Tuesday, September 30, 2014

love nesting

I've been away for a few days doing an assignment for school on the design and production of high-end washing machines.  Sheesh, as if I don't have enough washwomanery in my life!

But it's all done, crisp and clean, so I dropped over here to the blog and... look at all the updates on my bloglist!  Oh, I must get to reading something other than moldy door seals!

Meego and I went to the nursery over the weekend so he could do a little landscaping refurb on the toad vivarium.  He wanted some more ground cover for them other than the moist soil they usually do their thing on.  And "their thing" is pretty much toad sex.

Have I mentioned that we don't know the sex of any of the toads?  We've sort of deduced that they're all guys, though.  At first, we just watched to see who took which position in doing "their thing", and they all ended up interchanging.  Okay, nothing wrong with that.  It's still possible that they're all girls, or some mixture.

But I digress, this is about the landscaping.  Meego ended up getting this little Blue Star Creeper plant.  I'd like to put some in our neglected backyard, but we'll test it on the small scale for now.

Here it is, freshly rooted in the upper left corner:

The toad threesome hung out in a tote during the extensive yardwork

The tote proved to be a total mood breaker.

But once they were back in their natural environs, they seem to really like the new plant.  Broke it in in no time!

So, let's play "I Spy".  Can you find him/her?

Who can resist these bedroom eyes?


Sunday, September 28, 2014

Silver Liningness Sunday

Greetings and salutations on this final Sunday of September.  We've been enjoying a lovely start to fall, that doesn't really feel like fall just yet.

This was a good and productive week.  My tutoring calendar has cleared somewhat, and it's nice to have that breathing room.  Another couple of weeks and it will clear even more, settling into a gentle schedule of "just enough".

This time of year, the deer start getting more active - looking to score.  So they move around more than usual and have been popping up in several areas.  It always makes me wonder where they are the rest of the year?

A friend of mine got this shot near her house:

SOURCE:  Abby's friend

Last night, Magnum and I were out walking China after dark when we came upon a good-looking buck behind our house.  A few steps later was another larger buck.  They both just looked at us curiously while China planned her escape.  I wondered where Cat Napolion was.  He's taken out quite a bit of the bunny and gopher populations.  I wouldn't put it passed him to try the buck challenge.

I've seen them on the bike path, too, thankfully off in the vegetation instead of while coming around a blind corner.  I've decided that I'd much rather be stung by a bee - especially since that's going to make me look like Kate Middleton - than be in a collision with a deer.  Last week, a woman walking her dog gave me a warning, "Careful, there's a doe just ahead", and I had that "Doe, a deer... " song playing in my head the rest of the ride home.

But at least it wasn't the lesbian sauna song, right, LottaJoy?

In movie news, Magnum and I watched The Robber,  an interesting movie based on the true story of a bank robber who was also a renowned runner in Austria.   I like a foreign film now and than as I get tired of Hollywood and I've never really traveled. If it had just been a movie, it wouldn't have been as interesting, but since it was a true story... this one was okay.  Left a lot of questions, but a nice little escape.


Friday, September 26, 2014

flex-time Friday

Magnum's been working some longer days lately to build up some hours to get a few flex-time Fridays in.  Today was one of them.  Yay!

We took advantage of the sun and warmth - it doesn't feel like fall at all here yet - and hit the bike trail.

Neither of us has been on this stretch of trail before, and it was a  nice ride through mostly boonies.  There were a few areas of what I might call "technical" with some steep grades, rocky rutties, and loose sand, but for the most part it was very manageable.  Bella and whatever Magnum's neglected bicycle is named handled it all just fine.

It was a beautiful day for it.  For a while, we paralleled the interstate, watching as the poor slobs sat in commuter traffic.

Pizzas for anyone who can name the Colorado attraction in the photos.  Anyone?  Guano??

Soon enough, we decided we'd better turn around.  It was  another 5 miles or so to the next town up the trail, and if we'd had more time, we would've just continued.  But I had some homework to finish and felt I should do the responsible thing...

and blog...

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

future queen

Bless me, blog.  It's been six days since my last bee sting.

Okay, I really don't want to beat this dead bee to death, but this bee sting business has been on my mind lately.  At least I can say that the frontal gelatinous pudge has nicely abated.  There is still some lingering frontal pudge, but I think I must now accept the fact that it's not from the bee venom.

From ShadowRun's reminder, I decided to check to see if there were any positive aspects to being bee stung.  While the evidence is inconclusive if it helps pain of arthritis and symptoms of MS, it does seem that be venom is good for something.  It's good for making people less sensitive to bee venom!  Yay, so, each time I get stung, it's like getting a booster shot to make me less sensitive!

Judging from the latest gelatinous pudge, and my weekend spent mostly hugging an ice pack, we're not quite there yet.  I need more inoculation.

But at least I'm not dreading further stings.  I feel like I actually welcome them now.  Maybe I'm just getting loopy from it all, a strange addiction forming?  I happily ride along now, sending my message of love to the trail bees:

"BITE ME!"  (okay, I know they sting instead of bite, but that phrase has a nice ring).

Plus, in my extensive research - about 10 minutes of googling - I learned that Kate Middleton and Gwyneth Paltrow use the bee juice to make them purdy.

hell to the no

Maybe it's my calling.  "Princess of the Bees" or something.  Although, "Lord of the Flies" seems more fitting, and that wasn't nice at all. 


Sunday, September 21, 2014

Silver Liningness Sunday

The autumnal equinox is scheduled to hit tomorrow night.  I'm ready!

In the meantime, this was another lovely and productive week.  I mentioned giving some much needed TLC to bicycle Bella, so I want to give a shout out to Youtube.  Gosh, it makes such things cheap and easy.

I particularly like the Global Cycling Network for their thorough and informative videos.  But honestly, I just love their accents.

We also got Meego's new computer, Potato, up and running.  This will certainly help propel his education into the 21st century!  As I glance over my shoulder to see what he's doing.... it appears to be some race car video??  Well... TOMORROW!

Speaking of technological progress, we watched The Machine and liked it.  It's a bit dark and creepy, but well done.  It could happen.

At P.E.O. this week, we had a nice visit from our state prez.  I realized that I've learned quite a few of my new sisters' names now.  I also got a decent job repping Cottey College, a women's college that P.E.O founded and still owns.  I'll be the Cottey rep at one of our local high schools.

I am still dealing with the after effects from the latest bee sting.  It's like the bee venom causes this buildup of jello-like substance underneath my skin that just goes wherever it can.  I've had this nice gelatinous pudge between my chest and belly button for most of the weekend, and it seems to be abating some now.

It still itches, and I'm using mind-over-matter techniques to deal with the burning.

Spongebob knows how I feel!


Friday, September 19, 2014

the (un)great outdoors

AAAAAAUUUUUUUGGGGGHHHHH!!!!     (Or however that's spelled)

At the risk of being repetetive...

I got stung by a  [censored]  bee yesterday.

This one got me square in the chest.  Right between the...  Where once there was a paltry excuse for a cleavage, there is now a third boob.  I swear, I can cup the damn thing.

I don't know what's going on.  What's gotten into these bees?  And why are they using me for their suicides?

There are other regulars on the bike path that I've come to expect.  We share familiar "hello"s and such as we pass each other, but that's it.  I don't know any of them personally, but I'm really curious as to if any of them have been similarly suffering this summer.

Well, I may never know.

In the meantime, I do want to express a bit of apology.  This latest violation occurred as I was happily travelling on the goose poop course.  So I'm sorry for any sullying of virgin goose ears that occurred during my uncensored response.


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Jean's bench

There are other parks.  There are other benches.

But Jean's bench, in this park, is currently my favorite.

Jean's bench sits toward the east end of the park, facing west, encircled by large trees that provide the perfect amount of shade.  

From Jean's bench, I can see activity along the path that borders the west side, activity within this section of the park, the view of the mountains to the west.  

The main path branches off and travels just behind Jean's bench.  Babies in strollers and dogs on leashes wander by, their moms and masters enjoying the area of Jean's bench too.

I don't remember precisely when I found Jean's bench.  I suspect I was just looking to take a quiet break, and Jean's bench called to me.  

A small weathered plaque is bolted to Jean's bench.  It reads:

"In loving memory of 
Jean C. Brown.  
A very special lady, friend, and neighbor 
who often walked these trails.

Deeply loved and sadly missed by her 
family and her many friends"

Jean's bench is a pleasing, quiet contemplation.  A nice place to ponder.

About Jean.


Linking up with Mama Kat again this week for the prompt:

1.) Show us where you go for quiet.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

a bit of an oversight

We were headed home, just another nice day on the path.

Just as we were about to climb an extra steep portion, I felt a *pop*, more of a *jam* really.  All I know is that it was totally immobilizing and I wasn't able to barely move anymore.  In excrutiating pain, I pulled over to the side.  

Still, I didn't think it was that bad.  Maybe if I just sat for a bit and collected myself, we'd be back in business soon.  But the more I sat and tried to work out the kink, the more it became apparent that I might need some first aid.

As I sat there, a bit frustrated and embarrassed, a smooth running, fit male appeared on the path and pulled over.  My first thought was, "Oh sh*t, I'm filthy and in a sorry state.  Please, just keep going".

But no, he offered to help.  HE had a little first aid kit with him.  As he produced it from a little pack, I realized that it looked much like the kit at home sitting on our shelf.  A lot of good that was doing us!

In the end, he had what I needed.  But the whole process of examining the problem and taking steps to mend it enough for me to make it home only served to highlight what a sorry state I was in.  

I hadn't bathed in a while, parts of me were loose that should've been tight, parts of me were tight that should've been loose.  There were flecks of dirt, old and new, adorning my whole body.  As thankful as I was for the assistance, it was all a bit  humiliating.

At least it wasn't all lost on Abby.  After all, it was HER fault.

Soon after we arrived and limped into the house, she gave me a warm bath, all the while whispering little apologies.  Then she left me behind in my repose - how ironic - to get some personal care items for me.

She returned and gave me a little home TLC.  It wasn't quite as nice and thorough as the annual spa treatments she schedules, but I felt SO much better afterward.  Too bad I had to break down on the path for her to get her rear in gear.

About frickin' time!


Note to self:  I need to do more for Bella than just take her in for annual tune-ups if I want to avoid her being publicly humiliated and throwing shade at me on the internet.


Sunday, September 14, 2014

Silver Liningness Sunday

(Blogger always tells me that "liningness" isn't a word.  See if I care.)

Mid-September is upon us.  This is a big test weekend for a few tutees.  With that, my schedule opens up a bit now, so that's a nice thing.  It's now on to the next test in October, then things should quiet down nicely.  I'm ready for a break and have been doing well in saying "no" in nice ways.

Both Chaco and Wolfgang graced us with their presences this week, stopping by for haircuts (and dinner... and money...), so that's always nice.  Chaco is continuing to work a little this semester, so he's not as broke as in semesters past.  Still, I don't want to see him become frivolous.  He left a dre$$ shirt with a colleague over the summer, and probably won't see it again.  He says, "Ah, I've got money, I'll just get another one".  Yeah, okay, whatever.  But I bought that first one!

Ah well, speaking of new stuff, Meego is in the process of getting a new-to-him computer.  It's Wolfgang's ex, and it's slowly coming together.

Meet "Potato"

Up until now, Meego has always just used an old cast-off laptop for school work, so he's quite happy at the prospect of having a new-to-him desktop.  Can you see the window into Potato's soul?  

Hopefully Meego and Potato will have a long and productive friendship.  Potato was replaced by "Hot Fudge", Wolfgang's ridiculously large and imposing new desktop.  I don't have a  photo of Hot Fudge as it's gone back to the dorm, but it also has a window to the soul that is rather intimidating.

Speaking of school, I'd say we've all settled into a nice routine now.  Summer frolicking is nice, but I like routine for the most part. On that note, my right hand is nearly back to normal, and the bees have thankfully left me alone.

I'd say something about that just being the bees knees, but nah...

Thursday, September 11, 2014


I'd run several miles with her, yet I didn't know anything about her.  Other than that she'd signed up for the same event I had, and her pace pretty much matched my own.  Otherwise, she was a closed book.

She ran like a machine,  Her feet - left-right-left-right-left-right - scratching out a steady rhythm, her arms moving in methodical accordance.  But the most noticeable thing about her, I thought, were her eyes.  SO focused.

She kept her gaze straight in front, fully fixed on her goal.

It was the Half on the Fourth half marathon.  I was enjoying myself well enough as it seemed like a fun thing to do on the holiday.  Supposedly, Wolfgang would've been in the pack somewhere ahead of me, but as it happened, I was going solo.

By the halfway point, we were pretty spread out and I was with the people I would likely spend the rest of the race with.  We were familiar enough with each other by then, speaking little words of encouragement to each other.

Another woman was tall and blond, her ponytail bobbing to the beat.  She seemed a bit Barbie-dollish to me at first, but we ended up chatting a bit as we plodded along, and she was actually pleasant company.

Ms. Focus?  Nothing.  She was seemingly in her own world.  Plus, she was wearing earbuds, so if I'd said something to her, I doubt she would've heard me.  She ran so methodically, I was curious as to what she was streaming.  Music?  Motivational speech?  Religious sermon?

By about mile 11, the bad parade had spread out even more, but Ms. Focus and I had been running together for quite some time - sometimes I was in front, sometimes she was - but we were never more than 10 yards or so apart.  Cool Barbie was a few yards ahead.

By then, it was hot and getting hotter.  The nervousness and excitement was long gone, and it was just a matter of finishing up.  So I was pretty much on auto pilot by then, just following the path.  We were running through a stretch of boonies - no aid stations, no place really for spectators

At one point, it suddenly hit me.  Where was the train of people in front of me as I looked down the path?  Right at that moment, I heard...


I turned to see Ms. Focus, standing on a bridge that had branched off to our left several yards behind me.

site of the save

"I think we go this way", she directed.

I looked across in the direction the bridge headed. Sure enough, there was Cool Barbie and the rest of the train.

"Oh, wow, thanks!  That woulda sucked, huh??", I said in gratitude as I doubled back to the bridge.

But by then, it was lost.  Ms. Focus was back in her world, earbuds firmly rooted in place.

We continued on to the finish.  Of the three of us, we would cross Cool Barbie, Ms. Focus, and me.  In that order.  I found Cool Barbie in the snack laden gazebo while I grabbed a most delicious orange.  We chatted a bit, wished each other a happy fourth, and continued with our respective holidays.

But, where was Ms. Focus?  I wanted to commend her run, but mainly, I wanted thank her again for saving me at the bridge.  But she was nowhere to be found.  *POOF*, like that she was gone.

She was real... wasn't she??


Linking up with Mama Kat again this week, for the prompt:

2.) Write a blog post inspired by the word: goals.


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

working it out

I've been tagged!  Sorta...

Riot Kitty did this meme and tagged everybody, then Joey did it and tagged everybody, so I think I'm somewhere in that Venn diagram intersection.

It's a meme for writers.  I don't really consider myself a "writer", but like Joey says, if you have a blog, it counts.  So, here goes.

1) What are you currently working on?
Oh, y'know... laundry and stuff.  But, I think this question was actually addressing writing projects. *ahem*.  

Interestingly enough, I do a fair amount of writing for school, which is a bit different than typical engineering coursework. But it's a management program, so I guess we're supposed to be able to articulate and communicate techie things.  Instead of having to answer questions that start with, "What is the solution to..." or "Find the result of...", my classwork asks things that start with "Discuss..." or "Elaborate on..." or "Describe..."

For that, I think the rambling on the blog has been helpful.  Many years ago, when I first started blogging, I remember Wolfgang asking what I was doing.  I told him, "I'm maintaining my skills for talking to grownups".  

2) How does your work differ from others in the same genre?
Back to this blog - I'm not sure I really have a genre.  I started blogging when we first moved here, and our kids were little, and I didn't know anyone.  I named it "AbbyNormal" because I often felt out of place as a housewife in white collar suburbia.  I don't fit the soccer mom stereotype,  and I'm totally content about that.

It was later that I learned of blogs of specific genres.  Mom blogs, running blogs, fish keeping blogs, bicycling blogs, cooking blogs, travel blogs, movie blogs...  Mine can be any of those on a given day.  

The thing I like about blogging is that I think it's made me more observant.  There are funny, interesting, thought provoking, inspiring, sweet things happening all around us.  Having a blog helps me to be more aware of them.  I do avoid blogging about divisive issues like politics or religion, although I do have pretty strong opinions.  

, I stopped for a pit stop at my friendly local bike shop on the commute home today (really, they encourage such things.  Who am I to argue?).  I snapped a pic of their tp holder for no other reason than to post it here.  Cute, eh?  It's a head tube with front forks, complete with quick release!

3) Why do you write what you write?
So readers would not  mistake me for a typical white collar suburban soccer mom?  That's kind of what's going on, I suppose.  My white collar housewife-of-suburbia rebellion.

It's also a nice way to meet other bloggers with similar interests.  Can't get that with a private journal.

4) Describe your writing process.
Blog posts are usually the result of experiencing something that I deem as blogworthy.  Maybe it's a trip with the family, or achievement of some goal, or some stupid mishap, or a search for advice.  Like I said, having a blog helps me think about being more observant and/or creative which leads me to appreciating "little things" that I might not otherwise appreciate....

like getting stung by a %&#*ing bee and losing the use of my hand for a couple of days.   It's a "make this fun" challenge!

YOUR turn.  If you read this and you have a blog... You're IT!!


Sunday, September 7, 2014

Silver Liningness Sunday

Magnum is watching the Bronco game. I think most people in my neck of the woods are just happy to NOT be watching last year's Superbowl.

This was a good, but short week because of Monday's holiday.  I felt like I was playing catch-up all week, but I'm happy to say I'm, for the most part, caught up.

My dad had a health scare yesterday.  I thought for a while that it could be "the big one", but he's improved.  I will say that his and my mom's days on this earth are not long, and I just want them to be comfortable and relatively happy.  And that's all I care to say about that...

ANYWAY, in other silver liningness, I worked on getting our house back to my minimalistic ways since Chaco and Wolfgang took their stuff back to their dorms.  One major hurdle was getting this giganto TV out of our rec room.  It's about a 36" old style box that weighs a bunch of pounds.

Chaco and Wolfgang were home for a bit over last weekend, so we took advantage and had them help get it out of the basement.  It now sits in the garage while we try to figure out how to get rid of it.  I will gladly give it away to anyone who wants it.  Know anyone??

I'm also happy to say that I've gone four straight days now without being stung by a bee.  I definitely hope the streak lasts!  I'm starting to feel a bit better, not quite 100%, but just about a quart low.  I don't know what it is about the bee juice that has such an affect on me.

My hand is still not quite recognizable as one that belongs on the end of my arm.  I'm a rather "veiny" person - side note:  I once had a phlebotomist roll up my sleeve and exclaim, "Oh, it's like Christmas!".   There are currently no visible veins on the alien fat right hand.

But it has improved, I can hold stuff now.  The neck sting has mellowed to where it now just resembles a tentative hickey.  But I'm still dealing with the itchies, so waaah.

My horoscope today said something about my friends sticking by me despite my shortcomings in the upcoming week.  So... might want to prepare...


Friday, September 5, 2014

attacked 2, the sequel

On Wednesday, I was once again bicycling along, my neck all a-itch from Tuesday's bee attack.  I was thinking I could use a "counter irritant".  My step-father-in-law introduced us to that term.  He's a retired medical doctor, and he confessed to sometimes administering treatments for the sole purpose of giving patients something unpleasant to deal with in order to take their mind off the primary unpleasant thing.

"A shot of milk in the butt usually did the trick"

So as I was thinking that I wouldn't like a shot of milk in the butt, nature provided my counter irritant.  In the form of yet another bee!  Really??

This one viciously attacked my right hand.  Divebombed me similarly to the first bee bully, plunging its stinger all the way through my glove.  I had to pull over, remove my glove, then remove the hammering stinger.  By then, the damage was done.

I hoped I had efficiently cut off the nasty thing, and that there would be little lasting effects. But by yesterday afternoon, the telltale poofiness had begun

By this morning, my hand had taken on a certain club-like appearance

I'd say it worked, I've hardly been bothered by the neck mound since.  

But enough already!  I can't remember the last time I was bee stung before this, and here I am with two stings in two days.  I've rarely been a fan of sequels.

I think I'm ready to say good-bye to summer now.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014


Joeys Pad

I'm going to invoke Joey's call for a Weekend Wobbly, renaming it a "Wednesday Wobbly".  This is aimed at the vampire bee that attacked me yesterday, although he's most certainly dead by now.

There I was, enjoying my ride home on a lovely day when, from my left blazed a kamikaze vampire bee!  I have no idea what I did to provoke him, but I think, based on the attack, he'd been plotting this for a while.  He probably stalked me for days.  That's what I get for not varying my route.

So I was just happily riding along, and WA-PANG!, that vampire dive-bombed me and rammed his stinger right into my neck, probably going for my jugular!  I was shocked out of my calm, and sent into all, WTH?! mode.

My initial thought was that I'd been hit by a bee, yeah okay.  But then I could feel that telltale sign of bee poison pumping into my body and was all, "It dive-bombed me, stinger first??"  So I scratched at the site while continuing to pedal in order to remove any such stinger.  The pumping sensation abated, so I figured I got it.

Then I lodged into all worse-case-scenario mode.  I am a bit sensitive to bee stings, but nothing too serious.  But who knows when I might get sensitive enough and go into full anaph.. annaphyl....aphyla...  I might start getting all puffy and unable to breathe!

To make matters worse (in my mind), yesterday, I uncharacteristically had forgotten to bring my wallet in my bike bag.  I NEVER forget my wallet, but yesterday I somehow did.  So I was already in a bit of a panic.  What if I got a flat?  What if I crashed?  What if....?  I had no money, no identification.  I would end up a puffed up, homeless Jane Doe!

Plus, I had to go tute in a couple of hours, it would take me nearly that long just to walk home from where I was!  But as I got closer to home, my panic subsided.  I'd also realized that if I was going to get all puffed up and die, it would've happened by then.

I was certain that there was no stinger doing mean things to me anymore.  In fact, I don't think the stinger had gotten embedded very well in the first place, so it had released its grip pretty readily, sending only a mini amount of vampire bee venom.

When I first got home, it was hardly even noticeable.

This morning, it's a bit more lumpy

As I said, I don't know what I did to provoke him, maybe he was just having a bad month and I was a handy target.  So let me just say that I do appreciate the bees of the world.  For their contributions to the continuation of humankind and for their impressive work ethic.  My computer is even named "Clover" (but that's kind of another story).

Rest In Peace, kamikaze Vampire Bee.


Monday, September 1, 2014

water wenching

Marathon day.  Pffft - piece of cake - what's all the hype about doing a marathon, anyway.  Running or sitting around handing out waters and munching snacks - same diff.

Surprisingly, when I asked Meego yesterday if he cared to join me at the aid station, he was quick to say, "Yeah, okay".

Even when I said that we'd have to be there early, he just said, "Okay, wake me up".

Just to be sure, I said, "It's the 17th mile of a marathon, so they'll be pretty spread out by then.  We could be there a while".


Since I was on a roll, I added, "I think we should bike there", which at least got a,

"Where is it?"

Once I explained where it was and the route we would take to get there, he was all. "Okay", again.

Well.  All-righty then.

So that was our morning.  It was a beautiful day for it. As promised, I woke Meego up about 6:15, and we were out the door about a half hour later.  It was a bit of a chilly ride, but the sun was just coming up with promises of warm times ahead.

We made it to our post just in time, the other volunteers were just digging through the supplies.

Turns out, Meego was dressed very coordinatedly.

We had water and Gatorade, and it seems that Meego became the go-to guy for Gatorade, even though I and another volunteer were offering it up.  I think it was the shirt, but the runners that wanted Gatorade would flock to Meego like flies on... bees to sugar.  

Maybe it was his friendly kid face, or maybe at mile 17, the runners were mainly just able to see bright colors at that point.

Once we were set, we waited just a bit for the first runner to come blazing through, leaving us wondering if he'd run that pace the whole way, or was just putting on a show for the water wenches.  Soon, the trickle of runners built  to a steady flow.

It being a nice sunny holiday on a popular recreational trail, we had to do a fair amount of traffic control too, but most people were pretty courteous of the racers.  One of our fellow volunteers was a pretty big bouncer-looking guy, so that helped.  

Then there was this crew:

They showed up sometime around the middle of our duty, all dressed up and holding signage.  They were there to cheer on three moms (along with EVERYONE else), and were totally adorable and hilarious!

Who wouldn't get a second wind from this greeting?

After about three and a half hours, we were released from duty.  Meego commented, "Wow, look how much can happen while a lot of people are just sleeping"