Monday, April 30, 2007

Yo wassup with the L O C?

Here is one of my favorite photos from the orchard last Fall.

In an attempt to avoid the wah-wah quality of my last few posts, I thought I'd stop going on and on about my past illness and move on to something more positive. So, I'll just quickly list a few of my favorite things from the past week.

1.) My favorite day so far this month - May 1st is payday. Hip, hip, hooray!

2.) My favorite e-mail address this week has got to be, funkyjoemedina@somethin'somethin'.com

3.) My favorite google search that recently led people to my blog, besides the plethora of inquiries for "fourteen joys and a will to be merry", (which cracks me up too) was "nicknames for sniffing glue". I would love to have a job where I made-up cool street names for huffing. It would be so much more rewarding than what I'm doing now. Snorting Mr. Ed, or honking VOC's (volatile organic compounds) are the first two that come to mind...Yeah, yeah, I know. I'm not quitting my day job, I'm just fantasizing about it - a lot.

4.) My favorite misheard song lyric. Do you guys know that one song that's on the radio now? If you don't have teenage daughters, you might not have to, but it's by Omarion and the lyrics are supposed to be "There's an ice box where my heart used to be..." One of the girls' friends thought it was, "There's an Xbox where my heart used to be..." I think that is so much better. Who wouldn't sign up for that kind of transplant? When you got dumped, you wouldn't get all morose, you'd just kill zombies, or you'd be fake smiling on the outside, but playing Guitar Hero on the inside. I would even sign up for it, and I don't really know how to play video games very well. I get confused by all the controls and what they're supposed to do. THERE. I said it, I have a video game playing disability. Now, I can run off and find a three day seminar to learn how, or a support group to rise above it. Does this mean that I have a social disease, or a non-social disease?

5.) This last one is not a favorite thing, but the weirdest thing I saw today. I was running on the corner of First Avenue and Court Street, when I thought I saw a branch on the sidewalk. As I got closer, I noticed there was a hoof attached to it, and that it was really a deer leg. How does one lose their disconnected deer leg? Would it fall out of a person's pocket or fly out of the back of a guy's truck? I'm at a loss...

Sunday, April 29, 2007

The Party's Just Begun, We'll Let You In

I guess I'll just keep recycling last years photos, until I can get my ass out and take some new ones. So, hello Spring in Iowa City. You smell so good.

I kicked the bug I had earlier, but now I'm still weak. I had to stop and walk for a couple miles during my run today and yesterday, and I never, ever do that. I felt like such a wienie. I'm not sure why I'm still like this, but I did lose a lot of weight in a couple of days, so I'm thinking that might be the problem. Mostly, it's just annoying because the weather has been amazing, and I really want to go out and play, but I can't. Yeah, I know - wah, fucking wah.

Without letting me know beforehand, my ex took the girls to see his play today from 12:30-5:30. It was fine. It just would have been nice to know that was going on. You know, in case I might want to be able to plan anything. What that anything might be, I don't know, but the option sounds nice, doesn't it?

I begin having free time this week. Woooooo hoooo! It's been so long, I can't remember what I used to do during the week when the girls were at their dad's house in the past, but I'm excited to find out. I have tomorrow night off, (after I pick-up girls from soccer practice) Wednesday night off, and Saturday night after Coadster's big scary party, that is stressing me out a little. (the party, not the time off)

I know I've mentioned it to many of my friends already, but if you live in town and want to stop by and make fun of high school kids and me trying to spin CD's, let me know. Also, if you have any Valium, morphine, or a flask full of bourbon you want to bring along, I would so make you my new best friend.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Takes a Lot of Time to Push Away the Nonsense

Hey, I'm recycling this photo from my old blog. I think it's real purty.

I didn't blog last night because I was in a bit of a funk. I was still kind of sick from the day before, but I was in denial and went running anyway. Duh. It kind of knocked me out all over again.

I still think there is some bad juju around town. After the bomb threat earlier in the week, on Thursday, we had another weird thing in the building across the street from our offices. I missed it, since I was busy at home being sick. I guess, some bozo thought it would be really funny to go to class with his hood over his face, and then take it off to reveal the ski mask he was wearing even though it was way too warm for it. He didn't remove it, because you know how funny it is to try to freak people out in your lecture so soon after the Virginia Tech shootings? Yeah, me neither.

Some other guy in his class went out and called the cops, and more buildings were on lock-down and the ski mask guy was escorted into his own chauffeured black and white vehicle.

In one of the informational e-mails we received from our grand institution, the student was described as wearing a ski mask with a questionable bulge by his waist. Me and some of the women in my office wanted more information, like, how big was the bulge? You know, the guy might not be all bad. Maybe he just needs some new friends...

I also hope this guy doesn't give up his quest to crack everyone up. I think this ski mask prank would be even funnier at a convenience store at about 3 am. I'm sure the night attendant would really appreciate the humor.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Now I'm a Seasick Sailor On a Ship of Noise

Now I've got a corn photo in black and white...You know, just to mix it up.

I'm trying my hand at sitting up. I haven't been able to master that fine art much today. I went home sick from work at around 9:30. I had a bad stomach, a bad head, and was super dizzy and weak. I've pretty much slept on and off all day. I feel like the worst mom ever. No, really - even worse than normal. At 6:30, I called in an order for pizza for the girls, but then realized we were out of milk. I have no idea how I drove to the store and back, but all I can say is that I'm glad no little kids rode their bikes out into the street in front of me, or I'd be writing this from my cell right now.

After my 2,369th nap, I woke-up around 10 pm, and I was a little less dizzy. I even ate a cookie. Because, no matter how sick to my stomach I get, I can always eat cookies. I'm just tough that way, I guess. I'm finally feeling a little better now, we'll see how I feel tomorrow.

The weird thing about sleeping all day, was that I remembered my very vivid dreams. The first one was really lame. I dreamt that I watched American Idol, so I finally had something to talk about with my co-workers. Then I had these crazy sex dreams. I'll save you the details, but I will say that they were the good kind. Not the icky ones, where you realize you're making-out with your high school P.E teacher and you wake-up shuddering and have to take a shower right away.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Bits and Pieces

Well, hey there. Lookee here. We got us some sepia toned stalks of corn.

Kids, I think I'll make this short. I've had a weird and hectic day or two and I'm going to try really hard to actually get some rest tonight. Plus, there are some storms rolling in, and I may need to go find my bag to breathe into very soon.

I am happy to say, that things are going to start slowing down here pretty quickly, in the next week and I can't wait. My ex's play goes up this weekend and once that happens, I'll actually have a few nights off from the girls during the week. I love my girls, it's just nice to have time to do my own thing or hang out with adults every now and again too.

After work today, I had the privilege of sitting outside on metal bleachers in the rain for an hour and a half watching Coadster play soccer. I would only ever do that for my girls. I'm sure you are all very nice people, but don't bother asking me to sit in the rain and watch you play soccer, because I will definitely say no. Soccer games are so much more interesting when it's sunny and in the seventies and I can sit on a blanket and get a blotchy sunburn because I am apparently sloppy about applying sunscreen.

Since I'm already totally scattered here, I'll just mention that there was a bomb threat in one of the buildings on the campus where I work. They brought bomb sniffing dogs, and didn't find anything, but it was a fun little scare while it lasted. The offices across the street from us, decided to lock down and I'm so glad we didn't. If I've said it once, I've said it a hundred times, the real danger in my office, always comes from within.

Monday, April 23, 2007

I Can Feel the Devil Walking Next to Me

I can't remember the last time I posted a photo of a barn, and you know how much I like to look at barns.

I think Mr. Dateman is getting a little cocky about his ability to get REALLY bad songs stuck in my head for long periods of time. I have to give it to him, he does seem to have a special gift for that, and there's probably no one else who would be quite as impressed by those kinds of mad skillz as I am.

This weekend, he apparently had a devious scheme to expose me to some exquisite cheesiness and then hope it would ooze into that soft, impressionable part of my brain that would house it for days, until it finally loosed itself from the goo or was replaced by something else even worse. His plot was foiled, however, because he couldn't find the song he wanted to torture me with.

"So, are you at least going to tell me what it was?" I asked.

"No," he said.

"That's so mean of you." He said the mean was good, because it helped balance things out a little.

"That's true," I conceded. "When a guy is as nice you are, it makes a girl wonder if there aren't bodies buried in the basement somewhere."

I hate to say it, because I have a feeling it will make him that much more smug, but even without finding the song he wanted, he still managed to get "One Night in Bangkok" stuck in my head for two full days now. Damn it!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Handing Tickets Out for God

Here is a big old tree that may or may not have survived the tornado.

As a parent, I've tried to caution my children about the evils of sniffing glue, dating guys who give themselves nicknames and writing down any personal information on their Myspace profiles. This weekend, I realized that I was severely negligent in one big area, I forgot to tell them not to talk to people who go door to door trying to sell their religion.

On Saturday afternoon, I had a small window in between coming home from Coadster's soccer game and taking Stinky and one of her friends to the mall, where I could squeeze in a seven mile run. As I was getting ready, my doorbell rang. I looked out to see two people who looked to be in their early twenties peering in my apartment.

"Hi. We talked to your daughter, Coadster a few weeks ago while she was home during Spring break and we thought we'd come back to check in on her. Did she tell you about us?" the well dressed woman asked.

"Um, no. Who are you?"

"We walk around to houses and talk to people about religion. I left a book with her, and I wanted to check to see if she read it."

"Oh, well. I think she's pretty happy with her own religion..."

"As Jehovah's Witnesses, we don't try to take people away from their own religions, we just try to add to that and see if we can give them a clearer understanding of the Bible's teachings. I thought I might talk to her about what happened at Virginia Tech this week..."

"Yeah. Okay. I get it. I think Coadster's already been inundated with news about Virginia Tech this week. I would rather you didn't talk to her about it. I have problems with religious groups using fear in order to obtain new members." By this point I was kind of pissed-off. If she hadn't been so condescending and annoying, I would probably have felt sorry for her. In general, it's not a good idea to come to my home and try to shove religion down my throat at any point during the day, but when you take up my precious time right when I'm jonesing for a free high, I may just turn into The Hulk on your ass.

"Oh, I think you misunderstood what we're actually trying to do here. Do you mind if I read you a little bit of scripture?"

What I wanted to say, was that I liked drinking alcohol and enjoyed having premarital sex very much and that unless her church condoned those things, I probably wasn't interested in hearing any scriptures. Instead, I toned it down, and said, "Sorry. I'm really not interested. I'm in a hurry and we're a family who loves celebrating our birthdays."

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Everyone's Trying to Get It Right, Get It Right

Because we live in Iowa, we see lots of these signs all over.

Kids, this will be short. I've had a long day, but it's been good for the most part. I think 80% of the staff at my job took the day off. The ones of us who were dumb enough to stick it out for the whole day, got very, very silly by four o'clock. The last hour of work, all we could do was make fun of the stupid things we said to people over the phones. At one point, I was trying to say, "We try to make things easy here," but it came out, "We try to be really easy here." Guess how much shit I caught for that one. The answer to that is, as much as I should have.

It still wasn't as bad as the time that John was trying to multi-task by answering a phone call from a guy and reading an e-mail from the Mrs. at the same time. Instead of asking, " How may I direct your call?" he asked, "How may I direct your wife?" Luckily for him, the guy had a sense of humor.

Okay. I must go, so I can wake-up and go to soccer games and run a whole bunch and hopefully, visit my friend, K.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

He Knows That Something Somewhere Has to Break

Me and some other Ottumwa girls in the dorms at UNI. Don't you love that old Diet Pepsi can?

I figured I'd go on with the "year in review" posts. Let's do years ending in three next, okay? I was going to start with 1973, but then I found this picture of me in the dorms, wearing a sweater vest with a t-shirt underneath from 1983. I thought we all could use a laugh on Friday.

Age: I started it at 17 and turned 18 in July.

Music: Every dorm party included songs from U2, The Police, Men at Work, The Fixx, anything from Michael Jackson's Thriller, The Talking Heads', "Burning Down the House", and Men Without Hats', "Safety Dance". (complete with the weird arm movements from the video) The biggest thing for me was that I finally got to see The Police in concert in November. You can give me all the shit you want, but The Police is still one of my all-time favorite bands ever. I first heard them in 1979. If I remember it correctly, I had been listening to Steve Dahl and company on WLUP blowing up disco records at Comiskey Park. (my brother and I were big Steve Dahl fans back then) Later that night, they played Outlandos D'Amour in full and I was hooked. I went out and bought it the next day and played it over and over, until my brother threatened my life. So, seeing The Police live was HUGE for me. There was a big, ugly snowstorm that day, so half the seats were empty and we could get really close to the band. It was awesome.

Movies: I saw a lot of movies that year. My sister worked at the theater in Ottumwa, so I got to see a lot for free. I was also too young to drink legally, and we'd get drunk in the dorms and then go check out a film. These are some movies I saw that year: Easy Money, Terms of Endearment, Cujo, Return of the Jedi, Flashdance, The King of Comedy, The Big Chill, Risky Business, Silkwood, Scarface, Star 80 and Valley Girl. The one movie that I regret never having seen is Evil Dead. I know.

TV: We watched tons old shows in the dorms. We tried to catch Leave it to Beaver every day. I also saw that made for TV movie, The Day After and thought it was too boring to cause as much controversy as it did. At that time, General Hospital was really big on my dorm floor. It was one of the Luke and Laura momentous occasions and I can't recall which one. She either got raped by Luke and then fell in love with them, or the whole town got frozen by a freeze ray, or maybe that's when they got married. I never paid a whole lot of attention. Did I mention that I smoked a lot of pot back then?

Books: When I was still in high school, I read a lot of Vonnegut, and John Irving, and I liked Russian writers back then too. Once I got to college, I stopped reading for pleasure. It was one of the few times in my life when I didn't.

What I Wanted to Be When I Grew-Up: Like all the other young losers, I thought I was going to die within a year or two, so I didn't worry about a career.

Winter: Winter was bad for me. My siblings were all in college, so I was left alone to deal with my aunt and uncle. I had to do all the chores, inside the house and most of the ones outside too. One positive thing I can say, is that I have an incredible work ethic because of it. The negative part, is that it took me many, many years to scrape up some self-esteem. I almost never went out with my friends and I loved school because it was the only time I could relax and talk to my peers.

Spring: In high school, Spring always meant track season. I was injured my senior year, but I still went to practice and meets. I graduated in May and my aunt and uncle actually let me go to a graduation party. My sister gave me a ride there and back, because she was so awesome. Since we were in Ottumwa, the party was at somebody's farm house out in the middle of nowhere. All I remember, was that this guy Bruce started hitting on me after his girlfriend passed out in his truck, and that's how I knew it was time to go home.

Summer: My aunt and uncle let-up a little on me in the Summer. My brother advised me not to move out the minute I turned 18, because it would be tough to find a place for a month, and I didn't have a bed or anything else for an apartment. My aunt and my sister were finally reconciling, so, for a week or two, my aunt let me stay with my sister because I was detasseling all day and then I went to a Summer writing workshop in the evenings. My sister helped me get into bars and I had an actual social life for the first time in my high school career.

Fall: I went to UNI in August. It was the weirdest experience I had in my short life. I was finally free. I went from being controlled by my aunt and uncle, to having every single freedom I could handle. (or not) I made up for a lot of lost time my first semester in college. My roommate was the Chickasaw County Beef Princess. She was super shy and we didn't have much in common. I hung-out with a lot of older students and the guys who lived down the hall from me, who smoked pot from Budweiser cans, played Euchre and Quarters and quoted Fast Times at Ridgemont High any chance they could fit it into the conversation. I transferred to Iowa City in December.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

I'll go One-On-One Against the World, Left Handed

So, kids. I've been on the tired side lately. Mostly it's my own fault, because, while I am busy this time of year in general, I still spend too much time either obsessing over stupid shit on the internets, (I'm looking at you YouTube) or just plain dicking around. I thought I might try this new thing called, getting at least four or five hours of sleep in a night to see if it improved my dispostion and my ability to hold a thought for more than two seconds. It seems my attention span went on hiatus, and my severe abandonment issues are causing me to stress out that he will never come back. Sure, he was a little short, but I still miss him all the same. I might have to start tacking up "wanted" posters around the neighborhood to see if anyone has seen him.

Originally, I was going to make this a photo post, but then I couldn't get any photos to upload here. I have no idea what's to blame, whether it's my photo program, or Blogger or the storms on the East Coast, but I'm too tired to figure it out tonight. I might do that thing where I turn the computer off and hope that things magically start working correctly again tomorrow.

So, instead I'm putting up a link to a video. The college kids in my office played it about 87 times in a row, while our bosses were doing performance reviews in another area. It's called "The Landlord", with Will Ferrell. You may have already seen it, but if not, check it out here.

I've also been pondering something else, and I thought I'd see what you all had to say. What happened to the novelty song? You know how in the seventies, there were about a million novelty songs? There was "Dead Skunk" and "Basketball Jones" and "The Funky Worm" and pretty much anything by Ray Stevens. Who is the Ray Stevens of the new millenium? Don't say Paris Hilton either, because she is actually trying to be serious, and she doesn't count.

In case you were wondering, this isn't the kind of thing that's been keeping me up at night, so you don't all need to come running to my house with the commitment papers and a stun gun at the same time. It's just something I thought about for two seconds, before it was gone again.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Everybody's Smilin' - Sunshine Day

Here is Coadster as seen through the net...

So, today was pretty kick-ass. I was exhausted when I first got up this morning, but I felt better as the day progressed. I love Iowa City when it first gets warm. Suddenly, all these people come out of hiding - the crazy guys pace back and forth through the ped mall, chain smoking and talking to themselves, there's a whole new crop of twenty year old panhandlers, asking me for money when their hipster glasses cost more than I make in two weeks, and the regulars are parked on the lawn furniture in front of the Deadwood. I love catching up with the Deadwood regulars. Of course, when you ask them what's going on, they can only answer, "Nothing much." They don't have jobs, or cars, for the most part, but they are funny as hell and always quite liberal with the compliments. I feel so much better about myself, going back to cubicle world after my three o'clock break.

After work, I went to Stinky's track meet. I missed her throwing discus, but caught her just in time to kick serious ass at the shot-put. I was wearing a skirt, so I was a little worried that she might be blinded by my pasty, white legs, but she was smart enough to look away right before she threw.

By six, I had to jet over to Coadster's soccer game. Looking around the bleachers, I was pretty sure I would win the award for the most inappropriate, foul-mouthed soccer mom at the game. Then I got excited thinking about how fun the imaginary award ceremony would be when I was presented with that honor. All the other not-quite-as-foul-mouthed soccer mom's would be talking so much shit about me. Don't worry, it's not like I missed much while I was daydreaming, the game ended with a tied score of zero to zero.

...And here is Coadster with her game face on.

Monday, April 16, 2007

When She Goes Downtown She Walks Like She Just Don't Care

Stinky making a goofy face underneath the Christmas lights.

So, the girls went to see a bunch of bands play at the Hall Mall as a benefit for United Action for Youth. They said it was fun, but they had to go outside a couple of times to get away from all the cigarette smoke. Stinky was telling me about what she saw downtown on a Saturday night.

Stinky: I guess there was this costume contest at one of the bars, so a lot of people were all dressed up. Most of the guys were dressed like people from the seventies, and all the girls were dressed like skanks.

Me: That's usually how it goes when college kids wear costumes.

Stinky: There were these girls who were walking around in nothing but corsets.

Me: Really? What did they wear for bottoms?

Stinky: They just had tights on and high heel hooker shoes. Then, these other, more rocker college girls came up to them and said, "Hey, you lost your pants...And your shirts...And your dignity.

Me: Nice.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Fourteen Joys and a Will to be Merry

I run past this pink, plastic flamingo every day and it's never not funny.

Sorry kids, I wasn't on the blog much this weekend. I was crazy busy on Saturday and then it got nice today, so I had to run and ride my bike. And all that practical stuff I was going to get done? Let's just say, there's always next weekend.

I had a lot of comments on Friday asking me to write more about Mr. Dateman. I am happy to oblige, but there is just one little problem. See, I'm all different kinds of stupid about him right now, and I'm so afraid that if I'm not careful, my post could start sounding like the mawkish girls in my high school who listened to too much Air Supply and dotted all of their i's with little hearts.

So, I'll write about my fourth date with Mr. Dateman, but I'll try really hard to proofread it - you know, just to chickity-check myself before I wrickity-wreck myself by being all mushy and gushy.

The fourth date was kind of a special day, for reasons Mr. Dateman doesn't really want to talk about, so we'll apply the first rule of Fight Club and just say, we celebrated by getting really drunk on wine, and it was awesome. At first, I was a little worried that I'd get too obnoxious after drinking, but he kept telling me it wouldn't bother him, and so I let loose, and if Mr. Dateman tried to tell me to quiet down later, he couldn't be heard over my loud, Ottumwa girl persona.

We watched a few WKRP in Cincinnati episodes he had taped, but mostly we got all dorked-out and talked a lot of shit and laughed and laughed and it was super fun. At one point, I remember admitting that I really liked Kenny Rogers, and he not only still spoke to me after that, he got a Bob Welch song stuck in my head for almost twenty-four hours now. Just in case you were wondering, Sentimental Lady is not the best song to have playing over and over in your head during a seven mile run.

So, how was that? Was it mush-free for the most part? If not, it's the best I can do right now. Maybe tomorrow, I'll try to write about work so I can be more jaded and get back some of my blog cred. 'Kay?

Saturday, April 14, 2007

So Sublime, When the Stars Are Aligned

Tonight the planets aligned just perfectly, so that the girls were at their respective social events during the same time period. If I were a more practical or responsible person, I would have used that time to clean and/or organize my life. I don't really need to make a big point to tell you that didn't happen, do I?

In my world, I try to put my precious and very fragile sanity first. I decided that the best thing I could do for myself, was to converse with adults who weren't my co-workers. So, I called some friends, hung-out with them for a while, laughed a lot and talked as much shit as I could fit in the time allotted. I couldn't have asked for a better evening. I'm so much happier, and I figure I have the whole rest of the weekend to get practical shit done.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

It's a Wonder Tall Trees Ain't Layin' Down

Here's the first thing I saw when I left my house, the morning after the tornado.

Friday, April 13th is the one year anniversary of the tornado that slammed us. How fitting. We're having a neighborhood get together to commemorate it on Saturday afternoon. In my neighborhood, any excuse to eat and drink beer, is a good one. Did I ever tell you how much I loved my neighborhood? If you haven't already read it, you can check out my original post on my old blog here.

The weekend after the tornado was overwhelming. I didn't go to work on Friday. Instead, I spent most of the day looking for any of my salvageable shit through mountains of trees, insulation and mud covered garbage and helped dismantle and remove said mountains. We had no electricity or running water for most of the weekend, and it was over eighty degrees outside. By Saturday night, I had gone almost three days without a shower and I smelled really, really good. (or not)

The great thing about Iowa, is that no matter what horrible thing happens to you, you will never be without food. Besides the Red Cross and the Salvation Army, people I had never met before dropped off meals at my friend B.'s house, where we all congregated on Saturday night. We really needed to blow off some steam, so we ate and drank more than usual. I was still in my "keeping busy" mode, so I was dishing stuff up and washing dishes, and trying not to think about where I was going to stay or how long the girls and I would be displaced from our home.

"This is my nephew, Churlita," one of my neighbors said. I said, hi and asked him if he wanted some food. I started fixing a plate for him, like I had for everyone else who came through the door. My neighbor's sister and some other women were standing around laughing about how gross we all were, while topping off the wine we were drinking out of jelly jars.

"Hey, we still have some ribs left. Do you want to finish them off? " I asked my neighbor's nephew. He was about ten years younger than me and very conventionally attractive. Apparently, I wasn't too stressed-out to notice that. "Potatoes or pasta or both?"

"I know you," he said. "...I mean, I don't know you. I know who you are. I think I see you running in my neighborhood."

"Oh probably. Do you live around here?" He told me where he lived and we talked about some people we knew in common.

"Do you go to North Dodge?" He asked me.

"Hy-Vee?" I asked, because going to the grocery store is my social life most weeks.

"No. Athletic Club...Remember how we were talking about you running?"

"Oh, right. Duh. No, I usually just run outside. If the weather is really bad, I'll go to the rec building." At that point I looked around and realized that an entire kitchen full of people had disappeared. The men, the women, the kids - all gone. It was just the conventionally attractive guy, and me, unshowered and wearing the same, stained wife-beater and cut-offs I'd been in for two days. "You know, I better go see where my girls are. It was really nice meeting you," I said and went outside.

"What the hell are you doing out here," my neighbor's sister said to me. "Go back in there and work that boy. He was totally hot and super into you." I knew they were up to something. I love my neighbors, they are always looking out for me and trying to fix me up with every guy they think might be able to spell s-i-n-g-l-e, but I'm really good at resisting.

"Are you kidding me? I can't work a guy under normal conditions, there's no way I'm going to try it when I'm stinky and I got my post-traumatic stress syndrome going on."

The party this weekend should be even better, because I will have showered, I have a place to live and my neighbors promised me, no more fix-ups.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Wonderin' If We're Really Ever Gonna Get That Far

Here's me with my roommate and her friends and lots of Old Style, when I first moved to Iowa City and before I started wearing WAY too much black eyeliner.

So, thanks again for all of your kind comments the last two posts. I knocked all that shit loose from my craw and my cold is much better. I'm afraid I've been sounding a little too Lisa Bright and Dark on here lately, so I thought I'd do one of those "songs that took me back to a specific day and time" posts tonight.

Sometimes I have to go ask a co-worker for information on specific cases I'm working. When I go to her desk, she's always listening to one of those lite oldies internet stations. The other day, that Julian Lennon song came on. You know that one song? The one hit he had in 1985? It took me right back to the very first time I heard it. This is where I went:

"You wanna do it now?" My friend Marty asked me and my other friend Schmud, and of course we did, so he pulled the tabs out of his pocket and we each put one on our tongue. We were all sitting at the bar after our shifts drinking free beer. The plan was to go back to Marty's place, because he lived in a rooming house with some other guys we knew and their room was all set-up specifically for taking acid. They had all this weird shit in it to mess with and stuff to draw and paint. Marty used to steal street signs and make really cool drawings with permanent marker on the backs.

"You guys didn't take it already did you?" Pete came out of the dish room and was all pissed-off at us because he still had to work. "Then give me mine and wait here until I'm done."Since he found us out, and the owner of the Mill had gone to a party, we thought it would be okay to hang-out at the restaurant for a bit until Pete was off work.

Of course, the owner came back early and we were really taking off, right as he and his girlfriend walked in the door. The guys were smart and hid in the back room, but I wasn't paying attention and the owner came over and started talking to me about pate and how it was made of duck and chicken livers in his loud and whiny voice. My eyes were very wide, as I tried to pretend to pay attention and not freak-out. The guys had all come behind the bar to make faces at me behind the owner's back. It got to the point where I didn't think I could stand it anymore, and I told the owner that I had to go to the bathroom. I hid in a stall and giggled until I could go out and face people again.

"I gotta go. I can't take it here with Keith back from the party. It's starting to really freak me out," I said. Pete was getting off work anyway and so we all went over to Marty's house.

At first, the guys with the trippy acid pad weren't home, so we went to the communal refrigerator and put Tabasco sauce in all the food. There was a band called, 149 Dead Marines that also lived in the house and I knew some of them, because they were from Ottumwa and they were really tough. I got even more freaked-out, thinking what they'd do to us if they found out we even put hot sauce in their milk. The guys thought it was hilarious. My friend Marty who used to tease me for being from Southeast Iowa, kept talking like a hillbilly, and draining the hot sauce into anything he could find in the fridge. "It's okay, Churlita. They won't even know. Don't y'all put Tabasco in everything you eat down in Ottumwa, anyway?"

Our other friends came home and we went into their apartment to smoke some pot. This one guy named Steve, wouldn't smoke any, because he said he didn't want it to mess with the purity of his acid.

"Isn't there rat poison in acid, or does it just feel that way?" I asked, but no one seemed to hear me. Instead they got these plastic, collapsible cups and we were all entertained for at least an hour, smashing them down and setting them back up again. In what was supposed to be the walk-in closet, they had set-up a TV in a weird cage thing. I don't remember it ever being turned off. It must have been earlier than I thought, because Friday Night Videos was still on. When we were tripping, watching videos was even more fun than playing with collapsible cups.

At first, when Julian Lennon's video came on, I thought it was a joke. I loved John Lennon, and the guy on TV looked a lot like him and sounded similar too. "Hey, what is this?" I asked.

"It's John Lennon's son, " Schmud said.

"Nuh-uh. This guy sucks. Listen to the lyrics. It's like bad high school boy poetry. 'It fits so tight, closer than a glove'? That's so dumb. He can't be related to John Lennon." I was all indignant.

"Yes, he can. He looks and sounds just like him. He's just cashing in, " Marty said. And we all quietly watched the rest of the video, before we started getting hungry and regretting we had put hot sauce in all the food.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Can't Find a Thing to Ease the Rain

Hey, look what survived the frost and cold?

Dear Gentle Readers,

Although I feel much better now than I did earlier today, I am still tired and sick and sick and tired. Plus, I have a thing or two stuck in my craw as of late. Don't worry, I won't dig it out and unload any of it on you. You have all been so wonderful and supportive and shit, and I think it's stuff that will work itself out, or it won't. Some of it is work related, and I just wasn't feeling well enough to have to deal with it today. Who knows, maybe tomorrow, if I feel better, my craw could be completely empty.

Tonight, though? Tonight, I'm kind of in a mood, and I just need to take my trusty cold meds and see if I can't pass-out as quickly as possible. Please feel free to take a gander at the super-duper close-up flower picture below. Can you tell I'm trying to make up for my whining by showing you pretty, perky flowers?


The Churlish One

Monday, April 09, 2007

It Would Kill You Just to Try and Be a Nicer Guy

I kind of stopped doing these "Year in Review" posts, because the next logical year would be 1996 and it was really bad for me. It was the year that I finally decided to get out of my abusive marriage. I couldn't actually move until May of 1997, because I didn't have the money, but it was the year I stopped trying and started biding my time. The big problem with writing about it, is that I don't know how to do it and not make it sound like a bad Lifetime movie or Oprah's book club selection, and worst of all, it's not really, very funny. On the other hand, I write about every other kind of bullshit on here, and a lot of it isn't all that funny either. So, I'm giving it a shot. If it helps, you can imagine Meredith Baxter playing me. Yeah, I realize we look nothing alike, but it seems to be the law that she plays the victim in all those Lifetime movies, so stretch your imagination.

Age: I was 30 when the year started and turned 31 in July.

Music: As usual, I listened to a lot of everything back then. I went to see as many local bands as possible. I also worked at a coffee shop with a bunch of college kids, so I heard much Pavement, Yo La Tengo, and Son Volt depending on who was working. I saw Stereolab play at Gabes and when my friend's band was opening for the Mountain Goats, he put me on the guest list. I had to back-out at the last minute, because I gave my marriage one last try and went to see my ex-husband act in a play at the Old Creamery Theater instead. No one can ever say I didn't try hard enough. Secretly, I adopted Aimee Mann's I'm With Stupid as my theme album that year.

TV: I worked almost every night and ran around with the girls during the day. I think we watched Sesame Street in the mornings, and then the obligatory Seinfeld and The Simpsons here and there too.

Books: Back then, I read a lot of short fiction. I just didn't have time for novels. I remember reading Thom Jones, Joy Williams, Tobias Wolfe and some Don Delillo.

What I Wanted to be When I Grew-up: By the end of the year, all I knew I wanted, was out.

Winter: It was really cold that year. I remember being cooped up with my girls. The woman who lived downstairs was crazy as a loon. I know I've already written about her in my other blog, but she used to call us and hang-up every time she heard the girls move and then when I talked to her about it she denied it - even after I star 69'ed her and she answered the phone. The other scary thing was that she played Natalie Merchant's Tiger Lily really loudly about a hundred times a day. Yeah, she came close to making me crazy too.

Spring: My ex started getting more controlling in the Spring, after a little Winter hiatus. I was never sure what actually caused his moods, but he was big and scary and when I would perform such heinous crimes, as buying my daughters mittens he didn't like, or getting him the wrong kind of beer, or, in his mind, when I started acting like I thought I was smarter than him, he would get mean. Mostly it was yelling, swearing and throwing things at me. A few times, he raised his hand to me, and each time I calmly assured him I would call the cops if he ever actually hit me. Amazingly, he could control himself enough not to end up in jail.

Summer: My birthday sucked. Our car broke down and it was a hundred bazillion degrees outside and I didn't have enough money on my credit card so that my ex-husband could rent a car to get to his rehearsal in The Amanas. He got angry and threatening and then thankfully, he found a way to work and left. Later that month, we went out to talk about how fucked-up things were between us. I thought it would be safer if we were in a restaurant, because he was always good at acting like he was a nice guy in public. Like most abusive men, he got even more angry if he thought I was telling my friends about his behavior. That night, he told me that he thought Coadster would always calm him down if he got too violent. It took me a while to process the fact that he expected his four year old daughter to keep him in line. When I did, that was it for me. I realized that I was the only idiot working so hard at this, and maybe if I put all that energy into figuring out how to safely extricate myself and my girls from the situation, I would keep Coadster from a lifetime of feeling responsible for her dad's hideous behavior.

Fall: After I gave up trying to save my marriage, I stayed away from my ex as much as possible. He worked days and I worked evenings, so I made sure I never got home before he went to sleep. That's when I started going out with friends to see shows after work. When we were home at the same time, we spoke only enough to fill the other one in on what was going on with the girls. It was a suffocating environment, but it was actually better than when I cared and thought it was my job to fix shit.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Bloody Red Eyes Go to Sleep

Now here is a picture of some trains and a fence.

I'm just going to go ahead and start this post out with a disclaimer. I woke-up with that bad cold that everyone else has this morning. My eyes looked just like Sylvester Stallone's at the end of Rocky. I came this close to slitting them with a razor, so I could see better. And even though I'm on my meds, I still have a bit of a migraine, so don't go thinking I'll be making any sense on here today. I did you all a favor, however, and I'm posting before I take my cold medicine. I'm here to tell you, it could be way worse.

I went on date number three last night. I probably won't do many more date posts, (unless something really funny happens) because I'm sure there has to be a limit. I'm just guessing, because I'm not a girl who understands limits very well. It seems like people either stop going on dates with each other, or they continue going on dates and if it goes on for a long, long time, blogging about them could turn into something like this:

Our 5,745th date was great. I think. What I can remember of it, was that we sat in our matching Lay-Z Boys, eating TV dinners, while watching Matlock reruns. At some point, he farted and I said , "Good one." And he said, "Thank you." And then we both fell asleep in our chairs and woke-up the next morning with cricks in our necks.

Please feel free to come to my house and shoot me in the head, if I ever write that post for real.

My real date was nothing like that. Unfortunately for him, it was a lot of me being lame, because, like tonight, I was rocking a bit of a migraine. He bought wine, that didn't come out of a box, (that's how classy he is) but I couldn't drink it because of my bad brain. I also think I did that embarrassing, spaced-out thing I do where I tell the same lame-ass story I've probably already told him too many times before. Poor guy.

I got to see the wonder that is Guitar Hero. It reminded me a bit of Dance Dance Revolution, but with way better music. I think to appreciate the full beauty of it, you'd have to be a stoned-out thirteen year old boy, but I have a feeling, my brain isn't wired too much differently than that, so I appreciated it just fine.

I'm sure there were a hundred other ways I was lame, and listing them all off here, would only make me look really, really bad. So, let's just say, I'm planning to bring much better game next week.

Now, I'm off to take as much cold medicine as the box allows and fall asleep telling myself the same dumb stories over and over again.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Modern Medicine Falls Short of Your Complaints

I got home from work yesterday and Coadster had already left for soccer practice. I had about 10 minutes before it was time to pick-up Stinky, so I figured I'd waste some time messing around on the internets. The first thing I saw when I got on was a YouTube video of The Fifth Dimension's "Wedding Bell Blues". Coadster must have been watching it, and I wasn't sure if I should be worried or not.

I have already documented Coadster's bizarre taste in movies and music. I can't even count the number of times she's watched Tommy and Jesus Christ Superstar. And, although I might be able to live happily for the rest of my life without seeing either film again, I still can't get enough of Coadster's exaggerated show choir-type moves when she sings, "YOU'VE got the power, YOU'VE got the glory" in our living room.

Lately, Coadster's love of weird music is being taken to new levels...And this is coming from me. Most people think they like some cheesy music, and then they meet me, and are completely impressed, or totally frightened - usually both. Don't get me wrong, Coadster still likes a lot of contemporary stuff like Pinback, Death Cab, and the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs, but the rest of her playlist looks like this:

1. Hurdy Gurdy Man - Donovan

2. For Once in My Life - Stevie Wonder

3. Up-UP and Away-The Fifth Dimension

4. Incense and Peppermints - The Strawberry Alarm Clock

5. Me and Mrs. Jones - Billy Paul

6. Too Shy Shy - Kajagoogoo

7. Tainted Love - Soft Cell

See what I mean? I know if I cornered her and asked her why she was so into that kind of crap, she'd just answer with, "I learned it by watching you."

Thursday, April 05, 2007

I Hate People When They're Not Polite

Here is a photo of a big old tree I took when the girls and I went to hang-out at the apple orchard last Fall. It was 80 degrees on that day, and we just set a record low last night of 22 degrees. I'm in denial right now.

Hey, remember when I used to have a different blog, but I changed it because I stupidly put my name in the URL and then I thought my boss had found it? Yeah, me too. So this week, I found out it wasn't my boss who found it after all, but some muckety muck guy who works in another office in the very large institution where I'm employed.

A woman who works in my department, but in another office, came over to my desk on Tuesday and very loudly said, "Hey, I was at a meeting and one of the head honchos asked me if there was anyone in my office who wrote a blog. He said he had been reading one, and they moved it, but he thought it was hilarious and he had been totally obsessed with it. You're the only person I could think of, who would be writing a blog like that in our office. So, am I right?"

I think my squinty, little eyes got bigger than they had ever been before, and I stuttered, "Uh. Hmmm. Well. I did have one..."

"Well, he seems to think you might have another one and he really, really wants to get to it. Can you give me the link to give to him?" Half of the people in my office were peeking over their cubicles at me. There was no way in hell, I was going to admit to everyone in my office that I still had a blog, so I nervously redirected the conversation.

"What's the guy's name and how did he find my old blog?" I'm sure I was twitching and blinking excessively at the same time.

"Some girl he went to school with gave him the link originally. His name is, #$#Q#%$# *(&(&869." Luckily, she got called away to do something else and in about an hour my heart was down to only 897 beats per minute.

The next day, I thought it was all over, until I walked into the break room along with five other co-workers, and the same woman addressed me as, "blog girl" and said, "So, do you have another blog, or what? Don't you want everyone to read it?"

"Actually, I think everyone I work with knows way more about me than they want to, as it is."

"So, you don't want to tell me...That's okay," She said and hasn't talked to me about it since, and neither has anyone else. Jeesh. If that guy had been reading my blog as obsessively as he said he was, he would know that I went into hiding, and you'd think he'd make a point to tell the woman that she should be discreet. Normally, I love it when people read my blog, but I can be an open wound on here sometimes and I'm pretty much incapable of censoring myself. There's no way I would ever trust that guy to respect that.

I guess if nothing else, I got one hell of an adrenaline rush for a few days this week.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Freakazoids...Robots...Please Report

Here's what our town will look like very, very soon. Even though right now, it doesn't feel like it will ever get warm enough for the leaves to come back again.

So, today at work we had this diversity workshop thing to go to. Normally, I do a lot of eye rolling when it comes to morale building or inter-personal relationship training. They are usually pretty lame-ass and I end up spending most of my time trying to sift through the corporate speak and hand clapping to figure out just exactly how they are trying to manipulate me. Today's workshop was actually okay, though. It was a group of four actors doing skits about dealing with diversity on the job and on campus.

At first sight, I thought the guy who wrote and ran it, was going to be one of those baby-boomer, fakely earnest, new-agey assholes, but he was actually pretty cool. He did go into his drug addiction and recovery for a minute, but, you know...We all have our shit. At least he was talking about it to give us some background, and not like he was saying, "Look at me. I'm a sole/soul survivor!" All in all, it held my interest and the message was good and not too preachy.

At the beginning of the workshop, the head guy asked us to turn to the person standing next to us and compliment them. Of course, I was standing next to my long-suffering cubicle neighbor, John. He really is such a good sport, but knowing that fact, just brings out the worst in me.

So, I turned to him and said, "Have I ever told you how pretty I've always thought you were?" It was awesome, because he never saw that one coming. I'm pretty sure he thought I was going to say something mean. He was speechless for a second, before he said,

"God, you're such a freak."

"So, was that my compliment from you?" I asked.

"Yeah. That's about all I can do right now."

"Actually, I'll take it... You're saying 'freak' like it's a good thing, right?"

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Cold as Ice - You Know That You Are

Here's me talking some shit to my coach at track practice when I was sixteen. I would have taken pictures of my daughters today, but I didn't want to get frostbite on my hands.

You know how I always talk about how much I love my daughters on here? Well, lately I've had to put my money where my mouth is. I am right in the middle of Spring activities for the girls, and I've been doing things that I would only do for them.

On Sunday, Coadster had a choir concert at St Mary's church. They sang religious music and it was all very beautiful and a lot of it was in Latin, but it was also really, really long. The show lasted almost two hours. I was so glad I took a nap beforehand, because even on a hard, unforgiving church pew, my friend sitting next to me, fell asleep. Not just a little doze either, he was dreaming and everything and his head started falling into the people in front of us, before he woke-up and bolted upright. Once again, I got caught laughing in church.

Today I got to leave work an hour early to attend Stinky's track meet. She throws the shot put and discus. In the eight or more years I was in track, I never once got to see the field events. They're actually pretty cool. It would have been great, if the winds hadn't been blowing and the temperatures dropping by the minute. I don't like to be cold. I'll say it again - I REALLY don't like to be cold. After Stinky finished her events, I went home for a half hour before I went back out to Coadster's soccer game. I had to grab the biggest, warmest comforter to wrap myself in while I sat on the aluminum bleachers. And since I was feeling a tiny bit dramatic, I also took a minute to call my friend K. and whine about how cold I was. K. is an awesome friend. She not only didn't tell me to suck it up and leave her the hell alone, she stayed on the line and commiserated with me until she was actually at her destination and didn't want to be one of those "talking on her cell phone in the store people".

The soccer game was much better than the track meet, because I was actually dressed properly. Plus, I finally stopped whining after I watched Coadster and her teammates running around in shorts and kicking up tons of water and mud from the saturated soccer field.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Spill the Wine

Here is a construction site on North Dodge Street last Fall.

I know I've mentioned on here several times before how much I like living in Iowa City. It is an overeducated town of freaks, and I love that about it. Another thing I love, is when very different types of people are all stuck in one room. In these situations, I sometimes forget that I'm not invisible or that I'm not at home watching it all on TV.

On Saturday afternoon, I finally made it to Jiffy Lube to get the oil changed in my car. Just in case you're interested, Jiffy Lube has surprisingly immaculate bathrooms. Which has nothing to do with my post at all. I'm not sure why that made such a big impression on me, although I have a feeling it might be because I'm pathetic and need to save up and buy my ass a life.

So, wait. Where was I? Oh yeah, I sat in the waiting room for about a half hour while my car was being serviced. At first, it was just me and a frat looking guy, an older man in Carhartts, and a more artsy looking college girl. We all sat around reading the out-of-date magazines from the rack and determinedly not establishing eye contact. Then a mom walked in with four junior high aged girls. The frat boy and the Carhartt guy left and then it was just me and the artsy girl and the mom with the teenagers. The artsy girl took out her cell phone and started talking very loudly and pretentiously about wine. The junior high girls got really quiet while the artsy girl went on and on and on and on about what she liked and why and my head hurt almost as much as it did when I watched Sideways.

I then made a big mistake. I looked up from the interview with Will Farrell that I was reading, and saw all the teenagers rolling their eyes and opening and closing their hands to make the "too much talky talky sign" behind the artsy girls back. When they noticed me looking at them, we all cracked-up. The good thing was, that I didn't even have to feel bad for hurting the pretentious girl's feelings. She just kept loudly describing wine flavors to some poor sap, completely oblivious, until my car was all better and I got to run, screaming out of there.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

That's the Way It Oughta Be

This is the door to an apartment building by my house. So, you can probably tell that I still haven't taken any new photos. In my defense, I was really, really busy this weekend. I promise, I will get around to taking non-snowy pictures as soon as I can.

Ever since I announced to that one person in my office last week that I was going on a date, and then she, in turn, announced it to everyone else, my co-workers have been trying to "help" me by dispensing all kinds of unsolicited advice. Certain people in my office think there are rules that should be observed when dating, and they want to make sure that I'm following them. Silly people.

Apparently, there are a specific number of days one must wait until they call the other person after a date. There are also particular behaviors that should be followed on date one and then date two and three and so on. As many times as I remind these co-workers that I'm not a structure girl, they just ignore me and explain another thing they think I should be doing or not doing in regards to dating. Yeah, well...I've already diagnosed myself with oppositional defiance disorder, so all their talking, talking, talking just makes me want to do exactly the opposite of what they tell me. If only I had listened better, I could have gone down their lists, and broken every single, last one of their stinkin' rules.

Here is my list of things that happened on my second date. I'm pretty sure that absolutely none of these things were on my co-worker's lists:

1. The second date must be the one where you watch the brilliance that (ahem) spews forth from Jackass II.

2. On your second date, you also get to see pictures of Mr. Dateman's Bon Jovi hair in high school. Which is why the second date is your very favorite date so far.

3. You get to meet Mr. Dateman's roommate and her boyfriend on this date as well. They are one of those couples who are kick-ass and hilarious and sickeningly perfect for each other. Even though they gave you the okay to write about them on your blog, they may have had a beer or two before they consented, and so you opt to write sparingly about them. There has been a time or 5,263 in your own life when you thought something sounded like a great idea when you were a little inebriated, and then sobered up and changed your mind.

4. On your second date, you have even more fun with Mr. Dateman than you did on the first one. You think that there was some rule against that, and are really happy that you are stubborn and shun structure in general.