Thursday, October 30, 2014


A woman bore two sons to a man above her in social class.  When he refused to marry her, she drowned her children while in a rage.  But she immediately lamented her actions and began roaming and sobbing for her children.

She continued to cry and search for her dead children by the riverbanks, slowly wasting away until she too eventually drowned.

She is not permitted into the afterlife until she has found every last bone of her children, and she continues to roam the earth searching in vain.  Trapped between the world of the living and the spirit world, she wanders near rivers and lakes, constantly crying.  She is La Llorona, the weeping woman.

The first time I heard the legend of La Llorona (LAH yoh ROH nah), I was just a kid myself.  My hometown was a community of rich hispanic culture, and La Llorona was very well known.

But then I got older and realized the story is just something that parents would tell to keep their kids from wandering off alone.  "Don't, or else La Llorona will come steal/kill you!"

Still, I admit that even into my teen years, we could get freaked out by the stories.  Especially late at night while out in the boonies.  There are a lot of boonies near my scary, superstitious hometown.  It didn't help matters that there is a river that runs through town, and that the river's name is the "Purgatory River".

It is said that if, while in a quiet, dark place, you repeat "La Llorona" three times in a row, you will see her.  So on occasion, in those quiet dark boonies, we'd get to talking about her. Then we'd dare ourselves to do it. Say it three times.

"La Llorona...", we'd begin quietly,  "LA LLORONA...", we'd get a little braver, and finally.... "LA  EDWINA!!"  or anything other than that third La Llorona.  Nope, never happend.

I'm even older now, though.  More intelligent.  More logical.  More thick skinned,  I could do it, I know!

"La  Llorona.... LA  LLORONA....


Dang.  So close.


Linking up with Mama Kat for the prompt:
1.) Something that scared you when you were young…are you still afraid?


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

it's 5 o'clock somewhere

I took Napolion to the vet's yesterday.  Time for booster shots.  He's almost too agreeable, just pops right into his crate, ready for whatever adventure I'm taking him on.

With our previous cat, Cookie, it was a Battle Royale to get him into the carrier.  First of all, he was too big for a typical cat carrier, so we would put him in a laundry basket with a comfy pillow in it and clamp a lid over him.  Sounds like a simple thing, right?  Not!

Then fat Kat, although she would (barely) fit into a carrier, was also reluctant.  Maybe her obesity kept her from putting up too much fight, though.

But trusty Napolion is just pretty okay with the whole thing.  He's the first cat we've had that wasn't a stray, so maybe that has something to do with it?  Even though he still likes to go outside and fight and kill things?

So anyways, he was good for the vet, whom I had bumped into at the orthodontist's a couple of weeks ago.  Meego had to go get an adjustment or oil change or whatever it is they do back there.  As we were leaving, our vet was entering.   We exchanged friendly greetings and then she got on with her own oil change or whatever.

She's my age, maybe a couple of years older, but she's got orthodontic braces.  A late fix I guess.  I don't recall anything particularly crooked or out of sorts with her teeth before, but it's not like I was really studying them.

She mentioned it yesterday while palpating away at Napolion.

"I didn't know  you went to my orthodontist".  Then went on to say how she was looking forward to being done with her braces and asking how much time Meego had left on his sentence.

I personally never had to do the tinsel teeth.  And of our three kids, Meego is the first to introduce us to the wonderful world of orthodontia.  I'm glad I'm not typically in two different care facilities in a span of two weeks.

As for Napolion, he did fine.  I was beginning to think that he actually liked being at the vet's, with all that attention.  But after the third shot, he was more than ready to get outta there.

Damn, I thought she meant the OTHER kind of shots


Sunday, October 26, 2014

Silver Liningness Sunday

Another lovely week has gone a-flying by!

My maternal in-laws were visiting today.  My Mother-in-law can often be anywhere from mildly to highly socially inappropriate.  Today seemed a pretty mild day, so I'm grateful for that.  It was also an excuse to spend some time with Chaco and Wolfgang as they both joined in for the visit (free food).

Remember last spring when I mentioned being inundated with free promotion junk for a new apartment complex going up near the university?  Well, The Lodges managed to sign several leases with what I'm sure are mostly university students.  And the word is that the place is just a cesspool.  It's party city there with everything bad that goes along with that.  It's like a big dorm without a resident advisor.  It's bad.

Fighting, drug and alcohol abuse, sluttiness, date rape...  Apparently the police have been summoned several times.  What were emaculate, brand new apartments at the beginning of the fall semester are now trashed apartments.

I feel bad for the "good' kids that signed leases and now don't want to be living there.  We did consider it with Chaco and Wolfgang, and I'm SO glad we decided to wait and watch.  I'm also grateful that THEY are grateful to not be living there.  They and their friends aren't into that scene.  Yay.

In other news, we finally won the football pool for last week's NFL games.  Now we can really live high on the hog for a while!  Not.  But like Magnum says, it's not about the money, it's a pride thing.  We have to win at least one week, so it's nice to have gotten that out of our system.

And I don't have a silverliningness photo this week!  Slacker!  Oh wait... here's one I took earlier:

This is the neglected and unruly hill in our back yard.  It's nearly 70' across by 18' deep with an elevation gain of 5'.  I know all of the dimensions because we are about to transform it into a beautiful terraced slope.  Because of it's terrain, we can't mow up there, and so it's a process of industrial strength weedwhacking to keep it from becoming a total jungle.  Nobody likes doing it.

I spent fun time this week looking at rocks and bricks and fountains and patio designs and... well, we've got 13 pallets of wall stone on order.

That's sure to trash all of this nice weather we've been having.


Thursday, October 23, 2014

not a creeper

I was at a P.E.O. meeting the other night.  We were at this one sister's house, having our little meeting, and I was sitting there and couldn't help but notice the many photos on the mantle.  Plus, there was a lovely watercolor just above the mantle of a couple of young girls sitting in the sun.

I need new glasses, but I'm holding out until the start of the year when our new vision plan kicks in.  At that time, I plan to totally give in to joining Team Bifocal.  They've been recruiting me for a while now, and it's time to answer the call.

Anyways, I was sitting there, and even in my state of visual impairedness, one of the girls in the mantle photos looked familiar, and one of the watercolored girls in the sun looked like a younger version of her.  Once the meeting adjourned, I went up for a closer look.  Lo and behold, I knew her.  She was a student of mine earlier this year.

The woman whose house we were at did have the same last name of my student, but I didn't think that much of it as we rarely reference our last names.  Plus, the student is Chinese, and this P.E.O. sister is about as Anglo as they come.

The photos showed family in various stages and ages, but another woman and I were looking and concluded that there were seven children in all.  Four biological, three adopted Chinese girls.

I found our hostess in her kitchen and asked, "Are you Anna's mom??"

"Yeah, you know her?"

"She was a student of mine earlier this year", I replied, hoping her mother - my sister - didn't look at me as a money pit.

Lily, my sis, looked at my nametag, "Oh, you're the tutor!"

Occasionally, I'll have a high schooler who handles all of the correspondence and the setting up of meeting times, etc. on her own.  I usually get at least one e-mail from a parent and they might show up to meet me for the first meeting, but I didn't think much of it when Anna handled all of the communication.  Her account had made it through all the necessary hurdles, and when I did meet her, she came across as relatively mature and independent, so no biggie.

So we kinda laughed about not knowing about each other until then.  "Nice to meetcha, Mom", "Nice to meetcha Tutor".

She explained, "I've never hired a tutor before.  Since you met her at the library and she said you were good, I knew you weren't a creeper!"

Think I'll put that on my resume'.


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Silver Liningness Sunday

Well.  It's Sunday already!  This was a busy and productive week.  It's midterm project time in the land of school, so I was slaving away, and my blog dependence has been neglected.  But I am still here keeping my head above water.

My tutoring schedule has, thankfully, calmed down to a gentle oozing after the back-to-school gush, and not a moment too soon.  And I discovered a nice feature that my tutor matching service recently added.  We can selectively turn our profiles to 'off' if we don't want to show up in searches, but we still keep full communication with our current students.  So now I don't have to invoke my say-no skills.  I just made myself invisible!

And before I go further with the gratefulness stuff, I do need to share some somber news.  Tina, the Black Skirted Tetra of aquarium apocalypse survivor fame has passed.  We discovered her last night, facing east underneath her prayer temple, suggesting a very peaceful passing.  She was given a proper porcelain burial.  Now, only the monsters remain.  May she rest in peace.

In other casualty - sort of - news, Alice was in bad need of a pedicure.  Peda - cure?

I somehow managed to shear a chunk of pedal off of her, and for this past week, she's been going around all clipped like this.  But today, I took her to the salon and she's looking peda-spiff now!

It's a very nice day out, and I easily managed to get Meego and Magnum to come along with me on a ride to the bike shop.  This was a good thing as I'm starting to feel that Meego and his new computer, Potato, are spending a bit too much time together.  I mean, I'm glad they're getting along and that Potato is such a suitable match for Meego, but sometimes we need to go feel the wind in our hair and the cracked pedals beneath our feet.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

we're not all weird

Quick! What were you doing five years ago??  This morning, I had a little memory jog.  Meego was getting ready for school.  It's his last day this week because it's teacher / parent conference time.

I said, "Welp, I better go to conferences to discuss all of your issues", sarcastically.   I hope.

He said, "Yep", sarcastically.    I hope.

Actually, there's not really much to discuss (knock on wood), and I realized that five years ago was the last time I went to a conference at the high school.  It was for Chaco and it was for English.  Figures.  He's probably the most intelligent of all of us.

So I remembered the day vividly because I also had a conference with Meego's 4th grade teacher, since we're actually scheduled for these things in elementary school.  And what I remember is that Meego and I were home just before going to his conference, and we turned on the noon news to catch the headlines.

Balloon Boy.  There was a little kid uncontrollably aloft in a homemade balloon over the state of Colorado.

It was on every channel - this large mylar balloon with a compartment that the kid crawled into and then got caught by a gust of wind.

It was tracked all along its journey while planes and emergency personnel raced after it to be there when it hopefully landed.  Everyone wants to save a little boy caught in a big balloon!

Now, if you remember that story at all, you remember that it was all a hoax by a very strange family.  When the balloon landed, and authorities raced to attend to the little kid - who must've froze or gotten airsick or whatever - only to find that he wasn't in there.  

The family said they thought he was in there, but turned out he was hiding the whole time.  But then it turned out they staged the whole thing just to get free publicity for their big homemade balloon.

And that's what I will probably always remember about fall parent / teacher conferences.  I remember that day, going to Meego's class when the news was still fresh, and the boy was supposedly still sailing on the high winds.

I'll remember asking Meego's teacher if she'd heard about Balloon Boy.  She hadn't since she'd been conferencing all morning.  I don't remember anything else we talked about.

I'll remember waiting out in the hallway at the high school for Chaco's English teacher while we parents huddled around someone's smartphone to catch Balloon Boy updates.  

Back then, I was teaching some online classes, and a few days after Balloon Boy day, we had a first session for one of them.  We were all introducing ourselves and saying where we were from.  When it came to me, I said

"I'm Abby, and I'm in the state of Balloon Boy"

They all knew where that was.   Unfortunately.


Linking up with Mama Kat for the prompt:
1.) A blog post inspired by the word: race


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Silver Liningness Sunday

Hello and happy Sunday greetings!  The air is crisp and the leaves, they are a-changing.  Pumpkin season is here, I like it!

I snapped this pic this morning as the peak is covered with its first official snow of the season.  We've had some dustings in the last few weeks, but with this, it's moved officially into "snowed upon".  It's prettier when not looking at it through a dumb phone.

My P.E.O chapter hosted a local Oktoberfest fundraiser yesterday.  I haven't heard the final numbers, but I think we made a pretty good haul.  Beer and brats, what's not to like?

As for us, we actually weren't in attendance.  Magnum, Meego, and I decided to spend a day in Denver.  The zoo has added some nice big habitats since we were last there a few years ago, so we decided to check them out.

It was a great day for it, perfect weather and the summer crowds have passed.  I, for one, still enjoy a visit to a nice zoo, and it was nice to see plenty of others of all ages enjoying it too.  However, it did serve to remind me of the uneasy state of my aquarium...

I remember visiting that zoo nearly 30 years ago with a guy I was dating at the time.  Seems we just went in the afternoon, walked in a loop for about an hour or two, and that was that.  Now the place is huge.

Another good push to get out was the fact that we've been having intermittent problems with our internet service.  It's probably from our modem being about to die.  The bright side to that is that we've seen plenty of Chaco this week since talking to the official "Tech Support" only seems to make matters worse if anything.

So for that, I'm grateful that Chaco lives so close by.  I told him, "shouldn't you just teach me all of this?", but I guess he'd rather just come over.  Surely it has nothing to do with my own computer tech savviness.  Or lack thereof.

And that reminds me, the feed died while Magnum and I were in the middle of watching an episode of "The Walking Dead" - Season 4 just released on Netflix.   We're gonna have to hook in and catch the rest of that episode before the modem zombies take away our streaming capability again!


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

I'm a wiener!

And I got some prizes today, too!

Last month, the University kicked off "Pedal Perks".  It's... well... it's...

Specifically, it's organized by the office of sustainability, which does things to help the university be more environmentally friendly.  Promoting bicycling is just one of those things.  So anyways, about 130 people signed up, and we began recording our mileage on the official Pedal Perks club page over at

Anywhoo, I think there was a threshold of 100 miles to win a prize each month.  I got an e-mail yesterday that I was one of the September wieners, so stop by the office  for my prize.  I strode in there today, all prize-winnerish.

There was a lone person in the office, a young woman typing enthusiastically away at her keyboard. Really, it made me wonder just WHAT she was typing.  After I strode in all prize-winnerish and the enthusiastic typer didn't seem to notice I was there, I gave an enthusiastic,


She stopped typing, looked up, and gave an equally enthusiastic, "Hello!"  - lots of enthusiasm in that office, I tellya - and then continued to just enthusiastically look at me.

Surprisingly *cough*, she didn't seem to know who I was.

"I'm Abby?", I continued, "I got an e-mail that said I'd won a prize for bike month? And to stop by?"

"Oh, Hi!", said the sustainability person.  I started to realize that maybe she's just always enthusiastic and what she was typing wasn't all that exciting.  Either way, it was refreshing.

She brought out a box filled with goodies, a.k.a. "prizes of approximately $10" and told me to take my pick.  She also gave me an official Pedal Perks insulated water bottle since I had failed to get one when the thing kicked off a month ago.

I dug around in the prize box a bit.  There was an assortment of < ~ $10 goodies:  socks, taillights, coupons, more water bottles, etc.  In the end, I was torn between the socks and the taillight, but went with the light since I rarely wear socks that people can read (these said "One Less Car").

Here are the goods!

And in addition to my pedal perks prizes, while I was en route, I engaged with Mr. Happy Friendly.  Remember him?  The super speedy, super friendly one-legged bicyclist?  I actually hadn't seen him in a while.  Maybe he just rides/commutes/whatever he's up to at times other than when I do, but he did seem a bit slower than his usual super speedy self.  I was actually behind him for a while and able to keep up.  

At one point, though, he must've looped around somewhere and we crossed going in opposite directions.  

"Good morning!", was his usual peppy salute.  

Fame, prizes, and Mr. Happy Friendly.  

A good day.  


Sunday, October 5, 2014

Silver Liningness Sunday

I rode by a fully populated pumpkin patch this morning - a sure sign of fall.  I was thinking we should go get some pumpkins while the gettin's good, but then that would break my long-standing tradition of scrounging at the last minute.

I've been contemplating my aquarium.  The zombie fish continue to thrive in their dystopian existence.  I've been waiting for them to die... or whatever it is that zombies do when they "pass".  I don't dare introduce any innocent fish since all of the others I tried died shortly after, even when I check the water chemistry and deem it healthy.

There's just something about those two (Buenos Aires Tetra) zombie fish!  The secret lies with Tina, the sole survivor of the apocalypse.  She was one of the lesbian Black Skirt Tetra threesome.  For some reason, she still lives.  So it's just the flourishing zombie fish and Tina.  They even killed the plants.

In the meantime, I continue to properly care and feed for the monsters and Tina, out of obligation.  My luck, they'll live for another twenty years.  But I've got plans to get a nice Cichlid tank going after deciding that a marine reef setup is too expensive right now.  Magnum suggested getting the cichlids and letting them eat the monsters, but my luck, it would kill the new fish.

Anyway, we went and looked at nice fish and supplies yesterday.  It was really just an excuse to go for a bike ride on a pleasant Saturday, and it worked.  I managed to not let Meego talk me into buying anything - helped by the fact that we couldn't lug much home on bicycles.  But he did get us to Carl's Jr. to eat like we mean it.

In  movie news, we watched Into the White, which we all liked.  It's based on actual WWII events, and nicely done as far as a story of survival can be done nicely.

And speaking of bicycle rides and survival, I got a flat tire this week.  Unlike my last trailside mishap, this wasn't my fault!  In fact, I've given both Alice and Bella such TLC, it's silly.  Alice was literally running like a well-oiled machine when she pulled up lame.

I was only about a mile and-a-half away from home, and although I had all the first-aid supplies to get Alice rolling again, I was thinking I would just walk it home and fix her there.  So I was walking along deciding if I wanted to pull a PDM - public display of maintenance - when this good Samaritan pulled up and offered me a ride.

Yes, he was a total stranger, but I could (pretty much) tell he was a good one.  I'm not sure, but I'd say he's one of our local military people, he just had that air about him.  He claimed to be an avid cyclist who's "been there", plus he had this roomy SUV.  He was in the neighborhood scoping out houses to buy, so I took him up on the ride offer.

His name is Joe, he drives a newish BMW SUV that's only slightly sullied from carrying a wounded bicycle, and has his left arm in a sling from recent shoulder surgery.  If you see him, give him a shout out.


Thursday, October 2, 2014

given a choice

It started when I was about the age Meego is now.  Then, once I began working in a restaurant, there was no looking back.


I remember brewing up some instant one day when I had to get up early to make it to the track meet bus.  Coffee was warm and supposedly a wake-up tonic, so I made some.

Looking back, I think I'd unknowingly made decaf that morning, but it was warm and made me feel a little grown up.

When I began working as a busgirl in a hotel restaurant, coffee flowed in unlimited amounts.  That was where I discovered the fully-loaded version, with just a touch of cream.  The increase in my table-cleaning efficiency was notable after that first cuppa.  In fact, once we'd closed for the evening, busboy Jimmy and I would put our feet up for a while and enjoy a cup or two. Then we'd hit the dining room with a vengeance.

Later on, I transferred from the restaurant to the front desk where I pulled the occasional graveyard shift.


When I was in college (the first time) I had this little aluminum stove-top percolator.  I would load it up every evening so all I had to do was click the burner on in the morning to get my fresh-perked on before classes.  Magnum thought that very efficient of me, so much that he snapped that pic of me and the percolator in the kitchen of our college apartment.  He's easily impressed.

While I was pregnant, I'd have lucid coffee fantasies that continued through the nursing months.
At one point, I thought, hmm... am I a slave to coffee?  Just to check, I stopped drinking it for a good month or so.  The result?

NO problem.  It's more of a habit, really, than a true addiction.  I don't NEED it.  I think I just like the ritual of preparing it, whether in the percolator, the automatic, or my coffee press.  Every now and then, I do the coffee abstinence thing, just to make sure.   What gets me through it?  Tea.

I prefer tea.  Real tea - green, black, orange pekoe, whatever - not a bunch of herbs thrown together and falsely named "tea".

I know I could go on happily existing without coffee, although I might miss it a little. Take my tea, though,  and things WILL get ugly.  Just so you know.


Linking up with Mama Kat this week for a three-way!  Choose your poison:

1.) September 29th is National Coffee day. How do you like your cup?
2.) What were you blogging about last year at this time? How have things changed?
4.) Throwback time! Share an old photo and tell us about it.