Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Hit Me Baby One More Time

I can't be sure, but Coadster might just be a little annoyed with my obsessive photo taking here...

So, remember when I told you about the great conversations I had with the girls at Coadster's orientation? Well, I thought I'd relate one of them to you, so you can get an idea of just what deep thinkers and truly sweet people we are. This one took place at the student union while we were eating breakfast and watching some World Cup:

Stinky: So, I was working with Jacob the other day and he asked me if I remembered that one time when we were little and Coadster and I put him in a cardboard box and rolled him down a hill...

Coadster: Oh, I remember that. That was awesome.

Stinky: Well, he said it was kind of traumatic for him.

Coadster: Nice. I scarred someone for life. I'll have to cross that off my list now...

Me: Wow, Coadster. You're a real sweetheart.

Stinky: Hey, he deserved it. Remember in second grade when he drew boobs all over my Britney Spears folder?

Me and Coadster: Bwa ha ha ha ha...

Stinky: No. I tried to erase them, but they indented and I couldn't get rid of them and I had to throw away my favorite folder because it was covered in boobs....

Me and Coadster: (Even louder) Ha ha ha ha ha....

Stinky: I was so upset and cried and when I came home and told you, mom, you laughed.

Me: (wiping away the laugh tears) I know. I'm sorry, honey. But you know I can't help that. I really have no self-control.

Coadster: Nice, mom. NOW, who's scarred people for life?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I'm Getting Old and I Need Something to Rely On

A sign on the path to register for classes.

Soooo, for whatever reason, I had a hard time falling asleep on Saturday night. I think it was well after 3 am, by the time I finally drifted off, and then had to get right back up by 6, to get ready and head to Ames for Coadster's orientation. It wasn't horrible, but it did make sitting through information sessions that were much like the information sessions I've worked at my school about a million times, kind of grueling. I'm sure it would have been unseemly to have fallen asleep during that. If I had been thinking, I would have bought some of those glasses with the open eyes painted on the lenses.

Stinky in her St Louis Cardinals t-shirt.

Orientation turned out to be a pretty nice experience overall. Coadster got really excited about going to school, Stinky learned about what it would take for her to get into college and hearing about how much fun it was, gave her some incentive to get her act in gear. Stinky is a science girl and wants to get into health care. Right after she got sick and was in and out of the hospital for what seemed like forever, she didn't think she'd ever want to go back again. Now that she's older, she wants to go back and make a difference for other sick kids. After going to the info sessions, she's decided she might want to become a biology major and figure out if she wants to turn that into a nursing degree or go premed. Of course, I'm sure she'll change her mind a hundred more times, but at least the wheels are turning.

The fountain in front of the union.

The two days with my girls also turned into a really great time to talk about things. When I've raised the girls, a lot of what I worked on was discipline and social skills (yeah, poor girls never stood a chance) and trying to guide them in the right way. I've tried really hard to be open and honest with them, so they would feel safe to be open and honest with me...And believe me, there have been times when they opened up to me about things that I wish I didn't have to know. As they get older, though, my policy seems to work better and better. We had great conversations about religion and politics and whether we prayed and what our goals were and we laughed our asses off. I've always told the girls what I believe, but encouraged them to educate themselves and form their own opinions. It's just amazing sometimes to listen to your kids and realize that they are becoming such great people.

Me holding up the walls of the clock tower.

We met with the financial aid people to figure out Coadster's total award. She got a full tuition scholarship, but still had to figure out how to pay for her room and board and books and all the other little stuff. The financial aid advisor said that Coadster had received a couple of other smaller scholarships based on her grades and then with the Pell grant and the money she got from her accident and a work study job, she should be able to get through this year without taking out any loans.

I had a talk with Coadster about finances and the best way to budget. I think that's a hard thing to figure out when you get out on your own and things like food, shampoo and laundry detergent don't just show up in your house. She seems to have a pretty good handle on that.

Coadster marching off on her way to her adult life.

The other thing I tried to address with Coadster was getting involved with activities. She and I both have the same disease where we think we can do everything and then run ourselves ragged. I told her to just pick a couple of things to join and then see how much time she had after her first couple of weeks of school. She said she definitely wanted to get into a choir, join Dance Marathon, sign up with the Catholic student church and then see about joining an intramural soccer team. It seemed like a nice mix of performance, creativity, spirituality, community service and exercise. She's so much more balanced as an 18 year old than I am in my 40's. Maybe I should be seeking her advice instead.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Oh, When I Know You're Watching Out for Me, I Look for What Matters

Stinky and her boyfriend.

Wow, kids. These last few days have kicked my ass in every way possible. It was really good, but that goodness can be tiring and stressful and wonderful and definitely requires some processing time. I will attempt to slowly work my way back into blog land this week. I used Stinky's iTouch to get on Facebook for about 5 minutes on Sunday night, but you can't really do much blog reading or writing with that.

Awwww. I really like Stinky's guy. I think she's finally dating a guy at her level, instead of some "project guy" who she tries to help. I told her from way too many of my own experiences, that you can't make someone a nicer person unless they want to and are willing to work really hard at it. I hope she finally understands that.

Tonight, I'll just talk about Friday and Saturday. I'll cover Coadster's freshman orientation in tomorrow's post. Soooo, Friday was wonderful. I got up and went running. Then Stinky, her boyfriend and I got ready and went to lunch at Panchero's (their choice). We made a quick pit stop to the store to pick up Gatorade and water for the cooler and we were off to Lake McBride.

Stinky's boyfriend told her that his family wasn't very outdoorsy and he had never canoed before. He was worried he wouldn't know what to do. I told him he could ride bitch (maybe not in so many words, though) and Stinky and I would paddle. By the time we were about halfway through, he had an idea how it worked and really wanted to paddle too, but we were in the middle of the lake and I didn't want to have to worry about us tipping the canoe. I told him next time, I'd be happy to let him paddle.

After our canoe ride, we went to the beach and swam and read and did some lying about. The weather was perfect.

In the evening, I worked on my backyard. I had a few branches I wanted to get rid off, so I got the fire pit going and burned a few things. It was all very pleasant in my backyard with the fire and a beer....Until the fire truck pulled up in front of my house. I quickly put the grate on my fire pit and went to see what was up. Two firefighters came to the door and said one of the neighbors ratted me out. They were really apologetic about it. I told them I thought it was weird that the neighbor wouldn't just ask me to put it out. They said that people weren't like that anymore, and shook their heads. They asked me what I was burning and I told them. They asked me if they could come back and check things out. They informed me that my fire pit was regulation and totally fine, but I was only allowed to burn corded wood within city limits and they would have to watch me while I put out the fire. They were pretty funny, because they were both huffing the smoke when I put the fire out. They said with everything being so wet, they hadn't had a good fire in a long time and then on their way out, we talked about how nice it was to sit in front of a fire with a beer on a Summer night. I thanked them and they apologized again and I went inside, because obviouslyly my magic fire show was over.

The beach under sunny skies and pretty puffy clouds.

Saturday started a little later than I would've liked. There was a huge, bad storm that rolled in and the sirens went off around 1 or 2 in the morning. We all rushed to the living room to turn on the TV to see what was going on, but couldn't find anything...Except the worst programs and infomercials I had ever bothered to watch. So, we went back to bed, very, very late.

Saturday was also unbearably hot and humid. I tried to run around 10:30 and it was still miserable. Since Coadster was feeling better, we decided to keep to our original plan of riding bikes to some used book stores. When we were done with that, we stopped by the Dewey Street block party for about a half hour.

Both of the girls were off doing their own things on Saturday night, so I went to the Dublin with G For a quick beer. I had been spending a lot of time with teenagers all week, and needed a little chat with friends. It was a nice mellow night at the bar, and I got home just a little later than I had planned. I did find people to talk about books with and didn't have to hear about any high school drama for at least 2 hours, so it was a double bonus.

Friday, June 25, 2010

2 Legit 2 Quit

A piece of artwork by a guy I know. If you live in Iowa City, he also does all the metal street signs on the Northside of town here.

I'm a bad blogger lately. I'm doing too much in the real world to check in on everyone's blogs in the virtual world. Sorry. I promise I'll be better when I'm not playing so hard.

Today was soooo much better than the day before. The weather was perfect and Coadster was feeling a lot better. She even ate a little something. I got up and ran and then came home and made brunch. Stinky and I tried to ride to the Coralville Dam, but she wasn't in shape for it, so we went as far as we could and turned back. It was still very nice.

Tonight I set everything up so we could watch our movie on the back porch. When we lived in that suburb on the Southside of Chicago, I have fond memories of being a kid and when it got too hot to be inside, my aunt would set us up on Friday nights in sleeping bags in the backyard and she'd bring the TV out and we would watch Creature Feature until we fell asleep. I have no idea why I thought that was so cool, but I did. I decided to do that for Stinky and her boyfriend tonight. I love to make things special and to set a scene, so I hooked up the TV and the DVD player, brought a futon out and covered it with pillows and a comforter and set the globe lights around the porch. It was eerie and perfect. Since there was no Creature Feature, I had to settle for Wolfman. It wasn't the best movie I'd ever seen, but it was perfect for our outside movie viewing experience. I never know how things translate from when I was a kid to now, but Stinky and her boyfriend said they thought watching the scary movie outside was totally "legit"...Maybe it was the chocolate chip cookies I baked that swayed their decision too.

So, it's the weekend and I still have 4 more days off. Hooray! Tomorrow is our day at the lake. We'll canoe, and swim and I'll read on the beach. Then on Saturday, Coadster and I are planning on riding bikes around to whatever used bookstores we can find and try to get a few old books we've been meaning to read.

Sunday and Monday we'll spend in Ames at Coadster's orientation. Since I've worked so many orientations at my university, it will be interesting to see how theirs goes.

How about you all? Will you be doing something "legit" this weekend?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Crazy Are the People Walking Through My Head

Damn it! I know I said I was going to give you a break from my garden shots, but I just can't help it. I'm so proud of my tomato plants that I planted from seeds. I finally have several little tomatoes forming. Hurray!

So, I had a pretty weird, sleepless night last night. I had a hard time falling asleep (as usual) and then the constant storms woke me up several times. The thunder and lightning were wicked.

At around 5 am, I heard Coadster yelling my name. I jumped out of bed to find her throwing up into a bowl. I got her some water and made sure she was okay and tried to get back to sleep without much success. Coadster has pretty much been puking ever since. I feel so bad for her. I'm assuming it's a virus and she keeps complaining about having stomach cramps. I bring her a warm cloth for her forehead from time to time, but I don't know what else to do for her. I think it's an occupational hazard of working in a daycare. Poor girl.

We had a lovely tornado warning in our area this afternoon, so that was another fun thing. It wasn't anywhere near Iowa City, thank god. By the time I got home from work, I was so exhausted that I took a two hour nap. It was exactly what I needed.

Now, I'm going to try and clean as much of my house as I can, so that I have more time to play with Stinky tomorrow on my first vacation day. Hopefully, all the illness and storms have passed for a few days. I could use a nice sunny, happy day tomorrow. Wish me luck, and I'll wish the best for you as well...As always.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

You Say You Want Your Story to Remain Untold

More artwork from the tattoo shop.

Man, I hardly ever see my girls anymore. I know it's because they're both busy doing fun things and I'm glad they're having such great adventures, I just miss them is all.

Today I went to run an errand at lunch and saw Coadster heading toward me. She had the day off from work, but was still working anyway. She went to the natural history museum across the street from my office to organize a scavenger hunt for the kids in her Summer program. So, she came to find me and walk around downtown with me at lunch. It was really nice. Between her working all day and going to play rehearsal at night, I don't get to see her nearly as much as I'd like.

Stinky doesn't work as much, but she is busy going to baseball games and swimming and as long as she behaves herself, I'm glad she's having a good time. But I miss her too. So, I'm taking two vacation days on Thursday and Friday and we're going to spend some time together. Right now, it looks like we'll ride our bikes to the Coralville Dam and check out the fossils there and then ride back. In the evening, we're going to drag a futon and the TV out onto our screened in porch and watch a movie outside. It should be so much cooler than inside our unairconditioned house. On Friday we'll go to the lake and canoe and swim and lie on the beach and read books. I'm really excited. I finally get to use my vacation time for fun things with my girls.

So, tomorrow is my Friday. I hope it goes by quickly.

Monday, June 21, 2010

There's Not a Line That Goes Here That Rhymes With Anything

I took a bunch of pics of all the artwork up at my Kris' shop while we were in there for Coadster's tattoo. You'll probably be seeing more of it than you want, but it should be a nice break from my garden pics.

I tried to make today as relaxing as possible. Work is busy with all the final transcripts from high schools and colleges and all the orientation kids in and out of the office. So, I figured it would be nice to just rest up when I'm home for a day or two.

I did find out that my protein levels are still one point too low to donate plasma. I have to wait until the 29th to go back and get tested again. I asked the nurse if she thought it could be the running depleting my protein and she said definitely. She suggested I take a day or two off from running before I get my next blood test. It might make me a little itchy, but I'll try it and see if that helps.

I keep thinking I'm going to bake cookies after work, but then it keeps being humid and hot and I keep not having air conditioning, so it doesn't happen. Maybe tomorrow night...

Keeping up with the randomness of this post. I just found out through FB that there's going to be a book festival here on my birthday weekend. I don't know who all else, but I know Jane Smiley and the chick who wrote the Time Traveler's Wife will both be here to read. What a great gift for me.

You all were right. I'm loving reading Frankenstein right now. I was going to read the book Angelology after that, but then a friend suggested Jonathan Franzen and a grad student in my office let me borrow his copy of The Corrections, so I want to finish that as soon as possible so I can get it back to him.

Okay. That's probably more of my ADD than you can handle in one post. Come back tomorrow, when I might actually finish a whole thought..Or maybe not.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

I'm So Tired of Playing, Playing With This Bow and Arrow

My friend Kris tattooed Coadster.

This weekend didn't turn out at ALL as I had planned. I decided to just go with it, not look back and enjoy the ride. You know what? It turned out to be a fantastic weekend. I have a ton of photos, so I'll try and write less and let the photos speak for themselves...I'm sure you will all appreciate that.

Kris getting the gun ready.

On Friday, it turned out that my friend wasn't going to come and visit me after all. At about the time that was being decided, a HUGE storm blew through town, downing trees and wiping out some people's electricity. My friends D and G lost their power, and since I still had mine and I just happened to have extra food and beer, I invited them over to eat with us. We had chicken fajitas, de gallo salsa, guac and strawberry shortcake and drank beer and then watched a girl movie. Then they went downtown to the bar and I stayed home. We got even more thunderstorms and I watched Shutter Island by myself. It was really cool and creepy.

Kris getting Coadster prepped and ready for her tat.

I decided to give myself a nice relaxing day on Saturday. We ran errands, then I ran for real and mowed the lawn and did it all slowly with long breaks in between each chore.

The finished tattoo. It is a symbol of Coadster's astrological sign - Taurus.

At 3 we went to my friend Kris' shop to get Coadster her tattoo. She was a little nervous, but she had both Kris and I there to support her through it. She did great, and the tattoo turned out really cool.

It took what seemed like a ton of people and several hours to get the fire started with wet wood.

At 6 o'clock, I dropped Stinky off at Eggo's so she could babysit and then I picked K. up and then headed to our friend L's birthday party. L lives in this amazing house out in the country. There was great food and good friends and we had a wonderful time.

An attempt at a fake Christmas card pic by the fireplace. I obviously couldn't stop laughing.

Right before we were getting ready to go, we stepped inside their amazing house to use the bathroom, but had to look around while we were there. Of course, we used the opportunity to take fake senior, prom and Christmas card pics. At one point D called me to see where we were. When I told her what we were doing she said, "Okay. I'll be right up."

After the shenanigans, I dropped the girls off at the Dublin and went home.

What I woke up to on Sunday.

On Sunday I took Stinky to work and noticed that we had been TP'ed. When I went to clean it up I saw that they squirted ketchup, syrup and egged my front porch and door. The Toilet paper was thrown around pretty haphazardly and when they realized they couldn't reach the branches of the trees, they just left the full rolls on our lawn. When I commented to Stinky that it must be the lamest TP'ers I've ever seen, both Stinky and I said at the same time. "It must have been guys. Girls are so much more thorough."

My front porch. Eek!

I cleaned up the porch, then did some yard work and decided to spend the rest of the day cleaning my house and then giving myself an hour to read my book on the porch. In the middle of that, I got a call from G asking me to meet them at Shakespeare's bar and grill to eat appetizers with her and D. I originally declined the offer because I was broke and thought I should stick to my plan, then G said they wanted it to be their treat for feeding them and they also wanted to fill me in on what happened at the bar last night. So, how could I refuse? We had a great late lunch of salty fried food. When we ordered, D told the waitress, "We're going to order a ton of bad food, so don't judge us." The waitress assured us she wouldn't. If anything, she was jealous.

Oh, and Happy Father's Day to all you dad's out there! I hope it was a good one.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

And We're Having Fun, With No Money

The ditch lilies in my backyard are blooming now!

Well, kids. It's been a long night. We had a little electrical problem where we lost juice to about three rooms in my house for at least an hour. With the help of a friend, and getting Stinky to admit to trying to plug in a fan to a particular outlet, I figured it out and fixed the problem. Finally, it was a problem that isn't going to cost a bunch of money to fix. Of course, it means that it's much later than it should be and this will be a short post.

I finally finished my addictive book and I'm going to start reading Frankenstein now. I've heard good things about it.

So, another weekend...I only get the regular 2 days this week. A friend of mine is coming into town tomorrow night. I'm not sure what all we'll do. If the weather holds, we'll try to canoe on Saturday late morning, but I have to be back and ready to hold Coadster's hand when she gets her first tattoo at 3.

Okay. I'm exhausted and I need to get some shut-eye. Nite nite and have a great weekend. How are you all spending it?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

No Comprende, It's a Riddle

I'm not really sure how this pic of me in my OP shirt from my first college ID survived 5,000 moves, but it did...Kind of.

So, today I reserved our motel room in Ames for Coadster's orientation at the end of the month. I've tried really hard to make my girls' lives that much better than mine was growing up. Since high school was so horrible for me, that's been pretty easy to do. I hope that we can go to Coadster's orientation and support her while she makes some of her first adult decisions. I just want her to know that whatever she chooses to do, Stinky and I will love her and support her in any way we can.

I tired to remember my own freshman orientation, but it's all pretty blurry to me now. Of course, my aunt and uncle couldn't be bothered to take me and my sister so nicely took it upon herself to arrange it so I could actually attend. She had a friend who was home from college for the Summer, but had a boyfriend still up in Cedar Falls, and my sister got her to take me up with her when she went to visit him. As I recall, I was the only student there without other family members.

I don't remember meeting with an advisor and signing up for classes, but I do remember taking a CLEP test that seemed really easy and kicking myself for not taking more and getting out of other classes too. My strongest memory, though, is of the night I spent there. My sister's friend's boyfriend lived in a little studio apartment. So, I slept on the floor, pretending to be asleep and feeling very, very uncomfortable while my sister's friend and her boyfriend dry hum*ped each other on the couch about 5 feet away from me.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Go Ahead, Be Gone With It

Here is what all the rain looks like as it tries to get me on my screened-in-porch.

Dude. We got so much rain and flash flooding today it was sick. The basement at work even flooded and it didn't flood two years ago during the big one. I'm ready for some sunshine and clear skies for a while, but it looks like we're only getting a day off before it all starts again. The good thing is that all the swollen creeks and rivers look delicious - like liquid milk chocolate.

Other than that, I don't have much to report. I'm totally obsessing on my book right now. I just want to finish it, so I can get on with my life. I'm seriously thinking things like, "I don't really need to stop reading to make dinner, do I? Hell, we all just ate yesterday...." So, in the interest of preventing an intervention led by my daughters, I'm going to leave you to finish my book and become functional again.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Peace Came Upon Me and it Leaves Me Weak

All the rain here lately seems to be great for fungus.

Oh my Gawd, kids. It just keeps raining and raining and raining. This weekend was spent dodging storms and trying to do as many outdoor projects as possible before the rain started again. Today I managed to FINALLY finish planting all my lilies. If I'm lucky, they'll bloom before the first frost.

Looking down at the flat top.

I've been thinking a lot about death lately, since my friend's fiance passed and since the book I'm reading is all about loss. I feel lucky in some ways losing so many people who were close to me at such a young age. It's made me appreciate everything so much more...And to think about what would be important to me in my life if I were to die right now. So, I've been cataloging in my head the things I need to make an effort to do in my life:

1. Appreciate all the people I have while I have them...That means telling them how much I care about them and doing as much for them as possible. I know that's hard for some people to do, but it's so important.

2. Try not to let fear get in the way of the things I want to do or try. This has been tough for me in the past, but I continue to work on it. I'm almost always glad when I try something new.

3. Ask for what I want and know that I deserve it. I know I've talked about this before. It doesn't mean that I should be demanding, it means that I shouldn't be so damn scared of rejection.

4. Figure out what's important to me and then work for it. Sometimes the hardest part of this, is figuring out what's important to me.

5. Fix my shit. Again, I have to figure out what bothers me about myself first and then find ways to work on it.

6. Don't let anyone else make me feel like I'm not good enough. This one has taken me YEARS to work on...I was so good at letting people make me feel like shit about myself for so long, it's hard for me to stop doing it. Once I realize that someone is trying to do it to me, I have to just stay away from them. As I've said before, I have a hard time letting go of people...No matter how shitty they are to me.

7. Allow myself to rest and relax and slow things down and live in the moment...Uh, yeah. Like I said, I'm a work in progress. I'm trying hard to be better at this one.

8. Don't allow how I picture things in my head, to tarnish the way things actually are. I think that's a big control thing. Where I've imagined something and then when it doesn't materialize that way in the real world, I need to let go of my vision and be happy with what I have instead.

9. Realize every day is a gift and treat it like that. Sometimes there are only 5 minutes of good in a day -then I have to focus on those 5 minutes... Because if I look hard enough, there will always be at least 5 minutes.

10. Take good care of my teeth...Just in case I don't get hit by a bus tomorrow.

What are your words of wisdom for appreciating the hell out of your life?

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Runnin' Down the Avenue, See How the Sun Shines Brightly in the City


So, my weekend has turned out differently than I thought it would. It's not bad...It just didn't really care about the plans I had for it.

Friday was a good day. I ran and drove Stinky and her babysittee to the pool. Then I went with some friends to play disc golf for the first time. I really liked it...And I got much better at it with every hole. Of course, I didn't even get halfway through before Stinky called me to pick her and her charge up at the pool. It was fine. At least I tried it, I know I like it, and I can play it again whenever I want.

Friday night was a very mellow affair, I had to run that race the next morning, so I hung out by myself, cleaned my kitchen and watched some more first season of Weeds episodes. I tried to go to bed at a decent hour, but couldn't fall asleep and then kept waking up to weird dreams. I finally woke up for good around 5:30 to a thunderstorm.

My friend H. smoking a ciggie before her first foray into disc golf.

Storms blew through on Saturday up until a half hour before my first 10K. I was prepared to run in the rain, but they held the race another 15 minutes and then I didn't have to. I started out pretty slowly, and had way too much kick at the end, but it was a really great experience. I started raining again, right as I saw the finish line, which probably helped my time. I just checked the results and I placed 2nd in my age group for women. That really isn't saying much, because its a smaller race, but I'll take it. My final time was 54.02. Which meant I ran about 8.42 minute miles. I didn't exactly tear up the streets, but I'm still happy with it.

The rest of the day, I spent trying to fall asleep with almost no success. I finally got up around 4'ish and got ready to go to a BBQ at a friend's house. It was very nice. I ate great food, had a couple glasses of wine, had a fun talk and got to play with Eggo's adorable baby boy. I went home around 8:30 and was suddenly hit by a blinding migraine. Who knew that no sleep and a couple of glasses of wine would cause that? Uh, I did. Duh. I took meds, but it took a while for them to kick in. G. called to see if I was going to meet them for the bachelor party, but I had to bow out. I fell asleep in my clothes with all the lights on, until almost 2 am, when I woke up and got ready to sleep for the night.

Look how green it is here. That's because it rains every damn day.

Today was pretty mellow too. It stormed most of the morning and early afternoon. I've tried to do something new every day of my vacation, and today's new thing was to sit on my screened-in-porch during a thunderstorm and read a book. It was very nice and I'm sure I could easily make a habit of that. The skies finally cleared and I was able to mow the lawn and get some things done in the yard. Then I made a turkey dinner and brownies for dessert. G. came over and ate and we went on the back porch to talk.

Stinky asked if her best friend could come over, which somehow turned into half the kids in her class. I started a fire for them in the backyard, and the kids devoured brownies, and split their time between the outside fire and the NBA game on in the living room. They're good kids and respectful, so if they want to deplete my house of lemonade and brownies, I'm okay with that. I think we all know, with teens, it could be soooo much worse.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Load It, Check It, Quick - Rewrite It

Here is a darker photo of my tomatoes, basil and thyme garden, with the obligatory marigolds planted around it all to keep out pests. (they don't like the smell of them)

So, tonight I am looking down the barrel of a 4 day weekend. I'm so happy. Stinky is spending tonight and tomorrow night at someone's house babysitting their kids while they're out of town. She won't be back until Saturday at noon. It's kind of weird.

I have a few plans, but I'm also trying to give myself some time to rest and relax and just enjoy being in my house and in my yard. Tomorrow, I think I'll run early and then take care of a few errands. In the afternoon I have a date with friends to play frisbee/disc golf. Believe it or not, I've never played before. I'm still on my kick to try and do as many things I've never done before that I can. I'm excited to see if I like it. Friday night will be pretty mellow for me, since I'm going to do a 10K on Saturday morning. I've never raced one of those before either. Maybe I should plan to do something for the first time every day on my extended weekend.

My neighbor introducing herself and her pet skunk to me. Really. Le mew, le mew.

Depending on the weather, I might go canoeing with some friends on Saturday afternoon. If it's all rainy, I think I'll allow myself the luxury of finally sitting on my back porch and reading to the soundtrack of a Summer storm. Saturday night I'm attending a friend's bachelor party at the Dublin.

Sunday is up for grabs. I'll work on the house and ride bikes and run and that's all I have planned. Coadster said she wouldn't mind having stuffed turkey for dinner again. It's kind of nice to have all those leftovers for sandwiches for the rest of the week too.

I have no idea what I'll do on Monday. I think I'll work really hard on cleaning the hell out of my place. I want to make sure I get some rest time and play time on my mini vacation, but I still want to get my place all cleaned up and purty for the rest of the week.

How about you all? Will you be extending your weekend or will you be containing it two days?

So Soft, Hard Feelings

Here are my snaps when they were just babes. I'll have to put a pic of what they look like now on here.

Soooo, this will be mercifully short. I got an email from my friend who's fiance just died. She was checking to see if some of us girls wanted to hang out with her for a bit this evening. I told her that if my daughter had other plans, I would meet her...And shock of shocks, my 16 year old would rather hang out with her friends than her mom. Weird. So, I picked up that friend and Eggo and we headed over to a beer garden at a place called Martinis (what used to be Bushnell's Turtle for any of you ex-pats). My friend said she wanted to get out of her house, because the walls were feeling like they were closing in. Boy, do I know that feeling. It was a beautiful night and we had a great talk. Remind me to do that in the middle of the week again sometime, will you?

Okay. I better get to sleep now. I want to be all fresh in order to be ready for my last day of work before a four day weekend. Yea!

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

But My Head's to the Wall and I'm Lonely

Here is some pretty for you.

Weird day today. We had a work meeting to give me my 10 year in the office anniversary certificate. I didn't realize I'd worked there for the last decade. Doesn't it sound longer when you use the word decade? I've worked for the University for almost 13 years altogether. Weird. When I was younger, I'd be lucky if I lived someplace longer than 6 months. Now I own a house, have kids graduating from high school, and have worked for the same institution for 13 years. Hell, I almost look good on paper now. I never thought that would be possible.

In the interest of taking it back to my white trashedness...I tried to give plasma today, but I didn't have enough protein in my blood. I'm not eating any differently, but I'm running and riding my bike a lot more, so it could be I'm just depleting it more. I had to take another blood test today, and then I'll find out in a week or two whether it's better.

This was the second night in a row that my girls were gone. Coadster got a role in a production of Godspell, and has rehearsal pretty much every night. Stinky went to a friend's birthday party. It's nice to have a night to myself now and then, but I can see really missing them in the next couple of years.

Since I'm being all random anyway, I thought I'd tell you about the book I'm reading. It's called, When Will There be Good News, by Kate Atkinson. So far, it seems really well written and the story, though horrifying right from the git, is also fascinating. "On the other side of the wall they could hear the horrible animal noises that meant their parents were friends again. " Was just one of the lines that cracked me up. It just could be the perfect Summer read. I can't wait to get a couple of hours on my back porch with it this weekend.

Monday, June 07, 2010

It's Just a Restless Feeling by My Side

The ceiling of my friend K.'s porch.

So, yeah. It's been a while. Tonight I had a little migraine. It's gone now, thanks to meds, but most of the evening, I had to lounge about. I always look at it as that my body must need to rest and so I let it.

Anyway, back to the weekend. Let's see...This weekend was so much more relaxing than the one before it. On Friday I ran and then washed some dishes, then headed over to a friend of mine's house to drink wine and eat Pagliai's pizza. We had a great conversation in the backyard and watched a storm roll in. It just might have been a perfect Friday night.

On Saturday, I mostly worked around my house and hung out with the girls as much as possible. I took Stinky to my friend Eggo's to babysit at 6:30 and got a text from K. that said, "Hey ho bag. Where r u? U should come to Libbys. It's fun." So, I headed over to my friend Libby's birthday party. K. was gone by the time I got there, but there were plenty of other people and tons of food and beer. I had my two beers and sat by the fire with a few friends. I went home by 11 and started watching the first season of Weeds. For some reason, I've seen every season but the first one. I fell asleep on the couch and Stinky woke me up to tell me to go to bed. Wow. Do I know how to party on a Saturday night, or what?

Sunday was a mellow day. The weather was amazing, so I ran and mowed my lawn. I had planned to go on a bike ride with friends, but everyone else lamed out. So, I went to one of Coadster's friends grad parties. Her friend made a big deal about making sure I showed, so Stinky and I did a drive-by after Stinky got off work. Since I missed K. at the party and our bike ride fell through, she asked me to come by her place to have some girl talk. We checked out her garden and gave her housemate J. a bunch of shit until he took off and met some friends at the Deadwood. Then I went home and grilled cheeseburgers and had corn on the cob for dinner. Again. Pretty damn exciting...Or not. Like I always say, in my world uneventful is kind of wonderful.
Hey, kids. Blogger is finally letting me post now. Jaysus! I'll write a longer post tonight. I just can't do it at work and Blogger was down last night and most of today.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

You Say Smile, I Say Cheese

A really skinny guy with leather pants, who we obsessed over last Friday. I don't think I could have fit my arm into the leg of them. It was kind of freakish.

So, I'll detail Monday quickly, since I need to start my post for this weekend already. What a quick week this was...Monday was one big exhale. FINALLY. I hung out with my girls and ran in the morning. In the afternoon, three of my guy friends and K. and G. and I went on a 25 mile bike ride to River Junction and back. I hadn't ridden for that long since last Summer. At one point, I asked my friends if the fact that I couldn't feel my ass, meant that it wasn't there anymore. They all assured me, that it was indeed still there in all its glory. Damn it! I felt pretty embarrassingly out of shape at the end of the ride. K. and G. and I vowed that we'd try to go on at least one long ride every week we could.

After the ride, I was craving ice cream (of course). K. said she wanted ice tea or lemonade. I told her I made sun tea the day before and had lemonade, plus tons of leftover grad party food, and most importantly, spice cake with cream cheese frosting. We decided to go to my place and eat and drink. G. went down to the Dublin, so I texted her to see if she wanted to meet us. She did eventually, and then we ended up hanging out on my back porch solving the world's problems (read: boys) and drinking iced tea for a couple of hours. It was heavenly.

Soooo, this weekend? I'm not sure. This is the first Friday in a month that I have to work a full day AND that I'm not expecting an ex to show up in town. My plan is to have a fire outside, if it's nice, or to watch a movie inside if it's not. It's also Arts Fest weekend here, which is always pretty fun too.

On Saturday, I want to run and get some work done around the house. Then I'll stop by my friend Libby's birthday party for a while.

On Sunday we're planning on riding our bikes out to the Coralville Resevoir, and if we have the inclination, possibly even to Lake McBride. We'll see how we feel...

What's your weekend looking like? Will you spend it on your back porch solving the world's problems or riding your bike down a country road somewhere?

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Cuz All I Want is Here and Now, But It's Already Been and Gone

Coadster with some of her show choir friends at the party.

Before I start in on Sunday, I just have to tell you a good thing. My brother decided to give Coadster some money to buy a laptop for her graduation gift. He gave her enough to get a nice Dell, but she had her eye on a Mac. I mentioned to my friend B. (who is a computer guru) in passing that we were looking for a laptop and if he had any advice, we'd love to hear it. He sent me links to different laptops and then found one on Craigslist where a guy was selling his Macbook that he bought for about twice what we had. Then on Friday night B. told me that he bought that laptop. I assumed he meant for himself. So, I asked him if that was his first Mac. He told me, no. He bought it for Coadster. He got an amazing deal on it and we could easily afford it with what we had. Then he updated it and added all the stuff he had. We picked it up today and Coadster is about ready to explode with excitement for her new toy. Nice.

The cake with text hearts and emoticons. Hilarious.

So, I hit the ground running on Sunday. I cleaned, I cooked, I got the girls in gear and my sister and brother-in-law were nice enough to pick up some ice and a few things and there was much hub bub and last minute stressing out. My exes brother showed up an hour early. That is one of the meanest things you can do to me. Show up on time? Great, but early is B-A-D for a procrastinator like me. Anyway, by three I was close to being there, but not quite. G., D., and Dex showed up. I quickly informed them that I was ready to start breathing into a bag. G. said, "Tell us what to do, and if you can't think of anything, I'll start bossing everyone around. D.'s here and she's good at that too." They swarmed the kitchen and washed the few remaining dishes, put out the last of the food and we were completely ready the minute everyone showed up. I really do have the best friends and family in the world.

The spread.

The party itself was very nice. Once it started, I calmed down and tried to say hi to everyone and got interrupted a hundred times. I hope no one was offended. I just didn't have time to have long conversations with anyone.

Some of the kids Coadster babysits for showed up too. There was a pretty intense kick ball game going on in the backyard.

When it was about 5:15, Coadster went to the backyard where her dad's family had congregated (they were the last ones left) to let them know she was leaving. She had sent a Facebook message to them the night before letting them know she had other parties she'd love to attend and so had to stick to the 5 o'clock deadline. They were all very good about taking the hint and by 5:30 everyone was gone except my sister's family and I told them they were welcome to stay as long as they liked, because I can relax around them.

Coadster's shrine.

After they left, I changed into shorts and picked up G., D., and Dex and we headed to our friend H.'s birthday party. That was a lot of fun too. All my favorite Dubliners were there, so I made the rounds and tried to talk to everyone at least a little bit. I even had a couple of beers, which really, really hit the spot.

My nephew as the return of creepy ham face monster. EW!

At some point, Coadster texted me to let me know she was home for the night. She said she was finally grad partied out. Even though I was having a great time with my friends, I started thinking about it, and realized I'd really rather be at home hanging out with Coadster. So, I said my goodbyes and went home. Coadster and I sat around and kind of half-watched the Hangover, while she opened her envelopes and made a list of people to send thank-you's to, while also making plans for trips and activities for the Summer. Coadster also made a big point to tell me how thankful she was that I put so much time and effort into her party. She said it was exactly what she wanted. Hearing that was worth any bit of stress I experienced from it. Not a bad way to end the night at all.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

God Bid Yesterday Goodbye

Me and the girls after Coadster's graduation.

So, first please allow me to have a little vent. I just found out that it's going to cost me $450 to get the brakes fixed on my car.

Dear Universe,

Could you please let me get through a month without a costly mini-disaster? I realize these could all be real disasters and much, much worse, but I would still really love to have at least one month off without termite invasions, car problems or pipes freezing. Thank you.

Love, Churlita.

Okay, on to Saturday...It all started out well. I ran, took the girls a few places, came home and finished mowing the lawn and cleaning and then got ready for the graduation before I picked Stinky up from work. While at the store, I got the rest of the shopping done. When we got home, my aunt, my sister, my niece and one of Stinky's best friends were all waiting for us. We quickly changed and jumped into the car and headed to Carver Hawkeye Arena.

The throwing of the hats.

The arena smelled like livestock, and we later found out there was some kind of wrestling gig there, and apparently wrestlers smell like stinky horses now. Who knew?

The ceremony was nice and emotional and the principal gave a very pointed speech about the kids sticking to their guns when they know what they're doing is right and not caving to pressure...Even if it means losing your job, like he did. Wow. He got a standing ovation from the audience. The school board members on the stage, including the superintendent, remained seated.

Anyway, we were all so proud of our girl and I only teared up a tiny little bit when I saw her walk across the stage so tall and poised and I could still remember her little girl voice in my head telling me she couldn't wait to be a big, high school girl. Awwwww.

Originally, I figured my sister and aunt would want to leave right away after the ceremony, so I didn't even make plans for dinner afterward, but they said they wanted to take us out. Since any of the bigger restaurants were probably booked a long time ago, we just headed to Village Inn and were all very happy to eat there. It was a really lovely evening.

Three generations of quirky fun girls in one family. Woo Hoo!

Earlier in the day, I found out that my friend's fiance died after about a 7 month bout with cancer. It was heartbreaking. They were one of those couples you hang out with and think, "Hmmm. So that's what a healthy relationship looks like..." I'd never seen two people so happy together. I told everyone to let me know what I could do. Right before the graduation started, I got a call from G. telling me that our friend didn't want to be alone, and so all of our friends dropped what we were doing and went over to her house. I was planning on cleaning and getting ready for the party on Saturday night, but that really didn't seem all that important anymore.

We all sat outside on a beautiful night and cried and laughed and talked and drank (except me, because I had so much to do) with her until she felt okay to finally pass-out and go to sleep. It was an amazing, emotional and intense night and I was so glad I got to be there for her and felt lucky to have such an incredible group of friends.