Friday, December 29, 2017

Back in the High Life Again

Oh, kids. It was a jolly holiday here this year. Last year we were in DC for Christmas, which was lovely, but it was nice to be home...And also less stressful.

On Saturday John and I went to see Star Wars. It was very long. There were some things I really liked about it and a few things I could have done without. Now, you can thank me for not revealing any spoilers. You're welcome.

In the evening we went to a party at our friend Burne's house. It was fun at first. I bought myself some festive, non-alcoholic things to drink. Of course, most of those drinks had high sugar contents and by the end of the evening, either from too much sugar, or a weird virus or messed-up hormones (take your pick), I felt like holy hell. I was sick to my stomach and dizzy and I had the chills. John took my temperature when we got home and he said it was low. I went straight to bed and felt okay the next morning, so who the hell knows what was going on there.

The next day was Christmas Eve and when I woke up, it was snowing. Yea! I love running in the snow. I got ready and got out in it. I ran my 3.5 mile route and was happy, happy, happy.

Nice finger in the frame, isn't it?

When I got home, I realized I didn't have much time if I wanted to get to the gym, since it was closing at noon.

John and I drove over and got to swim some laps and hit the steam room before they kicked us out. It was perfect.

On the way out the door, I noticed they were playing "Miracle on 34th Street". It was all so very holiday'ish.

We stopped at the store on the way home and saw that Shakespeare's was open. I was just going to go  home and make grilled cheese and tomato soup, but we decided to say, "screw that" and headed over for lunch. Coadster met us there and she got her favorite, mini corn dog basket. She loves it, but EW.

Coadster came home with us and I started cleaning. I took care of the living room, the kitchen and the bathroom. I also went to our storage area upstairs and pulled out Christmas stockings, lights and garland. Since we didn't put up a tree this year, I had to decorate on the fly. It turned out well and I won't have to clean up pine needles for the next six months. Fine with me.

John made oyster stew to take over to his mom's place. After he cleaned up and took off, I baked some cookies and made fettuccine Alfredo from scratch. the kids all came over and we ate and watched a Christmas movie. It was such a nice, mellow, evening.

John got home around 8 o'clock. So, we did our book exchange. I found out about that Icelandic tradition where you buy each other books and chocolate and you all get to go to bed and read and eat chocolate until you fall asleep. So, we drew names and bought our person their favorite chocolate and a good book. John picked my name and I was very happy with my haul.

I tried to stay up and read a little, but fell fast asleep in about 15 minutes.

 I woke up on Christmas day and gave Archie the perfect cat Christmas present - I placed some items on the edge of the table so he could knock them off. He seemed quite pleased.

The kids came over at around 10:30 and checked out their stockings (yes, Santa will come until they're at lease in their 50's as long as I'm still alive).

We opened our gifts. Stinky painted a picture for her fiance and it turned out pretty cool. Homemade gifts are the best gifts.

The girls got me some cat socks.

And the cat's pajamas...

We did our traditional eating sushi for lunch. I doubt we'll ever give that up.

Stinky and her fiance' went to his dad's for the afternoon, John took a nap and finished the cleaning I started the day before. Coadster and I watched another Christmas movie and colored in their new coloring books, while Archie sat on top of my book. Jerk.

 In the evening, Stinky and her fiance brought their puppy over and Heidi exerted her dominance over him, Poor Jaxson. He only wants to play. All of the damn animals are big jerks.

John helped me get everything ready for the Christmas taco bar and it was all so delicious.

At about 7, all the kids and some of our friends showed up. We ate and drank and talked and then played some Cards Against Humanity and laughed, and laughed, and laughed.

Archie got all fancy and dressed himself in garland and wore some bunny ears.

John had to work the next day, so we kicked everyone out and cleaned up our mess and I finally got to bed after midnight. I was exhausted, but it was such a nice evening, that it was way worth it.

The next day, I got up at around 8 and Coadster and I headed to the movie theater for $5 Tuesday's to watch the "Disaster Artist". It was ridiculous and bizarre and I really liked it.

I dropped Coadster off and then went home and read in front of the fake fireplace for a while. I got up and made the last of the Christmas cookies, then headed to the Can Shed to get rid of our cans and bottles. 

At 5, I picked up the girls and we went to the gym. I had bought them some passes, so we could all go together and since it was awfully cold out, I thought I'd try the elliptical machine. I've never really worked out on a machine, except a bicycle, so it was a big learning experience for me and probably a bit of an embarrassment for my daughters. Oh well. They embarrassed me plenty when they were little, so I'm fine with evening that all out. Anyway, I did the machine thingy for a little over a half an hour and it was just fine. Of course, my calves have been killing me ever since, but I guess that just means it worked.

After we worked out, we got John and all headed to Eastside Shorts for dinner and a beer. I'm pretty sure we deserved it. I went back to work the next day, but we only had to work three days before we hit the next weekend. It was such a lovely holiday and I got to hang out with my girls every day and I make a big point to try and plan no-stress activities, because in the past, the holidays have been way too stressful. As we near the end of this year, I am happy to say that I am one lucky old lady.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Our Hearts Were Singing, It Felt Like Christmas Time

Welp, it looks like I didn't get around to blogging last or this week much, so this is from last weekend (Dec 9/10).

Last Saturday was colder around here, so we didn't ride outside. Instead, I did a little run and then jumped on the trainer for about an hour. I got some laundry done and tidied up, but didn't get any real work done on the house.

John and I planned a very early date night. Not just because we're old, (although, that is always part of it) but because we wanted to check out the new restaurant that is located on the top floor of a hotel and we wanted to be there for the sunset.

It was a damn good thing we were there so early too. There was some college football even going on and there were only a few tables left in the lounge part of the restaurant. I think we got the last available table. We had an excellent waiter and the food was really good too. I can't wait to go back in the Summer when we can hang out on the rooftop deck.

After we ate, we stepped outside and I noticed that we were right across the street from the new music building. The old music building got ruined in the flood of 2008. I asked John if he wanted to check it out and he was up for it.

It was pretty cool looking inside and I had fun taking weird/artsy photos of the place. It was a fun date night.

On that Sunday morning, we went mountain biking in Cedar Rapids with some friends. It was a little cooler than it had been, but we got warmed up after the first couple of miles.

We went to Shakepeare's for dinner and for some of our friends to watch their sportzball games. Stinky met us there and then She and I headed to Coralville to drive around their Christmas lights night. There were some crazy bright houses.

So, I will try to write about the last weekend's fun, before we get started on this long weekend's fun. If I don't get around to it, please every self a happy little holiday. If you don't celebrate anything, I hope you get to celebrate a long weekend. If you have to work this weekend, I hope you celebrate  yourself.

Friday, December 15, 2017

I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas. Just Like the Ones I Used to Know.

A Christmas of yore.

I know I haven't written on here all week and I owe you all a longer post, but we are busy today at work. So, I'm just going to lament about how much I miss snow. It hasn't snowed any real accumulations for the last couple of years. It hasn't even snowed in Madison, Wisconsin yet. Soooo, it looks like we'll have to do without a white Christmas...Again. Maybe we'll be luckier in January or February. Sigh.

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Stinkin' Up the Great Outdoors, But the Kids Don't Mind

Well, it's cold as hell now, but this past weekend was eerily warm for December in Iowa, so let's talk about that.

Saturday was the big hang-out with my girls and do fun, cheap Christmassy things day.

It started out with a free club dance work-out class at Big Grove Brewery. It was damn good (read: painful) work-out. There were some times where the ladies teaching the class tried to do some kind of sexy move, which gave my daughters a nice mix of embarrassment and hilarity watching me try to follow along with said moves. Overall, it was a fun time and it was good to hang-out with my daughters and friends...And did I mention that it was FREE?

After our class, we met John and our friend's Burne and Chelsea for lunch at Basta. That wasn't quite as affordable, but it was a really nice meal, so it was worth the cost.

Afterward, John decided to go home and get some yard work done, and the rest of us headed to the student union where they were having a holiday thieves market. I always buy the girls a Christmas ornament that they pick out every year. So, this year, they got to pick out a hand made ornament, and they got some cute ones.

There was also free beer and wine tasting. I couldn't drink, but I did try some ginger beer, since that's non-alcoholic.

After we exhausted the thieves market, we headed downtown where they had some pop-up stores.

We went into Raygun, which I loved and I came very close to buying this book about the Midwest being god's gift to planet earth, but apparently, I do have some restraint.

I thought it would be fun to get a photo of the girls with Santa, but a friend of mine said she saw him at the library and he looked pretty creepy. We chose a different festive theme, an adorable little sleigh it's one that wouldn't potentially cause the girls to use the metoo hashtag.

But fair is fair, they got me in a cat mask for a photo too. I hope they like their only Christmas gift...

Speaking of Christmas gifts...I bought this Iowa mug at the thieves market. I thought of using it as a present for someone, but in this season of not giving, I decided to keep it for myself. It's pretty cool, huh?

When we finally got home from our Christmas day, I saw that John had raked all of the leaves in our yard, just in time for the last days of city leaf pick-up. What a guy.

On Sunday, it was still soooopidly nice outside. It was also very windy, so we decided to ride mountain bikes where we were more protected from the wind, instead of riding on the road.

The normal place we ride mountain bikes is closed for the month of December for shotgun hunting season, so we headed to Cedar Rapids to a place called Beverly instead.

Beverly used to just be vacant woods and you can see where people dumped their old cars or the ruins of an old foundation.

We got some good riding in and had fun playing outside.

I know I always say this, but I am so happy to be married to someone who likes to play outside as much as I do.

After we got done riding, we headed to a place called Parlor City for taco pizza and beer. It was a perfect way to end our play day and our weekend, before it got Iowa cold again this week.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Tell Me Lies. Tell Me Sweet Little Lies.

Well, it's finally Winter here in Iowa and I am in need of some motivation to keep myself moving. I have always been good at building up my Winter pelt, but it's only December and already I have enough fat stores that I could sleep outside every night naked in -20 temperatures (sorry for the visual) and I'd be warm enough. So, I'm trying to whittle that pelt down, but, man is it hard to get up at 5 in the morning before work to make that happen.

I was trying to read books on the indoor bike trainer, but pedaling and holding a book gave me even worse posture than I already have, and the last thing I need is back problems, so I started doing something new today. I got out John's iPad and hooked up the HBOGO. Now, I pedal while watching the show "Big Little Lies', which is pretty damn good and full of beautiful, wealthy people in amazing beach front homes, but who have very many sad, little, secrets. My rule for myself, is that I can only watch the show when I'm riding the trainer, so now I am much more inclined to jump (er, closer to whining and hobbling) out of bed at 5 and get on the trainer. Believe me, I understand how lame it is to make deals with myself just to get my ass in gear, but I've never pretended not to be lame, right?

I'll let you know how it works...Or doesn't.

Friday, December 01, 2017

Here in My Car I Feel Safest of All. I Can Lock All My Doors.

Please note that this photo was taken right after a bike race, so that's why I look more worse for wear than usual.

Today is the first day of no car payments, hopefully for the rest of my life. I bought my very first brand new car this day 5 years ago. Since then I have driven 18,000 miles on it and made payments every month for the last 5 years. Today was my last payment. If continue to drive it 18,000 miles every five years, and most Honda Fits last over 200,000 miles, I should be able to drive this car for another 40 years at least. Although, I'd be surprised if I'll still be driving in my 90's...

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Beautiful People Everywhere. The Way They Show They Care Makes me Want to Say, It's a Beautiful World

It was one hell of a lovely four day weekend. We got so lucky with the weather and both of my girls are living in town and we got to hang out with our friends too. Boy howdee! I honestly don't know what could have made it better. Maybe if it were even longer...

On Thursday, we got up early and headed to the local Catholic high school for their annual Thanksgiving Day trail run. I ran with Stinky. So, it was the first time I ever did it without trying to go as hard as I could. I went at Stinky's pace and walked when she wanted to walk and it was really fun. We weren't going to win any medals, but who cares?

After the run, we went home, I made the dressing, stuffed the turkey, threw it in the oven and John and headed to the Rec services building, where we didn't work-out, but instead, we sat in the Jacuzzi and watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade on the big screen TV. It was completely decadent, ie, perfect.

We got home and cleaned and cooked and Coadster came over. We had a nice dinner, and I was sure I made too much food, but Stinky and her fiance showed up around 7:30 and they and Coadster and John all had another meal with it then. I, of course, didn't indulge in that because I wanted to save all my stomach room for pumpkin cheesecake. Ahhhhh.

After (the second) dinner, our friends Chelsea and Burne came over and we played some Cards Against Humanity...Because we are just THAT classy.

On Friday, I slept in and it was marvelous. I slowly got moving - and by that, I mean, I made some tea and moved upstairs to my reading room to put on the fake fireplace and read a book in the prone position.

You'll all be happy to know that I did eventually get my ass in gear to enjoy the unseasonably amazing weather. I ran my 3.5 mile route first.

There were tons of people outside playing. It made me so happy that people were playing instead of shopping.

After the run, I heated up leftovers for lunch (I wish they could last forever), then we met some friends to ride mountain bikes on the trails.

As you can see, I rode in shorts, at the end of November...In Iowa! Holy guacamole! did that feel good.

After the ride, we went home and had a drink on the porch and gave Archie all of the attention we could manage...Which still isn't enough for him.

For our evening entertainment, we played Scrabble and John beat me by at least 10 points, as usual.

Watching Archie try to fit in the Scrabble box, was also fairly entertaining.

Saturday was a little cooler out, but I still got a run in and John and I got back out on the mountain bike trails, since they will close for the month of December for hunting season, so it was our last chance.

On Sunday, the winds had calmed down some, so we decided to do a 50 mile road ride to Kalona and back.

My girls and some of our friends drove there and met us for a late lunch.

We had a strong headwind on the way there, but on the way home the winds had died down some and we had a slight tailwind (which was much nicer).

It gets dark so early now, that we were distracted by really cool looking shadows on the fields as we rode...

...And speaking of distractions, the sunset was beautiful enough to wreck my bike over. We did see cars pulled over on the side of the road taking pictures of it. It's a beautiful world.

On Sunday evening, my girls came over and we painted homemade Christmas cards. They also had to watch the Sunday night football game. Coadster is a Packers fan and Stinky is a Steeler's fan. It's damn good thing they have plenty of things to bicker about.

Here are our cards. I made a couple of cards that weren't Christmassy, so I can use them for thank-you's or birthdays and Stinky made some that were just a straight color, since she had gold and silver pens at home that she could write "happy holiday's, or Kwanzaa, or Hanukka, or New Year or Christmas or whatever you like to celebrate this time of year.

Soooo, I am full of seasonal goodness and happiness, even though (or maybe because) the weather hasn't been very seasonal. I hope your holiday filled you with goodness as well.