Sunday, March 27, 2022

sunshine and bronze

The Father-in-law set of in-laws swung by for a short visit.  We spent yesterday with them on what ended up being the warmest day of the year so far - welcome, springtime!

Magnum went in search for something for us all to do and discovered Benson Sculpture Garden right down the road.  It claims to be:

 "one of the 20 must-see contemporary art sites across the USA".  

I can support that sentiment and would recommend it to people in the area looking for something to do on a nice day.

"Currently, there are 172 pieces of sculpture on permanent display by world-renowned artists worth over $5 million"

We spent a good amount of time there and still didn't see all of the sculptures, mostly bronze.  My 87-year-old FIL is in pretty good shape for his age, but 10 acres is quite a lot for anyone.

...including me, here taking a little sit break with some chums. 

Wolfgang trying to emulate a two-right-feet sculpture

It was nice to hang out and get caught up with the family.  Meego had to miss the sculptures because of school work - ah, joys of college.  At least he joined us for food.

I was reminded of how much I appreciate the smallness of where we live now vs. living in Colorado Springs.  The sculpture garden is actually in Loveland, CO  - the next town south of us.  Yet it took us all of 12 minutes to get there by car, and we could have easily bicycled there.

Colorado Springs had its niceties, but I certainly don't miss that sprawl.

The rest of the week was of  pretty typical stuff.  Most of the snow and ice has left, although I wouldn't count it out for the season.  Still, I'm ready to move on.

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

a most absorbing read

When some mishap happens (mishappens?), I usually try to look on the bright side. It can always be worse, right? 

So earlier this week, after my initial "*GASP* sh&t!", I began picturing worse things like

  • the entire cup of tea
  • milk instead of tea
  • the loaded potato...

Okay, so the thing what happened...

Tuesday, I'd just come home from work.  It had been a somewhat long day, and I'd ridden my bicycle home with a blustery headwind bullying me the whole way.  Earlier, I'd picked up a library book from the campus library that I'd put on hold and had come up available. 

Once at home, I settled in, fixed a pot of hot tea, loaded up a baked potato snack, and began perusing the library book.  The book is "The Child Is the Teacher:  A Life of Maria Montessori".  Earlier in my mom career, I'd learned a bit about the Montessori method and felt supportive of it (although, our kids all went to public school).  I'd also had a tutor student who taught at a Montessori school.  She had interesting things to share.

But I'd never learned much about Maria Montessori herself.  This book is hot off the press and popped up in my "suggestions", and I thought I'd check it out and was happy to see that the local library had recently procured a copy.

So there I was, chilling at home with some hot tea, a savory potato, and a newly published hardcover library book, of which I'm probably the first person to ever check out.  

I think I got a text notification or something like that, and I stood up, tea mug in hand, to fetch the phone.  In so doing, I managed to dribble a bit of tea.

A dribble is all it takes.

That dribble of tea splatted onto the open pristine virgin page of the book.  I didn't even notice right away, but I turned back around and saw the page all splotched, wet, and wrinkly... NOOOoooooo!

I took a napkin and hoped to sop up the wetness in time.  Alas, the wrinkly splotch remained.  Next, I took my hair dryer to it on low cycle.  Mmmm, maybe dried it off, but the damage was done.  I closed the book and put it under a box of about 5 pounds and left it overnight.

This is what it looks like now.

Pretty noticeable?  Yeah?

The wrinkled pages are noticeable when the book is closed too.

Now, if his were MY book, one that I'd purchased for myself, I'd chalk it up to clumsy and move on.  Or if it were an older, previously enjoyed, worn-and-torn library book - fine. But it's a brand new library book!  

But if I think about it... Maria Montessori would probably be okay with it.  

Principle 5: Auto education

Auto education, or self-education...This is one of the most important beliefs in the Montessori method. Montessori teachers provide the environment, the inspiration, the guidance and the encouragement for children to educate themselves.

Welp, I guess I educated myself.  I wonder if the librarian will be happy about that?

I'll remind her that, at least it wasn't the loaded potato.


Linking up this week with Mama Kat for the prompt:
3. Write a blog post inspired by the word: accident

Sunday, March 20, 2022

weekend "getaway", and what's with yer dog?

Happy first day of spring!  Spin those mattresses! Change those toothbrush heads!

It was a pretty uneventful week.  Work was on the quiet side with the students and instructors out for spring break.  Now on to the final push to finish out the semester before summer. My coworker, Party Girl, got her elderly dad moved here from Nevada.  

Her dad's losing his memory, and it's been a stressful situation for her. I know she's relieved to have made it to this milestone in the process.  And I'm glad the lightish workload allowed her some flexibility in her schedule.

Strange and sad, the dementia thing.  PG says her dad doesn't seem to really know who she is, but he has an inkling that they're related, so trusts her.  Physically, however, he's in great shape for his age - which is a worry.  He can easily walk off and get lost.  

When I worked at the nursing home, we had several residents who weren't very aware of who/where they were.  But none of them could get anywhere fast.

"Maribelle's headed for the elevator"

"Oh, okay.  I'll get her after I stock these dozens of coffee mugs..."

Magnum and I had a rip roaring outing to Denver yesterday.  Well, not really.  We actually just went to the airport to pick Meego up from a Spring Break trip he took to California.  His girlfriend moved there for work after graduating last spring, and they're making a go of the long-distance-relationship thing.  He had a good time and put me once again to itching for a vacay.  

Until then, meandering around the Denver International Airport will have to suffice.

I hadn't been to the airport - any airport - since, again, picking Meego up from a trip.  I noticed a handful of maskless people in the airport, but not many.  

However, I saw tons of people with masks only covering their chins. Why bother? 

(photo is from last time at the airport - premask days)

Wolfgang came over to let our dogs out while we were airporting.  He had a friend with him, and, not unexpectedly, Merlin had a cow.

Merlin is a sweet and loving pooch, but he reacts in full on stranger-danger protective mode when someone unknown to him comes to the house.

This is fine up until a point, but we need him to chill out once we assure him that the friend/ contract worker/ extended family member is welcome.

He's okay away from our home - tolerates the vet and the kennel - but he's a junkyard dog at home.  What does that say about the state of our home?  Oh well, I'm thinking we might enlist some professionals on this one.  

Friday, March 18, 2022

I don't need many words with you

My teammates and I showed up on time, looking sharp - almost unrecognizable.  Greg, a typical "granola" in t-shirt, rock climber pants, and hiking shoes, was decked out in his best interview suit.  

However, George was probably the most transformed.  George had a punk hairdo - whitewalls buzzed on the sides and forming a V at the nape of his neck, tufted bangs up front - and always wore hefty black boots, black t-shirt, and black jeans or shorts over his muscular build.  But there he was in his Sunday-goin'-to-meetin'-clothes

Then there was me.  I usually wore jeans, maybe a polo shirt, (now vintage) Reebok freestyle hi-tops.  But I wore a suit that day as well.  It was senior project presentation day, one of my final acts as a college undergrad.  

Greg, George, and I were good friends during that semester of our senior design project.  We actually had a fourth teammate, Steve - a pretty frat boy who was absent for most of the work. He might have been there on presentation day, but is foggy in my memory of it now.  I do remember him apologizing for not doing anything and offering to type up the report.  The remaining three of us thinking, "how's he gonna type up the report, he doesn't know what happened?"

Our project was a cute success.  We presented it, got our "A", and went on to graduate and do other cute things.

For my part, I sucked.  I was up there in my suit and realized I had not honed my presentation skills.  

I really shouldn't have been nervous.  We were just presenting to our professor and fellow classmates.  I got through it, but it was not a cute success.  Looking back, engineering classes in general at that time didn't require much discussion during classes, let alone presenting in front of class.

Afterwards, I realized that, up until that point, I really hadn't had much experience with public speaking.  It just hadn't come up other than maybe a handful of times in high school?  For some club fundraiser or such?  I certainly hadn't had any formal training.

Once I became a working girl after college, one of the first trainings I signed up for was "Effective Presentation".  The class lasted maybe a week, and there were about six of us plus the instructor.  We learned and practiced presentation skills, made and watched big honking VHS video tapes of ourselves, and got better.  Sheesh, if only I'd known in college.

Later, when I was busily volunteer momming in elementary school, I noticed lots of class presentation type activities required of the students.  I thought, "Oh, good they include this stuff in school now".  And I think it continued into middle school.  Hopefully high school too.

Seeing those kids up there, presenting compelling stories or describing a favorite possession calmed my nerves for their futures at the lectern. 

But at least I could play a mean game of Spanish Bingo!

Linking up with Mama Kat this week for the prompt:

2. Tell us about something you never learned in school but should have.

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

state, the new community?

I worked last Saturday, and we began the day by ceremoniously taking down our COVID "decorations".

It still feels weird to be a member of the unmasked at work.  Our boss really kept a tight ship regarding masking and vaccine mandates and was the first to happily delete it all.  

Of course, masking is still optional - just as before COVID, really.  But we see very few masks around campus.  One coworker continues to wear his, mainly since his 83-year-old mother lives with him.

It's nice not having muffled speech, but I notice I need to apply lip balm more frequently as my lips are no longer kept in their controlled environment.

Yesterday was Pi Day.  The math department did  Pi Day "festivities" last week since the students are on spring break this week.  I don't know what they had going on other than free personal pies from a local bakery.  I didn't get one, they were gone before one could say "3.14159265359"

I work on a community college campus, and the rumor mumblings are that it is going to change its name to "so-and-so State College".  Some other community colleges have already made this change.  The reasoning is that "community college" has evolved into a somewhat demeaning designation.

I attended a Junior college for two years prior to transferring to a university for my bachelors degree.  I'm not sure the difference between a Jr. college and a community college, but the Jr. college I attended did have dorms and sports.  I don't think community colleges have those.  Ours doesn't and I could dig deeper and find out the true differences, but I'm not really interested enough...


Despite not having sports or homecoming or really any sort of intercollegiate competitive teams, the college does have a mascot.  He can be spotted at random places and times, doing random things. 

I've wondered what purpose a community college mascot serves? 

Maybe he can head up the committee on whether to change the name.

Thursday, March 10, 2022

fifty ways to leave your lover

Yesterday was a c-c-c-c-cold blustery day.  Another snowy Wednesday.  For some reason, our stormy days this winter seem to have all fallen on Wednesdays.  I have Wednesdays off from work and get a little stir crazy, so I braved the elements for an outing.

I walked to one of the university bus stops, and while I was waiting, I saw a person on a bicycle crash in the snow as he turned the corner about a block away from me.  He sat there in a heap, him and his bicycle, for about a minute - which is a rather long time to sit in a heap in the snow during a snowstorm.  I wondered if he was too injured to get up?  Should I leave the relatively warm bus shelter and check?

But he eventually got up and dusted himself and the bike off and started walking and pushing the bike in my direction.  Was he unable to pedal?  Was the bike too damaged to ride? Honestly, it appeared that he was playing it up a bit, hoping someone would notice - maybe make a viral tiktok?

He shuffled on by, and stopped, seemingly to reassess, a few feet from me.  Then he got back on the bike and started pedaling down a dangerous road in a snow-covered bike lane on a day of low low visibility.  No helmet, no lights.  Okay, so I feel a bit of solidarity with him as a bicycle commuter/ don't-use-a-car-unless-I-feel-a-need person.  But common sense says leave the bicycle at home.  I'm going to assume he made it to his destination... or got that video fame he wanted.

It felt good to get out, and I'm reminded that we're long past the lockdown days of early COVID.  I had a mask as they are still required on the buses - until March 18th it seems.  

Living in a college town means that public transit is relatively good, but I know that city buses are often seen in a negative light - thugs, druggies, homeless, etc.  I've seen very few questionable characters - usually from the druggie category - in my years of observations.  Most people I've ridden with are just going to work or to school.  

Then there's the routing and scheduling.  The bus doesn't go at the right time, or the stops are too far away from home.  Again, living in a college town helps - especially if one is going to or from the university.  Many paths to that mountain.

The transportation decision tree for me usually goes:
orange→blue→pink→green from this lovely venn diagram 
Weather being the most common factor.

So yes, I'm pro bus even though I own a car.  Why add to traffic congestion just to transport myself and a few belongings? In fact, I sort of "make" myself drive the car somewhere about once a week, just to stay in practice.

I remember the bus driver in Colorado Springs who drove the route to the community college.  I would ride there to meet with tutor students, and he took it upon himself one day to mansplain to me how to go about buying a car.  

"Yeah, I have a car.  I've bought and sold several" 😒

One of my bicycle commuting cohorts had someone offer him money for a sandwich when he was stopped at a convenience store on his way to work one day.  They assumed he was homeless/ poor since he rode a bicycle.  He makes six figures.

I'm wondering how the current rising gas prices will affect driving habits if at all.  How high until it makes a difference?

Sunday, March 6, 2022


"Our dreams were to have land of our own, raise a family, train them to be assassins..."

Well, uhm, okay. I watched a video about young girls who are lured online and groomed into becoming ISIS brides.  Not all are young girls or necessarily naive, although many are.  In general, they join up looking for "adventure, camaraderie, and purpose".

Aren't we all?  I was a bit amazed at how easily these kids were lured and supposedly converted to Islam, if not already members.  Many were "normal" kids - bright, active, social.  Nobody would've guessed nor could fathom "why?".  They just didn't come home one day, and their parents eventually get a text.

I watched the story while playing with my pencils and sketchbook and drew this yogini.

Yesterday, we were in the neighborhood of a Best Buy, so we went inside and I played with a Surface tablet.  I haven't felt lured and groomed into digital artplay, but that little Surface tablet was nice.  

Not cheap.  Not necessary.  I bought nothing, then came home and played with pencils and paper.  

Of course the Surface tablets support much more than just digital artwork.  Maybe when my current PC departs this life.  Maybe.

Speaking of adventure, camaraderie, and purpose, we made it through another week.  A pretty low key one at this end.  I guess "boring" can be a good thing.  In contrast with sons and daughters running off and becoming terrorists, yes, "boring" is good.

Friday, March 4, 2022

face appreciation?

I just found out that today is "Employee Appreciation Day".  Well... what does that mean?  

It so happens that I have the day off from work today.  They tryna tell me something?

Actually, our boss is pretty good about showing the appreciation for us underlings.  Especially this semester, with the increased COVID requirements, some days can be a b*tch.  I don't think we've had one day go by without incident of someone being turned away for lack of proof of either vaccination or recent negative test.  

The students aren't a problem, but we also serve non-students who are unaware of the requirements.  Sure, it's spelled out in their appointment confirmation emails, but who reads that stuff??  Not everyone, it turns out.

Really, though, it's gone relatively smoothly.  Most people have been nice about it and able to come back later with the goods.  One notable exception is a guy who had an absolute hissy fit, made a bit of a scene with security, then broke a door on his way out.  His exam certification had to do with physical training, and we highly suspect a bit of roid rage was going on.  He's not allowed to come back.

Too bad for him because *HOORAY* the powers that be told us that the mandates are being lifted after next week.  No more required proof of vaccination/ negative test.  Masks won't even be required anymore.

This because our county and those of other branches of the college have moved into "low risk of community transmission".  The major state universities have already stopped their mandates this week. Case numbers and hospitalizations have significantly dropped, so time to move on.  

All good news, of course.  

But it will be weird to see the naked faces at work again...

and to be a naked face.  


Linking up this week with Mama Kat for the prompt:

4. Write a blog post inspired by the word: stop.