Wednesday, December 30, 2009

It's Time For a Few Small Repairs, She Said

Here is a fairly unflattering photo of A. and myself at my college graduation party in December of 1990.

So, kids. I got over my whateverthehellitwas from last night. I think it was a weird combination of the end of the year approaching, Winter, a full moon, and me suddenly not working towards anything major. You know? I was thinking about what the hell my problem was and why I seemed so weird and lonely and fatalistic last night. And I think some of it was that I was done working toward my house. I'd been doing that since the end of September and every week there was another hurdle to jump and I was so distracted with all of it, that when it was done and I had the house and Christmas was over, I experienced a little let-down. I was done working on the acquisition, it was mine and I was in it. I suppose there was a lot of internal stuff I ignored by being so caught up in my external nesting struggle. For me, I feel so much better knowing why I'm spazzing, because then I can work on fixing it. Whew! Now, I guess that means I have to take a little time to examine my head and make sure things get balanced up there. I could be busy with that for a long, long time...

My friend A. was up from Texas tonight. It was so great to see her. She lived with me when I was pregnant with Coadster and then lived in an apartment right across from us, the first year of Coadster's life. Now her boys are in kindergarten and 3rd grade. it's amazing how fast time flies. We had a great visit, and watched the boys play with Legos and ask them questions about their lives. They are such great, fun kids. I'm so sad that I don't get to see them very often. A.'s husband might do RAGBRAI in the Summer with his brothers, so I'm hoping they come back up again for that.

Okay. it's late and I better try to get some shut-eye. I hope you all have a wonderful New Year's Eve. Feel free to tell me how you plan to spend it in the comments.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Bitter Melodies Turning Your Orbit Around

I was going to actually try to do some real writing, but things were kind of weird tonight, (or maybe I was the only thing that was weird. Damn, I hate it when I'm all moody) and I realized that I was too tired and burnt-out to be all that very creative. Some friends asked me to meet them out, but I had the girls, so I couldn't. One of them was nice enough to message me for a bit, so I could get a little vent out. Which was very cool of them, but I've done the same for them before, so I'm sure it all evens-out in the end. So, I'm going to lame-out and try to go to bed early and maybe do some cleaning, since my good friend from Texas is coming to visit me tomorrow night.

But before I go, I'll leave you with this photo of what I wish I could do today - ride my bike for miles and miles out in the warm, Summery, Iowa countryside:

Monday, December 28, 2009

Don't Nobody Know My Troubles But God

Here's a picture looking out the bathroom window at the snow.

So, Stinky asked me if she could have some friends over to watch movies and play Apples to Apples tonight. I had no problem with that, because we have the room now and that way I know exactly where she is and what she's doing.

Since it's a co-ed deal, I like to go up and do surprise "hand checks" from time to time in order to ensure that no one gets impregnated in my house. During one of these, I was halfway up the stairs, when I realized they were watching Paranormal Activity. (I was able to get it at one of those Red Box dealies) So, I snuck the rest of the way up the stairs and yelled, "Boo!" And then cracked-up while several members of the state championship football team jumped out of their skins.

One of the guys, jokingly and cautiously said, "Wow. You're kind of an asshole..." Everyone else held their breath, while I tried very hard to keep a straight face (which is no easy task for me, let me assure you). I finally laughed and said,

"I know. I love that about me." Then, before I went back downstairs, I reminded them not to make-out. The same kid told me not to worry, because girls had cooties. And that was exactly the answer I was looking for.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Sometimes I Can't Help Seeing All the Way Through

G. and D. hanging out at my place on Christmas evening.

Whew! It's been quite an extended holiday weekend. It was really great, I just tried to cram too much into it, as usual. I think when I left you all, it was Christmas Eve and I had just opened a bottle of wine and commenced to watching District Nine and melting into my couch. That was such a nice night.

Christmas day I had planned on giving myself a "get out of jail free card" day and just laze around. Then I heard that D. was stuck in Iowa City for Christmas, so I invited her and any of her friends over for lasagna, and Stinky asked if she could have a few friends sleep over and then I had all this weird cleaning and organizing energy, so I figured I might as well just go with it. I scrubbed down the kitchen and got things put back into the bathroom after my painting spree the night before. Then I made a big pan of lasagna. Our house is big enough for us all to have friends over without driving each other crazy. Coadster was parked on the couch, with a big comforter and watching a movie when my friend D. asked her if she could share it with her. They looked pretty damn cute all snuggling on the couch together.

Ironman sitting on the stool with some reading material.

On Saturday, the girls and I went to the mall where I purchased towels and a shower curtain and other stuff for the bathroom, all for less than $5 a piece. I sure love Target for its reasonably priced goods.

So, I finally let Stinky choose the bathroom color. She went with a Carribean Sea blue. I know that blue is the traditional bathroom color, but since I'm so non-traditional, I thought it would be funky if I used it. I found a shower curtain that matched it and suddenly turned my teeny, tiny bathroom, which had previously been opposing shades of dirty white with dingy off-white into a retro 60's kitschfest. It's all very swank, I can assure you.

Stinky and I put together the cupboard thingy today. It was so much easier to assemble than the entertainment center we tried to get up over Thanksgiving. All the slots were in the wrong places and we gave up on that and let my brother go to work on it. He kept saying, "It must have been a bad day in Singapore when they made this..." over and over again. Anyway, the cupboard was pretty easy...Well, for Stinky. I just stood around and handed her stuff and held things, while she figured it all out. Thank god, someone in our house has a knack for that.

I did go out for a bit on Saturday night. I was pretty wiped out before I even made it there. I took a nice long run in the snow earlier in the day and during that, took a header on the ice, so by the time evening fell, I was thinking that staying home sounded pretty good. Some people I wanted to see were in from out of town for the holidays, so I soldiered on, but I turned into a pumpkin exactly at midnight and went home and went to bed. The end.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

And So This Is Christmas, We Hope You Have Fun

Here is the gigantic, singing, dancing Santa my cousin sent my aunt for Christmas. She loves it, but I think it's scarier than a clown.

Hey, kids. I just thought I'd drop in to wish you all a merry Christmas. Mine has been great so far. We got up and decided it was safe to head down to O-town. The drive was okay, except for the one thing I didn't count on...Fog. It was pretty soupy for about half of the drive.

As always, there was some holiday family wrasslin' going on.

We were so glad we made it. Our trip was so much shorter than we had originally planned, but we crammed all of the important stuff in it. We ate, we opened gifts and we wrestled with the little kids. Then we left.

We got home home around 4. I finished painting the bathroom and now I'm finally sitting down with a glass of wine. Ahhhhh. I still have to get the stockings ready, but I love doing that. And yes, we'll do Santa until my girls are 50 years old in my house.

Tomorrow will be as mellow as I can make it. We'll wake up, open gifts, I'll make a big breakfast of sausage, hash browns, eggs and pancakes, after I give that some time to sit, I'll try to run. They say it's supposed to snow tomorrow, and I love, love, love running in the snow.

I hope you all are safe, at home, drinking a glass of wine, eating some wonderful food, or whatever your drug of choice is, and preparing to have a wonderful day tomorrow.

Ah, hell. I'll just say it again, "Merry Christmas!"

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

All the Leaves are Brown and the Sky is Gray

Here is an upside down Christmas tree hanging from the ceiling of the Deadwood. Merry Christmas!

Hey, kids. Tomorrow is my last day of work before the holiday and not a minute too soon. The handful of us who didn't take vacation are as squirrely as hell. One of the grad students I hadn't seen for a while showed up for work and we had this quaint little exchange:

Me: Hey, long time no see.

John: Yeah. Where've you been lately?

Me: Oh yeah. I took last Wednesday off. I needed a day to party. I got drunk at 8 am and stayed that way all day. It was really fun picking my girls up from school in the afternoon...

John: See? I have no idea if you're kidding or not...

I made a big point to run outside tonight, since who knows when I'll get another chance. The song "California Dreaming" by the Mamas and Papas came on the minute I started slipping on a patch of ice but caught myself in the nick of time. It was perfect.

I spent most of this evening doing some disaster preparing. If there's one thing I learned from the tornado, it's to arm myself if there's even a slight chance of bad weather shit going down. I got a bunch of food we can eat if we lose electricity and can't cook and some more flashlights and I was book lusting, so I stopped into Prairie Lights and bought myself Marilynne Robinson's book Home. (you know, just in case I finish the 5 other books in my reading queue in the next couple of days) I used to always make sure I had candles, but right after the tornado, we had gas leaks all over the place and for some reason fire and gas don't mix...Well, when they do it's pretty dramatic anyway. I just think the better prepared I am for an ice storm, then the less chance there will be one.

I'm not sure how much I'll be on the blog the next few days. I'll definitely try, but who knows what will happen. There could be an ice storm where we lose electricity, or else we'll be doing some traveling and then I also might be drinking wine and too relaxed to get on the internets. There are just so many excuses.

How about all you all? What are your holiday plans?

Monday, December 21, 2009

You'd Take an Inch, But You'd Love a Mile

People I don't know dressed like Santa and eating pizza.

So, my plan tonight was to wash my bathroom walls and start taping them for my next painting project. The only problem with that is that I've been neglecting my normal cleaning duties with all of these projects. So, I took the evening off from painting prep to get all crazy and clean the kitchen and do some laundry. It should work better this way, though. I can clean and tape the walls tomorrow, put the primer on the next night and try to paint it earlier in the day on Christmas Eve. Then on Christmas day I plan to rest and relax and watch movies and maybe even get into a bottle of wine a friend left on my door the other day. Sounds like an awesome way to spend a holiday, doesn't it?

I only have two more days left to work before my four days off. Right now, the plan is to drive down to the big O for Christmas Eve mass in the afternoon, drive around with the kids and check out the lights and then go to my Aunt's to eat and open presents. We'll drive back that night. Of course, this is all weather dependent. According to the most recent forecast, we're supposed to get either snow, rain, ice, freezing rain, a typhoon, plagues of locusts and/or eternal damnation ( or something like that) starting tonight and continuing for the rest of the week. Since I've lived in Iowa for most of my adult life, I'll just go with what I always say...We'll see.

If the weather is too bad to drive down to be with the family, I know the girls will be disappointed, but we'll just hibernate. Luckily, we only live a few blocks from the store, so even if it's too icy to drive, I can at least skate over there and stock up on food and make the best of it...Maybe I'll even get into that bottle of wine a day early.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

It Nullifies the Night From Overkill

Ironman is checking out the competition on my new comforter.

Well, kids. One good thing about getting older is gaining the ability to check your shit a lot faster than when you were younger. So, this weekend I tried to just relax and go with things. It worked out quite well, thank you.

Friday night Stinky babysat for my friend Eggo and Coadster went to a holiday party with a bunch of her show choir friends. If I wanted, I could have gone out with my friends for a bit, but I really didn't want to. Instead, I used that evening to hang out by myself and regroup. I watched movies and put my room back together and it was exactly what I needed.

My room color wasn't exactly what I wanted. I do love my comforter and curtains and those chocolate brown throw pillows, though.

I woke up on Saturday morning with a little painter's remorse. I was hoping for more of a mellow earth-toney sea foam greenish color for my room, but it looked a little more like someone came over and projectile vomited their Shamrock shake all over the walls of my room. A friend on FB suggested I do a wash on it, and I'm seriously considering it.

My friend JAM came over in the morning to check out my house. It had been at least a year since I had seen her, so it was great to finally hang out a little.

The girls and I have our little Christmas traditions and one of them is to go see a movie right before the holiday. We originally planned to see one on Friday night, but then Stinky got called to sit, and so we decided to see it on Saturday afternoon. We watched The Blindside. The girls don't always agree on everything, but they usually will agree on something about football. We all really liked it and Sandra Bullock was so much less annoying than she normally is for me.

We ran across some kids in gaudy Christmas sweaters. Nice.

Saturday evening, my friend B. came over to get one of my girls to babysit. He's the one I talked about in an earlier post. We've been friends forever, but haven't really hung out for a couple of years. He wandered around my house and we talked about renovations. He and his wife totally gutted their place and are staying with neighbors who happen to be fairly famous folksingers named Greg and Iris. So, he talked about how crazy all of that process has made him. One thing I love about him, is that even though I haven't talked to him in forever, we picked right up like we saw each other everyday.

Me and G. with the birthday girl.

I've been talking forever about how I've been trying to get G. to go to other bars. She really wants to meet someone to be in a relationship with and by staying at the Dublin, she'll only see the same 5 or so undatable guys she runs into every week. Saturday night, we finally expanded our horizons.

Our first stop was Joe's Place. I was hoping to run into the guy who subletted my apartment to introduce him to G., but he was nowhere to be found. We did see another guy who told us he was glad to see us in real life instead of just on Facebook and bought us drinks. We sat at his table for a little bit and met his friends. Our next stop was The Deadwood where our friend KT was having her birthday party. We had a lot of fun and my friend D. payed for my second and last beer there.

We eventually headed to a bar called Donnelly's. My friend E. and her boyfriend have been telling us for months what a nice place it was. So, we finally checked it out for ourselves. It was a little sparesly populated, but we really liked it.

As we do most Saturdays, we ended up at the Dublin. So, G, may not have met a new guy that night, but we had a lot of fun, and I'm sure we'll find her a nice guy one of these days. I'm on the look-out.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Or Thursday Watch the Walls Instead

Here's another snowy branch pic.

Well, kids. I just got finished painting my bedroom and I still have to clean-up. Sounds like the beginning of last Thursday's post, doesn't it? Anyway, I could have been done a lot sooner, but I went running and got the girls dinner ready and then stopped over at my friend E.'s house. Tuesday was her birthday, so she wanted to have a girly happy hour. I only stopped by for about an hour, and that was perfect. I got to see some friends, have Libby swear at me and drink one beer. Then I finally made it home to paint. I think I have this moment with every room I do, but when I'm halfway done, I look around and think, "Holy shit! That's a lot of whatever color I painted it" and then I get over it and after I get everything put back together, it doesn't seem quite so overwhelming. At one point, Coadster walked in and surveyed the room. I asked her what she thought and she said, "It's very you." I'm not sure if she thought that was a good or bad thing. But I want my room to look like me, so I'll just go ahead and think it's good.

Sooo, the weekend? Well, tomorrow night Stinky is babysitting for my friend Eggo. I'm not sure what Coadster's doing. I suppose if she's going out, I could too if I wanted. I know a lot of people who will be out and about, but I'd rather stay home and get my room put back together and drink a beer and watch a movie or read a book.

Since I was so good and finished my Christmas shopping already, I plan on just working more on the house on Saturday afternoon and running, of course. Then I'll meet some people out for a beer and talk to real live grown-ups for a couple of hours on Saturday night. It's my favorite couple - the Hall's anniversary. Stinky is babysitting for them, so I would love to run into them after they do their romantic dinner and stuff. But I could see where they might not want their dorky friend tagging along on their date too...

Okay. I better go clean-up paint and hit the hay. Let me know what you all are doing. Will you be spending a mellow night at home, or tagging along on your friends' date?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

But This Will be the Year That We Won't Forget

It's still really cold here, so I decided to fantasize about the beach.

Sooo, I had a good day off. I didn't get as much done as I wanted, but I still got a lot done. I stayed off blogs for the most part, to keep myself a little better focused.

Stinky and I went Christmas shopping. Even on a Wednesday afternoon, the mall was still crazy. I'm glad we weren't stupid enough to attempt it on a Saturday. The good news is that I got everything except two gifts. The bad news is that I didn't get my room completely painted and put back together. It's all primed and taped and the outlet covers are off, so all I have to do is actually paint it - which is the fun part, as far as I'm concerned. I just can't wait for the day when my house isn't in a constant state of constructions.

Okay. I developed a lovely little migraine, so I'm going to try to sleep it off. Night, night.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Everyone Can Focus Clearly With Such Shine

Here was the view out of my window during last week's blizzard.

I have two things tonight. First, I'm taking suggestions about what color I should paint my bathroom. It is very small with off-white wainscoting. It has a small South facing window. What color would you paint the walls?

Second, I actually went to the pool and swam laps tonight. Weird. It was actually just fine, but I REALLY need to work on my breathing. I'm a strong swimmer, but I still have trouble getting my breathing regulated without swallowing too much water or feeling like I'm going to suffocate. Stinky was on swim team for a couple of years, so she was very helpful and gave me lots of good advice. I think if I keep practicing, I'll get it down. In honor of my swim today, I thought I'd repost my piece on a couple of near drownings I've experienced when I was a kid. Enjoy!:

As kids in Arizona, we all looked forward to monsoon season. Sometimes, it was the only rain we got all year. Once, it didn't rain for several months, and when it finally did, even the Mormon kids got to go outside after 8 p.m. to play in it.

When the streets flooded with rain we would sit on the curb and let the cars splash all the dirty, oily water off the road onto us. We also loved to have boat races in the gutters. My best friend Skip and I would find twigs and start at a particular place on our street. We'd race our twigs as far as they would go before they got caught in a big pile of tangled debris and we had to start again.

One day the water was particularly high and we made it all the way around the corner and onto Horn Street which was way busier. I was walking backwards, just ahead of the twig-boats because I was winning and really excited. Once we got to the next corner, I was suddenly sucked into a drain where the manhole cover had come off. I couldn't see or breathe very well in the muddy run-off. All I remember is that my friend Skip's hand found my arm and was able to pull me out against the force of the rushing water. I know I should have been indebted to him forever, but my friend Marcia and I stuck rocks down his pants where his butt-crack was showing the very next day.

I was four years old at the time of my first near drowning. My brother and I were both learning to swim at the same time. Back then, my Uncle Jack had been recently divorced and was living in an apartment building with a pool. My uncle was working with us on our swimming lessons that day. He left me to hang on to the side of the pool while he went over to my brother. At some point, I got tired of waiting for him to come back and I simply let go. I think it was the only time in my life when I didn't spaz the second I was in danger. I calmly sunk to the bottom of the pool, and when my Aunt Merilee saw what happened, she jumped in after me. She was of a heavier build and was fond of wearing those big, floral muumuus. I have no recollection of what happened after she saved me. Did I cry? Did my parents cry? Who knows. It's all eclipsed by the image of my Aunt Merilee's gigantic dress opening out like a parachute once she hit the water.

Okay. Now, I'm going to fill some cracks in my bedroom walls with drywall and go to sleep, so I can face my day off in the middle of the week well rested.

Monday, December 14, 2009

And I Can't Think of Right Words to Say

G. came over to help us decorate our tree and set Ironman straight about a few things.

My mantra lately is "I'm tired". I say it over and over again in my head. I'm sure I've even accidentally said it aloud a few times when I was really feeling it. (yes, I've become THAT crazy lady who walks around muttering to herself). I have no one to blame but myself. I want to be superhuman and be able to do 50 hours worth of work and fun and running in 24. It's ridiculous.

On Sunday afternoon, I finally had a mini-meltdown. I was trying to clean and cook and get things ready for the tree to make the holidays special for the girls. Of course, all of that self-imposed stress, just made me cranky and I could see I was going to make the holidays "special" in all the wrong ways for my daughters. Dumb ass.

Stinky and G. showcasing our little tree. It smells incredible.

So, since I can't turn around however many years of fuckedupedness in my overachieving, too hard on myself personality and just slow down, I decided to give myself a gift instead. I'm going to use one of my mandatory unpaid furlough days this Wednesday. I plan on using it to sleep in a little, paint my room, go for a nice long run outside, and do the Christmas shopping we didn't get done this Saturday. I'm already feeling a million times better just knowing it's coming up. So, tomorrow is a mini-Friday. Merry Christmas to me!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Picture Yourself in the Living Room

I told Ironman he could bring a date over as long as he kept it G rated.

I have to say, this weekend was pretty great. I finished tidying up the living room on Friday evening, while Stinky watched The Phineas and Ferb Christmas movie. Stinky loves them and I actually don't mind Phineas and Ferb. At least it's pretty smart for a kids show.

After I got everything put back together and Stinky's show was over, we watched Public Enemies and I finally sat down for more than 5 seconds. It was very nice...But with Christian Bale and Johnny Depp, any movie watching experience is nice.

Here is my living room finished except for the floors. The walls are actually tan, they just look gold in the pics.

Saturday was a day of running around and taking things to Goodwill and then taking a nice long, slow run, followed by a nice, hot relaxing bath. One of my favorite combinations in the Winter.

At one point on Saturday, we were surveying the living room and I asked Stinky if she thought it was too funky. She said that it was a little, but we're all a little funky, so she thought it was perfect for us. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. As I've said before, I'm weird about my surroundings. I'm a bit of a homebody and I like my space a certain way. I like my living room to be really warm and cozy. Especially since my house is fairly cottage-like. To me, it's a perfect sanctuary from all the crap we experience in the outside world. If you've ever asked people for suggestions on home decorating, you know that everyone has a definite opinion and people want different things from their home. I think I came as close to what I wanted with my budget and skill restrictions. This week, I get to paint the hallway and start on bedroom. My bedroom should offer a very different atmosphere from the living room. I can't wait to show you guys.

Here is Ironman taking his date home...Or at least out of my living room.

Now that it's Winter and I have at least one room in my house that's fairly finished and cozy, it's harder and harder for me to go out. I know it's good for me to talk to people other than teenagers, so I try to make myself get out for a couple of hours. This Saturday actually turned out to be perfect.

At first it was just myself and G. and K. - two of my favorite people. We were sitting up by the pool table having a very passionate conversation when a guy we know, but not that well came over and asked if it was okay if he joined us. We warned him that he might not be able to handle our girl talk, but he said he was up for the challenge. Of course, it didn't take long for me to say something fairly raunchy (because I apparently can't help it). I stopped myself and said to the guy named J., "Uh, sorry. I have a bad habit of talking kinda dirty sometimes..."

He didn't seem fazed at all. He just said, " I know that, Churlita. Why do you think I just friended you on Facebook." Okay, so maybe he was up for the challenge after all.

I didn't stay out very late. I had my two beers and a couple glasses of water and went back home and read a book. It was just about a perfect night...Of course, until both K. and G. drunk texted me at 2:30 am. Luckily, they were both pretty amusing.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Wheel Turnin' Round and Round

Here is a big snowy tree.

Wow. What a crazy week. This post will probably be pretty short. I just now finished painting my living room and I'm beat and I still have to clean up a little.

So, it's the weekend. I have a few plans. Friday night I'll go running and then put the living room back together and try to rest and relax as much as I can.

Coadster has a big show choir workshop most of the weekend. She and her friends are putting on the dance marathon to raise money for the Iowa Children's Hospital on Saturday night. So, I'll be lucky if I see her for five minutes here and there.

Stinky and I will go Christmas shopping on Saturday and finally get our tree on Sunday. I'm sure I'll be ready to go out for a beer on Saturday night, but I'm not sure where we'll go. We've been trying to expand our horizons, so we might check out some different bars.

Of course, I'll be working on the house and working out as well, so that should keep me busy.

What are your plans? Will you be gearing up for the holidays or cleaning up your mess from the week?

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

There's a Woman on the Outside, Looking Inside. Does She See Me?

Here's my little house in the snow.

So, I did end up going to work. It was an interesting walk there. The drifts were pretty high, so I got one hell of a work-out. When I got to quieter streets, I was able to walk on those instead of unshoveled sidewalks. I just don't like walking on busier streets, because I know it's hard enough for people to drive on such slick roads, let alone worry about pedestrians.

There were at least 10 people in my whole office. Luckily, one of them drives past my house on her way home, so she gave me a lift this evening when it was much colder. I think I'm going to try to drive as close to my building as possible tomorrow, so I'll only have to walk a few blocks in the bitter cold. Since my office is on campus, there is really no parking anywhere near it, without practically paying a day's salary to park in a ramp.

Here are the trees in the front of my house. They look a little ghostly don't they? Cool.

With all of the work I'm trying to do on my house lately, I realize my posts have been a little boring and detaily. My head has also been like that and it's usually not a good thing for me. I feel like I've been stifling my creative side the last few weeks. So, during lunch, after I read my blogs and Facebook wasn't doing a very good job of holding my interest, I Googled one of my old fiction writing teaching assistants. I love his writing, and he gets a lot of stories published, and some of them are available on-line. I discovered that he has his own Wikipedia entry now, which I thought was pretty cool.

Anyway, I also found a shorter, short story of his and it was really good. I had a friend suggest that I submit a story to one of those short "flash fiction" contests recently. After reading my ex-T.A.'s story, I'm even more intrigued with the idea. I'm going to try to work on a few ideas I have and see about submitting something, just to have a goal to make myself write. It might be a good exercise for me to keep my writing from being quite so long and babbling. How refreshing would that be for everyone? Very, I'm sure.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Colors Your Eyes With What's Not There

Here is the jazz band playing at Coadster's concert last Saturday.

Well, kids. According to some predictions, we could have the worst blizzard we've seen in these parts in 30 years tonight and tomorrow. I guess we'll see. My girls already know they have a snow day. Me? I'm not so sure. Even if the university cancels classes, it's still usually open for business. Since I walk to work and most of the people in my office live in other towns, if we are open for business, I'll be there.

It's fine with me either way. If the planets aligned in such a way that the university actually closed for all non essential personnel, (the flood was the only time that's happened since I've worked there) I would either have to use a vacation day or one of the 5 mandatory furlough days (forced days off without pay because of our state's budget crisis) that I now have to take before July. I just prepped most of my living room to paint, except for a little taping and sanding. So, the day off would be pretty much perfectly timed for me.

If the university does stay open, the walk to work will suck, but I have every kind of outdoorsy, cold weather kind of clothes you can imagine, so it won't be dangerous for me and it will be nice to be one of the only 5 people who show up to work. It's always a fairly festive feeling (nice alliteration, huh?) in the office in these circumstances.

I'll let you know what happens tomorrow. If you're anywhere near this weather mess, be sure to stay warm and dry and don't drive if you don't have to.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Entertain Ideas of Great Communion

I took this pic with my phone on my walk home from work this afternoon, somewhere on Court Street.

My house was built in 1950. It's full of weird drawers, vents, oddly shaped closets and I just found the coolest skeleton key in one of the built-in drawers that has sent my mind running with all kinds of spooky scenarios about what it could be used for. (to open the gates of hell, perhaps?) On Sunday night, my friend G. came over and we played this game where we wandered around the house and tried to figure out what the hell certain things were supposed to be used for. I really love that about my place. I'm like that with people too. I appreciate the visible signs of aging, scars and especially, laugh lines on faces. Every line tells a story and it's almost always interesting.

There was one huge cupboard/closet thing in particular that I couldn't figure out what to do with. It has pretty thin and not very strong shelves and then in the door there are those metal holders that you find in refrigerators. Most of the people I showed it to, thought it was either another pantry or that those door holders might be for cleaning supplies. Originally, I thought I might use it to store all of my tons of CD's and books, but then I had to be realistic and admit that the shelves wouldn't be strong enough to hold that much weight. While I was working on unpacking boxes, I came across my art supplies. That closet would be perfect to hold all of our paints, fabric dyes, brushes, clay, inks, sponges and handmade paper. I love having a special place for all of that stuff. Now, I just have to figure out where to put all my books and CD's....

p.s. I realize that I ended an inordinate amount of sentences with prepositions in this post, but I'm in a mood to be grammatically defiant tonight.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

The Lights Are On, But No One's Home

Coadster singing "He Can Only Hold Her" for her special act at the Winter show.

Well, this was the first weekend I spent in my new house where I didn't have family visiting or I wasn't cleaning my old apartment. I actually got a lot done. The living room is almost how I want it now. I just have to paint it this week. We bought the paint today, because I've heard it's going to snow 1,457 inches in the next couple of days, and I thought it might be a nice hibernation project. I think I'll wait to do the floors at least until the Spring. I just don't want to have the self-imposed pressure of getting everything painted and ready in the next couple of weeks. Plus, we want to get our tree next weekend and if we tried to do the floors, it would overwhelm me even more than I already am...If that's possible.

Coadster dancing to the James Brown medley for show choir.

Friday was a great evening. We got our furniture delivered that afternoon and got a couple of rugs to match it that evening. Basically, as I predicted, we all lounged around on it and watched movies. It was a nice mellow night and I really needed that.

Coadster singing her solo ballad.

On Saturday, my cold was mostly gone. Of course, I had to lay off the running for four days in a row and that almost killed me, but it helped with the healing. Most of Saturday was spent running kids to high school and back for various activities. Then at 3, I went to Coadster's Winter show choir/jazz band show. It's one of my favorite performances of the year. Stinky and I took photos and were both all dorky and proud of Coadster's talent.

Saturday evening, I did go out for just a bit. My heart wasn't really in it, because all I could think of was all the stuff that needed to be done at home. It ended up being good, of course. I sat next to a guy named C., while G. talked to his wife. We both realized that we've never had a real heart to heart before. Sure, we shoot the shit, but we had a great conversation about classical music and parenting for the first time.

C. has two boys who are in their early twenties, but gave him all different kinds of grief when they were in high school. We commiserated about having two teenagers at the same time. If you've been there, you probably know what I'm talking about. Even if you have model kids, that combination of being dumb asses, but thinking they're smarter than everyone else is maddening. I told him that his sons' behavior was no reflection on his parenting. He thanked me for that, because he said he felt like sometimes people judged him. Basically, I think we do the best we can as parents, and sometimes we get lucky, and sometimes we don't. I will say, 16 seems to be the toughest age... At least for both of my girls.

Anyway, it was worth it to go out and have that conversation. Most of my friends are childless, so it's always nice to talk to someone who is at least a little familiar with my life.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

A Guarantee In Melody, A Promise in the Sky

Another frolicking in the snow pic. It actually snowed here for a bit after work. It didn't stick, though.

Whoa! It's the weekend already. That has to be the fastest week we've had so far. I decided to take it easy as far as working out was concerned, until I get a handle on my cold. It's not horrible or anything, I just don't want it to get that way. Ever since Stinky got sick and her immune system was down, I've been so careful about getting sick myself. It's one of those things I've never gotten over from her illness.

So, I'll try to take it as easy as I can this weekend, but that's always easier said than done. I get off work early tomorrow, so I'll be home when my living room furniture gets delivered. I'm so excited. I was told it could take six weeks, but it got here in just about two. RAWK!

Friday night, I plan on draping myself on my new couch or my new big reading chair and watching movies with the girls. That ought to help chill-out my cold.

Coadster has her Winter show for show choir on Saturday afternoon. She has a couple of solos, so I'm going to try really, really hard not to get all sappy and teary during them. I'm not promising anything, though.

Saturday night will depend on how I feel. My friend G. wants me to go out and if I'm up for it I'll try. I ran into the guy who subleased my apartment on my way home from work tonight. He was headed to Joe's for an after work beer. I didn't see him at first, but he caught my eye and we chatted for a while. He seems like a really nice guy and he has a good job and he's pretty damn cute. I thought it might be a good thing for him to meet G. and see what happens. So, if I do go out, I think we'll take a stroll into Joe's for a beer and see who we "just happen" to run into...

Sunday will be devoted to house beautification projects. We'll do some outdoor work and then the paint prepping will begin in earnest. I hope it all ends up looking as good in real life, as it does in my head.

And so now...What are your plans? Will you be draping yourself over new furniture, or going for a stroll in a different drinking establishment to see who you run into?

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

I Really Don't Mind What Happens Now and Then

Stinky dumping snow on Coadster's head a few Winters ago. I can't believe it's December already.

Have you ever had one of those nights where nothing went at all like you planned, but after you thought about it, you realized it all happened as it should have? That was tonight for me.

Stinky and my friend K. and I were all going to swim laps after work. I hadn't been going to Wednesday Supper Club much in the last couple of months, and it was kind of on hiatus anyway, since one of the couples involved had a baby a few weeks ago. Well, out of the blue today I got an email saying that they were having it at the Hilltop. My friend K. decided to swim earlier than we had planned, so she could go to Supper Club and see the new baby.

Stinky and I went to swim laps, but ran into K. just as she was leaving. We chatted with her and a bunch of people I knew came in the door to take their kids to swimming lessons. When we finally made it to the desk, we were informed that the whole pool was closed for kid lessons on Mondays and Wednesdays. So, now we know. I've been getting a cold the last couple of days, so I took it as a sign to rest and get better. Stinky and I are still going to plan to swim tomorrow if I feel okay.

I had to drop Coadster off to get her show choir dress altered. While that was going on, Stinky and I stopped at the Hilltop to to order some cheap, greasy food to go and for me to keep a safe distance (because of my cold) but to at least see the new baby from afar. He was very cute, by the way. While I was ordering my food, the recently retired head of public defenders for our county came over to talk to me. It just so happened, I had a little legal question for him and he was able to give me all the information I needed. Perfect.

So, I wasn't able to do the few things I thought I was going to do, but I did exactly what I needed. Sometimes life can be weird that way if you let it.

When I got home, I was able to tackle my bedroom. Consider it unpacked, organized and cleaned. One less thing. Tomorrow night I'll be doing that to the living room.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

With a Friendship That No One Else Could Touch

Here is another cute puppy pic from Thanksgiving.

Soooo. Last week the girls and I went to Menards, mostly to look at stuff we wanted but couldn't afford and then to buy a couple things we actually could spend some money on. When we went over to the paint section, I ran into one of my favorite couples - the Halls.

B. has been one of my best guy friends throughout most of my adult life. We both worked the restaurant circuit in town and were co-workers at a couple of different places. He's known my daughters since they were born and he and I used to hang out a lot and go to movies, see live music and wander around Sharpless auction on Wednesdays together and look at cool junk.

I met B.'s wife A. when they started dating. She was super cool and down to earth and most importantly, she really loved B. We soon became just as close as B. and I have always been. I've known A.'s son since he was 2 and their daughter since she was born.

Of course, as things go, we've been out of touch lately. A. used to manage a restaurant called 126 and I'd go down there on nights when the girls were at their dad's and hang out with A. and the other employees and drink wine. She quit a while back.

So, when I saw them at Menard's last week, the first thing A. said was, "Oh my god! Congratulations. When B. told me you bought a house, I almost cried, because I consider you one of my best friends and I haven't even spoken to you in 6 months and had no idea you were even looking..." I felt badly about it too. We vowed to be better about staying in contact. The sad thing is that she lives probably about 6 blocks down Court Street from me. How does that happen?

Make Your World What You Want It to Be

A friend of mine wore some kind of cammo lounge pants and clogs out to the bar. I had to give him shit about by taking his pic. He acted like he was going to moon me, but stopped short. Phew!

I know I keep saying how I'm going to get better about blogging and reading other people's posts, and then I keep laming-out. All I can say is that I'm sorry. I'm working on it. my real world is hogging up all my time from the virtual world. The real world always has to come first, but I have a feeling things will start slowing down a bit now that I'm moved in and slowly cleaning and unpacking.

I will say, that I'm back to triathlon training again. I'm going to try to ride my bike to work and back as much as possible and I think Stinky and I are going to swim laps on Wednesday. No. For real this time....