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 😉) 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.