Sunday, September 29, 2019

pets and painted shirts

Penny was snoozing in my lap.  Her legs were a-twitching, and I assume she was dreaming. I wonder what she was chasing.

She's actually quite coordinated and athletic, putting her moves on Merlin when they zoom around the backyard.  I'm thinking of taking her for some agility training, not that I want for her to compete, I just think she would LOVE it. 

Illustration Friday was still on "dream" for the prompt, so here's Penny the power poochkin.

And speaking of cute dogs, this is Dixie.  Dixie was my friend Tiffany's dog. Since Tiffany died, Dixie now lives with Tiffany's parents, and her mom posted this on fbook a couple of days ago.

It was Dixie's 13th birthday, and they were celebrating "in the manner to which she is accustomed".

And yes, that is a typical-sized cupcake.  Dixie is teeny tiny - not much bigger than a guinea pig.

This morning, I enjoyed a lovely bike ride and ended up going by our city's small private liberal arts college.  It's a nice campus, the college is very selective, and the students there are generally intelligent and thoughtful.

As I rode by, I noticed a bunch of t-shirts hanging, like out to dry on a clothesline.

Upon further inspection, I noticed all of the shirts had messages written on them in fabric paint. I don't think there was a specific theme.  They reminded me of those Post Secret postcards.  Some were

  • confessions:  "When my brother came out as gay, I called him a faggot, and I'll regret that for the rest of my life"
  • rants: "F*cking me while I sleep is RAPE!"
  • inspirations: "Don't be afraid of new beginnings..."
  • etc.

What would you write on your shirt?

Thursday, September 26, 2019

at least the view was nice

I sat waiting for the inevitable confrontation.  This wouldn't be pleasant, but things needed to be said and acknowledged.

Things were so hopeful in the beginning, but alas, it wasn't to be.  Red flags revealed themselves early on, but I let them slide, thinking maybe we could salvage the relationship.  Maybe it was just typical adjustment period stuff.  Maybe it could work out for the long haul.

But who was I kidding?  Deep down, I knew from the start.  Something just wasn't right.  Life was good, I'd even say it was better than before. But... but...

He entered the room, and already I knew that he knew.  He looked so sad, so defeated.  He was sincerely apologetic.  He chalked it up as a loss, a loss that he mourned.  

I felt bad for him.  Honestly, I felt worse for him than I felt for myself.  

"It's not your fault", I assured him.  "I'd do the exact same thing again, not knowing the outcome.  Nothing is 100% guaranteed"...

That retrograde root canal - apicoectomy - I had six months ago?  Didn't work, long story short.

I'm now scheduled to have that bastard of a tooth extracted from my head next week.  Good riddance, I won't miss it.

I do feel bad for that endodontist, however.  

"It's not you, it's me"

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

bloodletting, bicycling, and bad spelling

"For people without diabetes, the normal range for the hemoglobin A1c level is between 4% and 5.6%. Hemoglobin A1c levels between 5.7% and 6.4% mean you have a higher chance of getting diabetes. Levels of 6.5% or higher mean you have diabetes."

I don't have diabetes.  I don't expect to have diabetes.  Yet, for the past 3 or 4 years, each time I've had a blood test with my annual physical, the office calls and says my A1c is high, so "cut back on your carbs, blah blah..."

Yet again, after my checkup last week, I got the similar follow-up.  A1c is 5.9%.  Honestly, I have not cared a whole bunch.  I don't think I overdo the carbs.  Oh, I eat 'em, you betcha, but nothing crazy, I don't think.  Plus, the levels have remained the same.  High, but not increasing, so forgeddaboutit.  Cholesterol's fine, but higher than I would expect too, so I started to wonder about things that can affect fasting blood tests.

Before my checkup last week, I'd gone for a lovely morning run of a little over 5 miles.  I did a bit of googling.  Well, what d'ya know?  Exercise before a blood test can mess with your numbers, so in addition to fasting for 12 hours, you should just lay around. Who knew?

I came to this google revelation just as Magnum arrived home.  I read to him:
"workout before a fasting blood test can alter the results of cholesterol and glucose tests. In some cases of cholesterol testing, if you exercise before having blood drawn your LDL cholesterol levels may actually increase..."

"I never knew this!  Why doesn't the doctor's office tell us?" I proclaimed all Wilford Brimley.

"Maybe because most people don't exercise?", Magnum offered.

Oh, c'mon.  Well, either way.  Now I know.  And you do too.

Speaking of playing outside, we hit the mountain bike trails again this weekend.  Rode the lovely Falcon Trail at the Air Force Academy.  13 miles of wonderful scenery, dirt, roots, rocks, and trees.  This was our third attempt at this trail, and I felt I've improved over the last two.  It's listed as a good trail for "advanced beginners".  Okay, I'll take the oxymoron.

And speaking of higher learning, in news of college academia, I came across this photo from a football game over the weekend at Meego's esteemed university.

Okay, it's supposed to say "GO RAMS", but... okay...

Sunday, September 22, 2019


I have a memory from when I was about 8 years old.  I was sitting on the back stoop of our house on a sunny afternoon.  The back of our house faced to the west, so the sun was bathing me in warmth and light.  It felt good to just sit there.

My family normally came and went through our back door, not the front.  As I was sitting there in the sun, my dad came around the corner after walking home from work.  He seemed a bit surprised to see me sitting there.

"Oh, hello sweetheart", he said, "what are you doing there?"

"Nothing", was my fabulous response.

He just smiled and said, "Well, that's just great."  And no, he wasn't being sarcastic.

I hadn't really thought about it until he said that, but it was pretty great to be sitting there with the sun bathing me in warmth while I did nothing.  I was probably daydreaming.  This was in the days long before 8-year-olds or anyone else had constant stimulation from a cell phone.

Yesterday, I decided to dust off my pens.  Inktober is nigh!  The prompt this week for Illustration Friday is "dream", and I thought of sitting on my back stoop daydreaming the afternoon away.  I drew this guy sitting and doing nothing.

I recommend it - sitting and doing nothing.  Just not, y'know, forever.  Obviously.

And speaking of contemplation.  On a very sad note, my first big sis died this week.  Sandy was my oldest brother's first wife and a big part of my formative years. 

She'll be deeply missed.  

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

of measles and exfoliation

My doctor is strangely chatty.  I get the impression that it's not just me with whom she chats about all kinds of things.  It's just her way.

I had my annual check-up yesterday.  It's not that I'm necessarily disciplined in keeping up with these things, but Magnum's employer/ insurance provider gives us money to have annual check-ups.  So there I was in the stirrups with the doctor talking about her daughter's struggles in math class; the messiness of her, the doctor's, desk; shady business practices of the daughter's tutoring providers; and even a few side stories about other patients - not inappropriate, but within tasteful limits.

I don't mind her chattiness, but in comparison with other doctor visits, I usually feel that they try to get us in and out as quickly as possible.  Maybe not for well checks?  Either way, I'm glad to have that done for another year, AND I got that measles booster.  Yay me.

Speaking of inappropriate things to say and do, last week, things were on edge at Meego's university.  We parents were included in an email the president sent out regarding a disturbing image that was shared on instagram of some students in "black face".

I read it and was all, "what the... blackface?  In Colorado?  This day and age??"  So the story unfolded, and although the student who posted the original image closed her instagram account, the image showed up in various sites.

I won't post it because I got tired of seeing it, but I did sketch a rendition for y'all.

The original image included the caption "Wakanda Forever" which is in reference to the movie Black Panther.  I saw the photo and thought, "I think those kids are wearing charcoal exfoliating masks."

The story goes - from another party who lives in the same dorm as these kids - that the four of them did the charcoal mask and decided, "Heh, let's take a picture of us with these masks on our faces".  It was the girl - depicted on the far left - who chose to cross her arms.  She was the one who posted the pic on instagram and added the "Wakanda Forever" caption.

The guys all just thought, "Heh, we're taking a picture with these masks on our faces".  The kid on the right has his arms crossed too, but claims he didn't know the reference, just did it because the girl did it.

I can believe that. I have not seen Black Panther and didn't know of the reference before this story.

Understandably, there was much backlash.  As far as I know, though, most have concluded that
girl = racist
boys = wrong place, wrong time.

I believe they are all freshman.  I don't know what's up with the girl, or how things will end up for her at the school, but I feel a bit sorry for the guys if their side of the story is true.  What a way to start their college years. 

Goal for the day:  don't be stupid.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

do all the things!

I've recently been blogging about my desire to be a better cook.  That didn't actually start with my stepping over the fence into vegetarianism.  I've never been much of a cook, but just did the bare essentials to keep Child Protective Services away.

It's not that I dislike cooking, it's more of an organizational thing:  the meal planning, the stocking of the pantry, blah, blah, blah, blah.  If I get past that, I'm an awesome cook!  And hey, I've been a middle school lunch lady, and my line was always top shelf!  Probably because I didn't have to order the ingredients or plan the menus...

There are certainly other areas I'd like to improve upon. Let us count the ways

2.  Time management
I have a flexible schedule without set blocks of work hours, which is usually nice.  Lately, it feels like the time in between tutees isn't as productive or interesting as it should/could be.  Again, I chalk that up to organizational deficiency a.k.a. laziness. 

3. Mountain biking

I'd say we made a good use of time off this Monday.  Magnum and I planned a day off to explore some new-to-us mountain bike trails.  Now, there are a lot of trails around because mountain biking is quite popular here.  Weekends are crowded.  Monday was a good day to get while the gettin' was good. 

Along with learning how to maneuver the dang bike is learning the various trail systems.  We were sort of lost a few times as not all trails are marked or noted on the apps.

But we knew "in general" where we were, and getting lost is all part of the adventure, right??

4.  Correspondence
Does anybody use snail mail anymore?  I love the convenience of email and texting, but sometimes, it's nice to get something in the mail, like when you're stuck at home recovering from surgery. 
I have a friend who had foot surgery about a week ago and is temporarily confined to her house.  It's on my to-do list to send her a card, or better yet, go visit.  Have I done either?  Nope.  Today!

5.  Socializing, but  not social media 
On that note, there's nothing (currently) wrong with my feet or otherwise.  I can come and go as I please, but I stick to the same old stuff.  Time for some fresh faces and places!

What is something you wish you were better at?

Linking up with Mama Kat this week for the prompt:
6. Write about something you wish you were better at.

Monday, September 9, 2019

"Nebraska and Colorado are considering merging into one state...

... that way, Nebraska will have mountains and Colorado will have a football team"

So the joke was on the college football scene

I attended CU Boulder, and Nebraska was a major football rival.  Honestly, though, I don't really follow football, college or otherwise.  And while I was in college, on game days,  I was typically too broke or too busy doing homework or working my retail job so as to not be so broke.  As a result, I attended only a few football games.

I don't remember much about the actual competitions, I mainly went to hang out with friends and to watch Ralphie run.  Ralphie is the university mascot that does her epic runs at the start of each game and also at the start of the second half.

"Ralphie Running" is a varsity sport at CU, as it's no small task to run 20+ miles an hour while trying to  control a buffalo.  Many try out, few make the team.

This photo was from Ralphie's pregame run against Nebraska this past Saturday.  Love the expression of the Ralphie Running chick in the rear passenger position 😝

I remember one Saturday morning while in college.  Magnum and I went for breakfast, and the restaurant was a sea of red.  Oh yeah, it was game day with Nebraska.  I remember one woman wearing bright red eyeglass frames before red eyeglass frames were even much of a thing.

This past Saturday morning, I was out enjoying a morning run, and I encountered a few other runners, all of whom were wearing CU Buffalo gear.  I was reminded again that it was Nebraska game day.  I was not wearing CU Buffalo gear, but I felt some strange rapport with these others.

Of those I encountered, they were, I'd say, around my age.  They are probably also alumni and/or have kids who attend the university.  Meego, our lone college kid at the moment, attends the in-state rival school.  HARUMPH.

As I've said, I don't follow college football.  I hardly followed it when I was in college.  So why am I happy - dare I say, proud - that CU won on Saturday?

I think I'm remembering going into that breakfast place all those years ago and being surrounded by Nebraska fans in all their red glory.  There was a feeling in the air, like we Colorado folks were somehow beneath them.  It was so silly.  It's. Just. Football.

In this 27-sec video of Ralphie's pregame run on Saturday in Boulder, again I saw the sea of red in the stadium.  There were probably more Nebraska fans at the game than CU fans.

So CU won, 34 - 31.  Nebraska fans and all their red gear went home.  Still makes me wonder why some sports rivalries are so fierce and others not so much.  And why do those who care, care? 

In related news, my sister and brother-in-law started up a family Fantasy Football league for this nfl season. 

After week one, I am 12th place out of 12...

Friday, September 6, 2019

the cheese stands alone

Yesterday, I was headed home after a few errands and noticed the sign at the church near the high school:

Particularly, the "GRILLED CHEESE BEGINS SEPT 5" .

Several years ago, this church started offering grilled cheese sandwiches on Thursdays during the high school lunch periods.  It started out as something for the few kids who needed a break from the high school scene but maybe didn't have money or a car for a decent off-campus lunch.  A woman at the church thought it might be a nice bit of outreach since the church was so close to the school, so she volunteered to make a few grilled cheese sandwiches once a week.

Word spread and now EVERY kid and staff member know of the deliciousness.  Each of our kids has partook during the high school years and each has described the yum of church grilled cheese.  It's to the point now where the church coordinates teams of volunteers to make and serve during designated lunch periods.  There is still no charge for the food - they also offer cookies and such, I'm told - but kids often donate what they can.  It's open to juniors and seniors because underclassmen aren't allowed to leave campus for lunch, but c'mon, we've all been high school underclassmen who've "ditched" at lunch.

There's no proselytizing on grilled cheese Thursdays.  Sure, kids can ask questions about the church and programs, but it's really just about outreach.  I think that's a nice thing.

With school being back in session, no doubt some students were wondering, "Where's the cheese?"
Well, there ya go.  Nice of them to post it on their sign.

In related news, as part of my vegetarian adventures, I made an attempt to create some veggie quesadillas as yummy as the ones I had at Fuzzy's a few weeks ago.

I was pretty happy with how they turned out, but they needed more veggies.  They're not quite up to Fuzzy standards, but next time!

Now, to find a good wine pairing...

Sunday, September 1, 2019

veggie tales

Happy first day of September.  I don't know about anyone else, but I get a little optimistic for no particular reason at the start of a new month.  Maybe it's because I dwell too much on the bad things of the past month?

Plenty of good things happened in August, the dark spot being Tiffany's abrupt and confusing death.  I've mentioned that she inspired me to become vegetarian, but I'd gotten lazy, then returned with renewed gusto when she passed.

Now lemme just say, I'm not trying to be all zealot and preaching readers to convert. Not at all!  Eat what makes you happy.  My blogging about it helps keep me on the path to learning and becoming a better cook.

On that note, I think I've mastered tofu.

I really like tofu dishes in restaurants, but whenever I've prepared tofu dishes at home, the tofu's been, in a word, Ew.

I made myself learn to make restaurant-like tofu, and now it's, Yum!  Here's what I made for lunch a little while ago:

I call it "Tofu and Veggie Stir Fry with Rice, Beans, and Some Kinda Sauce I Threw Together".  On a side note, I made that name up on the fly just now.

In other new-month news, the prompt list for this year's Inktober has just been released.  *rubbing hands together rapidly*.  As I recall, I managed to complete 22 of the 31 drawings last year.  For me, it's a cheap, self-indulgent challenge and a fun way to connect online with other weirdos art hobbyists.  

So I have one month to ponder some ink fun for next month, just in time for crisper temperatures and pumpkin spice everything.  

What are you learning and/or looking forward to this month?