Monday, January 30, 2017

expanding horizons

Today, I plan to paint our ugly kitchen.  I'm just sitting here reading some blogs, sipping coffee, and waiting for the caffeine to kick in.

Since I'm finished with school and "irregularly employed", I'm wanting to make the most of this downtime with a bit of DIY and general environmental improvement around the house.

I finally got around to seeing Rogue One over the weekend.  Meego, Magnum, and I saw it on Saturday.  Just when I thought I'd outgrown the whole Star Wars franchise, I really liked Rogue One.  And [hopefully it's not much of a spoiler to mention...] the appearance of Princess Leia at the end felt all the more poignant since Carrie Fisher's recent passing.  I honestly could've done without The Force Awakens.

I've been contemplating a little getaway.  Remember when the family all left  me here, home alone, while they traipsed around California?  And all I got was this NASA t-shirt?  (okay, I do appreciate the t-shirt.  I pretend I'm Sally Ride...)

Anyway, I have a leftover airline ticket.  It's not a whole lot of credit, but there it sits.  And, what to do with it?

  • Drag Meego off somewhere fun for his spring break?
  • Drag Meego off somewhere less fun, but check out a prospective college or two?
  • Drag myself somewhere fun?
  • Get someone to come somewhere fun with me?
  • Let the credit expire, and just eat it?

These are just some ideas I'm pondering.  I've been checking airfares for places I/we would like to go and we'd be spending an appreciable amount in order to use my "free" miles.

At the same time, I'm already getting a bit sick of winter, and would love even a little escape.

I suppose I'll think of something.  This isn't rocket science.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

keys for me

It was a hot and sticky Thursday...

Okay, honestly, I don't know what day of the week it was.  I do remember that it was rather hot and sticky out.

Anyway, I was 19 or 20 years old.  I still lived with my parents in my little hometown.  I did two years of college there before transferring to a larger university.  As I recall, I was  having a "bad day" that particular day, but I don't remember the reason.

At that time, I drove a little pickup truck.  I had taken my pickup down to the shop in the morning for an oil change, and I planned to pick it up later that afternoon, after my classes.  So I dropped off the truck, and walked to the college with the plan to walk back to the shop later in the day and drive home.  I provide this detailed map for reference:

Upon my arrival at the shop, the shop manager greeted me, and began rummaging for my paperwork and keys.  He continued to rummage.  He rummaged some more.  More rummaging ensued...

I could see my truck sitting in the lot, presumably ready to go.

After the rummage fest, the manager informed me that, the tech who'd serviced my truck, apparently, probably, most likely, evidently, accidentally left.  With my keys.

Now, this was back in the mid 80's.  WAy way before cell phones - the kind that normal people had anyways.  The manager was very sorry.  He said they'd try to reach the guy, but as the shop would be closing soon, he wasn't sure if they'd have my keys back before the next day.

My 19 or 20 year old self was relatively non-confrontational.  Plus, this was the end of the day, a "bad day", a hot and sticky day.  So my non-confrontational 19 or 20 year old self said, "okay...." and turned to make the long slog back to the house.  But inside, I was all

I trudged back home.  Uphill all the way.  No, not an exaggeration, it REALLY was uphill all the way.  I lumbered up the long hill, my punishingly massive book bag a dead weight on my back.  Did I mention it was hot and sticky?  Did I mention I was having a bad day?  Even before the shop challenge?

Eventually, I reached home.  But any satisfaction I would have had from that was tempered by the fact that I still didn't have my pickup.  I probably needed to go to work as I tended to do that a lot during that time.  And what about the time I'd lost, trudging back and forth, for nothing?

So I entered the house feeling defeated and pissed off and yucky and sweaty.  Mom wasn't home, but Dad was there.  Poor guy.

I went all 19-or-20-year-old-girl-having-a-bad-day on him.  I was probably half incoherent, but I know I managed to get out things like, "shop", "keys", "truck", "jerks (or something like that)", "f*ck (maybe not so much, this was still Dad...)"

Now, Dad was not the kind of guy to isolate or insulate his kids.  We had to work for stuff.  He had expectations for us.  There were times when he'd tell us, in not so many words, to just "suck it up".

And somehow he knew that this was not one of those times.

He didn't tell me to suck it up.  He didn't join me in my tantrum.  He didn't get on the phone and call that shop and give them the what for.  In fact, I don't remember him saying much at all, other than that he would take care of it.

He walked down to that shop and returned shortly with my truck.  

Today, I don't remember just how that happened.  Maybe the shop got hold of the guy and got my keys back by the time my dad got there.  Maybe my dad had a spare key that I didn't know about (most likely).  What I mainly remember is that there was very little talking.  Just Action.  Effective Dad Action.

I never even asked what went down at the shop.  This was a small town where everyone knew everyone.  Certainly, everyone knew my dad.  And I know those guys knew I was his kid.

Did he go all stern on them?  Or did they just sympathize with each other?  "Daughters, eh?"
Dad and me around the time
of "The Oil Change Incident"

When I moved out of my parents' house, I was quite happy about it.  Ready to move out of my little hometown and be independent and go on to bigger and better things.

And I've (usually) enjoyed my role as being the main "Point of Contact" when our kids have some crisis that needs resolving. 

But that doesn't mean I don't miss the days when Dad had my back.


Linking up with Mama Kat again for the prompt:
5. Write about what you miss most about living at home with your parents

Sunday, January 22, 2017


I've been thinking about my hair.

It's neither long nor particularly short.  Sometimes I wish it was longer so I could wear a decent ponytail.  Other times I wonder if I would look more "professional" if it was shorter.

In the meantime, it stays somewhere in the middle.  It's "mom" hair, I suppose.  It's definitely not iconic.

This week's prompt at Illustration Friday is "swirl", and as I tried to come up with something, my thought path led me to Princess Leia and her iconic do with the lovely earmuff hair swirls.

Carrie Fisher's recent death has brought Princess Leia  back into the limelight.  I remember watching that first Star Wars movie way back when it was the latest rage.  I was about 12 years old, and I went to see it with my family at the theater.

Years later, I saw a short documentary about it, and how the actors and creators never expected Star Wars would become as huge as it did.  And who doesn't know at least a little about the character, Princess Leia? 

The last time we went to Denver Comic Con, there were plenty of Star Wars Cosplayers in attendance.  My favorite was a father-son duo, dressed as Princess Leia and Chewbacca.   The little boy was Chewbacca, and Dad was the lovely Princess Leia - complete with full beard.

But there was no mistaking that hair.  Maybe I should do the Leia do for my own hair, to change things up.

Not in a  million years.

Friday, January 20, 2017

it could be worse

I returned to the gym this week, figuring that most of the resolutionists that were going to stay have somewhat acclimated to their new lifestyles, and the rest have hung up their gear.  It was noticeably more crowded on Monday, but that was a holiday for many people.  The other days have featured mostly the familiar faces.

I usually go in the middle of the day, because I can, during  off-peak hours.  Most of the patrons are older retired men, women around my age, young moms with kids in the childcare and/or elementary school, and early 20's types who probably work in the evenings.

Prior to this, I hadn't belonged to a gym in several years.  Recall that Wolfgang talked us into joining his gym, thus upgrading from single to family membership, which drastically reduced his fees.  Now, a few months in, I'm glad we decided to join - especially now in what's become the "season of foot appreciation".

It's a large facility, with plenty to do.  When we were checking it out, I read the reviews online, which were mostly favorable.

The unfavorable ones mentioned dings against the childcare, complaining that "the kids are allowed to sit and watch TV".

And I'm thinking, "do these people want a safe place for their kids or a free kids' camp?"  But I really can't comment, I don't use the childcare.

Then there are those who complain about the food and prices in the cafe.  I can't comment, I don't go to a gym to eat.

One review states,"It is not a comfortable place for women. Men have made extremely sexist, derogatory remarks to me and made me extremely uncomfortable to even be there."  Personally, I haven't experienced that at all, nor have I seen such offenses against any of the other women while I've been there.  In general, the men seem to just ignore me...

Then there were critical reviews complaining about the parking lot.  I mentioned, it's a big facility, so the parking lot is large to accommodate members during peak hours.  Apparently, some exercisers don't like having to walk across a parking lot?

Oh well.  Live and let live.  Maybe I should get this workout top.



Linking up with Mama Kat for the prompt:
4. Write a blog post inspired by the word: workout.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

oh, that old thing

"Remember that big samwich?"


Wolfgang was at the house recently, and asked me that question.  Big sandwich?  Remember what big sandwich??

"That big samwich you used to make?  In the oven?  With the french bread and the eggs...?"

A dim light started trying to come on, like a cold fluorescent bulb.  So he kept talking.

"It was ham and cheese..."

Brighter still!

"OH yeah!  That big samwich!"

Yes, slowly it emerged from its hiding place in my brain.  I'd found a recipe in the newspaper, of all places.  Back when newspapers were sources of such things.  It had met all of my requirements for worthy of saving:

  1. Easy to make
  2. Pretty cheap
  3. Easy to make
  4. My family might eat it
  5. Easy to make
I saved the recipe and made it a few times.  All five criteria were met.  Now, I don't really remember why I'd stopped making it.  I suspect that winter turned to summer and a hot sandwich from the oven wasn't appealing.  I generally tell the oven to take the summer off.

I guess when the following winter rolled around, and maybe as kids started leaving the nest, I  moved on from the big samwich.

But Wolfgang remembered, and he wanted the recipe.  Heck if I could find it.  

I started googling, but I didn't know what terms to use.  We'd always just called it "The Big Samwich".    I tried things like "french toast ham and cheese" and usually just got hits like Monte Cristos and such.  Or breakfast sandwiches.  But none were The Big Samwich.

Finally, one day last week when I thought to try some more, I found it.  I don't even remember now what string of terms I used, but I decided to google images instead.  Lo and behold, there it was.

I'm not going to copy the whole thing here.  Anyone who's interested can follow [this link], which I highly recommend.  

I happily texted the link to Wolfgang.  Now he could make his own The Big Samwich.  And so could I.  I decided to make it last night.

From memory.

I mean, it is really easy to make.  I mainly couldn't remember what temperature to set the oven and how long to cook it, but I memorized that when I found the recipe again, so I didn't pull up the recipe when I made it last night.  

Word to the wise.  Line your bread pan with aluminum foil and spray REALLY Really really good with cooking spray.  And DON'T forget to spray the foil piece you use to cover it as it bakes.  

I sort of sloppily lined my bread pan, and lazily sprayed.  I totally forgot to spray the cover foil.  Plus, I didn't really mush the egg into the bread so much...

But it was edible.

It wasn't necessarily pretty.  I should have taken a photo in order to appreciate the full juxtaposition of my finished product and the image shown above.  But no, that might ruin the appetite.

Live and learn.  And I'm happy to have The Big Samwich back in our lives.  

Monday, January 16, 2017


Outside looks like the setting of The Thing.  Grey/white and blustery.  Not inviting at all.  But after last week's wind, I'll take it.

I plan to venture out to the gym in a little while.  I haven't been there since the start of the New Year and am hoping the horde of resolutionists has decreased to a small herd. We shall see.  My lame foot has been a limiting factor, but I'm optimistic that it's on the mend.

I saw the... foot fixer doctor... for a third time last week.  Technically, she's a Chiropractor, and also does this particular therapy that is helping my nagging case of plantar fasciitis.  She introduced me to this torture device that uses ultrasonic waves to shake things up, similar to the way kidney stones are broken into little bits.

It was rather uncomfortable, but I think it did positively shake things up in there.  No pain, no gain, right?

Now that I'm finished with school, I'm catching up on such things.  I went in for a dental checkup last week too - after a five-and-a-half year hiatus.  At least Magnum is good about going on a regular basis, so they had a vague idea of who I was.

Also, now that I'm finished with school, I'm pondering next steps.  We are seriously talking about moving once Meego graduates high school, so I don't want to take on some new position only to hit the road in a couple of years.  In the meantime, I'm keeping one eye open for opportunities that could be characterized as (1) telecommute friendly and/or (2) dream job.  Seen any?

(1) or (2) has yet to materialize.  I did take on a new tutee, so I'm not a total freeloader at the moment, but I am looking to move on from tutorhood soon.  And I've been busying myself with neglected projects around the house.

I finally painted Meego's bedroom, a muchly needed activity.  It took me a while since I had to clear out a bunch of clutter that has accumulated in there since we've lived here - various "action figures", posters, sports ribbons and plaques from high school and middle school, other miscellaneous awards and paraphernalia...

All three boys lived in there somehow for years, now it's just Meego.  The actual painting of the walls was quite easy.  Getting to them was major!

In other advancement news, Chaco turned 23 last week.  He was here for a while yesterday.  I acknowledged that I have no memory of MY 23rd birthday.  Once you turn 21, they're all kinda the same.

Sunday, January 15, 2017


I'm old enough to remember having to be a responsible adult while having no internet.  By the time I became a mom, the internet was around, but not nearly in the sense it is now.

It's both a blessing and a curse, and I don't feel I need to drone on about the good, the bad, and the ugly of the internet.  It has certainly made life easier and also introduced dangerous and/or antisocial and/or just plain annoying behaviors.

Then there's shopping.  Shopping was a big deal when I was younger.  Growing up in a small town, we didn't have many fancy stores, and nothing even resembling a mall.  About once a month, my family would load up the car and we'd make a day trip for shopping.  As a teenaged girl with disposable income, I relished those trips.

Now, I don't much enjoy shopping.  I'm thankful I can just surf online for what I need, shop around for the best price, read user reviews, and have the thing arrive at my doorstep in a couple of days.  All this while watching several brick-and-mortar stores go out of business.

But I wonder about our kids.  Meego decides he needs/wants something, looks for it online, asks me if he can order it, places the order.  He has it a couple of days later.  Does he appreciate it as much as I appreciated the things I thought about for a month or so before buying? It often prompts me to launch into one of my "Back when I was your age..." soliloquys.

This week's prompt at Illustration Friday is "internet".  I don't have an actual shopping cart key on my keyboard... not literally.  But figuratively, oh yeah.  So I drew this the old fashioned way - with a pencil and paper.  While doing so, I streamed a movie online.  Then uploaded the sketch.  Onto the internet.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

smart by stupidity

A few years ago, I worked for a test prep company, and one of the classes I taught was prep for the LSAT - the Law School Admission Test.  I enjoyed teaching LSAT prep.  Lawyers often get a bad rap, but some of the most personable people I've met through teaching were people preparing for law school.

*for extra credit, anyone know what score Elle Woods got on her LSAT to get into Harvard Law in Legally Blonde?  Anyone??*

Anyway, one student was a young woman who REALLY wanted to become a lawyer, and REALLY wanted to get into a decent law school.  She actually took the class twice.  And not only did she take the class, she made other changes she believed would help her chances.  She stopped smoking, started eating healthy, and exercising.

One session, during breaktime, she mentioned she'd started eating flax with her cereal, because she'd heard that flaxseed was good brainfood.  Figured eating flax while taking a prep class would really make her shine on test day.  She asked if I knew anything about it, which I did not.  But, what the heck, I'd give it a try.

Shortly after that conversation, I got some flaxseed at the healthy store and tried some on my morning bowl of cereal. Magnum did too.


It was SO gross!  I couldn't finish my bowl of cereal.  Magnum agreed.  It didn't really taste like anything, it was just the texture.  Even just thinking of that memory now has me grossed out!  It was like eating cereal with little dried boogers mixed in!  Seriously!

To top that off, not only had I ruined a bowl of cereal, I'd ruined the entire box.  I thought it would be a time-saver to just mix a bunch of dried boogers flaxseed into the whole spanking box of cereal!  Big mistake!

I threw the whole box out.  I should've burned it, that would have been cathartic.

Anyway, I reported my results to... let's call her "Trish"... at the next class session.

"Trish", I said, "I couldn't do it!  It was like dried boogers in my cereal!  How do you eat it?!"

"Boogers, what?", she replied.

I explained.  Even the part about mixing it into the whole box, and throwing the whole box out.  

"Don't get the seeds!", she explained.  "Get the ground up stuff!  It's like, powdery.  Just sprinkle it on.  It's not boogery at all!"


Trish is now a practicing attorney.  We're buds on Linkedin where she seems happy and smart.

And I know to use ground flax.

Never whole flaxseed.  Never ever.  That would be stupid.

Linking up with Mama Kat this week, for the prompt
5. Share one piece of great advice you’ve received.

Monday, January 9, 2017

well, this day blowed

I was awakened this morning around 2:30.  The wind, she was a-howling!  I laid there thinking it was gonna blow the roof off, or the fence down, or suck the windows out.  None of those things happened, but I didn't really sleep either.

One weather guy referred to it as a "wind event".  At one point, I had this textversation with Meego:

Suffice to say, it was not a good day to be a tree.  Or, in some cases, a house... or a car.  Definitely not a good day to be a truck driver.  Tipped over tractor trailers were the scene of the day on the highway.


Magnum kept texting me photos of trees falling around his office.  Not a whole lotta work got done there with everyone watching the trees uproot.  I ventured outside and saw a large blue spruce laying down in the street 😟

As noted above, Meego's school, along with most others, didn't get much schoolin' in either.  But... pizza!  There was A LOT of pizza.

Pretty much all schools cancelled bus service since the wind would probably blow the busses over.  Meego normally walks to and from school, but today was not a day to be outdoors with debris flying around - trash, roof shingles, tree branches, trampolines... kitchen sinks?  I managed to pick him up after the nonproductive day, his spent mostly in the bandroom.

Of course, it could've been much worse.  I haven't heard of anyone being seriously hurt, and I had power in the house all day.  I'd started doing some needed painting around the house last week, so since I was stranded, I finished that up.

I like to stream movies while I'm doing such mindless work.  I streamed an awful awful movie.  The Heart Machine.  I don't even know what that title is supposed to mean.  But really, it was terrible.  Like watching paint dry (see what I did there?)

So... how was your day?

Sunday, January 8, 2017


Have you been to that new restaurant on the moon?

I've heard the food's great, but there's no atmosphere...


Yeah, okay, sorry.  This week's prompt for Illustration Friday is "sound".  It's commonly noted that there is no sound in space.  But really, it's more correct to say that there's no sound that human's can detect.

Sound waves need some sort of medium to travel through, and the pressure they create travels to our eardrums.  In space, there isn't enough "medium" to create enough pressure for our ears.  Does that mean there's no sound?  Ouch, my head hurts...

Here on earth, I have a friend who teaches art at our local school for the deaf and blind.  She asked her deaf students to depict, in a drawing, an aspect of their lives where their deafness makes them feel different.

I saw some of the drawings, they were quite interesting.  Some were kind of sad, indicating bullying or loneliness.  But most were actually quite nice, showing a calmness and maybe a bit of freedom from noise.

The drawing I remember the most was done by a teenage girl.  She drew her family - all of whom can hear fine other than her - sitting at the dinner table.  Everyone was drawn in grey, including their food and silverware, with little detail.  But the girl drew herself vividly, with bright colors and vibrant designs on her clothing.  Her food, plate, and silverware were rich with colors and details.

She told my friend that she felt kind of bad for her family members because they couldn't see the world the way she did, encumbered as they were with all of that pesky sound.

It was a great drawing.

Oh, and my family returned to cold Colorado last night.  They had a nice time.  Everyone's back.  Safe and sound.

Friday, January 6, 2017

what does the cat do when the mice are away?

A few months ago, we planned a warm getaway for the winter break.  Pasadena in January!  We planned for sights to see and things to do that we can't typically do in Colorado.  And here we are, it's this week!

Well... there they are, anyways.  I ended up staying behind.  They forgot me...

KIDDING!  I decided to stay here with China, the old dog.  Considering she's something like.. 115 years old in dog years, we knew we didn't want to take her to the kennel anymore.  It's a nice kennel, they treat her fine and give her a bath and all, but really, at her ripe age, she'd rather be at home.  So, we could get one of the guys' friends to come feed her and such, but in the end, since it would be for nearly a full week, I said I'd stay.  "Take one for the team" and all that.

Honestly, it wasn't that much of a sacrifice, considering my grandma foot and all.  I've been getting caught up on a few mundane projects and enjoying a bit of post holiday quiet.

A couple of months ago, a friend of mine was home alone with the pets while her husband and daughter were away for about a week visiting some colleges. My friend was absolutely luxuriating in the thought of all that alone time.  She seemed almost too happy to see them go!

I wouldn't necessarily call it a vacation for me, but the guys have been checking in.  Magnum's dad and stepmom live out there, so they're all getting in some visiting time while also hitting some cool attractions, restaurants, the beach...

and keeping me in the loop from afar while we're here enjoying snow and frigid temperatures.

Meego was actually supposed to go back to school starting this Wednesday, so he ended up missing a snow day.  I'm sure he's bummed about that.

China is being her usual sweet self.  She knows Magnum and Meego are away and seems to understand a bit of what that means for her and me.

"Okay", she says, "Looks like it's just us bitches..."


Sunday, January 1, 2017


Can we talk?

Happy New Year!  Feels good, doesn't it?  Out with the old, in with the new?  Maybe?

Our New Year's eve was pretty mellow. Just hung around the house.  Chaco swung by for a while, and we played some board games.  Then he took  Meego to a friend's bash around midnight.

No midnight mile for us this year, due to... lack of interest?

I've been pretty much off the running since sometime in October.  Remember those allergy problems that had me all off balance?  Remember?  I do.

Anyways, the mock drunkeness made me walk funny for about a month which in turn landed me up with an annoying case of plantar fasciitis.  I'm sober now, but my foot is still whining.

On Friday, I went to see a therapist for it.  I was contemplating, and Magnum says, "I know a guy!"

This place  "...provides the best in chiropractic care techniques, Active Release Techniques® soft tissue treatment, and supplementary modalities..."    They had one of their doctors go to Magnum's work site once a week, and Magnum used him when he had some back troubles.  Cleared him right up, so I thought, what the hell.

The practice is actually quite close to where we live, I could easily walk there and back if I didn't need them.  Ironically.

The good doctor messed a bit with my foot and gave me some exercises to do.  She's confident she can kill it in about 4 sessions, so I'm cautiously optimistic.  It's not all bad.  It's just my right foot, and it's actually pretty good for about 3 miles before the gimpfest begins.  But they're like 3 Grandma miles.

So anyway, that and Meego getting over a cough and general laziness kept us inside at the witching hour.  I think the neighbors had a party as several cars were parked out front.  A van drove up late and parked horribly in front of our house.  It's still there.

Today was mildly productive.  I got out for some errands, and it's good to see people out rather than absent while nursing raging hangovers.  Wolfgang came by for a haircut after the gym.  He said the gym was nearly empty, but wait 'til tomorrow!

And I drew this old payphone... upon typing that, I realize there are probably no "new" payphones... for Illustration Friday where this week's prompt is "Talk".  Call someone who cares?

Happy 2017!