Friday, August 29, 2008

Car Trouble

As I mentioned yesterday, I had to take my car in this week. I used to worry about where I would take my car, and if I could trust the shop that I chose. I no longer have to worry. A few years ago my friend Clint opened his own shop (Shadetree Auto). I've been going there since then.

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

My Buddy Todd

I am lucky to have many wonderful friends. Tonight I was able to hang out with one of them.

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

Becky HomeEc-ey

On Tuesday I tried to do too much at once. It started off simple enough - Monica was coming over for some craft time. I am still working on my scrap afghan and I want to have it finished before the lawnmower party. I figured as long as Monica was coming over I might as well whip up some artichoke risotto. After all, nothing quite works up an appetite like knitting with acrylic yarn. We decided to meet at 7. I would have dinner ready and we would craft after that.

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 Cumming Tap

On Saturday I went for a long ride. Todd and I rode down to Water Works Park, where we met up with Stimmel. From there we road to Cumming, IA. Cumming is a small town just west of Norwalk. You may be familiar with it if you are a fan of Tom Harkin.

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

Baseball and Old Friends

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

Crafting Weekend

This week has flown by. Weeks tend to do that if you've had a wonderful weekend. Last weekend was great. I spent Saturday knitting with Claire, Deirdre, and Kathleen. We all worked on various crafts and spent a good deal of time talking. I made a lot of progress on my scrap yarn afghan, and caught up with some of my favorite people. I would love to write more about our crafting weekend, but it was a week ago, so it's difficult to remember the details.

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

Fair Food

I went to the fair last night. For some people the fair is about the butter cow or the largest pig. Sure, those are fun to see, but for me the fair is about people watching and fried food on a stick.

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....

Monday, August 4, 2008

Oh Brother!

Last weekend I went down to Kansas City to visit my brother and his family. I always have a fun time with them, but don't get to see them very much. I was looking forward to my weekend with Patrick, Kim, Bailey, and Jaden, and I was not dissapointed.

On Friday night Patrick, Bailey, and I went to the Royals game. They were playing the White Sox, and we were able to see Ken Griffey Jr's first at bat as a White Sox. He got a hit, so for the next few innings his batting average was 1000 - not too shabby. I am glad that Bailey enjoys baseball. I made her promise that we would go to a game at least once a year for as long as she lives in Kansas City, and I'm holding her to that promise.

On Saturday morning Patrick, Kim, and I headed to Boulevard Brewery for a tour. It was heavenly. I am a big fan of Boulevard Wheat, so I was excited to find out more about the brewery. I discovered many things on the tour. I was excited to find out that Boulevard is an environmentally friendly brewery, and they strive to have a small carbon footprint. I found out that the grain they use is from Iowa, practically making it my civic duty to drink their beer. Perhaps most importantly, I discovered that there were free samples at the end of the tour. The three of us discussed it, and decided that it had to be noon somewhere, so we tried a few. I really enjoyed all of the samples that I had.

Upon returning from the tour I taught Patrick and Kim how to make humus. I didn't know that they were fans, but they may like it even more than me. Jaden and Bailey were a great help, they measured and added the ingredients to the food processor.

After a hearty snack of humus Kim and I spent the afternoon shopping. After continually being disappointing by the rudeness of the sales associates, we headed off to get pedicures. While we were having our toenails painted Jaden, Bailey, and Patrick washed my car, which was a great surprise.

Post pedicure, we picked up everyone else, dropped Bailey off at a birthday party, and headed to pizza. I got to sit by Jaden at dinner and we had a great time together. Jaden was so much fun to talk to, I think she's going to love kindergarten this fall.

After dinner we picked up Bailey and headed to the Starlight Theater to see their production of the Music Man. Unfortunately it was very hot for the first act. We were all dripping with sweat. Luckily it cooled down a touch in the second act. I enjoyed the play, but was excited to sit in the air conditioned comfort of Patrick's car.

I headed home on Sunday morning. It was a full, fun weekend. I can't wait to do it again.