Saturday, September 30, 2017

I'll start tomorrow

Okay, I'm gonna do it.  Inktober starts tomorrow.  An ink drawing a day, every day, during the month of October.  To get myself mentally prepared, I visited the Inktober facebook page for inspiration.

I suppose it was inspiring... as well as intimidating.  As another visitor put it:

what about us ordinary folk who create mediocre artwork? Are we still able to participate or will we get publicly humiliated ?!! 

Public humiliation aside, I think it will be a fun challenge to wake up the parts of my brain I haven't used much lately.  I thought I'd get a head start today, and for ink, I'd already decided I want to steer clear of drawing people. And definitely no portraits.

The prompt for tomorrow is "swift", and this is all I came up with.

Okay, so much for planning...

Sunday, September 24, 2017

staying chill

Yesterday morning, I was out for a run, and I went through Mouse Town.  Earlier in the week, Magnum told me I shouldn't run over there because of the Pooper Lady.

"What?  If I see her, I'll take her out!", I replied

"No", he explained, "You shouldn't run there because people might think you're her - brunette runner lady"

"PFFFT, I don't look anything like her"

She does appear taller than me in the covert pics of her.  Plus, I don't wear the tight spandex ensemble or bright green shoes or old lady bun she's wearing in the photos either.  I also don't carry handfuls of TP... But still, I felt a bit paranoid as I made my way through the area.  "I'm somebody else with dark hair!", I felt like explaining.

At last check, her identity remains a mystery.  Charmin has even offered her a year's supply of free TP if she turns herself in, but no takers.

I also ride through Mouse Town each weekday on my commute to and from work.  Since the new park's been completed, it's even a nicer ride than before.  The job can be tedious at times, but at least there's a nice commute 😀.

I "teach" Study Hall for 10th thru 12th grade at a high school.  I don't really teach a specific subject, since it's study hall, but the students do have some requirements in order to pass and I'm there to help with homework or other stuff.  But other than doling out the assignments and grading them, I'm sort of a zoo keeper.

One of the reasons I took the job - other than the fact that I didn't have any other solid offers at the time! - was so I could explore working in a high school to see if I should go ahead and get that license.  I'm leaning toward a "no", although my supervisors have opened that door for me at this school.

I'd just forgotten how restrictive public school is, and that's what I find so tedious.  But I do enjoy the students.  They recently did a grade check and reflection for me, and as with their other assignments, I enjoy reading their comments - kinda like kid blogs

Exhibit 1 is from a girl who apparently doesn't have much faith in her Algebra 3 outlook, among other observations.  I also noted that it's another instance of a student describing me as "chill".

Exhibit 1

Exhibit 2 is from a boy who knows how to tell it like it is, particularly in regard to his "History" class.

Exhibit 2

I wonder what he thought zoology was?  And super nice teacher or not, he's still getting a D in speech.  Study hall is fun?

I notice that the Student 1 didn't include her grade percentages and that Student 2 included his, but put grades and percentages in the wrong columns.

A couple of rebels, obviously.  I like 'em.

Saturday, September 23, 2017


"I'm gonna go down to Meininger's today", he said.  "Wanna come?"

Of Wolfgang's many interests, one that he shares with me is playing with art toys, and Meininger's is the best "toy" store around.

"Okay", I said, "but I'm NOT buying anything!"

It was true.

Wolfgang had a specific pen he was looking for as  he'd told me about Inktober, where the challenge is to make an ink drawing every day during the month of October.

He's going to try.  I'm going to try.

BUT, I have paper, I have pens, the pens have ink.  Enough for every day for a month, if I make it.

As usual it was a fun little outing.  Meininger's is not a "craft" store, it's for true art weirdos.  We fit right in.

And it's been a while since I've done much artwork as that took a backseat to grad school, but alas I have some time to play again.  So I doodled this jar that sits on my desk.

I doodled for Illustration Friday, where the prompt this week is "juice".

I doodled to test out the new pen on the new paper...

that I bought today, when I wasn't going to buy anything.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

do you remember...?

... the 21st night of September?

I went back and looked.  I did not write a blog post last year on the 21st of September.  Why is this significant?  I don't know.  I'm still wondering why the 21st night of September is so specifically referenced by Earth,Wind, and Fire.  Even Wikipedia didn't know:

"September 21 is the 264th day of the year (265th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 101 days remaining until the end of the year."

Well, how enlightening.

But Meego informs me that even kids TODAY jam to that song on September 21st.  He was the one who reminded me that today is that day.

Me:  Fall officially begins on Friday
Meego:  Yeah, but you know what Thursday  is, right?  "The 21st night of September"!
Me:  <crickets>

What I WAS blogging about around this time last year was mostly about how woozy I was feeling all the time.  And now I remember. September 2016 was particularly drunken.  This September is mucho better.

Maybe the allergy shots are responsible, plus I've been doing the neti pot (as opposed to that other pot).  I honestly think the neti pot is making a difference because I started it before the allergy shots.  I just noticed that when I began to google "neti pot", I got "neti pot death" right away.

I don't plan on death by neti pot.  I only use distilled water.

Anyway, as unglamorous as it is, the silly thing seems to work.

So, upon that realization, I feel like dancing.  Get that disco ball spinnin' because I'm not!

Linking up with Mama Kat for the prompt:
6. What were you blogging about last year at this time? How have things changed?

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

a real sh*t storm

Well, this is just gross.

As if there weren't enough reasons to abstain from the news, I came across this story of a local... runner.  It seems this runner has been making regular pit stops along her route through a normally laid back neighborhood.  In fact, I enjoy running near where she's been spotted - my beloved Mouse Town.


I don't even really want to blog about it, but ever since I read the story and watched the video, it's impacted on my mind.  What is up with this person?  I call her "Mouse Town Pooper".

There's just no explanation, really, other than mental illness?  A park was recently constructed in a portion of Mouse Town.  Apparently, it was decided that the Preble's mice still had enough space to do their thing and keep on existing alongside a new park

So the park is complete with recreation AND bathroom facilities.  Brand new and operational.  

I imagine that, now that there are photos of her all over the local news, someone will come forward and put an end to this strangeness.

What I thought was funny about the story, however, is how the news channel actually interviewed a few people around the neighborhood and caught their comments about how gross and wrong the behavior is.

Like, we need to ask people that?

Friday, September 15, 2017

'til I drop

One of my least favorite but necessary activities is "fetching" groceries. I try not to complain about it because of the starving people out there - first world problem that it is.  But I just typically find it so mundane, traipsing around the grocery store, checking items off my list, dodging the other shoppers.

Then there's the waiting in line to pay for the cartload.  I'm always in the slowest line.  Every.  Time.

However, it's better now than in the "old days".  Now, there are self-serve checkouts.  Plus, I'm old enough to remember when cashiers actually had to punch in prices for every item.  Lovely things, those bar codes!

Monday, I used Walfart's pickup service for the first time.  Go online, fill the cart, pick a time to pick up the stuff, and... voila!  A wonderful Walfart's employee wheels the goods out.

It worked just as planned.  I didn't have to go in the store.  I didn't have to go through any register line.  I still had to drive there, but all in all, it was a wonderful thing and didn't even cost extra.  Really, I had NO problem with the fact that someone else picked my bananas.  

This, I'm sure, is in response to the power of  Many actual retail stores - the ones that have been able to remain open despite the amazon competition - are jokingly referred to as "Amazon Showrooms".

Who here has tried something out in a store, only to go and get it cheaper off amazon?  Anyone?  Admit it?

I have bought groceries from amazon too, but still had to wait a whole two days, so I appreciate that amazon lit a fire under Walfarts, of which there is one about a mile from my house.  About a mile away in the other direction is a Whole Foods - now owned by Jeff Bezos/Amazon.  It's been quite a while since I've shopped at "Whole Paycheck", but I'm curious now to see what's changed.

I remember when amazon first showed up as an online bookseller back in the mid-90s.  What a great thing it was.  I figured it would give used book stores a lot of trouble.

And now look, what an understatement.


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

Sunday, September 10, 2017


Things have settled into a sense of "normalcy", for lack of a better term, since I started the high school job.  I'm a month into it and starting to feel like I somewhat belong there.

I still have regularly scheduled time with one college tutee, and I have a couple of other high school tutees who occasionally call me in a panic.

Plus I'm getting to know most of my 250-ish students at the school a bit better.  They're a diverse group of good kids.  My hardest adjustment has been getting used to how ordered and by-the-book public school is.  In some cases, it's good and necessary, but I also think it's rather prison-like in others.  I'm not much for being a prison warden.

One student, who sports burgundy hair and a septum ring, told me I was "pretty chill", I think as a compliment?  Either way, I don't think that's a typical descriptor for a prison warden.

In the meantime, I have short conversations with a couple of crossing guards along my commute - nice ladies, as most all crossing guards are 😉.  Some may recall that, back in my crossing guard days, I had a daily customer fondly known as "Bike Lady".

I never did learn her actual name.  We would exchanged pleasantries, and I knew how long her commute was, but that was about it.  In fact, I probably wouldn't even recognize her anywhere else because of her bike helmet and glasses she always wore with a ponytail.

Now, it seems, I have become Bike Lady.

One of the crossing guards commented on the large amount of traffic, noting that the high school and middle school were neighborhood schools, yet hardly anyone seems to walk to school anymore.  I took this pic from my classroom one morning before the start of school.

No, that's not the parking lot, it just looks like one.  It's the steady stream of cars inching to and from the "neighborhood" school.  At least there's one representative on foot.

There are buses for students who live over a mile from school, and some of the cars are students and staff.  But a large majority are students who live less than a mile away, being driven to school and dropped off  by parents.

This is quite different from my own high school days.  Parents rarely drove their kids to school, and typically only on days when the kids had something big to bring to school, and only if the kid didn't have a driver's license.   I went to a relatively small school in a small town, so thought that might help explain the difference, but Magnum went to a big school in a big city where no one was driven by their parents either.

Is this a new thing now?  Did YOU get your own self to high school and back?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Bike Lady

Monday, September 4, 2017

this is bananas

... and water, and Gatorade.

Happy Day of Labor, my fellow Americans!

Meego and I got in some volunteer hours again this year with working Aid Station #9 for the ADT Marathon.  It was a nice day for it, not too hot or windy.  No rain.  A bit buggy, we found out

Winning times weren't all that fast.  First place was a rather sluggish (for first place) 2:50 and change.  But most seemed to be having a good time of it.  We had a couple of guys drop out at our station - we were at mile 17.  One had a knee injury and we never did find out what was up with the other guy, but he'd declared himself done.

One of Wolfgang's running friends from high school ran it and finished a respectable 2nd place for her age group at about 3:30.  I told Wolfgang last night that he should come down to our station and cheer her on.

"Ugh, it's so... EARLY"

So much for fan friends.

But these little cuties came down to cheer on Mom.

Actually, they enthusiastically cheered for everybody, but especially Mom.

Cutest things.

I think some proceeds from this race go to maintain area trails, so it was a good morning of work for a good cause.

We arrived at 7am, and expected to be able to pack up and go by about 10:30, but we ended up waiting for the Last of the Last - an enthusiastic woman in a rainbow tutu - who came strolling on through at around 11:30.  There was a full hour between her and the second to last.

But she was just so positive and enthusiastic and grateful, I'm glad we waited.  She's probably still out there.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

moving house

A large and very furry dog has appeared at the next door neighbor's.  He's clearly not a puppy, so I'm guessing the neighbors are dog sitting, or maybe have adopted an older dog.  I googled, and I'm pretty sure he's a Great Pyrenees.

It's a rather hot day today, and I don't think he's happy judging by the amount of barking.  I'm uncomfortable just looking at him.  But maybe it's his change of living quarters that has him a bit unsettled.

We had brunch today with my Mother-in-law and her husband.  They are in the midst of selling their home in New Mexico and moving here to a Senior Living Community.  So we had a little tour of their new house and walked around the place and ate in the dining hall.

It was all very clean and comfortable, their new house is nice, staff people are friendly.  Plus, they'll be close to us now and also to Magnum's sister who lives here in town.  But I could sense a tone of resistant acceptance from both of them.  It's an admission of growing old and losing some independence.  A situation that is not temporary.

I'm reminded of my own parents' resistance to leaving their home.  In fact, I'd hoped they would move to the very place my in-laws are moving to, but they wouldn't even consider it.  Moving out of their house was about all they could accept.  Leaving town was not an option.

Watching my parents, I would think to myself, "Well, if/when my time comes to admit I can't do it all myself, I'll know and be okay with it", but it's probably easier said than done.

As we were strolling the area, my stepfather-in-law mentioned that residents need to be at least 55 years old to live there, and I was all, "Wait... what?"  Magnum will be 55 in a couple of months.

No way we're that close to being eligible to live in a Senior Living Community.  Seems like I was still a kid just yesterday!