Sunday, August 31, 2008

I Feel It in the Air, the Summer's Out of Reach

Well, our end of the Summer girly party all started innocently enough. We brought really good food and drank beer and listened to a cheesy 80's mix CD that I made and looked at our friend E.'s honeymoon videos on her laptop. It was all cute and quaint, right? Wrong.

I'm not sure how it all started, but someone may have found some leftover decorations from my girlcrush's bachelorette party and then someone else had the idea to decorate their little metal arch thing to make it look like where you would take a prom picture. Then our hostess J. may have happened to mention that she still had all four dresses from her proms in the early nineties. Then it's possible that there was some kind of prom dress wearing throw-down.

The next thing you know, the dresses are being brought down and girls are undressing and our hostess J. is closing the gate to her backyard and one of my lesbian friends is saying, "Now this is my idea of a party." We all do our cheesy prom poses under the arch, but apparently that's not wrong enough.

We have to make it even raunchier by posing as a threesome date.

Then, what the hell, we threw in a little minx with a cigarette and a bottle of liquor.

It was supposed to be an all girl party, but you know what happens when you have a yard full of girls - boys start sniffing around. So, we made a rule. Boys could join if they would put on a dress and pose for a picture.

We were even nice about it, and let them pose with their girlfriends.

But, if they wanted to pose together, that was fine too, of course.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Welcome to the Human Race

The Saturday Scavenger Hunt word this week was chosen by the Alien at Swamp Gas and Moonlit Reflections. His word was blue. So, here is picture of me and Coadster on Pier 39 with me wearing a blue shirt against a blue sky and a blue ocean. Oh yeah, and I'm wearing blue jeans.

So, after writing yesterday's post about being open and seeing what could happen, I ended up finding out sooner than I thought. That's right, I got a text from Mr. B. around 6 o'clock that said something like his ex wanted him to pick up his son early on Monday morning, so he wouldn't be able to make it on Sunday. I had already texted him yesterday and told him that I got my ex to trade nights, so I wouldn't have the girls.

Again, I think a cancellation deserves a phone call, especially since he told me he'd call me once he knew one way or another. I'm also still not sure why he couldn't come up anyway. If he had to get up early, we just wouldn't stay out that late, and set an alarm. Done.

I was disappointed and hurt and confused and I wasn't sure how to respond. If he had called me, I could have asked him why he wouldn't come anyway, but he texted me and I'm not good at having a real conversation through text. So, I just texted him back and said: "ok." I'm certainly not going to beg someone to hang out with me.

It's just instance number 5,236 of me not understanding men. Excuse me for writing in bad mixed TV and movie quotes, but I can feel it coming on. If he wanted to see me, he'd make an effort, and if he didn't want to, why would he make such a big deal about calling me at work to set it all up? As Yoda would say, "Do or Do Not. There is not try." Did he suddenly lose interest in 24 hours or was it a Marcia Brady thing where "something suddenly came up", meaning a better opportunity presented itself? It's not like I got hit in the nose with a football or anything. So, I guess we're done now, and I can put on my Levi's Movin' On jeans and commence to movin' on. Again.

Tomorrow is our block party and my friend Bridget, who is always trying to set me up with guys, is at it again. She wants to introduce me to a guy she thinks is great and "kind of hunky". He has kids and is actually my age, which is good, but her other set-up attempts haven't been that great. One guy was super cranky and had a hugely inflated self-image. She wanted to set me up with another guy who my friend John told me he thought was a dumb-ass and my friend K. confirmed it.

So, I'll meet this guy and see how it goes. Again. Maybe he'll be geeky and funny enough for me, or maybe he'll be just another dumb-ass. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

It's Hard to Make the Good Things Last

I feel like looking at beach scenes. How about you? Here is a picture of someone's dog all running and spazzy on the beach.

Hey, whaddaya know? It's another three day weekend. This one supposedly commemorates the end of Summer - hence the frolicking beach photos.

What are my plans, you ask? Well, let me lay them on you. This weekend could be really, really great, or really, really bad or just really, really weird, depending on how things pan out. Either way, there should be at least a few "reallys" in there somewhere. Friday is the first home football game at my daughters' high school. They will both attend, but right now, I have no plans. I have a couple of movies to watch, so I might just stay home and allow myself to be entertained.

Saturday I have a"girls' night in" to attend. A couple of my friends have had really rough Summers, so we're just going to hang out in my friend J.'s backyard and eat food and drink cold beverages and get louder and more animated as the evening progresses.

Here is a picture of a fisherman showing me his catch.

Sunday is the day where all the really's come into play. A couple of weeks ago, Mr. B. asked if he could come and visit me the Sunday of Labor Day weekend. It was hard to know how to respond, because he hasn't had the best track record, but after our talk in July, he had been a million times better. He was responding to texts and calling me every Friday night, and so I figured why not. Why not see what happens, after all, Mr. B. is the one guy I've met in forever that I have that thing with. You know that thing that you can't really explain, but you definitely know when it's not there when you meet people. It's not just a physical thing, it's like I wrote when I first met him in Fort Madison in this post here. You feel like you finally met a fellow alien from the same planet. So, I decided it was worth hanging out with him again and finding out if that's all still there after not seeing him for ten months.

Here is a picture of me and Stinky all running and spazzy on the beach.

As it got closer to Labor Day, I wondered if it would really happen. He didn't call me last Friday and by last night when I hadn't heard from him, I was ready to write him off. Then today about five minutes before lunch, I got a call from him. I couldn't answer it, and then he sent me a text that read, "still on 4 sunday?" I went outside and called him back. As usual, we had a great talk. We made plans and talked about what and how we were going to do things. I have the girls that night, but they'll be at our neighborhood block party for most of the evening. So, I think Mr. B. and I will get something to eat and then go for a beer somewhere. Since he lives an hour away, he'll spend the night in my room and I'll sleep on the futon couch in the living room - like any of my friends who stay with me would.

Now all that's left to do, is wait and see if it really happens. He said the only thing that would keep him away, would be if his ex-wife decided not to take her son when she was supposed to. Having my own unreliable ex, I know how that goes. He's going to call me on Saturday night after he drops his son off to let me know how it went. So, anyway. By Sunday evening, I'll know for sure which of the really, really's I'll be dealing with.

How about you all? Are you expecting your long weekend to be really, really something, and if so what?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

This is Why Events Unnerve Me

Here is a picture of a guy cooking crabs on the Embarcadero.

Do you ever have that where you go through your day, and everything seems fine? You go to work, and things are pretty normal. Sure, you have to throw your newest rubberband ball at the guy who sits in the cubicle behind you because he's saying stupid things, but that turns out pretty great because you nail him in the forehead. But then later, when you're out with your friends and you start speaking, you realize that you're kind of in a mood.

Well, that's how it was for me today. Part of it was probably that I didn't run after work. It would be my seventh day in a row, and I'm trying to be better about taking breaks. I just wish there was another way to get that free high. I decided to take a quick nap instead. My friend T. called me around 6:45 or so to see if I'd give her a ride to supper club. Of course I would.

We went to Los Portales this week and it just sucked. The service was bad and then there was all this weird bullshit about trying to figure out our checks when we left. So, basically we decided that we wouldn't go back there anytime soon. We were all kind of in a strange space after how weird and pissy the guy running the register was to us.

Then my friend T. asked me if I wanted to hang out for a minute at her place. At first it was nice and we had a great talk, but then I kind of went on a little rant. I have no idea why either, because I was bitching about stuff from the past that I really didn't care about. Really. It was like I couldn't help it, and if there was any way I could have grabbed the words as they were spewing forth and shoved them back into my mouth, I would have. Of course, T. was wonderful and let me go on, but I felt bad about it later on. I just hope T. comes to me next time she's in a mood and wants to vent, because I will totally return the favor.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Sensing Too Well When the Journey is Done

Here's the update I promised you last week. I can't believe I forgot to tell you all this, but they found the creepy professor. He was dead in Hickory Hill park. I'm sorry for his family, I guess he had a 4 month old baby and a wife in her thirties. I hope he planned well enough so that they're taken care of.

Well, it looks like all of that alone time has paid off. I think I'm finally able to process the trip and the lack of money and the ensuing car problems a little better than last week or the week before. What that means for you poor people, is that I'm going to get all annoyingly reflective in this post and write what it's like to be in my brain when I'm driving. Make sure you tie a rope to something heavy on the outside. Believe me, the last place you want to get stuck is in my head.

When the Robert Plant version of "Big Log" came on your playlist you were driving through Wyoming. You thought that it was exactly what you wanted to hear right then. It was haunting and sad and lonely and all the things you felt when your daughters were asleep and the sun was setting and you still had hours of highway ahead of you. That was it. That fantasy you always kept with you when you were little. The one where you imagined yourself as an adult and you would have five kids and a big old station wagon and you would drive from place to place and see all there was to see in the world. But when you were a kid, you didn't know about the other stuff. You didn't know that you would be responsible. You would have to make sure all those kids were fed and that your car kept working and that you didn't get lost or hurt or robbed.

When Elvis Costello's "Accidents Will Happen" came on, you remembered a time when you were eighteen. You and your middle sister, and brother drove down to Arizona in your brother's '75 Caprice Classic to visit your oldest sister during Winter break. In Texas you were able to pick up the Doctor Demento Show on your radio, but by New Mexico, you couldn't get any decent stations, so you popped in the Costello tape. Your brother was driving and he calmly told you that while you were in the mountains, he had that urge just to let go and drive over a cliff. It wasn't real. He wouldn't have actually done it, but for a split second it was there. It would have been so easy, and you looked at your brother a little differently then. You had no idea he entertained those thoughts every once in a while too - for a split second.

Joy Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart" brought you back to a Greyhound ride when you were nineteen, going from Santa Rosa to Phoenix where you were eating too many of those fake white cross pills that you thought made you so much more aware. You had your Walkman headphones permanently attached to your ears, which you thought was the universal sign that you didn't want to talk. They didn't stop the poor, pregnant Mormon girl. She wouldn't quit telling you all the things you didn't want to know - like how her boyfriend got her pregnant and because they weren't married, she was ex-communicated from the church. Her boyfriend, who wasn't Mormon was able to join the church because she said, the pregnancy was her fault. What? The pills made you annoyed in general, but hearing all that unfair bullshit almost put you over the edge. You felt bad, but you purposely lost her when the bus stopped in a town somewhere outside of L.A. and you made sure you were the last one back on, so you didn't have to sit by her anymore and hear all of her sad, silly stories.

You were dangerously close to Nebraska when Nada Surf's, "Always Love" came on and it was so hopeful, that you almost let yourself feel that way too. Almost. The lack of finances, the strange burning smell coming from your engine and your boy quandaries kept you from being completely stupidly optimistic. Since it was more interesting to think about boys than your dwindling funds and you needed to stay awake, you wondered about them. Well, one especially, and mostly you questioned why you were still wondering about him. You thought that the last time you talked to him, you forgot to ask him the right question. You asked him why he kept flaking out on you, but after he said he was like that with everyone, even his friends; you forgot to ask him why he pretended that he would call or show up then. Why didn't he just say, all he was capable of was calling and texting from time to time? Did he want to be the kind of person who actually followed through, so he promised things he couldn't really deliver?

Then you stopped right there, because you realized something. The next roadtrip you took, you might hear Nada Surf, and remember being in a quandary about that boy. If it was years from now, you would most definitely still remember his name, but would you be able to recall what all the fuss was about - even for a split second?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Bitches Can't Hang With the Streets

Here is a picture of a barrel containing candy cigarettes.

On Friday one of the things I did to piss away time was to obsess over my music. While I was cleaning, I found a bunch of old CD's. I still have another box of CD's in a closet somewhere that I can't find. It's making me a little crazy, because Coadster has asked me several times lately where my Nick Drake is, and I think it's in that box. Anyway, what was I saying? Oh yeah. I found some CD's and I was obsessing over music, and so I decided to make another whacky mix CD for my friend's K and T.

Because of the kind of music I found, I decided to call it "Now That's What I Call Street" and put a bunch of dirty, gritty, "living just enough for the city" kinds of songs from many different decades on it. Also, I think you all know how hard it is to live on the mean streets of an overeducated, college town like Iowa City, right? Yeah. Everyday is a never ending struggle to find all your organic produce, wait for your soy latte to be made and then talk about Proust with your check-out guy at the Co-op. So, I made this compilation for those of you who are also feeling the pressure of these mean Midwestern bucolic streets. I'll warn Evil-E in particular that there is a lot of rap on here, so he may not be super into it. Okay, here's what I put together:

1. Straight Outta Compton - N.W.A.

2. Flashlight - Parliament

3. Bitches Ain't Shit - Ben Folds. This cover is hilarious if you've never heard it.

4. Roll With Me Henry - Etta James

5. The Next Episode - Dr. Dre and Snoop

6. Don't Push Me - Grand Master Flash

7. Don't You Just Know It - Huey "Piano" Smith and the Clowns

8. Police and Thieves - Junior Murvin

9. Gangsta Boogie - Love Stink

10. Me So Horny - 2 Live Crew. One of the first songs to deserve a parental advisory label made it on the compilation, of course.

11. Paper Planes - M.I.A. Also, any song with shooting noises made it in the compilation.

12. Inner City Blues - Marvin Gaye

13. Lose Control - Missy Elliott

14. Fuck tha Police - Public Enemy. Yes, they apparently did a cover of this song too. Don't ask me where I got this, on the grounds that it may incriminate me.

15. Tell Me Something Good - Rufus and Chaka Khan. Ch-Ch-Chaka KHAN!

16. If You Want Me to Stay - Sly and the Family Stone. My favorite song of theirs.

17. Pressure Drop - Toots and the Maytals.

18. Random - Lady Sovereign

19. Pusherman -Curtis Mayfield

So, there it is. The soundtrack of my not so urban, Iowa plight.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Smell Like I Sound, I'm Lost in a Crowd

I chose the Saturday Scavenger Hunt word this week and it was animal. Here is a picture of me and my girlcrush at her wedding where we were being hungry like the wolf. Since I don't have any cute pet pictures to put up, I figured I'd show one of us acting like animals. So, now I think I'll pick The Alien at the Swamp Gas blog to choose the next word. Has he chosen the word recently?

So, here's the dealio. I took myself off of the internets for most of the weekend. Basically, I had shit to do in the real world, so I took a break to get it done. My house thanks me, because it's all clean and tidy and livable once again. Whew!

My Friday off was so very nice. Even without video games to piddle away the time, I still didn't get much done. I ran, of course, and did some cleaning, but I certainly didn't get the world's problems solved, let alone my own. I did have hours upon luscious hours of alone time and man did I need that.

Friday night my friend K. texted me to say she and her boyfriend wanted to hang out with me, and it worked out well, because I wanted to hang out with them too. We went to The Picador to celebrate its second year anniversary. It was so much fun. There were tons of people there I hadn't seen in forever. My friend C. came up from Fort Madison, my beautiful friend S. showed up with her equally beautiful boyfriend and my tattoo artist friend, Kris and her boyfriend even came out. At one point, someone walked upstairs and saw us all standing around talking shit (read: screeching) and they said, "Holy shit. It feels like I just walked into 1998 all over again."

FMDM's band, Snow Demon played and they were awesome. They just keep getting better and better. They even did a Thin Lizzy cover of "Jail Break" and it was very cool. I feel bad, though that I didn't get to talk to everyone I wanted to. My friend Jerry told me that he was sorry he didn't come over and say hi, but I was so overwhelmed that I didn't really even see him, so neither one of us had to worry. Around one in the morning, after some guy I'd never seen before tried to convince me that I had to make-out with him, (I was very adamant that I didn't have to) and I kept my friend C. from getting into not just one, but two fights, I figured it was time to go.

On Saturday, I ran my seven mile route. The weather here has been amazing for August. I spent some more time by myself in the evening while my girls went to their dad's house. K. texted me to tell me that our friend Jerry was having a cookout. I didn't make it there until around 10, but it was really nice and mellow. I ate some food, I had my two beers and had a great time reminiscing with Jerry about the old hardcore punk days. We didn't know each other back then, but apparently we went to all the same shows. He'd say, "Yeah, I went to see The Clash at Palmer Auditorium in Davenport..." And I'd get all excited and tell him I was there. Then I'd say something about going to see Husker Du at Robot's studio above the Soap Opera in 1984 and he'd go, "Shit. I was there too." It really is bizarre that we never knew each other back then. Since he's gay, we could also talk about the guys we had crushes on when we were young and stupid. See? All the guys I know in this town who are my age, aren't interested in women. I'm really not making it up.

Guess what I did on Sunday? That's right, I ran some more. While I was running, I got a text from Gyuss/Nate of the Canoe Trip blog. It seems he was driving through Iowa City right then, but I didn't get the text until an hour later. Wah. I told him that he should text me if he (and his wife?) were going to be anywhere near Iowa City again. I would love to hang out with them, but I did warn him that I'm at the mercy of my girls' schedules, so it may or may not work out. The last two bloggers who were in town, came on nights when I had the girls and I couldn't meet them. Damn it but kids are needy, aren't they?

Okay. I'm going to try really hard to get to everyone's blogs in the next day. Sorry to be such a lame-ass, but sometimes we all have shit to do in the real world.

Friday, August 22, 2008

This Will be the End Today of the Wanted Man, Wanted Man

Here is a picture looking up at a building in the financial district in San Francisco.

You know how I was going to update you about the creepy professor? Well, there's nothing to update. They still haven't found him. The police think his body is somewhere in Hickory Hill Park, but some people think he took off and staged things to make it look like he killed himself there. Hmmmmm.

I'm going to try to be merciful and make this as short as possible tonight. As of August 18th, I've been working for my particular institution for 11 years. Weird, huh? Until I was 26 years old, I'd never lived in any town for over 4 years in a row. I've lived in Iowa City ever since I was 26 - which just happens to be the age I had Coadster. One thing I'll say about having kids, they sure are grounding.

Anyway, as far as I can tell, 11 is the magic year at our institution when I get my vacation bumped up to almost 4 extra hours a month. It's finally starting to add up. So much so, in fact, that I'm giving myself a little treat this weekend. I've decided to take Friday off. Normally, I save my vacation days to do things with the girls, but we've spent tons of time together in the last month. So, I'm taking a "get out of jail free card" day tomorrow. Yippee!

The bad thing is that my XBox is dead (it's giving me the circle of red lights). I talked to FMDM about it tonight and he said I should just call the XBox people and they'll give me stuff to send it in, and then probably give me a new one. Maybe not wasting hours playing Galaga or Beautiful Katamari is a blessing in disguise. Who knows? I might actually get something done tomorrow...But don't go holding your breath.

Okay. I hope you all have great weekends, and that your gaming devices of choice are all working at full capacity and I also hope you don't have anyone in your town go missing along with their high powered rifle.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

And When Your Hands Get Dirty, Nobody Knows You At All

Here is a picture of me with my face all different kinds of distorted in the fun house mirror at the arcade at Hyde Pier.

Seriously, I don't know what kind of bizarre juju is hanging over our town this year, but it's getting pretty ridiculous. At work this afternoon, I got a message that there was ANOTHER lock-down at my daughters' school and both of the other schools they went to when they were younger. Jaysus! We live in Iowa for Christ's sake.

This time it was because of this creepy professor in town. He was accused of groping co-eds for the promise of an A+ and was suspended from his job. All of that was weird enough, right? Well, then we started hearing all this other shit, but like how this usually goes, it's all partial knowledge and hearsay and supposition and on and on like that there.

What I could figure out from all of it, is that the creepy professor wrote a suicide note and took off with his high powered rifle. The authorities (whoever they are) found his car parked at upper Hickory Hill Park and then at some point decided to put all the schools nearest to the park on lock-down for about 15 minutes. I called my girls and told them to stay away from the park, which is just two blocks from where we live.

Some people were saying that they weren't sure if the girls who accused the professor were telling the truth. As far as I'm concerned, once you take off in your white Ford Bronco, or head to the park with your high powered rifle, it's pretty evident that there's something real going on.

Here is a picture of the girls in front of the Hilltop Tavern, when we used to live above it.

Tonight we met at The Hilltop Tavern for supper club and everyone there was still talking about all the drama at the park just down the street. There was supposedly a SWAT team combing Hickory Hill and I wondered how a 66 year old professor was able to elude them all these hours. Sure, we also talked about other stuff, like our weekends and about how excited we were for NFL football season to start, so we could spend our Sunday afternoons at The Vine eating wings and watching men beat the shit out of each other, but mostly we were trying to piece all the afternoon's events together.

A couple of us girlies went back to my friend K.'s house afterward to hang out on her back porch. K. lives right next to the cemetery and park, where the creepy professor was said to be lurking. At first we talked about how little we understood men and all agreed that if you asked a guy why he did the things he did, he'd likely just say, "I'on'tknow." My friend T. wished they came with a manual, but I'm sure guys could say the same thing about women...Or else they'd just write us all off as crazy and not care about exactly why we do what we do.

Then we saw a helicopter fly over, and K. texted someone who was a little more in the know, who told her that they were using ultraviolet (I wrote ultra violet here, but I meant infrared. I'm leaving the original as further evidence of my dorkiness) lights to look for what they thought was just a body at this point. Not long after that, we heard what sounded like a gunshot coming from the direction of the park. It was kind of eerie. I went home pretty soon thereafter, and while I'm writing this, I have no idea what happened to the creepy professor.

I'll update you when I know.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

It Scares the Daylight, Making Nightmares

I took a photo of this guy in Chinatown because he was taunting everyone walking by saying, "Boo hoo. Boo hoo. Go home and cry to your mommy." I guess he had some issue with Americans in general and the Dalai Lama in particular and I'm sure if you talked to him for very long he'd probably get around to telling you that Ghandi and Mother Theresa were total assholes too. Which, if I weren't with my girls, I might have tried to introduce myself, because those kinds of whack jobs really crack my shit up.

Oh, kids. I hate to break it to you, but I'm feeling a little random tonight. Yeah, it looks like you'll get another peak at what untreated, adult ADD looks like. As you probably remember from my other random posts, it's not pretty. So, let's start flinging crap, shall we?

1.) I've been having these horrible night terrors lately where I'll think I woke up and walked into the living room because it sounded like someone had broken into our house. When I enter the room, the fan kicks on and the skirt I'm wearing (only in the dream) flies up and sticks to my face covering my nose so I can't breathe and there's also some horrible presence in the room. I usually wake up all freaked out and it sometimes takes me hours to go back to sleep. Stinky said the other night, she heard me pounding the wall in my room presumably trying to get the imaginary fabric away from my nose. How bizarre is that? Yeah, maybe one of those soothing cricket noise tapes wouldn't be such a bad idea after all?

2.) One thing I noticed about my girls when we were on vacation, is that they had their guest personalities on the whole time. You know how when your kids go to their friends or families houses, and people tell you how wonderfully behaved they are and how they helped clean up and were very polite? And you wonder what the hell those people could be talking about because their rooms look like a bomb went off and they had a huge screaming meltdown in the car on the way over for their visit? Well, on vacation, my kids act like they must at other people's houses. They would unpack the car without waiting for me to ask them, let alone complaining. They'd help set up the tent and make the fire at our campsite and ask me if I wanted anything to eat or drink while I was driving. Of course, the minute we pulled up in our driveway, they both went straight into the house empty handed. Apparently, whatever pod people my kids are possessed by on the road, refuse to follow us all the way back to Iowa. Damn it.

3.) Stinky's locker number at school is 666. For real. It really couldn't be more perfect.

4.) Remember how I told you that we hung out with my Uncle when we were in California? Well, after I got back, I was talking to my Aunt who was my legal guardian when I was growing up (the California uncle's sister) and she was laughing about how sheltered her brother was. "He doesn't read the paper or watch TV or really know what's going on in the world. I even tried to make a joke with him once and he didn't get it because he didn't know what a ho' was. I had to explain to him that it was another name for a prostitute..." Did I mention that my Aunt is 70? I never thought the day would come when my Aunt, who is so decidedly NOT street that she lives out in the country in Southeast Iowa, would be going on about how much hipper she was than someone else. Wow. No wonder I'm having night terrors lately.

5.) I got to see my girlcrush after I got back into town and she was even wearing her Coco Puffs t-shirt. It sure is good to be back in Iowa.

6.) On Friday when I was talking to Mr. B., he brought up one of my exes. He's known that particular ex for years, and he thought it was weird that not only were we still friends, but that that ex and I talked to each other about people we either date or have crushes on or whatever. I have a feeling the real issue is that we had talked about Mr. B. before. He said, "I'm not saying that you shouldn't be friends with your exes, I just think it's weird, that's all." Then I asked him if he wasn't friends with any of his exes and he said, "Hell no. All my exes are so fuckin' psycho that I try to stay as far away as possible."

I'm actually friends with most guys I've dated except the couple icky abusive ones. It usually takes me about three months to get over all the bullshit after a break-up and then I'm fine and I wish them the best. The guy I dated this Winter even called me this weekend out of the blue and left me this message: "In Fast Times at Ridgemont High", which three actors went on to win academy awards?" I called him back and said, "Duh. Sean Penn, Forest Whitaker and Nicholas Cage." Then we talked for close to an hour about a bunch of other stupid stuff.

So, here's my question to you blog readers: Are you friends with your exes, are you done with them as soon as it's over, or does it depend on the person?

Monday, August 18, 2008

Those Schoolgirl Days, of Telling Tales and Biting Nails are Gone

You'll have to excuse me tonight, but my baby just started high school, and that fact apparently just turned me into one sad, sorry sap. I'll get over it until the next time, of course, but for now, I'm just going to sit in amazement at how fast this child rearing shit goes. I know everyone talks about it, but seriously. One minute, they're all cute and sweet and wearing clothes that you sewed, dyed and hand painted, without a complaint, a sigh, an eye roll, or the most dreaded - Ewwww, gross!

Then the next thing you know, they're old enough to be fighting over the fact that there's only one pink plastic guitar.

Next they're either happily or not so happily posing for photos on the Pagliai's building fire escape...

...And smashing snow on each other's heads.

Soon their grade school days are numbered and they're actually, kinda, sorta liking each other sometimes.

While other times, they assume their roles as long suffering older sister to the younger's obnoxious, goofball.

Suddenly, they're both young women. Still dorky and driving each other nuts most of the time, but also looking out for each other. At Stinky's sleepover, Coadster sat down with Stinky and all of her incoming freshmen friends and instructed them on the ins and outs of high school. She told them which parking lot to avoid, where they should sit in the cafeteria if they didn't want to get targeted by the territorial upperclassmen and which of the girls in high school were fakey, heinous bitches and not to be trusted. Then she dealt out her last, most important advice, "Stay away from the the junior and senior boys. They will be all over you guys because they know you all have low self-esteem and they can talk you into a bunch of stuff you shouldn't even know about right now." Amen to that, sister. I think Coadster covered it all pretty well.

Here is a photo that was taken this morning when Coadster's friends came to pick her up to start her junior year. She's known the girl sitting next to her since they were born. Awww.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Famous Sounding Words Make Your Head Feel Light

Here is a photo of a wave. I miss the beach one whole helluva lot right now. Just so you know.

Okay. Here's the deal. I'm feeling kind of overwhelmed since I've been back from vacation. I have tons of emails to answer, I have blog links to update, and lots of practical shit to take care of. I apologize, if you are any of the people I've been lame about contacting. It's not that I don't want to contact you, it's more that first I was unpacking and returning things and trying to do 1,758 loads of laundry, and then get everything ready for my kids to go to school tomorrow (how is Summer over already anyway?) and paying bills and a whole bunch of other crap that nobody else really cares about but me. Anyway, I will try really hard to get things taken care of this week, but if I say "fuck it all" one night and watch a really stupid movie, it's just to calm me down for a bit, so's I don't actually have that nervous break-down I've been threatening for years now.

But have no fear, one thing I won't lame out on tonight, is coming up with the word. I was tagged by Evil-E to pick next week's Saturday Scavenger Hunt word. I think I'll go with animal. Have we done that one yet? Let me know.

So, having said that, I did give myself a little break on Saturday. The girls went to their dad's by six and I did some serious putzing around my house for several hours and it felt really, really good. I got this crazy idea in my head, that I'd just stay home and watch movies and revel in my aloneness. Then I got a call from my friend Brooke reminding me of her housewarming party. I thought it was just a BBQ thing and that I'd already missed it, but Brooke assured me that it was all a bunch of metalheads who don't leave until the keg is dry. Then as I was getting ready, my friend D. texted me that she and J. were heading downtown. Since I had exactly five dollars, I figured I'd go to Brooke's first and drink the free, really good wheat beer they had in their keg and see all those whacky guys first and then run downtown and buy a beer with my girly friends.

Brooke's shindig was very much fun. There weren't tons of people there, but everyone was really cool. I met a guy who I've seen around town for years. He was just a year younger than me, which was refreshing. He was also gay, and he told me how hot he thought I was. He said he remembered seeing me at the Deadwood twenty years ago, and then seeing me running around town lately and thinking, "Damn. She still looks good." Then when I met my friends at Joe's Place, another gay man about my age, told me how he remembered me from when I used to model for art classes in the eighties. He told me that I was the first woman he had ever seen naked and even now when he sees me running, he's impressed. Don't get me wrong, it was all nice to hear. It would be even better, however, if a guy who might actually want to date me, expressed an attraction to me. Instead, it left me wondering if I had somehow become Iowa City's answer to Judy Garland. Would the drag shows in town start featuring guys wearing curly wigs and purposely klutzing around stages, tripping over everything and speaking too loudly in bad seventies and eighties pop song lyrics, trying to pay homage to me? Shudder to think.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

They Never Said Your Name, But I Knew Just Who They Meant

What do you know. I'm actually doing the Saturday Scavenger Hunt thingy. And on time even, I think I do deserve a medal. The word this week was chosen by Evil-E at Random Crap. he chose the word black. Since I love contrasts, I can't show you black without putting something white up against it. I took this photo of a bulldog sitting outside of a record store on Haight Street. He was sitting on a black rug against some black stairs, so it makes him look like he's in a studio or something.

So, yesterday was busy. I took a half day off so I could go running in the perfect weather and then take the girls to get school supplies and then get everything ready for Stinky's end of the Summer sleepover. As usual, it was more tiring, but also much better than being at work.

Last night, all the kids left to play night games at a park. I think I've mentioned this before. They all get together and play kick the can and ghost in the graveyard and these elaborate games of hide-and-seek and I think it's pretty damn cool that kids still do that stuff. While they were gone, I ran downtown for a bit to say goodbye to my friend Rachie who got her first librarian gig at that one university in the UP of Michigan that already claimed my most awesome blogging neighbors last year. Stupid, bad, friend stealing school.

During my walk home, I got a call from the Hitandrun guy. I've decided to change his blog name once again. I understand it's annoying, but this is the last time. I swear. I figured I'd just simplify things and call him MR. B. In real life, I usually address him by his last name, as do most of his friends and his last name starts with a B., so it even makes sense. As you all know, that's not something I do very often - make sense.

So, we talked and Mr. B actually asked me questions about myself and even wanted to know my opinions on parenting and shit that no other guy I know has ever cared about. Of course, it wasn't all business, or else I'd get bored really quickly. We also had this conversation:

Him: I've been working nights, so I go in at midnight and then get home and get my son and fix him food and then maybe get three hours of sleep in before I go back to work. Starting September, though, I'm getting a new job where I'll start working days, so things should be a lot better.

Me: Cool. What's your new job?

Him: Well, I'm gonna be Donna Summer's personal assistant.

Me: Wow. Really? Will you get to wear a gold lame' pantsuit to work?

Him: Of course, and body glitter too.

Me: Lucky.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Ol' Smokey's Got Them Ears On and He's Hot On Your Trail

Okay. Now we're back to the end of our trip. On Sunday night, my cousin offered up his home so we could stay there instead of paying for a motel the last night. He was going out of town anyway, and so we stayed there and sat in his jacuzzi and watched a movie on his GIGANTIC TV that took up one whole wall of his living room. We called it Club Med. It was so great that we got to stay there, especially since our first day of driving home was hard, hard, hard.

We were going from San Francisco to Salt Lake City, which should have taken us almost twelve hours, but then we'd lose an hour switching time zones and then we lost another hour because of a stupid bus that caught on fire outside of Sacramento.

Did I mention that we were all grouchy too, or did I need to? Anyway, we finally made it to Salt Lake City around midnight. We were supposed to camp at the KOA there and I was really not looking forward to unpacking, let alone setting up a tent. My brother also called about then to tell me that my Uncle Jack had died. He had cancer for a while, so it was probably better for him, but it was still sad for the rest of us. He's the one who started our family photography business. You can read his obit in the Thoroughbred Times here.

Right as we were entering the town, I saw a car on the side of the road. I signaled even though we were the only car on the road, and moved over to the next lane, and then signaled again to move back. The car turned out to be a cop and I happened to have a headlight out and apparently it was a slow night, so the next thing you know, I got pulled over for not signaling long enough before switching lanes. You know, because I could have caused an accident with all those non-existent cars behind me. He let me off with a warning and asked me if I knew that my engine was steaming and did I think it was overheated? Probably. We were all overheated right then. I grumbled stupid shit under my breath as I drove away and then proceeded to get lost and ended up at the airport. By that time, I had given up on the KOA and did a quick u-turn at the first sight of a Motel 6.

We checked in and all went immediately to bed. My nose started running like crazy, and I thought it was weird until I realized there was blood all over my pillowcase. Perfect. I haven't had a bloody nose since I was a kid. It was close to 2 before I finally got to sleep. Luckily, the next two days of driving went so much better than that.

These two photos were taken in Wyoming and put the Close Encounters theme song in my head for about an hour.

We spent the next night in North Platte, Nebraska. True to form, on our last day on the road we drove through a horrible, terrifying thunderstorm - fucking Nebraska. We got home around 3:30 in the afternoon and I could have slept for three days straight, no problem.

I loved our trip. It was everything we wanted and some things we didn't. But if you only have one really bad day in two weeks of a poor people roadtrip, where you're stuck in a car and then a tent and then a small motel room for hours upon hours with your two teenage daughters, then it must be a pretty fucking great adventure, don't you think?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I Can't Do It Anymore and I'm Not Satisfied

At some point in the trip, each of the girls took a headless picture of me. I'm not quite sure what it means. Here's the one that Stinky shot of me after I lost my head at the beach...

So, tonight I was going to tell you about the demise of the thing with that one guy, right? Okay. Here goes:

You know how when you're driving for twelve hours you have lots and lots of time to think? Well, when I had all that time, I did some reevaluating and just thought that it was weird how the wedding date guy never really asked me any questions or wanted to find out much about me. I asked him a lot of questions about himself, but he never seemed to reciprocate. It all starts with a physical attraction, but it also ends pretty damn quick if that's all it is. So, I was thinking about letting it go anyway.

At one point we had talked about him coming to see me when I got back. So, I thought I'd text him to let him know I was home and see how it all panned out - you know, just to give it one last chance. I didn't hear back from him for a couple of days, and I figured he wasn't going to make it and that was fine. My girlcrush told me she was going to be in town anyway and I still had tons of unpacking and cleaning to do. Plus, I desperately needed some time alone.

Then on Friday evening, he texted me. I'm pretty sure he went drinking after work. He said he couldn't remember what weekend he was supposed to come down. I told him it was this weekend, but it was actually better that he forgot. Then he said he wanted to come up on Saturday anyway. I really didn't want him to, but he persisted. It turned out that my girls were going to be out of town, and I thought it might be a good time to see if there was anything to salvage, so I agreed. It just meant that I was going to have to get a hell of a lot of shit done before he got here. So, instead of seeing my friends, I stayed home and cleaned and tried to get ready for his visit.

At 10:30 the next morning I got this weird, vague text that said "due to a prior commitment" he had to cancel. What? First of all, I think a cancellation deserves a phone call, and a real explanation. Second of all, who badgers someone about coming to visit them and doesn't remember they had something going on until the next morning? He said he was sorry and it made him so sad that he couldn't make it and blah and blah and wank, wank, wank. It was really the excuse I needed. If I was waiting to see how things went, I guess I just watched them go out the door. I wasn't really even sad about it. In my head it was over.

Tonight he texted me again to apologize and say he'd make it up to me. I told him I thought I deserved a phone call and a real explanation. He still didn't give me either of those and so I finally texted him back to say I couldn't do it anymore. It was weird to do that in a text, but it was pretty clear he wasn't into actually having to talk to me about it, so that's what I was left with. He seemed completely fine with just being friends. It was the easiest non-break-up I've ever had.

I know I'm always saying this too, but I'm a relationship girl, so this non-relationship stuff feels weird to me. The big problem, as I've found out, is that relationships are hard to come by, and so my only alternative is to go years without dating and I've been told by my friend Allison after that last four year dry spell that the monk thing isn't healthy either. Right now, I guess all I can do is keep being open and see what happens.

...And here's the one that Coadster took of me after I lost my head climbing rocks at King's Canyon.

Things between me and the wedding date guy seem totally cool. We agreed to be friends and we both said that our time together was great while it lasted. I'm sure it will feel a little weird the next time we see each other, but I'm also pretty sure we'll get over that quickly and be just fine.

Now, tomorrow I'll finally finish the roadtrip chronicles and then we can go back to our regularly scheduled programming of bullshit, bullshit and more bullshit. Sweet!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Jack Be Nimble, Jack Be Quick, Take a Ride on the West Coast Kick

At first I thought I might take a little break from the travelogue posts and talk about the demise of that fun casual thing I had going with the wedding date guy, but then I realized I left you with a bit of a cliffhanger yesterday. So, I'll finish that tonight and leave you with another cliffhanger for tomorrow. Damn, but I should be hired to write the last season episodes for TV dramas. If only I wasn't so full of importance from all the paper pushing I do here in Iowa, I'd be right on that.

When I last left you, I believe Coadster and I were fleeing the drama on Haight Street. Our plan was to go to bed early and try to get up in time to go to the awesome farmer's market in Half Moon Bay that we heard about. Lord knows we tried, but then there was this raging party across the hall from us. Some mom had rented a room for her high school aged kids to party in. I guess she was even there and everything. At around midnight, the motel owners went over to close it down and kick everyone out. Then at 2:30 in the morning, the fire alarm went off and stopped and went off and on and on. So, we shuffled outside with all the European tourists and stood around in our pajamas for almost an hour while several attractive firefighters came by and made sure there wasn't a real fire. The owner thought that the kids who got kicked out of their room came back later and pulled the alarm. Assholes.

So, we missed the farmer's market, but we did make it to Half Moon Bay a little later.
Where we played in the sand and did some sightseeing of surfer dudes.

Forgive me if you're a lesbian or a heterosexual male, but here's another gratuitous hot surfer guy shot. I promise I'll stop now.

Because I'm up for the mom of the year award, the girls and I decided to eat ice cream for lunch and head into the city to see the bridge. Stinky was so not impressed. Her reaction was much like that of the Griswold's when they went to the Grand Canyon in the first Vacation movie. I told her that this was one of those times she had to just suck it up and traipse around and look at stuff that I was interested in for a change. I'm not saying that her eyes didn't roll into the back of her head or anything, but she definitely sucked it up and let me and Coadster check things out.

On our last day in the city, the girls opted to make one more swipe back at Pier 39. There were a few souvenir clothing items they wanted to get before we left.

In the afternoon I told the girls that if we couldn't make it back to my old neighborhoods in the Mission and Noe Valley, I at least wanted to check out Chinatown before we left. So, we wandered around until we got hungry and splurged on a late lunch of green onion pancakes with spicy peanut sauce, sesame chicken and pork chops sauteed in basil and onion. It was soooo worth it.

Then it was time to say goodbye to the beloved city. Good-bye awesome Chinese restaurant.
Good-bye cool shaped buildings, rolling fog, and hippies with really long hair.
Good-bye street people sleeping everywhere.

Good-bye San Francisco Chronicle building across from our stop and all those really cool stores. We're getting on the bus and closing the doors.