Sunday, May 31, 2009

Can I Tell U What I'm Thinkin' That U Already Know?

Gomez trying to keep her dress up. Look ma, no hands!

So, this weekend has been wonderful and crazy and busy. Tonight I'll just talk about the nuptials I went to on Friday night. My friend and fellow Ottumwan got hitched and had her reception at the Eagles Lodge/Club/Center? or whatever it is. It was a great time.

Gomez had almost all of the guys from our town's rugby team in attendance, so there was no chance in hell that this would be a sedate affair. Thank gawd!

Lucky for all of us, my Girl Crush came back for it. She wore this fetching gown that made her look like a cross between Sandy and Cha Cha DiGregorio. How hot is that?

At some point during the festivities, a guy stopped me and asked me if I dated the guy I used to go out with last Winter. My response was, "Who hasn't?'

"Surprisingly, I haven't," he said. Then he went on to say he knew me, but in a more voyeuristic way. That one guy I dated had given him the link to my blog. He said he used to read it, because he now worked at some fancy schmancy school on the East Coast and it was his only link to Iowa City. I thought it was great and asked him if he wanted to pose for a pic with me and my girl crush, that I would then post on my blog and he said he definitely would.

There was a crazy mix of a bunch of people from different parts of my life. Since the bride was from Ottumwa, one of the guys I graduated with was there and his daughters, who are friends with my daughters, were also in attendance. We laughed about how weird that was, then we bitched a little about how crazy it was that our parenting has boiled down to becoming glorified chauffers and money dispensers.

My former classmate's son was a fiend on the dance floor. I couldn't get enough of watching him break dancing and doing the worm across the floor. Eventually, my classmate's wife came up to me and said, "Jeez! Who's kid is that?" I asked her where he got his mad skillz and she said he had three older sisters who taught him everything he knows.

The DJ was okay, but luckily my Girl Crush was there to suggest better dance songs. We were surprised, but they even had Prince's "Pussy Control" - the song the girl's pool league has adopted as their theme song.

By the end of the night, the dance floor turned into a giant mosh pit, and I couldn't have been happier. I had never been to wedding where there was a mosh pit before. I think it's a tradition everyone should uphold.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Nightime is the Right Time...a-DYNAMITE!

Here is a car window with a sticker that says "gravel rocks".

Tonight was so great. I didn't have to drive anyone anywhere. Not even once. I ran my six mile route, and made dinner. I got to do my hour of cleaning, dance like an idiot around Coadster while she did her homework AND make strawberry/banana/orange juice smoothies. I feel a million times better just having that little extra at-home time.

Here is another artsy shot that A. took of the colored lights on the dance floor where we did karaoke.

I love how fast the weekdays go when there are only 4 days in them. I also love that I have 5 more weeks like this on the way. Hooray!

Work has been really busy this week. All the colleges and high schools are sending us their final transcripts, and everyone wants us to make their decision first. My favorite line is, "We'll try to make a decision as soon as possible, but a lot of other people have all waited until the last minute to apply too. So, we have to review them in the order they were received..." Let me tell you. People love hearing that one.

This weekend should be another crazy one. I have to race home, shower, get ready and head to my friend Gomez's wedding. She's from the same town where I went to high school and her dad was my brother's swim coach. I didn't meet her until last year. Small world. I'm sure it will be a lot of fun, but a little more hectic than I like to be on a Friday evening. Saturday, I have to get Coadster to soccer practice by 1o. She's going to the Quad Cities to DJ a wedding and isn't sure if she'll come home that night or the next day. Stinky has a concert to go to on Friday night. Some local boy makes good pop star named Jason Reeves. He went to their high school, so I don't know if tweens and high school girls all over the country think he's dreamy, or if it's just the girls here.

Anyway, I guess that's all I got for you tonight. Let me know your plans. Will you be attending or working at any weddings?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Happiness Is So Hard to Find

Here is a recycled photo of myself and one of my co-workers at Gussini Shoe store in Berkeley in 1986.

I'm sure you all know how weird I am about music. I'm not as likely to look at how it's played or what people are doing with their instruments. You could have all the best musicians in the world performing and playing really well, and if I'm bored with their song, I couldn't be bothered. For me, music has always been an emotional thing. I feel really strongly about songs one way or the other. They can be an awesome memory or the soundtrack to a really bad part of my life.

Some songs I know are cheese, but it doesn't matter, because they take me back to a time in my life that made me really happy. Of course the opposite is true. Whether a song is good or bad, hearing it can remind me of a particularly shitty stage in my life too.

Lately, my daughter has really been into this song called, "I Can't Wait" by a band called Nu Shooz. I think someone else might be sampling it, and that's where she heard it. You may or may not remember them, but trust me, they were really big in 1986. At that time I was working at my worst job ever. (and I've cleaned toilets for living) I had just moved to San Francisco and was living in my boyfriend's mom's house, my boyfriend wasn't sure if he still wanted to stay together, I had no money, nowhere else to go and my bosses totally sucked. For years, I couldn't hear that song without it bringing back all those horrible feelings.

The crazy thing about it, is that I'm totally okay with it now. It's actually turned into a more positive memory. I can laugh at how I had to cover all the high school girl's shifts on Friday nights so they could get home in time to watch Miami Vice, and how my two favorite high school guys used to wait for me to close up, so they could ride the BART with me through Oakland and protect me if need be. I can look back with some perspective and remember that it was one of the first times in my adult life that I actually took control of a situation.

With my orphan issues, I was always so terrified to actively change things in my life. In the past, change usually meant I was moving toward something worse. I wouldn't leave bad relationships or jobs no matter what, because they were an evil I knew, as opposed to an evil I didn't know but was sure to meet. I was one of those people who just let things happen to them. I finally left that situation. I quit my job, got a new one and found roomates to live with, instead of my fickle boyfriend and his crazy mom.

So, I guess my daughter can bring it. I'm ready to take on all the music from that time. "Manic Monday"? Who Cares. "West End Girls"? I'll kick all the Pet Shop Boys' asses. "Rock Me Amadeus"? No, let me rock you. "That's What Friends Are For"?...Uh, no. I still can't listen to that one. Sorry.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

But the Long Face That You See Comes From Living Close to Your Fears

Here is a neighbor's old car.

Okay. So, I'm having a smoke detector issue. You know how I don't have any mechanical skillz, right? Well, my smoke detector's battery started to go, so it was screeching at me in sporadic intervals. So annoying. I yanked it off the wall and thought I could just take the battery out of it, until I had a chance to run to the store to get another 9 volt. I was sadly mistaken. I couldn't get the damn thing apart. So, I did what I usually do in these kinds of situations; I called Stinky over. She is the only one of the three of us who has any kind of engineering know-how and she's usually really good at fixing everything. This time, she failed.

I had no other choice but to put it on the loveseat where no one sits and cover it with pillows to hush up its squawking. Of course, I forgot to buy new batteries. I went to sleep just fine, but then sure as shit, I was awakened at 3 in the morning by more low battery screeching.

Here is its wheel...

I wandered into the living room looking for it, so I could fix it real good by smashing it against the wall. Unfortunately, it wasn't hidden under the pillows anymore, and that's why it was so loud. I finally found the offending item on the coffee table. One of the girls must have moved it at some point. I quickly smothered it with pillows to put it out of my misery and tried to get back to sleep. Turns out, I couldn't. I flirted with the idea of giving up and reading a book and just dealing with how cranky I would be in the morning, but held strong to my sleep fantasy.

...And here is the front part of it.

I must have dozed off, because I was suddenly moving to NYC with a much younger version of my ex. I had already quit my job and got rid of my apartment, when I realized I could never live with him (that was about 9 years quicker than in real life). Since I didn't have a job or a place to live, I was free to go wherever I wanted. It was a toss-up between Austin, Texas and Tucson, Arizona. Then it occurred to me that I had kids. (I have no idea where they had been hiding at the beginning of my dream) and I had to stay in Iowa City. That realization jolted me awake and then I did give up on trying to sleep. I didn't do anything productive instead. I just tossed and turned and fretted about what today would be like on so little sleep. Really, I didn't need to worry. I functioned pretty well. Now, I need to get to bed, so that this deprivation doesn't build on itself.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Won't Be Long 'Til Summer Comes

Here are the daisies I planted the first Summer I lived here.

I wasn't nearly as productive as I would like to have been this weekend. Sure, I got some stuff done. Stinky helped me shovel out about a ton of recycling and crap for Goodwill on Saturday and my kitchen is kind of clean, but the rest of my place needs another week of me trying to whip it into shape. I know everyone is sick to death of hearing me whine about this, but having to get up and pick up or drop off my girls every half hour or so, really cramps my cleaning style. I'll start something, get a call, go do some chauffering, come back and either take forever to get back to it, or not get back to it at all. I found myself silently shaking my fist in the air at my ex for not being able to contribute the one thing he's ever done for us... Taking some of the driving load off of me.

Here are the neighbors' irises.

Other than that, the rest of the weekend was really nice. I got some good running in, I went to a cookout at my friend K.'s boyfriend, A.'s house on Saturday and then, as you've already read, got some badly needed blowing off steam time that same night.

Sunday was more driving, and grocery shopping, and in the evening I was supposed to go to another cookout at my friend Eggo's house. Stinky was planning on going to a friend's house, but that fell through, and we both found ourselves exhausted and decided we'd stay home and watch a movie together. Stinky likes horror flicks. If they're more suspenseful, I'm into them too, but I'm not so into the slasher ones that don't have a plot. She talked me into watching the Rob Zombie version of Halloween. Eh, it was okay. Stinky had never seen the original, and I assured her that the remake didn't touch its greatness. We've also tentatively scheduled a viewing of it in the next few weeks.

Here is another photo of the daisies. This time, looking them right in the face.

Today was pretty mellow. I had originally heard it was going to rain much later in the day, so I was going to wait until noon to run. Of course, the clouds rolled in and it started pouring not too long after that, so my running and bike riding plans were put on hold. It would look like it was clearing up and I'd get ready to run a couple of times today, and then it would start raining again the minute I stepped out the door. I took it as a sign that I needed to take a break. I ran 6 days last week, so I couldn't even feel too guilty about not wussing out today.

The girls and I took a little trip to the mall today. I was looking for a cute dress to wear to my friend Gomez's wedding this coming Friday, but didn't find anything I liked well enough to spend money on. I have a couple of other options. I may even raid my daughters' closet and try on Coadster's Homecoming dress.

Anyway, I hope you all had nice relaxing weekends and didn't have to break up your days driving teenagers all over hell.

And We Were Glowing Like the Metal on the Edge of a Knife

A couple of things converged to make this Saturday just about as ridiculous as it could get. First, our friend Dexter of Degrees of Grey blog started working at a dive bar called Kandyland. Apparently, it has a new owner who is trying to class up the joint a little, and is adding bands and karaoke to bring in more cultured and varied patrons. Second, I've never done karaoke before, and I suggested that we check out the Saturday night karaoke, with the extra added bonus of harassing Dexter at work.

The end result was pure idiocy...In a good way. If you've never done karaoke before, (and it seems I'm the only human on the planet who hasn't) you pore over a huge book of song titles to find the very best Def Leppard song in there. (well, at least if you're A., you do)

We had a few bumps in our fun road. Namely, super creeeepeeee, furry, toothless guys who were also WAY too friendly.

My friend J. here was very, very nice and agreed to dance with said furry, toothless creeper. If there is one thing I learned all those years tending bar, is that it doesn't generally pay to be too nice. So, in that spirit, I made a huge point to document the event. As you can see, J. really appreciated the gesture.

I was a little shy to actually get up on stage and sing at first. As I've said before, I'm fine dorking out all over the place, but please, please, please don't make me get up on stage, or I might just freak out.

This woman here? She rocked all of our faces off. A Facebook friend of mine told me that this is her thing. She actually wins contests and stuff.

Here is a photo of me "turning myself around and accidently wrapping the microphone cord around myself. Poor K. didn't know what the hell to think.

After I had my two beers, I was finally ready to get on stage with my friend K. and sing the "Hokey Pokey". I think the idea was that it would be so dorky and funny and I'd get caught up doing the dance, that I wouldn't be quite so nervous. Of course, we didn't account for my gracelessness. Suddenly, I was Jerry Lewis, calling out for Dean.

Right after that, A. got up to sing another song. This time, he traded Def Leppard in for the Eurythmics. At some point, my friend G. and I thought he needed a little help. By the time we got through, we needed to change the lyrics to "Nightmares are made of this..."

Right before we left, four of us got up to sing, "Paradise by the Dashboard Lights". We thought it would be funny for girls to sing it to other girls, and as far as we were concerned, it was. K.'s boyfriend A, took the camera and got all artsy on us. He took a bunch of pictures of us looking like the freaky people in the movie Jacob's Ladder. It was kind of fitting, actually.

The time finally came for us to leave our new found creepy, furry toothless friends and head back to the Dublin Underground. By the end of the night, we were sufficiently tired, sweaty and fresh out of shame. In other words, it was a perfect night.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

A Hundred Miles an Hour in My Mind

Here are some weird things at my daughters' high school. I'm thinking they are used for football somehow?

I am so ready for this three day weekend. It will also begin a 6 week streak of having at least one extra day off a week. Can you imagine having an extra day off a week? I can't wait. We'll start doing Summer orientations at work soon too. I usually go and round-up parents and students and lead them around and eat lunch with them and ask them if they have any questions. Parents usually want to know what the drinking is like on campus, and I'm always tempted to say, "Oh man. It's awesome! Most of the kids are really, really good at it." But then I give them the usual spiel about our commitment to end binge drinking and alcohol education. Anyway, I have to dress-up a little more, but it sure breaks up the days.

The problem I can see for me right now, is that I've already checked out for the weekend. It felt like Friday when I left the building. Then on my way home, I was starting to pass this group of college boys drinking beer and throwing the football around. The guy getting ready to throw it asked me, "Hey, do you want to be impressed?"

Since I would love to have someone try and impress me every second of the day, I said, "Hell, yeah." He told me to stay where I was, while the guy standing a few houses down put an empty beer can on his head. I figured he'd either hit the can, or hit his friend in the face, and either way, it would be entertaining. He threw it over the guy's head and the beer can fell off all by itself. Needless to say, I was unimpressed.

Everyone keeps asking me what I'm doing this weekend, and I don't have much to tell them. Which is exactly how I want it. Coadster is babysitting for a friend of mine tomorrow night. She made school ambassador for next year, and it's a real honor and looks great on a resume, but it means she'll be working the high school graduation most of Sunday. Plus, both of the girls will be attending copious graduation parties all weekend. I plan on watching movies and drinking a beer or two tomorrow night. I'll go out with some people on Saturday night. A friend of mine is a lawyer in the Twin Cities and she said she wanted to hook up with us too. The rest of the time will be spent cleaning, reading, resting, running, and relaxing.

Soooo, how about you all? Do you get three days off? And if you do, how will you fill them?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

And It's Alright, What I Can't Do

Well, kids. Things have calmed down today and I don't have a whole lot to say. Whew! Right? I did happen to bring my camera to work and took a couple of shots. On my way to work, I noticed that someone had placed a red plastic dinosaur in an overgrown yard. I think he looks really natural there.

Here is the bush in front of my office, heavy with flowers. It's almost unseemly, there are so many on there.

I still haven't really had time to work on the balance I was fantasizing about a few days ago. I have been able to run every day this week, and that's been wonderful. This evening my iPod chose to begin my run with Elvis Presley's "Burning Love" and end it with Elvis Costello's "I Can't Stand Up for Falling Down". I liked the Elvis bookends.

Here are some twin pitchforks that I saw stuck in the ground on my walk downtown at lunch.

Tonight was the first time in forever that the girls spent mostly at their dad's house. I had to drive Stinky to basketball practice, but that was it. It felt weird but good to have entire an evening to myself.

I briefly met the supper club kids at the Hilltop for really cheap but delicious cheese fries. Of course, I didn't do much the rest of the evening, but I was finally able to live in my own little world and listen to my own music and hopefully get to bed at a halfway decent hour. Who knows? I may even get enough sleep to write a post that doesn't suck tomorrow. It's not likely, but it's possible.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

My Mind Was Thugged, All Laced and Bugged

Here is a walkway that leads to the Piano Bar and then the alley.

Soooooo, here's the deal, Lucille. It is really late. The girls had their choir concert and then I had some bullshit I had to fume about and work on getting over, and now it's very, very late.

As I've already whined about, the last few weeks have been ridiculously hectic. I haven't had time to keep up with house cleaning, working out, eating right or my much needed alone time. In other words I'm not just whack, I'm out of whack. Hopefully, starting this week, everything will slow down and I can catch-up and get some kind of balance back. I'll let you know how that goes.

For tonight, I need to get to bed. Here's hoping your lives are all moving at a pace you can handle.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Watching Through Windows, You're Wondering If I'm Okay

Once again, I was caught up in a whirlwind weekend. Friday after I got off at noon, I met a couple of friends for cheap sushi lunch. It rained all day, so I went home and took a much needed, if not very quick nap.

The rest of the evening was for Coadster. I picked her up from soccer, and then went to Red Lobster for dinner. She loves that place for some reason. She had her beloved shrimp scampi, Stinky had steak and I had crab legs and steak. We had a great conversation and it all seemed to make Coadster very, very happy. We dropped Stinky off at home so she could go to a neighbor's house where they were sitting around a fire, and Coadster and I went to see Star Trek. We were both very happy with the movie. Of course, we both got a chuckle out of Hollywood's version of future Iowa, but we do most of the time things "take place" in Iowa.

Here's me and the girl crush dancing like idiots to her friend's band.

We hit the ground running on Saturday. I had to get Coadster to a soccer game by 7:30. Then I had to go buy bagels and bring them to the high school for snacks during the show choir workshop. Since Coadster had a soccer double header too, she was going back and forth all day. I made it to her second soccer game. Since Coadster made varisty this year, she doesn't get to play much, so me going to her games is a lot of me watching her sit on the bench. I like watching soccer, so it's fine, it's just that Saturday was so cold and windy, that I was thinking I could wait and watch her sit and watch sports on our couch in the warmth of the living room anytime I wanted. A friend of mine was working taking money at the gate, so we had a good talk. She's one of my Dublin friends and her daughter's in soccer too.

By Saturday evening, I was ready to stop running kids all over hell, and blow off some steam. There was a free movie called Drop Evil at the Englert Theater. It was a play at cheesy old slasher type films made locally, for the most part. I went with my friend K. We knew a lot of people involved and acting in the film, so it was pretty fun.

Here is a bartender safe from the craziness, behind the glass.

My girl crush was back in town again. One of her friend's bands was playing at the Yacht Club. I met some Dublin kids there after the movie and a quick trip to George's to see another friend who was in town.

Here are some cute girls working their "I'm a little Teapot" routine.

After the band played, we checked out the Dublin, but it was full of people we didn't really know and there was nowhere to sit, so we went across the street to a bar called the Deadwood.

The Deadwood was full of people we did know. Many of them, we hadn't seen for a while, so we settled in.

My friend Rachie was back from the UP of Michigan. We tried to give her all kinds of extra attention to help her recover from the Winter up there.

Then Queen's "Don't Stop Me Now" came on the juke box and we dropped everything to do cheesy show choir moves to it. I'm sure you all know how that goes.

It got to a point where I was laughing so hard, that I had to sit down for a minute, or I'd fall down. I love nights like that. I think every night should get to that point. Okay, not every night, but any night that I go out with my girl crush. Thank god, it usually does.

Friday, May 15, 2009

I Saw You Just The Other Day, My, How You Have Grown

I had to wait to get on the computer, because the girls were doing their homework after all of their other things. So, I won't have the time to do this justice, but I'll still give it the old college try. It's Coadster's 17th birthday, so here's my letter to her:

Dear Coadster the Roadster, Mijita, Changita,

As you begin your final year as a minor, there are so many things I want to tell you. I wish you could learn from all of my mistakes, but I know that's not how it works. You have to make your own and get hurt and be sad, no matter how much it kills me to see it. I'm worried that I haven't prepared you for forging your way into your journey as an adult. But I also know that you've had more common sense than I have since you were born. A wonderful side effect of your control issues, is that you have to thoroughly research any new situation or experience before you begin it. I've learned so much from you because of that.

I know we've talked about this several times throughout your life, but you don't have to be super woman. It isn't your job to fix the world by yourself. Most of the problems were here before you were born and they'll most likely be here after we're all gone. It's okay to leave some of the work for someone else now and again. Sure, they probably won't do it right, as far as you're concerned, but it will be just fine.

You've been so lucky to find most of your passions at such an early age. You were singing before you could talk, and as far as I remember, you were crazy about politics and sports since you were in 2nd grade or so. Your stubbornness and love of the underdog, makes you the perfect Cubs fan. I hope you figure out a way to make your living teaching music and coaching soccer. If anyone can, you will.

Remember to take the time to rest and relax. When you were little and you got too overwhelmed, we would work on your breathing, and as you got into junior high, you learned to give yourself a time-out and listen to music to calm down. Don't forget that little trick. If I know you, it's something that will come in handy when you're in college and after.

You've always been a "grass is greener" girl. Wherever you were, somewhere else looked better. In grade school, you wanted to be in high school and all throughout high school, you've been dreaming of going away (as far as you can get) to college. If there is one thing you really need to work on, I'd say it was to learn to be happy where you are. You'll miss some of the best parts of your experiences, by looking over them to the next one.

This last year with you, I promise to appreciate the hell out of you and work on making you an independent woman. All those years of going through stages, butting heads, struggling with all the practical matters of parenting and laughing at and loving all of the wonderfully quirky parts of you, have led us to this point. The point where I finally look at you as not just my daughter, but as an amazing person completely separate from me. I feel like the luckiest mom in the world to get to go through all of this with you.

Happy Birthday!



Wednesday, May 13, 2009

They're Looking to the Sky, Daddy-O

So, today was much better. I thought I'd put up some beach photos in keeping with yesterday's theme. The first two are from Coadster's camera when we were at Carmel. The top one doesn't even look real, does it? The bottom two were taken at Half Moon Bay with my camera. The last one is a little more eye candy. I can't remember if I posted it last Summer or not. If I did, I'm posting it again. Sue me.

After such a hectic week so far, I'm feeling a little random. I still haven't had time to process things, so it's all coming out in little digestible bits...For the most part.

Well, here's a little more information than anyone really wants or needs, but I'm a giver that way. Also, if anyone reading this has teenage girls I hope they can get a little chuckle or a good cry in recognition. Anyway, I found out what was up with the girls the last few days. Turns out they were both PMS'ing at the same time. Jaysus, Mary and Joseph, it's lucky any of us are still alive. I was a little concerned about my girls' overreacting, spazzing and disrespect, but now that I know, I'm just relieved I didn't end up like the mom in the movie Carrie - staked to the wall with knives.

Coadster's soccer game got rescheduled to tonight, after Tuesday's lightning storms that began precisely two seconds before her game was supposed to start. Tonight, they were actually able to finish their game precisely two seconds before the storms broke. When I was hurrying to my car with ominous clouds and thunder raging just behind me, I heard a cheery little exchange yelled at each other by two men, above the parental mass exodus. the first guy said, "Hey, Jim. How ya doin'? I hear you were really down for a while there..."

"Yeah, things are a lot better now. Thank god for drugs." Then myself and most of the people around me, smiled and nodded knowingly. I'm glad people are so much better about admitting they need help and then going and getting it, than they used to be. Personally, it took me almost thirty years to finally go get my ass some migraine meds, and they have changed my life.

I go to this place called the Can Shed to exchange my bottles and cans for cash. I hate using the machines at the store, so every few weeks I drive down to the Can Shed and someone sorts, counts and gives me money for recyclables. The people there love to see me coming, and they all exclaim about how I have the cleanest and dryest cans and bottles they've ever laid hands on. When I went there last Saturday, I said, "I can only imagine, how dirty some of them come in..."

"Oh, yeah, " the woman with about five teeth still in her head said, as she batted cans into a box. "Most of them are real bad. I got my first rodent in a bag yesterday." Ew. I was so grossed-out, I didn't think to ask her if it had been alive or dead, or what kind of rodent it was. Remind me never to bitch about my job again.