- Old people love the Oak Ridge Boys. At work they accused me of meaning people in their 50s and 60s, so let me clarify: I mean 80s. The concert goer to walker ratio was much higher than any other concert I've attended.
- Grown men can pull of sequins. Spoiler Alert: You aren't getting socks and undershirts for Christmas this year, Dad.
- I only know two Oak Ridge Boys songs (Elvira and American Made). They had some good music, I just didn't know it.
- The word "tambourine" can be worked into any song in any genre (including Christmas songs).
- Aunt Kathy will clap and wave when Santa walks on stage (which was more entertaining to me than Elvira).
- There are more Christmas sweaters than a Christopher & Banks store in the audience of an Oak Ridge Boys show.
- Floor length fur coats and cowboy hats do go together.
- Two and a half hours is a little long for a show.
- A bass voice, while enjoyable as a highlight in a song, is not fun to listen to for an entire song.
- Christmas songs about Jesus are great. Christmas songs about the crucifixion don't set my toe a tapping.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Derek called Michelle, who I used to spend a lot of time with. I had not talked to her in about 4 years. We agreed that we would meet on Saturday at Court Avenue Brewing Company.
I was incredibly nervous. I always worry before I see people I haven't seen in a long time. After about 5 minutes of hanging out it became clear that I should not have worried. We were talking like no time had past. We even set up a sushi night for January.
Mike, Stimmel, Me, & Derek
Michelle & Mike
I think the best part of the night was reconnecting with Michelle. We used to be very close, but drifted apart as we were leading vastly different lies (vastly might be an understatement in that sentence). We are in similar spots again, and I look forward to hanging out with her again soon.
I sat at this bar for most of my early 20s.
I have so many wonderful memories of Court Avenue. I hope to continue to make memories there for years to come.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
After our meal we headed to the Civic Center to see Dolly Parton perform. I love Dolly. Love her. I've been to Dollywood twice and would jump at the opportunity to go again. She is an amazing performer. She is a great singer, musician, as well as entertainer. She made me laugh and cry. That may sound melodramatic, but I dare you not to cry when she sings "Coat of Many Colors" or laugh out loud when she says "It takes a lot of money to look this cheap."
At the concert we talked to the man next to us. He was from Algona and his last name is John Runkey or something similar to Runchey. Of course he'd heard of the Runchey famliy from West Bend. Whenever I start to think that Des Moines is a big place I am reminded of how small Iowa is (like yesterday when another student from grad school told me she was my high school friend Susan's college roommate).
After the concert we headed to Court Ave. for a drink. It was nice to be able to talk about the show while we let traffic thin out.
It was so much fun. I will be singing Dolly songs for days. I'm off to bed now, still singing Islands in the Stream and 9 to 5 over and over in my head.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
I did not really notice how bad it was until I returned to normal on Saturday night. The fog lifted and I was able to form a complete thought again. Since then I've been keeping myself busy.
Saturday night Stimmel and I went to Monica & Andrew's wedding party. They are so happy together, and I wish them a lifetime of love and happiness. After the party we headed to the Red Monk to see Foster. He's moving to Colorado in a few weeks, so I'm glad I was able to see him. Hopefully I'll see him again before he leaves.
Sunday I went to High School Musical III with Kathleen and Ellie. It was not nearly as good as the first two. We had a lot of fun, but I don't know that Ellie appreciated our analysis at the end of the movie. After the movie I went on a run and then to AKs to meet Ellen. It had been a very long time since we'd seen each other, so it was good to catch up.
On Monday night I had class. It was my last class of the semester. We have a presentation and paper due in two weeks. There is work to be done, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. In my group for class I am with three wonderful people and one colossal jerk. After class we ditched the jerk and grabbed some beers. It was a good time, and I may have recruited a few people for the powerclimb (Don't forget to sign up for Stop Stairing).
Last night I stayed up late watching the election coverage and speeches. I am very happy with the results of the election. I hope we can now come together as a country and make some positive changes.
This morning I rode into work for the third time this week. It was raining when I left, so I grabbed a ride home with Panith. We fit my bike in her SUV, so I'm ready to ride again tomorrow.
So after a couple of weeks of being sick I've come back with a bang. I have been pretty busy the past few days. Maybe that's why I'm in my pajamas at 7 PM.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Then the song got stuck in my head. For the past two days it has been going through my head.
I hope you enjoy the song, and that it does not get stuck in your head.
Friday, October 24, 2008
I told Stimmel I would pick him up at nine. I was late. By an hour. I spent most of the drive worrying that we wouldn't make it in time. I was probably not very fun to ride with. It turns out I didn't need to worry, we made it to the church with plenty of time to spare.
Megan & Erin celebrate before the reception
After the wedding we headed out to the farm for some snacks before the reception. There were a lot of people there. Claire, Gjergji, Stimmel, and I found a spot, had some cider, and passed the time catching up.
Gjergji & Claire
I didn't get much of a chance to talk to Mom or her sisters. They seemed to be having a lovely time. I'm sure that Kathy will fill me in when we play cards this weekend.
Margaret, Kathy, and Mom
I was able to spend a lot of time talking to my cousins. David, Nate, and I had a lot to talk about. We talked and danced the night away. We didn't leave the reception until after midnight.
Mary-Claire, David, me, and Nathan
I did learn a valuable lesson at the wedding: never leave your boyfriend and sister alone with a camera. What follows is a collection of shots they took when I was dancing.
Stimmel & Mary-Claire
Pumpkin Vampire Mary-Claire
Cooper got his haircut today. He looks much cuter with long hair, but he smells much less with short hair. With the mud and fallen leaves of fall, he's also much easier to keep clean with a shorn look.
In addition to smelling better, after his haircut you can tell that his tumor did not grow over the summer, so that is great news. We are off to take a walk now, Cooper likes showing off after he gets a haircut.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
James erases Pumpkin Nuts from the beer list
Pumpkin Nuts beer was a great beer. It tasted like a good beer with a hint of pumpkin. Most pumpkin beers taste like pie. Don't get me wrong, I like pie, but I prefer my beer to taste more like, well, beer.
So it was with a sad note that we ended happy hour. I'm sure I'll be able to recover from the loss of the pumpkin beer, but it may take some time (and a few more happy hours).
Friday, October 17, 2008
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Last Friday I spent the afternoon with TC and Seymour celebrating Ourtoberfest. It was our third year of celebrating. Due to scheduling conflicts attendance was half of what it usually is. That was OK with us.
We had a pretty mellow afternoon, with Seymour and I having lunch at the Hessen Haus. TC was supposed to meet us, but a haircut debacle made him an hour late.
TC pointed out that the sign was right - next time he should bring his wife.
We spent the afternoon wandering around downtown. Ourtoberfest started as, and remains a bar crawl. It's different than a normal bar crawl; we didn't get crazy. After an afternoon of moderation I headed home for a run.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
With school back in session I do not have the time to wait until the next bus. I need to leave work on time to get to class on time. This is really a bad excuse, and I should be at taking the bus on the days that I drive.
Getting up to bike is much harder now than it is dark when I leave. The colder temperature does not help either. Luckily I have a bike commuting buddy who harasses me if I sleep in instead of riding in. I splurged on some cold weather biking gear to get myself motivated to get out there.
It is not going to get any easier to use alternative transportation to get to work. If I ride I have about 25 minutes of being out in the elements. If I take the bus I have a 5 minute walk and a wait of up to ten minutes for the bus. That does not sound so bad now, but when the temp dips below freezing a warm heater and seat warmers will surely be calling my name.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
I ran into Shelly, who I had not seen in a year. She agreed to join my book club (currently under construction), so I'll be able to see her more often.
I ran into my co-worker Chris and his wife Becky. Chris was feeling chatty and kept cracking me up. It was nice to see him outside of work.
On the way out I ran into Ellen. We did not get much of a chance to talk, but we're meeting at AK's tonight so we'll catch up then.
Oktoberfest was a lot of fun. I'll defiantly be back next year, but I won't be wearing a beer wench costume.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
On Saturday night I enjoyed all that Beaverfest has to offer (other than the parade, carnival rides, fireworks, and 5K). Stimmel and I arrived in time to hear a band play a lot of Elton John covers. While chatting in the parking lot of Michael's and listening to the band I ran into Suzanne.
Suzanne is so much fun. We worked together when I was in underwriting. Suzanne always has good stories to share. I was excited to get caught up with her. We're planning on having lunch soon to get fully caught up.
After Suzanne returned to her friends I went back to talking to Stimmel, Justin, and Neal. We toasted to the Panther's winning their football game.
After grabbing some delicious Michael's pizza we decided to check out what was going on over by the carnival rides. Along the way we found a Boulevard truck. As Stimmel and I were both wearing Boulevard shirts we took the opportunity to pose for a picture.
It was a great Saturday night. Next weekend should be fun too, it's Oktoberfest. The weekend after that I'm hoping for a nice, quiet weekend. Something tells me that won't be happening. I'm sure something fun will head my way.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
After sleeping in a bit on Saturday we headed to the coffee shop to grab coffee and bagels. After we carb loaded for the action packed day ahead of us we headed to Jen's. The three of us headed to a bar to watch the Hawkeye game.
The bar was crowded. Crazy crowded. New Years Eve in downtown Des Moines crowded. It was not a pleasant experience. We finished our beers and left. Kathleen was kind enough to call us with score updates, so we were able to celebrate the Hawkeye win.
We did not let the lack of football get us down. We hopped on the train and headed downtown to H&M. We didn't find anything worth buying, so we headed over to Macy's. At Macy's we got our eye makeup done and had false eyelashes put on. It was in preparation for what was coming next: wig purchasing.
It was my first trip to a wig store, but I don't think it will be my last. Mary-Claire and I both got long wigs. After picking them out we headed back to her apartment to get ready.
For dinner we opted for sushi. We both love sushi, so it seemed like a great choice. We got a table in the front window and were able to people watch as we waited for the food.
Unfortunately the sushi was not very good. Fortunately, we were meeting her friends at Small Bar for drinks after dinner. Small Bar has the best cheese curds I have ever had. I'm not normally a cheese curd fan, but just the thought of these cheese curds is enough to get me drooling.
After Small Bar we headed to another bar where an arm wrestling tournament broke out. Todd and Jen were both excellent arm wrestlers. I found out first hand that Jen does not know her own strength. While arm wrestling her she said "are you even trying?" My arm wrestling championship dreams were crashed.
After arm wrestling it was time to split a burrito. Todd took this picture while we waited for our burrito. If we ever record a country album I think this will be the cover.
It was a fun weekend in Chicago. I encourage all of you to go buy a wig. They are incredibly fun to wear out.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
On Sunday morning I had a group meeting for school at 9. The guy that was only able to meet before 10 showed up a half hour late. Luckily he's so much of a pain that we were able to get most of the work done before he showed up. The meeting was at Panera, so I had a lot of coffee. Normally I would have gone for a bagel, but I knew what was coming next.....brunch.
After my meeting I picked up Stimmel and headed to the Drake Diner for mediocre coffee. The food, coffee, and service at the Drake Diner are not exactly top notch - with the notable exception of pumpkin pancakes. The pancakes are so amazing I insist on returning to the diner, even though the Waveland Cafe has much better coffee, service, and non-pumpkin pancake food.
6 cups of coffee induced one heck of a caffeine high. I knew to keep going I needed to push through the impending crash.
I called Aunt Kathy and we headed to the Happy Apple Orchard for our yearly apple picking expedition. As we picked a peck I tried to snap pictures. Aunt Kathy was happy to take pictures of me, but was a little camera shy this year. I included my favorite picture of her from last year, because everyone deserves to see the "Super Butt" picture.
After picking apples I walked to AK's to meet Ellen. We've been pretty busy, so we hadn't been there in a while. Things seem to be slowing down a bit, so we should be able to meet there more often,. I always enjoy catching up with Ellen.
After AK's it was time to celebrate Andrew's birthday. Monica, Nikki, and I talked books, and discussed starting a book club. I hope we find the time to do it.
Just thinking about all that I did on Sunday makes me tired. I think I'll head to bed now.
Last year I participated in the 801 Power Climb. I climbed 41 floors, 85 flights of stairs, and almost 1000 steps to get to the top of 801 Grand. It has exhausting and fun. The worst part was doing it alone. Lori was supposed to climb with me, but she was injured and couldn't make it.
I'm climbing again in 2009, but I don't want to do it alone. I want to form a team. If you're interested let me know. If we get enough people on the team we could even get t shirts. Who doesn't love t shirts?
If you would like to join, but you are worried about the difficulty, relax; climbing 41 floors sounds much harder than it is. I didn't train much, and it took me about 12 1/2 minutes. You should take a chance and give it a shot.
Monday, September 8, 2008
I don't usually take a week off from social activity. Most of my nights are packed with dinners, walks, cocktails, and rides. I love staying busy, but every once in a while I need to take some time to bond with my couch and knitting needles.
By Friday night I was ready to go again, but I sure did enjoy being lazy for a few days.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Before the party started I taught Bailey how to pour beer. She was having trouble with pumping & pouring, so Conor helped with the pouring. Working together paid off, after a few very foamy beers they got the hang of it. It was nice having someone offer to pour me a beer all night.
Not only did Bailey offer to pour beers, she also delivered them. I think the lawnmower party should always have a full service bar.
When Bailey was busy playing Johnny helped out. He was kind enough to deliver an entire tray of beer to the porch.
After dark there was a bonfire. Bailey roasted a marshmallow for me. Having beer and marshmallows delivered to me was great. I probably should have tipped her.
We sat around the fire until after midnight. It was nice to get to know Fanny-Pack and his wife Jodi, as well as catch up with Johnny. It made me want to go camping. I hate the idea of camping when it's hot out, but once it starts to get cold at night I want to be around a campfire.
It was the best party for a seven year old I've ever been to. I wish I would have had more time to talk to everyone. I guess I'll have to remember to stay off of the porch for a bit next year so I can catch up with the people I only see once a year.
Friday, August 29, 2008
It is nice to have a mechanic you can go to that is always looking out for you. Today, instead of just buying new tires like the ones I had on the car, he called to say that there was a pair that worked just as well for $200 less. Needless to say, I was trilled with the service.
I was able to pick up my car tonight. TC picked me up after work and drove me out to Grimes. On the way there we talked about how it had been a long time since we've hung out with Clint & Mindy. When we got to the shop Clint was working the front desk. We asked if he could grab a beer with us. He looked at his watch and then sighed. The shop was open for another 45 minutes, so he couldn't leave. So we asked if we could bring the beer to him. He thought that was a great idea.
TC and I headed to the gas station to buy a six pack. When we got back to the shop the three of us sat around, drank some beers, and got caught up. I have no idea how long it has been since the three of us hung out together. It may have been TC and Melissa's wedding. They just had their two year anniversary, so that was a long time ago. We laughed and talked about all that has gone on in our lives.
After an hour and a half it was time to head home. We each had plans for the night, and needed to get going. It was nice to get caught up, and a few beers took a bit of the sting out of buying new tires and break pads.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Tonight Todd (who you may remember from my trip to Cumming and from eating the blueberry pie that I made) was kind enough to follow me to Grimes. In Grimes I dropped off my car at the shop and hopped in Todd's car for the ride home.
On the drive back to Des Moines we talked about what a beautiful night it was. The temperature had cooled and it wasn't quite as humid. It was too beautiful of a night to waste. We decided we needed to enjoy such a beautiful evening, so we headed to the rooftop patio of B&B.
To be honest, the view from the rooftop of B&B isn't that great. You can see the hardware store, a couple of banks, a few stores, and lots of trees. The view isn't really the point of the rooftop bar. It's more about the company and community. The rooftop is essential Beaverdale. It may sound cliche, but my neighborhood is a neighborhood. I rarely spend an evening up there without running into one of my neighbors or someone I know.
I'm glad that I didn't run into anyone tonight. Being alone with Todd meant that we could catch up. We could talk about what is going on in our lives. We could talk about what we are searching for. We could talk about our dreams. We got to know each other better.
In addition to getting to know each other better, we were able to talk about our next ride to Cumming. Todd and I are dedicated to riding together as long as the weather holds. We are dedicated to listening to the stories we have from our crazy/bland weekends (they fluctuate; we do too much or nothing at all). Most importantly, Todd and I are dedicated to being there for each other. I know that if I need a cup of sugar or a ride to Grimes I can walk down the street to Todd's, and he can do the same. That says a lot. After all, Todd is a Cyclone fan. It says a lot about our friendship if I can look past something disgusting to be his confidan.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
On Monday I went to lunch with Sarah. She mentioned that Tuesday was her and Jeff's two year anniversary. I asked what they were doing to celebrate. She said they were not doing much, as they did not get a babysitter. Jeff and Sarah are good friends, and I wanted them to be able to celebrate their anniversary, so I offered to babysit. We agreed that they would drop their daughter off at 6.
Risotto is a dish that takes a lot of stirring, so I knew I would not be able to make it at seven while watching a nine month old. Luckily Monica agreed to come over at six. I could finish dinner by six, we could eat as the baby got used to being at my house.
It was the perfect plan. Or at least it would have been, had I left for the grocery store before 5:20. When Monica arrived I was only 10 minutes into cooking. As always, Monica was a good sport and did not mind a bit.
When Sarah and Jeff arrived to drop off Tallie I still had not finished cooking. That did not appear to be a problem, because she was content to sit and check out her new surroundings. Then we sat down to eat. That is when the crying started. She cried for about an hour, after which she was a happy baby. By that time Monica and I were too tired to seriously craft, so we decided that watching the Olympics would be just as much fun.
After Sarah and Jeff picked up Tallie the balance beam competition came on. Monica and I were excited to watch Shawn Johnson. Both of us had avoided the news and discussion regarding the Olympics all day so that we could be surprised. Andrew arrived to pick up Monica just as Shawn was finishing her routine. We tried to convince him to stay until the end of the event. We told him that there were only two routines left, and then we would know who won. He said, "What's the big deal, you know she won?" At which point Monica & I yelled at Andrew.
After they went home I headed straight to bed. I was exhausted. Babysitting, knitting, and cooking are all fine on their own, but when you put them together it is just plain exhausting!
Sunday, August 17, 2008
The best part about getting to Cumming is the Cumming Tap. As you can see, Todd was really excited to get there.
Once inside the Cumming Tap we had a few beers. The prices are great, and so is the selection. It is easy to spend a little too long at the tap. After you enjoy a cold Boulevard in a frosty mug it's easy to talk yourself into putting off getting back on your bike. Especially when you know there is a big hill at the end of the ride.
After the ride home I was ready for bed. Unfortunately it was only 6:30. The one problem with drinking in biking is that it wears you out. It is like tailgating, if you start drinking you had best keep at it or you're falling asleep.
I managed to stay up until midnight without having another drink, but I would not describe myself as vivacious last night. Were it not for the desire to actually win a game of euchre I may have fallen asleep at the table.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
My friend Ellen from camp and the Girl Scouts was back in town this week. When she lived in town we used to go to I Cubs games a lot. We were able to fit in two games this week.
I used to spend the summer watching the I Cubs. Ellen and I had friends that we would only see at Sec Taylor. The game was secondary to the conversation. This week was all about the conversation again. We caught up with what is going on in each others lives while enjoying two close games.
My goal for next summer is to get to more games, and to stay in better touch with Ellen.
Friday, August 15, 2008
On Wednesday I was able to go to lunch with two more of my favorite people, Mom and Aunt Kathy. It was a nice break from a busy week to get caught up with them.
Aunt Kathy does not read blogs, so I can finally feel free to say how I really feel about her. When I was in Key West for Rob's wedding I had the opportunity to partake in a lot of champagne on a catamaran. After the boat ride I told Kathy "You're more than an aunt, you're also my friend." Aunt Kathy responded with "Drink your beer, Sarah." It may be one of the best comebacks to a proclamation of friendship ever, but there is truth behind my friend statement. Aunt Kathy is cool. She is very funny and has a lot of insight. I'm lucky to live close enough to her to see her often.
Friday, August 8, 2008
We got to the fair about six. Stimmel started with a corn dog, and I started with a vegetarian corn dog.
Then Stimmel had another corndog.
Then we saw a guy wearing a plastic bag as a hat.
After the guy in the plastic bag hat we saw some tractor square dancing. There was a very large group of people watching the tractor square dancing. Tractor square dancing, I have to admit, is not something I see the beauty in.
Then Stimmel had another corndog.
At this point we got to my favorite part of the fair. The part that I talk about year round. The #1 reason I go to the fair. The Jr. Donut stand. The donuts were toasty and delicious. Perfectly sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. If you eat one food item at the fair, I highly recommend Jr. Donuts.
Then Stimmel had another corndog.
I was happy to find Monica at the Bud tent. We always find a lot to talk about, and spend most of our time laughing.
Monica is a good sport, and will pose for all sorts of pictures. She even agreed to frolic in the bubbles.
Andrew was able to cross an item off his bucket list last night: he enjoyed a fried Snickers. He was a trooper and finished all of it.
Then Stimmel had another corndog.
Then Stimmel had another corndog.
All of this talk of food on a stick is making me hungry. I think I'll make a grilled cheese sandwich. If only I can figure out how to get it on a stick....