Thursday, July 29, 2010

See the World in Green and Blue

I like to call these ghost flowers, because they come out of nowhere and look a little ethereal.

Did you ever have one of those days where everything goes wrong? Yeah, well I just had the opposite of one of those. How refreshing.

The cable guy was supposed to come and fix a problem I was having between 8-10. Since my friend asked me to meet her and her mom at 9:30, I was a little worried the cable guy would come at the latter part of the window, but he got to my place right at 8:30 and was gone by nine and my problem was fixed.

My friend drove us out to Riverside and we walked past the smoky slot machine area and then entered the lovely spa that was spewing cheesy new agey type music, but smelled really good. They had a sauna and a jacuzzi and a nice pool that was part indoors and part outdoors. So, my friend and I camped out in really nice lounge chairs while her mom got her first massage ever and then I sat with her mom while my friend got her first massage ever. They are both very wonderful people, so we had great conversations and the weather was absolutely perfect and when it got a little too warm, we just took dips in the pool. We had to leave around 2, because my friend had to take her son to an appointment.

When I got home, I was so refreshed that I decided to just go ahead and run my 10 mile route. I'm not sure if it was the fact that I took the day before off from running, or the weather was so nice, or that I had music to listen to this time, but my 10 mile run felt great. I even kicked it the last mile or so.

I mowed the lawn and that made me happy. I finally came in the house and ate and I felt it. You know, the feeling you had when you were a kid and you went out and played all day and when you finally stopped, your legs ached until you fell asleep? That's what I felt. I can't remember the last time I had that. It was pretty glorious.

Tomorrow I'm supposed to run, renew my license and then go kayaking with some girls in the afternoon if it doesn't rain. I figure if it rains, I'll spend some more time cleaning my place and if it doesn't, I'll go have more adventures and see if I can get another glorious leg ache.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I Know When to Go Out. And When to Stay In. Get Things Done.

Here is Stinky and Coadster in some crazy stage make-up after the play on Sunday.

Boy, a girl sure could get used to this life of leisure deal. It's so nice to have time to play AND get stuff done.

I kind of screwed myself today a little by having those two beers the night before. I had been a little migrainey over the weekend, and when I'm like that, I have to stay far away from alcohol. Of course, I thought I was in the clear but I was wrong. I woke up today with a bad migraine. I took my meds and in a couple of hours I was fine, but it felt like I wasted my morning.

Once I was better, I got some things done. I finally registered my car and did recycling and some other tedious tasks. Then I went on an hour long bike ride and that was lovely. I took today off of running, because I try to make myself take two days off a week. After my bike ride, I tackled the living room. I'm trying to do one room a day - top to bottom. It's so nice to see the room that clean. I'm trying to relish it, because I know it won't last long.

I can't believe tomorrow is Thursday already. Weeks go by so much faster when you don't have to work. Another friend of mine is also taking vacation time this week. Her parents are in town and so she invited me to go with her and her mom to the Riverside Casino. You can get a day pass and use their pool, sauna and jacuzzi. It sounds like a wonderful way to spend a morning. If it's as nice as they say it's supposed to be outside tomorrow, I might just run my 10 mile route when I get back. Tomorrow's chore is the bathroom, not my favorite, but again, it's always so nice to have it done. Now, I better get to bed so I can rest up for more leisure. Ahhhh.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

It Might Not Be a Lot But I Feel Like I'm Making the Most

I got these pics off the website asking me to pay them tons of money to buy an 8 x 10 of me all gross and sweaty and looking like crap right at the end of the Bix. No thanks. I say, the smaller the better on these. Yeesh!

Today, I took it easy. I ran my 6 mile in the morning, and then had an appointment to go to with Stinky. At 2, I gave plasma. It was fine, but it was also really hot and humid and rehydrating enough to get anything done is pretty impossible. So, instead, I just chilled out, ran a few errands and made dinner.

Here's me after I was done running. Another thankfully small, thumbnail of a photo.

In the evening, I thought I might be up for a little cerebral, thought provoking movie, like Hot Tub Time Machine. Don't worry. I drank a couple of beers, so I'd be smart enough to process the rapier like dialogue.

Funny thing was...I actually worked at a ski resort in Southern California in1986...Well, the first month of 1986, anyway. We left to move to San Francisco, right after we watched The Bears win the Superbowl, and missed the Challenger disaster the next morning when we drove across the street from our motel to get gas. Weird. Anyway, it's always interesting to watch Hollywood's idea of a similar time in my life. Some of the hair and the clothes and music were right on...Other things were ridiculous as the rest of the movie.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Like Stars Burning Holes Right Through the Dark

Here is the back end of Roberts Dairy.

Okay. I may have overdone it a bit today. I ran 6 miles in the morning, then cleaned my kitchen. After that I called a woman who is a friend of someone I work with, to set up an appointment to mow her lawn. She says she's too old to do it anymore and didn't want to pay the amount a lawn care company would charge. When she answered, she said she didn't just want to set up a meeting, she wanted me to actually come over and mow. I had already made plans with my friend K. to kayak at around 3, so I told her I'd come over after that.

K. and I kayaked for about an hour and a half. There weren't many people on the lake on a Monday, and so we had a ton of space to paddle around in. She had a super fun weekend, and I got a chance to live vicariously through her. I almost felt like I had a life for a minute there.

I dropped K. off and then drove over to the woman's house. Her lawn is pretty big, but not out of control. It took me almost two hours. She called me a work horse and couldn't believe I was done so quickly. Then came the conversation about pay. Neither one of us had any idea how much she should pay me. Finally, she said $40. I thought that was a little high. She said, she'd pay me that today, since the grass was a little high and then after that, she'd go down to $30. I accepted that. It will be nice to trade one day of giving plasma for mowing her lawn. I'll still have to donate plasma one night a week, but that's so much better than two.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

These Are the Days When Anything Goes

I stole this pic off of The Bix 7 Facebook page. It's of the very wet race I ran. If you look to the left side of the pic, you can see how crowded and boxed in we all were. The guy running by himself was an elite runner, who got to go out in front.

I can't tell you how glad I am that I get a whole week off after this weekend. I really need it. I had a great time, but I didn't get a lot done around the house, and I plan on fixing that in the next couple of days.

On Friday, I got home and made sure the girls were both set-up and then drove to the Quad Cities to pick up my packet. I'm glad I did. As you all know, I have no sense of direction, so it was good to orient myself with downtown Davenport, so the next morning, I wouldn't spend an hour figuring out where things were.

I woke up on Saturday morning at 5 and it was storming out. Great. I had expected it, but it makes it so hard to figure out what to take. I brought sunscreen and sun glasses in case the sun magically appeared before the race, but figured I'd mostly be wearing a sports bra, shorts and a hat. Any kind of t-shirt weighs you down and chafes (that's hot).

So, there I was, standing among 15,000 other runners, when I saw my new racing buddy. He's the guy I hung out with at my last race. He used to manage the Deadwood and then later tended bar at the Foxhead when I was in college. His wife is on the roller derby team here and he now manages the meat section at the Co-op. Anyway, it's so weird that I spotted him in that huge crowd. We hung out before the race and chatted about running and our kids and how much we love that rush you get right before the race and how annoying it was that really slow runners and walkers lie about their times in order to get up closer to the starting line, but then you can't get around them. Then, when the race started, we said goodbye, because he runs a little faster than I do.

Coadster in Godspell.

The race itself was good in so many ways and a little annoying in others. It would downpour sporadically and the streets were super wet and slippery because of that. The atmosphere, however was great. You have everything from world class runners, to people wearing costumes and then spectators line both sides of the street and some just watch, but others play bagpipes. and some blare cheesy running related music, (think: "The Final Countdown", "Every Day is a Winding Road", "Gonna Fly Now"-the theme from Rocky...) or strum banjos and kids hold their hands out waiting for you to slap them.

I felt really good for most of the race. The big problem for me was getting boxed in. It took me over 5 minutes to even get to the starting line. There was no way to get around people and so I was stuck going WAY slower than I wanted. Things finally opened up by the end, and I tried to make up for lost miles, but it was too late. Note to self: Next year, lie about your time, so you'll be with people who at least run close to your pace.

Coadster in a dance number.

I left The Quad Cities feeling great and happy and still high from my race. I didn't used to run races, because it's tough to do on my own and it takes me WAY out of my comfort zone, but last year a friend of mine told me to just give it a try, and I'm so glad I did. It's not always a bad thing stepping out of your comfort zone, and I've remembered how much I like having something to train for and then battling with myself physically and mentally during a race.

I napped when I got home and then spent some time with Stinky before she went out with her friends and I went out with mine. I went to a friend's house to celebrate his 50th birthday. All the usual suspects were there and we had a great time. I warned the people I drove out there, that I didn't know how long I'd make it, but I stayed longer than I thought. Finally, I dropped my friends off at the Dublin and I went home went to bed.

Today I finally got to see Coadster perform in Godspell. She was amazing. She sang the song "By My Side" which is pretty moving anyway, and I went to the play with Stinky and my friend C., who's husband just had the heart attack and her daughter and C. and Stinky were just bawling through the whole song. It was a really nice afternoon.

Soooo, now I get 7 more days before I have to be back at work. Let's see if can make the most of them.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Vacation, All I Ever Wanted

Here are some more wildflowers.

Check me out. Tomorrow is my last day before my week long vacation. I know it seems like I'm on vacation every week...And I kind of am. But in another month, I'll have blown through all of my vacation days, and I'll be back to working a full 40 hours a week like everyone else.

Right now, though? Right now, I'm planning a weeks worth of activities.

Tomorrow I have to drive to the Quad Cities right after work and pick up my race packet for the Bix ( a 7 mile race in Davenport). I'll try to get home as soon as I get it. Then a friend of mine might have some girls over for movie night. If she doesn't, I'll probably just come home and try to go to sleep as early as possible.

I'll wake up on Saturday around 5 am (Lord, help me), drive to the Quad Cities again, run my race and hang out at the after party for a while. There are supposed to be some amazing world class runners at the Bix this year, and I figure it could be fun to meet me one or two of them.

I will try to blog the rest of the week - mostly because I make myself write every weekday, but I don't know how actively I'll be reading and commenting on everyone else's blogs. I'm sure none of you will be surprised when I tell you that I plan on keeping busy this week.

I'm going to try to run, bike, hike and kayak as much as possible. By Friday, we're going to get most of the people who went on my birthday, to play hooky and have another paddle/float party on the lake.

I have a ton of house projects I want to get going on too. I'm just gonna have to work hard at balancing my fun time with my project time.

Last night, Stinky got off work around 10 o'clock. She and her boyfriend came in with a DVD they just rented and said they would love to hang out with me and watch the movie outside on the porch again. I reminded them that I had to work in the morning, but promised that we'd watch a movie outside again next week, while I was off work.

Soooo, I have a lot to look forward to. As usual, I'll try to make the most out of my time away from work. I plan to play as hard as I work and appreciate the hell out of everyone and everything around me. Amen.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Sound of Silence

Here is a cow that I met on Sunday, warily eyeing me.

So, today turns out to be that day - the day you take your car in and walk to work in the morning on the path that runs by the river. As you pass the Dairy Queen on Riverside, you get a little nostalgic thinking about when your girls were younger and every Saturday afternoon you all went to the pool, then to the Dairy Queen for ice cream cones and then home for a nap in the air conditioning. Since you worked two jobs back then, you usually dozed off with them.

Back at work you get the call from the muffler place. The guy asks you how you are and you say, "I'm not sure. It'll depend on the estimate you give me..."

"Oh. Then I think you'll be doing pretty good then. You had a crack in your tail pipe. So, we can patch it for $48.15 and I should have it done in less than an hour..." You thank him and then extend your lunch break, so you can walk back to the shop, get your car, drive it home and ride your bike back to work. You find your afternoons are a little nicer, after you get some exercise in the middle of the day.

After work you run your 6 mile route and contemplate whether you should take one or two days off of running before your race on Saturday morning, without actually reaching a decision.

When you get home, you plan your evening. There are things to do around the house, but you got most of the gardening done over the weekend and you aren't due to mow the lawn until tomorrow. This is when you decide to make it THAT day - the day when you try out the new reading chair on your porch.

You grab your book and a drink and get all set-up. Ahhh. You think the chair is perfect and you put your dogs up on it and commence to reading sentences like, "Gary struggled to think of something undepressed to say, something reasonably unhostile, but he was rather drunk."

You realize you left your phone in the house. You consider going in and getting it, but then decide against it. Both your girls are safe and busy and you don't really feel like being accessible to anyone else. Then you remember you were going to listen to your iPod and left that in the house as well. You are suddenly aware of how loud it's been this whole time and you hadn't even noticed the dueling buzzings of cicadas and lawn mowers. "How pleasant," you think. What a nostalgic soundtrack of every Midwestern Summer you've ever spent and how odd that you rarely notice it until it stops in the Fall. How like you to focus on the absence of a thing.

The sun finally starts to set and you reenter your house, happy with your decision to make it that day...The day to try out your new reading chair. It was exactly what you needed.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Hangin' Round the Ceiling Half the Time

As promised, a dahlia and one of my glads. It was supposed to be a mix of colors for the gladiolas, but so far the mix is just yellow and white.

So, today is Stinky and her boyfriend's one month anniversary. How 16 years old is it to celebrate a one month anniversary? It is pretty cute, because he is such a nice kid and he is just as crazy about her as she is about him. There's nothing wrong with being a total dork about someone. In fact, I wish that all my friends could find someone they could be shamelessly dorky with. I'm just a hopeless romantic that way...Or maybe I'm just hopeless.

Here is a photo of my tomato plants getting ready to take over the world. They're almost as tall as I am.

So, my first day back to work after my long birthday weekend was crazy busy. I had this training thing that took all morning and was REALLY boring. I didn't have time to take my car in, but I'm going to leave it at the muffler shop tomorrow morning and walk to work from there.

Tonight Dr. Lyd and her hubby stopped by to finally check out my new place. Her hubby is an engineer and was very helpful. They really liked my place and were nice enough not to notice any of the flaws...Even when I pointed them out to them. My friend K. stopped by as well to drop off some books and movies she borrowed and to pick up some more of each. I love sharing.

Now, it's late and I'm going to retreat to my lair to read myself to sleep. Depending on how much the estimate is on my car, I might spend my lunch break tomorrow buying books with the gift certificate to Prairie Lights I got for my birthday. There. That ought to take the edge off. Night night.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Yeah, This Beat Goes On and On and On and On

Here is the little entrance to the fossil gorge place.

Well, now. Where were we? Oh yeah. We were on Sunday. I got up at whatever ungodly hour it was to take Stinky to work. Since it was a lot less humid out, I decided to run my 8 mile route, and that went well, except the very end where I was pretty parched.

I did some cleaning and got some sun tea ready. I picked Stinky up at work and we ran errands and eventually ended up at Menards -which can be dangerous for me. I really just wanted a trowel and a sprinkler and some little ties to help stake tomatoes and some of our taller and more unruly flowers...Of course, then I saw this awesome lounge chair that would be perfect for reading and snoozing on my back porch. Best of all, it was $20 off. So, I got it. I still haven't had a chance to use it yet, but believe me, I will.

These here wild flowers are the closest looking things we have to saguaro cactus here in Iowa. Sigh.

I decided it was high time I went on my bike ride, so I loaded up my water bottle, camera and phone and decided to go off and live in my own little world for a bit. I didn't really have a plan, I just wanted to ride around and see where I ended up. I stopped along the way to take a picture or two, but eventually ended up at the fossil gorge. It was warm, but windy and I hopped around on rocks and checked out fossils and it was all really very lovely.

Sadly, though, I wandered around longer than I had intended and realized I'd never make it to my friend's party and still get all the other stuff done I needed to do. So, I called Stinky and she and her boyfriend met me at the store and we got everything we needed for dinner. I made BBQ chicken in bone and twice baked potatoes among other things. Coadster had been loading in at the Englert Theater for her play next week, so we were lucky if we got to see her for a whole hour.

There were a couple of cool, very small fossils here, but my camera isn't good enough to show them.

I woke up today to rain. Coadster normally rides her bike to work, so I was glad I was home to drive her there in the bad weather. I slowed things down today - some of it was because of the weather, but I had overdone it a little the last couple of days, and I wanted to calm my shit down a bit.

I ran a nice, fast 4 mile route around lunchtime, in between downpours and it felt great to really run. I took care of some errands in the afternoon, and then went to donate plasma.

A cute little family, checking things out.

On the interstate, I finally realized that there wasn't a Harley anywhere near me, and that the obnoxious noise was coming from my car. Awesome. So, this month's expensive problem must be in the form of a new exhaust system for my car. I knew it would be something, I just had no idea which way I'd get hit. Seriously, if I ever go an entire month without an unexpected expense, I'll probably pass-out. Of course, it couldn't have happened on Sunday, so I could have taken care of it today. Now, I'll have to take some more vacation time and try to get it fixed tomorrow. Wah.

Okay. I don't want to be Debbie Downer, so I'm going to end this on a positive note. I promise....I finally baked banana bread tonight and I can't think of a better smell than when I first took it out of the oven...Oh, and my gladiolas and dahlia's are blooming, so I'll show you a pic of that tomorrow. Yippee!

These Changes Ain't Changing Me

Me kayaking. I feel a new obsession coming on...

Hey, kids. Long time no talk at. My birthday was amazing. I couldn't have asked for a better day. I'm exhausted right now, but that's okay. I still have one more day off. I'll just talk about Friday and Saturday tonight and then tomorrow I'll cover Sunday and Monday.

Sooooo, Friday was great. I woke up and went running right away. I got tons of birthday greetings from friends and family by phone, text and Facebook. It was all very, very nice.

After I ran, I showered and got ready to kayak. I picked up a couple of friends and headed to Lake McBride. Some people were already there, so we hopped right to it and got our kayaks in the lake. I didn't tip it once, and took to it pretty naturally. In fact, I have a new love and his name is Mr. Kayak. He doesn't talk much, but we don't really need to. He relaxes me and makes me feel really good about myself. I can really see me spending the rest of my life with him...Or at least visiting him as often as possible when weather permits. Anyway, kayaking was a HUGE success and we all decided that we wanted to play hooky every Friday afternoon and paddle and float the afternoons away.

After kayaking, we did a little sunning before we went home.

After our kayaking, I went home to take care of my girls. Coadster ordered us a taco pizza from Happy Joe's and I got an hour or so to spend with my girls, before Coadster went to rehearsal and Stinky went to dinner with the girls she works with during Hawkeye football games.

I went over to my friend E.'s house. She had her boys and my friend Eggo and her husband had their son and weren't going to be able to hang out at the Dublin, so I wanted to spend some time with them before I met everyone else. They were eating pizza and watching the first Indiana Jones movie and it was really nice. At one point, the youngest of the kids was crying and the two other boys were being loud and running around and E. asked, "So, I bet you don't miss this at all, do you?" But really, I do. It's weird now that my girls are older and I rarely see them. I know I keep saying this, but it's as difficult a transition losing your kids to adulthood as it is becoming a parent for the first time. So, it was nice to immerse myself in the chaos of younger kids for a while.

The girl crush and some other hotties hamming it up on the dance floor. Hilarious.

I finally made my way to the Dublin and it was wonderful too. When I first got there, it was mostly populated with my guy friends telling dick jokes...Which, I still find funny, because even though I'm old, I obviously have never matured.

The girlies all came down about an hour later and we had ourselves a little dance party. The only problem with the evening was my stupidity....As usual. I spent almost the whole day outside in the sun and it was awesome, but by 9 o'clock and a couple of beers, I was EXHAUSTED. I seriously felt like I could just fall asleep in one of the booths. My eyes were also acting up. I have that weird dry eye problem. It hasn't been bad the last year, because someone suggested I take magnesium and for whatever reason, it's really helped. Of course, sun, wind, and being really tired are big triggers for it, so I was battling that lovely feeling of sandpaper eyelids. Finally, this creepy guy, who's nickname is Worm (for real) came up to me and told me that he didn't like my dress because it was too long and he couldn't see my legs, and I decided that was my cue to go home. It was a wonderful night, and I wish I could have lasted longer. I got a photo text from a friend at 1:41 am of a group of people who came down at bar close to see me, and that was really nice and all, but I was sound asleep by then.

Me and some of the Yayhoos from my birthday.

Saturday was hot, hot, hot. I ran in the morning to get a feel for what it might be like to run my 7 mile race next Saturday and discovered that what it might feel like, was shit. It was a hot and humid day, so lucky for us, we decided to go to a late lunch and a matinee of Inception. Stinky didn't really want to see the movie, but there wasn't anything else I really wanted to watch, so I played the birthday card and she ended up not hating the movie after all. It was very action packed. The ending was a little too tidy for me, but I say that about almost every Hollywood movie I watch.

We got home around 6'ish. I got a few calls from people asking me if I wanted to go out, but I didn't really feel like it. My birthday was great, but I was socialed-out and I needed some alone time. I stayed home and watched Run Fat Boy, Run, and it was okay, but a little too hokey for my taste. Then I read some more of The Corrections before I went to sleep. It was a nice mellow, and much needed Saturday night.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Well, You Just Laughed it Off. It Was All Okay,

Hey, lookee there. It's my astrological sign - the crab. (shut-up)

So, by the time most of you read this, it will be my birthday. I know last year I talked a lot about not being afraid to tempt the fates by being unabashedly happy. I think this year, I've been trying to work on not letting the bad things in life bring me down. Not that I shouldn't let myself feel negative emotions, but I shouldn't the bad stuff in life overwhelm the good. Good should always win out, right? I do try to work on this in general, but I have noticed some people in their forties get bitter and stop trying, because they don't think things can work out anyway, and I don't want to be like that. So, if I get rejected or I'm not as good at something as I'd like, but I have fun doing it, I'm going to keep trying and I'm going to do whatever it is anyway.

So, with that in mind, my 4 day birthday weekend looks like this: in the morning I'm going running. In the afternoon I'm going to learn how to kayak. I'm planning on tipping it over a few times but it seems like the kind of thing I'll like once I get the hang of it. In the evening, I'm meeting friends at the Dublin. (Really? Weird) The Girl Crush is even coming, so I'm extra special excited.

On Saturday afternoon both my girls will finally be available to play. I think we're going out for lunch and a matinee as soon as Stinky gets off work.

Sunday I want to go on a long bike ride and then I'll try to go to a BBQ for a friend who is visiting from China. She used to work at the Mill with me, so most of the people there I've known since I was 19.

On Monday, I'm going to try and work on house projects and run and play, if there's time.

So, I'll keep trying new things and keep putting myself out there as a friend, as a writer, as a runner and as a whatever and if I get rejected, I'll dust myself off and keep at it. Why not? Like I tell my girls...We don't get do-overs in life, but we do get right nows. So, starting right now, I'll be kicking my fear of failure/mediocrity's ass.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Don't Know What to Do, My Head's in a Haze

Here is some burl on a tree. It's a little unseemly.

Well, kids. You know how much I hate to talk about the weather, but I live in Iowa and a lot of times, that's all we've got going on. Today was 111 degrees with the heat index. Ouch!

I figured I'd be smart and donate plasma after work. It's air conditioned there and it wasn't like I was going to try and run in this shit. Donating was just fine. I started my new book, The Corrections and so far it is a little depressing and makes me uncomfortable to read...But that's the sign of a good book, right?

Anyway, everything was just fine, until I got home and hung out in my un-airconditioned house. Holy shite! I was dehydrated anyway, and sitting around sweating all night (pretty) didn't help that at all. At one point, my sister called me and I was so spaced out, I couldn't really figure out what she was talking about. I decided to just start drinking whatever I had in the fridge. I made some wild raspberry sun tea on Sunday and I downed almost the whole gallon of that. Which helped, but I'm still a little out of it.

Last night, I was smart and decided to sort through the 6 or so window air conditioners the old owner had wrapped in garbage bags all over my house and garage. Luckily, I found one that didn't weigh 700 lbs and wasn't from the 70's and set that up in Stinky's upstairs, not very well insulated dormer room, that gets uncomfortably warm when it's about 75 degrees out. I set it all up for her by myself while she was at work. I wanted her to come home to a pleasant surprise. I always love coming home from work to something unexpected and nice. So, her lair is pretty much perfect right now. If this heat doesn't go away tomorrow, like they say it's supposed to, I might set up camp in Stinky's room.

Now, though? Now, I'm going to bed and hope the storms don't wake me up tonight and bring more pleasant temperatures in their wake tomorrow. Then I will have one last day before my 4 day birthday weekend when I'm sure everything will be all dolphins and rainbows and stuff...

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

There's Gotta Be Somebody Other Than Me, Who's Ready to Write it Off Immediately

This photo has nothing to do with anything else, it's just in my friend's tattoo shop and I think it's cool.

Dear Jesus,

Thank you for the internets.

Love, Churlita

You know, back in the olden days, when I was in high school, we didn't even have any internets or Facebook. (I know. How did we live?) So, if I got mad at my sister and she wasn't home to yell at, I would just have to wait until later. Since it is physically and emotionally impossible for me to hold a grudge, I would forget by the time I saw her and all that beautiful blind fury would go to waste.

Now, though. Things are different. Because of the lovely internets, when one of my girls is pissed off at the other one, they have options. Coadster can get home, see what a mess her sister made of the living room and even though her sister is at work, Coadster can still get on Facebook and oh, say...Write something cute and quaint on Stinky's wall like:

Pick up your shit before you leave the house!!!!!!!! >:0

And Stinky can receive it right away on her phone during her break. I'm pretty sure that kind of communication is exactly why god created the internets.

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Scars of All I'll Ever Know

This weekend in my garden; the gerbera daisies, lupin, black eyed susans and the cone flowers were all in bloom. I think next year my garden will be a hundred times better. This year I was just trying to figure how much sun it would get and how much room some things were going to take up.

Today was a day of me taking care of bidness. As you know, I'm not much good at the practical stuff, but I sure like it when it's done. So, I finally called the termite guy back. He never got back to me after his initial visit. He told me it could be a while to look up the price of the original treatment, but I thought a month and a half was excessive. I asked my friend Michelle when I saw her at the Dublin on Friday and she said to definitely call them. I did that today and the guy was really nice and apologetic. He said he would come by on Wednesday or Thursday and treat that area and said he'd charge me $120 this time and then every year after to keep them from coming back. That sounded reasonable.

I also got my results back from the plasma place and my protein was finally within approved levels. I donated tonight after work. It's definitely not my favorite thing to do, but I need the money right now, and so at least for the next couple of months, I'll continue donating. I also told myself if I donated tonight, I could laze about when I got home and watch a bunch of house hunting shows on HGTV. I love looking into people's homes and they make me feel so laid back in comparison.

My flower attracting some wildlife.

I got a text from Stinky when I was at work today. She asked me if she could go with her friend Em and volunteer at the hospital. I told her what I'm sure all of you would say too: "Hell no! What did I tell you and your sister about all your little do-gooder projects?"....Just kidding. I thought it was great.

She and her friend helped a family from Wisconsin who had a premature baby in the NICU and two other daughters who were 5 and 7. The little girls were tired of sitting around and their parents were feeling guilty about not letting them play and not being able to give their preemie the attention she needed either. So, Stinky and her friend took the little girls for a couple of hours. They went to the kids playground and the library. Stinky said it brought back a lot of memories from when she was sick. She said there was a little 4 year old boy who was hooked up to a machine and he had to be so careful how he moved, so he didn't pull out any tubes. Stinky had forgotten that feeling until today. She was attached to an IV pole for her entire stay in the hospital. She wasn't strong enough to move much, but she remembered being scared that it would get pulled out when we wheeled her around in her chair.

I asked her if she was glad she went, or if it brought back too many bad memories. Stinky said she was glad she went and she wants to do it again. Even though it was a little weird at first, she thought it was good to go back to the scene of her illness now that she's well and can run around with kids on the playground.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

All These Things That I've Done

Some old skool Dubliners.

My goodness, but this has been one busy and social, social, social weekend. So social, in fact, that I'm thinking I'll have to hang out by myself, in my lair for a while, to recover from it .

It all started out so well...Around noon, I found out that my friend P was well enough to get out of the ICU and into a regular room. Then around 3, I got a text from a friend telling me that his 4 year old son was finally in remission. It had been well over a year and against incredible odds, so the news was particularly sweet. What a little trooper. So, I rode my bike home from work all elated and positive and carried it on by running. Right after my run, I was suddenly exhausted. I decided to "rest my eyes" and fell asleep for a little bit. I woke up to a couple of texts and phone calls from people.

I decided to meet my friend Molly at the Dublin around 9. I took her apartment for a semester when I first moved to Iowa City and she left to study abroad. I hadn't seen her since 1988 and she was back visiting from North Carolina. It was amazing how we were able to just pick right back up and have a great conversation, until she had to go back to her hotel and tend to her husband and kids. My friend K. was at the Foxhead and apparently, a couple of sheets to the wind. She kept texting me, telling me I needed to come to the Foxhead and meet these super hot, really sweet guys she was hanging out with, but I told her thanks, but I was going to stay put. I was happy enough to hang out with my girlfriends and shoot the shit. I finally left and gave Eggo and her husband a ride home and it was a nice mellow night.

G. and the Docteur.

On Saturday, I ran my 8 mile route and got a little dehydrated. When I got home, I did some yard work and some cleaning and ran a few errands with Coadster.

In the evening, I had some more texts from people. Erik was in town, so K. told me to meet them at the Dublin. I also got a text from Ellen asking me if I was going to a cookout on Sunday for a friend of ours in town from Norway. July 4th week, seems to bring all the ex-pats back into town.

The Dublin was fun. There were some of the old skool patrons visiting and Dr. Lyd came down with her husband and it was all great, but I was soooo exhausted and finally had to go home.

Stinky was supposed to get back from camp at 3:30 in the morning. Crazy, isn't it? I wasn't sure how I would ever stay up for that, but then she texted me and asked if her boyfriend could pick her up instead. It worked for me. She woke me up when she got home and I vaguely remember telling her I loved her and that I was happy she was home. We watched the DVD of her week and it looked amazing. They were in air conditioned cabins on Lake Superior where they swam and boated and parasailed and had funky, themed dances and had all these "pushing people off of wet logs in the lake" kinds of challenges. If they had something like that for adults, I'd sign up in a second.

I took the day off of running today. I stopped by the BBQ and saw a bunch of my old college buddies. My friends, whose son had the sudden brain tumor were there and their son looks really good. He still has trouble moving the right side of his body, but he's able to talk again and they're all working like crazy to get him back to speed. He turns 7 next month, and I know they're planning on celebrating the hell out of that birthday.

Okay. I think that's about enough for any one weekend. I'm retreating to my lair now, to finish reading Frankenstein and decompress.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Hey, I Know It's Just a Song, But It's Spice for the Recipe

Here is a nice piece of stained glass.

Wait. It's the weekend again already? This Summer is going way too damn fast. My iPod was great for my run today...It even made me want to extend my run to 8 miles. I got all my other chores done today, and added a few more. I feel like I have a good jump on housework at the start of my weekend. I'm not sure what else is going on, but Stinky will finally be home from camp. Hurray! With Coadster gone every night for rehearsal, my house has seemed so empty and hollowed out. It's been nice to clean and actually have it stay that way, but I'd definitely trade that in for some time with my kids.

I know it's been a while, but in honor of the weekend and my new iPod, I've decided to post the random running playlist that my shuffle threw at me today. There were tons of oldies and some newer stuff. In case you don't remember, I like almost every kind of music, so there should be something to offend all y'all:

1.) "Take On Me" - Aha.

2.) "King of the Road" - Roger Miller. For whatever reason, I used to listen to a lot of Roger Miller when I was in college with my guy friends. It seems like an odd choice for a bunch of angst ridden punk rock kids...

3.) "Stupid Cupid" - Connie Francis. I guess my iPod wanted me to hear some REALLY old songs today.

4.) "Our House" - Madness.

5.) "Evil" - Interpol. Weird. I just used lyrics from this song for the title of yesterday's blog post.

6.) "Bittersweet Symphony" - Oasis.

7.) "Walkin' on the Sun" - Smash Mouth. This is a really fun song to run to.

8.) "Warning Sign" - Talking Heads.

9.) "Penelope" - Pinback.

10.) "Wildcats of Kilkenny" - The Pogues.

11.) L.E.S. Artistes - Santigold. This song is a little slow to run to, but I love it so much, I cut it some slack.

12.) "Don't Worry Baby" - Beach Boys. This song always reminds me of road trips. Whenever I'm stressed out and driving through one of those horrible storms in Nebraska, Coadster always puts this song on to calm me down.

Okay, have a great weekend, and may your random playlist be so great that it makes you want to extend whatever you're doing.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Sensitive to Fate, Not Denial

I like the roof on this building at Iowa State.

Let's see....Tonight was good. I originally planned to get some more work done on the house, but I got a message from a friend who was in from out of town, asking if myself and my friend A. wanted to meet for dinner at Micky's. Then another friend who was visiting asked what I was doing, so I invited her along with my friend, K. It ended up being a nice mellow night. After we ate, we stopped into the Dublin for one drink and had a nice chat. It was good to see G. He lives in Virginia and it had been a couple of years. The last time I saw him, he was in a new relationship, and now he and his girlfriend are living together and he seems really happy...Which was good to see. My other friend lives in Northern Wisconsin. It had probably been a year since I had seen her, so that was nice too. I love it when people come to visit. After my one beer, I was home early and played around with my new toy.

What new toy, you ask? Well, last week I posted a status update bemoaning the loss of my iPod that died a couple of months ago. One of my California cousins told me he had an extra iPod shuffle that he would send me. I assumed it was a used one, he was done with, but he sent me a brand new 4g shuffle. My old iPod had been a HUGE 16 gig thingy that played movies. It was heavy and cumbersome to run with. The shuffle is so small, I almost thought it was just a clip and that they had forgotten to pack the actual iPod. I took the night off of running, but I can't wait to use it tomorrow. I asked my friends and got on the internets and I think I've figured out how all of its little features work. Between finally running with music, mowing my lawn, and vacuuming around my living room with the attachments, (yes, I love to vacuum and mow the lawn. I've never claimed to be normal) I'll have a lot to look forward to after work tomorrow.

Okay. So, have a good night, and wake up grateful that you're not as weird as I am...As I'm sure you do each and every morning.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Come Back, Get Back, That's Part of Success

Here is a screen.

Oh, kids. Things are so much better now that the funk fog has lifted. I know I need to navigate through the negativity sometimes, to come back better on the other side...And that's where I am now - safely over THERE.

Sure, my house has more issues than even I do, but it's mine and it's pretty damn cute, and the gladiolas and black-eyed susans and cone flowers and dahlias are just getting ready to bloom in my garden. I don't get to see my girls as much as I'd like, but they're awesome and healthy and funny and strong-willed and self-possessed and not afraid to embrace their inner dorkiness and all those things I wish I could have been at their age. I live in Iowa and the weather is hot and stormy and chronically humid, but I can still run in it and feel kick-ass at the end of my 6 mile route. I'm going to be 45 years old in less than two weeks, but I feel better emotionally (which is the big one) and physically than I have in my whole life. I don't have shit for cupboards or counter space, but I can still whip up some amazing, healthy fresh meals, if I do say so myself...And that appears to be what I'm doing. There are so many things to learn, read, write, feel, see, experience, eat, play and people to meet, that I won't get bored for the rest of my life...So, I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm back to grabbing big handfuls of life and devouring them again. Oh, and also....Tra la la la la la la la la la. I'll continue to sing that song until the next episode.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Believe We're Gliding Down the Highway, When in Fact We're Slip Slidin' Away

Girls right before the dance party, when we weren't quite so sweaty.

Well, kids. My weekend took a turn pretty early on and never really righted itself. It started off pretty well. I decided to run a 10 mile route right after work and the weather cooperated by cooling off halfway through my run. It felt really good to go that far. Then, since both my daughters were busy doing their own things, I told some friends I'd meet them out for a drink.

While I was getting ready, I got a call from my friend J, telling me that our friend C's husband had a massive heart attack the night before, and they weren't sure if he was going to make it. C's husband P. is 45 years old. I've also always had a bond with P. because he's one of the few people I've ever met who's had the same kind of childhood as I have. He was orphaned at a young age, and was raised by his aunt and uncle, who were less than kind, just like mine. So, we've talked about our fears of dying young and leaving our kids for someone else to raise many times. The news really threw me for a loop. C was also the teacher who wrote Coadster's letter of recommendation that got her the full tuition scholarship. She said there wasn't much I could do that night, but to be sure to visit the next day.

I went to the Dublin pretty physically and emotionally drained. I told my friends that the only way I'd make it, was if I could blow off some steam with a dance party. They all thought that was a great idea and so we commenced to cut a rug...Or several of them for a few hours. It was fun and exactly what I needed.

I said I liked to dance, I never promised that I looked very good doing it. Um, EGAD!

I woke up in a little bit of a funk on Saturday, that got worse and worse as the day progressed. Luckily, I don't have that happen to me very often. Usually, I'm pretty amazed at how lucky I am and count my stars every night. Every once in a while, I do get all Irish and brood and It's just as annoying to feel that way as it is to hear about it. I figured, I must need to let myself work through the shit and when I was younger, and had a hard time admitting that I had negative emotions, they always came back to bite me in the ass later, a million times worse. So, I rode the wave.

Turns out, the wave wasn't too bad at first. I gave myself a get out of jail free card night on Saturday. Coadster and I had sushi for dinner, and then she went to a party and I stayed at home and drank a beer and watched that movie about Coco Chanel. It was actually really interesting. I just think I need to learn to speak and read French now. Everything she went through sounded so much more beautiful in French.

Fireworks over the Old Capital.

I woke up at 6 am on Sunday to take Stinky to her bus for camp in Northern Minnesota, then came home to my empty house. Coadster was going to the Quad Cities with her dad, so I had the whole day to myself. Normally, I would relish the alone time, but I was still in my funk and it probably wasn't a good time to be stewing by myself. Since I had run too much already that week, I decided to go for a bike ride instead. Of course, it started raining halfway through, and I had to turn back, because I couldn't see very well. The minute I got home, it stopped (of course). After I showered and cleaned my house a bit, I texted my friends to see what time they wanted to go to a party we had planned on going to together. I thought getting out of my house might help. They called me back to inform me that they were already almost there. Apparently, they had forgotten about me. Of course.

On Saturday Coadster and I had stopped by the hospital to see C. She said P was making an incredible recovery. He had "died" several times the night before, only to be revived again and again, and so originally, the doctors weren't very hopeful. But P was showing everyone. He was motioning for pens, since he couldn't speak and he wanted to communicate and he squeezed his wife's hand when she asked if he could hear her. So, I figured, I'd stop by the hospital again, to hang out with C. for a bit. Right before I was getting ready to leave, I got a call from J letting me know that P got his tube removed and that he could talk. C. was spending as much time as she could with him, because he kept waking up and not knowing where he was. She said it probably wasn't a good idea to go visit that day. Of course.

That was it. All my socialization plans were thwarted and I was forced to hang out with myself and the dark cloud I was wearing over my head...Well, at least for most of the day. The night was a different story. I was determined to leave my house. I didn't care whether it was raining or whether anyone else wanted to join me. I needed to get out of my scary brain for a while. It all turned out well. I met G, D and J for fireworks (the rain stopped just during the display) and sat at the Dublin for a beer or two. It was a pretty slow night there, so we did a lot of girl talk and that was just fine with me.

Soooo, now it is that I'll get ready to start my short week. Most of the funk has lifted from my brain and hopefully I've worked out some of the loneliness and self-indulgent wah, wah, wah for a while. I hope your weekend was funk free.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Always in Time, But Never in Line for Dreams

A very old water tower.

Man, I can't believe it's the weekend already. I'm not really sure what I even did this week, it went so fast....And it's not only a weekend, but it's three days AND a holiday. Hurray!

I purposely didn't make many plans. I had so much going on last weekend, and it was great, but it did get a bit overwhelming. So, I've decided to be open to whatever happens. There are a bunch of people in town visiting, so I might do some socializing. I'm also planning on running and riding my bike. I got a jump start on cleaning. So, I should have plenty of time to play and read too.

Soooo, what are you planning for this holiday weekend? Will you be playing or blowing shit up to celebrate?