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! 😀

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.

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.


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"

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

Sunday, April 8, 2018


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.


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