Saturday, February 29, 2020

what's in a title

To clarify... the title of my last post is in reference as to why we have leap year, NOT as to why people hire tutors.  Just in case there was any confusion!

Anyway, Happy Leap Day!  I remember one of my kids' teachers in elementary school was born on a leap day.  She celebrated her 14th birthday, and yeah, all the moms did the math AS YOU ARE PROBABLY DOING RIGHT NOW TOO.  Leap day babies are of the sign Pisces.  I don't follow astrology at all, so know nothing of the assumed significance of being Piscean. 

I happen to be a Scorpio, and saw this on Valentine's Day last month:

Then I had to scrub images of my parents from my brain for the rest of the day.

But, back to leap day.  I was enjoying a nice run this morning on dry roads and paths and pleasant temperatures - rare things lately.  I thought I'd stop to get a view of the mountains...

...which are really foothills.

I mentioned the flatness of Fort Collins compared to other Colorado places.  The range in the background of the photo has an elevation of just over 7,000 feet.  Plenty of oxygen to be had.  I think the closest 14er is Longs Peak down the road a bit.  About an hour's drive.

The university here is also home to a large renowned veterinary school.  And my route this morning went by a very large veterinary hospital.  I've been here before and noted the "zoo smells", but had never seen any live critters.  Until today.  Sheep and goats, oh my.

I figured, since they're near a well-used pathway, they wouldn't care about my presence.  But they did begin to act quite wary of me as I approached their fence, all "Who are EWE!?"

So that's the excitement of my leap day so far. 

What are ewe doing?

Thursday, February 27, 2020

because the world is slow and fractions are frowned upon

2020 is a leap year, so this coming Saturday is February 29th.  With March come thoughts of springtime - longer, warmer, more sunshiny days.  I know I can use a break from snow and cold, which we have had our fair share of this winter.  I'm looking forward to spring, although I keep with the local mantra of, "Welp, we need the moisture", because most people in these parts know that somewhere in Colorado will be on fire this summer.

So we have an extra day this year before we can welcome March in order to let the earth's rotation catch up to the Gregorian calendar.  Who else is aware that there are leap seconds?  About every 3 to 4 years?  They are to synch the world's highly consistent atomic clocks to the earth's inconsistency.  How rude of the earth that we must do this.

I mentioned I took a semi-retirement part-time job at a hospital culinary operation.   I enjoy it.  Great company, great bosses, great coworkers, satisfying and productive work.  Plus, there's a 401k plan.  Contract tutors don't get a 401k plan.

The job is a nice balance with the tuting, which can burn me out if I schedule too many students.  I felt the need for a break from that too. It still somewhat surprises me that there seems to never be a lack of students looking to hire tutors despite free and cheap resources online.  But I guess some people just like someone to be there when they say, "but... I still don't get it 😕".  I don't want to chuck tutoring altogether, just cut back a bit, and this fills the empty space nicely.  I suck as a "housewife".

And it turns out, I actually enjoy cooking.  Who knew?  I mean, I'm no Gordon Ramsey, but... well... thank God for that.

Yesterday, I happened to look down and notice one of the expiration date stickers had landed on my shoe.

Is it an omen? Use me before March? After that, I'm trash?

What are you doing with your extra day this year?

Linking up this week with Mama Kat for the prompt:
5. Write about something you need a break from.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020


Me: "What school do you go to?"

Her "(that school)"

Me: "Oh, really?  A good friend of mine used to work there.  Did you know Ms. Haley? Tiffany Haley?"

Her:  A pause.  A recognition


Me: "Yeah, she was a good friend, I miss her every day, still can't believe she's gone"

Her:  "Oh?  I was at her funeral"

Me:  "Really?  So was I!"

Her:  "You were?!  I didn't know her all that well, but I sang with the choir"

Me:  "Omigosh, you guys did an amazing job!  Your Hallelujah rendition was beautiful.  Really special..."


I began working with a new tutor student today.  SAT prep.  Her dad was referred to me before we moved from Colorado Springs.  I'd let him know I'd moved, and he contacted me this week to work with his daughter online.

While getting to know her, I learned she attends the high school where my friend Tiffany worked before her surprising and abrupt death at the end of last summer.

Recall that I'd mentioned that there was not a dry eye in the house at her well-attended funeral.  One of the reasons for that was the opening with a rendition of "Hallelujah" the acapella choir group from the school performed.  They really nailed it.

Their choir director shared a 1-minute video later, of them warming up.  It's plenty grainy enough to not worry about identifying anyone...

 Not the best audio, but still lovely.  Give a listen to the start of it via this [link] for a taste.

So often, we hear stories about "kids these days!".  No respect, no discipline, lazy...

But as the student and I reminisced a bit, I was taken back to that morning in the church at Tiffany's funeral as those kids made everyone cry big cleansing tears.

Test day, here we come.

Sunday, February 23, 2020


Ever been out for a walk, and then a train blocks your path and goes by, and goes by, and goes by, and goes by...

One thing we've had to get used to in Fort Collins are the trains that travel, seemingly quite frequently, north-and-south through the center of the town.  We got caught by another one today while out walking.  Our wait wasn't TOO long.  Maybe 10 to 15 minutes.  But 10 to 15 minutes can feel like a long time when standing around waiting for a train to go by.  I was so bored, I took a selfie.

But it was good weather to be out in.  I get even more bored if I'm stuck with a train while I'm in a car, making up a long line of train-waiting cars.  Since I rarely drive, that's  not much of an issue.

We were coming back from coffee and a little shopping excursion.  Recently, I was singing the praises of my big snuggly 20+ year-old winter parka.  I'd bought it from Cabela's when I was preggars with Meego, and it's lasted all this time and kept me sheltered from many an element.

No sooner had I finished gushing about the parka attributes that the zipper pull broke off.  Well, no biggie, I rigged a makeshift zipper pull in pure MacGyver fashion.  But it's like the universe really wanted me to shed that parka, because next, the whole zipper started giving up the ghost.  You know that thing where you zip up, but then the zipper unzips from the bottom? So annoying.


Freshly caffeinated, we hit Sierra Trading Post, where I found parka love at a bargain price.

Gosh, wearing it makes me feel like a Scandinavian ski bunny.

We've had a very snowy February, and I've appreciated the outerwear.  I'm eager to put the new purchase through its paces, but now we'll probably have an early spring.  Oh well, either way, it's a win.

I don't think it will help with avoiding trains, though.

Gotten anything new lately?  What'd you get??

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

a babe in the woods

When I was a little kid, I used to often draw.  I can remember pretending to be a waitress and taking "orders" from family members who would play along.  Then I'd draw their meal.  This was quite a long time ago, I was single-digits years old, but all I remember drawing were hamburgers.  My customers probably knew better than to order anything else.

This week's #inktober52 prompt is "dinner".  I sketched another hamburger.

And if that isn't exciting enough... I was out walking some errands today when I came upon a domestic CAT!  Out in the WILD!

Recall that the county where we currently live does not allow cats to be out roaming around away from the owner's property.  Our own cat is still pissed at us, but too bad.  Rules is rules.  So, such a sighting is rare!  Might as well have been Sasquatch!

I had to snap a quick pic.  See him?  Sasquatch Cat??

He/she was very pretty, and my grainy phone pic does not do justice.  Or maybe it was just the rarity of such a sighting that made him seem so majestic.  Not only was there a cat out and about, but it was out and about amid (among?) a bunch of snow.

This was within an apartment complex.  Wolfgang, who lives in an apartment complex nearby, tells us he sees cats outside quite regularly.  Maybe it's an apartment dweller rebellion.  Either way, I felt that Sasquatch and I had a moment.

Don't tell Napolion.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

winter pastimes

Well, I'm not going back to make up lost time, just gonna show up late to the party.

There's the Inktober challenge - a drawing a day, everyday for the month of October.  Last October was my third attempt and first success.  I put my pens and my feet up afterward and haven't drawn a darn thing since.

A few weeks ago, Wolfgang tipped me off to #Inktober52.  The powers that be wanted to keep the drive alive for a full year's worth of prompts; one prompt per week for 2020.  Oooh, that sounded like fun.  Then I proceeded to not draw a darn thing.

But hey, January was busy!  What with settling into a new town and new house, selling the old house in the old town, January 2020 is pretty much a blur.  I felt the dust had settled enough, and I'm a month fashionably late this week, where the prompt is "hammer".

In other being-lazy news, we've been watching the TV series "Fortitude" on Amazon Prime Video.  Seen it?

It looked interesting to me as I like the arctic-city-where-normal-people-won't-live setting.  But the show is stranger than I expected.  I mean that in a good way.  It's also rather gross.  I mean that in a NOT good way.  I just cover my eyes for the gross parts.

Since it's been cold and snowy here all week, watching Fortitude makes Colorado feel like a winter vacation spot... oh, wait.  Colorado IS a winter vacation spot.  The lift lines yesterday at Vail ski resort made the news.

It was reported that some waits were as long as 75 minutes.  This surprises me, not only because of the packed conditions, but because Vail is EXPENSIVE.  In fact, I remember reading an article that put Vail as the most expensive place to ski in North America. The cost of just a lift ticket for a day is $209.  Part of the reason for that, I thought, was to keep lift lines short.  I know there are season passes and discounts for buying tickets in advance, but it's still pricey recreation, particularly at Vail.

So who are these people packing in at Vail and distributing cash all willy nilly?  Is there a maximum occupancy for a ski resort mountain?  Oh well, more power to 'em.  I was not part of the mass, but was rather down in the lowlands.  With a snow shovel in hand.

Maybe when I win the lottery.

Saturday, February 8, 2020

that Dolly Parton meme

That Dolly, who knew she'd still be such a trendsetter at 74 years old.  Oh well, look at Betty White?  Our prime years await!

I'm here waiting for my laundry to finish cycling and for the temperature to go up a few notches so as to venture outside into the arctic that is our current neighborhood.  I saw other bloggers playing with the Dolly Parton meme, so gave it a go.

Good thing I'm not looking to date anyone and in "need" of an actual Tinder profile.

And speaking of pets and primping, I'm looking for recommendations.  For those who have furry family members, what method do you use to remove fur from furniture and EVERYTHING in your home?

The struggle is indeed real

Thursday, February 6, 2020

fashion fail?

I walked into the place, thinking I could just leave my jacket on and maybe no one would notice.  But, it was so hot in there!

Okay, screw it, I took the jacket off.  Who would care?

I didn't bring it up.  She didn't bring it up.  Did she notice?  I think she noticed.  

She reminded me that I should've been there last week.  It wasn't a reprimand.  I explained that I knew, but had a last minute thing.  Was it a reprimand?  She's usually so friendly...

I've mentioned that I get injections for my allergies.  Since we moved, the old clinic shipped my shot juice to the new clinic, and all is good. I go every couple of weeks, and the new clinic is very nice and friendly.  Yay, everyone is happy.

It also happens that the new clinic is located within a large medical complex affiliated with a specific hospital.  It also happens that I started a new job working for a competing hospital just down the road from the medical complex where I get my allergy shots.

Well, how convenient, I'll just stop in on my way  home from work to get my shots.  I planned on doing that last Friday, but alas, I had a flat tire that became the priority.  No biggie, I decided to get injected after work yesterday.

Except, I forgot to bring a change of shirt. 

See, I wear a uniform top at the new job.  Nothing flashy, but it does have the logo and name of the hospital embroidered near the left lapel, hence, me bringing a change of shirt on shot days...

... which I forgot to do yesterday.  But I still wanted to stop in for my shots, so I did, feeling a bit like that Chick-fil-A van in the Popeye's drive thru.

Linking up this week with Mama Kat for the prompt:
2. Tell us about a recent mistake you made.

Sunday, February 2, 2020

canine envy

It's a wonderfully strangely warm and sunny day today.  Temperatures in the 70's on this Groundhog Day.  Magnum and I took advantage and decided to go for a bike ride around our extremely bike friendly town.

Not surprisingly, many others were out recreating.  We passed several other walkers, joggers, bicyclists, skateboarders, etc.  At one point, we pulled up behind an interesting crew:  two girls, early 20's I'd say, each holding a leashed Doberman Pinscher. The girls were on rollerblades being pulled by the dogs.

And those dogs were like fine tuned machines, focused on running down the pathway and pulling the girls.  The pathway is a multi-use path with 2-way traffic and is rather narrow in spots.  But those powerful dogs stayed precisely in their lane, staggered slightly one behind the other.  The girls didn't need to propel themselves at all on their rollerblades, just coast behind the dogs.  But it was clear that the girls were in complete control of the animals, and it was quite impressive.  "Badass" is what actually came to my mind.


The girls, too, were not Miss Prissies.  They were both solidly built, and one of them in particular had a head of long wild blonde hair, which only added to the badass appearance.  I felt as though I was temporarily thrust into some Frank Frazetta-esque world of witchlike beastmasters... erm... beastmaidens?

I got to thinking of our two dogs and what a disaster it would be if we tried such an endeavor.  Heck, we're still teaching them to walk in a straight line, let alone pull us down a crowded pathway!

Our previous dogs, Domino and China, both liked to run.  Although  not nearly as disciplined as the dogs on the path today, I could hook them up to the kids' sleds, and they'd run up and down the snowy street a few times with me holding their leashes.  Penny and Merlin have the strength and energy - although Penny's on the small side - but hoo boy.  It'd be trips and falls waiting to happen.

I love our two meandering mutts, and I know they just need time and attention.  They'll eventually get it. 

But I wish I could get some witch's brew from those two on the path today.

Saturday, February 1, 2020

hospital chicken in the land of flat tires

"Okay, your vehicle is ready", he said with a smile.

"Thanks, uhm...", I looked at him expectedly, "I haven't paid yet"

"Right, we don't charge for fixing flats", he replied, still smiling.

I figured he was joking, so, "haha", followed by *pause*

"Need anything else today?", he queried.

Omigosh, he was serious.  I didn't owe anything.  Thank you, Discount Tire.  I'll be back.

I'd walked out to the parking lot to see my rear passenger side tire was flat - the silver head of a large screw nestled within the treads.  I called AAA because I can, and then set to work.  The friendly road-side assistor appeared relatively quickly.  By then, I had my car jacked up, lug nuts removed, and doughnut at the ready.  But the tire was not budging.  I asked if I was missing something.

"Oh, yeah, it's just rusted on there", he replied as he retrieved a primitive mallet from his toolbox.

He proceeded to perform a highly technical process of removing the flat tire - giving it a few good whacks with the mallet.  Soon I was on my way and stopped at Discount Tire where they (surprisingly) fixed and installed my flat tire for free even though I didn't buy the tire there.

This incident marked my third flat tire in two months.  Firstly, I discovered the front tire of my mountain bike was flat shortly after we moved.  That's a mystery to me since I hadn't ridden it in a few months, and it was fine when we packed up.  It went flat on the moving truck?

Oh well, fixed it and all's good.

Then last week, I had a flat on my commuter bike - first flat in the two and a half years and who knows how many miles.  Oh well, fixed it and all's good. I'm hoping that's the end of the flat tires for a while.  Does Fort Collins just have an unnatural amount of sharp road crap?

In other news, I started a part-time job last week working in the culinary department of a small hospital.  I'm enjoying it, it's fun, and my coworkers are a talented and friendly bunch. There is potential to progress to bigger things, so we'll see. 

For now, I appreciate the opportunity and the ability to cut back on the tutoring, which I've been doing since 2008.  The burnout is real.