Tuesday, March 31, 2009

You're Looking All Around, There is Trouble to be Found

Tonight I'm putting up some photos of us being extremely mature and making fun of really bad paintings. I would like to meet the artist who wanted to paint topless women with HUGE asses. I'd ask that person what his/her motivation was and laugh myself into a coma when they tried to give me a serious answer.

So, here's how it went today: I made it to work and it was fine. Then I left a half hour early to walk to the dentist. The temperature had dropped substantially, while the winds whipped up, and I froze the whole way there.

The dentist was also just fine. I really hate getting dental work done, but my cavity was very small and took less than a half hour to fill. A Neko Case song even came on their satellite radio station during the procedure.

Here is my girl crush reaching for the big gun.

After the fun of all that, I had to hurry to my daughters' track meet. I stopped at home to pick up blankets and change into my warmer, Winter, big man boots.

The meet was almost unbearably cold and windy. Those two girls are the only people in the world I would ever sit through that for. I'm sure the rest of you are very nice people and all, but I can't think of anyone else worth the torture of sitting on the wet, hard ground while freezing winds blew snow in my face. Honestly, I would rather have gone back to the dentist and let them drill some of my other teeth for a while.

All whining aside, Stinky did pretty well at her first home high school meet. She's still not 100% after her illness and is sleeping 12 - 13 hours at night, but she came close to hitting her personal best in shot putt and wasn't too bad in the discus either. Coadster may have pulled her hamstring and wasn't able to jump or run this time around.

Here is me pretending to make-out (just so you know, I was goaded into posing this) with a painting of what I think is supposed to be Chuck Bronson, but who looks a little more like Freddy Krueger.

I stayed around until Stinky was done throwing. She still had to run in the throwers' 4 x 100 relay. I had given her the option of me sticking around for another two hours in the frozen depths of hell to watch her run, or to have me go to the store and buy food and then go cook, so that they could come home to a nice hot meal. Both the girls chose what was behind door number 2.

I get paid once a month on the first, and learned this little trick early on. If you have ever lived paycheck to paycheck, you may have heard of it. You go the day before payday and write a check for money you won't really have until midnight. See how creative I am? Neat-o.

So, I came home and made chicken breast sauteed in garlic, butter, white wine and basil, some rotini pasta, red sauce and steamed asparagus. Coadster called me at about 9 to come pick them up and they were both very, very happy to come home to a pleasant smelling house, and a carb replenishing meal.

The end.

Monday, March 30, 2009

It's a Hard Life to Live, But it Give's Back What You Give

I'm posting photos of signs tonight. Here is my girl crush and her hubby, personifying the sign behind them.

So, the rest of this past weekend, I gave myself another "Get out of Jail Free" card. I had a long, stressful week, and a crazy night on Friday, and I was in dire need of some rest. Sure, I did the usual running of teens hither and thither, but other than that, I rested. I took naps and finally watched 3:10 to Yuma. I really liked it.

My girls went to the neighbor's for their movie watching extravaganza until 11:30. I received texts from a couple of people asking me to meet them out, but I was really happy on my couch. So, I sat and tried to recuperate.

It must have been too little too late, because I woke up on Sunday with a migraine. I wasn't surprised I got one, with all the stress. I was just happy it waited until I didn't have a ton of stuff to do.

Here is a homeless guy. Don't worry, I gave him money for taking his picture.

Which leaves us to this week. I'm back to cleaning for an hour a night, since I was negligent with it this weekend. If I actually spend that hour a day, it works pretty well at catching me up. The big constraint, as usual, is time. Tomorrow is the girls' first track meet, and I think there are a few other things going on throughout the week. Plus, this is the first week in a while that I haven't given myself even a little vacation time. I guess, I'll get off a half hour early tomorrow to get a cavity filled, but that so doesn't count.

I'm just going to try really hard to remember to go slow and steady and not to stress. That shouldn't be too hard, should it?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Last Night Was Shaking and Pretty Loud

Here is a photo of me wearing the creepy mask G.'s roommates had for some odd reason.

Okay kids. It's time for my weekend documentation post. As you may know, on Friday night I traded with my ex and went out for my friend G.'s birthday. After having such a rough week, I felt I needed to blow off some steam, but wasn't sure if I'd make it through the night. All I can say, is that it was more fun than I've had in a very, very long time and you may want to avoid running 6 miles during the day and then dancing for several hours at night. If you're anything like me, you might just wake-up feeling like someone had put bars of soap in pillow cases and beat you with them while you slept.

The first wonderful part of the evening was the ice cream cake. I'm not sure what all was in it besides ice cream, caramel and chocolate, but what else do you need?

The second best thing was Fire Water, the bar we went to after we ate pizza and cake at G.'s house. The rumor about the bartenders wearing bikinis was false, but they still wore hoochie'ish outfits and danced on the bar and used the stripper pole. The only drag is that they did look a little bored while they were dancing on the bar. As opposed to me and my friends who had ridiculous amounts of fun dancing on the bar and using the stripper pole for hilarious photo ops. I had never done either of those things before, and I highly recommend them.

We were definitely the oldest folks at the bar. Which was made even more obvious when the po po showed up to card people, and half the patrons ran out the door. We tried to pretend to run out too to see if the cops would chase us, but they had already caught someone. Then G. asked them if we could take a photo and they both said they would love to, but they weren't allowed to anymore because it could end up on Facebook and look like they were out partying on the job. Facebook changes everything.

Dexter from Degrees of Grey blogspot showed up and I've alway thought we were friends, until at one point I came up to him and another guy, and right when I said, "Hey,..." he spit half his drink in my face. I don't think either one of us is entirely sure how that happened, but I laughed so hard that I almost fell over.

We were having a ton of fun as it was, but then someone brought out hula hoops. I know. It almost seemed too good to be true, but it got even better. While we were hula hooping, one of the bartenders invited three of us up to the bar to have a competition. So, G., myself and my girl crush all climbed up. I won originally, but G. asked for a do-over and I screwed up the 2nd time. My girl crush won the 2nd round, and so she and G. both got free shots (G. for her birthday). It was actually perfect, since I don't have a very high drinking tolerance and can't really do shots.

Here is my girl crush winning. Isn't she adorable?

We eventually had all the fun we thought we could have at Fire Water, and decided to head to the Dublin Underground. On our walk there, I exclaimed to my friend G.,"Wow. This is the funnest 29th birthday you've had in years!"

And she responded, "This is the funnest 29th birthday I've ever had!"

As soon as we got to the Dublin, people got busy moving all the chairs and tables out of the way so we could have a dance party there. The gentleman above came running down from where he was playing pool and joined us and then posed for this very classy photo. Nice.

The po po stopped down at the Dublin too, but this time it was because they were being cool. Someone stopped them on the street and asked them to come down and card G. because they knew she'd love it. And boy howdy were they right.

Okay, that was a much longer post than I intended. Here's hoping for the mellowest week we all can have.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

There's a Party In My Mind...And I Hope It Never Stops

Here is a picture looking down Iowa Avenue in downtown Iowa City.

Damn, but it's been one long week. Lucky for me, I scheduled myself a half day of vacation tomorrow. Originally, it was just going to be a little time treat for myself, but now it might just be recovery and resting. Stinky really wants to go to school tomorrow. If nothing else, she's pushing to at least go in the afternoon. We'll see. Coadster came home sick today from school complaining of nausea. She was really pale and weak, so I doubt she was faking it. I think all this illness is more from all of us needing to slow it down...Hopefully, we can do that in the next month or two.

Okay, but back to this weekend. Tomorrow I get off work at noon and then I plan on running. After I shower and clean the house a little, I'll start getting ready for the evening. I traded nights with my ex for my friend G's however many years straight 29th birthday party. My girl crush is coming to town for it, and loads of people we know will show up on and off all night.

A smaller group of us are starting off at G.'s house for pizza. Then at some point we'll head to the Coyote Ugly type bar where the bartenders wear bikinis and dance on the bar and there are reports of a stripper pole too. It should be hilarious, with the kind of bawdy dames I'll be traveling with. Then, when that finally wears thin, we'll head on down to the Dublin, where I'm sure we'll push all the tables to the side and have a crazy dance party there too. It sounds perfect for the frame of mind I'm in right now.

Saturday night I'll have the girls and they have been planning on having a mellow night with some of the other neighborhood girls to watch movies and maybe sleepover at one of their houses. I told them they were welcome to hang at my place, but one of the other girls just moved into a new, bigger house, so they might just go there, which would give me another night to myself. I'd be happy either way. My only real goal for Saturday is to watch 3:10 to Yuma at some point. I guess every girl needs a goal, right?

As usual, I'd love to hear your weekend plans. Will you be dancing at a Coyote Ugly type bar with other salty broads, or will you be watching gritty Westerns at home?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Picking Up the Pieces, Putting Them Away

Here are the girls riding bikes when they were younger. I think that was Stinky's first broken arm. She has made us old pros at emergency room visits.

Yes, well. Today has been pretty long again. I didn't sleep very well last night and a lot of today was spent trying to get a certain Stinky girl to drink and eat something...Anything. The drinking was the most important. She kept telling me everything tasted weird. She had some water, a little Sprite and finally pineapple orange juice. The Dr. said she had to drink things that had calories, so any of those fancy 0 calorie Propel type drinks were out.

As you know, my girls and I are big eaters, so this whole concept of trying to get Stinky to eat and her not wanting to, is extremely foreign to me. It took her over four hours to eat a piece of cinnamon toast and a few raspberries. I got smart at dinnertime and made her favorite food - a BLT. She's never said no to bacon before, and this was no exception. She ate a half sandwich and it gave me hope that she was getting better. Behold the power of smoked pig.

Tomorrow I'll go back to work, sit in my beige cubicle and try really hard not to call home every five seconds for updates. The sound of my daughter's coughing and belabored breathing will be replaced by the guy who sits behind me with the bad acid reflux trying to disguise his chronic belching by saying, "bwifff" or "bwarrrf". I'll ask him if he's speaking Klingon like I usually do and we'll both laugh and things will start to go back to normal. Being reminded of what the alternative can look like, normal sounds pretty good.

I'd Rather Feel the Earth Beneath My Feet

Another self-portrait of Stinky.

Well, kids. We had a little scare here at the Churlish household tonight. I just spent the last almost 4 hours in the E. R., so this will be short. Remember how I told you Stinky has been sick on and off for the last few weeks? Well, it all caught up to her tonight. She fell asleep as soon as she got home and I finally had to wake her up, because she was shivering so hard she scared the shit out of me. I made her take some Advil and drink some juice, but she was in tons of pain. The scary kind. Since a lot of her symptoms were like those she had when she had meningitis, I made her do the "touch your chin to your chest" thing you're supposed to do to test for it. She couldn't do it. It made her cry it hurt so much.

I called the triage nurse and she went over all the meningitis symptoms with us. Stinky had so many of them, that she told us to bring her into the E. R. as soon as possible. Of course, Coadster got really worried and upset, so I had her dad come by and pick her up.

They had some screw-up with us at first and put us in the wrong room and forgot about us for almost an hour. When we finally hooked-up with a Dr., she did a bunch of tests and we all decided to wait until the much larger dose of Advil and the IV fluids kicked in before they got all crazy and performed a spinal tap. It was a good thing they did, because the way it looks right now, it probably isn't meningitis this time. Stinky has a bad ear infection in both ears and is extremely dehydrated. She's on antibiotics and isn't supposed to go to school at least until Friday. The Dr. thinks it will take at least two days for her fever to go down and for her body to recover. So, I'm taking tomorrow off to stay with her and her dad will take Thursday off and then we'll see how it goes after that. Jaysus, Mary and Joseph, but it's been a long scary night.

Okay, now I'm going to bed, but before I do, I'll tell you something ridiculous to cut through this big scary downer (even though it had a pretty happy ending) post:

When they finally realized the room snafu and were moving us to the correct place, we were walking past the desk of my friend Bryan who works there. He looked up totally surprised to see me and said, "Hey! I was just writing on your wall on Facebook." There. How's that for ridiculousness?

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Potential You'll Be, That You'll Never See

Here is a window, or maybe a vent, with bars on it.

"Holy shit! He's a player. I've never thought of him that way before, but now it makes sense. I've always thought of him as a dorky, funny guy, but that's his game... Even in high school," she said and took a drink. I had already figured it out, the hard way, and took a drink myself. I'd actually just texted him as much. I had accepted my responsibility in having been played, but also, in a fit of bitchiness, gave him props for believability. Props 2 u, I had ended it.

And so it was done then. No more false hope, no chances, no more "maybe he just"...Or giving him more time to work his shit out. For all I knew, he didn't really have anything to work out. It was just his schtick, or part of his game. It was how he played the ladies...And judging from my reaction to him, it worked. I've always been a sucker for the victim routine. Tell me your sad story and I will empathize and try to help you.

I'm getting better. I'm recognizing it sooner and moving on...Eventually. It's why I texted him that last time. I didn't want any loose ends for him to work or unlocked doors for him to try and open. I also wanted to let him know I was on to him. There would never be another opportunity for him to assure me he wasn't trying to mack, and then do just that.

Aren't I the one who's always saying it's okay to make mistakes, as long as you learn from them? So, I'm learning, (very slowly, maybe) and trying to be better about ending things, instead of leaving them open, just in case someone gets their shit together. Maybe I should text myself too. Props 2 me.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

We Will Get Sick and Choke Ourselves With Laughter

Tonight I'm mixing the Saturday Scavenger Hunt with my normal Sunday photo post. It makes it so easy when Tara at Eclectic Spaghetti chose the word Shenanigans.

As you may recall, I had a wonderful three day weekend. Of course, I spent most of it with a sick 15 year old, and now I have a little cold myself. Don't worry, I finally got some Zicam and I'm fighting it tooth and nail, but my brain is kind of sludgy, so here are some photos and not much else.

So, on Saturday night, the shenanigans began in earnest when my friend K. texted me and asked me to come to her house before we went downtown. Her boyfriend A. was out on a crazy fun bike ride with his best friend and they met us at the Dublin later on.

The shenanigans didn't stop there. My favorite hot crazy friends showed up wearing wigs. Yeah, wigs. How fun is that?

By the end of the night, I was asked to do after hours, but I was super exhausted. I found out the next day that I was catching Stinky's cold...Again. So, I did a lot of sleeping on Sunday. I guess shenanigans can't go on forever, can they?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Wouldn't it Be Nice If We Could Wake Up In the Morning When the Day Is New

Coadster took this of the John Lennon Memorial in Central Park. She also got a photo of the front of the building where he lived.

So, it's like Friday night here at my house tonight. Although, I do have to wake up and get the girls to track practice by 9, so I won't get to sleep in as late as I want on my vacation day Friday. My house is pretty clean right now, so hopefully I won't have to waste my day off doing practical stuff, and we can all just have fun instead.

Happy first day of Spring! It's cooled off some since Tuesday, but better 50 above, then 50 below zero. It still makes running very pleasant.

Last night I watched a documentary called Cocaine Cowboys. Have you seen it? I really liked it. It was all about drug trafficking in Miami in the 70's and 80's. Sure, I'd seen Scarface and Miami Vice before, but this got all into the history, the background and the aftermath of it all. I highly recommend it.

Now, for this weekend. I'm kind of just going with things. My friend G. asked if I wanted to go for a beer on Saturday, and I have a few other friends who have tentatively planned to go out as well, but nothing definite. Coadster has a babysitting job on Friday night and Stinky is still grounded through the end of the weekend, so I'm sure I'll be spending some quality time at home with the youngest. I guess I'll just have to let you know what happens on Sunday night.

How about all y'all? Do you have definite plans, or are you flying by the seats of your pants this week?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

And the Body Looks Fine, So What If It Runs Slow

I'm stealing another photo Coadster took in NYC. This is the naked cowboy, with a well placed guitar. Coadster didn't know the women in the pic, she just aimed and shot.

I've been exhausted all day. I have no idea why, I just know I don't want to feel like this tomorrow, so I'm going to bed as early as possible and stealing from the old blog. I wrote this post in August of 2006. It was right after I got back from my trip to Minneapolis where I visited my friend S. and The Walker is an art museum there. I think that' s all you need to know. Here you go:

We spoke in S.'s kitchen with her friend who worked at the Walker. Her friend was telling us about how she met her boyfriend and it was all very sweet. She had gone to the Apple store to buy a computer and a hot guy with a Nordic sounding name waited on her for over an hour while she figured out how much of an investment she wanted to make. In the end he helped her carry her computer to her car and mustered the courage to ask her out. Now, however long after, they were living together.

"Those things never happen in real life. Who gets asked out by someone they don't know anymore?" I said.

"I know, " she agreed, "He said he had let too many other opportunities slip away because he had been too afraid of rejection and he vowed he would take a chance the next time. I was lucky that I happened along after that."

Move ahead in time and place to Friday afternoon in Iowa City:

I was riding my bike back home after mailing some letters downtown. They were paving the street about a block from my house and there were two men in neon greenish/yellow vests directing traffic. When I approached the corner the heavier-set guy motioned me forward with his hand.

"That's okay, I'm turning anyway," I told him and he nodded.

The other, younger, squirrelly looking guy sporting a shaved-on-the-sides mullet said, "No. Come this way. I want to talk to you." I laughed and rode away. In my head I was thinking that he looked familiar. Maybe I had gone to high school with his mom.

Skip ahead to yesterday - still in Iowa City but this time I'm on my way home from work.

The two men are both still directing traffic on that one corner. This time the older heavier guy motions me forward and we smile at each other out of courtesy. The barely twenty year old looking mullet wearer comes running over. "Hi," He says and I say hi back. My "hi" is very cautious, however. "Hey, didn't I see you around here on Friday?"

"Yeah. I live around here." I worry that I've given too much information. It is a bad habit of mine. But I comfort myself by thinking the engine of the paver machine thingy is so loud that the mullet boy/man probably can't hear me. I am apparently lying to myself.

"Really? What's your name?" I don't want to give it to him and I haven't had much practice quickly thinking of a fake name recently. I tell him my name, speaking as closely into the loud machine as possible.

"Kara or Laura?" He asks.

"Yes," I say.

And here comes the part where I overanalyze the situation. You are welcome to stay, or you could just run away screaming.

Now I can't say, "that kind of thing never happens to me", because I did get approached by a guy I didn't know. If I were still in college, I might compare myself and my situation to the Walker worker woman and her experience by thinking that if we were cars, I'd be a Chevy Nova and she'd be a Volvo. It would explain why she got hit on by the interesting guy who was at least near her own age and why I was approached by a man twenty years younger than me, who huffed tar for a living. But now that I am older and kinder to myself, I prefer to look at it this way: In Iowa City we don't even have an Apple store for the hot nerdy guys with Nordic sounding names to work, and since I either walk, run or ride my bike nearly everywhere I go, it's only logical that I would meet the guy who works a seasonal job directing traffic where he is free to rock that mullet all day long.

See how I did that? I made it a matter of circumstance. That's all.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

How Come I End Up Where I Went Wrong?

Here is a guy sitting on the sidewalk downtown about a week ago. That felt warm then, but it was almost twenty degrees warmer than that today.

The weather has been amazing, but I've found myself feeling a little angsty for a couple of reasons. As I've discovered over and over, there really isn't much of a cure for that like endorphins, so I ran my six mile route and it was in the 70's and most of the town was gone for Spring Break, and best of all, when I put my iPod on random, it served me this bizarre mix of music that was perfect for me:

1.) "Don't You Evah" - Spoon

2.) "Pork and Beans" - Weezer

3.) "Welcome to the Jungle" - G N R

4.) "Honey Don't" - Carl Perkins

5.) "Hypnotize" - The Notorious B.I.G.

6.) "Soul Shakedown Party" - Bob Marley and the Wailers

7.) "Closer" - Nine Inch Nails

8.) "The Girl Can't Help It" - Little Richard

9.) "15 Steps" - Radiohead

10.) "Bad Reputation" - Joan Jett and the Blackhearts

If any of you were feeling angsty, I hope you found things to soothe it too.

Monday, March 16, 2009

But I'm Really Not as Cool as I'd Like to Be

Coadster took this photo looking out at Ground Zero with her phone and texted it to me today.

So, last Friday night, Stinky and I had all these plans to watch movies. The reality was that we were both so exhausted, she fell asleep by 8 and I fell asleep at 9:30. Paaaaarrr-teeee!

This week should be a little different story. I'm taking a vacation day on Friday. Yea me. The girls have their Spring Break right now, so we'll have our first day off together during the week that isn't a holiday since August. We talked a little about riding the new bike trails around town, but we'll have to see how the girls feel. Coadster is still in NYC, and I have a feeling she'll need to sleep for a couple of days straight to recover. Stinky is sick and has a bad sore throat. She may go to the Dr. to make sure it isn't strep tomorrow. If the bike riding thing isn't feasible, we also have some canvasses and paints, so we could stay home and make some cool art. Either way, I won't have to get up early and it will be way more fun than sitting in my cubicle all day. Cheers to my four day work week.

Tomorrow it's supposed to get up into the 70's. The weather has been perfect the last few days. I've been running like a fiend lately. Finally.

Okay, I'm boring and tired tonight, so I think I'll shut-up and go to sleep now.

Oh, and Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Planets Align So Rare

Man, it must be Spring for sure. Last weekend my ex from last year came into town and this weekend Mr. B. unexpectedly showed up in town and on my way into The Mill, my ex from 25 years ago called me. Jeesh! I'm still really in hibernation mode, but I must be the only one.

I went to the Old Thrasher's Reunion on Saturday night and it was fun. Stinky came with me and stayed for the first hour. There were a bunch of my daughters' friends parents there at first and that was kind of weird. At one point after taking this picture:

Coadster's friend's mom, who I've known since our kids were in kindergarten, stopped to say hi and give me shit about the shenanigans she just witnessed. Apparently, you can't take me anywhere.

The show was a great mix of several different groups of friends. My hot crazy friends showed up...

...Along with my old punk rock friends and a bunch of the Dublin crew.

The music was great and there was so much to see and do, that it almost completely shorted-out my self-diagnosed ADD. It would have been worth it.

Here is a picture taken by someone who may have just had a tiny bit too much to drink. He was supposed to take a photo of four people.

My friend K. had texted me earlier in the evening with this: R favorite fuck ups in town. Of course, with the people we know, I had to text her back to make her specify which one that would be. She told me Mr. B. was in town and that he would be at the metal show at the Picador. I had told a couple of people I'd try to stop by there later in the evening, but then wasn't sure if I would after I found out Mr. B. would be there. I just didn't think I was ready to see him. As some of my friends pointed out, this is my town, and I should do whatever I had originally planned. So, I made my way to the Picador with K. and her boyfriend and had a good time.

Mr. B. told me he wanted to talk about stuff, and we did. We hashed things out again and he went into a little more detail about his issues. I told him what I'd need for him to do in order for us to hang out on a regular basis, but my guard is definitely WAY up around him. I talked to my friend K. who went to high school with him and knows both of us probably better than she wants to, and she knows exactly why I can't just write him off that easily. When we were at the Picador, she did go up to Mr. B. and say, "You're kind of retarded." And he said,

"I know." And we all knew we were talking about how weird he's been to me. I'd be very surprised if he suddenly got his shit together, but I'd love to be proven wrong.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

It's Hard to Get By Just Upon a Smile

Here is a photo that Stinky took of the flooding Iowa River at sunset. It's the first one taken with my new phone.

I chose today's Saturday Scavenger Hunt word: Treat. I got a new treat this week - a phone. The screen on my old phone was cracking, and I was up for a new one. I got an LG phone. It is so, so nice. It has a full keyboard, so texting is a million times easier. Since you all know how much I hate to talk on the phone, you can understand how what a treat that will be for me.

Here are some trees surrounded by the Iowa River.

As I've said before, I love dorky ring tones. I found a site where I could send free ringtones to my phone. So, I have some new fun ones:

My girlfriends: "Milkshake" by Kelis - changed from "These Boots are Made for Walking" by Nancy Sinatra.

My guy friends: "The Banana Splits Themesong" by The Banana Splits - changed from nothing. I didn't have one for guys before.

My Family: "Insane in the Membrane" by Cypress Hill - changed from "Crazy Train" by Ozzy. Everyone in the world is crazy, but my family is my kind of crazy.

My daughters: "Wild World" by Cat Stevens - changed from "Sweet Child O' Mine" by Guns N Roses. Stinky picked it and Coadster was happy with it, because it's one of her favorite Cat Stevens songs.

General ringtone for anyone else: "A Little Less Conversation" by Elvis Presley - changed from "Synchronicity II" by the Police.

So, that's my treat this week. For next week's word, I'm choosing Tara at Eclectic Spaghetti. Give us what you got.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

And We Don't Care About the Old Folks

Here is the silhouette of a satellite dish.

Today Coadster left for NYC. I'm really excited for her and I'm trying not to worry about her too much. I certainly don't want to create any anxiety for her, just because I can imagine a million scary scenarios in my head of all the things that could go wrong. I want her to feel free to go on wonderful adventures without freaking herself out so badly, that she doesn't want to leave her comfort zone. I also don't want her to be too stupid about being in a big city and get mugged or worse either. After all, we almost never even lock our car doors here.

The other side of this is that a few years ago, I was sitting in my living room, in my jammies, in one of the safest areas in the country and a tornado came through and messed with me anyway. Since we don't have a basement, if it had been any stronger, I wouldn't be here writing a bunch of bullshit for you to read right now. I just figure, if the bad crap is looking for you, it's going to find you no matter how safe you think you are, so you might as well, just do what you want and take your chances. That being said, I hope Coadster has an awesome time in the big city and I can't wait to hear all about it.

Now, it's almost the weekend. Tomorrow I leave work about 45 minutes early to go to the dentist. What kind of idiot schedules their dentist appointment on Friday the thirteenth, anyway? I'm just asking for it. Of course, I didn't realize what date it was when I made the appointment, six months ago, so if I need a root canal, I guess it's my own damn fault.

How's the rest of the weekend looking? Well, let me see... Since Stinky's grounded, we're going to hang out together and watch movies and play board games tomorrow night. she loves that, and I'm not much of a board game player, so I'm trying to buck up and go with it. I'll report back later about how badly I got my ass handed to me in Candyland.

Saturday night is a big, aging punk rocker reunion celebration at The Mill. There are also some bands playing at the Picador. I haven't decided if I'll try to mix and match or just stay with the old folks.

Now, I will retire and try not to worry about Coadster on her big adventure. She's one of the most poised, level headed high school kids I've ever met...I just have to keep reminding myself of that.

What will you kids be up to this weekend? Will you be rocking with your aging punk rocker friends, worrying, or both?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A Time to Break and a Time to Chill. To Act Civilized or Act Really Ill

Here is a photo of a dead end. Nowhere to go but up, I guess.

Well, kids. I'm tired and I'm going to try hard to go to bed really, really early tonight. To that end, I'm stealing from the old blog. This was from March of 2006. It is a quaint little story about me finding out what my B-girl name meant. Oh, and for those of you who have only seen me on my blog, I have curly hair. I just straighten it when I go out. There. That will help this story make more sense. Enjoy:

I had been living in Iowa for about 6 years before I moved to California to join the Conservation Corps. In 1985, you still had to attend the training academy before you were placed at a site. The academy was a converted minimum security prison in Angels Camp, California. Most of the people who joined the Corps were from inner urban areas except for me and two refugees from Ethiopia. The Ethiopians were probably less foreign to the training academy world than I was.

At that time, Yo! MTV Raps was still three years away and there was very little exposure to Rap culture anywhere else. A couple of the girls on my track team in high school would bring music back from their relatives in Atlanta and in college there was a station on KRUI that played rap for an hour on Sunday nights. So, I had heard The Sugar Hill Gang, Grand Master Flash and George Clinton's "Atomic Dog". There were a couple of local white boys who would bring their boom boxes (or ghetto blasters as everyone called them then) to the ped mall and attempt to break dance, but very few people in Iowa knew much about eighties urban culture, including me.

At the academy I was one of the few women of any color - White, Black, Latina Asian or Native. So, some of the guys tried to flip me shit to see how I'd react. I laughed and flipped them shit back and we were cool. They even gave me a B-girl name. The called me Jheri curl. I asked them what a Jheri curl was and they laughed for days. One guy tried to explain it. "See those brothers over there wearing the shower caps? They all have Jheri curls they don't want to mess up out here. Just wait until the dance on the last night - they'll take them off and then you'll see."

"Okay, but until that time, can you just tell me if Jheri curl is a good B-girl name or a bad one?"

"It's good. For real." I took his word for it, but I was a little anxious to see what about me reminded everyone of a Jheri curl.

The night of the dance, we were all packing up and getting ready to go to our assignments. There were 5 of us going to Leggett to work on The Salmon Restoration Project. We all walked down to the dance together - we figured we'd better start getting used to each other. Once we hit the cafeteria, my friend who had previously tried to describe my B-girl name to me came over to say goodbye.

"Hey Jheri curl. Are you ready to see what you're named after?" Hell fuckin' yes, I was ready. He pointed over to the group of guys who I had never seen without their shower caps. Their hair had been loosed and was curly like mine, but oh so much wetter. "See," my friend said. "I told you it was good. Don't you think they look good?"

"Sure?" but I wasn't. I suppose my B-girl name was better than some I've heard. I wasn't the human beat box, or big legged girl, sex machine Nicki (who's real name was Doris) or the Ethiopians who were only ever called "the Ethiopians". To this day though, I'm not sure if I should have been offended or not.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

She Said That's That, I Don't Wanna Chitter-Chat

Here is a picture of the backside of Prairie Lights bookstore all sandbagged down. I took this last week, before all the rain came.

Kids, it is soooo late. I ended up having an IMversation with my friend Nate who lives in California. I haven't spoken to him for years and years and he's going through some shit, but he's so cool and positive about it. Anyway, it lasted for like an hour and so this post will be very short.

First off. There is the matter of a certain Saturday Scavenger Hunt word I was tagged to choose. So, I'm picking TREAT. Have we had that one? If not, I think we all deserve a treat this week. If we have, let me know, and I'll try to get a new word out to you much more quickly, this time.

Okay, my day was great. Coadster leaves for NYC on Thursday at 4. She goes to her dad's tomorrow, so this was our last night together before the trip. We ran around getting anything she might need for her trip, but also ate at Chili's because the girls love it there, and we could watch some of a Big 10 track meet on TV. It was such a good night for all of us. I will see Coadster for a bit tomorrow. I have to take some money out for her to take for food and spending and make sure she hasn't forgotten anything. Also, my sister sent her some spending money, which was WAAAAY too nice, but made Coadster feel very special. So, thanks again, Moy.

Anyway, I gosta go to bed now, so I can function tomorrow. Night, night.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Lefting and Then Righting, Its Not a Crime You Know

Here is a bench with several issues, kind of close to the Co-op. Do you think anyone is brave enough to actually sit on it?

I think my cold is mostly better. I tried to run when I first got off work, and it was really rough at first. After a mile, I wondered what the hell I was thinking, then after two miles, the endorphins kicked in, and I felt better than ever. I didn't run for three days, so I had lots of energy and felt like I could move buildings all by myself by the time I finished. I really, really love that high. I just hope I get to keep running on a regular basis, until next Winter. It helps me in every way possible.

So, Stinky came out of last trimester with a D+ in Algebra. So close, and yet, so far. She really tried the last part of the tri, too bad she didn't at the beginning. She's grounded for two weeks and she doesn't get her phone for a month. It was going to be the whole tri, but I suddenly remembered high school and the fact that when any of us were grounded for too long, we figured, screw it, if we were never going to be ungrounded, we might as well do whatever we wanted. So, if she hands in all of her assignments for the next month, she'll get her phone back then, but she can lose it just as easily, by missing an assignment. Sigh. I really do hate this shit. A woman I work with told me if I really wanted to put the fear of god into her, I should threaten to take away all of her shoes except her track shoes and one other pair. For a girl who loves her footwear as much as Stinky does, that seems a little too cruel, even for me.

Tonight the girls went to their dad's at seven, so I decided to have a beer in a frosty pint and watch the movie Shooter with Marky Mark. My girls give me shit about showing my age by not calling him Mark Wahlberg. Too bad. I am forty-three years old and I can't help but show my age, just by walking in a room. Since, I love being in my forties, I think that's a good thing. So, I guess what I'm trying to say, is that I'll call him Marky Muthah fucin' Mark, whenever I feel like it... Oh, and how was the movie, you ask? Pretty unbelieveable. Lucky for me, I just really wanted to watch a bunch of shit blow-up tonight, and it was really good in that respect.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Here We Are Now, Entertain Us

It's time for the mostly photo Sunday post. This weekend, was all about home and getting sick (again) and hanging with my girls.

On Friday night, Stinky had some friends come over and watch movies, and also take bizarre photos in our front yard. Now, that's something I could totally support. Coadster and I watched In Bruges. We both loved it. It was a little on the violent side, but what movie isn't these days? Thank god, I'm desensitized to it. Everyone on Facebook got me all excited about the coke sniffing dwarf, and he so didn't disappoint.

This was also a weekend of me missing out of town guests. My girlcrush came to town with her hubby, but it was Friday when I had the girls. Plus, I developed yet another nasty cold and had to stay home and blow my nose about 5,142 times instead. Pretty.

Saturday night, I got texts from several different friends about going out opportunities. Although I had slept most of the day and felt a lot better, I didn't want to tempt the fates by going out, so I missed a friend of mine in town from Ames, and the guy I dated this time last year. The guy hasn't really been much of a friend to me since we split-up, so I wouldn't have made an effort there, but if I hadn't been sick, I probably would have tried to show up down at the Dublin Underground for some other friends.

I stayed home and watched the movie Australia. I was in the mood for a sweeping epic adventure, and I thought Australia delivered.

The good thing about staying home on Saturday night, was feeling well enough on Sunday very late morning to make brunch. We had hash browns, eggs, toast, tea and fruit. This first fruit plate photo was done in color.

And this second one was done in mostly black and white with just a splash of color. I love it when the food I eat is really pretty.

Sunday afternoon was spent at Coadster's last show choir event - the Spring show. Here is Coadster singing in jazz choir. It's mostly bee-boppy kind of music, but she loves it and it is a lot of fun to listen to.

Here she is in some dramatic pose at the end of one of their inspirational show choir numbers.

And finally, here's another one of my most favoritest "frustrated, mom will you please stop taking photos of me, I'm done humoring you" poses, while her friend laugh in the background. God, I love being a parent of teenage girls. I am never, ever bored.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

It Seemed the Taste Was Not So Sweet

Now, that I'm sick again and can't do anything super productive around my house this weekend, I thought I'd actually get on the blog here and do the Saturday Scavenger Hunt this week. Manuel picked the word this year: change.

I decided just to do a "what a difference a year makes" photo post. The top photo I took leaving my office yesterday afternoon. The weather was nice enough for the skater dudes to wear t-shirts and shorts and I ran home to get things ready for my nice relaxing movie night with my girls.

This was taken this same weekend, last year. I was still dating that one guy and I visited him in St Louis where we went out to eat duck for the first time in my life. Here is a photo of the whole spread. It was really cold and though we had fun when I was there, it was clear we had some SERIOUS problems. Problems that turned out to be terminal for our relationship.

When I look at both photos and remember each weekend, I feel so much happier and calm in my life now. Apparently, the change has been very good this past year.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Wouldn't It be Good If We Could Live Without a Care?

How about some nice graffiti shots for your Friday? I like this one.

Oh, kids. It's been quite a day. A wonderfully, warm sweet, tease of Spring 70 degree day, but quite a day nonetheless.

I hadn't heard from my landlord about resigning the lease yet, and I was starting to worry a little. Normally, he contacts me in February. I worried about Coadster's little party last year. Remember? When I was dating that long-distance guy and went to St Louis for the weekend and Coadster told her dad she was going to a friend's house, but went to my house and had a party instead? Then she went to bed, because she had a show choir competition the next morning and let everyone stay and make noise, and wreak havoc while she slept? Yeah, that. I have no idea what the hell she was thinking. It was like she suddenly forgot how uptight the German grad students are who live above us. Anyway, my landlord has his own teenage daughter and was totally cool about it. It just gave me something to worry about this week, is all.

Since I don't like to worry, I decided to email him and see if we could sign the lease again for next year. He wrote back and said, that would be great. He said he'd have to raise our rent, however. Property taxes have gone up like crazy around here and he hasn't raised our rent even once the whole seven years we've lived here. So, I wasn't surprised, I was just worried, because he was doing so much apologizing about it, that it would be so much that I couldn't afford it. You want to know how much he was raising it a month? $10. Even I can afford that. He also wrote this in his email to me: "

Mrs. Landlady and I feel very fortunate, and blessed, to have had you and the girls as tenants and hope that you don’t find this to offensive, so…..

let me know if you would still be interested and we can get things finalized.

Isn't that sweet? It was just one of the things that made my day today.

This was on a door. I'm not sure if it's really considered graffiti since it's more like a drawing someone glued on the door.

The other thing happened while I was running today. I was turning onto First Avenue, when I saw some high school track boys walking across the street toward me. Eventually, they started running and passed me. The other boy runners who had already finished the route, were all waiting for the slower runners to clap and urge them along and tell them they did a good job. So, when I ran past, they laughingly did the same for me. Me, being the worst, most horrible mom of teens ever, decided it would be really fun to yell, "Wooooooo!" as I passed them. The whole time I was doing it, I was delightedly imagining the horror on my daughters' faces when I got to relate the story to them at dinner. And let me tell you, I was not disappointed. If you could hear eyes rolling, the sound of it in my house tonight would have been deafening.

See what I mean? It has been quite a day...Quite an awesome day, that is.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

So I Turned Myself to Face Me

Here is a photo of a red door with a fun address.

I'm still deleting D songs from my iTunes. Tonight I made it through all the David Bowie I have - which is a lot. I like David Bowie. When my girls were little, they liked him too, but they called him David Bowdie. They must have felt that he needed a harder consonant to break up the vowel sounds in his last name.

When I first went away to college, I had no idea what to expect. It never occurred to me in all the years after my mom died that I would be free of my aunt and uncle's control. I think I assumed I would just drop dead the minute I turned 18, but I didn't and I hadn't planned for that. So, I went to college, because that's what everyone I knew did.

My roommate didn't show up until the next day, so I spent my first night in my dorm room alone. It was hard to imagine a life where I wouldn't be constantly yelled at, threatened and belittled. What would I do with the hours of free time I would have now that I didn't have to cook and clean for six people all day long? It was weird to think I could leave my room anytime I chose and do whatever I wanted. The possibilities scared the shit out of me.

It was all so unfamiliar to me, this freedom and a room where people had to have permission to enter. It was hard to sleep. I lay in bed listening to all the strange voices out in the hallway, trying to imagine what the people who were speaking out there would be like? Then from the other side of my room, I heard music coming from the courtyard through my open window. It was echoing off the other walls, so it was hard to make out at first. Then I realized it was David Bowie's "Space Oddity", followed by "John, I'm Only Dancing" and "Changes". I found out later they were playing the ChangesOneBowie album. I had never heard it before, but it was exactly what I needed that night. It was finally something familiar and good. Lying in bed, and being calmed into sleeping by music was something I had done since I was a little kid. I went out and bought the greatest hits album as soon as I found a record store in Cedar Falls. It was my first music purchase as a free woman.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Lookin' in the Sun For Another Overload

Here is the top of a door at McBride Hall.

So, I don't have a lot to blog about. This weekend, I decided I'd try to be healthier in general in a lot of different ways. I wanted to slow things down, and relax and try to get more sleep. I also thought I'd try to be more physically healthy, by eating better and getting more exercise. So, what this means is that I am boring as hell right now.

Like last night, the girls were in and out of my house briefly, and so I spent most of the night listening to music by myself and making potato leek soup and hummus. Bo-Riiiiing! (well, too read about, but wonderfully relaxing to do) Then today I brought my camera to work and was all ready, but never saw the unicyclist. Damn.

The most exciting thing I've done in a couple of days took place this evening when I walked to the Co-op to buy some really good bread to go with the soup and hummus, and took a detour through this alley to see what was behind some of the downtown buildings. No, I didn't uncover a hidden city of gnomes or anything, but I've lived in this town on and off for 25 years and never explored this area before.

I decided to look up during my tour and this is what I saw. A broken window.

These duct looking things. I think you know how much I like to take pictures of weird industrial looking shit. This little section of alley was like a back lot, exposing all the tubes and wires of the quaint downtown facades. It was so cool.

Don't you think this frantic mess of wires has to be violating about a million different city codes?

So, that ends my dorky back alley tour of Iowa City. Come back tomorrow, when I photograph underneath railroad bridges...Just kidding. I don't think I want to make a huge effort to go trolling for hobos right now, since my goal was to try and be more healthy.