Tuesday, July 30, 2013


One minute, everything seemed fine,  then everything just went belly up.  There seemed no end to it.  I still don't have any answers.

But for now, anyway, things seem to have calmed down.  Just before the apocalypse, the population stood at eleven citizens.  Currently, it stands at four survivors.

Remember, a coupla weeks ago?  I introduced a few new members to the community?  One turned out to be a terrorist, and justice was swift.  Normalcy was returning, but then, but then...

It started with the guppy bachelors.  One by one, they flailed then dropped.  All three of them.

Next, the swordtail wives.  One sister wife took ill and didn't make it.  The other sister wife followed shortly after.  Husband Zorro died about a day  later.  It was either the apocolarium plague or a bad case of sexual frustration that got him.  

The final straw was when I found Hot Lips the plecostomus swimming with the fishes, but not in a good way.  I mean, Hot Lips was a freaking PLECOSTOMUS!   Those things are like the cockroaches of the fish world, likely to survive nuclear fallout!  

But not the apocalarium plague.

The four survivors seem healthy and unfazed.  

Two black skirt tetras - affectionately known as The Lesbians - look and act as healthy as ever.  They lost one of their threesome a while ago, but that was before the apocalarium plague.  The other two are buenos aires tetras of unknown gender.  There was a third, but he/she was The Terrorist...

I'm thinking that I introduced the plague into the community in my attempts to calm The Terrorist.  I put some happy juice in the water.  I'd never used the happy juice before, but found it on my shelf, and served it up to "destress" the fish.  

Well, seven of them aren't stressing anymore!

On the bright side, the plants never looked better.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Silver Liningness Sunday

We woke up this morning to a nice cool overcast day - a rare treat here in summertime!  I enjoyed a nice bike ride, and it was actually a bit foggy in some areas.  I have a bright green top with good visibility that I often wear on these morning rides, but because of the weather, I wore a more subdued windbreaker.  Silver lining?

Bright green tires!

Later, Magnum said I should've also worn my pink shoes, but that combo would probably have been nauseating!

Anyway, lovely ride it was.

I've already documented how, this week, The Manitou Incline became one of my top favorite local adventures.

A thing I've noticed in the afterward is that, on the couple of runs I've done since, hills just don't seem worthy of the title "hill" anymore.

Einstein knew what he was talking about.

In movie news, Magnum and I watched a real goody.  The Intouchables is a French film, based on a true story.  You're laughter tears will mix with your crying tears.  Well, mine did anyways.  Finding a good movie on Netflix anymore is like winning a raffle.

google image - not my hand, not my tablet

I also bumped up my technology score by finally getting a Nexus 7 tablet.

So I've been having fun learning how to use it.  I think it'll come in handy for Operation Back-to-School.

And I've also already introduced Napolion, our latest addition to the menagerie, but here he is again.

Because there just aren't enough photos of cats on the internet.


Saturday, July 27, 2013


This week's Illustration Friday prompt is "jungle".

The closest I've been to a real jungle are the rainforest displays at zoos, and from reading about them in books.  So I was reminded of a book I read several years ago.

"At Play in the Fields of the Lord" involved Christian missionaries in the Amazonian jungle along with another white guy who was supposed to kill the natives.  I remember that I really liked the book, but that's mainly what I remember of the story.

It's quite heavy in that it brings up religion and temptation and defiance and harsh conditions.  A child dies, a mom/wife goes nuts, a hired killer ends up instead joining up with the people he's supposed to kill, then ends up accidentally killing them by spreading his cold virus.

Later, it was made into a movie, which I also saw.  Again, it's been a while, but I remember thinking it was well done, and I liked it.  Kathy Bates was very impressive as the go-nuts mom/wife.

So after all that pondering and recollection of a dark story about the harsh jungle and destructive humans...

...I painted a parrot.

Friday, July 26, 2013

the boy

Magnum met him at a party.

Just a little going away thing with the guys from work.  Pretty soon, the alcohol is getting everyone opening up.  So Magnum starts talking to this guy, and next thing, they're best buds.

"He's a really nice guy", he tells me afterwards.  "Friendly, personable.  Nice looking too, I bet you'd think so!"

Then he describes his physical attributes.  Tall, athletic, young.  But I'm not quite ready to get on board.  We've had a guy join us before, and he was great.  I admit I liked that experience.  Our last one, though, was a sweet attentive girl, and I rather liked the balance of power she brought.

"Well, my friend... she says she's got someone in mind for us", I tell Magnum.  "Another very nice girl, but my friend's new boyfriend just isn't into that lifestyle."

But I had yet to meet my friend's girl.  Magnum had already started the conversation with this guy.  So I ask why he's looking for a different arrangement.

"He's getting into too many fights at his house"

Hmmm.... bad boy, eh?  With that, I agree to meet him.

So last Sunday, we met.  I admit, he is quite appealing, just oozing really.  He knew just the look to give me.  I was like putty after that.

So he's been staying with us now for nearly a week.  He was pretty quiet at first, just mostly kept to himself.  But he's been getting more and more sociable.  I think I've broken through the tough exterior, he's actually quite playful, know what I'm sayin'?  I mean... he can go for hours!

Look at this.  WHO could say "No" to all this??

Napolion.  Yeah, that's his name, no typo.  Nah-POHL-eon.  Say it.  Say it real slowly...


Thursday, July 25, 2013

the end is near

I was out in the wee hours this morning, enjoying a quiet run, when something suddenly broke the quietude.   It sounded like a person shouting.  An adult male person perhaps.

I couldn't make out what he was saying, even though it was quite loud.  I thought he could be calling after a pet that'd wandered off, but he didn't really have the right voice inflection for that.  Then I realized where I'd heard similar noises.  Football.

I was near the high school and realized that the football team must be practicing.  Sure enough, as I passed the practice field, there were blurry blue things (I don't wear my glasses when I run) lined up in rows doing calisthenics.

Earlier this week, I noticed store school supply shelves were fully stocked, and now football practice.  Summer is nearly over!

But it's not over yet.

It's a common thing to look back on a thing when it's over, but Mama Kat got me thinking about looking back now, with the prompt "List your top 6 favorite summer moments so far."   All righty!

I think of a "moment" as something short and fleeting, but these six things are more summer "highlights", in pictures:

1.  Summer started with Denver Comic Con and

2.  a family trip to the mountains.

I spy Deputy Rick Grimes...  See him??

...and the "walkers"?

3.  In more of a silver liningness thing - Chaco's been home all summer.  He almost had a summer job lined up at the university, but it fell through at the last minute.  By then, he'd missed the window to find other employment for just the summer.  He was bummed (thank goodness!), but has made the most of his time off.

That's not to say that he hasn't done his share of sleeping in and playing video games, but he's been doing some school related self-teaching and online learning.  He's also been a big help around the house with yard maintenance, helping with meal prep - as long as it's meat, and as long as it's grilled - and general gophering.

He's also been my bowling tutor.  *ahem*

4.  In a related highlight, Wolfgang is quite gainfully employed this summer.   He's back building Edukits - prepackaged school supplies for lazy parents who don't want to shop.  I can say that because I used to buy them myself!  In elementary school, before I'd built up a good stockpile of supplies to recycle, I'd just buy the dang kits.  They don't cost much more than if I'd bought everything myself.  Anyway, Wolfgang is like a professional shopper, 30 - 40 hours per week.

But, while he's out making all that cash, he's still finding time for fun.  And when he did the Bolder Boulder, he brought home a bunch of freebies including this Tamagear t-shirt he bestowed upon ME.

Okay, it was too small for him and deemed "too girly", but still, he bestowed it!  Upon ME.

(can you tell that family pics are slim pickin's?)

5.  First time up The Incline certainly makes the highlight list.

Chaco was my first choice for Incline partner, but he was less than enthused.  I thought I might ask a neighbor who had expressed an interest in trying it a few years ago and asked me to go with.  At the time, I thought Meego was too young to leave home alone for the time it would take us to "try" it.

I'm glad I convinced Chaco, however.  It was a fun bonding adventure, I thought so anyway.

I told him, "What else you got to do?"  - see highlight #3.

6.  Lastly, we've had a "visitor" all week.  He's a pretty nice guy, but a bit of a night owl.  He seemed kind of shy at first, but I think he's starting to like me.  We've had a few moments.

But more on him later.


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

2,744 steps to go

For years I just never saw the point.  Get in the car and drive somewhere just to walk up a bunch of stairs?  Plus, it was technically illegal, not that anyone really heeded or enforced that fact.

Since The Manitou Incline opened to the public earlier this year, however, maybe it started calling to me.  First, it took one of my children.  Wolfgang did it with some some friends.  Last summer?  I still didn't see the point.   He did it a second time a few weeks ago.

The Incline from Manitou Springs
stretches up like a Caesarean scar in a locker room.
Difficult to not notice.

But lately, as I mentioned, it just seemed to be hovering around me - showing up in hair salon chairs and tutees and vitamin store cashiers, etc.

OKAY, already!  I'll do it, just make the voices STOP!

And y'know?  It was totes fun!!

I somewhat bribed Chaco to come along.  He was still in the What's-the-Point? camp.  But he's easy to bribe:  Breakfast at Village Inn after.

To be honest, I was a bit leery.  I wasn't worried about the cardiovascular challenge since I run and, after nearly 10 years of living here, I'd BETTER be used to the altitude.

Near the trailhead

No, my concerns were that (a) my joints would cry "uncle" at the point of no return, (b) the steepness would prove too much for my acrophobia, or (c) both.

Another concern was Chaco, the computer nerd.  Oh, he gets around on his bicycle, and he has hiked to the top of Pikes Peak while carrying a 58-lb. backpack, but he's not a regular exerciser.  I would go at his pace unless  (a), (b), or (c) from above took me out.

Apollo Ohno did it in 17:45 mins.  Wolfgang did it in 32.  The pregnant lady from the account I read did it in 2 hours, 10 mins.  I figured Chaco and I would be somewhere between Wolfgang and Pregnant Lady.  I was shooting for about an hour.

As soon as we hit the "stairs", Chaco took off like - who does he think he is?  Apollo Ohno?!
But, oh well, I was feeling pretty good and figured I'd meet him at the top.

The middle section gets super steep and the railroad ties don't really resemble stairs so much as they do the aftermath of a logjam.  Hands became involved as it's more of a scrambling for dear life.

But I was still making good steady progress in both the physical department and the don't-freak-out department.  I was just focusing on the ties in front of me when I decided to look up to see where Chaco was at that point.

Lo and behold, he was sitting a couple of ties up from where I was.

"This is really hard", he managed to utter.

I told him he needed to pace himself.   I reminded him that he's not Apollo Ohno.  We took a breather, but I was still feeling pretty good and chomping to keep going.

"I feel like I'm climbing over a huge pile of garbage", was Chaco's assessment of that section of "trail".

Taken from where I'd met Chaco

From that point, Chaco and I stayed together, picking our way up.  There were plenty of other "Incliners" too.  Some other first-timers and a few that had clearly done it before.  Chaco had gotten his second wind, plus he wasn't going to bail out.  No way he'd be outdone by his "little" brother and *shudders* mom.

About two-thirds of the way up, there is a "false peak".  Climbing up to it, it appears to be the summit, but it's just a cruel joke.  Once it's reached, the stairs continue on upward, upward...

Luckily, we knew this.

We pushed onward and upward and were soon to the real summit.

Chaco hydrating at the top

So yeah, good times!  It was a great morning for it.  Starting to get hot, but nothing unbearable.  We both had water bottles strapped with us, and I also wore a daypack, but if I ever do it again, I'm not bringing any baggage other than my emotional kind.

Our time?  Right at 50 minutes.  I feel pretty sure I could've done it without stopping, somewhere in the 40's.

Got eyewear?

The walk back down is 4 miles of  The Barr Trail - the hiking path that eventually summits Pikes Peak.   It's the route of the Pikes Peak Marathon and Pikes Peak Ascent races.  There were a few people running along it.  Chaco and I jog/walked it.  Again... the baggage.

Thank You, Manitou Incline!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Silver Liningness Sunday

For starters, yesterday was Wolfgang's 18th birthday.  He can go buy scratch tickets now.

We celebrated the occasion with a day in the big city (Denver), just shopping, eating...

We got him a (p)ukulele and some cash.  It sounds very Hawaiian around here, but I still don't like pineapple on my pizza.

Several years ago, I became a member of a women's education organization - PEO.  I was very active in the sisterhood while we lived in New York.  Then we moved, Chaco and Wolfgang started school and rec sports, Meego came along.  I got busy with school and sport league volunteering, etc, and pretty much dropped off the PEO radar while remaining a non-resident member of my NY chapter.

Nice thing is, it never goes away, and there are chapters all over the country.  I finally got around to finding some other chapters where we live now and received several invitations to visit.  I visited one chapter this week and had a good time and met some nice sisters.  Like riding a bike.

I plan to eventually transfer to one of the local groups.  I'll visit a few others, and then let them all fight over me.

In movie news, Magnum and I watched Silver Linings Playbook (how appropriate).  We both liked this well-known movie.  Really good performances all around.  Jennifer Lawrence got the Oscar, but Robert De Niro's still got it going on, no?

Meego got some new glasses to never wear, just like his old pair.

A pregnant lady did it HERE

Chaco has agreed to drag me up The Incline this coming week.

I think it'll be fun.  I think.

Saturday, July 20, 2013


In my former life as a manufacturing engineer, I had several robots for co-workers.  They never complained about their pay or their hours.  They never gossiped.  Unless they were sick, they showed up on time for work every day.  Their one desire was to do exactly what we told them to do, for as long as we told them to do it.

When I saw this week's Illustration Friday prompt "Robot", I thought back to those co-workers.  I wonder how many are still there, or how many were downsized or replaced by younger, more attractive robots.

When I "retired", I didn't say good-bye to the robots, nor did they give me any send off.  Never even crossed my mind.  See, none of them had faces.

In fact, none of them even really resembled humans - if anything, they looked like insects.  And none of them audiblized English.

Robots in movies and TV shows usually take on human-like form like C3PO for example.  Even R2D2 "spoke".  And who could forget Rosie from The Jetsons?

My favorite Hollywood Robot, however, is probably Sonny from "I, Robot".  Sonny was just so... sensitive.  And smart.  And expressive.  So emotional.  And likable.

I'm glad I didn't work with him because I'd miss him now.


Friday, July 19, 2013


Reading: I just got back from the library.  I didn't have anything particularly particular in mind, figured I'd just browse and bring home something life changing.  Then Chaco "volunteered" to come with me, and he honed in on his items then hovered like a vulture.  Eventually, I got a fiction and a non-fiction.  If neither are life changing, I'm blaming him.

Exercising:  Today's WOD:  scrub the shower like I mean it

Thinking about: Dinner.  It was suggested that we order pizza.  That seems really appealing.  Not so much the pizza, but the idea of me not cooking anything.

Watching: I'm not really a fan of TV, and Magnum and I watched a bad movie last weekend.  I don't even remember the title.  I did indulge in some Judge Judy while folding laundry.

Wondering:   Why do I like Court TV?

Feeling thankful:  It's been nice and cool around here.  It seems like our weather is the opposite of the rest of the country.  When everyone was flooding, we were hot, dry, and on fire.

Now, the heat wave is in the news, and we're in the 70s.  SEVENties!!

Working on:  Bowling.  Went bowling twice this week.  I'm... not as bad as I was last week.

Loving:  Crystal.  According to my pizza tracker, Crystal is creating our order to perfection.  Perfection!  I love you, Crystal.  You totally go.

From Mama Kat's prompt:
"Currently". A simple list of things you're currently feeling as seen at Sometimes Sweet.


Thursday, July 18, 2013

what goes up

For Comic Con weekend, we stayed in a hotel near the convention center (Comic Con package deal).  It had, I think, forty stories.

That Sunday morning, I got up a bit early and put on some shorts and a t-shirt.  Chaco asked, from his heap on the bed, if I was going to the hotel fitness center.

I'm not really much of a gym girl, and for some reason, I find hotel fitness centers kind of depressing.  I dunno, the strangers in there just have a "lonely traveler" feel about them.  So no, I wasn't headed for the fitness center.

"I'm going to do 'The Incline'", I told him.

"Ahh", he acknowledged, knowing what I was referring to.

I hit the 40-story stairwell.  It was strangely fun, going down it, then up to the top, then back down a few stories.  Before heading back to our room, I did happen to stop by the fitness center just to see the lonely travelers.  Chaco had decided to do "The Incline" too, and then swung by the fitness center shortly after I did.  That's where he bumped into George Takei.  I missed him by that much.  Figures.

ANYWAY, The Incline I'd made reference to is The Manitou Incline - a local hiking attraction.  It's a series of railroad ties that remain from a former railway going up the side of Pikes Peak.  It's just under one mile long and gains over 2000 feet in elevation.

It actually closed to the public in 1990, but nobody really paid much attention to the fact that it was "illegal" to hike it.  Earlier this year, it was converted back to public access.  Criminal climbers no more.

It's extremely popular with outdoor and fitness enthusiasts - both of the visiting and local variety.  Visitors just "hafta" do it, since they're here.  Locals regularly climb it, often trying to get a new PR each time.  Many just like doing it noncompetetively with friends, as a sort of bonding experience.  I suppose that's a better bonding activity than getting drunk and holding each other's hair.

We've lived here for about ten years.  I've never done it.  Just never had the inclination *snort*.  Wolfgang's done it a couple of times with friends and has described it much like I imagine.

"You just keep going up a bunch of stairs, and when you think you're at the top, there's more stairs".
Coming down is a much less steep, but longer, hiking trail.

Lately, The Incline seems to be calling to me.  Getting my haircut last week, a guy in the chair next to me related his setting a new Incline PR that morning.  A student told me of doing it for the first time this summer.  While buying vitamins a few days ago, the cashier remarked that she should get back to taking her vitamins again, how she was better with taking vitamins when she does The Incline regularly.

Then this morning, a friend of mine shared this photo from an Incline hike yesterday.


Even the bears apparently know something I don't.  I might just hafta.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

pumpkin blush?

I have this neighbor.  He's a really friendly guy and a bit of an early bird.  He does carpentry type contract work, so he's often outside in the mornings loading up and getting ready to go to some job.  He also sounds just like Ray Romano.

"You know ya nuts?!", he called to me this morning in his Ray Romano/Manny voice.

I was just back from a run and I acknowledged my nuttiness, although I think running is one of my more sane activities.

"It's a lot easier to get around in a car", his sidekick, who sounds like no celebrity I know of, added, "but I like your pink shoes!"

Ah yes, the shoes.  A little hard to not notice.  I don't really think about their color when I'm running, but I think they do help me wake up in the mornings as I'm putting them on.

They are very pink, brightly so.  It was the only color the store had in my size when I got them.  I rather like the contrasting teal laces.

But really, except for these few weeks during the summer, it's usually too dark out to fully appreciate the loudness of my running shoes.  A local running store was recently curious to know what women thought of the bright color trend in shoes.

I hadn't thought about it much, but I guess I like it.  I remember the days when women's athletic shoes were all white with maybe a touch of pastel pink or baby blue, screaming, "OLD LADY, COMING THROUGH!"

My other shoes in the run rotation are these Brooks, and I don't even know what color they are.

Hot Peach?  Fresh Abrasion?  Burnt Flesh?  Salmonella?  I actually went to the Brooks site, in my extensive research for this post, to see what they call it.  All I got was "613".

Oh well, they're great shoes, but what I really question is the reflectors on top and nowhere else on the shoes.  Seems to me that these reflectors are functional only if the wearer is in the supine position in the road.

I have no plans to be in the supine position in the road.  And it occurs to me that if I did end up horizontal in the road, it's more likely that I would come to rest in the prone position, making these reflectors of little or no use. 

But they're shiny.  Even Magnum took notice when they first showed up in the closet.

So yeah, I guess I like the bright trend.  Maybe they do add a little more energy.  Not necessarily life changing shoes, but I think Cinderella's got dibs on that.  

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Silver Liningness Sunday

Another Sunday, another counting of the good things!

Niece and Sis-in-law
when the strippers showed up?

The week began with our niece's bridal shower and engagement party.  It was nice to see her all happy and to meet Mr. Wonderful.

I'd signed up again this summer for free bowling, and we finally went a couple of times this week.  Meego's getting pretty good.  I'm... bowling too.

I got a much needed haircut this week.  Add some increased humidity to the fact that I was already due for a shearing, and it wasn't pretty.  It's a bit shorter than usual, but really, I was nearly ready to tell the stylist to just give me a G.I. Jane for some relief.  Here are the before and afters:


close enough...

But I am thankful for the humidity, such a treat here in summertime.  We got some decent rains this week.  Unfortunately for the people who live "downstream" from the burn scar, it's an absolute mess with the flash flooding.  It's like a flood of cold thick tar, rushing in from the charred hillside into these people's streets and homes.  The upside is... well... rain.

I already mentioned the fire at "home".  Since that big rain, the updates have dwindled.  It's a no-news-is-good-news mode now.  A photo of the peak yesterday:

Smoke free!

We're trying to be frugal while still enjoying summer break this year.  What with three of us in college now, and me working less hours.  We've had a few game nights.  I've relearned Yahtzee, and last night we Scrabbled.  I won.

Yay me.  It's probably the hair.

Saturday, July 13, 2013


The Twinkies are coming!  I think I've been a bit out of the Twinkie loop.  I just learned today that Twinkies are truckin' and travelin' back to the stores for next week's grand return.

So when I saw that this week's Illustration Friday prompt was "travel", naturally, I thought of the traveling Twinkies.  Actually, I didn't.

But then I read where some stores were getting early truckloads of Twinkies.  They include stores in Colorado and 3 or 4 other states that don't really matter because those other states don't have legalized pot.

Happy trails.

(If the drawing looks blurry, know that I blurred it a bit on purpose... the pot thing...)

Friday, July 12, 2013

this post may self destruct in five seconds

Anita notes:
"see Guano checking in often... your mention of the other brother makes me curious about him."

Not the first time that's happened.  Surely, I've mentioned oldest brother Hagrid here before, though, since he's got the blog name and all.

Even these days, I'll be talking with someone I went through school with and I'll mention Hagrid, and they'll be all, "What?  I didn't know you had another brother!"  Hagrid probably gets the same from his classmates, "What?  You have a little brother and sister?!"

Brother Guano is two years older than I am.  Brother Hagrid is fifteen years older than I am.  For thirteen years, Hagrid was an only child.  It's like my parents did a "Round 2" with Guano and me.

I hardly remember the time when Hagrid lived at home with us.  He left for college right after graduating high school, and so I mainly remember him coming home on breaks or us going to visit him when I was a kid.

I need to mention first off that Hagrid is a scientist for the gubberment.  As such, photos of him aren't allowed on social sites.  Nevertheless, I present here, brother Hagrid:

Okay, I hear what you're thinking!  "Abby's full of crap - saying her brother is this secret government guy, then posts a supposed pic of him all 007!"

But really!  It's him!  So happens he got married recently, so this is a most recent pic.  The nuptials explain the tuxedo in the woods, he's not normally so James Bond.

My sister-in-law happily shared a few nice photos of the wedding online, none of which included the groom.  In her words,

"That's what I get for marrying Mr. Get Smart."

When I was a kid, brother Hagrid was always a bit of an idol for me.  I have shadowy memories of his room, but one thing I clearly remember was his radio equipment.  He had a ham radio setup at home, long long long before the internet.   I knew not to touch any of it - no doubt that had been drilled into me from infancy - but I remember his desk just covered.  Later he told me he'd communicated with people as far away as Japan.

There was a radio antenna that towered over our 2-story house. I remember Hagrid disassembling it, climbing to the top and removing piece by piece until there was nothing left but the base.  The base is still in the backyard.  My mom put a big planter on it.

Then he had that cool government scientist job.  What wasn't to idolize?

Here's another rare photo from the archives from when we were kids that highlights the age difference a bit more.

Hagrid was 20 years old here.  Brother Guano and I were... not.

As you can see, Hagrid's appearance hasn't changed all that much.  Hopefully my hair has.

Nowadays, the age difference seems to have shrunken considerably.  He's my big brother, but I've never known him as a kid like I have Guano.  Sometimes I look at old photos or my parents will relate some story from when they were young parents with baby Hagrid on the other side of the world.  Was that really the same family I know?  Yes and no.

So that's brother Hagrid.

Much more and I'd have to shoot ya.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

windows for the soul

"Hmmmm, I wish I could think of her last name...", she said, looking upwards trying to remember.

I was talking with a woman at my niece's shower last weekend.  Somewhere in there, I'd mentioned my hometown, and she said she had a coworker from there.

"She's got a huge family and goes down there every now and then to check on her 90-year-old father, who lives on his own".

I told her I probably knew SOMEONE in the family.  It's a small town with huge families.  Her 90-year-old father living on his own is also pretty common.

My  parents live in the same house they've lived in since I was about two years old.  It's too big, too old, and has too many creaky stairs and tight corners for them, to state my opinion.  But they have no intention of moving, and I've long ago given up on offering daughterly advice.   It's just the way things are done down there.  The exception is, my parents don't have the huge extended family.  It's just my two brothers and me and our little extensions.  None of us live there.

So when the hometown mountain caught on fire, I was sad for "our mountain, our landmark!", but mostly pensive about Mom and Dad.  What if there were evacuations?  What if the air gets really smoky?  Having had my fair share of fallout from nearby wildfires, I really didn't want them to have to go through any of that.

I talked to my parents who felt little concern about the whole thing, and I didn't want to stir up any panic.  But in the back of my mind I was thinking, where would I take them in case of evacuation?  Make sure we get all of Mom's meds.  What else??

Yesterday, I watched for updates on the fire, dubbed "The Pipeline Fire" since it was close to a natural gas line (oh greeeeaaaaaat...).  Then some dark clouds moved in, and we were absolutely deluged with rain.  Typical summer afternoon storm of dumping buckets for about 10 minutes followed by clear skies and sun.   Major flooding of thick black mud here from the burn scar, but that's another story.  The main thing I wondered, did hometown get any of this?

A facebuuk friend who was feeding updates to us nonresidents  supplied this series of photos.




She told of how a rainstorm moved in, and how the heaviest of it was parked right on top of Fisher's Peak.   What a beautiful sight!

I've learned enough to know that the fire is not "out".  They can lay down and smolder only to reignite later when the perfect breeze comes by.  Firefighting crews are still working round the clock.  But still, that rain...

Most of the families in town are long time Catholics, and I know there was much Rosary rubbin' going on.  I also heard about a lot of them washing their windows.  Seems to be a pretty good combination.

For Mama Kat's weekly writing prompt:
"Your favorite summer view so far"


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

we never even knew his name

I got some new students this week.  They all seemed pretty friendly.  Bright.  According to their transcripts, they should get along fine with the other already established students.

After a while, though, I don't know, there was a shift in the dynamics.  Unspoken rivalries became apparent.  There was bullying going on.  As much as I hate bullying, I waited, thinking things would settle down once everyone sort of figured out his or her place in the hierarchy, such as it was.

I even gave them some refreshments, laced with calming ingredients.  Certainly, that would mellow everyone out.  I waited some more.  Nope, clearly one newbie was bound and determined to be the class jerk.  And strangely, while he picked on everyone, he was most vicious toward the lesbians.  What's up with that?  The lesbians don't bother anyone and are the mellowest of the bunch.

I pulled him aside and told him we don't do that in my school.  I had him go sit by himself and think about how his actions were affecting the others.  I also kept an eye on the others because, sometimes when I've done this in the past, another will emerge and take the place of the class jerk.

But that didn't happen.  It was pretty clear that the others were glad the bully was gone for the time being.  I watched a little longer to see if any of them had picked up his bad behaviors, but they all continued to get along quite swimmingly.

After consulting with the administration, it was decided that the bully would be expelled.  He had been given plenty of chances, but was just not going to fit in here.  I went to give him a talking to.  I had the unenviable job of making him aware of our decision.

Naturally, he was not happy.  But it was clear that he could not be reformed.  There was no remorse, he only became all the more belligerent.  I almost hate to admit it, but I wasn't all that sad to hand him his sentencing.

We donated the body to science.

Rest in Peace, Buttfish.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

the bear at the college is getting less press

There are probably more paintings and other depictions of it than there are residents of the town.  I've never had the desire to paint it, but I've never climbed to the top and would like to.

Fisher's Peak is such a visual symbol of my hometown.  I think even moreso than Pikes Peak is of my current home.

Fisher's Peak watching over Sex Change Town

Guano and what's-his-face

Brother Guano climbed it back in the 80's.


There was a small fire on "The Peak" a couple of week's ago, but the fire crews took care of it pretty quickly among many sighs of relief.

And then today...

It looks like this.

Images and news reports began popping up on my facebuuk page.  How did we know anything before facebuuk?  

So yeah, it's on fire again.  This time bigger than last time.  We had some friendly clouds here that didn't leave us any rain, and then moved south.  I hope they move about 150 miles south, invite all their friends, and have a big old rain party.  

Home fires burning?  No thanks.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Silver Liningness Sunday

I'm a bit confused on the days because of the holiday.  Seems like we've had a series of Saturdays.  I'm  not complaining.  So this was a fun, summer-like week.  It was nice having some extra play and relax time.

I'm glad that it's July.  This is the time of year when our "monsoon season" typically begins, meaning afternoon rains, or at least some clouds, on most days.  Junes have historically been unpredictable and unfriendly.

Wolfgang did manage to find the key to the Civic.  It actually was in the trash dumpster.  He was retracing his steps, and he remembered throwing away a bbq potato chip bag when he got out of the car.  Tossed the key in there too.  *LOUD SIGH*.

But alas, the cat is still at large.  We're thinking she probably has other people feeding her.  During her time with us, we tried to help her slim down by feeding her portion controlled indoor food meals.  No people food.  Yet all this time, she remained a big girl.

Her chub was actually part of her cuteness, but at the same time, we didn't want her keeling over from stroke/diabetes/etc.  We're betting she's made an entire buffet of the neighborhood.  It's still strange to have not seen her for three weeks, though...

Had a nice time at my niece's shower yesterday.  I remember when she was just a wee babe *sniff*.  Magnum asked what we do at a bridal shower.

"We mingle, eat, watch her open gifts, then the strippers show up and we get out our ones"

Let him ponder.

I just had a lovely bike ride, then bought some lemonade from the little girl down the street and chatted with some neighbors.  We used to have block parties on the 4th of July, but of the three families that used to do the bulk of the planning, one moved, another divorced, and the third probably decided they didn't want to hassle with it.  Still, it's nice to have some downtime to visit with our streetmates.

Now, off to round two of wedding party weekend.  Better load up on ones.

Saturday, July 6, 2013


This week, a quickie.  I went to a bridal shower earlier today for my niece - Magnum's sister's daughter.  Came home in time to get an Illustration Friday fix for the prompt "protest".

So I did this pencil sketch of a Guy Fawkes mask, popularized as a symbol of protest in the freedom fighter movie, V for Vendetta.  Didja see it?  The movie?

It was a dark, heavy, but good movie (IMO) based on a graphic novel.

I had fun drawing this smiley face of freedom, but it seemed quite a contrast from my activities earlier in the day that were all bright, flowery, lovey dovey.

I have no protest against bright flowery lovey dovey.

Friday, July 5, 2013

O' Kathy!

In the summer of 1893, Katherine Lee Bates traveled to the top of Pikes Peak (via wagon and mule, not foot, but we don't knock her for it).  She was a bit wiped out and probably oxygen deprived when she looked out at the view and was joyously inspired to pen the words to "America the Beautiful".

So it seems only proper that our fair city should pay some sort of homage to Miss Bates.  I suppose it was this reason that the powers that be decided to change the name of one of our parks to "America the Beautiful Park" a few years ago.

I've never really liked that name.  It's just so LONG.  Migosh, eight syllables, such a mouthful!  I would prefer something more like "Kathy Bates Park", but no one asked me.

Anyways, yesterday was the Fourth of July,  and I hope my blog friends enjoyed theirs whether it was a holiday or just another Thursday.  For us, it was the second quietest Independence Day I remember.  I heard one firecracker.

All fireworks are banned, but in past years, most ignored that rule.  But last year, after the fire, there was not a peep, and this year, we are again still feeling the affects of wild fire.  Who lit that firecracker?!?!

My law abiding family and I decided to go for a bike ride.  Our destination?  America the Beautiful Park.  Seemed a fitting ride for the holiday.

It was a lovely day, just a little hot, but the pedaling provided a bit of a breeze.  I donned the helmet cam and then condensed our ~15-mile ride into a 3-minute video.  I fought with the video editor while creating it, but finally won the battle.  For that at least, I hope readers will come along for the ride.

There is one feature of America the Beautiful Park that makes it a popular place to be this time of year.  It's in the video.  Prizes to whomever finds it (it's very obvious - I just want to create suspense).


Wednesday, July 3, 2013


Okay, I've gotta do it.  I'm going to pull a Wednesday Wobbly.  Two wobblies, really, but one is clearly larger than the other.

So first, the big one.

Kat the cat's gone missing.

She went missing on Black Forest Fire Friday - during the time that an ark full of animals were lost, and shelter's and the like were on overdrive.  That was two and a half weeks ago.  She went out like usual and just never came back.  I'd hoped she would show up in a day or so, but it's just not like her to be gone for extended periods of time.  Typically she'd just go play outside for a couple of hours at most.

I've been checking the "found cats" page at the local humane society.  Meego and I went there on Monday to check out a couple of possibilities, but none were our Kat.

My fear is that a coyote got her.  She was an outdoor savvy cat, but the coyotes are pretty stealth and have been quite active lately.  *SIGH*

Naturally, we all miss her soft, chubby sweetness.

The second is more of an inconvenience than anything.  The key to the Civic has gone missing.

Wolfgang carpools to his job with a couple of friends.  He drove on Monday, and on Tuesday, we couldn't find the key anywhere.  Magnum has one he keeps on his keychain, and we had a second "community" key that is on a hook in the kitchen.  But now it's not.

We literally tore their bedroom apart looking for it.  Don't get me started on the state of the bedroom, or we'll be in for a loooooong Wobbly.  At least the room is more organized now, but still no key.  Wolfgang is about to dig in the trash dumpster as a last resort, just waiting for neighbors to go in so as to not be seen digging through the trash dumpster.

Our policy of  you-break-it-you-bought-it applies for lost things too, so he's willing to dig through the trash if it means he doesn't have to fork out cash for a new key.

But we'd all sleep in the dumpster if it brought the cat back.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Avogadro day is coming!

There's a smidgen of a light scar on my left forearm.  It's the site where a mole once lived.  Several years ago, about the time Wolfgang was born, the mole had noticeably grown and changed in color.  I asked my obstetrician about it, and she in turn sent me to a dermatologist, who in turn removed the mole.

It was a quick and tidy process, much like uncorking a wine bottle, except I'd say that uncorking a wine bottle takes longer.

I'd also asked about another mole that had grown and changed in color.  That one was on my nose.  My obstetrician told me that moles on the face are removed by plastic surgeons rather than dermatologists.  I never followed up on that, but was reminded of it when I read Anita's latest blog post.

My nose mole is still there.  I don't think about it much, but it has evolved over time.  Some of that, I suspect, is because my nose has "evolved".  The mole used to be smaller and darker.  Now, it's larger, but very light in color.

And I'm not really concerned about it anymore.  If it was going to kill me, I'm thinking it would've done so by now.

Anita's post reminded me of the nose mole and cosmetic surgery in general.   I would go under the knife if I felt the mole was a threat.  Genetically, I'm at low risk for skin cancer, but geographically, I'm at high risk.  But I'm much better at protecting my skin these days than I was when I was younger.  Like I said, the mole hasn't killed me yet, it's probably not going to.

I think cosmetic surgery is a good thing in the cases of reconstruction after mastectomies or severe burns, etc.  In general, however, it's not for me, but I don't have a problem with others who feel they "need" it.  I, for one, like a bit of "imperfection" in a person's appearance.  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and all that.

And besides, aren't facial moles referred to as "beauty marks"?


Even those on the nose?

Screw it, I think I'm still keeping it.  I don't feel like having my nose uncorked.