Tuesday, May 31, 2016

"if you feel like sh*t, everyone you hate wins"

First of all, happy belated Memorial Day to my American friends.  I'm glad we have a holiday set aside for our fallen heroes.  I want to express my thanks and acknowledge that it's not about the white sales.

I happened across this story about female WWII pilots that irked me and had me looking a bit like this eagle, but at least now things are being resolved.  I'm just sad that it needed resolving in the first place.

Memorial Day also serves as a sort of unofficial start to summer.  Magnum and Meego were off of work and school.  On Sunday, we were happily tending to some lovely yard work when a storm blew in and literally rained and hailed and lightninged and thundered on our parade.

As the storm lingered into the afternoon, I was starting to feel that familiar cabin fever.  I told Magnum, "I suppose we could go check out Wolfgang's fitness center, just to appease him."

So, with that, Magnum and I set out with a purpose to our afternoon while Meego was engaged in a rousing game of Monopoly with some neighbor friends, so passed on the tour.  We entered the place, told them our status, and were soon set loose to explore on our own.  As we did so, I texted Wolfgang to let him know we were following up on his request, but no promises.

Everything was nice as expected - spacious workout areas, two large pools, luxurious locker rooms, yoga studios, etc.  And Wolfgang was right, the outdoor pool is very inviting... as long as the weather cooperates.


As we wandered around the machines into the free weights area, I saw a familiar back of shirt and head.  I was 99% sure it was Wolfgang.  He was standing near a pull-up bar as a huge person was completing several reps.

I tried to sneak up on him, but the universe delivered my text at that very moment.  I saw Wolfgang pull his phone from his pocket, glance at it, and then turn around like he felt my sneakiness.  So we chatted a bit about the place, about the the current level of busyness, etc.  In the meantime, the huge pull-up guy dismounted with a solid landing, turned around, and said hello.

It was Dylan, one of Wolfgang's good friends from high school.  Dylan attends a university out of town, but is home during the summers and breaks.  He and Wolfgang are still buddies, but I haven't seen much of Dylan since they graduated high school.

If not for the fact that Wolfgang told me a couple of weeks ago about Dylan's newfound interest in body-building and that "Dylan is just huge now, and you should see how much he eats!", I honestly would not have recognized him.

Dylan's always kept pretty fit, he and Wolfgang ran track and cross-country together and regularly went to the rock climbing center.  But he's always been that kind of runner/climber sinewy type of fit.  Now he looks like the Incredible Hulk without the green and snarl.

We quickly left those guys to their Herculean activities and pondered (a.k.a snooped the place on the internet).  In the end, we got the family account Wolfgang has been rooting for, and he is very pleased about that as it lowers his fee considerably.  We brought Meego over, and he also deemed it worthy.

So now I find myself a member of a posh "gym", and I totally plan to get our money's worth.  But I'm wondering how Wolfgang made it rain.


Sunday, May 29, 2016


This week's Illustration Friday prompt is "Tribal", and I drew this mask for no other meaning than it was just fun.  I don't know the origin of this mask.  I just found the reference on Pinterest and think that it's African, and that's all the culture from me today.

Merriam-Webster defines "tribe" as:
a group of people that includes many families and relatives who have the same language, customs, and beliefs.

And it occurs to me that this is a time of year when many tribes get together.  Our next-door neighbors had  a large gathering at their house yesterday.  They've lived there for about a year, and I don't know them all that well, but what I do know is all good.

This is the neighbor who killed an antelope last fall, then gave us a couple pounds of meat from the murder.  None of us had eaten antelope before, and we declared it good with a very distinct flavor.

Their tribal gathering also seemed nice in that, despite the throngs of people in attendance, it was relatively subdued save for one girl child who felt that screaming was a necessary part of any game being played in the yard.

As for us, Wolfgang was here for most of the day.  He'd dropped his truck off at that same tire store that lives across the creek from us.  Smartly, he asked us for a ride rather than traverse the creek.

He continues to lobby for me to get a family membership at that high faluting fitness center he goes to. It would considerably lower his portion of the membership fee, which he now pays as an individual.   I remind him that it would substantially increase our portion of the membership fee for which we currently pay zero.

Still, we might go visit to have a look around.  "The outdoor pool opens this weekend.  It's REALLY nice... you should check it out!",  as just a portion of his sales pitch.   He knows which of my buttons to push.

I still use the university rec center, but it's not as easily accessible, nor does it have as nice of ammenities as Wolfgang's place.  On the other hand, it costs us nothing (more).  Magnum says he'd be interested in trying a yoga class at the nice place.  But don't tell Wolfgang.

I drew the illustration while Wolfgang and I chatted about fitness centers and various other topics.  I did it in my pocket moleskine, which is just the cutest thing and one of my indulgences.

I don't really have time (nor the inclination) to do bigger art projects, so this is a nice plaything.  I can get cheaper knock-offs, but I think, once you go moleskine, you don't go back.

Friday, May 27, 2016



Happy Friday.  Today is Meego's last day of school.  He has final exams in math and English.  Gone are the elementary school days of end-of-year parties.

I was thinking about that this morning because I remembered how the end of the year used to sort of sneak up on me.  *BAM!* it would be here, and I'd be scrambling to get gifts for teachers and get snacks for the parties.  No such things in high school *sigh of relief*

A couple of days ago, Meego asked if he could buy a game online.  He typically purchases computer games from Steam.  I let him use our credit card, then he pays me.  So he asked to buy one and I said okay.

A few minutes later, he says to me from the other room, "I put the information in, now it's asking me for a bunch of other information, so maybe you should come check."

I was lazy busy, so I just asked him, "What other 'bunch of other' information is it asking you for?"

"It's asking for the last 4 digits of your social security number..."


He'd gone to a different site, on the advice of a friend, to try to get a better price.  Needless to say, we stopped that transaction.  Shortly afterwards, Magnum and I both got calls from the fraud alert department at our credit card company.

I spoke with someone I could barely understand, but I'm pretty sure, in the end, it all got straightened out.  Apparently, that particular site is a known danger, so I told Meego he was right to be suspicious and stop the purchase. He said his friend purchased from them, however...

It was a good lesson for him, but our credit card was sacrificed in the process.  I'm awaiting the new ones which should arrive in "fi to sebben beez kneez dis", which I think translates to about a week.  But I could be wrong.

Despite the communication troubles, I do appreciate these fraud alert departments.  We've dealt with them a few times in the past - sometimes to verify legitimate purchases, and a few times to catch some bad guys.   And it so happens that this is the only credit card we use, so in the meantime, I'm credit-card-less.

So as I patiently await the arrival of the new cards - which may or may not be chip-and-pin.  My translation powers had been exhausted by that point - I'm trying to not buy anything while catching up on some projects around the house.

Yesterday, I was in the back yard, where we do nothing to control the dandelions other than mow them down when they get too tall.  Napolion was out there enjoying our bumper crop of dandelions while scoping out the bumper crop of baby bunnies.  I wish bunnies ate dandelions.

Kitty in the... erm... "garden"


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

a couple of quick peeves

Well doesn't that sound so nice.

I do enjoy walking.  I have a bit of a problem with the word "every" in that image, however.

I walked yesterday.  I was not happy for every ten minutes.

See, I took the beater/learner car in for new tires and then walked home.  It was about a 2.5 mile walk and a pleasant morning.  All was fine until I came upon a point where the road crossed a creek.  The sidewalk disappeared.  What's up with that?!  Google maps did not warn me of this development!

My logical choices were to:
(a) wait for a break in traffic on the very busy road and make a mad dash for about 50 feet where the road went over the creek.
(b) backtrack well past the tire place to a crosswalk, walk across the busy road (6 lanes plus a median)  to use the sidewalk on the other side, then cross back again at a crosswalk beyond the creek
(c)  backtrack well past the tire place and catch the bus
(d)  call a neighbor friend to come get me
(e)  hang out near the tire store for 2+ hours where the main hangouts consisted of a head shop and a tattoo parlor

I chose (f) for .... "screw" this and just scrambled down the creek bank, scrambled across the creek, then scrambled up the opposite bank.  Luckily, the water level was quite low and there were big rocks from one end of the creek to the other that I could walk upon.

So no biggie for me, but I was thinking about other pedestrians?  What about older people whose scrambling days are behind them?  What about people walking with little kids - maybe with strollers?

Later, when the car was ready, I contemplated the same choices above and ended up choosing (f) again.  It felt good and rebellious, so maybe that graphic is true.

And since I don't particularly like to complain, particularly on the blog, I'll vent about something else and then be done with it.

A woman in my PEO chapter just had a baby. YAY!  Of course we've known this was bound to happen for a few months now, and a couple of months ago, I asked the appropriate person if we were going to have a shower for her.

I got this answer, paraphrased:  "No".

Now, I've been in PEO a long time and have been to many a PEO baby shower.  My own babies were showered upon by PEOs.  Heck, Chaco was nearly delivered by them!  But that's another story.  I am relatively new to my current chapter, and I really do like the members, but this baby thing...

The reasoning was that "We haven't had a baby shower in a long time, so if we have one now, the moms with babies that didn't get showers might feel left out".  Oh sheesh.  On a side note, Running Sue, who is also relatively new to this chapter, asked about a shower too.  I say that's evidence enough to mark this chapter as a bit of a party pooper among the sisterhood.

But fear not, they do have a plan for new babies:  a spoon.

OH no!  Not that spoon!  Rather, a sterling silver baby spoon that might be a nice token, but who actually uses such things?  Now, I realize I'm more practical-minded than average, but I feel a bit disappointed that we're just giving this new mom a spoon that she will likely never use.

Sidewalks and showers.  Is it too much to ask?


Saturday, May 21, 2016


It's been a long time since I played some Illustration Friday.  So long it took me a while to find my art pencils, what with all the tidying going on lately.

But I found them and did this sketch of a Dachshund on wheels for the topic "Wheels".

Wheels is a bit of a theme this week.  That Honda Civic we bought for Meego to learn to drive?  It needs tires and I almost got some today, but the shop was too busy, so I'll try again on a weekday.  The tires it has now are somewhat bald Pirelli's.  What?  On a no-frills '05 Honda Civic?  It makes us wonder the story of this car.  I've told Meego that the replacement tires will certainly NOT be Pirelli's.

In other wheel news, I helped out a somewhat damsel in distress who was stranded on the side of the road with a flat tire on her bicycle.  She had a very nice road bike and was wearing all the fancy gear, so I knew she knew what she was doing, but the tire that was flat would NOT come off in order to repair it.  It was rather cold outside, so I'm thinking that might have had something to do with it, but anyway, eventually we got it taken care of.

She'd been working away at it for about 20 minutes she said, when I'd come by on my bike and stopped.  Getting very frustrated, she'd even begun to cry.  I could tell because her eyelashes were still wet from it.  I felt bad for her and glad I could be of some help.  What is it with stranded people on the side of the road lately?!

We chatted during the repair to take her mind off the earlier frustration.  She's about 19 and a student at the university, studying biology, she said.  My motherly instincts were in full operation, and I didn't leave until the wheel was back on and I was pretty sure she'd get where she was going.

Someday, this will be one of those feel good stories where she'll be some high-faluting doctor in the future, and I'll have some rare disease and she'll save my life.  And we'll be all, "remember that flat tire!?"

Or not...

Then Chaco showed  up this morning.  He was out for a bike ride and swung on by to grace us with this fashion disaster:

Nice cycling jersey, but gym shorts?!  He said he realized just this morning that he doesn't have any decent shorts for cycling, just long pants but it was too warm.  Gym shorts it was, but proper shorts are on order.

Sorry I didn't have a patch kit for that!


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

incident in Mouse Town, with gif accompaniment

I had an interesting encounter the other morning.

I was out enjoying a pleasant morning run.  About 30 minutes into it, I was happily loping through Mouse Town when I noticed a car pulled over a short distance ahead, and realized it had just then stopped.

As I approached, I saw someone get out.  I wondered if he was having car troubles or personal medical troubles as he looked a bit weary.  Then he sort of crawled along the ground behind the car and I was leaning toward personal medical trouble at that point.

But no, as I got even closer, I saw that he was looking at something underneath the rear of the car.  He stood up just as I was alongside and asked, "Do you know the name of this road?"

"Yes, this is [Mouse Town] Parkway", I replied.

Then he launched into what could reasonably be called a major rant.  Not at me.  He was just clearly Fed UP.  I just stood and listened to him as I felt he just needed someone to hear his tale of woe and let him vent it all out.

Over the course of a very loud, animated, R-rated narrative, I gathered that he had signed on with a temp agency.  The temp agency told him to go to a Lowe's store to work.  He arrived promptly at the address from the temp agency where he was then told he was needed at a different Lowe's instead - the Lowe's up near Mouse Town.

I don't think he's been in town for very long.  His broken car had Florida license plates, and he was a bit unfamiliar with the area.  He was about two miles from Mouse Town Lowe's, but headed in the wrong direction.

My impression of  him was that he's a good guy, but this was the final straw in a long line of straws.  I also gathered that he's the type to wear his emotions on his sleeve - making him a bit prone to such rants - and I would bet that when things are going well, he's probably a very fun and giving person to have around.  I genuinely felt bad for him.

But I didn't have much to offer.  I was just out for a run - no car, no phone, no nothing.  So I just listened and tried to be a comforting presence.  "Those sons-o-bitches!", I didn't actually say in reference to the bleeping temp agency - but I think he felt my commiserating attitude.

At one point he said, "I'm ready to kill myself!", which was rather an alarming thing to hear.  

"No, really, I wanna meet my maker!", he went on.  "And you know what I'd do when I met Him?"

"Uhmm, punch Him in the face?", I ventured a, hopefully comic relieving guess.

"I'd walk up and shake his hand and then 'THIS is WHAT i THINK of YOU!'", as he punctuated each syllable by throwing punches in the air, very near my face.   And I thought that I probably shouldn't have planted that particular idea...

Realizing I was having this conversation while traffic continued to flow past, I began wondering what it looked like to the motorists.  Some may have assumed that we were having some sort of couple's spat that had moved outside the car. So I made a point to smile and keep my movements and facial expressions light so as to not cause alarm.

I'm not sure if it helped explain things, but no one stopped.

He eventually seemed to calm down some.  I really think he just needed to vent it out and then he'd be okay to deal.  I asked if he had triple-A, and he said he did.  He also had his phone in the car.  We said our good-byes and I sincerely wished for his day to get better.  I like to think that AAA showed up quickly and things turned around for the guy.

As for me, I finished my run.  I rejoined the pathways and the others out for their morning runs, feeling rather light-footed and carefree after the encounter.

Never a dull moment in Mouse Town.


Sunday, May 15, 2016

party time!

Well thank goodness for f@cebook.  How else would I have known that yesterday was my own kid's birthday?

And no, I did not post "Happy Birthday, Meego!" on his timeline or on my timeline or anyone else's timeline.  I did it the old fashioned way in person.

Meego turned 16 yesterday, and in the midst of all the graduation hoopla, we made the day about him.  Chaco and Wolfgang spent the day with us, and Meego chose an outing of lunch and a movie - Captain America:  Civil War, which needed absolutely no help from us at the box office.

I'm at the age now where I prefer a good chick flick over an action hero/comic book movie, but I enjoyed Civil War well enough.  Since I've seen all of the preceding movies, under similar circumstances, I knew the backstory going in, so prepared myself ahead of time to enjoy this movie and I did.  It was emotionally painful to see the good-guy-on-good-guy violence, but I managed.

Then today was more of a Chaco day as Magnum's mom and stepdad came for a quick visit and we all had another lunch outing, this time in honor of graduation.  So good weekend, and now I'm getting in some alone time :)

It was a nice week all around, too.  It's always a strange feeling to end a semester.  All the frenzy of final project work and responsibility abruptly ending, and then nothing.  I keep thinking I should be doing something for class, but then remember I'm finished for now.  But fear not, I'm sure the sloth life will settle onto me very soon - probably about the time my summer class begins.


Thursday, May 12, 2016

no degree for me yet, but I least I got stuff!

Another semester of classes has come to a close.  When I last spoke with Chaco, he couldn't WAIT to be finished.  That was on Sunday.  He and Wolfgang actually came over as a sort of Mother's Day... thing.  Which was nice.  We just kinda hung out as we don't usually do anything special on Mother's Day, so that was special.

Whee!  I'm in college!

I was thinking about back to nearly four years ago when Chaco was just moving into the freshman dorm - how excited he was (and how rather traumatized I was).  It's been a good four years for him, and it's time to move on.

Graduation is tomorrow.  We left it up to him as to whether he would do the whole cap'n'gown thing as we're pretty ambivalent when it comes to all that pomp and circumstance biz.  We told him we'd be there with bells on if he wanted, but Chaco didn't feel a need to sit through graduation in a funny hat.  YAY.

I went to the university today.  I noticed right away that I didn't feel as old as I usually do.  There were quite a lot of "older than usual" people on campus - parents in for graduation or packing freshmen and/or sophomores out of the dorms.

As for me, I was not there to collect any degrees or any children, but rather to cash in!

Remember a little while back?  I mentioned this "Spring into Wellness Challenge" the graduate school was throwing?  I was drinking a bunch of water for that first challenge?  Sure ya do!

Anyway, the challenge took place over the final six weeks of the semester, with a different challenge each week.  We were to complete the challenges and take part in discussions with other participants.  I thought it was fun.  The challenges weren't too difficult, but made me think about "wellness", and I enjoyed the discussions with grad students other than those that are in my program.

"Prizes" were vaguely mentioned early on, and lo and behold, they awarded nicer than expected prizes to the top three participants.  And I got top prize!  Yeah, moi!  Fifty bucks at the university bookstore.  Surprise!

So I went today to cash in.  I did NOT spend it on textbooks.  (1) the bookstore book prices are ridiculous, and (2) sorry, but a textbook doesn't feel very "prizey".

I got an Under Armour ColdGear 3/4 zipper pullover.  It's fun just to say it!  This will be nice for those cold-weather rides and runs.  And yes, so far, it is "sparking joy"

As I was perusing all the paraphernalia, I was surprised to not see any reference to the university on this particular pullover.  Then I turned it around and saw this rather inconspicuous blurb

Well, okay then!  I didn't need it today as it's lovely out and I rode in single layer short sleeves.  I just put it on for blog quality - sacrifices I make.  I like the thumb holes in the sleeves.  I wish we could actually go back to winter right now!  No I don't!

I was also due for Pedal Perks from April, so...

I know they look like pretty boring socks from the tops, but the material is nice lightweight moisture whicking stuff.  And they're actually quite flashy.  Plus... free!

So that's it for now - top to bottom.  What's new with you??


Sunday, May 8, 2016

when one trail opens, another closes

The calendar says it's Mother's Day, and while I tell our kids not to make a big deal because "everyday is Mother's Day to me", I don't want the day to pass without a shout out to Mom in heaven.

So Happy Mother's Day to my mom friends and to the best mom I could've asked for!

But no Hallmark plans for us today, as the family readily complies with my wishes.

In other news, it seems trail maintenance season is upon us!  Back in November, the general election results gave some money the city government had lying around to go towards maintenance of bicycle and pedestrian trails.  Now that spring has kind of sprung, things have gotten very orange around here.

I'm not complaining, although it is inconvenient.  I've seen some other bicyclists grumbling like spoiled brats.  I realize it will be nice when completed.

In fact, crews did a major job on the trail that goes behind our house.  Chewed it all up and spit out new over a couple of weeks.  As they were working on it, I started thinking that it didn't need it so much.

"I wish they'd fix that crappy portion near Fillmore instead!", I lamented when I saw all the attention our neighborhood trail was getting

Ask and I shall receive!  This week, I was met with much much barriers, mud, orange signs, detours, earth  moving equipment, and port-a-potties at just that site!

Magnum and I were out tooling around on Friday afternoon.   Last weekend was "Bike Fest!" at a large bike store here.  It's a big sale where the store clears out the previous year's bikes to make way for the new.  Magnum had been needing a replacement for dear old Bob for a while, and was waiting for Bike Fest.  So we hit the fest during last weekend's crap weather and brought home a new friend.

the Stud!... and Magnum

The new friend, who has yet to tell us his name, went to sit in the garage because of the aforementioned crap weather.

Things turned around for us this week, so Magnum took Friday off for some catching up and recreating.  I decided to join in.  I rode Meego's old bike that he's outgrown.  It has nice warm-weather tires and I was too lazy to change out the winter tires from Bella.

It was a nice day for it and a nice ride.  I admit that I began to have feelings for Albert, Meego's old bike, similar to the feelings I developed for Good Time Louie.

I was going to sell Albert, but now I'm thinking, "what's the rush?"

So the warm weather brings more opportunities for some fun riding, along with dealing with trail closures and detours.  At least the port-a-potties are plentiful.


Thursday, May 5, 2016

finally almost

I'm getting so much done!  Strangely, we're in the final weeks of school, so final projects time.  That means I do everything BUT work on final projects.  Funny how that happens...  I tell myself that it's all cooking in my brain while I do all that other stuff.

So while I'm busy procrastinating, I thought I'd drop in on the blog and report that firstly, the sun hath returneth!  Much rejoicing has taken place this week.  See?

"Meow'm SO happy!"
The school year is winding down for Meego too.  The music program had it's annual Spring Concert last week.  The kids and instructors all do a nice job, but there are so many different groups, and they each play multiple songs.  The thing stretches on forEVER!   Look, don't Meego and this gang look like they're having a rip-roaring time?!

Yah! Spring!  Music!  Whoo!
Chaco graced us with his presence this week.  It's finals time for him too, so the procrastination apparently runs in the family.  Actually, he's had a tough case of Senioritis this semester.  He's had  a job since last summer, and he's just having to finish up these last classes to be working full-time.  Anyway, he came over stating that he wanted a haircut.

He and Wolfgang still come over for haircuts since I've been the family barber since forever.  They've considered going to a real hair place, but I guess they like the freebies.  I noted that his hair didn't seem all that long.

"Yeah, but I decided I'd come over here instead of work on projects"

I'm not complaining.  He didn't like what I'd planned for dinner, so he cooked us a better one.

So it's springtime, and it's warm and sunny for now.  I can feel my allergies bubbling up.  I am aware of bugs buzzing around, but I have yet to be stung by a bee.  All is good.  And there, I just finished more final project... my mind.