Saturday, April 30, 2016

hair of the dog and the pool boy

Happens every spring.

China starts to shed, I find and vacuum clumps of hair all throughout the house.  I brush her out and generate enough dog wool to make sweaters for the whole family, and yet she's still trapped underneath a full wavy coat of sheddy, clumpy fur that looks mangier by the day.  You can barely tell where the different dog parts are.

I think this is actually a cat,
but same diff...
Then, when it seems the coast is clear, I take her to the groomers to get a nice butch cut.  That activity practically guarantees it will snow.  Really, it's more reliable than washing the car.

As I mentioned in my last post, China was shorn this week, so we got a bunch of sloppy snow dumped upon us.  It was that heavy, wet, spring snow that hardly even counts as snow as it's just laying piles of slush everywhere.

So yesterday, to escape all that wetness, I decided to hit the university pool(?).  Remember I mentioned how uncrowded it typically is?  Well, maybe those darn kids read my blog or something, because lately, it's been quite the place to be.  I don't mind it since it's not so crowded that there's not enough room for everyone to swim and I rather like not being the  only one sputtering along.

Let  me be clear, I am not a strong swimmer.  In fact, let's just go ahead and categorize me as WEAK.  I just figure that I'm paying for that nice pool use, and despite my obvious inabilities, I enjoy it.

So I was there yesterday doing my slow choppy crawl while the others were doing their fancy pants breast-stroke-one-length-flip-turn-and-butterfly-back business when this young stud asks if he can share my lane.  Obviously he saw me as the most attractive person in the water.  Either that, or I was the first one to have my head out of the water and sputtering long enough for  him to ask.  But let's go with the former assumption...

I said, "Yeah sure", and I knew right away that he's a much stronger swimmer than I am.  First of all, he was wearing a swim cap.  What GUY wears a swim cap unless he knows what he's doing?  We worked out which sides of the lane we would each take, and I waited for him to go first.  Instead of plunging ahead, he consulted his watch and waited for the crucial moment - second major  hint that he was going to kick my ass.

Then he finally did take off and I won't say it wasn't motivating.

Nonetheless, I'm hoping we get back to spring soon.  It's very white out as I look out the window now.  And poor China is here without her coat, but wanting to go for a walk.  She is (somewhere around) 16 years old, but still loves her daily beauty walks.  And the snow really brings out the puppy in her.

She frolicks around and sticks her face in it and acts like other young pups.  She's just a bit slower and uncoordinated, but she's into it. Kinda like me in the pool.


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

why do we have four cars and I ride a bike?

Hmmm... looks like I've been a bit of a neglectful blogger.  Where'd the weekend go?  When I first started blogging, I did it because I wanted something that was "just mine".  It still fulfills that purpose!  But the other stuff of life still fills the time.

So a few bullets to get caught up:

  • Hung out at the DMV for what felt like forever to get Meego's permit.  And  it was the grimy DMV where the criminals go, not the posh one.  Good times.
  • I shopped and bought a beater clutch-car for Meego to learn how to drive a stick, clearly emphasizing that this is MY beater clutch-car.  He will rent it with the option to buy.
  • Watched The Martian.  Three thumbs up.
  • Took China in for her spring "bikini wax".  I hardly recognize her.
  • Gave Meego his first lesson in clutch mastery.  We both survived.
  • The school saga continues.  Finals coming up.  yay

The car thing is a bit distressing.  On one hand, I was glad to have found this car - a 2005 Honda Civic.  On the other hand, though, I'm a minimalist and bicycle commuter, yet here we are with four cars.  There's the Element that Magnum usually drives to work, the Echo that I inherited from Mom, our van for camping and road trips (and hauling big honking band instruments), and now this Civic.

But I'll get used to it.  They each serve a specific purpose.  I suppose Mom's Echo is the most superfluous, but I have no plans to ever offload it because (1) it was Mom's and (2) who else has a 16-year-old car with 16K miles?

In other news, I got a facebook friend request this week from an old friend I haven't been in touch with since high school.  We weren't necessarily BFFs, but chummy enough.

Some of my old HS friends who are now friends on facebook are quite the same as they were - still kinda living the "glory days" a bit, actually.  Some have changed, but in predictable ways.  And now reconnecting with this latest, it's interesting.  She seems very different.  Not in an unlikable way, but just in a way I wouldn't have expected.  Lives a pretty simple life.  Married, no kids.  Makes beautiful quilts and other crafts.  Still looks almost exactly the same, though.

Anyway, she's not far from me.  We might do lunch sometime.  That might provide something more blogworthy than the DMV and shorn dogs.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

throwback Thurthday

Well, I hope everyone had a happy Marijuana Day.   We celebrated in our usual fashion - by making no notice of it.

Meego had the day off school since a while back, many school districts in Colorado decided to give students that day off.  Marijuana Day coupled with the anniversary of the Columbine shootings deems 4/20 a bit of an Asking-For-Trouble Day, so it has traditionally become a Teacher Development Day.

I think it's safe to say that since recreational pot became legal in Colorado, the number and identities of resident users before and after has pretty much remained the same.  I understand that weed has become a bit of a tourist attraction, however.  Oh well, helps the tax revenues.  We've got more to offer than snow now.

But speaking of Meego and before-and-afters.  I was at the orthodontist's office this week.  Meego was getting his braces removed.

As I sat in the waiting room doing some reading for school, a woman of about 30 years old walked in.  I'd say the majority of patients there are kids, but just barely.  I'm a bit surprised at the number of adults - mostly women - with braces.  In fact, I sometimes run into our 50+ year old veterinarian there.

Anyway, the woman was rather tall and leggy with long straight hair.  Pretty.  As soon as she came in, the receptionist was all, "Oh, HI!  You're getting your braces off today aren't you!"

Tall pretty woman with braces replied quietly that yes, she was.

"You wanna be our 'before and after' for our facebook page today?!", the receptionist asked.

"Uh...  okay...", was the response.

Hmm... so Meego didn't make the orthodontist facebook page, but lucky for him, his mom has a blog *COUGH*

I actually couldn't remember when that first evaluation day was.  Lucky for me, I have a blog, and what would oversharing be if it didn't include a kid's first day of orthodontia?  He's had braces for two years, but that first evaluation, I found from digging in the archives, was three and half years ago?!  Sheesh, he was just a little kid...

That's when we learned that his teeth were crooked, his jaws were misaligned, and if we didn't fix them, we were heinous child abusers.

Okay fine.

But, he's made it to the promised land.  Monday, the braces came off.

Later that evening, Chaco stopped by.  He wanted some tax advice - WHAAAT?!  Oh well, that's another story.  I asked him if he noticed anything different about Meego.

"Uhm... he looks... browner"

Okay, not quite the answer I was expecting, but then...

"Oh, he got his braces off!  Now his teeth are straighter than mine".


Linking up with Mama Kat this week for the prompt:
1. Throwback Thursday: Choose a photo from a previous April and write a poem or a blog post.

(I know the "before" pics are not from a previous April, but I thought they were before I found out the truth, and I'm not coming up with something else now...)


Saturday, April 16, 2016

bloody ups and downs

Despite the title, this isn't about female issues.  Then again, I suppose it kind of is...

See, I got a call from the blood people this week.  Remember a couple of weeks ago?  I donated blood at the university blood drive?

So this very friendly blood woman called and said, in a very nice way, "your blood sucks", or something like that.

Come to think of it, I think what she actually said was, "We ask that you don't donate to the blood supply anymore", which to me sounded like

"your blood sucks" or

"don't let the door hit you on the way out".


As she very nicely explained, women who have been pregnant, often develop certain antibodies.  These antibodies have shown in recent years to be quite dangerous to certain people who have certain underlying illnesses when those certain people receive blood transfusions containing the antibodies.

By "quite dangerous", it means they usually die.

It's a rare thing, but to play it safe, the blood people throw out the been-pregnant-lady-antibody blood.  She explained that the antibodies are of no harm to me, but I will have them for the rest of my life, hence the "don't come back".

Oh, darn.

I perked up when she said,


there is research being done to determine the cause of this particular reaction.  Your blood would be useful for such research"

Oh, good!


there isn't any research currently being done in Colorado."

Oh, darn


there will likely be research in Colorado in the near future."

Oh, good!

She asked if I'd like to be added to a database of people willing to donate for research, and I said I would.  So maybe all is not lost.

And I suppose if I have to choose between having my kids and being useful as a blood donor, it's an easy choice.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

night at the thea-tah

Magnum and I got some culture last  night and attended a play.  Okay, so maybe it was just the high school drama production, but it still counts as culture.

They performed "The Boy Friend", a musical set in the 1920's.  I like to think about that era.  A few weeks ago, Joey asked us where we would like to time travel to if we could do such a thing, and I immediately thought of the roaring 20's.

I remember looking at old photos of my grandparents, who were in their 20's during the 20's.  They lived in California and were in the movie business - silent movies mainly.  It's a bit difficult to think of my Grandma as so young, but I remember the photos - her with feathers and headbands and looking quite flapper-esque.  And she would often talk about being an actress and some of their escapades.  I'm pretty sure she left some parts out in retelling these stories to me as a kid, now that I think about it.

With the high school production, along with Joey's prompting, I mentioned to Magnum that I thought it would be fun to visit the 20's.

"You mean before the crash?", he responded

Uhm... YEAH, ya think?!

But the main reason we attended the play is that, it may be recalled, Meego was asked to be one of the accompanying musicians as it prompted the saga of transporting the upright bass.  It is a musical, after all, and the drama people understandably wanted live music as opposed to recorded.

So last night's performance was the freebie for the parents - probably mainly aimed at drama parents, but a few of us band parents crashed it anyway.

It was entertaining, they did a nice job.  It's good to see kids putting such effort into a fine performance, and some of them were quite impressive with their singing abilities.  I wasn't familiar with the musical before, uncultured as I am.

And yay for the musicians!  They did a nice  job despite being the forgotten ones in the background.  The lighting in the auditorium is bad for photos, but here's an obligatory action shot of Meego back there with the instrument that's too big for my car.

Doors open tonight for paying folk, and the production runs through the weekend.  I'm sure they'll do a nice job and probably bring in some decent ticket sales.

And I think Meego's having a good time with it.  He's not one to act in a drama performance, but he does alright with slapping the bass as musical accompaniment and general go-with-the-flow.

Last night, we collected him afterwards, and he was telling us something when I noted, "Sorry, it's hard for me to take you seriously with  you dressed like that"

He removed the skimmer hat to reveal that his hair had taken on the shape of the hat.  It only enhanced the can't-take-you-seriouslyness.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

be chased by young, fit guys? Okay!

So I did this fun thing this morning.  A "Tortoise and Hare 5k".  Ever heard?

The way it works is, everyone gets a handicap based on age, size, and sex.  Men who are 20 - 34 years old and of a certain size ratio (weigth/height) get a big zero.  Everyone else flexes off of that based on their sex, age, weight, and height loaded into a nicely honed equation that then spits out a time handicap.  The idea is to level the playing field for everyone, so it's just a test of 5K running fitness, all other things (theoretically) set equal.

Oh, what fun!

Part of the fun is that, rather than have a mass start, runners start the race based on their handicap.  My handicap worked out to 7 minutes, 48 seconds, so I started at 7:48 before the race clock.  Old, fat women go first and so on... *ahem*

Once on the course, you try to catch the people who have gone before.  First one across the finish wins, as with a typical race.

It was a lovely morning for it.  Sunny with temps around mid-40s.  There were 250 finishers.  I took 6th place overall with a handicapped finish time of 15:34


In fact, the top three finishers were all women, all very fit looking.  I had no problem losing to them!  

It was a fun event hosted by the local running club.  I heard about it last week some time.  They included this photo of enticing trophies, of which I got a kick out of the caption:

So it was a fun way to start the weekend.  I hadn't done a 5k in quite a while, missing the last turkey trot because of icy crappy conditions.  This was the first time in a long time of running in shorts.  I was hoping that my dog bite scar might intimidate the other runners, but I'm pretty sure it did not.  

Thursday, April 7, 2016

giving up the snooze

The grad school started a "spring into wellness" program that began the week after spring break.  For the remainder of this semester, participants have a series of weekly challenges to complete.  There are prizes!  (because, really, who would participate if not for prizes?)

For instance, this week we are tracking our daily spending and watching for any bad habits or unnecessary expenses.  It's not much of a "challenge" for me since we got on the penny pinching bandwagon way back when I quit my job to be a stay-at-home-mom.

Last week was a water challenge.  We were tasked to drink half our weight (in pounds) in ounces of water each day.  So for someone who weighs 200 lbs, they were to drink 100 ounces each day.  There are online discussions to participate in each week, so last week's discussions mostly centered on big people having to carry around lots of water and easy ways to do that, along with an increase in trips to the bathroom.

Since this week isn't particularly challenging, I took on an additional goal.  See, for two days in a row, I was prompted, from unrelated sources, to stop using the snooze button.   I took these as messages from the universe to GET UP! when the alarm goes off.

I'll admit to having been a snooze-a-holic for the past several years.  Don't know when it began actually.  But yes, I'm one of those weirdos who would set the alarm for a good 30 to 45 minutes before I needed to get up, then spend that time repeatedly hitting snooze.  Magnum rode along.

This week, we decided, no more of that!  I learned that sleep quality  is actually quite crappy during those snooze button sessions.  We are way better off just setting the alarm for when we intend to get up, and then GET UP.

So we're doing it.  I feel SO much better!  Okay, it's only been two days, but...

In other progress news, the tidying continues.  I honestly thought I was already pretty tidy, clutterphobe that I am.  But I'm rising to a whole 'nother level.  Even Magnum has (surprisingly) gotten on the bandwagon.  Or  maybe he's just playing along because of that testimonial from one woman who chucked out her husband along with the other discards that were not sparking joy.

And speaking of tidying, the city seems to be on that bandwagon too.  Over a year ago, they took to cleaning up and renovating a section of the bike trail that I used regularly.  It was a big project as it included putting in a bicycle underpass and performing major clearing and erosion control on the adjacent creek bed.  It was scheduled to be finished at the end of last October, which meant that in no way would it be completed by the end of last October.

Since they closed it off, I've been taking a detour which hasn't been too bad, but caused me to encounter people hitting me up for marijuana as well as Bella's tire being screwed.

But whaddya know, Magnum and I went on a ride and discovered that they opened it last weekend!

Glory Hallelujah!

I don't have any "before" photos, but suffice to say that this is quite a makeover.  No wonder it took so long!  It's almost too devoid of flora, but I've seen landscapers out with a few plantings this week, so I doubt it will stay this barren for long.

Gosh, I'm gonna miss that guy bumming weed.  

Sunday, April 3, 2016

life and taxes

The sun is shining!  Spring is springing!  That cat is killing something in the backyard!

I'd say April is coming in like a lamb.  I know the lamb/lion thing is typically for March, but I'm running late I suppose.

This was a productive week, once I got out of spring break mode.  I've been feeling a bit restless because I cut back on the tuting this semester so I could focus on finishing up with school.  I find that I kinda miss the tutees, but it's nice having more flexibility in my schedule.

And speaking of being a freeloader... shout out to Magnum for completing our taxes.  He does them every year, wading through the piles of forms and instructions.  I just stay out of the way.  I did, however, walk Meego through his first experience of being a United States Taxpayer.  Yay.

Afterwards, as I strolled by Magnum among the piles of forms on the dining table, "We're done with Meego's.  What's taking you so long?"

Not nice, I know.

Another highlight this week was a visit from brother Guano!  Y'all remember  him, right?  He sends his regards.  He'd told me a while back that he got a new Mac computer that allows him to read the blog, but doesn't yet let him post comments.  So we've all had to go without his wit and wisdom here in the meantime.

Anyways, he was in Colorado for a few days this week, and he and I managed to spend some quality time on Friday.  We had some business regarding the settling of our dad's affairs and ended up practically being held hostage by this financial guy, but that's a whole 'nother story.  Nothing negative, the guy just likes to talk and talk about stuff NOBODY CARES ABOUT!!  We managed to eventually get out of there without either of us punching him in the face.

It was a nice if short visit.  Guano then traveled a couple of hours to spend time with brother Hagrid before returning home.  I'll spare the references, but these guys help me to realize how nice it is to have siblings I like and get along with.

And I realize I have no photos from the week to decorate this post with. I could show you my sock drawer.  I've been tidying, remember?  Okay, never mind.

But on that note, the tidying does continue.  Although this is how I often feel:


And there.  Now, at least I have some decorative imagery.  I should probably go clean up after the cat now.