Friday, May 29, 2020

dress stress

"You should always get dressed over your head!", my friend, Carolyn instructed. 

We were dress shopping, of all things.  How many dress shops had we visited at that point?  I'd lost count.

I hadn't thought of the always-over-your-head strategy as I was trying to step into yet another dress.  After all, we step into skirts, right?  Why not step into a dress that is part skirt??

But with Carolyn's tutelage, I tossed that dress over my head and let gravity do the rest.  Then we looked at each other. 
Meh.  The dresses kinda sucked.

We were high school seniors and had been chosen as Homecoming attendants.

Different schools do different homecomings. Some choose couples from each class, some choose king and queen during the football game, etc.  My school chose the royalty a couple weeks ahead of time.  I don't know who decides these things, but if nothing else, it helped insure that we would have matching dresses.  *eye roll*

So, Kathy the queen, Carolyn, Lisa the other attendant, and I took a dress shopping trip, chaperoned by one of Kathy's older sisters.  We lived in a small town which meant there were no decent dresses to be had for about 100 miles.  It was a day.

As the day grew long and we all grew weary, we expressed our gratitude to Kathy's sister for taking on the task. 

"I can't imagine if Mom would've driven us!", Kathy extolled. "We would be all, 'F**K YOU, MOM!' by the end of the day!"

(Kathy had a mouth on her.  I've long since lost touch with her, but have heard from mutual friends that she's found Jesus)

Eventually, we non-queens magically managed to find our homecoming dresses in the all important school color blue.  Kathy's was white.  Paid for those suckers and high tailed it back to our podunk town so we could have a Homecoming. That dress would never be worn again, not by me anyways. 

Oh yeah, we also had a local seamstress make these white flowy game-night outfits. 

I remember them being rather pajama like. 

Looking back, we resemble sacrificial virgins (hardly) for some cult.

Off to the honor of happily throwing ourselves into a volcano or some such.

In the end, the whole thing went off without a hitch.  The football team won the game, it didn't rain on us in during our pajama half-time, and there was no high school drama at the dance.

On second thought, two out of three isn't bad.  Is there any such thing as a drama free high school dance?

I will also mention that that was the year of the infamous last place boob float.

No really, it's a space ship

But at least our dresses matched, and I put it on over my head.

Linking up this week with Mama Kat for the prompt:
1. Share a 12th grade memory.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

not the Robinsons

Day 2 of the siege.

Obviously, I don't mean the Covid lockdown siege.  I've lost count of those days.  I'm referring to our interior stairs rip-out/replace project siege. 

I''m hanging out in my loosely named home office with the door closed so the cat doesn't escape and get accidentally sawed in half or something.  Now THIS is how quarantine SHOULD feel.

But it's all good.  Thankfully, both the cat and I have snacks and access to a bathroom.  Not so
thankfully, the cat's bathroom is all to easily accessible for him.

The view from my hideout:

That red bandana?  That's my face mask for being holed up with a cat.  I'm wearing it as I type since I snapped the pic just a bit ago.

The project does seem to be going quite well.  I'm glad I found these guys.  They should finish up today, hopefully I didn't just jinx it.

Last night and this morning, we had no stairs in the house, which is a tri-level.  We've been using ladders to get to and from different levels.  I told Magnum I feel like we're living in the Swiss Family Robinson house, which would have been much more fun if I was about 10 years old, but it'll do.

I've been streaming random videos and doodling, and now the stir crazies are getting to me.  I'm about to bust out. 

Gotta go check the potato patch? ←← the only reference I remember from "Swiss Family Robinson" other than their tree house.

Potatoes, anyone?

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

measure twice, cut once

I'm blogging from my bunker, holed up in my back "office" with the cat as there are men in the house ransacking the place.  Right on schedule.

We're having our interior stairs replaced - a project I've never been a part of before.  I found what I think/hope is a skilled contractor to do the deed.  Fingers crossed.

In the meantime, how about some movie reviews?  We streamed (naturally, since there's no going to the theaters) three flicks this past weekend.  I really liked two of them, and the third wasn't horrible.  In the order we watched...

First, Border.  This movie was SO weird in places, but so good!  I don't even want to say much more about it because it's a film where it's best to watch not knowing where it's going.  Just let it unfold.

Is it drama? Fantasy?  Romance? Fairy Tale? Sci-fi?  Yes!
Excellent casting and acting.  It's Swedish, so unless you speak the language, you're going to have to read.  Well worth the effort IMHO.  👍👍👍👍👍

Next, we watched The Art of Self Defense.  This was rather meh for me.  I guess it would be categorized as dark comedy.

Jesse Eisenberg plays a fearful unassertive man who decides to take up karate to help him be less fearful and unassertive.  Spoiler alert: it works for the most part.   I found the movie mildly entertaining, but not great.  It gets somewhat gruesome and disturbing in a comedic context and does bring about ponderings on what it means to be "masculine".    I like the quote, "I want to be what intimidates me", from the movie, but overall, I could take it or leave it. 👍👍👍

Thirdly is MonosMonos involves a group of eight teenage Colombian paramilitary soldiers along with the American hostage they've been put in charge of.  It's not particularly plot heavy, it's more about the group dynamics of these kids in such a setting.  They come across as naive and playful one minute, and the next, they are highly trained rebel soldiers engaged in jungle warfare.

Throw in some raging hormones and a mix of genders, and anything is possible.  It's sort of "Lord of the Flies" but with machine guns, and it's so goooooood! 👍👍👍👍👍
Monos is in Spanish, so once again, English subtitles.

Whatcha watching?

Friday, May 22, 2020

one for the road

We were greeted by a white labradoodle with a tuft of bright pink hair on its head.  The pooch aptly set the tone for our visit.

The shop was filled with an assortment of Curiosities, hence the name of the place.  Politician bobble heads, shot glasses with sayings on them, socks for every occasion...

There were several other patrons of all ages milling about, everyone scootching by each other in the tight corners of the shop. But I honestly didn't see much activity at the cash register. I also ended up not making a purchase.

We'd decided to go downtown to visit a local gift shop.  Our realtor had given me a gift card for the place, so it was an excuse to walk around Old Town on a decent weather day.

After we'd left the shop and had a mediocre lunch served by unmasked, ungloved food handlers in a restaurant with other people eating similarly mediocre food, we continued walking around other unmasked people walking around on the nice prelude-to-spring day.

At one intersection, the railroad arms came down as yet another freight train approached.  I'd recently blogged about the strange presence of trains blasting through town at all hours.  Even though we'd sort of gotten used to the trains, it was strange to have one blast through the middle of downtown. Magnum snapped a pic.

I think this was the last pic before the current lockdown became a thing.  Coronavirus and quarantines were in the news, but we were still going about the "normal" day-to-day.  Wondering about our toilet paper inventory wasn't a thing. I was working a predictable schedule at the cafe' along with tutoring a few students preparing for their April tests that didn't happen.

While I worry about the virus lingering and the effects on the economy and other ripples, I feel optimistic.  But maybe that's just my nature and has no root in reality.

I hope to someday soon be able to walk into a shop of nothing I want to buy and eat a meal at a restaurant I would not recommend.

Trains are welcome too.

Linking up this week with Mama Kat for the prompt:
3. Show us the last picture you took BEFORE quarantine. Write about that moment/day.

And maybe this prompt also applies in regard to lunch that day:
1. Write about a time you wasted your money.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

(almost) wordless Wednesday

Spring semester for Meego ended last week.  I asked him how much of a break he had before his summer classes begin, and he said, "I have a paper due next weekend".  Sheesh, no rest for you!

As a little reminder, we received his summer tuition bill for the two classes he's taking.  Originally, both classes were to be held on campus, but there is no on campus.  As such, I'd hoped for a bit of a price break, but...


Yeah, no price breaks and all the fees for stuff that's not currently available.
I've heard grumblings from some students that class "quality" has decreased with the move to online.

But at least students are still able to come up with clever (because they're true) memes.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020


Dear Abby,

Someone I thought was a "nice guy" stood me up, then was dishonest about it.  I arranged for another meetup, thinking I would stand him up so as to get my revenge.  But in the end, I was nice.  We didn't speak of the previous engagement, and now I think I want him for an LTR.  Am I being stupid?

Abby with the bush


Okay, so remember my tale of woe last week when I'd set up a consultation from a bush guy about our junipers?  He didn't show but tried to say that he did?  I was upset enough to schedule another consultation, thinking I'd be a no-show or I'd cancel at the last minute or I'd lead them on only to say, "NO WAY!".  Show them!

Well, none of those scenarios seemed very me-like once I'd cooled the engines.  He showed up a little while ago for our re-schedule.  I didn't say anything about the first appointment, neither did he.  He looked at my bush and seemed to like it enough to want to come back.  I'm seriously thinking of entering this relationship.  Yup, probably gonna do it. *SIGH*

We did get other quotes, but I think I've found my bush guy.  Red Flags and all. 

Speaking of bushy, Meego turned 20 last week.  Twenty?!  Not that twenty is necessarily bushy, but we had a birthday get together with the whole brood.  Stay-at-home restrictions have lifted somewhat and the state parks have opened.

With that in mind, we hit Lory State Park on Saturday for a lovely bit of nature, fresh air, and sunshine.  The guys actually allowed us to get a few pics - rare as a Bigfoot sighting, but not that different in appearance.  It was like a "Who's Got the Biggest Hair" contest

Tough to call, really.  My hair is relatively short in the back these days, but top and front are rather "Cousin It", but can be tucked into a cap.  The guys have harder times controlling their lockdown hair.

Magnum is the cleanest cut of us all since I'd given him a kitchen buzz a couple of weeks ago.

All in all, a beautiful day for a hike and some family time. 

Chaco's county has tougher restrictions than ours.  While masks are required inside public buildings, they are not required outside, and I rarely see them outdoors here.  Chaco's county also requires them in public places outside, including hiking trails and such, so this was like a new experience for him - seeing all the naked faces.

But actually, the trail was a lot less crowded than I thought it would be considering it was a beautiful day on a weekend, and the trails had just reopened.  Much social distance to be had.

Surprisingly, however, the ticket booth people were neither masked nor gloved.  They greeted vehicles, took in money, handed back change, and answered questions all willy nilly from the confines of their small booth. 

Hmmm, the things we find strange these days.

Friday, May 15, 2020

pandemic plusses

I was out walking with Merlin one night this week, when he suddenly turned around as if to say, "In't this nice?"

I had to agree that yes, it was nice.  Not everything about the current state of the world is hell and damnation.

With Merlin's prompting, I thought I'd take a moment to blog some good things I'm presently grateful for.

Already mentioned walking with dogs →→
Simple pleasures.
A lot of cities have noticed less traffic since the shut downs.  I'm not happy about people who can't go to work, but a lot of people have been able to stay productive working from home, and many plan to keep at it in the future.  I'm all for less congestion, who isn't?

Here's the lovely Ariel at one of the many bicycle maintenance stations around town.  To be honest, I'm not a fan of the bicycle tree sculpture. It looks to me like the aftermath of a multi-bike pile-up.  In a tree.

There have been a lot of jokes and memes about getting fat and lazy while in isolation, but I do know of a few people who have turned their lives the other way.  Started cooking their own meals and sticking to an exercise routine with not much else to do.

One of my nephews (he's actually a second cousin or some offshoot, but we just go by aunt and nephew) in the Philippines had gotten a little pudgy in recent months.  He likes to go out and eat and travel and drink, and it was starting to show.

He set a quarantine goal to lose 10 kg - that's about 22 pounds to us non-metric Americans.

He's achieved that goal, and I guess his quarantine has been extended a couple more weeks, so now?  Up next:  visible abs, he says.

I don't think he'll mind me posting his before and after pics since he plastered them all over social media.

Remember the old days of toilet paper hoarding?  Well, when people weren't able to find any TP, bidets started flying off the shelves.

I'd heard of bidets, but didn't give them much thought.  But there they were, in the news, and I was intrigued.  After the hoarding died down and after we FINALLY made it through all that awful Scott tissue stash, I remembered the friendly bidet, and this week...

...I installed on in our powder room.  And that's all I'm going to say/show about that, butt suffice to say that I've ordered a second one.

And while I was walking with Merlin, I saw a nice kid meticulously mowing a lawn.  He looked to be about 13 or 14 years old.  When I returned later, he was finished with the lawn and speaking with the homeowner - an elderly man.  I heard them discussing the boy coming each week to mow and do general lawncare as the yard looked great.

The kid mentioned, "My goal is to, by the end of summer, make enough to buy a..."

As I was listening, I thought, "what a nice kid, working to earn some sought after item, and setting goals and doing good work.  He's probably got a gaming system or such in mind, like a lot of boys his age..."

But then he stated his sought after item.  I don't remember the name specifically, but he is aiming toward getting a better lawnmower by the end of summer.

Damn.  Hardworker AND he's got the entrepreneurial sense to invest his profits back into the biz?

And I'm over here with a coupla bidets...

Thursday, May 14, 2020

the path to happy

I spotted them when they were about 100 yards ahead of me on the bike path.  They appeared to be a young family out for a ride.  The "mom" was on a bicycle, and it appeared that the "dad" was pulling one of those trailers for little kids behind his bicycle.

As I got closer, I saw that it wasn't a trailer behind the bicycle, but that the guy was riding an adult tricycle with a large rear basket.  There were no kids, but rather a few small items in the basket.

I'd spent a good portion of yesterday morning with the tedious task of going through some boxes we still hadn't unpacked since our move.  It was productive activity, but I found it mundane and a bit frustrating as I wasn't feeling inspired about where to put the "stuff".   I had the whole day off, and I eventually decided I needed a getaway.  A little bike ride should do.

I was enjoying the ride well enough when *bite me!* I felt a little sting in my upper chest.  Fricken bug.  I continued along thinking, "Well, at least it didn't fly in my mouth" when *bite me!* another bite!  This one on my shoulder.  That fricken bug was IN MY SHIRT! (I hate when that happens).

I'd instinctively smacked at the bite site, hoping I'd smashed the thing.  But then I heard... like... a buzzing noise?  Near my ear?  Then (you guessed it) *bite me!*, that little shzt got me again!

Enough with social norms.  I pulled over and ripped my shirt off!

Okay, in actuality, I just removed the right half of my shirt - pulled my arm out through the bottom, y'know?  Then I set about frantically flapping that half of my shirt and swiping all around my arm/shoulder/boob.

I put my clothing back on and experienced no more bites.  Here are my wounds as of today.

Really, that poor bug likely didn't want to be stuck in my shirt anymore than I wanted him in there.  I guess he had a right to be upset, but so much for my rejuvenating bike ride... or so I thought.

Freshly bitten and having had to nearly undress in public, I was feeling rather blah when I came upon the couple as we all approached a road crossing.  I waited behind them at the appropriate 6-ft or more distance.  The woman appeared to be about my age, and the man was probably early to mid-20s.  He was tall, but quite skinny.  He wore a bike helmet, she did not.

The woman pointed out a few things in the road for the young man to be aware of for when we pushed off.  They had a little discussion about how far they would go on the path once we crossed the street.  They seemed to be genuinely enjoying the moment.

They gave me friendly acknowledgement, and I smiled back, said, "hi"..  I learned that they were mother and son, and this was the son's first ride on his new 3-wheeler.  He'd recently got it as they figured the exercise and fresh air would be good for his "recovery".  Recovery from what, I don't know.  They didn't say, and I didn't ask but agreed that it was probably a good idea.

Eventually, we got the signal to cross.  The man motioned for his mom to go first, and she did.  He followed, slowly, struggling a bit to get the large tricycle moving again.  I brought up the rear as the three of us crossed the street single-file, me feeling strangely protective of the young guy.  He was struggling but smiling and laughing about it.

The bike path continues on for several miles after that street crossing.  But I was in no hurry, and rather enjoyed the company of this slow procession.

I'll admit that this is not typical of me when I'm out for a bike ride.  I usually like to get out in front of slowpokes as soon as possible so as to get cranking.  But something about these two - and they were about the slowest of slowpokes I'd ever trailed - made me want to linger.

But really, they were going so slow, it would've been weird - suspicious even - if I'd stayed behind them for long.  So I passed them after we'd gone a few yards on the path after our wait at the light.

"See ya!", I said to the man on the tricycle.  "See ya!", he cheerfully replied back.

"Bye!", to the smiling woman.  "Good-bye!", she answered.

I thought about them for the rest of the day, and am still thinking of them today.  I never even got their names.

I never told them that they saved my day.

Linking up this week with Mama Kat for the prompt:
2.  Share a story about someone who “saved the day” for you.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

stood up, lied to, spit out

I had the morning off and had arranged a meet up with this guy.  As the appointed time approached, I prepared for his arrival - cleaned myself and the house up a bit, took the dogs out back so they wouldn't interrupt the liaison.  

The appointed time arrived, but he did not.  "Maybe running a little late", I deluded myself.  Surely, he was on his way.  He'd even sent an email to confirm we were still on.

We'd met online through - I guess you'd say - a mutual interest.  He wanted to check out my unruly bush, as he was apparently into such things.  

Well.  I had plenty to offer.  I'd even given my bush a once over earlier that morning, to make sure to impress.  

So, where was he?  At ten minutes past, I decided I'd check in.

A woman answered.  What?

I explained the situation, and she said she knew of our scheduled meetup.  She would find the man and call me back.

A few minutes later, it was the woman on the phone again.

"He said he was there and rang the doorbell and knocked, but no one answered, so he left"

"But... but... my bush?", I stuttered.  "Will he be coming back?", I asked pathetically after confirming they had the correct address.

No.  He had other places he needed to be, but I could arrange for another time....

What the hell?

First of all, the he-was-there-but-no-one-answered story was ridiculous.  (A) I specifically watched for him as I value people's time. (2) the dogs will bark if someone approaches our house, and they were quiet the whole time, and (Last but not Least) we have a freaking Ring®️ doorbell that records all the comings and goings to and from the front door, and there was a whole lot of nothing since I walked in at about 6am.

He was a no show.

So I'm all, look, if you don't want the job of removing the juniper bushes from the front yard, just say so.  Don't make me block time out for you, then not show up, and try to make it look like it's my fault.

Spurned, I went on the prowl.

I arranged another meetup at the university, with a young college student, no less.  He was punctual and gave me exactly what I'd (ordered earlier online for curbside pickup) needed.

Before returning home, however, I made one more stop.  The pet store.  The exertion elation was almost indescribable (35-lb bag of dogfood) as the burly man well met my needs.

So yeah, I feel better after a couple of competency fixes.  But you're not off the hook, Davey Tree.

Did she lie to me?  Did he lie to her?  Were they both out smoking a bowl in the truck?  We'll likely never know, but he's not gonna touch my bush.

A woman scorned and all that.

Friday, May 8, 2020

May I?

I was perusing my blog archives and came across this pic from two Mays ago.

It's kinda freaky to look at it now.  All those people in one place!  So CLOSE together!  It was Meego's high school graduation.  Find him?

Sheesh, the things we took for granted.  Last week, I was talking with a friend whose son is set to graduate this month from high school.

"I don't know if they're gonna do it with kids all spaced out and parents watch online?  Gonna do a zoom graduation?  We had to buy the cap and gown in the fall.  Whadawe do with it now? Still waiting to hear."

I'm thinking of the kids I tutored over the summer who are now high school seniors.  Who knew this is how their senior year would wind up?  Walking the dogs around the neighborhood, I see a few yard signs, designating homes of kids from "Class of 2020" and feel sad for them even though I don't know them at all.  Maybe they're happy?

So yeah, two years ago I sat in a large crowded arena with a mess of other people inhaling and exhaling together as we watched these kids wrap up their high school lives and ponder, "what's next?"

And as I sat there, I pondered some, "what's next?" for me, too.  Maybe I had some vague ideas, but if anyone would've told me that, in two years, I'd be cheerful from making a quick no-sew facemask from a sock?

Yeah, riiiiiiiight.

Well, slap me and call me "Puma Face".

Linking up this week with Mama Kat for the prompt:
1. Throwback Thursday: Choose a photo from a previous May and write a blog post.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020


A couple of my coworkers at the hospital are similar but different women.  Similar in that they both have strong personalities, are good at what they do, and have been working there since the place opened a little less than five years ago.

They don't get along.

Tee is a nutritionist/ dietitian.  Em is a chef.  Tee trained me for my job, but I work more closely with Em.  I happen to like both of them (and I think the feeling is mutual?), but I don't like being around when they're in the same room together, which, thankfully, is not often.

Em runs the show in the kitchen, is known to dance around - particularly on Friday afternoons - and make fun observations of the day-to-day goings on.  Her food is delicious, and she often whips up batches of cookies just for the fun of it while somehow completing all of her tasks as well as picking up others' slack.

Tee works mainly in the retail cafe', helping customers, making recommendations, checking that ready-to-go and buffet items are nicely displayed and up to par, and keeping the cafe' tidy and attractive.

I trained with Tee for my first two days, and I think it was day one where she told me, under her breath, "Yeah, we don't get along", referring to Em.  So I was a bit intrigued, but not wanting to get caught up in any kitchen cat fight.  What's not to like about either of them?

I've never witnessed the two of them arguing.  They are cordial with one another, and stuff gets done.  I suspect there've been open arguments in the past that have reached an agree-to-disagree status that everyone is aware of.

I think I've somewhat figured it out.  It goes back to simply, Tee is a nutritionist/ dietitian.  Em is a chef.

Tee wants recipes to be followed to the letter.  A dish calls for 5 ounces of hummus?  It better have 5 ounces of hummus, plus or minus nothing.

Em wants food that looks appealing and tastes amazing.  Hmmm, might be better with more like 3 ounces of hummus?  3 ounces it is.

Tee wants to not have to throw any food away - sustainability and all that.  Em wants plentiful portions available, plus the main dishes look nice when displayed in large, full pans.

Now, Tee is not wholly against making a substitution here and there.  And Em isn't changing things up so much as to severely alter nutritional content.

Me?  I stay out of it.  I can certainly see both points of view, but this is a semi-retirement side gig for me anyway.  I enjoy the psychological research.

What do you think?  Are you a Tee or an Em?  Or an Abby?