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Friday, May 18, 2018

fancy foods and funny hats

Eesh, it's been a week!  Let's recap:

It began last Friday with yet another end-of-winter-percussion-season potluck.  It was a nice intimate gathering at one of the other parents' houses.

On Sunday we had a fancy dinner with my Father-in-law and Stepmother-in-law for Meego, as it was Mother's Day/Meego's Birthday/Meego's graduation.  I had salmon.

On Monday, my friend Jan and I crashed an area high school Senior Awards Ceremony.  Remember Holly?  Our STAR scholarship recipient?  I finally got her certificate from International on Friday and learned that the school's ceremony was Monday evening.

Jan and I showed up and found out that it's relatively easy to crash a Senior Awards Ceremony as we were readily penciled in to the program.  The fun part of it was that Holly didn't know we'd be there and she was pleasantly surprised.  She sent me an email after the shindig thanking us for coming out and presenting her scholarship "at my school!" as seen in this horribly grainy shiny photo:


Tuesday was a  normally scheduled P.E.O. meeting - and another potluck as it was our chapter's 66th birthday.  I brought fried rice, mediocrely presented.

On Wednesday, this happened:


See Meego?  In blue?

His senioritis has been flaring up ever since he was accepted to his college of choice.  We needed to remind  him that he still needed to graduate high school, which he managed to do.


Wolfgang is currently traveling for work, so missed the photo ops.

Thursday, I did laundry and groceries...

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Linking up with Mama Kat
4. Write a blog post inspired by the word: fancy.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

a note from the boss?

I've read some theories on why cats leave dead things on doorsteps.


While some believe it's because the cats love us and want to give us "gifts", another theory states that the cats are trying to teach us inept humans how to hunt.

It's their way of saying, "See this?!  This is what YOU are supposed to be doing!  Quit messing around with that lame stuff in cans and bags!"

I know I've gaggingly cleaned up my fair share of dead rodentia.  Were they gifts?  Or were they lessons?

I may have gotten clue.

Last week, I told of the Scrubjay couple currently making the cat's life a living hell whenever he's outside.  The saga continues.

Recall that I also confessed to sometimes lobbing a lacrosse ball at the annoying birds to scare them off.  The cat seems very appreciative of my tosses and often "asks" me to not only let him outside, but to also accompany him.

But he can't pay me enough to be his 24-hour bodyguard, and I typically leave  him to suffer through it.

Yesterday, I came upon this:



It's the lacrosse ball, sitting prominently on the back doorstep.  I asked Magnum if he put it there, but no.

Clearly, Napolion put it there, and it's probably a message to me, much like a dead rodent.

"THIS is what you're supposed to be doing!"

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

try it, it works!

She sat in the form of a miserable pile as the social gathering grew around her.  We were at my sis-in-law's (Magnum's sister) several years ago for a little family shindig, and her stepdaughter - about 13 at the time - was miserable and looked it.

She'd just returned from having her orthodontic braces tightened, and "social butterfly" was not her mood.  Several people in attendance began offering advice:

"Eat something cold, like ice cream or a smoothie - that will numb your mouth!"

"NO, that will just make the wires of your braces contract and feel worse.  Drink something hot to make the wires expand!"

And so on, and so on...

The poor girl just remained there in her miserable heap, rolling her eyes and not heeding any suggestions as 13-year-old girls typically do in any advice-given situation (I know since I was one once).

Eventually, amid all this advisement chatter, a gentle voice emitted from a nearby recliner

"What she needs", the voice began, "is  a counter irritant"

We all shut up and turned to look at my stepfather-in-law (Magnum's mom's husband).  Grandpa Don is a retired family physician.  He's an intelligent, thoughtful, and introspective man.  I'm sure he had excellent bedside manner.

And there it was, a solution, spoken with authority.  He went onto explain:

"The counter irritant takes your mind of the original irritant by making something else more irritating".

Hmm... made sense.  He continued:

"Back in the old days, when someone came in with a minor temporary gripe, we'd give them a shot of milk in the butt..."

WHAAAT?!

"It made them forget their original gripe, and by the time their butt felt better, the original gripe was nearly gone anyway".

The stepdaughter chose that moment to exit the party altogether.

Over the years, I've had a few instances reinforcing this magic of the counter irritant.  It works!

For instance, just this week.  I was irritated with Meego over some schoolwork he needed to complete that wasn't yet completed.  Being irritated with a kid, I think, is one of the worst forms of irritation for a mom, yes?  So I was irritated about the irritation.

My sis-in-law (same one as above) came to my rescue, however.  On the same day I was irritatingly irritated with Meego, SIL sent out a well-meaning (I think) email to a couple of colleagues on my behalf.  She and I'd had a short conversation last weekend about how I'm looking for some volunteer opportunities to make some purposeful use of my job skills while I'm currently in a sort of - by my choice - job limbo.

She happened to know people who run a couple of local non-profits.  She could introduce us.  Perfect, win-win, blah, blah.

So she sent an email to them and copied me in.  Somehow my intention of offering myself to fill volunteer needs became more of a desperate attempt to get a job.  Not her exact words, but kinda how her email came across, and totally off the mark.  I had to read the email  a couple of times.


In the end, I was able to quickly do some damage control, which actually worked out well and helped me to better introduce MYSELF.  

But lo and behold, while that was going on, I realized I was no longer irritated with Meego!  He was instantly back to being his lovable self - albeit with a lingering homework assignment - once again demonstrating the effectiveness and magic of the counter irritant!

However, I'll pass on the shot of milk in the butt, thanks.
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Linking up this week with a bit of a changeup with Mama Kat for the prompt:
3. Share a lesson you learned from your Mother retired doctor stepfather-in-law that still sticks with you to this day




Saturday, May 5, 2018

joys of spring?

OMG, these birds are driving us a bit bonkers.  Apparently, they have a nest  nearby to protect.  And we have a killer cat.

Every time the cat goes outside, the screechfest begins.  Two birds constantly harass by buzzing him and screeching and pecking on stuff.  I did some online research and quickly identified the nasty neighbors as Western Scrub Jays.


See?  It just looks grumpy all the time!

I learned that there is no color difference between male and female scrub jays, so I'm assuming these two in our yard are Mom and Dad.  They're actually quite pretty birds, but with horrible personalities.

Listed under behavior:  "Assertive, inquisitive, and vocal"  Yup.

If one of us humans is outside with the cat, they leave him/us alone while keeping a watchful eye.  So now the cat not only lets us know he wants to go out, he also begs us to go with him.  Bodyguard style.



I'll admit that I've lobbed a lacrosse ball at them a few times - meaning only to scare them off.  However, if one of  my tosses were to "accidentally" hit the mark, I'm not sure I'd be too remorseful.

But then I think, they're just being good parents.  Good parents that make for lousy neighbors.

I was thinking this morning that we could rig up some sort of scarecrow... scarejay?  Maybe tether some obnoxious mylar balloons in the yard, but with my luck it wouldn't work.  Then we'd have annoying birds and obnoxious mylar balloons in the yard. 

I guess we're stuck in this phase until the little twerps grow up.



Sunday, April 29, 2018

some people's kids

We had that rite of spring thing known as Prom yesterday.  Meego and a few friends made arrangements and allowed the has beens parents to snag a few photos before they headed out.  It was a beautiful day for it, unlike last year, which featured snow, rain, freezing temperatures and blustery winds.





I'm assuming they had a good time.  Not surprisingly, Meego has yet to crawl out of bed.  Either way, they all looked marvelous.

Meego and girlfriend Sara were patient enough throughout the photo shoot for some Sears Catalog worthy shots



I'm not sure what this discussion was however...


The school organizes an After Prom - something that's become popular as a result of our generation's reputation of boozing and sexing activities after the dance was done.  After Prom features bowling, laser tag, casino tables, other games, raffles, door prizes, food, no sex, and beverages of the non-alcoholic kind.  It's a bargain at $10 a person.

I, for one, am glad that After Prom is a thing, although I did not volunteer to chaperone that graveyard shift.  I thought about it for a good 10 minutes or so though.

I realize I have it pretty easy having all sons.  Sara's mom told me how she was going to drop Sara off at one of the other girls' homes where they would all get ready, beginning 3 hours prior to the photo-taking.  In Meego's case, I tapped my watch at about 45 minutes 'til, saying, "Better tux up".

Such is the way it goes.  After putting up with all the picture taking, Annie - girl in red and glasses - announced, "The hanger thing on my skirt is up my ass".  Annie, incidentally, was the girl on the floor I mentioned a few posts ago.  Girl cannot catch a break!



Wednesday, April 25, 2018

the reject?

"Well, I am kinda wondering...", she politely began, "what's missing?  Is there something more I need to do or have?  Do you know why the other chapter chose not to select me?"

"PFFFTT", I responded cordially, "Beats me, I was actually wondering the same thing when I looked over your documentation:  'this is the one they DIDN'T pick?!?'"

I continued, "For all I know, they flipped a coin".

Y'all know I'm active in P.E.O., a charitable organization that helps women continue their education through scholarships, grants, loans, a college we own...  One of our scholarships is for high school seniors planning to attend college, starting the year following HS graduation.  It's merit based and highly competitive.  The girls who receive it are really exceptional.  In order to apply, a candidate must be sponsored by a P.E.O. chapter.

Because of the high standards, it can be difficult to find suitable candidates.  A few months ago, I got an email from the president of another local chapter.  They strangely had two strong candidates wishing to try for the STAR (that's the name of the scholarship), but a chapter can only sponsor one candidate at a time.  She was asking other local presidents if anyone wanted to work with their "reject" (not her term) - the one they didn't choose to sponsor.  The due date for the application was fast approaching.

I saw some other presidents had already responded, rather lazily..."Oh okay, I'll pass it on to my scholarship committee, blah, blah, blah", and I was all, "DUDES!  the deadline to get all the sh*t in is next week!"  Well, I only said that in my mind.   My actual reply was,

"Send me what you've got!"

And that's how I met Holly.

P.E.O. is more than just a source of cash.  What sets us apart from other financial aid is how we connect with our recipients, which is why applicants can't just submit some application and cross their fingers.  We get to know them first and vice-versa, and then decide whether to sponsor. We keep up correspondence with them during their studies and beyond, etc.  Many eventually join P.E.O. themselves.

So Holly and I got together and I learned that she was not only an academic powerhouse and community leader, but also a nice and mature young woman with a pleasant, unpretentious personality.  Might she be interested in marrying one my sons?

As we wrapped up our get-to-know-you, she asked the question above, and I gave her my honest response.  I saw nothing lacking in her credentials.

In a whirlwind of activity, the chapter voted (unanimously) to sponsor Holly, I submitted a lengthy letter of recommendation, Holly submitted a lengthy application and essay.   It all went to the international STAR selection board, and we waited. And waited.  For nearly five months until they would announce the recipients.

Tuesday morning, I received an email.  It started:

"Dear Abby and members of Chapter EA (that's us)..."

The next word was "Congratulations..."

I still don't know why the other chapter didn't choose to sponsor Holly.  Maybe they really did flip a coin...

...and we won the toss! 😀

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Linking up this week with Mama Kat for the prompt:
2. Write about something that brought you joy today.




Sunday, April 22, 2018

the week that wuz

We went to the movies and listened to people munching popcorn and slurping iced drinks.  It was eerie. 

Have you seen "A Quiet Place"?  Omigosh, I was screaming in my head the whole time, I think.  Just don't.  Make. A. Sound.  Breathe after the movie's over.  Anyway, it was good *despite wondering who/why get pregnant during a monster apocalypse??*

In other entertainment news, we went to the high school theater department's rendition of "The Music Man" this week.  It was very good, it's nice to see kids putting on such a show.  Meego played double bass in the orchestra pit once again and had a good time of it.  It makes me wonder what will become of these  young thespians.  Will any of them make it big?  The odds of that aren't great, but if any do, I can say I knew them when...

The post office goose couple is at it again.  Last year, Mother and Father Goose set up a maternity ward at our local post office, and it's happening again.  I'm not sure if this is the same couple, or one of the offspring from last year - I guess I should brush up on my goosology.  Either way, there are goose babies in the works again, and the post office has the area taped off for them to gestate in peace.


The baby daddy hangs out in the parking lot waiting to take on anyone who dares cross the tape.  It's quite masculine.  His protective instincts seem to be making up for his poor housing location choice.

I happily offloaded another P.E.O. responsibility this week:  the monthly newsletter.  I'd been doing it for about two years, and parts of it were fun, but it's nice to not have that deadline anymore.  Someone else's turn, yay.

Speaking of which, we also learned that the woman who was killed in the Southwest Airlines accident this week was a P.E.O.  I'm certain I've never met her, nor have I likely ever even been in the same city as her, but knowing she was my "sister" made it feel all the more sad.



Rest in Peace, Sis.


Thursday, April 19, 2018

saving the bacon

It seemed to happen in slow motion.  My life passed before my eyes in what, to the outsiders, was probably a second or two. One minute, I was dutifully rolling a large cart out of the walk-in freezer.  The next, I was battling for my life.

Okay, that's a bit overly dramatic, but still.

I've mentioned I've been working part-time for the food service provider for our school district.   I'm a lunch lady.  Several factors landed me there:
  • I took a job at a high school that assured me a math teaching spot for next year.
  • During my time there, I realized I have no desire to work at a public high school.
  • In the meantime, I also realized I'm getting burnt out on tutoring.
  • I finished my graduate degree in 2016, but it's difficult to pop right back into the profession I left
    • I haven't worked in the field for about 20 years
    • The bulk of positions where we live are government defense related, in which I'm not interested, nor do I have required clearances.
  • We're seriously considering moving in a year or so after our nest is emptied, so I'm not sure I want a "Real Job" right now.
So, part-time lunch lady it is for now.  The schedule is ideal, commute is great, co-workers have similar backgrounds to mine, keeps me productive, provides some fun money...

As expected, life in a commercial kitchen is quite different than the kitchen at home.  The main thing is that everything's bigger.  Bigger ovens, bigger fridges, bigger volumes of food being stored, cooked, and consumed.

Enter the freezer cart.  Put cold stuff in there, and it stays pretty cold throughout the day.  It's basically a narrow fridge on wheels
A representative freezer cart.
Our story's is about a 6 feet tall, 2 feet wide steel monster

The cart was full of bounty for the next day:  chicken patties, tater tots, french fries, bacon... typical diet of the standard North American middle schooler.  I had stowed it into the walk-in freezer earlier.  And then...

Sysco guy showed up.  Sysco guy showed up, leading to my near-demise

I was asked to remove the cart from the freezer for Sysco guy to load his delivery.  It was late in the workday, so we were hurrying... *music of doom goes here*

There is a small ramp leading into and out of the freezer.  At the top of the ramp is a strip of metal reinforcement.  A strip of metal reinforcement that has been bent upward over time, and mainly  serves as an unplanned speed bump / tripping strip.  

Because of said tripping strip, I typically back the cart out of the freezer in a slow controlled motion.  But Sysco guy showing up late in the workday wasn't typical.  

I backed the cart out willy nilly (pardon the technical jargon) rather than slow and controlled.  Freezer cart then did a nice demonstration of the laws of physics.  One wheel caught on the tripping strip and stopped its forward motion while the rest of the cart tried to continue on its way.  

This sent the whole kit and caboodle tipping over, heading straight for me in an unfriendly downward motion.  Several pounds of cart, chicken patties, tater tots, fries, and bacon.  The event took about one second, but for me, time stood still while I was all...



...except less attractive and wearing eyeglasses.

I managed to catch the cart with my hands, but also with my face, while it managed to continue to push me backwards and became free of the tripping strip.  Somehow, we both made it out of the freezer in upright positions.  My eyeglasses, however, were forced into retirement.  No damage to the lenses, just totaled the frames and left a slight war wound/goose egg on the right side of my face.  Slight goose egg was gone by morning, and I'd gotten my frames replaced.  

Like I've told my tutor students, mistakes are a good thing.  They're one of the best ways we learn.  I'm ready for that cart now.





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Linking up with Mama Kat this week for the prompt
5. Tell the story of a mistake made in the kitchen.


Sunday, April 15, 2018

Silver Liningness

For many Sundays, I used to blog "Silver Liningness Sunday" posts, serving as a recap of the week and being thankful.  Maybe I should fire that up again, at least occasionally.  This week had some rough patches, but they were balanced with good parts.  And it could definitely be worse, it can always be worse.

Our manager announced that her managers are transferring her to a different crew next year.  She doesn't want to go, but wasn't given a choice.  Right away, a few of my coworkers assumed the worse:  that our new manager will be a bitch, even though he/she hasn't been hired yet.  I found it interesting to see different people's reactions to change

While I'm sad to see our manager go - she really is a pleasure to work for - I'm not fretting about who the next boss will be.  Maybe it's because this part-time lunch lady gig is just a stepping stone for me.  It's a way to make some contacts and move away from the field of education to that of operations and supervision.

And silver lining:  the schedule is ideal, and I believe my "fan base" has grown as I've have managed to improve a few things.



In related news, a large and heavy freezer cart tried to crush and kill me this week.  I managed to stop it, however.  Mostly with my face.

Silver lining:  I guess my time at the gym is paying off, plus I'm sporting some new eyeglass frames 😎.

Meego and the winter percussion group had state competition yesterday.  They did not medal despite a solid performance.  In fact, the judging was so weird, it's almost as if there were outside factors involved in the scoring (conspiracy!).

Honestly, I'm usually in agreement with the judging, win or no, but this year was way off.  Enough to where there was a lot of...


... going around.

Silver lining:  The kids had a fun season and made lasting memories while greatly increasing their skills.  And the audience clearly enjoyed the show.  Onto the next thing!

All in all, a good week.

And I'm curious, do you fear change?



Thursday, April 12, 2018

finally almost

She lay there on her back, arms out, taking it all in.  The cheers and applause covering her after another captivating performance.  The season had finally come to a successful celebratory close.

Or...

was she okay?  Could she breathe?  Why did she continue to just lay there?  For so long?

No one else seemed particularly concerned.  The other performers happily frolicked away.  The next group to perform headed to their spots, stepping over her.  And yet, she remained, sprawled on her back.

My friend Michelle, whom I'd been talking with in the bleachers was also wondering.  Eventually Michelle stood up, "Is she...?"

We both know the girl from our volunteer shenanigans.  We both know the girl has asthma and maybe other difficulties.  The first time I'd witnessed her struggle was back in elementary school, the Run With Lumber days.  Then again while running the Mom Tent at band camp.  It's a thing she does:  collapses.

Now she's an elegant member of the Winter Guard.  Winter Guard is another winter activity for the marching band kids who can't get enough - same group that runs Winter Percussion.  Winter Guard is indoor flag and rifle, etc. competition.

So last night, the Guard and Percussion groups had their season end performance finale for the friends and parents.  The Guard performed first with their show that won the bronze at state championships last weekend.  It was good and creative.  Spidery.

Next, the Percussion did their thing, but they're not actually finished yet.  Their state competition is coming up this weekend.  So it was actually more of a congratulations-to-the-guard-and-good-luck-to-percussion excuse for a potluck.

Right about the time I was getting genuinely concerned for the girl on the floor and Michelle stood up to investigate further, one of the girl's friends finally went over and helped her up.  They hobbled off together, the friend holding  GOF's (girl on the floor's) hair - just in case.

I was glad to see that GOF eventually came around, seemingly recovered.  I still thought it quite strange that most everyone just left her laying there for so long.  Is it because this is "typical"?  Just leave her there, she'll eventually come 'round?

Well, with that, the percussion group set up their show and did their thing.  It was entertaining as always, then we snapped some pics and ate some potluck.  No 9-1-1 "invite"






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Linking up with Mama Kat this week for the prompt:
4. Write a blog post inspired by the word: finally.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

monkey


I haven't participated in Illustration Friday in a while, and I'm probably in need of therapy, so I drew this freakish monkey toy to... relax?  Well, the prompt this week is "Monkey", and this is the thing that came to mind.  Remember these creepy toys?  SO glad I didn't have one.

But it seemed appropriate for tax season.  Have you completed yours??  Magnum is wrapping up ours, so we should know the bottom line soon.  I helped Meego complete his last week.  It took us about 10 minutes, so what's taking Magnum so long?! Kidding... don't tell him I said that!  He might go all crazy cymbal monkey on me.


Friday, April 6, 2018

buns, bicycles, beaster bunnies

I haven't been tutoring in a while.  Honestly, I'm a bit afraid that I'm getting stupider because of it.  I'm thinking I should make an effort to combat the atrophy.

But, as "they" say, we learn something new every day, so I can at least make an effort to learn new things and remember them.  We just finished the month of March.  A whole month went by.  What did I learn?

I learned that you can get a clip-on man bun for starting around 10 bucks

Meego sometimes does jazz "gigs" with a couple of friends.  Nothing noteworthy or monetary - mostly stuff around the school district as requested.  He plays his bass while JL plays guitar and LV plays drumset.  JL and LV both have long flowing locks.  I mentioned to Meego about his being the odd man out with his sensible hair.  That's when he informed me of the clip-on man bun.


No purchase has been (or will be) made.

I learned the NOT German word for bicycle

A woman at work is from Germany.  She speaks  horrible English.  She cooks and serves pizza, and the kids hope for the best.  Most of the time, we can't understand what she's saying, but she's highly entertaining nonetheless.  Occasionally, we learn some German from her as she points out different things and translates.  She told me the German word for bicycle, which was difficult for me to say.  I looked it up later to learn the spelling.  I found nothing anywhere near the word she told me.


She probably told me the word for some body part.

I learned that there's an artistic person who works at the gym

Each time I've gone to the gym we recently joined, a different cartoon drawing greets me, usually with some sort of gymesque reference.  Spiderman one day.  A hot rod the next.  We never know what it will be.  This was last Sunday:


And with that, it's April.

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Linking up with Mama Kat this week for the prompt:
1. Something you learned in March.


Saturday, March 31, 2018

riding dirty

How izzit we've never tried this?

That thought was running through my head as Magnum and I went on a recreational adventure.  We went mountain biking.  For the first time.

Blame Wolfgang, I suppose.

Naturally, living near all these Rocky Mountains, mountain biking is as ubiquitous as alpine skiing.  But honestly, it's never really appealed to me.  We've come across mountain bikers while out hiking, and it just looked like an awkward struggle.  Or I'd see videos, and it looked like crazy on wheels.



One day, not too long ago, Wolfgang brought home a top-of-line full suspension mountain bike he'd rented. 

"Go ahead, try this", he said to me, knowing of my apathy.

Okay, whatever.  I got on and bounced around the street in front of our house.  Immediately I felt the difference.  Oh, I realized.  Mountain biking might actually be a fun thing.

Lo and behold, it is!

It was a beautiful spring day on Friday, so Mag and I decided to rent us some real bikes and go a-mountain biking.  After looking at different trail options, we ruled out anything that said "family friendly" as well as anything that said "highly technical".  We ended up settling on a nice longish intermediate trail that Wolfgang recommended.

I spent about two minutes getting some online tips, and then we headed to the bike shop.

It was way fun.  It was also work in a lot of areas, and got tricky in places.  But it was just challenging enough to leave us wanting more.  Like skiing, perhaps?  Or crack?

We stopped to rest and get a couple of pics after a particularly challenging ascent.

smiley for the double selfie


how I was actually feeling

And in many ways, going downhill was even more difficult.  But we both made it through the entire course without a crash despite several "almosts".  In some ways, I think maybe we were too cautious.  Seems like at least one of us should have bit it at some point.  Maybe I should have at least embellished one of the almost-crashes, to make the day complete.




Until next time...



Thursday, March 29, 2018

beyond words

"I want a life where I can grow old with you..."

He wanted to sit close to me at the beach and "watch the waves and the sounds of waters".  Can he see sound?  Oh, never mind.  It was all so romantic, even if biologically improbable.

"I want to be with you when the sun shines till it set..."

My lover and I met as many do.  We were matched together by the powers that be.  It was out of our control, really.

"I want to watch the rainbows with you and count the star with you..."

Hmmm... just count the one star?  Oh well, at least the rainbows are plural. 

"I just wish to have the best of love with you"

Gosh, me too.  Sadly, however, it wasn't meant to be.  Really, it ended almost as it was just starting.  I don't even know what happened.  We'd been getting along so well, we were so right for each other.  He would make a move, then I would respond perfectly, the tension building with neither of us knowing what the next encounter would bring.

Until... until...



Wha...?

Dude!  I'm just here to play Words With Friends.  And I actually prefer to play Words With Friends with strangers because the app does a good job of matching me with similarly skilled opponents.  And when I play with actual friends, I find I don't try as hard unless they're beating the crap out of me, so I'm just here to play Words With Friends with strangers!  I'm not here to grow old or count a star, etc.!

Plus, if you want me to go to the beach with you and watch the sounds of waters, I'd prefer you didn't have a bug-eyed cat as your profile pic... not that I'm that trusting of profile pics in general, but no bug-eyed cats, K?


...He was good at Words With Friends, though.  Damnit.

Good luck to him.

Maybe next time.

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Linking up with Mama Kat this week for the prompt:
1. Write a blog post that ends with the line: maybe next time.



Tuesday, March 27, 2018

wish you were here


Spring break - woooooo, we're rippin' it!

Okay, actually so far, I've spent most of spring break going up and down the interstate, but it's all good.

We got Wolfgang moved up north late last week, and that trip was bookended by a band trip Meego took to Disneyland.  At least someone in the family is having a proper vacation.

We had to get Meego to the Denver airport at 3:30am on Thursday.  Is 3:30am early morning, or still nighttime?  It's kind of a grey area.  But he made it right on time - not like there's much traffic at that time.

They returned Sunday night/Monday morning at about 1:00am.  Again, not a whole lot of "rush hour" going on.

As expected, the kids had a good time.  They marched in the Disney parade, but really it was mostly a way to go play in L.A. and Disneyland for four fun-filled days.

I did not chaperone the trip.  It sounded too much like work.

I asked Meego if there was any trip drama, and he said there was none that he knew of other than some "Chaperone drama".  Apparently one of the chaperones was a bit uptight, but we'll just leave it at that because she lives about two houses away from us...

I've heard they did a nice job at the parade and "represented the school well".  The dress code for the trip created some frowns - for instance the requirement for "tasteful" sleep and swimwear.  One that caught my eye was the requirement that everyone wear "jeans with no holes".  I don't think any of the girls owned jeans with  no holes prior to the trip.  They pay good money for those holey jeans.



I have not been able to get any pics or videos of their parade performance, however.  Geez, how hard is it to get a bootleg footage from a Disney performance?! (quite difficult).  So I can only imagine the thrilling expressions as in the photo above from a football game - same enthusiasm as a Disney parade, I'm sure.


Mom Life at Denver International


Spring break continues for the rest of this week.  With all that driving and moving and packing and  unpacking behind us, we can get down to some wild times!

...like some spring cleaning and car maintenance.  Time to defrost that freezer too, I guess.

Whachu doing?  Wish you were here.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

cruising with Pablo

Wolfgang has left the nest.  Again.

He'd been living back at home since last summer while considering his employment options.  He had an engineering internship that continued after he graduated last spring, but he wasn't really feeling the love for a long term position at the company.

But at least they have a fun bowling team and an annual chili cook-off...

In the meantime, he's been living the good life of free room and board at our place while perusing job openings and such.  He landed a position at a firm a couple of hours away from us, secured an apartment, and move-in day was yesterday.

Wolfgang rented a U-haul and got all packed up, but one issue remained.  What to do with Pablo?

Pablo is Wolfgang's lovable 1989 Toyota 4-speed pickup.  He's a spunky little reliable truck that has been a faithful companion for two or three years.  He hasn't spent a lot of time on the highway, however.

Pablo - stud


Luckily, it's spring break for me, and Magnum also had yesterday off.  We could help Wolfgang move - yipee.  After considering some options, we decided that Wolf would drive the U-haul, Magnum would drive Ellie Mae (our awesome Honda Element), and it would be Pablo and me to round out the convoy.

Honestly, I had my misgivings.  How would Pablo do on such a long (for him) trip?  What about Monument Hill?  All those sustained RPMs?

We got the U-haul loaded up and headed out, with me checking to make sure I had my AAA card handy...

But that little chicken truck?  He was AWESOME!

He just hummed along - up Monument Hill, hardly needing a breath.  Through the crap traffic of Denver, then further up the open road to the new home.  I could almost feel his joy of the wind in his hair!(?)

I was alone with Pablo for the trip, and he was loud.  He was loud because he was built before sound insulation was much of a consideration for cars.  Even with the windows rolled up, I could hear the wind rushing past us and the sounds of other cars going by.  It was way cool!

But I could also hear Pablo's engine, it was happily purring the whole way, not a sputter to be heard.  At about 50 miles from our destination, I saw the odometer roll over to 188K miles.  The trip only used a quarter of a tank.

with Pablo -
the first to arrive at the destination

We got Wolfgang all moved in and stocked him up with a few groceries and such.  It's a nice new beginning, and I'll miss having Pablo... er... Wolfgang around.

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Linking up with Mama Kat for the prompt:
6. Write about the last thing that surprised you


Sunday, March 18, 2018

bang time

It's banging season again, AKA winter percussion time.  We attended the regional competition yesterday.

Some might recall that Meego's group was the state chamPEENS last year.  This year's scores aren't quite on the same line, but I think the kids are having fun anyways.










It's a judged competition, and I don't get too caught up in the standings.  It's just pretty entertaining most of the time.

One of the groups had a "hillbilly" theme and broke out the moonshine jugs, bow saw, jaw harps, washboard, and spoons.  I think they were my favorite.

Another group depicted this crazy violent barbarian theme.  A cymbal player fell down during a crossover, but the whole show was so violent and chaotic, it fit right in.  I know they were having fun!  The first place group was dressed like Keebler elves.  Their show was also quite creative as they banged on various wooden things.  Later we learned that they were supposed to be trees...

At times, it all seems a bit overdone to me, but it's nice the artsy kids have something to occupy them during the winter months.  There is also winter guard - indoor flag and rifle competition.  Meego's girlfriend is active in that, and Meego was telling me about some of the obnoxious mom volunteers.

"Are you sure you should eat that much?", and such, during team lunches.

This is why I'll help out here and there but don't sign up for any boards or committees at this level...

In other news, it's been a good week.  I sold some stuff today on craigslist in about two hours, which tells me I could've asked for more money.  But really I'm glad to have it gone.




Thursday, March 15, 2018

a new find and no surprises

"That's kinda creepy"

"Okay, but other than 'creepy', what are your thoughts?"

Thinking... thinking... thinking...  All I could think was "creepy"

Magnum and I joined a different gym last weekend.  It's cheaper than the high-falutin' gym we'd belonged to, and it's located right in our neighborhood.  The high-falutin' place is nice, and the high price is justified because it has a lot of amenities we never utilized.  So far, I like the new place.

As part of our membership, we get two free 3D body scans along with a "fitness profile" generated by the scan.

Welp, okay.



So I had my initial 3D scan fitness profile earlier this week.  I managed to find my way to the women's locker room and then find the scanner/advisor person.

The whole procedure didn't really tell me anything I didn't already know...

...which is that I have no curves.




With that out of the way, I could get down the business of finding my way around.

I found the gear shop. 

I found the smoothie bar.

I found the healthy power snacks

One of these days, I might actually exercise there.

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



Sunday, March 11, 2018

winner winner chili dinner

Thursday night, around 10 pm, Wolfgang started whipping up some chili.  Meego wondered why Wolfgang was whipping up some chili at 10 pm Thursday.  But I knew...

The great chili cook-off of 2018!

Wolfgang's workplace  has held an annual chili cook-off for the past several years, and Friday was the day for 2018.  The thought of a  bunch of engineers cooking chili doesn't naturally inspire high expectations, but apparently the results are quite tasty.  Winner gets a big sombrero.

And darn if Wolfgang didn't almost win that sombrero! 

He got first prize in the "unique" category and second place overall.  Got a trophy and medal, even.  Lookie!



As can be seen, they really pulled out all the stops on that 2nd place medal/magnetic disk clipped to a badge holder.  It's even "inscribed" on the back


He dubbed  his dish "Aloha Sweet Chili".  *Spoiler Alert*  The secret ingredient is pineapple.  Who knew??

He'd actually made it for us a couple of weeks prior to the cook-off, and we got to be the test kitchen.  The only thing he changed for the cook-off was, he let it simmer longer - thus the 10 pm cookfest.

I agree, it's very tasty and worthy of the prizes. 

I'd show a pic of the chili too...

but we ate it. 



Thursday, March 8, 2018

so let it be done

I make lists.  Do you?  Actual written lists?  On paper?

I think the act of writing stuff down helps me to remember it better.  Plus, if it's a to-do list, there's the satisfaction that comes from scratching things off.


So, let's look back on stuff I did this week, shall we?

  • I took a nap one day.  I was tired.  There was a futon.  I totally owned it.
  • Costco run, complete with the industrial sized pack o' toilet paper.  You Costco people know what I'm talking about!
  • Let the cat out.  And in.  And out.  And in.  And out.  And...
  • Rode my bicycle INSIDE a line of construction cones.  Rebel!
  • I was able to get three people to audit our P.E.O. chapter books without me being one of the three.  Woot!
  • Made and served up SO many nachos, tacos, burritos, fajitas... Oh, things are a-spicy in lunch lady land.
  • Got out my sewing machine and made two big shirts into two shirts that fit.  I'm kind of a big deal that way... with a small top.

Okay, so a few of these things weren't actually on the list, but gotta have some spontaneity in life too!  And as I type this, I see that I also wrote down to defrost the freezer.  Yes, it's written down.  It's not scratched off.  The first step is to acknowledge that you have a problem.

What's on your list?


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Linking up this week with Mama Kat for the prompt:
4. List 8 things you accomplished this week!




Sunday, March 4, 2018

cleaning the swamp

This weekend  marked the end of my term as president of my P.E.O. chapter.


It feels nice to have that responsibility lifted from my shoulders, but at the same time, I have residual feelings of needing to " do all the things".  And there were certainly nice aspects of the position...












I'm sure I'll get used to being just a Plain Jane "member", however.  The wrap-up involved a lot of business getting taken care of, so I feel good about checking all those things off before handing the gavel over to the next victim president.

And now I'm thinking about things I said I was going to get going on once my 2-year Prez term, which was preceded by a 2-year veep term, was up... if only I could remember what they are?


Thursday, March 1, 2018

a date with a glider that wasn't a date and didn't have a glider

"My brother said he can't make it, but... wanna still go?"

My co-worker Jeff was standing under the glare of the porch light.  It was about 3 a.m. and pitch dark outside.  I'd been up for about a half hour getting ready.  I'd watched for him so he wouldn't ring the doorbell and wake my housemates.

At Jeff's announcement, I considered my options.  (a) go back to bed, or (b) say "what the hell" and go anyway.  I was up and dressed.  Jeff was there.  I chose (b).

The original plan was hatched earlier that week.  Jeff's brother had a glider, and Jeff was a photographer/hobbyist.  Brother asked Jeff to hike to the summit of a particular mountain and take photos of the glider as Brother glided around the summit of said mountain.


About what Bro had in mind
except he didn't show


"Want to join me?", Jeff had asked during our morning break stroll around the industrial park.

It sounded like a fun adventure.  Plus, I'd never been that close to a glider as it was actually gliding.  Plus, what else did I have to do that morning?

So there would be no glider, but we hiked that trail up that mountain.  Jeff had his camera and took a few shots.  We got to the summit and watched the sun come up.  It was a beautiful thing.  Like watching the world wake up.  The darkness gave way to the Denver skyline miles and miles away, with miles and miles of plains stretched out beyond.

Jeff snapped some pics.  I was wearing a jacket with my initials on it that I'd gotten from Junior College, and I remember Jeff commenting on the jacket and asking how I'd come to have it.  Then he took some photos of me.  I realize now that I never saw any of the photos.  This was long before digital cameras were mainstream.

We eventually hiked back down.  It was a beautiful morning with the smell of evergreens all around.

Back in civilization, we went to a Greek restaurant known for it's huge omelets.  We ate huge omelets and drank about a gallon of coffee.  I'm pretty sure Jeff paid.

That was one of my best dates ever.  Except it wasn't a date.

Was it?

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Linking up this week with Mama Kat for the prompt:
1. A memorable date.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens

You know how, when you're laid up sick in bed, and you're all, "Oh man, I'll not take being unsick for granted again", and then you're healthy again for a few days and finding other stuff to whine about? 

Well, NOT ME!  I'm happy to be back among the living, and it's all good.

Whatever I had, I'm not sure if it was the flu or what.  It knocked me off the earth for a couple of days, but then I got better relatively quickly, so who knows?  But I figure I should count my blessings.  Here are Five Most Recent Favorite Things (in no particular order):



My commute.  
Y'all remember a few years back I actually consulted a bit with a life coach?  Part of that process involved me finding my passions or something like that.  I remember going to a site and answering several questions which then ranked things that I'm passionate about.  Apparently. 

Turns out, one of my biggest passions is efficiency.  I don't like waste.  Of anything:  money, things, talent, time... In fact, that's probably why I consulted with a life coach in the first place "I'm spinning my wheels here, times-a-wasting!"

Anyhoo, this is why my work commute is an important deciding factor for me.  And if I can commute on my bicycle or walk, well then! Fun transportation is not a waste! Currently, I can do either.  My job is about a 30-minute walk or 20-minute bike ride from my house 😊😊


My parka.
On the commute note, it's quite cold this week.  Doesn't bother me none!
About 18 years ago, I got a nice parka from Cabela's.  I was preggars with Meego and liked to go for daily waddles.  When I got too big for my own jacket, I started wearing Magnum's.  He got me the Cabela's parka - complete with adjustable waist - saying I "deserved it", which really probably meant, "stop wearing my jacket".
I can't believe I still have it, but it's the warmest thing ever!


My coworkers.
They're a fun bunch.  We manage to avoid a lot of drama we hear about from other kitchens.  We do have one guy who works with us too.  Joe.  Nice guy.  He doesn't say a whole lot, but I've concluded that it's not because he's shy.  It's just a smart tactic he's figured out.


Watching the Olympics.
It's hard to not get caught up in the Olympic spirit.  And if you're riding the couch with the flu, it doesn't take much effort. Today, I was feeling a bit sad that they'll be over in a few days.  But then, if they were on all the time, they wouldn't be special.


My Kindle.
Chaco talked me into getting one a few months ago.  I still like to read physical books, but I can just download them to my Kindle easily and quickly from the library and carry them around without all that bulk.  Damn efficient. 

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Linking up with Mama Kat for the prompt:
4. List your five most recent favorite things



Saturday, February 17, 2018

House

This week's prompt at Illustration Friday is "house", and I'm not ashamed to say that I'm posting this from the archives.  I've spent my desk time writing up a year-end thing for P.E.O. and that activity ate up my happy illustrating time today.

I drew this during last year's "Inktober".  The perspective is off, but I can say that the freaking house is haunted, so it's intentionally crooked, OKAY?!




This week was a bit of a challenging one with another school shooting, plus I think I had the flu?  At least I hope it was the flu and not a big cold, which would mean that I'm still susceptible to this year's flu.  Anyway, a scary house seems fitting even if it was Valentine's week.


Tuesday, February 13, 2018

they don't write 'em like that anymore

Morgan is hosting an old school blogging activity, so I thought I'd play along.  Remember the old days when we'd answer getting-to-know-you blog prompts?  This one is Valentine's Day themed...


1. When you were in elementary school, how did you celebrate Valentine’s Day? Was it a big deal or not so much?

All us kids did the customary make-a-unique-"mailbox"-from-a-shoebox.  Then on Valentine's Day, we each brought those cheapo Valentines that came fifty or so to a box and delivered one for each kid's box.  Then we'd have a party and get all sugared up.

Recently, a friend told a story of how her youngest son didn't like having to write out all those Valentines for his classmates, felt it was too much like homework.  But when he opened  his box and saw all the Valentines made just for him, he had a complete change of heart.  Awwww.

2. What has been your favorite gift you have received on Valentine’s Day?

I got a card from a boyfriend several years ago.  I won't repeat here what it said on the inside 😉.  But it was a nice card.

3. Should Valentine’s Day even be celebrated?

Yeah, sure.

4. Do you like to send Valentine’s Day cards?

Well, I don't send them, but not necessarily because I don't like to.  They're just not something I'd send to friends or relatives.

5. Do you ever receive Valentine’s Day cards?

Uhm, nope.  

6. Do you think people spend too much on Valentine’s Day?

Yes, I heard recently that people spend an average of about $150 on VD.  That's way too much!

7. What is your favorite Valentine’s Day candy?

Russell Stover milk chocolate assortment, thanks for asking.

8. What is your favorite movie with a love story?

Braveheart

9. Do you believe in “love at first sight”?

Nah, not really.

10. Tell us about your first crush!

First grade.  His name was Frank, and I was still too young to worry whether he liked me too or not.  I declared my love/crush, and thankfully the feeling was reciprocated.  Whoever got to school first would wait at the playground fence until the other arrived.  Then we would give each other a huge hug and live happily ever after.  Until the next day, and it all started again.  Then we got old.  

11. Do you have a terrible dating story? Tell it!

Yes, my terrible dating story involves my high school boyfriend.  It was a terrible date because he was on it behind my back with someone other than me.  Other than that, no.

12. Favorite love song?

I'm currently feeling "No Air" by Jordin Sparks and Chris Brown.  But maybe it's because I have a cold and can't breathe.

13. Favorite Celebrity Couple?

I don't follow celebrities, but when I was a kid, I was a huge fan of Sonny and Cher


...and I wanted to be Cher when I grew up.  They broke up, and I'm not Cher. 


14. The best break up song…

"The Break Up Song", naturally.

15. If you had a perfect Valentine’s Day, what would you be doing?

Breathing.