Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Taking my lunch to work

It is 10 o’clock in the morning and I have eaten 90% of the lunch I brought with me. I’ve always been like that. I ate breakfast, then I got to work and ate dessert with my coffee. Then I wiped out the leftover black bean & corn salad in a mason jar. Now the only reason I haven’t heated up and finished off the sweet potato soup is because it is still frozen.

I got on a kick making all sorts of food and freezing it in the past month or so. Now I have all sorts of things to choose from. I had gotten a big package of cheap “steak” from the store and threw it in the fridge to marinate for too long awhile then popped them in the freezer. I took one out yesterday and because it marinated too long awhile, it is sort of salty. Too salty to eat straight up, so I made the most amazing tacos to date. I cooked up the meat until it was just pink in the center (this was more a happy accident than a strategy as I fail am not good at cooking meat to order), heated up corn tortillas, swiped sour cream in thon tortillas, piled on the black bean and corn salad and three strips of meat. All this was washed down with one Samuel Adams Cherry Wheat beer.

I had to restrain myself, but was only successful in the beer department. I ate all the tortillas I had left in the package.

I have ribs in the freezer and I think that’s next up although my Better Idea Department is loudly proclaiming that this is a project for the weekend.

Yesterday I finished off my favorite food: chutney. I had no more than a teaspoon left in the jar, but I got another jar as a birthday present. So naturally it was time to let go of the last vestiges of what I had so there was an appropriate excuse to open the new jar. I dug out what was there for an English muffin with PB, then I dug out the rest with my spoon. And then? You’ve probably guessed by now that I stuck my finger in the jar and licked as much as I could before throwing the jar in the dishwasher. It’s a nice jar. The woman we met at the 5k on Sunday does something with her husband and kids: they keep all the safety pins from their bibs in a glass jar. I think I may do that with this jar. The safety pins need a place to live anyway, right?

I counted up and I need 36 pins to put in my jar. That means in just one year I have done 9 events. How cool am I?

Don’t answer that.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Setting goals and reaching them

Early last week, I set a goal of running an entire 5k event without walking. Several days later, I accomplished it. I must be winning at life these days. I thought I would be mostly by myself (among hundreds of runners) at this race on Sunday morning, but I was wrong. I met up with several friends, which made things fabulous. Cindy was there to hold my jacket and take photos and be generally encouraging. She is very good at this stuff! Here I am right before the race starts. I am not sure if I am laughing or talking or what I'm doing. It looks a little like I've been hit or the wind is blowing me backwards and throwing open my jacket - oh, the excitement! It's like a docu-drama, my life.

John is a co-worker and the instigator of a lot of smack talk event registrations. He is the reason I am standing in the chilly weather on a Sunday morning when I should be at church. I set this goal for the next 12 months and within minutes, I got an email saying, "Hey, are you running in the Capital Pursuit this weekend?"

Being the cheeky competitor I am, I legged it to the registration table and threw down my double sawbuck for a chance to prove myself, well, mostly just to myself. I do realize, people, that no one is keeping score but me.

Here we are at the beginning of the race. John later wrote, "I wonder if the 0800 me knew how the rest of the day me was going to feel?" And I could relate. I spent the rest of the day trying to stay awake. I met up with friends, made a new friend (I don't remember her name!), got to watch the children's race and cheered in the 10-mile runners. Then I walked 2 blocks and went to mass. I don't think anyone noticed, but I almost fell asleep toward the end. Twice.

In this photo, they've just announced the release of a pack of wild and hungry tigers, lions, monkeys, housecats and elephants one block behind us.
I am smiling in this photo, which was taken by Cindy, my professional photographer. Aren't these photos great? If I had taken this, I assure you it would be blurry and useless. My mom noticed that I smile a lot in these photos. Sure, I have some nervous energy but I'm also pretty happy. I never thought I would do this sort of thing. I get up early, I walk, I run, I swim. I'm unidentifiable. Just this morning, I was browsing for a programmer on Careerbuilder and I came across this bullet point (not kidding) in a resume out of Seattle. I think it sums up self, so I did the old copy & paste to share with all of you:
I learned that I have excellent personal skills.
Mind you, it doesn't say I have excellent interpersonal skills. Just personal skills. And I assure you, I make this promise to you, I really mean it when I say my personal skills rock. My skills are so personal you're probably unaware of them, so I want a t-shirt or a cake that shouts the news to the world.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Nature Notes Thursday

Visit Michelle at the lovely Nature Notes Thursday Meme for beautiful photos of the world around us.

This week saw the beginning of autumn, which is a pleasant time of year. On the last day of summer we got rain after more than a month without, so although it is only a cell phone photo, here is a photo from my ride to work that makes it looks like I live in a small farm town even though I live in a huge suburb of Des Moines.

You could hear the lawn, shrubs, flowers and trees gulping great swallows of water like a kid coming off the biggest slide at the water park.

At work this week and last I have seen outside my office window a hummingbird and two herons. Again...suburbs of Des Moines. I love my office window. I once had a job candidate who said he hated his last job because they stuck him in a cubicle. He joked about my window, which spans the width of my office. We always had something to say when we worked on his job search and at Christmas that year I came back from lunch to a gift bag on my desk. The card said, "To Caron" and inside was a package of Windex wipes.

I knew exactly who left that for me!

I want to include this on Nature Notes Thursday. I saw something on another web site and I followed the link to a social networking site, which I do not want to participate in. But I like the premise: Grace in small things/Waging a battle against embitterment since 2008. They just list small things for which they are grateful. I will keep in "nature" in nature. (I crack myself up)

Grace in small things
1. Rain
2. Garbanzo beans
3. Rhubarb
4. Herons
5. Windows

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

What have I been doing?

I have been taking swimming lessons this week. Tonight's lesson was good and I learned what I was already doing properly (hooray!) and practicing what I either needed to do better (breathing) or needed to learn (frog kick - what's that called? the one with the backstroke). And sleeping. I've been trying to sleep.

I've also been thinking of blog posts that wouldn't put you all to sleep. Let's see...(checking inventory) Yes, all the topics are just about me. Me and walking, me and goal setting, me and a bucket list I didn't know I had, me and competition, me and learning new things.

Is there anything going on in the world that doesn't involve me? Clearly not.

Also, I registered today for a fast, flat 5K through downtown Des Moines on Sunday morning. I'll miss church, but I realized on Monday that I really want to set a goal of running an entire 5k without walking. I decided to do it in the next 12 months. So this weekend, right? Set a goal and get on it. We'll see how it goes.

Funny thing about mottos. I said they usually come to me and they do. I usually have a moment like this...Ah ha! That happened today. I was reading something online from the golden days of radio and a quote from an old show struck me as funny, "Time is a minor drawback."

More later in the week on why that will be this weekend's motto even though it is just 5k and not a marathon. I'm sure you'll be breathless with anticipation, so I thought I would draw it out.

(insert clever seque of your own choosing, please) (I couldn't come up with one)

Oh, my swimming class: I am getting something extra from the class. There are only two of us who know how to swim. The other ones? They are really learning the basics and it is so exciting to see them get better in one class. This one woman, Lucy, is from Kenya. She is not afraid of the water and she seems a positive person. Tonight she swam the short length of the pool (from side to side) and I was so freaking excited!!! So was she and rightly so.

Another woman was there for the first class, but she didn't show up tonight. I hope she comes back. She really did learn something in the first class, but she fretted and repeatedly said "I can't" and it seemed to sum up the old thing teachers and coaches and parents will tell kids - that if you think you can't, you're probably right.

Three people in my class said of me to the teacher "She makes it look easy" and other related comments. Although tonight's class didn't hurt my ego, it did kick me in the upper back like an angry mule. Now that I am actually swimming the freestyle, I think I need to crawl into bed and whimper for a few hours. Nothing like deep, aching and lasting pain for staying humble.

Monday, September 21, 2009

USAF marathon, part 2

This Wright Brothers type bi-plane flew over the course all morning over Huffman Prairie, which is where the Wright Brothers got some flying work done. Very historic!

The Northrup Grumman Global Hawk was the marathon mascot. Doesn't it look like a flying whale? The guy from Northrup Grumman who gave a speech at the marathon pasta dinner was funny and gave a very enjoyable speech. He joked that he couldn't get permission to get a Global Hawk flyover, but at 60,000 feet, we probably would have missed it anyway!
This is me straight off the shuttle bus and cold.
After the pasta dinner, the museum was open. I noticed something I hadn't seen before and that's saying something since I got to the National Air Force Museum pretty much once a year. The added a hangar devoted to the Cold War. It's interesting and the DEFCON stuff is on the floor. That's me in a skirt by DEFCON 5.

Heh heh.
At the dinner, Dave McGillivray spoke. Did I already tell you that? His story is very interesting. He is the race director of the Boston Marathon.

I see now I could have cropped and fixed a few of these photos, but it is late and I am tired. I had my first swimming lesson today and I learned a few things, so it was a good experience.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The first marathon post

Here I am inside the National Air Force Museum. It was cold outside, but then I would be cold if it was 70 degrees with a breeze. The traffic getting on base was c.r.a.z.y. because they were letting one car at a time through the gate. I'm pretty excited here having just gotten out of the girls' room, which of course all of you know had a line formed halfway to the Wright Brother's bike shop. In this photo, please note my Goodwill pink velour jacket with stain. Very warm. This came in handy. I kept it for quite awhile after I took it off for just in case because last year I discarded my hat too soon.

This photo isn't very big, but if you look in the center of the picture, I'm right behind the guy in the orange t-shirt. Close up, you can see that I am either sucking on my teeth, biting my lip or talking to myself (I do that) (a lot), so I sort of look like I don't have a chin.
I have a photo of me crossing the finish line, but the one I downloaded isn't the right one. If any of you have experience with Blogger, you may understand why (but I don't) it isn't easy to insert a photo into this pre-planned post. So imagine, if you will, a very excited me running over the finish line! When you see the next photo, you will understand that although you are missing the excitement!, you are missing precious little else. Runners don't look that good when they're done running and pasty white girls look a little worse for the wear:

But I am very excited and that shows. I am wearing my medal, as evidenced by the blue ribbon around my neck that says I am also wearing a towel, a long one that says SAVE THE DATE for next year's marathon (I'd really like to plan on it) and I am wearing one of those metallic blankets. Last year, after my 26.2 mile hike, I didn't keep that on long enough and I almost passed out. I kept it on for quite some time on Saturday and although I was sweating underneath it, I felt cool and calm. Moments after the photo above, though, I did have to sit down immediately because my brain said, "Hey stoopid, sit down NOW" and so having learned a few lessons in the past year, I sat down crossed legged and leaned over my ankles. Bliss. Then I got up and tried to drink the Nesquick. They are fabulous sponsors and I dearly love sponsors who help make these expensive events get off the ground (Air the ground...clever). Chocolate milk is my favorite recovery drink after I drink water. But Nesquick just doesn't taste like chocolate milk to me. I ate a banana, which is just the smart thing to do even if you don't like bananas. I didn't get any pizza. That's a pizza van in the background. Lots of pizza. Pizza has never sounded so disgusting to me as it did Saturday morning.

I have a few other photos and some general information about the marathon for tomorrow. I think it is interesting. But naturally tonight I am still reveling in my fabulousity. I think people expect you to get over yourself pretty quickly, so thanks for letting me fabulous for awhile longer.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

I did it!

I did the half in less than three hours! Details later.

Random thoughts or Why am I up so early?

I think the Air Force birthday was actually Thursday. Well, belated greetings then. Oops. You know which military birthday I hardly ever miss? The Marine Corps. I think it is only because they get so much coverage (?) and I wish the former Marine in my office a happy birthday each year and he salutes me.

It is incredibly early. My body thinks it is 0430, but here in Ohio it is 0530. My brain is not impressed with this information.

I have been reading my blogs, but not visiting sites or commenting.

I'm excited & nervous, but I slept well.

Ahoy, matey! Don't forget to talk like a pirate today or I'll make ye walk the plank.

Leaving for base at 0615 (like my use of military time? I love how simple it is to type). But if I don't wrap this up and throw on my shorts, I will be late. I have a checklist. Seriously. I do and it is right next to my shorts.

Bye now, I'm off for a wee walk.

Friday, September 18, 2009

I got my pretty marathon bib!

So here's my marathon bib and the number if anyone cares to and knows how to stalk me.

I have a screaming headache and I've been in the car for hours, so forgive my nerves and cranky nature. I just left the expo after driving around half of Dayton trying to find it with the GPS shouting 'Webster Street!' when really she meant 'Route 4!' but she obviously didn't know that nor did she know that in Dayton, you have to go 'round several neighborhood blocks to get back onto most of the big-boy routes.

Then into the expo center with my headache and my extra 8 pounds so I can alternate between digging on the military part of this and wanting to kick people in front of me for stopping traffic so they can look at a pair of socks.

The military part of this is uber cool for me, folks. I. Cannot. Wait. I will tell you about anything military groovy that happens. Did you know today is the USAF's birthday? Happy Birthday to you...

On the other hand I have the sort of headache that turns every step I take into a jolt to the brain. That's a handy thing for 13.1 miles. Step CRASH, step CRASH, step CRASH. Do they carry guns in the air force?

OK, sorry. A little military humor.

The dinner is ... Oh crap! I just realized something. Really, guys, those of you who know me IRL should start laughing now.

I often under pack on trips, you see? I uh, I don't have any real clothes other than what I have had on since leaving Des Moines last night.

Shut UP.

What the crap now? Wash it really fast at my mom's house? Crappity crapilicious crap.

Oh yea, it gets better. Running shoes or flip flops with supper, ma'am.

Heading to Target now.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Nature Notes Thursday

Visit Michelle at the lovely Nature Notes Thursday Meme for beautiful photos of the world around us.

So on one hand, I'm getting tired of my point and shoot because it is so limiting. I'm not a photographer and I don't aspire to be one, but I did once have a Canon Rebel with a zoom lens...well, I still have it, right...and it took fabulous photos. I loved it. I didn't have to know what I was doing.

I took this afternoon off and I sat in the backyard for awhile, but not one animal or bird would come near me, even if I had a zoom lens, no one was close enough. But it was very nice to sit quietly outside in the shade of a pine tree and watch the sparrows fly around out of my lens' reach.

Getting around to watering everything, I noticed that things are beginning to die off. My Gerbera Daisies are a favorite of mine and so here is my shot today: Life and death in one pot. Pretty, pretty flowers surrounded by dead and dying leaves. Those flowers are giving all it they've got, aren't they? GO DAISY! GO DAISY!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Marathon Motto

A few posts down, I announced this year's marathon motto: Keep Calm and Carry On.

Last year's motto was: Fortune Favors the Bold.

I have another marathon event (half) in October. I need another motto.

Any ideas?

Organizational blues

I have ...let's see, I need to count... four purses going right now. There's something in every single one of them. It's getting annoying. I know I have this or that, but I can't find it. If I go to work early without the black bag, I can't get into the building because there's where the access card lives.

Case in point. Just as I wrote that, I realized that I sort of remember digging the card out and putting it into another location completely. I need to check that as I *intend* to go to work early tomorrow.

I'm looking for some lip stuff. Can't find it. I know it has to be somewhere, but I've looked through three of the bags. One bag holds two bags. I have a little wallet thingy and then I have a dainty black purse in case the wallet thingy looks dumb.


Looks dumb. There's a very high probability of that. The bag those two items are in is a cloth messenger bag sort of thing that looks very Mother Earth. So in case the wallet thingy doesn't look dumb, I have the Mother Earth bag to help out.

The lip stuff is probably in the bathroom. I'm trying to pack for the marathon and I am feeling a little bit stressed. I did sleep well last night, but I'm still not feeling great, so I am going to try again tonight. I bought nifty new shoes and should wear those in. They are exactly the same shoe as the ones I have been wearing, so I will take both pair. I am making checklists for the day before the race and race morning.

If you are familiar with marathons, there is a policy of discarding warm clothing along the route. A group comes along and picks up all the clothes that have been cast off and the clothes go to a charity like Goodwill. So after work today I went to Goodwill.

Goodwill has a policy: a certain color tag is on sale for $1.99. Today's color was green. My mission was to find a jacket or vest that opens in the front so as not to conceal my runner's bib (runner - ha) that had a green tag so I didn't pay much. I looked and looked and looked and what do you know?

I found it. It is in the dryer right now having gone through the wash. The zipper is broken. It is pink. It has a hood and it is velour. Velour and a hood = good and warm for race morning. The facts that it is too small for me, has a broken zipper and is dead ugly are all very good things.

When I get warm I will not regret taking it off and casting it aside. Last year in the Des Moines Marathon, I got to keep my clothes because Cindy rocked the universe taking care of me. She fed me bananas, picked up my clothes, took all the things I no longer wanted in my hands, and a couple blocks from the finish line, when I felt like I was about to die, there she was cheering, "Caron! Way to go, Caron!"

I will never forget the way my friends took care of me that day.

On Saturday, due to security on base, there will only be people at the start/finish and in one spot. On base, well, I don't know. I assume it may be fairly isolated. It will be a good test of my mental stamina. If you haven't done this sort of thing before, I encourage you to head to a marathon and cheer people on - hang out at the curb for a 5K - stand a few yards from the finish line at any event - cheer, clap, encourage. You don't know how much it helps.

It will be fun for me to tell you how the AF Marathon goes this Saturday. I'm looking forward to it: not just the marathon, but blogging about it as well. I hope you'll check out the results.

My one-off

I have a policy against politics and religion on Facebook and on my blog. So here's the one-off for all time and it is because Jimmy Carter inserted himself into the fray. I am going to keep it short.

All the people who hated President George Bush, Bill Clinton, Richard Nixon, etc. were all simply expressing their political opinions. It's a free country and we do not have to like the politics that go on in this country. It has, until now, been a privilege of our freedoms to be vocal about what we don't like about comments, vocabulary, physical attributes, policies, rules, ideas, debates and everything else.

Now? These days? The people who do not like the current president are ALL RACIST?

Sure enough, people who are not in favor of Obama's comments, vocabulary, physical attributes, policies, rules, ideas, debates and everything else must be racist? I've never heard anything so insane in. my. life.

Cut it out. If you can't come up with something better than that, keep your mouth shut. I'm tired of hearing about it. If you didn't like Richard Nixon, are you racist? Nope. All this creepy rhetoric is childish, it has a chilling effect on open debate and it only serves to point out over and over and over and over and over again that Obama is "different" and that he is not a white man.

Why does that matter? Shut up already. People are allowed to disagree.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Warning: this is storytelling at its worst

If I weren't so sleepy, I hope I could have made this post sort of funny. Alas, I'm so tired you are getting bare bones. Sorry. I will try to be awake funny peppy here tomorrow.

This sort of stuff is supposed to happen on Monday, not Tuesdays. I am still not getting enough sleep and this morning it all caved in on me.

That’s a bit dramatic. Nothing caved in on me and I didn’t fall down the steps (I do that when I am tired), but I did get out of bed feeling a bit cranky. When I am very tired, I get dizzy and I stagger drunkenly. So this morning being no different, I bumped my way down the hallway, stood in the bathroom unsure of what to do (I had been up twice already so I didn’t have the usual routine), I fed the cats and bumped into several things: stair railing, countertop, dryer door.

I didn’t step in the cat sick that was on the throw rug at the front door; that's a good thing. I ran up and down the steps doing this and that, never making one good trip at it, always forgetting something. I was robbed –nay, snuffed- in Mafia Wars right in front of my nose. I can’t seem to get a bad blog post together to save myself and so finally at about 7:30 a.m. (work starts at 8:00) I gave up and got into a warm bath.

That was a mistake. I got warm and drowsy. Then I noticed the cheap conditioner I’ve been using for months to shave my legs:
Right. Read it.
The conditioner is shampoo. Nice. At least it isn’t Crisco. Although my legs would be really soft…

Monday, September 14, 2009

My motto for this week

I am getting ready for this weekend’s half marathon. The Air Force Marathon is at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio and I’m really looking forward to it. I am walking and swimming and making lists, packing and preparing and sleeping and trying to eat well. I am excited and I know I seem nervous. I probably am a little bit, but not because I think I can’t do it. It’s the good nervous energy that gets you through things and makes you perform well.

I have three goals: to match or beat my marathon pace, which was 14:23; finishing in a least half of my marathon time, which was 6 hours, 16 minutes; and crossing the finish line with a smile!

My goal is always to enjoy myself and finish whatever race I've started unless I injure myself. I haven't gotten hurt yet!

Also...I enjoy saying "carry on."

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Fit to be tired

No, that isn't a typo. Fit to be tired. I haven't had very many good nights of sleep for more than a week and last night was no exception. I woke up this morning around 3:00 and never really got back to sleep. I went to the pool and swam for 45 minutes. Then this evening I went to a free water jogging class to see what that is all about. The pool has a couple of those floaty belts you use to stay upright in the water, so I can do it during lap swim. I felt really stupid. The belts ride up on a slender person, so I think I need someone to be there to pull on it like Melanie does to Scarlet's corset in Gone With the Wind. Or was that a servant trying to break Scarlet's rib?

Now that makes sense. Scarlet wasn't always friendly. I wonder if corsets were invented by servants.

Water jogging: Have you ever done it? I felt like a dork bobbing around in the water, but I got a heck of a workout and I can feel an ache in my shoulders. It feels good and about an hour ago I came crashing down and could barely keep my eyes open. But I am making a Better Than ... Cake (I don't want that word coming up in Google searches) and so I kept going.

Have you ever had this cake? I'm making it for a potluck tomorrow at work. It is a chocolate cake with sweetened condensed milk and carmel topping poured over it, toffee bits sprinkled and then when it is cold tomorrow morning, I will frost it with Cool Whip, put it back in the fridge and let the Cool Whip set while I swim and get ready for work. Then I will top it with more toffee bits. I may drizzle Hershey's chocolate syrup over it. I may not. I don't know.

Anyway, I have to sleep now. And if you hear screaming in the middle of the night, it will be me. You should be able to hear it far and wide if I don't get some decent sleep.

Nature Notes Thursday

Visit Michelle at the lovely Nature Notes Thursday Meme for beautiful photos of the changing season.

I'm going to have to let these dew-soaked leaves speak for themselves since I can't believe they're in town and it is only the beginning of September. I took these photos this morning in a church parking lot on my way home from the swimming pool, so this is fall coming at us in real time.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Lunch break, Wednesday 9/9/09

At lunch today I stopped in at the Des Moines Art Center. There is an exhibit there that's ending soon and I had heard it was sort of interesting. The artist's name is Tara Donovan. The Art Center is a very good art museum and well worth a visit anytime you are in Iowa. The exhibit didn't take much time to view, but I didn't get photos of everything. And with all the guards around, I didn't want to try to get fabulous photos...I just wanted to get something.

You see, I didn't want to get kicked out. I hadn't asked about photography and had never before considered taking photos in the museum. So I did my best to be stealthy. As you can see for yourself, I will probably never make it as a private investigator. My photos are too blurry to be used in court!

This is a bunch of Scotch tape on the floor. No, I'm serious. Look: I will go to the art museum, but I am rarely in awe of what I see. I enjoy going, but I don't really get it. I once worked with a woman who was an artist (sold a painting for a down payment on a house-dang) and when I said, "But I could do that!" She so wisely pointed out, "Ah, but you didn't."

I have always figured that's really the goal of the artist's world. To do it. And if you do it first, why then, I suppose you're the one who gets to have exhibits in museums all over the country so people can say, "Really? Scotch tape?"

The title of the taped floor is Nebulous, 2002. I assume 2002 is when the idea was created because, uh....that certainly can't be the SAME Scotch tape from seven years ago, eh?

Does anyone notice how I am not violating trademark laws on my blog? Can I get some props, please? I would like a trademark protection attorney to comment with a "You go, girl!"

You're welcome. I always liked the ads in Writer's Digest that said, "Kleenex says, "Bless you!""

Arg. Crappy photo. Blurry. Guard staring at me. This is hanging from the ceiling. It is mound after mound of styrofoam cups that look as though each one has been chewed around the edge. Seriously. Chewed. I even looked for coffee stains, but all I saw were tooth marks. Creatively enough, this bubbly mess is titled: Untitled, 2008.

She needs a writer.

Also blurry, but pretty. They were little rings of metal. In the little booklet I got from the museum this piece is not described. I thought at first it was a map.

This was pretty neat and I like what the photo did to darken it (yes, I am the master photog who deliberately made it dark). The actual sculpture was gleaming and clear in the sunlight. Those are people outside the door eating lunch and enjoying the weather. Seriously, you should visit. The food is good. This piece, made of buttons and glue and is called Bluffs, 2006.
What I didn't take a photo of (because it would never have come out) is a piece called Haze, 2005. It was the reason I went. She stacks millions (that's what it says, folks) of clear plastic drinking straws against a wall. The effect is pretty cool. There is no adhesive, the entire thing is held in place by the corners of the room. Well, put her name and Haze into the google images machine and see it for yourself.
It was a nice lunch break.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

I'm late, I'm late

I'm late to this post, I'm late to a meeting at church. Oh my goodness. Here is a photo of the only bridge of its kind on the Lincoln Highway, which linked the East Coast to the West Coast through Iowa back in the very early parts of the 20th Century. As in about a hundred years ago. It wasn't even paved. Oh, joy! We drove the Lincoln Highway on Labor Day from Marshalltown to Clinton. It was nice and very historic. I hope I wasn't really close to another blogger and blew a visit!

Saturday, September 5, 2009


It's official. My house is a wreck.

My two-year-old granddaughter had to piddle, so we went into the bathroom and she spied the new step stool I bought for them. It sits on the floor next to the vanity. She pulled it out and said, "Grandma, it's hairy."

It was dusty and it did have a little hair on it (what can I say? I shed like a dog cat girl with lots of thick hair.

I cleaned it up while she took care of her business and she, her brother and her cousin went into screaming circles of joy as I stood in the kitchen wondering why I didn't realize my house had a circular traffic pattern. Kids love those. Don't I know it.

Around and around and around...through the kitchen each and every time.

Then they went home and I looked around and realized it looks like someone hasn't cleaned the house in awhile. I went to bed.

This morning I am going to work at Meals from the Heartland. It's a really neat program that feeds hungry people and it is based right here in Iowa. I've tasted the food that gets sent far and wide and I like it. If you are interested or want to know what I'm doing this morning that doesn't involve walking or (ahem) cleaning my house, check it out at

On the web site there is a camera aimed at the floor and it stopped last night close to midnight showing the big hall empty and silent. It won't be like that for long, I'm sure. They have thousands of volunteers. I have to leave the house in about 40 minutes and I haven't even tried to get a comb through this hair. I'd better skedaddle.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

It's Rhubarb Friday?

I didn't work out tonight. I didn't walk or swim or do yoga or push ups. I ate, drank and cooked. Nary a marathon in sight.

I nibbled so much there is no way in the world I can eat what is heating up in the oven. Not a chance. I'm as full as ... well, let's just say I've had enough.

OK, regarding the post title, it isn't technically Friday. By the time most of you get on here, it will be Friday and so I thought I could be clever, but then someone on the West Coast will visit in an hour and be confused.


My blog has lately turned into a bit of a rhubarb-cam and I'm sorry about that. You would think I have nothing to say. Here are some random thoughts.

I have decided to wear my hair mostly curly and skip the straightening for awhile. That means I needed a haircut, so I got one. See for yerself.
Yes, everyone, you can also have a box on your head. Admit it. It looks like a box. Or a beach ball. Sigh.

This is me. From the front. With the hair. Still looks like a box. I'm over it. I tilt my head backwards in pictures. A lot. Anybody have any advice?
Here's what I really, really have to say:
1. SO sorry about all the rhubarb lately. I hope you don't mind.
2. Wow, I love every single comment I get. I don't know if my commenting in the comments is of interest to you because I don't know if you ever come back to see if I have responded, but oh my gosh I love doing it because it's conversation! Dialogue! That is so cool.
3. I have been trying to behave at work and while I visit your blogs while I'm there (shhhh), I am trying not to go to mine and draw glaring attention. Then I get home and by the time I've caught up on Mafia Wars and three Scrabble games, go for a walk, take a bubble bath...well, you get the picture. I'm lazy. I told you this earlier.
I love, love, love all the comments. They make me smile and laugh and they make me happy. If I had rhubarb cake and Metamucil coffee cups for everyone, you would so be getting them in the mail.

Nature Notes Thursday

Visit Michelle at the lovely Nature Notes Thursday Meme for beautiful photos of the changing season.

I walk a lot around the neighborhood and rhubarb grows here in Iowa very well. What I am seeing is an explosion of new growth in even the tiniest rhubarb plants on my walking route. I walk on trails and so I see many backyards. For that, I am privy to a lot of rhubarb business.
The reason for this? Having not called my local extension office, I really don't know the answer. But in my mind, I suspect the unseasonably cool weather we've had for several weeks. Maybe the rhubarb thinks it is April or May.
I'll be harvesting and freezing more this weekend. So, anybody driving through Des Moines? Come on over! I'll feed you rhubarb cake and make you take a quart home.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Hey, it's Tuesday

How did I not post on Monday? I suppose because I posted late on Sunday. But here's the point: I have a cupboard in my kitchen devoted almost entirely to coffee. Why? I hear you asking. There's no reason to deny your curiousity.

Here's why. We have more coffee cups than anyone I know. I try to get rid of them, but they mer-ack-kwoo-luss-ly find their way back into the cupboard because of course we cannot bear to be parted from them.

Well, perhaps you can't tell, but they are barely in there. Plus, there are coffee cups in the wine glasses and coffee cups on the bottom shelf where the coffee lives. It's for the coffee and the filters. Why does everything have to be crowded? It's despairing. It certainly is.

What surprises me (because I am a demur, retiring sort of gal) is how many friends and family LOVE this coffee cup. It never fails to get a chuckle.

It makes me blush.