out bench (so christened from the majority of teen activity that goes on there).  This is a photo from early fall.  See it?  The trees are now mostly bare branches, but the branches and the Smoking/Make-out bench provide a bit of shelter.

I don't have a problem with homeless campers, but I was a bit concerned with them being right on the pathway to school.  It seemed strange for them to decide to bed down at a busy intersection of a 5-lane boulevard and pedestrian path.  

A few kids noticed the shopping cart.  I told them there was someone sleeping back there, just keep walking or better, take the sidewalk.  Later, when I took China for her beauty walk early in the afternoon, they were still there, but vertical and active.  This made me hopeful that they would be gone by the time school got out.

About an hour before the afternoon bell, I checked the S/Mo bench.  They'd left.  No trace of them, which was nice because the S/Mo bench and surrounding "woods" is a popular area for the kids to let off some stuck-all-day-in-school steam.  If they'd still been there just before the bell, I wondered if I should ask school security for advice.  I really didn't want to call the fuzz.

They'd left no trace, that is, except for the flipping shopping cart.  Once again, I wondered what to do with the thing.  So, I'd just like to say...

Dear Val's mom and dad,

A shopping cart was left at the crosswalk today.  Val saw it and became noticeably intriuged.  I know he thought about bringing it home with him.  I told him it would be perfectly all right if he did.  In fact, I may have highly encouraged it.  He's a good kid, that Val.

Apologetically lovingly  in street-walking,


Monday, February 4, 2013

'Cause there's music in the air and lots of lovin' everywhere

Let's call him Doogie.

He was 19 when I was 15 and had a major crush on him.  It's hard to say what it was that I found so crushworthy, but I clearly recall how there was just something about HIM that set HIM apart from all the rest.  Whenever he appeared in my line of sight, I could practically feel the skipped beat of my heart and the dilation of my pupils.  What the...?  I was fifteen!

He was actually kind of a "pretty boy", not my usual preference.  Designer jeans, just right hair.  He drove a very unique, pretty car, none other like it in town.  Seeing the car caused the same physical response in me that seeing Doogie caused.

I brazenly asked him to go with me to my high school's homecoming dance (he couldn't ask me, he'd already graduated!).  He accepted and countered by asking to take me to the football game the night before the dance.  From then on, we were a couple.  For a while.

Looking back, I wonder what my parents thought.  I'm sure my mother wasn't happy about such an "older" man/boy.  I don't think my mother would've been happy with anyone for me when I was 15.  But I don't remember her saying anything specific about it.  We lived in a small town.  Everyone knew everybody else.  The whole town had eyes.  Doogies' dad cut my dad's hair.

I didn't love Doogie.  Just puppy loved him, I guess.  We didn't last beyond puppydom.  But still, whenever I hear George Benson, I think of Doogie.

And so, my first crush, my first boyfriend  - not counting Frank, whom I "married" in first grade.  Hmmm.. maybe I really should count Frank?


From NaBloPoMo prompt:
"Tell us about your first crush"


Sunday, February 3, 2013

Silver Liningness Sunday

Happy February!  Spring is just around the corner, right?

On that note, in better-living-through-boot-sales news, I nabbed another pair of winter boots this week.  I got some pac boots earlier in the season to keep my feet alive during the blustery crossing guard season.  They are warm, but cumbersome to walk in.  Since being quick on my feet is one of the dominant job responsibilities, I decided it was either my toes or the little pedestrians had to go.  Okay, it really wasn't that dramatic.  I found these boots on MEGA sale

Really, I think my house slippers cost more.  They're not quite as warm as the Frankensteinian boots, but warmer than my hiking shoes while being quite comfy and enabling me to walk with the style and grace that my customers have become accustomed  (PFFT :p).  And since I realize that this is the second week I've posted thankfulness regarding footwear, let's move on...

In movie news, we enjoyed Cowboys & Aliens this week.  I admit that I sometimes just go along for the ride in my role of sacrificial lone female with these Action Adventure movies, but I genuinely liked this one. The premise alone is just too fun, then there's the Daniel Craig factor - is it hot in here?

Chaco graced us with his presence yesterday.  Characteristically called me, saying he needed some things from the house.  "Some things" mostly turned out to be cash and a haircut.  He also accepted the spare webcam, saying he had some projects that could use one, but admitted that he mainly didn't want me to donate away a perfectly good webcam.  He's becoming my pack-rat dad more and more each day.

Today's agenda includes a bit of tuting this afternoon, then maybe I'll watch some Super Bowl commercials.   Happy Sunday!

Saturday, February 2, 2013


Last night, I checked to see what this week's prompt for Illustration Friday was.  "Wheel".   Hmm... I was rather uninspired, but hoped something would come to me in my sleep.  Instead, I dreamed of wind and snow.  No help.

So I thought maybe I'd do something wheelish in relation to groundhogs or Superbowls.  Again, nothing came to me.

I looked at some cool photos of ferris wheels and carousels that would have made nice paintings or drawings, but... ugh... couldn't bring myself to tackle any of them.  The reason?

I don't like drawing circly curvy things.  I mean, sure, there's gonna be curves, but I just wasn't up to having them be the predominant feature of an artplay.  Illustration Fridays are for freehand (my rule), and drawing big circles freehand seems too much like WORK.

So in the end, I decided to rebel and pay homage to a handy workhorse for those times when it absolutely, postively has to be round.  Our friend the drafting compass.  I thought I might do a fancy schmancy one, like architects  use, but then came across a reference for the humble mass produced version from our school days.

Steampunk compass!