Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Just a Place to Call Your Own, As We Drift Into the Zone.

Well, kids. It was a glorious holiday weekend, but man, am I exhausted from it. Friday night was nice and mellow. Originally, Coadster was going to stay with us, but some of her old co-workers were going to a baseball game and wanted her to join them. I was sad not to get to hang out with her, but it's good for her to get out and have some fun whenever she can.

I did make myself a lovely bouquet of the Peonies and Daisies I have in backyard and side yard gardens.

John and I also set up these nice solar lights for the garden. John thought it would help the bunnies find their favorite foods better at night...

On Saturday morning we headed to Burlington for John to race up Snake Alley. I used to do the race too, but I am just too old, fat and slow to do it now. I was before too, but back then I was delusional and thought I might lose enough weight or gain enough strength to be able to be competitive in it and now I am more realistic.

Instead of racing, I get to hang out on the hill and eat homemade cinnamon rolls from the bakery downtown and talk to my friends, take photos and heckle the racers. I am soooo much more competitive in those kinds of activities. I could win a homemade cinnamon roll eating contest with very little effort.

Some of our friends joined us to watch races and I brought a picnic lunch. It was all very fun and nice. John and I went home at around 1. I wanted to get a little bike work-out in and do some stuff around the house.

John took me out for dinner in the evening and we went home to watch the movie "Paterson". It's a Jim Jarmusch movie, so it was quiet and not at all plot driven, but John and I both really liked it. It was a mellow evening, which was exactly what we needed before the next two very social days.

Friday, May 26, 2017

So, I'll Continue to Continue to Pretend My Life Will Never End and Flowers Never Bend With the Rainfall

I'm thinking it's time for a little garden porn. I don't have a lot of flowers up yet, but we do have Peonies, which I love.

I have a large portion of my yard now turned into gardens. It has been a lot of work, but I like the work, so I'm okay with it. The only problem is getting to all of the gardens. Our backyard is all shade, so I was trying to landscape things nicely and turn most of it into a shade garden. Every year I plant more Lilies and Daisies. I just need to take some time now to put down weed cloth, lava rock and border it all out with bricks and flag stone. One of these days...

Meanwhile, my gigantic vegetable garden is doing quite well, thank you. I have never really grown egg plant before, so I had no idea the flowers would be so lovely. I can't wait for those flowers to become even lovelier food.

We've had a lot of rain here lately, so my green beans sprouted about 4 or 5 days after I planted them. I just hope whatever has been eating some of them, doesn't take them all down.

John loves peppers, so I decided to grow all kinds of them. Right now I have Poblanos, Banana Peppers, Anaheim, jalapen~o's and green, red, orange and purple bell peppers. Woo hoo!

This front yard garden thing has been so wonderful for me. We've been eating greens with pretty much every meal, I made Swiss Chard for the first time and loved it and I made my first batch of pesto of the year with our basil. The best part is the response from my neighbors. Being in the front yard, and living on a street where so many people walk, run and ride their bikes, I get a lot of traffic by my garden. I have so many little kids stop by with their parents to tell me that they think my garden is pretty or cute and one little boy stopped by to tell me what his favorite vegetable was (corn) and then when I was watering, I had him tell me which plant I should spray the gun at and he thought that was just the funnest thing. Before he left, he told me I can never go back inside my house. That I should stay outside and when he and his mom come by, he'll yell at me and look at my garden and then I have to go with them and look at their garden. Sounds perfect.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

You're Still You. Remember You, Rosy Child and Wild With Apple Lungs

For a while there, what with all the engagements and marriages in my house, it felt like we were living at the end of a Jane Austen novel. But real life is nothing like a book, and so some things have changed.

Coadster turned 25 about a week and a half ago, and I'm not sure if it was the age, or that she started really looking at things, or that in her head, she thought she had to do things in a certain way and a particular time frame and after she did all of those things - go to college, find a partner, get a job, get engaged - she found that none of it made her happy.

Anyway, she has decided to effectively tear it all down and start over again. She had a very stressful job that she is quitting (you don't know how happy that makes me), she got unengaged and moved out from her former fiance (which makes me sad, since I really liked the guy, but I understand that they weren't right for each other) and she is spending the Summer road tripping. Man, am I envious of the Summer road tripping part.

She might go away and come back in the Fall with a whole new set of goals, or she might decide to take things easy, get a job and just keep plugging along at an easier pace, or she might decide that what she was doing was just fine and go back to it. I don't know, but whatever she does, she will decide it after having thought a lot about what she wants, instead of going through the motions, trying to what she thought was expected of her.

Of course, this has all been very hard for her. She doesn't want to hurt anyone, but she also didn't want to stay where she was, get married have a mortgage and kids and THEN decide it wasn't going to work. So, she is going through all kinds of bad stuff right now, but I hope she takes the time to work on herself and her issues, so she doesn't have to go through something like this over and over again.

Life can be such a difficult process when you're young...And even when you're old. In my book, being true to yourself is the only route to take, no matter how tough that can be. I'm hoping she figures things out and has a great adventure in the process.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

All You Need's a Strong Heart and a Nerve of Steel. Viva Las Vegas!

So, what do you know? Stinky got herself engaged this weekend. I knew it was going to happen, but she didn't. Her fiance came over to our house about a month ago and showed us her ring and told us his plan. He wanted it to be a surprise, but he told a lot of people, so didn't think there was any way she wouldn't find out. We were wrong.

Stinky and her boyfriend planned a trip to Arizona to visit a friend after Stinky was done with finals. They were going to drive to Las Vegas and stay there for a day and a night before they headed back to Arizona.

On Friday night, they went to the Bellagio Hotel where they have a light and music show. Stinky's friend recorded a live event on Face Book where Stinky's boyfriend asked her to marry him during the show. The music that was playing at the time of the proposal was from "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly", which can accurately describe marriage some days...

It was all very sweet and also kind of weird...Especially, when Stinky called me a couple of minutes later, overwhelmed with emotion to let me know she got engaged and I said, "Yeah. I saw it on Face Book." Technology can be a bugger sometimes.

So, it is that we are going to Stinky's first engagement party tonight. I don't understand the need for one engagement party, let alone two, but it's her happening and it seems like kids today are all about celebrating things like no one has ever celebrated them before. John and I will show up for a beer and then be on our way, because this engagement party is being thrown by her co-workers from the Irish Pub where Stinky works. Next week's party will be a little different. Stinky's boyfriend planned it for close family members it will be more of a nice dinner.

 Here's wishing the lovely couple all the best and I hope they live happily ever after...

Saturday, May 20, 2017

That's What You Get When You Are a Dork.

Okay. Remember when I told you that we went to that sculpture garden in Des Moines last week? Well, we felt the need to take many silly photos among the art. We took this one of the two of us but then thought we should use the color to our advantage.

We took a photo of Stinky next to the purple prism thingy because it matches her purple hair. See how she stands there and looks adorable and not weird and awkward? I hear that they call that poise...Yeah. I'm not familiar  with it.

Since I'm wearing blue, Stinky tries to take a picture of me next to the blue prism. While I "pose", she says, "Oh my god. Why do you look so awkward? What are you doing with your hands?"

So, I say, "Oh you want awkward? I'll give you awkward." And I give her my most "so uncomfortable with myself it almost hurts" pose, with thumbs up and everything. That's what she gets...And I suppose this picture is what I get. I sure showed me, didn't I? Sigh.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Sad Eyes, Turn the Other Way. I Don't Want to See You Cry.

So, after many sunrises and sunsets in our great state of Iowa I am FINALLY writing about last weekend.

Last Friday, it was nice and warm enough to sit out on the porch after work. Of course, for Archie that must just have meant that he could try to get attention in any negative ways he could think of - trying to chew through the screen door, for example. Asshole.

So, he got relegated to the bedroom and we shut the window. Which just made him whine and lie on our bed and look out at us with the saddest eyes.

Normally, Heidi is as annoyed by Archie as we are...Until he gets in trouble. Then she goes and lies down next to him in solidarity against the evil humans. Assholes.

After we had some good porch settin' time, I went inside and made veggie fajitas with black beans for dinner. It was the first meal where I was actually able to go outside and pick leaf lettuce and cilantro from the garden. Everything tastes better when it's fresh from the garden.

I don't really have many photos for Saturday. Earlier in the day, John went out to work on the mountain bike trails and I went to the Farmer's Market to buy a the last few things for the garden. I did splurge and buy a couple of Gerbera Daisies that had already flowered. I planted a bunch of seedlings, but it could be a while before we actually get to see what color their flowers are.

Then I went out and met John at the mountain bike trails. Our team was putting a race on and I rode with John while he trimmed up the little shoots and vines that we like to call "face slappers". When the race was getting ready to start, John stayed and helped out and I went home and worked in the garden. I planted, and planted and planted some more. I didn't get it all done before John came home and I made lunch, but here is a list of what I did get planted: English cucumbers, English thyme, more tomatoes, the last of the torch sunflowers, regular sunflower seeds, zucchini, more snap dragons, zinnias, butternut squash, French Marigolds, green beans, oregano, and a few more peppers.

The rest of the day I ran errands and John cleaned most of the house. Then we went to our friend's daughter's graduation party at 4. We stayed until about 7 pm and went  home and watched the movie, "Twentieth Century Women". I liked it a lot. After the movie, John went to bed and I stayed up a bit longer to read some of Neil Gaiman's "American Gods". It was such a good  book.

Sunday was Mother's Day. John went to his mom's in the morning and they went for a hike before it got too hot outside. While he was doing that, I planted some more in the flower garden in my side yard.

John got home and did most of the house cleaning, while I finished up planting and did some cleaning up too.

Coadster and her dog got to our place right before we left to go on a bike ride to Columbus Junction. She and Stinky drove out to meet us and we all had a delicious early dinner at a Mexican restaurant there.

After we ate, we stopped off at what they call The Swinging Bridge or Lover's Leap. Coadster is terrified of heights and the boys making a big point to swing the bridge back and forth didn't help, but Coadster was brave enough to take a few steps on it, before she ran back to the safety of non-swinging land.

We headed back to Iowa City and the whole ride ended up being 72 miles when it was all said and done. The guys we rode with wanted to stop and drink in towns on the way back, but I couldn't. We had to get back and meet Coadster before she went back to Des Moines. Since the following day was her 25th birthday, she and I walked her dog to the ice cream store and had ourselves a treat. Happy celebration days to both of us.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

You Float Like a Feather In a Beautiful World

Okay. We're still dealing with last week's shenanigans. Coadster turned 25 on May 15th. For her birthday present, Stinky bought her tickets to see Tears For Fears and Hall and Oates in concert on May 8th. Originally, it was just going to be the two of them, but they asked me and even though it was a Monday night, I figured, what the hell, I can take some vacation time and have fun with my girls.

So, that's what I did. Stinky had a final that got over about at about 3:30. We headed to Des Moines and met Coadster downtown. We had a nice dinner and headed over to the show.

We got there just in time. About a minute after we found our seats and sat down, Tears For Fears came out and put on a great show. Hall and Oates was fine too. I think Oates might be a little weaker in his voice than Hall, but they did all of their songs and we sang and chair danced and I wanted to try and embarrass my girls, but they were singing and dancing just as loudly and crazily as I was.

The concert got over around 11 and when we were walking to out cars, we saw people heading from the concert to different bars. Some of these people were at least as old as me and I thought to myself, "For the love of god. What is wrong with you people? How are you staying up past eleven without the help of a wheelchair?" Clearly, they have discovered the fountain of youth and clearly, I have not.

We spent the night at Coadster's apartment, and were awakened by the cutest girl dog you could ever imagine.

Coadster had to work that day, so Stinky and I stopped at the Machine Shed to eat breakfast, before we started touristing.

We went to the sculpture garden and it was very pretty. I really liked the Keith Haring sculpture.

The driftwood horse sculpture was also pretty cool looking.

The next stop was the zoo. We wanted to see the baby rhino and the baby giraffe there.

Sadly, they were working on a new facility for the giraffes so we weren't able to see the baby and the rhinos were hiding, so we saw a small part of that baby wedged between his mom and a wall.

Instead, we went to the petting zoo and fed goats and llamas and calves and then I got to take a photo of Stinky with her head inside the mouth of a hippo too. Like mother like daughter.

We also got to pet a baby crocodile? Alligator? Crocogator? They were filming something for a news segment and the photographer asked me if we wanted to pet whatever the hell kind of creature it was. Yes, we did.

It was pretty cool.

We got to see the red panda on the way out of the zoo and then we headed back to Iowa City. Stinky had to work, and I had (got) to go ride mountain bikes before it rained the next day.

I feel so lucky that my girls both live close enough for us all to be able to dork-out together.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

There's a Hippopotamus Riding on a Bike. I Can See It. I Can See It.

So, I'm still writing about the weekend BEFORE last. I know. it's crazy but the warm weather makes me super busy. Here is a weekend of warmth and all of the shit I did in it. Ready? Let's go!

I woke up around 7, went for a run, came home, got ready and Stinky met me so we could ride bikes to the Farmer's Market, where we each got a $2 coupon to spend there. We got some muffins for breakfast and Stinky got coffee and we met many beautiful dogs and rode home.

John had done a hard training bike ride, so by the time I got home, he was ready for a nap with his cat - cat nap.

I did laundry and worked in the garden and some very light cleaning in the house and then made lunch.

After lunch, I got on my Time Trial Bike for the first time this year. It was windy and it hurt, but i was able to go pretty fast for me.

We grilled shrimp kabobs over brown rice and I steamed the asparagus I bought at the Farmer's Market for dinner. We watched a movie and I basically passed-out pretty damn early. It was a good day, just an insanely tiring day.

Sunday morning I went full bore on gardening in the morning. I had to replant a few things that had a little frost damage and I worked on the beds to be able to plant even more flowers and veggies and herbs.

Then we met some friends for a bike ride to West Branch. Herbert Hoover's birthplace. It was a great day for a ride and we stopped and got some good Mexican food for an early dinner.

On the way to and from West Branch we ride through a little town called Morse and in that little town there is what looks like and old bar, that may now be a taxidermist/metal sculpture studio. It has a lovely big porch and on the way back, we got to hang out there and take fun photos and rest.

It was tough, but I managed not to be eaten by the big hippo on the porch and we all rode safely home. It was another weekend where I was almost glad I had to go to work the next day, so I could rest at my desk...Almost.

Friday, May 12, 2017

You've Seen the Difference and It's Getting Better All the Time.

 Whew! The last 5 days have been crazy. I'll try to document a bunch of it for you, but I'm tired just thinking about it.

 I started this post on Wednesday, but then halfway through the day, I realized that I had food poisoning and went home and stayed very close to my bathroom for the next day and a half. So, I am now done with that messiness and able to finally start blogging about all of the crazy shit I've been doing.

John and I decided to have a date night last Friday after work. It was lovely. We rode mountain bikes for an hour or so and then headed to Big Grove Iowa City for dinner.

Since it was Cinco de Mayo, we were going to order their special ceviche, but sadly they were out of it. Wah. On the happy side, I did have a margarita or two and they were just what the doctor ordered. (And apparently, I'm the doctor)

After we finished eating, we went outside on the patio and finished our drinks while watching the sunset. It was pretty much a perfect date night. We'll have to do that again some time very soon.