Saturday, December 29, 2018

2018 rewind

It's time again for the year-end rewind.  Whew, 2018, we hardly knew ya!

Before charging onward into 2019, I'm recalling a few  events - mostly in pics - of the year past:

Got in the first miles and a medal on the New Year's Day "Rain, Snow, or 20-below" Rescue Run 10k.  It was chilly, but I discovered animal crackers and hot Gatorade.

Spent plenty a good time with my P.E.O. sisters...

Nearly froze again when the weather took an arctic turn during the Super Bowl half marathon.  I don't remember feeling as smiley at this point in the race.  I think my face was just frozen in this expression.

We FINALLY went mountain biking

Final prom tux rental?

We sponsored a local high schooler for a P.E.O. scholarship, and she GOT it!

Meego's high school let him graduate 😊

Chaco got a cool dog.

Wolfgang got a cool cat

Our neighborhood finally got decent-speed internet, so I could expand my nerd skills to online tutoring

Wolfgang got a new job and Meego conveniently enrolled at the university in Wolfgang's nice new hometown.  We can visit them both during not parent's weekend and otherwise.

I was thankful to trot my turkey on Thanksgiving.

And we end the year with the acquisition of sweetie pie Penny!

All in all, a good year! There was plenty more, but this has droned on long enough.  I did also make some delightful new blog friends and kept some old ones. 

I can honestly say that the highs outnumbered the lows, and I am truly blessed.  

Thanks to everyone who stops by!  Hope to see ya next year!

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

it's a wrap

Happy day-after, everyone.  I, for one, am glad Christmas is behind us.  Don't get me wrong, I love the seasonal break and time with family and to reflect.  I'm not a fan of the over consumption of stuff and the stress it brings to so many.  I don't participate in that part, but I know there are those who really enjoy finding creative and quirky gifts for people, though, and don't mean to spoil their fun.

We live not far from a  mall.  Although malls have lost  a lot of traffic in recent years, Christmas time seems to forget about that.  So I'm glad to have less traffic in the area now... oh, wait, there are weeks now of people returning stuff... 'tis the season.

We had a nice day at home.  Wolfgang arrived about mid-morning.  Traditionally, we've had ham and my awesome scalloped potatoes.  This year, I replaced the scalloped potatoes with glazed sweet potatoes because lactose intolerance has infiltrated the family (Chaco, Meego).  Meego looked almost disappointed, stating, "Sometimes it's worth it".

Wolfgang brought some lemon bars, and my SIL had brought over a food-truck pie earlier in the week, so I didn't have to slave over the dessert like I usually do (go to the store, buy a pie).

There were gifts for the kids because, well, I can't resist THAT much.

We spoiled Penny, the new pooch, then the four of us went for a nice afternoon hike as the sun set.  It was nice to see others out enjoying the great outdoors.  As we walked along, we passed a few random evergreens that someone had decorated with Christmas ornaments - nice touch.  This would be a good spot for a pic of said trees, but I didn't think of it.

Use your imagination:

Plus, Wolfgang recently got a new phone that takes really nice photos.  Here's one he took of Penny that's so much better than the blur blobs from my camera.

See how his camera sharply picked up every piece of grit and grime on the rug?  We still don't know what she is, breed-wise. We've narrowed it down to some kind of hound mixed with who-knows.   I think she's just her own little melting pot.

Chaco and his girlfriend came over shortly after Wolfgang had to leave, since Wolfgang's working today.  Chaco and Jess had been up skiing, so missed all the earlier frivolity at our house.  We had a nice visit with them, and they further helped eat the food-truck pie.

All in all, a good day with much to be thankful for.  Now onto the next - New Year's resolution time! 😳

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Merry / Happy [state your holiday]!

Merry Christmas, blogpeople!  Thanks for stopping by.

I'm grateful for all of my blog friends and look forward to reading more about all of you in the coming new year.

I hope everyone is feeling the love and warm fuzzies.  I'll leave you with this strange floating-head graphic.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Penny for your thoughts?

Meego and I visited the local humane society on Friday, as planned.  Not surprisingly, we ended up bringing home a new family member.  It's for this reason we had NOT visited the humane society until Friday. Who can resist!

Some readers may recall that we had two dogs:  Domino and China.  Our dog count decreased by one when Domino succumbed to pancreatic cancer about 10 years ago, and sweet China became our sole pooch until we had to say good-bye after she'd reached the ripe old age of 17 years about a year and a half ago.

We thought we might foster Greyhounds, but the cat wasn't having it.

So we'd talked about getting another pooch, but waited for the timing to be right.  And here we are, Meego's home on break from school for a good month.  Magnum's got a buncha holiday time off.  I'm in the seasonal lull.  Sounds like pooch time to me!

Blog, meet Penny.  Penny, blog...

We don't know much about her beginnings, she transferred here to Colorado from New Mexico.  The staff estimates she's 3 to 4 months old.  She weighs about 15 pounds and is a total cutie.  She's the only dog we visited with at the shelter. We were also the first to visit with her.  She had been made available for adoption just that morning and I'm 99.9% sure someone else would have adopted her that day if we didn't.

The shelter was BIZ-ZEEE on Friday.  Here I thought we could go when it was relatively slow, beat the weekend crowds. HA.  But it's good to see so many dogs "flying off the shelves" of the shelter.

She was spayed on Saturday morning, and we picked her up in the afternoon.  She was a bit groggy but has been playfully coming around today.

...although as I look through my pics, it seems she's always laying around

Oh well, making herself at home, which is nice.

Well, the cat's still a bit "WTH?!"

Friday, December 21, 2018

holiday squishes and kettle burns

Went for my annual mammogram yesterday, nice to have that completed for the year.  I am grateful that these things have historically been only minorly discomforting with no anxiety.   *squish*squish*squish*   "thanks, you can go now" and then get the all-clear a short while later.  No family history, relatively low risk (small asian boobs... ).

So THAT's done for the year.  On  a side  note, the mammogramologist / mammographer / mammotechnician / not sure of her actual title - told me that I have "well developed pectoralis muscles".  HA!  Well, I've been going to the gym more regularly since last spring.  I don't notice much difference from the "before", but I'm sure she's handled a lot more boobs than I have in order to make an informed comparison.  Anyways, it prompted her to make an additional *squish* angle, and then I was done.

I came home and started doing some work after putting the kettle on for tea.  A while later, I emerged from my desk to find the kitchen kind of hazy.  *GASP*- the tea kettle!  I forgot about it, all the water boiled away, and I burned out yet another kettle.  Yes, this has happened before πŸ˜’

So, the happy ending is that I now have a shiny new kettle.  My old one was a cheapo from which the cheap spot weld holding the whistle in place failed after about one week of use.  I replaced it with a, hopefully, better stronger whistle.  Because I can be stupid and need these things.

In aquarium news, I've got 6 fish now.  The roots of my bamboo are growing, but I can't tell if the actual stalks are growing.  Oh well, I'll take roots.

In looking at my calendar, I currently don't have any tutees scheduled for the next 6 days - not surprisingly.  I asked Meego if he wants to go with me today to the pet shelter "just to look" at the dogs available for adoption.  

Just gonna look.  

I think.

Monday, December 17, 2018

the lost boys

We picked up Meego for winter break from college last Friday.  He'd moved to a new dorm just the weekend before, and for that, I'm grateful.

One of Meego's good friends from high school also attends this university.  They'd tried to room together, but didn't get all their info in on time apparently.  But no biggie, they still hang out.  The university has an app that's "kinda like Tinder" where incoming freshmen can peruse profiles and find compatible roommates and get to know each other a little ahead of time.  Seems like a good thing, in theory.

So Meego found a roommate through the app. We met him on move-in day, and he seemed like a nice enough guy.  And he does have some good traits... but those traits are all fuzzed because of the copious amounts of drugs the dude uses.

It's sad really.  Meego says he'd start smoking weed first thing after waking up in the morning, and he's clearly addicted to JUUL pods.  In the short time Meego's known him, the roommate's done Molly, mushrooms, and cocaine, along with weed and booze and who-knows-what-else.  He says he won't do PCP. Well, nice to know the kid has discriminating tastes.

When we met the kid on move in day, he came across as outgoing and friendly, excited to be in college.  I'd say he had "the look" of a potential partyer, but a good portion of college kids have that look.  Meego says there were times when people would come into the room and roommate would just be staring into space with his mouth open, oblivious to others in the room.

Meanwhile, Meego's HS friend was in a 4-bed suite.  One of the 4 messed himself up by mixing alcohol and Xanax.  Twice.  He was sent packing after the second strike, another sad story.

But hey, there's a silver lining.  Meego and HS buddy and HS buddy's remaining suitemates started thinking about Meego moving out of the drug den an into the vacated 4th bed.  Meego was dealing with the situation pretty well, but still, Magnum and I were all, "Hell yeah, see what you gotta do".

So they made it happen.  I thought the university would just wait until the start of next semester, but they moved Meego a week before the break, and we picked him up from the new digs.  Not only does Meego have better roommates, it's just a nicer dorm - newer and nicer facilities.

This helped to not hurt druggie roommate's feelings.

Meego:  So my friend's got a vacancy in his suite, and I'm gonna move into it.
Drug dude:  Oh, cool.  Yeah, that's a nicer dorm
Meego:  Yah...

Meego let the ex-roomie keep the (our) dorm fridge and microwave since he would otherwise have to go without.  The ex will supposedly pay Meego for them, but I'm not going to hold my breath.  I think the whole thing has Meego appreciating where he is now

Got any "interesting" dorm / roommate experiences to share?

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

ringing in the season

We got us one of them Ring®️ doorbells.

Magnum wired it up last weekend, and it seems to be doing its thing.  As far as I know, we've not been victims of porch pirates *knock on wood* *throw salt over the shoulder*, but I know it's becoming a pretty common crime with people increasingly shopping online.

So we'd talked about getting a Ring or some such for a while and finally installed one.  I'm happy to say the feed has been quite boring so far.  It's mostly of my comings and goings along with footage of the neighbor cat looking for Napolion, and one entertaining video of magpies either fighting or engaging in foreplay, not sure which.

I've also learned that amazon has lockers to use for deliveries.  There's a Whole Foods about a mile away from our house, so I'm going to try the locker system next time I order something from Amazon.  Anyone need anything? For my experiment?

Maybe I'll order some fish stuff as my aquarium is starting to take shape.  I added three male guppies, a plecostomus, and a little pagoda lantern thing.

It still seems like there's a lot of empty water space in there, but I'm pretending to believe that the plants are growing and bulbs are sprouting.  

Anyone else have some sort of surveillance system for home or work?  Any stories to share?

Monday, December 10, 2018

party talk

We seem to be in the thick of Holiday merriment now.  I don't have any decorations up whatsoever, but I see them popping up all around.

I'm not sure what I'll do for the house this year.  In previous years, I've filled our front windows with lights, which looked very pretty from the outside.  On the inside, though, it involved lots of tape on the windows.  Now we have these nice new windows, and I don't want to hang lights in them.

I might have to face my fears and get on a ladder.

Speaking of lights and festivities, my P.E.O. chapter had our holiday party on Saturday.  It was a good time, and we got the annual Von Trapp staircase photo:

While Dee, our hostess, was setting up her camera for the shoot, I leaned my head back to fake catch 40 winks on the pillow the woman behind me was holding - she'd acquired it during the gift exchange - noting how comfy it was.

"That's not a pillow", she informed.  HA!  Well, it was quite warm and comfy, nonetheless...

During the party, I had a vegetarian conversation with one of my sisters who is a longstanding vegetarian.  I think I'm going to be one now.  For a trial period at least anyways.  So far, I'm one day in.

Speaking of animals and not eating them, I thought I'd share this shot of the duck / goose pond as a follow up to the goose carnage that happened last weekend.  There are still geese a-plenty, and all the poop that goes with them.  Hopefully these know that mingling with motorized traffic is not a good idea.

So, I have a question for those who've managed to read this far.  During the P.E.O. party, one of the ladies gave a blessing before the meal, as we always do for meal get togethers.  Now, P.E.O. is non secular, however...

involves inspirational readings chosen by members, but P.E.O. meetings and activities do not reference, require or promote any particular religion or religious practice...

That said, I can confidently state that the majority of  P.E.O. members are Christian with varying degrees of piousness.  In a lot of cases, including my own, it's mostly a result of living in this country.  But the organization has been pushing for more inclusiveness in recent years, and I do know of a few non-Christians in the mix.

SO, back to the party and the dinner blessing.  It was VERY Jesus heavy.  In the past, whoever's done the blessing gave more of a generic blessing of the food and sisterly love, support, and fellowship, etc.  But this time, it was Jesus Jesus Jesus, and blood, and... well, perhaps you get the picture.

I don't think I was the only one who felt it over the top, but nobody was about to stop her.  I just wonder about the impression it made on the 4 or 5 guests in attendance who are not yet in P.E.O. but thinking they might want to be.

My question:  If attending an event thrown by a charitable organization of "no particular religion or religious practice" that suddenly turns very churchy, do you find that off-putting?

Friday, December 7, 2018

give a girl a fish

Yesterday, I was at the university library to meet with a student.  As mentioned, they're in the thick of semester finals, and the library was abuzz with tension.  I don't miss those days, but they were so long ago for me, I hardly remember.  Still, though, if I could remember, I don't think I'd miss them.

I arrived a bit early and was out in one of the common areas while I waited.  There was a girl sitting at a nearby table, talking to herself as she studied, surrounded by papers, books, calculator.  I could tell she was doing math.

"Okay... okay... I know how to do this...", she was saying to herself, or God, or somebody.

For me, I'm sensing an upcoming slow down in business with the winter break coming soon and high school seniors finishing up their college applications.  So I'm thinking up some little projects to fill the free time.

On that note, here's some aquarium progress.

I've got the water properly conditioned, added some gravel and bubblin'.  Yesterday, I planted a few plants along with some bulbs that are "guaranteed to sprout".

Guaranteed?  So... what if they don't sprout?

I've never had a tank this tall before, always had shorter, wider rectangular tanks.  I like the look of this tall hexagonal, but I have to stick my whole arm in up to my armpit to reach the bottom.  There are probably tools for installing plants at the bottom of tall tanks, but I don't feel the need to geek out quite that much yet.

So after putting in what I thought were relatively tall plants, they look so short and tiny.  I need a tall chunk of driftwood or something before I'm ready for actual fish.  Hopefully I won't experience the mass death that happened with the last aquarium.

"Okay... okay... I know how to do this..."

In other updates, we've still got this Bacon Hot Chocolate.  Any takers?

Anyone else have an upcoming break in workaday stuff?  Planning to eat anything weird?

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

humidity, carnage, anxiety

*FOOM*  It's Wednesday, already!

  • It's been a busy few days, but all good.  On Monday, we had a whole house humidifier installed and I feel better already.  Who knows, maybe the thing isn't even doing anything and it's all placebo effect.

I know that, in some states, DE-humidifiers are the thing, but here in Colorado, the air can get very dry - especially indoors in the winter.  I declared myself done with putting up with stand alone 1-room humidifiers.

I'd been thinking about it for a while, and a couple of weeks ago, we had our furnace tune-up.  I'd planned to ask the tech about a humidifier.  Magnum was home for Thanksgiving break, and almost on cue, he got a bloody nose, which made for a nice segue to begin the humidifier discussion.  Now we own one.

  • We were watching Ella, Chaco's pooch, last weekend.  We took her out for a walk and came upon an area where a bunch of geese were hanging out, not far from a road.  As we approached, the geese began to disperse from the sidewalk by waddling off to the side, HOWEVER, two of the geese decided to TAKE OFF FLYING across the road.  

What followed was not pretty.  They were taken out by an SUV that was going over the speed limit, especially dangerous given the fact of all the geese hanging out by the side of the road .  The sound was awful - imagine taking a big grocery store chicken and throwing it full-force at your car - accompanied by a flurry of feathers.

One goose was injured and able to scamper back to safety, but I don't know how bad its injuries were.  The other one took almost a direct hit and lay twitching in the road for what seemed like an eternity before it stopped moving altogether.

I felt bad because I'm pretty sure the geese were wanting to move away from the approaching dog.  We were just walking, though, not moving fast.  And Magnum reminded me that that SUV driver was going too fast.  But sorry, Mr. or Mrs. Goose.  RIP.  I've found "comfort" in this story to assure me that geese aren't always angels...

  • Busy times in the tutin' world currently.  Semester finals and such have these students on edge.  I'm hoping to be a calming presence.  Well, one can hope anyways.  Colleges around here have winter breaks that last an entire month, so there will be plenty of time to shut the brains off soon.

Honestly, I used to think that "test anxiety" or "math anxiety" were just terms for people who didn't want to put in the work.  But I've met a few people for whom their anxiety is a real obstacle despite their best efforts.  Wish I had a fix-it recipe.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

prize-a-rama and an impostor

Just prior to Thanksgiving, Magnum's safety group at work had another of their many contests.  These things seem to happen mostly around the holidays with offers of prizes.  We always enter, I think we got a basket a year or two ago.  And once again, we're weiners!  Mag brought home one of ten gift baskets...

The "challenges" are not that difficult.  In this case, it was a word search based off of a fill-in-the-blank set of questions based off some reading materials.  We learned about holiday safety:  proper food prep, temps, and storage, what not to feed the pets while everyone else is pigging out, winter travel safety, etc.  I mean,  c'mon, I was a lunch lady - that stint paid off!   And now I'm pretty sure I will never own or use a turkey deep fryer.

Ironically, much of the stuff in the basket from the Health and Safety group is not so healthy.  I have yet to try the bacon flavored hot chocolate (?).

In other prize news, I got an email from the turkey trot people that there were prizes for top 3 finishers in each age division.  I swung by the Young Men's Christian Association yesterday and claimed this cute mug, from which I'm sippin' my coffee as I type.

They recently posted some photos from the race, so I was perusing for photos of myself and Wolfgang and his friends.  I took second in my age group, and there were a couple of ladies in the next older group who also beat me.  Those two older ladies have beaten me before (i.e. every time we've run in the same event), and I'm well acquainted with them as they are well known in the local running community.  

However, the name of the woman who took first in my age division was unfamiliar.  So as I was perusing the race pics, I thought I'd look for her to see if I recognized her at all - to match a name with the face.  

It didn't take long, and I found "her".


Now, despite this clever disguise I've applied, I think we can all agree that this is not a 52-year-old woman, but rather a virile dude in his early 20s.

A bit further investigation, and I pieced together the events of Thanksgiving morning.  
  • Mom, 20-something son, and teenage daughter register for the turkey trot
  • Mom and daughter enjoy the event, starting and finishing together
  • Son runs his own race and meets up with them after.
  • Son wears Mom's bib instead of his own, takes first place for the old ladies

HA!  I'm sure this was not done on purpose because who would intentionally try to throw the results of the old lady division of a turkey trot?  

I mean, it's a cute mug, but...

Monday, November 26, 2018

fat and happy

One of the nice things about being an independent contractor is having no set schedule.  One of the difficult things about being an independent contractor is having no set schedule.

I was feeling like I was putting myself last, so starting today, I'm attempting to be more organized with my time and giving myself scheduled work hours sort of.  My "shift"doesn't start until later, and already I've stopped myself several times this morning from doing work related stuff. I actually don't have any students scheduled for today, so it's a good day to start this endeavor, and I think I'll be more efficient now

And it's nice too since it's on the heels of a nice Thanksgiving.  Dinner at the sis-in-laws was a good time with about a dozen of us.  SIL and her husband really did the lion's share of the cooking and presenting, and it was all very good.  I like to think that they enjoy doing it, so as to not feel too guilty about our family taking up half of the seats and eating the most?

Magnum and I took Meego back to school yesterday for the final push of his first semester. We arrived early in the afternoon to a very sparse campus despite the dorms opening up early that morning.  So it was nice to be able to walk around and have Meego point out various things.  I think we encountered more (very fat) squirrels than people.

Not my photo,
but a pretty good representative

Anybody do any Black Friday door bustin'?  We did our usual trek to Best Buy, only because it's a short walk from our house and a recreation after all the eating.  I'm in it more for the people watching, not shopping

Friday we ventured out to Bass Pro Shop only because Meego needed a jacket.  They were doing a healthy business that day.  As I walked around, I was thinking that the typical clientele of Bass Pro would probably do quite well in an apocalypse as they seem a pretty self-sufficient bunch.  I didn't get much of a vegan vibe either.

It was a successful trip, and on the way home, I picked this up as a Black Friday Haul

Again, I was NOT actually Black Friday shopping.  Y'all read me say that I was going to set up a new aquarium after the evil one finally bit it.  I just hadn't gotten around to it (see paragraphs 1 & 2), and my inefficiency paid off because I got this lovely 20-gal hexagonal tank at a bargain price.

So far, it has water in it and is pulling electricity.  It's a start.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

with the grace of a turkey

Happy Thanksgiving, blog people of America!  I hope everyone has some time to relax and be grateful today.  We're heading to my sis-in-law's in a bit, so there's one thing I'm grateful for already:  she's hostessing.

Once again, I managed to drag my butt to the YMCA for the annual 5K Turkey Trot.  I'm not sure how many of these I've done, but it just wouldn't feel like Thanksgiving  without it.  I know I missed a couple for crap weather and a foot booboo, so I was happy to be there this morning.  And it was a nice morning for it - temps in the 40s, not too cloudy/windy.  My allergies have been bugging me this fall, and I was a bit clogged up and a bit topsy turvy, but hopefully good enough for a turkey trot.

I corralled myself in with the second wave. As we stood waiting for our turn to go, a man next to me wished me luck, and we talked about hopeful finishing times, blah, blah, blah.  He was probably about my age and "getting back into running".

"Second half is all downhill,right?", he asked.

"Yeah, first half is all uphill, then we turn around, and it's all downhill.  Aim for the hospital, that's my strategy", I answered.  It so happens that there is  a hospital right at the finish...

Next we knew, they counted us down, and we were off. I scrambled to get to the front of the pack for a bit more elbow room, and soon things opened up nicely.

 As promised, we slog uphill praying for the turnaround so we can  go downhill.  It's not TOO steep, but feels pretty much like this:

So I just enjoyed myself, not pushing the allergy envelope too much.  I saw some fun costumes.  Plenty of turkey feathers and tutus.  One family was dressed as silverware.

Eventually, I was in the homestretch and had the hospital in my sights, and then the big finish arch.  Now, I remember from years ago in high school track, you don't slow or stop at the finish.  Run like the finish is another 10 yards or so.

Well, nobody told that strategy to the kid in front of me.  He stepped across the finish, then instantaneously went to nearly zero m.p.h., so this happened:

Well, okay it wasn't QUITE that dramatic.  My life may have briefly passed before my eyes.

Right after that, I felt a hand on my shoulder.  It was Wolfgang who was chasing me in the final stretch. HA, I just managed beat him.  Okay, so he started a bit behind me, but I've got 30 years on him, so call it good.  Then his equally young buddies, who all turkey trot together each year, came trailing behind.  I beat all them all πŸ’ͺ(with that headstart...)

Anyways, I was hoping for a sub 25 and managed to just squeeze it in at 24:54. Good enough for 2nd place in my old lady division.  I did check the next OLDER division, and yes, a couple of those old old ladies beat me again.

And I did manage to create something that, at least, looks like a cake for our dessert.  I know I'm not the only dessert bringer, so no pressure.  And maybe by then, most will be tipsy enough to have lost their discerning tastes.

Happy Thanksgiving!  I'm grateful for all who visit here!  (Not you, though, spammers...)

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

"I look at their photos and wish I had their life"

That was a comment someone left on a news story about the sentencing of Chris Watts, the guy who killed his young daughters and pregnant wife back in August.  I'm pretty sure it's a national story, but it's headline news around here since it happened just up the road.

That's a big part of what makes the story so perplexing, in all their social media pics and updates they look like the perfect happy little family - good looking  smiley couple with two cute and happy little girls, a baby boy on the way.  What the hell??

So he took a plea deal to get life in prison and avoid the death penalty.  I saw several other comments that the death penalty would be the easy way out, "let him rot in prison and have to think about those innocent children every day..."

But will he?

I can't wrap my head around being capable of snuffing out 3- and 4-year old little girls, then stuffing their bodies into an oil tank through an 8-inch diameter hole.  I don't think we can assume he is feeling bad about killing those girls if he's capable of doing what he did in the first place.

Ugh, sorry to bring up such disturbing subjects, but like I said, it's been all over the news, so I needed a bit of a vent.  It does shed light on the "picture perfect" families and couples on social media. Don't assume.

Speaking of less-than-perfect, I'll shift gears and mention that today is my birthday.  woot.

Magnum's birthday is Saturday, so we celebrate them together by not celebrating.  Well, they happen around Thanksgiving, so we just lump everything together and pretend our birthdays are a national holiday.

And now I'm going to bake - not a birthday cake.  We're tasked with providing beer and dessert for a family Thanksgiving gathering tomorrow.  Magnum got the beer, so I guess dessert is up to me.  Well, Ima try.

As far as my personal mark for another year on earth?  Maybe I'll get a tattoo?

Happy Thanksgiving, Yo!

Saturday, November 17, 2018


I was gonna do some paperwork after tuting this morning. I've got a pretty full tutee schedule up until Thanksgiving Thursday.  What is with all these studious kids that want to "take advantage" of their break to get in some tutin'?!

Well, I am thankful for them, for their work ethics and for keeping me on my toes.  And... well... the money.

But it's nice to have a break too.  I started listening to some sexy music, and it pushed me to the right side of my brain and wanting to play with my art toys instead of do paperwork.

This week's prompt at Illustration Friday is "music", so it seemed like divine intervention.  All that inktobering made for a rocky transition to pencils. 

Meego got home last night.  Magnum drove up and picked him up from college.  I was tuting, so held down the fort.  It's nice to have Meego home for the week.  He got a new amp for his guitar, and it was good to hear that sound in the house again.

And he needs a haircut.

Last week while out and about, I came across coyotes on two separate ocassions.  It seems they've returned amid the bunny bounty we have around here.  I have noticed a decrease in the bunny population.  I find coyotes pretty cool - so stealth and lithe - as long as they stay afraid of humans. If they start showing up with ACME anvils and stuff, though...

Sunday, November 11, 2018

fifty shades of beige more like wheat

Remember several weeks ago I reported that we got some new windows?  And we found them so pretty that we couldn't bring ourselves to rehang our ugly blinds?  So we didn't?

So yeah, we've been pretty much living in a fishbowl ever since.

But, fishbowl no more!  Our new blinds arrived on Friday.  How do they look?

Well, okay, we did have to eventually take them out of the boxes...  But this was my contribution - bringing the boxes into the house.

I went tuting yesterday morning, and when I got back, Magnum had 'em hanging.  So I guess we're more civilized now and no longer oversharing with the neighbors.  

For my next little project, I want to get another aquarium up and running.  When our last evil fish died over the summer, I cleaned that dystopian aquarium out and rid the house of the evil presence.  For those who don't know the saga, here's the Cliff Notes version:
  • I had a thriving freshwater community aquarium with lovely plants and happy fish
  • I brought home three friendly-looking Buenos Aires Tetras
  • Everything died except for those BATs , they lived almost forever
Darn toxic fish:  can't live with them, can't flush them down the toilet with a clear conscience.

Today is a cold snowy day.  Good day to stay in and play aquarist.  Except I have to trudge to and from the store for the aquarium stuff, uphill both ways. 

Thursday, November 8, 2018

it's a bird

I cooked a chicken yesterday.  Big deal, right?  Well, here's the thing:  since Meego abandoned us and left for college, my urge to cook real food seemed to have left with him - not that it was all that strong when he was here.

For the past nearly 25 years, I've been chief cook and bottle washer around here.  Admittedly, I didn't always love it, but, kids gotta eat, right?  Now that it's just us two empty-nesters, Magnum and I have been making do with throwing together whatever's around, and I haven't been giving it much thought.

But that's gotten old, so I cooked a chicken.  It feels like an accomplishment, I might cook again someday.

Speaking of accomplishments, I will give my final Inktober stats.  I managed 22 of the 31 prompts before the Halloween deadline.  Good enough, and it was fun and cheap entertainment.   Here are the last few.

Anyone else feel less than motivated to cook for just one or two people?  Got any good and lazy recipes to share?  Something other than "spoon, peanut butter, mouth"?

Friday, November 2, 2018

in search of degenerates?



     1.  an immoral or corrupt person

Magnum and I both found ourselves with a day off today.  It was a nice day out, so after getting some obligatory things done, we went to play in nature.

We went for a short hike in an area we've been to only once before that I remember.  All of the leaves were very well past peak, so this wasn't a fall foliage hike by any means. We did see a lot of leaves, though - all over the ground - as well as a lot of naked trees.

It was sort of meant to be a geocaching mission, but since we ended up one-for-four on that count, we won't call it a geocaching mission.

It was nice to get out, though, and enjoy some fresh air and sunshine and nature.  My allergies have been bugging me lately.  I went to get my weekly injection today and asked Geej, the shot girl, if any other patients were whining.

She looked at me rather perplexed and said, "Uhm... no.  We're not even doing pollen counts any more". 

Well, something's up, anyway!  But today was good.  I could both breathe and walk a straight line for the most part.  And it was nice to be in an unfamiliar spot.  We'd stumbled upon some 4-wheeler destination, so it wasn't a total bust.

As we were looking for geocaches, we read some comments from other searchers.  One included a picture of a snake they'd come across, another commented on some "homeless degenerates" living out of their vans.  We saw neither snakes nor homeless degenerates, but we would definitely concur with another who warned us about the proliferation of cactus. It was everywhere.

So a nice day.  Our Halloween snow has mostly melted.  I'm not sure if the cold wet weather was the cause, but Halloween in our neighborhood was almost a non-event.  I think we had just four small groups come to the door.

We used to have lots of kids in the neighborhood.  Have they all grown up without replacements?  What to do with the leftover candy? 

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

we all fall down

Last Saturday morning, I was out enjoying a lovely fall morning run.  I saw a hot air balloon a little off in the distance.

I've mentioned my acrophobia here before.  I have no idea why I'm afraid of heights, but I just know I have been for as long as I can remember.  People have nightmares that involve being chased or haunted by ghostly images.  In my nightmares, I'm always up someplace high like a skyscraper or a billboard, or the worst - a billboard atop a skyscraper - and the only way down is to jump or climb.

Seriously, I once had one of these nightmares in which I was on top of a precarious stack of chairs.  What the...?  Yes, my nightmares are of chairs?

My first memory of this fear was when I was a toddler, and my dad lovingly picked me up and placed me on his shoulders - a thing most kids seem to strangely enjoy.

I was terrified. He put me down, back on my beloved terra firma.  So much for that bonding moment.

So, in summary, a ride in a hot air balloon does not appeal to me.  But I like looking at them from the ground.

When I got home, Chaco had texted me this photo.  The hot air balloon I'd seen floated over his house and landed in the field across the street.

It's a hot air balloon with no friggin' basket!  I had to look closer:

Where were the propane and burners?

Oh there they are - strapped to his un-basketed back!

I asked Chaco about it later.  He said the guy was basically sitting in a lawn chair with a propane tank as a backpack.

Maybe I'm envious.  It does seem like fun, in theory.  But I'm pretty sure if I went up in a balloon, I would want to spend the entire time, tucked in the fetal position at the bottom of the basket.  What to do if there's no basket??

Well, it's Halloween, so I'm thinking of scary things.  Last night, I was tutoring one of my younger students, a pleasant talented-and-gifted 8th grader.  She was telling me of her and her friends' plans for Halloween, and I mentioned that I'd bought a bunch of candy, but wasn't sure how many trick-or-treaters we'd have since it was currently snowing.

"*GASP*", she gasped, "I've never seen snow!"

She lives in Florida where, "it's summer all the time".  I don't think I'd like that, I've always lived where there were seasonal changes.  Just when I get sick of one season, it goes away and is replaced.  Our winter often arrives around Halloween.  Not typically scary.

Back yard this morning

So Happy Halloween, y'all!  It should be clear around here for the little goblins to be out trick-or-treating tonight.

But if anyone shows up dressed as a STACK OF CHAIRS, I'm out!!

What scares you?

Monday, October 29, 2018

trash and fur

Here I sit, looking at trash.

No, I'm not watching porn, my trash is sitting at the end of the driveway.  That's where I put it last Thursday night.  Almost everyone on my street has their trash sitting at the end of their driveways.  Trash truck avoided us on Friday trashday.  Not the first time this has happened.

I called.  Some neighbors also probably called.  "Relief Driver" is coming tomorrow.  I'll believe it when I see it. 

I don't like to post negative reviews online.  I think, in general, people give feedback when they're either extremely satisfied or extremely dissatisfied.  I don't read much, "Uh... yeah, it was okay I guess".  Except for books and movies.  I've seen plenty of 3-stars for books and movies, and I'll give bad or mediocre book reviews, always with the disclaimer that it "just wasn't for me".  But for products and services, I'll sometimes give 5-star reviews or keep  my  mouth shut. 

So I won't go online and trash the trash service.  Relief Driver's coming tomorrow.  Right?

Anyway, ready for some pet pics?  The cat was probably not too happy with me after last week, but he seems better now.  He can't stay mad at me.  But he had pretty good reason. 

First, I stuffed him into his cat carrier (not without a fight) and hauled him to the vet's for his annual checkup and shots.  He's not a fan.

On Saturday, Chaco's pooch, Ella came for a sleepover while Chaco was out of town.  Ella and Napolion are still quite wary of each other, so we do a bit of pet juggling when Ella is around. I'm seeing progress, though.

We took Ella for some good walks.  I'm convinced she would walk for days and ask for more.  Wouldn't stop moving in order to get a nice photo with the ducks. 

I put her in the dog run while I was working in the yard, partly to give the cat some couch potato time and partly for her to keep me company.  She is perpetually smiling.

The Inktober 2018 challenge is about to come to an end.  I managed a few more submissions, but it looks like my Inktober is going to spill into Inkvember

Do YOU give online reviews for products and services?  
Are you professionally subjected to client reviews?  
Pros and cons?