Thursday, December 07, 2017

Stinkin' Up the Great Outdoors, But the Kids Don't Mind

Well, it's cold as hell now, but this past weekend was eerily warm for December in Iowa, so let's talk about that.

Saturday was the big hang-out with my girls and do fun, cheap Christmassy things day.

It started out with a free club dance work-out class at Big Grove Brewery. It was damn good (read: painful) work-out. There were some times where the ladies teaching the class tried to do some kind of sexy move, which gave my daughters a nice mix of embarrassment and hilarity watching me try to follow along with said moves. Overall, it was a fun time and it was good to hang-out with my daughters and friends...And did I mention that it was FREE?

After our class, we met John and our friend's Burne and Chelsea for lunch at Basta. That wasn't quite as affordable, but it was a really nice meal, so it was worth the cost.

Afterward, John decided to go home and get some yard work done, and the rest of us headed to the student union where they were having a holiday thieves market. I always buy the girls a Christmas ornament that they pick out every year. So, this year, they got to pick out a hand made ornament, and they got some cute ones.

There was also free beer and wine tasting. I couldn't drink, but I did try some ginger beer, since that's non-alcoholic.

After we exhausted the thieves market, we headed downtown where they had some pop-up stores.

We went into Raygun, which I loved and I came very close to buying this book about the Midwest being god's gift to planet earth, but apparently, I do have some restraint.

I thought it would be fun to get a photo of the girls with Santa, but a friend of mine said she saw him at the library and he looked pretty creepy. We chose a different festive theme, an adorable little sleigh it's one that wouldn't potentially cause the girls to use the metoo hashtag.

But fair is fair, they got me in a cat mask for a photo too. I hope they like their only Christmas gift...

Speaking of Christmas gifts...I bought this Iowa mug at the thieves market. I thought of using it as a present for someone, but in this season of not giving, I decided to keep it for myself. It's pretty cool, huh?

When we finally got home from our Christmas day, I saw that John had raked all of the leaves in our yard, just in time for the last days of city leaf pick-up. What a guy.

On Sunday, it was still soooopidly nice outside. It was also very windy, so we decided to ride mountain bikes where we were more protected from the wind, instead of riding on the road.

The normal place we ride mountain bikes is closed for the month of December for shotgun hunting season, so we headed to Cedar Rapids to a place called Beverly instead.

Beverly used to just be vacant woods and you can see where people dumped their old cars or the ruins of an old foundation.

We got some good riding in and had fun playing outside.

I know I always say this, but I am so happy to be married to someone who likes to play outside as much as I do.

After we got done riding, we headed to a place called Parlor City for taco pizza and beer. It was a perfect way to end our play day and our weekend, before it got Iowa cold again this week.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Tell Me Lies. Tell Me Sweet Little Lies.

Well, it's finally Winter here in Iowa and I am in need of some motivation to keep myself moving. I have always been good at building up my Winter pelt, but it's only December and already I have enough fat stores that I could sleep outside every night naked in -20 temperatures (sorry for the visual) and I'd be warm enough. So, I'm trying to whittle that pelt down, but, man is it hard to get up at 5 in the morning before work to make that happen.

I was trying to read books on the indoor bike trainer, but pedaling and holding a book gave me even worse posture than I already have, and the last thing I need is back problems, so I started doing something new today. I got out John's iPad and hooked up the HBOGO. Now, I pedal while watching the show "Big Little Lies', which is pretty damn good and full of beautiful, wealthy people in amazing beach front homes, but who have very many sad, little, secrets. My rule for myself, is that I can only watch the show when I'm riding the trainer, so now I am much more inclined to jump (er, closer to whining and hobbling) out of bed at 5 and get on the trainer. Believe me, I understand how lame it is to make deals with myself just to get my ass in gear, but I've never pretended not to be lame, right?

I'll let you know how it works...Or doesn't.

Friday, December 01, 2017

Here in My Car I Feel Safest of All. I Can Lock All My Doors.

Please note that this photo was taken right after a bike race, so that's why I look more worse for wear than usual.

Today is the first day of no car payments, hopefully for the rest of my life. I bought my very first brand new car this day 5 years ago. Since then I have driven 18,000 miles on it and made payments every month for the last 5 years. Today was my last payment. If continue to drive it 18,000 miles every five years, and most Honda Fits last over 200,000 miles, I should be able to drive this car for another 40 years at least. Although, I'd be surprised if I'll still be driving in my 90's...

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Beautiful People Everywhere. The Way They Show They Care Makes me Want to Say, It's a Beautiful World

It was one hell of a lovely four day weekend. We got so lucky with the weather and both of my girls are living in town and we got to hang out with our friends too. Boy howdee! I honestly don't know what could have made it better. Maybe if it were even longer...

On Thursday, we got up early and headed to the local Catholic high school for their annual Thanksgiving Day trail run. I ran with Stinky. So, it was the first time I ever did it without trying to go as hard as I could. I went at Stinky's pace and walked when she wanted to walk and it was really fun. We weren't going to win any medals, but who cares?

After the run, we went home, I made the dressing, stuffed the turkey, threw it in the oven and John and headed to the Rec services building, where we didn't work-out, but instead, we sat in the Jacuzzi and watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade on the big screen TV. It was completely decadent, ie, perfect.

We got home and cleaned and cooked and Coadster came over. We had a nice dinner, and I was sure I made too much food, but Stinky and her fiance showed up around 7:30 and they and Coadster and John all had another meal with it then. I, of course, didn't indulge in that because I wanted to save all my stomach room for pumpkin cheesecake. Ahhhhh.

After (the second) dinner, our friends Chelsea and Burne came over and we played some Cards Against Humanity...Because we are just THAT classy.

On Friday, I slept in and it was marvelous. I slowly got moving - and by that, I mean, I made some tea and moved upstairs to my reading room to put on the fake fireplace and read a book in the prone position.

You'll all be happy to know that I did eventually get my ass in gear to enjoy the unseasonably amazing weather. I ran my 3.5 mile route first.

There were tons of people outside playing. It made me so happy that people were playing instead of shopping.

After the run, I heated up leftovers for lunch (I wish they could last forever), then we met some friends to ride mountain bikes on the trails.

As you can see, I rode in shorts, at the end of November...In Iowa! Holy guacamole! did that feel good.

After the ride, we went home and had a drink on the porch and gave Archie all of the attention we could manage...Which still isn't enough for him.

For our evening entertainment, we played Scrabble and John beat me by at least 10 points, as usual.

Watching Archie try to fit in the Scrabble box, was also fairly entertaining.

Saturday was a little cooler out, but I still got a run in and John and I got back out on the mountain bike trails, since they will close for the month of December for hunting season, so it was our last chance.

On Sunday, the winds had calmed down some, so we decided to do a 50 mile road ride to Kalona and back.

My girls and some of our friends drove there and met us for a late lunch.

We had a strong headwind on the way there, but on the way home the winds had died down some and we had a slight tailwind (which was much nicer).

It gets dark so early now, that we were distracted by really cool looking shadows on the fields as we rode...

...And speaking of distractions, the sunset was beautiful enough to wreck my bike over. We did see cars pulled over on the side of the road taking pictures of it. It's a beautiful world.

On Sunday evening, my girls came over and we painted homemade Christmas cards. They also had to watch the Sunday night football game. Coadster is a Packers fan and Stinky is a Steeler's fan. It's damn good thing they have plenty of things to bicker about.

Here are our cards. I made a couple of cards that weren't Christmassy, so I can use them for thank-you's or birthdays and Stinky made some that were just a straight color, since she had gold and silver pens at home that she could write "happy holiday's, or Kwanzaa, or Hanukka, or New Year or Christmas or whatever you like to celebrate this time of year.

Soooo, I am full of seasonal goodness and happiness, even though (or maybe because) the weather hasn't been very seasonal. I hope your holiday filled you with goodness as well.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

That May be All I Need.

Oh, kids. I got a weekend. A WHOLE weekend where we didn't race or work on the course (except to put the last of the stakes in barrels and take them to their final resting place at the Johnson County Fairgrounds, but that only took 2 hours).

Anyway, so here's what I did on my lazy Sunday. I'm sure you're all waiting with bated breath. I woke up very late and then John and I watched some professional cyclocross races online. I also ate toast and drank tea and finished reading my book that was a novel about the beginning of the French Revolution.

I finally got my ass in gear and went out for a 3.5 mile run. I love running past that dragon. The first time I saw it, I was running in the morning and it was still dark and it scared the bejeebus out of me, but now that I know what it is, it makes me laugh every time.

I guess the real danger of me staying home on a weekend, is having time to indulge my passion of obsessively taking stupid pictures of my annoying cat.

Here's something that ought to put you off your breakfast, a morphed selfie of me and Archie. A veritable meeting of the empty minds.

I finally got around to making lunch and John thinks every meal is better if the food is hot enough to make him sweat. So, I cut up some jalapenos a friend of mine gave us from  her garden. It's kind of nice to still be eating garden food in November in Iowa.

I also got to work in the garden for a little bit on Sunday afternoon. I tore apart most of the flower garden in the easement. I ripped up the sunflower stalks and some other things from the garden and then put some in our compost bin and the rest in the yard waste can for the city to haul away. I still have a lot more to go with all of that, but it was a nice start.

Since my hands were freezing from working outside and the air is getting so dry around here, John and went to the gym. Not to work-out, mind you, but to sit in the steam room. It was lovely.

After our time at the gym not working-out, we decided to try a new restaurant on Melrose Street. It's called Maggie's Farm Pizza. the food was great and the ambiance is really nice. It was a great way to end my relaxing weekend. I can't wait for the next one.

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Come on and Cheer Until You Hear the Final Gun (or not)

Coadster as a football with the quarterback in 1992.

As most of you know, I'm not generally super into ball sports. But, I do live in a college town and I always want everyone to be happy, plus both my daughters work in bar/restaurants here where they make more money when we win. So, I'm usually very happy when the Hawkeyes are doing well.

This last Saturday may have been the only exception. We went to a restaurant where one of my daughter's works for dinner that night. We were enjoying our meal and were loving how happy everyone was when the Hawkeyes were stomping the Buckeyes. It's always fun to be somewhere where the whole crowd is passionate about the game...With one small exception. There was a couple sitting at the bar and when we got the first turnover, they high-five'd each other. After the second turnover, they hugged each other and then when we made the third turnover, they kissed. I just didn't know what to hope for. I wanted the Hawkeyes to continue doing well, but with how things were progressing, I didn't really think I wanted to see that couple having sex on the bar.

Luckily, John and I left before things got TOO passionate and the Hawks won. The perfect solution.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Must be the Season of the Witch

Happy Halloween, all of my blog readers. On this day in my little college town, I like to play, "Is the person wearing the cape dressed up for Halloween, or just a theater major?" It's lot's of fun.

I am going to try harder to be better about writing in her more often. Our big cyclocross race is this weekend, so I'm hoping to have more time after that. Until that time, have a great holiday today.

Monday, October 09, 2017

Words are Stupid, Words are Fun. Words Can Put You on the Run

check this out. You can go on the Merriam Webster page, put in your birth year and it will tell you which words were first used in print on that day. You will not be surprised to hear that the word "spaz" was first used in print on the year that I was born.

Friday, October 06, 2017

And Everybody Tells Me That It's Cool to be a Cat

It's Friday and since I'm not up for writing a real blog post today, I will leave you with pictures of my cat. I know, it's not much of a prize, but it's probably WAY better than listening to me ramble on.

The first photo was from when Archie was still a very active kitten, John didn't live with me yet and the bottom kitchen cupboards had yet to be sanded, primed and painted. Things are so much better now than 7 years ago on all fronts.

I hope you all have a great weekend. It's Homecoming here and supposed to be very rainy. Two good reasons to stay away from downtown on Saturday. Holing up at home or heading to Des Moines for a race are looking like my best options.

Okay, so... May your weekend be long on fun and short on fat orange cats.

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Sunflower Good Morning. You Sure Do Make It Look Like a Sunny Day.

So, the garden is on its last legs, but I'm still getting some things out of it. This weekend I finally decided to try and harvest some sunflower seeds.

The sunflower innards are funky looking.

I had originally planted them because they are beautiful, but also because we feed the birds in our backyard, sunflower seeds and I thought it might relieve us of the cost of a couple of bags of seed.

I probably waited too long to harvest them because, as you can see, the birds got a head start. I guess the seeds are for them anyway, so it's not like I'm mad that they ate them in the Summer as opposed to the Fall or Winter...It's just less work to get them off of their flower head thingies.

Anyway, I did my thing and it took about an hour and half to cut the flowers off of the stalks, get them all together, brush the pollen off of the seeds and then pull the seeds out. Those damn birds better appreciate all of this.

Now, the seeds are drying out and I only have a few more food projects with the garden. I still have to cut up, blanch and freeze the butternut squash and then make some pepperoncini with the banana and Anaheim peppers that are still growing like crazy.

All of this sunflower seed harvesting was lots of fun and everything but the weird, busy, patterns from the flowers and seeds are enough to give me a migraine. They do make for some cool photos, though.