Sunday, August 28, 2016

rocks and sammiches

This was a good and productive week, although it's a bit sad to say "goodbye" to summer.  Summer seems to have just flown on by, and we didn't really have any memorable getaways.  As consolation, at least I completed a summer class, so there's light at the end of that tunnel.  And I did have a couple of nice tutees.

In the getaway department, although I never left the state, I can now say that TWO - count 'em - TWO blog friends came to visit!

Recall that Shadowrun300 was here just a couple of weeks ago with two of her sons, and today, I got to meet the World Famous Agg79 in the flesh!

He'd emailed me recently, saying he had a business trip out this way and could we meet up?  Well, yeah!

Originally, we thought we'd just get together for lunch, but then he mentioned he might want to do a bit of hiking while here.  After considering the options, the vote went to Red Rock Canyon open space, where I've hiked twice now with Shadowrun.

It covers quite a bit of area, isn't too touristy, and has a large parking lot to accommodate plenty of visitors and blog friends who are trying to organize a meetup.

Magnum and I arrived at the designated time, and I was glad we'd chosen that particular attraction as the parking lot was quite full.  Other places we were considering have smaller parking areas, making that a concern considering it's the weekend and a nice weatherly day.

The next task was to find Agg.  That turned out to be quite easy as I soon spotted a rather tall man walking around in a shirt bearing the state flag of Texas!

And what a nice time it was!  Agg is as nice if not nicer in person than he is on his blog, not surprisingly.  We traipsed around the trail system while chatting about dogs, military life, college football, travel, Airstreams...  In fact, we were so engrossed in various discussions, that I didn't get many photos.  That one posted up there?  That's about it.

Thunderclouds were rumbling a bit in the distance, but thankfully, they stayed off to our west, allowing us to enjoy the trails along with quite a few others out with kids and/or dogs.  A few brave souls were geared up and climbing the rock faces, while a handful of mountain bikers were enjoying the day too.

I knew Agg and Mag would get along as they have much in common, like both being engineers and ex army guys.  Well... and they both know me.

After our hike, we headed to a nearby local brewery for tasty sandwiches, craft beer, and more conversation.  Soon enough, it was time to break off our visit.  As we pulled out of the parking lot, I texted Meego to see that he was up and being productive.

"Whachu doing?"

"I'm doing great..."

Oops, I'd accidentally texted Agg instead of Meego - HA! - which Agg pretty much figured out.

Thanks for the fun, Agg!  Until next time!


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

a new door opens and a sign gets run over

And so it begins.  The new school year has officially begun.  Meego started back last week, but really, that first week of high school seems like there's more homework for ME than for him.  All those agreements to sign to say I read the syllabus and agree to all the class rules.  Yup.

While out and about this week, I came across this "bad sign" at a busy intersection.  Hmmm...

My classes officially started on Monday. It's nice to be back into the swing.  Yesterday, I went to the university, and there were PEOPLE everywhere!  I'd gotten used to the quietude of summer semester.

And today, I felt right back into it as I had a typically productive day... of procrastinating my classwork by doing a bunch of other things!

I've got two big boxes o' stuff here that the nice guys with the big truck are coming to pick up tomorrow.  I reminded Meego and Magnum to go through their things for stuff that doesn't "spark joy".

Magnum says, "If I get rid of stuff, I can replace it with new".

That's the spirit!

In similar news, I was able to cut ties with Meego's old bicycle.  He'd conveniently outgrown it in the spring, which is conveniently when his birthday is, and we conveniently got him a new one to celebrate.  I fully intended to quickly sell the old one, but made the "mistake" of riding it one one day out of convenience.

Well, what a sweet little bicycle it was!

But here we are, three months later, and I realized I should let that bicycle go be friends with some other kid instead of this old lady who already has two bicycles.  I snapped a couple of pics, but it took me another week until I was emotionally ready to place the ad.

Good ol' Albert

Then it sold within about three hours.

Chaco tells me I sell bicycles for too low a price, but I say I price them just right to hit my target market.  My strategy came through again.

See, I price them so someone who doesn't really appreciate a nice bicycle will say, "PFFFT, I can get a NEW one at Walfarts for cheaper!"

But someone who knows a little about bicycles will say, "THAT'S a deal, what a good person that seller must be!  I'm gonna buy that bicycle for my 13-year-old grandson right now!"

And that's pretty much how it went down.  Win win.


Saturday, August 20, 2016


Fall classes begin next week, so I thought I'd squeeze in a last drawing for Illustration Friday where the prompt this week is "gold".

The prompt was probably inspired by the Olympics, which I have enjoyed watching.  I was one of the skeptics wondering if Rio could successfully pull them off, and I'll say that, from my living room anyway, it's been a good show.

It's been thrilling to see Usain Bolt get three more gold medals, and let's not talk about doofus Ryan Lochte.

My drawing, however, is not an Olympian, but a belly dancer.  The gold referring to all the jangly coins and things they wear.

I think belly dancers are classier versions of strippers.  Where I find strippers and titty bars in general quite sleazy, belly dancers are kinda cool.  I was on a date once, long time ago, at a Greek restaurant.  A belly dancer came out and danced among the tables.  All the while, she balanced a lit candle on her head while still making all those coins she wore jangle away.  My date stuck a dollar bill in her ample cleavage.  It was a fun night.

And speaking of athletic endeavors, today is the running of the Pikes Peak Ascent where runners race 13 miles to the top of the peak.  Wolfgang decided to do it again with a couple of friends this year.

He'd probably be the first to admit that he didn't do a whole lotta training.  I asked him last weekend if he was ready, and he replied with a tentative, "yeah?"

I went out for a run this morning and it was noticeably chilly.  I looked toward the peak and may have seen a dusting of snow on top.  But the skies were clearing and it looked to be a good day for the event.

So in full mom mode, I went to the results site and kept on refreshing the page until I'd seen that all three guys made the summit - in pretty good time too, considering the lack of prep.  One nice feature is that there are checkpoints along the way, so us couch potato lowlanders can know what section of the course our participants of interest are in.  Afterward, I asked Magnum how moms coped back in the old days??

Tomorrow is the marathon - race to the top AND back down again.  Some people do both races back-to-back, but they exist in a different realm than I do.  Similar to ample cleavaged belly dancers.


Thursday, August 18, 2016

tops and bottoms and stuff in between!

It's been a FUN and productive week... and it's only Thursday!

P.E.O. is quite busy right now with gearing up for Oktoberfest.  So with that, and all the strenuousness of sitting on the couch and watching Olympics in the evenings, it seems like there's no downtime!

And much to my glee, Shadowrun300 came a-visiting!  She and two of her bright and handsome sons came out to our fair city for a little vacay.

I managed to meet up with them for a short hike on Tuesday.  See, here's the backs/sides of them on the trail!

Since my family won't pose nicely for me,
I'm used to just snapping at random

I soon had to leave them to continue on their merry adventures, but I'd set aside Wednesday as a day to play.

Wednesday started out dark and early as Shadowrun wanted to do the Incline.  After "rescuing" her from her mysteriously out-of-power hotel, we headed on over to Manitou Springs, and arrived as the sun began to peek over the horizon.

We took a  moment for grainy photos at the base among a few others preparing to head up, then we began going upstairs.  

Shadowrun  indicated to me that she didn't plan to do a slow stop-and-smell-roses type of climb.  She had actually prepared to do the Incline leading up to this trip.  I had no doubts about her level of fitness, but the altitude seems to effect people differently in ways I know nothing about.  I told her I would just follow her lead.

And that's what we did - all the way to the top without stopping.  She was awesome!  I stayed literally on her heels, watching as her blue running shoes just kept on a-going.  

At one  point, she asked, "Is THAT the top?", indicating the top, "because I thought  THAT was the top", indicating the "false summit" that we had just passed and looks like the top when looking up from the start.  I assured her that the top was the top and that she was making great time - all the while, the blue shoes never stopped... until the top! (how many times can  you say "top" in one paragraph?)  I will let her share her own reflections at her blog, and in the meantime...

Grainy Shadowrun photo from the... well, you know

There was quite a large group of young guys hanging out at the mouth of the stairs.  Upon observing them a bit, I'm pretty sure they were a group of army guys, with a few army women included too.  As we took in the sights,  I turned around to see a strange thing.  On a level patch of ground were four other, supposedly army, guys taking turns lifting a huge barbell?!

I remembered a guy at the base saying something about "those guys with the barbell".  Now I realized what he was referring to.  It seems this group of four carried that large bar along with two 45-pound iron plates up the Incline!  They soon packed up, and two guys carried the bar between them while the other two each hoisted a 45-pound plate over their shoulders and headed down the trail.  

Shadowrun and I headed down the trail soon afterward.  We never saw the barbell boys again.  They probably ran down.  

After hearty breakfasts and much needed showers, we still had the rest of the day to play.  Shadowrun had sent Chip and Amp on up to the top of Pikes Peak on the train, so it would be a while before they returned.

Seven Falls is a pretty area I hadn't been to in quite a while, and Shadowrun said she'd never been, so we headed on over.  To have falls requires heights.  Now, y'all know I don't like those (i.e. I have paralyzing acrophobia).  To get to the scenic top of the falls means climbing a very long and steep set of stairs that is scarier than the Incline.  But I figured it would be good for me.

The sign instructs to "take your time and use the handrails"  As if they need to tell ME that!

How can she look so calm?! --->

But I made it up, and we enjoyed nice views and trails as our reward.  Of course, eventually we'd have to go back down...

I asked Shadowrun to go in front of me as we ascended into hell made our way down the staircase, and not to worry if I sounded in distress. It would just be me utilizing my Lamaze breathing.  She did a great job.

By then, it was about time for the guys to be arriving back at the train depot.  We headed over and spotted them just after they'd "detrained".  Couldn't have timed it better if we tried.  I quickly dropped her off in front of the depot as she was relieved that her sons would not be a story on the evening news.

What a great day!  Thanks to Mother Nature for not raining/hailing/striking us dead by lightning!

And thanks, Shadowrun!  Good times!


Monday, August 15, 2016

summer haul

School starts today in our school district.  As a kid, I always got excited about the first day of school - getting back into the swing, new clothes, new school supplies, catching up with friends.  Oh, I guess there was new stuff to learn too.  Actually, I even looked forward to new classes.

Meego seems to be looking forward to starting another year too.  He actually gets today off because it's "dumb freshman" day at the high school (my name for it).  He'll officially start tomorrow.

As I've mentioned before, he works summers for a school supply kit business.  They stock and ship pre-packaged kits based on provided lists.  Remember running around checking stuff  off the lists?  Not necessary, just order from EduKit!  Heck, I used them back in the day.

So his last day was Friday, and as is typical, employees get to pick items for themselves from some designated leftovers.  He came home Friday afternoon carrying a good-sized box

He rides his bike to work, so when he came in carrying this box, I asked how he'd gotten it home.  Did someone give him a ride?  Was his bike still at the warehouse?  

Neither one, he said.  Then he went on to mimic the act of riding his bicycle while steering with one arm and carrying the box in the other.  What?

"The box seemed smaller in the building".

The warehouse is conveniently located just under three miles from our house, so it's a nice bike ride except when riding through duck poop in the rain.  But there are decent hills (we live in Colorado) and other obstacles, so doing it while carrying a densely packed  12"x 12" x12" box sounded pretty challenging.  

He described the ride home to me, and it seems he did use good caution.  Still, I can't help but think that anyone who saw him was thinking, "Who's that kid's mother?!"

Despite his method of getting the haul home, he did make some good reasonable choices.  Picked things he knew he would need and typically runs out of quickly.  We've still got some unused items from year's past (Wolfgang used to work there too) that are of the more flashy-but-probably-won't-need variety.

And I was touched.  He even thought of me while he "shopped", and bestowed upon me these gifts.

Disinfectant wipes and 3 fine-tipped sharpies.  *sniff*, that's love.  


Saturday, August 13, 2016


It's a Pikachu in a floating origami boat.  Obviously.

This week's Illustration Friday prompt is "origami", and I just happened to come across a photo of a Pikachu in a floating origami boat as I was searching for inspiration.

I was thinking specifically of origami boats because that's really the only origami thing I know how to make.  Unless paper airplanes count... do they?

My mom taught me to make origami boats many years ago, and I remember how amazed I was when she just folded a piece of paper a few times.  Then it was a hat, then she unfolded it and *POOF* it was a boat!

However, I can't explain Pikachu. But he makes for a cute boat-mouse-thing, and I'm trying to connect to my whimsical side, so there we go.

Meego downloaded the much anticipated PC game, "No Man's Sky" yesterday.  I'm not a gamer, but I've got them in the family, so I learn about these things from the fringes.  I watched a bit over his shoulder as he explained a few things to me, and I found the game is quite visually stunning.  It makes me think how far we've come.  Can Pong even be considered a video game anymore?

I hear game developers are getting away from "realistic" graphics and moving more toward "unique" imagery because games have gotten so realistic looking that there's not much further to go.  So I like the look of No Man's Sky, and that's the only part of it I can review because I know nothing.

In the meantime, I'll stick to drawing Pikachus in boats in my little sketchbook.


Thursday, August 11, 2016

thanks for sharing *sarcasm*

A high school here in Colorado had a sexting scandal in the news for much of last year.  Much sharing of many nekkid photos.  Officials pondered what to do.  Under current law, those kids were technically participating in child porn distribution.

While we adults shook our heads at the stupidness of the activity, the general consensus is that it goes on a lot, those particular kids just happened to get caught.

When I was a stupid teenager, we were a long ways from cell phones.  One feature of that era of my life is that 3.2 beer was available to anyone at least 18 years old.  "3.2 bars" - or underage dance clubs - were a regular hangout for teens, and my home town had a couple of popular ones.  Friday and Saturday nights would find us there, dancing and socializing and drinking pitchers of Coors Light in all our awesome 80's fashion.

Random Google Image

Occasionally, the bars would have some sort of "mixer" event.  I remember one such  night around the time the fall session was about to begin at the local junior college, as a way to welcome new students, I suppose.

There was a sexy legs contest - open to guys and girls both - and a wet t-shirt contest.  Just girls for that one...

And let the record show that I did not enter, nor did I want to enter either!

To me, the contests seemed rather sleazy but cheaply entertaining except for when people I knew got involved.  One guy I was sort of dating at the time entered the legs contest.  He did have nice legs, and he just walked around the stage wearing nothing below the waist other than his tightie whities and a pair of cowboy boots.  He was a nice guy, and my view of him dropped after that.

I asked him about it later, and he embarrassingly explained that he was a bit drunk and let friends talk him into it.  Side note:  he won.

Another once-nice-guy I'd dated (I really didn't get around THAT much, it just seems like guys I dated had a penchant for entering sleazy contests?) got into the legs contest, stripping down to a tiny jock strap and doing what I guess he thought was a sexy dance.  My view of him took a definite plunge.

I don't remember much about the wet t-shirt contest except for the girl who won.  I remember because she was the older sister of a good friend of mine.  She must've been in her  mid- to late 20s at the time, and I was wondering why she hung out at the teen bar.

She came onto the stage in her drenched shirt and began dancing embarrassingly around and looking like the old lady she relatively was.  As with the leg contest, winners were chosen based on the amount of applause from the crowd of spectators.  She was getting an okay amount of applause when she reached down and removed her shirt completely.

Needless to say, she won.

Now, I'm no prude, but I found that particularly pathetic.  First of all, why hang out as old lady in the teen bar?  And why take off the shirt?

Maybe it's good that people have opportunities to expose *snicker* a side of themselves and let others get a more well rounded *ahem* picture of who they are underneath the surface *COUGH*.  Better to find these things out sooner rather than later.  Also, kids do dumb things sometimes that they later regret when caught up in the pack mentality.

Nowadays it's even easier to do the dumb stuff.  We had big hair, but we didn't have any sexting back in the 80s.  That's a good thing.

Ever shared anything you later regretted sharing?  Care to share?


Linking up with Mama Kat for the prompt:
4. Write a blog post that ends with the word: share


Monday, August 8, 2016


Tired of me yet?  Well, join the club.  My summer class finished up with grades posted last week, so now I'm in a lull until fall classes begin.  I've got tuting and P.E.O. stuff to keep me on my toes, but still have some time to kill each day.  And darn if my new phone won't load Pokemon Go either!

Now I have a question for anyone reading.  At what age do you expect your kids to get their own selves out of bed on time for school, work, etc.?  Or for those who don't have kids - at what age were you responsible?

I don't remember my exact age, but I do remember getting a cool clock radio one Christmas, and from then on, I relished in the ability to set my alarm and get up on time each morning for school, all by myself.  I think I was in middle school or late elementary school.   Little did I know at the time that it was also a Christmas gift for my mom.

Meego, at 16,  still struggles with this.  I swear, he could sleep through a train wreck.  He sets alarms, but it usually happens that Magnum or I has to wake him up to tell him his alarm is going off.  What?

I felt he was getting too dependent on Magnum to get him up.  I recall one day, late in the school year last year, when he came to me asking for a ride to school - he usually walks, it's just over a mile away.

Meego:  *reluctantly*  Can you give me a ride to school?
Me:  *raised eyebrows*
Meego:  I know it's not Dad's job to wake me up, but he woke me up really late.
Me:  *to self - "does he listen to his sentences?"*  Uhm... that's a half-right, half-wrong.

Anyway, I gave him a ride.

He's made some progress over the summer, but we're not yet in full self-reliant mode.  Baby steps.

Any pointers?


In other "Get Up!" but otherwise unrelated  news - apparently Barry Bonds (I hear he plays baseball) reads my blog.  He was in town for something and did the Manitou Incline - clearly after reading about it here.

He posted a short, scenic, out-of-breath video seen [HERE].  Funny he didn't mention me...

Okay, ShadowRun, we're next!

Sunday, August 7, 2016's how you use it

How big do you like it?  Magnum and I pondered this question this afternoon.

Yup, headed on out to the Tiny House Jamboree!

We might be looking to downsize someday, but we're not really in the market for a tiny house.  It just looked like a fun thing to go kick around.  We invited Meego to come along:

Me:  Wanna go check out the tiny houses?!
Meego:  Why?


Okay, so he stayed behind.  I will say that, although the event was well attended, I didn't see a whole lot of teens there.  Families with little kids and empty-nesters made up the majority.  A few young childless couples too.  I'd bet that a lot of attendees were like us - just looky loos,  not really serious about owning a tiny house.

So it was a fun few hours.   This was the third and last day of the event, and judging by the crowd, I'd say they made a good amount of money from it.  Since the houses were so tiny, there were long lines to go inside them, as they only held a few people.

There were also quite a few houses.  I don't know the complete count, but plenty to see.

It was interesting how the designers made the most of the small spaces, but really, we didn't find them to be anything special compared to a camper or RV.   In fact, the Airstream people were there.  Maybe they realized they'd have a ripe and captive audience.   Here's a shot for Agg79.  Don't mind the huge paint brush.  Obviously no one told them this was an event for tiny things.

One thing that did seem to set the tiny houses apart was that most of them had nice roomy loft areas. Once inside them, they did feel like they had more space than one would expect from looking at the outside.

And, of course, I have written permission from these random jamboree goers to publish photos of them here.  *COUGH* ahem*

Here's a tiny house kitchen, with my good friends the PhotoBomb family.

There was a range of sizes, but most fell within about 300 square feet of living area.  Some of the bathrooms were surprisingly large, while others were very airplane travel-esque.

Good times at the jamboree, but I'm in no rush to shrink.  How big do you like it?


Friday, August 5, 2016

from where I sit

Just Do It

I got in some VoMo (volunteer mom) time today at band camp, which has been going on for the past two weeks.

They'd asked for volunteer "Parent Chaperone for Band Camp".  I asked one of the boosters about it.

"Basically you will be there for any students needing a little extra assistance due to heat or exertion.  If someone goes down on the sidelines – the directors or coaches want to be sure someone is there to help as needed so they can continue coaching others.

Last summer's camp had several incidents of "someone going down" - to the point of  bringing in an ambulance on a couple of occasions - so the directors justifiably asked for a little help.  It does get hot out there on the turf.

It wasn't too bad really.  The "shift" was listed as 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and I reluctantly signed up, thinking, "Eegads, six HOURS?!"  But, not surprisingly, there wasn't a whole lotta response because everyone else was probably thinking the same thing.  I figured it would be an exercise in patience.

I packed a lunch and brought some tuting materials and headed over.  There, I was met by VoMo Stephanie who gave me the low-down.

"I was here the first day to be our guinea pig", she explained.  "I couldn't believe we'd need to be here for six hours".

Well, thank goodness for GPS (guinea pig Stephanie)!

Long story short, she'd figured out the schedule of things and knew when we'd be needed most.  My "Eegands, six hours?!" shift turned out to be about three-and-a-half hours with a big chunk of break in the middle.

So it was actually pretty good duty.  The weather was comfortable, I got to see how this year's show is progressing, talked with a few of the kids and parents.  Meego decided he wanted to march this year instead of play in the pit, so he's in the drum battery at "bass drum 3"

And as far as measurables go...

  • two asthma attacks
  • one popped knee

That was pretty much all the excitement.  Plus I completed nearly all of an ACT practice test.

I also learned that there is one girl in the band who is "sorta, like, allergic to the sun".   She plays clarinet and will break out in hives if  not careful.  "She got some in her mouth the other day, and we need to make sure she doesn't get them in her throat".

She was out there in long sleeves, pants, gloves, and a big hat.

Allergic to the sun, yet living in Colorado and participating in marching band.

Way to stick it to the man!  Respect!


Wednesday, August 3, 2016

wordless wednesday, but with words

I went "upstairs" this morning, Manitou Springs Incline style, since (1) I hadn't been there in a year, (2) I've nearly wrapped up all of my summer class assignments and felt due for a reward(?), and (3) I wanted to do a bit of a reconnaissance mission - but more on that later.

It was a typically clear Colorado morning when I started out, although a bit on the muggy side and already feeling the heat.  But really, we can't complain.

There was the usual variety of climbers, some social groups along with the soloists.  I'd say most were in their 20s, but there was a smattering of older peeps and mom types, and  a few wide-eyed tourist types.

The "trail" was in pretty good shape, but I did note some erosion since last year.  Still, I was too busy getting my butt kicked by all those railroad ties to worry about erosion.

I managed to make it up in decent time, even set a new PR by shaving a minute off my time from last year's trek, so I wasn't very sociable.  Of the people I passed, I did manage to gasp out a weary "*MORNING*", but about all I saw of them were their shoes.

I took a few photos from the top with my new cell phone.  It's not so good with the light and dark...

...looking into the sun.

A couple of people asked me to take their pic.  They were boy and girl around early 20s I'd say, but I got the sense that they were just friends and not with benefits.

As I took the photo, I had a bit of phone envy.  Bet their pics came out better than mine.

 As I was at the summit sweating profusely, this guy, about my age, emerged and commended me on my finish.  He asked if I was doing the Ascent in a couple of weeks (not!), and then talked training with me.

All the while, he was name-dropping local running stars, only one with which I am familiar.

We soon parted ways, and I have no idea who he was.  Hopefully he's not a local running star with whom he expected I'd be familiar.

In my previous Incline blog reports, I've rambled mainly about The Incline itself, but of course, what goes up must come down.  And while some jacka$$es do it, it's not cool to go down the Incline.  Good people of the world go down Barr Trail.  My phone cam did a little better job there.

Quite a nice morning it was.  Wish you were here!


Tuesday, August 2, 2016

well good morning to you too

My day started off with the cat barfing in my desk chair - his favorite place to curl up and snooze after a raucous night of hunting and fighting.  Fortunately, I was immediately onto his "activity" from the next room as in,

"hmmm, that sounds juicier than a furball..."

Also fortunately, the day improved from there.

I did end up needing a new phone last week.  After trying everything I knew to do to get the old phone to let me speak and be heard, I risked going to the phone store looking like a technology-challenged old lady.

Thank goodness the phone really was for the crapper.

So now I've got a new phone, which is pretty basic like the old one - except people can actually hear me talking from this one.  And I still don't like talking on the phone.  I also don't like selfies and never take them, but took this first and last one to test the camera which seems to be as equally bad as the speechless phone's.

No cat barf photos, be glad.