Tuesday, February 28, 2017

I can see clearly... now

"I need an adventure..." - the last text I sent.

I was out today and happened to be riding Bella the bike when I got a text from Wolfgang.  He told me about a trip he and a couple of friends are planning for a couple of months from now.  Sounds like fun.  For those guys.

And it reminded me how much I would just LURV to get away.

Remember how the family took a trip to sunny California while I stayed here to freeze and keep the geriatric dog company?  I'm not complaining, it was my choice, I'm glad they went and saw and did the things they did.  They said they missed having me along.  They brought me back a t-shirt...

But it doesn't delete the fact that I feel overripe for a getaway.  When was my last one?  I don't even know!

In the meantime, I took advantage of a relatively nice day today.  I haven't gotten in much bike riding lately.  Mostly because of the weather. We haven't had a whole lot of snow, but it's just been a really windy blustery few months, and windy blustery takes the fun out of bicycling.

Today looked good, though.  Relative calm.  A bit on the chilly side, but that's what outerwear is for.  Plus, I had no tuting assignments today and felt deserving.  So after doing a bit of morning housewifery, I got Bella and me all ready for a joyride "just because". No deadlines or need-to-be's.  Just ride around for the fun of it, like when we were kids.

And it was wonderful and invigorating and fresh and crisp and just what I needed...  For about 90% of it.

At one point, I remember looking to the north sky and thinking, "Those are some really dark clouds, glad I'm not under them".

Well, they must've heard me and came over to make fun of me.

Suddenly, the bright crisp day turned dark and sloppy.  Huge, wet snowflakes began hitting me.  At the beginning, it was actually still quite fun.

I snapped this selfie just before I crossed over into probable legal blindness.

The big sloppy snowflakes smacked into and clung onto my geeky bicycling glasses.  As soon as I'd swipe them somewhat clean, they'd get re-smacked upon.

At one point, as I took them off to give them a (totally ineffective) better cleaning, I realized I could see fifty times better without the glasses.  Anyone who knows how bad my eyesight is will know that's not a good sign.

But I wore the glasses anyway to keep the big sloppy snowflakes from smacking into my eyeballs.

Eventually, it tapered off some.  The big sloppy snowflakes turned into just little wet ones.  The storm moved on through, and the sun reappeared about 5 minutes after I got home.


I still need a getaway adventure.  I'm not counting that one.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

tutin', shavin', laughin'

Another busy week is in the books.  Had some P.E.O., had some tutin', had some job huntin', but not too much of any one thing, so it's all good.  I've taken on more tutor students and have accepted that that's still my job for now...

Friday was also the culmination of the Bald 4 Bucks effort at Meego's school.  The event has really grown over the years.  This year, they'd counted $50,000 raised with still lots more coming in.  The goal was $75,000, and looks like they're going to make it!

Meego somehow made it into the local 5 o'clock newsreel.  That be him with half a shaved head...

I did get a "before" shot just before he left for school, and the "after" later that evening.


It's just nice to see a buncha kids organize such a thing and then also make the symbolic gesture of shaving their heads.  I especially admire all the girl students and women teachers- mostly ALL of them - who get shaved. The teachers come up with fun and creative ways to get students to donate to their tills.

So now Meego's head feels like a big round cat's tongue.

Speaking of which, the mystery stray cat?  Meego and I were both willing to give it a try, but Magnum was the party pooper logical voice of reason, noting the high likelihood of our current cat having a major cow with another cat moving in.  After all, the reason we got him was because he was evicted for beating up his previous housemate on a daily basis.

In movie news, we watched I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore.  OMG, what a ride!  It's funny, and violent, and hilarious, and dark, and romantic, and funny, and sad, and spooky, and hilarious!  How they managed to get all those things into a 93-minute movie, I don't know!  I wouldn't be surprised if drugs were involved.

Anyway, we really liked it.  It's streaming on Netflix now.  Not for everyone, I'm sure, but I gave it five stars.  Plus, Elijah Wood's character is adorable in this.  He's quirky and socially awkward - probably has Asperger's.  Like I said - adorable!

Your week in three words?  GO!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Is it...? Could it be....?

Magnum got an email at work today.  Well, he probably got more than one, but he got a certain email forwarded at work today:

"Ask Magnum if this is the cat he adopted from me that was outside. It has white on chest a white tip on tail.  Been back here trying to come in my house..."

and a little while later...

Yes , this kitty has shown up since it has been cold, hangs around and wants in my house.
I do not remember what your kitty looked like just making sure it wasn't the one you got from me.
Has white tip on tail and neck has white spot.  Loving little girl but I can't take her in- my cat I saved from outside will attack it.
My cat hated my daughters cat when she lived her and beat her up any chance she had.
I know you never found your girl and just thought I should check

So... quick backstory...

Back in the summer of 2012, Colorado Springs was burning down.  So we did what logically came to mind when our city was burning. We took in a stray cat.

Our previous cat, Cookie, had been in cat heaven for a few months when a woman who works with Magnum told him about this stray that she was feeding, but couldn't keep in her house.  Did we want her?  She had a photo...

So I was all, "OMG, yes.  I love black cats!"

I distinctly remember the trip to go pick her up.  There was thick smoke and panic in the air.  I was thinking, "WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE, BUT AT LEAST WE'LL HAVE A CAT!"

We actually ended up not dying.

BUT, a year later, Colorado Springs was burning again.  In the meantime, we'd had the cat, who was quite fat, especially for a "homeless" cat, for a year and were trying to slim her down.  It didn't seem to be working.

I actually really liked her plumpiness, thought it  made her all the more cute.  But... diabetes and stuff.

I doubted she much liked the healthy food we were feeding her and was seeking sustenance elsewhere.  That cat may have been feral, but she knew how to beg.  I'm sure she missed her old home in the yard of Magnum's coworker.

She ran off in the midst of that new fire, and we never saw her again.

So now, I'm looking at that photo above and digging up any photos I have from when she was with us.

And what if it IS her?

(a) She clearly didn't feel too attached to us and our non-fat-cat ways.
(b) She probably thinks she only changes locations if there's a major fire happening
(c) Where's she been for the past three-and-a-half years??
(d)We have another cat now, who is a confirmed bachelor.

Even if it's not Kat the fat cat, I wouldn't mind adding this newcomer to our menagerie, but I think Napolion thinks is his job to keep all cats besides him out of his established perimeter.

This could make for a good fight.


Linking  up again with Mama Kat for the prompt:
3. Write a blog post inspired by the word: fight.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

home alone II and procrastinating

I need to finish writing my president's letter for P.E.O.  The P.E.O. year ends/begins at the start of March, and all chapter presidents need to send a letter summarizing the past years' activity to the state prez.  My letter is 97.642 percent finished, and I sat down here about an hour and a half ago to finish it off.  I've yet to open the file...

Time flies when you're procrastinating.

This was a busy week, so I'm basking in non busyness.  Plus, it's just me and the furry and scaly things right now.  Magnum and Meego went to New Mexico for a couple of days to visit Magnum's mom.  Chaco went along too.  My mother-in-law had a small stroke a few weeks ago.  She's doing okay, but her speech ability was affected, so it's difficult to talk to her on the phone.

While I'm in a bit of a limbo state regarding employment, I took on another tutee, have been answering questions for other possible tutees, and am getting established with some other tutor matching companies.  They all make us take and pass these tests to prove we know the stuff we want to tutor, and I'm all, "Can't you just check with the other service I'm already using?".  Okay, no.

In the meantime, I get daily job alerts for various full-time positions I might be interested in.  The life of the unemployed can be surprisingly busy.

In the other meantime, remember when I was contemplating Princess Leia earmuff hair?  Well, I didn't do that, but I did change the hair up.

I was partially inspired by one of my friends who went radical asymmetrical bob, complete with razor undercut and red dye for Valentine's day.  As she put it, "Stepping away from the mom hair for Valentine's Day!  Show YOURSELF some love!"

No, I did not go asymmetrical bob complete with razor undercut and dye, but she looks awesome.

I went to the salon armed with some photos.   As I talked to the stylist and showed her my photos, I could see her eyes lighting up.  Was that a good thing?

Once we got situated, she said, "Let's DO this!"  and got to cutting.  Was that a good thing?

She seemed to be having bunches of fun while I quietly watched large and long clumps of my mom hair falling around me.  Here's the back.  I have a neck back there now instead of the weirdly positioned Minnie Mouse ears that my hair always seemed to morph into.

It took a couple of days to get used to, but I'm liking it 🙂

More professional looking?  I dunno.

Minnie Mouse?  Heck no.

Easy?  YES!

Yesterday, before the guys headed south, we attended Meego's Winter Percussion competition.  One of the volunteer moms attending the admission ticket table had a similar cut, which looked great on her.  

So, in getting away from mom hair, I've copied and been inspired by other moms.

Maybe it's the new "mom".

Friday, February 17, 2017

don't tell me you love me

Jon and Nancy.  Nancy and Jon.  Several years ago, I worked with these two.

They were both in their mid to late 30s at the time, and they were not a romantic couple.  Oh no, absolutely not.  In fact, the word going around the underground is that Nancy played for the other team, but such things weren't shared very openly back then.

I was in my early 20s and working as a quality inspector for a polymer supplier before I finished college.  Jon was a long-time employee of the place and knew everything there was to know about inspection instruments, gauges, scopes, etc.  He could inspect parts with his eyes closed!  (Okay, maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration...).

Nancy was our boss.  And a major thorn in Jon's side.

See, Nancy was hired from an external job search not all that long before I started working there.  Jon had been with the company for several years and was clearly a QC specialist.  It didn't take long for me to figure out that Jon resented Nancy for being hired to the position he felt was rightfully his.

Now lemme just say, Jon would've been a bad QC manager.  I mean, I liked him, we got along great and even hung out outside of work sometimes.  But he's a good example of how a specialist isn't always the best leader.  I'm sure management realized this and that's why he was not offered the position, but I doubt they told him.

So there was always this tension in the lab between Jon and Nancy.  The other inspectors - Greg, Rosalind, and I - didn't get caught up in the drama as none one of us had ladder-climbing aspirations at that company.  But Jon just couldn't let it go.

Nancy too, I'm sure, always felt under his scrutiny.   Whenever Jon was not around for whatever reason, her mood was always much more relaxed.

So there we were at work one bright Friday morning.  I remember it was a Friday because we typically worked four 10-hour days and had Fridays thru Sundays off.  So Friday was our weekend, but we sometimes had to pull a few hours of overtime, such as that particular Friday.

The mood was relaxed and a bit goofy as it could often be.  Jon had brought donuts, so we were enjoying those before digging into our work.  Nancy wasn't there as these were extra hours, but she'd told us she would stop by and check in.

Eventually, she showed up, clearly shaken up by something.  She explained how she'd been in "a little fender bender" the evening before.  It was her fault, and she'd taken full responsibility.

Nancy typically wore her hair parted on one side and swept away from her forehead.  That morning, she still had the part, but let her bangs fall a bit.  At a certain angle, we could see a bandage on her forehead.

She summarized her ordeal to us, making light of any physical harm to her.  I could tell she was leaving out some details, but she clearly felt bad about what had happened.

As soon as she left the room, Jon spoke up.

"Didja see her forehead?!"

"I think she's got stitches!"

"She must've really hit her head hard!"


Listening to and watching Jon, my concern turned to not just Nancy, but now also to Jon.  HE was clearly shaken up about what happened to Nancy - his "nemesis".  The guy really cared.

Several months later, Jon took a vacation - a trip to California to visit an old flame.  Long story short, it was a "cold" California for Jon.  He gave us a somewhat curt rundown of events on his first day back, then immersed himself in work.

As soon as he left the room, Nancy spoke up.

"Poor Jon"

"Sounds like [what's her face] was just leading  him on"

"B*tch better hope I never run into her..."


SHE was clearly shaken up about what happened to Jon - her "nemesis".  She really cared.

For the most part, Jon and Nancy carried on as I'd always known.  He being condescending toward her and bristling when she would refer to us as "my people".  She dropping little reminders that he was, in fact, one of "her people".

But I knew.

Those two loved each other.


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

Monday, February 13, 2017

hipsters, Apples, and garbage

I didn't make it to Meego and Company's first winter percussion show of the season.  It was on Saturday, and I was tuting, but I happily volunteered Magnum to go along and help out.  I guess they did okay, Magnum sent me a photo during warm-up.  These guys look like a band of hipsters...

Also according to Magnum, they sounded pretty good.  Given that Magnum is tone deaf, I'll just assume they made a decent showing.

Before I'd left to go tute, a package arrived for Chaco.  He often sends mail-order things here since mail too big for his mailbox just gets left outside his apartment door.  When I returned home, the box was gone, but there was some trash, so I figured he'd come by and picked it up.

Yesterday, he graced us with his presence to pick up another thing he was expecting, so I asked him about the package from Saturday, and he showed us his shiny new iPad mini.  He'd come by on Saturday to pick up the case he'd ordered for it.

Why would he have an iPad mini?  He's said he doesn't really like Apple products, so such things are pretty foreign in our household.  Turned out he won the dang thing.

Apparently there was a Cyberspace Symposium here last week that featured a hacking competition.  So Chaco and three of his hacker friends decided to play along and ended up taking first place.  They each received iPad minis.  As he showed it to us, I'm thinking he has warmed a little bit toward Apple products.

While I was happy for HIM, I lamented how cool free stuff is often given to people who don't need cool free stuff.  Hacking skillz and job opportunities go pretty hand-in-hand.  Kinda like employee perks and discounts - it's the unemployed who need perks and discounts, amIright?!   I'm probably just feeling sorry for myself... and wishing I had hacking skillz.

Anyway, he was here and people were hungry and I sure as heck didn't feel like cooking was feeling generous and festive, so we decided to give Wolfgang a call and head out for a family meal someplace.

We ended up at Famous Dave's and ordered this garbage plate

It was actually quite good and the right size for our "party of 4 - 6".  I think it's actually called the "All American Feast" or something similar, but I think of it as the garbage plate because it's all served on an upturned garbage can lid -how "All American" is that?

And seemingly before I knew it, it's Monday.

How was your weekend, in 3 words?

Thursday, February 9, 2017

I don't have any weed

I'm on my way to my grandmother's funeral in Kansas.  I stopped for gas and realized that I must've left my wallet at the last gas station.  Could you spare some money for gas?

We're college students on our way home for the weekend and our car broke down.  Can you help us pay for a tow?

My organization is collecting money for homeless vets.

Do you have nineteen cents?

Got any weed?

I've experienced these requests, and many others, from random strangers in parking lots, sidewalks, etc.  In general, I don't trust them.  Except for that unwashed girl who asked for 19 cents and the guy who asked for weed.  Yeah, they both seemed pretty legit.

Do you give to panhandlers or random "charities"?  If so, do you research the charities, or does dropping cash into a jug with a label taped to it outside of Walmart seem like the right thing to do?

I'm generally suspicious of random solicitors of charities I've never heard of.  I would much sooner give to panhandlers who are, at least, honest about their situations and what they want the money for.

I gave some money to the girl who asked for 19 cents because (a) there was something very honest about her, which (b) made me genuinely care about her well being, and (c) who the heck asks for 19 cents?!  I still wonder about that encounter, sneakingly suspicious that she was a student at the ritzy private college downtown conducting some sort of social experiment.

There are plenty of sanctioned charities around that support homeless vets, disabled vets, abused women, banished teens, sick children, etc.  So I don't bother risking our charitable dollars going to someone like this panhandler who drove away in a Mercedes to her exclusive beach community.

As I read that story, I couldn't help but notice the stylin' hairdo on her poor little homeless kid

I'm thinking about these things because Meego's collecting money for a haircut that won't be all that stylin'.  It's "Bald 4 Bucks" time at the high school.

This has grown into quite a large annual event with several teachers and students getting their heads shaved and raising tens of thousands of dollars for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  Participants carry around donation collection cans for about a month, and then hand over the proceeds for a quick sit in the barber chair.

Some may recall that Wolfgang went baldo 4 or 5 years ago at that year's event.

In fact, Meego didn't even make his own collection can.  He just asked if I knew where Wolfgang's was, and I directed him to the box that I threw a buncha junk lovingly placed cherished mementos into during the recent painting of the bedroom.

I mean, he didn't even put his own name on it.  It still has Wolfgang's...

Despite this glaring lack of originality, the can has been filling up more each day.  I wondered about him carrying this can-o-money around school everyday, but he assures me that it's all part of the process.  Okay, fine.  But I gave to the online donation page.

I trust it.


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

Sunday, February 5, 2017


This week's prompt at Illustration Friday is "Up", so I drew this dude headed for the slopes.

I personally haven't been downhill skiing in several years, although I always had a good time when I went.

Maybe I didn't go with enough frequency to get truly addicted.  Once we had little kids, and it was harder to get away for such things, skiing just became something we "used to" do.  By the time the kids got older, it wasn't a priority, although the kids enjoy going up with friends now.

I think I just associate some activities with a certain age window.  I know there are people who ski well into their ripe years, but I'm guessing the average age on the slopes is relatively young.

Yesterday, I went to our local P.E.O. Founders Day luncheon.  P.E.O. was founded on January 21, 1869, by seven women at Iowa Wesleyan College.  So, each year around that time, regional chapters get together to honor the founders.  Here, we have our luncheon on the first Saturday in February.

There are 13 or 15 chapters in the "Pikes Peak" region - I just know it's not 14 - and we had nearly 200 members at our luncheon.  It was a nice time.

Women are eligible for membership at the age of 18.  Then once they're in, they're a member for life.  This results in there being a lot of old ladies in P.E.O.  Many don't make it out to meetings much anymore, but they make it a point to get all spiffed up and attend Founders Day.

I enjoy chatting with my old "sisters".  Many have led rich, eventful lives, and their charitable spirit is what binds us together. I've sometimes caught myself treating old ladies like little kids, but then they'll surprise me by saying something really humorous and/or risque.  In fact, I bet a good sense of humor is what helped them get to such ripe old ages in the first place.

My chapter was responsible for registration and name tags, so I was there early to help get name tags handed out, and stayed late to help collect the name tags at the end of the shindig.

As we stood holding the door, 3 particularly elderly women came "bustling" through at a snails pace.  As they made their slow shuffle, complete with heavy cane action, one of them remarked,
"Don't worry, we'll get there eventually".

The woman next to me told them, "Take your time, there's a long wait for the elevators anyway", since we were on the 4th floor of the hotel.

One of the three, without skipping a beat, replied, "Doesn't bother us, we're taking the stairs!"

Another woman talked of how she'd divorced her first husband and was widowed by her second.  "What should I try next?  Women?  Bigamy?", she pondered.

"Then again, I think I'll skip bigamy.  Who needs all that laundry?"

Maybe a key to not getting old and grumpy is to never really grow up.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

drama in the desert

Four men and four women spend two years in an enclosed environment. They're isolated from the earth, but they can have visitors at a visitor window.  And since it's all a bit of a media spectacle as well as a science experiment, tourists can come gawk at the inhabitants at all hours.

The crew has to grow all their own food, take care of all medical needs, process their waste - if y'know what I'm sayin' - survive, not go crazy, and not kill each other.  Among other things.

I recently read T. C. Boyle's "The Terranauts".  It's a novel based on the real-life Biosphere 2 experiment from back in the early 90's.  Remember?

The book is described as "an intimate and epic story of science, society, sex, and survival..."  and I think that about sums it up.

It's rare for me to like a novel of which I don't particularly like any of the characters.  This one turned out to be one of those.  The chapters bounce around from the point of views of three of the main characters:  a female crew member, a male crew member, and a female on the outside who was passed over for this mission, but is destined to be part of the next crew.

As expected, it does get a bit soap opera-y.  In such a situation, there's gonna be drama.  But I didn't think it got too overly dramatic, although maybe it didn't need to be quite so long.  It seemed like some of the drama dragged on, but maybe that was to make us appreciate that they were stuck in there for a whole two years.

So you get

  • one guy who has a tough time keeping it in his pants and
  • the woman who clings then hates him for it
  • another woman who thinks her boyfriend on the outside will wait for her
  • a guy who's probably autistic and misreads a woman's intentions
  • a medical doctor who must track everyone's vitals
  • starvation
  • oxygen depletion
  • cooling system malfunction
  • faction forming
  • the rich people on the outside funding the whole thing and not wanting to look bad

Oh and I might mention

  • four crew members who become two exclusive couples
  • one female crew member who decides against the mandated birth control because it isn't "natural"

...  and so on.

So, yeah, I liked it well enough.  If nothing else, I found the science of the Biosphere 2 quite interesting, even though the real-life experiment exposed its shortcomings.  The facility still stands just outside of Tucson, AZ and is owned by the University of Arizona, which uses it for ongoing research.

Maybe I'll go check it out.  I've got these airline miles...


Linking up again with Mama Kat for the prompt:
3. Book review!