Thursday, January 30, 2014

warm fuzzies

It's snowing in Georgia, but we're warm here!  About as warm as Georgia!

No problem though, because Clyde, the university mascot (Mountain Lions... rawr) was wandering around campus giving free SuperBowl hugs yesterday.

I didn't get one.  *waaaah*

But Wolfgang made the movie!  In fact, the only reason I noticed it was because Wolfgang made the screen shot of the movie:

Post by UCCS.

Anyway, it's good to know that the family is represented in these promo videos, after the load of tuition I dropped off earlier this week.

I notice that Clyde was mainly hugging the youngsters.  What are us old "non-traditionals"?  Chopped liver?  Hmmm, actually, a mountain lion would probably like some chopped liver...

And that Manning jersey.  Clyde could probably get a couple hundred bucks for it this week.  Next week?  Remains to be seen.

Who are you rooting for?  Do you care?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

and just like that...

...he's gone.  Gone!  Just disappeared into thin... water!

My plecostomus, Jansen.  He's swum the coop!

First, a little background:  A few months ago, the mysterious apocalarium happened.  Recall that I introduced a few new fish into the fold, and then one.  by.  one.  all but one of the previously residing tankmates went on to fish heaven in the course of about a week.  This left just two newbies and one strangely hardy old timer.  This also coincided with a strange flourish of plant health.

I studied up, made a few adjustments, and slowly brought the tank back to a state of, I think,  normal existence.  Since my previous plecostomus, Hot Lips, died in the apocalypse, a noticeable algae problem came about in his absence.

So I went ahead and brought in Jansen.  And Jansen went right to work, cleaning up like nobody's business.  He also managed to stay alive.  For quite a while, actually.

A week ago or so, I noticed my sunken temple, among other things,  was becoming quite green with algae.  Jansen was usually pretty good about cleaning my sunken temple, so what was up with all this algae?

Devil Fish of Algae Town

I've been looking for Jansen ever since.  There is absolutely no trace of him whatsoever.  No carcass, no nothing.  Just lots of algae.  And mystery.  I think it's the Devil Fish of (now) Algae Town.  They've done something with Jansen.

In the meantime...

If anyone's seen him or his  *GULP*  remains, please lemme know.  We need closure.


Sunday, January 26, 2014

Silver Liningness Sunday

Greetings on this fine sunny Sunday.  Funny how we appreciate the sun so much in late January but run from it in July!  Even so, we did get a pretty snowstorm mid-week, and that's a good thing as it brought some needed precipitation.

photo credit

And I understand the mountains have plenty of snow for skiers and the all important spring runoff!

It's been a nice week.  I'm glad to be back to some sort of schedule with school starting back up again and all.  I like my classes and teachers (so far!).

I also attended a P.E.O. meeting this week in my quest to get affiliated with a local chapter of choice.  Good group of sisters there.  I'm still officially a New York P.E.O. - that's how long it's been!  Enough playing the field,  I expect to be off the Colorado market soon.

There's plenty of  Bronco hype in the air.  Honestly, I have just a passing interest in anything NFL, but it's good for stores that sell Bronco gear.  And the commentary around the big game has been fun.


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

boot up

School finally started this week.  Was that a long break Or WHAT?!  I was seriously afraid I'd lose the momentum I had before Christmas and need to rejuvenate everything, like I'd been out for 25 years again.

It was almost like that.

But really not so bad.  Being part-time helps, and I just have 3 classes again, although I'm in school every day.  At least it's not ALL day.

I've had one math class, which was a joyful review rather than a spooky jump into new stuff.  I've also had one of my teacher classes - sort of a psychology class.  I think it will be fun and interesting.  There are a lot of familiar faces in there (none in math!), and also some new faces.

In the psychology class, we had to interview one of the others and then introduce them to the class.  I learned a few new things about people I thought I knew pretty well.

Mike is a trampoline gymnast?  Jenny's a three-time cancer survivor?!  Young Sean has FIVE kids?!?

The class I have yet to begin is more of a teaching philosophy/history class.  It meets once a week for two-and-a-half hours.  Say it:  "TWO-AND-A-HALF-HOURS".  Hear an echo?  Okay... I can do this...

Of course the commute is lovely.  It's always been an enjoyable enough bicycle commute:  not too far and relatively flat.  But although I was riding my bike and had the wind in my hair, the bugs in my teeth, etc., it still felt like a bit of a rat race getting to and from.

Now that I'm on the bike path, it's like a calming meditation before and after school.  Of course, there's snow in tonight's forecast and tomorrow's high is predicted to be *brrrrr* 20.  I think the only zen that will bring is FRO-zen!


Monday, January 20, 2014

it's his fault for not even knowing what he owns

Text exchange with Meego earlier today....

My phone - texts read from bottom to top:



Sunday, January 19, 2014

Silver Liningness Sunday

Another sunny, warm day here, I'll take it.  It was nice to frolic in the park yesterday, and to see kids and their parents playing outside.  I'm afraid we're going to forget how to cope when the weather turns wintry again!

But in the meantime, we'll take advantage.  Today I had the bittersweet task of helping Wolfgang get moved back into his dorm.  Winter semester starts this coming week.  I'm grateful he's enjoying college and doing well, both socially and academically.

After he'd loaded the van up, we pulled out of our neighborhood, and there was no traffic in sight!  I think there was some big football game going on nearby or something...

Speaking of nice weather and traffic, I got Alice all registered for school this week.  This time of year is usually Bella's time to shine, but it's been so mild lately, that I thought I'd better get a sticker for Alice.  That probably jinxed the weather right there.  I also got her some ding-a-ling bling.  See it?

In other commuter news, I discovered a shortcut to the lovely bike path this week when I was looking for bicycling directions on google maps.  

I don't know how long the access shortcut's been there, but it allows me to avoid riding in traffic all the way to school.  My old route uses a bike lane along a regular road for about half the commute, and when it snows, the bike lane becomes the holding spot for all of the road vomit, making bicycling there pretty unavailable.  

So this was a wonderful discovery!  I can totally avoid that stretch and take the lovely bicycling path.  I've never been so grateful for such a patch of asphalt before.  Thank you, City of Colorado Springs Parks and Rec!

So this week, it's back to the books.  I'm half looking forward to it and half cringing.  I'm looking forward to seeing my classmates again, and I think this next round of classes will be interesting.  

To be honest, last semester was kind of lame as far as my teacher classes went.  But I gave the program the benefit of the doubt as those classes were the "weeder" classes, and I'm glad to have them behind me.  Now the more interesting stuff should begin.  

It was a nice break.  Great to have time with all of the kids home and to reflect on my goals for the coming year.  

Saturday, January 18, 2014


Years ago, when I was in Jr. College, I took a drawing class, recommended by my buddy Doug, to break up the monotony of our technical majors.  It turned out to be great fun, and I have fond memories of our class and classmates.

It was "Basic Drawing and Painting" and it included life drawing.  Life drawing is typically done with live nude models.  We were just a Jr. College, so we had live clothed models.  Actually, I don't know why they weren't nude, but it was a small town where everybody knew everybody else, so it's probably best that they had their clothes on.

The point of drawing live nude models is to practice and learn anatomy and proper proportions.  It helps if the models are naked without all that pesky clothing getting in the way of proper proportions, but we made do.

I remember our instructor.  He was an oldish guy - about the same age as my dad.  He'd never been married and was a bit eccentric as art teachers stereotypically tend to be.  He was extremely observant and very knowledgeable of many of the technical aspects of art.  I learned a surprising amount in that class, which I thought would just be a fun and easy "A".

I decided that, this week, I would take advantage of my school break to revisit Illustration Friday activity.  The prompt is "Beginning", so I wanted an action shot and decided to see if I still had any anatomy drawing skills.

I thought I'd draw a tennis player winding up to serve to "begin" (get it!) a point.  Then I looked for references and ended up using a pic of Michael Chang.  I don't think he's actually serving in my reference photo, but one does not simply draw Michael Chang without including his great legs.

I never finished the drawing - never got past "beginning" (get it!) because it was such a nice day today, that we went to America The Beautiful Park.  Remember America The Beautiful Park from the Abby Cam?  It's a nice local park that we like, although we're not to fancy on the name America The Beautiful Park.

Anyway, we went to America The Beautiful Park and I never finished my Beginning, and  that's the way this post will end.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

a few of my favorite things

"You wanna get something else?", she asked

I looked around in no particular direction for a moment.  "Mmmm... nah", I responded.

"A snack?  A drink?", she offered

I pondered for a second. "Mmmm... nah", I concluded.

I have one of those store memberships that gives reward bucks for purchases made.  I went to the store this morning to cash in on my latest reward, a result of Christmas shopping.  Turned out that my purchase was less than the amount of my reward.

The cashier confirmed that I could use the reward coupon, but I couldn't get change back, then we had the above exchange.  There just wasn't anything else there that I wanted.  And, if you must know, I was at a sporting goods store getting insoles for my walking shoes.  I only had about two dollars "extra".

I'm not really a "things" person - minimalist, remember?  So when I saw Mama Kat's prompt

3.) Five of your current favorite things.

I kind of struggled to come up with five things.  That's after ruling out people, of course, and  non-physical things like "health" or "peace of mind", etc...

But, by George, I came up with some stuff!

First of all, there's Bella bicycle:

Hot Hot Hot!

"Why Bella?",  you may be asking.  After all, I have two three bicycles.  While newbie Alice is a lean, mean, speedy machine, and playful Tessa is oh so zippy in her green tires, Bella goes just about anywhere I ask her to go.  Places where I would have to portage Alice or Tessa.

I'm not really a joyride bicyclist, but more of a get-sh*t-done bicyclist.  Bella gets it done.

Next, there's the gadgetry:

Okay, it's really three things lumped together as "gadgetry", so it counts as one.  There's my iPod nano that I finally got around to getting last year.  Music is food for the soul.  Then there's my Nexus 7 tablet.  Yeah, I could live without it, but it does SO much while being SO portable.  Lastly, my dumb phone.  I remember the time I went a-tuting and left it at home.  I was like an astronaut floating in space with no contact with the Mother Ship.  

And yes, I know I could combine these three things into one device, but not without compromise.  Now I like having them in their three separate forms (but they still count as one "thing" for this post!)

Nextly, some toys:

You know those weird emo kids with the asymmetric hairdos and eyeliner and sketchpads?  On the inside,  I'm one of those, only happy.  On the outside, I'm a math teacher, but I'm more like an art teacher that teaches math.   Without the marijuana.  

Then there's the various unguents:

Especially this time of year, I need my lip balms and salves.  That dark labeled one on the bottom?  I got that after spinning a wheel at a booth at the recent Turkey Trot.  There were other prizes, but I WANTED that lip balm, Baby!  WIN!

Okay, there's my five things.  Except it's kinda four things.  

It's my day to leave the extra behind.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

lights over Mouse Town

They're here.  Have you seen them?

It mainly started over this past weekend.  Magnum and I were out taking China for her beauty walks and noticed more traffic on the trails and pathways.  Unfamiliar faces.

The Resolutionists.

This morning, I was out for a run in the dark and Mouse Town  was lit UP!  Kinda like this:

Okay, maybe they weren't quite that packed it, but considering that I hardly ever see any other humans in Mouse Town at that hour, the presence of all those headlamps was notable.  

Personally, I never wear a headlamp when just traipsing around town, even in Mouse Town (patch of undeveloped preserve in the middle of the suburbs where endangered mice happily live) .  There's usually enough light pollution to get me through, and I'm  not wearing glasses anyway so...  In fact, about the only times I've seen headlamps while running around the suburbs have been during the resolution month of January.  

So there they were, and other people were out along my route too.  Some headlamped, some not, some with pooches, some not.  I wonder what the dogs think of being part of their masters' resolutions.  Paws up or down?  

As for me, my resolutions are

  • Be in bed by a decent hour each night - at least on weeknights.
  • Get hitched up with a local P.E.O. chapter

Uhm... that's pretty much it.  

So far so good (at least I'm thinking about it) on the first one.  Nearly at the honeymoon stage with the second one, so yeah.

And a (53 years old and fast) woman I met at the Rescue Run coaxed me into joining the local running organization, if for nothing else, the discounts at local stores.  Two pairs of shoes would "pay" for my annual dues.  

I got my membership card in the mail last week.  My name is spelled wrong.  


Sunday, January 12, 2014

Silver Liningness Sunday

Whew, I'm a little late with the silver liningness post this week.  I've been "travelling".

Who can even guess what we got him?

But first, top billing this week goes to Chaco.

Today's his birthday, so Mother's Day in January for me.  We've had a nice weekend.

And Napolion is thrilled with "his gift".

So today was pretty much filled.  Meego returned to school this week, and Magnum back to the office, so it's starting to feel a little like back in the groove, which is a good thing.  

I managed a quick visit with Top Secret brother Hagrid and his wife this week too.  No photos, or else I'd have to kill ya.  

I see the Broncos won today, so the orange hype will continue for at least another week.  Looks like I picked the wrong year to retire from being a crossing guard, that orange vest would be in high fashion.  

We were rebels and, instead of watching the game, we went to see The Hobbit in 3D at the IMAX theater.  Yee - EESH, I'm still coming down from my travels to Middle Earth.  Good movie, I liked it better than the first, but I saw that one on our 2D very non-IMAX television, so it's not really a fair fight.  

And now... the laundry.


Thursday, January 9, 2014

well... today anyways

How about that Polar Vortex, eh?

School's closing, thermometer's bottoming out, employees getting days off.  I purposely haven't ragged on the weather this week, but Mama Kat gave the prompt:

5.) Show us what winter looks like in your neck of the woods!

So here it is, but FIRST, lemme just say to my friends in the the outer climes, I'm SORRY!!

Okay, we actually DID get sucked into the polar vortex.  FOR TWO DAYS.
And then it got all nice!

I had to run a couple of errands today, so I took a few pics to answer the prompt:

It wasn't all that nice, however.  I had to take the buxom Bella bicycle  instead of speedy Alice bicycle, as there was some old snow laying around trying to melt.  Waah.

And the sky wasn't totally cloudless

And this guy walking his dogs had to wear a windbreaker!

Then this Chinook helicopter came by to rescue me from the ice!  (and point out the splotch on my camera lens?)

...except there really wasn't much ice.

Because it was close to 50 flippin'  degrees.


I did say I was sorry!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

six minutes

I did one of them Draw-My-Life videos...

You saw it here first.


Sunday, January 5, 2014

Silver Liningness Sunday

Turned a page on the calendar this week... and there was nothing behind it!  Happy New Year!

A lovely week it was.  Of course, there's that new bicycle.  Alice and I spent about 30 lovely righteous miles together before the snow came in and spoiled our fun.  Tessa seems okay with the new roommate (NOT).  I dropped her off at the spa to hopefully ease her pain.  Little does she know that it's, in part, a ploy to get her ready for someone else?

We have an AdAmAn Club that climbs Pikes Peak every year and sets off fireworks from the summit at the stroke of midnight on New Year's eve.  It's a wonderful tradition, and the task of climbing the peak in the middle of winter is no small feat.

This year, as I mentioned, New Year's eve was a pretty clear and mild night.  That's not to say there weren't typically brutal conditions at the top of the peak, but the views of the fireworks were the best I can remember since we moved here.  Really a spectacular site while running down the street like  a weirdo at midnight

And speaking of New Year's Eve, our microwave up and died showing no signs of life whatsoever despite our attempts at resuscitation.  The silver lining to that is, next morning, it was ready for action.  Whaat?  Oh well, apparently we have the Lazarus edition of that particular microwave.

The Rescue Run was a good time, and I'm glad of that holiday tradition too, since I rarely enter races.  Proceeds go to the county Search and Rescue, so certainly a good cause and I met some fun people.

In movie news, Magnum and I watched Coyote, and I think I actually liked it despite disagreeing with the ignorant main characters.  But I like independent films, and this one has a short indie film feel even though it's over an hour and a half long.  Acting is bad, but the story held my attention.  It was categorized as a comedy, but it's really suspenseful and dramatic.

And back to "How Colorado Rolls", some may have noticed that retail sales of recreational marijuana started this week.  Sheesh!  The lines!  People stood for HOURS just to buy some weed.  Don't they know that they can just go out to the walking path out back and find some high school kid and...

... I think I'll stop typing now.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

right from the get go

First of all, for Mrs. Cranky Pants (and for "selfie" being The Word for 2013):



Yes, that's a tattoo on my right arm.  I explained its conception a bit [here].

As I recall, the tattoo actually came into existence in January of 2010, don't remember the specific day.  But I guess it seemed like a good time for a renewal, or reawakening, or such.  I'm pretty sure, though, that I didn't make a New Year's Resolution to get tattooed.

And no, it didn't really hurt much.  I guess the upper arm isn't all that sensitive.  The tattoo rule of thumb is, "the better it feels to be kissed there, the more it hurts to be tattooed there", so go ahead and think about that...

One thing I DO remember about that day, however, was swinging by the local Walfarts on the way home to pick up the specific lotion my tattoo guy recommended for proper tattoo healage.

As I was pulling into the parking lot, I saw a bunch of police cars near one of the entrances.  During my drive over there, the radio announcer said that there was something going down at that particular Walfarts, and he'd fill us in as more details came in.

So there I was, fresh on the scene.  Apparently, what happened was some crazy walfart shopper set off the stolen-stuff alarm when he was exiting the store.  When he was confronted by the elderly greeter, he whipped out a gun *GASP* and actually fired a round into the ceiling *GEEZ!*

So I'm learning all of this as I'm pulling into the parking lot, fresh from the tattoo studio.  I'm all stay-at-home-mom from white collar suburbia still getting used to the idea that I even HAVE a tattoo guy, still fresh from the tattoo place, that things go all La Vida Loca!

It's been a wild ride ever since too.  Except when it hasn't.


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Hello 2014!

I'll admit, I'm a little sad to see 2013 go.  I remember last year at this time when I was all giddy because 13 is my favorite number.  But it was a good year overall, and now off it goes into the sunset.

We did manage our traditional Midnight Mile last night.  Wolfgang is nursing a sore foot and didn't think he should run, so he very sadly went to a party.  But the rest of us were up for it.  It was a relatively balmy 30 degrees.  I suggested we go topless (within reason) to make it more extreme, but that idea was met with little enthusiasm.

We agreed on shorts and short sleeves.

No rules limiting hats and/or gloves however.

Even so, it was quite mild, and we all agreed afterwards that topless would've been very doable, although a bit unattractive...

I managed to catch a few zzz's before the alarm summoned me to get my butt to the start of the annual New Year's Rescue Run 10k.  It was still in the 30's, but the yuck wind had come for a visit.

As expected because of the mild weather, there was a pretty good crowd.  I lined up with the rest of the revelers, and soon we were off.  The course is very hilly, with a steep beyotch of a hill shortly after the start.  This hill served to weed out a few of the pack, and by the time I thankfully got to the top, I didn't feel so crammed in.

The remainder of the race was pretty comfortable and those hills rewarded us with beautiful views of the city and beyond to the east and the mountains to the west, but we continued to be battered by a cold north wind.  Since it's an out-and-back-loop, eventually those nasty hills became friendly downhills and the headwinds became tailwinds.

When I ran this race for the first time last year, it was fairly icy and so the downhills didn't help a whole lot.  This morning, without the ice, I tried to take better advantage.  I seem to have learned to fall downhill quite well while appearing to be running.

As I  neared the finish, I noticed bystanders cheering me on as if there weren't too many women in front of me.   In the end, I took 5th overall for the ladies and 1st for the old ladies.  Wheee!  Official time of 47:08, which I was happy with as my goal was to be sub-50.

I received a gift card to a local seafood restaurant and this lovely gold medal.  I'm sure it's real solid gold.

Happy New Year!

5.) How did you bring in the New Year?