Wednesday, November 28, 2018

prize-a-rama and an impostor

Just prior to Thanksgiving, Magnum's safety group at work had another of their many contests.  These things seem to happen mostly around the holidays with offers of prizes.  We always enter, I think we got a basket a year or two ago.  And once again, we're weiners!  Mag brought home one of ten gift baskets...

The "challenges" are not that difficult.  In this case, it was a word search based off of a fill-in-the-blank set of questions based off some reading materials.  We learned about holiday safety:  proper food prep, temps, and storage, what not to feed the pets while everyone else is pigging out, winter travel safety, etc.  I mean,  c'mon, I was a lunch lady - that stint paid off!   And now I'm pretty sure I will never own or use a turkey deep fryer.

Ironically, much of the stuff in the basket from the Health and Safety group is not so healthy.  I have yet to try the bacon flavored hot chocolate (?).

In other prize news, I got an email from the turkey trot people that there were prizes for top 3 finishers in each age division.  I swung by the Young Men's Christian Association yesterday and claimed this cute mug, from which I'm sippin' my coffee as I type.

They recently posted some photos from the race, so I was perusing for photos of myself and Wolfgang and his friends.  I took second in my age group, and there were a couple of ladies in the next older group who also beat me.  Those two older ladies have beaten me before (i.e. every time we've run in the same event), and I'm well acquainted with them as they are well known in the local running community.  

However, the name of the woman who took first in my age division was unfamiliar.  So as I was perusing the race pics, I thought I'd look for her to see if I recognized her at all - to match a name with the face.  

It didn't take long, and I found "her".


Now, despite this clever disguise I've applied, I think we can all agree that this is not a 52-year-old woman, but rather a virile dude in his early 20s.

A bit further investigation, and I pieced together the events of Thanksgiving morning.  
  • Mom, 20-something son, and teenage daughter register for the turkey trot
  • Mom and daughter enjoy the event, starting and finishing together
  • Son runs his own race and meets up with them after.
  • Son wears Mom's bib instead of his own, takes first place for the old ladies

HA!  I'm sure this was not done on purpose because who would intentionally try to throw the results of the old lady division of a turkey trot?  

I mean, it's a cute mug, but...

Monday, November 26, 2018

fat and happy

One of the nice things about being an independent contractor is having no set schedule.  One of the difficult things about being an independent contractor is having no set schedule.

I was feeling like I was putting myself last, so starting today, I'm attempting to be more organized with my time and giving myself scheduled work hours sort of.  My "shift"doesn't start until later, and already I've stopped myself several times this morning from doing work related stuff. I actually don't have any students scheduled for today, so it's a good day to start this endeavor, and I think I'll be more efficient now

And it's nice too since it's on the heels of a nice Thanksgiving.  Dinner at the sis-in-laws was a good time with about a dozen of us.  SIL and her husband really did the lion's share of the cooking and presenting, and it was all very good.  I like to think that they enjoy doing it, so as to not feel too guilty about our family taking up half of the seats and eating the most?

Magnum and I took Meego back to school yesterday for the final push of his first semester. We arrived early in the afternoon to a very sparse campus despite the dorms opening up early that morning.  So it was nice to be able to walk around and have Meego point out various things.  I think we encountered more (very fat) squirrels than people.

Not my photo,
but a pretty good representative

Anybody do any Black Friday door bustin'?  We did our usual trek to Best Buy, only because it's a short walk from our house and a recreation after all the eating.  I'm in it more for the people watching, not shopping

Friday we ventured out to Bass Pro Shop only because Meego needed a jacket.  They were doing a healthy business that day.  As I walked around, I was thinking that the typical clientele of Bass Pro would probably do quite well in an apocalypse as they seem a pretty self-sufficient bunch.  I didn't get much of a vegan vibe either.

It was a successful trip, and on the way home, I picked this up as a Black Friday Haul

Again, I was NOT actually Black Friday shopping.  Y'all read me say that I was going to set up a new aquarium after the evil one finally bit it.  I just hadn't gotten around to it (see paragraphs 1 & 2), and my inefficiency paid off because I got this lovely 20-gal hexagonal tank at a bargain price.

So far, it has water in it and is pulling electricity.  It's a start.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

with the grace of a turkey

Happy Thanksgiving, blog people of America!  I hope everyone has some time to relax and be grateful today.  We're heading to my sis-in-law's in a bit, so there's one thing I'm grateful for already:  she's hostessing.

Once again, I managed to drag my butt to the YMCA for the annual 5K Turkey Trot.  I'm not sure how many of these I've done, but it just wouldn't feel like Thanksgiving  without it.  I know I missed a couple for crap weather and a foot booboo, so I was happy to be there this morning.  And it was a nice morning for it - temps in the 40s, not too cloudy/windy.  My allergies have been bugging me this fall, and I was a bit clogged up and a bit topsy turvy, but hopefully good enough for a turkey trot.

I corralled myself in with the second wave. As we stood waiting for our turn to go, a man next to me wished me luck, and we talked about hopeful finishing times, blah, blah, blah.  He was probably about my age and "getting back into running".

"Second half is all downhill,right?", he asked.

"Yeah, first half is all uphill, then we turn around, and it's all downhill.  Aim for the hospital, that's my strategy", I answered.  It so happens that there is  a hospital right at the finish...

Next we knew, they counted us down, and we were off. I scrambled to get to the front of the pack for a bit more elbow room, and soon things opened up nicely.

 As promised, we slog uphill praying for the turnaround so we can  go downhill.  It's not TOO steep, but feels pretty much like this:

So I just enjoyed myself, not pushing the allergy envelope too much.  I saw some fun costumes.  Plenty of turkey feathers and tutus.  One family was dressed as silverware.

Eventually, I was in the homestretch and had the hospital in my sights, and then the big finish arch.  Now, I remember from years ago in high school track, you don't slow or stop at the finish.  Run like the finish is another 10 yards or so.

Well, nobody told that strategy to the kid in front of me.  He stepped across the finish, then instantaneously went to nearly zero m.p.h., so this happened:

Well, okay it wasn't QUITE that dramatic.  My life may have briefly passed before my eyes.

Right after that, I felt a hand on my shoulder.  It was Wolfgang who was chasing me in the final stretch. HA, I just managed beat him.  Okay, so he started a bit behind me, but I've got 30 years on him, so call it good.  Then his equally young buddies, who all turkey trot together each year, came trailing behind.  I beat all them all 💪(with that headstart...)

Anyways, I was hoping for a sub 25 and managed to just squeeze it in at 24:54. Good enough for 2nd place in my old lady division.  I did check the next OLDER division, and yes, a couple of those old old ladies beat me again.

And I did manage to create something that, at least, looks like a cake for our dessert.  I know I'm not the only dessert bringer, so no pressure.  And maybe by then, most will be tipsy enough to have lost their discerning tastes.

Happy Thanksgiving!  I'm grateful for all who visit here!  (Not you, though, spammers...)

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

"I look at their photos and wish I had their life"

That was a comment someone left on a news story about the sentencing of Chris Watts, the guy who killed his young daughters and pregnant wife back in August.  I'm pretty sure it's a national story, but it's headline news around here since it happened just up the road.

That's a big part of what makes the story so perplexing, in all their social media pics and updates they look like the perfect happy little family - good looking  smiley couple with two cute and happy little girls, a baby boy on the way.  What the hell??

So he took a plea deal to get life in prison and avoid the death penalty.  I saw several other comments that the death penalty would be the easy way out, "let him rot in prison and have to think about those innocent children every day..."

But will he?

I can't wrap my head around being capable of snuffing out 3- and 4-year old little girls, then stuffing their bodies into an oil tank through an 8-inch diameter hole.  I don't think we can assume he is feeling bad about killing those girls if he's capable of doing what he did in the first place.

Ugh, sorry to bring up such disturbing subjects, but like I said, it's been all over the news, so I needed a bit of a vent.  It does shed light on the "picture perfect" families and couples on social media. Don't assume.

Speaking of less-than-perfect, I'll shift gears and mention that today is my birthday.  woot.

Magnum's birthday is Saturday, so we celebrate them together by not celebrating.  Well, they happen around Thanksgiving, so we just lump everything together and pretend our birthdays are a national holiday.

And now I'm going to bake - not a birthday cake.  We're tasked with providing beer and dessert for a family Thanksgiving gathering tomorrow.  Magnum got the beer, so I guess dessert is up to me.  Well, Ima try.

As far as my personal mark for another year on earth?  Maybe I'll get a tattoo?

Happy Thanksgiving, Yo!

Saturday, November 17, 2018


I was gonna do some paperwork after tuting this morning. I've got a pretty full tutee schedule up until Thanksgiving Thursday.  What is with all these studious kids that want to "take advantage" of their break to get in some tutin'?!

Well, I am thankful for them, for their work ethics and for keeping me on my toes.  And... well... the money.

But it's nice to have a break too.  I started listening to some sexy music, and it pushed me to the right side of my brain and wanting to play with my art toys instead of do paperwork.

This week's prompt at Illustration Friday is "music", so it seemed like divine intervention.  All that inktobering made for a rocky transition to pencils. 

Meego got home last night.  Magnum drove up and picked him up from college.  I was tuting, so held down the fort.  It's nice to have Meego home for the week.  He got a new amp for his guitar, and it was good to hear that sound in the house again.

And he needs a haircut.

Last week while out and about, I came across coyotes on two separate ocassions.  It seems they've returned amid the bunny bounty we have around here.  I have noticed a decrease in the bunny population.  I find coyotes pretty cool - so stealth and lithe - as long as they stay afraid of humans. If they start showing up with ACME anvils and stuff, though...

Sunday, November 11, 2018

fifty shades of beige more like wheat

Remember several weeks ago I reported that we got some new windows?  And we found them so pretty that we couldn't bring ourselves to rehang our ugly blinds?  So we didn't?

So yeah, we've been pretty much living in a fishbowl ever since.

But, fishbowl no more!  Our new blinds arrived on Friday.  How do they look?

Well, okay, we did have to eventually take them out of the boxes...  But this was my contribution - bringing the boxes into the house.

I went tuting yesterday morning, and when I got back, Magnum had 'em hanging.  So I guess we're more civilized now and no longer oversharing with the neighbors.  

For my next little project, I want to get another aquarium up and running.  When our last evil fish died over the summer, I cleaned that dystopian aquarium out and rid the house of the evil presence.  For those who don't know the saga, here's the Cliff Notes version:
  • I had a thriving freshwater community aquarium with lovely plants and happy fish
  • I brought home three friendly-looking Buenos Aires Tetras
  • Everything died except for those BATs , they lived almost forever
Darn toxic fish:  can't live with them, can't flush them down the toilet with a clear conscience.

Today is a cold snowy day.  Good day to stay in and play aquarist.  Except I have to trudge to and from the store for the aquarium stuff, uphill both ways. 

Thursday, November 8, 2018

it's a bird

I cooked a chicken yesterday.  Big deal, right?  Well, here's the thing:  since Meego abandoned us and left for college, my urge to cook real food seemed to have left with him - not that it was all that strong when he was here.

For the past nearly 25 years, I've been chief cook and bottle washer around here.  Admittedly, I didn't always love it, but, kids gotta eat, right?  Now that it's just us two empty-nesters, Magnum and I have been making do with throwing together whatever's around, and I haven't been giving it much thought.

But that's gotten old, so I cooked a chicken.  It feels like an accomplishment, I might cook again someday.

Speaking of accomplishments, I will give my final Inktober stats.  I managed 22 of the 31 prompts before the Halloween deadline.  Good enough, and it was fun and cheap entertainment.   Here are the last few.

Anyone else feel less than motivated to cook for just one or two people?  Got any good and lazy recipes to share?  Something other than "spoon, peanut butter, mouth"?

Friday, November 2, 2018

in search of degenerates?



     1.  an immoral or corrupt person

Magnum and I both found ourselves with a day off today.  It was a nice day out, so after getting some obligatory things done, we went to play in nature.

We went for a short hike in an area we've been to only once before that I remember.  All of the leaves were very well past peak, so this wasn't a fall foliage hike by any means. We did see a lot of leaves, though - all over the ground - as well as a lot of naked trees.

It was sort of meant to be a geocaching mission, but since we ended up one-for-four on that count, we won't call it a geocaching mission.

It was nice to get out, though, and enjoy some fresh air and sunshine and nature.  My allergies have been bugging me lately.  I went to get my weekly injection today and asked Geej, the shot girl, if any other patients were whining.

She looked at me rather perplexed and said, "Uhm... no.  We're not even doing pollen counts any more". 

Well, something's up, anyway!  But today was good.  I could both breathe and walk a straight line for the most part.  And it was nice to be in an unfamiliar spot.  We'd stumbled upon some 4-wheeler destination, so it wasn't a total bust.

As we were looking for geocaches, we read some comments from other searchers.  One included a picture of a snake they'd come across, another commented on some "homeless degenerates" living out of their vans.  We saw neither snakes nor homeless degenerates, but we would definitely concur with another who warned us about the proliferation of cactus. It was everywhere.

So a nice day.  Our Halloween snow has mostly melted.  I'm not sure if the cold wet weather was the cause, but Halloween in our neighborhood was almost a non-event.  I think we had just four small groups come to the door.

We used to have lots of kids in the neighborhood.  Have they all grown up without replacements?  What to do with the leftover candy?