Thursday, April 29, 2010

I Felt the Earth Beneath My Feet

One of my favorite pics of the girls when they were younger. I like to caption it, "when there's only one pink plastic guitar".

So, originally I thought I'd finally have a night where I wouldn't have to go anywhere and I could just get a jump on the weekend cleaning. It would be so nice to have most of the big stuff cleaned by Friday, so I could spend my time this weekend on turning over soil and planting and doing some more work on the cupboards. But then remember that solo fest thing Coadster was in on Monday? The one she didn't want me to go to because she thought she'd be so horrible and she didn't want me to see her? Well, she was so bad, that she got a 1, which is the best score you can get and also got picked to sing in the honors recital tonight.

I was a little bummed that I wouldn't get anything done tonight, but I knew it was important to her that I saw her sing. She performed a Brahms piece called, "Die Mainacht". I've seen her sing solos that were pop music-y or jazzy, but I had never heard her sing a classical piece before. JAYSUS! She blew me away. She walked out on the stage all willowy and poised and self-possessed and sang that song in perfect pitch and tone and in German. (she's never even had a voice lesson because I could never afford them) It was one of those moments where as a parent you think, "Wow. How the hell did I create that? How, in spite of me, did she become that amazing?" It's almost enough to make a grown woman cry...Or at least tear up a little, in a VERY dignified way, of course.

Now, it's the weekend again. My house needs a lot of work, and I could care less. Every once in a while I need to check-ity check my priorities and tonight, I was shown for the 5,000th time what was really important...Always, my girls. So, it looks like I'll be doing some cleaning early in the evening on Friday, then I plan to eat pizza and drink a beer and finally watch Avatar, all to the background of thunderstorms outside my window. It sounds like heaven. Coadster has a high school film festival to go to and I have no idea what Stinky's doing. Her plans seem to change on the hour.

I thought Project Green was Saturday morning, but I guess it's the following week. The farmer's market opens, so I'll probably go down there and check out what they have and stop by the comic book store downtown. It's free comic book day, so I want to go get my share. Later in the day, I'll probably stop by my friends' morrell mushroom hunting party and bonfire. I won't stay long though, because I have so much to do and Stinky gets off work around 7'ish. There are some people in town who want me to go out on Saturday night, but right now that's looking pretty iffy. I'm still on my "staying out of bars" kick. I'm trying to get my socializing in at readings, or races or at mushroom hunting parties for now.

So, now it's your turn. Will you be watching movies during thunderstorms or tromping through the muck looking for fungus?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

This City Desert Makes You Feel So Cold

Here is a full moon photo from a few years ago. I doubt that the moon looks much different than that tonight.

Okay, kids. It's back to my writing exercise. I had a crazy busy afternoon/evening, but at least my new push mower is assembled and my front yard is mowed and I'm done giving plasma for the week. Hooray! Now, for the very rough continual writing exercise:

He told her there were a bunch of whores in San Francisco, but he drew out the O, so it sounded more like whooooores. She politely smiled and nodded and he didn't seem to notice her eyes had glazed over. When he picked her up, she had made a big point to assure him that her people were waiting for her in San Francisco. She thought that if he knew there were family who would notice if she disappeared, he would be less likely to chop her into pieces and bury her in his backyard. She was delusional.

After the last ride, she promised herself she wouldn't hitch anymore, but she was afraid she would miss her bus and she couldn't stand being in Santa Rosa another minute. The last ride, where the guy had seemed very normal and respectable, wearing a suit, with his hair parted on the side like a Lutheran minister. She sat next to him and felt him get more and more upset, every single one of his muscles tightened up and his hands were white on the wheel. She'd never felt anyone hate her so hard before. "Excuse, me," she said, but he ignored her and kept driving, even picking up speed. "Um. Hey, I think I'll just get out here, thanks," she said gesturing to the side of the road next to an open field. He didn't acknowledge her. She had one hand on the door handle and the other held her duffle bag. She was prepared to jump from the moving car if she had to. She yelled, "Let me out here. NOW!" He still didn't look at her, but he slowed the vehicle to a stop and she jumped out.

This guy was the opposite of the last one. He wore a gas station attendant shirt with the name "Roy" embroidered on the pocket. He was horribly chatty, but seemed friendly and harmless. "So, you know. If you don't got anyplace to go, you could always stay here in Santa Rosa. I got a little line of gold I'm working. I got a trailer for me and an extra one too where you could live. It wouldn't be sexual or nuthin'. I just need a woman to cook and clean for me." She had a hard time keeping a straight face when she thanked him anyway and reminded him that her family was waiting for her in San Francisco. If she wanted to be someone's maid and live in a trailer, she could have stayed in Iowa and saved herself the trouble of moving.

He dropped her off at the bus station downtown. She had a little time to kill before her bus left, so she walked around as much as she could without crossing the lines of the movie set. She was curious as to which famous actors might be across the street. She wondered if she ever saw the movie when it came out, would she remember just how alone and awkward and scared she felt right at that moment.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Wrap Around, Take a Hold of My Heart

Man, I am so out of pics. I'm not sure what I'm going to do if I can't get the USB port working...

So, I was talking with a friend of mine about how I ran too much a couple of weeks ago. My friend told me to be careful about running so much because there are any number of injuries you can get from it. Then he used some horrible, vile swear words like, plantar fasciitis, bone spurs and stress fractures as examples. Shudder, shudder. I did take heed, and didn't run for a couple of days, then it was the River Run and as we all know (so we don't need to belabor the point, thank you very much) I wussed-out and didn't run that day either. Yesterday it was raining after I got done giving plasma, so that added up to four whole days in a row without running. I can't remember when the last time it was that that I went that long.

Anyway, I finally ran my six mile route today, and holy shit! It's amazing what running does for my mood. I didn't really think I was even in a bad mood or anything the last few days, but halfway through my run, everything was suddenly wonderful and the birds were singing and the sun was shining and the world was full of rainbows and unicorns and puppies and kittens and anything was possible... Who the hell needs Prozac, anyway? I guess what I'm trying to say, is that I will be careful not to run 50 miles in a week, but it might a long, long time before I go four whole days without running again.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Happiness, Is So Hard to Find

Here is a pic leftover from prom. Coadster's group decided to have a potluck and the family fixed their dining room all up for it, including rose petals all over the floor. Nice.

Today was a good money day. I rarely have those, so it is quite a celebration when get one. I gave plasma. The young boy who checked all my vitals to make sure I could donate, asked me if I worked out a lot. I told him I liked to run. Then when he stopped back to drop my chart off at my donating chair, he saw me reading and said, "Wow! A runner and a reader. That's awesome!" So, maybe there is hope for America's youth after all. As I was leaving, one of the women who worked there told me that they were raising their donating prices again. So, I'll get $50/week starting Monday. Sweet!

Coadster called me while I was donating. I called her back but just got her voice mail. She had her solo festival and she was getting ready for that. She didn't have time to rehearse because of all the time she had been putting into the school play lately. She asked me not to come, because she thought it would make her too nervous and she didn't want me to see her perform badly. I love to see her perform no matter what, but I understood, so I stayed away.

When she finally got back to me, she told me that she got a 4 year full ride scholarship. Even sweeter! I was so worried that she'd have to work full time and take classes full time and still have bad debt like I did when I was in college. Hopefully, now she won't have to work quite as hard and I don't have to breathe into a bag worrying...About that, anyway.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

If I Didn't Know the Difference, Living Alone Would Probably Be Okay

Coadster is the whirling dervish to the left of the pic. The USB port in my computer is all wonky, so I can only post pics that I took from my phone and emailed to myself.

So, this weekend was really...Nice. No, I'm saying that like it's a good thing. It rained a lot, but that also meant I rested more than I normally would have.

Friday night I came home and slowly cleaned my kitchen and my fridge and then watched the movie Body of Lies. It wasn't anything all that amazing, but there was plenty of stuff that blew up, so that was fine. I also had a beer. I don't think I've had a beer in over a month. It was mighty tasty.

The Munchkins and Glenda the good Witch in the merry old land of Oz.

Saturday was kind of a weird day for me. Both my girls were gone, so I had the place to myself. I repotted my tomatoes into larger receptacles and then went on some deliveries. Most people were gone, so I became the plant fairy and left tomato and basil plants on porches. Luckily, the Halls were home and I got to chat with them for a while. I hadn't seen Bob forever, so he took the opportunity to make fun of me for being White trash and living in Ottumwa. Who can blame him? I got to dig up some dirt in my raised beds. My neighbor showed up looking for lilacs. I had told her on Wednesday, she was welcome to as many as she could carry. She kept me company for a while while I toiled in the soil. But then I had to get ready for Coadster's play.

The play was very fun but very long. I couldn't believe how many little kids there were out and about until after 10. They all seemed to be really into it and well-behaved. Coadster was great in her very small role. After the play, I got home and watched the latest episode of The Pacific, while the boy who likes Stinky came over for a little bit. He was very nice and well-behaved and so I totally approve.

The flying monkeys and the Wicked Witch all really flew...Or at least were pulled around by wires.

I got up early on Sunday morning to do the River Run. However, it was 49 degrees and raining. So, my plan of riding my bike there wasn't going to work. I ended up wussing-out and didn't run it. I know. I suck. But whatever, I'll just have to plan more races in the Summer, because I can deal with the rain, I just can't deal with COLD and rainy.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Just Want to Spend Eternity Right Where I am. On the Sunny Side of the Street

Here is a picture of Colm Toibin.

Hey, kids. I had a wonderful night tonight. I went running right after work and then went to hear Colm Toibin read. I know I've said this a million times before, but I love to go to readings and Toibin was very charming and self-deprecating and made fun of the Irish and everything he said was funny because it was pretty much true. The friend I went with, even talked me into getting my book signed. I've been to hundreds of readings, but never had the guts to do that. Toibin asked me what I wanted him to write in it, but I had no idea, so he just signed his name. While I'm gushing, I'm just going to again suggest that you read his book, Brooklyn...And not just because the writer is so personable either. The story is great and it's very well written.

...And now, onto the weekend. They say it's supposed to rain for most of it. That's okay with me. It will give me an excuse to stay in the house and sand and paint cupboards. Apparently, cupboards take a week to fully dry, so if I got them done this weekend, I'd be able to rehang them next weekend and put on the new, sleek hardware. I'm excited to see how it looks when it's all done.

Tomorrow night, I plan to be as mellow as possible. I'll clean things up when I first get home, but then I'd like to spend some quality time with my couch and a couple of beers and a movie.

I'm thinking I'll probably stay away from the bar this weekend too. Again, I never say never, but that's how it's looking right now. Stinky and I are going to see Coadster's play early on Saturday evening and then I'll probably just come home and relax.

Sunday morning is the River Run here. It might rain, but I'll probably do it anyway. It's just a 5K, so I'm hoping it's fun and I'll get a good feel for what kind of shape I'm in. the friend I went to the reading with told me I should do the Ronald McDonald House run at the beginning of May, so I might check that out and do that in the next week or two as well.

So, how's your weekend looking? Do you have a date with your couch, or will you be going out and checking out some drama?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Personality Crisis, You Got It While It Was Hot

Coadster's corsage. I'm pretty sure it was the only one like it at prom.

I'm still working on the calming and slowing down process. I gave plasma today after work. They just cut their payments down by $10/week, so there have been less and less people donating. The plasma place downtown pays $30/week more, so I have a feeling most people are going there instead. I would, even though it takes twice as long there, but they close at 6 and I'd have to take vacation time every time I donated and it's not really worth it to me. Anyway, I actually had a point here this time, and it was that since there are fewer people donating, I get in and out in about 30-40 minutes. Not bad.

I did decide to run today, but just my 4 mile route and even though I was a little tired and dehydrated, it still felt really good. My original plan this evening was to transfer my tomato seedlings into bigger pots and bring some over to my friend K.'s boyfriend's house and hang out at his BBQ for a bit. Just as I was ending my run, I realized that I knew the two women who were walking by my house. It was the wife of the guy who owns the Dublin and her sister. We chatted for a little while and another Dublin guy who lives around the corner from me, came by with his two dogs and as we were all talking, another neighbor/Dubliner drove by and honked. Good lord, but this is a small town.The women invited me over to drink wine with them, but I was suddenly feeling that I had overextended myself again, and I haven't had any alcohol in a couple of weeks and I probably would have passed-out after one sip with my fluids so depleted, so I had to say, thanks anyway.

I walked into my childless house, and quickly realized I wasn't going anywhere. I did that thing that people have been suggesting, and listened to my body. What a great idea. I read on the couch in total silence and it was ever so nice. I'll have to remember that next time I feel like I want to do too much.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Go On Take the Money and Run

More Spring flowers.

Today I'm going to try to make us all feel better about ourselves by telling you a little story. Yesterday Coadster and her dad went to Iowa State to attend a minority breakfast thingy and to talk to a counselor about different options for majors.

Her dad borrowed his brother's car to take her, and while they were there, someone broke into it. They took the only thing in it, which was a flashlight, but then they also left something. That's right. The douche bag left his wallet in the car. Really? Wow. According to his license, he was from some small town somewhere, so he probably didn't have a lot of street smarts, but to break into someone's car and leave more than you stole is mind boggling. I'd love to sit in on that court date and watch the judge laugh his ass off.

So, if you're having a bad day, just remember: It could always be worse. You could be THAT big of a dumbass

Monday, April 19, 2010

But I Thought, This Wouldn't Hurt a Lot. Guess Not.

Some lilacs that are just about to open.

Well, kids. I think I FINALLY shook my stupid migraine at about 10:00 today. I thought I was going to cry every time I hit a bump while riding my bike to work this morning. I feel so much better now that I can function. Weird, that.

I was good, though. I did give plasma after work and that went well too. I got one of the good workers and no hematomas this time. I didn't run afterward, even though I really, really wanted to. Actually, I didn't really do much tonight. I just tried to make myself rest.

Here are lots and lots of lilacs that are starting to open up smell amazingly good.

Tomorrow I get to go running again after work. I'm also planning on either doing a little yard work or kitchen cabinet work (No, I haven't finished that project yet) but I promise to just do a little bit of either and not burn myself out. I swear, I'll learn to practice restraint if it kills me.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

We Put Faith In Our Concerns

My girls right before prom. Their dresses were very representative of them.

Oh, kids. I'm here to tell ya. You definitely want to listen to your body. Because if it's, oh, say telling you that it's tired and you don't listen to the hints it gives you, it will stop being so subtle. For instance, my body gave me a 4 day migraine. I tried to ignore it, by taking migraine meds and still doing too much when the meds started working. Then my body decided it was going to stop reacting positively to the meds to get me to slow down and then my body grabbed the hot end of a curling iron and burned the crap out of my hand right before prom pictures, so that I wouldn't be able to pick up a tool or ride my bike for a couple of days. So, yeah. I guess I'll be finding things I can cut from my busy life, so it doesn't do anything worse, like giving me Stigmata or something.

Stinky and her date. I really liked both the girls' prom dates.

Friday was pretty mellow. I had that migraine, so I took a nap the minute I got home from work on my half day. I ran when I woke up, but realized during my run that I needed to take a break. I had run around 50 miles in 7 days, and even I can see how ridiculous that is. I decided to take the rest of the weekend off of running, but I was going to try to go on a long bike ride on Sunday.

Friday night the girls both went out with some friends and I stayed home and watched the most recent James Bond movie. It was pretty standard fare. But sometimes you just want to watch pretty people race boats and cars and planes and see a lot of shit blow-up in exotic locales. You know?

Stinky trying hard to pin on the boutonniere. She finally gave up and let her sister do it.

Saturday was insane. There was just a lot of running around and getting things at the last minute and running to the mall because Coadster never got any shoes for her dress. Wow. She really is my daughter. I never think about the shoes either. I dropped Coadster off at her hair appointment at 2 and Stinky and I went to Menards to get an axe. I have all this wood to cut up from the tree I trimmed and I can't afford a chain saw. So, I got some of the bigger branches cut up, before the prom primping began in earnest.

Coadster's date's mom is a hairstylist and did Coadster's hair for free...Including a touch-up during the pics. Awesome!

I tried to help the girls get ready for the prom until I burnt the hell out of my hand. Then we went to Stinky's friend's house for her groups pictures. I took plenty of photos and then Coadster and I had to run to the other side of town for her groups pics. By 7 or so, my job was finally done and I left the girls to their evening.

Coadster pinning on her date's boutonniere.

G. wanted me to go out with her, but as I've said, I'm taking a little break from socializing lately. It's not like I'll never go out again, but it can sometimes just get too much. My friends all point out that I need to speak to adults, and they're right, but I can get so overwhelmed by socializing out at bars, so I don't think a break will hurt me. I'm very fond of people coming to my house and sitting by the fire instead. Anyway, I stayed in and G. gave me the play by play of the evening the next day, all from a safe distance. I did finally finish reading Marilynne Robinson's Home and started Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart.

Coadster getting her corsage. It was so pretty and so different. Perfect for her.

Today I woke up to another migraine or the same one. Whatever. The girls got in bed with me and told me all about their nights. Then I took some more meds and took a nap. The meds started working again, and I was smart this time and still took it easy. I got groceries and ran a few errands, but I didn't ride my bike or do yard work. So, I'll be working on slowing things down for the next couple of weeks and see how that goes.

Me and Coads. She looks so sleek and I look so...Not sleek in my Meat Puppets t-shirt.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

I'm the Last Kid Standing Up Against the Wall

Hey, look what's starting to bloom now. Was it even 2 months ago that I said I couldn't wait until these bushes were full of lilacs?

The weather this week has been incredible for April. I'm sure that's why I've been running so much. I've lived in Iowa long enough to know that it could snow next week, so I might as well run as much as I can now. I wasn't able to give plasma this week either. The last girl who drew it, gave me a small hematoma, and it's still bruised, so I have to wait until that heals before I can give more.

And now it's the weekend again. Tomorrow I only have to work a half day. My fantasy is to run and then ride my bike to Kalona or somewhere and eat a late lunch and read my book on an outdoor patio with a glass of wine. Of course, I don't have the time for that, so my reality will be a run and then some yard work. Which I'm still really excited about.

I have no idea what I'm doing during the evenings this weekend. Right now, I'm planning on staying home, but I like to be open to opportunities, so who knows what will actually happen....

Saturday will hopefully be more running and more yard work. Then more prom preparation than I really want to think about right now. The girls are excited and it looks like their pre prom picture taking extravaganzas will be at different times, so I should be able to make it to both.

I don't there's anything I have to do with the girls on Sunday for once. Yea! I think I'll finally take a day off running and go for as long a bike ride as I can stand...And then of course, more yard work and house fixer uppering.

Once again, it's your turn. Will you get your fantasy weekend or a comparably nice weekend in reality?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Put It in the Ground Where the Flowers Grow

Here are some railroad tracks from about a year ago. It seems as though I've run out of current pics again.

I was going to try to write a little more on that one exercise I've been working on, but then I rode my bike home from work and then ran another 6 miles (that makes close to 40 miles in the last 6 days. D-U-M) and then I did some more yard work and then hauled my garbage and 15 yard waste bags to the curb and then I had to make Stinky and I BLT's (the most important thing I've done all week) for dinner and then my brain was fried along with the bacon.

So, I think I'll wash some dishes and then give myself a half hour or so to read, and then hit the hay.

Tomorrow I was going to try to go to a talk that my friend S. suggested for me to see, but I don't know if I'll have the time or not. I've been planning on going to see Colm Toibin read next Thursday and I don't know if I'll be able to get away two Thursdays in a row. There are just way too many geeky, literary type things to do in this town and that's just the way I like it.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Just Be Still With Me, You Wouldn't Believe What I've Been Through

Look what else just popped up in my backyard.

Today on my afternoon break, I was sitting outside reading my book and there was a lot of discussion in it about predestination and if bad things happened for a reason. Because it was the fourth anniversary of the tornado, I was probably even more reflective than normal. (who knew that was possible?) Basically, I'm more of a chaos theory kind of girl. I don't believe crappy things happen to certain people for a pointed reason. As if Buddha, or Jesus or that magical tree in your backyard or the collective conscious of the universe or whatever the hell you believe makes things work in the world has nothing better to do than sit around teaching certain people lessons?

I think bad things just happen randomly. Those Baptists who came around our neighborhood after the tornado handing out pamphlets to the kids that told them the tornado was everyone on our street's fault because of all the sinning we were doing, were full of shit. Especially when you look at natural disasters - were the people in my very residential neighborhood bigger sinners than the guys who live on fraternity row who were untouched by the tornado? I think not.

I do believe, however, that when bad things happen, it is a good opportunity to look more closely at ourselves and make sure we have our priorities in order. Sometimes I feel almost lucky that so many bad things happened to me at such a young age. It's helped me appreciate the people I have in my life while I have them and let them know how I feel. It's also helped me to try things when I was younger that I might not have if I thought I was going to live as long as I already have. A lot of things I'd never do in the place and at the age I am now, but I'm glad I did them when I was younger. I'm sure my girls get tired of hearing me say it, but I really don't think you can help what happens to you (for the most part) but you can help how you deal with it. Some crappy situations I've dealt with better than others, but hopefully I get better and better with each shit storm... Although, I'd just rather have less things to recover from.

Monday, April 12, 2010

After a Storm, There Must be a Calm

Stinky roasting her marshmallow perfectly...According to her.

So, remember how yesterday I said I was overwhelmed and needed more time and money? Well, there isn't much I can do about the money I don't have, but I did do something about the time issue. That's right. I started asking for my Summer vacation time off of work. I won't be able to take it for a while, but just knowing it's coming helps me.

I'm going to take my last half furlough day off this Friday. Since it's the only time my girls will be going to the same prom...That is unless Coadster comes back from college and starts trolling for high school boys (when I made this funny joke to Coadster, she rolled her eyes so hard she almost had a seizure). Anyway, I figured I'd need an extra half day to calm down while my girls are in school on Friday to make up for whatever it will take to get both my girls to the prom.

I'm also taking 3 half days on the last three Fridays in May. That will be something nice to look forward to. Once I get to June, I should be able to calm down a bit, it's just the next couple of months that have me a little worried. I've been stressing really hard about everything I want to get done before Coadster's graduation party on Memorial Day weekend. I talked to some of my friends about it and they told me to just calm down and chill out. They said my house looks fine the way it is, so I should consider whatever else I get done before the party a bonus and let it go. Nothing like good friends to help put things in perspective. Of course, I'll still try to get as much done as possible, I'll just try to lessen my self-imposed stress and call it "good enough".

Once June comes along, I'll start taking at least a week off a month through August. Have I mentioned how much I love Summer?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Some Civil Servants are Just Like My Loved Ones

I set-up the fire viewing area after my run on Friday.

Oh, kids. If there was any way I could obtain more time and money I would. I love my life, I really do, but it would be that much better, if only I could get everything done and time and money would go a long way in getting me where I want...I'm sure you all might be able to join me in the chorus of this one too.

My weekend was really good. Friday night I told a couple of my girly friends that I was going to have a fire in my backyard, and that Stinky and I were going to be hanging out. If they wanted to show up, great. If not, it was no big deal either. K. and S. both said they'd show. Then that afternoon another friend of mine emailed some of us to see if we wanted to go to her house for a beer after her son went to bed. She never gets out for a number of tragic reasons, and I remember those days of not really wanting to or being able to go out to bars, but still needing to hang out with my fun friends for a few hours. So, I started working on changing things around, so we could make it over there for a bit. Before I could finalize anything, she wrote back and said not to change my plans, she wasn't going to be able to have people over very late anyway, and she'd just plan it for another weekend. I felt bad because as you all know, I rarely do anything on a Friday night, and it was just a fluke that I made plans. Anyway, I did have a couple of my friends come over and it was very nice. The fire was great, we had some of the best wine I've ever had, and Stinky showed us all how to roast the best marshmallows for our s'mores. K's boyfriend came over for a bit later, and then I kicked everyone out so I could get to bed at a decent hour.

K. got the marshmallow roasting started. God bless her.

Saturday was insanely busy. I took Stinky to work at 8. Then I went home and made a list of all the crap I needed to do. Most of Saturday was me running errands. One of my co-workers let me borrow her truck for the day, so I could get a bunch of black dirt to regrade my backyard to try to keep water from seeping into my crawlspace anymore.

I ran my six mile route and then raked some more leaves in the afternoon. I decided not to go out that night and it was one of the best things I could have done for myself. Sure, it's nice to talk to my friends on Saturday nights, but it also takes a chunk of time out of my weekend, and right now, I don't really have it. So, Stinky went out with some of her friends, and I camped out on the couch and watched the first few episodes of The Pacific. It wasn't as good as Band of Brothers, but it's better than a lot of things I could have watched. I'll definitely finish watching the miniseries.

S. mixing and matching her s'mores with her pinot. Two great tastes that go great together.

Apparently, I was more tired than I thought this weekend. I was going to try to read before I fell asleep on Saturday night, but then I stopped to rest my eyes and when I woke up, it was 11 hours later. Wooops! I can't tell you when the last time I slept that many hours in a row. I guess I needed it.

The weather was amazing all weekend, and so I ran a little longer route today, to make the best use of it. I haven't had a chance to go on a long bike ride yet, but Stinky said she'd be up for a 20 mile ride with me as soon as we both have a day off to do that. I'm excited. She'd probably be up for kayaking with me too. A lot of people said they want to, but I haven't been able to get anyone to commit to a day yet. I figure, if nothing else, at least Stinky would be into it. Isn't that why we have kids in the first place? To always have someone to do stuff with us?

Stinky showing us the best way to get our marshmallows perfectly golden. Apparently, there is a technique and an art to it.

Coadster had her cathedral concert at St Mary's church. It was hard to go inside on such a beautiful afternoon, but the concert is really gorgeous and nice and it only takes an hour, so that works too.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Rattle of Bones, Dreams That Stick Out, a Medical Chart on the Wall

Hey, look what revealed itself. The plant I thought was a peony, was really a bleeding heart. How perfect for me. Ha!

I really went through the wringer today. I had a dermatology appointment in the morning to check out that weird spot on my lip. They asked me if I wanted them to do a full body check for skin cancer, and I figured they probably should since I was there anyway. I am Irish after all and we were not meant to grow up in Arizona, like I did. Of course, when the doctor came in looking like a younger hotter Peter Gallagher, I thought I might take it back. I'm pretty sure I was blushing throughout the whole exam. The good news is that I didn't die from embarrassment AND I don't have any signs of skin cancer. He said the thing on my lip was pretty common in outdoorsy people like myself and he gave me a list of lipbalmy/sunscreeny products.

Then I had a dentist appointment in the afternoon. I scheduled the appointment 6 months ago. My last appointment was actually the day I got approved for my home loan. Doesn't that seem more like 6 years ago, than 6 months? Anyway, once I realized I had both appointments on the same day, I figured I should just leave it and get it all over with.

I gave plasma after the dentist, but wisely decided not to run today. Even I know when to take a break...Well, sometimes, anyway.

Another angle.

So, now it's the weekend and I got all my body maintenance issues out of the way. How do I plan to spend it? I'm not sure, exactly. I have so much to do, I'm having some trouble trying to prioritizing it all.

Most of my girly type friends will be in the Quad Cities at the State Pool tournament. Right now, I think I'll run after work, and then I'll probably have a fire in the pit in my backyard. I'm pretty sure I'll open the bottle of Pinot Grigio at some point in the evening too. If anyone stops by great, and if not, that's great too. I'll be happy either way.

Saturday will be my day to try to get stuff done. I want to take care of some yard work, do some kitchen work and do some car cleaning and maintenance. If I don't have any more tempting offers, I might drink some more wine either in front of fire or in front of a movie or both.

I'll try to get as much done as I can on Sunday before Coadster's cathedral concert at St Mary's in the afternoon. And that should be more than enough for one weekend.

How about you all? Will you be drinking wine in front of a fire or doing some much needed maintenance this weekend?

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

A Long, Long Way From My Home

Here's me at Standish and Hickey State Park where I lived while I was in the California Conservation Corps.

Okay, As promised (or threatened) here is more of my writing exercise from a couple of weeks ago:

She picked Santa Rosa at the suggestion of one of the dishwashers at the restaurant where she worked back in Iowa. He said it was nice mid-sized town where he thought she'd be able to get around pretty easily without a car. Of course, he couldn't have known they'd be be shooting a movie there. A movie that would star Kathleen Turner and take place in 1960, so they wouldn't let anyone dressed in their 1985 clothes anywhere near the downtown. She had to take a very long detour to get anywhere. So, she either walked for at least an hour from her motel to almost everywhere else, or she hitchhiked.

How it worked with the Conservation Corps., was that she had to sign up and get a full physical at any of the towns in California, then she had to wait about a month to see if she made it in. She picked The Redwood Motel out of a phone book. The name conjured up happy memories of the trees in Yosemite where her family had gone on vacation when she was 12. The reality of the Redwood Motel was dingy and desolate and on the outskirts of town, next to a trailer court.

The first full day in Santa Rosa was a Sunday. She walked a half an hour to the closest store and wandered down the aisles. It felt strange to be 19 and NOT live in a college town. Everyone was either so much older or a child. She didn't think she could identify with anyone she passed in the store. It was a familiar predicament for her. She had first moved to Iowa from a very working-class town in the Chicago area. In high school, she was a little too harsh for the popular kids and didn't drink or do drugs, so the rougher kids (or scurves, as they were known in her town) didn't have much use for her either. She felt chronically isolated. Although, she smiled to herself, she had a hard time identifying with her self from five minutes ago too, so maybe the isolation was more her problem than anyone else's. She had a bad habit of being quite contrary.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

She Said a Bad Day's When I Lie In Bed and Think of Things That Might Have Been

Here are some Irises in one of my raised beds.

Okay. Here's the dealio. I gave plasma after work and it was fine again. I'm really getting into my book, but it still cracks me up, because it's a retelling of the Prodigal Son and there's such heavy talk about piety and coming back home twenty years older and trying to establish yourself as an adult within your family and I'm reading it at the plasma center. I'm sure none of you will be at all surprised when I tell you how much I love that juxtaposition.

After plasma, I ran. It was so warm and humid and there were storms and amazing clouds all around our town, but they didn't hit us while I was running. What did hit me though, was dehydration. I have to be so careful when I try to run after giving plasma and it's hot outside. Duh, I know. But they're only able to put a percentage of fluids back in me and even if I drink a bunch of water first, as I found out today, I can come back from my run feeling pretty damn woozy. Nothing like a free high, right?

Tomorrow I might actually get an evening to myself and if I do, I'll try to do a bit of real writing. I'm planning on taking off where my last writing exercise left off. Now, though? Now, I'm super beat and so I'm going to hydrate myself and read for a little minute and try to sleep. Night, night.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Life Ain't Always What It Seems, Oh Yeah

Here are some of last season's ferns against this Spring's...What are those? Daffodil plants?

I thought I'd try to maintain everything this week by spending as much time as possible cleaning and getting paperwork done every night. Sounds good, right? Sure. Until you get bludgeoned by bureaucratic bullshit, that is.

Remember how I paid H and R Block $89 to amend my old tax refund, so I could make sure I had the right paperwork and get my first time home buyer credit as soon as possible? Well, it got sent back saying I was missing the correct form. I was a little ticked off at H and R Block for not knowing which form to use. I called and asked them to rectify it and they told me to bring it all back in. I did that today after work. Turns out, we did send the correct form and we sent them everything they originally asked for, it's just that the IRS updated said form and then asked for even more proof of my new address. They wanted a current driver's license with my new address on it and then some bills sent to me with it as well. Luckily, my driver's license cracked in half about a month after I bought my house and it just happened to be updated. They wanted bank statements and paycheck stubs. Of course, that's all taken care of on-line now, because I was trying to be all environmentally conscious and save tress and all that good shit. So, neither of them show my address on them when I print them off. Bugger! We did everything we could do at H and R Block and the woman who was helping me told me to just find some bills with my current address on them, make copies and send them off with the new, updated form.

Jaysus! But they make a girl jump through some ridiculous hoops to get money that was promised. I do understand that there are scammers out there who are probably trying to cheat the government, so they don't want to make it too easy. I just wish they'd give me a lie detector test or something, instead of making me do all this stupid busy work. It really is one of my most hated things to do.

So, yeah. Anyway. I got most of that crap out of the way until they send it back again and ask for a signature in blood or whatever the hell else they think they need. I also cleaned the kitchen, paid some more bills, ordered tickets to see Coadster in the school play, and who knows...Maybe I'll get all crazy and fill out the census info tonight before I go to bed too.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Don't You Feel You're Growing Up Undone?

Some guys in the vacant lot across from me filming something.

Oh, kids. I tried so hard to keep an even pace this weekend. On Friday I made myself calm down. It was raining when I got off work, so I ran a few errands, put a cheese pizza in the oven, ate, dropped Stinky off at a movie and came home where Coadster and I watched the movie, An Education. I really liked it. I thought the acting was great and all high school girls should be made to watch it. After it was over, Coadster said, "I'm so glad I was born in a time where girls have more options." And I totally agreed.

10 yard waste bags full. At least 10 more to go.

On Saturday I woke up feeling great. The sun was out, I was well rested and I had a list of projects to complete. I did a bunch of cleaning first, then ran some errands with Stinky, then ran my 6 mile route then raked up 10 bags of leaves and cut up some branches with a hack saw and danced around my house in between every project. Needless to say, by the time 5 o'clock rolled around I was beat.

Stinky stayed the night with the same friend she did last week. I kicked around the idea of just staying home, but it might be the last night in a while that I get to go out and talk to grown-ups, so I figured I should. I picked G. up and we headed downtown. The Dublin can be unpredictable. Sometimes I go down there and all kinds of great fun people are hanging out and I have a wonderful time. Other nights there's hardly anyone I know down there and the ones I do know drive me a little crazy. Saturday was more like the latter. Most people in town seemed to be at all the Mission Creek Music Festival events. Greg Brown was playing at the Englert and one of the guys from Husker Du was playing at Gabes and there was something else going on at the Blue Moose (what used to be The Que or The Copper Dollar depending on how long ago you lived here).

Anyway, I decided to leave around 11. G. emailed me the next day and told me it never got any better and that I didn't miss anything. I guess a positive way to look at it, is that now I won't feel bad when I can't go out for a while, right?

Today I got a text from a friend early in the morning. She had a family emergency and needed one of the girls to babysit for her. The first thing I realized when I woke up, was that I had a migraine. I wasn't all that surprised. I knew I overdid it a little the day before, and that's usually my body's way of forcing me to slow down. Uncle, uncle. I got the message, took some migraine meds and slowed my roll waaaaay down. I actually even sat on the couch in the middle of the day and watched a movie. I know. I never do that when there's light out. I got groceries and did some paperwork and a little cleaning, but other than that, I made myself rest. I hope your Easter (or whatever you celebrate) was restful as well.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

And the Heat Wave's Calling Your Name

Okay. No one had any ideas about yesterday's plant. So, here's the same plant a few days after it was uncovered. Now does anyone have any ideas? I was kind of thinking Peony. I suppose I'll just have to go to the web.

Today was incredible. I spent most of the day being grateful for how amazing my life is right now. Sure, I don't have everything I want. It'd be wonderful to have more time and money and the right guy to share it all with, but I've never expected to get half of what I have now, let alone everything I want.

If you haven't already guessed, I was allowed to take a half day off today. I rode my bike home and ran my 6 mile route. It felt so amazing. Sometimes when the weather is warm and windy and the perfect songs appear on my iPod, and my endorphins kick in, I get overwhelmed with the awesomeness of it all. Luckily, that feeling lasted long after I got done running.

Here's some laundry hanging on my line. My clothes smell amazing now.

I took Stinky to her first real day at work. It was nice enough to walk, but I had to get some things at the store anyway, and I wanted to make it at least a little special for her. She said it went well. She bags groceries right now. Two of her friends made a big point to get in her line, each buy one pack of gum, make her put it in separate bags and then tipped her a dime. Hilarious. She works again on Saturday from 1-7, so I'm sure she'll master the fine art of bagging groceries by the end of that shift.

After I dropped Stinky off at work, I started in on the raking. Remember how I said I'd need a week to rake it all? Well, I lied. I think it will be closer to a month. It really hasn't been raked for years and even after doing the side yard, the leaves were at least knee deep. I'm going to check with the city to see the cheapest way to dispose of the yard waste. At first I thought I could use some of the leaves for mulch and compost the rest, but I'd have to have a compost pile the size of my whole backyard. I finished putting the screens on, left for an hour to donate plasma, came home and grilled brats for dinner and then when Stinky got off work at 7:30, we went to the mall to get her prom dress. It's really pretty. I'll show some pics of it in a bit.

So, yeah. It's also the weekend. They say the weather might hold out until Friday night. If it does, I plan on running and then coming home and staying in for the night. I'm actually looking forward to a nice relaxing evening of thunderstorms outside and me inside getting all cozy on the couch with my girls and watching movies and drinking a beer or two,

Saturday it's supposed to keep raining. Since the girls are working, we can't make it down to the big O to see my family for Easter. Instead, I'll try to get cracking on the indoor house stuff. I'll probably go out for a celebratory Easter beer with G. on Saturday night. The next weekend most of my friends will be gone for the state pool tournament. I thought I'd try to make it, but it's looking less and less likely now. Then I'll start doing some races after that, so my going out nights will be fewer and further between. I figure I might as well make the most of this Saturday while I can.