Sunday, June 29, 2008

And the Beat Don't Stop and We Talk So Tough

My friend T. giving me a hug on her birthday.

Well, this weekend turned out much differently than I expected. It was good, but as they say in Ottumwa, just diff'ernt. On Saturday afternoon, we watched my niece and nephew. My sister's friend's husband (got that?) is an engineer for the railroad and fell into the Cedar River by Columbus Junction when the railroad bridge he was on collapsed from damage from all of the flooding. Needless to say, he's in critical condition in the hospital here, and so we babysat my sister's three year old and five year old so she could be there to support her friend.

Of course, I didn't even think to get my camera out and take pictures of my niece and nephew being all adorable. We watched Night at the Museum. I had never seen it before, and I thought it was pretty good. My nephew was really into it and my niece was really into coloring on pink construction paper with pink and purple markers. Having teenagers, I forget how different it is to have younger kids. It's been over ten years since I've had a three year old and a five year old in my house all day. It takes a lot out of a girl. I don't know how my sister teaches at a grade school all day and then comes home and entertains her kids all night (with the help of her husband). I think I might have to develop a meth habit to have enough energy for that.

I went out late on Saturday night. I needed some alone time after my girls went to their dad's house, but then I went to the Dublin for one beer. My friends J. and D. were going to go to Joe's Place because they were having guest bartenders from a bar called the Wig and Pen. The Wig and Pen was pretty much ruined from the flooding, so I don't know what their employees are doing now for work every day. Instead of going with them to Joe's, I left and went to the Picador where my friend T. was celebrating her birthday. C. was in town from Fort Madison, and I got to talk to him for a bit before he left for a party.

My friend J. was getting ready to go home and so I asked him for a ride and he kept saying no. Which he always does. In most cases with him, no usually means yes. When we got to his car, he acted like he wasn't going to open the passenger door and just leave me standing by myself in the parking lot. Of course, he finally did and we laughed most of the way home about how both funny and sad it would have been if he had driven off and left me.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

She's a Loaded Gun in My Shaking Hand

This week's Saturday Scavenger Hunt word was chosen by Baby Bull. She picked the word clean.

Because I foolishly went out on Thursday night, I wasn't up for anything too crazy last night. I went to my friend K.'s house for a cookout. I made hummus and brought pitas. K. and her boyfriend grilled salmon and bacon wrapped asparagus and made tabouli and it was all so good.

K. is a huge Steelers fan and so, of course, named her dog Jerome after a certain football player. Jerome is very good at cleaning our plates after we're done eating.

After we were done eating, our friend Ashley brought over this cool life-sized (5'6") Playboy playmate puzzle from 1971. So, we pushed the table over and put it together on K.'s kitchen floor. If that isn't good clean fun on a Friday night, I don't know what is.

Friday, June 27, 2008

It's Those Restless Hearts That Never Mend

So, apparently I thought it was a good idea to start the weekend early tonight. My friend K. called me to tell me that she and her boyfriend were heading down to The Dublin and wanted to see if I'd join them. Why, yes I would.
When I got there, my friend Libby and her husband R. were there and my favorite bartender, S. was working. It was another really nice night. S. is one of the worst (read: best) punsters in the world and he was in fine form. We also played great songs on the juke box and talked about the music festival thingy we're going to the weekend after the 4th that's in Lone Tree and has a bunch of local bands playing. It should be really fun.

What's going on this weekend, you ask? Well, I'm not really sure. The last two weekends were so eventful and this one is kind of void of events, which is nice for a change. Trek Fest is going on in Riverside, Ia this weekend (the future birthplace of James T. Kirk). I don't know if I'll make it to that, but rumor has it that the actor who played Chekov is going to be there.

Tomorrow night my friend K. is going to have a cookout at her house and then there will be some hanging out with her neighbors. She lives on this great little street right by the cemetery and almost everyone on her block is delightfully quirky in their own little way. In other words, they're awesome. Other than that, I got nuthin'...And that's okay too.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

All of a Sudden That Ole Rain's Fallin' Down

Here is a picture of a guy carrying his bike up a bunch of stairs at the North Hall Parking Ramp.

Tonight was great, but by being so great, it meant that I had so much fun that I didn't leave myself much time to blog.

We went to someplace called Rick's for supper club. I had never been there before. It didn't have much ambiance, but it was okay in other ways. My friend K. texted me and told me that she and some other girls were at my beautiful friend S.'s house hanging out in the backyard and asked me if I wanted to stop by after I ate.

It was just starting to thunder when I got there. We moved the table and chairs into the garage, lit a bunch of candles and watched the rain, all safe in our shelter. My friend S.'s friend came over. He was so brave to hang out with a bunch of loud bawdy dames, and he not only held his own, but told some amazing stories. Very impressive. He was from the Southside of Chicago just like me, so I know he came by his shit talking honestly. Lord knows, I love a good story teller.

Tonight was one of those nights that just happened without any planning, and even though all that rain could mean very bad things for us in Iowa, we still respected the storm for its power and appreciated its beauty.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Kind You Don't Take Home to Mother

Here are some pics from the bathroom at IC Uglies. My lesbian friends call it the girly bar.

Work today was REALLY challenging. They had a phone team call 1300 students to reschedule orientation due to the flood. They were only able to speak to 400 of them and the other 900 students called us today, in addition to all of our other calls. It was insane.

Luckily, my co-worker John was here today and he gave me more shit than ever. He made fun of me every time I messed up answering the phones. After you say the same thing over and over for eight hours straight, it's easy to start sounding either drunk or like Mush Mouth from The Cosby Kids.

It has to be the cleanest bar bathroom I've ever seen.

Apparently, I'm feeling random again tonight, so on to the next totally unrelated subject. My girls have been watching I Love the New Millenium on Vh1. I thought it was weird when they did I Love the 90's a while back, because they were talking about 5 years ago like it was ancient history. But we're still living in the new millenium, so what do they do when they get to the end? Start saying, I Love Five Minutes Ago? or I Love Right Now? Remember last weekend when Get Smart came out? Yeah, I feel super nostalgic about that shit.

Who doesn't like a good PMS poster in their bathroom?

Lastly, Stinky just cut her bangs, but she made the mistake of cutting them too short and they go straight across her forehead. Coadster told her she looked like Rick James in the "Super Freak" video. I'm sure nobody's surprised that both my daughters know that reference, but how many years of therapy do you think they'll both need for being exposed to that kind of cheese at such a young age?

You Show Us Everything You've Got

Here are some chives.

Today was my first day back to work after a week, and it was a little rough. I'm trying to get back into the old sleep schedule, but my body just naturally wants to go to sleep around one in the morning and wake up closer to nine. Sometimes you just can't fight city hall.

Last night I finally got to sleep and then received a text from someone at 2:30 a.m. letting me know of George Carlin's passing. I don't remember hearing the text noise from my phone, I just recall going to my phone to turn off my alarm and realizing it was a text and then accidentally calling the texter back instead of opening the text and then quickly hanging up. I almost felt bad, but then I was wide awake and the guy who sent me the text used to go out with me, so he knows I use my phone as an alarm clock and therefore don't turn it off when I go to bed and I figured we were close to being even on the annoyance scale.

I finally got to sleep, and woke up when my alarm went off for real in the morning with a nasty migraine. I don't wake up well, and so I'm one of those horrible people who hits the snooze about a zillion times before I finally haul my ass out of bed. Instead of going back to sleep between snoozes, I decided to try to relax my migraine away. I did that thing where you lie still and go from your head to your toe and tell yourself to relax each body part on the way down. The crazy thing about it, is that it worked. I got up and my migraine was gone and didn't come back the rest of the day. Even though it should have, because work was crazy. We had over a week's worth of mail to open and process and phone calls up the wazoo.

Most of the people were sympathetic to our plight, but there were a few who my friend J. always calls the "precious people", who apparently don't understand what an inconvenience a natural disaster can be. The worst part of the day, was that my favorite co-worker John wasn't there to be ridiculous and make me laugh. Normally, when I'm having a bad day, he'll come by my desk and do dorky little dances or he'll stop over with some work and when I ask him what he has for me, he'll reply by saying, "herpes" and it's never not funny.

I hope he shows up tomorrow, because I'm going to be super tired staying up this late and I'm going to need someone at work who is at least as inappropriate as I am.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Summertime is Cool, the Heat is Getting Old

So, the Saturday Scavenger Hunt word this week was help. It's a a very versatile word. As usual, I'll be working it into my weekend update post. I also want to thank everyone for the great music suggestions. I used almost all of them for my bachelorette party playlist and it was awesome.

After this weekend, I do need some help recuperating. I had a great time, but I'm old, so I don't bounce back the way I used to. Mostly, I'm super sore from dancing for four hours straight. Ouch!

Yeah, so my friend D. decided to give the party a luau theme at the last minute, so we had tiki torches and leis, and grass skirts in addition to the Slip N Slide, kid pool, squirt guns and the obligatory penis cake that my friend Erika made special just for my girl crush's bachelorette party.

The Slip N Slide was super cool. They put two together and set it up on a hill for maximum speed. I didn't try it because I was worried I might mess up my knees on it and I have that notbeingabletorunaphobia.

I did participate in the squirt gun fight and even did a pseudo Charlie's Angels pose with my two girl crushes, before it dissolved into us shooting each other.

Once it got dark out, we all drove downtown to get the dance party started. Here is my girl crush with her 'Ho Fo Sho" cup when we first got downtown.

Then we decided to Lord of the Flies it up by painting her up with blue pool chalk. I didn't think it was possible, but she was even more adorable with the new look.

Later on, another bachelorette party descended down the stairs. They were way more mellow than we were, except for the gigantic inflatable pink penis she carried around with her and the fact that she did a belly shot off of one of the bartenders who was off-duty at the time.

Here is a group shot of most of us. I have no idea why I thought it was necessary to lick my girl crush's leg in this one, but I'm sure it made total sense at the time.

Here's the end of the night when we got my favorite bartender to not only do the Lawnmower dance, but also let someone take a picture of it. He really is the best sport ever. We certainly didn't need any help dancing around like dorks, but we sure appreciated the support of the Dublin Underground staff.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Hot Fun in the Summertime

This is supposed to say "best friends". Apparently, they couldn't get all their feet in the frame.

Kids, I am exhausted. I've gotten so much done the last couple of days and I've been running at least six miles every day, that I'm wearing myself down a little. That's okay. I'll take it. I know better than to look a gift week in the mouth. I've had tons of time to hang out with my girls, I got new tires and my car realigned, I got new running shoes, I got the battery on my phone replaced (for free, I might add) and tomorrow I'm going to try and clean the hell out of my house. Whew. See what I mean?

Stinky and her friends took these funky shots the other day. They also drew all over the driveway in sidewalk chalk. My girls will probably never grow up either. Awesome.

This weekend though? This weekend is mommy's fun time. We were supposed to go to Elkader for canoing and camping for my girl crushes bachelorette party, but I think we all know what a bad idea that would be right now. So, instead, we're going to meet at a friend's house for Summer hijinks. We'll have a kiddie pool and Slip and Slide and Twister and I'm sure, tons of food and drink. We may end up downtown for a bit in the evening, but then we'll go back for a fire and camping in our friend's backyard. Seriously, how much fun will all that be? Tons. I know.

Here is Stinky in mid-cartwheel.

Now. All you all's job is to help me with the iPod playlist. What are your favorite dance songs/ Summer fun songs. I'm looking for happy, cheesy, faster songs that we can dance around like total idiots to. Got it? Please feel free to be as shameless as possible. You know I always am.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Everyone is Helpful, Everyone is Kind

Well, I didn't have my camera on me this morning when I went to relocate sandbags, but I did use my phone. The quality definitely suffers, but at least I was able to document the clean-up a little bit. This first pic is of the railroad bridge between EPB and the main library, for any of you Iowa Citians or ex-pats. You can see the water reaches right up to it. It has gone down some, so I don't know how high it actually got.

This is partly how we moved sandbags. We formed what we used to call a bucking line when I was in the California Conservation Corps. and used to buck wood from a crib to a bonfire. We then deposited the bags into a loader, which in turn dumped them into trucks that took them to flooded areas South of here.

It was great how much help we had. I know some of the athletes at our school have had their run-ins with the law, but today there were plenty of football and basketball players to make up for those other assholes.

This is a photo of the passing line. These bags of sand came out of the engineering building and were not only heavy with sand, they were also wet, so they were gross too. They left weird brown patches on our forearms and Coadster joked that we all looked like people who didn't know how to apply our quick tan lotion correctly.

There were also some who joked about how there really wasn't any flooding South of us and that this was all a ploy by the University to get people to remove all the sandbags for free. I'm sure CNN and all the other news websites were in cahoots using old pics from other floods, right?

The one thing I love about these kinds of experiences, is how they bring people from all different backgrounds together. So that the Middle Eastern engineering professor is cracking jokes with my high school aged daughter who is warning a college student wrestler from Las Vegas how heavy the next bag is. I just hope all this work actually does some good.

Ice Age Heat Wave, Can't Complain

Here is a picture of my reflection in the windows on the backside of Halsey Gym.

So, this will be another one of those quickie posts. I think my natural disaster hangover is finally lifting. I slept way to much the last two days, but I'm going to try to change that starting tomorrow. I am finally old enough to realize that being in denial about negative emotions I have will only come back ten fold and bite me in the ass later. So now I try and let myself feel that shit, until I'm back up and laughing and otherwise acting like a total dork ass. Coadster and I also went to a movie, because as I've said a million times, escapism is one of my favorite coping mechanisms. We saw the M. Knight Shamalamalama movie, The Happening. All I'll say about it, is that the premise was way more interesting than the actual movie.

Tomorrow I have to get up early. I think Coadster and I will try to go down and help load our unused sandbags onto trucks so they can take them to communities down river who are now eating the same shit sandwich we were just served up for breakfast, lunch and dinner for the last couple of weeks. I hope it helps them.

Okay, that's all for now, kiddies. We'll see how sore I get from lifting sandbags and if I'm able to type tomorrow night. Have I admitted to you that I have no upper body strength before?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Everything Will be All Right, Tonight

Here is a bench next to a tree and behind some flood water.

First of all, I need to name the next Saturday Scavenger Hunt word maker upper. I think I'll choose Laura B. at My Boring Life blog. 'Kay?

Next, I think I should warn you that I'm in kind of a weird space. Things have been so bizarre the last week, that it's hard to process. Our town feels like a ghost town too. On Friday there was this mass exodus out of town on Governor Street and now it's quieter than I've ever seen it. You can even find a parking space downtown. No, really. I'm not kidding.

Another thing that feels odd, is the fact that the University shut down for a week. It rarely ever closes. I think before this year, it may have closed for bad weather once in like twenty years. When people call us during an ice or snow storm to see if we're holding classes, the guy who works behind me always tells them that we would only close at the threat of nuclear war. Now, we have a paid week off and it feels surreal.

Of course, it's wonderful that the waters are receding and we're not the first article on every news website anymore. At this point, I'm not so worried about the creek overflowing its banks either. It's not supposed to rain until Friday and the weather pattern we have right now is for non-humid temps in the seventies and eighties - in other words, perfect. The thing I didn't count on, is how kind of lost I feel after waiting for a worst case scenario that never happened.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. It's just that I'm used to the worst case scenario. I expect it. In my world, when my daughter gets sick, she has meningitis, when I take a quaint Sunday buggy ride, there is a horrible accident and my baby ends up in a cast, if there is a nasty storm, it turns into a tornado and takes the roof off of my house. This whole pretty good case scenario is uncharted territory for me. I find myself waiting for the next shoe to drop. What am I going to do with my gallons and gallons of bottled water? What will it be like to go to a grocery store that's actually stocked with food? Incidentally, did you know that peanut butter is the first thing to sell out when there's a flood? I didn't. It makes sense because you don't have to refrigerate or cook it, but it was still news to me. What is the etiquette when there's no need for them, after calling all your friends with trucks and asking them to be on stand-by in case you have to evacuate? Do I call them back and give them the all-clear?

Anyway, today was just a strange day for me. The town felt lonely and quiet...Too quiet. I kept waiting for the Indian warriors to come riding over the plains, ready to attack. Just like it always happened in all the bad Westerns I used to watch. Is it possible that sometimes things turn out just fine after all? Weird.

Monday, June 16, 2008

It's the Time of the Season

I picked the word this week for the Saturday Scavenger Hunt and I chose the word season. Apparently, this year, Spring is the season for flooding. Although the rivers are finally receding, we still don't know if the creek across the street from me will go out of its banks and we might have to relocate.

Right now, I walk across to check it out a couple times a day. I'm also watching the news closely, because if they start talking about Ralston Creek, I'm going to have to start moving my shit out. I have a bunch of friends on stand-by who are willing to help me get it out and my amazing neighbors on Hotz Street have offered up their garage to store said shit. Wish me luck.

This is also the season for weddings. There were some who considered not attending my friend Rory and Erika's wedding because they weren't really in the right space with all the flooding, but some of those same people went anyway, and had a great time. This being my second natural disaster in a couple of years, I'm discovering that it's not always a bad idea to blow off some steam here and there. And that's what I did. I figure I'll have plenty of time to stress out about whether that stupid creek across the street will rise or not.

So, I went to the wedding and my date showed up after driving for nine hours to get here. It normally takes him five hours, but with all the detours, it almost took him twice as long.

He was a great date. He only knew a few people, but I didn't feel like I had to babysit him at all. We ate, we drank, we danced, and had a great time. He was good at walking that line of meeting new people and being autonomous without ignoring me, but also being attentive to me at other times, without hovering. That's always kind of tricky when you don't know someone that well and you're suddenly surrounded by all of their friends.

The only annoyance for me was my dress. It didn't fit quite right, but I loved it, so I wore it anyway. My girl crush was awesome about helping me with safety pins, but duct tape might have worked better.

Another friend of mine stood behind me and held it up at one point so I was free to dance with wild abandon. I seriously have the best friends ever.

Okay. I guess there were two annoyances. Earlier, the weather got sucky again. My daughter called to tell me there were funnel clouds above the Old Capital and they were headed our way next. As you can see, the bad clouds found us, and got a little scary, but after the downpour, it cleared up and got nice again.

By the end of the night, everyone was out on the dance floor having a great time.

And the storm actually left a beautiful rainbow in its wake. Of course, I still never saw a unicorn, but maybe they're out of season right now.

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Tide is High

Okay, kids. I promised you flood pics and now I'm going to deliver. Like I said, we aren't as soggy as Cedar Rapids. Most of our flooding (at least for now) is contained to right by the river. They are predicting that the water could reach the Pentacrest by next week sometime.

Here are some National Guard guys talking to the kids who just found out their dance camp was canceled. They were showing them what their C-rats looked like.

Here are some more guardsmen. I haven't been this close to that much camo since the tornado. I still have total respect for the work they do during natural disasters.

The finally gave up on securing the student union and moved the sandbagging efforts over to the University Services Building and the brand new Communications building. I know that lots of people spent most of the day moving books out of the library and into the Old Capital too.

Here is the student union. See why they gave up?

Here's a big ol' pile of sandbags not doing any good and an unnecessary sign letting everyone know that whatever sidewalk used to be there is now closed.

Here's a family taking their kids to witness all the water by the laser center.

Danforth Chapel next to all the sandbags that probably won't save it.

If you look to the back of the photo, you can see the old Art Building about halfway engulfed in water.

Okay, that's what I got so far. The only good thing that's come from the flood, is that they closed the University down for a week and that means I get a week off with pay.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Jordan's Water is Chilly and Cold

Here's a view from the inside looking out.

Okay. All this flooding is getting really annoying. At first they closed roads and we had to maneuver around, then they did some evacuations and now, especially in Cedar Rapids, it's out of control. There was a photo on one of the news sites, of someone driving a boat through the downtown area. They're electricity is off, so they are only supposed to use water to drink. Whacky, isn't it? We have so much water, it's messing with our supply and now people have to try and conserve it.

Today at work was a lot of dealing with frantic parents. We had one of our first Summer orientations and it was chaos from the git. We could still use the parking lot we had reserved, but no one could get to it, because they closed almost every road leading to it. Then they kept threatening to close the student union. They finally decided to close it for real at 5 pm today. Ugh. The bad news is, it's still raining and the river isn't supposed to crest until maybe Tuesday next week. The good news is, that the raining and storms are supposed to finally calm the fuck down after tonight.

Coadster went to the river to fill sandbags today and she's going back again tomorrow. I might try to bring my camera to work tomorrow to get some flood and levy building shots for you all...As long as I'm not in the way. I remember all too well after the tornado how annoying it was to have people stopping by to gawk at our devastation without ever asking to help.

I texted my friend H. today to see if she needed anything. She lives in one of the evacuation areas. She told me that she was okay right then, but that she could really use a beer. I promised to buy her a hundred beers during the wedding festivities this weekend if she wanted. Again, I'm always there for my friends when they need to self-medicate during bad times.

Just in response to some of the comments so far, Iowa City isn't that bad. Most of the worst of it is in Cedar Rapids. Here, the areas closest to the river have been evacuated, but it shouldn't be anywhere near like it is in a couple of other towns. The girls and I are totally fine. Thanks for your concern.

Bells Will Ring, the Sun Will Shine

Hey, here's another flower shot that Stinky took.

Sooo, tonight we're onto the usual Wednesday, it's late and I'm tired post. I went to Shakespeare's for supper club and it was great, as usual. Then I headed to the Dublin. My friend J. was there. She said she stopped down because she knew I came down on Wednesdays and we had a fun time and a great talk.It was the perfect mid-week break.

Now, for more wedding talk. I think Stinky and I are going to do a little shopping for something to wear for it tomorrow night. I have one dress that will do, but it's not exactly what I want. I thought I'd check out another store because my friend K. said she found really cute sun dresses for $17 and that sounds like exactly what I want. I'll let you know. I'm sure you're all just dying with anticipation.

The other thing is that I have an actual real live date for the wedding. Weird, I know. He's a boy who lives out of town, and he's coming down for the weekend, so it should be fun. The guys I know who are single and hang out at the bar, say they purposely don't bring dates to weddings because that's the best pick-up place ever. I've never met a guy at a wedding before, but I've known people who have. How about you, gentle readers. Have you ever met someone at a wedding? Inquiring minds want to know...

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

What You Tryin' to Hand Me?

Well, kids. Guess what? That's right. It's time for another random post. This time with 50% more pictures. I took the one of Coadster and the one of my girl crush, but Stinky took the rest. I think she did an awesome job, don't you?

This one is Coadster getting ready to go to some community teen dance. Please note Coadster's new hairdo. She let me and Stinky cut it right after soccer season was over and she didn't have to wear the eternal pony tail. As she would say, she looks almost like a girl there.

Just so you know, our town isn't completely underwater. That seems to be the word on the street. We're getting tons of calls at work from out of state folks who see shit on TV and actually believe it. Silly people. A woman I work with said she looked at some MSN news site that said our entire town of 65,000 was flooded. It is true that there are certain streets that are closed and locations that are being evacuated. One of my friends lives on Park Road, right by the river and had a police officer show up on Friday and recommend that they buy a canoe. I love cop humor, don't you? No? Neither do I. I just lied to you all.

The smoking ban goes into effect on July 1st. For those of you who aren't from Iowa, that means no one will be allowed to smoke in public places, except for casinos and beer gardens. Is that it? I can't remember. It has some people up in arms, but I don't smoke, so it doesn't concern me much either way. I guess I'll just not smell so bad when I come home from a bar, and I may end up sitting by myself for periods of time while all my smoking friends go outside to bond.

I painted my toenails for the first time in forever. I normally don't, because I'm afraid it will draw attention to my scary feet, and nobody wants that. The only thing is, that I'm going to be wearing really cute white sandals to the wedding on Saturday and I kind of had to. Now, who looks almost like a girl? I do.

If you attend the wedding, please feel free not to look down when you're standing next to me. I painted them bright red, and you might really be tempted, but don't. I'm not kidding. Just don't.

Coadster and I had talked about going to the Iron and Wine show on Thursday. Coadster even invited me to go with her and her friend Mel. The only thing is, we were full of misinformation. We had the wrong price and the wrong date. Oops. So, now Coadster is going to babysit for the Creekside Review blogger's child and she's still pretty happy about that.