Friday, October 17, 2008

It's almost here

I am so excited I wish today were the day of the marathon. But if I am a little patient about it, the weather will be so much better! I was really nervous early in the week and then I felt terrified for a couple hours on Wednesday morning, but since then I've been nothing but excited and looking forward to Sunday's walk. I've been eating well, storing up those complex carbs they talk about. I've been sleeping like I get paid for it. I am ready to go and actually feeling anxious to get started walking and swimming again and to see if I can't get a little bit of running in, too. I'm already looking forward to walking in the cold weather. Not that it is fun to do, it's just different.

Tonight I go to the expo at the Polk County Convention Center to pick up my packet. I'll blog tomorrow or tonight about how that goes. I have gotten so much encouragement this week! I've gotten cards and emails and Natasha brought me a pumpkin latte from Caribou Coffee - I can't wait to do the marathon next year with her!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Why not walk?

Someone asked why I don't walk the 5-mile race on Thanksgiving and that's a good question. I undoubtedly would do that except that there is no indication on the web site that walkers are welcome on the 5-mile course.

In fact, all of the almost 5,000 runners appear to have times at or below no more than 22 minutes. That makes me think that no one walks the 5-mile course. I can walk a mile in 15 minutes, sure. But 5X15=75 minutes. Even the slowest of the walkers, if they're fit, can walk 1 mile in 22 minutes. Shoot, the name of the game on Thanksgiving is getting out of the house and having fun, so why miss out on the fun & frivolity of the after-race activities? I can always walk 5 miles later that day or over the weekend!

What is really interesting to me is how disappointed I am that I can't run 5 miles ... yet? Where in the world did that attitude come from when I have said for years I would never run unless there were hungry and angry wild animals behind me. Or a relative with celery.

Monday, October 13, 2008

oh, heaven help me

I just realized that the 5k I wanted to run on Thanksgiving is actually a 5 MILE race. I think I'll be registering for the 1 mile walk. Well, I know I will be. There's no way I can RUN 5 MILES.

One more song

I have added one more song. It's a live concert version of a song called I'll Tell Me Ma. The pace is unrelenting and extremely fast and I love the band that does it. It's an Irish song that everyone has performed including Sinead O'Connor. Remember her? Anyway, I think this song may come in handy on Sunday.

I am feeling nervous. I can tell that I am, but it seems more internal than external, as in a queasy tummy and I'm a little agitated. I am just beginning to think that I have lost my senses and have made a terrible mistake, but over on the Prevention Magazine discussion boards, they are saying that this is really normal.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

field tested

I have, over time, finally learned to like walking again with my iPod. Of course, I never used to have one, but when I got one I got hooked right away. Now I'm OK doing without. My "Walking" playlist has 163 songs in it. I have narrowed it down to some songs that help with either pace or attitude or getting into a zone.
I'll be walking to songs you may know, so here's the list:
Addicted-Saving Abel
Ava Maria-Harry Connick Jr.
Baby Got Back-Sir Mix-a-Lot
Brick House-The Commodores
Cantaloop-US3
C'mon and Ride It-Quad City DJs
Don't Cha-The Pussycat Dolls
Don't Stop the Music-Rihanna
Everything-Michael Buble
Fee fi fo fum-Ralph Covert
Good Texan-The Vaughan Brothers
In the Ayer-Flo rida
Keep Breathing-Ingrid Michaelson
Let's Stay Together-Al Green
Like the Weather-10,000 Maniacs
Low-Flo Rida
Me and Mrs. Jones-Billy Paul
Money Maker-Ludacris
Praying for Sunny Days-Hyper Static Union
Push It-Salt-n-Pepa
See You Again-Miley Cyrus
Son of a Preacher Man-Dusty Springfield
Super Freak-Rick James
Whatever You Like-T.I.
White Boots-The Vaughan Brothers
You Dropped a Bomb on Me-The Gap Band
You Found Me-FFH
25 Miles-Edwin Starr

There are so many other good songs, but this selection should help me get through any rough spots that may come up. NOT that there will be any rough spots, right?

My last walk

This morning I got going about 8:30 a.m. and walked 7 miles, which took a bit over 90 minutes. That's a normal time for me. It was cold outside (well, it was cold to me) and so it was a bit of an experiment. I dressed and then put on pants and a jacket, trying to decide how long I would stay in the jacket and the pants. Then I wanted to see how hard it was to take the pants off when I was warm. I took the jacket off within 3 miles and I stayed in the pants the entire time, but could have done without them. OK, so the point is only to illustrate that I have given myself something else entirely to worry about - the temperature, the wind, the shade and the sun...I wouldn't be happy if I didn't have something to obsess about. But 26.2 miles is going to take almost 8 hours and that's a lot of time to obsess about. ;)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Boy have I got news for you

You may think I'm crazy since the marathon is 10 days away, but I've decided to run a 5K on Thanksgiving morning. I have a training guide printed out and everything. The marathon comes first, though. I won't start this program for the 5K until after the marathon! I walked 3 miles last night and will walk 1. 5 miles tonight. I'll go swimming on Saturday and maybe a little light walking and then that's it - nothing but resting for October 19!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Tracking me on October 19

If you want to track my progress during the marathon on October 19, go to this web site and follow the really simple instructions.

http://tracking.theendresultco.com/2008/des_moines_marathon/index.php

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Taper

I have been reading about preparing for the final weeks prior to a marathon and I found out that I'm normal! This will come as a surprise to some friends and family members, I'm sure. But the idea is that whatever you are feeling is OK and normal. Me? I've been manic for four days. Super good mood.

This period of weeks prior to the marathon is for tapering down from the training I've been doing and everything is new to me. The mood, the food, the sleeping. I would never have thought I would be affected beyond some excitement. Anyway, this is a neat adventure. I haven't ever set a physical/athletic goal for myself before and I have really enjoyed this so far.

Aubree did come over on Tuesday night, but she was really tired and subdued. She took a bath, we colored some hearts with crayons at the kitchen table and then she got into bed and made a box out of all my pillows - the laid them out in a square, that is - and she and her little stuffed animal got into the center of all the pillows. She propped herself up like the Queen of Sheba and watched television.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

It's been too long!`

Oh, gosh! Where does the time go? I had a bit of a cold last week and I was concerned about that turning into a lingering cough the way it did earlier this summer. But it all passed very quickly. I was pretty tired and took a breather from working out. The marathon is only three weeks away and I am getting really excited about it! I am no longer doing long endurance walks. I just keep trying to work out by swimming, riding my bike and going for reasonable walks. For me, reasonable means between 4-6 miles.

I am babysitting Aubree tonight, so I'm sure I should have something to post tomorrow that isn't all about me!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

So much to do!

I got the first junior high school Sunday school class under my belt this morning and I had fun. It's only the first class, but I did enjoy it.

Today I have a very long list of things I want to get done today and I'm sailing through it. But I still have 13 things to do. It includes a bike ride or walk, so since it is 4:00 p.m., I think I better get back into gear and get off the computer, huh?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Another day of working out

I am oddly excited by my effort to do something active every single day until the week prior to the marathon. Last night I swam for 55 minutes. Tonight I am going for a walk, not a power walk, just a walk with a girlfriend and then on Friday I will take a brief bike ride before spending some time with Natasha - long overdue time, I should add. My bad.

The weather this week has been fantastic. Last week we had very cool weather and it brought down everyone's moods. Last night Bryan babysat Oren and Kena, the grandkids. They're pretty cute kids. Oren brought his trucks and spent the entire evening under the deck doing "construction work" so Bryan brought out his really old (they're metal, not plastic) Tonka trucks and a JD tractor. That was a big hit.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

babysitting

I watched Aubree last night. She came over and we baked a strawberry cake and went for a short walk (it was almost dark). Then she got into the bathtub and I sat on the floor to supervise/help out. It was while she was in the bathtub that she informed me that when she was four years old she wasn't sure she liked me. I expressed interest and she went on to say that she didn't like to come to my house...when she was four. I asked if that had changed now that she is five and she said yes, she likes being with me and at my house now that she is older. I asked if I had made her angry; she said no. I asked if she thought she wouldn't have fun at my house; she said no. She said she didn't really like to leave home back when she was four. I asked her if she thought something bad might happen if she left home; she said yes.

There's a lot going on in that head.

On another matter, she got two more discipline slips from her teacher at school. Apparently the teacher sends these out for all infractions, not just for getting into real trouble. Well, Aubree has learned to tie her shoes! That's the good news. The bad news is that she wouldn't go down for a nap because she was tying her shoelaces. Her grandma told me that. Aubree declined to tell me and I asked her if it was because she was embarrassed about whatever had happened. She said yes, she was embarrassed about it.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Harry Potter trivia

I put together a Harry Potter trivia contest yesterday and asked a really bad question. The question was: Who was in King's Cross Station with Harry? I was thinking of Dumbledore and the icky little thing that was part of Voldemort. But KCS is the place where the kids caught the Hogwarts Express at Platform 9-3/4, so the entire Weasley family was there with him, Hermione was there, Sirius Black was there...the list of people is pretty long throughout the entire series. Book 7 ends with another group of people there with him. So it was perhaps the worst trivia question in the history of trivia questions. I like the feeling of accomplishment! LOL

From Wikipedia:
King's Cross is featured in the Harry Potter books, by J. K. Rowling, as the starting point of the Hogwarts Express. The train uses a secret platform 9¾ located by passing through the brick wall barrier between platforms 9 and 10.

Unfortunately, platforms 9 and 10 are in a separate building from the main station; also, rather than being adjacent so that a barrier could be between them, they are separated by two intervening tracks. Rowling intended the location to be in the main part of the station, but misremembered the platform numbering. During an interview in 2001, she indicated that she had confused King's Cross with Euston. In fact, platforms 9 and 10 at Euston are also separated by two intervening tracks, so either she had yet another station in mind or else she simply did not consider or did not remember the physical arrangement of consecutively numbered platforms.

When the movies were filmed, the station scenes took place within the main station, with platforms 4 and 5 renumbered 9 and 10. In the film of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, the exterior of the adjacent St. Pancras station was used, as its Gothic fa├žade was considered more impressive than the real King's Cross station.

When the first film was released, a large floor panel was placed on the ground outside platforms 9 and 10 indicating the Hogwarts Express. It was later removed. Within King's Cross, a cast-iron "Platform 9¾" sign has been erected on a wall of the station's suburban building containing the real platforms 9 and 10. Part of a luggage trolley has also been installed below the sign; whilst the near end is visible, the rest of the trolley seems to have disappeared into the wall.

"Kings Cross" is the title of the 35th chapter of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, where a location resembling the station plays a significant role. The station is also featured in the epilogue of the same book, making it the final setting of the Harry Potter series.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Something for Renee

Bev and Michelle stopped by this evening with Aubree. They are going to do a little something around the house in memory of Renee. It seems Renee was going to paint the mailbox and they are going to move ahead with that project including some trim around the bottom of the mailbox that you could plant inside. I don't know if that is what they will do, but that's the way I would describe what they described. Aubree was pretty tired, but not too tired to want me to go upstairs with her three times to get potato chips and a glass of water! Aubree came to church this morning for Sunday School, too. So I got to see her three times today. The other time was on my walk. I saw them driving down the road and so we all stopped so I could say hello. It was about 56 degrees and raining. I could figure out how many miles I walked, but I'm feeling pretty lazy right now. I walked 75 minutes, that's all I know.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Here I am to blog

Here I am to blog with nothing to say or add to the general noise of the universe that we all get to listen to. It's nice to be still every now and then. That's what I get when I go swimming: nothing. I never expected to enjoy swimming as much as I have recently experienced and the only thing I truly love about it is that I am attached to nothing, listening to nothing, no one can reach me, I can't do anything about anything, I can't change anything, I can't make anything happen or expect to be or say or do and no one else's expectations amount to much since I am in a swimming pool.

No life business gets conducted in the pool. I like that and I suspect most women I know do, since I've heard that same thing from women who go to tanning salons, for instance. It's just for a short break, though. I sort of enjoy the constant hum in my head. I don't seem to have a "nothing" box that I can crawl into. My brain's chatter box got switched on at birth and I've been talking to myself ever since.

Friday, September 12, 2008

It's raining

It's Friday night, it's raining and I'm watching the movie Major Payne. Funny. Go K-State!

Cy-Hawk, right conference, wrong school

Today is the day all over Iowa when most workplaces have casual day and people are wearing either red for Iowa State or black/gold for Iowa. I normally wear purple today since non-Iowa folk don't get to strut their school stuff at work. Last year, Julie and I went to The Library down by Drake University and she wore her red Iowa State jacket and I wore my K-State jacket and everybody looked at me funny. I thought, "Hey, you're the one going to Drake."

Anyway, I wore a red t-shirt with my jeans today. Among my co-workers this is the equivalent of my standing in the middle of the office screaming, "LOOK AT ME!" since of course everyone knows I went to K-State. But yesterday someone asked me if I was for Iowa and I almost choked on it. Seriously? Cross conference? How could I not cheer on a Big 12 school, first question. Second question, why would I cheer on a Big 10 school that is a clone (no pun intended) of the University of Kansas, the demon rival of my own Alma Mater? Puh-leeze!

We'll see what my friend Pippa has to say since red is also the color of her Georgia (Packers) Bulldogs. Go Cyclones! It's all fun today!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Lois Jones

For a one-page description of Lois' work in Antarctica, visit this page: http://www.southpolestation.com/trivia/igy2/welch/jones.html

Wednesday nights at church

I had volunteered to be in the boys class, but I was seriously considering asking for a 6-7 week pass on it so I could have one less thing to do prior to the marathon. And if the way I feel now is any indication, the week after the marathon I will feel tired, too. So lo and behold last night someone comes along and wants to help out and has no role assigned to her. I pounced on that! So now I will have Wednesday nights free and thank goodness for that. I can either walk, swim or rest depending on the week goes. Aubree came to church last night and so many people commented to me on how much she has changed since they last saw her. Also, for years she would get shy and need time to blend in. That even happened this summer at VBS, but it didn't happen last night. I hope that's a good sign, but maybe it was simply because she was sitting between me and her grandmother during dinner. :)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Pacing myself

Math was my weakest subject.

I did the math again on my 20-mile walk from the weekend and the results are really encouraging. I did a 15.71 minute mile for the first 14 miles. The last 6 miles averaged at 15.83 minute miles. That is a pace that will get me to the finish line in the 8 hours they allow walkers. I feel really good and the drugs the doctor put me on for my foot seem to be working nicely. It is Wednesday, though, and I am still tired.

Not much else seems to go on in my world except walking and swimming, I know. I hope to be a little more exciting as the year wears on. We'll see what sort of excitement kicks up!

Monday, September 8, 2008

20-mile day

I finally walked my 20-mile endurance walk prior to the marathon. I'm relieved that I did it and I am not suffering from it, either. I went to the doctor for a follow-up appointment this morning and he seemed really ok with the fact that I did it. He didn't lecture me (he has in the past). He gave me some tips and he answered my questions and he put me on prescription strengtht Naproxen until the marathon is over. The first 7 miles went extremely well. The next 7 went well, the next 2-3 were just ok. The final miles were painful. I tried to imagine myself walking about 6.2 miles. I couldn't imagine it.

The doctor did say it was ok with him if I wanted to try another 20-mile walk to see how things go. The issue as I see it is that my overall pace was 22 minutes/hour. That is awful and it will not get me through the marathon.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Visitors in Northwestern Iowa today

Two members of the family are on the move today as they head up toward Orange City to visit Jack, who is recovering from some ill health earlier this summer. Jack, I'm sorry I didn't go up with them, I will be walking as far as my foot will allow today and going swimming for some real athletic activity! The mileage could be anything from one mile to 20 miles, I suppose. A 20-mile walk would be fantastic. We shall see. I have my foot on ice right now in preparation.

Things are sort of cold in Iowa these days. Today the high will be 71 and wow, it's a heat wave. Today is the birthday of a woman I miss very much. Lois M. Jones died in 2000 a year after she took me to Antarctica. She was an amazing woman. I wish I could introduce each of you to her.

Tuesday would have been my oldest brother's birthday. John died of a brain tumor in 2001.

I went to gymnastics class with Aubree last night. She has a lot of confidence running and jumping and flipping. She has to get on the balance beam and the parallel bars and the uneven bars. Really they just have to get on these things and scoot or hang or take small steps while holding the teacher's hand. They aren't doing anything crazy of course. Aubree's hair is growing long for the first time and she has her first loose tooth.

Maybe it's just me, but when you hear someone say, "With all due respect" they're about to say something disrespectful.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Jack's back!

Jack read my last post and was encouraging! Thanks, Jack. Not only glad to know you're visiting when you can, but I appreciate all the encouragement I can get. I behaved myself this past weekend and only walked once, but it was 12 miles total in one day. Not all at once, but once in the morning and once in the afternoon. It was a fabulous day for a walk! As a matter of fact we had a great weekend here in Des Moines.

I swam every day and Aubree, Bev and Michelle went to the beach at the Raccoon River Park in West Des Moines. They let me tag along on Monday, but they also went on Sunday and enjoyed themselves. Aubree has changed a lot this last year. She's five and a half and has a loose tooth. She has gained weight and gotten taller. She has started gymnastics at Chow's, which is where Shawn Johnson trained. She is now in kindergarten and no longer allowed to take her "baby" to school. It is just a really thin diaper cloth, but she loves to have it with her. She told me yesterday on the way to the beach that she gets a headache at school because she doesn't have her baby with her. She can't nap during nap time and she gets into trouble and has discipline notes sent home. Apparently if that keeps up, she won't get to watch television for a week. Just between you and me, she seemed completely unfazed by this threat.

Wednesday nights at church start up again on September 10 and I have volunteered one more year to be in the 3rd-5th grade boy's class again. Heaven help us!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A blog post

Greetings! My Aunt gets a shout out for making a sarcastic remark about how I had a link on the blog I don't update anymore. I thought that was funny. Don't know what my problem is. Let's see, I think maybe you all know I injured myself and so this is the end of the third week of not walking/reduced walking. I am ready to get started again. It was just my foot, but I don't want to mess things up by being stubborn.

It is Labor Day weekend already and here in Des Moines we've only had five days above 90 degrees, so everyone is concerned that we will have a really bad winter...again. Last winter was out of your mind harsh. I refuse to go for this theory and have decided that a mild summer should most logically lead to a mild winter. That makes more sense.

My birthday was a lot of fun, presents and surprises and cards and flowers. Aubree got me the cutest flowers - they were daisies that are cut short and put into a cored Red Delicious apple. Really cute and doing very well on my desk. Can't have flowers at the house because they get eaten and then they end up in a pile on the floor...usually on the carpet, eh? If anyone can figure out how to get a cat to throw up on the kitchen floor, or on tile...well, you get the idea.

I've spent much of this summer on the porch swing out on the covered deck.

At work three of us (one of them an older man) were standing around this morning talking about whether we would wear white after this weekend. I think that rule is stupid. White shoes, no, but white capris or shorts, why not? It is hot in September. Most of the time. We'll have to see what this September brings.

The marathon is October 19. I have a short amount of time to get back into the groove.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

What is my problem?

Several of you have commented that I haven't been blogging. I'd like to say it was just a test to see if anyone was checking in here, but really it was just laziness. I have decided to walk the IMT Des Moines Marathon on October 19 and I have been sort of self-absorbed with that.

I have been walking a lot of miles although the more miles I walk, the less impressive it seems to me. I have done a 13.5 mile; 9.4 mile; and a 15.71 mile walk until pain in my foot slowed me down. I went to a sports medicine doctor on Monday and he said I am grinding down the sesamoid bone in my right foot. The best news is that it is not at all a permanent sort of problem. Once the bone is ground down, it dissappears forever. The only possible problem is if it is actually a stress fracture. But this week I am not walking, I'm in a post-surgical shoe that prevents my toes from moving around and I am using ice and taking ibuprofen. I go back on Monday to convince the doctor that the pain has subsided and I don't have a stress fracture! If I do, he will want me off the training for 3-4 weeks and that will put me behind by a lot.

In the meantime I am trying to do push-ups. Grrr.

We've had lovely weather here in Des Moines lately. It really has been a beautiful summer. I watched Shawn Johnson do her incredible, gravity defying balance beam routine last night. That was amazing. It was exciting to see the U.S. men's swimming relay team beat the world record by A LOT getting that relay done in less than 7 minutes. I stayed up to listen to our national anthem. I couldn't not listen when they were all getting their medals and it was a matter of only a few more minutes. Seemed disrespectful to turn the television off!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Jack, I hope you're reading this

Jack, I hope your recovery is going strong and that you are able to look at your computer every now and then for some way to pass the time. I know your days must be full right now. Last night I walked 6 miles in 91 minutes and then another 1.5 miles in 35 minutes. I am signed up to walk a half marathon on October 19. I'm really looking forward to it. Actually I wish it were sooner.

Friday, June 20, 2008

My guy at camp


This week was Aaron's first time away from home at camp. He suffered from being homesick at first and I sent him an email every day. I haven't had much to write about here on the blog. Sorry, Jack! The water has gone down and I thought they were predicting rain for most of this week, but there hasn't been any. Journey Bound is going into the studio to record their 14th album. I'm going to Ohio to visit my niece (my brother's girl) next week. Aubree has begun visiting me regularly and is even helping herself to the refrigerator! In the last year she has grown 4 inches and has gained 5 pounds. She has really begun to look like a little girl rather than a preschooler and her hair keeps getting longer - enough that she has gone from pigtails to her first ponytail just yesterday. Since she loves horses, that was a big deal. She's in summer school and then she begins kindergarten in the fall.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Downtown

I love downtowns. I have since I was a little girl. I think they're sort of exciting. It doesn't matter if it is tiny Manhattan, KS or downtown Chicago. I love 'em. It was a little sad watching water flood the roads yesterday as water flowed out of the river. I had to go downtown this morning for a meeting with a candidate. I didn't go down to the river of course. I just glided in and parked in a parking garage. The garages are a little more full than normal, I was told. There is a lot of parking flooded right now. I parked, took the elevator to the skywalk, walked through and got the restaurant in no time. The water is everywhere you look. And it rained again this morning. This stinks. Sorry this wasn't a more constructive post. My mind is wandering.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Here we go again? Let's hope not.


DES MOINES, Iowa -- Des Moines city officials are coordinating efforts Tuesday to prepare for significantly higher levels on the Des Moines River. The city has begun public briefings three times a day to distribute information about the flood.

"We're doing everything we can to mitigate effects of the flood," said city manager Rick Clark.

An Army Corps of Engineers flood specialist, Roger Less, said the temporary flood gates on the emergency spillway at Saylorville Lake will likely be lowered Tuesday evening, which will double the outflow from Saylorville into the river headed toward Des Moines.


Less said the lake is rising quickly, even though the dam spillway is releasing its maximum amount of 21,000 cubic feet per second. Once the emergency spillway is topped, that amount will double to 42,000 cubic feet per second. Less says 60,000 cubic feet per second is flowing into the lake and that's causing the lake level to rise rapidly.

He anticipates that once the temporary gates are lowered, it will take about 12 hours for that higher water to reach downtown Des Moines. "The City of Des Moines is doing all the right things to be proactive and prepare for the flood," Less said.

City Public Works Director Bill Stowe said he anticipates that will put the river at or near the top of the levee system in Des Moines. He said he expects the levee system will hold at the anticipated levels but warned that a forecast of more rain Wednesday night into Thursday could make things worse.

Stowe also said downtown Des Moines bridges will be closed Tuesday afternoon and evening as a precaution. He recommends that traffic leaving needing to move east-west through downtown use 2nd Avenue and East 6th to I-235 and use the freeway's bridge across the river.

Des Moines police chief Judy Bradshaw said police are moving equipment and personnel into place in case evacuations are needed. She said the department is preparing for the worst.

Parks and Recreation Director Don Tripp said city pools will be closed through Wednesday because employees are being used for sandbagging operations.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Party time


The kids' parent's had a big BIG party yesterday and I went to the kid's portion of the party during the day. This is Aaron leaning against his dad's car. The other photo is Feta. I have a photo of Ernest, but didn't get one of Prince. He refused to cooperate even when Aaron had the camera.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Cats: you breed 'em, we'll feed 'em

We have a cat hotel in the garage. Most people don't. When we rescued a colony of cats for neutering and relocation years ago, we had several hutches against the back wall of the garage. One remains for the odd injured animal or feral cat that we'll relocate to a willing dairy farmer. One night a couple years ago, I was at a party and the house caught on fire. That's a whole different story about how quickly a fire spreads and how I don't burn candles and how I, a mere visitor, was the only one to go back for the fire extinguisher, but I digress.

I ended up taking their cat home with me for a short visit.

This weekend, friends have asked for use of the cat hotel because their daughter has a cat she doesn't pay attention to and they are leaving for the weekend. I hate this for the cat. She's super sweet and she talks all the time because she's lonely. I think if we found a home for her, they wouldn't mind. How sad.

I was playing with her a few minutes ago. I gave her some treats and then some catnip and she bit my pinkie! The garage is hot & humid, so letting her rub against my face means accepting a bunch of cat hair stuck to me. There's a fan blowing, and it helps. The big cat in town, Roscoe, knows she's out there and since he's the girl-cat wrangler around here, he sits on the bottom step by the garage door and looks into the garage. Knowing him, he'd offer to let her come upstairs, lick her face and snuggle for a while. Sounds like fun, doesn't it?

Jack, I'm glad to know you have the CD and that you're enjoying it. Thanks for letting me know.

storms and peonies

Another night of storms, thunder, lightning, flooding and tornadoes. The peonies are blooming like crazy, but they're so full of water, they're almost lying on the ground. Even with the rings around the stems. It's sunny now, but overnight it is supposed to be more of the same.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

A boy and a purse

I just love my little guys, you know? At church we had been experimenting for seven weeks with two services. But the last two weeks we've been back to normal with just one service at 9:30. The best thing about that is that I don't miss seeing the boys. So last Sunday, I see their dad arrive without them. I figured they ran out to the playground and I was right. After a bit, they came ambling down the hallway and announced that they would be sitting with me. The two youngest ones, that is. Feta and Prince wouldn't get out of bed. Aaron is so disdainful of that because he always wants everybody to be in church. I'm predicting a preacher out of that boy. I've even said so before. He says basketball player (he's gonna be short) and I say preacher. Within a song or two, Ernest is predictably asleep, so I have Aaron change places so that Ernest can lay across my lap and sleep. Aaron wants to draw, which I allow because I know he listens to the sermon. At some point in the service, he'll ask a theological sort of question and I usually hush him. This time it was, "Do I really have to close my eyes when we pray?" NO, there's nothing magical about closing your eyes other than helping things get still, but he asks this question in the middle of a prayer! Another question was, "Can I have a pen?" I said yes and sort of kicked my purse toward him. He just looked at me like I was crazy and said, "That's OK."
I haven’t been posting lately and I had every intention of getting to work early in order to pound out some tidbits, but before I even left the house I got an urgent email from one of my account managers. Someone I placed two weeks ago just got fired and they wanted to see some of my subcontractors.

So I rolled into work and got caught up in a discussion with the account manager from which I went to my office and called my vendor. In my own gentle way, I yelled at him. I didn’t lose it like I did last December when I got in a car accident (that is still embarrassing to me) but I knew exactly what I was going to say and I said it. That isn’t typical for me. I like to hear people out and give them the benefit of the doubt. But I didn’t lose my temper at all and I suppose that is what really makes the difference. I totally lost my temper when my car got hit because I was so very scared. I respect this vendor and we’re sort of friends in a working way. Oh and it wasn’t his person who got fired. Nope. That was all my doing. I was really cheering for this kid and now I won’t really be able to get him an interview again since he’d already been to all of our clients when we finally got an offer for him. Shoot.

Moving on to a regular post, we had a heck of a storm yesterday morning. Trees bent over and things being blown into windows. Naturally this crazy storm hit just as the peonies bloomed, so until they dry out, they look pounded. It doesn’t sound like we’re going to dry out any time soon. The weatherman this morning said he’d been flipping through the ads looking for a canoe. Very funny. Another person up in Parkersburg, IA just died. An older person named Bertha whose injuries finally claimed her life.

I met with a young man on Saturday morning. His name is Ryan and he is dating our pastor’s youngest daughter up at Bethel, in the cities. I ended up talking to this kid for two hours and I had a great conversation with him. He got his degree last December in Media Communications and so we talked about some of the problems we was encountering in his interviews and how he could take control of his job search. I listened a lot and hoped he would find a lot of his own answers before adding my old-person advice to the pile. Then we started talking about writing.

He reminded me so much of myself after I graduated. I got that journalism degree, but I didn’t actually have a burning desire to work in a newsroom - a little desire for the deadlines and excitement was there, but not enough to fall in love with the idea. I wrote publicity for the university, but looking back I see that I didn’t necessarily feel it. I’m so glad I went into sales and I’m glad I do what I do now. We talked about that. We talked about how your degree doesn’t have to define what you do for a living and how I use some to most of what I learned in school every day in my job. He suggested I read some books by his favorite author Anne Lamott, so I went to the library and got her book, Bird by Bird. I love it. I’m hooked. She’s funny and rude and she’s right about writing. My dad would have liked this book.

Michelle brought Aubree to church on Sunday morning after they got out of church. Michelle always drives past our church to see if Aubree will ask to come in. Usually she stays for Sunday School, which I think gives Michelle a nice little break to go home and be alone. Aubree’s hair is growing longer. They’ve always kept it short, but it is now long enough to be in pigtails. She’s so cute, but she’s like her Aunt Caron. She’s reserved at first, even with people she knows. Thank goodness she only weighs 30 pounds because I carry her around and make sure her friends see that she is there. Then we run into Sara who isn’t the least little bit shy and who probably thinks it is ridiculous for me to be carrying Aubree. Sara is good peer pressure in that regard – I hope they hang together in school next year.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Hot days

I've been doing a lot of yard work, but haven't visited my garden lately as it is in the westernmost corner of the yard and the yard work has been up against the house. I slipped over for a quick look at how the mulch was doing and did it need replacing and so I noticed that someone has been in the yard taking rhubarb. I can see through the plant! So that means someone from church has come in and taken a good amount. I like that since I hate to see it go to waste and Julie had already taken some. Thing is now that the sun can reach the soil, I'll probably get bumper crop #2. It's a shame we can't make ethanol from rhubarb, I guess. A little still in the backyard to mix it with gasoline, pour it into the gas tank...maybe I've got something there.

What I have is a world-class headache. I went for a long walk last night and managed to walk for 2 hours. I haven't walked that long in years. I usually stop at 90 minutes. Then today I did yard work for 3 hours and THEN went to Julie's house for a 75 minute walk. I feel completely drained! It isn't the exercise, it's doing it in 80 degree weather. I need to get used to this. Jack, Bryan has made a CD for you of 3 or 4 songs that he sang and thinks you'll like. He went up to church and recorded all of them just for the CD so it isn't a bad mix from the house during a Sunday morning service.

My peonies have not yet bloomed, but they are getting ready. One of the bushes is so big it is pushing out a flower plant that I planted last year and I have forgotten what I planted (boy that's a really bad sentence). But they didn't bloom at all this year and this year they want to bloom, but they are underneath this obnoxiously huge bush. I need to get some twine and wrap that thing up. I keep forgetting to do it. I know I should go out and do it now. OK, here goes.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Yard work

We've been doing a lot of yard work lately. The garden is coming in like gangbusters, but the peonies haven't begun to riot. Memorial Day weekend was nice and long. We went to the cemetery with Bev, Michelle and Aubree. That was nice. Aubree had a grip on the whole thing, too. Like all of this part of the country, we have nice 80 degree days followed by 50 degree days. If that would stop, these tornados wouldn't be hanging around so much.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Pardon my language

We are having really crapalicious weather here. It is 54 degrees outside and I wore a coat in to work. I have on a long-sleeved cashmere sweater for crying out loud. I know it isn't as bad as the past winter was, but as my mother commented a couple months ago - I've been complaining more than usual about it. On the plus side I did wake up this morning to a good old-fashioned thunderstorm. Have a safe weekend!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The incomprehensible list of cities

Best Life Magazine ranked the top 100 cities to raise a family. Clarksville and Dayton are both in the bottom 10. What I find interesting is the ranking of some of the cities not making lots of sense. San Francisco and Cedar Rapids are on the list right next to each other. That's mind-boggling. And I am probably in the minority when I say that I wouldn't raise a family in Honolulu. That's the craziest thing I've ever heard! LOL

1 Honolulu, Hawaii Schools spend almost $9,000 per pupil, unemployment ranks less than half the national average, and you can play on the island of O'ahu's 125 beaches.
2 Virginia Beach, Virginia
3 Billings, Montana
4 Columbus, Georgia
5 San Diego, California
6 Des Moines, Iowa
7 Minneapolis, Minnesota

A full evening


Last night was busy with yard work and seeing the grandkids, but it was a tough day all around for me and I couldn't wait to go to sleep. I raked dead grass out of patches in the front yard that were killed with RoundUp because someone couldn't get rid of the crabgrass. He decided to kill it all. So I raked and he put down dirt and grass seed. Our house is 30 years old and I have four peony bushes that I think must be just about as old as the house. They are the biggest ones I have seen in the neighborhood. Last year I bought rings and I couldn't get rings large enough to go around one of them. I have been looking at other peonies and I haven't seen any with as many buds as mine. Julie and I picked off some of the really small ones and got our fingers completely stuck together with peony goo. I paid attention last year and I remember that these four bushes didn't bloom until the others in the nearby yards were already well on their way. These four bushes positively riot. I'll post photos when they let loose. Also, if you need rhubarb, come on over. There are a couple people who have a standing invitation to raid the rhubarb plant. It's lovely to look at, but it could feed dessert to a family of eight for a year. One year we had baby rabbits living under the leaves. Last year I planted penstemon and it is coming in with a vengence this year. I've included a photo of what it should look like. We'll see how it goes as the weather warms up.

Monday, May 19, 2008

You'll never believe this

I am typing this on my cell phone. I am at the stinky gym for Aaron's last class. 90 minutes of sitting around with Prince, who has attended his brother's class faithfully. But I love hanging out with them. Apparently Aaron has a bit of an attitude b/c his mom asked me to advise him about it. I thought that was what she said but I looked at Feta to be sure I was clear. So I told him to let it go. Then I lectured him about picking on kids at school b/c I heard from another mother , who has been a friend of mine for ten years, that he has been. He is very athletic, cute, sassy, he sings well and he's sort of funny. He's some poor father's nightmare in training. He also kept saying everythings 'sucks' so I wouldn't let him go to class until I told him to stand properly and hear me out. Little monster.
This gym is where Olympic hopeful Shawn Johnson trains. Maybe you haven't heard of her yet but she gets lots of coverage here since she is from Urbandale.
I was asked at the last minute to watch Aubree and that would have been fun here tonight for a change. But I don't get home until 9 and Michelle said that was too late. Bummer. It isn't that hard to type all this on my cell phone keypad and since I have 90 minutes to kill...but let me say that it is a good thing I chopped off all my fingernails last week.
I stopped to see Louise this evening and she was short of breath and confused about her oxygen cannister. Her son called her back right then so I helped clear things up. We sat for a bit and she calmed down and began remembering what she couldn't remember when I got there.I'll call around 845 and remind her to take her pill and turn the machine off. now I will hit 'done' and if this doesn't save, I'll be a bit miffed. :)

I take it back

Adam and Natasha are back from Spain & Italy. They got back last night. Also, I got my birthday present: an 8 gb iPod Nano that is sitting on the desk next to me charging and syncing my playlist. Nice.

Nothing to report

Really, there is nothing to say about the weekend. I did absolutely nothing. It was nice.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Kansas Speedway


I gave up my ride along so Bryan could do it before he started to drive. They recommended that and it did seem like a good idea for him to be able to feel how fast he could go if he wanted to. The only thing I could remember from the last time I did it was how fast the trip started. It felt like we'd gone from zero to 160 mph in about 3 seconds. I had no idea where we were on the track after that! His official high speed was 145.15 mph, but he said on the last 10 laps he never let up on the accelerator even on the turns. We don't know at what point on the track the speed was calculated and the guy who passed out the speed sheets seemed to think inaccuracies were possible. Anyway, he had a great time and I took a lot of photos so he could see things like how far behind the instructor he stayed. They have to stay 3-5 car lengths behind the instructor and Bryan did a really good job of that. His laps were all less than 60 seconds long. So I won't do the math, but it is a 1.5 miles track (I think) and he did it in almost "no" time each lap. He is outside in the driveway washing the Trailblazer right now and the friend who got him half of the day for his birthday is now in the driveway visiting! (That is, Bryan bought the other half so he could move up from 18 laps to 30) They have a lot to talk about. Last time he did this driving experience, this friend/neighbor did it with him and they've been down there together for a race as well.


It is supposed to be 80 degrees today, so I'm thinking about a bike ride. There are a few new photos from the day at www.myspace.com/dsmcaron under "pics."

the Linden tree was planted

The Linden tree is the tiny stick in the foreground of the photo. The dark red tree was planted as a memorial to the father of the woman we bought the house from. My Weigela in the back was bought with money Sofia gave me to buy something for my dad. So there are three of these things in our yard. How nice!

Friday, May 16, 2008

75 degrees today

I have the camera (I'm in charge of it) and sunscreen and three books. This should last from 3 to 5 hours, I've learned. I've got to get out of MO and into KS. I decided that maybe the reason Kansas taxes are so phenomenally high is to keep the MO people in MO. Most of you will probably laugh at that and know what I mean.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Kansas speedway

I was wrong about tomorrow at the speedway. I thought he was going to drive 18 laps, but he drives 30 laps. He does 10 and then he gets a critique or advice (I'm a bit unclear) and then he does 10 and then he does another 10. That's pretty cool. I will write more and post some photos somewhere.

Seeing a friend

I am looking forward to this trip to KC so I can see Anne. I have another really good friend from college who lives in KC. I will let her know I will be there in case she can make it to visit a bit. Anne is going to meet us for dinner and since I haven't seen her in years, I'm getting excited to have the chance to visit in person. I love getting to see and talk to old friends and the way the connection seems to continue over time even when you don't talk to each other. Especially high school friends. I don't ever seem to have any trouble picking up as if no time has passed at all. Except for Sally, who lived next door to me in Germany. That visit was a bit awkward, but it was still really good to see her. And of course Natalie could email me a bit more frequently and I need to ask Mike for Christine's email address soI can stay in touch a bit better...LOL. Our company is having a party tonight and it is usually an extended work day with lots of snacks and alcohol. I don't drink very much. I always limit myself to one beer and then I switch to mineral water or tonic water. But the food is always yummy. But it is like a gigantic cocktail party every three months and I know it sounds like fun, but it isn't really that fun. It's still work and I have to schmooze. I am taking a break at 11:30 and meeting a vendor for negotiations. That should be interesting. I sort of, in a very small sort of way, run my own business. Basically, every dollar I "give" him, I lose. I get zero commission on every dollar he gets. On the other hand, although my overall commission is reduced, if he can fill a job order for me then I am still getting the credit (and $). Like instead of making $10, I will only make $4. But if I don't fill the job I get $0. Make sense? Anyway, I need to do this without being incredibly stingy about it. That should be simple.

Going for a walk


I went for a walk again last night and in 67 minutes I did what it took 90 minutes to do on Sunday. It was much later in the day and the sun was going down, so the photo here is sort of crappy. This is a beautiful time to be outside in Iowa. Everything is blooming out of control. So as I walked by all the flowering trees and the lilac bushes the scent surrounded me. Every now and then I paused to breathe deeply. If you'll go here: http://www.viewsofafarmboy.com/subpage1.html you can see photos of what I am talking about. This page belongs to a man who goes to our church. My friend who is in Europe is going into the Sistine Chapel right now. Her husband is using a program called Twitter to post short ongoing updates throughout their trip. I've been able to keep track and I love that!
We are heading to the Kansas Speedway so Bryan can do his best to break his neck during 18 laps around the track in a NASCAR race car. I will be doing about 4 laps in a ride-along. I won't be driving! I'm only joking about breaking his neck, of course. I just worry about these things, you know.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Posting comments


Mom, I just made it easier for anyone to post comments. Give it a try. Click on the link below this paragraph. The link says "0 comments" and then type in the box. Then you have to verify using the word verification box. Just type in the characters you see. Then go down the page a little bit and choose "Name/URL" and type in "Mom." Finally, hit Publish Your Comment in the orange box. It should be slick as whale snot.


By the way, the Linden tree got planted in the front yard. And as for photos, there are a few new ones on myspace. I had forgotten about Picasa, which is easy to use with Blogger, so I may fiddle around, but no promises as to the timing of that. I joke about being lazy, but most of you know that I have very little free time lately. I really try to not be busy. I got to see Louise for a whole 10 minutes on Monday evening, for crying out loud. I want to rent a movie and go over with popcorn and I want to sit and play gin rummy with her. But this week tonight is the only night I have free and I need to get ready to go to KC on Friday (we'll be right back on Friday evening), so we'll have to see what Saturday brings. As of right now I have NO plans for Saturday! And the forecasted rain is no longer in the forecast. You know how I feel about that. Makes me smile.

Attached to this post is a photo no one has seen for years and years.

Music

I have been listening to a lot of music lately because I’m getting an iPod for my birthday, which isn’t until August of course, but whatever. I think I will get it today or tomorrow. I have created a preliminary playlist of 234 songs. I put them in alpha order and yesterday I got about halfway through. Amazing how long it takes. So far I mostly have songs from the 70s, Michael Buble and Jimmy Buffett. Jimmy Buffett songs make me want to get on a plane or an smallish ice-reinforced ship.

When I got back to the States after four weeks on board and then one week in Patagonia, I listened to Jimmy Buffett almost exclusively. I was in my car a lot for my job and I had six CDs lined up and I just kept them going for months. Oh, yes and Ava Maria by Harry Connick, Jr. I listened to that over and over on the ship. Anyway, it’s sort of an odd assortment of memories in the playlist so far. I need to decide whether to get The Babys Anthology on CD or just go into iTunes and buy the songs I want. I have the LP still and I listen to it at home, but that isn’t going to cut it. I got in the car this morning and the radio station actually played a song from that album. I figured that meant I HAD to get it one way or another!

My apologies for this post. Even I’m bored. LOL

Monday, May 12, 2008

What I did instead

So I didn't actually do anything with photos yesterday. We ate like crazy: ham, potatoes, soda bread, peas and chocolate pie. So after everyone left and the dishwasher was loaded and running, I went for a walk for about 90 minutes. I really wanted to sleep as I have been so tired, but I knew a walk was better. I got home, grabbed a book and then fell asleep on the porch swing. What a great Sunday afternoon!

Bryan sang in church yesterday. He sang the same song he sang at his sister's funeral. Right when he started, Aubree appeared at the end of the row where I was sitting. She crawled up on my lap and sat there perfectly still while he sang and it is a longish sort of song. One of the services was recorded, so Pastor Gary and Galen are going to try to get me the clip so I can post it. I know Jack would love to hear it as he wasn't at Renee's funeral. I don't know how long it will take before I get my hands on it, though. The last note of the song is tricky and he wobbled it a bit, but no one cares about that! There were a lot of people crying - people cry with this song. The title is "I bowed on my knees and cried, Holy!"

I'm lost without Pippa to guide me, but some photos are up at www.myspace.com/dsmcaron click on "pics" under the photo of me in my new Camry hybrid. My 12 year old Camry still in the driveway looking jealous now lives with my mother in law. :)

Sunday, May 11, 2008

prepare yerself for photos

I have made a myspace page for photographs.

I'll add some more photos today and by the time anyone reads this post, there will be another post telling you the URL for the myspace page. I'll work on that today after Mother's Day dinner at my house. I'm making a ham. Bryan volunteered us to babysit Chloe yesterday and he had her in stitches most of the time. Chloe is Michelle & Jeff's daughter. She'll be a year old next week.

I intend to scan and load photos from Antarctica on the myspace page. Not many, but a few. It's been a long time (I went in what, 1999 I think?) since I looked at them, but they're some really cool pics and many/most of you have never seen them. O and I could be devious and put up photos from high school...LOL. Just kidding.

Friday, May 9, 2008

One of those mornings?

I woke up at 4:00 this morning with Lily laying on me like she does when she doesn't feel good. The doctor thinks Lily has lung cancer, so we are giving her monthly steroid shots (they aren't really expensive, either) and they do her a lot of good. The rest of the morning was a little difficult for Miss Priss and so there was not much sleeping going on. I got up early, which I hate, got dressed and drove into Des Moines to have pancakes with the boys at their school. We took a photo, which looks not so great of me and they were grimacing like gangsters. They really wanted to put their hands around each others necks in a chokehold and by golly, we should have just let them do it. Boys!

Got back home and took Lily to the vet. Another indication that she didn't feel good is that she didn't try to disassemble the doctor. And she snuggled up to me and hid her head under my denim jacket. Got home, changed into slacks and finally got to work. I've had a really good week, a really busy week and I feel really tired. Bryan was at rehearsal last night at church and he locked his keys in the church. So he and Michelle drove to her house to get her church keys to get back inside, but she couldn't find them, so she drove him back to our house, he got his keys and they stopped at Tasty Taco where they ran into Andrew and Oren, which was nice for him to see his grandson.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

I have a new cell phone

My new cell phone has the same number. The process took almost 90 minutes. My phone was doing a fine imitation of a ceramic tile. The tech at Sprint couldn't turn the phone on and so she stopped working on it. Oh, it is a long story...but finally the service rep got fed up with messing around with the old phone and the replacement (refurbished, but still junk) and so she gave me the newer version of the Motorola Q. Now I don't like to be rude, but the Q is junk. I wouldn't recommend it. I am addicted to getting my email in a constant stream every day and I love having my car pick up my phone when I get in, but the phone was actually falling apart. So I have a new one right out of the box. The poor girl even said she was done messing with it and she would just give me a new one.



The ball game was nice and it did warm up a fair bit. Iowa Cubs won, I ate deep-fried jalapeno rings and fried pickles. Yum.

Kickball and a P.E. teacher

Last night at church we played kickball. With a P.E. teacher. It was something else. I could tell right away that she is a P.E. teacher. I let a ball go because it was foul and she yelled at me! She said I should have caught it because it still would have been an out. I said, because I honestly didn't know, "Really?" And then she said, "That's all right! You're learning the game!" It was sort of funny because if I have ever played kickball I don't remember. I probably did, but the memory has slipped away sort of like the time I don't remember getting caught doing something I shouldn't have been doing, like skipping school.

My cell phone turned into a hockey puck yesterday afternoon, so before I roll down to the stadium for a day of baseball and hot dogs, I need to run over to Sprint and get a new phone. My boss has been on me to get a new one since the first week I got the one that just died. I'm just too lazy to go to Sprint and stand in line for 45 minutes. Sunny and 65 here today. Is that baseball weather? I'm a little unclear on why this happens in Iowa all the time.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Babysitting and random thoughts

I babysat Aubree last night and we made cupcakes and played at the playground and she took a bath and we watched a show (that’s what she calls t.v.). She has to be the best five-year old in the world. Last night was the first time since her mom died that I had waves of grief hit me as we went through the evening. She saw a boy fall off a bed in one of those funny video shows – you know she only watches television in 3-minute bursts of interest – and she asked me why he fell out of bed. I said he was asleep close to the edge of the bed. She told me her mommy had an asthma attack and fell out of bed. What could I say? I told her that I remembered and that I was there that day. She said she knew I was at her house that morning. But she was at the neighbor’s house by the time I got there. Oh, golly, how did I get onto this topic? I do get asked a lot how she is doing and I would say she is really improving. -30-

Bryan was watching a movie downstairs last night and of course it was turned up loud and he had the surround sound on. Aubree wanted to be sure the noise was coming from the movie rather than from outside, so we invaded Poland, so to speak. He was watching the Transformers movie. I’m so awful at watching movies anymore. I don’t like to think of sitting around doing nothing for hours at a time. Usually when I watch a movie, I have a book or a crossword puzzle in my hand. This drives him NUTS, so that makes it fun, too.

We did actually go to the movies last Friday with friends. We went to see Expelled by Ben Stein. It was fabulous. It’s very well done and he lets both sides of the issue of scientific exploration and Darwinism speak for themselves. In my opinion, it is perhaps the best journalism since Edward R. Murrow allowed Joe McCarthy to hang himself on television. Um, not that I actually was around when it originally aired. Let's get that straight.

Tonight is the last night for kid’s night at church so my Wednesdays will be free the rest of the summer. I’ve spent the last four months in the 4th and 5th grade boys class. What an experience that has been. When I volunteered, they put me in there because the teacher, Steve, was alone. I can’t imagine being alone with that many boys. The majority of them are Liberian, so if you don’t understand what they’re saying things can get a little out of hand. I understand much of it now, but not always everything and they know it. When they deepen the accent, I know they're trying to hide something. Don’t suppose the Liberian boys are always the trouble makers, either. Heh.

Rain/storms never really materialized here in Des Moines and we aren’t supposed to see rain again until Saturday. Tomorrow our whole department is going to the Iowa Cubs game to eat, drink and be obnoxious.

I’m working on (this means “still thinking about doing”) putting photos up, maybe on Flickr or MySpace. We certainly have plenty to choose from! Today I will work on adding some links to web sites that make me laugh.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Simple-minded & ignorant

From Emma by Jane Austen. Chapter 17:

"It was rather too late in the day to set about being simple-minded and ignorant; but she left her with every previous resolution confirmed of being humble and discreet, and repressing imagination all the rest of her life."

I have had many moments like this in my life and so the first time I read that line, I guffawed. I didn't chuckle or giggle or laugh. I didn't cackle, chortle, snicker, snigger or titter. I didn't crow, whoop, grin, simper, smile or smirk. It reminded me so much of me I let out a loud or boisterous burst of laughter.

A burst of laughter and then it was over as I sobered up and realized that like me, our heroine Emma was not actually going to be able to reform or humble herself quite that easily. As I continued reading, I knew I was correct about her efforts. But Emma does sort of grow up a little by the end of the book and we can only assume that like most of us, she continued growing up on a daily basis. Oh it is so difficult to behave properly all the time!

However, I do like the idea that if I get an early start on the day, I can be simple-minded and ignorant. That will never not be funny.

Running around on a Monday evening

The rain didn't arrive last night. I must have had faulty information. It's warm here this morning and since my office faces east, I get a blast of hot air in my office for the next many months. My plants love it, especially when I remember to leave the blinds open overnight and on the weekends.

Last night I took Aaron to gymnastics. Aaron is in advanced gymnastics and his brothers Prince and Ernest are in the beginning class. Classes end the week before Memorial Day, so I should have Mondays free soon. They'll probably re-enroll for the fall session. This summer Aaron wants to play soccer. Not sure about the other boys since Prince didn't say anything about it last night. We got to the gym early and so Aaron and I sat on the curb and I helped him do his homework. It was math and I conquered third grade math a few years back. Third grade was about the time I decided math was the most difficult subject ever invented to torture small children in school. As I got older, I decided PE was invented by the devil, but math didn't get any easier until I was a sophomore in college. Go figure. For those who do not know, Prince, 12; Aaron, 10; and Ernest, 6 are my boys. Feta, 13, is their older sister. There are three older siblings at home, but I hardly ever meet with them. I do a fair bit with these kids, so prepare yourself to hear about them.

Before I picked up the boys, I stopped by to see Louise. I got her out of bed, which was shocking to me. She is about 33 years older than I am and she is a widow. She has one son and three grandchildren. I've known her for about 10 years and I have never gotten her out of bed before. She says she has the flu. Well she is on oxygen and so of course the flu sounds like a bad idea. Since I couldn't visit with her, I parked my car on 37th street in Des Moines and walked up and down the block three times. Walking South of Grand was my entertainment when I lived in that neighborhood and I miss it like a reformed smoker misses cigarettes. Holy moley. How do I explain that? I actually feel different walking there compared to anywhere else. I think that is mysterious.

Bryan got a Linden tree from a memorial service for his sister, who passed away last fall. It hasn't been planted yet, but it is beginning to bud. We need to do some landscaping, but we continually drag our feet on the decisions. I planted a garden last year and a couple years ago I transplanted/moved all the hostas from the front to the back. That's about it unless you count Bryan chopping down almost everything with leaves rather than needles! And so now we have a Linden tree, which throws great shade. I proposed three places for it, so we'll see what happens. I can't fault him for not moving ahead. Planting a tree is a big commitment for people who can't make up their minds about shrubbery.

Got a call from a dear friend this morning. She is having a baby girl! Congratulations!

Monday, May 5, 2008

I have news for you

This weekend we took my mother-in-law to Sioux Center, Iowa. There she has some cousins who aren't able to travel to Des Moines to visit her. We had a nice time visiting, eating lunch and a snack and then going to a Southern Gospel concert at Dordt College. We came back the same day and that meant getting home about 2:15 in the morning. We got up to go to church and then spent the afternoon celebrating my stepson's 30th birthday. When we got home, we focused on relaxing, which really means sleeping.

I started this blog because I have a couple people who like to know what is going on. If you've landed on this blog from a search engine, you're welcome to read what you like. But this is news for friends and family and you may not always find it interesting. That's OK by me.

I had to pick a name for my blog and since many, many people have made blogs, finding a name isn't really all that simple. "I have a piece of news for you" comes from Jane Austen's book, Emma. In Chapter 21, Mr. Knightley arrives to tell Emma and her father that Mr. Elton is engaged to be married. However, a neighbor arrives and blurts out the news first:

"Emma," said Mr. Knightley presently, "I have a piece of news for you. You like news -- and I heard an article in my way hither that I think will interest you."
"News! Oh! yes, I always like news. What is it? why do you smile so? where did you hear it? at Randalls?"
He had time only to say,
"No, not at Randalls; I have not been near Randalls," when the door was thrown open, and Miss Bates and Miss Fairfax walked into the room. Full of thanks, and full of news, Miss Bates knew not which to give quickest. Mr. Knightley soon saw that he had lost his moment, and that not another syllable of communication could rest with him.
"Oh! my dear sir, how are you this morning? My dear Miss Woodhouse -- I come quite overpowered. Such a beautiful hind-quarter of pork! You are too bountiful! Have you heard the news? Mr. Elton is going to be married."


So I am here to write about things we're doing in our family for family members and friends who are interested in such things as our goings on.

It is Monday, the first Monday of May. April showers in Iowa really bring only May showers and flooded rivers. Today is one of the kinds of day that makes me think of all the things I could be doing since it is 76 degrees outside already (before noon). I have checked into things like the hours for the Salisbury House, the Des Moines Art Center, the Des Moines swimming pools and so on. Of course, all the desire to be outside and active will end when the rain begins later this evening. I love it when the weather man is wrong...quite wrong. That makes me happy if the forecast is for rain or snow!

I'll work on keeping this updated as well as posting some photos. I'll have to learn to use Blogger all over again. Hope you like it.