Sunday, September 30, 2018

cats gone wild

"You might want to go get your stuff and bring it in here"

"mmf... it's fine.. *snorf*

"Last I checked, she had your bra and was messing with it on the couch"

"mmf... sh*t, okay..."

Magnum and I spent the night at Wolfgang's last night.  The two of us with Wolfgang's cat, Maisey.  She's adorable...

... mostly.

See, Wolfgang came down for the weekend to do volunteer trail bike at a HS cross-country meet.  Meego told me he was thinking of coming home this weekend too as he wanted to do some guitar buying/selling.  So that worked out since  Wolfgang could bring Meego down, and we could give Meego a ride back up to school, which we did last night.

Wolfgang, in the meantime, is mountain biking today, so when Meego asked for a ride back to school, we worked it out that Magnum and I would stay the night at Wolfgang's and check on Maisey.

She's a young and very playful cat.  She's also quite large.  Wolfgang got her from a shelter only after she'd been in quarantine for being too rough. 

We brought our sleeping bags so as to just crash in Wolfgang's apartment.  I took the coveted position on the couch and was drifting off when I was punched in the face.  By Maisey. I opened my eyes to see her staring at me, intently.  I tried to go back to sleep only to have her punch me some more and also pounce on me. 

I thought, "Okay, maybe SHE wants the couch.  Fine".  So I moved down to the floor near Magnum, and Maisey commenced to having a loud one-cat wrestling match on the couch.  But she eventually tired of that and came back to us - her newly found enrichment toys. 

The punching and pouncing recommenced.  I realized that (1) she was not about to let us sleep, and (2) even if she decreased the punching and pouncing, I couldn't sleep anyway because I'd be wondering when she was going to punch me or pounce on me next.

Plan B:
Move to Wolfgang's bedroom and close the door.

That's where I was happily drifting off to sleep when Magnum gave me the bra report after going back out to save his stuff.

So I went back out, saved my stuff, the night progressed with no further attacks, and I had a bra to put on in the morning. 

After we got up, Maisey was waiting outside the bedroom door.  She was all lovey dovey.  Clearly, she'd missed us.  She was not at all apologetic, however.  More like, "sorry you guys had to leave so soon from the party".

All in all, it was a nice weekend.  Nice to have both Wolfgang and Meego home for a while, and to get to know Wolfgang's weird cat. 

Sunday, September 23, 2018

good-bye, summer

Happy fall!  I'm not sad to see summer in the rear view mirror, but a little pensive about winter up ahead.  It's been unseasonably hot here lately, we broke a few high temp records.  But it's all relative, as many of us reminded ourselves, "at least it's not a hurricane".

Living in Colorado for most of my life, I have no direct experience with hurricanes.  Sounds awful - not just the storm itself, but all that mess of aftermath and ripple effects on the economy.  My mom grew up in the Philippines and used to tell me that my room "looks like a typhoon hit!".  Sorry, Mom.

We dogsat the grandpooch - Chaco's dog, Ella - for a short time this weekend.  She is just too cute and fun.  We're still working on getting her and the cat to be buddies, but we've made good progress.  I still don't trust the two of them alone together, so there's a bit of pet juggling whenever she's here.

And Wolfgang was home for a bit last weekend.  He has some mountain biking friends who live here, so he graces us with his presence once in a while when he's done with them.  Nice thing is, he also took most of his remaining crap that was still stored at our house.

He reminded me that Inktober 2018 is about to start.  I plan to do 'em all again this year!  That exclamation point was to psyche myself up.  I managed to get it done last year, but not without spilling into November.

I have not been doing much art play, however.  I've noticed that it can sometimes be difficult for me to switch brain hemispheres.  Since much of my tuting is left-brain stuff, that's where I've been mostly hanging out recently.  Inktober will be a good challenge and put some balance back into my brain.  I hope.

Speaking of the tuting, a good chunk of my students come to me for help with college entrance exams:  SAT, ACT, and GRE.  Test prep was how I got into tutoring in the first place.  Sometimes I hear back from students when they get their score reports - hopefully happy news.

In all this time, I've had a handful of kids who've gotten close to perfect scores - a very rare thing - but never the golden 36 ACT or 1600 SAT or 170 GRE.  Earlier this week, I got this message from "Joe Kool":

Never mind that his "I got 36 ACT this time!" is grammatically incomplete.

He gets a pass.

Friday, September 21, 2018

recommendations, robots, randomness

I rarely use facebook, but keep an account.  Like I told Magnum, because of the nature of my work, prospective students and/or parents are more likely to spy facebook over Linkedin to check for any dirt. So I keep it for the purpose of nothing-to-see-here, and to avoid any hmmm-why-doesn't-she-have-a-facebook-what's-wrong-with-her?

I do follow a couple of groups, mainly P.E.O. and the bicycle commuter group, both of which are usually positive and helpful, unlike seemingly the entire rest of fbook.  But even they have their moments.

Recently, one of the bicycle commuters, who lives somewhere in Europe, said he was coming to the US for a temporary work assignment.  He was bringing his bicycle and wanted recommendations for a good bullet-proof vest to wear while commuting.


Was he joking?  He was joking, right?

Some assumed he was joking, others told him he was much more likely to get hit by a car than by a bullet. I, for one, ignored him (he's posted attention-drama-queen stuff before).  He claimed to not be joking.

So that went on to spark a conversation thread about some notions people from other countries had about the US that they felt seemed strange, but turned out to be true.  One person thought it was strange the way the national anthem is played/sung before sporting events.

That sparked an even more animated discussion about American school children pledging allegiance to the flag every morning of public school.

Admittedly, I find that kinda weird.  Last year, when I was working at that local public high school, I was a bit surprised to learn that schools still did that.  And it seemed strange that high school kids, stereotypically known for rebellion, robotically stood up each morning on cue and mumbled the Pledge of Allegiance.  As I dutifully stood and sometimes mumbled along, I couldn't help but feel I had a part in some dystopian novel.

I do however like the anthem before sporting events, but I'm not really big into watching sporting events.  My appreciation stems more from races I've done where the anthem is performed just before the start.  For one, it gets everyone to shut up so we can all hear the "Go!".

One local race I've enjoyed is the Rescue Run that happens "Rain, Snow, or 20 Below!" on New Years day each year, with proceeds going to the county search and rescue team.  That race is run partially in some boonies with the start at a different location than the finish, and there is no PA system at the start.  Instead of having some talented person sing the anthem, one of the race officials starts us off and all us race participants belt it out.  I strangely enjoy that part.

This past year, after I'd finished the race, I was hanging around because I'd won a medal and had to wait for the big presentation to receive what I'm sure is pure solid gold 😝.  It wasn't quite 20 below, but it was chilly, so I went to the snack area to get some warm beverage.

They were serving up animal crackers and hot Gatorade®️.  Believe me, it tastes better than it sounds, at least to me it did.  It was so surprisingly good that I've thought about it off and on for the past nine and a half months - every time I go to Costco and see those big jugs of animal crackers.

I broke down and bought one today - a big jug of animal crackers.

That's really what this whole post is about.  I bought a jug of animal crackers today at Costco.  But if I just said that, it would've been pretty dumb.

But I WOULD like to know others' thoughts on the playing of the national anthem before sporting events and the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance in US public schools... or animal crackers.

Monday, September 17, 2018

gamer appreciation

I don't game.  Despite having various gaming platforms living in my household at various times, I wouldn't know the first thing to do if I ever found myself in the middle of a modern video game.  In fact, I vaguely remember, many years ago, picking up one of the controllers as my then elementary-school-aged kids were playing some PS2 game.  I was dead within seconds and never picked up a controller again.  I still don't even know how I died.

But I've got a new appreciation for the gaming community.

Y'all know I tutor online.  Most of my tutees are in high school or college.  I now admittedly smile inwardly whenever I go into the online classroom and see something similar to this at the other end:

Okay, he'd have to lose the VR headset, but otherwise, I'm a happy tutor.  It's because gamers got game!

Well... obviously.  But I mean, they've got all the best gear!

Sometimes the student is at the kitchen table or such, with no earbuds or headphones, so I'm catching all the echo.  And/or Mom or Dad is in the background loading up the dishwasher or something, and I'm getting all the clanging and banging. And/or they're on an old decrepit laptop with blurry, laggy audio and video, sounding like they're speaking from an aluminum can...

But not the gamers.  Oh no.  They're in some dedicated lair.  Their video is clear and smooth.  Their audio... OMG, their audio!  Words can't describe.

I still have no desire to become a gamer myself, but I want to give a shout out to those who take such care of their online streaming lives.

In other entertainment news, we've watched three movies recently, of which I will give a short synopsis.

The Little Hours:  I'm not gonna lie.  I thought this was pretty funny.  It's silly and raunchy, but that's what I expected, so I wasn''t disappointed.  It actually did have a bit of a plot, which I hadn't expected, so - win.

Hello, My Name is Doris:  This one had its moments.  I was expecting mostly comedy, which was present.  But it was also rather serious and sad and downright uncomfortable to watch at times.  Plus the main character is a hoarder, among other things, and the clutterphobe in me had to look away.

Zoe:  I could NOT get into this movie at all, despite the decent cast.  I found it slow and boring and containing too many plot holes for me.  I did nod off a few times only to awaken and see that the darn thing was still going.  Maybe it's got some good scenes that I slept through.

Anything entertaining to share?

Thursday, September 13, 2018

throwin' it back

I vaguely remember much about freshman year of high school other than I thought I had arrived.  High School, omg!

We were in high school!  Learning, like, ALGEBRA and BIOLOGY and stuff!  School dances happened on Saturday NIGHTS instead of Friday afternoons!  The seniors seemed so big and grown up.  They had cars and some of the senior boys actually shaved!

How weird were we?

I can only speak for myself, but it's sometimes cringey to look back.  I have very fond memories of high school, but would I want to "go back"?  Oh, HECK no.

Mama Kat's prompts this week include "when I was younger" as well as "old class photos", so I guess I'm hitting upon both those themes.  I found my high school freshman and senior class photos.

Stupid Freshman
Maybe a little smarter
Despite it being so long ago, I remember lots about the freshman photo.  It was taken early in the year, possibly the very first week of school, when I was still so agog at being a high schooler.  My hair was growing out of a - little did I realize it at the time - bad perm.  But everybody seemed to have a bad perm back then, so no biggie.

I remember the shirt I was wearing too.  It was teal and a fave in my closet.  Betcha I was wearing a pair of white painter pants that day.  Because white painter pants = way cool.

By senior year much had changed.  For one, color photos became more mainstream for class pictures *ahem*, but maybe not the idea of having a background that doesn't perfectly match the skin tone?  The wonders of technology.

But I can honestly say I felt like a much different person on the inside when I was a senior compared to when I was a freshman.  I read somewhere that, even though high school only lasts 4 years, those years are laden with lasting memories that really shape who we are as adults.  The article claimed that the big shift in a short time is because of all the big changes we go through in those 4 years - emotional changes as well as physical changes.  We have experiences that take us out of adolescence and into adulthood, whether we like it or not.

I know some people who are thrilled their high school years are behind them.  I know others who seem to want to just keep reliving their glory days of high school.   

I enjoyed high school.  Thems were good years, but still.  Put  me in with those thrilled to be done.  

Would YOU go back?  For twenty bucks?

Linking up this week with Mama Kat for the prompt:
1. Throwback time! Share an old class photo of yourself.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

plumbing appreciation day

As expected, the call of the wild took hold on Friday with the pooch.

It was a lovely day out, so it was easy to give in to Ella's suggestion to go out for a proper hike.  She and I headed out to a fave spot of the locals that is a bit off the beaten path from the touristy types - no offense to the touristy types, but... well... y'know...

I am a bit wary at this particular area because of rattlesnakes.  We've seen them on a few occasions, and a woman was recently bitten and had to be airlifted out.  BUT what's an adventure without a little danger?

It was nice to be out with such a youthful, agile companion.  We've only recently had our old lady dog, China, before she went to dog heaven, and she hadn't been up for all this scampering in a long time.  Ella was eating it up.

We traipsed around for quite a while, and thusly satisfied, headed home.  

I was looking forward to getting cleaned up before a couple of tutoring appointments, and I went to the sink to fill a bowl of water for Ella before heading to the showers.  


No water.  

Just that eerie sucking sound the faucet makes when there's no water.

I'd passed a crew working on our street.  They had a big chunk of road torn up from where water had been seeping the day before.  Water main break.  Oh goody.

Thankfully, we've got a bit of prepper mentality in our household (who goes by the name of Magnum) since ya never know when the zombies will take over!  I went down to our crawl space to bring up one of our several jugs of water.  They hold 5 or 7 gallons.  Here's your question of the day:  how much does 5 to 7 gallons of water weigh?

It's about 40 to 60 pounds, but I got it lugged upstairs to the kitchen so I could pretend we had a sink.  And it wasn't so bad.  Like camping, except in a house.  

Bottom line, I did not get a proper shower after our avid hiking and before the tuting.  I'll just say it's a good thing that both tutees were online and not in person!  I managed to make myself appear presentable enough.  I think.

It's rare that we lose our running water, so this little episode was a good reminder of how much I appreciate it.  I was also glad to have those filled jugs sitting in our crawl space, regardless of how cumbersome they are to heft around.  

The water was back up and running by the early evening.  Have you hugged your pipes today?

Friday, September 7, 2018

furry times

Another busy week it's been.  Testing season - I'm grateful.  This morning is nicely quiet.  First fall ACT is tomorrow, and I told my ACTers that today is a rest day (for me?)

And it's just as well because we're also pooch-sitting Chaco's Ella this weekend with Chaco being out of town.  I was in my "office" getting some paperwork done when I heard Ella whining because she was all alone upstairs.  I couldn't really bring her down, because that is the current safe zone for the cat, who was snuggled up next to me.

The cat often sabotages productivity, but seems to know designated work areas.  If I try to get comfy on the futon and do anything resembling work, this is what happens:

Fine, I set up the laptop upstairs and thought I would be all productive.  But it's such a nice morning... and Ella kept looking out the windows all longingly. 

Fine, we'll go for a walk, THEN I'll be all productive. 

So we had our walk, and Ella was right.  Beautiful morning, much better to be outside.  It got me thinking that we should go for a proper hike later, so I'm planning that now.  And blogging.  And not doing anything particularly work related. 

AFTER the hike, though.  For serious...

Sunday, September 2, 2018

football, snow, and sad

Happy unofficial end of summer.  Labor Day weekend is upon us

This was a good and busy week, so it's nice to be at the weekend.  I did tute for a few hours over the weekend, but it's all good.  Nice students.

Friday evening was the Rocky Mountain Showdown that pits the football teams from Colorado's two largest public universities against each other.  Magnum and I went to CU-Boulder - one side of the rivalry.  But honestly, I've not really been too concerned about the "big showdown" since much longer after leaving college.

But this  year, Meego is now a student at that OTHER university *gasp*, so I found myself being interested again.  B..b..b..ut, I don't know which team I was for.  Both?  Neither?


CU-Boulder came away with the win, and I was all, "YAY! / aaawwwww".  I guess I still feel nostalgic about the alma matre, even though it was so long ago.  Really, I just love Ralphie.  Everyone loves Ralphie...whom I have featured here before because she's a badass.

College football isn't really about football, it's about the mascots!

"Ralphie Running" is actually a varsity sport at CU, and those who make the cut really earn their letter, I tellya.  Not for the weak.

In other end-of-summer news, we have snow!  Well, up in yonder altitudes anyway.  I went out for a bike ride this morning and had this lovely view:


I know it's just a dusting, but kind of exciting for us boring people around here.  In fact, this isn't even my photo.  I was going to take one, but then figured there would be plenty on the internets.  yup.

On a sad note, I lost a classmate from high school.  It was all over fb because he was such a likable guy.  Really, I can't think of any bad traits whatsoever.  He was well-liked and quiet and introspective and musically gifted.  In my world, that's the makings of a *SWOON*, and I did have a bit of a crush on him back in those olden days.

So I'm saddened, not so much because a former crush has passed away, but for all the reasons why he was a crush. Gone too soon 💔