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


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.