Wednesday, March 31, 2010

It's the Room, The Sun and the Sky

Hey, does anyone know what this plant is? I know it's not a great pic. This was taken right after I uncovered it from a bunch of leaves. I checked on it again today and it has had time to photosynthesize, so it's way more purpley.

Today was the first really warm day of the year and I think I can speak for all Iowans when I say it was about fucking time. JAYSUS! but it was a long Winter. I walked around downtown during my lunch and on my 3 o'clock break. It was like everyone finally emerged from their lairs to get their share of vitamin D. I saw so many people I didn't even know still lived in town. I walked past one of the lawyers who used to frequent the coffee shop where I worked in the 90's. He stopped me when he recognized me and asked me how and what I was up to. I filled him in very quickly and he informed me that he had 7 grand kids now. Then he said, "Well, I guess time marches on..." It certainly does.

I rode my bike home from work and opened up every curtain and blind I had. Over the Winter I kept things pretty closed up, and so I was a little worried my house wouldn't provide enough sunlight for me in the warmer months. Luckily, I found out I was wrong. It should be nice and bright when I keep everything open this Spring and Summer.

I ran about a 7 mile route and saw some of the other runners on my route for the first time of the season. The one shorter lady with the glasses who swings her arms from side to side in front of her, still wouldn't smile or wave at me but B., this guy I know who waits tables at 126, ran past me wooo-hooing and raising both fists in the air, so I guess he made up for it.

When I got home, I started in changing out my storm windows for screens. I've never done that before, and wasn't quite sure how tough it would be or how heavy the windows would be, but it was all pretty easy. I was able to clean and change about half of them before it got too dark to see.

Tomorrow is supposed to be another glorious day, before the weather turns back again late on Friday for the weekend. Awesome. So, I was thinking I'd see if my boss would let me take half of a furlough day tomorrow afternoon. It would be so great to get off at noon, go running, take Stinky to work at 2'ish and then spend the rest of the afternoon doing yard work. I could easily spend at least a week just raking the last five years of leaves and sticks in my yard. Keep your fingers crossed that my boss lets me go. That would give me the other half of a furlough day saved for later in the month when it gets warm again.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

But I'm Sorry I Don't Pray That Way

The lilacs are starting to bud out.

I gave plasma after work today. I think that's been going a little better. I talked to one of the girls who works there last week about all the hematomas (I was starting to suffer from hematomaphobia) I get. She said it was because my veins roll so badly. She also said I might be able to prevent a lot of them by keeping the employees from pumping up my veins so much before they put in the needle. It seems to be working a little better now. I'm still running my 4 mile route afterward. I think I'm too dehydrated to run any more than that, but I'm fine with 4 miles anyway. Since I'm not giving plasma tomorrow and it's supposed to be in the upper 70's, I thought I might do an 8 mile route to make up for it.

Stinky's orientation went well today. She needed new shoes for her job and since word on the street is that her dad got some tax money back, she called him to ask if he'd buy them for her. Surprisingly enough he actually agreed to it. (Of course, after he asked why I couldn't get them) Anyway, I think that's the first thing he's bought either one of the girls in forever. We'll take what we can get.

I started reading Marilynne Robinson's novel Home today. I still have a little to go on the McCarthy book, but it's a loaner from someone else, so I don't feel comfortable carrying it around with me. I read Robinson's first book, Housekeeping when I was in my early 20's and it is still one of my all time favorites. It's so moody and dreamlike. When Robinson moved to town here, I was still working at the coffee/ice cream shop and waited on her a few times. I'm sure I screwed up her order every time, I was so nervous. Her writing is so dense, that it cracked me up to be reading it while I sat in my chair giving plasma and trying not to listen to the guy's phone conversation right next to me. "Experience had taught them that truth had sharp edges and hard corners, and could be seriously at odds with kindness." Wow. And that's just one sentence of the book. It was a lot to digest, set against the background noise of the cell phone talker and Soft Cell's "Tainted Love" playing on the satellite radio station they pump in there.

Sooooo. Let's see. My kids, Spring, running, trying to scratch out a living, listening to music and reading. That pretty much sums up my day. I think it was a good one.

Monday, March 29, 2010

I Am Going Out to See What I Can Sow

The first flowers blooming in my new yard.

After my run tonight, I surveyed the side and backyard to check for flowers. I have no idea what's planted around, but today I saw evidence of daffodils, more Irises and possibly even some tulips. I'm excited to watch everything bloom. I think I've already mentioned that I want to do some English type gardens in my backyard. It will take me a couple of years to get them where I want them, but I'm planning on getting a good start this year. Right now I have Gladiola, Canna lilies, Dahlia and Oriental lily bulbs ready to plant. I'm also going to plant snap dragons, ditch lilies, lavender and every kind of daisy I can get my hands on. Feel free to give me suggestions for your favorite flowers too. I'm up for anything.

Stinky was notified that she got a new job at the Hy-Vee about 4 blocks from our house. Yippee! She has orientation tomorrow, so we ran to the mall tonight to get black pants and a white collared shirt. She's also supposed to wear either a broach or a tie, we think. They didn't go over the dress code with her, so we're waiting until they do, since I am not the kind of person who owns a broach or a tie.

I started reading Cormac McCarthy's Child of God this weekend. It's a very short book, so I'm almost done, but it is so dark and intense. I think if it were much longer I might have some kind of soul crisis. Sure, I'm crusty on the outside, but like most of us crusty people, I'm actually pretty damn sensitive on the inside. So, even just reading about someone so unhappy and depraved can shake me up quite a bit. It's an amazing author that can take you to that place, though. I'll have to read something a little more upbeat next.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

When We Were at School Our Games Were Simple

G. on the stripper pole for her bday.

So, this weekend panned out differently than I thought. Besides cleaning and running, I didn't get much other house stuff done. The temps were a lot colder than I thought they'd be, so I didn't want to switch out the storm windows for screens quite yet. I might just have to do it during the week since it's supposed to get up into the 70's in a few days.

On Saturday, I woke up in kind of a mood. I have no idea why. Sometimes I just get all Irish that way. Anyway, I decided to get over myself and went on a nice long run and took a bath. I felt a million times better then.

Coadster worked all day and then babysat for a friend of mine who wanted to attend G.'s birthday. Stinky spent the night at a friend's house. Her friend's mom used to work with me at the clinic, so I trusted her to keep a watchful eye on the girls.

Here are G. and I trying to scrunch down and make the girl crush feel taller.

Saturday night was a lot of fun. We all went to a bar called Firewater where G.'s work friend's band was playing. The band was WAY too loud for the space, so it was hard to talk, but we finally went down to the Dublin.

I got to talk to a lot of people I hadn't seen in a long time and that was great. At one point, Mr. B. texted me. My girl crush told me I should ignore, ignore, ignore. Of course, that just made him call me. I didn't have my phone by me, but when I finally checked it, there were a bunch of missed calls from him and a voicemail that I should call him when I got home. I didn't. I just don't have time for games and bullshit. Instead, I put my energy on my real friends who are wonderful and consistent and don't play stupid games.

I stayed out even a little after midnight. Crazy! But then some of my friends were ready to go, and I was even more than ready to take off, so I gave a few people rides home and made my way home as well.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Sooner or Later, Your Legs Give Way, You Hit the Ground

G. giving two big thumbs up for her birthday this weekend.

So, yeah. The president paid us a visit today...Well, he came to town to speak. I didn't get to see him, but those who did really dug what he had to say. It's funny that Coadster went to see him speak on the Ped Mall on Earth Day a few short years ago in front of some of our citizens without a lot of hoopla. This time he was in a limo with Secret Service Agents swarming every orifice of our fair city. During lunch a helicopter hovered over my office building. We were all trying to figure out who was up there. We guessed Obama, secret service, the press and finally my boss said, "It's Joe f'ing Biden!" Hilarious.

Anyway, that's over now and we're moving into the weekend. I wish I had another day off tomorrow. What I really wish, is that I could take a week off of work and do some serious Spring cleaning and house fixer uppering. I won't start using my vacation until my girls are out of school for the Summer, though. With only two days, I have those older windows in my house where you have to change out the storm windows for screens, so I thought I might change those out and wash all the windows while I'm at it. Pray for me.

So, tomorrow night, I might just stay in. Coadster wants to start washing her bedroom walls so we can prepare to paint on Saturday and Sunday. Once her room is painted, I can finally rip out that nasty, old stained carpet and clean up the hardwood floors underneath. Stinky has a 16th birthday party to go to and some of her friends will come over and watch a movie when that's over.

Saturday is G.'s however many 29th birthday. She told me she wanted all of her friends to start on Friday night. She wants everyone to go bar hopping wearing Nirvana t-shirts (her sister is a certain dead lead singer's widow's personal assistant (got that?) and she gets all kinds of swag because of it). I don't think I'll make that. I told her I'd go out for a bit for her actual birthday on Saturday. It's also the 3rd annual 80's punk rock reunion show at The Mill. I may do a drive-by to that for a minute, because a lot of my old friends will be in from out of town. It should be interesting to see how much I can cram into a few short hours on Saturday night.

Mostly what I want to do this weekend is run and bike my ass off, get my windows cleaned and switched-out with screens, do some yard work, keep trudging along on my kitchen and finish my book. You know how rabid I get about a good book and I'm really digging Brooklyn by Colm Toibin. If you're looking for an entertaining, quick, escapist read, I highly recommend it.

Now, it's your turn. Will you be Spring cleaning this weekend or celebrating someone's however many 29th birthday?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Warning Sign, Warning Sign, I See It But I Pay It No Mind

A recycled pic of me writing in my journal when I was in the California Conservation Corps. Check out the old fashioned typewriter.

So, reading the novel, Brooklyn has got me thinking about my first night alone in San Francisco. I moved by myself when I was 19 to join the California Conservation Corps. I signed up in Santa Rosa, but I stayed one night in a cheap motel in San Francisco the day my plane landed. It's writing assignment time again. As usual, I'm just writing this out now, and it will be rough, rough, rough:

She wondered how she'd feel if she could look into the future and see that everything was going to be okay...Or not. Would she still be so scared and lonely? Would she still feel like the only thing she had in her motel room was an absence? An absence of friends, familiar surroundings and almost everything she owned. It was more prevalent than anything that she actually had. She worried that it would take over in her sleep. The darkness of everything she had just given up, would overwhelm the room - a kind of black hole of loss that would devour her along with the hideous bedspread, the stained burgundy carpet and the TV chained to a desk.

After she first checked in, she thought it would be nice to go for a walk and check out the neighborhood. She had been too long in Iowa and forgot that in other places, she needed to be more aware of her surroundings. It hadn't occurred to her to check and find out if the area on Van Ness Street where her motel was located was safe. She had stepped out of her room and noticed the proximity of water right away. It must be the bay. She headed toward some docks, thinking it might be relaxing to sit and watch the water and the birds. She was an idiot. About five minutes later a group of guys started towards her. Saying things she didn't want to hear. She stood up and walked quickly away from them and right back to her room.

At first she sat in silence and when that was too much, she turned on the television. On MTV, Cyndi Lauper was getting ready to wrestle Hulk Hogan. Why? She had no idea, but she wasn't at all in the mood to see it and changed the channel to catch the very beginning of a Clint Eastwood movie, Play Misty for Me. It probably wasn't the best thing for her to watch either, but she kept it on while a female stalker chased Clint Eastwood around with a knife. The noise and the lights of it filled the room.

It ended around 10 and she thought it was late enough that she could go to bed without feeling too pathetic on a Friday night. The next day she would take a van up the coast to Santa Rosa and rent a room at the Redwood Motel. She had no idea what would happen from there. She wanted to feel the excitement of a new adventure, but she was too scared. All she could feel was that thing that was filling her room now that the lights and sound were gone and she gathered all that absence around her and fell asleep, without any clue where she would be in a week.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

For I Toss and Turn, I Can't Sleep at Night

Look! My seeds have germinated. It normally takes about 7 - 10 days but mine are overachievers and made it up in 4. Good, good seeds.

Oh, kids. I've got Spring fever and I got it baaaaad. I can't sleep and my attention span went AWOL again. I have all this crazy false energy that makes it so I get about 4 hours of sleep a night if I'm lucky, but I'm so exhausted that I can't get anything practical done either. Tonight I rode my bike home from work and then went on one of my longer runs. I hadn't tried to run that route since before I moved, so I had to figure out the best way to go. I ended going a little differently than I used to, but it made it more of an 8 mile run than a 10 mile and I didn't think I was quite ready to run that far yet. It felt great.

So, now I'm going to end this post and finally try to get some sleep tonight. I figure I'll give myself time to relax and read and see if that helps. If not, I'm sure tomorrow's blog post will be even more erratic and hard to read. Sorry. Hey, Happy Spring!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Every Game Ain't the Same, Cuz the Game Still Remains

Here are some tomato and basil plants incubating in my room.

Hey, so here's a good thing...I gave plasma tonight and didn't get a hematoma or pass-out or anything. I even felt good enough to run my 4 mile route afterward. I tried a little experiment this time. Since the times I had hematomas before were when they took from my left arm, I asked if they could use my right to see if that helped. I'm not sure why, but it seemed to work...At least this time. I do feel a little weak and drained (quite literally) now, but nothing like the other times. Maybe I'll get used to this yet.

I know I talk about balancing all of my many obsessions on here a lot. So, I thought I'd go through my main ones and see how I'm doing at feeding them all.

1.) My girls. I'd say this is my main obsession and the one that takes most of my time, energy and money. My girls can be mirror images of each other. Whatever the one lacks the other has in excess. I've often said if I could fuse them together, both my life and theirs would be so much better. Coadster is getting everything ready for college and even though she has finished on the last day things were due a couple of times, she seems to be getting it all done correctly. She's also calmed down a little about being in every single school activity possible and isn't quite as bad about singlehandedly trying to save the world (although she did recently lecture Stinky and I about washing out and reusing sandwich bags (whatever)). Stinky is doing her damnedest to get her shit together a little better at school. I instituted a no tolerance policy about turning in late homework assignments this tri. She knows she'll be grounded for a week with each late assignment. She just checked in with me to show me that her homework was all completed.

2.) Running. Unless the weather is THAT horrible, I don't normally have a problem getting this one fed. Now that it's warmer, I'm even more consistent. Last week I ran outside for 5 days and got about 30 miles in for the first time this year. I also rode my bike to work and back every day but one. I'm going to have to start riding one long route on a weekend day, if I want to get in shape for that duathlon in May.

3.) Reading. I've been averaging about a novel a week. In Cold Blood took me two weeks. Just because I had a lot of other things going on. I just started Colm Toibin's Brooklyn today, and so far I love it. I wanted to have it finished by the time he comes here to read in April, but I could easily have it read within the week.

4.) Writing. Any real writing has fallen by the wayside as of late. It's one of those things I seem to need more of a set-up and time and ambiance and shit that I haven't been able to gather together lately. I guess I'll put it on the list of 5 million other things I need to work on.

5.) My house. I've for sure slowed down a little on my house...Or maybe changed gears a little, is more accurate. Now that it's warm out, I've been sharing the food between my inside and my outside and neither one is really getting all that very full. I might take next weekend and only work in the kitchen and then the weekend after, I'll only work outside to see if I can keep a little better focus.

So, how about all you all? What are your addictions and are they well-fed?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

And I Thought I Was Mistaken And I Thought I Heard You Speak

Here is a pic of whoopee cushion love.

Wow. Three whole days. It's never enough, though, is it? Friday was a really productive day for me. The snow and cold held off until much later in the day, so I got a nice run in and then I did a ton of outside work. I did some organizational crap that is never very blogworthy, and then I raked the leaf mulch off my two raised beds. Since I moved in November, I have no idea what's planted anywhere. Right now, it looks like I have a rose bush, some mint, Echinacea, and some Irises. I also planted some basil and tomato seedlings in my house. I love watching them sprout and grow into adorable, little organic plants.

Saturday I woke up with a migraine. I should've known. I was kind of low energy on Friday evening and that can sometimes mean I'm on the road to brain pain. My meds take a few hours to work, but then my headache was gone. It just sucks to lose those couple of hours. Saturday night was really nice. I stopped by a friend's house to drop off a few things and ended up staying and having a beer and a really nice talk. G. called me to pick her and our friend J. up. I wasn't really in the frame of mind to go out, but I had already promised, so I figured I'd go and have a beer and make a quick exit.

Here's me distracting pool players...Again.

Then when we got down to the bar, I saw a lot of great people I hadn't had a chance to hang out with in forever. It was so much fun. I was still pretty wiped out from my migraine, so I lasted until about 11:30 before I had to go home. Between both parts of it, I'd call that almost a perfect Saturday night.

Sunday was a day of running kids around. I ended up doing all the errands I wasn't able to do with the funky vision I get with my migraines on Saturday. So, for three days, I didn't get as much done as I wanted, but I doubt I ever will. The good thing is, that Summer's coming and then I'll have about 4 weeks of vacation to burn. Yeee Haaaaw!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

April Come She Will

My new battery powered porch lights I got for $12. They were very hard to find around town.

Ahhhhh. I finally get a three day weekend, and not a minute too soon. I'm taking my second to last furlough day tomorrow. Because the girls are still on Spring Break, and I don't have to get up early, I let Stinky have some friends over for a backyard fire. She invited some girls from her school and some boys from the local Catholic school. (one of them used to be our neighbor) Anyway, apparently some of the boys from Stinky's school, decided it would be funny to vandalize our guests' cars. Luckily, mine was in the garage. They didn't use eggs, like you'd think they would. Instead they used syrup. Awesome. All the party guests took their cars to the car wash, but one of them was a jeep with a canvas top and the owner of that vehicle got a little pissed. There were a few heated words exchanged, until I finally told Stinky to invite anyone she wanted to stay into the house to avoid anymore drama. Jaysus! but teenagers can drive a person to drinkin'.

Here's a close-up.

So, I would say that my three day weekend is not only necessary, but deserved at this point. What will I do with it? Um, I'm not exactly sure. I plan on getting a lot of errands run, my kitchen cupboards finally finished and get my place cleaned and organized. Word on the street, is that it's supposed to snow this weekend. I'm not surprised or even all that annoyed. It's Iowa in March. It's bound to happen. Plus, it will keep me inside and on task with my cupboards...Hopefully. I have no idea if I'll go out either night this weekend. I'm just going to go with how I feel or if someone asks me to hang out. We'll see.

How about you all? What are your weekend plans? Will you be recovering from teenage drama or will you be hibernating in the midst of a March snowstorm?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Nothin' Matters but the Weekend, From a Tuesday Point of View

Stinky texted me this pic at work, to prove to me she was home at the time she was supposed to be there. Ah, technology.

Sometimes it can be very overwhelming when there are two of them and one of me and we all have things we need to do all around the same time. This is what that looked like today: I got off work and basically every single one of my co-workers harassed me as I tried to unlock my bike at the rack. Thanks, guys. Then I rode home, and got ready and ran my 6 mile route as quickly as possible. I changed and washed up'ish and ran Stinky to the store because she apparently HAD to eat frozen waffles for dinner. I dropped her off back at home, while picking Coadster up at the same time and dropping her off at her babysitting gig. Then I came back and picked up Stinky and took her to my friend Bob and Allison's house where she was to babysit. They gave me the grand tour of their newly gutted and rebuilt 83 year old house and it was amazing. The difference was incredible. Their house is about 1100 square feet and mine is 1200 (both counting our upstairs dormer rooms) but theirs has this new open layout and looks about twice the size of mine. We talked about the proposed school redistricting and Allison asked me to sign the same petition I just signed the night before. Believe me, I'd sign it as many times as I could get away with.

I finally got home around 7:30 and answered an email and got on Facebook and wrote on my friend's wall asking her to tell her husband that The Kings sing the song "Switchin' to Glide". We were trying to remember that last night at the housewarming party and it finally came to me when I was running. Around 8, I decided I needed to just stop and try to read my book for a second and calm down. That lasted about 15 minutes until I fell asleep and took a cat nap for another 15 minutes. Whew! Now, I'm really glad I took the night before off just to have a good time with my friends.

Thank god tomorrow is my last day of the work week before I take a 3 day weekend. It would be great if I could just sleep those 3 whole days, but I have a feeling that won't happen.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

I Was Happier Then With No Mindset

Here is a photo of a bird at the garden store we went to this weekend. I took it with my phone and I still can't get the angle right. So, the bird looks like it's on acid, or maybe it looks like I was on acid when I took this.

This will be hopefully very short. I went to my friend's St Pat's/Housewarming party thingy tonight. It's late and I've had a few and I don't trust myself not to write something that won't sound very, very loud through the computer.

Basically, I didn't get anything done after work. I didn't run, I didn't do any cleaning, and I didn't work on my kitchen. What I did do, is hang out with some great friends and have an amazing time drinking, eating and talking shit - the trifecta of fun.

Soooo, Happy St. Patrick's Day! I don't plan on going out, since I celebrated tonight. Both my girls are babysitting, so I'll go running, probably stop by my friend's Allison and Bob's house (where Stinky's babysitting) and check out their house that has been totally gutted and remodeled. Then I'll have my place to myself to work in the kitchen and read some more of In Cold Blood. Who knows, maybe I'll get all crazy and drink a beer while I read.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Inquisitions and Suppositions

Here is a before pic of my backyard. The amount of work it needs is pretty overwhelming right now. Hopefully, the after shot will be amazing..Or at least a little better.

Oh, kids. I'm pretty exhausted today. I got a weird text from Mr B. last night at 2 am, telling me he was lonely and thinking about me. Um, wow. Really? I was so annoyed. I texted him back and told him that if he was lonely, the only person he should be thinking about or texting at 2 am, was his girlfriend. I really was going to work at being friends, but he's getting worse and worse. He started doing that thing he used to do when we were trying to date a year or so ago, where he would text or call me on Saturday nights around 12:30, basically to make sure I was home alone. He has a girlfriend. I still don't understand why he would care what I did or who I did it with. The whole thing just makes me feel so bad for his girlfriend and I don't want to encourage his sleazy behavior. Apparently, we can't be friends, and I basically told him that. I really have lost any respect I ever had for him. So, I doubt I'll be hearing from him again. One less thing.

Stinky ended the weekend with some friends in front of the fire last night. Please note the tiki torches in the background. I guess kids today are all about the tiki torches.

So, onto something better and less full of bullshit....My girls are on Spring Break this week. Which means they're both doing a lot of babysitting. It also means I'm going to take one of my furlough days on Friday, so we can try to do something fun. Of course, the weather is supposed to get crappy again by then, so who knows what we'll end up doing.

It's also St. Patrick's Day this week. I have some friends who invited me to a bar crawl that night. I haven't seen them in a while and they're really fun, but I don't think I'm going to make it. For one thing, it's a work night and I would be wrecked the next day. The other thing, is that another friend of mine is having a little get together tomorrow night and that should be way more mellow and end early and is much more my style. I'm really excited about it.

So, now I think I better quit writing and go rest up. Luckily, I won't have to worry about any late night phone calls or texts tonight.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

I've Seen Fire and I've Seen Rain

Here is my fire pit as seen through the screen of my porch.

Wow, kids. If there was ever a weekend NOT to lose an hour of sleep, it was this one. It was a really great weekend, but packed with so much stuff. I didn't get half the stuff done that I wanted, but I did a lot of other stuff that I didn't plan on either.

Friday night was just about perfect. I rode my bike home from work and got right into my running stuff and ran my 6 mile route. So far, one of the tough things I can see about doing a duathlon, will be getting my sea legs after riding a bike and then running. My legs felt so weak at the beginning of my run right after my ride.

The night kept getting better and better. We ate, and then I went out to start the fire. Of course, it started raining the minute I got it going, but that's okay. We now have a screened-in porch to hang out in and watch it. Stinky fell asleep before I got the fire going, but Coadster sat on the porch with me and we planned her graduation party and chatted about what she was doing for prom. It was a really nice talk. It started getting chilly, so went in the house, I drank a beer and we watched Up in the Air.

Careful, IronMan. Those new counters might be a little slick.

On Saturday, I got a call from my co-worker's husband asking if he could stop by around 10 and put the counters in and rewire the kitchen. I, of course, said, "Hellz yeah!" He brought his ten year old son to help him and it took about three hours to get everything done, but it looks a million times better. I still have to work on those damn cupboards. I just bought 2 saw horses so I can finally get the doors done. My goal is to be all done with the kitchen, including the backsplash by the end of the month. It should be interesting.

Here is a before pic, just for reference.

My stove is now where the fridge used to be. It's so much better this way.

The rest of Saturday was cold and dreary. It seemed like a good day to start getting excited about outdoor projects by shopping around for some things. Stinky and I ran into an excellent sale and bought some canna and gladiola and lily bulbs. Both of my girls love doing yard work as much as I do, so it makes it even more fun to plan it out when we can all spaz out together. We also got everything we needed to start some seedlings in the house. I am so excited about what I'm going to do with my backyard, I can hardly stand it. I've spent the last however many years, helping other people with their gardens, it's going to feel even better now that I finally have my own. Woo hoo!

Some of the fun kids at the Dublin.

Saturday evening, I got a call from G. she was freaking out about a few things. I talked her down and told her we'd just go down to the Dublin, play some fun music on the juke box and have a good time with our friends...And that's exactly what we did. It was cool and I think G. felt a lot better after the first hour of being at our little sanctuary. I was super exhausted, so I went home by 11, but it sounds like G. went to afterhours and had even more fun. Good for her.

Today was another haze of working on the house, running and going on errands. Since it was so nice, I decided to grill for the first time this season. I made our favorite grilled foods - ribs and steak and we also had twice baked potatoes. Thank god, Spring is finally here.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

I'm Coming Out of My Cage, and I'm Doing Just Fine

Here are some balloons. How festive.

For a while today it was really nice out. I decided to go home for lunch and ride my bike back to work. I'm so glad I did, because I got some fun exercise and then it rained shortly after I got home from work and I wasn't able to run. I did, however, take a quick nap. I've been so exhausted lately, that I finally wore myself down enough that I could sleep. Let's hope that works for me tonight as well.

Okay. So, it's the weekend again. My hope for this weekend is to calm down and slow down, while at the same time, trying to get a ton of stuff done. Yeah. I'm not sure how that will all work, but in my head it sounds great.

Hopefully, I'll be able to run after work tomorrow, then finally get a fire going in our outdoor fire pit if the rain holds off long enough. Either way, I plan to drink a beer and watch a movie at some point too. My girls are practicing Catholics, so they don't eat meat on Fridays during Lent. We're having fish sticks and mac and cheese for dinner. It reminds me so much of being a kid during Easter season, that I keep expecting to wake up and be able watch Hong Kong Phooey, Captain Caveman and Land of the Lost on Saturday morning.

Rumor has it that my counters might get installed this weekend, but I'm not sure which day, if at all. I have a ton of paper work to do as well (my least favorite thing) and I plan to start working on the bottom cupboard boxes and hopefully the doors too. I'm going to try to use my orbital sander for the first time. I don't really know how to use power tools and I'm a little intimidated. Wish me luck with that.

So, how about you all? Will you be spending relaxing nights in front of a fire or trying your hand at power tools?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

When People Run in Cirlces, It's a Very, Very Mad World

On my way to my car Saturday night, I saw this Paul Revere's Pizza delivery van parked, with bad music blaring out of it and all these guys dancing. So, if your pizza was a little late and cold, now you know why...

Oh, kids. I had it all planned out. I was going to go for a nice long run in these balmy temperatures, then go to Menard's for a quick little minute to get a paint brush and a filter for my furnace. It had occurred to me to check that this weekend, after figuring the previous owner probably hadn't replaced it since she bought the furnace two years ago. Holy crap! It was a good thing I did. It was a nice charcoal gray color. Then I thought I'd come home, do some cleaning, do some touch-up painting and then give myself at least an hour or so to read.

The reality of tonight? The good news, is that I did get my run in and it felt amazing. I ran so fast and I felt like I could have gone on for hours. Then the minute I got back, Coadster informed me that her dad's van was stuck in mud at his house. I assumed she was going to ask me for a ride over there, but she said her dad asked if she could just stay at my house instead. Of course she could. I'll always take extra time with my girls. So, I changed my plans. Coadster and I went to the big scary maul. There was hardly anyone there, and it was much better than going on the weekend, and we got a few things we needed and then headed over to Lowe's for our house stuff. I wanted to check out the glass tile they had there, but they don't really keep it at the store. The guy showed me the stuff he had in a catalog, but I had seen it on-line and it didn't help me figure out what it would look like in real life.

Anyway, we got home by around 9 and I didn't get any work done, and I probably won't have time to read, but that's okay. In a few short years, both of my girls will be gone and I'll have all the time in the world for that stuff.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

And Freedom Tastes of Reality

Coadster dispensing gifts at her final showchoir concert.

I might have to put a warning before every blog post for one thing or another, but I'll warn you about the sad, sorry sap potential for this one. My excuse is that Coadster just accepted her admission and signed her college housing contract tonight. (breathe, Churlita, breathe...Into a paper bag if necessary)

This is a year of lasts for Coadster. It was so strange this Sunday to think that we'll never see her flashing jazz hands and cranking up the cheese...On stage, anyway. I'm in the last few months of legally being able to tell her what to do, or being responsible for her. Starting this Fall, much of her life will take place without my knowledge. What a strange thing, this parenting gig is.

From a very young age, I experienced loss...And with my abandonment issues, I pretty much expect that eventuality from every relationship/friendship I have with people. But as every parent knows, it's different with my kids. I've never been so invested in another human being the way I am with my girls. I can pick them out of a crowd of hundreds, I know exactly what each facial expression, every bodily movement means and I really do feel every emotion along with them. I don't have the same control issues that a lot of my friends have, but it will still be hard for me not to be a part of Coadster's everyday life anymore.

This is also a year of firsts for Coadster. She will finally be able to vote (which for as political as she is, this is huge for her), she will live on her own, file her taxes, move to another town, make her own rules for herself, all for the first time. It's so exciting I could cry...And I'm sure I will..Often.

I'm not at all worried about her being on her own. I've said since she was born, that she's one of the most responsible, poised people I've ever met. It will just be hard for me to watch her make the mistakes she's bound to make and suffer all those slings and arrows that everyone does while they figure out how to be an adult in this world. All I can do is remind her that I'm here when she needs me...And keep those paper bags handy.

Monday, March 08, 2010

I Want to Ride It Where I Like

Here is a window, out in the middle of nowhere.

Good gawd! I feel like this blog has become me just detailing all the mundane crap I do every day, and I apologize for that. I'm going to try to actually write here and there in the next couple of weeks. Of course, today will be more detailing of boring crap that I did today, but it's all I got right now.

Today I was actually able to ride my bike to work and back. It was sooooo nice. It took me about 12 minutes to get to work. It normally takes me at least 35 minutes to walk it. I also just like to ride, so I can't wait until I get to do it every day. It's supposed to rain every day for the rest of the week. I guess I'll just have to wait until next week to make it my routine again.

I also ran my 6 mile route after work and that made me very, very happy....And a little tired. It's been a while since I was able to work-out so much in one day. I should probably ease into it a little more, but I'm obviously not smart enough for that.

I did give myself a little couch time and watched some house hunting type shows on HGTV and then finally finished sanding and painting two spots on my kitchen walls where there used to be a back splash with the old counters, but won't be with the new ones. Now, I'm more than ready to go read myself to sleep...I've heard In Cold Blood isn't the best book to read before bed, but you know me, I like to live on the edge.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Another Working Day Has Ended

Here are me and some of my girly friends. Check out the stalker guy in the background.

Booda Baby asked me once to warn her when reading my post would make her tired. So, here's your warning.

On Friday, I sprinted home after work to tidy up before my co-worker and her husband came by to look at my counters. She had told her husband that I was kind of a hot tamale and she didn't trust him alone with me. She said that made him really interested to come over as soon as possible to help me out. Whatever works, right? I laughed with her about how stupid guys were and she agreed. She said it made it so much easier to manipulate them. Anyway, he's going to check his schedule and probably get my counters put in sometime this week. He's also going to rewire something in my kitchen so that I can trade spaces for my fridge and stove. Right now, my fridge is in this tiny little cubby and it doesn't really fit and makes it so I can barely open one of my very few cupboards. So, that will be another wonderful thing.

This was as close as I could get to the goods.

I did end up going out on Friday night too. I went to the burlesque show and it was okay. It was so poorly planned and that kind of put a little damper on the whole thing. It sold-out by 9:30, so half of my friends couldn't get in. Then they had a bad surf guitar band play what seemed like the same song over and over for at least two hours. I thought I'd get to see the girlies at like 10 and be home by 11:30. The girlies didn't even get started until 11:40 and by that time, I was so tired, I only watched a couple of minutes of it before I had to go home. Plus, it was so packed, I could barely see what was going on. Oh well. It was a fun idea, and I'm always up for seeing good spectacle.

My girls with my their youngest cousin.

I hit the ground running on Saturday. I got the girls to play practice and track practice and I went home to clean. I've been trying to be better about taking my recycling and Goodwill and bottles and cans every week to their respective places, so after Stinky got done with track she went with me to run a veritable shitload of errands. When I got back, I helped Coadster with some more of her college paperwork. She fought with me a little more about how she thought I should just do all of it for her and I told her I was here to help her and she wasn't particularly happy with my response. Thank god I'm not a people pleaser.

After that, I went for a nice long run and it was wonderful. I came home and cleaned gutters that hadn't been cleaned for years and let me just tell you how good that DIDN'T smell. Yeesh! Then I chipped at ice on the shady parts of my driveway and sidewalk. Then I fell down and went into a coma....Just kidding.

I really thought about staying home, because I was exhausted. But G. made a good case for me going out and I went. As usual, I was glad I did. I'm happiest when I go out, if I can just sit with one or two friends and shoot the shit, and that's how it worked out on Saturday. G. and D. were out, as well as this married couple. The husband was buying us all drinks and the wife was cracking us up with stories of her lonely childhood. She said she used to play school by herself, because her siblings were too old and wouldn't play with her. So, she had to be the teacher and the student and she would fill out worksheets and purposely write down exactly two wrong answers, so she could use her red pen to correct them. We laughed so hard at her sad childhood that we were crying. Mostly because we were all such weird kids in our own ways and we could relate.

Coadster singing her solo.

Today was another crazy day. I did a little work in my kitchen and then cleaned before my family came over. They hadn't been to my place since the first weekend I moved in, so they saw the before and finally got to survey the after'ish. Then we met my friends G., D., and K. for Coadster's last show choir extravaganza. She was amazing, as usual and there were jazz hands aplenty.

So, now I'm going to try very hard to plan a mellow, stay at home kind of week and work on projects and read as much as possible and hope upon hope that my counters get installed. Wish me luck.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

I Felt Almost Demure

Here is a photo of The Golden Gate Bridge that we took on our road trip two years ago. I would love the promise of a great vacation right now.

Oh, thank god for the weekend. Today was kind of a weird day. The guy who was going to put my counters in, got back to me while I was at work. He apologized for how long it took him and said he was insanely busy and didn't know if he'd get to doing them next week, or next month. He also told me he was worried that I'd be disappointed in him. I told him not to worry. That I had a couple of other options, but I would see if I could get someone else who could do it sooner. Then one of the women I worked with said that her husband might be able to just come over and do it for free. She was going to check with him and get back to me.

After work I went to give plasma and got another hematoma. This time, the blood stopped coming out, so they caught it right away and it was a million times better...That was, until they were starting to put fluids back in me and I was so dehydrated that I almost passed out. They brought the nurse out and she checked my vitals and my pulse was under 40. Hmmm. I drank water at the same time they pumped me full of saline solution and I was much better in 10 minutes, but that was more than enough drama for one evening.

Okay. And now it's the weekend. As usual, there is a ton going on. Originally, I planned to go to this burlesque show tomorrow night. A lot of my friends from all different groups are all going to be there, and I thought it would be a great opportunity to see many different people at once. Then the woman who said her husband would put in my counters, said he might come over tomorrow night. I'm not sure if that would be just for a minute, to check things out, or if she meant that he'd actually put them in then. If that's the case, I'm sure I'll just stay home tomorrow night. I guess we'll see.

Saturday will be a day that I try to get as much done as possible. I have tons of paperwork and bills to pay and a new tax form to fill out to try to get my first time home buyer credit, on top of a bunch of projects.

Sunday is Coadster's very last show choir performance. She is also singing a song for the special acts portion of it. My sister and her family and my aunt, as well as a few of my friends are all going, so it should be a lot of fun.

...And now it's your turn. Will you be recovering from an old-fashioned fainting spell this weekend, or watching some old-fashioned, fun and raunchy burlesque acts?

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Now You Wear Your Skin Like Iron, Your Breath As Hard As Kerosene

I still haven't taken and new pics, so digging out some recycled ones. Coadster took this of me a couple of years ago.

Sooo, today I didn't really meet my week's goal, but that's okay. I don't feel badly about taking a day off. What did I do instead? Well, I ran right after work and it was pretty nice. I'm still encountering some treacherously icy sidewalks, but I am happy in the knowledge that their days are numbered.

I also finally went to Supper Club for the first time in forever. It was hard to weigh it. On the one hand, I wanted to stay home and get things done in the kitchen and finish reading America America (I'm so close to finishing it). The other hand held the promise of cheese fries and one of the couple's 4 month old little boy. Alone time - cheese fries and cute baby. Alone time - cheese fries and a cute baby. Today I sacrificed my alone time. Lucky for me, that baby was pretty damn cute and the cheese fries were, of course, amazing.

Now, that means I still have a little time to work in the kitchen and read before bed. Who says you can't have it all?...As long as you have it in very small increments, that is.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

I Watch It As It Loses Form

I'm out of recent pics and I'm trying to get excited about Spring. Here are some flowers that I'm going to plant in my backyard garden as soon as I can.

Remember how last week I said it was all about calming down and getting some alone time and living in my own little world? Well, actually that's pretty much my goal every week. But in addition to that, I'm trying really hard to get shit done this week. So, that means today I finally got my garage door fixed. ($144 later...) and can actually park my car in there again. How novel.

I also finally had my annual doctor's appointment about 6 months late. Oops. My doctor is pretty awesome. We're about the same age and temperament. So, when I told her I had this place on my lip that keeps chapping in the same spot over and over, she said she needed to set me up with an appointment in the dermatology clinic. "Yeah. That was what I was afraid of. They hate me there because they think I'm too tan for how light my eyes are and they give me brochures telling me that I should only go outside on sunny days wearing all black longsleeves and pants and carrying an umbrella. If I did that, I'd die of heat stroke while I was running long before I could ever think of getting skin cancer from wearing shorts and sports bras when I run in the Summer in Iowa...." And she said, she knew. They were like that with her too.

"We'll just make sure we schedule your appointment before it gets warm out, so you won't be so tan yet." How great is that?

I called the guy who said he'd put my counters in for me, and left a message. He hasn't called me back yet. I'll try again at the end of the week, but if it doesn't work for him to do it, I have a couple of other options. You know me, I'm a girl who always has a back-up plan...

Monday, March 01, 2010

Wouldn't It Be Good to be On Your Side. The Grass is Always Greener Over There

Here is my new hot water heater. She isn't really all that pretty, but she has a great personality.

Today was a series of hits and misses. The theme today was gaining and losing and minor annoyances, I suppose.

As you can see, I did get my new hot water heater installed, but it doesn't look like I'll get that extra $100 rebate from the state. I sure wish they had a better system for people to get their rebates, or would somehow figure out that everyone and their second cousin twice removed was going to want a piece of it, because it was so frustrating trying to access the website or the phone number. They were totally overloaded. I tried on and off all day, just to get to a place on the website where I could reserve my rebate. Fat chance. At one point in the afternoon, I got as far as the part on the site where I could enter my information and the minute I hit submit, it kicked me out of the system. Bastards. I don't know who actually was able to access the website in order to overload it, but I'm assuming they were people who didn't have to work during the day and could try every 2 seconds. Again - bastards. By 1:30 when I was finally able to access the site enough to get to the registration and before it kicked me out, I saw that they had already given out all the money and were only putting us on a waiting list. I'm not quite sure what we'll be waiting for. To see if some people have invalid claims? To see if there is more money allotted or maybe they just want to appease us so we don't revolt.

Since it doesn't look like I'll get my rebate, I figured I might try to give plasma to recoup my losses. It would take two weeks of donating to get that money. But, alas. It wasn't meant to be either. After I drove all the way out there and went through the whole rigamarole of questions and tests, it turned out that my crit (iron level) count was one point less than it needed to be. So, I was shut down there and had to drive home with no cash. Wah.

Once I got home, though, things looked up a little. I'm the opposite of those helicopter parents who hover over their kids and do everything for them, because they're sure they won't do it..Or at least won't do it right. So, I've been trying to get Coadster to fill out her financial aid application for a month now. She was good about filling out scholarships and auditioning for money from the school of music, but she really wanted me to do her FAFSA for her. I refused. Believe me, it would have been a lot easier to do it for her, but I'm supposed to be raising her to be independent and self-sufficient, and part of that is being here to help her with any questions she might have, but not do her shit for her. Anyway, of course she waited until the last minute to fill out her paperwork, (this weekend) but she did finally get it done and right now it looks like she'll get a grant to cover much of her tuition. Now, we'll just have to see if she gets any scholarships, before we make the decision to take out loans.