Sunday, November 26, 2017

old age, bus boys, and meeting girls

I've got some doorbustin' to do in a little while, but I'll give thanks for an all-around good Thanksgiving week.  Both fun and productive!

In addition to Thanksgiving, Magnum and I both turned it up the age count.  His birthday was Friday, and mine was on Tuesday, with Thanksgiving falling in the middle so the whole country could celebrate us!

As mentioned, the Turkey Trot was bunches of fun.  There really was a five-guys-dressed-as-a-school-bus.  See?

That's one way to get your picture in the paper.  I'm not sure what place it/they finished or what relation it served for Thanksgiving, but they seemed to be having fun.  As for me, the results did eventually update, and I became myself again rather than a nameless and homeless male of no age.

I took 2nd for my age group, and when I looked at the next OLDER age group, there were three women there who beat me.  I recognized a couple of names, and yes, I've eaten their dust before...

Speaking of eating, we spent Thanksgiving at Magnum's sister's, and it was a good time.  Chaco brought his girlfriend to meet the fam, so she was in a bit of a hot seat.  But I'd told her prior that everyone is pretty chill, plus there would be a 5-month old baby there to grab all the attention anyway.  The little guy did a good job of it, and I think GFchaco had a nice time.  She's cute and fun and I'm not quite sure how Chaco swung that ;)

Meego went shopping with his girlfriend's family for Black Friday.  They came by the house to get him, and he wanted me to come out and meet them as he's only been with this girl a short time.

I actually know her mom as she's an active band volunteer, but I didn't know the girlfriend that well.  I honestly "met" GFmeego only once during band camp when she had an asthma attack, thus freaking me out.  But she's talented and pretty and I'm not quite sure how Meego swung that ;)

Now I'm off for some doorbustin', but be assured I won't buy anything we don't need. 😛

Friday, November 24, 2017


My mom had an old sewing machine that she hardly ever used.  It was such an interesting contraption to me as a kid.  One day when I was about 8 years old, I was playing with my Barbie doll, and Mom asked if I'd like her to make a dress for the doll.  Of course, duh!

Mom cut up some pieces of fabric she had lying around and whipped out a dress on that sewing machine in seeming record time.  I was at a loss for words, so utterly impressed.

I'm not sure if it was from that incident or just an inherent thing, but I'd badly wanted to learn to sew for the longest time.  I asked my mom to teach me, but she was reluctant.

She and her family made clothes and sold them when she was growing up.  Mom was the only daughter, and I think she and her mother did the bulk of the sewing while her brothers cut the fabric.  So years later, when she was in America, she was ready to put that life behind her, and I guess she didn't want it for me either.

She did have a crafty friend of hers show me a few basics, and I also did some projects in junior high home ec. class.  When I graduated from high school, Mom gave me my first sewing machine as a graduation present.  To this day, I think of that sewing machine as both the best and most practical gift anyone has ever given me.

But clothes are pretty cheap now, there's really no practical reason to make clothes.  Most people I know who sew do crafty things like quilts and decorations and such.

I recently found a blogger who has made a lucrative living as a... seamstress?  For lack of a better term?  She has a powerful online presence with her fashion and DIY as well as sewing tutorials.  Probably another thing that attracts people to her various websites is that she models all her own clothes, and she's not the typical stick-figure anorexic-looking model.

What impresses me is how productive she is - cranks out the outfits and photo shoots and vlogs and blogs with crazy regularity.  She says it all happened when she just decided to blog about her DIY a few years ago, never meaning it to be her career, and it all went viral.  But it's obvious she's got skill and loves to do this stuff.

Illustration Friday hasn't posted a  new prompt yet, so I'm still in time for last week's prompt "skill" with a fashion sketch of Mimi G.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

yewpee five oh too

Happy Thanksgiving, blog people! I will mention here that I am not one of those who refer to this holiday as "Turkey Day", and I have been known to inwardly judge harshly those who do, given my mood.

BUT it is a good reason for a Turkey Trot, and I managed to make it to the annual 5K event in my neck of the woods.  I hadn't turkey trotted in 3 years, so it was fun to get back into the fray.

It was a perfect morning for it. Sunny in the mid 40s, no real wind.  After a lovely rendition of the National Anthem, we were off.  Since it is such a popular race, we started in waves and I put myself in the second wave.

I'd been feeling a bit sluggish just before the race, but once the starter said "go", I got a surge of energy and moved to the front of my even more sluggish wave.

I eventually passed the 5-guys-dressed-up-like-a-school-bus that I'd had as my first target and was onto the next thing.

Shortly after the turnaround, I noticed some animated people in the corner of my left eye.  I turned to see Wolfgang and his three buddies, who must've arrived a bit late and started in one of the waves behind mine.  I was about to call out to them, but realized my lungs were  quite preoccupied, struggling to keep me alive.

So instead, I meandered over and gave Wolfgang a Ben-Hur-chariot-race elbowing.

Once he realized who the weirdo was, he sped up because no son wants to have his mom cross the finish line ahead of him in a Turkey Trot, late wave or no.

I made it to the finish, feeling I'd run a decent race.  I'm not certain, but I'm pretty sure that some dude was doubled over and actively vomiting right after finishing a few seconds ahead of me.  I kept on running for a little while...

I hung out in the aftermath and got a very nice freebie water bottle, which I actually was in need of.  Some people began to post race results near where I was standing, so I figured I'd try to find myself.  I'd been shooting for a sub 24:00 but didn't time myself, plus I was wondering how I'd done against the other old ladies. But I couldn't find myself anywhere in the results.

But then... there I was:  "UnknownParticipant502"


An official looking person (official looking because she had a bullhorn) told me that the "roster system" had gone down from some accident, so some of us didn't roll up.  She thought it would eventually update, but didn't seem real concerned.  So for now, this is me

It seems there were 74 of us thrown into the Unknown Participant bucket.  No age, no home, but strangely, we are all male.  

I won't hold my breath waiting to become a Turkey Trot somebody.  I did have Magnum snap a pic of me, making #502 a little less unknown.

And that's a turkey wrap of this race report.



Linking up with MamaKat this week
6. Write a blog post inspired by the word: accident.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

think of the good in the world

It was study hall of the last block of the last day before Thanksgiving break.  Not surprisingly, the kids weren't eager to crack open the books.

"Can you let us go early?", they asked.

They probably expected me to say either (1) "No, you can't go early.  The break starts AFTER this block, so get crackin'" or (2) "I s'pose if you're all well behaved, we can leave a few minutes early".

What I said instead was,

"I'm actually surprised so many of you showed up!", because I was.  It was study hall of the last block of the last day before Thanksgiving break, for chrissake.

That statement seemed to perk them up, make them think maybe they had a chance after all.

"How about you mark us all present, and then let us go!", they pleaded hungrily.

To which I replied,

"Oh right!  Then you go off and get in a car accident a mile from school.  You're paralyzed, and I'm in prison, and that's how we spend the rest of our lives!"

So marked the beginning of study hall of the last block of the last day before Thanksgiving break.  They accepted their fates and we had a pleasant time while making it officially to the break, but not before responding to my scenario with,

"But think of all the good you'll do in the world if that doesn't happen!"

I guess we'll never know.

The week actually went by quite fast, so that was nice.  I met another adult at the allergy shot place.  I'd seen her there before, a rather quiet bookwormy type, so she seemed.  She went into the shot room from the waiting room and was wearing a light jacket.

When she emerged, her jacket was off as needed to receive her injection.  She had an ice pack on her arm and was doing some Lamaze-like breathing and sat down near me.  She moved the ice pack and revealed that her entire upper arm was covered with a large tattoo of a horse head.

We ended up having a pleasant conversation involving tattoos and shots and shot tattoos.

Hmmm... don't judge a book(wormy) by its cover?  Then again, I suppose one can be both bookwormy and tattooed.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

assemblies, football, and Serena arms

First of all, a happy (belated) Veteran's Day here in the U.S.  A few weeks ago, the principal of the school where I work asked the staff for anyone who's had a "spouse, child, or self" who served or was serving in our  military.

Yeah, okay, I figured they'd make a little window display in the office or something.  Magnum was in the Army, so I reported in.  Turns out the principal wanted to recognize all of us as a part of the school assembly on Friday.

I inwardly groaned and sat in my assigned seat.

But y'know, it was a real nice assembly.  I do like the principal of my school. Not surprisingly, he threw a very nice Veteran's Day assembly.  And the students were so well behaved and respectful!  Who were they, and what did they do with the usual kids?!

Find Abby?
As a member of staff with a military "spouse, child, or self", I received a little commemorative plaque for Magnum, thanking him for his service to the country.

Afterwards, some students told me, "Good job Mrs. Barker!"

"Well, I didn't really do anything..."

"Good job getting married!", they acknowledged.


In other ceremonies, the football team at Meego's school had their last home game, so it was "Senior night".  Not only were senior football players recognized, but also senior marching banders and senior cheerleaders.

It was a nice night.  The football team won, thus establishing home field advantage for the playoffs, and the band did one last half-time show and no one fell off a ramp (because they decided to not use the ramps - it's just a football game).

And I believe my allergy shots are doing the job.  My eyes feel SO much better, I hadn't even realized how uncomfortable they were.  I'm not sure if the injections have totally cleared out my drunkenness, but the neti pot action seems to be taking care of that.

I'm not yet to "maintenance" stage, still working on desensitizing myself.  Each time I go in, my serum gets a little stronger, until eventually, I'll be able to go frolicking in a sea of pollen and mold to my heart's content!

So we're supposed to watch for stronger-than-usual reactions to the shots.  A usual reaction is where the injection site gets no bigger than a quarter.  Earlier this week, I woke up with Serena Williams arms.  My injection sites were about dollar bill size.  I was pretty sure it wasn't from my feeble attempts at strength training.

Oh well, I was "swole" for a couple of days anyway.

Friday, November 10, 2017

doing shots with strangers

A little boy sits next to me, playing a game on a tablet while fervently sucking a lollypop. His feet swing back and forth, several inches above the ground.  Four other kids - all siblings - play outside on the small patch of lawn.  The youngest, a girl about six years old, comes in the waiting area, breathing loudly on the verge of tears.

She's literally "in a huff" because one of her big brothers did or said something mean to her.    Random children make frequent visits to the basket of free candy, while others play loudly with Lego bricks too large to swallow and the big wire toy.

Another day at the allergist.

I've gotten used to hanging out with my little shotmates two afternoons a week.  They make a mess of the place, but I don't mind since it's not my responsibility to clean it up.

The office I go to is only open two days a week.  Since the recommended shot frequency is twice a week, everyone has become a familiar face.  And it's not ALL little kids.  I count three actual adults in the hoard mess.  Three including me, but I don't really know them since we're three grownups in a sea of little kids.

Ray is, I'd guess, late 20's or early 30's.  He has long hair, often in a ponytail, and usually wears baggy jeans and fat-tongued skater shoes.  I can easily see him taking advantage of Colorado's  snowboarding and legal recreational marijuana.

Diane looks to be about mid-30's, with a pleasant and quiet personality.  She's typically casually dressed in crisp jeans and stylish but comfortable sneakers.  There's something about her that tells me she doesn't have any children.  Not that we've ever really spoken much, but she has an air of non-mom.

When I arrived today among the hoards of little people, sucking on free candy and playing with messy waiting room toys, there was one seat available.  So I took it, seating me on Ray's right.

We are "required" to remain at the shot office for 30 minutes after our injections to watch for any severe reactions.  Ray had gotten his shots just before me, and Diane and I were shot in parallel.

I came out for my 30-minute wait and retook my seat next to Ray as I had left my jacket in the chair.  At that point, many of the little people had cleared out.  Soon, the last of the littles were dismissed and it was just us three adults and several empty chairs in the quiet aftermath.

I suddenly felt that I was awkwardly close to Ray, and Diane was just a couple of seats to his left.

"Should I move to another seat?", I thought to myself.

Nah, that might seem rude or offensive to Ray.

Yet, staying there also felt, well, weird.  Here we had this whole waiting room, and suddenly I felt as if I was practically in Ray's lap, thus making Diane seem like a bit of an outcast in our strange threesome as she was a whole two chairs away.  And since we'd all gotten our shots at about the same time, we'd all be there in this awkward formation for the remainder of our waits.

Ray was playing a game on his phone while I pretended to read my Kindle as I pondered the situation.  Diane was also looking at and swiping her phone screen, but I think she was also pondering the situation.

"Somebody say something!", I inaudibly screamed.


Where's a hoard of messy sugared-up little kids when you need them?


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

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

120 minutes to...

You unexpectedly find 120 minutes in your day.  What do you do with them?

We have a 2-hour delayed start at school today because of "inclement weather".  I found this out after I'd been up a while and taken a shower and gotten dressed.

So far, I've used the time to do some productive things:

  • I read a few more pages of the novel I'm currently reading
  • I had the honor of telling Meego he's unexpectedly gotten 120 minutes in his day
  • I went on f*cebook...

Honestly, I don't use fbook much at all.  But I purposely visit some groups as my default feed is quite boring.

This morning, on the bicycle commuter group page, a new member posted seeking inspiration.  She's starting her bicycle commuting today at 48 years old, and says,

"good news is that I work in the ER so I will get to work one way or another..."

That's looking on the bright side.

Even with the delayed start, I don't plan to ride in today, or I likely would end up at the ER.  So I'll miss that part of the day.  The students, in general, seem to like my bicycling ways - noticing Ariel once I started parking her in the room behind my desk.  One of the other teachers calls her my "convertible".

There are no adult bicycle commuters that I know of at school.  One guy says he rides his "bike" on nice days.  It's a motorcycle.  Had to get in his two cents, I suppose.

One morning last week, while it was still dark because we hadn't changed the clocks yet, I saw a light in my rear view mirror.  It was getting bigger, and I soon realized it was another cyclist.  And he was gaining on me.

We got to the portion of big climb, and he passed me.  I felt so wimpy.  But as he did so, I noticed a slight *whirring* sound.  AHA!  He was on an e-bike.  Wimp-no-more me!

But it's really not a race...

Despite there being no others at my work, at least I have that online group.  Remember last week when we posted pics of our bicycles at our workplaces?  This was one of my faves:

Caption says:  "In my office... Under the watchful eyes of the king and queen"

Sunday, November 5, 2017

warm drinks and windy parades

Sipping on a cup of Maxim, enjoying an extra hour on Sunday.  Chaco's friend and former college roommate, Flop, is Korean.  He had a bag of 100 packs of Maxim Korean instant coffee that somehow made it to our house.  Then it sat in the pantry for a couple of years.  At some point, someone in the house decided to try some, and then I did too.

I don't typically like instant coffee or sugar in my coffee, but gotta say, I like this stuff.  We're down to the last few packets.  I ordered more.  It's due to arrive today.  Yay for simple pleasures and amazon prime.

The city's Veteran's Day parade was yesterday, even though Veteran's Day is next Saturday.  I think maybe the parade is just always scheduled for the first Saturday in November.

Coincidentally, my P.E.O. chapter always has a meeting on the first Saturday in November.  As such, I've missed the last couple of parades.  But this was Meego's last year marching in it with the high school band, so I was able to get a sub to be President yesterday so I could go a-parading.

It was a good time, although a very windy day.  Some parade units were really struggling to hold on to things, and hats were flying off with reckless abandon.  Meego's band looked good as always.  Good thing for chin straps.

I was optimistically thinking that the buildings along the parade route would buffer the high winds, but it was more like they provided a nice narrow channel for the wind to blast even more powerfully through.  Many of the flag teams gave up trying to twirl the things and held them horizontally.

But it was an otherwise nice show.  We have a lot of military and veteran support here in Colorado Springs, so it's a well-attended event on an important holiday.

Meego.  He's the one in blue ;)

Speaking of P.E.O., it's been busy times.  We're sponsoring a candidate for a highly competitive scholarship, got new members coming in, then this past week, one sister's husband landed in the hospital and another's younger brother passed away.   I mention this because it's the reason I didn't fully complete Inktober.

But I got all but the last two!

And it was fun, except for the time crunch.  But a good challenge all around and it was fun to see what others were coming up with.

Now it's November and NaNoWriMo.  I'm trying to write every day for the entire month, and so far, so good.  Making grocery lists and updating the résumé count, right?

Friday, November 3, 2017

high and dark

We were sitting on a log, a few feet back from the first row of partiers gathered around the fire.  Where it was dark.

Several of the others were also friends from work.  Jimmy and I were coworkers at a restaurant.  I was in high school, and Jimmy was a year or two older, but I'm not sure if Jimmy ever graduated.  We sat customers to tables and then cleaned the tables after they left, a.k.a. "host and bus".  Jimmy was known around town as a tough kid.  Got in fights and never lost.  He wasn't big, but he was muscular and quick.  He told me he won fights because he was so quick.

We went to the party after work.  It was summertime and we were pretty tired because the restaurant was always busy in the summer months.  So it was nice to be quietly sitting there on that log.  Where it was dark.

Jimmy pulled out a baggie from his shirt pocket.  From the baggie, he pulled out a previously rolled joint.  He put it to his lips and lit it with a long drag.  He held it between his thumb and index finger as a wordless offering to me. Where it was dark

"Where'd you get that?", I asked him

"My brother", he answered.

But Jimmy had lots of brothers.

I took the weed and had a puff.  I wasn't a very experienced smoker, but I tried.  Then I gave it back to Jimmy, who took another slow drag as we sat on that log and watched the fire and the people in front of us closer to the fire.

We were talking about whatever small-town teenagers talk about after their tourist restaurant jobs while sitting on a log while sharing marijuana from a brother while sitting a few feet back from others sitting around a fire.

Then Jimmy pointed up and to his left.

He said, "Look, a falling star"

I turned my head to look in his direction.  That's when he kissed me.

Funny guy, that Jimmy

Linking up with MamaKat this week for the prompt
3.) Write a blog post inspired by the word: dark.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

teacher's pet

I was giving Bella a bath when it happened.

Suddenly, there was a *snap* and the shifter wasn't shifting anymore.  I knew it wasn't something I could readily fix by myself, so off to the trusty bike shop I went. 

Bella has been a wonderful bicycle for me for twelve years now.  Dutiful, hardworking, and tough.  But truth be told, she's getting to be a bit of a granny.  She's still a joy, but little things have been going on her and needing frequent maintenance.  The shifter was just one in a long line of *snap*

Sure enough, she needed a new shifter cable.  I was just glad it happened while she was in the bath, and not while on the road.  The friendly tech was able to get her back to good in about 10 minutes.  10 minutes I had to walk around the shop...

A voice called to me from a row of bicycles near the back of the shop - where they keep the commuters. 

"Abbeeeeeeeeee.....", I heard. 

"I've been waiting for yoooooooooooo..."

"I'm on cleeeeeeeeeeeeearrraaaaaaance ..."

I followed the voice, and it got louder.  And LOUDER.  Until I was right on top of it. 

Long story short, I went in for a broken shifter and left with a new friend.  It's been a little over a month now and she's gotten me joyfully to and from work with ease. 

I think Bella was a bit hurt when I removed her commuting jewelry and adorned the new girl, so I haven't said much about it.  Out of respect.

But today, on the facebook bicycle commuter page, someone asked for pics of our bikes while we're at work, and I had to participate.  She just makes the room so much brighter - now that I park her inside my room instead of the bike rack where those hooligans broke my tail light.

Blog, meet Ariel

Best kid in class.