Monday, June 30, 2008


Today is the last day in June. I can't believe how quickly this month flew by.

At the beginning of the month I decided to see if I could go the entire month without driving to work. Having the mindset of a six year old, I decided the best way to reward myself for not driving would be to give myself a star on my calendar each time I used alternative transportation.

As you can see, my calendar is full of stars. There isn't one for today, only because I took a vacation day to study for my final. I'm still not a fan of getting up early, but I am always happy I do once I get started. I took the bus two days last week, and I felt like a cheater.

I plan on biking in every day this week. I'm a little concerned about my motivation over the next two weeks. My biking partner is on vacation with his family, so I may talk myself into busing it. As long as I don't drive in, I'll still be doing pretty good.

Saturday Night

Saturday night was just as busy as Saturday morning. It started with the fancy horse party. My friend Tim and his friend MD raise Arabian horses. It was the first time I've had wine in a horse barn.

Tim and his horse.

Tim and me

Stimmel, Mandee, and the fancy food (blue cheese stuffed dates with pecans are yummy).

A horse likes Stimmel

After the pony party we headed to Java Joe's to see Moinca and her show. Moinca created a beautiful piece. Unfortunately, the guy who put his paintings next to hers had a collection of stripper and weird animal paintings.

I was a little worried when we got to Java Joe's. I asked Moinca which was hers she gestured to the wall. I thought she pointed to the painting of tiger rabbit. I was trying to come up with encouraging words to express my appreciation for the rabbit/tiger combo. Luckily she corrected me, and I didn't have to come up with a lie to tell her how much I liked her piece - it is beautiful, so I could just tell her that.

Saturday was a pretty full day. I was sound asleep by midnight. What a good day.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Saturday Morning

Yesterday afternoon I was feeling sorry for myself because I wasn't able to go home to Cedar Falls. Luckily Monica called me and asked if I wanted to go to the Downtown Farmers' Market. Not one to miss a chance to buy fresh produce while people watching, I jumped at the chance. We met this morning at Java Joe's. A hot cup of coffee starts the morning off right. After drinking our coffee we decided to split a tart. It was the prettiest thing I have ever had for breakfast.

After the Farmers' Market we met TC and Andrew at the Arts Festival. We went to see Todd's film, Seven Signs: Music, Myth and The American South, at the Interrobang Film Festival, the newest part of the Arts Festival. We were a little early, so we walked around the festival for a little bit. After taking in the scenery we headed to the auditorium.

They were showing Store Per: A Norwegian-American Paul Bunyan of the Prairie before Seven Signs. We figured we would just check out both films, as there wasn't a break between films and we all agreed that anything about a Paul Bunyan type couldn't be bad.

At this time I'd like to break narrative and give some advice to all of you filmmakers who may be reading my blog. Never, ever, ever say that your main character is like Paul Bunyan if he is in no way like Paul Bunyan. If the main character is stronger than average, and a few inches above average that does NOT mean that he is like Paul Bunyan. It just means that he is bigger than normal. That is not exciting. Now if your character has a big blue ox or created the Grand Canyon by dragging his ax behind him, by all means say he is a Paul Bunyan figure, until then, don't lie to me through tall tale heroes.

The Store Per documentary was bad. Very bad. After about 45 minutes we decided we would leave and come back. When you are part of a group of 4 crowd averse people you pretty much have one choice at the Arts Festival - you go to Raccoon River and grab a beer.

Upon returning to the auditorium we were told that the Store Per documentary was almost over. We found some seats and watched the end of the documentary. It was the longest 15 minutes I can remember.

Luckily the film eventually ended and we were able to enjoy Seven Signs. It was wonderful. I wish there was a soundtrack, as the music was great. It was good enough that it was worth sitting through the living hell that was the Store Per documentary.

I'm at home now, resting up for the opening at Java Joe's and horse party tonight. I am staying busy enough I'm no longer homesick.

Friday, June 27, 2008


I'm a little homesick tonight. Both of my sisters are at home in Cedar Falls. They will stay up late talking and laughing. They will have some wine. They will go to the parade tomorrow morning and then have mini donuts. They will, in short, have a really fun time.

I'm staying in Des Moines this weekend. An unexpected home improvement project cut into my budget this month, and it made more sense to stay at home. I wish I could be there with them, but I know they will be thinking of me. It helps to know that my brother is in Kansas City, so I'm not the only one who has to miss out.
Below is a photo of what I wish I were planning on doing tomorrow morning: drinking coffee at Cup of Joe. You just have to imagine Kathleen there with Mary-Claire, but I'm sure you get the idea. I hope they have a lot of fun. I just wish I could be there to share it with them.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Blast from the Past

A few weeks ago I realized that I work with the husband of one of my college friends. It was just another example of how small Des Moines can be. I e mailed him to get her e mail address, we made plans, and tonight we met for dinner.

Kristel and I hadn't had dinner together since we lived in the Alpha Xi Delta house together. That was in 1997. Over a decade ago. Before Bush. Before 9/11. Before we were grown ups. We had a lot to catch up on. We talked about what had been going on in our lives. We talked about what our friends from the house have been doing. It was nice to get caught up.

Getting caught up with Kristel got me thinking about my other friends from the house. I have lost touch with most of my college friends, but I am lucky enough to maintain close contact with two of them. I talk to Lauren about once a week, and Kirsten about every other week. Tonight I called them after dinner to fill them in on what has been going on with Kristel. The conversations spiraled into long talks about our summers. It reminded me of sitting around the house talking about what we were doing after finals. Only better, because being a grown up is much more fun than being in college.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Beaverdale Live

Saturday night was Beaverdale Live. You could tell people were ready to get out of their houses and enjoy the dry night. The street was packed. It is nice to live in a neighborhood where people come out to celebrate our community.

The stage delivery guy forgot to bring the stage, which made it hard to see the band. It wasn't one of my favorite local bands, so I didn't mind. Not having a stage made it easier to talk instead of paying attention to the band.

I ran into several friends, including some that I hadn't seen or talked to in months. There were
so many people there that I knew it was hard to catch up with everyone. I didn't get much of a chance to talk to the Stacinator, or her friend Amanda (who just moved back to Des Moines). I barely spoke to Justin or his girlfriend Sarah. Luckily it's only June, and there are many outdoor concerts for us to get caught up at.

I spent most of the night talking to Stimmel, Mark, Ann, and Todd. We stayed until they opened the street back up.

It was the best night of the summer so far. Perfect weather, great company, and good conversation. What more could you ask for?

Biking Update

This month is flying by. It's hard to believe that June is half over. I have yet to use my car to get to work this month. I have taken the bus twice due to rain. Other than that I have used my bike. I should be able to get through the whole month without driving to work. I think that is awesome.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Weekly Recap

You may have been wondering why I haven't posted in a week. It's because my personal computer has a virus and won't work. At work we were evacuated today, so I took my laptop home and am able to post.

This week our state has seen destruction every day. Friends and family have lost much to the flooding. The news has been an intricate part of our lives. Pride weekend was postponed until September and Brewfest was cancelled. In short - we were stressed to the max. And then news of Tim Russert's passing reached us and we realized that we were stressed beyond what we know we could handle.

At the point of extreme stress I called my good friend Tim and we decided that we should come together and celebrate the strength of our community. To us, this involved drinking on the rooftop patio of B & B in downtown Beaverdale. I had some margaritas, he had some beers, and we both had some tasty sandwiches. We talked about work, the flood, our personal lives, our MBA programs, and the gym. We pretty much talked about everything in our lives.

On the way home we found Shawn on his front deck. Shawn used to work at our gym. We stopped by, waited for his fiance Angie (who used to work at our gym too) to come home, and had a few beers. The four of us gossiped about our gym for about an hour and then decided it was time for bed. Tim dropped me off, and I decided to post a blog before I hit the hay.

I had a great night, but there is a dark shadow over my fun. So many people have lost their homes. So many businesses were lost to the flood that may never open again. Is it right to have a good time when so many people are hurting? Should I blow off stress by having a margarita or should I be saying the rosary for people who have lost everything?

I really don't know what to do. The Des Moines river is cresting tomorrow and the epicenter of my adult social life, Court Avenue, may be gravely damaged by flood waters. I know that so many people have lost so much, and I shouldn't grieve for a petty social loss. But I can't help it. My adult life has been molded as much by Court Ave. at least as much as it was by college.

My adult friendships developed in CABCo and the Royal Mile. Friends have told me about marriages, pregnancies, breakups, and all sorts of social activities in the Court Ave. district. In short, I am who I am because of my family (with a very large shout out to my amazing parents), Alpha Xi Delta (the best damn friends a girl could ever buy), and downtown Des Moines.

I am thankful that the levees in Cedar Falls and Des Moines have held. I hope that they continue to do so. My prayers go out the the people of Cedar Rapids, and in the communities that have not been so lucky. I don't know that we have seen the worst that we will see this summer. I don't know if the flooding will continue. After the awful winter we went through and the spring flooding, I shudder to think of what may come.

One thing I am sure of is community. From sandbagging the Cedar River to sandbagging Union Park in Des Moines we have been coming together to make our communities stronger. We have come together to protect our state.

I hope we won't stop at sandbagging. I hope we work together to clean up the areas devastated by this flood. I hope we use our vacation to scrub our cities of the scum left by a flooded river instead of using our vacation as a staycation to catch up on our TiVo. I hope we use the tragedy to show our state how proud we much we care. Iowa made me who I am. I want to opportunity to show my state how much it means to me. I encourage you to help me out. 83 of Iowa's 99 counties are now disaster areas. Get off your butt and help out. We need you.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Friday, June 6, 2008

Biking to Work

I planned on riding my bike to work every day this week. The weather didn't cooperate. It stormed almost every day.

The entire city is soggy. The roads have all flooded. I rode past a chunk of asphalt the size of my back porch that had slid 20 feet down the street. There were three cars abandoned in the middle of the street (don't drive through water people!) . I got a little bit of water in my basement, and it has never flooded before. A few houses down from me my neighbors got four feet of water in their basement.

Luckily it only stormed one morning, so I was able to ride every day but Tuesday. On Tuesday I took the bus, because by the time I got ready it had stopped raining. I'm excited that I didn't drive my car to work once this week.

Next week I'm riding again. I hate leaving my house at 6:15, but leaving work at 3:30 makes up for it. It takes about 25 minutes to get into work, which is the same amount of time it takes me to drive when I include parking ramp time. It takes a little longer coming home, due to the fact that it is uphill for about half of the ride.

All of this riding has got me thinking about buying a new bike. I bought my bike in college. It is a great bike, but it has seen better days. I would love to have two new bikes: a hybrid for riding to work, the grocery store, and AK's and a road bike for when I ride with fast people. Until I get out of school I think I'll settle for a tune up on my old bike and maybe, if I'm feeling really spendy, a new backpack for carrying my stuff into work.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Last night was dynomite

Last night I went to a 70s party with my friend Sarah. I love going out with Sarah; incredibly random stuff happens whenever we go out. We once went out for a drink and stumbled upon a drag show featuring Ms. Gay Iowa. Another time we went to happy hour and ended up at a party in a loft in the East Village. You just never know what will happen when we hit the town. Last night was not an exception.
The party was a benefit for Stage West Theater Company. There were amazing costumes. Sarah and I decided to go with more of a 1970 look than a disco look. On the drive downtown we realized that we looked a lot like stewardesses. It wasn't exactly what we were going for, but it worked. The party had karaoke and dancing. Jr. High PE finally paid off, as I was able to teach the hustle to the party. After shaking our groove things, Sarah and I made friends with the second place winners in the costume contest and a disco queen.
After talking to our new friends for a while, the randomness started. There was an officer at the party. He's usually a detective, but moonlights at parties downtown because the people are so much fun. He was a really nice guy, and even played along with our photo ops. Not many people are willing to handcuff or reenact police brutality for a photo, and I appreciate his willingness to play along.
After the party ended we headed to a few bars downtown. We ended up at the Royal Mile, where we became friends with a bunch of competitive body builders. They were really nice, and even let us pose with their trophy. Sarah and I can't get enough of props in photos.

It was a night filled with costumes, random encounters, and disco. I wish every Saturday was that cool.