Thursday, May 31, 2007

Well They Say It's Kinda Fright'nin' How This Younger Generation Swings

After next Monday, my baby will officially be an eighth grader. It made me remember my last year in junior high and I was suddenly very, very afraid.

When I was in eighth grade, we had a big graduation and field trip, since most of us would all be going to different high schools in the Chicago area. Every year the eighth grade class went to Milwaukee to tour the breweries, because how else are you going to prepare a bunch of working class Irish Catholics from the South suburbs to deal with a life of factory work and too many children? Of course, you teach them the beauty of beer before they even get to high school. This is the story of how I fucked-up my graduation trip for me and some of my friends. It is only one, among hundreds of annoying things I did that year.

There was a time when you thought you were the funniest thirteen year old on the planet, (as usual, when I say you, I really mean me) and when you possess that kind of humor, you really have to make sure that everyone around you knows it. A good way to ensure that, is to wait until you are bored in your science class and fill your syringe with water. The minute your teacher has her back to the class, you squirt your syringe full of water at one of your friends. They might yelp or say, "What the...?", but they are thirteen and smart and they cover it up, by pretending to cough when the teacher turns around.

Some more of your friends, find this whole bit particularly amusing, and fill their own syringes with water. You are all careful not to get caught, until you stupidly aim your loaded syringe at Peter Amandio, who can sometimes be fun, but is usually a big, gigantic kiss-ass. He yelps loudly and doesn't even pretend to cover it up. In fact, he raises his traitor paw in the air and tells on you.

Your teacher, who is normally so busy opening bottles on her freakish hook nose, to even take the time to figure out what a sense of humor is, begins her lecture. You are counting the freckles on your forearm, while your teacher drones on and on about safety and responsibility and maturity and somewhere in there you wonder why you can't make fart noises under your armpit anymore, ever since you grew breasts and how unfair life can be for women sometimes. Then you actually pay attention when she doles out your punishment. You and your friends will be allowed to attend the field trip, you will just be forced to write the ISCS science rules about 4,984 times during said trip.

You and your friends stress out through all of Milwaukee's finest beer factories about whether your hand will fall off before it's all over. Instead of learning any kind of lesson from your punishment, you spend the rest of the school year plotting ways to get back at Peter Amandio.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

But It's Always Me That Ends Up Getting Wet

Here is a photo of some silos and shit.

Kids, I gotta tell ya, I am just exhausted. I don't know if it's residual tiredness from my weekend funk, (apparently, feeling all sorry for myself tuckers me out) or if I stayed up too late checking outlets and light bulbs, but I've felt just bone tired all day long.

I stopped by the Picador after work for a bit to say goodbye to a friend of mine who is moving back to his home town. Then I went home and fell asleep. Stinky woke me up at 6:30 and it was one of those times where I wasn't sure if it was am or pm. Realizing I didn't have to get ready for work, I stared off into space for a bit before I got going.

I went over to Mr. Dateman's for a couple of hours and when I left to drive back home, I discovered it was pouring outside. It was raining so hard, I could barely see two feet in front of me. When I got a mile from Iowa City, I saw this guy running in the middle of Dubuque Street. At first, I thought he might have had car trouble, and he was trying to get out of the rain. As I got closer, it was clear that he was just jogging, down a busy street, in the dark during a downpour. Duh. All I could think, was that there were a lot easier ways to kill oneself.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Oh Yeah, It Was Electric, So Frightfully Hectic

Now, here is a photo I took last year of some fungus in my friend K.'s backyard. Who knew it could be so pretty?

Today all I can give you is a quickie. I've given it to you long and slow before, so I don't want to hear any of you calling me selfish or lazy.

I went to Stinky's last junior high band concert of the year. It was great to see all their progress and stuff, but mostly I sat in awe of the band director. Those wacky band kids were all as fidgety as I was, and you don't know fidgety, until you watch me try to sit for an hour and a half and listen to a bunch of almost recognizable songs where the timing keeps changing. Have I ever told you how much I love my daughter? Well, I love her enough to sit through her band concerts, and that's a lot.

Now, I have to attend to some shit around my house. The city inspectors are coming around to check on our apartment tomorrow. I cleaned the hell out of my place this weekend, so it looks nice and smells really good. The thing I have to do now, is straighten a few papers, (remember how I have that expanding paper problem?) check all the light bulbs, and unplug any three pronged outlet adapters. That ought to keep me busy for an hour or so.

There you have it. This post was quick and not as painful as attending a junior high band concert.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Who's Got the Funk, When You're Feeling Low Down?

Oh, look. It's another recycled picture. One of these days, I swear I'll get out and take some more.

So, I guess I'm just gonna go ahead and get a little more open than I should on here. You'd hate for me to practice any kind of discretion whatsoever on these here internets. I mean, it's not like just anyone can read this or anything, right?

What I'm trying to say, is that I went through a little funk this weekend. I used to have them a lot more when I was younger and fucked up and afraid to honestly look at my issues and work on shit, so they could get fixed. It's actually been a long time since I felt this kind of self-indulgently moody. It wasn't bad, it was more like this thing that would come at me in waves and sometimes kind of creep in and other times just blindside me. Basically, on Saturday I did some lying around and thinking too much about really stupid shit that, in the scheme of things, probably didn't matter or wasn't really going to ever happen. I woke up on Sunday morning kind of down and feeling sorry for myself, and then again, this afternoon, I relapsed into another bout of the wah-fucking-wahs.

It's been a while since I've felt this way, so it took some time to figure out what to do about it. I wish there was a way to put up barriers in the parts of your brain, where you shouldn't oughta enter. Instead, I did my lying around, I took copious naps, I ran, I ran some more, I distracted myself, and then just spent some time by myself so as not to infect anyone around me. I did bother my friend K. about it (who is a saint, by the way) and then when I got home, I had a voice mail from another friend of mine, who I didn't want to bother. I didn't call her back, but I did message her to let her know that I was too annoying to talk to and that she was totally welcome to thank me later for saving her from myself.

The thing about this funky stuff, is that if I could be logical, I'd see that there is very little basis for it. I have a halfway decent job, my daughters are amazing, I'm the luckiest girl ever in terms of friends, I can usually cover most of my bills and I've discovered the things I need to do for myself to make me happy, and I do them. The funk just makes me concentrate on the couple of things that aren't exactly what I want, or worry about stupid shit that might could happen in the future. It's such a self-indulgent way to look at my life. The kicker is, that when I'm in the funk, all that stupid shit seems so real.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

I Drink Alone, Yeah, With Nobody Else

Here's me in coloring book form, looking a little bit stern. Just so you know, I didn't draw this. I just used the thing that came with my digital camera, because I'm a girl who knows how to have fun.

So, around three o'clock today, I started to get that overwhelming feeling of dread I always get when I remember that the next day is Monday. Then it hit me, that tomorrow is a very blessed holiday - one that gives me Monday off. I get to wait one more day to feel dreadfully overwhelmed. Tonight, though? Tonight, I am drinking beer, watching movies and obviously, fucking around with my digital camera.

My mostly childless weekend is going well so far. Last night I had another fun filled evening with Mr. Dateman. He knows even more pop culture trivia than I do, and I didn't think that was possible. I think it means that he used-up the space in his brain that should have stored algebra, just like me. Who needs algebra anyway?

Today I spoke to Stinky over the phone twice. She spent the day inner tubing at Lake McBride and then had a sleepover tonight. I saw Coadster for roughly about an hour. I had to drop off sugar cookies at her rehearsal and then go to a parent meeting at 6. The cookies must have turned out okay, because the director guy was singing their praises at the beginning of the meeting. (Get it? The choir director was singing their praises?)

This evening, I was invited to many parties and social gatherings, but I think I've been socialed out lately. I did stop by Joe's Place for a friend's birthday party for an hour and had me a soda, but didn't fall onto the floor this time. Knowing me, I probably had toilet paper stuck to the bottom of my shoe or my skirt was stuck into my underwear or something, and I just didn't know it.

What I opted for tonight instead of hanging out with friends, was buying a six-pack and watching a movie at home, by myself. Drinking alone is totally healthy, right? Well, I only had two beers, so don't even try to judge me.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Hey, I've Got Nothing to Do Today but Smile

You'll all be happy to know that I finally had that date with my couch tonight, and it was well worth the wait. It wasn't like I didn't want to spend time with him, it was just all that other stuff that had to come first. It finally meant taking a half day off of work, to make it happen.

Normally, I get home from work at five, get a run in, make dinner, drive girls places, help with homework, and by the time I look at the clock it's almost ten. Today, I got home around 12:30, ran my eight mile route, putzed and cleaned, picked girls up, picked up dinner, dropped off girls, talked to my friend who came to get Coadster to babysit for her and looked up and it was 6:30. It was a strange feeling. The first thing I thought was, "Hellooooooo, couch."

I decided to finally catch up on my Sopranos watching, since Mr. Dateman looked kind of incredulous when I told him I hadn't seen the last couple of episodes yet. I rectified that tonight, and now all I can think is, "Jaysus!" One of the last scenes was a doozey. I am very thankful for my teeth. That's all I'm going to say. Oh, I lied. I'm also going to say that it sounded like a great idea when I told my friend to stay out as late as she wanted, and I'd pick up Coadster whenever she was ready, but now I'm tired and I may just have to lie down and wait for that call.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

I Fall Down, I'm Falling Down

Here is a photo of some farm machinery.

I am dangerously close to a three and half day weekend. I only have to get through four measly hours of work, before I experience sweet, sweet freedom. The weird thing about it, is that the girls will probably be busy almost every weekend night too. So, I won't just have time away from work, I could really do whatever I wanted. I haven't had this kind of regular free time since I was twenty-six years old. Even though you couldn't tell from the last couple of weeks' posts, I'm not really big on going out. I could never be one of those mid-life crises women who turns forty, gets an ass-hat tattoo and a pierced belly button, paints themselves orange with quick tan, tries to dress like a twenty year old, and starts going out to clubs every weekend night. Believe me, I couldn't pull it off when I was twenty, it would be especially pathetic now. Oh, what the hell, let me just illustrate exactly what I'm talking about:

Tonight after dropping the girls off at their individual events, I called my friend K. to talk about what I was going to do in the garden while she was gone for the weekend. She was at The Dublin Underground with some friends, so instead of rudely chatting on the phone, I stopped down for an hour to drink a delicious Royal Crown Cola. I've had kind of a mellow but persistent migraine for some reason the last few days, and so I wasn't about to drink any alcohol.

I joined K. and her friends and was briefed not to refer to our one friend's new love interest as her "boyfriend", seein's how their relationship was a little new for that. At one point, the guy sitting next to me, who I had only met briefly once before, got up to go to the bathroom. I tried to stand-up to let him out, but my sandals hooked together. In my defense, I had that migraine and they make me even more spacey and less coordinated than normal. I worked really hard at righting myself, but all it did was make me fall in slow motion, so it took me about an hour and a half to tumble out of the booth and hit my knee so hard on the floor, that all the men sitting at the bar turned around to see me eat the dirty, bar carpet.

My friend K. was laughing so hard, she was crying and had to wait to calm down before she went up to get another drink. When she could breathe again, she said, "Churlita, I love you."

To which, I answered, "You're just saying that, because I make you look so good in comparison."

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Let's Talk About the Future Now We've Put That Past Away

Here in Iowa, we have lots of barns.

I live in a duplex, and right now two women live above me. I don't think they knew each other before they moved in and apparently, they don't get along.

One of them is a nursing major who drives a silver BMW. She comes home late and drunk most nights. Judging from the sounds emanating from their apartment, she must also bring home several midgets that she makes curl up and then throws into bowling pins in her living room. I think she's said "hi" to me once or twice. I have a feeling we will never be best friends and call each other to talk about our boyfriends or the cute shoes we just bought.

The other roommate is a graduate student from Germany. She is very personable, her English is better than mine, (which, I guess isn't saying much) and she brought me homemade brownies one night last Winter when I had a craving for chocolate, but was too lazy to leave my house in order to buy any. The best thing about her, is that she seems to have an endless supply of really hot, nerdy looking guy friends (you know the kind that wear the Elvis Costello glasses?) who come over and sit in our front yard smoking cigarettes and drinking beer. In other words, she's perfect.

The bad news, is that the perfect roommate is leaving to go home to Germany for the Summer tomorrow, so I'm stuck with the sounds of midget bowling upstairs. The good news, is that the German roommate is coming back in the Fall and the BMW girl is moving out, so my chocolate consumption, as well as the scenery should really pick-up for the rest of the year here.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Butterfiles and Zebras and Moonbeams and Fairy Tales

I think I already put this up on my old blog, but I've run out of photos. That's one thing I plan on doing this weekend - taking pictures. If you're lucky, I'll even get one of a gigantic wooden nickel. I fuckin' love Iowa.

It's another one of those nights where I have no idea what to write about. I know I was just talking about how much time I'm taking off in the next few months, but the last two days have been a little on the hectic side. I was going to try to see my friend Ed Gray play at the hall mall last night, but after that Sunday night escapade, I decided that I shouldn't go out during the week. So, I stayed home and did absolutely nothing. Hmmm, fascinating.

Coadster had her last soccer game on Monday. It seems like soccah season goes on forever. Now it's over and while I'm happy, I think Coadster's a little sad. It will be good for me because I won't have to feel like a total Beavis parent for laughing when someone says, "Nice head,"
after a girl stops the ball with her forehead..."Hee hee. He said, head. Hee hee."

Tonight Coadster had her last choir concert. While I really like to support my girls in their endeavors and I know how important it is because my aunt and uncle never came to watch me do anything in high school and wah and wah and poor me and shit; I have to say, the concert was a little long. I would have loved to go in and cut at least one song from each choir. There were seriously seven different choirs for one high school. The saddest part, was that my friend Ben wasn't there to reinterpret the Latin lyrics into something crude with me. Instead, the uptight woman who drank beer and lemonade with me and my friends a couple of Fridays ago, sat down beside me. I tried really hard not to speak, because the last time I talked to her, she basically told me she was a better parent than me, and I didn't want to embarrass Coadster by shanking her classmate's mom during the concert.

Besides a slight headache, that's all I really have for you tonight. It was still probably too much, wasn't it?

Monday, May 21, 2007

No, It Ain't So Neat to Admit Defeat

Here is a picture of some clouds for you.

Today's Issues:

1. the electricity went off for the second day in a row, an hour before I was supposed to wake-up. Instead of using the last few brain cells I have left and resetting my clock, I would start to fall asleep and jolt awake every five minutes, thinking I was late for work.

2. I walked into a swarm of gnats on my way to work and one bit the inside of my ear, leaving a big itchy welt.

3. At 8:30, my co-worker John yelled from his cubicle, "Hey, Churlita. What are you doing?"

"I'm answering e-mails. Why?"

"I want you to come over and look at this. See this anti-bacterial soap dispenser? It looks like it has a face. See where the straw thing comes down? That's the nose, and those two air bubbles look like eyes. Do you see it?"

"I think you're having a flashback right now. Is it talking to you too? Remember when we had that chat, and I told you to ignore the voices? This would be a good time to heed that advice."

"No. Come on. You see what I'm talking about, don't you?"

"John. Seriously. The seventies are over. Just let them die."

4. I wore the wrong skirt today. It was super windy, and when I went outside, I had to grab both sides of my skirt when I walked to keep it from flying up and making me really popular, really fast.


I figured out that I had over four weeks of vacation time to use. I plotted out a Summer's worth of days off and put them all on the calendar. I even took a half day off this Friday to start my three day weekend that much sooner. I can't tell you how much better I felt at the prospect of all that free time. I even chilled-out about all the stupid crap that had been annoying me earlier in the day.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Cool Town, Evening in the City

Dubuque Street in Iowa City.

Obviously, I don't get out much. Saturday night I met some girls at The Mill and from there we walked to The Picador to see some friends play rawk!. I can't honestly remember the last time I was downtown on a weekend night. I felt like the country mouse visiting her city cousins. My hillbilly, bumpkin tendencies must have been apparent to everyone else too.

As we were walking through the Ped Mall, two guys passed us and said, "Hey, you dropped something." I came this close to falling for it and bending over to look for whatever I might have dropped, before my friends started laughing at me. It was a total "lick me on the face and call me sucker" moment. The guys even apologized through their laughter, I was so pitiable.

Things were better at The Picador, because I knew most of the people there and they were already aware of what a dweeb I am. I'm such an easy target, it's not even fun anymore. All I had to do was keep an eye on the girl who was so messed up that she was jumping around and falling into anyone who was dumb enough to get too close to her. If she would have stood still for two seconds, I might have asked her where she got whatever she was on, because she seemed to be having a lot of fun.

On the walk home, a guy passing me held out a CD. "Hey, you wanna CD?"

"Wha?" I asked.

"Yo. I'm trying to give a free CD, yo. You want it?"

"Oh, sure. I'll take it. Thanks."

"I was just about ready to take it from him, if you didn't, " my friend K. said. So, I'm a little slow on the draw. So what?

If I ever go out again, I'll try to be more aware. I don't want to be quite such a sucker or pass up any more free music.

Friday, May 18, 2007

So Says I

Kids, I am just beat. I did a lot more running kids to and from soccer practice and the baseball fields than I wanted to, and way less of the melting into my couch than I had planned. Now, I just need to go to bed.

First though, I wanted to address the subject of memes. I've been tagged for a lot of memes lately, and I think it's very nice of people to think about me. The problem comes because I am very lame in general. I'm sure that's no news to you. It's not that I think I'm too punk rock to participate, I really am just that lame. I actually already did a meme like Tara's a few months ago, and my random answers to that were so boring, you will all thank me for not repeating any part of it.

Lynnster's meme asked me to list five favorite restaurants in my town. Unfortunately, I don't eat out that much, and right off the top of my head, all I could think was, "Uh, I really like BBQ." One of the best BBQ places around here is called Jim's Rib Haven, but it's in the Quad Cities. Then I heard my bed calling me and I totally lost my train of thought.

So, I want to apologize for not really doing the memes. I'm not so great under pressure. In general, people like me much better, when they keep their expectations very, very low.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Nights are Warm and the Days are Young

Here is a picture of a garage that looks like a barn.

Oh my gawd, but Friday can't get here soon enough. This weekend I want to actually achieve some kind of balance. You know, not either spend the whole weekend doing stressful things for other people, or going the complete opposite direction and indulging all my hedonistic tendencies like last weekend. I was thinking I'd try mixing and matching for a change.

So, here's what's on tap:

Friday night my big goal is completely vegging on my couch all night. I might watch a movie, or I might catch-up on my Sopranos watching. Whatever I choose to do, it will involve comfort and escapism - my favorite combination.

On Saturday, my daughters and I will drive down to Ottumwa to celebrate Coadster's birthday with the family. I think after two weeks, her birthday should finally be sufficiently celebrated. Jinkies!

Now, here's where the mixing and matching come in. Saturday evening will be girl's night. Ondine is still in town, so we're planning on grilling out and then drinking beer in a few different bars in Iowa City. Just in case one crappy watering hole, turns out to be better than another.

On Sunday, I will garden, clean my house and get everything ready for the week. So, um...How many days do I have to try to balance all this stuff? Maybe I'll have to chuck the cleaning and organizing part. Eh - balance, schmalance.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

But I Keep Thinking Something's Bound to Go Wrong

A friend of mine had a little scare today. She called her boyfriend a couple of times last night and his number was busy. She e-mailed him today, and he didn't respond. After his phone was busy again today, she started to worry. It was almost 24 hours without a response. Finally, another friend suggested that there might be a problem with his internet/phone connection. She was absolutely right, and once my friend's boyfriend got his connection back and read some of the frantic e-mails, he called her right away to make sure she knew he was okay. Later, we all joked about the fact that the only reasonable explanation we could think of for him not contacting her, was that he was dead. What else could it be? Both my friend and I have had a worst case scenario happen in our lives, so we have a tendency to assume the worst when given the chance.

The whole incident also got me thinking about my last words with people. Usually, I had no idea I would never speak to that person again. I was ten when my mom died. She woke me up for school and her face was the strangest shade of gray. I remember telling her she didn't look well, and that she should call in sick to work. She told me she didn't have enough sick time left. I have no idea what I said to her after that. Did I tell her I loved her? Did I whine about how much I hated to wake-up? I don't know. She had a stroke on her way to work and I never saw her again.

I think it's the reason I make sure to tell people how I feel about them while they're around. (unless, of course, if I don't like them. Then I try to keep my big yap shut) I don't ever want to have those regrets with anyone else.

The last time I saw my ex-boyfriend Neal, he was sneaking out of his backyard.

"Hey, Neal," I said. He had a bundle of wood under his arm. We had been breaking-up for the last two months and I was moving back to Iowa at the beginning of March.

"Hey. We're having a fire at Charles', and since I didn't see any lights on, I figured it was safe to stop by." He had been staying at his friend Charles' house since he realized he couldn't talk me into staying with him.

"Yeah. My grandma died today. I've been all freaked-out and wandering around the city..." Neal dropped the firewood and gave me a hug.

"I'm sorry," he said. "I can't stay, though. It's too hard to be around you when I know you're leaving me."

"You've left me plenty of times before, too."

"Yeah, but I always came back. I know you. Once you get your mind set on something, you won't change it."

"I'm sorry," I said.

"Yeah, me too." And he picked-up the bundle of wood and went to his party. The next day, he put all of his stuff into his backpack and hitched his way up the Coast to his dad's house in Seattle. That was the last time I really ever spoke to Neal. I was just glad that I used my last words to apologize to him.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Running Over the Same Old Ground

Here are some flowers from our garden last year.

Tonight, I have no idea what the hell I'm going to write about. I hope you you're all excited to read the kind of disjointed post you've come to expect from me. I promise I won't disappoint.

I got to see Coadster for about a half an hour on her birthday. She had an out of town soccer game and didn't get home until 9:30. I'd start singing, "Cats in the Cradle" right now, but it might make me too sad. She said a friend of hers put a sign on her locker that said she was "halfway to thirty" and it made her feel old. Boy, that feeling starts young, doesn't it?

Do me a favor and remind me never to go out and drink beer on a Sunday night ever again. It kicked my ass the whole next day. I was supposed to meet some people on Monday evening, and I had to lame-out. Now, what was I just saying about feeling old?

Tomorrow, I'm going to get my ass out and work in the garden. We have so much to do, and the veggies aren't just going to grow themselves. I'm kind of excited because I haven't had my hands dirty in a long time, and I love most of K.'s neighbors. I get to see them a lot more in the Summer when I'm out there, so I have even more incentive to go out and get busy.

Well, that's all I'm capable of tonight. Was it random, and disjointed enough for you? If not, I'm sure I can do better on another night. In fact, you'll probably find out sooner than you want to.

Monday, May 14, 2007

You Make the Best of What's Still Around

Coadster getting ready to beat the pinata on her 5th birthday.

My labor with Coadster began in earnest about twenty minutes after I started watching House Party II. Even if I hadn't been pregnant, I would probably have had to go to the ER after watching two hours of Kid 'n' Play.

At this time fifteen years ago, I had already been in labor with Coadster for almost twenty-four hours and I still had at least ten more to go. If I had been paying attention, I would've been prepared for how stubborn she is, but I was too busy begging for drugs at the time. My Coadster birthday tribute post from last year is here.

Here are me and the girls being big dorks at Christmas one year. Obviously, I had a bad cold and that's why my nose was so red, so don't even try to give me shit about it.

I can tell you exactly where she gets her stubborn streak, (I'm looking in the mirror right now) but a lot of her other traits are almost the opposite of mine. Luckily, we've always meshed very well. She's much better now, but when she was younger, she had a tendency to get upset when things in her world weren't exactly as she thought they should be. I'm more laid back about everything. She's good at helping me to get my shit taken care of better, and I'm good at helping her relax and keeping her from getting quite so fatalistic when one or two things don't go the way she planned.

Me and Coadster in the Badlands on my 40th birthday trip.

She also somehow developed a sense of direction. Where she got it? I don't know, but if it weren't for her, we'd probably still be driving around and around the Black Hills looking for our cabin.

So, Happy Birthday Coadster! I don't know what I'd do without you. Oh, wait. Yes, I do. I'd be wandering around lost and forgetting to pay my bills on time.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Momma's Gonna Put All of Her Fears into You

Here are some flowers from my yard for you.

So, I know not all of you have children, but if you frequent my blog at all, I'm just going to assume that you're some kind of a muthah, so happy muthah's day, bitches!

I took the whole Mother's Day thing and ran with it. (literally and figuratively) I decided I deserved an entire weekend, and so I took a couple of fun days and didn't worry about doing anything practical. Here are some of the ways I wasted my time:

1. On Saturday morning, Coadster and I made our weekly sojourn to the farmer's market. I forgot to bring cash, but we looked at stuff and ran into some people we knew. I wasn't even a little bit hung-over from the night before, so it truly was a good morning.

2. I ran my eight mile route that goes through Coralville during the day, because the weather was so nice. It kind of kicked my ass, but in a good way. It was also the first time I've been running for a long time, where I didn't have some jerky boy, yelling crude shit out his car window at me.

3. Saturday afternoon I went to a party for a short time. It was held at the house of some women who either work, and/or hang-out at the Dublin Underground and we celebrated several birthdays and graduations. The rule was that you were supposed to wear a Dublin Underground t-shirt. Since I didn't have one, they wrote the name of the bar on a piece of duct tape and made me stick it to my tank top.

4. On Saturday night, I went to Mr. Dateman's house and had a great time there - as usual.

5. Even though I said I was going to take the day off today, the weather was too nice for me not to run. I kept it down to a more sane six mile route, but I'm so glad I got out and did it.

6. The girls told me to pick what I wanted to do for Mother's Day. I chose going out to lunch and then comic book shopping. Since the apples don't fall very far from the gigantic geek tree, my girls were thrilled at the suggestion.

I bought this GI Joe comic book (among too many others) strictly because of the cover. I'm shallow like that. Hey, it was only $2 and I can't wait to check it out. What do you suppose GI Joe has to do with a punk rock cat fight?

7. Tonight, my ex took the girls so I could go see some RAWK! at the Picador. The music was very good and loud and there was much throwing of rock hands. Mostly though, it was good to spend time in the beer garden with a lot of my friends who haven't all been together in the same space for a long, long time. I had a few drinks, which is a lot for me (they don't call me "Two Beer Tara" for nothin') and now I must retire so I can get up and be all nice and cranky for work tomorrow.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Light in Your Head and Dead on Your Feet

Soooooooooo, yeah. I'm just going to warn you I'm a little on the tipsy side tonight. It's been a long time since I was dumb enough to attempt blogging while intoxicated, but I promise you that this will be short and sweet and don't worry, I won't go on my "which B movie actor would play me in a made for TV movie about my life" tangent again. That was only funny the first fifty times I wrote about it. Now, it is WAAAAY played-out.

Instead, I'll tell you that I went out for a bit while the girls did stuff with their friends. I had fun, I had issues with one of the people there, but everyone else was fun. I mixed beer with lemonade, because it was just weird enough to be attractive to me, and now my stomach feels a little sour and I plan to giggle myself to sleep thinking about the stupid things we said at the Foxhead.

There. How bad was that? Right, don't answer. I don't want to know.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Strange Days Indeed

Stinky looking more than a little jaundiced and blowing kisses into the air.

Shit! but my life has a way of going from 240 to 20 mph in less than a week. After how heinous last weekend was, it's kind of nice to put on the breaks a little. Hell, it's even more fun to drive through life like an old man and pull-out right in front of people, only to creep along at 20 mph, stalling traffic for about a block behind me. Wait. What the hell was I talking about?

This week I've been blessed with the gift of time. It has been precious, indeed. The problem for me, has been remembering what to do with it. Today Stinky went to United Action for Youth until 9 and Coadster was at an away soccer game until 9:30. Without thinking, I began to carry on in my spazzy little, "I better get things done quickly way" and headed for the store. The weather was perfect, and almost every house with a porch, had someone sitting, drinking beer and smoking cigarettes on it. It is one of the things I really love about Iowa City in the Spring and Summer.

Driving up Dewey Street, I saw a couple I know with their adorable little 10 month old baby girl. It occurred to me that I really wasn't in any hurry, so I stopped to chat and tell them how beautiful their daughter was. Turns out, they already knew.

Since I was quite literally in the neighborhood, I dropped by to visit with my friend K. too. We walked her dogs and checked out the garden together. It was so nice not to have to rush off anywhere or worry about being late to pick-up the girls. Now that I've got the hang of it, I'm trying to think of who I can go bug tomorrow night.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

And the People I Meet Always Go Their Separate Ways

Hey, I actually found a photo from last year that I haven't put up before. It's my friend K.'s dog. Oh, and I'm sure you all know better than to think it has anything to do with my post.

Today was office clean-up day at work. I have always had a problem with having too many pieces of paper and not really knowing what to do with them, besides leaving them in a big old pile. Okay, let me start that again...I have always had a problem with organization.

I tried really hard to get rid of old papers and put the ones I was keeping in some kind of order. Somewhere in the stack, I came across a handwritten note from one of my students. Up until two years ago, I used to train and supervise all the college students who answered the phones in my office. I really liked doing it, but as with everything else in my office, there was a lot of bullshit attached to it, and I wasn't getting paid to be a supervisor. So, after three years, I stepped down, and stopped doing twice the work, for half the pay. I'm real smart that way.

Anyway, back to the note. One of my students had written a very pointed joke about me on a piece of notebook paper and made me leave it taped to the bin above my desk. You've probably already heard it before, but here's what it said:

"I don't really believe him, but my doctor tells me I have this problem that's called, attention, deficit...Hey, let's go ride bikes!"

Apparently, I've been lucky to have students who weren't afraid to tell me what they thought of me. So, as I was cleaning the rest of my crap, I started thinking about some of the past student employees who were nice enough to put up with my shit.

The girl who wrote me that note and another guy named Cody, used to have contests to see how many phone calls they could say, "Just a moment" like Nina from Office Space.

Then I remembered Jonathan. I wasn't sure I'd get along with him at first, because he was a rich kid from Naperville and I thought he was a frat boy. As I was training him, I discovered he was a total spaz. He would get all nervous, and not be able to find the direct dial buttons he needed to press, and then flip the telephone the bird. He suddenly became my new best friend.

Jonathan would try to get me to go to bar crawls with him and the other students. I told him I refused to wear matching t-shirts just to go out and drink beer. He told me I didn't have to. I told him that I would get too loud. He said, he got loud too. I said, "You know how loud and obnoxious I am here? Well, this is me trying to be professional."

"Holy shit," he said.

One day Jonathan told me about this eighties party he went to and what kind of costume he wore to it. I was very impressed. Then he e-mailed me a picture of him from the party. He wore a mullett wig that looked like something died on top of his head. He also had an acid washed denim vest over a sleeveless t-shirt. He had a beer in one hand, a cigarette in the other and his mouth was wide open. I was so impressed after seeing it, that unbeknownst to Jonathan, I made his photo the wallpaper for all the student computers. I wanted everyone else to be able to enjoy it too. I knew the minute Jonathan turned on his computer and saw his new wallpaper.

"Holy shit!" he said.

I was surprised he never tried to get even. Instead, he would serenade me every morning by singing, Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" and Bon Jovi's "Wanted Dead or Alive" really off-key. Oh, wait. Maybe he did get even with me.

After the tornado, Jonathan e-mailed me. He had quit the semester before, but he knew where I lived and figured out that our house got hit. He told me he wanted to help me however he could. He had friends, he said, who would be happy to move me and the girls if we had to get out of our house. He even asked if we needed money. This impressed me even more than the drunken eighties photo he had e-mailed me. I told him that I thought we were going to be okay, but that I was really touched by how sweet and generous he was. I asked him to give me his mom's e-mail address, so I could write her and tell her what a great job she did raising him. Here was his reply:

"Yeah. I'm not falling for that one. I'd have a hard time trusting you with my mom's address. I'm too scared of what else you'd tell her. I know how dangerous you can be with e-mails."

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Walking the Tightrope, Steppin' on My Friends

Here's a picture of me when I was four, after my brother and sister slammed my fingers in the bathroom door at my dad's studio. This has absolutely nothing to do with my post. Man, I need to go out and take some new pics.

I'm getting to this very late. So, it will probably be very short and very lame. Things are much better today. I did my damnedest to remain cranky at work, but it was not to be. My co-worker, John is like one of those cats that knows when you don't like it and won't leave you alone. He kept coming over and bugging me. At first, he just stood by my desk jingling the change in his pocket until I hauled off and punched him. Then he kept annoying me with questions. The first one was okay, because it was something I was interested in.

"Hey, Churly. What's that one Clint Eastwood movie where he's a DJ and he has that scary stalker chick after him?"

"It's called Play Misty for Me, and it's awesome. Don't even get me started on how great that movie is."

Then he started asking me work related questions, and I was suddenly annoyed again. He gets really paranoid that he's going to get in trouble, so anytime all our bosses meet in another location, he's sure they're all talking about him.

"They've been gone a long time. Do you know what they're talking about?" John asked me for the tenth time in about as many minutes.

"Your butt."

"Oh, then they should be in there for a couple more hours."

Laughing at my own joke started cheering me up a little. Then on my break, I went outside because the weather was so perfect and those guys were on the Pentacrest. You know those one guys who tie their little tightrope thingies to the trees? They have it at the perfect height so that if they slip off, they totally rack themselves. Nothing shakes my crankiness faster than watching a bunch of guys rack themselves. Hey, they were all cracking-up too, so I didn't even have to feel guilty about how happy it was making me.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Everything Will be Alright, Tonight

Here is our garden from last year.

I have agreed to do an interview from Margaret. I was hoping I'd be in a better space tonight to do this, but unfortunately, I'm still not the happiest girl in the whole USA right now. I'm not sure I'll do it justice, but I'll try really hard. I'm supposed to ask people if they want me to interview them, but again, I don't think I'm up for that. I can't imagine anyone will be too shocked that I'm not playing by the rules. Here are the five questions Margaret asked me:

1. What reality TV show would you be on if you had to be on one?

I don't think anyone would ever pick me to be on a reality show. I don't do drama. A friend once told me I should be on Survivor, but after everyone started getting all bitchy and mean, I'd probably take off and find someplace quiet to hang out by myself. They wouldn't even be able to find me to vote me off.

2. Newspapers, magazines, books, or the internets: which is your favorite media?

I would like to be able to answer this question by saying books, but the numbers don't lie and I spend WAY more time on the internet than I do reading novels these days. Hmmm.

3. If you had to give-up one of your 5 senses: which one and why?

This one is really tough. I've always thought that if I lost my sight, I would finally become completely autistic and never leave my scary little brain. I love to eat, so taste would be out. As Mr. Atrocity pointed out, not being able to hear, would mean not being able to listen to music. Being a very affectionate person, my sense of touch is also really important. I guess it just leaves my sense of smell. There are a lot of scents I'd miss, but after being in high school and detasseling corn next to a giant feedlot on the hottest day of the year, I know there are plenty of aromas I'd be happy not to have to experience.

4. If Ben & Jerry's were to name an ice cream flavor after you, what would it be?

Answering this question tonight, I'd have to say, Piss and Vinegar. I guess it'd have to be a sorbet. It would also probably be the least profitable flavor they ever tried to market.

5. If you could start a new holiday:, what, when, and how would you celebrate?

I think I'd invent a "Get out of jail free day". It would be one day out of the year that each person could pick whenever they wanted to take off work and do whatever they wanted without hurting anyone else. Once again, I'm all for people doin' their own things, man. You dig?

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Bottles On the Ground, Are You Ready Now?

So, Kids. I don't want to lay a bunch more wah, wah on you, but I've had a crappy weekend on many different levels. Today I had to deal with my family and my ex-husband and it's made me very tired. The kind of tired where I could easily stay home and sleep for three days to avoid processing stuff. Which means I didn't get to too many blogs this weekend, I'll have to wait until later to answer your comments, and I will also wait until tomorrow to answer Margaret's interview questions. The good news for you, is that I'm not going into any more detail about my weekend crapfest. Instead, I'll tell you how Coadster's birthday party went. Because if I did one right thing this weekend, it was making sure Coadster had very tame fun at her party.

Apparently, Coadster's party was a great time for her and her friends. I was mainly there just to supervise, since Coadster had her music, and activities already planned.

Her friends seemed really enthusiastic about her party too. Kids tend to be particularly committed to celebrating nowadays. I don't remember any guys writing on their flesh in honor my birthday when I was in high school.

Sara and I had our work cut out for us, supervising this party. First of all, the maintenance guy at the rec center must have been really bored, because he kept coming in and checking on us. He was trying to be helpful, but I don't know how many times you have to tell someone you've got everything covered, until they stop asking you. He also got on our cases about the kids playing with the exercise balls. They were used for a jazzercise class, so the kids were not supposed to mess with them. I will stop just short of making the obvious "how fun it is to play with gigantic balls" joke, and move right on along.

At first, it felt like we were in an unchild-proofed room full of two year olds, who were all trying to stick their fingers in different electric sockets at the same time. I can't count how many times Sara and I were in midsentence, when I had to jump up and say, "Hey, you guys can't push someone in the wheeled office chairs really fast toward the wall of windows," or "Please leave the movie screen alone. If you break it, I'll lose my deposit."

Then the kids finally got creative and played boys against the girls in red rover, and once they were bored with that, the tamest game of spin-the-bottle I've ever witnessed. All of Coadster's warnings of dry humping were for naught. (thank god) During spin-the-bottle, they just kissed the hand of the person they landed on. Wussies. When I asked Coadster why they were so lame, she said, "Because I would be horrified if you saw me kiss a boy." Come to think of it, I'd be just as horrified to witness that as Coadster.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

He Was In a Bind 'Cos He Was Way Behind: He Was Willing to Make a Deal

Stinky at the hotel at Coadster's birthday last year.

I don't think I can ever express on here enough, how awesome my friends are. Not only do they put up with my shit, (which is HUGE) they're fun, supportive, they tell me how gross and undeserving the guys who rejected me are, they're reassuring when I voice my insecurities and don't instantly run me to a therapist. (although, I'm sure that would be helpful too) One of them was even known to call and ask a Mr. Dateman if he might be interested in me, when I didn't have the guts to do it myself. (thanks again, K.) Oh yeah, and they are all totally hot.

For both Stinky and Coadster's birthday parties this year, my friend A. was so wonderful and helpful. Last May, our house was still way under construction after the tornado and since A. worked at a hotel restaurant, she not only got me her discount for a room for Coadster and her friends there, when her shift was over, she showed up at our room with beer. If you haven't read about A.'s role in helping me with Stinky's party, you can find it here.

So, this week when I found out Stinky made it to the state track meet and would need to get picked-up right in the middle of Coadster's birthday party, I spazzed first (which is just how I do things) and then called one of my 500 friends named Sara(h), who graciously offered to help me in my couple hours of need. She said she'd rather be the one to pick-up Stinky, than be left alone with thirty or so, dry humping high school kids, and I don't blame her one bit. How could you?

Thursday, May 03, 2007

You Are Young and Life is Long and There is Time to Kill Today

Now, we'll do 1973. I'm going to try to be less wordy on this one. we'll see how I do.

Age: I started out the year being seven, and turned eight that Summer.

Music: As I know I've mentioned before, I could never sleep when I was little, and so my mom let me have a radio on all night. It kept me from hearing every other little noise in the house and freaking out. That year on the radio, I heard a lot of Roberta Flack's "Killing Me Softly", Vicki Lawrence's "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia" and loads of John Denver. (sigh) Tubular Bells came out that year, thanks to The Exorcist, and it scared the shit out of me every time I heard it. The biggest album in 1973 was Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon. I would have to wait until I was in high school and buy it at a pawn shop, before I was able to wear out that one.

Movies: Besides the summer movies they showed for free at Mesa Junior High, like Cinderfella and really old Three Stooges movies, I didn't watch many back then. I did see Jesus Christ Superstar, but I had to wait to see most of the good movies from 1973. Most of them, like, West World, Soylent Green, American Graffiti and one of my all time favorite films, High Plains Drifter I saw either on television or Video when I was older.

TV: I'm sure you won't be surprised when I tell you that I watched TONS of television when I was a kid. I like to blame TV for my strange propensity to remember frightening amounts of pop culture trivia. As far as kids shows go, Sigmund and the Seamonsters came out that year. My all-time favorite Sid and Marty Kroft show, The Land of the Lost, wouldn't come out for another year, but I was still happy with Sigmund. School House Rock also premiered in 1973, and if I ever get drunk enough, I will very loudly prove to you that I know all the words to every song. Prime time shows I watched? Oh, all of them. My oldest sister loved Kung Fu. I was into the Brady Bunch and the Partridge Family, and here's where I restrain myself from going on and on about Randolph Mantooth and Emergency again. We also watched, The Waltons, MASH, The Carol Burnett Show, Bob Newhart and Mary Tyler Moore. Whew.

Books: I know I read a lot, but I don't remember what I read specifically at that time. I remember reading Harriet the Spy, The Changeling, and Island of the Blue Dolphins for sure.

What I Wanted to be When I Grew-Up: I think even back then, I was entertaining that fantasy of moving to Colorado and stealing John Denver away from Annie.

Winter: Winter was tough for me because it was my first year in a new school. We had moved from Phoenix to Mesa the year before and I was a little too ghetto for all the Mormon girls in my neighborhood. I got made fun of a lot. For a while, I would hang out with my young hippie teacher named Mrs. Viola who was recently divorced and had hair down to her butt. We went to one of those Free to be You and Me Schools, and the transition to that from an inner-city elementary was tough too.

Spring: During the Spring, I became better friends with the boy named Skip who lived across the street from me. He and my brother and I would build forts and play Matchbox cars together. If my brother wasn't around, Skip would play GI Joe's/Barbies with me. Once my brother showed up, Skip would start throwing my Malibu Barbies and Mod Hair Ken (complete with facial hair stickers) all around, so my brother wouldn't think he was a sissy.

Summer: After one of my worst school years ever, Summer was great. My mom worked all day and my oldest sister was supposed to watch us. She was depressed and laid around in her room listening to Yes and The Moody Blues, so we could do whatever we wanted. The Tongans who lived two houses down from us, did Polynesian shows at hotels for a living and they taught me how to hula and do these other funky dances. The oldest son and his dad would practice their fire dances on the driveway. I loved watching that shit.

Fall: My third grade class was so much better. I loved my teachers and all the mean kids from my last grade, all went to other rooms. One of my teacher's husbands had been an MIA and a POW in Vietnam. He was one of the first prisoners be let go that year. He came to school and talked to us about what it was like as a prisoner and we were all in awe of him.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Putting Out Fire With Gasoline

Here's me being a lame-ass and still using photos from last year at this time.

I've been in a weird mood lately. It's the kind of space I used to get into a lot when I was younger. I called it "restless" back then, but now I think it's just my ADD flaring-up. I have a hard time sitting still and I'm continually tempted to throw a match on the kerosene soaked rags of any unstable situation in my life. (and with me, that means most of them) I have to try extra special hard to tick-a-lock at work, for fear that I'll start saying what I really think and get myself in a mess of trouble.

This was the same mood that made me think it was a great idea to quit my job at nineteen, and leave all my friends in Iowa. I took a bag full of caffeine pills a friend of mine ordered out of the back of a punk rock magazine for me, some mixed tapes full of Bauhaus, Flipper, and really obscure Velvet Underground songs, and flew to California where I knew absolutely no one.

At least I've become a little smarter about it all - or maybe I just have kids and know I can't fuck things up for me and them. Now, I try to smash all that restlessness into a small, hard ball in my stomach and hope it doesn't start to grow back. I also spend all that energy creating really inappropriate scenarios in my head. It's so much safer. The big problem is trying to remember to keep my brain filter tightly in place, so I don't voice the bizarre shit that is amusing me so much in my tiny, wrinkled brain. Unfortunately for my girls, I'm not quite as careful in the privacy of my own home, where I am comfortable letting my weird out. By now they're used to it, and try to nip it in the bud.

Coadster: So, mom. I wanted to talk to you about dancing at my party on Saturday.

Me: Are you afraid I'm going to dance there? Oh my god. Wouldn't it be funny if I got really drunk, and started 80's dancing, totally off-beat to whatever music we had on? Then lurched off the dance floor and started slurring and hitting on all your male friends...?

Coadster: Mom. Mom! Stop. I was just trying to say that some of the kids might be dancing...You know, kind of close.

Me: Oh, like bumping and grinding?

Coadster: Yeah. Whatever. It's just how we dance now.

Me: I know that. I was in high school once too. I'll just tell you, that I'll put a stop to the bumping and the grinding, the minute I see any parts exposed.

Coadster: Okay. I think we're done now.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Look What's Happening Out in the Streets

Coadster protesting something when she was younger.

Today Coadster participated in a walk-out to protest the war in Iraq. A bunch of kids left school at noon and assembled in front of the high school to paint peace signs on their faces and then march downtown to the Ped Mall where there were bands and speakers and people wearing patchouli and eating lots of hippie food.

I thought it might be a good experience for Coadster to exert her constitutional rights and increase her awareness about political issues. Um, I must have been smoking crack. Coadster is dangerously close to turning fifteen. Apparently, she was mainly aware of the fact that many of the guys who marched were totally hot. She even used her sharp, organizational skills, to put them in order from super cute, down to just okay. I did try to find out more from her, besides which guys were attractive.

Me: So, what other things did you learn from the rally.

Coadster: Well, I noticed that all the college kids who organized it were kind of hairy.

Me: The guys or the girls?

Coadster: Both. None of them shaved and so there was just a lot of hair all over people.

Me: Welcome to the wonderful, hirsute, world of left-wing politics.