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By Robin Dearing
Monday, February 11, 2013
It's nice to have someone who pretends to be interested in my work.
I'm loving writing lectures for my new History of Graphic Design class. The information is so interesting. After writing the lesson on medieval illuminated manuscripts, I made Bill look at all my slides as I rambled on and on. Those handmade texts are brilliantly detailed and meticulously crafted. Fun stuff, to say the least.
Mankind has created some amazing objects. I love that I get to spend my time learning and talking about them ... even if some of my students appear to actually be dying of boredom before my eyes. Regardless, I'm happy doing my job and look forward to every class.
By Robin Dearing
Thursday, February 7, 2013
I like being active, but I like lying down more … way more. To combat my penchant for lying down, I’ve been pushing myself to get more cardio exercise.
A couple of weeks ago I started going to the CMU’s gym to use the cardio machines. You know CMU’s gym, it’s the one with all the young college students. It’s intimidating, but overall I like their gym. It’s very open with lots of windows and lots of machines.
I started using the ellipticals, but didn’t feel like I was really pushing myself hard enough. This week I decided to start running/ walking on the treadmill for 3.1 miles (aka 5K) a couple of times a week.
I like that I have a distance goal instead of a time goal because I push myself to finish faster. And you know what? I’ve already shaved three minutes off my time.
And you know what else?
I think it’s going to kill me.
After I’m done with my 5K, I stagger across campus to try to find my car. I’m sweaty and flush. My legs are made of Jell-O. My head is foggy. If this is the runner’s high I’ve heard about, I’m getting ripped off. I look like I’m diseased, spreading contagion all over the young people on their way to class.
Once I stop sweating, my hips and knees start aching. And they never stop. My right knee is still singing the blues from my trip to the gym yesterday.
I see people running and they don’t look like they are in pain or on the verge of crying. Maybe I’m doing it wrong. Or maybe I just need to go lie down.
By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Wednesday, February 6, 2013
By Robin Dearing
Thursday, January 31, 2013
Two days in a row now, I’ve woken up with a migraine headache.
Yesterday, I managed to get Margaret to school and teach my class with the pound-pound-pounding in my head and sickness in my gut. When I got home from class, I broke down and gave myself an Imitrex injection. After, I felt well enough to get some work done.
Today, when I realized I was sick again, my mood turned quickly. I had a crumby morning followed by another injection.
I’m well enough again to work, but those migraines and the associated medication get to me. I feel so hopeless. I haven’t been doing anything that usually triggers my migraines. Instead, I’ve been eating well and going to the gym. I should feel awesome.
I don’t and it blows.
Of course, there are always other things that add to me feeling down, but that’s how life works. There are always things to make you feel better and some to make you feel worse. Normally, I choose to focus on the things that make me feel better.
But these migraines are insidious. They creep into my psyche and mess stuff up. I start fearing that I will never not have migraines. I will always feel terrible and have to keep giving myself painful shots of powerful medicine.
It wears me down.
But I’ll work today and spend time with my family tonight and hope tomorrow is back to normal.
By Robin Dearing
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
I’ve been trying to just carry on, but then my dear aunt wrote this on Facebook, “OK, it has sunk in and today I am sad … “ and the waterworks started.
I’m sure there is a whole bunch of us hearty-peasant stock who are sad today. My gramma, my mom’s mom, died on Saturday. Berniece "Bea" Dussart was 90.
This was my gramma's Facebook profile picture. Yep, my gramma had her own Facebook page and she'd chat you up whenever she was online.
My gramma was a neat lady. We lived close to her while I was growing up in California. I’d ride my bike to her house to watch TV with her and drink Pepsis out of tall, glass bottles. My mom, gramma and I would often go shopping and out to lunch. She would spend the night at our house on Christmas Eve so we could all wake up together on Christmas day. We often played board games and cards, especially Canasta. She drove a Pinto on her long commute to her job at an electronics manufacturing plant.
My gramma was smart which is a good thing for the whole heap of us who are here because of her. She grew up in rural, farming community in Kansas. She excelled at French and played a mean game of tennis. After high school, she was offered a scholarship to go to college, but her family couldn’t afford the textbooks.
She married my grandfather Charles Ferguson and they had five kids before they divorced. She remarried Bill Dussart and had my aunt. That marriage too ended in divorce. My mom is the second of six kids in total. Five girls: Nancy, Shirley, Patricia, Cynthia and Sandra. One boy: David. (David’s only son Clint saw the birth of his first child a boy named Chace on Sunday. The cycle of life continues.)
As I said, we are big folk. My gramma was 6-foot tall before gravity started taking its toll. She had to wear shoes that were one or two sizes too small causing her terrible foot problems, which would later cause knee problems which lead to hip problems. Gramma would always tell us girls to never wear shoes that didn’t fit properly. Amen to that, Gramma.
She moved to Pueblo after her retirement. She had a lot of family in Pueblo and in the Denver area. When I moved to Grand Junction, the drive on Highway 50 to visit her became one of my favorites. Then I had my own family and visits became much less frequent. Her health declined. She moved to Littleton to live with my aunt. Recently, she moved into an assisted-living facility.
Her heart stopped Saturday night. The facility didn’t know she had a DNR and tried to resuscitate her. She never woke up.
Six children, 14 grandchildren and somewhere around 36 great-grandchildren. 46 people and that's not counting the spouses who loved Gramma Bea, too. Now there’s a whole bunch of us who are sad. But this is how life goes and 90 years is a good, long time to live.
By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Friday, January 25, 2013
Kiwi Crate offered to let the Ashcraft clan kid-test one of their craft boxes.
We tried to the Valentine box which included everything to make 25 homemade pop-up Valentines.
As you can see, when I say "included everything," I really mean it. The box has new markers, a glue stick, jeweled stickers, die-cut designs, and blank cards. Plus, instructions on how to assemble the cards. The fact the box includes everything is one of my favorite things about this product. I HATE when I buy something, come home and have to scramble for some unknown item like double-sided tape or sheet magnets. Maybe some of you have a well-stocked craft box, and believe me I've tried to keep up on with our supplies, but we use them so fast that the craft box is usually just a bunch of odds and ends, with all the good stuff used up. There was no scramble, because everything except scissors was already in the box. AWESOME! (said in my high-pitched Oprah voice.)
Valentine-making is pretty straight forward. I'm good with simple and so were the kids. The die-cuts had white spaces to mark where the jewel stickers should go, like a heart on the Teddy Bear's chest, etc. Soren shirked the rules and put eyeballs on the robot's fingers. Scribbling was encouraged. There wasn't anything in the process that couldn't be done by the 3-years-old to the 7-year-olds.
We ended up with these.
I asked Violet, 4, what she thought of the Kiwi Crate. "It's beautiful and I love it because that's what you're supposed to do on Valentine's Day, LOVE it," she said.
Well, there ya go.
But, there is more to this product. At KiwiCrate.com, you can purchase individual kits like we tried, OR you can sign up for a bimonthly subscription where you'll receive two project crates each month. That's pretty awesome. Their projects range from artistic to scientific. They've won multiple toy of the year awards and I can see why.
As an added bonus, I found their blog to have tons of free ideas to keep kids busy on a rainy day. I'm a fan and can't wait for the next birthday to come up!
By Robin Dearing
Thursday, January 24, 2013
The hotel we stayed at in Mexico had a large outdoor buffet. Each night had a different theme. One of the themes was Mexican.
Yes, the buffet in Mexico had a Mexican theme complete with vendors lining the walkway like we had seen all over the streets of Mexico. It was just like Mexico. And we were in Mexico. The irony was wonderful.
One of the vendor tables was bare compared to the rest. A man sat painting a landscape on a tile. We watched as he completed the painting using only his fingers and fingernail. He could complete a painting in about 20 minutes. The artist’s name is Francisco Nava.
Margaret and my niece were entranced. They watched him complete a painting, ate their dinners as fast as they could and went back to watch again.
Of course, they wanted their own paintings. They got to choose the subject and the color theme. Margaret chose a monochromatic view of a church accented with colorful flowers.
Because it was painted on a ceramic tile, I wrung my hands and worried how we were going to get it home in one piece. I packed it carefully in my carry and and it make it home just fine. I quickly took it to a local frame shop.
We picked it up earlier this week. Check it out:
It’s a nice little piece. I love that Margaret commissioned the piece directly from the artist and happily watched it being made. She has a connection to the painting which is pretty neat.
Art is cool.
By Robin Dearing
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Last time I wrote about my 12-year-old dog, Quincy, was in May when she started having problems while she and I were out for a walk. I don’t know if it was her back or if she was dehydrated or what. Whatever it was seems to have fixed itself.
That sounds crazy, doesn’t it? Old dogs don’t develop problems walking and then presto, they’re all better. Unless, you’re Quincy, it seems.
Ever since Quincy started having walking problems, I started taking her on shorter walks on flat streets. Most days this past fall found me walking Quincy around the neighborhood. She was happy to walk, stop, sniff, pee, repeat. We went out most days.
Then this winter happened and Quincy became reluctant to go outside for more than a quick turn around the yard for some pee on the rocks. I couldn’t let her lie around all winter, so we started taking very short walks with her sweater on which would sometimes end with her legs seeming to shiver right off her body.
The long period of cold inspired me to buy her a new bed, blanket, sweater and a new harness. Once I started walking her with her new harness, everything changed.
All of a sudden, instead of her normal walk, stop, sniff, pee routine, she was pulling on her leash and trying to run. Because I felt bad that she’d been cooped up for so long, I jogged a little way assuming she just wanted to get the walk over with and get back to her bed.
Uh, no. Now, I have to wear my gym shows whenever I walk her. She wants to run all the time.
I keep thinking it’s the cold weather and she’ll go back to her walk, stop, sniff, pee habit. Not so. Today, I was in my work clothes since it was the first day of my new class (which I love, love, love, by the way) and my running shoes chasing my dog down the sidewalk dodging ice patches.
Running has never been my thing and my knees have been killing me this winter, so you can only imagine what I look like trying to keep up with a little dog who was bred to do nothing but run super fast. Thank goodness she still wants to stop, sniff and pee or I might never make it around the block.
Sheesh, old dog, slow down already!
By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Because I have nothing to write about. Because we've holed up in our house like a family of hibernating bears. Because much of the time Fred and I sit side-by-side in our catatonic state of cold-bloodedness, thinking we should get up and do something but don't. Because I haven't been using this time to teach the capitols of the the states, describe the Newton's Law of Gravity, or build a soap box car with the boys.
Because all I've done is lay around and look at junk on the Internet —
I give you this.