Sunday, December 31, 2017


I remember, way back when I was in elementary school, it was customary to have show-and-tell during the week after returning from winter break.  The purpose was for kids to show others what they got for Christmas.

I'm sure that's not allowed in public school anymore.

Although, I've said that I don't care much for material gifts at Christmas, I do like to hear about what others got and from whom.  I think the gifts we exchange tell bigger stories.

And it's not to say that I'm so minimal as to not want for anything - heck, far from it.  I just don't want others to get me something out of obligation.  Chaco actually got me a lovely tapestry he'd gotten on a recent trip for work.  I don't even think it was necessarily because it was Christmas, he was just in an exotic place, so got me something.

We did a Yankee Swap for PEO, and I ended up with a cute comfy winter-themed throw pillow.  I was quite happy with it until someone opened a pair of cozy knit fingerless gloves.  Suddenly I wanted someone to steal my cute comfy winter-themed throw pillow so I could get those fingerless gloves.  Nope, I'm not free from material desires.

Similarly, Magnum's work group did a swap, and I don't even remember now what he brought home.  Wolfgang came home with an assortment of beers.

I do a good amount of day-to-day shopping online, and was feeling a little guilty in the days leading up to Christmas.  Here were these harried UPS drivers and others in the supply chain working to get my tea and vitamins to me before Christmas.

One purchase was a new lock for my bicycle, that I guess seemed more gift-like to those worker bees.  I'd been wanting an upgrade for a while, and it actually happens that Magnum works for the company that makes THE brand of bike lock to have, I just hadn't gotten around to shopping for one until Christmas time. Even if he didn't work there, I would've gotten the lock I did.  But since he works there - yay, employee discount.

So I got the lock, and Magnum got the required paperwork for the discount.  Under "eligibility", it listed parents, siblings, and kids of employees.

What?  No spouse?

He asked about spouses and was told that "spouse just counts as you".

Okay, fine.  I feel strangely like a discovered mass of hair and teeth, confirmed to be remnants of a twin that was absorbed during gestation.

But hey.  Discount!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

in closing...

We're in the lull week between Christmas and New Year's.  Time for some resolutions!  Or not.

But before I can move on to another year, I will look back on the things what happened here in 2017.  Join me?

The year began with a family vacation to sunny California... without me.

Meego shaved his head for charity, made a buncha money and the evening news.

Our lovable pooch China, of 17 years or so, went to the bridge.

Prom was lovely and hypothermic.

That wacky greyhound we had for a week thankfully didn't eat the cat

Wolfgang graduated college and then went to Europe.  
Without us.

We climbed a buncha stairs on Flag Day

I convened at another rip-roaring P.E.O. convention, but didn't put my face in a Star

We got high...

... on more than one occasion.

And we also went down down down.

I started allergy injections, somewhat thanks to another ^&%# insect

She left us 😢

Drums and fun... from the Band Camp Mom Tent

The eclipse was amazing.  And the world didn't die.
But that sex crazed deer did...

I added a lovely bicycle to the family

Meego was a drum captain and ramp tumbler.

I trotted my turkey
and learned an important thing from a job at a school.

Okay!  Now, I'm ready to move on.

What are your memories of last year?  
Any resolutions for 2018?  

Linking up with Mama Kat again for the prompt:
6. A year in review! Compile a years worth of your best blog posts and pictures

Sunday, December 24, 2017


Greetings blog neighbors, it's Christmas eve. Suddenly. 

This week's prompt at Illustration Friday is "plant", and I guess I was thinking of the abruptness of Christmas' arrival.

At least things are pretty low-key around here for Christmas, which is why I probably tend to nearly forget it until it hits me in the face.

I did get our lights up on the house a week or so ago, so we aren't the Scrooges of the neighborhood, and we got our tree on Friday.

Once again, we got a little live Charlie Brown Tree to later be planted in the yard.  We've done this every year for about 20 years.  Some might wonder about the size of our "grove" by this point.  I have actually googled our previous homes to check on our trees there.  Some are all growed up *sniff*

We've lived in this house for 13 years, but we don't have 13 Christmas trees in the yard.  Our soil here is pretty crap, and despite our best efforts, about half of the trees have gone to Christmas tree heaven.

Here is the newest of the bunch, still hibernating in the garage under the watchful eyes of Ariel and Bella.

And I have enjoyed the time off to get other things done and relax a bit.  Yesterday, Magnum and I went to see Pitch Perfect 3 with Meego and his girlfriend.  It was the fun, lighthearted entertainment I expected.  

Either way, it's gotta be the first chick flick I've ever seen with family, with whom I'm normally subjected to Comic Book / Shoot-em-up movies.  But Meego's girlfriend put in her vote for PP3, so Win!

Now, I gotta go.  I need to decorate the tree, and that will take up a good 4 minutes.  

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Wordless Wednesday?

Wordless?   As if!!

As mentioned, I've been taking advantage of the time off this week to tidy up a bit.  It's Life Changing, I swear it is.  So for Wordless Wednesday, here are a few pics of things that are gone / going away.

  • Meego's consumed Secret Santa gift bag from percussion camp = The Gift of Diabetes:

  • Wolfgang's wrapped contribution for his workplace Yankee Swap.  Any guesses? 
    Hint:  it's one of the wonders that is the Chia Pet, but which one??

  • No, it wasn't ugly sweater day at Magnum's work.  They had a tie-dye day to honor a deceased coworker.  Faces have been blurred to protect the innocent.  

  • In our local news, we have the story of The Big Blue Frame.  Creatures were stirring.  Even the mice.  It's gone, but destined to return... somewhere?

  • In other news, I sold Bicycle Alice this week to a good home.  I'm 😊/😢 about it.  Will speak of it later.  Maybe.

  • And as I was organizing my computer files, I noticed something missing from the photo below. 

    Whatizzit?  Anyone?

Monday, December 18, 2017

shopping, and rhymes with Shamu

I can't remember the last time I paid for something with actual cash.  Other than groceries, gas, and such, I rarely even shop in actual stores.

Magnum and I were in the local Barnes & Noble a couple of weeks ago.  Meego needed a book for school, and I'd ordered it online, but it ended up being the wrong edition.  Easy fix, just hit the local B&N down the road.

I couldn't find the book, so I bothered a store employee,

"I'm looking for 'The Stranger' by Albert Camus" , I said, pronouncing it "AL-bert CAM-us"

She began typing at her computer, and said, "AL-bert ka-MOO"

Oh, heh, that's what I said, right?  I guess my non-culture was showing.  I later learned that his name is actually pronounced "al-BEAR ka-MOO", so who's the uncultured one now??

Another example of why shopping online is easier - no one to check your incorrect pronunciation.

I mention this because the prompt at Illustration Friday for this week is "shopping", and I was going to draw some money, but I got busy with unshopping and didn't draw a darn thing.  So I'm cheating and going with a throwback drawing.  Stupid because I only go to Illustration Friday to inspire me to draw something, not pull something out of the archives!

But like I said, I was unshopping, meaning I was tidying and then took a load o' stuff to the donation center.

I loves me some tidying and unshopping.  Plus, I know how to correctly pronounce "Albert Camus".


Thursday, December 14, 2017

gif guide for humbuggers

Yesterday, there was a meeting at work.  Since I'm a noob, it was my first meeting at work.  I'm told they happen every quarter or so. It was a pretty laid back meeting featuring some business talk and some awards.  And, being the time of year that it is, there was the inevitable ugly sweater contest.

Where are those sweaters the whole rest of the year?  The thought, to me, is uglier than the sweaters.

As confessed a few times on the blog, I'm a minimalist.  I don't like "stuff" that serves little or no purpose, such as a sweater worn for a few hours or less, once a year.  A lot of the stuff in our house is only there so as to not scar our children by my getting rid of it, although I've probably already created little scars during the times I couldn't stand it.

In fact, I've told our kids not to get me stuff - for Christmas, for birthdays, for Mother's Day... They all too readily comply.

Truth be told, I wouldn't mind learning that they gave it some thought.  I just don't want "stuff".

So with that, I offer...

A Gift Guide for the Minimalist in Your Life

1.  The first category that comes to mind is Consumable Items.

  • Gourmet coffee or tea
  • Trail mix
  • Harry & David pears and cheese (we just ripped through the annual box from the MIL)
  • Homemade jam.  I'd eat it.

And although a minimalist's gotta eat, there are non-food consumables too.  Ferzample:

  • Nice luxurious hand lotion - rather than the cheap store brand stuff I buy
  • Art/craft supplies, for the artsy minimalist *hint*hint*

2.  Another category is the Experience category.  Being a minimalist doesn't mean sitting in a cave!

  • Ski pass
  • Fishing/hunting license
  • Theater/concert/sporting event tickets

3.  Or howzabout some educashun?
  • Yoga class
  • Guitar lessons
  • Personal trainer session

But seriously, don't get ME anything!


Linking up with MamaKat this week for the prompt:
3. Create a gift guide.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017


Started the new job this week.  Sorta.

I'm working for the company that provides food service to the school district.  They also serve area universities, colleges, hospitals, and senior living facilities.  I took a job with the school district branch because it has the best hours for me.

The plan is for me to eventually manage one of the site kitchens, but for now, I will roam around and get a feel for the various schools.  I've been at an elementary school this week, and I know from previous experience that there's not much to it.  Middle school and high school are where it's at, but everyone "trains" at an elementary school.  Today, I'll finish my training and let the roaming begin!

In the meantime, I'm still wired into the job I just left.  This is finals week, and kids are emailing me with late assignments, and I'm graciously updating their grades as I still have access to all the stuff.

There's probably a rule against doing that since it's government and I'm not getting paid, so don't tell anyone.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

communication skills

Do you leave your phone on all the time?  Is it near you when you sleep?  I was having this conversation recently with some people, and the overall majority said they sleep with their phones.

They had reasons:
"It's my alarm"
"I get called into work early in the morning"
"What if... happens?!"

Unless Meego is out late somewhere, I typically turn my phone off at bedtime.  Yes, we have older kids, but they're technically adults and pretty self sufficient.

Tuesday morning I turned on the phone and as it booted up, I had two texts from Chaco:

"J took me to the hospital, but I'm better now"

"Wolfgang knows the details"

Okay, so that was slightly better than the time he texted me that he'd been hit by a car while on his bicycle to his place from our house and nothing more.  Slightly.

I eventually got the scoop.  Chaco and his girlfriend were at a rock climbing gym.  As Chaco was climbing, he was gripping a hold with his left hand and his feet slipped from the wall, leaving him dangling from the hold with his left hand.  In hindsight, I guess he should've just let go, but who would do that?

Since he didn't just let go, he dislocated his left shoulder.  The crew in the ER, with the help of some good drugs, put him back together.

As I talked to him, I told him I'd turned off my phone around 10:00.

"Ha, I texted you at 10:06"


Other than THAT, it's been a great week.  I got in my last days at that old  high school job, and feel I'm leaving on a good note.  I like the kids and the staff, it was the job itself that sucked 😝.  And there was some silly drama - from a few of the adults! - that I didn't care to be a part of. 

They still have one more week left of school before winter break, but it's half days for finals.  I'm out.  That last class on Friday took FOREVER!  I swear time stopped.

What time is it?  Where's your phone?

Friday, December 8, 2017

that moment when you realize it's you

I was scrolling around in instagram a couple of days ago.  I got an instagram account a while ago because it's the platform of choice for geocaching pics, but I soon learned that I don't really want to post geocaching pics  *YAWN*

But I admit that it's kind of fun to find interesting things to follow.  I don't really follow my "friends" much, but I've found some fun artists and such to inspire me.  And I follow some gear companies and groups, because really, I like looking at happy pictures. 

So I was boringly perusing my instagram feed when I came across a familiar looking photo.  Then I realized it was familiar because I had just been living it!  My PEO chapter was adorning the screen.

Yeah, we had another party.  Yeah, we had to take the Von-Trapp-Family-on-the-staircase photo - complete with a coupla pooches.

Thanks to the Veep who has a great house for parties and then took some pics and then posted them to the PEO instagram.  You go, girls.  What did we do before the internet?

Linking up with MamaKat for the prompt:
3. Share a recent photo or video you  somebody added to Instagram and give us the back story.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

one week to go, the high school musical

Where did this past week go?  I feel like it was busy and productive, but I have no blog submissions to show for it.  Well, here we go...

For one thing, I'm in the process of leaving my job and starting a new one. Yup, my "new" job is now my "old" and I've got a new "new".  It's a bit of a tedious and whiny story, so I'll be brief.

I took this job at a nice area  high school.  I don't have a teaching license and have been going back and forth for the past few years, wondering if I should get a license and just be a high school teacher already.  So this job opened up, which didn't require a license, but would be a strong step toward getting one PLUS a job.

After doing this gig for a while, I consulted with my inner cells to see their thoughts on pursuing a license.  After crunching the data, here are the results:

Okay, so yeah, it was unanimous, but unanimous elections make for dull pie charts...

In the end, I got my answer.  No more wondering.  And I'm glad that I didn't just go ahead and jump through the various hoops to get a license only to learn AFTERWARD that it wasn't for me.  So it's all good, and I'm a lame duck for another week when the semester ends.

And I've got another job lined up to begin once this one ends, so I've been overlapping quitting the school job and going in for some training and such for the new one.

In somewhat related news, one of my students got himself suspended last week for 5 days, which is a lot of days to be suspended for.  I'm curious as to what he did, but since no one's told me, I haven't asked, out of respect for his privacy.

In the meantime, I eavesdrop on student conversations.  In one, I heard "jail" and "probably".  So curious.

Another day last week, security came through our classrooms with the cutest drug sniffing pooches!  I think it was just a random sweep, but they did remove one of my students' backpacks, and the kid was in the office for quite a while.  I wasn't surprised, to be honest.

But back to the dogs.  They were the cutest black labs.  I'd pictured drug sniffers as German Shepherds, but these were small black labs, about 40 lbs. I wanted to play with them, but they were all business.

I have had some fun stories from my semester of high school, but not enough fun to make me want to stick around and go bonkers.