Friday, August 17, 2018

day 1

Overheard yesterday at College Town Walfarts:

EMPLOYEEToday was going pretty good until about 10 o'clock...

Yup.  Yesterday was move-in day at the university for Meego and a squizillion other dorm rats.  We managed to fit all of Meego's worldly possessions plus our three selves into one vehicle to make the haul.  That was partially aided by the fact that he, unsurprisingly, forgot a few things, but all-in-all, the day went smoothly.

The university is a couple of hours up the road, and as we made the trek, I was noticing other similarly loaded vehicles, complete with young people.  I was mainly taking stock of the bicycles I saw.  Some nicer than Meego's, others not.  That was good.  You don't want to have the best bike in the bike rack, but you don't want a piece o' crap either.

At the bike registration tent

It was a good day.  Classes begin on Monday, so he should be settled in time to hit the books.  His roommate seems like a nice guy, and the two of them have things in common.  They met through a university app that's "kind of like Tinder" to pair up roommates.

A friend of mine posted pics on fb of her daughter's move-in at the same university.  Her daughter's room looks like something out of Good Housekeeping magazine.  Meego's room does... not.

I've heard that, as far as dorm housing typically goes, guys are slobs and girls create much drama.  The guys should have the slob part down anyways.

After we got him settled and made two separate runs to the aforementioned Walfarts, we met up with Wolfgang who, coincidentally, lives and works in College Town.  So we got in a nice visit with him and met his new roommate

That's okay, I didn't want to use the sink anyway...

So, our house seems strangely huge and quiet today.  My first order of business is to tidy up and see what's left in the wake of yesterday's move out / in.  Then I'll figure out what to do with the extra time in my life now.  This showed up in my instagram today:

Okay.  I'm on it.  😬

Thursday, August 16, 2018

do you want to see?

I'm a blogger of few words today.  This appeared on my FB feed this morning and left me a bit unable to speak...

Know that it's all consensual.

Linking up today with Mama Kat for the prompt:
2. Share something that entertained you this week, can be an article you read, video you watched, someone’s FB share…whatever!

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

I guess I'll give him the credit

Here I sit.  Teary eyed and sniffly.

No, I'm not being sad and dramatic.  I'm being allergic.

I've blogged about how I began getting allergy shots about a year ago at my ripe old age of 50+.  I blogged about the initially smug doctor who didn't seem to believe that such an old lady would be getting tested for the first time.  I blogged about his changed demeanor after I'd failed his tests miserably.  I blogged about how I go to get shots and sit among a bunch of sugared up little kids who take copious amounts of candy bribes to deal with their allergy shots.

About a month or so ago, I had a follow-up with Dr. Jekyll (so nicknamed because of  his smug/friendly personality).  He gave me a once-over and asked the typical follow-up things.

During the appointment, I realized:

  • I had not snorted any Flonase®️ in quite some time
  • I can walk around like a sober person
  • I don't have what feel like marshmallows for eyelids
  • I can breathe

He also asked if I'd had any troublesome insect stings, and I reported that my don't-look-like-a-flower strategy seems to be holding.  No stings since the timely one that landed me in his office in the first place.  

I concluded with, "I think the shots are working".

To which he responded, "Oh, they're working!" with that touch of smug I've learned to know and love tolerate.  I was all, look at him taking all the credit. What about my lifestyle changes?  Don't I get a gold star too?  

I went in last week for my weekly injections.  I get two:  one for molds and the other for weeds, grasses, trees, and just about every other kind of plant on the planet.  

Geej, my shot giver, showed me a nearly empty vial of the weed etc. antigen.  

"We ran out of this one and need to make up another batch", she said apologetically.  "Sorry I didn't notice it ahead of time to have it ready for today".

I looked around at the manymanymany vials of antigen in the room - each one specifically formulated for its individual patient.  I didn't fault her for not noticing that one of mine was low.  I took my mold shot and left without raiding the candy basket.

So yesterday, I was working in the yard.  I ended up sniffly and a bit puffy.  I'm still sniffly and a bit puffy.

REALLY, allergies?!  ONE missed hit of antigen?!

Okay, Dr. Jekyll.  I concede

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

first impressions

She didn't like me.  I wasn't expecting that, but it soon became quite apparent.  I didn't know why she didn't like me.  Truth is, I didn't even know her that well.  We were classmates in a small town, so I knew who she was and vice versa, but not a whole lot more.

It was our sophomore year of high school and my first year in marching band.  I'd really wanted to be in marching band, but I didn't play a band instrument as a freshman and didn't get on board to try out for the flag team in time.

The stars shined upon me, however, when our band director decided he wanted some "banner girls".  You know those people that walk in front of the band during parades carrying the banner with the school's name?  Well, our band director decided to dress that idea up a bit and have banner girls that did stuff.  As such, each of us girls had our own letter sign that spelled out the school name on one side and the name of our school mascot on the other.  Clearly, it was good prep for my illustrious career as a crossing guard.
I'm the one with the nice "A" πŸ˜‰.  We were The Miners, hence the hard hats...

So I was in the marching band.  I was a banner girl.  We did some things, marched around, flipped our signs, kicked our feet, even twirled some streamers now and then, whatevs.  It was like flag preschool... which it actually ended up being in my case.

Because the stars shined upon me again when our band was invited to the Portland Rose Festival in Portland, OR that would take place in the spring.  In the interim between marching season and the Portland trip, a certain flag girl became "with child".  Actually, a couple of them did!

With those sperms burrowing into those eggs, another banner girl and I were promoted to the flag line!  My dream!  Yay!  Except...

I needed to learn how to BE a flag girl, and I needed to learn quickly.  A minor detail.

Our band director assigned Paula to be my flag tutor.  I'm not sure why he chose Paula, she wasn't a captain or even a senior.  I assume it was because she was also a sophomore, and she'd been in flag since we were freshmen.  She and I arranged for my first session of flag girl crash course.

I was excited to get started and played clumsily with my practice flag until Paula showed up.  When she did, it was all business.

She showed me several compulsory moves and had me repeat them all until I had them down.  All the while, her face was a stone.  She almost seemed bored, but at the same time, she seemed happy  that I didn't know a darn thing.  I knew she liked being a flag girl and was good at it, and it was me she didn't like.

But I was motivated, and Paula was a great coach.  I soon had the moves down, so she started to teach me a whole routine for a song.  I was having fun despite her coldness, and somewhere during that first session, she couldn't help herself from having fun too.

I don't know how many more one-to-one sessions we had, but we soon became good friends.  We went to Portland with the band and rocked the house.  By the time we were seniors, Paula and I were co-captains of the flag team, and our school's band was kickass.

But Paula and I became more than just teammates.  She eventually confessed that she did not like me before she knew me - chyaah, I already knew that!

I actually had a diverse set of friends during high school, and as such, I didn't really belong to any specific clique.  You could say I was popular in a big-fish-in-a-small-pond kind of way.  I was a rah-rah, joining every sport and club and holding every office.  Paula was not in that crowd.  But she was an excellent flag girl and student editor of the yearbook, another thing in which she and I were in cahoots.

She told me she didn't like me at first because she'd assumed I was conceited from being such a rah-rah and didn't care for "her kind".  But when she showed up to teach me flag, I was... not.  Well, crap.  I wondered if I gave off some conceited vibe?  Either way, I'm thankful to our band director for sparking such a close friendship.

Like I said, I had several good friends in high school, but I think I can  honestly say that Paula was a friend with whom I was most intimate - and I don't mean THAT!  Get your minds out of the gutter.  We just shared a lot of things that we didn't share with other people.  I was also very close with  Ingrid, but I've already written about good ol' Ingrid.

I remember one night after my boyfriend went a little off the deep end, and I found myself sitting in an ER while he was being attended to (a whole 'nother story I might blog someday, but don't hold your breath).  It was late at night, and I was pondering my options for getting my sorry self home.

The automatic door to the ER slid open, and there was Paula.  A sight for sore eyes... but not necessarily a surprise.

Hooking up with Mama Kat this week for the prompt:
1. Tell us about the moment you met your high school best friend.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

missed mountain and moving millennials

We'd planned a little weekend getaway for last weekend.  Go up to Winter Park, do some mountain biking and hiking and whatever.  As it happened, we ended up not going.  The stars just didn't align.  Nothing bad, but a casualty of getting various schedules and other obligations to match up.  And I think everybody made the most of their weekends either way.

Here is NOT a photo of any of US at Winter Park, but let's pretend...


For me, I went to P.E.O. on Saturday and met with a student on Sunday, so it sort of feels like the weekend didn't really happen.  What day is it?

As I type this, there's activity going on at the Millennial House next door.  I capitalize it because that's the name I've given the "estate".  We have no idea how many people actually live there, but there are lots of vehicles, and the residents' average age works out to about 20.  That value is kept quite low because of the fact that there's now a baby in the mix.  Apparently, it's not just the bunnies in the neighborhood that have been gettin' busy.

We're pretty sure that mom and dad of one or more of the habitants owns the house and rents to the pack.  I've met the owners and they are quite friendly, but it's rare for them to visit.  Despite their ages and demographic stereotype, the kids are okay as neighbors *knock on wood*. In fact, I rarely see them during the day, which makes notable the current activity.

My main dislikes are the late-night (more like early-morning) bonfire gatherings they like to occasionally have in their backyard.

Most of the guys drive full-size pickups, which fill up the street and driveway, but also attest to the fact that they all have jobs.  This morning, I see that three of the pickups have furniture and boxes loaded into them.  Someone's moving?

I hope it's not the baby.  He's cute, and he seems to have mellowed the household, from my external perspective anyway.

But maybe for the baby's sake, I hope it is the baby.

Friday, August 3, 2018

terror on the doorstep

A pleasant bug man came a-knocking a few nights ago.  He gave me the old, "Hi, I'm here in the neighborhood killing bugs over at Vic's house, and I can give you a deal to kill your bugs too since I'm already here 😁" bit.

And I was thinking, "What makes him think we have bugs?"

Actually.  No.  I did not think that.  It's obvious, especially from where he was standing.  Our front porch...

Let's get a close-up, shall we?  Of one of the many spiderwebs full of bounty that adorn the front door.

I spray them. With water.  I spray them goooooood.  I spray them because they are so strong, a broom doesn't really hack it.  I spray them on full hose pressure with the nozzle set on JET.

The spiders laugh at me and rebuild within a day or so.

No, I didn't take the bugman up on his offer, mainly because I don't give in to sales people who come a-knocking.  But... should I have pest control come?  What all do their materials do, anyway?  Bugman says he can kill existing bugs and repel future wannabes.

I've pondered this before, when my spraying can't match the spidery zeal.  Wolfgang was my voice of reason last summer.

"They're doing you a favor."

"How's that?"

"See all the bugs they catch in their webs?  If it weren't for the spiderwebs, those bugs would be inside the house."  

So that can be my excuse.  Our front porch spiderwebs are not unsightly, unwelcoming, creepy things.  

They are the moat to our castle.  


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

Sunday, July 29, 2018

rain, algebra, cats and dogs

Went and had brunch with the mother-in-law and step-father-in-law today.  It was nice, and we got into a bit of a "spiritual" discussion.  We didn't come up with any answers, but a nice discussion nonetheless.

July is coming to a close, and it's been a good month, I'd say.  Most of the fires in our state are out or under control, and we're getting blessed rains.  Certain burn bans have been lifted, which means our millennial neighbors will probably start up again with their late night bonfires, but I'm liking the rain and afternoon cool downs. 

I was just looking over my tutor stats for the month, and I'm happy with them, considering it's mid-summer.  Summer is typically the off-season as far as tutordom goes, but I've managed to keep somewhat busy despite the slack-off. 

My college student confessed that this is the second time he's taken this particular math class.  He's had other tutors before, but he thinks it's actually going in this time. 

"I think it's helping me because you like math, but... you also have a personality!", he says.


We dogsat last weekend with Chaco's new dog, Ella.  Chaco was going camping and didn't want to take her because she was still recovering from her spay surgery.  She's really a great pooch, smart, energetic, and inquisitive.  Made herself right at home.

She was also quite interested in our cat, and not in a good way.  I know her instinct to chase the cat can be trained out of her.  I suggested dog school to Chaco, and he's thinking about it.  It's his dog, but our problem, and only when she comes over, so we'll see.  Advice is welcome. 

The cat loves a good fight, but I don't think he's up for this one.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

hi, don't mind me :)

I bought a new webcam last week.  My webcam is working fine, but I like to have a backup.  Meego uses my old webcam/backup, mainly for the microphone, when he's online gaming with his friends.  He needed to take an online test last week in order to test out of a certain math class for college.  That's when we discovered that the video on his/my backup webcam was on the fritz.

Take an online test to place out of a math class, and someone is watching. If your webcam doesn't work, you can't take the test.

Well, we just swapped out the fritzed webcam with my working one, and all was good.  Meego passed his test, and we wondered what it's like to be a proctor for an online test.  Do they really watch the whole time?  Are they looking at multiple screens/test takers?  What would they do if they see someone cheating?

I only connect my webcam when I need it for online tutoring.  For those with built-in webcams, do you cover it up to prevent the government from spying on you?

I have a student I've been helping with a college math class he's taking online this summer.  We were at the library yesterday, and he'd brought his laptop so we could work on his homework assignment.

As he was airing his frustrations with me, I was communicating my empathy:

"Yes, they could have explained that better"
"You're right, that's not a very accurate graph"
"blah, blah, blah"

At several points, we noticed the cursor on his laptop screen was spinning.

"They're checking on me", he says.

"Oh, they monitor when your logged in?", I says

"Yeah, we had to sign something that says we know and don't care when we enrolled in the class", he says.

I noticed the band-aid he had covering his webcam.

"Is that why you have a band-aid over your webcam?", I says.

"Yep, but they can still hear us", he says.

We continued to work through his homework and came across another poorly represented graph.  I made robotic note of it.

"Ugh, you'd think they would do these better, otherwise it's confusing", he expressed.

"I'm just your tutor.  I have no opinion".

Linking up this week with Mama Kat for the prompt:
5. Write about the last lie you told.

Friday, July 20, 2018

blogging for idiots

A friend of mine, who is a nurse, told me that she recently read about a study that concluded that heat makes us stupid.  The results were partially based on comparing test scores of students at colleges with air conditioning vs. test scores of students at colleges with no air conditioning.  Yup, air conditioned students score higher on tests.

And I'm thinking, that's a pretty big jump to conclusion. 

Maybe smarter kids get scholarships so they're able to afford air conditioned colleges?  Maybe low scoring students focus more on partying than studying, so the college says "screw 'em!".  There's gotta be more to it.

But then we thought, it's been so hot and yes, I feel more stupid.  It's too hot to think.

It's been hot here this week, and I feel I got behind on my blogging.  I was going to blog for Mama Kat's Thursday link  up, and *poof*, it's Friday. 

I'm going to catch up, though, by DOING ALL THE PROMPTS!

1. Book Review! Share your latest favorite reads!

I'm currently reading this one, as recommended to me.  It started out feeling quite YA, but it's just starting to get better!  OA?

Speaking of which, I got a friend request on goodreads from the daughter of a friend of mine who just graduated with Meego.  I've known her since they were in 2nd grade.  I thought, well, okay.  Maybe I'll check out what she's read.

"50 Shades of Grey" = 5 stars. This feels awkward.

2. Share some recipes you enjoy or would like to try that contain: Pineapple

I have to go with Wolfgang's award winning chili on this one.  I don't have the actual recipe, but I'm quite capable of eating it. 

3. What five images paint a perfect picture of summer to you? Put those five images together in a piece of writing.

Did I mention watermelon?

4. Write a blog post inspired by the word: drive

I went to get my hair cut today, and it was hot out (see prompt 1.).  I could have ridden my bike, it's not very far, but I decided to be nice to the stylist thinking, who wants to work on a sweaty head atop a sweaty person?  I was just getting a cut, no shampoo, so I dusted the cobwebs off the car and drove. 

I showed up all unsweated, and this guy pulls up on his bicycle and comes in for HIS appointment.  No, he did not get a shampoo.  I checked.

5. Write a blog post in exactly 11 lines.

Too late for that.
Already way over.
Why 11, anyway?
Maybe I should try.
I'm not even halfway with this.
Gosh it's hot.
It's making me stupid.
We don't have air conditioning.
Should I accept that friend request?
Today is Wolfgang's birthday.
Who wants watermelon?

6. List your top 7 favorite summer moments so far.

  • That time we went mountain biking and nobody crashed.
  • Getting rid of a bunch of clutter.
  • Visiting Meego's college, which I think has air conditioning.
  • When our scholarship recipient visited P.E.O. and gave us all roses.
  • Any moment involving air conditioning.
  • Going with Chaco to adopt a dog.
  • Watermelon 

Okay, enough.  Do high temperatures make you stupid?

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

maybe he should write some country music now?

A bit of a roller coaster of  a weekend.  I used to like roller coasters.  Now, I can take them or leave them, but prefer more of a lazy river.

Saturday, there was a baby shower for our niece - Magnum's sister's daughter - happy occasion.  Magnum's dad and stepmom were in town and took us, along with our kids and Chaco's girlfriend, out for dinner on Friday.  Nice evening.

The baby shower was coed, so friends and family.  It was nice as baby showers are good times, but for me, it was marred by the text I got from Chaco just before.  He'd just busted his girlfriend cheating on him.

I was all, "Whaaaaaat?!?"

Really, I never saw that coming.  She seemed really down to earth without a deceptive streak.  I'd sat next to her during our Friday dinner, enjoying her company as always.  Ya think ya know a person.

Saturday evening, Meego wanted to attend Drums along the Rockies in Denver, and asked Magnum and me to go along.  Okay, actually, some of Meego's band friends had a block of tickets, and he was too late in getting on that bandwagon (pun intended?), so asked to go with us as a last resort.  Who does he think he was fooling?  But fine, we went along.  Gotta strike while the iron's hot.

It was entertaining as expected.  As a former flag girl myself, I can appreciate the work and choreography that goes into these things. As a mom, I sometimes worry that Meego is channeling Todd Rundgren, just wanting to bang on the drum all day.

Sunday, Chaco came over, and we offered help for his wounded heart.  He and "The Ex" had been together a while now and were essentially living together in Chaco's house, her dog included.  So now, it's just him in the house - a tough adjustment.

Eventually, we decided to go out for lunch.  Afterwards, we (strategically πŸ˜‰) decided to visit the local humane society to "just look".

Meet Ella, Chaco's new pooch:

She's a real sweetheart.  Really, if Chaco hadn't scooped her up, I just might have!  She'd just gotten to the shelter - didn't last a day.  

I looked up characteristics of her breed:
  • Cautious
  • Intelligent
  • Energetic
  • Loyal
  • Obedient
  • Protective
  • Brave

She had me at "Loyal".

Thursday, July 12, 2018

from where I sit, pictures because I'm lazy

It's been a busy week and it's already Friday eve.

I was going to blog something worthwhile here, but I got this new standing desk, and now I'm tired even though I'm currently sitting...

In the process of getting the new desk - it's adjustable:  hydraulics! - I also booted Meego from the prime window spot and took it over.  Why didn't I do that sooner?

Don't feel bad for him, I turn to my right, and there he is, not doing the math tutorial he's supposed to be doing, but playing some online shoot-'em-up with a friend.  

Our high speed internet seems to be holding.  I've had a couple of online tutee sessions and everything's worked like a well oiled machine. *knock on wood*

Turn to my left, and here we have the temporary routing method for the high speed cable.  I just happened to have a swim noodle lying around - handy things, those swim noodles.  Unless your cat likes to work out his frustrations by ripping it to little bits. I think he's mad because I rearranged "his" room. 

I think he just likes to rip it up, but now I have to worry about him ingesting the shards in a moment of stupidity.  

Sunday, July 8, 2018

we're so... uhm... proud?

The pickup please truck is coming tomorrow, I'm pleased to know.  We've been happily decluttering, but it seems like a never-ending activity.

Who has read  "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying-Up"?  I've spoken of it here before, so won't beat that dead horse, but know to count me among the believers - joy sparking magic and all.

We've been doing okay with it, and I need to bag up some stuff now for the truck tomorrow.     As I was making a final pass for this current haul, I came upon this lovely:

Meego brought this home this past week, with proud display.  Yeah, it's a trophy.   A first place trophy.

See, he'd gone to a friend's birthday party, which involved a photo scavenger hunt.  How fun, right?  And he got first place.  Whatta guy, right?

He went on to tell us that his team actually got fourth place overall, but his particular act was so good, he was voted the overall individual winner.

Of course I wanted to know, what did he do? *omg*

One of the scavenger hunt tasks was to "get a stranger to help you".  Oh, easy enough, right?  Let's brainstorm, shall we?

  • Ask someone for directions to a place
  • Have the shortest member of the team ask someone help them reach an item on a high shelf
  • Intentionally drop and spill some grocery items or such while others are nearby

A lot of possibilities here, right??  So, what'd they come up with?  It's somewhat chilling, I've seen the video...

Meego chose the most crowded aisle at Walmart, proceeded to walk down it a ways before bumping into a shelf and collapsing onto the ground.

Some people asked if he was okay, but that might not cut it as "helping", so he remained motionless until a nice lady touched him on the arm and helped him up.  Win!

And I'm thinking, THAT for a dinosaur trophy?!  What if someone would have called 9-1-1?

Thankfully no one did, and Meego's friends "arrived on scene" to assure everyone he was fine, just maybe a bit dizzy.

I'm CERTAIN no one thought the teens were on drugs... *ahem*  WHO are those kids' parents??

Luckily (?) I had just recently read an article about typical adolescent behaviors and coping strategies for parents.  One of the strategies mentioned thinking back to when we were their age - before we got all wise and stuff.

Yeah, admittedly, back then, I would have happily collapsed in a busy Walmart aisle in order to win a hideous birthday party trophy.  *SIGH*

Thursday, July 5, 2018

a cautionary tale sort of involving a minion

"Okay... so... I got some of that cleanser in my eye..."

It was young Mitch, tapping me on the shoulder.  Just prior to that announcement, I was enjoying another day in Lunch Lady Land - whipping up a fine batch of fajita chicken while probably daydreaming about the upcoming weekend.  Young Mitch brought me roaring back to the present.

Young Mitch was a pleasant college-aged guy and fellow Lunch Lady - a title he wore proudly despite being a cis-gendered male.  We all liked Mitch, and because of his age, the rest of us lunch ladies felt a bit protectively maternal about him.  By contrast, our middle school clientele, particularly the girls,  seemed especially appreciative when young Mitch was working the cash register.

At this particular moment, as I was fajitizing some chicken, young Mitch had been cleaning nearby when his plastic bottle of cleanser spit on him.  I turned and found him standing there with his usual mellow demeanor except for his tightly shut left eye.

I sprang into action.

"YES!... Well... uhm... YES!... to the eyewash... YES?"

I led him calmly to the eyewash station, mostly driven by that protective maternal instinct.  However, I confess that there was a small portion of me that was all, "KEWL!  We get to use the eyewash!"

Here, a couple of well-cast actors perform my and Mitch's dramatization:

As he continued to flush his eyes, we read the label on the cleanser he'd been using.  I pulled the MSDS for more info.  In short, it turns out we did everything right, except for one thing:

We forgot to have him wear eye protection in the first place 😞

A big boss came out to log an incident report.  Young Mitch left to "immediately seek medical attention" as instructed.  Our manager got in a bit of trouble for not having him wear eye protection.  Supervisor Gayle, who'd asked him to use the cleanser, got in a bit of trouble too.  They both felt bad, but thankfully, Mitch was checked out and deemed fine.

It was no surprise when, the next day, a memo about using appropriate eye protection and knowing where safety goggles are located went out to all kitchens.  We located our goggles, all shiny, still in their original packaging.

We had a few student helpers that helped out during lunchtimes in exchange for complimentary lunch.  That might make some think, "gee what great kids!", but in reality, they weren't always that great.  The day after the cleanser-in-the-eye incident, a couple of boys were arguing over something  - a girl, I think - when they were supposed to be working.  Ahh, adolescence.

Gayle heard a commotion and came around the corner from where she had been completing a technical task and obeyingly wearing the required eye protection.  Now, Gayle is quite a character.  She's got a tough don't-mess-with-me personality when needed.  She's also about five feet tall and just as wide.  This is what I saw when she came around the corner to give those boys the what for:

It's like those kids became paralyzed - no moving, no speaking.  They weren't sure what to think.  She lectured them on proper behavior during their work shifts.  They sprang into proper action while we adults were stifling our giggles.  One boy finally asked her about the goggles.

"I'm working with CHEMICALS, okay?!", she answered before authoritatively striding back to her task.

Afterward, we joked and marveled at the effective air of authority from the safety goggles.  The kids don't need to know that she was just cleaning the toilet.

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

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

mystery shopping

Happy 4th of July to my American friends!  Happy Wednesday, everyone else!

We have no plans for today other than to try to stay cool.  I even forgot to put the flag out until I visited Joey's blog, and he's a Brit!  Thankfully, Magnum was on top of flag displaying today, and we appear to be in the spirit.

Not surprisingly, fireworks are a major no-no this year with all the high fire danger and wildfires burning all around us.  We're used to it, but we usually hear criminals setting things off around this time of year.  This year, I've heard next to nothing. 

That, and the fact that the holiday falls on a Wednesday, makes it feel like sort of a non-event.  Do you take Monday and Tuesday off?  Thursday and Friday?  Just take the Wednesday mid-week break?  Which day to get drunk?

I took Meego clothes shopping last night.  It's not something we do very often at all.  I guess that's one of the blessings of having stereotypical male children who only think about getting clothes when they realize they've nearly run out of them. 

We were at a Aeropostale in the mall, and I was just hanging out because my opinion makes zero impact.  The one employee in the store was SO familiar to me, but I could not place her.  I figured it would dawn on me eventually, but I'm still wondering this morning. 

I asked Meego if he knew her, and he didn't, so I've concluded that she was a student from the high school where I'd worked last fall.  She wasn't in any of my classes, so maybe she was an office assistant or some other peripheral being. 

Or maybe dementia is setting in.  When is the 4th of July?

Sunday, July 1, 2018

it's that time of year

I came across this photo that was posted by a local news station


Yeesh, it's of the Spring Fire that has currently burned over 40,000 acres in southern Colorado.  Yes, wildfire season is upon us once again.  There are various other fires burning in the state as is usually the case, but the Spring Fire is a nasty one.  It's near where I grew up, and we've had haze and smoke from it here in Colorado Springs.  I saw the photo, and the first thing that came to mind was, "Highway to Hell".

Yesterday, we learned that inspectors determined that the fire was human caused, and they arrested and charged a man with arson. No other details.

Really, it's so hot and dry out, fires are easily sparked.  But who sets one intentionally??


So with it being the first of July, I and many others are hoping it's a rainy month.

In other news, we hit the mountain biking trails again yesterday.  This time, Magnum and I took Meego with us as he's never truly gone mountain biking.  We also wanted to test out the new bike rack we got.

Our Honda Element is great for hauling two bikes and two people, but what to do with a 3 x 3?  We got this rack, and it handled the three chunky mountain bikes just fine.

It was a nice day for it.  Sunny and not too too hot - and no wildfires.  Magnum and I managed to keep up with Meego on the uphills, probably because Meego spends too much time sitting and playing video games.

He smoked us on the downhills, however, probably because he doesn't think... about crashing nearly as much as I do.   Those bikes can take a good beating.  Me, not so much.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

sun's out, dust bunnies out

The excitement of the day is that I rearranged my desk.  Woooo...
Well, I like it anyway.  It's good to change things up every now and then.

Since school got out for summer, I've been tidying and spring cleaning and clearing the mothballs from my brain since I've reopened the tutor biz.  Summer is typically a slow time for tuting since most students are on break and have little sense of urgency to learn anything.

But I'm thankful to currently have one student - a high school senior wanting to get a jump on her college prospects.  And I don't want to get too booked because I do need to work some of the kinks out since clearly, I didn't do any calculus during my recent lunch lady stint.  And while the lunch lady higher ups are floating managerial positions my way, I'm not sure that I will go that route, because now I'm high on speed!

Or... rather... I'm on higher speed?

Within the last month, our internet provider quadrupled our available internet speed!  Our neighborhood didn't rank very high, apparently, but they finally got around to boosting us into the 21st century.

Really, it was fine before for the day-to-day stuff, but I had to put up with gripes from Meego, the gamer.  And when Wolfgang, the gamer, was living here too - I had to hear it in both ears.

"This is the fastest we can get in our neighborhood", I assured them.  Maybe I should've just put a sign on my forehead that said that.

But now, we are flying down the internet speedway!  And now, it can be all about ME.

See, I contract my tuting out to companies who match students with tutors.  They all offer online tuting as well as face-to-face, but my internet was so slow, I stopped taking the online jobs as more bells and whistles were added to those platforms, making the lag so horrible.

So while I'm refreshing my subject skills and tidying my workspace, I'm also cleaning and setting up my virtual classrooms, now that I've got the speed for them.

It's a bit lonely in there at present.   But at least the parking's free.


Linking up with Mama Kat for the prompt:
4. Write a blog post the ends with the word: free

Or maybe it's:
1. Share a photo that best represents your June

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

he said his first name was Blue

He showed up at about the time I expected he would.  He looked about like what he should have looked like if he had been truthful about who he was.  I didn't have any reason to doubt, but then, people can be whomever they want to be on the internet.  It's best not to be too gullible.

He's probably right around my age, but that didn't matter.  Age hadn't come up.  My first clue regarding his age was that he emailed me.  Younger ones always text.

So there he was, and really, did I even care if he'd lied?  Not as long as he held up his end of the deal.  It's not like he really knew much about me either.

Ah, another craigslist hookup...

Yeah, I sold another bike.

The old faithful bicycle Bella.  There's a bit of a lump in my throat as I type.  We had some good times, she and I, but I realized it was time to let her go.  So I primped her a bit and flashed this sexy shot of her, basking in the sun

I typed up the ad using words to hopefully bait someone who would truly appreciate her.  And I think it worked.  Just a short time after she went live, I got the elderly feeling email.

"Hi I'm definitely interested so you still have the GF bike?"

He went on to say

"I fix up bikes for underprivileged kids in the community, and college students struggling, as well as for homeless folks to get them a way to ride to work and get jobs. So this could be a blessing on me"

He went on to assure me that he was interested in buying and not asking for a donation.  I emailed him back and we had a bit of correspondence to set up a time for him to have a look.  Every one of his emails ended with "God Bless".

Was he laying it on extra thick, so I wouldn't suspect that his true intention was rape and/or murder?

He arrived driving a tiny SUV with a bike rack on the back. He looked like a biker - not a bicycle biker but a motorcycle biker:  long grey hair in a ponytail, biker beard.  He wore camouflage cargo pants, black t-shirt, and black cap.  Instead of skulls and crossbones and Harley logos, his t-shirt and cap were decorated with crosses and Jesus fish and "JESUS SAVES".

We talked a bit about used bicycles.  He rode Bella up and down the street, putting her through her paces.  We talked a bit more about used bicycles, and I could tell he did, in fact, appreciate Bella and the bargain I was offering.

He gave me the cash.  I gave him some extra inner tubes.

I wonder if I'll see her again?  Maybe when I pedal passed the homeless hangouts?

God Bless.

Friday, June 22, 2018

getting oriented

We took Meego up for his college orientation this week.  A day and a half of figuring out classes and experiencing dorm food and stuff.  While he was doing that, Magnum and I hung out in college town.

Meego told us that about half or so of the orientation kids had parents with them the whole time- except for when counselors made them go away.  I know we could have similarly attended, but Meego didn't feel the need, and I think it's good for him to have that independence.  I've noticed that teens seem less independent of their parents than when our generation was their age.  But it's a different world now.

Anyhoo, Magnum and I had a little over a day to hang out.  This town is known for its bicycle friendliness, earning a "Platinum" rating before there even was such a rating.  Apparently, the powers that be had to create the Platinum category just for this place!

With that, we decided to rent some bikes and experience some platinumness for ourselves.  Upon reflection, I would agree with the rating.

In addition to all the bike lanes and pathways, the terrain is naturally bike friendly because the entire area is so FLAT.  We were still in Colorado, weren't we??  Here in Colorado Springs, bike rides are usually a series of lung-buster uphills balanced with brake-burner downhills.

As such, we got around just fine on these old-people bikes from the rental shop.  I realize now how nicely color-coordinated I was with my rental Granny bike.

And I think that was the first time I ever went for any kind of bicycling while wearing a purse.

It was a nice way to learn our way around while sometimes getting lost.

We also managed a bit of geocaching, which we haven't done in a long time since we haven't been anyplace new in a long time.  Really, those things are everywhere.

Cheesy "action" photo.

So it was a nice little getaway and a good orientation for Meego.  While there, I thought back to my own college days.

I won't go into detail, but back then, I wasn't doing any Granny biking, tree treasure finding, or wondering what the cat was up to...

Saturday, June 16, 2018


I haven't been strolling around Washington Park in Denver in a long time, but I remember the last time.  I got mugged.  It was quite traumatic.

Really, the squirrels there are a bunch of thugs!  I guess they're so used to being fed by park-goers that if you walk on by them without throwing some food - and lots of it - there's hell to pay.

When I saw this week's prompt at Illustration Friday is "squirrel", I had an anxiety moment remembering that mugging.

But then I was able to shift my thoughts to several years prior when one of the Christmas gifts I received was simply a small grey stuffed squirrel toy from my mom.  I don't remember how old I was, but I remember that I was old enough to almost be too old for stuffed animals.

I asked my mom about its significance, and she said, "I dunno, I just like squirrels".  And probably because of that, I've kept that little stuffed squirrel for a long time.

Squirrels are not that common in the Philippines where my mom grew up, and I remember that she pronounced it funny.  Where I say "squirl", she pronounced it more like "squeer-el"

I thought her strange pronunciation was her Philippine accent kicking in, but I have since learned that the word is pronounced my mom's way in the UK and Australia.  So maybe it's us Americans who can't say it properly.

All this to say that I prefer toy "squirls" to live ones these days.  But maybe the ones in the park have mellowed since my last visit.  After all, that was before the legalization of recreational marijuana.

As I was making this drawing and having these banal thoughts, it occurred to me that my small  tortillon looks much like a marijuana joint.

So, are the squirrels nicer now?  Or have their munchies gotten worse?

And how should we pronounce... that word?

Thursday, June 14, 2018

would YOU do it?

Magnum was telling me about some accelerated life testing they have going on at his work.  He referred to it as "the Monster's Inc. setup".

Magnum designs door locks.  That may sound pretty mundane, but just take a moment to think about the abundance of door locks you encounter on a regular basis - residences, schools, museums, hospitals, senior living facilities (right, Joey?), etc...  And they have to work properly.

Actually, they're kind of like shoes.  You don't really take notice of them unless they cause pain... or unless you design them.

So back to Monster's Inc. life testing.  I haven't seen it, but Magnum describes it as a large room with 10 different doors, each with a unique lock.  The locks are put through rigorous testing on fixtures, but this particular life test uses Real. Live. Humans. Oh. My. God.

These humans must walk through each door by actuating the doorlock.  They must do this all day.  They must walk through those ten doors, each with different locks, over and over and over.

They've brought in workers from a temp agency who are paid, I think, $12/hr, and if they last for something like two weeks, they'll get 6-month temp jobs in the factory.  No degree, certification, or experience is required.  They just have to be able to open doors.  All day.

I can't even.

I told Magnum that it sounds like hell as he told me about the number of temps that dropped out after about an hour.

"They can wear earbuds.  They can take breaks as needed...", he went on.  I should note that this test was not his idea.

"It sounds more like a psychological test than a door lock test to me", I observed, and I'm not kidding.

They want around 50,000 actuations per lock.  Magnum doesn't think they're going to make it.  I'm trying to picture this room with people walking around in large circles as they open ten different doors.  They can't even daydream because they have to know what to do at each door - some they turn, some have a lever to push, some have a button to push or twist...

But, he says a couple of the "lock walkers" are still going strong, with smiles on their faces no less.

"Maybe we should have exit interviews when people drop out", he pondered.

"Heck, I'd be more interested in interviewing the people who stay!  Those there are the anomalies!", I said.

Would YOU do it?  What would it take?

Linking up this week with Mama Kat for the prompt:
2. Tell us about the last time you broke a sweat.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

the shape of water?

He left me.  After all this time.  He just up and... left.

We had our usual time together earlier that morning. He was happy to see me as always.  Nothing seemed any different.  But then a few hours later, gone.

It's weird.  In  many ways, I disliked him, I resented him.  But these past several months, I guess since he was all alone and completely dependent on me, we bonded.  That no name fish.  I found his body sucked up against the filter intake.

See him?  Dangling there and looking rather pornographic?

Readers who have followed along know the story of the fish tank apocalypse, the "Apocalarium" as it came to be known.  In summary, I had a thriving freshwater community aquarium.  It included a few different species of fish, a happy little snail, and several thriving live plants.  Until that fateful day...

I brought home friendly (NOT) fish that typically do well in such an aquarium as mine.  Over the course of about a week, one by one, all of the other fish died.

But hey, at least the plants continued to look good... Well, until we went away for a couple of days and the monster fish totally ignored the food cube I left and devoured all my plants instead.

Not wanting to risk harm to any other creatures, I let the fish tank become a cold, desolate, bubbly thing.  That environment only seemed to help those monsters thrive all the more as they lived longer than any fish on record (might be an exaggeration, but not by much!).  I don't even remember how long we had them, but they were eventually eligible to be considered "ancient".

But even they couldn't last forever, and at last, there was just the one remaining in cold isolation.  But damn if that last guy didn't plan to live forever!

I dunno, I think at some point, I gave up on the idea of getting the tank back.  It seemed like we would forever have this relationship - him in the lifeless tank, me caring for and feeding the monster.

But alas, now he's gone.  And I remember those who went before.  His victims:  Fin, Gil, Rubberlips, Donatello, Gary...

Rest in Peace, no-name monster fish.

I never hated you.

Sunday, June 10, 2018


🐴What the heck's a furlong?  I learned that a furlong is an eighth of  a mile.

The Kentucky Derby is 10 furlongs, the Preakness Stakes is 9.5, the Belmont Stakes is 12.  The rare horse that wins all three earns the Triple Crown.  Did you watch?  Yesterday?  Justify was a contender, and he got it.  He has never ever ever not won a race.  What is that even like? πŸ†

I don't know why I care.  I don't care to watch most professional sports.  I don't gamble.  I don't own all or part of a racehorse.  I've never even been to a live horse race even though there was a popular track near the town where I grew up.  But I just love to watch them race.  It's beauty and power and grace and speed all in one. And it only lasts about two minutes.  I've got other things to do... ⏰

So I was emotional tuning into the race yesterday.  Justify looked so calm making his way to the gate while my own heart was pounding. πŸ’“  Another day at the office for him.  He ran a beautiful race, led the whole way, and won the Triple Crown.  Of course he was calm.  I think he knows what a badass he is. πŸ’ͺ

The prompt at Illustration Friday this week is "emoji", so even though I'm not much into the cartoony stuff, I drew this Justify emoji.

Looks just like him?

This weekend was also the Colorado State P.E.O. Convention .  I was not a delegate this year, and I was all the more glad for that so I was able to watch the win.  At least I stopped by convention in Denver for a while to check out a few things and get some memorabilia for our scholarship recipientπŸŽ“.   I went into the convention boutique to see what was for sale this year.  I really went in to visit with some other P.E.O.'s  and to kill some time while I was waiting to meet up with Susan.

But these earrings were calling to me.  So much for just killing some time.  I realized I "needed" them.πŸ’Ž

Susan showed up wearing a pair too.  The jewelry was hot this year

Well... it's charity. πŸ’Έ⭐

Thursday, June 7, 2018

final daze

Aaaaah, the last day of school.  Remember?  Going to school in shorts, shades, and flip flops because... who cares?  No tests, no assignments.  Really, just a day to clean out the lockers and then get it on to summer break.  Even the teachers... or maybe especially the teachers... are all relaxed and smiley and all, "Have a great summer! *smartasses*"

Admittedly, when I was a school kid, I didn't really stop to think about... The Lunch Ladies.

But this past semester, I did a part-time stint as exactly that - a lunch lady.  Specifically, I took a job with the company that contracts food service to various local school districts, hospitals, and retirement communities.  I worked in a middle school kitchen, and middle schoolers really cover a wide range of adolescence!  Anywhere from looking and acting like they're about 10 years old to resembling college frat boys and sorority girls.  I got quite a kick out of the contrasts.

And to go along with that hormonal smorgasbord, school lunch is not anything like what I remember.  The school where I worked had seven different lines to choose from, and four of those lines included three options within, making for a total of - go on, do the math - 15 selections for lunch!  Sixteen if you count the "nothing" option.

In the end however, school food service is a business.  There are regulations to follow and costs to control.  As the end of the school year approached, we were hyper aware of our inventory.  It was a fun challenge to manage the various items so that we would have enough to serve on that last day, but with near to nothing left to store or throw out.

Additionally, there is that thrill of knowing a long break is coming, to which lunch ladies are most certainly not immune.  So a mentality of "get rid of everything!" combined with "We're outta here!" seems like a lunch recipe for:

Luckily,  there were no such lunch ladies in our kitchen.  Some could be rough around the edges at times, but in the end, there was pride in the final product.

Our supervisor, Gayle, probably had the roughest edges of the bunch.  She's a self-proclaimed "Italian rebel from Chicago" who's trained in culinary arts and somewhat underutilized as a school lunch lady.  But hey, you can't beat the hours.

In the final week of school, as we were tasked to "get rid of the inventory", Gayle tunneled into the cooler and later emerged with various bags, cans, bottles, etc.  determined to create something that would sell and never be seen again.

With her Pvt-Vasquez-From-Aliens poise, she went to work

After several minutes, I heard, "Well?  Whaddya think?"

I turned to see these precious little desserts. THAT from the hodgepodge mess of ingredients sitting lonely about the cooler?

And I said, "Wait!  Lemme take a photo!"

And it's a good thing I did get a photo of this batch, because there is no other evidence that these things ever existed.

They literally nearly started a lunch room riot because there weren't enough for everyone who wanted one.

Better luck next year.

Linking up with Mama Kat this week for the prompt:
3. Share your last day of school plans/recap.