Tuesday, April 29, 2014

I've been missing in action

Nothing has been going on unless you count rampant laziness and unchecked inactivity.

By way of getting rolling again, it's time for photos! 

Here is she who manages my photo requests with ease and a happy attitude. We went out for sushi and wine and water on a rainy day last week after work.

Saturday night I went to a national convention of United Sixties Born of Grand Gedeh County (Liberia) in the Americas. That's a group whose Iowa president is pictured below and the woman who graciously calls me her children's mother. Oh, those Africans know how to extend family boundaries so much better than we do. They are so much better and I'm so much better off for it.

This is Liberian food, which is one way of saying, "this is spicy." Chicken, lamb and rice. I ate the spicy meat, but the rice was too hot for me mostly because it was about 11 o'clock at night when I ate this.

I didn't photograph dessert, but it was banana bread. The woman sitting next to me explained that it is rice with banana, baking soda and egg. She said it isn't regular rice, but something you find in the grocery store near Cream of Wheat. Aaron said you grind it all together. It was good and not at all sweet, which is typical. Besides candy, the boys don't really eat sweets much and complain when something is too sweet. No, they don't complain. They just don't eat it.

Except candy. Never too sweet, oddly enough.

The party officially began at 8, but that was getting business conducted with a little dancing. The majority of the crowd didn't start showing up until around 11:30. I'm sure the party lasted all night. If you want to see video, join me on Instagram at carondm95.

This is the lovely Norah, mother of my boys. As president of the Iowa chapter, the entire convention, which lasted all weekend, was arranged by her.

Speaking of my boys...Aaron is here holding up his 8-year-old cousin. I love the terrified look on his face. Mind you, they had to hold this pose while my camera loaded. This was Friday night after the Drake Relays. The older boys ran relay races and Prince got a personal best in the 4x400! 

This is Tessie. She's awfully snotty, but quite photogenic.

This is Maggie. Frightening when she's this close and full of attitude, which is most of the time.

This is the lovely St. Dymphna bracelet I won and received from Erica at http://boysbooksandballs.blogspot.com/. I wear it a lot.

On Thursday and Friday of Easter week, I went to the cathedral and spent time with the local bishop, so to speak. I love the blue and red on the ceiling of this church.

I went shopping one day last week. I look ridiculous in big, fancy glasses, but they have POLKA DOTS!!!

And then this happened because we are super exciting gals who love a photo op. Plus, she hates to be left out.

As you can tell if you noticed I am wearing two jackets, it was cold. It is cold today, too. 
Ah, Midwestern April: A haiku is in order. 

Dreary sunny sky
Bright bursts of green and yellow
Cold morning warm day

 Notice the springtime sighting of an 18-wheeler? 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Dial M for Murder and farm cats, a natural combination

Last Friday, I drove up to Ames and saw a production of Dial M for Murder by the community theater. It was pretty good although there were moments when the audience laughed when they weren't necessarily supposed to.

But it was good and the actors and stage workers were doing something I don't want to do and without them, how would people like me ever be entertained? I enjoy going to these shows and now I want to see the movie. I think I've seen the movie, but maybe not since I was ridiculously ill-informed. Toward the end, Cindy remembered the key is the key to the murder. I had nothing. Not one scrap of "ah-ha!" during the entire show, so maybe I have not ever seen the movie.

I should warn you now this post has no point.

Before heading up to the show, I picked up my friend Cindy, who fed me a wonderful and relaxed dinner and listened to me whine. Then we headed north to Ames and my navigation gave out just as we go to the right neighborhood. Ms. Navigation kept saying turn-by-turn navigation wasn't available and what do I pay her for, anyway?

At a red light, I switched quickly to my cell phone's GPS and lo and behold, we were one block away. Disaster averted. We were one minute late, but there were a lot of people loitering and drinking wine and what not. This theater has a lot of profit-inducing wine and beer for sale and who can blame them? What a wonderful way to raise funds!

This is a shot of the set before the play began. It's the only set they used, which I always think is clever of a theater.

A couple weeks ago I went to see Les Miserables at the Des Moines Playhouse and if I try to explain to you the stunning and breathtaking production, you will think I am insane. They performed 24 times, adding extra shows on Saturdays and generally knocking everyone out. When the guy who played Jean Valjean came onstage to take his bows, I actually burst into tears, much like this:

I also saw a play at yet another community theater called A Rotten Year for Tomatoes. They give away coffee and cookies for donations: another excellent ploy to raise funds. Cindy and I gave them all the change we had, which as you know can sometimes add up to quite a bit.

In a couple weeks, Drake University is ending their season with The Mikado. I may be buying tickets for that soon, although as of right now I haven't asked if anyone can join me. I've never seen it before.

Regarding farm cats, Cindy has 'em and I love 'em.

Tommy and Paddy came out to see me when I arrived because I love them, love cats and love to play with cats and they know it. So as Cindy was gathering her wits about her for the drive to the theater, I went outside and loved on the kittehs.

Here is proof of our undying affection for each other:

 Clearly they can't get enough of me. What's with the barrier, fellows? 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Answer Me This

Since I've been lacking inspiration lately, I'm going to join a meme and I think I might even link to it, which would be a little unusual for me. We'll see if that works...Here goes!

1. What time do you prefer to go to Mass? 

I go at 7:00 a.m., which on Sunday mornings is as painful as it sounds by the way of getting up, feeding cats, coping with this hair and driving the five minutes it takes to get there. I will go to a different church at 4:30 on Saturdays sometimes, if bad weather is coming or there is some reason Sunday morning won't work.

I like the early, early show because there aren't a lot of people there compared with other services. I get distracted easily, so 7 a.m. keeps me from ... being distracted.

Oddly, my boss goes to church here and as fate would have it, he and his family sit directly across from me. We're both too stubborn to move from our "place" and there aren't many people to hide behind.

2. Would you rather be too hot or too cold?

Easy answer: too cold. The reason is because you can always put more clothes on, but there are only so many clothes you can take off and still be legal in most settings. I like running in the heat, though. When I was in Antarctica, I wore 40 pounds of clothing and still got cold!

3. How many brothers and/or sisters do you have?

I have two brothers: Mike and John. John is older than I am, but he passed away in 2001. Needless to say I miss him very much. I hate losing people who remember the day I was born.

Mike is the middle child and as Army brats, he was sometimes my only friend. He looked after me and fed me, which makes him sound like a saint. But he also chased me around then rolled me up in an itchy wool blanket and terrorized me in other brotherly ways. Yes, I've forgiven him. I think he's pretty neat.

4. If you were faced with a boggart, what would it turn into?

A boggart is a person's worst fear. Let's skip the obvious and go with something not actually terrifying because all those choices make me queasy. How about a faceless person in a seat behind me constantly rattling a candy wrapper?

5. Barbie: Thumbs up or thumbs down?

Since I stopped playing with Barbie by late 1975 (I think), I guess I'm out of the debate. But I liked playing Barbies and I got to play with my Aunt Karen's when I was at Grandma's house. Aunt Karen's Barbie and Midge were original dolls with the striped bathing suit and the blue poodle skirt. I thought that was pretty cool even then. My mom made clothes, bought me clothes and sucked up Barbie shoes in her vacuum cleaner. I had the plane - got that for Christmas either 1972 or 1973.

It's tempting to think that it was all so innocent back then, but she was still too busty for her own good. She was a tarted up teeny bopper back then, now they have made her an adult with a career. Not sure which is worse, but when I was a little girl, she was just a doll in my eyes. I suspect that to many girls today, she's still just a doll. We talk about too much in front of children now and if my aged relatives had any issues with Barbie's ... image, shall we say ... they probably wouldn't have discussed it in front of me.

6. If someone asked you to give them a random piece of advice, what would you say? 

I will prepare myself for this event from the below options:
  1. Stuff your pockets with Kleenex during Holy Week. Is that just me?  
  2. Talk to your mother.
  3. When in doubt, don't.
  4. Learn how to shake hands. 
  5. Don't go to sleep with chewing gum in your mouth.
  6. It's not about you.
  7. Pay down debt and put money away.
  8. Wear a slip because in any sort of light, everyone can see your business.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Random 5 or 7 Quick Takes: Math is hard

I'll do 5 or 7 or something along those lines because I haven't been blogging. Perhaps I will have a lot to say?

1. I won a bracelet on a giveaway at a blog, but she hasn't contacted me. So I may never receive it. But I think it's pretty. She had five to give away (maybe four...math is hard) and I picked this one out as my choice should I win. Which I did. Except that I haven't heard from her. Like I said.

2. I saw this in the Wall Street Journal this week. It's an advertisement from Starbucks. 

My response would be, "Will you please take this back and run across the street to any other coffee shop to get me a drinkable cup of black coffee?" But I would be nice about it: Do you notice that I said please? I'm one of apparently very few people in the world who do not like Starbucks' coffee. I've tried, believe me. 

3. This is my desk drawer. I have no defense. I also can't find what I want when I want it. 

4. The best girl ever stopped on her way to work and got me breakfast simply because I asked. I told her I was hungry and she wanted to know what I wanted. I replied, "breakfast pizza, egg mcmuffin, stale bread, road-kill jerky...I'm hungry." 

I'm grateful she didn't choose the jerky. 

5. Lent has been a deep struggle for me this year. That's an understatement. I'm hoping to make the upcoming week solemn and joyful and significant. Well, hope isn't much of a plan. I'm focusing on a plan today and tomorrow because otherwise, the week will slip away. 


6. If I feel inspired later on, I'll write more. I want to write, but I feel all backed up with religious comments and observations from a dry Lent and why it's been sort of a failure and how perhaps having a Lenten failure is really the best sort of Lent due to the purposes of spiritual preparation and OH! I hope that's the case. 

7. In better news, I just got some work to do! Yes, work has been sort of slow and that's also a bit on the depressing side. 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

This is not a joke!


After college in my first sales job, my boss was an aggressive person who didn't hide the fact that she didn't really like me. She's the one who said in front of me that a monkey with a briefcase could do my job.

Respect, that's what was missing in that job.

But I asked you here today to tell you the true story of the first time I wore my hair curly to that job. I was allowed in the office before 9a.m. and not allowed back in the office until 3:00 or 3:30pm. So this took place at roughly 8:30, which is a time for as little interaction as possible with coworkers.

"Caron, please step into my office," she said.

Did I mention this was an extremely small office in which there was zero privacy? It was.

I stepped into her office and did not sit down, which was just as well since I was not invited to sit down.

"You look like you just rolled out of bed to go to the grocery store," she said. "Go home and do something to your hair."

I turned, left, went home, applied the curling iron and made the day's sales calls. Eventually I hit my stride with a good haircut and started wearing it curly every day without complaint.