Monday, December 29, 2014

Saturday Wait. And Sunday Always Comes Too Late.

So, Christmas weekend wasn't quite as relaxing as I had hoped, but it was WAY more relaxing than it used to be. On Christmas Eve, I got off work and Coadster and I furiously ran to a few stores before they all closed. We had Happy Joe's taco pizza (Coadster's favorite) and watched girl movies before she went to church with her dad and I read my book until I fell asleep. Also, grandpuppy was there and oh, so cute. The cats spent the evening hiding in our bedroom, trying to escape from said grandpuppy.

We had to wait for Stinky and her boyfriend to show up on Christmas morning, so I treated myself to a nice, slow, meditative run past some cool sculptures in Iowa City. It was a perfect way to start the day.

We opened gifts and then did our usual Christmas sushi for lunch. It is a lovely tradition, let me tell you. Stinky and her boyfriend had to go to his family Christmas after lunch, but Coadster came home with me.

We took Bailey on a nice long walk to calm her down...As much as possible. We walked past this crazy Christmas house down the street from us.

Bailey wanted to make friends with every dog she met, but not all the other dogs were quite so into that. We came home, and then Coadster had to meet her sister and dad to see a movie for his birthday, and I got to lie around and read my book for a couple of hours before I started dinner. The kids came home to chocolate chip and sugar cookies still warm out of the oven. Dessert first! We all ate dinner and then watched the movie, Chef. It was pretty damn close to being a perfect day.

On Friday,  Coadster left for a bit to hang with her boyfriend's family. I ran my 6 mile route for the first time in months. Yea! Then Stinky and her boyfriend and I all went to Ride for lunch. I got the portobello mushroom sandwich and it was very nice. The kids headed to the mall and I went to the grocery store to get stuff for dinner. I cleaned the house a little and then headed to the big, scary mall myself. We watched the Hobbit movie. It was long, but very entertaining.  We went home and my friend, Brit came by to eat arroz con pollo with us and play Cards Against Humanity - so wrong, but also, so right...Okay, it's only so wrong.

John got home from Virginia on Saturday. Hooray! We haven't spent a lot of time apart from each other in the last 4.5 years, so it was kind of weird without him around. It just made me even more aware of  how lucky I am to have a life partner who I love hanging out with and share so many of the same interests with, that I miss him even when he's only gone for a few days.

Saturday morning started out really well. Coadster and I went to see a morning showing of Tim Burton's film, Big Eyes. I highly recommend it. Amy Adams was amazing. I went running, while Coadster went to the mall with her dad. By the time I got home, ate lunch and showered, John was home. His girl cat was almost as happy as I was to see him.

Coadster got home shortly after and we decided to stop at Backpocket Brewery for a beer and some cheese bread. We went back home and played a quick game of Cards Against humanity with John. He had never played it before and was curious as to how it all worked. Coady had to get back to Des Moines, so we said our goodbyes and John and I watched The Dead Poets Society. Robin Williams was so incredible. Sigh.

On Sunday I woke up with a migraine. Poop. I took my meds, but they never worked all the way and they made me all shaky and dizzy the rest of the day. I decided not to run, but John and I did take our bikes to the new mountain bike trails in Coralville. I think I will love riding those trails when I'm not pumped up with migraine meds.

We ended our long weekend with a party given by one of the bike shop owners in town. It was at Atlas and was crawling with bike racers. We didn't stay long, but it was nice to talk to people I hadn't seen in a while and also fun to take a photo of us when we were kind of dolled-up and not covered in mud and sweat and sporting helmet hair. It may not happen again for a while...

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

I Have to Celebrate You Baby. I Have to Praise You Like I Should

My friend, G. at Ride.

So, I got up this morning and ran about 3 miles, then rode my bike to work. Since I also took a shower, I'm going ahead and telling everyone I know that I did a triathlon before work on Christmas Eve. I. am. Awesome.

I finally got around to going Christmas shopping last night. Nothing like waiting until the last minute...I went with my friend G. We started out with dinner and a beer (for me) at the new Cycle centric restaurant, called Ride. It was my second time there. I had the black bean quinoa burger and it was very nice. The fresh basil leaves totally made it.

We headed to the big scary mall (maul) where I feverishly grabbed the stuff on my list and found a few fun toys for the grandpuppy. I don't want to give anything away, but I got her her first F-R-I-S-B-E-E.

When I got home, I had the whole place to myself...Well, besides the stinky cats. John left for Virginia earlier in the day, so until the kids come tonight, I am the sole human in the joint.

Archie was again, very "helpful" while I tried to wrap gifts for the girls. I thought it would be cute to stick a bow on his head, and he kind of scared me with how quickly he squashed that idea and how violently he murdered the bow. Then I unrolled the wrapping paper, and I couldn't get his fat ass off of it, to use it for its intended purpose. I finally had to tempt him with one of the unbreakable ornaments to get him to move. Full of the Christmas spirit (or something) that one.

I was also foolishly excited about having the bed to myself and to be able to stretch out and really get some good sleep in. Um...Yeah. You can see how that panned out.

I am pretty happy and feel prepared for the girls and any boyfriends and the grandpuppy and the coming festivities. So, I wish all of you in blog land a happy whateverthehellitis you celebrate. Mostly, I hope you are all celebrating yourselves.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

She Opened a Book and a Box of Tools

Archie eyeing the scary ornament Coadster made in kindergarten. My favorite.

On Sunday, I was still worried about making my cold worse, so I didn't do the two work-outs I had planned. Instead I read about half of my book, The Daughters of Mars, by Thomas Keneally. It's about two Australian sisters who are nurses during WWI. So far, I think it's wonderful. I am always curious to see how women write male characters and how men write female characters. Sometimes, I'll read a male character, written by a woman, and think, "Hmmm. I don't know of any guy who would say or think something like that, or I'll read a female character and think, "Wow. The guy who wrote this must never have met a woman before...And maybe never have even seen one." But these women characters seem very believable and even talk about their periods, which some women authors never even bring up. Anyway, it is amazing escapism and very interesting reading.

Stinky watching Jurassic Park after finishing the Christmas tree.

Since I had the extra time and energy, I spent the rest of the day cleaning. I took apart the living room, cleaned the bedroom, vacuumed and dusted the dormer room, and John helped by cleaning the kitchen and the laundry room. We have a very large, country style kitchen and within it, we each have our own mess table. John's is a mess of mostly bike parts and tools and my table is a mess of papers. We each cleaned our own. I have to say, it is much easier and faster cleaning our house, now that we got rid of so much of our stuff and then tried to organize the rest.

I also made veggie refried beans, fried up some tostada shells and made a couple different kinds of veggie enchiladas. We've been set for food for the last couple of dayss.

We finished the evening with a visit from Stinky, to help me decorate the tree. We also watched the first Jurassic Park movie while we decorated. I don't think I have seen it since the early 90's. It was still a lot of fun.

I'm hoping that I am well enough to start working-out again in the next day or tow or our house will be so clean, it won't feel comfortable.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Welcome to Your Life

On Friday night., Coadster graduated from college with a degree in history and education and a minor in Spanish. The ceremony was painlessly brief. Since it was so much bigger than the one we went to last May for Coadster and she didn't sing in this one or win an award for academic excellence, I didn't cry like I did back then. I'm sure Coadster was happy about that too.

My brother showed up with his "little brother" (Big Brother/Big Sister program) and even though her dad was there, there really wasn't much family drama. I tried very hard to make conversation and not comment on anything negatively, because, as I told John and Stinky, "It is Coadster's special effing day", and I didn't want anything to mess that up.

 Coadster and her boyfriend, make a cute couple, don't you think?

I'm not sure how the girls would feel about this one, but I love it of both of them. It's great how they are both so overwhelmed by the cameras, they have no idea where the hell to look.

We all went out for a drink after the ceremony, and that was nice too.

Way to go Coadster the Roadster! You worked your ass off, you are adorable and I couldn't love you more.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

It's Comin' On Christmas. They're Cuttin' Down Trees.

Yesterday was lovely. I ran about 4.5 miles, without being on anti-inflammatories and my butt didn't hurt for the first time this month. Yea! When I got home I was ridiculously tired and realized that I had finally caught John's cold. Boo! Since John wasn't feeling all that great either, we decided it probably wasn't the best idea to swim laps in the afternoon after all. Boo! Instead, we went to the gym, just to sit in the steam room for a half hour. Yea!

During my run, I had great songs on my random play list, which lead me to these thoughts: "Baba O'Riley" is one of the best songs to run to. I believed that in high school when I used to listen to it on my Walkman, and I still maintain it, over 30 years later while listening to it on my iPhone. The Ventures, "Walk Don't Run" Is, ironically, also a great song to run to. Listening to Etta James' "Tell Mama" makes me feel like the sassiest runner out there.

After our steam, John and I went to Eastside Shorts for black bean burgers, chicken sandwiches and beer. Driving home, we had this conversation:

Me: In general, I think people get way more interesting, the more bad things happen to them.

John: So, does that mean you are hoping for more bad things to happen to you?

Me: No. I think I'm already WAY more "interesting" than most people can handle.

Friday, December 19, 2014

When You Make My Motor Run, My Motor Run.

Friday is random day this week. I have to say, the good thing about having crappy or annoying things happen for the last few weeks, is that this week, that has only been average as far as everything in general is concerned, seems like the best week ever in comparison.

I'm a girl who likes to always have something to look forward to, and so I scheduled a date with my boyfriend for last night. There have been some new, funkier restaurants opening up here in Iowa City. These photos are from the new pizza place/bar/video arcade downtown. Last night, we went to Ride, it is a new bicycle-centric place, owned by a guy I know and the food and drinks were excellent. I love new adventures!

Yesterday morning I was doing a work-out on my bike trainer in the spare bedroom. I like to listen to music when I ride, and my iPhone was on the K's in my playlist. The song "Oh Ta*ra" by the Knack came on. It is one of the few songs I know of with my name in it. My favorite bartender, S. used to play it on the jukebox, followed by "Good Girls Don't". On my playlist, a different song came on instead. This was the conversation I had with John last night:

Me: Hey, sorry about the loud singing during my trainer work-out this morning.

John: You have a beautiful voice. I love to hear you sing.

Me: Even when it's to "My Sharona"?

John: Well, yeah...The song selection could have been better...

Tonight I get to see Coadster graduate from college. I am so damn proud of her. She has worked her ass off to get here. I'm sure I'll cry like a big, fat baby for most of the evening. There might be a few tricky spots with relatives, but I plan on ignoring any drama. This is Coadster's night and she is all that matters.

The cat photos have nothing to do with the rest of the post, but it's Friday. So....CATS!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

And We're Not Little Children. And We Know What We Want.

I picked up our Christmas tree last night. Being an empty nester means I have to wait until Sunday for my daughter to come over and help me decorate it. which is totally fine, especially since both my girls took a few days off work to be able to come back home and hang out with me.

We have so many fun plans for those days. I have to work on Christmas Eve, so Coadster will come into town around dinner time. We'll order a pizza and watch movies and relax. Stinky will be in the Quad Cities for her boyfriend's family Christmas.

Christmas Day, the girls will get their stockings in the morning and we'll do our annual sushi feast for lunch. They will go hang out with their dad and watch a movie because it's his birthday. I hope to spend that time running and/or riding my bike, reading a book and getting dinner ready. We decided on arroz con pollo and refried beans and tortillas and salsa and guacamole and chips, in case anyone wants nachos and I think everyone will be happy.

On Friday, the plan is to go see the last Hobbit movie matinee. We could either go bowling or go to the University rec building and hang out at the pool that has a lazy river and a small rock climbing wall and a huge jacuzzi. In the evening, I will make Fettuccine Alfredo from scratch and some cheese tortellini with creamy pesto with bread and soup for dinner. We have a bunch of board games to play, we might bake some cookies and just have fun.

I'm not sure if Coadster will still be here on Saturday and Sunday, but we can figure things out, for the weekend if she is.

Being an empty nester means my girls are so much more fun to hang out with and up for anything and Christmas is wonderful and relaxing. Aaaaaahhhhh.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

I Used to be Such a Sweet, Sweet Thing, 'Til They Got Hold of Me.

Me and the girls when Coadster had a hard time not loving the baby too hard.
So, it's the holiday season and for me that means the family conundrum. The great thing about this blog, is that hardly anyone reads it anymore, and I can say anything I want. The better thing about this blog, is that I don't think any of my family reads it, so I can vent about them here..

For those of you who don't already know, I had one of those Dickensian childhoods and after I was essentially an orphan, my aunt and uncle who were abusive took us in and made us their indentured servants and did everything they could to crush our self-esteem. For me, that lasted for 8 years. Once I was 18, I fled and for many years, didn't look back. By the time my girls were born, I thought I probably  needed to forgive and never forget, because that is stupid, but I didn't want to lay a bunch of crap on my girls and so I tried and went back for holidays and birthdays. It was okay, at first. My girls got to hang out with my cousins' kids and my sister and her kids and that was just fine.

The problem is, my aunt and uncle are in total denial of how abusive they were and are still not all that pleasant, but they aren't allowed to threaten me, call me names, hit me or make me work around their acreage every second that I'm not in school or asleep anymore. During the holidays, my aunt would still get in her dark and stormy moods and stress everyone out and then a few years ago, she said something really hurtful to my youngest daughter. That was pretty much it for me. If they couldn't be nice, why did we go out of our way to travel to their house and spend our time there? Also, if I didn't stick up for my daughter and protect her from mean people, she would end up with the same self-esteem issues I had, and there was no way in hell I wanted that. So, we don't go anymore and now I actually look forward to the holidays. My girls are old enough to decide for themselves if they want to make the drive there and my oldest daughter was thinking about it for Thanksgiving, but something else came up. Let's hear it for being old enough to know what I don't want to put up with and not wasting my time!

Of course, it's a little trickier with my brother's wife. She has many of the same issues my aunt has, just not in the same degree. She doesn't get me or like me and I clearly don't understand her. Lately, she has been leaving disparaging comments about me on my FB posts. It's kind of bizarre. Who hasn't wanted to comment to something you thought was lame on FB. Hell, I can look at half of my S-I-L's posts and roll my eyes too, but then I just ignore them. I don't write hurtful, judgmental things and embarrass her in front of her other friends, because what's the point of creating all that drama and negative energy? At first, I just deleted the whole post, the next time I ignored it, but yesterday, I actually responded and my sister responded and John responded and I hope that keeps her from doing it again. JAYSUS!

Let's hear it for Churlita! Fighting bullies on-line and off. Now, I finally stuck up for myself and am feeling strong and in a better place to wish peace on earth and all that other crap to you all.

Monday, December 15, 2014

It's Lovely Weather for a Bike Ride Together With You

Well, the crawl space is done, for the most part. The guys didn't get finished until almost 8 o'clock on Friday. We decided we probably should wait until the next day to reattach the ducts for the furnace. It was unseasonable warm, so that made our decision to go another night without heat much easier.

The next morning we checked out their handiwork and it all looked great. They said it should be dry enough down there that we could even store stuff, if we wanted to. What a huge difference.

The next morning, we quickly set about cleaning the old ducts that we assume haven't been touched since the house was built around 1950, or so. Of course, we had to take them all apart to make them fit through the entrance. Then, we had to get them in the right spot, put them all back together and rehang them. Nothing ever fits the way it's supposed to, so it took us most of the day to get this done. Our friend Seaghan helped and John did most of the work. I helped as long as I could, but I had a bad migraine and it got to the point where I had to go throw up, take my meds and pass-out for a couple of hours.

By Saturday evening, my headache was gone and we had our heat back on. Hooray for John!

We had a few parties we got invited to, but we basically had to bail on all of them. Instead, I made tempeh reubens and heated up potato soup and we watched the end of a movie. It was about all I was up for anyway.

On Sunday, we vowed not to enter the crawl space at all. The weather was amazing for Iowa in December and we rode our road bikes the 50 miles to Kalona and back.

The last few times, we've ridden with friends of ours who don't ride as much as we do, so we slowed down a lot and the rides were much easier. This time, it was just John and I. The headwinds were strong going out, and then coming back, we went really hard for me. it was good to get my heartrate up and to feel sore today.

The roads were very wet, so I was covered with mud freckles by the time we got to Kalona. On the way home, we saw two deer running like crazy across a field to cross the road in front of us. It's shotgun season here, so the deer are pretty worked up. Behind the two deer, another one was coming a ways back, and a motorcycle was heading toward us on the other side of the road. I was so afraid he wouldn't see the last deer, but he slowed down, and my heart came back down my throat and into my chest again. Anyway, this was the latest in December we've been able to do a road ride in a few years, and it was sooooo nice.

Friday, December 12, 2014

I Strut Right By With My Tail in the Air

We all survived the first day of work on the crawl space. Needless to say, the cats were NOT happy. They had no idea where the men's voices and the loud noises were coming from, the dust filled air was also disconcerting

Surprisingly, Heidi was much braver than Archie. She was ever cautious, but she ventured out into the living room to hang out with us and Archie  cowered under our bed until the noises had stopped for at least a half hour.

Then he did a lot of hilarious looking, low crouch stalking of the house, stopping to look around at every turn. 

We'll see how he's holding up after I get off work today...

They are supposed to be finished with the work sometime this afternoon. Then, John and I will have the lovely task of crawling around down there and re-affixing the main duct to the furnace. I am planning a nice stress-relieving run and then downing a cocktail or two before we get started, just to make sure we don't end up in divorce court next week. Wish us luck!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

I Learned How to Laugh and I Learned How to Cry

Apparently, it is a day of randomness on my blog today. Feel free to suffer through it...

Horses never know what to think about cyclists. On one hand we look like we move like them, but we are humans and we only have two legs. They always seem to be trying to figure us out when we ride on by.

I like to eat pretty food. I made this lovely spinach salad with feta, raspberries and walnuts. A taste treat the whole family can enjoy!

This was a salmon salad with avocado, feta, kalamata olives, and red onions over mixed greens. Good and good for you.

Today is the big day. The guys are coming to work on our crawlspace. We're a little worried that something will come up and they won't be able to do what they claimed, but we'll see how it goes.

We had to unhook the main duct for our furnace in order for them to do the work, which  means we will be without heat for the next couple of days. Luckily, it's been a warmer Winter than last  year so far, but I have a feeling we'll still feel a bit chilly here for a few little whiles.

The other house project I've been working on is priming and painting the three different colors of paneling above the stairs leading to the dormer room. It is tricky because the ceiling is ridiculously high, but I will just have to prop a ladder against the back wall to get the corners and places that the roller on the very long handle can't reach. Also, Archie does stink when I am trying to paint and keep his fat ass out of my way at the same time.

John has never been big on bringing me flowers. He doesn't sing me love songs either. Which is just fine with me. He is overly generous in every other way and has bought me bikes before and that is so much better. Plus, I was single for so many years that I got used to buying my own damn flowers when I wanted them. He doesn't really have the best singing voice either...

Last week I bought myself some daisies. I wanted to cheer myself up after that huge pain in my ass (this time a muscle, not Archie). After a few days, the stems lost their strength and the flowers started to loll over the vase. Which looked pretty cool too.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

I Look Around. Leaves are Brown and The Sky is a Hazy Shade of Winter.

 Oh, Iowa. How I love your skies.

So, yeah. I've had a lot going on lately. I was summoned to federal jury duty on Monday. I had to drive an hour to Davenport and an hour back. I sat through the whole jury picking process, but luckily, I didn't get picked to serve. Of course, I'm not sure if I have to keep calling in the rest of the month, or if that was it. I guess I'll find out on Friday when I call in again...

Also, my butt is much better. Thanks for asking. I went from not being able to walk, to being able to walk very slowly and then dropping to my knees in pain when I moved the wrong way, to walking very slowly, with the pain lessening, to now where I can walk normally, I can actually sleep in almost every position again, and I can ride my trainer. I am going to try to run a little tonight. If all I can do is walk, I like that too, so that's okay. But I will run gently,  if it doesn't hurt. I am excited to give it a try again.

In year's past, I have kept my bike trainer in the garage, where there isn't any heat. I work so hard on it, that even if it's below zero outside, I am sweating like a crazy person after 20 minutes or so. The only problem with that, is that I am a wuss. Especially when I ride home from work in the freezing cold, the last thing I want to do is go back out into the freezing cold garage, for another hour or two of a trainer work-out, and I only worked out on it about half as often as I would have, if I hadn't wussed-out.

So, now I put it in the spare bedroom, where I will be much too warm after I get started, but I hopefully won't wuss-out like I did all those times last Winter. Plus, I have two fans on me and I can open the window when things get too warm.

Archie eyes the trainer a bit suspiciously. Who knows what the hell that thing will do...

I had to get things set-up for it this year as well. The battery on my bike computer died, so John was nice enough to change it out and get it back rolling. I also needed a clock with a second hand on it. So, John installed a clock app on my phone. Now I can keep track of my RPM's on my Tabata intervals, and kill myself even more during my work-outs. Lucky me! I also have a nice view of the outside, and if I don't feel like working out as hard and just want to spin a little, I can set up John's laptop and watch a movie or an hour of a Netflix show and pedal. The only bad thing is, now I have absolutely NO excuse not to ride. I'm sure I'll think of something...

This is also the room where we keep our cactus garden. I love having a cactus garden in Iowa in the Winter. It feeds my self-diagnosed oppositional defiance disorder.