Thursday, September 24, 2020

  So, hey. This is the tenth anniversary of my first date with John. I am including the post I originally wrote about that situation. After reading it, I think we're both STILL not ready to be in any kind of serious relationship, but we're just going to keep on laughing our way through this one:


Mystery Is What This Is to Me

Stinky making that face before the Homecoming dance.

Soooo. Let's see. Remember how I told you I was going out to dinner with a friend? Well, I wasn't sure if it was a friend thing or a date. We had talked about things the week before, and he said he was just out of long term relationship, and thought he needed to be single for a while. I had had that confusion with other guys, and figured I should just assume it was a friend thing to protect myself. You know, 4,213 times bitten, 8,426 times shy and all.

Then on Friday morning he sent me this:

How can I possibly be nervous about our date tonight?

How long have I known you?

How old am I?

Just how scary are you?


So, then I knew it was a date and got a little nervous myself. We also agreed that I was pretty damn scary.

I got off work, went running, and then met him for dinner...It was very nice and we had a great talk. Afterward, we decided to go to George's for a drink and to stay away from the Dublin and people we knew. Of course, we were there for all of 5 minutes when my friend G. walked in with some of her family members who were in town for the game. We all laughed at the odds of her hanging out there, since she hadn't been at George's for at least a year. I really don't think it's possible for this town to be any smaller.

We had a good talk about things. He's still pretty confused about how ready he is to be in a relationship, but he wants to at least date and see how it goes. We've decided to take things really slowly and that works for me too.

Saturday it rained and rained and rained. Stinky worked all day. I went for a run, but then spent the rest of the day cleaning my place and listening to music. It was a very nice way to spend a rainy day.

In the evening, I went to Stinky's friends house and took pics before the Homecoming dance. The kids all cleaned up pretty nice.

I got home and talked to the guy. We were originally going to meet at the Dublin, but he said he didn't sleep very well the night before. So, he bought a bottle of wine over and I made some food and he came over and we talked and ate and drank it was wonderful. Stinky and her boyfriend came home after the dance and before they went back to their friend's and they all got to meet. Stinky thought he was really nice and he and Stinky took a moment to bond by making fun of me, so he thought she was pretty cool too. So far so good.

It will be interesting to see how this all pans out. I think we both want to make sure we're still friends no matter what happens with our dating. I really hope that's possible.


Monday, September 14, 2020

Well, I'm Accustomed to a Smoother Ride, Or Maybe I'm a Dog Who's Lost Its Bite

It is officially butterfly season around here, as the Monarchs get going on their migration...Or, at least it was until last week where it went from a high in the 90's with no rain for almost a month, to being in the lower 50's with non-stop rain for four days in a row. If I were butterfly, I would start my migration early too.

I thought I'd use this post as one of my "What am I doing/reading/listening to/watching/eating lately thingies. So, here goes:

We saw these beautiful turtles sunning themselves on a gravel ride last month.

What have I been doing lately? Well, with this pandemic, my options have been limited, so instead of gearing up for Cyclocross racing season, we've just been doing fun rides around and outside of town, and I'm still trying to get back into running, but my feet haven't been super on board. We are thinking we will try to ride more gravel around, just to change things up. I'll have more on that in another post...

I am partly working at home and partly working in the office. Since our town has the second highest Covid cases per capita in the world, we are trying to be very careful. Only one of us can work in the office at a time. Since there are three of us, we each work for one week in the office, every third week. We haven't had tons of people come into the office, which is good. It is really hard to police college kids about wearing masks and following all of the Covid guidelines we have in place.

What am I eating? Besides too much of everything, we have been so lucky to eat tons of food from the garden. We are getting to the end of that bounty, which really makes me sad, but we had a very good run this Summer. I have been eating so many garden tomatoes, peppers, green beans, and zucchini lately. I also have a friend who grows kale in the community gardens across the street, and she hooks me up with some whenever I see her. I never thought I liked kale before, and I still can't eat it by itself, but it is really nice in stir-frys or mixed with other lettuces for salads.

I'm sure in the next month or two, we'll have to buy most of our veggies at the store again, and they won't be half as good as what we've had this Spring and Summer. I guess all I can do, is be grateful for what we do get from the garden.

What am I listening to? I know the photo above has nothing to do with music, but it is a photo of something I love. I know I keep saying this, but Gus-Gus has been such a joy for us. He is so sweet and so damn entertaining.

Oh, yeah. What am I listening to? I have really gotten into listening to the soundtracks from the show "Insecure". I love the show too, but I already watched it earlier in the Summer and I'm still listening to the soundtracks from all of the seasons. They are such a good mix of  recent rap and R and B.

What am I reading? Reading has been kind of weird for me lately. With all of the scary stuff going on in general, and living in a dystopian society with our crooked president, I'm having a hard time reading anything too hard to deal with, you know? For some reason, I can read more non-fiction than normal, maybe because I usually know what the outcome is, and there aren't any depressing surprises like there can be in fiction. 

I read Michelle Obama's memoir "Becoming" and really liked it. I saw the Netflix show and it made me feel hopeful for the first time since the election in 2016, and I needed more of that. So, I borrowed the book from my daughter and devoured it. I'm also reading the collection of Maya Angelou's autobiographies. I had read " I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" and "Singin' and Swingin' and Gettin' Merry Like Christmas" before, but it has been so long ago, that I didn't remember them all that well, and the other three are intriguing as well.

The other series I read like I was eating candy, was the "Crazy Rich Asians" trilogy. Holy cow! If you ever want to just read escapist fun fiction, this is your trilogy. Although, it was kind of like watching "Sex int he City" for me, because I have no idea about any kinds of name brands or couture, and I've never even had a manicure or pedicure, so all of the parts where they talk about designers and spa treatments are TOTALLY lost on me.  The rest though? The rest is just fun, and that's what I need to read right now.

What am I watching? John and I got on this big comfort movie kick. We watched "Little Shop of Horrors", "Bull Durham", and "Amelie" all in one weekend. We also started watching "The Andy Griffith Show" again.When I was a kid, it was syndicated and came on right before the news, and we'd watch it while eating dinner. So, every few years, I just dip into that nostalgia again, and it can be like a balm to my overworked psyche.

I've also watched some documentaries. I watched the Hillary Clinton interview one on Hulu. I thought it was pretty good, and didn't let her off the hook for some of the things I've had issues with about her. I also watched the Margaret Atwood documentary. I love her so much, and I just bought another copy of "The Handmaid's Tale",  so I can read that again, and the sequel, "Testaments" that just came out in paperback. I'm excited that I have those to look forward to this Fall. On HBO, I watched the Mike Nichol's and the Gloria Steinem documentaries too.

As far as newer movies and shows are concerned, we loved "The Peanut Butter Falcon", and we're enjoying the HBO show, "Lovecraft Country". I read that book a year or two ago, and really liked it. I think the show is a little more confusing than the book, but it might be something that they pull together at the end.

Okay. It's almost Fall. Both John and Stinky have birthdays next week, so I have that to look forward to. I am a little nervous about how Covid will play out this Winter with our numbers so high already, and don't get me started about this election. I'll just have to vote like our country depends on it, because it does, eat well, play bikes, and give myself all the mental and emotional breaks I need by escaping through books and movies and shows. I hope the best for all of you.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Soon You Will Know That You Are Sane, And You Know You're on Top of the World Again

So, today you all get a quick random post.

The county I live in currently has 3,095 cases of Covid with 334 new cases in just 24 hours. We are wearing our masks and staying home as much as possible, but we still have to work outside of our home. I have to help college students, many of whom have been hanging out in crowded bars, not wearing masks. Who knew an office job could be so dangerous?

We live about a block from one of the high schools, and lately the boy's Cross Country team has been having their practices there. Our poor cat Heidi told me she feels like she's living at the beginning of the movie, "Juno".

It's hardly rained here since the land hurricane we had on the 10th of August, and this week it got so damn hot and humid. I believe it got to 100 degrees here with humidity percentages of not much less than that. At least the corn is happy...

 Speaking of the Derecho...While we did lose a lot of our sunflowers, we still have some that survived. Sure, they're a little bent, but they're still beautiful and resilient. I think there is a lesson in there about weathering storms, but I don't want to sound TOO much like a motivational poster, so I'll let it go. 

As usual, try to hang in there through this stupid pandemic. Wear your masks, and try to socially distance yourself from other people. Contrary to what Fox News watchers will tell you, that isn't living in fear, that's practicing good common sense.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

With the Furies Breathing Down Your Neck

Well, Kids. It's been a while. First I was busy, but then 2020 kept on serving up shit sandwich after shit sandwich. and we got hit with that land hurricane, which meant we didn't have power for over four and a half days and then didn't have internet for over 10 days. So, thank jeebus I have an excuse for not blogging this time. Whew!

So, yeah. The storm went down like this. A little minute before I was supposed to go to lunch the sirens went off, and I was like, "WTF! What now? There's not a cloud in the sky." And since we were all still working from home because of the pandemic, I IM'ed my co-workers and one of them said that there was supposed to be a storm coming with 80 mile per hour winds, and I was still, like "WTF! There's not a cloud in the sky."

So, then I made myself a BLT, because I had all of these amazing garden tomatoes and I heated up some corn on the cob, which is about my favorite meal, especially if you throw in some fried potatoes. I went with the kitten out on the back porch to eat, and then I was like "WTF! There is suddenly a scary line of clouds in the sky." I decided it was time to go inside. Then the storm hit. Bam! I ran to the window to coax Gus into the house. It was weird that he wasn't even scared.

After the cats were safely in the house, the electricity went out and I made myself a little nest in the hallway and read my book and tried to stay safe. It turns out Stinky was driving to Iowa City when the storm hit and she kept slowing down on the interstate, until she couldn't see and she finally pulled off in Grinnell. Don't think I didn't have a couple of heart attacks when she was telling me that charming tale.

Anyway, after 40 minutes or so, the storm finally stopped. I went outside to survey the damage, but at the time I couldn't see that down the street there was such a huge snarl of trees and power lines, that we wouldn't be able to drive down it for four days, and I had no idea that we would be out of electricity for four and a half days, or that we wouldn't have internet for over 10 days, or that I would have to go into work when we really weren't supposed to, because I had already used three and a half vacation days, and the semester was starting in a week and a half and we still had to admit people and I couldn't work from home without power or internet.

Of course, it was all way worse in Cedar Rapids. Yes, I was inconvenienced, but people North of us lost their homes and  had to camp out in tents or stay in gyms. After the tornado in 2006, the roof was off of our apartment and we had to stay at a friend's house for two weeks. So, compared to all of that, I am one lucky so-and-so. Mostly, I'm just tired, like I'm sure you all are. I'd love not to have to have well over a hundred people test positive for Corona virus in the last couple of days in our town. I would love for cops to quit killing Black people for minor offenses or no offenses, I would love to not have horrible storms and wild fires happening all over our country. I would really, really, love to be bored for a little while. I'd love for someone to say, "Hey. How's it going?" and to honestly answer, "You know, not too much."


 Luckily, we made the best decision to adopt a kitten this Summer. He really is the sweetest pet I've ever owned. He let's me pick him up and hold him and kiss him whenever I want to, and some days I take full advantage of that.

I'm hoping for all of us that 2020 suddenly becomes tediously boring. Also, make sure you vote in November.

Monday, July 27, 2020

We Gon' Party Like it's Yo Birthday

On July 16th, I turned 55. Fifty-five?! Holy cow. I never thought I'd live this long. I'm glad I have and I hope to live for many more years, but I don't take it for granted.

I do love being this age. I know things will get tougher the older I get, but right now, I feel like I'm in the sweet spot. I'm still pretty good physically, except for my stupid migraines, my brain is working as well as it ever has, and I've done tons of work trying to fix my self-esteem, and my emotional maturity. I am in a healthy marriage to the love of my life, I'm not rich, but I can pay my bills and save a little money, my daughters are adults, so I'm not spending all of my time trying to raise them, I have a cute little house with a beautiful garden, a job I like just fine, and more cats than I can handle. I consider myself one lucky bit@h.

John had to take his mom to a doctor's appointment, so I started my day with some much cherished alone time reading books and drinking tea on my porch, and then putzing around in the garden. It was perfect.

After John got back from his mom's appointment, we went for a bike ride to Sutliff Bridge. We met our friend Burne along the way.

The weather was unseasonably nice. It was about 82 degrees with almost no humidity. That almost never happens in the middle of Summer in Iowa.

We headed to Big Grove in Solon after our ride to Sutliff Bridge. I had veggie chorizo and potato tacos and a MIllstream rootbeer for lunch. I was in heaven.

Just before we left, we were interviewed by some reporters about a bike trail that was recently finished. Then we rode home and relaxed a little before dinner.

Part of that relaxing included opening gifts. John got me some great things. He got me a new computer and saddle for my bikes, a puzzle where we're actually in the photo, some cold weather wool undershirts, some alien socks, an Atlas Obscura, and a t-shirt that says "The Book Was Better (it's how I feel about most things anyway). Oh, he also got me a boot brush for cleaning shoes off before you go into the house. It was a bit of a POINTED gift, since I come into the house with dirty feet more often than not. Poor John.

Coadster came over for dinner and we ordered the fried chicken dinner from Bluebird Diner. They only serve it on Thursdays and you have to pre-order it, but if you like fried chicken, you should definitely get it. It came with mashed potatoes and gravy and biscuits, and coleslaw and whipped butter.

Coadster also did a recreation of the Lion King with Gus playing baby Simba's part. He was adorable.

After we ate and Coadster went home, we walked a few blocks to Shakespeare's and sat outside and had a beer. It was the first time since 2014 that we were home on my birthday, and besides the pandemic, it was a lovely, lovely day.

Here's to next year's birthday being the one we were supposed to have this year. We were going to be in Santa Fe, New Mexico getting ready to ride bikes to Las Cruces. Everyone wear your masks and wash your hands, so that vacations can be a possibility for all of us soon.

Friday, July 24, 2020

He's a One Boy, Cuddly Toy, My Up My Down, My Pride and Joy

So, I thought I'd finally blog again. So much has happened - well, in Covid-19 terms, so much has happened. Mostly, we picked up our new kitten two weeks ago. He is so sweet. I've never had a cat this young before, so I had some reading to do to learn about what to do with such a little baby, and how to integrate him with our two older cats.

 We picked our new baby up on a Friday afternoon. He was a little skittish at first. Since we didn't want him to hang out with our cats until he could see the vet, we kept him upstairs in our dormer room. The first night he was up there, he wouldn't go anywhere where he was out in the open. He spent most of his time under the futon frame or in a little crate where we keep my old albums. He is very vocal, and he would meow as he ate. It was adorable.

The next day he came out in the open more often. He also learned to use the litter box. He was an outdoor kitten before he came to us, but he caught right on to the litter box. Whew!

On Monday we were able to take him to the vet where they checked him out, vaccinated him against distemper and feline leukemia, checked him for both diseases, fleas, ear mites, and worms. He was good on all fronts, except for worms, so he got sent home with some dewormer meds, and some Frontline, just in case he had some fleas that the vet wasn't able to see. The vet also told me what a good boy he was. He has no problem with anyone touching his paws or ears or belly. I already knew all of that, even after three days.

After we saw the vet, we were able to gradually start integrating him with our older cats. Our older cats were decidedly not amused.

At first they were jealous and mad at us. They punished us by ignoring us and not sticking their butts in our faces for a few days. We were duly chastened. 

We also needed to name our kitten. We kind of liked old guy names. John also thought we had too many cats names that ended in an EE sound. We thought about Emmett, Ned, Stan, Saul, Simon, and Orville (after our favorite road name - the Orville Yoder Turnpike). We tried Orville, but the lack of a hard consonant was a problem for me and John has always had truble with his R's. We talked about it, and finally came up with Gustavo Gustafson, or Gus Gus, or Gus, or Mucho Gusto when he is being way too much.

At first I wasn't sure if John wanted another orange boy cat, since we already had one who is a MIGHTY presence in our house, but Gus and John and have a very special bond. John ended up sleeping with him every night for the first week and a half, and now Gus is the president of John's fan club, and I think John just started Gus' fan club.

In the two weeks we've had him, Gus has already grown so much, and he learns everything so quickly. We know from Archie, smart cats aren't always a good idea... Just kidding! I love smart cats.

Speaking of Archie...He is no longer jealous of Gus. His feelings about the kitten now are mostly just annoyance. Gus loves Archie and won't leave him alone.

Archie is forced to find places that Gus can't get to...yet. He is now often parked in the kitchen window with his back to the kitten.

Being annoying can be really tiring for our little guy too.

Gus is now full time downstairs and he is more and more comfortable in his new home. The bigger cats are also getting more and more comfortable with him.

Yesterday I couldn't find Gus. I called to him, got his food out, and still he didn't show up. I went outside and saw that the door to the screened in porch was unlatched. So, I frantically wandered around our yard yelling for Gus. I was so afraid he got out.

I noticed Archie going from window to window watching me outside, and then he started meowing. I went inside, and Archie was sitting right inside the door next to Gus. Archie was so sweet to bring Gus to me, but of course, once I was inside and Archie remembered how close Gus was to him, he started hissing at him. Silly cats.

And so, at least one good thing has come out of this Covid crisis. We were able to get our new kitten, while I'm still working from home. The bigger cats may not agree, but both John and I feel like he is a wonderful addition to our weird, messy, chaotic, family.

Thursday, July 09, 2020

She'll Just Tell You That She Came in the Year of the Cat

This Emu has the same facial expression that I do lately.

So, wait. Do I have a blog? I thought I did, but then I haven't been here for a while, so who the hell knows.

Anyhoooooo. I am still  here, treading water like everyone else right now.  I haven't been writing, or even reading that much, which id weird for me, but I've been doing so many other things, I haven't had the time to relax and sit long enough, to read and write. As always, I will try to be better about that in the future.

I am VERY lucky that both John and I are working full time, and so far, we haven't been furloughed or been given pay cuts or haven't had to take unpaid time off. We're hoping that stays with the big number of cases there are in Iowa right now.

Even though we seem to live in a shit hole country right now as far as politics are concerned, I am hopeful more people will get out and vote this year, and we can turn things around and protect civil rights, the environment, and democracy in general.

The big news in our house right now, is that we are going to pick up our new kitten tomorrow! Both of our other cats are getting older, and we're worried that if one of them dies, the other will be pretty damn lonely, and we don't want that. Soooo, we are adding another little orange boy into our weird and chaotic family. We don't have a name for him yet. We want to meet him in person first to see who he is.

My friend, Julie lives in Newton and she is the best of the crazy cat ladies, and kitties seem to just know that about her, so the strays show up at her property, and she takes care of them and gets them to the vet, and our kitten's mom showed up pregnant. Soooo, John and I are both getting off work early to pick him up tomorrow, and then we'll start our week long birthday vacation at home. Yea!

Saturday, June 20, 2020

We Fell Up, Not to See the Sun. Gardening at Night Just Didn't Grow

Man, I suck. I really thought I would be able to write more during these Covid times, but work is crazy busy, and I'm gardening like a fiend, and riding bikes like a mad woman, and cooking healthy meals for us.

Soooo, I am REALLY trying to write more. I know you would just hate to miss posts about the books I read, and how they made me feel, or the tricks and plans for my garden and the feelings I have about them, or my political rage, or my old lady health problems and the emotions they invoke in me.

Well, today I'm going to write about my husband and how I feel about him. Basically, I am so damn lucky to get to live with John. Maybe I appreciate him so much because we didn't start dating until I was 45 years old, and I had to sort through all kinds of frogs, and spiders, and snakes, and scorpions, and poisonous creatures of every kind.

Anyway, John puts up with my weird obsessions, and gardening is a big one of mine. He doesn't love to garden himself, but he will always help me and support me in my gardening, and he really loves the fresh food we get out of ours too. As I've said before, gardening is basically war. You battle the elements, you fight animals trying to eat all of your hard work, and you wage war against the bugs...And right now, the worst of those bugs are Japanese Beetles. I am always looking for solutions to these problems in an organic way. So, one of the solutions, is to buy Neem oil and spray your plants with it every couple of weeks. Especially, the week or so before the Japanese beetles come out. The male beetles come out first and eat the leaves of plants and they go back down and feed their babies with those chewed up leaves and if they consume the oil laden leaves, it will kill them before they can even come up and be pests. Neem oil is an oil that comes from a tree in India and helps kill fungus on plants (which has been a problem for my tomatoes, and zucchini and basil), and it also helps kill said Japanese beetles.

The big problem is that Neem oil also kills bees if it has direct contact with them. So, I can only spray it when there aren't any bees around. So, I did the only logical thing, I Googled "What time do Bees go to bed?". It turns out, they go to sleep once it's dark out. Which means, I could only spray the Neem oil at night, and since we're almost at the Summer Solstice, it gets dark after nine o'clock at night. John normally goes to bed BEFORE nine.

Last Sunday, I decided to spray the Neem oil. John was sweet enough to set it all up for me and left a flash light too, so I could see what I was doing. As John was getting ready for bed, I told him I was going to go out and spray the Neem oil, and he came out there too, showed me how to use the hand held sprayer, and then followed me around with the flashlight, so I could see what I was doing. We were like bug thieves in the night. I know what a pain in the ass it is to stay up past your bedtime to help your partner with something you aren't really all that interested in yourself, so I appreciate the hell out of him for doing so without me even asking him.

I just hope I'm not lazy and I can support him like that the next time he needs help doing the things he loves, but I'm not particularly all that interested in.

Saturday, June 06, 2020

Our Freedom of Speech is Freedom or Death

Even though our country is falling apart right now, and there is so much justifiable anger right now, and we don't have any kind of leader, and people thought it was a good idea to vote in a president who just settles things by saying, "You're fired!" to anyone who disagrees with him, or incites violence against the citizens of his own country, and doesn't produce even one positive plan of action to help with the HUGE divide in our country right now. Even though all of that, and a whole hell of a lot more, Archie wants to remind you that there is still a pandemic going on that has already killed over 100,000 people in your country, so you need to wash your damn hands.


Thursday, May 28, 2020

What Else Could I Write? I Don't Have the Right.

Hey! I just wanted to let you know that I'm still here. I've had this weird combination with being freakishly busy at work (I know. I'm not complaining, I feel very lucky to have a job), almost constant migraines, tons of gardening, food cooking, bike riding and generally doing whatever the hell else I do around the house, and I haven't had time for blog writing. I have lots to tell you and I will try very hard to find more time to write here. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Pretty Soon Now You're Gonna Get Older

Not all that long ago, in this very same galaxy, my daughters were in their early twenties and they came over for brunch on Mother's Day and didn't offer to help, and didn't offer to even clean  up after, and when I said something about it to them, they "joked" about being lame or whatever and still didn't help clean up and I was very disappointed in them.

I get that they were in their early twenties, and newly out of my house, and that made them more self-centered and they probably thought of it like they had to cook for themselves all the time, they might as well get a home cooked meal, and be catered to, or whatever goes through anyone's head when they're in their early twenties, but I was pretty hurt.

Fast forward to yesterday when the girls are in their late twenties. I said something about making dinner when they came over and The Youngest said, "We can talk about that later..." Which I thought meant she wasn't crazy about the food options I presented.

Fortunately, it was because she and her sister didn't want me to have to do anything. So, they came over with their men, and The Youngest brought her dogs, and Archie got to assert his dominance in front of them. Then we sat around and talked about what they were going to pick up for Mother's Day dinner. We ordered pizza from Wig and Pen and they went and picked it up and paid for it. It was so nice that they finally got it.

We had a lovely day. The food was very good, and the best Mother's Day present of all, is seeing my girls maturing and growing up. The saddest part of the day was standing next to them and realizing how much I'm shrinking. Eek!

The are the only people, besides John that I get anywhere near these days. Lucky for me, they are people I love spending time with. So, Happy Mother's Day to all you Mutha's out there, whether you have children, adopted children, foster children, step children, you help mentor other people's children, you have animals, or whatever other situation you find yourself in.

Tuesday, May 05, 2020

In a Little Cottage Cozy The World Seems Rosy at Sundown

 One of my co-workers is getting ready to sell her house. They bought a bigger house, when her son and her mom both lived with them. Now that her son is in his thirties and has moved out, and her mother died of her dementia a few years ago, they want something smaller with less upkeep. So, she took last week off to get her house ready to sell. Which basically means they are getting rid of tons of their crap and doing some projects to make it more attractive to buyers.

That got me thinking. Our house is about the perfect size for John and myself. but it needs a lot of work. What if we got our house ready to sell, but then didn't move? Wouldn't it be great to do that work just for us, and do the projects to make it more attractive and with less crap inside of it? So, that's my new goal.

Of course, I'm not worried about making it nice for someone else to want to buy it. That usually means making everything more neutral, and, as  you know, I'm not a neutral kind of person. I want our little cottage to be sweet and homey, and full of books and music, with a big kitchen where I cook wonderful meals. It doesn't have to be spotless, John and I like to LIVE in our house, which means we have linoleum tile on our kitchen floor, so we don't have to worry about something happening to it when John works on bikes in our house. I also want our yard to be full of flowers, and vegetables and have funky little sculptures and gewgaws, and whirligigs. I like quirky, funky places, like a Hobbitt house, or Snow White's cottage, and if woodland creatures wanted to come over and clean-up the place, I'd be receptive to that too.

 To that end, we are still working diligently on our place. Since we don't have a lot of money, we have to do the actual work ourselves, and try to find the stuff we need on sale. On Saturday, the store that used to be a Hy-Vee grocery story, but is now a Hy-Vee drug store (?) that has a huge garden center in the warmer months, had a sale of 15% off their landscaping and garden items. So, I took full advantage and bought a few more sculptures, and flagstone and some bullet pavers.

Then I started arranging them as a border around our very small backyard. I didn't get to do the digging and then the weed cloth and lava rock placement yet, but I'm getting a lot closer. There is just soooo much work to do, and never enough time to do it all.

John also ordered new linoleum floor tile for our kitchen. Since our house was built in 1950, we got black and white squares in keeping with the period. We'll see how long it takes to get here, but we'll have more than plenty to do around here while we wait.

For now, I plan to keep plugging along on getting my house ready to sell, and then staying put and enjoying my whirligigs and gewgaws.

Friday, May 01, 2020

Gimme a Break! The Game is Survival! Gimme a Break, And Plan My Arrival!

Soooo, I'm going to talk about how lovely last weekend was. Not just the weather, but all the things we did. I'll start off with projects. I know not everyone else is as weird as I am (Okay, almost no one else is), but I love to do projects, especially ones that make a huge difference, and are pretty when they're done.

Right when they were starting to close everything down for Covid-19, I ran to the paint store in case it wouldn't be open for a while and I got paint for our front screen door. Our house came with this cool, old, screen door and any house nerd who sees it tells us how amazing it is. The big problem with it, was that it was a 1970's brown color with weird, tan trim and on a 1950's white house, it just looked unattractive and odd.

If you know me at all, you know how much I love color. Bright colors. So, a few years ago, I started looking for pictures of houses with colorful doors. I found one that I loved that was bright blue, not teal, or aqua, but a lighter, bright blue. When I went to the the paint store, I checked out different paint samples and asked the woman what the best kind of paint was to use on a metal door. She was very helpful, and I found exactly the color I was looking for:

On Saturday morning, John got out the Borax and cleaned the hell out of that door (and boy-howdee! did it need it). Then in the afternoon, I started painting. I got the first coat on by the evening and got up early the next morning to apply the second coat. I think it looks great. It's exactly what I wanted, and man, is it bright. It's amazing how much different our house looks just from painting the door. We've had tons of compliments on it, and on Sunday, my friend Bridget, who owns her own house painting company was across the street at the community gardens and yelled over to me how much she liked it. I figure, if a professional house painter is enthusiastic about it, I did okay. I'm sure there are plenty of people who don't like my bright blue door, but those people don't have to have one on their house either.

While I was working on the door, John went to work on our side yard. It's not very big, but it was one hell of a mess. It had tons of volunteer trees, and a few of them were right up against the house. So, John finished the project I started, digging those up. If you want to talk about a shitty project where you're basically hacking at the earth to get to some roots, there it is. By Sunday morning he had finished that thankless job. Now, this weekend we're going to dig up all of the fern starts there, then use some of our tax return money to buy some more brick pavers, weed cloth and lava rock. I wanted to finish that project by last weekend, but now I'm shooting for this coming weekend. Wish us luck!

We also headed up to the small town where Coadster lives with her boyfriend to drop off her bike and some seedlings for what my daughter is calling their Victory Garden (she is and always will be a World War II nerd). When we were there, she told John that the Aloe plant that he gave her for Christmas a few years ago, had grown out of its latest pot, so he took it back with us and repotted it in this HUGE ceramic container. Hopefully, it will be a few more years before he has to repot it again.

After all of our chores were as done as they were going to be for one weekend, we did our favorite thing - Bike ride! Bike ride! Bike ride!

We are very lucky to live in Iowa during this pandemic. We can ride a couple of miles and be out in the middle of nowhere. We love it that there are more animals than vehicles in Amish country.

And the majority of vehicles we see have a very different kind of horse power than in town.

We rode almost 50 miles and it felt so good to play outside where there wasn't any danger of catching Covid-19. It was almost like it didn't exist for a few hours. Exactly what I needed - a break from it.

When we got home from our mental health break, I made veggie lasagna and my favorite salad for dinner. It has fresh spinach, raspberries, feta cheese, red onion slices and pine nuts. It is pretty damn delicious.

Anyway, I'm glad we had such a lovely weekend, because work this week has been hell. May first is decision day, and we are inundated with calls and emails from students wanting to either cancel their admission, postpone their admission, or a firm promise that we are going to have classes on campus this Fall. If only we knew what the future held for all of us...